Sunday, March 31, 2019

Blossoms and Birthday in the Spirit!

Yeshua answered, "Amen, amen I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not be surprised that I said to you, "You all must be born from above."  John 3:5~7

Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation.  
The old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  

2Corinthians 5:17

This year my "spiritual" birthday came in full blossoms!!
Today is my born-again birthday!!  Five years in Messiah Yeshua!!

Walking out amidst the blossoms that speak of re-birth I looked up to heaven in thanks for the re-birth in my Messiah!!

Breezing past bunches of blossoms seen from the bus, I breathed in the day.

This year my spiritual birthday also came on the day of the spring recital!! I was in a recital of students age 5 to age 75 for the voice training lessons I take!! Three years ago, I started taking voice training because of back problems.  After finding out I would need to strengthen the muscles around the spine to avoid further problems, I started taking voice training!! It became not only a way of healing my back,  it has opened a new door to sing songs of Praise to my maker!! And share and minister His heart to others through the songs!!  As well as get to know and grow with a wonderful teacher, who is also my friend,  and be part of the spring recital and continuing learning...and healing!  Thank you Yeshua!

Blossoms and song, a family atmosphere and listening to others share their gifts  was a beautiful gift to me as well!!  I never imagined I would be singing in front of people, and the thought of being "good" or not didn't even cross my mind.  Its funny as I am not a "singer", but  I know it is a gift from God to do this voice training,  and if He wants us to share something, then its something we will be delighted to share!!

  You must be born again I tell you!!  That is what Yeshua, Jesus, says!

Thy Kingdom come, on earth as it is in Heaven!
The youngest student performer in the recital today was 5 years old!  I think now, that is the same age as my years since being born anew!! We can be 5 again, through being born in the spirit!! We must be born again, says Yeshua!!

And for a gift for you, here is the song I sang---it is a  beautiful song by Misha and Marty Goetz called "The Plans I Have for You",  that they wrote together based on the scripture of Hope that many of you are familiar with from Jeremiah 29:11.

As in Japan a new year starts in April, after the cherry blossoms, it seemed like a fitting song to sing when many of the students would be graduating and going into a new school year.  I translated part of it with the help of my teacher in Japanese, so we added some verses in Japanese so those listening could understand the words!!  It will be a little while still and  a few more years training until I share my singing here!!! Please stay tuned with patience!

Meanwhile,  I will share the anointed singing by Marty and Misha, from Jerusalem!!Its a beautiful song, and a beautiful backdrop, please enjoy it HERE!!

  With a message of hope for all.
 It says
" I know the plans I have for you!  You're always on my mind.  And all the thoughts I think towards you are lovingly designed.  To bring you through and give to you a future and a hope.  They're for your peace they're for your good.... the plans I have for you!"  (from lyrics by Marty Goetz and Misha, based on Jeremiah 29:11 )


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cherry Blossom Fragrant air

Its happening, we are entering the cherry blossom season!!  It is like an anointing in the air.  Its not even a scent , but rather an infused sense.  Palpable in pink, and yet it doesn't really have a color, its just like the air is cleansed from the opening of the blossoms, and

Everything is bathed in its fragrance.

You'll want to look up towards heaven, as the blossoms open first one by one, and then all at once!!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Challah Diary, "TODAH" Challah of Thanks to the Beloved

 A smaller "half" portion of Challah this week, like the "half shekel" we are one half of a whole, made complete in God.

"TODAH"! The Hebrew word for Thanks
I became excited about making it and felt His presence with me as I shaped four Hebrew letters  that spell "Todah" from the three strands.  Once they were shaped and arranged on the trays to bake, I  held them up  towards Heaven.  Thank you in Hebrew is the word "Todah", spelled in four Hebrew letters from right to left--tav..vav, dalet, hay.

He is to present his offering with the sacrifice of his fellowship offerings for thanksgiving along with cakes of bread with hametz.   Leviticus 7:13
עַל-חַלֹּת לֶחֶם חָמֵץ, יַקְרִיב קָרְבָּנוֹ, עַל-זֶבַח, תּוֹדַת שְׁלָמָיו

The voice of the beloved speaks to each of us in a unique way as we seek Him.  

