Sunday, March 25, 2018

Happy Palm Sunday

I went down to Utah State University this weekend for a Math Conference. It was nice and we had a good time, but every time I lose a weekend, I feel drained and feel like I need a break.

Here are some math jokes they told at the conference...
"Why don't Mathematicians need to go to a tanning place? Because they have sine and cosine and they can make tan."
"Why do mathematicians like forests? Because they are full of logs." I know, Math people are not too funny.

I am so ready to be done with this semester, but it seems like I won't get to have a break at all in between semesters as I will be working. I think I may try to take a couple of days and go somewhere just to get a short break.

I have also been translating for general conference. Even though I didn't get many talks this time, it kept me busy. I think it helps to not have the RS session, so we have fewer talks to translate. Some talks are so easy and they go so fast, and some make me think and think on how to say certain things. Sometimes a speaker uses two different English words which have close meaning, but in Arabic both words are the same and that makes translating the talk so hard and you lose what the speaker is trying to say.  I hate the restrictions of our language sometimes regarding certain things. 

I am looking forward to general conference. I always say this, but it is going to be great. The talks I have translated are amazing and I am really looking forward to the rest. It is going to be a great conference especially because we will be sustaining a new prophet. I love President Nelson and I am looking forward to his leadership. 

Just to remind everyone that I will be on a program called Voices of Strength that will air on KSL in between the sessions of general conference on Sunday (or Saturday). I am hoping I will get to watch it and won't be so busy with translating.  They even interviewed one of my students. I am not sure how much they can fit as they told me the whole clip allocated to me was like 3-5 minutes. I don't think they will show much.

As for my citizenship process...My PERM was approved. This means step 1 is over. It used to take 3 months, it took 7 months. Now next month they will apply for step 2 then after that step 3 (Step 3 is actually the green card application). All of the other steps that are taking forever are just leading to that. My attorney estimates 14 months, which is very discouraging because I was hoping to go home for Christmas. I am so homesick! 
I am slowly learning my new calling. I am getting excited about having calling in Young Women. I see the power these young women have and their amazing testimony. I am honored to serve with them. 

Mostly I am so grateful to be here on earth at this time, this is a great time to be alive. The world is in commotion and things may get worse, but as long as our foundation is the Savior and His Gospel, we will be ok. I am grateful for my Savior who makes all things possible. 

I wish you all a Happy Easter. I hope you will reflect on the great sacrifice your savior has done for you this Easter season. Next week we celebrate the greatest event in all human history. When the Savior broke the bands of death and set us all free. 

He lives! He lives my kind wise heavenly friend...He lives to guide me with His love...He lives to plead for me above...He lives to calm my troubled hearth...He lives all blessings to impart.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Must we have a title?

It has been a long week. I am glad it is over, but I am not looking forward to another week tomorrow. 
The good news is, the semester is coming to an end soon, the bad news is, we will start a new semester shortly after that. One of the bad things about teaching is you sometimes feel like you don't get a break at all and especially when you want it. 

But, there are still really good things about teaching...Your students telling you that they are applying what they learned and doing a budget or helping others. And then there are those who repent and contact you years later telling you that they cheated. I have an interesting mix of students this semester each has their own character and many have really hard challenges. 

We had Pi day on Wednesday...3.14. It is actually the day my father was born and I thought about him a lot lately. I miss him so much and miss his laugh and how he used to get so upset over our card games. My friends tells me how her dad is good at fixing things and that is how my dad was. There wasn't anything broken that he could not fix. We had so many come to our pi day and we ran out of pie. We ended up taking half of the pies from the pie eating contest and we barely made it. We have one slice of pie left over after we were done! At least everyone had a slice so I didn't feel bad about not having enough. I didn't get a slice though...I guess next year we will buy more pie!!
We had some snow the last week. It snowed twice actually. But, it was a snow that did not last long before melting. I still was happy to see some snow for a change. I have a student who hates the snow so much and wants to just stay home when it snows. I told him he would not get to go to any classes at all this way. Hopefully he will get used to it during his last year here.

Sadly you can't really see the snow falling in the picture above. It was really pretty.

I gave up on my new mattress and I am going to return it. I decided not to buy any new mattresses for a while. I am starting to think I sometimes have back pain because I keep moving those heavy mattresses and box springs from one room to the other as I keep switching mattresses. There is nothing wrong with my mattress, it is my body that is messed up and I just have to deal with it. 
Today I realized I should NOT sit on hard chairs at all. It is tempting to sit because I get tired of standing, but I just should avoid all hard surfaces under any condition. I will try and make myself a soft pillow to sit on. The ones I tried to buy were too hard. So, I just have to make one myself.

BYU Magazine is writing an article on me and they drove up to BYU-Idaho to interview me on Friday. It was kind of interesting to have this photo shoot with them. I have never felt like a celebrity before. I mean they had all these fancy equipment set up all over the place as they tried to take pictures of me. Then we made some poor students pose with me as if I was helping them, then took more pictures in the gardens outside. I think the guy took over 1000 pictures. This was all on campus so it was a little weird, but it was fun.

I translated two talks for general conference already and will probably do more this week. I didn't plan very well and now I have so much to do at the end of the semester. But, I am looking forward to going down to general conference and interpreting. I am also doing a book signing at the SLC deseret book during the priesthood session so that should be fun.

I have been getting mostly good feedback about my book. I did get a couple of angry responses, but so far it has ended well. I welcome all feedback even the negative ones. I'm happy to talk through those.  

