Sunday, November 30, 2008

Books I've read... for enjoyment?

My friend Tracy from Oklahoma tagged me for a book meme (someone explain what that is).

Here are the rules:
You choose only four books one from each genre and then state in 30 words or less why they are a must read. Maybe she forgot I've been in school forever or maybe she didn't realize that when I do read a beloved book for pleasure the house can burn down around me and I wouldn't notice, but for what it's worth here it is:

1) Fiction - The last Harry Potter - (actually I listened to it on tape, does that count?)
I love the complexity of the stories, an unlikely hero with weaknesses and good triumphing over evil. (It also makes driving 500 miles in the car go fast)

2) Autobiography - Frank Cappra - The Name above the title.
School assignment. A man worked hard from a humble beginning to become a great name in film making. He then used his position to make inspiring films about unlikely heroes who make a difference. (Hmmm, I see a common thread here)

3) Non Fiction - Family and Change (Yes it's a text you have a problem with that?)
It's a pretty good book but my most compelling reason for reading it was to get a good grade.

4) Any book? - Do cook books count? I guess not, I didn't read it cover to cover...
I am looking forward to reading any book just for pleasure. Many have recommended Twilight. Right now just thinking about reading for fun seems fun. Tag me again in a year!

I tag Jennifer - this will be hard for her but I look forward to seeing what she comes up with. Also Amy, Celisa, Jess, Kami Su and anyone else who loves to read.


Monday, November 24, 2008

A week and a month of miracles

Dear Family,

Another week has passed by and the work is really inspiring! I enjoyed each and every one of your emails and I'm feeling an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for such an inspirational family. I kneel down many times each day and have to thank my Heavenly Father for how blessed I have been to know such wonderful people!!! You are all chosen and loved sons and daughters of our loving Heavenly Father.

The work here in Santo Ângelo has been very blessed by your prayers and the rust has broken and the wheels have begun to spin. As you know, Elder Elder and I have been trying to train the members here to eat, breath, sweat and even sleep missionary work; and our work has started to pay off.

We have been finding a lot of promising investigators, through referrals and, teaching a lot with the members. It seems as though for once they are thinking like I was when I was sticking my head out the window of the van screaming for all the cyclists in LOTOJA. I have this desire to just explode the restored gospel but, for some time, I didn't know how. The members here had the same problem.

Sister Myrrha (Me-huh) gave us the analogy of a cake. We have an awesome cake; it's about the size of Ruby Lynn Wright, it's chocolate, ice cream and Dulce de leche, all right. But, sometimes we are so excited to eat this cake, or even share it that we just dig into it with our hand and start going for the touch down. We even want to share it, so we grab a hand full and throw it like Uncle Rico threw the steak right at Napoleon's face and do you think anyone wants a round house kick to the face while I'm wearing these bad boys? Don't even think about it. (Editorial note: you’ll have to watch the movie “Napoleon Dynamite” to understand the last few sentences!)

But anyways, it has been really cool the way the members are working with us to share the gospel in a more civilized way.
Thank you all for your wonderful letters and until next week!

Love Elder Z

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rhetorical question? Maybe not...

The other day on my quirky post I said that I didn't like shopping and asked somewhat rhetorically "What's wrong with what I'm wearing?"

Here is my answer.

Maybe I never like to shop because it reminded me that I don't like the way I looked. Then, as I lost weight I was able to fit into some clothes I have been holding on to waiting for this day... thrilled that I could wear them comfortably... so I did.

Don't ask me when I bought them but suffice it to say at least one pair of jeans had a 9" zipper.
(In my defense they have NO PLEATS and I NEVER tucked my shirt in.)

For my birthday last week I got a gift card as well as some money to buy new clothes
(That is what I asked for - it was not a hint or suggestion
although it maybe should have been).

Last Saturday Macys had a sale and Jen went shopping with me
(as my consultant).

The result - new pants! YEA!

Amy and "What not to wear" were totally right
you should get some new clothes even in the in between stages.

So I owe a BIG Thanks:
#1 for the birthday money
(not that I couldn't go shopping with out it but I tend to be a little tight...
frugal... cheap... whatever)
#2 to my kids for not being embarrassed to be seen with me in public
(of course I don't really frequent the mall that much
but maybe that will change...)

