Sunday, February 23, 2014

Lilies of the Field

I am still here, still unemployed, still hanging in there...
I have been having pains in my hip joint. I don't know what is causing it, the doctor says nothing is wrong. I may go see another doctor soon because clearly something is wrong! 
It is not very painful, but it is painful. I just sat at the computer for an hour and I am about to die from sitting. It is very uncomfortable to sit. Maybe I'll buy myself a good chair and see if that helps.

I am sorry, I don't mean to start a blog post by complaining...But, you all need to know that I love you so much that I am enduring the pain just to write to you =)

Spring is already starting here (kind of early because winter seems to have ended after the big snow storm). It has been sunny and warm. It only rained once or twice since I got back from England. Seems like many areas in England are flooded from all the rain...
See what I mean....




I have a CD by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and I have been listening to it. It is perfect for this time of year because of the song about the lilies of the field. There is some grass everywhere and fields are starting to fill up with the beautiful red lilies. They have always been my favorite flower. Here is a picture of one of the lilies that I took when I went with my brother yesterday to one of the natural springs in Ein Kinya. 



The Savior talks about the lilies (probably because they saw many of them around and they were so pretty):
“And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”       (Matthew 6: 28-33)

That is one of my favorite scriptures. And especially now as I am unemployed. I know that if I seek His kingdom first, all will be well. I hope that each of us can put God first in our lives and stop worrying about other things so much.  He loves us and will take care of us if we only have faith in Him. 

Sadly a lot of the water resources and nature here gets destroyed and polluted...but it was still nice to walk around and listen to the many frogs in the ponds. (If you enlarge the second picture below you can actually see the frogs)



Mazin wanted a picture of this orchid. He said it is rare here:





Saturday, February 15, 2014

God

I am still doing nothing! It is going to be SO hard to start working after all this sitting around! 
I had a strange virus in my eyes for the last few days. It is finally getting better. Actually I need to go rest my eyes now and get some sleep, but I will write a little bit.

My uncle is sick and was taken to the hospital today with liver failure. Please keep him in your prayers if you can. 

I went to volunteer this week at an old people's home. It was quite interesting, but I mostly felt useless as they had many people that worked there and really did not need me. 

I got a little depressed as I observed how most of the women sat and did nothing all day. Part of the day was spent repeating prayers over and over to Mary (mother of Jesus). I knew some people did that, but I have never sat down when it was actually done. It felt so strange and uncomfortable! 
One of the women told me that last week she was playing a CD and the CD player broke. She said she prayed to Mary (mother of Jesus) to repair the CD player. When the CD player was not fixed, she broke the statue of Mary and got so upset at her. She said she yelled at Mary and said: "Don't you love me? Why have you not answered my prayer?" Then she said that she later repented and glued the statue back together. Honestly I thought, 'how can someone be more confused?' I mean really did she expect Mary to fix her CD player? Everyone in that place was praying to Mary and had statues of her all over the place. 

What ever happened to the first commandment: No other Gods besides Him? Why are people not praying to God? Why are they thinking that some statue would substitute their relationship with the father of their spirits. How did people move so far from Heavenly Father? Why do people not read the scriptures and pray anymore? And why do they think repeating some words is considered prayer?

I hope we can all remember our Heavenly Father more. He would love to hear from us. He wants us to communicate with Him. He is loving, kind, patient, forgiving, understanding and much more. We all feel lonely sometimes, but we are not alone. He never leaves us alone. "I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." (John 14: 18)

Life is hard, but we can always find hope and joy in life. A great example of that is Nick Vujicic. If you have not heard him speak, go to YouTube and look him up. He's amazing. Born with no arms and no legs, he lives a full and happy life. He's married to a beautiful woman and has a great family. Not only that, but he inspires people all over the world showing them that our circumstances don't control us. That we control how happy we are; that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

Here is a video with part of one of his great talks:
Never Give Up

Here is a video of 60 minutes on how he met his wife:
Love Story

We, on our own, are weak. We really need our Heavenly Father, with Him we can do anything. 

Hope you all had a great valentines' day. Don't forget to tell everyone around you how much you love them and how much they mean to you. I wish I had told my father how much he meant to me before he died. Life is short...

Valentines' day is always hard when you don't have a 'significant other' to share it with. I am so ready to get married! I have many friends who met their husbands online, so I have been spending some time online looking. It is technology age and I am not going to lose anything by trying, right?

Ok, now I really have to get some sleep. Goodnight everyone! 









Saturday, February 8, 2014

What are my plans?

Since I came home from my mission, I have had so many people ask me "What do you plan to do?" . 
Good question, what's the answer?
For those of you who know the answer, please fill me in because I have NO clue =)
The first few days here I was enjoying spending time with my family, the following week or two I was enjoying resting and reading and relaxing. Now I am just pulling my hair out because I can't stand staying home and doing nothing anymore!

I am going to start volunteering to waste some time. I am considering taking my old job at UNRWA again as they have a position available. But, I am still not sure. It is a good job and will give me access to Jerusalem. However, I will be leaving the house at 6:00 am each day and will be gone most of the day. I would rather get a part-time job so I can spend some time with my mother and not be as crazy busy as I was before I left on my mission.

I will start teaching primary in March so that should keep me somewhat busy. Meanwhile, I am trying to find some service projects or something else to do.

