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31 Mar

Jesus’ “Best Man”

Jesus' best man

jesusbestmantitleIN ANCIENT Jewish tradition, there was a specific order things were done. First, a covenant was made between the groom and the prospective bride’s father. Then the groom left the betrothed for an unspecified period of time, while he prepared a place for him and his bride to live. When it was ready was determined not by the groom but by his father. When all was ready, the father would tell the son, “Go and get your bride!”

Before Jesus was taken up to heaven, he told his disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.” (John 14:3)

Now, an interesting thing happened when the place was ready. The bridegroom returned for his bride, often in the middle of the night when she was not expecting him. His best man came with him and announced the groom’s arrival with a blast of the trumpet and calling out to the bride. He would call her name and make her aware that the time was NOW!

What will happen when JESUS returns for His Bride, the Church? He will be accompanied by His best man, the archangel, Michael. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God.”

So who is this archangel? The only archangel spoken of in the Bible is Michael, and he has several duties. One such duty is to stand up for the people of Israel, as Daniel was told by An Angel when he met him on the riverbank in Babylon. He is the General of the Armies of God, and a mighty warrior. He is referred to by name three times in the Bible, and the last time is during the end times.

Here’s the thing. Since there is only one archangel, then it must be Michael who returns with Jesus to gather His bride unto Himself so that we may be where He is. What will Michael shout? Perhaps he will call us each by name, announcing that our Groom, our Lord, has returned for us. Will you be ready?

26 Mar

How to Pick a Dog Breed

How to Pick a Dog BreedI admit it.

I’m somewhat of a breed snob.  I prefer a purebred over a mixed breed, although I have shared my life with several mixed breeds that I loved deeply. There are so many interesting and intelligent breeds and I wish I could own them all! But how do you figure out how to pick a dog breed that’s right for your family?

I have a special way of going about finding a dog, when I’m in the market, which happens about every seven toimage ten years. We like to keep two dogs, an older one and a younger one, and right now we have a Miniature Pinscher and a Toy Australian Shepherd, respectively. Mac, the Pinscher, is a rescue that we got when we came back from living in Ukraine a little over seven years ago. We originally rescued a pair; our older female, Tosh, passed on two years ago. (Did you notice their names were Mac and Tosh?)  We bought Bella, the Aussie, when she was just eight weeks old. (Update: Bella went on to the great beyond in 2016. She was just three years old, and died from lymphoma. I really miss her!)

Here’s how we go about it when we want to pick a dog breed we’d like to own.

First we spend a lot of time just looking at diffimageerent breeds on the Internet or in books, and if possible, take in a dog show or (preferably) an agility trial or two. The shows allow us to see many dogs close up and talk to their owners about the breeds. Then we make a list. Here are the questions you want to know:

1. How does this breed do with kids (if you have them in your life)?

2. How much room does this breed require? Could it live in an apartment if that’s where you live?image

3. How much exercise does it need? Are a couple of daily walks enough? Daily runs?

4. How destructive is the breed when left alone? Does it need companionship, and if so, could a cat work?

5. How is the dog with other animals?

6. How is the dog with strangers? Is it protective of its family? Would it be likely to bite a stranger?

7. Does this breed bark a lot? Dig? Climb fences (yes, some breeds are champion climbers!)?

8. How much grooming is involved, and could you do it, or would a professional be necessary?

9. What and how often does the  breed need to be fed? Twice a day? Three times?

10. How easily is this breed trained? Would it require a professional trainer?

Make a list.

Now, armed with the answers to the breeds you liked most, make a new list. On this one, you are going to rank those factors in terms of importance to you, and assign each a value. For instance, if you have children in your life, being good with kids will rank higher than grooming. Give double points for those things you will not compromise on. For me, it’s biting. I will not own a dog that bites, no matter what the provocation. I have grandchildren, and my dogs must be willing to tolerate little ones poking and prodding, as small children invariably do.

Once you’ve tallied up the points on each breed, you can begin to see which one is more likely to fit within your lifestyle. As we’ve gotten older and no longer have kids at home, I have more time for grooming and training, so those elements are not as important as they were when my kids still lived at home.

