Friday, January 30, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Homework

This is actually more like a turnabout than a flashback for me.
I waited until my last semester, actually my last and only class before I graduate in April
to take the dreaded Statistics.

It seems kind of silly sometimes,
it sure would have helped me understand all those research papers I've read and quoted in the stacks of papers I've written. And "it's more a new way of thinking about things than math".

Seemed silly until yesterday...
Jennifer came down stairs and found me close to tears working on my Stats homework.
Actually I have been close to tears on a number of occasions since the teacher showed the first formula on the screen in class.
I had to take a deep breath and fight off the wave of panic.
"I can do this, I can do this" became my mantra.

So yesterday I pulled out the trusty calculator that has been used by my kids for years and began to work on a problem.

I quickly realized that I don't really know how to use a scientific calculator.
Push which button first before you enter the number to square it?
Aaaaaaaa! wrong one.... how do I get rid of it!
Christian came to my rescue and gave me a crash course in scientific calculators.
The next problem suggested using "crunch it" and the data sets provided.
"click here for instructions on how to use crunch it"
I clicked but couldn't find the instructions...
I went back to make sure I did it right, I found the data sets but now clue how to use them.
I'm OK, I can still do this...

So I opened my trusty spreadsheet software and decided to set up my own program to do the same thing. It would be better anyway, then I would understand exactly how it worked.
In theory anyway.

A few minutes later Jen arrived.
Usually the roles are reversed.
She tenderly put her arm around me and helped me figure it out...
allowing me to do it myself so I knew what I was doing.

Now we both know how to find the variance and standard deviation for any set of data as well as calculate the correct z score.

Last night I though of the many times my children have been close to tears in frustration while working on their homework and wished I had been as sympathetic and helpful as they had been yesterday. Celisa, who took statistics last semester promised to teach me "crunch it" when they come on Sunday.

Mark sat down with me too last night just to make sure I understood not just the mechanics but what it all means.

I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful and incredibly intelligent people.
With their help I really can do it!
It's good to know we are not alone.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The latest from Brazil

Hey Family,

This has been a really good week. Not to mention the dream that I had that I returned home and was talking with everyone! That was really lame and left me a little trunky. But, don't worry about me, I already forgot about me. I'm working for the Lord and there isn't time to think about me.

Saturday, Fernando was baptized! Hurray! He was really prepared and it is really amazing the spirit you can feel when you helped someone enter on the right path!

Gustavo and Jose and happier than ever and Gustavo is going to work to get married. They are a really special family and are already feeling at home at church.

Ernandes and Tereza had a good time at the baptism but they haven't really been putting the efforts forth and showing us there interest to know if the church is true. It is really sad that so many people here stay content with whatever and don't care if it is true or not. They have been going to a small church here for quite some time and aren't really seeing the difference. Also, they don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon yet. We will prepare a powerful lesson about the spirit and doubts and questions of this life and the soul and show that we can answer these questions with the Book of Mormon.

Not much more has happened this week other than our attendance in sacrament meeting went up 13 people! Also, the District(Stake) here has decided to have the theme of this year be Missionary Work! We are very excited and it looks like the wheels are really going to start rolling now!

Thank you all for your love and support, I am really blessed to have such great examples of the Savior in my life!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

25 one day late

3 days old

It seems perfectly appropriate that I wish Aaron a happy birthday one day late
After all... he also was one day late.

Twenty five years.
My son is twenty five.
Whew. It seems like I should feel old... well, older than I do feel

2 months in his blessing outfit

It's amazing how life works. I remember putting away some food about a month before I was due and looking at the expiration date...
My pregnancy was due to "expire" before the food was.
I think that's when it really hit me that I wasn't going to be pregnant forever and that this baby tucked so tightly inside me wiggling around was really going to be born.

Raising Aaron has been a joyful journey.
He was always an inquisitive child wanting to know the how, why, when, where and how come about everything.
Halloween 1986
Norman Oklahoma 1998ish

He has always had a great love for his siblings and felt from early on a great sense of responsibility to set a good example and guide them.

With dad on Gooseberry Mesa

A friend of mine was looking at a newborn baby boy and said,
"It's hard to believe looking at him now that he will be a man someday"

It's amazing how quickly the time passes.
Now my first baby is a man with a wife and baby of his own on the way.

I could say a lot more but pretty soon this will be two days late and that just won't do.

Love you Aaron!
Happy Birthday

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blue Sky

Hey Family,

This week has been more than I could have hoped for. We have been working with Gostavo, Jose and there family and things are looking very good! Our prayers have been answered and they are progressing!

