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Shalom: Mt of Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:1-12

One of the small regrets from my Israel trip (if it’s much of a regret!) is not having been able to walk on the hillside where Jesus probably preached the Sermon on the Mount. They don’t know exactly which spot it would have been anyway, though. Many sites in Israel are that kind of site: “Probable.”

It was wonderful to see the area, and the view of the Galilee was lovely, but the hillside that has the acoustics that would have allowed for such a sermon to be heard by thousands is down the hill from the site of the church pictured. In the photo on the upper right, the slope is steep but can’t quite be seen from the photo.

The Church of the Beatitudes is a verrrrry tiny 8sided church . . . one for each beatitudes. Pastor Steve gave a stirring message to us all as we sat under a tree that day.

This week, was the perfect time for me to work on this layout; in my Bible Study Fellowship class, we’re studying Matthew 5 this week.

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Shalom: Place of the Skull, Garden Tomb

“So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).” (Jn 19:17)

The Garden Tomb and Place of the Skull (which is what “Golgotha” means) are one of the places it is believed that Christ was crucified and was buried. The two are not very far apart—one on either side of this park-like location. The site of Golgotha is disputed; there is a site within the old city, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, that has traditionally been the site, but now they know that the walls of the city as drawn during Jesus’ time would have that location within the walls. But since they led him out of the city, it probably is not the site.

In the cliff shown in the picture in this layout, you can see a rock formation that looks like eye and nose sockets in a skull; click on the layout if you need to see it larger. In the bus repair lot below those rocks, skulls were found, thus making this a more likely site for the crucifixion.

“He is not here; He has risen . . . ” Mt 28:6
The Garden Tomb is a serene park with winding pathways, lovely flower gardens, benches, and areas for visitors to be seated as docents explain the location. A comment made by the man who led our group through this site was quite profound:

“We don’t know if this is the actual site of the crucifixion and burial of Christ. But I’m glad it isn’t known for certain, or we’d build a church on it and worship the site, not the Man.”

The paths through the site lead up to the tomb; it is a large flat rock wall, and has an opening hewn from it (close up of layout below). In front of the tomb, running along the wall, is a groove along which a stone would be rolled to cover the tomb’s opening.

We were able to step into the tomb itself; it was a very small “room” with cream/tan colored rock, hewn out probably by hand. There is a door that covers the opening, (which stands ajar unseen from the outside while the site is open), and on it is a sign declaring:


    Today in particular, I’m really glad about this news. He is not here, He has risen. He sits at the right hand of the Father. He reigns. Today I have a lot of questions in my mind, but I know He is on His throne no matter what happens here on earth. He knows that I lost a friend this weekend . . . her name is Sue, and she had a brain aneurism on Friday while at her office. She was rushed to the hospital, and her husband made it there 10 minutes later. They thought for a time that they could save her with surgery on Saturday, if they could stabilize her overnight, but she didn’t make it that long and was declared brain dead. Today they are searching for people to donate her organs to.

    That’s the story of her death. Let me tell you just a little of her life. She was a wife, a mama to kitties—regularly was taking in new ones! She was so active, loved ministering the love of Christ to others. She worked at Boeing, she volunteered for her church and a lot of other organizations, was so healthy and active, rarely sitting still! Our friendship had distanced over the last years as I moved to another town and went to another church, but her friendship was so important to me at the time I knew her best; weekly she and Myrna and I met, praying together and supporting each other through all sorts of things.

    This coming weekend Sue was supposed to lead a Cursillo (a women’s retreat) that she had planned over the last year; she was so excited, and I don’t understand why the Lord took her now. That’s one of my questions for Him someday. But I do know this, He is not in the grave, He has risen, and He is on the throne today just as He was when Sue was alive.

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    Shalom: Tour Bus and Hotel

    I got scrapbook-happy again. Well, when some of you get scrap-happy you get a page or more done an hour, and this took me most of the afternoon; I’m so slow! Give me a card anyday. I want to start another page tonight, and if it’s a single page it might go faster? Maybe? lol.

    Background paper is by Far and Away. The “10” luggage tag was provided so our bags made it onto the correct bus. Theround napkins are salvaged from the trip—I saved every scrap of scrappables I stumbled onto! Israel title is a rubon, not sure of the manufacturer.

    Anyway—the large photo on the left is our bus group; my church had 3 busloads, and the whole tour group had something like 30 buses to coordinate—what a job!! That’s me standing with our tour guide, Naphthali, at the bottom of page 1. What an incredible man he is, such knowledge of both new and old testaments, Israeli history, current affairs, all sorts of things. He once taught Israel history when he was in the military, and it was easy to see why. He told us the story of Eli Cohen—and now I want to see the movie based on his life, it was fascinating!

