Sunday, January 31, 2016

More good news...

I have been thinking all week about how blessed I am. I keep wondering what I did to deserve all the blessings Heavenly Father has given me. 

Even though many scared me about Rexburg's hard winters I have not seen anything that was out of the ordinary (Yet). I was lucky enough the other day to have a man on the sidewalk shoveling the snow and he helped me by pushing my car.  My car would simply not move (this is the first time this has happened) because the wheels were spinning and slipping. The problem is that they shovel the snow and leave a pile behind my car then I have to climb over the big pile of ice and snow. I discovered, however, that if I go super slow I have a better chance of getting traction for my car to move.

We do have a lot of snow, but the good news is, the temperature is not that low. 

I was a bit scared to come live in Rexburg and was not sure I will like it, but I have come to think of it as home and I am enjoying being here. I just wish that Utah was a bit closer because I find myself having to go to Utah a lot. I mostly find myself needing to go because there is a great middle eastern store there that I love. We have recently discovered their wonderful olives which are very similar to the olives my mom makes and I can't seem to live without them anymore. I will buy 10 jars next time I go and hope they last me until I get to go to Utah again...Their labaneh and pita bread are also great.

A new super Walmart has opened up in Rexburg. I tried to go the opening day and had to leave before I even got into the parking lot. It was insane!! My cousin and I went yesterday and it was also a bad idea as they were out of some things. There were so many people there that you would think these people have never seen a Walmart before. Crazy! I guess if it stays this busy I just may have to give up and continue going to Idaho falls to do my shopping.

There is a conference at BYU Provo that I have been asked to participate in during April. I will be giving a fireside for the youth in Utah a week later. This is all happening at the end of April when we have our final exams and things are crazy. General conference is also somewhere in there, so that means translation...It seems like I have a lot to look forward to at the end of this semester! I am going to do my best to get my next semester classes ready in March so I can spend the first part of April doing all those fun things.

I guess the only thing I didn't expect about being here was that I would be this busy. During my interview, my department head asked me how I manage my time...ummm...let's see, I work all day every day and at night too...that was not the best answer, but I definitely need a way to manage my time as I am failing miserably at that. I still feel that there is so much to do as I need to reach out to some of my students who have been struggling in the class or not attending their classes. 

I managed to take time the other day to go to the temple and I have not been doing great in that regard. I love being in the house of the Lord and shutting everything else out and feeling peace. 

A few days after my job interview, I was told that my name was sent to the education board as one of the possible candidates for this fulltime permanent faculty position. I won't know a final decision until March, but I am thrilled at the possibility of working at BYU-I for a long time. I really love it here and love the people I work with. I have never worked at a place like this where everyone I work with are dedicated, faithful, and caring. 

I want to thank you all for your prayers on my behalf and for all your support. I will keep you posted...

I saw the funniest video the other day, that I had to share...I did put this on my facebook page, but if you have not seen it, here it is again. It is about these two people who turned themselves in right next to our apartment complex in Rexburg. (if you look just to the right of where that guy is standing, that is where I live!). The guys had 20 lbs of Marijuana on them. See, our town is so good that criminals start to imagine they are being chased (when in fact they are not) and they turn themselves in. It was funny because the person answering the 911 call had no clue what these guys were saying...They, on the other hand, really thought the cops were after them.
 
 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Interview over...now waiting...

I wanted to post some pictures from inside the beautiful Provo city center Temple. If there are some who have not gone by to see it, please go. Even if you don't have tickets you may be able to get in.

It was amazing to me the beauty of the inside of this temple. The wood and paintings. Just a short while ago this was a tabernacle that was black with burn marks...and only the outside of it (barely) survived the fire. I am grateful for a church who could restore this magnificent building into a beautiful house of God.  
I especially loved this stained glass image of the savior at the entrance of the temple. 

 



 It was good to be home even though being in Utah is fun. I had a busy week. 
I applied for a faculty fulltime position at the Math department. My interview was this past week.  I did my teaching demonstration on Tuesday (for my job interview).
I was not too nervous during my teaching demonstration even though I had almost everyone in the department on the back row watching and I had a camera filming me. I did not do as well as I had hoped though and felt I rushed through the lesson. 

