Month: October 2012

  • Happy Candy Day!

    From our Muppet Family!!
  • PatchWork Post!

    Good Morning.  It’s raining… AGAIN!!  Every morning this week, things got a little better, because the chicken pen got slightly drier.  Don’t laugh, my chickens were ankle-deep in mud.  It rained every day for two weeks, here – and not just a little rain, we’re talking TORRENTIAL downpour – so to say things were soggy is a massive understatement!  But tending critters was getting easier, as it dried up.  But it’s raining, again, today, and that’s just…  (((((sigh!)))))  A sympathy rain to the FrankenStorm hitting the east coast.  But I’d take our drizzly crap to a hurricane!  Better them than me.  I figure if you don’t want to get hit by a hurricane, don’t live by the coast.  ANY coast.  And you know how I feel about living ‘in His Hand’.  If Italy’s prophesied to ‘get the boot’, I figure the safest place is ‘in His hand’.  Michigan is still the best.  Particularly where I am – voted best place to raise a family (LINK).

    Costume Chat.  Well, I’ve got all of costumes done excepting for Isaac’s and Ethan’s, and Ethan’s will be done this morning, and hopefully Isaac’s, tonight.  And I’ve put that off, because it has scared the crap out of me.  When you see it, you’ll probably laugh, but it seriously has freaked me out.  But the others… while they had tricky bits, I had a handle on them.  It’ll be fun to show you the finished product on Wednesday.  Oh, and because Halloween isn’t until evening (of course!), I probably won’t be posting Wednesday until later at night!

    Tuesday Thankfuls.  Usually, Brian doesn’t call us on Tuesdays because he goes to lunch with his Dad.  ((They work five buildings away from each other.  They also stop in and chat occasionally with each other, because when his Dad’s shop gets slow, Brian’s shop sometimes gives them some work of theirs to do – a situation that came of Brian/his dad (and has worked good for the company).  Also, Brian and his dad both do side work at home for a different company – Brian does the CNC part, and his dad does the easier stuff, usually on the same jobs, so they do the drop-it-off-and-talk thing, too.))  That came from Brian having worked with a guy who now owns a shop toward Holland, who has times when he’s swamped and, out of chats that mentioned Brian/his Dad’s home machinery, started giving the extra to Brian and his Dad.  It’s all kind of funny… because Brian’s dad was an electrician, and somehow kinda ‘swapped’ over and is doing machinist work, now, like Brian… who is kinda teaching his dad as they go along.  Anyhow, this week they had to have lunch on Monday, because TODAY… Brian’s shop is having a pizza lunch, and it’s their quarterly meeting, too.  So that’s good on two counts for Brian – hello, pizza, and a meeting/down time.  ((Maybe even on three counts… he says they discuss profit sharing, so if things have been good for the shop, we might have a little bonus check, which would get us back on track after Frankenmuth!))

    Motherhood Musings.  I was talking with Brian the other day about our parenting technique.  It’s… well, it’s exactly the opposite of the way I was brought up.  I was raised to revere the church and believe everything I was taught.  My kids are taught to shun the church and question everything they’re taught.  I was raised to be so innocent – I didn’t know anything about anything.  I raise my children to know a little about everything (even the unpleasant things), and to want to learn more.  Brian says so many people in the world are disillusioned, and we don’t want that for our children.  I’ve concluded that disillusionment comes from thinking things are one way, when they’re really the opposite.  It’s betrayal.  So I’m raising my kids to expect betrayal as a norm and to realize that nothing is as it seems.  Is that wise?  I don’t know.  I just know that I believe I might not have turned out so cynical and jaded if I hadn’t been taught to just take everything at face value and ‘trust’ other people.  I’ve just been thinking more and more on this, considering the times…

    Silly Screw-Up.  I did it again.  I told you that 17 Cheshvan was ON the Day of the Dead this year, and then – being blonde – screwed up and in my mind equated that to Hallowe’en.  All Hallows is the day AFTER Hallowe’en.  So Ark Day (or Flood Day, or 17 Cheshvan) begins at the sunset in Israel AFTER Hallowe’en.  That means on All Hallow’s Day (or Day of the Dead).  So nevermind me.  I told you right, I just thunk it out wrong.  *wink!*

    Food, Glorious Food.  My mom came over to play cards on Friday night, and since it was our Shabbat, I made veggies and hashbrown/cheddar casserole, and she brought KFC and this sinfully fattening chocolate brownie with fudge icing and white chocolate chips with a layer of white glaze drizzled… anyhow, my diet was OUT the window.  Then of course we had snacks later while playing cards.  Then she left the dish of brownies… Then Lydia and I went to a midnight scrapbooking crop, and brought snacks, and… well, six hours of munching does something to a body.  And as if that weren’t enough?  Then we went out to Cabana’s after seeing ‘Ice Age 4′ (the last Flick’s Film this fall) on Sunday.  So my weight challenge?  It got challenged this weekend.  And was creamed, I do believe.  (((sigh!)))  I had a major set-back, and have to scramble back on the wagon.  But don’t expect good news on Thursday.

    Easel Ease(l).  We went last week to get the materials to build our easels, but first I had to stop at Hobby Lobby for costume bits (I needed glue sticks and a bow tie).  While there, we checked out their easels… and they had some for $7.99.  Brian said by the time we bought sturdy hinges and the wood and put the time in, we should just buy them.  I’m still full of wary trepidation (they have no BACKS), but we shall see what happens on Sunday.  Should we still be here.

    Speaking of Arks…  Did you see my new cover photo over at Facebook?  I wanted an ark picture (for 17 Cheshvan), and thought I’d have to download one, turn it blue, make it work… but when I did a search, THIS turned up, and it was perfect!  I love it!!  Better news?  Apparently the director of ‘Gladiator’ and ’300′ is making an epic film about the Great Flood.  WooooooT!!  Due to the theatres in Fall of 2013.  ((Should Earth exist, then.))  That. Sounds. AWESOME!!!!  When was the last time anything Biblical was on the big screen?  Okay, besides the ‘Matrix’ allegory?  I’m talking a REAL story!  It was Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’, no?  It’s been a while!!  And nobody’s touched the Old Testament since… Holy wha, I don’t remember!  I’m geeked!!

    Solana Stuff!  Oh, you remember Javier Solana.  The author of the 7-year covenant with many?  The High Representative of the Revived Roman Empire?  The most powerful man in the world?  (I believe he still is, too – just laying low for the interim.  He’s smart and got out before things could sully him, so that he’s only associated with prosperity and achievement… and he WILL be back.)  Anyhow, he’s written a piece about the state of the world, and there are some AMAZING things in this paper he wrote.  I highly recommend it – because 1) it’s astoundingly accurate, 2) it’s clear, concise, and revealing, and 3) hello, SOLANA.  The man knows things nobody else knows.  He’s the deepest insider there is.  He plays the ‘dark side’ of politics and economics.  He laughed in Putin’s face and got away with it.  He evades any trouble as if he’s merely holding the door for trouble to hit someone else in the face.  Even Hilary Clinton jumps when he tells her to – and only asks how high on the way down.  There is NO ONE like Solana.  He’s my prime suspect for the ‘Son of Perdition’, and has been since 2003.  And when he writes a paper?  The man WRITES a paper.  You can read it here (LINK).

