Israel · 11 Days · 179 Moments · February 2016

Alyssa Bormes

Alyssa's trip to Israel

3 March 2016

One more lunch together - many of us are at the bottom of our cash - 4 of us pooled our money - and had $1 to spare! Plus - we began and ended our meals with Jello!
Outside of the church
Cool plant life outside the church
A beautiful statue of Mary
In the church - the Ark of the Covenant
The Church of Our Lady, Ark of the Covenant - this was the place that the Ark of the Covenant was kept before David took it to Jerusalem. Mary is the New Ark of the Covenant! Also - this is one of three places that tradition says that Jesus met the disciples on the road to Emmaus. We read the corresponding Scriptures in the church - and had prayers of thanksgiving. Father reminded us that we began and ended our pilgrimage in the rain with Mary - and She has one thing to tell us - Do whatever He tells you to do!
We had a choice of the bus or the camel - it was a hard decision - but I gave up my boots and spurs years ago!
The lush life of the garden again - I particularly like the planted pop bottles!
Lazarus' tomb - the stairs were very difficult to go down - but at the very last, there was an even more difficult opening - so I sent my camera down with Jeff.
Jeff Aschenbeck was received into the Church today - Father was given permission from the Latin Patriarch to Confirm Jeff and for his First Communion - what a gift - none of us will forget this moment.
The Church at the House of Mary , Martha, and Lazarus - so beautiful - the walk there was very lush- the Mass was beautiful.
Mohamed our bus driver - he has been amazing- there have been some hairpin turns, tight squeezes in traffic, and some crazy parking spots - he handles the bus like it is a VW Bug!
Mathias and his new Jesus sandals!
At the place where Jesus taught the Our Father - the picture of the rock with people touching it is the place where He taught it. Again we chanted the Our Father - then Abu George told us how he held his son right after his birth and prayed the Our Father in his ear - so it would be the first words he ever heard. As we listened to his story - in some very distant day, I hope that the last words he hears are those of the Our Father as well. All around, there are plaques with the Our Father in different languages.
At the site of the Ascension - it is now a mosque - but the have kept the name of Ascension - also they allow Christians to come on pilgrimage. We are waiting to get in - inside we chanted the Our Father - then sang "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Father reminded that even though Christ ascended, He did not leave us orphaned. I think it was a surprise to quite a few of us at how easily our tears came - we offered prayers for those who have died. Mom and Vera Hoff came to mind immediately, but then the flood of names of family and friends who have died. Such a beautiful experience.
On the road again - on our way to Bethany - the home of Mary and Martha - we will have Mass there - we will visit the tomb of Lazarus. Later we will go to Emmaus where Jesus appeared from two disciples after His Resurrection.

2 March 2016

The Bishop with Fr. Johnson - meeting Mathias & Stephen
Just a street scene
Shopping for religious goods - the incense smelled fantastic!
Sometimes your new friend has painted a fantastic bowl - and your old friends give it to you as a gift - God has done well to give us friends! Next time you are in Jerusalem, be sure to stop in!
One member of our group has gotten a jump on Christmas!
While we are in the shop, Nes and Marilyn are enjoying a chat.
Of course Father knew the best shop for Armenian pottery - this is the artist, they make it & paint it on site, and they fire it at a much higher temperature than the others - and he has the best turquoise blue in town - it is a mixture of four chemicals - but he's not handing out the formula!
A great book store
A statue of St. Peter just like in Rome - so as a part of my pilgrimage, I touched his foot as a sign of arrival as a pilgrim.
The Bishop blessing Stephen's icon.
Meeting the auxiliary bishop to the Latin Patriarch - His name is Bishop William Shomali. He spoke about the fruits of a pilgrimage. 1. Growth everyday. 2. Discover the Bible - the history & geography of Salvation. 3. Deep spiritual consolation - we change for the better -we experience the mercy, love, and compassion of God. 4. In Jerusalem we Meet the Christian community who live here - now just 2% of population. He then spoke about the troubles in the Holy Land. He was so gracious and welcoming - and it was another great experience
Inside the church of the Latin Patriarch
In the courtyard and entering the church
Road signs on the way to the Latin Patriarch - some signs are a little unexpected - just like in life.
Another picture of the cool honey comb thing - and 2nd picture explains the reason I am still awake.
The Mass at Calvary & then outside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher
The Stations
The Stations
The Stations
It's 3:58am & we have a gathering of pilgrims in the lobby - we are two minutes from leaving for the Via Dolorosa - wow!

