Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Update on Deeds

Sister Smart recently passed her sixth month in the mission field!
In the past six months Sister Smart has experienced:
Dengue Fever
Cockroaches in her bed
Bug bites everywhere

That said, Sister Smart never complains and approaches each challenge with a positive attitude.
More importantly, she has represented the Lord honorably and we're so proud of our missionary!

Hopefully she doesn't come home looking too much like her namesake in the hair (or lack thereof) department.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Sister Splityourpants

I probably won't do an update on Darel every week, but after peeing my pants twice before finishing her last letter, I couldn't help but share some more D-quotes.

"I am actually going to miss the MTC. It is like my safety net and it is the last few weeks before I am an international citizen (aka showering with buckets, getting my flesh eaten alive by mosquitoes, having to SYL 24/7 and eating rice for every meal - although that one I am looking forward too). But I am committed once I get to the Pines that I will NOT speak English, I am not afraid to look dumb so that is one good thing."

"So I have to tell you some stories from this week:
1. Strebs and I were teaching Nico (our investigator) and we had decided to not take notes and of course I had to write some words on my hands. And I was literally reading off my hand and laughing simultaneously because I straight up felt like Mulan. "Think before you snack...act." Strebs and I quoted it for like the rest of the day.

2. I have eaten so many rice krispies this week and I am now starting to get acid reflux, I remember this happened to me freshman year, but I cant stop because BYU krispies are da bomb! I seriously have like 2 or 3 every meal, I don't really like krisps but for some reason here its like crack cocaine!

3. I don't know why I ever wanted to learn a language, it is the most frustrating thing in the world, but I keep having to remind myself that its what I wanted and once I get it down I will be really happy I did.

4. Brother Pearce told Strebel and I he knew why we got called to the Pines - because we are exactly like Philipinos. AKA loud and in your face. Also Brother Pearce thanked me during coaching time (one on one) for having so much enthusiasm throughout the day. He said my excitement was contagious which is a lot coming from him because you could probably compare him to Jack from A Nightmare Before Christmas. We sing, "This is Halloween," every time he walks in the door. I love him but he shows NO emotion ever so Strebel and I made it a goal to make him smile once a day in class and we usually succeed.

5. I am the kickball master. Our whole zone started playing kickball and it has been so much fun, although I slog like a troglodyte to the bases to get there. I try and kick it as far as possible so I can have more time to run/walk.

6. My watch is the bomb. Seriously mom I love it, its like a little reflective mirror so I can easily check to see if I have anything in my teeth after I eat."

Another good week from Sister Deeds as you can tell. She leaves for the Philippines a week from tomorrow which is super exciting. Can't wait to see how she survives out there in San Pablo!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Things Sister Smart Has Actually Written Us

Many have asked how Sister Smart is doing in the MTC. She's past the halfway mark and we love getting her emails each week. Mostly because we split our pants from laughing.
If she's not preaching at us, she's cracking jokes - typical Deeds.

The following are ACTUAL quotations from emails and letters the last three weeks. I didn't include anything spiritual since that's 95% of her letters and that stuff isn't funny. D's in real missionary mode, preaching at us in each letter, but we know she's trying to learn everything she can before she's out there in San Pablo. I added some punctuation to make her quotes slightly more readable, but I did not change the content of ANYTHING.


"This language is cray. FO REALS. 75% of it I stare at and wonder how in the heck I'm going to learn it."

"There are so many Polynesians in my zone, its buck wild. They are so loud, I love it. They hoot and holler everywhere we go. Let me tell you, the Lord knows I love 'em, that's why there are so many of them in my zone."

"I am pushing myself because I want to be here, I don't know for some reason that mindset makes it easier to get up at the butt crack of dawn or feel like a straight up foo when I am botching tagalog in front of everyone."

"Seriously though, so many Polys around me and I am lovin' it!"

