Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New Year

This will be a short blog post. I got busy yesterday and forgot to put a post up...
My cousin Rana came to Utah to visit me on Christmas day. We had a bad snow storm that day and I had bad tires on my car so I was worried about picking her up at the airport. My dear friend, Pat, was willing to drive to the airport in her 4-wheel drive and pick up my cousin. She also fed us both a wonderful meal. 
We made it home safely that night driving very slow. I got new tires the next day and now feel more comfortable driving on the snow.

Yesterday, my sister came as well. Of course the only two days it snowed since I arrived in Utah were the two days of my cousin's and sister's arrival. Strange!! We spent two hours on the road trying to get to the airport yesterday. The traffic was jammed up and we were going so slow. We worried that Samar had arrived early and was not finding us. But, we got there and found her and the snow and traffic was not bad on the way back.

Yesterday after it snowed the weather got better for a while and it became sunny. We went out and made a snowman. It was fun, but we made the mistake of making it in the driveway. so, now I have to make sure I don't kill frosty when I go in and out of the garage.



 On the 24th my friend had me over for dinner and we made Middle Eastern food. Well, we made falafel and Hummus, but we also made Stuff I had never made or tasted...It was good though. She also gave us British crackers (things you pop and get a treat inside). It brought back great memories from England.




Rana and I have been mainly doing shopping and saying we will do the fun stuff when Samar comes. Now we have 3 days while she is here and hopefully we can do everything we want to do. I got to buy this cute Christmas tree on sale for $5




I have been blessed with amazing friends here that have been giving me great gifts for Christmas. I have also been invited to dinner many times and had a lot of good food. My friend Emily made Palestinian food for us the other day. It was amazing. They even made Baklawa and it was sooo good.


 Hope you all have a great new year. I will post more pictures as we travel and see stuff this week.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Merry Christmas

Enjoy my Christmas blog post....

Being away from Bethlehem I seem to be unable to feel that it is Christmas. I have bought some gifts and received gifts, I have a tree in my house, but it still does not feel like Christmas.

However, I think what 'feels' like Christmas has taken a new meaning. Every year I seem to be crazy busy around Christmas time, buying gifts, decorating, visiting people.  To me these things that I do, have become my Christmas. That is why not doing them does not feel like Christmas.  In my crazy busy time I had forgotten what Christmas is all about. It is actually good that I am not busy, because I have been able to reflect on the life of the Savior and think about Him and His birth. He is the real meaning of Christmas. Without Him there won't be a Christmas.

This is a cute video that shows that: The Spirit of Christmas 


I hope you all will have a wonderful Christmas. May it be a time where you reflect on the Savior and His life and why He came to earth. Bethlehem is very festive during the Holiday Season. Lights, activities, celebrations and Christmas music fills the air. It is great that the city of the birth of our Savior still celebrates His birth.

Despite all the uncertainty I have had with where I should go and what I should do, this has been a great year for me. I have done a lot this year and spent quality time with my family.  I returned from my mission this year. I have been busy doing good things. I wish working and making money was among those though.

I hoped that I would have a job before Christmas. And two weeks ago, I really thought I did...But, it turns out that it was not a sure thing.  I will know for sure in a month. Maybe by the end of January I will know what I am doing. I love having a plan and having everything planned and worked out. This difficult time has taught me to trust Heavenly Father and keep moving forward not knowing what the next day will bring.  

Certainly I learned how to be flexible...In July I thought I would live in Palestine for the rest of my life.  In September I thought I was moving to NYC. In October I thought I was going to find a job in Utah and live there. In November I thought I would move to NYC. In December I thought I would move to another state because I thought I found a job there. Again in December I found out that was not true and so now I really have NO clue what I am doing or where I am going. But, at least I know that I am a daughter of God and He has a perfect plan for me. I just wish He would let me know what it is!!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. 
My sister Samar is going to be here visiting me during New Year's time for a few days. I am looking forward to that. It has not snowed much here in Utah which is very strange. I just hope it holds off until Samar comes so we can enjoy the somewhat mild weather.

I am spending Christmas eve with my friend and her family. Her daughter is making a Middle Eastern Christmas dinner, so I am going to enjoy that.  On Christmas day I may go up with my friend Emily and her family to a cabin in the mountains. It will be cold, but one things is for sure, it WILL be a white Christmas up there. Hope you all can have a relaxing holiday and hope you can take time to reflect on the Savior and His mission.  I love you all!