1 March 2016

Inside the Church of Gethsemane - this is the rock where Jesus prayed before His arrest. We were able to touch the rock - so many of your intentions left there. The Holy Hour included our group and a Spanish speaking group - it was beautiful - and so moving to be there at night. We have a very early start tomorrow - 4am to walk the Way of the Cross. Please keep us in your prayers, as we will pray for you.
The garden of Gethsemane at night - olive trees.
We had a surprise visitor to our bus - the Papal Nuncio to Jerusalem, His Excellency Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto. He gave us a blessing before we departed for our Holy Hour at the Church of Gethsemane.
A beer and gelato stop. Pat, how did you get that gelato on your nose? Her response, "Diggin' in!" Plus - that dark beer was pretty tasty, & this coming from a gal who enjoys a cold Bud Lite!
Inside the Church of John the Baptist - the second and third photos are at the place of the birth of John the Baptist - we could touch the place - amazing!
Sitting outside the Church of John the Baptist - where he was born - reading the passages of the birth and life of John. Father is teaching of John and Jesus - joy - and John saying, "He must increase, I must decrease." And then Mother Teresa saying, "Joy is the net by which we catch souls for Christ!"
Foundational stones from the third wall - destroyed by the Romans in 70AD
Inside the Basilica of St. Stephen - uncovering mosaics on the floor - Father and the boys chanting - other mosaics - so peaceful here - a place to pray.
The Basilica of St. Stephen - we are in the courtyard of the church - St. Stephen was martyred here. Father Anthony - a Dominican - explained the scholarship behind this being the place of St. Stephen. You will see our own Stephen - an explanation of some mosaics - and even a kitty cat.
The Church of the Agony - we entered through the Holy Doors. Inside it always looks dark because the Agony in the Garden was at night - it was so beautiful! Also, in the ceilings you will see olive tree branches - this makes the pillars seem like olive trees. We just spent a short time here now - we will come back later for a Holy Hour.
The golden gates to the city - these are the gates Jesus will come through when He comes again.
We are at Gethsemane - and passing on the busy street was a shepherd and his goats - look how small the shepherd is - so young.
Well you just never know who you will run into on the way to Gethsemane - Barbara Heil! She is here leading a group! What a blast to see her!
Outside of the Church of Dominus Flevit - reading of Jesus weeping, His death, and the curtain being torn.
Mass inside the Church of Dominus Flevit - the dome is made to look a tear drop- another amazing place. This is also the place where Jesus began his ride into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
At Dominus Flevit - where Jesus wept for Jerusalem. First we were at an outlook where we read accounts of the building of the temple - all this while looking at the place where the temple had been. Then a few pictures of the area - barbed wire - faded paint on benches - and pilgrims Deborah and Kathy.
Look it's little George! Abu George really means father of George - but Abu George's real name is Bader - and his wife is Lina. What a great way to start the day - it is another great day in Jerusalem!

