“Tales of Faith” Book Tour

cover faithwriters

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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 faithwriters.com 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?

IMG_2117
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Titus 2 School?

capdiploma

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 . . .

Titus-24

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?

glutenfree

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!

Jen

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!

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.

moses_water_rock_strike

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)

sledgehammer

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.

moses-in-desert

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.

Hallelujah!

Blog Award? What??

Wow – I was nominated by Dinah at The Traveling Classroom for something called the Liebster Award! Thanks, Dinah! (I had a lot of fun looking at her tales and pictures from homeschooling in Central America. Talk about the beautiful handiwork of our Creator!)
So, I’ll go with this, and those of you looking for deep thoughts might want to skip this one. Feels a little like a Facebook game. . .
the-liebster-award
The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.
So, the rules of this award are:
You must post 11 random things about yourself.
Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post. No tag back, but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!
1. How long have you been teaching?
As an oldest sister, I guess since I was three . . . I always tell my children that it’s their job to teach their younger siblings how to play. One of the first necessary lessons is to enjoy this gift of life!
2. Do you have a TpT or Teacher’s Notebook Store?
No.
3. What is your hobby if you have one?
Reading!!
4. What grade level do you teach or have taught?
All, from baby to adult. Just different lessons!
5. Favorite Season?
Fall – the mist in the meadow, the colorful leaves, the awesome holy days, digging in to a new learning season with my kiddos, and cuddling by the fireplace!
6. Favorite Food?
Oh, that would have to be B’Stilla, an amazing Moroccan chicken pie with cinnamon and eggs and powdered sugar. There is scrunched phyllo dough on top of the one I make (hardly ever, as it’s quite a project). My son saw me putting the uncooked pie it in the oven once, and asked, “What’s that? Buttered toilet paper?”
7. Favorite Christmas song? Can I say Handel’s Messiah Oratorio? But I don’t play it for Christmas. I play it because it’s full of Isaiah’s restoration prophecies!
(Time out for a pet peeve: I heard when I was in Israel recently that the Messiah was performed a few years ago in Hebrew for the first time, at King of Kings in Jerusalem. So when I got home, I googled it, and most of the links were to the Hallelujah Chorus! Hell-OOOO!! The only word in the Hallelujah Chorus is “Hallelujah!” And that’s ALREADY in Hebrew! How is that different? And the articles referencing it talked about how it has now been “translated” to Hebrew? All the lyrics are scriptures that would just need to be looked up in a Hebrew Bible, and set to the music. No translating necessary. Still, Kudos to the folks at King of Kings for doing the necessary work. I’m sure it was quite a project. Just had some disconnects in how it was reported. OK, off my soapbox, on with the questions! 🙂
8. Favorite subject to teach?
Hebrew – just so I can have someone to practice with!
9. Do you have a Smart board?
Sorry – I have no idea what this is. So no, I don’t.
10. Favorite blog?
Several I will mention below, however, I have really enjoyed How to Be Israeli, lately, and it’s over 200 followers, so I’ll mention it here.
(Oh, dear. I just realized I’m doing the 11 questions that my nominator was supposed to respond to. Oh, well. They stand. How about we count them for the “11 random things about myself”?)
11. Favorite place to go on vacation?
ISRAEL!!!!!
11 blogs I love (in no particular order)
Now – to answer the real questions my nominator asked 🙂
1 How long have you been blogging?
Since April 2011
2 What do you like about blogging?
It’s keeping some record of my crazy random ponderings.
3 What don´t you like about blogging?
It takes time out from interacting with my beloved family – but not as badly as facebook (see this article for my take on that!)
4 Do you sell things on line? If so what are your links?
No. I tried ebay for awhile, but it was a lot of wheel spinning for not a lot of profit. Again, I’d rather be wholehearted, taking care of my family! However, I am very thankful for those who DO sell online, cuz I buy a lot of stuff that way! 😉
5 How do you find balance in your life?
Balance? What’s that? I’m a radical, and I’m OK with that. Actually, I use the Torah as my plumb line, so I’m only radical in the current world’s culture, right?
6 What is your favorite animal?
For hanging around with – my Otterhound/Lab mix, for looking at – peacocks!
7 What kind of art do you like?
Anything my daughters draw! (Cuz it blows me away! They are so much more talented at art than I ever was! Just proves that a parent’s ignorance of a subject will not hinder a talented homeschooled child!)
And colorful, whimsical, or realistic, otherwise. Hardly any modern/abstract stuff.
8 If you could do anything what would you do?
I am doing it, every day! Making a home for my amazing husband, teaching my amazing horde of children, following G-d with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and supporting Israel!
9 Any Words of Advice to new bloggers?
Well, I still consider myself a new blogger – what is this? post #14? Sorry, people – I got nothing!
10 Do you have a favorite blog tutorial?
Umm – yeah – it’s linked on my sidebar. Just can’t remember what it is at the moment.
11 What are your future blog goals?
Well, nothing lofty. Continue to post every once in awhile, I guess. 🙂
11 Questions for my nominees:
1. What books are currently next to your bed?
2. Do you have a regular date night?
3. What was the last thing that made you laugh?
4. What was the last thing that made you nervous?
5. What is a recent challenge you have been inspired to take on? Are you making progress?
6. Favorite dinner?
7. Have you ever visited Israel? If so, what’s the most personally meaningful site you visited?
8. A favorite baby name you haven’t used (yet!), or one you love, but your spouse doesn’t (yes, I know, Dear – you hate the word “spouse”!)?
9. A verse you are meditating on?
10. What measures do you employ to ensure that technology doesn’t take over your life?
11. What’s the most obvious blessing you’ve received in the last week?
Gotta run to a birthday party!!

