Day 7: NoteWorthy…


aNNa’S PReFaCe:  There’s a LOT of stuff happening.  Not just news, either… I’m noticing an attack on all things Bible on FB from my nonnie friends.  It’s outright hostile, and I try to just scroll past, but it hurts.   Some of them, I have to say something about.  I wish this world weren’t going the direction that it is… and yet at the same time, I’m kind of glad that it is.  It means we’re getting closer.  Anyhow, I wanted to bring a few things, here.  Some are news articles, some are not… but they’re all worth taking a look at:

California Drought…looks-like/

A new study says that California’s drought is so severe it’s causing the ground to rise. Angela Fritz of The Washington Post reported scientists estimate 63 trillion gallons of water have been lost in the past 18 months.  What happens when 63 trillion gallons of water disappear? “As it turns out, 63 trillion gallons of water is pretty heavy,” Fritz wrote. ” … That incredible water deficit weighs nearly 240 billion tons, and as it evaporated, the ground began to shift” — in California’s mountains, by as much as half-an-inch.

What about California’s water supply? The Los Angeles Times reported California’s three largest reservoirs are at roughly 30 percent capacity.  …The pairs of photographs below show the stark difference at Lake Oroville between 2011 and 2014.

The Ebola outbreak “continues to accelerate” in West Africa and has killed 1,552 people, the World Health Organization said Thursday.  The total number of cases stands at 3,069, with 40% occurring in the past three weeks.  …The outbreak, the deadliest ever, has been centered in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, with a handful of cases in Nigeria.

 Ebola mutating as it travels across Africa…mutating-spreads-west-africa

For the first time, scientists have been able to follow the spread of an Ebola outbreak almost in real time, by sequencing the virus’ genome from people in Sierra Leone.  The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, offer new insights into how the outbreak started in West Africa and how fast the virus is mutating.

The Ebola genome is incredibly simple. It has just seven genes. By comparison, we humans have about 20,000 genes.  …They also immediately shipped diagnostic samples from the patients back to the U.S. and started sequencing the viruses’ genomes.

“We had 20 people in my lab working around-the-clock,” Sabeti says.  Their furious pace paid off. After just a week or so, the team had decoded gene sequences from 99 Ebola viruses. The data offered a treasure-trove of information about the outbreak.  For starters, the data show that the virus is rapidly accumulating new mutations as it spreads through people. “We’ve found over 250 mutations that are changing in real time as we’re watching,” Sabeti says. … the rapid change in the virus’ genome could weaken the tools researchers have to detect Ebola or, potentially, to treat patients.

…”This study is really an impressive tour de force,” says virologist Stephen Morse of Columbia University.   But he says he’s not surprised the virus is mutating so rapidly.  … “But Ebola is obviously a concern and very virulent. I’d say it’s too early at this point to speculate on what any mutation or any change, even with rapid evolution, might lead to.”

“The work [treating patients] is just that dangerous,” Sabeti says. “Another British nurse at the hospital has just come down with Ebola. You’re seeing so many infections going on. It’s an extraordinary thing that’s going on right now [in Sierra Leone].”

Canada evacuating Sierra Leone as WHO
announced it is pulling a team out of the country.

Canada is evacuating a three-member mobile laboratory team from Sierra Leone after people in their hotel were diagnosed with Ebola. The World Health Organization earlier announced it is pulling a team out of the country.  …Canada said it will send in another team once it is deemed safe. Canada has been rotating three teams of scientists in out and out of West Africa.

The World Health Organization said earlier Tuesday is pulling out its team from the eastern Sierra Leonean city of Kailahun, where an epidemiologist working with the organization was recently infected. Daniel Kertesz, the organization’s representative in the country, said that the team was exhausted and that the added stress of a colleague getting sick could increase the risk of mistakes.

The disease has overwhelmed the already shaky health systems in some of the world’s poorest countries.

