Sunday, April 26, 2015

Where did the Time go?

Where did the Time go?

April 27, 2015

     McKenzie Brett Flake, where did the time go? Time has steadily marched on since we all gathered  at your mom and dad's motel room in Albuquerque, NM to view this beautiful little baby they had picked up at the Church Social Service Office earlier. It was you. You were our answer to many prayers. Not only that, you came in the spring when all things are renewed. You were our new beginning.
     I will never forget the day the phone rang in my first grade classroom and it was your mom calling from her work at the bank to tell me she and your dad were chosen to get a baby. They were to pick you up in New Mexico. It was a miracle! Our whole family was being blessed a year to the time that your aunt had given a beautiful baby girl to a wonderful couple.  How could the Lord be so kind? And you have blessed my life ever since that day I laid eyes on you in Albuquerque. You have sung, danced, played, acted your way joyfully through these last 16 years. You will always be my dear friend as we continue to grow old together.
     Time here in Missouri has moved so slowly this past week as we have prayed and waited to finally hear of the passing of our beautiful Lorraine. We have dreaded this day for a year but it has now come. I can't help but believe that the heavens welcomed her home with beautiful singing and joy. They have been expecting her so they postponed some of the garden and home beautifying efforts until she returned.  She walked in beauty here. What would change in the spirit world? Our hearts ache for Ted and his family as they now learn to adjust their lives without her.
     Such life changing events as births and death always bring back a flood of memories of my parents. I remember the summer before your Great Grandpa Eb passed away he would meet with me to try and teach me a few things. One day he shared with me his favorite verse of the song, "How Firm A Foundation" It is Verse 5 on page 85. Look it up and play it on the piano. Lo and behold, our rest hymn today in our sacrament meeting was this very song. We had a guest Samoan choir that is putting on a fireside here tonight visiting our ward. All Samoans can sing but when several more big men are added to the mix, it was as if Lorraine's Angel Choir took over.  I couldn't sing. I had to sit and listen to my elder sing in my ear.  Verse 4 is for Ted and his family today:

          When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
           The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o'erflow
           For I will be thee, thy troubles to bless.
           And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
           And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

     Time marches on here in Missouri. We hit our 6 month mark today on your 16th birthday. What is 6 months of service in a lifetime? I hope it counts for something. That is why we are here. To pay back the Lord for, oh, so much! I know we will all sit around together in the spirit world someday  and reminisce our lives on this earth. How we got here. How long we stayed. Why we left. Some too soon. Some longer than they expected. Isn't Time strange? You will turn around before you know it  and see your own child turn 16. Mark my words and have a happy, happy day.

My Love,
Sister Seaman

The Palest Ink is Brighter than the Fondest Memory

     Grandpa Eb was full of old sayings.  He always had some old saying to fit a given situation. One of the ones I remember was, "The palest ink is brighter than the fondest memory." For those of you who don't get it, it means if you write down some important thought or event, even if you use the palest ink, it will be truer and brighter than the same fondest memory.  It was actually him telling me to write things down and not rely on a memory.  He was used to doing business with your word and handshake as bond.  Often times I know that he felt that somehow the other person's fondest memory was brighter than his and it wasn't in his favor.  So every time that happened he would remind me to write things down, even if the pen was running out of ink.
     Writing this blog has awakened that old saying.  It is a struggle to think of anything important to say every week.  Sister Seaman and I do the very same thing over and over each week.  Like the movie "Ground Hog Day." We wake up to the very same thing every day.  Don't misunderstand though, I like what I'm doing.  But it is not worth writing home about every week.  So we struggle to find things that will be important to us later, when we re-read these blog posts.  They will be truer and brighter in written form than relying on our memories.
     We have been anticipating Lorraine Lewis's passing for quite some time now.  It is so sad.  She was one of this world's brightest spots. So talented.  So compassionate.  So nice.  It was way too soon for her to go in my humble opinion.  In her passing, we will all take a look at ourselves and do the self diagnosis.  Will it be me next?  Am I ready?  Our hearts and thoughts go out to Ted and family.  The pain of separation is a hard one.  When you love someone as Ted and Lorraine did, you are just not complete anymore when someone leaves.  I have noticed that only the passage of time seems to heal the broken heart.  And time just crawls when it is your heart.  Our prayers will be for Ted and family to heal and that God will bless them with peace and understanding.
     When I read this written memory in a few years, I will  remember sitting at this computer in our little dumpy apartment in Independence Missouri, with the beautiful music playing and a warm breeze blowing in through the open sliding door and I will remember Lorraine Lewis and how she changed the world.
     Goodbye Lorraine.  Until we meet again.
Just before leaving on our mission.  6 months ago.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

