Friday, December 31, 2010

My Small life, 2010

I have nothing profound to say that would sum um 2010. I live a very small though satisfying life full of passion and people that I love. I did not plan to post a final blog for the year until I read North West Nature Nut's final blog. Thanks Nut!

A quick review of 2010 before the unknown of 2011 unveils.
January 2010

February 2010, we have belonged to Bomber for one year.

March 2010 Getting parsley ready for the new garden. That day it seemed as if we might have a sunny summer. That might have been the last nice week until July

April 2010

May 2010 Rudy; this must have been the one spot of sun in spring

June 2010 Overcast days make pretty pictures.

July 2010 and it still has not got above 69 degrees F

August 2 2010 Chris was the only brightness in the day.

September 2010 Getting ready for the hunt

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

Thanks for the beautiful idea NWN!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Raymond's sense of snow

One of the first things you might notice about us as a couple is that I like to putz, he likes to get-er-done. There are days when we clash but most of the time our life is lived as if Elohim fixed what was broken or missing in our souls.

Yesterday I felt a slight twinge of panic when I saw Ray heading out the kitchen door with a bag of shredded paper to cover the artichoke stub by the back fence. My guys keep the lawn mown without any nagging, they cook on that monster of a barbecue, they build the hard structures of the garden and set up watering systems so that our return from camping trips finds everything alive and well. Without complaint they buy the things I want for the garden. What they do not do is get dirt on their hands, that is my job. I think I deal fairly well with others using my kitchen (and leaving the evidence) or tracking across the carpet with whatever they stomped through outside. But the garden is my sanctuary. The mess is my mess, the order of things is my order of things. But there was Ray, headed out to do something, to add stuff in my holy place.

I am a woman with some sense. I've been wanting to mulch the artichoke too, but not just before sunset. I had in mind a mix of compost and leaves or straw (I don't have any leaves or straw) that would both feed and protect Miss Artichoke. We talked once about recycling shredded paper. Just when I think he doesn't hear me he proves otherwise. I got over myself, I hope my apology was sincere. After 36 years I should know to trust his sense of snow. It came, right on time this morning. Thanks Ray!

The wind is coming in from Alaska instead of Hawaii. The cold collided with the warm and made snow. There is a 50/50 chance of more snow tonight. It could get down to 29 degrees. I'll be happy for 2 dogs and a husband at bed time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

More more from the pantry in January

OK, I get that it isn't January yet. Last night (Monday, December 27) nearly everything about dinner came from the pantry or freezer. Chili and corn muffins. From the pantry, tomatoes and sauce, black beans, corn meal.

From the 2nd shelf of the pantry:
  • Dry Yellow (Huro?) beans
  • Dry Black beans (lots of black beans)
  • about 1/3 of a 10lb bag of white wheat flour
  • Dry Navy beans
  • Tempura batter mix
  • box of 7 grain pilaf mix
  • box of mushroom and wild rice mix
  • box of Zatarianes Jambalaya mix
  • box of Falafel Mix
  • Black Bean Soup mix
  • Pad Thai mix

Then there was a few forgotten jars of "stuff"

  • Costco size yellow mustard
  • Costco size mayonnaise
  • small bottle Ranch Dressing
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Country (coarse) Dijon Mustard

The original pantry post:

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Hole in the Clouds

All week the weather guy has been a prophet of wet gloom. He has assured me that I should expect to be wet should I dare set foot outside of the door. He tells of wind and the possibility of thunder showers. No sane woman would carry an umbrella in that kind of wet. I am not famous for my sanity. It has been a bone chilling kind of cold out. The wet sort of cold that hot soup and coffee cannot chase away.

I felt a twinge of rebellion while zipping my jacket to my chin before stepping out the door to the garden. Who goes out in late December to putz? I thought that I would at least have a look-see. Why I grabbed my stool and tools is a mystery. Cold isn't so cold when you are on a dirty mission.

My artichoke had not been trimmed back. It does not have a hopeful look for coming back to life. Since this is my first ever artichoke I am choosing to believe that it is still possible for it to spring back. I cleaned out the snapdragon stems, more like hay really. There is a creeping rosemary in that box that I was pretty sure would be an annual but it looks to be hanging on. A few tap-root weeds were hoping to squat near the artichoke but I evicted them with a toss over the fence. The box was given a bit more soil but I could see that what she really wanted was compost (coming darling, asap)

It felt so good to work with clippers and shovel that I turned to my Purple asparagus, intent on making the bed look like someone cared. Crack grass and chickweed, salmon berries (?) tomatoes that grew like weeds because of the homegrown compost used on the bed were mercilessly scratched and tugged at until they released their hold on the asparagus bed. There was a distressing amount of moss for a garden bed that should be neutral in PH. Sweetening the soil is on my to-d0 list. So is adding a layer of fresh compost and steer manure. Yuck, I know, but it sure does make happy asparagus and happy asparagus is giving asparagus.

I only intended to putz. When the asparagus bed was about 25% done my arthritis began to assert herself, letting me know that I needed to stop for a while. But I'll be back.

