Sweden Here I Come!

Sweden Here I Come!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter in Karlskrona!

     I love Easter!  It is such a wonderful holiday!  I love the spring air, flowers, green grass, and chocolate caramel Easter eggs.  Everyone in our home needed some new spring clothes so that is what we all got from the Easter Bunny!  I decided to not buy baskets full of candy this year because in the past the baskets would end up just sitting on the kids dressers for weeks going untouched!  Then as I would determine to throw out the candy I would be the one to eat most of it, not being able to bear seeing it all go to waste.  This year was different.  No Easter Candy!  It felt weird!  My guilt led me to the kitchen Sunday morning before church to make some homemade Easter candy - something I haven't done for a few years.  Solid milk chocolate bunnies filled with heath bar pieces, caramel suckers, and chocolate eggs filled with homemade caramel.  Everyone received one of each and the rest I gave to my Laurel's class.  We had a wonderful church service, and of course all thoughts were turned to the Savior - His life, His atonement, His death, and His resurrection!  How glorious it is to know that He Lives!  After church Blaine and I headed up to the garden to pick some fresh spinach to put in a salad for our Easter Dinner.  We served it along with BBQ spare ribs, baked potatoes, baked beans, rolls, and salad.  We spent the evening visiting with family and missing our favorite missionary.  Our first Easter without Dilly-Dal!  Ugh, I hate it when there are only four place settings at the dining room table.  But truthfully, I can't think of a more blessed way to spend Easter than serving as a missionary for the Lord.  Carter posted this on Instagram yesterday.  It brought tears.  Carter is at the temple this morning doing baptisms for the dead with a few friends.  He is such a good boy!
Easter without Big-D!

Homemade Easter Treats!
Mom's Letter to Aldste Milne:
This is an excerpt taken from a talk President Monson gave back in April 1976. "One gray, wintry afternoon I visited the famed Tate Gallery. I marveled at the landscapes of Gainsborough, the portraits of Rembrandt, and the storm-laden clouds of Constable. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the third floor was a masterpiece which not only caught my attention but captured my heart. The artist, Frank Bramley, had painted a humble cottage facing a wind-swept sea. Kneeling at the side of an older woman was a young, grief-filled wife who mourned the loss of her seafaring husband. The spent candle at the window ledge told of her fruitless, night-long vigil. The huge gray clouds were all that remained of the tempest-torn night.

I sensed her loneliness. I felt her despair. The hauntingly vivid inscription which the artist gave to his work told the tragic story. It read: A Hopeless Dawn."

Dad bought me a replica of this painting for Easter as a tribute to the women that I have interviewed for the book that I am writing, as well as all others who suffer due to the misuse of their spouse's agency. Although their husbands were not physically lost at sea or dead, their husbands had become spiritually lost and even spiritually dead, and thus these women, in the wake of discovering their husband's pornography use and/or addiction coupled with their infidelity, have spent more than their share of hopeless dawns. Their stories are heart breaking, gut wrenching, and frankly, very unsettling. However, their stories are also full of the hope and eventual triumph that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ brings.

The weight of their stories hung so heavily upon me this weekend that I had to reach out to the Savior to lift their burdens from my heart and mind. Your dad reminded me that even therapists need therapists to process all that they hear from day to day. I am not a therapist (yet), but I have gained a greater insight to what it means to bear one another's burdens, to mourn with those that mourn, and to comfort those that stand in need of comfort. This life is difficult, but because of Him, we can get through all of it. I add my testimony to the countless others that have been given that He LIVES, He LOVES US, and that it is only through Him that we can return to our Heavenly Father.

Dear Aldste Milne,

Happy Easter! What a glorious day it has been. How wonderful it is to reflect upon the life, the death, and the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. This time of year I always like to reflect on the questions that Elder Bruce R. McConkie used to ask: 1. How do you prove that Jesus is the Christ? The answer is the resurrection. Only the Son of God had the power to raise himself from the dead. 2. How do you prove the resurrection? The answer is witnesses. We are blessed to have many witnesses of the resurrected Savior. The witnesses found within the Bible, the Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, The testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and many other testimonies of the prophets and apostles. You and I have the witness of the Holy Ghost. How blessed you are to share this glorious message with your brothers and sisters in Sweden.

How are you doing Dallin? I pray that you are happy and well this week. That is so amazing that Olle is preparing for a mission. You will have to keep us posted on his progress. How has the work gone this week? How was your Easter? Did anyone invite you over for dinner? Did you have a special Easter service at church? How are your investigators doing? Are their any traditions or celebrations that they have in Sweden for Easter that are different from the United States? Have you found that as you talk to people their understanding of Easter and the Resurrection is different from what we believe?

We have missed you all day. Carter posted a picture of himself holding your mission picture on instagram today expressing how much he misses you and that this was our first Easter without you. He made us all cry. Holidays are difficult when you don't have all your family with you. Did you do okay today? I will put some extra money in your account in lieu of an Easter basket! Money is not as exciting, but much more useful! We didn't really do anything special today outside of church. I made some Easter Chocolates and cooked a nice dinner of Bbq ribs, baked potatoes, spinach salad, rolls, etc... We picked the spinach from our garden. I just found a new recipe for a spinach smoothie. It sounds disgusting, but they say in reality it tastes really good and is so healthy to have in the mornings. I'll let you know if there is any truth to that. Dad planted a lot of extra spinach this year so I had better put it all to good use.

Ty and I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Vegas for a baseball tournament. Ty jammed his right hand pretty bad in the last game diving back to first base. He wasn't able to play short stop the rest of the game but still had to bat. He placed a sac bunt down 1st and 3rd. I think if he hadn't been hurt they probably would have won the whole tournament. The team that beat them that night won the whole thing, and they barely beat us. Ty was really missed in the infield. Too many errors cost them the victory. Ty is a good boy. He and I had a lot of fun!

