Thursday, March 8, 2012


February 19, 2012

   The week started out perfectly normal—well sort of… Sunday was ward council in the 2nd ward, so we went over to the church at 7:30am. When no one else had showed up by 7:45, we went home and started calling around, only to find out that the meeting had been cancelled. By the time church started, my back was really bothering me, so I stayed home and Sister Harper went on to represent both of us. That evening, Roz, the 1st ward Relief Society Pres., came over for dinner. We had a great time visiting and discussing the sisters we had been visiting and ones that need to be seen in the near future. It’s always fun to be with her!
    Monday, Sister Harper had a bad headache so we stayed in. We mapped out who we would visit throughout the week and called to make appointments. We also worked on the recipe books for the tasting table that we’re in charge of for Thursday night’s relief society. I am in charge for the month of February and chose to do “comfort foods”—soups: chicken noodle, clam chowder, minestone, corn chowder, and Dad’s stew.
    Tuesday we went to visit Deidra, one of the counselor’s in the 1st ward RS Pres. She has four girls, a boy, and just had another beautiful girl named Gretchen. They had a surprise baby shower for her that we weren’t able to attend, so we wanted to take a gift over and visit with her. Holding Gretchen was a great bonus also! After leaving her home, we went shopping for the ingredients for the soups for the tasting table on Thursday, and on the way home, I remember telling Sister Harper that I was “totally exhausted”…

This is where the week stops being normal…

   I came home and slept for a while and when I got up to get a drink, I started shaking/jerking and my eyes started rolling back in my head. I grabbed the counter top so I wouldn’t fall and Sister Harper grabbed me and asked me if I was okay  (apparently this went on for about a minute). I told her I wasn’t, and we were both REALLY SCARED! She helped me into my chair in the family room, where I rested for a while.
    I was really weak and had a hard time doing even the simplest things (like putting re-enforcements on papers or carrying on a logical conversation). We decided I needed a blessing, so Sister Harper called Bishop Vance, and he and our home teacher, Brother Michela, gave me a wonderful blessing. We then went to the hospital to get me checked out; it was about 9:00pm, so the Bishop took us and Brother Michela followed behind.
    After getting to the ER, they called me up to check in. The only problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to write my name, which really scared me. Sister Harper filled out the forms for me and I finally signed my name, which looks like a  first-grader did it.  We knew it would be a long wait before I would get into a room, as the waiting room was full, so we told the Bishop and Bro. Michela to go on home to their families… no sooner had they left than Bishop Martin and his wife, Suz, came in, stating that they were there for the night. We sat and talked and talked and sat until 3:30am, when I was finally taken back into a room to be checked out…
    After answering about a thousand questions, I was given an electro-cardiogram, CT scan, complete blood panel, chest x-ray, heart ultrasound, and a carotid artery ultrasound. I was also “flushed” with liquids and put on a “23-hour precautionary watch”. I was told that I would be moved to a “regular room” as soon as one came available—this happened at 3:30pm the following afternoon(I was in the ER for 18 hours). In between tests, I had visits from Bishop Vance, the Sponaughle’s, and Kelley Cheney, the RS Pres. of the 2nd ward. She also brought a get- well card that her little boy, Michael, (4) made for me. I was finally released at 11:00 that night.
    After all was said and done the conclusion was that I have a viral infection and am dehydrated. Everyone has been so kind and caring—from the CNA’s, RN’s and tech’s in the hospital, to all of our dear friends bringing in food, the Bishop’s and Elder’s who serve with us, and especially Sister Harper. She was at my side from the minute this started, and throughout the whole ordeal, taking care of my every need. She is still making sure that I’m following directions: getting plenty of rest and drinking more than plenty of water. I truly love her and appreciate all that she has done for me!!!
    So…learn from my mistake—if you think you’re drinking enough water, you probably aren’t—have another glass on me!!! 


February 12, 2012

    First of all, let me be the first to wish all of you a HAPPY VALENTINES—I can’t believe that the time is going by so quickly (we count time by the holidays as they pass).
    This week started on a down note, as both Sister Harper and I were down with the flu—thank goodness it wasn’t too severe…
    Monday we met with Eileen, an empty nester; she and her husband take care of his brother, who is handicapped. Her husband is an avid hunter, so a lot of the care is up to her. She is very caring and attentive to him. When we went into the family room to visit with her, there was proof of what a great hunter her husband is—there were deer heads mounted all over the walls! Her passion is collecting dolls—she took us into her dining/living room and showed us her collection. She has between 150-200 dolls. Most of them are brides, including a Princess Diana; she also has baby dolls, some that are like “families”, and one that stands almost four feet tall. It was very interesting indeed!
    Monday night was ‘empty nesters’ at the Kirby’s. There were twenty of us there. After dinner we picked quotes out of a bowl from the general authorities, prophets, Ensigns, etc. that all had to do with different kinds of love. After reading our thought, we could expound on it if we chose. We all had an enjoyable evening, and it’s fun becoming better friends to these wonderful people!
    Tuesday we visited the home of Bonnie, the Young Women’s President in the WP 1st Ward. We had fun talking and reminiscing about camp experiences. It was really fun getting to know her a little better. From there, we went to visit Kris, the sister whose dresses I adjusted a couple of months ago. It’s really sad; she is so lonely. She lives with her son and his family in a big beautiful house, but is stuck in a small bedroom in the basement with the children’s toys. We feel so bad for her; she has difficulty getting around and to top it off is shut off from the lives of her family. She enjoys our visits, so we try to go as often as possible.
    Wednesday we had District meeting at the Visitor’s Center before our shift at the temple. I talked about an article I read in the January Ensign (back inside cover) comparing the steps it takes to become a doctor and the way we learn the gospel (line upon line-precept upon precept). The two were paralleled very well. I love that picture of the Savior—it’s one you could easily frame. Our temple experience was wonderful, as always.
    Thursday I got up bright and early and went to physical therapy for my back and ended up down for the rest of the day…not fun. I go back to the doctor on the 21st, so hopefully I can get some answers then.
    Friday we went to visit Tamara; she is also on our visiting teaching route for the WP 2nd Ward. She hasn’t been able to attend church very much because of health issues. We had a very pleasant visit and found out that she is a private consultant for the Dept. of Defense. She lives about a mile from the Patuxent River, which is a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, so we swung by to see the water as long as we were so close to it…J
    Friday evening we had two appointments, so we decided to “divide and conquer”. Sister Harper went to a food party at Kristy’s in the 2nd ward, and I went to a Valentine dinner and dance in the 1st ward. I stayed until they turned on the dance music, then made my exit—I didn’t want to dance and could think of a few hundred things I would rather do at home.
    Saturday we went to a farewell party for the Greismeyer’s, who are moving to North Carolina this week. He is military and is being reassigned there. They have three girls, and a boy, and she is expecting another boy in about three months. They are such a cute family and the kids are very generous with their “Grandma Hugs”, so we will really miss them!!!
    Enjoy your week, hug your loved ones extra hard and always remember to tell them that you love them!


