Tuesday, April 26, 2011

It's A Boy!!

This past weekend, our daughter Kristen not only graduated from BYU
(Congratulations Kristen!)
But she also got engaged!

Sunday, April 24, 2011
To: Peter
6 feet 4 inches
180 pounds

Cause for a little celebration!
Congratulations to you both!!
We know you will have a wonderful life together.
And we are looking forward to the wedding in twelve weeks!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Gift--Photo Essay of Gethsemane and the Garden Tomb


And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane, which was a garden . . .

JST Mark 14:36

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,

Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22

The Garden Tomb

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and others with them.

And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

Luke 23-25

And may the message of the resurrection, always bring . . . joy to your journey.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Travel Tales--Final Edition

So realizing that everyone might be getting sick of our trip, I still wanted to post about some of our more memorable moments. These are fun, I promise!

So this wasn't exactly a luxury tour!! Although we had a van, when we also had all the luggage, it was a tight squeeze. Sonia was particularly squished. This is how she traveled after Wes "fixed" it to make it more comfortable for her!
Good Sport Award definitely went to Sonia!
Pictured below is one of my most touching experiences. We hired a guide in Bethlehem who was one of three members of the church in that town. My favorite moment was when we went to "Shepherd's Field". After viewing the fields, we met in a cave where shepherds once lived. Here our guide recounted the Christmas story and bore his testimony.
It was so sweet to sit there on the side of a hill in Bethlehem, listening to the story of Christ's birth. You could easily picture the shepherds watching their flocks and hear the angels bearing tidings of great joy.
The Spirit was strong.
It will be an experience I will always remember.
Also in Bethlehem we went to the Church of the Nativity, which is supposedly built over the exact spot where Christ was born.
To view the spot you have two choices.
You can wait in line for hours with 300 other people until it is your turn to descend the stairs into the church basement . . . or . .
you can bribe a guide to take you down the back way.
We chose to bribe.
Here is our rather pricey guide who gave us a very (and I mean very!) quick tour of the church and then sneaked us down the back stairs two at a time where we never really saw "the spot" due to the 300 people filing by on their knees kissing it.
But it was memorable!:-)

And on a much less serious note . . . While visiting Nimrod's Fortress near Galilee, we saw some teen aged boys climb these rocks for a picture. So, not to be out done . . .

Here is one my most favorite (and funny) moments ever!
We rented a house and shared cooking responsibilities.
On Saturday night it was the men's turn to cook.
They made eggs and potatoes.
But these were not just any eggs!
Wil has a special way of making them.
He mixes eggs and milk together and then strains them to remove the "gunk" which he told us is umbilical cords.
So here he is making his umbilical cord-less eggs.

No, they are not worshipping the computer.
They are trying to hear a basketball game.
Wes and Wil's brother Ken's basketball team played in the national finals while we were in Galilee and they wanted to hear the game--which was not easy.
Unfortunately Ken's team lost, but hey, second in the nation is still great, don't you think!

Truly--Manna from Heaven!
This was our first schwarma place (love that stuff!!)
Here the bread was definitely fresh!!
See that hole in the roof? After the bread was cooked in the store above, they would hand it down through the hole to make the sandwiches.
Jerusalem is exhausting!!
It seems like you walk up hill all day long.
Here Wes takes a little nap on the southern steps before continuing on with our sightseeing.
After a few long days of tiring travel, Darren quipped, "Now I understand why Peter, James and John kept falling asleep."

And last favorite moment--meeting so many of the BYU students from the Jerusalem Center.
We were walking down the street one night when we suddenly heard cheering from this group. Turns out Wes was wearing a BYU sweatshirt and they saw it.
Funny thing . . . see the girl on the far left?
Her brother just happens to be one of my son-in-law's best friends,
And the girl on the far right?
Her father was the mission president in Hungary and we know seven missionaries who served there.
Small world.

Sadly, the time came for us to return home.
But the adventure was not over!
While flying between NY and Phoenix, we looked out our window to see this!!
It came toward us, flew along side us and then disappeared under our plane, to appear on the other side where it flew away.
Gotta admit. It was pretty cool to see!

So that concludes my tour of Israel . . .
Well, with one exception.
On Friday, in honor of Easter, I am posting pictures of Gethsemane and the Garden Tomb.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A full week of great blessings! . . . and photos from the temple mount

Life has been full this past week. I love full weeks!!

1. First off, last Sunday we attended the baby blessing of our first grandson! His father gave such a beautiful blessing. I was so proud of him. And it was so much fun to attend their ward and have a delicious lunch at Kali's parent's home afterward. I took pictures, but unfortunately I left my camera at their house and won't get it back until later today.

Which is why I don't have any pictures of our good times this past week. BUT . . . pictorially documented or not, we still had a great week.

2. My oldest daughter, Camille, celebrated her birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY CAMILLE! I am going to be seeing her next week and am so excited for that. And (shhhh) but I bought her the cookbook by the ladies from "Our Best Bites" as a gift. I know she will be happy to have that. I am loving mine!

3. Last Saturday, our daughter Kristen and her friend Jayna arrived to spend five glorious days with us!! They both are elementary school teachers (interns) and were on spring break so they came to thaw out from the Utah cold. They hiked, biked, went to the movies, got facials, (thank you Kali!!) and shopped for graduation dresses (as they will graduate from BYU next Friday.) It was so much fun to have them here. Although I learned that with Wes, Michelle, the sister missionaries and our two guests all here, you do NOT want to be the last person to shower in the morning!

