Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Winter Wanes - Pesach (Passover) Comes!

Winter's Worst - January 2013
Our second winter in Alaska was not in many ways like the first.  The first tested our physical and mental endurance in excess with the worst winter conditions in the recorded history of Alaska.  One has to wonder why we would ever consider facing a second winter after such an experience.  I confess that the answer to that question ofttimes eludes us too.  

Our second winter will be recorded as one of the mildest winters ever in stark contrast to the first.  The picture here is of one of the "heaviest" snowfalls of the whole winter and as you can see, it just put a "smile" on our "faces" and as swiftly as it came, it quickly melted away within a day or so.  The snowfall was so much less this year throughout Alaska that it threatened to ruin a much-loved signature Alaskan event - the Iditarod race.  All turned out well in the end though and the race is on.  

Our "race" continues also, albeit, at a snail's pace, it seems.  As we seek to live out our FATHER's will in all things and in all of our ways, we have to admit that it's sometimes the greater struggle to be confident that we are clearly and distinctly doing it "right".  Our most basic affirmation comes perhaps, in the simplicity of each new morning that we are given to get out of bed and face another day with a renewed hope and chance to get it right this time.  In our efforts to "get it right", we once again face the task of preparing for Pesach.  

Yes, it's THAT special time again!  The beginning of the Spring feasts that reminds us to look back at the ancient Exodus of our ancestors from Egypt as we also look to making preparations for a greater Exodus that will lead to the glorious return of our Savior and King Yeshua.  This will open the door to that future Pesach where HE will fulfill HIS Word to drink the final cup of Pesach with us once again.  We can't help but feel excited to once again enter into the cycle of HIS divine appointed times.  Nothing makes us feel as much a part of HIS plans and purposes as keeping HIS feasts.  

Each Pesach brings a fresh start to the cycle of our lives in HIM and a renewed hope that this year will see us moving closer in our walk with HIM.  We feel ourselves to be a part of all that has come before way back to the time of our Patriarchs Avram, Yitzak, and Ya'akov as we continue the traditions established by Mosheh and the Children of Y'srael.  

We begin our preparations with a series of "searches".  Our first search comes in looking for matza!  All of the other components needed for the special Pesach meal are easily found or already procured.  Matza is not so easy.  The local store that carried it last year hasn't gotten any so far this year and it's best not to wait until the last minute this far off the beaten path.  

Our next hope to find matza lay 80+ miles to the north.  My backup plan was to make my own.  I confess that I was REALLY hoping that the big Fred Meyer's store in Soldotna was not going to disappoint us.  Of major concern is, as always, the weather and we watched the weather reports carefully in order to schedule a safe and uneventful drive north on the Sterling Highway.  Finally, our schedules and weather came together and we headed north in our search.  

Success!  We found several boxes of whole wheat matza on the shelf - not our first choice, as I like the garlic variety the best, but not having to make my own made this a happy day indeed!  It seems as if our timing was perfect in this, as our purchase left only 3 boxes on the shelf and the only other choice for those coming later would be onion matza - YUCK!  Thank YOU ADONAI!!

Our next search will be far more consuming as we are now in the time of searching our "home" and our "hearts" for leaven.  What things/thoughts/distractions have we allowed to creep into our lives over the past year that are serving to keep us from the fullness of our relationship with our Creator and Master that we desire?  We have tried to stay focused on our love for HIM and our struggles to learn and live by HIS TORAH, but it's clear that our hearts have grown weary in the day to day struggle to survive in a world that's gone mad.  The temptation to drown it all out with idle distractions is ever present.  This search will not be so easy.  

Our simple Hagadah from last year worked well for us so we will use it again and the slow roasted lamb recipe delighted us with a wonderful meal so it's a "keeper" too.  Here is the link for anyone looking for a simple way to prepare their lamb or beef:  Leg of Lamb - Slow Roasted Recipe - RecipeTips.com

We will be celebrating Pesach on the evening of Tuesday, March 26th according to our lunar reckoning.  I've given up any efforts to look at the timing of other celebrations so if we're out of step here, oh well.  Our hearts are turned to our FATHER and HIS leading.  We've given up on trying to explain or rationalize where HIS leading has led us in our lives.