Sunday, January 27, 2019

Reach out and bless others...

I have had a crazy week at work. We have people who are on campus for interviews (for positions in the math department) this week and next week. There are so many that it is hard to keep track on when their teaching demonstration or interview is.  It was nice to meet some new people and visit with them though. All our candidates seem great. I am looking forward to meeting the rest of them next week. 

I am going to a class called Language teaching methods and our week we so crazy that I completely forgot to go to class on Friday. It made me feel like a bad student because I had to email my teacher and apologize with a lame excuse "umm I forgot to come to class!" Our teacher is amazing though and the class has been fun. It is really Spanish language teaching methods, so I am learning a little bit of Spanish as well.

I am giving two talks, one today and one Thursday this week. I think at this point I am taking it a week at a time and just preparing the talk that is coming next. It helps me keep better track of it.  And even though I don't really stress about talks, I think about the people I am going to speak address a lot. So, it helps if I am only thinking about one group of people each time. It does get overwhelming if I think about all of them at the same time!  

It has been a blessing to think about people and what they are struggling with. It is humbling and makes me realize how blessed I am. Today I had the Young Women in our ward do 3 service activities (in one YW class). I didn't really have to teach much, because just the fact that they practiced what they learned would help. I tried to help them be aware of others in the world who are not as blessed as we are. 

I told them about Merve (who has no arms and one normal leg--can't walk) and who is full of life and loves to brush her hair and play on the computer (with her one functioning foot). And about Erdal who has to crawl up and down his steps to go get on his wheelchair that our church gave him so he can get to school on the dirt rocky road of his village. He was so grateful for the wheelchair because it helped him get to school.

I hope we all realize how loved we are by our Father in Heaven. He knows each of us and cares about each of us. We could be in a small village in Turkey or Syria or Palestine, but He knows us and reaches out to lift us and bless us.

I have been liking the weather in Rexburg this winter. It actually has not been very cold, and there were many days when it was just magical outside. The fog and the frost on the trees makes it look like a winter wonderland. Last week I cleared the snow from my driveway after work. But, as I was finishing up it started to snow. I went back inside just to come back outside to find snow covering my driveway. I was actually happy about it because I wanted an excuse to be outside and enjoy the pretty snow. I chose to shovel it instead of snow blow it so that it would take longer and I would get to enjoy the snow more. It was 30 degrees (-1 or so Celsius) and was not even cold. Well, do you think I am a true Rexburg resident yet?   

We had a math society activity last week where we had our students use measurements to build an accurate replica of the Rexburg temple. Some of them did well, others not so well. Here is one of the nice ones that won the prize on dimensions:


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Talks and Firesides over the next few months

I thought I would share the talks I will be giving over the next few months in case any of you live in the area and want to come. Please message me on Facebook and I can give you more information if you would like to attend one of these.
I am looking forward to each talk and love to meet new people and share my story with them.

Rexburg, Idaho Sunday, January 27th at 7:00 pm Fireside for the single Adults. 

Rexburg, Idaho Thursday, January 31st at 4:00 pm Talk at the homestead - Assisted living center.

Rexburg, Idaho Thursday, February 7th at 7:00 pm Teaching an institute class.

Ucon, Idaho Saturday, February 9th at ?? Speaking at an event about the gathering of Israel. (This may not be open to the public)

Rexburg, Idaho Thursday, February 28th at 7:00 pm Fireside.

Boise, Idaho Tuesday, March 5th at 6:00 pm(?) Stake Fireside.

Logan, Utah Saturday, March 16th at 7:00 pm Fireside for Stake Relief Society. 

Pocatello, Idaho Saturday, April 13th at 5:00 pm Speaking at a book club. 

Auburn, Washington Saturday, May 18th at 7:00 pm Stake Relief Society Fireside (YW invited). 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Pretty Frozen Rexburg

We had a long first day of classes. I had long waiting lists for my classes and had people begging me to get into the class. I finally seem to have almost no one on the wait list. 

I have enjoyed getting to know some of my students. I have so many names to memorize and I have not had time to do that at all this week. But, similar names are helping. It is easier when you have 4 caleb's in one class and other similar names. 

Though some places have classes cancelled on snow days, we almost never have classes cancelled. It actually has not been super cold here. We did have a day where we had a long of wind and the snow was blowing everywhere. The schools had a day off, but we didn't.  I do like how pretty snow can be sometimes especially when the temperature is not as cold.  This was the temple on Thursday when I went. Looking around me, I felt I was in the north pole or something...So, ya you do get days when Rexburg looks like a winter wonderland...

