Passover Cleaning Tips and Method

“Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭12:15‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory for seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭16:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Shalom, All!

After an extended break, I’m back with some notes on how I attack and accomplish the daunting task of cleaning for Passover. I hope this will be timely for some of you, educational for all my daughters and daughters-in-law, and entertaining for the rest!

I am feeling smug because in previous years, when I had an enormous home and an abundance of little ones, I would begin cleaning around the end of January, and then obsessively worry about hamantashen crumbs when it came time to throw a Purim bash. (Parties were always—of course—held at the most cavernous dwelling, which belonged in times past to yours, truly.) This year, although we did host a big party, I also managed to delay all my cleaning until after Purim, and looking at the widely strewn crumbs, I have definitely saved myself some work! Hooray!!

So… I realize that the Scripture quoted above says to take the leavening out of the house “on the first day,” but our houses tend to be more cluttered these days than a one day job can handle. At least, my house does! I love to use this season as an opportunity to get my house really clean, all at once—at least once a year.

That said, there are years when you have terrible morning sickness, a baby is recently born, your family is in the process of moving, or there is illness going on. You know the years I mean, ladies! During those years, it can be helpful to only go after the actual, visible leavening, and rely on the prayer right before Passover, that says something like “any chametz I have not seen or cleaned out, I declare to be ownerless, like the dust of the earth…” In these years, do what you can and take your shalom without guilt.

Also, there is a whole discussion of what constitutes leavening, which I am not going to get into. I am similarly NOT going to focus on the spiritual applications of Passover cleaning. As you do the physical cleaning, there are lessons you will learn, if you allow yourself to notice them. Maybe if I feel philosophical, I will share my personal lessons here, at some point, but today is not that day.

So… to start on Passover cleaning, look at how many weeks you have left until the big Seder night, and leave the week just ahead of it for kitchen and dining room cleaning. From there, divide your house into zones, according to how many weeks you have left. For example, between Purim and Passover, there are 4 weeks. Leaving the kitchen and dining room for the last week, that gives me three weeks to attack the rest of the house. This year, our first week of cleaning went to the basement (where the playroom, Lego room and guest rooms are) and the bathrooms. It helps to start in the areas that are least trafficked with food. Next week, we will hit bedrooms and closets, and the week after that will be for our entryway, closet and living areas on the main floor.

It really helps to have a sign or two to remind people “no leavening beyond this point,”—or as my 6 year old daughter put it this year, “Levening is not Elawd,” so there is a visual reminder in place for those who might otherwise wander absentmindedly with food in hand. (I imagine what would REALLY help is training your kids a long time ago, not to take food beyond the kitchen and dining area, but ya know, that’s just not where we are, in our family!)

After you have your house divided by zone, it helps to set small daily goals, and write them down. I plan to do the cleaning over 4 days of the week, Sundays through Wednesdays this year. That way, I give myself an extra day to complete anything that we didn’t get to, on the weekly list, and there’s breathing room for shopping, cooking regular meals, do laundry and so forth. (Admittedly, I schedule easy meals for this time of year, too.)

In my first week of cleaning, we started slow and easy. The first day, we just rounded up all the obvious leavening in the kitchen cupboards and put it in our big “leavening box,” to be eaten up before the feast starts. Some folks call this “the feast of chametz.” My kids have permission and encouragement to reach into this box for a snack, this month. Graham crackers, bread for toast, crackers, pita chips, etc. are all available. Once eaten, they will likely not be replaced.

The next day, we did one half of the basement, the day after that, we did the other half, and our last day this week went to bathrooms. We didn’t quite finish the four bathrooms yet, so are thankful already for the extra day of scheduled grace that tomorrow gives, to finish the last one, and the floor in the second to last.

We clean each room or area from the top down, and towards the door, starting with cobwebs and moving down so the floors are last, and moving everything that doesn’t belong gradually toward the exit. It’s not rocket science. We have our reusable grocery bag full of cleaning supplies, and a stack of cleaning rags and the vacuum cleaner, so that we don’t have to waste time running from room to room. I also have a bag or bin for trash, and a basket for items that belong elsewhere in the house, so nobody essential has an excuse to leave the designated area. The basket is useful for occupying little messengers, as well, who are too small to do much of the big cleaning. “Here, run this upstairs for me! Thank you for your help!”

Random tips:

1. Don’t forget to schedule one day for cleaning the car(s) out!

2. Don’t forget, at the tail end, to take the vacuum cleaner bag full of crumbs to the big garbage, to go out!

3. We also usually bag up our toaster and take it to the garage for the week, to get it and it’s perma-crumbs out of our dwelling space.

Hope this helps! How did we do? What have I forgotten, or what tips can you add? I’m always interested in learning more!

I have always loved how Passover cleaning helps us relate to the slavery of Egypt and the freedom of the exodus. Lessons abound! May your Passover cleaning season be blessed with anticipation, and lead you into a holiday filled with joy!


Shabbat Prep: My Tips and Perspective

I have been asked several times how I prepare for the weekly Sabbath, so thought I should add it here, so I have an easy link to send people!

First of all, I have to say what a blessing it is to have Shabbat to give us a rhythm to our weeks, especially with the locksdowns/quarantines now going on in 2020. Others keep commenting that they are losing track of the days of the week, but no matter what else is going on for us (or NOT), Shabbat is always coming to lend structure to our week.

I used to leave all the prep for Fridays, but have evolved the routine over the years to fit our family schedule and attention span. And I have to qualify this and say what I will list here is an ideal/goal scenario that is not always met perfectly. I will also plan to address seasonal variations below, as those can be very extreme. I will also add some shortcut tips, for those times of stress or divided attention.

In our house, we try to do the once-a-week “good” cleaning (as opposed to the quick pick-up) on the upstairs on Wednesday, then the downstairs on Thursday. This includes bathroom deep cleaning and vacuuming, as well as dusting and putting away messes that have accumulated during the week. It’s not realistic to expect this to stay immaculate through Saturday, but it sets us up to do the quick pick-up on Friday.

I know some people prefer to get their cooking done ahead of time and put things in the fridge/freezer so they can have their good cleaning time on Friday. We prefer fresh baked goods to thawed ones, so this is what works for us.

I also try to get my Shabbat menu planned and shopped for on Thursday. Realistically, the shopping sometimes has to wait for Friday morning. (There is room for procrastination in the spring and summer months, when there is a late sunset.)

