Jitney's Journeys : Seven "I Am" Statements of Jesus

TRUTH.
There was a heavy overflow of Truth coming at me as I worked on this piece. 
For every new canvas, I was reminded of who Jesus was and is. 
I loved every second of working on it.

The best part of the piece was how the idea came to light...


My friend Judy came over to pick up a few custom Christmas presents I put together for her in December. She shared an idea with me about creating an art piece based on the seven "I Am" Statements of Jesus they would want to display in their home. We discussed a few ways we could make that happen and she said, "Well, just be thinking about it. It will be a while before I'm ready to place an order for it."

Fast forward about a month...
I received an email from Judy's husband, Jeff, saying that he wanted to request an art piece from me for Judy's birthday, and that "I think a good one that would be meaningful to Judy would be the seven "I am" statements of Jesus from the gospel of John." He literally went on talking about the exact ideas that Judy and I bounced off each other for this same multi-canvas idea. 

Keep in mind that Jeff and Judy had never talked about this idea with one another. It was an idea that the Lord placed on both of their hearts. And I was able to see their love and oneness reflected for each other in such a way that their thoughts and ideas of bringing the Gospel to life were right on par with another. What a testament to God's hand in their marriage!

One friend came by the studio, looked at the pieces, shook her head and said, "I'm sorry, Whitney. But this piece did not come from you. This piece is completely God-inspired and I'm not sure you can take any credit for it..."

And you know what? 
I am SUPER okay with that. 
In fact, that is probably the best compliment I have ever and could ever receive. 


So, here's the breakdown of the design.

Seven 6" x 6" canvases stating the statements.
One 12" x 6" canvas stating "I AM".
The 6 x 6 canvases have stripes on three sides and the fourth side (on either the right or left side of the canvas) has the corresponding verse to the statement. The verse is facing the outside. 

The front of the canvas has a base covering of hymns and topped with the statement. 


These are a few of the designs I liked the best...


I couldn't think of a better way to finish this post than to leave it to Judy. This is a poem she wrote, inspired by the "I AM" statements...


I AM 
by Judy Webb

The Word Made Flesh
Alive, In touch
The Word Made Flesh
Among us,Now in Us
The Messiah, Salvation
Rescue from sin
Messiah, Salvation
Our peace deep within
The Light of the World
Exposing the darkness
Light of the World
Revealing God
Bread of Life,
Satisfaction,Fulfillment
Bread of Life
Delicious and sweet
Bread of Life to meet every need
The Gate
To the kingdom of God
The Gate
Beauty adorned
Heavenly desire is born
The Good Shepherd
Strength and provision
The Good Shepherd
Nurture with vision
The Resurrection and Life
An empty grave
Death is defeated
The Resurrection and the Life
Eternity conceived
For those who believe
The Way
Unique, Only
Narrow and few
The Way
Fellowship with God
For those who would choose
The Truth
Nothing False
Complete and whole
The Truth
Word of God
Light to the soul
The Life
Abundant
Joy, freedom, and grace
The Life
Shout out, Worship,
Run with me in this race
I AM
I AM
I AM

you can find more of Judy's writings and poetry here.

Marriage : Transparency

I don’t share a lot of deep - or even “on a whim” - thoughts on our blog. Most of those thoughts are sitting in a Jitney Blog Draft folder on my hard drive. Others have been jotted down in my Moleskine with a buffalo leatherskin and turquoise cord wrapping them up unnoticed. Still, some, are logged away in the back of my brain tucked away so nobody can ever read or hear them.

JD and I had the opportunity of sharing our testimonies with our new small group this past Sunday. Normally I love sharing my testimony because each person’s story is a story of redemption and grace that can only be given by Christ alone. But JD wanted to share about a few of our ugliest struggles both pre-marriage and inter-marriage. He told me the things he felt led to share as I responded with, “Are you sure you want to share that?” We shared things with them that we had only shared with a handful of friends, our closest confidants. 

