Tuesday, January 29, 2013

MTC - Week 2

Ok, Well I got like 12 minutes so here goes nothing. The MTC has definitely been a big learning experience for me and I think I'm learning a lot. I had been struggling a little bit with everything at the beginning, but I think I'm really starting to get used to all this.

I couldn't really figure out how to attach the pictures to the email, because they have a bunch of restrictions on the computers. But thanks everyone who sent me food and stuff. I liked the picture that Charlee colored for me.

We have been teaching a lot of fake investigator lately, but all you really do here is a ton of role playing.  We did have the opportunity to teach people in TRC, and that's when you get volunteers and crap.  Elder Dzieman and I taught this girl named Lexi who was a non-active member. We talked with her the whole time, then bore our testimony's and she said that she has never felt the spirit really until that moment. She said that she would go to church with her friend. So that was a good experience, but really when we try to teach a lesson with just doctrine and all that, it doesn't really work. You have to listen to the other person and ask good questions, which helps them give you good answers.

I'm almost out of time, and Yea I'm leaving on the 5th of February.  They told me that on the first day. I wish Treavor luck, just tell him that he needs to be himself and everything else will be good. Oh man,  I got a 1 minute count down. Its snowing! It has been kinda cold, but bearable. Gyms good. Read a lot. Study a lot. My slip-on shoes choke my feet.

Love Elder Shoemaker

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

MTC - Week 1

January 22, 2013

Well, its Tuesday here at the MTC so that means that its my P-day. It feels likes I've been here forever, even though it only been like almost a week. My companions name is Elder Dzieman, he's from Virginia and been a member of the church for like a year.

The first like three days were some of the hardest days for me, I felt extremely inadequate and felt like i really couldn't do this. We do a ton of role playing here, it kinda sucks, but you just do it.

I don' t really have my camera with me so I cant send any pictures right now. We have like 11 people in our district, lets see if i can remember their names. There is Elder Ward, Elder Jensen, Elder Houghten, Elder Bhluum (i dont think that's how you spell it). There is Sister Lang, Sister Nethercot, and Sister Curtis. I cant remember the other sisters but whatever.  Out of those, only Elder Ward, Elder Jensen, Sister Lang, Sister Nethercot and Sister Curtis are going to Hawaii with us. I'm sure there are others going but just in different districts.

Once I hit Monday I started to feel a little more sure about myself, all you can really do is try your hardest.  That's all God asks.   If your trying your hardest and your still failing at something then just don't worry about it. God doesn't ask you to be perfect, He just asks you to try your hardest. Once you just let all the things that are out of your control just not bother you then that really helps.  I also didn't realize how much music meant to me until I came here to the MTC. Whenever we're singing hymn's in class or as a congregation, it really makes me happy. So I find if I'm humming just a good tune or whistling I can bare things a bit more easily. I really think most of what I'm typing could really benefit Treavor.  Will you have him read this?  Because he's going to be going through the same feelings and thoughts I went through.

Dang, I have 1 minute and I've got to hurry so, I love you guys!!   My thighs hurt cuz I run like three miles a day.  Also, when your teaching with the spirit you get this feeling that you cant get any where else and it just feels good.

Elder Shoemaker

MTC - First letter

January 18, 2013

{Received a hand written letter in the mail on January 22, 2013}

Dear Shoemaker Family,

I don't have a lot of time, so I kinda have to make this quick.  MTC life is a very rigorous schedule.  It's kind of hard to adjust a little.  My companion's name is Elder Dzieman, the Dzi makes a J sound.  He is from Virginia and a convert.  He was made District Leader, and me Senior Companion.  I had the opportunity to give him a blessing.  His body is really not quite used to the air here.  I feel a little inadequate for what I'm here to do.  They give you so much to do and not much time to do it in. Tomorrow we have to teach a "fake" investigator, I hope it goes well.  My Zone Leader's are pretty awesome people.  They are great examples of what I want to be.  Let Jackson know that I have his picture hanging by my desk.  Tell Treavor that he need's to get off his butt.

Love Tanner

ps.  I need my immunizations forms.  Mail them k.


No more countdowns. MTC day is here.

I arose early.  Straight to my knees.  Serious reflection.

We kept focused through out the morning.  9:45am rolled around and we made a quick run through the house.  Family prayer and out the door.  The drive was pretty quite and a little somber to begin with.  My eyes would tear up, then I'd get the big eyes from Matt.  "Control it Women!"  I can only imagine the thoughts that run through a missionary's head as they are about to embark on a two year missionary adventure.