Oh, and I would also like to invite readers to feel free to answer any or all of the questions, too! I’d love to hear from you! Which question made you think or just smile?

Sibling Challenge

Shabbat Shalom!

It’s before 7 am on Shabbat morning, and I just changed a diaper. All is peaceful and quiet at my house – like it was for most of yesterday, amazingly!

Usually, since there is so much to do to prep for Shabbat, Fridays are generally our least “peaceful” day of the week. I think that to a certain extent, G-d wants it that way, since it sets up the contrast with Shabbat! However, my Friday yesterday was an unusually peaceful one, due to the fact that my older four children decided at 9:30 in the morning that they would use the day to try their friend Kolby’s “sibling challenge.”

Kolby is a 14 year old friend of ours who is writing a blog you can find here: The Sibling Challenge. It is a challenge for siblings, based on The Love Dare from the movie Fireproof. Check it out!!

I’d like to publicly thank my children (and Kolby) for my relatively peaceful Friday. I suspect that my children had a bit easier time of it because they were all doing it together, but I know they did have some tough moments (especially because the two year old doesn’t get it). Good job, kids!!

And thank you, Kolby, for stepping up and making kindness and self-control
cool!!

PS – In reference to my previous post, maybe we should try to start a “Body of Believers Challenge” next?

And now, for a total departure . . .

Hi again, faithful readers! 😉

So sorry – I’ve been a bit busy lately.  Just to get up to date, my darling 5th boy (and 7th child) joined us on January 28 – 18 days “late.” He is a complete and total joy, and a reminder of why I keep going through all this. We are learning so much on our walk lately, accompanied by the blessing of faithful family and friends who have been joining us for celebrations, observances, and lots of fellowship and growth! Since I last posted, we have come through Purim (a blast, celebrated at the local Children’s Museum), our family’s first Bat Mitzvah/Bat Brachah ceremony for our oldest daughter’s 13th birthday, Passover (hosted by us – a mere 30 people this year, and a wonderful experience), Firstfruits/Resurrection Day (picnic at a fun local park), a visit from my grandparents who live in Florida – in their 80s and still going strong.