This week we have had a lot of success considering the circumstances; we only worked three full days this week! But we are seeing a lot of progress in Gostavo, Jose and Fernando.

Fernando will be baptized Saturday this week! He is really excited and has already invited half of the Branch. We set the date to be yesterday but then decided it would be better to announce it better and invite all of our investigators to come out and see the baptism. We are hoping that by the baptism his parents, Ernandes and Tereza will feel the spirit and start to look into the Church, please pray for them!

Gostavo and Jose are "going to the chapel and they're gonna get maa aried, goin to the chapel and they're get married!" Wahoo! They will enter into all the paper work this Friday. Then it will take about 30 days for them to get married. But they are really strong influences for good!

This week we have also been working with Diogo and Mariele. They are another young couple that needs to get married. They have been really enjoying the lessons and yesterday they went to church and just loved it! We will work really intensely with them and talk to them about marriage this week. Pray for them please! They have a lot of the family that has seen that we have started teaching them and are trying to distract them. Pray for them to know the truth!

This last Monday we had another really cool experience with the spirit. After P-day we tried to contact a few referrals and knock some doors. But the whole night everyone was really negative with us. No one said "Hi" to us in the roads and everyone was being really rude. We were in the streets for 2 hours and nothing happened. It was a little after 9 o' clock and I said to my companion, "what do you want to do." He said, "let's go home." Then in that moment a name popped into my head, "Ione." We were on the same street and we had to confirm a Family Night that she wanted to mark. So we started heading to her house when I looked into an opened door of a house. I saw a man with a cyclist's jersey. I took three steps and stopped and said, "We need to talk to that guy." We turned around and started talking to the guy about everything he does, his family, biking and started to get to know him. Then I asked for a cup of water and he invited us in. We sat down and talked about religion. Turns out he doesn't have one, Wahoo! We talked about Christ's church with prophets and apostles. He started thing and said, "There should be a Church like this on the earth today, shouldn't there." I said, "my friend it will be a pleasure to come here another day and explain all there is to it another day, can we?" He said, "sure." He is legally married and a newly born daughter! We already returned one time but he was busy, this week we will teach him with the members. But, Please, pray for them! I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot of distractions now and I have learned that they are elect only after the baptism. His name is Geovane and his wife's name is Marcia.

I love you all and can't tell you how much your letters and prayers mean to me!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It gets complicated

Dear Family,

This week has been like a game of chess. I'm playing the best I can, but I've encountered something that I have never seen before. Now it's all up to the Lord.

I think I have been walking the feet off of my greeny here, Elder Borlot. I'm pretty sure the next companion he will ask for will be a slacker. Just kidding, we're getting along just fine.

We have been working with Gostavo, Jose and Fernando a lot lately! They are really turning out to be troopers. If they didn't have a testimony I think they would have stopped going to church by now.

This week we have discovered the great problem in our Branch. To make a long story short half the members are mad with the other half and there's a lot of tension with just about anything that happens here.

We have been teaching Gostavo's parents and they already love us; But, I don't think it will be very easy for Gostavo to continue inviting them to come to church with us.

Last Sunday there was a lot of tension in Sacrament Meeting but luckily I was able to give my talk and help everything go a little smoother. i really don't know what to do. I will just keep supporting the Leaders and keep working. But, it will be a good thing that we have Zone Conference this week! I will really need it.

Sure Love you guys, I can't tell you how much your emails mean to me!
Pray for us; Gostavo, Jose, Fernando, Ernandes(Gostavo's dad), Tereza(Mom) and their whole family.

Have a good week! Love you guys!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Snow Day

This is a question I've heard a lot lately...

Exactly how much snow does it take for Utah County to close the schools for a snow day?

One informed person told me it's something like 11 inches after midnight.
Grab those boots and backpacks and get going!
I suggested to the elementary kids that they wait by a driveway instead of the usual spot between houses... but hey, what do I know.

Even the smallest children climbed through the huge snow bank left by the snow plow when one of the older kids emerged from his house informing them they had a late start today...
the bus came 10 minutes later...
Glad I don't have to mop up that floor.

8:40 am
9:30 am

Thank goodness for snow blowers cause it's still coming down!
Break in the snow tomorrow and then more Thursday.

Enjoy the beauty...right?!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Just Good News

Hey Family,

Thanks for your emails! It's good to know that everything went alright in Arizona and that everyone is safe at home now! Thanks for your positive notes about being district leader but, it appears that it was just a mistake. The secretaries made me District Leader when I was really just supposed to be made senior.

