Sunday, June 29, 2008


Our ward split today. In the not quite three years that we have lived here, we have split three times, and had four bishops. I am a firm believer of change being a good thing. With each new ward comes a new dynamic and new opportunity for growth. I must admit that I don't really know our new bishop. He and his family moved here recently and I have only spoken to his wife briefly. I must admit that with my busy life and all my energy being put into keeping my children alive and fed, the details seem to become less important. And though I will seek to confirm my sustainment of our new bishopric through prayer, I trust that everything will fall into place as needed. This means I was also released from my callings and I have to say I am a little relieved. Don't worry Mom- I accept all callings and will accept more callings as they may come:).

It all made me think back on the little branches I served in as a missionary. There were members who would drive two hours each way just to come to church. And I never heard a complaint. I think about those humble members and how having a new temple less than 12 hours away was the ultimate gift to them. And they would readily show their devotion to building up the church and sharing the gospel no matter how difficult. They would bake fresh bread just for the sacrament and drive long distances to sit with a lonely friend.

So I guess along with change today I was brought a feeling of gratitude for having so many things available to us here and a sense of longing for the days of mission life -being surrounded by some of the most valiant people I have ever met. (Disclaimer: This does not in any way directly or inderectly, partially or completely, suggest, imply or non-verbally indicate that there are not truly valiant people living here as well.) Aaaaaand we're done.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pictures from Shawn

Shawn has adjusted to the sleep schedule after lots of long and tiring days. He works 12 hours each day/night (except saturday) and has a tedious job which can be quite demanding. His sense of humor has not been lost in the sand and he has a great ability to look on the bright side of things. I am so grateful to him for all he does. I know the heat alone would be a major trial for me- so I truly admire him for his endurance. Here are some pictures of his short stay in Kuwait, his travel to baghdad, and his current station.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Ok- so I'm 34 now and there is no way around it. I realize that 34 is actually young in the real world, but in Utah, I may as well request brochures for Shady Oaks assisted living. I wanted to post simply because it was a very sweet birthday filled with love. At 3:45 in the afternoon on the 23rd, I got a call from Shawn! He immediately started to sing Happy Birthday. It was 12:45 am for him and he said he was making sure he was the first to sing to me on my birthday. I love him so. Then I had breakfast delivered to me by DeLana -with a candle to blow out to boot! I was treated to lunch by Angela and in the meantime, Kira delivered the most beautiful flowers and my favorite See's chocolate. My kids were whisked away for a couple of hours while I napped. My mom, Jon, and Josh also called and to top it off, we are having a movie and mojito party with neighborhood ladies tonight. I feel so spoiled. Gros bisous to my sweet family and friends. My birthday rocked! Here is the 34 year old in a self portrait....

Monday, June 23, 2008

This mosaic thing is fun and since some of my favorite bloggers are doing it.......

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Jill
2. What is your favorite food? Southwest eggrolls
3. What high school did you go to? Mid-Pac/AOP
4. What is your favorite color? Red
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Gerard Butler
6. Favorite drink? Grape juice
7. Dream vacation? back to Europe with Shawn
8. Favorite dessert? Chocolate Mousse
9. What you want to be when you grow up? Laverne and Shirley
10. What do you love most in life? Kissing Shawn
11. One Word to describe you. Creative
12. Your flickr name. jilllafolle

. Jack and Jill went up the hill, 2. Southwest Eggrolls, 3. memory of summer, 4. Abandoned, 5. Gerard Butler, , 7. The last sunray - Barcelona, 8. coffee and chocolate mousse cake, 9. we're gonna do it our way., 10. Kissing Couple #2, 11. The French-Inspired Home, 12. La Folie en TĂȘte - Paris (France)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Here are some pictures from the other side of the world. First is Justin Day, Myself and a nice warm bottle of Noni. Please forgive the cheezy grins we were haveing a great time.
The second picture is a typical summer day in Northern Kuwait. We were traveling from Ali Al Salem Air base to Camp Burhing and the wind was lightly blowing. Honest! We could still see the road at this point. Several times the road disappeared altogether and we were driving on sand with no trace of the road! Lots of camels, no ride. Disappointed.
Be safe,

Checking In

Checking In
Hello to all from the world of dust and sand. I'm sorry that its been a while, getting in country proved to be more difficult than we imagined. Its not unlike traveling in South America were a schedule is a suggestion and nothing to be taken seriously. Germany was a short stop and they kept us corralled in a tiny hanger away from the general public but I did manage to buy some $4 water! From Germany we flew to Kuwait and then were bussed to Ali Al Salem Air Base and then bussed to Camp Burhing were we awaited transportation to Iraq. I know I've mentioned this before, sorry.
Oh! and to answer Nata's question: How do they get water in the desert; well Nata the water we drink and use is made in Kuwait from sea water and then trucked to the different bases that need it, but now that I am here in Baghdad, if your Mom or Dad can (Google-earth) Baghdad and look were all the man made lakes are, Uncle Shawn lives very close to the one that looks like the letter Z and that is where we get our water now.
For all the Morinda nuts out there I was visiting with a friend who was stationed at Camp Burhing, and come to find out the husband of the friend was Justin Day from Morinda. It took us a few days to recall where we knew each other from, but as you guessed it, we did. It was great to see him and his wonderful wife so far from home. We had a great time visiting and they are dong well.
Now to the boring stuff. I work in what is called the Central Intelligence Command Information Center here at MND-B (Multi National Division – Baghdad) in a giant amphitheater type room looking down on giant TV monitors everywhere. They show streaming video from the different surveillance cameras around the city. On one hand its all very exciting and there is a large WOW factor to the stuff that goes on in that room, but after a short while the excitement wears off and the reality of what happens out there on the streets hits home. Explosions, fighting ,small arms fire and even death is captured and fed live into that room and its my job to analyze it all through the eyes of what we want or can to release to the public. There are a lot of restrictions and protocols that I work under to do this, and there are things that I can't share but its a daunting job and one that has placed me in the front seat of this war.
I miss my beautiful wife and children but pray they are safe and that I will be with them soon. Well I have waxed long enough today. Now that I can access this blog, I will be sure to write more often.
Be safe,

