Sunday, February 20, 2011

I really wanted to show people the artistic side of me.  So much emotion...
You'll find several other artistic shots I took in this post.
Twins!  Rachel and Chelsea Jackson.  Funny story:  I got Chelsea's number a year and a half ago in the library and took her on a date.
An interesting angle of a beautiful floor in the St. Mary Magdelene church.  More of my artistic side.
Again so much emotion in this shot from a Jewish Cemetery. 

I learned to be a shepherd.

Sara Bezdjen and I outside the Church of St. Mary Magdelene

All I can think of is Matisyahu songs...

Ben Yehuda Steet in West Jerusalem with my new friend Taylor Henderson on my birthday.  This place is basically a strip mall.  There are tons of cool, nice stores where you can buy just about anything.
Jump shot while do the "rampart walk".  There is a walkway all the way around the city on top of the huge Old City walls.

This is Tel Gath where Goliath would have grown up.
Taylor Henderson

Sunday, February 13, 2011


There are two things in this world that put a smile on my face:  my mom’s laugh and Saturday’s Warriors.  Twenty of us just finished watching the film of the century.  It was probably 30 years since I last watched it!  It brought back so many of my favorite memories: 64 N 920 E Orem, UT; our old living room, our whole family lounging on the floor and “pink chair” in the family room, and little Nater sitting at the barstool watching through the reflection of the mirror while eating a bowl of cereal.  I still knew every word to every song!  The only thing that would have made the SW experience better would be to have Julia sitting next to me!

Taylor Henderson, my roommate, and I uncovered some more connections last night that have brought us together like brothers.  (A) He took my sister-in-law Rachel on a date about a year and a half ago, (B) we both took karate lessons from non other than Bobby Lawrence, (C) both of us dated the same girl freshman year in the dorms—Erin Brink! (I came into the picture about a month after him),  (D) our grandfather’s rode in a B-52 bomber together, (E) I’ve been heli-skiing with his dad, my dad asked his mom out on a date (she said no), and we share a mutal boyhood friend in Shandon Miles Gubler.  Auoooooooooo!  Sick.

I’ve always been one to follow the counsel about not hiding your talents behind a bushel.  I never knew I had any talents anyone wanted me to perform, and even more want to learn.  Nevertheless, as I mentioned above, “I’m turning over a new leaf”.  Taylor and a few girls saw from a distance what I respectfully call, “a body-roll”.  Since that moment things haven’t been the same here at the JC.  I’ve taught Taylor and a baker’s dozen others the technique.  It’s spreading like wildfire.  I guess you can say I’ve been blessed.

My heart rate spiked to 150 lastnight as I was brushing my teeth.  I heard the sound of three gunshots outside my window.  I dropped to the floor, crawled to the window and peeked out.  Nothing unusual.  I went out to the lobby to see if anyone else had heard the commotion.  They hadn’t.  I came back in my room, heard them again and dropped to the floor.  This time when I peeked out the window I discovered the “gunman”—fireworks.   I went back out to the lobby to reassure everyone of their safety, and was welcomed with laughs and pointing fingers. Ha ha my bad…

Friday, February 11, 2011

Turning over a new leaf

There are times in one's life that a change, nay a metamorphasis is required.  Today has been that day.

Four days ago we took a field trip to the hometown of Goliath called Gath, and then to valley of  Elah where David became the slayer of the giant. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 1, 2011

My 23rd birthday was, how ju say, unreal!

I was writing a paper on Islam for our teacher whose name is Musallam, which is close to                 Muslim . . . anyway, till late into the night so I got a jumpstart on the day.

I was sung happy birthday to nine times.  The best was the first by my family on the phone, then in every class and at every meal!  It's my new favorite song.

During our weekly announcement meeting a birthday miracle occurred.  Musallam was sick and he gave us a two day extension on the due date! Auooo!  Talk about being saved by the bell.

Since we had the rest of the day off we cruised down to the Old City: got some schwarma, visited Shabban's shop, got some birthday pastries, met a man named Emad, and then caught a taxi back to the Center because it started raining.

Back at the Center I was met by a small pink note with the number 7 on it, and below the word "glam".  It was number 7 of 23 reasons why I was loved at the JC by Lani Elizabeth Livingstone--an all day gift that ended at midnight.  Number 23 was a pop-up gift card in Hebrew that opened up from the left, expressing the words "mazaltaff on your Bar Mitzva!". . . "Thanks Lani, I couldn't have said it better myself, you rock."

At dinner, there was a toast given by Jenny Christensen in my behalf, and I quote, "In the words of the Band Blink 182, 'No one likes you when you're 23.' " After another round of "Happy Birthday" the people chanted, "Speech, speech, speech!"  I pretended to be unprepared, but in my old age I had foreseen this moment and in fact, was prepared.  I pulled napkin from my sleeve, upon which I had scribbled a light poem.  February 1st was not my day alone.  I shared it with a girl named Faith, whom I honored through my poetry.  Throughout the recitation there were laughs, and in the end--tears.

I'll never forget this rainy February day in Jerusalem. . . .

A Return to the Holy Land

Egypt was ill.  Ill in the sense that the modern teen may use the term, rather than the original meaning, in which it is most commonly used.

 The pyramids at Giza was our first stop in the ancient land.  We arrived in the evening, just in time for the "Light and Sound Show".  It was actually way sweet!  Something like you might see at the Bilagio Hotel in Las Vegas.


 I had to do it.
 The next day we kissed the Sphinx and made friends with some mummies in The Great Pyramid.

 In the Valley of the Kings, we saw the tomb of King Tut and his MUMMY!  I was seriously blown away at this guy!  He is about 4500 years old and amazingly well preserved--you could still see each of his toes! (This is in front of Hatshepsut's palace).

The rest of our Luxor stay, which was a vacation, within a vacation, of a vacation; was repleat with a faluka sailboat ride on the Nile, camel rides, carriage rides, and bargaining our way through the city.

Day 3:  We flew south to the city of Luxor, which is about the distance from SLC to Las Vegas.  We stayed at the glam (short for glamorous) Sheraton Hotel.  Picture this, white beautiful limestone building, the Nile River, and a sunset that will add 10 years to your life.  Anyway, way cool.

On the ten hour night train ride back to Cairo we jammed 24 of us into a boxcar room and had the dance party of the year.  We instantly made friends with the porters who provided us with delicious meals.

Climbing Mount Sinai was epic!  We started our ascent at 3 AM and summited about 4:45 AM; in time to watch the sunrise over the Sinai Desert.  Sinai is 7,500 ft ascent.  We took the "Steps of Penitence" trail down which is a series of 3,750 steps--ultra cool.

Locale of Mt. Sinai.

Sunrise on Sinai

In the time that we left and came back to Cairo the the government was about to be sacked and riots were raging.  But to be completely honest, we wouldn't have even know that it was happening if we hadn't watched the news.  We were super blessed and far from harms way.  When we got back to Jerusalem Brother Jackson our Program Director read us some emails that were sent to him in regards to our trip to Egypt.  Among others, President Samuelson and Elder Holland said how glad they were that we all got home safely.  It was cool to know that so many people were concerned about us.  I love the church!