PVHS baseball has two crucial weeks coming up. They have to get a few wins in order to stay in a playoff spot. It will be interesting to see how things shake out. Region 9 is very unpredictable this year, but still tough! Cousin Keaton hit a grand slam last week against Dixie to steal a win from them! It was awesome!

I cannot believe that it has been almost a year since you graduated. That is insane. Time flies too quickly.

Stay safe, healthy, and happy! Be obedient and love the people! Have fun and be yourself!

Love you Dal!


PS.... Dad fell asleep at 9:00 pm. He may write tomorrow, but just know that he loves you and is so proud of you! Work hard and hang in there!
Aldste Milne's Email this week:
Dear Fam,

Happy Easter!!
Sounds like you guys had a good one, I sure did miss you all too. Reading Carter's email sure made me sad with that picture. I sure am proud of him and Ty though, it makes me feel so good that they are both doing the right thing and have their priorities straight, especially in a world as crazy as the one we live in. Such good kids. I had a pretty good Easter, me and Nieminen didn't get to go to the members home for dinner and Easter egg stuff because we had a leadership training meeting in Stockholm on Friday. Originally I was supposed to go on splits in Kristianstad while the DL from there went with Nieminen to the training because I'm still just a young junior comp but he got sick so I got to go with the Fin to Stockholm. It was super good! Before the meeting Me, Niems, and Hitch (my former comp) ditched everyone and went to do a quick session in the Stockholm temple because it was right next door to the chapel. It was way good and very interesting. The new video was in English but everything else was Swedish so that was way cool. Very beautiful temple. The meeting was good as well, I was joking with a lot of the elders saying that I was already a zone leader with the fin. Everyone there were in leadership positions and were all pretty old missionaries and then there was me haha. It was good stuff, President Newell sure is a heck of a guy. I don't know what is keeping that guy from getting translated.
The rest of the week was good as well. I also found out that Olle is not only just preparing for a mission but that he also baptized one of his friends up there in Umeå! He is unbelievable I feel so lucky to have been able to find, teach, and baptize him. One of the best guys I've ever met. Daniel is doing super good as well, we are staying in touch over email and everything is going well with him. Makes me feel so good. As far as Karlskrona goes we have had some good and some bad as usual. The bad is that the two baptismal dates that we got last week have already dropped us. "It is what it is" has been me and the fin's favorite phrase when stuff doesn't go our way. We can't control everything, it is what it is, so we just move on and keep moving forward. Technically just one dropped us actually, the other is just moving up north and will be in touch with the missionaries there. But we picked up 2 more dates this week so that was good. We are still working hard and teaching quite a bit, just need to get some people in the font. It'll come though, good things are happening.
Easter Sunday was nice. We had a record 60 people in sacrament meeting so that was way good. It was kind of funny though because I don't think the branch president realized that this Sunday was Easter Sunday when he assigned the talk topics because both of the talks focused on temple work, which was good, but we had a lot of explaining to do for our investigators afterward - haha deep stuff, but it was nice. In Sweden they have a weird tradition of kids dressing up as witches. Apparently it's because a long time ago around Easter all of the Scandinavian witches would have a big gathering or something so everyone would hide in their homes and set up a bunch of stuff to keep the witches spells away or something like that. I'm not really sure, its really weird especially for an Easter thing haha. People outside the church know that Easter is for Jesus' resurrection but they don't understand it the same way we do as far as the plan of salvation goes, in that we will all be resurrected and live again because He overcame the grave. For my primary class I dropped the old testament lesson that we were supposed to do and just talked about the plan of salvation and why the resurrection was significant for us personally.
In other news, we got a car up in Stockholm so me and the Fin had a fun 5 hour road trip back to Karlskrona. It was pretty fun to see the countryside of Sweden and drive down the coast, it is such a beautiful country and the weather has been so nice lately. I feel so lucky to be able to serve in such a nice, clean, and safe place.
That's too bad to hear about Ty's tournament and the injury, luckily it ain't a big deal and Ty is a tough kid. And I am really excited to hear how the rest of Carter's baseball season plays out with the playoff run. And wow, Keaton sure is a stud - haha! I sure do miss Aunt Kim's family. But all I know is time sure does fly like you said. Here on the mish the days feel like weeks and the weeks feel like days. I'm already close to my 6 month mark, so crazy!
Anyways thanks for the email and for all of your thoughts and prayers! And thanks for the money, trust me that is the best gift you can give a missionary - haha. Love you all, have a great week!

Äldste Milne
Me and the Fin outside the Swedish church after we got our haircuts. It was an Easter special for only 1 Kr! (Thats like 1/7th of a penny!)
Kind of a weird face by me but we are stoked to have a car now, it sure does make the work easier!
Another awkward face by yours truly, these are some really cool people that we have been meeting with!
We are having the best weather in all of Sweden here in Karlskrona!

Ty diving back to first and jamming his fingers!  His entire hand was swollen and black and blue!

1 comment:

  1. Such a wonderful post. I loved your words Natalie and have to smile at how good you are to Blaine. Wow, you make his life easy. It's so fun to read the love that your family has for each other. Keep up the good work. Dallin sounds awesome; his pictures are fun; he looks like he's gaining a little weight in his face. hahaha. I miss Dallin working at Pizza Factory; it was so fun to see him on a weekly bases. Love to all. Aunt Kim PS. I couldn't see the picture Blaine bought you Natalie; so I'm off to another browser to see if it shows up. Love, Kim