Wednesday, 24 April 2013

I Love Your Torah

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.
Psalm 119: 105-112


Follow Your Own Path

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

I Want to Hold Your Hand


I saw this on facebook a few minutes ago and just couldn't resist.
It made me think of Mark and I because we too hold hands while we sleep. If we are not holding hands, we are holding each other.
I believe the Sea otters have something. Because the currents of life we float upon; jobs, housework, children, family crisis, can cause even the most loving couple to drift apart. Reaching out to friends and loved ones, that simple gesture of touch reconnects us, reminds us we are not in this world alone.
I love watching sea otters at play. They are not lone wolves, but pack beings, needing community. Family.
Just like we humans.
Nature is one of our greatest teachers.
If we allow her.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Precious Faith

I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:147

It was during this time that I could once again focus on my bible reading. With everything that was going on, each time I sat down to read the Holy Bible, the words would become scrambled and fuzzy. But now, the fuzz was clearing up and I could once again make sense of the words. Of The Word. It was in the silence of my brother-in-law's home that G-d began to speak with that soft voice. In His Word. Slowly, a returning love, the words of Torah rang once again in my heart.

It is times like these that one realizes how precious one's faith is. How precious the Word of HaShem is. How thankful I am fr people who prayed for me when I could not pray or myself. Who had faith when my was somewhere in the basement. For those who kept sending me bible verses, lifelines to hang onto.
There were times I even lost my faith. But I really didn't.
Faith isn't really faith until it is tried and tested. Like gold under heat, that which isn't pure rises to the surface to be removed and all that remains is the pure gold.
My faith is real. It has been tested and trialed. There have been times it has gotten heated and I wasn't sure if it would hold. But it has.
Just as my beloved Mark and I are so much closer, so I feel a nearest to HaShem I haven't felt before. A trust that came from this series of trials. It looked dicely for awhile, but He never let us down. He was there.
We questioned. We wondered. We even cried out; "what are you doing?" But in the end, He carried us through. On eagles wings He carried us, teaching us to trust Him as He carried us higher and higher in faith.
And love.
For the Holy One, Blessed be He, Who never stopped holding onto me.


Sweet Peace

While we were visiting our Ohio family, the family was preparing to attend an Amish wedding. To be invited to an Amish wedding is an high honour.
So one morning, my niece was heading out for a dress fitting and asked me if I would like to go along. In West Union, one either walks, rides a bike, buggy, car or a scooter to get about. My niece and nephew talked me into riding part of the way on scooter.
The last time I was on a scooter, I was a child, so I was willing to give it a spin. This is going to take practice, but I still had fun.
And of course the way I was dressed, I could pass for an Amish lady.

Later that afternoon, our niece was able to talk Mark into riding the scooter as well. Everyone laughed at how quickly and easily we seem to mingle in with the locals.
What I found amazing was the peace I began to feel.
At night, there is no traffic sounds, just sweet silence. We would lay down and just close our eyes, allowing the quiet to wrap us like a babe and rock us to sleep.
There would be times I would awake during the night, watching my beloved sleep. The worry lines across his closed eyes were going away. He wasn't tossing and turning. He was at rest. His soul was finding peace.
At last.

Reel Eggs

One of the wonderful things about being with Todd and family is learning that they as a family had gone through similar losts as we had over the year.
Not only did Todd lose his job, but his home as well.
But it was the kindness of the Amish that saved his family.
First, they were given a trailer to rent, later they were offered a home by the family who rented out the trailer.
A home Todd and family opened to Mark, Monti and me. We saw first hand how HaShem not only restored, but gave our family so much more.
The family is also in the egg business.

It is a nice way to bring in income as things get better. And when you have had fresh, farm fresh eggs, you will settle for nothing less.

Yes, these are Reel eggs. Yes, they are coloured eggs, one a slight pink, the other, light blue. Mark and I talked about it. We are thinking about raising chickens when we get settled in Montana. Though I will have a lot to learn.
But there is no great hurry in deciding what to do we get to Montana. Right now, I am just enjoying the journey.
Until next time.

