Monday, October 29, 2012

Hanukkah books have arrived!!

The day we've been waiting for has arrived!  1,000 copies of our Hanukkah picture book, Hanukkah is Great, were delivered to our garage last week.  The book was begun almost 3 years ago, and the children who posed for the various scenes have grown up a lot since then.  Christine McParland, our illustrator, was still a student at Wheaton College when she began working on the paintings.  She has since graduated.  And the line in the book that says, "Just think, by next Hanukkah, Lael and Sarah will be married!"  is a bit out of date.  Lael and Sarah are married and now have a son of their own named Chaim.  We dedicated the book to Chaim and to our other grandchildren yet to be born.

We cleaned out the garage, making room for the new shipment of books, the day before they were scheduled to arrive.  On the big day of the delivery, we had a medical emergency involving David's mother. So we thank Betty's sister Linda and her husband Don for coming to our house and accepting the delivery of the books. 


We also thank Zach Marks for updating our website (now that Lael and Joel are no longer close enough to do things like that for us). You can see Zach on the piano in the picture above.  (Notice some of our Feast of Tabernacles decorations are still up as we celebrated this New Moon on Oct. 16.  We kept them up so Joel could see them, as he missed the Feast of Tabernacles, but was home for Fall Break a week later.)  We are so happy we obtained Zach's services just 2 weeks before the predicted date of the birth of Zach and Katie's first baby! 

There are so many people to thank that we can't mention them all. But we especially thank the Lord for seeing us through this project and allowing it to come to completion. Now the job we have is to spread the word about the book and ship out orders.  We'd appreciate your help in prayers and also in spreading the word about this book to your friends, congregations, local libraries, homeschool co-ops, and local Christian schools and bookstores.

For those of you who have pre-ordered and live a distance away, your books will be mailed soon.  For those who live close by, you're welcome to pick them up from our garage whenever you can.  For those of you who want to order the book, you can now do it on our updated website   It's also available on Amazon. 

And thank you all, our dear family and friends in the Lord, for your prayers, support and interest in this project.  God bless you.  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Songs for Counting the Omer (50 Days to Shavuot/Pentecost)

From Resurrection Day/Feast of Firstfruits to the Feast of Shavuot/Pentecost, it's 50 days.  In Biblical Days these days were counted by starting on the day the omer (bushel) of grain was offered.   We believe this was done on the day after the regular Sabbath during Passover week, which is the first day of the week - Resurrection Day/Feast of Firstfruits/Bikkurim.  We like to collect twigs and count them.  We bundle up groups of 7 twigs at each Sabbath. Our goal is 7 bundles of twigs, plus one extra twig.  That's 7 weeks plus one day, or 50 days.  Shavuot is also called the Feast of Weeks, and now you know why. 
We also put numbers on our bulletin board to count up the days and weeks.  Another feast--another object lesson.  Counting up the days and weeks makes us really anticipate the coming of the great feast of the Holy Spirit: Shavuot (Pentecost).

We made up some songs for counting the omer.  We sing one or two of them at our Messianic House of Prayer Sabbaath services after we count up the twigs.  Perhaps you'd like to use them at your congregation or Sunday school or Shabbat school.  The melodies are not original:  Twinkle Twinkle (also called the ABC song), 10 Little Indians, and I've Been Workin' on the Railroad.  Here are the words. Have fun!  We sure do!

To the tune of the ABC Song:

One two three four five six seven
Start the count when it's Unleavened.
Count the sticks and make a note.
50 sticks it's Shavuot.
One two three four five six seven
Eight nine ten and then eleven... 

To the tune of 10 Little Indians (we sing these first two songs as a medley in the same key):

One and a two and a three, count the omer.
Four and a five and a six, count the omer.
Seven makes a week, let's all count the omer till
Seven times seven plus one is here.

One week and two weeks and three, count the omer.
Four weeks and five weeks and six, count the omer.
Seven weeks plus one day, let's all count the omer.
Count down till Shavuot is here.

