Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Warning: Random

Yesterday I chatted with my sister (in-law) for almost 2 hours! 
*Pause as I do a happy dance*

It was awesome. 
The conversation was peppered with interruptions, from my handsome nephew on her side (always welcomed by this auntie!) and curious children from my side!
But still the topics flowed and flowed (our husbands know that we could talk for hours if we had time!) 

My dear Amanda and I get along great, which is funny because we are so so different. 
Like really, we are so different. Really. Honestly...Im not joking here people!
 (Ok I'll stop)
And chatting for a while, her sitting on the floor in her living room in Canada, me sitting on a couch here in Israel, was what I needed. 

I have been missing my family and friends back home. 
Not in an "I-hate-this-I-want-to-go-home-now!" tantrum way. 
I don't hate this, I love this!

But in the good times, when Im so happy that my heart hurts, I think of them and think how they would enjoy that moment too. 
When I am at the shuk (market) and its all chaotic and so Israeli, I think of how I would love to share that experience with them, the smells and sounds and tastes. 

I miss them in a good way. I recognize how blessed I am, with an incredible family and amazing friends, that loves and supports us.

And I love skype. 
End of story.

(Ok not quite)
Lets end this with some funny. 

Click here if you want to laugh heartily. 
I warn you, it gets funnier the more times you watch it. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I have had a rough couple days. 
Some sort of stomach virus has attempted to completely take over my life! 
But, after 2 days of intense pains and some other lets-not-describe-it stuff, I am feeling a bit better! Nothing makes you as thankful as when you have been really ill and you wake up feeling half ways decent! Thank you for praying! 

I was a touch worried that it would last a long time! We are going away next week for 2 nights, to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. I was quick to remind God, "Its already paid for!"
Its a good thing He's already got it figured out!

And it has come to my attention that whenever I even hint at being sick, people all over the world quickly assume that I am pregnant. 

Let me clarify: 
I am sick, so please, sympathy ok? :)

I managed to walk down to the field last night and see the hedgehog that Andrew found! Isnt it cute! 
(The picture isn't too great, but Im still not in the moving-quickly or bending-over phase of recovery yet.)

Have a blessed week!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In our morning meeting today we talked about war and the possibility of it. 
We were told about where it is safe to hide, if and when rockets are fired. 
We were told that we have 60 seconds to get somewhere safe after the sirens sound. 
We were told that the rockets now a days are different than the rockets from the war in 2006.
We talked about evacuation options, housing options, food storage and safety plans. We found out that we can safely hide 70 people in our prayer cave. We found out that we have 2 bomb shelters on our property. We found out that our room is pretty safe because none of the windows face north (where Lebanon is).
Next week we are starting the process of storing food, getting up-to-date information about everyone from the kehilat (congregation), and practising "just in case". 

Can I just pause here for a second. 

Say WHAT?! 
Bomb shelters? Sirens? Evacuations?! WAR?! 
Im just a simple mennonite girl from Canada!

As we were chatting (might I add that the tone from others was very calm!) I was thinking "What on earth are we doing here! Our family in Canada is CAMPING this weekend! They are building fires, riding quads, eating BBQs! And here we are, figuring out the fastest way to evacuate and hide from bombs and rockets!"
In that brief moment, I seriously doubted our presence in this country! 
But as quickly as that doubt came in, it was swept back out. 
I felt such a peace, one that really defies reason. 
We are exactly where God wants us, we are doing what He has called us to! 

Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world! 
He will definitely not abandon us here in Israel, in fact, I believe He wants to bless us for being here in such a time as this! 

All that said, we have no idea if and when there will be a war, but, living in Israel, it is a possibility. But I honestly feel its not a soon-to-happen-reality, so please don't be worried for us! 

Please pray with us for the peace of Israel. 
Pray for safety for those living here, those that have already survived a war or two.
 Pray for wisdom for the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. He does not have an easy job. 

"As for God, His way is perfect;
The word of the Lord is proven;
He is a shield to all who trust in Him"
Psalm 18:30

Friday, May 18, 2012

I thought I would post some random pictures from the past couple weeks! 

Friday afternoon is movie time!

We got to meet up with Jarred and Merida! Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures of the four of us! But, just for proof, here is Jarred with our friend Tehila.

