Wednesday, March 31, 2010

He's Home

On the way to the airport we put this up in a fence on an overpass...

Of course it was snowing like crazy when we put the cups in...
(smeared my mascara and did a number on my hair - but I knew the mascara was going to be history when I put it on...)

I started to cry when I saw him coming down the escalator.
It was amazing.

This is just after he got released.
Many mixed emotions...
He's downstairs right now on the phone with his friend
telling him he needs to go to church.
Love this man!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Dear Family,

It is interesting how much the words of Jacob have come to life for me when he said, "and the time passed by as if it was a dream." It is one thing to hear these words and agree that it is true but, it is another to be a missionary and remember everything that happened in your mission that is coming to a close. As you've followed along with me you can probably relate to what these words now mean to me. In movies we see people as they are about to die and there lives pass before their eyes like a movie. I have seen the movie of my mission pass before my eyes so many times! I'm not dying, but I am entering into a new phase of life. I will not shut the book and the lessons will not end, but, some things will be set aside for the time being.

I've experienced so many times, when we feel like we are on the top of the world and nothing will take you down, God needs to humble us and put us in our place. What a blessing it is to live in a world SO inconsistent! If it wasn't for the inconsistency we would never grow. Once I heard that, "true happiness is progress," and I have learned this to be true. But it is one thing to be inconsistent and another to be consistent in an inconsistent world. One of the greatest blessings and lessons that I have learned on my mission is how I can trust in the Lord!

I have been getting anxious to go home. Don't get me wrong, I worked until the last minute. I'm SO very excited to see every one of you, to hug you and kiss you and look into your eyes. But I will miss profoundly looking into the eyes of the Gaúchos, speaking português and teaching from the bottom of my heart the things that I have learned to be true. I plan on getting right to work, school, play and dating and not letting a moment pass by without doing something worth while!

If you asked me if I knew what would happen tomorrow, I couldn't tell you. If you asked me where I will be in a year, I don't know. If you asked me what I would be doing in five years, I could tell you my goals, my hopes and what I hope to be. But the comfort that I have is that God does everything for a reason. Sometimes we don't know why but it is only after that we learn. What a blessing!

Thank You, Each and every one of you for everything!


See you on Wednesday!!! Wahooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!



Elder Zimbelman

P.S. We baptized a young man named Jairo on Saturday! I will tell you more on Wednesday!

48 HOURS - I * CAN'T * WAIT!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The countdown...

What more can I say?
If you live close by and want to leave Rob a message on our wall hightail it over...
you don't have much time left...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Flashback Friday: Patience

Last Saturday evening Mark was finishing up his talk for the MTC. He speaks about every month and every third time he speaks I speak with him for about 5 minutes. (Not long I realize but in some ways it's more of a challenge to give a meaningful talk on only 5 min.) This was his second talk since I last spoke with him so I asked him when I was speaking with him next. (This is totally beside my post but, he turned to me with a confused look and said, "Didn't I tell you that you're speaking tomorrow?" Ha ha ha, funny guy:) So... he looked at the calendar, April 18... no wait... that's Rob's homecoming... a phone call later and we were rescheduled to speak on April 11 - on patience.


The last time we were assigned to speak on patience was about two months after my bike crash. Although the ER doctors told me I would be back to normal in 6 weeks they were wrong... very very wrong. Patience was a good topic for me to study and prepare a talk on...only it turned out that the district president and his wife were speaking that Sunday so we got bumped and assigned a different topic. All in all I was thankful for what I learned in preparing the talk.

Within a month of this we were reassigned to a French Branch. One of the sisters was preparing to leave for Fiji in a few weeks but was having problems with her neck. The leftovers from a car accident that had happened over two years ago. (TWO YEARS??????? I was horrified) Her neck bothered her to the extent that they were not sure they were going to send her to Fiji... or anywhere but home. Then her Aunt suggested she see someone that had previously helped her recover from an injury, Angela Lavery. Two visits and this sister felt better that she had since the accident and was on her way to Fiji. I got Angela's name and phone number but for some reason I didn't call her. I was making progress on my own, working with physical therapist, chiropractor, getting massages, stretching and exercising. I was sure I would be back to normal very soon.