ISIS Slaughers 450 Syrian Soldiers since Wednesday

During the past 2 days, ISIS slaughtered 450 Syrian soldiers whom they captured, many were unarmed at the time they were captured.  Initially, 250 Syrian soldiers who ran away during the battle for Al Tabka airport were captured and killed. Those soldiers had run away, many leaving their guns behind, and were hiding in fields west of the airport.  Not knowing they were dead, Assad then sent in 200 more soldiers to rescue the captured Syrian soldiers, but it was an ambush, and those soldiers were also killed by the ISIS soldiers.

Al-Quaeda and ISIS are Israel’s new Northern Neighbors

Al Qaeda, ISIS, Syrian rebels, and soldiers loyal to Syrian President Bassar al-Assad are engaged in free-for-all and barbaric war that is taking place dangerously close to the Golan Heights border with Israel.  The Syrian government announced Sunday that it has reclaimed control only parts of Kuneitra, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.  [Israeli] Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has jumped on the chaos to thump his comparison of ISIS with Hamas, while President Barack Obama shocked Americans with a candid appraisal that the United States “does not have a strategy yet”

UN trucks running away from the Syrian-Israel border.UN flees Syrian Border for the safety of Israel

UN troops guarding the border between Israel and Syria were caught on camera today fleeing their posts and running away into Israel with their armored vehicles, after it became too dangerous for them to actually guard the border.  The Rebel forces of the Jubhat al Nusra faction took over an area along the border with Israel, on the Golan Heights, after fighting with Syrian troops.

IDF tank protecting Israel along the Syrian border.Next time someone suggests embedding international troops to protect Israel from our enemies – just think of this picture.

And here we see IDF troops still at their posts along the Syrian border.

UPDATE: Filipino forces have not laid down their weapons, and are still defending 2 UN positions, which is a credit to the Filipinos soldiers, and not the UN.

Hamas vows war in spite of Cease-fire

Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal on Thursday rejected any attempt to disarm his Palestinian Islamist movement in Gaza as demanded by Israel, saying the group’s weapons were “sacred.” “The weapons of the resistance are sacred and we will not accept that they be on the agenda” of future negotiations with Israel, Mashaal told a news conference in Doha…  “The issue is not up for negotiations. No one can disarm Hamas and its resistance,” he said of the Palestinian fighters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Hamas achieved none of its demands by the time a “permanent” cease-fire came into effect at 1600 GMT Tuesday.  Under the deal, Israel will ease restrictions on the entry of goods, humanitarian aid and construction materials into Gaza, and it extended the offshore area open to Palestinian fishermen.  …The Hamas leader called for Egypt, which he praised for mediating the truce, to open its Rafah crossing with Gaza. “It is the duty of our brothers in Egypt to quickly open Rafah,” he said.

…The seven-week conflict claimed the lives of at least 2,140 Palestinians, more than 70 percent of them civilians according to the United Nations, and 64 soldiers and six civilians on the Israeli side.

Birth Pains of Messiah

I was thinking about how I’ve never seen a conflict like this that was interspersed with so many ceasefires and calls for ceasefire. The stopping and starting – on again, off again – character of this latest war made me think of labor contractions (otherwise known as “birthpangs”). I wondered what it would look like if I could graph a timeline of the ceasefires, so I went about collecting the data. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy to tell when it was ceasefire or not because more often than not, firing went right on during the ceasefires.  I couldn’t figure out how to make a graph, but from this chart that I made and pictured above, it is clear that the duration of the ceasefires were getting longer, while the interval between them tended generally towards getting shorter. This reflects the character of contractions as labor progresses. Maybe this is another sign to encourage us – to show us that we really have entered into the time period known as “the birthpangs of Mashiach.”

‘Quiet War’ on David’s Tomb ‘as Dangerous as Arab War’

Rabbi Eldad Shmueli, an activist for the Jewish rights to King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Mount Tzion, on Wednesday called on the public to visit the David’s Tomb Compound to fight the change in status quo that threatens Jewish access to the holy site.  Speaking to Arutz Sheva about the impact of Operation Protective Edge, which reached a controversial long-term ceasefire on Tuesday, Rabbi Shmueli said “from the nature of things during the war we were distracted from David’s Tomb, everything moved to the side.”  “We need to bring it back to the center,” declared the rabbi.

