Wet Dump

Wet Dump

We got a wet dump of snow last night.  The blown snow came out of the blower like a stream of Slurpee mix.  It lacked the flavoring and coloring, but it looked like white Slurpee mix.

I break out the ManPlow still.  The snow blower doesn’t do a great job on large open areas of pavement.  So, I do what I can, and then get the ManPlow to clean up the rest of the mess.

Family Home Evening

On Monday nights throughout the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, families gather for an evening together.  We call it Family Home Evening, of FHE for short.

The temple missionaries serving in Palmyra gather on Monday nights for a Family Home Evening too.  They invited me to talk on Israel.


My presentation on Israel was in three sections:

  1. Book of Mormon Insights
  2. Traveling to Israel
  3. New Testament Insights
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Peter Denies Knowing Christ

My presentation went smoothly.  I didn’t have technical glitches with my equipment.  In all, the night was a success.

Puzzle Books

Elizabethe sold a dozen of her puzzle books.  Once people see the quality of their book, they tend to purchase one.   As she comes out with new volumes, I’m sure they too well sell well.

They are available at Amazon:  http://a.co/6hS3rSx

Binghamton Meeting

Binghamton Meeting

Professional Photographer Society of New York State had a council meeting.  As a new delegate at large I had to drive to my Binghamton meeting and back.  That’s about 5 hours in the car (there and back).  While I want to attend the meeting, I’m not wild about the drive.  The meeting went well, and I hope some good things come from it.

From there it was back home in time to eat and then turn around and go give a presentation about Israel and Jerusalem to the Temple Missionaries.  There were about 50 of them attending and I felt it went pretty well.  It was the first time using this set of slides and of course, there were a couple out-of-place.  But, I’ll get them fixed and ready for the next time.

Tomorrow is the school board and school budget election.  I’m surprised at how hush-hush these candidates are.  About the only thing I’ve got out of the incumbents is a couple of biographies.  I’d much rather hear about the issues most homeowners in this area  are concerned about — taxes.  Yes, school taxes help our students, but the more people who leave this area the less taxes the school can collect.

Speaking of that, I recall years ago when I was taking economics in college a graph showing tax rate vs. economic growth.  While the graph showed you have to collect some taxes, it also showed that after a small percentage (I don’t recall the specific amount, but it was pretty low), there is a diminishing return.

Then there was a similar graph that showed tax rate vs taxes collected.  Now, this one was the most surprising.  Basically, the higher the taxes went, the lower the overall per capita collection of taxes.  The author basically said this phenomena is because people work harder at finding loopholes and/or they simply cheat at their taxes.

It makes me wonder when this country will wake up about taxes.



Our First Monday Event today’s theme was Bottles.  Yes, we photographed bottles.  We learned it is harder than one can imagine to photograph bottles.

I ended up doing a still life set up and did a quick painting of it.

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A Still Life Painting

After my afternoon appointments, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then it was off to President Black’s house for a Temple Missionary Family Home Evening.  They have asked me to speak about Israel.

There were about 50 people at the Family Home Evening.  I felt my presentation went well, and I appreciated the ice cream they had for the dessert.

Many of the missionaries are new missionaries.  We met several of them.  Most of the new ones are only here for six months.

One of the couples, Elder and Sister Mauss, were New York Rochester Mission President from 1990 to 1993.  They are obviously excited to be here as temple missionaries.

I return in two weeks to give them part two of my presentation.  Part two will be strictly about the life of Christ and places in Israel where he ministered and lived.


Haircut and Show

Haircut and Show

Today was a day for a haircut and show.  The haircut, was as you’d expect.  The show was Elizabethe and I got together with two other couples (our bishop and my home teaching companion and their wives) and I gave them a slideshow about Israel.

It’s been a couple of years since I did a slideshow about Israel and so my “new” presentation has some kinks to work out.  But, we had fun.

How nice it would be to find a couple or a couple of couples who would enjoy me as a tag-along in Israel to take pictures of them and the scenery.  In exchange, I would give them all of the digital files.  (Click here to read more about how this would work.)

