Friday, June 21, 2013

A Day at the Beach

Here is Ellie and her corn pizza. Corn Pizza? She thought I like pizza and corn, so why not together? We thought it was kind of yucky, everyone agreed. Because we lived on the west side of city in a Jewish community, most places were kosher. So when we were feeling like some meat, we had to do a bit of traveling for it. But we found that Sam liked his pizza with red onions and Jayne liked hers with tomatoes, but Ellie wasn't super fond of the corn pizza.

We had a day when we just hung around home. We decided that we aren't very good at just hanging out when there is so much to see, so we only did one day of that. We did run up to the grocery store and the kids played outside while we did our shopping.

Cheese for the camera.

But the next day we were ready for our next adventure--- off to the beach. Our friends, the Stratfords, had told us of a great beach at Ashkelon National Park, so we made our way there. We had great directions and made it there without a problem- except for in the car. Sam went to grab the tablet from Jayne and pulled on it and then let go, smashing into her nose and she got a wicked awesome bloody nose.

....which lead to a blood mouth. Oh there is drama, as you can see the tears. It is was hard to be Jayne then. 

We made it to the beach, and everyone felt better. There were big wood canapĂ©s that provided great shade for Seth on the beach. The kids instantly jumped into the waves. The life guards kept yelling at us in Hebrew until we came in a little closer, so I am pretty sure they were yelling at us. Because the kids were used to the big waves of Hawaii, they were unintimidated by these waves, but the life guards didn't know that. 

Jake wasn't sure he liked the waves for a minute, but it didn't take long for him to jump in. 

Jayne was so happy to just play in the sand after playing in the waves for a bit.

Run Jaker's, run.

I love the sand so much. It provides hours of fun.

Me and the boy child under the canapĂ©. 

Its great they are still little and are content to be entertained by the beach. I told Seth our kids were a great age to go adventuring because they still liked going to a park and are not so bugged that they aren't with their friends or whatever. 

Love these "bro-bros"-that's what Jake calls Sam.

Sometimes it feels like there is a lot on my shoulders, but it doesn't always feel that way. I have to let go. I have to swim in the ocean and play on the beach with my kids. I have to laugh and cry and be myself. I can't always let it sit on my shoulders. I am not trying to ignore it, but I am trying to learn to trust in it. That may sound odd, to trust in my trial, but I have to trust that when I need to be strong, I can do it, and when I need to let it go, I can do it. And when I need to have someone else help, I can be humble. Its not easy, and I fail continually. But I too am human. I too can try again. That is what this life is about. From the optimist view, the sun arises every morning to give new light. I am truly grateful for that. 

I was grateful for a day at the beach.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Time Zone Change

Hy Y'all,

We have a few more holy land field trips to document, but wanted to share that we've made a time-zone change :).

We received notice from Hadassah and the Israel Ministry of Health late last week that their decision (no more treatments until the current trial is complete) is definitive...results are expected to be published this winter. We weighed this information alongside a multitude of other thoughts and emotions and decided to return to the U.S. for the time-being. We arrived in Salt Lake City on Tuesday and are enjoying the comforts of familiar surroundings, friends, and family...determined not to make any life-decisions until we're over the jet lag.

More to come!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Jewish Quarter of the Old City

I was hoping to go into the old city one more time before we had to leave Jerusalem. I wanted to do a bit of souvenirs for home and I wanted to walk there the Jewish Quarter, since we had seen the three other parts of the city. We had to go to the center of Jerusalem and then we made our way to the old city, but of coarse, we got lost. Seth drove us into the orthodox Jewish slums. The roads were so narrow and the children and adults were all into their orthodox dress. We were stopped in the road because a couple of guys were pushing a big potato cart up the street and our car and the cart didn't fit in the same space. I told Seth I was glad we got lost. It was incredible to see this way of life. I felt like we had been pushing back a couple centuries. I have a picture painted in my mind of narrow cobblestone street with a two kids running up the side with the men pushing the potato cart. It amazed me. After a bit of winding thru the streets, we made it to Damascus Gate. This is an entrance into Muslim Quarters, but had some fun shopping.  

Here is the kids in front of Damascus Gate. As we walked into the gate, Jake turned to Seth and said,"Don't fall, k, Dad." Seth and I chuckled at this smart little boy. Smart enough to remember where we were and he was watching out for his Dad. 

We did some shopping and ran into this little "local" boy. Ha. Since we have some traditional dress from Hawaii, we decided to get some traditional dress for the kids in Israel. Jake is wearing an Arabic robe. It was so cute on him I had to bargain with the shopkeepers and it wasn't helpful that they had already put it on him. It made it harder to walk away, and that was how you got the better price. The shekels would drop in half by just walking away. 

After lunch and some shopping we made it to the Jewish Quarter. You know when you have entered into a different quarter of the city the instant you step into a different quarter. They each have a very different feel. 

This is a part of the Jewish Quarter where it shows the different layers of the city. The bottom layer the kids are looking down on is the layer time of Herod when Christ would have walked thru the city. The kids said it smelled like Lazarus tomb- which smelled like musty goat toots. 

Jake, who marches to his own drum, made his way down for a picture as well.

This is the kids looking down onto the Cardo street below.

