Thursday, May 31, 2012


Okay, some more astounding Jewish culture for you...

I am sure that most of you know that Hebrew is written from right to left, instead of left to right like most languages.  But, have you ever stopped to think about what that means in everyday life for the Jews?  It is really quite fascinating!  (Most of the pictures in this post I found randomly from the internet):

Not only do they read their words from right to left, but they literally start reading from right to left!  Do you see the titles of the books on {what we would consider} the back covers?  They read from "back cover" to "front cover."
And here is a familiar children's book for you to see.  Notice the binding is on the right side!
And how about music?  It has been explained to me that they read the notes in the same direction that we do (left to right) and the words are written underneath the notes they correspond with, but the words are written "backwards." So, it would go something like this:

knahT uoy rof gnidaer siht golb 

(If you look closely, I typed "Thank you for reading this blog."  How's that for a little hidden message thrown in there for you?!)
Official documents look like this: (Notice the numbered list with the periods coming before the numbers.)
And how about some school work for the little ones?
Davey received two birthday cards in Hebrew that we'll be saving in his baby book.  Be sure to notice which side the greeting starts on!
And, my personal favorite?  The interface of computers and the way they are cleverly constructed.  The start-up button and the icons are on the right side of the screen, and the time is shown in the left-hand corner!

The little cursor also starts blinking on the right hand side and automatically moves towards the left instead of towards the right.  
We just love getting e-mails from Jews!  Even though they type to us in English, sometimes they put their periods at the "beginning" of their sentences, which for them, of course, would be the end (as you can see in the e-mail below.  Personal information has been blacked out on purpose).
And how about internet searching?  Right to left too!  Thanks, Google, for being so accomodating!
Google Search Hebrew

So, here is the question of the day:  who is really backwards, them or us?  Hmmm... seems to me that the Hebrew language has been around a lot longer than other languages, so it stands to reason that it could be us who is backwards!

But really, it only depends on what you grew up learning.  After all, we have one eye on the right and one eye on the left and they both work both ways. {wink}

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Home in Israel

Are you really curious like me?  Or am I just a "Curious George"-kind of person all by myself?  I just love seeing where and how people live.  And since you read my blog, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt in thinking that you can be kinda curious too.  So, if you've been wondering what our little apartment here looks like (or generally just what an apartment in Israel might look like), then this post is just for you!

{Below} Kitchen/Living Room area
Let me tell ya one thing loud and clear: my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills and it brings Him such pleasure to take care of His children!  Israel is a very expensive place to live {I hope to blog about that in a separate post soon}, and without much time to plan and save money aside for our three-month stay here, we were fretting just a bit about how our family of six would survive on a budget meant for Ukraine.  {Okay, maybe it was me who was fretting, not hubby, who seems to have so much more faith than this little wifey of his!}

{Below} Living room area.  This is where Davey homeschools each day and also where Davey and Nate sleep at night.  See the blue seating on the right?  That is actually a double bed.  The bottom "mattress" pulls out and raises up.  Used separately, they are like two twin mattresses - perfect for our boys.
We have a friend of a friend who lives in this apartment.  It is a two-bedroom, one-bath happy little space on the eighth floor of a 14-story building.  It is located in a beautiful.... no, let me rephrase that... gorgeous area. {Do palm trees and beautiful landscaping get anyone else as excited as it does me?!}  It just happened that this friend of a friend needed to vacate his apartment for three months because of a trip he was taking.  And it just happened that those three months lined up with our three months of being here, with just a two week overlap.  Anyone getting goosebumps yet?  Of course, I am joking when I say that it all just happened.  I know with all of my heart that nothing just happens with God.  

{Below}  Room #1, where Brianna and Micah sleep and where Brianna works on school.  (We were able to borrow the playpen for Micah to sleep in).
This friend of a friend also left a van here, that we have had access to use.  Wow!  Talk about the icing on the cake!  We actually use it very, very sparingly though because it is a 15-passenger van... too much space for us and considering the price of gas here ($6 a gallon!), we really don't need it that badly.  It is wonderful, though, to know that it is available if and when we need it.  Thank you, Lord!