Early last month in a Knesset Interior Committee meeting chaired by MK Miri Regev (Likud), it was revealed that Christians received permission to hold fixed prayers in the David’s Tomb Compound in a secret deal, which breaches the status quo of the site and breaches the law regarding holy sites Following Pope Francis’s Israel visit in June and controversial Mass prayer services at the site, it was revealed that Christians were regularly holding fixed prayers at the Compound, in the “Room of the Last Supper” on the second floor and even in the very room of King David’s Tomb marker.

The institution of regular Christian prayers at the site has been raised by rabbis as a move changing the Compound’s status, and one that could prevent Jews from entering the holy site altogether, given that Jewish law forbids entering a Church.

…”The Arabs may be coming at us with explosions and the Christians come wearing ties, but they are no less dangerous. The pope already called for the occupation of all the (holy) sites. This is a quiet war by smart people and we must be prepared appropriately,” noted the rabbi.

Day 6: Snapshot Sunday


I belong to five or six homeschooling groups on Facebook.  Most of the posts drive me absolutely out of my mind, because the questions are so freakin’ nuts (“What curriculum should I get for my 4yo for math?!?!  HELP!”) but every once in a while they post a link to something amazingly useful, or suggest a site or movie or sale that’s really good.  Of those, two of them are local… I do it for the field trips.

About a week ago, a new gal showed up, and asked if anyone was going to go and see the ‘Nina’ and the ‘Pinta’ in Muskegon before they’re gone.  She said that groups of 15 were discounted from $8adult/$6child to $5 for everyone if it was a group rate.  So naturally I ran off to find out a) what the Nina and Pinta were – life size, real ships! and b) how long they’d be in Muskegon – August 25 thru September 2nd.  The last time they came was in 2004, so it appears they’re on a TEN YEAR rotation… that means I wanted to see them now!  Then I messaged her privately and asked if we could be a part of the group she was putting together.

From the official site:

She messaged me back (a lot… we got to talking, some), and I ended up friend-ing her, and we planned to meet up at the ship, along with some other friends that she’d gathered (and a few other on-line HS site people).  Our group was about 20 people, so that was good.  I was excited.  We loaded up the camera and… well, off we went!  And what better for a Snapshot Sunday than pictures of our adventure?

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The first thing is that… well, when you think about ships sailing the sea, you think *BIG*.  The Nina and the Pinta are small.  Like… seriously small for ships.  They fit about 40 people on them at a time (with no space to move).  The crews are about 25 men, and there are no sleeping quarters for them – the ENTIRE journey, those sailors ate, slept, chilled and worked ON the open deck.  They weren’t allowed down below.  They weren’t allowed up on the upper deck.  They weren’t allowed in the galley.  It had to be brutal.  It really drove reality home for me.

The second thing is that the ships were black.  You see pictures of big, shiny oak-stained ships with brass fittings… they weren’t like that.  They were painted over with pine pitch boiled down and mixed with oil to waterproof them.  EVERYTHING was black – the floor planks, the sides, the beams.  Under a Caribbean sun?  That’s HOT.

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‘DZ’ was our tour guide (because we had a group, we got a tour guide!), and I thought that he was fantastic.  He was crew for the ships, and he knew those boats inside and out.  He had some amazing stories, about how Columbus was 5’9 in a time when the average man’s height was 5’4… so he was a veritable giant, and just barely fit the ship (DZ was 5’11 and said he found every. single. beam with his head).  He told us about what the signal cannon was used for (when sister ships went over the horizon out of sight, and they wanted to locate each other in order to stay together).  He told us about how one trip Columbus made, he took 30 of these ‘caravel’ ships out, but they never had experienced a hurricane.  As they sailed into the Caribbean in the fall, they found out first-hand what one was like, and of the 30 ships, 29 sank!  Columbus sailed around trying to rescue as many survivors as he could, and headed back to Spain with a ship loaded with over 120 people, and the number that actually made it home alive was staggering.  ((The stories were really kewl.))

