Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Festival of Lights, From Generation to Generation...

 We repeat the story of Chanukah every year, from generation to generation. It is a great great story! So, again: 2200 hundred years ago, without the wonders of modern technology, and social media/networking, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, (et al), just imagine this: a small group of Jewish rebels, led by the Maccabee band of Brothers (love those boys) stood, up to the Greek kings who were forcing the Jewish people to worship their gods and Greek idols in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem....hence, the wondrous resistance and the miracle of the purified oil...given all the upheaval we see around the world, even today, this story may sound somewhat familiar...here is their story:

About 2200 years ago, Greek kings, who reigned from Damascus, ruled over the land of Judea and the Jews living there. One Greco-Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanes, forbade the Jewish people from praying to their God, practicing their customs, and studying their Torah. Antiochus forced the Jews to worship the Greek gods. It is said that he placed an idol of the Greek God Zeus on the alter in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem. In response to this persecution, Judah Maccabee and his four brothers organized a group of resistance fighters known as the Maccabees. They fought against paganism and oppression.The tenacity of the rebels, which came from their steadfast faith in one God, is one reason this military victory has been so celebrated by Jews in future generations. In one battle near Beit Horon, Judah's small army is intimidated by the size of the enemy army and Judah tells them to have faith that God is on their side:

"But when they saw the army coming to meet them, they said unto Judah: 'What? shall we be able, being a small company, to fight against so great and strong a multitude? ...' And Judah said: 'It is an easy thing for many to be shut up in the hands of a few, and there is no difference in the sight of Heaven to save by many or by few; for victory in battle standeth not in the multitude of an host, but strength is from Heaven. They come unto us in fullness of insolence and lawlessness, to destroy us and our wives and our children, for to spoil us; but we fight for our lives and our laws. And He Himself will discomfort them before our face; but as for you, be yet not afraid of them."
(The First Book of Maccabees)

Against great odds, after three years of fighting, the Maccabees succeeded to drive the Greco-Syrians out of Judea. Chanukah proclaims the message of the prophet Zachariah: "Not by might, not by power, but by My spirit." Chapter 4:6

The Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They cleaned the Temple, removing the Greek symbols and statues. When Judah and his followers finished cleaning the temple, they rededicated it. On the 25th day of the month of Kislev in 164 BCE, the Temple was purified and rededicated. According to tradition, when the Maccabees entered the Holy Temple, they discovered that the Greco-Syrians had defiled the oil which was used to Temple's menorah. Only one vat of purified oil remained - enough for only one day. It would take the Jews a week to process more purified oil. Then a miracle occurred. The Maccabees lit the menorah and it burned for not one, but eight days, by which time the new, purified oil was ready. This is why the Chanukah Menorah has eight candles (not including the shamash candle used to light the others) and one reason why Jews celebrate Chanukah for eight days!!!

Happy Chanukah!
Happy Festival of Lights!!
This is our Menorah, which holds the drippings from the candles of Chanukah past, as we prepare the light the first candle tonight @ sundown!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's a Vase, No, It's a Puzzle, No, It's a Vase...

'Tis the season!! We have Chanukah, Christmas, Jimmy's birthday and mine all in less than 2 weeks of one another!!! That's allot of celebrating!!! What a wonderful thing to come home to a package, w/ my name on it from National Geographic. 'Did I order something and forget that I ordered something?', was my first thought, as there were 2 other packages @ the front door. Much to my surprise, it was a gift from my friend Suzie. She knows me all too well, and ordered this wonderful, 3D puzzle/vase/ (it really works), which is also very beautiful! I opened it up, and the delicate pieces feel like fine porcelain! Here is what National Geographic has to say about the puzzle:

'Archaeologists assemble fragments of evidence sometimes literally to give us a clearer picture of the human past. This unique 3-D puzzle vase is created in the same spirit of focusing on the parts to better understand the whole. Assembling the 160 curved plastic pieces is a challenge for any puzzle fan, and requires an artist's eye as well as an engineer's sense of problem solving. When you're finished, a watertight insert lets you use your creation as a vase. Includes a decorative display stand.'

W/ this thoughtful gift, many bases of things which I love, have been covered! So, thank you Suz!!! Will take another pic when it is finished and full, probably w/ a philodendron which so easily grows roots!

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Can't Breathe...

How ironic, from last weeks post of, 'That breath that you just took...that's a gift', to this week:


'He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination unto the Lord'
Proverbs 17:15
Proverbs 17:15
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Injustice,-Hated-By-God#sthash.nfdT2g2d.dpuf
Proverbs 17:15
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Injustice,-Hated-By-God#sthash.nfdT2g2d.dpuf
Proverbs 17:15
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
- See more at: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Injustice,-Hated-By-God#sthash.nfdT2g2d.dpuf

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks...


'It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;'
Psalm 92:1


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sunrise, Sunset...