February 5, 2012

   This has been a fun week that has taken us from the top of our area to the bottom…  Sunday evening, Brother Henrichsen, who lost his wife in December, invited us, his home teaching companion, and two widows, Sisters March and Walker, to his home for dinner. When we walked in we were so impressed—he had the table set complete with a tablecloth, floral china, and a complete salad bar. Then for dinner he served salmon with stuffed crab and shrimp, with fruit compote for dessert—yum! Afterward he showed a BYU fireside by Pres. Monson about gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon; the spirit really testified to me and I was in tears all the way through it. The same thing happened during the sacrament…it has been quite exhausting emotionally. From Brother Henrichsen’s, we went to see Rebekah and Gary; she has something to help my back. They have such a cute family—four active boys and a darling baby girl, so we get lots of loves from them. He is military and is a senior special agent equivalent to NCIS.   
   Monday I started the day bright and early at physical therapy for my back. I found out after my MRI that I don’t have to have surgery, just more physical therapy. Without my knowledge, the 1st ward had prayers in my behalf, and with all of your prayers, I know that is why this is so. Thank you for caring about me so much—I know that prayers are heard and answered!!! Our visits took us to Chris’, the sister who is so talented with quilting, painting, and basket making, to borrow a light-box for my quilting. While we were there she showed us the food storage room that they are working on; it is incredible—one that any of us would be envious of. From there we went to see Linda and her daughter, Rachel, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. Linda suffers from health problems that have kept her from attending church the last couple of years, so we wanted to make sure that she is remembered and to see if she needed any help. Rachel is working on her master’s degree in computer science.
   Tuesday we went to visit Shirley, a sister we have been trying to see since we first arrived. We had such a fun time getting to know her—she is in her early 70’s and is in a dance troupe that performs all over the area doing hula, clogging and line dancing. She is about 4’8”, has eight children and 27 grandchildren.  We said good-bye to two of the four elders that are in our two wards, as Wednesday is transfers. Elder Hurd is going to the singles ward up by the temple and will be a Zone Leader, and Elder Goodman will be in DC and will now be a District Leader. It’s always hard to have the elders leave, but we become just as attached to the new ones that come in no time at all…
   Thursday I drove 90 miles round trip to visit two sisters. Joyce lives in Nanjemoy, at the southern tip of Maryland on the Potomac River. When we arrived at their driveway, we drove in another mile on a gravel road, across a bridge (which had a beaver dam on the right-hand side), before reaching the house. They own 100 acres of land from the main road, so you don’t see another home while you are there—however, they do have beaver, raccoon, fox, deer, and other “critters”. Their home is darling; right on the edge of the river, which is about four miles wide, with Virginia on the other side. Joyce’s parents were both born within a few miles of her home on the river, so she had great stories to share with us. She and her husband are the parents of ten, the grandparents of 65 and the great-grandparents of 14. They are in the empty-nesters group that we attend each month. We spent the morning visiting with Joyce; then she shared lunch with us before we went on our way to Vivian’s.
   We met Vivian at church last Sunday; we saw her sitting alone and asked if we could sit with her. She stated that it was her first week, so we stayed with her and found out that she just moved into the ward and is just coming back into activity. At the end of church we made an appointment to visit her. She lives in a town called Marbury, about 25 miles from us. She told us of her very hard life; she is divorced, has five children and 15 grandchildren. She has such a profound love for the Savior, and told us how happy she is and how wonderful her life is when she goes to church and obeys the laws of the gospel. We laughed and laughed as she told us of her conversion as the missionaries delivered the Book of Mormon that she had ordered on line…She was worried because we wouldn’t be in the 1st ward this week, but we assured her that all would be well, and made sure that Roz, the RS Pres. would be there to take her under her wing.
   Friday, we were supposed to go to Salena’s for lunch on the Indian Head Naval Base, but things didn’t work out, so we met at Marie’s Diner in LaPlata. Salena brought her youngest of six children, Jace, who is four. He is such a cute boy and has a sharp sense of humor that really kept us laughing…Salena is our compassionate service leader and her husband is in the bishopric of the 1st ward. His job is Air Force liaison officer with Hill Air Force Base and has something to do with overseeing the production of ejection seats for fighter jets on the base. They are the only Air Force family on the naval base.
   Friday evening we prepared sack lunches for the “Safe Home” homeless shelter. Different churches provide lunches for those who stay in the shelter. The people eat dinner there, stay for the night, have breakfast, and leave for the day with their lunch. One of the homeless people attends our wards. He is homeless by choice. He has a suit that he wears each week and sings in the choir of both wards; then when church is over he returns to the life of the homeless. He is friendly, but a definite loner; he has family in the area that he spends holidays with.  
   So you can see, each week is different than the one before, each sister has a different story than the one before her. President Matsumori asked us if we thought we were close to a point where we would need a transfer—we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface here!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


