Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Friday, June 19, 2015


We continued to enjoy the scenery from Tucumcari to Flagstaff. You can certainly tell we're in the Southwest. It's been enjoyable to see the mountains, even though they're small, since it's a sight we've really missed in Louisiana.
The Moriarity Milk can
Passing the Tijeras--It was pretty exciting to start seeing mountains--something we haven't enjoyed for 18 months!
Holbrook NM
This little shop had some beautiful pieces of petrified wood
A Very Sunny Day in Holbrook
"I'm a little desert flower"
Ganado NM
After another 500 mile day we arrived in Flagstaff. Bronson had eaten at the Beaver Street Brewery a few years ago and told us about the delicious fondue. I think 3 of us made the decision to eat there. It was a perfect evening, so we ate outside, and after dinner Marc did say he'd enjoyed it.
Beaver Streeet Brewery
Dining on the patio
Bronson and Heidi
One of the sights as we walked around the downtown area
I'm not sure if this is considered "wall art" or not, but it works for me. Heidi fits right in, as does Brons in the pic below:)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

It's a Long Way to Tucumcari

It's a good thing Bronson is "along for the ride," because he takes great pictures then just air drops them, and Voila! Besides being a great photographer, he and Heidi are keeping us entertained!

One of the sights as we passed through Wildorado TX
Some of Route 66 is pretty desolate, except for the "human interest!"
Another  abandoned building on Route 66

Tee Pee Curios
Legend has it that Apache Chief Wautonomah was nearing the end of his time on earth and was troubled by the question of who would succeed him as ruler of the tribe. In a classic portrait of love and competition, his two finest braves, Tonopah and Tocom, not only were rivals and sworn enemies of one another, but were both vying for the hand of Kari, Chief Wantonomah's daughter. Kari knew her heart belonged to Tocom. Chief Wautonomah beckoned Tonopah and Tocom to his side and announced, "Soon I must die and one of you must succeed me as chief. Tonight you must take your long knives and meet in combat to settle the matter between you. He who survives shall be the Chief and have for his wife Kari, my daughter."

As ordered, the two braves met, with knives outstretched, in mortal combat. Unknown to either brave was that Kari was hiding nearby. When Tonopah's knife found the heart of Tocom, the young woman rushed from her hiding place and used a knife to take Tonopah's life as well as her own.

When Chief Wautonomah was shown this tragic scene, heartbreak enveloped him and he buried his daughter's knife deep into his own heart, crying out in agony, "Tocom-Kari"!

A slight variation of the Chief's dying words lives on today as Tucumcari, and the mountain that bears this name stands as a stark reminder of unfulfilled love.

Some credit this folk tale to Geronimo. And I credit Kimberlee for finding it:)
Tucumcari Mountain

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Fun Begins!

There have been numerous "last times" in the past few days, but crossing the Mississippi River made me pretty sad. We've loved going over and back on Sundays, both on the bridge and on the ferry. Today's crossing was over the "Old Bridge," or the Huey P. Long Bridge. Even though it was completed 5 years after Long's death in 1935, the story goes that he deliberately had it built so low that large ships couldn't pass under it and sail further up the Mississippi, thus preventing trade from going beyond Baton Rouge. Dirty guy!

We ate our way through most of the state of Louisiana and on into Dallas, "dining" on almonds, jerky, honey macadamia pretzel pops, chocolate banana chips, cashews, peanut butter, milk chocolate and peanut M&M's, almond snickers and honey nut protein mix. We did wash it down with water! Our conversations varied from Heidi's haunted hospital stories to Ara's (2 yr. old last month) favorite songs which are "Libre Soy" ("Let it go" in Spanish--she won't sing the English version) and "Photosynthesis!"

Heidi became a member of the "Leather Helmet Club." If you're not familiar with that story, it has to do with getting caught in a horizontal rain downpour with no umbrella, which wouldn't help anyway. We've had some off and on very heavy rain, probably thanks to the tropical storm, Bill, but it didn't slow us down much.

Marc was pulled over in Port Barre for going 56 mph in a 45 zone. He was asked for license and registration, so while Bronson was getting the registration, Marc pulled out his wallet, which happened to show his badge. The officer asked if he was a police officer. "No, a judge." "Thanks for your service." and off we went.
A sign at the service station in Stonewall, LA where we stopped for gas
You know you're in Texas when...

