Three Minutes Fifty One.

My first visit with Dad in ten weeks.

One week before we as New Zealanders went into total Lockdown, the Rest Homes and Aged Care facilities made the decision to go into full Lockdown for the sake of their ailing Residents.  At the time, we were lead to believe that the Coronavirus, Covid-19 or Sars-Covid-2, was most lethal towards the elderly and infirmed.  Unfortunately for our country, this proved to be true.  Most of our small cases of deaths, were indeed in the Rest Homes.

Dealing with not seeing Dad was something that I was consciously aware of when our Prime Minister started to make daily addresses to the public regarding Lockdown.  Then the day hit when I realised there would be no visiting him at all, and I didn’t get the chance to warn him!  However, all was not lost, as I was able to speak to him on the phone, and the home was able to arrange a couple of Skype calls.

Dad was actually quite funny on those Skype calls – he recognised us, but couldn’t understand why our faces were appearing on a computer!  The whole conversation lasted three minutes and fifty one seconds. 

Yes folks, that enabled me to stop worrying indeed.

When I was able to visit Dad eventually after ten weeks, I had to go through a whole routine of sanitisation, form filling and mask wearing.  Dad didn’t even realise it was me until I quickly lifted the mask up so he could see my entire face!

He understood that I wasn’t able to take him out, he actually was more concerned that there were other patients coming up and staring at me, and he was trying to shoo them away J

I have to say, in this instance there was so much unprecedented things happening in our world, but I learnt not to worry about Dad.  The staff again, were utterly brilliant and would keep us informed with emails, texts and the occasional photographs of Dad.  He was being entertained and kept busy, so that relieved a whole lot of pressure off of me.  Phew!

Till next time, be blessed…..Sandi 🙂

SparkleMoon Arising….!

Check out our website http://www.sparklemoonpublishing.net for more details.

It’s been a while in the making, but suddenly we are off and starting to push forward in the artistic direction of one of my authors and the first of her series of six books.

What a blast!

Suffice to say that I never dreamt that I would be helping other authors in this magnitude, or that I would be working with family!

Much to my surprise, I am currently working alongside my brother who is a Master in the world of Advertising and Graphic Art. I didn’t know if my suggestion to collaborate would manifest in anything, and yet here we are meeting and chatting about artwork, book covers, marketing, advertising, photoshoots and all things literary!

To that end, I have made a decision that seems to be a natural progression for me: I am going to rebrand and remarket my novel Mirabelle. I am not completely satisfied that the artwork or the blurb were the best design for me, nor was I happy with my Publisher taking out two important pages in the beginning. Having a Publisher over in the UK whilst I am here in NZ, is not ideal. Whilst I was naive, green and eager three years ago when I landed my Publishing deal, I have learnt a great deal since, and am alot less eager to please. My desire to have part of my story out there in fictional form is good, but it should be more than that. The picture of myself on the inside of the book is a far cry from who I am today, and the profile of me is not me at all now! Gosh how my life has changed, and how things have gained more clarity as the years have passed.

I still am ridiculously excited that I get to help others publish their beautiful literary masterpieces, but I also haven’t finished writing mine either.

I am looking forward to the next few weeks and months and all the decisions that have to be made, the work that has to be done, but also holding that precious first book in the series, in my hands!

The last thing I thought I’d mention, is that we are fundraising towards the cost of the artist and the marketing genius. Please check out our page on Givealittle, and see if you would be willing to donate any amount, towards these important outlays.

https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/helping-nz-authors-be-published

Till next time Dear Ones, be blessed and keep on rocking!

Sandi

Qumran and The Treasure?

Qumran.  En Gedi.  The Dead Sea.  Masada.  All places that I adore, and love visiting whilst in Israel.  Each one of these places seems to call to me, and whilst I appreciate the historical and the Biblical relevance, it seems like there is something more that I am feeling, sensing. 

What if the ground, the very earth that we walked upon, could talk?  What would it say on these particular pieces of land?  What if the earth could find a way of conveying all the history that has taken place on the pieces of land that I love?  What if every fight, war, act of love, life, happiness or treachery had been recorded in the rocks, the very rocks you climb, or sand that shifts beneath your feet – the very dirt you walk on?

Qumran is a place the evokes such mystery and intrigue to me, and yet I sense there is a lesson to be learnt and a tale of intrigue that needs to be uncovered.  The passions of my heart cannot be quantified in just mere words or deeds, it is in what makes me dance, sing, live and explode with abundant joy!  I love Israel, a dead man walking can see that!  But it’s Qumran (of which I have written about briefly in another Israel blog) that makes my heart explode!