Carrots, a few shallots and an onion or two, missed at harvest are all that are in the garden this winter. I had forgotten about these leeks. Rather pathetic looking little things I think. Moss in the square-foot-garden too. Buggers! Actually, the garden is telling me that she needs me and to come back soon. I will.

For now, I am attempting to stay content by getting my seed order ready. It doesn't seem too soon to start with a plan for next years Toy Box. Peas AND fava beans can settle into their squares come Lincoln's birthday. Maybe the ground will stop being squishy by then. Even before the Presidents birthday I have a plan that will have me gardening. To celebrate the new year I will start a tray of lettuce and another of spinach. As soon as my TSC order gets to my house I will start a pot with purple artichokes. There are also the custom fit square-foot-garden cloches I am working on. I can do those without a zipped up jacket.

Why is the south wind feeling so cold? Maybe because it is wet? Cloudy with just enough wind to force open the occasional hole in the clouds. A range of 40's for our temperatures. A high of 47, a low of 43. Said to be cooling off enough for the possibility of snow before the week ends.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

January is “Eat From The Pantry” month

In January I try to go through my pantry and freezers to feed my family for the month. I like to spend as little as possible, buying only fresh dairy, eggs and a few fresh vegetables for Ray's lunches.

My pantry is probably supposed to be a linen closet but I like to use it for a pantry. It is probably too hot in winter since the back wall is up against the fire place. Since we are talking about putting up more produce from the garden this coming year I will probably need to move the pantry to a cool, dry place. but for now I am only interested in using what is there.

Just from the top shelf, up over my head and out of sight:
  1. Two unopened packages of Splenda packets (how did that happen?)
  2. about 1/2 cup brown and red rice mix
  3. one 14.5 oz can coconut Milk (might just toss that, it has been there a LONG time.
  4. 1/2 bag of stick pretzels
  5. jar of dry garbanzo beans
  6. jar of red lentils
  7. small jar of adzuki beans
  8. Package of Bakers Bittersweet Chocolate
  9. about half a package of Bakers German Chocolate.
  10. Open box of Whole grain Pancake mix
  11. Open box of whole grain Baking Mix
  12. Open box of Pumpkin Pancake mix
  13. Open box of white elbow Marconi
  14. Powder Milk and Gluten flour that I use with the bread machine
  15. Bay leaves
  16. Poppy Seeds
  17. Dill Weed
  18. Chopped dry onion
  19. Cinnamon

This is just the top shelf. I am not sure if I will keep the boxes of pancake and baking mix. I bought the pumpkin mix last year and the baking mix last summer but I don't know when I bought the whole grain pancake mix. I'm thinking I should toss the pancake mixes, whole grain products do not stay nice in heat.

Does Splenda go bad?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It wasn't exactly a Christmas Bird Count

Belted Kingfisher; Fort Casey Ferry Landing on Whidbey Island.

Most of my morning was spent at the dentist for my semi-annual visit with the hygienist. She is sweet enough but sitting in her chair is not my idea of a good time on one of the rare PNW pretty winter days. Double that sentiment on December 21, the shortest day of the year. From sunrise at 7:56 AM (that is 4 minutes before 8 AM if you think like I do) to sunset at 4:17 PM we do not have much daylight to play in. I am good about brushing and flossing, I don't know why it takes so long to polish my teeth but I've been seeing the same dentist and hygienist for years and we like to get caught up on each others lives. It was close to 11:00 before I was out of the chair and on my way to Whidbey Island with Ray and Rudy Valentine.
Our normal plan is to not have a plan. Ray got some pictures for me from the ferry deck while I sat in the truck with Rudy, waiting for my Advil to kick in. I have a nasty case of TMJ from a minor motorcycle wreck when I was 18. A trip to the dentist reminds me that my jaw is falling apart quicker than my teeth are succumbing to old age. Looking at his pictures reminded me of the days we used to participate in the Christmas bird count on Tweeter. Rudy does not have the same attitude toward birds that we do. He would love to catch one for lunch, not just count them. At least I think that is what all the singing is about when he sees one.
The short trip to Whidbey Island. The sky looks brighter across the sea than over Mukilteo.

First Stop, Langley, Washington on Whidbey Island.

I tried to get Rudy to sit by the boy and his dog, but Rudy doesn't like brass dogs any more than he likes ceramic bunnies. He was having nothing to do with Langley's brass boy.

Brass boy must have thought it was Mardi Gras. He has beads on.

Good ol' Bug Bear wasn't afraid of Brass Dog. He sat bravely for a picture.

The little park at the Langley Marina. For only $250 a night you too can wake up to this view. There are houses to rent. Between us we didn't have money for a cup of coffee so we will not be staying at the charming little house any time soon.

The brand new Ferry "Chetzemoka" that makes the run between Fort Casey and Port Townsend. I know that there is a reason behind the name. I am sure it is a contest winner and has a kewl meaning. But I don't get it. I know what a "moka" is, a popular Washington coffee drink (or is that Mocha?). But what is a Chetze? Ray's only comment was that someone needs to tune the engine. He thought it was making too much black exhaust for a new diesel.