Stop Worrying

Sunday, 21 April 2013


West Union, Ohio.
Amish Land.
While I have always admitted the Amish people; they faith, they values. I even have a devotional I love entitled Amish Peace. But I never realise that a huge part of our healing would be found in the heart of Amish country.

Mark's brother and family live in the heart of Amish country. In fact, their home, owned by an Amish family is being rented to our family.
Not only is it huge, but lovely and the craftsmanship is amazing.
It is here, with our family that our healing began.
As I said in another entry, Todd and his family welcomed us with open arms and hearts. Even down to the bedroom they created for us; the feel of a jewish honeymoon suite, with sweet little touches.

I met the children eight years ago, just before the wedding. They were so young and I was afraid they wouldn't remember me.
But they did! To hear my two nephews and one niece call me "Aunt Laini!"meant the world to both Mark and I.
And of course everyone fell in love with Monti.
We had planned only to stay a day or two. But thanks to celebrating Passover and then an incoming snow storm, we were there five.
If we weren't committed to moving to Montana, West Union could have easily become home.
More next time.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Enjoy the Simple Things

Enjoy the little things,
 for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. 
~Robert Brault~
Enjoy the little things,
for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
~Robert Brault~

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Tears For Boston

At age nine, my family moved to Boston, Ma. from New York. It was another world, another culture, but quickly I adjusted and adapted, for I fell in love with its distinct European feel.
While school years weren't the best (being bullied) it is where I grew up into a woman. Where my son was born.
The last few years I lived in downtown Boston proper. The Boston Commons was my son's playground. We would visit my mother when she worked at the Governor's office. It was here that I studied through a program by Mass General to be a CNA and began my career in the health profession. My son and I actually lived, I went to work along the same route as the Boston Marathon. It wasn't uncommon to see men and women out and about in the early mornings, beginning to train. We could even watch part of the Marathon from our roof top. 
I moved to the south in my twenties, and like the reasons we moved West, to begin a new life, I still have several friends as well as my sister still living in Boston and I hope one day Mark and I can go for a visit.
So you can imagine my horror as I watched the events unfold on TV yesterday. I kept saying, "I know this area!" And as silly as it sounds, I kept looking for my younger sister's face, my heart knowing she was down there.
Turns out, my sister was just a block away from the bombing. We thank the Holy One for His protection.
Our hearts are still broken for the city of Boston. Right now, we still do not know who is behind this. At least, we do not see the human face or faces.
So we know that satan, the evil one is the force behind this.
I shall not sit back and blame G-d or question "Why did You allow this?" I shall, instead give thanks that there weren't more dead.
I shall pray for those families who lost loved ones, who have been injured. And I shall pray that those who did this are quickly found.
This was an act of Terrorism. Even the President has said this. The only question is; this the word of enemies inside or outside the nation.
 It is G-d that changes the hearts of men, not laws, not bans. As long as evil lies in the hearts of men, there will be such actions. Sadly, there will be the horrors we have seen over the years with school shootings, bombings, etc. Bans will make it tougher to get a gun, but it wasn't a gun used yesterday. Materials to make bombs are very easy to come by. So are butcher knives. But a ban or tougher laws  won't stop a someone bend on causing harm to others. The peace we are seek and long for, will not come until Messiah Himself comes.
My suggestion is to take a page from Israel's play book. Israel faces this sort of attacks all of the time. They are prepared and ready to deal with it. But at the same time, the people of Israel do not walk about in fear, they don't allow the Terrorism to control their lives. And we must not either.
Let us continue to put our faith in the Holy One, be watchful and not live in fear.
Beloved Boston, you are not alone. We pray for you, we weep with you.

