Hunny Bunnies – featuring Marvelous Marvel

Women of Faith escapade

Date: September, 2011

Original Goal: Attend a Women of Faith event together

Original Setting:  A nearby hotel

Supercharge Instigator:  Marvel

Here’s how it went: A belated birthday gathering (Marvel and Marlene both early September) met at my home in Racine. I’d obtained tickets to a Woman of Faith event with fun surprise stops on the way for whatever food or fun intrigued the birthday girls.  It was lots of silly fun, but none of us knew what Marvel would do (I think she even surprised herself!)  Our first surprise was the location.  Apparently many of the hotels near the event were filled or just not ‘exciting’ enough for Marvel.  The picture above gives a peek into our shared surprise which turned out to be more reasonable than the hotel would have been – especially considering the luxurious setting and treatment in a . . .

MANSION!

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, a bed and breakfast – catered to our desires and health needs, plus

a hot tea/coffee as desired wake up call or snack served in our porch

 

 

 

Of course, Marvel also arranged for a tour of the historical building. The couple who ran the B&B were witty, charming, knowledgeable and so friendly we felt we were leaving long-lost relatives when we headed to the Women of Faith event the next morning.  We thought if we got bored or tired we could head back to our classy temporary residence a little early.  I’d been to a Women of Faith event in the past and thought I knew what to expect (get in line, wait a while, longingly eye the artists’ tables on the way in, enjoy the concert, shop on break, enjoy more music and testimony and head on home). However, I’d let slip my mind that Miss Marvel was traveling with us.

Consequently while waiting for the doors to open we paid no attention to the fact that neither of us had seen Marvel for a few minutes, until the door opened and she called from inside (INSIDE?  how had she gotten INSIDE?) come quick and say yes.  Adventurous and on a lark, we obeyed and shouted YES!  She reached around the door and grabbed one arm and instructed us to hang on and stay with her. And we ran to a spot where a group was gathered and receiving instructions of ‘where to go.’  “I got us free tickets,” she whispered, and possibly some perks if we work before and during breaks. Marlene and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. Okay – here we go.  The before ‘work’ was distributing packets of material in every seat for the 8,000+ attendees.  We then were introduced to our assignments.  Marlene and I for Liberty University, and Marvel selling/marketing at one of the huge settings for author books, CDs, tshirts and so on.

  The two “more mature” hunny bunnies had fun with the youthful staff at Liberty (who actually gave us hope for our country’s future) and received cards for a free future Women of Faith event.

Meanwhile baby-bunny Marvel endeared herself to the managers of the event’s sales, racking up more sales than any other section at the event.  She did bring us the potential perks she hinted at (her motivation she said).

The only part of my expectations that were fulfilled was enjoying the concerts and speakers which were outstanding.  The rest – being on a first name basis with some well known people,  (at least for two days), hauling off all kinds of goodies, exchanging addresses and photos with new friends from across the country., and having stories in abundance to share when we got ‘home’ to the mansion (ha ha doesn’t that sound pretentious) was like whipped cream on the hot chocolate.

Yep, there was a cozy place to enjoy that too as we told our tales

and a place to relax and work on a puzzle.

What a wonderful honey-bunny trip that was – full of adventure and surprises.

Marlene and I agree you could say it was MARVEL-ous!

 

 

You too can have adventure (and even high tea) – but you might want to check if it’s the week we are attending – you might get more than you planned on!  Click here for-   Schuster Mansion Info

 

Hunny Bunny Escapades – Things Happen!

When the Honey-Bunny’s  get together, things happen. But how do we ever abbreviate our UNPLANNED 5,000 mile trip (one day short of a month)

Marlene and I talked often about taking a trip to help Marvel empty her Florida storage unit, but our baby sis continually postponed with “as soon as” she started or finished something. All our lives were crazy busy and we wondered if it would ever happen. Marlene, the organizer, had had it. Long-distance calls were rare, so when caller ID revealed her number; I answered with concern.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I just figured Marvel’s delays will go on forever if we don’t do something.”

“Like?”

“Like, I’ll be packed in an hour, and I’ll see you in the morning.”

“TOMORROW?”

“Yes!” she laughed, “Try to get some sleep – we have a lot of driving to do.”

The next morning we meshed plans: mine – to see Nashville, Amelia Island, and 3 friends who lived along our path; Marlene’s included Dollywood, a couple in North Carolina, and a son in Florida.

