Trip of a Lifetime- Israel

Trip of a Lifetime!

It’s been a long while since I posted an update.  The end of the year was quite extraordinary as I finished up my first full semester of classes right up until Christmas.  This left me a crazy woman finishing up my Christmas shopping because I am truly a procrastinator.  Then two days after Christmas our family took a trip of a lifetime… we went to the Holy Land, Israel.

Let me add a disclaimer…. I have nothing creative to share YET. It will be coming soon.  Below is only the first day of our trip.  I will be sharing more pictures and the experience my family shared.

 

Where to Begin? 

I thought I would use this platform instead of Facebook to tell the story of our trip.  After taking 1800+ photos it’s hard to just post a picture of a “rock” without explaining the meaning behind it.  Let me be clear that I know already my explanation of the photos will not do them justice.  I’m not an expert when it comes to all of the history and theology of what I will be sharing. However, I will share my perspective, experience, and scripture based on where and what we did see.  I hope you can get a taste of the experience, and my true hope is that you would experience it first hand just as we have done.  It really is a trip of a lifetime.

 

So Many Emotions

I’ll begin by telling you this trip far exceeded my expectations.  It was emotional, spiritual, and awe-inspiring. I found myself either weeping through the hikes or completely taken back by what we were seeing.  In some instances, I was left speechless.  That says a lot for a girl who loves to talk.

 

Let’s Begin…

Our tour was through Biblical Journeys.  We were with sixteen of our faith family members on this trip. We also had our bus driver, our tour guide who gave us all of the historical backgrounds of what we were seeing.  My pastor, who was on his second trip to Israel gave us the theological vision of each site.  All total we stopped at 57 places in 9 days. That’s a lot of sites to take in.

The sightseeing begins right away after landing in Tel Aviv.  Once we found our luggage we were off to see our first site, Jaffa.  It was getting dark so the pictures I have from Jaffa do not do it justice.

As we stood on the shoreline of the Mediterranean we could see the skyline of Tel Aviv. It was beautiful.

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Jaffa, also known as Joppa is mentioned in the Old Testament four times which include the books Joshua, 2 Chronicles, Jonah, and Ezra.

After we finished touring this area we headed to our first hotel for much-needed rest.  Our hotel was right on the Mediterranian Sea with breathtaking views.

Caesarea Maritima

Our first real day of touring with the first stop to Caesarea Maritima. Built by Herod the Great between 25-13 BC. Interestingly enough one of the first planned communities.  Here we were able to see the Hippodrome, theatre that could seat 3,000 people and a manmade harbor designed by Herod.

Biblical cross-references can be found throughout the book of Acts.

 

Below you can see the theatre.  The significance biblically can be found in Acts 12:19-24. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Remains left of the harbor Herod had built.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Aquaducts 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Below: Hippodrome where the chariot races would take place. Just thinking about the many of the people in the bible sitting in these seats is overwhelming. Another tidbit to note, Paul spent two years in prison in Caesarea.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Lastly, can’t help but share a few pics of my gems enjoying Caesarea. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Mount Carmel

 

Our next stop of the day was Mount Carmel.  Mostly known for the idol worship and particularly of Baal.  This was also the place where Elijah defeated and destroyed the prophets of Baal and Asheroth.  It’s quite beautiful at the top of the mountain where you can see miles and miles.  In fact, it’s so beautiful that Isaiah uses Mount Carmel as a symbol of its beauty and majesty.  (Isaiah 35:2)

Biblical cross-references: 1 Kings 18:19-46.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Megiddo

I could spend a few days on the rich history of Megiddo.  This area dates back to the time of Joshua. It’s also known as Armegeddon.

One of the most interesting things I learned throughout all the sites is the number of layers of civilization that are built upon each other.  This is called a Tell.  Here in Megiddo, there were at least 20 layers of civilization uncovered. WOW.  To see the layers is amazing.

 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Again, each picture is hard to bring you perspective when it looks like it’s just a bunch of rocks, but when you sit back and take in the big picture of what you are seeing it brings the Bible to life. For me, this was amazing and incredible evidence of the truth of the bible.