Disclaimer: No feelings were hurt in the conclusions I came to in this blog and no offense was taken in any way.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Two thoughts

#1 Never go to bed with even "slightly" damp hair.
#2 A good straightener is worth it's weight in gold!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Word (from Brazil)

Dear Family,

My week couldn't have been better!

Look's like Elder Elder and I are going to stay together one more transfer. Last week was really good. We had 2 baptisms and 6 investigators in our Sacrament meeting!

William and Gilherme were baptized on Saturday! They are children of less active members and are really special. They have a lot of family that are really active and we are trying to motivate there parents to learn more about the Gospel. I think it is working too.

Davi, Gilherme's dad had a really spiritual experience. We showed a short film about the first vision and he felt the spirit really strongly. Then afterwards he was asking a ton of questions about the church and about Joseph. Then Gilherme was confirmed on Sunday and Davi showed up and was commenting about the peace and tranquility in the chapel. We will hopefully be able to teach him about the restoration and help him get married. Pray for him to open his heart and be able to know of the truthfulness of the gospel.

Then Eliane and Rafael showed up in Church yesterday!!! Alsindo and Juliana were sleeping when the members passed by to walk with them. Eliane is really set on going to church and has realized already the blessings that have come since we started teaching, but it's Alsindo that has really lost all confidence in churches. He has recognized the spirit and knows that the church is true but it seems like he is waiting for a miracle for him to go to church. We have a family night planned Wednesday, and I think we will make tacos!!! Ahh Yeahhh :)

Josué and Fernanda showed up at church yesterday too and we already talked to them about families and eternal marriage and left the movie Charlie for them to watch. They are hinting towards getting married, so we will pass by there Saturday with a newly married couple that was baptized recently. It should be really sweet!

Elder Elder and I would appreciate it if you guys could pray for the following investigators; Alsindo, Eliane, Juliana, Rafael, Paulo, Serlei, Luciano, Marcia, Maria, Josué, Fernanda, Paulo, Camilla, Gilberto and another Camilla. These are the investigators that really have potential, but the main problem here is that no one is married! Everyone just lives together, has kids, but never gets married, it's really lame.

Thank you all for you love, prayers and fasts. I pray for you all every day!

Tchau Family,

Sure love you guys!!!

Until next week...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You Note for Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad,

I have actually composed this thank you note in my head every year for a very long time. Last Sunday it occurred to me to sit down and write it on the above card and mail it to you; but here we are again with a blank card and the sentiment intended for you to read today still rattling around in my brain. While I realize that I suffer from this malady (see #4) I'm still struggling to fully embrace the cure. I hope this will suffice for this year.

I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for having me. Having had three children ages 3 1/2 and under, I realize that as your number 3 in a comparable time period my arrival, though welcomed, my birth most likely put your lives in a bit of an upheaval.

Thank you for teaching me that there's always room on your lap for another child. Thank you for teaching me about being kind to others and the joy that comes from serving. Thank you for teaching me how to love and be forgiving. Thank you for not only telling me that God loves me but living your lives in a way that I had not doubt that it was true. Thank you for reading to me from the scriptures as well as all kinds of books. Where The Red Fern Grows will always bring back memories of passing the book to another when we got too choked up to continue reading. Thanks for teaching me that it's OK to cry if you have a good reason but not OK just to get what you want. Thank you for enabling me to pursue my dreams and supporting me when my dreams changed. Thank you for being sealed in the temple so that from the moment I was born I was part of a forever family. Thank you for showing me how to live by faith as well as by works. This is not a complete list or even the most important things - but then, I still have a few more years.

Each year I am filled with deep gratitude for the gift of life you have given me - not just that you created and gave birth to my mortal body (even understanding the magnitude of that most awesome gift); but also that during the 18 years I lived under your daily loving care you taught me who I was, why I am here and where I am going and how to tap into the enabling grace and mercy that will help me get there. While I have lived away from home longer than I lived at home, you gave me a solid foundation to build on and continue to do so today.

And so... for this and much, much more I say thank you!
Thank you with all my heart.

I love you both more than words can ever express.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I did it!