Somehow we also - non-purposely - entered into a time of confession with one another the Thursday before we sat with our small group. It was a time of embarrassing confession. A time of fearing judgment from one another. A time of releasing our deepest, darkest secrets in which we had shared with either maybe one or two friends or nobody at all. 

It was also a time of liberation. A time of uncontrollable laughter. A time of true intimacy. 

It was beautiful to feel so free, so unshackled, so unburdened. 

Before telling each other these things, we both felt ashamed, embarrassed and judged - even though we hadn’t even told each other. We assumed the other would think of us differently or - worse - have a thought of, “Who is this person I thought I knew so well?!” While, yes, we will forever learn about one another, these could’ve been game-changers (or at least, in our own minds, they could’ve been). Fortunately, they were game-changers in the sense of directing our hearts to grow deeper with one another, to forgive one another (if needed) and to laugh at each other’s strange quirks.

Fast forward to yesterday… Our friend Karen is leading a bible study at the YMCA which started yesterday. She spoke about guarding our hearts (which I’m afraid is too often associated with single women and not associated enough with every person, regardless of gender or season of life). In Psalm 139:23-24, David pleads with the Lord, “Search me, God, and know my heart.” David is longing for the same knowing and intimacy God allowed JD and I to share last week. David is offering - exposing - his heart to the Lord. What a joy it was to see the dynamics in intimacy between marriage versus our relationships with Christ. God longs to know us, way deeper than I could ever long for JD to know me or for me to know him. Whether in your marriage or, more importantly, in your relationship with Christ - I challenge you to pour your heart out. Be vulnerable. Our Father longs to know you, longs to know your needs and your struggles. He offers grace freely and abundantly. He has made His dwelling among us. Through His word and the Spirit, God will speak truth over your struggles. 

It will be a time of feeling so free, so unshackled, so unburdened. 


PS: We finally won at trivia night last night!! 

We won second place (which was amazing because we're normally towards the bottom of the list). 

Final Bonus Answer: Germany. 

Way to go Team Shermanators. 

Guest Blogger : Meg @ Henning Love

Hello Jitney's Journeys followers! My name is Meg and my blog is henning love, where I love to write about life with my husband, our two dogs and share my many many baking adventures with everyone. 

When I describe myself, my identity is not as a wife first but as a daughter of a King. God is my first priority in life and I would be nothing without Him. When Whitney asked if I would guest post, I wanted to share something with you all that God has placed on my heart lately as a priority and that is prayer and the purpose of prayer.

Back in February, my husband brought home a 30/30 challenge prayer book, 30 minutes a day for 30 days.


My relationship with God dramatically changed during this challenge. In this book, I was taught so many different ways to pray, pray using Scripture, pray for other nations, pray for our government leaders are just a few examples. As a result of this challenge, I have found that I continually stay in prayer throughout the day. When I am feeling sad I talk to God and when I am feeling happy I express it to God. I realized through this prayer challenge that I don't have to always be eloquent with my prayers, but being mindful that I am talking to the Creator of the Universe and of my life. 

Undergoing a prayer challenge opened up to my eyes of how much more dependent upon God I need to be for everything and I mean everything. My husband and I were needing more friends in our life so I prayed for that and God has answered that. I am currently unemployed and while He hasn't answered that prayer request yet, I asked God for help and He brought to my mind two past situations and He told me didn't I take care of you through those situations, I will take care of you through this unemployment. 

Our God is a great and mighty God and I am humbled today to be able to share with you more about prayer, the importance of it, bringing all and every requests before God and remaining constantly in pray with Him throughout the day. He wants every part of us, He wants to know when we are in that low valley or when we are standing high on that peak. 

*If any of you are interested in taking this challenge, the university where my husband is a coach at, publishes this books and I have a few copies which I am more than willing to mail to any blogger who wants. 

Phoster : In Love's Service, Only the Wounded Soldiers Can Serve


Did you get the free Phoster app two weeks ago from the iTunes store? 

I've been waiting to use an awesome quote and this one seemed pretty amazing. John Piper has a daily devotional app {John Piper Daily Devotional} that you should check out if you haven't already. This particular devotion was actually from March 6th but still wanted to share it with y'all.


