Friday, October 31, 2008

Flash Back Friday: Not Born on Halloween

My Grandma Gusty was not born on Halloween but Halloween is on her birthday. She was born in Switzerland where they didn't (don't?.. I don't know) celebrate Halloween. She is the second from the left, the girl with dark hair and full lips (for more details about the other women in the picture, see my dad's comment below)- she said her sisters teased her because she looked so different than the rest of them. She, along with her sisters and mom joined the church on the 6th of May, 1914 when she was nine and she came to the US sailing from Cherbourg on the 22nd of May, 1926, when she was 21. She worked as a nanny and house keeper first in Salt Lake City and then in LA. She learned English here. She met my grandpa, the mailman, as she awaited letters from her beau back in Switzerland. They were married in LA and later my grandpa joined the church and they traveled to the Mesa temple to be sealed.
Grandma was a "Rosie the Riveter"
and worked at McDonald Douglas during World War II.
(I love her handwriting.)
This is my grandma and Grandpa shortly before my Grandpa passed away in the early 70's. My grandma's hair didn't go gray until he was into her 80's and she lived by herself until she was 90? - clarification dad?
She passed away just before Jennifer's second birthday in '97. It's hard to believe she's been gone 11 years. Somehow she remains with me though. I see her full lips on my children and our sweet Ruby. Every Thanksgiving we eat on the china that was hers. I am grateful that the relationships we form here will continue with us forever. Happy Birthday Grandma... I look forward to our reunion someday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Autumn: the way I see it

Looking into the back yard
Front side yard

Back side yard
Looking out the front window

While I know that Winter follows Autumn,
having lived many years
without an obvious changing of the seasons

I have come to appreciate the way nature
celebrates the passage of time.

P.S. I saw a bald eagle while I was riding my bike
in Provo Canyon yesterday
I love where we live!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Held Hostage

Have you ever come to the realization that you are holding people hostage to their past? Allowing actions or words spoken long ago (or not that long ago) to dictate choices you make and the way you treat others in this moment? It seems that when I am feeling pretty heroic and righteous I am often faced (sometimes hit in the face) with the reality of my hypocrisy.

Have words ever slipped out of your mouth that you don't really mean? Blame it on the heat of the moment, stress or exhaustion.... open mouth, insert foot, bite down hard. I know I have longed for time to roll back so I could do it over, say it over or not say it at all. I want the other person to forgive me and move on as if it never happened. Why then, can I not extend that same courtesy as easily to others.

For me, I want each day to be a new day, a new beginning. I want to be at least a little better today than I was yesterday: to start fresh and learn new things, to not make the same or as many mistakes as I did yesterday. I would guess that most people want that. I hope that others notice my progress and would forgive me of past blunders and treat me as the new person I'm trying to become. Why, if this is my desire, do I struggle to extend the same consideration to others?

Today is a new day, time for a fresh start, no more hostages.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Zone Conference!!!

Well Family, the days are flying by like a Bugatti in 6th gear, if you know what I mean ;)

Santo Angêlo is a very very good area, but Elder Elder and I just need to learn how to work it.

Man I love zone conference!!! President is really inspired; and I received goodies from home (thanks everybody, especially Mom!!!). I had been praying to find new investigators, trying to pull the referrals from the members but nothing seemed to be working REALLY GOOD. Then, in zone conference the main topic was finding new investigators! President really has some awesome ideas and we are going to go all out! Also, Elder Bueno who was in Uruguaiana with me is Assistant now. He has passed through this same area that I am in and he told us every little little secret that he knows about our area. So, I'm super excited to work this week!

We have been working with one family for a few weeks now and it's getting to the boiling point; They have been showing a lot of interest, but not progressing the way they could be.

