Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day

Today is a snow day.....It is fabulous. My nephew heard about this article so we looked it up and my niece, nephew and friend celebrated by doing most of the tricks on this list. Here are a few pictures. The article is from the Associated Press, 21 ways to make a Snow Day from School. I am so grateful to God for a quiet day of rest.

"What are the snow day magic tricks?

Snow day magic includes a myriad of steps. To optimize results, students and teachers may perform each and every snow day magic trick - at the first sign of snow. Here are 21 of the most popular snow day magic tricks:

Do all your homework.

Line your bedroom doorway with white chalk.

Line your bedroom doorway with white crayons.

Plan extra appointments for the day.

Put a frozen white crayon under your bed.

Put a snowball in the freezer.

Put a snowball in the toilet.
Put a white crayon in the freezer.

Put a white plastic spoon on your bedroom windowsill.

Put a white stuffed animal toy on your windowsill.

Put ice cubes in the toilet.

Sleep backwards in your bed (head to foot).

Stick a soup spoon under your pillow.

Stick a wooden spoon under your pillow.

Stand on your head, and sing "Frosty the Snowman."

Stick something silver under your pillow.

Throw ice cubes at a tree outside.

Wear pajamas backwards.

Wear pajamas inside out.

Wearing pajamas, run five times around the kitchen table in each direction.

Wearing pajamas, spin around ten times in each direction.

Of course, after completing all of these snow day magic tricks, folks may find themselves so tuckered out that they actually need a day off.

Do snow day magic tricks work?

Whether the weather is affected by snow day magic tricks may be debatable, but snow-loving folks seem to enjoy the process."
Teachers love snow days just as much as kids!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Amazing Journey to the Middle East

Good Morning! It's around noon in the Middle East right now, unfortunately, that means in 5 AM here but I can not get back to sleep again. I wanted to write about my incredible, unforgettable Christmas adventure in the Middle East. I was gone for two weeks, from Dec 21 to Jan 4.Tuesday 12/21
I wrote in my journal, "I am about to fly to Jordan again. I can hardly wait. In will be nice to be in that beautiful country again." It was a slow day to fly, a lot of waiting...waiting in lines...waiting in airports and the quiet waiting in the airplane. It was a big plane, but so hard to wait, while everyone was sleeping around me and we flew through the night. In the airport, I actually had lunch with a sweet, beautiful Middle Eastern lady. She was so kind and we talked for a long time. In the plane, I remember being so humbled and honored for God's provision and blessing...I kept thinking, I get to have an amazing family, I get to go to go to a land and culture that is still very much like the land where Jesus walked, ministered and died. I also remember praying that I could encourage my brother's family and learn more than I ever dreamt. After many hours and flying into Wed,12/22, I finally got off the plane, went through customs, was picked up by my older brother and looked forward to an awesome holiday.
12/23 Thursday
It was nice to relax today, at one point I journaled, "Well, let me tell you about Jordan. Jordan is perfect in December. It is warm and dry, like a late Spring day in the States. The people are kind, especially the ladies. The city of Amman is beautiful, especially the stone facades wit with a full moon. Not many trees grow here, and everything has a natural rugged look, the cliff walls, the buildings and streets. But there is so much color everywhere. The large billboards, the Arabic small shops, the carefully tended trees and the ornate head scarves of all the conservative women.
12/24 Christmas Eve

This morning, I got to wake up at 6:30 and run 16Kilometers with my brother through the city. It was perfect weather, the streets were quiet as everyone rested on their holy day and we talked and talked. At the end of our run, we arrived at the market. It was exciting, there was so much noise, people jostling, and vendors yelling loudly in Arabic. David and I bought a lot of fruit there. Later that day, I learned a crucial lesson about time in the middle East my niece, brother and I went to visit an antique dealer of his. He had invited us at 10, however, Arabic time doesn't expect anyone to show up on time. We went shopping for antiques with this gentleman though and had a great time. In the evening, my amazing sister in law hosted a huge party at their house. There were over 60 people who loved God passionately! That evening. after everyone left, we had tea, opened gifts and read, The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever. All the older girls loved modeling our new matching bathrobes
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Christmas was wonderful and quiet. We went to Church in the morning, it is beautiful to hear people worship God in a different language. My brother picked up Papa John's Pizza and we had a very sweet day together. That night, we went to a huge open house party, there were 40 people. I loved the various people represented, German, Swedish, Korean, Palestinian and American. As we walked down the street, we heard the evening call to prayer across the city.
Sunday Dec 26
Today David and I went to the city of Salt, in Greek, Salt means heavily forested, apparently there used to be a lot of trees here before the Ottoman empire deforested this country and surrounding countries.
It was a beautiful quaint city. The saddest thing we saw was an old building in a junkyard, surrounded by a cement wall with barbed wire. Then David noticed it first, an old steeple with a cross on it. It seemed abandoned, The city had many interesting streets. Here is a picture of the church and one of me on the roof of the museum.

