Archive for September, 2011

Rosh Hashana

David prays under Western Wall

Celebrating creation! Rosh Hashana – a different new year. The Hebrew Torah calls it Yom Teruah, which means the day of sounding the shofar (trumpets). According to Jewish tradition Rosh Hashana celebrates the anniversary of the creation of the universe. How huge is that? It’s not the New Year, but the entire universe that’s being celebrated.

With great distinction and restriction God created the universe. He contemplated and evaluated it, and as Jewish tradition explains, we should be doing that to ourselves in on that day and the days following. Have a meeting with yourself and God today. Ask Him to show you where you failed, where you fall short, and how you can make the next year better. We must search our hearts and repent for past sins. Only then can we look forward to our new beginning. It’s His gift to us.

Events that took place on Rosh Hashana, according to the Talmud:
Abraham and Jacob were born on Rosh Hashana.
Sarah, Rachel and Hannah were all told by God that they would bear children.
Joseph was freed from an Egyptian prison to rule Egypt with Pharaoh.
In Egypt Jewish slavery ended; they waited for ten plagues before Pharaoh let them go.

Given that such important events happened on this day, we should look at it as a time to recreate ourselves and make noteworthy changes in our lives. On January 1, many people make New Year’s resolutions. It usually takes from three days to two weeks for these to fade into the memory of another failure. Rosh Hashana demands more. It demands that our spirituality rise up to challenge us and our relationship with God.

Rosh Hashana begins the ten days of awe, the Yamin Noraim, The Awesome Days. These are the ten days of repentance and are considered a gift from God. It’s a time of introspection and repentance until Yom Kippur. This New Year gives us ten days to reinvent our relationship with God and accept and acknowledge His forgiveness.
Our God is an Awesome God!

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I Love Summer

As I cling to the lingering days of another fantastic summer I attempt to stretch out the days by spending more time thinking of all that we’ve done the last few precious months. In the past I’ve used my camera as a picture journal to remind me of the many activities. However this year I’ve even been remiss because with spontaneous adventures, conversations and excursions, many times my journaling camera got left behind. Thank You, Lord, for cell phone cameras! At least I caught a few of my favorite moments.

May greeted me with green lawns and budding flowers; something even a mild winter devoured. Pictures of daffodils and crocuses poking their blooms through a thin blanket of snow confirmed my intellectual knowledge of the victory of life over death. My heart soared at the prospect of summer, my favorite time of the year. Those crisp spring mornings gave way to the excitement of the Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference in Estes Park. With a synopsis for each of my three books (currently in process) in hand and a fever pitch, I approached publishers with trepidation.

The three book series is about a Jewish family that finds redemption through Jesus Christ. Book one is about Lyza Lane, the oldest of twin girls. It’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich woman like Lyza to be saved. Yet with God all things are possible. Book Two reveals the family fortune falling into unexpected hands. It takes a lifetime to attain the power and money Lyza’s father possessed, but only a nano-second to gain life for eternity. Book three is about the twin sister’s reaction to events over which she has no control. Leesa’s anger and bitterness hurt her more than anyone else. But some people have to hit rock bottom.

The writer’s conference was encouraging. Hopefully I will have more news to report soon. In any case, there is still much work to do on all three of the books and a couple of publisher’s were interested enough to get more information.

I got involved with a wonderful group of writers called His Writers. They have inspired, encouraged, and taught me. In addition I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). I must admit that after writing the non-fiction On Our Own in Jerusalem’s Old City, I figured fiction would be a breeze. Not so, its lots of fun, but the amount of research necessary to support your fiction story is tremendous. Because of my involvement with His Writers and His Crit-ters (a critique group) I produced more than any respectable lazy summer should afford. In addition I had a story about grand parenting accepted for a to-be published book. I had book signings in April, May, and August and met a lot of nice people.

My friend from Israel came home for the month of May and we managed to get together for lunch one day. She has around one billion people to see when she’s back in the states, so I felt privileged. Charleeda is back in Jerusalem working for Bridges for Peace.
June skies displayed fluffy white clouds. I wanted to lie on the grass in the afternoon and just look at them like we used to do when we were kids. We would lie there and scrutinize a particular cloud for several minutes. Then one of us would point.

“There. Look at that one. It looks like a sailboat.”

“No. It looks like an elephant.”

“It’s a monkey. See his long tail?”

God entertained us all afternoon with clouds He pulled out of His storehouse amusing me and my two little sisters while we were out of school for the summer.

Abigail and Cody got married on the fourth of June and we attended the biggest wedding ever. We counted twenty-four in the wedding party, not including parents. There were three flower girls and three ring bearers that nearly stole the show. Elizabeth watched with the rest of us as Tony Weedor officiated his daughter’s wedding. We were touched because we felt such a connection to all of them since we met them shortly after they arrived in America from Liberia. How their lives have changed, to the glory of God!

