Prayer

I prayed this prayer on Sunday at church.  People were very gracious in their response to it so I thought I would share it here.  The reading was from Mark 4: 35 – 41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea,“Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

I have found myself in a bit of a storm lately and I have been saying things to God like, “I can’t do this” and “are you going to let me drown?”  I have been praying that God would wave his magic wand and get me out.  But this week, God, speaking through the ages with the words of Mark asks me instead, “why are you so afraid, do you still have no faith when I have never let you drown?” And I realise that he hasn’t, here I am, my head still above water.  I have wanted healing to appear with a bang.  It hasn’t appeared as such but grace has arrived as it usually does, in a more quiet way through the text of a friend that said, “would you like me to pick up the kids today” or my neighbour dropping by to see how I was going.  I realise that this story from mark, like my own story, isn’t about a storm, it is about something bigger and that is Jesus and his faithfulness to us.

Let us pray.

Dear God,

We come to you this morning bringing to you the stories of our lives.  We give you thanks for all that is good.  For our families and friends, for warm beds to sleep in on cold winters night, for our church and the praising of you that happens here and the cups of tea we share.  We give you all that is hard.  We ask you to be with us in the messes we make of our lives.  We ask you to be with us when we feel alone, overwhelmed, afraid and unsure of ourselves.  We ask you to grant us the wisdom, love and healing we need to journey on.

In the storms, in the darkness and in the daily messes of our lives it is so easy to miss you.  Forgive us God, our lack of faith and strengthen it in us.  Let our struggles and muddling through as much as our victories give glory to you.

God, we give you today people weathering greater storms than ours.  People we know struggling with poor health or grief.  People in our town living with oppression, violence or just trying to make ends meet.  People in our country who have come here seeking asylum, peace and a place to call home but instead suffer rejection and fear.  People in our world who are fighting wars and natural disasters that never seem to let up.

God, we pray for them and for ourselves with the hope that we are carried by your grace and held by your love.  That you never let us walk alone, through the calm and through the storm you never let us go.  You are faithful, you are good and your perfect love is casting out fear.

Amen

 

 

Happy 7th Birthday to Clayton

Today is Clayton’s 7th birthday and what an amazing 7 year old he is.  He is caring, courageous, inquisitive, earnest, compassionate and totally gorgeous.  He has come into our lives and turned my world totally upside down.

I am conscious that I have said little about this.  As opposed to when Nina came into our lives and we celebrated with ceremonies, people brought gifts and we filled albums and our social media pages with endless photos and anecdotes.  When Clayton moved in with us for half his week 10 months ago he snuck in quietly, which is very much his style.  Apart from sharing with close friends and family not much was said and he just became part of our lives.  So much so that sometimes I just feel he belongs with us.  But I am also aware that he belongs to another family and that is as it should be and this is only the first birthday I have celebrated with him.  I had being thinking about this a lot – how do I honour this and celebrate?  Yes there are things about the situation that isn’t considered ideal but what situation is and who decides that anyway for there is so much about Clayton and his unique situation that is wonderful and life giving to all of us.

Then yesterday, I took a cake to Clayton’s school to celebrate with his class.  His nanna, my dear friend, with whom we share care, and the gentlest and wisest woman I know was with me.  We were told parents usually share a story about the child.  As I was over thinking this as I am known to do, she began a story by telling the class that Clayton had a big family – akgnerre anthurre”.  She said that Clayton’s dad was her son but that he also had other parents – Martin and I.  She has said that Martin is also her son and thus as his aunt and uncle we were also his parents.  She talked about her family and Clayton’s family and their connection to this land.  The children chimed in with words like humungous to help describe it and I was filled with such gratitude to be included in it and to be in their lives.

Yes it is a complicated situation and much remains uncertain but this I feel certain of.  God has blessed us with two of his precious children to care for, for this time, but neither really belong to us.  For them and the different ways they came into lives we are grateful.  Today especially, I give thanks for and pray for Clayton.  If you are that way inclined please remember him and us in your prayers today.

barunga festival

This post is mainly for my mum but feel free to read on if youre interested. Im sitting by a fire at home under the central aus sky. Im typing on phone which is something of a juxtaposition of ancient meets modern but thats our world i suppose. Anyway this last week i had the extraordinary experience of attending the barunga festival. This was it’s 30th year and this festival has a long history of being part of the indigenous struggle for equality. Back in 1988 it was where bob hawke promised a treaty that inspired the yothu yindu song and which aboriginal people are still waiting. This year paul kelly played and gurrumul as well as a suprise performance from Peter garrett. It was all pretty special but more than that i enjoyed simply being there amongst aboriginal people who were so strong in culture and so proud of their community.  A local band called blakbulla mujic played and they were my fave. Their songs challenged people on issues such as drinking and violence and people loved it. I have to be honest in my line if work i dont always see strength, pride and what is really working for people so it was especially inspiring.