Dec 27, Monday
Today was beautiful, exciting, quiet, restful, cute and so much. We slept in, shopped, and waited for my sister, Catherine and her family to fly in. When Catherine finally got in, they opened the suitcases , then had so much good food and nice gifts.
Dec 28, Tuesday
Today, we visited the amazing downtown, or old town, "Balad" of Amman. We shopped, visited the ancient Amphitheater and ate at Hashim's, a 'hole in the wall' restaurant that served amazing Jordanian Food. It was a full day shopping and seeing this amazing city.

12/29 Wed
Can you imagine seeing 3 sites from the Bible in one day? Well, today, we got to see Mount Nebo, the place where Moses stood before he died and looked out at the promised land, there is a very old church there and mosaic's but the best thing is the lookout point, It is just 26 miles to the Jordan River and the Israel is beyond. I wonder what Moses must have thought as he stood there with the whole land stretched below him?
A more interesting sight was the mountain of Mukawir, this is Herod's Fortress, where John the Baptist is believed to have been imprisoned in a cave and remains of a dance floor can be seen, where Herod's step daughter may have danced for the head of this prophet. I could actually see the Dead Sea from this mountain, otherwise, all you could see were shepherds, and Bedouins, on the sandy, stony soil of this barren land.
Finally, we went to Medeba, where Ruth was from. This was all the country of Moab so we read many verses about this area. In Medeba, now, they have a very nice restaurant called Haret Djoudna, a very classy place with amazing food. We went shopping in the small shops and bought scarves and rugs and nice souvenirs.
Today we visited the ancient Castle of Ajloun, built around 1184 AD to limit the expansion of the Crusaders. We explored the fortress and have a beautiful view of the countryside, thick with olive trees and quaint cities.
12/31 New Years Eve
It was a nice rainy quiet day. Catherine brought Martinelli's Sparking grape juice so we celebrated a good year.

Jan 1, 2011
There is no better way to start a new year than by going to one of the Seven wonders of the world and by fulfilling the requirement for a good day. I believe to have a truly good day you must do certain things.

1. Make a Financial Transaction
2. Put your life in danger
3. Go somewhere you've never been before
4. Do something you've never done before
Today, my sister and brother and their family's loaded up on a bus to drive the three hours down to Petra, and while there, I made a financial transaction with a very old Bedouin who sold bracelets. My father actually met him 35 years ago when he went to Petra, which is cool. We all put our lives in danger by riding these obstinate but cute donkey, up the steep 600 steps to the High Place in Petra. Even though, I had been to Petra before, we went to "the best view" in Petra,' a very high lookout point, that was very new and scary for me. Finally, never before, has a young Bedouin man offered me a free ride on his horse out of the Siq. Ha, ha. It was fun.

1/02 Sunday
This was the day we got to visit the Jordan River where they believe is the Baptism Site of Jesus and see the sun set over the Dead Sea. It was amazing! It was
a little scary being right on the border of Israel and Jordan and sad how touristy and "religious" it was at the Jordan River. It was also strange how murky and swampy the area is, but I am glad I went. The Dead Sea was so buoyant, you couldn't sink or swim, just float, 400 meters below sea level.
1/03 Mon
Today, I got to go into school, to observe my brother teach English. He is a gifted teacher.. Also, I got to go out on the street and purchase food at a restaurant in Arabic all by myself. It was very exciting because I am shy in different cultures. The Falafel was such good food too! It was sad that it was my last day in this exotic land, but in a way I was glad to go back to. I missed home a lot and regular routine and dear friends.
1/04 Tues
Joanie and Catherine took a taxi with me to the Airport in the AM, I woke up around 6, then flew all day and finally arrived back in Ohio around 10, and got into bed around midnight. That means it was about 24 hours without much sleep. I thank God for a great, uneventful flight and a great trip! I want to thank David, Joanie, Anna, Aimee, Christina, Carrie, Mark, Catherine, Cerianne, Melyssa, Kelci and everyone who prayed, encouraged or supported this trip in anyway. It was lifechanging and I learned so much