Daily Dose


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Next Stop: West Union, Ohio

The next day, after a light breakfast and a quick rearrangement of our luggage, we were off again. This time, heading for West Union, Ohio, the home of Mark's brother Todd and family.
We stopped in West Virginia for lunch. The weather here was must colder, so Montaque got to wear his new packer. Knowing that the weather would still be chilly in Montana, we brought the furry baby a new coat.
Turns out he needed it now.
I had just gotten a copy of the Chronicles of Narnia on DVD. It is the radio program Focus on The Family had produced years ago. So this is what we chose to listen to as we travelled.
Listening to the Narnia series kept us both awake as well as something to talk about.
It was a long trip and I was thankful for packing bottles of water, fruit and nuts, as well as doggie treats for Montaque. Our little guy prove to be a very good traveller. How he love to step upon my lap and look out the window. At other times, he would crawl into his bed in the back seat and sleep.
That afternoon, we received a call from Todd.
He had asked if we could hold a Passover Seder for the family. It would be good for the children since they had never been to one.
Mark and I were delighted. Since we were travelling, we had made no plans for Passover, thinking we would have to wait until next month to do so. And now here was an golden chance to not only keep the Feast, but to share with family.
Reaching Ohio, we entered into a snow storm, even hit a patch of black ice and spin out. Everyone was fine. Montaque was thrown from his bed, laying on my jacket and went back to sleep.
We made it in safe. Mark called Todd to let him know where we were.
Todd told us how to get to the nearby MacDonald's, where he would meet us and drive us the rest of the way.
It was dark and late, but no matter. Within thirty minutes, we were with family, being embraced by nephews and a niece that I feared would not remember me, but did.
We were embraced in the arms and warmth of family.
What an amazing feeling.

And We Are Out of Here

It was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon the Reel tribe took off for Montana.
I had done most of my crying earlier in the week.
Virginia had been my home for some 33 years. I came here with my first husband, with hopes of saving our marriage.
And you can see how well that turned out.
It was here that both my son and I grew up. Where I reclaimed my faith as a Messianic Jew, enjoyed a career as a Hospices CNA, started my own small business and met my beloved. I had developed many close friendships. My mother is still here.
And yet it was now time to leave, with my husband, for the new chapter in our lives.
I looked out the window, my body filled with so many emotions; sadness and joy. Excitement and dread. Curious to see what the unknown holds. And fearful of it.
Mark took my hand and squeezed it. He understood my feels. But didn't share them.
He was so ready to move to Montana, the place his heart been longing for all these years.
We arrived in Fairfax, Virginia around ten pm. Since we are travelling with a dog, this meant finding a Pet Friendly hotel. The local Quality Inn was such an hotel.
Our timing was excellent because the hotel we went to was quickly filling up with groups of high school kids and their teachers.
And of course, Monti  made a new friend.

We were sadden to miss Sam, but he did send a gift to help with the travel cost. Our hope is one day, when back in Virginia, we can stop for a real visit.
After a supper of the worse Chinese food I have ever eaten, we headed off for bed. The excitement of the day finally catching up with us.
The adventure had truly begun.
We are really on our way to Montana.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Resist Tyranny.

Photo"To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects."
Margaret Thatcher

In a world growing ever more dark, the little light from the memorah shines brightly. I think about that with each Hanukkah. How brave the Jewish family above was to set their Hanukkah lights in the window, the menorah staring into the face of the Nazi flag. How easy to have 'hidden the lights," knowing the danger they were facing.
We may never know this family's name.
But we know where their family laid.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

We Shall Never Forget

Today we remember the six million men, women and children who were murdered, their lives ended by the single word of one man.
Their crime?
Being Jewish.
 Hitler's Final Solution to rid the world of, first every Jew in Germany and then the world.