 

 

Date palms are everywhere you can see.  In fact, dates were given to us after each lunch and dinner as a dessert.  I wish I could say I loved them… my taste buds said NO thank you.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

 

This picture doesn’t do this justice, but it’s important to note something about it.  This stone is actually a feeding trough for horses.  This is what they believe Jesus would have been placed in when he was born.  Not as cozy as I had pictured in my mind.  

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

The last thing I will mention on Megiddo is the biblical significance.  The Hebrew term for Armageddon is Har Meggido or Hill of Megiddo.  Read Revelation 16:13-16.  It’s the last great gathering of armies just before the return of Christ to Jerusalem.  Powerful.

 

Lunch Time Experience

What an experience it was.  If there is one way to see how American I am… take me to lunch or dinner in a foreign country. I quickly become non-adventurous which is a little sad.  I did try many new things on this trip, but there is only so much I can get past my nose.  Middle Eastern food for me is an acquired taste.  Unless you love hummus, which I don’t.  I did enjoy the mounds of bread and carb intake.  I’m sure I gained the most out of all the travelers because of my bread intake alone.  I couldn’t help it.  It was so good.

BUT…. there was one big problem… Coffee.  I love coffee and drink it all day.  That is probably the one thing I didn’t get enough on this trip.  Arabic coffee is STRONG.  Crazy strong and really bitter.

 

Here is a picture of Brandon testing it.  Needless to say, I was not a fan.  Notice how tiny the coffee cups are!

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Nazareth

Our last stop of the day was the small city of Nazareth, the hometown of Jesus.  In biblical times it was known to be a small village and home to Mary and Joseph.  Our first stop in this city was the Church of Annunciation. This church was amazing with lots of great details.

 

One of the significant things noted in the detail of this church is the detailed artwork. Inside the church is a grotto which is where they believe the Virgin Mary’s home. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

Statue of Jesus at the very top. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

 

The door of the church depicts the life of Jesus. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

 

Our tour guide told us that the Latin word “VERBUM” that you see below is actually not spelled correctly. The reason for the misspelling was to signify that only Jesus is perfect. 

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

It’s interesting to see so many churches built upon old synagogues and homes.

Trip of a Lifetime, Israel

 

 

Just Day One!

It’s hard to believe we covered this much terrain in just one day. There was never a night that we struggled to fall asleep.  Each night I couldn’t help to dive into God’s word and see how the bible came to life with everything I had experienced. Every single day it was like this.  I’ll be sharing more in the days to come.

If you have the chance, take a peek at the scriptures and try to imagine what you are seeing.  It really is amazing.

Thank you for taking a peek.  More to come…

XOXOXO

Happy New Year! January All Star Tutorial

Happy New Year! January All-Star Tutorial

Tutorial Bundle, Smitten Mittens, Stampin' Up!

It’s hard to believe a new year has started.  I’m super excited to see what is in store for my family in 2018.  I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions.  I’ve never kept one, so it makes no sense in making them.  Honestly, I live day by day never knowing what’s in store or what God has planned.  I just live and enjoy!Today I’m sharing a fun card using the Lots of Lavender stamp set from the Sale-a-Bration brochure for All-Star Team Blog Hop. Lots of Lavender is the set I chose to use in our January All-Star Tutorial, and it’s beautiful!

Lots of Lavender, Stampin' Up!

 

 

Sweet Florals

This sweet set is perfect for the spring and if time had permitted I would have made something with a sweet lavender sachet.  I can think of numerous projects to use this set, but I chose to make a simple card using a fun technique that I always love to use.

Lots of Lavender, Stampin' Up!

 

Tips & Tricks 

  • I stamped the lavender image along the side of the Whisper White paper so that only the flowers would show.  I used Wisteria Wonder ink for the solid image that colors the flowers.
  • To stamp the leaves, I used Old Olive ink.
  • I wanted to add a little color around the flowers which was easy to do using my Aqua Painter and Soft Sky ink.  It’s just a little addition, nothing to take away from the flowers.
  • Once everything is stamped, I added splatter using Rich Razzleberry ink and an Aqua Painter.
  • The scallop border was created using the Window Box Thinlits.
  • To create the greeting I cut a piece of Wisteria Wonder cardstock (1″ x 4″). Then using my bone folder, I loosened the fibers so I could peel the cardstock layers. Then I stamped the cardstock using Basic Black Archival Ink using the greeting from the Picture Perfect Birthday.  I love this font and like how this greeting finished the card.  Both stamp sets will be available for purchase starting January 3rd.