29 February 2016

We just went to an amazing exhibit - "Who is the Man of Shroud?" A new term we learned tonight is sindonology - it is the study of the shroud. The latest science is fascinating - this was one of the clearest explanations - great end to another day in Jerusalem.
You just never know what you are going to learn in a given day - Gabriella works in the gift shop - she is from Mexico - and gave me a piece of her apple that was sprinkled with chili powder - Yum!
This is a mosaic of Mary in our hotel - the other pictures show what it looked like after the war in 1967.
We are still at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher- at 4pm there is a procession - we prayed at a number of different places - as in Calvary, the place of the preparation of the Body, the Sepulcher, and others, finishing at the Roman Catholic Chapel for Benediction. It was amazing - beautiful - wonderful - we prayed with our senses- My words fail me - an experience that will take time to ponder.
A great picture from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with Father, Stephen , and Mathias.
Fr. Johnson waiting for all his pilgrims at the Holy Sepulcher
The Holy Sepulcher where the body of Jesus was in the tomb - no words will do. We were able to touch the slab - such gratitude and so humbling.
This is the dome above the sepulcher.
We were able to touch the spot of the Crucifixion- everything and total calm all at once - thank you for your suffering and death. A candle there for all the intentions.
Here are two more from the place of the Crucifixion- the first is from on top of the Altar. The second is under the Altar - you can climb under, put your hand in a hole up to your elbow, and then touch the stone of Calvary.
A great lunch with fellow pilgrims - we are at the cafe at the hotel. One pilgrim is offering up a chocolate malt for the rest of us - plus, there was a plate of fries involved as well. What wonderful people to be with!
The garden outside of the cell - the stairs are from the time of Jesus & He would have walked up them after having been arrested in the Garden. Such a beautiful morning - so many intentions placed at His feet.
Looking down into the cave - we read Psalms 88 & 130. This cave was overwhelming - so humbling to be there.
In the cave looking up to the hole where Jesus would have been lowered into the cell/cave.
Going down to the cave where Jesus was held.
The lower chapel looking into the pit where Jesus was held after His arrest on Holy Thursday.
The place of the Rooster - where Peter denies Christ three times. The outside of the church - the upper church.
Dormition Abbey - one of the traditions of Mary - her falling asleep before her Assumption - another amazing place. Stephen & Mathias chanted in the lower chapel - and then we all sang the Salve Regina.
Father preaching in the garden outside of where we had Mass - we read John 14-17. It was so beautiful - the birds here are so loud - all of nature rejoices in Christ!
This is another traditional Upper Room - if we don't exactly know the place- this is the neighborhood - and the area is sacred. The tabernacle here is the Host that Jesus holds in the sculpture behind the Altar. The whole time during Mass the birds sang along. Father mentioned being here 20 years ago for Holy Thursday Mass - he was a seminarian then. So overwhelming - so many intentions left here.
The Upper Room - the place of the Last Supper - we walked into an empty room - within minutes it was full with other groups - it is good to have a spot at the Meal! A great experience - I recall having seen Pope John Paul II here praying once - just very moving - and somehow the crowds were beautiful as well.
The Zion gate - notice the bullet holes in the wall - this was a very troubled area at one time.
Abu George telling us about the proposal for marriage to his niece. Because of the death of the niece's father, Abu George is the man that has to be asked for her hand. He accepted the proposal and there will be a wedding within the year!
I love this honey comb thing - we have great meals - LOVE the oatmeal with some of this honey in it- feeling very spoiled!
Another beautiful morning in Jerusalem - windows open all night - perfect temperature - birds singing this morning - and church bells ringing in the distance. We have another full day ahead - stay tuned!

28 February 2016

A great meal, sung Divine Mercy chaplet, and night prayer - and another day ends in Jerusalem. The photos are of John the Baptist & the baptismal font right outside the chapel where we are staying - and where we prayed.
Sometimes you just need champagne on the fourth floor terrace of the Notre Dame Pilgrim house in Jerusalem - what a great way to celebrate another wonderful day!
Hey look - it's Nes Rotstein- he's come to join us!
It may take a scholar to pick this up in Scripture - but it is believed that Mary & Elizabeth would come down the hill to this place in order to get gelato - - at least that's what I told myself when I got a chocolate & grapefruit cone.
Here is the little lamb - facing the right direction.
Okay - one more try to get the lamb right side up
The upper Church of the Visitation - we celebrated Mass here - the floor here shows all sorts of animals and flowers that all celebrate the Visitation as well. This is one of my favorite places - so many intentions left here. One of the things that was so moving was that even among the joy of the Visitation are the Stations of the Cross - the Baby came to Redeem us and He had to endure the Crucifixion to do so - overwhelming!
This is said to be the rock behind which Elizabeth hid John the Baptist so he wouldn't be slaughtered with the rest of the innocents.
In the lower church of the Visitation. The mosaic floor is made to look like a rug because this was Elizabeth & Zechariah's house.
The Church of the Visitation - where Mary went to visit Elizabeth. On the walls, the Magnificat is written in many languages.
Lunch at the Elias restaurant - super cool place - good food - but don't make the mistake of getting just a little humus with your hot meal - that counts for the whole salad experience & costs $8!
At the Israel Museum - there is a scale model of the Temple - this was great to get our bearings of everything that we are seeing.
At the pools of Bethesda were Jesus healed the paralytic - just steps from St. Anne's - and Father with one of the White Priests who care for the church. Prayers here for all the things that keep us paralyzed.
We are in the grotto of St. Anne's Church - it is the birthplace of the Virgin Mary. Just this morning I found out that my sister-in-law's mother died - her name is Vera Hoff. Where better to pray for the repose of her soul than at the birthplace of Mary!
The Church of St. Anne - the parents of Mary are Anne and Joachim - this was a place to pray in thanksgiving for our own grandparents - and for all of those who have passes on the Faith to us.
This was right near the place where Jesus took up the Cross - the circle carved into the stone would have been a dice game - it would have been the sort of game that the soldiers would have cast lots for the Garment of Jesus.
We were in the place where Jesus would have begun to carry the Cross - here I prayed in thanksgiving that He carried the Cross for each of us. It was very moving to touch the floor here - unspeakably beautiful.
We went into a cistern that would have been at the time of Jesus - I will have to get a picture from someone else - as mine did not work out. It was seeping & we were getting dripped on.
Abu George explaining the Antonio Fortress - on the Temple Mount - below us was the place where Pontius Pilate would have judged Jesus, and where Jesus would have begun carrying His cross. It would have been open at the time - but has been built on top since.
The Dome of the Rock
A fountain for washing & pictures of the women & men's sides of the Wailing Wall. Here I am full of gratitude for our older brothers and sisters in faith, the Jewish people. Special intentions for our Jewish friends.
Emily & I at the Wailing Wall
Breakfast and assembling in the lobby before a day of big hills.

