Sunday, July 31, 2011

Looking Back

Twenty nine years = Five pregnancies, five children, three weddings, three missionaries, two broken legs, four sets of stitches in foreheads, one bike accident, one ambulance ride, one appendectomy and a few other surgeries, 5 cases of chicken pox and more cases of colds, flus, vomiting, carsickness and airsickness than I can count. Thousands of family dinners, lunches packed, gallons of milk, boxes of cereal, loads of laundry, floors swept and vacuumed, children tucked in, songs sung, kisses given and bandaids applied. Lots of family vacations, a few trips to Hawaii, church history trips individually with each child, a trip to London. Children away in Mexico, Romania, Germany, Brazil, and soon Argentina plus Mark gone for 2 weeks in Argentina too. Eight moves, three states, eight years of school, four BA degrees, one masters and 1 3/5 PhD's. Nine years with Mom in school. Three beautiful, fun, charming, adorable, heart-stealing grandchildren. Running, rappelling, climbing, hiking and exploring Southern Utah, tennis, aerobics, lots of biking including a few state championships, one Lotoja championship and hundreds of other bike race. Five children with drivers licenses, numerous cars, spiraling insurance rates, six cell phones on one plan.

29 years of tears, challenges, triumphs, worries, making ends meet, prayers, blessings, celebrating and pure joy than I ever thought possible...

and I'd do it all over again as long as I could do it with my best friend!

I love you Mark, thanks for 29 wonderful years.


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Girls Camp 2011

Warning: Lots and lots of pictures in this post

 For Girls camp we usually go as a stake to Camp Mia Shalom in the mountains above Fairfield and west of Scofield lake; but because Mia Shalom is in high demand, and every 10 years or so we do girls camp on our own as wards. This was one of those years and our ward decided to go to Moab. 

The timing turned out to be a blessing as Mia Shalom still had 12 feet of snow in June and many stakes had their girls camp canceled and were left scrambling to find something to do.

I will begin by saying that while Moab is a great place 
Moab in July is just HOT!
But since July was the only time we could make it work
we just made it work!

Some of the leaders: Becky, Karen and Karen
Some of the girls: Jen, Kris, Michelle and Hannah
We camped at Big Bend campground on the Colorado River in hopes that being close to water would help everyone stay cooler and be more comfortable. Our particular camp site was across the road from the river in our own little canyon.
To our campsite - river at our back

Looking towards the road and beyond that is the river.

We never actually swam in the river here because we found out that just the day before, a 21 year old woman was swimming at the beach at the campground without a life jacket and had drowned. They had not yet found her body. We did not bring life jackets and would not be swimming there. We did not share this information with the girls... we just kept busy and didn't go down there.

On our first evening we planned to hike to Delicate Arch. I was kind of hoping for a moonlight hike after it cooled off a bit, but our YW president felt like we should go sooner so we left right after dinner. During dinner the wind began to whip up and a few clouds moved in blocking the sun. It cooled things down a bit. The drive into Arches was scenic and the air conditioning in the car was wonderful. The girls were in good spirits as we began to hike and the wind and clouds provided a little break from the heat.


We made it to Delicate Arch with no problems and all the girls seemed to be having fun.

As we hiked back down we enjoyed watching the sun as it set; filling the sky with beautiful colors and silhouettes from the surrounding rocks and vegetation.

Driving out of Arches it became dark quickly and began to rain. We could see lots of lightning in the distance and hear the thunder. The timing of our hike was perfect. We found out later that the storm that passed through, not only broke one of our tents but also set records for rainfall in one area of Moab and caused flash flooding in Arches near Delicate Arch stranding 73 people for more than 8 hours.

Upon discovering that our largest tent was broken (and as it was sprinkling rain off and on) those of us that were supposed to sleep in the tent opted to sleep in the large empty trailer instead. Which worked out fine once the wind settled down.

