Shavuot/ Feast of Weeks/ Pentecost

I am so absolutely amazed at the things I am learning...
and how after 12 years of walking with the LORD I still learning things I have never known before.

Until recently, I had never heard of (or appreciated) the LORD's Feasts and Appointed Times. I mean, they are right there - in the "front" of the Book...but I must have skimmed over them as "old stuff" like I did most  of the Torah (the first 5 books of the Old Testament). Sure they were great for Bible storied for the kids...but totally irrelevant for "New Testament" Christians, right?

Maybe not. 

Tomorrow we will be celebrating the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot)/ Pentecost. Here is why:

Acts 2:5
"And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven...."

If you go back to the beginning of Acts you can see the context. Jesus (Y'shua) had finialized his time on earth by telling the disciples to STAY in Jerusalem until their helper (the Holy Spirit) came to them. Then Y'shua ascended into Heaven to be with the Father. About 10 days later, there were suddenly thousands of Jews from every nation under heaven dwelling in Jerusalem who just-so-happened to witness the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the disciples (Pentecost). I never stopped to wonder WHY thousands of Jews just-so-happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. But now I get it...

They were in Jerusalem to celebrate one of God's Appointed times...the Feast of Weeks (or Shavuot). This was one of the three times each year that Jews from all over the world traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate one of God's commanded Holy Days. They were all there celebrating the Feast of Weeks (a celebration of the harvest and a time when they remembered the giving of the law (Torah) to Moses on Mt. Sinai). It is no coincidence that God gave the Holy Spirit to His people THAT day at THAT time. 3000 Jews put their faith and trust in Y'shua Messiah (Jesus Christ) that day and also received the Holy Spirit themselves. The Holy Spirit who would be a helper to them - to guide them in Truth and write the Law (the same Law that they were celebrating) on their hearts. How amazing is that!

So let me rewind a little and run down the "Spring Feasts" that we have been celebrating and how they tie in to our Messiah...

Passover: A time to remember when the LORD "Passed Over" the homes of the Israelites during the last of the Plagues in Egypt. The firstborn sons of all of Egypt were killed that night. The Israelites placed the blood of a pure and spotless lamb over the door of their homes so they would not suffer the the death the Egyptians were suffering. Jesus died on the cross on Passover...he is more than "figuratively" our Passover Lamb. He gave up his Spirit roughly the exact time the priests began killing the passover lambs for all the Jews in Jerusalem. The blood of our pure and spotless lamb excuses us from the wages of sin and death. The blood of Jesus allows us to enter in to eternal life.

Unleavened Bread: When the Israelites fled Egypt, they did not have time to let their dough rise. So, they ate unleavened bread. Yeast, throughout the Bible, is used to represent sin. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life as represented by the bread made without leaven. Even today, Jewish people eat matzah during the Feast of Unleavened Bread - it is "striped and pierced" in tradition before it is baked. Jesus was pierced for our transgressions and by His stripes, we are healed...hmm, see a connection?

Firstfruits: This was a holiday to celebrate the start of the harvest. The best of the new harvest was brought to the LORD as an offering. Jesus rose from the dead on Firstfruits. He is the perfect Firstfruits offering to the LORD...the beginning of the harvest of souls that was to occur through belief in Him.

Counting of the Omer: The Israelites were commanded to count 7 Sabbaths from the Celebration of Firstfruits until the Feast of Weeks (or 50 days). Jesus was with the Disciples for 40 of those days and told them to STAY in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came.

Feast of Weeks/ Shavuot: A celebration of the harvest and remembrance of the giving of the Law to Moses at Mt. Sinai. The Holy Spirit came to live in Believers and guide them in Truth on this day.

Isn't that amazing. Things I never learned in church. If you want to learn more about the Feasts and Appointed times, they are in Leviticus 23. I also highly recommend checking out Robin Sampson's book A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays . We have been using it for school and have really enjoyed learning about the Feasts of YHVH (the LORD).

I tried to paint a very simple and clear picture of what we have been learning. There is soooooo much more to it. And soooooo much more that I have to learn! But the simplicity of God's order and structure and have helped me understand and appreciate my Creator so much more. Isn't it amazing how it ALL happened on His already appointed times. He had it all planned from the very beginning. AMAZING!

To my friends who have been observing Biblical Feasts and Holidays much longer that I...please feel free to leave a comment and correct me where I may be confused. I welcome your knowledge and input.To friends who may have questions about this...ask away...I probably don't have the answer but I can find out!

Chag Sameach Shavuot! 




I am going to let you in on a little secret...one I would rather not share...
but I will because it is directly related to the miracle that just occurred at my home. 

I have been a little stressed. 

Yes, I just said that like I belonged in a 12 step program...
Hello, my name is Leah and I am stressed. 

Specifically, I have been stressed over finances and the growing cost of our food bills. We drive 90 miles (each way) to purchase very expensive specialty foods for 3 members of our family who have food allergies. And these aren't just allergies to things you can leave out...they are wheat and dairy. 
It is hard to have a balanced diet without wheat or dairy and not substitute them with any specialty (gluten free and dairy free) foods. Sure, we can go without cheese or yogurt...but milk is essential (we use almond milk) and it is EXPENSIVE. We also buy some gluten free pasta and gluten free bread - although we go without most things like hamburger buns and specialty bread items unless it is a special occasion. 

I do make most thing from scratch...but  
a 4 lb bag of gluten free flour costs me $14.

So anyway, I was chatting with a friend earlier this week about the growing cost of food and how difficult it is getting to feed our family. Money is tight and well, like most of you, the grocery shopping trips are getting stretched because we just can't afford what we used to. 
 Especially since it costs so much money just to get there! 

My friend reminded me of how YHVH (Yahweh, the Lord) provides and told me 
how so many times people just show up at her door with food. 

I thought, hmph...that never happens here...and if it did...
we wouldn't be able to eat it because of our allergies. 
Yahweh just doesn't provide in THAT way for us.