    Speeding Up.  Have you noticed it?  I have.  Everything is getting insanely fast.  Movies, for example – we have to watch a movie three and four times to actually see everything that’s happening in the film.  And we’re not talking hidden things, but the things meant to be seen.  There’s just too much, too fast.  And I’m pretty fast.  Technology.  Lydia and I decided we should get mp3 players so we can listen to music while scrapbooking.  I wasn’t even sure they HAVE mp3 players, anymore, because everyone just listens to music on their phones or pads, anymore.  And mp3s have only been in use by the masses since 2003(ish).  That’s less than ten years, from groundbreaking ability to being nearly obsolete.  So fast!  When you consider that – until 1900 – we didn’t have cars on every road, electricity in every house, telephones for every family?  It’s only the last hundred years, and we’ve gotten SO fast.  And how much faster can we go?  Technology being obsolete in five years?  One?  If our brains can’t process all of the information now, how much further can it go?

    Deep Waters.  I just got pretty soberingly deep, there, for a moment.  Come to think of it, I’ve been going pretty soberingly deep for about a week, now, haven’t I?  It’s just that… well, things seem to be coming to a head.  I’m not talking about elections or the World Series or even Hurricane Sandy, I’m talking about… everything important.  And always at the forefront of my thoughts is the Six-Month Suggestion.  We’re two months from the end of the window.  Two days from 17 Cheshvan (the most likely day, IMO, at this point).  Whether the Mayans are right or not, I really do see big changes coming, and very, very soon.  I guess maybe that’s why He’s got me writing so much about the things that matter.  Anyhow, there it all is.

    Got’s t’go.  So I’ll see you later, okay?  I gotta go work on some costumes, finish up a lapbook, do some fingerprinting for our health unit, make some placards for our Book of Centuries.   In the meantime?  Have a great day!

  • What is ‘the Father’s Will’?
    ((Part III: or ‘Is Torah Observance Legalism?’))

    Part One:  Obedience to His commands in Torah is the Father’s Will.
    Part Two If’n y’don’t keep Torah (works), y’don’t go to Heaven.
    Part Three:  Isn’t that legalism, stupid?

    Just thought I would summarize it for us before we got started.
    ‘Cuz I’m kinda that way, a lot.

    Alright, now that I’ve got your attention, I’m going to tell you what the church teaches.  It teaches that Jee-zus died on the cross for your sins, so that anyone who believes in Him should have everlasting life, their name written in the Book of Life, and spent forever with the Lord in Heaven, thereby exempted from Hell.  ((Yup.))  It teaches that all you have to do is pray and accept Jee-zus into your heart, and He’ll wash away all of your sins – past, present, and future.  ((Yup.))  It teaches that doing His will shows your love, but you don’t actually have to do anything, because He’s done it all, and if you choose to just go from there and do whatever you feel like, that’s cool.  ((Y… wait, what?))  But shame on you and naughty-naughty, and you won’t get any crowns that way, even if you DO still go to Heaven!  ((Uh…))

    I know.  I drive you crazy.  I always have, and I always will.  Let me take this apart with verses that will shred the untruths before your very eyes:

    1.  “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with he, thou Yeshua of Nazareth?  Art thou come to destroy us?  I know thee who thou art: the Holy one of God.” Mark 1:23-24   The unclean spirit believed in Yeshua… and hey – he was Hell-doomed.

    2. “What doth it profit, my brethern, though a man say he hath faith and hath not works?  Can faith save him?  …Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  Yea, a man may say, ‘Thou hast faith, and I have works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.’  Thou believest that there is one God: tho doest well: the devils also believe and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac upon the altar?  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  … Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith, only.”  James 2:14, 17-22, 24   Praying a prayer isn’t enough – there MUST be works, or the faith is dead.

    3.  “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servant to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether or sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”  Romans 6:16  Obedience shows who you are a servant of.  Are you a servant of God?  How can that be, if you aren’t obeying his precepts, commandments?

    4.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’“  Matthew 7:21-23  Yeshua Himself said that if you don’t do the will of the Father, you will be told to depart… ouch.

    Every single one of those pulpit statements I made above were lies.  But hey, that’s what your church will tell you.  I love people who claim John 3:16 as their mantra.  ‘Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life’.  Taken. Out of. Context.  Ever read down to verses 20 and 21?  “But he that doeth Truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”  Deeds… works, right there along with belief. 

    Funny, the church kinda cuts it off before that, though.  Mostly because if you’re required to actually LIVE differently and DO something that requires more than warming a pew or having fun (with other ‘believers’, of course), then you might not stick around, and christianity’s numbers are dropping, as it is.  Let’s just call a spade a spade – that’s why churches are ‘seeker sensitive’, these days.  Scripture says that Truth is like a light shining into dark places… and that is offensive.  So Truth’s gotta be dimmed, to make it more appealing.  Except when you dim something already so far removed from REAL Truth?  You end up with just about nuttin’.

    I want to quote a little TorahClass at you, this morning (and again – it’s the ONLY Bible study I endorse, and really, REALLY encourage you to get at.  It’s meat, the closest I have EVER seen to 100% Truth.):

    I want to exhort you in a similar manner to love God by means of obedience to His commandments. As outstanding a job as the Christian church has done over the centuries in spreading the Good News… obedience to the Lord’s commands as the expected expression of love towards Him (the expression that He seeks from us) has curiously been set aside and made less important that it ought to be; it often has been labeled that obedience to His written commands is legalism, and therefore it is a “work”, and legalism and works are to be avoided.

    I realize that many who hear this teaching still have some reluctance to accept this foundational God-principle of active obedience to the Lord’s laws and commands as the expected and demanded practical expression of our love for God. Many Believers still cling (consciously or unconsciously) to the notion that accepting Yeshua as Lord and Savior is the last work or act of obedience ever expected of us. While that is indeed true for attainment of our Salvation, it is not true when it comes to how we’re to live our lives as saved people…

    …When the Bible speaks of obedience to God more often than not what is actually said is, “obedience to God’s COMMANDS or laws”. When the Bible says “obedience to God” it MEANS “obedience to His written commands”. What else is there to be obedient to? …The main way we discover the Lord’s characteristics and justice system (which is spelled out by His laws and commands) is by means of His written word. …The written Word is the standard by which all else must be compared. The written Word of God is the Believers’ spiritual constitution. Listen to this well-known and often quoted NT passage:

    NAS 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 

    A couple of things about this passage: remember, the ONLY Scripture Paul was referring to was the OT because there would be no other words of God written down and accepted as inspired biblical canon for around a century after his death. That is, when the word “Scripture” is used in the Bible (including in the New Testament) it is referring only to the Old Testament because that’s all that existed. Paul, Peter, even the latest New Testament writer John the Revelator had no idea that about 100 years after Paul’s martyrdom that some of their letters would be seen by a portion of the Church as additions to Holy Scripture.