4. I found black rice!! I read a couple months ago that in addition to quinoa, black rice is the new super food. So I set out on a mission to find some. Target? No! Walmart? No! Sprouts? No! (But I found some very yummy dark brown rice). But then yesterday I went to a Chinese market looking for cellophane noodles for a luau I am doing later this month and discovered black rice!! I was so excited to eat it and made some for dinner last night. I will admit it just doesn't seem right to be eating black anything (unless it is licorice) but I really did like the flavor and the texture--which is nutty similar to brown.

5. I got back on my exercise schedule, but am having a hard time getting back to healthy eating. I have some treats tucked away in the pantry and was being really good about not eating them until everyone else started to eat them and then I just had to have some as well. But I tell ya, it is a bit embarrassing to be at the gym, pull out your pass to be scanned and have candy wrappers fall out of your pocket!

6. I have also been looking at my pictures from Israel and wanted to share a few more. Here are some from the Temple Mount. This is the same mountain where Abraham took Isaac to sacrifice, and where the temple of Solomon once stood. It is currently under Muslim rule and home to the Dome of the Rock--and is a beautiful place to visit. I really enjoyed the details of the buildings there and watching the people who came to worship.

The last picture of the young girl is my favorite. I love the look on her face. I also got a kick out of the little boy climbing over the wall. Boys will be boys where ever they live, apparently. :-) And notice the girls with the backpacks. One of them says Nike. I got a chuckle out of that.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Wailing Wall--Just Photos

For those of you who asked for more pictures, here are some of my favorites from the Western (Wailing) Wall. If you haven't read the post below on our trip, however, be sure to scroll down for that.

This is the wall attached to the wall. I loved all the bird's nest around the Wailing Wall. And during the Sabbath worship, all the birds seemed to come out and circle rapidly high above the worshippers, joining in the celebration.

The wall
A close up of prayers tucked into the wall, in hopes that God will read and answer them.

To the wall come people of all nationalities. Here the faithful wash before offering their prayers.

Two ladies read their scriptures near the wall.
One of my most favorite pictures.
Each time we have been to Jerusalem we have seen young boys brought in groups to the wall to be taught. I loved this picture of these two little ones.
But my favorite scenes are those of the little boys with the Torah in hand and crowns on their heads being taught who they are and who they can become.
It is truly a beautiful and sweet place to visit.

Random Ramblings of our Road Trip to Israel

Miracle of Miracles!

We witnessed several miracles on our trip. One of the most important is that we actually found where we wanted to go. When we were trying to get out of the airport and head to Nazareth, Wes handed me a page of instructions he printed off the Internet. Unfortunately all the street names were in HEBREW!

Driver and navigator checking out the map before we set out once again.

The challenge began all over again when we arrived in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a crazy city, laid out across many hills and with winding roads that suddenly turn into one-way streets, or change names every block—with very few street signs. Even between maps and all eyes on the lookout, we struggled. One time, after several mistakes, Wes told me to put the map away and he would go by feel. In just a few minutes we arrived at our destination. And in the end we found every place we were looking for. Truly a miracle!

Can I get pepperoni with that?

We rented a house in Jerusalem that had a kosher kitchen. Which meant, of course, that besides other things, we were not allowed to eat any pork products or meat with dairy. In fact the kitchen had separate microwaves, dishes and silverware for our dairy meals and meat meals.

We mostly ate at kosher restaurants as well. (Even McDonald's is kosher there) One day we decided to buy pizza for dinner. We scanned the menu for anything familiar to us, but could only find a list of strange vegetables. No such thing as “Meat Lovers” there!! Another time we ate at an Italian restaurant where they had cheese lasagna, and sweet potato stuffed ravioli.

We actually really liked our food in Israel, (we ate a lot of shwarma!) but the first thing we all did when we arrived in the US was buy a sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich!

Where L.D.S. stands for Lay Down Shekles!

My friend Sonia with a a couple of her new best friends

The best place for fruit and vegetables is the Israeli Market, but the best place for souvenirs is the Arab Market in the Old City. The most fun part about shopping there is the shop keepers will haggle over the prices, and they love the Mormons!

With our shopping list in hand, we traipsed into our first store to check out the selection and prices. After hearing the shopkeeper’s “best” price, I suggested to my sister-in-law, Leslie, that we visit a few other stores before buying. The shopkeeper turned to Leslie and said, “You I like. Her I don’t like!”

But he then gave us a better price!

I was only looking for oil lamps for my friend Lisa, but ended up buying some spices as well. I got a cup of saffron threads for $7.00 (my most expensive item) along with spices for Israeli salads, pita bread and shwarma. Now I can’t wait to try them all out. Party’s at my house!!

Make a joyful noise!

One of the most memorable experiences is a visit to the Western (Wailing) Wall in Jerusalem. This is simply what is left of a wall that surrounded the temple grounds and since it is all that remains of the temple, it is also the Jew’s most sacred site.

All during the week devout worshippers come to offer prayers, read their scripture and leave notes to God in the cracks of the wall. It is touching to see at any time, but unforgettable to witness on a Friday night—the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath.

On Friday the worship area is packed with people, praying, singing and dancing. Although “reverence” isn’t a word you could use to describe their worship, the energy level was impressive and contagious. If I had known the words to their songs, I am sure I would have been tempted to join them.

But instead, the following night found us at the Jerusalem Center watching the first session of General Conference live with the students there. That was also an unforgettable experience—to be in Jerusalem and hear the “word of the Lord” go out from “Zion” to the world.

Pictures taken during the week at the Western Wall.
No photography is allowed during their Sabbath.

Part II—(later this week) Our Adventure Into Palestinian Bethlehem!