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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.

Confessions, Travel

Half Moon Bay, CA

Coast
We travel quite a bit with McD's job, and I can honestly say that we would never be able to stay at these nice places if it weren't business related.

Let me tell you about this last trip.

We went to Half Moon Bay, CA, and stayed at the Ritz-Carlton. (I told you we wouldn't be able to go to these places.)

The photo above is just one of the many beautiful views from the coastal trail.

Bridge
This photo is also from the coastal trail. There is a nice little bridge with this view out onto the ocean. The air coming off of the water was so cold that we each snapped a photo, and then moved on.

Yes, I said the air coming off of the water was so cold. This is not your sunny California location. This was the forecast for the week we were there.

Weather
Our first day there was sunny, and felt warmer than 57 degrees. After that, it was misting, chilly, and cloud covered, but it was still beautiful!!

ChairsKinda pretty, huh?

Keylime
This is the best Key Lime Pie I have ever eaten, nevermind it was the first piece I ever ate. 🙂 If you have a chance to go to Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay, you must eat a piece of this pie.

Hairlessdog
It is kind of hard to tell what this is, but you know I will tell you. This is a semi-hairless dog. It was the ugliest dog I have ever seen in person. It was very friendly, but certainly not one of the dogs I wanted to pet.

That day McD was free for lunch, so we headed to Pasta Moon in town, and I have to say that was the best Italian food I have ever eaten. It is true Italian food, and all of the pasta is made there on site. Yum!!!

Menu

This is the menu for the last night we were there. It looks like a lot of food when it is all printed up like this.

Here's the salad.

Salad

And the entree.

EntreeThe prawn were on a plate of their own, and I was happy to share them with one of our friends at our table. I did eat the short ribs and potatoes. I was still a little hungry, so when I received a text from my friend telling me that they had a surprise for me I was pretty excited! She wasn't feeling well, so she and her husband skipped the last dinner. I was sending her photos of the meal that she was missing. 🙂

My surprise? Well, it was a fabulous piece of Key Lime Pie from Sam's Chowder House!!  The only problem was that I didn't have any silverware in my room. The only thing that looked like it could be used as a utensil was a Ritz stamped shoe horn. Don't worry, I didn't. I tore that box apart and ate it right out of the box. 🙂 Where there is a will, there is a way!

 

Travel

Together – in(RL)

In(RL)
In 2006, I never dreamt that I would actually meet Robin (Pensieve) in real life. It just so happened that we were able to meet face-to-face at the in(courage) in(RL) event.

in(RL) = in (RealLife)

It was their second year hosting this upside down conference, their words not mine. Women
can tune into a webcast from home on Friday and then on Saturday join in via
their computer screens and connect with other (in)courage readers and
new friends right in their own community. (I was completely out of my community, but quickly made new friends.)

TogetherLL
Exclusively designed by Lisa Leonard for (in)courage, this necklace
beautifully reminds women of the importance of community…..coming
together to share, listen, and encourage one another.  Robin was such a sweetheart, and gave me my very own ((together)) necklace. We were finally together!

Everything seemed so fitting – in(RL), ((together)), friends. It was perfect!!

At one point during the day, I caught myself staring at Robin. There were many thoughts going through my head. First of all, I was really there, sitting in her house, watching her television (we watched everything on DVD), and mingling with her friends. I wasn't dreaming! I thanked God for giving me the opportunity to finally get to hug her neck, and for putting such an inspirtational woman in my life. God is really, really good to me!

This was my first in(RL), and I am looking forward to many more! I hope next time you will join me!

Mission Trips, Travel

Thankful Thursday – Jan. 10, 2013

Hondo12Team
Last month, December 2012, I went on my very first mission trip and this is a photo of our team. Let me introduce you to everyone. From the top, left to right: Trey, me, Amber, Jessica, Stephanie, Granny, Vanessa. Middle, left to right: Daryl, Bob, Jeff, Rob, Grant. Bottom, left to right: John, Shawn, Grant, Ronnie, Bob, Danny, Cory.

I feel bad because I can't recall where everyone is from, but I can tell you that our team represents at least four states. We were all brought together by God, to do work in His name. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of this team.

I went for weeks thinking that the next mission trip I could go on would be in July, and the timing of that one just isn't right for me this year. It would take a lot of sacrifice on my part, and I am praying about that. But then last week, Trey posted on Facebook that there is a trip this month, and it just so happened that there was at least one person that ended up not being able to go. I immediately sent him a message telling him that I was very interested in going.

