Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where is the oil from the olives?

In Israel we went to a place called Ya Hadmoshana, a kibbutz type village where they have replicas of various first century occurrences (I.e. tombs, olive press, threshing floor, watch tower, etc.). Iyelat was our guide and took us around to the various stations and explained why they were biblically significant.

One that I will never forget is the Olive Press. Back in the day, light, cooking, religious services, anointing, medicine, and other necessary things were only possible because of the olive oil they extracted from the olives. In order to get oil, olives have to be crushed (sometimes several different times). Iyelat explained that when we talk about being light to the world as Christians (how Jesus was or how we want to be), that the first century folks would have considered the olive crushing process before the light was even possible. I bought a ring to help me remember that when I am crushed or go through things that are hard, there will be light.

The thing I am challenged with now is... I want to know what the light is for before going through or during the crushing process... it would make it a lot easier to get through, wouldn't it? Well, seeing the future isn't always the case so I will trust and learn, extend hope, and dream about the light that I can shine...

Continue reading if you are interested in one dream that I am considering...

One of the most challenging things that I have faced and still deal with from time to time is a distorted sense of self worth value that contributes to guilt shame and perfectionism. This manifests itself in my life as unhealthy eating and exercise patterns. I am coming up on my 5 year anniversary of leaving the treatment center I spent a few months in. 

This is something to celebrate for sure!!! I'm grateful for healing :) 

Thank you to everyone who has been there for me, prayed for me and encouraged me through various levels of letting go. I couldn't have, and still can't do this alone. I am thankful to be free from the cage I once lived in. But, for all of us who struggle through addictions, cages look pretty attractive from time to time, don't they? 

So, back to my dream... at least once a month, if not once a week I am contacted by someone who knows someone who is or is personally struggling with distorted eating patterns. God has used me in several people's lives and I am thankful for that, but every once in a while I start thinking about doing something more than being a responsive sounding board. 

I want to be proactive.

I would love to start some type of group for people to come and get support, encouragement, and accountability while dealing with various levels of this disease. There is so much freedom that comes from healing and I desire for people to have a safe place to experience this.

My hesitancy up to this point has been that I don't want to make it worse for anyone because I'm not a therapist nor a nutritionist. But, I started thinking this morning about AA. I'm not quite sure how they structure their meetings or how it works, but I think something similar to this could work...

I would want folks who are family members, friends, or who are personally struggling to be involved.

My questions for you:

1) Do you think this would be beneficial for our community? 
2) Would you refer a friend or come yourself? (you don't have to answer this, just think about it)
3) Do you have experience with a group like AA? Could you share your experience with me? 
4) Is there anything I should consider before jumping in with 2 feet? (I often do things without thinking through all of the implications)

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Biggest Truck I've ever seen

I wish I had my camera with me last night. I did have my cell phone, but I have no idea how to get pictures off of it onto my computer... any suggestions?

Here is the tale... I rolled up to Julie's apartment decked out in my post yoga 3/4 length gray sweet pants, fuzzy black socks hiked up to mid calf, pink slipper crocks, Huge Red Hoodie Sweatshirt, fuzzy red gloves, and blue sweat band... I had to laugh when Julie answered the door wearing just about the same thing :)

Then we got to hang out, talk about life while waiting on James to arrive with her new car from Atlanta. He was calling just about every hour to inform us that he was the biggest thing on the road and that he was getting close (nearing Charlotte). After Julie informed him that Raleigh and Charlotte are several hours apart... ooops...

Well, once he got here we went to meet him at the KMart and he really was driving the biggest thing I have ever seen. Have you ever seen one of those rigs with 2 layers of cars, and one even on the top, right over the cabin of the truck. Crazy. I am way impressed with James' driving skills.

I asked him how he learned, and he said trial and error... thats not a lot of confidence for me, but Julie did get her car and now has a sweet Hundayi Sinata decked out with lots of air bags.

Jewls, thanks for the adventure :)

What of it?

Saturday night was a ton of fun. I have lots of friends who are getting ready to bring babies into the world in the next few months. We got to celebrate Kim at Amedeo's on Saturday night.

I had the privilege of sitting with a few ladies that I don't spend enough time with. Laughter is amazing and we laughed so much! I learned several new phrases... "what of it?" and "Oh, Hell to the no!" You may catch me using these in the not too distant future. Thanks Kim SK (not to be confused with Smith) for increasing my vocabulary :)

These ladies also got to hear stories about my denim designs from Jr. High as I filled them in on what life is like in the NOKE; living life at the Country Store.

