Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Moving of the Plum Tree on the New Year for Trees day

Let us go out early to the vineyards,
---let us see if the vine has budded,
if their blossoms have opened,

from Song of Songs 7:13

When I went down to see if the ume (plum) tree had blossomed, there was a construction sign in front of the first blossom.

  I found that the tree was being moved! With the earth beneath it too.

Imagine What a Tu B' Shevat surprise!

Right before my eyes!

The gardeners re-assured me that it was ok.  They were doing something that would be good for the tree.

I have learned to trust the gardeners, as I have mentioned before I do  believe  the gardeners around the castle are working for the King!

So let us enjoy this holiday, plant a tree, and sing!

I will post some views of the  Tu B'Shevat Challot in the next post!

This year the Plum tree where I saw the first blossom, 
is under construction.
Yes, it was a surprise to me too!

Seeing the sweet little blossom with the yellow and black construction sign,
just in the season of the New Year for Trees!

And yet the gardeners re-assured me that she is ok!

They are doing some work in the garden to make improvements,
and as it is in the garden of the Castle I trust that the King has it under control.

No matter what is happening on the ground, her blossoms reach up to the sky and open towards heaven!

          To be continued.....

Monday, January 21, 2019

Exodus Postcards--one to color

Then Miriam the prophetess, Aaron`s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women went out after her in dance with timbrels.   And Miriam chanted for them:

Sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously; 
Horse and rider He has hurled into the sea.

Exodus 15:20

If you'd like, the second one is for you to print and color ! Add water or trees or any personal touches, Add the words of this verse or any other verse that speaks to you today!  Enjoy it with a sense of play!


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Manna and Challah --now, the Challah! Parsha Beshalach

So they gathered it every morning, each as much as he needed to eat; for when the sun grew hot , it would melt.  On the sixth day they gathered double the amount of food, two omers for each; and when all the chieftans of the community came and told Moses, he said to them, " this is what the LORD meant: Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath of the LORD.  Bake what you would bake and boil what you would boil; and all that is left put aside to be kept until morning.  Exodus 16:21~23

The house of Israel named it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and it tasted like wafers in honey.  
                                                                                Exodus 16:31
You've heard me say this before  (here, here, and here),  and here I go again.
I get so excited in this week's Torah portion, Beshalach.  The Freedom!  the Manna! The Shabbat!

It is not only the freedom of when God brings the Children of Israel out of Egypt, but the way in which He is with them and guides them.

It is not only the manna that falls from heaven but the Bread of Life that He provides them.  It is not only the Shabbat that is introduced in the provision of the manna, and the double portion on Shabbat, but the goodness of a Master who gives His children sustenance and the way to achieve it,  and gives them  rest.

This portion is one we can stay in forever, it is alive with song.  The song of Moses and Miriam, a spontaneous rejoicing at the wondrous awesome God who has set them---us!--- free and who they---we!--- know is with them--us! as He travels with them in a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night.  As from now He is their --our! ---home and the journey begins to make a life where He will dwell with us and in us and we in Him.

They sing and Miriam leads the women in dance!!

Once the rejoicing settles down and the people get hungry, they ask for bread.  They have been slaves for over 400 years and now the bread that they receive will be the bread from heaven.  And with it comes some "rules".  But they are not rules of  back breaking labor as they were accustomed to in Egypt, but a law that comes from Love, and that will be given as they journey forward in His commands.  We begin already to see how closely connected are love and following His commands to our Father in Heaven.

The double portion that is sent down on the sixth day is sent as a "test" as God wants to see if the children of Israel will keep his commandments.  He even says so, I'm not making that up about it being a test!!
And the LORD said to Moses, "I will rain down bread for you from the sky, and the people shall go out and gather each day that day's portion---that I may thus test them, to see whether they will follow My instructions or not.   Exodus 16:4
Now even as we are set free in Yeshua, we still and even more so want to know the heart of the God who brought us through, the God of yesterday, today and forever.   When we receive that double portion, there is a deep remembering of where we came from and it is together with a deep gratitude and praise for the One who brought us through, who brings us through, and will bring us through again.  Our Redeemer and Salvation.