7, 14, 21, count the omer,
28 and 35, count the omer,
42, 49, plus one equals
50 days, Shavuot is here!

To the tune of I've Been Workin' on the Railroad:

I've been countin' up the omer,
Starting with First Fruits,
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven,
Makes a week and that's the truth.

Keep on counting up the bundles,
Till 7 weeks are done.
Then you add an extra day and
Shavuot will come.

(chourus) When 50 days are done, Shavuot will come,
Shavuot will come one da-ay-ay. (repeat)

 On Shavuot/Pentecost, sing this chorus instead:
50 days are done, Shavuot has come, Shavuot has come today,
50 days are done, Shavuot has come.  Shavuot has come today,  Hurray!    

Passover 2012

What a joy it was to celebrate Passover yet another year at the Messianic House of Prayer!  It was great, even though we dubbed it "the messiest Passover ever."  We had the usual spillings, but in much greater number than ever before, and it brought us to laughter over and over: grape juice and water and horseradish, on the table, on the floor, into the seder plates with the other food!   Oh, and a bunch of the chicken drippings onto the cabinet and the floor!  And the added joy of a messy baby (our grandson)!
Here are some pictures for you to enjoy.   Too bad we didn't take pictues of the dancing afterwards, but that was loads of fun!  Praise the Lord for His wonderful feast days!  (Sorry about using too many exclamation marks.)

Lael gave his son Chaim his first taste of horseradish.  He kind of liked it!

Following the story in the Haggadah, telling of our deliverance from slavery - both from Egypt, and from sin.  Celebrating the Season of Our Freedom and Jesus (Yeshua), our Passover Lamb.

All the young people who have recited the four questions in Hebrew through the years were asked to stand up and chant them together. You can see the young ladies in the picture above, and the young men in the photo below.

Mashed prunes for Passover?  Of course!  They're leaven free.  And we needed a few more messes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Purim Party

 The Feast of Purim was established in the Book of Esther.  A great victory and a great holiday ensued from a very sad and dangerous series of events: from Haman planning to kill all the Jews to Esther risking her life to intercede before the king.  We celebrate it at the Messianic House of Prayer with food, songs, dances, reading the Megillah (the scroll of the Book of Esther), and a costume contest.  All the entries must be related in some way to the Book of Esther in the vicinity of Shushan, Persia.
What a great way to teach young and old about this part of Biblical history, by celebrating Purim year after year. (Just one year won't do.)

Bro.Dave (Mordecai) reading the Megillah

The Shushan Shoe-shine with his son, who helps with the spit and polish.

Shlomit, the Shoe-shine's wife, with Chaim again, the littlest Shushan shoe-shine.

Queen Esther and Mordecai

King Ahasuerus, Shushan Seamstress, and Nehemiah, the king's cup-bearer.

Shushan Court Jester and the Palace Cat (she thought it was a "purring" party).

Another Queen Esther leaning against her mother, and a few more Mordecais.
In the background is the Myrrh maid who helps with the beauty treatments, and on the right are the the carrot and rabbit from the palace gardens.

Mrs. Olive Alongtime (91), one of the women who prayed and fasted for the queen. 

And the hamentashen! Totally delicious!  Made by Claire, Cara, and Anja (or Queen Vashti, the Court Jester, and the Palace Cat) 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hanukkah Party 2011

Hanukkah is past, but the message lives on.  Some great heroes of the faith went through the fire, and God answered their pleas and their prayers and worked a great deliverance for them and for us.  For this we rejoice every year!   And in this darkest season of the sun, we light the menorah candles and remember Yeshua, Jesus, the Light of the world, who has come.   Here are some pictures of our rejoicing at the Messianic House of Prayer Hanukkah Party. . 
 Joel was dressed as a pig for the Hanukkah Man act. Hanukkah Man (played by Lael) has a pet pig named Porky.  He tells us that there's no safer place for a pig than at a Jewish feast.  There's no danger of the pig being eaten there.The act was so good, everyone watched and no one took pictures. So all we have is this one of Porky from the "dress rehearsal."

