Friday, December 19, 2008

Israel Souvenirs

After taking a suitcase full of clothes for the orphanage in Bethany we were left with a suitcase to fill with treasures from the Holy Land.

So what did we pack home?

Here's just a few items that caught our eye:

BYU Jerusalem Shirts! They aren't selling these babies at the local bookstore ~ what a find.

Sea of Galilee necklaces that the owners of the boats make using shells from the sea.

My widow's mite necklace! I was so happy to have one of these. And while it is just a replica, I'm thrilled. A real widow's mite was about $120 / replicas were around $35 (I haggled got this one cheaper than that)

Oil lamps that look very much like the ones from 2000 years ago, just not as expensive. There were several antiquities shops that had the real McCoy - they were amazing, but these pleased me just as much. And they will work with a wick and olive oil. A great reminder to keep our lamps full.

We purchased a few pieces of Olive Wood, but this was the one that I liked the most. The carvings are done in Bethlehem from branches pruned from the local olive trees. We also purchased a Noah's Ark, a Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and a Lion and Lamb carving.

We did pick up some cool things for the boys too. Josh got a ram's horn (same kind that Joshua used when the walls of Jericho fell). Ethan got a mosaic kit in remembrance of all the FABULOUS mosaics that we saw. And Emma got a lamb which is in remembrance of the Good Shepard who loves the children.

What a great trip we had ~ and how much more I am enjoying the holiday season this year. I'm a crying mess every time a Christmas Hymn is played and I see in my mind the places of the Holy Land. SUPER COOL!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Day Book Entry

FOR TODAY, December 15, 2008 ...

Outside My Window...
It is dark. It's 6:00pm and I can see the Dome of the Rock at the end of the street (a mere block away). Otherwise, I see the 50 people from my tour group hanging out in the lobby waiting to head back home to America.

I am thinking...
That my choice to wear a skirt the day I rode on a camel was NOT my most brilliant choice.

I am thankful for...
My soft and comfortable pillow and bed that I have missed these many days.

From the kitchen...
Instead of 'from the kitchen', I'm having food from the roadside. LAMB KABOBS and FALAFEL!! I have some new favorite foods. And a strange man cooking kabobs with his dirty hands and serving it in a fresh pita is oddly heavenly. YUM!

I am wearing...
Dirty clothes. I want clean clothes - these will have to last me a 12 hour flight to Newark / a two hour flight to Houston / a 5 hour layover in Houston / and a 2 hour flight home where I will fall into bed after kissing my babies!!

I am creating...

I am going...
To teach my family to play Crowns when I get home. This is just a fun, simple game that I've played with some old ladies in the evenings. Good times!

I am reading...
Physik. I know. I should be reading the Bible or something like that. But I'm still the 'human- fault-ridden-Wendy', who can't be religiously minded 24/7.

I am hoping...
The plane doesn't crash (I don't have the right pants on) and that I don't sit by the annoying voice lady on the plane ride home.

I am hearing...
The Muslim call to prayer. (A church volunteer at the BYU Center takes it as his opportunity to express his love to his wife every time he hears it - kind of a good idea, because after a while it gets a little tedious).

Around the house...
Hopefully around my house the kids are anxiously awaiting my arrival tomorrow. And hopefully around my house my parents are still alive and sane. (Is that even possible if they weren't sane before they came to my house?)

One of my favorite things...
One of my favorite things about Israel has been interacting with the people. Today, for example, I met an old woman who runs an orphanage in Palestinian Bethany. She is kind, humble and poor. Yet she is someone who adds much to the society she lives in. How gratifying to give aid to her orphanage and interact with her. COOL!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...
Enjoy my kids and the holiday season. Nothing has put me more in the holiday spirit than missing my kids and being here. I am ready for some Christmas!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

(The bad idea skirt wearing day! Luckily I'm posting the photo where the least amount of leg and underwear is showing.)

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Israel Part 4

A few interesting things I have learned (so far) about Israel.

1. Arab hotels have floors numbered -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 , etc. Floor zero is the lobby.