    The man on the scooter holding the #10 sign is our bus driver, Gabi. He could drive like I’ve never seen anyone drive! Sharp curves engendered no fear. Heights did nothing to shake him. Close traffic in cities didn’t bug him. He could parallel park that beast anywhere! We regularly chanted, “Gabi, Gabi, he’s our man, if he can’t do it, no one can!”

    The page on the right is photos of our hotels that we stayed at, the Gai Beach Hotel in Tiberias and the Hyatt Regency in Jerusalem. The Gai was on the Galilee, so the center photo with the date palms at sunrise was taken there. Wow, how beautiful! That was the view I had the day I captured the sunrise (audio and photos) in the intro of this video that I made.

    At the Hyatt in Jerusalem, we had an experience of Shabbat (pronounced shabbāt, or Sabbath)—hotels are designed in such a way to allow observant Jews to practice Sabbath rest, including things like a Shabbat elevator (it stops at every floor all the time, so no one has to “work” and push a button! Don’t get in it if you’re in a hurry!). Note that the appropriate greeting on the Sabbath is not hello but “Shabbat shalom,” meaning Sabbath Peace.

    My roommate and I also had a challenge with our room’s air conditioning in Jerusalem; the first couple nights it went off every 20 minutes, and with the heat of that city, it got hot fast. The buttons on the AC didn’t work—the only thing that would turn it back on was opening and closing the room door. So the first two nights I got up every 20 minutes to get the AC back on! I told the hotel it was broken but they only said they’d fix it, and nothing changed. The third night I pitched a major fit at the front desk; they sent a workman to our room, assuming it was broken as I told them it was. He left after tinkering, and once again the AC turned off—and I headed for the desk in my pjs in near-tears from exhaustion! Finally the desk clerk checked the computer and realised our room had never been taken off the “Shabbat” setting!! That was rectified, and the rest of the trip our room was blessedly cool as we slept.

    Tomorrow I am blessed to be able to present my Israel videos and stories to a church nearby, and I am so excited! Not a lot of people ask me to tell them about it—so it’s a joy to be asked to share!

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    Shalom: Via Dolorosa

    “Then they led him out to crucify him.” —Mark 15:20

    I finally got back to scrapbooking my Israel trip! And your eyes are not fooling you, it is on an angle; intentionally so. The Via Dolorosa (way of the cross) is somewhat hilly, and I wanted the cross running through the layout but not in a static way. So there ya go, a crooked layout!

    Map under the words is from a tourist brochure, and the tied paper in the corner is the key to the map. The background paper is from the Old World stack, and I created the shadowing in the upper right corner with stamping inks and sponges. Black paper in the lower right is actually “baby” phrases—black with white lettering. I overinked it with Ranger inks til it has a black-and-red look to it, and it looks pretty awesome in real life—and not at all like a baby paper!
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    Joy in the Jordan

    “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” —Romans 8:11

    I was baptized as an infant on April 27, 1964, and I am forever grateful to my parents for that! I was confirmed as a teen, confirmed in another denomination as an adult, and for the past few years, I had been thinking about being baptized as an adult. But I had been thinking about what statement I was making in my heart by considering this. Was I negating what my parents did? Did the infant baptism not “count”? Did it not “stick”?

    When in Israel, I decided that this was an opportunity not to miss. Yardenit was not the site where Jesus was baptized, but it’s the same river—and since I had no idea if I would ever make it back there, it was a decision that suddenly became easier!

    The site is well-organized and beautiful; they charge $6 for the rental of a robe and towels, abd use of the changing room; and we were warned ahead of time to wear swimsuits because, as our Israeli guide said, “The robes, they become clear when wet!” Not quite clear, but very see-through!

    We proceeded to an area where our busload gathered separately from other groups; that was nice to have a separate space. We had about 15 or 20 I think from our group who were to be baptized. The fish nibbled at our toes, the water was cool, the day was hot, and several pastors were on-hand.