On Friday morning, as early as possible, I get out my Expo markers and in one color, write the list of cooking projects for the day on the whiteboard. Then I ask for volunteers to sign up for the projects they want (ideally, putting their names in another color, if we can find another marker!). When my kids were little, they would choose what they wanted to “help” with, and the current littles do the same now, but we have come to a wondrous point now, where we have a pretty well-trained power force in the kitchen, and the big kids can take on entire responsibility for projects, as well as have the little apprentices under them.

This week, for example, we had 17 yo daughter making cupcakes for dessert with the help of 8 yo son, and 15 yo son making cookies for lunch dessert with help from 6 yo daughter. My 19 yo son made sourdough crackers. We reached a new milestone when my 10 yo son, who has been my challah apprentice for months, was able to successfully braid the six strand challah by himself while I was shopping! 12 yo son shaped monkey bread for breakfast.

Yes, I realize it sounds like we’re doing nothing but baking sweets, but this is our celebration day of the week, so we allow more sweets that usual. I should add that we use fresh home-ground flour and natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc. as much as possible, and reduce the sugar as well, in most of these. There’s a fantastic cookbook we had from the library a couple of years ago, called “Baking With Less Sugar: Recipes for Desserts Unsing Natural Sweeteners and Little-to-No White Sugar” by Joanne Chang that I highly recommend. The sweet projects also attract the most helpers, I must admit. But that frees me up to concentrate on making dinner for 2 nights, and lunch and breakfast.

Backing up for a minute, to the beginning of the day … as soon as I put the list on the whiteboard, the assigned helper and I usually start my challah dough. (I might put the recipe up here, if there is interest.) I have been making this challah since I was 15 and living with my parents, so it’s a pretty automatic thing at this point. If you prefer to use sourdough, or let your grains/dough soak, simply start it Thursday afternoon/evening and let it sit overnight – refrigerated or not. It’s a pretty smug feeling to wake up Friday morning when the dough is already made. In that case, I would get the dough out of my fridge early in the day and let it warm up some before shaping. Then, if we are having something like roast for dinner, I will start it on the stovetop or in the crockpot next. Then we have time to work on the baked goods that are not yeasted, while the yeast dough rises a couple of times. I have a rule that I try not to make two yeasted breads in the same day, because the timing is too important. (Like everything else, my personal rules are flexible. I made bagels too, yesterday, with the help of my 3 yo son as “hole poker.”) In most of our houses, we have been blessed with 2 ovens, so it has been a challenge to adjust to only having one again, in our current house. It just takes forethought to plan. I can’t really roast a turkey for Shabbat if I need the oven for breads, cakes, cookies, or pies. I usually make use of the crock pot, instant pot or stovetop for meats, these days. I have friends who use turkey roasters for more than just Thanksgiving, too. And in the summer, there’s always the barbecue!

A couple of tips that make things easier:

1. On a day when I have so many cooking projects going, it helps to plan easy breakfast and lunch. Our go-tos are granola and yogurt for Friday breakfast (I will often make a batch of granola with my helpers on Thursday night, then leave it to cool in the oven overnight. If making homemade yogurt, I have to think of that by Wednesday for the timing to work, with culturing and chilling times.) Lunches are equally easy, with nachos and/or smoothies.

2. Parchment paper is your friend! We reused the same parchment for bagels, challah and crackers yesterday, and never had to wash those pans! Use your judgement on reusing. Pizzas are one and done before the paper starts to crumble, because of the high temps. (My poet daughter actually wrote me an “Ode to Parchment Paper,” since I rave about it so often!)

3. Whoever takes on a project is responsible to clean up that project, including ingredients, dishes used, and countertop messes.

4. The standard Shabbat breakfast at our house is cinnamon rolls, made out of the same dough as our big batch of challah. Two for one!

I realize this sounds like a lot of work. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do it like this. I have a large number of assistants, and do a LOT of homemade stuff, for health reasons and … I don’t know, maybe we just watch too many cooking shows!?!

A shortcut menu (all of which we have employed at different times) might look like picking up a natural chicken or two at Sprouts, already roasted, for $7 apiece, and cooking some rice and frozen veggies or grabbing a boxed salad for sides. Trader Joe’s–and many other bakeries–offer challah that is soft and delicious warmed up at 350 degrees for 12-20 minutes. Dessert can be a pie from Costco and/or a dish of ice cream. You could do the yogurt and granola routine for Shabbat breakfast, or get a box of pastries and slice up fresh fruit. Or maybe cold cereal is a treat at your house. The point is to make it special and set-apart–a day to look forward to. For Shabbat lunches, we often do veggies and dip with smoked salmon and crackers, and/or pasta salad. Sometimes we make sandwiches from leftover challah and a plate of cold cuts, cheese, or pb&j. This week, we’re having bagels and cream cheese with carrot sticks and cucumbers, followed by cookies.

Dinnertime is where the time of year comes into play. If it’s fall/winter and getting dark early, I will usually make stew or soup of some kind for dinner and get it going early, in the crockpot. Then the second day dinner is easy too, because nobody wants to eat that early in the day, so as long as there’s a plan and there are ingredients for something quick in place, we can start cooking after sundown. Our go-to this year has been homemade pizza after Shabbat is over, for which the dough is already sitting in the fridge. However, when the sun doesn’t go down until after 8, we have been known to flip-flop the order and do pizza before sundown and have something already arranged in the crockpot in the fridge so we can plug it in on Shabbat morning and not have to think about it all day. (Depending on your level of observance, you might need this to precook. For me, I have decided that this approach is in keeping with the spirit of the law, if not the letter.) Another good plan is precooking chicken to throw in an Asian or Caesar salad, and eating that with leftover challah. You can pull together anything your family likes, or that works for your diet.

Now, on to the biblical/philosophical reasons that Shabbat prep is so important to me. I have heard arguments from folks in the Hebrew Roots movement, claiming that cooking on Shabbat is not work, and therefore it’s ok to leave cooking to do on the day itself, so you don’t burn yourself out on Fridays and learn to hate Shabbat, or some such reasoning. I disagree. In Exodus 16–BEFORE the 10 commandments are given–at the beginning of the miracle of the manna, the children of Israel are told by G-d, through Moses,

“Then he said to them, “This is what the LORD has said: ‘Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning.’ ””

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭16:23‬ ‭NKJV

Looks to me like THE essential way to prepare for the Sabbath is by cooking!

In addition, my own experience tells me that as a home-keeping mom, cooking is a huge part of MY work, and if I don’t do it ahead of time, I don’t have the time for resting as prescribed. People are still hungry, and I’m the one they come to.

