Category Archives: Holidays

4th of July Sopapilla Cheesecake

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4th of July Sopapilla Cheesecake

Sopapilla Cheesecake is my go-to, super-fast-and-easy dessert after any Mexican dishes that I serve for supper (like “Taco Tuesday,” Taco Salad, Tamales, Chicken/Cheese/Beef Enchiladas, Chili Rellenos, Asada Street Tacos, Carnitas, Loaded Nachos, Quesadillas, etc.).  This year I decided it would be a perfect Red, White, and Blue sweet ending to our Independence Day meal, because of the colors, and because I had all the ingredients in my fridge!

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

 

2 (8-oz) pkgs Cream Cheese, softened (room temp)

1 cup sugar

½ tsp Mexican Vanilla (or, if you want to be fancy, you can scrape the seeds from a vanilla bean pod)

Mix together all three ingredients until smooth and thoroughly incorporated.  Set aside.

 

2  (8-oz) tubes Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (or, you can make your own croissant dough)

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp. Cinnamon

½ cup butter, softened (room temp)

¼ cup honey (warm in microwave for about 20 seconds, after baking cheesecake)

Lightly grease a large baking pan (or small high-sided cookie sheet) with a tablespoon of the softened butter.  Unroll one tube of crescent rolls and roll out to fit in the bottom of the greased baking pan/sheet, pinching the perforations together.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough, leaving a small edge of the dough all the way around uncovered (like a pizza).  Unroll the second tube of dough and roll out to fit over the cream cheese layer.  Press down slightly around the edges.  Mix the sugar, cinnamon, and remaining softened butter together into a paste.  Spread over the top layer of dough. 

Bake in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven for about 30 minutes, until puffed and golden.  Remove from oven and drizzle the entire top of the cheesecake with warmed honey.

 

Strawberry Blueberry Compote

(This is what gives the dessert the RED and BLUE  on WHITE treatment)

¼ cup of cold water

Juice and zest of one lemon

½ cup sugar

2 Tbsp Cornstarch

1 pkg frozen strawberries

½ pkg frozen blueberries

Place water, lemon juice and zest, sugar, and cornstarch in a sauce pot on the stove.  Stir to mix the ingredients and then turn heat on medium high.  Add strawberries and bring to a boil, stirring until mixture is thick.  Remove from heat and add blueberries.  Set aside until ready to serve.

 

Cheesecake may be served warm or cold.  My son-in-law loves it warm and gooey.  I think it is delish the next morning after being refrigerated overnight, with a hot, creamy cup of coffee – like a cheese danish.  Mmmmmmm…don’t you?

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The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.

Proverbs 11:25 NKJV

 

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” 

Galatians 5:1

 

Feast of Trumpets

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Feast of Trumpets

fall-feasts

Four Feasts we’ve studied (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost), three Feasts remain.  The remaining three are fall Feasts, and all three take place at the last harvest of the year, the grape harvest, and within the span of about a month.

The Feast of Trumpets

This year (2017) the Feast of Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, arrives on the evening of Wednesday, September 20 and will end in the evening of Friday, September 22, of this Hebrew Year 5778.

This is how it got started:

Then God spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying:

“In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.  You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.”   Leviticus 23:24-25

 

What was the offering to be made by fire to the Lord?

“… one young bull, one ram, and seven lambs in their first year.  Be sure they are without blemish. (a blood offering).  Their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil.  (an unleavened bread offering).  Also one kid of the goats as a sin offering, (scapegoat) besides the sin offering for atonement, the regular burnt offering with its grain offering, and their drink offerings.”  Numbers 29:7-11

Rosh Hashanah is always observed on the first two days of Tishri, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar.  Why is a “New Year” celebrated in the middle of a year?  Because it celebrates the end of one agricultural year/season and the beginning of another.  It’s what we might call a fiscal new year, like the one when we have to choose our healthcare plans.  In God’s kingdom it is all about the harvests, the harvest of crops and the harvest of souls.  How many stories did Jesus tell where He used sowing seeds, watering plants, tending crops, and bringing in the harvests to describe His kingdom and our ministry on this earth?

The trumpet is often used to gather people.  Trumpets, and shouts, were also used as a weapon of war, for example, to bring down the walls of Jericho.  And in the same vein, “… I [Jesus] will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”   Matthew 16:18 (KJV).  I believe that we who are His will hear the trump of the Lord one day very soon, and that it will gather us from the heavens and the earth, to protect us from some severely ugly times.  I believe God will allow the ugly times to come to hopefully show the deceived who they are truly worshipping, and hopefully it will turn their hearts.  

It was seventy years after the death and resurrection of our blessed Savior, that the Jewish people became a scattered people over the face of the earth, their temple destroyed, and their land taken over, but it was prophesied that in the last days God would gather them again to their promised land (Deuteronomy 28:58-67). After just under 1900 years it has happened as prophesied.  In 1967 the Shofar blew in celebration in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount after the victory of the Six-Day War between returning Jews and the occupants of the promised land.  Since that time Jews have been allowed to return to their homeland!  Even so, it is still fearcely squabbled over, and hard to believe that such a tiny speck of a place on the globe could be the object of so much violent hostility.  It seems there will never be peace in Israel.

The holiday though is also very relevant to Christians, as we also are a scattered people all over the globe – as God wanted us to be so that we could share the gospel with every tribe and tongue and race and nation; and we are also scattered between heaven and earth.  (Please check out: Should Christians Celebrate Rosh Hashanah?).

“And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year… prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” John 12:49-52

Clearly in the New Testament it is a trumpet that will summon and gather God’s people from all the places where we have been scattered:

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thessalonians 4:16-17)

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

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This picture of “gathering people” reminds me so much of something from the little town where I grew up.  Atop of the hill, in the center of town stood a charming little log church with a steeple.  The pews were each hewn of split logs, and even the pulpit and altar were hand-made of logs and hand cut boards.  When the time for Sunday Service came one of the elders or deacons of the church would undo the bolt on the doors, turn the knob, and pull the front double doors open, and then He’d begin clanging that big brass church bell, taking grasp of the thick rope that hung down into the front foyer with his two strong hands and pulling with his body weight, then letting the rope rise back up, pulling it down again, and letting the rope rise back up.  The sound would echo across the rooftops and down that lofty steeple, causing all the nesting birds to take flight.

Magically, at the clang-clang-clang of that bell, folks began bustling from their houses and vehicles, all dressed in their Sunday-best go-to-meeting clothes.  Ladies in dresses, spritzed with perfume, curled hair in hats, wearing makeup and white gloves.  Men, freshly shaven, in suits with stiff collars and ties, and hair neatly parted and combed into place.  Children, bathed, with shining faces, coiffed and suited and well-mannered, as miniatures of their parents.  They all strolled and shuffled up that hill, smiling and greeting one another, and gathering through the open doors, taking their places in the rustic hardwood pews for a sit-down spiritual feast.  Oh how lovely it was on Sunday morning to hear those church bells ringing!  The piano playing.  And the choir singing.

