Friday, December 31, 2010

month a versary!!!

ciao tutti carissimi miei!!!
i got an AWESOME letter from suzanne with tons of great questions that i havent responded to yet, so lets do it!
1. how are you?- FANTASTIC. i live in italy.
2. are you walking, driving, or riding a bike?- we walk EVERYWHERE. we are currently visiting and inactive family that literally lives at the edge of the city. but the city is small. it takes about 45 minutes to walk all the way. 
3. have you had to use any money?- yes a little bit. getting settled always costs money but now we are settled so i should be ok unless i want to do some shopping for myself, and until  i decide on some glasses frames....
4. are your shoes holding up?- yes! i brought like 10 pair and i switch out all the time so they are getting pretty evenly worn so far. i wear my boots that i got at DI for $7 more than anything else since its cold here. 
5. do you get calls or visits from the mission home?- not really. we are the furthest city from the mission home (except malta, but that is a different country...)
6. what is christmas like in ragusa?- its not as big of a deal as i thought it would be. i actually loved it because people are just not ashamed whatsoever to celebrate the birth of christ. but few houses were decorated, people werent stressed out about gifts and making the family christmas card with everyones biography.... it was all about the food. as it should be. 
7. have you had anytime to see the history?- no not really. one day we went on an impromtu tour of a town called vittoria with a member, but we thought it was going to be a lesson.... miscommunication but it was cool to see some of the parts outside ragusa. the main church here is INCREDIBLE. the design in sicily is very muslim inspired, since we are so close to africa, so the cathedrals have onion domes, and they are made of a uniform sandstone, not like by baby, the gaudy striped cathedral of siena. 
8. is it big population wise? is it crowded?- YES and i think that every person in the city feels it necessary to own a car. the streets are PACKED all the time with cars. there arent usually a ton of people out (since italians are so whimpy and refuse to leave the house when its cold), except on via roma. its the swanky downtown district that spans all of about a kilometer. but people are out in giro on via roma every night, especially sunday. there are lots of old men out often. they are always in groups of 3-5 dressed to the nines: hats, vests, canes, clean shaven, shoes polished. and they are all about 5 feet tall. usually they watch me and sister foote probably thinking they woke up in the twilight zone. who knows if they have ever left ragusa in their lives! and usually slla foote and i say 'BUONGIORNO!' and they smile. sicilians are very respectful of our choice to serve missions. 
9. how goes street proselyting?- i LOVE doing street. yesterday we stopped a man named salvatore (like probably 50% of other males in sicily) we talked to him about a profet, and he gave us the same response and most italians. i believe in God, and anyone else who does too is saved. doesnt matter what church they go to. it was fun talking to him because he was saying that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. so we told him that it why we have a profet, because there was a profet 3000 years ago, and there is one today. he was also talking about how he doesnt need to be baptized by water. he can be reborn spiritally. when he said that, i just said, 'interessante. jesus was baptised, and if God is always the same, shouldnt we have the same baptism?' then i told him that WE have the same baptism, we have twelve apostles, we have the same authority that Jesus Christ did. you know that you were relying on the Spirit when you can silence a sicilian.....good moment.
10. our man with a baptismal date- if you will read back to the email two weeks ago, about my week, he was the one who didnt want to study with us anymore. well we kept praying for  him and visiting  him. on saturday, we saw him and he said he wanted to study with us again! so we saw him on monday but he wasnt not being very nice. he was actually quite rude to slla foote. in this moment, i dont feel like hes really into this. i dont think he is making the best choices. i dont really know him at all, but its hard for slla foote who has been teaching him from the beginning. 
11. have you had anymore contacts?- oh yes! tons. we talk to people all day everyday (excpet when we have to sit on our fat butts in the smelly internet cafe....) we  have an indian friend that we found while we were knocking doors. he came to the ward christmas party. we are teaching a new african family, gloria (the wife) uyi (the husband) and joseph (the son who is less than 2). we taught them the first lesson, and uyi said 'i already know what you are telling me is true.' hahaha africans make this work seem easy.... but i really want to be teaching italians. everyone needs the gospel of course, but the africans are usually here in a period of transition, and we need to build up this city!!
12. what is church like?- church is hilarious. relief society is awesome because the sisters will often get into.... 'dicussions' about the doctrine. (they are all italian women, what can you do...) sunday school is great, and often slla foote and i end up in the english class, which is the class for all the africans (they are the only non-italians in the ward besides us). this is where we hear things like 'we have our white sisters here, so we need to listen to their words' and 'daddy, open our brains and put your knowledge in.' sacrament meeting is great. its so nice to have a ward and not a branch. usually slla foote and i translate/ babysit in the back. one of our new converts has a very active two year old. he is SOOOOO cute but loves to run up to the pulpit during the middle of a talk. but church is always great. everyone is so short though, i can just imagine what church looks like to everyone else: a sea of tiny little sicilians, a few africans, and then sorella modella, almost 2 meters tall!! (one of the members in a nearby city nicknamed me sorella modella  ahahhahaahah) 

so thats it! thanks for the letter. thanks for all the letters everyone! you are great! i love you and i am so glad i got to talk to you all on christmas. 

