Monday, September 24, 2012

Christmas Lights Service Project

We started Monday morning, September 10th, bright and early with a 6:00 am service project.  Sister Jackson, whose husband has been called to be the new chairman of Christmas Lights, met us at the storage facility to tell us how we could help them with preparations for this annual event.

          The young sisters who were here right on time got a group shot to reward their promptness.

Some of the sisters were put to work reorganizing the shelves that held lights for the stakes to do their individual assignments on the grounds.  No hired workers are used in the Mesa Temple Christmas Lights set-up or take-down.

Sisters Hollady, Slater, and Carlson are removing boxes that will later be re-shelved in a more organized manner.

Meanwhile, other sisters are securing lights onto 'spiders' which are used in the flower beds.

These sisters are working on some of the larger 'spiders', which look like miniature fountains of water in the shrubbery.
I was fascinated to see this camel suspended from the ceiling.  Just the body and head are here.

The legs are hung separately, and will be attached when the camel is set up on the grass.

Here we get a glimpse of the Wise Men, waiting to bring gifts to the Christ child.

Sister Miller helps Sister Dashjav with another project.

Their assignment is to reorganize these shelves so that all of the supplies are in labeled boxes, each item in it's own container.

Lots of smiles indicate that everyone is having a great time.
Sister Jackson gives instructions to Sister Sordes as she shucks her jacket and gets to work.
Sisters Lewis, MacKenzie, and Falcon are threading lights onto the larger fountain wires.

Elder Beckstrand helps with the job of cataloging the equipment.

We're almost through UN-shelving - then we have to put it all back!

The man on the left is Dee Hobbs, current chairman of Christmas Lights.  This will be his 9th, and final year as chairman.  What a service he has rendered our church and the communities who enjoy this yearly Christmas event.

Yes, Sister Beckstrand was present and managed to help where she could.

Dee was good to work right alongside the sisters.  He patiently waits while Sister Aranda finds a place to put her box.

These sisters are organizing all of the small items that are the similar into labeled containers.  It is tedious work, but they stick to the job until it has been successfully completed.

I had the strange feeling that this ewe and her lambs were watching the proceedings and making sure everything was done correctly!

Sisters Shurtz and Lewis help the others finish up their fountains.

Before letting any of the sisters leave I asked Sister Jackson to get a group shot.  Aren't they a good looking group?  It's always invigorating to start the day doing something useful, and service is always a blessing to our missionaries.  Christmas Lights bring thousands of visitors into the Vistors' Center, so we have a vested interest in the success of this annual event.  Thanks girls!  WE LOVE YOU!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Whimsical Mesa

If you looked at the title of this blog, you'll see that this one is about the interesting city of Mesa.  I enjoy walking in the morning, and couldn't help but smile at all of the whimsical statues that are placed along mainstreet.  The Mesa city fathers definitely have a sense of humor!
 This fine fellow is obviously Humpty Dumpty.  He would make the grumpiest person alive feel more cheerful after looking at his happy face.  (I guess this was BEFORE he fell off the wall.)
Waving his paper high in the air, this newspaper boy is hawking his wares with great enthusiasm.

An interesting structure on the property of the Wells Fargo Bank.  Perhaps Papa is pointing to the bank to encourage us to use their business to help us support our growing families.

This local farmer/rancher is reading a paper as he rests on his shovel.  Got to keep abreast of what's going on in the world, right?

                                                              Your guess is as good as mine......

I'm not sure if this represents a teacher or a mother with her children.  Actually, it's the same thing.

                                                     I have no idea...
This energetic young lad is getting ready to throw his play airplane...
and his friend, whose arms are already raised, is waiting to catch it.
A wider viewpoint gives you a better idea of how it looks on the street.

How cute is this?  The little boy is holding out a piece of food to feed the duck in front while the smaller duck secretly snatches the rest of the food from the hand behind his back.

Mesa is much too hot for this polar bear.  She looks miserable - or is it taking care of her rambunctious cubs that has her way-past-tired? 

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!!

These small horses look a little bewildered to be planted here on main street.

Okay, if you can't go to the mountain to rock-climb, bring a mountain (of sorts) to the city.

Breakfast time.  Junior looks a little impatient as his mother holds the fish out of his reach.

I know, you're asking what this huge pig, (sow, boar?) is supposed to be about.  No clue.  I can't help smiling hugely as I walk along the street.  These statues are everywhere!

This little budding Mickey Mantle is just winding up for a pitch.

Down the street a few feet. this hopeful batter is poised to hit his first home run.

This little fellow isn't athletically inclined - he'd rather read a book.

And here's a nostalgic one - it kind of looks like WW II days. 

A kindly cowboy (her daddy?) peels an orange for this little girl.  Oranges were once an important segment of Mesa's economy.  An old Sunkist warehouse and packing plant stands empty and forlorn down on Broadway.  I guess the citrus industry has moved to Florida.

Lots of people must like to read in Mesa - especially sitting on benches along main street.

Here we see a young boy getting ready to throw the ball for his faithful dog to retrieve.

Now this one reminds me that I'm definitely in Arizona.

I had to touch this chair to be sure it was really a statue.  It almost looks like a real chair - except that it is about as tall as a man.

Hey, anybody want to play baseball with a girl???

Here we see an industrious fellow getting ready to lay cinder blocks.

A coyote howls at the moon -(or maybe the street lights.)

A bicycle tire swing is providing entertainment for these two young fellows.  It looks like the one on the bottom is getting the worst of the deal since his friends feet are planted right in his face.
Okay - who could have imagined creating a statue of an elaborate high heeled shoe? 

Or frogs playing leap-frog off the curb into the street?

At least I understood the reason for these next two statues - they were advertising the museum of natural history that is just down the street from the center of town.
Yup - complete with dinosaurs.

And in case the previous one is too sleek and streamlined, these dinosaurs are made from old automobile parts, and look like the skeletal remains of the fellow above.

A large diamond ring?  It's probably a famous rock variety of Arizona that I've never heard of.

This studious looking man tries to share an orange with passers-by.
And who do we have here?  Looking at the plaque at his feet I discovered he was a gift from the Canadian city of Burnaby, who is Mesa's sister city.

The final statue on my morning exploration of downtown Mesa is directly across main street from the Visitors' Center.  It depicts the early pioneers who settled Mesa in the 1870's.  They were amazing people - just living here without air conditioning was a heroic undertaking! 
 All kidding aside, they truly were faithful LDS pioneers sent here by the prophet to help settle this part of Arizona under extremely trying conditions.  They faced many challenges but they refused to give up, and a century and a half later their grandchildren and great-grandchildren are enjoying the fruits of their tireless work and dedication.