Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Baton Rouge Louisiana Temple

Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Fontenot Farewell

The Fontenot's last day as service missionaries was today, so President and Sister Hansen took us all out for lunch. Elder F got to choose where he wanted to go, and he opted for Charlie's. It's his favorite place. We've eaten there a few times, and it's a ton of food--mostly fried. Somehow I managed to not get a picture of the seafood platters that Elder F and the Pres ordered, but they were huge.
The Fontenot's and Hansen's

My chef salad--I'll be eating it for days!
I'm sure that Elder F will be popping into the office from time to time, and he promised Marc that he'd be there any time he needs help. That's very reassuring since I've noticed that there are several leases that will be expiring soon.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Elder Abbott Saves the Day!

Remember the office manual that I spent hours updating? Well, this morning, just after the office elders left for the day and Elder L and Elder F left for New Orleans I went to make another change that needed to be added to the manual. To my surprise, the files were nowhere to be found. No problem. I've had this happen before, so I restarted the computer. Nothing. Maybe I just need to turn it completely off and let it think about regurgitating my documents. Nothing. Now surprise has turned to panic as I unsuccessfully opened file after file after file. Thinking I must've missed something I searched the same files again, then rebooted the computer again. What's that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Yes, I was bordering on insanity. And it continued, almost exclusively, until about 1:30 when I finally called Bronson, in tears, hoping that he could direct me to something I'd missed or hadn't even thought of. We'd been working for a good 30 minutes when Elder Abbott and Elder Stevenson walked through the door. Elder Abbott had helped Marc with a major computer issue he'd had a few weeks ago, so when I saw him I knew my prayers had been answered. After explaining my plight, Elder A told me that there'd been a problem yesterday with one of the Office Elders' computers and something had crashed. Everything but the past 2 weeks was backed up. But that meant that the only evidence of the new and improved manual was the manual itself. However, it also meant that I hadn't lost all of the files for incoming missionaries, go-homes, orientation, templates for release certificates and certificates of appreciation, commissary lists and order forms, all the information on baptisms and confirmations for Stake Presidents, and a massive amount of other information.

Elder A retrieved a flash drive and replaced all of the lost files. What a massive relief it was to see them again! Not long after everything was resolved, the senior Elders returned, and I unloaded my sad tale. Just before leaving the office I opened several of the files for the manual, and, to my amazement, all of the new documents were there! I'm not asking how or why. I'm just extremely grateful.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Hairy Day

I learned the hard way to not have my haircut in the morning before coming to the office. I spent the first 15 minutes rolling tape over my dress and sweater, because they looked like I'd been in a fight with a cat and lost!

Unfortunately the Staples order didn't come today, which makes me very nervous. I didn't even get an email saying that it had been shipped. So the "Daily Dose" didn't get completed, but there were plenty of other things to do to keep me out of trouble.

Before Elder Fontenot leaves we're trying to make sure that all the leases are as up to date as possible and that any questions we have about them are answered. When I say "we" I really mean Marc! He's the one who gets to take over all of that as of March 1. Elder F's 6 month mission extended to 14 months, and I guess his Stake President thought it was time for him to be finished. He's been invaluable in this office and truly a blessing to Marc but is now moving on as the Stake Sunday School President. The housing files are now organized in a very usable manner so it shouldn't be too difficult to keep things up. But that's easy for me to say since I'm not the one who's doing them.

To help in my meager little way, I did manage to get all the lease ending dates into IMOS, so when the next roster is printed, President Hansen will know when we can conveniently close apartments. We're losing more missionaries than we're gaining for the next few transfers, and it's looking pretty grim. March won't be bad (5 go-homes and  3 incoming), but April will be terrible. We have 2 Spanish sisters coming and 19 leaving. June isn't much better. As of today we have 5 coming and 17 being released. I'm hoping we might get a few more, but that may or may not happen. Also, of the 14 scheduled to come in the next 4 transfers, only one is an elder. That should play havoc with future leadership.

Elder Barker and Elder Rush were in Baton Rouge today to get their annual car inspection. They had to come in from Oakdale, which is about 2 1/2 hours from here. Then the Baton Rouge Spanish Sisters came in, and the Denham Sisters came to pick up their Daily Dose.

