To Daniel December 24th, 2012

Elder Carter!!!! Merry Christmas!!!!! ( eve). I don't think you will get this letter until after christmas, but, I will still write you! :) My week was pretty much fantastic. Alrighty here we go. Monday- We had family night. My team in basketball lost in 3 on 3. So... we didn't get to play in the student vs. faculty game... I was kind of bummed out but got over it pretty quickly. Tuesday- I did home work! Yay! Wednesday- My YM/YW group went caroling! It was super fun! After words we went and drank hot chocolate and ate cookies. Thursday- I played my guitar! Friday- LAST DAY OF SCHOOL FOR 2012!!!!! ( as you can see. I'm not exited at all) It was the student vs. Faculty game. We lost... 42-45. The game was still fun to go to. Mr. Sigg. ( My history teacher) even let his advisory class make posters! They were fantastic. If I do say so myself. :) We also watched a Christmas Story in my 1st hour and in my 2nd hour we played board games! After school I went with My friend Brookelle, her three sisters and her mom. We watched the Santa Clause 2! Her sisters. ( Ages 12 and 8) would argue all the time! It made me grateful I have a fabulous relationship with my siblings! Saturday- I went and picked up my glasses from the eye doctor! Dad and I went shopping for a poster I forgot to get Olivia. Oops. We got it though. It was totally worth it! Basically the rest of Saturday was spent wrapping presents and watching movies! Sunday- I went to church. Olivia and I were invited to play our violins in relief society. I'm pretty sure mom will tell you about that. It was so fun to play music with my best friend! Afterwards Toph sang O holy night! It was breath taking! Today we had the missionaries and a few other people over for dinner. It was awesome! My spiritual thought for you today is... We had the missionaries come over. They read us a poem. Basically it was about this light on the Christmas tree getting too tired to be a light and it was about to stop shining but then a little boy came and pointed to the light and said it was the most beautiful light out of the whole christmas tree. The light realized he was important. This was compared to us being important. Every single one and to never let us hide our lights of the gospel. I love you so so much! Have a fantastic Christmas! I love you! 

Mama will write in a moment...

Hola Son!  Merry Christmas Eve!

I'm writing this letter to you on Christmas Eve Dress Rehearsal.  The day we created to try and bring back sanity to Christmas Eve itself.  All has gone exceptionally well.  We had a busy day at church, I attended three sets of meetings.  Our own, a branch at the hospital, and the 13th ward to accompany a trio in a musical number.  We came home and prepared dinner for the missionaries and a few other guests.  Carter Enchiladas, vegetables, peaches and salad.  It was great.  We wrapped and tried to get Christmas complete and now it is about 1am and I think we are done.  Everyone is sleeping under the tree while I write. Not sure how long that will last, but traditions are traditions.  I restocked the tree with cookies a few days ago, so we are able to offer guests a cookie from the tree.  
It has been a busy week trying to wrap up studio projects.  Seems like they lingered long into December this year.  I still have a few things to do tomorrow, but I will try to do Christmas things with Kristina while Christopher and Mama work.  
Note worthy for this week was the end of the world.  Every one says it didn't happen, but I say it did.  I'll share a post I made about it.  All true, by the way.  It goes something like this....

How did the Mayans do it? I mean, I was a doubter, then tonight, as 5:20passed on my clock (yes I know, it was supposed to be am, not pm) I looked out at the blue hour sky and what should I behold, a light falling from the sky, leaving a trail a fire behind it. It was aiming right for saddle peak where years ago I did a mirroring event with scouts. I thought, "If it were Christmas eve, I'd say
 Santa's sleigh was crash-landing!" It lasted what seemed like forever. A slow descent, a rock from outer space, colliding with the snow peaked mountain right outside of Logan destroying all life as was known on that spot of the mountain. I'm sure Paul's chickens (that's another story) had a chuckle. So we all thought it was the entire earth that was going to be destroyed, but, the Mayans saw that rock hitting the earth. I don't think they ever specified the size, or the actual life that would be destroyed. From here I couldn't tell for sure, but I speculate it was probably a poor mouse hole that was destroyed, or perhaps and even keener eye from ages gone by saw a mouse picked off from a falling meteorite on a hill outside of Logan. I saw it. It happened. 12 21 12 was the end of life as that mouse knew it. 
How did those Mayans know?
I'll forever be in amazement. 
I'm no doubter!

Another event of significance was mama's colonoscopy.  Everything turned out great, though it took a bit longer for her to recuperate.  She said the doctor said she looked familiar as they rolled her in, I asked "which end were they looking at?" 
 No seriously, it was a long day.  She is feeling back up to speed today, finally getting her appetite back tonight.  It was a long weekend.  But, it reminded me of another story I posted.  I'll share that with you…