Matt and I tried to lighten it up a bit by making jokes about when people say, "Hawaii???....That's more like a vacation than a mission!"  We came up with answers like, "It's better than 2 to 5 in the State Pen" or "Sucks to be you doesn't it!?" {He thought that one was too rude} or "Someone's gotta do it!".    We kept rattling them off and decided to give them a try when we went to eat at the Spaghetti Factory.

Our luncheon was great and we enjoyed each others company.  It's been a tradition of our family to go to the Spaghetti Factory when we drop off a missionary...and I'm sure it will continue through Landon and beyond.  Surprisingly enough, although we had many visitors at the table {Missionaries always attract a bit of attention!}, not one of the visitors at the table said anything about Hawaii being more like a vacation!  HA!

After lunch we had about 45 minutes to spare before we needed to be at the MTC, so we decided to walk the mall which would also keep Tanner's mind busy.  We could see the anticipation building in his demeanor.  So we walked and walked.  It really helped with burning off some nerves and making the time go more quickly.  We snapped a family picture and off we headed to the MTC.

 The following video is right when we arrived at the gate....and the pictures say the rest.....

Our stop was at number 2....oooooh the anxiety and excitement!


Literally less than 2 minutes and he's off............it's faster than ordering fast food!

Until we meet again, Elder Shoemaker!  God Speed.

Countdown Day 1

This is feeling WAY to REAL today!  There is just no way to anticipate it or plan for it.  You do your best to prepare physically, spiritually and mentally.    The only way.....is to walk through!  As my Dad would say, "square those shoulders and do it"! Today I will spend the day with a prayer in my heart to stay strong the next 24 hours and keep it together emotionally, not really so much for me, but for Tanner.   I'm so excited for him!!!  What a wonderful journey and a new chapter in his life he will embark on within the next day!

 Today we packed, sorted, organized and double/triple checked lists!   We were all amazed that we were able to pack up two suitcases and a backpack with room to spare.   Woot!

Uhhhh Landon, I'm afraid you'll be staying!  Nice try though!

 Landon and I made a quick Deseret Book run to find a new scripture case for Tanner (with my 25% coupon in hand - bonus)  and then a stop into Mr. Mac for a shoehorn.

 The guy at the store, said "I have just the thing!"  He went into the back of the shop and came out with a nice shinny new shoehorn.    He said to us, "It's on the house, no charge!" and handed me the shoe horn.  "Wha?" "Really?"  "Wow".    That's a pay-it-forward kind of moment.   Landon said that he gave some loose change to a homeless guy the day prior, so we figured it was connected, somehow.  It's fun to think about anyway!  :)

While we were packing and getting last minute items labeled, Tanner and I spent some amazing one on one time together.  Those are treasured Mom moments for me.  A few tears shed together just he and I.  Moments that I will always cherish.

The hours went by quickly today.  We decided to order out for dinner - Chili's-to-go!  {Thank you dear sister Annie for the Chili's gift card -- came in handy tonight and you help to contribute to a wonderful family evening together}.   Matt made a special effort to be home early from work and we enjoyed dinner together and then played a mean round of Gin, while waiting for the Stake President to arrive.

We had an 8:30pm appointment.  President Pettit arrived right on time. {Ding Dong}  He gave some wonderful words of advice and a most beautiful setting apart prayer to Tanner as a full-time missionary.   Grandpa & Grandma Walker along with Treavor came to be with Tanner during this special time.

Goodbye's are difficult.  I'm not going to lie.  Watching those last hugs to my son from my own Mother warmed my heart and the emotions flowed.  My son is dearly dearly loved.  What a lucky young man to have such love of family in his life.

Treavor hung around for a little bit longer.  That kid loves Tanner to no end.  It was sweet to watch them together as they shared those last moments together.  Hugs, tears and wonderful memories that they will be able to share as they serve as missionaries together. 

Matt and I spent some time evening time with Tanner and Matt gave Tanner a Father's blessing.  How grateful I am to have the Priesthood in my home and that my husband can give a Father's blessing of comfort to his missionary son.    We ended with family prayer....and the biggest group hug ever!  .....and if you think by my words that tears were not shed and hearts were not touched, you would be incorrect.  My eyes will be swollen in the morning and that's pretty much a fact!

Tomorrow.......We Drive!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Countdown Day 2

Monday, January 14, 2013

Can you say BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR..... It's a little on the beyond freezing side in Cache Valley.  The low was -17 degrees. 