But it is he, not the Jewish people that is gone.
For while six member Jewish hearts stopped beating, their memory, their lives live on in our hearts, our souls. While now with G-d, their voices ring in our ears, their voice, now our voice.
Never Again.
While Hitler is dead, the evil of his soul still lives on in others. There remain nations, leaders, even religious groups that have not learned the lesson of the past; when you touch the Apple of G-d's Eye, you are touching His Beloved. And He destroys all who seek to destroy His Beloved.
Like those before him, Hitler did not success in his evil plan. He is gone the way of so many of HaShem's foes.
The birth of every jewish child is a spit in Hitler's face. Every time we celebrate a Bat or Bar Mitzvah, a boy or girl becoming a Child of the Convent, taking their place in the Jewish community, their voices carry the tune "I'm Still Standing." Every Jewish wedding, including my own, is a victory dance upon Hitler's grave.
The world was silence during the murder of six million jews. Many who knew turned a blind eye.
Never again.
Out of the ashes of the gas chambers came the rebirth of a Nation, Israel. We returned to our homeland. And we say Never Again.
Never Again shall this be allowed to the jewish people or any other people.
On this day, despite our faith, we are all jews and we must cry out: NEVER AGAIN!
Future Fuhrers take notes: Try to destroy the Jewish is a quick track to your grave. Do not pass Go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.
Never Again.

Your Moving Where????? Part 4


Like the story of Yoseph and his brothers, our story was moved forward by desperation. At every turn the brothers were thwarted in their simple desire to to buy grain. 
Mark and I were, in turn, thwarted in our simple desire to have a job and a home to call our home. For a backyard for our little dog to run about and play, bark and just be a dog.
 Yet even to the point of  yielding to Yoseph's demands to bring Benjamin in Egypt , not knowing what their fate would be, the Jacob family moves on to what they must to save their family.
Mark and I found ourselves in the same boat.
Our life was no longer in Virginia. Our future laid West. And G-d allowed us to be brought to the very edge to make us stop looking in Virginia for salvation.
But to Montana.
I remember asking Mark right after my mother's birthday if he thought all we were going through was leading us to Montana.
"Then He better change mummie's heart, she's not ready for us to leave."
Little did we realize, my mother had already released us to go where ever we needed to. For she would rather see us living with my sister in Boston (she offered, but she was already up to her nose in family) than on the streets. Mark's brother had offered us a place with his family as well n Ohio. But Mark's heart had always been set in returning to Montana.
And where my beloved' heart is, so is mine.
With the help of several very special friends, including, Mark's best friend Sam and older brother Chuck, after many emotional I love you, like the Yacob family of old, we were off to the place prepared for us.

The first stop was suppose to see Sam and family. But because of the last minute details, (adding things to storage, saying goodbye to friends, getting gas) we had a very late start and rolled into Fairfax around 10 pm and it was way to late for a visit, so we found a dog friend hotel and settled in for the night.

To be continued....

Your Moving Where????? Part 3

As I look out the bedroom window, beholding surrounding mountains surrounding our new home, I recall all that brought us here.
Hearing soft breathing behind me, I turn to behold my beloved Mark sleeping, Monti laying aside him.
G-d has brought us so much these past three years. Trials, storms, lessons. Sometimes all three rolled into one.
But we have made it through them all. Holding onto His hand.
And onto each other......
During the past few weeks I have seen both the hand of the devil and the Hand of G-d.
How do you tell someone to get out of the home you provided, when they are moving into said home instead of attending church service? We had to move out that very night and because we didn't go to church, we lost our home, my husband loses his job? A job he hadn't even start?
Where is the Love and Mercy of G-d in that?
 And yet, another mission, one that also helps the homeless, stepped up and offered to pay for a hotel room until they could help move us to Montana. They moved our things to a holding place and even when we didn't make it to the deadline of getting the rest of our things out, we did have friends who helped move the stuff sitting on the street before it was picked up for trash day.
The Hand of G-d. When the devil was all set to rage his final blow upon us, G-d stepped and with His mighty strong arm, swept the devil away instead.
Once our things were moved to a small cottage at Hope Haven, the Adult Assisted Living where my mother lives, we were able to relax a bit at the hotel, knowing G-d was working.
I remember the drive to the hotel that Monday evening. I was thinking about all we had gone through.
Monti was staying with friends who offered to care for him.
We were homeless. We were really homeless. I thought I would never see these days of lack again.
My mother often said G-d would bring one to place where the only thing one had to rely on was Him.
And He did.
Once in the hotel room, (after having to be upgraded because our room was given to someone else, Mark held me and allowed me to cry.
It  didn't seem fair.
But who said life was fair?
How could G-d, our Father, allow this to happen to us?
For His Glory.
A friend had given us a couple of dinner cards and they came in handy. So, while I showered, Mark went out to Olive Garden and got supper.
Those four days at the hotel were in many respects like a second honeymoon, the very start of our new beginning.

