Monday, December 14, 2009

finale

well, with 2 days left i look back and hardly believe the semester is over. i'm sure when i get home and fast internet that actually uploads pictures is available i will do more posts. as for now i must bid this wonderful land farewell for a time and thank it for changing my life.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Samuel Ellertson

My brother Bryan and his wife Suzanne were blessed with a new baby boy, Samuel Ellertson. He was born 11/17/09 and was signed over for their adoption a few days ago. I couldn't be happier for these very deserving parents. they have been so patient through the ups and downs of adoption and are finally blessed with a new addition to their amazing family....i can't wait to meet little sammy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

i'm alive

don't worry i'm alive. i just spent 11 wonderful days in the galilee and can say that i am a new person. however, i am so happy to be home. :) (in jerusalem) p.s. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Josephine Marolyn Mills

My amazing sister Lara had her baby on friday and will now be a mother of 3 under 3. what a rockstar! Josephine Marilyn Mills was born on November 6, 2009, 3:10 p.m. 7 lbs. 5 oz. 20 inches. I love her already and I haven't even met her yet!



p.s. she did the whole thing with out any pain meds...like i said rockstar.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

cat (ding) i'm a kitty cat

one thing that i didn't know when i came here was the fact that jeru is infested with cats. including the center. usually stray dogs can be found in bigger cities but not here. it's so bad that we have named some of the regulars including: diseasy, trachy, dr. seus)...and... all of the females have utters. like i said i love everything about this place.

Monday, November 2, 2009

so little time...



This is my view everyday. A few days ago as we drove back from our field trip in Jordan, we drove over the mount of olives and descended into jerusalem below us. the sun was setting and lit everything up so beautifully and i couldn't help but feel a wave of emotion for this place. it feels like home. i love the huuuge variety of people, the sudden change in weather from dripping sweat to needing a rain jacket, the view from which the center looks out upon perched on the mount of olives, my peers here at the center (who are some of the most christ like people i've ever been around), i love sabbaths here, i love being able to tell exactly which quarter of the old city you are in based on it's cleanliness, i love falafel and gelato, i love how i feel like this place is the center of the world and you can never run out of things to do, i love walking everywhere, i love ben yahuda street, i love the oasis food and eggnog desserts, i love doing the same run everyday, i love how old everything is and makes american history seem like a new born baby, i love my professors and forum speakers, i love brother brown and his scarcely seen smiles,i loooooove the call to prayer and most of all i love the color that has been added to the black and white stories of the scriptures through being here. i never want to leave. (except to see my family) :)




Friday, October 23, 2009

israel

i finally have a break in school before we cart off to jordan so i figured i could update my blog. literally this week has been non stop, no breaks, no free time. with 3 midterms to study for, a few assignments and classes i have felt very deprived of sleep and...a real life.. anyways we have had some fun stuff lately. we went to yad vashem which is the israeli holocaust museum which was so moving. from the architecture to the videos of survivors testimonials, the whole experience was very sobering and humbling. but it was when we went into the childrens memorial at the end that i felt my eyes start to hurt and couldn't hold back the tears as i put myself in their position. i tried to comprehend the trauma of never seeing my nieces or nephews again and wondering what mass grave their little bodies lay in and the fear must have consumed them before. the setting of the memorial is an almost pitch black room in which you circumambulate around a flame that is reflected on mirrors. while you walk in almost complete darkness, a mans voice very plainly states a victim childs name, home country and age. the whole ambiance and experience was unlike anything i've ever done.


