April 28, 2019 - Our daughter Jessy and her four kids who live near Albany, NY - Will, Lucy and twins Annie & Jack came for a short visit this week. They were greeted with one of Grammy's famous signs. (We put up signs on the front of our Bowdish house for 30+ years wishing people happy birthdays, welcome homes, congratulations, etc.) It was Jessy's birthDAY on April 20th - as you can see from the sign, we celebrate birthWEEKS...a tradition started by Jessy when she was growing up.

Welcoming sign for Jessy, Will, Lucy, Annie & Jack
In case you have bad eyesight, here's a closeup!
Lucy & Annie at our kitchen counter
Jack loves to climb
Will loves a challenge
Lucy, Will & Jack
Getting these four to sit down and look at the camera at the same time is tough duty. Top to bottom: Will, Lucy, Jack, Annie
Jack, Will, Annie & Lucy - getting them to focus is easy, when it's a computer game.
Painting their own fish at the Nature Center: Lucy, Grammy, Jack, Will & Annie
Budding artists in the making - Annie, Lucy, Jack & Will
Jessy hanging out by the pond at the Nature Center
Lucy & Will standing in a hollowed out tree that has a motion sensor that sets off the sound of a medley of bats fluttering around when you walk inside.
Annie dressed up as a Sturgeon
Annie & Lucy doing the Sturgeon dance!!
Lucy in her Sturgeon mask.
Lucy playing Jenga (Of course, they "let" me win!!!
Jack found the Puppet Theatre at the Nature Center
Annie & Lucy showing off their masterpieces
Karen showing off the life size Sturgeon. The Lake Sturgeon in New York are on the endangered list and cannot be fished any more.
Sister Weaver and Sister Black dressed up as Sturgeon at the Nature Center. They also volunteer at the Nature Center.

Finding Joy in the Journey
President Vest (our Mission President in the New York Utica Mission) shared a message with the missionaries this past week:
The life of Jesus Christ and especially our remembrance yesterday of His Resurrection have filled me with joy and happiness.  I know he lives, and I testify of his love, mercy, and grace.  Sometimes while on our journey here on the mission and even in life we can struggle or forget to find "joy in the journey".  Sometimes we feel discouraged or sad because the people we are teaching don't seem to be progressing, or we are not seeing the fruit of our labors as we might like to.  We want each of you to find that "joy in the journey” as this is a joyful work and know that we find that joy by keeping our eyes on the Savior of the World.  He is the light that shines in darkness.  He is the hope of all mankind.  He lives and because he lives, we too will live again.  We share that good news of the gospel every day.  As the video says that the church put out for Easter:

In a coming day - Fear will die, pain will die, loneliness will die, despair will die
In a coming day - Sadness will die, sickness will die, disability, deformity, darkness, anxiety will die
War will die, Hatred will die
In a coming day - Death will die
And we all will live again
Because of HIM

President Vest then asked us to make a conscious effort through Christ to find more joy in the journey. To aid us in that effort, he encouraged us to Study Chapter 1 of Preach My Gospel and ask ourselves this question: How will understanding more deeply and embracing my purpose help me find true joy in the journey?

Karen and I found this to be a worthwhile exercise and invite you to consider making this a matter of study in your lives – each of us must consciously seek to find joy in our own journey.

Potsdam District: Elder & Sister Whetstone, Elder Proper, Sister Weaver, Elder Scott, Sister Black, Elder Boyer (our District Leader), Sister Hamblin (going home), Elder Jensen, Sister Fairbanks, Elder & Sister Spear - it's transfer week next week, so we took the traditional last District Meeting before transfers photo.
The Spear Family traditional Sunday dinner: Burnt meatloaf - YUM! For years when all of the kids were growing up, Karen made a simple Sunday dinner, meatloaf; stuck it in the oven and set the oven on time bake. We seemed to always be slow in getting out of church and home, so the meatloaf was always burnt...but we decided we liked very crispy meatloaf - so just yesterday, Karen made burnt meatloaf - just the way we like it!
Sister Black with the Ship Martha Black behind her. (Ship chasing on Preparation Day with Sisters and Karen - our new member ship chasing guide.)

Chasing the LS Jamie - Oil/Chemical Tanker
After going down through the Eisenhower Lock, the ships go slowly to a second lock that is not accessible by the public, but you can follow it down a road and get quite close. Our ship guide, Karen - the new member - continues to show us the ropes on ship chasing on our preparation day.

Night Time Sounds Outside Our Window
This is really an audio recording only - it was pitch black outside and you can't see anything but can hear a chorus of sounds serenading us to sleep

We found joy in our journey this week. Sometimes we have to look hard, but most weeks joy is all around us. We know as we serve, the Lord will bless both those we strive to help AND us as we strive to be obedient. We love and miss you.