Follow this method and you can be sure that the breed you pick will be one you can live with. Disclaimer: individual dogs within a breed are different from each other, and there is always the off chance that you might get a dog that doesn’t fit the stereotype of his breed. So remember: when you get a dog, you are making a commitment to him for his lifetime, not just until you lose interest or he becomes more of a chore than you expected. If that’s where you are, please… Get a hobby instead!

 

22 Mar

Christian Passover Decorating!

seder

I’VE JUST about driven myself mad trying to find the perfect, affordable way to decorate for our Seder on Passover. The problem is, there are so many ideas out there! I’m going to post a few links so you can go see for yourself, but I want to describe my table, too. (I’ll post pictures from the Seder on April 4th.) It is surely a challenge to find Christian Passover decorating!

First, I got a blue, round table cloth to fit our table. Then I bought white, round placemats to put at each place. My tableware will be my mom’s beautiful floral pieces, which are mostly pink and white, but I plan to tie it in by having a pink floral centerpiece. Next, two tall white candles, as tradition dictates. My Seder plate is one that I made myself, and is a pizza pan decoupaged with the pages of an old hymnal. The cups for the traditional foods are plastic in a floral edged shape (again, round). Instead of having just one egg on the plate, though, I’ve decoupaged white ceramic eggs with the same sheet music the tray is made from. Each person gets to keep his egg, rather than eating a roasted, boiled egg. (It is symbolic, after all!) Because our Sacrificial Lamb was slain 2,000 years ago and we no longer sacrifice lambs for the forgiveness of sins, we’ve chosen to place a wooden cross where the lamb’s shank bone would have been. (My husband’s idea!)

Anyway, here are a few places to give you some inspiration, and as I said, I’ll post pictures of our own Seder the next day.

60af867000a7017f_76762672.preview

Martha Stewart

E-How.com

PopSugar

Table Setting Ideas

15 Mar

Little Primitive Dolls

primitive dolls

primitivetitleI LOVE handcrafting toys. Whether it’s sewing them or making them from paper mâché, I love making toys. Today I am posting two of il_570xN.734477045_kdlkmy favorite primitive dolls, Cookie Girl (who holds a sign saying A Balanced Diet is a Cookie in Each Hand) and Flower Girl, who has a brightly flowered dress. They are hand dyed, hand embroidered, and hand painted. Each strand of hair is hand knotted so there are no bare spots, and their bottoms are weighted so they sit up pretty. Take a look, and if one of them captures your heart, these one-of-a-kind dolls are available in my Etsy Shop.il_570xN.734350358_dapw

14 Mar

The Parable of the Blessing

imageJESUS SAT with his disciples on a hillside, teaching the crowds. There were about 5,000 men there, plus women and children. Altogether, the crowd could easily have been 15,000 or more. It was late, and they were some distance from the nearest town. Jesus had been teaching all day, and it was getting later by the minute. The disciples suggested that Jesus send the people away so that they could buy food, but the Lord said, “You give them something to eat.”

Unprepared to feed the multitude, the disciples wanted to take stock of what they had to eat, so they could bless the people. While they pondered the situation, Jesus caught the eye of a young lad with some food wrapped in a cloth. He smiled gently at the boy, and the lad looked quickly away. He had heard the disciples and knew there was no food to feed the crowd. He ducked his head and his cheeks grew red. If he gave his meal up, who would have enough to eat? There wouldn’t be enough for two, much less the thousands gathered on the hillside. So he kept his head down and refused to look again at the teacher.

To be sure, the boy had heard of the miraculous signs the teacher had done. In fact, he had actually seen somebody healed. But what had that to do with his lunch? Still the boy refused to look up.

Then he heard the disciples say, “Here, Lord. There was a lad with a few fish and loaves, but what is that among so many?” The boy looked up in surprise and saw the teacher’s face looking sadly at him. Then his eyes turned away from the startled lad’s face, and he saw the teacher look kindly at another boy, who was holding out his own measly lunch to the Lord.

“Have the people sit down in groups of fifty,” said Jesus. The boy sat with the nearest group. Soon baskets were being passed around, and one came near him. To his amazement, the baskets were full of fish and bread. His own lunch looked so small in comparison to what was being passed around.