Wow! So many wonderful things happening around me, friendships, laughter, babies, lots of love going around.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Clumsy much?

So, today I have been having some issues...

It started with cycling class... I felt the seat wobble beneath me during one of the songs so I reached down to tighten it up and ended up unscrewing the whole thing so that the entire seat fell off in the middle of class... OOPS!! Thankfully it didn't take me that long to reattach it :)

Then I went to get some coffee from Starbucks (I love Gift Cards!) and dropped the sleeve on the floor and almost hit the person next to me when walking out of the cafe.

Then, coming home I made my standard eggs, toast, juice, and jam breakfast and went to sit down and start praying... About 10 minutes later Matt walked around the corner and was like... Babe? Do you see this smoke?

What? I didn't even notice, but I had forgotten to turn off the eye of the stove and the spatula burned onto the egg frying pan... OOPS again. Thankfully I didn't burn the house down. But, that pan and spatula are done for.

Matt was shocked that I didn't notice the smoke... I was in my own little world.

So, there you have it. I hope the rest of the day is free from mishaps, but we'll see what it holds.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Vigil for Raleigh's 2008 Homicide Victims

I just received this from a friend of mine. I hope you can go.

A Vigil for Raleigh’s 2008 Homicide Victims

Thursday, February 5th, 5:00 pm
In front of City Hall, 222 W. Hargett St.
(the corner of Hargett St. and Dawson St.)

In 2008, Raleigh lost 32 members of our community to homicide.
Many of the victims were young people in their teens and twenties.
Come help us support the families of victims by saying, “We remember. We are here for you.
We will not accept a continuation of the violence that took your loved one.”

Too often there is an overwhelming silence from the community after loss of life due to violence. Families of victims and all of us as members of this community deserve better. Violent death deserves reflection and response, not complacency. To ignore the violence is to implicitly accept it. We invite all residents of Raleigh to join us in changing our community norm from a passive acceptance of violence to an active rejection of it on moral, ethical and spiritual grounds. Come help us support the families of victims by saying, “We remember. We are here for you. We will not accept a continuation of the violence that took your loved one.”

Join us in saying: ‘No’ to Violence! and ‘Yes’ to Life!

Join us in remembering the victims, supporting their families and praying for healing for all of us.

Isaiah 61

While we were in Jerusalem we got to spend some time visiting with a couple of incredible Jewish men who own a shop. In this shop every item has some type of spiritual or scriptural significance and they also consider the shop to be a place of dialogue for people of all faiths to come together and talk with one another. 

We spent two short stints inside. This is where I bought my olive branch ring (I'll tell that story later). But, Corey was looking for something with Isaiah 61 on it... he asked and we looked it up with the owner but they didn't have anything with this passage. 

I wondered why they didn't have this passage represented?  For those of us Christians, Isaiah 61 seems to be one of the most famous Old Testament passages and the one that we cling to as Jesus read a portion of it in the synagogue when starting his ministry.  

Maybe the Bible has a ton of verses in it and it would be impossible for them to have a representation of all of them? Maybe no one has asked them for that passage before? Maybe they understand that passage completely differently than the way I do and it doesn't carry as much significance? Maybe it could mean significant things and that makes them nervous? 

Then the man told Corey that when he came back he would have something made with this verse on it. Corey was like, I'm not sure if I'll be back... and the man said, "Oh, you will be :)

We had several conversations with folks over there that left me thinking so many different things. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A little more on the Inauguration

Today I sat on my couch for about an hour and watched Barak Obama come into office officially. There were a few things that struck me...

  • What is going through his head as he is walking down that long corridor before entering a crowd of millions? I was shocked at how many people were there waving flags and chanting "Obama". If I were him, I would have cried when I entered the audience. I wonder what the commentators would have said if he shed a few tears? But, no he was cool as a cucumber, poised and "humbled" (according to his speech).
  • Is this more hype than is necessary? Today was a historic moment in our country and was personally moving for me and many others for sure. But, I wonder how much this moment in time is worth all of the hoopla and millions of $$ that are spent on the transfer of power. Maybe it is... maybe it isn't... 
  • What are people expecting from him? Do the commentators dictate what we expect? Are individuals putting their hopes and dreams too much in the hands of one man or one administration? Is his ability to paint a positive vision for our country something that can truly catch on on the individual level? What will this take? What is going to happen when the honey moon period is over? 
  • I went to whitehouse.gov and found a page with the past presidents. I scrolled through the pictures and read a couple of the bios. It was interesting to see what had been the climate of some of those who have come before us. Some presidents were only in office for a few months or a year and others for 10+ years. Each making difficult decisions, each having people claim various truths and myths about them. Each of them simply men. 
Did you have anything that struck you from the chain of events today?