It’s those barren looking mountains with all their secrets, that makes me think I am on a mysterious adventure akin to Indiana Jones and all his cohorts.  It was watching Tom Horn of the Skywatch crew, alongside Carl Gallups and Rabbi Zev Porat on the Jim Bakker Show, that eight minutes into the interview, my heart just exploded and I KNEW – Neil and I were going back to Israel.  In twelve days.

“Hang on Lord, where are we going to find that kind of money, will Neil get the time off work and is this MY idea or yours?”  The answers came so clearly and everything panned out.  But Qumran, the visit that nearly didn’t happen, was central in my mind.

Jim Barfield and the Copper Scroll.  Mysteries unfolding before our very eyes.  Wonder. Intrigue.  Hope?  A treasure directly connected to the Old Testament, with even the possibility of the Old Tabernacle being hidden in those mysterious caves.  Gold bullion, coins, objects from the Temple.  Could you imagine?

What if……..write in the words you long to say.

The actual Copper Scroll is housed in Jordan, and overseen by the Jordanians after it’s discovery, several years post the Dead Sea Scrolls (March 14,1952 at the back of Cave 3).  It was put on display at the Jordan Museum in Amman in 2013, and it is there to this day.    

But what does it say, what does it hold, why does it send people digging into the stark hot desert, with little more than a wing or a prayer?

The Copper Scroll is written by five different authors, two of which are suggested to be Haggai and Zechariah, and was discovered behind a wall in Cave 3 of Qumran, sitting on a Scribe’s desk.  In Qumran if you look up in the mountain face, you will see a cave that has been closed up.  It has importance due to the Second Book of Maccabees, that talks about Jeremiah the Prophet hid the treasure of the Temple following Jerusalem’s seige by Babylon.  If that is the case, then there are things in there that demand the building of the Third Temple.  Maccabees tells how they put the Tabernacle of Moses and the altar in the mountain and then sealed it up.

Is Jim Barfield nutty for going to Qumran so many times, for scouting out secret locations of potential treasure, for applying and lobbying to the Israeli government and US congress for permits to dig in this crazy place?

Having had earth penetrating technology testing the ground with the ability to test between metals and two different forensic laboratories testing samples of rock face, it’s safe to say that something is going on in Qumran!

I can’t answer alot of these questions, but I do know that when we got to go there back in 2013 I KNEW something was afoot, but I hadn’t heard of the Copper Scroll or anything like it, back then.  When we went there we got to have a good look all around, including inside the building where many artifacts are displayed.  Some scrolls are hanging on the walls, and many places have been dug, with just as many questions, the further they go. We also got to see from a distance, the original cave that the scrolls were discovered by the young Bedouin boys back in 1947.

I wonder what else these boys, and perhaps the people who got there afterwards, found in that desolate place?

Are there secret rooms and many more caves that have yet to be explored, or is that just wishful thinking?

All I know at this particular time, is that Qumran is very slow in giving up her secrets, but imagine what will happen when she eventually does?!

Next time we look at Shelley Neese and Ken Johnson, with their intriguing connections to Qumran.

In the meantime, check out some of the photos of Qumran we captured in 2013.

50 and The Mask

a filigree mask

I wrote a blog once about de-masking and becoming real. Foolishly, I deleted it. I then went on and deleted all of my blogs. I did print out some of them, but The Mask was not among them! There had been much ado about something or rather, and I felt unsafe blogging. Oh the foolish actions of someone who was too scared to stand and face the very truth that she longed to convey. However, after letting go of some people and opinions, I realised it was time to reflect back and write from the heart, once again.

You know, it’s never too late to take a stand and show the world the true you, the one that has all the sags, bags and wrinkles but knows enough to be sure, and enough to remain humble.

I got confused by someone who used to tell me, that to the public, they would wear a mask.  It just didn’t sit right with me. There was always conflict with them, it was never plain sailing. Speaking one thing to one person, yet saying something entirely different to someone else. Keeping their cards very close to their chest, and yet demanding an audience and trying to have a perception of authority and wisdom. It never worked for me.

I learnt through some very troubling times, that if you indeed are going to wear a mask, then you had better be prepared for the eventuality that it will be ripped off someday. And you had better pray that the Lord does it gently and privately, so as not to seem like a public spectacle or debarcle.

You see, if one is truly authentic and living in the light of God’s love, there is absolutely no reason at all to wear a mask anymore. Who are you trying to hide from and who are you trying to fool? Those with a sense of discernment and any sense of true perception, are going to see right through it, and if they have enough mettle, they will call you on it too.

