Sunday, April 6, 2014

Our Temple Open House Assignment

One of my friends asked what my assignment with the temple open house was, and since the answer is a bit more complicated than I want to get into on a Facebook thread, I figured it would be a good subjuct for a blog post. I imagine everyone else who reads this blog would be interested in this as well, right?
The short answer is my assignment is to be First Shift Temple Tour Coordinator, but that doesn't tell you much. It didn't tell me much! One of the things we learned is that this whole experience is an evolving work in progress. In fact, one of the phrases we've used frequently over the past couple of months is "It will all work out." (I guess we got that from President Hinckley and President Monson - see the conference talks from yesterday.)
Anyway, at the end of January our stake president asked Wayne and I to be our stake representatives on the multi-stake temple open house committee. He wasn't sure what that involved, and neither were we, but since we've learned that it's always best to say yes to a priesthood leader, we did. He also asked three other couples to help us and we formed a stake committee. At that point we thought our assignment was to pass information along to the wards and branches and encourage them to solicit volunteers to serve.

A week or so later we received some information from the committee chair. We learned that our stake was responsible for March 31, April 1 and April 2, and the other stakes were given different days. We were also told how many tour guides and ushers our stake was responsible for providing. At this point we still weren't clear on those individual responsibilities, but we were able to divide those numbers between the various units in our stake and work with the bishops and branch presidents as they made their assignments, which they did. We were trying to identify two types of volunteers - some who would work just on those three days, and others who would work at several different times throughout the entire month.

Then we actually had a committee meeting in Plantation!
We learned that there was some miscommunication somewhere along the line and that every person on the "stake committee" was really supposed to be part of the "area committee" and that everyone on that committee was supposed to be available to help at the temple every single day of the open house. The other seven people on our committee all had full-time jobs, without a month's worth of vacation time available, so we had to recruit a few more.  Wayne kept the stake representative assignment (since most of that work took place before the open house and he wouldn't need to be there every day), and I was given the Temple Tour assignment. There's one person (Randy) in charge of everything, then an additional three people (one for each shift - morning, afternoon, and evening - me, Alex, and Lizette) on our Temple Tour sub-committee.

That has also been a work in progress, but now that the tours have actually started, we know that our assignment is to keep things inside the temple flowing smoothly. We're responsible for placing our usher volunteers in strategic spots, mainly between rooms and in hallways, to help the tour guides know if the next room is empty, to open doors when necessary, and to prevent guests from wandering where they're not supposed to. When there are a lot of helpers, it's easier; when we're working with just a few we have to get more creative, but so far we've felt successful.
Volunteers arriving
Welcome Video Tents

Shoe-cover station
Exit Tent
The other sub-committees include training (teaching the volunteers their responsibilities), staff sign-in (greeting the volunteers and assigning them to one of the areas), welcome tents (where the short video about temples is shown at the beginning of the tour - this area includes the wheelchair tent and outside greeters), tour guides (the volunteers who lead the groups from the tents to the temple and then guide them through it), shoe-covers (our wonderful youth and young adults who help place shoe-covers on the guests), and exit tent (where the comment cards and missionaries to answer questions are stationed).
The members of our stake were wonderfully supportive on our stake days and we had 3,349 guests tour the temple last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn't keep track of the number of volunteers that showed up on those days, but we had 824 that said they would help sometime during the open house, and I'm sure the majority of those were there.
Wayne took the three days off work and we stayed from 8 AM to 9 AM. He was in charge of getting the tour guides from the staff tent to the welcome tents and after I did my morning shift in the temple, I served as a tour guide in the afternoon and the evening. The opportunity to interact with the guests was a wonderful experience.
So, now you know a little bit from behind the scenes of a temple open house. It's been a lot of work, both physically, mentally, and spiritually, but it's also been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm extremely grateful to be chosen to help. I'll let you know if I still feel the same in a couple of weeks, but I'm sure I'll be even more thrilled then to have had the opportunity.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Tale of Two Temples, Part Two

We've been hard at work preparing for Temple #2 in Florida - the Fort Lauderdale Temple in Davie. Last week we were able to have a final committee meeting on the temple grounds and tour the inside. It's absolutely gorgeous! Our favorite detail was the tile work under the baptismal font. I guess you'll have to wait for the church to publish a picture of that. We also loved the desks in the President's and Matron's offices. Wayne says they make it look like we bought our new desk - which I still absolutely love - at Goodwill. (I don't quite agree, but they are definitely beautiful desks!) The offices aren't on the public tour route; I guess if you ever want to see them, you'll need to make an appointment with President or Sister Boggess.

We could take pictures outside, so that's what you get today.
Here's the field for parking, and then the "welcome" tents where the short video will be shown before starting the tour.
You can see the storm was rolling in as we gathered to start the meeting. We tested the tents (or at least one of them) and they work just fine at keeping you dry from the rain outside. 

After leaving the tents, it's a short walk to the temple, where you go past the main entrance and in the baptistry door.

The tour ends by using what will really be an emergency exit, but for the next few weeks, it will lead guests right to the exit reception tent where the sister missionaries will be available to answer any questions they might have.

