Sunday, September 27, 2009

Brilliant P-days

Every missionary feels that they were called to serve in the best mission in the Church. We do! No one can argue with us, when we declare that we have the best P-days in the world. Monday, September 21st was a special day when we visited the historic and fascinating city of Oxford, and visited some of the thirty eight colleges which comprise Oxford University. It is the oldest surviving university in the English speaking world. Although the exact date of foundation remains unclear, there is evidence of teaching there as far back as the 11th century. There are just over 20,000 students in the colleges that make up Oxford University.

A favorite was Christ Church, which is the largest college and has an Anglican cathedral. The Cathedral is the College Chapel for the College as well as the cathedral church for the Diocese of Oxford. King Henry VIII was the founder of the college. John Wesley is one of the famous people educated here. Another is Charles Dodgson whose pen name is Lewis Carroll. He became friends with the daughters of the Dean of Christ Church - especially Alice. Dodgson made up stories to entertain the sisters and thus was the beginning of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass."

The Dining Hall Scenes and stone stairways for the first two "Harry Potter" films were filmed at Christ Church.

Lot's of humorous gargoyles on all the college buildings. Click on the 'Bored Student' at the left to take a trip with us through Oxford.

Love, Sister Watts

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Babylon Gardens

We had to cap off the 50th celebration with a night out on the 16th, and what better place to celebrate for a missionary couple than Babylon. It's actually called the Roof Gardens and Babylon is one of the featured resturants. The gardens are on the top of a building in Kensington and are beautiful. The view over the city was spectacular.
It was a bit of a splurge for two country folk from Utah, but it was well worth it. We mentioned to the waitress that we were celebrating our 50th. The dessert came with a special decoration as you can see by clicking on the picture. I forgot to bring my camera, but we struck up a conversation with another couple next to us who had a camera. New friends, camera, email... and here we are. It was a great evening.
Have a good week!
Elder & Sister Watts

Monday, September 14, 2009

'50' And Counting

On Wednesday, September 16th, we will celebrate 50 years of marriage. This is no small thing and certainly worth celebrating! This milestone is a family event and to be a 'proper' (as the English would say) party, it ought to be done with family. Well.... we're blessed for now to have a temporary family here in London and they gave us a 'proper' party last Friday evening, complete with invitations, favors, balloons, wonderful food, flowers and most of all -- Friendship. If you would care to, you can join the party here.

Just a word or two about being together for fifty years. It's not been all smooth sailing, but then as Harold B. Lee once said, "A smooth sea does not a skillful mariner make." I would recommend an occasional 'disagreement' so you can better appreciate the smooth sea moments -- well maybe 'recommend' is not the right word, but you get the idea. We've had a wonderful life together and counting blessings would overload my abacus.

As I think back I'm not sure it all began with a clear focus on how serious and important this all was. I was in love and as the saying goes, "a team of wild horses couldn't have kept me away from Barbara." But the importance and seriousness grew and came into clearer focus as I truly learned the gospel, where it says things like, "cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh", "whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever", "heirs together of the grace of life" and finally "new and everlasting covenant of marriage."

Most of all I married right. In the September Ensign President Uchtdorf says, "The scriptures give us names of several women who have blessed individuals and generations." I would include in that list - Barbara. She has blessed my life and continues to do so. I am the "best-cared-for" man in London. You would not believe some of the meals we have that she makes seemingly out of thin air. Proverbs Chapter 31:11-31 describes her to a "T" and truly "Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."

Our children get a lot of credit for this milestone; they have helped us along and trained us well. We have been blessed with five wonderful children - Brian, Barry, Rich, Julie and Jane - each with unique and individual talents and gifts. Their choices and the lives they live are a rich reward for a 50-year marriage. Add to that Jana, Nannette, Tammy, Matt and Jake and the rewards double. But that's not as good as it gets -- at the end of our 50-year marriage rainbow is truly a pot of golden grandchildren, who we cherish and love dearly. We are ever amazed and impressed with their activities and achievements that make us smile, laugh, clap, cheer... and bring us joy. Our hearts are full; we love you lots!

Lastly to our friends, we say thank you for joining us in this grand trip, bumps and all. We love you and look forward to lots of fun times yet to come.

God bless you all,

Elder and Sister Watts