Thursday, May 28, 2009

Trek to Tel Aviv

We are so excited, almost giddy. Hunter arrived today, and he will be with us for at least 3 months. Pres is totally pumped that he's here, because he will have someone else to hang out with besides his dear ole dad and mom. I think I've figured out that the reason we're so lonely is because in Texas we had an open door policy and people were coming and going all the time. We ALWAYS had a bunch of people at our house, and we LOVED it. In fact, if someone rang the doorbell, we gave them a hard time about it. Well, here in Jerusalem, we don't have that community aspect yet. (You notice I said "yet".) We're so glad to have a visitor that I'm afraid we've talked Hunter's ears off. Sorry, Hunter.

Here we are at the airport. He was hassled severely by the customs officials, bless his heart.

We rented a car to go pick him up, and we were so excited to have wheels.

So...we decided to take Pres and Hunter to the beach in Jaffa. We found a sandwich place there and had a.....yep, you guessed it....a wonderful falafel. Now I know you're thinking, "Wow, that's big. Did she eat all that?" No, I didn't. Almost...but I had to throw a third of it away cause it started falling apart. It was really good, though.
Pres, Hunter and GB had a chicken shawarma. Chicken shawarmas are good too, but not as good as falafels. Notice the lady behind them. She kept trying to make eye contact and talk to the guys. I know...they look like movie stars....

Now we are home. Hunter and Pres are upstairs unpacking. Sherry, Hunter's mom, packed stuff he didn't even know he had. This is like Christmas!

Tonight we have two more guests arriving to spend several nights with us. They are from Belgium and are friends of the Vandeputs. We are looking forward to meeting them. I just hope I can stay awake....

I love you all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Digging in the Dirt

We were given this amazing opportunity by our next door neighbor to go on a real live archaeological dig. It's the kind of dig that people pay big money for. The last time the team was at this site was nine years ago. It's in the West Bank near Ramallah, so the Intifada made it almost impossible to get an excavation team to volunteer. The Israel Antiquities Authority approved the dig this year. The Israeli Army was notified. The inhabitants of some of the houses in the area were notified, so everything was cleared. The only requirement the IDF made was that the archaeological team hire 2 armed guards to keep watch while the dig was in process. It really wasn't dangerous, though...I promise!

Our next door neighbor is a photo journalist and does amazing videos on proving the authenticity of the Bible. That will have to be a later post. Anyway, he had filmed this particular team in the past and developed friendships with them. He was excited about actually being able to dig this time and not being behind the camera. They were needing more people to help dig, so he asked if we would be interested. We jumped on the opportunity.

So....GB, Pres, and I met him outside our apartment door at 6:00 yesterday morning. We drove north of Jerusalem on Hwy 60 through the Israeli security walls and into the West Bank. I absolutely love that area of Israel. There's just something about it that I can't explain. There's an inner connection to that area that I haven't felt in any other part of Israel, except for the Old City in Jerusalem. The overall name of the area is Samaria, and it is part of the land that was allotted to the tribe of Benjamin. Hmmm...Benjamin...maybe that's why the deep inner connection. Actually I felt this before I even knew it was Benjamin's allotment!

We arrived before the rest of the team, so we met the armed guards and let them follow us up the mountain.

Pres decided to stand on the crest of the mountain.

Joel is showing us the gates of Ai. This is the top of the left side of the north-facing gate. If you read the story in Joshua 7 & 8, north-facing is very important. The hills in the background is ancient Shiloh where the story of Eli and Samuel took place.

Pres is actually inside a chamber in the right side of the gate. All the weeds have to be removed before they can start digging.
One of the two archaeologists on site:
This is the main archaeologist, Dr. Bryant Wood (in the beige shirt):

Pres was one of the main hoss men. He can move the rock; unlike his dear ole mom in the background!
Here are some pieces of pottery I found on the site that they let me take home. Notice the pitcher handle. These pieces are at least 1000 years old!

These sticker bushes were everywhere. Believe me...they even stick through jeans! I uploaded the large size pic for these, because I wanted to show the detail.

I found these random, beautiful flowers among the thorns. It reminds me of how Yeshua sees us. We have a tendency to see all the thorns, but He sees a beautiful flower. The beauty of the flower is more noticeable than the prickliness of the thorns. I love it!
It was a great day, but we were so exhausted when we got home. I never knew archaeologists worked so hard!

If you're interested in learning more about the Associates for Biblical Research that is doing this dig, click here.

Oh, I almost forgot...Hunter is arriving in two days, and we are taking him out to this same site next Monday. So more pictures to follow....

I love you all!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

About This Blog

I've wanted to start a blog for a while but just haven't had the time to sit down and figure it all out. Now that I am no longer employed, living in another country, and, sadly, no daughters, sons (except for Pres) or grandchildren to spend time with, I find myself with more free time than I've had in a long time. (In a couple of weeks, I'll be dreaming about days when I had nothing to do except write blogs. We're about to get very busy.)
I do want to clarify that I have my youngest (almost-17 yr old) son, Pres, here along with my beloved husband of 29 years, GB, and we have been spending A LOT of time together. We have had a blast adjusting to life in Israel. And I mean that with all my heart. We are having a lot of fun. I love them so much. Here they are at our make-shift dining table the first night in our apartment. It was erev Shabbat. Do you see the challah on Pres' plate?

Anyway, I am wanting to blog on my life here in Israel. This is an amazing country, in my opinion THE most amazing country, and I want to give you a picture of how I see it and how I'm processing what I am experiencing. Most of my friends and everyone in my family know that I am a falafel lover. Before we moved to Israel, GB, Pres and I had a tradition of eating Middle Eastern food for lunch almost every Saturday. We tried out different restaurants around the DFW Metroplex, and most Saturdays I ate a falafel. Well, now I'm in falafel heaven! Seriously, falafel heaven. If you haven't had falafels in Israel, you really don't know the piece of heaven that you are missing. It's unbelievable....soft warm pita bread filled with luscious golden balls of mashed chickpeas and spices along with Israeli salad (cucumbers and tomato) and tahini sauce and hummus. Oh my gosh....just the thought of it makes me want to go get one right now.

Because of some pretty amazing confirmations, GB, Pres and I moved to Jerusalem one month ago. Below is a pic of me eating my first falafel since arriving here. Some wonderful friends offered to take us shopping for furniture in Talpiyot (a Jerusalem neighborhood) and we got hungry for lunch. We just "happened" to be close to a great falafel shop in the German Colony. It was sooo good! You can't see my falafel here, because it had already been eaten, but you CAN see GB's huge chicken shawarma sitting next to my arm. (He was behind the camera at the moment and he loves shawarmas.)

I promise not to bore you with falafel pictures in every blog, but they WILL make a few appearances every now and then....just warning you.