The State Park at Fort Casey was nearly deserted except for an old guy in a Subaru who probably was counting birds for Christmas and a younger man who came down the trail from the Fort, sat on a picnic table and played his trumpet to the cold wind, probably until the trumpet got too cold for his lips to press against. Beautiful view, good music and interesting old guy counting birds while we ate our simple lunch in the truck looking at the birds.

From the truck we saw Golden Crowned Kinglets (a first for Ray), Zebra (or is it a white crown?) Sparrow, Song Sparrow, a Northern Flicker and a Spotted Tow Hee. There was a bunny too. There were more but as soon as I rolled down the window to take a picture, Rudy started singing that song of his and they all scattered. We hope to spend New Years Eve at Fort Casey but I think Ray works that night. We at least hope to get there sometime in January. Rudy can stay in the trailer while we say hello to the birds.

January is when we usually see Scotters in the Keystone ponds. It is so close to January that we made a stop at the ponds on our way back to the Clinton Ferry to look for them. To our mild disappointment they were not there. Common Mergansers and Buffelheads were in the ponds but no Scotters. On the ride back to Mukilteo we were given a window seat. There were flocks of birds at the ferry landing. I put my binoculars on them to see if I could discover more than the usual cormorants and buffel heads among the flocks of black birds.

Scotters. There were flocks of them at the Clinton docks. We've seen them here before but usually we find many more that are easier to see at Keystone. Whoo-hoo! We did get to see our favorite January bird (in December) before we left the island.

Remember those birds we saw at Mukilteo before we set out on our adventure? The birds that reminded us that this was a good time of year to see Scotters?

They were Scotters. (Yep, I can see that two of them were Buffelheads or Golden Eyes)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A little of this and that

First light is softly penetrating low clouds. It assures me that I did not miss the historic Solstice eclipse. My neighbors bare pear tree makes an eerie view against the gray morning. It is almost a haunted setting for the day ahead. White Christmas is rare in the Pacific Northwest. We are quite fond of them when they do come but snow season is still a month away. We love bright Christmas lights for the cozy romance they bring to these dark December days.

The January Sunset Magazine came just the other day. It has me itching to garden, to cook and to travel. There was a feature article about a northern California family who do not fill a can of garbage in a year. Right now I am looking at two grocery sacks and a Costo Chex box sitting on the kitchen floor waiting to go to the trash bin. I don't want to make a big footprint, but I am sure that I do. One wasteful habit confronts me each morning before I am awake enough to think about the impact. My beloved Keurig coffee maker with its little plastic cups of ground coffee. I see the top of a carton of half and half in one of the sacks waiting to exit the house. Somewhere in one of those brown bags are the contents of my vacuum cleaner. I like my Dyson. It does not use bags and lives a long time. But I wonder if there is a better way to dispose of the waste. I see a used container of almond milk, used daily in my morning smoothie with a dollop of yogurt from a plastic tub. The flavor comes from berries that I find in clear plastic containers, probably shipped from Chili. This will take some thinking through. I am a smart woman, I can figure this out.

In the Garden: I enjoy reading Sunset's PNW garden advice. Sunset and The Westside Gardeners PNW timetable have often kept me from starting too late or too early. The Sunset guide has me in the mood to go shopping (was that me that was writing about cutting back?)
Grow a new rose. I am all over that! Something that I intend to learn to do this year is start a cutting garden. A new rose or two would fit the scheme! In Robe I had two roses that I adored. One was a deep dark sexy red that Jason rescued from a new home owner. It did not fit into her gardening scheme. It provided large flowers on long stems for the many years it lived with us. The other Robe rose was a yellow David Austin. More flowers than me or the bees knew what to do with. There was a season when I thought I would stick to all purples, lavenders and shades of cinnamon to salmon in the front flower garden. No yellows, pinks, reds or white. Now all I want are seasonal blossoms for my table. Last year I got sick of taking pictures of the same color again and again. I want wild abandon in the cutting garden and a new rose seems like a good place to burst out.

The Westside Gardener's "Vegetable Timetable" by Travis Saling

Fresh from the garden in January. Did you know there was something fresh from the garden in January? I have carrots in my garden. I should have kale and Brussels sprouts but I did not get my act together in July. Sunset is telling me that I can also have Jerusalem Artichokes fresh from the garden in January. They are far lower on the glycymic index than potatoes and easier to grow in the PNW than Sweet Potatoes. Since I garden in containers I should be safe to give them a go. Looks like they will need some tall support. I'm going to add that to my list of hard scape projects for Ray and Chris.
  • Wooden dowel clothes dryer (they come from China now and the price has shot through the sky!)
  • Ladder type trellis for vine crops.
  • Cold frame for the garden (why did I sell all my old window frames?)
  • Box garden with supports for Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Deck cover.