This Shabbat is the Shabbat of Song!! May we sing a song to Him, for He is our strength and our Salvation!!

♬ I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously;
Horse and rider He has hurled into the sea.
The LORD is my strenght and my song.
He has also become my Salvation.   ♬   from Exodus 15:1~2

When I made the Challah this week, those are some of the things I thought about.  As I added flour to the dough I thought of the manna that landed as a layer of dew on the ground, and its description as flaky white like coriander coming from heaven.  Manna is called manna because when the Children of Israel saw it on the ground like a fine frost on the ground, they said to one another "What is it" (Ex. 16:15), which in Hebrew the word "what"  is pronounced "Man" (as in manna) and  that is where the word manna comes from. ( I think the whole sentence is , man- hu , what is it?) and that became what it is called! so it is a wonderful word of wonder at the bread from heaven that God provided as their first bread!

When we spread the challah cover over the Challah on the Shabbat table it and a layer beneath it we remember of the layer of manna that covered the ground in the morning when the Children of Israel awoke and saw that indeed their God provides.  Though in response to their grumbling, there it was, and he loves them--us! despite their--our! sometimes grumbling!!  Over and over in this beginning of their journey, the LORD assures and re-assures the people that He is their God.
The LORD spoke to Moses:  I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.  Speak to them and say: By evening you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; and you shall know that I the LORD am your God. (16:12)
It was through His parting the sea that they knew He was God and the Master of Creation.
It was through that first provision in the wilderness that they knew He was their God.

When I went to measure out the flour for the challah this week in the week of Parsha Besalach, I almost hugged the bowl, remembering, connecting with what it may have been like to go out and see the manna there covering the ground.  Knowing it is that same God who provides the flour for the challah that I will gather into the bowl to make the challah for this Shabbat.   As we say the blessings,  and  the  double  Shabbat commands of "remember" and "keep", shamor and zakor. 

God bless you and hope you have a time of rejoicing and remembering on this Sabbath of Song!!
This is my God, and I will glorify Him,
my father's God, and I will exalt Him.

Exodus 15:2b

I took my bowl to gather the provision, and measured out the first cup of flour.  And hence two challot were made.Notice in the parsha, the unit of measurement is an "OMER", see how this again is something we will remember at Passover and the counting of the OMER!!! 

You will bring them and plant them in Your own mountain,
the place you made to dwell in, O LORD,
The sanctuary, O LORD, which Your hands established.
The LORD will reign for ever and ever!        
Exodus 15: 17~18

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Its the week of Mannah! (post in progress)

Its the week of Mannah!
We have to make

two challahs!
The proper plural is Challot,

But for such a post as this,
I wanted things to ryhme.

We are in the book of Exodus,
We are on God`s appointed time!

Ok, that is my introduction to this post on Manna! Actually there is not an H, but there could be,
as Manna
is writen
(What is it?)

as Challah
is written

You`re just going to have to stay tuned, because its time to make the Challah!

(to be continued! )

This week`s Torah readings are in the Parsha Beshalach.  See sidebar for the readings!  Blessings and Shabbat Shalom!!  Love, Shayndel

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.

**note, I should also note the fragrance!! The Yellow plum blossoms, called Ro-bai, written
蠟梅 in Japanese、are known for their yellow color and for their fragrant blossoms.  When I read this verse below, after posting this, it spoke to me about these flowering branches and the fragrance that fills the air, and accompanies the branch.   So I am adding it here, hoping it might waft through the post to you, with Wishing you a fragrant Shabbat and beautiful week!

The vines in blossom give off fragrance.
Arise, my darling;
 My fair one, come away!

from Song of Songs 2:13

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