You can't get much more "on the other side of the world" than Hawaii is to Israel. But we are loathe to turn down travel opportunities of any kind, especially when they allow Geoff to share his passion in teaching. So we said "YES!" when asked to be in Hawaii the week before we had to be in Israel.
Our flight to Hawaii departed October 1st and our return flight from Israel was October 31. October was booked. Here's a look at how that went:
As it is when you return from where you've come, the memories of previous experience blanket the new. I soaked up every familiar site, and friend, and food I could find, adding new experience to the most joyful of my memories.
Our "free" moments were spent visiting dear friends, and exploring nostalgic beaches and other destinations. I can't describe how amazing it was to take Samuel and Geoff to some of my most special places. You know the places, that you keep in your minds eye and travel to when the present stress is just TOO MUCH. I know I'm not the only one. You just don't go to the dentist and not pretend to be ANYWHERE ELSE.
This is one of two primary "safe places" I go to - if only in my mind. But that week - I got to be there FOR REAL. With my boys. It was a great afternoon.
We had a couple of people on this trip who had traveled with us before and that is ALWAYS fun, and added to the intimacy of the group and experience as a whole for us. I will never tire of Geoff's passion for teaching in the land, or of seeing people's eyes grow bright with excitement when another new connection in the Text is made, that studying in this land allows.
We were growing concerned about Samuel's lack of interest in learning to walk. At 15 months he'd been pulling up and "cruising" around furniture, while holding on, for over 7 months! But he was yet to try even a step.
He finally took his first couple of steps in Hawaii, and then none again until we arrived in Bethlehem. No sooner than we set our bags and Samuel down than he up and walked four steps! He suprised himself more than anyone! I'll never forget the look of sheer AMAZEMENT on his face!
He proceeded to practice for 20 solid minutes, and by the end was walking 10-12 steps across the room! I felt my heart crumbling thinking this was it - waited and waited and now he's walking, just like that - my crawling baby is gone without a goodbye! Well, naturally, Samuel does things his own way and refused to take even a couple of steps the next few days. Then he'd have a "walk day" and take several here and there. That went on for the next month - and at almost 16 months he was finally walking most everywhere!
His best moments of walking practice in Israel were while his daddy was teaching at the Southern Steps to the Temple. (You know, the place where Jesus taught as a 12 year old, and came up and down countless times during his physical life on earth whenever he visited the Temple?? Yeah, that place. He walked all around at the top, longer and more steps than ever before. Good job, kid. With you, we are well pleased.