I have been feeling very good lately but my back has still been tight and I haven't been able to find a way to fix it. So... about two weeks ago I called Angela and left her a detailed message. Last Monday she texted me, told me she didn't have any open appointments till April and asked me if I was flexible and wanted to be put on her cancellation list. I told her I would be more flexible towards the end of the week but to put me on her list.

Wednesday morning, as I was getting up, I stretched...

not like this:

more like this:

picture from here
suddenly the left side of my neck and left shoulder were in terrible pain. I couldn't turn my head to the left at all and I couldn't get out of bed without sending spasms of pain through my neck and shoulder. It felt like the days after the crash all over again. After gasping a few times in pain as I attempted to get out of bed I laid back down and cried. Mark quickly roused and after assessing the situation he resisted the urge to cry with me but instead, gave me a blessing of hope and healing.

For just a moment during the blessing I was without pain - a promise of things to come I'm sure. I guess there's more for me to learn about patience. I got up, dried my face, very gingerly put on my robe and when down to make breakfast.

I also texted Angela.
Turns out she just had a cancellation that afternoon for 3:30. I took it.
By the time 3:30 rolled around I was really hurting AND my right shoulder was a few inches above the left one, my head tilting towards it. I couldn't look to the left without turning my whole body.
Angela worked on me for almost 2 hours.
Massage, pressure point therapy, acupuncture, stretching.
She gave me some homework to do and we talked about the accident and my aches and pains since then. She pinpointed a few aches and pains that I though were unrelated and she explained how they contributed to what what happening.
Leaving that appointment I smelled like Mentholatum and felt 60% better.
Yesterday I continued to get better.
I stretched and worked on the pressure points she showed me and continued to increase range of motion in my neck and decrease pain.

Today I am continuing to improve. I hope that with another visit or two we can treat the underlying problems from my accident and I can be 100%.
One Hundred Percent.
Back to normal after 6+ months...
even the thought of it gives me great hope

But it will take patience and work.
Time to study up again and get ready for my talk.
and do my homework from Angela.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Amy Started it!

Count downs that is.

For years we counted down days till birthdays, Holidays, graduations, missionaries leaving and coming home, weddings, anniversaries, days till people came home from foreign countries, baby's due dates. Even count downs that we had to guess what we were counting down to. All of this we did on our dry erase board. Then the time came when the dry erase board began to look a little shabby - not shabby chic - just well, bad. When we did some remodeling in the kitchen last summer the dry erase board went to DI. We replaced it with a magnetic board - which has been nice - but it didn't allow for count downs, let alone pure creativity.
As we talked about decorating ideas I suggested a chalkboard wall and was surprised at the enthusiastic response. We finished it last week and it has been received with great enthusiasm.

It did require a bit of work though... sanding and filling... more sanding
followed by much dusting (of the whole house!).
Priming, painting, waiting and painting and waiting some more.

It's been enjoyed - and yes were are counting down hours until Rob gets home.

PS Did you see the little sneak peak of the new color in the dining room?
Do you care? ;)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Miracles haven't ceased

Dear Family,

Thank you for all of your love and support for the second to last time!!! Wow, it's like a dream that my mission is ending but I am doing as all of you have been so kind to counsel and giving it my ALL. I have been awed to see that God constantly is caring for me and those that are willing and ready to do the work of the Lord!

This week we were blessed to have an inspired Zone Conference about the Book of Mormon and miracles. We were asked to study Moroni 7 and pray to have miracles every day. I have been blessed to experience many miracles in my mission of which I feel like I have a perfect memory.

This week I had a very powerful experience. I was working with Elder Leite (Milk right) and we taught the pastor. I have learned in this time in my mission what it means to "wake up the world for the conflict of justice." His name is Márcio and he is very receptive. We were just talking and usually it is impossible to teach a pastor without entering in a bible bash. But, I explained how we share messages saying a pray and everything and they accepted. We taught them in a very clear form and they listened attentively. If they don't pray to know the truth, we have done our part! We will go back there on Wednesday. He is a very busy man but we are going to fast for him and see what happens. Pray for him. It is advised that we don't ask anyone from home or other places to fast with us but it's your decision...

