Week 69, ‘I Got Transferred to La Jolla!’

November 9, 2015

I got transferred! I’m in La Jolla now. It’s been great here! I started with Elder Galloso, which was really awesome cuz we were in Harlingen together, but we have a bike area and President Maluenda doesn’t want him to ride a bike cuz he has a prosthetic arm, so another missionary in my apartment, Elder Buzan, became my companion and Elder Galloso is now in a car area. But I live with him and he’s in my district! Elder Buzan is really awesome. This is his second transfer, and mission training is two transfers long, so I’ll be finishing training him this transfer! He’s a really funny guy so we’re having a lot of fun together.

We had a huge miracle this week cuz the Salinas family (a family of 8) wanted to come to church but their car had gotten taken away the week before. So we called a man from church, Brother Guerrero, to ask him if he could give them a ride. He had to take his family, so he ended up giving the Salinas’s one of his cars to get to church and back. He didn’t even know them! That was a really awesome example of selfless love. I wanna be like Brother Guerrero!

Week 68, ‘I Got to Baptize in the Lake!’

November 2, 2015

Wuddup peeps! I hope errbody had a dope Halloween. It’s been a great week in good ol’ Zapata Texas! Elder Randall and I both got to baptize in the lake this week! Woohoo!! We baptized two boys, Ralph and Armando. Ralph is 14 and Armando is 12. Theyre awesome! And their grandma will be getting baptized in two weeks!

We had a lot of fun stuff going on this week. On Thursday we had a Christmas party with all the missionaries in Laredo cuz our zone leader Elder Breck is going home this Wednesday and he loves Christmas. On Friday we had a going away party for the Strong family. They are a senior missionary couple in Zapata, and they’ve been here for a year and are going home to Arizona on Wednesday. I’m gunnu miss them a ton! On Saturday we came home early cuz of all the cray cray stuff going on for Halloween, so we played games with the senior missionary couples that live by us.

We saw some really cool miracles this week! One night at 8:30 I got the impression that we should spend the last 30 minutes of the day working in the area of Zapata that Elder Herrin and Puga are assigned to. On our way there, someone that Elder Randall had met there before came to his mind, so we headed to that house. He had only been there once so we got lost after a little while, and we pulled over to pray for help. Right after we prayed we turned right on the next street and the house we were looking for was right in front of us! We went to talk to the lady that Elder Randall had met before. She ended up being busy but we talked to her son Manny and had a really cool lesson with him about the restoration of the gospel of Christ. He was really interested and wants to learn more. And it turns out he lives in a city called Mission, and the missionaries have been teaching his wife and kids there, but he’s never been able to listen to them cuz he’s always working in Zapata. So it was an awesome miracle that we found him!

Another miracle we had was really funny. An older man named Manuel was following us in his car back to his house cuz he forgot how to get home from the church, but all of a sudden he turned right when we went straight. So we were like ‘holy heck we lost a man!!’ And we didn’t have his phone number, so we just drove around everywhere looking for him. After a while we stopped and prayed for help, and about ten minutes after that we passed him going opposite directions on the road. So we flipped a U as fast as we could and chased him down until he finally stopped in a parking lot. We showed him from there how to get home, so thank goodness he got home safe. If we hadn’t found him he’d probly still be driving around Zapata haha.

There were lots of other miracles but I don’t wanna write a novel. So basically the gist of the story is God is awesome. Thanks dad you got this too! I remember when I went to that trial of yours and you destroyed that lawyer lady and her red herring stuff. That experience that you had with praying with ur clients and then seeing the miracle after was so cool! Heavenly Father’s got yo back! I love you Dad. I love you Mama!

Week 51 ‘Uncle Teddy and the 4th of July’

