Category Archives: Furlough

In Remembrance….

While I was home on furlough, my family experienced the loss of my grandma.  I can honestly say this was the first time I’ve ever walked through the loss of a family member, and I’m still trying to deal with the emotions accompanying this loss.

While I was sitting at the funeral service with my family, certain things kept popping into my mind…

  • how my grandma always called me “Mer-ee-nie” instead of Maureen. (I don’t think I ever heard her call me anything else)
  • all the emails she would send me when I lived in Brasil and Africa…. besides my mom, I don’t think anyone wrote me more.
  • the spiritual influence and encouragement she displayed.
  • she ALWAYS encouraged me to write!  She would tell me time and time again how proud of me she was and that one day she would be reading a book that I wrote.
  • her unconditional love for her family!

I really wanted to go up and share all these things, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through them… so I sat and listened to what others had to say… and they said it all! My grandma’s legacy was built on the love and belief she had in Christ and everyone sitting in that room knew it!

My grandma was the spiritual leader of her family, intercessor beyond a doubt, and a faith warrior! She was an encourager, a stander-on the Word and a worshipper!  She was a faithful wife, mother, grandmother, and most importantly of all, a servant of the Most High!

I love my grandma so much, and she is already greatly missed here on earth… but one thing is CERTAIN:  Now she is singing and worshipping in heaven, and I’m pretty sure she’s finally walking along-side the most beautiful creatures in her eyes…. her beloved giraffes!

My grandma and grandpa at their 40th wedding anniversary...


Saying Goodbye gets harder every time!

Tomorrow’s the day!  I am leaving the comfort of my family and friends in the US and return to the craziness of Israel….

I’ve been on furlough for the past month: spending time with my family, visiting friends and loved ones, sharing about my work in Israel, and mourning the loss of my grandma.  From Atlanta ✈ Kalamazoo ✈ Dallas ✈ Detroit ✈ Minnesota ✈ Wisconsin Dells ✈ New York… its been a whirlwind of traveling and emotions!

Usually after an entire month of being Stateside, I’m MORE THAN READY to return, but I’m just not there yet.  Maybe its emotions of losing my grandma and having to say goodbye to my family again that’s tugging at my ❤, so I’ll have to hang on to the memories from this trip even tighter…

Here are a few from my wonderful time at home:

Caribou Coffee ❤

Star Wars Monopoly with my mom and nephew

Mom and sisters

My nephew.... the big time skiier

The earmuff brigade

Cross-country skiing with my dad

My sister and I with our grandpa

The whole family at my grandma's funeral


Shoveling Snow Insight…

They say every great writer can take any experience and turn it into a story.  I’m going to take it a bit further and say that every great liver (that’s someone who lives) can take any experience and turn it into a valuable lesson…. I’m trying to become a better liver (and writer for that matter).

This morning I woke up to fresh snow on the ground. My dad is an AVID shoveler when it comes to winter, and he likes his driveway nice and clean… so I decided to surprise him by shoveling it.  It’s no small task, as my parents live out in the country and have a long driveway; but my dad does it every day, so it wouldn’t kill me to do it once…

… and it didn’t.  I’m sitting here writing this blog and I’m still alive.  Numb legs. But alive…

… and as I was shoveling out there, a million life lessons cropped into my mind, so I’ll share a few:

1. Shoveling is like life’s obstacles sometimes.  Its hard work, not always fun, and can be a long process… but its worth it when you reach the end and see the final product.

2. Shoveling is much easier with two people.  As I was approaching the half-way mark, I found myself saying “if only there was someone out here helping me, I would have been finished already.” We are meant to be in relationships. Friendships. Marriages. Families.  We are created for each other.

3. Doing something you do not necessarily like or want to do for someone else, knowing that it’s important to them, is a small gesture of love and a step toward unselfishness. I really DISLIKE shoveling.  It’s not something I would EVER seek out on my own, but I really LOVE my dad.  Being selfish is something I’ve always struggled through, and it’s small gestures such as shoveling, that will help me become less selfish.

4. Shoveling is actually pretty good exercise! I was tired and READY to be done when I reached the end.

5. It really wasn’t as bad as I had built it up in my head to be.  Often we can over-analyse our problems and struggles and make them into something they just aren’t.  Sure, it might not be easy, but it’s often times not as difficult as we thought it would be either.

All that being said, will I run out and offer to shovel the next time snow falls? Probably not! …maybe I will just learn how to use my dad’s snow-blower!

(ps… Less than a week till I return to Israel…. wow, where has the time gone!)


I really miss my family!

There is a Barlow Girl song called Here’s My Life that pretty much sums up how I feel every time I finish furlough and go back on the field.  For many reasons, this past furlough has been the most difficult time to return, so I find myself re-listening to this song and reminding myself why I’m here.  Here are some of the lyrics, and I put a link at the end if you want to hear the song in full…. Its good stuff!!!

Once again I said my goodbyes, to those I love most

My heart feels that familiar pain, as I long for hope

Cause this road is hard, when I feel so far

God, I’m crying out tonight

Cuz I’ve given you my life

But I’m tired, and I’m missing what’s behind

So once more, here’s my life….

(For the complete song, click here)


Volcano Taco Eating Contest: The Rematch!

I know you have all been dying to find out what happened with our annual Volcano Eating Contest while I was in the States.  Well, wait no more….here are the pics and results of the rematch (the 1st contest I won hands down, here is the recap in case you missed it) We started with one taco, and moved on to the Ultimate Volcano Nachos.  The jalapeno peppers they put on there were a killer, plus we added lots of HOT sauce to spicen-up the contest.

DSCF2505DSCF2508DSCF2510DSCF2512But in the end, after the last nacho chip was eaten, we had to declare it a tie!  We both lasted without water for quite a while after.  I guess my little Micheal (who isn’t so little any more) has managed to catch up with me FOR NOW!  I’m determined to win back my SOLO TITLE of CHAMPION… I guess we will just really have to add some super spicy extras next round!


WII Testing

Thanks to everyone who donated money for the WII Fundraiser, the dream has become reality.  I picked up the WII when I was over on the east side of the state earlier this week, so we decided that we just HAD to test it out before I take it back over with me. Here are some pics of us playing ping-pong and bowling… I can’t wait for the kids to start playing!!!

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Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

I have used all three forms of transportation this past week, 4 planes, 1 train, and various autos.  Travel can be an exhausting pastime, but essential part of my life.  I only wish that I could somehow manage to combine the three types together.

I like the speed and obviously the travel distance able to be covered with an airplane, but I DO NOT find them comfortable AT ALL!  Maybe if I were able to fly 1st class each time, I wouldn’t have this gripe, but us regular people who can only afford to fly open class, must fly in tiny, squished seats with no leg room at all.

The train is basically the opposite.  What it lacks in speed and travel distance can be made up with comfort and lots of space.

Of course we cannot forget the automobile, which provides the personal amenities that neither the plane or train gives, including complete control of travel.

What I really want is a combo of all 3.  The speed and distance of a plane, the comfort of the train, and the control of a car.  So, there is only 1 solution to this dilemma…. I guess I need to buy myself a jet and learn how to fly it! :0

Anyone out there have a spare one???


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