Tag Archives: Christmas

My (Dream) Tree Topper

Staying with the Star Wars Christmas Theme, I just wanted you all to know that I found my DREAM Christmas Tree Topper….

Soooo, if any of you are looking for last minute Christmas gifts to give me, “May the Force Be With You” as you search for my Future Yoda Tree Topper! 🙂

Modern Day Gingerbread Houses

Gingerbread “houses” have come a looooong way since the beginning of their existence (whenever that was).  You all know I’m a huge Star Wars Geek, so when I saw this Gingerbread ‘creation’ I HAD to post it!

(photo from Flickr)

If I were going to build a Gingerbread Creation, I would definitely aspire to something like this.  What would you build????

Who LOVES Candy Canes???

Thanks to my sis’s facebook post the other day, I’ve had Candy Canes on my mind ever since.  Then my other sister commented about liking the Jolly Rancher Candy Cane, and I was like…. WHAT!?! I’ve never even heard of that type of Candy Cane!

There are SOOOOO many new flavors of Candy Canes out there, and being away means I’ve been slacking on my Candy Cane Flavor knowledge.  I think the classic Peppermint Candy Cane might even be on the bottom of people’s flavor lists now.

I looked online to see what I’ve been missing and WOW! There’s a lot out there:  Hershey’s Chocolate Mint Canes (which sound amazing by the way), Starburst Strawberry Canes, Jolly Rancher Smoothie Canes, Sweet Tart Canes, Gobstopper Canes, Root Beer Canes, Cinnamon Canes, Butterscotch Canes ….. the list goes on and on.

So, I’m curious to know: What is your favorite Candy Cane Flavor??? Any Classic Peppermint Red/White Striped Lovers Still Exist?? It’s my Official Christmas Poll, so don’t be shy…..

(I’ll start it off: my favorite flavor is the Blueberry Flavored Cane with the Dark Blue/Light Blue stripes that leave you with a lovely shade of blue tongue and lips)

2 1/2 More Weeks!

Only 2 1/2 weeks until Christmas?!?


These past couple weeks have been BRUTAL on me, and quite frankly, I’m ever-so-happy to see them behind me!  I’ve been baking and hosting like crazy, and this past weekend was our big Help Portrait Tel Aviv Event.  All this to say that I’m ready for you, Christmas even if you aren’t showing yourself anywhere in my world!

Help Portrait Tel Aviv 2010



Candy Cane Christmas Cookies


My Christmakkah

Friday Foto Flashback: Dec. 2003. Rio de Janeiro

I like fun, new categories to play around with so I’m gonna give it a try.  Some foto’s will be recent flashbacks…. and some not so recent!  Here’s one from my teaching days, back at ICS Rio.  This was the night of our School Christmas Program, me with my 5th graders.  (Who are now Juniors/Seniors!!!) Fun times 🙂

2000 + years later….

Its becoming a new tradition for me to spend Christmas Eve in Bethlehem…this was my 2nd year trekking across the border for the festivities.  Its crazy to try to imagine how it was back then, compared to now; but my mind wandered back to the night when HE was born (standing on the same ground will do that do you).

This year there were TONS of people there.  I think the fact that the weather was nicer this year, brought out more locals (and by locals, I mean Men.  Women were few and far between).  As I stood looking toward the crowd, I thought, “and what a contrast to the few animals that were there to witness his birth..”

I had other moments that took me back.  Moments of, “I can’t believe I’m seeing this here” like the infamous STARS and BUCKS coffee shop (close enough to attract Starbucks lovers, but not close enough to break any infringement rights).  Can you imagine if Mary was like, “Oh, Stars and Bucks!!!” We traveled all this way, I could really use a cup of Stars and Bucks coffee to get me through this…” hehehe. (ok, well even if Mary wouldn’t have been excited, I sure was)

And of course, we all have this nice little image of what it was like that night… in a cute little manger, surrounded by the shepherds, wise men, donkeys, sheep, and the shining star on top.  I’m sure our pop culture plays a big part in that; but as I stood, posing next to the famous “nativity scene” in front of the Arab Christian tourist shop I actually took a moment to imagine what it was really like that night.

More or less, likely in a small cave or some sort…cold…smelly…dark…birth-pains…

This is how our Savior was born.

And I was humbled.

