December 19, 2009

Hello all you Ashleigh fans !!

I apologize that I've been too busy to post her latest ramblings ... err ... letters home into her blog! She did send a great letter last Monday (see below), just before she left for Phoenix. AND ... she got to call home from the SLC airport while she was waiting to catch her fight. :) We had a wonderful conversation ... it was so good to hear her voice! It sounds like she is doing great and was really looking forward to her mission work in Phoenix. Ashleigh also talked to her dad, and I know that really made his day!! In typical Lewis fashion, he was so excited for the chance to talk to her, that he barely slept the night before !! LOL ... I was really glad that they had a chance to talk - I know it meant the world to Ashleigh AND Lewis !

After Ashleigh arrived in Phoenix, I got a call from the Phoenix mission president saying she arrived safely. I learned that the "temporary" address Ashleigh provided before will actually be her "permanent" address the whole time she is in Phoenix. Sounds like they move them around between apartments/different areas some ... and it's a hassle with the post office to deliver/forward mail.

Ashleigh's personal day will be on Mondays still, so that is the day I can expect to get an email from her. Between now and then however, I will have to wait for an email from her on account I don't have her new email address yet. I will be in ORLANDO with Chad next week, so won't be updating her blog. Of course I will have my trusty Blackberry with me, so I will get her email, but won't be pasting all the details into the blog until I return.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas !! I know I will ... sitting poolside in Orlando waiting for Ashleigh to call. :) God is good. :)

As promised, here is Ashleigh's latest ...

After 60 days here at the MTC I am happy to report:

Hundreds of Spanish words have been learned.

Hundreds have also been mis-used ... Just the other week I said "When we keep the apples God blesses us". Manzana is apple and mandamiento is commandment ... after the 1st 3 letters I just went for it. Oops!! I heard a Portugese Elder said "We should all be striving to become women". Apparently the word better and the word woman are VERY similar!! One of my favorite Spanish finds is the word "wife" is "esposa" and the word "handcuffs" is "esposas". I thought that was oddly fitting. :)

3/12 of the apostles came and spoke to us! (Including Elder Holland who is my FAVORITE)
No weight has been gained or lost after approximatley 180 cafeteria meals (no bake cookies and chili on SCONES (which is like HEAVENLY toast) were among my rare favorites! Approximately 360 hours of "formal instruction" were spent in class. Approximately 50 letters were sent. Approximately 35 letters were received. Approximately 12 care packages were also received.
2 Birthdays and 1 holiday (My companion Hermana Barker and Hermana Smith turned 22 on Thanksgiving!) My companion and I spent approximately 1500 hours together. Me and any one of the other 7 members of the district spent approximately 1000 hours together. No one killed anyone!! There were no injuries to report (although I almost fell out of the window once hopping down off my bunkbed onto the chair below with stuff in my hand and a window (it was closed) behind me. We still laugh about that one!

There was also a fire alarm this week at approximately 12:30 am and the girls "dorm" was evacuated. 400 sisters in their pj's were scuffled into the gym. It was somewhat traumatic because a lot of the girls don't speak English or come from America where it's an everyday thing ... so there was weeping and wailing and scared confusion!! LOL even Hermana Brodhead (a sister from my district and my roommate) was a little confused when I was putting on my coat and shoes to evacuate and she was trying to turn off her alarm!! It was only after she unplugged it that she realized it was the fire alarm. For no reason whatsoever Hermana Barker put on her name tag and Hermana Smith put her alarm clock and a flashlight in her pocket!! Of course there was NO fire but it was a funny false alarm!! Another key moment was when Elder Brown (the red head who is the funniest person I know) did a shotgun caulking action and said "GO BACK TO BED ASHLEIGH" in his Lewis impersonation voice. (We were all telling stories about childhood Christmases and I mentioned Dad would always joke that he was going to shoot and eat Ruldolf. It was HYSTERICAL ... we've been laughing for a week!! Everyone loves the moose jerky and thinks it's a riot !!

Of course I'm very excited to head out to the mission field tomorrow. I feel completely overwhelmed but excited regardless ... I dont' know what I'm going to do if I get a native Spanish speaking companion ... but I'm excited to "test out my stuff". :)

It's been just fabulous at the MTC !! More than anything else I think I've learned planning, love, and personalizing (and might I add patience:) I am shocked to report I've had a wonderful time at the MTC. I've meet people from all over and going all over literally!!!