    Also notice what Paul said is the source is of teaching, reproof, correction and learning, and what righteousness IS; it is the written word of God (Scriptures), the Old Testament. Then we’re told WHY we need this learning, and what is the reason: It is so that we are well equipped to do what? To do good works. Uh-oh. There’s the “w” word again. Paul says we’re to learn the Lord’s commands for the purpose of our doing good works. I guess Paul, by modern doctrine, is telling us to be legalistic and to put all our hope in works, huh? Obviously I’m saying that sarcastically because the Bible NEVER, NEVER makes good works out to be legalistic, nor does it tell Believers that we are to abandon obedience to God’s commands and to works.

    …The Hebrews weren’t redeemed, then given God’s Commands, and then just as they were about to enter the Promised Land told to disregard all those Laws and Commands and follow their own minds and hearts. And so it is for us. We have not been redeemed by Yeshua, spent time being shown God’s commands and learning to obey them, only to stand on the brink of eternity and be told, “once you get there, there will be no more laws and commands”.

    …It’s interesting that the FIRST WORD of chapter 9 is one we looked at carefully a few chapters ago: Shema. The first two words of chapter 9 are shema Israel…Hear O Israel. Recall that shema doesn’t mean to listen passively. It is a term that means to pay attention AND to do what is said… “hear and obey”.

    So is doing the commands of Yehovah ‘legalism’, then?  Of course not.  Legalism is the over-emphasis on deeds, that you cannot be saved unless you perform certain deeds.  Then would not ‘praying the prayer’ or ‘accepting Christ into your heart’ also be a deed or works… making the premise of salvation legalistic?  It’s preposterous.  YES, salvation provided by Yehovah is in Christ’s provision alone.  But without obedience to Yehovah’s commands, we do not have a complete picture.  There are two sides to the coin – faith AND obedience.  It’s not legalism, it’s Truth.

    aNNa’s Final Note:  The church is big on bashing ‘legalism’… which to them seems to mean rules that rain on their ‘freedom train’.  In trying to stay away from ‘legalism’, they throw out Torah obedience entirely, claiming the cross as their big eraser.  Except Messiah NEVER said that – He actually said the opposite.  And every disciple and Bible writer who followed Him said the same thing:  You need BOTH Faith in Messiah and Obedience to Torah to be a servant of God.  Yehovah doesn’t change – His requirements are the same for ALL generations.  And that means some serious changes need to be made in order to be in His will.   I wrote these to try to show a need, to give a little conviction to those who might not have seen the whole picture.

    Because time is short.
    Far, far shorter than you know.

  • Costume Parade!!

    Did you know I’ve never done a Costume parade?  I should’ve done that.  Really.  Because we’ve done some amazing costumes.  (I’ve even been costumer for a theatre production before, but… too much pressure.)  LoL!  We didn’t actually start going out until Isaac was old enough to walk, so we begin in 2004…

    We worked with what we had in 2004 – and did a Disney Halloween
    Here we have Belle and one of the 101 Dalmations.

    Another Disney in 2005 –
    this time Bear in the Big Blue House and Cinderella.

    In 2006, we did a J.M Barrie Halloween.
    Here’s Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, and Tick-Tock the Crock

    On Halloween in 2007, I was giving birth.
    So my mom took the kids out… and of course got no pictures.
    But here we are days before at Grandma Betty’s pumpkin patch!

    2008, Brian’s co-worker got married
    and was having a Halloween costume reception.
    So I got on-line and found us costumes –
    we went as Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf!

    In 2009 we were a Western Posse, pardner!

    In 2010 we did Wizard of Oz!

    And of course last year (2011) was Harry Potter…

    Why am I posting this, today?  Because I don’t have time for a real post.
    Brian’s home, and can help me with costumes,
    and so guess what I’m doing, today?

    Besides, I don’t like to post spiritual stuff on Sundays.  People are all ‘preached’ out after sitting in a church for half their blasted day, and don’t want more after that.  And who can blame them?  So this is lighter fare.  For both of our sakes!
  • What is ‘the Father’s Will’?
    ((Part II: or ‘The Old Covenant Lives!’))

    Yesterday I wrote about how the Father’s Will was keeping His commands.  Yeshua, who said, “I and My Father are One.” said, “If you love me, keep My commandments.”  And amazingly, He said that BEFORE there was a list of spiritual gifts, a list of fruit of the Spirit, and a  Great Commission.  So what on earth could these commands be that He was giving to the predominantly Jewish crowd?   TORAH.

    Christianity accepts that Yehovah Elohim never changes.  He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Then WHY do they also believe that He’d throw out His requirements and ordinances for something new?  That’s change!  C’mon, people, please think a little.  Sin still requires atonement.  The shedding of blood is still the coverage.  Yes, it’s taken care of by Messiah’s once-for-all gift, but that doesn’t alter the fact that God’s requirements did NOT change – it’s the same as it has ALWAYS been.

    And do you want to really have your jaw drop?  Take a look at this:

    Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.  –Jeremiah 31:31-34

    Oh, look, a new covenant!  Jeremiah – an OT dude – says there will be a new covenant!  “That’s right – in Jee-zus!” the christian reading this agrees.  Um… no.   Look at the qualifications of it: ‘They shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying ‘Know the Lord’: for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest.”   Whoops, that’s not in Yeshua’s time, was it?  In fact, it’s not even in OUR time.  That new covenant doesn’t come until the Millenium, when Yeshua steps down and takes Jerusalem and reigns from Zion, and every knee bows and every tongue confesses.  At that point, I won’t be writing these blogs, trying to teach people something, anymore… cuz everyone will KNOW Him.  And believe you me, that’s NOT now.

    So if the new covenant isn’t until sometime in the future, guess what’s still in effect?  C’mon, I know you’re smart…!  Yes – the OLD covenant is still pertinent.  Which is why Messiah said He did not come to abolish the Law/Torah, but to bring it to full-ness.  Full meaning.  That’s why He said He’s ‘Lord of the Sabbath’ – because it’s STILL relevant, the command to keep it for ALL generations is still valid!  Which is why He is going to say, “Depart from me, ye who are law-less, I never knew you.”  Because if you don’t obey, your faith is dead.  Works ARE keeping Torah.