The Cardo

The Cardo was built during the Roman's rule of Jerusalem and and was a market place, but also a place where people came to meet and talk. As shown below in the City of Jerusalem Mosaic, the Cardo, was the center and life of the city. I also learned from my super smart friend, Candice, that the Cardo was were people came to discuss religion. Many debate were held here in the street. 

Here is a painting depicting the Cardo.

Jake was posing on the pillar.

You can see in the walls the different eras of the old city. 

Chillin' at the Cardo.

The kids in the Jewish Quarter streets.

Of coarse Jake, the non-conformist, won't join the kids for a picture, but then ask to take his picture. Here you go Jake.

Love the massive arch ways.


We made our way back through the Muslim Quarter and up to Damascus Gate. I love the hustle and bustle of the Old City markets.

As we were walking out I asked Jake if he wanted a picture with the army guys. He had been talking about them all day. You see them every where. So I asked them if Jake could take a picture with them. They pull him up on the wall and it took me a minute to take the picture. Then Jake asked them,"Do you shoot good guys?" They smiled and said, "No." Jake nodded and waved good bye. They were still chuckling as we walked away. Jake is so curious and funny. Of coarse he wasn't going to ask them about bad guys, he already knew about them, but just wanted to make sure about the good guys.

Lazarus Tomb

We were up for another adventure, and going to Lazarus Tomb was a definite adventure. Lazarus tomb is located in Bethany, where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus lived. Jesus spent a lot of time in Bethany. It is only about a mile out of the old city of Jerusalem on the North side of the Mount of Olives. But now, because of the devision between Israel and the PLO, we had to drive around the wall, into the West Bank into the Palestinian city of  al-Eizariya or al-Azariya , which means "The Place of Lazarus." Fortunately before we left I had done some research on Bethany, learning its Arabic name, so at least we made it to the right city. BUT,  once in the city, we could not find Lazarus tomb. We saw one sign the whole time for Lazarus Tomb, but it gave no direction. I think this was the sign below. It was Friday, which is their Saturday, meaning their weekend, and there was barely anyone in the streets. Seth said it felt like he had been put in an apocalyptic zombie film and around any corner we would encounter a pack of zombies. Not true, but it made from some very funny conversation in the car. 

Finally after asking three different people and getting three different answers, we found the tomb. It was a bit creepy because no one was there. No one. Just us. You can see Sam poking his head out the tomb.

This ended up being one of my favorite sites. I think it was because we were the only ones there. We talked with the kids about how Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb and we were un-rushed by the swarming crowds like other sites. Afterwards, I wondered if we had actually been in an unsafe area, but we didn't feel like we were in any danger, and we just hung out there and at the store next to the tomb. The only thing I noticed is that the shopkeeper was unusually grumpy, only because they are usually so overly friendly. That's all. We bought some things, so that should have made him happy. 

Here is Jake and I climbing down into the tomb.

The stairs were really steep.

Then once you were at the bottom of the stairs, this was the entrance into the tomb.

You can see how small it is by how much Sam fills the space. I was a bit nervous about going into it. 

But Jake wasn't nervous.

Now you can see how little is was once in the hole to climb into the tomb. You would  think it was creepy, but it wasn't.

Here we are in the tomb. Grandma Janny took this picture from a hole in the wall above the entrance. It was quite a small space. 

These were most likely the tombs where they lay the bodies. There was room for more than just Lazarus.

The entrance that Jesus would have called Lazarus out of is the archway next to Janny and Jayne.   There was a mosque built beside the tomb, so the new entrance was built and eventually this entrance was blocked. 

You can see the minaret of the mosque beside the tomb.

The funnest story was retold by Jayne the next day. Seth has been trying to convince Jayne to pull our her 'snaggle tooth'. Her front tooth is super wiggly but she can't and won't pull it quite yet. So Seth tried to convince her to pull her tooth and leave it in Lazarus Tomb. Then she tells the story of how her mouth is the tomb and her tooth is Lazarus and Seth calls to the tooth, "Arise and come forth!" Not to be sacrilegious, but I listen to her retell this story to a friend, and I thought how funny it seemed that she could make that analogy. But the tooth still remains. No tomb for her tooth. She wants to pull it before leaving Israel because she wants the tooth fairy to bring her shekels. :)
Here's a semi good picture of Jayne's snaggle tooth with some awesome bed-head jammies going on as well. 

Here is another set of the beautiful iron door that I love. They are all over. I am obsessed with them.
As we left the city of  al-Eizariya we pass by this giant mosque that is under construction. It is going to be very beautiful when it is done.

And of coarse we have to end with a "Jacob sleeping"from exhaustion picture. I love that he folded over his ear to sleep. Such a great kiddo. 

 This was our last great adventure with Grandma Janny. She loved it as well, and we were so blessed by her coming with us to Israel. She brought extra hands, which lightened the burden, and really helped reduced our stress. Before we came I was telling her that we were going to be brave and go see all the sites with the kids. She said that was fine, but when she had the kids "she was going to lock them in the house." I had to laugh as I thought of the lockdown in Jerusalem by Grandma Janny. But she was brave too. She took the kids to the zoo and some parks by herself. No lockdown. 
We have missed her presence and fun laugh since she has been gone. She offered to stay longer, but we felt we were OK. The day after her arrival home her Uncle Leo passed away in California and she was able to go to his funeral. Again, sometimes we just have to follow what we feel is right and then we will find out why afterwards. A shout out to Grandma Janny- we love you and we are very grateful for all of your help.