That thought has been stuck in my head for days. 

And then, this morning, when I had surely reached the end of myself...
I cried out to YHVH (literally crying out - face down on the bedroom floor)...
for help...for reassurance...for a glimpse of His glory...
Show me, YHVH, just show me, please.

And so tonight (just 12 hours later), 
as I was rushing my children to bed and my husband out the door to work...
our neighbors stopped by to tell us some news... 

Remember the raffle we entered a few months ago...
for the FCCLA fundraiser...
for the 1/2 BEEF?
We won it. 


Do you know how much beef that is? 
(roughly) 400 lbs of fresh grass-fed beef.

That would cost over $800. 
We know...we recently asked the butcher and he told us. $850 for 1/2 Beef.

Our neighbors just showed up at our door and gave us food to eat. 
And we can eat it despite our allergies. 

I guess Yahweh CAN provide in that way for us. 

"Great are the works of יהוה, 
Searched for by all who delight in them.
  Splendour and greatness are His work, 
And His righteousness stands forever.
 He has made His wonders to be remembered;
יהוה shows favour and is compassionate.
 He has given food to those who fear Him; 
He remembers His covenant forever.
Psalm 111: 2-5

Oh YHVH, thank you for your provision...
but even more...thank you for showing me...
for giving me the "glimpse" I so desperately needed. 
You are so good to me. Thank you.


Around the World in 20 Days...

OK, so maybe we didn't make it all the way around the world...but by the time we got home it sure felt like it! 
Last month, the kids, the yellow lab, and I embarked on a great adventure...of sorts. We drove from (northern) Montana to Raleigh, North Carolina for my little sister's wedding. I can hardly recount for you the many adventures we had...so I will let the pictures tell it for me! 

We left Montana in a blizzard...continued through Wyoming in 80 mph winds and hit Nebraska about the time the first wave of Tornadoes was wrecking havoc on the country. I had wonderful plans of the places we would stop and things we would learn along our trip...but the reality was that we just needed to keep moving. We did stop in Nebraska for a quick lesson on the Pony Express...the kids were amazed! 

We also made time for a few stops at our FAVORITE restaurant...

(I would have taken a picture of the yummy food...but it was always gone before I could get a picture. 
This was the best I could do!)

Once we finally made it to Raleigh (after some help from my dear Dad who met us in St. Louis two days after the tornado ripped the roof off the airport)...we got to spend some quality time with Ashley before the wedding!

And try on our fancy wedding clothes...

We even got some professional pictures taken at Duke Gardens...

And had lots of time to play with Bumpa...

Before we knew it...it was the wedding day! Aunt Ashley and Uncle Taylor were "going to the chapel and they were gonna get married" (as the kids sang ALL day).

And don't forget the limo ride...

But the fun didn't stop there...after the wedding we went to visit Aunt Christy and our favorite North Carolina cousins! Thanks to a snafu in travel arrangements...our one day visit became a 3 day visit and boy did we have fun! Thanks Aunt Christy for putting up with us!

(this was the laughing horse that Anna got to feed in honor of her 4th Birthday)

After our extended visit with Aunt Christy and company...we whisked up to Maryland to pick up Samson (the yellow lab) and see Mimi & Bumpa one more time...then we headed on home. Unfortunately...Abigail got sick about a day into our trip and everyone else followed closely behind her. The trip home was grueling and the only picture we took was at a crazy restaurant in Casper, Wyoming...

We have been busy recovering, regrouping, and recreating a schedule ever since we got home. We have enjoyed a little 4H and prepping our garden too...those pictures can come later! 

Hope you all enjoyed our trip around the world...er, I mean...half way around the country. We are thankful that we traveled safely and that no "Tom Tomatoes" (that's 3 year old for tornadoes) came and knocked over our car! Till next time...



Montana Winter...

Now that Spring is finally in the air...I figured a few pictures from our winter were in order. Enjoy!

Snow Days...

Apparently Montana loves indoor water parks...so do we!

And of course, I couldn't leave out wrestling pictures....but you'll have to go to Joshua's blog to see those :)


April Daybook

Outside my window...
It's beginning to look a lot like...SPRING! It is cold and windy but the sun is shining and the snow is finally melting!

I am thinking...
I am VERY ready to be done with illness. We have been down for about 15 days now with some sort of sickness. Josh started throwing up at 4am today. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

I am thankful for...
The ability to be home with my kids! To be able to take care of them when they are sick and not have to worry about taking a day off from a job. I am also thankful for homeschooling...that I can read to them when they are sick or just know that we can get around to school tomorrow when they are feeling better. No counting days of absence or doctors notes...just meeting their needs.

From the learning rooms...
Lots and lots of sick days. Lots of reading out loud and "life" learning 
as we take care of one another and try to get healthy.

From the kitchen...
Ordered 20lbs of apples from the co-op this month. Lots of homemade applesauce, dehydrated apples, and maybe even a few apple pies to make the Papa happy :)

From the garden...
Starting tomato seeds (inside) this week. Woohoo! So excited to get the garden going!

I am creating...
Well, I am surviving at this point and not much more. I am working on a prayer shawl for my mother-in-law (who is still in a coma, 9 months and counting) and a few other small crochet crafts to sell at our next craft show...

I am going...
To be driving to the East Coast with my children the end of this month for my little sister's wedding. Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, a few other random states, Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, and on to North Carolina. And then back home. I am actually looking forward to it...really!

I am reading...
Through the Bible (I found a new Bible Reading Plan that I really enjoy), Weekly Torah Portions, The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace, and A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce. I am also reading "The Wizard of Oz" to the kids :) My dear sister-in-law sent me a copy of 1000 Gifts and my husband informed me that it arrived today. I am looking forward to reading it soon!

I am hoping...
That everyone recovers quickly so we can be healthy and rested for our long road-trip this month. We also have the end of Awanas and Missoula Children's Theater before we go...so everyone NEEDS to be healthy!

