a year in review – 2009

What an amazing year we had!!

Here are a few highlights: *Started a new job at House of Blues in Anaheim *Brook went on staff at Kingsfield *Celebrated our 1 year anniversary...a trip we'll never forget *Started training to run a half marathon *Lost 15 pounds *Held my niece & loved on her. What a sweet girl! *Took an amazing trip to Israel *Stopped training for marathon...because... *WE'RE PREGNANT!!! *Threw up for 6 months straight. Best 6 months of my life. *Found out we're having a GIRL! *My life began to drastically change as it centered around growing & preparing for this child! Can't wait to see her face in 2010!!

It's interesting to look back at what I had hoped to do in 2009. A lot of what I wanted to do couldn't be done because we got pregnant, but I would trade it for the world!! I did lose 15 pounds before I got pregnant, but didn't run the half marathon, learn to snowboard or get a tan.  I guess there's always next year!

A few things I'm looking forward to this year: *Getting this baby out of me!!!!!! *Seeing my baby girl's face for the first time *Learning how to be the best mom I can be *Losing weight!!!!!! *Our first trip to Alaska for family vacation *Growing closer to my husband through the birth of our first child *Morning sickness to be GONE!

Here's to an amazing year that will be life changing!!!

a look back

Well, we've been home a couple weeks now, and the experience in Israel has had some time to sink in.  I'd like to share a few of my favorite things, and most life changing. I read the bible differently now. It's amazing the change I've seen in the way I look at God's word.  It's more personal, and more real now.  I've been there, I've seen it.  I saw the place that God took Moses to show him the Promised Land.  I stood on the hill where Jesus preached and fed the 5,000.  I walked up the steps that Jesus took some of his final on.  I prayed in the place that Jesus cried out to God, and cried over the land.  It is so real to me.  Never again will I look at the bible as stories.

Hands of a Carpenter

Experiencing it with my husband. We do everything together, and I can't imagine doing this without him.   We learned and grew together.  We had a blast together! I'm so thankful that we are able to share experiences such as these, and everyday makes me look more and more forward to our future together!!

Brook leading worship Overlooking the Sea of Galilee

Baptism in the Jordan River. This was one of the most amazing experiences! Jesus was baptized in this place.  It was the place that he taught us how important it is to be cleansed of our sins.  He lowered himself to our level to set the example for us.  Nothing beats that!!


Spending intense quality time with family/friends. This was quite the intense trip.  Not only were we tested physically by walking a million miles a day, but we were tested spiritually.  We learned together, we were stretched together.  I'm so thankful I got to do this with this group of people.  The "family friend network" and the brave souls who joined have all become my family and some of the greatest friends I could ever imagine.  Thank you for welcoming me in with open arms from day one!

Family at Petra Public Bathrooms... The Girls! It was an unbelievable trip! I can't wait to go back :)

Thanks for listening to the stories, seeing the pictures and I just pray that you learned a bit reading about our experience.  I encourage you to take the trip if you ever get the opportunity! It'll change you in so many ways!


israel: day six

ISRAEL — Day SixMonday, June 8th

Yad Hasmanah Biblical Gardens - We spent the morning walking through a Christian Kibbutz with our very own Kenny Rogers tour guide.  Ok maybe he just looked a lot like Kenny Rogers.  We saw some old timey Olive Presses, Wine Presses, etc.  My mom would have loved the log cabins, sorry mom I somehow forgot to take pictures of them! I guess you'll just have to go with me next time and see it yourself :)

Israel Museam  (Dead Sea Scrolls) - There is a huge model of the old city of Jerusalem here that we spent some time learning about.  It was interesting to see how it would have looked during the time of Christ and what the Temple would have looked like.  I'm more looking forward to seeing the NEW Jerusalem someday though! Then we got to talk through to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the "Shrine of the Book" as they called it.  This made me wish even more that I knew Hebrew, but it was really incredible to see! After this we had lunch at a place over looking Bethlehem, and this was the closest we could get to Bethlehem because it is in Palestine control.

Yad Vashem (Holocaust Museum) - Wow.  This was such an incredible experience.  The only problem was that we didn't have nearly enough time to make it through the whole museum.  We could have spent hours in here.  You walk through the entire Holocaust from the beginning to end.  Some of the pictures were just too much and I basically cried my eyes out all the way through.  One of my favorite (and least favorite) parts was a hall dedicated to the children lost in the Holocaust.  You walk through as names are being read of children who lost their lives.  Then when you reach the very end of the museum you walk into what looks like a HUGE library that is just filled books with names of all the people killed.  It was overwhelming.

