Friday, May 29, 2009

Walking Through the Holy Land

Jesse and I just got back from Israel, where we were for 10 days. It was a whirlwind tour, and we loved it. I took 640 pictures, so here are just a few of the photos from our trip. Madison stayed with my parents. I was so thankful for that- Jesse and I felt at ease to be completely in Israel, but we did miss our little sweetie. Here we are on the first day, next to the Mediterranean Sea. It was beautiful, and you can tell why Herod chose this place to build his palace.
We went with a group of 15 people from our church. In the background you can see the Dome of the Rock.
Each hotel we visited had a sign welcoming us. They would also have some sort of fruit juice for us- so fun! We stayed in 4 different cities.
Here I am in a tunnel at Megido. This was used to bring water from the well outside the city, under the city wall, and into the center of the town. It was hewn from rock, and was almost 200 feet underground.
We also stayed on the Sea of Galilee. The water was warm, so we went for a swim one evening. Can you believe Jesus walked on this water, and His disciples actually fished here?!
Here is a hillside like the one where Christ preached the Sermon on the Mount.
We took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. From the middle you could see around the outside of the Sea, and could see where most of Jesus' ministry took place.
Look at the size of the synagogue! This is in Capernum- Jesus would have been in this building on most Sabbaths.
Jesse preaching overlooking the Sea of Galilee!
Coke Zero in Hebrew by the Jordan River.
Here is the Dead Sea. Definitely no fishing here! This is the view from our room.

Masada is an incredible place, with an incredible story. You can read about it here. We took the gondola up and down, because we were pressed for time, we couldn't hike it. Somehow Jesse managed to run the whole way down- he paid for it with three days of sore legs!
Here we are at Qumran. This is where a shepherd (or possibly thief) found the oldest existent copy of an Old Testament book. We later got to see his find at the Israel Museum of History.
We floated at the Dead Sea at 7:30 in the morning- already pretty warm!
We frequented Aroma Cafe on our trip. It is way better than Starbucks!

Can you see the Ibex? This animal can jump along the little edges of the rock- what amazing footing they have. This is where David would have been hiding from Saul.

Here is "David's Waterfall".

I had a fun camel ride up to the top of this overlook. From the top of this hill you could see Jericho and the Mt. of Olives. What a view! I also learned an important lesson: negotiate the cost of a camel ride BEFORE boarding.

A few ventured into Hezekiah's Tunnel. The water was up to the middle of our legs.

This is the view of the temple mount from Gethsemane. I had no idea it was this close.

Here we are standing next to an olive tree in Gethsemane.

We ran into Doug Bookman, Dr. Varner, and the Master's Chorale several times while we were there. It was a privilege listening to them sing as we went into the Garden Tomb. Quite moving!

He is alive!
A few of us went out one night to see "The Festival of Lights". The sign in the background says "Tower of David."

Overlooking downtown Jerusalem and the Jaffa Gate.

Here are the Southern steps to the temple. This is where Jesus would have done much of his teaching, and next to where Peter would have preached his first sermon in Acts 2.

Pilar was our tour guide. We were glad to have her, as she was like a walking encyclopedia. She new the story behind every stone in Israel.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ten Months

Madison is ten months already! I haven't had time to take the usual shots in the basket, so here is a recent picture from our Arizona trip. She is eating everything, beginning to drink water, standing and cruising around the furniture, and talking much more. She says "hi", "Dada", and "Mama" at the appropriate times- it's so fun to have Jesse walk in the door from work, and have her yell out "Dada!" Her favorite activities are playing on her music table, listening to stories that make noises, looking at herself in the mirror, following me around the house, getting a ride in the backpack during hikes, and swimming. We are continually thankful to the Lord for the gift that she is. We will miss her tremendously, as Jesse and I leave for 10 days to go to Israel. We are thrilled to see where Christ walked, but I'm going to miss my baby girl every moment. We love you Maddie!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I Love My Cousins...

Madison and I have been little travelers. After Washington, we re-packed and went to my sister's in Arizona for four days. The girlies had so much fun together, and so did Melissa and I. What a fun stage of life to be mommies together! I love this picture- Charis "positioning" Maddie for a photo shoot ! Here's some of what we did there....
Madison loved Chloe at first sight- she broke out into deep belly laughter!
Emma thought she should have her bottle IN the pool- what a great idea, right? Emma was always wanting to love on Madison. She is precious!
The two little sisters- what a fun front yard!
Mads loved watching all the activity.

She tackled climbing the stairs the first day...all 15 of them. She became a stair pro.
One morning we walked to the park and played.
Aunt Melissa got in lots of snuggles.
I just love her look here!
We did some shopping, once it got too hot to be outside and play. Charis trying to be a model- she's a beauty!
We went to a pool one day- it was 108 at 4pm! It melted Madison into her car seat.
Charis loves the water.

Stinking cute in her cover up.
What a great family shot! They are floating a long in the "Lazy River".
That huge bucket on top would dump water every five minutes or so.
Madison's first real pool experience. She was a little uncertain at first, but then loved it. She even went under :)
After the pool we got milkshakes.
This picture really represents all their personalities- just look at their faces! It was hard to say goodbye. We had a wonderful time with the cousins. Thank you, Melissa, for planning all that we did, cooking, and being an amazing Auntie. We love and miss you all!