Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Summer Vacation cont...The Laundry Room

Do you have a room that causes a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach and every time you open the door you just want to run and hide? I have felt this way about our laundry room since we moved in.

 It measures all of 5 1/2 x 6 and has two doors, one going to the family room and one going to the garage. From the garage it gets shoes and boots, hats, jackets, gloves, dirt, lint, saw dust, backpacks and more. From the family room it gets dirty rags thrown on the floor and all the stuff that no one knows what to do with. I this room we store light bulbs, wrapping paper and gift bags, Costco packs of toilet paper, kleenex, paper towels, three cowboy hats, the hot plate we take to hotels so we can make our own breakfast, cloth grocery bags, the high chair I keep for the grandkids, stamps that I use occasionally and of course the usual laundry stuff.

We got a shoe organizer, put up hooks and shelves above the cupboards and across the other wall. Mark put up a bar for hanging up wet clothes. I organized and reorganized and rearranged the stuff in the cupboards trying to find something that works but in the end I could never really reach any of the upper shelves without getting a chair from the kitchen and the pile on the dryer just grew until it would all fall down.

Just inside the family room I created a place for back packs and school books and relocating that stuff  helped some, but in between major cleaning efforts and reorganizing the laundry room looked like this...

(I can't find my before picture)

After I joined Pinterest I began to see all kinds of ways to decorate and organize a laundry room and I began to dream and plan...
in the far distant future... 
when our washer and/or dryer died
 my laundry room would no longer be the armpit of the house.

And then one day I was washing a load of tennis shoes to help with an eagle project and it happened...
a size 14 tennis shoe wedged itself between the agitator and the inside of the washer
(even though I did all I could to prevent it) and, well...
may my old washer rest in peace...

Having paved the way from my new laundry room:
still so small it was hard to get a picture where you could see most of it all in one shot.
Ikea cupboard I love you!

View from family room - garage to right

View from garage
New from top
(How many packs of Costco TP? the world may never know.)
to bottom
(John, who did my tile got into the decorating and painted my drain cover black!)
storage for brooms, mops and folding step stool
Funny how excited I was to have a step stool so I could reach everything in seconds, now that I have a space to store it.

There is no divider in the bottom of the cupboard so I can fit the high chair, my large cutting mat for sewing and my laundry basket ... you can actually open the door to the garage  WHILE I'm doing laundry...
who'da thought that was possible?!
I want to go out and buy more toilet paper just because I have a great place to store it!

While I will not say that I suddenly I LOVE to do laundry and this probably is not my FAVORITE room in the house, I have to admit that when I open the door, this room makes me happy. I don't mind being in here, in fact I kind of like it. I don't cringe at the possibility that someone will enter my home through this room.

My laundry room is still very small but it's functioning so wonderfully!
labeled and accessible storage with towel bar for hanging
Need a light bulb or wrapping paper? 
I can have it for you in two seconds, without causing an avalanche!
precision spacing so that all doors open without hitting anything 

I like this room enough that I will put hanging things away quickly,
and even iron rather than let them hang there and block my "window".

And the stackable washer and dryer... GENIUS.
I guess there are all kinds of blessings that come from helping others.

What I did over my summer vacation

I've been in denial about school starting again. Not that I don't like school and having a schedule again but it seems like Summer just got here. It was a cold Spring and I was busy with this 

and this

and I'm not really ready for this
followed by this..
BUT in an effort to embrace carpools, packing lunches, and getting up at 6:15 AM.
 I will share with you a few things I have done to my house this Summer.
Starting with something small:
Not the greatest picture I know but it's all I have.
Notice the countertops, 24 year old formica, scratched, cracked in places with wood trimmed edges.  What you can't see is the 24 year old porcelain sink which has long lost it's luster and stain fighting abilities, rimmed with a stainless steel crown, equally aged and tarnished...
Mark has offered to replace these with granite but I'm holding out...
At some point I would like to reconfigure the kitchen a little and replace the tile floor.

So I'll be patient... but still there has to be some way to fix it up without spending $$$.

