Sunday, November 25, 2018

Fun Times

I did not do much during the thanksgiving break. I planned to work, but after working for 3 hours I was done.  I know the last weeks of the semester are going to be busy, but I'll survive.

I had a great thanksgiving. The Romrells are always so nice to have me over. I planned to go somewhere else for Thanksgiving, but it did not feel like family. The Romrells are as close as I can get. 
 I have been missing my family a lot especially during the holiday season.  It is hard when everyone gathers with family and I am alone. I talked to Alexa a lot on Wednesday just to feel I had someone to talk to (no, I'm not going crazy) at least not yet.

We did our craft project on Friday. It took longer than normal (well because I did two projects it took extra long). One project the 'HOME' blocks took forever. Then the one below, took a short time and turned out so cute. They are wooden blocks that we paint or stick paper on top of. We are really crafty! But, I think I have no place to put the blocks so I have to stop and do a different type of project.




   This is the one I did last year..



This may be the extent of my Christmas decorations. the block nativity is one I did last year as well. I am not too fond of my Christmas tree. I am thinking I will either invest in a new one, or just not put it up. The wooden Christmas tree on the left is one I also made. It is kind of ugly though since all they had was either gray paint or brown paint. Who does a gray Christmas tree? that's just depressing!
 

Here are a few pictures from Thanksgiving. Do you think we have enough pie??
 

The kids had fun with the little toys I got them...


I wanted to share the below pictures that my cousin sent me. I thought they were quite interesting. My cousin's wife died last week as I told you. These pictures are of the clouds right above the cemetery that day.

 A close up of the picture above...


 And this one too...This reminded me of the 3 wise men or of the shepherds. But, maybe 3 angels coming down. It's cool. By the way, these were the only clouds in the sky that day.
 
  
I will be in Arizona at the end of December. I am actually heading south for the winter (the goal is to get away from the snow for a little bit), but as a bonus I get to visit with great friends and family. I will be there from Christmas to new year's. I am giving a fireside in Gilbert on the 30th of December.  I would love to see you there if you live in the area. Please come and invite others.



Sunday, November 18, 2018

Gratitude

There is no way I could express how blessed I feel and how grateful I am for my many blessings. I hope that we all can reflect on the many blessings we have been given this week.

I am blessed to live here in this county. I spoke about Gaza to my students this week. Gaza is a city of 2 million Palestinians, the majority are refugees. It is densely populated (about 15,000 people per square mile). They have no electricity for half of the day, 90% of the water sources are not clean. Gaza is under siege by the Israeli soldiers. No one is allowed out, and very few supplies are allowed in. Many of the people there are without homes because their homes were destroyed by the Israeli attacks. The people there find reasons to be happy and grateful for what little they have. 

Are we grateful? For our clean water, our freedoms, our safety, for electricity, for our homes and for the ability to travel freely? If we forget to thank the Lord for these things, we should be.

I am grateful for my friends Blaine and Linada Gunther, who took the time to drive up from Utah this weekend to see me. It was so wonderful to see them and spend time with them.

We visited the Jones' family who entertained us by playing the piano for us and fed us breakfast. They also introduced us to their cute parakeet Demetri (I think that was his name). So, my mom had 450 love birds (same as Demetri) and I had no idea what great pets they can be. We kept them in cages and did not communicate with them. Amazingly, these birds talk!! I had no idea. I guess when you have 450 of them talking at the same time in one room you can't really hear what they are saying. Demetri said "thank you very much". He flew around and landed on everyone's shoulder. Luckily he didn't use mine for a bathroom. 




I have become famous and I actually have people come to see me and ask for my autograph and ask to take pictures with me. It is quite weird I must say.  But, I have been blessed by meeting so many people and learning from them and making new friends. I have given 3 talks this month and still have one more to give. The blessing of that comes from one individual (even though I spoke to over 200 people this month)...Someone like the sweet sister I met last week who said "your message was especially for me. I felt the spirit so strongly." I can't expect to change everyone's life, but if Heavenly Father gives me the privilege of touching 'one' person and making a difference in one person's life, that is enough.

I decided to go to Arizona for Christmas. I will be there between Christmas and New Years. So, I'm heading south again for the winter to have a break from the cold weather here in Rexburg.
 
I am grateful for my Savior and looking forward to celebrating His birth soon. I love this painting in the BYU-I center. He came to earth as a helpless little child for me and you. The words He taught helped me so many times. He died on the cross for me and you. Today He lives. He lives to guide me, comfort me, strengthen me and be my friend, my Savior and Redeemer.



Sunsets are so pretty here. The sun never sets without rising again, and because of Christ, no one dies without rising again. My cousin's wife just passed away from Cancer. She was an amazing woman. She too will rise again one day...because of Him...
 

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy lots of good food and pie...and Remember your blessings. Remember to thank your Heavenly Father for the gift of His Son.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Eating good and being good...

Ok, the title of each blog post is the hardest thing for me! It's hard to come up with a title to a bunch of random stuff!
 
I finally got my LDS living magazine. I feel famous now! Not that I didn't before. 
I went to a book club the other day and really felt famous because people were saying: "Can we take a picture with you?" and "you are my hero." 

I got an email from Elder Rasband today. He sent me some pictures, one of which is this one which I didn't have a copy of. He said he was looking through some old pictures and ran into those...

