Friday, February 25, 2011

Beauty and Potential

There are too many good things to be involved in here, we can’t keep up with all of it. The kids were not in school for most of the week, and we did a lot of great things with them. For scouts a great temporary member of the Branch named Jacob Rascon took the scouts on a tour of the ABC broadcasting offices. It was pretty small, and there wasn’t a lot to see, but it was a great experience for the boys, and I think they learned a lot. It was cool that they were able to talk about, and even see, some things happening live, since while we were there Muammar Gaddifi was broadcasting his crazy speech about never resigning.

Scouts at ABC Studios

On Wednesday the Judd and Muhlestein families went to Latrun together. It was the site of some crucial and costly battles both in 1948 and 1967. I did not know what all was there, but it ended up being a huge tank and armored vehicle museum and display. The kids loved it! Tanks to climb on all day. I think they could have stayed two days, they were having so much fun. It helped me to really understand the countryside that I have read about as I have read of these battles. Very enlightening. We also drove through a beautiful park that has some nice ancient ruins in it.

Sometimes getting ready to go somewhere seems like a family at battle

Tank Girls

Jacob in his element

Killer Team

Afterwards Julianne and I had a great afternoon. While Kaleb and Tashara were at the guitar lessons, we went to the Shuk and shopped/sampled together. It is nice to sometimes just experience these places just the two of us.

Kaleb and Tashara with their Guitar Teacher

We may be nuts, but this was a fun date. (sorry, couldn't help it)

We eat a lot of good fruit here. Julianne has fallen in love with their persimmons, and will buy some every time she gets the chance.

The Shuk

Lots of kinds of bread available here

Love the pastries and breads we sample.

Jul getting some of our fruits and vegetables

Olives anyone?!

For when you are feeling like some meat

Julianne getting some of her favorite nut mixes

Shuk Fish Market (we don't really buy our fish from here, but it looks cool!

Julianne Loves this Store!

That night we had a forum guest who spoke about the revolutions going on in the Middle East right now. It is truly an interesting time to be alive. Who would have guessed that so much would happen so quickly, and that it would be now, while we are here? I knew some of these things would happen sometime. But I sure didn’t foresee some things happening so quickly and so soon. Of course we will still have to wait and see how any of these things turn out, but certainly things are happening. Afterwards I stayed for another hour and more visiting with students and answering their questions about all of these happenings. I am happy to be able to help them see a bit of what is going on and help them learn how to learn about these things and learn how to form their own opinions.

Inside the incredible Sorek Cave

The next day we went to the Sorek Cave (also called the Stalactite Cave) again. It is in such a beautiful part of the country, and one of the most gorgeous drives imaginable takes you there. This place is great, and you feel like you are on another planet when you are there. We went with the Judd and Lewis families.

Kaleb and Bryce Lewis. Our kids sure love playing with the Lewis and Judd families. When this whole trip was over they just played at each other's houses for a long time

Seriously Cool Cave!

My panorama feature at work inside the cave (love that feature!)

The kids had a great time. We really enjoyed it, and on the way home I stopped for a few more pictures. I can’t get enough of this land, it is incredible. Each time we go out and drive around I feel like I am starting to understand more and more and more. The geography of the place is just starting to come alive. The more I learn the more I see that while I thought I got it before I am now just really starting to get it. It is exciting. I wish I could afford to just drive and drive, to just go around from one place to the other and get a feel for the terrain, the spatial relations, the climate, etc. It is coming and coming, but I hunger for more. Plus I love the beauty of this place.

Judean Hills Leading to the Sorek Valley

Eshta'ol Forest, where Samson grew up

Flowers springing up in the Eshta'ol Forest

Julianne didn’t come with us because she spent the entire day working/slaving away on getting everything ready for the seder (Passover) meal we hold each semester for the students. She worked so hard all day. But it was worth it. Everything looked great, and everything came together in an incredible way. We had worked out a few kinks, and it turned out to be a great time. It went so well, and the students seemed to love it and I think everyone learned a lot.

The Seder Table

Tashara and friends at the Seder Meal

We have also had a lot of very good classes. I feel like we are covering incredibly important things. We have covered a lot of good history and culture, which I think has helped the students understand a lot. Now I think we are getting into a lot of meaty, important things. I think the whole Old Testament is really starting to come together for them. I think they are starting to see a lot of how the themes and messages in it work for them. We had excellent discussions.

There are always so many decisions to make regarding the schooling of our children. We try to figure out what kinds of classes, extracurricular activities, public vs. charter vs. private schools, etc. BJ in particular is unhappy with his current schooling situation. He really doesn't like the language and dirty-mouthed behavior of the children there. We are having to sift through how to best handle that. I sure hope we do things right, this boy has so much potential. It is always just a question of how to help these kids reach their potential. That seems to be my quest, both with my children and my students. So much potential, just so much!


  1. Love the market pictures. Really makes my WalMart SuperCenter look lame. And it's nice to see forest pictures. I rarely think forest when I'm reading the Old Testament so now it's nice to know!

  2. Uh oh! BJ's hair is getting long again!! Too bad I'm not there to cut it this time. :) Please tell him he has an appointment with me the week you guys get back to the states. He'll be THRILLED, I know it. haha. :) Oh goodness, I MISS YOUR FAMILY!!!!!! My heart hurts, literally.