It is worth it to me to discipline myself to plan ahead, and to pour myself into preparing for one entire day, in order to enjoy the sublime feeling of having all my work finally DONE on the next, and having time to sit down and read a book or play a board game and have some unhurried conversation. Honestly, I think it’s almost MORE important for moms than for others, to have that break. Otherwise, there is never a point when our work is done. There is always another meal to make, and more laundry being made. No wonder so many moms burn out and look forward to an empty nest. This approach solves more problems than it creates, as I see it!

Again, the practicalities are up to you, your family’s tastes, schedule and available “personnel.” I decided a long time ago to rule out scheduling big events or homeschooling activities on Fridays, but if you plan ahead, you might find it works for you. Now that my big kids are driving, I am more open to bending that rule, depending on the opportunity.

‬Have any questions, or tips to share, that work for you? Share with the rest of us!

Be blessed!

“Tales of Faith” Book Tour

cover faithwriters

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Shalom, Patient Readers!

Today, I am posting an excerpt from a newly published book by a homeschooled young lady who is a close relative. 😉

The book is a collection of writing assignments she did over the course of a year, for the website, and the stories cover a vast range of topics and genres – all delightful. Rosemary has a keen sense of humor and profound insights. She inspires my faith and tickles my funny bone regularly. She has lots of practice at storytelling, and not just for faithwriters – her younger siblings often ask her for a story, and won’t let her stop the tale until it reaches a satisfying conclusion. 🙂 In addition, she is a far more prolific blogger than yours truly, and you can find more of her writing here: Writefury

It was hard to choose which story to excerpt, since they are all so different, but I’m going with a funny one first, and may post another later in the week. Buy the book – you won’t be sorry!

I Am Ginger

Topic: Gluttony (overindulgence and overconsumption) (1/15/15)

Level 3, Advanced

Level Placement: 5th  

Overall Placement: 19th

I am Ginger.

I am a Cockapoo.

I am invincible.

There was a time when I was a small dog in every sense of the word, but that time is long gone.

As I still am today, I was only about a foot tall, not standing on my hind legs. But back then I was a trim little thing from constantly chasing rats, moles, chickens and rabbits with my brother, Fred.

Then the coyotes came and Fred was no more. I was sad for a while, but I consoled myself with the extra food he no longer needed to eat. I got a little chubbier, but not very noticeably. One day, I found where the extra bulk could come in handy.

The family was coming back down the path in their box with wheels and I ran out to greet them. I was a little too eager and found myself nearer to the wheel than I wanted to be. The next thing I knew, it had gone right over me.

It hurt and I yelped. The humans made frightened sounds and came out to see if I was all right. Surprisingly, I was. But the people needed more proof. I was rushed to the man in the white coat, who poked at me until the people were okay.

That was the day I lost my fear of the boxes with wheels.

Not long after that, two other big dogs joined us: Gilligan and Mary-Anne. The people got a different kind of food for them that tasted WAY better than mine. Seriously. I’d been missing out.

The first day, one of the people called us, scooped out the food, then ran back into their house. I beat Gilligan and Mary-Anne to it and started eating as much as I could, but the two big dogs were right behind me and started sticking their big, wet noses into the bowl, nudging me out.

I hadn’t had my fill yet and I had been here first. I gave them a little growl to let them know what I thought, and to my surprise, they backed away and let me eat first. They were totally submitting to me!

That was the day I realized my power over larger dogs, and I’ve kept a tight hold of it ever since.

Mary-Anne didn’t last long, though, and soon it was just Gilligan and me. But the days of luxury were gone. We only got fed once a day and it was the normal food that I had. I was wasting away. Gilligan was still submitting to me, so I got more food than that big oaf, but still…

Then, the year that I turned nine, about four years later, Gilligan died. The people were devastated. So was I. I only got half as much food as I had before.

About a month later, two puppies came and joined my family: Bullwinkle and Sassafras. For the first few months of their lives, they lived inside and I only saw them a few times. I was still only getting a small amount of food.

But then the puppies moved outside. And that meant that they were fed outside. They ate puppy food, which had even more vitamins and protein packed in than my and Gilligan’s food put together, and it tasted like heaven.

It was clear from the very first time I met the puppies that they would submit to me, even though I had a little trouble breaking Bullwinkle. So once they were outside, I had no trouble chasing them away from the food bowl.

It was one of the happiest times of my life. The puppies became sleek and athletic, while I became bigger and bigger. But the people didn’t know it because my fur had grown so long it hid me like a blanket.

At around the one year mark, Sassafras was sent back because she kept going past the fence and killing other animals, so Bullwinkle was left, but he still got the same amount of food. Even more for me.

Bullwinkle was noticing my growing middle and was obviously getting concerned. He bounced around, trying to play with me constantly. I prefer gluttony to activity, so I just growled at him and went back to the food bowl.

But the people had to find out sooner or later. I was given a haircut and the people were all shocked. They made sounds like: “Fat” “Too much food” and “Diet.”

I wonder what they mean?

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Guest Post “Reflections on the New Moon”

Shabbat Shalom, and Adar Sameach!

I am blessed with a brother who is sincere and insightful, who wrote the piece below. I wanted to share it with you all, because I think he is right on, and this should have wide application. Thanks, Teresh, for letting me post it! – Rivkah 😉

“Reflections on the New Moon”

I heard something a while back that got me thinking and praying about the new moon, asking God why He asked us to gather together at the new moon rather than the full moon.

I’ve also been asking Him how to teach His simple truths in a way that easily imparts HEART knowledge rather than lofty head knowledge. Then I began to study Yeshua’s teaching methods. He frequently pointed to objects within eyesight of the people He was teaching . . . (whited sepulchers, fig trees, etc.).

Imagine Yeshua attending your new moon celebration . . . he would stand up, point to the moon and teach us something. What would say?


1. The moon doesn’t generate any light of its own – it reflects the light of the sun.

2. We are instructed to gather together at the new moon, when the moon is reflecting the least light of its cycle.

3. When the moon is the darkest we Teruah . . . we give a shout or a shofar blast, proclaiming His Kingship and we dedicate/sanctify the month to Him, to His purposes.

4. The moon then proceeds through its cycle to fullness, then back down to complete darkness.

Perhaps God invited us to gather together at the new moon to help us understand that, like the moon, we too reflect His light to varying degrees throughout the month. Sometimes we feel His presence in our lives and we seem to radiate the Glory of God magnificently. At other times, we feel dark, discouraged, even depressed . . . as if we and God have nothing in common. Perhaps we meet at the new moon for precisely this reason. God wants to remind us that even in the darkest time we need to have faith. Not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit we will again cycle back around and reflect the light of God in fullness.

