Monday, August 13, 2012

Naomi's future husband

Last night, Naomi walked up to me with a pencil and piece of paper.
Me:  "What's this all about, Naomi?"
Naomi: "I think we should make a list of things that my husband will need to be like."
Me:  "Sounds good!"

So, she got to thinking.  I have to say, I made a few suggestions, but she only included what was really important to her.  Here goes:

1~He must love God.
2~He must be kind.
3~He must be nice.
4~He has to be nice to our children.
5~He has to love, respect, and serve Naomi well (that was one of mine)
6~He should be serious and have deep conversations (that was mine, too, but she emphatically agreed...the girl likes to talk)
7~He should be funny and know how to make little things in life fun (mine, too, but who doesn't like to have fun?)
8~He should be very handsome.
9~He should give her presents and take her out on dates.
10~He should give Naomi and the kids hugs and kisses.
11~He should work so Naomi can stay home with the kids.
12~Naomi would like a house that is pretty neat.
13~She would like a minivan.
14~Naomi would like triplets (2 girls, 1 boy)...she even described their rooms (that I would paint).
15~She would like her husband to lift weights and run.
16~He should be able to fix the car, mow the lawn, and she wants to rotate who take the trash out.
17~She wants to live on a lake where she can paddleboat.
18~She would also like a big boat that fits the whole family.  One where they can take lunch out on the lake to eat.
19~He should be musical.
20~He should like to travel and cook.

We will be taking applications from now until December 13th of 2032. 
Only Supermen need apply.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jerusalem~Day 8

Welcome to Jerusalem.
A place that was mentioned as far back as the days of Abraham in the Bible.
This city is the epicenter to three major faiths:
and Islam.

As soon as we entered Old Jerusalem, bells from a church began to ring. It was Sunday, after all. This all happened so quickly that I was scrambling for my camera and could only snap a few hasty pictures. A group of MONKS marched right up this alleyway, pounding their...STAFFS(?) on the ground to the beat of the march, which was concurrent with the church bell.

Welcome to Jersusalem.
A holy Christian site (more on that later).

Alleyways like this are the only "roads" in Old Jerusalem. Consequently, it is massively difficult to maneuver this town and absolutely confusing. A maze of a city if one ever existed. Unfortunately, there are also parts of town that we should not have gone to, but couldn't figure out how to NOT go there, and, once there, couldn't figure out how to LEAVE.

Shop after shop lined the streets of this grid work of a town with shop owners who tried their darndest to make a sale, offering (no doubt) the famed "tourist prices" that you would have to barter the shirt off your back and your firstborn in order to make a good deal.

But, Oh BABY! Look at this!

Welcome to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
This is where Jerusalem became confusing.
Some claim that THIS is where Jesus was crucified and prepared for burial.
(I'll write another post soon explaining why I do not subscribe to this idea)
It was an interesting place with worshipers from afar.

The domed ceiling of this grandiose church was GORGEOUS!

This slab of marble was said to be the place where Jesus' body was prepared for burial. This was a strange experience for me because people were kneeling before it and kissing it (Blarney Stone, anyone?), rubbing money on it (Lucky Rabbit's Foot, anyone?), and some were just crying. I'm not really a crier, so I just snapped some pictures of this rock. Now, before you go thinking my heart, rather than this slab, is made of marble, let me explain that Jerusalem has been absolutely LEVELED and rebuilt (at least 40 feet higher than in Jesus' days), leaving me to believe there's no way they could have known that THIS particular marble slab is THE ONE on which Jesus was lain. Aside from that, nothing about the location of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher lines up with Scripture.

Here's a snapshot of the Via Dolorosa~the way of the Cross.

Welcome to the Western Wall. Some know it as the "Wailing Wall."
To explain, the Western Wall is actually the Western wall of Solomon's Temple, which has been destroyed and rebuilt twice, and then destroyed again. Solomon's Temple, which is actually the Holy Temple of God, according to the Bible, is the place where God's presence rested in the Ark of the Covenant, which would have been kept in the Holy of Holies, inside the Temple. Because the Jews believe that God's actual presence still resides in the Holy of Holies, and because the Jews no longer control that area, they get as close as they can to what they believe is the Presence of God, hence, the Wailing Wall. They believe they are actually separated from God by this outer wall of the Temple. WHY? Because this is ALSO a holy site for Muslims. The Muslims, inaccurately, believe that Abraham took ISHMAEL (rather than ISAAC) to offer to God as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah, on which Jersusalem now sits. The Muslims now control that place atop the Mountain, where a grandiose, gold plated, Mosque now sits...atop God's Holy Temple.

