Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Going to Galilee

We were very late leaving Jerusalem (because of the bags) ... we had planned to go to the Golan Heights, but couldn't because of the time constraints.  Next trip.

We had a two hour drive to Galilee ... so should have taken pictures of that journey.  In those two hours, you drive through deserts, mountains,  and valleys until you get to the Sea of Galilee.  God certainly delighted when He created Israel!

There are several checkpoints in Israel.  Usually they are near some spot near and dear to Israeli's hearts (Masada, Jerusalem) or they are close to the border of a neighboring country (Jordan).  Usually you will be waved through.  Sometimes they stop you to ask where you are going and why.  On our trip to Galilee we had such a stop and had to hand over our passports.  The soldier must have asked us 6 or 7 times how we were all related.  We decided that Dean looked arabic and that was the problem ... it couldn't possibly be that Mom forgot her passport.  HA!  Not sure if we answered him correctly or if he got sick of hearing us explain who we were and how we were related, but he finally let us pass.  Lesson learned ... always bring your passport!

We made a quick stop at the guest house we were staying at (Beit Bracha) ... there was a lovely view from the deck of the Sea of Galilee.  It wasn't very clear so I made the executive decision to wait until the next day to take pictures.  Should have taken them the first day ... a khamasin had blown in.  I'll wait while you google khamasin ... it is an Egyptian dust storm.  

After we checked in at the guest house, we made a quick stop at the Jesus Boat.

This boat was discovered in the mud of the Sea of Galilee by a pair of brothers.  Well, what they actually discovered was this ...

a few nails in the mud.  They dug some more and found the boat and knew they had something amazing.  This boat was dated to the time of Christ ... hence the name "Jesus Boat".  It took over 5 years to dig the boat from the mud and to figure out a way to preserve the wood once they got it out of the mud.  After many years, they decided to surround it in the spray that is used to seal windows during the building process.

 It is amazing to think that this could have been the boat that Jesus was in when He said, "Peace.  Be still."  or, could it have been the boat that the disciples were in when Jesus walked on the water?  or, could it have been the boat that Simon Peter was fishing from when Jesus said, "Come.  Follow me."  Who knows ... we do know it would have been a boat like this.

And, clearly this boat wasn't very big.  We loved going to see the boat.  Torrey loved that Texas A&M students helped dig out the boat (whoop!) and Dean loved the quiet ... we were the only ones in there.

After seeing the boat, we met my parents outside and enjoyed being right on the Sea of Galilee.  

This is ONE picture of Torrey on a rock ... there were about 50 more taken that day!  The Sea of Galilee is right behind her .... hard to see with dusk approaching and the khamasin heading our way.  Dern.

Again, the Sea of Galilee is RIGHT behind them and you can hardly see it.  Love this picture ... would have loved to have seen the Sea of Galilee.

Guess we'll have to go back to have a picture re-do!  

After we saw the Jesus Boat, we headed to dinner and then back to the guest house.  Our next day was full from morning until we got back to the garden in the early evening ... a full fun day!  Can't wait to share it with you!

An Interuption of Israeli Posts

I will be back with more posts and pictures of our fabulous trip to Israel, however, you must know that we are in the middle of a new season here in Texas.

That's right folks, it is cheerleading season in Texas.

And, after last year's season, there is a bit of freaking out going on in our house this week ... and, yes, the freaking outers would be Dean and I.

I recognize the fact that I am a freak.  I also recognize the fact that I love my child with my whole being and I do not want a repeat of last year.  At all.  These two facts caused me to not sleep last night.  I wrestled most of the night and woke up this morning in full-on "mama bear mode" ... and tryouts aren't until tomorrow.

So, that being said, I realized that my thoughts and feelings are not of or from God.  I am claiming this verse for Torrey and when I begin to freak out I am calling  out to the One who loves her more than Dean and I ... help us if He ever gets in "mama bear mode"!

Please pray with and for us ... pray for Torrey that she would remember cheers, chants and dance moves and that if she doesn't that she will improvise easily.  Pray for a calmness and peace that only comes from Him.  And, pray above all else that God gives Torrey the desire of her heart IF that is what He desires for her.

