Friday, July 31, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Dedicated to the one I love

About 28 years ago I met this man.
I knew instantly there was something exceptional about him.

The day I met him I was drawn to his sense of humor.
There was something true and genuine about him.
Something in him that brought out my best self.

27 years ago we were sealed together.
Today I love him more than I every thought I could love another.
I have learned so much from him.
He has become a part of me and I of him.
I have experienced more joy and growth in the last 27 years than I ever thought possible. I can't imagine being without him. I'm glad we are together for eternity.
I love you sweetie!
Happy Anniversary

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Making Progress

Sometimes it feels like I am spinning my wheels.
Working hard but nothing really to show for it.
So many ideas that I've been suffering from a lack of focus.
Stuff I see that I like and want to do, yet still drowning in the stuff I saw yesterday that I'm trying to implement. Is it every really finished?
Time to sit back, breathe deep and get some perspective.
Time to dig out too.
Get ready for girls camp
a 50th birthday celebration
helping Aaron and Celisa move
and school starting
All in rapid succession.

But first a few pictures of what I've been up to:
The hallway
It took forever to find the little pictures to fit in the collage and not cover faces with the words.
Finished is good.

Dining Room - actually in progress.
This picture shows the new light fixture as well as the sliding glass door that replaced the smaller window.

Not finished but as it stands today.
Much more roomy.
This china hutch was passed down to us from Marks' mom and will now pass to Aaron and Celisa as we share the love. The buffett that matches it is already at home with Amy and Jordan and holding Grandam T's china.

New built in makes it so we can get around the table now.

These shadow boxes took some time too but I love the way they turned out.
If any other descendants of Grandma would like to do something similar I have some more of her monogrammed silver (forks and spoons only) that's a partial set and you are welcome to have a few pieces.

The family room before

and now.
The wall to the left is quite big and blank but I have plans for a family tree with pictures.
If you are related to us - I would love a recent picture (.jpg file) of your family to put on the wall as well as pictures of great (or great great great) grandparents.
Or I'll use an old one or pluck one from facebook...

I also need some input about the eating area and a wall in the living room but those pictures will have to wait until it's not so bright outside.
Until then... I'll go get my shovel and start digging...

Oh yea happy birthday to my sister Lisa, you're awesome!
want to be inspired check this out and this.

Monday, July 20, 2009


Dear Family,

Another week has flown by here in Santa Maria and I'm feeling excited but nervous. My best companion is going to the "worst" area in the mission! He isn't very excited about it. I've have gotten really tired this last week. I got a cold and it was super cold outside and President didn't want us to leave the house. So this week the work has suffered a little.

We have been going through some pretty tough times here in Salgado Filho but even in the mists of problems we had two baptisms yesterday. Janete and Cristina. Clailton and Luana aren't completely prepared to be baptized but they are really showing a lot of progress. The only problem is that they have a few doubts and beliefs that we have to work out before they will become strong converts in the church.

My new companions name is Elder Monteiro. He is really new in the mission. Only 4 and a half months! President has a lot of confidence in him and he might even take my place here as district leader when I am transferred.

I just wanted you guys to know that Elder Branco has been my Best companion! He is in the mission because of your prayers! We had a really good day when he decided to pray to know if he would stay in the mission. Our prayers were answered! He received a response! Thanks so much! I'm so proud to tell everyone here that you guys are always praying for them! Keep up the good work.

I want you all to know also that it has never been an option for me to go home before my time. But it's not always easy here. Just wanted to thank you all for your love and support that slaps me in the face every day at 6:30 and helps me sleep when at 10:30! Without you all I couldn't do it!

Don't think that I'm not having the best time of my life but the best things in life don't come for free!

Love you guys, YOU'RE IN MY PRAYERS!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just so you know

The remodel project is 95% done
but I didn't want to post pictures until it is all done.
Here is a sneak peak at the living rooom


This corner is done.
But before I can finish putting everything back together I need to get the rest of the house reorganized from the remodel fall out.

Also, although I have not taken pictures or blogged about it Mark has had an incredible racing season so far including winning the Porcupine Hill Climb last week.
(That's a race up to Brighton from the bottom of one of the cottonwood canyons)
That's 3,500 vertical feet in 10 miles.
He and a teammate were over 4 minutes ahead of the next guy
and Mark beat his PR by a minute which is huge!