In our difficult times the enemy of our souls wants to lie to us and tell us that we are no good failures. He wants to cut us off from our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, our community . . . our fellowship with the Holy Spirit.

But God wants to remind us of His faithfulness. He wants to remind us to shout out to Him and proclaim His victory. Just as the walls of Jericho came crumbling down, and as the Red Sea parted, He will deliver us. He will set us free. He is faithful and unwavering. And He wants a people of faith . . . especially when their faith is tested by difficult circumstances whether they’re internal, external, or both. In those times, He wants us to gather together as one rather than isolate ourselves in loneliness, shame, and defeat. He wants His kids to gather together, proclaim His victory with a shout, and have faith that just as the moon cycles through varying degrees of radiance, so too do we. If we’re not reflecting much light right now, soon enough we will. And if we’re reflecting lots of light right now, we are reminded that it’s His light, and not our own that is shining bright and luminous.

Wherever we find ourselves in this cycle, we choose obedience. We choose to acknowledge Him as King of the Universe and King of our lives. We proclaim His victory. We declare His faithfulness. And in faith, we continue through the seemingly endless cycle of waxing and waning, thankful that He does not change. His brilliant light shines forth day and night.

“Oh, send out Your light and Your truth!

Let them lead me;

Let them bring me to Your holy hill

And to Your tabernacle.

Then I will go to the altar of God,

To God my exceeding joy;

And on the harp I will praise You,

O God, my God.”

~ Psalm 43:3-4

Prayer To Live in Awe and Wonder at God’s Miracles

Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles. Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illuminates the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, “How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it.”

Homeschool Fun Days!

Shalom, shalom!
We just returned a couple of weeks ago from our Israel harvest trip, and have hit the ground running as soon as Sukkot wrapped up, to get as much homeschooling in as possible before the next inevitable derailment. Be it in the form of guests, illness, or birthday season, it always comes. The freedom to adjust to life is one of our favorite things about homeschooling, and we have hit a quiet stretch right now (just when most are coming into their busy season, ours is nicely winding down!), so we are plugging away.

We have been very happy with our curriculum choice this year – The Elliotts have done a fantastic job of pulling scripture into each subject, and it takes quite a load off of me, doing the planning end of it. And so much freedom to cover what we need and leave what we don’t. What a blessing!

We have been covering our official school subjects Sunday through Thursday this year, leaving Fridays open for Shabbat prep. We have been doing some FUN stuff on Thursdays and some of my homeschooling readers might want to pick up this baton and run with it.

Basically, Thursdays are theme days. So far, we have done “Crazy Day” and “Backwards Day,” just to build anticipation and enthusiasm into our windup to Shabbat. Schools celebrate these kinds of things, mostly during “Spirit Week” around homecoming time. I came across a list online that was talking about finding ways other than sugar to reward kids, and this idea sparked for me. Theme week was my favorite part of the 6 months I went to actual school (kind of like kids who claim their favorite subject is recess), so I figure there is no reason homeschoolers can’t get in on this.

IMG_8386 This kid gets into everything!
IMG_8387 Very fashionable!
IMG_8384 Gotta love the clip-on tie – especially on a t-shirt!


As it turns out, these days are SO much MORE fun for homeschoolers!!! (Since we are all family, everyone is comfortable and not trying to impress anyone, so we are free to participate with abandon – though at least one of us is still camera-shy!)

Fleeing the camera, with a swish of black cape! Fleeing the camera, with a swish of black cape!

For Crazy Day*, we all dressed up in clashing and/or crazy outfits. We had plaid with tie-dye and stripes, sequined hats, clip-on ties, and face paint. We played Musical Freeze for PE, and read some crazy stories. Our other advantage over school format is that we were able to incorporate thematic elements with our food. For Crazy Day, my daughter who was on breakfast duty put blue food coloring into our dutch baby oven pancakes. 🙂

blue pancakes - Crazy! blue pancakes – Crazy!
IMG_8307 Chez Blue, herself!

For Backwards Day, we wore our shirts and sweaters backwards, started our school subject list at the bottom and worked our way up, ran our relay course in reverse (Daddy put the kibosh on running it backwards), and ate our meals in the opposite order – breakfast was dessert, lunch was dinner, and dinner was breakfast! We also found some funny backwards jokes to read out loud.


We are all getting into it (even our 4yo who MUST wear matching jammies eventually joined in), and looking forward to future Thursdays this year. I have heard suggestions for Medieval Day, Viking Day, Farmer Day, Pirate Day, Hat Day, Pajama Day, Stuffed Animal Day… You get the picture – the sky’s the limit! (Did I hear someone say Astronaut Day?)

To close this post, I want to give one more shout out to Thanks for freeing up my brain space to think about the fun stuff!!! 😀

Blessings to all!

*Disclaimer: Yes, I realize that many of us can claim “EVERY day is Crazy Day at MY house!” But making it official frees you up to enjoy it. Every little incident throughout the day made me smile and say “well, THIS fits right in with our theme!”

Christmas Journey Update

20131203-150911.jpg Oil Menorah Shamash Candle for Hanukkah – 2013

It has been several years now, since I originally wrote
“Our Christmas Journey”, and several things have changed for us. Chief among them is that my family (Dad and Mom, my 2 brothers and a sister, as well as my sister-in-law and her family), after examining the issue, have likewise chosen to let their traditional Christmas celebrations go by the wayside.

This means that I no longer have to tick off the minutes of that day in my head, knowing exactly what traditions are being practiced by my family at that moment – without me and my husband and children! It makes a huge difference in my personal sadness level at leaving those things behind. I am grateful for the further freedom from criticism we are enjoying and the greater fellowship available between us, after the strife that was caused by our initial decision several years ago. So, I’m happy to report that having been faithful through the more difficult trials in the beginning, things have gotten much easier as the years have gone by since making this life-changing decision to abandon Christmas. (My husband’s family does still have their own celebrations, but as their family tradition, growing up, was to sit on the beach in Hawaii for Christmas Day, it has been less difficult, overall, for them to understand our “abandonment” of the classic snowy, tree-centric view of the whole thing. There have been good discussions through the years, on that side, too.)

The other big and surprising change since this story was first written has been how hugely popular this same decision has become, among fellow believers! When we took this fork in the road, it was a barely recognizable bunny trail through dense forest, and now it has become a much broader path tread by many! We were prepared for loneliness, difficulty, and misunderstanding, and instead have found an ever-increasing community of like-minded folks who have put similar thoughts together and chosen to follow more whole-heartedly after truth untainted by historical and nostalgic misunderstanding.

