Tuesday, April 26, 2011

There's Something to the Saying "Nice Guys Finish Last"

Hopefully our family will never understand discrimination to its fullest extent, but every once in a while, we do experience something just because of our nationality. Being, in particular American, we are sometimes even told by the people here that they do not like us. When we ask why, there are different reasons given. Among the top reasons given are the following:

1. America needs to stay out of other country's affairs. By this, the people here are usually referring to Iraq, the war there and other similar incidents in the world.

2. America needs to do more in certain incidents in the world, such as the situation in Libya. (This is funny because it is a direct contradiction of #1.)

3. The people in America are rich. A lot of people here see America as a very rich nation, and the American people are sometimes portrayed as spoiled and wasteful, and that they are uncaring to other countries and the problem of poverty.

4. Americans hate Islam and anything to do with it.

I am not writing this blog-post to make you feel sorry for me or to even make you think bad of the people here. The people here are a lot like us, and when you get to know them as well as we have, you start to understand that. Like us, they believe what they are taught, their media is a little biased, and they are scared of what they don't know and understand.

While discrimination usually happens because of the bad thoughts someone has towards others, we actually felt "discriminated" against because of good thoughts someone had towards us. We were sitting at a coffee shop that we frequent quite often. Our son was getting a meal from another restaurant and was going to meet us at the coffee shop. Well, when he arrived with his meal, we were told we could not bring the food onto the grounds of the coffee shop. Now, we would have had no problem with this, but we see the nationals here do it ALL OF THE TIME. When Tim confronted the manager with this, he denied it. After a few minutes of talk back and forth, the manager finally admitted it. He actually said that the people here are too hard to deal with. If confronted, they are totally unpredictable to how they might react. Tim tried to tell him how discriminating that was; that this guy was actually forbidding us to do something they allow others to do because "we were nice people". It isn't like we were dealing with a manager we had never met before either. We have gone to various branches of this coffee shop for at least 7-8 years, and we have known this young man from the very beginning. I think it would have been easier dealing with a complete stranger than with someone we have known for so long. Well, I am disappointed, because we told them we would no longer return to their establishment if they could not be just and fair to everyone, but I am not disappointed about being discriminated against for being "nice people".

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

He Lives

I serve a risen Saviour,
He's in the world today;
I know that He is living,
Whatever men may say;
I see His hand of mercy,
I hear His voice of cheer,
And just the time I need Him
He's always near.

In all the world around me
I see His loving care,
And tho my heart grows weary
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading
Thro' all the stormy blast,
The day of His appearing
Will come at last.

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs
To Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him,
The help of all who find,
None other is so loving,
So good and kind.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life's narrow way.
He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives:
He lives within my heart.

One of my favorite hymns on the real meaning of Easter. I couldn't think of a better way to express just what He means to me. Just wanted to post it and wish you all a happy and blessed Easter.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Trip to Mt. Sinai

Just a view of the mountains early in the morning. Off to the right, in the valley, is where the monks from the monastery have a garden area. It really isn't visible in this picture.

This picture is taken about 6:00 AM. On the left, you can see the rooms where people stay, and straight ahead is where the cafeteria is.

One of many of the beautiful olive trees on the grounds.

Me, with some friends, and the mountains in the background.

Last weekend I traveled a second time to Mt. Sinai. The rest of my family was off on a retreat with the high school where my husband and daughter work. There is a church here who takes this trip annually, and we have gotten to know some of the people who go on this trip, so it was a great opportunity to just get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life in the big city.

I took the trip mainly for a chance of relaxation and fellowship with friends. I was debating on whether to climb the mountain again or not. I ended up not climbing because when we arrived I had a terrible headache due to lack of sleep the night before. But as you can see by the pictures above, the trip is worth it just for the beauty and the experience of being there.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Random Thought: What do you Crave?

What do you think of when you hear the word "crave"? I don't know about you, but I think most people think of foods. I personally think of "CHOCOLATE", and if you are a woman, you can probably identify. (And some men might too. Don't want to leave you out if you do.)

Well, this "random thought" just popped into my head yesterday. Sometimes when I pray, I ask God to help me "crave" His Word and His Ways. For some reason, this word "crave" just stuck in my head, and I started wondering why I use that word. I find it interesting that there are food terms that are used to refer to the Bible and Jesus, such as "bread" and "water". These things are necessary for us to live, and as a Christian, God's Word and Jesus in our lives are just as necessary, if not more. Immediately, I started getting thoughts about what people crave in their lives.