Shortly after this visit with Márcio we went to Maria's house. Maria is a very special woman that has received some very powerful responses that the church is true and what she needs to do. I don't know if you all remember when Priscila dreamed about her baptism? Well Maria has also dreamed about her baptism. When we went there she didn't want to receive us, then reluctantly let us in. I broke the ice talking about my nieces and she opened up to me. She started telling me her story when she was a diaconiza in another church and really dedicated herself. She wasn't really loved or giving attention in the church. After a long time left the church. Heard the lessons from the missionaries many times and never was baptized.She told us that she had been praying one night and as she was praying she saw her own baptism! But, she said that she was had been deceived and didn't know what she should do. I ask her, "can I tell you what you need to do?" She said yes. Then I said a prayer and asked for the spirit to be with us that Maria would know what she needed to do.

When I finished the pray I started to speak. I felt like I was just repeating scriptures and calling her to repentance and to baptism that God had so clearly showed her. When I stopped speaking she turned to Elder Leite. She started saying sorry, that she wasn't putting me above him and few other things and then we understood why. She said that she had a testimony that God put's people in the right place at the right time. She said that when she opened her eyes from the prayer she saw a special light around me and that when I spoke she didn't hear anything that I said! But, she did hear a voice that said, "I have sent you two angles, listen to them!"

At that moment the phone rang. It was her sister and the confusion started. In a few minutes she hung up the phone. She said that she was sorry once again to Elder Leite, that he would baptize her. But, once again started to explain that God had sent he there to speak to her! The phone rang once again and she talked for longer this time. When she finished she just said, to not explain this for too long she said, "I will go to church tomorrow." After that she said that she would be persecuted a lot for this decision but, she had made her decision.

I said that I wanted to be at her baptism and that it could be on Saturday. She said that she would pray about it.

Long story short, yesterday some people arrived at her house and slept over and she didn't go to church! She can still be baptized on Sunday but, we will have to see how committed she is to follow this GREAT, answer that God has given her. Pray for her!

Also, Tabata had family health problems. She will be baptized on Saturday. Pray for her!

Thanks for all of you faith in me! I know that miracles are happening not just by my faith but, your faith in me!

I'm CRAZY to see you all, it's alright, you can get CRAZY to see me too! It's natural, I hope your all crazy to see me! Haha.


Elder Rob

PS from Karen... Rob will be speaking in our ward on April 18th 9:00. We and he would love to have you come. Let me know if you have questions.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The world is a little brighter today

Happy Birthday Jennifer!
This morning as we were going to Christian's rugby game Jennifer asked if today was officially the first day of spring. Mark replied, "Your birthday always marks the first day of spring because there's more light than darkness in the world because of you."
I couldn't agree more.

I've been thinking lately about how Jennifer's life has been different from that of her older siblings.
Being the "baby" means you are expected to help out at a younger age - whether you like it or not. And mom and dad know all the tricks so you're not getting out of it very easily.
It means that you get to watch siblings before you try something new and sometimes it gives you the courage to try.

It means you get to see life from a different vantage point.
Watching others go on missions and travel to foreign countries
- and be there greet them when they return.
You watch them go to college, get married and have babies -
and be around to enjoy it. You get to be the cool young aunt.
(No offense Amy :))

You watch first hand as older siblings learn new talents and you can try them out for yourself with their help.

Being the youngest also means some alone time with mom and dad...
which will be a regular thing very very soon!

When you were little you begged for a little brother or sister for a few years.
I just kept telling you that someone had to be the baby...
and that someone is you.
We are so glad we have you Jenn!
You truly do make the world a brighter place.
Love you and
Happy Birthday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Building Bridges

That's what Christian was doing a few weeks ago for his AP Physics class.
Each student got a pack of thin square balsa wood sticks
a long thin piece of cardboard and two small wooden blocks.
Their task was to apply what they have learned in physics and build a bridge that would hold at least 1000 lbs. before it broke. Success would be rewarded with an A.

On the appointed day a professor from BYU brought a machine that applied pressure to the five points (it's upside down in the picture)
I took a video on my phone of Christians bridge.
I'll post it if I can figure out how.

It held 1600 + pounds.
He got sixth place over all.
Way to go Christian!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Open on my desktop

Jennifer turns 15 on Saturday which means
among other things
that she can get her learners permit.

Guess where we will be as soon as she gets out of school on Monday.
I know she will be ready.

