Thursday, July 31, 2008

Celebration beginning

In the spirit of my birthday week celebration, Wheel of Fortune had this awesome puzzle that I had no trouble solving! I am stoked about my party tomorrow and I have already received two fun birthday cards. Dad says we are going tonight to the public concert in San Marcos as the Patio Boys are preforming. Maybe I will see some of my pals and remind them about my party!

Also, Mom wanted me to add that Mosi and Grace are getting along better-- in fact they are getting to be pretty good friends. I am fine with her because she stays off my food. She does like the same kind of stuff that I do-- meat and ice cream!

Your pal,


Friday, July 25, 2008


Laz, Moses and Grace are all doing well. Grace is particularly interested in playing with my ponytail. She thinks it is her personal toy and will suddenly jump up, cling to my back and swat at it. She is pretty lightfooted, or I would probably scream everytime she did it.

Laz is doing well. His birthday is August 3rd and his party is AUGUST 1st!

Moses is bored. It has been "finding" things to do... With Hurricane Dolly, we have had 5 rainy days, and that makes for a underexercized Pointer. We had wind and a little over an inch of rain.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Grace's Surgery

I had surgery last week because I had a broken tail. I am not sure how it got broken, but Mom took me to the vet and Dr. Long gave me a nub so that I could be like Mosi. I like my new family, but those big dogs take some getting used to. The big all brown one is pretty nice and really stays out of my way. The spotted one is really funny to watch and he wants to play with me a lot, but I still get a little scared because he is so big and fast.

I prefer hanging out with Dad. He is nice and lets me sit on him, sleep with him, and hang out. Mom is great too, but she is the one who took me to the vet so I am still not sure about her true motives. I am very curious to find things out about my new surroundings. Overall, we are all getting along well and doing our best to survive another summer in Texas.



Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Independence Weekend

The pack was busy over the holiday weekend. On the evening of July 3, Dad and Mom went to some concert up near Dallas. It was the opening of Willie's Place-- a truck stop and concert pavilion in one. They got to see a free concert featuring Ray Price, Merle Haggard, and as pictured Willie Nelson. They got home way too late, but they made up for it by having some ice cream before bed.

The next day, we had a super time at Alison's house along the Guadalupe River. I love swimming, tubing, fetching, and playing in the water! We had so much fun that I convinced the pack to go back the next day too! Moses was in charge of local security and took his job very seriously, and I was in charge of water activities and keeping everyone happy. We got to eat some wonderful brisket and chicken too. It was fabulous.

Your pal,


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Jerusalem Highlights

Our final stop on the tour was five days in Jerusalem. This was an amazing time because it is so clear that this ground is the center of the spiritual world. It is important to the Hebrews and the followers of Islam because of their connection with Abraham. It is important to Christians for that reason and also because of the encounters Christ had in this place. It is also fascinating because of the history of urbanization, conquest, and technology.

The first photo is of me walking through Hezekiah's tunnel. This is a huge water conduit flowing from the Kidron Springs in the super old City of David up hill toward the more modern "Old City." These tunnels were hewn out of limestone around 700 BC and required significant engineering and manpower. They still carry water, but that water is no longer used for municipal uses, but at the end of the tunnel is the Pool of Siloam where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:1-12).

The second photo is of Julie and I in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is basically an olive orchard, but the amazing thing is that the olive trees are very old and may have been there 2000 years ago. This is probably not likely, but still these old trees have seen a number of pilgrims come through in their lifetimes. (Mark 14:32-42)

The last photo is of the 1st station of the Cross which is the site believed to be where Pontius Pilate asked the Jews who they wanted released-- Jesus or the known criminal Barabbas. This site is deep in the Islamic Quarter of the city, and very few people actually know how to get there. We were struck by how God's plan for salvation used local political officials as well as known religious entities (Chief Priests) to execute the plan. (John 19:1-16)



Friday, July 04, 2008

West Bank Highlights

We spent some time in and out of the West Bank Palestinian area. Our first stop was Jericho which is believed to be the oldest city on earth. It is an oasis in the midst of the desert and the city is currently controlled by the Palestinian authority. There were a lot of sheep and goat herders in the area and the major agricultural product were dates which we learned are considered "wild honey" in antiquity. So when John the Baptist lived in the wilderness and ate wild honey (Mark 1:6) his diet consisted of locusts and dates. Julie and Alison here pose with a camel in Jericho who had come into town to get a drink and hosed off.