There’s something about turning fifty, or even just a few weeks beforehand, that made me question alot about my life and come out from behind my self-imposed mask.

I decided to stop dying my hair. I realised there are just some foods I can no longer eat, even though I like them. I have come to love my stretchmarks, they are my badges of pregnancy and carrying such great blessings. After years of of trying to gain my pre-Sammy body, I’ve come to realise that rounded and larger is good too. I love my wrinkles, they show I have lived. I really adore my laughter lines, because my goodness there is still so much joy to share in! I have come to appreciate my boobs are saggy, but they have fed and nurtured my kiddos. I’ve also come to appreciate that I am going through major hormonal changes (menopause) and the greatest gift I can give (apart from nutrition) is love and kindness towards myself. I have found walking my beloved beach to be such a tonic of healing and health, and I have found my love of dancing again!

There are those who want to label me a worshipper, a prophet, an author, a publisher, a this or a that. But what I know for sure is that I am a Watchman and I call out what I see. I am not popular, I never have been and don’t aspire to be. I am not a great Beauty to the world, but I am to my husband and children. I am not a Rockstar, but I love my singing voice – because these days I have come to appreciate I sing for an audience of One. I don’t have anything to prove with my writing or my blogs, I just write what I sense the Lord telling me too. I feel such great sadness and joy within the same moment, and realise that is how the Lord made me, and I know how to manage those emotions now. I see the world and life very differently to a few years ago, and I’m not afraid to live it.

We live in such unprecedented and tumultuous times, we don’t know where or when the next disaster will be. But we know the One who calms the seas, brings Shalom (peace) to the raging heart; gives us joy for sadness; a song instead of a dirge; provision from Heaven; parts the sea of troubles for us to walk right through; hope for the nations and love for all mankind. His name is Yeshua (Jesus) – He alone is our Salvation, our Rock and the strong tower of our Defense, AND the name above ALL names – including Covid-19! We serve a Mighty God who knows the end from the beginning, who writes OUR names upon His hand, who loves us so completely and delights in us abundantly.

I love this time of life, and have continued to embrace all the changes. There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be excited about and so much yet to do.

But the one thing I know for sure, unequivocably and indeliably – you can’t do any of this from living behind a mask!

I Am….

IMG_4529

I existed before time began
I AM
I was present when Creation spun into being
I AM
I was there before the foundation of the world
I AM
I AM the Ruach, the wind, the breath…
I delight to make chaos beautiful
And all things new
I delight in your brokenness
For I alone can fix you and make you whole
Your ‘self serving’, your way
Your belief that ‘I can do anything’
Just look in the rest homes of the Elderly
And you will see that you cannot….
You cannot control what I AM has made
You are but dust and atoms
Gloriously formed within your Mother’s womb
I know you so intricately
So intimately
So….
Lay down your Self, your soul and all her wounds
And watch as I AM breathes on your mess
Watch as I AM makes all things new and beautiful….
Your times are in I AM’s hands
Delight in I AM and know that I AM God!
Trust in I AM simply as a little babe in arms
I AM has carefully placed you in the palm of our hands
And I AM will make you new
So arise Beautiful One and look to see
Your Ruddied Lover, I AM dancing upon the hills
Running to your rescue
To find you and bind your wounds
Together we shall ascend Mt Zion
And I AM will teach you our ways
Come away…..come away with I AM…….

Big Changes Ahead!

The new glasses 😉🤣

Hi folks

It’s been a whirlwind of activity since I got this website back up and running. I don’t recall being so jolly busy, but I am absolutely loving it! Thanks to those of you who have taken the time to read the couple of blogs I have released, and taken the chance to read some of the links I posted. We are certainly living in an interesting time with the Coronavirus – be educated and stay safe peoples 😉

First thing to report, is that Neil and I have started a second company, SparkleMoon Publishing. Neil currently works as a contractor as part of Rodney Communications. We have a desire to come alongside new and not so new authors, writers, poets etc, and collaborate together to bring about a positive outcome for all concerned regarding the Publishing world. It can be quite scary, the internet has TOO much to say and it comes down to some basic knowledge and a whole bunch of common sense.

The next thing to share is, my Publisher has offered me a second contract. I kind of had the feeling this would happen, but I have made the decision that I want our Publishing company to put it out there, and to have total autonomy over it. After all, I have learnt a thing or two since my debut novel was published, and having the agent over in London is not an ideal situation. So, whilst I have no idea what I’m getting myself into, I am super excited 🙂

We have started a YouTube channel, called TheWilsonsOnTour and this is for those friends and family who want to keep up with where and what we are doing. Our adventuresome hearts take us to places around here, further afield and abroad. This year will be no different. We have great plans ahead indeed.