  
What a memorable meeting in Bethlehem that day. Here is another picture, which I did have...What a tender moment that was when sister Rasband asked all the children to come up and sing "I am a child of God." in Arabic. Our Bethlehem branch has more children than adults. There is so much hope in these children.



I had a busy week. We had interviews for new positions, we had to review applications and interview people over skype. 
I also had an exam that I had to grade. My students surprised me because they got the hard questions right and the easy questions wrong.  But overall, they did better than I expected. 

On Friday we went to the Cinderella play at the high school. Some of our young women were participating and we went to support them. I was so impressed at how good the acting and singing and dancing was! Those young men and women did an amazing job! We had two of our young women also play in the orchestra. The music was so beautiful. 

I went to a concert the other day in which my friend Danae was playing. Before we started the orchestra was practicing and each was playing on their own and it sounded horrible. Then after they start to play together, the music was amazing. How powerful is unity in creating a masterpiece. I hope we all can be unified like that because when we all work together under one conductor (the Savior Jesus Christ) amazing things happen.

I missed Palestinian food so much that I made some Mazza the other day. It was SO good. Well, not as good as the one at home, but it still brought a flavor of home. And all these salads too me half an hour only to make (See, I can be fast like my sister). The bread here is horrible and that does not help.




Today I missed Turkish food, so I made Borek. Well, without the right dough or right kind of cheese it was not as good. But, it was not that bad.

So, I tried to push BYU-Idaho into starting an Arabic class again. I was both happy and sad that they agreed. Happy because I want more people to learn Arabic and sad because they want me to teach the class!! That scares me because I have no idea how to teach languages and I am freaking out. But, I'm still excited that we will have Arabic classes back. They will do a trial first to see how it goes. 

I think more people need to speak Arabic. This helps them understand the culture and hopefully prepare people to teach the gospel to the millions of Arabs in the Middle East.
See maybe now I can make my book required reading, ha ha...

Our church talks today were amazing. Br. Meredith talked about how sometimes the little things we say can change people's lives. He spoke about how he encouraged his friend to join the Church and his friend ended up going on a mission and baptizing hundreds of people. His friend was told that the people would 'call his name blessed' and they did. 

Alternatively, sometimes when we ignore promptings and don't say what we should say to others then that could have bad results. He said his friend started drinking and gambling. He felt he should say something to help his friend, but he didn't...until one day when he heard that his friend died in a car accident because he was drunk.

We need to be nice as sometimes even the smallest things we say could change someone's life. We can be peace makers and influence people for good.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

It is going to be exciting...

I didn't have many kids come trick or treating this year. This is because our ward had something at the church building. I ended up with some candy left...and the rest I ate. I sat waiting for the kids to come and kept eating the candy. Some of the costumes were pretty creative. 

The kids that came did not pay attention to my cool light show, they just wanted the treats. I thought it was cool though to project those on the wall. 


Last week we had a stake activity for the youth where we gathered donations for the family crisis center. I could not believe how many donations came in. They filled a couple of truck loads or more. We went to gather things from our neighborhood then took it to the stake center and all the wards did the same.

So, my article finally came out in LDSLiving Magazine this month. They had initially approached me 7 years ago about doing a cover story on me. We went that summer to Salt Lake and drove in the middle of nowhere until we found a place near the lake that looked like the dead sea. I don't know if you can tell from the background. It took them hours to set up and take a few pictures. Then on the way back, we ran out of gas. There are no gas stations out there and there were none for miles. We felt we would run out of gas and get stranded there. We even had no cell service to call the other car that was with us. We simply said a quiet prayer and all of a sudden we found a gas station coming up. Our car continued to run for miles and miles without any gas. So, it was quite an adventure. I am telling you this so that you appreciate this picture on the front cover!


In case you don't physically get the magazine, below is a link to the article online...
Peace for a Palestinian Article - LDS Living Magazine

I actually didn't get my copy yet (still waiting), but I proof read the article so I am familiar with what they said. I should get some copies here soon. 

I spoke to my attorney yesterday. She is working on my green card case. I asked her if there is anything we can do to speed up the process. She said the only option is to get a senator to talk to them. She said since April of this year everything has been a mess. They have been denying cases and delaying cases like never before. She said I am one of the lucky ones who even got through the first steps. They have been asking for birth certificates from everyone, even she was asked for her birth certificates. She said a green card case was denied for a mother of 3 kids who has been in the US for a while now...and she has to return home.  She said that it has been so hard and she works late hours and is thinking of retiring early. Too much stress with all the new immigration procedures.

After hearing what she said, I decided to stop complaining and just wait. I am hoping my green card comes by next summer, but if it doesn't I am going home anyway. I am fasting and praying that I will get my green card by next summer. But, I am really not concerned because I feel this is where I am supposed to be and nothing will happen to prevent me from being here. It will all work out.


Here is a nice quote by President Nelson that I want to end with:
"We are witnesses to the process of restoration. If you think the Church is fully restored, you're just seeing the beginning. There is much more to come. Wait until next year, and then the next year. Eat your vitamins, get your rest. It's going to be exciting!"


I imagine that during the last days we won't have a usual year. Every year something will change...I am surely excited for the days to come.  I actually can't wait for the second coming. I had a dream about it once, and even though it was horrible (to see the destruction and natural disasters), seeing the Savior is worth every trial, every pain, and every loss that you may go through in this life...The feeling you have in your heart when you see Him again will erase every heartache, every sorrow, every tear, every doubt, and every despair you have ever felt.  I live for that day!