The next day we went river rafting!  
The river was relatively calm though fast moving with a few "rapids". We had water wars to stay cool and entertained. It was a fun day. Jennifer started out in the boat with me (the fun - let's soak em good boat) until she jumped in the river after a bucket that went astray and was picked up by the other boat (the I don't really want to get wet but would be happy to just float down the river boat, (Ok just the back half of the boat felt that way)). Later she was able to rejoin our boat - and everyone got wet.
That's not my best side on the far left and Jenn is on the far right.
 We came home tired, a little sunburned despite our multiple reapplications of sunscreen, and as soon as we dried off we were hot. We made ice cream (thanks to the men who kept us supplied with plenty of ice), hunted for lizards, had devotionals, dinner, did skits, sang in the canyon and saw lots of falling stars. Some of the girls even had a campfire and roasted starbursts and made s'mores. It was another windy night, actually windier than the night before which made the large "drop down" door of the trailer blow open and then slam closed all through the night. We had the side door open but didn't know what else to do because of the heat. The wind finally died down about 3:30 am and I was able to go to sleep.

Then last day we had breakfast and broke camp. By 9:30 we were all packed up and headed for our last adventure, a hike to Morning Glory Bridge in Negro Bill Canyon just down the road and river from were we were camping. As we passed a campsite right before Negro Bill Canyon one of the girls noticed an ambulance parked there. I found out later that earlier that morning they found the body of the woman who drowned.

Negro Bill Canyon is a narrow canyon with a stream flowing through the middle year round (Named after one of the original settlers of Moab). It was nice to have some shade and ten stream crossings made it a fun hike too.
 At the end of the trail was the spring that fed the stream and also Morning Glory Bridge.

We played and got water, cooled off and had a testimony meeting before heading back - to the cars and then to Moab for pizza. All in all a good experience. The next morning I slept in until 9:30... which is unheard of for me. I felt thankful that we were safe and had a wonderful experience. We have the BEST group of young women and I feel blessed to be able to associate with their amazing leaders.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Week 3 in the MTC

Elder Zimbelman and good friend Elder Campbell
NOTE: Christian did write to us last week but it was a hand written letter. I was at girls camp when it came and I have not yet typed it up (and may not at this point) Enjoy his letter from this week:

Hola mi familia! que tal? esta semana fue muy bien, esta semana fue un poquito interesante, primero, ultimo jueves, en Inglais..  (note: If you want to translate this feel free, I have no idea what it says)

One of our elders went home, it was rough for all of us for about a day, but we're now all doing well. What made the difference, was one of the district presidents came to our room and talked to us for a second, and suggested that we give a blessing for the companion of the Elder who went home, and suggested in that blessing we ask the Lord to bless us not to have a spirit of discouragement. So once he left, and the missionary who we were giving the blessing to, asked me to give the blessing, we proceeded, with all of us placing our hands on his head, it was a really cool experience. and ever since then, we have all been doing great. And since Elder ***** went home, our district has actually been doing better than we were doing before, in respect to our district working better together, and staying more focused, and the spirit has been more constant. It has been a blessing in disguise.

Last Friday was our first time in the TRC (teaching resource center), where we go and teach volunteers, who pose as investigators, and we gave our first full 40 minute lesson in 100 percent Espanol. It was a little rough at times, but it was an overall good experience.

I have been singing in the choir, and it has been an awesome experience, I love the spirit that comes when we sing. This Tuesday we were practicing for the fireside that night, and they were doing last minute preparations, and they were checking everywhere, like under chairs, and in walls for bombs and stuff, and so we thought it was for sure going to be one of the twelve and we were super excited. But as the meeting started, it was an emeritus 70,  Dennis E. Simmons. At first we were somewhat disappointed, but as he started to speak, we felt silly that we were disappointed. The spirit came, and that was all that matters. He talked about the sanctification process, and how it is during the doing of stuff, the hard stuff, that we grow and become better. He also talked about how when we are baptized we are given the gift of the holy ghost, but it is our choice to receive it.  So it is really up to us to receive the gift, because what good is a gift given, if it is not received?

This week has been great, I've been growing, and learning a lot. I"m loving the MTC, it is such a great place! I love you all, thank you so much for your letters! tomorrow I have my first day of SYL (speak your language), where I can only speak Spanish for the whole day, so pray for me! :) Hey I'll try to write personal letters, but right now we've got class. sorry! There is never enough time to write everything I want!
Love you guys so much! thanks for your prayers!
love, Elder Zimbelman

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Little Slice of Heaven

Amy and Aaron and their families were able to come for Robbie's wedding and for Christian's farewell. It was wonderful having everyone together for a little bit. While I didn't take pictures (too busy playing) I'm thankful others did. 

