Tag Archives: Holidays

Thankful, Week 4: Thanksgiving

That’s right, I’m thankful for Thanksgiving! 聽Being an American while living in other countries and cultures can quite often lead to loosing some of your own culture and traditions and adopting others. 聽I’ve actually done this a lot in the various places I’ve lived, but the one thing that does not change or alter one bit is Thanksgiving!

No matter where you are in the world, or who you are with, on Thanksgiving there is probably a 99.9% chance that you are thinking/dreaming/longing for Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, Yams, and that oh-so-coveted PUMPKIN PIE!

It’s the one day of the year that all Americans come together, near and far, and celebrate our Thankfulness via a huge FEAST. Everything about Thanksgiving day makes me happy (and run to put on some sweat-pants), and if you’re like me and from Michigan, then there’s the bonus delight of watching our beloved Lions loose yet again 馃檪

Ode to Thanksgiving…. the only holiday that makes me remember I am actually an American (which I tend to overlook 364 days of the year), and reminds me that I have SO MUCH in life to be truly thankful for!

NOW GO STUFF YOURSELF SILLY…. and remember not to wear jeans to the dinner table!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!


It’s Sukkot Time Again

This month has been one big holiday… first Rosh HaShana then Yom Kippur, and now Sukkot. 聽Last year at this time I was in my old apartment in Ramat Gan, and my flat-mate turned our varanda into a beautiful Sukkah. 聽This year I have no varanda, so I wasn’t really going to do anything for Sukkot until inspiration struck early this morning.

The sukkah is a temporary dwelling of remembrance (click here to read last years post explaining the meaning and origin of this Jewish Holiday); therefore, I’m making my temporary dwelling in my living room….

Mine is far from professional, but if you’re interested in one that is, take a fast forward look into building an outside sukkah:

Chag Semeach Everyone!!! 讞讙 住讜讻讜转 砖诪讞!


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“. 聽Its dirty, disgusting, urine-smelling, and just plain gross. 聽Unfortunately, because of where I work, I am there quite often and have become immune to the filth. 聽It is also the center hub for anything CHEAP! 聽Clothes, food, jewelry…the list goes on and on. 聽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. 聽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. 聽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. 聽Add on top of that my family and close friends living a million miles away, and it’s just downright depressing. 聽I want to remain positive and in high spirits, but the truth is sometimes its just hard to get through the day. 聽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. 聽Its been almost 10 years on the field alone, and I’m beyond ready for a change. 聽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). 聽I mean, come on! 聽This is the Holy Land, right? 聽Shouldn’t our Christmas list requests be top priority??? hehehehe


A Freak-out Thanksgiving!

I just wanted everyone to know that I’m freaking out a little on the inside about Thanksgiving this year (which we are celebrating on Fri. instead of Thurs… we don’t have Thurs. off here)

This is my 1st time EVER hosting and cooking Thanksgiving dinner, and I’m nervous. 聽Add to that my turkey-experience today, and I’m almost at full-blown freak-out mode.

We bought our turkey at the shuk (Israeli market), which does not normally sell whole turkey, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out we were able to get it.

The good news is that they DID de-feather and be-head him….the bad news is they did NOT do a good job. 聽After my bloody bus ride home, lugging him with me across the city, and leaving a blood trail on the floor, I put him in the sink to wash him off. This is when I noticed that the neck was indeed included in the deal (stuffed inside) and there were remnants of feathers all over.

AHHHH! Let the freak-out begin. My first Thanksgiving cooking, and I have to begin by pulling out feather pieces. 聽I will update you with pictures and details on how it went…. until then

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!


Pre-Holiday Wishlist

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

Here’s the deal: 聽There is NO Christmas here! 聽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. 聽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. 聽I am a Christmas movie FANATIC, and there are many good ones to choose from (see last years poll of some fav’s here). 聽Maybe Santa’s little helpers will surprise me with some holiday spirit this year 馃檪


Sukkot (住讜讻讜转)

DSCF2513Tonight was the last night of the 7 day holiday celebrated in Israel called Sukkot. Since I was back in the States during the beginning of it, I missed out on the festivities my flat-mates held at our apartment.

During Sukkot (aka: The Feast of the Tabernacles found in Lev. 23:33-44) Israeli’s are called to remember the time in which the Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years, with no permanent house dwelling. 聽The word Sukkot is the plural form of the Hebrew word, Sukka, which means booth or hut, in remembrance of the fragile dwellings the Israelites lived in during these times.

My flat-mate turned our varanda into a sukka, which technically we are supposed to eat and sleep under. I did eat under it (though I eat most of my meals on the varanda), but sleeping out there didn’t quite happen 馃檪 聽I think she did a really good job, and I was pleasantly surprised, returning home to see our varanda all “sukkoted out”. (I really don’t think that is a word). hehehe

Happy Last day of Sukkot!

DSCF2514


讞讙 砖讘注讜转- The Feast of Weeks

Starting at 5pm tonight (Thursday) we celebrate yet another holiday, The Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost as its called in the states. 聽It comes exactly 50 days after Passover, which is now! It marks the giving of the Torah to Israel on Mount Sinai.