December 8, 2009

In true "Ashleigh fashion", I got another email from her this week, complete with instructions, to-do lists, and follow-up items. I'm starting to feel like an administrative assistant more than a lonesome Mom!!! :)

After 8 weeks here it all comes down to the next 8 days!!! I am SO excited to go and SO scared to be immersed in spanish (but mostly excited). We will be leaving next Tuesday bright and early (6am to make the 10am flight ... the airport is approximately 1/2 an hour away and the flight is about an hour long ... you do the math:)

My new address will be:

18001 N 79th Ave Suite C-50
Glendale AZ 85308

** Please know that this address is only temporary, until she gets settled into an apartment with her new companion. For those of you who are wanting to send Christmas cards and presents however, it is probably safest for you to send to this address rather than waiting for her permanent address to be communicated **

Mom - I will be sending you 2 discs of pictures. Please enjoy, and pass them along appropriately. Maybe you could upload them to the computer and e-mail some out to all who are interested. DON"T LOSE THE DISK! They're from the cameras of 2 people in my district and I want them when I return.

Tell everyone they can go to and look at Hermana's Smith's blog HER mom is doing for her ... I hear there are pictures there (and you can check out the competition:) Her mom sounds fun ... maybe you can become friends. Hermana Smith is going to Nashville so we will soon part but you can keep me updated maybe.

TELL EVERYONE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DEAR ELDER BECAUSE I LEAVE THE MTC SUPER SOON!!! Mom I love you lots! I hope you have a great week of work and are enjoying the holiday season!

** For those of you who aren't aware ... there is a website that you can go to and send Ashleigh emails. While she is at the MTC, the emails are FREE to the sender and they are delivered the same day. When she is in Phoenix, there is a 44 cent charge for the letter, and I'm not sure how frequently they are delivered. **

Happy Holidays everyone!

November 30, 2009

Yikes ... where does the time go?? I am two weeks behind schedule in posting to Ashleigh's blog, but did hear from her today, so it's HOT OFF THE PRESS!!

Last weeks' update (better late than never I say...)

Quote of the week: "Satan, what a JERK" - Elder Brown

Moment of the week: Hermana Smith tripped and fell as she was climbing the stairs to say the closing prayer in church!

I have the best teachers EVER. In all honesty I do. Brother Mickelsen (Brian is his first name) was on the Glenn Beck show 11/13 discussing a bill he's proposing to tighten up on on-line porn (I hear you can you-tube it). Hermana Scaife knows like 4 languages and is learning more. She is the funnest person I know ... and Brother Mickelsen would remind you of Frank ...

So it was a great week. I got more mail than I know what to do with. Everyone is so great at reemembering me. Char and Judy (a gal I worked with) both sent cookies and Tammy (who I also worked with) sent me pictures and a note. Tiffany continues to write and I got a letter from Becky and Aubrey. Heather, Carl, and Cheria all dear elder me.

The District next to ours left last week and that was super sad but such is MTC life. We got to go "off campus" because Hermana Barker (my companion) had to go to the doctor because her hands are all cracked and bleeding so that was an adventure. Please send a knitted hat (black preferably) and some gloves - it's now cold here.

We get to have a big Thanskgiving dinner and then a guest speaker and then a big service project making books to send to the kids of the world. I hear coloring crayons are involved and I'm very excited! No class but no sleeping in. I'm still excited my Spanish is doing good. We taught our first lesson in Spanish only this last Thursday -- CRAZY

Current update:

Thanksgiving was fabulous! They fed us all sorts of good food (minus corn) and we got pie and everything. We didn't get to do books but we assembled 1st aid kits instead. Over 2500 missionaries were at the MTC so it was quite the party!!

At the end of the day we had an assembly and instead of a speaker, missionaries got to get up and share with everyone what they were thankful for. Now you'd think you'd show some restraint for such things ... but apparently people get nervous ... it was amusing to say the least and slightly uncomfortable at times!! Some things should never be said over a microphone. It upset a lot of people, but quite frankly it made my day!! Some of these people couldn't pass a McDonald's interview and yet they've signed up for 2 years of the most important work this world has!