My interviews were on Wednesday. The weather was windy and snowy and so it was not fun to walk all over campus.  I felt I had an interview with everyone in the university. I think it was 6 interviews all together. It was great though to get to know some of those people better. For the most part I felt we were chatting as I knew everyone and so they did not really ask serious questions for the most part. I had briefly met Pres. Gilbert and Pres. Eyring, but it was nice to spend some time visiting with them.  It was such a relief when that day was over though, it was long.  I even taught a class as I had a break between interviews and didn't want to make someone teach my class for me.

The math department met on Thursday to make a decision, but walked out of the meeting not choosing anyone and said it was hard to decide. That made me nervous because it seems like all the other candidates are great. In any case, I will know in the next week or two if my name was sent to the board and then won't know until March or April if I got the job. Long wait...




I have been thinking what I would do with my life if I didn't get to stay here permanently. I have come to enjoy Rexburg and I love the university and those I work with. I guess I will think about that when the time comes. Even the weather everyone freaked me about has not been bad at all. Maybe global warming is really happening after all. We have had some snow, but not as much as they had in the East. And aside from a few freezing days, it has been bearable.

Elder and Sister Bednar are coming to speak to us at the university this week. I am looking forward to their visit. I am spoiled for being here where I have the privilege of being taught live by apostles and prophets.

I took a picture of the icicles on our church building. They look so cool. This tells you that it does go above freezing sometimes so that the snow will melt.



Rana made Mansaf for us today (thanks Rana). We bought lamb meat for the first time and had no idea how different the meat here was. We cooked it for 2.5 hours and it was still not done. It was good though and after we ate a little bit we put the meat back and cooked it for another hour. It is finally done! Sheesh, the only way to enjoy food in the US is to live on a farm, where you grow your own fruit and vegetables and kill your own meat. Otherwise, you will have meat that is so hard and vegetables that don't taste good.



I am giving a fireside (talk) tonight...I did not prepare as much as I would like, so I better go work on that.


 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Survived a busy week...this week is worse

I don't have much to say, I have been busy to say the least. The semester started and I got busy pretty fast.

I have an interview this week with a teaching demonstration on Tuesday.  I am not nervous just because I have done this before, but I feel unprepared. I wish I had more time to prepare...

I drove down to Utah so my cousin and I can go to the new Provo temple open house. I managed to get tickets for Monday morning. It was amazing that most tickets were gone the first few minutes. I was lucky I guess and had someone cancel or something.

The trip down to Utah was mostly Ok except that it was snowing the first half of the trip and the roads were not that great. At least I feel more comfortable driving in the snow now. I feel my car does not do well even with the snow tires, but I have not slid or had any accidents yet...We saw a car slide into the ditch on the way down. (I'm just glad it wasn't us!)

We both have been craving Red Lobster seafood. We stopped at the closest Red Lobster to us (2 1/2 hours away!!) and had a wonderful meal. It was sooo good.  Fresh seafood is not something you can find in Palestine.
We made it safely to Utah and the weather here looks nice and is even sunny today.

I am giving a fireside in Idaho on the 24th, but I have not even had time to look at it or prepare.. It is for the mid singles. But, I think I will invite some friend from Rexburg to come.  I will try to prepare for the talk a bit today and later this week and hopefully with the help of the Spirit, it will go well.

As I went to church with my friend in south Jordan yesterday someone came up to me and told me how much my fireside a while back affected her and that she still thinks about it. That made my day. I do hope to make a difference even though it is hard to see sometimes. 

I am sorry this is a boring post...I will do better next week.  

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Choose to not be offended...

We started a new semester last week. It started on a Wednesday and so that messed up my schedule and my planning a lot. However, hopefully I can make it work.

I spent some time preparing for a class I was teaching for the first time this semester, but my schedule got changed and I ended up not teaching that class after all. Instead I am teaching calculus again, for which I am grateful. It stressed me out the first two days because I had to set up the whole calculus class in 2 days and freaked out worried I won't get it done in time. But, I believe it is all well now and there are no problems.

My students seem great...I have one Elder from my mission in one of my classes. And I have a student who was in my class last semester who is taking two of my classes this semester!! That seemed strange to me. I guess she will be bored of my spiritual thoughts because I normally share the same ones every semester.
The good news is, I know the names of 5 of my 160 students already. Let's see how many names I can remember this semester.