   


Monday, December 15, 2014

Thankful for a Savior-Part 2

It is amazing how fast time goes by. I can't believe we have 10 days til Christmas. But, I am also glad I don't have a lot of Christmas shopping to do this year. I may actually have the calm, quiet Christmas I have always wanted. I seem to say that every year and it never happens.

I was planning to go to Texas to spend time with family, but the tickets were so expensive (mainly because we waited too long). So, instead, I decided to have my sister Samar come to Utah to visit me. We are still not sure what we will do while she is here. We may go to Las Vegas, or go to some of the national parks in Utah. If you have ideas of fun things to do here around new years let me know.

I had decided to stay here in Utah only til the end of December and since the holidays were approaching I had given up on finding a job before I leave. It has been discouraging because I seemed to be turned down by a lot of places simply because of the fact that I had no work visa.  I really had a desire to stay in the US and no matter how hard I tried, nothing seemed to work.

However, I kept saying that I believed in miracles. So, I just got a miracle, my Christmas Miracle. I found a job. I guess I have been a good girl this year! I am not going to tell you what the job is now just because I am still unsure on whether or not the visa issue can be resolved. But, if I were to choose a job, this would be the one. I am really excited and looking forward to it. I hope I can start in April, but like I said, I am still unsure about the visa issue.  I also have an interview tomorrow for another possible job. We will see how that one goes. I'll keep you posted.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. This would not have happened without all your help.  

 So, for this post I want to be grateful for the Savior because He is a worker of miracles.  During His earthly ministry, He healed the sick, caused the lame to walk, opened the eyes of the blind, raised the dead, controlled the elements, provided food and fish for those who needed it, and gave His life so that we may live.  His birth in Bethlehem was a miracle, His life was a miracle, and his victory over the grave was a miracle.  But, the miracles the Savior performed in the past do not stop just because He left this earth. Miracles happen every day to those who have faith on His holy name. The Lord provides us with what we need, when we need it. I hope that each of you will keep pressing forward and expecting and praying for the miracle you need. I promise you that if you have faith, you will receive the desires of your hearts.

Yesterday we had a nice early Christmas dinner at our house with some friends. It was a lot of fun...we exchanged gifts early too.
My roommate's family gave me these nice warm slippers. How did they know what I wanted?


Here is how nice the table looked (my roommate actually made this table!) and also a picture of the Christmas tree:



Utah has been invaded by a lot of birds. All birds are flying south for the winter. But, it seems like since Utah strangely has no snow this time of year, some birds think they already made it 'south', so they seem to have stopped here. The ducks in the sky the other day were kind of funny. Some were going South, Some East and some West and some simply flying around in circles in the sky not knowing where they were going.  I don't know why humans don't fly south for the winter. I sure could use some warm weather during the winter. Although some people who love the snow like my roommate may need to fly north for the winter.  Here is a picture of some trees next to my house. Those are not leaves on the tree tops. They are BIRDS! Can you can see them?




Hope you all have a great week. As you do your Christmas shopping remember to keep Christ on your minds. He is the reason we celebrate. I hope we all will remember that. Let us remember to  give more this Christmas. Not more expensive gifts, but more meaningful gifts. Gifts of love, service and light. The kind of gifts that the Savior would give if he were here on the earth today. May we walk in His footsteps and continually follow Him.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Thankful for a Savior - Part1

I am going to write some blog posts focused on the Savior this month. I will still put up some of my news and what I am doing, but my posts will be focused on Him and His mission.

We had our Ward Christmas party yesterday. We had about 100 people show up from the church. It was really nice. they had it in the Springhaven lodge and I was impressed at how beautiful it was. The Christmas trees and the setting in each room was just so peaceful and nice. We had a great dinner and then a nice program afterwards.

My roommate has her family over this weekend. It has been nice to see people around although it does make me home sick for my family. I have been trying to feel that Christmas is approaching and so far I have not been successful. People here have so many lights put up and it is just beautiful. But, there is nothing like being in Bethlehem for Christmas.  I missed the lighting of the tree in Manger Square and will miss all the celebrations there.


