Category Archives: Life on the Outside

It’s JULY?!?

I know… I’ve been the worst blogger ever lately! I wrote once in June and sporadically in May, and I have a feeling July might be looking about the same. 😦 Here’s why:

* I have my Arabic Final July 13th…. and I’m a bit stressed and overwhelmed about it.

* I have to renew my visa at the end of the month, which has already caused me some headaches and trips to immigration.

* I’m trying to plan and put together a VBS outreach for the month of August. By myself. In Hebrew. Enough said.

Hopefully when I make it through this month I’ll have lots of good reports to write about….. stay tuned 🙂

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Fitting in

Fitting in.

Most people relate “fitting in” to the teen-age or middle-school-age years when finding your crowd can come with many challenges. Being a former middle-school teacher, I’ve seen my fare share of kids trying to change and be someone they’re not in order to fit in with a group they want to be in. Not a fun time!

Fortunately, I never really struggled with the “fitting in” issue in school (not that I didn’t have other issues) but that wasn’t one of them.

Unfortunately, I struggle with it more now, as an adult.

It’s not for a lack of friends, cuz to be honest I have some GREAT ones! It’s also not for a lack of wanting to be in a group that I’m not in either…. the truth is: many times I just have a difficult time relating to others.

Living around the world in various cultures is a tremendous calling, but it’s also changed me beyond words.  Each new place has impacted me in new ways and changed my outlook and actions toward life, as well as changing me on the inside.  I’ve taken treasures from each culture, which translates into me becoming a “melting pot” of sorts.

While all this is wonderful and great, here’s the problem… I never 100% fit in.

When I go home to The States, I find it difficult to relate to others, as the “American” in me has dwindled down to less and less over the years.  Sure, I still love my country and the Detroit Red Wings (had to get that one in, Joseph) but there’s only so far you can go with these topics.

I could give examples from each place: Brazil, Africa, Israel… but it boils down to this… I rarely feel like I really fit in anywhere, and sometimes it’s a lonely, difficult cross to bare.

Although there probably aren’t too many people here on earth who truly understand me, I KNOW there is someone up there who does! And Someday…. well, it’s one place I know I’ll fit in 🙂


I’m here.

To say that I’ve been frustrated and stressed lately is an understatement. There are moments when I just want to give up… to forget about Hebrew and Arabic… to try to find another way… but I know this is not an option for me right now.

For some reason it’s really been building up, and I’ve been so overwhelmed with it all.  Over our 2 week Pesach break, I was able to relax and devote all my extra time with ministry, which probably made my recent distaste for language studying escalate even more.

I’ve found in my life that when I’m discouraged and frustrated God has a way of putting little bits and pieces of comfort in my path.  

Today in Hebrew class we were discussing the idea of learning languages at a young age.  Our teacher then asked us how many years each of us have been learning Hebrew, to which I was a bit shocked at the answers.

I have been studying Hebrew for 2 years now… 2 LONG years; but out of everyone in my class I’ve been studying Hebrew the least amount of years. There are kids in my class who have been studying 4-10 years, and many of them have grown up in Jewish families, hearing Hebrew spoken all their lives.

I had a similar experience in Arabic class yesterday.  One of the girls in my class told me she’s been studying Arabic for 5 years now! 5 years! Me??? One.

As I sat there listening to the numbers I just thought, “What the heck am I doing in these classes with these groups?  No wonder I’m beyond stressed and mentally exhausted every night. No wonder why my mother is sick of hearing my cries every weekend…”

And then I thought of it in a new light.  Here I am, sitting in class, at the same level as these kids who have been around Hebrew their entire lives. Here I am sitting in Arabic class, reading and writing text, and just a year ago I couldn’t even recognize letters.  I might not get the highest grades on my tests or read at the same fluency as others, but I’M HERE!

I made it this far, so I might as well suck it up and keep on trekking.