I am hearing...
Abigail tell Nicole a secret...

Around the house...
You just don't want to know. 
2 full weeks of illness is hard on a house. And the Mama.

One of my favorite things...
When my kids are getting along like best-friends/ siblings should!

A few plans for the rest of the month...
Piano lessons, Missoula Children's Theater, speech therapy, Awanas, and wedding prep ...Oh my! Then we drive 2400 miles (one way) to celebrate the marriage of my little sister to "Uncle Duke." I am so excited!

My little performer tried out for her 2nd Missoula Children's Theater play yesterday...our town will be performing "The Frog Prince" on Friday night and Nicole will be a "flytrap." I have no idea what that means...but she is excited and can't wait to be on the stage!

My little man finished his first season of wrestling and we are so proud of him! He improved so much and we can definitely see a major improvement in his strength and coordination. He wrestled in 17 tournament matches and won only one of them...but his attitude was incredible. He never once cried over a loss (and trust me...a lot of kids do). He is motivated for next year and is already "working out" with Daddy so he can be even stronger next year. I pray that his hard work will pay off with a few more wins next year!

Currently has stickers in her hair and is running around half dressed. Need I say more?

A picture for you...

Swimming lessons finally paid off for Nicole!

Shalom and blessings to each of you,

Check out the original Simple Woman's Daybook for more great stuff!


Sick, sick, sick...

Yes we are...and have been for about 10 days. Miserable sick. And just when one person gets over it...someone else gets it again. I was prepared to drive Abigail to the city this morning to see the Pediatrician, but she seems better and now Nicole has a fever and feels miserable....again (she already had it once). Man, if I didn't know that YHVH (the Lord) loved me like crazy, I'd probably go insane!!!

"...casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7

Lord, please heal us and make us healthy again!

So, I realized that I haven't posted in about 2 weeks and I have very little other to say than to whine about being sick :) So I thought I would share a few pictures of recent crafts I have been working on....



We are working on an Amerciana theme in the Family Room and this cabinet ~ though necessary ~ has been a huge eyesore. We have had this cabinet since our first Christmas together and it is a piece of junk from StuffMart...but it keeps on tickin'. I added a little Americana fabric inside the glass door panels and at least now you don't have to see all the junk inside. Easy peasy...
I have also made a funny hobby out of turning old jeans into skirts. This one I made with a matching headcovering. Fun, fun, fun and cheap too! 

OK, I hope to be back with you soon...feeling good and full of wonderful things to say :)

Until then, Yah (God) bless you all!




If I only knew then...

My dear husband and I were having one of those conversations...you know...if only I knew then what I know now....

It got me thinking about some of "those things" in my life...

If I only knew that I wasn't actually going to marry any of those boys
I wouldn't have wasted so much time (and so many tears) on them.

If I only knew then that I would spend the next half of my life exhausted...
I might not have stayed up so late at night.

If I only knew then that I would one day be a homeschool mom...
I might have chosen a different major in college
(although my nursing degree occasionally comes in handy as a mom).

If I only knew then that it was only a test...
I would not have treated it as if it was the end of the world.

If I only knew then that one day I would have to give an account for every word I have spoken...I would have chosen my words more carefully.

If I only knew then that my best friend would never make it to her high school graduation day...
I would have made up with her after our last fight.

And you would think that after that...I might have learned my lesson...

But instead...

If I had only known that I would never hear my mother-in-law's voice again...
I definitely would have answered the phone the day she called.
She called to ask for my P.O. Box #.
Instead, I was busy and chose to ignore the call on my cell phone.
And then delete the message intending to call her back.
And then...the next day...she was in a plane crash with my father-in-law.
And now...she is in a coma.
I never answered her call and I never called her back.
I am sorry, mom. Very sorry.

Apparently, she must have gotten our address from someone else because a week after the accident...I received a package in the mail from her. Some beautiful gifts she had picked out just for me. She sent them the morning of the accident.

If I only knew then...I would have answered the phone and told her how much I appreciate her. Now all I can do is tell her how much I miss her over the phone.
And she cannot respond. I am sorry, mom. Very sorry.


Wait for your one true love,
take a nap,
take the test but don't stress over it,
always keep the bigger picture in mind

And if you love someone...tell them. Today. Answer the call. Or make one yourself. Tell your loved ones you appreciate them. Hug your babies and kiss your husband and never let the day get away from you.

You might not get another one...



Please Help Bring Anya Home....

Good morning, friends! Just a quick note to let you know about my dear friend Angela and her family ~ they are working very hard to bring a very special little girl home from Eastern Europe.

Grab This!

Jump over to Angela's blog : The Daily Planet to make a donation AND win a chance (or two) at a free i-Pad.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)

If you cannot bring an orphan home yourself, please help someone else in their calling and obedience to the Father! I am certain that every penny helps!

Have a blessed day and I'll be back in a few ~ we are "switching shifts" right now (daddy changes to evening shift today) and it always takes us a few days to readjust to a new routine!




March Daybook

Outside my window...
Snow, Snow, and more SNOW!!! And frigid temperatures. Winter is still in full force here in Montana.

I am thinking...
that I just posted my February Daybook ~ how can it be March already?

I am thankful for...
so many things. YHVH's blessings can be overwhelming at times. Healthy bodies, a warm home, homeschooling, a good paying job (for my husband), and the assurance of all things in Elohim's hands. Yes, it is overwhelming.

From the learning rooms...
I am longing for warmer weather so we can take school "outside." Planting our garden and exploring God's creation is such a wonderful way to learn. In the meantime, we are doing lots of reading out-loud and copywork. Nicole's reading skills are progressing very nicely. As usual, I am starting to consider curriculum options for next year. Part of me want to stick with what we have started...to stay the course...but part of me is always wanting to try something new. I will be praying about that!

From the kitchen...
I tried several new recipes this month...some wonderful...some not. We made cabbage rolls in the crock-pot last week for Saturday night. Nicole and I loved them...but Dave and Josh did not. Bummer. I also made homemade potato soup last night. It was delicious and even Joshua (my texture sensitive kid) was able to eat his whole bowl. Perfect for snowy winter day!

