Wednesday, December 30, 2009

One Wintry Day

There is magic about snow that seems to quiet the world. The color is white and pure and seems to brighten up not only the sky but all those who take time to play in it and enjoy it. Of course those on the roads often forget how to drive in it and many seems to have to wait hours to get home. Even if home was only a 7 mile trip! Of course here in Oregon we are not used to it as much so I guess that is why. Either way it was a great day to enjoy the beauty of cold falling flakes and have fun! Everyday paths seem to have a magic spell as the snow blankets the ground.
Bryan had fun playing with neighbors and loved sporting his new Steelers beanie that Aunt Annie gave him for Christmas. It sure kept his head warm.
Is anyone ever too old to make snow angels? I don't think so.
Bethany took time to get out in the snow as well. She tried to capture some pictures with her camera but for some reason they didn't turn out so well. Thankfully I was able to capture some pictures of her enjoying the fun.
Later some fun young guys from Church came by to build a fort and play in the snow as well. From tossing snowballs to buidling and crunching through the snow all had fun. I was surpised how well these pictures came out at night but then again the snow helped give some extra light to the sky. The first photo is of Tyson Barfuss and Logan Jasperson and Tyson's friend Brent who is visiting from Pendleton Oregon.
Bethany joined in their fun and spent a couple hours with them at the park near our home. All in all it was a nice wintery day. Especially considering we're supposed to be back to rain tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Secret of Christmas

I love Christmas songs and if I could have it my way I would start listening to Christmas songs in the middle of October. I really can't choose a favorite song because I have too many. But one song that I have always liked is a song sung by the famous crooner Bing Crosby. The song, "The Secret of Christmas" is a song with a message. It talks about doing things all year through to keep that spirit with you. It reminds me a lot of my Dad as well. Here are the lyrics to the song.

Look at the happy people
Christmas is in the air
Well I know the secret of Christmas
A secret I'm willing to share

It's not the glow you feel
When snow appears it's not the Christmas card
You've sent for years
Not the joyful sound
When sleigh bells ring
Or the merry songs
Children sing

the little gift you send
On your Christmas day
Will not bring back the friend
You've turned away
So may I suggest
The secret of Christmas
Is not the things you do at Christmas time
But the Christmas things you do
All year through

Here is a link to youtube so you can listen to the song and Merry Christmas and may the Spirit of Christmas be with you not just for a day or two but all year through

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sean Hits the Year Mark

This week marks a year since Sean has been on his mission. He officially hits the "hump" on December 17th. Wow...where did this year go? Sean is loving his mission and trying all he can to find those who are ready to hear the Gospel and learn more about Christ. He has relished being in Germany this Christmas. A country where so many traditions of Christmas began. The Christmas tree, many ornaments, Advent Calendars and so forth. He has enjoyed going to the Christmas Markets on his Pdays. I know this next year will fly by as it usually does for nearly every missionary.
I am thankful that he chose to serve 2 years of his life and have this time to grow and learn so much. It's been great for him and those that he has served with.
Earlier this month Sean and his companion Elder Lyman were able to go to Raimstein AF Base and were able to buy soda and other American foods that you can't purchase in Germany. Sean got clever and made a Christmas tree out of his soda cans. Amazing what a missionary will do
Sean will be staying in Kaiserslautern for at least another transfer(6 weeks). He has been in K town for 2 transfers already and this marks the longest time he has been in one area. He is glad to be here and loves the area. It is a beautiful, quaint town.
Here are a couple photos of the Christmas Markets in K Town. Sean and his Distrikt were able to visit some other Christmas Markets that are larger on some of their other P days. The gingerbread cookies look delicious! I can only imagine how yummy they smell when you walk around and smell them everywhere!
here is another shot of the Christmas Market. I love the cobblestone streets.
Sean and his companion went all out when it came to their apartment. Even putting lights up around the toilet. Leave it to 2 missionaries. What a fun idea.
I hope Sean enjoys his Christmas in Germany this year and the rest of his mission. It will fly by fast now. It's exciting that Becky, Wes and Sean have all served German missions. If Bethany wasn't married by 21 and opted to serve a mission it would be cool if she were called to Hamburg. Then every mission in Germany would have been covered by 1 Whitnah. Kind of cool. I love you Sean!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bryan loves singing Christmas Carols

