Christmas 2017!

This year we were so blessed to have Bob and Mary Ann home with us for Christmas! We really had a great time playing games, visiting, opening presents, watching football, staying warm, and NOT going to church meetings (church was either canceled or we couldn’t get there due to weather each Sunday they were home)!

Here are some of our memories. . .

Opening presents
Everybody received books of our blog posts for 2013-2015
We will really enjoy having these books
Rebecca made this for Mom
Isn’t Christmas fun?
John made this set of coasters for Bob
More presents!
John was determined to finish this puzzle that he had started a few months earlier. . .
. . .and with help from Mom and Bob, he did!



Search for Issac Russell Continues

Bob arrived home for Christmas just in time to go with me and John to a service project at the possible Isaac Russell burial site in Richmond. Bishop Dial of the Whitmer Ward arranged for the full-time missionaries and some members to start working on removing the dead branches and cleaning out the debris among the trees where we are thinking Isaac Russell may be buried.

We arrived at about 10:30 in the morning. It was a pretty cool day, but not too bad, so we were able to get a lot of work done. Our friend Keith Bowen had already done some work in the weeks prior (Keith is also the president of the Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation), and had found some old bricks fence posts, and pickets among the trees. Keith was there when we arrived, and one of the first things we did was take measurements of where the various relics were, how far apart the trees are, etc. We were then joined by missionaries and members, and before long the whole area looked great.

We still didn’t find any solid evidence of Isaac’s grave, but there is definitely more digging to do and other work to see if we can find anything. Exciting!

This is the largest tree and the one nearest where artifacts have been found
Digging down where decades of soil have been built up
Keith prodding for a headstone or other relic
The tree has grown around this early 1800s brick
Moving logs

John Turns 21!

The day after John and I got back home from Texas, we celebrated John’s 21st birthday! I can’t believe it was 21 years ago that John entered into our home and family!

We had a great time and a delicious dinner, not to mention a wonderful birthday cake that Mom made!

Unfortunately, I had to go to the church building to do two missionary releases and an interview, but I dashed home to enjoy the birthday cake and time with John and the family. We love John so much and are so grateful for him!

Opening presents
“Just what I wanted. . .really nice slippers!”
Warm pajama pants
Helping Mom light the candles
Blowing them all out in one attempt

Visit Grandpa to Get Table

Grandpa Call has been talking for some time about giving us a big conference room table and some chairs from his office now that he’s retiring. And with the lease on his office expiring in a month or two, John and I flew down to Bedford to get the goods.

We flew down on a Thursday, 14 December, and stayed until the following Monday. On our first night there, Grandpa had a dinner with New York Life to which Aunt Jennilyn was accompanying him, so John and I decided to have a boys’ night out. We went to our favorite Chinese buffet in Texas, then drove to an awesome movie theater to see the Star Wars: Episode VIII, which was to be released the next day. Don’t ask me how we could see it the night before it released–John tried to explain it to me–all I know is we saw it and it was really cool! Part of what made it so awesome is that we saw it in 3D in a theater that has reclining leather seats. Wow!


We arrived plenty early, and I’m glad we did–that way we could figure out the big-city theater!
Exciting intro!

Of course, we spent lots of time playing games, and SOMEHOW Grandpa ended up beating us in every round of Rook. We still don’t know how he does it!

Grandpa innocently wins every game we play
A quick picture before we left town

On Friday we rented a U-Haul truck and loaded it up, and on Saturday we were able to relax, watch football, and pay games.

Sunday we attended church meetings, including a Sunday School class wherein I taught a little bit about the Church in Missouri during the 1830s.

On Monday we drove the truck home safe and sound. We had a great time and we’re glad we went!


Weekend Topped Off with Inspiring Performance

After months of promising to take Mom on a weekend excursion–and telling her it would come after I finished my dissertation–we finally were able to get away for three days. We stayed at the wonderful Marydale Inn in Jameson (near Gallatin). It’s owned by some members of the stake and it is an absolutely beautiful place. We have been staying there when we have stake conference because it’s only about a 10-minute drive from the stake center. . .but it’s worth just staying there for a weekend getaway because it’s so tranquil and relaxing!

Mom and I had a great time just doing nothing. 🙂 We also had a great time going to all the antique stores in Jamesport and discovering other places as well, including an Amish furniture store and a family cheese factory and outlet.  It was really relaxing to have nothing to do!

