Sunday, October 22, 2017

Feast of Tabernacles 2017- Pokagon State Park

Another year of celebrating with friends the wonderful feast of tabernacles or sukkot.  Sukkot in hebrew means "booths", which describes the aspect of this feast of dwelling in temporary tents for all seven days of the festival.  Leviticus 23:33-36 and Deuteronomy 16:13 talk about the feast and what it entails.  Further into Leviticus 23 it speaks of the offerings that were required during the feast.  There are always lessons learned or challenges faced during Sukkot that help us grow as individuals or as a group.  This year I really felt some heart tugs in regards to how I serve my fellow brothers and sisters and those surrounding me.  Not how I do the act of serving but how my attitude is when I do it.  What am I offering.  During this feast they were to bring extra offerings in addition to their normal offering.  What was I bringing in addition to what I was already offering?  

Deuteronomy 16:14 "Be joyful at your festival- you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns."  God wasn't simply directing this to jews only.  He even included the widows in their town to be celebrating this.  This is why we keep this feast and celebrate it.  Besides, in Zechariah 14 it talks prophetically about this feast happening again.  Some how our brains can't wrap around the idea that it happened in bible times, He will have it happen later on according to the prophetic writing in Zechariah, but we shouldn't be doing it now?  It just doesn't make sense to us, so we observe this feast and practice the joyful celebration of our King coming (this just might be the actual time of Jesus' birth too if you look into it a little) to dwell with us as we camp out in temporary dwelling places.  After all, isn't this earth our temporary home?  I sure don't plan on being here forever.  Waiting for that day when HE comes back for us to tabernacle with us for eternity.  

Every year it looks a little different for us as far as where we are and who we are camping with.  Every year is a blessing no matter who we're with because it's the joy and the remembrance of Him being with us and rejoicing in the blessings that He pours out on us.    Here are pictures from this year's celebration.  We camped with 5 families, but we had so many other families trickle in to visit, study, eat, play, sing, and enjoy each other's fellowship.  If any of our readers are interested in this feast and keeping it with us, let us know.  We'll keep you posted in the coming year.  

You can watch Alegra's vlog here of our week or continue to scroll through my view of the pics she took.  :)   
We all love some good hikes during the week.

This is one of our family's offering.  We bring harvest from our garden and cook up a big pan of deliciousness that everybody helps prepare.  It's one of our favorite things during the week, working together from the bounty of our harvest and feasting together on it.

The children played lots of games all week.

We visited another group up in Marshall, MI who also observe this feast.  A meal of chicken and veggies over the fire and peach cobbler and ice cream were quite satisfying along with the singing and Scripture story.  It's always a treat to visit the Twelve Tribes community and partake in fellowship together.

The first and last day of the feast are to be high holy days or a special Sabbath.  On the regular Sabbath, the families enjoyed doing their own thing, children played, and we had a long time friend and teacher from Valpo come share a teaching he has done in the past called Moshiach (Messiah) in the Feasts.

We took the children halfway through the teaching to make graham cracker sukkahs.  It's always a fun activity for the children.

A group of us went horseback riding at the park.  It was a gorgeous morning to ride and stroll the trails on horse back.

We loved having friends come hang with us.  
The Danberry and Ferris families came to enjoy a hike and visit.

Lots of 4 square happened.

Alegra had fun doing a photo shoot with her friends.

There was plenty of love to go around with all the little ones to keep track of and care for. 

We had some random people end up in our camp for some medical needs.  We hoped that we were the servants Yahweh needed us to be for them.  We had various health issues within camp- poison ivy, blisters from walnut juices, bee stings that kept us all caring for one another and each other's children.  Those things bring us together.  We had meals together.  We played together.  We sang together.  And we sat around enjoying each other's company, encouragement, and gifts that they could offer during the week. 

We each had offerings that were brought to the table that weren't planned ahead.  The paramedic in the group was of great help to our group and others in the campground.  Different ladies had ointments and oils that came in handy for children and dogs who were in need.  Ladies who opened their arms to hold little ones so mamas could shower or prepare food or put other little ones to bed.  Knowledge of RVs came in handy for those who needed help.  Bringing together the food we had prepared always made for more than enough food for us and others visiting.  Even the spilling of popcorn all over the ground resulted in a fun opportunity for the children to see how an accident can be used for the good and as a blessing as they put the kernels from the ground in a paper bowl to cook over the fire.  What delight they had as they watched the kernels pop all over the place. 

A week of joy.  A week of rejoicing.  It went too fast.  We didn't get everything in we wanted to.  But the love and celebrating was filling and hopefully glorifying to our Saviour.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

And the Trumpet shall sound

Sometimes we go into feast days/weeks prepared and ready for all that the Father has for us, and other times, we go into them unprepared and just barely being ready to participate.  This year we didn't feel entirely prepared but open to what He wanted to show us through it.  Our hearts have been preparing but last minute preparations and gathering everyone up sometimes gets me. 

