Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sukkot - The Last "Great" Day

Where or where did the summer go...............
 This sad little picture is Ariela's good-bye to summer which mirrors our sadness at coming to the end of Sukkot.  She doesn't understand the cycle of the seasons whether they be natural or spiritual and she's not a big fan of snow and ice (ditto for DannyLee!).  Her love is the freedom and the adventure of the outdoors.  Alaskan winters can be a trial for anyone, even a dog!

We celebrated the last "great" day of Sukkot with a "feast" of roasted turkey, baked squash, stuffing and gravy and pumpkin spice cake and my favorite little pumpkin rolls.  

Sukkot 2014
We're grateful to be able to put such a feast on the table at a time when so many are doing without and going hungry.  It's hard not to think of the suffering in the world these days.  When we fasted for Yom Kippur, we experienced only a few hours of hunger and it was uncomfortable, but only uncomfortable.  We can only wonder at how we will endure during the Great Tribulation when the urge to complain will seem overwhelming as 3 1/2 years in no way compares to a single day.  

Our thoughts on this last "great" day caused us to question what have we learned during this Torah cycle and how has it changed our lives.  We both agreed that this year was more significant than all the years before as we caught the confirmations over and over again for the Greater Exodus.  Each year that we study the Torah, it has changed us and drawn us to a deeper love of our FATHER in heaven.  

We struggled with so many questions this past year about our path and the difficulties that we seem to have to face over and over again.  We've wept and rejoiced and found ourselves overwhelmed time and time again as HE answered our fears, our concerns and our questions through each Torah study.  

The bottom line for us is, however, that as we face the start of a new Torah cycle, our feelings are joy, excitement and anticipation for the new things that HE will be revealing in this coming year.  So we find ourselves back to "In the beginning..." and we turn our faces forward to see just how HE will once again reveal to us "the end from the beginning".  

Be strong, be strong and be strengthened!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sukkot 2014 Alaskan Style

It's Sukkot - our season of joy!  And as to be expected, we're dealing with lots of snow at this time.  One of the first tasks that DannyLee faced was to dig us out a path to our sukka.  We don't have enough propane to keep our sukka warm for more than a few hours a day so we're spending that time in there reading aloud the Book of Deuteronomy.  As we sit in there enjoying our reading time and memories, it's clear to both of us that we haven't outgrown our RV and would welcome HIS call at any time to get back out there "on the road again".  

The rest of the time, we find ourselves dealing with the daily tasks of hauling wood from the woodpiles to the house as the temperatures slowly slide down the scale towards winter.  Some silly "scientist" tried to make "news" out of saying that winter was coming early to Alaska in October.  We've had snow since mid-September.  I'm not sure where these "so-called scientists" get their "facts" but it's not from the most basic of scientific skills called "observation".
Taken 9/22/2014
 This year we're going to try to generate as much of our own heat from our own trees as possible.  We have a large wood storage shed, piles and piles of cut logs all over our property, dozens of fallen trees just waiting to be cut into logs and dozens more that are still standing till that next "big" gust of wind comes blasting through.

This is the first time that we've taken out the chain saw and actually taken down some of the more dangerous "leaners" that threaten to take out anyone aimlessly walking through the woods.  It's not the most fun activity, but we're trying to be very careful and safe as we learn how best to fell these "beasts" without becoming a casualty in the process.  

DannyLee has become quite proficient with the "maul" and has worked his way through half the wood shed and several piles of cut logs in the months of August, September and a bit of October.  It's harder to maul wood with snow on the ground, but as we try to figure out just how much wood is going to be "enough", it seems that he may have to spend some time out there in the snow too. 


He has already broken the head off of our first maul which was a gift from our friends Jim & Dine in Louisiana.  Don't worry ya'll!  He managed to get a lot of use out of it before he finally broke it's "neck".  We've replaced it with a maul with a fiberglass handle and bought a new handle to repair the other one when I can get to it.  

I have to confess that I don't quite have the "knack to whack" that he's got.  It can take me 10 or more hits/misses to break a single log which makes me pretty much useless in that area.  I make up for it by doing more of the hauling and loading and stacking work.  

We've managed to build up quite a stack on two sides of the garage which we've given over to storing wood and wood pellets for our pellet stove.  It's just not worth it to try and "shoe horn" in the gold truck when the snow makes it impossible to get the doors fully open and the burgundy truck is definitely a "no way"!

In honor to this time of "feasting", I'm concentrating on preparing "campfire" types of gourmet meals.  So far we've enjoyed roasted chicken, chili burgers and tuna sandwiches.  We plan to end the feast with a large turkey dinner.  My best creation has been a honey lemon cake that nearly brought tears to our eyes it was so "over the top" good.  Also on the list for the coming days are homemade humus and pita bread and tamale pie.  Food is a big part of the "joy of feasting" for us!

The "kids" sure do enjoy a good fire!