whhhew...on a lighter note we had arab culture night a few nights ago and it was one of the funnest nights we've had here at the center. the night started out with a father and son singing for us the call to prayer. calling for prayer is a tradition that has been in their families for 500 years! it was so beautiful. then they demonstrated for us the prayers that they pray 5 times a day. after the performance we went and had a beautiful banquet that had ethnic palestinian food and dessert(i had two plates don't judge). oh and while the father and son were performing the call to prayer we had sheets of paper with the translation of what they were saying. one thing that i have learned here is how similar christianity and islam really are. this was reaffirmed as they sang and basically bore testimony of allah and mohammad. it's no wonder these people are so devoted to their religion. five times a day they are reminded that there is no other God but allah and that they need to hasten to prayer. that would really keep your faith at the front of your mind. anyways the food was wonderful and then we had the best part. some palestinian folk dancers taught us their dances. i don't know what it is but there is something programed deep in my brain that makes me so happy when i dance. i'm not very good at it but at any kind of dance, i lose my inhibitions (in a good way) and leave feeling very euphoric. so this dancing is basically jumping up and down a bunch but i left doubled over in pain because my abs hurt so bad from laughing and my cramped brain felt so enlightened. so i don't necessarily have the feet but i definitely have the heart for dancing. well i'm off to bed to get ready for sabbath (can't say sunday cause sabbath on a saturday) tomorrow and dream of meeting Elder Holland tomorrow night at his fireside here!

oh and mom this ones for you: today i went to the israeli museum and saw the isaiah scroll of the dead sea scrolls and i thought of you (obviously)! i'll post an illegal picture later!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

likening

today in my ancient near east class we studied about the relationships of prophets of the old testament to the kings that ruled over israel. how prophets would warn and prophesy against the ancient israelite kings but the kings would choose which prophets to listen to if it was in their favor. right after class i happened upon the talk given by elder oaks just yesterday to byui students about religious freedom, specifically regarding the ruckus surrounding prop 8. my good friend molly here, who's mom teaches at byui, said that this talk was given in response to the speech president obama gave to the homosexual community a few days ago. she then informed me that his talk is the churches official stance on homosexuality. i couldn't help but immediately tie this back to the ancient kingdoms of israel and see what happened to these civilizations who did not hearken to the prophets voice. i also found myself very comforted that our church leaders are not afraid to voice the will of the Lord. what a good example they are of standing firm and not swaying with with winds of change that seem to have swept the nation in the last few years.

http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/religious-freedom

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Pictures and some Video

Lots and lots of pictures



matis



about to go into MATISYAHU CONCERT...best night of mlife



roomies at jericho....love em (amy lynn, amy lynn and brooklynn)



Mount of temptation monastary



church of the holy sepulcher



Overlooking the Sukkot festival



Biblical Oasis the children of Israel stopped at during the exodus



Saladin's Mosque Cairo--super cool



dancing at the Hard Rock Cafe in Cairo



heiroglyphics at karnak temple



riding a camel...super comfortable



View of the Pyramids




La, Ame and La over looking the wilderness of Zin

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ketchup

i feel bad that i haven't blogged in a quite a while so i need to "ketchup". the past few weeks have once again been incredible. i'm starting to feel officially at home here at the center. i constantly look forward to the next meal because the food is so good (which explains why my pants have started to shrink), and i absolutely LOVE everyone who is here with me. everybody is so different but brings such a different dynamic to the table. i'm starting to see why people who come here are obsessed with it and with the friends they make here. so we went to egypt a few weeks ago for a week and it rocked! we never slept more then 2 nights in one hotel and traveled all over the egyptian countryside. one thing that "plagued" my trip were mosquito bites. i wouldn't be surprised if i got west-nile virus west of the nile (literally) . the first few nights we were there a few of us stayed up late talking and i got over 50 bites on each leg! so i learned my lesson and the next time we wanted to stay up and play games outside i wore long pants a zip up jacket and flip flops with socks so they couldn't bite my feet. the next day i found 20 mosquito bites all around my ankles..the only part that was exposed. so now i look like i have leprosy on my legs because i have itched them soooo much. it got so bad one of the days i got benadryl from one of the nurses and spent the day with my head feeling like 100 lbs walking all over the luxor temples it was great. its funny looking back but i wanted to die at the time. so egypt rocked and probably the coolest thing was the pyramids and the nile. it was soooo beautiful! oh! and on the way back we hiked mt. sinai and it has been my most favorite experience so far on the trip. we hiked all through the night starting at 2 am and it was seriously one of the hardest hikes of my life. i had to stay with some people that were bookin it cause i forgot a flash light so at the top my legs felt like jello. reaching the top i was drenched with sweat but we made it in time for sunrise. i sat down put on motab and watched the sun rise over the sinai desert and mountain range. it was indescribable the love that i felt from heavenly father. it's amazing how nature and beholding God's creations of this earth can strengthen your testimony. the last few days i've been cooped up in the center working on papers and studying for tests so nothing to eventful lately but i am still loving it!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

