Monday, September 10, 2007

The Coffee Talk Companion: "The Yenta Tour: Exodus!"

Well, folks, Lisa’s summer tour comes to an end here, and fortunately, so does the Companion. While the world is certainly a better place without either our or Lisa’s contributions, it was nice to have her back for a bit, n'est-ce pas? After all, we knew she couldn’t keep quiet for too long. Thanks again for tuning in, and we promise threaten to come back as soon as Lisa does. Which should be in two months. At most.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Today was our last day of touring and the convention and we packed it full to the very last possible minute. This morning session was the most meaningful of the week for me. The message was exactly what the Lord has been speaking to my heart. The text was Acts 1 and Joshua 1. Pastor Glenn Burris, Jr’s three main points were ones that I’m going to continue to hang onto during this season of my life. In talking about God’s relationship in the lives of the Jewish people, and ultimately, in ours as believers he says, “In the brokenness, God sent a promise. In the barreness, He sent His presence. In breakthrough, He sent the power.”

In the name of god, someone send us a Xanax. Here, Lisa demonstrates one of her few non-scrapbooking skills: She is one of a handful of people capable of making less sense than a priest.

The convention wrapped up with a beautiful time of taking communion together and powerful prayer for Israel.

Unfortunately, that powerful prayer for Israel was completely eclipsed by the rest of Israel praying that Lisa would scram already.

The first touring stop of the day was Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum. I have visited other Holocaust museums in various cities but this one is, by far, the best one. I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon.

OK. Two things to really pay attention to:

1.) Lisa is rating Holocaust museums. As if they’re Best Westerns. Or potential death-and-resurrection-of-Jesus sites.

2.) “I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon” is what Lisa has to say about her experience at Yad Vashem. That’s like visiting Auschwitz and declaring, “It was SO amazing.” An unqualified “I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon” is more appropriate for a visit to, say, Busch Gardens. If you’re gonna give us an “I wish we could have stayed here all afternoon” regarding a Holocaust museum, it would behoove you to tell us why.

Also, we’ve been to a few Holocaust museums in our life, and, honestly, the prevailing thought usually is, “We have to get the fuck out of here RIGHT NOW.”

The next stop was St. Peter Gallicantu church which is the traditional site where St. Peter denied Christ. It is right beside Caiaphas’ house. My favorite part of this stop was the road leading up to the house because I could better imagine Jesus walking on this road toward Jerusalem than imagining he or Peter somewhere in this church building. I really wish they hadn’t built so many churches at all of these sites, it messes up the picture.

Too many churches in the Holy Land, Lisa? Who’d have thunk it? It seems veeeeeeery unchristian of you to be judging how many churches should be built in the Holy Land, ESPECIALLY for something as subjective as aesthetics. You do live in Texas, after all. We think that maybe if St. Peter were still around, he'd have one word for you:


Okay, so this was the surprise highlight of the whole trip. At the end of the day, one of the guys in our group suggested we go see if we could just walk up and get a tour of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. This is the tunnel that was built from the water source into the temple during Hezekiah’s reign. Then David used it later to retake the city by bringing his army through the tunnels and up through a shaft into the city walls.

Again, sounding like Manhunt. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we just keep mentioning Manhunt to the point where Lisa has no choice but to find out what it is? We think so.

Our friend, Ray, brought glow sticks for our little group and we got to walk the length of the tunnel in water that was usually up to our shins but reached to my thighs when the tunnel got really narrow. We had so much fun.

Glow sticks in an abandoned tunnel, eh, Ray? How passé.

At the end of the tunnel is the traditional site of the Pool of Siloam where the blind man washed his eyes as Jesus healed him. Nowadays, most experts don’t believe this was the real site but it was fun to wash our eyes in it anyway.

You know, we always heard that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. It's refreshing to know that sometimes there's a Pool of Siloam. And it's even better to know that, as illustrated here by the washing of eyes in standing water, occasionally, stupidity punishes stupidity.

After Steve got the convention office boxed up, he was finally able to join us for one last touring stop. We met at the Western Wall and then took a very late night trip through the “Rabbi’s Tunnel.”

We’re not touching that one with a 30-foot lulav.

This tunnel takes you to the closest place the Jewish people are able to go to the Holy of Holies. The highlight of this tour was a very enlightening model of the temple mount and what it has looked like through the ages from the time Abraham offered Isaac on the altar, to the time David bought the threshing floor, to the temple sites, and now the home of the Dome of the Rock.

Well, well, well—look who’s here. Daddy! Steve finally makes an appearance after months of being MIA. Albeit it’s in the middle of the night. In Israel. But still. He showed up. For one shot. That’s saying something, especially for someone as familiar as he is with the potential final resting place of a photograph in Lisa Whelchel’s hands.

July 26, 2007

Yea, tonight we get to go home! We’ve have had the best trip ever but we are ready to get home. We all got to sleep in this morning and then we spent the day gathering some last-minute souvenirs. We went back the olivewood shop and bought a beautiful nativity set for our family. Then we went shopping in the Christian Quarter where the girls picked ups some trinkets for their friends. Then it was time to begin our long journey home. From the time we leave our hotel ‘til the moment we walk through our front door we will have been traveling over 24 hours. It sure is going to feel good to be home.

