Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trip to Tripp

So this weekend I went to a conference.

Paul Tripp spoke on a topic very close to my heart... community.  The conference was called "Your Walk with God is a Community Project."

Before the conference I would joke around with people- using that phrase like a funny insult (all out of well-meaning and love, of course... you know how I am about wanting to have a good laugh).  But during the conference, I was convicted in many ways.  Along with many other things, Tripp talked about sin and how it breaks our community with others.  It made me think a lot about my own sin:

"Sin is everywhere and the DNA of sin is selfishness.  If you want to experience depravity, take a family road trip.  We are so self-oriented and easily-irritated, its easier for us to be adversaries than a community."

"Sin in its fundamental form is anti-social.  It causes me to de-humanize the people in my life.  They stop being objects of affection and become either vehicles or obstacles to please me.  The vehicles are for MY good and the obstacles are for MY bad.  Sin is obsessively self-focused."

It's so important for me to remember that I am a sinner- I don't want to become calloused to my sin, only seeing fault in the people around me.  It's also important to remember that as Christians, we have been given purpose through Christ's death.
2 Corinthians 5:15- "He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf."
One of the primary purposes for which Jesus came was to break my bondage to myself.  Grace causes us to live for something bigger than ourselves and thankfully, it causes us to live in community...  Taking family road trips all the time!!!

Sing Song Aliza

You know how most people say, "To do what?" when they want to know the purpose in going somewhere...  Aliza says:
"To What Do?"

She has been saying this for a long time and this past week we were surprised in hearing a sing-song version of that theme coming from Yaya (Aliza).
Unfortunately, the version I caught on camera has her singing "to do what" instead of her normal catch phrase.

Visit here:  Yaya singing "To What Do"

You'll notice she starts singing about lollipops and not having any yellow ones.  What a tragedy!
She does this because yellow is my favorite color, so she's sure to have run out...

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today my favorite thing was walking into children's church to pick up Norah and hearing


from across the room (in a bit of an Italian accent... I don't know where that came from... or do I?)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Being Busy

This is what it looks like when Aliza is busy.

The Crew

We have a lot of names floating around the villa every day.  Sometimes the names are attached to a real person, as an alias.  Sometimes they are attached to someone we can't see.  It just depends on what our mood is.  Here's a sample:

Ruthie- What I like to call Aliza when she's doing something suspicious.  This happens now and then, as you can imagine.

Pinatch- What Aliza likes to call herself when she is playing pretend.

Willy- Aliza watched Free Willy and ever since then she's been talking about him and to him.  I feel bad for him because he's always trapped.  That's no life.

Kevin- You've already heard about him.

Cinnamon English & Fern- The official imaginary friends.
I'll try to post a picture of them soon.  I was also just informed by Aliza that Big Boy (their big brother), Fern's mom and Fern's dad are also a part of the official friends.

It's nice living in a full house.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So, I have this theory

that there are two types of people in the world.


(that's a lot of hyphens.)

Picnic-ers like to survey their scene.  They enjoy looking for opportunities to socialize and enjoy the company of others.  They might even cry when they really like a muffin or piece of really good pizza.  They connect...

Non-Picnic-ers tend to miss out on opportunities to collectively veg (also known as relaxing).  They miss the whimsical things around them.  And they forget that even plastic food can be an opportunity to taste something good.

I'm blessed to be surrounded mostly by Picnic-ers.

Case in point...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fashion in Dubai

It's everywhere here.  Fashion, I mean.  That's why it's so easy to shop for friends.  I got you all some of these...

But I'm not sure what to call them.  Are they heads or hats?  How would you wear them?

There's a pillow head/hat, a cup head/hat, a clock head/hat and a colander head/hat.
I only bought 75 of each and I'm taking orders, so make sure you get your's in soon...

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Wonderful Day at the Beach

Yesterday Kate, Amanda and I went to the beach.

We arrived around 4 pm and were so surprised by the beautiful weather on the gulf shore.  It was wonderfully cool and the water was the perfect temperature.  Not only that, but we got to see the sunset.  A good ending to a perfect day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Really Love Lime Trees...

I'll say it again...  I love The Lime Tree Cafe and we went again today.
This is why I love it:

It's welcoming... (And uses the color green well)

It knows how to seat people inside and out, quite literally.

It has yummy food like this tuna melt.

It really entertains people like Amanda. ;)
She created Robbie the Robot while we were there.

And... they have yummy slices (the Kiwi version of a bar of sweetness)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My First Care-Package

I got my first package on Thursday and it was a beauty:

All from my very soon-to-be favorite place on the earth.
That is, once I go there (which won't be for awhile)....
Prince Edward Island

My parent's sent me:
A book by L.M. Montgomery, "The Story Girl"
An Anne of Green Gables bookmark
Some itunes picks from the local Connecticut Starbucks
An "I LOVE GILBERT" T-shirt (what could be better than that?)

Thank you and much love!!!!  Just wait 'til I get you something from Dubai...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Rearview Mirror

This is someone I might know...  You might even know him.

The other day, I skyped with my parents and my dad showed up wearing this... a rearview mirror that hooks onto his glasses.

If you read my post from September about Mystic Seaport, you know that my dad was adventurous on that trip.  Adventurous in way that he needed my assistance as a "look-out".
Last week he went to Mystic Seaport by himself, without a lookout, and brought along his rearview mirror so he could see if anyone snuck up on him.  I wish I had videotaped our conversation so you could hear my laughter when he told me this story.

Just thought you'd like a good Rodger story for the day.  Cheers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Best Day Ever.

I woke up this morning like it was any other day.

Like usual, I got ready and went into the study to read and pray.  After a little while Kate passed by with a yellow bag in her hands and peeked into the room.  She usually says hi, but this time she lingered like something in the plastic grocery sack was for me.  Low and behold, it was.  She had gotten bagels at Spinney's, a grocery store down the street, and brought them back to enjoy together!

