I HAD THIS wreath on my door throughout the fall, but with Christmas just around the corner, I wanted to change it up for the holiday. One of my favorite things is little, fat birds, and I found this one at Joann’s with their doorbuster sale for just $2.50. Adding a couple of holiday picks cost another $3.00, so for just $5.50 I got a brand new wreath for the holiday.
The only thing I don’t like about it is the brown bow at the top. Had I been more foresightful, I would not have hot glued the brown bow to the wreath so I could change it out. But I still think it’s a pretty Christmas wreath, anyway.
Here’s what I did. Gather two holiday picks (mine have holly leaves and little red berries) and wire them to the burlap wreath. Tuck the little bird’s wire feet firmly under the wire and there you have it! (I learned from the bow and didn’t hot glue anything to the wreath, so I can change it out for other seasons.) You could use berries, snowflakes, jingle bells, or any other Christmas trinkets you have lying around, or head on down to your favorite craft store (with coupon in hand, of course) and get yourself a few new doodads to add to your decor. With a little imagination and even less effort, you’ll have your door decked out with a Christmas wreath for the holidays in no time!
Another craft I did was this rustic joy hanger. It’s made with painted letters, a small grapevine wreath and a large jingle bell. Easy-peasy!
THIS YEAR, why not give an experience as a Valentine’s Day gift? These romantic Valentine’s Day getaways are sure to spark those fires you want to kindle in your love’s heart! I’ve gathered together some little travel itineraries for you so you can book now and enjoy the holiday.
New Orleans (LA)—The “Big Easy,” a romantic destination extraordinaire, with restaurants and tours that will wow you. From formal dining rooms to quaint courtyards, enjoy the signature creole and cajun cuisine, or simply the freshest seafood you can buy. Take a tour on a balmy night and enjoy the slow pace and the uptown jazz. Delight in a horse-drawn carriage ride under French Quarter streetlights or stand on the deck of a riverboat.
Orange Beach (AL)—With miles and miles of white sand and clear water, you’ll want to stay forever. Take a ride out over the ocean and enjoy the beautiful sea life from the safety of a helicopter. “With the doors removed, you have a completely unobstructed view of the emerald green waters of the gulf along with an awesome view of sea life from above,” says Steve Oliver, Orange Beach Helicopters owner. “You are almost guaranteed to see dolphins, sea turtles, rays, even sharks.”
Maui (HI)—Offering a taste of just about everything the Aloha State has to offer, Maui is smaller than the Big Island and larger than Lanai, and offers a wide range of activities for Hawaii visitors. Impressive wildlife and intriguing history and culture await you on the island. Hula dancers, coastal fairways, snorkeling alongside sea turtles, or just lounging on some of Hawaii’s most notable beaches, you’ll find something here for every taste and a large dose of romance as well.
Aspen (CO)—A winter wonderland and famous ski destination, Aspen is snuggled in the great Rocky Mountains of Colorado. As picturesque as a snow globe, you’ll have your choice of four premier ski areas that cater to those who love the powder no matter what their level of ability. Or spend your time at the high-end shops, the captivating museums, fashionable galleries and entertaining festivals. Whether on the slopes or not, it will be a trip you’ll never forget.
Savannah (GA)—Eccentric Savannah is a wonderful spot for a Valentine’s day getaway. Antebellum history is evident in every corner, and Southern accents share fame with creepy graveyards and Spanish moss. Design students mingle with ghost hunters and preservationists; edgy cafes and restored theaters bump shoulders with Southern-fried restaurants. But at night it’s another story altogether as “The Hostess City of the South” sheds its propriety and shows visitors a good time.
Sedona (AZ)—One of America’s most beautiful places, Sedona is home to a large populace of spiritualists among the spectacular red buttes and canyons where New Age “vortexes” are said to balance the spiritual powers within. Not your cup of tea? No problem, just book a day at one of Sedona’s many spas, or hike one of the over 100 trails it’s famous for. If you don’t want to break a sweat but still want to see the incredible sights, book a spot on a Pink Jeep Tour. You’ll love the view!
Where will you go on your romantic getaway?
IT WAS a wonderful evening! Our messianic seder meant that we read the Haggadah and ate the meal and made cotton lambs… the kids, really too little to participate, sat in our laps and listened to the story and drank grape juice every time we drank wine. It was magical! Here are a few pictures from the table:
The Seder plate: traditional foods and two white candles. Note: the plate is a pizza tin covered with strips from an antique hymnal. Normally, the two candles don’t go on the plate. I just liked them there.
Since the last Sacrificial Lamb was slain, we substituted a wooden cross for the lamb shank.
The place setting had a bowl for Matzah Ball Soup, with the traditional (although not a real) egg, a plate for charoset,
and a dinner plate, fork, knife and spoon.
The food was so good! The potatoes were the best I’ve ever eaten, although I changed the recipe just slightly. I substituted red potatoes for russet, and left the skins on. Unbelievably good, and it will be traditional for us for Passover from now on. We substituted baklava for the chocolate cake, since our son doesn’t like chocolate (I know! Where did we go wrong?!).
One other thing we changed. We did not have an Elijah cup, since the Lord proclaimed in Matthew 11:13-14 that Elijah had already come in the person of John the Baptist.
As I told my son, since the kids all moved away, all our traditions have kind of fallen away, since they were largely built around the kids. So it’s nice to have one tradition that is ours alone. Though the kids said they’d be there next year, too. I replied, “If the Lord tarries, next year in Jerusalem!”
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.
Table Setting Ideas
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.
Before 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).
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 obligated 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!
Chicken Soup with Vegetables
Matzo Ball Soup
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!