Sunday, October 16, 2016

Happy Sukkot!!

We pray that all of you are enjoying the Fall Feasts!

One of my personal goals this year was to perfect my crown challah. This one was made for Yom Teruah or Feast of Trumpets.  I'm getting better!  It tasted even better than it looked!

We celebrated Yom Teruah twice as we traveled to North Pole to fellowship with some new friends on Saturday and then enjoyed our own celebration at home on Sunday.  

Our neighbor reported the sound of shofars as we happily blasted away thinking we were all alone out here in the bush.  

As DannyLee was studying the Torah portions and celebrating his 70th birthday, he realized that not only is his birth Torah portion Ha-zinu (spelling?) or the Song of Moshe, but he was actually born on Yom Teruah!  How's that for a revelation!!  

We enjoyed a very quiet Yom Kippur or Feast of Atonement here at home as we reflected on how far we've come in the years that Torah has been a part of our lives.  

As King David so eloquently put it in Psalms 119, the Torah is a delight to us and has changed our understanding of YHVH Elohim and our King and Redeemer Yeshua in so many ways.  

Our hearts break daily as we consider how so many around us have rejected HIM in our present day. I'd hate to think of where I'd be without HIM and HIS Torah to guide me through the troubles of our world today.  

Now as we stand on the brink of SUKKOT!!!, we're amazed to report that we've not yet had a single flake of snow here in Dot Lake!!

I know that's hard to believe and even though I look outside multiple times during the day AND the night, NO SNOW!

It's very cold at night and is slipping down into the thirties now during the day.  We've had several hard frosts and the ground is freezing but not a drop of moisture is coming from the clear blue skies each day. The northern lights are putting on some spectacular shows at night and the stars are bright.  

Yesterday a couple of flocks of Trumpeter Swans flew over just as the sun fell behind the ridge.  They shown with golden light in the blue sky as they flew over.  My camera was too far from hand to even try to capture their image.  

The good news is that we've been able to continue cutting wood every day and we're at peak levels though we've been burning wood since we got the woodstove in place.  DannyLee's graduated from a maul to a splitting axe.  He's wondering why he didn't do that long ago as it's much quicker.  

On a final note, I convinced DannyLee we needed a new bench for Sukkot so he "built" me a "Whittle" bench.  We'll be able to spend our Sukkot next to our campfire outside our fancy "Rolling Sukka" as Mike C. likes to joke about.  

P.S.  You wouldn't think it was so little if you had to lift this thing.  I nearly killed myself lifting the big log to an upright position.  It took both of us to lift it onto the "feet".  

Here's our fancy Sukkot kitchen/dining area:  

Our "Whittle Bench"
On a final note, please remember the words of Yeshua:  

"Where two or more are gathered, I AM there with you."  

No matter how small your "fellowship" group may be, it only takes two to draw HIS presence into your life.  Don't let the enemy steal your joy or make you stumble over being alone.  YOU're NOT!!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Where Oh Where Did My Summer Go?

My 2016 Summer Project

There's a funny thing about "summer projects" here in Alaska....they always seem to be about making it easier to get through the long winter!  

This summer, our secondary project to refilling the woodshed was to install a new wood stove that wouldn't require us to stay up all night tending a fire OR getting up to a freezing cold house the next morning.  

This is our "new" wood stove built for us by Chris and his crew at Tok Welding.  Chris has a cool website for his wood stove business at  He's been building stoves for many, many years and when we learned about him, we wanted one of his stoves to replace the old, temperamental stove we inherited with our house.  

The problem was that we couldn't just poke a new stove in the old spot without making some effort to make it look WAY better.  So, here's our version of "way better" with rocks from all over the world plastered to the walls.  

As I promised, I would post a picture when the job was complete.   The walls took days and days.  The floor I did in a few hours.  I didn't actually have a "plan".  This is just the way the "vision" in my head manifested through the work of my hands.                                 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Shavuot - A Double Portion

Signs of Summer on the Road to Tok

After 7 complete weeks of counting the omer, comes the Feast of Shavuot.  This is the final feast of the spring feasts and closes out the Feasts that were fulfilled by the first coming of Yeshua Hamashiach, our Savior and King.  At this feast, we proclaim our allegiance to our King Yeshua.  