And there you have it: the Caubles in Israel. Well, at least the Israeli tchotchke economy will be secure for years. It occurs to us, too, that we finally understand why the Israeli military is the world's best. It has nothing to do with rigorous training or the mandatory service. Rather, it's because the military has to be prepared year-round for groups of loonies descending upon their New Jersey-sized country FULL of dusty, delicate architecture and artifacts. Seriously, if you found out the Caubles were coming for dinner, wouldn't you immediately roll out the plastic floor runners and Scotchgard the cat?

Please have a wonderful fall. Oh, and a lovely autumn, too. We'll be back as soon as Lisa is.

And that's a fact of chai.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Coffee Talk Companion: "The Yenta Tour: Via Dologrossa!"

Yes, there's more. No, it's not done. Yes, you can leave. No, we won't be sad. Yes, we will. No, we're not lying. Yes, we are.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Today begins our shorter tour days.


We went to the praise and worship service at 8:30, then the first session was at 9:30 and the second session was at 11:00. We boarded the tour bus at 12:30 and ate our box lunches on the way to the Old City.

Oooh, contest time! Anyone who can decipher all, or even part, of the above paragraph will win a voucher good for a year’s worth of never having to come to this site. Send your entries to with the subject heading, “Set Me Free, Why Don’t Ya, Blair?” Better yet, don’t. Unless you’re a cute, single, thirtysomething doctor. In which case, please include a photo.

We entered through the Lion’s Gate which is also the gate that was penetrated to start and ultimately win the 6-Day war.

That was the first, and last, time in history that a gate won a war. Or was it the penetration that proved successful? Is this suddenly Manhunt?

We walked through the Muslim Quarter of the Market and down the traditional Via Dolorosa stations. We visited the Holy Sepulchre Church which is where tradition has the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. I don’t know if it is or not but it is so gaudy and religiousy that I could barely even stay in there very long. It gave me a creepy feeling.

Two things: Her English is getting worse than usual. “…which is where tradition has the crucifixion and burial of Jesus”??? “I don’t know if it is or not but it is…”??? Sheesh.

More importantly, what in the ever-lovin’ world could be too “religiousy” for Lisa Whelchel? It’s not like…wait…hold on…is this what we think it is? Has Sir Tuckalot taken over the journal?! It would explain both the hyper-terrible grammar AND the sudden unreliability of the narrator. Tucker, if this is you, we forgive the bad English (you never had a chance) and commend your coup skills.

The last stop of the day before the evening session of convention was St. Anne’s Church just outside the Pools of Bethesda. My sister-in-law…

Nah. It’s Lisa. We’re pretty positive Tucker never learned the term “sister-in-law.” He certainly couldn’t hyphenate it correctly. Damn. We were momentarily so excited.

Even worse, we now have to hear about…

…Maria, sang “The Via Dolorosa” a capella within the beautiful acoustics of this church. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Had we been there, our eyes would have been so dry they would have each crawled out of our head, traveled to our ears, forced their way to our brain and slapped the shit out of our cerebral cortex for having been forced to sit through the entire number. Our brain would then chastise them for being so violent and remind them that they were looking at Justice the whole time. Our eyes would then be humbled and sulk back to their sockets, but not before laying the smack down on our bitch of a nose.

EW. (And we're not talking about the ridiculous caption.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another short day of touring but packed with incredible times with the Lord during the convention sessions.

Remind us to ask the lord the next time we speak to him how he manages to be in so many lunatic-filled buildings all over the world at one time. And, more, why he would want to. K?

We visited this model of the Old City and that was fascinating. A part of me wishes that we had seen this place first because it really helps to put all of the different pieces together.

We once went to Old City, too! The best part was watching our friend go up on the way-tall Human Slingshot and scream her head off as she fell like a lead weight toward the ground! Or maybe it was Knives & Things! No, no, no—it was Sock Exchange!

Oh, wait, sorry, that was Old Town.

Yesterday, we visited the traditional site of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Today we visited the other contenders. Gosh, these were so much better. The Golgotha site really did look like a skull and the Garden Tomb was beautiful.

Ah, how wonderful that Israel has become a reality show for Lisa. Vote for your favorite Jesus death-and-resurrection site! Too bad PAX isn’t still around; we’d totally pitch it to them. Wait. There’s ABC. Same thing.

Dude, WHAT is she wearing? It looks like Daffy's laid the smack down on Talbots, only to have Bealls try to break it up.

The convention session this evening was a musical called, “The Covenant” chronicling the history of promise of the Jewish people. It was stirring.

Yeah, sure sounds that way. You know what else is being stirred? The vodka and soda we’re preparing right now in order to make our way through the end of Lisa’s summer journal. We’re almost there, but it’s been one hell of an ordeal, as you have seen. But hang in there—the last installment is on its way. Unless we attempt an Owen Wilson. Successfully, of course (it’s the long way, Wilson! Duh!).

Too soon?