     Okay, another story. I love Propofol. Okay, I'm not a druggy, but when I had my Colonoscopy a few months ago, they put me out with Propofol. I remembered the name because it was part of the cocktail that killed Michael jackson. Well, it was wonderful. I woke up feeling better than I had in years, decades, perhaps my entire life. It was amazing. So, today it was Karen's turn. I had been preaching the wonders of Propofol to ease the tension she was feeling. (besides, she only had to drink a small quantity of liquid while I had to down two gallon jugs of who knows what). Well they come in and the first thing they say to her is, "are you allergic to eggs, soy or peanuts?" I said, "Wait!" I'm allergic to peanuts, why didn't I get that question?" Apparently, since my experience with Propofol, it has been discovered that people with peanut allergies (which I have the most severe) react to Propofol the same way. I said, I didn't. They looked puzzled. Then, a quick dialogue began between the doctor, the anesthestis, and me. Why did I not die or at least go into anaphalactic shock when I had it? They did some quick research and found out that it is made in two places. One a soy based factory, the other a peanut based factory. So, by the luck of the draw, I must have received the soy based product. Man, what a disappointment. They said in 10 years, when I have another checkup, I'll have to pass on the Propofol. Fooey. It was the best thing about the whole procedure....

It was interesting that since posting this, I have received many comments about the peanut aspect and a few that cooberrate my feelings on Propofol.  

Well.  We love you, Daniel.  We are so happy that you have the opportunity to experience Christmas in the mission field.  It is a special day.  There is so much commercialization, and that's okay.  I heard it once said that if a gift giving day didn't occur we would create one.  But how fortunate to have gift giving tied into the honoring of our savior and His birth.  Every gift given has at its root the symbolism of gifts (our lives) given to Him who loves us unconditionally.  Grama Barbara said it the best in the Worthington world (don't know if you get it, let me know and i'll include them here...)

from Grama Barbara…
Well, with all of that we are surely looking forward to Christmas. It is just 2 days away. I think of how blessed we are to be in His church, to be able to read His scriptures and learn of Him, to worship and adore Him. He was the creator of this beautiful earth, he organized his church and brought the priesthood to the earth, He atoned for all the sins in the world and suffered so much that even He a God trembled with pain. He knows our struggles and our woes. He cares about us and is there for us. How blessed the day when He comes again.

It was nice to hear her feelings.  
She is right, you know.  How blessed you are to be the voice and hands of the Savior as He reaches out through you to touch the lives of all those around you.  Every interaction you have is divine.  

Well, I had better close down this day.  
I know you don't have pray until Wednesday.  I just wanted to make sure you had a letter just in case something has changed.  

We look forward to being able to talk with you on Christmas Day.  But even more special, we look forward to having you bless the lifes of unknown souls this holiday season and every day as you represent the Lord.  The message:  He lives.  And because He lives, you, too, can live.
Oh to live and not be encompassed by doubt.  Oh to live and know that life has meaning and purpose.   

Merry Christmas.


John Carter
Thirteen/Eight Productions

Chat With The Bee Sting King!

We were able to talk with Daniel for forty minutes last night.  It was delightful.  He looks great.  Happy, smiling, and enjoying missionary work.  His quote for us is "A missionary Family is a Happy Family!"  He talked about not being afraid to share that which is most cherished by us.
  We also learned that a few weeks back Daniel had been stung by a bee and had quite the swelling.  So bad, that he couldn't ride his bike because his hand woudn't grip the handlebars.  He was also stung on the ear.  We asked how bad it was and said, "remember Hitch?"  Okay, we know he doesn't share those things that may worry his mother.  We'll pray for his safety...

We talked about many things, but mainly we  enjoyed the time together on Christmas evening.  We sang him "we wish you a merry Christams".  Kristina serenaded him with a song she had written.  I took him for a short walk to see the snow.  It was great.  So, onward and upward.   Merry Christmas Daniel (Elder Carter).


The fam....

Happy Holidays....Merry Christmas....Happy New Year


I was asked a few questions about music.  I thought I'd share my thoughts...

  1. Has music always played a major role in your life? Why?
    Music has always been a major part of my life. I was scuplted by a mother who wanted the best for her child. She used music as a way to keep me engaged in positve activities. She knew if I was practicing, I was not involved in activities not becoming of a youth. As I become more fluent, the music became self motivating. At age 12, I was hired by a church in my home town to be the organist on sundays. So, It became a source of income. I dedicated hours a day since my middle school years to the betterment of my talent. It provided means to attend the University trough scholarships and continues to be at the heart of almost everything I do.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I began playing the piano at age 7. My mother says 6 but I don't believe her recollection to be accurate. I had a piano teacher named Ernie Hall. He didn't think I would amount to much musically so he quit me. My mother searched out another teacher in a small town, finding an unlikely source, a 4th grade elemenatry teacher. I was his only student, and we developed a relationship that bonded us for years.

  3. Were your parents musically inclined?
My Father claimed to be tone deaf. He couldn't carry a tune and didn't really seek after musical experiences. He was a great supporter of my efforts, however. My greatest pleasure came when afte years of knowing he really didn't like classical music, to have him come into the room and request certain songs. The more I studied, the more I would notice him listening. My mother had a great gift of art in her life. She played one song on the piano, but her gift was in seeing the light that is embeeded in all things. She recognized greatness in its infancy always.
  1. Do you believe that the type of music we listen to will dictate how we live our lives? Why?
I do not believe “types” of music dictate how we live our lives. I do believe that the elements of music do have an effect on our beings. Rhythm, melody, time and space all play an import part in our inner beings. There are elements in the brain that are triggered by these physical experiences. We tend to gravitate to certain types of music. Perhaps it is our brain calling for stimulus for growth. I don't know for certain, but I am reluctant to attribute any one type of music to a good or bad category. I do believe in a spiritual aspect of music. The spirtual realm may be to personal for this questionaire, but I believe that the soul of a being is in tune with truth. When truth is presented in any form, including music in all of its varied forms, that the human spirit recognizes that truth and brings an increase to ones spiritual innerself.
  1. What is it about music that has helped you become the person you are today?
    Music has allowed me to develop discipline. The structure of my life, knowing that diligent pursuit in small defined steps will lead to large accomplishments.