On this day, in the time of Moshe, the Israelites, (native born and the alien/sojourner among them, according to Moshe) gathered at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.  Our King gave us HIS Laws, Statutes and Ordinances to teach us how we are to live and to give us time to practice and learn how to live in HIS Kingdom. Anyone that doesn't wish to follow HIS Laws will have to find somewhere else to live.  

Also on this day, about two thousand years later, the Israelites gathered in the Upper Room as they were instructed by Yeshua as HE prepared to ascend to HIS Father.  There they received a powerful outpouring of the Ruach HaChodesh that changed everything.  On that day, three thousand souls were added to the Kingdom.  

DannyLee waving the barley loaf!

We were doubly blessed this year to have two Shavuots.  

Our first was spent in North Pole with some fellow believers.  We got to enjoy tabbouleh for the first time.  It was fun to have a chance to make our proclamations of faith with others present.  This was our deepest prayer this year as we felt very strongly that it was important this year more so than ever before to keep this feast to the best of our ability. We've heard echoes of that feeling from many directions.

We can only hope that we'll get to spend some time with these kind folks again some day.  

SueJean waving the barley loaf.

Our second was spent at home where we again made our proclamations of faith and blew our shofars.  We had a lovely supper of hummus, turkey salad and barley bread.  I was amused to find a 'fish' somehow managed to 'rise up' in the middle of my barley loaf.  Too funny!  

Friday, June 3, 2016

Counting the Omer in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Sun setting to the northwest/looking back at the house to the southeast.
Click on the picture to get a bigger view of them.

One of the hallmarks of spring in Alaska is the lengthening days until we reach the summer solstice.  If you look at the picture of our house closely, you can see the reflection of the sunset behind me in the picture window.  It's really amazing when you realize the time this picture was taken and the days are still getting longer....

May was a busy month for us as we've had a lot of excitement with the road construction project that has overwhelmed us with NOISE!  They set up the base of their operation one lot over to the north of us where the firefighters set up their base last year and brought in tons of heavy equipment to build the road.  If you've never been privy to the use of dynamite, it can be very disconcerting.  To make it even more interesting, they set it off by shooting it and sometimes they don't hit their target on the first shot.  Even more interesting is that they started the month off with dynamite after 10 p.m.  What a wake-up that was for DannyLee!  The good side is they're not flying over our house all the time in helicopters.  

Mama Moose & Baby being warned by our 'big dog'.
We've also had more than a few visitors this month.  Ari hasn't been too happy about that, but the flag person stationed at the end of our driveway has informed us that the bear mama and her cub are making a wide berth around our property.  I was very happy to hear that as we spend our days out in the woods gathering our firewood for next winter.  

We're happy to miss out on any close encounters with our four-legged neighbors.  

This is the time for us to count the omer and we started off as usual with DannyLee finding dimes.  We were very interested when the first dime he found was from our 'neighbor', Canada.  It's funny enough that he finds dimes at all and we take it as a private joke between us and Elohim tying back to our first method of using dimes as a way of doing our count.  Finding one from Canada while we're concerned about our Canadian friends in Alberta, was like a nudge to get in touch with them.  We were further encouraged to do so when we saw the news that Alberta was engulfed in flames.  A phone call saved us a lot of worry as they assured us Adonai was protecting them as always and the fire was going around them again.  

In this time of the spring feasts of Elohim, we have caused a lot of people to ask us if we're Jewish.  The answer to that question is emphatically, NO!  We're not Jewish. We're Hebrews and we worship the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob according to the way HE commanded us to worship in HIS Torah.  

Our self-identification is based on Scripture with a clear understanding of this matter coming here:  "And if you belong to Yeshua [are in HIM Who is Abraham's seed], then you are Abraham's offspring and [spiritual]heirs according to promise." Galatians 3:29  For those that don't understand, Abraham was a Hebrew, not a Jew. You can check DannyLee's writings at his blog site if you want to know more about this matter.  