He looked up at Jesus. The teacher’s eyes were looking directly at him, and the lad knew that Jesus could read the intent of his heart. A single tear slid down his face as the boy took a bite out of his own fish and bread. He was sure that the loaves and fishes in the baskets, while no different than his by sight, were much better. For they had been blessed by the Lord. Then he remembered what he had heard Jesus say once before. “It is better,” he said, “to give than receive.” Then before the basket could be passed on, he dropped what little he had brought into it, thankful that he could be a part of the blessing.

14 Mar

Preschool Children And TV

Preschool Children And TVA “TV diet”

I recently read an article about a “TV diet.” It said what children watched was deemed more important than the amount of time spent in front of the TV. That’s a concept that I can wrap my mind around, and I bet if you’re a parent, you can, too. Especially with preschool children and TV, they must be more closely monitored than for other ages, because they are in their most formative years.

imagePreschool children are unable to differentiate between what is real and what is imaginary. So when they see a cartoon character fall off a cliff and get up and walk away, they have no frame of reference to understand that if they fall off a cliff, something much different will occur. Preschoolers are also more apt to act aggressively after witnessing violence on TV, especially in action programs with violence as well as cartoons. Parents should be cautious about allowing kids to watch these programs and should also avoid purchasing action figures that are spin offs.

Children 2-5 years of age should spend most of their time playing and socializing with other children their age. Kids under the age of 2 should not be watching television at all, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Pediatric Society. It is more important for parents to be interacting with their children at this stage.

So what does a parent look for when allowing a preschool child to watch TV?

Here are a few guidelines:

Look for repeatable themes

Monkey see, monkey do really applies here. Look for programming that offers your child a chance to learn something he can repeat when the TV is off. Curious George offers lessons in math, science and engineering that children may take away from their TV time. Counting, experimenting and building are all things that can be referenced when playing with your child. “Remember when Curious George did this?” Super Why emphasizes letter recognition which is another activity children can repeat.

Learning to resolve conflicts

Preschoolers are full of emotions, expressed out loud and to the max. They obviously don’t yet know how to manage those feelings, so finding programming that teaches positive conflict resolution is also a good idea. Clifford the Big Red Dog does an admirable job of showing how to deal with strong emotions and how those feeling affect others.

Different age, gender, and ethnic characters

Preschoolers are surrounded by people of different ages and relationships. Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and friends all contribute to our community and are important to each other. Children’s viewings should emphasize that positive aspect of relationships. It’s important for children to realize that both boys and girls are strong and capable, and that activities are not necessarily just for boys or just for girls. Sesame Street does an admirable job of incorporating different ages, genders and ethnic personalities.

A love of thinking and learning

A child’s attitude toward school is largely formed just prior to and in the early grades. We want our preschoolers to enter the educational environment ready not only academically but also in terms of having a love of learning. TV character like those in Dinosaur Train introduce your preschooler to these concepts through a love of dinosaurs and trains. Critical thinking skills leveraged in this show are, well, critical.

Around the world

Preschoolers have little concept of space and time. Here or there, yesterday or tomorrow, mean little in the early years. Introduce them to other places and times through the medium of TV. Especially helpful are shows that allow children to travel with characters that are different from them, or perhaps speak a different language. Dora the Explorer and Diego! are two shows that teach basic Spanish and English together as the characters explore the world and introduce the viewer to different regions of the natural world. Maya and Miguel also incorporate American Sign Language and is strongly Hispanic.

Sharing the child’s world

Children aren’t born with positive skills. They don’t know how and must be taught to share and to play together. Their self-esteem is more caught than taught, but some TV can help them see themselves in a positive light. A four year old navigating his way through relationships with the patience of his parents is Caillou, who can help your child understand social constructs.

Skip the commercials

Saturday morning cartoons has evolved into programming that is more sales pitch than good viewing. Each program is interrupted numerous times to introduce toys that every child absolutely “must have.” But engaging a child’s imagination with simple things is more important, and time in front of the TV should not be an exercise in materialism.

Whatever you decide to allow your preschool child to watch on tv, spend time watching alongside so that you can talk about what has been learned and what can be used as a building block for further learning.