    When I went down into the water, I thought somehow this was just me making a commitment to God for myself. (Yes, I have the tendency to think it’s all about me!) But when I came up—it was as if I felt a surge of God’s power coursing through me, and a million thoughts came at once. I suddenly knew that with Christ, things I’d been trying to do on my own and given up on were now possible. Things I kept failing at were possible to overcome through Him. Now, I’ve been a Christian for a long time, I thought I knew these things. But this moment it all became sharp and clearly in focus—and I no longer need to give up and just accept my failures, I can overcome! I was delighted that Melinda assisted with some of the baptisms; I had only met her in Israel since she isn’t a member of my church; she prayed over me afterward and it was quite powerful. I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again, but if she ends up reading this entry—thank you, Melinda!

    This two-page layout was so much fun, even if it took longer than *I* thought it should! I had so much to document . . . and I think I added enough small journalling bits that I covered most of what I wanted to! See below for more details.
    On the left-hand page, I included the blocks of paper that looked like water, added a few stamped fish, and journalled some details along the curves of the “water,” things like the fish nibbling at our toes and the temperature that day.
    The right-hand page journalling talks about the spiritual side of the event—what I was thinking at the time, my words, the pastor’s words, and what I felt afterward. This will be a memory to treasure‚ it’s not a day I ever want to forget!

    Background paper is Basic Grey (I think?). Chipboard title is from a chipboard set called Life’s Blessings from Colorbok, as is the “Trust” tag. The round acetate journalling tag by Hambly. Background swirl stamps by Fancy Pants and Autumn Leaves.
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    Remembering—on paper!

    “I will remember the deeds of the Lord. . . ” —Psalm 77:11

    This weekend I’ve gotten busy on the paper scrapbook—much more fun for me, even though I had fun sorting and uploading digital images. I just love playing with paper! The digital images are sorted, a subset is now on the church’s website to be shared, and my slideshow is ready for next week’s presentation. So now . . . I got to play in my craft room all day!

    In this scrapbook, I want to not only document the photos I took, but also the spiritual learnings from each site, the devotional that was given at each site, Scriptures cited, and things the Lord spoke to me there. My notes aren’t as clear as I had hoped, unfortunately! I should have spent some time reviewing that as soon as I returned instead of so much time with the images; alas, live and learn!

    However, I don’t know that I’ve ever had so much trouble with layouts before . . . maybe it’s because this is actually the first scrapbook I’ve ever done for me. Yes, I’ve never made one for myself. (I’m my worst client, I’m not satisfied with anything!) I started with the Jordan River layout and couldn’t figure it out, so I did these others first. They photographed terribly, the colors are much nicer than this; it’s all Basic Grey papers, no reason for them to look this strange! The Jordan layout is in progress now, though, hopefully I can finish it up tomorrow and post it.
    The album (above) is from K&Co. The photo in the window is so cute—that’s me on the left in the sunglasses, and our whole busload is in the trolley car going up to Masada! One of our other travelers caught this shot—thank you, Susan!

    This is the opening page above . . .
    Maps and iconic images are from materials provided by the tour company, the words Israel 2007 are from the front of the travel brochure. Flag sticker from Stickopotamus, camel rubon from Far and Away, World Traveler sticker from K&Co.
    This “Get up” page above is about Gideon Springs; the photo on the left shows the spring (and yes, I did drink from it!), and the one on the right is me with Julie—I was collecting the paperwhite flowers at this site, and she started “raining” them down on me! I wish you could see the flowers better in this layout. There’s also a subtle map included, with a brad showing the location where the Springs is located. You can barely see the little pocket on the lower right; it contains the “key” for the map listing all the parks on the map. If I ever go back to Israel, that might be helpful info so I wanted to save it.

    Papers by Basic Grey (Lily Kate line). Dried flowers from Israel. Pocket made with a template punch from McGill Creativity.
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    Scrapbooking Israel Trip!

    I’ll be starting my scrapbook this weekend, and wanted to share this with the rest of my fellow travelers . . . I had asked on a messageboard if anyone happened to have any papers or embellishments for this book, and look what arrived in my mailbox! Many many thanks to Laurel Jean for these . . . wow!The stickers have a web address on them: The rub-ons and patterned papers say on them. (I don’t know if you’ll find these items in your local scrapbooking store, but at least the manufacturers’ information is printed on them!

    I’ll be starting my Yardenit (Jordan River) layout first…I can’t wait to get rolling!

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    Shalom: The Video

    *NOTE* to anyone subscribing via WordPress, my apologies that you’re getting a lot of re-post notifications. I’m cleaning up my blog, deleting and recategorizing things, and I can’t figure out how to get it to stop sending out emails! agh. If you see one that says [New post] in the title, just ignore it. Or know that it’s old! You can unsub that list by clicking on the link at the bottom.