Now, to get ready to visit the Dental Hygienist. After that, Ray and I are going to Whidbey Island for the afternoon. I wonder what I have for a picnic?

Deborah.... who is delighted with the gray headed "angel" Not all of us angles are young and beautiful on the outside.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

We do not have a tree this year. We talked about going to get a little Charlie Brown tree for $5 from a neglected farm in Machias (between Lake Stevens and Granite Falls on Highway 92) but sadly (or not) when we drove by the farm was closed. As far as I can tell, a Christmas tree is pure pagan so I'm not really broke up about it. I've read the doo-dah's about it being evergreen like Jesus or something like that. I am not convinced. It still seems as pagan as a yule log. None the less, it is one of the scents that I enjoy this time of year.

The view out my window is in shades of deep green and gray. There is a damp chill in the air that persists. Even so, I put a jacket on me and another on Rudy; tucked my garden gloves and clippers into a paper grocery bag and walked to the green area behind the house. As much as he likes to cuddle, Rudy is a terrier at heart and needed to run and hunt rodents even if he needed to wear a jacket in the field. After all he is part chihuahua and longs for warmer places than western Washington. We made one loop around the pond with a side trip to the creek and I had enough boughs without doing damage to any one tree or wild holly. I did make a stop in the front yard for Laurel leaves and Spanish lavender that should have been trimmed at summers end to complete the bundle. Add new ribbon to old glass jars and the effect becomes all that I hoped for.

The last of the Christmas Cookies went with Ray to Kimberly Clark last night. They were just a day ahead of stale. Two weeks with the Jr-high spoiled my Christmas Cookie Plans. Not to worry. I have more ribbon and jam to give away. There are a few more biscotti that are fresh, wild blackberry and strawberry jams and Ray plans to make his mother's Nutz and Boltz to stuff into little bags. That should be enough. And if it isn't, please know that in my heart I wanted to find something expensive and unique for you, but it isn't happening this year.

By the way, The idea for pretty jars of greens came from reading Northwest Nature Nut at

The Jam idea was stolen from Momma Pea of A Homegrown Journal at

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reclaiming Shalom

I am taking back my house one corner at a time. I never lost my home like so many others. There are three men living in my home. I am related to all of them. Sometimes my house starts to look like a flop house or a drop off your stuff, cook and run because there is no time to clean up after yourself. I get it, I've sure done it. Let me back up a little bit.

I am the keeper of the keys at our house. As the only female, I am the one who wants my space to be more than functional even IF we never have anyone over because my guys need to sleep after working graveyard. Though no one else will see it or appreciate it I want vacuumed carpets and clean counter tops. I want the laundry folded and put away. I want the cupboard doors free of yucky greasy finger prints and the stove wiped clean after something has been fried. I don't even mind washing the pots that have been stacked near the sink (next to the empty bottles that have not made it to the recycle bin). I could fret and fuss all day. I want my corner to be Deb ready when I come out to settle in for time in the Word, for prayer and to check out what is going on at facebook. There is no peace on earth to be found in my little corner! How am I expected to pray for my friend and fellow teacher, Eva, whose class I have been subbing in because this young mother has developed an infection in the lining of her lungs and can hardly take a deep breath, never mind that it is hard for her to just get dressed she is so run down. How can I pray for my Uncle Chuck who is scaring my mom with his blood infection (whatever that is?) and trip to hospital? And what about my other dear friend and fellow teacher, Crystal who is also home sick, though she is also young and strong. I just read on facebook that her husband has lost his job, I need my peaceful corner to pray for Crystal. And c'mon, my Pastor has been in and out of the hospital, his wife, another fellow teacher, is tightly wound and trying not to fret, don't I need my corner for that? Oh, and Ray, who has the unhappy job of sending guys home early from work just when they need the money the most, because management doesn't want to do the job. These beloved friends and family need to be prayed for and there is no peace in my place on earth!

Contentment is an inside job. That is the words that used to greet me at my desk in Robe Valley. Contentment is not about the circumstances in my living room. It isn't about wishing someone else had vacuumed or rebooted the dishwasher. It is about the peace that comes because my Savior, my Y'shua has Shalom for me that is greater than my irritation at the family I love for not treating me like the queen of everything. A place on earth to meet with my Lord is nice, but nicer still is my Lord dwelling in me. No props needed. So I lean against the back of a chair, catch my breath and begin to remember just who it is that I serve, that there is much for me to do for those who live in my house, it is my pleasure to serve them as unto my Lord. I only fret when I get fussy that they are not serving me. It isn't even true that they don't serve me, they do so much for me.

It has been a crazy week. I have loved just about every moment. Today is the Sabbath, but I was looking for the wrong kind of rest. It is my soul that needs to rest in the Spirit. I intend to take back my house a corner at a time just for the joy that it gives to all of us, but my rest will be in Y'shua. He is my Peace on Earth, Shalom is here, even in the clutter. Today I want to bless the mess with the love given to me by my Lord, praying while I polish; sharing the soul rest that has been given to me on this Sabbath Day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I know next to nothing about Mrs. Edwards except that her husband was a politician. I saw this quote on Breathless Expectation, a blog I have only reciently discovered.