Thursday, June 12, 2008


The other night, I was making a big bowl of popcorn for a movie night with my kids. I had the most vivid and wonderful flashback to when I was little and my mom would take us to the Kahala Drive-in for a movie (usually to see the latest Disney- the one I remember most was Herbie Goes Bananas). It was always so much fun. She would pop enough popcorn to fill a big brown paper grocery bag. I always loved the sound of the popcorn machine in our kitchen-it was one of those sounds that signaled the beginning of fun. I also loved the classic dancing snacks on the big screen -so vintage! I loved the old speakers and finding the perfect spot to enjoy the movie. We would usually meet aunts and cousins there for a big family night of fun. It is one of my fondest childhood memories. And even as we got a bit older, we would still go to the Kailua drive-in. I felt gratitude for my mom taking us on adventures and helping us form these great memories. Love you Mom!

Thursday, June 5, 2008


O.k. so I have changed our template yet again. It is just who I am. My furniture gets re-arranged frequently as well. Embrace it. The background reminds me of mediterranean tiles in a pool which is an obvious "happy place" to go mentally. I realize this blog is for Shawn too and though he has more important things to worry about, I am sure he will appreciate me staying away from pink. A few random tidbits to share..... I love the new American Girl doll named Ruthie! I have always loved Kit and now she has an adorable friend. ( No, I do not work for American Girl.) Anyway, The girls love Felicity and Elizabeth but I keep asking, "Are you sure you don't like Kit and Ruthie?". I do like the other two-it's just that I love the vintage charm of Kit and Ruthie. It seems silly to blog about a doll when there is suffering throughout the world but I just had to share. Hmmmm maybe with the Kit movie coming out, my girls will gain more interest in Kit and Ruthie or maybe Santa will just happen to leave them here for me. Yes- I am that woman.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More from e-mail

Today even though you could not see the sun because of the dust storm, it reached 127 here at our camp. It might sound strange because I just got here but its a bit of a fun seeing how extreme the weather can be.

Today I was in the PX looking around and I noticed a young sgt with a shoulder holster for the 9m pistol that we carry on our hip. It's been hard to carry it there because of the weight of the weapon -it tends to pull your belt and pants down. Anyway, I asked the sgt where he got the shoulder holster from ( looks like a bra for men but with no cups in the front) and he told me that it was hard to come by (not that it was expensive but that everyone wanted one and that the PX was always sold out of them). As I thanked him and started to walk away, he stopped me and took off the holster and said,"Sir, today is my last day on deployment, and I'd like you to have the holster." He had it off and his weapon out of it and was handing it over before I realized what he said. To make a long story short, it's a great blessing because it allows me to be hands free and not have tons of extra weight around my belt. Now everyone in the unit wants one. That was my cool story for the day. Very windy.Very dusty. The dust wears on your skin like sandpaper and you almost loose your way in the dusty weather, but again my spirits are high.

Monday, June 2, 2008

E-mail from Shawn

I thought I would share a part of Shawn's last e-mail....

From Camp Buehring Kuwait / USO tent‏:

Everything is hot to the touch. You walk through a gate or open a door and the metal is hot to the touch. The walk back from the chow hall is ten minutes and I got way too much sun today. For the most part, everything is just fine. We are heading to a firing range at 3 am to do our training early so we can be back and out of the hottest sun by 10 am. I guess we will be here for a few days until we get space on a transport to Baghdad. Because we have a large amount of gear(3500 lbs) and such as small unit, it presents a challenge for transportation. Big birds are used for big units, we need a big bird, but are a small unit.

It's cool to see all the different national forces here. You hold a door for an Aussie and they say "Cheers Mate!". And the British ship in biscuits and jams for the chow hall. The base is large with a few hundred trailers and lots of large quonset hut type buildings evenly spaced with huge AC units running non stop. These AC units are about the size of a large SUV and there are three on each side of the tents that run non stop. Today at about noon even with them running at full capacity, the tents are hot. Its always hazy here. if you look out its like being on the salt flats of Utah but with no mountains in the background. The sand stretches out until you can't see anymore. On the way here the bus would be driving down the road and then the road would disappear under the sand for a while and then pop back up again. There is sand and then there is the sand dust. The sand is not that bad, but the sand dust coats everything. Not too hungry as the heat takes away appetite. If we are here on the 6th, we are going on a camel ride out in the desert, but just around the base. To be honest, I'm excited. I will be riding a real camel in a real Arabian desert.

Sunday, June 1, 2008