 {Below}  Room #2, where David and I sleep and where Nate does his schoolwork.
I just adore the location of this apartment.  Our view is breathtaking, and the most amazing park in all of the city is just a 3-4 minute walk away.  Yes, the kids and I spend a lot of time there.  What can I say?  They have to be quiet in our apartment for fear of disturbing the neighbors.  When you can be loud to your heart's content in this fabulous park (below), what would you do?!  Makes me wish I could be a kid again to be able to slide down those amazing red slides!
{Below}  Washing machine located in a small closet in the bathroom
I don't have any pictures of our bathroom, but it is pretty basic and the tile color is what you see in the picture above.  Our washing machine is an interesting contraption, and I really wanted you to see it.  It is cylinder-shaped and spins front to back, instead of sideways.  It is small, but we are quite used to a small washing machine.  There is also no dryer, but we are pros at that.  I have been hanging clothes on a clothesline for 10 years now, and I have actually come to enjoy it.  Hanging clothes has a daily rhythm to it, that I have come to look forward to. {Just whistle while you work!}
So, that is pretty much it other than the glass-enclosed balcony some of you noticed and wrote me about after my post about Davey's birthday.  The only thing I cannot get away from soon enough is that balcony.  I am sure it is just as safe as anything else (or else I wouldn't let our children step foot out there), but something about seeing the great open-air sky right in front of me each time I walk out to hang clothes is a little too close for my comfort!  Hmmm, this could also be another reason why I love taking them to that big park to run off their energy!

For our family of six, going from a three-bedroom, two-bath out in a village to this adorable, small apartment in the city has been an adjustment, I confess, BUT.... I am so very grateful for the Lord's provisions for our family!  He always provides in remarkable ways for our every need, and I wonder why it is we ever doubt Him?!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sabbath elevator

Something particularly fascinating here in Israel is the way elevators work each Sabbath (each weekend, Friday evening to Saturday evening).  If you visit Israel and stay in a hotel over the weekend, this is something you will certainly notice and wonder about.  Well, wonder no longer!

The Jews are required to abstain from operating electric switches on the Sabbath.  Since this includes elevator buttons, a special mode has been created for elevators so that Jews can continue using them even without ever touching a button.  The elevators are designed to work by opening and closing on every single floor.  This is a very time-consuming method, but the religious Jews will stand and wait until the elevator reaches their floor.  They will step on, never touch a button, and wait for the elevator to open and close its doors on every floor until it has reached their desired stop.  Then, they simply walk off.

I took the picture for this post in our very own apartment building.  The elevator on the left side is the one that is used for Sabbath.  The one on the right works normally, seven days a week.

I'll bet you are wondering how many people here actually observe this law.  Well, I think you would be surprised at this elevator's popularity.  Just put it this way... there is an elevator like this in nearly every multiple-story building in Israel!

Fascinating, isn't it?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Double Digits

Oh, boy... I have officially been a mama for a decade now!  Where, oh, where does the time go?!  Our oldest child reached the double digits this past week, and it has caused me to do a lot of reminiscing in this mama-heart of mine.

Davey has reached that awkward "in-between" stage of crossing over from childhood to being a teenager.  While we see some of those teenage characteristics creeping up, we sigh a breathe of relief to hear Davey's all-out childish giggles.  Why can't we just freeze these kids in time?
I prayed that God would give us a son as our firstborn.  It just felt so right to me to start our family with a boy to lead the way for his siblings that would someday follow.  And the Lord did not disappoint (and He never does!).  Really, I just love when our plans line up with God's plans.  {And when they don't line up with His plans, we just try to jump on the right track of where WE should be in our thinking, planning, and actions.}
I was really excited to realize that Davey would have the opportunity to turn the big "One-Zero" here in Israel.  As a great friend put it, "Not everyone gets to celebrate a birthday where Jesus celebrated His."  Wow.  I like that thought.