He Sent HIs Son

He Sent His Son

April 19, 2015

      It is Spring in Independence! The highlight of my day is to take a walk just about anywhere and study blossoms, treebark, and shades of green. Check out the dogwood tree that has both colors of blossoms on it! Who would have known? I can truly believe this was the Garden of Eden. This will, by far, go down as my favorite season to be here.
      We rode the train from Independence to Kansas City yesterday on our P Day. We invited other senior missionaries and then took in some sights at Union Station. Earlier that morning, my elder and I drove the mission van, Starship Enterprise, down to park it. Our friends, the Garretts, followed us there so we had a ride back to Independence. The train was not coming back this way on Saturday so we needed transportation back home in the evening. I will let my elder tell you about his trainride because I think I fell asleep. Union Station is full of history. Kansas City was the hub-bub of the United States at one time.
     On occasion, I get to play the piano in Primary when the pianist goes AWOL. I love it.  My first years of service began on the piano when I was called to play in Jr. Primary on Wednesday afternoons when I turned 12 years old. I played for Primary for the next six years until I graduated from high school and went to NAU. I love the Primary songs. So many bring back memories of when I learned them, played them, taught them, or I listened to dear sweet Primary kids sing them. I cannot hear "Heavenly Father's Prayer"  without reliving the times Caitlin and I would lead our Sierra Pines Primary in singing that. Oh, that room rang with joy! There is nothing like a simple song that bears witness of the glorious truths of the Gospel.
      We sang "He Sent His Son" today. Those words spoke loud and clear to me.

                  How could the Father tell the world of love and tenderness?
             He sent His son, a newborn babe, with peace and holiness
                 What does the Father ask of us? What do the scriptures say?
             Have faith, have hope, live like His Son, help others on their way
                 What does He ask?      
           Live like His Son.

      Our thoughts and prayers are always on our loved ones in their specific trials. We pray daily, all day, for Lorraine and the Lewis family. We pray for the Fuentes' as they begin a new phase in their life. We pray for Lindsay, Jace, and their family-specifically our Elijah. We know that it is all we can do from this end. This song says to me- have faith, have hope, live like His Son, help others on their way. I am going to do that out here in Missouri. It is a simple life for us. I keep the light on in the mission office. My elder finds apartments, move the goods, and we continue to try to live like His Son.

All my love,
Sister Seaman   

All a Board....not

     The Amtrak station is Independence hasn't changed in about 50 years.  This is the place President Harry S Truman came home to and lots of other famous people passed through.  I thought it would be great to ride the train to Kansas City Union Station watching the beautiful scenery pass by the windows.  I was mistaken.  As soon as we left, we were looking at the backyards of old houses with a lots of accumulated junk.  It got worse.  The tracks now travel through the most derilic parts of KC.  The forgorten industial yards.  The vacant old buildings with trash everywhere.  Oh well.  It only cost $ 6.50 a piece for 35 minutes of junk.  Union station is still a beautiful old building. I think it was built in 1914. It is now part of the downtown "crown" section (The Hallmark Crown, because Hallmark is in this part of town) of KC.  Lots to see and do down there.  They were filming a segment of American Ninja in front of Union station the day we were there.  It was prom night and lots of kids were dressed to the "nines" or not, hanging out down there.  It was a good day.  But don't ride the train unless you want to sleep.
     Having lived out west (the dry, arid west) all of my life, the spring time in Missouri is so beautiful, green and colorful.  We got a couple of inches of rain yesterday.  I don't know where all the water goes because it disappears fast, but it is beautiful.  Driving through the country side is an amazing experience for this Arizona boy.
     Sister Seaman and I continue to serve and do the best we can.  Sometimes it feels like it isn't worth much, but most of the time I know that it counts.  Friday night we went to a presentation by Truman Pratt.  A great-great grandson of Parley P Pratt.  He is a member and lives here.  He told stories about his ancestor and it was interesting.  However, the part that stuck with me is that Parley served in different missions for 27 years of his life.  Away from his home and family.  An amazing story.  He was murdered down in Arkansas while serving a mission there, giving his life literally for the Lord and the Church.  I'll keep my complaining to my self.
     We continue to pray for our family.  We love you.