6:30 this morning...
4:40 last night....
Edited for Instagram...
 Upside down sunset from 4:50PM last night...
This morning I opened my eyes @ 6:30AM to this, as if last night's sunset was not enough of an eye full!!

'They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.'
Psalm 65:8

'Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears...'
Fiddler on the Roof

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Best Laid Plans....

On the drive home from the Vet...
She is warm and resting...the Girl..
  So, we are sitting in this ba-rutally frigid air mass, it is 1 below zero, feels like minus 7. It is snowing 'lightly' and it looks like a snow globe. Very pretty. My plans for today were to stay in, catch up on some correspondence, do some more cooking, nuzzle in. Really no need to be outside. However, it started yesterday. Edward and I both noticed that The Girl, Little Kitty was 'off '(more than usual, lol). She was not her usual perky self, she did not want to eat (something is definitely wrong). She seemed really wiped out. We figured that we would keep a close eye. As the evening progressed, I got worried. When she was around 1-ish, she ate almost 2 feet of ribbon, the kind w/ the thin wire in it, so it stays put when you shape it. Well, it (the wire) showed up crystal clear on the x-ray that day in Providence. Let's just say, that after that life saving surgery, she used up about 6 of her given 9 lives. We have been vigilant, all these 13 or so years later, at keeping strings or other interesting edibles out of sight, but, apparently, she found 'something'. I made the call, and off we went to the vet at 9:30 this AM. Her x-rays showed no major anything, thank goodness. All organs looked good, but, there was one part of her intestine which was a little 'bunched'. The good news is that she does not need surgery. They treated her there, gave her some IV fluids, did some blood work, gave her some anti-nausea and pain meds, and 3 hours later, we are all back to Plan A. We love our Girl Whirl, well, Edward and I love her allot. We'll be keeping a close watch, now that the best laid plans have taken a detour, and brought us back home to 'start'!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


'Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.'
Psalm 89:8-9

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

12 Mile Stables

Sweet volunteer w/ one of the horses...
My new Friend w/ the braid...
that face....
Grazing, w/ Denver and the Rockies in the background...
I have seen them from the house, they have literally been on the other side of the fence on more than one occasion. However, yesterday was a 'sweater weather' kind of day, and my first day of walking w/out flip flops. Yes, I put my sneakers on.(This is rare.) I knew it was the day I was going to meet the horses. We crossed through another path in the park, which took us to the back side of the 'Dog Off Leash Area'. We are greeted by enthusiastic, energetic, happy dogs of every size, shape, 'variety'. Lots of unexpected kisses and licks and then, they quickly move on to the next adventure. We love this. The horses, the '12 Mile Stables', are right there; separating the dogs from the horses is yet another fence. We have to leave the dog park and walk up the dirt road to enter into the stables. It feels so so quiet. There are about 30-40 horses, I think. I was met by a sweet young lady, who volunteers, and she gave me the green light to wander, take my time w/ my meet and greet. Many of the horses were around a couple of different watering holes, and/or grazing on some well placed grass or feed. The white horse w/ the braid stole my heart. We spent some time sizing one another up, and in the short run, I think it was a good first meeting...she came very close, and kept a steady gaze. I wish I had some apples or food to give her. Maybe next time. This is a perfect time of the year to ride, when it is not blazing hot out. We simply have to call, and make a reservation. So, next time, some pics from the saddle. And, great news, my back is better. Most thankfully, pain just ebbed away...moving right along....

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Giving Trees...

So, it was bound to happen. After all the dismantling, packing, wrapping, lifting, pushing, pulling, hanging, unwrapping, mantling, more lifting, pushing and pulling, my back went 'out'. I can almost mark when I crossed my personal line, when in conversation w/ myself, 'Amy, you really should not lift another thing'. But I did, and now, as I sit w/ icepack carefully tucked in, I wish I had listened to myself. I have become 'one' w/ the heating pad, the ice pack and icy/hot patches are my new friends, along w/ ibuprofen, a homeopathic pain tincture and eucalyptus spray...did I forget anything? I am finding some relief w/ gentle stretching. Sitting proves difficult. However, my best position, is vertical and walking, which is good, because these October days have been so gorgeous. Yesterday afternoon, the Boys went to the movies (walk in w/ a pillow and ice pack or heating pad...I think not), so, I chose to take the longest walk possible in the park, take my time, and appreciate the foliage, w/ camera in tow. The trees, some really big, old trees had my full attention, and in return, they gave and gave and gave.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Settling In...

Cherry Creek State Park...snippet of the walking/biking path...
Storm on the move...
Sunset...just last night!
Soft tall grass in the late afternoon sun...
Well, it has been 3 weeks and 2 days since we moved north and 1500 feet lower in elevation. It feels longer. We are hardcore homebodies, so we tend to nuzzle right in to a new house once we get there. This move has taken us just a bit longer than 'usual', but, we are almost there. I can't quite put my finger on it. All of our 'systems' are set up and running, offices in working order, kitchen pantry is full. Edward has a huge space of his own to spread out and pretend that we don't live here (lol), most pictures which we want hung, are hung...maybe it will be when the first frost hits and we feel the house engulf us. We have been loving sitting outside in the early evenings and watching the sunset w/ the gorgeous vista which is set before us. Anywho, the lower altitude feels so much better. This is a great thing.