From the garden...
We have been nursing a pot of rosemary indoors ever since last summer. We had big plans for that rosemary. Sadly, so did the 3 year old...apparently she picked each little precious plant out of the pot and threw it in the trash. I guess she needs a bit more supervision during "play time."

I am creating...
too many unfinished projects! I have a few skirts left to wrap -up and an afghan that needs to be finished. Here's to productivity...one day!

I am going...
too many places for gas to be so expensive!

I am reading...
Through the Bible (I found a new Bible Reading Plan that I really enjoy), Weekly Torah Portions, Liberated through Submission by P.B. Wilson, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Whitney, and A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce. I am also reading "The Wizard of Oz" to the kids :)

I am hoping...
that everyone in my home will be healthy again ~ soon. My dear husband has pneumonia and he is miserable. The kids battled sickness for about 10 day (each one was sick for about three days, then the next one would get it). Now everyone has healthy amounts of snot. Ewww.

I am hearing...
The dog barking (at who knows what) and the kids playing. There is never a shortage of noise around here!

Around the house...
We finished painting the main areas of the house and they really look great! Other than that, things have fallen a bit behind because of our unending sickness...but I am hoping to be caught up soon!

One of my favorite things...
Elohim's (God's) Word and a warm cup of coffee.

A few plans for the rest of the month...
Piano lessons, wrestling practice, speech therapy and sign language...Oh my! We are also awaiting word on my husband leaving for 6 weeks for work. Good think I learned how to use the snow-blower yesterday!


My precious little girl turns 7 this month. I can hardly believe it. She is such a good helper around the house and a joy to be around. She is almost finished with Book #2 for Awanas and she started piano lessons last week. You can read more about that adventure here. She lost both of her front teeth and has no more loose ones at the moment (thank goodness). I am very proud of Nicole and I am very excited to see what YHVH has planned for her life!


My little man started wrestling this week. It is very challenging for him and seems to highlight his coordination issues...but he is very motivated and excited to learn. My husband has been very impressed that he hung in there through the whole practice each day...when some of the other kids his age sat out when they got tired. This morning he wanted to know if he could have vegetables for breakfast so he could get stronger for wrestling :)

We all hoped that Abigail's "antics" would resolve when she turned 3...but alas...no such luck. She is still Abigail and as much as she makes me crazy....I love her all the more for it! She can be the sweetest, most loving, and fun child on the face of the earth. I just have to focus on those moments and stay strong in training and disciplining her! Abigail is also learning verses for Awanas now...she is officially a "Cubby" and has memorized about 10 verses so far. She loves getting stickers for her book and patches for her vest. I love that she is hiding Yah's Word in her little heart!

A picture for you...

Not a great picture...but a great way to start the school day...Battleship!

Shalom and blessings to each of you,

Check out the original Simple Woman's Daybook for more great stuff!


Why Shabbat?

This week our home has been full of flu. It seemed to creep one person to the next in about 2 day intervals. There have been many lazy days...pajamas and homemade soup...movies and naps. Finally, we are starting to turn the corner. Everyone has had it except for me (I thought I was coming down with it one day but it turned around by mid-afternoon). Joshua has been walking around praying, "Dear Lord, please do not let mommy get sick or we're all gonna die."

And yet, after all this sickness and resting and laziness...one might be inclined to skip Shabbat (Hebrew for Sabbath). After all...it would be easy to take tomorrow to catch up on a few things...

But no. We will not skip the Sabbath. My kids made me promise. "Mom," they said, "God commanded us to keep the Sabbath, so we should definitely do it." Yes, they have been listening to our Bible reading!

There are many Christians who believe that it is not necessary to keep the Sabbath. It's a Jewish thing...or that it was part of the "old covenant" and that Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) did away with all that....right?

Well. Did you know that Elohim (God) established the Sabbath LONG before "Israel" existed? That's right. Go check your Bibles right now...I'll wait.

Genesis 2: 2-3
"By the seventh day Elohim (God) had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested (ceased) from his work. And Elohim (God) blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done."

Shabbat means to cease or stop. God set the example for us to STOP. The result of stopping...is rest! Yes, REST!

God didn't create the Sabbath for the Israelites or the Jews. He created it for you and for me...and for all of mankind right from the beginning. Was God tired from all that creating He had done? No. He was setting the example for us. He was giving us a gift. A gift of rest. Common' tired Mama's...how many times have you simply begged Him for REST...just a break, Lord...can't I get a break? Well, He already gave it to you. You just have to trust Him and obey. He called the 7th day Holy...who are we to argue?

Now...if God ordained this holy day at the beginning of time...what happened to it? Did the "new covenant" excuse believers from participating? Did Jesus rename the Sabbath , "The Lord's Day" and formally change it to the 1st day (which would be Sunday)? Nope.

You may be surprised (cause I sure was)...that the change came in the 4th century AD by none other than Constantine himself. After Constantine's alleged conversion...at the Council of Laodicea, the Church declared the Sabbath to be a an exclusively Jewish holy day and abolished the practice by the "Christian" church. They decided to replace the Sabbath observance with a new tradition of worship on the day Yeshua (Jesus) rose from the grave...which would be the 1st day of the week. This day was also named "Sun-day" because it was the day people worshiped the sun-god and Constantine believed that church worship on the "sun-day" would attract more followers than the traditional Sabbath observance which was associated with the Jews.

So - God ordained the 7th day Sabbath...and Constantine changed it. As for me and my house...we will serve YHVH (the Lord)!

So, my kitchen floor is dry now and I need to get back to work. My house does not look the way it may have during a "normal" week (whatever that is)...but I am doing my best to prepare today and I am so anticipating resting with YHVH tonight and tomorrow!

Thank you, YHVH, for your mercy and for the gift of Shabbat!