Marvel ‘s response was shock and then the unexpected –she’d ride back with us, visit her daughter, a friend in Tennessee, and Elvis’ Graceland, then fly home from Wisconsin. An hour later Marlene and I headed south, laughing and zipping in and out of flea markets, caves, and gem mines. Instead of 2 days, we took a week. Besides, things happened.

Near Nashville, the GPS went wacky, directing continuous turns around a deserted gas station. Finally I pulled in, yanking out maps, when a southern drawl called, “Y’all need help?” Neither of us had seen a car there, but the fellow’s chuckle indicated he’d watched my red Vibe do the loop-de-loop. We explained we were headed to Nashville but the GPS was malfunctioning. Instead of pointing us toward our goal, scratched his jaw in thought. “You can always see Nashville on the way back,“ he drawled, pointing us to Cumberland Gap Highway and Asheville.  “You’d have more daylight to do things then,” he added. It sounded reasonable and we were frustrated it was twilight already. There were other things we wanted to see in Asheville anyway, so we thanked him and drove to where he pointed.

The moment the car glided onto the Cumberland ramp, the GPS made a loud ZZZZIPPP and then worked fine. Huh.

Marlene drove and I photographed beautiful scenery until black clouds rolled toward us, and moved rapidly over the car. Marlene commented that she was glad we were headed a different direction than that big black cloud.

The next morning’s news shockingly reviewed the flooding we’d escaped in Nashville. We prayed for those affected and wondered again at the GPS insanity and the mysterious man’s directions.

Blocks shy of our Asheville lunch destination, we stopped to walk and check out street vendors. Nearly to the restaurant we’d chosen for lunch, sirens blared and police blocked off the street due to a fire in that restaurant! A nearby vendor who overheard us wondering what else we could possibly escape suggested an international experience in another direction –Jerusalem Garden Café, joking he’d better warn them we were coming. Perhaps he was right… there was the breakfast incident after Savannah’s carriage ride, and using Marlene’s arm for a windshield-wiper the last hour to Lake Worth.   Yep, things happened.

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The storage unit was 120o inside so we worked fast, giving away most goods to families at the units. Completing the goal was celebrated with a middle of the mall shoulder massage, triple-breasted chicken dinner hilarity at Sawgrass, and sharing 5 desserts.

 

 

 

 

 

Five wild days followed as we headed west then north toward home, visiting Marvel’s daughter Trinity, Amelia Island, friend Becky’s farm, Marlene’s friends, Marvel’s friends south of Nashville and Benita and Barb, whom I’d worked with at Horlick.   Down the mountain from Barb’s beautiful Comfort Mountain rental (best stay of the trip highly recommended) was Dollywood.

Dolly Parton’s unexpected personal appearance thrilled Marlene, and Marvel got a marriage proposal for all three of us on our way to Memphis! Marvel’s southern-Tennessee baker-friend greeted us with bunny shaped chocolate, and later, warning of washed-out mountain roads, directed us north to Nashville, then south to Memphis. In minutes we grew impatient and took a shortcut cross-country.   Sign 5 minutes later: Road closed. When a truck drove between the sawhorses, I drove through too – discovering a damaged bridge and startled workers. Pulling up a slight hill to turn around, another construction truck rumbled toward us, the Tennesseans hollering, “Hey! We’re the Cooper brothers and we’re looking for some good women to marry.” Marvel had shoved the video camera in our faces since dawn, so we voted her to leave the car, garnering her the first invitation to change her name to Cooper. Hilariously, the brothers directed us out of the maze, stopping twice for hilarious proposals and laughingly bemoaning our happily-married status.

 

 

 

 

 

After Graceland we searched nearby museums’ Army photos because Marlene’s husband drove jeep for Elvis’ unit, but afternoon flood warnings convinced us to head for home, and look for a restaurant.

What kind of restaurant is that?” Marvel exclaimed about a Missouri billboard ad. “They were throwing rolls!” I knew instantly: Lamberts. I’d wanted to go there.

A quick call to my daughter produced the phone number, and soon Marvel was sweet-talking the manager. “We’re the Honey-Bunnies, and have driven almost 5,000 miles to find a Lamberts. Please direct us there…” The laughing manager greeted us on arrival, with three entertaining servers!  

