Saturday, August 23, 2008

Old and New

Our journey all started in February. We received a letter from a government agency citing us on our yard. The letter stated that because our yard was so bad, that we were being blamed for mud which was going into the storm drains in the street. Yes, the letter was right. We were to blame. The letter also stated that if the yard wasn't fixed we would be getting fined. Well, we didn't want to get fined so we researched options.

We called 12 landscapers. 5 called back. 2 of the 5 said we live too far away for them to help us. We interviewed the 3 remaining. Our final choice was DW Shearer. We felt really comfortable talking to him. We told him what we wanted and he went above and beyond our expectations. They did a great job. Here are pics to prove it.

Before:The deck was so small we could only fit our grill on it (and some miscillaneous toys).

Outline of where the trampoline will be placed.

Bad, just bad.

This area is what started the whole process.

A very nice picture of my rock pile. Those are just some of the rocks that I picked out of my yard. I didn't know what to do with them so before thinking about getting the yard landscaped, I would load them up in boxes and buckets and the kids would throw them in the creek. I used it as a science lesson, which rocks make the biggest splash? But that fun ended when DW Shearer took away my rocks.



We are so pleased with the final product. We use the patio all of the time. My DSH and I will sit out here after the kids are in bed and talk. We have added lights and speakers to the mix. It really is a romantic setting when we sit out there.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Israel: Day 8, January 12, 2008 Saturday


Our ride to the airport showed up at 7am and we loaded up for the ride to Tel Aviv. This time because of Shabbat, the roads were near empty. We got to the perimeter of the airport and were stopped at a checkpoint where soldiers with their rifles looked into the van, went through our passports and asked each of us questions.

We got into the airport and got in line to get checked in. I was pulled aside for questioning. Talk about being nervous. They asked me what I was doing, where I was going, who I talked to, where I went, etc. Tom Spinks also got questioned. Our answers must have matched because we didn't have any trouble after that. It seemed it was harder to get out of Israel then coming in.

We had lunch / breakfast in the airport center and then boarded our plane for the long ride home. This time, our flight went out over Europe and almost up to Iceland and Greenland. 12 hours later we were coming back into Newark. Customs was very easy to get through, our ride met us as we came out of the baggage area, and we were soon on our way back to the church and home.

It was an incredible trip and adventure. I believe more was accomplished than we knew about or could see – maybe someday we will know what happened in the heavenlies from the worship times. It was quite an honor to minister to the Lord in a place that is very special to Him. We came a long way to do that and I think He was blessed and honored by that. Amazingly, we got to look out at Mount Zion and the city of Jerusalem while we worshiped. We got to walk in some places where Jesus and the disciples walked and encountered the physical evidence that lines up with the scriptures. Joining with other believers, we prayed and interceded for the Jewish people, the peace of Jerusalem, for the Lord to come, for all the nations of the earth, for President Bush, and for our families and friends back home. We were so fortunate to have Gingi guide us around and to find a good friend in a faraway place. At the Shabbat dinner, we were made aware of ancient traditions and made other new friends and had some really good bread! Quite a life changing trip, it was. Sometime in the future, I plan to go back.

The Tele Viv Airport on a sabbath. Empty!


Frosty windows.

Beautiful view.

The Son was shining on us!

What did you say the temp was? -67*F????????????

Our flight plan.

And again.

We still had over 7 HOURS TO GO !!!!

I was so bored, I was taking pictures of anything.

Clouds and ocean.

Notice the frost on the windows? It sure was cold up there.

Beautiful reflection of the sun. May we always reflect the SON.

I was so bored. I started experimenting with my camera. I really don't think this picture came out too bad considering I took it myself.

Above the Clouds.

Isn't Jesus awesome? He created a beautiful world.

Clouds and Egypt.

More clouds and more Egypt.

Beautiful sky.

Approaching land. Notice the different colors of land?

Inside of the plane from my seat.

Coming into Newark.

Almost home. I couldn't wait to stand up!

Israel: Day 7, January 11, 2008 Friday

Friday! We gave our house and the van a pretty good cleaning and pretty much got everything packed and ready to go. Our session for today was from 3 to 6 so we had some time to go to the Old City once again. We headed back to the Garden Tomb area for some of us to do some last minute shopping. I purchased 30 Jerusalem bags, 30 communion cups made out of olive wood and 3 nativity sets. Again I was the designated bargainer.

After our shopping, we went to a little cafĂ© called Moti’s to eat. I had half of a Halumi Sandwich and half of a Mozzarella sandwich (see below for more details). We went outside in the courtyard and found a nice spot to take a picture and it was time to thread our way out of the passages, narrow streets and tunnels to the Zion Gate and back to our van. Someone in our group asked if Jerusalem felt a bit like it was home. I thought that the area around the Wall definitely did feel like a kindred place, to which they replied, this would be the site of the New Jerusalem – and that is our home!

