Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Strength of a Family

In this picture:
Back row; Dewey, Jeremy, Ethan, Stephen, Andrew, Front row; Grant, Richie, Bryce

Jeff and I have lived in close proximity to his family most, if not all of our married life. There could be some negative things associated with such closeness, but when the trials of life come upon us, it is with great certainty that I am grateful for that closeness!

I grew up in a medium size family, 3 siblings, but I had a pretty large extended family. Now the sad thing is, my Aunt and Uncle lived in the very same stake as I do,(before the stake was divided, they now live in the new Stansbury South Stake) and I didn't even know it. I know that if I walked passed most of my cousins I would not even be able to recognize them. I have missed out on a lot of fun memories with extended family since both my Grandparents and my mother have passed on, and thus widening the communication gap in the generations.

So what does that have to do with living close to Jeff's family......

growing up in such close proximity my childrens best friends, in many cases, are there cousins. They know them. They know about their lives and who they are and what they like and dislike. I love this about Jeff's family. We are close and those bands of closeness were tightened this week while we all experienced the loss of the patriarch of the family.

It is hard to loose a parent. They are the one constant in our lives. They have known us since the beginning. They are our first memories, and strongest memories. They have been there through it all, all of our ups and downs, joys and sorrows, pleasures and pain. So when they are gone, it can be hard to say farewell.

Grandpa always said that he wanted to be buried in a pine box out back by the barn. They got him as close to that as they could. He was buried in a pine casket with a barn embroidered in the fabric. Rest in peace, Grandpa!Aunt Tracey made this floral arrangement to honor Grandpa. It has some of his old tools that she got from his workshop and the sign says..."the priveledge to work is a gift, power to work is a blessing, love to work is success." An appropriate sign and saying for Grandpa.

Let me just say that I am grateful to be a part of this family! Thank you for accepting me and loving me. For making me feel like a daughter and not an appendage to the family. I love you all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Passing of a Great Man

Monday, April 20th Grandpa McNeill was called home and peacefully crossed through the veil to the next life. He passed away surrounded by his loving wife and children, who had been with him continually during these last days of his life.

We have had plenty of time to prepare for his departing, recounting with one another the wonderful times shared with him. We spent many hours recounting the life that he led and the man that he was. Just a few are: He taught by example. He loved each of his children completely and without question. He was devoted to his wife of 50+ years. He loved the Savior. He did good continually, whether at home or at work. He was a hard worker and taught his posterity to do the same. He never cheated anybody out of what was rightfully theirs, he was a man of Integrity.

We love you Grandpa! Each of us, your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will have memories to buoy us up when life gets difficult. It has truly been, a life well lived!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sister McNeill update!

From the mouth of Abi.........

While President Monson was speaking on Sunday morning telling all of the stories of his ancestors coming before and such Gio started crying...I turned to her and said
"yeah, one day you'll be my story from a pulpit....and better yet, can you hear YOUR'll be there story too!" She loved conference. Of course I have a lot
of favorite parts of conference, but the best part was sitting next to Gio, watching
her take notes, seeing the tears slide down her face, and just feeling of her
spirit. I loved loved loved that! It was that moment that I will cherish forever
about this conference. And, it's that moment that makes all of missionary work
"worth it."

We had a great district meeting this week. Elder Bergeson, our DL,promised us that if we went throughout the week teaching the true doctrine of the Godhead that we would see success. We found that to be very true. I love the power of the priesthood. I love being a missionary and carrying the name of Jesus Christ and I love that I have the power to promise people blessings in His name. It's awesome. I'm excited for district meeting this week, because as Gio told you, I get to share one of the most sacred, and awesome, and wonderful experiences of my life. Being the easter season Elder Bergesen has asked me that I share my Jerusalem pics with them and how we can help our investigators enjoy the full benefits of the Atonement. I'm thrilled.

