Friday, October 28, 2011

Walmart and Growing Grass

I'm sitting here at my computer, fingers poised and ready. Time for a new blog. Uh, time for a new blog. I'm wracking my brain for that first sentence. Should I talk about a new way to fix oatmeal? Maybe a life changing quote I found on facebook? I know - I'll talk about my darling children. Oh, wait, that's right, I't have five absolutely darling little kids living at home doing absolutely darling things. Yeah, I know I could go on and on about the Grands. They are darling and cute...
  So here's the dilemma. Nuthin's happened to warrant that prize winning blog. My cat hasn't done anything cute for days. And hairballs in hubby's shoes wouldn't be cute anyway.
 The High Holy days are over, and even though the sukkah is still up, we don't eat in it anymore. The weather is steady and pleasant - no major storms to report, or floods to clean up. Could this be the calm before the storm?? Nah.
So here's my story and I'm stickin' to it. 
I got up this morning, ate breakfast - a scrambled egg with mushrooms, brushed my teeth and fixed my hair. Then I went to Walmart.
I did dress up mind you. No jammy pants or short shorts for me. Ooooo, now that's a scary thought...
Our Walmart is probably tame compared to some, but if you eat at the Subway that's tucked inside near the front door, you can have lunch or dinner and a show. Not a bad deal.
 Anyway, I came home, and will soon prepare Shabbat dinner - stuffed bell peppers and cottage cheese. Oh wait... a hummingbird just drank from the feeder...
Grass GrowingSo in honor of my life at the moment, grab that someone special, and those lawn chairs. Find a comfy place in the grass - and watch it grow.
And stay tuned. Who knows what may happen next.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Yom Kippur

I've dipped my apples in honey for a sweet new year. Then I threw bread into the river to cast off all that nasty accumulated sin. Now tonight, another leg of the journey - the Kol Nidre service. All Vows. This time we stand, beat our chest and renounce all - and I mean all the vows one could ever think of.
Here's a text of the prayer. As you can see nothing is left to the imagination.
It looks long and tedious and for most people over the top. It's easy to smugly sniff, " I haven't committed THAT sin and never would. And granted that's probably true. And it's also easy to say, " and besides, Yeshua(Jesus) already forgave me and I can come to Him any time I want. And that's true too. But sometimes it takes a little prompt to fire up the remembrance. Sometimes we do things that we justify as "their fault" or "it was really nothing at all".
I suppose the whole process could be viewed as a spiritual Mayo Clinic. That complete physical that we all dread. The one where they leave no place untouched and sometimes it's quite uncomfortable, what with the poking and prodding. And we dread when we hear that phrase, "how long have you had this?" Especially when we didn't know we had "this" in the first place.
Or, "oh that...I just thought it was a...(list of nonthreatening excuses).
There's something quite impowering and freeing when we all stand together beating our chest about the same thing. Very private in a public sort of way. Here we are confessing some pretty ugly stuff and right next to you, Mr or Miss perfect is doing the same thing. Lets face it, we're all a pretty guilty bunch and we need to stand in our communities and agree that we all need help. We all need forgiveness. All of us. Together. It's when we try to do it alone that we get in trouble.
And so tonight I'll stand with my community, unified. Tomorrow I'll fast with my community - stomachs growling - together.
More about that feeling of forgiveness and cleansing and a full stomach in a few days.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Shoes and Socks

Today is a turning point. I've retired my sandals for the year. It's time for shoes and socks ~ and long sleeve tops, and soups. I will use my oven too.
I always look forward to that turning point in the year. The sky is gray and there's a cool breeze wafting in through my dining room window. I'm not ready to close it quite yet. I will when the rain comes ~ but not until then.

I search for the colors of fall. Today as I drove down a street in our neighborhood I found them. There's a row of trees that show off sooner than the rest. They make me smile and I do a little happy dance right there in the driver side of my car.
So tonight we'll celebrate with a big bowl of beef bone broth, potatoes and carrots, fresh warm french bread and a large glass of fresh spiced apple cider. And for desert ~ pumpkin pudding.
Can a warm slice of apple pie be far behind?

Sunday, October 2, 2011


With a pocket full of bread, I make my way to the river. It is slow going as I pick my way among the river rocks and shells. Although its only 1pm, the sun is already demanding and its uncomfortable.
Tashlich - to cast off. The first day of Rosh Hashana is set aside to rid oneself of sin. Its the beginning of the High Holy days. Each year we're challenged to examine - take inventory. Time to search for those buried sins, right the wrongs, repair the breeches, restore what's been damaged. Time for appologies, forgiveness, restitution. Uncomfortable stuff. But necessary as we head into a new year - free and clear. And so we find bodies of water to cast stones or bread into. We act out a spiritual principle in a physical way. An object lession.
I listen to the words of Yeshua's close friend John as he reminds me -  If we claim not to have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we acknowledge our sins, then, since He is trustworthy and just, He will forgive them and purify us from all wrongdoing.(1John 1:8-9)
I have a promise I can take with me. And then the call from the shofar blast. Time to take action.