I am looking into the possibility of going to the US this summer. I am not sure I will be able to get a visa yet. This depends on whether or not I have a job that can prove I will be returning to Palestine.

I have just started seriously working on my book and if any of you know any contacts who could help, please let me know. It is a book about my life story, but it needs serious edits to remove some private things before it can be read by the public.
While working on my book I happened to look online and check on some family history. I found out that my family originally came from Wadi Musa (Near Petra) in the 1800's. Interestingly enough, everyone believes the name Qumsiyeh comes because my great-great... grandmother had a short neck and was called Qunsiyeh (meaning the person with a short neck). They named the family after her because there were debates about her husband's name. Anyway, I don't know how true this history is, but I have heard it from others as well.

Below are a couple of pictures from a family trip we took to Jericho. We had a BBQ together and spent some time with each other. We picked Hweireh with my mom. It is a plant that grows in the spring and winter and we mix it with yogurt and eat it. We went around the hills and picked some up to take home.  
It was a really nice trip and the food was great (thank you Suhair--she paid for and prepared everything). My sister Suhair is the one sitting with little Talya on her lap.



Almost all the kids rode the camel. It is a 30 second camel ride that costs 5 NIS (1.5 dollars for each person). Sounds cheap, but honestly, this guy made so much money as we sat there and watched. He must have made 100 dollars in less than an hour.  He also would make the camel run to minimize the time you are on it. I really almost fell it was so scary...and he wanted Faris (4 years old) to ride by himself! crazy camel guy! He would have fallen for sure.
I almost decided that going into the camel business is the best thing to do. We'd work the camel for 3 months during the summer and then make so much money we won't have to work the rest of the year! We were looking into where to keep the camel and what to feed him, but we decided against it since he would probably not even fit in my back yard. 



My nephew, Ashraf, graduated last month and my sister Samar threw a party for him at the Tent restaurant.
The second picture is of Ashraf and Samar.




My niece and I were talking about children and raising them in a society that has very little values left. It is not that people did not do wrong things in the past, but today they do wrong things and don't know or admit they have done something wrong. I was very impressed when my niece Lina share with me an experience she had with her son. Her son found a toy and brought it home. She asked him where the toy came from and he admitted that he found it at school. My niece had him take the toy back and it turned out that the toy belongs to one of his friends who was looking for it. My niece told her son that he should not take things that he finds on the ground and told him that she would buy him the same toy if he wanted one, but he should return what he finds to it's owners. She found out where his friend bought the toy and bought her son the same toy. How many parents these days care to do something like that? I wish everyone can teach their children good values in a world of conflicting ideas and values. Parenting takes a lot of effort, but when we help change one child we change a generation.  My respect and admiration goes to mothers everywhere. You are amazing! Never ever forget that. Never underestimate the power that is within your reach as you teach and nourish God's children.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

My Beautiful Land


Through an organized tour, my sisters, cousin and I were able to get a permit for a day to go north. Actually the permit was given for a religious holiday. Last Sunday is believed to be the day when Christ gave the sermon on the mount and the beatitudes.  We visited a church by the Sea of Galilee on the mount of Beatitudes.  It was beautiful there...

One of the beatitudes...

                            

At the church site:


Sea of Galilee:



We visited the Syrian hot springs. They are called that because the location is actually in the Golan heights which was part of Syria but is now occupied by Israel. So, I guess I can say I have been to Syria. It is by Al-Yarmook river which of course we can't get close to.

It has some hot springs with natural mineral hot water. They say that it cures some diseases and is good for the body. Because of my back problems and my sister's neck problem we hoped it would help.  It was a 3 hour bus ride or so, but with amazing views of the Land that was once ours. All the hills and fields near Bethlehem are bare. hardly any grass or trees. When you go north you see how beautiful the country is. Of course you have the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean up north.  20 years ago we used to be able to drive anywhere we wanted in this country. As a child I remember going often to swim in the Mediterranean and in the Sea of Galilee.  Now it all seems so far and beyond reach. Is it nice to go visit such places when we can (once a year)? I think it is more painful because you see what we don't have anymore.

It was a cold day relatively, but the water was warm (well somewhat hot). There is an inside pool which was really hot. We could not sit for more than 3 minutes in it...Even though someone told us that sitting in that pool for 10 minutes is like walking 1.5 miles (I mean it burns that much calories). We called it the frying pan, because really that is what it felt like. Why would anyone willingly sit in a frying pan full of hot boiling water?






There were some animals (alligators and others) near the pools. They had a parrot show (Smart birds!). They ride on roller skates and on a bike on a wire...It was really cute.






On Friday I went to a church meeting in Ramallah. It was a really nice meeting. The Ramallah group meets for church on Fridays. I gave a talk at church and to introduce me, Tony said "we all get to hear from one of the top 100 Mormon women in the world". Where is that coming from? Well, my friend sent me this link that shows that I am on the top 100 coolest Mormon Women in the world. Here is the list (in Alphabetical order and I am #78): 


It was so surprising to me! I mean I thought I knew a lot of people, but not that many people!!! Anyway, it is only a list suggested by some people, so it means nothing. But, I still think it was kind of neat to be on it.  

My friend Emily cooked Musakhan for us after church. It is a famous Palestinian dish with chicken. It was very good! Emily is an amazing cook, you would think she was Palestinian when you taste her food.