Tag Archive | Inspire

Day #8 – Our Last Tour Day

This was my favorite day I think.

But it’s so hard to choose.

Visiting Joppa was more than I expected.

It took us a while to get there.

Even though it was the hottest day on our tour – we enjoyed it very much. (Thank God for well air conditioned buses on our return!)

But first …………….

Yitzhak Rabin Memorial
https://mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/state/pages/yitzhak%20rabin.aspx
German Colony in Haifa
https://www.touristisrael.com/haifas-german-colony/4998/
Note the places for the kiddos to play and the adults to rest in the lower right hand corner. Sweet.
An outdoor bowling alley!
Who knew? Hey lady! Get off the lane!
A view of the new places, from the middle of the old places.

We saw these buildings from all angles in our travels – now here on the ground we could see their size!

We all really wondered about that twisty one!

Worldwide Center for the Baha’i Faith – Haifa
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraces_(Bah%C3%A1%27%C3%AD)

Jaffa, City in Israel – Description -Jaffa, in Hebrew Yafo and in Arabic Yaffa and also called Japho or Joppa, the southern and oldest part of Tel Aviv-Yafo, is an ancient port city in Israel. Wikipedia

This explains the discrepancy in spellings and pronunciations.

Old Joppa
Slow ascent.
Market Square
Made me smile. Want a ride?
Going up!
These three photos
Are where I pictured
Jesus’ life would be.
Ra’amses Gate Garden
Palm trees everywhere.
HaPisga Garden
Tirosh Amphitheater
St. Peter’s Cathedral
Jaffa Port
Did I mention it was hot?
Dare I say; The old man and the sea?
Inside a restaurant we ate in.
It was cool in more ways than one.
Another wall for free.
Busy Joppa street.

Shalom Tower

Tower in South City Centre (Tel Aviv)

This huge tower, the first skyscraper in Israel opened in 1965, is one of Tel Aviv’s major landmarks and a notable part of its skyline. It has permanent exhibits on the history of Tel Aviv in the foyer and on the 1st floor.

We listened to a guide that knew so many facts, had so much knowledge, and was funny to boot – It was hard to keep up.

We also got to see about twenty minute long documentary about Israeli/Tel Aviv history.

Our guide.
Exhibits
If you are a history buff, this is your place.

To find out what all those displays (and our guide) are talking about, you can click here; https://israelforever.org/programs/myherzl/who_was_theodor_herzl/

Our day of touring, our week in fact, was over, and we headed back to our hotel in Herzilya in time to visit the beach on the Mediterranean Sea.

Palms by the sea.

We stayed at a brand new hotel in Herzilya called Herod’s.

Closer and closer to the Mediterranean.

Just a ten minute walk to the sea.

Sun shiny ribbons on the sea.
Refreshing.
Beautiful.
Soothing.
Restful.

Sea wall.

It was much more than a ten minute walk when you decide to walk along the sea wall.

This is the actual sea wall, and the place we stayed, click here if you want to know more; https://econcretetech.com/seawall-units-herzliya-marina/

Aerial photo found on Google.

Our room was in the far left horseshoe shaped building.

Surfers, not sharks.
One last look back.

That’s it for now – but next time I will just share some random photos – neighborhoods, plants, walls, buildings and such.

About two more posts for our trip to Israel, I hope you’re enjoying them.

I hope to see you again next time.

Day #6 – Israel

Gai Beach, Tiberias, Israel

Good morning from the Sea of Galilee. 6:49 AM.

This is my favorite photo from our trip.

It was so peaceful, and minus the modern embellishments, is a view that my Jesus saw a lot of.

Tiberias – by the Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is essentially a large lake.

There is no Hebrew word for lake.

So it’s a sea.

http://jesusboats.com/

We were on the Sea of Galilee with ten of these “Jesus Boats”, where we all locked together and had a worship service, along with some Hebrew dancing before departing.

Quiet seas.

It was easy in some spots on our cruise to imagine Jesus walking across the water to one of these little boats containing some very concerned Apostles.

Close to the end of our trip.

We hated leaving the boats; but there was so much to see.

On to the Mt. of Beatitudes
Appropriate attire required for entry.
The view from here
Speaks for itself.
Breathtakingly restful.

Capernaum is next.

The walk to Capernaum.
Excavated synagogue close to Peter’s home.
Inside excavated synagogue close to Peter’s home.
Peter’s Home

Peter’s home – What you see above is a new synagogue built above it.

I had difficulty getting great photos here; so you can follow the next link if you want to see more clearly.

https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/the-house-of-peter-the-home-of-jesus-in-capernaum/

Jesus resting?

This statute was close to the entry to Capernaum.