On Saturday, 9 December, our final activity was to attend a concert by the Grand River Valley Choir & Orchestra in Trenton. We had heard about it from several people, and quite a few of our stake members are in it. So we decided to go enjoy a Christmas concert. We are really glad we went! Both the choir and the orchestra were really, really excellent and inspiring.

The Grand River Valley Choir & Orchestra’s Christmas concert was wonderful!
We have friends in both the orchestra and in the choir

I FINALLY Earned a PhD!

After seven years of hard labor 🙂 I finally completed not only all the course work, but also my dissertation–and successfully defended it–in order to be awarded a doctor of philosophy in leadership from Indiana Institute of Technology! I can’t believe it’s completed!

I absolutely MUST thank Mom and everyone else who encouraged me and were patient with me as I struggled through the last eight months in order to get the dissertation finished. At times I’m sure I just about caused nervous breakdowns in everyone as I pretty much experienced one myself. 🙂 And my counselors in the stake presidency were wonderful during the final two months, taking over just about everything in the stake so I could finally finish it up.

On 5 December, I traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana, and on 6 December I defended my dissertation to the best dissertation committee I could have hoped for. They had me step out of the room after the presentation and then, about 15 minutes later, invited me back in. My committee chair then informed me that my dissertation was accepted and I was the newest PhD! Wow!

If I look a bit dazed in this photo, it’s only because I was! Dr. Schaffer, my committee chair, is congratulating me for becoming a PhD.


The SIGNED signature page to my dissertation!

Fun with Grandpa During Thanksgiving Weekend

Not only did we have a DELICIOUS Thanksgiving dinner this year, but we also got to spend time with Grandpa Call! He drove up from Texas the day before Thanksgiving and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with us. He stayed until the Monday after Thanksgiving, and we had lots of fun having him with us.

Of course, we played lots of games and spent a lot of time visiting while he was here.

Playing games with Grandpa Call


And, once again, he beat us at almost every game we played. . .even if he had to cheat just a bit!

I can’t believe none of us challenged Grandpa’s word “aquired”!


He’s gonna win if we’re not careful!

We also spent a few hours over the weekend going to see some historic sites. One of the sites we went to is where we think Isaac Russell, the early Church missionary who brought the Scott Family into the gospel, may be buried. We still aren’t certain, but we’re working with several other people to try to locate his grave.

Dad, Grandpa, and John standing in front of where we think Isaac Russell may be buried.

John, Rebecca, Dad, and Grandpa drove out to Hiram Page’s grave. We weren’t sure if Grandpa had ever seen it, so we thought we’d show it to him. It’s off the beaten path quite a bit, so it was a bit tricky getting there, but we eventually arrived!

Rebecca, Grandpa, and John at Hiram Page’s grave

On Sunday, Grandpa went with Dad and John to visit the Three Forks Ward–a ward that was created earlier this year. In 1838, Anson Call purchased land in this area and began setting up a farm for him, his father Cyril and his family, and for others. But before Cyril could come back from Kirtland with the rest of the family, the mobs had driven Anson from the land. John and Bob and Dad have identified the likely spot of Anson’s land, so after church meetings on Sunday we showed the area to Grandpa.

Dad, Grandpa, and John standing on what we believe is Anson Call’s land.




On our way home from Three Forks Ward, we stopped at Adam-ondi-Ahman for a short visit. A family from another area was visiting and took this picture for us.

Dad, Grandpa Call, and John at Adam-ondi-Ahman

We had a great weekend with Grandpa!


Another Wonderful Thanksgiving!

This past weekend we had another wonderful Thanksgiving!

Mom and Rebecca and John had already taken a few days before Thanksgiving to get our house decorated for Christmas. It looked really nice, of course, and it really helped reduce the post-T-Day decorating we’ve done in the past.

This year, Grandpa Call drove up from Bedford, Texas, to spend the weekend with us. He arrived the day before Thanksgiving in the early evening after driving all day, bless his heart. It was great to see him and to have him visit with us for a few days.

We had the usual fare on the big day–a delicious roasted turkey, not-too-smooth-and-not-too-lumpy mashed potatoes, Shannon’s delicious homemade dinner rolls, amazing homemade cranberry sauce, and all the other fixings. The whole house was redolent of Thanksgiving–the turkey, the stuffing, the pies–and the dinner table was beautiful.