Thanks for Snow Days

Its pretty cool that we are stuck inside on a day when we are watching history in the making. This is just a snip it of Obama's speech.

I am looking forward to his leadership for our country.

Obviously, its not going to be easy and politics isn't the only solution to the problems that we face. Each of us has to take responsibility for our own parts in the brokenness of our country and our world. My hope is that many will do this on multiple levels.

Digital Troubadours

Check out this Video made by our friend in film school :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do you like pictures?

A friend of mine sent me a link to this compilation of pictures from the Wall Street Journal.

I spent about 10 minutes just looking through all of the different categories and reflecting on the things our nation has been through in 2008. Sometimes its good to sit back and consider where we have been so that we can make better sense of where we are going.

I hope this helps you reflect :)

I'm struggling

One of the biggest questions that I have coming from my trip is about the amount of death and destruction in the Old Testament. The photos that are in this post show the variety of landscape that occurs in Israel.

This morning I was reading in Joshua about where the Israeli people take the land that God has promised to them.

In order to do this many, many, people, women and children included had to die. I don't understand this.

Its hard to reconcile because when Jesus comes in the New Testament we don't see any of this sort of violence. We see a different way of living and progressive inclusion of people groups rather than destruction of them.

My questions... did God somehow change? If I believe that God doesn't change then how do I make sense of this? Is this one of those questions that I am going to be asking until I see Jesus face to face?


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Western Wall

The Western Wall is the wall just next to where the current Dome of the Rock is. Back in the first century this would have been the closest place to where the Jews had their temple and where the "Holy of Holies" would be. This is where they believe that God's presence resided for the Jewish people.

Ever since the temple was destroyed around 70AD the area has been in turmoil with who gets what pieces. The Western Wall (thankfully in my opinion) is still a place where people from all over the world can come and pray, worship, reflect, etc.

It was an odd experience for me, walking up to the wall. It is split between a male side and a female side (the female side is much smaller). We were 3 people deep standing facing the wall praying, touching the wall, and sliding little pieces of paper with prayers written on them into the crevices in the wall.

I walked up there and bowed my head. It was beautiful, It was awkward, I'm still trying to make sense of it.

From my perspective, God lives inside of me and hears me just as much when I am sitting in my living room as when I am in Jerusalem. So, it bugs me a little that people go and touch a wall for some sort of power or reassurance. On the other hand, there was sense of desire to get closer to God. To get in touch with his presence and to consider his power and the honor that God really deserves. This is something that I could use more of sometimes... awe... wonder... dependence...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I will eat Jam on my toast

The last breakfast of our trip I made the statement, "I will eat jam on my toast." I wasn't sure if I would actually follow through, but for the past week I have been enjoying some of grandma's home made blackberry jam each morning with my typical eggs, toast, juice, coffee, and water...

This decision came because the Gloria Hotel served an apricot jam at breakfast that I really enjoyed. Their eggs left a little to be desired, but I really liked their jam and their butter. For some reason it was just better there than any butter I have had here, since returning I have also enjoyed some butter on my toast as well. I just didn't think to put it on there before, but now. I stick to my statement, "I will eat jam on my toast" and occasionally some butter too!

This is just a glimpse of the delicious food choices we had in Israel. Really, my favorite food is a toss up between Falafel that we often had for lunch and the glorious buffets of salads each night for dinner.

Most of you know how much I like beets and to so many of you, this is one of the most disgusting veggies out there. Well, FYI, in Israel they had beet salad at every hotel we went to and I loved it!!

The first night that we walked into the dinning hall I must have looked like a kid in a candy store when I saw the spread of brightly colored veggies strewn before me. Wow! All you can eat, hummus, tahini, cabbage, egg plant, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, chick peas blended with different yummyness, tabouli... I was in Traci Food Paradise for a week! I don't think my plate has ever been so colorful and I wish that I had a picture to show you.

If I lived in the Mediterranean I think I would be a vegetarian because there were so many delicious options. I haven't had much of this feasting since being back, so let me know if you want to have lunch at Neomonde's!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


There are so many things I am thinking,.. anyone care to weigh in?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fun times in the Land flowing with milk and honey

*The pictures are in the opposite order that I want them in*

These are just a few more photos from our trip. I think I remember a picture of my parents on this same statue when they came 4 years ago. It may have something to do with the Paxton love for competition that we gravitate to mock horse races??