The next photo is me at the Dead Sea after we had used some Dead Sea mud to exfoliate or something like that. I wanted to see what I would look like with a Lincoln Beard I think it looks pretty good. The one problem is that my beard would not naturally come in so dark. The Dead Sea water was pretty cool just underneath the surface, but getting to that water in a buoyant state was difficult.

The final photo is of Julie inside Cave #1 at Qumran. This is the cave that a Palestinian shepherd boy found the first part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. These were ancient texts of many parts of the Torah or Old Testament and they are so important because the words in these scrolls that date back to the time of Christ are the same as our Torah today. They also did include the non-Canon Apocrypha which were Jewish texts that were not included in the Christian Bible during times of the early church. This was not an easy climb to reach this cave up steep talus slopes, but it was worth the effort.



Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Highlights from Galilee

The first third of our trip was spent in Galilee with accommodations in Nazareth and Ramot. This was an incredible part of the trip. Just about everywhere you would look across the horizon, there was some place where Jesus had done some teaching or healing. The first picture shows the location that is believed to be the place of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20). At this spot, I was overwhelmed with fullness from the Holy Spirit. The Sea of Galilee is in the background, and on the stone are numerous markings from Christian Pilgrims from the Byzantine, Crusades, and other periods over the last 2000 years.

The second photo is the location where Jesus appears to Peter, Thomas, and Nathaniel and cooks them breakfast and tells Peter that he is the rock that he will build the church upon (John 21:1-25). In the background is a Franciscan Church dedicated to this event. I chose to highlight these two locations in this blog because they are sites and locations Jesus appeared after the resurrection! While it is not difficult to prove that Jesus from Nazareth existed through historical writings, the important thing for believers is to understand the power of the resurrection and believe that he was God and man.

The third photo shows the ruins of Herod the Great's palace in Caesarea. While Herod is not held in esteem by the scriptures, this is an important spot in early Christian history because this is the sea port the Apostle Paul used on his 1st and 3rd missionary journey throughout the Mediterranean Sea region. He was also imprisoned for a time in Caesarea and likely formed and wrote some of his letters from this location. For those of you who know me well, it should be of no surprise that I went swimming in these waters while the group looked at some amphitheater ruins. The only thing missing was Lazie!

There were many other incredible and important locales we visited in Galilee and even into the Golan Heights, but these were some of my favorites. I hope that you enjoy this reading and that you may come closer to Christ in your daily walk.



Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Holy Land Trip Overview

Julie and I returned on Sunday from a wonderful 15 day excursion to Israel, Palestine, and (depending on who you ask) Syria. While many in our group were very spiritually fulfilled, I was also academically juiced because I teach about Geopolitics and defensive urbanism which are so deeply embedded in this landscape.

We began touring through Galilee, and the first photo is of Julie and I on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Fortunately, this area has not been over developed so it is a place where one could really imagine Jesus carrying out his ministry. Behind us is the North Coast where the Beatitudes were taught and where Simon Peter lived and worked.

We then traveled south toward the Dead Sea. I am pictured floating with my legs crossed. The Dead Sea itself was a bit of a disappointment because the water is full of numerous dissolved solids like Aluminum, Potassium, and Barium so the water was heavy and soapy. The highlight of this portion of the trip was hiking to Cave #1 in Quemran where the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls was found. We left the kibbutz at 5:45 AM to make the 45 minute climb before it became too hot.

Lastly, we spent five days in Jerusalem. The photo is of us standing on the Mt. of Olives with the Dome of the Rock (gold dome) in the background. The Dome sits on what is believed to be the site Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac. Our accommodations were in the Old City and we were able to walk so many of the places that Jesus would have been. The most poignant were the 14 "Stations of the Cross" which wind their way through the Islamic Quarter to the Christian Quarter and end at the Church of the Holy Sepulchure which is believed to sit on top of Golgotha. While the story is sad, fortunately the ending was great because as Christians-- we celebrate the Resurrection!

More details will come in the following days, but we wanted to get this posted soon.