The eternal God is your dwelling place and 
underneath are the everlasting arms. 
(Deuteronomy 33:27)

You may be going through things right now that are painfully preparing you for some precious service to Jesus and to his people. When a person strikes rock bottom with a sense of nothingness or helplessness, he may find that he has struck the Rock of Ages.

I remember a delicious sentence from Psalm 138 that we read at our breakfast devotions last Saturday: “Though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly.”

You cannot sink so low in despairing of your own resources that God does not see and care. In fact, he is at the bottom waiting to catch you. As Moses says, “The eternal God is your dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Yes, he sees you trembling and slipping. He could (and often did) grab you before you hit bottom. But this time he has some new lessons to teach.

The psalmist said in Psalm 119:71, “It was good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” He does not say it was easy or fun or pleasant. In retrospect, he simply says, “It was good for me.”

Last week I was reading a book by a Scottish minister named James Stewart. He said, “In love’s service, only the wounded soldiers can serve.” That’s why I believe some of you are being prepared right now for some precious service of love. Because you are being wounded.

Do not think that your wound has come to you apart from God's gracious design. Remember his word: “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god besides me. . . . . I wound and I heal” (Deuteronomy 32:39).

May God grant a special grace to you who are groaning under some burden. Look eagerly for the new tenderness of love God is imparting to you even now.

“Only Wounded Soldiers Can Serve”



We hope this has been an encouragement to those who have been wounded, those who have hit rock bottom and those who are living out the precious service of love in the midst of healed wounds.

Camel Crossing & Floating in the Dead Sea


Yield to the camels, people. ;) 





THIS kind of landscape is what we were expecting when we traveled to the Middle East: desert. The sand looks like marble. We couldn't get over how truly AWEsome this view was. In fact, it was here that we decided to use the word "awesome" more sparingly because few things in life actually put us in a state of awe like knowing that God structured all that surrounded us on that trip.

The top photo is a long distance snapshot of what's left of the Dead Sea. From Tel Aviv to En Gedi (location of Dead Sea), it was about a five hour drive but we think we took the long route.

We were actually warned not to drive this route because Palestinians have been known to hide beside the road with bombs (sand dunes and hills make it hard to see ahead) but we accidentally went this way. Praise Jesus that He had His hand over us and no bombs went off during our drive. 

On our drive through the desert, we hit the -100 meter mark. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth in any land mass (417 meters below sea level, to be exact). The quantity of water that evaporates from it is greater than that which flows into it. On our lovely tractor ride down to the Dead Sea from the "spa", signs marked the drastic changes of the shoreline every year. Thus, the signs saying 2000 and 2004. In other words, the Sea is shriveling. Visit it before it disappears. :)


We saw this lonesome clay pot propped up by rocks in the hard mud. Immediately, the verse Jeremiah 2:13 came to mind. This pot is not a cistern, as they are much more complex and actually more like a pit, but this is a great visual of how our lives are broken just like this pot. We attempt to control our own lives by molding them into broken clay pots, when God is there as a natural spring of everflowing Living Water longing to share His abundance with us.


JD heading over to the Dead Sea via boardwalk. The Dead Sea derived its name from the high salinity water which prevents any existence of life forms in the lake. Though the Dead Sea prevents all life forms from living in the water, it does provide healing benefits for people. Healing properties of the water helps arthritis and circulation, strengthens nails and bones, balances skin moisture, slows skin aging and calms the nervous system.


We thought mud would be the base of the Dead Sea because we saw pictures of people floating in the lake with mud covering their bodies. We were mistaken. These jagged, healing salt minerals line the lake. Be sure to wear tennis shoes or thick-soled sandals!


It is impossible to drown in the Dead Sea. We could basically bend our knees as if sitting in a liquid lounge chair. The depth had to be more than five feet here but we wouldn't know because we couldn't even stand up straight. We were human buoys. Absolutely amazing!!






The awesome cabana with salt minerals growing up the posts.




See you again, Dead Sea... I doubt it. :/ The lake dries up at least one yard every year. 

The Last Supper

And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.