At the river's edge I watch the sparkling water. It becons me to reach into my pocket. The first piece of bread - into the water. It floats away from me. Confessing and releasing and cleansing. One by one - piece by piece. And then one last scoop for those crumbs. Little irritations, hurtful words, unnecessary thoughts - a final soul cleaning.
With a fresh and grateful heart I make my way back to others who have lightened their own souls. One last community prayer. The laughter of little ones as they splash in the refreshing water. One more rock to skip. Back to the routine of the day.

Friday, September 30, 2011


The turkey is roasting, the sweet and sour red cabbage - done. All that's left is the dressing, mashed potatoes and baked acorn squash. Oh and the gravy.
Tonight's meal compliments of Rosh Hashana, Shabbat and a change in the weather - autumn time. Celebration time.
And there is much to celebrate. It's a new year. 5772 according to the Jewish calendar.  Shana tova umetukah. A good and sweet year. New beginnings.

Well, let me back up a little. Actually Autumn came early this year. September 1st to be exact. All 6 pounds 7 ounces of her. Perfect. Tiny. Beautiful. And quite a surprise. You see her due date was September 23rd - the first day of fall. But G~d in His mercy and compassion saw to it that she was to be delivered safely. So you can see why it's a time of celebration.

Tonight Les will pronounce the blessing over the bread and the wine as well as spend some time in thanksgiving. 

Bless ADONAI, my soul! Everything in me, bless His holy name!  Bless ADONAI, my soul, and forget none of His benefits! He forgives all your offenses, He heals all your diseases, He redeems your life from the pit, He surrounds you with grace and compassion, He contents you with good as long as you live, so that your youth is renewed like an eagle's.~Psalm 103~

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm sitting in my livingroom listening to Craig Taubman - waiting for sundown so I can light my candles and begin the wonderful 24 hour period of Shabbat. It's been a busy week. Today was a full day. I am ready to rest.
And I ponder - why are so many resistant to receiving the gift of Shabbat or Sabbath given by G~d? I've heard all the reasons and excuses. I just scratch my head.
Not long ago I was one of those who fell into bed exhaused on Friday night, got up on Saturday with a full schedule, ran full tilt all day only to stay up too late because there was always one more thing to get done. Then came Sunday. Up for church and all the obligations waiting for me there. By Sunday night I bemoaned the  obvious realization that Monday was too close for comfort and with it another long week ahead.
Is this really how our Creator meant it to be? He rested. And He told us to rest too.
I just don't buy the "Jesus is our day of rest." Well yes, Yeshua did provide rest for my searching soul. But my spirit needs my body and my mind to stop long enough so I can remember. How can He renew my mind and restore my body if I can't even sit down long enough to allow Him a moment of my time?
For most of us it's just easier to take a pill or gulp another Starbucks and keep going. Ouch. I'm stepping on toes here aren't I?
Well, no more cooking, cleaning, shopping, bill paying, worrying (did I mention I give myself permission to put that on hold too?) until Saturday around 8 pm. Time to light those candles.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spontaneous Worship

"Worship was so good today." It's a phrase used by many in the community of Believers. But what does that mean? The worship team played all your favorites? You got warm tingles? You felt good? You connected with G~d? When I was on the worship team at a church I once attended, that's exactly what good worship was.
Can one get warm tingles, feel good or get connected by sitting in a room of silence? Can one get healed or delivered if there is no driving beat or repetitious phrase that the Presence of G~d is there?
I've been doing some Youtube surfing lately, typing in spontaneous worship. Interesting what I am finding. It's all pretty much the same no matter which group or person is singing. I watch the crowds in each video. Most are dark environments with mood lights and they all look the same, moving to the music the same no matter which venue. And I wonder - where's the spontaneity? Could there be songs where everyone is declaring from scripture (those songs are out there - just outdated) the majesty of our G~d, who He is and not what we expect from Him? And is twenty minutes of "spontaneity" necessary? Could it just be that you could slip any phrase into the mix ten minutes into the set and no one would notice? Could someone begin a beautiful haunting melody with a driving beat  "I want only You, I want only You and slide in, "I want a PBJ, I want a PBJ without many noticing? Would the beat go on?
Is this just another music trend or is this truly a move of the Spirit? Was this a move of the Spirit for the first person or band but everyone else sees how cool it is and needs to keep things at their service trendy?
In Hebrew the word for worship and service is the same - avodah.
Let me just leave you with this. Could we be turning worship into something more or less than what G~d intends?