I will be utilising IGTV on Instagram to keep you up to date with a new project: Human Interest stories. I have come to realise, I know alot of really interesting people who are doing life ‘their way’ and I think they have great stories, and sometimes great advice to share with us. I don’t know about you, but I love it when I can relate to a story that I am reading – it spurs me on and makes me think outside of my box. I already have lined up three sets of interesting people from all walks of life, so the IGTV is to keep you posted as to when I publish the articles on here.

Thanks for your support, it’s going to be a great season ahead!

Sandi 🙂

Israel Part Five – The Camel Ride!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Neil and I had a deal:  if there were camels to ride, we’d do it together.  Back in 2013 when we had the option, I was recovering from getting food poisoning at Masada.  Me+Camels=No!  I was dead keen to get on the camels at Genesis Land until I saw Taylor being bucked from here to kingdom come and back again.  Nope!  No camel for me thank you very much.  How rude!  So instead, Neil shared the camel with Paula, and I walked along dodging all the camel poo.  Screeches of laughter were heard, birthday songs to a camel, you could feel the excitement in the air.

I’m such a plonker.  I should have gone on the darn thing….

We spent the better part of the afternoon being entertained by the Genesis Land crew, who were fabulous.  Very entertaining, very knowledgeable, all round great time had by all.  The food, the history, the setting, the costumes and that million dollar view – it’s definitely worth going and partaking of it all.  I can’t wait to go again next time and share all this with my family.

Next we were off in our bulletproof bus to Shiloh.

I didn’t stand and listen to the narrative – too much to see and photograph!  There’d been so much more dug up and uncovered since last year, so I was very keen to get moving and have my own expedition.  It was a pity that we didn’t get to go into the Museum this year, they have amazing artifacts and findings in there.  The movie, I find enjoyable and informative, and to some was deeply moving.  Leaving the theatre and going on the gangplank to see the unearthed urns with the large bowls of burnt raisins was rather spectacular!  Imagine bringing those back to life, lol 🙂  Shiloh, is steeped in deep Spiritual and archaeological history – a must for those of us who have faith.

Next stop – the recently crowned Capital of Israel, Jerusalem.  Such a hoshposh and eclectic array of history, religion, new, old, politics, archaeology and wonder.  The smells, the sounds, the amazing views, the old buildings, the ruins, the bulletholes from the reformation of the Land, the pavingstones, the tales this city could tell of it’s own life.  Jerusalem is not for the faint hearted.  It’s stark, it’s beautiful, it’s bustling and it’s dangerous.  The different religions all squeezed into such a small area.  The narrow roads which double as walkways – hmm, not the best idea there!  And yet this is the very place Our Lord is going to land one day.  My mind boggles at the thought.  Kind of hilarious the Muslims walled up the gate and stuck a graveyard infront of it.  That’s supposed to stop the Lion of Judah??

Back on the road, we encountered Mt Gerizim and Samaria.  Nothing to worry about, just because we are heading to what is called on the news the Westbank, and it’s apparently incredibly dangerous….hey, we’ll be fine!

I was proposed to at the Samaritan’s Museum.  The guy didn’t really measure up to my current husband, mainly due to the fact that he WASN’T my husband!!  What a dick.  Seriously, if they have to import women into the community, maybe submissive (good luck with that) and UNmarried would be a good start?  To be  honest, I was quite shaken by the experience.  But it was actually my own fault.  I foolishly though the dude was a guide in the Museum, and because the Cohen and his utter ‘menstruation fascination’ was driving me insane, I found myself having a nosey around down the back by the models.  Said dude took me around the corner to show me some tiny baby coffins that had been excavated.  Good ploy?  Not so much.  Neil had come looking for me, he knows what I’m like – oooh, pretty shiny and she’s off!  So after a quick prayer, and hand held firmly in grasp, I was good.

Mt Ebal – Joshua’s Altar.  Never shall I forget the image of Phil running downhill past us, chasing after a bunch of schoolboys!  I’d dare say it was the Carlton Beer he bought at the Samaritan Village for eight shekels that kicked in 🙂  His face ruddied red, mischievious grin, loose metal flying everywhere, and us ripping with snorts of laughter.  Oh bless him, he’s a good sort!  It seemed amazing to me all the ruins that lay below the altar, and a Shepherd riding his donkey, herding his goats.  All very normal of course.  Sitting there declaring, ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’  This place is beyond time.  It’s of such importance, I dare not write any more here.