27 February 2016

We went on a shopping outing, therefore we went on a cash machine outing.
Got to love this street in Bethlehem- Virgin Mary Street!
The church on top of the cave - we sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing & O Little Town of Bethlehem- amazing - moving - I am so blessed.
The Shepherds' Field where the Angels appeared - we were in a cave much like where they would have put the sheep - it was beautiful - and we sang the Gloria - and we will always think of this place whenever we sing it in the future.
Lunch at Ruth's Field Restaurant in Bethlehem- the second picture is Ruth - and the third picture is some really yummy fries!
And just a few more to melt your heart.
A series of selfies by the kids.
Oh - I love this picture! Jov took this shot of the little boy using my camera.
The children - so beautiful!
Artwork from the children - I love that there is snow in all of it.
An amazing stop at an orphanage. These are all Muslim children who are abandoned in some way - they cannot be adopted according to Muslim law - they live here six years with the Sisters before going to a different service. They are right in Bethlehem- and this is the only room they can find.
Praying at the place where the angel told Joseph to take the family to Egypt.
This is a floor in the upper church that dates to the 4th century.
The place of the birth of Jesus. I placed the prayers of all my friends who are having trouble conceiving babies. I gave such thanks for my own mother and father who had 8 living children & three who went Home early. I gave thanks for Jim, my step-father, who is the father to nine children with his first wife, Margie. Thank you for your yes to life! May more families have your generosity. Although I did not get a picture of it, we also were able to touch the place where the manger was. This was overwhelming- The Baby who came to Redeem us - it is such a gift!
This was the place where the Manger was - we could touch the spot- I loved this so much - humbling.
The Church of the Nativity - we had Mass at a little Altar - we celebrated the Mass of the Nativity - or Midnight Mass. It is Christmas for is today. This morning my cousin Pat was to read - but she allowed me to read - the first reading from Isaiah is unspeakably beautiful. I cannot tell you how much it meant - all of you were with me. My deceased mother was right in the middle of my heart because she so dearly loved Christmas. In addition, Christmas was my grandmother's birthday. My tears splashed during this most beautiful Mass.
Ah - the Bethlehem Hard Rock.
It seems that the sunrise service has all but broken up - and Jerusalem is quiet again - birds are singing their songs - the air is lovely - and the day is full of promise!
The silence of the city was broken by some fellow "pilgrims" - It doesn't seem like they are just getting up for an early Mass. Notice the bottle on the table & then imagine loud voices and laughing - I think they are speaking Russian - but they know some Greek - for example Oupa! - and they have an interesting selection of half played songs including the Macarena! It's not quite as meaningful as Elvis on the Sea of Galilee!
Early morning Jerusalem from my window. The city was so quiet all night - there was an early morning call to prayer from the mosque - but otherwise just silence.