I slid to the back of the booth watching waiters dance with Marlene, toss rolls across the room, and sending so much food home we filled the ¾-size motel refrigerator, providing proof that where the Hunny Bunnies go, things happen! 

 

Sisters, Sisters, Sisters…and Bunnies – Trips one and two

Hunny Bunny Sister Trips.  There’s nothing in the world like them. I have two sisters.  Once we determined we’d waited way too long to spend some sister time together, we began planning a trip.  We decided we wanted a theme, and noticed when recalling memories of our dad a particular phrase came up repeatedly – hunny bunny.  That is what Daddy called us – his hunny bunnies. . We all have different personalities, and our nickname (given by our dear Daddy), developed over the years, from a proof of love in the midst of a crazy family life, and a mutual support group, to a lighthearted public persona that recaptured the freedom we missed in our childhood.

The first time the two (slightly) older ones decided to visit the baby in Florida. We ordered shirts with bunnies and our new group name and went where?  Disneyland of course!

Dressed alike, we got stopped and asked, “Are you somebody?”

“Of course we are – we are the Hunny Bunnies!” and we happily posed for pictures.

It was fun to be silly, and free from all of lives little downers.  How could you be sad when people constantly reminded us how “lucky” we were to have each other!

Life intervened after our Hunny Bunny “tour” and it was a full decade later we met again.

We realized how much we’d missed shortly after we picked up the youngest of our trio at O’Hare Airport in Chicago and headed for Branson.

We’d just slid into a retro diner, when Marvel let out a screech. The waitress ran to our booth with concern, only to find three women convulsed in laughter at the discovery that we were all eligible for the senior discount!

 

Though we only spent 2 nights in Branson, we likely set a record with our schedule, dashing from one event to another and sliding into theaters as the curtains rose for the show. We had not realized the traffic jams we’d be facing on the —main road — but even that provided a hilarious memory.

We’d obviously over scheduled but intended to get to every show we’d paid for – and I’d turned the wrong direction to finally enable us to get to a show with more than seconds to spare. The only thing we hadn’t figured out how we would do was to get one of those period costume pictures, and as I pulled the car into a tiny mall to turn around, we realized that was exactly where we were. How much time to the next show, Marlene asked? Twenty-five minutes. We dashed inside as customers left, bemused at our hurry, and confronted the owner with our need. She laughed at the challenge, grabbed some dresses off the rack, posed us and snapped away. In under twenty minutes we grabbed the pictures and dashed for the car and the next show.

 

With no reserved tickets, we assumed we’d have to split up, and made plans to meet at the door after the show. We opened the doors to the usher’s warning that the show was about to begin, looking to the right – no seats – and then to the left – 3 seats all together. Just as our seats glided into the theater’s, the lights dimmed and the fellow next to us joked, You gals must be somebody…you arrive and the show begins! Marvel giggled back that he had it correct – we were the Honey Bunnies!

Whether physical or spiritual sisters or best friends, (we are fortunate the Hunny Bunnies claim all three titles), we encourage you to not wait as long as we did.  Grab your sibling or friend and head for the road. New friends, great adventures, and memorable sights will greet you. In addition to dreams come true, lots of hope, healing and hilarity await you if they are anything like our trips!  

Have you had a sister trip yet this year?

 

 

 

Heritage of My Faith – Israel Day 8

Entering the holocaust museum

In addition to the Holocaust Museum which was extremely emotional for me, we visited the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book, where we saw the Dead Sea Scrolls and an impressive miniature of New Jerusalem. In Bethlehem we saw the Bethlehem Shop of olive wood carvings. At the City of David archaeological park,we learned about the excavations of King David’s palace and the newly discovered fortresses of Solomon – a place known in the Bible as the “Hall of the Mighty Men.”

Many in the group (not me) were ready and eager to crawl through the waters of the ancient Gihon spring through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the actual tunnel built by King Hezekiah to preserve the water flow to the city when they were under siege. I was emotionally overwhelmed by this point with all the information, the sights, and the scriptural unveilings of battle and victories.

 

Israeli soldiers outside the Holocaust Museum

 

Candelabra memorial at Holocaust Museum
Scale of New Jerusalem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had some time to visit the marketplace displays and many stores, have lunch in the fresh air and a little friendly banter with the shop owners.  I was surprised to see fresh squeezed juice less expensive than bottled juice. The food was ok but expensive. French fries were $8 and lemonade was $7.   We later found others haggled price for lunch. We should have. Some of the market displays (like the spices shown below) were amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farewell Dinner was in a Christian Armenian Restaurant. It was in the old city of Jaffa on the coast near Tel Aviv, where Jonah once tried to flee from God.