Curious about this information? Check out Torah Class - which is free and online...there are written and audio lessons which cover "The Scriptures" (Old Testament) chapter by chapter. It is challenging me to read and study the Bible from a Hebrew point of view.

Shabbat Shalom,



She's a MANIAC...for the Lord!

Remember that perfectly sweet almost 7 year old I was telling you about here...and how she wanted to ride her bike all around town so she could tell people about Jesus? Well you can give that girl and inch and she will take you for a mile!

(Nic showing off her missing teeth)

Nicole had her first piano lesson today. We were blessed to find a christian piano teacher who was teaching a group lesson to some little girls in our town. Nicole would be the oldest in the class - but it would be a great way for her to meet some new friends and see if she would like to continue with private piano lessons down the line. Anyhow, the piano teacher lives about 15 minutes outside of town so the moms decided we would take turns driving to lessons. One of the other girls is particularly shy so she wanted her mom to drive first.

Now...never before in the last (almost) 7 years has anyone driven up to my house, picked up my daughter and driven away with her. Never. I have always been there. A few months ago she went to a friend's house for the day without me...for the first time ever. I guess you could say I am having a hard time letting go!

I anxiously watched the clock waiting for her return. She came home bounding with energy (what else is new) and excitement. She had a wonderful time at lessons and remembered to use her manners. The only complaint was that the lesson was too short (to which I had to explain the theory of time flies when you are having fun). And then...she dropped the bomb...."I did talk a lot on the way to and from lessons, Mom."

Uh oh.

"Really, what did you talk about?"

"Well, I asked if my friend knew about God and she said only a little. So I told her about the Bible. The whole Bible. I started with Adam and Eve and then I told her about Noah and Abraham and Moses and David and Jesus and even about Paul - how he was in jail and told people all about Jesus while he was there."


That must have been an earful for a 5 year old and her mom...who don't go to church...who think homeschooling is a little, um...weird.


And yet, I was so proud of her because she was finally doing what she feels called to do - to tell people about Jesus.

Then...just about 9pm the piano teacher called. She wanted to let me know about something that happened in class.

Uh oh....

The teacher uses a mouse puppet named Mozart Mouse to help her teach the class. At the end of class, Mozart Mouse bowed to the students to thank them for coming. Then she had the student take a bow back to Mozart Mouse. Uh oh. I knew where this was headed...

She said that as Nicole was walking out the door...when all the other parents were there...she said, "But Mrs. Holden, I though we were only supposed to bow down to God."

I explained with a laugh that we had been reading the Torah and learning more about the 10 Commandments. We had also recently discussed Shadrach & friends (cause I don't know how to spell their names) and how they ended up in the fiery furnace because they wouldn't bow down to any god other than Elohim (the one true God). The teacher said she completely understood and that she thought it was wonderful...but mentioned that the other parents did look a little concerned. I told her I would talk to Nicole about it tomorrow morning and maybe next time she could use the term curtsy instead of bow...just a suggestion!

I can only pray that her little fire keeps burning with passion for YHVH (the Lord)! You tell 'em, Nic!


Preparation Day

I have long heard it said that...

A Failure to Plan is a Plan to Fail

I experienced that last Sabbath. Let's just say, it wasn't pretty like the others. Why, you ask? I wasn't prepared!

So here is how it works...the Sabbath officially begins at Sunset on Friday evening. Friday day is known as "Preparation Day." As my friend so wisely instructed me...you clean your house and prepare everything as if you are having very important company for dinner. Your company is Jesus. On top of the house cleaning, you prepare your dinner and challah (bread) ahead so that you are not scrambling at the last minute. And since the Sabbath lasts through sun-down on Saturday...you prepare everything you will need for Saturday as well. That is a lot of preparation! But the reward...lots of rest! I have said since the very first Sabbath we celebrated ~ I will gladly put in the extra work Sun - Fri if it means that I get a day of real rest on Saturday. The problem comes when you don't get the work done.

Last week was weird...Joshua had a severe allergic reaction on Tuesday when we were in the city. I spent the rest of the week in some sort of "funk" as a result. I let the circumstances get to me. I was physically and emotionally tired and I excused my own laziness. As the Sabbath approached, I told myself I would do as much as I could but not stress over it...after all...it isn't a legalistic thing. I would still take my "rest" on Friday eve and Saturday...even though I hadn't prepared for it. Sadly, the result was anything but restful.

One major complicating factor is that...before I became convicted to keep the Sabbath...I committed to a sign language class for the kids...in the city (90 miles away) on Friday afternoon. Knowing what I know now...I won't do that again! Our class puts us home about 4pm which is plenty of time to finish last minute preparations...but hardly enough time to do it all. I now know that I need to move our preparation day to Thursday, preparing as much as I can so that Friday is not so hectic. Today we are cleaning and I am prepping my food as much as I can. I am making chicken cacciatore and homemade french bread for dinner tonight (Thursday). I will also cook my beef tonight for beef with mushrooms for our Sabbath meal. I can cook my rice ahead as well so that I just have to reheat it tomorrow night (when we get home from class). We will have leftover challah for breakfast on Saturday and egg salad on toast for lunch. We boiled eggs and made the egg salad yesterday. For dinner, on Saturday night, we are having a crcokpot dinner that includes ground beef and vegetables. I will cook the beef for that today and assemble the vegetables in the crockpot tomorrow morning before we leave for class. That way, all I have to do is plug in the crockpot Saturday morning and all of our meals are ready.

I know that may sound ridiculous to some of you...but the result is so worth it. Do you know what I do on the Sabbath? I rest. A mom of three little ones...resting and playing with her kids. Enjoying fellowship with them for the glory of Elohim (God). I do not do dishes or chores. We each rinse our own plate and put it in the dishwasher. Dishes that need to be washed by hand go into the sink to soak until after the Sabbath. On Saturday, we usually eat on paper towels for breakfast and lunch if we can. I do not do laundry or clean (unless there is a spill or something, ya know). And you know what...nobody dies because mom rests! I spend the day reading the Word with the kids, playing Bible games, watching Bible movies (ok, that is translated Veggie Tales, but thats ok), and enjoying Yahweh's glorious creation (hiking, etc...which will be a lot easier when it is spring/ summer). Oh yeah, and naps! We ALL take naps.