my vote for the baby is Luca. its italian. and its the perfect mix of luke and lucas. Luca William Ashman. its perfect. 

the gospel is true. otherwise i wouldnt be in this smelly internet bar wearing a frumpy flannel skirt on the 28 of december 2010. i would probably drive down to the strip, watch the bellagio fountains and go to the prada store to drool over everything. but i wouldnt change switch the two scenarios if i had the chance. i have 16 months left to change the world and Heavenly Father himself asked me to do this work. sometimes i dont think of it that way, but when i do, i really feel humbled. He asked me to do this work, because He can't do it Himself. i know this work is ordained of God and that we have a profet today. we need a profet more than ever, and because God loves us, He gave us Thomas S. Monson, a righteous man with no desire for accliam or laud. invite your friends to partake of the fruit, family! help the missionaries in your city. we need the not full time missionaries to help us. love you all!!
sorella ashman

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

week 2!

hey famiglina!!!
what a week what a week.... so that you get an idea of how things go in the mission, our planners  have two columns in them, one for our plan, and one for a back up plan. well we get stood up so often that we decided to now use one for our plan, then write what actually happened. and the plans turn out immensely different and its great :)
last tuesday was the last time i wrote so lets go back to then. tuesday night we left on a bus for catania, about two hours away.  wednesday we had a zone conference with elder kause of the 70 (he's FRENCH!). the conference was great and made us all sufficiently feel like terrible missionaries. elder kause asked for a companionship to volunteer to contact him, so of course i volunteered us. i had been in the mission for less than a week and figured that if i messed it up i could use that as an excuse. well we did a good job and then he told us what we could do better. it was pretty humbling to get critiqued in front of the whole zone and mission president, but it was very helpful. that night we came back (after getting a fantastic gelato) and planned and went to bed, nothing special. 

the next day (thursday) i really began to learn what it means to be a missionary. we had an appointment with our investigator Silvana around 10,30 which in italy means sometime before 12,00 but we try to be as punctual as possible. we had a member couple coming to the lesson, the puglisis. they are probably over 70 and drive really frighteningly and fight a lot, but they are hilarious and really good to us missionaries. well they showed up at our house about an hour late, then fratello puglisi wouldnt listen to my companion's directions so it took like another 1\2 hour to get 10 blocks away and then by the time we showed up (after wasting over an hour of the Lord's time) it was nearly noon and we knocked on the door and Silvana didnt answer. we called her and we heard her cellphone ringing in the kitchen. we still arent sure if she was home or not... after that we went home for lunch and then prepared to go to comiso (a tiny pasese about 30 minutes away) to visit Angelo, our investigator who had a baptismal date. again, we had prepared for a member to come with us. Sorella Cascone is AWESOME. last week we helped her move in to her new house. she is the wife of the first patriarch in Sicily, who we lovingly call White Feather cuz he looks like an indian chief, and her son is the bishop. Bishop Cascone has a 2 year old son named giorgio who is my companion's boyfriend. he is soooo cute. pretty much the cascone family rocks. anyway, so sorella cascone was coming to visit Angelo with us. he didnt come to church on sunday because we offeneded him, so we knew that this meeting was going to be rough, plus he hadn't been responding to our calls. BUT he still had his baptismal date. so we show up at the bar where he works and the first thing he says is 'ho smesso di studiare con voi' which means 'i quit studying with you.' then he goes on to explain how badly we offended him, and how the Church is just trying to take his money to build the church in America and how he is going to do his own thing and he wishes us no ill, but he can't be part of a church that sells its message. even writing it now i feel so sad for him. i know he doesnt believe that. Angelo has seen miracles. he quit smoking AFTER 40 YEARS at the flip of a switch, and he was healed by a priesthood blessing, and it was all through the power of the Holy Ghost and he knows that but he was too scared to accept that he had to change his life. but we were so blessed to have Sorella Cascone there. she really smoothed the whole situation over and left us all on good terms. that was a really hard experience, but we are praying for angelo still. after about an hour with angelo, we saw isaac, our new convert from ghana. Isaac is incredible. he always says 'wooooow' about everything. we taught him about the temple and just had a good time with him. after we got back from comiso, we stopped in at a member family, the iaconos [the husband is actually inactive :( ] they were so happy to see us and so nice. then we went to visit our other new convert (Also african) Rita, because the appointment we set up showed us up. she is so great. she always says 'you are welcome' about 6 times when she opens the door, so hospitable. pretty much it was a hard day that thursday, but it could have been so much worse. 