In the same way as the church folks gathered in to satisfy their hungry souls, so similar was the practice on ranches all over my rugged cowboy state.  When supper was ready it was common to hear the cook or the wife step outside and run the wand around on the triangle and holler, “COME AND GET IT!” and here they’d come.  The hard-working, broke-back, famished ranch hands would wobble to their feet, swing a leg off their horses, toss their tools in a box, remove their hats to wipe the sweat from their brow, and knock the dust off their pants as they started the journey to the chow hall.  They all came a hobblin’ from the far corners of the fields, some smiling, and some grunting, and all eager to fill their aching bellies, have a laugh (or a cry), share a story, and then call it a night.

Can you hear the church bells ringing?  Can you hear the choir singing?  Can you hear this little lady screaming, “COME AND GET IT!  O weary sojourner, come and hear the word of the Lord!”

Our Savior is coming!  The Landowner is coming to settle accounts, and gather His grapes into the winepress.  I don’t want you to be taken by surprise.

Scripture says, two men will be in the field and one will be taken and one will be left.  Two women will be in the kitchen.  One will be taken and one will be left (Matt.24 & Luke 17).  The wise virgins will go with the bridegroom and the foolish virgins will be left  behind (Matthew 25).

“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking…until the flood came and took them all away…”  Matthew 24:36-39

“You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe.”  John 14:28-29 (NKJV)

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.  Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24: 23-27)  …for those who are HIS!

Some of us will fall asleep, and some will just fly away.  Some will be blessed to experience the Rapture, the magnificent fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets.

(Thank you Carleen Sabin for making and posting this beautiful You-Tube video) 

If you haven’t “found Jesus yet,” get with a believer or a pastor today.  Don’t let the trumpet of God surprise you.  Come, while the door is open.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 6:23

Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever will believe on Him shall have eternal life.  John 3:16

Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.  John 14:6

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  Romans 18:9-10

He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.  And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has life: he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.  These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the son of God.  1 John 5:10-13

Behold I [Jesus] stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.  Revelation 3:20

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Mrs. H’s Santa Fe Burger

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Mrs. H’s Santa Fe Burger

My husband and I discovered a little burger joint soon after moving to south Texas.  It’s not a fancy place.  In fact it’s kind of grimey looking on the outside.  A regular person might even drive right past it and not think twice about it.  It’s just a little dive of a place really, along the side of the road in Hondo, TX, but one day the old man and I cowboyed up and gave it a try … and I tell you … we absolutely fell in love with the Santa Fe burger that we ordered that first day.  We love it so much it’s all we can ever think about when we drive by.  We stop in regularly, on our way through town, just to indulge in its deliciousness.  We love it so much we haven’t even ever tried anything else on the menu.  You ever find a restaurant like that?  They are real sweet about adding a few extra things to our burgers, which is what puts the Santa Fe right over the top.  The next thing we know we’ve got it dripping down our arms, not saying a word, chewing as fast as we can to make our nagging tongues happy.

So, because of the couple of little extras I always ask for, I feel like its okay to give you my take on Billy Bobs lovely little sandwich of deliciousness.  My version by no means replaces theirs, but it’s a nice little appetizer between trips.  I’ll warn you up front that It’s a little bit of work to make, but baby it’s worth it!!!!  At least in my book.

Prepare the Green Chilies

For this recipe you’ll need about two green chilies per person, so about eight should do. I pick out the biggest and most firm Anaheim (Hatch, Fresno, New Mexico) green chilies available at the market (I also grow them in my garden).

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Wash them and dry them off, and then lay them out on a cookie sheet.

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Raise one of the oven racks to its highest position in the oven and turn the oven on to BROIL.  Allow the oven to warm up, and then put the cookie sheet of chilies in, just under the top heating element.

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I usually prop a wooden spoon in the door to hold it open a tad, so I can hear the chilies popping and crackling.

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I keep an eye on them, as it doesn’t take long.  When I see that they are pretty popped and blistered, and burned on that top side, I open the oven, slide the rack out, and use tongs to turn the chilies a quarter of a turn, and then put them back under the heat.  I continue broiling and turning until the chilies are popped and blistered, and charred on all sides.

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Quickly remove the chilies from the oven with tongs and immediately place them into a plastic Ziploc freezer back.  As soon as all the chilies are inside the bag, zip it up, and then let them sit and steam for several minutes, while you work on the rest of  your meal.

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green chilies

Back in Wyoming there was a certain time in the summer when the green chile trucks would show up in parking lots around town with heaping baskets full of green chilies and a barrel-type roaster that rotated over an open fire.  We could buy the amount of chilies we wanted and they would roast them, and then package them up for us to take home.  I often bought large amounts of those chilies, took them home and repackaged them (about six chilies to a bag) into plastic zip bags, with their blistered skins left on, but all the air squeezed out, and put them straight into my freezer.  Whenever I wanted to make something with green chilies I’d grab a bag and let it thaw for a little bit on the kitchen counter, peel the skins off in the sink, and sometimes remove the seeds and stems (depending upon what I was making), and either use them whole or chop them into pieces for whatever recipe I was doing.  SOooooo many ways to use green chilies!!!!  

Its unfortunate, but we don’t get those trucks in the little Texas town where I live now, and perhaps not where you live either.  The BBQ grill works, but I’m not a fan of standing over a hot grill to babysit chilies on a hot south Texas day.  But, in this instance, you’ll be grilling burgers out there anyways, so you may prefer just to do it all on the grill.  And maybe you have a hubby who is all about the grill and happy to do them for you!  Knuckle bump!!!!

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The Beef Patties

1 (1-pound) pkg of high quality ground beef plus 1 (1-pound) pkg of ground bison

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1 jalapeno, stem removed, seeds and flesh chopped finely

1/2 of a small red onion, chopped finely

1 tsp Salt Lick dry rub seasoning (this is mostly just cayenne and ground black pepper)

Sliced Pepper Jack cheese – to be placed on burgers at the end of grilling

Hamburger buns of choice (Sometimes all I can find are the regular, sesame seed buns, but when I can find a good, soft, ciabatta-type bun, I use that).

Mix together gently and form into four or five good-sized patties.  Set aside while you prepare the following ingredients, and then grill the burgers over hot coals on the BBQ.  Add the cheese during the last minute or so of grilling.