We are also looking forward to enjoying views like this:
and this:
at the Capitol Reef Classic.
(and I am looking forward to having some awesome photographers in the car with me!)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Branco is staying!

Dear family,

This has been a great week. It started looking like Branco was going home. Until we had a really good day and found two new families. We got really excited and just had an awesome day. That night Elder Branco said a prayer and decided that he would stay!

I know that your prayers and mine have helped to comfort him and help him make the right decision! Thanks!

This week we have started to work differently. Elder Branco and I have been working separated from the ZL's. We have also been told a few things that probably will happen the next transfer. There will be 2 new missionaries arriving here. Elder Sabatini will be completing his 2 years and going home and Elder Branco will be getting transferred. I'm sad that Elder Branco will be transferred. We have had so many good times but I just hope that everything goes well where he goes.

This week we have seen a lot of progress with Luana and Clailton and Antonio and Raquel. Luana and Clailton have set a goal to be baptized this next Sunday and Antonio and Raquel have been rekindling the fire and will get married pretty soon here! Thanks to your prayers everyone is progressing! Thanks for all your support and love! I have really felt a force that I have recognized from you guys!

This next week is the transfer and I will keep you updated! Sorry, I've gotta run...


Elder Z

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Backyard Project reflections

PREFACE: The cost of this backyard project, besides the obvious cost of the materials, was a lot of time, energy, sweat, tears, some hurt feelings, a lot of self examination and even a little bit of blood. Definitely lots of scratches, bruises and sore muscles. Many compromises, changes in plans and so much help from so many... often without being asked or requesting anything in return.
(OK, maybe they were just sick of looking at the s*l*o*w*l*y shrinking pile of rocks in the street)

THE STORY: When we originally drew up our plans of the back yard, I had illusions of grandeur. I could see our whole family working together every day for a few weeks, bonding as we worked side by side, and then sitting back to enjoy it the rest of the summer.
Go ahead and laugh... I now do too when I think about it.

Yes... I forgot that my husband has a job,
and my kids didn't have the same plans on how to spend their summer.

Also as we began to move forward the "dry" stream bed became less dry and - well, things multiplied.

While I had researched how to make a working stream and found great information on the internet (ie. "How to make a backyard stream in just two weekends") I didn't factor in a lot of the other projects that would be in progress at the same time, as well as the previous sweat (obviously not shed by me) that made things - such as our garden box - so awesome. And now I was constructing three plus garden boxes...
But I soon learned... and also understood with exquisite detail why my dear husband (who is the one put the sweat into the one we currently had) was not as excited as I was about creating so many more.

I also learned that when there is something I really want I tend to minimize other peoples warnings and feelings in favor of what I want. During the hours that I dug below the ground level of these boxes in order to till in freshly hauled in compost so that we could again have 5+ foot high tomato plants and a bounty of tomatoes; I thought a lot about counting the costs before beginning a project as well as my headstrong ways.

The original plan for the stream was for it to be about 15 feet long and end here -
kind of in the middle of the yard. (Already longer than the one that we were supposed to be able to complete in two weekends - not counting the little side stream at the top).
But the boys suggested - and were quite correct - that it looking funny ending where it did. It really needed to continue to the corner of the house - which it now does.

It looks awesome - and yes it did take more than two weekends.
You would think I would have learned from my "potty training in less than a day" experience.
See the awesome grasses above? - Mark's suggestion
We get a lot of compliments on those.

I finally started to really listen - not just give lip service to what others were saying before moving forward and doing what I wanted. That's when a funny thing started to happen. It no longer was "my" project but more of the family project that we had envisioned all along.

Little details worked out better than planned.
The top of the stream is almost always in the shade and plants that bloom in the shade are hard to come by - but now we have an awesome perennial shade garden with some flowers, but an amazing array of color and texture in the foliage itself that's there month after month.

I had planned in my mind to have one very large boulder here to create a sheer face...
but after unsuccessfully working with the rock company my boulder never materialized so I improvised, and in all honesty I think this came out better. A taller and more sheer face than I probably could have gotten from one large rock and the color and fit of these rocks was amazing. They also created nooks and crannies for the plants to spill over.
Sometimes we don't get what we want but if we are open to the possibilities it often turns out better than we originally planned.