friday was good. we had a good lesson with sister maloku, our investigator from albania, but she hardly speaks italian so its really hard to teach her (where is giulio when i really need him???!!! hahaha) 

then saturday. this was definitely the hardest day in the mission so far, it was awesome. first off it was FREEZING the whole day. just keep that in mind. so first thing when i wake up i pray for a long time, usually about 20 minutes, for the people that we are going to see that day. then i spend an hour preparing a lesson to teach them. then we go out in to the freezing cold and no one is home, and if they are home, they tell us they dont want to meet with us anymore. hahahaha. so that happened. we found this woman who had been invesitgating for a long time. we talked to her and she pretty much told us that she enjoyed visiting, but she didnt want to change her religion. she was content how she was. ok good. at least we don't waste anymore time with her. then we wanted to go find some ex invesigators and find out what happened. it took about 1 hour to walk where we were going, and on the way up this hill my comp got the feeling that we shouldnt be going there. so we pull out the area book and found out that there was a previous investigator right on the street where we were. so we went to find her. her name was giusy and she works in a bread store (all the old contacts from the elders work in food establishments....) well we found her! we taught her and her coworker for a good while and then said we would come back next week (which is now this week). we left the bread shop and were already late for lunch then had to walk back for like 45 minutes! we had lunch and then we had the appointment we had been waiting for!! the miracle man, giovanni zaffarano, who works at the codice fiscale who had read most of the book of mormon and wanted to set up an appointment with us. we were so prepared. we practiced the invitation to baptism and prayed to have the Spirit because we knew he was looking for the truth. so we went to the church and after giovanni was about 20 minutes late, we called the member who was coming to appointment to tell him not to worry. we continued to wait until he was an hour late, and then i realized that no matter how prepared and excited i am, we all have our angency. i can pray to see a miracle, but the people who are going to be my miracles have to be willing to do their part too. i was really discouraged. we had been talking about giovanni for the last week and then in the end he didnt want it badly enough. but here's the real miracle. in the regular hillary life, i would have been upset about this huge disappointment for at least the rest of the day. on the mission, the disappointment lasted oh say bout oh bout i'd say about 15 minutes. there is no reason to lose hope! see ether 12:4 maybe giovanni got in a car accident or maybe his wife died. who knows. but we are going to find him this week and ask. we spent the rest of the night street contacting and it was soooo cold, but i loved it. 

sunday was great. im really growing to love the ward more and more. in the evening we went to visit a less active brother. he HATES the members here because his daughter married a member and he commited adulterio. so fratello raposelli will MAI MAI MAI MAI MAI (never never never never never) set foot in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in ragusa. he told us his whole story and it was so interesting to see how people respond to the challenges that God gives them. 'i giveth to men weaknesses that they may be humble'. all the trials that we have in our lives are for our own good! we should relish in the fact that God wants us to return to Him so badly that He is willing to teach us! He could just toss us aside and not care, but no, all these things shall work together for our good,and  IF WE HUMBLE OURSELVES then weak things will become strong unto us. 

monday we went to a little dumpy town called Gela to do a service project. the branch there has about 7 active members and the poor elders have such a hard time. they DID just have a baptism last week, and their new convert is AWESOME. his name is Nicola and he used to be a friar!! hahahaha the people in Gela welcomed us with open arms. we were doing a food drive, then distributing the food to needy faimilies. there were some teenage boys who lived in the area who had set up a huge nativity and they were part of the food drive too. some priest came and blessed the nativity and sprinkled holy water everywhere. it was awesome. in that moment i thought how cool it is to be in a country that is so open about their belief in God. this nativity was right on the street and tons of people saw us all there. catholicism is just part of the culture here. italians are catholic. its just that simple, the words 'italian' and 'catholic' are practically synonyms. it makes the idea of switching religions really difficult for them, but it really makes for some fun stories. monday night we had FHE with  an awesome family, sorella campo and her daughter Yolanda. we read, 'you are special' a really cute kids book, and we had one of our new converts, Tina, there. it was just great. 