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Toppings

Bacon (2 slices per burger), the best is the thicker sliced applewood bacon, fried crispy  (but if I’m in a hurry and don’t have leftover bacon from breakfast, I’ll use the precooked bacon available at the grocery store and go with 3 or 4 slices per burger)

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Peel the skins off the green chilies, and remove seeds and stems, but leave whole

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Sliced jalapeno

Sliced red onion

Sliced heirloom tomatoes

Romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dried

Dill pickle slices

Garlic Mayonaise (mash 1 clove of garlic and mix into 2/3 cup of mayo, I often add a sprinkle of chili powder and a squeeze of lime, and sometimes some minced cilantro)

Dijon mustard

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To Assemble the Burger

Some like their buns toasted

Spread some mayo over the bun halves

Squirt on some mustard

Lay a whole slice of red onion down

Place a few slices of jalapeno on top of the onion

Then a freshly cooked beef pattie with melted cheese

Layer on two Green Chilies, two slices of cooked bacon, a slice of tomato, a folded leaf of lettuce, (and a couple slices of dill pickle if desired)

Place the top of bun in place

Mash down so you can fit it in your mouth and ENJOY!!!!!

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For this Memorial Day,

… I made these burgers and served them with my Jalapeno Potato Salad (from Cowboy Backyard BBQ), plus my latest favorite food: Mexican Street Corn, and sliced watermelon for dessert.

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Potato Salad

Mama’s POTATO SALAD 

Ingredients

6 large red potatoes cooked until tender and cubed, skins on or off as preferred

4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and chopped

1/2 large red onion diced

3 stalks of celery chopped

2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish

1 small sprig of dill weed, chopped

1 bunch of green onions chopped

1 or 2 large jalapenos, seeds and stems removed, diced

Sauce Ingredients:

1 cups Mayonnaise  (plus more or less, as you like it)

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Sea Salt  (plus more as desired)

2 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp ground pepper

 Directions:

Put first eight ingredients in a very large bowl.  Mix up sauce ingredients and pour over the ingredients in the bowl.  Toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Optional additions:

Add a half-cup of blue cheese crumbles and a quarter cup of crispy crumbled bacon as a garnish on top of potato salad.

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Colleen’s Mexican Street Corn 

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  • 8 ears fresh sweet corn (leave the husks and stems on)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Mexican crema (my grocer carries two types, a sweet cream type,which tastes like heavy whipping cream, and a sour cream kind. Both have a slightly thicker consistency than whipping cream)
  • 1/2 cup finely crumbled cotija or Queso Fresco cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I make my own blend, see recipe below)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, mashed and finely minced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 or 5 limes, cut into wedges

I grilled my corn in the husks on the grill, turning about every 5 minutes until charred on all sides, and then I pulled the husks down over the stems (using oven mitt to protect my hands from burning) and returned the corn to the grill for a short time (about 3 minutes) to give the kernels that charred effect.  I left the husks attached for a decorative effect, but now as I look at these photos I’m thinking they might have been even cuter if I had tied something around each husk, like a piece of raffia or something, to bundle them together and anchor them to the stems, turning them into decorative “handles.”  NOTE: The corn can also be shucked and “grilled” in the oven at 425 degrees F, turning about every 7 minutes or so until cooked all the way around.  Once it is cooked on all sides and has some charred spots it’s time to dress it up.

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While the corn is grilling, mix together the mayo (please don’t use the fat-free stuff.  I know it may be healthier for you, but really, you must live a little!!!), crema, garlic, and add about 1/4 tsp of the chili powder.  Juice and zest a couple of the limes and then add the juice and zest to the mayo mixture.  Toss in about half of the crumbled cotija (Queso Fresco).  Mix well and keep in fridge until ready to use.  Cut the remaining limes into wedges and save for serving.

As soon as the corn is grilled, spread each cob with a generous amount of the mayo mix on all sides. Don’t be chincy.  Follow with a sprinkling all around of chili powder, and then cheese crumbles.  Sprinkle some cilantro on top, and a few extra sprinkles of the cheese.  Serve immediately with a wedge of lime for each cob!

You’ve died and gone to heaven, right?  I’m there with ya!!!!!!

 

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Colleen’s Homemade Chili Powder

  • 3 Ancho Chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 3 Cascabel/Guajillo chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 4 Arbol/Cayenne chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 Pasilla chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 2 New Mexico Red chiles (dried), stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon hot Paprika

Place the chiles and cumin seeds in a saute pan or cast iron skillet and toast over medium heat about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl to cool completely.  Once cool, place in a blender, along with the other ingredients and process until a fine powder. Allow the powder to settle for several minutes before lifting the lid.  Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.  Use for making chili, to season corn, or in BBQ sauces and dry rubs.

 

Easter Fun and Games

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Easter Fun and Games

As a sequel to Easter Traditions … I present Easter Fun and Games!

Blah…blah…blah

My daughter says I write too much.  She just wants to get down to the nitty gritty and skip all the blah, blah, blah.  But I like to kind of open the door for you with a nice introduction and kind of ease you into my idea, before I just hit you with it.  Maybe some of you like the story part?  It’s the story part that knits our hearts to each other, right?  Okay, maybe not.  So here’s the deal.  If you like the blah, blah, blah, keep reading.  If not, please skip on down to the nitty gritty (labeled) and we’ll catch up with each other another time, when you’re in less of a hurry and we can chat a while.

So, I kind of questioned myself if I should just add this post to my other Easter post, or make this a whole new and separate one.  The thing is, THIS Easter was so far superior to all the others I’ve ever invented over the years, that I felt like it needed its own space.  Honestly, it feels almost inspired – like there is no way I could have come up with it on my own.  It turned out as a heavyweight title belt winning knockout of Easters.  A game four World Series winning home run of Easters.  A Super Bowl winning touchdown in overtime of Easters.  To think such a hit of a potlatch could have conceived in my frail noggin compelled me to blog about it.

It’s funny; I often wonder, somewhere in the middle of one of my writing fits, that with all the ideas  busting a move out here on Pinterest, Google, Etsy, and a millions blogs, if there is really anything new under the sun, and if by chance there might be, how on earth would anyone ever even know?  Click, click, click… scroll up, scroll down,  under and around, up and over, through the pin hole doors, down yonder a mile down on a psychedelic track with a million switchbacks, whoops, what was that, go back, to this one, lonely, little, secluded post in a random cul-de-sac of lower middle-class cyberspace-ville.  Boy!  It will make your brain hurt thinking about it, won’t it?  I guess this is why I decided that I just couldn’t start its young life buried in another old blog that nobody sees.

Oh well my dear reader, if you’ve happened to stumble upon this blog post today, it’s probably a miracle, and as such, I pray you know that it is my acquisitive aspiration to have a worthy offering for you.  Just imagining you and your sweet little family having the same blast in your home that my sweet little family had in mine is the most glorious daydream in the world.

