Tag Archives: travel

A Walk Through The Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, Israel
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me…The Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, Israel
…And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:36-46
The Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, Israel

The Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, Israel
I stood upon the foot of the Mount of Olives, and made my way through the garden, the very one where Jesus was betrayed and arrested. There eight olive trees stand, tall and strong. They are said to be the silent witnesses of Jesus’ prayer and suffering the evening before His crucifixion. I was fixated on their roots and trunks. Thinking how small they must have been when Jesus sat near them, heavy burdened with a sorrowful soul, even to death. I found myself dwelling upon the words He prayed that night in the garden. I couldn’t help but think of how often my prayers are incomplete. It is easy for me to recognize The Lord’s faithfulness when he answers prayers, heals wounds, performs miracles – when He takes our cup from us so that we suffer no more. But that wasn’t the case for Jesus. He doesn’t get his miracle. Rather, he is betrayed by a friend and sentenced to death. He carries the weight of the very cross he will hang from while life slowly drips from his being. He enters in to the depths of sorrow instead of being given a chance to escape them. What would have happened had the Lord answered Jesus’ plea to take his cup from him? My mind has never thought so intently on how powerful this is. Jesus had to die so that He could rise. He had to suffer so that redemption could be made full. And in doing so, he knows what it is like for his people when they, too, don’t get their miracle. It is in the midst of sorrow, darkness, and death that The Lord redeems his people. Our Savior comes as a result of saying “not as I will, but as you will”. Oh, the hope that brings to my spirit. May we look to the Cross not ending our prayers with our pleas, but with hearts that desire Thy will be done over our own. 

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Camping with Bedouins in Wadi Rum

Camping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett Blog
When Greg’s dad was visiting us, we took a trip back to Jordan to go camping with the bedouins in Wadi Rum (“The Valley of the Moon” in Arabic). If you’ve seen Lawrence of Arabia, this is the place where most of the movie was filmed. Apart from the bedouins and tourists that come to visit, no other inhabitants roam this vast land. We spent the first part of our trip with our guides in the village before riding camels to a natural well…
Camping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett Blog Camping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett Blog Camping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett Blog
After our camel ride we transferred to an old pickup. Our guide drove us around to see all the major sites in the wadi for a few hours…
Camping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett Blog
And, yes, Remy even napped…just like this! We were laughing, too. It’s amazing how well kids learn to adapt. Not to mention the sun and hiking probably wore him out…Camping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett Blog
As the sun started to set beyond the peaks, we made our way to the campsite for the eve. Greg, Remy and I shared one of the dark grey canvas tents pictured below. Don’t be fooled, though. No glamping here! The accommodations were as minimal as they come. But that is all part of the experience and we didn’t mind. The long tent situated away from the smaller ones is where we gathered for hot tea (a bedouin custom) and dinner around the campfire…Camping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett BlogCamping with Bedouin in Wadi Rum, Maison Everett Blog
Wadi Rum is an absolutely gorgeous landscape. Being able to meet the locals, spend time with them and see their way of doing life made it an experience we will not soon forget. This trip may be the one I’m most excited to share with Remy when he gets older. Not every kid gets to say their first camping experience included bedouins and camel rides! Greg likes to joke that Remy will have better stories than our other kids one day;) I just say we’ll have to keep an open mind and continue to say ‘yes’ to opportunities that come our way! 

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Christmas in Bethlehem | Part Two

Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
(Read part one of this story here). We woke up on Christmas Eve to the early morning light and the crow of a rooster from a home nearby. I joined the sisters in the convent chapel as they sang Latin hymns and a visiting priest from Colorado said mass. It was a peaceful start to what would become a loud, boisterous day. As the town began to prepare for the day’s events, we could hear drums and bagpipes drifting from streets below. Parades marched through the streets all day and the celebrations lasted long into the night.
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett in Bethlehem
Our little music lover couldn’t get ten feet without wanting to stomp and dance…
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
We made our way through the crowds over to a more quiet street that led to The Milk Grotto. Tradition says that Joseph, Mary and Jesus found shelter in this cave during the Slaughter of the Innocents, before their flight to Egypt. It gets its name from the belief that a drop of Mary’s milk fell to the ground turning the entire cave white. It serves as a pilgrimage site where many women, both Christmas and Muslim alike, will pray for wombs that are barren and for the gift of life. There is a chapel (left) that is built over the grotto (right)…
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
Further down the same road, we passed several woodworking shops. There were a few men working that day, and they invited us in to show how they make everything – the nativity sets, rosaries, ornaments, all the other wooden pieces in the shops – by hand. All of them were so excited that were made the visit, and per usual, they all adored Remy.
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
He carved out a piece just for Remy to take with him. It was his own little puzzle…
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
We continued on, back down toward Manger Square where the crowds and marching bands congregated outside of Saint Catherine Church – the church where they hold midnight mass every Christmas. We attempted to get tickets months in advance but it didn’t work out. I don’t think I would have gone anyway because the crowds were a little overwhelming, and the mass lasted 2.5 hours…mostly in Arabic! Instead, we enjoyed a traditional Christmas Eve dinner at the convent with the sisters and other guests. The warmth and comfort of a delicious home-cooked meal was the perfect way to end the day.
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
Christmas in Bethlehem, Maison Everett Blog
We enjoyed breakfast on Christmas morning, and then made the trip back to Tel Aviv to celebrate Christmas as a family (grandma was with us, too). It was one we’ll never forget!

