Sunday, January 13, 2019

Branch, Blossoms, branch, almost Tu b'Shevat

At this farm side stand, there was a bucket with plum blossom branches, and a can for coins

Come, my beloved, let us go out into the field.  Let us go out early to the vineyards, --Let us go down to see if the vine have budded, if their blossoms have opened,    Song of Songs, from verses 7~13
On my way home I took a new route, my friend drew me a little pencil line map for how to get to the train station.
The route even looked like a branch on a tree.

And on my home then what did I see?
You guessed it! A branch, well more like branches for the taking.
I knew this scenario was of the LORD's making.

There by the branches was a little tin can,
to put in a coin though there was no woman or man,
just the box there and someone who trusts.

So I put in some coins  picked up a few branches and set out on my way.
If anyone saw me, they would see that I was holding a flowering branch on that day!!
And the rest I will write as a post for today!

So that is my introduction.
 Its  a "Tu B'Shevat" Story in the making, or a prelude to a Tu B'Shevat story!

I must say I like this story very much!
I have an affinity for sure for flowering branches, and have written about them and even made a flowering "branch" challah for two years in a row, this year will be third.

God gives His gift of fruit and flowering blossoms and branches in this season.
The branch is from a yellow plum tree.  In Japanese, Ro-bai.
Its supposedly the most early blossoming plum tree, but actually the white ume, the plum tree near us, blossomed similarly early, so I don't really know which one came first.

I think of the branch and the flowering staff of Aaron that we will read about later in the book of Exodus.

I think of the golden menorah with the blossoms and bulbous designs.

I put the blossoming branch on the seat next to me on the train, and it reminded me of taking the train on Hannukah with the menorah, I put the menorah in the window as the train passed from north to south, and it lit up the scenery.  God reminded me of that when I placed the blossoming branch on the seat next to me on the train!

I think of the branch I received last year at this time that flowered in my home and in my heart.
I think of the Messiah who would come from the root of Jesse.  So perfectly in Hebrew does His name, Yeshua, come from Yeshi.   

 A branch will sprout from the route of Jesse.

The holiday of Tu B'shevat is coming up next week.  It is the New Year for fruit trees on the Hebrew calendar and celebrated in Israel in the 15th of the month of Shevat (that is the meaning of Tu b'Shevat). I 've written about it on my blog since finding out about this day ,three years ago.

The sap from the earth is starting to come up and pulse through the roots and up into the branches bringing new life into what look all winter like dead trees.  It is a season of new life.

Spring is in the ground before it is in the air!
And it is in the readings in the book of Exodus this week, as God gives the children of Israel the commandment to sanctify the first month and the head of every month therein.  He tells that this will be the first month of spring.  And that on the 14th of the month will be their delivarance.  The commandment to slaughter the Passover lamb is given just before the tenth plague is carried out.  All that is speaking of the first month of Nissan.  Though we read it now in the 11th month of Shevat.  In Shevat we can prepare out hearts for the first month, the month of spring.  And look to God's time for He is beyond time, but He commands the time and the times!

Now the LORD had said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt;  This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.  

Exodus 12:1

All that from a branch on a roadside? someone might ask?
There is so much more, its just  the beginning of the month of Shevat!

behind the branch of the yellow plum blossom, you can see the plum tree near me

In this story, I saw only the branches and didn't see the tree!
But we know that the gardener is certainly He!!

Much Love, Shabbat Shalom!


* Shevat is the eleventh month of the Hebrew calendar, so this time of the New Year for trees is a harbinger of the Spring, which starts as the month of Nissan, and the 14th of Nissan is Passover.  The day planned from the beginning of time which would be the day the Jewish people were set free and the day that the rest of the world would be set free through the death of Messiah Yeshua, which was exactly the same day, Nissan 14 , and  His resurrection three days after that.  Our God is beyond time and space, and yet He commands time and space, defines it by His making, and sanctifies it by His Word.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Va`Era -- and I appeared (Postcards)

I love ADONAI, 
for He hears my voice, my cries.
 Psalm 116:1

For God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.  
1John 3:20

Just a few light heart-ed interpretations, drawings inspired from the first days of the New Year and together with some impressions from the Parsha
 (Torah reading, from Va'Era, Exodus 6:2~9:35, for complete readings see sidebar link to the readings!  ).  
Greetings from today!
The first, above, was from God `appearing`in the heart-shaped cloud.
(Remember, Va'Era means "and I appeared)
In the second I drew a frog kite,  as an expression of remembering the plagues from the Exodus we read about in this weeks parsha, and being set free.  

Therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Messiah Yeshua.   
2Timothy 2:1

As we read the parsha, look at the miracle!
ADONAI said to Moses, to say to Pharaoh,
 "Let my people go, so that they may worship Me".  
Now we read these words and Thank you, LORD.
Thousands of years after the Exodus. 
May we say, Here we are!
You have set us free so that we may worship You!  May we always remember to tell of Your wondrous deeds, that You heard our cries and You took us for a people.  
Forever You are our God, who brought us out of Egypt.

I will take you to Myself as a people, and I will be your God.  You will know that I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.  
Exodus 6:7

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1John 4:4

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Learning to fly a kite in the new year!! A Rainbow Kite story continues!

This father took on the task of figuring out how to get the kite to fly!
He got the strings lined up and the points where they needed to make contact on the kite
pretty soon he got the right balance, and there it went!!Up to the sky!

When we trust all things to Him, our Father in Heaven it looks like this!!

Then use what He taught you and trust His hand and Spirit to guide you!

Pretty soon you can navigate by listening to His lead, if the kite goes too much to the left, bring it back by pulling on the right, and the same with the other direction. 

You don't need to hardly move, its effortless when the Holy Spirit is taking the lead and guiding !!

When we start a conversation with God through His word,
He will gladly pick up the thread and lead us to Him through it.

Something like that happened today.
To continue with the New Year conversation,
I went out again today with a different rainbow kite.

 I don't know if I mentioned, but kite flying is also a tradition in the New Year in Japan.  When I first came to Japan, many years ago!  you could see many children out flying kites on New Years Day and the first few days of the New Year.  But in recent years, we hardly see any children at all flying kites.  Last year I "won" a kite at bingo, and it gave me a new inspiration to want to fly a kite at the new year, and I did, and this year determined to once again, and with the hopes of seeing more kites in the new year and finding some children to fly them with, I bought three kites! One I gave to a child who is my friend, and another you see in post below and  the third in the post here!!! 

This time a family was there and saw me.  The father saw my heart to want to fly the kite and he helped me with figuring out how to fix the strings to get it to fly.  He made it all clear how I could do it, and showed me.  And as you can see in the pictures, it soared on high, and there were no tangles.
Oh,  I forgot, or rather didn't, mention that the kite in the pictures in the post below got in a tangle My husband's brother who is a fisherman made the kite sturdy and devised it doing a great job to fly it.  But when it was my turn, I was not able to manuever it well and, well it ended in a tangle!! and I had to leave it up on high where it was left off! And get the boat back as he was driving us,  before the wind picked up too much!  So I had left off with a kind of sense of discouragement, that I failed with the kite, or rather there was an unfinished-ness about it.  So today I felt I had to go back out with the third kite and meet with the Holy Spirit and engage with His wind.  Would there be a lesson in this for the New Year? I am not sure! But I felt  happy, as in the course of the day I flew the kite with two different families and after all got to fly a kite with children!!

Psalm 113:9   

Here is a little prayer that comes out of  the kite flying experience thus far.  Father, May we let go of our hold on our aspirations and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us and teach us  how to acheive a solid footing in You and thus bring our dreams and aspirations into their fullfillment ! With Your hand upon us!! May we  bring the Joy of the LORD into all we do and trust You to navigate the tangles and to loosen anything that is tangled, and guide us to press on to all You have in store for us in this wonderful new year!!
Blessings and Love,
 Glory to God in Messiah Yeshua!
Shabbat Shalom!!


Rainbow kite and a Heart Shaped Cloud

a heart shape cloud appeared over the mountain on new years day

 New Year Reflections, more in Psalm 113, Parsha Va'Era


The rainbow kite flew up high into the sky on a perfect Holy Spirit wind.