We 'found' a fun new restaurant on our trip to Fairbanks this month.  This place is in the center of town, but if you didn't know it was there, I'm not sure how you'd find it.  It's been featured on that TV show 'Diners, Drive-ins & Dives' and one trip there made it clear to us why.  We love BBQ brisket and this place advertises itself as the 'northernmost southern-style BBQ restaurant'.  They've got their smokers set up outside and the smell is heavenly.  

We highly recommend their 'cowboy sundaes' and NO, there's no ice cream involved....

As I said, we've been busy this month cutting firewood and getting ready for summer. The purple flowers are already blooming everywhere and the little wild roses are showing their pinks.  The fireweed blossoms come up red and the grass is already lush with all the rain and sunshine we've had.  We're excited to be outside every day even if it is mainly to cut wood.  

I'll close this post with one last picture.  This is the sign that DannyLee wanted to put up so I painted it for him.  I think it came out pretty good for a non-artist, eh?  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Celebrating Pesach - Next, The Feast of Unleavened Bread

Passover, "chag kasher v'same'ach" (חַג כָּשֵׁר וְשָׂמֵחַ)

Each year, as Pesach draws near, DannyLee and I must go back to the Scriptures and ask ourselves many questions.  We have no "family traditions" to fall back upon in keeping the Feasts of Elohim.  We have only the Scriptures, the internet and the lessons we've learned over the years as we've tried to learn how best to observe these Feasts.  

Sadly, any hopes we might have in learning anything about these commanded Feasts from our Jewish brethren have been dashed year after year as we see the things they're willing to embrace in their pursuit of "worldliness".  We have to ask ourselves what YHVH Elohim thinks about "progressiveness" when it leads away from Him and into things that HE clearly says that HE hates.  So, in the interest of pleasing HIM, more so, than in showing ourselves to be "progressive" and "tolerant", we keep our focus on the simplicity of what is given to us in the Scriptures.  We might not be getting it exactly right, but we're not left with any fears about getting it horribly wrong.  
Heading Home from Tok in April 2016
All winter, we haven't seen any animals on the way to or from Tok and it's made us wonder what happened to them.  On this day, we were coming home and first, we saw two caribou and then we came upon a Momma moose and her calf and a little farther down the road was a yearling moose by itself.  We were relieved to see that we're not alone.............

One of the primary questions we have to ask each year is, "What is leaven?".  It used to be simple and obvious, but as our foods have become more and more chemically processed, it's not that easy anymore.  I can quickly gather the most obvious things from my cabinet where I keep my bread-making supplies to get the "leaven" out.  I then move to the few processed packages of Rice-a-roni and pasta packets to gather them up.  

The last focus is on eating all of the bread that we have in the house and most of that falls on DannyLee as he was forced to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches three days in a row due to my lack of forethought.  It's not like we can just pass it off to the neighbors when we don't have any.  I sweetened the deal for him with a pineapple bread pudding made from the few pieces of challah left in the freezer.

The final task is to clear away any leftover crumbs and that means cleaning out the toaster and wiping out a few cabinets.  I did read an interesting article where a woman was talking about the excessive cleaning that some people put upon themselves as a part of their Pesach preparation.  She noted that cleaning the windows, floors, etc. isn't a part of preparing for Pesach, it's "spring cleaning" and should be scheduled for another time.  I had to agree with her.  

This background picture is our kitty cat, Yoshi, trying to get in on our Pesach meal.  It's funny.  She never tries to get up to the table with us at any other time, but this evening, she decided that she wanted to be a part of what was going on.  She made several efforts to convince us to let her join in and when I finally allowed her up on a chair.  She was happy.  We didn't realize we'd adopted a "Hebrew" cat...

Now that we're in the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it's "matzah pizza" and "matzah with chocolate spread" for dessert. Fortunately, we've got "lotsa matzah" to enjoy this year.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dancing Past Purim, It's Time to Think Pesach!