I have found that one of my Love languages that the Holy Spirit engages me in is  the language of "Challah"!! (perhaps you've noticed!)

This week the Challah itself took the form of a Word!!  It is the word "Thank you" in Hebrew!!!  Which is pronounced, "Todah".  You will notice this word in many of the scriptures that speak of Thanksgiving and Praise.

You can see the word being shaped above and it is spelled out in challah on the Shabbat table here:

 "Todah"  means "Thank you" and is an offering of praise in Hebrew.

When baked,  the second letter , the "Vav" became a little too short, so the actual balance of the word is a little off, but you can see there is basically how the word "Todah" looks in Hebrew, in Challah!

On every Shabbat, we say the blessings giving thanks for the bread and wine and break bread in remembrance of Yeshua.   We thank God for He creates the bread from the earth.  We thank God for Yeshua, who is the Bread of Life, whose body was pierced and broken for us. In a moment when we broke the bread, both my daughter and I reached for the second letter, the "Vav".  We broke it and ate the bread and drank the wine (grape juice)  in remebrance of Yeshua who gave His life for us.  I realized then that the "vav" that we just broke off also has a particular meaning, one of which is "connection".  Yeshua is  the connector between Heaven and Earth.  And only through Him can we reach the Father.  As we ate the bread, we could feel His presence.

When I looked again at the word with the broken Vav,  
the Holy Spirit revealed another word for me to spell out!!

I did as He showed me, and re-arranged the remaining letters, and voila!

What a wonderful surprise!
It was this:

This word is "Dodi".  It means "Beloved".

You can see the word in the scriptures here, 

Ani le dodi, le dodi Li.
 אֲנִי לְדוֹדִי וְדוֹדִי לִי
I am my beloved's  and He is mine.
Song of Songs 6:3

Our Challah of Thanks revealed the Beloved!! Or rather, He revealed Himself to us through the Challah of thanks!!

It was a  special Shabbat!

”Dodi", Beloved

This past Shabbat we  read in the Parsha Tzav, which speaks of Thanks offerings and that is what inspired the Thanks TODAH challah !!

Offer God a sacrifice of thank offerings,
and pay your vows to the Most High.  Psalm 50:14

Blessings and Shavu'a Tov.  Have a blessed week!


Note: for a word study of where to find scriptures that have the Hebrew word "Todah"  you can find it HERE,
and for "Dodi", HERE


Saturday, March 23, 2019

Todah Postcards from Parsha Tzav, with cherry blossoms

Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving.
Let us shout joyfully to Him with songs.
Psalm 95:2

The Hebrew word in the postcards is "Todah", it means Thank you.  Because the Parsha we are reading now in Leviticus talks about the Thanks offering, this word was a word for this Shabbat and a word to always have in our heart!!  The children in the first postcard are each holding a letter of the Hebrew word Todah, and they are dressed in a casual contemporary garment of worship inspired by the priestly garments.  The word Todah also inspired  My challah this Shabbat, as I will share in the post to follow. This year I saw the first Cherry Blossom on Purim!!It was just one or two or three precious blossoms open!
To be continued!....Blessings and Shabbat Shalom, aThanks-filled weekend to all!

First blossom!

Love, ♡ Shayndel

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Purim Challah, and now, the Feast!

Mordecai recorded these events and he sent letters to all the Jews throughout the provinces of King Ahasuerus, both near and far, urging them to celebrate the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar every year as the days when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into celebration.  These were to be days of feasting, celebration and sending presents of food to one another and giving gifts to the poor.        
Esther 9:20~22

 The Feasts of the LORD are called feasts for good reason.
They are to be feasts!! And at the same time, we are not to neglect those who cannot feast or have not enough, and it is also a big part of Purim to give to those who are in need, as well as share gifts of food with one another.

When it is time to move to the feast, we give thanks to the LORD for all He provides, and for bringing us to this day.
And always, always, have you noticed, everything we make on a Shabbat or Feast day is more delicious than on an "ordinary" day on the calendar.  My daughter notices ! Those who join in the feast do too!! Its like God gives us an extra anointing in cooking on those days!!