I had it in my heart to fly a rainbow kite this New Years, and wanted to find some children to fly it with, but none were around.

So I had no choice  but to become the child  (with some other loving family members who lovingly went along with it).  Perhaps God meant it that way.


 God's love comes with us from one year to the next.  And if we can stay with that, then He will take the loneliness and give us great joy.   To continue in the Psalm 113 from the post below,  the verses at the end of the Psalm (v. 9) talk about a childless woman as a happy mother of children.    He makes the childless woman among her household as a happy mother of children. 

How?  What do those verses mean?  From childless woman to a happy mother of children!
I think there is much in those verses that is not only a woman and her child, but can also refer to the blessings that are given by God after a season of barrenness.

They resonate with me this year, as my daughter is grown up now.  I can relate to the feeling .  And even looking for the children to fly the kite with and there were none!    I don't know if that is what the verse is about, but it seems to open up a conversation and spoke to me about the mother!  What  do you think the psalmist might have intended in those verses?  Surely they are perfectly placed there.

The poem (psalm) starts and ends with Hallelujah, the words of Praise to God.  And circles up and around with three more "halelu"s" and "halal's" in between.  This psalm, like the year, and the Torah cycle, goes around and around, with Praise and Blessing to the LORD,
continuing in a circle that goes from now to forever.


It's  an amazing conversation between God and Moses in the first lines of this week's Parsha, Va-'Era.

Va-'Era means, "I appeared".

God spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am the LORD.  I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but I did not make Myself known to them by My name the LORD.  Exodus 6:3

Thus began the conversation between God and Moses shortly before God carried out the 10 plagues on the Egyptians, through Moses and Aaron,  to set His people free.  We read these chapters a few months before Passover, and then again of course in a slightly condensed version to tell the story at Passover.   There is a sense of time, the continuity from Hannukah to now, and from now to Passover.  In this parsha God introduces himself by a new name that He wants Moses to know Him by and there is this intimate differentiating between the name the forefathers used and how He would now be known to Moses and the Children of Israel. (note: the name He gives to Moses is the name Hashem, "The Name", which is consisting of the four Hebrew letters referred to as, Yud-ke-vav-kei. I wasn't sure how to refer it in quoting the scripture, some Bibles say ADONAI and some say the LORD, and in the Jewish Bible I have it writes out the Hebrew letters.  For this post I used "the LORD".  It can be another whole post or book to write about this, but that is not something I am taking on right now.  Though I had an insight that the book of Exodus, in Hebrew, book called Shemot, or names.  We always think of "Names" as it is the tribes and people of God, but  could  "Names" also be a reference to the names of God Himself and how the name used expresses His attribute and how it relates to each aspect of the relationship with His people as His relationship as Redeemer, Deliverer, reveals itself?... well that is a big topic but I am just noticing it and noting it here for the record!)

God appeared and remembered His covenant  a time when the
 Children of Israel were crying out to Him.

All of the parashat connect us to today in some wonderous way.

A little earlier in the day God showed me the heart-shaped cloud.

May His love appear!
In all the places in our hearts.
He, the one enthroned on high, sees what is below!
There is no  one like Him.
(to answer the question in Psalm 113:5)


(another post about flying a kite to follow!)

related post from this parsha:  Va'Era--And I appeared! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year, First Sunrise! Psalm 113

 מִמִּזְרַח-שֶׁמֶשׁ עַד-מְבוֹאוֹ--    מְהֻלָּל, שֵׁם יְהוָה

From the Rising of the sun to the going down of the same, the Name of the LORD is to be praised!!
Psalm 113:3