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered, we know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren't able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It's called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful." -elizabeth edwards

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Light of the World

Spent a quiet evening at home, just Ray and I on the 4th night of Channukah remembering Y'shua, the light of the world.

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12 RSV

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." John 9:5

But where is Y'shua/Jesus now? Where is the light? The Word made flesh, born to the woman, where is he? The man, the king of Israel, bruised, betrayed and bloody by the hand of men whom he so loved, where is he? Didn't he say that as long as he is in the world that he is the light of the world?

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

We who are his servants have his light, his truth. For a Messianic like me, Channukah is not about a romantic flame, it isn't about jelly doughnuts and good food. The candles and the food, the traditions of giving are all part of Channukah but they are not what make the eight days precious to me. Remember Acts chapter 2? All were gathered in a room after the 50 days of Shavuot (Pentecost) when suddenly the room was filled with the sound of a roaring wind (a mighty groaning Spirit, AENT footnote) and fire sat upon every one of them. The Spirit appeared to them like tongues of flame. It was the Channukah of the Spirit of Elohim, The servant lit all who followed him, giving light to the world. Y'shua lives in me, in each of us who believe that he is the Messiah, the Son of the living Elohim.

For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3

And how have you who believe died?

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Our life is the light of truth. Each of us who believe has experienced this life at a point in time. The Sprit of Elohim lives in us so that the Light of Life, the Messiah, is in the world because he lives in me, in you who believe. Let the light of your life shine before men in such a way that we give glory to Elohim.

as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. Philippians 1:20

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Holidays

As close as I could come to a wreath. The frosty grass that should not be growing around my paving stone. YHVH give grace on this 4th day of Channakah

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kislev 25, The First Night of Channukah

It makes sense to me that a whole week is given to celebrate the light of the world. On our calendar, December 1st was the start of Chanukah or Hanukkah (however you choose to transliterate the Hebrew characters) I'm still not very good at the traditions. I was raised with Christmas. I still cherish Christmas breakfast with my family. But I have come to a place in my life that I look forward to the 8 days of Chanukah

Just about everyone who follows "The Way" knows that the only place in the Bible that speaks of Chanukahs in the New Testament.
And the Feast of Dedication occurred in (Jerusalem) and it was winter. And Y'shua/Jesus was walking into the Temple in the porch of Shleemon/Solomon. And the Yehudeans/Judeans surrounded him and said to him, "How long will you hold over our souls if you are the Mashiyach/Christ? Tell us openly. Y'shua answered and said to them, "I have told you and you do not believe! Yochanan/John 10:22-25
The center candle on the Channukah Menorah is the Servant which brings light to the others, just as Y'shua came into the world to bring light to us. He is the one who lit the flame of Acts 2 in the upper room. He is the one who said to let your light shine. Consider lighting a Menorah this week and learning of the Light of the World. Often it is said of Christmas that it is a time of magic for children, a time when adults become like children. For the community of believers in Y'shua/Jesus we are encouraged to leave childish things behind (1 Corinthians 13) The Light of the World is Truth. It is truth that illumines men, not made up explanations about candy canes and evergreen boughs.
As Messianics we believe that Y'shua was born during the fall feast of Sukkoth but that he was conceived during Channukah. John Parsons of Hebrew for Christians teaches that Channukah is probably a 2nd Sukkoth celebration, a rededication of the Temple after it was defiled at the time of the Maccabaeus. So again, it makes sense to me that we celebrate the Light of the World, the very Son of Elohim, The Word made flesh who came to dedicate us as the temple of God.
Want to join our celebration but do not know where to start? Hebrew for Christians is a perfect place. A quick google or bing search (Messianic Channukah) will bring all kinds of pages for you to read. Be careful, there are many pages that are strictly tradition. Interesting to read but not honoring to the one who came to illumine your soul, to give you life by giving his life. Keep it simple but ask the Spirit of Elohim to open your eyes. He will not let you down.
"…I HAVE told you and you do not believe!" Yochanan 10:25b
But those who did receive Him He gave to them authority that they might be sons of Elohim, those who have believed in His Name. Yochanan 1:12

Aramaic English New Testament

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time

For many years now Ray and I have been celebrating Hanukkah to the best of our ability. With the exception of family gatherings, we celebrated Hanukkah exclusively until both boys moved home. They both still love Christmas. But no matter what our spiritual or material focus, I tend to change seasons by baking cookies to give as gifts. I used to send them all to local fire departments. But these days I just give them away to friends and co-workers (both mine and Ray's). The house smells amazing! Now if we can all just stay out of them until they bring joy to our cookie and coffee loving friends.

I put together a list of the cookies, some even have links to my recipes, on Music of Rain. I noticed that I forgot two of Ray's mom's cookies. He will surly be making that marshmallow cream fudge that I wish I could dislike (just for the ingredients) and Rum Balls. Wicked good!
As the overworked waitress likes to say, "Enjoy"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

National Buy Nothing Day

In the 70's we called the day after Thanksgiving, "Black Friday". It was our protest than. Now Black Friday means something entirely different. The children of old hippies call it "National Buy Nothing Day".