26 February 2016

It just keeps getting better - this is the chapel. We chanted the Divine Mercy Chaplet & prayed Night Prayer. Your intentions are with me.
The Pontifical Institute of Notre Dame - what a beautiful place to stay- so blessed by this whole trip - even in the places we get to lay our heads!
Our first glimpse of Jerusalem!
We went to the valley between Jericho and Jerusalem. It was very steep - and I'll post another picture later with a better view - Emily has a better one. This is the valley of Psalm 23 - The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want... Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. This is also the place where Jesus sets the parable of the Good Samaritan. It was an amazing place - in one of the pictures you will see a Greek Orthodox monastery carved right into the mountain. Even though the mountains are very high, we were below sea level here. The land of the Holy Land really is "the fifth Gospel" - knowing the land makes Scripture even more rich! So many intentions offered in this place - for all of our valleys of death.
Ah - better pictures of the Valley between Jericho and Jerusalem.
Up to the Mount of Temptation - to a Greek Orthodox monastery - we took cable cars to get most of the way up - then a steep hike - beautiful.
Lunch in Jericho at the Temptation Restaurant- with peacocks - can't get better than this!
Deborah and I outside of the church in Jericho.
Mass in Jericho at a church dedicated to the Good Shepherd - so beautiful. In his homily, Father spoke about the sheep knowing the Shepherd's voice. This knowing the sound of His voice is fostered in prayer. You are all here in my intentions - what a joy to carry your intentions to these places.
Here is another great one from the Jordan river.
It doesn't get better than this - renewing our baptismal promises in the Jordan - where Jesus was baptized - such a feeling of JOY!
More cool pictures - it's the variety pack - enjoy!
Traveling to through the West Bank - on our way to the well where Jesus met the Samaritan woman - however, when we got to the check point we had to turn back. The story in John 4 is one of my favorite stories - I would have loved to have been able to go - but I am so grateful for the wisdom of Abu George as he turned us around.
Stephen Arachtingi and Mathias Rotstein are with us on pilgrimage. They have added so much to our trip. Not only have they been serving and chanting at Mass, but also their faith has been a source of hope for all of us. Join us Sunday on Radio Maria at 1pm Central time when I interview them for my radio show. We will talk about our pilgrimage, their love of Gregorian Chant, and their openness to the priesthood. Find us on Sunday at 1pm Central time.

25 February 2016

Another great night on the Sea of Galilee - a little before dinner enjoyment among the pilgrims.
We spent the afternoon in Capharnaum- amazing! Peter lived here, Jesus taught here. We were in the synagogue where he taught that He is the Bread of Life - it was otherworldly to be there - in His footsteps. Father Johnson gave an emphasis ones sermon - it is really all too much in the most beautiful way!
The Church of the Primacy of Peter - John 21 - Jesus asks Peter three time if Peter loves Him - three times Peter says yes - Tend my sheep - Peter becomes shepherd! So moving to be here - and keep an eye out for our new pilgrim!
No place better than the Sea of Galilee to get a fish! A great lunch on a beautiful day.
The Church of the Seven Springs - the place of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes - what gifts can I give Him to multiply? Also, you will see Abu George in front of an olive press - and the crushing of the olives - which is also called Gethsemane - amazing!
The Mt. of the Beatitudes - we had Mass here - the place of the Sermon on the Mount - it was so peaceful, beautiful, otherworldly, and somehow it just felt like home. So many intentions given to the Heart of Christ here. And - gratitude - so much gratitude!
Cool Sea of Galilee shot by Mathias
A boat on the Sea of Galilee- reading the Gospels - praying - and oddly enough, hearing Elvis. We could hear the music from far off - "Take my hand - take my whole life too - for I can't help falling in love with you." Preach it brother!
The fisherman throwing the net into the Sea of Galilee
It's another great day on the Sea of Galilee - we are just about to board a boat to cross it - I'm very happy that it will be smooth sailing today!