Monday morning started out fairly typical with the exception that our internet was slow to want to work.  I don't blame it with the temperatures we've been experiencing lately.  Did eventually receive our Monday morning letter from Elder Shoemaker...and after 6 months in his current area, he's being transferred to Utrecht Netherlands.  Good deal...and new adventures ahead for him.  It was time.

My dilemma of the day!  What is Tanner going to use at the MTC to keep warm!??  He doesn't need a coat in Hawaii!  I was thinking we'd be all good with sending him in his suit and the raincoat, however with the extreme temperatures lately I'm second guessing myself! Knowing Tanner like I do, he wouldn't wear it anyway.  He wears shorts all winter long!  Still.  It's the principle of the thing.  A Mom can't send her son without a coat!  Right? right.  But I'm not gunna send one with him.  I guess if I get a call from the MTC child protective services I'll go buy him a coat.

Today I received an email from a Mom, whose son is currently serving in Hawaii.  They are expecting 28 new missionaries this next transfer and half of them are young women!  That is Tanner's group!!!  Holy Cow!!!  How exciting.  The Lord is expediting His work.

So...to tell you the truth.  I haven't heard hide no hair from Tanner today.  It's almost 8pm and I haven't even seen the kid.  That's a typical day however.  He'll come prancing in the door like Tigger just before 10pm - maybe if were lucky.  That's my life with Tanner.   

HOWEVER, tomorrow is all mine!  : )

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Countdown Day 3

Sunday, January 13, 2013 --- Mission Farewell Day

Slept in.  Yep!

Peace be unto this house this day.  It feels excellent!!  First thing to bring the spirit into our home this morning is music.  It's a Sunday staple.  Next, updating the thought chalk board.

Tables are set

Driveway is cleared

Floors are swept

Lunch is in the crockpot

Rice is in the steamer

Foofing is complete

Let this day commence....... 

The family started to arrive around Noon, then we headed down to the church to make sure we had enough seats for our family.  We expected a pretty big crowd and indeed it was.  Lots of people there to show their love and support to both Bryon and Tanner.  It was a lovely sight.  They both looked handsome sitting up on the stand in their suits, missionary haircuts and classy ties.  Speaking of ties --- A tradition of a blue tie has been passed down from missionary to missionary in our ward for the past few Elders.  It was really fun to watch as Tanner was done speaking for him to take off the blue tie and hand it to Bryon to put on for his turn.  TRADITION!

Elder Shoemaker and Elder Geddes (hence the BLUE TIE!)
Supportive Friends after Sacrament
Tanner did an excellent job as he talked about the son's of Mosiah and explained the steps of repentance.  He used scriptures, stories and even an excerpt from one of his brother Joshua's (who is currently on a mission) letters about the virtue and power meter.   It was really great to see him conquer this as I know it wasn't easy for him.  He expressed to me this afternoon that he was more nervous giving his farewell talk than he was to go into the MTC.   We shall see as the week progresses.  

After Sacrament we ventured home and enjoyed some Hawaiian Haystacks (appropriate huh?) with the family.  I was able to transform my front from from this............

.........into THIS!


A Journal where friends and family wrote notes of encouragement for Tanner to read on his mission
We all them assembled to the basement where we had a little family time.  A Grandpa visit, along with words of wisdom to Tanner from each family member.  It was a spiritual precious time as we all expressed our love for him and gave him simple words of encouragement and advice.  I know he was touched, as was I.   He is one LOVED boy.   It's those moments that are full of the spirit that it's difficult to put into words.  We all came away feeling even more close as a family, if that is possible!

It was a beautiful day and I'm grateful to my family who shared it with me.  ~ BLESS YOU!

Zac (leaves for the MTC in 4 weeks), Tanner (leaves for the MTC in 3 days), Treavor (leaves for the MTC  in 2 weeks) and Landon (one lucky kid, who gets to be with his Mom for at least another year!) -- Cousins!

Brothers ---- what a great pic!!  Love these two young men.

FREEZING our Whoohoo's off --- Matt, Tanner, Me and Landon
 ....and to top of a awesome day, a game of Killer Bunnies between brothers.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Countdown Day 4

Saturday, January 12, 2013

This morning I started with a prayer in my heart, hearing the news of the passing of my Aunt Wilma. I have many fond memories of visiting her home as a young child, teenager and adult.  She was one classy women! I can only imagine the joyful reunion she is having on the other side seeing my grandparents, two of her siblings and other loved ones.    It was a bit of a tearful morning...I really did try to hold it together, but floods of memories kept creeping in and tears would flow.  Mixes these emotions with sending off a missionary just opens the flood gates.  Then a visit from a sister, tears.  Then a phone call from my Dad, tears.  Poor Matt, he was so patient with me.