Luke 22:14-35



Obviously this all took place before Jesus walked the Via Dolorosa but we're posting about places in the order we walked through the sites. :) This is the room where The Last Supper took place. It was hard to get a grasp on what it truly would have looked like during Jesus' time. Cats were running rampant and there was an unbearable stench that was present. Still, Jesus made his name known.

Isn't it baffling that through the stench and degrading habits we have in our own lives, Jesus still makes his name known to us with authority? Even when we betray him and deny his name (which, let's be honest, happens every day), he still chooses to bless us and shower grace upon us? There is no god that could even come close to comparing to the wonder of our God, our Savior and our Healer!

At our wedding, JD and I asked our guests to join with us in partaking communion. Some people thought it was odd since that happens at most Catholic weddings and well, we aren't Catholics. But we realize the gravity of communion, as it is a time where the Body of Christ joins as one to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Savior. It was a risk though. With that gravity, the responsibility of our confessing and submitting to Christ bears a lot of weight! In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul says that a person should examine himself before partaking, "for anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself" (vs. 28-29).

Until JD showed me more in-depth detail about communion (i.e. wait until everyone is ready to take it as one and don't partake on an empty stomach), I didn't take communion that seriously... especially when I was a child. I knew I was absolutely restricted from touching the tiny little crackers and juice cups (even though they looked so tempting!) until I walked down the aisle and became a Christian. For years, I would eat the crackers and drink the juice whenever the preacher spoke the words, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me. And this, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this in remembrance of me."  Oh! How different that light of perspective is for me now! It's amazing how much the Lord can transform our views and our hearts when we just dive deeper into Scripture, His words.

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26).

The "Way of Suffering" or Via Dolorosa: The Last Steps of Jesus' Life

I'll be completely transparent with you on this... I've had a bittersweet dread towards writing about our trip through Via Dolorosa. First off, an entire blog could be dedicated to the Via Dolorosa, Jesus' suffering and His death. To merely dedicate one post on a blog to this journey deprives the multitude of truth there is to these steps. If you don't have time to read it all, just skip to the bottom and at least watch the video at the end. :) Secondly, I am in no way a theologist or biblical scholar. However, I will attempt at describing each section of the pathway with as much truth from Scripture as I can. 

Via Dolorosa means Way of Suffering or Way of the Cross. The sign below marks the beginning point of the route Christians believe Jesus started carrying his cross from his trial to the place of his crucifixion and burial.



The guide told us that this is believed to be an imprint of Jesus' hand. It is located at this point, as a dedication to Simon, who helped Jesus carry the cross. "And as they led him away, they seized on Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus." Luke 23:26

We just had to get a snapshot of JD touching the same spot where Jesus touched. :)


This landmark is dedicated to the woman who wiped Jesus' face. "And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him." Luke 23:27


This is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, also known as the location of Christ's death, burial and resurrection. The entrance, specifically, is the place where Jesus was stripped of his clothes... "And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take." Mark 15:24 The church was actually destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The building standing today was built in the 12th century. 


Inside of the church, this marks the site of where Jesus died on the cross. A silver disk with a central hole, underneath the altar marks the spot where the cross stood.

Christians lighting candles at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. 

This was the best shot we could get...

"So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews" (John 19:40). The body of Jesus was laid on this stone after being removed from the cross. Most people present were stretching out with all of their power to simply touch it, kiss it and pray to it.


And this is the actual burial site of Jesus. "Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there" (John 19:41-42). 

Because of the masses trying to enter into the tomb, we were unable to go inside of Jesus' tomb. We went into another one. It was about what you would expect when entering a tomb: dark, cold, eerie and small.

THEN... the best part (which we obviously do not have a photo of)... "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" says Jesus to Mary Magdalene. Eventually, Mary becomes overwhelmed with excitement, tears, joy, and awe... "Rabboni! I have seen the Lord!"

HE. HAS. RISEN!!
PRAISE JESUS that He continuously claims victory over all things, including death!... 

Death couldn't handle Him and the grave couldn't hold Him!
That's my King!
Do you know Him? 