Texas Bar-B-Q
After dinner at Bodacious Bar-B-Q (super ribs & brisket) we decided that it was too early to call it a day. Brons found some water gardens that looked like something we should see, so we drove a few miles to Ft. Worth, and it was well worth it!
Some of the gardens in the "downtown oasis"
The aerating pool
One of three water features--this is the active pool which cascades down a series of terraces
Heidi and Bronson at the active pool

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Arrival of the Chauffeurs

After a day of packing, repacking then packing again to get everything into the truck, we were ready to get to the airport and pick up our return chauffeurs--Heidi and Bronson--our youngest two children. Their flight came in about 9 pm then we made our way to Coffee Call for beignets. They were both still on Pacific time zone and hadn't really eaten. Do beignets and chocolate milk qualify for a meal? Probably not, but if it's the last chance for LA beignets, it's quite alright!
The BTR waiting area with Heidi and Bronson
One more time
I need a little more powdered sugar:)

That's All There Is

We came into our final day and felt like we were late, even though it was only 7:45. The Lawes said they'd be coming in early, so we let the transition begin. I sat down by Sister Lawes as she continued the list of to-dos that she'd already started. We needed to check the email addresses and remove last week's go-homes, and, to my horror (really!) all the addresses,except for 4 or 5, were completely gone! Not what you want to have happen as you have one foot out the door. I ran back to the elders' computers and signed in. No missionary, no parents, no mission presidency, no stake presidencies, no contacts at all! Nothing! When the OE's arrived I shared the bad news and left it in their hands. Then, to make matters worse, they said that all the contacts in all the missionaries' phone were gone. The magnitude of all of this was really begin to cause panic set it. Then I mentioned to Elder Whittier how painstakingly Elder Lauper had deleted all of the mission contacts from his phone last night. It had taken 3/4 of the Golden State-Cavaliers game to complete the task. I guess that was the magic clue that Elder W needed. Apparently, all the mission phones, including Elder Lauper's, are synced together! He'd single-handed, crashed the whole system! We didn't know that, and I'm pretty sure if they'd mentioned it, it wouldn't have meant a thing. Before the office meeting began, Elder W had found and restored all of the contacts and life was going to continue in the LABRM office. Another crisis averted.

The fact that this was our last day in the office hasn't really sunk in yet. Some of the missionaries came in to say good-bye, and that was hard. The Plaquettes and I even shed some tears, but they'll be in the west following their missions. Sister King will attend BYU-I and Sister Call lives in Utah. I'm looking forward to some reunions.
Sister Plumb, Sister Barclay, Sister Hunter and Sister Woodward from BR North and LSU
BR Spanish Elders Crook and Peterson--Elder C is back after serving in New Orleans for several months
Following our meeting, Sister Hansen and Sophie (Pres was talking to SLC trying to get Sister Lawes into one of the necessary programs) presented us with this incredible

painting of a worker at the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. Sister Hansen is the artist, and I'm still baffled as to how she ever found time to get out her paints with the busy schedule that they keep!

I don't know if this will make any sense at all, but, to me, this embodies our entire mission. If one picture is worth a thousand words, it may take that to make an explanation. When I think of the South usually the first thing I picture is Jackson Square and the surrounding area which includes Cafe du Monde. We've taken all of our children and grandchildren there literally at every time of the day and night, and it's just an experience that we loved in spite of some of the rudest servers we've ever encountered. Maybe that's part of what makes it so memorable. Then to have the painting created by one of the sweetest Sisters in the South makes it that much more meaningful. I know this probably make no sense to anyone but me.

We were completely surprised and overwhelmed by this generous gift, and it will be a priceless and treasured piece of art that will find a prominent place in our home as a continual reminder of the past 18 months and all that we've experienced and loved.

We turned over the keys and walked out the door, feeling like we'd left part of our hearts behind, but also like we'd done our best. This feels a bit like one of my favorite books--Madeline. "She turned out the light, closed the door. That's all there is. There isn't any more."

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Spiritual Feast

Elder Bruce A. Carlson
Yesterday's crawfish feast was followed by a spiritual feast last night and this morning at Stake Conference. Saturday evening we heard from a Young Women's President, Elders Quorum President, Bishop, Pres. Broussard, Pres. Riggs and Elder Bruce A Carlson from the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Here are just a few of the notes from Saturday.

How Involvement in Ward Councils has Strengthened My Auxiliary:

Service should always be a part of our auxiliaries. D&C 4:1 "O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength..." There are always opportunities to serve. Look for them! Sometimes your service will be well received and sometimes it won't. D&C 84:88 "And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up."

