Sunday, May 27, 2018

My country...land of liberty...

 It has been a really busy week (don't I seem to say that every time?). I am not sure when it will stop being busy! I feel exhausted. Sometimes I just come home and sit and do nothing because I have no energy to do anything. I am getting old. Yesterday I did a few things around the house then I just rested the rest of the day because I was so tired!

I went shopping and worked on my yard on Saturday and I wish I was doing something fun this weekend like everyone else. But, I have so much stuff to do that I have to get it done. I will work more in my yard on Monday, but I have managed to get rid of most of the weeds in my lawn. I realized that if you just keep killing them as they come up they will eventually stop growing. I wish I could say the same for the weeds on the side of the house. For those I need to do something, but I just never seem to get to it. 

My basement project has been interesting and exhausting to say the least. I'm noticing two of my walls are not straight, but at this point I could care less. This was overall just painful to get everything just right. I finally had to put a deadline on it and tell everyone I want it done by Tuesday. We will see if it actually happens. I think when you don't care, people think they don't have a deadline and it drags on and on...

I got approval for the second step of my green card application. We did premium processing and it took two weeks for that step to be approved. Now, I am at the last stage which is the actually green card application...see all of those steps that took 2 years were just preparing for that! My attorney says that this last step will take about 12 to 14 months. I am optimistic and hope that she is wrong and that I will get approval much sooner. We will see.

As we sang the closing hymn in church today, I cried. It was about "My country"...
My native country, thee, land of the noble free, Thy name I love;
I love thy rocks and hills, 
thy woods and templed hills. 
My heart with rapture thrills like that above... 

Our fathers' God, to thee,
Author of liberty,
To thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light.
Protect us by thy might,
Great God, our King! 
Text: Samuel F. Smith, 1808-1895
Music: From Thesaurus Musicus, London, 1744
 
My country is all that, just not a land of liberty right now. I hope someday it will be. I think that may not be until the Savior comes again to rule and reign and provide justice and liberty to the captive.
 
 
I miss my homeland so much. I miss those beautiful hills, the flowers, the trees and the people...
 
I had an interesting dream last night. I wish I could remember all the details, but it gave me hope. In my dream both the Palestinians and Israelis were working together and serving and giving. They were both tending to the injured and saving lives. I was actually amazed that none of them wore a uniform. They were not soldiers, but were united together. That unity gave me hope of a better world.
 
I saw two rainbows this week. One of them was so beautiful, but by the time I parked and rolled down my car window to take a picture it was gone. The second one was dim, but I loved how it appeared in the middle of the storm, though it was hard to see...
 

 It looked like there was light coming down from heaven along with the colors of the rainbow. I don't know if you all could see it. It was much nicer when I saw it. 
Someday, those dark clouds will be gone and we will be able to see that beautiful rainbow. There is hope for this world...there is hope as long as you and I keep trying and keep moving and keep loving others.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Our Savior's Love

I have finally finished grading my first exam. Teaching two sections of the same class was not a good idea because I have 100 exams to grade each time. My poor students kept asking where their exams are. I need to get help from my TA next time, I just can't grade for a whole week. And I just realized that Exam 2 is soon and so I will be grading all semester long it seems.
I have pushed these students a lot and I am actually impressed by how hard working some of them are. I am grateful to be teaching such amazing students. But, I am really tired already. I feel I need a break so badly. I hate how Spring and Winter blend into ONE LONG semester that goes on and on...
 
I just gave a fireside to a married student stake. Only 3 of my students were in it, but I was glad to see them. I still feel after all the the things I shared people had no idea what was going on in Palestine. They need a whole course on it. The media here overshadows the truth so much that everything just gets lost and is hard to retrieve. For example they are blaming Hamas for the people who were shot in Gaza by the Israeli soldiers! Really?

I did an interview for the university paper... I sometimes try to explain things, but fail. This time I tried to relate it to the readers (still not sure what the paper will keep out of what I shared and what they will delete). I said, 
suppose Russia was to occupy the United States. And for some reason they decide to isolate Idaho. Making a border and checkpoints all around it. No one gets in or out of Idaho. Then they control all water sources and 90% of the water is unclean. Then they cut off electricity so that there is no electricity half of the day every day. They bomb 100,000 homes in Idaho so that over half a million (one quarter) of the population are homeless. Then they restrict supplies coming into Idaho so people would starve and won't have building materials to rebuild their destroyed houses. When the people go out to the border to demonstrate and ask to be allowed out, the Russian soldiers shoot them using dumdum bullets and nerve gas killing over 60 of them in one day and injuring hundreds. Dumdum bullets are those that explode when they hit the body making it impossible for any surgeon to get the bullet out. If that bullet hits your upper body you die, if it hits your limbs, then they must be amputated.
THEN the Russian media says that the whole event of killing those people was the fault of the people of Idaho and that the people of Idaho are the terrorists. Wait, what???

Sadly this is exactly what is happening in Gaza with one key difference. Gaza has 2 million people (more people than Idaho), but it is the size of SLC (that's about 20,000 people per square mile!!!). There is no farm land, there is no room for anything really. No natural resources. The only supply they have is the sea and they are only allowed to fish a few yards and if they go beyond the allowed area, Israel shoots their boats down.

The world is a dark place. People may want you to hate others or give labels to others. We must stand against that. We must defy discrimination in all it's forms. We are all children of God. We are all equal in His sight. Christ died for you and for me. He died for all sinners, no matter how great their sin. He died for the serial killer, the war criminal, the unjust ruler, and for those like you and I who are just trying to do their best to live righteously.  He does not cast anyone away. He stands with open arms saying "come unto me..." He is loving and welcoming to all who would believe in His name and repent of their sins. 


