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the sea of galilee | juliekmccomas.com
Faith, Travel

One of My Favorite Places on Earth – Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee was so peaceful that day. It was almost hard to imagine a storm big enough to make the disciples fear for their lives happening here.

“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”  Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!””

Matthew 8:23-27

on the sea of galilee | juliekmccomas.com

The Sea of Galilee isn’t exactly the kind of “sea” you are thinking about.  It is a lake.  Sea means basin, so it is a large basin of water.  My family spent lots of time on the lake when I was a kid, and I have some of the best memories from then.  But, I cannot remember there ever being a storm so big and bad on the lake that we were scared for our lives.  Granted, the boats we were on had motors, and were not an oversized canoe looking boat.

While I sat on the tour boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee I felt a calm like I’ve never felt before.  I could say it was because I love being at the lake, in a boat with fish jumping all around me, and bonus, it was a beautiful day.  But I don’t believe that was the reason.  I believe with all my heart that it was because I asked God to be with me, for the Holy Spirit to reveal to me the places Jesus spent time, and He did! I can’t explain it, but there were only a few places I had the same feeling, and I believe it was God answering my prayer.

selfie on the sea of galilee | juliekmccomas.com

This was at the beginning of our boat ride, and we were so thankful that it was a calm day.  We both have issues with motion sickness, and had even thought about skipping the boat ride.  We are so glad we didn’t miss it.

at peace on the sea of galilee | juliekmccomas.com

Let me tell you what is happening in this photo.

This is my dear, dear friend Sandy.  She was brave enough to embark on this journey with me, to put up with me for 24/7 for 16 days, and I love her more today than ever! She has truly blessed my life!

On the right you can see the platform that I was sitting on, and taking in the absolute beauty that surrounded us.  I was imagining the people looking across the lake at the crowd of people gathered to hear Jesus teach, and them heading in his direction to see what all the fuss was about.  I don’t know what Sandy was thinking about while she stood at the side of the boat, but I know she was at peace. (We discussed it later.)  The men in charge of the boat tour started playing worship music as we headed back to shore, and we were singing along.  It was perfect.  I can close my eyes and put myself right back on that boat, and I can feel that calm all over again.

God is so good about calming things in me.  Being on the Sea of Galilee reminded me that I always need to ask God to calm my storms.  I have known that all along, and going half way around the world didn’t suddenly bring that to light.  I just need to remember that daily.  I can almost hear Him saying, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

Imagined Nativity Scene | juliekmccomas.com
Faith, Travel

I’ll Never Look At A Nativity Scene The Same Again

Most of us have been taught about the birth of Jesus all of our lives.  We have been told how there was no room at the inn, and we have visions of Mary and Joseph in a stable with baby Jesus in a manger.

By definition, a manger is a trough or an open box in a stable designed to hold feed for livestock.  All my life I’ve imagined a stable and a manger to be made of wood, and be a cute little scene for the story of the birth of Jesus.  I imagined a wooden manger filled with soft hay for the newborn baby.

Manger with straw | juliekmccomas.com

Does this look about right?

Well, hang on to your hat because it isn’t the kind of manger used those days.

A Real Manger | juliekmccomas.com

See what I mean?

Did you have a “What?!?” moment like I did when I first saw it?

The “stable” that Mary and Joseph went into was not a cute little barn looking stable.  It was a cave.  Yes, really.

In the Holy Lands, cities are built on top of cities and churches are built on top of what people considered to be sacred sites.  Below you will see the entrance to the cave where people believe Jesus was born.

Entrance - Jesus's Birth Place | juliekmccomas.com

Today there are several very steep steps going down into the cave.

14 Point Star | juliekmccomas.com

This is the 14-point star that people have placed in the spot they believe Jesus was born.  Almost everyone wanted to kneel down and touch the star.  I honestly don’t believe that this is THE spot where Jesus was born, but I do believe that it resembles the true location.  This is just my opinion, and I know that I could be wrong.

Manger Location | juliekmccomas.com

This was several steps away from the 14-point star, and it is where people believe the manger was that He was placed in.  Here again, I’m not sure this is the exact location, but we played along nicely.

When we think of babies being born into this world we imagine softness.  Soft hay, a wooden manger and not a hollowed out stone, a barn with the moonlight and stars shining bright not a dark cave.  No wonder we like to use the pleasant looking nativity scene at Christmas.  I for one, will never look at a nativity scene the same.

 

Faith, Travel

Spending Time Abroad

Several months ago, March actually, I was asked if my husband and I would be interested in going to the Holy Lands. He couldn’t take off for the 16 day trip, but I could. I talked to my friend, Sandy, and she could get away too. So, for the last week, we have been in Israel! 

We’ve tried new things, taken adventures, walked where Jesus walked, and floated in the Dead Sea. This has been a great trip for both of us! We can now read the Bible and remember what they looked like because we’ve been there.

