Sunday, May 28, 2017

Heavenly Father's Plan

This past week has gone by so slowly. I am glad the weekend finally came. 

I worked on my yard yesterday. After I pulled out a few weeds I was so tired to even move. And I still had to mow my lawn and do other things. I finally moved my plants (tomato and cucumber and mint) outside. Hopefully it won't get below freezing outside anymore. My tomato plants are so big now, I really didn't expect them to get this tall (4 feet). I just hope the tomatoes that I get will taste good, and I hope I get some before august because I may be gone in August and my plants may die while I'm gone.

The weather has been great...It was so nice to sit outside and enjoy the beautiful weather yesterday. 

I have been so homesick lately. I don't know why these days I especially miss my country, the people, the streets, the sea, the old houses and hills and valleys.  I hope to be able to go back to those places I love soon. I am so blessed here, I look around me and see how blessed I am. I have an amazing house that I absolutely love. I have a great job that I enjoy.  Yet, it is missing something. A family, a home...I guess we can't have everything. I am really not complaining because I really feel I have been given so much.  

My Sunday School lesson today was about the plan of Salvation. It was a great plan that Heavenly Father designed for us. As part of His plan, we would come to earth and obtain a physical body, learn and grow and become more like Him.  I watched a video about how this plan is like a 3-act play. Act 1: Premortal life, Act 2: Mortal Life, Act 3: life after death. If someone jumps in the plan in Act 2 without understanding act 1 or what has happened, life would not make sense to them.

It was like that for me. Growing up I had often wondered about why we are here on earth and where we are going. I had wondered why a loving father in heaven would allow bad things to happen. I often wondered why He does not make the pain go away, and help us find happiness. I have come to realize that trials are an essential part of His plan. Without trials we will never grow and learn, we will never be able to return to live with Him. I also realized that happiness was a choice. We can choose to be happy as we choose to follow the author of happiness, our Savior Jesus Christ.

I am grateful for my life and for the few difficult times I have had. They have made me the person I am today. Trials have built my faith and my testimony in a loving Father in Heaven and a loving Savior who suffered in the garden of Gethsemane so we won't have to.

We are beloved children of a mighty creator who loves us beyond measure. He makes all things work for our own good. Even though sometimes in order to get to the place we are meant to go, we must pass through hilly rocky roads. He leads us, guides us and even often carries us all the way to his mansions above.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Our Greatest Fear

It snowed here last week...strange you may say, but not for Rexburg. I learned to expect weather changes that were strange and fast. 
Yesterday I put some stuff on my lawn to kill the weeds, and it was not supposed to get any water on it. So, I applied it on a clear day no cloud in sight.  Shortly after that it started pouring.  So much for the money I wasted on that stuff.  

I have been addicted to a Turkish online show. It is very stupid and useless, but I can't quit watching. The good thing is that my Turkish has improved a lot. So, I justify it and call it useful. This past week I started using my Turkish to help Senior Missionaries learn Turkish. It has been so much fun. This one sister was so thrilled when I told her she does not have to say "soyluyorum" at the end of her testimony. She just could not say that word no matter how hard she tried. All this however is making me miss Turkey and want to go back. I miss the Turkish food and the sweet Turkish people.  I need to go back for a visit soon.

The church is now sending sister missionaries to Turkey. Nothing makes me happier than bringing the gospel to the good people of Turkey. I remember the many times I got asked the same question as I walked on the street with sister Ellett (a missionary). Talking to me they would say, "Why does she glow like that? tell us what she has?" I wished I could tell them that she had the light of Christ, the Holy Ghost made her glow and radiate.  But, at the time we were careful about sharing the gospel to strangers. We were even scared to invite anyone to church and worried about our safety because there were many anti-christian people around.

I still regret not sharing my testimony with that woman on the street who stopped me and said: "I don't normally talk to strangers, but I could not help but notice the light in your eyes." She told me how hard her life was and how alone she felt. Why didn't I tell her that she wasn't alone and that she was loved by a Father in Heaven? My Turkish was broken and not that great, I just listened to her. 

Everyone will hear about the Savior one day...We had a missionary who spoke in church today. He said he left the church for a while and thought he was happy. But, when he came back he realized what happiness really is. He realized that it was the gospel that made him happy. He thought he would love to share that with others.

He was so excited to go on his mission, but said he was scared because he does not have the courage to talk to strangers. Yet He said the Savior will make his weaknesses become strengths. He said he had the answers to questions many people ask...He would be selfish not to share what he had with others.

My colleague Bonnie put this quote on her board, and I had never heard it before, so I thought I would share it with everyone...

"It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other
people won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of
God that is within us.

It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others."

—Marianne Williamson


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to those celebrating it today. Even though we don't celebrate Mother's day today (we celebrate on March 21st) I still think of my mother today and am grateful for the person she is.

Last week, I was asked to share a moment when my mother taught me something. I don't really remember mom teaching me using words. The only thing I remember her teaching me was how to read, and then she proudly would brag that her 2-year old daughter can read. 