Sister McEntire, Sister Bailey, Sister Roberts and Silly Sister Jewett:)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Daily Dose"

Please don't give up on me! I've blogged but haven't posted the events of this past weekend. Perhaps I'll get around to it one of these days--or weeks--or months!

Today was just me and the office for most of the time. Elder L, Elder F and the office elders went to Natchez and Vidalia on office business which left the whole place for me to work. And I did. I took the messages off the answer machine, and the first one was a request for a "Daily Dose" packet. This is a program the missionaries use to teach English to those whose native language is not English. It's designed to be used in small groups and teaches conversational English for basic life skills, such as going to the bank, the dentist, church, etc. and practicing common words for everyday settings.

To put it nicely, this is not my favorite request because it requires time and space, but fortunately I don't get them very often. Maybe I've made 10-12 in 14 months. There are 48 pages that are printed and laminated. When I first arrived we had a color copier that was on it's way to the electronics graveyard. You couldn't feed the pages in so we had to hand place each page. A few months after we'd been on our own I was going through files trying to figure out what was in them and what I needed to use or discard, and I came across a CD with the program. Happy day. But it gets better. I also went through the computer files and discovered that the whole thing is already downloaded on the computer. So now all I need to do is change to the color printer, press print and hope that the cyan or magenta ink cartridges aren't almost empty. (I always hope that, anyway, because they're about $111 each, and I do have a budget!)

Back to my day. I printed all 48 pages, turned on the laminator, spread out all over the office elders' space and stuffed the papers into the pouches. Then I just kept going back and forth between the back room and my computer till the job was done--about 10:30. No sooner had I labeled a large envelop and tucked everything inside when another elder called asking for a "Daily Dose" packet. Holy Cow! That's what I get for complaining. So I started the process all over but had to quit before I'd even begun the laminating, because there were only 3 pouches left. Fortunately, we have a Staples Advantage account, so the new box of pouches will be delivered tomorrow.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Friends & Family

After church today we came back to the Blocker's to serve lunch to family and some close friends before many of them left to travel back to mainly Utah and Arizona. Danielle had everything so well organized, so it didn't take much to pull it out of the fridge and set it on the table.
Karina, middle, and 2 of her besties
Karina with her friends and 2 Blocker cousins
A yummy lunch buffet
Karina's cute friend made these Italian flag sugar cookies for the luncheon
Mike, Suzette & Danielle
Here's a quick story about Suzette. Just before lunch began I went into the computer to check in for my Monday flight and discovered that it had been cancelled. According to one of my sons, I had a total breakdown. Personally, I don't think it was quite that dramatic, but when Suzette heard about my plight she came into the office and literally took charge. Her words were something like: "I'm taking over. This is what I do all the time at work." She truly saved me from making a fool of myself on the phone to some total stranger airline agent. Thanks, Suzette! Unfortunately, and no fault of Suzette's, all the flights from Ontario into Dallas had been cancelled because of the weather. There were, however, flights going out of LAX to Dallas, which I had to do. With any luck I'd get into Dallas in time to catch the flight from there to Baton Rouge. Luck was not with me because of more flight delays, and Marc had to come to New Orleans to pick me up at 11:30 pm! So much for planning ahead. I will say this. It was worth every delay and flight change to have a little more time with Marc before he leaves.
Kennedi & Calli
Tanner, the next missionary, and Ethan
Kimberlee's hubby, Jaie
Bronson, Ara and Rosa
Danielle and Nathan--proud parents of the missionary
I'm going to insert a story in here about Nathan, because we're so grateful that he's actually with us for this very special occasion. About 2 weeks ago Nathan, Marc, Tanner and a friend were at their property in the Apple Valley area. Nathan had just finished giving his usual lecture to the friend about never getting in front of the gradall forklift. If an accident were to occur, it would be the fault of the pedestrian, not the driver, because the driver can't see everything in his way. Marc was driving the forklift down a hill, and this is where things get a bit hazy for everyone, including Nathan. For some reason Nathan stepped in front when one of the arms, which don't lock, dropped down directly on his head. It made a gash from front to back and knocked him unconscious. Marc wasn't even sure he was still alive. He did revive, they put him in the car, and Marc drove him to the hospital while Tanner and friend remained at the cabin. (I should probably say that the property is several miles off the paved highway on a dirt road. Chances are very slim that an ambulance would ever find this place.)

