Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Some girls have all the luck.

When I was 6 or 7 my mom took me to the Stride Rite store to get Sunday shoes.
I’m not sure where she took the other kids but because my feet were very wide this was where we bought my shoes.

This is where I found the first pair of shoes I fell in love with. They were black patent leather mary janes with a beautiful black rosette on the top. I remember them so clearly. The man measured my foot and brought out the closest size they had. I put them on. They were a little squishy but I didn’t care. I instantly was transformed into a beautiful princess. I wanted to dance across the store - but of course I couldn’t, I had to stand there while the man pressed his thumb into my toes. Yes there should have been a space there but not so. He squeezed the sides of my feet checking the width. I'm not sure he could push in very far without causing me pain.
His verdict “They feel a little tight, I’ll see if I have the next size up.

He disappeared into the back and I admired my beautiful shoes in the mirror. I tried to wiggle my toes... he was right a bigger size would be better...

But he came back empty handed. No bigger size.
My mom encouraged me to find a different pair.


I had found true love, there could be no other.
She and the shoe man suggested all kinds of other shoes but I was sold.
THE PERFECT SHOE was worth a little discomfort.
I wanted these and no others. They weren't really that bad. My mom and the man looked at each other and reluctantly my mom bought the shoes carefully saving the receipt and discussing the return policy with the man.

Sunday could not come soon enough for me. I was very careful not to let anything scratch the beautiful shiny black leather.

But they were squishy.
We were not even in the building before my feet started to hurt.
Before the end of church my beautiful shoes were no longer on my feet but in my hand.
I cried.
My pain was double, my feet as well as my heart.

Monday the shoes went back. I don’t remember what I got in their place
but they didn’t hurt my feet.

That day I accepted the COLD HARD FACTS:
When it came to shoes I was not Cinderella but one of the step sisters.
From then on when it came to shoes, if they were the right color and fit, I got them, ugly or not. That is until recently... stay tuned for part II

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Miracles Happen

Dear Family,

This week we were very blessed by the Lord! It was really amazing! We had 5 baptisms and regional conference!

Andréia and Cristiano got married Saturday and were baptized on Sunday! They are a really good family. They have four children and are in there thirties. They have been going to church for a while but finally everything went through for them to get married and baptized. They have a very firm testimony of the gospel and have really had a change of heart.

Alessandro was also baptized Sunday! Like I said last week he gave up the world to be baptized! At conference he already went in his suit and also has a huge testimony of the church.

Bruna and Everton are the last two members to complete a family. They had listened to the lessons before and had a seed planted in their hearts. The only thing that was missing was that they hadn't been to church yet. The Monday after they went to church came out and told us that they wanted to be baptized!!!

It was one of the most spiritual baptism that I have ever been to! It was also the last baptism, Sunday night of Elder Hendricks. He played a hymn on the piano and then the bishop gave a talk. The bishop started crying when he gave his talk; it was a very powerful spiritual experience.

This month we had a goal to baptize 8 people and only one fell short!

God is very mindful of us and has been blessing us a ton! Thank you for all your love and support, I really really appreciate it! I love you all much more than I can tell you and I am very happy to say that I'm very excited to spend all eternity with each and every one of you! Thanks for your examples! Do you best every day and God will make up the rest!

Oh yeah, this week has been a lot better with Elder Evaristo. It's good because he will be transferred and I will stay here. He's a good kid and you should all keep him in your prayers; he's going from the best area in the mission to the worst. Don't worry I'm not telling him that but, I'm trying to prepare him... Tomorrow I will be companions with Elder Branco(White). We're gonna tear it up!!!

Thanks for everything! Until next week!


Elder Rob

Monday, April 20, 2009


Dear Family,

Hey everyone! I'm glad to hear about all of your weeks and for all of your love and support. This has been one of the most amazing weeks of my mission! This area is really blessed!

This week we had Zone Conference that was one of the best in my mission! The whole time it was deep doctrine about the "Plan of Salvation." It gave me such a different perspective on how minuscule our time on earth is compared to eternity. It made me really excited to use every minute that we have in this life.

Also, one of my best friends in the mission will be going home next week and he shared a really powerful testimony that helped me to know how precious our time in the mission is! It's a feeling that I can't describe to think that one day my mission will end. If the work wasn't true it wouldn't be nearly as beautiful. I can't imagine doing all this work thinking that it would all end one day. It's a blessing to know that this work is eternal!

