Sunday, October 26, 2014


We have had some fun visits from dear people lately!
Elder Norton and his father came back to Spain so we went out to dinner and had such a good visit.
 We went down town to get some copies made and I noticed these workers.  At home there would have been a production.  Here they put up a couple of cones and the cars just had to go around... a challenge in streets just wide enough for a single car.  Several cars went up on the sidewalk to avoid them but no one got excited.

 We had a farewell dinner with another former missionary  who has been living here, but returned to his native country to try to arrange school in the states. 
We may have had a sword fight with the bread sticks.  No wait, it was wand practice.

The Mediterranean!
The best visitors of the month came last week though!  My Mom and sisters came to Spain! A couple of weeks ago, Rod was advising one of our Mesa missionaries that if there was anything he wanted from home to tell his Mom to bring it to our Mom and she would bring it.  One of the APs over heard and was astounded.  "Your Mom is coming?  But she must be....(choke, sputter) ...great.  (He had a hard time not saying 'old').  My husband of course responded with..."Lots of parents come and travel with their kids after their missions."  He will be surprised at how young 60 is when he is that old and then 85 wont be quite so ancient.  Anyway, My sweet sisters and my Amazing Mom endured many hours of air travel so that we could share a little of our mission with them.

My amazingly young Mom and the Malaga port from the Gibralfaro.

All us girls.  I'm just so excited!

We bought green beans and olives at the fruit market.

Then a trip to the Malaga Cathedral.

I wasn't the only one intrigued by the doors. 
 The next day we went to the Alhambra.  I will save those photos for another post.  This is just a teaser.
Love you all tons. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

You never know!

1.  You never know the impact you have on the people around you!
Honestly, it sneaks up and catches me by surprise.  Every time!  We went walking along the bay in the opposite direction from our usual one night (in our casual clothes, without name tags or any other marker) and ended up on the other side of the bay, a much longer walk than we had planned.  That side is full of restaurants and stores aimed at the tourists debarking from cruise ships.  There is a merry-go-round, inflatable bouncy space, fine dining and clothing stores.  There were amazing sail boats anchored there as well as some military ships.  As we were coming back, one of the restaurant workers invited us to try his restaurant saying that they would serve missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We didn't know him until he mentioned that he used to work in Fuengirola and recognized us from our visits there.  He couldn't have seen us more than 3-4 times. 
You will have to figure the odds. This is just one tiny example.   You just never know.
2.  You never really know all the work going on behind the scenes.
There is an extensive network of people helping to care for our missionaries that I never knew about before.   Our Area medical advisor and his wife came to visit our mission and  gave a presentation to the mission leadership council.  He also had a packet he wanted to give as a gift to the hospitals as thanks for their care of our missionaries.  We took them to visit hospitals in Fuen and Malaga.  Then we drove them around to see a few of the tourist attractions.  We had a lovely visit.  We took them to try tapas.

His 'retirement' consists of working 8 hours a day with calls coming 24-7 from mission presidents who need advice.  We were glad to help them have a little Costa del Sol vacation.
We enjoyed getting to know them.  It makes me remember the doctors and nurses that helped train us in Salt Lake City and Provo.  They too were 'retired' but worked just as hard as volunteers as they did when they were paid.  Some are working to help solve specific problems and have found some amazing solutions that could have made them big $.  Remember these people are just the ones I have met.  There are just as many dealing with who knows what else. 

3.  You never know who will touch your heart with a gift of friendship.

Sister Nielson and I have shared such fun times and I admire her so much. Think of the courage it takes to go on a mission, alone.  I don't think I could do it now.  I am thankful for her open heart and willingness to join in our adventures. We would never have met but for this mission.

The beautiful Mediterranean, there are sail boats in the distance.
4.  You  never know how many missionaries lives you touch, even  though  unaware of doing anything with or for them.  I truly feel humbled by their great love, and feel a profound responsibility to merit their love and admiration.  I expect we will have our hands full visiting many of them.