It is a family of four; The dad, Alsindo, Mom, Elaine, Daughter of Alsindo, Juliana, and son of Elaine, Rafael. It doesn't look like they are married, so it will be a bit of a process before they can be baptized. But, we started teaching all except the dad; he has lost all confidence in Churches (and with the churches they have here, I am pretty disgusted too). We taught them about the Ministry of Christ and Restoration (I wasn't there when they taught the Restoration, but Elder Elder left them the movie of the First Vision to watch with Alsindo to see if they could spark some interest). Then, the next visit, Alsindo had watched the movie and liked it a lot. So, I went back on a split with a few members and we taught the whole family about the Book of Mormon; It was a very spiritual lesson and the whole family really could tell the importance of having another testimony when so many people can translate the Bible in so many different ways. On the next visit, we started with the first lesson for Alsindo because he wanted to know the importance of baptism. When we asked how they had liked the part of the Book of Mormon that we marked, Elaine had already read 3rd Nephi 11 and started to read from the beginning. I couldn't believe it, she has showed a lot of interest and really wants to progress but Alsindo thinks there is more to the church than what we are saying. He has a vision very much like Dad, when things are looking too good to be true, they usually are; also, that nothing comes for free. Which is true, we need to sacrifice the natural man to enter into God's fold.

We are starting to have activities every Thursday night and they have really been a hit. We will have a visit with them tomorrow, then invite them to the activity and we will see what happens Sunday. But, I would really appreciate your prayers for them; Alsindo, Elaine, Juliana and Rafael.

Thanks for all of your letters this week!!! I will write you all back individually...

Until next week

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Flashback Friday:Halloween

While I realize that Halloween is a favorite for many, I have always struggled to get into it. I was always the one standing on some ladies door step while she would look at me and say, "Well what have we here... she would look and look... and think and ponder" I would just stand there and try to smile with my outstretched pillow case. I wanted to give her hints....let's see, I'm wrapped in bandages from head to toe and any exposed skin is green...... it rhymes with dummy... Of course I would never say that but come on!

Since those painful days our family has discovered pumpkin carving using a stencil and special carving tools. Each year we get together and carve pumpkins. It's been fun - I actually look forward to lighting them on Halloween night. This is Robbie's jay-O-lantern from last year.

I'm getting the costume thing figured out too, well sort of.

This year Mark and I actually dressed up (thanks to tremendous pressure from Jessica - no really - thank you) We make great nerds! (Napoleon Dynamite and Deb - just in case you can't tell) Maybe by the time I'm 70 I'll get it figured out!

The state of things today and in the future

We had an interesting conversation with Christian and Jennifer last night sitting on the floor in the living room as we were about to have family prayer. We talked about the election and the state of our economy. We talked about California's prop 8 and it's implications. We talked about the national debt and how it will effect all of us. We talked about Biden's recent speech and the media's lack of attention to it and if he's right what it will mean to our country. All in all a very sobering conversation.

We also talked about how grateful we are to have prophet of God on the earth today to give us guidance and comfort. We talked about our recent conference and the messages of hope and gratitude that were given.

Today I read these words:
" Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds whithersoever the enemy listeth to carry them.
But behold, they are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest and they are his; and he will raise them up at the last day." Alma 26:6-8

In less than two weeks the election will be over and many will breathe a sigh of relief that we will no longer be bombarded with ads, signs and news reports about the election, but the consequences of our choices made during this election will just be starting.

We so often think of the here and now... what will make my life better today? But as my children get older I seem to think more about the legacy of the world we are leaving for them and their children - my sweet Ruby and this new baby Aaron and Celisa are bringing into the world, I often pause and wonder what kind of a world are we leaving to them and would our choices be different if it really mattered to us?

PS sorry for all the "updates" to try and get my pics right, I'm done now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My funny for the day

My friend and neighbor Trinka brought me a muffin the other day made from yellow squash. It was really good so I got her recipe. I tweaked it a little, added some cocoa powder and topped it with fat free coolwhip and chocolate shavings - think chocolate cupcake. Pretty good and only two points. I made some again Sunday but used butternut squash and did a little more tweaking. This time I frosted it with cream cheese frosting (2.5 points). They were better than the batch before so I took some over for Trinka and her family to try. Today Devyn (Trinka's almost 8 year old son) returned the plate. I asked him if he liked the cupcakes. At first he said yes and then turned around and said, "Well, no actually I didn't try them... I was barfing. Have a good day!" then he quickly added, "I'm feeling better now" put his hand on his stomach and thought for a moment and added, "well, sort of" and he left.