This week we completed a family of a less active member by baptizing his two children; Rayciani and Junior Cesar. Baptisms are really cool here because it's like almost everyone from Sacrament Meeting. It was very spiritual!

This Week in Sacrament Meeting we had 14 investigators of which 8 are progressing! We really worked hard this week and it didn't look like there were going to be very many and in the last minute everyone showed up. It was a huge blessing!

One of the biggest changes that I've seen on my mission has been a man named Alessandro. He's 26 years old and has been living in the world for a lot of time. He smoked, drank and had other problems too. He went to church three times but he is very calm and keeps to himself a little and we never really though that he was progressing. Until we asked him if he prayed about the Book of Mormon. He said he did! He said he knew it was true. Then we asked him if he accepted our help to prepare to be baptized and his response really shocked me. He said, "I thought that is what you guys were doing since the first visit!" I almost jumped off my seat. The next day we taught him about the commandments and he followed all of our counsels; Through his cigarettes in the garbage, said he would stop drinking and said he would take out his earrings. Sunday, he had taken them out and was smiling like a whole new person! He told us that he bought a suit that he was going to wear the next Sunday and he's going to be baptized next Sunday! Pray for him, he has been so used to the ways of the world, Satan has a lot of temptations for him.

The Gospel has great power to change peoples lives! We need to share this great gift! Have you guys been sharing the gospel?

Well Mom asked for the payer list again and so here it goes: Rayciani and Junior, Bruna and Everton, Sandra and Nelson, Guacira and Caludio, Cristiano and Andreia, Alessandro, William, Alex, Bruno, Jefferson, Lena and Rodrigo.

Love you guys, until next week!

I will try to come back later and write to you all individually. So, write me personal messages those that haven't written yet today!

Love, Elder Z

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Unexpected Reaction

I walked out of the testing center Friday and into the sunshine. The sky was blue and beautiful, most of the snow from earlier in the week was gone. I took a deep breath, let it out ... and tears began to make their way down my cheeks. WHAT? I was supposed to feel this great joy and relief, I thought for sure I would want to whoop and holler dancing all the way to my car. Instead the tears came faster and I had to suppress a little sob as I searched in my backpack for a kleenex. I’m not even sure what I was feeling. A let down for sure. But also immense gratitude for 9 years of support from my family. Gratitude for the opportunity to attend classes at this amazing University. Gratitude for all I have learned and how it’s made me a better person for having been here. I think I also felt a little apprehension with THE BIG QUESTION, “Now what?” I’ve been a student for so long that it’s become a part of who I am and now it’s over - is it really over? maybe, maybe not - but right now it feels a bit silly is that. I’m 45 years old for heaven sake, I should have been done with this long ago. But again THE question, “Now what?” It’s not like I haven’t considered this question. I actually have a list a mile long to do with my extra 10 hours a week. But that was always an “in the future” question, “What will I do when...?” suddenly it’s NOW, What will I do NOW?

Maybe it’s that this day, this moment marks the beginning of a great crescendo that will, as most crescendo’s do, end in a diminuendo. (those piano lessons were not completely wasted.) I’m done with my final... it begins to build, Aaron and Jordan are done, ...building, Grandparents (of my kids) come, building, building... we walk at graduation...building, big time party, still going up but slightly slowing, Celisa and Aaron bring Olivia into the world (Celisa, feel free to do this any time you want, it does not need to fit in here)
We are on top of this great wave!
then it starts... Grandparents return home, we begin the descent,
Amy, Jordan and Ruby move, down down down we go,
Glorious summer, level a bit...
Aaron, Celisa and Olivia move, down down down.
The kids and Mark go back to school
and I....
AND I will ....

Reorganize, texture, paint, redecorate, clean, read anything I want, write, go on trips with my best friend (and hubby), sew, stamp, send tons of packages to my granddaughters, skype, blog, create and try all kinds of new recipes, prepare for my missionary to come home, plan trips to Sacramento, Illinois, Kauai, Arizona, play tennis, do aerobics, take up yoga (again), complete all my Sudoku books.... what was I worried about?