The kids loved the trampoline and Ruby and Livi really had fun bouncing together. Livi really learned how to bounce and Ruby could even bounce on one foot. The girls really had fun together. Even Peter got some bouncing in. 

Ruby and Livi are getting so big as evidenced by some of their comments.

Ruby and I were sitting on the front porch when we saw a bee.  I commented about how it was buzzing in and out of the flowers. I asked Ruby, "Do you know what that bee is doing?" I was about to tell her about how it was gathering nectar to make honey when she said, "Yes, that bee is pollinating!"

Celisa put a headband on Livi as we were going to church on Sunday. A few minutes after we got there she took it off, handed it to her mom and said, "I just want regular ponytails".

 We told Livi that she was a cute girl to which she responded, I'm just a regular girl!

Mark and Christian took Ruby to the Princess Festival. The first thing they went to was Cinderella. The stepsisters yelled at Cinderella scaring Ruby. She wanted to leave. They played in the sand for a bit until they spotted a frog - a talking frog no less. For years Ruby has been doing math problems for Grandpa. They went over to the frog and talked to it for a minute. Ruby was still a little nervous... till Grandpa gave the frog a math problem, one he often gives Ruby. The frog got it right and Ruby knew it! She was thrilled and the festival just got better from there on out. Ruby was thrilled when Rapunzel told her that she was her favorite princess. She even got the courage to go in the water and ask Ariel to sign her book.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Capitol Reef Classic

 On July 14th Jenn, Mark and I headed south for the fourth annual Capitol Reef Classic Stage Race.
This is one of Mark's favorite races for a number of reasons.
 It's one of the few stage races he is able to finish because 
all the stages are on Friday and Saturday. 
It includes a great time trial course, a circuit race - NO CRIT
And an 80 mile road race with a tough climb up to Fish Lake
and then back to town.

This year Mark's teammate Cris Williams came. Mark rode in the Masters 35+ category and Cris rode in the Masters 45+ category... they like to spread the love (or pain as the case may be).                                                                            Two days before the race Mark got a stomach bug and wasn't sure if he would be able to race but after a call to Dr. Wood and some excellent advice Mark was feeling better and decided to race.

Every time we go we stay at the Sandstone Inn in a little town called Torrey. It's kind of an artsy town with one tiny grocery store, art shops, a cool book store, lots of little restaurants including the Diablo Cafe which is one of my all time favorite restaurants. The food there is fresh, different, so tasty and beautiful (and a bit pricey) but worth it (probably a good thing we don't live closer).

 Mark rode a little cautiously in the time trial because he was uncertain as to how he would feel and he had the circuit race in the afternoon. He ended up 4th overall, about 40 seconds behind the leader and 10 and 12 seconds behind second and third place (I think... ).

Every year we have done this race it has been very hot but this year it was about 15 degrees cooler which was a welcome change.

The circuit race begins in Teasdale, goes through Torrey and around some beautiful countryside and back to Teasdale for a second lap. It has some good hills to climb as well as some fun downhill. The group usually drops the weakest riders on the hills and the strongest riders finish together. Jenn and I drove wheel support for this race and Jenn took some great pictures.

Mark came in second a few seconds ahead of the rest of the group so there was not much change in the GC from  this race as was expected.

After the race Mark was encouraged at how good he felt. We went back to the hotel, ate at the hotel restaurant, watched a movie (John Adams - really good) read (Shannon Hale, Forest Born - second time - loved it again) and got ready for the next day.

Saturday morning was cool and beautiful. Every one was feeling good - except me, I got Mark's bug - ugh! Luckily I knew how to handle it. Jenn and I followed the race taking pictures and giving time splits. On the first climb Mark, old teammate Zan (currently 5th place) and Mark Schaffer (currently first) dropped everyone else on the climb up to Fish Lake. Jenn and I pretty much missed the first feed because we were giving splits but as we were trying to get there Mark said he didn't need the bottle - it wasn't as hot as usual... whew! We gave them a few more splits and then went up the the feed zone at Fish Lake. They were steadily increasing their lead.

When they came through they were over a minute ahead of one of Mark Schaffer's teammates (second place guy) who was trying to bridge. Mark Z and Zan worked while Mark S sat in.