Aunt Wilma, Uncle Bill, My Dad, Aunt Cleo  -- This picture was taken during a great family get away just over a year ago last Sept 2011.

My sisters and I with Aunt Wilma
The day did start out early.  We've gotta a couple of family and friends party's to prepare for today.   Most of the day was spent cleaning and doing a little re-arranging to accommodate a house full of thirty.  It's one thing to be able to feed thirty family members, it's another to be able to find a place for them all to sit!  I have a Father whose pretty set in his ways about having us all in the same room together.  Between Matt and myself, I think we did a pretty good job of figuring things out.

Tanner cleaned his ROOM!  Sorted through all his precious belongings and tucked them securely in boxes.  He did a great job and then was off to spend the rest of the afternoon with this friend Bryon to help set up their home for their party tonight.  Feeling pretty good about the progress we are making on his lists.  : )

 We enjoyed spending the evening at the Geddes home with Tanner and Bryon's friends and family.  They relaxed played games, chatted and snacked.  Good times had by all.

Tanner and Bryon

Lincoln, Tanner and Bryon -- All buddy buddy

The gang!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Countdown Day 5

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wow what a beautiful storm we had yesterday!  It cleared up the air....and was so nice to take a deep breath of fresh air this morning.   Looks like it will continue through today and then we are in for some very COOL weather in the days to come.  brrrrrrrrrr.....which sadly will bring back the inversion.  boo-rah!

This morning when I woke up, I found these by the computer.  Tanner has been working so hard on his talk and I can tell he wants to do a good job.  I believe he's made some serious progress and just needs to make a few adjustments.  Matt and Tanner were still tweaking it when I went to bed last night.  I was also pleased to see the scripture book tabs installed...I got those for him last Christmas and it looks like he's putting them to good use. 

 I can't even believe I forgot to post this yesterday!!!!   It's Tanner's missionary farewell announcement in the paper.  : )  Also a few missionaries below is his friend Bryon's announcement.  The only difference between the two posts is the mission and the missionary!

It's always a treat to me when I don't have to fix dinner!!!  : )  I do enjoy cooking, but many nights after a long day of work...its just not where I want to spend more energy.  Tonight we were guests at my boss's home, Craig Jessop, for a New Years Celebration dinner.  We enjoyed ourselves with good food, good conversation and good ambiance.  The Jessop's are always gracious hosts.

Landon, Matthew, Tanner and Craig Jessop ~~ (I was behind the camera)
We received a pretty exciting email today!  Tanner's MTC address.  Woot!  Pieces of the puzzle are coming together.  Tanner was pretty chatty tonight and I enjoyed hearing his thoughts as we talked about a few logistics (i.e. like how to address an envelope, emailing, passwords and the status of his room).  He was great company. 

MTC ADDRESS as of January 16, 2013

Elder Tanner Shoemaker
MTC Mailbox #300
HI-HON 0205
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Another wonderful way to get letters, thoughts, etc to Tanner is to use DearElder.com.  They will deliver letters the next day and it's free!!!  You'll just need to create a log in and password and then use Tanner's MTC address information where requested.  Pretty Easy!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Countdown Day 6

Thursday January 10, 2013

Boy what a difference a good night rest makes!  Slept like a rock.

I have hope for the day!  My mind is clear.  You know what also makes a difference?   .....about 30 degrees!  It feels practically like Spring, but it's only in the 20's outside.  Car is happier, window seals are happier, and nostrils are happier.  Now ~~~ if we could just get a storm to blow out the RED AIR and it looks like that's going to happen!!

 I should be getting my standard storm email from my Mom regarding doing my laundry and making a pot of soup......and she didn't disappoint, it came in about 3:56pm today  {Love ya Mom you make my day bright!)

Today,  Matt helped Tanner with some thoughts and an outline regarding his farewell talk.  Tanner can give talks just fine, but he doesn't particularly enjoy putting the thoughts in words and on paper.  It will be a process as Tanner's missionary letters start to roll in....to tell you the truth, I'm looking forward to it.  I really have no idea what to expect from his kid.