Bring others to Christ--God's work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39) This needs to be our #1 focus. (from Elder Gene R. Cook)

Pres. Broussard ~ "For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding." (2 Nephi 31:3) We need to be in tune with the Spirit.

There's no shortage of negative opinions but the Lord has given us all the tools we need to overcome challenges. Pres. Uchtdorf, in the last General Conf. Priesthood session, talked about a stake that set ambitious goals but later realized that they didn't focus on the individual. "Many of the things you can count, don't count. The things you can't count do count."

2 Nephi 31:13 tells us to follow the Son with full purpose of heart and witness to the Father that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ then we will receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.

We must manifest our works (D&C 20:37) and do the work of the Father. In all that we do are we enlisting the Lord's help? This is His work and He will be there to lift and help us.

Pres. Riggs gave a powerful talk on keeping the Sabbath Day holy. He quoted President Hinckley who expressed concern that members of the Church may have a tendency to take on the ways of the world. In today's world the dress, grooming, piercings, tattoos and language are becoming commonplace. Entertainment, TV shows, movies are examples of how the world has been an influence.

Exodus 31 says that my Sabbaths ye shall keep as a perpetual covenant--a sign between and my people FOREVER! D&C 59 tells us "that thou mayest keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day."

Pres. Riggs then focused on the 3 hours we attend church.
1. We need to come prepared, especially to partake of the sacrament.
2. Evaluate, examine and recommit yourself each week.
3. The chapel becomes an ordinance room.
4. What do you think about during Sacrament Meeting? You can always get something from the speaker.
5. Don't spend time preparing for other lessons during YW, YM, SS, etc.
6. We are there to be edified. Would you enter the Golden Corral and walk around for 3 hours sniffing sniffing the food? Take advantage of the spiritual buffet during those hours. It will be 3 hours of spiritual nutrition and edification.

Elder Carlson said that he knows that the Lord really loves the South because of the magnolias, blueberries the size of your thumb, and hydrangeas. Then he told us about a member of the church who was traveling cross-country and found a "golden phone" (to heaven) in every church lobby. But the cost of a call was $10,000! Then the man arrived in Louisiana and went to the Church where he found the same phone, but the calls were only $.10. There was a man in the lobby who happened to be the custodian, so the traveler asked him why calls were only 10 cents here. The reply was, "Mister, you're in Dixie. It's a local call!"

The Saturday meeting emphasized Ward Councils. Elder Carlson said we're all involved in councils. Sometimes it's a family council but the same principles apply.
1-Focus on something beside yourself (or just the council). Focus on people and their problems.
2-It has to be based on love to be effective. If you don't love those in the council, you'll be frustrated. If you have a problem with a member of the council you'll tend to discount what they say or think it's useless information. We must love and trust each other.
3-The manner of things is important, ie, how we do things is as important as what we do. It has to be done the Lord's way, not just to get it over or check it off a list. (Home Teaching & Visiting Teaching fall into this category quite often.)

Elder Carlson's current assignments are in the Middle East, North Africa Area, North America Central Area, and Idaho Area Prior to that he did not live in the Salt Lake area. When he received his call it was extended by Pres. Eyring and he'd been serving for 6-8 months without ever meeting Pres. Monson. One day he was coming down the elevator in the church office building when the elevator stopped on the 1st floor and Pres. Monson stepped in. As he did he began whistling The Air Force Song, "Off we go into the wild..." Elder Carlson knew right then that Pres. Monson definitely knew who he was. (When Elder C. retired he was a General in the Air Force.)

For the last 15 minutes Elder C. answered questions from the audience.

At this point I'm thinking that I'm never going to finish this post, so notes are going to be a lot shorter. I'm sure no one cares about them but me.
Just before the Sunday session began, Pres. Riggs asked that, unless we're expecting a call from Kolob, would we please turn off our phones:)

A YW who'd just graduated gave a beautiful talk on following what the Prophet has asked us to do. She told the story of Naaman, the leper, and Elisha to illustrate that when the Prophet asks us to do something and we respond, we will see miracles in our lives. There's always a blessing when we're obedient. (D&C 130:20-21)

Pres. Marks was received as the Stake Presidency 1st Counselor as he's moving to Provo where he accepted an offer to teach at BYU. His talk was on dropping the dead weight we carry around. We need to re-examine our lives and repent. He related an experience he had while backpacking several years ago. One of the boys dropped to the back of the line, sat down and said he just couldn't go any further because his pack was too heavy. Pres. Marks traded packs with the young man then they continued. Shortly, Pres. Marks sat down because of the weight and decided to see what was in the pack--3 cast iron pans! They ditched them and finished the hike.