  2. Do you believe that the music programs in our schools should be cut because of budget constraints? Why or why not?

    I am not decided on the budget constraints of music programs in schools. I see the advantage of programs that provide opportunities to youth. These programs have benefited my family to a degree, but in the same breath that I say that, they have also compromised the musical education of my family. Too often, music programs create an elitism attitude that has a poloarizing effect on students. I would like to see more balance in the programs. Often, there is one star, and the rest fall into a support group of that individual. Choices between a balanced life are force upon these students. i.e. music vs sports. I have had children faced with the decision of play basketball of play in ensembles. I have had children have to forfeit gym in order to be a part of the orchestra. I don't believe the balance has been achieved, and because of this, when the majority are asked how important is the music program in school, it is often considered to be cut. If the program could blend a wider community of students, then its future would be guarenteed. Also, on a personal note, I played for the high school choir as a student because I was the only one who could play. It was easy, but I never learned to sing because I was always playing. There is no place in most school programs for pianists.

  3. Do you believe that music is therapeutic in the lives of those who have had trauma, dementia, mental illnesses, etc.? How so?
    I believe music has many abilities beyond what we understand. Music and its interaction with the braiin is a very interesting science. I think it is important to understand that the use of music in trauma, dementia, mental illness, is only as useful as the acceptance and embodiment of music in the life prior to these conditions. For someone who has no connection to music, the use of music as a therapy would have little avail. I look to my father as an example. To sing songs, play music, etc. while experiencing the final illnesses of life would have been for naught; however, my mother, on the other hand, as she experienced the final illnesses of her life was in love with the arts, and the arts brought her much comfort and peace.

  4. Who is your favorite composer and why?
    My favoite composer changes life event to life event. I suppose today I fancy Bartok for his intriguing melodies and use of rhtyhm. There are others, and I believe it is there ability to capture a musical moment and fix it into a constant that is available at my will.

  5. I know that you have written many musical compositions in your life, but is there one over the others, that is your absolute favorite? Why? What did you experience when writing this piece of music? Your feelings? How has this particular piece helped you become the man you are today?
    I have written many pieces. I love the process of capturing ideas. My favorites will never be known, because they are moments of improvisation that happen while I'm at the piano. They come and go and are never heard again. There were times I played for my kids, painting pictures with sound. Fire, earthquakes, moments of delight. Speed, fury, Thses moments are a part of me, but my mind doesn't recall them. The compositions that I fix to paper are far less dramatic because of the element of stopping to write them down. It I try to write a piece in my mind, it to is limited by what my brain can recall. There is an element that comes into the creation of music. I call it the “better than I could have imagined it” element. I wrote it down in detail once, but I can't put my finger on it today.  Ah, I found it…

    If I can imagine it, it's not creative enough! That is the thought that is going through my head today and I wanted to capture before it left and I spent another epoch of time searching for it. It is the statement that gives me power. It brings light to the statement, "I could never paint a painting, or compose a piece of music like that.". It's true, I can't I magine it, but I know that there is more creative power than just the imagination. I know when I place my fingers on the keyboard of a piano, that there is another portion of my soul that comes alive. I don't hear it, I don't see it, but it is there. My fingers move in directions that I never imagined. So, the creative process is tied to every fiber of my being coming together. The imagination is just one part of an unknown number of elements. I have always emphasized to those that would listen, that composition begins where improvisation ends.

    Many times, new composers will come to me with their compositions stored in their minds. I find that process limiting. In fact, we place mental restrictions because the mind cannot hold all that we are capable of creating. As my students write down their compositions, they free the mind of its limiting bounds and the creation process unfolds to greater depths, moving past the imagination.  

  6. What is your favorite type of music to listen to and why?
    Not country. No, that is just a joke. I like listening to many types of music. What makes it enjoyable to me is the interpretation and life that is brought to it by the presenter. I've heard masterpieces played flawlessly and they have bored me to sleep, and I've heard simple songs, that have fallen upon my soul by their delivery that move me as only certain things can.

I've enjoyed these questions. I am sorry they are so late in coming to you.

Have a merry Christmas.