Coming to the Holy Land is such a personal journey for each individual. Everyone sees the same thing, but we all walk away different. Touched in our own ways. I will never be able to describe this trip. Sure, I can say where I’ve been, but there are some experiences that are just indescribable. This is one of them.

The take away from this is that every Christian should make this trip.

Big News - New Reviewer Lindsey Trammell | juliekmccomas.com
Book Reviews, Reviews, Reviews by Lindsey

Big News – There’s A New Reviewer Here

Big News!!

I have asked one of my best book buddies to write reviews here for all of us to enjoy!   Everyone meet Lindsey!

Lindsey Trammell

Hey! My name is Lindsey, wife to Anthony and mom to Kendall and dog Charlie. We are from and live in Oklahoma. I like Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain…. Just kidding. I love to cook, listen to podcasts, read, and attend group fitness classes. I am just your average yoga pant wearing, nosy, coffee drinking soccer mom with a passion for discussing books.  Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorite genres. I’m always in search for books that will stick with me for a long time no matter the category.

Please give Lindsey a warm welcome!  Friend her on Goodreads. Stick around, she is reading some great books on her upcoming vacation, and I bet she has some reviews for us when she gets home.

So glad to have you contributing your reviews here on my little dot on the web.  Thank you!!

Book Reviews, Read Eat & Be Yappy book club

What I’ve Read Lately – Summer 2016

This summer I have read a lot of books, and listened to some. Here is a quick update on what I’ve been reading and a few thoughts about each title.

orphan train

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline on Amazon

In June, I read Orphan Train for one of our book club reads. I really enjoyed it, and loved the fact that a couple of people in our book club either knew of someone that had been on an orphan train, or a family member had been on one. It was such an interesting discussion time. I really liked the story of Molly and Vivian coming together, and the similarities in each of their stories. Great book!  5 Blooms Review | juliekmccomas.com

the lunar chronicles  Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress by Marissa Meyer on Amazon

Here’s another book club read.  Our book club Read, Eat & Be Yappy, read this whole series. Or some of us did. I think there was a little miscommunication, or just some really anxious readers in our little book club. One month we decided to check the book based on a fairy tale off of our list, and we decided to read Cinder. Here’s the thing, we knew it was a series, but we didn’t know that you wouldn’t know what happened to Cinder and Kai unless you read the whole stinkin’ series. Yep, you read that right! You have to read four books to find out the ending of the story.  The next month we decided that we were going to read the next two books, Scarlet and Cress. And finally the following month we would read the last book in the series, Winter. Well, I missed the memo where everyone was reading all three of the books that next month, and I just read three of them. One day I will read Winter, but probably not anytime soon. I did like the books, not as much as some of the other club members, but I did enjoy them. The first book bleeds into the second, the second bleeds into the third, the third bleeds into the fourth and finally all the stories are tied up into a neat little bow. Or so I gathered in our discussion.

3 blooms review | juliekmccomas.com

I Capture the Castle

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith on Amazon

Okay, so I kinda sorta love a podcast called Sorta Awesome, and Sorta Awesome has a Sorta Awesome group on Facebook that has Sorta Awesome subgroups (for lack of a better word), and in the Sorta Awesome subgroup SortaLiterary we have started a Sorta Literary Traveling Book Club. (Yes, I wrote the name of the podcast five times on purpose! They say if you say something five times then you will remember it. There you go, you are welcome.) The first book I received was I Capture the Castle, and it was quite a bit different than the books I normally choose for myself. It was an easy read. It was basically written as a journal, and we were invited to read this girl’s private thoughts. I enjoyed it, but it isn’t one that I will rave about.

3 blooms review | juliekmccomas.com

The Woman in Cabin 10

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware on Amazon

This past weekend my husband had a business trip in Austin, Texas and I was able to tag along. We typically drive to these meetings if it is twelve hours away or less, so we drove. Our oldest granddaughter had asked for this book, and we had given it to her. I read the synopsis to him and we agreed that it sounded pretty good. I also wanted to “read” it before our granddaughter did to see if it was appropriate for a teenager. It has a lot of f-bombs, but other than that, there is nothing in it that they wouldn’t see on television. (I for one can’t believe what they will show on tv these days. I’m either old or old-fashioned.) We downloaded it from Audible, and y’all, it was so slow! I kept hoping it would get better because I just knew we would be looking for a new book soon if it didn’t. We took a break from it at chapter 5, and then tried it again later. Finally, in chapter 7 things began to pick up. Finally! So glad we gave it another try. We were guessing until the very end. One of us would stop the book to say what they thought was happening, or whodunit, and then two chapters later the other one would do the same thing. This happened over and over. I highly recommend this book, but it only gets four blooms because it was so slow in the beginning.

4 Blooms Review | juliekmccomas.com

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. This basically means that it is a short cut for you to go directly to an item on Amazon.  It doesn’t cost you a thing, and it helps me earn a few pennies (literally, just a few) if you use these links. I repeat, it doesn’t cost you a thing. Happy Clicking!