More and more, when we explain our stance to others, we are met with comments like “well, that makes more sense!” and “I always wondered about that, too!” Several hardy families have joined us and our predecessors on this journey and come through their own difficult initial pull-backs, finding it easier to breathe on the other side.

The scripture that comes to mind is from Jeremiah 16:19-21: O L-rd, my strength and my fortress, My refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, “Surely our fathers have inherited lies, Worthlessness and unprofitable things.” Will a man make gods for himself, Which are not gods? “Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know My hand and My might; And they shall know that My name is the L-rd.

The Father has challenged us as Gentile believers differently than He did our Jewish elder brothers and sisters. They were given the job of being “a light to the nations,” and holding up the standards of the Torah (G-d’s ways) high, for all to see. Our job as “the nations” is to identify the places our fathers have been in error and set them aside, in order to walk uprightly before our pure, holy and undefiled G-d.

The story of Gideon, from the book of Judges, comes to mind. How hard was it for him to destroy his own father’s idols? So hard that he did it in the middle of the night, when the men of the city couldn’t see what he was about! And as timid as he was with his obedience, the L-rd honored it, and his faith and valor, as well as his honor, grew from that point forward.

If you are among those taking timid (or bold) first steps in this direction, be encouraged! He is faithful, and offers many rewards for obedience, especially in the face of difficulty.

I could go on, with all the lessons we have learned since taking these steps, but I will leave you with one more prophetic scripture that seems apropos for both G-d’s covenant people and His adoptees at this point:
Isaiah 30:20-22 – And though the L-rd gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. You will also defile the covering of your images of silver, and the ornament of your molded images of gold. You will throw them away as an unclean thing; you will say to them, “Get away!”

Where are you in this journey?

Titus 2 School?


Honestly, there are very few things I learned at college that have proven useful for my everyday life as a mother of 7. I know G-d has had His hand and His plan leading me every step of the way, but sometimes I wonder about all the facts I crammed in at the university that are sitting somewhere in my brain, currently gathering dust. However, I’ve had some funny thoughts rattling around this week, about what I DO use, and thought I’d share them.

Here are the courses I actually get some use out of, on a semi-regular basis (all were, of course, elective classes – not requirements, in college):
Children’s Literature – I took this course as a total “filler,” during my last summer quarter at the university, but it did introduce me to some great books and authors that I have since acquired for our family library. (Here’s a gratuitous plug for my favorite children’s book that I found through this course, “How Tom Beat Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen” by Russel Hoban.)
Acting Voice – useful for interpreting the different characters in the books mentioned above
Fencing – I am the mother of 5 boys – yes, this has been an occasionally useful skill to break out when I need to impress them!
ESL (English as a Second Language) Tutoring – translates well to EFL (English as a First Language)

And there, we stop. However . . .


I have come up with some ideas for classes that actually would have come in VERY handy. I would love to propose that something along these lines be taught in some kind of “Titus 2 School” for young mothers. Here are my humble suggestions, in the form of a course catalog, of sorts. Feel free to offer some of your own in the comments. This list is by no means exhaustive:

One-Handed Typing – Useful for maximizing computer time while nursing a baby.

Records Management – Includes building your photo gallery of children’s art projects (before their disposal), and filing options for unexplainably sticky but necessary records.

Businesslike Home Management – Chore charts and their implementation, perpetuation, and rotation.

Toy Obsession Workshop – Coaching against covetousness.

Strategic Bandaid Placement – Level 1: On the body of a child (wounds optional). Level 2: The stockpile – where to keep it so it doesn’t dwindle unnecessarily and contribute to litter.

Prioritizing – Practice addressing questions such as “Which cry do I answer first – that of the hungry infant or the toddler on the potty?”

Delegation – Emphasis on capability evaluation, training, and assigning the youngest capable child for each task.

Crisis Management (prerequisites: Prioritizing and Delegation) – Determining your course of action in multiple-implication emergency situations that can have no possible advance plan, i. e., one of your children breaks a bone when you have a houseful of company to feed and your toddler needs a diaper change. (This course was formerly known as “Counter-Ambush Training”)

Battlefield Triage (highly recommended for mothers of boys) – Covers first-aid and CPR, as well as wilderness treatment options. Includes ingraining of the mantra “head wounds aren’t usually as bad as they first appear.”

Dressing (and Redressing) a 3 Year Old – Learn to guide appropriate choices according to weather, time of day, etc.. Also covers “overriding skills” in the event of guidance failure on important occasions such as weddings and funerals, as well as photography skills in the event of children freelancing in their closets and drawers.

Finances of Childhood Pet Ownership – Covers making arrangements (before the pet’s purchase) for who will be paying for food, litter, vet bills and toys, as well as remedies for when the agreed payor runs out of money, but the animal is still hungry or sick or bored (aka “alive”).

Leadership of Group Study Time When your “Group” Includes Toddlers – Handling interruptions with grace, dogged determination, and an abundance of review questions!

Answering Ridiculous Questions with a Straight Face – Test questions include: Why does stickiness turn into hair? Mom, is this my east hand? and Can you milk a gecko?

Rapid-Fire Decision-Making 101 (a skill building workshop) – Strengthen your responsibility muscles! Will help with split second risk-assessment, short-range cause and effect projection, long range projection for bystander (younger sibling) witnesses of prospective permitted activity, the irrevocable veto and qualified permission using a signed waiver when faced with the question “Can I? Huh? Can I?”

Rapid-Fire Decision-Making 102 – Will include a field trip, grocery shopping with four or more rapping advertising agents at your side.

Micro-biology of Food Off the Floor – Will discuss the so called “3-second rule,” as well as the variations between floors of kitchens, bathrooms, cars, and outdoor surfaces. (Please include a pocket stopwatch with your purchase of the text for this class.)

Small Construction Projects – Building a sound-proof phone booth out of extra closet space, building prize-winning floats for entry in your local parade, and assembling toys late at night before the birthday party. If time allows, there will be discussion of whether any useful written instructions are ever exported from China.

Political Science of Sibling Relationships (prerequisite: Middle East Politics) – Covers advocacy, dispute resolution, hostage situations, and discusses the varying interpretations of the verse “. . . a brother was born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
What have I missed?

Guest Post: Afraid of Food?


In looking back at my life over the past several years, I have now come to realize that I have been held in bondage to the fear of food. I know that to many this may sound silly, weird or like some kind of super-spiritual madness. But to those who are willing to read my “note,” I ask that you bear with me and read on; I do have a purpose in sharing this, and I’m pretty sure I’m not “off my rocker.”