To Daniel Dec 16th 2012

Elder Carter!!!! Guess what?!?! Nine days untill we get to talk to you! Yahoo! I had a rather fantastic week... I think... here's how it went. Monday- I did home work and had basketball Tuesday- I did home work. Wednesday- I had a choir concert! It went great! The band, orchestra, and choir got a standing novation! I was running back and forth between the orchestra and the choir! Thursday- It was the science honors trip. We went to the planatarium. Afterwards we went to Olive Garden! It was absolutely delicious! After that we were able to go to the Hill Air Force Base museum! It was so much fun! Especially the bus. Friday- I was given the opportunity to play my Violin at a baptism! It was such a neat experience! Saturday- I got all of my christmas shopping done! Every single thing! My friend Avery came with me and we walked ALOT! It was super fun though! Sunday/Today- I went to Kristy's fair well! She is going to be a great missionary! After church and the fair well I wrapped all of my friend's Christmas Presents! My spiritual thought of the day. Remember what you have! Not what you don't! Count your blessings and don't take them for Granted! I love you so much! Have a fantastic week! 
I love you!

December 16, 2012

Dear Daniel,

How are you?  How was your week?  How is Kira doing?  I was so touched by the words you shared with us, of knowing that she should not be dropped. Heavenly Father really blessed you to see her the way he does. Did she come to the investigator fireside?  We will keep her in our prayers for you.  Maybe she just needs a little more time.  

So you got a new companion!  How exciting!!  Tell us all about him.  Where is he from?  What is his family like?  How long has he been on his mission?  etc. etc. etc.  Oh, how tall is he?

Did you get a Christmas tree?  We have a "pre-Christmas" package on the way.  It should be at your apartment sometime early this week.  It has treats and edible decorations" (if you know what I mean).  What are your Christmas plans???????  We know a little.  All of your Christmas packages were sent to the mission office and you will receive them on Christmas Eve.  Are you spending Christmas in your apartment or with investigators?  Members?  We are looking forward so, so much to talking to you.  Do you know where you will be and when you might be able to call???  

This has been one of the saddest weeks in our country with the mass shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut.  I have cried for these children, their families and everyone affected by the tragedy.  I received the most amount of comfort today from our Relief Society lesson - George Albert Smith's words.  This was the last lesson of the year.  I share these words with you because they helped me so much, and they may be of worth to you, or help someone you may talk to in the next couple of weeks, when grief is so fresh and forefront in people's hearts and minds. 

" . . . There is only one remedy for the universal distress- a panacea for the sickness of the world.  It is the gospel of Jesus Christ; the perfect law of life and liberty, which has been restored again in fulfillment of the Scriptures. 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:  not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.' (John 14:27).  

These are reassuring words from the Prince of Peace to his faithful followers.  Surely there is nothing men need more than the blessing of peace and happiness and hearts free from fear.  And these are offered (to) all of us if we will but be partakers of them.   . . .   

Though the world may be filled with distress, and the heavens gather blackness, and the vivid lightnings flash, and the earth quake from center to circumference, if we know that God lives, and our lives are righteous, we will be happy, there will be peace unspeakable because we know our Father approves of our lives. 

We need have no fear if we do what the Lord has asked us to do.  This is His world.  All men and women are subject to Him.  All the powers of evil will be controlled for the sake of His people, if they will honor Him and keep His commandments.

If we have the confidence of our Heavenly Father, if we have His love, if we are worthy of His blessings, all the armies of the world cannot destroy us, cannot break down our faith, and cannot overcome the Church that is named for the Son of God. . . 

No matter whether the clouds may gather, no matter how the war drums may beat, no matter what conditions may arise in the world, here in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wherever we are honoring and keeping the commandments of God, there will be protection from the powers of evil, and men and women will be permitted to live upon the earth until their lives are finished in honor and glory if they will keep the commandments of our Heavenly Father. . . 

Conform your lives to the teachings of the gospel of Jesus Christ and when calamities threaten you will feel the support of his all powerful arm.  Make your homes the abiding place of the spirit of the Lord; let them be holy places, where the adversary cannot come; listen to the still small voice prompting you to works of righteousness.  It is my prayer for one and all that you will be nor swerved from the path that leads to the knowledge and power of God, the heritage of the faithful, even life everlasting."

I love you Daniel.  May we all celebrate Christmas this week.  May we celebrate the birth of a tiny baby born in Bethlehem, our Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings, Our Father's Beloved Son.  May you find and share JOY this week as you serve and spread the true gospel of Jesus Christ in words and in action.  Merry Christmas a week early!

I love you!
Your Mama

Hola Mijito! 