How does The Feast of Weeks overlap with Pentecost. 聽Well, after the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples had gathered together to celebrate the festival (as good Jewish would) when what was known as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit came upon them and tongues of fire rested above their heads. 聽

So there you have it. Once again. The same holiday celebrated for two different reasons…

Jewish: The Feast of Weeks聽

Christian: the Pentecost

I will be be celebrating both, thank you very much, and enjoying my Friday and Saturday as a holiday 馃檪


Mediterranean Monday: Purim

It is holiday time here in Israel: Purim. 聽Purim is the holiday that celebrates the saving of the Jewish people (once again) from the Persian Empire, according to the book of Esther. 聽It is celebrated from the 13-15th during the month of Adar (the Jewish calendar), which is today, tomorrow and Wednesday. 聽If you are not familiar with the story, then you can find it in the Bible or Tenach. 聽(Don’t worry, its a short book.)

There are 4 things a Jewish person MUST do during Purim:

1. Listen to the story of Esther, either in the bet-knesset or at home. 聽Usually the first night is reserved for the telling of the story by parents to the family.

2. Send a gift of food to at least one friend. 聽

3. Give charity to the poor.

4. Eating the Purim meal, and drinking alcohol. 聽

Even the Orthodox Jews drink alcohol during Purim. 聽It is one of the only times that they are ‘allowed’ to do so, and drink they do! 聽They are told to drink until they cannot distinguish between the evil of Haman and the good of Mordachai. 聽

Modern day Purim has also been influenced by the Western Civilization’s adaptation of Carnival. 聽Over time it has become a blend of the two, since they seem to overlap on the calendar. 聽Now, not only do people observe the 4 laws during Purim, but it has also become a costume/party fest. 聽Each night everyone dresses up in costumes and parties. Yesterday, while I was at the hospital visiting the Shevet kids, a group of teenage girls came in dressed in various costumes, giving out Hamantashen (a Purim pastry) to all the kids in the hospital. 聽It was part of their giving to those in need, while at the same time enjoying the fact that they can get dressed up.聽

(There is also a pretty good movie adaption of the story of Esther called One Night With the King, FYI)


The Christmas Channel

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

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. 聽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. 聽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. 聽It will help lessen the sting of being away for the holidays.聽

Seasons Greetings!!!


Yom Kippur

Although I am not Jewish, I am preparing for my return to Israel by observing today’s Jewish holiday, Yom Kippur. 聽Every country I have been in I have celebrated/observed the holiday’s and traditions of that culture (within reason). 聽I think its important to dive into the culture, modeled after Hudson Taylor with his ministry in China. 聽So, today I am joining my Jewish friends in the observing of Yom Kippur.

A little background on the holiday. 聽Yom Kippur is known to us as the Day of Atonement, a day set aside to atone for all your sins from the past year. 聽It is traditionally the last day to show repentance and change your ways before the new year begins. 聽

Most non-practicing Jews observe Yom Kippur and even attend synagogue (sorta like many Christians who attend church on Christmas or Easter service). 聽Yom Kippur is a Sabbath… no working at all. 聽It is a day of complete fasting, eating and also drinking (water too). 聽Hard-core traditions do not allow washing and bathing as well (don’t worry….I won’t take it that far).

Now that you are caught up a bit you know what I will and will not be doing today. 聽I think the hardest will be abstaining from drinking anything at all, I mean come on…no coffee???

I will end on this note… 聽Thanks to Jesus, we can have Yom Kippur every minute of everyday (with the eating, drinking, and bathing too). 聽I am so grateful I can talk to my God whenever I need to 馃檪 Have a wonderful Yom Kippur!!!


I’m in Candy Heaven

Today Kristy and I were in Target when low and behold, we noticed all the Halloween candy on display. 聽If you didn’t know, my ALL TIME FAVORITE candies are Candy Corns (tied with Peeps) so I had to pick up a bag. 聽Then it hit me…it’s only September 10th! 聽There is still over a month and a half before Halloween makes its appearance. 聽Not that I’m complaining about being able to eat my corns, but come on. 聽Isn’t this getting a bit out of control?!?

Candy Heaven

Candy Heaven


4th of July

Happy 4th of July! 聽I spent this year QUITE different from 2007. 聽Last year I was out in the bush of Botswana with a Teen Mania group, far from civilization. 聽This year I spent the day in the good ol’ US of A watching parades, swimming, and fireworks. What a drastic change. 聽(Even though we did have our own fireworks last year…if you can call them fireworks.)

Here are some pictures I took of the Richland parade in Michigan. 聽If there’s one thing that brings a community together in the States, its our Independence Day! 聽I enjoyed seeing the patriotism the day brings…enjoy 馃檪



Feliz Cinco de Mayo!!!

Nacho chips, salsa, guacamole, margaritas….who could ask for a better fiesta! 聽Have a great one!!!


Happy Independence Day Botswana!!!

Sunday was the official Botswana Independence Day. The country has been free from British rule for 41 years now. Even though the country is a free, democratic nation, there is still much work to be done, especially on the spiritual front. We awoke to a headline in the paper that 2 babies had been found dumped: one in a bag in the river and one on the banks of the river. As a mission, we are desperately trying to get the permission of the government to get our “baby house” up and running. We would be able to house these abandoned babies, until suitable families were found for them. This is a spiritual battle to say the least! We are so happy to celebrate the independance with the country, but we also know that its not over yet! The fight for lives continues, and that is why we are here.


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