It has never made sense to me, spending Thursday giving thanks for all that God has done for us in the last year, only to get up early on Friday for a wild spending spree. If I am going to be honest, I have to admit that not buying anything the day after Thanksgiving was not my primary motive. I married a wild man. Together we raised boys on a mountain valley right next door to where the wild things are. We did sit down at the kitchen table for meals but going to grandma's house for Thanksgiving was a formal affair for my country boys. No overalls or barn boots, NO FIGHTS. I spent most of my year preparing them to keep their elbows off the table and their arms at their sides. Say, "Please" before "pass the potatoes," do not take that last serving of anything, no gas wars, and clean up your plate before you take it to the sink. I was happy with my boys when we got into the car to go home. If they did some foe-pah, I would hear about it later. We had a whole year to work on it. The promised reward? On Friday we take left-overs and go sledding!

Even when T-day was spent at one of the grandma's homes, I still made a Turkey and pumpkin pie. We would need sandwiches and dessert for Friday. Ray would pack a feast into the jeep while we got pillows, sleeping bags and snow clothes into the back seat with a nice nest for any dogs we had at the time. Sometimes we were on the road before first light, sometimes not, it was a casual day of music for our children's hearts and "I spy with my little eye" all the way to the Y. The Y is the gas station that marks the corner where sledders turn off of Stevens Pass to Blewett Pass in Washington State. Dad can make sure we have enough gasoline in the tank, mom can get coffees, licorice and bags of nuts to sustain us on the final leg of our journey.

There was always a crowd of families who made the journey. There must have been lots of good boys at grandma's table the day before. I cannot believe how blessed we have been. The sledding area is not for the faint of heart. Ray had so many pictures of both boys while they had air time. No broken bones, no cracked heads. Only the occasional bruised sit-down on our wild boys. Chris tended to plan for distance, Jason for height. Me? I spent the afternoon laughing and prayed for safety.

At dusk, which comes early in the Northwest, we would drag our tired but still raring to go boys into the car. As long as we were this far we would end our night with a drive through Leavenworth to see the Christmas lights. A few oohs and awes before heading home where everyone was sure to sleep sound, except for Dad who had to unload the car.

This year we remembered those days while snuggled up together on the couch in front of the TV. I guess we got old. We might still get ourselves to Leavenworth before Christmas for a new ornament. We don't really celebrate Christmas much any more but we love the traditions, the lights and the music. Our boys still love Christmas. Maybe we will go find a fresh tree somewhere. But that will be another story.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turkey Thyme

I am wondering if all the sunny essence has gone to sleep. I'll let you know after Thanksgiving dinner. The Rosemary and sage are in a similar hibernation.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Snow

First snow in South Everett today. A good time to slow down enough to take a picture of the rose that is too cold to give her perfume.

I've been crazy busy with school for the last two months. Missed you guys too.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This is the sign of the Covenant

"I (Elohim) set my bow in the cloud and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.

But is the bow in the cloud the sign of the covenant between Noach (Noah) and his descendents? It sure could be. It is what I have always been taught.

I am still learning Hebrew. I still cannot sit down with the Torah and just read. I am learning though it seems that I am slow. Even so, light still manages to break through. The word translated "This" in Genesis 9:12 is the Hebrew word "Zayin-aleph-tav". "Aleph-tav" is the base word, a picture of the God of the Cross. The Aleph is the strong leader, God. Tav is the sign letter. When Moses developed his aleph-bet, the Tav was the cross. Throughout the Torah, Aleph-Tav is untranslated unless it suits the need of the translator. Generally it is simply skipped over. But in Revelation 1, Jesus introduced himself to John as, "the Alpha and Omega" which is the Greek equivalent to Alaph-Tav, the God of the Cross.

In Genesis 9:12, Aleph-Tav is prefixed with Zayin, the sword. The sword of the God of the Cross. You may wonder, what made me think that this sword of the God of the Cross is the Word of God. It was the Apostle Paul who told the Ephesians that the full armor of God included "the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God" Ephesians 6:17. But wait, there is more! The person introduced to us in Isaiah 42:1, speaks for himself in Isaiah 49:2 when he says, "He (YHVH) made my mouth like a sharp sword". The writer of Hebrews (4:12) proclaimed that the Word of God is sharper than any sword that it could be compared to. And when John gave the Revelation, He told of the Son from whose mouth came a sharp two edge sword (Revelation 1:16) which is used to make war (Revelation 2:16).

How effective is the Sword of the God of the Cross? The Apostle Paul taught that it is unlike ANY earthly weapon in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. We do not wage ware like the rest of the world.