January 30, 2012

    This week started off with an ice storm--it was Sister Harper's turn to drive, and it was quite a task for the Arizona girl to scrape/chip ice off the windshield before we could leave for church...the day turned out to be beautiful afterall, but bitter cold!!!
    After church, Becky, the Young Women’s leader, came with us to visit three sisters and young women who all lived in the countryside south of us; this is where the Amish community is and we saw ten couples on the street in their buggies…it’s always fun to see them “out and about”.
    Monday we were advised to stay in because there was severe ice on the roads and another ice storm in the forecast (which didn’t come to pass). We used the time to make calls checking on sisters and making appointments for later in the week.
    Tuesday was a day set aside for our quarterly visit by the exterminator. Our time was 8am-5pm; at the end of the day no one had come…
    Wednesday found us with a passenger to the temple. Kathleen Sponaugle, a sister in the WP2nd Ward will be riding with us each week now. She will do various kinds of temple ordinances as we complete our shift each week. She’s a special, dedicated sister.
    Thursday, we called on three sisters in the WP1st Ward. Ann is a mother of four who has gone back to school for her nursing degree. Tina is a fun, talented sister and is becoming a great friend. She teaches the card club we go to, teaches piano, and is taking guitar lessons. Her husband is in the Air Force and is the highest rank an enlisted man can be. Our last visit was with Sara, a darling young mother who has four children and is expecting her fifth. Her husband is in the military and they are being transferred to North Carolina in two weeks. We will miss them terribly! Their kidlets are so cute and really loving—we get tons of Grandma fixes from them…
    Friday we visited with Ashley, a young sister who has just moved back to Maryland from Utah. She has a degree in interior design. Our next stop was a visit with Vera, a retired critical care nurse. She hadn’t been to church for quite a while, but she was there again yesterday, so we were very pleased. The Armentrout’s have a nutrition store called Country Nutrition. We went in to check it out and had a nice visit with them. Afterward, we were on our way to the Morningstar’s for dinner. Sister Morningstar is from Spain and met her husband there while he was in the military. They also invited the Elder’s, so it was a wonderful evening. Elder Hurd left a message about the restoration of the Gospel; the Spirit was so strong, it was amazing.


January 21, 2012

   We come to the end of another wonderful week in the Washington DC North Mission~~the only adverse problem is that it is FREEZING COLD!!! Everything they say about the cold is true and more!!! We were stuck in today because there was an ice storm that started Friday night and everyone has been warned to stay off the streets--that's when it's too cold to snow, and the rain freezes as or before it hits the cars, streets, etc. making them a total sheet of ice...
   Sunday was Fast Sunday, and we had a special fast for Bishop Martin in the WP1st Ward. He has degenerative disc problems and is in debilitating pain 24/7. He has been okayed for a titanium disc replacement, but is fighting the insurance for the go-ahead. In the evening, we went to visit a sister in the 2nd ward, Eileen. We found out that she writes grants for the Head Start Programs in the area. It was a most enjoyable visit and we hope to return soon.
   Monday we purchased the supplies for the recipe books we will be assembling for the Relief Society night tasting table on Thursday. In the afternoon we, along with Jancice Gardner, helped Jennifer Gillisen and family pack to move from the 2nd to the 1st Ward. We packed books, books, books, and more books, as well as her office. Jennifer is a non-member, but is at church each week with her family and is at all church-sponsored activities--no one would ever know that she hasn't been baptised. She is an event planner, so if we ever throw a large party, we'll know who to ask for help...
   Tuesday I went to my orthopedic doctor and found out that I don't need to have surgery on my back~~I am so grateful!!! What showed up as fractures on the x-rays, were in actuality nodules on my discs...I have a severe strain/sprain, so I will go back to physical therapy for four weeks, then back to the doctor for re-evaluation. I really want to thank everyone who has offered prayer and concern in my behalf; I know that fasting and prayer works and that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers. Tuesday afternoon we put the recipe books for RS on Thursday. We will do a tasting table each month using items from the cannery, food storage, food in season, snacks for kids, etc. This month we used refried beans from the cannery and made Sister Harper's recipe of Chili Con Queso Dip with corn chips. Another sister used powdered milk and made yogurt and ranch-type dip (it was really good). The recipe book has a cute front and back cover (4x6) with a ring in the corner; we will hand out recipes for the items on the tasting table, plus extras each month, so by the end of the year each sister will have a complete book, with a lot of recipes that she's already tried.
   Wednesday was our first day back at the temple since its closing for cleaning. It was wonderful to return to feel the Spirit once again, and to meet with our fellow ordinance workers that have become special friends as well. Before our shift at the temple, we had our monthly District Meeting in the Visitor's Center. We were able to meet the newest sister in our district, Sister Larsen, from Blackfoot, ID. So there are six in our district, Sister Harper from Arizona, Sister Wege from Louisiana, Sister Larsen from Idaho, Brother & Sister Noel from Utah, and me...right now Sister Wege is working on arranging a White House tour for us the middle of April when the cherry blossoms are out.
   Thursday we went to lunch with five sisters from the WP2; we are all intertwined one way or another through visiting teaching...we are of different ages and stages of life, yet had a great time together, and decided to do this on a monthly basis. Afterward, my partner, Nicole and I went visiting teaching to Deanna; she's the Primary Pres. and the girl I told you about whose husband just returned from deployment. Thursday evening was WP2's RS night. The theme of the night was "Organization". They started with Melody Lusk as "Mrs. Bunch-O-Hints"~~she's so funny~~she dresses up like "Momma" on "Momma's Family" and gives hints on organization, and then we had a presentation by Deanna VanSlyke on home organization. Afterward we did our presentation of the tasting table, then they covered composition notebooks with scrapbooking paper and embellishments for "Joy Journals". It was a really fun night.
   Friday we took a cute little (not even 5 ft. tall) lady, Shirley Blake, to her doctor's appointment. We have been trying to contact her for some time now, but she won't answer her phone if she doesn't recognize the number. She is in her 80's and is so fun to be with. We also took her to the grocery store, and she scooted around, knowing exactly what she wanted and where everything was; we are going to her home for dinner next week. Friday evening was the WP2 ward temple night for ward conference this Sunday. Bonnie and Gary Ramon took us to dinner to the Hong Kong Cafe, the restaurant where they had their first date; it was delicious! We also went to the This Is the Place Bookstore (cute name, huh?) that is the church version of Deseret Book. We had over forty members of the ward in the temple session on Friday and the Spirit was very strong!...we had been warned of a strong winter storm Friday, and by the time we arrived home, the snow had begun to fall...that is where we began the first of this letter.