5. You  never know the gospel truths you will learn, right along with investigators and members, as you serve and exert yourself to be open to them. 

I do know that God lives!  That he loves each of us!  That our lives have meaning and purpose if we are willing to listen to His inspired leaders here on earth.
We love you all.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Doma Vaquera

 My husband really would like to see a bull fight but that isn't allowed.  For one thing, they are held on Sundays.  For another, they are violent and the spectators tend to indulge in alcoholic refreshments.  Generally not considered missionary appropriate.  However... in the last few years, bull fighting has fallen in popularity even here in Spain.  The Spaniards have found other uses for the bull rings.  Fuengirola sent an email on an event to be held in the Plaza de Toros, so Saturday we went to the bull ring. We weren't sure what it would be as the words in the name weren't in the dictionary at least in this usage.  Turns out it was a horsemanship show/demonstration.  I LOVED it.  Lots of the skills that were displayed we had seen at the Royal riding school in Jerez, but here we were closer and photos were allowed!!!  I may have had to cull photos for an hour to get the number down to just a hundred or so.  Here are some of the best.  Certain of you will be subjected to the short videos I took, but since I don't know how to put them on this blog, the majority of you will be spared.

Behold the inside of a bull ring!
I rather thought it was a competition to start, but it was simply a demonstration.  The shrubs formed the limits of the show ground.  It was elegant and lovely.  The signals to the horse are almost never seen by the audience.  It seems as though the horse just decides to do them on his own.  There was music along with each performance and a running commentary from the stand.  I couldn't understand  much.  The specialized vocabulary is my excuse.

The horse moves at a controlled trot most of the time, changing leads, crossing feet, moving in diagonal lines, sometimes in tight circles and sometimes marching in place.
It was beautiful.  The second rider did similar moves but using this long pole as part of the performance.

Sometimes the rider carried the pole, sometimes he dragged it on the ground.

Here he laid it on his shoulder and the horse trotted in a circle without dislodging the pole.

Here the horse moves in a tight circle with the end of the pole stationary.

Here the horse jumps moving his head under the pole to change directions in the circle.

See his forefeet off the ground?  I was so impressed!

This lady oozed elegance!!!

Notice, only one foot is touching the ground at this moment.

The feet just seem to float between steps.
I kept wishing to see the horse just get to run a little.  The next horse did just that.  There were only short bursts of gallop followed by stopping short, but there was no hauling on the reins like we do in western riding.  The horse just seemed to sit on his haunches and stop.  The power in the hind quarters of this breed of horse is what makes them able to perform like this.  That power also made them valued as war horses and there was a time when the 'pure Spanish breed' almost died out.

See how he is crossing his front legs?  It looks so cool.

After his performance he was joined by his son, I believe they said he is 6 years old.

He was able to do demonstrate many of the same skills.  Notice the stirrup.  About half of the riders used this type of stirrup.

Each rider seemed to have a particular trick they did best.  This horse would turn in a circle with his hind legs in one place and the front stepping around.  Then he did just the opposite, keeping the front in place and moving the back legs in a full circle.

I think this was the prettiest looking horse partly because of his style and smoothness of movement and partly because his coat looked like burnished silver.

He was so focused!

He was also very good at the sudden stop and he loved marching in time to the music. 

Can you tell that somebody never really out grew her adolescent horse loving stage?

I loved the color of this horse too. 

Very good at moving backwards and quick stops.

Somehow this horse looks like a Barbie horse to me.  All the amazing skills of the other horses but just the reins and quirt to signal changes.  This was an excitable, nervous seeming horse.

Just what we were waiting for! 

 I know I should let you go, but Look at Her!  Side Saddle!!!

A perfect 'Spanish Step'!

The Finale


As we left we got a closer look at the performers.

The black is a Tall horse!

Thank you for your patience.  Love you all!