I love making a special Challah on Purim.
This year I hadn't decided what  the Challah would be, until I began to shape it and roll out the dough.

 I had the Prune and Sakura fillings (see post below) prepared, so in a moment, I saw to make a Sakura and Prune Challah for Purim!!

As described in the post below, the two fillings together have a special significance for me and in our house in Japan.  They express something about my walk with the LORD and hopes for His Salvation for our family.   As my daughter is home and here for Purim, I was also thinking about how in a way she is like the Sakura , or cherry blossom, as she is born and grew up in Japan, and even under the cherry blossoms! And the prune is.... me!

Ok, that may not have come out so pretty!! But what I meant is well, yes, there is something generational there too!! Sakura is new and fresh and young and renewing, and Prune as I have explained below, is something as  Jewish people we seem to like for as far back as I can remember!!  And they are preserved to last a long time!! How is that for a mix!! The new and renewing and the long lasting through the generations!!

We are here because of Esther.  In the sense that, if the Jews in the exile had been wiped out by the wicked plan at that time, we wouldn't be here.  And I think too what about our Messiah Yeshua?  If all the Jews were wiped out?  There is so much to think about in one Challah!!

So here is the challah, a special Purim challah.  When I shaped it I used the Star of David as my inspiration for shape, but as you can see it rose and baked into a shape of its own!! I thought it looked like a crown!! My daughter said to her it looked like a blossom....yes! A cherry blossom.  Oh, that pleased me to hear!!

A few other guests also stopped by for a pre-feast before my daughter came home, dressed as Queen  Esther and Mordecai--- no Purim is complete without them!---  we read the Book of Esther together, using our best character-like voices for all the parts.  I made the additional challah which also contains  sakura and prune for our guests.  As Esther kept vegetarian in the palace, to keep her Jewish identity hidden as she couldn't express being kosher, I didn't want to offend our guests and thus served a vegetarian Esther's bean stew for the pre-feast.  It was followed up when my daughter came home with Kreplach (  non-vegetarian! ) which are another Purim specialty!!

Kreplach in Japanese Dashi and Esther's Persion Bean stew are Purim favorites here! Recipe links to follow!

 A Purim table should express joy!
 And speaks of God bringing together all His people into One in our Messiah Yeshua, the Bread of Life and the Saviour of the world!

His name was not mentioned in the book of Esther, but His hand of Deliverance is forever upon His people!!
Shouts of joy and victory
are in the tents of the righteous:
ADONAI's right hand is mighty!   Psalm 118:15

Blessed be His Name!

Purim Sameach!! Happy Purim!


Prune and Cherry Blossom, can you see the hidden fillings revealed!?

PS note to my blog friends!
 Thank you friends for your comments on my Purim posts below!!
So happy to share in the gladness of the holiday with YOU and blessed by your comments!!
I am still in a Purim whirlwind and now going into Shabbat , so will look forward to reply to follow once I settle !!Much love and a blessed weekend ! Filled with joy and God's great peace..
Shabbat Shalom!!!♡

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Hamantashen! Yeah! Boo! New!

 This year on the day before Purim, I read the book of Esther in my Japanese class with my Japanese teacher.  Or rather, he read most of it and I followed and listened!! He got so into it and loved it so much that he just took over the reading!! Surely he had never read the Purim story before, and his newness to it made me so excited to see how enthusiastic he was in reading it!! He saw all the intricacies in it and was cheering and booing.   I believe God gave him a quickening of the spirit somehow as he seemed to follow how the workings of God's hand behind it make it indeed an extra-ordinary story!!

My teacher didn't know that when we read the Book of Esther every year at Purim (or listen to a reading of the Megilla as those who are in a synagogue), it is always a very lively reading!! We hiss and boo and roll noisemakers at every mention of Haman's name, and cheer on Esther and Mordecai with joyous cheers at their names!!  So when he was so animated in his reactions, it really made me glad to see him doing that without any prompting!! And when I read it this year I too had a new excitement from his excitement!!

Ok, so how do I tie that into the Hamantashen?! As you know these triangle shaped cookies with "hidden" fillings are the traditional sweet to eat at Purim.  Named after the evil Haman... BOOO!!!!