This psalm comes through my heart when I watched the first sunrise this year!! God filled the sky and water with His Shekinah glory as He brought the sun up from over the horizon! In Japan it is a custom to watch the first sunrise of the year.  I  have gone to the same spot for 19 years to watch the sunrise.  It is at my husband's hometown fishing island.  There are always people in a line parallel to the horizon on the concrete sea wall, who go out in the morning to watch the first sunrise.  It is a very beautiful sight and sound to be there with the people along the sea wall, standing up so that when approach the sight you see the figures of the people standing on the concrete wall overlooking the sea, parallel to the horizon.  The sounds of the peoples voices excitedly waiting for the first peek of sun to come up as the sky changes to colors of glistening orange. As I type on this horizontal line, parallell to the horizon in the picture, you can get a sense, perhaps as the letters move across the frame, how the people are there in various points facing the beautiful sunrise.   I have mentioned in previous years how each year it gets less and less people as people are moving away from the island to more urban areas and now there are really a handful of those who are there.    One woman who I got to know there is now 90 years old.  She has become my friend just from having stood in the same spot with her over the years!!

I just was looking for a version of this scripture to post, and when I opened to the version  in the Hebrew English Tanakh the translation says

From east to west
the name of the LORD is praised.

It looked so simple and a little different from the versions I always saw with "from the rising of the sun", so I looked at the Hebrew, and saw that the literal translation is indeed, 
From east to west.

I also like the directness of the verb tense, the LORD is praised.
And visually if you look at the line with east west and sun, it is like this:
west sun east
 מִמִּזְרַח-שֶׁמֶשׁ עַד-מְבוֹאוֹ

And sun is, remember?  From an earlier Hannukah post??? 
Yes, shemesh.
So in the line in Hebrew there is "sh-m-sh" between the words "east" and "west".
(plus a few prepositions, though I haven't really learned them yet!) 
I love that as it continues what we were seeing in the menorah, the Shamash (same Hebrew root word as "shemesh", thus I wrote sh-m-sh to express how that similarity would be seen like the Hebrew) in the middle, gathering all the nations to His light from the east and from the west!!
So I chose this version for the post today!!

Here is how it looks in Hebrew!! If any Hebrew readers see this and if you see anything that is not quite right in my Hebrew explanation, feel free to share! I am learning by seeing!

 מִמִּזְרַח-שֶׁמֶשׁ עַד-מְבוֹאוֹ--    מְהֻלָּל, שֵׁם יְהוָה

For anyone whose interest is piqued for the Hebrew, in the second part of the verse, where it says the name of the Lord is praised, can you find the word there for praise?! Yes, there is is, the root is Halal, which is where the word of praise  "Hallelujah!" comes from!! I highlighted the root in blue in the Hebrew above..

Happy New Year 2019~ Hallelujah!
New Year Blessings!

This year the sky was clear and the Shekinah glory of the LORD shone from the first sunrise!! Photos taken in our Japan family's hometown island.  Blessings and Shalom in 2019~!

Much Love, 


The LORD is exalted above all nations;
His glory is above the heavens.  
Psalm 113:4

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Love of God

(the first picture from the book of Exodus!! Much Love!!)

In days to come Jacob will take root,
Israel will blossom and bud and fill 
the face of the world with fruit.

--Isaiah 27:6, first line from this week`s Haftarah reading

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Finishing touches

Setting in the pomegranates, twelve on each to represent the twelve tribes, I am already thinking ahead to the book of Exodus, as cutting gemstones for setting, and the pomegranate detailing to come!!

Putting the finishing touches on the Pomegranate Challah

Delivering them to friends and family.

And sending these tastes to you,

After a dozen Pomegranate Challot and a few still in progress to be made,
The offices of Challah and Cherry Blossoms will take a break for the holidays and re-open in the New Year!!

Much love and thank you for all your visits, encouragement, love and blog fellowship/friendship in this year!

Wishing you joyous season, fruit-full and abundant in God's Love! and a Happy and Healthy New Year!! 

May mercy and shalom and love be multiplied to you!   Judah (Jude) 1:2

Blessings and Much Love,

Adding a Note: on the Pomegranate Challah and "finishing touches" for this Challah and Parsha.
The Pomegranate Challah truly became a "Pomegranate Challah for Joseph" to go with the Torah cycle with the story of Joseph.  The seeds, the fruit, the Messianic connections, the twelve seeds on the top,  all give expression in this Challah.   I recommend making it around this time on the Torah Cycle perfectly, as long as you can find pomegranates "in season" where you are.