I hope you are having a great time in Texas!  We hear you have a new companion.  How exciting!  I hope that this change will bring a revitalizing of the missionary work.  Changes were always exciting for me in Ecuador.  You never knew who you were going to end up working with, but each experience always turned out to be very unique.  It is the common bond of doing the Lord's work that will unify all that you do.  You are one big family in the THSM.  You have all been called on a grand scale to do a great service and work.  Onward and upward.  (Well, not too upward, you are already pretty high in the sky as it is...)
We've had some interesting missionary experiences here with our sister missionaries.  One had extreme tonsillitis, then thought to have mono, so she was sent home.  Found out the mono was an inactive strain, so she'll probably come back after having her tonsils out!  Her companion had permission to make her Christmas call early because her brother is going into the mtc, so she skyped from our house.  It was interesting over hearing her view of Utah mormons.  It wasn't very kind.  You would think she would have realized all the derogatory comments were falling on the ears of a house full of utah mormons.  Well, according to her, we have a lot to learn about compassion, blending in, and reaching out.  Something that those outside of Utah seem to have mastered.  It ruffled my feathers a bit.  I thought, how shallow to lump all of us into a category becuase of some limited interactions she has had during her time here.  It was funny that she said that if by chance she were to end up here after her mission, it would be to show us all how to "be".  hmmmmm...
Don't ever judge the entire community by a few. 
I also listend as the sister that was sent home lamented the fact that finally her mission was evolving into what she had hoped.  She spoke of apostate zones, and missionaries.  The very people called to be preaching the gospel being labeled as apostate.  It brought me back to my mission when the same thing occured.  A few assistants made a "black list" of missionaries that needed extra interviews and guidance to conform.  I think I was blessed at that time to be friends with all of the missionaries in my mission.  I knew the "outstanding" bunch and I knew the "apostate" or "blacklisted" bunch.  I saw their hearts, and I saw a unique group of individuals with unique talents, characteristics, and abilities to reach out in their own special way and change hearts and be the Savior's hands to a people that no one else could reach.  People want a sense of humanity.  People want to see the gospel through individual eyes.  I'm not saying be rebelious, but I am saying to be true to who you are.  Recognize your gifts and talents.  Be vocal and you will touch the hearts of many.  
Dean Bennion and I were polar opposites on our misisons, but we are examples of how the Lord needs us "in our best selfs" to uniquely testify of his greatness, glory, and mercy.  If you see missionaries struggling, don't write them off.  Talk to them, listen to them, strengthen them.  We are building a righteous army of saints.  No one is to be cast out.  Listen to the spirit and give embodiment to the spiritual giant within you.  

We sent you a pre christmas package to your apartment address.  We hope you get it.  Open it when you do.  We wish we had sent it weeks ago, but know it is from our hearts to yours.  

Our stake had a stake musical fireside tonight.  I was able to sing in the ward and stake choir.  We say Callie.  She goes into the mtc mid march.  

I am busy wrapping up grades for my classes, and studio work for my clients.  There are always a few that straggle to the bitter end.  

Know that we love you.  We are so proud of the work you are doing.  Find many ways to celebrate the season.  Then, find ways to carry it through the new year.  

I'd tell you more, but there is no more... Anything else, I'd have to make up....

Maybe I'll add a picture or two....

Oh yeah, Utah State won!!! their bowl game in Boise!   They played Toledo.  It was close until the last half of the last quarter when we ran away with it...

You'd be so proud!

Love you.


December 2nd, 2012 To Daniel:

Elder Carter!!!! Hey! How are you? How's your mission going? My week was mighty fun. I think? Here's how it went. Monday- Family Night. Mom and dad helped me with History Faire. Tuesday- I practiced my guitar. Wednesday- I went to mutual. I mostly just talked to Olivia the entire time. Thursday- Play my guitar. Friday- I did home work! Mom and I also listened to Christmas music! Saturday- Yesterday I had a basketball game... WE WON!!! Score was 14-20. Our first time that we have won a game. :) After the game momma took me to Center Street Grill. I saw Jordan. She asked how you were. She says to tell you hi. Later that day we decorated for Christmas. I played my guitar more and wrote a chorus to a song. ( with dad's wonderful advice in each song lyric) later, later that night we watched While You were Sleeping. Such a cute movie! Sunday- Today we had a lesson in Sunday School on how our siblings can be our best friends. Many of the teens were saying how they can not STAND their siblings. I'm so fortunate enough to have amazing siblings. I was also wearing one of the dresses you got me, and a coat from Toph. I told them how you and I would fight all the time! I then proceeded to tell them how you are now one of my bestest friends! I love you so much! This upcoming Friday is the 8th Grade Christmas dance! I'm so excited! I will probably wear one of the dresses you got me! The day after (saturday) I am going to have an Elf party! None of my friends have seen Elf! I find this sad and unfortunate. My spiritual thought for Today. Enjoy life right now. Don't live in the past but don't get caught up in the future! I love you so much! 