Just Burning Rubber


How is everyone? Thank you all once again for all of your; prayers, love, support, letters and pictures. It is really good to hear from you.

My week has been a bit long here in Santo Angelo. I haven't lost hope or enthusiasm but I'm going crazy for new ideas.

Elder Elder and I have been knocking doors and teaching a few people that are really wishy-washy. We have been working with two families in particular that have showed potential but they have got there problems, just like anyone else. but I have learned that a person or family isn't the Lord's elects until they have a change of heart and are baptized. But, we are working to accomplish this.

We have realized that there are many less active members in this Branch that haven't had a visit from the missionaries in a really long time. We are also realizing that knocking doors in our area really isn't very productive. So, starting with this week I think Elder Elder and I will work up a lesson really spiritual to present to the less active members and start to teach there friends and family.

It is really interesting the way Satan works, It is the small things like; reading the scriptures, saying our prayers, going to church, this time, I will do it tomorrow and thoughts of this kind that cause feelings of; unworthiness, shame, sadness, confusion that ultimately lead us to leave the church.

But with one spiritual experience it is really amazing the way that torch can light again. We can and must all be examples of this torch going strong. So that we can light the fire that once burned in those that have forgot how it is to live in the security of the Gospel.

Thank you all for being there and re-lighting my fire.

Love you all more than I can express!!!

Tchau, até mais...

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flashback Friday: There's nothing to fear...

When I was little I remember laying in my bed as flat as I could so that if someone shot an arrow through the window they wouldn't hit me...and no matter how hot it was I ALWAYS covered myself with my sheet, the more protection the better... seems pretty silly now but for years (maybe it just seemed like years) this is how I went to sleep. (I still like a sheet covering me but it has nothing to do with arrows).

WARNING - I realize there are not many people who read this but if you are one of the few and are sick of posts about losing weight, feel free to close this now. This post is more for me than you.

It's funny how I still have strange (OK - maybe irrational) fears. It was also somewhat unexpected how emotionally charged the whole weight loss thing is for me. It's really more than just exercising and eating right. Maybe if I just put them out there I can see that I really have nothing to fear.
1. I can't buy new clothes until I reach my ideal weight - what if I somehow become satisfied with the way I look and stop loosing?
2. What if I get stuck and never can reach my goal?
3. What if I'm never satisfied with the way I look?
4. If I'm not obsessive I won't loose weight.
5. What if I have to eat so little food to reach my goal that I can't maintain it?
6. Can I really be happy not eating whatever I want whenever I want?

Ok, I feel better already. Even as I typed some of these issues that have been floating in the back of my head it seems silly that I would even worry about them. This whole process has been fascinating to understand my self better, physically and emotionally. I'm learning a lot about the way my own body works.

OK, one more breakthrough for me. I am posting a picture of myself, by myself on my blog. Reward or punishment... you have to figure that one out. Nice hair cut though, thanks Jamie...

I can't tell you how tempting it is to delete this whole thing but I accidentally posted it before I was finished so I guess I'll leave it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

They've go a McDonalds in Santa Maria

Hey Family!

How is everyone? It was really good to hear from all of you. I know I say it every week but your letters really mean the world to me!

I am here in Santo Angelo now with Elder Silva and his first name is actually Elder; so that goes to show you how much of a nerd he is :) He is 21 and is from Minas Gerais. He is a good kid, a lil spacey but he's got the will to work and so I think we'll make a good team.

Just to let you know a little about Santo Angelo, it has been in last place as far as baptisms goes since I arrived in the mission. It is the exact opposite to Uruguiana. We've got all the leaders in our ward and every one of them is very animated and working hard. They just had the chapel reformed and it is beautiful. The problem here is that there are only 4 missionaries in the whole city; us and the zone leaders. We have had a really hard time finding people who are interested and that want us to return. We had about 10 lessons with members scheduled that fell through and we found about 15 investigators but none are progressing. This place is going to take a lot of work. I am very excited to get the work going here and President is sure that the time has arrived here.