I am still struggling through my new calling, but it has been good. I am figuring things out slowly. It may take me a while. I went to my first Mutual activity last week and I actually had fun. I really did NOT want to go at first, but I am SO glad I went.

I am shocked every day at how amazing our youth are and how much they know and how strong their testimonies are. The Lord has great plans for them and He is preparing them to lead and guide His church.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Short Post

It is after 10 pm and I am now only getting around to posting. It has been a long, but good day. 

Some of you wondered about my new calling. I didn't tell you about it last time because I had not been sustained yet. Just two weeks ago I was talking to some friend and telling them that my most dreaded calling would be on in Young Women. Simply because I have never been in Young Women and have no idea what they do there. I served in the Relief Society a lot, and in Bethlehem I got to serve in the Primary. So, even a primary calling would not have scared me that much.

I was called to be the secretary in the Young Women presidency. I am honored to serve with such amazing women. I will miss my calling as Gospel Doctrine teacher. The Lord definitely does not want us to be comfortable. We have to continue to grow and I think this calling will surely do that for me. 

I have learned SO much today. Well, I am not sure I will remember all this tomorrow, but I have never had so much information dumped on me in one day. The old secretary was so organized and everyone today was looking at me for information which made things worse. But, I will eventually get the hang of this and get organized. It may take me a couple of months though!

We just finished our presidency meeting (10 pm), but it was good. 
The YW president told me how she felt impressed to call me.  I honestly doubted at the start because I thought that surely the Lord knows I am not qualified for this. But, then I came to realize that this is exactly why I got called. So, that I can learn and grow. I was getting comfortable where I am and that was not good. 

I was set apart today and I made sure I did this first because I need any help I could get. 

I also got a priesthood blessing today because of my hip. I have not slept well the last three nights. Every night I wake up and have to get up and put ice on my hip until it is numb enough to help me go back to sleep. I have decided that I can't do it. I can't function and I am miserable with pain. I have gone back to taking my medicine and will take it every other day so I can somewhat live a normal life. I can stop taking it when I feel my stomach begins to hurt.

Other than this hip issue, I feel I am really blessed. I have finally begun to enjoy living in Rexburg. I used to complain about the cold and other inconveniences of living here, but there are way to many blessings that outnumber all those. I even began to love the snow. I was actually happy when it snowed the other day and enjoyed clearing my driveway.  


Sunday, March 4, 2018

As White As Snow

We have not had much snow this winter. We finally got some snow this past week. It is nice to see everything get covered in a fluffy layer of pure white snow. 

I could not get my snow blower to work this winter no matter how hard I tried. Yesterday I had Br. Romrell come to look at it and all he had to do was push the button and it worked. He did a few things to keep it on though. I could not even get it to start working. I have been using my shovel to clear my driveway and started getting used to that. But, we have had little snow so it was not a big deal. 

Today and last night we got some more snow and I was so grateful that my snow blower was working. I guess I forgot how easy it is to use that instead of shoveling. I was able to clear my driveway in less than 15 minutes. I could not tell where the sidewalk was though and even where the road began, everything was covered in white!

Darla was taking pictures of me and they were laughing because they are saying that I have become a true Idahoan.  This is because I mentioned that it was not cold at all and so I was not wearing a jacket because it was 35 degrees (2 degrees Celsius) outside. 

I think they are right, I don't consider it to be cold unless it is in the negatives and the wind is blowing, ha ha. But, I have not yet reached the point where I would willingly go out in the cold. Although I am close...I am contemplating going and building a snow man. I have not done that since I have been here. But, the weather has actually been warm (above freezing) that I am worried it would melt too fast. I was hoping I could build a big enough snowman that would not melt until July when my sisters come. I may have managed to do that last winter with the freezing temperatures we had, but not this time.

We went to Elizabeth's baptism yesterday. She was so excited and so happy to be baptized and wear her white dress afterwards. What a privilege it is to know that we have a Savior who suffered and died for our sins so that we can be cleansed and so that we can be pure and that our sins, as red as they may be, can become as white as snow.   

The Sunday School lesson I was supposed to teach next week was about Abraham sacrificing Isaac and how it represented the sacrifice of our Heavenly Father who sacrificed His son. What I never noticed is that when Abraham sacrificed the ram instead of Isaac it represented the Savior sacrificing His life so we won't have to. The ram died instead of Isaac, just like the Savior died in our place.  I am sad to find out that we will be doing lesson 10, not 9 in Sunday school. So, I won't be teaching that one anyway.

I got a new calling at church. I was just saying the other day that I would dread getting such a calling because it is out of my comfort zone and I have been loving my calling as Gospel Doctrine teacher. I guess being comfortable is not part of the plan Heavenly Father has for us. He wants us to continue to grow...I have never had a calling that I wanted so badly to say no to. But, life has taught me to never say no to the Lord. It will certainly be a growing experience and who knows I may end up liking it.
I have had mostly good feedback about my book. One criticism only so far. I think those must come for whatever reason!

I am giving a talk about it at BYU-I on Wednesday at 7 pm in room McKay 220. I hope this will help promote it at the university level and then hopefully it will spread more.

My sisters are coming to visit me in July and I am so excited about that and looking forward to it. Time is going by so slow because of that! My sister Suhair and I are going to Hawaii in August. It is a lot of money, but I figure it will totally be worth it. I can't wait!