I am thankful for the beautiful Christmas season. I love the holiday lights. I love Christmas carols. I love Christmas trees and decorations. But mostly, I love the focus on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. How grateful I am for the opportunity that we have to celebrate His birth and to share His love and peace with those around us.
Monday morning, Hermana Pack and I headed out on a shopping trip. When we got out of the car at the mall at Plaza Norte, she looked down to see that she had two different black shoes on. We did look for her some new matching shoes, but she had no luck. I did find a cute, very comfortable pair of shoes, and they are made right here in Spain! We also went to Costco. We were trying to find the right color, the right size, and the right style of boots for Caroline. We were very carefully moving the stacks of boxes, when over they went, all over the floor. The employees at Costco are so friendly, and so helpful. We were grateful for their help in cleaning up our disaster.
I also snapped pictures of these marshmallow treats. You can't buy just plain white marshmallows, but they love these crazy colors and designs. They don't look appetizing to me!
Throughout the year, you can buy jamón serrano or jamón ibérico. But at Christmas time, the stores are full of them. It is a type of dried ham that is a delicacy in Spain. It looks disgusting hanging by the hoof. It smells like a barnyard. And, I personally don't care for the chewy texture, thought the flavor is not bad. But, as of 2007, it has been imported into the United States, if you would like to buy some.
On Tuesday, we started the day out very early at the mission home, cooking for our Mission Leadership Council. Hanna Evans has been a nanny for a family in our area for the past three months. She served a mission in Chile, and this has been a good opportunity for her to work on her Spanish. She loves to cook and was a great help in the kitchen. She and Hermana West look like the got the matching memo!
These pictures that President Pack took show the great missionaries we have and how much they enjoy getting together for these meetings.
This is Elder Cotton who lives in our old ward in Olathe, Kansas. It was also fun to see Elder Daniels. We have missed him in the office.
These elders and sisters are wonderful leaders and are a great example for our missionaries.
But on Friday, we had a wonderful P-day with Hanna. She has not seen many of the wonderful places in Spain, so we took her to a few of our favorites. We have been wanting to go back to Valle de los Caídos, or Valley of the Fallen. It is a Catholic basilica and a monumental memorial built by the Spanish general Francisco Franco to honor those who had been killed in the Spanish Civil War. The fallen are buried in the valley outside of the basilica. In 1975, Franco was buried inside the basilica. There are 3,360 acres of beautifully treed land. We couldn't have picked a more beautiful day to be there.
And we enjoyed watching the children play in the courtyard.
Because we were short on time, we went through the Burger King drive thru. I had to take a picture of the way they serve a water bottle. It is rude to drink out of a bottle, so at a restaurant, they will bring you a bottle of water or pop and a cup as well. I guess it is the same even at the drive thru.
Then, we walked to the opposite side of the plaza, where we had never been before.
The view was spectacular. So glad we were able to enjoy it!
Another wonderful day of sightseeing in Spain!
Saturday, I spent the morning, and part of the afternoon in the office. Then I went on a shopping spree with Hermana and Caroline Pack. I was looking for a few Christmas presents to take home, and Caroline was shopping for some clothes and a gift for a friend. We almost had a disaster when she couldn't find her purse. But some good person turned it in and not a thing was missing! There was a Star Wars display and Hermana and Caroline took pictures to show Jonathon. And Caroline found these sassy boots. Oh, to be young again!
About 7:30 p.m., I started cooking for the missionaries. I went to bed way too late, but we did have a wonderful meal on Sunday. The missionaries loved the honey lime enchiladas. I have found a salsa verde that has a little bit of a kick that I can use to make my own green enchilada sauce. We also had Texas Caviar and chips, fresh fruit, and Elder Ruiz requested Apple Cake for dessert. Some of my very favorites!
Elder Ruiz and Elder Barlow are leaving us on this transfer. We will miss them.
Hermana Olsen is also leaving us. It is always hard to see this missionaries move on.
But, we are happy to have Elder Guerra as our new Assistant to the President.
What a great group of missionaries!