IMG_3220 (222x167) IMG_3236 (222x145)

Because the boats were SO packed during the tour, we couldn’t get around to see much, so after the tour was done, we went back over the ships and looked around, for ourselves.  Everything is labeled, so that was really nice, too!!  And of course they had postcards, which we collect and also send to the penpals.  We got to shop on a ship, heheheh!!!

IMG_3231 (333x444)Peeking out of the windows during our exploration.

IMG_3234 (444x333) There weren’t steering wheels on these ships, like in the movies.
They were steered by a rudder in the back.  That is NOT my kid
sitting on the rudder – some people are just SO disrespectful…!!  Sheesh!

IMG_3215 (500x666)It was a beautiful day for it, though!!  And we went aboard both ships.

The reason that there is no Santa Maria is three-fold.  1) It’s too big to sail down the U.S. waterways.  2)  It sank.  3)  Colombus *hated* the Santa Maria.  He said it was like navigating a pig on the water.  It was big, clunky, miserable to steer, and a pain the butt, apparently.  LoL!!!

IMG_3245 (444x333)

Everyone from Muskegon was on the water in their little boats, driving over to see the ships.  It was kind of funny.  And our tour of 20 homeschoolers?  Well, people who were on their own there also wanted to hear DZ, so they just kind of joined us – so we were at 40 people in no time, flat!!  Which was fine by me, since a) I would’ve done the same thing, and b) I didn’t know anyone in our group, anyhow.  But even the seagulls were lining up to get a look at the ships.  LoL!

I… didn’t make a friend thru this experience.  It actually started to go downhill before we ever reached the ship.  But at least the acquaintance as a means to an end, and it’s done, now.

But my pictures turned out BEAUTIFULLY!!!!  Take a look!

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And on the way home?  You’ll never believe who was on I-96 with us!

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I had a wonderful time.  The kids loved looking at the ships, exploring  everything, and listening to DZ’s stories.  I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and our guide’s commentary.  And we all came away having learned a lot about the way the explorers lived and traveled.  It was amazing.  And it was worth it to have gone!

Day 5: Shabbat Shalom!



Day 4: New Testament Study Series

woman_lifts_her_hands_toward_heaven_1768699Day Four:  New Testament Study Series



Chapter 9:  God is Sovereign!

I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,  that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.  For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:  Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;  Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.   Romans 9: 1-5

Hello again!  In case you didn’t notice, this week’s page wasn’t quite so full.  That doesn’t mean it’s not a meaty chapter, though.  It just means that chapter 8 skeered me and I didn’t draw as much this time.

0001Verses 1-5 tell us that Paul is grieved that his kinsmen won’t accept Christ.  He gives a list of all of the things they were blessed with leading up to Messiah, and shows just WHY they (of all people) should’ve been ready to follow Him.  I counted seven things in there.  How many do you see?  Make a list of all of the blessings Ha’Shem bestowed upon His chosen seed, Israel.

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:  Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.  For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.   And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;   (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)   It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.   As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.  Romans 9:6-13

0002Verse six sums everything to come up:  The Word of God is what goes.  He’s the one who gets to choose what happens with people.  And it shows some of his choices, here.  in vs 7-8 it shows Him electing Abraham to be the one from which comes His promised seed.  Then Abraham has Ishmael and Isaac, and Isaac is selected to be the chosen one (even though he wasn’t Abraham’s firstborn).  By the way, that’s why the Muslims hate Israel so much – they’re the line of Ishmael, and they weren’t the chosen ones.  Then from Isaac came Jacob and Esau, and even though Esau was firstborn, Yehovah chose Jacob to be His chosen one.  I drew pictures (you could do a family tree or flow chart) to show the choices, and which way Yehovah went.