For numbers of years, I have been afraid of eating highly-processed foods, foods prepared in an improper way, pasteurized or denatured foods, foods with man-made garbage in them, and the like, all under the guise of “conviction.” It was about a week ago that I realized the fear that had gripped me – the bondage I was in, and the dues I’ve been paying for in my surrender to it. The moment my eyes were opened was the point at which God spoke through me to respond to my father on the subject of eating kosher. He asked me if we had a problem with eating half a pizza, with the other half having pork on it. I said to him: “We’re not afraid of eating pork; we eat kosher because we fear and love God.” I sometimes feel like I open my mouth to talk to someone and God starts speaking through me. It’s as though I stop in my own mind and listen to what’s coming out and think, “oh. . . that’s true, that’s good, I never thought of it that way.” And in speaking to my father. I found one of those moments.

In the week that followed, I believe that God spoke to my heart saying such things as these: Don’t deceive yourself any longer into believing that you eat “healthy” because you fear and love me. Don’t believe the lie that you are protecting yourself from “destroying God’s temple, the dwelling of the Holy Spirit” (your body) by eating healthy. You eat the way you do not to honor and glorify the Lord, and not because it’s right or good, but because you are afraid of what will happen if you don’t. You have said that you eat healthy because you are “convicted” to honor the Lord by taking care of the gift God gave you in the body you have. Who convicts you? Are you compelled by love, or driven by fear? Is it not that which comes out of your mouth and not what goes in that makes you unclean?

“When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!” – Mark 7:14-16

How do you then justify your biting unkindness toward others who come between you and your fear? In whom have you put your trust – in God or food? In God or herbs and naturopathy? In God or man? If man has said that a certain food will kill you and you avoid it at all costs, are you not putting more trust in man than in God – for who alone numbers your days? Or are you afraid that you will not have quality of life? Is God not good? Is He not just? Is He not the blessed controller of all things? Has God not promised to work all things toward your good? Has God not promised to care for and protect you? And though there will be troubles, will God not deliver you from every one of them? And is God’s love and peace not better than life? How much time do you spend learning about and preparing food? How much money do you spend on that which fades? Are you storing up your treasures in heaven or on earth?

Lay down your sacrifices and cease your idolatry of self. Work no longer to stay the hand of an angry god who threatens you with death, disease and affliction unless you bring your sacrifices. Worship the Lord, the Lord only.

I have responded to the Lord with “YES, I want to worship you alone! And I am SO, SO sorry, Lord for my waywardness and idolatry; please change my heart.” I was amazed to find out after sharing with my husband that he had long believed I’d been deceived and duped into self-idolatry with regard to food. He had been praying for me, and trusting in God to save. It is very humbling for me to confess this to you all, but I feel compelled to share for a couple of reasons. First, our God is SO AMAZING. He is not like the god I once served who is without compassion and whose only motivation is fear. The Lord is patient, gracious, gentle, kind, good, merciful and full of everlasting love (to start with). I stand in awe of the fact that He is faithful even when I am not. And though to you the words (above) that I felt God speak to my heart may sound harsh, to my ears they were gentle and full of compassion. His words were true and to the point, convicting but not defeating. For in fact, godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to life and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. The second reason I am sharing this with you is in the hope that if any of my dear friends are suffering under this same deception, I might encourage you through my own experience that you might recover yourself from the snare of the devil. I am not writing this to point a finger. I’ll leave the job of convicting up to God. I do, however, want to encourage you to seek God and ask Him if you’ve made an idol in your heart, so that you might repent and be free. Now, for those of you who may still be wondering, no I don’t believe it is the good or right thing to (purposefully) be unhealthy and dishonor God with our bodies. The kicker to the lies and deceptions of our enemy is that they are mixed with the truth. The truth, I believe, is that it is a good and right thing to honor and glorify God with all that we are, think, say and do – including the way that we eat. In fact, God has told us how to eat to glorify Him (i.e. eating “kosher,” but of course, man always wants to add to or subtract from the words of God). It is also written that man was not made for food, food was made for man. Food ought not to control us, we ought to be in control of food, without love or fear. Perhaps the question we ought to train ourselves to ask in order that we might guard against idolatry is: “do I glorify God in what I am doing?” For if we were created to bring glory to God, to love Him, to fear Him, and to enjoy His love – then all that we do should bring forth that very fruit. So I ask myself, “is my eating bringing glory to God – or does the glory fall elsewhere?” The only one worthy of our love and fear is the Lord. So the question is, are we sacrificing ourselves to another, and is there something or someone we love or fear more than or along side of God? If so, let us repent, for the rewards of freedom are great!

Grace and peace be with you my friends!


I really appreciate what Jen shares here, and I just want to say that I was also living in fear of food for many years. My family was bound up with food allergies, and when the Father graciously started opening my eyes, I was in the grocery store, and I went down the aisle with the Holy Spirit looking over my shoulder, pointing out that I was afraid of that and that, and that . . . Then more scriptures spoke to me about this.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons . . . and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. – I Timothy 4:1-3

It is really amazing how many in believing communities these days have food allergies, and troubles with gluten. I have even seen a communion table in a church with labels for gluten-free communion wafers. The question I can’t get out of my mind is, “If Yeshua called himself ‘the Bread of Life,’ then isn’t bread not only good for us, but as essential to our long-term physical well being as He Himself is to our spiritual life?

Another thought to consider, along the lines of Jen’s note: anything you give up because you are afraid of it becomes a sacrifice on the altar of fear, in your life.

On to cleaning for Pesach! (Conversely, it must be good for us to go without chametz for one week a year, right? I wonder how many gluten problems might be cleared up by following this commandment . . . )

Blessings and Shalom to you all!

Bad Tree . . . Good Fruit??


Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. – Matthew 7:17-19

As people who are trying to walk on a more Torah-observant path, many of us have done a good job of cutting out the old pagan and idolatrous practices that had crept into the church over the years. It has been inspiring to watch so many who have honestly evaluated their traditions and, sometimes at great personal cost, stepped away from those that were ungodly in origin.

But let’s think about it for a minute – do we believe that when we turn our backs on these things, the enemy gives up trying to trick us into participating with idolatrous practices? Or might he be concentrating his efforts on sneaking unnoticed into other areas of our lives?

My concern today has to do with some of the “alternative” healing methods that seem to be very common in Messianic circles. They are setting off my discernment alarm bells.