For the FCC Guidelines for Preschool Children and TV, click this link: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/childrens-educational-television

10 Mar

Coping With Stress And Anxiety

stress and anxietyFeeling stressed or anxious?

These strategies will help you cope:

Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.
Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two.
5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find it’s more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
Recruit an “exercise buddy.” It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.

 

Taken from Anxiety and Depression Association of America

09 Mar

Why I Believe The Rapture of the Church Will Be Soon

rapture

MANY PEOPLE don’t believe in the Rapture of the Christian Church, and more have no idea what it is. So I thought to tell what it is and why I believe it is destined to happen soon.

The word “rapture” is not in the English translations of the Bible, that’s true. But in the Greek translation, the word where we get our terms for rapt and rapture is there. It’s the word rapio, which means caught up. In Hebrew the word is harpazio.

jesus returns to the fatherBefore the Seven year Tribulation which is coming on the whole world arrives, the Church–Jesus’ body–will be “caught up” to meet Him in the clouds. This is spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 where it says, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so we shall ever be with the Lord.” It is God’s deliverance from His wrath, for it is written: “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” ( 1 Thessalonians 5:9). In Nahum 1:2, we are told that wrath is reserved for God’s enemies. The Church is His Bride, not His enemy.

Using a Jewish wedding as an analogy, the bridegroom proposes to the bride and then leaves her for an indeterminate amount of time to build her a house and prepare for her a home, which his father oversees. When his father determines that the home is ready, he sends the son along with the groomsmen to get the bride. Meanwhile, she has been busy preparing to meet her new husband. The bridegroom returns for her at an hour she does not know, but normally when it is dark, and the groomsman blows a trumpet to mark the groom’s arrival. The bride will have been watching for him and will have her lamp trimmed, ready to meet him when he gets there. Then he returns with his bride to the new house he has prepared for her, and the two of them disappear inside for seven days. Meanwhile, the rest of the family and friends rejoice and have a grand party.

Jesus told His disciples, ” And if I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3). If the Church is His Bride, which we are told she is in Ephesians 5:25-27, her duty while she waits for Him to return for her is to remain faithful and prepare. This is the point the Church is at today.

Now, as for why I think it will happen soon.

In the Jewish year, there are seven feasts, four in the spring and three in the fall. These feasts are called moedim, or appointed times. They are spread out over seven months. The first of these is Passover, the remembrance of the day in which lambs were slaughtered and their blood spread on the door posts of the Jews’ homes in Egypt so that the Angel of death would “pass over” them as he went about killing the firstborn in every household. It was on the day of preparation for the Passover meal in the evening that Jesus was crucified at the exact time that the lambs were being slaughtered. Sinless, Jesus became the perfect Passover lamb with whose blood the sins of the world are taken away.

The next feast is called Unleavened Bread. It commemorates the day that the Jews left Egypt, taking unleavened bread, as they did not have time for it to rise. Leaven is also symbolic of sin, so when the Jews fled into the wilderness, they symbolically left their sin behind in exchange for freedom. The perfect unleavened bread was Jesus Himself. He told the people, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:33). He also told them that as a kernel of corn must die and be buried in order to produce fruit, He, too, would die and be buried, which is what happened on that very feast day.

Three days after Passover is the Feast of Firstfruits. On this day, Jews celebrated the new crops and brought offerings of first fruits to God. Jesus was resurrected on this day, a kind of Firstfruits from the dead, or the first of the great harvest that will occur at the end of the age. This is the time that Christians celebrate Easter, although it does not always fall on the correct day and is always celebrated on Sunday.

Fifty days after Firstfruits is the celebration of Pentecost, the very day that the Church was born and the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers. The Church started that day with 3,000 people and has not stopped growing since.

The next feast in line is the Feast of Trumpets. This is the day that many think Jesus will return (I am among those who so believe). This feast is always accompanied by a loud trumpet call, just as the return of the bridegroom for his bride is also accompanied by a trumpet blast.

After that is the Day of Atonement, a very solemn occasion when the Jews make restitution for their sins. This would be the time of the Second Coming, when Jesus will return with his Bride (the Church) to judge the nations.