I applied for graduation!

After 9+ years it feels kind of surreal

The girl looked at my credits and asked
"just one minor right?"

I probably could get more...
but at this point it's not worth the effort
to research it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Let's get down to bizzzness

Hey Family,

Well, as you can see my Inglês is pretty bad, which means that Português is coming along just great :)

This week has been a really great week. The first two weeks of the transfer Elder Elder and I were working hard, but, we had a lot of rejection. Then the next two weeks were really hard and we got a little trunky. But that, how the Brasillian says it, "Já era!"(Already was). We have made a lot of efforts and plans to stay focused and animated and continue working; not only hard, but smart.

I am starting to realize the significance of the scripture in Ether 12:27. It has always had real meaning to me but know I have a testimony of it. I have found a way to work with Elder Elder, how I worked with Elder Vigeta. We are happy and really progressing.

I have been sharing a message with the members about being prepared to talk to people about the gospel and how to do it; We have a film that we are passing around called, "By small and simple things." It has a short film about a girl who gave a book of Mormon to a boy at school, almost "by accident (yeah yeah)." He ends up reading the book and praying about it and after he is taught by the missionaries and his whole family gets baptized. Then it has a talk by elder Eyring and testimonies from a few converts. But, what really struck out to me was that Elder Erying said, "The people that are prepared to hear about the gospel will run into the people that are prepared to teach them, or share a particle of faith with them"(more or less).

I started to question my purpose here and started feeling that I really needed to focus on being prepared to say the things that the people will need to hear. I am proud to say that I have found myself here in Santo Ângelo and that Now I am ready to work.

Sunday something really cool happened. Well Alsindo, Eliane, Juliana and Rafael didn't go to church. They had to run out of town at the last minute and only passed us Saturday night on there way out of town. Well, I know what your thinking, "that's not very cool, that's really sad." You're right, that isn't the cool thing that happened, that was really lame! But, the cool thing that happened is that a couple showed up at church. They aren't married. He fell away from the church when he was fourteen and she is catholic. She is the one that wanted to go to church and she fasted for one week and ended it in our sacrament meeting!!!
It was an answer to our prayers, we grabbed a member and marked later that afternoon and taught them. It was the first lesson about The fall of Adam and Eve making it necessary for a Savior, Christ; Christ being perfect, baptism, Christ's church and the Atonement. I usually don't cry until the Restoration, but she was crying through the whole thing! It was one of the most powerful experiences that I have yet had on the mission.

I'm so grateful for this opportunity that I have to be here and that I was prepared! I love this gospel and am glad to know that there is nothing better that I could be doing.

Love you all with all my heart!!!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Flash back Friday(ish): Shock but no surprise

Five years ago this Sunday, Mark and I were just settling down for an afternoon nap when the phone rang. We heard one of the kids answer and explain to the caller that we were sleeping and they were not allowed to wake us (except of course if someone was bleeding or something was on fire). We listened as the muffled conversation continued up the stairs and was followed by a hesitant knock on our door. It was a member of the stake presidency wanting to talk to dad. Could both of us meet with them in about 30 min. at the stake presidents office... so much for our nap.

The following Sunday Mark was sustained as Bishop of our home ward. The reality of it was kind of a shock but not really a surprise. There had been little indications that this calling would come even though we tried to ignore and deny them at times. During the past five years this calling has brought challenges as well as many blessings and tremendous growth for our family.

I'm not writing this now because I know something... as has been the case the last five years I know nothing! I write this to acknowledge that at some point (maybe in a month, maybe in two years) another phone call will come - maybe during a Sunday nap - and it will be time for Mark to be released. I would imagine that again the reality of it may be a shock but not a surprise.

Until then, Mark continues to serve and I will continue to make birthday cards and monthly scones. But... last Sunday two members of the stake presidency visited our meeting (for no apparent reason) and people have started asking now I can also joke with members of the ward about them being next! This is really fun!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I have a reserach paper to write!

but I'm having a hard time concentrating.

I'm completely smitten!She's not even awake right now.
Can't wait to kiss those wonderful cheeks!