Elder Seaman

Stake Center looking toward Visitors Center - Red Bud
Tree in foreground

Union Station Selfie

Unusual Dogwood Tree - It has both
white and pink blossoms

Red Bud Tree with moss

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Run, Mattie, Run

Run, Mattie, Run

April 12, 2015

     Our little Mattie Claire turned 13 this week. Wait, let me change this. Our-Tall-Drink-of-Water Mattie Claire turned 13 this week. I was there when she was born. This was her mother's first live birth. She got our Kenz the hard way - adoption. More on that later. Back to Mattie's birth. I had to leave the room. The doctor skinned Kirsten from head to toe. I could not watch or listen to that. Out of that near death experience we got our quiet, mellow Mattie. Mattie is now in track again this year. She can run like her dad. I hope she runs as long as it makes her happy because, after all, isn't this life to have joy?
     I've had some happy times this past week in the mission field. My uno #1 Happiness stems from that companion of mine. He sticks by me like glue on paper, like jam on bread. Get it?
     Our missionaries have been blessed with Black Boxes from Salt Lake. These were placed in each mission car with a full day of training on how to operate them. I kind of think of those boxes as BackSeat Drivers who know how to drive........"Seatbelt on?"......."Driver's speed is too fast."....."That was a lousy right turn"....I kind of wish Salt Lake could have used one of the First Presidency or Twelves' voice to make the recordings for that thing. That would have made it lots cooler, I believe.
     As a result of a long day of training, my elder and I did the lunch on both days. By now, you all know I am in my element in my elder's truck or on a walk or.....anywhere but the office.....It was joy to again see old friends that had been transferred to the far reaches of the mission. Ask me to set a table and pick up sandwiches and I am confident. I can do it! That is because I have my Elder. It was a different type of service for me this week and I loved it.
     I loved conference. I am still on a high from that. I know my People in Show Low heard the same thing I did. That makes me feel so settled and happy.
     One final note.....since we arrived here in Independence I have waged a silent war on our clothes dryer. As I had earlier reported, to wash and dry a batch of laundry costs 4 quarters at a time. I have made peace with the washing machine because I do love the smell of clean clothes. That dryer is another story. I feed that Maytag 4 quarters at a shot in order for it to BLAST our load dry for an hour. My size XL t-shirts and all other white things have now shrunk to size Petite 5's. I wore that size when I was 12. Jett Walker can now wear Elder Seaman's T-shirts.  So, what to elder and I have figured out if we put a batch in and blast it for awhile we can take it out; add one more quarter; and, WALLAH.....we can dry two batches of wash for $1.25! Oh, this makes me happy!
    So, you see I am a pretty happy missionary this week. The Walker's are coming to visit in June. My elder still lets me be the senior companion most days. We are finding there are lots of ways to serve the Lord on this mission. Mattie Claire Claire can run like the wind and I rule the dryer.

All my love,
Sister Seaman

The Fishing Trip

     This weekend, the Sisters decided to go to "Time Off for Women or Time to Shop for Women."  Something like that.  That left four of us men with no companions and lots of time on our hands.  So the Elders decided to go it alone.  At first it was somewhat uncomfortable as we have not talked to anybody for quite a few months about anything important other than with our wives.  Dinner at the Court House Exchange (a basement bar/restaurant across the street from the Old Court House) on the square in Independence was nice.  It was a good start.  We then went to a movie, which shall go unnamed, due to the violent and graphic nature, and as Elder Garret said, "the bikinis."  The movie was 2 hours of violent car wrecks, shooting, bombing and unrealistic driving skills.  The best part of the movie was listening to Elder Garret, who was sitting on the edge of his seat yelling out loud, "yah" or "Oh no" or just cheering. Elder Garret is the missionary who is here to finish the mission he and his wife started in Oregon several years ago and was cut short by a horrific car wreck, which left him mostly dead.  After the movie he said it was the greatest movie he had seen.
     The next morning we went fishing. Yes, I said fishing. The church owns the property across the highway from the Far West Temple Site.  It has two large ponds on it.  So we got permission and drove up there to fish.  We used worms and immediately began to catch fish.  Elder Garret has a game he likes to play which is called "First-Most-Biggest."  He caught the "FIRST" with a blue gill.  I caught the "MOST" with 6 blue gill and Elder Black caught the BIGGEST" with a large mouth bass. I noticed something that I had not remembered or ever noticed before.  A man will chuckle or even laugh out loud whenever he catches a fish. Such a great sound. It was a gorgeous spring day in the very rural part of Missouri.  I have never seen such color in nature before.  Green grass covers every open, untilled space.  Purple, pink, white and yellow blooms on the trees.  Birds of many varieties singing.  A mated-for-life pair of Canadian geese honking at us for disturbing their nest on the pond.  Ducks taking off and landing on the pond. And the Silence. 
     We then drove on to Adam-Ondi-Ahman and then to Jamesport and then to Hawn's Mill.  It was a great day.  So let 'em shop.  We got the best end of that deal.