Confessions, Faith, Giveaways

My One Word for 2016 – Giveaway Added!

WINNER: Pam Wade! Congrats Pam!! Please email me your mailing address and I will have this out ASAP! Thanks for playing along everyone!!!

Edited to add the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post in honor of being featured over at Sweet Jesus Ministries today. Have you seen the movie War Room? Here’s your chance!

Feel free to scroll to the bottom if you have already read all this mumbo jumbo. 🙂

For the past couple of years I’ve jumped on the one word for the new year wagon. I’ve had Focus and Encourage in the past. This year I really struggled to find a word. When I had just about settled on Love, I received a Faithbox in the mail and inside there was a small bag that said…What’s Your Purpose?

Purpose

Purpose or Love? Have I ever told you how much I hate decision making?

Instead of me making the decision for myself, like a big girl would, I prayed about it. I plainly asked God what my word should be for the new year. I explained to the all-knowing Father that I had narrowed it down to two words, love and purpose. Then, all I had to do was wait patiently.

I didn’t have to wait long, because on Day 2 of the January Everyday Faith devotional (comes in your faithbox) it quotes Ravi Zacharias:

When you find your definitions in God, you find the very purpose for which you were created. Put your hand into God’s hand, know His absolutes, demonstrate His love, present His truth, and the message of redemption and transformation will take hold.

Then, on January 3rd this is what was on my God in Every Moment, DayBrightener Perpetual Flip Calendar.

Everything that happens to you has meaning. Every moment of life has purpose. And God doesn’t step away from you for a single second of the journey.

Did you catch that?

When you find your definitions in God, you find the very purpose for which you were created.

Every moment of life has purpose.

Two days after I prayed about my word for the year, a word in which I would pray about and apply to my life all year, started appearing in everywhere. Not only was it in my calendar and my devotional, it was in scriptures we would read in church AND in ladies bible class. The word PURPOSE was everywhere! I felt like my prayer had been answered.

Purpose it is!

One Word - Purpose 2016

Did you choose one word for 2016? Please share! Also, be sure to go to #oneword365 and join a tribe with others that have chosen the same word. It’s a pretty cool website, check it out!  It might even encourage you to choose a word.

I know that I’ve talked about Faithbox a bit in this post. If you are interested in receiving a box full of faith each month, check it out! I’d appreciate it if you would click on this here link to let them know that I referred you. I will be doing a dedicated post on Faithbox in the near future if you aren’t sure about it just yet.

(NOTE: This post contains affiliate links; shopping through them makes me a little money and makes you even prettier than you already are, at no extra cost to you.)

 

Thanks for hanging out with me for a little bit!

Julie K. McComas

 

 

 

P.S.

Today, Friday, January 15, 2016, I am being featured over at Sweet Jesus Ministries. To celebrate, I am having a giveaway! All you have to do is leave a comment. Easy peasy! Don’t put it off, the giveaway ends Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 8pm!

War Room Giveaway | juliekmccomas.com

Again, all you have to do to win this awesome movie is leave a comment. If you can’t think of anything to say, just leave a prayer request. Why a prayer request, you ask? Because this movie is about strategic prayer, and I play on doing some PURPOSEful praying!  Now, you could always follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or just Subscribe to my little ol’ blog.  WINNER is PAM!!! Thanks for playing!

Animals, Confessions

My Helpers

We have a couple of helpers that always go with us to feed the horses and cattle.

GibbsKissing

Although, sometimes they are more ornery than helpful. Here, Gibbs thinks he has to kiss me while I’m trying to drive around. It’s super nice of him, but…

Then the little fart thinks he is sneaky by stealing cubes while I am filling the buckets.

StealingCubesEven though they bark at the cattle and horses, steal feed, and cover me in kisses while I am trying to drive, I will let them keep helping me feed.

 

Confessions, Family

The Best Birthday Tradition

Several years ago I started a new tradition for my husband’s birthday. I’ve written about it in the past, and will make a point to link this post to it. Anywho! Here’s the short version: His birthday is today, December 15, and as a kid he rarely received birthday presents and Christmas presents. So, I made it a point to make his birthday special every year. Nowadays, his birthday starts on December 1st and he gets a present everyday until December 15th. He may get something as small as chocolate, undies or socks, but he does get something each day.

Here are a few of the things he has received so far with links in case you are interested:

Big Bang Theory Calendar 2016We just so happen to love The Big Bang Theory television show!

SpeckPhoneCaseA new phone case.

PrimosTrailCameraA trail camera.

He also got other things like chocolate, undies, whiskey, and beef jerky.  I won’t bore you with the whole list like I have done in the past.

Every year he tells me that I don’t need to do this anymore, but I think he kinda likes it. I plan on doing this for him as long as I can.

Please leave your birthday wishes for him below in the comments!