All temples are gorgeous, but this one will have special meaning for us. It's a small temple, and it may feel like we've outgrown it before it even opens, but that just makes it feel more intimate and holy.
The view from the freeway
For the next five or six weeks, this is going to be an almost daily sight. Isn't it nice that it's so beautiful?

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Tale of Two Temples, Part One

This month we took our last trip to the Orlando Temple, at least in the foreseeable future. It was a gorgeous day, and a special occasion. Fay and Adam were married!
Don't they look happy??
 Fay's family
Friends who made the trip
Adam's family
Cute nieces and nephews!
The bridesmaids
The pre-wedding preparation and the reception will have to wait for their own posts later.
Congratulations Adam and Fay!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Another Year Older, and Wiser, Too!

The other day I came across these pictures and wanted to scan them. Well, for some unknown reason the printer wasn't working properly. Now it is and I figured these would be great to share in honor of Brad's birthday. Maybe it's not quite fair that these pictures aren't just about him, but that's his life. He's always been part of a wonderful group of brothers and they grew up together. One of his great qualitities is his ability to draw people close together and bring unity to the group.
Happy Birthday, Brad!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Remember the Holidays - Sushi vs. Wings

And this year the sushi won!

Last year we started the tradition of going out for dinner on New Year's Day. Sometimes the difference between six kids at home versus two is quite amazing!  Anyway, we debated whether it needed to be the same restaurant to keep it a tradition, and decided that it didn't need to be. I wasn't enamored with Buffalo Wild Wings, so it was easy for me to vote against that, even if I don't particularly care for sushi either! But it wasn't up to me, and that was fine as well. Everyone decided it would be a good opportunity for Wayne to share a memorable work lunch with us, and we went to Kabuki in West Palm where we ordered the Sushi Boat.
Here's what was included in the Sushi Boat for Four: Nigiri sushi, sashimi, spicy tuna roll, salmon avocado roll, kani dragon roll, rainbow roll.
I was wondering what each of these things meant, so I did some research. Sashimi is just plain slices of raw fish. Nigiri sushi is those fish slices on top of a ball of rice. The rolls are I what I original thought sushi was - seaweed and rice and various other items rolled and then sliced. The rainbow roll had fish as the outer layer, and the kani dragon roll contained crab. Now you know what I know!

We each started with a bowl of soup. Wayne, Jeff and Fay had Miso Soup. Michelle tried Tom Yum and I tried Tom Kha. They were all delicious!

And since I don't care for sushi (I've decided it's the vinegar in the rice that's the problem), I had Volcano Chicken which was fabulous - chicken and vegetables in a sweet chili sauce. I'll need to figure out how to make it at home some day. Here's a good contender for a recipe for the sauce. And here's another.

Then we enjoyed the holiday lights on our walk back to the car. And I discovered that I still need to figure out the settings on my new camera. All of the pictures were blurry, but I'm posting this one anyway to help me remember!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Remembering the Holidays - Out with the Old, In with the New

Once the closet was finished, it was time to tackle the rest of the computer room. First we made room for a new couch, which can double as a bed if the rest of the bedrooms are filled. 
Then it was time to replace our faithful, twenty-year-old desk with something a little nicer.
The boxes didn't quite make it before Christmas, but that's okay, because they took up a lot of room!
We're extremely grateful they arrived while at least one of our strong sons was still visiting. This is a heavy piece of furniture! So, on New Year's Day, in between the beach and the restaurant, Jeff and Wayne worked hard to assemble the desk.
We love it!

We've been using it for two months now, and I'm still keeping the top cleared off! It's a miracle!! (There's even an empty drawer in the hutch which is an amazing fact as well.)
While we save some money to buy the matching bookshelf, we decided we ought to paint our little cabinet. While it was fine in Michelle's old bedroom/my sewing room, lavendar just doesn't work in this room. Do you think black would look okay?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Remembering the Holidays - New Year's Day

This year we chose not to arrive in time for the sunrise (which was totally fine with me), but we still decided that going to the beach for New Year's would be a great idea. And it was. We had a great time at Coral Cove Park.
It wasn't quite warm enough to go swimming, but that's okay. It was still quite beautiful and the weather was pleasant.
And our barbecue was delicious.
But that was just the beginning of our celebrating the holiday! Stay tuned for more. . . .

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Happy Birthday, Brooke!

We're so blessed to have this sweet little girl as part of our family. One day I was flipping through old blog posts and found this one explaining some of the items we had sewn for her when she was born. I thought you might enjoy seeing how she's outgrowing them now!

The infant nightgown:
It must have swallowed her up then, because she could still fit in it last Christmas!
And here's the little dress we made (out of scraps from Michelle's skirt):
Michelle never did get a matching picture, because she outgrew her skirt before Brooke grew into her dress. The estimate of it fitting when she was 2 was a bit off; it was closer to 1 1/2. And now I know that next time it can even be an inch or two longer.
You're growing so fast! Have a wonderful year being 2. Happy Birthday, Brooke!!