Going down and seeing the uncovered City of David.  Wow.  I took a video basically of me squealing and sent it to some friends and family right then and there.  Some moments you have to catch, otherwise they just fade into the memory bank.  But sometimes you need to record the smells, the sights, the colours, the feeling – praise God for senses.  My favourite Psalm is Psalm 51.  I should imagine that David was somewhere in these uncovered ruins, lamenting of his sin to God.  Begging God not to take the Holy Spirit from him.  Begging for a clean heart.  Yes David and I have much in common….

I cried mercilessly during our visit to the Friends of Zion Museum.  I couldn’t control nor contain myself.  I’ve wondered was it the memory of my Uncle & Grandpa that fought in World War II.  Was it their capture and subsequent incarceration in not only a POW camp, but also a Concentration Camp?  Was it too personal, too real?  Was it having read so many books, based on fact and actual people who lived through it all?  I don’t have the answers.  I know the Zionist movement is huge and not all together based on true scripture, but something of this place moved me.  Make of it what you will.

And then.

The itinerary said we’d have free time.  We grabbed a taxi, went back to the hotel and freshened up, and then thinking we had plenty of time, found our way back.  We actually were a little early, but no, everyone was there!  I must say, the people who plan these itineraries cram far too much in one day. I think that’s why so many of us crash when we get home, or get sick upon our return home. Our bodies and minds have been exposed to such great extremes, and rest doesn’t really happen. The farewell dinner was a supreme disappointment. The food was undercooked and most of us at our table couldn’t finish the meat. I felt ill after dinner, so again we prayed, and I took some probiotics too. Some individuals took off and didn’t say goodbye, so I found their bus, yelled at them and hugged them big! Like you can leave and not say goodbye.  No.

To finish off our last evening, Neil and I spent time with an effervescent young man. Or should I say, we ripped through the hotel trying to find a business card so we could call someone who left their purse on the bus. Or the lady who was worried beyond belief that she didn’t have enough money for tipping so we escorted her up to the ATM machine a few minutes up from the hotel. She hadn’t PIN numbered her credit card (who doesn’t do that?) so she couldn’t withdraw cash. We then crashed in the lounge bar and indulged in the Divine Israeli wine, before heading back to our room one last time.

The morning saw us saying goodbye and farewelling everyone off on the Jordan part of the tour. Most people thought we were going as well, but alas that will suffice for next time. Our time in Jordan five years ago we’ll keep in our hearts until we go back and have a good look, minus the food poisoning or the Jordanian guards trying to make a pass at me!

Well here ends my blog on the Tour of Israel. I have some more personal thoughts and photos that I will share at some stage, but for now, that’s all folks!

Content and photos copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019

Israel Part Four – The Fun Bus!!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We found our seats on the back of the bus and off we went. The roads in Nazareth are interesting to say the least: not at all designed for large wide buses, but cheers to the bus driver, he did well, I never did catch his name!!

Neil settled himself in and looked up some articles online, then proceeded to start teaching different ones some Kiwi speech and much to my horror, Kiwi Slang….oh man, I didn’t know if that would go down well on a Christian Tour. I shouldn’t have worried 🙂 From the getgo, some of us were laughing and having a great time. Yishay was doing his best to narrate through his microphone, but I do believe a number of us were far too busy chatting and getting to know one another to hear his narration.

Listening to Americans trying to do Kiwi accents always brings a smile to my face!

El-Ahawat. What the hell was this place? It’s a line in the old testament, that seemingly had some relevance to Sardinian architecture. Someone really should have gotten a machete (I would have!) and chopped some grass down. People were tripping over alot, and it was difficult to figure out where we were and what we’d come to see. Neil picked up a stone and underneath it was a piece of handle from an old jug. That came home with us. Yishay had been talking about finding the hole where one of the gates hung – Michael found the other one! It was interesting hearing and learning the context of this archaeological site, we’re very glad we got to go there.

Meal times in Nazareth were wonderful. Sitting and sharing stories and learning from others like Carol & Jerry, Anne, Val, Phil, Charlotte & Michael were amazing. Neil and I always asked how and why people came on the Skywatch tour, and every answer was different. Being in the presence of someone such as Jerry, was amazing. Though quiet and unassuming, what he did have to say, at times had me in tears…..