It was also wonderful to explore some more of the top end. I am falling more and more in love with territory as a whole. Late night swim in thermal pools in mataranka, sunrise over an inland lake near elliott as the extraordinary bird life woke were highlights but just the freedom of the territory and just throwing a swag down anywhere is so renewing.

I went without the kids and martin I missed them but it was a much needed break and so great to share with amazing people -tarn, rachel, rosie, di, ryan, ben and fi. We talked endlessly about life, travel, god and the things that excite me.  I feel so blessed to gave had such a trip.

Nina’s eye surgery – grateful and hopeful.

Nina had eye surgery again last week,  I wrote a bit of a story and prayer about it for church reflecting on Acts 2: 22 – 47.  I have decided to share here.

This week, Nina, my 4 year old daughter had eye surgery.  I held her in my arms as they put her to sleep and it was pretty stressful to say the least but in the midst of of all the machines beeping and he medical staff running here and there I found myself giving thanks.  Having held Nina in hospitals in countries with far scarcer resources I felt grateful for the abundance of of Alice Springs hospital.  Having heard recently of a friend’s 15 year old daughter with cancer I felt grateful Nina was not having chemotherapy or anything equally as serious/  Having spent time this week with women who do not have their children in their care I felt grateful I could hold her at all.  Having turned on the TV numerous times in recent days and watched mothers in Nepal, Syria and Indonesia weep over their children I felt grateful for her life.  And after the surgery I felt grateful for the nursing staff, who cared for us.  I felt grateful for our community who sent us message, prayers, gave us pie and allowed me to debrief endlessly.  I reminded me of something of the early church described here in Acts.

And while it may be too early to say, it  seems the results of the surgery were not as we had hoped for but as I read this passage from Acts about the promises of God – promises not always fulfilled as  David experiences as we imagine they will be – I realise the journey of faith is one of hope.  In the midst of uncertainty we trust that God will be faithful to his promises, that his Spirit will be with us.

Let’s pray.

Holy Spirit, moving amongst us, to you we pray this morning.  We thank you for your presence here – in our songs, words, prayers and in this bread to be broken.  We thank you for this church and you graciousness to us as we stumble to bring something of your love to the people in our lives.  We pray to be guided by the vision of the early church to be a place of sharing, community and grace.  We also thank you for other churches and people around the world who are also trying to follow and find you in the struggles of their lives and communities.  We pray they will be fled with love, wisdom and hope and will be provided with the resources they need for their work.

Holy Spirit, how we have felt your presence in the Spirit of our children here.  We pray for each of them and all the children of Alice Springs and the world.  We pray for the young people who aimlessly wander our streets at night, we pray for children who have lost parents and parents who have lost children.  We pray for children who are sick, lost or have become adults far to young through work or caring for others or over exposure to an adult world.  We pray for schools, organisations and friends who walk with them, that they will be patient, wise and non judgmental.  We pray for parents, especially mothers, this mother’s day, that they will hold them close and somehow find that elusive balance of firm yet gentle.  For that we need your spirit to give us wisdom, grace and hope.

So we thank you for this time to pray.  While sometimes prayer and faith can be a struggle when things are uncertain we know that it can change us and connect us to you and the world.  And as we read the stories of old – of slavery to freedom, persecution to liberation and share new stories as we have today of helplessness to empowerment we pray in deep faith that our prayers for ourselves, our families, our communities and our hopes for a better world will be heard by you and your promise of resurrection from all the crucifixions of our live will be fulfilled.

in the name of Christ, Amen.

Israel – final week and reflections

We’ve made it back to Jerusalem.  Can’t really believe the journey we have been on and the rich experiences we have had.  Certainly we have seen some amazing places especially for me the Biblical sites.  I have read about these places so often and I have found it hard to believe I’m actually here.  Although, while it’s been great to be in Jerusalem, Nazareth, Capernaum etc I haven’t really got into all the stuff about this is the place the angel appeared to Mary or this is the place that Jesus ascended etc.  Anyway, what has struck me most is the people we have been able to meet.  Our guides, people Gem has befriended and people we have just met on the street who have invited us for coffee or tea.  Their warmth continues to challenge my prejudices.  It seems people really do want to share their stories and hear others if you have an open mind and spirit.  When praying the other night I was thanking God so much for the opportunities he is always giving us and that I can stay open to them.  It’s such a complicated place and of course I still do not have any answers to age old conflicts but I least feel I have more understanding than I did when I first came.