d.i.v.e.r.s.i.t.y

the last few days have been very eventful! living here is so crazy you never know whats going to happen. today (saturday) is sabbath here because it is when both of the major religions have their holy day. so last night to welcome "shabbat" we went down to the western (wailing) wall in our black dresses and celebrated with them. when we first got there we danced and sang in circles with jewish girls. it is so cool to see how they approach the sabbath differently, its such a party. so then after seeing probably the best looking guy i have ever seen in real life (seriously took my breath away..and a funny story for another time) i went down to the wall and took my little prayer i had written, carefully rolled up and put it in the wall. some may think it's wierd but it was a very different way of worshiping for me. i've never actually written a prayer down on paper before and as i stuck it into a small crack in the wall, i felt a devotion and love for God. i know that he always here's my prayers but this was a physical manifestation to me of giving it to him. after wandering around the plaza and comparing different jewish outfits for a while, we left. this is not the only eventful thing about the night! on our way down to the wall (yes all 80 white american students in desses/white shirts walked over a mile through palestinian jerusalem 2 by 2 on the sidewalk to get there. talk about out of place)2 swat cars came zooming past us, sirens blaring and we wondered what was going on. we later passed a street leading down to the city of david on the south side of the old city swarmed with police. we finally found out what happened and i guess as we were walking down there, a jewish settler shot 2 palestinians in the legs for assaulting him. crazy! i walk the streets everyday and i don't really think about the conflict cause you cant really tell they hate each other, but it is still stirring. anyways after last night i was thinking about the diversity of religion you find here and how it truly is the center of the world.

today after church we went to the garden tomb which was so beautiful and really peaceful. after looking in the tomb and walking around the garden and singing hymns, we heard what sounded like an african mens chorus singing an accapella song. as we looked over a group of fijian men were loudly singing and clapping a christian song. it was so beautiful and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. these men who were from a different country, different race, different socioeconomic status, different church even, had found faith in Jesus Christ and his resurrection. that was such a testimony to me of the truth of christ's as our savior. if i can i'll post the video of them singing later. ok so i know this is a long post but it has been a very eventful evening. i'm off in the morning to go swim in the Mediterranean at tel aviv :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Orson Hyde Garden




sigh....i love this place

Friday, September 4, 2009

new show in town

i am trying to see if i can upload pictures but so far they've told us that the bandwidth is too little to upload or download anything off the internet so it might not happen. however i wanted to blog about the coolest thing i saw today. after the first day of classes and lunch we were able to go have free time in the city. we were told that in the last week they had uncovered a wall in the city of david (just south of the old city) that dated back to the time of Abraham and Melchizedek! Holy Fire! That's around 4,000 years folks. There is nothing as far as i know in these parts that is that old that has been discovered. The excavation site is obviously still in progress but after much searching and walking we were able to find it and peak our heads in a peep hole and check it out. It was so amazing. Our teacher told us that we are one of the first people to see those walls in 4,000 years. Pretty sweet. you probably don't know (as I didn't) that the Old City of Jerusalem as it stands today is built upon layers of city rubble from being destroyed a plethera of times. so nothing looks like what i thought it would and no one really knows where anything happened so i feel like i've been very misinformed my whole life about what certain events looked like. like the garden tomb and golgotha are RIGHT in the middle of the city. So the actual foundation and stones are not the ones that jesus walked on. there are a few things and churches that date back to that time but the history here is out of control! so anyways the wall was sweet or atleast what we saw of it. the whole time i kept thinking about how my mom would be peeing her pants if she was with me. so mama i'll take you there one day :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

