Friday, May 31, 2013

It's a Small World ... Meeting Sam

It's a small world sometimes. We had the opportunity to reconnect with dear college friend Kathy Peterson, who lives in Salt Lake City and whose son, Sam, also was going to be serving in McAllen, Texas. On a short trip to Utah, we had the chance to get the future missionaries together -- what fun! What a special time -- especially for us moms -- to meet more missionaries going to McAllen. Hope these two might get to serve together in Texas. 

Sam Peterson and Ethan, future missionaries
in McAllen, Texas. They were excited to meet,
and both looking forward to their missions.
And Ethan's already looking up to Sam :) 

Ethan, Kathy Peterson, and Sam Peterson.

Stu, Kathy, and Sam Peterson

Kathy and me -- in Utah red! :) 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ethan's Missionary Farewell Speech ... and What Do Missionaries Do Anyway?

Each LDS missionary has the opportunity to speak in Church before heading off on his/her mission. It's another rite of passage in this missionary experience -- a chance for the congregation, family and friends to hear directly from the missionary and say farewell.

We were so excited and grateful to have many family members in town, and friends from Nashville and Ensworth attend Ethan's missionary farewell!

Ethan, me, Doug, & Andrew ready to head off to
church for Ethan's missionary farewell talk.

Ethan spoke about why he's choosing to serve a mission and his love for the Savior. I will never forget the part where he shared his testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, saying: "Brothers and Sisters, I know this Church is true. I don't think I know. I don't kind of know. I know know." It was a powerful witness from a young man so excited to serve Jesus Christ and the people in McAllen, Texas.

Here's more about what Ethan will be teaching.

And here's a great glimpse into what missionaries do.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Farewell Celebration with Family and Friends

May is always a special time of in the rhythm of our family -- we love graduation season and have attended and participated in numerous university commencements over a 25+ year career in higher education. Almost exactly a year ago -- May 2012 -- we had an open house celebrating Ethan's high school graduation from Ensworth School and his impending adventure to attend Brigham Young University as a new freshman. Good times!

The family at Ethan's graduation open house, May 2012.

At Ethan's graduation, Ensworth School, May 2012.

Fast forward one year, and another party -- this time to send Ethan off to McAllen, Texas with well wishes and fond farewell! We so appreciated the many family and friends who came to celebrate with Ethan, and share with him great advice, generous gifts to support and buoy him on his journey, and especially lots of love and encouragement.

We had little cards that said: "Sending love from Nashville ... to McAllen!" where friends could write a note or share some inspiration with Ethan.

The outpouring and variety of messages, favorite scriptures, encouragement, and words of love for Ethan was wonderful.

So far, we've sent Ethan a few cards at a time. He has a book where he can insert them and refer back often for continued messages from home.

Here are some photos from Ethan's missionary open house:

Andrew, so proud of his brother's decision to serve a mission!
Doug, our missionary, and Ethan's cousin Ben Hedin,
who came out from Salt Lake City for the weekend.

Ethan's Aunt Shannon Seare (Doug's sister), and Uncle Greg Seare,
also visiting from SLC for the weekend, along with their three wonderful kids. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Nashville Tennessee Temple

Essential for missionary preparation is receiving the Temple endowment in a special ceremony in an LDS Temple that "endows" or "bestows" upon the individual special blessings and promises from a loving Heavenly Father. It's a very precious, powerful and sacred experience and Ethan chose the Nashville Temple for this occasion. There are more than 140 LDS Temples around the world, absolutely beautiful buildings -- learn more here.

Ethan was so happy to have many friends and family share this experience with him -- special mentors and youth advisers, our Bishop and other Church leaders. Even his "Grandma Gar-Gar" Alfene Page from Salt Lake City was in town for this special evening.

Ethan and his Grandma, Alfene Page,
from Salt Lake City, at the
Nashville Tennessee Temple

Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Model" Missionary!

We had so much fun getting Ethan's missionary pictures taken -- very special thanks to good friend, professional photographer, and fellow missionary mom Kate Lifferth for shooting these images of Elder Christiansen!

Kate chose beautiful Nashville scenery -- a historic barn, beautiful green fields, and the landmark stacked stone fences that are all over Middle Tennessee. It was a gorgeous day and lots of fun to spend time with her!

Check out a few of our favorite shots of Ethan:

Leaning against a historic barn.

More barn...and more Ethan!

This is one of my favorites. On the steps
of a historic farm house holding his
scriptures. I love Ethan's expression.

Ethan in front of one of the stacked-stone fences
that are all over Nashville.


And just for fun to finish the day!
I love this one as well!