"The good news is my taglish is really good. But the spirit was totes there in the room and even though it was struggly city, he knew how we felt about the gospel." (talking about teaching an investigator)

"P.S. I have been living off of Blueberry Muffin Tops and cookies so if that tells you anything about my physique you know it is looking good. And also because we are in class all day I look like a chubby hunch back of notre dame so I am going to be super attractive when I get home. The boys will be lining up to go on a date with Mama Odie! But in her own wise words, "It don't matter what you look like!"

"P.P.S. I am sorry if I sound like a total cheese ball, but some peeps are super cheesy and it might be rubbing off on me, but I am trying to stay strong and just be real."

"P.P.P.S. Tell the fam to write me on dear elder and bless Dot for writing me! They came around with letter yesterday and I was feeling like iceman for having one. It is good to feel loved! And if my sibs don't write me in the next week then I will punch you... through the air because I cannot do it in real life!"

"I had so much sour candy and I will eat that to stay awake during class. Haha so my mouth was just raw, it still is actually, between the hot cheetos and all the sourness on my tongue, its like ripped into shreds but I continue to eat them because I love them so much!"

"Parents thank you so much the support! I love reading your letters to see how everyone is doing and I am probably taking up more time then I should on the computer, but I just want to let you know about everything in my life. Youngest child probs...I am still attached!"

"P.S. The word for faith in tagalog is Pananampalataya. Haha if that tells you anything about this language, its crazy, but I love it and hate it at the same time."

"I only have an hour to write to you so I will type as fast as my little sausages will let me!"

"Also, I have to tell you some bad camera is not working and I SWEAR on my missionary life that I did not do anything to it."

"On to more exciting news...Rick and Cher are seriously the best aunt and uncle ever."

"This wednesday I will officially be halfway done with my MTC stay. I feel like there is not enough time here but at the same time I want to poke my eye balls out from doing the same thing everyday. When I think about actually being in the field, I want to poop my pants because I am so nervous!"

"I just need to say that Dad is the MAN. Fo reals, he be climbin e'reday and he is like 57? I don't even know but I am so proud of him. Tell him to start training for the Amazing Race 2014: D's to the top!"

"P.S. Who knew the scriptures were so bomb diggity. They seriously help with everything - its cray. Even if you need help choosing what to wear that day - they would probably help. Joklang (tagalog word for joking) but not really. They help you with everything!!!"

"Here is my week in an overview:
1. Taught a lesson and our investigator said no to EVERY commitment we asked him, I was ticked afterwards and wanted to punch him in the face but then I remembered that I am a missionary...
2. Got pooped on by a bird while studying outside.
3. Ate about 10 donuts and 6 bowls of ice cream
4. Actually understood everything the teacher was saying in one lesson, I think the gift of tongues might manifest itself in understanding for me as opposed to speaking, because I literally cannot speak.
5. Did a belly flop in beach volleyball and got sand everywhere in my pants and hair - didn't have time to shower afterwards.
6. Wanted to poke my eyeballs out with forks after spending all day with our elders - I love them but sometimes they drive me crazy.
7. Strebs and I made a list of all our boy crushes and gave them all nicknames - am I allowed to say that as a missionary? Probs not but I am human.
8. Spilled water down the front of my skirt and for some reason it NEVER dried so I looked like pee-pants all day.
9. Oh year and studied my buns off!!"

"And don't forget to send me lovins anytime you want - I am your LAST child to ever go on a mission. So take advantage!"

"Anyway, in other big news the PROPHET and the quorum of the twelve are coming on June 23rd. HOLLA! They knew that I was here so they decided to come. I am singing in the choir hahaha. Before you laugh I have to tell you that the only reason why I am doing this is because literally the whole MTC is singing in the choir and I would feel like the sons of perdition if I didn't sing. So I just sit there and move my mouth along with the words - I am legit. I am soprano - whatever that means...I asked my kasama what I was. I think I am actually alto, but I am singing soprano because Strebel is an AMAZING singer and she can cover up my stank. Okay I'm actually a nothing because I am tone deaf, but the things you do for the people you love - AKA the proph and his gang!"

"On a side note you would NOT believe the amount of lame jokes I get with my last name. Every time I hear them I am just like -_- (that is a face if you didn't know). People think they are hilarious."