Last week, I failed to be prepared and I failed to rest as a result. I was grumpy and unsettled because I hadn't finished my work. My husband came home from work to a disaster and and a frazzled mom. Not a good witness to my observing the Sabbath! This week, I will work hard to be prepared for my rest. And it will be glorious!

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the YHWH's holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in YHWH,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of YHWH has spoken.
Isaiah 58:13-14

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;
for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
Hebrews 4:9-10

When She is Sad...

I have the most precious 6 year old (almost 7, yikes) daughter in the world. She is beautiful, smart, funny, talented, very helpful and has more love for Jesus than I could ever imagine having. She longs to ride her bike up and down the streets of our small town, telling people about Jesus. You have no idea how much I love this precious little girl.

And yet, she is sad. Grandma has been in a coma for 7 months now. In case you missed it, my in-laws were in a terrible plane crash back in July of last year. They were flying from Colorado back home to San Diego via New Mexico. They had weather difficulties in New Mexico and crashed. My father-in-law sustained serious injuries but was released from the hospital a few days later. My mother-in-law was in a coma and on a ventilator in New Mexico for several weeks. They were able to transfer her to a rehab facility in San Diego and eventually back to her home where she is receiving in-home care. To date, she is breathing completely on her own. She opens her left eye and even tries to speak. She eats some pureed foods by mouth but otherwise has a g-tube for feeding. There is great debate over whether or not she is actually in a coma...but that is what we say to keep it simple.

We went to visit the beginning of November and it was very hard on Nicole. Well, it was very hard on all of us. This precious woman who is so lively and constantly moving...was bound to a chair and unable to move. She would occasionally, when holding your hand, not let go. There was a day when she tried so hard to speak that it broke my heart. I liken it to being trapped in a prison. The kids sang for her and drew her pictures and Nicole would go with Wolfie just to sit with her and care for her. While we were there, Nicole had dreams that Grandma woke up and spoke to her. I secretly prayed for them to be prophetic. They were not.

And so, 7 months later...we are still waiting. We are praying for a miracle. That she will "wake up" and be restored to her old self. This would take a full-on miracle and we KNOW that God is capable. What we don't know is if that is His plan. And it is hard to wait.

Nicole has been struggling again lately. She is having dreams again - dreams that Grandma wakes up and that they go to church together. That they are hiking together in the mountains. Sometimes, when we are driving in the car she will start to cry - because (God) Elohim's creation is so beautiful and she is not sure that Grandma will ever be able to see it again. She tells me that her heart is sad and that she just doesn't know what to do to make it happy again. She says it will never be the same without Grandma to share it with. We hold her, distract her, and cry with her...but beyond that I just don't know what to say. I encourage her to pray, which she does...but I am afraid that (what seems to her) unanswered prays will shake her unshakable faith.

This morning, Josh and Nicole had a discussion about Grandma. Josh confidently stated that he thinks Jesus is going to take her to heaven. Soon. Nicole cried. Josh said, "but Nicole...in heaven her brain will be healed and she will be like the old Grandma you liked to play with." This is coming for a 5 year old who KNOWS without a doubt that his speech and his food allergies will be HEALED when he gets to heaven. If he had it his way, I think he'd be there today.

There is something about the in-between that makes it really hard to grieve. She is not dead, she is not in heaven...rejoicing with YHWH. She is suffering. And it isn't fair. And yet YHWH remains faithful in our suffering.

Will you please pray for my little girl, that somehow Elohim (God) would comfort her in her suffering? That He would make her faith stronger through this and not let her doubt? And for us...that we will know how to meet her needs and comfort her when she is sad? Thank you, dear friends.


PS: you can follow my mother-in-law's recovery here http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/barbarakaiser2010


Will you be His Valentine?

A true gentleman may open the car door for you...
but Jesus opens the door to heaven for you.

A true gentleman may hold your hand in public...
but Jesus holds your soul in the palm of His hand.

A true gentleman may ask your father for his blessing...
but Jesus gives His blessing to the Father on your behalf.

The love of your life may take you on a restful vacation,
but Jesus gives you rest for your soul.

The love of your life may give you beautiful jewelry,
but Jesus has a crown waiting for you in heaven.

The love of your life may promise you the sun, moon and stars,
but Jesus made the sun, moon, and stars for you before you were even born.

The love of your life may promise to love you forever,
but only Jesus really will.

The love of your life may even promise to never leave you,
but only Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.

The love of your life may say that he would die for you,
but Jesus died on the cross for your sins.

The love of your life may, sadly, one day break your heart,
but Jesus is the healer of broken hearts.

When you are professing your love to "the love of your life" today, do not forget the lover of your soul. He wants to know if you will be His Valentine...forever? Give your heart to Jesus today!

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

"For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only begotten son, that whoever believes in His should not perish but have everlasting life. "
John 3:16


The Simple Woman's Daybook

February Daybook

Outside my window...
Snow, Snow, and more SNOW!!! We are having one lovely winter storm today and the snow is so beautiful!

I am thinking...
that my coffee cup needs refilling. I'll be back :)

I am thankful for...
staying inside on a snowy day. I am very also very thankful for friends far away that I can connect with via internet...friends who teach me, guide me, and encourage me in my journey!

From the learning rooms...
School is progressing nicely, tho slow at times. We have recently begun studying Biblical Holidays and we are all enjoying it very much. Our curriculum challenged us to observe a traditional "Sabbath" and it has started us on a journey of learning and growth in the Lord. I am really looking forward to learning more about Passover and the Messianic symbolism as we approach the Spring Holidays.