Anyway, here’s where we have been since I last wrote:

Day 16 North Coast (Haifa and Akko) – After we left our little apartment on the Sea of Galilee we headed west to the port town of Akko.  This was also the crusader capital and was full of crusader ruins.  They were pretty cool especially the underground tunnels and I was excited to get a crusader tunnel for the Scav Hunt.  From there we headed down to Haifa where we spent the night in a Stella Maris convent.  We watched a beautiful sunset over the water, which is always exciting as doesn’t happen on east coast of Australia.  Haifa is mostly famous for it’s Bahai Gardens.  Blocks and blocks of the most pristine lawns and flowers you’ll ever see.  It seems Israel is Holy even for the Bahai’s.

Day 17 Ne’ve Shalom:  After the gardens we traveled south again to a place called Ne’ve Shalom.  Just west of Jerusalem there is a community of Jews and Muslims (and a small number of Christians too) living together.  The community truly is peaceful.  Gem has been trying to volunteer there (they actually have a place in May so still might happen) and because she has met some people while visiting previously we were lucky enough to spend a few hours talking to some community members about their experiences there.  While I have only been here for such for a short time I still am very much aware of the conflict and the hostility that exists here and so it was really helpful to hear stories of people living together.  It’s not perfect and of course there are still issues but people are trying.  We hear a lot in Australia about  two state solution for Israel and in some ways that does seem more viable but people we have spoken to here seem to be saying they actually want one Israel in which all its citizens, Jewish and Palestinians have equal rights and opportunities.  Who knows how they could happen or what it could look like but I sure am inspired to really pray for this for the people we’ve met and are trying to hold onto hope.

Day 18 – 19 Jerusalem: After spending the night at Ne’ve Shalom’s hostel we headed back into bustling Jerusalem.  We stopped on the way to see 12 stained glass windows designed by Jewish artist Marc Chagall.  He is a favourite of mums and she was determined to see them.  Despite mum’s love of art I often find it hard to fully appreciate it but these windows were truly breathtaking.  One each depicting the 12 tribes of Israel.  The colour of these windows and the light pouring through them, I can’t really describe the beauty.  It was a spiritual experience as well.

Back in Jerusalem we visited the Shrine of the Book where the Dead Sea scrolls are now kept, as well as other more recent Biblical scrolls are kept.  Gemma loves scrolls and seeing them I can see why.  In the evening we met up with a Jewish couple who mum started chatting to on the bus on our way in here.  They have some accommodation they rent to students so we managed to line some up for Gem.  Another grace from God.  We are leaving in 3 days and she had no idea where or what she was doing next unto May when she can go to Ne’ve Shalom.

Today we spent the more relaxing in our convent hostel in the old city.  It has the best views over the old city from the roof top balcony.  I could have sat there all day but the Dome of the Rock is a must see  so off we went.  It’s open for two hours but we waited in line for an hour to get through the checkpoint and then they shut half an hour early so we only really got fifteen minutes there but it was pretty memorable.  A holy place for Muslims (where they believe Mohammed ascended) and also a holy place for Jews as it is on the site of the original temples where the Ark of the covenant was placed  so it is another place of conflict and it’s hard to know what to do with all that but is very spectacular that’s for sure and so huge.

Day 20 Tel Aviv:  Tomorrow we are off to to Tel Aviv for a night and then home sweet home.  Well after another epic day and half flight.  I am very much looking forward to being home on Saturday and seeing my family again.  Cannot even begin to describe how hard it’s been to be away from them.  Also looking forward to being a place whose customs I understand and whose language I speak.  Traveling sure can be exhausting and I think Israel especially so.  So many customs, religions and holy places to look out for and certainly we have had to deal with a lot of hassling from me on the street.  I have been trying to challenge some of my stereotypes, I hope one day the stereotype about Western women will be challenged.  it sure will make travelling easier for us all.

 

Israel, Palestine and Jordan.

I have been wanting to write this post since we got here but limited internet has been taken up with Skyping my family (who I miss desperately), Scav Hunt and responding to emails and facebook.  Anyway, I finally have some time.  Mum and Gem have gone for yummy felafals and a little walk and swim in a national park but the contemplative in me is desperate for some time alone and to reflect a little so I have opted to stay home.  I’m also hoping to have a quiet chat with my lovely husband who is working tirelessly at home to make this possible for me.