Fast forward a few days. I spoke to Trey, got the details on the trip, and told him that I would have to talk to McD, but that I would get back with him. He gave me twenty-four hours. Six hours later, I told him that I was going!

I am so thankful for this opportunity to go and serve our Lord!

It is a new team, and I will only know one person (Trey) going. So, I will get to meet new people too!

If you don't mind, please keep me and the rest of our team in your prayers as we go to Mexico City.

Now, what are you thankful for today?

Family, Photos, Travel

Life, Lessons, & Love

Let's see, where shall I begin?

I have been living life instead of blogging, and I have really missed it.  I have thought about blogging while I'll be going and doing, but haven't sat down to actually write. 

Hopefully I will get back in the groove.  I've been reading a lot of new books to review, trying new recipes, will be planting a garden soon, traveling, etc.  So, I do have material to write about.  I even have some photos. Imagine that.

Speaking of travel, I recently went to Hawaii. 

It was beautiful!! Rainy, but still beautiful!

One day the sun came out while we were in our room, and as we all noticed the spectacular view I know I heard all of us inhale as it took our breathe away.

ACR_4315H
This photo doesn't do it justice, but this is the view from our room.  I should say that this photo has not been edited at all.  I resized it, and here it is. 

I learned a valuable lesson while in Hawaii.  Don't go to Hawaii during the rainy season, and expect to lay on the beach. We were able to walk on the beach though, and that was nice.

Something else I learned was that fruit and vegetables taste so much better in Hawaii.  I am not kidding.  Oh, and french fries with truffle oil are delicious!  If you ever get the chance to eat at the Truffle Fries at the Yard House take it!

I absolutely positively love these two ladies. 

ACR_4319H
This is my seester, Jenn and my Granny. 

I will tell you more about our trip next week, but I wanted to profess my love for them both here today.  They already know how much I love them, but I wanted you to know too.  Plus, I like this photo of them.

My seester and I haven't spent a whole lot of time together, so this trip was super special for me.  We shared clothes (a first), make-up, she painted my toes (another first), laughs, looks, etc.  We will never forget this trip that Granny was kind enough to take us on.  Hopefully it won't be the last trip we all take together.

Be sure to come back tomorrow.  I am having a giveaway that you won't want to miss. 

(Hint: PW)

Travel

Was That A Rat?

ACR_3779
Let me introduce all of you to Kevin.  Kevin is the one on the left, not the security guard. 

Yesterday, I shared with you our dining experience at Fogo De Chao, and I mentioned that there was a funny story about our walk back to the hotel.  Well, here it is.

The restaurant was a few blocks from our hotel, and our hotel was right across the street from Freedom Plaza.  Freedom Plaza just so happens to be where they have one of the Occupy D.C. camps.  More on that another day.

There we were, eighteen of us, walking back to the hotel.  Kevin wanted to walk by the Occupy camp, and I told him I would walk with him.  Everyone else stayed on the opposite side of the street.  As we were walking through the crosswalk, he told me that he would be my protector and I replied that I hoped so.  Of course, we were laughing and joking about getting too close to the camp. 

We rounded the corner, and I saw something scurry across the sidewalk, or so I thought I did.  I asked him if he saw that.  He didn't, so I blew it off.  Less than three steps down the sidewalk, I saw something else scurry across the sidewalk so I grabbed Kevin's arm and said I saw rats.  He said he didn't see them, and kind of laughed at me like I might be seeing things.

I turned around to see what was behind us, and there were two rats scurrying across the sidewalk.  But at the same time I was turning around to see the rats running behind us, Kevin saw them running in front of us.  His voice went up two octaves as he half way yelled, "Let's get out of here!" 

Just so you know, I am laughing almost hysterically just thinking about it.

We hightailed it out of there, screaming and laughing the whole way.  Kevin said something about us getting a jay-walking ticket, and I was laughing to hard to respond.  When I saw a rat the size of a small cat coming up out of the sewer, I could've cared less about a jay-walking ticket. 

This could be one of those you just had to be there stories, but it was just too funny for me not to share.  The one thing that keeps me laughing is how Kevin told me he would be my protector right before we saw the rats, and how he sounded like a girl telling me to get out of there. 

Another thing that keeps me laughing is wondering what the people in the Occupy camp thought of us two hillbillies screaming and running from the rats that were running right into their camp.