Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cooking in Como

A few weeks ago, Larry and I had the great privilege to get away for a weekend. It is hard for me to leave the kids, but oh so worth it for time alone with my man! It took a team to pull it off - my sweet housekeeper came over at 3:45 am Friday morning because we had a 6 am flight. Paul and Erin relieved her on Friday afternoon and kept the troops until Sunday morning. Such a blessing!

I have to stop here and reflect on how we met Paul and Erin in the first place. Several years ago, we were asked to host summer interns for Second Baptist Church in Houston. We had 2 interns over 2 different summers. Our second intern, Michelle, lived with us when we found out that we were moving to Budapest. A year after we arrived, she emailed us saying that a college friend of hers was moving to Budapest. That was sweet Natalie, who poured herself into our kids for the year she was in Hungary. Natalie introduced us to Paul and Erin.  I love looking back and seeing how God paved the road way back before we would've ever dreamed of moving to Hungary!

Back to the trip - so, we left super early on a Friday morning and flew to Milan. There, we rented a car and drove to Varenna, a little town on Lake Como. Our first stop was an Italian cooking class in a tiny village of 81 people in the hills above Varenna. 

Ristorante Il Caminetto

We were the only students in the class -what a treat! Chef Moreno was the kindest, most hospitable man and we had the best time. We learned to make fresh pasta, risotto, sauces, lamb chops and more. Moreno fed us until we thought we would never eat again. 

Larry working on fresh pasta under the watchful eye of Chef Moreno

Thank you, Moreno, for a wonderful start to our weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Hunting We Will Go

As usual, I am so behind. I still haven't finished Paris blogging, or Israel for that matter. We've also been to Italy and Sweden since then...what a crazy blessed life this is. Someone told me yesterday that they can't believe how much we travel. I can't either...lately is it pack, unpack, repack. :) We know our time here is limited, and it is certainly cheaper and easier to see Europe while living here than to try to fly over from the US. So, we go. We take it in. We make memories as a family. 

For now, I will continue the Easter theme....we had a last minute Easter egg hunt last week before we left for Stockholm. It happened to be the afternoon following Sports Day at school. When it was time to hunt, Cade was still dressed, Chelsea had changed her shirt but not her shorts, and Logan was halfway in pajamas. Such is life with 3. :)

Cade is really into soccer shirts...this one is from Turkey. 

We assigned each child a color for their idea ever. Thank you, Pinterest. 

He was skeptical at first, but quickly got in on the action.

I better taste this just in case it is candy. is the candy!!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Burial of Jesus - the Garden Tomb

Care of the Body of Jesus

31 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath ([g]for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “Not a bone of Him shall be [h]broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
Cade and Chelsea examining a sword from the time period.  This was in a hands on village set up in the town of Nazareth - highly recommended for Christians to visit.

 38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a [i]mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred [j]poundsweight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 
Some believe this is the actual stone that Jesus' body was prepared for burial.  People rub various items on it, I suspect, in an effort to be close to Jesus.

Carey and Chelsea touched it while Logan looked on.
41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

As with the crucifixion site, there are at least 2 sites where it is believed He may have been buried.  The one below is called the Garden Tomb was only recently opened to tourism as a possible location (and in fact refers to why this area could actually be Golgotha also -- the place of the crucifixion).  For more details as to why this "may be" the site, visit this link.

Skull Hill - though there has been some erosion, you can see a skull in the rock.  Some of the older pictures show this more clearly.

You can click on the picture to see what this tomb looks like.  This is not a mock up -- it is an actual tomb.  It is unknown if this is the tomb that Jesus was actually buried in.

You can see the groove that the stone would be rolled in to cover the opening.

Here is a stone similar to what was used to cover this tomb's entry.

The Garden Tomb

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday - what's good about it?

Following his arrest, Jesus was put on trial and ultimately was sentenced to death, though Pilate found no fault worthy of death.  

John 19:16-42

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Crucifixion

16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.
17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, [a]bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in [b]Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in [c]Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

As with many things in Israel, there is not a consensus exactly where the crucifixion of Christ happened.  And, of course, now even the locations where they believe it may have occurred look nothing at all like what it would have looked like 2000 years ago.  
In this location, multiple religions "share" the site and each goes by cleansing the area after the other religious leaders have been by cleansing it themselves.
Rock formation where it is known that crosses were placed for crucifixion - a relatively common death penalty during the time.  This is the same area that the lady in the picture above is kneeling and praying.
23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the [d]tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven [e]in one piece. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “They divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast [f]lots.” 25 Therefore the soldiers did these things.
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He *said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, *said, I am thirsty.” 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

So why do Christians call this "Good Friday"?  After all, the man we call Savior wasn't able to save Himself -- He was killed.  The Bible is clear -- Jesus, in an act of submission to His Father, allowed Himself to be killed -- as part of God's plan for our salvation.