"For I know the plans I have for Torrey," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper Torrey and not to harm Torrey, plans to give Torrey hope and a future." 
Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Beginning of Day One

Our first full day in Israel was Sunday. We intended to go to Galilee early in the morning, but our bags didn't make our flight (Thanks British Airways!), so we went into the Old City while my Dad waited for the bags.

We left the Garden and took a short walk to Damascus Gate.

Usually, the Damascus Gate is bustling with activity.  It was quiet today ... partly because it was Sunday, and partly because they were checking papers at the checkpoint in an effort to keep out trouble.  It was calm in the Old City, so, evidently it worked!

We walked through the muslim quarter on our way to The Temple Mount.  Usually the stalls on either side of this pathway are full of vendors selling their wares. 
We walked by the Western Wall. This is the men's side ... no women allowed, but we are allowed to look over the fence.  

We tried to go up to The Temple Mount, but it was closed and would stay closed until Wednesday.  

These young men had just left the Western Wall where they had been praying. 

Dean and Torrey thought I was taking pictures of them.  Not so!  I "used" them to get some pictures of the men on their way to the wall to pray ... I wasn't sure how they would feel if I blatantly took their pictures, so I resorted to covert measures.  By the end of the week I was an obnoxious tourist.

A Diet Coke in any language is delicious!

On our way back to the garden, we stopped at the Austrian Hospice to go to the roof for the view.  It was beautiful!

We got back to the garden, and Dean and my dad went back to Tel Aviv to get our bags and then we were off to Galilee for two days.  If we thought our morning was great, our afternoon and the succeeding days were just as great or even better ... if that was possible! 

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I have been struggling to put into words all that we have seen and experienced during our recent trip to Israel. There are no words great enough, wonderful enough, big enough to convey all that I learned or felt during this week. It was life changing ... for all three of us.

I am actually starting with our last full day in Jerusalem. I will admit that it wasn't our favorite day and we came home and said we wouldn't go to this spot next time, (oh, yes, there will be a next time!) but today in church, Pastor Gregg preached about this spot and made all that happened here all the more amazing. We just might have to go back again after all!

We began our day on Mount Scopus. It was here that the Israeli army parachuted in troops to begin the 6 Day War in 1967. It was this war that gave Jerusalem back to Israel. We stopped here by accident ... we were on our way to the Mount of Olives. From this vantage point you could see all the way to the Dead Sea. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

From the top of the Mount of Olives. The Old City of Jerusalem is behind us ... you can't miss the Dome of the Rock. I'm pretty sure there is a picture of my family taken from this exact spot 22 years ago.  

Jerusalem. The Dome of the Rock was built on the spot of the temple ... which is why it is also called The Temple Mount. In the middle of the picture is the Eastern Gate ... bricked up in front of a cemetary. The muslims knew that the Messiah would be a prophet, priest and king ... they put a cemetary there because no prophet, priest or king would defile Himself by going through a cemetary. And, just in case, surely the bricks will keep Him out. Makes you want to giggle.

Oh, and the Eastern Gate and the Dome of the Rock do NOT line up ... which makes you question if the Dome of the Rock was built on the actual site of the Temple. More on that later.

We then walked down the Mount of Olives, taking the same path Jesus went on Palm Sunday and again on the day He was crucified. Five days. Same road.  Two different journeys. Loving crowd. Angry mob. Oh, how He loves.

The above was taken from inside Dominus Flavius which was the church built over the site where Jesus wept over Jerusalem. Love this picture with the cross in the window overlooking the city of Jerusalem ... easy to think that it was in a spot near to here where He did weep over the city and people He so loved.

Dean and Torrey just outside Dominus Flavius. The Eastern Gate is right behind them.

And, finally the Eastern Gate. Let me just say, God's plan is perfect. Perfect.  On that first Palm Sunday, Jesus went through this gate, with a loving crowd singing "Hosanna!" He went through the Eastern Gate, which was also called "The Sheep Gate."  He went through the Sheep Gate on the day that the lambs were brought to be set apart for Passover. And, He went through the gate on day 173,880 after Danel had prophesied and Nehemiah had decreed that the Annointed One would come. The exact day of the sixty-nine 'sevens' (Daniel 9:24-27) the Lamb of God went through the Sheep Gate on the day the lambs were set aside for Passover sacrifice.