And Andrew with Merida (see the side of her face?! Proof!) 

We had a field fire! The fire department didn't come for over 30 minutes and so a few of us had to put it out! Let me tell you, that fire-hose is NOT light!
 It was a pure adrenaline rush! 
Once the fire was out, I managed to stop my shaking hands and snap a couple pictures. Here are some of the hero's. 
(The fire was just beyond that tall grass these, luckily they got most of it out before it got to that dry tall stuff!) 

And of course, my hero! 

I am so happy when I get to have the little babies! This little one came and had a nap with me, it was so peaceful! 

So there you go, a small glance into our week! My camera batteries have died (again!) and we haven been able to get out to replace them! So this week is sorely lacking in pictures! I will post some as soon as I get a chance! 
Blessings on you and yours! 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day to the other mother in my life! 
You have welcomed me into your family since the first time I met you! 
I remember that day. I was nervous, unsure of what I was getting myself into. After all, Andrew and I weren't even dating yet! 
I remember that you were convinced that I looked exactly like Carrie Underwood, you even printed off her picture from the internet to compare! 
Thank you for the many dinners that you share with us, we miss them! 
We know that you will always be there for us.
Thank you so much for raising your son, now my husband, to be the man he is. 
I am forever in your debt for that! (Andrew says those are dangerous words! haha.)

Happy Mothers Day Mom.
We love you! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

To my dear mother.

Where would I be without you? (besides the obvious. Not existing!) 
This morning I was telling Andrew about some of my favourite childhood memories. 
I remember when I was 6, I was convinced that you were the tallest women I had ever met. I remember bragging to my friends "Your mom isn't as tall as mine! My mom is taller than the trees!"

I remember one time I was getting ready for school (I was probably 6, we had just moved from Paraguay).  I was trying to decide what to wear and I couldn't choose between 2 shirts. I went to you and asked "Mom, how do you make a decision when you just cant choose!" and you said "Pray about it." I cant remember if I did pray about the shirts but I think about what you said, often.  I will never forget that, it is often the thing that reminds me to bring everything to the Lord in prayer.
Do you remember?

I remember when I was growing up, in the mornings, I would often come upstairs and find you and dad, still in your PJs, sitting on the couch. The lights would be dark and you guys were quietly talking, voices still low with sleep, drinking mate. I would climb onto the couch between you two, often still half asleep myself.
 I loved that. It made me feel special, just the three of us, starting the day off together.
 When Andrew and I moved back into your place in February, thats one of the things I looked forward to the most. 

The memories are endless. I could talk about our many family vacations together. The long drives, the early mornings, the camping trips.

I remember when we would leave for a trip. You would wake me up early, wrap me in my blanket and take me to the car. You would always make us a cup of hot chocolate, in those plastic cups with the lid. I remember the first time you didn't do it. I was so disappointed and let you know! Next time, you made sure to make me a cup of hot chocolate, still in that plastic cup with the lid. I was probably 15!

There are so many times when you have loved me, despite the fact that I was driving you crazy! You have comforted me when I pushed you away, you have smiled at me when I deserved a frown, you have loved me when I least deserved it. 

You encourage me to think for myself, to know and love God, to explore the world around me. You cheer me on, you pray for me, you believe in me. 
Mom, I owe you so much. 

Thank you. 
Thank you for the support, the love, the endless devotion. 
You made my childhood carefree and exciting. 

You are one of the funniest people in my life, and the most joyful. 
You willingly help anyone and everyone. 
You give, give and give some more. 
You cook for the masses. People are always welcome at your table. 
You are kind, generous and a lot of fun!
You have helped shape me into the woman I am today.
 I pray that someday I will love my (currently non-existent) children with the actions and intensity that you loved me. 
I pray that my table will always be full of food, feeding those who need it.
 I pray my kitchen is filled with warmth and wonderful smells, that our home would be a haven for others, like yours is for so many. 

Happy Mothers Day Mom.
 I love you. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

I just found out that another couple I know are getting a divorce. 
I am so frustrated, discouraged and mostly angry! Just flat out angry! 
Once again, Satan has taken something that God designed, something thats beautiful and holy, and twisted it! 
And this couple have bought the lies and thrown away a precious gift from God! 
Now don't get me wrong. I KNOW marriage can be tough. Im well aware that marriage is the impossible task of taking two sinful, complicated people and making them become one. 
Its impossible! Its crazy, frustrating and wonderful!
 There is no way through marriage without God, you will never convince me otherwise! 

