Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blessings

The semester is almost over, just a few weeks left. I am so glad and ready for a break. I hope to find something fun to do this summer. 
 
I am in Utah for the weekend. I gave a fireside to the youth yesterday. I am amazed at how good those young people are. Their leader got them to be obedient to mission rules for one week and they all came wearing missionary name tags. I hope that what I shared about missionary work will help them as they prepare to be better disciples of the Savior.

Yesterday I cooked Palestinian food at my friend Camille's house. Then we spent the evening talking about my book. I really hope that we can finalize it this year and give a draft to Deseret Book. I am still not sure if it will get published, but we will see.

I got to talk to another Palestinian member of the church today. Apparantly there are many that I don't know about. She told me it was her cousin and his family that the Israeli settlers burned alive. She said her family came to Provo in 1912, really long time ago and were one of the few people here in this valley.  It is a small world. 

Last week I made an offer on a house. I am waiting for the inspection and appraisal to finalize. I should know in a week if everything is going to work out or not. I love the house and love the neighborhood. There are some things that I will need to change in the house, but we went to Lowe's yesterday and I found out that those could easily be changed. I can't believe I am going to actually own my own house! 

I have been exceedingly blessed. I have had one blessing after another. I keep wondering 'what did I do to deserve all these good things?' I can't thank Heavenly Father enough for all He has given me. 

I listened to Elder Renlund's talk again the other day. He says this:
"“All that is unfair about life can be made right.” Our present circumstances may not change, but through God’s compassion, kindness, and love, we will all receive more than we deserve, more than we can ever earn, and more than we can ever hope for. We are promised that “God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

I believe I received more than I deserve or hope for. I did not have an easy life, but I had a great life. I would not go back and trade it for anything.  There were some times in my life where things were especially hard and I was depressed. Had I known the blessings that would later come into my life, I could have been more patient and more grateful during those difficult times. I know blessings will come to everyone. There is hope and light that comes at the end. We just need to be patient and wait for it. Sometimes those long dark hours of trial and of waiting and hoping are really long, but blessings come in the end.
 

 

 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Yellowstone

Before I begin, I want you all to know that I will probably make an offer on a house this week. It is exciting to finally have a place to call my own. I hope all goes well and I am able to get it. It's in a great location and I fell in love with the design and how bright it is inside.  Here is a picture of the outside of the house...


Last week we went to Yellowstone. I wanted to share some pictures from our trip. I will post some pictures on Facebook and some pictures here.

The trip was amazing! Thanks to Susan and Danae who acted as my tour guides and showed me everything. 

We saw quite a few animals. We were stuck in a traffic jam caused by a herd of buffalo crossing the road. We ran into some Elk crossing the road as well...We saw a lot of dear, antelopes, ducks and swans...Sadly we did not see a bear, or should I say luckily.






The waterfalls were amazing and we didn't stop at every one, but those we saw were great.





So, the hot water that comes out of the ground is pretty fascinating. 
It is at very high temperature which causes the beautiful coloring in the rock. orange means it is super hot...Just a couple of weeks ago a person fell into one of these and died. That is why we can't even get close to the water or touch it. The ground is fragile and you could literally fall in and boil to death.
 






This lake is shaped like a hand. This whole area you see is called the thumb (because it is just the thumb of the hand). It is huge...
They say that fishermen would fish out of this lake then drop the fish into the boiling water coming out of the ground (that hole there) and cook the fish and eat it. 


 We also went and saw some Geysers. We waited for the Old Faithful one to erupt (and it does that every 90 minutes or so). It is cool that you just sit there and watch and all of a sudden hot boiling water shoots out of the ground. Nature is pretty spectacular. Maybe because it was a cloudy day, you can't tell, but what the below picture shows is steam and boiling water coming out.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rest in Peace Aunt Amal

This will be a short post...I don't want to write about anything else.
My aunt Amal Rishmawi died yesterday. It was such a shock to all of us. She was an amazing woman...

Every day, Aunt Amal would call my mother to ask how she was doing. The day before she died was the first day she didn't call in years. When my mom asked her why she didn't call she said she got busy and forgot.

But, the day she died, like usual she called my mom at 7:30 am sharp. She said she was going for a checkup to the doctor's that day then having everyone over for dinner. 

My aunt had heart problems and her health was not great, we just didn't think it would be so sudden. Her family is devastated...I hope that God can give them the strength to keep going. 

Amazingly enough as though my aunt knew she would die. After her doctor's visit, She had her husband take her around town, seeing her empty parents' house, and visiting her son's house...

As I partook of the sacrament today, I contemplated the blessings we have and the knowledge we have of the power of resurrection. I know my aunt has reunited with her parents and is in a better place.  



"But there is a resurrection, therefore the grave hath no victory, and the sting of death is swallowed up in Christ.
He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil—If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness..."
Mosiah 16: 8-11


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Biking in Nature

With a few of my colleagues in the Math department, I went biking. I was really worried since I had not done much biking since I was a child. I remember those trips we took around my town of Beit Sahour on our bikes with my cousins. We would take snacks and felt we were going on a trip. I remember how much I loved the new bike I got as a child, a pink bike with a really comfortable seat and decorations. I learned how to ride it without the training wheels pretty fast and got so good at it. As I look back at my childhood I feel very lucky and blessed to have had a full childhood. I really enjoyed it to the fullest.

Biking for about 7 miles today after 40 years seemed like a lot, but thankfully it was all down hill. The scenery was beautiful and it was very peaceful. I must admit with my hip problem, I have come to realize that riding a bike is not a good option for me...but the pain was totally worth it and it was such a fun trip.  I would totally do this again if I can manage to have a pillow as my bike seat.

We had a wonderful lunch afterwards and had the best Huckleberry shake ever...

Sadly, or should I say fortunately we didn't get to see a bear anywhere. We took bear spray and were prepared, but we didn't see any bears. The only wild life we saw were a few chipmunks, birds, and butterflies. 
My friend Danae estimates that I would see a bear on average every 10 years if I continue to live in Idaho...So, I have a long wait. 

We are going to to Yellowstone next week though and hopefully we will see more animals as we will be there all day.  I am so grateful for the wonderful weather we have been having recently. I am going to enjoy it to the fullest (even if it means getting sun burned) before the winter comes. 

In Palestine, because of the occupation, we have limited areas where we can enjoy the beauty of nature. As the separation wall now surrounds Bethlehem, there are limited lands and areas to build and this is slowly taking away our open areas. The beautiful valleys and hills we used to play at when we were kids are now being covered with houses and buildings. The forest we used to to is now completely gone and an Israeli settlement stands in it's place. Nothing but white ugly buildings in the distance.

It is so nice to be in nature and enjoy the beauty around us. The river still reminds me of Alfashkha, my favorite childhood place where we swam and enjoyed the purity of the spring's water near the Dead Sea. 

Mark Nielson said: "We can draw three lessons from nature’s grandeur: first, God exists; second, God is powerful; and third, God loves us. One way we can feel a surety of the Creator’s existence is to observe His handiwork."
Alma taught, “All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44).

How grateful I am for nature and for all of God's creations. 
I post some pictures below to show you how pretty it was. 

Me and my rented bike..



 






 







All the Math department gang...




Should I jump??