But I remember many things that my mother taught my by example. She taught me the importance of education by her example. She would go to school in Jerusalem during the Second World War and her bus was often shot at, yet she went to school anyway. When her friend, Hayah, was killed by the Israeli army while working as a teacher along with the children she taught, my mother still aspired to be a teacher and still loved teaching. I still remember the love she had for her first graders as she would buy them all sorts of gifts to reward them when they would do well in their school-work. 

I love you Mom and miss you so much. I hope to see you next year.

Last week we went out to dinner to celebrate our birthdays. I have two friends that have birthdays close to mine and every year we go to Stockman's for dinner. It was a great meal and I ate so much I thought I would explode. We always get their cheese cake which is amazing, but this time I got Strawberry Shortcake and it was amazing too!

I was going to work in my yard this weekend, but I didn't. By the time I went shopping, did laundry and cleaned the house I had no time left. Besides, the weather is not helping. It really is not spring yet it seems. It rained so much on Saturday and today it is cloudy. So, I guess I will wait for Rexburg to decide to be warm. My garden is getting big and I don't want to leave it inside, but they keep saying the temperature will go down to freezing at nights and I don't really want the plants to freeze.  I guess I will wait!

My garden still looks horrible compared to others, but my grass is looking a little better after the weeds started to die (thank you Br. Richey).  The birds are also eating my worms, maybe I won't have so many and will have a normal lawn. We will see.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring and Funerals (for lack of a better title)

It has been a good week, I can't believe I have already done exam 1 for my students. Time is flying by so fast as usual. But, that is good because that means the summer break will come fast.

I have enjoyed having a house and a garden except these past two weeks when I realized how much work it is. You have to trim bushes and weed and plant flowers, and mow the lawn. So, I got a lawn mower and have done it twice and I am is a lot of work. After doing yard work most of the day yesterday I could not move. Now every part of my body hurts...I am going to find some nice kids in the neighborhood and have them help me.  

I tried to plant some flowers and after digging for 5 minutes, the ground was so hard and the soil seemed bad...I was done...I went and bought plastic flowers from the dollar store and put them outside. You can't even tell from a distance...what's the point! 
Also, everyone's tulips seems so pretty and mine seem dead already. What am I doing wrong?

But, I am looking forward to summer. I bought a grill and I am going to have a BBQ sometime soon and make all the maza salads from home now that I have my own mint and parsley and hopefully tomatoes and cucumbers in the future.  I am missing home a lot. Hopefully some Palestinian food will make things better.

Actually, my nephew told me that the wait time for Green Card applications has gone down from 1.5 years to 3 months. I don't know if that is true...I am hoping that once we file in January it would be fast and I won't have to wait a year and a half for my application to get a turn.

We have started the process of advertising for the job. BYU-I has to prove that none of the applicants are as qualified as me. So far, we had no applicants. Which is amazing considering that we posted this ad everywhere. Newspapers, online, radio...etc. 

For the sake of my department head who has to interview each applicant within a 24 hour period, I hope we don't get many applicants.

I also have to go online each day and print the ads we posted to prove that we did post them for 30 days. I also have to get copies of the newspapers to prove that the ad was put in them. I had to drive for 2 hours today in order to buy a newspaper. And I will have to drive 2 hours next Sunday as well. I was lucky today because after searching at gas stations I found the last copy of the paper. I hope I will find one next week easily. 

I am not sure why they make this process so difficult...I'll be so glad when this is all over.

My friend's (Danae's) grandmother's sister died last week. Yesterday I went to the luncheon after the funeral. I know what you are thinking, why am I going to my friend's grandmother's sister's funeral luncheon. Well, Grace was actually in my ward, and her daughter, Pat, and I are friends.  Grace died at an age of 93 I think. She had 205 descendants. She had one great-great grandchild. I was amazed at how much posterity can come from one person. 

As I spoke to Danae's grandmother last Sunday I was amazed. She had just lost her sister that day, yet she seemed happy. She kept saying she was happy for her sister and knew that her sister was in a much better place.

One interesting thing is comparing funerals here to funerals back home.  Back home everyone is dressed in black, people are all crying and depressed. Here you come in and see a celebration of the person's life, their family and the good they did. You see color and joy because they believe in eternal families and know that death is not the end. Here is a picture of the tables and how nicely they were set up:

They asked Grace's granddaughters to come up, there is 21 of them:

Last week, Danae made a birthday cake for me and wen went over to her parents' house to celebrate. Danae, her mother, and her grandmother all gave me gifts. I feel like a member of the family...And as you see I'm even going to funerals with the family.

I have been sick the last few days. Honestly I don't ever get sick, but it seems like I have been getting sick so often recently. My throat had a bad infection in it and blisters all over. Now I have a horrible cold that I can't seem to shake off. I laughed at those who take the flu shot, but I am seriously contemplating doing that next year. I am sick of being sick...

I submitted my final manuscript of my book to Deseret Book. I keep thinking "I should have included this, I should have changed this"...but it is now too late. I hope they will make good suggestions and maybe we can improve. Laurel told me she was going to read my book while on her vacation because she was so excited about it.