My dream atmosphere for writing is a peaceful morning surrounded by the country landscape with nothing but the sound of nature to be heard, Possibly beside a gurgling brook.
Well, maybe some day my dream writing world will be fulfilled, but not today and probably not any time soon.
This morning is Tyler and my first morning in our apartment in Jerusalem, Israel.
Its a small apartment, I mean a very small apartment, also known as a studio. But this is an Israeli studio. We have a kitchen of sorts and we have a bedroom of sorts and it is the same room. And we have a bathroom, but it is the size of an American half-bathroom. Did you know that was possible? Well, apparently it is.
I thought I lived in the city before I moved here, but now I can dream of my old home in Minneapolis as a quiet little neighborhood compared to my new little home.
We are literally right above one of the busiest streets, with a tram running through every few minutes. This is City Center.
I have my own little coffee table set up again. It makes me feel more truly at home. We have unpacked our few belongings which is really quite a lot when you have to drag several suitcases through the street, on to a bus, into a cab, up some stairs.
So this morning I sipped on a hot mug of coffee, freshly ground. We have our window wide open to hear all the morning hubbub and to let a gentle breeze in. This is my new writing spot for the next year or so.
It is not a dream writing spot, but it is home for write now, so this is where I will write.
I am sure there are many special things about Israel that I will learn over the next few months. But let me share with you a particular speciality I have discover after only being here for a little over a week. Coffee.
Yes, Coffee! There are lots of coffee shops around where you can buy a steaming cup of coffee or a bag of coffee beans etc. But when it comes to buying coffee to make at home and you go to the little grocery store around the corner, guess what you find? You find instant coffee. Lots of options of their delicious instant coffee. Like, only instant coffee.
Now after living for several years in Minneapolis where I think people are known for their coffee snobbery, I may have become more picky with my own coffee myself, but I never considered myself a complete coffee snob. Until Now.
I move to Israel and am surprised to find that to buy real coffee beans you actually have to go to real coffee shops rather than just the grocery stores where I am used to finding plenty of options for coffee beans.
So I did a little research, and it appears that it is actually a real thing here. You can either go to a coffee shop and get a nice cup of real coffee. Or you make your coffee at home with instant coffee. You pour hot water into the dissolvable grounds and you have what they call coffee.
Thankfully I am in luck since I brought my little coffee bean grinder with me and an Aeropress. So I can continue to enjoy my real coffee beans and keep grinding them myself, too.
New things to learn every day.
Here we are in Israel at last. And here is a short update so far of life and experiences in Israel.
Flying was long and definitely something I don't want to do very often.
Using a taxi in Israel is extremely expensive (or maybe I am unexperienced in the cost of public transportation), but at least I can say I used one now (and hope to not have to use one again).
When we think it is really hot everyone else around us shakes their head and confirms this is nothing compared to how hot it can get.
Both of our phones are really old and therefore, won't take a SIM card in Israel.
Communication without phones can be incredibly frustrating when you are not on wifi.
Without your own car, one has to walk a LOT.
The sun is brutal for the fair skinned. Ok, I already knew this but....
Saying "thank you" in Hebrew is about the only thing I can say so far, but hey its a start.
I am thankful for a husband who does know some Hebrew so we can manage to get around. But also thankful that most people at least speak a little English.
I thought Minnesotans were bad at honking their horns, but I think I have been proved wrong. Israel is way worse.
Although things are fairly modernized in most places in Israel it is still in some ways very different then the U.S.A.
I think the markets can be a lot of fun, but it will take me a little while to figure out the money here so I can know if I am getting a good deal or not.
We are only days away from flying out to Israel where we make our home for the next couple years. In fact, if all goes well, my next post will be written in Israel.
I thought I would try to piece together my thoughts and write a coherent post.
Our plans for arrival in a foreign country is all a bit fuzzy. Really we don't have definitive plans. The theme these days is trust God. Trust God and he will make a way. And he does. Tyler and I have together witnessed time and again God's faithfulness as we prepare for this upcoming journey. But I assure you that we don't always have an answer.
I remember about this time six years ago I was about to head off to college. And five years later I came out on the other side of that journey. I crossed the finish line. I got my bachelor's degree.
But the pathway through all of that was not always clear. I remember talking to a friend in my second or third year of school and feeling very uncertain of my purpose in life, particularly with school. But my friend remarked that I was walking by faith.
I guess that theme has stuck with me. Walk by faith and not by sight.
Here I am now about to head off to Israel with my husband while he goes to school. And I am reminded once more to walk by faith.
The pathway isn't terribly clear to me right now. Details still need to be worked out. I know I will be there to support my husband, but beyond that I can not say what God has planned for me there. But I know it's another opportunity to remember that walking with God is to walk by faith and not by sight.
Call me crazy and I would say I've been calling myself crazy for a whole lot longer than you have.
I love the music of the keys.
Let me explain.
For the past six years or so I have typed away on what was called a Windows Surface, very similar to a tablet. It has no keyboard, just a popup screen keyboard. Its exasperating and technically not created to be doing large amounts of writing. But I do sometimes defy all logic. For about five years I did almost all of my college papers on that Surface, slowly and silently typing away on the screen. And yes, my roommates laughed, friends laughed, everyone laughed and maybe I cried. But I did make it through my five years of college and with a bachelors degree at that. And yes, faithfully typing my many papers onto that small screen. Sometimes patiently, sometimes not so patiently. But I did do it stubbornly, very stubbornly.
