Monday, April 20, 2009

After All We Can Do

This talk, After All We Can Do,* means so much to me. It's by Elder Claudio D. Zivic, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy who also happens to be my mission president. He gave this talk in October 2007 when he was first called to the 70. I cried through the whole thing; it meant so much to see him again and hear his voice. He's an amazing man. I love the message of this talk. It probably means even more to me than most other people because I know him on a different level. I have no doubt that he's a man of God, so I hang onto every word he says. It makes me smile hearing him speak English too. He's from Argentina and rarely spoke more than two or three words to us in English. What a treat.

Earlier this month I was blessed with the opportunity to go to General Conference. I didn't really have the money, but I knew President and Hermana Zivic would be there. So...I went. Our mission reunion was on Friday night. I was intimidated to see the Zivics because my Spanish skills are quickly dwindling, and I didn't want them to hear how poorly I speak now (they always used to compliment me on how well I spoke Spanish). When I saw Hermana Zivic, she gave me a big hug and remembered just who I was. She said, "Remember the bookmark you and Hermana Watts made me for Valentine's Day? I still carry that with me in my scriptures." I was so thrilled to hear that. Then she said, "Hermana Emmot, whenever President Zivic travels on speaking assignments, he brings one of the last letters that you wrote him. He never says who wrote it, but he always shares it over the pulpit." I was really taken aback by that. I have always felt like my mission president never really took me very seriously. It's something I've always struggled with (even to this day), so that little comment meant the world to me. As she was telling me this, Elder Zivic walked over and said, "Yes, hermana, it really was a beautiful letter." Even now, I want to cry just thinking about it. It seems silly, but I really needed to hear that from him. I guess it was validation that he viewed me as a serious missionary... someone he can still quote four years later.

On Saturday afternoon, I saw the two of them again between conference sessions. After giving me a big hug, Elder Zivic held me by the shoulders and looked into my eyes with that happy grin of his, "Hermana, I've been thinking a lot about you lately and hoping I'd get to see you this weekend. I'm so glad you came. It's really been a pleasure to see you. Please, please keep in touch." These moments are the reason I used up my entire tax return (and then some!) to go to Utah. I could have gone home after that, and it would have all been worth it. Oh, but wait! There's more. I have this amazing friend from the mission who pulled some strings and got me front row seats. We were literally behind all the emeritus general authorities! It was unreal. Once in a lifetime opportunity! Some of the most memorable things about being that close were:

(1) Observing Elder Anderson's facial expressions as President Monson and others testified that he was called of God; it was clear (or so it seemed) he felt inadequate and unsure

(2) Watching Elder Bednar sing along with the choir

(3) Making eye contact with President Uchtdorf and him smiling down at me

(4) Sort of elbowing Elder Nelson because I didn't see him walking past me

(5) Seeing general authorities fall asleep during conference (now I don't feel so guilty!)

Those are the kind of things you miss out on by watching conference on TV or in one of the 21,000 seats behind us. Thanks, majo (or mozo, as Joaquina always called you). I'll repay the favor someday when you come visit me in Texas (though anything I could do would pale in comparison). What a great month. I love my life!

*Click here for the text version of his talk

L to R: Hermana Watts (one of my absolute favorite
companions), me, Hermana Zivic, and Elder Zivic

Hermana Anhder (another one of my favorite companions) and
me at conference. Check out how close we were!
Can you even believe it?! Amazing! :)

Friday, April 17, 2009


Have you ever gotten annoyed because someone approached the crosswalk where you were already standing and pressed the button? Seriously?! Did you think I was just standing here hoping the sign would magically change? Of course I pushed the button! Well… I promise never to get annoyed about that again. A few days ago, I approached a busy crosswalk right before the light was supposed to turn green. When I say busy, I mean there were at least 10 people on each side of the street waiting to cross. I got there just as the light should have turned green (I cross there often and know the pattern), but…it didn't. Our turn came and went. Out of 20 people, not even one of them bothered to push the button. Not one! Wanna know something else? That's not the first time that has happened...and, believe me, it's not the second either. That has happened three—count that: 3!—times in the four short months I've been here. That's San Marcos for ya.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Did you know that April is Child Abuse Prevention month? Wear a blue ribbon this month to show your support for this cause. Also, if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, please report it by calling the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

As many of you know, I have been volunteering this semester at Child Protective Services. Though the hours are required as part of my Social Services in the Community class, I am grateful for the chance I've had to work at this particular agency. It's been a phenomenal experience. In contrast to the confusion I've felt in many other areas of my life, I truly feel alive when I'm there. Like I belong there. Maybe I've blogged about this before, but I feel like I've finally found my purpose. In all honesty, I would work there for free. To me, that's more of an answer than anything else. I have found my place. Unfortunately, though, I need money to survive. So...after next week, I will say goodbye to the wonderful CPS caseworkers and special children I've worked with. Time to find a job. Sad day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The 80/20 Rule

At Institute a few weeks ago, the instructor taught us his "80/20 rule" for dating and courtship. He said that when we're dating we have a tendency to rule people out too quickly based on their flaws. He went on to explain that a good rule of thumb is to pay attention to what you like and dislike about that person. If you appreciate/love at least 80% and only dislike about 20%, hold on tight! We're all so different that 20% "bad" in a mate is actually pretty darn good. I chuckled a little when he shared this with us, but it really struck me. Heck, considering all of my crazy tendencies, my only hope is that someone will use that rule with me. The least I can do is follow it myself. Ha ha!

Since then I've applied this rule in my life not only in dating situations but in friendships too. And I'll tell you what, it really helps. Every time I wanted to give up on a certain someone, I thought back to this rule. I constantly reminded myself, Rebecca, this guy is at least an 85/15, so don't freak out. The point in all of this, I suppose, is to quit focusing on the negative. That 80% is so much more important than the 20%, wouldn't you agree?

(Did you sense that there would be a but?)

When you are trying to move on from a relationship that has just ended, go ahead and ignore that 80 and focus on the 20. It works like a charm! After talking to a friend on the phone last night, I realized I needed to sit down and do this. I wrote (with amazing ease, I might add) a list of about forty reasons why I needed to move on with my life. Every time one of the 80 popped into my head, I quickly pushed it aside and replaced it with one of the 20. Now whenever I feel lonely or sad, I'll just look at this list. Emotional crisis averted.

PS: Some of you may have noticed that I deleted my Facebook account. I just needed a little breather to get me through to the end of the semester. Not to worry, I'll be back. But until then, keep sending me your love through blog comments and/or phone calls. :)