 In the end the three finished 10 mintues ahead of the others who had regrouped and were now riding together. Mark Shaffer was first, Mark Z was second and Zan was third. Our Mark also won King of the Hill... a $25 gift certificate to Cafe Diablo!!!!!  I think we will go again next year!
(the race and Cafe Diablo)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coming and Going

It seems this summer has been driven by the calendar but after this week my calendar will be open for a little bit.

Last week Mark, Jennifer and I went to Capitol Reef to support Mark as he rode in the Capitol Reef Classic. The weather was unusually cool... well, cooler than usual and it was a breath of fresh air. Mark rode well, we ate out, watched movies, read books in between races, and got a good amount of sleep. Mark did well, getting second overall and winning King of the Mountain.

Today I am getting ready for Girls camp. Moab. We are hoping for cool weather there too but doubt we will get lucky two weeks in a row. No movies or eating out... more like hiking, cooking, setting up tents, river rafting and then cleaning it all up... but I do look forward to a spiritual week as girls camp always ends up being. I love girls camp. Lots of work... great rewards!

Here is Christian's address in the MTC if you want to write to him.
The best way to do that is on You have to set up an account but it's easy and free. They will print out the letter and give it to him that day. In the MTC he only gets 30 minutes on the computer which is just enough to write to the family so it's helpful to be able to read our letters beforehand... he also likes to be able to receive them spread out a little and be able to reread them also.

Here is the information you need:

Elder Christian Zimbelman
MTC Box 375
Arg-Neu Departure date Sept 5

He is also accepting care packages, pictures... etc. ;)

I'll post pictures of the bike race soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

For A Friend

Want to see something cute?
Want to help out a friend?

Go here

Watch their video and vote for them...

You could win a gift card to Lowes too...

That is all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

First Letter

I have some catching up to do after I catch my breath but in the mean time here is the first letter from Elder Christian Zimbelman:

Hey Family!
Man, I love you guys! the MTC has been amazing, I love my companion elder Ross, he is such a stud, and is a perfect first companion. He's from Vernal, and we are practically best friends. My district is also pretty awesome, we have quite a few elders who struggle with various things, but I really have felt the lord bless me with the spirit, and an increase in my capacities, so that I have been able to befriend the other elders, and help keep them motivated, and realize why they are on a mission, and that it is OK that they are having a really hard time, that's all part of the plan. I have the best teachers ever, Hermana Ortega is from Bariloche Argentina, and is soo excited that we will be going to Argentina. We always look forward to her lessons. Our second teacher, Hermano Harvey went on his mission to Chile, and is also a great teacher, he is definitely harder on us than hermana, but that's good, that is how we learn the best, even though it can be discouraging at times. The Spirit is soo strong here, and it really has been fun to feel its influence. On Tuesday we were having a lesson from Hermana Ortega, and we talked about the difference between being a sacrifice missionary, and a missionary of consecration, we talked about how a missionary who worries about the sacrifices he made to be on a mission, and thinks only about the things that he could be doing otherwise, is not being the best missionary he could be. Where a missionary who puts his heart and mind into the work and truly consecrates everything to the lord. That missionary is able to be a much better tool in the hands of the lord. While i don't wish to say that I haven't been missing you, because i most definitely have had my moments, I have been feeling the power of the spirit in increasing my capacity, so that i have been able to focus on the work, and my studies, and the people around me and their needs, and my mind has not wandered too often to things that might distract or get me down, In this way i already have started to feel as though i have consecrated myself completely, and there truly is such a power in that.  I have come to realize the power of obedience, I have definitely noticed a difference in the days where I wasn't completely obedient, and the days where I have been , the difference is amazing! the lord really has been blessing me, and increasing my capacity as I've worked, and tried to be obedient.
I love you guys, know that I am loving every second of my time here! your letters were such a highlight of my week, I really loved it! I'm definitely in good hands, the language is coming, and my testimony is growing, but most importantly I am feeling the spirit very strongly, and more constantly than i have ever felt before! I love It!

Love you all so much! thank you for your prayers and your help in getting me to where i am today! I love everyone of you, and I pray for you every day! it seems that there is not enough time in the day for all the things we have to do, and i love it! know I'm doing great and am loving every second! cant wait to hear back!
Much love
Elder Zimbelman