Yes, I’m still frustrated…

Yes, I’m still stressed…

Yes, I’m still mentally exhausted……..

But, I’m Here!  And just that is encouragement for me today.

** Could you just say a little prayer for me this week (well, month for that matter)??? I’m really needing them! Thanks, bloggy friends!!!


Back to Work

As you can see from my previous post, last week was a week off for me. The week was filled with leisurely travel, relaxation, and celebration…. but as we know, all good things must come to an end, and such is the tale of my week vacation.

If it’s back to work I must go, then this was a perfect way to go back:

First, a field trip to the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem with some of my refugee kids.  It might not exactly sound like work to you, but trust me…. a zoo filled with hundreds of crazy kids running around from animal to animal can drive you to the point where you’re ready to jump in with the lion and take your chances! (but we did have lots of fun too!)

Second, an afternoon in the park playing basketball.  I was finally able to hook up with one of our Professional Basketball Players in the Israeli league (we’ve been trying to put something together for a while now), where he could come down and play with the kids.  It was a huge success, and the kids absolutely LOVED him! The weather is finally nice enough again where we can resume our basketball outreach, and I honestly forgot how much I really do enjoy spending this time with the kids.

Overall, not too shabby for my first two days back after holiday! 

I’ve posted all the pictures from the Zoo field trip and our Afternoon of Basketball on our Shine Facebook Page…go check them out! 🙂


Birthday Bliss

This past weekend I turned 36 (though if anyone asks me, I’m still 35!) 🙂

I was so blessed to have some wonderful moments:

A friend gave me a full-day at a spa up in Tiberias, right on the Sea of Galilee…. fantastic!

Cotton Candy on the Boardwalk 🙂

My annual picture with the T-Rex!

VIP Movie Night at Cinema City… I don’t think I can watch a movie in the “regular” section ever again! LOL

Dead Sea and Ein Gedi to top off the weekend! 


I finally found it…

For  a while now I’ve been on the lookout for something that’s been missing from my apartment. It’s a bit ironic that my apartment is lacking this particular item, since my landlord is an Orthodox Jew, but needless to say it’s been absent….

I’m talking about a mezuzah!

When I first moved to Israel, I blogged about my first experience with the mezuzah, and since then I have always had one wherever I lived…. except now.

Yesterday I headed over to Jerusalem to spend some time with my home church Pastor and his wife, who were here on a tour, and believe it or not I FINALLY found a mezuzah in the Old City that I really liked!

I decided to hang it on the doorpost of my bedroom instead of on the outside of my apartment (just to be on the safe side), but after I hung it I realized it was the perfect place for it.

I’m super happy with my new addition!


It’s not about you.

I had a bit of a wake up call last night.

I was watching Secret Millionaire online (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a great show… cried through most of it) when the call came. It was from HIM.

You see…. I’ve been frustrated. Being called to missions in a foreign place isn’t always a cup of tea, but sometimes we add our own problems and issues on top of that.  I’ve been trying to set up a “presence” for Shine to build up supporters.  Facebook. Twitter. Blog. etc etc etc.

And I guess if I’m going to be honest, I’ve been disappointed.  Not only disappointed in the lack of response, but disappointed in myself. I’ve been caught up with the newsletters, support, finances, updates… things that we think we need to focus on; but really they should only be add-on’s to our mission.

But it wasn’t until last night that I realized what I was doing.  The “secret millionaire” went undercover to volunteer with non-profits to see where the real need was, and surprised them in the end with a huge check.  It wasn’t the huge check that got my attention, it was the org’s.  All of them were small, and unknown (except within their community).  They weren’t worried about who knew what they were doing or what publicity they were receiving…. they were concerned about the people they were helping.

And it hit me like a ton of bricks.

It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about them.

And while I adore all of you, I won’t be trying to gain your praises any time soon.  I’m re-focusing my attention on them…. (and I’m still hoping one day you’ll join me) 🙂


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