A google search turned up Giani Countertop paint.
It was reasonable and worth a try. I experimented first in the bathroom in the basement with mixed reviews and decided to try a different color in the kitchen. I also discovered that putting the paint on a little thicker allowed the colors to blend and make a really cool "stone like" texture.
(I realize that any geologist would quickly know it is a faux finish but to the layman it looks pretty good)

I also got a new sink and faucet...
And painted the basement door RED... just for fun.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Love the MTC

Dear family,

I can not even express how much I love your letters! Thank you, they are always such  a blessing to me! Well my time at the MTC is coming to a close, we signed our visas yesterday, and we will be getting our travel plans tomorrow! I am very excited, but also quite nervous, my Spanish is pretty good, but it is soo hard to understand native speakers when they are just talking. I can understand most of it, but like with the consulate yesterday it was hard to understand him about 25 percent of the time, because he just talks so fast, and slurred, but its all good, I know I´ll pick it up quickly!

This week has been amazing, I really have been able to feel the Lord working through me. One experience that was very humbling for me. On Friday, I had the opportunity to take one of the elders who was struggling aside, and just talk to him. It was amazing. We had been talking a lot about listening, and the power in just listening. This elder has been struggling to love his companion. As we talked his attitude was not really changing and at one point he told me that if i continued to try and help him and if i told our branch presidency that he was struggling, that he was not going to talk to me at all, and was just going to ignore me. I don't know why, but when he said this it really struck me to the core and I started becoming teary. I think it was because of the love I felt for him, and I realized how difficult at times my calling is. There are times where I have to sacrifice of myself, so that I can serve others, and that is what a calling is really about, serving others. At this point, I proceeded to follow the spirit, and I used mom´s age old question, and said "Elder who are you listening to?". We talked and I  started to understand his attitude. We just kept on talking, and i was crying, which was weird for me, but I feel the lord blessed me to be able to do that, to show the elder of my love for him. Well we talked, and his attitude didn't really seem to be changing all that much, but I tried my hardest to follow the spirit, and eventually I really just felt the need to listen, and let the spirit work on him. As I listened, he opened up, and shared with me some really hard experiences from his life. It was amazing that after we talked about that for a little,I realized how inadequate I was on my own, but with the spirit, I was able to help this elder change his attitude. He has has been really improving, there is still a lot to be done, but they are progressing, and that is all that really matters.

This week my teacher decided to stop having us teach the difficult investigator who couldn't read, because he felt that that was way too specific of an investigator. So we started teaching my teacher, and try to bring him closer to Christ, as himself, a rm going to BYU, it has proved to be very interesting, and we are going to teach him tonight.

Our other investigator Ramon, we have set a baptismal date with, and we are working with him, it is amazing the power that comes from having a testimony of the Book of Mormon which he has. We prayed with him, and we all felt the spirit witness to him, and everything else has been soo easy!

I know the lord has blessed me in numberless ways, I know that! I count my family among my most precious blessings, I know that pretty much everything that I cherish in my life, is because of you guys, and you striving to follow Christ. I love each of you so much! I love the Lord,vHe can make us stronger than we could ever imagine, all he asks is that we show forth our faith through our actions, think about that.

I love you all, have a great week!
love, Elder Zimbelman

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hey ya´ll only 2.5 weeks left!! crazy!

Hola mi familia! como estan? First of all I feel impressed to share an experience I had last night, with all of your. Last night after an amazing fireside, our district was talking about prayer and one of the counsellors in my branch presidency asked us if we knew the longest we had ever prayed? He suggested that we try and actually spend some time praying, so last night as I went to bed I started my prayers and I prayed for each one of you and for all the elders in my district as I do every night, and I did something that I don't know if I have ever really done before, and that was I asked to know the will of the Lord in my life (all in Spanish of course :) then I just listened with an open mind, and a pencil and some paper, and things just started coming to me, so by a little light I have I started writing my impressions down, and it was amazing how much the Lord blessed me with inspiration. There was not enough speed in my hand to write down the things the Lord was trying to tell me. One of the things I felt, was to share this with you. I challenge each one of you to pray, and then listen for the lord to speak to you, and make sure you have something to write on, because he will! He wants us to talk to him! I have a testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost, I am striving for its guidance constantly in my life, because I know without the Lord we are nothing. No matter how smart or brave or good looking we are, the lord can make us better. We only need to make sure we are in tune to the spirit, so we can be an effective tool in the hands of the Lord. I really love that analogy and I am striving for that in my life.

Things with my district are going very well, we had a companionship that was not getting along very well, and so one of the members of my branch presidency sat down with both of them and talked with them, and since then their attitudes have changed, and things have been much better.