Wuddup ma peeps!  It’s been a great week in good ol Harlingen Texas! My Uncle Teddy visited me from San Antonio!  It was so great to see him!  We didn’t even skip a beat!  It felt just like the good ol days haha. I guess he sent a video of what he thought was our apartment… that kinda ghetto place haha.  Thank goodness that’s not where we live.  We live right across the street from that though. But anyways, ya it was fun!  We just went to subway and chilled there for a while.
We had a great 4th of July.  We visited some awesome members of the church who fed us a bunch of food and then we visited another family who fed us more food and then we worked for a few hours and then we had to go home at 6. Our Mission President made that rule for the 4th of July cuz there are a bunch of cray cray drunk people down here so holidays can get pretty sketchy out on the streets. So we just chilled in the apartment and played cards and such. It was pretty dope.
Also, I’m now a district leader!  I’m the leader over five other missionaries and they are so awesome!!  Basically I just help them hit their goals and overcome any challenges they have in missionary work. It’s super fun!  It’s been good for me to be a District Leader cuz it gets me thinking about the missionaries I’m serving instead of myself.  In our District Meeting on Wednesday I taught them about the Fearless Mind Journal and I’m having everyone do it!
Here’s a super cool part of a talk given by Elder Robert D. Hales that goes along great with the 4th of July:

There are four cornerstones of religious freedom that we as Latter-day Saints must rely upon and protect.

The first is freedom to believe. No one should be criticized, persecuted, or attacked by individuals, or governments either, for what he or she believes about God. It is very personal and very important. An early declaration of our beliefs regarding religious liberty states:

“No government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience. …

“… The civil magistrate should restrain crime, but never control conscience [or] suppress the freedom of the soul.”

This fundamental freedom of belief has since been acknowledged by the United Nations in its Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by other national and international human rights documents.

The second cornerstone of religious liberty is the freedom to share our faith and our beliefs with others. The Lord commands us, “Ye shall teach [the gospel to] your children … when thou sittest in thine house.” He also said to His disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” As parents, full-time missionaries, and member missionaries, we rely on religious freedom in order to teach the Lord’s doctrine in our families and throughout the world.

The third cornerstone of religious liberty is the freedom to form a religious organization, a church, to worship peacefully with others. The eleventh article of faith declares, “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” International human rights documents and many national constitutions support this principle.

The fourth cornerstone of religious liberty is the freedom to live our faith—free exercise of faith not just in the home and chapel but also in public places. The Lord commands us not only to pray privately but also to go forth and “let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in heaven.”

From: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/04/preserving-agency-protecting-religious-freedom?lang=eng

Religious freedom rocks! God Bless America!!!  I love you my peeps.


I realized something important the other day.  In the busyness of this ‘the microwave generation’ I’ve been forgetting to carry out some of the traditions that have been passed down to me from my grandmothers.  Both of my grandmothers were very elegant.  One was quite wealthy (Milldred) , one was very middle class (Dorothy), but both of them had a true elegance about them.  One of the things I will always remember about my Grandma Dorothy Ludeman is that every evening, even when it was just for her and my grampa only, she served dinner on fine china. My Grama and Grampa Ludeman lived in a little studio apartment above our garage for many years while I was growing up. Although the accommodations were very simple and rather rustic, my grandmother decorated it beautifully with items that had been in her family for generations… even many that had come over from Germany with her when she was a child.

This last Christmas I had the opportunity to host a small luncheon for some special business colleagues of mine.  I really enjoyed it.  I got out my mother’s china and her special red wine classes that we had at every Holiday dinner while I was growing up.  I created a simple favor out the of wood boxes that had our company logo on it.

blog luncheon jk box with rose

Although the meal was simple, I realized a special feeling came over me when I brought out that china.  I realized I missed the elegance my grandmothers had–that kind of Jackie O. elegance–and that I wanted to cultivate it more in myself and my home.

I’m grateful for the simple beauties in life that bring me so much joy.  I would rather have a few truly beautiful, meaningful things than an entire auditorium of expensive, hallow items that have no meaning.

2015 will be devoted to cultivating more elegance in my life.  I’m excited to share these thoughts with you in Lifestyle by Katherine.

Wishing you all a truly Happy New Year,

Katherine 🙂









blog luncheon water

Brennen’s Fifth Week

Aug 27, 2014

Hola familia! I can’t believe holly’s married! what the heck!! That’s so crazy. I ‘even believe it! I’m glad everything went well with the wedding, it sounds like everyone had a great time!

I can’t believe this is my last week in the MTC! These past few weeks have gone by crazy fast. I’m so excited for Texas!! It’s so hard to think of stuff to tell u guys cuz every day in the MTC is almost exactly the same! But I’m sure I will have a lot of exciting things to tell you when I get to Texas.