    This is a problem for me.  Because my mother says, “I understand that it’s still relevant, but I like the way my dad brought me up.  I don’t like all of this extra stuff.”  ((((ouch.))))  Then there’s my brother, who shrugs off Torah obedience and is happy being a christian.  That free pass that made my life so easy before?  It’s fake.  It won’t work.  And all of the people I assumed would just lose a crown or two are actually going to burn in Hell.  That?  Sucks.  It’s not so easy to take.  And I gulp every time my family comes over and says,  “I know pork is unclean, but Pop really likes sausage on his pizza, so we eat it because he wants it.”  Or, “We went to breakfast at a farm… I didn’t eat the bacon, but the triplets and Pop did, because they like that.”  Is that ‘raising the children up in the way they should go so that they will not depart from it’?  Is it?  Because I’d say NO.  People tell me that it doesn’t matter when we celebrate Christ’s birth, so long as we do it.  X-mess, Sukkot… God’s way doesn’t HAVE to be the way.  Are these things that people who really desire to live after Yehovah’s own heart would do?  NO.  What YOU like, what YOU want is irrelevant!  I am loathe to think what I think, but I know it’s true.  My family is law-less.  The only time ANY of them observe Shabbat is when I’m around.  The only time they  abstain from unclean foods is when I make them feel guilty about it.  The only feasts they keep are Hanukkah and Passover, because they come in at the same time as X-mess and Ishtar, and they don’t really want to give those up, so they just add them.  ‘We didn’t do Sukkot this year because there wasn’t room… there wasn’t a good place…’  Whatevs.  Excuses.  If you loved Him, you’d keep His commandments.

    I didn’t.  For years I didn’t, because I didn’t know.  I was so oblivious, seeking, but not yet having found.  Secure in a blanket of lies.  But the moment I realized, everything had to change.  I must live out my faith, and if that means a total renovation of everything I believed, everything I celebrated, everything I took for granted, the so be it.  I’m accountable for no one except myself.  But that has resulted in a new harsh reality: and that’s that my family likely will be left behind with the rest of the christians.

    And I’ve been torn on this for some time.  Because yes, scripture says ‘narrow is the path to righteousness, and few find it’, but then you read in Revelation 7:9 that there’s going to be a ‘great multitude without number before the throne, of all nations, tongues, tribes, and peoples’.  Which – because of our day and age – we always think so grandiose.  The sky is the limit, and all our imaginings are hyperbolistic.  We see billions before the throne when we picture that scene, don’t we?  But honestly?  Yeshua fed a ‘great multitude’ on the mount, and it was only about five thousand people.  Of course, to John (who wrote Revelation 7:9), five thousand WAS a great multitude.  So was he seeing a billion people in Heaven?  Not likely.  Even a million would be ‘without number’ to him… they didn’t have anything that big in AD90.  Even a hundred thousand… it was unimaginable to them.

    And if you count all the Torah-observant Messiah believers from Yeshua’s time, then add in all of them from the Apostolic/evangelistic era, then from the Torah/Messianic revival of the 1400s, then the redux of 1800, and the present-day Torah/Messianic revival… you have about a hundred thousand people, right there.  Because it’s one heckuva narrow path if few find it.

    And there’s not a need for Christians to be included. They are law-less.  More (and I’ve written an entire blog about this, in 2009), Christianity is THE largest belief system in the world – the broadest way.  How can something that has the MOST people in it be the narrow way?  ((It can’t.))  In fact 2 Thessalonians is quite clear what Christianity is – a ‘great delusion’… and aren’t all the best delusions the ones closest to the Truth without having any in it?  Take a look at the verse:

    And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the Truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  — 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12

    I honestly believe that Christianity is that strong delusion.  The lie that there’s a ‘new covenant’ and that the Old Covenant is no longer relevant.  I honestly believe that there are going to be packed churches on that day – whether it’s 17 Cheshvan of this coming week or some other feast day – and that people are going to be very, very sorry that they chose their pleasure over Truth.

    I’ll hit part III tomorrow, and we’ll talk about the Law & Legalism, some.

  • What is ‘the Father’s Will’?
    ((Part I: or ‘Christians are Law-less’))

    Back when I was a Christian, I had a very secure handle on eternity.  The things I was taught by my parents, family, church, and study groups had it all neatly wrapped up with a pretty gold cross on it.  It was simple:  If you believed that Jee-suz died for your sins on the cross, then you were going to Heaven.  Pray and accept Him, and you’re in!

    It was a very nice, assuring, happy stance.  Everyone I knew had prayed the prayer, had ‘been saved’, so even if they weren’t living a life in the Lord’s will?  Well, that just meant they’d have less crowns to throw at the Lord’s feet, darling.  A mournful loss, but nothing catastrophic, to be sure.  And in truth, this whole doctrine is only one prayer away from the even happier doctrine that many other people believe – and that is that there IS no Hell, and people are basically good, and you do your best, and that’s all there is to it.  Christianity and Atheism… bet you never knew just how similar they really are.  It’s why it’s so easy for people to be ‘Sunday Christians’.  Because you’re just doing your own thing with your life, either way.  One just needs a prayer somewhere in the past to validate a ‘membership’ in Heaven.  Unless you’re goal-driven and were aiming to see just how good you could be, how many merit crowns you could earn.

    But I have to admit something to you – it was easier on me, back then.  I didn’t have to worry a whole lot about the lost.  Well, there were the ‘nonnies’ (as I used to call them… MAN!  I haven’t typed that word in years!!), but I was pretty far removed from them in my sheltered, chrischun existence.  Oh, I’d witness, but I knew that they were just blowing me off, and that was that.  I did my part, it’s your choice, bub.

    Then when I got older, I started seeing a few verses that put the whole ‘getcher ticket at Calvary and you’re in!’ stance into question.  Verses like:

    Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  — James 2:19-20

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
      Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
      And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye who are lawless.  – Matthew 7:21-23

    What’s astounding to me now is that… I never once thought about what ‘works’ were back when I was a christian.  What does the church tells christians ‘works’ are?  It’s witnessing, and tithing, and going to church every week, and being ye kind, and maketh-ing a joyful noise… and pretty much anything else that you can find in the NEW Testament.  I never thought about what the ‘will of the Father’ was… I just was handed vague but scriptural references like ‘fight the good fight’ or ‘run the race to the high calling’… ‘Going ye therefore’ and ‘putting on the armor’.  Fun little statements that sound so noble but are kind of light on the specifics.  It never ONCE occurred to me that when Messiah said to “do the will” of His Father in Matthew 7?  The New Testament hadn’t been written yet!  So all of those things that the church was telling me was the explanation of His words?  Was a lie.  It was taking something from WAY after His death and trying to apply it to a situation in His time.  It’d be akin to telling people that Messiah said the way to Heaven was to punch in a code on your iPhone.  The people didn’t HAVE iPhones – that came AFTER His time… so how could it possibly be what He was talking about?

    NoTe:  The church does this, often.  Another example is when Messiah says, ‘No man knoweth the day or the hour, not even the Son of Man’.  That was said in about 32AD, right?  But then in 90AD (ish), Messiah says in Revelation 1:1 that Messiah went back to Heaven, got the skinny on what was going to happen and when it would happen, and then He turned around and gave it to John.  But the christians can’t think chronologically, so they’re stuck quoting ‘no man knows’ when man DOES know.