A "Musher's" Lunch

Gas prices in Fairbanks
The lovely green #''s for diesel!
Our Purim festivities were small but special as I made my first efforts ever to make "hamanstashen" which are simply a triangular cookie with a sweet filling. 

DannyLee had no complaints!  He ate "his" share as we watched an old favorite, "One Night With The King" which tells the story of Esther and the salvation of the Jewish people in a "Hollywood" kind of way.  

The Purim holiday serves as a warning that it's time to start thinking about Pesach as my preparations take me a VERY long time.  I have to go through all of my cooking and baking supplies as well as any prepacked foods like Rice-a-roni in search of "leaven".  This also gives me a chance to take inventory of our foodstuffs and see what needs to be rotated in or out of stock.  It turns into a big job!

We'll also have to do a search of the house and ourselves to see if we've allowed anything to "creep in" that might be working to draw us away from Elohim.  We take all of this very seriously as we feel it's up to us to keep our spiritual health in check.  We will be held accountable for it in the end.  

We tried to get a little bit ahead of the game this year and headed up to Fairbanks hoping to get our portion of lamb.  It can be challenging to live so far away to get their on just the right day.  There's no guarantee that any of the stores will have lamb on the day we drive up.  

Things worked out well and we bought our lamb, but there was no matzah in sight so we'll have to make do with what we have on hand or make another trip up in the next couple of weeks.  I'm leaning towards making do or making my own this year.  

I've finished another quilt and sent it off as a gift.  This one took me a very long time as it's a bit more detailed than my previous quilts.  Each individual square was unique and I did a lot of "fussy cutting" to make the sashing and the binding.  

"Garden Dreams" closeup
All of the materials used in this quilt came from the thrift store. 

When it was finished, I fell in love with it and I struggled to find the "right home" for it.  I wanted it to go to someone that would love it as much as I did.

I think I found the exact right place.  I hope "they" agree!
"Garden Dreams" in the snow!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Longer Days As Winter Wanes

I begin this post with a sad note on the unexpected passing of our Postman Jim.  Life in our small village has been changed dramatically and our appreciation for him is magnified with the loss of the post office as he was the sole purveyor of postal services.  The cascade effect of this loss extends to our mailing address.  It was a toss-up between "moving" our mailbox 60 miles to the north or 50 miles to the south.  

Sadly, Jim is beyond the knowledge of how much he will be sorely missed and we are left with the regrets of not showing appropriate regard for his efforts.  We can only pray that his reward in the Kingdom will be great.  Go in peace, our friend.....

 February is early to think about the arrival of spring, but the human spirit is relentless in the pursuit of hope and today brought the happy sound of "drip, drip, drip".  

The temperatures are volatile ranging from 20 below zero to 20 above and today was even higher as it neared 30 degrees and the bright sun warmed the roof.  

The wood shed nears the mark of empty, but DannyLee believes we will make it well into March before it's all gone this year.  We count that as a victory.  

We have a lot of snow on the ground at this time.  It will take several weeks to melt all of this away.  

Ari will be the happiest to see the return of spring.  She loves to be outside and will stay out long after the cold starts to make her shiver.  

I'm sure she doesn't like her new coat, but it makes me feel better as she comes in much quicker just because she wants it off.  

I wish I had a way to put a video of her in this blog.  She "stagger-walks" when I first put her coat on and let her outside.  The joy of being outside quickly overcomes her discomfort and she happily runs through the woods soon after.  It is a sight to behold!  

Our "yard art" has been a constant source of entertainment this winter.  The snow has changed each piece in some very interesting ways.  

The "shofar-guy" below takes on a whole new look day by day.  

On this day, I note a particular resemblance to my "cowboy"....

Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Days of Our Lives

Heading Home From Tok

A welcome break in our days is a trip to Tok for pizza and the chance to pick up a few groceries.  Usually we go on Wednesdays because on that day seniors are given a 10% discount.  

When we arrived in town, I was surprised to see the parking lot at Three Bears nearly empty.  We passed by to head to Fast Eddies with pizza in mind, but we were waylaid by the daily special and ended up with grilled turkey sandwiches.  Oh, well, pizza for another time!  