May God shower His kindness upon you and me as we bless our families with fun and feasting, and may He bless our darling babies with dearly cherished memories to last their whole lives through, may He knit all our hearts together, and show us the Father’s extravagant love for His people … through FELLOWSHIP and FEASTING … by our callow human hands!

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More blah…blah…blah, but this is important

I keep calling it Easter, but you may call it Resurrection Sunday.  It’s the day Christians celebrate the empty tomb and our risen SAVIOR!  Why is that a big deal?  Well, because by Jesus rising from the dead, He proves that we all shall rise from the dead – some to eternal life, and others to eternal damnation (a second death).  The Lord Jesus rose from the grave to go into His heavenly kingdom, and to sprinkle the blood He shed here on earth onto the mercy-seat in heaven – the Holy of Holies.  His blood makes atonement for our sins in the Father’s eyes …  IF we accept Jesus as our Savior, and allow Him to be the King of our hearts and lives.

Allllllrighty then, finally, the “NITTY GRITTY!”

I like to start our Easter celebration the night before.  I have my little kiddos come just before dusk and plant “PROMISE SEEDS” all over in my yard. I usually just use jelly beans as the seeds, but this year I found this crazy perfect candy:

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I gave each kid several little bags of this candy, helped them open the packets, and as they were planting told them the Bible story about how when we sow gospel seeds (tell people about Jesus and the Easter story), some of those seeds will fall on rocky soil (which means the person has a hard heart and aren’t interested at all), some falls on the wayside (which could mean the person has friends that are a distracting influence, might tease them and talk them out of listening to us) , some falls among thorns and thistles (which means the person has too many other things on their mind to really pay attention to what we are saying), and some on good soil (which means they are happy to hear what we have to say and want to know more) (Matthew 13:3-8). The seeds are our words and actions, and the types of soils are the conditions of people’s hearts.  If the seed falls on good soil, the Bible says we will reap a harvest.  We also have to be careful with the words we use, because some of our words are life-giving and some kill.  If we sow the wind (which would be slander and gossip), the Bible says we shall reap the whirlwind (which is the same wind returning back on us with fury and without mercy).  We reap what we sow.

Once they’ve planted their seeds I let them take a watering can and go around and water each other’s seeds.  This is a good object lesson for the scripture that says, “One plants, another waters, but God gives the increase” (1 Corinthians 3:6-8).

The next morning when our grandchildren arrived after church, I first took pictures of them in their beautiful Sunday best, and then I handed each child a basket to go gather in their harvests.  We walked to the back door, where voila, they discovered what happened to those seeds they sowed:

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Their little promise seeds grew into Easter eggs strewn everywhere – Just as little chicks burst forth from their eggs in the spring and leave an empty shell behind, so did Jesus burst forth from the grave, leaving it empty.  Eggs are the symbol we’ve chosen to tell the story of the resurrection of Christ. (Of course grandma and grandpa placed those eggs and we are happy to tell them so in a year or two).  

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After the kids gathered all the eggs that they could find outside, our family sat down to Sunday dinner.  The unopened plastic eggs were set to the side and saved for when we were finished eating.

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If you are interested…. every Easter dinner features the same menu: a glazed ham, some sort of potato casserole, a cold, crunchy, sweet pea salad, and dessert.  Click this link (Easter Traditions) for the recipes. This year dessert was a white coconut cake.  I always make plenty so we can pull out leftovers for later in the day.

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As our meal sat steaming before us, the grandchildren said the blessing, they also sang it, and it is always precious to behold.

“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”  Mark 10:15 KJV

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Done Eating, Time for FUN!

Inside each of the plastic eggs were little slips of paper, and each slip was part of a game/activity for the kids and grown-ups to participate in.  After sharing our wonderful feast, we all gathered outside on the patio.  First we let one kid open one egg and do what their slip of paper instructed.  And then it was the next kid’s turn to pick an egg from their basket and do what it said.  The kids took turns back and forth opening eggs.  Sometimes the slips instructed them to do an activity alone, other times it involved both kids, and often times it involved the whole stinking lot of us.

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These are the Games contained in this year’s eggs: 

  • Resurrection Eggs: Twelve of the eggs contained a little trinket inside that corresponds to a part of the Easter story. They sell these egg sets at Christian stores, and online.  Whenever one of these eggs was opened, I read aloud the story from the book that corresponded to the trinket.
  • Guess the Picture: Several of the eggs contained a piece of paper folded up with a picture printed on it.  The picture was a close up of something familiar to them, but not immediately recognizable (you’ll see these a little further down on this page).  First the kids had to work together to figure out what it was a picture of … and then they had to dash off to find the objects hidden at that spot.  In each location tokens were hidden (a different colored token for each kid that matched the colors of their Easter Baskets – one kid had green, the other yellow, you could add pink, purple, blue, orange, etc.). (The tokens can be painted poker chips, buttons, play Monopoly money, painted clothespins, etc.).  When they found their tokens, and returned with them, they then were told they could use them to purchase one surprise each from grandmas prize bin (I had a stash for each kid of the normal kinds of things what would be featured in an Easter basket: candy, small toys, small games, cookies, coloring books, story books, stuffed animals, jewelry and hair things, etc. and as they gave me their tokens I pulled surprises out of each sack.).
  • Binoculars I-Spy: Inside four eggs were tiny plastic binoculars and a sticker of an object (dove, cross, empty tomb, Jesus fish).  When they got one of these, they had to use grandma’s binoculars to find the match for that object somewhere in the far parts of the yard.  I had the large-sized matching objects tacked up around the yard – a cardboard dove was tacked to a tree trunk in the far end of the yard, a Jesus cross was pinned to the fence on the far other end of the yard, a tomb cut-out was sitting on top of a big stone I have around in my front yard, and a Jesus fish was dangling from a fishing pole down by the river.  If they were having a tough time I gave them a hint:  Where would you find a bird?  Where would you find a fish?  What was rolled away from the tomb?  What was the cross made out of?  My grands love the binoculars soooo any excuse to get to use them makes them happy.  Once the child spotted the object, they had to run and get it.  On the backside was a little message that told what the special prize was for finding it (ie: coupon for lunch with granny at their school that week, or an ice cream treat to keep or give away).
  • Puzzle Pieces: I made two, four-piece puzzles, and placed the eight pieces in the eggs.  When a child opened one of these eggs, they needed to set aside the piece until they found all of them, and then tape the pieces together to complete a picture.  On the other side of the picture was a clue about the picture and what might be hidden there.  (For example, one puzzle was a photograph of the rear tire of my automobile, and the clue on the back of the completed puzzle told the kids they were looking for a key for a lock in that location.  Sure enough hidden behind the tire of my car was a box, with a key inside.  When they wondered what the key was for, I told them the other puzzle held that clue, and indeed the other puzzle when put together showed a treasure chest at the base of a tree.  The kids had to hunt to find the tree with the treasure chest, and then use the key to undo the lock to find out what was inside.
  • I-Pad Pictures: Inside some of the eggs were slips of paper that directed the kids to use the tablet camera to take pictures of specific things.  For example one slip asked them to take a picture of grandma and grandpa hugging one of the children really tight.  Another asked the child to take a picture of mom and dad making silly faces with one of the children.  Another asked the child to take a picture of all the grownups blowing bubbles, trying to do the splits in the yard, or showing their muscles, etc.  These pictures are a treasured keepsake of the day.
  • Silly Dares: These slips of paper instructed the kids or  often times the whole group to do some silly task, like doing six somersaults in the yard, or patting our heads and rubbing our tummies at the same time, or breaking a confetti egg on someone’s head, or eating a cracker and trying to whistle, or singing a song in a circle with each person singing just one word of it – we did Jesus Loves Me.  Some of the other things were: doing a one-minute crazy dance in the yard, running around front to wave at a car passing by on the road, grabbing water bottles and spraying solo cups down strings, I had set up, in a race with each other, laughing as loud as we could for 30 seconds, snapping our fingers as fast as we could, and so on.
  • Pencil puzzles: if your kids are older you can add in some pencil puzzles for them to figure out (secret codes, word searches, Jr. Jumble, connect the dots, etc.)