Hola Daniel!  It's been a great week here in Logan.  Every week is great.  The last two days have been darkly overcast and tonight it is raining hard.  Raining, not snowing, much too warm.  We have the lights up on the trees.  I thought of you with every branch that I broke.  I remembered how I told you to be careful and not break any of the fledgling branches.  I should be as hard on myself as i was on you!  I appreciated your finese  of putting up the lights.  You were a master!  I bought out the scaffolding and put it up against the tree, that way I had 6 foot platform to walk on.  So... according to my calculations, the lights on occasion reach 14 feet.  Let's see, if you were here, it would be 14 feet, one inch!  I tried to stay single colors, but ran out of matching lights before I ran out of desire to light the tree, so the red tree is all red (Burr Oak), the Debra Oak is green on the bottom, lavender on top with a splash of white.  Christopher says it looks like a rose.  I told him I did that on purpose!  (Actually, just strong the light together, wrapped the tree, then plugged them in to see what I got!).  The original maple (the one stripped of it's branches in its infancy, but held on to be a mighty tree) is blue with a splash of white.  Reminds me of how we frost cookies....  And the Culimnar outside my studio window is green. It's the hardest to light because it is so broad.  Instead of wrapping lights around it like in years past, I crawled inside it and worked the lights up that way.  It is green.   
I wrapped the railing with whatever you call that stuff, some had lights, some didn't so I had to add lights.  Karen don't read this...(one side is doubled, the other single.).  It looks pretty good.  You always made it look fantastic.  
The tripled double batch (yes, x6) was gone the next day.... Let's see, that's 12 trays of cookies... I wonder who ate them all?)  I made another triple double yesterday and today and right now Christopher and his friends are eating,... I mean frosting them as I write.  It's never a good thing when the home/guest frosters ask for glasses of milk while they work... Can only mean one thing.... fewer cookies for the tree.  
Mama did a great job sprucing up the blue spruce.  (Actually a grand fir).  she wrapped ribbon and added some shiny glass bulbs ornaments.  I'll snap a picture and send it so you can apprieciate the work. 
I'm still working with the missionaries in our stake.  Bad bad news, they decided to move the weekly 5pm correlation meeting to 6am every week.  What are they thinking.  I was more vocal than I have ever been in a meeting protesting the time change.  I countered every argument they raised to support it.  But, I was out numbered.  Remember, they are sisters.....so, this morning, after waking up, getting ready and attending a 6:00am meeting that will last the rest of my life, I smiled as we met.  Funny, sister missionaries look a bit different without their makeup!  By the time I saw them 3 hours later at our 9 am meetings, they had spiffied themselves up a bit.  oh blessed sisters....
I think I would have won the battle if the ward missionary who opened last weeks meeting with prayer hadn't said, "Bless us to be supportive ot the sister missionaries in our stake ....) I knew it was over....
Well, after a good nap from 9-10:10, I did what I could to help in various ways.  I found out that I was volunteered by the High Priest group to do a special number at the ward christmas party this friday.  Too bad, i told them, I'm not going!  (As case would have it, I'm working... institute concert weekend.  Both Logan and Ogden...Whoopeeee!)
I recorded a cool concert at the St. Aquinas Catholic Church.  I love the way that building sounds.  I'll have to send it to you.  I know we haven't sent you any music, but this would be acceptable.  Christ centered, classical choir.  Bridgette is in one of the choirs.  It was packed.
Let's see, this week had other events...Jonathon Rose, the phantom of the tabernacle, Recorded on location this week, also.  He is a great guy, auditioning for three big organ programs back east.  I hope he is successful.  He plays beautifully.  
But, I try not to give you a day by day, just a feeling by feeling sense of what is going on.  And, the feeling you should experience is that you are loved, admired, and looked up to. (Yes, we look up to you, not only because of your amazing inherited altitude, but your amazing eternal good natured, good willed being).  We love you.  We pray for you and your experiences every day.  Mostly, I don't want you collecting experiences to be able to count off what you have done, but I want you to be shaped for life by your passion and desire to be the Hands of our Father in Heaven as He reaches out through you to all those who's path you happen to cross.  You can see it in peoples eyes.  As a past temple president once said, 

What is in your mind enters through your eyes, then becomes a part of your heart.  Then, once in your heart it becomes part of your soul.  This works for both good and evil.  You control the shutter.  

I always liked adding physical actions to my mantra:  I would touch my eyes with two fingers on my hand.  Say eyes.  I would touch the temples of my head with my fore fingers and say Mind.  I touch my closed fist to my heart and say Heart and I use the sign language gesture for person, two open hands going from up to down for shoul. 
Eyes, mind heart soul.  It works for everything, scritputer study, good works, promptings.  And it works for bad also.  It is who you are.  
 "Your eyes are the window to your soul" had the starting and stopping points right!
I just looked it up and it comes from the bible...

Matthew 6:22-23 (King James Version)
King James Version (KJV)
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

And another source, though I like the above better.
EYES ARE THE MIRROR (MIRRORS) OF THE SOUL -- "A person's thoughts can be ascertained by looking in his or her eyes. The proverb has been traced back in English to 'Regiment of Life' . But the proverb was known much earlier. Cicero (106-43 B.C.) is quoted as saying, 'Ut imago est animi voltus sic indices oculi' (The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter). The L*tin proverbs, 'Vultus est index animi' or 'Oculus animi index,' are usually translated as 'The face is the index of the mind.' The French say, 'Les yeux sont le miroir de l'dme (The eyes are the mirror of the soul). 'The eyes are the window of the soul' is a variant form of the proverb..." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

We love you.  We are excited to share this holdiay season through you.  Know that we would have it no other way.  

Have a great week.


