Dumpster Fire

It’s pretty common to see dumpsters set on fire around here. It is just one of those curious things I don’t understand. There is nothing beautiful about it; or is there? Everything in it used to be valuable to someone. Now they are just garbage.

“What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8)

smokedumpster

Yehuda Market

Skipped the long run yesterday due to heavy rain. Wasn’t any better this morning, with more cold rain mixed with a bit of snow and hail, but not enough to deter me heading out.
It helped that the school was cancelled! 🙂
Mahane Yehuda Market (Hebrew: שוק מחנה יהודה‎‎,) is a huge marketplace in Jerusalem with more than 250 vendors. It is almost always packed with people, but not this morning since it’s Shabbat. Large painted storefront faces, however, never take a day off. They all looked at me like I was a bit crazy, jogging in this kind of nasty weather with shorts.

yahuda_market

Beit Sahur

Bayt Sahur (Beit Sahur), a small town down the hill from Bethlehem, at sunrise.
I still do not love running, per se, but the benefits are too hard to ignore, such as watching the life giving sun, rising, burning away the darkness. The light overcomes, every single time.

baytsahul

Saved

I was almost deaf after a diving accident in California, some time ago.
Mature Christians usually don’t make pact with God, but I was desperate. I asked Him to make me hear again, and I would live the rest of my life under His will.

Here I was this morning, jogging through alleys in Bethlehem, hearing every footstep echoing off the walls, soaking in its acoustics. Music it wasn’t, yet radiant and beautiful. It was reinvigorating.

I didn’t know it at the time, but the accident wasn’t a tragedy. It was a blessing. It saved me.

starstreet

Christmas Eve at Bethlehem

It’s the packed-like-sardines time of the year at the little town of Bethlehem, especially at the Manger Square next to the Nativity Church. I’ve jogged through it a dozens of times, but not today. 🙂
mangersquare

Later on, we decide to get our family picture taken up the hill, at Beit Jala, where it was less crowded.
voelkerxmasbeitjala

Bob Dylan Exhibition in Tel Aviv

We were walking through the Museum of the Jewish People situated within Tel Aviv University when I heard the song “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan. At first I thought, “Hey, that’s pretty cool that they are playing some American classics.” Then it occurred to me that Bob Dylan is a Jewish Musician, a good one at least. 🙂
The museum had a whole exhibition room dedicated to the complex artist and his art of music, poetry and commentaries. Pretty interesting.

bobdylandisplay

Clouds of the Rainy Season

Winters are somewhat brutal here in Beit Jala / Bethlehem since the temperature inside the house isn’t much better than outside (no central heat). On the brighter side, however, the seasonal clouds roll in, which translates to gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Here’s a view from our bedroom window this morning, overlooking Bethlehem.
Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays are a distant past. 🙂
sunrisecomp

Running from Bethlehem to Jericho (50 km / 31.5 miles)

When “running from Bethlehem to Jericho” is googled, nothing comes up.  A fellow teacher, Brian, and I decide to change that.

We trained for a marathon that took place last week.  Things came up and we couldn’t make it.  We didn’t want to ‘waste’ our training, so we decide to run from one biblically well known city to another.

I took off 3:10 in the morning; Brian, a bit after 5.  Our plan was to finish around the same time.  The hills were challenging in the beginning, but it got much easier after hitting the freeway, around the 1/2 way mark, since it was pretty much downhill, towards the Dead Sea below the sea level.

It took me 7 hours and 14 minutes to get to the town square.  Brian was not too far behind me.  I felt ecstatic, especially for Brian.  He skipped a marathon and jumped right into an ultra!

50 km non-stop.  It’s pretty crazy.  I hope this page comes up on google when “running from Bethlehem to Jericho” is typed soon.  It just might be the only one!

31miles

Men at Work

workinghardMen at work, building houses, with sticks, cement and steel rods. That’s what is used around here throughout Palestine.