#310

my new address is room 310 in the jerusalem center. it still hasn't really hit me that i will be here for the next four months, but i've vowed to myself that i wouldn't let a day go by being homesick or anticipating what's coming next. i just want to soak everything in while i can like a sponge. however i have come to realize that i don't think that 4 months here would even come close to satisfying all of the questions that have popped in my brain. we got to the center yesterday after 4 different planes and lots of tylenol p.m. i think we were traveling for 26 hours straight...talk about jet lag. it was interesting to see the plane full of people get more and more diverse with each leg of the trip. by the time we got on our plane bound for tel aviv it was full of many different cultures (and smells). anywho we got here to the center and i'm still picking my jaw up off the floor at the organization and beauty of this place. in a city that is so confused and chaotic at times, this center is like clock-work from the security, to the cooks, to grounds. but what else would you expect from the church right? my roommates are 3 girls all a year younger then i shelly, brooklyn, and amy. we are already rockin this place and having so much fun. last night we took a tour of the center and got all oriented and i surprisingly felt the spirit of the sanctity of this place.

the center here is located on the eastern part of jerusalem more specifically mount scopus (spelling made up). which means that we are nestled among arab neighborhoods. this is especially fun because right now they are in the middle of the month of ramadan. so 5 times a day you can here the prayer calls. for some reason when i heard these last night the total difference of their way of life, religion and culture hit hard. i stood on the balcony watching the sunset and listened to a male baritones voice sing a fluctuating call to faithful muslims of jerusalem. this morning when i heard it at 4 my feelings were pretty different. so anyways this morning we walked into jerusalem and around the old city and i felt sooo much excitement with all of the smells and people and history. i think my group was getting sick of me cause i couldn't stop asking our guide questions. good thing i can go back a bazillion times cause i can't believe all of the stuff i want to see.

so im hoping the fact that i'm in jerusalem hits me before i leave cause i can't believe i'm in a place that is so stinkin old! mmmm...just my cup of tea.

p.s. there's a rumor that elder holland might be coming this way during the semester. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

enough


is anyone else sick of hearing about their drama? sheesh! their 8 kids have a rough road ahead of them already and i seriously don't think the scandal could be dragged out anymore. enough with the interviews, t.v. appearances and rebuttals through tabloids.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

sytycd



i have absolutely loved this season of so you think you can dance on fox. i have always had a love and appreciation for dance even if i haven't had the feet and this show gives me just what i need each week. each wednesday night just past 9 i can be found dancing around my kitchen or bedroom wishing my mom wouldn't have let me quit dance lessons despite my tantrums and also wishing i was good enough to be on sytycd. these dances are a must see and can be found if not on the internet then saved on the dvr at my house (call me):

janine and phillip: hip/hop "mad" ne-yo



kayla and kupono: waltz "sweet dreams" jewel



ashley and kupono: crash test dummies



janette and brandon: wade robison jazz "ruby blue"



kayla and kupono: contemporary "gravity" sarah bareilles


(couldn't find a better picture but how could you forget the dance)

janine and jason: contemporary "if it kills me" jason mraz



janette and brandon: argentine tango




melissa and ade: contemporary "this womans work"
(no pics yet sorry)

your favorites?

p.s. ellen is hularious (duh)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

a hidden passion

although i am far from being married or even engaged i have recently developed a hidden passion for all things to do with weddings. my job right now has slowed down and given me time to explore the online wedding world. although most things i love cost far more then i would ever spend on a wedding a girl can dream. so far these are some of my favorites:
blog: greenweddingshoes.blogspot.com
photographer: stephaniewilliamsphotography.com

cakes: sweetandsaucyshop.com

themes and decorations: carnival, parisols,

color schemes: yellow, orange and white; midnight blue, ivory and teal, coral pink and white; tiffany blue black and white; red and aqua

invitations: elumdesigns.com
flowers: peonies, poppies, ranunculus, craspedia pom poms,

Monday, July 20, 2009

first of the first


i have decided to make a blog. after blindly making my way around the blogosphere i figured out how to make my background and banner look how i wanted and chances are i'll probably change it pretty soon. as of right now no one knows that this little page exists but soon i know it's url will span the globe. the primary reason for creating this page is to update friends and family on my up and coming semester in jerusalem. in one month i'll bein the holy land tearin it up...stay tuned for updates. ...mazel tov.