The dinner was the usual several courses of varied salads, breads, lamb meatballs, vegetables, and with dessert came a surprise birthday cake with a candle for one of the girls.

 

 

 

 

 

Below was one of the restaurant owners’ markers of faith displayed throughout the restaurant

– the Lord’s Prayer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Lego buildings

Goodbye Pool of Bethesda

Goodbye Mediterranean buffet

Goodbye new friends

 

 

Knowing this place was the origin of mankind brought a deeper viewpoint into everything we saw, learned and did. This is where my faith began. This is where the first Christians were brought to faith. This is where Jewish God followers were marked and persecuted. Where I stood, those in the spiritual hall of fame (Hebrews) stood for faith in so many ways, and this is where Jesus, the Christ answered all the enemies by sacrificing Himself. For us. For me.

A high point was St. Ann’s Church, hearing and joining in song as we approached St. Ann’s church near the Pool of Bethesda

For a sample… Click the links below on More! and on Singing.  The sound cuts off on the first one as there was a respectful silence followed by calls of More! More!

[More!  More!

Singing

We didn’t want to leave… but the time had come. I am grateful God called Cliff Graham to this ministry, #goodbattletours.com, and gave me an opportunity to see, hear, and know many of the stories of this land.  Others who have gone said they were forever changed.

Now I understand.  

To Rise Again – Israel Day 7

Warfare History in Jerusalem —View of the Old City from the Mount of Olives

This huge ancient olive tree was in the Garden of Gethsemane in Kidron Valley

We were told how some of these trees have been there from antiquity and were not hundreds, but thousands of years old. Olive trees can be cut down to the ground, and appear dead but it will grow again.  New shoots of life will rise again from the roots, becoming a symbol of Christ rising again. Hearing about the olive trees was a lesson in continued growth and  fruitfulness in advancing age, no matter appearances, no matter circumstances or trials. Not only are the olive trees extremely long lived and natural survivors, they point us to our roots of faith in the past, when olive oil was used to anoint kings and prophets, and to our future when olive oil will be used to anoint the King of Kings  when the Messiah returns.  The remains of Gethsemane was a very small area. Some believe these are the original trees, but others think they are new generations as historian Josephus reported the trees were cut down by the Romans in AD70. Other research from 2012 concluded that all eight trees originated as cuttings from a single parent tree. Introspection from those details made me wonder will the branches of our family be identifiable in time to come?  What time and prayer do I need to invest, surrender, and wait for so those roots will grow and rise again?

A few of us did not go with the group on the walk that led to Gethsemane as it involved a lot of stairs but the bus was going to meet us there.  A half dozen of us took the stair-free shortcut but there was no crosswalk to get to the church and garden. I suggested that I’d experienced respect for the elderly and decided to test it out.  I put one foot in the street and waved my hand.  The cars came to a halt and the driver and passenger waved as the group followed ‘grandma’ across the street!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’d also seen the old border fence area where the last battle in 1967 (the Six Day War), the Israeli paratroopers united the Old City with Jerusalem, and walked through the famous tunnels where Christians fled persecution and where soldiers had carved some treacherous, rocky, muddy underground passages.  I took the least challenging tunnel but it was still interesting in light of a dvd documentary In Our Hands that I’d seen shortly before this trip. Highly recommend it. Plaques on the wall of the overlook commemorated some who gave their lives for Israel’s freedom. 

Near the tunnels was a garden, and some shops with Plexiglass in the floor so we could see the discoveries below.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know why I was surprised to learn the Armenians were brought in to repair these temple designs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My name means many sorrows – so it was special to actually walk the street where Jesus walked to the cross called Via Dolorosa

and near that was the Arab Market – 

the Shuk, with hundreds of stores yet in between the hustle and bustle, sights like the men playing backgammon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other sites included several beautiful gates, the Holy Sepulcher – the largest Church in Jerusalem,The Jewish Quarter,  the renovated Cardo and the Davidson Center Museum where we saw some of the ancient scrolls.The  remains of Caiaphas’ House, where Jesus was kept. Then Mt Zion  and the Garden Tomb.

