Well, it has now rained enough that we have no sign of snow here in Edinburgh – except for the occasional giant ball of snow that will take awhile to melt. The sun has been shining and it has been a nice week. On the way home from work on Wednesday we had to stop at the park near our house and take this quick picture. We had seen these just before the great snowfall (by the way, we got more snow in March than Scotland has seen in over 50 years), we were amazed when we saw the springtime flowers had survived the snow and were still showing their beautiful colors.
Wednesday I went over to the church to meet with Hamish at 8:00. Hamish and Michael are the beginnings of our family history and indexing committee. So Hamish and I started to work on getting him started on indexing. He had already looked into it himself before we got together and had actually indexed a batch. He is loving it. He is doing what I did when I first started indexing. He wants to know about the people and he can’t help but research a few. I can see the love he has for this work. We even discussed him taking some research-type classes to help him with family history. He also had entered his family into family search and it clicked in and he has a line that goes back to the 1600s. We are going to get his membership number on Sunday and plug that in but we know at least one of those names that clicked into his tree was baptized in Ogden, Utah a few years ago. He was so excited about that. It was a great evening and I’m looking forward to a few more like that with him and with Michael.
Friday was a great day!! Sister Gifford and I have been without a washing machine for almost two weeks. Ours broke and when we called the landlord he said to just go ahead and replace it so today our brand new washing machine came. (We don’t have a dryer but this machine has a drying feature that helps a bit.) I was so excited to get my whites washed, they look so much cleaner and they smell so good. I had been washing them in the sink the past few days. Sister Gifford had taken a load of her clothes to the mission home and borrowed their washer and dryer so I had the greatest need so I got to use it first. I did two loads and now she can do what she needs. It will be so nice to not have a big pile of dirty clothes in my clothes basket.
After the delivery of our washing machine Sister Gifford and I hopped in the car and headed to Kirkcaldy. We have two missionaries there and we had never actually been into that town
. They are out aways and so their flat gets missed in inspections quite often. We have a few like that and we try to get to them now and then. So we found Elder Grabe, from Denmark and Elder Cosmas, from Uganda and inspected their flat. It was spotless. Elder Grabe loves things to be clean. We should have him teach a few missionaries a thing or two. After that we took them to lunch. We went to Beijing Banquet. It was a huge buffet of Chinese food. It was very crowded but very good. Boy those boys can eat. They like going there because lunch carries them through the rest of the day and they don’t have to worry about dinner. We enjoyed getting to know both of them better. They were so fun to talk to and then they showed us the way to the castle we had on our agenda before they walked into town to start working again.
So here are some pictures of Ravencraig Castle. James II gave this land to his wife to build a castle in 1460. He was killed just a few months later in battle. She was in her mid-20s and was left to govern with her young son, James III. She took over the Scottish kingdom and ordered the construction of this castle. She was unable to complete the castle as she died in 1463. But I bet she loved this place. It is just beautiful sitting on the shore.
Saturday morning we woke up and looked outside and it was raining and raining. But we decided we were not going to let that stop us from having a great day and we hopped in the car and headed up just past Pitlochry to Bruar. Lacey stopped here when they were here and loved the hike up to the falls and then my friend Jayna who is our bishops wife recommended it when I asked her for new ideas of places to go. So we decided this was the place for today. The rain was steady the entire drive but not so bad that we had a hard time. We got there without any problem and decided to just start at one end of the shopping outlet area. This was the best shopping we have found. I found so many things that I loved in the first store but I only got a cover for my ipad which is something I have really been wanting. Then we went into a large store that was filled with Easter treats, food, fun things and a restaurant. I bought a bottle of Lime Cheese spread. I’m not sure what I’m going to spread it on but it really tastes good. (They had samples out.) I also bought two chocolates and a bag of chocolate covered peanuts. I could have bought lots more so I think I did pretty good there. Lunch was good. It was a buffet-type place and I loaded up my plate with carrots and broccoli and potatoes. And a few pieces of pork. It was good. Sister Gifford had roast lamb. Then we hit the cashmere store. I resisted but Sister Gifford ended up buying three sweaters. It helped that I was on the phone most of the time with the APs helping them with a problem. And then the first cashmere sweater that I liked was over 500 pounds. So that did it for me. I quit looking. But then as we wandered around we ended up behind the shops and found a sale store or more like an outlet-type store. Oh boy. I ended up getting a skirt and a cashmere sweater that I’m going to save for when I come home. They were both on sale cheaper than I’ve ever seen cashmere before so I was happy.
Then we put everything in the car and started up the trail to the falls. It was really raining and the ground was wet and a bit slippery so we only did the first part of the hike. There are four parts and we heard it got steeper on each part so we were pretty happy with just the first part of the hike. It is good to be out breathing the fresh air. I love hearing the rushing waters and enjoying the beautiful surroundings. We were almost alone out there today and it was nice. It is very beautiful there. We saw a sign that said in 1787 Robert Burns visited the falls and found it exceedingly picturesque and beautiful but remarked that their effect was much impaired by the want of trees and shrubs. So he wrote the following poem to the landowner, the 4th Duke of Atholl, to plant trees along it’s bank.
Would then, my noble master please
To grant my highest wishes?
He’ll shade my banks wi’tow’ring trees,
And bonie spreading bushes.
Delighted doubly then, my Lord,
You’ll wander on my banks,
And listen mony a grateful bird
Return you tuneful thanks.
In closing this week I just want to say before we know it we will be having Easter. It comes early this year. I have decided a few things. I am studying The Gospel of John and I’m memorizing The Living Christ before Easter. I’m halfway done with both. I have enjoyed both activities so much. I fall asleep at night reciting The Living Christ and I wake up and recite it again before I even move a muscle. What a wonderful feeling I have when I contemplate those words. If you haven’t read it in a while you should pull it out and read it. Maybe take my challenge and try memorizing it. It really isn’t hard. If you can get past the line – all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made – you can get through the whole thing. That is the hardest line.
I also read a great conference talk yesterday from Neil L. Anderson called Spiritual Whirlwinds. In it he says – the world will not glide calmly toward the Second Coming of the Savior. The scriptures declare that “all things shall be in commotion.”
But the thing that I really felt I wanted to share with you is the following: More concerning than the prophesied earthquakes and
wars are the spiritual whirlwinds that can uproot you from your spiritual foundations and land your spirit in places you never imagined possible, sometimes with your barely noticing that you have been moved.
Satan moves quietly and subtly. It’s like the story of the camel wanting to get warm in his masters tent and he just sticks his nose in then before long he was completely in the tent. You are all doing good things but without even realizing it we can find ourselves not where we thought we were if we are not careful. I hope you are attending your church meetings and reading your scriptures. I hope you are saying your prayers and seeking personal revelation. All these things are yours to have if you just ask. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t forget who you are and who you have waiting for you to come home to.
I don’t mean to get preachy but I do realize just how easy it is to get tricked into thinking we are doing okay when we really should be paying more attention.
I hope everyone has a great week. Spring is coming!! The sun is up. You are moving your clocks up tonight. We don’t do that here in Scotland for a few more weeks so we are an hour further away for a few weeks.
Take care of each other. I love you all.