Marc pulled into the hospital emergency room parking and ran to get a wheelchair. He told the lady in admitting that he was bringing in a 47 year old man with a serious head injury and a brief explanation to let her know that this really was an emergency, and she asked him to fill out the admitting forms! Really? He took the forms and a wheelchair, went out to the truck, got Nathan into the wheelchair and rolled him in. He asked the security guard to please watch him, because he'd left the papers in the truck and people were honking for him to move it. By the time Marc returned there were 4 doctors gathered around Nathan, and the admitting lady said she'd take care of the papers. Good idea!

Marc stayed with his dad the whole time while the doctor put many staples in his head. Seems like there were about 10. They did x-rays and an MRI but found absolutely no damage or other injuries. He's been in a lot of pain since then but said it was never his head that hurt--just the rest of him. That's the condensed version of a profound miracle.
Anziano Blocker will be set apart on Sunday, March 1 and  march forth into the MTC on March 4th!
This one just makes us smile continually!
Almost the whole family! There's a cute little extra up top, I'm not sure what happened to Ethan, and Marc is, of course, in Louisiana
Surrounded by 3 beautiful daughters--Danielle, Kimberlee & Heidi, and the eldest grandchild

Announcing Ma-Ma's Camp 2015

After church today we had a few minutes to get the grandchildren together and give them their invitations for Ma-Ma's Camp 2015. This year's is "Southern Fried Fun!" because I really want to incorporate all of the great things we've experienced while here in Louisiana. And, yes, I broke my own rule and invited Ara. That's my prerogative:) The invitation is tied with some of the 30 pounds of beads collected at Mardi Gras to a box of Cafe du Monde beignet mix.

I'm pretty sure that the beads are the only thing Ara really cared about:)

Tia Rosa & Ara, Karina, Paige & Tanner
Kennedi & Ethan

Bronson, Rosa & Ara
Gavin & Bronson

Kennedi, who grew 3" since they were here in June!
I have to say that it will seem very strange to not have Marc at Ma-Ma's Camp this year. But, as much as he'll be missed, there's no place I'd rather he be than on a mission. Dio sia con te.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

On His Way to the Temple

Today was one of those monumental days in the life of a young man and his family as Marc went through the Redlands CA Temple to receive his Endowments. What a blessing it's been to have watched him grow and learn and progress from an infant to who he's become today. We love him so much, are very proud of him, and are grateful that he is worthy to attend the Temple and serve the Lord and the people in Italy for 2 years. We'll miss him terribly, but there's no place we'd rather have him be right now.

I've noticed that some of the pictures for Saturday and Sunday are completely switched around, but it's going to have to stay that way.
Tanner, Ethan and Marc
Tanner, Gavin, Bronson and Marc
Ethan and his Uncle Ryan
The Redlands CA Temple
Marc and his mom, Danielle. She's our eldest child and was named for Marc's, (her dad's) first baptism, many years ago, in France.
Marc with Suzette Swallow, the Blocker's "adopted daughter"
While we were in the temple I passed one of the temple workers and saw that his name tag said "Brother Glauser," and I knew exactly who he was. His son is serving in our mission, so I just said quickly to him that we're serving with Elder Glauser, and we love him. Brother Glauser then waited until we were leaving and came up to introduce himself. I already knew that his wife passed away when Elder G was about 9 or 10, and he's a former Stake President. We had a very nice, but short, visit. He did say that his oldest son and family live in Covington which is in the New Orleans North Zone. He'd been with them at Thanksgiving but never even asked if he could see his son. I'm pretty sure he understands missionaries and his son and knows that those kinds of visits can be quite disruptive.