I meet the most interesting people here ... I can't even tell you! I met this Elder from Petersburg who knows Addie Florschutz !!! And this girl from Norway who was a boxer since she was 12 and an Elder who literally had a bandage on his head for weeks from falling out of a mango tree back home! And there are people who were Southern Baptists, and athiests, and all manners of other randomness all called to do the Lords work. Elizabeth Smart is also here ... she will be serving in England I think ... you should see the gossip that has raised!

People are so funny.

Quote of the week: It was the end of the day and we were in our rooms (me, my companion and the other 2 hermanas) and we were talking about how sick we were of wearing the same things over and over ... and Hermana Smith was like "I've accepted the fact I have to dress like a paligamist every day" and it was the FUNNIEST thing!

My Spanish is coming along SO slow. We leave in 2 more weeks ... I'm excited but not ready!!! Dec 15 to be exact and we get our flight plans any day now!

I would also like to mention I have the best friends ever! Tiffany and her family have been doing so good keeping in touch and Becky sent me Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread and an Advent calander of waxy chocolaty goodness. And Katelyn dear-eldered me again ... Yes i am quite blessed.

November 20, 2009

Ashleigh had computer problems this week and LOST the majority of her "newsy" email on Monday. She cranked out a second one though, much shorter, but kinda sweet! I know she is missing everyone, as the letters are finally starting to "flow" out of that place. She wrote me a very nice "thank you for not dis-owning me when I became a Mormon" letter last week. It sounds like she has met a lot of converted Mormons whose families haven't been very supportive. Sad. :(

You might be a missionary at the MTC if:

1) Nightly auditions for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are held in the shower nightly (in a variety of languages might I add)

2) 4-square is a competitive sport in gym

3) The vast majority of people in gym are wearing black dress socks under their Nikes

4) You ask advice from a 19 year old boy... and then take it because it's not half bad!

5) You're college age and hungry for 4:30 dinner

6) The 3 questions of life are asked casually -where did you come from? (Alaska) -why are you here? (because I want to feed God's sheep) -where are you going? (Phoenix)

Holidays are going to be very lonely without Ashleigh this year. I guess I will have to eat her share ....

-- Fawn

November 9, 2009

Ashleigh sent a wonderful email today ... thought I would share the jest of the whole thing on the blog. ENJOY !! ;)

This week was all sorts of fun. Because we are HORRIBLE at Spanish on our Spanish-only days we laugh at the STUPID stuff we say :)

We played this "relate everything to the gospel game" where everyone in my district wrote down a noun and then we'd draw one and related it to the gospel. Jesus was likened unto a ship, zebra, cat, dog, rollercoaster, guava fruit, dryer lint and 2 other random things that I can't think of at the moment ... LOVE THE MTC!

For our Large group meeting we got a new speaker FINALLY. Anyways, so he says "It's Saturday and you and your companion have no food and no money, What do you do?" In unison all college age missionaries say "go to Costco for free samples"!!

And he also being a college age kid says EXACTLY and pulls out some cookies for the free samples. Then he asks "who passes out the free samples"? and in unison we respond "old people"! EXACTLY and he pulls out 2 wigs, aprons, and canes!!! Two Elders had already volunteered so we had 2 old women. One person tried to sell cookies w/o offering free samples and the other with free samples. It was a magical moment as we discussed the importance of inviting people to come to church to "free sample" rather than trying to sell them on the product of mormonism with only our word supporting it. I enjoyed it throughly :)

My Spanish is coming along ... I'm getting better at creating my own sentences and not just memorizing catch phrases but I'm still not fluent! It's crazy to think I would have left for Phoenix last Wednesday if I was English speaking and it's crazy that my half way mark is coming up! Of course that means I get to call you in 5 weeks!!! I'm quite excited for that :) I do miss you and your fun/unfriendly comments :)

Thank you so much for the cards. I got the purple polka dot one and I'm glad my money made it safe. It's fine wherever you put it thanks for that. Keep sending them please. It makes my day!

November 3, 2009

Hurray ... email from Ashleigh yesterday! Summary of some of the more interesting points are pasted below !

Oct 24: I don't think the MTC is anything like you imagine. It's nothing like I imagined. It's a lot more laid back in the sense no one checks on you to make sure you're where you're supposed to be or doing what you're supposed to be doing. Unlike BYU where they practically tuck you in. It's also not as preachy ... they don't actually teach you so much as they teach you how to learn and set up your own study plans. It's odd and wonderful. We're learning the importance of planning ... who would have thought I could learn to be organized?! Not me!!!

