Tuesday, April 2, 2013

easter 2013

"God sent His son, they called Him Jesus.
He came to love, heal and forgive.
He lived and died to buy my pardon.
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives."
Because He Lives
Bill & Gloria Gaither


"Lord, by such things people live;
and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health and let me live...
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins behind your back...
The living, the living-they praise you,
as I am doing today;
parents tell their children about your faithfulness."
Isaiah 38:16-17, 19-20










Thursday, March 14, 2013

Some trip details before we begin.

The Schedule:
The make-up of each day is pretty similar.  Wake up call at 6:00, hotel breakfast at 7:00 and by 8:00 each morning the bus is pulling out, headed for our first destination of the day.  Israel is still on its winter schedule so almost all of the national parks/tourist spots close at 4:00.  We’re usually back at the hotel a little before dinner time.  Danny and I struggle not to take a nap before dinner and so far, we haven’t been successful. :)  After a big day of touring, I just want to put my feet up.  When I do, the jet lag + pregnancy fatigue overpower me and I pass out quickly.

The Guides:
Ronnie is our tour guide. 
He was born in Manhattan, New York but has been an Israeli citizen for the past 40 years.  He speaks Hebrew and English interchangeably and has a wealth of knowledge on the country of Israel.  He’s on the bus microphone throughout the day explaining everything from daily life during the time of Jesus to what kind of trees we’re passing along the road.  We can ask him all kinds of questions and his quick wit and sarcastic humor keep us laughing all day long.  When we get to a site he gives us a quick historical rundown of where we are before handing it over to one of our Bible teachers.  Ronnie is also in charge of our schedule.  He makes sure we’re on time and he’s in constant contact with the tour agency should any tweaks need to be made for security reasons.  (As far as I know, that hasn’t happened yet.)

Dr. Bramer, Dr. Bailey and Dr. Dyer are our Bible scholars.

  They lead us in worship at most of our stops.  Then we walk through Scripture under their incredible knowledge, authority and authenticity.  They don’t hold back from personal testimony (pretty or not) and like Ronnie, are engaged and approachable throughout the day.  In other words, you can ask them anything and they don’t treat you like it’s the most ridiculous question they’ve heard all day.

  The Group:
Our tour group is made up of one hundred people from all over the country.  About half are here with their spouses.  Some brought their children.  We range from elementary school to age 71.  We’re traveling on two big buses that were assigned before we arrived.  Sometimes they combine our groups for an on site teaching, other times we stay divided.

The Land:
Israel is about the size of New Jersey.  The rainy season is just about over so everything is the greenest it will be all year long.  In a couple of weeks, everything will turn brown.  The weather has been all over the map.  In Galilee it was 70, at the Red Sea it was 90.  When we go to Jerusalem it will be half that warm.  There are mountains everywhere!  At one point when we were driving north we could see the Mediterranean on our left and mountains on our right.  If you drive for thirty minutes, you’ll see something completely different.  It’s amazing how many kinds of geography are crammed into such a small country. 
The Food:
The food is predominately Mediterranean.  Lots of pickled vegetables, marinated salads and fish.  This meat and potatoes girl is doing pretty well.  My nurse practitioner warned me, “Now don’t go crazy.”  I did have this for lunch the other day:
It’s totally out of character for me, but it came from the Sea of Galilee!  The meat was good once you cut past the eyeballs. :)  We take snacks we brought from home to hold us over until the next meal.  I can’t say we aren’t planning our first meal when we land back in the States.  :)


The Technology
One of the most helpful details of our trip is our headset.  We were each given a portable listening device.  It’s a little pack we wear around our neck with an attached earpiece. 
  It’s connected wirelessly to our guide’s headset so when he’s speaking we can clearly hear him from any distance.  It’s so nice because I can walk around a site taking pictures and still hear every word he’s saying from 50 yards away.  And it’s a huge time saver.  No yelling across the way to gather everyone together when it’s time to get back on the bus.  I love, love, love my headset!

Ok, that's it for some of the nitty, gritty.  Next update will include some of the amazing sites!

Monday, March 11, 2013

in Israel

We're in Israel!!!  The land promised to the Patriarchs, conquered by Joshua and divided among the twelve tribes.  Traversed by Elijah, ruled by King David and inhabited by its Messiah during his entire earthly life.  The land of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and now...three of the Hintons!

It's a long, incredible story of how we got here.  Unfortunately we had to shell out money for 24 hours of wireless Internet, so I want to get through as many updates as I can.  Fingers crossed our next hotel will provide it for free, but we won't know until we get there.

Short version?

Danny and I have known for a while we'd love to travel to Israel...someday.  Someday meaning when the girls are grown, college and weddings are paid for and we're living happily in the realm of retirement.  So we put it on the bucket list.

For some reason, through a series of events only God could have foreseen and orchestrated, He plucked our Israel dream out of our very distant future and stuck it here, in our right now.

While the pre-travel arrangements have been seamless, I can't say they've been easy.  The week before we left I had a handful of melt downs and wondered if Dan would have to medicate me to get me on the plane.  The morning we were set to depart, one glance at the girls' toothbrushes set the waterworks flowing.

All I can say is, thank goodness for Super Nana.  And the prayers of many friends.

Reese was a hoot at the airport.  She was bouncing around, high on Nana's arrival.  It made it easier to fight back the tears until we rounded the corner, out of sight and headed for security.

Friday night we flew out of JFK.  (We took two flights to get there.)  For our international leg, we flew on the biggest airplane I have ever seen.  In hindsight I wish I had taken a picture of it to show Reese.  It had two stories and I was dying to know who/what was upstairs  The rest of us riffraff had to stay downstairs.  Kind of like the Downton Abbey of flying.

The flight wasn't bad.  They turned off all the lights so everyone could sleep.  I was under strict orders from my nurse practitioner to get up and walk every hour.  I felt a little high maintenance, but I wasn't about to get all the way over here and risk ruining the trip with health complications I could have avoided.  There were tons of movies and TV shows to keep us occupied and I watched a few in between cat naps.  Dan helped me keep track of my walking schedule.  They served us breakfast about an hour before we landed.  By that time it was afternoon in Tel Aviv.
 (This was the live map we could watch on our little seat back screen.)

After a small hiccup in customs, we met up with the rest of our group, boarded our big touring bus and headed north.  Our first hotel was on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  We arrived at sunset and took in the view before eating dinner and collapsing into bed. 

We slept like babies.  The next morning I took a few more pictures from our hotel room.

After breakfast we boarded the bus and headed north along the Mediterranean coast.  It was time for our first full day of touring!

Monday, March 4, 2013

drum roll please...


The sisters have some news about our newest addition...


Hugs all around!


"For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands." 
Psalm 92:4

Monday, January 14, 2013

breaking the blog silence :)


It's about time I update our blog with what's been going on with our little family.  


Another member is on the way, due to arrive this July.  
Let the fun/chaos continue!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

tired baby

Happy Auntie.