Whoop whoop!! Today is our 2 Year Anniversary!!!

And we'll be celebrating it by sharing...

Disclaimer: You may be thinking, "Two years is

NOTHING

! Give me 50 years of experience, then I'll listen." Well, we hear you. Thus, this is not only 22 things JD and I have figured out throughout the past two years; rather, most of it consists of what wiser, more experienced couples have shared with us.

1. Put God first.

And when you do, glorious and unfathomable things will come to fruition. You will have a desperate desire to serve one another, (for the wife) to submit to the husband, and (for the husband) to love his wife and give himself up for her (Ephesians 5:22-33). Women often despise this verse, claiming that it is degrading to women and their independence. Timothy Keller confronts this view and states, "Immediately, however, [Paul] tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and 'gave himself up for her' (25), which is, if anything, a stronger appeal to abandon self-interest than was given to the woman" (The Meaning of Marriage, 53). Once again, our self-centeredness is challenged. When we allow God to overflow our hearts, self-sacrifice becomes just a bit easier. 

2. Reflect Jesus. 

"According to the Bible, God devised marriage to reflect his saving love for us in Christ, to refine our character, to create stable human community for the birth and nurture of children, and to accomplish all this by bringing the complementary sexes into an enduring whole-life union. (The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller, 16)" All things we do in life or in marriage should reflect Him.

3. Lay grace as your foundation.

Since pre-marital classes, we've heard that many things should be the foundation of our marriage. We've come to the conclusion that grace takes the cake. Trust is crucial, but when one of us breaks the other's trust, what would cover it? Grace, and grace alone. Grace says that when I give 0%, my husband will still give 100%. And when he gives 0%, I must give 100%. It is by the grace of God that we have been redeemed, and it is the grace that we have received which will sustain our marriage.

4. Respect each other.

Nothing breaks our hearts more than to hear a husband and wife knowingly put down one another. Sarcasm is simply not respectful. With each joke, there is always a tinge of honesty. Those hints of honesty can quickly damage a marriage.

5. Communicate clearly but don’t

expect

your spouse to understand.

I graduated with a degree in Public Relations and I have quickly learned that I am one of the worst communicators on the planet. Especially in marriage. JD can say the most blunt and thorough sentence, and I still won't completely grasp at what he's getting at. Granted, it goes both ways. That's just the contrast in gender and humanity. Learn to work with it and be gracious towards one another in the process. :)

6. You can never say “I love you” enough.

Some may think it's cheesy but saying / hearing "I love you" pierces our hearts in such a beautiful way every time. Be creative. JD has written "I love you sooo much" on our chalkboards and constantly leaves sweet little notes for me. The first and last words we say / hear every day are "I love you". It can really change your attitude and perspective.

7. Serve one another.

An easy way to do this is to pack lunch for each other. It will help your budget a

nd it's fun. Write Post-It notes and place them in each other's lunchbox for an afternoon pick-me-up. Surprise your spouse with breakfast in bed. Husbands, open the doors for your wives. Be consistently spontaneous. It is a simple commitment that can transform a marriage.

8. Hold hands in public.

Most of us love seeing a couple that's been married for 50 years holding hands in the park... so why not start that sweet habit now? 

9. Make Date Night Mandatory.

Strive to pursue each other even after the wedding ring hits the finger. JD and I have date night once a week (normally at Outback Steakhouse because we can't get enough of their Aussie Fries). It is an intentional time where we sit down and share what's going on in our lives together. The week is full and busy. Take time to relax and enjoy being married. On a strict budget? Visit the ladies at 

The Dating Divas

for creative, budget-friendly date night ideas!

10. Wait a couple of years to have kids.

*

This may not be applicable to everyone... Babies are precious and we highly anticipate the day that we start a little Filipino family of our own. However, this has been advice from both couples who had babies five years after the wedding day, and couples who had babies nine months after the honeymoon. Marriage is tough enough to figure out without adding another element to the game plan. More importantly, marriage and the newlywed life is just fun. Enjoy it. Savor it. This is your one time to be selfish with one another. Take advantage of that. 