I love that when we open our bedroom windows at night I can hear the sound of water from the stream.
I didn't expect that.

I love that this is what I see from my kitchen window.
Life may require time, effort and hard work but in the end it will be worth it.
Doubt not but be believing... Mormon 9:27

I love that we eat outside as often as possible, fully enjoying family and friends and the beautiful summer evenings.
I love that we see all kinds of birds enjoying the stream including a father quail and his nine babies.
I love that our backyard is no longer "my" project but an example of synergy - where the interaction or cooperation of two or more produced a combined effect greater than the sum of the individual parts.
I love that we look for opportunities to spend time together here -
Which was what this was all about in the first place.

The cost of this project was high but the value of this whole experience and what we have to show for it is priceless.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Back Yard - DONE!

This was supposed to post tomorrow but alas I pushed the wrong button so here you go.
The back yard as viewed from the house. I realize many of the "before" pictures were taken in early spring so it's not a completely fair comparison but... well... you get the picture.

Looking out the window from the eating area.
To the right

Looking straight out

Notice the lack of a line in the middle of the window?
Thanks goes to my wonderful hubby who suggested we put a picture window in the eating area. It's awesome!

Looking to the left...

Part way into the project

In the yard looking West

Looking forward to more "fruits" of our labors

My friend the Robin is still hanging around.
I'll post about of my favorite parts next
but I better get dinner going.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I know I've neglected the blog lately but this is why:


OK this is more of a during, I was too embarrassed by the constant clutter that accumulated on the desk to include a picture.


I love it. More to come in the next few days.
I realized that I never posted pictures of the back yard.
It's done too.
They'll be coming soon.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Elder Rob continued

Dear Family,

It is so good to hear from all of you, that wrote me. This week has been really good. Elder Branco is still wanting to go home and no it isn't very common that missionaries want to go home. I'm just special :) I try not to blame myself that they want to go home but I really don't think that it is because of me that Elder Branco wants to go home. He is just worried about his preparation and health and few other lame excuses. He is sure a lot more excited this week and I think I'm going be able to keep him in the mission.

This week we had our Zone Conference and it was really good. One small thing that president said that has really been interesting to me is about our preexistence and preordination. I have been reading my patriarchal blessing and Jesus the Christ and thinking a lot about our premortal life. One thing that I have noticed that I have been very blessed to be in such an amazing family along with each of you!

This week was especially good because of the Sacrament Meeting yesterday. Yesterday we saw many of our recent converts participating and it was really special. Cristiano is one of the first persons that I baptized her in Salgado Filho and yesterday he blessed the sacrament. Aldenise and Indiele have been baptized a few months ago and we have been teaching them after there baptisms. They both bore there testimonies for there first times with awesome conviction. Also, Tiago that was baptized three Sundays ago also bore his testimony! It was really cool, he is going to be a leader here!

This week we are still having problems with the married couples here; Antonio and Raquel, Clailton and Luana. They have been having come fights and are thinking about separating. We really need your prayers for them! But, the good news is that Edson has completely stopped smoking! He has been an awesome influence in there family and shortly they will be getting married.

Pray for them!

We are a little short on time today; we have our interviews with president today. But I will try to come back and write you all individually!

Love you all and your in my prayers!

Elder Z

Friday, July 3, 2009

Flash Back Friday: Hot Air

This morning as I drove carpool to summer band the sky was full of hot air balloons.
Bright colored ones, smokey the bear, a castle...
it felt magical
and reminded me of clear cool mornings in Tucson.

We lived near the Tanque Verde Wash...
which hardly ever had water in it
making it a great place to launch hot air balloons.

My children were early risers and often while eating breakfast we
would hear a whooshing noise outside.

I've tried to come up with a better description of the noise but for those of you who have never heard what hot air balloons sound like just form your lips into a circle with a penny sized opening. Now move your lips upward carefully - so as not to disturb your circle - until the bottom edge of your top teeth are about half an inch below your bottom lip but not touching. Now take a deep breath and exhale through the small opening forcefully.
There you have it - whooshing.

When we heard that sound spoons would go down and everyone would rush out into the backyard - often barefoot and in pj's. The balloons were so close to us we could call "good morning" and wave to the people in the baskets. Fourth of July and St. Patrick's Day were days we could always count on greeting balloonists.

It was a special treat during financially tight times.