January 15, 2012
   This week has really been a mixed from 17 to 58 degrees, sunshine, rain, wind, sun, snow, back to sun...Sunday, the 8th, was ward conference in the WP 1st ward; we had such an inspirational Sacrament meeting with wonderful talks from the bishop and stake leaders. After, we went to dinner at Kristie's, the sister whose husband is deployed for the third time and is here with three sons, 10, 12, and 14. She really has a lot on her plate, but good news for them, her husband will be coming home in about a month.
   Monday, after prayer for inspiration as to who needed our help or visits, we went to see two sisters, Chris and Maria. We had been to see Chris once before, with less than warm acceptance. This time she was so excited to see us and was really anxious to visit and show us all of her talents. She is an excellent quilter, artist and even makes baskets. We had such an enjoyable visit with her and ended with her extending an invitation for us to come to dinner and to please call her for anything we might need. Maria is a wonderful sister that is new to us. She was with the elders when we called, working with a new contact, but she was an absolute joy to visit. We were welcomed into her home, and had a great time getting to know her better and becoming friends with her...
   Tuesday I went in for an MRI on my back. I will have the results on Tuesday and would appreciate your prayers in my behalf. I have been going to physical therapy for months without the results that the doctors had hoped for, so I have had more x-rays and now the the afternoon we went to visit one of our favorites, Dorothy, a sister in her 70's who has a 30 year old son who is autistic and is raising her two grandsons, Jahare',10, and Jaden, 4. She struggles with her daughter, the boy's mother, who is in and out of their lives. The boys are very bright, cute and well behaved; Jaden is shy, but is warming up to us, and Jahare' is always willing to give us a recital on his clarinet, violin, or piano.
   Wednesday, we visited Susie Kapeleris, a young mother of five who is expecting her sixth baby. When she answered the door, one of her little girls asked, "mommie, is it a partie?" Her oldest, Christopher, was baptized on Saturday. She has so much on her plate...she home-school's, as many families out here do. Her husband just lost his job, so a lot of their time is spent sending out resume's, but she is so upbeat and happy and when we asked if there was anything we could do to help she said that they are just fine. Often, it is felt that those in leadership positions or their wives don't need visiting but we have found this to be far from true. We visited Kelley the RS President of the 2nd Ward and had a most pleasant visit, finding how we could lighten her load and help in any way possible...then it was off to Haleigh's...she was still picking the kids up from school when we arrived, but Bishop Vance was there, so we were able to visit with him and discuss some matters of concern. When Haleigh arrived, we had a great visit with her also.
   Thursday was spent at a zone conference with President and Sister Matsumori. President Matsumori gave a most inspirational talk encouraging us to be spiritually prepared and gave us several scriptures to help in time of trial.
   The scriptures he gave us are:   Isaiah 55:8-9
                                                     D&C 122:9
                                                     D&C 3:10
                                                     2Kings 6:14-16
                                                     Alma 7:11-12
We also had our one-on-one interviews with the president. It is always so wonderful to talk to him and recieve personal counsel. He is so encouraging to us and complimentary of the work we are doing. He always tells us that he is recieving wonderful reports from the stakes, bishops, and relief society's that we are working with.
   Friday we went on a "Suprise Adventure" with our friend Bonnie, the sister that invited us over for Thanksgiving. She took us to Upper Marlboro, a city about 45 minutes northeast of us to an Amish owned market, the "Dutch Village Farmers Market". Those who sell goods there come down from Lancaster County, PA. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. They sell furniture, quilts, and other crafts in one section. In another section there are all types of produce, a meat market, a bakery, an area with home-canned fruits and vegetables, and an area where they make pretzels and hot dogs in all different kinds of dough. They also have a restaurant of wonderful homemade food. We found lots of things to buy including gifts for birthdays and Christmas this year. It's always so fun to go with Bonnie and we're guaranteed that we'll always have a great time!!!
   Saturday was the memorial service for Farran Phillips, a 25 year-old sister in the 1st ward, who passed away on New Year's Eve from a rare type of breast cancer. We didn't know her personally, but everyone who did said she was an inspiration to all and wonderful to know. We helped preparing the food for the luncheon and setting it out for the family. Afterward we spoke to her mom, Bobby, and will keep in close contact with her.
   So you can see I had quite a diverse and interesting week, as they all are. We will start back at the temple this week, which I will be grateful for. I have missed going, even though it has only been two weeks.


January 8, 2012

   New Years Day was spent at the Visitor's Center; the last day it was open for the holidays. It was really slow there, so when Sister Allen, a sister from Gilbert, AZ, asked if we could go with her to the church next door to hear her speak in Sacramet meeting, we quickly agreed. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that it was the ward for the temple missionaries, so we knew the members from working at the temple on Wednesdays.
   Sister Harper and I have been fighting off colds and coughs for the past two weeks; during the month of December, there were over 90,000 at the Visitor's Center~I'm sure that one of them must have been carrying a bug or two!
  Tuesday night, Elders Hurd and Nielson and we were invited to dinner at the home of Janice and Dave Gardner. She is the Sec. in the RS Pres. of the 2nd Ward, and he is on "watch" for the government/military by watching computer screens and newscasts to see what is going on all over the world and reporting anything important or threatening to the U.S. They have five sons, three that are here with them, and two older sons in Denver. We had such a fun night; great food, lots of good conversation, and wonderful friends...
    We have been asked to be part of the RS evening meeting once a month. We will be in charge of the snack or tasting table, or the dinner if it is a special occasion. We will make things that you can use ingredients from your food storage from the church cannery (this month we are using refried beans). We will pass out a number of recipes each month, so that by the end of the year they will have a great start of ideas of food they can make for very little cost. Sister Harper has a program on her computer called Memory Makers; she has made a darling 4x6 cover (front and back) for the recipes, then they will be held together with a ring in the corner.
   Now that December at the Visitor's Center is over, it's great to get back to our regular schedule of calling on sisters in the wards and helping wherever we can. This week we were able to call on six special sisters; some were friends we had made in the past, the others are new friends to us:
   *Elsie is our friend in her late 80's who is a die-hard Redskins fan. She keeps her mind sharp by doing Sudoko, cross-word puzzles, reading the scriptures daily, and reading books by Cleon Skousen,etc. She is so sharp and delightful to visit, we enjoy going to see her as often as we can. When we ask her if there is anything we can do for her, she always says, "Oh, no, I wouldn't want to inconvenience you"~~such a sweetheart!!!
   *Ethel is another favorite senior sister. She was a high school physics and chemistry teacher and went to Bolivia on a mission in 2005. She has a very dry sense of humor, which we love, and would give you her last dollar or the shirt off of her back, if you needed it.
   *Carol is a sister we have been trying to go visit for quite awhile, but she has been in poor health most of the winter. We are glad that she is now able to see us, as was very happy today. Carol is very talented in scrapbooking and card club, so she and Sister Harper have a lot in common. Her husband is an aeronautical engineer for the military.
   *Jane offered to give us some dishes that actually match and there are more than four of a kind. She also gave me some fabric to practice sewing on my new machine (Merry Christmas to me from me!!!) She is so much fun!!! I can't believe we've been here this long without knowing her~~she's so full of life~~they have five children; two married (a son and a daughter), with two grandchildren, and three sons still at home. Her husband is also in the military, and travels all over the world difusing all different types of bombs.
    *Lou is a sister that we haven't been able to figure out or get close to, but felt inspired that we should go visit her. We found that she is delightful, just quiet and shy. It's so nice to meet sisters outside the realms of church, when we have time to sit and visit and have time to really get to know them deep down, not just on the surface.
   *Our last visit was with Stephanie and Arik Drake, the couple who are both in the military. She just home from Afganistan, where she repaired medical machines, and he is in the Army's special forces. He checks to make sure every-thing is safe and in order before the President travels or if something does happen, anthrax, etc., he would be called to action to take care of it. They are going to help us activate, Stephanie Long and her husband, that we met just before Christmas at the National Harbor.
   Thursday night was RS night meeting for the 1st ward. They talked about "bucket lists" and had everyone put something from their list into a bucket and then we guessed whose item went with which person. We also talked about goals: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. Elizabeth read from
Eccl 3:1-8: "For everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven". I know that this is the right time and season of my life for me to be serving my Heavenly Father on my mission. The way things fell into shape for me to go, and the wondrous things that have happened to me, leave no doubt in my mind that this is the place where I am to be at this time. Words cannot adequately express how grateful I am for the love and support that my family gives me.