John Carter
Thirteen/Eight Productions


Letter to Daniel 25 November 2012

Hey!!! Elder Carter!!!! 
First few things. It's my Guitar I love... not the basketball. Second- OF COURSE we will still be best friends!! You have always been my best friend. Alrighty... here is how my week went. Monday- I had tests in History, Science, and English. Tuesday- I had tests in almost all of those classes. That night I think I played my guitar. Wednesday- ROXY AND LARRY AND NORA ARRIVED!!! It was so fun. Roxy and I made pies almost ALL day. We made... Banana cream, chocolate, pumpkin, fluffy pumpkin, lemon meringue, and pomegranate pie! They were so yummy! Thursday- We got up early ( ish) and went to the zoo! It was so fun. Although, i'm not going to lie... I missed you! We didn't get hot- chocolate. Although. I'm pretty sure your "Hot chocolate loveness" rubbed off on me. That night we had turkey, stuffing, casserole, potatoes, etc. for dinner! It was so yummy! How was your Thanks giving? Friday- We didn't go cut down our tree... mom and dad went and cut it down from Smith's. It's actually a really pretty tree! It's so full and big and tall... I love it! We made cookies all day! ( for the tree) That night Jordan Benson came over. We played BANG. It was really fun! Saturday- We ( Mom, Dad, Larry, Roxy, Nora, Toph, and I ) went to the aggie football game! It was beautiful! We won 45 - 9. It was so fun! We came home and finally. (7 years later... I think) we learned how to play "Settlers of Caton". Such a fun game! After the game. ( which we didn't finish) Larry, Roxy, Toph, and I went to the Aggie basketball game! We won... 65-55! Woot! Woot! That night we came home, ate pie, and watched Elf! Sunday- I went to church, came home played a game... later... Roxy and Larry had to leave. I rocked Nora to sleep! She's so cute, and so big! Such a sweet heart. Alrighty spiritual thought. I'm pretty sure I have said this but. BE YOURSELF! Don't try to be some one else. Just be who you are! I love you so much! Have such a great week!

Dear Daniel,
Hello!  We hope you have had a good week.  How was your Thanksgiving?  We thought of you so much and hoped you were having a good day.  We said hi to all the animals at the zoo for you, especially the baby snow leopard.  Did you see that baby before you left?  He is 7 months old.  Did you get to eat some turkey?  We ate some in your honor.  One of the most amazing things was watching the polar bear claw at a pumpkin to eat some of its meat - wow she has big paws!  

Roxanne, Larry and Nora drove all night from St. George Tuesday and just went home tonight.  We had a wonderful time together.  Grandma Kenna came on Wednesday and left Saturday.  It was great having everyone here with us for Thanksgiving weekend.  Grandpa Paul and Joan Montgomery also joined us for dinner.  Little Nora is just growing and growing!  She is so smiley and fun, just squealing in delight and such a darling, good baby.  I know I am not partial at all.  I'm sure the rest of the family will give you more details, so I won't repeat all the activities we did.  In all honesty I'm afraid of making you homesick.

Daniel, thank you for sending us your letter to your mission president.  You can do that all the time if you want to, if it is easier.  I've actually thought myself that I should be copying my letters I send to you  - into my journal!  I seldom make time to write in it - but I always make time to write to you .  Maybe I could do both in one fell swoop!   Anyway - your letter really gave me a more accurate picture of the challenges you face every day.  I know better how to pray for you and Elder Tuisku.  

Thank you so much for the Christmas ideas and desires that you have.  When you asked for a picture did you mean like a family picture with our testimonies - that you could give to investigators?  Or, something that you would just keep for yourself?  Would it be helpful to have some copies of the Book of Mormon with our pictures and testimonies in them or do you have plenty?  

Congratulations on your solo!  I'm sure you did great!  The important thing is that even though you were the only one, you stepped up and sang a solo - instead of refusing to sing at all! I am very proud of you!

Oh by the way!  Roxy brought pictures of you and Elder Tuisku.  You look great!  You look happy.  Remember, that with every door you knock, every referral you check, every member you talk to, every lesson you teach - you are planting seeds.  Some of these seeds need more water, sunshine and rich, brown soil full of nutrients (gospel sod) to take root and grow.  But still, you are planting seeds (and sunshine, just because you are a sunshiney person) to all who cross your path.  So, my darling son, just keep working hard "For behold, the field is white . . . and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul."  And by and by you SHALL reap the fruit of your labors, for "the field is white" - and ready to harvest.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.  We love you and we are proud of you.  Have a very happy last week of November.  

I love you so much - a whole world full!!!   
Your Mama

Hola Son!  How are you?  