Now really finishing off this post and the  first book of Bereshit, Genesis, with these verses from Jacob's blessing to Joseph.  In the TLV version, the word "fruitful" is used twice, so I share it in that version,

A fruitful son is Joseph,
a fruitful son beside a spring--
daughters walk along a wall.  
 Genesis 49:22

"A Taste of Torah"

During  Hannukah  I received this book called A Taste of Torah from HIS ISRAEL blog.  The book is written by one of the authors of the blog, Keren Hannah Pryor.
It is a beautiful devotional with each chapter as a short "drash" (interpretation) of the weekly Torah Portion, or Parsha.   If you leave a comment on their blog, you are eligible to be selected for the monthly giveaway of a copy or download of the book.  I hadn't known that until I got the news that I was  recipient of a copy in Octoberrs draw!!  I am posting a little delayed, as it was sent to me from my Dad's--- to receive a hard copy you need to provide a US address!  So I wanted to say thank you to HIS ISRAEL, (and thanks to my Dad for receiving it and forwarding to Japan !)   and also to share their site with you.  Even visiting the blog is a wonderful taste of Torah as there is much to learn about the Torah readings, the Hebrew Calendar and Biblical feasts, and the experiences of the writers who are living and sharing their Messianic journeys in the Land of Israel.  And if you leave a comment on any post there, you are eligible for this months copy!!
No doubt, pomegranates go well with the readings!  
Taste and see that ADONAI is good.
Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.    Psalm 34:9
 Blessings and Love,

Taste of Torah, for the record--received the second night of Hannukah♡thank you His Israel♡

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Finishing the book of Genesis, Bread of Life picture

Yeshua said to them, "I am the bread of life.  
Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty."    
John 6:35

Trying out my new watercolors, at the end of the book of Genesis

The book of Genesis ends with  the story of Joseph in Egypt who reveals who he is to his brothers and his father.  He saves the nations of the world at that time and the family of Israel by bread.
He shows us a picture of the Salvation of Yeshua who was and who Is and who Is to come.
The Bread of Life.

This is the picture that spilled out.
Of  a pomegranate challah, no surprise!
With a cloth that says the name "Yeshua" in Hebrew,
on a plate or fabric adorned with pomegranate design. Three grape leaves on the vine came out looking a little like butterflies.

After finishing each book of the Torah on every cycle we say the words

Be strong be strong and let us strengthen one another.

Blessings and Love!

Love, Shayndel

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Paul Klee and Birthday

Be assembled and listen, sons of Jacob, and listen to Israel your father.
Genesis 49*2, from the first lines of Parsha Vayechi

Shayndel`s diary and connecting with Joanne

In the first lines of Parsha Vayechi, Jacob introduces the blessings for his sons.  Jacob is called both Jacob and Israel, and we learn from the sages that his names, both of which clearly remain with him up to his death and beyond, represent two different sides and purposes that God has given him.   In this diary I am not going to talk about that but used this first line as it is a fascinating study to keep in mind in the Torah study, and it also makes a link into something I want to talk about in my story in this post.  Even if we are not the grand characters of the stories of the Bible (and we don't even know really), we are living children of the living God and He shows us how we can learn from it for things in our own lives and helps us how we can see our own stories as we integrate the different parts of our lives in Him and for His purposes.

Like Jacob, I also have two names!!  One didn`t replace the other but I do use one for some things and one for others, and on my birthday--yesterday--I felt God showing me that they are joining together!
My name that I was born with is Joanne.  Or actually that is not the whole truth.  I also was born with the name Shayndel.  Its possible that I was Shayndel even before I was Joanne, as its the name I was given by my Grandmother, its a Yiddish name.  It means, beautiful.  Also I have seen it mean gracious gift from God.  Its possible that was my first name!! I kinda hope so!! The name my parents gave me and the name that was what I considered my name my whole life is Joanne.  I don`t know that I completely feel like a Joanne, but that is ok, its who I am!! Somehow once God showed me to use my Hebrew/Yiddish name Shayndel, just a few years ago, I felt it was a part of me that I was able to express myself in a new found way, and a few years ago I started using Shayndel for my blog, and then for signing my art, kind of like a pen name.

