When our grandkids come over, one thing they like to do is constant… “Signing Time”. “Can we watch ‘Signing Time’?” Who am I to say no to them? I do limit them, though, as playing and reading are also great activities. Here are a few photos from today’s “Signing Time”.
I baked a small frozen cobbler for the meeting this evening, but then realized it would not be enough to serve the adults AND the three healthy young boys! So, since I’ve been meaning to make them, and I had everything on hand to make them, I made up my personal favorite of some 50-60 years, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies! Yeah!!!!!
Mommy-Suzy got her camera out and produced these beauties!
I turned 60 this year (2007). I just held my sixth grandchild. I have raised three sons and I would compare them to anyone else’s…and win! I have struggled and fought to see who I am and what I am to be when I grow up. And you know…I found it…I am going to be me!
I know that may sound silly but living it has been anything but silly. I thought I had to do something to have value. You know…write a book, perform before many people, be an influencial public speaker, what ever it took to get recognition publicly. Yet through the struggle I have found that I have a big heart and I care. I care about the poor, about Gypsies, displaced people, about being able to reflect what I believe about God, His son, Jesus and the purpose He has for my life.
As I have worked to find myself, I have attempted to listen and follow what I have heard God say to me and been confirmed by several independent sources. I have gone to Eastern European Gypsies in Greece, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey; I spent six weeks learning to teach English to speakers of other languages; took sign language classes so I can “speak” to two of my granddaughters.
Over all this time God has lead me and continually encouraged me that I was moving where He wanted me to go. Looking back at my footsteps I see that teaching my children was out of love. Going to Russia with Steve’s family, our oldest, to adopt their second daughter was out of love. Three trips to the Gypsies were out of love. Going to South Africa and assisting in a hospice for AIDS patients was out of love. Spending my time in Texas to learn to teach English was out of love. Supporting women locally with various life issues is out of love.
I have been made to BE in love. There are many scriptural references to loving the lost and BEing a light. As I read them I hear God gently encouraging me to see that this is who I am, this is who He made me to BE, this is who I like to BE and feel most comfortable BEing. I am beginning to REALLY like me!
This is the basis of my next step. I am going to Israel and Palestine in February. My group will do some sightseeing but our purpose is to serve and feed and pray for poor Palestinian refugees in refugee camps, and persecuted Palestinian pastors and leaders. I will BE loving them. We will host and lead conferences in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Before I made this commitment I discussed and prayed with Richard and I sought other counsel. It surprises me that I am not alarmed by news reports. I am doing what I am made to do…BE! You are part of my family. I am asking for your prayers, letters of encouragement or warning, and requests for pictures I can take for you while I am there!
I leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
“And now Lord, with your help, I shall become myself.” –Soren Kierkegaard
A friend (thanks Norma!) sent me this article to help me understand better the Palestinian Refugee situation. To respect copyright, I do not want to reproduce the article here, but I encourage you, the reader, to check it out. It is of moderate length, and well worth the time and thought to spend on it.
This photo really caught my heart and helped me to see perhaps through my Daddy-God’s eyes a bit more. I have spoken of going to Israel and ministering in the Palestinian Refugee camps by taking God’s Huge Love. This lady’s image will be my focal point as I reach out to other women in the camps. She will be my motivation and inspiration.
This is a tough question! If we want to go back to original ownership, a friend reminded me that that owner would be the Creator – Almighty God.
History tells us who “owned” and who “occupied” and who “conquered” the land through the years. The Bible tells us that God gave certain land to Abraham and his progeny through Isaac. It even describes the land given and it’s boundaries. He even told them to “take the land” by force. When they followed God’s instructions, all went well for them. When they did not, they had to deal with un-friendly peoples living in their territories. Does that make them the owners for all eternity? Good question.
It appears that every time the Israelites stopped following the ways of God, God allowed them to be routed from the land, taken into captivity, until they repented and purposed to serve God whole-heartedly again. When this happened, they were allowed to “return home to Israel”. Sometimes, Scripture informs us, God pre-set the time they were to be in captivity before they could return. Then, when the time had been fulfilled, political situations changed, and they were allowed to return home.
Who lived in the land during their absences? What happened to these residents when the Israelites returned? Did they co-exist peacefully? How did the residing (occupying) people receive the returning people? These are questions for another student of the times… I don’t have those answers right here at my fingertips. Food for thought.
If I receive what you give me, you are pleased and happy.
If I walk into your house and take what is mine, you are not so pleased and not happy. You may feel you can’t stop me because what I took really is mine, but you surely would have preferred me to ask and make an appointment to meet you and receive what is mine.
If I walk into your house and take what is yours, and you and I both know it is truly yours, then you would be very upset, even angry, with me, and reasonably so.
What if we both claim to own what is being taken? Now what? Does “might make right”? Who gets the disputed property? Is it “all or none”? If we share, how do we determine how it will be divided?
What if one, or neither, of us is willing to negotiate a mutually-satisfactory division, but will only settle for the entire property with no sharing? Or what if both of us try, but a mutually-satisfactory division cannot be reached?
How might this be a parallel to the Palestinian/Israeli situation? What is a reasonable solution?
What is Zionism? Here is a dictionary definition: “a movement for (originally) the reestablishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel. It was established as a political organization in 1897 under Theodor Herzl, and was later led by Chaim Weizmann.”
I think of myself as a “zionist” along the lines of this general definition. This came up again yesterday and I decided to do some reading on it. I’m currently reading Wikipedia.com. I’m learning some names and dates, and understanding that no one likes to be put out of their property. The Palestinian Arabs were not happy about the prospects, then the fact, of large numbers of Jews moving back to Israel. The Canaanites also were likely not too happy about the Israelites moving through the land and replacing all the inhabitants. I cannot change history. I can be compassionate toward the people. But I can be compassionate toward ALL the people. It is my understanding that for some years the Muslims, the Christians, and the Jews lived, worked, and did business with each other, more or less peaceably.
It is my understanding that the Jews tried to immigrate to Israel legally, purchasing the land, and building their communities. Certainly faux pas were made and problems resulted. But good things happened, too. World politics and World War II happened. Through the years, many countries, many regimes, many world events and politics intervened until today, and they are still intervening. Today the Israelis are urged to give up land. The Arabs are urged to fight until there are no more Jews in the land.
I have compassion toward all the people. I do not like violence. I especially do not like suicide bombings and rockets fired into civilian neighborhoods.