Highlights of June included watching our grandson play baseball, taking an acrylic painting class, and enjoying High Tea at Windsor House with my writing friends. Watching our eight-year old grandson play baseball alerted us to the fact that he is growing up fast and the years are flying by. He caught a mean fly ball and I admired the progress he made from the year before. It won’t be long until we will be referring to him as a young man. The painting class reminded me why I choose to write. Need I say more? My Monet of the water lilies at Giverny was all wet. David’s looked perfect. My painting of a field of sunflowers resembled a spilled bottle of mustard on a dry river bed. The paintings are displayed in the storage side of the basement until I can figure out how to put them down the garbage disposal.

High Tea at Windsor House gave me a glimpse of history as the photographs lining the walls portrayed the royal family over the decades. The service was supreme and the food delightful, just as an English tea house should be. Besides that day, June turned out to be the month of meeting up with long missed friends. One friend I hadn’t seen for two years met me at Longmont’s Sun Rose Café. Another friend drifted in from Pleasant Hill, California for a few days. We met with our monthly friends meet and enjoyed seeing familiar faces.

Has Colorado ever had rainier July? The perfect Fourth of July is a rainy evening in Steamboat Springs surrounded by family. We were there. The wet evening made it possible to put on a fireworks display that shook the ground causing car alarms to join the noise of the bursting lights in the sky. How they can get better every year amazes me. The parade that morning had that old time feeling about it. Several antique cars running that day made me feel quite at home. My sister and her husband from Silver Lake, Kansas joined us for a few days, making it even more special.

The rest of July is a blur. His Writer meeting, the critique meeting, and a fun day at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs with around thirty of my favorite writers sprinkled the month. My sister and her husband came from Nebraska. We took them to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg. The sun was setting; lions and tigers came alive as the day cooled. It’s strange to see such animals making the plains of eastern Colorado home. Black bears, brown bears, little bears and huge bears dotted the hillsides across from our observation tower where we drank sodas and looked down on them. Even further away we could see the outline of a camel on the horizon.

We attended the annual Wolfram-Larue Summer Simmer and connected with our friends from Pillar of Fire. The food never disappoints and the conversation always stimulates. The back yard offered shade and just enough protection to keep out the first drops of rain. Only the wimps ran inside (that was me). We attended some of Charlie Ault’s plays and made it to the Candlelight Dinner Theater. Friends met up with us at Nissi’s one evening to listen to a great Celtic band. Miriam and Christopher got married in Thornton under a lovely gazebo in the perfect wedding venue. The reception was beautiful and I still smile when I remember Sheila and Daniel dancing to ‘YMCA’. Summertime seems to be the time for reconnecting with old friends and I see many days on my calendar when I met with busy friends I cherish. Of course I love summer.

August began with a quick trip to see our granddaughter in Seattle. One can never see too much of grand children, not to mention our children. We were treated to a spectacular air show by the Blue Angels from a ship in the middle of Lake Washington. We finally decided that no matter how impressive the Blue Angels were, they didn’t compare to the new tricks our little granddaughter was learning (crawling and cooing). She’s a star.

The rest of the month filled up quickly with David’s work schedule, writers meetings and social activities. Another book signing in Ft. Collins reminded me of how many people have as their heart’s desire to go to Israel. Visiting and encouraging people to go and experience the land God gave to the Hebrews brighten any day. I love to talk about Israel and I love to spend time with believers. So many people don’t go because of the hot political situation in Israel.

Jesus told us there would be trouble in this world, but that we should take heart because He has overcome the world. When I tell people that the last time we were in Israel Iran threatened to nuke Israel, they consider us brave. But we made a conscious decision that if such a preposterous thing should happen, Israel would be the best place to be. Can you imagine the world turmoil if Israel was blown off the face of the earth? God says in Ezekiel that Jerusalem is the center of the world. Jesus also told us not to spend precious time worrying about such things. He is in control and nothing will happen without His permission. And so, since we desire His will in our lives, since we trust Him with all things, it is good!

Speaking at Belleview Chapel reminded me of how precious these dear friends in Christ are to us. I shared my impressions of Psalm 18 as God revealed how passionate He is to provide, protect and love His children. Scholars say David wrote this Psalm during his flight from Saul. Such a time of testing often exposes our own weaknesses. Through all the battles David won, he constantly gave all the credit to God. He had armies at his command. He had weapons galore. But he always knew in his heart that victory came only through God.

That’s a good thing to remember as we go through our miniscule battles throughout the day. The disappointing phone call, the hurting remark, the misunderstood conversation, all the events that can happen in one day can often cause unrest. He can give us peace, understanding, and victory over our questions and doubts. Keep your eyes on Him. God is always with us.

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