 I am grateful at this time of year for the many people who were put in my path. I learned so much from each of them and have been served by all of them. I don't know where my life would be without the help of those people. I think that I have learned that when you serve others, you get served, but not necessarily the same people!

I also am grateful for all that Heavenly Father has done for me. I have seen so many miracles in my life. I can't even begin to count the miracles and blessings He has given me.  As discouraged as I may get with my job search, I know Heavenly Father's has a plan for me. I think He is guiding me in all I do. I know there was a reason for me to be in Utah this short time and there is probably a reason for me to be in New York for a short time. I don't know what the reasons are, but I know He does.

When I lived in Zababdeh I had a neighbor who was a shepherd. Every morning he would walk his sheep by my house and take them to the fields. One day, the shepherd forgot something at home and went back to get it. He left the sheep on the street by my house.  The sheep kept waiting for their shepherd to get back. They waited right where he left them. There was a green field with long green grass on the side of the road only feet from where the sheep were, but they didn't go eat there and patiently waited for their shepherd. Maybe they trusted that the place their Shepherd was taking them to had better grass.

Our Shepherd, our Savior Jesus Christ, will also always lead us to green fields. If we trust Him and follow Him, He will always lead us to a better life. We will always find what we need and find joy along the way. This is a dark world, and there will be many fields that may look green, and many things that may seem attractive, but we simply have to follow the true shepherd and He will not lead us astray. 

The Savior is the true light in this dark world. He lights the way and we need to keep our eyes focused on Him.  He is the reason we put up Christmas lights...He says: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8: 12)


May we remember that the lights we see during Christmas represent our true light, Jesus Christ. As we follow Him we can allow His light to reflect through us and we can guide others to Him.  Just as the star guided the Wise men to Jesus, our light and example can lead others to Jesus as well. May we be a light to others as we follow the true light, even Jesus Christ.
 

 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hope

I must say I have nothing exciting to report. My family keeps asking me, "so did you find someone to marry? Did you find a job?" Sadly no and no...not yet.

But, I must say I had a good week. A week that somehow provided me with some hope. I don't know why I have more hope, but I do. Part of the reason is that I feel that somehow things will work out. And another part is that I have so many people praying for me and helping me, for which I am eternally grateful.

I am focusing still on applying to teaching positions and most of those start next fall. So, I really doubt I will find work sooner than that except by some miracle (and I still believe in miracles). I most likely will go to NY and take a temporary post with the United Nations for 3 months. But, I will go home in January so I can obtain the G-4 Visa. In case you were wondering, the UN and other international organizations can hire who they want, when they want. They don't have to wait and go through the painful visa process others have to do to hire a non-US citizen.

I just met someone that goes to church with me who has been in the US looking for work for 8 years! Her whole family is here, but she has not been able to obtain US citizenship (it takes about 7 years for her family to sponsor her), so she is trying to apply for jobs and find something in order to speed up the process. She goes back and forth to her country to renew her tourist visa. Now, I am not going to be here 8 years looking for work. That is not an option for me. Ever surviving until October without work is going to be a bit hard for me.

Thanksgiving was great. I went on Wednesday to a thanksgiving dinner with my friend Jennifer and her in-laws. The food was great and they are an amazing family. They were so sweet. My friend is 6-months pregnant and during the dinner she said she would name her daughter after me (the middle name).  I was honored to hear that.

On Thursday I went to dinner at my friend Emily's house. Again great food and even got to take left overs home. I have been eating those for the last two days. I think I am about done with thanksgiving food for the next month or two at least. But, I probably did put some weight on this past week.

My roommate's parents are here visiting from Canada. They are very nice and it was great to meet them. Actually they said it is not cold where they are from, near Vancouver. So, maybe I should look for jobs in Canada (?)

I have been trying to work on my book as much as I can because I know that if I get a job and start working I won't have time to do it. It is actually coming along pretty good. I have decided to put a theme to each chapter and I think it is going to work very well. For those of you who didn't know that I am writing a book, this is my biography, but it is not formatted as a biography. You'll just have to wait and see I guess.

Christmas is close and many here have put up Christmas decorations. This always makes me homesick. There is really nothing like Christmas in Bethlehem and not only because my family is there. Everything about Christmas reminds me of home. The hymn "Oh little town of Bethlehem" makes me cry. I will try and be home by January 7th to celebrate Christmas with my family, but I don't know if that will happen. I will see...