11. Keep technology out of the bedroom.

We were advised not to have a TV in our bedroom. Thus, you will not find a TV in our bedroom. However, we've learned the hard way that computers, iPads and iPhones can be an even worse distraction. Simply put, keep technology out of the bedroom. 

12. Go to bed at the same time together.

It's an intentional act that will carry your marriage a long way.  

13. Argue peacefully, understand, forgive and laugh.

Don't raise your voice at each other. When you get into a heated argument, walk to separate rooms and develop a peaceful argument. Speak the truth in love to each other. Keep your disagreements between the Mr. and Mrs. Discuss your problems with the pastor if needed, but nobody else really needs to get involved. When the extended family gets involved, problems become escalated and very seldom do problems get better. In addition, your families will take sides and will most likely develop a bitterness toward your spouse because of the dispute.

14. Speak kindly.

W

ords sting and can leave scars that may not heal for quite a while. Kind words add a gentle spirit (and infinite brownie points) to the marriage.

15. Always greet your spouse at the door with a thousand kisses!

Do this and when your spouse comes home from work, it will start the evening off in quite a delightful and lighthearted way. It will also encourage your spouse to leave work at work. 

16. Be active together and experience new things as one. 

Go hiking. Join a gym and exercise together - or even better, run or bike together in the great outdoors. Go bowling. Take dance lessons. Cook together. Compromise on what you like to do. JD cuts fabric out for my store while I sew, and I play video games with him because that's one of his favorite things to do (I beat my first video game because of him - that's right - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). 

Read the same books and start your own Mr. & Mrs. book club. Travel together (even if it's to a campground a few miles down the road). Learn photography or a new sport together (we're fans of racquetball). Serve at the downtown rescue mission together.

17. Take pride in your newlywed-ness.

We are one of those couples that would shout our love from the rooftops given the opportunity. We love each other, and we love marriage... and we take joy in making that known to everyone around us. In the process, we have received lots of awesome free stuff (pastries from Starbucks, dessert, concierge seating and free candy at the movie theater, you name it!). Even if we didn't receive any of these sweet gifts, we would still take major pride in being married - but it does add a few wonderful layers of icing to the cake. ;)

18. Plan your budget, stick to the budget and don’t forget to SAVE and GIVE.

Mint.com

is a great resource for a budgeting tools - especially if you like color and graphs!! Dave Ramsey's tools for budgeting is also a beneficial resource to help you both decide how to allocate your monthly budget. We use

this

19. Distance yourself from temptation.

Be aware. Never be alone in a room with someone of the opposite sex. You may think you're strong enough, but be smart and don't test it. My parents always had this rule and Billy Graham did too. So many pastors have fallen over the past couple of years because of adultery - don't buy in to thinking you're above the temptation. This goes along with anything intimate / private. Facebook messaging has become an issue in our society. We've known two people who began communicating with their ex-boyfriends via facebook message. They divorced their husbands and married the guys they were messaging with. Bottom line: don't be naive and run quickly from temptation.

20. Encourage each other.

In every aspect of life.

21. Surround yourselves with a community of like-minded married couples,

of all ages

.

Soak in wisdom from older couples, fellowship with couples your age, and mentor younger married couples. 

22. Never stop being Newlyweds.

Because being newlyweds is fun and filled with adventure. Plus, there is nothing sweeter than to hear a couple at their 50th anniversary say that they are still newlyweds. 

BONUS:

The last thing JD heard before walking down the aisle on our wedding day was from our friend Dr. Archie Hooper: "Treat her like a princess every day." The words are so 

simple but they run deep. It is a terribly tough task but somehow JD 

adheres to it in a perfect way. We recommend this piece of advice for all husbands. 

We would love to hear from you and your love! What advice have you been given prior to or within marriage? What advice do you share with couples embarking on that adventure?

November 5: Jerusalem on Shabbat

Yes, this post is written five days after the last one. You didn't miss much. JD worked every day, and I laid out at the pool (until the guy at the entrance asked me, "Why are you always alone by yourself?"... then I just sat in the hotel room or the executive lounge - wouldn't that creep you out a little too??).