Elder Silva and I are really going to put the peddle to the meddle, like it was a Lambo and see what we can dig up. We have realized that the people here are really honest to the extent that they will tell you how they feel about you and how much they want to hear our message; so we have stopped insisting and now we are just praying and fasting to find the people that are waiting for the message of the restored gospel. I think we have a few with potential, so we'll see what happens. We could really use your help though. We are looking for a family, legaly married with children in the age for baptism. Your prayers would really be helpful in our situation!!!

Thanks again for your love and prayers and confidence! All is great here in Santo Angelo and will be even better with your prayers and fasting.

Até proxíma semana!!! (D&C 88:76-81 has a promise for all of us!!!)

PS from Karen - check the link to his blog, he posted some new pics.!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flash Back Friday: Columbus Day

Columbus day is coming up, how do you celebrate?

I must admit that I do not regularly celebrate it these days but when I was growing up Columbus Day meant going to Disneyland! It was government employee day. My parents got discount tickets and we got out of school. We lived about an hour and forever from Disneyland. The first 45 minutes or so went fairly quickly but the last 20 or 30 took F-O-R-E-V-E-R! We were always so excited to see this sight greeting us (ummm I don't know those people, just downloaded it from the internet):When we got a little older we would use the car ride to carefully plan our strategy to get the most rides in during the day and upon arriving we would split up and us older kids would run from land to land riding and screaming to our hearts content. We also planned rest times when we would ride Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted house or Small World so we could recharge and replan without wasting valuable time. My Mom would often bring our lunch and BBQ at a little picnic area off the the left of the park entrance. (Is that still there?)
One year when we were still small enough to stick together I remember going to Tom Sawyers Island. What a fun place (although a little scary considering Injun Joe and all). I remember climbing on the rock play area. My mom gave us our usual 5 minute warning to finish up. I really wanted to climb to the top of the castle rock again and said something to that effect. I would guess that knowing I was kind of disobeying I probably said it fairly quietly. When I finally came down my family was no where to be found. I was petrified! I looked all over and couldn't find them. I started to cry and then to run. I don't remember where I was running to but I knew they were on the island and I had to find them. It seemed like I ran all over the place for a very long time. A park worker found me about 30 seconds before I ran into them. I don't remember my family being panicked that I was missing (which tells you that I wasn't gone very long) but I'll tell you I didn't let go of my Mom's hand the rest of the day and in the future... when my Mom said "Let's go" I was one of the first to respond!
We took our family to Disneyland years ago (Christian was a few months old). We got one of those package deals with tickets and a hotel. I made my kids ride on Matterhorn because you can't go to Disneyland and not do that! They were not happy about that. It was soooo crowded. Robbie (age 4) let go of my hand and disappeared in the crush of people. I was petrified. Luckily we found him quickly. We went back to the hotel for dinner that evening with the intention of resting and returning to the park but the kids just wanted to go swimming... pretty expensive swim. We haven't been back since.

I don't know how I feel about all of that but that's the way it is for me. While my family may not really be amusement park people I think that if I could go on an uncrowded day and not have to use all our life savings.... I would love to ride the Matterhorn again.....and space mountain, Thunder mountain railway, Pirates, the haunted house (with my dad), Small world, and on and on.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Didja miss me?

Half empty or half full, half empty or half full?
Half full - half full - half full.

