Friday, April 9, 2010
I was married to the former Andrea Sinden on 28 February, 2009 in the
Seattle, Washington temple. It took some time to find her. I told
her that I was looking everywhere for her but she said I just needed
to look down ;). She is not that short though - she is 5'6" and I am
6'5" so we kind of compliment each other in a wacky numerical
palindrome sort of way.
I consider myself so very lucky to be married to such a sweet,
beautiful, talented woman. She has essentially two degrees, one in
international business and one in opera performance :). She even
plays one of my favorite instruments, the cello! We got to perform
Beethoven's 9th with the Utah Symphony Chorus last Summer at the Sun
Valley Music Festival - so fun and one of my all-time favorite pieces.
Andrea and I have been happily married for a little over a year now.
I had been working as a software developer for the Church in the
missionary department until recently. A couple of months ago, I took
a job that has brought us down to Austin, Texas. We, along with our
three little cats made the twenty-two hour drive down here and set up
our little home. We are also expecting a little baby girl in August.
Fortunately, we have air conditioning!
Nice memories from the mission:
- Pesto and focaccia in Genova (yum!)
- Doing a special kind of sidewalk chalk mostra in Nervi on the boardwalk
- Humbling experiences with companions who taught me many great life lessons
- Singing at the 30th anniversary of the Church in Torino
- Teaching and learning from Pino Donato and Ezio and John Odigie
(from Nigeria) and many others
- So many other wondrous little experiences
I still think of friends made in the mission and pray for you. Take care!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Wow...14 years ago I went to Italy for the first time...
Today I'm living in Germany. My husband, John, is my partner in crime and makes me laugh harder than anyone else ever. Sixteen months ago I was blessed with our beautiful daughter, Isabella, who unfortunately inherited her mama's stubborn side, but is so incredibly charming and funny that we can't help but love her to pieces. I also have three stepkids, but only my stepdaughter, Maddie (7) lives here with us in Germany...she's my best helper and full of "spitfire."
John is in the US Army. We live on a base on the far eastern side of Germany near the Czech border. I've loved being back in Europe and I've been back to Lugano already to visit la famiglia Nardotto as well as others. We've done lots of traveling around Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria. I was really excited to be here for the 20th anniversary for the fall of the Berlin Wall. I am glad, however, that we have another 2 years here...it just might take me that long to finally learn German.
I've been working the past 10 years in marketing for state energy efficiency programs. I can't do my job from Germany so I've taken a sabbatical and get to relax a little as a stay at home mom and play with the kiddos and eat cheerios and tromp around in the snow.
I love reading about missionaries that I "once knew..." My favorite memories are always of my MTC group, Lugano and Ilaria and President Clegg and Sorella Stephanie Smith...and pretty much the whole 18 months of my mission.
Our family blog is http://chuckleheads.blogspot.com/.
Sorella Anna (Johnson) Larson
Photos - John and I, all three stepkids with Isabella and my two girls...
Monday, March 8, 2010
My wife, Brooke, and I live in Vernal, UT. We have 2 wonderful and happy girls, age 11 and 1. In the Fall of 2009 we purchased a ReBath franchise that covers Eastern Utah and Western Colorado, so that keeps me jumping and running.
Brooke is an amazing support and encouragement to me! She is the love of my life and my very best friend and cheerleader.
My in-laws live across the street and we love doing activities and projects together with the family band, arts council and church service.
Last Summer I had the privilege of staffing Woodbadge. The summer before I was able to help with Youth Leadership Training (Timberline). Both experiences were amazing opportunities to review and help others learn leadership skills.
Monday, February 22, 2010
I remember fondly the people, food, and lessons learned from my time in Italy. Some of the greatest moments were when I learned from my companions and leaders.
Sophia and I have been married for 10 years. We have 2 fantastic girls (ages 2 and 1) with a third on the way.
After graduating from BYU, I moved to Austin, TX where Sophia was finishing school. We moved to the Philadelphia area about 3 years ago. Currently, we are both in school at the University of Pennsylvania. I am getting my MBA at the Wharton School and my wife is getting her Masters at the School of Nursing. We are enjoying the East Coast but look forward to some day in the future to return back West.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I still look back on my mission as a very important and defining building block to my personal life. I was fortunate to visit Europe on two occasions before the mission with my family but the Mission is what really drove my interest to move back here and be among the people and serve them. As you may well know, I currently live in Zurich and have been here for almost 4 years with my wife and 3 beautiful daughters, one of which just arrive in November. This is the second time I've lived in Europe after the mission. The first was a trial period (mostly for my wife) during my graduate program where we lived just across the boarder from Geneva, Switzerland for 1 year. I love this place and it remains very close to my heart. However the time has come for us to return back to the states where we can settle down for a while and take care of our children. I am happy to say that both my wife and I have served the Lord to our best abilities while we've been here and hopefully have helped plant seeds or strenghten others who have faced difficulty.
Thank you so much for your great examples and may the Lord continue to bless you beyond your needs and desires. I look forward to the opportunity to visit you guys now that we will be living in SLC again.
Un grande abbraccio
Monday, February 8, 2010
The beginning of the year (2009) started with a new move to Boise, new job, and Dave’s business taking off (he was so busy, he even closed a deal on our wedding day - fortunately there was no cell service in Mexico during the honeymoon). Adjusting to “rural Boise” was a bit of a challenge for me and Dave was trying to adjust to having his girlfriend live close by. I don’t know which on of us had it harder.
We got engaged on March 27 after Dave fed me some story of running out of gas and needing to be rescued in Meridian, Idaho. What I didn’t know was that he had spent all day orchestrating the “perfect proposal” so that I wouldn’t have a clue at all, and I must say he achieved his goal. To put the story into a nutshell, after bringing him gas to put into his car, we went to check out a couple of houses in the area that he was selling. At the second house as I was wandering about, he got on one knee and asked me to marry him. At first I didn’t know if he was serious, but then I saw the ring and got excited! He had set up a table with candles and all, and we enjoyed a romantic Italian dinner. It was a fun night and very memorable.
