Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011 - Tender Mercies

It's Monday, after a fantastic week with family and friends in Southern California. Talk about hard to get back into "it" was 32 degrees this Houston!! What is that about?? I was so cold last night that I could not make myself get up and get another blanket! Rest assured, even though we are in Houston, the electric blanket is now on the bed. Back to the week...

Rich and I went to Southern California a couple of days before the rest of the troops were to arrive. We haven't really had a time there together since leaving in 1999 and it was super fun. Yes, we miss that places and dear friends! I sit here this afternoon and just have to smile and feel grateful for several experiences that we had. We all know about that scripture in 1 Nephi..."the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." And then Elder Bednar's remarks about that scripture, "I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are real and that they do not occur randomly or merely by coincidence. Often, the Lord's timing of His tender mercies helps us to both discern and acknowledge them." Thursday afternoon we chose to visit the Newport Beach beautiful and so amazing to have a temple so close by. After we checked in at the front desk, we were approached by a gentleman who would be serving in the temple that afternoon. He said that Rich looked familiar to him and when he responded with "Rich Bowerman", the gentleman asked us if we knew Evalyn Bowerman. Ummm...yea...she was my mother! The gentleman then very quietly reminded us of who he was...her Bishop...from more than 12 years ago...he who spent countless hours guiding her, encouraging her, and blessing her life as her eclesiastical leader. We had met him a couple of times while she was so sick, and at her funeral, but Rich had spoken with him numerous times on the phone. It was such a sweet moment for the three of us standing there, knowing that it was definitely not a coincidence that we would choose to walk through those doors at that particular moment when he, who was actually filling in for someone else that afternoon, was standing there. It made our time in the temple oh, so sweet. And as we were leaving, we randomly asked a question of a sister sitting quietly close to the front door...turned out to be the Bishop's wife...and we had a wonderful conversation about Evalyn and how we remembered her.

Rich and I drove around and took pictures of apartments we lived in and our first home. We had dinner with good friends a couple of different times. Saturday morning Jennifer and I went to a favorite boutique at the Disneyland Hotel, called CUW. Some people are so darn creative...way fun. There were 12 different cashier stations and I finally ended up at one. As the gal was putting my purchases in order, I told her that she looked familiar and she remarked that I did, too. I have been gone from SoCal since 1999 and never lived anywhere she had, but we kept digging. Turns out that she is a sister of a dear friend from Bellingham, Washington, and we had indeed spent a most amazing day together at the beach many years ago. Way funny...and fun!

Our kids all arrived in Carlsbad on Monday of last week. We were thrilled with our accomodations and location...close to Legoland, the beach, San Diego, Orange County, AND there was a great "big, warm, bubble bathtub" - that was according to Claire. She spent a lot of time in that "bathtub", running from the freezing cold water fountain, to the nice warm bubble bathtub! It was so nice just to spend a relaxing time together. We did manage to get back up to Orange one afternoon and met our friend, Katie, who took some family pics. Loved walking along the beach and loved spending a couple of afternoons at Legoland with Claire and Caleb, and loved our Thanksgiving meal! One afternoon a group went down to the Mormon Battalion Museum in San Diego and yep, they ran into one of our old neighbors from when we lived in Santa Maria...a dear friend to Chris. How cool is that?

Everyone headed out Saturday morning, some driving and some flying, but we all arrived at our various destinations safe and sound and all about the same time. That was funny! Rich and I had to catch a ride from the airport that we landed at to the airport where we had departed from and left our car at. We had the most interesting conversation with our driver. She was very talkative and interesting, and as it turned out both she and Rich had traveled to the same place in upstate New York. Rich has a remarkable way of working the Church into conversations, and as he spoke about Olean, New York, he mentioned how it was close to places significant in Church history. So she finally said, "OK, tell me what Mormons believe." Really? She didn't know anything about the church, which is a little unusual. She was honest in her desire to know more and to find a religion where she "fit". She appreciated the fact that we have no paid clergy. She seemed to think that a modern day prophet might be a good idea. She was open to the idea of the Book of Mormon and asked how she could get one. She said that she often prays, and that when she prays that she asks that she will transport only good people. We mentioned to her that it may not just be "chance" that we ended up in her car that night. She was happy to give us her address so that we could make sure a Book of Mormon is delivered by some missionaries. Sweet times...we came home shaking our heads at all the amazing "little" coincidences that happened during the week, knowing in our hearts that they were not at all coincidental. And then in the morning I went to pick up Lucy and Lizzy...who have not let me out of their site! Missed my little girlfriends!! On to the holidays...LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this time of year!!
P.S. I totally realize that my red shoes really "pop" here (we were just going for lots of color!), but I love them...thanks, Jennifer, for talking me into that purchase. Maybe I should have Katie tone them down a little, eh?