    It also never occurred to me that Messiah Yeshua was in Israel when He spoke in the Gospels, and therefore the vast majority of the people He was addressing were Jews.  Pharisees?  Were Jews.  Sadducees…?… Jews.  Samaritans, Galileans, Nazarines, Nazarites?  ALL Jews who believed in the Father.  And He wasn’t telling them something new when He said to ‘do the will of My Father’.  There was no NEED for an explanation – everyone knew what Yehovah’s will was.  They all knew what ‘lawlessness’ was.  It was living without an obedience to Torah – the Law of Adonai.  What was the ‘will of My Father’?  The same as it had always been, for thousands of years – Torah.

    All Jews.  And they ALL knew what the Father’s will was.

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye who are lawless.  – Matthew 7:21-23

    We read about ‘spiritual gifts’ like prophecy and evangelism and tongues, we read about the disciples healing people and casting out demons… and we assume that the ‘will of the Father’ is in regards to those New Testament things, right?  Our ‘works’ are using our New Testament spiritual gifts to further the Kingdom… because the church teaches us to compartmentalize the Old Testament and Laws away from the New Testament.   Old Testament is for Jews stuck before Christ, and New Testament is for Gentile Christians.  Except that the spiritual gifts given in the NT are talked about AFTER even the Ascension!  Yeshua NEVER said that the Father’s will was to utilize spiritual gifts for the Kingdom… that’s what the church says.  What did Yeshua say about spiritual gifts?  Look at that verse again, I made the ‘spiritual gifts’ in it blue.  They hadn’t even been GIVEN yet, and He’s making sure we ALL know that those are NOT what the ‘will of the Father’ is.  What is the Father’s will?  Obedience to Torah.  And Messiah point-blank says that if you aren’t keeping the Law (Torah), you won’t go.

    Now, I didn’t get ANY of this for thirty years of my life.  Up until then, I didn’t think of the OT as anything more than historical accounts used to teach lessons today.  Like Aesop’s Fables – a moral to each story.  And a lot of old rules that no longer were important (and were legalistic), because Jee-zus covers it all, right?  ((Read the above verses again, please, if you just caught yourself agreeing.))  You’re FREEEEEEEE in Christ!  Sure, there were things in the Old Testament that Yehovah commanded be kept for all generations, but that was aimed at the Jews, right?  (If you’re agreeing, please see Romans 2:28-29.)

    Now when I realized that the commands/laws of Torah weren’t just for Jews, it was back in… 2003.  Isaac was just born, and my grandma brought over some papers for me on the feasts, knowing that I was asking questions.  She wanted to help me, and she also was asking questions – after fifty years of being a Sunday School teacher, she was beginning to see that something vital was missing, and that maybe we’d just stumbled on something imperative.  She gave them to me for Christmas, and it was probably THE best gift I’d ever been given.  One that started a journey for me that I’m still on.

    It was then that I discovered that these things that the church slogs thru in Leviticus?  They had INSANELY immense significance, and the more I dug, the more I realized just how relevant they were to my faith/walk, even right now, today!  Why would Messiah tell us to keep Torah (the Will of the Father)?  Because it’s vital to our futures.  It reveals future secrets.  It prepares us for what’s ahead.  And isn’t that KIND OF something that should be front-and-center in church teaching?  Shockingly, though, it’s not – it’s not there at all!  It was my first clue that everything I’d been taught was off.

    But if I started talking about the Old Testament Law and keeping them… ah, there’s the fun.  Because ‘law’ now equals ‘legalism’ to anyone who steps regularly into a church.  And I’ll talk more about that, next time…

  • It’s NoteWorthy News…

    aNNa’s NoTe:  Here are a few news articles that all came down to me this morning.  Definitely worth watching!

    Hurricane Sandy pounds Jamaica, then aims at Cuba
    – could morph into winter storm for U.S. northeast

    Posted on October 25, 2012

    October 25, 2012 – KINGSTON, Jamaica — Hurricane Sandy… hit Jamaica as a category 1 hurricane then strengthened as it spun over open sea toward Cuba. U.S. forecasters said it had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph) late Wednesday and might grow into a category 2 storm before going ashore. It was moving north at about 13 mph (20 kph) and hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 30 miles (45 kilometers) from the center. …The hurricane’s eye crossed over Jamaica by Wednesday evening and emerged from its northern coast near the town of Port Antonio, meteorologists said, but rain and winds continued to pound the Caribbean island into the night. It was the first direct hit by the eye of a hurricane on Jamaica since Hurricane Gilbert 24 years ago… –Chron

    Snow, gale-force winds, hurricane remnants, full moon (high tides):
    forecasters warn of ‘perfect storm’ scenario

    Posted on October 25, 2012

    October 25, 2012– NEW YORK  – Much of the U.S. East Coast has a good chance of getting blasted by gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe even snow early next week by an unusual hybrid of hurricane and winter storm, federal and private forecasters say. Though still projecting several days ahead of Halloween week, the computer models are spooking meteorologists. Government scientists said Wednesday the storm has a 70 percent chance of smacking the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, an early winter storm in the West, and a blast of arctic air from the North are predicted to collide, sloshing and parking over the country’s most populous coastal corridor starting Sunday. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek, forecasters say.

    …Forecaster Jim Cisco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction center in College Park, Md. “We don’t have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting.” It is likely to hit during a full moon when tides are near their highest, increasing coastal flooding potential, NOAA forecasts warn. …They say it has all the earmarks of a billion-dollar storm. Some have compared it to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but Cisco said that one didn’t hit as populated an area and is not comparable to what the East Coast may be facing.  …“The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I’m thinking a billion,” said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private service Weather Underground. “Yeah, it will be worse.”

    …Chief hurricane specialist, James Franklin, said the threat keeps increasing for “a major impact in the Northeast, New York area. In fact it would be such a big storm that it would affect all of the Northeast.” –Time

    Climate-changing methane ‘rapidly destabilizing’
    off East Coast, study finds

    Posted on October 25, 2012

    October 25, 2012 –NEW YORK – A changing Gulf Stream off the East Coast has destabilized frozen methane deposits trapped under nearly 4,000 square miles of seafloor, scientists reported Wednesday. And since methane is even more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas, the researchers said, any large-scale release could have significant climate impacts. …Using seismic records and ocean models, the team estimated that 2.5 gigatonnes of frozen methane hydrate are being destabilized and could separate into methane gas and water. It is not clear if that is happening yet, but that methane gas would have the potential to rise up through the ocean and into the atmosphere, where it would add to the greenhouse gases warming Earth. The 2.5 gigatonnes isn’t enough to trigger a sudden climate shift, but the team worries that other areas around the globe might be seeing a similar destabilization. “It is unlikely that the western North Atlantic margin is the only area experiencing changing ocean currents,” they noted. “Our estimate … may therefore represent only a fraction of the methane hydrate currently destabilizing globally.” The wider destabilization evidence, co-author Ben Phrampus told NBC News, includes data from the Arctic and Alaska’s northern slope in the Beaufort Sea. And it’s not just under the seafloor that methane has been locked up. Some Arctic land area are seeing permafrost thaw, which could release methane stored there as well.

