February 10, 2019 - Ice palaces in Saranac Lake, New York have been built with anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 primarily 2-by 4-foot long blocks and have at times measured up to 30-feet wide by 90-feet long and 60-feet high, when both weather and ice allow for it. The completed mighty fortress is always decked out with colorful flags and may contain ice furniture and sculptures along with tunnels and mazes.

2019 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

Unfortunately, warm weather and rain caused much of this year's carnival to be cancelled. We got there early because we were on our way elsewhere - it was supposed to be open 24 hours a day but they had everything blocked off because it was already melting and it was unsafe!

2019 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival: Theme - Prehistoric Park

They had a dozen or more sculptures, presumedly prehistoric dinosaurs etc - but they were all covered with tarps, trying to slow down the melting.

Sideview of the Ice Castle

I included a picture from 2018 where they were not dealing with warm temperatures. The theme was Adirondack Festival - you can see bear sculptures on either side of the castle.

2018 Saranac Lake Winter Carnival

Monday, February 4, 2019 was my 52nd anniversary of being baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I mentioned this to the Sister Missionaries so they bought me a Rebirthday Card to help me celebrate.

Happy 52nd ReBirthday to Mark

The Sisters were thinking that they might get transferred, so they gave us a Valentine's Day card. But they got to stay - so we got two early Valentine's Day gifts - a card and they stayed! Actually we got three gifts - the Elders stayed too!!! No one got transferred!

Sister Black, Karen, Mark, Sister White - Happy Valentine's Day - You Guac My World

In our Mission, the Senior Missionary couples can take their Preparation Day and go anywhere in the Mission. (No leaving the mission boundaries.) So we decided to go visit our daughter Jessy and her family since they live in Glenville (near Albany, NY) which is in our mission boundaries. February 7th was our Grandson Will's 11th birthday, so we were able to celebrate his birthday with him.

Jessy tapes crepe paper to the fan in the family room and then they turn the fan on and the birthday person - Will this time - gets to stand in the middle while the crepe paper swirls around.
Jessy, Will, Annie, Jack, Josh, Lucy, & Grammy
While Will gets ready to blow out the candles on his cake, everyone shouts: Is he one? Is he two? Is he three? Is he four? Is he five? Is he six? Is he seven? Is he eight? Is he nine? Is he ten? No, he's eleven!!!
Good job blowing out those candles on the giant chocolate chip cookie "cake".

We visited Marilyn and her son Michael this week and talked to them about the Come, Follow Me Sunday School curriculum. They were baptized in 2016. When we were talking about reading and studying the scriptures, Michael showed us his plan all laid out in a notebook to read the Book of Mormon three times this year. And then he spilled the beans about his mom: She has already read the Book of Mormon 20 times since joining the church!!! Wow - we felt such a sweet humble spirit in their home. What good examples they are setting for us. We certainly walked away with more than we gave that night.

Marilyn & Michael - Studying Come, Follow Me with Karen and I in their home.

There is an Amish Community in our area. We see them in their horse drawn wagons on the highways occasionally.

This is the first time that I had seen them in town - they were on their way into Home Depot and/or Walmart.

The Massena Walmart stocks lots of Cadbury Mini Eggs, much to my delight. They've had them out for over a month now AND they still have some when I go back. The Spokane Walmart runs out the first or second week and doesn't get any more in - another blessing of going on a mission!!!

Cadbury Mini Eggs - My favorite Easter treat.

Karen loves to wonder across the street in the snow covered golf course and nature trails.

Right by our house.

We hope everyone is well - we love every day of our mission. Share a piece of the gospel with someone you love this Valentine's Day - instead of a piece of candy!!!

Love you all. Mark & Karen