On Sunday I had such an amazing day, first of all we had the district president (President Hacking) attending all of our meetings. It was awesome to feel his love and his spirit. We are so lucky with the leaders that are here in the mtc. A common theme throughout that day, as dictated by the spirit to me at least, was the lesson taught in 2 Ne 34:32-34, which is that we need to be the person we want to be in the future, today! If we say, well when I get out in the mission field, it will be easier then, and I'll be a better missionary, we will be disappointed. The same missionary we are here, will be the same missionary we are there, and the person we are on our mission, will be the same person we are for the rest of our life, so I am making the changes in my life so that I am the best missionary i can be TODAY! Now is the time to change, and it is by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass (Alma 37:6-7). So we need to start doing something now, no matter how small it is, to become the person we want to be. I know that through these principles we will all be able to be the person we want to be in the future, and the person we want to be throughout the eternities!

One of the biggest strengths I have had in my service, is from 2 Ne 32:9 "consecrate all thy doings unto the Lord". I have been striving to start and finish everything that I do, with a prayer so I can be blessed with the Lord's guidance. 

Family! I love you soo much, and I am so grateful that I am able to spend eternity with you! Start now to become the people we want to be there! I have such a strong testimony. This week we had one lesson with our progressive investigator, where we were trying to listen to the spirit, but we were imperfect in that, and kept on asking him to pray, and it seemed no matter how we asked, or what we taught, he would not agree to read, and eventually he got frustrated and kicked us out.  Then the spirit spoke to me, and told me that he did not know how to read. I felt pretty foolish, the spirit is key in everything we do! 
We had another lesson, with our other progressive investigator, where we followed the spirit and it bore witness to him and to us, right then and there that the Book of Mormon was true, it was tangible! We had him recognize it, and even thought it was a "fake" situation, the spirit bore witness and to the point that our investigator was crying. The spirit is key in everything that we do in our lives! It will never lead us astray!!

Well this letter is extra long, so I apologize if your personal letters aren't as long as usual, just know I am striving to follow the spirit in everything that I do, and that I feel this is what will bless you the most! I love each and every one of you, and pray for you individually and for you needs! I love you, and know our Father in Heaven loves you, more than anyone else! Even me, which means, probably more than we could ever understand!!
Love you all, read and pray! do it!
Elder Zimbelman

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Strings Attached

photo courtesy of Amy
Tuesday morning Jenn and I went running with our neighbor, Karen. Mark would be leaving soon to fly to New Jersey for a business trip and would be home Friday evening. Amy's Jordan had been out of town the week before and had left again on Monday for another business trip. Last week was a rough one for Amy and this week would be her birthday. We had looked into airplane tickets to fly her and the kids out here but they were too expensive. Still... my heart ached at the thought of her being alone with two little ones on her birthday. There had to be something we could do. I began to assemble a package to send to her with some new fun things for Ruby to do and a little something for her too. As we were running I lamented to Karen about wanting to be with Amy, and Karen said, "Well, drive out there!". Duhhhh! why didn't I think of that! Jenn and I got back from our run around 7:45, talked to Mark as he was heading out the door and arranged to take the Mazda. We quickly packed, I taught Kindermusik from 10:00 to 10:45 and we were on the road by 11:15. We called Amy about two hours into our drive and told her to break out her air mattress. We were all very excited! We arrived that evening and got to see Ruby for a few minutes before Amy tucked her into bed. Two glorious days of giggling, chasing, baby kisses, imaginary play, coloring, snuggling and bliss. It seemed like more of a gift to me than to Amy in a lot of ways. It was really fun to make her some birthday cupcakes, get her some balloons, dinner and cool candles, as if she was 16 instead of 26. Jordan came home that night (Thursday - her birthday) and they went out and saw Harry Potter. Yesterday Jenn and I went running with Amy and the crew and then packed up again and headed home. 

I know about cutting apron strings and the importance of allowing children to grow up and become independent. I know they need to be able to live their own lives and right now Sacramento is where Amy, Jordan and their family are supposed to be. But what about the heart strings. No one seems to talk much about those. The aching I feel when I leave that sweet family... being able to still feel the sweet little hugs and hear laughter in my head and know it will be a while before my cheek is able to rest on their silky hair again. What about that tugging on my heart when, like Ruby and Olivia, I too want to be able to go through the screen when we skype and be wrapped in their arms. Then there's the pull I feel that makes me so willing to spend two days driving to see them for two days. So totally worth it. In many ways this trip was empowering. It was easy to throw a few thing in my bag and just go. Aaron and Celisa better settle within a one day drive too, because even thought the apron strings have been cut, the heartstrings are still firmly attached.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I just hope...

...that when I'm 52

 ( way way down the road ;)

I'll be as awesome as you are today!

Happy Birthday!
I love you.