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)  …  What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.   Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?  Romans 9: 11, 14-16, 18-19

0003Don’t be mad at me for jumping around a little.  First I re-quoted verse eleven, then read on, skipping verse 17.  Mostly because verse 17 is a summary of what all of these verses say.  We’ll get to that in a moment.  But what do these three sections of verses have in common?  Take a look, and share what you think.  I came to the conclusion that the message here is that the Lord chooses who He will have mercy on even before they are born or commit any sin.  So there’s no prejudice based on bad behavior or station or anything else.  It’s just His choice.  Now for verse 17:

For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.  Romans 9:17

And there it is.  The whole reason for making there be a choice of God’s in the first place:  Because without a selection to reject, His power is not seen.  In other words, there can be no triumph without a ‘Pharoah’ to triumph over.  There’s no display of power without something to have power over.  He wouldn’t be sovereign if there were no decisions to display His sovereignity.

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?  What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:  And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,  Romans 9:20-23

0004Ah…!   ♫♪♫  Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way… Thou art the potter, I am the clay…♫♪♫    ((Love to sing!))  ♫♪♫ Mold me and make me, after Thy will, while I am waiting, yeilded and still…♫♪♫   Okay.  Hadda finish it.  We can talk about the lovely pot I got to draw on my page.  But basically this is just another illustration of Verse 17.  He’s great and mighty Creator, and a Creator can make a fine urn to hold expensive herbs and oils or a garbage bin for stanky trash.  ((Just sayin’.))    It’s poetic… but it ain’t got NUTHIN’ on the next verse:

Even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?  Romans 9:24

PRAISE HA’SHEM that His mercy is not just for the Jews!  I have to tell you… for a while there, I wondered if maybe – somewhere back in my furthest backiest geneology – maybe there was some Jewish blood… and that was why I have been called of Him to explain certain things.  But y’know what?  This was a real revelation for me (myself).  Because while it would be kewl to have come from some lost tribe of Israel that got lost during the diaspora in AD70… the truth is that it’s WAY more amazing and wonderful that I’m NOT a physical Jew, and He *STILL* chose me, in His mercy!  (((Insert smilie face, beaming ear to ear.)))  That’s… just so… There are no words.

As he saith also in [Hosea], I will call them My people, which were not My people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.  And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.  [Isaiah] also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:  For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.  And as [Isaiah] said before, Except the Lord of [the Sabbath] had left us a seed, we had been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah.  Romans 9:25-29

0005Y’know how I just said it was so  amazing and wonderful it is that He chooses me… even as a Gentile?  Well, this phenomena was predicted in the Old Testament.   Paul is referencing the scriptures, here.  Check out Hosea 2:23, Isaiah 10:22-23, and Isaiah 1:9, and see if they actually match up to what he’s written here in Romans.  Paul isn’t just making stuff up, here.  He’s quoting scripture to back up everything he’s stating!

What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.  Romans 9:30

 Here we go with the faith/works thing, again.  Verse 30 is the ‘Faith’ part of things.  It says that the Gentiles – NOT chosen to be the Lord’s special lineage – STILL attained righteousness by Faith.  Which would lead us to believe that all you have to do is have faith, and you’re good to go.  Believe in Jee-zus, and you’re saved, brother!  Um… no.  Because if you look in James 2:17, it says that ‘faith without works is dead’.  Just because this particular verse doesn’t show the entire picture before the next verse takes up the rest of the thought, doesn’t mean it can be ripped out of context and used against the rest of scripture.  Faith doesn’t EVER negate obedience.

 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.  Romans 9:31

Here’s the flip side to vs 30:  The Jews – who WERE chosen to be the Lord’s special lineage – could not attain righteousness by works (remember that verse “not by works of righteousness, which we have done…” (Titus 3:5)?  Or how about “…[we are saved thru faith], and yet not of ourselves: it is the gift of God, not of works… (Ephesians 2: 8-9ish… you can read the whole thing yourself).

It’s like I’ve been saying for years, now.  The Jews have obedience to Torah, but not faith in Messiah.  The christians have faith in Messiah (well… a Western version that’s stripped of his Judaism and weakened into something called ‘Jee-zus’), but not obedience to Torah.  BUT… in Paul’s time, he was teaching them to have BOTH.  That’s what the sign of an actual follow of Ha’Shem is:  both a believer in Messiah Yeshua and an obedient servant via the commandments of Torah.  And I’m not just talking about the top ten most popular, here.

Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;  As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  Romans 9:32-33

The two verses Paul is quoting here are Jeremiah 6:21 and Isaiah 8:14.  There are two other ‘stumbling block’ verses, too – they’re 1 Corinthians 1:23 and 1 Peter 2:8.  Read the verses, please, because you need to SEE them for yourself.   THE JEWS WERE FORETOLD TO REJECT THE MESSIAH!!!  Can you believe that?  Incredible!  And what’ll really bake your noodle later (<<Matrix reference) is the realization that the Jews read the Tanach (OT prophet books) every single year in Parshat [daily portions]… so they should KNOW that they were foretold to reject the Messiah, so in hindsight, wouldn’t they know that Yeshua bar Yosef of Nazareth – who was rejected of the Jews – was the one they were prophesied to not accept… as they currently are?  I’m just sayin.  It’s kind of cray-zay to wrap your mind around, if you think about it.

And that wraps up another amazing study session.  I don’t know about you, but I’m loving this…!

NoTe:  I have concerns.  If this fall is ‘The Year’… I’m not going to make it thru Romans before the end of the feasts.  Which means I won’t be able to finish this series.  Have been considering possibilities… speeding it up and doing two a week?    The thing about that is that I’d have to either a) schedule them to show up later, or b) back-date them and link on the sidebar and then ‘bring them up’ as we get there, c) combine the study part with the journal part (that’d be too long, don’t you think!?) or d) just link to the journal page (as a .jpg) and post the link at the front of the study.  Not sure what to do…

Day 3: Romans 9

woman_lifts_her_hands_toward_heaven_1768699Day Three:  Romans 9 Journal Page



Day 2: Countdown Chains


ELUL!!  The 30 days that build up to Rosh Ha’Shana… which is also known as ‘The Feast of Trumpets’, and ‘The Feast of the Day that No Man Knows’.  It is also Yom Teruah, which means ‘Head of the Year’.  Rosh Ha’Shana is the birthday of the Earth, the first day on the Hebrew Calendar, and just plain awesome!!  So naturally you count down to something that great.

At any rate, we have been developing our family traditions for this, and this year is a bit more involved than others.  Partly because the kids are old enough to memorize Psalm 27 (which gets recited before breakfast and supper each evening of Elul).  And of course we also blow our REAL shofar from Jerusalem, Israel ((WooooT!)) and keep track of the days of Elul with countdown calendars.

What do we do for countdown calendars?  We make paper chains, and rip one chain off every night before bed.  This helps the kids keep track of how close the big feasts are – how close the Day that No Man Knows is.   We count down with bated breath.!

Here’s a gallery of our countdown chains so far:
2007’s chain was long… and rather impractical.
So in 2008 we made two chains that were more manageable.
elul32009 – Lydia was old enough to make
a chain countdown of her own.  She loved it.
2010 Countdown chains – my favorites!
Got fancy in 2011 – combining pictures.  Nifty, eh?
And in 2012 all of them, together.  ((grins!))
elul2013Last year’s chains.
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And of course this year’s chains!
This year, Lydia has been very much about collecting the acorns in our yard, so her’s is a tree with acorns on it.  Isaac did a LEGO guy blowing a shofar.  Ethan did a shofar, while Owen opted for a honey pot.  Meanwhile, Aaron did a mailbox.   ((Ours is not to reason why…))  I did a beehive.  Because of course themes for the feasts is fall, honey, bees, shofars, apples, and pomagranates.

We had some trouble with chains thru the years – the size issue.  So in case you choose to do this, the strips have to be 4 inches by 3/4 inch in size, or it’s miserable to do the chains.  Our headers were 6×4 inches, in case you wondered, and everyone designs their own.  Lydia helps Owen, while I help Ethan and Aaron.   But there they are!  And two links free, as of tonight!