tuesday was a great day. we had an appt with a creeper at 10,30 but he didnt show, which was fine with us and we were expecting, but we had to go just in case he really was interested in the message and not... other stuff... hahahah we then decided to go find this inactive family. they lived super far away, in the same place where we found giusy at the bread store. well we made the journey there and they welcomed us into their home. we had a great visit and found out what happened to them. they were baptised 6 years ago, and then a year later their son was killed in a car accident and at that time brother camissa stopped believing in God. we invited them to pray, to try to rekindle their faith. but for people who dont believe that God exists or that there is life after this, that's a pretty big request. this family is important. they are elect. fratello camissa is amazing. he has the priesthood, he has baptized several other people. he looks healthy and young. he doens't even smoke! we are really expecting a miracle with them. they like us and invited us back for lunch next week! im really looking forward to seeing how the Lord will use me and sorella foote to help this family. we got home an hour late for lunch, after stopping in at the bread shop with giusy and veronica. then we got showed up for an appointment so we did house contacting for a long time. 2 people let us in! mostly because they didnt have speakers on the outside of their houses so they had to answer the door. hahahaha one of the people we found though his name was harry. he was from india and he was awesome. he said he would come to church on sunday and we want to teach him again. he was very open minded and he in younger, which is something we have been looking for, younger people to help make the church grow. then we taught english course which was super fun. after the course we visitied for a while with the students and they were shocked that we didnt drink coffee!! maybe 'italians', 'catholics' and 'coffee drinkers' are all synonyms..... 

wow this is a really long letter. i hope you enjoy the week in the life a missionary! hours spent praying for and preparing for the people who arent even home, and if they are home, they just tell us they dont want to see us! hahaha jk jk jk but i am really so happy. everyday when i walk down the street i just think 'im in italy!!! i've have been being prepared for this my whole life and its finally happening!!!' i'm freezing cold all the time, but i know that someday someone is going to ask me to prove that i am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and i have made these tiny sacrifices, i have suffered a miniscule amount all for the love of my Savior. i AM a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Sono stata chiamata a proclamare la sua parola al suo popolo affinche essi possano avere la vita eterna. (see 3 nefi 5:13) 
thank you all for the love and support. i need it! and i feel it and your prayers. you are all in mine as well.

con tanto amore
sorella ashman

ps the mailing address is 
via m. buonarroti 201 
97100 ragusa, rg


Italy

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Some pictures from Italy


Here are a few pictures when we arrived in Italy

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

1st letter....from ITALIA!

So i made it safely and happily. we are all tired and ready to sleep after over 24 hours without a bed, but we have just gotten our first area assignments!! my first area is........ make a guess!!!!


















if you guessed sicily you're right!!!! my first city is ragusa, pretty much as far south as you can get while still being in italy. check it out. its the southeast corner of sicily. so i get another LOOONG day of travel tomorrow! my trainer's name is sorella foote. 

today was great. we got into rome, and i felt so at home. the disgusting bathrooms, the smell of smoke, the weird high heel sneakers. and i ate a meat lasagna! all of us greenies get to stay at the mission home tonight, and sister kelly made us din din. the mission home is an incredible old house built in 1924 for mussolini's daughter! how the church got a hold of it, i don't know, but it is stunning. 

the Lord has blessed me so much. when we got to the mission home, they showed us the map of all the cities in the mission. (perugia isn't an option, but we can always visit there in summer 2012.) but there were only two choices for sisters, on one sicily, and the other way in the south. so either way i was gonna be glad because it is WARMMMMMM down there!!! but i knew i was going to go to sicily because Heavenly Father loves me so much for some reason, and He knew i wanted to go there. 

i just want to share a short story about how much God loves the missionaries. while we were on the long flight, from dallas to london some baby started crying. i was trying to sleep, knowing that i don't get a day to catch up for the next 18 months, and so i prayed, "Heavenly Father, please calm this baby so that her mother doesn't have to worry about her waking up the other passengers." and she stopped crying. it was amazing. she didn't even cry the rest of the trip. 

well i've already taken too long to write, but i'm ecstatic. the mission president and his wife are awesome, and we met the stake patriarch!! fratello calbrese. he is awesome. anyway, i'm leaving here at 6:30 so i got to get to sleep (it's 10:45 already....) 

HELLO SICILY!!!

vi amo
sorella ashman

Friday, November 19, 2010

week 2!

over a full week at the mtc and it feels like i've lived here for years. everything is awesome here. i feel the spirit so strongly everyday. this past tuesday was particularly great. the tuesday night devotional was.... life changing. elder pearson from the quorum of the 70 spoke to us about being true disciples. he said that people don't want to follow the rules because "they don't want to lose their personalities." within each of us is the real person that we are. we are all divine beings who all chose- TOGETHER AT THE SAME TIME- to have this mortal experience. somewhere within us, we all have this knowledge. when we keep the commandments, we unlock that piece of divinity that is in us. "when we are true disciples of Christ, we see who we REALLY are." we don't lose our personalities by obeying the rules-- we find the personality that God intended us to have. what an amazing lesson.
 
last week i was able to attend a temple session with an italian headset. i also got to do the veil in italian. it was incredible. its not something they do normally, but since i know italian i was able to. i also taught the first lesson in italian to elder fontanella, the italian who is going to new york. he's adorable. tonight i get to go sit in with elder sanders' italian class. i am really looking forward to it. i LOVE italian almost as much as i love the Gospel, or disneyland, or halloween. it's up there.
 
sister rodriguez came in this week! it was so fun seeing her!! life is just going great here. i leave november 30th and i am soo looking forward to Christmas in italy!!! i love you all and i am so grateful for all the letters i have gotten! if you have written me, you WILL be getting a reply dont worry!! but it is a rule that we can only write letters on p-day. which is today. so your letter is on its way.
 
today i got to wear: my dino shirt
today i cant wait: to have clean garments
today i am so excited: to teach a new investigator
today i hope that: i get all the letters written that i need to!! 

