Saturday, February 28, 2009

A little Ring of Love

Well, friends, it's been a full week. I'm sorry to have not posted, but just didn't have the energy to stay up and post. So let me back up and tell you about this week. It started last Sunday....we attend an Episcipal church Sunday mornings. (We also attend a Pentecostal church later in the morning, but that's another story...grin.) And we had the Bishop coming to confirm several of our youth. It was kinda exciting. It was the first time this Bishop had come to our little church. Several of the ladies on vestry had asked me to make a cake for the occasion which I happily agreed to do. Well, Saturday night, after Shabbot had ended, I'm working on finishing the cake up and realized I couldn't find my large sheet cake pan! Panic....what can I do?!?! I decided I'd have to use two smaller pans and but them together so it looked like one large sheet cake underneath the cross cake I'd baked. I've done this before and if I'm careful, no one ever guesses it's two smaller cakes under the cross, but it allows for feeding a larger number of people. Unfortunately, after the two smaller cakes baked it was discovered our oven is no longer level. As both cakes sloped badly. I attempted to cover the problem with icing, but it didn't look nearly as good as my normal cakes and I was embarrassed, so Sunday morning we got up and raced to the local bakery to pick up a ready made cake. We delivered it to the church, I added wording for the occasion and we start in for services. Then I noticied it!!! Now real panic set in!!! What did I notice? My wedding band was missing!!!! When Dodi and I first got married (in 1992) we had Black Hills Gold wedding bands. They didn't exactly match, but were obviously close to the same. And I loved that delicate little gold band with the green and red grape leaves. Over the years, Dodi broke that ring (twice I might add!!!!) and we'd get it fixed, and then one day he lost it. He was devestated. I told him it didn't matter, he had me, and we could easily get another band. Which we did. Dodi wears a size 15 ring, so it's hard to find one big enough. We usually get a 12 or 13 (the biggest we can usually find) and then have it stretched. So we got new bands, stretched his and I wore both bands on different fingers. Then last summer, he broke the new band and it was not able to be repaired. So at Hannukah, I got us another set of matching bands. These are titanium steele and etched with La Dodi en la Dodi, "My beloved is mine and I am my beloved's". So when I say I lost my wedding band, it's true...but I still have two other bands to wear. But that first band was my was sweet, delicate, beautiful...and represented the love we'd shared for over 30 years. Deep heavy sigh. We searched everywhere....yes, even in the cake after church. Couldn't find it anyway. I cried. Dodi reminded me of my own words to him years ago....he still loved me, the ring didn't matter, we had other bands, he'd buy me another one if I wanted him to... all the right words. (Don't you just hate it when your sweetie uses your own words and you know he's right?!?!?!) Later that evening, at the other church's evening services, a guest preacher talked about how outward signs were less important than the inward signs of love. Now, yes, he was talking about faith in Yeshua and the Father's love, but it occured to me that Papa was talking straight to me!!! That little ring of gold was far less important than the inner knowledge I have that my Dodi loves me with his whole heart. The knowledge that my pain and sorrow affects him as much as it does me. The knowledge that wether I have that ring, or another, or any ring at all, he'll still love me. Hmmm, kinda a picture of Papa's love for me. Wow! So now, while my heart is sad I lost that little ring, I've realized I still have my ring of's in my Dodi's eyes each time he looks at me, his voice when we talk together and his arms when he hugs me. Who needs a gold ring anyhow? I've got a loving ring wrapped around me several times....from Papa, from Dodi, from Little Critter and the boys, from my friends. Boy, am I blessed. I pray you recognize the blessings in your life too, dear friends. Be blessed and I'll talk again soon. Shalom, Joie