This post is probably going to step on some toes, so please take a minute right now to pray and ask for discernment before reading any further . . . really. Here’s a jump start: Father, we ask for your grace and mercy as we explore this area of healing. We ask that you would give us discernment so that we can abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. Amen.

Not many years ago, I was the “go-to gal” on homeopathic remedies in my little circle. I was the one all my friends would call when they needed to know what remedy to give for what symptom. I had books on homeopathy and I never went anywhere without my kit at my side, ready to treat whatever ailments arose in my children. We did muscle testing (applied kinesiology), cranial-sacral therapy, herbs, vitamins, essential oils, and were up for trying plenty more. When a friend, teaching a class on the spiritual roots of disease, raised some good points, I started to ask tough questions. Soon, there were some scriptures that made sense to me in a new way.


If you diligently heed the voice of the L-rd your G-d and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the L-rd who heals you. – Exodus 15:26

Torah folks usually agree that it’s important to keep commandments and statutes. But we also tend to take back responsibility on ourselves or our doctors or alternative practitioners when it comes to healing, and then many of us apply some kind of worldly wisdom to heal ourselves.

What else does G-d say?

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the ekklesia, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the L-rd. – James 5:14

We are told to place our healing in the hands of our elders – and priests, in the name of HaShem. Yeshua, after healing lepers, told them to show themselves to the priests to confirm their healing and purify themselves according to the law of Moses. Other than an often cursory prayer request, our “default” these days is to go to the doctor or the cabinet full of herbs and oils when we get sick. We only take the matter to the elders when the doctors tell us they have nothing left to offer, but this trust in doctors is misplaced, according to the Word that is our standard. Consider the following:

Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. – Mark 5:25-26

Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. – Luke 8:43-44

Unfortunately, this woman has a history like many of us, who have spent money we can ill afford on treatments that will not help us.

And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the L-rd, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. – 2 Chronicles 16:12-13

Over the course of two years of illness, Asa, who had been victorious with G-d’s help in other areas, didn’t seek Him for healing, and this is given as the reason that he died.


Let’s consider the question, “How we determine whether a therapy is something we should try?” A common response is that we first investigate (often through reading testimonials or hearing a teaching) to determine whether it “works” or not. But if our plumb line is the Holy Scripture, then there are some OTHER questions we should really be asking first. Like “is this a fitting place for a child of G-d to look for healing?”

If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. – Deuteronomy 13:1-3

Woe to the rebellious children, says the L-rd, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin. That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion. – Isaiah 30:1-3

MANY of the healing modalities being practiced today by believers have their origins in Egypt. From what I understand, Egypt had a HUGE medical community that was incredibly skilled in the use of herbs and remedies. They were able to embalm bodies to preserve them for “the afterlife,” even before Joseph’s day; but they were plagued by disease.

Look! You are trusting in the staff of this broken reed, Egypt, on which if a man leans, it will go into his hand and pierce it. So is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. – Isaiah 36:6

For more on Egypt, its diseases and healing modalities, look here: Healing in Egypt.

Behold, the L-rd rides on a swift cloud,
And will come into Egypt;
The idols of Egypt will totter at His presence,
And the heart of Egypt will melt in its midst. – Isaiah 19:1

The ultimate test is NOT whether or not the therapy “works.” Because we have an eternal perspective, we have to ask ourselves what the source of power is, that we are tapping into, and if there might be any negative spiritual impact on us from that. There is such a thing as false signs and wonders, and we need to pray for discernment, so that we don’t fall into deception.

Holistic medicine is dangerous, because it treats the “whole” person – body, soul AND spirit, according to its claims. It is one thing to treat the symptoms of the body, and another to tap into the spiritual powers of another religion for “spiritual healing,” as many alternative therapies claim to do.

“Empty your thoughts, let them be free and peaceful” is NEVER a command anywhere is scripture. That is unplugging the judgement G-d gave you and opening a door for some other spirit being to take up residence. We are asked to bring every thought into captivity under the lordship of Messiah, and to give up our own control in favor of faith and trust, but these are conscious acts of submission. He asks us to trust Him, and give up our cares and worries to Him, but never to empty our minds. “Inviting” anything is the same. If you “invite healing” or “invite the spirit” of whatever, that IS what you are doing.


Going back to the scripture at the top of this article, we need to apply the question of origins to all our healing techniques. It’s all about the roots. If a bad tree cannot produce good fruit, then we need to make sure we are not eating fruit from a bad tree. All it takes, these days, is a quick search on google, for “origins” and “(fill in your therapy of choice)”.

Anything “ayurvedic” is based in Hinduism. It is promoted by the same people who are doing “yogic flying” (aka transcendental meditation/astral projection). Out it goes. This includes oil pulling and neti pots, folks. Both are Ayurvedic healing techniques. Cast those bad trees onto your healing technique bonfire! Trust that your loving Creator has another way for you to be healed.

Essential oils – yes, they smell good. And they are being promoted as a “Biblical” type of healing. But a little bit of research turns up some very disturbing things about the founder of YLEO. A Critical Look. Just a few of the points raised here: his medical education claims are fraudulent, he and his team have reportedly been responsible for the deaths of several people – including that of his own child, and he’s on his third marriage. Though he fraudulently claims to be a doctor, he makes no claim of Christianity or Judaism. He also claims to have learned his “raindrop therapy” technique from a Native American medicine man – who wants no responsibility for what he is teaching. His own website says he has altered his technique so many times that his staff can’t keep up. This is bad company. This man has no moral compass, let alone a relationship with our one true G-d. Can this tree bear good fruit?

Look up the origins of essential oil therapy, and guess what? Egypt – and China and India (again, as an “integral part of Ayurvedics”). History of Essential Oils. I seriously doubt this is what the Bible is talking about the elders doing when they anoint you with oil.

There are even therapies being used by otherwise Torah-pursuant believers, that were originated by folks who openly say that they were consulting “spirit guides.” I hope this is as disturbing to you as it is to me. If not, maybe take another look at Deuteronomy 18.
ImageI highly recommend this article for a scriptural perspective, if you have ever used or looked into Energy Medicine.


By definition, occultism is something that holds itself up as the answer, but is covering (occluding) the real answer. In the spirit realm, according to the Be In Health ministry, occultism comes from fear. We are afraid of the stuff that attacks our bodies, so we want to control that stuff. Anything that we engage in, to control symptoms and attempt to cover ourselves would fit under this category. Our job as believers is to OBEY, and trust Him to cover us. When I was so preoccupied with figuring out for myself which therapies to use and how to implement them for each and every ailment, my focus was on that, and I had no time for other pursuits I knew the Father had called me to, because I was too busy using my “free” time to pursue this knowledge.