And, if there are any LDS Wards out there who would enjoy a fireside about Israel, I’d be happy to accommodate that too (once I get all the kinks ironed out.)

Let’s see… while I’m still on the subject… what little tidbits are exciting for LDS Members…

  • Israel is a symbol of the church
  • Jerusalem is a symbol for the temple
  • Before the children of Israel could pass in to the Promise Land, they passed through the River Jordan (see the first item in this list.)
  • Ceasarea Philippi was a place of idol worship and false god worship
  • Just to mention a few…

We had a good time.  They got a kick out of my pictures of food, but most laughs came from this photo…

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Marketplace Brass Goods

So, who wants to take me to Israel for me to be their personal photographer?

Speaking Tomorrow

I’m speaking tomorrow at Tri-County Networkers.  I’ve decided to talk to them about how to dress for a headshot and/or portrait.


The Israel Connection

The Israel Connection

What is the Israel Connection between Israel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

I don’t know how many non-LDS people know that Latter-day Saints (Mormons) have a great love for Israel.  The first prophet and president of the church, Joseph Smith, sent Orson Hyde to Jerusalem in 1841 to dedicate the land for the return of Abraham’s Children.  In October, 1979, after the church had acquired the property where the dedication took place, President Spencer W. Kimbal, dedicated a memorial garden to  Orson Hyde.  That same year BYU Jerusalem Center was announced.  In 1989, BYU Jerusalem Center was dedicated by President Howard W. Hunter.

I’d go back there in a heartbeat.  I love Israel and Jerusalem.  So, when I discovered this, it made me “homesick” for the land of my fathers.

I say the “land of my fathers” because I’m a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel).  There are many people who fail to understand where they come from – Arabs – Abraham through Ishmael (most of them realize it), and Jews – Abraham through Isaac, Jacob and Judah (most of them realize this too).   What others don’t realize is that Jacob had 12 sons and the posterity of 10 of them are “lost”.  The point here is, much of the world is descended from Abraham.  So, yes, Israel is the land of my fathers.  (I’m descended from Jacob mostly through Joseph and partially through Judah.)

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Jerusalem at Night


Tonight is our temple night.  (Interesting talking about Israel and going to the temple.)

Okay, this is interesting.  We require members to have a recommend before they can enter the temple.  In the Old Testament in the days of Ezra, they were having a difficult time rebuilding the temple.  Some of the priests had lost their genealogy and so a proof was required.  Hmm… kind of like a recommend today.  (See Ezra 2-8).

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Palmyra Temple and Snow



Late Flight

Late Flight

We have a late flight out.  And, since we have a late flight out we plan to see a couple more sites before heading to the airport.  However, we do have to have the car back by 4:00pm local time.

My day started before the sunrise walking on the beach again.  Very therapeutic and peaceful.  It is also very spiritual.

Today I wrote in the sand, “Be Still”, for three reasons.  I love the hymn Be Still My Soul.  Also, when Christ calmed the seas he said, “Peace, be still.”  Finally, the Lord tells us to “be still and know that I am God.”

copyright 2015 db walton - Late Flight Out
Be Still

There are a few places where you can walk and feel the spirit like this.  I’ve listed them in order of my preferences:

  1. Gethsemane (Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens)
  2. The Sacred Grove
  3. The Priesthood Restoration Site (Harmony, Pennsylvania)
  4. The Garden Tomb
  5. Mt. Tabor
copyright 2015 db walton - leaving today

After another great breakfast… we headed to Capernaum – the City of Jesus.  This is where Jesus spent much of his early ministry.  However, they would not believe his words and mighty miracles.

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A large statue of Peter appears here with him holding keys.  While the Christ’s announcement to Peter about the keys of the kingdom took place at Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum was Peter’s home.  Here is where Christ called his apostles and told Peter he would make him a fisher of men.