For Neil and I, one of the absolute highlights was the four wheel driving to Gilgal Refaim. We absolutely loved the crazy roads and bumping along – and keep in mind Neil once had broken his back and is not supposed to be walking – so no complaining thank you! Part of the adventure is being able to go with the flow and expect the unexpected. As an ex farmgirl, I relished having the wind blowing through my hair, being thrown around and reconnecting with a part of myself that had laid dormant – the Adventurous Sandi 😉 I sat opposite Pat in the jeep, and she commented that perhaps today she shouldn’t have used any hairspray…. 😉

Again, to look eye level, Gilgal Rephaim was just a jumbled up bunch of stones with long grass that needed said machete! I didn’t want to go down into the Death Chamber, so Neil did and videoed it. For me, it was just lovely looking around and seeing all the archaeology that hasn’t been touched. There was another mound in the distance that seemed to be relevant, but we didn’t go there. Maybe we should?

I’m super glad that we’ve been to Banias Springs before, because we only got fifteen minutes this time. I’ve written about this in my book, it was a place that impacted me deeply back in 2013 on our first tour. There is so much to see, but we hardly saw anything this time. I look forward to going back and climbing the rocks up into some of the other sites up there. I’m told that the whole of Mt Hermon has many archaeological sites that only get visited by hikers. I also know that some people don’t like Banias Springs, and that’s fair enough. However, I take the view that Yeshua redeemed everything. Hearing Derek (again) speak on the importance of Peter, the rock and his revelation of who Yeshua is, right there in the very place that it was spoken and revealed, is important. As Carl Gallups says, context is key!

One place that I don’t particularly like, as you have to pay to pee, and it’s so utterly trite and commercial, is Yardenit. I didn’t like being hearded into the dining hall and all that business, but I got a chance to spend time outside quietly with Anne. She and I got a chance to share and that for me was Heaven. Thank you Anne for holding my hand and allowing my tears to fall <3 Being present to watch a few people be baptized was lovely, and kind of odd when they all stayed in the water and swam around! Great times 🙂

I witnessed something that didn’t happen on the first tour – people caring for one another. I am an unusual creature in that dry heat makes me come alive. However there were a number of individuals where the intense heat impacted them greatly. I loved watching some of the younger ones walking with some of the slower ones and showing care, that really blessed me. Having Deborah with her nursing background, and Michael with his military background, was invaluable and such a blessing. I didn’t hear people whining, whinging or complaining, and for that I am super grateful – that happened alot last year. What did shock me was an elderly couple (from our tour) in Jerusalem, were having trouble walking on the old cobblestones down a steep road. When I offered to help them, the man yelled at me, repeatedly. That gutted me, and it took Neil praying over that for me to let it go. The man never apologised, so I would just glare at him for the duration of the tour.

My kids tell me my glare is killer – that’s the point 🙁

For me, the Dead Sea Region is the place where I came alive – big time 🙂 The place where I would stand on the balcony and marvel that across the Dead Sea, was the Abarim Range – Jordan. Part of the land that originally was given to Abraham. Part of the land that one day will be restored to Israel. I had learnt after having our DNA tested, and developing a Family Tree, that we descend from the Tribe of Benjamin, and here I was smack bang in the middle of it all! Spiritually speaking, this is part of my heritage. No wonder I felt so ALIVE there!!

It was at the Dead Sea that my silent prayers came true – just to dance, and enjoy ourselves – and so we did! My husband has never danced in public with me – well he now has 😉 Spending time with Charlotte, Michael and Taylor, letting our hair down and enjoying Shabbat evening – that was Heaven on Earth to me 🙂 It was at the Dead Sea we got to spend some time with Val, one of our Brits from the Motherland, and hear some of her story.

And then of course, going back to Qumran. I thought at this point I was going to self combust…….oh my Gosh!!

How ridiculous for a sink hole to open in the road in which we were going to drive, and cut off any opportunity to go to Qumran. How about NO! And yet after prayer, miraculously, we were off to this magical and mysterious place.

The place has changed dramatically from when we visited there in 2013. Back then we were given the sanitised version of what this was all about, and taken into the building where alot of artifacts and scrolls are on display. There is so much untold and untouched history here. You can feel it. Meeting Jim Barfield, albeit so short, was incredible. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to walk all around, and it seems to be fenced off where we walked in 2013, but I think that will inevitably change.

SAM_5952
Cave where the Dead Seas Scrolls were found 1947. Photo taken 2013.

This here, is the very reason we came back to the Skywatch tour.

God still hasn’t finished writing that chapter on our scrolls yet.

Photos and content copyrighted by Sandi Wilson 2019.