For the past few weeks Bryan has reminded all of us along with many friends at Church about the Mountain View Choir singing at Washington Square Mall. Well today was the day and boy was Bryan excited! He was up before 6am and dressed quickly in his black pants,white shirt and Santa hat. He was ready for the BIG day. When Bryan was little he would sing all the time but when he was about 7 or so he just wouldn't sing at all and we missed hearing his voice. I am not sure if it was his former 11 year old scout master who got him to sing or what it was but he decided this Fall to sign up for choir. Needless to say I was excited for him to do this.Mountain View has an AMAZING choir instructor and she has been great for Bryan. Several of the other choir members have helped Bryan as well. It has been fun to see his growth in singing.
Bryan along with the rest of the choir will perform next Tuesday evening along with the 6th and 8th grade choirs. He is so excited for it and I am glad to see him so happy learning and doing something he loves. I have a feeling my Dad, his Grampa, would be very proud of him.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

This week our family traveled to Eastern Oregon to spend time with Emma Whitnah. Emma lives in the small town of Richland Oregon. Richland is about 45 minutes off the highway and outside of Baker City Oregon. It's about a 7 hour drive from our place. I make sure sandwiches are made, fruit is packed along with cookies and crackers for the journey. It seemed strange going to Grandma Whitnah's with only 2 of my 5 kids. It was a quiet ride. Bethany had her headphones on to listen to music and Bryan brought his portable DVD player to play music and watch movies....both are life savers on a long trip like that! I wish we had those when our other kids were little.
On Thanksgiving Day Wes' brother Mike and his wife Angee arrived to share the day with us. It was nice to spend some family time with the Whitnahs. Mike and Angee have 5 kids like we have yet there kids are still pretty young. They range in ages from 18mths to 15 yrs. Close to where we were 10 years ago. It was fun to see how little Qwynna had grown and how smart she was! She can speak so well now and boy does she run the show! Her brother and sisters do almost anything she wants...this can be good and bad. Even still it was great to see them and enjoy getting to spend time with them as well as with Grandma.
Qwynna looks like she'll be quite the musican some day and she already enjoys to sing like her sisters. Jaina and Kady. I am not sure if Jarin likes singing that much but maybe someday :)
Bethany enjoyed spending time with her kept her from getting too bored. She never would get bored before while at Grandmas but now that she is the oldest at home, it seems to happen more. Bethany and Jaina enjoyed getting to know each other better.
Bryan LOVED playing with Betsy. Betsy is Grandma Whitnah's dog and boy does Betsy loved to play ball! That kept Bryan busy. Not to mention a 2 hour walk that Bryan and Wes took on Thanksgiving morning. They both enjoyed it and the fresh air. Bryan with his autism seems to thrive in the outdoors much more than indoors. It's like his personality comes alives. Thanksgiving is a time when family and friends gather and sometimes "pig" out on too many foods but this year I found myself thinking of Grandpa Whitnah who passed away in August of 2008 and my Dad, Grampa McAndrew who passed away in October of 2009. How thankful I am for these 2 good men who raised good kids and loved their grandkids. What a wonderful blessing. Both their wives are alone now and I know that brings them sadness at times but I also know that both of them are grateful for the many years that they spent with their sweethearts and all they were to them.
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all our many blessings...the blessings of choice people who have been placed in our lives. Sometimes for a short time and sometimes for a longer time. Either way it is important to remember and be thankful

Friday, November 6, 2009

I will miss you Dad and I love you

Early on the morning of October 17th the world lost a bit of magic. A voice was silenced and a song could no longer be sung. My Dad, Richard Frederick McAndrew,passed away silently in his sleep after a brief illness. He did not suffer and was only sick for such a short time. That was such a blessing. I was able to make flight arrangements and get to Pennsylvania by 7pm on the night of the 17th. My sisters and brother and Mom and I were all together and shed many tears as well as had many laughs as we shared memories and thoughts of Dad.
I am SO glad that I was able to be home in August to visit my parents and spend time with my Dad. It was a nice visit. When I left August the 20th my Dad reached toward me and looked me in the eye with a penetrating look that made me wonder if he was saying goodbye to me. It felt so strong and yet I tryed to shake it off. My daughter Becky felt the same thing when she said goodbye too. I guess he was telling us goodbye...or "see you later".
Any one can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad. My Dad was the greatest and he always took time for us kids, his grand kids and especially Mom. Mom was the love of his life and we all knew that. He treated her with the greatest respect. For that I admire him greatly.
While we were at the viewing at the funeral home a woman who works for Walmart Stores came to pay her respects to Dad. She told us that everyday when Dad would walk with his friends at Walmart that Dad always took time to say hello to her and ask how she was doing and he gave her his great smile...a thing I will miss so much. I, along with my family were so touched that this woman took time out of her day to pay her respects to Dad. It was a teaching moment. First,as my sister Mary said.."the world saw Dad the way we did" and important just saying hi and smiling are to help boost someones day. I learned a valuable lesson from this.
My Dad loved his Irish Ancestry and it was only fitting that at his funeral "Oh Danny Boy" and "When Irish Eyes are Smiling" were sung by the St Bernard's Choir. A Choir that my Dad had sung with for over 50 years.
It has been 3 weeks now since Dad has passed on from this life. He is now with his Mother, Grandmother and other family members that have passed on before him. I am sure they are enjoying having him with them...enjoying him just as much as we are missing him.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
I LOVE you Dad