Friday, November 12, 2010

My first blog from the MTC

my purpose is to invite others to come unto Chirst by helping them to accept the restored gospel through faith in Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, the conferming of the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. (i'm not sure if that is 100% correct in english because i know it in Italian... ) what a beautiful message. invite others to come unto Christ. that is what i am here for. it didn't start that way, but i am ecstatic that God put the things in my life that lead me here, becuase this was not initially my decision.
being in the accelerated italian class is not actually what i imagined at all, and i know that my experience here is definitely not the typical MTC experience. i am in an international district where the MTC clumps those people who are already bilingual and need only three weeks of training. there are 8 people in the class, two of us are americans who are bilingual. my companion is sister deagostini. she was raised in salt lake city, but her parents are native brazilians! how cooooool!!! she speaks beautiful portuguese with our roommate sister moriera who is also from brazil. in my class there are elders from fiji, brazil, and korea and sisters from germany, albania, korea, and taiwan. on my floor, there are two sisters from pakistan and many islanders. yesterday i met a sister in the cafeteria from vantuatu who told me, with an enmormous smile on her face, that she was the first missionary to serve a mission from her branch. she went to the temple in fiji to receive her endowment by herself before coming here, and she is going to serve in temple square. what an incredible person.  
last night we met our branch presidency and had the opportunity to each bear our testimonies. it was incredible and humbling to hear about how these people leave their countries, families and cultures for something they feel so strongly about. i felt so selfish. i remember clearly saying that i did not want to go on a mission. how wrong i was, and how sorry i am now for ever saying that. i hope i can be forgiven for my stubborness. one of the elders in our branch is from cambodia. he flew 18 hours and did not own a suit when he got here. fortunately there is a woman here to help the international missionaries with anything they need. they got him a suit, and i assume he is borrowing some shoes from someone because i noticed how big they are for him. elder ang will serve an incredible mission because of the sacrifices he has made.
i am so grateful to be here, and part of me wishes that my time here would never end. i cannot wait to go to the temple later today. i am so grateful for my companion. she also carries a huge water bottle and has to pee all the time. :) it's the little stuff that really counts.
 
today i drank: soymilk that was delightful
today i am wearing: my true shoes with the flowers. yay p-day!
today i am looking froward to: the LGM!!
today i pray: for more gratitude and humility.
 
love you all
sorella ashman

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

i shall esablish zion

six months ago i was in a drastically different place than i am now. then i got the impression to end things with giulio and i somehow knew that i was being prepared for something. i rejected the idea of a mission for the remainder of winter semester, all of spring term, and most of summer. until one day when i was in the bapistry at the provo temple. i had a conversation with my Heavenly Father that went something like this:
hillary: "so, i am planning on graduating in august. then i want to take a year off to work before i start my masters program next august. what do you think?" of course i was like a puppy expecting a treat for going potty outside.
Heavenly Father: "that sounds good. but you can do better."
hillary: "....really? i mean i really want to be an architect, and i LOVE my job..." i could feel these seven letters sneaking up on me...... m  i  s   s  i  o   n
hillary: "so what if i went on a mission?"
Heavenly Father: "there you go :)" and i'm sure He would have put :) if this were a text message.

i was in the temple with my friend vanessa oler. she leaned over to me a few minutes later and said, "soooo i think i'm going on a mission."
"hey! me too!"
so we kept each others' secrets for a while. actually a good long while. i think it was over a month. then i was being gently but consistently beaten by the prompting to get started and talk to my bishop. so i set up the appointment. the bishop's interview went something like this:
bishop (grinning from ear to ear): "so are you just so excited to get started on your mission?"
hillary: "actually i don't know if i would say excited yet. i'm really scared. but i know it's what i'm supposed to be doing it, so i'm doing it."
bishop (obviously let down): "ok i wanchu to take this week, fast about it and come back next week."

the next week...
bishop: "so what do you think?"
hillary:  "let's do it!"