Like John Piper says "Marriage passes through breathtaking heights and through swamps with choking vapours. It makes many things sweeter, and with it come bitter providence…The greatness and glory of marriage is beyond our ability to think or feel without divine revelation and with-out the illumining and awakening work of the Holy Spirit.The world cannot know what marriage is without learning it from God."
And this couple, like my other friends who are just finalizing their divorce, are Christians! I worked with them in the mission field, have prayed, laughed and cried with them! I did not see this coming.
Sometimes the worlds track record with marriage is so discouraging. Are my standards too high? Do I expect too much from broken, simple people? I myself am broken, simple and only have worth because of the blood of Yeshua on the cross! I think these questions but I know in my heart that Im right to be upset. That is Gods heart, of course! Most divorces are not "justifiable" in the Lords eyes. Im not trying to start a debate or offend people, so please just hear me. 
God doesn't see unhappiness as a reason for divorce.
"We want different things"  or "We love each other, but we aren't  IN love" or "He just doesn't understand me!". 
Those are not justifiable! Why? Because all of them, every single one, is selfish. Self-serving. 
Nothing about marriage ever was or ever will be about serving yourself. 

I don't want to make this long, nor am I interested in writing a book on marriage! Finding out about these friends is hard, but I have decided to fight the discouragement and pray!
I am reminded to pray for my married friends, believers or not. 
I am reminded to pray for my own marriage, to protect it, to shield it and nurture it. I am reminded of Gods faithfulness to those that love Him. 
Neither Andrew or I are perfect. But we are committed, first to God and second to each other. I truly believe that thats the only way it works. Nurture your relationship with the Lord, He will strengthen and bless your marriage. 

“Welcome one another . . . for the glory of God.” That is God’s word for your marriage. Thank him for it; thank him for leading you thus far; ask him to establish your marriage, to confirm it, sanctify it, and preserve it. So your marriage will be “for the praise of his glory.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Thursday, May 10, 2012

"As you gave the ring to one another and have now received it a second time from the hand of the pastor, so love comes from you, but marriage from above, from God. As high as God is above man, so high are the sanctity, the rights, and the promise of love. It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, May 4, 2012

We were so happy to spend the day in Akko, about 45 mins north of Haifa (2 hours by bus…)
It was such a wonderful, refreshing day for us. We enjoyed fresh orange juice, walked for miles, took tours (into tunnels!) and ate schwarma. We needed a day for the two of us and God delivered! 
So here, let me bombard you with pictures!! Enjoy!

The beautiful, winding streets!

We found a "garden" made of flowers planted in shoes, boots, purses, pots, etc! 

The wonderful market, full of spices, clothes, baked goods and more! 

This woman baked everything in the little oven behind her. 

We took a tour of tunnels, old ruins and areas that are preserved from the time of the Crusaders. It was awesome! We got these little phones, which gave us information, a self-lead tour! 

A huge courtyard that was buried in dirt until 1992! 

The toilet room! You could see through the holes into the room below. I would NOT have liked the job of cleaning up! 

We went into the old sewage tunnels, which were narrow and so fascinating! We found an unlocked gate and couldn't resist discovering it for ourselves! 

Im pretty sure the writing in red says "Danger. Do not enter upon penalty of death!" or something...
 (kidding mom!!)

It was super narrow and dark, luckily I had the flash from the camera to guide me! 

The old hospital, from the crusaders times! 

"Beware: Certain areas of the tunnel will require you to bend"...

Especially for Andrew! 

We found a camel! I named him Carl. 

You can see how thick the walls around the city are! Amazing! 

What does it say about me that my ideal kitchen in found in a museam? Hmm..

Heavy cannonballs!

We enjoyed some lovely fresh-squeezed orange juice! 

The beautiful Mediterranean Sea!

The Walls of the city, on the sea side. They have withstood a lot! 

Of course I jumped....

All in all, we had a wonderful day, being tourists! Apparently Akko is second only to Jerusalem in terms of history(in Israel). It has a rich, history of war, success, death and life! We were blessed to spend some time there!