24 February 2016

Such a wonderful night with friends and new friends.
It's a full moon reflecting on the Sea of Galilee - doesn't get better than this!
Mt. Tabor - this is the church at the top - an amazing place - the views were beautiful - cannot believe that we have done so much in a day!
We were at the Church at Cana where the miracle at the wedding feast at Cana took place - Jesus turned water into wine. Father gave a beautiful homily about God turning one thing into another - the water into wine - and, in marriage, two into one. Then Father blessed all the married couples - and then each couple got a certificate of having their marriage blessed there. Again - fantastic! Now we are on our way to Mt. Tabor.
Eating at a great place - love the exposed wires in the ceiling.
In the synagogue in Nazareth where Jesus read from the scroll - "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." Luke 4:16-30. Emily read this today- she said it was a passage that changed her life - what an amazing thing for her to read it here!
This is also in Nazareth - it is the tomb of St. Joseph - very rare that the tomb would still be found with the stone that would roll in front of it. I prayed for lots of intentions here - for all the St. Joseph lovers.
The Annunciation - we are in Nazareth - this is the cave where the angel announced to Mary that she would bear a child - Jesus - Emmanuel. We prayed the first joyful mystery of the rosary here - amazing!
The spot of St. Joseph's workshop in Nazareth
Brenda St. John - this one is for you - it is a gift from Spain to the Church of the Annunciation- it shows Our Lady of the Pillar - and a pilgrim from the Camino
Love this! It's the lace on the cloth on the Altar at the Church of the Annunciation.
This is the dome at the Church of the Annunciation - it is the inside of the Lily that is planted in heaven - Mary!
Mass this morning at the Church of the Annunciation - Father Johnson mentioned "Hic" the Latin word for Here. And it is HIC where the Angel made the announcement to Mary. He also told us to remember our own FIAT - our yes - to God. It was a beautiful Mass - prayed for many intentions there.
Kitty Cleveland - you are the best! Kitty got my day going with her beautiful music - her voice goes perfectly with the Sea of Galilee!
It's 6am - this is my view from my window - there are the most wonderful variety of birds singing - and we are on the Sea of Galilee - God is good!

23 February 2016

Kathy - one of my fellow pilgrims - we are goofing off in the lobby - we just prayed/sang the Divine Mercy chaplet in the beautiful chapel with the rest of the group - some are off to enjoy a beverage - I'm ready to check in for the night - tomorrow we begin at Nazareth!
What's not to love about orange jello?
Wow - look at where we are staying - right on the Sea of Galilee. More pictures to come
Cool rainbow while driving to hotel
Okay - this isn't the cool part - that's all on my other camera. We were just in Akko and saw the fortress - the keep digging down for more. The crusaders used it among many others
A great lunch - be careful , the green sauce is very hot.
Looking into the Kishon valley- going for lunch now
We are having Mass at The Place of the Sacrifice - where Elijah went against the 450 priests of Baal - amazing
Look - it is a nine mile aqua duct made by Herod
Caesarea - we are right on the Mediterranean- this was built by Herod the Great - Paul was in prison here for two years - and the best purchase I made about two hours before getting to the airport was a rain coat - it's been steady rain all morning - so beautiful though.
Slept like a log until 2:30am - but still a good and restful night. Went outside this morning & this is the view from the front porch - not bad!

22 February 2016

Ah - you just never know how Jesus is going to show off next. I bought my $100 raffle ticket on the Feast of St. Teresa of Avila, October 15th. The very first chapel that we have Mass in is at a Carmelite monetary - and there are relics of St. Teresa in the chapel! Thank you to my girl Teresa and to Jesus for such a great trip!
Mass and then dinner and now bed in my own room! It's been a great day!
This is Abu George - our guide. After landing in Tel Aviv, we are on our way to Haifa, we will stay with the Carmelites, go to Mass, have dinner & then go to sleep. Abu George has already made the trip come alive - we are traveling the Via Maris which St. Peter also traveled. It's already a great pilgrimage.

21 February 2016

I have legroom!
This is the coolest thing! It's a fold out chart of all things Biblical that goes with the Holy Land. I've been studying it on the first flight - a big thank you to Alison!
We have a short layover in Newark before an all night flight to Tel Aviv - nothing wrong with a beverage with friends!
We are in the first flight to Newark - can't wait to be wheels up! Pray for a smooth flight - I hate the bumps. Send your prayer requests!
I've started the trip to the Holy Land! In God's providence, I won the trip by purchasing a $100 ticket! I think for that price I can afford a coffee at the Caribou right across from my gate! I see a dark chocolate mocha in my future. The other travelers are arriving - getting fun!