It could not have worked out more perfect for us that the last slip of paper to be gotten from an egg was the last piece to the puzzle that led the kids to the treasure chest hidden at the foot of one of the trees in our yard. Once they found it, they needed the key that they had found by my car tire to open the lock on the treasure box.  Inside they found some pretty jewelry and hair things to wear, and tokens to purchase the final grand prizes in grandmas prize bin – which were bunny mums that we planted in the yard after Easter.

Here are the FREE PRINTABLE paper slips and puzzles.  Just print them out (the puzzles should be printed front and back on one sheet of paper, and then cut into four pieces with a part of the picture on one side and a number or letter on the other), cut everything apart, fold everything up, and tuck each slip into your own set of plastic eggs.

 

Click this link: Easter Egg games 2017.

Below are the pictures I took for the Guess the Picture game.  They are of objects around my house, so of course they wont work for  you, but I thought you might like them for to give you ideas of what to photograph around your house.  Some, you’ll notice, were indoors, some were outdoors, and some were in my garage.

(L to R starting at top left: shower wall, bath mat, cow rug, wood stove, ash bucket by fireplace, inside dryer, bedside table, elliptical step, houseplant, water dispenser, fire pit, truck bumper, car wheel, garbage can, mailbox, spitoon, outside rock wishing well, target pallet, big rock, outside hosebib faucet, rock pile, oak tree, fig tree, flower-pot, and chiminea).

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It will take the kids quite a while to open all of their eggs and complete all the little tasks, so plan on it killing most of the afternoon.  But believe me, everyone will have such a blast, and kind of not want it all to end.  Making memories.

I think the most memorable part of our fun was when one of the kids drew the slip that instructed everyone to run around front and wave at a car driving by.  There was absolutely no traffic at that moment.  We had to actually stand there for several minutes and just wait.  But then, finally, to our delight, here came a mini-van towards us.  We all started waving like the Beverly Hillbillies on moonshine, and I’ll never forget the guy’s face as he drove by.  He had his passenger window down, and smiled, and waved back at us like he knew us, but he didn’t, and then just drove on by without even slowing down.  I will wonder forever what he was thinking.  Bless his heart for playing along though and making our day!!!!

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Movie Time!

After we were all done with the plastic eggs and all those little activities, we refilled our beverages and the kids had their choice of either doing crafts or watching a movie.  They opted for the movie, which was nice.  It gave us grown-ups a chance to relax for a bit.  The choice for the kids was Lion of Judah animated movie (I’ve included the trailer below, in case you’ve never seen it).  I offered Son of God for the grown-ups, but it was my son-in-law’s childhood tradition to watch Charlton Heston’s Moses – The Ten Commandments every year at Easter.  I think it was on TV this last year too.

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Crafts

Marshmallows & Toothpicks: After the movie, I dumped a big bag of colored miniature marshmallows and a box of toothpicks out on the dining room table and just let the kids create whatever they wanted.  We made crosses, and houses, and weird little hooked together things.  Ha!  We got more snacks and beverages, and this kept us entertained for a good long time.

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Decorating Eggs:  We pushed the marshmallows aside and pulled out the eggs.  Wal-Mart this year had faux eggs in their Easter section that were perfect for decorating.  They were white and felt just like real eggs, without being real.  They even sold them by the dozen in paper egg cartons.  All the egg decorating kits worked perfectly on them.

 

Nail Cross Necklaces: This craft was a little too difficult for the little kids to do by themselves, but their mother and I helped, and we had a lot of fun with it.  Using regular construction nails and thin colored jute, we made “God’s Eye” crosses, and then attached a long string for a necklace.

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Wooooo….  is it bed time?  I’m pooped.   Praise the Lord!

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These are the things you will need to purchase for this celebration:

Large bag of Jelly Beans

2 dozen Colorful Confetti Eggs (these are colored eggs shells with confetti inside)

1 or 2 dozen faux eggs, plus some decorating kits of your choice

About 50 plastic Easter Eggs (unless you have them leftover from a previous year)

1 Resurrection Eggs kit with booklet

Prizes, approximately 25 small somethings per child (candy, toys, games, cookies, story books, stuffed animals, kid jewelry, hair clips, nail polish, lip balm, etc.) and then one big something for a grand prize per child

Nails (one longer type and two shorter type for each cross)

Yarn or colored string/jute

colored mini marshmallows (1 or 2 large bags)

toothpicks (a couple boxes)

Bubbles for each adult

groceries for the feast

movies (if you don’t already have them)

These are the things you will probably find around the house, to use for this celebration:

An I-pad or other Tablet that can take pictures with

binoculars

tape

crackers

a tool or tackle box to use as a treasure chest

a pad lock or combination lock, and chain

water guns, solo cups, and string

And these are the things you will need to make: 

Cardboard cutouts of a dove, a cross, a tomb, and a fish

 

I hope you have as much fun with this celebration as I and my family did.

The Lord liveth, and blessed be the Rock, and let the God of our Salvation be exhaulted!!!