Made of black stone. Note the nail holes in the feet.

The view of the Sea of Galilee from outside of Capernaum.

Onward to lunch!

Choose one.
So not used to having my food stare at me!

This was so far out of my comfort zone!

But I ate it any way.

I was surprised at how good it was – Seconds?

Boat Museum – Ginosar, Israel
The Big Question
Great care was taken to keep the keel of this boat in tact.
Next stop – Magdala
An amazing archaeological find, actual floor tile.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magdala
So much has been revealed.
Exciting to think that Mary of Magdalene walked here.

As we head down the pathway from this spot, we come to Duc In Altum.

Which means “Out into the deep”

https://www.magdala.org/visit/duc-in-altum/womens-atrium/

In this atrium, we all stood circling this fountain.

We all began to sing (Sadly I can’t remember what song) and as we all moved to the center, the sound seemed to fill the hall.

It was amazing.

We were surrounded by pillars.
Each with the name of an important woman from the Bible carved into it.
https://www.magdala.org/visit/duc-in-altum/boat-chapel/
https://www.magdala.org/visit/duc-in-altum/encounter-chapel/

This room, the Encounter Chapel, struck my companions and I perhaps more than anywhere else we visited.

We stayed here in silence for several prayerful moments before leaving with very quieted hearts.

Just one more stop today –

https://www.israeljerusalem.com/yardenit.htm

The Yardenit is the baptismal site located on the Jordan River.

I have no photos of my own from this site, as I was busy getting re-baptized myself.

That’s it for today’s tour.

I’m exhausted.

How about you?

Please join me next time for Day # 7.

Cave Dweller

I’m a “Cave Dweller”. I love being at home, in my “Cave” while communing with God and His creation.

Quiet. Blue Sky. Green Earth. Ever changing seasons.

Communing = to experience a deep emotional or spiritual relationship with something.

Now cave dwelling is fine for a season, but it may be time to get out of here for a while.

I can argue that God has provided me with a pretty cool cave, and that I am comfy here.

To which I hear, “Comfy is what you come back to, to rest. But to come back, you have to leave first.”

I once used my 400 pound Strong’s Concordance, (remember those?) to research all that the Bible said about caves.

Caves were used for many, many things. Living, storage, hiding, burial…..

I did find that my self imposed solitude can turn into loneliness and isolation.

Here is where I find myself, one more time.

It is again time to transition to level-up.

An upgrade, if you will.

There is a growing “Holy dissatisfaction”.

It comes from learning the new thing, leveling up, upgrading; learning a new thing, and then getting really comfortable with it.

I believe the “Holy dissatisfaction” comes from knowing your subject, or in my case, where you are, so well that it is no longer a challenge.

If I am happy with that, then I can never grow or change, or become different or better than I currently am.

To find out what that is, there are a few things that I require myself to do;

  • Set aside an early morning time to get quiet – before the day begins calling my name
  • Revamp my schedule to have a few quiet, listening breaks during the day. (He’s always speaking, I’m just not always listening.)
  • Read biography’s. Stories of people in history or culture that I admire can be helpful to me to see more possibilities
  • Leave my house; go places, see things, meet people, enjoy creation.
  • Take a breath. Then another. Then another. Consciously.

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12 (ESV)

Here is hoping that my ramblings may open up new thoughts and possibilities.

Until next time – Do something different!

Transition

Long ago, back in the day, I learned a new word.

The word was TRANSITION.

Transition = Process of change; A process or period in which something undergoes a change and passes from one state, stage, form, or activity to another. (Encarta Dictionary)

An example of transition is that uncomfortable space in between when we are working for something and are about to receive it.

Or after we have received it, and gotten really comfortable with it, so we are in the place of moving on to the NEXT thing.

Long ago, back in the day, I thought that I would have transition once, and that would be it.

How naive I was; long ago, back in the day.

Through many years of “process”, I’ve learned that we are in a constant state of transitions, usually in more areas than one at once.

I’ve also found, for myself anyway, that if I argue with the process, or hang on to things longer than I should in my “comfortable place”, I simply end up exhausting myself and those around me; all the while never reaching any kind of new goal.

This is where I find myself today.

Somewhat uncomfortable.

Somewhat bored.

Somewhat wondering what is next.

So Dear Reader; I was prepared to dump all that process here, all at once, then decided to dump it out just a little at a time.

You’re welcome.

I hope you choose to join me for this journey, however long or short it ends up being.

And if you do, don’t hesitate to share any thoughts or comments that you may deem helpful.

Sometimes, in order to transition well, we (read I) need a village.

See you next time.

After the Lull

Fast forward to the present time, 2019, and the years in between, working on putting all I had learned to some practical use.