After months of planning our wedding, June 11th arrived and it was a perfect day despite rain showers, forgetting my dress at the Tuscany and the photographer’s house burning down. My favorite moment of the day was entering the sealing room surrounded by all of our family and friends. At that moment, all my jitters vanished and I couldn’t stop smiling. We had an adventurous honeymoon in Zihuatenejo, Mexico where we parasailed, swam with dolphins, snorkeled, relaxed on the beach and learned new cooking skills. The food was delicious and we couldn’t get enough of the guacamole and mangos. It was extremely hard to come back to real life.
Summer went by way too quick but we did manage to squeeze in a trip to Antioch, CA to see Dave’s grandma and his cousins, go to a family reunion, and do a little camping. We also started building a house at the end of the summer. We heard a lot of “Are you crazy? You just got married!” and “If you can make it through building a house, you can make it through anything.” As you know, Dave is always up for a challenge, so we embarked on what would prove to be a challenge and adventure indeed.
Intertwined with the stress of building a house, my mom underwent a kidney transplant in October. My brother, Shae, was the donor. Despite it being a time of uncertainty, it turned out to be a strengthening experience for the entire family. We saw a lot of little blessings and miracles along the way and it was amazing to feel the support and outpouring of love from family and friends. You’ll be happy to know that both recipient and donor are doing phenomenal.
At the close of 2009, we managed to get moved into our new home just before Christmas and enjoyed the peace that comes with the holiday season. Now that the boxes are unpacked and we are settled, we are ready for another year of adventure! We are grateful for each of you and the support you have given us this past year. You are among our blessings!
Love David and Tara Nielsen
*We also started a blog…we’ll see if we can keep up with it. You can find it at www.tarandavid.blogspot.com.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
My wife, Mandy, and I have been married for 12 years, and we have 5 beautiful children-- Savannah (11), Kimball (9), Tessa (6), Lincoln (4), and Camille (1).
2009 was our best year, despite some trials. Camille, our youngest, was born last December with severe heart defects. She's had two open heart surgeries and two angioplasties in the past year. Her heart has been reconfigured to pump with a single atrium and a single ventricle. You can follow our adventures in hypoplastic left heart syndrome by registering here: http://www.carepages.com, and then going to http://www.carepages.com/tiptoe.
We are blessed to live close to both of our extended families in Virginia; we're even more blessed that we LIKE them (mostly). We're also blessed with lots of good friends who supported us during our months in the hospital with Camille. I'm reminded constantly of the Savior's injunction -- "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35) We are grateful to live in a ward with so many of Christ's disciples.
By day, I'm a technical writer for a government contractor; I translate technical plans into plain English so non-technical management folks can understand them. When I'm not writing software development life-cycle documentation, I'm either working on my own writing, or editing for Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. It figures that the job I love the most (editing/writing science fiction and fantasy) is the job that pays the least! :)
My favorite memories of the mission: tracting with Anziano Donald Sandberg in Settimo Torinese...really, doing ANYTHING with Anziano Sandberg. Visiting Anziano Alma Tolman in the hospital in Torino after his appendix almost ruptured... Speak Easy, aka, the Matt and Scott Show (I cannot believe Presidente Clegg allowed us to translate rock'n'roll songs as an advertisement for English classes)... ,Thanksgiving in 1996, in Milano Turro; caroling on the steps of the Duomo in Milan and doing strada; teaching Ophelia Redoma with Anziano Kent Roper-- again, doing ANYTHING with Anziano Roper was memory-making. :)
Scott M. Roberts
Monday, January 18, 2010
I returned from my mission in 1999 and was fortunate to attend BYU, where I met my wife. We met in one of the singles wards there and the rest is now history. We now have two children. Their names are Julianna (6), and Blake (3). We currently live in San Jacinto, California. I guess all those English clases in Italy rubbed off on me, because I now teach high school English in Moreno Valley, a nearby city. My wife, Kera, who also majored in English, helps to raise our kids at home and occasionaly does some online editing. We enjoy serving in our ward, where Kera serves in the Relief Society and Joel serves in Elders Quorum.
Some of the fondest memories I have from my mission are the visits I had with the Battaglia family in Milan. Anziano Derr was my companion. During one of those visits, Tecla, the mother, explained to us that she had not been in contact with her sister for a long period of time because of a certain argument that had transpired between them. We asked her if we could offer a prayer to help resolve the situation. She said we could, and then she had us follow her into another room where there was a painting of the Savior hanging on the wall. Apparently, she often prayed next to this painting. We offered a prayer, and the very next day she called to inform us that her sister had called her that day and that things were now better. We knew that it was a miracle that had come about because of the power of prayer.
Friday, January 15, 2010
After I returned from my mission, I worked at a brokerage house and then a bank. I met my husband on a blind date set up my his sister. We have been married almost 12 years. Our first daughter, Taylor 10, was born with a heart defect. She had open heart surgery at just 6 days old. She is very sweet, smart, physically active and luckily, okay. After many years, I was unable to have another child. We adopted Annabelle, 6, from a beautiful couple not ready to marry. She is funny, smart, social and very dramatic. After feeling content with two children, I was surprised to find myself pregnant at 36. Jack, 18 months, is a typical boy...very distructive, but adorable. We have lived in Utah, Michigan for law school and now Arizona. We have been here 2 1/2 years and love the weather.
I have great memories of my mission... riding bikes, eating foccacia, volunteering and sharing the gospel. I hope to return to Italy with my family in a few years.