Saturday, May 21, 2011

Update from Fairview Farm

I love summertime!  

One of the reasons I love summertime is because of the wonderful fresh produce we eat straight from our garden.  Matt took up the hobby of gardening about 8 years ago and it gets better every year!  Here is a "taste" of what we will have this year!

Our Garden
The first year for our herb garden.

Oregano, basil, lemon thyme, parsley, and mint.

Squash and Zucchini

Bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, and potatoes
My favorite, TOMATOES!  There is nothing that tastes as good as a fresh tomato from the garden!
Cherry Tomatoes
Thanking God for the first pick of the season!  We cut these in half and each had a taste for supper!  They were delicious!
Summer tastes so good!
Stay tuned!  I hope to share some of our special fresh produce recipes as the harvest continues to come in!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trip of a Lifetime - Day 6

On this day in our journey, excitement was in the air as we were going to be heading to the top of the Mount of Olives, down into the Garden of Gethsemane, and into Bethlehem.  It all began with Matt leading us in a moving devotion on top of the Mount of Olives.  Peering into the city that Jesus loved and wept over and realizing the lostness of His chosen people is overwhelming.

The Temple Mount is Muslim-occupied territory.  We heard the Muslim call to prayer five times a day and witnessed many of them responding to this call to prayer.  It is believed that here, where the Dome of the Rock is located,  Abraham brought Isaac to be sacrificed (Genesis 22:1-14).  Also, Solomon built his Temple here in 950 B.C (1 Kings 6-7).  The Temple was rebuilt by Herod the Great (beginning about 20 B.C and finished about 62-64 B.C.) on a more grander and magnificent scale.   The Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Roman General Titus. In A.D.637 the Arabs captured the city and built the Dome of the Rock in A.D. 691.

The Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque, sits on the highest point of Mt. Moriah. 

The Mosque of El Aksa

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre can be seen in the distance with the gray roof.
A view of the Eastern Gate from the Mount of Olives. It was sealed during the Turkish occupation because of Christian expectations that Christ would return as the Prince of Peace through this gate.  (Ezekiel 43-44)

Matt's Grandad would always tell us, "If I don't see you again, I'll see you at the Eastern Gate."  What an exciting reunion we have to look forward to.  Come quickly Lord Jesus!
A view of the Eastern Gate from the Garden of Gethsemane.
From the Mount of Olives, we walked down the traditional "Palm Sunday Walk" where Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  We stopped at the Garden of Gethsemane with it's ancient olive trees and the Church of All Nations.

The olive tree that would have been a sprout when Jesus prayed in the Garden.
Inside the Church of All Nations
People of all nations praying and weeping over the rock that is believed to be the spot where Jesus knelt to pray (John 18, Luke 22, Mark 14, Matthew 26).

U.S. Seal found in the ceiling of the Church of All Nations

After visiting the Church of All Nations,  we traveled to the traditional site of the House of Caiaphas. After Jesus' arrest He was brought before Annas, and then to the palace of Caiaphas.

Stone pavement and steps outside of Caiaphas' house that Jesus walked on as he was delivered by the soldiers to the authorities.
Statue of Peter denying Jesus.

Pit where Jesus was held at Caiaphas' house before being delivered to Pilate.

Next, we loaded the bus and journeyed to the Palestinian controlled Bethlehem. After going through a checkpoint, we entered the city surrounded by large concrete walls and headed to a Christian owned Souvenir shop.  The Christian population of Bethlehem today is less than 2%.

 Bethlehem is known for its olive wood products and many of us left with beautiful olive wood nativities and other carvings.  After a time of shopping and eating, we entered the Church of the Nativity just in time to witness a very reverent time of prayer in this Greek Orthodox church. 

Church of the Nativity

This entrance to the church is very small.  They made it this way to keep the people from bringing their animals inside and also as a symbol of bowing before the King. 

