It All Ties Together.

So last night, we were watching one of our favorite shows, which I shall shamelessly endorse: “Don’t Tell My Mother.” Diego travels to parts of the world that you wouldn’t normally visit (North Korea, Afghanistan, Siberia, Palestine…) and shows what life is really like there – not the touristy, showy side, but the real, nitty-gritty living in these places. It’s fascinating to see places that normally you don’t get images from. Last night, he went to Iran.

I was shocked by quite a few things he showed happening in Iran – things I would never have imagined, to be honest! I also had to keep pausing the show to “inform” my husband – “This ties back to the Esther study I did with Beth Moore!!” There were two things in particular I wanted to share that he showed:

1 – Instead of “American Idol” they have the “Qur’an Idol.” Thirty different Muslim nations compete. There were 1700 people in the room watching the competition (divided by men and women, of course). The judges were in a separate room. It was deathly quiet – no applause, no cheering, no noise. The competitors were given a single line from the Qur’an and then they had to complete the passage from memory. Of course, they do not merely recite – it’s all the “singing” that they do. The judges are looking at pronunciation, inflection, the actual memorization, and many other qualifications. The only breaks taken were for prayer. The competitors are revered and idolized – they feel they have many expectations to live up to. The Iranian competitor won first place and received 40 gold coins (equivalent of about $8000).

2 — There is a rather large Jewish contingency living in Iran! There are at least 20 large synagogues in Tehran, the capital. Would you have thought of that?? I wouldn’t have…until I remembered the Bible study on Esther! History lesson in case you’re lost: The Israelites (the Jews) were punished by God during the time of Daniel and carted off to what is now Iraq/Iran as prisoners. But then, 400 years later, they were allowed to return to Israel. They were encouraged to return! They were to rebuild Jerusalem and start again. Their promised land was waiting for them once again. However, many of them had kind of gotten used to life where they were. It was easy, there was no rebuilding, they were settled – why would they want to leave? The Jews that stayed behind included Mordecai and (Queen) Esther. They were not devout, pious Jews. They had really assimilated into the culture.

Fast-forward to today: That remnant is still in Iran. They are Persian Jews and see no need to return to Israel. They are not particularly pious – they showed some of them selling vodka and pornography and saying, “We could never live like this in Israel!” They like living in Iran because it’s, believe it or not, easy for them! There’s not a lot of persecution, they’re left relatively alone, and they can live however they want. What’s even more interesting – they’re represented in Parliament and they actually interviewed the Jewish representative and he is opposed to Israel! He is all for Iran attacking Israel – feels they even deserve it.

All of this stems back to that small remnant hundreds of years ago that refused to return to Israel when given the all-clear. They refused to return to the land that God had promised them.

Isn’t that just fascinating? So much of what is going on in that part of the world stems back to the Old Testament. It all ties together.

And people think the Old Testament isn’t relevant for today…

29 to go.

Yup, yup. There he is! Little Junior is on his (or her!) way! I’m 11 weeks along and hence the reason for the lull on the blog. We found out on Valentine’s Day and tried really hard to keep it a secret as long as possible. We had our first ultrasound at 7wks and heard the beautiful sound of the heartbeat. Then this past Monday, we saw our little guy (or girl…) doing flips and twists and waving and dancing – so blissfully oblivious to his mama’s suffering! I’ve been incredibly sick with this baby. I started off great – barely even noticed I was pregnant. And then, all of a sudden, it just hit like a wrecking ball. Last week, I thought I was pulling out of it, so I made the awful mistake of eating two large, Peruvian meals that were offered to me on Friday. And I’ve been paying for it ever since. Since Saturday morning, I’ve been sicker than a dog. Finally today, Wednesday, I’m feeling more like myself, besides still being very tired and some residual effects still. My husband and baby got a touch of it, too, but I mixed mine with regular ol’ morning sickness and wow, killer combo! I barely dragged myself to my doctor’s appointment Monday morning, but I’m glad I did because she got me nausea medicine and gave advice on a bland diet and told me to stay in bed for at least two to three more days and rest. Brian took her advice to heart and has been waiting on me hand and foot since then – taking care of Elena, not leaving the house more than necessary, and being just all-in-all amazing.

School starts the first week of April and this year I’ve lightened my own load substantially. I think before I wanted to have control of the school since the first year, I felt like I didn’t have good enough control and it bothered me. So the last two years, I had a tight rein on the school and controlled everything. However, after muddling my way through last year with a toddler and 5 students, I realized I needed to relinquish the control and get some more help. So, I have people tutoring and all-out teaching. I’m doing less and what I am doing, I’m doing mostly at home. It’ll be quite the change! But, I think it’s what’s best for my family this year.

So, here’s to the first 11 weeks down and the next 29 to go! At least life is never boring.

March 2012
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