Lots of Lavender, Stampin' Up!

 

 

Be Inspired

Now it’s time to be inspired.  Next on the blog hop is the talented, Linda.  Simply click the button below to see her beautiful project.

 

Tutorial Bundle, Stampin' Up!

Supplies Used

Below you will see all of the supplies used. 

 

Price: $110.00

Merry Cafe Artisan Hop

Merry Cafe Artisan Hop

It’s hard to believe this is the last Artisan Blog Hop!!  Two amazing years and today will mark the last one.  I have to giggle just a little bit over the last card I’m sharing with the Artisan team.  My card screams KIMBERLY!! We are sharing the Merry Cafe Stamp Set, and you know yours truly loves her coffee.  

Merry Cafe

Merry Cafe Stamp Set, Stampin' Up!

 

Being on this team the last two years has brought so much joy. It’s stretched my creativity many many times and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share what I love with you. I could get big time sappy, but I think you know how I’ve felt about this team and Stampin’ Up!  It’s been a fantastic journey.

Before I give the details on this card, I also noticed another big milestone.  I’ve been blogging for TEN years.  How in the world did that happen!  Alexis was almost 4  years old. She was so little.  If you are new to my blog, I’m grateful you are here, and you can go back and read many many many stories.  Ten years is a long time.  It all started with a cross-country move from Jacksonville, FL to Colorado Springs, CO.  I wanted a simple way to share my love for stamping with my customers.  What a milestone December 2017 brings.  Thank you to the many many readers for always reading and your encouragement.

 

The Details

Merry Cafe Stamp Set, Stampin' Up!

Let’s get to the details about this card.

I’m a huge coffee drinker!  When a coffee stamp set is available, it’s automatically going to be a purchase made by me.  What I love about this stamp set is how it coordinates with the other coffee set in our Annual Catalog.  Having the framelits available also makes it even more convenient to use with both stamp sets.

I used the Burlap Stamp Set on the Crumb Cake cardstock to add texture to my background.  This is a perfect stamp set for any background you want to create.

Using my markers made creating the greeting with different colors super easy and gave the greeting a little pop of color.  Markers are a wonderful coloring tool to use, especially if you are just beginning.  You can have all of Stampin’ Up!’s beautiful colors.  Make sure to check out our Markers.

I also love the Stitched Felt Embellishments! These add the perfect touch to any project and they are fairly flat for the ease with mailing.

 

Simple & Sweet Layers

Of course, keeping to my true myself… I added many layers of designer series paper.  I love how you can mix and match our designer papers to create fun and festive projects.  You can see my supplies at the bottom of this post in the clickable links.

Merry Cafe Stamp Set, Stampin' Up!

 

Lastly, no card of mine is complete until I add the signature Delicate White Doily to the card.  I can’t help it, I love these doilies and I love how they add so much sweetness to any card.

 

Be Inspired!

I encourage you to take a whirl around our last 2017 Artisan Blog Hop and see the wonderful creativity these incredible artists have created.  They have been a fantastic team to work with.   Your first stop is my dear friend Louise Sharp.  Her delicate details and gorgeous projects have been an inspiration to me all year.  Simply click the button below to be inspired.

Merry Cafe Stamp Set, Stampin' Up!, Artisan Blog Hop

 

 

Allison Okamitsu
Aurelie Fabre
Cathy Caines
Dani Dziama
Holly Stene
Jennifer Sootkoos
Jessica Winter
Katy Harrison
Kimberly Van Diepen
Louise Sharp 
Maike Ulbrich
Martha Inchley
Mercedes Weber
Mindy Bingamon 
Miriam van Eyden
Paula Dobson
Rochelle Blok
Shannon Lane
Sylwia Schreck 
Tanya Boser

 

 

Price: $110.00

December Tutorial Bundle Blog Hop

December Tutorial Bundle Blog Hop

Tutorial Bundle, Smitten Mittens, Stampin' Up!

