Friday, December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family! 
May the blessings of heaven be yours in abundance!

2012 has been a very eventful year. We started out with a foot deep snowfall in January
which was great fun....for the kids! Grandma loved it too because she did not have to go out in it! 
Doyle has been working 1/2 time all this year with a three week rotation. I spent most of the first 8 months taking care of my mother who was in need of more assistance.
Doyle and I also continued our mission in the Daily Dose Program, teaching English two nights a week and attending the Spanish Branch.

In March we went to Hawaii with our good friends, the Merrells. It was our 40th wedding anniversary and so we had a lovely week in the sun! Mom's good friend from Pleasanton flew in and stayed with her that week. They had a wonderful time together!

The last week of May I flew to Houston to retrieve Ariel from her sojourn in Texas.
We attended the Houston temple and drove through New Mexico and Utah (stopping to see Micah and Becky of course) and all the way home to WA. It was a long trip but it so good to have her home!

June found my two good friends and I spending a few days together at Merrell's cabin in Sandpoint, ID. It is always a joy to hang out with the girls!

With Ariel home to care for my mother, Doyle and I were able to take a little time in July and go to Mt St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. The scenery was lovely and we had a marvelous time in the great outdoors! Something we have not done in quite awhile.

Autumn had her home leave from CRS and so we got to enjoy having her home for most of the month of August. We have certainly been blessed with some lovely daughters!
August also found us in Montana at our Brown Family Reunion.
It is amazing we got this picture...was a challenge to get that many "kids" to hold still long enough for a photo!
My mother passed away August 23, the day after Autumn left to return to Madagasacar.
She made her exit quietly in her sleep and we just feel blessed to have had her for as long as we
did. She always had a smile and her ready wit kept us all entertained. We all miss her very much!
How thankful we are that the Gospel promises us a future reunion!

There were 37 of her family able to attend the funeral services in Illinois.
Several family and friends from the Morrison area came and paid their respects as well.

We were released from our Church service mission so September found us in the wilds of Alaska. We took a cruise ( a different kind of wild!)
with our missionary friends from Japan. We have a reunion every year and it was exciting to see the beauties of Alaska as well as spending some fun times with our forever friends!

I flew to Utah to spend a little time with Micah and Becky's family the end of October. Little Cosette had just gotten her glasses and she was rediscovering the world around her! The pirate and elephant are ready to go trick-o-treating!

Haven is very clever and always comes up with amazing costumes for her kids too!

November found us on our long journey to Madagascar, via Phoenix, New York and Johannesburg.
Had an exrtordinary time with friends and with our Autumn. Learned a lot and enjoyed the warm sun!

As we prepare for this Christmas season our hearts are filled with gratitude for the birth, life and sacrifice of our Savior. We love, honor and do our best to obey Him. Our lives have meaning because of Him and we rejoice in that great plan that promises eternal life to those who seek Him!
May your holidays and the year to follow be hallowed and filled with peace!

Much love from the Browns!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

In to Africa!

Well, after a bit of persuasion, our youngest, Autumn succeeded in having us come and visit her in Madagascar. Really, that exotic and remote island has never been on our bucket list, but we went 
anyway! Had an amazing time! I left Nov 5th and returned home on Nov it was quite the journey! Doyle drove from Tuba City to Phoenix and after a few days with friends and classes we left for the mysterious African wilds!
My part of the journey began with a "good buddies" reunion. Carol and I went to AZ to spend a week in the sun with our good friend Deanna! We went to ghost towns, had a tour of a local Olive Mill and enjoyed one of the biggest outdoor swap meets I have ever seen! Good times!
 Carol, Jeanne and Deanna

 Before we left Phoenix we were able to spend a day with our friends and 
Japan Missionaries, John and Pat Jarvis. Gracious as always, we enjoyed 
catching up with them!

 After our week in Phoenix we headed to New York to see Dan and his sweet girlfriend,
Sandra, as well as Ammon and his lovely wife Ailene. 
They all seem to be doing well, and we are excited as Ammon and Ailene will be 
increasing the family with a little boy in May. (Haven is due in March with a little girl) 
So that will make 8 little grandbabies for us!

 Ammon and Ailene's NY apt is small so they put us up at a nearby hotel...had a great view!

 Flew across the great blue and landed in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Jacaranda 
and Bougainvillea were everywhere and in full bloom...was warm and felt 
like the beginning of a lovely summer!

 Found a beautiful little guesthouse in the suburbs of the city and made 
this our home base as we explored this lovely area.

 Had to stop and get some pictures of the Johannesburg temple. Sadly, no time to attend!