Lastly is the feast called Tabernacles, where the millennial reign will start, Jesus dwelling with His people forever.

Now we live in a dark world where every prophecy necessary for Jesus’ return to Rapture His Bride has taken place. Since the beginning of the Jewish State in 1948, things have been ready. The only thing still to be fulfilled is when that last gentile to be saved has been saved. When will that be? No one knows. Some people say we cannot know the timing of Jesus’ return, because He, Himself, said that no man knows the day or hour, not the Angels, nor the Son Himself, but only His Father in Heaven (Matthew 24:36). Yet at that time, Jesus was referring to the Feast of Trumpets. This was a common adage which His disciples would have well understood. Because the Feasts of Trumpets is the only feast that begins on a new moon, there were to be two witnesses as to the sighting of the new moon. Now not just anybody could be a witness of this fact, but only men of great import. Since the month had 29-1/2 days, and two witnesses had to be together, they spread the feast over two days. “No man knows the day or hour” specifically referred to that feast.

Our world can’t get much darker without annihilating ourselves. Remember that the groom came in the dark with his trumpet blast? It could be this Feast of Trumpets, which occurs on September 14 and 15 of this year, or it could be in 2016, or it could come in the distant future. But I think it’s far more likely that it will be soon, just based on the condition of the world and that we’ve been privy to so much prophecy fulfillment in our time. As I said, nothing is left to be done.

And I believe that we will be that generation that does not pass away until all these things be fulfilled (Matthew 24:34).

07 Mar

A Christian Seder Menu

seder

MENU

Chicken soup with vegetables—or—matzo ball soup

Broiled asparagus                 Sauteed spinach with basil and pine nuts

Horseradish potato gratin

Roast beef and onions—or—Slow cooker coffee-braised brisket with vegetables

Flourless chocolate cake

We’ll start our Christian Seder feast with chicken soup, because my son doesn’t like matzo balls, but I’ve included a recipe in case you do. In either case, you’ll be eating chicken broth, the “Jewish penicillin.”

Then we bring out the vegetables and meat! You might wonder why we aren’t eating lamb, and the answer is that the last lamb slain for sin was 2,000 years ago. As Christians we aren’t a-chunk-of-beef-2obligated to sacrifice for our sins anymore (in fact, it would be sin to do so!), so we don’t eat lamb at Passover. However, in keeping with our Jewish roots, we don’t eat ham, either! Chicken or beef will suffice, although if you like lamb (I don’t), there’s no reason not to enjoy it at this time. I’ve included a recipe for lamb as well.

After our sumptuous meal is eaten, we’ll sit back with a cup of coffee or tea and a decadent slice of flourless chocolate cake. You’ve never eaten anything so chocolate if you haven’t tasted one of these!

Recipes

Chicken Soup with Vegetables

Matzo Ball Soup

Broiled Asparagus

Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts

Horseradish Potato Gratin

Roast Beef and Onions

Slow Cooker Coffee-Braised Brisket with Vegetables

Rosemary and Garlic Roast Leg of Lamb

Flourless Chocolate Cake

You may notice that most of my recipes are from Real Simple.com. They aren’t paying me anything; in fact, they don’t even know I’m linking to them. I just like their recipes!

07 Mar

Overnight Apple Pie Oatmeal In A Crockpot

oatmeal

 

IF YOU’RE like me and you don’t like breakfast, probably one of the things you have a distaste for is actually fixing it. So get it ready the night before and let your crockpot cook it while you sleep. I guarantee you’ll like the yummy smell in the morning and it might just wake up your appetite! My crockpot is small, and since my husband doesn’t really like oatmeal, it’s perfect for me-only breakfasts!

Oats are so good for you, too!

Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water and 1 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Break up the butter into small pieces and drop it all around the bottom of a slow cooker. While doing this, wipe down the sides of the cooker with a pat of butter to keep from forming a “crust” along the edges.
  2. Cover butter pats with diced apples.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon across the apples
  4. Pour sugar over the apples and cinnamon
  5. Cover with two cups of oats
  6. Gently pour in the liquids
  7. DO NOT STIR
  8. Place on low setting and cook overnight, 8-10 hours.