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me.'” – Exodus 8:1

I was also trusting in this other stuff as my healer. Once I realized that my knee-jerk reaction to sickness was to go to these remedies instead of the G-d I ostensibly worshiped, I realized I was holding these modalities up as idols in my heart.

“For the L-rd shall judge his people . . . and he shall say, ‘Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.'” – Deuteronomy 32:36-38


There are some godly uses in scripture of what could be called “herbal remedies,” but interestingly, they do not come from man’s knowledge. In the desert, when the children of Israel came to water that was bitter, G-d told Moses how to deal with it by throwing a nearby tree into the water.

“And he cried unto the L-rd, and the L-rd showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and said, ‘If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the L-rd thy G-d, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the L-rd that healeth thee.'” – Exodus 15:24-26

I would call that an herbal remedy, but whether there was something in the tree that effected the healing of the waters, or it was just a test of obedience, I don’t know. It’s up to Him – not Moses, and not me.

Other examples of this would be in 2 Kings 2, where Elisha heals the waters of Jericho with salt, and 2 Kings 4, where Elisha is feeding the prophets, and they cry out that there is “death in the pot.” Elisha throws in a handful of flour that fixes it right up.

I don’t know about you, but I find these instances encouraging! They reassure me that our heavenly Father has everything under control, and brings to mind 1 Corinthians 10:13:

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but G-d is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

When we have a test and take that opportunity to look to Him for help, He will provide the remedies we need, and they will be something common and nearby that He will use for our healing, not “a hair from the great Cham’s beard.”

The Father has more important things for believers to be worried about than running after the purest, most potent, organic South American jungle plant that has been sold to us as THE thing that will cure our ailments. The enemy is the one who wants to keep us busy with running to and fro after things that will waste our time and potential for eternal profit. Egypt, in scripture, is a place of slavery. Did you ever notice how many people who get sucked in to the world of healing and remedies never find just one answer, but are kept forever chasing their tails for the next treatment, whether for themselves or others? While no doubt well-intentioned, if our loving Father has a simpler remedy to offer, why not take Him up on it, and go on about His business? Leave the Greek thinkers to their heroic quests, and pursue the living G-d!

Too many remedies that call for things like “eye of newt” and “root of hemlock, digged in the dark,” as rendered in Macbeth, are nothing less than witchcraft – which brings us to our next point.


Did you know that the Greek word from which we derive “pharmacy” is the same word used for “witchcraft” in the Apostolic scriptures?

Here’s the Strong’s entry:

5331. farmakei÷a pharmakeia, far-mak-i´-ah; from 5332; medication (“pharmacy”), i.e. (by extension) magic (literally or figuratively): — sorcery, witchcraft.

and the source of that one:

5332. farmakeu/ß pharmakeus, far-mak-yoos´; from fa¿rmakon pharmakon (a drug, i.e. spell-giving potion); a druggist (“pharmacist”) or poisoner, i.e. (by extension) a magician: — sorcerer.

These should really make us stop and think.

And please don’t think I’m saying that all doctors, medicines or herbs are bad. I have seen great healings and miracles take place with their use, and I’ve seen doctors and nurses who are truly G-d’s servants, doing His work as He directs their lives.

My bottom line is this: we need to consult with Him for direction before we endeavor to heal ourselves. When Yeshua walked the earth, He made it clear that He considers healing – both physical and spiritual – to be His business. And He heals those who come to Him and ask. Notice that He wasn’t going around seeking sick people. THEY were coming to HIM. And when Yeshua sent out His disciples, He commanded them to “heal the sick” (Matt. 10, Luke 10). I doubt He was sending them to Naturopathic School.


Here comes the altar call, If this is you – If you recognize that you have set up idols in your heart (Ezekiel 14) – for healing or anything else, please take this opportunity to repent and change your ways. Start listening to Him for guidance in this area, too. He promises us FREEDOM from the slavery of Egypt!

(A final note: when you begin listening for guidance [especially if you have participated in occultism], it’s very important to follow 1 John 4:1-3: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of G-d; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of G-d: Every spirit that confesses that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is of G-d, and every spirit that does not confess that Yeshua the Messiah has come in the flesh is not of G-d.”)

Thanks for reading and considering. May we all be blessed with freedom as we enter the upcoming Passover season!

The Sin of Moses

Now, to sober things up a bit – or at least humble them up for me! I got a new insight today, on how the sin of Moses has crept into my life.


I’ve always wondered what, exactly, the sin of Moses was – you know, the one for which he was punished by not being allowed in to the Promised Land? Well, I’ve been struggling for awhile with knowing how to positively motivate my children. I’m ashamed to say I’ve resorted to guilting them way too often. Instead of encouraging and building up like the wise woman I want to be, I become a foolish woman, tearing down my house with my own hands. (Proverbs 14:1)


As I was praying today, asking for freedom from this tendency, the voice of Moses rang in my head, as he cried out, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10) My heart sank into repentance almost immediately, as I recognized the tone all too well. He is pushing guilt on the people, when they are asking for his help. Many times, when overwhelmed by all that is being asked of me by my large brood, I am prone to lash out instead of simply praying for patience and answering the requests in order of their immediacy.


The hardest thing, of course, is seeing the ugly fruit come out in my children’s interactions with each other. I hope and pray that we can all shake off the rotten fruit, and that I am able to be a better example to them from here on out. My hope is that we WILL be free, because this answer came directly in response to my prayer, and I asked for help in the right place – from the one who came to set captives free!

(I’m not saying this is ALL Moses was being punished for in this instance, but the L-rd has definitely used it to get my attention today. I also did look at the Rabbinic sources, and found out that this factor is one of the main 5 theories on the identification of Moses’ sin. (Thanks, Rambam!)

I have repented to my Father and my family, and pray for His help to keep this idea before me when temptation comes. And yes, it is also important to forgive myself and move on. If Moses, the meekest man on earth, was subject to this sin, I shouldn’t be surprised that it comes knocking at my door.

It is humbling to post this. It’s not something to be proud of, but I hope this can help someone else who might have the same tendency or temptation.

While writing this, the following song came on (available here: Psalms of Ascent CD), as a lovely underscore.

Psalm 130

New King James Version (NKJV)

Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

130 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let Your ears be attentive
To the voice of my supplications.

3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with You,
That You may be feared.

5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.
6 My soul waits for the Lord
More than those who watch for the morning—
Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

7 O Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is mercy,
And with Him is abundant redemption.
8 And He shall redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.