John 19:11

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
11 Jesus answered, You would have no authority [a]over Me, unless it had been given you from above; 

Oh and one more thing...the story's not over yet.  Sunday's a coming!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Garden of Gethsemane

Following the riding of the colt into Jerusalem, Jesus shared what many call "The Last Supper" with his disciples.  He knew this was the last meal He would share with them and took the opportunity to give him 2 ways to remember Him -- this is why we celebrate Communion or the Lord's Supper at church.  We did visit the "Last Supper" Upper Room, but aside from some columns and stained glass, it wasn't too awe inspiring. And, it is one of those places that is named the "Last Supper Room" by tradition, but no one knows if it happened exactly there or not. So, no pics of that. 

As you can imagine, since Jesus knew His time was drawing to a close, He was greatly troubled.  He needed to pray.  This leads us to our post today about the Garden of Gethsemane.

One thing that we really enjoyed about our tour guide (Ofir Horn - highly recommended especially for those with young children - he was very flexible to accommodate the challenges of touring with 3 children ages 1-7) is that He gave us time to read the Scriptures wherever we went.  Below is a picture of Chelsea reading a portion of the Bible to us.  Reading the passage as we were sitting in the Garden was so powerful.   

Luke 22:39-53

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Garden of Gethsemane

39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 

Modern day view of the Garden of Gethsemane
42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43 [a]Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 

There is a church built at most holy sites now. Here in Gethsemane, the church is called the Basilica of Agony.  This church has a large stone that they say "could have been a rock that Jesus was praying on".  Of course, it likely isn't, but it gives us another visual we can use as we imagine his sweat pouring as drops of blood.

45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”

Jesus Betrayed by Judas

47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him,“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 49 When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered and said, [b]Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? 53 While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but [c]this hour and the power of darkness are yours

Lone olive on a tree in the garden

Olive trees
The word Gethsemane means "oil press".  During biblical times, olives were pressed 3 times.  The first press was given to the church.  The second press was for cooking oil and the 3rd press is used for soap/light. So fitting that this is where Jesus, under such pressure, prayed for deliverance! 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Holy Week - the King Enters Jerusalem

Back in November, we had the privilege of visiting Israel.  We toured 5 days with a private guide and learned so much.  Unfortunately, we have been very slow with blogging, but this week seems the perfect time to share some of the photos.  Our hope is that it blesses you as much as it blessed us.

We'll be basing this week's posts on a Holy Week timeline published at BibleGateway (also the source for the Scripture posts below).

Luke 19:28-44

Triumphal Entry

28 After He had said these things, He was going on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
29 When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the [a]mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. 
31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its [b]owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. 37 As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God[c]joyfully with a loud voice for all the [d]miracles which they had seen, 38 shouting:
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord;
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
A donkey working an olive press

Walking down from the Mt of Olives

View of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives - so amazing to walk where Jesus walked

Gates of Jerusalem

39 Some of the Pharisees [e]in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.” 40 But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”
41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you [f]when your enemies will throw up a[g]barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, 44 and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

We love knowing that our Lord and Savior weeps over his people.  We are humbled to know that He is so deserving of praise that He can command the stones to cry out if we do not.  

In this same spot where it is believed Jesus rode the colt and donkey into Jerusalem, there is now a very large cemetery with over 150,000 people buried there. They are hoping for the front row seat of Zechariah 14:4 - 
In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

What great news to celebrate this week - He is alive and He will come again!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Girl's Day Out

Larry went to the US for a few days mid-March, and my sis-in-law Erin made a last minute trip here to hang out and help me while he was gone. It was so nice having her here and getting to spend lots of time together. She was a huge help with the kids, but we made time for some girl fun, too. The most fun thing we did was a bon-bon making class at fun!

Walking by the basilica on the was to class - a beautiful day

Lots of work but oh so worth it in the end!
Our yummy creations

After class, we had a little extra time so we took a nice walk to the bridge and rewarded ourselves with ice cream from Gelato Rosa. Perfect Budapest day!