Remember you are a child of God and He loves you. He wants you to love and forgive others and learn from His great example of charity.  No matter what you are going through, He knows about it and He stands ready to help you. 
I shared this video in my fireside. It is about a little boy, Logan, who calls the radio station to tell the people what God told him. I love his courage and faith...



I also wanted to share this cute primary song with you. Here is a link to the music and words: (go to the right side of the website to listen)
click here for words and music of the song


I feel My Savior's Love

  1. I feel my Savior’s love
    In all the world around me.
    His Spirit warms my soul
    Through ev’rything I see.
  2. He knows I will follow him,
    Give all my life to him.
    I feel my Savior’s love,
    The love he freely gives me.
  3. I feel my Savior’s love;
    Its gentleness enfolds me,
    And when I kneel to pray,
    My heart is filled with peace.
  4. He knows I will follow him,
    Give all my life to him.
    I feel my Savior’s love,
    The love he freely gives me.
  5. I feel my Savior’s love
    And know that he will bless me.
    I offer him my heart;
    My shepherd he will be.
  6. He knows I will follow him,
    Give all my life to him.
    I feel my Savior’s love,
    The love he freely gives me.
  7. I’ll share my Savior’s love
    By serving others freely.
    In serving I am blessed.
    In giving I receive.
  8. He knows I will follow him,
    Give all my life to him.
    I feel my Savior’s love,
    The love he freely gives me.
Words: Ralph Rodgers Jr., 1936–1996; K. Newell Dayley, b. 1939; and Laurie Huffman, b. 1948 
Music: K. Newell Dayley, b. 1939
© 1978, 1979 by K. Newell Dayley. Used by permission. All rights reserved. This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Our Mother Earth

It is my sister's birthday today and it is also Mother's Day here in the US. In Palestine, we celebrate Mother's Day in March. But it is good to remember mothers more than once during the year. As people today reflected and praised their mothers, my heart turned to my mother who is thousands of miles away. What an amazing woman she is. She gave her life for me, almost literally as she gave birth to me and almost died after childbirth. I miss her a lot. I am grateful for all the times she worried about me and rejoiced about my accomplishments and proudly told everyone in town how smart I am. I am grateful for all the amazing meals and support that she has provided over the years.

My sister Suhair had a big part in raising me and she was like a second mother to me. I really can't wait to see her and my other sister, Samar, this summer.

I went camping with my friend Danae yesterday. It was fun to spend time in nature again. The trees and flowers that are finally coming back to life after such a long winter were amazing. I guess being grateful for our mother earth is also appropriate at this time because being out in nature often helps us find joy in life.  I hope we each can take time to look at the beauty around us instead of staring at a computer or phone screen all day (well, you don't really have to stop reading right now, but after you finish reading this, go outside!)
 



The most relaxing thing I do is listening to the sound of water...whether it be a river, or the sound of waves, or when all else fails Alexa imitates those sounds for me. I could be stressed and things can be really hard at that time, but hearing that sound relaxes me every time. I loved listening to the river of water at our camp site. What is interesting is that when Joseph Smith describes the Lord's voice, he says it was like the sound of rushing waters...

"...His countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father." (D&C 110: 3-4)

The Savior is the creator of all things and I think things in nature will remind us of Him because His hand is apparent in all that surrounds us. He is the fountain of living water and if we come unto Him, we will never thirst again. He satisfies our spiritual hunger and thirst and gives us purpose in our lives.

Here is a short video I took of the sound of the water...


 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Sorry for not writing

I have been too busy and have not written in a while. I have never had a semester start out busy!

I am finishing part of my basement and I didn't realize what a mess that would be. I have dust everywhere and can't seem to dust enough. I have to constantly clean my house because I can't stand the dust! Everyone told me that projects like that always run behind schedule and cost more than you planned, and this has truly been the case. It was supposed to take a week! Now, two months later, I am still not close to being done.

My birthday was great. The Romrells had a nice birthday planned for me with dinner, cake and gifts. It was great! 




My friend Heather and her family were in town this past week. I loved seeing her and the amazing children she has. I rarely see siblings who get along and show love towards each other as much as they do. I guess when you have amazing parents, the kids turn out to be amazing. 
 

Yesterday I invited some people over for dinner. A few of them didn't come, so I had plenty of left overs. That's always nice because I don't have to cook this week and will have stuff to eat.
 

My green card application hopefully will get submitted today. Then we have a year wait (at least). I need prayers so I can for sure go home next summer.

Spring is here and with that comes yard work. I can't seem to get rid of the weeds fast enough. I think when I take them out they multiply or something. I bought some stuff on Saturday that I am hoping will help. Killing them proved to be just as painful, because then you have to still pull them out.

I also have thousands of spiders. You would really think spider woman lives in my house. They are not inside thankfully, just outside. I did pay $150 last year to have them sprayed, but nothing happened. The guy was supposed to get rid of my wasps too, but he did nothing about those. He would say "Oh there is a nest there, that you should remove." I'm like "Then, What in the world am I paying you $150 for??" So, I actually have more effect when I spray the bugs myself. I'll buy some stronger bug spray and spray again this week. Hopefully they will die. 

 My tulips are doing great, but they are on the side of my house and no one can see them. I keep saying I want to plant tulips in the front, and then come fall I forget.  I got some summer flowers, we will see if I can plant those and not kill them.