Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Farewell,Sister Hall! (Part 2)

And then we had to say "Goodbye"...

I'm not sure that any amount of preparation can prepare a missionary or their family and friends for that moment when you separate at the airport and you know you won't be able to hug again for the next year and a half.  It's gut wrenching!  (I was very thankful that I had a daughter going and knew that, at least, she would be back six months sooner than the sons that were also there in the airport waiting to get on the same plane to the MTC.)  It's weird to feel so excited and so sad at the same time!  And watching Dee walk through the security gate and out of my sight... UGH!  It was like watching my heart walking outside my chest and away from me.  And I knew I was in trouble when, as we were walking back through the airport to go home, I reached in my purse for my phone to send a text message to Dee about something I forgot to ask her sooner.  It's gonna be a looooong 18 months!  You know, it's really not fair that you spend almost everyday of your life with this child... someone who is literally a part of you...  someone you have loved, nurtured, taught, cheered for, worried about, prayed over, laughed with and at, cried with and for, (sometimes wanted to strangle) ... you know them better than anyone... and then all of a sudden you can't even text them ?!?  Who's idea was this???  I suppose it's possibly a little like what our Heavenly Father felt when each one of us left His presence to come to earth.  And just like I wait anxiously to get a letter or email from my child, so does our Heavenly Father anxiously wait to hear from us.  (Wow!  Life lessons really are everywhere!)  

Here are some pictures of us saying our final farewell, for the next year and a half, to Sister Hall...

Bags checked and under the weight limit!

Waiting until she absolutely HAS TO go.
Ok, one more family picture before the teary-eyed goodbyes.

And off she goes...
This is when it became REAL.

I love how she was always reassuring us along the way,
making this less sad for us all.
She's up next!
And that was it.  She walked through security and out of sight...
for the next 18 months.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Farewell,Sister Hall! (Part 1)

There's so much that leads up to getting a missionary on their mission!  
The Shopping & The Packing:
I would say that Sister Hall had a little too much fun "preparatory shopping" but that's OK!  She was given great advice and guidance from many experienced former-missionaries, like her good friends Taylor and Sheryl.  Having never served a mission myself, they were such a blessing to Dee and to me to help get her ready!  And then to pack it all into two suitcases and a carry-on... OH MY! 
There's a chance it'll all fit!

It was a process of elimination, for sure!  But we made it all fit!  WHEW!

The Church Farewell:
Dee was greatly supported by many friends and family members at her "farewell" at church on Sunday, September 13th.  She gave us all an awesome and animated message (as we all expected she would)!  The people of Nebraska are in for a treat when Sister Hall speaks!

The Open House:
Sister Hall's "Farewell Sunday" included an open house for friends and family to say their farewells to her.  Our home was filled with the joyful noise of love and laughter... and lots of yummy food!
 (Sadly, not a lot of pictures were taken.  I guess we were all too busy enjoying ourselves.  Ya!)
Dee's "adoptive family"
Taylor, Bryant, Sheryl, Scotty, Dee and Ryan

Our beloved Kirsi surprised us
by making a trip down from college!
Oh how we love her! 

You know you're loved when your best friend
from elementary school days comes all
the way from norther Utah to say "farewell"!
Several weeks apart in age and in mission
report dates!  Awesome girls!!!
(Somehow missed pictures of Jesse and Molly.)
Our "Utah Family" is THE BEST!

Officially a Missionary

Dee became an official missionary on September 15th.  Whoo hoo!!!
Again, another surreal and yet wonderful experience for a parent!  President Leavitt shared some scriptural insight that he feels is valuable for missionaries from the book of Jacob in the Book of Mormon that is referred to as the "Allegory of the Olive Tree".  Then she was set apart as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by President Leavitt and with the loving hands of her Grandpa Alan, Brothers Crosby and Millett (from our bishopric- Bishop Leavitt was out of town), and several great (literally and figuratively) uncles upon her head.  The Spirit could be felt so strongly that it filled the room with love and joy that penetrated every heart present!  It was awesome!!!  Then, of course, we had to take more pictures!
Grandpa Alan, Mom, Ashley, Trever, Sister Hall, Hannah, Dad & Grandma Jean

The Family

Yes, we'll take credit.  Thank you!

Oh, these two!

Sister Hall's Sister Hannah and Sister Ashley!

And, Brother Trever!

And, "Missionary Mentor" Sheryl!

Monday, October 19, 2015

I Love to See the Temple

Dee's mission preparations included many exciting and surreal experiences, including her going through the temple for her endowments on August 26th.  As a parent, it's the greatest blessing to be able to be with your kids in the temple. It's like a little glimpse of heaven!

Hopefully later, Dee will be able to add her own words to her temple experiences before she left.  So in the meantime here are some pictures and some recollections from those days.
I was so blessed to be able to be Dee's escort through the temple.
It was seriously one of the best days of my life!
Some of the sweet girls from Dee's ward Young Women group.
When we came out of the temple they were singing "I Love to See the Temple".
It was so incredibly touching!  These ladies are true angels!

Dee with her dear friend, Emma.
These two have shared many experiences, tears and laughter!
Dee with her Young Women president, Sister Price.
She's known Dee since she was a little primary girl
and has always been a sweet friend and neighbor!

Later on Dee had several other opportunities to return to the Mesa, AZ Temple and to also attend the Gilbert, AZ Temple. In the Gilbert Temple, she had an experience that she will never forget! (More to come on that later...)

 Dee went to the Gilbert Temple with her former YW president and dear family friend, Sheryl.  These two have a very sweet relationship!