But I am happy to say that at least for a little while things seem to be looking up. I finally have a real laptop to use. I am truly delighting in the sound of a real keyboard as I type away on my laptop. It makes me feel like I am actually writing something and making progress. Its music to my ears to hear the clicking and tapping of the keys.
I have been trying to get back into my writing in the last couple months after a bit of a break. Yes, the five years of college may be what did me in with writing for a while. But a real keyboard to type on is making it much more exciting, now that the passion for written words is returning to me.
And here we are less than a week away from flying out of the U.S.A. to start a new adventure in a foreign land.
When we first started thinking and talking about the possibility of moving to Israel for two years for Tyler to do school, it always felt so far away and even almost very unlikely. But with less than a week away from flying out, I have decided that it is very much real.
While we were still living in Minnesota, I was working at a thrift store and we often had customers, who had come to America from other countries. It was sometimes a struggle to understand them, because there English was not always supper great or their accent was hard to understand.
But that foreigner who is hard to understand and speaks a different language is soon going to be me.
It will be me walking the streets or in the market place trying to buy food and communicate with the locals. And they will be the ones trying to understand what I am saying. And I will be the one who speaks a foreign tongue.
Her eyes scanned the old pictures from her families photo album, turning the page, heart yearning for days of old. She pondered, she dreamed of the days long gone by.
There was a picture of her sister and there a picture of her long past brother. She remembered the days of laughter and silly childhood play, giggles of mirth, creeks to splash in, forts and fortresses to build. Wishing and replaying every little thing, wanting it to be all back again.
Why couldn't we just put life on stand still she said? Why can't we push replay? Why can't life just stay the way it was?
She was a dreamer, a dreamer of the past, a dreamer of the days long gone.
The past had lustrous memories. The future seemed so grim. Family spread far and wide. One brother dead. People changing. Why? Why can't it be the same as it used to be she'd say?
Looking, looking, always looking with her head turned back. Always peering into the Past.
The Present came to her door and knocked. The Present was filled with vibrant colors of life and youth and health. But she was too busy starring back at her dead Past. And so the Present came and the Present went.
The Future came filled with hopes and dreams and skies looking bright. But she still stood there looking down with saddened eyes looking into the Past, but the Past was no more for it had past. And so the Future came and the Future went.
Years slipped by, the sun rose, and the sun set, but she sat on her porch with the photo album in her hands still grieving over the loss of her dear Past.
Driving away from what has been my city and home for the last six years.
Some years filled with tears and stress and some years filled with laughter and love. City life has not always been my friend. And the Minnesota snow and winter cold has rarely been my friend, if ever. But despite my distaste of the climate or harsh judgments of city life, Minneapolis will be dearly missed in my heart.
But more than that, it will be the friends I have made over the last 6 years that will be most dearly missed. I have found some of the sweetest friends in the community God has placed me in Minneapolis and it is the people God has surrounded me with there that has truly made Minneapolis a home to me.
We are driving forward, onward to the next adventure, a new city, new friends.
Goodbye sweet, Minneapolis, till next time!
I sit here and listen to the loud grinding noises of city life or an on going groaning from near by work. An airplane is heard flying nearer and nearer, then softer and softer grows the noise as it disappears out of sight.
The less harsh words of nature, are heard bringing sweet melodies to my ears through the chirping songs of the birds.
I feel the gentle breeze of the wind and hear the faint rustling and whispering of the leaves.
My eyes peer out the window and take in the vine climbing up the wall of the neighboring boarding house. Orange fragrant blooms rest with striking color against the old stucco wall. Blue skies for eternity.
My senses become alert, eager to take it all in, trying to let nothing go unmissed. Its easy for day to day to go by and so little is remembered from each moment. So little is truly delighted in and yet there is so much delight in this world. From the giggles and laughter of children to the gurgling of a creek.
My desire as a writer is for others to experience what I experience in the life around me and inside me, the things I see, things I smell, the things I feel deep in my heart, or the things I touch with my hands.
I write so that others can feel that they are right there with me though they may be worlds away. And not only may they be right there with me, but may my readers enjoy it and find delight in every little and marvelous wonder of this world. My desire is that the words I write would make life come alive and that you, my reader, may enjoy it too with all the senses God gave you.
Or may the words I write stir your own heart to feel and connect with the things I have felt deep inside. Whether I write of tears and sorrow or of joys uncontainable, may your own heart resonate with mine and may we sing with one voice and delight once again in our Savior.
I cannot write well unless I am experiencing well, and the only way for me to experience well is to be all there.
Its the farm house
Nestled in the valley
That holds sweet memories.
You get there from
A long meandering road,
Winding around the country side.
Driving, driving, driving,
Past fields and forest,
And falling apart shacks.
Around a bend here,
Around a bend there.
Up a hill and down again.
Its deep in the woods,
Away from the noise
Of city life bustle
And of hustle and hurry.
Nestled in a valley
Is the house and the home
Of the farmer.
There the house stands,
Strong and erect.
The red brick walls,
Telling stories of long ago
And stories that are new,
Of laughter and tears,
Of fellowship with friends,
Of love and of heart ache,
Of joy from the pain,
And pain amidst the joy,
Sweat and toil,
And lots of hard work.
The sun rises,
The sun sets.
The farmer wakes early.
He works in his fields,
He tends to his crops.
Its peaceful in the valley,
Its humble, its home.
This is the farm house
Nestled in the valley.