Excitement in December!

December 2014 was an exciting month for me. I was able to finish up my final semester of school at BYU! While there were some projects and papers that needed to get done, the end of this semester was actually not that bad. Two of my finals were canceled, and my other three weren’t overly difficult. It feels really good to be done with college!

December also brought graduate school applications. I have been working on those, and crossing my fingers that I get accepted somewhere.

I worked a great deal on getting the family history stuff from Grandma and Grandpa Brown organized and scanned…finally. I’ve worked on it a little here and a little there throughout the year, but I sat down and finished it all up in the beginning of the month. There are lots of good histories and photographs that I’ve been able to scan. I’ll figure out a way to best share those with everyone who wants them.

My employment at the Center for Family History and Genealogy at BYU also came to an end with graduation. I worked there since April 2012, so it was sad to leave the Center and the projects. But I am ready for a new chapter and to try something different. I’ve put in a couple of job applications and am waiting to hear back.

Perhaps the most exciting thing this month was being able to come home for a few weeks! I flew out 19 December, John’s 18th birthday! It was good to be home for that and eat delicious birthday cake. Spending time with everyone, talking, playing games (Monopoly, Risk, Quiddler, pool, etc.) watching movies, eating chocolates—you know, the usual Christmas things—has been a ton of fun. Christmas day was very enjoyable, especially being able to talk with Mary Ann. It sounds and looks like she is doing really good and having a blast serving a mission! I’m so proud of her.

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Skyping with Mary Ann

We learned a few weeks before Christmas that Mary Ann’s mission president would allow each missionary to Skype with their families on Christmas Day–so we looked forward with great anticipation to seeing and speaking with our precious daughter. When Bob was on his mission, we were able to speak with him by phone on Christmas–passing the phone from one person to the other. But this year, we would all be able to talk together. We

Setting up the call for Rachel to be able to join us
Setting up the call for Rachel to be able to join us

even thought we would be able to include Rachel in the Skype call–but, unfortunately, we couldn’t get the system to work as planned. So Rachel joined us by telephone.

It was so wonderful to see and hear Mary Ann! At the beginning of the call, Mary’s companion, Sister Farr, told us how wonderful a missionary Mary Ann is, and how “Sister Call has changed my mission.” What a wonderful compliment from a sister trainer leader who would be going home in only two days!

We were able to talk with Mac for a full hour, and we enjoyed every minute of it. We heard all about some of the investigators she is teaching, some of the members she is working with, and some of the spiritual experiences she has had. Mary was smiling the entire time we were talking–she is literally having the time of her life.

Talking with Mac
Talking with Mac

We are so grateful for Mary Ann and for the example she is to all of us and to others. She is stalwart and true, and is committed to serving the Lord will all her heart, might, mind, and strength. She is faithful and obedient and a hard worker.

We love our Mary Ann!

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Christmas Morning on the Farm

This year, we were fortunate to have three of our children home for Christmas: Rebecca, Bob, and John. Rachel and Anthony celebrated Christmas at their home in Springville, Utah, and Mary Ann celebrated on her mission.

With all of us being adults–legally and otherwise–we slept in on Christmas morning. Gone are the days of children waking us up every 30 or 40 minutes starting at 3:30 a.m. to ask if it’s time to get up! And equally gone are the days of wild children ripping into presents under the tree in joyful mayhem! This year, as in recent years, we opened the presents one by one and enjoyed our time together. Some highlights. . .

Bob received a laptop as a combination Christmas and graduation present.
Bob received a laptop as a combination Christmas and graduation present.
John received a new camera.
John received a new camera.
Mom received a Kindle Fire.
Mom received a Kindle Fire.
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Christmas Greetings in Missouri

On Sunday, 21 December 2014, I was driving from the Cameron building to the Wood Heights building along Highway M in Ray County. I came upon this Christmas greeting made of hay bales, and just had to stop and take a picture. Welcome to Missouri! 🙂

Christmas Greetings from rural Missouri
Christmas Greetings from rural Missouri
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John Turns 18!

We just can’t believe it, but it’s true:

John D. Call is 18 years old!

How in the world did our youngest child become an adult? Where did the years go?