January 1, 2012

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope this finds all of you happy, well and ready to take on a brand new year with new-found hope and vitality.
   The holidays are over and it's time for Sister Harper and me to get back to our regular schedule in the mission field. Today was our last day at the Visitor's Center, as the Festival of Lights is coming to a close. It has been really fun serving there during the month of December, although we won't miss the hour drive each way two extra days a week. It was sad as we said our "good-bye's" today, as some of the wonderful missionaries we have become close to will have gone home by the time we serve there again next Christmas season. Elder Olsen, the Director of the Visitor's Center, said that we broke all records for attendance this year, as over 90,000+ came through the doors to see the beautiful trees, the 84 nativities from 48 different countries, and to hear the concerts that were presented in the auditorium each night. There were also over 500,000 lights on the trees outside, as well as a life-size nativity. As of last night we had received 1021 referral cards from people who wanted to hear more about the gospel and wanted to have missionaries contact them.
   Tuesday night, the concert was a jazz group called "Trifecta". It consists of a saxophone player, a pianist, and a bass player. The sax player is our bishop in the WP2nd Ward. He and the bass player are in the U.S. Army Band and the pianist is in the U.S. Air Force Band. It was really fun to watch them and see a different side to the bishop's personality.
   Wednesday, we were really busy at the temple. School is out for the holidays, so we had a lot of baptisms, and we had a lot of endowment sessions and sealings. The Spirit was so strong; I felt so priveledged to have the opportunity to serve our Heavenly Father in this capacity.
   On a sad note, we have had five sisters pass away in our two wards in the past three weeks; three from one ward and two from the other ward. Most of them were older middle-age and older, but one sweet sister passed away on Saturday at the age of 25 from breast cancer. She suffered so terribly; we are happy that she is at peace in the arms of our loving Heavenly Father.
   One great thing I forgot to tell you last week--a couple of months ago I told you about Allison, a young mother who has one-year-old twins and a three year old, and she had stage four cancer...on Christmas day she was in church with her family!!! Her cancer is in remission!!! We are all so thankful to our Heavenly Father for the blessings that He has given to Allison and her family!
   I want each of you to know that I love my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and I know that they know and believe in me, too. They know me better than I know myself; they know my strengths and weaknesses, my personality and my needs, emotional and physical. I am so grateful to be able to serve my Heavenly Father  as a missionary in the Washington DC North Mission. I'm so thankful for my family; for their love and support and for all they are to me. Everything!!! I wouldn't be here without them; without their love, without their support. I'm so thankful for my extended family and friends; for your love and support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


