Archive for May, 2008

Happy Birthday Hannah!


I can’t believe how much time has passed and how much little time I have left.

Today May 23rd, 2008 Hannah turned 13. I am officially a father of a teenager. I worked for many years with other fathers and mothers of teens. Now we will see if anything I’ve had to offer works for me.

For you Hannah, never forget how much I love you.

Dear child now it’s time to close your eyes

and dream of all the things up in the sky.

Hope, faith and love divine,

are the things for you, I give of mine.

All I have and all I do, little one it’s for you.

Dear child now it’s time to dream away,

and reach your hands to another day.

Hope, faith and love divine,

are the thing to you I give that are mine.

All I have and all I do,

little one, Hannah, It’s for you.

written just before your birth, April, 1995

I love you little girl.


What things did you do when you were 10?

A few weeks ago I was able to take a short trip, and I do mean short, to Portland. My friend Jason Hill asked me to bring my guitar so we could “jam” together. Jason is doing very well. A minimum of 1 hour a day practice has fulfilled it’s promise.

Although I’ve had my guitar for several years, I’ve not given myself to it fully except for peace and relaxation.

I remember when I was around 9 or 10, a music sales person came to our neighborhood in LA. Selling lessons for the accordion, many kids on my block, signed up. I couldn’t however… We didn’t have the money. A year had passed and I had asked if I could take guitar lessons… I had seen the results of accordion lessons and thought, “only weird folk could ever do anything with that.”

“Not now” came the response from my mother… “We don’t have the money.”

On my 33rd birthday, my mother surprised me with a trip to the local music store and purchase that long awaited gift, a guitar.

I took a few lessons and I’m always finding peaceful tunes to play… nothing to difficult.

Anyhow, I came across this incredible video. I wonder what I would be playing like if I had started at 10… Although this kid is 10.

It’s crazy.




Hear O Israel… Part 4

I do promise to finish this up soon. My thanks to all those who have stuck with me, adjusting feeders, etc… I do wish to make this a better habit. I imagine my children’s, children someday visiting these words and finding encouragement and inspiration. My hope is those who find this today are encouraged somehow in my ramblings to write their thoughts. There are so many wonderful stories in blogland. In contrast to the junk brought forth in the nightly news, it’s nice to read great stories such as, confessions of a CF husband. My wife keeps track of many great stories of lives with struggles and hope that carries them through. I realize in these blogs, hope is winning and Christ is our strength.

So I continue to learn this idea of blogging from many talented folks. My apologizes to those blogs I’ve enjoyed and have not shared in my blog role.

It’s now May, I’m 38 and in a few short days my oldest daughter will turn 13. It seems as if Israel was only a dream now. The things I wish I had thought of when I was there. The things I know know I wish I had known then. Thank you to my friend Daniel who has explained a lot of Christian Orthodoxy to me.

I believe my last post left me with having clean clothes and resting on the sea of Galilee. Although, it is not called the sea of Galilee there in Israel… It is, Kineret. We stayed at the YMCA hostel, which I must say was very, VERY, nice. If you must find yourself in Tiberias, be sure to stay at the Y. (A side note: It wasn’t until we arrived at the Y, and my host, Nir, who handled our lodging, did I know we would each have our own room. I have always shared lodging with others wherever I traveled. Tents, hotels, even cars. I was concerned he might snore all night. Trust me on this one, I’ve been baptized with fire sleeping in the same room with people who snore… Greg, Steve, are you reading this? I was willing to live a little knowing the risk that my host might snore… I guess, Nir must have thought the same thing about me…”I bet he snores… I better get separate rooms. I don’t want to be up all night.”)

I do appreciate the thoughtfulness of my host. Wanting to see what the sunrise on the sea of Galilee, I set my alarm just before sunrise.

It was a windy and choppy morning on the lake. It gave me a great perspective on what a storm might be like on the water. I must say, I wouldn’t have wanted to be on the lake that morning. A small boat was anchored near the shore and it was taking a beating from the waves. Now mind you, this wasn’t a storm… This was a nice windy winter morning. No surprise that the apostle flipped out when their boat was taking on water and Jesus was sleeping in the boat.

Not sure I could have slept peacefully on this windy winter morning in any sized boat on the water. What might a storm on the lake look like?

Breakfast was wonderful and I enjoyed food I was not custom to.

We made our way north to the Mt. of Beatitudes. My guide was not familiar with the reasoning or background to why such a name. It was my pleasure to share a bit of Matthew chapter 5 with him.

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The church that honors this story has atop the church stain glass windows with the verses in latin. My latin is rusty but I was able to figure it out…


the gift shop

After leaving the mount of the Beatitudes, we journeyed onward to another section of the Mt. of Beatitudes to Domus Galilaeae International Center.

I must say this place was amazing and I only wish my hebrew was something.

Our early arrival had put us in position to receive a private tour… However, this was quickly defeated by several others looking for a tour. I don’t really mind sharing, it’s just that our guide, Philip from Poland was going to give us a tour in english… As other visitors arrived it seemed as if hebrew would be the choice language. Philip started in english but quickly moved on for the other guest since I lagged behind taking many photos. I think one should take the tour and notes… then, go back though and take photos. I have to admit there is much of the story and design to this place I simply did not get.

“The meaning for “Domus Galilaeae” has been underlined several times… To read the Gospel in the light of tradition and of the Hebrew Liturgies”

I love this idea. It seems to me that much of the Old Testament has been forsaken. It was this scripture that Paul would say,

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

2 Timothy 3:14-17

Surly Paul wasn’t talking about his own letter being scripture to Timothy… If so, why would Paul say, “how from infancy you have known the holy Scripture,”?

This is what I liked about the Domus Galilaeae… It is a learning place to find Christ in the pages of the Scriptures of the Old Testament.

This room is the room where dwelling in the word or “Lectio Divina” takes place. There is so much symbolism put in place by the architect who was no architect at all but an artist. He worked with skilled architects to put together this facility.

For example, notice the lamps… They’re shaped in the form of water drops. It symbolizes that God’s word falls from heaven and like water that falls to the earth it brings forth life and growth. God’s word when brought to the earth gives life and growth.

It’s difficult to see, but the walls are textured like the inside of the “womb”. This represents the idea that this is a place of growing, nurturing and preparing for the birth.

Each room, nook and corner seemed to have some type of symbolism. Thus the reason to take the verbal tour first and then pictures.

Beyond these pillars is the garden. Another element in scripture that holds the mysteries of God to his people.

Nir, lining up a shot inside a globe that symbolizes the earth. In the middle of this life sized globe is the Torah. It represents the center of what the world is based around… the Word of God.

In this room lies hundreds of books for study. I think it would be fun to visit this place for a few days and just observe and have conversation about things studied.

I have several other pictures of this place which can be seen on my gallery site.

Next we drove to Kfar Nakhum (Capernaum). This is one of my favorite pictures of the trip.

I know some american church folk who would have a tough time with this sign. Alas, I leave it to the reader to be offended or encouraged by the fact that HOLY PLACES don’t allow “Short Clothes,” “Dogs,” “Guns,” (this I can understand) and “Cigarettes.”

The remains of Capernaum were interesting. The chapel above St. Peters home was closed. All of this was surreal. I’ve only read and imagined these stones my whole life. Now I stand in the very place where heros of faith lived.

What a privilege.




A new year and a new blog.





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