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We left Capernaum and headed across the country to Caesarea on the coast.  This is the city where Paul spent time in prison.  It is a beautiful example of Roman architecture in the 1st Century.  What is left of a large aqueduct parallels the beach of the Mediterranean Sea.

copyright 2015 db walton - Late Flight Out

We exhausted our time at Caesarea and headed to Tel Aviv to return our car.  When we got the the airport, we followed the signs of rental returns but ended up in a parking lot.  As we exited, we pushed the “help” button and asked, “Where do we go to return our rental car.”

A loud outburst of laughter was heard across the speak.  They were probably thinking, “Dumb Americans.”

We eventually found the car return and headed into the terminal.  We were so early they wouldn’t let us check our bags and there we sat and waited for hours.  The funny thing is, it was the start of the Sabbath and most of the concession were closed.  In fact, there were four lingerie shops in a row and all four were closed for the Sabbath.  Something about that just seems comical.


Leaving Tomorrow

Leaving Tomorrow

It is hard to believe we are leaving tomorrow.  This week has been both long and short.  Long because we’ve seen so much, and short because time simply flies.  We are leaving tomorrow night to head home.

I took an early morning sunrise walk along the shores of Galilee today.  It is a humbling experience to walk the shores where Jesus walked.  I’m a bit sad that I’m leaving tomorrow, but I do miss my wife.

The song I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked ran through my head.  I remember Verna Meyers used to sing that often back when we were in the Lake Natoma Ward.  “I walked today where Jesus walked and felt his presence near.”

leaving tomorrow copyright 2015 db walton
He Lives!

I love the breakfast here at the Keredeshia Hostel.  Pickled salmon or herring. yogurt, eggs, fresh fruit and veggies and a variety of breads and fruit preserves.  Best breakfast buffet around.

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Our first stop today was where Jesus taught the Beatitudes.  On the terraced hills above the Sea of Galilee 5000 people gathered and were fed with 5 loaves and two fishes.

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At the Church of the Beatitudes

We next headed across to the west to Nazareth.  It was there that Jesus grew up.  It was there he declared in the synagogue that he was the Messiah.  It was also there where they were going to take him, throw him off a cliff and stone him, but he escaped from their midsts.

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Mt. Precipus

It was also in Nazareth that Gabriel (Noah) appeared to Mary to announce her role in our Heavenly Father’s grand plan.

We then cut across country, through narrow windy roads, and up to the top of Mt. Tabor.  Known also as the Mount of Transfiguration, it was here that  Moses and Elijah appeared.  Important keys were bestowed.

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copyright 2015 db walton
copyright 2015 db walton


We hit Tiberius right around dinner time and we headed to the local shwarma shop for our daily dose of shwarma.

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It’s Chanukah and there are huge minoras everywhere.  This was was at a big intersection and the rabbi had just lit it.

Agenda Today

Agenda Today

What’s on the agenda today?  We are off to the northernmost part of the country – Mount Tabor, Caesarea Philippi, City of Dan, and Castle Nimrod.  We’ll be just a few miles from the Syrian border, but nobody is worried.

Tel Dan is a cool place because it dates back to the times of Abraham.

copyright 2015 db walton - agenda today
Tel Dan

I like Caesarea Philippi because of the object lesson.  When Christ asked his disciples, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?”, it was here surrounded by tributes to false gods.

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Caesarea Philippi

Just up from Caesarea Philippi is Bainias Falls which are headwaters to the Sea of Galilee.

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Finally, Castle Nimrod has nothing to do with the Bible, but it is cool to see castle.  Who doesn’t like a castle?

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Castle Nimrod

While at Tel Dan we ran in to a group of youth from the USA.  As we were in passing, I asked one of them where they were from.  The young lady made it a point to tell me “Western New York”, and to stress it was no where near New York City.

I responded that I live in the Village of Palmyra on Route 31.  The youth in the group got big eyes and said they were from Farmington, New York.  If they lived any closer we’d be next door neighbors.

It is amazing that we’re running into people with connections.  It is a small world.