2. Israeli's have "compelled service" in the military. They are required to give 3 years of service to the military (2 for the girls). After that they may choose to join officially. If they don't, they still must serve one month each year until they are 42 years old (or 28 for girls - so they can raise a family).

3. Any open space on the side of the road is considered parking.

4. The car horn (or bus horn) is a completely over used method of communication. It means, "get the HELL out of my way" and "I'm coming through and not stopping for you".

5. The call to prayer from the Dome of the Rock is really cool to hear, unless it happens at 5am every morning.

6. Elderly people will complain about almost everything!

7. Hotel card keys in America at super cool and is so much more convenient than carrying around a room key on the end of a 5lb hunk of metal.

8.You should NEVER, NEVER pass up an opportunity to send your kid to the BYU Jerusalem Center for a term!

9. Pomegranates are delicious! And eating tomatoes and cucumbers for breakfast every morning is actually tasty.

10. Not all people enjoy ice cold water. Some enjoy it warm or lukewarm for drinking. I am not one of those people. Getting cold water here is unheard of - not that they don't have it, they just don't like it.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Israel Part Three

Yeah, I warned you all that there would be alot of these . . . .

Today's report is about the missionary graves in Haifa.

The graves of John Alexander Clark and Adolf Haag, both from Utah, are located here. These boys both served missions for the church in Israel and died while there.

Only the Lord could have foreseen that their deaths would lead to something great. . . The existence of the BYU Jerusalem Center. Without establishment that the church had been there prior to Israel becoming a state, we wouldn't have been allowed to have this building. And the graves of these two missionaries proved it.

Bob placing a stone on the grave of Elder Haag (I think)

And Elder Clark's grave who was from Farmington, Utah

"Birth into the world of spirts is a glorious privilege and blessing. The
greatest spirits in the family of the Father have not usually been permitted to
tarry longer in the flesh than is necessary to perform a certain mission.
They are called to the world of spirits where the field is greater and the
workers fewer." (President Heber Q. Hale, Idaho Stake)

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Israel Part Two

Tiberias is on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. From our hotel we can look out on the sea and we are within comfortable distances to some of the Savior's many miracles. Completely cool stuff!

One of my favorite things about this area was our FABULOUS boat ride out onto the Sea of Galilee. The day was overcast but not stormy. We had a wonderful opportunity to sing "Master the Tempest is Raging" while on our ride. This was very moving to me and that's saying something as I'm usually a huge skeptic and stinker when it comes to manufactured spiritual moments. Guess you can't deny the location and beauty sometimes and the spirit gets through.

Don't think it was all spiritual hijacking as we danced to traditional Israeli music on board the boat after the song. We then had a lovely lunch sitting outside overlooking the sea. I ate Saint Peter fish, also known as Tilapia which had been freshly caught from the sea. I was dead in my tracks thinking of this and the fishermen of the Savior's time. Of course, I was brought back to reality as I watched local fishermen in motorized boats fish right in front of us with their nets. Still REALLY, REALLy cool to see as I ate my fish.

Bob & Carol on board the 'Jesus' boat that was specially made in Egypt for the boat owners

The dancing on board the boat! Just an unrelated sidenote but the cute Jewish boys have nice butt cracks (I'm pretty sure the Spanish ladies in our group took a photo - I refrained (barely)

My lunch of fries and St. Peter fish. It was fresh and VERY delicious! It made Carol sick just looking at it and she couldn't eat her chicken. We fed the bazillion stray cats who stared up at us from the shore. (Note the Pepsi Max cans -- this is Diet Pepsi - YUM)

The beautiful Sea of Galilee

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Important Israel Info

Diet Coke IS available in Israel!

I am paying anywhere from $2 - $3 per bottle for it, but some mornings afternoons, it's worth it. And when I say "I am paying", clearly I mean "Jeff is paying."

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Israel Part One

In numbering the different parts of this trip, I realize that there is potential to get to Part One Hundred before I'm finished. Please do not abandon me during my reports. Perhaps check back in after a month to see where I'm at.

Today I want to report on one of our first stops in Israel. We went to the college in Netanya. It is a small college serving only about 4,000 students.