Monday, September 28, 2009

Introducing Mr and Mrs Jeffrey Boudrero

Becky and Jeff were married on September 19th in the Portland LDS Temple. It had been sunny all week and even the day before we had temps in the 80's. So for sure it had to be nice on Saturday, right? Well not so. We woke up to rain and cloudy skies. I must admit I was bummed. We had a tent outside and a reception to be held that evening. It didn't help that once we got to the Temple we found that there was a power outage and the Temple was working on back up generators...moving Becky and Jeff's sealing from Noon to 1pm. As I set there and watched Jeff and Becky go over to the records dept of the Temple and watch the worker hand write ( old school) everything about the 2 of them a peaceful and wonderful feeling came over me. Even though the lights were out Becky and Jeff were where they should be and they were and marrying in the Temple. The only room in the Temple that had FULL light was the Bride's room. As one Temple worker put it..."we have to make sure the Bride looks beautiful no matter if there is a power outage or not."
It was great to have family and friends be there for this special day. The sealing room had some light due to the power generators but it was a dimmer light that normal. In a way it made it all the more romantic and special. Obviously a day that neither Jeff or Becky will forget or those that were there could forget either. Vickie and OJ Hansen were able to be there for the was special to have them there. Vickie and OJ and I go WAY back to the days of Bradford when I was 13 and investigating the Church. Vickie was at one point my seminary/Sunday school teacher and OJ was my Branch President. Vickie, aka "Yen ta" introduced Wes and I in the Fall of 1982. Several of Becky's Young Women leaders were also able to make it there...Marianne Thelin, Jennifer Thompson, Teri Lloyd and Jane Bleak. We also had members of Wes' family (we were sorry that Shelly was ill and couldn't make it)as well as Jeff's family in attendance as well.
Once the sealing was over and we headed outside for photos the skies seemed to have magically turned blue and the sun shone. As a matter of fact it stayed that way the rest of the day! What a blessing...a answer to MANY prayers!!
Jeff's family took every one out to a relaxing dinner at Macaroni Grill. It was nice to sit and visit and enjoy family and friends.
The reception here in Oregon went well..Becky was a beautiful bride and Jeff a handsome groom. They sure love each other a lot and Jeff treats Becky like gold. This was definitely one of those "spiritual paydays" that I have heard many speak of before. What a blessing for the 2 of them and how thankful I was that I could share in it.

After the reception here both Jeff and Becky headed off to British Columbia for a 5 day Honeymoon. They had a great time. Wes and I along with Bethany, Robbie and Bryan headed down to Layton Utah for an open house at the Boudrero home on the 26th. Here are a few photos from that day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Elder Whitnah is loving Langen

Sean has been on his mission now for 9 months. Wow the time flies. He has been in his 3rd area for a month now. It is the city of Langen. Not quite as large as Dusseldorf and he's glad for that. The nice part about being in Langen is that he is close to the Frankfurt Temple. He had an opportunity with his Distrikt to attend the Temple last Tuesday. Sean thought it was great to hear the endowment in German. His German is coming along well and nearly all the time now the Germans can understand what he is saying. Which is great!
The Berlin Mission, where Becky served, is the highest baptizing mission in Germany as well as Europe. Sean has not had as much success thus far in having people show great interest but he is working his heart out to share the Gospel. He said recently in one of emails that his President told them at a Zone Konference that they needed to do things like the Berlin Mission was doing...he smiled and remembered some of the things Becky had told him about Berlin. Sean was surprised to see this piano in the Branch in Langen...pretty nice :) I am sure he has had chances to tickle the keys while there.
Here is his Distrikt at the Temple last week.
Sean said the Frankfurt Temple will be closed next Spring for renovation and he is glad to be able to attend it right now since he won't have a chance after that.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you that September Morning not so long ago?