From the kitchen...
planning monthly menus and experimenting with new recipes. Learning how to cook ahead (in order to observe a day of rest each week) and experimenting with gluten free Challah...lots going on! Check out Joshua's Blog for some yummy Gluten Free Dairy Free Recipes.

From the garden...
visions of springtime and plants growing are dancing in my head. Before we know it ~ it will be time to start some plants indoors!

I am creating...
skirts from old blue jeans. It has become a fun hobby and I hope to get some more good sewing time this month so I can finish up a few I have started.

I am going...
to the city once a week right now for sign language classes. It is a long drive but so worth it for the kids to be able to sign with other kids. They are learning a lot and having fun!

I am reading...
Through the Bible ( I found a new Bible Reading Plan that I really enjoy), Liberated through Submission by P.B. Wilson, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Whitney, and A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce.

I am hoping...
that my Mother-in-Law will wake up...soon. I have a very sad little girl on my hands who misses her Grandma very much. I would also very much like to have conversation with her about all that Yahweh is teaching me right now. I would love to share it with her and get her feedback. I miss her very much!

I am hearing...
My husband preparing to paint the Living Room...and I am very excited for the outcome!

Around the house...
We painted the kitchen and dining room a few weeks ago and are very happy with the results. It is amazing how a coat of new paint can make a house feel like home. I am also working very hard to stay on top of the housework so that I can fully enjoy our Shabbat (Sabbath) each Saturday. It is amazing how much more I am willing to do during the week when I know I will have a day off on the 7th day.

One of my favorite things...
Watching the snow fall.

A few plans for the rest of the month...
We have 2 more weeks of swimming lessons and 7 more weeks of American Sign Language Class (ASL) is the city...that means lots of driving time! I hope to get out and do some snow shoeing this month since we just got this amazing fresh snow! We will be celebrating a birthday later this week and going to Awanas and starting piano lessons and...wow, we have lots to do!


Lots of drama over loose teeth. Daddy pulled out one of her front teeth about a week ago and as soon as he was done ~ she was the toughest girl in the world. She was gonna pull out all of her teeth all by herself from now on...but now that she has another one ready to go...we are back to the tears and terror over losing the tooth. She refuses to eat with the front tooth and despite the fact that it is literally hanging out of her gums...the tooth remains in her mouth. Other than that she remains mom's little helper and all- around good girl. She longs to ride her bike around town and tell everyone she see's about Jesus. Future Missionary? Maybe.

My big boy is about to finish Sparks Book #1 for Awanas...even faster than Nicole did. He has such a heart for the Lord and I cannot believe how quickly he is growing! He is also doing very well in Speech and in swimming lessons. His favorite food is still Pizza and whenever I make it he pretends he is eating at Pizza Hut...even tho he has never been there and will probably never go :/

My baby is turning 3 this week. I have no words other than...
The days go by way too fast.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Check out the original Simple Woman's Daybook for more great stuff!


Our First Shabbat

I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I have been challenged to a new level of obedience in my walk. Radical obedience. I will give you a glimpse of what this looks like...

The kids and I celebrated our first Shabbat (Sabbath). This is something that has been on my heart and mind for quite some time. I have a tried to implement a few "things" to put my heart at ease...but it wasn't working. I began researching and praying and talking to a few wise friends. Then...the answer came. I was flipping ahead in Nicole's school book and saw that next week we are supposed to observe a traditional Sabbath. The very thing I had been praying about and researching was placed in front of me as a school assignment. Coincidence? No. Confirmation? Maybe.

OK, so you have written me off as crazy. That's ok. But if you are curious about my craziness you are welcome to continue reading.

On Tuesday of last week I pretty much decided that we would be celebrating the Sabbath starting Friday evening. As soon as the decision was made - the attacks started in. I immediately began to doubt...that I could even be ready to "rest" by Friday....that I was qualified to participate in such a tradition...that I was legitimately crazy (that one is still out to jury). I emailed my friend in a panic Thursday and said I just simply didn't know what to do for our Sabbath. She responded with sweet encouragement. She told me..."On Friday, clean and prepare your home as if you were having company for dinner. Your company will be Jesus. Prepare a nice meal for dinner early in the day and set the table nicely. When the sun sets...your work is done. Enjoy your meal with your family and follow it up with time enjoying your family. Saturday, rest and remember what the Lord has done for you. Try to avoid "work."

Friday morning I was in a frenzy cleaning. My house was in desperate need of cleaning. It was sad. But the thought of a day off....a day of real rest...motivated me to work hard. And I did. And the results were beautiful. My home felt cozy and inviting and I like it that way. I then prepared a nice casserole for dinner. When I was done preparing I washed and put away all the dishes except the casserole dish it was baking in. The kids set the table "fancy" and we made cupcakes for a special dessert. (Next week I will undertake making challah...a traditional sweet egg bread but I wasn't ready for that this week...) As the time drew closer to sundown I got more and more anxious....would I ever get everything done? But when the sun did set I was filled with an overwhelming peace. My husband came home from work and initiated a game of football with the kids. I actually got to SIT and watch them play. Next, we ate dinner...all together at the table. It was lovely. I rinsed the dishes after dinner and put them into the dishwasher. The casserole dish, I put in the sink and filled with soapy water. That's it. The kitchen was still clean from earlier in the day and I got to walk away from it and play a few games with the kids....something I never get to do in the evening. We read our New Testament Scriptures for the evening and then went to bed.

Saturday morning we slept in and then had left over muffins for breakfast - on paper towels that got thrown away when we were done. The kids and I settled in for some "Bible Study" together. They each followed along in their Bibles as I read the "Torah Portion" for the week. I found this here. It was great - the timing was perfect. We actually read about when Moses received the 10 Commandments and talked about WHY we were observing the Sabbath. Next, the kids colored some pictures of Moses receiving the commandments and Nicole did some copy work that I found on the Torah School site. Next, we wrote notes and drew pictures of encouragement to put in a care package for Uncle Dan (who is in Afghanistan) and Grandma (who is still in a coma). By that time we were ready for lunch...which was cold leftovers from the fridge w/ cut-up fruit. Plates in the dishwasher. Done. Then it was nap time :) I had some nice quiet Bible and prayer time then manages to squeeze in a nap as well! After nap we worked on our Catechism together, played a board game of the "Books of the Bible" and watched a Veggie Tales movie.