Israel would have to be one the most fascinating places on earth, not to mention spectacularly beautiful.  The “Holy Land” for Jews, Muslims and Christians one really is constantly aware of religion, as well as, unfortunately all the conflict and divide this has caused.  Anyway, I have written our itinerary so that I can remember it.  It’s long but if you are interested read on.

Day 1 – 3: Jerusalem and West Bank – We arrived here at 6am after a 30 hour journey so we had to spend first morning sleeping but ventured out at lunch time for our first in a long run of truly delicious hummus, felafel etc.  The food here makes me not want to eat anything else again.  After we sat at Western Wall for a bit.  The Wall is the one part left after the destruction of the temple and the most holy sight for Jews. It was a cool day but we had a sunny spot so we sat for ages enjoying the sun and watching people praying prayers and reading their Holy Scriptures.  While I have had an ever present awareness of the division and conflict places such as these seem to cause and thus often a discomfort at them  I was moved. We then walked the “Via Dolorosa”, a trail marking the 12 stations of the cross culminating at the church of Holy Sepulchre where Jesus is said to have been crucified.  It was very crowded and chaotic but I kept having to pinch myself none the less that I was actually here, walking in places that Jesus have may walked.

Our second day in Jerusalem we took a tour to the West Bank.   In the 90′s Israeli’s and Palestinians signed the Oslo agreement that was supposed to give Palestinian people sovereignty of the West Bank but still today walled Israeli settlements are being built there which is the cause of much of the continued conflict.  We visited a place called Hebron.    In Hebron there are 500 Israeli settlers and 3000 Israeli troops there to protect them.  The town is divided into areas for Palestinians and areas for Israelis.  As Israelis want to be able to get around they have control of much of the main roads making it very difficult for Palestinians to get around.  People who lived and worked in these areas were forced to leave their homes and business making these streets feel like ghost towns with the occasional person walking down it.  We were allowed to walk down some of these streets as “internationals” but as we walked the Israeli settlers became quite aggressive asking us to leave.  It was a very bizarre experience. Hebron is the resting place of Abraham.  Seen as the father of Jews, Muslims and Christians it is a contested area.  Around his tomb there is a mosque and a synagogue, Jewish people and Muslims used to worship there together but since 94 when an American Jew massacred 29 Muslims during prayer in Ramadan it has been divided into two.  Both have a view of the tomb but there is a bullet proof shield blocking one from the other.  Muslims wishing to enter their Mosque must undergo lengthy, security checks.  I felt very sad there and couldn’t help but wonder what Abraham would think of it all.  We had lunch in the home of a Palestinian family who made a truly delicious meal.  Their story of losing their land and olive trees and thus their livelyhood is tragic as well as their daily humiliations and difficulties of living in occupied land. They do however remain hopeful and peaceful and this was very inspiring. I apologise if all this sounds a little bias, I really do wish to remain nuetral.  Firstly, I’m a little unsure if all this is my business to comment but also I do believe if we want to be peacemakers we have to remain nuetral.  In saying that I have been deeply moved by the stories of the truly amazing Palestinian people we met juxtaposed with the aggression we experienced from the Israeli settlers.  And the one thing that was asked of me by the people was to hear their stories, believe they are not all terrorists and share these stories.  Of course I am just talking about the situation on the West Bank not Israel as whole.  We have met some really good Israeli people too and I am told two thirds of them also disagree with the settlements.

Anyway, day 3 we were back to being everyday tourists.  We visited the Garden of Gethsemane, with it’s ancient olive trees and beautiful basilica.  Despite what happened there I found it a very peaceful place, a place to pray.  How I would love to pray as Jesus did, “not my will but your will be done.  Gem also took us to her church in the old city and again the people were enormously welcoming to us.  In the afternoon we braved the public transport system and visited the Holocaust museum.  Our family obviously enjoys intense experiences and as said I do wish to hear all the stories.  It is a complicated place and there really are no easy solutions but that’s stating the obvious.

Day 4 – 5: Dead Sea (Qumran and Ein Gedi): We left Jerusalem on day 4 and headed south to Ein Gedi, a town on dead sea.  On the way we stopped at Qumran where the dead sea scrolls were found.  The dead sea scrolls are the oldest biblical texts and Gem’s been studying them for a few years now.  It was a fascinating place as well as beautiful and good to be there with Gem, even if she struggled with the inaccuracies of the info given.