"We're going to be lifelong friends. -Patti Simcox" (Speaking of her comp)

"I know I wish you could meet everyone in my zone, they are the best. I have crushes on like 8 boys, so don't even worry: D-baby still got it!"

"Seriously, the sour candies literally ripped my taste buds off and I officially have jank breath for the rest of my life because I can't chew gum. Also my feel smell like the raunchiest dragon farts 24/7 so if you have anything to make them smell better that would be great."

"Peace and blessins."

As you can see D's letters are the highlight of our week. We cry laughing and sometimes we wonder what the heck is going on in that brain of hers. We are so proud of Sister Smart and her efforts thus far. (You would say so too if you got to read the other 95% of her letters) Each week she makes us miss her even more while simultaneously making us so excited for her mission.
Go Lil D!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Most Spectacular Top 10 List

Sheila and I are almost done with a most amazing European vacation.  Three weeks!  Can anyone believe that?!  We thought about this and believe this is the longest, uninterrupted time that we have spent together--ever!  Our marriage survived (and I believed thrived on) this trip, but you would have to ask Sheila to know for certain because sometimes my perspectives on what is actually going on is warped by my Pollyannaish view of the world. 

As we have prepared to return home, we have talked about our favorite things on this 3 week tour that included 6 countries (5 of them first time visits for each of us), 15 UNESCO cultural/ heritage sites, numerous amazing and interesting meals, cultural lectures, discussions about maps and directions (I'm pretty sure I was mostly right) and time to talk about our family, our future and the most remarkable world in which we live.

My top 10 list is a little different than Sheila's because she previously visited some of the places that were first time experiences for me.  So my list, which is pretty close to Sheila's, would be as follows:

1. At the top of our list is Chelsea's graduation from the University of London.  We are so proud of her.  A chance to celebrate the life and achievements of such a remarkable daughter was a moment that we will always cherish.

2. Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.  Sheila has been there before. It is such a beautiful place, with music that stirred the soul. 

3. Tea. I narrowed this down to 2 different tea events, both herbal, of course: Tea at the Orangery at Kensington Palace and Tea at a small tea shop in Stow on the Wold.  Both of these events felt quaint, intimate and very English.  The gardens were beautiful and the architecture and ambiance of these places were over the top for me.

4. Hot Chocolate in Brugges and in general hanging out in one of the coolest cities that I have ever visited. 

5. Bath and the Roman baths in Bath.  Historic and beautiful and fun.  I would like to hang out here and read and relax and see how long it would take me to get bored.  My guess is that I could make it for at least two weeks.

6. The Cathedral at Aachen.  It's more than just the beauty of this place; it's the history.  Charlemagne lived here; it was the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire; over 30 German kings and emperors were crowned here. Is that historic enough?

7. The classical music concert at St. George's Basilica in Prague.  The venue for this amazing music was an 11th century edifice. Need I say more?

8. The Rhine river drive.  It was everything I assumed Germany would be.

9. The food: Flemish stew, Belgium fries, escargots, borst, gulash, svickova, currywurst, wiener schnitzel, hot chocolate, chocolate, chocolate croissants, chocolate waffles, Belgium waffles, Liege waffles, etc.  We enjoyed French, Czech, Italian, Dutch, German and English cuisines.  We ate duck, lamb, fish of every variety, beef, veal, sausage and chicken. We only had one bad meal (in Brugges), but when you're spending $100 per dinner, you expect something good. 

10. The Anne Frank house in Amsterdam.  It reminded me of the importance of keeping a journal and what a journal is really about.  Fortunately, none of us will likely ever have to face a situation like Anne Frank where her journal became a voice from the grave documenting something as horrific as the Holocaust, but there is a simpler beauty in her words that all of us can learn from--simply record the words of our life; our hopes, our thoughts and our dreams.  It doesn't matter how inarticulate we might feel.  Our words, honestly expressed, will be of infinite worth to our children, grandchildren, and in particular, those even further down the road.  I am sure they will marvel at what we observed and felt in our every day lives.