The last photo is of a picture from years ago that shows more clearly the skull directly above and behind the camel in the pictures. After decades of decay that area is below and to the right – you can barely see parts of a skull.  Whether it was here – or near – as you often hear in Israel – it was an important place to remember what Christ suffered for us, and we were all provided a precious time of communion in the gardens outside of the tomb with songs and prayer offered by one of the pastors in our group.

Conquering Fears – Israel Day 6

Conquering fears at Masada, Dead Sea, Bedoin Village and Camels, David & Goliath

Masada was more than a stronghold, it was the site of a last stand against the Romans, and an almost total suicide to prevent the Romans from declaring a murderous victory and taking any survivors as slaves. It was originally built as a magnificent palace for Herod the Great, and was possibly the stronghold for David referred to in the Bible.  It was like a box on top of the mountain, and had some marvelous design features like water capture, hot and cool bathing, beautiful tiled designs, storage rooms, the mosaics and the Byzantine Church built at the top.

About half our group took the tram to the top of Masada, and the other half climbed the legendary Snake Trail.  Those of us who took the tram had time to view a small museum at the bottom, including a brief video overview.

Hear the detailed story of the Jewish zealots as narrated by the ancient historian Josephus about one of the most decisive battles ever for the Jewish people and Israel.  At this great fortress we will visit the bath house, the

We all  descending to the bus by walking along the siege ramp built by the Romans that still remains, then rode the bus to a Bedouin camp. There we enjoyed a special visit with Middle Eastern hospitality and experienced a camel ride, and had my favorite meal on the trip. Stuffed grape leaves, lamb meatballs, artichokes and peppers on couscous plus salads and desserts.

Next a bus ride via the Negev Desert to the Elah Valley, site of the famous battle between David and Goliath, where a couple of the guys reenacted part of the story while Cliff read and expounded on a gripping devotional of what took place here and why. My heart was struck with David’s bold confidence in God.

We continued the ride – our ascent to Jerusalem, 2,400 feet above sea level, via Beit Shemes and Emmaus. We got our first glimpse of the city from the Haas Promenade, the area where most armies surveyed the city before preparing to invade it. Another huge buffet dinner (which explains why I only lost 1#) and overnight in Jerusalem.

I did it! Miserably uncomfortable, but aren’t most of life’s challenges? In Cozumel I conquered fear of water and snorkeled, got a fish pin as remembrance. This time a camel magnet. I note each time I had a friend-in-faith help me with the fear-conquering. Last time Roxanne and Alfonzo, this time Cliff Graham and one of our Hebrew guides, Marla, and of course both times it took prayer and surrender.  We learned a lot about trusting God, prayer and surrender on this trip, and I’m still learning as i review and absorb it all.  Appreciate you all being patient with me – God’s obviously far from finished working on me!
Thanks Cliff and #goodbattletours.com for making my Israel dream come true.
Model of Masada on top of the mountain. Makes me think of God’s view of our world that seems so big and complicated.

The two views above of the Masada model  brought great perspective to the teachings Marla gave us. The one on the left is some of the mountain structure that looked to me like a person on a bicycle and reminded me how those of the preserved past were creating part of my future.  Herod’s ego drove him to build the stronghold, and ironically some of the very features that made it great were also its downfall. I cannot imagine the remnant knowing the Romans would roll up the road they built around Masada the next morning with full intent to cruelly overtake them. So many fears, challenges, and threats, yet God’s people remain.   The museum was another reminder of ancient words and ancient times, ancient rescues, and ancient promises – still affecting our lives today. May my fears seem like silly concerns to the generations that follow me, but as they face their own may they do so with a friend-in-faith, and with prayer and surrender.
Delores
#goodbattletours.com

Accepting Limitations – Israel – Day 5

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IMG_4427GALILEE TO DEAD SEA -After breakfast at the luxurious hotel (foyer size of our two story home) we drove south to Beit She’an, the largest archeological site in Israel. We were read the passages in the Bible telling us about the battles between the Israelites and the Philistines on nearby Mount Gilboa – a battle ending with a tragedy to the royal house of Saul, but paving the way for the rise of David.

So many places, so little strength. I’d tried the first few days to keep up with the younger ones and realized if I didn’t accept my current limitations, I would be creating new ones!  My attitude improved not to face constant failure of impossible goals I’d set for myself, and my knee appreciated the new plan.