It was actually kind of a relief. Right now in Santo Ângelo there are only 2 pairs of missionaries; the zone leaders and us. Right now one of the zone leaders is DL and ZL and what they tell me is that I will be called DL next transfer, but we'll see.

This has been a really great week for me. I am here in Santo Ângelo still, but now I am here with Elder Borlot. He is new in the mission; he has been in the feild for 3 months. He is 22 and was born in the church. He has been in Uruguiana for his first 3 months and asked Presidente to put his with someone that really works so, Presidente put him with me :) I hope he doesn't regret it.

Well, I don't think that i have told y'all about Gostavo, Jôse and Fernando yet. When I was with Elder Silva we were passing a house where a young man, Gostavo about 22 years old, and his family were putting a type of shingle roof on their house. We were passing by and with waved and said, "good after-noon." When Gostavo said, "would you like to help us out here." He was just kidding with us but, Elder Silva and I were already thinking about giving them a hand. Immediately I took off my backpack, tucked my tie in my shirt and took off my watch and said lets go. Apparently Elder Silva was thinking the same thing as me because he did the same thing and already started to help them pass the material to the guy on the roof.

He was completely shocked and said that he was just kidding but i said that that's not a problem and that we are here to serve. We started talking and I marked a day that we could come back and share a message. We went back and taught them about Christ's ministry and the Restoration. We invited them to pray and he said leave it to me. We invited him to play soccer Wed., he went. He was at church Sunday with his wife/girlfriend and his brother. Then today we played soccer with him and he sat down next to me and told me he needed to talk to me. His wife wasn't there when we taught about the Restoration but we left a booklet with them. He said that Jôse had read the booklet, prayed and received an answer that the church is true!!!!!!!
I asked him if he had prayed and he said that he always knew that the church was true but that he prayed and heard the holy ghost tell him the church is true!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Then I told him, "now it's just a matter of marriage and baptism!" He said, "yep, I'll just have to find some money for the ring!" Ha ha!!!!

There is a saying here in Brazil that goes,"I'm more happy than a fat guy in a new shirt!"

That is just how I feel :P

It is really amazing how the littlest things in life can have such eternal results! We need to strive every day to have spiritual experiences and they will come! Thanks for you Love, Support and Prayers they help me daily!

Until next week!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Sweet Home


We made it.
(I just put on my jacket over my turtleneck cause it's a little chilly in the family room.)

Mesa was warm and wonderful in so many ways.
(It was sunny and high 60's)

My parents provided spectacular accommodations, delicious homemade meals and miraculous help to us. My gratitude for them and their love brings tears to my eyes when I think about it. Thanks Mom and Dad.

Spending time with my siblings and their children was awesome. I forget sometimes how much I love my family. It's interesting to see reflections of myself in them.

Our traditional lunch at Marie Calendar's with
Grandma T. and Grandpa Jim was graciously brought to pass by Brian who did a lot of driving to make it all happen - and we got to spend the afternoon with him too. And the park... did I mention that it was close to 70 degrees?
Sewing with Amy, car shopping with Christian, an afternoon at the temple with Jen and Christian, playing rock band, doing genealogy with my dad, time with Jordan and Ruby (I love Jordan's quick wit), riding the Desert Classic trail with Mark
(did I mention it was sunny and 70?).
I even got air going over jumps.
(like 3 feet of air ....
OK Mark said it was more like 3 inches but Ohhhh the joy!)

Getting out the door was a painful experience. We didn't get on the road until around 2:30PM due to circumstances having to do with making the Volvo and the trailer compatible. Again my dad came to the rescue and we were off. We debated stopping for the night in Hurricane, which looking back, was probably what we should have done. Instead we forged on for hours in a snow storm and got home around 2:30 AM. We just wanted to get home.

(While we didn't really feel the traction control and all wheel drive were necessary when we bought the car,
we were soooooo glad we had it.)


Although we had a wonderful time it feels good to be home. There's snow and ice on our street, our driveway and our walks - we had to blow and put salt down first thing. Sort through a week of junk mail, I still have all my Christmas decor to take down. There are muddy footprints on the kitchen floor. Laundry to do. Things to put away from our trip.

I took a nap on the couch, Jen read a book in her room, Mark is riding the stationary bike downstairs, Christian watched Top Gear and then was reading the Volvo manual for me. The sun shone brightly on the snow covered trees and my stream (which is buried under lots and lots of snow). It's time to make dinner - Mexican wraps tonight with onions, cilantro and brown rice...

Awesome vacation but it's good to be home.

(I think I need to get my slippers, my feet are cold.)

PS. Thanks Christian for documenting our trip and letting me use your pictures - we look forward to more on your blog.