My youngest child will be driving.
Someone is getting old.
I hope I'm ready

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pray for the Pastor

Dear family,

This week has been very eventful! We have had our fair share of ups and downs in these seven days and the excitement and anxiety that I am coming home is getting to me a little bit. For the first time in my mission a baptism fell through but, I still have hope that Tabata will be baptized. We also found a very special family!

Well, this week everything was going just perfect with Tabata. She is very special! She was excited for the baptism and we taught her the commandments and everything was just fine. She doesn't even drink coffee, which is something very rare here in Brazil. We marked her interview on Saturday and passed by her house to take her to the interview and her brother said that she had left some time before. Hmmm. We got there a little bit late so we thought that maybe she had already gone. Now, we have no clue where she went, if it was an emergency or if she was hiding so, we could really use your prayers!

We do know two things that might have gotten in the way; the first is her mom, the second, she had a birthday party to go to that night. Well, her mom loves me! The whole family really likes me and are getting really sad that I am going home. But, varies events have happened with other people that she stopped listening to the messages. She believes in saints and also has had one of the sisters enter into every part of her house without asking permission. Crazy Sister! Also that night that we taught about the commandments she had a birthday party to go to that night and here in Brazil everyone has parties as an excuse to drink and party. Well, she said that she doesn't have a problem with alcohol but we failed to ask her if she drinks. Hmmm. So, we will go back there and I have faith that she will still be baptized. Pray for her!

We also started teaching a pastor's family. He is very open to the gospel and I have a lot of faith that he will make some progress! He said that he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon because he learned that to be baptized, it needs to be from someone that has authority. The problem is he went to a preacher that we very correct and said that he was baptized again :))) Hmmm. But, he was busy yesterday but gave his kids permission to go to church. The younger kids went out of town but his oldest daughter, 19 years old, went to church with us yesterday and absolutely loved it! She will go next week and with a little more work with this family and they will all be going! Pray for them.

Other than that I'm doing just fine. A little trunky but that's normal. Pray for me!

I love you all so much and am so grateful that you write me every week!


Elder Zimbelman

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I should have known...

I have a tendency to get lost in places I am unfamiliar with
(that's why I usually study a map before I visit a new place).
I once got lost on the circular road that goes around the Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix .
A lot of visual stimulation can give me a headache.

While the IKEA in Draper has been there for probably 2 years I had yet to visit it.
That was until yesterday.

I was going to Salt Lake anyway and I've had a list of things I need to get at IKEA so I figured I'd run in on my way home and pick them up.
(Why are you laughing at me?)

I'd been to IKEA in Sacramento with Amy last summer.
We strolled through the store, enjoyed the displays and ideas...
all in all an enjoyable afternoon.

I was prepared.
I knew what I wanted.
I got online, wrote down the aisle and bin numbers of the things I needed - of course there were a few small things that didn't include isle and bin numbers...

I was limited on time so I walked in the front door and straight to the information lady. I showed her my list and she smiled, complimented me on my necklace, gave me a map and instructions.
(The last part made me a little nervous.)

I was relieved that I didn't need to walk through the whole showroom to procure my items.
I squared my shoulders, when through the double doors as instructed and stood there - hmmmm this looks like the showroom only on a little smaller scale...
cool dishes... I wonder if they have that print in red...
placemats... maybe they have something cool I could use for a runner like Kirsten did...

NO NO NO!!!!

Find a cart... yes... good... there they are...

Now where was that short cut she told me about...
Where is my map...
Where am I on the map?

Well, needless to say, I did make it out of the store...
(bless the person who suggested they paint arrows on the floor otherwise I may still be there... good thing they sell food too)

I even found what I needed... eventually
and a few things that were not on my list but that were also needed,
wanted, useful... whatever!

One more thing I forgot about.
How to get my purchases into the car...

Luckily a nice man took pity on me and helped me load my car.
(It seems it's easier to find someone to help you
in Home Depot than at Ikea.)

I am happy with my purchases.
I'll post pictures as soon as I find my camera
and take a nap...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A little Help?