    … We may approach a turning point” from a warming driven by man-made carbon dioxide to a warming driven by methane, Jurgen Mienert, the geology department chair at Norway’s University of Tromso, told NBC News. “The interactions between the warming Arctic Ocean and the potentially huge methane-ice reservoirs beneath the Arctic Ocean floor point towards increasing instability,” he added. –USNEWSNBC

    Waxing moon between planets Uranus and Neptune on October 25 
    Posted on October 25, 2012 
    (Photo courtesy U.S. Naval Observatory)

    Don’t expect to see the planets Uranus and Neptune in the glare of tonight’s waxing gibbous moon. But you can use the moon on the night of October 25 to get a ballpark idea of where these distant planets reside in front of the backdrop stars.

    …As seen from around the world tonight, the moon shines fairly close to the border of the constellations Aquarius and Pisces. Uranus lies to the east of the tonight’s moon, in front of the constellation Pisces, and Neptune is to the west of the moon, in front of the constellation Aquarius.

    Note the ecliptic on the feature chart at top. The ecliptic depicts the Earth’s orbital plane projected onto the stellar sphere. Because the planets of the solar system circle the sun on nearly the same plane that the Earth does, practiced sky watchers know to look for the planets on or near the ecliptic.

    aNNa’S FootNotes:  Okay.  First of all… all four of these on the same day, just six days before All Hallow’s?  wOw.  No, seriously - wOw.

    Second of all… let’s start with the last article (since that’s what’s on my screen w/o scrolling up).  Nevermind Neptune and Uranus – they’re not visible to the naked eye, anyhow – but we CAN see the constellations.  And what is our moon about to do?  It’s going to cross the eliptical between Aquarius (aqua=WATER) and Pices (fish=WATER).  Cheshvan 17… it’s a day associated with…?  ((c’mon, you can do it…))  WATER.  And of course, looking at the articles, we’re also seeing…?  WATER events on a massive scale.  ((Is it me, or am I sounding a LOT like Marshall Flinkman?))

    Third… was it yesterday?  I think it was yesterday I posted a little news thinger directing you to two articles Tomer Devorah wrote about a) Deepwater Horizon and b) Fukishima sinking.  I pointed out that we haven’t heard anything about these two massive events, and that it’s been quite a while… but now suddenly we are seeing renewed activity in regards to those events… BOTH of which are Trump judgments being set up ahead of time (that have not reached the apex of their effect on the globe). 

    NOW what we’re seeing – today! – is a perfect storm from a mix of variables – full moon/high tides, rain front from the west, tropical storm from the south, wind currents, etc.  And it’s all supposed to ‘peak’ right on Erev Cheshvan 17.  I think this is DEFINITELY worth noting.  Because He uses patterns, and repeats things… and we’re looking at some serious irony/coincidence, here.

  • Thursday Thankful:

    • Here’s how it works (and don’t laugh).  The Lord tells me He wants me to write about something specific.  He gives me the topic, and then I wait for help… and there isn’t any – the command was it.  So I go, ‘Okay, Lord… I’ll see what I can do.’  Then I sit down to write it, and… I’m SO blocked, it’s not funny.  And I cry out, throwing my hands up in frustration.  ‘Now WHY would You ask me to write about this and then block me?’  and I wait… and wait… and then realize that waiting is EXACTLY the point of the exercise… to see if I will get the hint and wait.  So then I humble myself, apologize for my feisty nature, ask for shalom and understanding, sit down to wait… and while doing so, I read… and BAM!  He shows me something that is VITAL to what I am supposed to write.  Which means I was blocked because a) He wanted to get my attention on HIM, not the topic, and b) He had more information and it wasn’t time for me to write it, YET, hence the waiting.  I’m thankful at the end of the process, because by then I get it.  But in the middle?  It’s highly aggravating.  I am now at the end of the process and can therefore be grateful.
    • My brother and his wife have cleared the first trimester.  It’s their first baby.  It’s exciting.  And if it’s a boy, my bets are 10 to 1 that it’ll be named some variation of ‘Zach’.  I’m also grateful to them for lending us their beautiful crib for Baby Owen, who is going to graduate to a big boy bed on his birthday, just in time for us to return the crib to them.  I’m also grateful for the pumpkins they brought over last night.  Our patch yielded only two, due to the drought, so now we have pumpkins!
    • 17 Cheshvan.  I am SOOOO geeked.  And weird about it.  See, I’m racing like crazy to finish Halloween costumes for a Halloween I don’t intend to be here for.  So basically, I need to finish the costumes so that I can take a picture of us in them the day before, so that it’s recorded for posterity’s sake, just in case we’re NOT here to wear them.  In which case, it won’t matter.  Please don’t ask.  I often make little sense.  But I’ve got TONS of conviction, and that’s what counts. 
    • Speaking of, I’m grateful (in a backhanded way) for some very interesting news articles.  I’m going to do a SECOND post this afternoon, and share them.  They have to do with 17 Cheshvan, and they are… jaw-dropping.  Just so that you know – because I don’t normally post TWO blogs in one day.
    • Years ago, I made a weather chart for our homeschool, and it’s been on the fridge for almost a decade.  This is the picture of it – one of the hands were ripped off it by the time I took the picture.  Well, this morning a home ed site I visit every morning featured a FREE weather chart that is way fancier than mine.  So I’m upgrading, and am grateful for not having to re-invent the wheel!  Here’s the freebie (LINK)… in case anyone else was interested, too!
    • The Lord sparing me from training to run in a Thanksgiving 5K.  You see, that was my (first) goal with my weight – to run a 5K coming up near Thanksgiving.  Unfortunately, the day I started my weight loss challenge, it started raining.  And it’s rained pretty much every day since.  Our gravel drive?  Slop.  The chickens are wading in the pen, it’s so wet.  My basement?  Puddle-ville.  (But no flooding, and I’m SOOO thankful for that!)  At any rate, unless I want drowned-rat-itis, I’m not going out running.  Isn’t He good?  He saves me all that work…!  ((giggles))
    • Speaking of, it’s THURSDAY, and that means a weigh-in happened this morning.  The results…?  I’m down another TWO pounds!  My current weight is now 190 – and the goal of 185 by New Years seems SOOO attainable!  Did I mention that I fit into my pre-Aaron jeans when we went to Frankenmuth?!!  Granted, I didn’t breathe much during the seven-hour trip, but I was in them, and that’s a huge thing for me!!!
    • I’m grateful that my face is clearing up and my waist is shrinking inward and my niddah has finally passed and the insane congestion from my cold is waning.  Seriously, for the past seven days, I have been one heckuva wreck, puddy.  I have looked and felt like total doggie poopie.  To the point where I just kind of retreated to the deep recesses of the corner of the sofa to wait it out (and nap.  Napping makes everything better.)  I am NOT thankful to my mother for having shown up at my house with three sick children to get me and my children sick last Thursday.  But then, I’ve never been grateful for that, so what’s new?  But I can be grateful it’s on its way to the exit (ish).
    • I’m just grateful for a warm house, hot honeyed tea, soft music, the glow of lamplight, babies to cuddle, kids to play with, laughter, good food, good friends on-line, and LOTS of vitamins. Although I have yet to try ReflectionsNReality’s Oil of Oregano.  I bought some in Frankenmuth (at the Health Haus, haha!), but I’m afraid of it.  I think it’s dragon-in-a-bottle… I don’t want to singe my innards too terribly much.
    • Keeping up in school.  Yes, I know we’re only two weeks in, but I’ve had beginnings which were so… immediately unravelling?  And this isn’t one of them.  We’ve almost seamlessly continued where we left off on the old stuff, and easily added the new stuff.  And we’re liking it.  So that’s a huge, huge thing.  A wonderful thing!
    • Breaking my record in TripleTown.  It’s a game on my Ki-NoOk-droid, one that Lydia and I kind of have a thing for.  I got 440,000 (actually over that), and am totally geeking.  I also got two floating castles and a crystal… and how anti-climatic is it that there’s nothing BIGGER than a floating castle?  We were so pumped to see what the next biggest thing would be!!!  Eh, well.  Now I just try to get as many of those as I can.  ((grins))  It is, however, distracting me from Random Mahjong.  Which I can’t decide if its a good thing or not…
    • Fall.  I love the fall.  There’s something about fall… Not the scarecrows, either – am I the only one who thinks that cities lashing them to street posts is kind of reminiscent of the Roman Christians wrapping the Jewish believers in oilcloth and igniting them, using them to light the streets?  I don’t like the whole scarecrow thing, anymore.  It’s gotten dirty, nasty, sometimes evil and always kind of disturbing.  But scarecrows, skeletons hanging from the neck at every business establishment (also disturbing), and front yard cemeteries aside (is it okay if I just close my eyes while driving, just til I’m past those?), the colors, the leaves, the mums, the cider, the cornstalks, the pumpkins, the crisp air, the bright moon…?  I love that stuff.  Fall is my favorite time of the year.
    • Brian having extra work in the barn.  We had nothing, all summer (which was fine, because we spent the time together biking and camping and swimming and going on walks and such)… but now that it’s cooler, the work is coming in.  And that’s nice – it’ll pay for our X-mess.  And it makes Brian happy.
    • Oh, speaking of payments, I’m grateful that our new truck payment is only $50 more than our trailer payment was.  I was worried – for the newness of the truck Brian wanted, he was talking $150 dollars more a month, and I was terrified of the payment.  But because we went thru the dealer and not the bank, we were able to get a longer term and therefore a smaller payment!  WoooooT… because I was REALLY not comfortable before the payment book came in the mail.  Mucho praying and lip-biting on my part!!
    • WoW, I’m grateful for having so much to be grateful for!  These were supposed to be blippy.  ((Anna: have you EVER been blippy?  You just go ON, and ON, and ON… shut the heck up sometime, willya?))  Yeah. I know.  But this is my ventilation system.  Every girl needs one…
  • Place Values