Getting dinner ready


Table is all set
What beautiful place settings!

Savior of the World Production 2017

This year’s production of Savior of the World was a HUGE success!

The historic Farris Theatre in Richmond was the venue this year, and it really, really made a big difference. This is the same theater where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed in 1911 when they came for the dedication of the Three Witnesses Monument. It was renovated a year or two before we moved to the area (I think), and it is so beautiful!

The cast and crew really stepped up this year and I couldn’t have been more impressed. John didn’t help (well, he didn’t help officially) this year because he was released to serve in the stake Young Men presidency. Also, it was held a couple weeks before Thanksgiving this year because that was the best time we could book the venue for. Our family went to the show on Friday night, and we loved it!

John went with me to see the dress rehearsal a week before the show. Once John was spotted, the director asked him to construct a mast to represent the ship that the apostles were in when Christ called to them from the shore. Leave it John to be able to help out in a pinch!
Before the Friday night show, I went backstage and said hello to some of the cast.
Here is Zacharias and some other characters getting psyched up for the opening scene
More cast members before the curtains open
This one’s excited!
Some of the angel choir
The orchestra is getting ready by tuning their instruments!
The climactic closing scene! BRAVO!




Presiding Bishop of the Church at Far West Missouri Stake Conference

We were so blessed to have Bishop Gérald Caussé, presiding bishop of the Church, assigned to preside over our stake conference in October! It was a wonderful blessing to have him here and to be taught by him. We feel so fortunate to have this experience!

For our family, stake conference started on Friday, 27 October, when Mom and I joined the rest of the stake presidency to do sealings at the Kansas City Missouri Temple. Only one member of the presidency, including our clerks and secretaries, was not able to be there–but the rest were there with their wives. It was great to have this turnout!

It was really, really cold outside the temple!

We all then went to a nearby restaurant and had a great dinner together. Mom and I had to leave a bit early to go pick up Bishop Caussé at the airport. I was embarrassed that his plan had arrived so early that by the time we got there, he was standing at the baggage claim all alone, wondering where I was. But of course he was very understanding and was just has kind as one could be. The three of us then drove up to the Marydale Inn near the stake center and, because it was so late, went right to bed.

The next morning, Mom and I joined three youth from our stake for breakfast with Bishop Caussé. I was so excited for these youth to have this experience! They were wonderful and I believe they were edified greatly by having this opportunity.

Bishop Caussé, Mom, and three youth from our stake having breakfast
Isaiah Freestone, Myra Moser, Bishop Gérald Caussé, and Jade Wayne

After the breakfast, we drove over to the Far West temple site for a youth morningside devotional. We had more than 200 youth all bundled up inside a tent with heaters , but it was still really, really cold. But Bishop Caussé was a good sport and gave a great talk, and the youth were really touched by his message and by the warmth of his love for them. Afterwards, he stood at the exit of the tent and shook hands with every person as they came out. He had me stand there with him and shake hands, too. It was really neat.

Some of our youth were assigned to greet Bishop Caussé as we arrived at the temple site
The Youth Morningside was probably the highlight for me. The talk was incredible and youth were so excited to have this experience.
We did our best to stay warm!
Bishop Caussé shaking hands
After the Morningside, we had this picture taken with all the youth
Bishop Gérald Caussé and Chesna Anderson of the Cameron 1st Ward

We then went to the stake center and had meetings with various members and couples, followed by a meeting with the stake presidency. It was wonderful to be in the presence of Bishop Caussé and feel his spirit and love. What a great man.

Following this, we had priesthood leadership meeting, followed by a delicious meal prepared by our stake Relief Society, and then the Saturday evening adult session. All were fantastic!

The next morning, after breakfast at the Marydale Inn, we drove Bishop Caussé to the stake center for a new and returning member meeting. We had about 60 people there and it was a really edifying meeting.

Then, of course, was the general session–which was fantastic–and then a short meeting with the stake council. Bishop CaussĂ© really encouraged us to keep going forward in building up the Lord’s kingdom in this part of the vineyard. He expressed gratitude to the council for the work they do, and had a few of us share our testimonies.

We were able to get this quick picture with Bishop Caussé before the general session of stake conference.

Afterwards, Mom and John and I took Bishop Caussé to the airport.

What a wonderful weekend we had!