When I received salvation in Jesus, I didn`t yet know his other name. I had no idea the name *Yeshua*.  When I was saved, I thought I was no longer Jewish, as we as Jewish people were taught that Jesus is as far from us as.. .well, to use His far as the east is from the west!! Maybe farther.  So my surprise at becoming a believer in Jesus Christ almost 5 years ago was completely out of  a field I didn`t know exisited!!  FF a few years from that time, and God showed me back to my Jewish faith, my Jewish name,  my Jewish Messiah, the Jewish feasts, His Shabbat bread!! 

That`s around when I started this blog.

When I was "Joanne" only and didn`t yet know Jesus or Yeshua, I had a favorite artist.
His name is Paul Klee. He was born on the same day as me, (my natural b-day!), Dec. 18.
I always would search out a place to see his paintings on my birthday, and it was easy when I lived in NY, I would go to the Museum of Modern Art, or the Met, and sit with his works in the room or gallery they were displayed, and quietly wish him a happy birthday in thought and in song from my heart!!  Those were those days.

When I was saved, God showed me to basically get rid of all my artwork from my Before Christ days, and it was a kind of tormentous time, but I just did what I was told and in my house today there is not a trace of any thing I drew before my salvation.  And not a trace of practically anything material from that time, except of course those memories and photos of my daughter and family.  Those were safe!!  So too my favorite artists, writers, everything I felt close to before my Salvation was just swooped away, and I was being emptied, and what I now now the word I didn:t know then, consecrated.  We have to be emptied, consecrated, and surrender everything to God, though I didn`t know what was happening when it was happening, and surely still is happening, but I am sensing that I am able to walk now into something new, which is a time of being able to once again join up with parts of my past that weren:t really thrown away as I thought, but just reserved for a while until I was ready to see from God`s eyes.  I thought that being made a new creation in Christ, I would emerge unrecognizable to anything and anyone from my past, that my talents would be different, my whole way of being would change, and I wouldn`t be anything like the person I was.  But guess what?  I am seeing that its not exactly like that.  And to my surprise, I am coming closer to the person I "was", but a cleaned up version, having been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb!!

Whew!! Am I going to leave all that on this post?
Anyway, the Paul Klee and Birthday title is now going to be explained, so I have to keep on!!

When I checked my i-pad in the morning of my birthday, to my surprise, just under the Google banner, was a little picture of a Paul Klee paining!! (picture above)
Where in the world did that come from?
The only thing I could think of , was that it didn`t come from the world, it came from Heaven!!

God was showing me that its his birthday too!! It was almost like a direct connect between Shayndel and Joanne.  It was like I as Shayndel could now see Paul Klee from God`s eyes in a new and wonderful refreshed way!!   And God wanted me to remember that today is the day that is my birthday and shared with Paul Klee!

I was so happy!  To re-connect with Joanne who loved Paul Klee, now as Shayndel who knows Yeshua!! And guess what, the next painting he showed me was one I never saw or never noticed all the years I was looking at Paul Klee, it was this painting of a lamb!!!

I had such nourishing time looking at his paintings and even found (without really looking) this video of an art exercise to do inspired by Paul Klee (a lesson called Paul Klee Word Art Lesson by Katie Knutson ) !! And the woman who taught it was showing an example of putting a Bible Verse into the squares!! It was all too much !! In a perfect way!!  Of course this painting of the lamb is quite intense, and I realized a side of Paul Klee and the times he was living in in Europe at that time that I had never seen before.

For now  I wanted to share that  story as a birthday diary for today (yesterday) and now I really have to go back to the Pomegranates!!! They are just coming through the shute of heaven to our supermarkets and going into Challah bread for the season gifts!!  Once the pomegranates  are all sold out (bought out), I hope to do some painting!! I bought for myself a gift from God for my birthday, a set of watercolors !!

Much love to all and to all , do love much!!

Joanne and Shayndel!!

(my two names just for this post, I am pretty sure I will go back to posting just as Shayndel!!)

Another picture from my screen yesterday, 12/18, Mt. Fuji. almost looks like its in Paul Klee colors!  From the weather report.