This past week (plus really) has been a wild ride. Tuesday (nine days ago) I went to take the middle school girls to school and couldn't get the garage door open. I finally got it open and had Jenn and Ruby Neff hold it open while I drove the two cars out, we picked up the other girls and they still made it on time - tender mercy. We were able to find a good discount on a new door and opener - tender mercy. Last Thursday I drove the high school carpool in the morning and when I got home I noticed it sounded like the radiator was boiling...strange, Timpview is only about a mile and a half away. When I was heading out to Weight Watchers I watched the thermometer slowly climb until it hit red about the time I got there - tender mercy. When I came out I called Mark and we decided to take it to Ray's campus auto right next to BYU. I just made it there when it hit the red again. I called Karen Bergmann to tell her I would not make our appointed time for a bike ride and she offered to pick me up - tender mercy. My 8:00am class was cancelled Friday morning (the only time during the whole semester) so not having my car was not an issue - tender mercy. We took the Beamer in to get some work done. When they finished they were pulling it out the water pump went out so they pulled it back in and fixed that too - glad it didn't happen while Christian or I were on our way somewhere - tender mercy. General Conference was a real oasis for me. I just soaked in the messages from our leaders. The spirit bore witness to me again that there is a prophet of God on the earth today and that God is aware of us. Great messages of hope during troubled times. Saturday morning at aerobics Kristen was subbing for Laura and was going wicked fast, I pulled a muscle in my calf trying to keep up and so this week I rode inside and outside instead of going to aerobics to give it a chance to heal. I have been struggling for a few weeks to find a movie that is similar to the one I am trying to write. Monday I grabbed one off the shelf that I haven't seen for a while and popped it in while I rode. As it began it dawned on me that this is the movie I've been searching for - tender mercy. Robbie's letter Monday and how he was feeling unloved (I still get teary thinking about my wonderful son so far away feeling unloved) and how Pres. Monson's words touched his heart - tender mercy. During the summer I asked a wonderful sister in my ward to teach me how to knit so I could make Christmas stockings for the married kids spouses and the grandkids, carrying on the tradition started by Mark's mom. We have talked a few times and she told me she was getting it figured out. She came by today with three stockings ready to put names on. I was taken back. She said the first was the hardest and then they were really fun. As she was finishing the first one she thought about my life with school and everything and felt like she should just make all three and teach me when I have a little more time. What a tender mercy. This Christmas instead of having a whole stocking made by me three wonderful family members will have stockings made by an angel (with their names added by me). Huge tender mercy.

Definetly a week full of ups and downs - but I also feel like we have been very blessed. The cup is definitely more than half full and my heart is completely filled with gratitude.

Monday, October 6, 2008

D&C 84:88

Hey Family!

Well, this 3rd transfer is over and it looks like I'm going to be moving on. I am filled with many mixed emotions; gratitude, excitement, sadness, insecurity.
I have felt so comfortable; I know where to buy my bread and milk, I know where the bishop and leaders live, I have investigators that are progressing and preparing for baptism, I have a companion that I really work well with and that I like working with and so, I have gained friendship with many members and I have learned how to communicate with these people. I guess it's time to get thrown out of my comfort zone.
I am so grateful for what the Lord has taught me, in every struggle, in every mistake, in every good time, and in every moment I have been guided by the spirit. It will be a whole knew experience starting over in another area, with a new companion and a whole new ward.
It is a really good thing that this is the work of the Lord or I would feel like a little kid in a strange world. But, with the confidence of the Gospel and the spirit I will go wherever the Lord sends me.

So my birthday was really good; Elder Vigeta and I made pastels and shared them with one of the families that we are teaching. I got a table cloth with the Grêmio team logo on it(My soccer team here in the south). Wahoo, I'm 21 :)

Wow, conference was inspiring! I watched it in English and realized how limited my Português is right now. It really motivated me to study harder and perfect the language. I am really going to miss the corrections from Elder Vigeta. He has really helped my accent.

Before the first session of conference Vigeta and I where having a few arguments, but, the first words from President Monson really touched my heart; Those that are new, we welcome you. Those that are struggling, we love you. I had been struggling a little with feeling love from anyone, and when I heard those words, they penetrated my heart and I knew that Thomas S. Monson is our Prophet of God called to lead and guide us through our daily trials. I was so grateful for every one of the talks that we were able to here and I am just now gaining a testimony on why it is so important to do the small things in life. Read the scriptures daily, Pray to our father in heaven, go to church every Sunday, read the Ensign and "Recharge our batteries." As mom would put it. I hope you all remember that I love you and pray for you every day! I would also like you to know that I feel your prayers on a daily basis.

Wish me Luck in Santo Angelo!

Sure Love you all, thank you for all your support and Love!!!