 

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Daily Prompt: Festive

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Daily Prompt: Festive

via Daily Prompt: Festive

dscn7518Tis the season for TAMALES, fa la la la la la la la la…

What could be more festive than tamales?  Just the shear process of making them is by definition, FESTIVE!  All the women of the family, closest friends, and surrounding neighbors gathered together in one tiny house.  Cherished loved ones in aprons hovering over perfectly seasoned smoldering pork and stewing chicken.  Gifted hands dutifully chopping and cleaning jalapeños and onions.  Skilled hands making masa with lard, kneading it for an hour to get it just right, and washing and soaking corn husks.  Little hands scrubbing countertops and tables in preparation of the assembly process.  Pots of steaming water bubbling away furiously on the stove.  Music and chatter, mostly Spanish, lingering festively in the atmosphere.  Restless children bustling underfoot.  Moms and grandmoms hollering at them, and also sharing stories of Christmases past, faith, and Jesus and Mary and Joseph, women having babies, and the glory of God.  Aunts, cousins, and in-laws laughing, tasting, teasing, gossiping, squabbling, crying, and making merry with one another.   Everyone settling into their station to lovingly mass produce dozens upon dozens of these tasty little treats, for their grateful families…and ours.

 

Even the act of eating tamales is festive.  In fact, Christmas isn’t Christmas without tamales (especially if you’re in Texas)…freshly made, piping hot little packages of glistening gold, waiting to be unwrapped, and then decorated with red and green, and flocked with white.

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My very favorite tamales are savory pork with spicy jalapeno and dripping with bacon fat.  Mmmm.  Oh my goodness!  I love them hot and fresh from the steamer, buck naked, and so scorching that I can barely hold onto the wrapper to unwrap it, blowing and blowing, and deliriously addicted to its intoxicating aroma as it passes over my lips and melts on my tongue.  If that were the only way I could ever have them, it would be plenty enough for me, but a little hot sauce, red or green, makes them even better!  And, oh how I adore them dolled up Tex-Mex style, like a taco.  Three sleepy amigos laying on my plate, brought to life with green onions and lettuce and cheese and pico de gallo and black olives and sour cream with salsa mixed in it, spooned on top.  Or, how lovely they are dressed with green tomatillo salsa and some chopped green onion, or smothered in spicy New Mexico green chili, or Terlingua red chili.  Or swimming in a spicy, creamy pepper-jack cheese sauce and heaped with fresh pico on top. Or, my favorite way, decked out like a bowl of tortilla soup, sitting in their husks and splashed with a squeeze of lime, then slathered in red or green salsa, with a handful of chopped, fresh cilantro, chopped green onion, guacamole, and a generous crumble of queso fresco tossed on top.  (I’m seeing a Tamale Bar in my future; an Ugly Sweater Christmas party with a Tamale Bar and a house decorated in hot chili pepper lights – see how festive tamales are?).  Oh how I love them!!!!!!!  I love them sooooo much!   I feel almost guilty penning my intimate thoughts.  Fifty shades of GOLD.  Is it okay to lick the husks?  <blushing!>

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Just lift the lid and let the steam swirl up onto your face.  Gaze upon their golden deliciousness!  Decorate them with your favorite red and green, and white!  Serve them at parties or eat them on the street.  Give them to your family, or sneak a midnight treat!   Eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day of the week and the whole month of December.  I know all these tamales will lead to diet resolutions, but for now please let us savor our binomial distributions!  Muy fantástico!

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* feliz navidad *

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Feast of Booths

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Feast of Booths

Continuing with our study of the feasts of Israel is this, our final feast, the Feast of Tabernacles.  If you have missed the other studies, you may click the links here:

The Lord Our Passover (Passover & Unleavened Bread)

FIRSTFRUITS

Happy Firey Tongues Day (The Feast of Weeks – Pentecost)

Feast of Trumpets

 

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My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”  Ezekiel 37:27 (NKJV)

THE FIRST TABERNACLE

Moses, determined to bring a stiff-necked people to the Promised Land – as commissioned by God, sought to make atonement for their Golden Calf sin (Exodus).  He burned the calf (32:20), and then he pitched his tent outside of the camp, far away from all the people, and called it the tabernacle of meeting (33:7).  In this tabernacle Moses met with God.  He begged God to not only forgive the people for their sin, but to also continue to journey with them.  The Bible says that God spoke to Moses as a man speaks to his friend.

When Moses returned to the mountain, God gave him instructions for building a Tabernacle of worship for the people that they could take with them in their wilderness wanderings.

When David became king, he sought to build God a permanent dwelling place, where the Ark of the Covenant could be kept.  His son Solomon fulfilled his father’s vision, and the temple was built in Jerusalem.

Through the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 25:8; 29:45; Leviticus 26:11-12) and the construction of the temple (1 Kings 6:13, 14; 2 Chronicles 6:18) God demonstrated an outward expression of His persistent desire to dwell with man. These tabernacles were however only temporary provisions. God’s word tells us that He does not dwell “in temples made with hands.” (Isaiah 66:1-2; Acts 7:48-50; 17:24, 25 cp. Jeremiah 7:4; Matthew 24:1, 2) (*http://www.dianedew.com/habitatn.htm)

 

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house that I have builded?”   1 Kings 8:27 (NKJV)

 

Enemies of God regularly conquered the Jewish temple, took the Hebrew people as captives, and evil kings over-an-over-again robbed and desecrated it.  In the New Testament, Jesus overturned tables when He found that people were turning His Father’s house into a den of thieves.  And then in 70 AD God’s Tabernacle (Temple) on earth was destroyed for the last time when the Holy Land was conquered and God’s people were scattered over the face of the earth.  It has never been rebuilt.  All that remains is the western wall, where orthodox Jews and people from around the world go to pray and press their paper petitions into the cracks between the stones.

Since that time there have existed Jewish synagogues and Christian churches in almost every city over the face of the earth – house to house gatherings and great, beautiful, giant cathedrals.

 

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

“You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice.”

Deuteronomy 16:13-15 (NKJV)

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If you would like to have this coloring page, click the FREE PRINTABLE link below.

jewish-sukkah-free-printable

Feast of Ingathering or Feast of Booths, as it is sometimes called, is the last of the yearly feasts of Israel.  It takes place in the fall, at the end of the fruit harvest.

In modern Hebrew culture, The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is celebrated by God’s children who first put up a Sukkah (like a gazebo with an open air roof) in the days leading up to the feast date.  It can be built on a porch (as long as the porch does not have a roof of any kind), or in a back yard (as long as its location is open to the sky and not sheltered under any tree cover).  The Sukkah can be made of an existing structure, as long as the roof is replaced entirely with “sechach,” which is vegetable matter that has not previously been used for any other purpose.  It must be four sided, with one side open for entering and exiting.  The roof cannot be premade – it must be newly constructed of twigs and branches of palms collected for that particular Sukkah that year.  Inside is a table, and all the family meals are taken in the Sukkah for the entire holiday.  Guests are invited and encouraged.