Matthew 26:51-52. Peter did not understand the weapon of divine warfare on the night of the arrest of Jesus. He pulled a weapon from its sheath and cut off an ear. Rebuke for Peter and restoration for the one whose ear was sliced off was the result. By Acts 2:37 Peter knows how to use the Sword of the God of the Cross, and the crowd is "cut to the quick".

When Simion spoke to Mary he said, "a sword will pierce through your own soul… " I am sure it was the sword of the Spirit that he spoke of. Luke 2:35

In this world, the sword brings death. It is used to defend oneself or to be an aggressor. It is interesting to me that an earthly sword is not used to punish offenders. Instead, the children of Elohim are instructed to stone those who have committed a capital offense. The sword of God, the Word, brings life, not death. From the time of Eve, the enemy of souls has asked us to choose a way that makes us our own god, decider of our own fate instead of standing our ground in faith on the Word of God, which is the sign of covenant between Elohim and we who have descended from Noah.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A New Day; Luke 9:18-22

There were a few things that I learned from commentaries on this passage of Scripture. Generally I like to complete my study BEFORE I look at a commentary. Luke 9:18-22 seems straight forward enough. As a matter of fact, it seems like all the information I glean from this passage has been given to me in the chapters and verses that came before. Praise Elohim for minds that are wiser than my own.
  • This is the first time Luke does not have Y'shua praying alone (Luke 4:42, 5:16, 6:12)
And while he prayed alone with his disciples, he asked them and said, "Who do the crowds say about me that I am?" Luke 9:18 AENT

My human mind is able to gather facts but there are times that truth comes by the breath of Elohim and his word, in my heart or lap. Herod asked who the people said Y'shua is. None of their answers rang true to him. But there is no evidence that Herod was able to put the facts and opinions together to come up with the truth. His fear told him one thing, his servants were divided over different answers, but none of their answers were the truth.

When YHWH puts a question on your heart (like he did to Herod, like Y'shua did with the disciples), where do you go to find the answer? Even though today we "see as by a mirror, in dark reflection;..." 1 Corinthians 13:12a and must request "That the Elohim of our Master Y'shua the Mashiyach, the Father of glory, may give to you the Spirit of Wisdom and of revelation in the recognition of him. And that the eyes of your hearts may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, ..." Ephesians 1:17-18 we can still run to prayer with the Word for Truth.

Pray with others. I can testify that he speaks to individuals (glory of glories) but has promised to be in the midst of two or more who gather together (Matthew 18:20) Who do you say that he is?
  • The One who sets us free must suffer.
Then he said to them that he, the Son of man, would suffer many things and that the elders and chief priests, and scribes would reject him. And they would kill him and on the third day he would arise. Luke 9:22

It shocks me that the very man who has already set two people free from the grip of death, who has healed sickness that no doctor can cure and sets men free from the dark spirits that have taken hold of them cannot prevent his own suffering. At the cross the crowd will taunt him, "he saved others, he cannot save himself" But he did not come to save himself, he came to save me, to save you, and the cost was overwhelming. He paid the whole cost. In return he will ask that we pick up our cross (the penalty for sedition in Rome) and follow him as our only King.

Don't decide this emotionally, go to prayer, challenge him to be real to you. A cross will not be thrust upon you. You cannot inherit the result of someone else picking up the cross, you must prayerfully pick up your own.

He was in the world, and the world existed by His hand and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But those who did receive Him He gave to them authority that they might be the sons of Elohim, those who have believed in His name. Those who neither by blood nor by the will of the flesh nor by the will of a man, rather were begotten by Elohim. Yochanan (John) 1:10-13

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I am my brother’s keeper. Luke 9:12-17

"You give them something to eat."

I find it easy to put a wall around my heart. My deepest joy is in breathing in the breath of Elohim. Even so, for reasons that are difficult for me to understand, the wound I feel when people belittle me for what I do (or fail to do for them) and the rejection they express for my Messiah and his Father, hurts. Being a spiritual beggar is not a burden most of the time. Being dependent on the grace, the loving kindness of an unseen but very real bride-groom is an amazing way to live.

I live in an era when tolerance for others is the demand of the day. The tension of life is that I am not to "shove my religion down their throats." My solution tends to be isolation, living behind the walls of my secret garden, not wanting to lick my own wounds or be responsible for offending others. Except that the way I choose to conduct my life within my walls is not walking in the freedom that Y'shua has called me to. You may well wonder what this has to do with the passage of Luke that is under consideration today.

Now the day was ending, and the twelve came and said to Him, "Send the crowd away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place." But He said to them, "You give them something to eat!" And they said, "We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people." (For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, "Have them sit down to eat in groups of about fifty each." They did so, and had them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people. And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full. Luke 9:12-17 NASU

Everything in the first half of this chapter received a delightful "Amen" from the depth of my soul. Receiving power and authority to fight the enemy as I proclaim the kingdom is a challenge I willingly accept (though I, like the disciples, did not fully understand it). Becoming a spiritual beggar as I go from town to town without personal means, without a backpack or money to provide for myself seemed like a reasonable challenge. Being dependent on strangers, just as Elijah was upon the widow sounds acceptable to me. But to have others dependent upon me? What do I have to give? And that is just the point that Y'shua is making. Because I have nothing to give but my faith in Him, He is showing me that I have all that I need.