December 27, 2011

   This has been an especially fun, exciting week leading up to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sunday, the 18th, we went to dinner at Kristy Hoefferle's, a sister in the 2nd ward, whose husband is deployed for the third time. They have three son's, 14, 12, and 10. We had a delicious dinner, then enjoyed talking around the kitchen table with Kristy and the missionaries, who also came.
   Monday was our day to serve at the Visitor's Center. That night there was a concert by the Suzuki Flutes. This group consists of over 100 flutists, ages 4-18. It was amazing the variety of Christmas/Hannakah songs they played, as well as the different types of flutes and piccolos there were. They were very entertaining and fun to watch!
   Tuesday, Sister Harper and I started by making a list of sisters we felt inspired to visit that day, and then said a prayer and asked Father in Heaven to guide us to those we needed to visit. Three names came to both of us...each is at a very different stage in her life. The first, Susan, is a retired school teacher who has struggled with poor health. When we called and asked if we could come over, she said that she would love to see us (a much warmer response than the first time we called). We had a short but very enjoyable visit and hope that our friendship might encourage her in coming back to church. The second call was to a young mother, Elizabeth, who has three children, 7,5, and 2. We have tried to concact her a couple of times before, without success. She teaches in Relief Society and is always there to give service to others...We had such a great visit with her, and at one point she said that she was so happy that we had come. She said that she felt like all she did was talk to children, and it was such a relief to have "adult" conversation for a little while. The visit was great for us, too, because we got our "grama fixes" with Lindsey and Leah, her two little ones. Our last visit was with an elderly sister, Margaret, who moved into our ward from the district a few months ago after her apartment had been broken into and she was afraid to live there any longer. She is in poor health and has custody of her 15 year old grandson who is constantly in trouble. When we called her, she said she had been thinking of us a lot and was just about to call. We visited for awhile about Christmas, etc., and then she told us her conversion story. It was really amazing; the spirit was so strong and we stayed for almost two hours with a promise to return soon. All three sisters are in totally different circumstances, yet they all have the same needs: someone to love them and listen to them. It was a truly wonderful day.
   Wednesday, we usually go to the temple, but I went to see an orthopedic doctor for my back instead. He's not quite sure what's going on, so I'm having an MRI after the first of the year (that's the first I could get an appt). Meantime, I have lots of prescriptions to keep me comfortable. The problem is that they make me tired, so I try not to take them. Oh well...
   Friday, we met with Roz, the RS Pres of the 1st ward to sort and deliver food to families in the ward. We made our first two deliveries, when Roz asked if we wanted to go to the National Harbor on the Potomac and see the Gaylord National Resort. Before we went into the resort, we decided to have lunch at the Cadillac Ranch. The hostess took us around the entire downstairs and eventually upstairs where no one else was sitting. When our server came she looked at my missionary tag, then at Sister Harper's, and back to mine; then asked if we knew if there was an LDS church nearby. I asked her if she was a member of the church and she said that she was, but that she had been inactive. She and her husband (they got married in Sept.) just moved here because he is stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. She hasn't gone anywhere except to work and back home, and says she doesn't have any friends or family here. We told her we would gladly help get her lined up with a ward, and know a great couple for them to become friends with. Stephanie and Arick Drake live in the 1st ward and are so excited to meet and befriend Stephanie (the server) and her husband, and we will give the missionaries their name and phone number so they can contact them also. A coincidence that we ate at the Cadillac Ranch, were seated at Stephanie's station, and she was lonely and ready to come back to church? I don't think so... After a great lunch and looking around the Gaylord, we finished our deliveries with wonderful visits to thankful sisters...a fabulous day!
   Christmas Eve was spent at the Visitor's Center--it was PACKED--almost 5000 people were there that day and evening!!! The young single missionaries provided the program; 11 of 27 sisters sang non-traditional Christmas songs while a narrator told the Christmas story. Such beautiful harmony and a talented accompanist--it was a wonderful way to spend celebrating the eve of our Savior's birth.
   Christmas morning we attended Sacrament meeting in both wards that we serve. They each had special musical and spoken programs to celebrate the birth of our Brother Jesus Christ. After church, the missionaries came over to get a small gift we had for them. We asked what time they got up to open their gifts, and they surprised us by saying they were up at 4:30a.m.!!! They were too excited to wait any longer; one of them had already spoken to his family at 8:30 our time...In the evening we went to Bishop and Suz Martin's for dinner. (he's the bishop of the 1st ward) They invited another family, the Hughes, that live in the other ward, so it was a great, fun group. We all shared Christmas traditions, then played a beanbag toss game. Then to top it all off, they had Christmas stockings filled with oranges, candy and scarfs that they had made for us, as well as a Christmas book, "The Fourth Wise Man". Of course, nothing can replace being home for Christmas, but the Martin's did a great job of making it almost perfect. When we arrived home from the Martin's, I spent the next couple of hours skyping with Kassy, Emily, Courtney, and their families, opening gifts and just visiting...I talked with Dave and his family earlier in the day...all-in-all a wonderful, spiritual first Christmas in the mission field.
    I am so grateful for Him whose birth we have celebrated, and for all that He has done for all of us...may we all show our gratitude by the way we live our lives and the service we give to others.


December 18,2011
   This has been another fun week in the Washington DC North Mission. Monday was our Zone Conference and mission Christmas Party. We all met at the Visitor's Center at 8:45am to have a mission picture taken. Sister Matsumori told a Christmas story then several of the sister missionaries sang a Christmas song, followed by a musical number by a string quartet and a some stories by President Matsumori. The Senior Missionaries presented President and Sister Matsumori with a Christmas gift; a framed picture of each zone around the edge and a mirror with the words "Merry Christmas 2011" in the center. We then watched "Kung-Fu Panda 2". They had it flown in from Australia, since it won't be released on DVD in the states until Friday. It was so fun to laugh at the young missionaries (127) watching a child's cartoon show...after the movie we went over to the stake house (next to the Visitor's Center) for a full-fledged turkey lunch and visit from Santa Clause. It was a great way to start the week and celebrate the holidays with the rest of the mission!!!
   Tuesday, Sister Haleigh Vance, the wife of the bishop in the WP 2nd ward invited us to a strings concert at the LaPlata Manor, a senior apartment complex. Her students ranged from age 4-14, and played a variety of Christmas carols. They were very talented and everyone enjoyed the program.
   Wednesday was a special day at the temple. Sister Harper was able to do the ordinance work for her mother; her son is doing it for her father, and when she returns from her mission, they will have them sealed for time and all eternity. Each week that I serve in the temple I learn more, and I feel such peace while I am there. After we finished at the temple, we went over to the Visitor's Center to see the program that was playing that night. It was a group of 60 women ages 14-75 called the "Harbor City Music Company Show Chorus". They sing all over the states and internationally--a wonderful and very entertaining show!
   Thursday, we were honored to help at the luncheon after the funeral of Sister Maura Hendrichsen, a sister in the WP 1st Ward. She went into surgery last week for a problem with her pacemaker and passed away on the operating table. We only met her once for a few minutes, so decided we could be of most help in the kitchen, and serving the family. At first we were told that they would be serving 80-100 people, but when we got to the church, it was set up for twice that. Selina Thomas, the compassionate service leader was really in a panic; she had worked so hard to make sure everything came out right and that all was assigned according to plan. We told her not to worry, that everything would be alright; that it might be like the "fishes and loaves of bread", but that it would be okay. We put a salad on each place setting, and after everyone sat down and ate, not only was there enough food, there was quite a bit left over. Coincidence? I don't think so--miracles still do happen! I'm so grateful for a Heavenly Father who gives us tender mercies every day...
   We have been asked to serve on the enrichment committee for the nighttime Relief Society meeting and help coordinate snacks, tasting trays, etc. that go with each months theme or activity. We had a meeting Thursday night with the enrichment leader to discuss also how to get the sisters more enthused about using food staples they have at home, etc., by bringing in new recipes and ideas for using the food they have.
   Friday, my back was really bad so I went to another doctor. They took more x-rays and couldn't see much change from the ones in August, so they are sending me to and orthopedic doctor who will prescribe an MRI. I'm not excited about this at all, but I need to get to the bottom of this...
   On the positive side--our daughter Courtney made and sent a wonderful advent calendar; for each of the days 1-24, there are scriptures to read having to do with the life of Jesus during His ministry on this earth. I want to thank her for this marvelous gift--it has really helped us focus on what Christmas is all about!!! 
   Also, those of you who know the Brown family, know the tradition of "T'was the Night Before Christmas", read with a 'few changes'. Ron's father, Keith, started this, then Ron took over at his passing, and now our son, Dave, is carrying the torch. This year Dave sent me a book that he had read and recorded "T'was the Night Before Christmas". Thanks so much for keeping traditions alive and well even at times when everything seems different...


