Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's in a name....

In keeping with the theme of Elul I want to share something with you....

A few years ago I went through a very trying time. I even stopped blogging for a bit. I spent a lot of time searching and crying out to Hashem. So much changed in me and yet everything around me stayed the same. During that time I was comforted by stories of those who had to "wrestle" with HaShem or who were called according to His purpose. 

Often times after going through something with HaShem the person became different. Their faith was changed, their lives were changed. But not only that, their names were changed as well. There was a complete dying of the "old man". This is what I experienced. My heart was knit to HaShem's in a whole new way.

During this time I took on a Hebrew name. I only shared it with some, though I toyed with the idea of changing it legally. I still may some day.

It's something deeply personal and yet something that if I want to use it I need to be open about. I've used my Hebrew name in certain settings and have come to the place where I would like to use it more frequently.

My Hebrew name is Chana Elisheva. Chana means compassionate or graceful, which I desperately needed from Hashem at the time. His compassion and grace is all that got me through that time, and still what gets me through every day. Elisheva is two things; Eli means my God and sheva/sheba means oath.

I serve an Elohim that is compassionate and full of grace, He is my oath.

This all comes full circle, sort of, with the birth of our son. We had a first name picked put for him long before he was conceived. Our children's names follow an abc pattern, which started out accidentally, so we knew his name would start with a C. His middle name we had decided would be Zephaniah. We were settled. Then one day I was reading in 1 Samuel and as I read I came to the name Shemuel {heard of God/asked of God}. I knew then that was to be our son's middle name. He was after all an answer to prayer.

A while after we had settled on his middle name being Shemuel, I realized the deeper significance in his name. As the biblical Channah prayed for a son and was given a Shemuel. I knew this when we picked it but it didn't deeply affect me until later on. After all the struggle, after all the searching, this was my gift. This was an answer to my prayers.

It's about more than a child though. So much changed with the birth of our son. Our family is different. Our goals are different. We are even more committed to serving Hashem, to learning His ways, to proclaiming His goodness. It is only because of Him that we are where we are.

Therefore if any man be in Messiah, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
-2 Cor 5:17

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


image via Holy Sparks

I am SO excited! Elul is upon us. Elul is the 6th month on the Hebrew calendar. Which to some that may seem like no big deal but if you know about Hashem's appointed times then you will notice that it's 1 month away from the fall feasts.

On the 1st of Tishrei (the 7th month) is Yom Teruah, more commonly known as Rosh Hashanah. Then on the 10th of Tishrei is Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. Then it all wraps up with Sukkot on the 15th. These three fall feasts are a time for deep connection with Hashem. They are a time for teshuva {repentance} and getting on the right track. 

The month prior to this, Elul, is used for introspection and drawing closer to Hashem. There is a teaching isn Judaism that says during Elul "the King is in the field". Meaning that Hashem is even more accessible to us during this time. The reason for this is that we are approaching HIS appointed times for renewal and atonement. 

There so much more to say about this and much work to be done to prepare for Yom Teruah/Rosh Hashanah. I'm planning on taking part in an online study group on Teshuva and Rosh Hashanah, as well doing some personal Torah study and reflection. A great portion of scripture to read during this time would be the book of Nehemia. Chapters 6-8 are really appropriate for this time as they deal with the months of Elul and Tishrei, and show the preparations that took place to prepare the Israelites for  the High Holy Days. 

Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. -Ecc 5:9

Are you doing any soul searching for Elul? What are some of the ways you will prepare for the High Holy Days?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Don't just sit there, do something.

I don't have an ipad. So when everyone was talking about the Red Alert App I wasn't able to get it. But then I found out about this website that does virtually the same thing.

The first time I heard the alarm go off it was surreal. It caught me totally off guard. In fact another went off just now. There is no way I could get my children out of bed and to a bomb shelter in the next 15 seconds. Not even 30.. there goes another.. In the last hour the alarm has gone off 3 times. And another.. that makes 4.

My heart aches for those in HaEretz. The rushing, the terror, the constant-ness of it all. Can you imagine daily being on guard. Feeling like at any moment you'll need to run for your life?

Right now, baruch HaShem, we are safe and comfortable in the US. But how long can it stay that way if we keep silent? You may feel like me and feel helpless, like there is nothing you can do. But that's not true. You can donate to different funds in Israel or you can take part in the BUYcott. So many at this time are abandoning Israel but you can choose something different.