five weeks later a text from my bishop says, "your call was sent out today and you will have it by wednesday." getting the mission call is like auditioning for american idol. you really have to sell yourself and you have to go through judge after judge before finally getting to simon, randy and paula. anyway i clearly got the golden ticket. the next wednesday, i was riding my bike home from work when i remembered that MY CALL WAS IN THE MAIL. i rushed over the apartment; i had already stashed the mail key in my suitcasepurse. i opened the mailbox and there it was!!! ok where to go where to go.... i picked a spot on campus because i wanted to be alone, and it was close. i knelt down and said the quickest prayer i could and then nervously turned to the big white envoloped addressed to sister ashman (whoever that is). i made myself read the entire opening paragraph. three days earlier i had the feeling that it was going to be italy, but as i read every line, i told myself not to get my hopes up. then i read "Italy, Rome mission." WAHOOOO!!!! i started laughing and crying and saying "thank you! thank you! thank you!" i realized that i didn't have my phone with me so i jumped back on electra (my bike) and rushed back to the restaurant where i left it. i was crying and laughing and thinking all the way there. i called my entire family and told them and everyone was ecstatic.

so that was about a month and a half ago. i can feel things trying to frustrate me from going. i have had a few blips on the screen of things that might keep from going, or delay my departure. details not necessary, they have all been spiritually steamrollered from becoming a stumbling block in my way. the other day i was climbing into bed and remembered that i hadn't read a word from the Book of Mormon yet and it is my goal to read from that book everyday. i read one verse: 3 Nephi 21:1 I "shall establish again among them my Zion." this is what i learned: zion will be established, in the literal sense and in my personal life. God will establish zion among all the elements of my life because no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. i will feel the beauty of zion in my life because God will establish it. everything in my life has pointed me to the mission, i just didn't know it. i went to italy when i was 15, thus igniting the flame for all things italy. because of that trip, i studied italian with the goal to return and live there. i have dated lots of guys with no results.  i lost over 150 lbs never thinking about how it would affect me as a missionary. i graduated by pulling some strings right at the right moment. i found this italian mecca at gloria's where i have been supported and been able to practice my italian everyday. in six weeks i leave for the MTC with nothing holding me back. no boys, no school, no health issues, no axiety about the culture or lifestyle, no fears or doubts at all.

i received my endowment a few days ago, and i feel so changed. i want everyone in the world to feel the peace and love and happiness, in essence the zion, that has been established in my life. as i sat in the celestial foom after the ceremony i had the opportunity to open my mind to any promptings the Spirit would give me. "go and serve your mission. don't let anything distract you. va a cambiare il mondo."

ce la fo.

today i wished: that i could have my boyfriend back
today i nearly gagged: when i was getting my teeth polished
today i relyed on: my spare spool of floss that i keep in my purse
today i still can't decide: what i want to be for halloween

autumn

And suddenly it's autumn
And the endless sweaty days have melted into
Crunchy leaves and cider
And you have melted into memories
Like the starlight from a distant constellation.
Your breath hangs on the air
Like the drifting leaves
Your kiss on my lips like dew.

I once chased the hot nights
Flying behind them on light summerwings-
But they find themselves sadly replaced
By scarves and sweaters
Cold and candy corn
Autumn and the feeling of being alone.

Wake me up if the sun changes his mind
And gives me back my lemondrop summer
And gives me back my lemondrop you.
My summerwings groan longing for one last flight together.

Friday, September 3, 2010

thoughtgarden

you wait,
as i daydream in the sand,
at the place where
i lose control
of my thoughts
and they break free from their cocoons,
new butterflies
called dreams.
you skip through my thoughtgarden,
leaving your fresh scent
like the overtones of a well-aged wine,
and i drink it up,
every drop,
breath by breath.

you wait,
as i daydream in my bed,
at the place where the earth
loses control
of the light
and the sun slides below the flat blue horizon
and the stars yawn
wiping sleep from their eyes
creeping from their cocoons
new butterflies of light.
you skip through the constellations
scattering light with each footstep.

in this moment
where you wait
between awake and asleep
day and night
yesterday and eternity
i am infinite
and you are still out of reach.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

repentance

this poem had a couple of inpirations: one was amanda rodriguez telling me about her play that she is writing and how so and so dies, and i just thought, i don't know anything about death. the only person close to me to pass away was my grandfather, but i still am not too acquainted with the grieving process. but i am acquainted with the death of old selves.
hymn 171
as i walk daily here on earth,
give me Thy Spirit as i seek
a change of heart, another birth,
and grow dear Lord to be like thee.

the new birth talked about in this hymn implies a death, a repentance. so here's my poem about death that i do know.
********************************************************************************

i've never met Death 
draped in black
scythe, menacing, outstretched 
to take away my life.

i've never met Death
the missionary of change
coming to transport me 
to another time and place
in his cold hands.

i've never met Death
but if he stood at my door
knocking
i would welcome him in and 
ask him to do his magic
and take away my life. 

ye shall stand still in jordan


sunday school lesson by kristy ashworth changed my life today....