Life changing week indeed. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Coming Up for Air

We made it home from Israel on Monday night.  Late on Monday night.  We had a two day detour in London.  Not our choice, but a good time was had by all.

We flew into Dallas late, which caused us to miss our flight to Houston ... fortunately we were within driving distance.  Well, fortunately for Torrey and I.  Not so much for Dean.  We thought we were living right when we looked at the clock and it was almost 10:00.

At 10:15 we remembered we didn't move our clocks ahead before we left.  It wasn't 10:15, but 11:15.  I wanted to cry. 

I went to school the next day.  Do I really need to say that teaching Kindergarten and jet lag do not go together?  I am still tired.  Trying to make it to the weekend to get some rest. 

Unfortunately for you, in my exhaustion, I have totally forgotten a hilarious conversation between two of my littles this morning.  At the time I immediately thought "Blogworthy!" ... maybe it will come back to me, but, don't hold your breath!

Pictures are coming.  They are amazing.  Our trip was amazing.  So thankful we could go.  So thankful.

Monday, March 15, 2010

We Are ...

We are in Israel.  Let that wash over you.  Amazing.  Even more amazing, we are actually staying in The Garden of The Garden Tomb.  The crowds are gone and it is quiet ... except for the birds and the occasional call to prayer.  We are truly blessed.

We spent the last two days in Galilee.  Torrey put her toes in the Sea of Galilee and at that moment I couldn't help but think "Did Jesus put his toes in the water at this spot too?"  We stood on Mt. Carmel and looked over the valley where Armigeddon will take place.  Breathtaking.  Even admidst a nasty dust storm that drastically reduced our visibility.  We saw the "Jesus boat" that was discovered in the mud along the banks of the Galilee ... it has been dated back to the time of Jesus.  Perhaps this was the boat where He stood and said "Peace.  Be still."  We went to the Mediterannean and put our toes in the water near Cessarea.  Full days.  Days where you want to pinch yourself and say, "Am I really here?"

Tomorrow we head to Masada, the Dead Sea and Ein Gedi (where David hid from Saul).  We will also look for the cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered well over 40 years ago.  There will even be a camel ride or two (not 3 ... I've already done it and I'm good.  Really.)

And, tomorrow is our girl's 14th birthday.  We are thrilled to be celebrating it here, in this land we love so dearly.  We are blessed.

I have taken hundreds of pictures ... I just haven't downloaded them because my computer is in Texas.  Expect a post with a thousand pictures in the coming days!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Exhibit A of Why Spring Break is Necessary

This was heard in my classroom this morning ... before 8:00 ...

"If you say my name ONE more time I am going to scream!"

There were tears, not so nice words, and grumbly hearts.  I am proud to say that the tears and words were not mine.  I will admit to a grumbly heart.  I found myself singing ALOT today.  ALOT.  Does it surprise you that I have renamed March "Mercy March" ... at one point today I stopped what I was doing and prayed that my words would be sweet and gentle.  Out loud.  You could have heard a pin drop.  Is that what happens when you think someone has lost their mind?

Spring Break ... where are you?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Rodeo is in Town!

Every year, Houstonians look forward to March.  Not because Spring is finally here.  Oh, no.  We anticipate March because with March comes ...

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Years ago, friends from Massachusetts did some time in Houston for a job and came home singing the praises of the Houston Rodeo.  I thought they had lost their ever lovin' mind.

And, then we moved to Houston.  As Rodeo got closer, we still could not understand the hype.  And, then they listed the artists who would be coming to the Rodeo and we got tricked into going.

Because one Hannah Montana was going to be there and a certain someone HAD to go.  So we went.  And fell in love with Rodeo.


This years big act is The Jonas Brothers.  We didn't even try to get tickets because the Hannah Montana tickets were outrageous and we may have been crazy once, but not twice.  I'm not sure when it sold out, but I am sure it was within minutes.

So, today we were out and about and a friend from church posted on Facebook she had 4 tickets for The Jonas Brothers and did anyone want them.  I figured they would have been snapped up within minutes, but, they weren't.

And, I am officially the best mother in the world.  Because tomorrow afternoon I am taking Torrey to the Rodeo to see The Jonas Brothers.  Me and 75,000 other screaming little girls.  I do not understand why Dean does not want to go.  Seriously.