 Arranged for a private tour of the Pilansburg Game Preserve and enjoyed 
our day seeing so many animals and learning so much about 
the country, it's culture and wildlife from our excellent guide!

 Loved watching these two youngsters playing in the waterhole!

 There were about 12 in the herd and we kept our distance as there were
 3 or 4 calves in the group.

 Gnu's or wildebeests were seen in various areas of this 110,000 acre game park.

 These zebras (and one Gnu) did not seem concerned as our
jeep pulled closer for a better picture.

 Mr Rhino was not delighted to see us so we moved on rather quickly!

 This hippo was spending his day in the water to keep cool. Most people are 
unaware that hippos are very dangerous and account for more human deaths 
than any other herbivore! No petting the hippos!

 Our flight was delayed so we had time to look up some folks from Doyle's resident days! Hans and Cynthia Pretorius dropped everything and spent the day showing us around the capital city, Pretoria. Such delightful hosts- we had a lovely day!

 The Voertrekker Museum sits prominently on a hill in Pretoria and tells the story of the early Dutch settlers and their struggles with both the Zulu and the British and their trek to the North.
We arrived in Antananarivo, Madagascar and met up with Autumn. This is the lovely
view from her 4th floor apartment.

Lest you think that all is rosy in Madagascar, this is looking down at the
center of the block out of Autumn's window. Tremendous poverty is rampant in this country.
There is a reason that CRS and other charities operate here to help these people!

After a day to catch our breath we flew to Nosy Be, a resort island northwest of Madagascar and enjoyed several days of relaxing on the beach, snorkeling and seeing the local sights.

 The view through the sliding wooden doors of our bungalow was heavenly!

Lemurs are native to Madagascar and holding a banana will bring them 
bounding out of the trees to eat out of your hand.

These large chameleons were a bit annoyed at our handling them, 
but they are safe and colorful!

Oh the lovely sunsets over this forgotten land!

After the banana frenzy, I managed to photo this mom and her baby looking for more treats.

Bidding farewell to our island paradise and soon to our sweet Autumn!!!

After 37 hours, we arrive in Phoenix and our good friends Doug and Connie picked us up at the airport...thanks for the unwind time!! Here we are after a session at the beautiful Mesa Temple!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

North to Alaska!

September found Doyle and I headed to Seattle to catch the Golden Princess to Alaska. We were able to meet up with several of the couples we served with in Japan, so this made the trip even more enjoyable!
 Richard and Linda Eyre were the guest speakers for our group and they spent a lot of time discussing the role of grandparents. So we had unconventional but interesting Sunday meetings! They have written several books on parenting and were well versed!
Docking in Juneau
We docked in Juneau the first day and after whale watching and checking out the Mendenhall Glacier, our niece Janet, picked us up and took us around and we had dinner together.

Doyle and our niece Janet Sanbei in Juneau

Our next stop was Skagway which boasts about 800 permanent residents. Last year they had more than 900 thousand visitors!! Obviously their main livelihood is tourism! We were able to cross over into the Yukon Territory and the sun shone brightly...a very pristine and isolated countryside.
Then we did a "float" up the Tracy Arm Fjord, which of course ends in a very impressive glacier.
Although overcast it was a beautiful day.
Ketchikan was our next stop and a charming place it was! We went out to a Tlingkit village and learned about some of the history of the indigenous tribes that inhabited this area of Alaska.  Victoria BC was our last stop, but had been here before so we just enjoyed the food and entertainment on board ship...there is always something to do and too much to eat on a cruise! Was enjoyable and rather great fun was had by all!

Saw several whales blowing but this one showed off a bit!

Beautiful mountains and glaciers wherever you looked

Sea lions resting among the warm rocks of this little sandy island

Mendenhall Glacier

No hint of summer left in the air!

We were blessed with this unexpected sight! 

Pristine country in the Yukon. Gorgeous fall day!

Suspension bridge

Doyle chillin' in downtown Skagway

This very old building is fronted by hundreds of pieces of driftwood!

Foggy and ethereal beauty as we drifted quietly up the Tracy Arm Fjord

The art of totem pole making is a dying art and this fellow is teaching his grandson

Many of these handcarved wonders go for thousands of dollars -per linear foot!

 Our cruise buddies!
Top left to right- John Jarvis, Mel Marker, Jim McArthur
Lower left to right- Fred Anderson, Doyle, Ren Broomhead

All the lovely ladies!
Top: Diane Marker, Sue Broomhead, Denise McArthur
Bottom: Jeanne, Frances Anderson, Pat Jarvis