I convinced Adam and Brenda to stop at McDonalds so I could get a soda with ice.  (Nobody serves drinks with ice here.)  So they did, and we decided to eat there.  Last time I learned my lesson that the Mega Big American was TOO much food.  This time I ordered the Classic Big American.  This almost 1/2-pounder was still a lot of food.

copyright 2015 db walton
The Classic Big American

It’s definitely a two-fister sandwich.

About the only things at McDonalds that are the same as the USA are the fries and the soda.  Even the chicken nuggets in Israel are different (AND much better.  They taste like meat, not pressed chicken parts.)

copyright 2015 db walton
Menu in Israel

Brenda ordered a salad.  I didn’t think to warn her that salad in Israel is not a bowl of lettuce, but chopped tomatoes and cucumbers.

I also learned the difference between a McDonalds and a Kosher McDonalds.  Kosher.  The Kosher McDonalds (like the McDavids downtown Jerusalem) keeps the meat and dairy apart and has a Kosher kitchen.  The plain McDonalds doesn’t.

Now, just look at the size of the box and burger Adam is holding.  The next time you’re at McDs, ask for a Mega Big American and see what the reaction is.

copyright 2015 db walton
Adam and a Classic Big American

There you have it.  That was the agenda today.

Car Breaks Down

Car Breaks Down

We were getting ready to leave Jerusalem to day and our car breaks down.  I will never buy a Peugeot.  We had nothing but difficulty from the time we left the airport, and now, the check-engine light is on and it sounds like it is firing on half its cylinders.

Adam called En Dan (Enterprise) and they said it would be a couple of hours before they got us a replacement.  And, since Adam was on the contract, he’d have to be there.  So, Adam asked if I would accompany Brenda to Omar’s to pick up the stuff they bought yesterday.

This time, I made a bee-line right to Omar’s.  Now that I’ve done it twice, I could find Omar’s place without fail next time.

On the way back, we walked through the Muslim Market and bought some produce for lunch.

copyright 2015 db walton
Bagels at the Market
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Produce at the Market

I found it interesting that they sold hollowed out carrots.  I asked why and was told it was to make stuffed carrots.  It looks like they take a 1/2″ speedy-bore and drill down the center.

I could have spend most of the day in the marketplace, but with no place to cook food, it only made me hungry.  Just the smell of shwarma meat can make you hungry.

copyright 2015 db walton
Shwarma Meat

There is a sharma shop there that is kind of like an Israeli Subway Shop.  You walk along and tell them what you want on the shwarma… just like Subway.

My 60th Year

My 60th Year

I begin my 60th year here on earth.  Yes, it was 59 years ago today that I was born.

After learning that Adam served his mission in Brazil, I told him on Monday (today) he would have to sing Parabéns A Você (translation: Happy Birthday to You).  I continued to warn him and then today I asked, “So, when do I get to hear you sing Parabéns A Você?”

Brenda said, “Why would you want us to do that?  Like it’s nobody’s birthday today?”

“I beg your pardon,” I retorted.

“Today’s your birthday?!!”, Adam asked.

I informed them it was, and while walking along the rim of the Kidron Valley, Brenda and Adam sang Parabéns A Você.

copyright 2015 db walton
Kidron Valley at Night

Earlier in the day we visited Omars.  I know how to get to his place via the light rail system.

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Omar and Captain Moroni

Omar is the Leonardo DiVinci of Olive Wood.  If I were rich, I’d buy up a lot of his creations.  Just lok at the detail in Captain Moroni.  I ended up buying a bunch of small items for my children and grandchildren as well as a bust of Christ of Elizabethe.

We also had a day of contrast as we visited the Garden Tomb and Golgotha.  We then to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  Yup, contrast as you can see here…

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The Garden Tomb
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copyright 2015 db walton
Church of the Holy Sepulcher

And, we visited King David’s Tomb as well as the Upper Room (they are right next to each other.)

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The Upper Room

Earlier, we also visited the Pool of Bethesda.

We went all over the place, but everything is a relatively short walk as it isn’t a very large area.