We spent 2 nights at Ein Gedi exploring the national park, a spectacular oasis in the desert where David was said to have hidden.  We also floated in the dead sea and covered ourselves with mud as we tourists in this area do.

Day 6: Eilat and Masada - Our sixth day we travelled to Eilat, stopping at Masada.  Masada was a castle fort built by Herod to protect himself from many enemies.  It ended up being taken over by Jewish poeple and was the last stand of their rebellion around 70CE.  It’s built on top of mountain so you have to take a cable car to get there.  The views at the top are one of the most breathtaking I’ve seen and the ruins and stories really interesting.

We spent the next morning in Eilat at a place called Dolphin Reef.  A friend of mine’s sister lives in Eilat so we contacted her for breakfast.  Turns out she worked at this Dolphin Reef so she got us in and we had a lovely breakfast with her on the Red Sea watching dolphins jump around.  Good to hear more stories from her.  We then snorkeled around watching dolphins swim and the coral was pretty nice too.

Day 7 – 8 Jordan (Petra and Wadi Rum)  At Eilat there is a border crossing into Jordan where we spent the next two nights.  We visited the ancient city of Petra.  It was wet and freezing, even snowed a little but didn’t stop this city taking our breaths away.  It also meant we enjoyed the Turkish bath we indulged in even more.  We hired a guide who showed us around who was one of the warmest people I’ve ever met and he organised for his cousin who is also a guide to drive us back to the border the next day via Wadi Rum.  I had never heard of this place so it was a total unexpected blessing to drive through this incredible desert valley.  We got bogged for awhile and we were all a bit worried our guide may have tipped his car onto a rock which was bit precarious but it all worked out in the end. The guide was also so warm and generous.  It made me aware of some unconscious prejudice I have held about Arab people and I am so glad to have my prejudices challenged by these wonderful people.

Day 9: Mitzpe Ramon: Back in Israel we began the trip North spending the night in a Negev desert town called Mitzpe Ramon.  There is crater there known as a maktesh that is pretty amazing.  To be exact, 38 km long, 6 km wide and 450 meters deep

Day 10 – now: Galilee area (Sea of Galilee, Nazareth and Safed) Day 10 we traveled almost the length of the country which surprisingly to us Australians only takes about 5 hours.  We have been staying in a little place with views of the Sea of Galilee since.  It’s been amazing to just stop for 5 nights and take things slow, I was getting tired.  We have visited the Mt of Beattitudes where Jesus is said to have made the Sermon on the Mount.  One of my favourite parts of the Bible and also one of my favourite places on this trip.  A truly beautiful and peaceful place.  We also visited Caperneum and Nazareth, as you can imagine there are lots of churches there and places for the Christian pilgrims to visit.  I have read so much about these places it was hard to believe I was really there.  I have really appreciated this trip for helping me understand my Biblical geography.  Something I realise I was pretty ignorant of really.  In saying that I have not had some sense that this place is any more “Holy” than anywhere else or that God is more present to me.  I have been more aware of Him and that is good but he, I believe, is everywhere equally.

Yesterday, we visited the Golan Heights National Park right on the border with Babylon.  Some people say this may have been where the garden of Eden was.  I find it hard to believe they could know that but I can understand why they may think it.  With is running streams and waterfalls, endless natural fruit trees, flowers of all colours and a clearer green than you could imagine it sure is beautiful enough to be.  There is also an archeological site there said to be from the time of the divided Kingdom, definitely the oldest ruins I’ve seen.

There you go.  Travelling sure can be hard work, constantly dealing with the language issues and cultural issues that you are never fully sure if you are getting right.  Particularly hard here as such different things are expected of you depending where you are.  I have also found been away from my family very hard and I cannot wait to see them but I do  feel so blessed to be having such a rich experience here and to be sharing it with mum and Gem.  Thanks be to God.

 

Unexpected blessings

Life is a funny thing.  Last week I was posting about how awful it was in Alice Springs at the moment but this last week has been very blessed.  With tops of about 32 and lows of 18 it’s been truly delightful to be outdoors again during the day and snuggling up with a blanket at night.  Not normal for this time of year at all.