    I made a simple video using photos and video clips from my 2007 trip to Israel; below the video is the list of sites pictured. The video was created in iMovie. I was really bad at videos when I made this, and didn’t know how to export properly – so it’s awfully blurry!

    Photos in the video:

    Opening sunset and water soundbed: Sea of Galilee
    Israeli flag, boat, and water view: boat ride on the Galilee
    White flowers: from Mt of Beatitudes, overlooking Galilee
    Two views of a river: Jordan River, site called “Yardenit”
    Scripture: plaque at Yardenit
    Baptism: Me in the Jordan River!
    Rocks and water: Gideon Springs
    Video of water: Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea
    Tree with blue sky: from Tabgha, overlooking Galilee
    Gnarled tree: a 2,000 year old olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane
    Overlook: from Mt of Beatitudes, overlooking Galilee
    Pathway: Garden of Gethsemane
    Flowers against blue sky: Golan Heights
    Flowers in the rocks: at the Garden Tomb
    White flowers: Golan Heights
    Ancient aqueduct: Caesarea
    Mountainous overlook: Galilee view from Golan Heights
    Valley overlook: Jezreel Valley from Mt Precipice near Nazareth
    Two ocean overlooks: Caesarea, palace ruins
    Pathway with benches: Garden Tomb
    Rapid views: Church at Gethsemane, Via Dolorosa, carvings at Capernaum, Church at Gethsemane
    Two views of steps: at Caiphas’ house (Jesus walked up these)
    Via Dolorosa: Way of the Cross where Christ carried His cross to Calvary
    Street view: Via Dolorosa
    Overview of city of Jerusalem: from Mt Scopus
    Rapid views: four views of the valley from Tel Megiddo (Armageddon)
    Desert view: Masada
    Video pan across valley: from Tel Megiddo
    Ray of light: in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    Box full of candles: in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    Wreath in front of a fire: at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Memorial
    Round stained glass: at St Peter Gallicantu (where Peter denied Jesus)
    Votive candles: at St Peter Gallicantu
    Stained glass window: at St Peter Gallicantu
    Video pan across Jerusalem: from Mt Scopus
    “Hole” in the rock: Garden Tomb
    Sign: on the door inside the Tomb

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    The Power of the Cross

    “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” —I Cor 1:18

    This evening I added two new crosses to my “crosswall”—this is an ever-growing collection of crosses from around the world. A friend used to have a website called Crosswall, promoting the idea of a collection of crosses as a conversation-piece in homes . . . unfortunately the site is no longer active. But it was a collection of crosswalls around the world—in living rooms, retreat centers, above baby cribs . . . ever since seeing that site I’ve always kept a crosswall in my home. (And I’m glad I have this large wall over my fireplace to house my collection!)
    The large slat-style cross in the center is from Jerusalem, and the script on it is the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic.
    The cross below is called the “Jerusalem Cross.”

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    Shalom: His Name is Great!

    “‘My Name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to My Name, because My Name will be great among the nations,’ says the Lord Almighty.” —Malachi 1:11

    Indeed, the Name of the Lord is Great (and Wondrous! Magnificent! Perfect! and so much more!)—in Israel as well as in all nations!

    My farewell image from Israel was this beautiful sunset as we departed Jerusalem. It was the only sunset I saw from that city, since we had our convention events each evening. What a blessing as we boarded our bus for Tel Aviv!

    The trip home was fairly uneventful; 25 hours from the hotel to disembarking the airplane in Seattle. The last leg home—the shorter one—seemed so much longer than the first leg (10hrs), probably because it was light and everyone was awake (and the inflight movie was a terrible one!). After our ride home from the airport, and picking up my dog at the sitter’s, I promptly collapsed in sleep! I alternated being awake and asleep for the entire day and night (since it’s really daytime where my body thinks it is!) and now I’ve been up since 4am. Anyone have tips on how to re-set a body clock?

    Thus ends my travel journal for this odyssey to the Holy Land; I know I will be returning there sometime, I loved it so very much. There is so much more I want to see, to know, to touch, and to experience. As I said earlier, I’ve never felt so “at home” in a land I’d never seen; and now I know it’s a place I’ll be connected to forever.

    In coming weeks as my mind processes thoughts, I may post more on this blog about the trip, and the titles of those posts will begin with the word “Shalom,” if you would like to follow along with them. This blog will now likely turn back into a place for recruiting more assistance in making cards for our soldiers, as well as sharing my little creations with all of my artisan friends! Many thanks to all who followed along on this adventure with me!