 If you have not been to the temple this year, please go.  I got to translate all the temple ordinance into Arabic in September. So, I knew about all the changes in advance. I know that every single change was inspired. I did have a great time on Jan 2nd watching the reaction of people who didn't know there would be changes. There was one sister who was so touched that she kept crying throughout the session.

Frost days are the best here, especially when it is not below zero and you can actually walk around and enjoy it.

And I guess you know you live in Rexburg when your river is covered with snow and is frozen solid.  Sorry, I took this from my car so it is not a great picture.

 There are other advantages of cold weather...all the bugs freeze. There are no flies, no mosquitoes, no cockroaches...nothing.

I have been cooking a lot. I often think about where to eat out then just give up and go home to make something. Whatever I make is better than any restaurant. I know that I won't have a lot of time to cook, but it is nice to have Palestinian food every now and then.

I made Musakhan yesterday. I am not really too fond of this meal, but my friend gave me good bread and I had to use it.

I have made Katayef again using a different recipe and it turned out better. I think I will keep trying until I perfect the recipe.  I am loving this so much that I keep eating it. But, I am close to being so sick of it. I always crave something sweet and it is nice to have these in my fridge to snack on.

 I am giving a few talks over the next few months.  I will be doing a little bit of traveling which should be fun. I am mostly excited about my trip to Seattle in May. I have never had someone invite me to speak that was in a different state (I mean other than Utah). 

I am giving a fireside in Rexburg on Sunday, the 27th. It is for the single adults, but if you are interested in attending, please message me on Facebook and I can send you the details.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Back to Rexburg

The first post of 2019! I can't believe it is 2019 already! It seems like yesterday when we were celebrating the start of the year 2000!
I am back in cold Rexburg. The weather in Arizona got a lot warmer after I left. I think I brought the cold with me. I mean it hardly ever snows in Arizona, but it did this year!

I gave a fireside last Sunday in Gilbert. I felt some of the youth were especially touched by the fireside for which I am grateful. I got to meet a lot of people which was great.  Amazingly enough many of those I met have been served in one way or another by the Allens. They have touched so many lives. I am so blessed to know such amazing people! The Allens were amazing hosts and did an amazing job organizing the fireside. Sister Allen had an amazing display with olive wood and cookies and treats in the back after the fireside. Sadly I didn't take a picture of it.

Sister Allen was introducing me to everyone in the streets and trying to get everyone to buy my book and come to the fireside. It made me feel famous!

I met a Palestinian man and his family who happened to learn about the fireside through his daughter and Facebook. It was nice to meet him and visit with him and his family.

I finally got to watch the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". And I got to watch it at my friend's theater. I was so shocked that they actually had a movie theater right in their house with leather reclining chairs. And they just kept waiting on us, can I get you a drink, can I get you a blanket? This is the life!
Even their son had a mini movie theater in his room. It was fun.

On New Years eve I went with the Allens to their son's house who was celebrating his 50th birthday. It was fun, but there were too many people! They did so many fireworks. It was cold outside, so I didn't stay outside all the time, but the fireworks lasted for 3 hours! They lit a fire and that made it easier to stand by the fire and watch the fireworks.

Here is a video of some of the fireworks we did...

It was also fun to enjoy the animals and feed the pigs and chicken. You know you have been away from Palestine too long when you actually enjoy seeing animals. It was actually a reminder of home...all the sweet smells (not).

They gave us fresh eggs which had amazing colors. Sadly, I had breakfast with my friend so I did not get to try the fresh 'blue' eggs!

 Our new Moran View ward had the first meeting today. We had a lot of callings and sustainings. I kept my calling in the Young Women for which I am grateful. I do love the Young Woman and enjoy being with them. 

It is great to belong to a church that is so organized. I mean when you can create a whole congregation from nothing, and have people called in such a short time. Then everyone just gets to work and serves so willingly and without pay. 

I am almost ready for the semester to start. Tomorrow, my family back home celebrates Christmas (Greek Orthodox use a different calendar). And yesterday my friend invited me to celebrate New Years with them again. I guess dates don't matter. I wish we could celebrate Christmas every day. But, maybe we can as we make Christ the center of our homes and serve Him every day. Because of Him we have everything....He is the greatest gift that was given to all mankind.
Because of the Savior we can be forgiven of our sins...
Because of Him we can live again...
Because of Him our lives can change...
Because of Him we can learn to love others...
Because of Him we gain an identity as Children of God...