December 13, 2011
   Last week was great! We started off by enjoying Sunday at Bishop and Haileigh Vance's home for dinner and the evening. They have five children, three girls and two boys, so I was able to get some Grandma fixes. Bishop Vance's full-time job is to play saxophone in the Army Concert Band and Haileigh teaches violin and viola lessons.
  Each Monday and Friday in December and Christmas Ever, we will server as hostess' at the Visitor's Center for the Festival of Lights. The temple grounds are decorated with over 500,000 multi-colored lights on the trees and bushes and has a life-size nativity. They begin stringing the lights in August in order to have them finished by the first of December. Inside the Visitor's Center, there are about 20 trees that are at least 25 feet tall that have been decorated by the surrounding stakes and have themes ranging from representing different countries and embassy's to a storybook by a Czek author. There is a nativity room with at least 100 creche's from different countries all over the world. This year the Ambassador from Brazil flipped the switch that turned on the temple lights, so Brazil was also featured in the nativity room. There was a tree representing their country that was decorated with orchids, glitter fish and sea life to look like Brazil's Christmas in Summer. Each night there are concerts performed in the auditormium of the Visitor's Center. It holds about 550 people, and many nights the concerts are repeated two or three times. Friday, we were priveledged to hear the "Bells of Mt. Vernon", a group of 11 players with 37 bells, that played beautiful Christmas music.
   Wednesday was our day for the temple, which also means it was raining and I was driving. It was raining so hard by the time we left the temple at 7:30pm, that the route we normally take to the freeway was flooded,so we had to find another way. Thank goodness one of the other sisters on our shift knows the area and was able to give us directions to get to the freeway going another way. It was raining so hard that instead of driving the usual 70-75 (speed limit is 55), people were actually going 40-45. The closer to home we got, the worse the rain got--the raindrops were about the size of quarters, I couldn't see the lines on the road (they don't have any lights on the roads), and it was raining so hard that the windshield wipers couldn't keep up with the rain on the windshield. Needless to say, we were very happy and grateful to be home!!!      
   Thursday we spent the day working on Christmas cards, presents, and other holiday frivolities like getting our hair done-YAY!  That evening was the WP1 Relief Society Christmas party. We each took cookies for a cookie exchange and a white elephant. It was really fun to sit and chat with all of the great friends that I have made in the short time that I have been here; friends that I know will last through eternity!
   I pray that we will keep in our hearts the reason we celebrate Christmas and be especially kind to one another.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


December 4, 2011

   This has been a fabulous, different week and will really show you how diverse the service we do is. Monday, our friend, Bonnie (a counselor in the Relief Society Pres. of the 2nd ward), called to see if we could go with her to Richmond, VA. She had seen a dining set and hutch on Craigslist, but was sceptical to go check it out alone. So I checked with Pres. Matsumori to make sure that it was okay if we left the state for the day, and off we went on our 2 1/2 hour road trip. We had a fabulous time, Bonnie was able to purchase the items she had her heart set on, and the best thing of all is that we found both a SONIC and a HOBBY LOBBY on the way home!!!!! Sister Harper decided to buy our tree and decorations because she wants to take them home after our mission, and I bought a wonderful picture of the nativity that is beautifully framed (about 24x 30").
   On Sunday, we made contact with a sister who had been kind of stand-offish in the past and asked if we could come and visit her sometime. All of a sudden her demeanor changed, and she smiled and said she would love it if we could come and help her decorate her house for Christmas on Tuesday, and then she would have us stay for dinner. We worked all day with Linda; thank goodness she had done some of the decorating when we got there. She had a storage room with wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling decorations, with forty bins designated just to Christmas (we counted at least twenty bins that we emptied). She was so excited to have us there, explaining that she had made most of her decorations and how much they mean to her. It was a very satisfying, yet tiring day... 
   Wednesday, we went to the temple after missing last week because of Thanksgiving. We arrived early and met with Elder Don Olson (KSL television), who is the new director for the Visitor's Center, to arrange our schedule for hosting there during the Fesival of Lights. During the month of December, we will be at the Visitor's Center on each Monday, Friday and Christmas Eve, with our work at the temple on Wednesday's. It is so exciting to be involved in these activities at this special time of year!
   After we met with Elder Olson, we took a sneak-peak around the center. They had decorated trees from the stakes in and around the temple area, and a full room dedicated to nativities from around the world. AMAZING!!! Wednesday was the night that they were turning on the lights at the Temple and Visitor's Center. Elder L Tom Perry was there representing the Brethren, and they invited Ambassadors and Diplomats from several countries, as well as Senator's, Congress, and local government, so it was a very special night. (I wish I had been invited--oh well)
   Thursday, Stephanie, the cute girl I mentioned in an earlier email, called to see if we could meet her for lunch, as she had something she needed to talk to us about. She met us at the food court at the mall and bought our lunch. We had a great visit with her. She told us all about the medical equipment she repaired when she was in Afghanistan and about the special services her husband is in protecting the White House and areas where the President frequent.  It was their second wedding anniversary on Friday, and she and Eric have only been together about three months during their married life. Darling couple!!!
   Friday, Sister Harper and I had no sooner finished our prayer asking for inspiration as to who we could help that day, when the phone rang and it was the Relief Society President called to say that Melody, a sister in the 2nd Ward had been rushed to the emergency room with a "raging headache", and could we stay with her until her husband could come from DC (2 1/2 hour drive) to be with her. Upon arriving at her side (after an hours drive to the hospital), we found out that she was driving a bus full of elementary school children when the headache hit. Thank goodness, she was able to pull off the road and get help without anyone getting hurt. Turns out it was a dibilitating migraine, so they gave her strong medication and she was in church today.We were so grateful to be able to be with Melody so that she didn't have to be alone at this time.
   Saturday was the Christmas parties of both the 1st and 2nd wards. The 1st Ward had a Christmas breakfast and program followed by a program of families in the ward giving their traditions of "Keeping Christ in Christmas". The 2nd Ward's party was a fabulous "roast beast" dinner followed by the play "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"--such a fun day!!!
   I'm excited because today our fast in the 1st Ward centered around baptisms for next year--our goal is ten; this year we had five. Also, we are going to Bishop Vance's home for dinner--Sister Vance's grandma, who lives in my Coral Canyon Ward, is returning to Utah tomorrow, so this will give us one last time to chat...until she comes out here again.