Worship was packed full today. When we arrived at the prayer room, the scene to the southeast was beautiful. The sun lit up hills that were way past the security wall. It was a private time just for us, as the room was closed to the general public. It was just us and the Lord. We all gave it what we had as it was our last worship watch, this time. This session was the best one that we had while in Israel.

We had an awesome time of worship We started by singing of the Majesty of the Lord. Megan was leading on the piano and got up to go to the bathroom. She got to a certain spot in the room and stopped because she heard a song about the blood of Jesus. Leah saw a portal from heaven at that spot. I think I saw it too. To me it looked like a funnel of swirling clouds. It reminded me of a tornado. Megan went to the bathroom, came back and knelt in that spot. Then Jesus took her up to Heaven where she saw what looked like New Jerusalem. All I can say about that is WOW! I was able to feel the electricity of the portal. I felt where it started and stopped. What an experience.

While Megan was in the portal, the rest of us had a sweet time where we experienced the playful side of the Lord. There was a time of chord progressions and I kept hearing Na Na Na Na Na Na. I went to the microphone and sang it. That started a time of playing with the Lord. Leah was singing BFF (best friends forever). Tim was singing, "I've got a secret, Do you want to hear it?" Then we sang the Lord the secrets that He told us, i.e, we are His favorite. Leah got a picture of a note form 8th grade. The Lord asked her: Will you go with me? There was a box to check yes or no. The Lord whispered to her, "I checked yes!"

It was such a sweet time. I never experienced that side of the Lord before. I pray each of you will experience at some point the playful side of the Lord.

To add to our already incredible afternoon, Leah kept hearing the word Moriah. She didn't know what it meant so I looked it up in the Strong's and found out that it meant the temple mount (Mt. Zion). We started singing Moriah. I read Psalms 125. We were doing major warfare for the country of Israel.

Then Dan started playing a warfare beat on the drums. As soon as the piano stopped playing and it was just the drums, I fell to my knees and started weeping. Then the Lord showed me a picture of an army climbing up the mountain of Jerusalem. I wasn't sure what to do with that picture and then later on that night, Leah shared with me a picture that she had. It was the rest of the picture that I got. She saw a lion at the top of the mountain. There was an army standing perfectly still waiting for the lion to command the army. She saw this picture at the end of the drum segment when everyone was just being still.

Also throughout that whole time Shawntel couldn't stand because of the heavy presence of the Lord. At one point she just started screaming like she was giving birth.

I felt angelic presences in the room. I felt it all around the room, It felt like swirling clouds of electricity. Even to this day, I can feel angelic stuff going on. My prayer now is that I would begin to see what I feel.

After the set and we all got our bearings back, we heading to a Shabbot dinner. They had a beautiful view from their porch of the Old City. We met such interesting people at the dinner. Nissi, Nimrod, Mary, Greg, Connie…were some I remember most. Both Nissi and Nimrod told us a little bit about their families and their history coming to Israel. Mary was a dress maker and could bake a mean cake! The dinner started with a prayer and a cup of wine that was passed around. Then there was challah bread…it was soooo good. It was a bit like a chunk of soft pretzel and you even dipped it in salt. The dinner itself was a self-serve Mexican taco salad. It was great to meet folks and hear their stories throughout the dinner. We got ourselves together then and headed back to the house. We finished our packing up and went to sleep for the last night in Jerusalem.

Walking to do some last minute shopping. Yes, I am the dork wearing the American Idol backpack.

The Zion Gate. Notice how small the entrance is! As soon as you go into the entrance, there is a 90* right turn. Lots of cars had scraped bumpers.

Inside the Zion Gate.

The Zion Gate again.

Approaching Zion Gate.


Karen (our kindred-spirit housemate) and Mike enjoying their food.

Halumi Sandwich. I know it looks really disgusting but it was amazing. It had fried Halumi cheese, pesto sauce, lettuce, cream cheese and cucumbers. I took picture of it so that my DSH could make one for me. A few weeks after we got back, I tried to find Halumi cheese. The only place I could find it was a Wegman's. It was $10.99 for a 4 oz package. (I was hoping that the 10.99 was in sheckels, but it wasn't.) Needless to say, I am still waiting to taste this sandwich again.

Mozzarella sandwich. Really good, but not as good as the Halumi. I again took a picture so my DSH could make me one.

The menu, so I would remember what was in each sandwich.

Group shot outside of Moti's.

The following are pics of the worship room during our session.