I got to spend time with one of the gals who wasn’t feeling well and that was sweet.  How easy it is to forget that our limitations can serve a good purpose too.  Enjoying instead of accomplishing, sharing where I was at instead of struggling to be who I was not, savoring what I saw instead of regretting overdoing, I was blessed continually.

The ancient Roman portion of the city with the amphitheater and reconstructed streets and a cart to move those big stones.IMG_4302 IMG_4316 IMG_4301 IMG_4288 IMG_4268 IMG_4273

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South through the Jordan Valley we viewed Jericho and the Mount of Temptations. We visited the Qumran Caves area, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found, and explore the Dead Sea region’s war histor

We also climbed and explored the oasis of Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul. You can see how much higher some chose to hike to  high up the canyon.

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Baptisms in the Jordan River. Loved the white dove showing up!

 

 

 

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I felt like royalty walking down the green runway to the dead sea. We finished the day with a float in the sea, a dip in the whirlpool, dinner, and overnight at our beautiful luxurious hotel on the Dead Sea.  With a new attitude, limitations allowed for more relaxation! 

The Best is Yet to Come -Israel – Day 4

Day 4 in Israel – the best is yet to come

I’m sure many of you heard the story of an elderly woman who wanted to be buried with a plastic fork. The reasoning was that much of her life had been spent at church socials and at the end of every meal as the plates were cleared away she was told to hold on to her fork because “the best is yet to come.”

 

Each day of our journey I, or some of the 45, would say this was the best day yet. Cliff often replied, “The best is yet to come.”

 

Several boats were on the Sea of Galilee. One group was singing praise songs as they approached the pier. Next it was our turn!

 

Here is video of us on the boat on the Sea of Galilee.

Dancing the Hora

Day 4 in Galilee – with #goodbattletours.com

It was surreal realizing I am in Galilee!

We’d been surprised to view the “beach” on Galilee because there was no beach -just rocks!  Very rugged land.
Wonder if it looked different when Jesus cooked fish for his team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several boats were on the Sea of Galilee. One group was singing praise songs as they approached the pier. Next it was our turn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was great after the previous days walking to relax on the boat for a few minutes – a few minutes because I saw one of the ladies whispering to one of the boat staff – turned out she requested we be taught to dance the Hora!   Wonder what Peter would have thought of that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cliff videoed our fun exercise and then read to us from the New Testament some of the stories of Christ and the Apostles that happened  on this water and in this area.

We also drove through the Golan Heights to Caesarea, Philippi and the Banias, one of the water resources of the Jordan River. Itai and Cliff taught extensively about the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur war, the two conflicts in the 20th century that most shaped modern Israel, then we stopped at the “Valley of Tears” and heard the amazing story of that four day battle.

Back to the Sea of Galilee area, we visited Capernaum, walking among the ruins of this Biblical village, including seeing the remains of the Synagogue where Jesus preached.

Then we drove up to the Mount of the Beatitudes, where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount and saw a video about

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

finding the remains of a 2,000 year-old fisherman boat, known as “The Jesus Boat” since it dates to the time of Christ, which is now in the museum there.

 

 

Walk with Me in Israel

Day 2 – was about arrival and the  Ancient Words that formed this land, this people, and this trip.  Ancient Words still alive and speaking to us today.

Day 3 – Ancient Israel – Stones of RemembranceDay – Everywhere in Israel you see stones – mostly this white stone Jerusalem stone. the statue carvings, the buildings, the sarcophagus, caves, everywhere are stones. One of the guides told me they had to make rules such as not stopping excavation for new buildings for everything (though they still do when they find human remains) because new discoveries are a daily occurrence.

One of the books that made a great impact in my early faith life was Hinds Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard. The main character who starts out as “Much Afraid” (and later receives the new name of Grace and Glory) has a habit of piling stones of remembrance after each victory.   Each day, or more like each hour of each day in Israel we saw stones of remembrance as we also heard the corresponding scripture story and history behind each site.

Drive to Caesarea by way of the famous highway known in the Bible as the ‘Way of the Sea’. Explore the ruins of the Roman and the Crusader city, reconstructed Roman portions, walls from the times of the crusaders,  the prison area where Paul was held in captivity before being sent to Rome.