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Well, tonight I had something different happen. As I've said before, we celebrate Shabbot. Part of the Shabbot service (service? perhaps activity would be a better word), is that the parents typically bless their children. I mean they place their hands on their children's head or shoulders and pray a blessing over them. We do this each Friday night after communion (blessing and partaking in the wine and bread) and before we pray blessings over who ever we choose to bless that particular night. Little Critter really likes this part of Shabbot. Each of our guests join in and they pray blessings over him also. But tonight, Little Critter turned the tables on me. I had to work all day today (10 hours with no break) and so Dodi put Little Critter to bed. (I'd just gotten in and was hungry! So was eating my now extremely cold dinner.) When Dodi came back out to the den, he said "Little Critter would like you to go in to his room. He'd like to bless you Mommy." I was a little startled, and figured it was a ploy to delay bedtime. But I went into Little Critter's room and sure enough he said " Oh, Mommy, thanks for coming in. I'd like to bless you. I think you could use a blessing." Well, let me tell you, out of the mouth of babes!!! I've been kinda feeling like I live at the office more than at home this past two weeks. (Lots of time off for others that they can't help needing, but means I don't get my time off....the perils of being the Office Manager...sigh) Anyway, he proceeded to place his little hand on my shoulder, and proceeded to pray such a beautiful and (dare I say it?) almost adult blessing over me that I almost cried. It was SO sweet and beautiful. (Not to mention timely!) Of course I then blessed him and prayed over him. (I do this nightly before I go to bed, but he's usually asleep.) And as I came back into the den, I felt so blessed. Not only by Little Critter, but by Papa. He knew I've been having a rough time with clients who don't think before they engage their mouths...and therefore forget to use their manners. And trying to keep the house from being condemed for health or safetly reasons while I'm working. (You know how it goes, you work 10 hours then do laundry until the wee hours of the night so you can get up and do the same thing the next day!?!?! And try to remain cheerful, friendly, helpful and NOT grouchy all the same time when all you want to do is take about a 12 hour nap!!!!!!) So Papa had my darling Little Critter (the wormy, squirmy child who loves to find my last remaining nerve and jump up and down on it!) bless me with words that just flooded my soul and my heart with Papa's love and with Little Critter's love for me. What a joy! My children may never rise up and call me blessed....but tonight, my Little Critter blessed me. I don't know if it gets any better than that! I pray you try blessing your children, my friends. It creates a bond that is hard to explain and a closeness that nothing can break. And I pray that one day, your children will bless you also. It will thrill your hearts more than words can tell! Have a blessed week, full of love letters from Papa. Shalom, Joie

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Joseph's Tablecloth

As I was trying to explain Joseph's coat of many colors to the littles in the Sunday School class I teach they were having trouble understanding how special this was. So I gathered up some fabric scraps and we laid out a crazy quilt type of table cloth for the table in our classroom. We had fun arranging all the little squares and rectangles of various kinds of material and various patterns to make something beautiful. This week I'll sew it together for them and take it back to church for the kids to autograph a square each. As we were laying out the materials, we talked about which color did they think Papa liked best? And which piece of material did they think Papa would like best. We had one square of material with different colored handprints on it. They all decided Papa would like that material best because it had the handprints of all kinds of kids on it. (Aren't littles wonderful?!?!) Then I explained that they were like those pieces of fabric. Each of them was different, their personalities were different "colors'...some were bright and shiny, some were quiet and subdued, some were vibrant but fragile. But not all of them were the fabric with handprints on it. Then I asked which of them Papa loved best? Dead silence for several minutes....then the yongest little (a 5 yr old boy) said he believed Papa loved him best because he was sturdy and bright at the same time. (as he's pointing to one of the squares of material!) Of course the others all informed him that Papa loved them best! The look on their faces when I told them they were all correct was priceless!!!! You mean Papa loves each of us best?!?!?! How can He do that? The following discussion was delightful as I lead them to see the wonders hidden in each one of them.
After church ended, and we went home, I contemplated that class. It occurred to me that Papa taught me as much as He did the children. What had been a spur of the moment idea turned out to be a blessing for all of us. I thought I'd come up with something to help keep the wormy, squirmy boys involved and also something the little girls would delight in, when all along I was following a still, small voice wanting to minister to me. The kids decided I was like a scrap of brocade....pretty, but kinda scratchy (meaning I insist on manners and minding in the classroom) but really strong and unbreakable. Now for a group of 5-11 yr old kids, that was an incredibly accurate picture of me. (Not too sure about the pretty part, they just like playing games with me!) But I am pretty strong, (at least will wise) and my faith is unbreakable, and sometimes I do get 'scratchy' when the kids are acting like little heathens! And to be honest, it blessed my heart to see that they understood that while I sometimes get 'scratchy' (I loved their definition of it) it was because I loved them and wanted others to see what wonderful kids they are. And as we finished up our project, they were delighted to see themselves in the little tablecloth we'd made. The bright, shiny young lady who really is quite fragile. The littlest boy who is strong, but dark colored due to a homelife that doesn't offer much support to him. My Little Critter who chose a scrap full of color and movement but all in dark colors representing his active body and mind, but also his fight with himself and his desire to 'do it all himself'. They saw each other's strengths more than weaknesses and celebrated each other in words. And I as the teacher was taught by these darling little heart stealers. What a blessed day. I was also confirmed that while my teaching methods are often unorthodox, the kids are learning about Papa and His love for them. And seeing how precious they are in His sight.
I hope you can understand how precious YOU are to Papa. I hope you see the love letters Papa sends you dear friends. Even if it comes from little heart stealers....LOL! After all, 'out of the mouth of babes...." Be Blessed and have a great week. Shalom, Joie