Like the twelve, I feel some level of compassion for those who come to hear the message of life. Let them go and find rest and food in the world. Let them be dependent upon strangers as I have been. But my King, my bride-groom asks me to provide for them. I am sure he said the some thing to the widow of Zarephath. (1 Kings 17:8-16 ) Like her, I look at what I have and realize there is only enough for a little cake of bread for me and mine. I simply cannot fathom how I can feed others. I even protest, "I cannot make others want you my Y'shua." He quickly reminds me that "making others want him" is not in my job description.

But what do I have for them? The little I have in this world is not elegant, it is not desirable. What satisfies me is not the food of proper hospitality so it is not worthy of a buffet fit for guests of a king. But my beloved asks me to trust Him, not the resources. Bring to Him what I have. After all, even what the twelve brought to him was not theirs; it was a gift from a stranger (John 6:9). It was hardly enough for them, but for such a crowd? Surly Y'shua meant to send the crowd to proclaim the Kingdom, to depend upon the hospitality of strangers just as he had sent them to do. The Twelve had come to rest and revel in the accomplishments of the past. Now Y'shua commands them to feed this crowd, to live before them what they have been proclaiming and like me, there is, perhaps, a deep feeling of not being adequate. "You give them something… " Prepare them as if the caterer has arrived, knowing that you have placed what you have in Y'shua's hands. Knowing that there is only water in the jars (John 2:6-11). But I am willing to obey, to be seen as the fool for my beloved. Stepping outside of my comfort zone, I organize the people he has prepared to receive. He has fed their souls, and as his beloved, I will obey him because I have believed him.

It isn't the bread that is broken so much as my heart. He picks it up, he blesses it and keeps giving to the bride, to set before the people. In my broken heart is the secret of satisfaction, the filling of the Messiah of Elohim. His love has both broken and expanded my heart. He breaks down my wall and his own loving kindness gushes out. I give him my inadequate love, my heart, and he breaks it, feeding the many love hungry souls (as I once was) and wonder of wonders, gives me not twelve times what I gave him, but twelve baskets full.

My cup overflows in the valley of the shadow of death. And truly goodness and mercy follow me all the days of my life! (Psalm 23)

Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." None of the disciples ventured to question Him, "Who are You?" knowing that it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise. This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My lambs." He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Shepherd My sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Tend My sheep. John 21:12-17 NASU

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Weekend in the Rainforest

We came for a wedding. Ben and Rebeca sent an invitation for us to witness their covenant to forsake all others, in good-times and difficult, to love, to cherish, until death parts them. A beautiful couple, a good match. Family came, everything was ready.

Ray and I also came, anticipating a warm August weekend both in solar heat and family. Family was warm but during this unusual weather year, the rain forest lived up to its name. Generally we can count on days of sunny bliss in August. Not so this year. At the last minute the wedding was moved to a hall in Arlington. Maybe not as breath-taking of a setting, but a place were the promise of growing love and commitment was made just as sincerely. Even so, Ray and I stayed at Turlo Campground in Robe Valley and remembered why we love this place.... and why we are now content to visit instead of living there.

The plan was to walk as many of the old paths that we once counted as familiar friends. We had a good start but the wet kept us close to the trailer. We marched all over Turlo and Verlot. Chris came with Bomber on Saturday. He and I walked while Ray slept. The noise in the Hall pierced through Ray's temple and he needed time to relax the sound away. The rains were just starting, softly on our faces, a sensation I miss in town. What I had forgotten was how these soft rains can leave me feeling wetter inside my clothes then outside. A simple walk left our skin soaked but not our jackets.
Twilight comes early in a mountain valley. The sun sinks into the fingers that are the cragy peeks the encircle the river. There is no TV, not Internet or cell-service to interrupt our appreciation of all that the Creator, Elohim, has provided in this portion of His Creation. Never mind that the cloud cover was low and thick. There was no star-gazing to be done, but the rain was there to sing her lullaby on our tin (aluminum actually) trailer roof. It is a song we adore when it only lasts a night or two. In the morning, the song of the Thrush was missing. But the blue Stellar Jay could be heard. It brought a smile to both of us.

Breakfast at a cafe in town for a final family gathering before we all went our own ways again. It is sweet to be part of such a big, raucous group. So many little ones, just as it should be. We laughed, we teased, we got caught up with each others lives, than we hugged good-by (till we meet again.
Back to the rain forest for Ray and I for yet one more night to relax in the embrace of her wet love. A little Geo-caching (very little), a little camp cooking, a lot of kicking back and just talking of what comes next for us. Dreaming.
Congratulations Ben and Rebeca. We pray for you that love serve you well. We pray that the one who proclaimed, "the two shall become one" be precious to you. Honor Him and He will walk with you, in good times and bad, and you both shall live. The favor of Elohim, who brought you together shine on your marriage from this day forward.