Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Assignment COMPLETE and now preparing for the next!

We are grateful for our first opportunity to serve with the LDS Charities Wheelchair Initiative in west Africa and have just returned from three wonderful and EXHAUSTING weeks of training and evaluating in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana.
We worked with many wonderful clinicians and technicians and also met many incredible wheelchair users who are doing amazing things with their lives in spite of their disabilities.  We were certainly lifted and inspired by their courage and determination to move their lives forward in positive ways.

The struggles of these good African people are a stark reminder of how blessed we really are and how much we take these blessings for granted on a daily basis.  The beauty of the people and their unwavering faithfulness are graphic reminders of God's love and concern for ALL His children throughout the world.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sierra Leone, west Africa

Our first missionary experience "in the field" is turning out to be harder AND better than we could have imagined.  We spent today assisting another team member with his training of local interviewers who can interview former recipients of the LDS Charities chairs.  Tomorrow we'll start our real work as Kim begins to evaluate Clinicians on how well they are using the skills of Assessment and Fitting that they were trained to do 6 months ago and I will be evaluating the wheelchair assembly and adjusting skills of the Technicians.  Internet access is poor and the weather hot and rainy even though the Rainy Season is over, but the PEOPLE are beautiful and wonderful.  We feel blessed to serve them.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Assignment Agenda

Looks like Kim and I will be seeing lots of the world during our missionary assignment with the Wheelchair Initiative.  More specifically we'll be seeing a lot of the insides of airplanes, airports, medical clinics, and classrooms!  We'll never be in one place long enough to really see the country, but we are grateful that our assignment includes working with natives of each country as well as wonderful Church Humanitarian couples.

So far our assignments for the next six months include:
Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana (west Africa)
Guyana (South America)

Hope our energy and brainpower hold up OK!
Keep us in your prayers.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Wonderful Preschoolers

Noah Gardner (son of Aaron and Ann) and Gwenyth Brown (daughter of Kirk and Brynne) are now in their 2nd year at GramGoo Preschool.  Now that Mitch is serving his mission in Canada, his old bedroom has been redesigned as our official Preschool classroom complete with puppet theatre, library, work station, homework corner, etc.    We meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 9-noon.  Grampy drives the "school bus" on Monday mornings and picks the kids up for breakfast at McDonald's before delivering them to class.  Once a month, we have "Mini-preschool Day" and our little two-year-olds, Bonnie Brown and Lincoln Gardner, join their older siblings for preschool fun.

What a blessing for this old Grandma to have my darling grandkids so close that I can watch them grow and help them learn on a regular basis!

Monday, August 30, 2010


Kim and I have had the opportunity to make trips to the Church Office Building several times and are currently on brain overload trying to understand all the responsibilities that go along with this Church Service calling.  We have our first trip out of the country scheduled for October and will do evaluations in 3 west Africa nations.  We go for additional training to Salt Lake tomorrow and then have a meeting with the other four Development Couples next week.

We welcome your prayers in our behalf so that we can understand our duties and have the faith, energy, and mental capacity to carry them out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Humanitarian Service Mission

Kim and I have been officially called to be Humanitarian Service Missionaries for the LDS Church for the next 2 1/2 years.  Our mission began on July 12, 2010 and we will serve as a Development Couple as well as a Trainer/Technician team for the Church Wheelchair Initiative.  This "journey" began almost 3 years ago when we were asked if we would be a Trainer/Technician team.  After saying "yes" to this opportunity, Kim was called shortly thereafter to serve in a Bishopric in a Weber State University Young Adult ward.  We called the Wheelchair office and said we would need to be put "on hold" so that Kim could serve in the Bishopric and still work his full-time job.  Little did we know that a year and a half later, he would retire from his Physical Therapy practice AND be released from his Bishopric call.  We were immediately called again to serve as a Trainer/Technician team and received additional training during a 3 day seminar this past March.  In June, we received a call from the Wheelchair office and were asked if we would submit our official mission papers to accept a call as a Development Couple!  We are thrilled with this opportunity to serve a mission especially because we are serving at the same time as Mitch is serving his mission in Canada!

Our mission is unique in that we travel for 2-4 weeks at a time to third-world countries and then we come home, travel again, then come home, and on it goes!  Our first assignment will be to travel to Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana in West Africa in October to learn how to evaluate previous wheelchair projects that have been done by LDS Charities.  Our second assingment, in December, will be to go to Guyana on the northern border of South America to do a Training session.  The Phillipines is on the docket for 2011 and who knows what else?!  We are grateful for this wonderful opportunity to use Kim's professional skills and talents, as well as my past travel experience and work with Reach The Children and other NGO's.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

Enjoying Memorial Day with the Fam

It's always such a treat for us to have Grandma and Grandpa Great around to celebrate with us.  Maura, Noah, Gwenyth and Bonnie coax them to visit the Playhouse!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

HAPPY 19th Birthday Mitch

Mitch is officially in his last year as a teen!  His celebration
on Thursday included a POWER RANGER birthday cake and a trip with the fam to NICKLECADE.  It was the last big hooray of childhood before he enters the MTC this coming Wednesday.


Noah and Gwenyth officially "graduated" from their first year of preschool last Wednesday.  Noah could hardly wait to show his mom his "diflowma."  They'll be back for their second year at GramGoo Preschool in September!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mitch will serve in the Canada Edmonton Mission

He speaks in our ward on Sunday, May 23rd at 1:00 pm. and will greet family and friends at our home directly after Sacrament meeting.  He will enter the MTC in Provo on June 2nd, 2010 and fly to Edmonton on June 23rd.  

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Taking our "baby boy" to the Temple

Mitch will be serving in the Canada Edmonton Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.  He will speak in our Ward on May 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm and will enter the MTC in Provo on June 2nd.  We had a great day with him yesterday at the Bountiful Temple.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Cute Easter Bunnies

Oh how I love my little Preschool bunnies.  They are the smartest and most darling 3 year olds I know.  I'm the luckiest Grandma in the world to have them two days a week and be able to watch them learn and grow.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Girls Getaway in St. George

I spent 3 days in St. George with three of my most dear friends, (Gwen, Liz, and Cathie) just talking, laughing, eating, hiking, and "recharging"!  The four of us served together as the Stake Young Women Presidency for almost 3 years and we became forever friends.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Our Hawaiian Christmas

All 15 of us, including kids, spouses, and grandkids packed up and flew to Oahu, Hawaii on Christmas Day. We had rented a beautiful house on the North Shore and spent one week visiting the Dole Pineapple plantation, the Polynesian Cultural Center,Pearl Harbor, the LDS Temple and Visitor's Center, snorkeling, sea kayaking, swimming and LOUNGING. It was absolutely heavenly.
The trip was a celebration of Kim's official retirement from Physical Therapy. We are now looking forward to new and exciting adventures in our life!

Kim and Gaye in Otavalo, Ecuador

Kim and Gaye in Otavalo, Ecuador

Southern California Family Fun

Southern California Family Fun

Picking up Sister Jaci Croxford

Picking up Sister Jaci Croxford
from her mission in Quito, Ecuador March 2007

Picture Perfect Wedding Day

Picture Perfect Wedding Day