Israel….Part 3 :)

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

We were just about to leave the house, so a quick mental check.  Steph and Juju were at work, Sammy had been picked up, our bags were packed.  I’d managed to organise our flights, the Tour, insurance, three children, the welfare of my father, Sammy’s part time job, car storage, extra hotel and currency exchange, food shopping, paid the bills, all in six days!

No problems, time to grab a takeaway coffee and we were off!

We got to the airport and I could sense Neil was a bit tense, so we just stopped and chatted.  Everything was done.  His work encouraged this trip.  The only two couples who knew we were going back to Israel did so with such excitement and blessing.

We boarded the familiar Cathay Pacific plane, got ourselves ready, prayed and then that amazing feeling of speeding down the tarmac and liftoff 🙂  (I am the daughter of a Private Pilot, I LOVE planes!)

We had a short stopover in Hong Kong, and to be honest it was great doing loads of walking after being cooped up on such a long flight.  We were both so excited, and starting to relax.  Neil loves the travelators!  We were having fun, just the two of us, and realised we hadn’t had an international flight with just us, in over five years.  We were like silly honeymooners, and it was fabulous!

We got to Tel Aviv, and even just being in the taxi and looking at the motorway in all it’s madness, felt like home to me.  In amongst last years debarcle, there were fun times with Neil trying to navigate a car on the wrong side of the road, sitting on the wrong side of the car.  He drove really well and ended up horn tooting, lane swapping, driving up on the footpath and yelling out the window – my own Israeli Hoon – so proud 😉

We got to our hotel that I had booked online on the Tel Aviv beachfront.  Think 80s Miami, complete with short guy, large ego, long black mullet, fluoro clothing, jacuzzi in the room, 80s video music playing in the lobby…..oh my life!  We got our bags stored and headed down to the beach.  We found a restaurant on the sand, and there we plopped for hours until it was time to actually check in to our Miami Beach Hotel (it’s actual name).  Armed with loads of water, we just bunked down at 3.00pm and apart from briefly waking during the night, slept through till 5am the next morning.

Apparently I like waking early whilst in Israel, who knew 😉

We arose, got to our breakfast across the road, and then stored our bags again as we set off to explore Tel Aviv for a third time.  Eurovision was happening and the place was bursting with an extra 30,000 people!  The heat was intense, but as you know, I tend to thrive in the heat.  Neil, not so much.  Along the waterfront they have many water stops, where you can drink fresh cool water and refill your bottles for free.  There’s a pier that we love to walk along, with an old light house, and so we headed off there again.  It’s a place of quietness and a bit of privacy, so we can feel the wind blow and just have ‘us’ time.

All the while, there was such a joy welling up in both of us.

The previous year had been redonkulous, and we needed our tanks filled, and boy was God doing that.  Even just being together.  Just sitting on the beach people watching.  Our standing taking photos and not being ‘hurried along’ it was all shades of perfection.

We gathered our bags, called a taxi and headed back to the airport.  The bloody taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong terminal and so we had to catch a bus to the right one!  But it was all part of the fun.  We had time, the bus was free, everything was good.  Chillax!

At the airport, we spotted a seat, then grabbed a coffee and pain au chocolat croissant – yummy!  And then Neil turned around and saw Avi & Rachel Lipkin.  He was too shy to say hello, but they saw us and Avi came straight up to Neil and recognised him from last years tour.  Next thing, for two hours, we sat with these wonderful people, as Avi would up and wander around looking for ‘the lost sheep of the Skywatch Tour’.  Speaking with Rachel (she needs to be interviewed for sure!) was amazing.  What richness and depth she has…..

Somewhere along the way came Paula, Phil, Anne and we needed another table!  And eventually in came the lovely people from Lipkin Tours.  It was wonderful seeing Leora who last year was very heavily pregnant, and seeing photos of her beautiful son.  It was lovely to be so warmly welcomed and hugged by her and Rachel from the Agency.

And then, the buses!

I remember when I heard someone say they’d been in Israel nine years before – I needed to talk to that person.  Little did I know they would land at our table later!

Behind us sat Anne, and the dynamo who would be known as our Kiwi Pom – Phil 🙂  I sat like a little girl bouncing up and down in my seat, just so excited knowing we were off and it was all happening!  Hearing all the different American accents, the English accents, a couple of South African accents – yes peoples, the United Nations were abroad haha 🙂

I was quietly praying that we would either get to stay in the Dungeon at the Nazareth Crown, or at least be able to enjoy the same view.  Let me explain.  The Dungeon was accessible by going into the lift down to the ground floor, then walking along and finding the service elevator, and taking that to the bottom floor which had only been done up earlier last year.  Then a very long corridor with all the rooms with such magnificent views.