    Nine hundred, eighty one thousand, six hundred and eighty four.

    That’s one BIG number.  My kids ran into some really BIG numbers this week, and when they tried to read them?  Well, let’s just say it was amusing.  And I realized that we needed to do a unit on place value.  Oh, not telling them this is in the ‘tens’ place, and this in the ‘hundred thousands’ place… that’s already been covered in our math books.  But READING the number is interesting, because if the number is this:


    It is not read ‘nine hundred thousand, eight ten thousand, one thousand, six hundred eight tens and four ones’.  Which is what is taught in just about every chart I have seen on place values, and believe you me, I’ve seen a LOT of them.  ‘Cuz I did a search engine look-up on them.  And there is one HECK of a lot of charts out there.  Not a one of them looks like my chart.

    And yes… I’ve made a chart.

    My chart is for teaching how to SAY numbers.  It’s a place value chart, but it’s not your average bear… because its focus is not on what place the number is, but what it’s read as.  That means you have to teach places off the OTHER five hundred thousand charts out there, and learn to read off mine.  But it’s a fun little thing, and I thought I’d share it, here.  If you’d like a printable version:

  • Our Adventures:  Fun in Frankenmuth!

    Every year, we go somewhere X-messy between Sukkot and Hanukkah.  It’s just a seasonal thing… like the three wise men traveled afar, so do we.  Last year we went to Charlton Park’s “Christmas Past”.  Another year we went to Crossroads Village.  And quite a few years, we’ve gone to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth.

    This is a HUGE, HUGE store.  The size of two Walmarts, likely.

    There’s a trick to Frankenmuth, and I’ll tell you what it is: the FIRST thing you do when you hit town is go to the restaurant and make a reservation for dinner.  Whether you decide on Zehnder’s (world’s largest family restaurant) or the Bavarian Inn… GO and get a reservation first.  Because come supper/lunch time?  It. Is. Packed.  The waits are insane.  You don’t want to do that – you want to walk right in, and the key is to go and make the reservation, THEN go to Bronners or downtown or wherever.  We did Zehnder’s last time, and decided to try the other one this year, so we went to the Bavarian Inn first, got our reservation in, and then took off for Bronners.

    Zehnder’s, for the record.  No kidding, it’s HUGE.

    Now… I have to be honest.  When I came out of Christianity, I threw out Christmas in a BIG way.  Then as the years went on, I realized that you CAN’T throw out X-mess.  You can’t.  Society won’t let you.  Your husband has the day off whether he wants it or not.  You are inundated with it on billboards, commercials, store ads, stores IN GENERAL… it’s freakin’ everywhere.  I understand why Atheists, Agnostics, Muslims, and basically anyone NOT christian hates christianity – because it’s forced on them, whether they want it or not.  Period.  The best you can do is to rearrange it to be less offensive.  Strip Messiah out of it, or better still focus on Hanukkah.  I’ve even had to add stuff in and count the time between Sukkot and X-mess as the ‘sojourn time’ of the 3 Kings, who didn’t actually see Yeshua until He was something like three years old.  (Three months from the start of the fall feasts to X-mess… it fits.  Mostly.)  The X-mess tree is now our Eyetz L’Chaim, Tree of Life.  It’s… pathetic, but we do try to honor Ha’Shem in spite of the paganism foisted upon us.  Luckily, since He created all things, it’s possible to turn it back ’round to Him.

    Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland?  It’s like taking Christmas and mashing it in your own face like a pie.  And for the first few years after leaving Christianity, I hated Bronner’s.  I still don’t like them – the sum total of their Hanukkah stuff fits on an end aisle and is pathetic… and that pixxes me off.  Meanwhile, I think they have upwards to 750 nativities, between what’s for sale and what’s on display, and no, I’m not kidding you.  Which is why we try to get there in October, near Sukkot, if we can.  Less offensive, closer to the actual Birth.  But still completely garish and insane.  Wanna see?