We usually celebrate the Feast of Trumpets with City on a Hill in Sturgis.  They start with a Mikvah (baptism) service, then continue celebrating at the house with food, dance, and games.  We've been going through such an amazing time spiritually right now, we were ready for whatever He wanted.  We went to the Mikvah not feeling the need to participate, but once I got there, I felt this huge urge to go into the water.  I typically prefer doing it with my husband's covering alongside me, but he wasn't planning on doing it, so I thought I'd just let it be.  Then Benaiah nudged him and said he wanted to to start a new chapter.  Then Alegra went to him and asked if he was going to because she felt like she needed to.  Sooo, right away I said, "Yeah, I'm supposed to also".  We often times think of baptism as being a one and done kind of thing, but Peter said, "Repent and be baptized".  We are continuously repenting for sins, sometimes daily, so why would it mean that we would only need baptized once.  We can often times think that it's just for making the decision to walk in faith, believing in Jesus as Saviour, and publicly demonstrating that through being immersed in water.  A mikvah was done for that and also for a renewing, cleansing, starting over, etc of life.  It also wasn't necessarily done with one person dunking another into the water but with a witness to their profession and action.     

 We started the time off with worship, then began taking turns, sharing why we decided to participate, then entered the water.  
 Some entered by themselves...

 Some entered as a family...

 Some entered as a first time profession of wrong in their life and wanting to be made new...

 Some entered, wanting to wash away the old and start over with whatever Yahweh has for them...

For me, I entered to continue my journey forward of walking and living for Him.  My spiritual growth has been so great this past year, but I know that there are things that are holding me back, that I'm not letting go of, that need to be gone in order for me to move forward in my growth and in serving and helping others.  I entered to be washed of those things that are holding me back.  I entered to be made clean, becoming wholly devoted to Him and the work He is calling me to for His kingdom.  
When someone finishes, the shofars blow, while some shout and cheer in joy of the cleansing that takes place in each heart.

The rest of the evening continues with food, fun, games, dance, and lots of fellowship.  It's all a reminder of when He will return, coming for us, His bride.  I want to be ready.  I want to be made new, clean and pure for my groom.  I rejoice that He will be coming one day for me.

Leviticus 23 speaks of the command to observe this feast.
Matt. 24 speaks of His return.
1 Thess 4 speaks of His return.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Moonlight arrived!

 We were so excited when our hereford, Rosie, gave birth to a heiffer, safe and sound.  We still were hoping for Iris to be pregnant, but the farmer was really having his doubts.  Then one evening he called me out to walk with him out in the pasture.  We walked out with the girls and he made Iris stand up.  Looks like a change in her udder.  We just might have another baby coming.

The very next day we were all busy about with jobs.  I sent Benaiah out to take some food garbage to chickens when he came back in and said, "Uh, Dad, I think Iris has a baby out there".  Our first reaction was to ask him if he was telling the truth.  Rosie and Iris look similar but that boy knows his animals and keeps good track of the farm right alongside his dad.  Then Josiah said that he thought he saw one too.  We scurried around getting boots on and headed out to the field.  Sure enough, a sweet little bundle lay out there next to her mama, Iris.

 We missed it by a short bit because after birth was still hanging out and there was still a lot of cleaning that needed done.  Iris sure did a great job and took care of her new baby.  Iris was the one who was always nannying the other calves when they were born, not wanting to leave them by themselves in the field when their mama's would go up to the barn.  She has been such a great mom, staying right close to her precious, white faced babe.  Since the other white faced calf was named Eclipse I guess the children decided to go with sky names and named this one Moonlight.  

The farmer's tally for the summer was 1 bull calf and 4 heiffers, though one was still born.  He is quite happy with the ending of his calving season.  Right now we have a bull with our girls hoping they'll get pregnant to be ready for next spring.  The new mamas will need some time, but the angus will be ready.  One evening Jonathon asked me to walk out in the field with him to look at his cows.  We walked through the field hand in hand talking of how happy this would all make his dad.  How he would love seeing the cows back on the farm.  How he would love seeing the children on the farm.  How he would love seeing the children love the farm, the animals, the equipment.  We feel so blessed to be here, raising our children like this.  We walked through the pasture with our boots on, tears in our eyes, and grateful hearts for this life that we live.  The animals are a blessing!  Our children are a blessing!  Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!  Our hearts are full!!!!

Ft. Wayne Children's Zoo- 2017

 The children have wanted to go to the zoo for years.  The last time we were there was when I was pregnant with Josiah.  Yeah, it's been a long time ago.  We decided to make the children earn the trip, so they've been working all summer to earn beans.  They had to earn so many to get into the zoo, get ride tickets, and then their supper at the end of the day.  They all earned enough for all the fun that the whole day held.

We arrived at the zoo at 9:00am and got busy taking in the sights.  We all enjoyed walking, looking, reading, and learning new things.

This was Saphira's favorite part...feeding the giraffe.

 Only these three rode the skyway.

 We took a break for lunch and was thoroughly distracted by the peacock who made us all a little nervous....okay, he made me and Diella nervous.  Everyone else just laughed at us and let the bird get closer and closer.  :)

 This was some of the children's favorite area.  

 Crazy dad.
 She wanted so badly to sit up front and there was seat open for her.  What a treat!

 Alot of us enjoyed the sea lion feeding and show.  We watched it at 11:00am and then went back for the 3:00pm show too.  We just couldn't get enough of it!  They were so playful and active.
 We took a long time watching the otters.  Josiah did a wildlife board on otters for the 4-H Fair, so he was especially glad to get to see two in real life.  Our next goal is to track them down in the winter and look for their tracks in the snow.

We finished at the zoo around 4:00pm.  A full day of fun!  We then headed to Ruby Tuesday for supper.  More good memories with Saphira doing silly things with the straws and the waitress praising the children for how well behaved they were, which they loved because then they got dessert, ended our day.  We all loved the day so much!  I'm so thankful for my children.  A blessed momma for sure!