Night Jeep Tour - After a very depressing afternoon, we got to do something really fun! We loaded up in three Jeeps, which were actually Land Rovers and headed for the desert.  We had some really awesome/wacko drivers who taught us about the Bedouins who lived in the desert, and we even got to meet a few of the young boys.  They were precious, I wanted to bring them and their donkey's home with me but Brook said no. They took us to the top of a hill overlooking Jerusalem where we saw the sun set over the city.  It was incredible! We want to take our Jeep off-roading in that desert! So fun!

Genesis Land - After a very bumpy jeep ride, we stopped for dinner at the Genesis Land restaurant.  It is set up how a tent would have been in the Old Testament.  Abraham (as in THE father Abraham) spoke to us and hosted us for dinner.  The chicken was awesome!

You are such a sweet friend and I'm so thankful for you!  Love you!!

israel: day five

ISRAEL — Day FiveSunday, June 7th

Temple Mount - We began our day on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount.  Now covered in Mosques, but is one of the most important and holiest sites for Jews.  Couples weren't allowed to touch or kiss on this site because it would be offensive, that was harder than we expected :) Seeing the place that is supposedly where the Holy of Holies was, that was just cool.  It's amazing how this lines up with the Golden Gates (where the Messiah will return through) and the Mt. of Olives.

Western Wall - We spent some time at the Western Wall, reflecting, praying and just observing.  I really loved seeing this.  I loved seeing the passion of the Jewish people and how desperate they are for God and how intently they pray.  I have a whole new respect for these people.  Seeing this site was one of my favorites!

Western Wall Tunnels - We ventured down through the Western Wall Tunnels, where the Arabs built a city up to the level of the Temple Mount.  It was very cool to see this underground city where "Warren's Gate" is located which is the closest point the Jewish people can get to the Holy of Holies to pray.  It was incredible to see the people sitting in this little cave praying!

Hezekiah’s Tunnel - I was a little nervous about this, but I was so excited to go through this tunnel so I did it! This tunnel was an aqueduct built in the rein of King Hezekiah. The tunnel was pitch black and had water up to our calves most of the way through, to our thighs at some points.  I wore a hat so I couldn't see the top of the tunnel and get too claustrophobic but I kept hitting my head :) It was actually really fun!

Temple Institute - We spent some time with this foundation who is attempting to rebuild the temple.  They have been raising money for years and putting everything into all the gadgets and gizmos needed for the temple.  Don't worry....they already have their 3 million dollar menorah.  However, they need a few more in case you have some extra cash just laying around.

South Temple Steps - It was an incredible day exploring through Jerusalem! We saw and took in so much.  To finish off the day, we spent a little more time on the southern side of the Temple Mount at the Southern Steps.  These were the steps Mary would have taken when she brought Jesus to the temple to be circumcised.  A lot of the original stone is still there.  I just can't get over the fact that we are walking the streets that Jesus walked.

WOW.  We did a lot today! Tomorrow...more of Jerusalem!


israel: day four

ISRAEL — Day FourSaturday, June 6th

Qumran - The place where the dead sea scrolls were found! In 1947 a young shepherd boy discovered these scrolls hidden deep in the caves.  Very cool.  They ended up finding the scrolls spread throughout 11 different caves.  This area overlooked the Dead Sea as well! Maybe that's why they call them the Dead Sea Scrolls :)!

En Gedi - Now I'm not much of an outdoor hiker person, but this place was pretty cool.  You hike through the hot hot desert, up the mountains and then in the middle of nowhere there is water gushing out of the rocks! It was beautiful! There were lots of pools of water and waterfalls where people were playing.  I thought it was strange to see people hiking out in their bathing suits as we were walking in, but it soon made sense!! In the bible it is referred to as a place of beauty and fruitfulness (Song of Songs 1:14).

Dead Sea - VERY COOL! I wasn't too excited about swimming in a strange body of water, as much as I love water and all.  But I must admit, this was awesome.  After we got the warning of how we would die if we drank the water, we all dove in.  Ok, maybe we didn't dive in...because it's not really possible.  You wade into the water and then just sit.  And float.  It feels like you're floating around in salty cooking oil.  What a great time it was and very refreshing!

Masada - This was one of Brook's favorite places we went.  A huge fortress on the top of a practically flat mountain surrounded by cliffs and the Dead Sea.  Herod the Great built his palace here that hung off the northern cliff.  That was my favorite part, the original paint was still there on the walls and it was beautiful! I would have loved to have seen all these places back then.  I bet they were absolutely stunning! The history behind it isn't half bad either.

We arrive in Jerusalem! We finally made it to Jerusalem.  After spending 4 amazing days in the Northern part of the state we were very excited to arrive in Jerusalem for the next leg of our journey.  Abraham took us to a spot overlooking the city and did a blessing of Jerusalem with us which was very cool.

A new and exciting day begins tomorrow in Jerusalem!!