Anyway, my honey just walked in the door for dinner, so I’m going to cut this short and paste my note to a friend who asked for recommendations for vacation spots in Washington State.  In case you need ideas, here you go!

Here are our top 10 suggestions (ok, 12):

1. Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend – you can either camp or rent space in barracks, infirmary or officers’ quarters.  Very fun, not too pricey, close to cute little waterfront town, marine museum onsite, cool old theater, officers’ quarters museum (house preserved historically as 1910-ish), woods, beach, big open field, close to Waterfront Pizza – our fave restaurant in town, plus lots of fun houses to drive around and look at and events going on all summer.

2. Suncrest Resort, Moses Lake – (number one suggestion from my crew) It’s a campground (mainly RVs and trailers, but our friends did tent camp there). There is a very cool pool with waterslides.  Check the weather prediction first. Kinda in the middle of nowhere, with a totally different climate than we’re used to.

3. Washington Park, Anacortes – like being in the San Juans, without the ferry fare – but still with the ferry fog horns – be forewarned! Great playground, beautiful woods, Nice rocks to climb around on.

4. Birch Bay State Park – Fun little resort area, Seaside feel, waterfront cotton candy and fudge, muddy beach to inspect. There is a waterslide park up there, but it was for sale last year.  Not sure if that’s operating.

5. Seaside, OR – a little further, but lots of fun – carnival rides and arcade, a similar option still in Washington is Ilwaco.

6. Silverwood, (Coeur d’Alene?) ID (more pricey, and further away, but lots of fun, if you want to go a little bigger) Just one step down from Disney – half amusement park, half waterpark, and very well done. You can get tickets a little cheaper through Costco.

7. Leavenworth KOA – Close to, but not in Leavenworth. Pool, game room, great playgrounds, short hike to the Icicle River beach, fun to poke around in the hat shop, etc. – More expensive than other camping, though.

8. Coho Ferry line from Port Angeles to Victoria (you’d need passports and/or I.D. pass cards for this) – From Port Angeles, you could drive up to Hurricane Ridge and all over the peninsula, though, and the Hoh Rain Forest, too.

9. San Juan County Park, SJI – A little-known, but beautiful gem close to Roche Harbor (location of fun marina, great little store and donut shop, historic hotel) and lighthouses to walk to, pretty little cove and big grassy field above the Strait of Juan de Fuca

10. Camlann Medieval Faire and Snoqualmie Falls (camp/stay somewhere near Carnation/North Bend?) – Have you guys been to Camlann? They are starting their Medieval Village weekends this coming week, and they run all summer, weekends only. Candle-making, archery, jousting and swordfighting – to watch or participate in, scribe, costume shop, soaps and flower wreaths, iron forge.  It’s just a few miles from the Falls. North Bend, nearby, also has a short train ride on an antique train.

11. Cama Beach State Park, Camano Island – We’ve never stayed here, but have walked through it.  A bunch of little cabins on the water, low, pebbly beach, outpost for Wooden Boat Center (can rent rowboats/canoes), little store. No camping option available, but the nicest state park bathrooms EVER – Cedar ceilings. Amazing. Cute village effect.

12. Kayak Point State Park – We camped here for Shavuot last year. They have a campground, and also nearby yurts that are a great option.  Down the hill (a hike down stairs from the campground) is the beach with huge playground, big fisherman’s dock, picnic shelters, etc. Totally insane on the weekends – I’d say midweek only.

OK, so obviously, my vacation choices revolve around water – but hey, it’s what the kids want, right?  And we’re in the Pacific Northwest – it’s everywhere! Strangely enough, our Israel trip was one long swimfest, too – Mediterranean, Galilee, Ein Gedi, Jerusalem YMCA . . .

You can also look up summer events and festivals for the state, and follow what interests your family.

Let me know what you pick!