Dallas walking down to the Western Wall.

Our friend, Stewart, said that this picture encapsulates Israel. An Orthodox Jew and a young Israeli soldier pray. I'll let the picture tell the story.

The men and the women are separated at the Wall. The women's side was a lot different from the men's side. The men's side had these prayer boxes and tassels that the men tied around themselves to pray. This is, perhaps, a good time to thank Jesus for FREEDOM! "Let us THROW OFF everything that entangles us..." For this religion (Judaism) worships the same God we do, but they go through a plethora of actions (works) in order to keep in good standing with God since they are still waiting for a Messiah to come.

Paul even warned the Galatians this: "You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace." (Gal 5: 4)

The men's side had this whole library, too! (I'm not gonna lie. I sorta feel like I got short changed after having only been able to sit in front of the wall when Dallas got to see all these men wrapping boxes to their heads, teetering back and forth in prayer, and strapping straps to themselves)

Men with beards...

Another man with another beard...
...he must be REALLY holy.

This is the women's side of the Wall.
This was interesting, and I don't know WHY they do this, but they actually back away from the wall (I do not know how far away they have to be before they can turn around). Because I didn't know what that was all about and didn't want to offend anyone, I, too, backed away. Still, I have no idea why I did that, but 1 Cor 9: 20,21 comes to mind. It seemed like the right thing to do.

This WAS a sad place. GOD'S Temple is SUPPOSED to be there, not a MOSQUE! So, I flipped open to Revelation Chapter 21, where I read about the NEW JERUSALEM!

The Jews got one thing right!

Behind me, you can see the Western Wall, and the Dome of the Rock, the Mosque on top of Mount Zion, God's Holy Mountain. (please pay no attention to the massive bags under my eyes. Remember, this is day 8 of us running from roughly 6am to 11pm every day)

This is a picture of Jerusalem from the top of the Mount of Olives. Jesus ascended into Heaven from the top of this Mountain. If you look closely, you can see thousands of tombs packed onto this Mountain. People want to be buried as close to the Temple as possible.

Mourners visit a loved one. People place rocks on top of the tombs in remembrance.

The Lion's Gate.
In Jesus' time, the arched gateways into the city would have been open, and this is the gate that Jesus would have entered into the city through when he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.

I just love these people so much.
Our friends, Stewart, Elizabeth, Lydia and Will

One Day, there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more suffering or death or crying. For the old order of things will pass away. The NEW Jerusalem will come out of the sky, shining in glory. Yes. The latter glory of this house will be GREATER than the former!

"Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

Sunday, April 08, 2012

A Hills Family Easter Tradition

Did I ever mention that my husband is an outright GENIUS?!!!
Well, he IS!

It's Easter today, and while we spent the morning celebrating the risen One, opening Easter Baskets, hunting eggs and getting high on chocolate, my husband and I were hard at work trying to figure out how to rid ourselves of this candy as quickly as possible.

This is when Dallas' ingenuity kicked in.
Just before dinner, he suggested that we take all of our "Bunny Bigfoots" and make:

OH, dear me!
I was a legit "Soda Jerk" while Dallas was in Pilot Training.
I can make a MEAN shake.
A mean one, I tell ya.
A MEAN one.

This is now a Hills family tradition.
To make your own, or if you just want to be LIKE us...follow this recipe:

ONE chocolate Easter Bunny
I used "Breyer's Homemade Vanilla," but friends...if you have access to "BLUE BELL Homemade Vanilla" (from the heart of Texas)...oh. USE. IT. It will set your heart ablaze!
...and milk. (I used SKIM milk only because it's what we have, not to cut out on calories, because...let's face it...this is NOT a low-cal snack)

To begin, you will take ONE chocolate bunny, three scoops of ice cream, and maybe 1/2 cup of milk. Cram it all in.

Mourn the loss of your Chocolate Bunny, but know that HIS loss is YOUR gain.
It's sorta like Jesus going to the cross for our freedom (but not really...I just always can find a resurrection story in most scenarios. It's the Young Life in me...for real).