It has been 8 years since 9/11. A day that changed America forever. I had woken up early and went up to my oldest daughters room and ended up falling asleep on the spare bed in her room. The radio came on near 6am talking about a plane that had accidently flown into one of the WTC towers. Katie Couric of the Today show was talking and wondering how this pilot was doing and those on his plane as well as worrying about the tower. At that point I too thought...what a horrible accident. Then I heard as both Matt Lauer and Katie Couric reported another plane flying toward the other WTC tower...then I knew just as every American knew that the United States was under attack. This was not an accident but intentional. Those horrible people, even they can be called people that did this thought they could destroy Amercia. They thought they would bring this great nation down. What they didn't realize was that America is a land where people love and support one another. Especially when times are hard. 9/11, as horrible as it was brought our country closer. What still amazes me to this day is the number of those killed. Not that any life should be considered less than anothers but that many more could of and should of been killed that day. For some reason cars didn't start. Subway trains were late. People woke up sick or cancelled meetings to the WTC. My 2 cousins were ones that cancelled meeting there. One cousin in particuler had a meeting every Tuesday around 10AM. He decided the night before to cancel it. Many more could have been taken. The planes were not even full all the way. Even in all this horrible times there were amazing miracles and tender mercies displayed.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

3 weeks till Becky and Jeffs' wedding

In 3 weeks from Saturday Becky will be married. It's an exciting time for her and our family and Jeff and his family. I just had to post these pictures that were taken of them. I thought they turned out really well. A friend of Becky's took the pictures and this girls' family owns a scrapbook company in Utah so they will make the invitations as a wedding gift for Becky and Jeff. That sure helps!
As usual Becky is pretty organized and hopefully her day will go well without a hitch. She has had her colors picked (lime green, black and white) since June, her wedding dress has been purchased and things are set for the Temple and the reception to follow later in the day.
I am hoping for nice weather. Septembers in Portland Oregon are never always predictable. Sometimes it can rain the whole month while other years it is dry and hot. I'll take dry, even if it isn't that sunny. The world is ahead of them and so much awaits them both.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pennsylvania and Ohio : Family Vacation 2009

I am still jet lagging and feeling a bit sluggish after a 2 week trip to Pennsylvania and Ohio. I had my class reunion this year and was hoping to find nice airfare to go and $198 RT sure made it a great deal! Once we had that taken care of we decided places we wanted to go and see and visit. Hershey Park was one of them and Bryan couldn't wait to go there. A few weeks prior to leaving Becky opted to come with us. It was great to have her along. Her last trip as a "single chick". Hershey has grown a lot since the last time we were there but it's a fun place to go and on warm sunny days you can still smell chocolate in the air :)
It was a great day at Hershey..temps in the mid 80's with very low humidity..we went on nearly every roller coaster as well as as other rides at the park. By the end of the day our feet were sore and ready for a soak.

After Hershey we decided to head off to Ohio. We had always wanted to visit Kirtland and see the Church History sites there as well as make a trip to Cedar Point. Cedar Point is a place Wes has wanted to go each time we have gone back East but we never fit it in before. We visited with one of Becky's former roommates, Mollie Weisman (who we found out is actually a cousin after some genealogy ties) and Mollie's family. We attended Church at the Kirtland Ward that is real close to the sites as well as the historic Kirtland Temple.

I really had wanted to take photos inside the Temple but that is not allowed. It is interesting how the Temple is talked about by those who guide you through it. They are not LDS and to them the significance of the Temple is merely treated as "history". As I set there and tried to imagine what Joseph Smith talks about in the D&C as he and Sidney Rigeon are visited by Heavenly Messengers including Jesus Christ it was really amazing..yet the Spirit is not there really. You can feel it strong on the property that the Church as restored and owns.

On Monday we were off to Cedar Point..the land of roller coasters. Another hot and muggy day but once again we made the most of it. It was great having Mollie along since she is from Ohio.

After Ohio we headed back to Pennsylvania for an 8 day visit with my parents and family and extended family as well as family reunions. We only had 1 day where it rained..that was pretty lucky. the 15th of August was Becky's 25th birthday. We had a cake for all the those who had birthdays that month. My brother in laws Mike and Jack, Becky and my nephew Matt. I can't believe I have a 25 year old! Mom made sure that we took a picture of my sister Mary with Becky and with Mom. Becky is 25, Mary is 50 and my Mom is 75. We had our family get together at Bingham. This is a small village where my Mom grew up. There is still an outhouse on the property and no running water. Mom has kept this property since her parents died and it has been a great place for family gatherings and get togethers.

After the family reunion I headed off to Bradford to attend my High School reunion. It was great to see so many that I had not seen in SO long. I had hoped that some of the people I went to school with would be there but they didn't make it..too bad, we all had a fun time. The school I attended only had 47 graduates and of those 21 were in attendance. Many that I knew since first grade. It was a great night.

It was great to be back in my hometown for a while. I hadn't been there since 2005 and with my Dad just coming out of surgery it was nice to be closer to him for a while. You really learn to appreciate your family a ton more when you are farther away from them. Tears are always shed as we hug and kiss good bye with hopes that it won't be another 4 years till we all see each other once again.