I interrupt this travel diary...

...for a few cute pictures of the boys!

I got to spend all day with the kids yesterday. As you can see, Joshua still loves his Buzz Lightyear costume from Halloween. : )

I drove to Franklin and had planned to spend the day there. But when I told Rebecca that Marian was on her way down and would probably be at my house before I got home, she suggested we just pack up the kids and head back to my house after she finished teaching. The boys love "Gramarian," as Joshua has named her.

We ate a fast lunch and then headed for Grandma Shari's house (and the fishies). Neither of the boys took naps. Joshua "rested" for about an hour on his Thomas bed, but we know for sure that Andrew never slept. We could hear him on the monitor the entire time. It sounded like he was playing with something and he never stopped saying:


When Rebecca went to check on him, he had opened the door of the walk-in closet we put his pack and play in and he had also been able to reach into the container I keep toys in and get the ones he wanted. She said he looked really pleased with himself when he saw her. (We put him in the closet because the room has so much light and he usually sleeps better in the dark.)

Finally we let them both get up, knowing there would be cranky consequences to deal with later in the evening. Danny drove out after work and we had Mellow Mushroom pizza and a big salad for dinner. The jet lag seemed to hit me the worst about the last thirty minutes they were here. I felt kind of zombie-like and as if I was just going to fall over from lack of sleep. I tried to stay awake for a few minutes after they left (a little after 8:00). John was trying to show me a funny scene from a movie and I couldn't keep my eyes open. I was in bed before 9:00 and out like a light. I woke up at 3:30 and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to go back to sleep. So I took something and slept until almost 7:00. At that point, John was long gone. When I talked to him on the phone a little later, I said, "I never heard you getting ready for work at all. I was out cold." He said, "Yeah, I know. I kissed you on the cheek when I left and you didn't even feel it."

I needed that extra sleep. Hopefully I will not be as tired today. I haven't taken any naps since getting home. We have a formal dinner event to attend tonight to benefit the Boys and Girls Club. It would be good if I could stay awake through that. Ha Ha.

We normally go to church on Saturday night, but we'll be attending the Sunday morning service this weekend. I am so looking forward to going to church after being gone last weekend (and just being in Israel). The intimate services and sermons we had over there were really special, so it wasn't like we "missed church." But Allen is always especially inspired when he's just back from Israel and I do not ever like to miss his sermons. Since I have been at WOC, I can't remember a single time I ever went to church out of a feeling of duty or guilt. I just can't stand to miss our weekend service. Even though I can get a CD of the sermon, I know I have missed something by not being there.

I felt very blessed to be in Israel with Allen and Kathy. They took such good care of us and made the trip so easy. I never felt like I had to worry about anything. Even landing in a foreign country and finding out our bags were unavailable because of the strike did not phase me. I knew Allen would be on top of everything. They were both such shepherds to our group. At the end of the flight home, I hugged Kathy and told her, "You guys take such good care of your flock. I feel privileged to be in your care."

I probably won't do much today other than work out and try to decide what to wear tonight. We hadn't planned to go to this event, but received a gracious invitation to join Mark and Anita at their table. So we will go. Although, I enjoy spending time with my mother-in-law so much that I kind of hate to be doing something without her while she's here. She says she just enjoys being here and relaxing. Our home is her home away from home. I know she'll be fine while we're gone for a few hours, but I like to spend every minute I can with her when she's visiting. Fortunately, we will have here all week.

Tomorrow night we are taking her out for her belated birthday celebration. John got tickets to TPAC for a concert of Beatles music and I'm sure we'll go to dinner before the show. We already had two tickets (John buys tickets far in advance), but he was able to get three when we realized his mom would be here. She will love it. We've seen a show like this before. If this is the same one I remember, the performers not only sound like the Beatles, but also look just like them.

Anyway, I might find some time a little later to upload more trip pictures. I just have to do my time on the treadmill first because I missed my workout yesterday. I still can't believe I didn't gain weight on our trip. I ate a lot and I even had ice cream almost every day. I couldn't eat that much at home and not gain weight. So we must have burned a ton of calories with all the walking and hill climbing.

Danny asked us last night to pretend we had to choose the one thing that was a "must see" in Israel and tell him what that was. I had already told him there was no way I could narrow it down to one site. But he said, "Pretend your life depends on it." John said probably the Garden Tomb. But I still said that if my life depended on it, I would have to insincerely name one place without really meaning it. Every single day I saw and experienced things that blew me away. I know and understand things about Jerusalem and the temple that I never knew before. I know and understand the significance of so many things that never even occurred to me before while reading my Bible. I can now picture settings as I read. I have actually walked the path Jesus walked when he rode into the city. The reality that one week they were receiving Him with "Hosanna!" and the very next week the crowds were crying out for his crucifixion really hit me more than ever before as I stood in that very location. Going to Israel is not an experience you can ever adequately describe in words. You must experience it for yourself. As much as I love looking at my pictures and reliving my time there, I realize that not one picture recaptures what I saw, learned or felt while we were there.

There are rocks absolutely everywhere in Israel. The ground is covered with rocks. Allen pointed out that seeing the terrain makes you realize the magnitude of Jesus' statement about the rocks crying out and what that literally meant. If the rocks did cry out, it would be louder than any football stadium. You have to see it to comprehend that. The emphasis is added visually.

I didn't start out to post about the trip -- just to share a few pictures of the boys and our day yesterday. I hope to get back on here later and upload more trip pictures. But if not today, it will be soon. I haven't even shared the whole first day of touring so far! Just the first site we visited! But I want to spread the pictures out over many posts because it's too much to digest in one sitting. I have pretty much decided not to try to show all 600 pictures to anyone all at once (unless I'm asked). I think it's just too overwhelming. And everything might start to blur together.

I don't spend as much time on the computer when Marian is here and we have a full weekend. But I will hopefully find time to get some more pictures up soon.