As a group we had gone to see the Orson Hyde Square that the college has created on their campus. The college has a Strategic Dialogue group that encourages positive dialogue between religions that is phenomenal. The group's leader created this square as part of his agreement to take the post at the college.

The square is really quite something. All students must pass through it as they enter the college. As part of the square there are olive trees dedicated to each of the presidents of the LDS church. There is a sign with the president's information at the base of each tree.

In addition there are 6 palm trees dedicated to those LDS elders who have dedicated the Israel land for the return of the Jews. I was thrilled to see that one of my family's relatives had his name on one of these palm trees: Francis M Lyman.

The young Jewish assistant to the Strategic Dialogue group spoke to us of the school's mission. It is an honorable and important mission geared towards getting the Middle East people working together. He, himself, is a Jewish man from Canada who just happened to feel the need to move to Israel . . . interesting, eh?

~ My Relatives Plaque ~

~ Jeff and I in front of Thomas S. Monson's newly planted olive tree. We have had 4 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours in this photo ~

~The 6 palm trees, Francis Lyman is the third one from the left ~

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Fear of Flying?

Remember how I have paranoia?

Riding in an airplane is part of that paranoia. I'm fine if they fly straight and smooth, but the turbulance and banking turns put me in a tizzy.

Proof of my nerves is my selection of clothing for the flight . . . windbreak type pants. I figured if the plane goes down I could slip my pants off and more easily tie a knot in the pant legs and use them as a parachute than if I wore Levi's.

My paranoia was a little more heightened on the Newark to Tel Aviv leg when they announced that there should be no congregating near the bathrooms. I figured this was because the terrorists had done this before taking over the planes on 9/11.

The first time I went to the bathroom on the flight there was virtually no room for me to get to it. There were about 5 large men hanging out and congregating at the restroom! I freaked! First, this was totally against the warning from the flight attendants and Second, I have a phobia about using the restroom with people around

(Sidenote: In college I would walk half way across the campus in the evening to use the restroom instead of using the one in my dorm room where my roommates were -- it's a real phobia for me)

Anyway, I stewed all trip about this until finally I struck up a conversation with one of these burly, scary, bathroom congregating men. Come to find out, he's a New York Police Officer. He's on the plane with 29 other police officers on their way to Tel Aviv for terrorist training!

He was the nicest man and was open to chatting. He's Jewish and was great to talk to me about his religion and his job. I was truly fascinated with him and had a great talk. Something I should've done BEFORE I went to the restroom. . ..

Flying out of Newark on a 777 where police officers can congregate near bathrooms

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Holiday Stress Relief

As the holidays get closer the stress always rises. Here is a stress
management technique recommended in all the latest psychological texts,
in the end, you will smile.

This really works.

1. Picture yourself near a stream.

2. Birds are softly chirping in the cool mountain air.

3. No one but you knows of this secret place.

4. You are in total seclusion from the hectic place called "The World."

5. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with cascading

6. The water is crystal clear.

7. You can easily make out the face of the person you are holding

8. See, you are smiling already. :-)

How sad is it that I'm still picturing the lady from Toys R Us under the water?

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Things to Think About

When you find that quiet moment in your day, here's some things to think about. My favorite is number 17. Enjoy!

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt or a leaky tire.

3. It's always darkest before dawn, so if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.

4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you 're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.

12. Some days you're the bug, some days you're the windshield.

13. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

14. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

15. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

16. Duct tape is like 'The Force'. It has a light side and a dark side - and it holds the universe together.

17. There are two theories to arguing with a woman - Neither one works.

18. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.

19. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

20. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Job Posting

(From a fun email sent to my by Auntie Pat - Thanks!)
Job Description

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop

Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.

Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.

Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities! Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.


The rest of your life.

Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.

Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.

Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.

Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.

Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.

Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.

Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.

Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.

Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.



Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


None required unfortunately.
On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


Get this! You pay them!

Offering frequent raises and bonuses.

A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.

When you die, you give them whatever is left.

The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.

If you are fortunate enough you will become grandparents!

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Gift Giving Guide for Men

A simple gift giving message for the man in you life:

Click HERE if clicking on the dog house doesn't work.