The future was a clean sheet of page before us.

A new adventure.
It was during our stay at the hotel that we learned why we were called to Montana. The aunt and uncle that raised Mark the first several years of his life, needed help. His uncle was in hospital, quite sick and would need help in the house and in the garden.
There was truly a place for us.
And with the blessings of my mother and all who knew us, we were on our way home to Montana.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Your Moving Where????? Part 2


Come to the edge, He said. They said, We are afraid. Come to the edge, He said. They came. He pushed them... and they flew. Apollinaire, Guillaume

For the past few months, there had been an increasing uneasiness growing in our family.
The house we were living in, really wasn't our home, but shared with others.
The newest roommate didn't like dogs and Monti was being to show signs of stress; we couldn't leave him alone, lest he bark the whole time we were gone. He wouldn't let me out of his sight.
Doors were closing left and right; Mark couldn't find a job, we couldn't find a home, not even a room. The deadline for our moving out was closing in and we were not sure what G-d was up to.
But now we know; like a Mama bird who after teaching the baby birds how to fly, breaks up the nest so they can head out on their own, G-d was destroying our nest, taking us to the edge, pushing us off so that we would fly.

Finding we were now without a place to move to, that Sunday, Mark called his aunt and uncle in Montana, telling them about what happen. His aunt asked the name of the ministry we were to work with. When Mark told her, she said, not only had they had dealings with this group, but would have warned us not to get involved with this group.

Turns out several people we knew had been mixed up with this group. We were told we got out easy.
The next day, Monday, I told our landlord what happen.
"Why does a church kick someone out of a house you haven't moved into?"
"Because we didn't attend church."
During this time we were still trying to reach the pastor, feeling that there was some misunderstanding we could clear up. There was another local ministry helping us with the move pastor that was helping us offered to go with Mark, but they never met. This pastor had dealings with this ministry and advised we concern ourselves "saved" from a worse fate. The pastor asked if there was anyone else we could move in with. When I mention family have opened their home to us, he offered to help get us there.
So with the help of Union Mission, our things were moved to a short terms holding place. The plan was for the crew to come back Tuesday or the next day and we would be on our way.
But things didn't work out for Tuesday.
While our former landlord was gracious in giving us an extra day, we really were trespassing and when we could not get the U-Haul or any other help that day, he was within his rights to evict us from the house.
And he did.
 The only thing we lost that meant anything to me was the black and gold marble dresser Mark gave me as a gift. We just couldn't get it out of the house in time before the door was locked behind us.
It broke my heart to let it go. Mark allowed me my tears, promising to make all of this up to me. I smiled and reminded him, "it's OK I can always get something better,"
Union Mission paid for a room for us at a local hotel and  friends took care of Monti. Knowing Monti would be with a 13 year old boy and permitted once again to run, play and bark like a little dog, gave me great peace. 

The next few days were busy as we hurried to get our things off the property by Thursday morning. Friends helped Wednesday, Thursday, we were able to rent a U-Haul to get the rest of our things.

Friday afternoon, we had to move out of the hotel. Since Union Mission didn't wish to separate us, moved us to Hope Haven, where my mother lives.
The staff went out of their way to prepare our room, such loving touches, making Mark and I feel quite at home.

We were there a week as we packed and repacked decided to take, put into storage or give to Union Mission. 
At first, Union Mission was moving us to Montana, but learning that the cost of moving all of our things was way too much, they helped us with the cost of a storage unit, moving our things there until as such time Mark can go back and bring them to Montana.
There were so many nights I just fell into bed, exhausted.
"This can't be happening!" Often I thought all of this was a bad dream and I would awake in my old bedroom in Ghent, in Mark's arms.
But it wasn't a dream. G-d closed every door in Virginia and we were moving to Montana.
To be continued.....