During my lunch break, made a quick run to the store to gather a few more items for Tanner's medicine bag and then went home to check on how things were progressing with Tanner's talk.  There were actual words on the page!   Woot!  I also got Tanner's picture ordered for his missionary plaque.  AND...we were out of tortilla chips!  Geesh, we are never out of tortilla chips.  Sam's club RUN!

Tonight I was suppose to attend Roundtable (new calling in cub scouts!), but we decided to cancel due to the wintery storm blowing in!   This unexpectedly freed up my night and allowed me to work on doing some more labeling and other prep work for before packing.  Emotionally doing pretty good!  About this time during Joshua's preparations I had already had several crying melt down's.  Rocking it.  Fa-rah rah rah rah, rah-rah-rah-rah!

~~ Texting Conversation ~~

Me:   Find the vitamins in your missionary medicine bag and start taking 2 of them today.  We need your immune system as healthy as we can get it before you enter the MTC.  Howz your talk coming?

Tanner:  Its going ok. (11:13am)

Me:     Gooood!  Pray for help honey.  Heavenly Father will help to bring ideas to your mind.  Have faith!  Love you.

Tanner:   Just threw up (11:36am)

Me:   .....uhhh, is this for real or stress related?  Figure of speech?  Vitamins too big?

Tanner:   No, I ate the vitamins and like in 15 minutes later I felt like throwing up and I did.

Me:  :  Okay!  Give it a couple of hours and try to take one, not two.

Tanner:   Ugggggghhhhhhhhhh, I think your trying to poison me.

Me:    No Honey! .....Geesh!  No one in the whole world has your best interest at heart than Muah!

Tanner:   Within minutes of eating that garbage I was barfing my guts out.

Me:    Again?

Tanner:  I haven't eaten another one, but my breakfast is gone.

Me:    Okay...like I said give your tummy a few hours to recover.  You sure are dramatic.

Tanner:   Hey, it was gross.

In Honor of this Texting Conversation

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Countdown Day 7

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

It was one of those nights.  You know where your brain just won't shut off.  At least for me I've found I can't fight it, so I keep a paper and pen by my bed and write down those things that are keeping me awake.  USUALLY this works, but I was up at 4:30am and the mind wouldn't shut off, so why fight it.  Just get up and get the day going.

We are down to a WEEK!  7 Days!  We gauge many things in our world according to a weeks time.  It can seem like an eternity for a small child, yet God created the world in 6 days and rested for the 7th day.   I kinda want this week to go by more slowly than usually, but  I suspect it will go fairly quickly for us.  A week from today we will be finishing up our packing and making the 3 hour drive to Provo.  Tanner's drop off time is 1:45pm on the 16th.  If there is one thing that I learned when we dropped of Joshua last September was don't go too early.   The minutes seem like hours when you are waiting to drive through those pearly MTC gates.

Entering MTC in Sept of 2011 when we dropped of Joshua
Right now a few events are quickly approaching:  Tanner and Bryon's farewell party on Saturday and Sunday's farewell.  Since both Elders are entering the MTC on the same day, it just worked out to also have their Sunday farewell on the same day.  They've been friends since kindergarten and it just seemed right to do it this way!  I love it this way.  They have the same friends and rather than have a huge sheen-dig on Sunday they decided to have a joint farewell partay on Saturday where all their friends could gather in one place.  Thanks to the Geddes family for opening up their homes to us!  They have been so good to Tanner.

Character picture drawn during their trip to CA in Oct of 2009 - Bryon, Tanner and Thomas.  I thought the artist did an excellent job of capturing their personalities along with their unique facial features.  I just love Tanner's teeth!
Graduation Day 2012 - Bryon, Tanner and Thomas (Thomas is already in the MTC and will head out to Guatemala two days BEFORE Tanner and Bryon arrive at the MTC -- go figure!!)
 There wasn't much time for me to work on missionary stuff today between work and American Festival Chorus rehearsal in the PM.  I did manage an hour break for lunch from work where I did a few errands to prepare for Saturday and Sunday.  I'm starting to feel a little under the weather, but I'm wondering if it's really my early 4:30am wake up call catching up to me?  or perhaps the bad red air days in Cache Valley? Time will tell.  I've gotta THINGS TO DO doesn't my body know this?

I was pleasantly surprised when I logged into the Missionary Portal tonight to see that Tanner has indeed been a busy boy!  We are at a 100% Pre-MTC training done!  Also when I arrived home today he was doing some research on the internet regarding his Sacrament talk.  Nice work Elder!!