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10 Days In The Land of Jesus, Day 1 and 2!

October 2017.  It started out a typical fall Sunday. Typical in that the weather was beautiful, cool, crisp, with the leaves turning glorious shades of orange, gold, and red. The unusual part of the day began with a visit to a church about 25 miles from our home. My friend attends church at The Rock and suggested we come for a visit.

The morning worship was inspiring and the message particularly meaningful. Following the service, my husband along with my sous-chef dish-washing mom and me had lunch at a local café. Nothing much to write home about the café fare, but my husband did say, “Did you see the information about the trip to Israel on the video board?”

“No,” I replied, wondering how I could have missed that.   A trip to Israel has been my heart’s desire for some time and I usually have my radar up when it comes to trip information!

That is when our typical Sunday turned into a Sunday I won’t soon forget. “I think you should check it out,” hubby said.

He didn’t have to tell me twice. That very day I emailed the church about the Best of Israel trip they were planning.

Five months of planning (and payments) we are ready to go.

Mail put on hold. Check.

One large bag packed for me, one small bag packed for Lee. Check.

Carry-on luggage including toiletries and an extra change of clothes packed. Check.

Passports. Check.

House cleaned, well sort of. Check.

Water turned off. Check.

Drop sous-chef dishwashing mom off at our friend Margaret’s. Check.

We spent the night before our flights in a Nashville airport hotel. A 2:30 a.m. wake up call began our marathon trip to Israel. At 3:45 a.m. we met our travel agent in the hotel lobby. The bus, scheduled for 4 a.m. to take us to the airport, a five-minute ride. The bus arrived at 4:30. Still, a 5-minute ride and we joined others in our group to check in at the American Airlines counter.

My husband is the best traveling companion I could have! ❤ He insists on toting the entire carry-on luggage allowing me to walk along unencumbered by “stuff.” He is a fast walker and always alert to moving us through the airport process quickly. We were soon at our gate waiting for a 2-hour flight to Miami.

Half of our group had flights through New York City and the other half through Miami. We were to meet up in London Heathrow airport and travel on to Tel Aviv together.

All the planning in the world can’t make up for airline delays.

After an excruciating layover in Miami, British Airways departed on our over-night flight about 30 minutes late.

“Not to worry,”  we were told, “30 minutes won’t be a problem on the other side of the pond.” Famous last words.

Nine hours later we arrived at London Heathrow, 30 minutes late. That wouldn’t have been a problem except for some reason we must have surprised the airport workers because they were not ready for us at the gate! It was a 45-minute delay before we got off the plane. As we deplaned my watch showed we had been up almost exactly 24 hours. It was hurry-hurry to catch a bus that took us on a 9-minute ride to Terminal 5 only to race on foot through empty hallways turning this way and that way towards the elusive “Flight Connections” area.

Twenty-two of us arrived rag-tagged and a little out-of-breath at security only to discover the plane had left for Tel Aviv without us.

Sadly, day 2 in the land of Jesus was spent in the London Heathrow airport.  We have flown through Heathrow Airport before and the last time we did I remember saying, “I will never fly through Heathrow again!”

Huh.  Now here we are – again.  Did you know that many large shopping malls are disguised as airports?  It is true.  Here are just a few of the shops available to us during our 8 hour-layover at the Heathrow Airport.

As the day wore on, we walked through the mall several times, holding hands as if we were exactly where we wanted to be. Our smiles were a little lopsided due to the increasing exhaustion of 30+ hours since the last time we had slept.  You might be wondering about the 9-hour flight across the pond.  “Surely you slept during that time?” you might ask.

No.  The flight took off at 5 p.m. Miami time.  After reaching altitude and getting everyone settled in, the flight attendants came through with beverages.  That’s nice.

Then came the evening dinner meal.  Not as nice, but we ate some of it anyway, after all, it was dinner.

Sometime later a bed-time “snack” was served.  There was some hope we were going to sleep.  The lights dimmed, earplugs in place, shoes off, mask over my eyes, ahhh – wide awake.  That’s right.  Awake.  No sleep for me.  My Chief Traveling Companion was watching a movie and dozed off and on.  I guess I should have watched a movie to get some sleep!

Just about the time we should have been enjoying our first glimpses of Israel and a walk along the sandy beach of the Meditteranean Sea, our flight left London headed for Tel Aviv.

We arrived in Tel Aviv in the middle of the night.  The airport was quiet and the hush was a little eerie. A fresh bit of excitement pushed through the exhaustion as we claimed our bags at Customs and headed for a one-hour bus ride to Netanya arriving at 3 a.m. local time.

Netanya, Israel

Three hours of sleep later this was our morning view from a lovely hotel room.

We are both terrible at taking selfie photos and we really can’t blame sleep deprivation for this photo.  However, I did want to commemorate the moment before we headed to breakfast and up the coastline for our first day of walking in the land of Jesus.

Israel was the new name given to Jacob, which means “ruling with God”.

Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  Genesis 32:28

The twelve tribes of Israel were created by the descendants of Israel’s twelve sons. These tribes became known as the nation of Israel.  The Northern Kingdom later became known as Israel.  Israel was a term used to refer to God’s true and obedient people in the New Testament.

Day 3 Walking In The Land of Jesus!

Until next time,
~Blessings, Catherine






Peer Pressure Is No Respecter of Age

It all started out innocently enough.  I was sitting in my usual chair at the nail salon.  I say “usual” because every 3 weeks for the past 3 years Viet has manicured and polished my fingernails.  I flipped through the basket of nail colors not really expecting to make a change from the palette of pinks or reds that are my norm.

A murmur of voices filled the air as three other customers quietly chatted with their nail techs.  I said, to no one in particular, “Who in the world would ever paint their nails this turquoise blue color?”

Much to my surprise, several women in various stages of manicures turned towards me to see the blue nail tip I held in my hand. “Oh that is a gorgeous color of blue,” one of them remarked.

“What a fun color for spring that is,” said another.

“But it is BLUE!” I said as I placed the colored tip over one of my fingernails, to show just how ridiculous the blue nail looked.

At that moment the three customers and the three nail techs all chattered at the same time.

“Colors like blue are fun for a change,” they said.

“You should do it, go for it, have some fun!” they said.

“Everybody is wearing all sorts of nail colors these days,” they said.

Just then, Viet arrived at his station.  “Oh, fun!” he said, “that is a beautiful color on nails, especially with a layer of glitter!  You will love it and besides … it matches what you are wearing today!”

“Oh, no, no, no” I exclaimed.  “Do you even know me?  I am pretty conservative, fairly modest and do you remember I just turned 62?”

“That is exactly why you should choose the blue today!  Step out of your comfort zone, live a little!” he said, laughing loudly encouraging the others to join in. Besides, it will only last a couple of weeks and then you will change it back to your old standby, pink or red or something boring.”

Boring?  Is he calling me boring?  Ah, peer pressure.  Just then all my little gray brain cells went on vacation and I said, “Yeah, you are right.  I wear this color a lot and what is the worst that can happen?”  Next time I am going to have my nails painted blue!  Next time.  Not today.  Next time.  In a couple of weeks.

I had exactly three weeks for my brain function to return.  Sadly, it did not. I made the decision and without any further thought, I planned to pick out the turquoise blue nail color upon my return to the salon.

Three weeks later, Viet’s sister, Tu, squealed with delight as I handed her the blue nail tip. “This is the one,” I said, “with a coat of glitter, please.”

“Oh, you are going to love this, it is so pretty,” she said as she readied my nails for the polish.

The minute the first stroke of polish hit my nail I knew I had made a terrible mistake. It was as if all my little gray brain cells, that had previously been on vacation, came rushing home just in time to scream out, “What in the world have you done?!” I sat speechless and immovable. One finger, then two turned blue. Three and four followed closely behind. Wow, the thumb looks really BIG when it’s blue. Ten blue fingers later I said a quick prayer of thanks that I hadn’t also committed my toes!

Tu, the owner of the salon and my nail tech for the blue fiasco, was so intent on the beauty of the blue nails she never saw the horror on my face. She encouraged me to wear “lots of turquoise blue” this week and to stay away from wearing anything green!

“Oh brother,” I thought, I am in deep trouble. I usually don’t put that much thought into what I am wearing.

My sous-chef dish-washing mom was with me at the nail salon. She is too kind to say anything other than, “Oh, that’s a pretty color, Dear.” However, I’ve had some fun with my trendy, sparkly, blue manicure mostly because of the shock factor.

During dinner, my darling husband exclaimed, “What happened to your hands?”

I had a manicure today,” I said with no particular excitement, as I held up my newly painted nails. With a twinkle in his eye, he set down his fork, took my hand and said, “Are you cyanotic or psychotic?”

“No,” I replied, twinkling right back at him. “Just a little blue today.”

As I read scripture after scripture this week it seems I kept running into characters with peer pressure problems. Peter certainly had a peer pressure problem when he told Jesus he was the one who would be loyal and faithful to Jesus when he said,  “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” (Mark 14:29 ESV)  And yet, before the rooster had crowed in the morning, Peter denied having anything to do with his friend and leader.   Peer pressure got to Peter, as it seems it was more important to fit in with strangers than to publicly identify with God’s only Son.

Having just celebrated Easter, I can’t help but think about Pilate who succumbed to peer pressure when the rantings of a mob convinced him to have the Son of God put to death.  Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him! (Mark 15:13-15)

I haven’t done anything wrong painting my nails blue. But I am disappointed in myself that I painted them blue because of what others thought and said.

Dennis Wolfberg once quipped, “There’s one advantage to being 102. There’s no peer pressure.”

I’ve only got two more weeks until I return to the salon. Next time I think I will choose something quite boring like pink, red, or even peach!