This is actually one of the places where they would have had Gladiator competitions and stuff like that back in the day. I could almost feel the movie coming to life around me.

Every day brought new vistas to look at... lush green... rolling hills... oasis'... desserts... rocks, rocks, and more rocks...

This path is one that Jesus probably walked on. Really? Did I just say that? I was in one of the places where Jesus was, in Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem. Pretty darn cool. Just another example of the mystical becoming tangible.

The church building you see here is the Church of All Nations that is next to the Garden of Gethsemane. This was one of my favorite stops because, like the name suggests, there were people from all over the world coming to worship Jesus. They were coming to see where tradition says he would have been praying for God to take the cup of crucifixion, betrayal and isolation away from him.

Thanks be to God that Jesus said, your will be done...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Its the little things

I am so thankful for Matt! He got me some amazing towels for my birthday. There are couple reasons why this is special to me...

1) He remembered that I like the towels that Charlotte and Rob have and took the effort to call them and ask what kind they are.
2) He loaded the bathroom up with the new towels after I went to bed so that I found them in the morning with a sweet note :)

It just means a lot that he knows me well enough to do little things that make a difference.

*If you need to puke because of all the cheese in this post I apologize, but I just had to brag on him for a minute.

A surprise... the EMPTY tomb

For some reason, growing up in Sunday school and in my imagination I always pictured the tomb of Jesus to be a huge cave with a boulder 10-20 feet tall in front of it. I pictured the lights coming back on and him standing up straight and then with his little finger sliding a massive boulder back with gleaming lights all around him.

Now, I picture the scene a bit differently... these are pictures of typical tombs in Jesus' day (what I learned is called the first century). What happened was there is a central cave where the body would be prepared and then several shafts along the side of each wall that bodies would be slid into.

So, in order for Jesus to rise from the dead he would have had to shimmy out of a shaft... if he had sat up he probably would have bonked his head. That is an odd image to me for some reason, but it makes the whole process of resurrection a bit more tangible and real seeming, not just a fairy tale...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What were my first impressions from the trip?

This is the first picture that I took... We are on Even Ezer: What goes on here is talked about in 1 Samuel 4. From here we could also see Aphek and Antipatris, which are talked about in Acts 23...

We had just traveled for 30 hours, jumped on a tour bus (the kind you take jr. high field trips in) and were on our way to Natanya for the night. It was hard to pay attention, but the thing that struck me the most was the sky... I think the clouds and sun interact in a way over Israel that I haven't seen anywhere else. You will be able to tell this from other pictures as well...

So, first impressions... not sure what I got myself into... a bunch of old foggies (my parents age) and lots of riding on a bus???

Needless to say, these impressions didn't last very long :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

My scraf

It was a bit chilly in Israel, or at least the temperature changed a lot. I was thankful to have a scarf that morphed into a variety of uses. Several people on the trip thought it was a live, check out the variety of ways this purply fluffy thing kept me warm.

How important was your tour guide to your trip?

In short, if I ever go back I would only want Brian or someone that he recommends to be my tour guide.

Here are just a few of the things that Brian added to our experience.

  • Passion for Christ and Scripture
  • Passion for helping Christians gain understanding of our Jewish history.
  • Fluent in Hebrew, Arabic, & English
  • A wealth of knowledge that never ended
  • A great sense of humor
  • Humility

Back in Jesus' day disciples would follow around Rabbi's who would teach them from their daily life occurrences. This is pretty much the way we felt with Brian. He just oosed out passion and knowledge from every ounce of his being. I am so thankful that we had him as our guide. 

On top of that he had a sense of adventure... in a later post I will describe a pre-sunrise cab ride, sprinting up Geth-Heper, getting 'lost' in Nazareth, and picking up sticks and rocks to fight off the dogs that could have been the end of our crew... not your ordinary tour guide :) 

Where do I start?

Tuesday night I returned from my recent pilgrimage to Israel. I am still working through digesting the lessons learned, experiences had, and implications for the future. Every day was full to the brim and a bit overwhelming.

I hope to spatter new posts over the next several weeks that share nuggets of fun, awe, and questions still up in the air.

I am very thankful that we were safe the whole time. Thanks to everyone who was praying for and thinking about us.

If you have any specific questions or things you would like to hear about, please comment here and I will do my best to include those in future posts.

Blessing and Peace!