I was told that my interview for the full-time faculty position at BYU-I will be next week. I am a bit stressed out about it, especially since I have to miss a whole day of classes the day of the interview. I had to find people to teach my classes and have to figure out what I'll be teaching and how it will all work out.

I am giving a fireside on the 24th of January and I need to find time to prepare for that.  I planned to go to Utah so I can go to the Provo temple open house this weekend. It was hard to get tickets, so I don't want to waste those and not go.  I will see if I can fit that in.

So, life has been crazy to say the least. I just have to survive this month of January and then hopefully things will calm down. I don't mean to complain, actually I am happy and doing well, just slightly stressed. Ummm ok I take that back, I am REALLY stressed..

The weather has been nice here. It is not too cold. It even rained the other day, which is probably highly unusual for Rexburg. Here, anything coming down from the sky has to be frozen! I even almost took a picture of the water bottle in my car the other day because it was not even slightly frozen! Yay!
 
My nephew Peter and his new wife went back home to Palestine and had a big wedding party...I am sad I missed it. Looks like it was a blast. But, I got to go to the reception they had in Ohio and that was great. 

During the past few days and months I have seen many people in my life hurt and go through a hard time because of the actions of others. I, personally, have made a decision a long time ago to not be offended and let go of any anger I may feel towards another. In the past I used to allow anger and hate into my heart and it was not a pleasant feeling. As hard as it is to let go sometimes, I feel it is essential. I hope those I know can also learn to let go and move on. 

We are all children of God and nothing others say or do to us will change that fact. We are royalty, children of a king. That fact should be engraved in our heart so that when others say bad things to us they will have no power to destroy us and we will stand tall and strong.

Some people have no feeling it seems and they do things that seem heartless and mean. Here is a quote by Elder Bednar..."Being offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else."
  


I hope that each of us can be more forgiving and loving. We are all striving to become more like our Heavenly Father who is perfectly loving, forgiving, merciful, and kind...May we all learn from His example.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Enjoying the Holidays/Pictures

I had a great break...Sadly I am now paying for it because I did not get anything done.

It snowed right before Christmas and I ended up waiting until after Christmas to drive to Utah. My cousin and I drove to St. George and stayed with my friends. We wanted to run away from the snow in Rexburg. The day we drove down it was -13 degrees Fahrenheit. We enjoyed watching the thermostat in my car go up gradually until we got to St. George and the temperature became about 32 degrees (0 C). We were so happy to finally see brown mountains instead of whiteness everywhere.




 


My friends have an amazing house. We were both impressed at how beautiful it is and how amazing the view from their house is. They were so nice to let us stay with them.
 

This is the waterfall in their garden. I guess St. George does get cold at night as there was ice on the rocks.


This is the room I stayed in and it's bathroom:
 


One of their many Christmas trees...
 

One of their three cats, they are so cute...
 
Fuzzy, but a good picture...
 

Some of the many Nativities they have from all over the world...
 


We thought such an amazing house has to have a microwave for the guests and popcorn...we discovered them!


We went to Zion's National Park which was simply amazing!
We also toured St. George...we were told the story about how St. George started 3 times...
The St. George Tabernacle: 




My friends took us to a Teppanyaki place for dinner. Our chef was an expert in the demonstration he did.



St. George temple:
 



I was impressed that they had written Jerusalem in Arabic all over the place in the St. George Visitors' Center:
 

 We came to realize how fun doing puzzles was. So, we re-lived our childhood and made a couple of puzzles. The one on the left almost drove us crazy though...(you can tell from our picture below taken right after we finished the puzzle)



We spent one night with Emily and Tony. Emily made us Mansaf and it was SO good. Tony made Knafa from scratch and it was amazing. I am blessed with amazing friends who go out of their way to take care of us and feed us and give us a place to stay.
 


It is good to be back home in Idaho. I have so much to do that I am about to have a nervous break down. I am not sure how I am going to get everything done. I have two days to get my classes all set up and prepare for teaching. I am teaching two new classes this semester, but I have less students than last semester.  I just need to survive January and hopefully the rest of the semester will go smoothly.