I LOVED Elder Hollands talk in conference where he said that "It trumpets from the
hill of Calvary that we NEVER have to do it alone." I heard that trumpet! I'm so
grateful for it!
I let an old man in the ward cut my hair...but I'm not sending pics until mom and
Emalee send me some of there hair!! Why did I do it? Well, I really want to grow my
hair out and have it be long and beautiful again, but the perm was growing out, and
the color was growing looked and felt nasty and the last girl here that I
had cut it for me did the worlds worst chop job. I hated it. Every morning I was SO
sad. So, we went to dinner at the Merrymans. Larry is this really old cool guy, he
was sewing up the pocket on my coat and I thought to myself "I bet 50 dollars he can
cut hair." So I asked him, showed him what that girl had done and what I wanted and
sure enough I had a hair cut! I like it. It's not anything's simple but now I can let it grow out long and pretty again! Yeah!
We need your prayers in finding more people to teach...but not just people to teach,
people that are prepared to progress. We are having real struggles getting people to
progress, especially come to church. I'm praying the Lord will let me stay here one more transfer. They are on the 15th...Gio's baptism is the 18th. However, I have been saying not my will but His be done...I will do what the Lord asks without complaining. It doesn't mean that it won't be hard, and I won't cry, but I will do it.

Thanks for all you do for me and the love and prayers you are sending my way. I feel them all the time. I love being a missionary. I'm so glad I made this decision to serve the Lord.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

North to Alaska

This week Jeff and I went to Anchorage, Alaska to look at a job that Jeff is going to do for Jacobsen Construction this summer. He has been contracted to add an addition to the LDS Church in Seward and to retrofit it to be earthquake proof. (If such a thing is possible!?!)Here is a picture of the cute little meeting house he will be working on. I thought that I would share both my thoughts and pictures of the trip.
Let's start with the negative, not to offend anybody from Alaska, but I found that in alot of places, it was just dirty. Maybe it's not like that all the time, but with Mt. Redoubt just blowing her top, there was ashe and rock everywhere. It is also "break up" season. What that means is that all the ice and snow are melting, breaking up or away from the glaciers and flowing through the inlet. The chunks of ice are brown and dirty. The roads are constantly wet and hence the cars are just dirty. No body washes their vehicles until after "break up", see example.... Now I don't mean to be picking on Alaska, because this is the biggest thing I hate with Utah winters too. I hate when the snow gets piled up on the side of the roads and it gets all dirty and yucky! It just isn't very attractive.

So now that I have told you what I didn't like about Alaska, let me fill you in on what a beautiful state Alaska is. I was awe struck by her beauty. I could easily find myself loving life there, and I HATE snow. It wasn't too cold while we were there; about 42-48 in the day. But I hear winters are brutal, so maybe not live, just visit. Anyway, we had to drive 2.5 hrs from Anchorage to Seward to the job site and the drive was so peaceful and beautiful. The ice/snow covered mountains. And talk about mountains. Straight up from sea level. They were beautiful! In Utah when you go to the mountains, you get up in them. They are all around you and you are "in" them. In Alaska, the mountains continue on and on and on forever. You can never get over them, around them, above them, it was just beautiful. Then you have to add to their beauty the beauty of the water. Cold, blue, calm and melodic. I loved to watch the sea otters play and swim so gracefully. Didn't see much of any other wildlife. We did see one moose walking down a street in downtown Anchorage, but I couldn't get my camera out fast enough. See her beauty...

And finally, our favorite part of our trip. There are saints there, those who believe just as we do. There was a Temple of God there. (We didn't get to go in, go figure, the few days we are there; it is closed for cleaning.) My thoughts often went to the pre-existence when in the grand council of Heaven we all said yes. As the world was created with us in mind. With places to go and live with such diversity and beauty. I am so grateful to a loving Father who gave us so much because he loves us so. And then for our Elder Brother who also gave so much. We live in a wonderful place. Earth, wouldn't it be wonderful if we all lived in peace and harmony as children of a kind and loving Father in Heaven. It was an amazing and quick and fun trip. Thanks, honey!