You know, come to think of it. Break that bad boy up before you hit "GO" on that mixer.

And shake it, girls! SHAKE IT! (You'll need to mix it with a spoon a couple times to break up 'DA BUNNY)

So, you'll want it to be "liquidy," but not TOO liquidy. Pourable, ya know? If it's too liquidy, add more ice cream! TOO thick? Add more MILK!

Pour it easily into a cup.

Add some whipped cream (and a cherry if you have one).
Smirk at that dang Spongebob cup.

...and ENJOY!

That's it, baby!
Oh, be still my heart!
Chocolate are my hero...second only to my RISEN LORD!
Now, excuse me while I go run five miles.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Hi, Friends!

There will be a slight intermission in my Israel posts...
...because I'm going HERE with my friend, ERIN this weekend!

I'll be back to tell you about the rest of our trip next week!
I still have to tell you all about Jerusalem!
...and Bethlehem!
I can't wait! These two days were FANTASTIC!

I have amazing pictures and stories to tell!

(but, who wouldn't after going into a Palestinian Territory?)

Monday, March 19, 2012

DEAD SEA and En Gedi~Day 7

Shabbat began at sundown the day we were in Galilee, so the next day we went to En Gedi and the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is about a two hour drive from Tel Aviv, and it was really neat because the windy road going down to the sea showed our elevation changes as we traveled down...
down... the lowest place...

...on Earth.

Welcome to the Dead Sea.
A Sea so salty and full of minerals that NOTHING but some algae live in it.
The Sea is said to be so good for your skin, that a company called AHAVA prides itself in its natural Dead Sea skincare products! I bought some while we were at the factory and LOVE them! If you have an ULTA nearby, they also have AHAVA products.
I am a BIG fan now!

Right across the street from the Dead Sea is a national park, so before we took the plunge, we went for a little hike through En Gedi. It was gorgeous. It was an oasis in the desert complete with waterfalls, TONS of those strange rodent things called Hyrax, and these goat-like animals that we were promised to see tons of but failed to see a single one! To Stewart and Elizabeth's defense, I DID see posts on their blog with TONS of the goat things-the Ibex, confirming that THIS was the place where David hid from Saul "So Saul took 3,000 chosen men from all Israel and set out to look for David and his men near the Crags of the Wild Goats. 1 Sam 24: 2".

This was a really interesting place! The water was aquamarine blue! The views were amazing! The Israeli kids (and some Israeli adults) had stripped down to their skivvies and were swimming!

"And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi. 1 Sam 23: 29".
THIS is where David could have taken Saul's life, but chose to only cut off the corner of his robe!
You can read 1 Samuel Chapter 24 for the whole (intense) story!
...but it happened HERE!!!

The views of David's "stronghold" were amazing! The Dead Sea is below, and beyond that is Jordan!

After our hiking adventure, we changed into our suits so we could experience the Dead Sea!!!
I don't know what I was expecting, but this was NOT...what I was expecting!!!

The water was SO crystal clear! You could see the oils and minerals on the top of the water if you looked closely!

You couldn't sink in this Sea of you tried!

Because of the high levels of salt in the sea, it just pushes up against your body. It's as if the sea is trying to throw you out! It's hard to get your balance!

Woops! it!

There! Finally!


I'm FLOATING here, folks!

It was so fun to float in the sea, but the colors were intense and amazing, so beautiful!

AHAVA...TAKE ME AWAY! (wink, wink...)

Two friendly reminders about the Dead Sea:
1) Do NOT splash Dead Sea in your eyeball or you will DIE. (You will not actually die, but you will WISH you were dead as you flush your eye out with bottled water while you scream and your spouse proceeds to pretend she doesn't know who "that crazy American" is)
2) If you swallow Dead Sea water, per the signs and posted placards, you must immediately see a lifeguard. (We didn't try THAT one. What? You think we're STUPID?!)

After our time at the Dead Sea, we decided to let the minerals seep into our skin (ie. We didn't rinse off). Later, we had a layer of dried-on salt and an oily residue that we rubbed into our skin. It was amazing! I would travel down there as often as possible if I lived there, but thankfully, I can buy bottled Dead Sea Salt, toss it in my bathtub, close my eyes and pretend I'm floating in Southeast Israel, courtesy of AHAVA!

(Kelly does not receive any compensation from AHAVA or its partner corporations)