We headed back to the grocery store to pick up some milk and bananas and I was again surprised by the empty parking lot and the near empty store.  Wednesday's are usually packed with shoppers from the nearby villages.  

I was also surprised to find people stocking shelves and items on sale as these things also don't happen on that day.  As I wandered the aisles, I picked up some basics with the thought of a 10% discount.  I passed on the $7.50 can of Crisco as we're thinking of heading to Fairbanks next month.  

When we got to the checkout, we settled into our routines of me checking the prices that rang up on the computer and DannyLee organizing the items to his liking on the conveyor and then loading them into the bags - "his way".  

When the total was before me, I turned to DannyLee as he's always quick to say, "Don't forget the 'old man' discount!" with a big grin.  He hadn't said anything.  

I blurted out to him about his "discount comment" and both he and the cashier turned to me in surprise.  "That's tomorrow!" they both said in unison.  

My confusion was evident and my humiliation was complete.  It was Tuesday!  Why were we in Tok on Tuesday?  Wisely, I shut my mouth and mulled this paradox on my own.  Habits can be a hazardous thing to get into.  

Speaking of habits, I'm still enjoying my newest habit/hobby.  The short winter days lend themselves to quilting and the internet fuels my passion with lots of blogs and sites providing plenty of inspiration.  

I made these two quilts from string blocks for my Mom's birthday.  

I started making these blocks for fun and they were so interesting that I made them for several days.  They begged to become a quilt and fit the theme of "hugs and kisses", a perfect Valentine/birthday gift.  Even the cat was impressed!  

"Hugs & Kisses" or "XX's & OO's"

The link above is for a website promoting a documentary about the archaeological evidence of the Exodus.  The filmmaker devoted 12 years of his life chasing the story given to us in the Book of Exodus.  

Many archaeologists and even those with pulpits to speak such things claim that there is no evidence that the Exodus ever happened or that there were ever any Israelites in Egypt.  These claims have formed the foundation for many to disclaim any truth to the stories of our ancestors given in the Torah.  

As these claims have overwhelmed many who want to believe that the Bible is true, the number of people that have left their faith is sad.  

DannyLee and I watched the video carefully not because our faith in the Scriptures is in any way shaken, but because we wanted to see the evidence the filmmaker had uncovered and make our own judgment on the matter.  

I won't spoil the matter, but I do highly recommend that you check out this video.  It's for anyone that enjoys an honest and scientific analysis of the evidence.  There are right ways to determine truth - a fact that many in the so-called scientific community seem to have lost sight of in their pursuit of glory.  Hmm....

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Unexpected Pleasures Bring Great Delight

The trip to the post office is always a pleasant break in the routine of our winter days.  DannyLee likes to get out of the house, even if its only to make the two mile jaunt through the woods that surround us and down the Alaska highway.  

The dog(s) are (were) always up for a quick ride in the truck.  (Sadly, we lost Bella this week as her age overcame her will to go on and Ari wanders about these past two days looking lost at the sudden loss of her companion.)

Our Little "Family'
Good-bye to Bella

We've found that Amazon bridges the gap between our needs and our dread of making the much longer drives to the nearest stores.  

This makes trips to the post office even more exciting as we never know what might have come in on the daily mail truck that travels from Delta Junction to Tok and back six days a week. 

As we were trying to cope with the sadness of Bella's passing, an unexpected package from a new friend we made this past summer gave us a moment of unexpected joy.  

A fellow musician/music lover and quilter that came to visit us from Alberta had promised to send some of her "fabric finds" from her favorite thrift store.  The promise had long since slipped our minds, but she remembered us and a box heavy with treasure came after a long journey.  (Yes, I know Alberta isn't all that far away, but the package was sent priority mail (at great cost) and it took nearly a month to arrive.)  

DannyLee wasn't as excited as I was, of course, but his mind was changed when I showed him a lovely print of golfers in traditional garb teeing off.  He admitted that tears came to his eyes the next morning when he found his new pillow waiting for him in his recording studio.  

Thanks so much for making our day brighter, Diana!  Your gift came at just the right time.