This year we got the view, and it was wonderful.  We also had people above us who were sitting outside smoking and flicking their ash down on my hair!  Never mind, let’s not freak out.  Let’s just talk REALLY LOUD so they can understand that’s not happening again!  It didn’t 😉

So, now it was dinnertime.  I wondered if they were going to separate us into buses again – it really is silly, but kind of understandable.  Yes, they did!

Next thing we knew, along came Mike & Charlotte, Carol & Jerry, Val and Anne to our back table.  The fun had just begun, and we took that fun down the back of Bus One…. 😉

 

 

Content and photos copyrighted Sandi Wilson 2019

 

Stephanui

steph face
Steph in fresh snow, London. Photo by Stephanie Hornell

And so here we are celebrating you, the wonderful glorious young woman Stephanie Dannella Alexandra Hornell!

What a privilege and honour to be your Mumma, to be your friend and rival Unicorn admirer in this life!

I’ve wanted to write about you for the longest time. but I couldn’t find the words.

Today the words found me….

I can’t remember life too much before you, it simply doesn’t seem worthwhile to do so.  You were the prayer most deepest in my heart, the cry of my soul, the longing for the greatest and hardest job ever – Motherhood.  I didn’t want a great career, loads of money or even a husband actually.  All I every truly desired deep in my truest soul, was you.  When I discovered on my 22nd birthday that you were there inside of me, well I think you know I felt, and still feel to this day.  As a person who cherishes words and likes to express them, Steph you left me speechless.

I think most people know you took a VERY long time to arrive (52 hrs peoples!) but when you got here, the rejoicing was endless.  Uncle Tony doing his version of an Indian Rain Dance; Aunty Caroline holding you and smiling deep into your eyes; Nana just dying to get hold of you; Poppa holding you and singing; your Dad just overwhelmed and me……..looking into your dreamy eyes and feeling whole for the first time in my life.  Knowing that I did something right, and you were IT.

I remember that evening, being surrounded by eleven people around my cubicle in the hospital, just mesmerized at this wee baby, and my how you slept.  Six hours straight, and I just didn’t want to sleep because I was so afraid that you were a dream.  That if I woke up, you wouldn’t be there.  And there you were, and here you are now.

I’ve watched you grow up and marvelled at different aspects of your personality as you grew.  Your only dolly that you really loved, you renamed Ashley after your baby cousin, and that dolly is still in this house.  You were more of a matchbox car girl, playing out in the mud and being a racecar driver!  You were certainly far more interested in burning ants outside with a magnifying glass, than being inside and raiding my make up cupboard – that delight went to your sister 😉

I would scratch my head and throw my hands up in the air when you had dismantled something YET AGAIN to see how it worked, and then struggled to put it back together!  That’s been the mainstay in your life – your mind and your inner workings are still such a mystery to me, but I behold that gift with great majesty and wonder.

Then when things like puberty hit and your body started changing, that was such a hard time for you.  Horrible comments from family members about weight etc, they were arrows in your gentle sensitive soul.  The nastiness of some around you have weighed heavily on you, but somehow you manage to rise above it and still remain so beautiful, whilst I’m wanting to lop off their heads and tell them to sod off!  You have known great rejection and abandonment in your life, yet I’ve never seen you reject a single soul.

Loyalty and faithfulness are big for you, and I so deeply apologise that others have not honoured that within you.  I again, have stood by and marvelled at how others could treat you so badly and then smile at your face 🙁  I only know that in time, they will reap what they have sown, and that their own pain has clouded their own beautiful souls.

I have witnessed your unconditional love towards your siblings – all of them – and your love runs so deep, you had their initials tattooed on your wrist.  I didn’t understand at the time, but I do now, and that you did that to physically show your love towards them blesses me immensely.  Your Mumma is so proud darling <3

Your head wobble thing you do, your sass, your individuality and knowing who you are deep inside – these are things that I couldn’t teach you, they are what life has taught you.  Your humour and quick wit are still a wonder to behold – who knew I would birth a frecken comedian?!

You bring so much love, so  much goodness to our world, and I’m so blessed to have been the one to raise you.  I don’t take my job as your Mother lightly, I never will.  You were the greatest gift I had ever received and every day I am so grateful you are here.  Your being, your soul, your heart, your talents, your goodness, your grace – they bless this world and we are surely all much better individuals for knowing and loving you.

My girl – my first True Love, I honour you today with all that I have, and thank God for the woman you are:  Stephanie Hornell.

xxx