Well, I'm making progress, I can't wait until I can show you the finished room...
I can't wait to HAVE a finished room.
Anyway, after many days looking at this on the floor of the family room I finally put it on the wall... only now I don't like it as much.
I used this awesome tutorial that made it really easy to hang
and I used some 3M picture hanging strips which one of my older kids introduced me to when they moved last year - they are awesome! (I could have used that coupon too.)

The "laugh" was kind of iffy to begin with and both male residents immediately called for it's removal. I was glad I only taped it up.
...when it fell off the wall no one ran to pick it up.

The white frame on the left of the big family picture just isn't working.

I replaced it with a silver one which I like better but now I'm not sure what to put in the lower left corner. I don't really want all pictures but I just don't know what to put there.
I've been looking but nothing strikes me as yet.
(I also moved the big family one up a bit... it seems too low)
Ideas... suggestions... HELP?

PS I have all kinds of frames and plenty of spray paint!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Creative Evolution

When I was growing up I was often frustrated when I attempted to create something.
I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted it to look like but it never turned out that way.
I felt like a creative failure.

Over the years I have found that while it's good to have an idea of what you are creating,
it's also good to be open to the project evolving as you create.
While it doesn't always work out, most of the time you come up with something better.

Case in point:

Kirsten suggested that we should go with one WOW feature above the fireplace and move our family picture grouping to a side wall over the couch. Great idea! I have really been liking the sunburst mirrors I have been seeing on design blogs and all over the place.
(I love that last blog, you should check it out, Michelle is amazing).
picture from CB2 online
I saw these "wheel mirrors" in the CB2 catalog and thought it would be really fun to get one.
(You know, with the love of cycling and all at our house...)
Of course the $68.00 price tag seemed a bit much for me.
So with a $2.00 bike wheel from DI (local thrift store), some spray paint, a $3.00 mirror, a little elbow grease (from me, Mark and Christian), and some epoxy we had this:
Love it!
But it was small for the space and really didn't give the WOW I wanted.
Then while shopping at Tai Pan Trading I found this:
The size was good and it was marked down to $29.95 because of some minor imperfections.
Works for me!

One morning I came downstairs and Mark was already up. He was by the fireplace and said, "Hey check this out" He held up the bicycle wheel mirror over the Tai Pan one and WHAAAAAAA!
(Imagine angels singing)
(Confession - for some reason I am often hesitant to accept other peoples ideas and input - bad habit I know and I'm trying to break myself of it but when I put my bias doubts aside I loved it!)
Mark had come up with the PERFECT thing!
(this picture really doesn't do it justice)
It looks different depending on the lighting in the room and we put another mirror on the back of the small one in the middle so the reflections close up are really cool. It also is not totally noticeable at first glance that it's a bicycle wheel in the middle but people figure it out over time. It's fun to watch. We made a few other small ones to go on the sides but I need to do a little touch up painting before I hang them.

The family room is officially under way
so is the dining room...
focus, focus, focus!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A prelude

I have taken a break from the remodeling frenzy of last summer to catch my breath.
But, I have also not felt satisfied with the main floor.
While I love the living room - and we love to be in there
The living and the dining room just didn't flow
and the family room left much to be desired.
I though about a lot of things but lacked direction and didn't want to spend $$$.
I was also afraid to move on anything... what if I didn't like it...

I mentioned this to Amy one day and she suggested talking to her high school friend
Kirsten (used to be Curtis) Krason.
(I stole this picture from her blog - I hope you don't mind Kirsten)
GENIUS! I follow her blog and love her work. We emailed back and forth but the mass of confusion that was in my brain came through loud and clear... so we decided to get together.

And can I say that she is AWESOME! Having a fresh set of eyes look at your home is always helpful but having some one who really knows what they are doing AND can understand what it is you're going for when you don't really understand yourself is... well...
totally AMAZING!!!

I know that you're supposed to look at the architectural features of your room and work with them but I just felt like the fireplace was ugly and the hutch in the dining room while pretty just didn't go with the modern living room. I had these "elephants" in my rooms I was trying to avoid.

Kirsten suggested putting some color in the back of the hutch and then arranging things inside as a display - like you really want someone to look in there - make it interesting.
Much better don't you think?
and the couches in the family room - just because they are not the couches I really wantdoesn't mean they have to be an eyesore - a few fun pillows can make a world of difference!

I'm back on my decorating frenzy!
More to come.