Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The sweetest little girl

Tonight after Tom put Joni to bed, I went in there to check on her and I walked in on her saying a prayer.  She was kneeling down on her little Muslim prayer rug that a good friend gave her from the Old City.  When I realized what she was doing, I tucked back behind the door so she wouldn't hear or see me.  Soon Tom came also, and we listened to the sweetest little girl give the sweetest little prayer.  Here are several of the things she said, although I'm afraid I can't remember it all.....
Please, Father, bless my dad to work hard and earn lots of money at school (she's a little confused on that).

Please bless that I will be able to stop screaming at mom.  Please, please help me.  I don't want to scream anymore.  You have to trust me, and I will trust you if you help me.

And Father, please bless that I will be able to learn a lot at school and that my brain will learn Hebrew faster so I can be friends with all the kids, not just Batja.

Help me and Batja to practice Hebrew.  I will tell her the words I remember, and she will tell me the words she remembers.

Please bless that I will feel you, Father, while I'm at school, and also Jesus and all the angels.

Thank you for the good Spirit I feel everyday all the time.

Please, please, please help me have a good day tomorrow.  Help me walk right into school without fussing.  Please help me to not fuss all day tomorrow.  I want to make good choices soooooo bad.

Then as she crawled into bed and I came in to sit with her while she fell asleep, she turned to me and said, "I just felt Heavenly Father tell me thank you."

Monday, November 9, 2009

Before and After

The housing office surprised us recently by redoing our kitchen.  The following pictures don't do the nastiness justice...

This old kitchen wreaked of mold.  It was so old and rotten inside that there was a constant cockroach problem because there were so many places for them to come and go.  Several of the doors wouldn't shut, and the hinges were falling to pieces.  The worst was when we would have a plate of food on the counter, and an above cupboard door would be open or closed.  Rotten wood chips would fall into the food below.  The stove top was also so small that we couldn't quite put two pans next to each other because the burners were so close together.  We also had to light it every time we used it.

But all of that is just a memory....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

5 YEARS?!?


 You have been a special girl from the moment you were born.  Even though you came early, and the first several months were hard, you were a fighter.

Now you're a healthy, happy 5 year old who continues to amaze me every day.  I am proud of you for all the good decisions you make, for being brave enough to move to a foreign country, and even go to school surrounded by foreign language.

I love your infectious laugh and your tender heart.

No one in the world is quite like you.

Happy Birthday, girl.  I love you.


Monday, November 2, 2009

What we have been up to -- Jerusalem Center

Elder Holland and Elder Porter came.
There is nothing cooler than listening to an apostle speak in the Holy Land, overlooking the city where the first apostles once were.

The BYU-J students played Duck, Duck, Goose with my kids and made their day. (sorry about the horrible picture)

We also had a fantastic Halloween with good friends at the Center.  We decorated cookies, ate pizza, did a little parade through the cafeteria so the students could cheer and make the kids feel special, and of course some trick or treating to the senior couples and students' doors.  Joni and Jackson were the cutest Cinderella and biker dude you've ever seen.  Best Halloween ever.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We live very close to a British war cemetery. It is kept up very nicely and always looks very pretty. The grass is always a beautiful bright green, which is almost unheard of here.

So we recently went to visit the cemetery and walk around. I enjoy cemeteries. It's like there are hundreds, if not thousands of stories to be told - when each person was born, how long they lived, if they have family members buried next to them, and so on. I particularly like it when headstones have a little saying on them, either something their loved ones are "saying" to the deceased, or maybe a motto the deceased had lived their life by. Beautiful either way.

But war cemeteries tend to be a little more generic. Besides a name and some dates, at most they will have a symbol of that person's religion. The symbols are usually quite small, so we may not think much of them. But that one little symbol tells so much about that person's life - not only what they believed in general, but it most likely even gives us a glimpse into where or who they turned to for comfort while facing the reality of death on the battle front.

Jerusalem is unfortunately the home to many, many wars. This city has been occupied for thousands of years, and has had countless battles. A historical death toll is unthinkable. The craziest part of the whole thing is WHY. I'm afraid that far too many of those lost lives were because this city has so much religious significance. I don't have to think long to know what our loving Heavenly Father would think of that. :(

But here we are, walking alongside green grass and beautiful trees and flowers, on a hillside above this ancient city. Seeing all the headstones in this ONE cemetery, from this ONE war, just makes me shake my head in confusion. Why are we still fighting?

I love this country and this city, but I will never get used to the fact that there is a horrible, yet somewhat passive-aggressive war going on here. People are losing their livelihood, their freedom, and some are losing their lives. And I'm afraid it's only getting worse.

So for now I will continue to enjoy the freedoms that I have, and teach my children to do the same..... because I don't know what else to do.