I’m still working really hard and having a lot of fun! I’ve learned a ton in the MTC its crazy! The first lesson I ever taught in Spanish me and Elder Baum just read out of Preach My Gospel cuz we had no idea how to say anything. Now I can teach the gospel pretty comfortably and fluently in Spanish! I still sound like a gringo and it’s way slower than the Latinos, but I’ve improved a ton! It’s still hard to have normal conversations in Spanish cuz we pretty much only study gospel related vocab here, but I know I’ll get a hang of it eventually in McAllen!

I think I might be able to email on Saturday since I’m leaving on Monday, but I’m not 100% sure. So u might get another email from me on Saturday! I love you guys so much and I miss you all a ton! Hasta luego!

Very cute email Brennen sent to his sister Katelyn:

Katieeeeee!!! I miss u so much! Ya I set a record for most hospital trips at the MTC haha. I’m the only one who has ever had to go twice here!

I don’t know any of those teachers but I hope they turn out good. And don’t worry about Spanish- when i get fluent I can help you!

The MTC is pretty good. The food isn’t that great though haha. Most of it tastes like it came from a can… but its ok cuz they have bananas and peanut butter so I eat that a lot haha. We have 50 minutes of gym time every day and they have a weight room so its great! And on Pday we play a lot of sports. My companion is really cool. He’s really funny and outgoing and we have a ton of fun together. We´re always laughing. All the people in my district are really fun. There are 11 people in my district. A district is the people who you do everything with, its like my class.

The best advise I can think of for sophomore year is advice that can make any situation great…have an attitude of gratitude and always focus on others. If u always try to find ways to serve people, you will be happy all the time. Last year every morning I wrote down three ways I would serve people during the day, and it made school a lot more enjoyable. When u focus on others you forget about your own problems. I don’t know if this helped cuz your already really good at serving others, but that’s the best i got right now haha.

I miss you a ton! I love you!

Brennen’s Fourth Week

Aug 20, 2014

Hola family! I love you guys so much! It’s seriously so hard to email cuz I only get an hour every week to do it! I feel so rushed every time! Sorry if I don’t answer all your questions. It’s hard to keep track of all of them in this limited time. I’m trying my best though! And it’s so hard to think of things to tell you guys cuz in the MTC every day is almost exactly the same haha. I can’`t believe I’ve been here for four weeks already! It’s going by so fast. I like it here a lot but its kinda boring at the same time haha… I’m so excited to get out to the field!

HOLLY’S GETTING MARRIED THIS WEEK!!!! What the heck??!! That’s so awesome. I wish I could be there for the wedding but I’m so happy to be out here doing this work.

I’ll tell u guys about my P days. So on P day we wake up at 6:20 and go to breakfast at 7. Then we have personal study from 7:30 to 8:30. Then we have til 5 to do laundry and any other chores we need to get done and email and we spend a lot of the time playing sports so its really fun! Last week I played cage soccer, field soccer, basketball, and touch rugby. So far today I’ve played basketball and volleyball and worked out in the weight room and did laundry. At 5 we plan our studies for the next day, and then we have dinner at 5:30. We have class at 6:15 and we finish at 9:30 and go back to our apartments. P day is da best!! It’s a really nice break from the daily routine. I only have one left and then I’ll be in McAllen! Woot woot!!

Sundays are awesome too. On Sunday we have priesthood meeting, a district meeting (which is basically just Sunday School, and every companionship teaches part of the lesson) and then we have sacrament meeting, which is in Spanish. Everyone writes a talk in Spanish every week and in sacrament meeting our branch president picks people to give their talks. So far I haven’t gotten picked but I have a feeling I’ll get picked this week cuz we are the oldest district in our branch now. Every week one district leaves and a new one comes, but the week before we came our branch didn’t get a new district. By the way my district has 11 people in it. Four sets of elders and a trio of sisters.

On Sunday we have two devotionals and they are always really good. They are usually taught by people who have or have had pretty high callings in the church, like members of quorums of the seventy and ex mission presidents and what not. And sometimes they are videos of old MTC devotionals given by some of the twelve apostles. And every Sunday we watch a gospel related video in the evening. To end the day we all meet with our districts and talk about the things we learned. I always feel the spirit really strong on Sunday.

Well I love you guys so so so much and I miss you a ton! I wanna hear from Katelyn and Kk! How is school going? What teachers do u have? Give me the deets!