It it too late to run around and whoop and holler?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Today was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue. Tulips and Daffodils blooming, birds singing. Ruby and I went to the park. We spent almost as much time traveling there and back as we did at the park. So much to see and experience: birds, rushing water under the bridge, ducks swimming in the river, trees blooming, dogs barking. Every thing is an adventure waiting to be explored. Walking on the playground in the woodchips. Walking on the mesh of the play equipment you can see everything below but somehow you don't fall through. Going down long tube slides, short slides and open swirly slides. Garbage trucks so noisy and big. Later we wrestled and played with balls on my bed. On the bed you can fall straight back from a sitting position and it doesn't hurt your head. Not so on the floor. Her giggles were pure joy as the stuffed lamb tried to eat her crackers.

Today was beautiful.

For the next few days we won't see the sun. Rain mixed with snow in our forecast. Cloudy and unseasonably cold. It makes me want to put everything else on hold and soak up as much sun as possible
- every single ray.

For me this feeling is magnified. Reality is beginning to set in. With the incredible joy I felt today I noticed a little bit of heartache creeping in. A little bit of dread for the coming days when I will miss the sunshine - and to such a larger extent
- my little Ruby.

I know - logically I know - we will skype and talk on the phone and will visit often. Amy will post videos and pictures - but it will not be the same. I know this is good for them. This is what they need to do and where they need to be. They will adjust and so will I.

But right now I want to spend every available second with my nose nuzzled in Rubys chubby little neck, looking for dogs and birds in the yard and finding ways to hear that beautiful musical laughter.

I just wish I knew how to make the heartache go away so I could just enjoy the sunshine today.

Monday, April 13, 2009

One Year in the Mission!

Dear Family,

I can't believe that time has passed so quickly! I feel like it has been a long time that I have been on the mission but, I remember everything! So, I can even remember the car ride to the MTC! I ate soup at Magleby's Fresh. Hmmm...

I would like to tell you all how much you mean to me and how much I love you. I have been so blessed to be born into such a wonderful family. I wouldn't want to spend eternity without any one of you so, I want to challenge each and every one of you to do your best in everything to do and remember that our time is NOW! Let's not leave anything for tomorrow!

This week has been good. We are making progress. I see a lot of traits in my companion that I had at the beginning of my mission that I keep kicking myself in the shins for and have to remind myself to be patient and to love my companion.

But, Salgado Filho is very good! We work in four. Me, Evaristo, Hendricks and Laney. Hendricks and Laney are the ZL's and they're both Americans. They are some of the best in the mission. I feel very blessed to work with them.

Every day is different. We switch companions to work every day, share the numbers and work with the same investigators and split the numbers at the end of the week.

But, that's not the most important part about the work here. It's all about the members! Elder Perry was talking about Salgado Filho! This ward is the bomb! We are going to fill three buses with investigators and members to go to stake conference! It's going to be the bomb! But, I think that the work would be SO much better if we were better missionaries. The members are full time finders and the missionaries are full time teachers. Start by planting seeds, talking about the church, activities, camp outs, programs. Then invite EVERYONE! A lot of people won't go but, those that will, will be the ones that have been waiting for the gospel. Be A Missionary!!!

I'm saying this because the members here haven't passed one week without bringing at least 5 friends to church! That's an amazing help for the missionaries! I have also passed through areas that have been a sure pain and waste of time because of the members. It's the duty of the members to find the investigators! This is our time, let's use it wisely and without regrets!

Wow, I'm really sorry I g2g!

Love you all, my credits are up!!!

until next week

Elder Z

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Hope this Easter brings you joy and comfort in knowing we are not alone.

Enjoy this Easter Message


Friday, April 10, 2009

Flash Back Friday: School

This Tuesday will mark my last day of class.

While I probably will go back and take classes for fun from time to time (It is free and I love to learn)... and maybe someday I will decide to get a graduate degree. This Tuesday will mark the last day of class for my Bachelors.

I was thinking back to my first day.
Nine years ago.
(yeah, I know)

I really didn't want to stick out as an old lady with kids in High School.
I got a cool back pack, chose a "not someone's mother outfit".

Actually, because I was a sophomore, (with low registration priority) I didn't get the instructor I wanted - so I registered for a MWF class and planned to add a TTh in it's place (taught by a different professor). I figured out where my class was and was ready to go. Tuesday morning came.

Only I didn't count on parking being a problem.