The week-long feast of Tabernacles is book-ended between two Sabbath days of rest – Leviticus 16:30-31; 23:34, 41.  On the first day of the feast the people of Israel were to “take the foliage of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and use them for the roof, and also offer an offering made by fire to the Lord, and rejoice before the Lord for seven days” (Leviticus 23:40,36).  All native Israelites were to go out and dwell in these booths for the seven days of the feast to remind them of their ancestors wandering in the wilderness.

(For more info please visit this terrific website!)

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EMMANUEL, GOD WITH US

As with all the feasts, Jesus is the pivotal point on which they all are hinged.  Jesus is the IS and WAS and IS TO COME of each of them.  Each of the feasts are a copy and shadow of things to come.  (Read Hebrews 9 & 10 to understand the earthy sanctuary of God, the priests, and sacrifices as a picture of Jesus and what is in heaven).

The first four feasts (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost) happen in the spring and each has been fulfilled by Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the Messiah.  Three feasts remain: Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.

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Click here for the fall-feasts-free-printable

The ultimate fulfillment of the last three feasts, as it appears, will be when Jesus sounds His trumpet and gathers His elect “from the peoples” (Eze. 11:17), atones for His chosen, taking the sacrifice from the cross and sprinkling the blood on the mercy seat in heaven (Lev.16:3, 14; Rom. 5:9-11), permanently penning our names in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  And then coming for His bride, the church, to take her away to the many mansions He has built in His Father’s house.  “And there we shall all ever be with Him…” (1 Thes. 4:17).

 

“Come away with Me…” Mark 6:31 (NKJV)

 

…is an invitation that Jesus continues to extend to anyone who can hear His voice.  It is the essence of “Tabernacles” to come out from our fleshly lives and commune with God.

In Jesus the intent of God’s heart is fulfilled. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt (or, tabernacled) among us…” (John 1:14) His name was called “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God With Us.” (Matthew 1:23) The tabernacle of Moses was only a type of “the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man…” (Hebrews 8:2, 5; 9:25) “… Behold, the tabernacle (the abode) of God is with man, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people …” (Revelation 21:3)

God’s ultimate intention, however, has been to make His abode within the heart of every believer (John 14:23). Jesus promised that the same Spirit that “dwelleth with you … shall be in you.” (John 14:17) His place of habitation is within His people: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.” (Zechariah 2:10)

In Old Testament times the Spirit of God would “come and go” – His Presence would enter, bless, and depart (Numbers 9:15-23; 11:25; 2Chronicles 5:13-14). Yet the Lord longed for a place in which He might continually dwell, or make His abode. “For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation … here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” (Psalms 132:13, 14)  (*http://www.dianedew.com/habitatn.htm)

 

 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”  John 15:4-6 (NKJV)

 

Isn’t it interesting that God instructed His Jewish children to make temporary huts, booths, dwellings, Sukkahs to celebrate His habitation with man, and isn’t it neat that the only thing covering these little earthly tabernacles are branches and vines, which are cut down at the end of the summer harvest?  What else shall God do with these branches that are cut down?

 

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”  John 15:2 (NKJV)

 

“And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I [John the Baptist] indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”   Matthew 3:10-12 (NKJV)

 

“And the fire will test each one’s work (our Firstfruits), of what sort it is.  If anyone’s work endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.  Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”   1 Corinthians 3:13-17 (NKJV)

 

“Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’  Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved to the sake of the fathers.  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable”  Romans 11:25-29 (NKJV)

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So while our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, gathered around tables inside their little outdoor huts, let us remember our bodies are the temple of the Lord, and let us eagerly look forward to the ingathering (harvest of souls) that shall take place, and the great supper that the Lord is preparing, where we will share that communion cup with Jesus finally, after all this time.

 

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”  John 14:2-3 (NKJV)

 

‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’”

Revelation 19:9 (NKJV)

 

“Surely I am coming quickly.”  Revelation 22:20 (NKJV)

 

 

Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day

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Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day

I’m a little late posting this for THIS year, or maybe I’m just waaaay early for next year?  Ha.  But, here are some ways I thought would be nice to celebrate Grandparent’s Day.  But, in all honesty, please don’t save them up for that one special day a year. If you have grandparents living close, do some of these with them as soon and as often as you can.  Time passes so quickly.  Memories fade.  The breath of life evaporates before we know it.  Don’t let it get away from you.  Our elders are a special treasure!

“Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.”  – Psalms 71:9

 

Family Tree

If your family doesn’t already have one, let the kids start a family pedigree chart with their grandparent.  Let them do as much of the investigative work as they can to fill it in.  First let them fill in their name in the center bottom space, and then just above it let them fill in the names of their dad and mom.  Above those spaces are spaces for grandparents on the paternal and maternal sides.  Spend a day or at least an afternoon with grandparents collecting information: names, birthplaces, careers, military, where family died and are buried.  Ask for obituaries, photographs, family Bible notes, newspaper clippings and stories.  It’s actually a lot of fun seeing where your family came from, not just ethnicity, but travels, both foreign and domestic.  It’s also a great way to learn history.  It means so much more and is so much more interesting when you find out you had actual family living in those times and places and events.

Blank fan tree

If you would like the electronic file for this chart so that you can print one for your personal use, please send your request to mrshlovesjesus@gmail.com, and write “Pedigree Poster” in the subject line.

This is a Pedigree chart I created as a Christmas gift to my family last year.  I took the digital file of the pedigree chart above to my local print shop (also Staples, Copy Max, Walgreens, and even Walmart can print them) and had it printed on poster-size paper.  I printed mine in color on plain paper, but they can also be printed on photo paper, and then framed in poster size frames.

poster

 

“Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”  – Proverbs 17:6

 

photos

Beside the pedigree poster hanging on my wall I have a decorative tree with photos of hubby & me, our parents, and our grandparents, three generations.

 

Video Interview

On one of our visits to my husband’s folks’ house, we were blessed to have his uncle stop by for a visit.  He was in town to speak at a local high school about his experiences as a soldier in WWII (Europe).  He was often asked to speak at schools about his personal experiences, because he was such a gifted story-teller.  He wrote a book as well, which we treasure having a copy of.  We of course were very interested to hear his stories and so asked if he would share some with us, which he happily did.  We all sat around in the living room listening intently as he told of being on the boat and being soooo sea sick and all the other men being soooo very sea sick also, and then being dropped on the battlefield, and of his experiences as a Forward Observer, which was very dangerous.  I could kick myself a thousand times that we didn’t get video of that visit (which is why I make the suggestion to you now).  It is just so moving to hear a personal relative tell of historical events from their own personal experience, and see their facial expressions, and watch their body language.  It is just so much more captivating than a book in history class.  So I encourage you, if you have a grandparent, ask them to tell you a story about some important time in their life and video tape it.