For as I looked all around me, 2000 + years later, I saw an extreme of opposites surrounding me.  Now versus then.

But ONE thing remains the same: The REASON!  His LOVE remains the same both then and now.  He came for them; He came for us.  He died for you; He died for me. No matter how much our world changes, for better or worse, this one constant will remain the same….and I love HIM even more today than yesterday.

Bethlehem is a wonderful place to be on Christmas Eve, and I hope the tradition continues for years to come, but the location is just that…. a location.  What matters is what’s in our ❤!  That is the truth of Christmas!  Much love to all of you, from my beloved Bethlehem!

(and wouldn’t it be fun to join me next year!?!)

My gift backup plan…

I know that I said all I want for Christmas this year is for my to-be husband to come along, but a girl’s got a right to modify that list.  What I ALSO want (and have wanted for some time now) is a dog.  Not just any dog, but this one:

I mean, come on! How FREEKIN adorable is he???

He’s a teacup maltipoo.  While its true, I love big dogs, I also understand that they are not apartment dogs, and I would not want to subject them to a small, confined space. But, this dog is PERFECT for an apartment.  They even fit nicely in your giant purse!

So until my #1 gift comes along, I will gladly accept my #2 gift 🙂  R u coming Santa???

Charlie Brown Christmas, Makeover Edition

My Charlie Brown Christmas tree got a mini-makeover this year.  I bought a couple new “ornaments” (and I use that term lightly) for him.  Can you spot them? (you might have to zoom in) Last year on left, This year on right.

Christmas Bliss (in Russian)

I took everyone’s advice in order to get a little Christmas Spirit Spring back in my step, and went to the only place in Tel Aviv where one can find Christmas Goodies: The Central Bus Station!

Now, on any given day, one does not simple go to The Central Bus Station to “hang out“.  Its dirty, disgusting, urine-smelling, and just plain gross.  Unfortunately, because of where I work, I am there quite often and have become immune to the filth.  It is also the center hub for anything CHEAP!  Clothes, food, jewelry…the list goes on and on.  BUT, during the one time of year that I love most, it also happens to be the hub for Christmas.

The Russians take over a small area on the bottom floor and turn it into a Winter Wonderland.  This is where I got my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree last year, and where I went today to pick up some more little ornaments for him.  Actually, I should say its where I go whenever I need a kick of Christmas Cheer! (Russian Speaking Cheer that is) lol

Single during the Holidays

For me the most difficult time of the year to be single is during the Holidays.  Add on top of that my family and close friends living a million miles away, and it’s just downright depressing.  I want to remain positive and in high spirits, but the truth is sometimes its just hard to get through the day.  While everyone is putting up Christmas trees, decorating their houses, watching Christmas movies, and sipping on Egg Nog… I am over here in Anti-Christmas land just trying to catch a glimpse.

Yes, this is my calling and I gladly choose it…..but I just wish that he (my future husband) was here choosing it alongside me.  Its been almost 10 years on the field alone, and I’m beyond ready for a change.  There’s a Christmas song that Mariah Carey sings called, All I Want For Christmas Is You….. and its really, truly the one and only thing I want for Christmas this year.

I’m sending my Christmas list directly to Elohim this year, after all… Santa Claus doesn’t make stops in Israel (I think he knows where he’s not wanted).  I mean, come on!  This is the Holy Land, right?  Shouldn’t our Christmas list requests be top priority??? hehehehe

Pre-Holiday Wishlist

If any of you are wondering what to get me this year for Christmas, ponder no more!  I’ve come up with a brilliant idea that will relinquish my craving for some holiday spirit.

Here’s the deal:  There is NO Christmas here!  No festive lights, no trees, no carolers caroling, no drummers drumming… and especially NO Christmas movies on TV. (Plus, I don’t even own a TV, so that doesn’t help me much).