Cousin Time

This morning. Danielle had a funeral to attend for the mother of a dear friend who passed away unexpectedly from an anurism. No problem. Kimberlee and I did the last minute shopping then started in on food preparation for the luncheon. And Arlene took whatever cousins she could gather and took them to the Spaghetti Factory and, it looks like, a few other places. About the time that we all returned to Danielle's, Bronson and Ara arrived. Rosa was coming later because she also was attending the funeral of a good friend's sister, 42, who'd passed away unexpectedly from an anurism!
Who's been sleeping in my bed? Karina and Ara seem to have taken over Gidget's kennel.
The underside of Ara
Ara & Karina
Nothing like a piggy-back ride on your cousin
Someone must have gone to Home Depot while we were cooking

Friday, February 20, 2015

More Family, More Fun

After a day of shopping, planning, organizing and more shopping (for groceries), Danielle made a tasty dinner, and then we were off to the Fontana Aquatic Center to watch Paige, her youngest and the youngest on the water polo team, play in a scrimmage. Ryan's family had arrived earlier, so the party continued to grow.
Danielle and her boys
Tanner, Marc, Danielle and Karina

Water Polo Paige
Cousins--Marc and Calli (Jordan)
Accompanied by Jaie
With Calli and Ryan watching intently from the back
After the water polo scrimmage, we piled into 2 cars for a drive to Glendora for donuts at "The Donut Man," a rather outstanding donut shop that's open 24-7. Marc worked in Glendora for 7 years and none of us remember him introducing us to these delicacies. One of them is a donut stuffed with fresh strawberries. Oh my yumminess!

Gavin, Calli, Bronson, Karina, Paige, Tanner & Marc

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Back some time in December, without my knowledge, Marc asked President Hansen's permission for me to attend the temple when young Marc was endowed. Then, for Christmas, I opened a letter stating that I could go to California and Elder L would stay in Baton Rouge to "hold down the fort." That was such a bitter-sweet gift. I've been excited to go, but as time passed, learned that he'd be the only member of the family who wouldn't be there. But he never complained.

So I planned my trip, trying to make it easy on everyone--Baton Rouge to Ontario, the two closest airports to us and Danielle. With all she had to do, she didn't need a trip to LAX! Thursday morning, Feb. 19, I checked and everything was on schedule. We'd leave the office at 9--plenty of time to check in. But at 8:25 I decided we needed to go since I'd finished the office tasks. On the way to the airport I checked flightstats again and the incoming flight that I was to leave on was delayed by 3+ hours. To make a very long story short, Marc dropped me at the airline counter. There was a flight leaving in 15 minutes for Dallas, but then I'd have to go to LAX. I just took the boarding pass and dashed to the plane with 2 minutes to spare. As we flew west I started wondering why the agent had rerouted me to LAX when the flight I was on was arriving earlier than the original one. As soon as I exited the jetway I found the closest counter and asked to be put back on the flight to Ontario. Whew! Crisis averted. There was still space and I even got an aisle seat. Hallelujah!

Before and between flights I was calling Elder L and Danielle, updating them on the status. Fortunately Danielle didn't have to go to LAX and I was able to surprise the Blocker grandchildren big time! That was so much fun, since none of them knew I was coming. We had a fun afternoon just visiting and waiting for the Jordan Family to arrive. I'm nor sure where Marc's old Muay Thai shorts came from, but, when he wore them somewhere around the age of 9, they were far too big. Seems they fit just fine now. He's all muscle and not an ounce of fat.

Tia, Jaie and Calli later in the evening and the party went from great to even better.

Pics From Past Missionaries

The Idaho Homecomings...
I think these are the former missionaries who went to Meridian ID for Elder Hansen's homecoming.
Katherine Stennett, Chandler Adkins, Elder Jones, Kiersten Lindstrom, Spencer Hansen & Kimberly Allen

Katherine, Kiersten & Chandler

Billy Watkins and Thomas Mecham--at Elder Mecham;s homecoming in Sugar City ID
Meanwhile--Back in Provo...
After the homecoming weekend, the Utah bunch returned to Provo, et al,  Kiersten's brother and sister-in-law, who live in Provo, hosted a Mardi Gras party for Kiersten and friends.

Mardi Gras at the Lindstrom's!
Jenna Schmutz, Not Sure, Chandler, Katherine, Kiersten, Not Sure, Billy, Caden and Cassidy Steele

Jenna, Billy, Caden, Chandler, Ty Virgin, Katherine, Cassidy and Kiersten
It's wonderful for these young people to have such a great connection and will be lifelong and eternal friends. Looks like Provo is the happening place to be!