You can sign up for the Lev HaOlam package project. Where each month you get goods that were produced in Judea and Samaria mailed directly to your doorstep.

Here is a website that lists products that are made in Israel that you can purchase and also where to find them in the US.

You can also donate to organizations like HaYovel, who are going to Israel and putting their hands and feet to work. Not only are they helping agriculturally, they are sending a message that Israel is not alone!

You can make tzedakah boxes with your children, then donate the money to charities that support victims of terror in Israel. I'm in the process of building a list of charities you can donate to....another alert, that makes 5....But in the mean time here is a start:

Magen David Adom

In the time is took for me to write this post there were 5 rockets launched at Israel....make that 6, 7, 8, 9..I kid you not...10, 11, 12, 13, 14.... If this were happening in your city how would you respond?

For Tziyon’s sake I will not be silent,

for Yerushalayim’s sake I will not rest,
until her vindication shines out brightly
and her salvation like a blazing torch.

- Isaiah 62:1


Our continued quest to keeping kosher

Oh my my my. As I've been digging around and researching hechsherim {kosher symbols} I've seen even more how not all hechsherim are equal! Some of the things I read shocked me, like certain unclean things being allowed based on the amount of it! But as I said in this last post I wanted to share with you what I found as I studied this out. 

Thankfully I was able to come up with a list to start out with. But I'm pretty sure this is going to be a life long endeavor. Something where I'll just have to stay up to date on any changes that are made, and make sure that the standards haven't been relaxed.

Here are some resources I found that can help you in determining what is right for your family.

Here are some videos in a teaching series from a "conservadox" Jewish shul that believes in Yeshua as Messiah.

And here is a printable card that has hechsherim that are deemed appropriate: kashrus card 

I hope these resources get you off to a good start, and if you hear anything about specific hechsherim let me know :o)

 Its purpose is to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten. 
-Leviticus 11:47


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Life right now....

Shalom friends! These last few months have been a whirlwind of excitement and changes for us. There have been so many times I wanted to sit down and update you all but then something else tugs at me. I realized that in not sharing I was not proclaiming all the blessings that Hashem is bestowing on our family. So here I go....

I mentioned back in March that we had a great congregation that we were enjoying and that things were going well. Together we had an amazing Purim with lots of delicious food, fellowship, and the reading of the megillah Esther.

After the excitement of Purim we move into the season of Pesach! We were very excited about Pesach and had been hoping that we could go to HaYovel's Family Week. But it was looking impossible. Not only would my husband need to get a week off from work, but we also needed to be able to fund the trip. The closer it got the more disappointed I got, because it seemed impossible. Some friends suggested that we contact HaYovel and let them know our situation and see if they could help us get there. I figured it was a long shot but I contacted them anyway. Well guess what?!?! They said they could help! So a week before it was time to leave we started packing up with no clue where we were going to sleep, but being willing to just sleep in the car! We continued in prayer and packed up everything we thought we would need. Then dear friends of ours offered to buy us a tent! And not just any tent a really nice 10 person tent!!!! It was just so amazing! Baruch Hashem!!!

So after everything was packed we hit the road for our 15 hour drive to Hardin, Kentucky. 

It was a looooong trip but the time we spent there was so amazing. It would take me months to write about all the amazing things that happened and the MANY blessing we received. We made life long friends and got to finally meet friends that we've known for awhile via the internet! Like Stephanie Brumlow from Our Wholehearted Family, Andi from By The Eastern Gate, and Susan Brendemuhl from Quiverfull of Kids, just to name a few! It was a life changing event to say the least!

our lodging for the week
We were able to have our Pesach seder with the Waller family from Betrothed, as well as my very dear friend that I have known for 5 years, but never met in person! There were also several other families that were in attendance. 

Pesach seder

The whole week was full of sweet fellowship and Divine appointments. We came home and felt like we didn't belong here anymore. And thus began our prayers for the Father to move us closer to the amazing people that we met and love so very dearly. We're not 100% sure when or how, but we know where we are called to be and are looking forward to getting there in HIS timing and by His grace!

I have so much more I want to share with you all, so be on the look out for more frequent posting!

Taste, and see that Hashem is good. How blessed are those who take refuge in him!  -Psalm 34:8

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