The state park is our back yard. We hear coyotes @ night singing their songs to one another, and it has afforded us a continual eye-full of such incredibly beautiful landscapes. (I already said that...worth repeating). The walking paths are welcoming and from our windows we can see the daily array of bikers, walkers, and horses. There is even a large area set aside for dogs and their owners. We have enjoyed every inch, thus far, of where we have placed our feet. There is so much more to see. With Autumn upon us, and the cooler weather approaching, we know that the park has more to give, so we continue to look forward! On my list of things to do, is taking pics of the horses who live right here!!!!

We are also loving being so close to Denver. There are so many choices of where to eat and shop, along with discovering the beautiful cities which hug Denver from every side. In essence, these City kids have the best of both worlds right now...we are just getting our feet wet.

Grateful would be a huge understatement, but grateful....

 'It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High;
  to show forth thy loving kindness in the morning,
and thy faithfulness every night,
  with an instrument of ten strings and upon the psaltery,
upon the harp with a solemn sound.
For thou, O Lord, hast made me glad by your work;
I will triumph in the works of thy hands.

  How great are thy works, O Lord!
  Thy thoughts are very deep!'
Psalm 92:1-5

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

1889, oil paints
Arles, France
Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Feast of Trumpets

Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה‎, literally "head of the year") is the Jewish New Year. The Biblical name for this holiday is Yom Teruah, which means shouting/raising a noise, or the Feast of Trumpets. It is the first of the High Holy Days or, Days of Awe, which usually occur in the early autumn of the Northern Hemisphere. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration, which begins on the first day of Tishrei. Rosh Hashanah customs include sounding the shofar (a hollowed-out ram's horn) and eating symbolic foods such as apples dipped in honey to evoke a "sweet new year".
The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, which also represents the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their King. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance, for Rosh Hashanah is also the anniversary of man's first sin and his repentance, and serves as the first of the “Ten Days of Repentance” which culminate in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Another significance of the shofar is to recall the Binding of Isaac which also occurred on Rosh Hashanah, in which a ram took Isaac’s place as an offering to God; we evoke Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son, and plead that the merit of his deed should stand by us as we pray for a year of life, health and prosperity. Altogether, we listen to one hundred shofar blasts over the course of the Rosh Hashanah services.
 L'shanah tovah, a sweet and healthy New Year!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

So, We Moved...Again!!!


It seems that the challenge of living 7000 feet in the air (originally I thought 6000...I was wrong. We were situated @ the highest point of The Springs!) has been too much for me. I just never acclimated to such thin thin air. So, we have kissed Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak good-bye, and said hello to Centennial, which is 1500 feet lower in elevation. It can only help! I did not think that the beauty could get any better, but I was wrong about that too. We are sitting facing a state park, hence, the 180 degree vista is waaaaay more than I could have imagined. These pics are from Monday and Tuesday nights' sunset, respectively. There is much more sky, the sunsets seem to go on and on and on, and then on even more.

We are so so grateful to be here, although deeply exhausted, looking forward to yet another new chapter...it begins...the Centennial house!

  'And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, to go by day and night.'
Exodus 13:21

ps. The kitty's and the  frozen pesto made the hour journey North w/out issue....whew on both counts!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Way Way Back Thursday...Russia

The Schwartz Family, Russia, early 1900's
This is the earliest picture that I have, passed on to me from Mom's old pics, probably from her Mom, my Gram. This is a photo of my Grandmother's brother's wife (with Maury in her lap), and, at the time their 3 children, Maury, Sophie, Esther, and the nurse. That beautiful little girl had 2 daughters and a son. Ann, the eldest of the 3, just passed away a few short weeks ago at the age of 92. Had this family, and so many many others not left Russia when they did in the early 1900's, many of us would not be here, we would never have even been born; as within the 6 million murdered in the concentration camps were their parents and their parents parents. We would have to physically go back to Russia to find records. I know they exist. However, this is the story of a vast number of Jewish families who left Russia, Europe and Eastern Europe before WWII. Even so, there were 'Pogroms' already in place wiping out entire towns in Russia. The famous 'Fiddler on the Roof', written originally as a story in 1894, about the poverty stricken Tevye, a dairyman and his family, by Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich or better known by his pen name, Sholem Aleichem, depicts the beginning of the anhilalation of Jewish families in Russia. The history, the ancestry is rich, and most thankfully, still living on....
Cousins, Ann (daughter of Sophie in top pic), Mom and Ellie, Ann's baby sister, NYC, around 2008

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

'Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.'
Isaiah 40:30-31