 St. Nicholas dealing with an infidel. Yikes! I'm really glad my Mormon bishop doesn't wield this kind of power.

Escargots in Luxembourg!

 A temple session in Frankfurt.

The Rhine river.
 In awe at Aachen.



 Brussels, Belgium


Finding our way through various countries.

Amazed at every turn.

The Charles Bridge in Prague.
A Dickensian view from our hotel room in London.

 Shea in Camden Market.
 We're glad Shea was able to support Chelsea and be with her at her graduation.

A pilgrimage to the grave site of J.R.R. Tolkien by two super LOTR fans.  I suppose I need not confirm that there were notes of appreciation written in Elven and left at the site by fellow pilgrims. 

Camden market shoppers.
 Shea and Chels in Bath, England.

A tree that looks like it belongs in LOTR.

Chelsea and her classmates.

 Chelsea and her proud parents.

Finally, through all of these travels, Sheila and I are most grateful for each other.  We often have to pinch ourselves, and ask what we did to deserve the good fortunes and children with which we have been blessed. This has been such a profoundly rich experience for us and well worth the expense, as well as the time away from work, church and family.  




Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Birfday CJ

Lil D put together some birfday magic for our favorite birfday girl. Nice D!

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Greater Crown

Coming to England and working on family history is humbling.  While all Americans would like to think of themselves as likely being of royal birth,the reality is that just isn't the case.  The reason our families got on the boat and left Europe is because they were poor and desperate.  That is largely true of every person in my family tree, with a couple of notable exceptions.  One of the most remarkable stories in our family history is that Elizabeth Winsor.  Elizabeth was an only child of Emmanuel Winsor and Elizabeth Clack. As an only child she was well educated.  Her mother spoke several languages.  Despite the advantages she had in life, she fell in love with a young man who was industrious, religious and kind, my great-great grandfather, Hezekiah Bayliss Smart.  Her parents assented to the marriage because Hezekiah treated her like a queen.   Hezekiah did not initially reveal to Elizabeth that the Smarts were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They had joined the church and because of persecution had been forced to relocate from their small town near Leicester (Ab Kettleby) to the south of London, near Elizabeth's home. They were working and saving money to emigrate to the United States and join the saints in Utah when they married.  Elizabeth soon realized that Hezekiah knew much about the Bible and could explain things to her in way that no one previously had done.  In time she was converted and realized the need to take her family to Utah.  When she finally revealed to her parents that she had joined the church and was emigrating to the United States, she was immediately disowned.  

It's one thing when the poor and meek accept the gospel because they risk little, but when the advantaged-in-life join the church under conditions of persecution, it is a much more impressive thing.  Having been disowned, she came to Utah with 4 of her children.  The trek from Laramie, Wyoming to the Salt Lake Valley was a 30 day walk.  One of her children, Heber Orson died a couple of months after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley.  In total she bore 13 children, several of whom died in infancy.

Elizabeth sacrificed a life of comfort in her verdant England to join the saints in Utah.  It's easy to love Utah now, with its numerous recreational opportunities.  The mountains/deserts of the Wasatch Front provide a recreational dream for those who like to bike, climb, hike and run.  It was quite another to hack a life out of the wilderness desert that was the Great Salt Lake basin in the late 1800s.  Elizabeth sacrificed much to accept the gospel, most notably her entire worldly inheritance.  What she received in return was a much greater reward.  She was endowed in 1872 in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.  One of her daughters explained that she easily could have associated with the elect in the pioneer community, but that instead she humbly raised her family and simply emphasized education in her home.  The Smart family will forever be grateful to Elizabeth for the choices she made, and in particular, the decision to sacrifice all her parents offered her for a greater crown.

Above is a painting of Elizabeth Winsor Smart which hangs in the Springville Museum.  It was painted by John Hafen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sister Darel Smart is called to...

Part One

Part Two

You have to watch to find out:)  We are so excited to have another Smart in the mission field!!  Now if she can only learn to pronounce her mission language!!