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hanukkah Happenings

A lot of Hanukkah happenings to report! 

Hanukkah begins the at sundown, the evening of December 20.  The last candle is lit on the evening of December 27, with Hanukkah ending at sundown on the 28th.  Our congregation, Messianic House of Prayer, is planning our annual Hanukkah party for the second night of Hanukkah, December 21, at 5:30.  You are invited.  Let us know if you plan to come.  If you do, you will see in real life many of the things that the book, Hanukkah is Great, was based on. 

To help you prepare for the Hanukkah season, we will be displaying our congregation's book table in our home the week of December 10 through the 17th.  If you have ever seen our book table displayed at Temple Shalom Yisrael, you should know that the items we bring are just one tenth or one twentieth of the items we have for sale.  We can't carry everything with us, so we just take a few samples each time.  We  have some excellent fiction and historical fiction books for young people, books for adults on Messianic Judaism, the feasts, etc., as well as materials on Creation Science, Homeschooling, Messianic Jewish CD's, jewelry, and Judaica.  We will also have some Hanukkah music in limited supply.  Shop early if you want a CD with great Hanukkah songs.  Besides using the profits to re-stock our booktable, some of the profits will be used to help in the publishing of our next children's book. If you plan to come by to shop, please call in advance to set up a time so we can be there - 708 534-8026. 

And finally, an update on the Hanukkah children's book.  Our wonderful artist, Christine McParland, put up an article on her blogsite about Hanukkah is Great.  You can see a sample of one of the pictures and part of the text that will accompany that page, at

Our layout man will be out of town for a few more weeks, so we are using the time to complete the final editing.  We've had people pre-order one case, plus 4 individual copies of the book.  They are still available at a big discount if you pre-order.  A case of 20 books (at 12.50 per book) can be gotten for $250.00.  And individual books can be pre-ordered for $15 a book. (Add $4 for shipping, if you will need it mailed out.)  Your check should be made out to Shalom Ministries, and mailed to Messianic Family Publishing, 553 Irving Place, University Park, IL 60484.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Progress on Hanukkah Children's Book

The scanning of the paintings should be completed this week, and then on to our layout man.  When the pages are laid out, complete with text and pictures, we will send sample pages to a few Messianic leaders asking for endorsements.  We'd appreciate your prayers that we'd have favor with these leaders and they'd be able to take the time to review our work and write an endorsement.  This could help greatly with the marketing and sales of the books.

Pre-orders of the book are slowly coming in, and our fund for printing the book is beginning to build up. We still have quite a ways to go, so if you want to pre-order a copy of the book, Hanukkah is Great, we'd sure appreciate it.  The books will be sold for a price between $18 and $20 once they are printed.  But we are offering big discounts for anyone who pre-orders the books.

You can get a case of 20 books for $250, which comes to $12.50 per book.   You can also pre-order one copy for $15, (or $20 if you want it shipped out to you).  Right now we are accepting checks through the mail. Please make any checks out to Shalom Ministries.  Mail to Messianic Family Publishing, 553 Irving Place, University Park IL 60484.  If you want to make a donation over and above the pre-order price, we will gratefully accept it.  Shalom Ministries is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

Soon we hope to make the pre-orders available on our website, where you can pay with Paypal.

We have been invited to speak about this project at Temple Shalom Yisrael, Rolling Meadows, IL, at the Sabbath Service on November 12.  Dave will talk about the mulit-generational vision, and the importance that good books play in this vision.  We will also share about the process of putting together this Hanukkah children's book. You are certainly invited to attend if you can (meeting at the Community Church of Rolling Meadows; the service begins at 10:30 a.m., with a half hour prayer time before that).