We saw the remains the Hippodrome (Roman horse racing theater), remains of a Roman aqueduct, Mount Carmel, the site where the Prophet Elijah fought with the prophets of Baal and won, a breathtaking view over the whole Valley of Jezreel, better known as the Valley of Armageddon, the famous Tel Megiddo— a city that was fought over continually.

At Megiddo, we saw the remains of King Solomon’s Stables, an altar from Abrahamic times (around 4,000 years old), and the magnificent water tunnel, and across the valley viewed Mount Tabor, where Deborah and Barak met to plan their wars against the Canaanites, and the springs where Gideon selected his army and discuss why it was done in that fashion.

Then it is arrival at our hotel on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heading down the path (now stairs) the women took daily to scoop up water to carry back on top of their heads!

It was amazing to stand here (or near) the place of the beginning of civilization.  To watch and listen to Cliff and Itai read the scriptures and realize that those words were written for all of God’s family for instruction, correction, and tender encouragement

Zech. 9:16 And the Lord their God will save them in that day

As the flock of His people;

For they are as the stones of a crown,

Sparkling in His land.

 

 

 

 

Walk with me in Israel!

Old and new. It began at the airport in New York just before we left for TelAviv.  We were invited to join a Purim celebration!

We were given noisemakers.  We watched the reading of the whole Megillia – the entire book of Esther – in Hebrew –  about 15 minutes (!) and participated with groans and noise every time Haman’s name was read.  Whew.

Little gift bags were shared that contained Haman’s hat cookies and candy.  We were instructed to share them with others, so everyone exchanged.  That’s when I noticed.

We eager foreigners, were, of course, taking pictures with our phones and cameras, but I had not expected the Rabbi’s standing nearby to pull theirs out too!  It just seemed incongruous for these gentlemen in ancient regalia to have a modern iPhone in use 🙂

That rather set the tone for the entire trip.  Day One was mainly arrival but also some introductory scenes – the airport, the bus ride to the hotel, Tel-Aviv (not a tourist town), the little grocery store, the lego-like construction going on everywhere, people in costume for Purim and the Mediterranean Sea.

 

 

 

 

 

Not sure what was with the death warning – probably a high voltage pole. I felt safer here than in Milwaukee or Chicago.  Walking on the beach at sunset again we saw old and new – always and constantly new construction going on – sometimes the new on top of the old, or seeing the old view through plexiglass on floors.

First meal in Israel – plate was my selections from about 20 choices set up buffet style.

 

 

 

 

 

Notice the Schindler elevator

 

And the journey began – Lessons on the bus on the way to new adventures – tomorrow Caesarea and many other stops – usually 7-8 a day.

We traveled with Cliff Graham and the Good Battles Tour group. Itai and Marla were our Hebrew guides.

For more info:  http://www.facebook.com/cliffgrahamauthor

The trip’s Instagram account is http://www.instagram.com/israelbattletours

Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cliffgraham

In any of those services, you can also click on the hashtag #goodbattletours and see where travelers are going to be tagging their posts.

It was amazing to stand in these places, to realize I was where all civilization began and in places (here or near as they say) where Jesus, apostles, warriors, and ancestors were. It was remarkable to hear scriptures read at varied sites and to view what was being spoken.

Old and new – Ancient Words.

Still true and still changing me and bringing new life and hope.

Walking like Jesus

The more you think about Jesus, the more you will think like Jesus

 

This week I’ll be focusing on Jesus, thinking about Jesus, and pondering how Jesus walked

 

I’ve been particularly entranced with the idea since 2001 when I found Bruce Feiler’s book and dvd Walking the Bible.

 

Feiler had a learned, religious man as guide through the historical places where Jesus lived and walked.

 

I will have a learned godly man, leading me and others through some similar territory, but with a special emphasis and perspective from one who walks with God.

 

Walked in the Bible means more than to propel oneself forward on foot

 

1John 2:6 says: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (original word meaning behave or conduct)

 

And how did Jesus conduct or behave himself? In such a manner that the Spirit of God was recognized in Him.

John 1:36 tells us how John perceived this man walking toward him:

 

and he looked upon Jesus as He walked, and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

 

What do people see where we walk? How we walk? When we walk?

In what manner do we walk?

Is the Spirit of God recognized in us by the manner in which we walk (conduct ourselves/live?