If you know anything about me, you know that my two favorite foods are muffins and bagels.  But they don't have an endless supply of bagels in Dubai.  I went to another grocery store a few weeks ago and they didn't have any.  We recently found out from friends that Spinney's sells bagels and Kate was such a good friend to think of me this morning when she passed by it.

This is a common occurrence in countries that understand the greatness of bagels:
it's what they call "The Happy Bagel Face."

There is also a rumored wonderful and beautiful "Happy Bagel Dance."
(If only I could demonstrate that on the blog, but at least Glen saw it today)

Now, there were two people in the kitchen this morning that had never met a bagel before:

Look at her face, you can tell she already understands the greatness at such a young age.

This one's not so sure and thought that it was a donut...

But ultimately, everyone was won over.

And the Great Bagel Day didn't stop there.

A few hours later another friend Glen brought in another bag full of bagels ushering in more of the Happy Bagel Face and Happy Bagel Dance!  

What I've learned today: I am blessed to live in a wonderful community of people.  It's not really about the bagels, even though I love them, it's more about the thought behind them.  Glen even brought two other surprises:


Obviously purchased because it says, "Made in U.S.A.!"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Giraffe and The Princess

There is a legend of a Beautiful Giraffe.
She was a baby giraffe and had blue eyes.

Her keeper was a Princess.
The Princess would make the funniest faces in the kingdom and the baby giraffe would run away.

But alas, there were times when the giraffe outsmarted her keeper and would socialize with the villagers all on her lonesome.

The most fun times were when they could be together, happily ever after.

The end.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Becoming Anne...

When your parents go on a trip without you... this is what happens:

My parents went on a Canadian cruise and one of the destinations was Prince Edward Island.
Does this sound familiar to anyone?  It is the setting of my favorite books growing up: Anne of Green Gables and all that followed.  My mother was trying to be Anne...

I'll admit, I was quite jealous because going to Prince Edward Island is my dream, but I'm very happy that my parents enjoyed their cruise and that they were able to go.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Mysterious Case of the Pigeons

We go to a pool in our neighborhood quite often.  It's in the shape of a three leaf clover and it's located in a compound of villas that some of our friends live in.  The first time I saw the compound I exclaimed, "This is just like Italy."  Each villa has a front door that opens into a cobble stone alley way making it a bit Venice-esque.

But the thing that really made me think of Italy were the pigeons- who knew that pigeons live in the middle east too...  Apparently they rent apartments everywhere in the world.  And because the clover pool is in the compound, pigeon feathers are floating on top of the water every day that we go to the pool.

Don't worry, this isn't me, but I just wanted you to get the full picture.
It's pigeons + Venice.

Today was a different sort of day for pigeon sightings.  When we arrived at the pool we saw two pigeons wobbling around trying to keep their balance.  And unfortunately, there was a pigeon by the pool trying to fly away, but his body was dead weight and he couldn't go anywhere.  Unfortunately, I witnessed this one die after a couple of minutes.

At first we thought that one of our friends was the culprit.  Surely he brought his BB gun out and shot them, but then we ruled that out because we didn't see any bullet wounds.  Bullet wounds mean BB gun, obviously, so he was in the clear.  After we saw them writhe around in pain for quite awhile (sorry if you picture this in your head), we reasoned that they had been poisoned.  Once pigeons decide to live somewhere, they want to live there forever.  Someone obviously wants to get rid of them.

The mystery was reason enough for me to stay out of the pool today.  And maybe every day for that manner.  Just another detective case to go down in my books and just another day in Dubai.

Here are some real pictures of the pool.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Two Friends that I Love

I am blessed to have friends here.  I can't express how wonderful it is to spend time with Amanda and Kate, as well as, so many other friends I have met since arriving.

Amanda and I spend a lot of time together, even when we have time off.  I don't know when we would ever have the opportunity to be on an adventure together like this again in our lives.  It reminds me of the good ol' days.  She sees me when I'm in a silly mood, when I'm grumpy or sometimes crying, when I'm contemplating life and when I'm singing and dancing around.  So many emotions, so little time.  :)  But really, it has been wonderful to share in this experience together and to grow along side her.

Kate and I knew each other in college, but we were more like acquaintances.  Since living here, that has all changed and I'm so grateful to get to know her each day.  Especially because we laugh together a lot.  She is such a sweet friend!

Amanda and I gazing at the beautiful fish/reflection of a huge candy shop in Dubai Mall

One time, I turned Amanda into a camel with my mind...  I had to really concentrate to do it.

Kate and Kate
(I can see why people think I'm 14...
Does anyone have a magical aging potion?
Actually scratch that, I'll live the way I was made)

The three of us... so fun!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Camel Saddles & Wind Towers

More of Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a catalog of pictures for your viewing pleasure:

The inside was built to look like Dubai's souqs once upon a time.

They sell a lot of lamps in souqs.

And camel saddles (you can only use these saddles for camels with one hump... good thing I knew that before I bought a camel... ahhh man)

There's the steering wheel I was looking for.  I'm trying to convert my car into a ship.

Oh look, it worked.  (This is an abra, but a really nice looking one because it's owned by a hotel)

That tower up there is called wind tower, it's what they used before air conditioning.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Burj Al Arab

Is the world's only 7 star hotel.  Crazy right?

You need an appointment for afternoon tea or a reservation in order to visit the lobby.  Walk-ins are not welcome.  But you can take some pretty cool shots of the hotel from different places in Dubai.

This is from the beach... wow....

This is from Souk Madinat, it looks a little shorter from there.

And there it is again, in all it's glory.
It kind of reminds me of a sail boat.