Our Family

Our Family
DAC Family At Devin & Ashley's wedding Aug 2007

Monday, September 28, 2009

Devin, Ashley & Braden Visit Guatemala Sept 2009

Monday: Jocotenango and the Apple Wood Factory...with its small shop, warehouse/store...here is the shipping department right next to the family kitchen/patio. Grandpa with buddy Braden near the family kitchen sink where the wife was cutting up chicken for dinner.

La Antigua and Santo Domingo with its unique beauty blending past and present. It is heavenly to be holding Braden. He fits so perfectly in my neck when he sleeps and is so tranquilo. He seems to love each adventure and observes everything peacefully.

Overlooking the ruins and gardens...

I love these exotic bird of paradise flowers...especially when sharing them with family.

At the Jade Factory I always try on this beautiful bracelet...just for tradition...it is only $4000. I wonder why they have not sold it in these 18 months????
Tuesday: goodbye to the CCM for a couple of days. The staff say "no se precupe", so we are off and carefree...except for Dad who still is available by phone and who still has to read and answer 82 letters this week. Today he started at 4 a.m. getting a sister off on her return home.

First stop are the Iximche Ruins near Tecpan. They are green and beautiful after the rainy season.

The trip through Solola is as interesting as our destination. Ashley called this a 'people mover'. We see them all the time, but we've not seen one full of women before.
Lake Atitlan...some scholars believe this to be the "Waters of Mormon". One of the deepest lakes in the world. Our hotel is where the boats are docked.
Is this heaven? It makes me think what heaven may be like...serene and beautiful!

We stopped to take a picture near these falls, and Ashley slipped off the rock and fell in. Good sport!...and thankfully still with us.
Part of my heaven was waving goodbye to Dev & Ash as they went on the 8 level zip line. My 'thrill' was watching Braden (so much more my style than the zip line)...Dad's was reading missionary letters. The setting was beautiful...a covered deck in the rain forest...listening to the waters of a nearby stream, the exotic birds in the jungle, and feeling cool and delightfully peaceful.

Within the gardens were peacocks, toucans, colorful or green parrots. When we were eating on the patio, little sparrows would eat pieces of bread right off Devin's hand.

The picture from our window...this IS heaven!

Sunset on a wonderful day with our kids and grandbaby.

Dev & Ash enjoying the jacuzzi with their little Braden.

Perfect frame for the volcano and happy grandparents!

It was a private setting at the restaurant. The other guests didn't even arrive till after our bedtime. The colors were wonderful, the food delicious, the company splendid.

This is heaven! I felt like it was and Braden was an angel for me!

Wednesday: We took the boat across the lake to Santiago Atitlan. We rode the 3 wheel tuktuks to see the Mormon Chapel squeezed into the close quarter buildings. We visited the cathedral and Ashley came toward me with tears streaming down her face. I was concerned...'What happened?" "I just love them...the people!" That is easy to feel here. No one is pretending or paying much attention to us. We just watch them going about their lives...families, women, mothers and babies. It is a wonderful cultural experience and we are thankful to get to share it.

I thought I would just slip in and blend with the women at the market. They didn't pay a bit of attention to me, but I don't think I was really blending in. What do you think?

Delightful morning in Santiago with these fun kids. Devin is in heaven remembering his mission in Chile and using his Spanish. He enjoys the little kids. Ashley found a mother a baby and made friends. She found some purses for her sisters and I found a blouse. We spent the afternoon in Panajachel at more street markets where I found blue and purple decorative pillows I have wanted. It was another relaxing day.

Thursday: We traveled to Chichicastenango...famous as having one of the largest artisan open street markets in the world. Here we are on the steps of the famous St Thomas Cathedral of ChiChi. I loved the fresh flower market. Outside the church and in the entrance were a little old man and woman with charcoal smoking in a can hanging from wire. They swung the smoke throughout the church in some sort of ritual. I have seen it in the pictures, but don't now why you would want that smell throughout the church.

The color here doesn't do justice to the vibrance of the market. I love it!

Ashley got to see more than any of our other visitors...she got sick at the market and had to find emergency accommodations...a little scarey!

At the Central Market we visited the member of the church we met there a few months ago and had committed her to return to church. Unfortunately, when we arrived she was out for her 'smoking' break. When she saw Dad she called out, "Hola, mi amor" and when she was demonstrating the how to wear the wrap she asked him "What do you think, doll?" Quite friendly for our second meeting, don't you think? I bought some more wraps, so she loves us.

These shots area taken at the Centro Market in Guatemala City. I loved the vendor carrying the sandwiches on her head, the drinks in her pocket. She just roamed the isles and sold to the vendors. Braden loved every experience we had. He was all eyes and ears. He also received a lot of attention from the Guatemalan mothers. Such a cutie! Dad & I were through at the market and waiting at the entrance. I guess because both of them are so tall, the ladies along the way where Devin was walking were telling him that his Father was searching for him. So friendly and helpful!

Home Sweet Home...the CCM. Welcome!

Our cook, Elfride, is a grandmother of 9 herself. She is so friendly and loved taking Braden to visit the little kitchen ladies. She took pictures and made a sweet collage of Braden for his parents.

Friday: Visiting the Relief Map in the city. It is easy to get a view of possible Book of Mormon geography from the large map...remarkably made over 100 years ago by a man who surveyed the land on horseback.

'The kids' were fascinated with the pouring rain...it rained nearly every day, which is unusual for this year...but never interfered with our plans...just made it more pleasant and interesting. Land of the 'eternal spring'.

Devin & Ashley and Braden in the foyer of the CCM. They attended some of Dad's classes to the missionaries.

Saturday: We walked around the temple grounds and the beautiful garden.

'Futuro misionero'...Elder Braden Christensen

The guys...enjoying the BYU game.

Oh what a wonderful visit we have had...just to be in each others presence and share a part of our lives here. We felt so happy...with our baby boy and his wife and his baby boy. What joy! We missed having Chalonn join us, but she has begun her sickness and would have been miserable. We are so happy for this pregnancy...but will be glad for her when this part has passed.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Little Sip of September

Lunch with John & Beatris Curtiss...remember our bishop in Florida? We had a delightful day visiting their beautiful Mediterranean home, seeing the contrast at her cousins 'casa tipica Guatemala', and seeing their little piece of paradise where they will build a new home. We loved our visit with these friends.

We attended the baptism of Marta...one of our referrals from the CCM. Her husband Marco Tulio is working toward that goal also. It was wonderful to see some of our former CCM missionaries at work at the baptism.

Sister Clarke and I at the monthly Break-the-fast dinner Central Mission home.

I went with some of the couple missionaries from the Area office and Hna Clarke & Hna Martino to visit an orphanage (not all are orphans...many have been taken out of their homes for very difficult circumstances) in Chimaltenango. It is run by a member whose whole goal is getting the gospel to the lives of these children and if possible to reunite them with families who are better able to care for them.

Each of their stories are tender and some tragic, but they were safe, happy, and cared for in this home. There were two volunteers (one from Germany/one from Australia) teaching them. We felt the spirit in this home and instantly loved the children and those who are helping them.

The little nursery.