This acronym came to my mind about the things that people crave.

C-Compassion (Bet you thought I was going to put "Chocolate" here.)

We all crave compassion, don't we? When we are suffering in some way, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual, we like to have someone around who cares. I think the greatest example of compassion can be found in John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth, should not perish, but have everlasting life.

We all crave relationships. No one likes to be alone. We all crave interaction with others, and we crave to have people in our lives that we are close enough to to share the good and bad times with. In the first few chapter of the Bible, God made Eve for Adam. It says that he made her as a companion for him because "it was not good for him to be alone." Also, the best and most fulfilling relationship we can have is with Jesus.

In some ways, we all crave attention. This can be good or bad, depending on what you are calling attention to. The way we live our lives calls attention to what is important to us. I want to live my life in order to "call attention" to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Bible says in John 3:30 - He must increase, but I must decrease. This is saying that we do not live for our own purposes, but for His. I challenge you to take a look at your life. What do others see you showing as most important in your life?

I believe also that we all crave things to value, or at least we should. We need to have something to believe in. If we didn't, this world would be impossible to live in. The Bible speaks of many values; too many to actually go into, but having values gives us hope. If we do not have hope, we do not have anything. What is your hope in? To quote a popular hymn, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness."

And lastly, I believe we all crave encouragement in our lives. We all have things we love to do. God has given us talents, gifts and abilities, and we should use those things to the best of our ability. Sometimes though, we might be afraid. We might be afraid we will fail, or be afraid of what others may say about us. But I just want to encourage you now. You are special, especially to the One who created you. He made you for a specific purpose. He gave you specific talents, gifts and abilities, and if you use those things to honor and glorify Him, you will never fail; at least in His eyes, and that's all that really counts.

(If you have any questions about anything I said above, please feel free to contact me with those questions. I would be happy to answer them for you.)

Till next time, Jackie

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Open House

This is the beautiful cabinets we had made when we first moved in.

You can get an idea of what our living room furniture looks like from this picture. Plus, this apartment holds loving memories of Miss Kitty.

This is the wonderful food court in our area.

The beautiful view I will miss when we move back into town.

About a month ago, maybe more, we decided to have an "Open House" at our apartment because we are selling all of our furniture. We also wanted a reason to just have our friends feel welcome to come and visit, so we scheduled it for April 9th. Well, most of our furniture was spoken for before April 9th even got here, but we had a great time visiting with a lot of friends.

We have some friends who are getting married this summer, and they came by to take a look at everything. They needed to do it earlier than April 9th because they had found an unfurnished apartment they were interested in, and they wanted to see our furniture so they would know if they liked it and could afford it in order to go ahead and sign the contract. Well, they ended up taking about 2/3s of our things. The only things we have left are the kitchen items, the washing machine, and 2 TVs. This has worked out well for us though, as we have decided to keep the washing machine, the stove, and a small refrigerator.

We also have someone that wants our car, so we feel like things are just falling into place for us.

We live outside the city right now, but we will be moving back into the city when we return from our visit to the States. We have already found a furnished apartment where our daughter will stay (probably with a room-mate), and we will store our items in another of the rooms. Our daughter has decided to stay another year or two and keep teaching (mostly 6th grade classes) at the school.

I will miss all of my lovely furniture we bought just about 3 years ago, but I know those things are just that "things". And besides that, most of our stuff is going to a lovely young couple. I know it will be put to good use.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

1st April Weekend a Success

A little friendly competition before the race.

Levi at the finish line.

Just a few of the younger runners that ran the 2K.

Me with some of the teachers from our school.

Well, as I said in my last post, we have activities scheduled for almost every weekend in April, and yesterday was the first of these activities.

It was our school's annual 2K/5K. I ran this last year, but I just didn't have the time to train properly this year to be able to participate, but even if you do not run, it is a lot of fun just to be there. Our son, who is in the 10th grade did run though, and he did a great job. He came in 4th overall, and 1st in his age division. We are so proud of him. There is a Nigerian man that always comes in 1st or 2nd, and our son's goal was to beat him. He said he did not even care about a trophy or a medal, but he wanted to beat this man. As you can see in the picture of them together above it was just a little friendly competition, but in the end, this man came in 2nd, and Levi came in 4th.

The weather was so nice for this event. The day before was very hot; I think in the 90s, but yesterday it was a little cloudy, and it may have gotten into the 80s, but all in all a beautiful day for the race.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.