Yet surely there are other revelations "hidden" in the Hamantashen.

Making Hamantashen is first of all  a joy, as though the victory in the salvation of the Jews is echoed three times in the three V's!  Of course if you put the two cookies overlapped on each other, there are two triangles, which make up the Star of David!! Well, those are just off the cuff.

The fillings that we use here at Challah and Cherry Blossoms are one "old" and one "new" combined into what I call Challah and Cherry Blossoms Hamantashen!  As we are in Japan, the sakura filling, or cherry blossom, is the taste of the season, and also the taste of renewal, resurrection, and the Messianic taste, speaking into life that which was not.

The prune filling is a traditional filling I associate with being  "Jewish".  Its substantial and deep in taste and has a history and probably generations have been eating hamantashen filled with prune filling, most likely my grandparents and before!!  Thus, the two together are my signature Challah and Cherry Blossoms Hamantashen!!
Japanese and Jewish folded into the taste of becoming new in Messiah Yeshua!!

Now the next discovery I made is a new meaning to the Hamantashen.
You know, that it is said that God is "hidden" in the book of Esther and the Purim story, as it is the only book in all the Bible where God is not mentioned by His name, or any of his names.

And yet, reading it this year, I found He is not hidden at all!! From my Japanese teacher clearly feeling His presence, to reading it with a clear knowing how His hand is upon everything, He seems so present there in every detail.  So my interpretation of the Hamantashen, with the delicious fillings inside, is that they speak of God and how He is the center of all things!   And the center of course of the center of all the events that are wrapped together in the Purim story.

The filling is "hidden" but its not hidden at all.  It is rich and delicious and full of good taste and surprise.  It is cherry blossoms, it is prune (from plums, like grapes), apricot, fruit of all kinds.
I think of the scripture, Taste and see how good the Lord is!!

That is why we love these hamantashen!! They speak of God's delicious-ness, His taste of everything that is good, His being the one who is in the center of our very story, of our very being. The one who everything we do is centered around.  The one who is in the center of our hearts and who fashions our hearts.

So when you taste the treats of Purim this year, taste deeply, taste intimately, taste with all the senses how very, very , very good our God is!!

Prune and Sakura filled hamantashen, signature Purim fare at our house at Challah and Cherry Blossoms

"Hidden" hamantashen

 Taste and see how good ADONAI is.
Blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him.
--Psalm 34:9

And as I look deeper into the Psalm, I see His deliverence, and his saving power! I see the Purim story and I see my Saviour .  I see how how those who seek the LORD want for no good thing.  And I see how he is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the face of the earth!! So this is the hamantashen! there in the Psalm!  The turning from evil to good!! They are about seeking Shalom!! Perhaps when we bite into them and taste how good HE is , we are also following the command to blot out Amalek, to blot out evil, and as Haman descends from Amalek, we remember never to forget!

The face of ADONAI is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
The righteous cry out and ADONAI hears, and delivers them from all their troubles.
Many are the distresses of the righteous, but ADONAI delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones--
not one of them is broken.
Evil kills the wicked--
those who hate the righeous 
will be held guilty.
ADONAI redeems the soul of His servants
--no one who takes refuge in Him will be held guilty.

Yeah!! We can cheer with Amen!!  Praise the LORD!
  Who knew a post about a cookie would lead us into a Psalm, and a message of Shalom as we taste and see how good the LORD is!!

Blessings and a Happy Purim!!


Note:  For more on this blog about  recipes and how-to-make them, and how to share them,  posts and  tutorials,  about hamantashen, Please see my previous years posts on
Challah and Cherry Blossoms Sakura Hamantashen HERE (Purim Menu),
  HERE(Cherry Blossom Hamantashen)!, 
HERE (Sharing Purim)
and HERE(assorted Purim posts)

The Recipe base I use for the Hamantashen and the prune filling are from Tory Avey's blog and can be found HERE (Hamantashen)  and HERE (filling).   You can also find it at right on the sidebar. Thank you Tory Avey for this and other recipes, we are grateful for the inspiration and wonderful recipes that you share, some we have been using over the years as a base from which to create and add on with some Cherry Blossoms touches.  Happy Purim to all!