as might have been evident, the last about 6 months of my life have been really hard, ever since I got home from heaven (i mean siena) until about a month ago. coincidentally that all coincides with the time that i was prompted to cut off all ties from THE LOVE OF MY LIFE, giulio (sarcasm there). but kristy's lesson really inspired me. but i have to explain my life for the last few months for the whole thing to make sense.
giulio was a great guy and i loved talking to him, but i knew from the beginning that he wasn't good for me spiritually. april 11 i was praying when suddenly i had the very strong and undeniable impression that i needed to stop all communication with giulio once and for all. when i started going with him back in september last year, i thought it probably wasn't the best idea. i let it go on with that idea in the back of my mind for six months. my immediate reaction to the impression to cut off communication was "no. no no no no. i can't" i said over and over. then i had four horrible days. i had the reaffirmation that i knew it needed to happen repeatedly. april 15 (vanessa's birthday/ tax day--the first time i did taxes by myself!) he texted me after moving himself back to albania. i called him while i was sitting outside and i knew it had to be done. i had to end the longest relationship i had ever had. we talked for about 20 minutes before i finally had to do it. he said i seemed kinda down and asked if there was a reason. i asked him if he believed in personal revelation, or that God spoke directly to us. he said he did and we talked about destiny and the will of God so that made this a lot easier for me. i told him that i had a feeling that we needed to stop talking and he said why. i explained that i didn't know why, that maybe i was supposed to go on a mission.

but then the miracle happened: giulio was more than understanding. he understood what i was telling him better than i did. he said it was inevitable and that we were carrying on like we were a couple but we were on different continents. he said in five years he hoped that he could call me up and see how i was doing. he was great, and that alone was a testament that i was doing the right thing. i was bawling, but he was so composed and understanding. as soon as i got off the phone i was crying uncontrollably but as soon as i got over it, took some deep breaths i went to finish my taxes and i haven't talked to him since. but i have been unexplainably happy, despite the occasional heartache from missing him (and from when i think about the free gelato he gave me.) ps. if i've been unusually sharp or rude since i got back from italy to anyone, this whole thing is probably why.... so sorry.


miracles that have happened since giulio and i broke up:
1. i got A's in all my classes this semester
2. i went on a life changing camping trip
3. disneyland trip with my family
4. i lost an iphone and got a new one for free (that's another story for another time)
5. got an AMAZING job at gloria's little italy


so here's where the sunday school lesson comes in. we were reading in joshua.  kristy had us read this verse:
8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

she asked if we have ever had the instruction from God to go into the river and stand still. and i thought 'yes.' "hillary, end all communication with giulio. you've had your fun, it's time to grow up." ok... then what? and why?

read on for more:

16 That the awaters which came down from babove cstood and rose up upon an dheap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even ethe salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

  17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on adry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

the people passed over on dry ground to the city of jericho. GOD REMOVED THE WATER FROM THE JORDAN RIVER AND THE PEOPLE PASSED OVER. God told them to go into the river and wait then he performed the miracle. when the people got to the other side of the river, they raised their ebenezer to remember the miracle. and so i now raise my ebenezer to my Savior. i am writing this to remember all of the love that surrounds me everyday, and to remind everyone else of the miracles that God will perform in the life of a regular girl, and that are possible for your life too.

was anything that happened to me after i stood in the river and waited less than a miracle? i dare say everything that has been happening to me in the last five weeks since the break-up has been positively miraculous. i had no idea why i needed to stop contact with this amazing man, and i still don't, but all the things that have transpired since reaffirm that i did the right thing. i know it. what an amazing gospel! i am so grateful for personal revelation, even and especially when God is kinda angry and telling you to grow up and move on. and i have never been happier in my life. God is there. if you start down the wrong way, God in his infinite wisdom and love, will not let you go far before warning you. stand in the river and wait for the miracle no matter how long it takes.



today i changed: the fish's water for a dollar
today i seriously contemplated: getting a secret dog. (still thinking about this puggle...HE'S FREE)
today i couldn't get enough: josh groban alla luce del sole
today i want: everything to not be important except work ;) 

Friday, May 7, 2010

birds


All her ducks in a row

She tears off scraps of bread

To feed the ducks that move so slow

And she wonders why a creature that can fly

Would waddle and wade

In the murky pond,

Like she did

Before you.



A bald eagle would never wade,

He only floats and soars and flies,

Like she did

When you came

And changed her content ducks

Into singing eagles.

She stands on the dock,

Light as the wind,

Watching the black and white blur

In his quest for something

That her heart echoes.



St. Mark’s Square’s famous pigeons

Sit stupid on the cobbles,

Like she did

When you left,

Unaware of what happened

Or what would happen.

Now stupid on the ground,

All she wants is someone

Who will run through the flock

And disturb the mindlessness a little.