In order to be somewhat connected with my Christmas roots, I own 2 Christmas movies:

  • Elf (with Will Farrell)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (with Jim Carey)

Sadly to say, I’ve already watched them both.  Soooooo, (drumroll) my brilliant idea is this…… if you are looking to buy your favorite Shine! ambassador a little something something for Christmas, look no more.  I am a Christmas movie FANATIC, and there are many good ones to choose from (see last years poll of some fav’s here).  Maybe Santa’s little helpers will surprise me with some holiday spirit this year 🙂

Christmas Eve in Bethlehem

Last night I had the most amazing Christmas Eve ever!  I spent my Eve in Bethlehem and had such a tremendous time.  In Manger Square there were bands playing from all over, tourists everywhere, midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity, and even the Palestinian President himself was there for a tour of the church (along with his millions of soldiers too).  It was honestly one of the most incredible nights for me, and I think I might even be on some Palestinian TV channel somewhere (scary).  There were TV cameras from all over the world there!  Here are some moments from the night:

Merry Christmas from Bethlehem!!!

Chanukah, Day 4: Christmas and Chanukah Biblically

How in the world do Christmas and Chanukah have anything in common, since they come from 2 different religions: Judiasm and Christianity?  If you ask anyone on the street, they will probably tell you they have nothing in common and are two completely separate holidays, but I ask you to open your minds and journey back with me in time a bit….

Biblical references to/about Chanukah: References for Chanukah are found in the Bible, first prophetically in Daniel 8:8-14.  In the Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) in the book of Exodus you can find the passages that talk about the construction of the ‘Lampstand’ and the oil used in burning:

  • Exodus 25:1-7; 31-40
  • Exodus 27:20
  • Exodus 35:10-15; 27-28
  • Exodus 39:32-38; 42-43

Biblical references to/about Christmas: Luke 2 recounts the birth of Jesus, of which Christmas is based upon.  

Ok, so how do they mesh together?  Well, whether you believe that Jesus is the Messiah of the world or not, the undeniable truth is that he was born Jewish.  He grew up Jewish, also observing all the Jewish holidays….aka, Chanukah.  (John 10:22 if you’re at all skeptical) Those who celebrate Christmas, commemorate the birth of Jesus, who is even acknowledged by prominent Jewish leaders today as having  been a perfect Jew; therefore abiding by and celebrating Chanukah while He was living. And if you want to go a little bit deeper, Romans 11 talks about Gentiles being grafted into the Jewish faith. If  you are not Jewish, it doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy a Chanukiah asap, but its just a glimpse into how the two are Biblically related.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

Tomorrow:  The Dreidle

A Charlie Brown Chrismukkah

dscf1260You might have heard of the Charlie Brown Christmas, but this year I’m sportin the Charlie Brown Chrismukkah.  Since I’ll be spending my holidays here this year, I want to maintain my Christmas traditions along with joining in with Chanukah, which is celebrated in Israel. 

Because I am on a small budget, I must enjoy the festivities on a lesser scale.  I found this tree at a Russian shop for only 20 shekels and the Chanukiah for 30 shekels at the Shuk (the Israeli market).  (A total of about $15 US) The tree totally reminds me of the Charlie Brown tree, but I’m totally all about it!  I think it suits my first experience celebrating Chrismukkah, and adds a bit of character to my new apartment.

So, while I am missing my family, Christmas movies, Christmas cookies, shopping, stockings, decorating trees, and all that comes with Christmas in The States this year, I am looking at the bright side….I get to celebrate 2 holidays for a total of 9 days instead of just 1.  

Merry Chrismukkah!!!!

The Christmas Channel

One thing I love about the holiday season is all the Christmas music.  Back home, they start playing it after Thanksgiving, and some stations turn into 24/7 Christmas music stations.  Ohhhh, how I miss that!  

I have some Christmas albums on my Itunes, but not enough variety for my liking. Well, the beauty of Itunes happens to be the radio streaming.  I found one station that I absolutely adore! ‘Christmas Channel- SKY.fm’ has now become my favorite. They play such a wide-spread range, its incredible.  It doesn’t matter what type you like, you can find it there.

I have particularily enjoyed:

  • Santa Baby by Miss Piggy, herself
  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Dean Martin (and he calls him Rudy in the song)
  • I’ll be Home for Christmas by Frank Sinatra
  • Christmas Time is Here by Vince Guaraldi Trio (A Charlie Brown Christmas song)
  • Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano
  • God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen by Mannheim Steamroller
  • ….and the list could seriously go on forever, there’s just too many I like

If you live outside the US and are missing Christmas music as much as I am, check it out.  It will help lessen the sting of being away for the holidays. 

Seasons Greetings!!!

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