We traveled over to Jerusalem. This was the first and only "guided tour" we went on.

Our tour guide was Jewish and stated bluntly and frequently that "these are the Christian beliefs but [he] just doesn't understand how people can think that way."

To put it in a more direct light for you... we would be standing at the Via Dolorosa and he would say, "This plaque on the wall is where Jesus put His hand when carrying the cross to His crucifixion, but I personally don't believe He was the Messiah."

To be transparent with you, it was tough hearing the guide use a disclaimer like that for everything JD and I believe in. It was interesting and challenging to hear his beliefs, but still tough to follow a guide who was telling us about Jesus but didn't know Jesus himself.

Praise Jesus that through His crucifixion and resurrection, He has removed the veil from the high place; that where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom; and that we all, with unveiled faces, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image of Christ from degree of glory to another (2 Cor 3:16-18).

In our next post, we will take you on a tour through the Old City (it may last longer than one post).

Below is Palestine, right behind us. You may not know the level of callousness between the Palestinians and Israelites, so let us put it into perspective for you... Israelis have yellow on their car tags and the Palestinians have blue on their car tags. If an Israeli car is seen crossing over the Palestinian line, well, they'll be bombed. From what we gathered, it seems like the Israelites have a less harmful form of punishment for the Palestinians but they won't be allowed over the line regardless.


Can you believe how close the two territories are? We are standing in Israeli territory but the Palestine territory is directly below us.


My sweet husband...


Can you see the Temple Mount? It's the gray building with the golden dome. That marks the location of the Old City, specifically the Muslim Quarter.


We are now on the other side of the road from our previous photo. Can you believe the contrast between the Israeli and Palestine territories? The Palestinian territory looks desolate and dry but Israel looks like it's thriving. Besides this trip, we didn't venture near Palestine. :)

October 29: Mt. Carmel... and the Fire of the Lord Fell...


Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, "The Lord, He is God; the Lord, He is God."
1 Kings 18:38-39

Welcome to Mt. Carmel, the place where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal and God claimed victory once again.

Doesn't this story just make your heart burst with joy!?

When Baal didn't answer the prophets with fire... or any response at all, Elijah starts mocking them by saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened. (18: 27)"

Praise Jesus that our Savior is constantly Present, listening and responsive. He heals, showers us with grace... and oh yeah... He can send down blazing fire that will light up a burnt offering that is surrounded by a trench of water! Natural combustion is simply not possible until God steps in and does His thing. The fire of the Lord consumes the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, the saturated dust and the water that was in the trench.

This is the location where all of that went down...



Mt. Carmel National Park is a little difficult to find, even with a GPS. We were close to the park at one point but we turned too soon. This led to about 30 minutes of circling Carmel, trying to find the park according to the GPS. Finally, the guys decided to drive back to where I had seen the Mt. Carmel Park sign and there it was!

We parked on the side of the road and saw one guy actually back down the one-way street in reverse for about 30 - 40 yard just to pull into the gravel road that led to the park. Did I mention that he was driving backwards on a one-way street... on a mountain? It was crazy!!

Side Note: You have never witnessed a true "terrible driver" until you drive in Israel.



Adam, me & JD



We caught a glimpse of a magnificent sunset at the park. We didn't hike the path, mainly because we saw a lookout higher on the mountain that "peaked" our interest. In complete spontaneity, we drove... and ended up in a major traffic jam because of a car wreck ahead. We were stuck for quite a while but it was worth it. We drove down the mountain, surrounded by rocky (and most likely treacherous) canyons. We saw tons of caves in hidden among the rock along the descent. (We like to think that Noah or Lot resided in one of them back in the day?!?). The sharp curves and speeding cars created a fairly intimidating drive. Road lines prove to be unnecessary here since drivers fail to take heed to them. We finally made it to the bottom and then drove along the breathtaking coastline back to Tel Aviv.


And that's where we captured this photo. Absolutely stunning. Once again... Jesus is constantly present and makes His name known even among the clouds.