Thursday, 21 March 2013

National Science Fair

Today I came inside the school at the end of the day to talk to Carmen's science teacher. He asked me if  Carmen had given me the good news or the bad news. I said, "Both, I think."

Carmen has qualified to go to Canada Wide Science Fair with her experiment she did on the effect of Xylitol on oral bacteria. Yay! It is an honour and she will have a wonderful experience.

The bad news: she has to do her whole project over again. More research, new testing, all of it. Which she is totally willing to do, just to be clear.

Conveniently, CWSF is being hosted in Lethbridge this year. Wouldn't it make a fantastic preschool field trip, Marie? Ha!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Bye Sister Olson

Tuesday night last week Grandma and Grandpa Olson and our stake president, President Spackman, came over to our home for Jaclyn's setting apart. President Spackman asked each of us to give Jaclyn some advice.

Grandpa Olson shared some memorable quotes that will serve Jaclyn well: "Work like everything depends on you; pray like everything depends on the Lord." As well as a reminder that, "The Lord's ways are not our ways." He counselled her to make decisions, but only to act on them when they are ratified by the spirit and shared some personal experiences from when he served as a bishop. He told her that she will enjoy her mission more if she lives in harmony with the Lord's will.

Steven also felt that using the spirit as her guide would be the most important thing Jaclyn could do on her mission. He advised her not to get frustrated when things aren't going well. He also just gave her a bit of a pep talk and told her to go out and do her best. He may have used the phrase, "kill it in general".

Ken's advice was related to the people she meets everyday (not necessarily the investigators). He told her to reach out and love and serve everyone she comes in contact with, purely from a place of sincerity, as an end in and of itself. "Some people just need someone to love them."

Grandma Olson shared a quote by President Benson, often quoted by Sister Kapp while she was matron at the Cardston Temple: “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” She also reminded Jaclyn of the importance of writing letters to her mother every week.

Carmen gave relationship advice. She told Jaclyn not to be "that weird companion no-one likes" and then softened her advice to be a reminder that Jaclyn's relationships with her companions are important. She recommended that Jaclyn find common ground with each of her companions, and at the same time to be true to herself and not to pretend to be someone she's not.

I had already had several 'advice talks' with Jaclyn before that evening, mostly related to obedience as that seems to be something that all missionaries report as being key to serving a good mission. So on Jaclyn's last night with us, my advice to her was to just go out and be a full time missionary, and trust that all that follows her mission will fall into place. That she should forget about what will happen next (school, relationships) and just concern herself with the work before her in the mission field.

Chloe told Jaclyn to listen to the still small voice and then shared a story she heard recently at church from the life of President Benson. When he was a young missionary at one point he failed to follow the counsel from priesthood leaders and both he and his companions suffered for it. They were separated and put in physical danger - the companion suffered a physical injury. From this story Chloe advised Jaclyn to always stay with her companion and to follow the counsel of her leaders.

President Spackman closed the sharing with his own advice and asked her to 'perform' a mission, not just to 'serve' a mission. He told her that she had specific work to perform. He also shared a quote:
“In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance.” 
Following that, he asked Jaclyn what advice she would share with herself?

Jaclyn said she knew it would be important that she lose herself in the work. That she needed to work with the spirit, and be humble. She shared a story from her Provo stake president that when he was on his mission he was frustrated that he had not yet been made a senior companion, and it wasn't until he decided that he needed to just be 'the best junior companion there ever was' that his mission opened up for him.

Following this President Spackman set Jaclyn apart as a full time missionary assisted by her dad and her grandpa. Jaclyn then bore her testimony to all of us of her knowledge of Jesus Christ as our Saviour and the restored gospel. It was a beautiful evening.

The next morning we got up bright and early! Jaclyn said good-bye to her siblings at home, and then Ken and I took her to the airport where she checked in at 4:30am for her 6:30am flight. My tears were tears of happiness, and I have had my own spiritual confirmation that she is doing what she is supposed to be doing.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Family Weekend

Keith & Kelly's family flew in to Calgary on Saturday. Yay! They realized awhile back that Jaclyn's farewell would coincide with Arizona spring break and made travel plans. Even better: the stake baptism date for Dirk & Marie's daughter fell the night before Jaclyn's farewell, so we were all together for that as well!

We didn't plan a family picture, but as we were sitting in the chapel at the baptism I realized this was an opportunity that might not come for a long time. Luckily, Marie's very talented friend, Nichole, was there with her camera and made the best of the situation for us. 
(This picture would be even better if we were all way-in to basketball.)

Jaclyn's farewell was awesome. Here is her talk. She spoke about prayer, and as much as I appreciated the content of her talk, what I really enjoyed was the tender, open-hearted way she delivered it. 

By pure serendipity our ward choir performed Heavenly Father Loves Me with Chloe singing the first verse as a solo which was special. Jaclyn took it really easy on me for the family dinner and open house - she asked for ham, rolls, fruit & vegetable trays, and chocolate sheet cake (which plenty of other people contributed). Once things settled down around our house we made plans for the next day with our snow-deprived relatives.

We came up with the coldest picnic I've ever been on in Banff National Park (or anywhere else),

Followed by the most picturesque tobogganing I've ever seen (behind Banff Springs Hotel).


Chloe & Emerson

Jaclyn & Emerson

Snow-Angels: Phoebe and Emerson


Monte isn't new to sledding, and he certainly seems to have the uphill part all figured out.

With Keith there, and bigger kids, I didn't retrieve a single sled which was a totally different experience than I've had in the past.

Next we went shopping and out for ice cream on Banff Ave, then we warmed up in the hot springs.

Here's Keith in his rented 'traditional' swim suit. All great comedians know when to abandon dignity for a laugh, right?

We ended our day with dinner at Balkan the Greek Restaurant, said goodbye to Ortensia and her kids who were heading back to Edmonton, and made our way back to Calgary to Steven and Ken who couldn't miss school and work on Monday.

Friday, 1 March 2013

In Chronological Order

Jaclyn visited the temple here in Calgary for the first time on February 9th. It was a great day, and we are so blessed to have a temple in our city. She obliged me with this cheesy sister missionary photo I wanted.

Carmen and Chloe had a week off school last week so I took them skiing to Nakiska. Carmen ran into a few friends from school before we even had our skis on, and away she went. I skied with Chloe and Tristen (Chloe's friend) and we had the good luck of meeting up with Harvey the Hound who was out celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Calgary Olympics.

I spent the second half of last week in Atlanta for a dental course with the other hygienists from my office. We had some extra time and we got to visit the amazing aquarium in Atlanta. (Maybe next time I'll pay extra to go for a dive.)

The lion fish was my very favourite.

Right next to the Aquarium is the Coca Cola Museum, which I have never aspired to visit but it was pretty fun.

There was an area with 65 flavours of Coca Cola products from around the world. The best one I tried was Melon from Thailand. The worst flavour was Beverly from the UK.

Carmen turned 14 on Monday! She opened her last present of the morning with her teeth.

Carmen decorated her own cake, and made the flowers herself. You know what they say: if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.

14 Candles.

And her team came through with a birthday win!