Happy Spring!

Christ Has Risen! Happy Easter 2018

Happy Easter! Christ has risen! Christ has risen indeed! Easter is my favorite holiday of the year. Spiritually, Good Friday is always heavy for me with the reminder that Christ died an awful death on a Roman cross for sins he did not commit so I can be forgiven for the sins I do commit.  Nothing fair about it for Jesus and full of grace and mercy for me.  But, Sunday’s coming and celebrating Christ’s Resurrection is what makes this my favorite day of the year!

Yesterday, my friend Gaye Hughes wrote an inspiring and emotional blog post, “Why is This Day Called Good”.   She says, “Yes, it was a horrible Friday around two thousand years ago today, but it was also a glorious day for the millions of believers in the ages to come.”

My faith in Jesus Christ would be meaningless if it was only about his virgin birth and the miracles he did while on earth.  What makes this faith worth living is that Sunday’s coming!  The grave could not hold Jesus Christ!  Tomorrow, along with millions of other believers I will celebrate the risen Christ.

God’s own words given to us in the Bible say it best:
“Then God released him from the horrors of death and brought him back to life again, for death could not keep this man within its grip.” 
Acts 2:24 TLB

What makes Easter worthy of celebrating for the last two thousand years is acknowledging that Christ rose from the grave, ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.  In doing so this gave all of Mankind the hope and promise we have as Believers that this life on earth isn’t all there is.  Our hearts are hard-wired to want to be with our Creator.  Through the risen Christ we are given the opportunity for eternal life.

My friend and author, Mary Jane Miller, wrote an exceptional blog post that is worth every minute of the time it takes to read it.   What’s the Point of Easter? Mary Jane asks, “Are your eggs in your basket or still on the lawn?”  She has an incredible gift of sharing The Word of God through analogies that are easy to understand and fun to read!

Physically and emotionally Easter in the springtime helps me reset my thinking and my attitude.  It helps me see that the world is not gray, dark, and dead at all.  But underneath the layers of dried grass, piles of muddy snow, or buckets of rain there is new life!

I will spend a little time in the kitchen today. My happy place!

Today’s special – Strawberry Pretzel Salad – A Spring Favorite!

Tomorrow, my Sous-chef Dish-washing Mom, my faithful Christ-following husband and me will attend Easter service — also my happy place!

Thank you for being a part of My Daily Bread Body and Soul.  May you find peace and joy this weekend in the newness of life brought forth by spring and the gift of eternal life given to us by Jesus’ resurrection!

Christ Has Risen!  Happy Easter,
~Blessings, Catherine

Life Lessons From The Hive by M.J. Miller

Mary Jane Miller

Mary Jane Miller is many things.  She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee University, a drama teacher, an artist, a Bible teacher and former missionary with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), a beekeeper, a gifted speaker and my friend!

Whenever I read a book with the thought to then write a book review I go into it with no pre-conceived ideas except to write my experience to the best of my ability.  From my earlier reviews, you may remember that I have a personality flaw that causes me to read the ending before I read the beginning.  With M.J.’s book, I tried hard to control the urge to flip to the back and read the wrap-up.  I am so glad I did!  When I arrived at Chapter 30 “Bee Yourself”,  MJ’s analogies and encouraging words and Scripture were truly the perfect ending!  Life Lessons From The Hive arrives just in time for the gift-giving season! But honestly, anytime is a good time to buy this book and share with those you love.

Now … back to the beginning.  My copy of Life Lessons From The Hive arrived just before I was flying to NYC for the weekend.  My intention was to buzz right through the book on the outbound flight.  I began reading and was quickly amazed at how one-moment M.J. is explaining a detail about a honey bee and the next sentence she has expertly paralleled the life of a honey bee with spiritual lessons useful to you and me!

M.J. has the heart of a missionary, the flair of a drama teacher and a sweet humor that makes for an entertaining book filled with easy-to-understand life lessons. I laughed right out loud as I read at the antics of the bees and the encouragement she gives to humans!

If you are a Bible teacher – this book is for you. M.J. fills it with analogies you can use when teaching Bible lessons to young and old alike.  I found myself highlighting, making notes, and finally just marking all the places I want to return to and re-read. Every chapter is specific to an activity in the life of a honey bee and the life of a Christ-follower. M.J. wonderfully weaves together the lessons she has learned from her thousands of bees and generously shares with the rest of us.

Life Lessons From The Hive it is an easy read, affordable, entertaining and packed with encouraging lessons everyone needs!  Speaking of affordable, I just saw on Amazon where they have dropped the price for Christmas gifting.  You can read a sample by clicking the link below or go directly to Amazon to buy the book!

I loved learning about honey bees but I especially liked learning how these smallest of God’s creation have such life lessons for me! Thank you M.J. for sharing what God has shown you through the life of a honey bee.  I can’t wait for your next book!  What is it about?

Happy Reading,