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A treasure

I found something I've never seen in my Bible the other day. Little Critter and I were doing Torah Study (Bible study) as we do every day. We were reading the Torah portion for this week in Exodus. When we got to Exodus 19:5, I had to stop and read it a second time! I don't know about your translation, but I use the Complete Jewish Bible translation by David H Stern. Now, I have several other versions, but I prefer this one since it's translated from the original Aramaic/Greek/Hebrew. And in Exodus 19:5, it says "Now if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep my covenant, then you will be my own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine:"
Did you catch it? Do you see it? We can be Jehovah's own treasure!!!! Can you imagine??? The King of the Universe, the creator of all living things, the One who IS love, the great I AM wants to call me His own treasure!!! WOW!!! It suddenly struck me, that in His eyes, I'm not just a piddly little homeschool mom who works part time, serves at two different churches and attempts to keep the house clean enough to keep it from being condemned. In His eyes, I can be His own treasure!!!! Now, if you think about that a minute that's pretty astounding. Papa can have anything He wants, He created it all! But what He wants is for you (and I) to be His own treasure. Not just a special people, not just a chosen race, not just a group of priests, but His own treasure.

I'm sure there's plenty of folks saying, "and your point is?!?!" But think about it. The dictionary says a treasure is " something that is considered to be precious, to be of great value, cherished" So see, it really is incredible. The creator of the universe says if I listen to His voice, and obey His covenant, I can be His precious, cherished and greatly valued own treasure. Not just one of the crowd, not just another freckled faced, red head with a temper and a warped sense of humor....His own special treasure. I am just blown away. I know I've read that verse about eleventy million times in the past....usually from a different version. None of them say I'm a treasure. (although I did find it say the same thing in The Word version at church today). What a wonderful love letter from my Papa to me. I'm a treasure. And you can be a treasure too. All you have to do is listen to His voice, pay attention to what He says, and follow (or obey) His covenant. (you can find the covenant in the 10 Commandments where He boiled it all down into 10 laws to follow for a long life.) It kinda gives a new way of seeing things doesn't it? Instead of seeing yourself as just another seeker of truth (or whatever you call yourself) you are a treasure.....and not just any treasure, but the treasure of the Great I AM, the creator of the universe. WOW! I pray you'll get this deep inside yourself and believe it. Talk about a self esteem booster!!! So my dear friends, as you prepare for your next week, remember you can be His own treasure, act like a treasure and don't forget to thank Him for His deep abiding love for you. Be Blessed this week and Shalom, Joie

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A quicky from Papa

I'm sorry to have been silent so long. It's tax season here in the States, and I work as office manager of a tax office. So lately I've been working entirely too many hours. But Papa has been faithful to send me quick little love letters. I just keep running out of energy and time to write about them. So I want to take time for a quick one here. Today things were quickly going into a downhill slide. It seemed the more I tried to pull things back into something that would resemble a calm, peaceful place to work the more things went wrong. Then as I was about to really get aggravated and no doubt say things I really didn't want to comes Papa to the rescue! My boss, the owner had just finished speaking to me in a less than respectful manner, and my red hair was about to provide enough electricity to light our town for the next 10 years, when a client called and said "I'd like to make an appointment with Joie to do my taxes." The receptionist asked if someone else could help her, and she replied "No, Joie does a great job with our taxes and we'd rather wait for her!" Oh, thank you Papa. How awesome your timing in reminding me that when I treat others the way I want to be treated, they notice it....and remember it. We have 3 other women who could have done her taxes, but she preferred me. Their taxes aren't difficult, in fact they're quite simple! They could do them online for free, but they preferred to come in and have me do them for them. What an honor! What a pat on the back for me. I've even told them in the past they could do their taxes onine for free....and they continue to reply, but then we couldn't come see you! We'd rather pay you to do our taxes and know they're done correctly. OK, now my little heart is singing and my death grip on my temper is easing to a more comfortable tension. After finishing their taxes, and having several giggles along the way, I couldn't help but thank Papa for seeing I needed a pat on the back and sending these lovely angels my way. So next time you're having one of "THOSE" days, look around. I'll bet you'll find an angel or two waiting to pat you on your back too! Papa is so faithful to remind us of His love. Be blessed and know that if I don't get back for another week or so, tax season is just that.....only a season! Shalom, Joie