November 27, 2011

   As my mission goes, this has been a strange week as far as being normal (making visits, giving service, etc). Monday, Sister Harper was ill, so I went to my back drs. appointment, and to the post office for her, then spent most of the day relaxing, trying to get my back into some type of order.
   Tuesday, we took Marci March, a sister in the White Plains 1st Ward on her errands and had planned to go visiting. It was raining so hard that we couldn't see the lines on the road and the windshield wipers couldn't keep up with the water, so we decided it would be safer to stay in. Sister Harper took the 1st Ward list and I took the 2nd Ward and we began to call. We each called about thirty sisters to wish them a "Happy Thanksgiving" and express our love for them and let them know that we care about them. They were so happy to think that we would think of them and take the time to call.
    We went to the home of Gary and Bonnie Ramon for Thanksgiving dinner. They live in the White Plains 2nd Ward; he is the High Priest Group Leader and she is a counselor in the Relief Society Presidency. They also had her son and daughter-in-law, daughter and her boyfriend, and friend of the family. There were also six darling little kids under the age of five, so it was easy to get my "grandma-fix". We offered to take our favorite dishes for dinner, so Sister Harper took dressing and I took Grandma's macaroni and cheese; we also picked up a pumpkin pie at Costco and cinnamon pinecones as a thank-you gift. All-in-all it was a fun day--they told us they were our adopted family, which made us feel really good!
    Friday, the Ramon's invited us to go with their family to the Chesapeake Bay shore to look for shark's teeth. It is about forty-five minutes southeast of our apartment. It is so relaxing to hear the waves lap on the rocks--we didn't find any shark's teeth, but did find some different shells. It was a really great day--one that we will do again.
   We put a turkey breast in the oven before we left, so when we returned home, it smelled like Thanksgiving all over again. We added the turkey to our left-overs from the day before, and had a fabulous feast!
   After church today we had a "munch and mingle" in the 2nd Ward. Tons of sandwiches, chips, dips, and pie for dessert. The best part was, guess who got the left-overs? You got it--the MISSIONARIES!!! Whoot-whoo!!! They do this once a quarter, but since they move to the early time next year, this was the last one for awhile--hmmm...maybe the 1st Ward will do it next year???
   It's so fun starting to really know the brothers and sisters in the wards and those we work with in the temple. They're not just people we see or visit, they're good friends; people and personalities I will never forget! 


November 20, 2011

    This has been a great week. Monday, a good friend, Bonnie Ramone, in the 2nd Ward took us out to Amish country. First, we went to a store called "Everything Amish", then to a roadside stand owned by Noah Yoder. Anna and Barbara Yoder were also there. They sold all types of garden vegetables, baked goods, and centerpieces. They were closing this week for the winter, but said they will be back in the spring selling items that they make during the winter--furniture, hand-made clothes, quilts, etc. We talked to them for over an hour and had a very pleasant conversation.They gave us permission to take pictures of their horse and buggy as long as we didn't take one of them.
   Tuesday I was down and out with a migraine, so Sister Harper went over to help make decorations for the 2nd Ward Relief Society Holiday Party that is this Thursday. Tuesday evening we drove to Indian Head, about 45 minutes southwest from our apartment to have dinner with the Relief Society Pres., Roz Brown. We have become really good friends with her (she is the one who wants to take time off work to take us on a 'tour' of Washington DC). After dinner we had a short meeting discussing sisters in need and the course of action that we could take to help them best. Roz is so intuitive and sensitive as to those in need; it is a real joy to work with her!
   Wednesday is temple day, which means it is raining--oh, I mean pouring! We had District Meeting before our temple shift, so we had to leave early, and it took us 1 1/2 hours to get there instead of the usual hour. So fun!!!
   Once there it was so worth it! I am learning more each time I go and it's so exciting. We have a new temple presidency--Pres. and Sister Swinton. We missed the first week they were there because of my back, so I didn't know what they looked like. Wednesday, I was the hostess in the foyer of the temple, where you greet the patrons, and smile and tell them you hope they have a nice experience, etc. So, this said, this couple comes in and I said my "hello's" and smile and tell them I hope they have a nice experience at the temple. The man smiled, shook my hand, and walked ahead, but the sister shook my hand (people don't usually do that), started to walk away then came back and said, "Hi, my name is Sister Swinton". I almost died!!! I told her I was so sorry I didn't know who she was and explained the circumstances, then she gave me a big hug and said not to worry about it; I had greeted them perfectly! Made me feel really good!!!
   Thursday we went early to the 2nd Ward to help decorate for the Holiday Party. They served soup, salad and crunchy bread from Panera Bakery with bite-sized creme-puffs for dessert. Then we had a fun gift exchange of something that represents a trait in you. I gave a book of quotes, because I'm always trying to find cute new sayings to collect for "sometime I might need them". Oh--my bishop's wife's grandma (whew!) is visiting from St. George, and I found out that she lives in my Coral Canyon Ward!!! Small world, huh?                                      
   Today after church Sister Harper and I attended the annual Washington DC Temple Christmas Devotional. It was held in the Priesthood Room on the seventh floor of the temple, and was for  all ordinance workers and local authorities. The speakers were Pres. and Sister Swinton, Elder Smith, Elder Lansing and Elder Gerrard (all area representatives); in between speakers Christmas hymns were sung by the Washington DC Temple Choir. It was a very enjoyable program and a great way to start the Holiday Season. We sat by Bishop and Sister Martin of the 1st Ward, who introduced us to Pres. Sakai, our Stake Pres. afterward. When he came over, Pres. Sakai said,"Oh, I am so happy to meet you two; I have heard such great things about the work you are doing!" Then he invited us to a family home evening at his home in December. Good times...
   It gets colder and colder here--the numbers aren't bad--27* at night and about 46* during the day, but it's like they warned me, the humidity makes the cold go in you and stay there!!! You've heard the old adage---layer, layer, layer!!!