Oct 25: It was a great day. We get to walk to the temple every Sunday so we took pictures and just sat on the grass and swapped stories of our past lives. 19 year old boys ... even with name tags of Elders are all the same ... same stories I mean ... bands, dances, hamsters ... all end in disaster.

Oct 30: Today was our first day of NO English ... needless to say ... I didn't say much but there were some amusing misunderstandings. You know that picture you sent of Poo Kitty ... that frame you made ... well I was looking at it again and showed my roommate and she thought I called YOU Poo Kitty instead of Suga ... and because i couldn't explain it in English ... well we all had a good laugh. Also the word for pregnancy is similar to another common word ... so one Hermana thought the other said she looked pregnant :)

-- Fawn

October 27, 2009

Not much to post ... we heard from Ashleigh yesterday via email. It was short and sweet and said "I dont' really have a lot of time to write but this week isnt' a great deal different from last week so you're not missing out on much!!!"

Needless to say, after anxiously waiting for her email all week, I was a little disappointed. I also have not received any of the letters she has promised she's sent. Not sure what that's all about. The Mission President is going to get a little phone call from me soon if things don't turn around.

-- Fawn

October 22, 2009

Hooray for Ashleigh's friends who have been so supportive and wonderful to me throughout this initial separation. At some point however, I do expect them all to "kick me out of the nest" and tell me to GET OVER IT. :)

Lewie and I pitched in and bought Ashleigh 2 pairs of American Eagle jeans and a nice sweater. Lewie's total = $130 (jeans + sweater). Fawn's total = $14 (postage + sourpatch kids from Sweet Factory). I love it when a good plan comes together !! :)

I sent the package out last night, so hopefully she will get to wear jeans on Monday !!

October 19, 2009

We got an email today from Ashleigh !! It sounds like Monday is her "personal day", so we can presumably expect an email home each Monday. :) Yaay for modern technology.

It sounds like she is enjoying her new experiences, and is in a small classroom type environment with 8 other missionary's. These are the "Spanish Speakers" and will either be going to Phoenix or Nashville. She said that she's learned more Spanish in 2 days at the MTC than in 2 YEARS of High School Spanish.

Ashleigh likes her "companion" a lot, and indicated that they've got a lot in common. (Backgrounds, families, etc) which is good because they have to go everywhere and do everything together. It also sounds like she is quite close with the other missionarys in her Spanish speaking classes and said "I feel as though we're all prepared to board the ark together at the first sign of rain".

Ashleigh indicated that she still gets lost everywhere she goes. It's set up just like a college campus with dorms and classrooms and even vending machines around every corner (which surprised her for some reason). They give you a key card that gets you into your building and free lunch and all. Every week they get $8 put on the card for miscellaneous stuff and that seemed to impress her. I guess I was never a "big spender" when it came to Ashleigh's allowance, or $8 a week wouldn't impress her so much !! :)

Sending her JEANS this week, as she is THRILLED to get to wear "normal clothes" on Mondays.

All in all, Ash is happy and excited to be at the MTC.

October 16, 2009

I received the letter from Provo MTC with Ashleigh's address and a few "rules" for the missionary's family to keep in mind. My favorite was: Do not send pizzas, fast foods, ice-cream, or any items that will spoil if they are not refrigerated within 24 hours. LOL ... so just in case any of you were contemplating mailing her a pizza, might I recommend that you refrain. :)

Ashleigh's address while she is at the MTC is:

Ashleigh Lowery
MTC Mailbox #249
AZ-PHX 1215
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

For those of you who are wondering how "Mom" here is holding up ... I've gained 5 pounds this week and have had a headache since Tuesday. Hopefully things will look up soon! Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, prayers, and kind words of support. I'm gonna miss that crazy girl ... Fawn

October 14, 2009

Welcome, friends and family, to Ashleigh's "blog by proxy"!! In her 18 month absence I will be posting to her blog. Some posts will be my own, others will be straight from the "blog update" section of her weekly emails home. Either way, I hope to share with you the spirit of her many adventures as Sister Lowery!

Ashleigh checked into the MTC in Provo this afternoon and I am supposed to get an official email with confirmation of her safe arrival and a mailing address. I will share that via the blog as soon as I receive it ... and the race will be on to see whose card or letter she receives first. The winner will get a shout-out on the blog ! :)

Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and words of encouragement as Ashleigh embarks on her new journey. More to follow soon ... Fawn