There has (seemingly) been a lull.

I say seemingly because I believe that even, and maybe especially, in the quiet times, the lull times, God is often doing a work in us so deep, and so profound, that we may not even have words to express what is happening on our insides. We may not even know!

Then one day, the times of quiet disappear, and everything erupts! There is drama everywhere, and there is nowhere to hide.

It is during times of duress, that we begin to realize what all that quiet was about.

All the while it was growing us, and fortifying us, “For such a time as this.”

I believe we grow infinitely closer to God because we depend on Him more.

Enter this book .


I’ve had this book on my laptop for several years. (Ever do that?)

I don’t ever remember reading it.

Until now.

Funny how things can hang out for the longest while, only to reappear at just the right time.

How long have I been asleep? How long has God been working in the silence of my heart? What have I learned from that time?

Dekker maintains that we follow Christ, and then we are all prone to forget the truth that sets us free all too often, each day, each hour, each moment.

To me this is the same thing as going back to our default position.

The one place in our heart and our head that protects us from the pain and chaos of the world, but does absolutely nothing to help us to grow and flourish.

In the world Dekker grew up in, “It was simple: If you say, and or do, and or believe the right things, you’re golden. If you don’t, you’re screwed. It all depends on you. Just like with God, or so I was led to believe.”

My story is certainly the same. Perhaps yours is as well.

Straighten up. Fly right. Toe the line. Conform. Or pay the price.

The price was often abuse by peers and those in charge, chaotic thinking, and loneliness. Add to that a startling array of disorders, diagnoses, and addictions, and the outcome is quite a mess!

If you don’t know who you truly are, and believe yourself to be the only one in this place, you try to fit in the best you can.

It is so much easier to hide.

What is your identity made up with?

  • Is your identity made up by hobbies or sports?
  • Is your identity made up by the church you attend?
  • Is your identity wrapped up in your wife, your husband, your children?
  • Is your identity made up by your career?
  • Is your identity held in your wealth and status?
  • Or is your identity made up of what someone told you; for good or for evil?

These things promise, and promise to make you feel better, worthy.

But they never deliver. They only continue to enslave.

You need to know that these identities are FAR LESS than the identity that you were born with!

The depression, the wounding, the scarring, the addictions, the habits and ill behaviors that you can’t seem to overcome, and maybe even your health issues, may have to do with how you see yourself.

YOUR OWN perception of you!

And you are certainly not alone in your struggle.

Those perfect people that you rub shoulders with on a daily or weekly basis? They struggle too.

They simply hide behind a different curtain, looking as “normal” as possible.

In God’s economy, normal looks a lot like loving;

  • Loving others even when they treat you poorly
  • Loving those who cannot love you back
  • Loving those who are difficult to love
  • Loving ourselves and others as Christ does.

We all fail from time to time.

But we must know that we are made in God’s image, and if we are born “in Him”, we can continually grow toward being that loving person He has created us to be.

If we immerse ourselves in His Word daily, the Word itself will begin to erase all of the negative corrosion that has been sticking to us our entire lives.

His word will cleanse us, and although we are still not perfect, it will continue cleaning us up, and softening our edges, making us more like Christ by the day.

What will that identity look entail?

  • RadiancePsalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  • Strength2 Corinthians 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
  • WisdomProverbs 2:10 For wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
  • Compassion Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
  • Fruits of the Spirit;
    • Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control.

I want to tell you one more thing.

The thing I tell you the most.

The most important thing.

Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV)

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.

No accident.

No mistake.

Just …………………. Love.

My Friend Joy!

Joy has been in a photo group with me for a couple of years.

Joy’s style is photo journalistic in nature.

Joy has a good eye, and is known to find beauty in the most unexpected places.

It could be her “Flower of the Day” series, or her walk along the river front or in Weed Park.

Joy is not deterred by the heat or cold, or rain or sunshine. She just goes.

It’s always a treat to see where she is going to show up next.

Join me now while I ask her some questions, and share some of her work.