Friday, April 9, 2010

from my head like dust

from my head like dust
prayers fly away
in every direction and place
sprinkling their debris
a mist of light and day

prayer in eddies
in the corner
of my room
swirling leaves on sidewalks
skipping stars to the moon

tiptoeing through flowerbeds
sprinkled on my shoulders
resting on my tongue
watercolors on my brainpallette
a wealth of prayers yet to be said
prayers trickle all around
like bakery perfume
someone's head is always a prayer's chimney

and through the smoke of prayers prayed
still i ask
where do prayers go when they leave my head?

Monday, April 5, 2010

just sayin'....

my blog is awesome. I was reading over some of my old entries and i liked it.

alright so newest life updates: everything has changed. yep. that pretty much sums it up!
well i don't think it is any secret that i want to get my self back to italy asap, so when my italian literature professor told us about the chance to go to italy to teach english, how could i say no! this time i am going for the whole school year! SO EXCITED!! i've sent in my application but i am still waiting for my acceptance. let's pray.

this means though that i should graduate before i go, so that i don't have to defer nor get way too much credit for my own good. so i am going to graduate in august. yep, first ashman with a bachelor's coming up in august! (assuming that i get accepted to the program)

so the plan is now: graduate august, italy in october-july (maybe august....) then back to vegas (unless i have a reason to stay in italy...;) FOREVER.)click that link.

this semester has been.... unique. 18 credits, new roommates, new location, new ward, new friends, new realizations, new goals, new opportunities, new set backs, new interests, so much change. one of the things that affected this semester would definitely be institute. what an awesome experience. not only did brother and sister johnston provide us with a full dinner every wednesday, their lessons were off the charts. we were studying the doctrine and covenants, and i learned a lot there. but the last lesson that sister johnston gave was incredible. she kinda slapped us all across the faces saying that easter was so much more important than conference but the buzz was all about conference and the resurrection of the Son of God was to be remembered more powerfully than general conference. she is totally right. the testimony that she bore about the Savior's final days on this earth was powerful and sincere. i am so grateful i was able to be part of that meeting.

well i think i'll do a list of the most important factors that have played a part in this semester:
-i stayed in the library til midnight at least several times a week, if not every night because i had that much homework, so i had no sympathy for people with "exams" or "papers". (and because it kept me away from my apt where i am prone to snacking)
-i didnt lose any weight this entire semester despite strict control of intake (1400 calories?!?!?!) and an increased effort in physical activity. (what's going on??)
-my rent was RIDICULOUS. seriously crazy high. it cost me more than one pay check to live in this place....
-italian, italian, italian, italian, italian, italian
-COWABUNGA!!!!! or the pass/fail class from HELL
-the boy i liked (why was he such a big deal? chissa. chi se ne frega)
-the boy who liked me
-the boy i wish liked me
-the boy i stopped talking to
-finding another job
-eating no flesh mwahaha.

so it was a weird semester. one week left and we're good to go.

today i decided: to stop counting my calories. its time to stop stressin, and start being in tune with how i feel
today i really wanted to just: finish all the poems that are cookin in my brain, but there is no time
today i am going to try: swimming and see if changing the workout helps
today i feel: like i've felt the whole semester.

Friday, February 5, 2010

stickin it to the man

what happens between the pre-mortal life and mortal life that makes us incapable of self control? i'm sure that i didnt crave coldstone every moment that there wasn't another type of food in my mouth (and some moments when there was something else in my mouth). i immagine that in heaven, i didnt have the constant nagging desire to text giulio, KNOWING that that would get annoying. i am so bothered by the fact that i can't just do exactly what i want and act exactly how i want. i have to be aware of other's feelings, my money, my body and i have to overcome my basic human instincts. i wish that i could eat a gallon of cake batter ice cream everyday with no consequence (to my health nor my wallet). i wish i could talk to giulio all day without racking up a ridiculous phone bill or dealing with people asking me "what's the point of talking to him?" or having him get tired of me (not that that would ever happen, i'm just afraid it would.)
i had a teacher say that the point (THE POINT) of this mortal existence is to learn to control our mortal brains. but that brings me backs to the original question: what happened to me 21 years ago that gave me these crazy ice cream cravings? why does it feel good to yell at someone when you fight but then you realize that you hurt them? why can't run around campus screaming "I HATE YOU ALL!! GO KISS YOUR HOT HUSBAND AND LEAVE ME IN MY LONLINESS!!!!" and why can't i just throw all this crap out the window (i don't need to write a five-page paper in italian to get to the celesht kingdom!) and live my life?
meh... guess i'm just tired of NOT stickin it to the man, like hillary does. it's been too long since i had a good rebellion. and i'm also sick of not having anyone to rebel with. i don't have any friends that like to do the same things as me anymore, and it doesn't seem like i'm gonna be finding any anytime soon. as vince would say: T_T