I have also had some unexpected news on the job front.  After the interviews I was feeling pretty confident about the teaching job.  One of the people interviewing me practically offered me the job and was talking to me like I had it saying things like, “you will sit here” etc.  The shelter job I enjoyed the interview but was feeling less confident.  I knew they needed people but they were interviewing lots of people too so was unsure.  On Tuesday the teaching job called to say I didn’t get the job.  There was part of me that was kind of relieved I hadn’t particularly wanted it but it felt pretty awful.  I felt a bit silly for assuming I had it, I felt a bit worried as I wasn’t sure I’d get the other one and I also just hate the feeling of rejection.  Thankfully on Wednesday the shelter called to offer me a job so pretty quickly felt less worried and a bit better.  This outcome was not what I expected but I am pretty happy about it.  Now I don’t have to make a choice between the two and  really feel working at the shelter is good fit for me right now.

I have also been teaching this week with Batchelor again.  I was pretty anxious about it but it turned out to be a lovely week of teaching and really restoring for me.  I had been feeling like I really didn’t like teaching and was terrible at it for a few months so it was good to have a positive experience.  I also was pretty burnt by the organisation but it was actually lovely to be there in that environment.  Then my old boss offered me a two day per week job. Nothing confirmed and I think I would still find working with her very challenging but the job itself sounds like a good fit for me and two days isn’t a lot of time and it means I could do it and work at the shelter as well.  It feels like a good opportunity to keep my foot in the door there while I work out what I really want to be doing.  Not sure what I will do but I feel blessed to have some options.  Nothing starts until April when I return so I have time to sit with it.

Life is a constant reminder to me that we don’t ever really know what will happen but I do feel God’s presence very strongly with me in all this.

There are times in Alice Springs when everything is so divine I wonder why the entire world doesn’t want to live here.  This has not been one of those weeks.  In fact this week reminds me why in fact only very few do.  While it has been hotter, the humidity is making 37 degrees unbearable, with the desert winds blowing dust everywhere and unsettling us all.  If that weren’t enough to keep us inside the flies on there own sure would and the ants that make it impossible to stand still anywhere.  Bring on March I say.  Off to Israel and by the time we are back it’ll be almost April when the weather is almost perfection.

Making Decisions

I am a really bad decision maker.  I get so anxious about it which is bad seeing as how often in life we have to make decisions.  In my last post I was talking about how much I angsted about making the decision to go to Israel.  This week I am angsting about my work.  On Monday I had an interview with the women’s shelter and the tomorrow I have an interview for a literacy teaching job with STEPS.  I found out on Thursday about these and and I cannot make a decision about what I want to do.  I know I don’t have the jobs yet but preliminary discussions were overwhelmingly positive so I thought I better make a decision in case I do get offered both.  They are both part time and fit really well for me.   Truth is I think I would rather take the shelter job.  I am so not feeling like teaching right now after the previous six months I am feeling a bit burnt by teaching literacy in this context.  On the other hand this is a much nicer job than the last one and I have this sense maybe I shouldn’t just stop teaching after this one crappy experience.  Of course I could go back at another stage but it does get harder.  I have been praying lots, reading things to give me guidance and talking to wise people but every moment I feel something different.  I am going with just see what doors open and close but thus far all doors just keep opening.  What would you do if you were me?

To Israel

I can’t really believe I am writing this but I am going to Israel.  Mum mentioned about 2 weeks back that she might use some of her frequent flyer points to go and visit Gem and that she could lend me some.  It was totally out of the blue, I had never even thought about it, but now here I am two weeks later with flights booked for March 6 til March 27.  It has been such a spontaneous decision for both us, which is quite out of character but we are as you can imagine very excited.

I have angsted a lot over the decision to go.  Three weeks is a really long time away from Nina.  She will be fine with Martin of course but I worry that she will feel worried about me being away and not coming back.  More importantly though I will just miss her desperately.  It’s also not the best timing as I don’t have a job and thus not much money so big overseas trips does feel a little bit crazy.  It feels like I am asking a lot of Martin.  He has been very generous in encouraging me to go but I realise I am not very good at accepting such generosity from him and my mother for that matter.  I’ve never travelled like this before.  I’ve only ever gone to Peru to for long stretches of time firstly to volunteer and then to visit family.  I did travel a bit on the way to other places and while I was there in Peru but this feels totally different.  But in my quiet times I really felt I should learn to accept generosity and abundance, it teaches us a lot about grace.  I also wanted to make a decision based on courage not fear so I decided to go.

I have been lying awake at night worrying a little but I am really going to try not to do that and just feel really excited.  I simply can’t believe I will be visiting the Holy Land and will be seeing Gem as well and learning so much about this country.  Looking at pictures today it sure looks like an amazing place.  Also, really excited to be doing a bit of travel with my mum and Gem.  We never did anything like this as kids so I think it’s going to be a special time.