Dad came home from work and the sun went down. Shabbat was over. I have never been so bummed for the day to end! I went to the bedroom to pray awesome thanks to Yahweh as this was truly one of the best days I have had in years. I was so refreshed and blessed by our day of rest. It truly was a GIFT from Him...not a burden. Even now, on Monday...I am extra motivated to get our "work done" each day so that we can rest again next Sabbath. It is extremely motivating to know that there is an end - or at least a break - in sight.

I know this post is lengthy and I know that some of what I have expressed may be "controversial" in the church. Even our Catechism says that believers are not longer under the law of the Sabbath. Ok great, so that makes me FREE to celebrate the Sabbath with my family. I will be working on another post that details some of the things I have been learning as I studied the Sabbath. Leave me questions too - I would love to answer them in the next post!
Thanks for hanging in there and reading my LONG story!




Your encouragement for today...

"...acknowledge the God of your father,
and serve Him with wholehearted devotion
and with a willing mind,
for the Lord searches every heart
and understands every motive behind the thoughts.
If you seek Him, He will be found by you;
but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever."

1 Chronicles 28:9

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are committed to Him."
2 Chronicles 16:9


For the Nay-Sayers

I know you are out there....
I have encountered some of you, had conversations with some of you, and yet felt the strong sense of disapproval from others...
This post is for you.

The single-most important thing in my life is my relationship with my God and Father. He has extended grace to me in ways that I cannot even understand. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 I deserve death ~ and yet He has given me life. "...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10. My life is full. I am blessed. I am content. And yet I strive to live in a way that pleases my Heavenly Father more and more each day. Not because my obedience will save me - only belief in Jesus Christ can do that - but because I love Him and I desire to live the way He has shown me. Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." John 14:23 I am no longer satisfied to live a comfortable faith that the world tells me is right. The WORD tells me what is right and I am choosing to follow what it says. Not according to our culture or what is "popular Christianity" but radical obedience based on love. I have been challenged and I have accepted the challenge. I will mess up. I will fail. But I will try...because I love Him who has first loved me.

I am a wife and a mother and I count myself blessed for it. I am the keeper of my home and responsible (to my own humanly limitations) for guarding the hearts and minds of my children. I am responsible for educating them in God's way ~ not the ways of the world (or the government for that matter). These commands that I give you today are to be upon your heart. "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." Deuteronomy 6:6-7.

There is no other job or thing in the whole world that is more important OR more rewarding than what I am doing now. I am not perfect and I do not do my job perfectly. I mess up. I fail. But I trust that my Heavenly Father will make up the difference.

I assure you, this is foreign territory for me. I was raised to be career oriented. I am well-educated and licensed as a Registered Nurse. I had a successful career as a military nurse and helped many women and families and families while I was there. I made my own money and spent it when and where I wanted to. And yet...I consider these things to be rubbish compared to the life I have been given. "But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 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 3:7-8.

There is not a beloved person out there who needs my nursing skills or my compassion or my time more than my husband and children need me at home. There is not an understanding of self-worth or excellent career to be gained ("What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?" Matthew 17:26) that can compare to knowing that my husband has full confidence in me (Proverbs 31:11) and my children are walking in the truth. "I have no greater joy than to know that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4

My words are not meant to be harsh, I speak them out of love. That you would understand who I am and what is important to me. That you would not worry for me or be disappointed that who I am is not who I used to be. I am a work in progress. "...that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

And for my sisters' in Christ who may understand where I am coming from...press on towards the goal. Your reward is waiting for you in Heaven ~ where we will rest and fellowship and be lavished in the Love of our Savior. It will be a glorious day!

"But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats
; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. " 1 Peter 3:14-16

Shalom, Leah


GFDF Cinnamon Rolls

What I am up to these days...lots of gluten free baking! Check out Joshua's blog for more yummy recipes!

This is my version of a wonderful gluten-free cinnamon roll. The original recipe (which I have modified quite a bit) was posted here: I Am Gluten Free. I highly recommend doubling this recipe as it only makes one pan of cinnamon rolls. This BARELY fed my family of 5 as everyone wanted more! Even my hubby (who is not gluten-free) loved them! Please let me know if you try the recipe and have any suggestions...

2/3 cup warm milk (we use almond milk)
1 packet active dry yeast

2 Tbsp dairy free margarine (we use Earth's Balance)
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg (at room temperature)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups All-Purpose GF Flour (we use GF Mama's Almond Blend)
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp xanthan gum

For filling:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
chopped nuts - optional

For glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
milk to desires thickness

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine warm milk and yeast (be sure all the yeast dissolves) and allow to sit for about 5 minutes until it is foamy.

In the bowl of stand mixer, combine margarine and sugar until smooth. Add proofed milk/ yeast to bowl. Add egg, oil, and vanilla. Mix until combined.

In a separate bowl combine gluten-free flour and remaining dry ingredients. Stir to combine then add to mixing bowl. Beat on high for 2 minutes.

Lay a piece of wax paper on the counter and sprinkle 1-2 Tbsp sugar over it. Scoop dough (which will be quite soft) on to wax paper. Cover this with another piece of wax paper and roll out into approximately 9x11 size rectangle. Remove top piece of wax paper and cover rectangle with filling. Use the bottom piece of wax paper to lift edge and start rolling dough into a long cylinder. Cut into 8 or 9 even size slices (about 1" wide). (Original poster suggested trimming off irregular ends but I just leave them on there). Place rolls into a greased pie plate or cake pan.

Bake approximately 20 minutes (or until the tops are golden brown). Top with glaze if desired.

And ENJOY....I know we did!