I can’t believe it’s already December! I think this past year has flown by at lightning speed.  The good news is the Tutorial Bundle Design Team is ready to release the December Tutorial and it’s AMAZING.

Here is a sneak peek of our December Tutorial!

Tutorial Bundle, Stampin' Up!

 

Going Far

If you have never seen the Tutorial Bundle or this blog hop, it’s a special one.  I used the Going Far stamp set for this months tutorial and to inspire you for this months Blog Hop.  That’s the beauty of this design team.  Not only do we have a tutorial packed with great projects (cards and 3D), but we also share a different project on our blog hop for more inspiration.

 

Tutorial Bundle, Stampin' Up!

 

The Going Far stamp set was perfect to use my Stampin’ Blends.  In fact, interestingly enough I’ve not created a background using stamp images in forever.  I love how this card turned out and love how the colors pop!

Tip: I used the following Stampin’ Blends to color the globe images: Old Olive, Daffodil Delight, Pool Party, Bermuda Bay and Smoky Slate.  

 

Tutorial Bundle, Stampin' Up!

 

One of the reasons I love coloring with the Stampin’ Blends is the rich color it provides. It’s so beautiful.

 

Tutorial Bundle, Stampin' Up!

 

You will notice that I also went over the greeting with my Pool Party Stampin’ Blend to make the greeting pop just a bit more.  I added a few more embellishments to the greeting to complete the card.

 

Be Inspired 

Now be inspired by our amazing Tutorial Bundle Team. Simply click the button below to follow along with the hop.  You can purchase the December tutorial at the end of this post.

Tutorial Bundle, Stampin' Up!

December Tutorial Release!

Looking for new ideas to inspire your creativity? The December Tutorial is filled with fantastic projects you don’t want to miss.  These ideas are not seen anywhere on the internet and great to look back on anytime for inspiration for only $15!

You can simply click the button below to purchase the December Tutorial!

Tutorial Bundle, Stampin' Up!

 

Supplies List

 

Price: $110.00

Color Me Happy Artisan Hop

Color Me Happy Artisan Hop

It’s time for another Artisan Hop and this time we are inspiring you with the Color Me Happy Stamp Set.  I fell in love with the little chubby birds in this stamp set. You know I love birdies, and it’s even better when they are chubby.  SO dang cutely.

I’ve also written a little update on my life at the bottom of this post.  It’s WAY overdue.

 

Color with Stampin’ Blends 

It’s great to have Stampin’ Blends as another coloring option.  I find the coloring of any kind relaxing, and this just gave me something else in my line up of coloring tools.

As I was creating my card to share, I realized the images in the Color Me Happy stamp set could be used in so many ways.  In fact, when I first started this first project I was moving towards a Christmas theme, but then suddenly changed it to the sweet birds saying hello to each other.

Color Me Happy, Stampin' Up!

 

Mix Up Your Coloring Tools

I started this project with watercoloring and a simple watercolor wash on my Stitched Shapes Die Cut circle.  The birds were colored using my Cherry Cobbler and Pool Party Stampin’ Blends.  I start coloring with the lightest color first; then I like to add highlights to the edges of the images using the darker Stampin’ Blends.  The last step is to blend the colors using the lightest Stampin’ Blend over the entire image.

Color Me Happy, Stampin' Up!

 

I decided my chubby birds would look even better fussy cut and sitting on the branch.  Tip: I stamped the branch using Early Espresso ink, then went over the image with my Aqua Painter to create a watercolor look.

Color Me Happy, Stampin' Up!

 

The last touch for this card was adding some embellishments.  You can see the complete list of supplies I used at the bottom of this post.  You know I’m a fan of layering embellishments and this card is no different.

 

Party Lanterns

I wanted to share one more card with you that I created for my stamp club using this stamp set.  I love how this card turned out, and it was a big hit with my stamp club as it gave them the chance to use the Stampin’ Blends.