 

Will walking where Jesus walked cause me to think about Him? I’m sure it will. Will that experience also make me more like Jesus? I hope so.

 

Pictures coming. In the meantime, let’s focus on our walk – more important than how many steps we walked, what did we notice? Were there people with a story to tell? People who want us to listen to them?

What or who did we notice? What did Jesus do when he noticed someone?

 

Here are a few examples of what Jesus saw and how he walked:

Matt. 8:18  Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side.

Mark 9:25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd was rapidly gathering, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.”

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Mark 12:34 And when Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

Luke 13:12 And when Jesus saw her, He called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your sickness.”

John 1:47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”

John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?”

 

What can we learn from things Jesus said?

 

When Jesus looks at me, he sees that I too, have a “condition” and have been a long time in it.  Jesus knows that and asks me the same question.

 

I know there have been opportunities before the moment when Jesus asked, “Do you wish to get well?”  Jesus saw the people. Jesus listened to them. Jesus observed their needs and weaknesses.

Sometimes I play/try to get out of the condition on my own, but Jesus offers freedom with His authority.

 

I hear Him asking: Do you really want to get out of that habit (condition) that you’ve been in a long time? Do you want to be free of it’s enslavement?

 

Yes, I do.

Do you?

Nourishing Me so I can Help You

I’ve been meeting with a wonderful group of supportive friends discussing food and how there are often spiritual needs (or lacks) behind some of (most of?) our physical habits.

It’s refreshing to encourage one another to develop healthy habits and a healthy life. without condemnation.

Sometimes I feel too busy to take the time to plan healthy snacks or meals, or when out doing errands to choose to find healthy and exceptionally delicious foods, or to even eat at all. I married a good man who stops me in my tracks and asks, “Have you had lunch yet?” When I start to whine that I have so much to do, he reminds me that I will have little strength and “thin attitudes” if I allow my body to get dehydrated or weak, and that I am cheating those I want to nurture if I don’t nourish myself physically.

It is also vital to nourish our souls so we have something to feed others spiritually too! Ken is awesome at scripture memory and I taught our kids to have quiet times when they were toddlers. I’d give them a book, and let them observe me across the room being quiet for a minute reading and praying. Gradually I upped the time to five minutes, then seven minutes. Those practices helped them and helped me too.

All of those things are habits we develop bit by bit, day by day. Nourishing ourselves, strengthening others, and allowing others to nourish us.

God has a lot to say about nourishing us too!

“The LORD will guide you continually, watering your life when you are dry and keeping you healthy, too. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring” (Isaiah 58:11, NLT).

So, I need to make it a habit to go to the well, and sit for a while, allowing God to guide, and refresh me.

We’re not to make the matter of food a way to impress God. What is that saying – eat to live don’t live to eat. Food was made as a temporal thing with a short life – to sustain our bodies for a short time. Food rots. Why would I go to something that rots before going to God for ever-lasting nourishment?

Matt. 6:25 “If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.

Then there are emotions. I know I often eat emotionally – sad, glad, or rushed – they are all excuses to grab chocolate, or curl up with a bag of potato chips. None of those things are bad – but eating just that can be a very bad habit affecting every area of our lives. When I don’t eat well, my body doesn’t run well, and I get more tired and crave more junk.

Do I eat differently when I go out with someone who will treat me to a smorgasbord of elaborate foods?  I still forget sometimes that it takes 20 minutes for food to settle, and if I eat until I feel full, I’m likely to also feel sick. The last 3 words of this verse speak of another habit:

“When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners: Don’t gobble your food, don’t talk with your mouth full. And don’t stuff yourself; bridle your appetite” (Proverbs 23:1-3, MSG).

Several days of this week I will be at speaking engagements – and they are all at meetings that involve eating!  On the way there and back and in between I’ll be spending time with some delightful people and we will also be eating together.  I’m sure I will have a lot of temptations before me.

I’ll be praying this prayer for those in my circle of outreach in life and praying for myself too – to let this awesome week be an example and an encouragement – and the strengthening of good habits!

3John 2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.

Did you get that last phrase? It gobsmacked me! – When I turn it around (don’t you just love reconstructing sentences) Here’s what I read:

Just as (how) your soul prospers

May you prosper to the same degree in every work and ministry you do

And

May you be as healthy physically as you are spiritually!

Now there’s my thought for the week

 

I pray it nourishes you too.

Delores

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