Brennen’s Third Week

Aug 13, 2014

Hola familia! I’m setting records here at the MTC!  No one has been to the hospital twice!  Just trying to leave my mark ;D.  Ya it was crazy the salmonella got me super dehydrated and that caused a chemical imbalance in my body and I was moving around uncontrollably like a crazy person!  I had so much energy I felt like I could sprint for days!  But I’m ok now.  This week flew by!  It’s cray cray!  I’m halfway done already!  I’m so excited for the field its ridiculous, but I still have a ton to learn. I’m learning so much.

Yesterday I learned how to introduce someone to the Book of Mormon by using the introduction. I never knew how awesome the introduction is!  It explains so clearly what the Book of Mormon is about, who wrote it and how we can gain a testimony of it. It also explains that by gaining a testimony of the Book of Mormon we can also come to know that Jesus is our Savior, that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly Christ´s restored church.

I’m getting pretty good at teaching in Spanish and having basic conversations but I’m still having a really hard time understanding Latinos, their Spanish is so fast! But I know ill get it.  I’m honestly really happy here and I’m really enjoying all the awesome things I’m learning.

Last night was awesome cuz a lot of people in my district have been kinda distracted this week and haven’t been working as hard as they should, so we had a meeting and we all recommitted to work as hard as we can and do our best to be exactly obedient. We´re gunnu accomplish some EPIC things! I’m so excited cuz I’ve been praying so hard for my district this week.  Last night was a miracle!

Well I’m glad everything’s going well there! It sounds like the bridal shower was fun!  And way to go for giving a Book of Mormon to someone Mama!  Tell me the deets when you get a chance! I love you all so much and I miss you all a TON. Eat some watermelon for me!

Interesting Week 3 comments from www.eldercolesantana@blogspot.com :

After class one day we had a Spanish rap battle, it was pretty good. Elder Eisenhut got sick again, so we walk into the classroom and Elder Baum wrote on the whiteboard, “Elder Eisenhut is dead so Elder Baum needs a new companion (we are at the apartment)”. And it was the start of the new plague that is going around here, so we can’t shake hands anymore and we wash our hands constantly. And guess who went to the hospital again? Elder Eisenhut, poor guy. But I think he is the current record holder here for the most hospital trips!

We love the time when we are doing laundry, they got new couches for the laundry room and they are very comfortable! We think we are all going slowly insane though, today we had a conversation about how graceful dress shirts look when they are going through the dryer, it was pretty funny.

Brennen’s Second Week

Aug 6, 2014

¡hola familia! Sounds like the Utah trip was great! That’s awesome!

This week started out pretty rough but the last few days have been awesome!  There’s a lot of work to do at the MTC. We do pretty much the same thing every day. We wake up at 6:20 and go to breakfast at 7. then we do personal study for about an hour. then a teacher teaches us Spanish and teaching skills for about three hours. Then we have Additional Study, which can be personal, companion, or language study. That’s for a half hour. Then we go to lunch. Then we do language study for an hour (without a teacher). Then we have gym time for an hour. Then we go to the computer lab to do TALL, which is technology assisted language learning.  That is for one hour. Then we have additional study for a half hour and daily planning session for a half hour. Then we go to dinner. Then we have more additional study for an hour. Then we have three more hours of language and teaching study with a teacher. and we teach an investigator a full lesson in Spanish every day. in the morning every other day and in the evening every other day.  We go to our dorms at nine thirty and bedtime is at 10:30.  Then we wake up and do it again!

So I was feeling overwhelmed, but then on Sunday morning I had my companion, Elder Baum give me a blessing to enjoy the MTC and learn the language and I’ve felt great ever since! This is the hardest I’ve ever worked but it’s a lot of fun. I love practicing my Spanish and learning how to be a good teacher. I’m slowly starting to understand how to connect with my investigators and make them feel loved and adjust the lesson to meet their specific needs. I’ve realized this week that it is super duper flippin important to teach through conversation instead of just preaching on and on about the doctrine. So I’m gunnu try to improve on that a lot this week!

brensmission mexico city view
brensmission 2
brensmission 1

This week two sisters in my district asked me and my companion to give them blessings to learn the language and enjoy the MTC. It was sooo cool that they asked us and it was so awesome to be able to do it for them.  Also this week the Latino elders in our apartment, Elder Aguilar and Elder Flores, left and we were so sad! They are so fun to be around. But Elder Aguilar said he wants to become my brother in law so watch out girls! I told him Holly’s getting married at the end of this month but he said its not too late til she gets sealed in the temple.  So watch out Holly you might be getting some emails from a random Latino missionary!  We have new Latino missionaries in our apartment now and they are really cool too. It’s so fun to practice Spanish with Latinos!