What cast iron pans are we carrying around. Pres. M suggested and elaborated on 3 that we need to beware of. 1-An unbalanced focus on involvement in activities that have no eternal consequences. 2-The dead weight of debt. 3-caring what the world thinks of us as we hold on to the iron rod.

New Counselor, President Bascom, quoted Pres. Monson "Do your duty, that is best. Leave unto the Lord the rest." He used the story of Samuel in the temple when the Lord called him. We need to be aware of the Lord's voice and what he wants us to hear. (I'm sorry we won't be here to hear more from Pres. B.)

Pres. Riggs reviewed the stake challenge including emergency preparedness, then talked about being square with the Lord. He used Pres. Hinckley's words from  as an example for what we can do. "I, for one, have made a stronger resolution within myself to be a better person than I have been in the past. I hope that I will be a little kinder to any I meet who may be in distress. I hope that I will be a little more helpful to those who are in need. I hope that I will be a little more worthy of your confidence. I hope that I will be a better husband, a better father and grandfather. I hope that I will be a better neighbor and friend. I hope that I will be a better Latter-day Saint, with an increased understanding of the wonderful aspects of this glorious gospel."

There's room for improvement in every one's lives. The Lord wants us to be happy. He gave us His Plan of Happiness. It includes 9 ingredients for a happy family. We should work harder as parents, beware of too much criticism and fault-finding and children being left alone to seek their own entertainment.

We must work on our responsibilities as parents. Everything in life counts on it. Take stock of yourselves, pray then follow the Spirit. Consequences of your leadership will be eternal.
This morning Elder C. focused on children and families (my favorite subject!) He said that children are what make us smile and bring us the most joy. Then he talked about King Benjamin and how the Nephites came to hear his final address and pitched their tents around the temple with their doors toward the temple. The came with their families--not just parents and children, but parents, sons & daughters and their sons & daughters. Later in Mosiah we're told that "the rising generation" who had been quite young and hadn't covenanted to remain faithful, became Nehors. 
It's easy to lose children today. It used to be that you had to go out and deliberately look for trouble, but today trouble will find them. We must take action to protect them every day. In Alma 53 there's a recipe for success and it helps us to know that we can be successful in an incredibly evil environment. The stripling warriors gave themselves a name (Nephites) and made a covenant. They did all that they were asked to do with perfection. They had integrity! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Another First

We experienced another first today and are so happy we did. All of the LABRM Senior Missionaries were at the Fontenot's home for a crawfish boil and barbecue. What a powerful--in a good way--group of people this is.

I've already written about "How to Have a Crawfish Boil" on June 5, 2014, so this is a follow up. After hundreds of little guys gave their lives for us to enjoy, the below picture is half of them laid out on the table with ears of corn, red potatoes and onions. Then "all y'all" (that's plural for y'all) grab a platter like the white one at the top and fill 'er up. Besides a table full of CF, Mervin (since he isn't a missionary now) had also barbecued ribs and the Sisters brought salads, rolls and desserts. Quite an impressive, and filling, spread!
The Crawfish Spread
I'm hoping to get some pictures taken by the other missionaries of the "after you eat" activity which is separating the tails, claws and bodies. The Fontenot's just freeze the tails and claws (if they're large enough) to be used in gumbo, jumbalaya, pastalaya or etouffe sometime in the future.
After the Feast

Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission--Senior Couples--13 June 2015
Hastings, Lauper, Hansen, Paulsen, Lawes, Bible, Nelson--together in one place at the same time!

I'd never met the Paulsen's before, even though they've been here since January. It was good to have a few minutes with Sister P to hear about a few of their adventures. They've already served two 18 month missions--one in Sri Lanka and the other on an Indian (I know that's politically incorrect) reservation in New York. Sister P shared a few experiences that they'd had in Sri Lanka, and I'm still trying to imagine what it would be like to serve in a third world country where there's such unrest. Among other things, Sister P taught piano lessons for many hours each week, and Elder P taught English. Some of their pupils/investigators/students traveled for 3-5 hours each way to get to the Church building. Just another example of how blessed we are to be able to ride comfortably to church within a reasonable period of time.