And one more on the way!

being a Grandma is simply

Now I know why most grandma's don't go to school

OK (deep breath)
Now that's out of my system...focus, focus, focus!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I voted

I was worried about voting today. Talk of long lines and three hour waits. I have class from 3-5:30, a bike ride to get in and tons of homework to do. I don't have three hours to wait in line but still, voting is important...

I went by the elementary school where we vote after I finished driving the middle school carpool this morning and it was a zoo. A man leaving the building said five of the voting stations were not working and the line was horrendous. I went home and decided on a new plan of action. I would get my stuff done and go to vote at 1:30 leaving if I still had a long wait or being late to class if I was close.

At 9:50 a friend called to remind me about something I need to bring for enrichment meeting tonight. I asked her about voting (I knew she had already been) she was there 20 min. before it opened and was done in less than an hour. As I hung up the phone I felt the urging "Go now" I thought logically, if there was a three hour wait at 8:00, there will still be a crowd. Again the urging, "Go now". I sat down at the computer for a moment to consider my options and continue with my homework but drew a blank. OK, Ok I'll go now.

NO LINES. Parked in a prime spot, walked in voted, walked out. I noticed while I was there that Aaron's name was on the list to vote at the elementary school. As I was walking out I began to text Aaron and Mark to let them know of the lack of lines. I was interrupted by a call from Aaron asking if he was registered to vote at the same place we were. I could confidently answer yes!

Is there any question in my mind that God cares about the details of our lives? Absolutely None!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Word from Brazil

Hey Family!!!

What's going on there in Utah?!

Everything here in Santo Angelo is moving a long, a little slowly, but it's moving. We are teaching a few people with potential and soon we should have a few baptisms. But, we are puting a lot of emphasis and efforts on training the members here so we haven't been knocking doors and finding a lot of people to teach. We held a training for the leaders or our branch yesterday that was really spiritual, about always sharing the gospel and preparing to share the gospel with our friends and family that aren't members. It was a really cool experience and we should be seeing a lot of referrals soon.
Our Branch here is really good, it isn't very big but we have a lot of firm leaders here that will help once the work starts moving a little faster.
Eliane, Alsindo, Juliana and Rafael have received testimonies about everything we have taught but keep going out of town on the weekends. They were at an activity that we had Thursday and really had a good time but, they haven't been to Sacrament meeting yet. We will now just really put the focus on progress and commit them to go to church this Sunday. Your prayers and fasting would really help.
Do you guys remember; Arlei, Laura, Alexandra, Arlei junior, Jefferson, Laura, Jefferson and Maikon.
Well they are from Uruguiana and Jefferson was baptized last week and Laura(his sister) will be baptized with Arlei, Laura, and Alexandra on the 15 of November.
I am super excited for Elder Vigeta, he was a really good companion!
Well I have faith that the time has come for Santo Angelo and we're gonna make it happen! Pray for us!

Love you guys!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

6 Quirky things about me

Thanks for the tag Jess, It's an honor to be considered one of your quirky friends... I think.
Anyway, here are 6 quirky things about me:

1) I hate to shop... especially for shoes! - what's wrong with what I'm wearing?... and when it comes to shoes - I can totally relate to Cinderella's ugly step sisters, nothing I want to wear fits.

2) I sleep with socks on - thin socks - It's been a great cure for cracked feet. I put on this and then some thin socks and wallah no more cracks!

3) I floss twice a day... do you know what grows in there? D-skus-ting!

4) I love, love, love to make cards but hardly ever send them - I am working on this one.
(If you want to see some of them check out my stamping blog, or if you want to buy some from my vast collection let me know - we could call it an overstock sale - they're cheap!)

5) I'm always late to Weight Watchers because I weigh my clothes - don't scoff - did you know that jeans can add up to half a pound!

6) I seem to have this idea that I can do most anything after reading a how to from a book or on line. Things such as "sure, I can texture my walls and do faux painting", "I can make my daughters wedding dress" (I actually had taken a sewing class and had done some sewing beforehand, "I can make a running stream in my backyard"... etc. I don't do electrical or plumbing and actually after the backyard project I may be outgrowing this one... I come by it naturally though - I get it from my mom!

So now it's out in the open I tag Lisa, Linda, Amy, Celisa, Jennifer and Tracy to share some of your quirks with us!