But, I suppose, if our youngest child HAD to turn 18, we couldn’t have asked for a better person. John is as wonderful as all of his older siblings–he has a strong testimony, a bright mind, a quick wit, and a fun-loving personality. We are so proud of John and of all our other children!

We were fortunate that Bob flew home this year on John’s birthday–19 December 2014. Mom had made one of her delicious four-layer chocolate cakes with white filling–one of our favorites. That night we celebrated by singing, eating cake, and opening presents.

This year, John received a  messenger bag to carry all his stuff to church meetings in
This year, John received a messenger bag to carry all his stuff to church meetings in
This bag can also be used on his mission
This bag can also be used on his mission
He blew out this candle in only one attempt! :-)
He blew out this candle in only one attempt! 🙂

 

 

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Egg Nog Party Fun and Delicious

On Friday, 5 December 2014, Mom, John and I flew down to Fort Worth to visit Grandmother and Grandpa Call and to help with their annual Egg Nog Party. It was lots of fun and we’re glad we went!

We arrived on time at DFW and, after renting a car we decided to swing by Chick-Fil-A for dinner before getting to Grandpa and Grandmother’s house. As we arrived at their house, we gobbled up our sandwiches as fast as we could, but not before Grandpa saw us as he and Grandmother walked around their house on the sidewalk. It was great to see them and they seemed equally excited to see us. Aunt Camielle & Joshua, Aunt Denalee, and Aunt Jenni were already there and had–over the past several weeks–helped prepare almost all the food for the party. All that was left for us was to enjoy our weekend!

On Saturday morning, John and I helped Grandpa set up their new 70″ TV in their family room. What a huge TV! And then, after setting it up, we were joined by Joshua as we moved the old family room TV to Grandpa and Grandmother’s room, and the one in their room to the guest room, and the one in the guest room to the game room! It was crazy, but we got it all done.

A few random trips to the grocery store, and a few games later, and. . .time for family pictures and the Egg Nog Party! There were more than 100 people who showed up, and both John and I were able to take lots of pictures. Mom was the heroine of the evening, prepping food and keeping things running. Of course, all the aunts were also busy, but Mom did a ton of the work. Bless her heart.

It was especially fun for me to finally see Heidi Farnsworth Hastings, my favorite cousin whom I haven’t seen in 20+ years, and to meet her husband, Scott. We had a great time catching up. The Hastings are now living only about 45 minutes away from Grandmother & Grandpa and are setting up a medical practice. It was a lot of fun to spend some time with them.

On Sunday, we all went to Church, then came home and played games.

Monday brought more game planing, looking at cars, and running a couple errands. Eventually we had to leave, though, and Mom and John flew back to Kansas City while I flew out to Utah for work.

It was a great trip!

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Birthday Celebration

After spending the weekend of the Egg Nog Party in Bedford, Mom and John flew home to Richmond, and I flew out to Provo for business. I arrived very late on Monday, 8 December, and the following night all the Utah kids and I got together to celebrate both Rachel’s and Bob’s birthdays. Unfortunately, Rachel was in a car accident that night on her way home from teaching at BYU–but she was blessed by being protected from serious injury, despite her car’s being totaled.

And even though she was bumped and bruised, Rachel was still able to have some cake and ice cream back at her apartment. I had bought the treats,20141209_205926 and had Rachel’s and Bob’s names written on the cake. While the bakery lady at Smith’s was personalizing the cake, I ran and grabbed some candles, without paying any attention to they color, type, etc. Back at the apartment, I placed eight candles on the cake, we sang “Happy Birthday,” and Rachel and Bob blew out the candles–or at least they tried to. Unbeknownst to me and everyone else, I had purchased the novelty candles that don’t go out–and boy, was it funny!

We all had a great time visiting with each other. And the evening was made even more fun by the candles!

 

 

First attempt at blowing out the candles.
First attempt at blowing out the candles.
Starting to realize something is wrong here. . .
Starting to realize something is wrong here. . .
Okay. . .something's wrong here!
Okay. . .something’s wrong here!

 

 

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Sunset on Rachel’s Birthday

I’ve usually posted only the amazing sunrises we have here on our farm–partly because the view is so unobstructed. But on the early evening of Rachel’s birthday–December 3rd–I happened to look out my office window and beheld one of the most beautiful sunsets we’ve had. We are so grateful for the beauties of this earth.

Sunset 2014-12-03

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