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!