Elder Seaman

Typical Missionary Car with Black Box

Elder and Sister Seaman at Zone Conference Luncheon

Coin-Op Master Blaster - Shrink to Fit


Sunday, April 5, 2015

I Hear the Music


I Hear the Music

April 5, 2015

     Happy, Happy Birthday, our Dearest Kortney! Can I tell you a story? You have heard us talk of our good friends, Elder and Sister Garrett from AZ., right? Well, whenever we get together, Elder Garrett wants my elder and I to go a round of "Name That Tune".  The rules are: He whistles a tune and the first to name the Title of the song is The Champion for The Week. It MUST be the Title - not a line from the song. Now, this is a big deal to him and to us. It is a big deal to him since he just relearned to whistle on his mission. If you remember, they were in a horrible accident on their first mission and when he came out of his coma, he had to relearn everything. He was a whistler before the accident so "Name That Tune" is his game. It is my game because I would remiss if I did not tell you I am the Champion most times.  I was recently de-throned by Elder Seaman and due to illness and other mishaps we did not see Elder Garrett for two weeks. Your ol' papa was The Champion for two weeks. Friday night, I am proud to say, I won The Title back in the lobby of Olive Garden calling out "Old McDonald" first. I must say there were three other senior missionaries in the game with my elder and I........, I beat them all! Oh, I was happy!! 
     I know most of those simple tunes Elder Garrett whistles. I sang those songs to your mom and her sisters and to many children in schoolrooms in Show Low. I danced and pranced lots of times to those songs. You know I love music. I know you love music. You play the flute. You feel it. You love it. Isn't music truly the Language of the Gods?  Elder Wilford W. Anderson talked in the Saturday afternoon session of conference of the old Medicine Man who could teach the doctor to dance, but not to hear the music. The doctor had to hear that on his own. I remembered my life when I heard the music but I didn't take the time to celebrate and dance. Other times I wanted to dance, dance, dance! The times when I have been out of sorts and spiritually down, those sweet notes of the gospel may have sounded and I didn't hear them. His advice to me and all the members of the True Gospel was: Keep Practicing.
     So, Kort, I am going to keep listening. I am going to keep doing my best, with the Lord's help, to be a good mission secretary. I will shake hands, smile and laugh and feed, and do whatever else I am called to do to help these young missionaries have a successful mission. Transfers were this week. My elder and I feel like we "lost" some good friends. Those good-byes are hard. I will make more new friends. I will keep practicing.
     By the way, Sister Garrett celebrated to us that Elder Garrett just "relearned" to sing in the shower this week. She heard him and had to stop and listen. Was that really what she thought she heard? Along with whistling, he had been a Shower Singer. She shared that she had not known how much she had missed it all this time. Oh Kort, aren't we blessed? Isn't the Gospel Of Jesus Christ music to our ears? Sing! Dance! Play the Flute! Shout for Joy! If you will, so will I. My love to you,

my oldest granddaughter. 

All my love,
Sister Seaman


     My kids will tell you that I don't play games because I don't like to lose.  Losing at "Name that Tune" has been discouraging, demoralizing, and downright depressing.  Elder Garret and my wife like to rub it in.  Right there in the crowded lobby of Olive Garden, Sister Seaman is jumping up and down squealing with delight and exclaiming at the top of her lungs that she is the champion. And Elder Garret is announcing to all who would listen that there was a new reigning champion and that I was the loser.  I quit.  She must have cheated.  I think Elder Garret must have leaked the title somehow.  They did it in public no less.  I can't stand it.
     Sister Seaman just walked by and saw the title of my blog today and burst out laughing.  She said I finally admitted after 42 years that I was a bad sport. Wow.
     Anyway, so much for games and sportsmanship.  I think I know where I got it from.  My little  brother, the Dentist, used to beat my pants off of every game we ever played too.  I never wanted to play him anymore either.  He would play my our Grandfather, John L Davis, in checkers and Chinese checkers for hours.  My Grandpa would be in tears, literally, (from amazement and frustration) because my brother could beat him too, and he couldn't figure it out.  He was 6, Grandpa was 70.  Now you know. Some emotional scars stay with us. Some of us don't like to lose.
     Some of my grandkids seemed to have inherited that trait somehow.  But they are so much better than I ever was.  Maybe they don't like to lose but they are gracious when they do.  I do like a good-sport.  I like to see someone give his/her all to whatever they are doing, but if they don't win they are always gracious and humble about it.    Maybe the thing that I like to see most of all ,in my self and all others, is that "don't ever give up" attitude.  Every time you fall (lose), you get up (you try again.)  I love to see it in my kids and grandkids.  With that kind of attitude, you will not fail.  We will all win in the end.  And like Sister Seaman, we will be jumping up and down and squealing at the top of ours lungs that we all made it.  I love you all with all my heart.  Happiest of Birthdays, dear Kortney.

Elder Seaman

We found these on our truck this week.

These are the Mission Assistants. The one in the middle went home this
week.  He will be sorely missed.  Elder Stevens is from Canada.

Sister Seaman says no to any set-ups.  He is from Canada.