Entering the Grotto (cave) where Jesus was born.
This silver star represents the spot where Jesus was born.
The altar that symbolizes the location of the manger.
The Roman Catholic Church next door to the Church of the Nativity.  It is in this location that a Christmas Eve service is broadcast worldwide.
Shepherds' Fields where the angel appeared to the shepherd's proclaiming the birth of Christ (Luke 2).
A shepherd in Bethlehem today.
Look familiar??  A coffee shop in Bethlehem.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I am so blessed to have a Godly mother who has been a wonderful example of what a mother should be!  I am the mother I am today because of her!  My mother has a gentle spirit and a generous heart.  She is always caring for others.  She never complains.  She spreads God's Love with a kind word and a smile.  If you have ever crossed her path, you have been blessed!  I love you, Mom!

God has also blessed me with a Godly mother-in-law who loves me like her own.  She raised the man that I call my husband and he is everything (and more) than I could have asked for! She is a hard worker (she devoted 37 years of service to the State of La.).  She is compassionate and caring.  She loves to study and share God's Word.  She is a blessing to me and others!  I love you, Grammy!

"Her children will rise up and call her blessed."  Proverbs 31

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trip of a Lifetime-Day 5

I have been so busy lately that I haven't finished my blogs about the Holy Land and I hope to do that this week!  I must say that Easter seemed to have an extra special meaning this year since I had visual images of Jesus' journey to the cross and resurrection.  I can't wait to do that post!  But until then, I will pick up with Day 5 and our visit to Bet She’an - "Hill of the Fortress" is south of the Sea of Galilee and is one of Israel’s largest active archaeological dig sites. It was also the site where the Philistines hung the body of Saul from its ramparts. We saw the ancient streets, homes, and an impressive theatre that reminded us of the culture from the past.

The Tel (hill or small elevation in Middle Eastern archaeology) where Saul's body was hung on the walls of the city (1 Samuel 31:10).

Vomitories leading into the theatre.

Amazing archaeology find in the last 40 years.  When Dr. Tolar began coming to the Holy Land this was all under dirt!

They use this theatre today for concerts and different events!
The statue of Elijah at Mt. Carmel was our next stop.  This is the site where Elijah called down fire from heaven to destroy the water drenched altars and demonstrate the power of God! (1 Kings 18)

Our next stop was the Tel of Megiddo.  Megiddo is the same as the older Hebrew word, Armageddon, meaning the "hill of the battles."  Megiddo's strategic location dominated the intersection of two vitally important trade and military routes.
A model of the Tel of Megiddo.

One of the impressive sites at the Tel of Megiddo is this impressive water system built in 1198 B.C.  Inside the city a veritcal shaft with a winding staircase descends 120 feet to join a horizontal tunnel which runs out to a hidden water supply.  The inhabitants were able to obtain water during a time of seige.  Walking through this tunnel was a memorable experience.  These people were genius'!

The water supply (not so clean today).

Caesarea Maritima (or Caesarea by the Sea) was an incredible site!  Built by Herod the Great between 28 B.C. and 13 B.C., this was the headquarters for Pontius Pilate and the port from which Paul sailed to Rome after a 2 year imprisonment (Acts 24-26).

Statues excavated in the area of the theatre.

Roman Ampitheatre

The Awesome Mediterranean Sea

Inscription mentioning Pontius Pilate

Roman Well

Herod's swimming pool that was supplied with water by the waves from the Mediterranean Sea.

Former site of the Lighthouse at the Port.

Hippodrome where the chariot races were held (like in the movie Ben Hur).

The room where Paul was tried before Felix, King Agrippa, and Festus.

Louisiana Group (and 1 from Colorado)

Bride and Groom taking pictures.

Crusader Fort

Aqueduct built by the Romans to supply fresh water to Caesarea.

They even have McDonalds (Kosher) in Israel!

We ended the day at a new hotel in Jerusalem called The Dan Hotel.  This would be our home for the next several days before returning to the USA.  The view from our balcony was an amazing view of the Holy City!

Very Nice Accommodations

The Holy City, Jerusalem