Saturday, December 31, 2011

Princess Fashion

"Now this did happen once upon a time
When things were not so complex.
And how he worshipped the ground she walked on.
When he looked in her eyes, he became obsessed" - Mark Knopfler

A gift was given over the holidays in a gift bag with the theme of Disney's famous princesses.  Apparently over here in the Middle East, they are not exactly the same.  Can you tell what is different about these princesses?

Need a closer look?

Maybe the other side of the gift bag will help...

I guess Princesses are just more modest in this part of the world.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Modern Miracles

"But I'm just talking to a satellite
Twenty thousand miles up in the sky each night
Yeah, we're living in,
In a modern world." - Electric Light Orchestra

About a week ago I helped organize something I think was pretty amazing.  We had a youth fireside for church and about 80 kids showed up.  That is pretty cool because we are in the middle of an Islamic country where not too long ago it could have been dangerous to admit you were Christian.  Plus, we had youth traveling hours from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and all over the UAE to participate.  The youth here are impressive.

But, that is not the amazing part.  What I thought was incredible, was the fact that the fireside was web-conferenced (is that a term?) to youth in the UAE, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar!  It was not just broadcast, but the other youth were actually able to participate, comment, and share musical numbers with each other.  The youth in all of these countries could see and communicate with each other.  It was fun to watch.  I mean, we thought it was cool growing up when we had a youth fireside where we got to meet some of the youth from Sugar City instead of just Rexburg.  Here we had youth from 4 different countries!  All of which are Islamic and 10-15 years ago probably had laws against Mormon firesides (ok, probably not specifically Mormon... but you get the idea).  It was cool.

Another small miracle was the refreshments served.  I asked the youth in our ward (we were in charge of hosting this fireside) what they wanted and the vote was unanimous for Root Beer Floats.  I didn't think much of it until I started to try and track down some root beer.  You can find most things in this country, but apparently, root beer is a rare commodity.  Fortunately, the Spinney's in Mirdif had some.  I had to buy all the root beer in the entire store, but it was just enough to feed our 80 youth.  Success!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

25 Years

"Love is much better than cable,
Staying with the station I found" - Mason Jennings

A little over 25 years ago, I was the new kid in algebra class and Yvonne was the cute cheerleader sitting next to me.  She had some questions about her homework, and I was happy to help. We both had no idea that two and half decades later we'd be celebrating our 12th anniversary.  Now we do all our homework together.

Its been a good 25 years.... really good!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

'Tis the Season

"Cause you make it feel like Christmas
Even when things go wrong" - Neil Diamond

Sometimes kids experience a level of excitement that is almost uncontainable.   The energy inside them can not stay inside any longer and spontaneously erupts in squeals of delight, fits of excited jumping, super-fast talking, or just running around as fast as possible.  Recently, we let the kids "help us" set up the Christmas tree and do a little decorating.  Let's just say that excitement was in the air.... so thick you could almost breath it.

It is nice they were having so much fun, because two 3 year old girls and a 2 year old boy "helping" with all the Christmas decorations can be a lot more work than normal.  In the end, we had to split the excitement into two days because of all the fun we were having.  ...sometimes that much fun requires a break for things to calm down a bit ;)

A few pics of the excitement:

Kids bring a whole new perspective to Christmas.  I get a kick out of the funny things they say as their understanding about this holiday grows.  They are still figuring out how things work and separating the true meaning of Christmas with all the commercial fantasies.  I wouldn't be surprised if they imagined the Christ-child born in a manger, surrounded by shepherds, wise men, the grinch, frosty, and elves.  It is fun to see it through their eyes.

If you've never seen any of the "Kid History" videos before, this is a good place to start.  These guys take a look a the their traditional family Christmas memories as explained by the kids... but acted out by the adults. Hilarious!