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Christmas in Bethlehem | Part One

Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
Spending Christmas in Bethlehem was the one experience we really wanted to make happen during our time in Israel. In the weeks prior to our trip there had been conflict in the West Bank – where Bethlehem is located – so we were a bit hesitant to go. But as Christmas drew near we knew we couldn’t pass up this opportunity. When else will we ever have the chance to celebrate Jesus’ birthday in his hometown? So on the eve of Christmas Eve we made our way to Bethlehem. It was a trip we’ll never forget. We made arrangements to stay at Mary’s House, a pilgrimage home run by the Bridgettine Sisters. It is a quiet oasis located just off the main roads away from the crowds and boisterous activities. Staying here was one of my favorite parts of our trip…
Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
This was the view out of our window where we could see the town of Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity – the church that marks the place where Jesus was born…Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
After getting settled in, we made our way through the streets down to Afteem to get a taste of the best falafel in town. They were preparing the falafel right on the street and all of the food exceeded our expectations. Authentic Palestinian falafel, hummus and foul with fresh vegetables and warm pita. (Foul, pronounced ”fool”, is similar to hummus but made with fava beans). Absolutely delicious. It reminded me of our meals in Amman. Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
If you are wondering how we manage to eat out with a two-year-old during our travels, it involves a lot of patience…and silliness. Good thing they love kids here! Remy finds himself quite amusing when he smiles with his eyes closed nowadays. I don’t mind because it is pretty cute if I say so myself…
Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
Afteem is located just off Manger Square, which is the central square of the town. The huge Christmas tree and manger stood next to a stage where all the people congregated for Christmas festivities. I’m glad we arrived a day before Christmas Eve because it gave us a change to visit the square before it became too crowded.
Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
While we were down there, one of the men working by the tree picked up Remy and let him inside the gates for a photo. The ornaments were as big as his head!
Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
Similar to back in the states, the festivities heavily revolve around the children. I wasn’t expecting to see Santa but he actually made an appearance handing out treat bags to all the kids in the square.
Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
We weren’t planning to visit the Church of the Nativity until the next day but decided last minute to go in before heading in the for the night. While inside, a tour guide grew a liking to Remy, and he started guiding me around, talking in broken English and taking me down a flight of stairs. I had no idea where we were going. Before I knew it we were down inside the Grotto of the Nativity, standing in front of the spot where it is thought that Jesus was born. The kind guide wanted to get us down there before we missed the chance since they were closing in five minutes. I’m so thankful he did. We even had a rare moment when there were no other people around to get these photographs of my sweet boy in the place where Jesus came into this world and was first laid to sleep…
Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem
As we walked back to our room, all of the lights were glowing throughout the streets and alleyways. We could hear bagpipes and drums coming from inside a courtyard where a band prepared for their march in the Christmas Eve parade. We retired early knowing the next day was going to be a long one. I’ll share all about it in part two of our Christmas in Bethlehem tomorrow. Until then… (Update: read part two of this story here).
Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem Bethlehem in Christmas, Maison Everett Blog in Bethlehem

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A Trip to the Carmel Market

Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market Maison Everett at the Carmel Market, Tel Aviv's Open-Air Market
I wish I could take each of you with me through my ‘grocery shopping’ experience, but since that isn’t possible I thought a visual trip would be second best. I walk past these scenes at least once every couple of days. The Carmel Shuk – an open-air market is called a “shuk” in Hebrew – is directly at the end of our street. It is full of fresh produce, meats and foods that are set out every morning and picked up as the sun begins to set every eve. You get a real sense of the brazen culture strolling through the shuk. The sites and aromas just overwhelm your senses. There are stalls and stalls of vendors, and I’ve gotten into a rhythm with whom I visit and for what purpose. Like the wonderful man in the last photograph – he is my go-to vegetable vendor. He will swap out a vegetable if I’ve chosen one that is not as fresh as it should be and likes to help me with my basic hebrew. It makes shopping an entirely different experience than the typical grocery store – there are several throughout the city but we rarely need them. If we are out of something first thing in the morning, or before I start to cook a meal, one of us can simply run right down the street to pick it up and be back within 5 minutes. It’s one thing I will miss the most when we leave Tel Aviv. But for now, I’m thankful to have it right outside our front door.

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