It's been a great week here.  After receiving your email, we moved forward with our Thanksgiving holiday.  Know that our thoughts were with you each day.  We wondered in our hearts and aloud often what you were doing and how you were celebrating this festive holiday.  I know that you are in a new environment, so that many elements are beyond your control, but at the core you are living and teaching what it is that we are most thankful about, the knowledge of our Savior and Redeemer.  That He came into the world, suffered personally for each one of us, and through Him, we may return again to our Heavenly Father's presence.  A simple plan, presented totally with love.  So, happy Thanksgiving.  Happy approach to Christmas, which then will bring us around to a wonderful New Year.  Enjoy each and every moment because they move by rather quickly.  Don't look ahead, stay in the moment.  Work with the calling that is in your heart and soul and time will be a blessing to you.  You will never have to say, "I wish I had more time" because you will have worn out with work, service and love the time you are in.  Then move on. 
I'll tell you a little about our week.  We worked until Wednesday, late.  Larry and Roxanne +Nora arrived middle of the night on tuesday.  We had lots of fun preparing for cooking and cooking for Thursday.  We got up early thanksgiving morning.  Our goal was turkey in by 7, seared until 7:20, then drop the temperature to a slow cook and head to the zoo.  We were off by about 40 minutes. Left for the zoo at 8.  
The zoo was fantastic, as always.  Lots more people are discovering the beauty of "Feast with the Beast"  I remember so clearly how quaint was our first visit.  No one came except a small number of us.  Seems like 30, but were probably 90 or so that first time.  Nothing has changed in presentation, only in number of people and in the quality of the habitat for our zoo friends.  There were hundreds there this year.  Still few enough to get good views of all the feedings (it does help being 6'7"", no one gets in my way...)
We saw the elephants first.  They get those huge pumpkins and squash them with their feet, or pick up the smaller pumpkins with their snout and just place it in their mouth like a cough drop.  It's amazing.  No red panda this visit.... ah, the memories..  But we did see them feed the polar bear, brown bear, wolves, snow leopard (yes, that one was for you). And probably a few others that I can't remember.  It was a beautiful clear day, brisk but not cold.
After the zoo, we headed back to Logan to pull the turkey from the oven.  I had slow cooked it, so it took a bit longer than expected.  I planned on 6 hours and forty minutes, but it took another two hours to pop the timer.  so, our four oclock dinner was about 5:30.  
We had a new presentation of brocolli that was a big hit.  Kind of an improvised casserole made in the big skillet with cream of chicken soup and fresh chedder cheese.  
We also had lots of pies, mashed potatoes, peaches, green been casserole, stuffing, turkey and gravy.  Oh yeah, Joan brought rolls and a pie.  Grandma Kenna, Grandpa Paul, and Joan Montegomery joined us for the event.  
The next day, Karen and I went to town to cut a tree down.  Mister Lowe's did the handy work for us.  A Grand Fir this year.  Beautiful.  The home crew made a double batch of tripled cookies.  There was a mad decorating party and plenty of cookies on the tree, a few on the side.  But, now, a few days later, the tree is bare, the pan empty and it looks like another batch will have to be made to sustain the tradition.  
Saturday, we all went to the Aggie Football game where we made school history by going undeafted in the WAC, being wac champions, having a 10 win season, and according to today's football polls, 20th in the nation.  What a historic day for aggied football.  Be a proud aggie.   Mama and I stayed home and baby sat Nora as the rest went to a basketball game that had great results, too.  Then, games were played, exhaustion reached and the sabbath rolled in like a fog in the night.  So, up early for meetings, a nice sacrament meeting.  We had a delightful young couple speak in our Sacrament meeting today. He told a cool story which I'll pass along.  He spoke of going to Disneyworld as a kid of 10.  He was with his family.  He saw a great statue made of LEGOs.  He went up to touch it, then when he stepped back, he looked left, then he looked right and didn't see his family.  He panicked and did what a panicked ten year old sometimes do, he took off running.  He ran and ran, then grabbed a light pole and cried.  Someone came up to him and asked him what was wrong and he sobbed that he had lost his family.  They took him to the lost kid booth, (I'm sure it has a name) and his family had just left looking for him.  He was quickly reunited.  When he asked them why they left him at the LEGO sight, they said, we didn't leave you.  We just stepped back because we thought it made a cute picture and you took off running!  How often we look left, look right looking for the savior in our life and then when we don't see him where we expect to find him, we take off screaming, when in reality, he is there standing right behind us, supporting us all along the way. 
Well, I love you Daniel.  I am proud of the work you are doing in Texas.  It is not easy being a missionary. As I work with our missionaries here, I see the challenges, the unresponsive ears and hearts, and the seemingly endless search for those that have been prepared.  But, then again, I see the joy that is in the hearts of all as the knowledge of our Saviour comes into our lives.  It is worth all to the struggle that you may endure, when in the end, even if it is only you that knows that He is there for you.  
I could talk to you all night about how significant the seemingly insignificant really can be.  I look back to my own baptism, I was just doing what I knew to be right.  Not this huge event, but something small and simple.  In retrospect, that moment changed my entire life.  Same thing about going to the temple for the first time for me.  I was on my mission, and I went for the first time to the Provo Temple.  I knew noone, so the event was not surrounded by lots of family, but was simple and focused just for me.  There was no one to hug when I was done, no high fives to give for successfully accomplishing what in fact is one of the most significant events in my life.  I hope that we have allowed that same experience to happen in your life.  Of course, we couldn't help being there to hug and high five, but in the end, it was your experience, you and the covenants you made with your Heavenly Father.  A simply beautiful exchange that will anchor your soul for the eternities to come.
Oops, I'm over my time....
Do you want these letters printed out and sent to you?  I'm not sure if you have access to a printer where you read these.  I know that we print out yours and read them many times each week.  Your letters mean the world to us.  

Love you.


Some Pictures from our week!  

four generations.jpg
John  & Nina.jpg

This was from California…

Here is Siri the elephant smashing a pumpkin…

Our Favorite little Giraffe


Feeding the Polar Bear. Pumpkins stuffed with fish!


I loved the giraffe just watching patiently...
The Family at the Zoo 2012


And the snow leopard enjoying 
Three lucky turkeys....

Our favorite USU fan...

Peek a Boo, I love you!

John Carter
Thirteen/Eight Productions