Color Me Happy, Stampin' Up!

 

Color Me Happy, Stampin' Up!

Again, this is reasonably simple stamping with a few layers to add interest to the card.
Color Me Happy, Stampin' Up!

Be Inspired!

It’s crazy that the Artisan year is coming to a quick end.  Just one more blog hop with the current team, and then you will be inspired by our new team.  Exciting times for everyone.

Take a tour of the blog hop and be inspired by our Amazing Artisan Team.  Your first stop is Louise Sharp. Just click the button below to follow the hop.

Merry Little Labels, Stampin' Up!, Artisan Blog Hop

 

 

Allison Okamitsu
Aurelie Fabre
Cathy Caines
Dani Dziama
Holly Stene
Jennifer Sootkoos
Jessica Winter
Katy Harrison
Kimberly Van Diepen
Louise Sharp 
Maike Ulbrich
Martha Inchley
Mercedes Weber
Mindy Bingamon 
Miriam van Eyden
Paula Dobson
Rochelle Blok
Shannon Lane
Sylwia Schreck 
Tanya Boser

 

 

Update Time!

I’m sure you have noticed quite a decrease in the amount I’ve been posting lately.  The truth is I’m swamped with my classes.  I added a class for the later portion of the Fall schedule, and I’m quickly finding out that two classes are BRUTAL.

The amount of reading is the biggest obstacle.  I find myself reading EVERYWHERE. Average per week is around 90-120 pages. I love to read, but even that is a lot for me.   The books go everywhere with me and if I get the chance to soak up a few pages, I will.

This semester I’m taking Philosophy and a Global Missions class.  The classes are amazing, and I love both of them.  Philosophy has my eyeballs spinning most of the time, but it’s so exciting.  The key is I’m surviving, and my family is super supportive.  Makes my heart happy.

 

Happy Kids!

It’s also been a hectic year for the kids.  It seems like there is always something going on.  Honestly, it’s never a dull moment. I must admit that I love that also.  The kids are super happy, doing great in school and overall enjoying life.

 

Happy Husband!

Russ is busy fixing up his Mustangs, and our garage now looks like a car shop.  I’m happy that he’s happy and has found something enjoyable to do in his spare time.  His new job that he’s been involved with has been great, and the transition from military to civilian life is finally setting in.  For those of you that have done this before, you know it’s not easy.  The change was challenging.  It’s a new way of life, but God is so good, and he’s blessed us abundantly.

We are a super grateful people.   It’s pretty impressive when I look back FOUR years ago when Russ had his stroke, and now he’s putting Mustang parts together in the living room.  This is precisely what I mean when I say God is GOOD.

 

Trip of a Lifetime!

Next month Russ and I are taking ourselves and our kids on a trip of a lifetime.  We are headed to Israel to visit the Holy Land.  I am beyond excited and happy that we can take our children to experience this with us.  We are also over the moon that we will be experiencing this with our Pastor and his wife, and he will be narrating the biblical portions of our trip.  Oh, my word… I’m giddy.  I will let you know how that trip goes and I’m sure there will be an abundance of pictures and my thoughts expressed.

 

Season of Life

While I know blogging has taken a back seat during a new season of my life, please know I’m still at work in my stamp room, just at a slower pace.  God has placed me in this season for a reason, and I love the journey.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1000x… MY plans are not HIS.  I’m following His plan, and it’s SO good.  It’s not easy, but most things in this life on earth are not.

Next month I will be sharing my last project as a Stampin’ Up! Artisan.  It’s bittersweet.  It’s been such a fantastic experience over the last two years.  I’m thankful for Stampin’ Up! whose giving me such a wonderful opportunity and most of all believing in my abilities.  Who knew 14 years ago I’d be able to do something so awesome like Artisan? Two years in a ROW!!  What a blessing.

 

You are Loved!

Lastly, I love you for reading, the comments you have left and the sweet emails.  Your encouragement is heartfelt, and I can’t express enough gratitude.  XOXOXOXO

 

 

 

Price: $110.00