Interview July 9, 2019, at the Black Pearl Cafe

  • How long have you been taking photos?
    • About four to five years now.
    • My interest began on a camping trip, in a little town in Indiana, where there was art work, murals and things, all through out the down town area.
    • The town boasted a flower garden calendar. It was so beautiful it begged to be photographed.
    • It was divided into four seasons, and it was unique and beautiful.
    • It sparked my interest in capturing the beauty of God’s creation, and being able to share it with others; flowers, sunrises, nature.
  • What camera do you use to get your photos?
    • I actually use the camera on my phone. It’s a Galaxy S9.
      • I’m mobile!
    • My phone takes quality photos, is very portable, and always ready for a shot, without doing much with the settings.
  • Do you use any filters on your photos?
    • I use no filters.
    • I have tried recently to do a couple of black and white photos, but then went back to regular photos with my phone.
  • What is your motivation for the photos you take?
    • Worship. It’s definitely a part of my worship.
    • I find it very healing.
    • I’ve dealt with depression.
    • Depression makes you pull inside yourself, and away from people.
    • Now that I enjoy photography, I get out of my house. I go places.
    • I can go with someone, or even go by myself.
    • This makes me happy because I can do things however I like. Take a picture or not, stay or go, I can decide.
    • I tend to take pictures dealing with light and creation, and the CREATION always makes me feel connected to the CREATOR.
    • The amount and diversity of creation is amazing and awe inspiring.
    • I no longer take for granted the state and town I live in.
    • Embracing and sharing my hometown, causes me to want to do it more.
    • There is beauty in every state, but coming home to Iowa is always best.
  • How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
    • Trial and error
    • Practice
    • Viewing others photos on photography websites
    • My husband is being educated on my photo taking needs as well!
  • Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
“Favorite picture of the summer so far. Taken from the bike trail during the flooding. I always enjoy capturing reflections and cool shadows. So beautiful with the white puffy clouds.”
  • What mood or message do you try to portray in your photos?
    • Natural beauty.
    • Positive. Always positive.
    • Encouraging.
    • I want my photos to point people to God.
      • She also likes to show off her town! (Added by me)
    • I want to try to stay out of “competition mode”.
  • Whose work has influenced you most?
  • What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
    • (Chuckles) How to take a decent selfie!
  • What would you say to encourage someone to is considering beginning photography?
    • Go out as often as possible.
    • Go out a different times of the day.
    • Play with light and shadows.

Some of Joy’s favorites for photos;

Sisters’ Garden & Bloom

Iowa Photograph

“Driving back from Kalona, with the sun behind us, I had a realization. For some people, looking back is painful emotionally. However, when it comes to photography, you need to be willing to examine your subject from every angle. Otherwise, you might miss the best picture ever!”

Joy

Dare I say, Joy doesn’t miss much!

Thanks for joining us!

See you next time!

Ain’t Nothin’ Like the Real Thing Baby

All of these stones are real. Except one.
Can you tell the difference?

Counterfeit is great until you need the real thing.

We live in a world that is bright and shiny.

There is always something to grab our attentions, and distract us from the things that are in fact, real.

We can always find a bauble for our most current need; until we can’t.

Where do we turn when we find out that what we have been following, and holding on to, is in fact only a cheap trinket, a counterfeit of the real?

This place is both disheartening and frightening at the same time. How could we have been so fooled, so tricked, so easily duped?

It could be disheartening because, well, if we fell for something this time, then we could easily fall for it a next time.

It could be frightening because, many times these counterfeits can bring danger to us; physically, mentally or financially.

Our emotions run, and run, and stopping them takes a lot of hard work and determination.

One quality decision after another.

These are times that the counterfeit goes away, and the real comes alive; Real pain; Real stress; Real bitterness; Real sorrow.

If we could only know the REAL in advance!

Well I believe we can.

My source is the Holy Bible. Words I believe that come from God Himself.

In the day in which we live, we hear all the time that we must live our own truth.

Personally, I tried that. I lived my own truth for most of my life.

Some parts were just me, other parts were me trying to mix in a little of Him to make it into something I could try and make Him happy with.

In the words of Dr. Phil; “How’s that workin’ for ya?”

Not so well I must admit.

My ideas always ended me up someplace where the bright and shiny had worn off, and turned into dingy and dark.

I want to tell you what has worked for me.

In seeking truth and light, a real deal, I came across some verses in the Bible that made me more than a little curious to seek the readily available truth of scripture.

The truth looked like this;

In Genesis 1:27 it says;

  • So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And in Psalms 139:13-16 it says;

  • For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

And then finally;

John 8:12 says;

  • Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

I believe these statements to be the real deal, that being said, then I also believe that we are pretty dog-gone special!

If they are real, it means that;

  • I am (We) are made in HIS image!
  • I am (We) not a mistake, He knew me BEFORE conception!
  • I am (We) will not wander around in the dark if I (We) follow Him!

This is not to say there will not be dark times; there will; but we will not falter by holding on to a counterfeit comfort and light, or shiny useless baubles for our pleasure.

Isaiah 54:17 says that;

  • No weapon formed against you shall prosper. It does no say that it won’t be formed, it says it won’t prosper.

In plain language – regarding truth vs. counterfeit – If you follow what scripture says, you will always be able to discern the truth from a lie.

Thank you for joining me here – My hope is that you will find at least one thing that will be helpful and encouraging for you on your path.

See you next time!