I was late.
I practically ran across campus to get there only to find the classroom full. I tried to calm my breathing as I looked for a place to sit. Then I spied it. Second row from the front and I had to climb over 5 people. More people were trying to squish into the classroom, hoping as I was to add the class. So I walked/climbed to the available seat. As I sat down I felt a trickle of sweat run down my cheek just in front of my ear.
(very subtle, I know)

Five minutes into class the teacher announced that the only way to add the class was to do it online and the only way we could do that is if someone dropped. She then asked how many were officially registered. Lots of hands went up. She asked if any were intending to drop. No movement. She asked how many were hoping to add. Tons of hands, including mine went up.

She told us that it was most likely that only a few would get in if any at all. Students began filing out the back. I wiped my cheek on my shoulder feeling defeated, gathered my things and stood up to leave when she stopped talking and asked me where I was going.

(So much for not sticking out.)

I stammered something about needing to add as another drop of sweat coursed down my face. She said that I should just sit and enjoy todays' class.

Who was I to argue.

I sat down. I never did get in to that class...
Wednesday when I attended the class I was registered for, I found out to my horror that I had already missed the first day of class (on Monday).

I really wondered if going back to school was the best idea.
But it was something I really wanted to do. It was important to me.
And I knew that if I just kept chipping away, someday I would graduate.

I guess I was right... someday is two weeks away.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week 2 in Salgado Filho

Dear Family,

The work moves on as I will already start my third week in Zion, oh I mean, Salgado Filho. The Conference was more than I could have expected and really recharged my batteries. It is amazing how that works! I get so tired for one week until I take the Sacrament then we've got District Meeting every week, which now doesn't really give me tons of comfort anymore but, sure keeps me on my toes. Then we've got Zone Conference every 6 weeks and General conference every 6 months.

I don't think the missionary work would work so well without all of these trainings and spiritual recharges! I hope that all of you have taken advantage of "ALL OF THE SESSIONS!"

I have really had my testimony strengthened that there is communication from heaven to earth! It is truly amazing!

I don't have my notebook with me that I took my conference notes in so I don't remember who wrote this talk. But, one of the most moving talks for me was about eternal life and our life here on earth. We have been given the privilege to receive the greatest of the gifts of God, "Eternal Life." But, to inherit eternal life we need to be transformed. We have the privilege of living here on earth and gaining experiences but, it not all going to be down hill. This is a gift that we need to work for! So we had better get working!!!

I have had a few of tough experiences but I am learning how to deal with them. For example: My companion is very new. I am his second companion and therefore his stepfather. I have realized that it is really difficult to teach someone when they don't see that it's necessary and don't want to change. Elder Evaristo is a good guy but, we are very different. Pray for us to get along.

We have found a few families that appear to be very interested. I will keep you updated as they start making more progress and submitting to compromises...

I feel very blessed to be in this area and am trying to do my best. Please pray for our success!

I'm sorry we are running late today and I won't be able to write to everyone individually. But, thank you all for everything you do! Love you guys!

Love Elder Z

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pay it Forward

The Rules-

1. Be one of the first FIVE bloggers to leave a comment on this post, which then entitles you to a handmade item from me - something crafty or yummy, who knows?! (you can make a request, but we'll have to see what happens!)

2. Winners must post this challenge on their blog, meaning that they will Pay It Forward, creating a handmade gift -anything!- for the first FIVE bloggers who leave a comment on their post about this giveaway!

3. The gift that you send to your friends can be from any price range and you have 365 days to make/ship your item. This means you should be willing to maintain your blog at least until you receive your gift and have shipped your gifts. And, remember: It’s the Spirit and the Thought That Count!

4. When you receive your gift, please feel free to blog about it, sharing appropriate pictures and comments! If you are not one of the Top Five Commenters on this post, you can still play along.Go ahead and start your own Pay It Forward chain, and encourage your blogging friends to do the same! SO, REMEMBER…Pay it forward!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Holding Hands

I was walking across campus the other day and watched as a couple walked toward me. They were walking fairly close together and he slipped his hand into hers. Their fingers intertwined and a big smile spread across her face. She put her head slightly down and then reached her free hand across her body to his arm, which was now in sync with hers, and gave him a little walking hug. He glanced toward her and smiled as they passed me, caught up in the moment and oblivious to the rest of the world.

Since that day I have thought a lot about holding hands. The warm magical feeling when you hold hands for the first time with someone you love.

Holding hands with both my grandmothers when, in their latter years they were often lonely and craved the human touch.

The trust and safety of a small hand in yours as you face a big world.

Amazing that a simple connection of hands means so much