The evening before Davey's actual big day, we invited some other Americans over to our apartment for some partying.  We sat out on our balcony and enjoyed the perfect weather from our eighth floor.  May weather is pretty perfect in any country, wouldn't you agree?

We have Domino's Pizza AND Pizza Hut here in Israel.  Motorcycle deliveries are the thing for pizza delivery here, so our children excitedly listened for and awaited the buzzing sound of the motorcycle from our balcony.  And, our delivery man was kind enough to let Davey try on his helmet AND pose for a picture too.  Yes, we gave him a nice tip.  He deserved it.
I made a Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer cake that did not disappoint.  We couldn't find the mini Reese's  PB cups for decorating the top as was suggested in the recipe (though they DO have the regular-sized Reese's here), but mini Snickers candy bars did the trick.  It was challenging to bake in a kitchen that lacks much of the equipment I needed for baking, but a borrowed mixer and some dollar-store measuring spoons saved the day.
As if Davey did not receive enough birthday love, he was also sent some money which he is saving to buy a Kindle Touch.  This will really come in handy in a place where books in English are not readily available.  But, I am still wondering whatever happened to the days of my little boy dreaming of cars, trucks, and dinosaurs.  I know, I know, you don't have to remind me.  He is outgrowing those things. {sigh}  Our family's gift to Davey was a model of the Garden Tomb (which you can see in the left-hand corner in the picture above.)  He loves having this memory to take home with him of that place that has become so near and dear to our hearts.

On Davey's actual birthday, his Daddy surprised all of us with the news that we were going to a safari zoo in Tel Aviv!  The outer part of the zoo is drive-through only and the inner-part of the zoo was a walk-through area that we mostly enjoyed with a rented golf cart.  Double wow.

We now have a new pressed penny to add to our growing collection and a whole host of memories and pictures of this special time together.  And who knew that this "detour" in our lives could be so fun?!
Trusting the Lord for your future is always a good thing.  And I hope and pray that Davey has learned that by seeing what God has done for him personally through this "detour" to Israel!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Israel Plays Maranatha Baptist Bible College

This post is another one for the guys.  But since the males far outnumber the females in our home, it is natural that "guy-stuff" would end up on this blog from time to time.  And that's okay with me.  After all, I was a high-school cheerleader for three years in our Christian school, so I do enjoy the excitement of a good game.

You can read the official story of the game on the Jerusalem Post by clicking here.  Five years ago, the first local league in Israel was launched, and this was their first time to play an international team.  Israel lost 49-6, but it was exciting to watch their enthusiasm for the game.  Maranatha Baptist Bible College from Watertown, Wisconsin, brought a team of 27 to Israel, including players and coaches.  It was a lot of fun for our family to meet both teams, and our children were torn as to whom to cheer for.  Hmmm... when you are an American living in Israel, where do your loyalties lie at a football game?  I think the kids finally decided to cheer both teams on, and they had a great night being a part of something historic for Israel.

{Below} Nate's favorite vantage point
Film crews were present at the game, and I was approached by a man who let me know that Davey ended up in some of his pre-game filming.  He wanted to know if I could sign a release form with my permission allowing the clip where Davey was present to go on television.  Ummm, yes, please!  Can I fill in the blanks with capital letters?  It really made Davey's day when he found out!
Davey was privileged to be "water boy" for the American team, and our whole family was happy to see Israel make history!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another update for Sheila's prayer team

I get asked for updates on Sheila Campbell (mama friend with cancer... you can read her story by clicking here) on a pretty regular basis, and you know what?  That just makes me really, really smile inside because I know that I have some very loving friends and readers who care and want to help and pray.  You all make me grateful every single day for this wonderful community of friends I have and enjoy being a part of.

Sweet Sheila wrote me last week, and I thought it would be appropriate to share her message here with you:

Isn't she such a sweetheart?  Let's keep praying for Sheila to regain her strength so that she can return to being a vivacious, energetic mama to her three darling boys.  I know she would love to know we haven't forgotten her!

{Pssst... we love you, Sheila!}