And about my stitches- I got four of them and the doctor at the MTC took them out on Monday. I’m as good as new!  And ya mama you can send me what Elder Santana wrote on his blog and what you wrote on my blog! I miss you guys so much. but I’m doing my best to get lost in the work and im really enjoying it. I have a ton of fun with my companion and my district. We´re always laughing!  I love you guys so so so flippin much!  Holly I know ur seminar is gunnu be great!  You are so good at public speaking and Heavenly Father will be with you every step of the way! I love you all! I’ll type ya next week!

Below is what Elder Santana wrote in his blog this week that included Brennen.  Funny story!  Elder Aguliar is a Latino, Spanish speaking missionary trying to learn English haha. 🙂

‘Elder Aguliar moved out of the apartment and into a house on Sunday, it was very sad for us all. He is so much fun to have around and we always have the strangest conversations. During lunch with him, he took a picture of all of us and said that it looked like the last supper because he is leaving on his mission Tuesday. He said Elder Eisenhut was his disciple and that one day he could be the master, it was really funny! He also said that Eisenhut would be The Pope, we were all confused by that one. At dinner Aguilar was asking us what “holy crap” was, so Elder Baum told him what crap was. Then a little while later, Elder Eisenhut gets some peanut butter, and apparently Aguilar has never seen peanut butter before, so as soon as he saw it he said sort of loudly, “What the (heck) is that! Is that holy crap?!”

Wedding Inspiration

my pic

The time has come…something I’ve always dreamed about.  My daughter Holly is getting married!  How can this be?  It’s a strange, yet very happy feeling! Her finance’ Zach is a jewel, they are truly in love, and it’s a joyous thing to be a part of. 🙂

Although I’ve had plenty of wedding receptions at my house, I’ve never been in charge of actually planning one. So I thought it would be fun to document my progress and insights via my Blog. So here we go…The Tale of a Mother/Wedding Planner. 😉

First of all, I must admit to one thing.  I am not really ‘in charge’ of this wedding…Holly is, and that’s a very important thing to understand.  When I first realized she was getting married, I knew there was going to need to to be a ‘point person’ for the entire wedding…the person the responsibility of getting everything done truly falls upon…the CEO of the entire process if you will.  It’s the same with any event, church, or company…someone ultimately has to be in charge, or there is disorder, confusion and the possibility of things falling through the cracks.

I asked Holly straight up,” Do you want to be the ‘point person’ of this event, or do you want me to be?”  I knew different girls would have different answers to this question.  Some would want to be in charge and delegate, while others would like their mothers to take charge and simply feed them their likes, dislikes, etc.  I thought Holly would probably like to be the ‘point person’, and delegate to me, and that’s exactly what she chose.

With that out of the way, we could proceed!  And I knew one very, important thing… if something did not get done for the wedding, I needed to LET GO. This wedding was not about me, and showing the world what an amazing event I could pull off.  It was about Holly and Zach, their love for each other, their vision, needs and preferences, and Holly’s desire to plan her dream wedding.  I needed to sit back, be willing to take direction, and enjoy the process.  What I also realized is… that is kind of a nice place to be!

Holly began by making her list of all the tasks she needed to take care of, and began tackling them one at a time, bit by bit, in conjunction with Zach and his family, as well.  It’s been a joy to watch her move forward!

I have been delegated the Food, the Cake, the Decor of the Reception, and the Flowers, so these are the main things I will be blogging about.  When I say delegated, I mean, asked to be in charge of, with Holly’s suggestions of course.  It’s been a great process of working together~ and I’m truly enjoying it!

So let’s talk COLORS!  I love colors, as you well know…and of course they were one of my first questions for Holly. 🙂  Well, here ya go…light aqua, orange, and white and burlap backgrounds.  Rustic, old fashioned feel. More pictures to follow!

So, tune in, if you’d like, to see how this story unfolds!  26 Days To Go!

Katherine 🙂