“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”  – Leviticus 19:32

 

video1Something our family DOES have, and I can tell you is an enormous treasure, is a compilation of my husband’s folks old home movies that they took on an old 8mm recorder.  They had the movies transferred to VHS when that was the most  modern thing, and gave us a copy.  But as hubby and I were watching these silent movies, we realized that much of those people and places were unknown to us.  So the next time his parents visited us we asked them to sit down and watch it with us and tell us where all those places were and who the people are.  I set up a cassette recorder to record their narration.  Many years later I took the old silent VHS and the narration on the cassettes and put them together on DVD.   Then I made several copies and gave them as Christmas gifts for our family.  It was the very next Christmas after grandpa had died and you can’t image what a treasure it was to the whole video3family to get to hear grandpa’s voice again, and laugh at his sense of humor, especially since the family had no idea we’d ever gotten that sound tract.

Also, if  you have been to a funeral recently, most funeral homes ask the family to bring them old photos for a video slide show, set to music, to play during the service.  Why wait until a person dies for this?  Ask your grandparents now if you can borrow their old photographs, and then scan them into digital form and make a slide show of their lives from birth to old age.  You can add captions to the photos that say where the photos were taken and who the people are, and you can also add a favorite song or songs of theirs to go along with it.  Most computers have the software for making photo slide show DVD’s on them.  I used Movie Maker to make DVD’s of our family vacations, weddings, and a memorial of our dad.  It would be a nice trip down memory lane for them to get to see their lives laid out in such a way, and a special thing to share with them while they are living.

“And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.”  – Ruth 4:15

 

Old Letters and Great Books

booksMy husband’s dad served in Korea, and wrote letters home to his parents a couple times a week.  We found the letters a while back, along with a bunch of pictures he took while in boot camp and on the front lines. We also were fortunate to get to inherit his army coat, a hat, and medals, maps, and various other personal objects from the war, along with the flag that was presented to the family at his funeral, and the bullet casings from the 21 gun salute.  Altogether the letters and photos, and photos of the objects made a wonderful book that is and shall forever be a cherished keepsake for generations.

I also collected all our family history, stories, pedigrees, photos, birth, marriage, and death certificates, newspaper clippings, obituaries, maps, military histories and pension papers, pioneer stories, censuses, etc. and made it all into a book (first a ring binder, and then a printed, spiral bound book with a hard cover) to share with my sisters.  I made scrapbook pages of the old photos and scanned those pages, and made separate chapters for each person, telling each person’s individual stories.  I visited courthouses, libraries, and museums in the towns where they lived (the ones that were closeby) and collected as much information as I could about them and the history of those areas (marriage, divorce, land records, court records, if they played on baseball teams, delivered mail, or worked in local factories, or acted, sang, or danced in theatre, etc.).  I visited cemetaries and churches and found headstones and church records.  I visited newspaper offices and got old newspaper stories and obituaries.  I will confess, it is a lot of work, but truly it is fun and rewarding work, and I sooooo encourage you to gather as much of this kind of information as you can from living relatives, while you can.   Honor your parents and your grandparents by preserving their legacy in words and pictures.  They will be delighted and honored to see all your efforts as well.

 “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.” – Proverbs 20:29

 

Grandma’s Recipes

What is your favorite thing that grandma makes?  Why  not make a date to make it with her, and for heaven sakes cookbooksget her recipe!  Get ALL her recipes, and make them into a cookbook.  My husband’s family actually collected recipes from everyone in the family one year and made a family cookbook for all of us.  We all contributed, and we all paid for our own copies of the book, and it is very much a prized possession of mine to this day.  Each person that contributed recipes also told a story to go with it, like if it was the first meal they made for their husband, or if it was their mother’s favorite thing that they made, etc.

I have myself very fond memories of having picnics with my grandmother.  She always made her standard cucumber sandwiches, hard boiled eggs with salt and pepper, and a thermos of iced tea.  When’s the last time you went on a picnic with your grandma?  Or soaked your feet in a tub of hose water in the back yard?  …And listened to her tell stories about a time she got in trouble as a kid.  …Or what it was like as a teenager going to school. …Or her first boyfriend, or first date.  …Or what she and her brothers/sisters did for fun.

 “Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” – Psalms 71:18

 

Play a Game

My husband has fond memories of playing Yatzee with his grandmother.  It was her gamesfavorite game to play, and if he could beat her he felt like it was a real accomplishment.  Grandma was apparently very good at Yatzee.  My grandma liked to play cards, and her game of choice to play with us kids was Rummy.  She also showed us how to play Solitaire and let us play at the table while she cooked and baked.  I also remember making card houses in the living room, using the carpet to help hold the cards in place.  My sisters and I made elaborate card houses, some more fragile than others.  Does your grandma or grandpa have a favorite game they like to play.  Ask if you can come play it with them one afternoon.  Or, take them to play Bingo, or Pinochle or Bridge at the Senior Center, dominoes, Cribbage, or take them bowling, or to play miniature golf, or darts.  You might find out they’re pretty darn good at it.

“With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.”

– Job 12:12

Other Ideas

Go for a walk

Go fishing

Do some gardening (plant an herb garden in pots)

Go to church with them

Visit them and read them letters that they’ve gotten in the mail

Take grandma to get her hair and nails done

Take them to their doctor visits

Take them to the store to do their shopping, or run a few errands

Take them to a veterans memorial (if there is one with a spouse or loved one memorialized there)

Take them to a cemetery to put flowers on someone’s grave (for a loved one’s birthday rememberance, or veterans/memorial day)

Take them to a class reunion, or a small town annual get-together

Take them for a drive in the country

Play old records

Watch an old movie

Take them out for lunch

Invite them to your house for coffee (and devotions)

Take them to visit an old friend they haven’t seen in a while

Take them out for ice cream

Sit on a park bench and feed the birds, or the ducks (pond)

Take them for a boat ride (a little row boat across a pond or lake) and bring an umbrella for shade

Take them to a grandchild’s school event, or track meet, or soccer game

Take them to a rodeo, a fair, a car or horse race, or baseball game

Take them to lookout point after dark to look at the city lights

Ask them to teach you how to knit, crochet, sew, quilt, or tie a fly (fishing), etc.

Take them to the shooting range for some target practice

Rent a golf cart and take a drive through a scenic golf course

Take them for a drive to new parts of the city

Take them something you’ve baked or made and visit for an afternoon

Take a pizza and cokes and sit on the porch and eat it with them

Do something for them that is too hard for them to do themselves, but needs done, like vacuum, trim a tree, re-attach a rain gutter, paint, mow, move a hose, shovel a sidewalk, take mail out to the mailbox, light a pilot light, replace a lightbulb, put a heavy dish back up in the cupboard, put laundry away, etc.

Call and check on them at least once a week

Always tell them you love them, as often as you can

Send them cards and letters, with pictures

Pray with them and for them, for their health needs, and other needs

 

“The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” 

-Proverbs 16:31