    And that’s just the stuff ABOVE your head.  Note the racks are way down in bottom eighth of the picture.  It. Is. Cr-AZY there.  And packed.  It doesn’t matter WHAT time of the year it is, Bronners is busy.  And there are pictures on the wall of Wally Bronner with every known celebrity you can think of, pretty much.  From Marie Osmond to Ronald Reagan to Laura Bush to the Von Trapps to Doogie Hauser, M.D to Miss America.   They all have gone to Bronners, at one time or another.  It’s pretty amazing.

    We always go and spend about two hours looking around (and we still don’t look at it all), and we each get an ornament for our tree, and then one each for the penpals.  Sometimes we need something else – like glass icicles for the tree (cuz mine are old/brittle/broken) or garland (cuz mine was my mom’s and started to fall apart).  This year I got a few lighted snowflakes for the outside of the house.  I really actually wanted a lit Star of David, but apparently nobody makes those… so I’m going to get some heavy wire or thin rod and bend it, then wrap it with blue garland.  It can go between the two lit snowflakes on the house.  ((grins!))

    Last time we went all around the grounds, walking thru the statues and stuff.  This year, I wanted to take the kids up to the Silent Night Chapel.  Ugh, church (watch me rankle), but I thought it’d be educational.  The Silent Night Chapel is an exact replica of the one in Austria that stands on the site of the church where ‘Silent Night’ was first sung.  It’s… anticlimatic.  And tiny.  And I don’t like it, but we did it.  For posterity’s sake.

    What WERE interesting were the signs leading up to it.  They had ‘Silent Night’ in every language you can imagine, six on each side of the sign.  Of course I wanted to read it in Hebrew, but Isaac and Lydia were fascinated with the Braille.  Ethan and Aaron?  They just figured out that some of the rocks along the path were really speakers that played ‘Silent Night’, and they were checking out ALL the rocks to find out which were real and which were not.

    And yes, I was there, too.  I know you people get upset when I don’t put up at least ONE picture with me in it… so there Brian and I are.  Two hunnid pown don’t look too terrible when you’re five-foot-Amazon.  Besides, I’m down quite a bit, but you don’t get to find out until Thursday.  ((bwahahaha.))  By the way, those are NOT maternity jeans… I actually fit into my REAL jeans for this trip!  WoooooT!

    As we were leaving, we had a REAL treat – and what to our wondering eyes should appear but a jolly old man all in red with a beard!  Driving a snow-white car, I might add.  Santa?  I don’t know, but if it is, he’s looking mighty dapper, these days!!

    Then we drove downtown and parked on the other side of the covered bridge.  Frankenmuth has two hotels with massive waterpark hotels (Zehnder’s Splash Village and the Bavarian Inn), dozens of horse drawn carriages (watch where you step), and TONS of little shops with facades reminiscent of Bavaria – after all, Frankenmuth is called ‘Little Bavaria’.  Much beer and cheese and wine hauses, but fun little trinket places, fudge shops, toy shops… Brian actually likes walking downtown more than he likes Bronners, so we try to get there around two so that we have daylight for our wanderings.  But we always park so that we can walk across the covered bridge.  It’s very kewl.

    The covered bridge.  And the colors were still pretty, too!

    We walked further north than we ever have before – all the way up the hill to the Frankenmuth Brewery.  Brian said he wanted to see if we could get some mead, this year – in reading ‘An Island Story’ for history, we’ve come across mead quite a lot, and wine made from honey sounded intriguing, so we were on a mission to try to find mead.  Frankenmuth Brewery, btw, does NOT have it.  But it was kind of fun, seeing what was up the hill.

    Then we came back down and went in our usual shops – the Cheese Haus, the Woolen Merchant (I saw a quilt pattern that I am SO going to have to do for our bed… someday…), we watched them make taffy in the candy shop window, bypassed the toy shop (I refuse to go there – one year, 2-year old Aaron had to go potty, and was training, and couldn’t hold it long.  I asked if he could use their bathroom, and the witch who ran it wouldn’t let us… he was beside himself over that one, and if a TOY SHOP can’t let a little one use their potty, they can kiss my business goodbye).  But we love the Olde Tyme curiosity shop, and the jewelry merchant, and the little bakery under the tower.  I’ll be doing a ‘how fudge is made’ post in a few days – we spent quite a lot of time in the fudge shop, and walked away with four slabs (German Chocolate, Mint Swirl, Dark Chocolate, and Turtle.  Did you know chocolate has 13g fat in a 1″ cube, but fudge only has 1 gram in a 1″ cube?  It’s WAY better for you!  Besides… fudge!)

    This tower, below, is part of the Bavarian Inn.  There’s also a giant clock on the other side, with bells that chime out music, and that three times daily has a mechanical cuckoo-style story of the Pied Piper for kids to see.  Check out the picture to the right… that’s the Pied Piper and the bells.

    This is the entrance to the Bavarian inn.  Upstairs is the restaurant, and in the basement is a toy shop, a curiosity shop, a bakery, and the little wine merchant were we DID find our mead!  It’s fun walking around down there, too.  But I hope you’re getting a feel for what Frankenmuth is like.  Very Old Europe… like stepping into the past.  This is why it’s such a huge tourist trap.

    As we were headed upstairs, I heard an accordion, and wasn’t sure if it was canned music or an actual musician.  Imagine our delight when we saw that it was a woman actually playing the music!  We stopped to listen, and she was playing ‘  O Sole Mio’.  I don’t know the words in Italian (<< my new goal… for when this ghastly cold is done), but I know the English counterpart, so I started singing.  The accordion lady was so thrilled, she started singing along with me.  Could’ve been a beautiful duet, if it weren’t for the fact that my mom came over with illin’ triplets Thursday and got three out of seven of us sick with colds.  Still, it was fun, and my kids thought it was SOO kewl, their mom singing with the musician lady.  She was too happy to let me take her picture, too. This isn’t her own costume; all the employees at the Bavarian Inn – upstairs and down – wear this.

    Well, except for the guys.  They get the traditional lederhosen, and YES, I did take a picture of them in the restaurant.  Aren’t they cute?  Look at the socks!  So cute.  In an Old World kind of way, of course.

    It was, btw, very nice to bypass the long lines and get shown right to our table.  And you should know… the dinners at both Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn are NOT for the feint of heart.  They consist of traditional fruit/nut bread with marmalade, and chicken noodle soup.  Then an appetizer course arrives of tuna noodle salad, cole slaw, cranberry sauce and corn relish.  Then you move on to the meal, which is their famous chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, and buttered noodles.  Then they bring you molasses cookies and ice cream (orange/vanilla swirl, pumpkin, orange, or vanilla).  I figured my weight challenge was SHOT for the day, but when I added in the 4+ hours of walking, I came out 32 calories to the good, even after eating ALL of the food, there!

    On the way home, we drove back thru Bronner’s – the store was closed and the parking lot empty, but everything was all lit up, so we took the drive down their ‘Christmas Lane’ to enjoy the displays.  It was fun – something I don’t remember doing, before.

    It’s a three hour (ish) drive to Frankenmuth from our house, but we make a great day’s adventure out of it, and have a lovely time!