Apple of His Eye

“For I,” says the LORD, “will be a wall of fire all around her, and I will be the glory in her midst.”  Zechariah 2:5 NKJV

Rockets, riots and rage continue to rain down on Israel.

Thank You, Lord, for keeping Israel and Jerusalem as the apple of  Your eye.  And here’s a simple poem. . .

 

I will be a wall of fire

all around her

and the glory

in her midst.

 

Sing and rejoice

O daughter of Zion

for in you I’ll dwell

and be blessed.

 

God bless you as you support Israel.

 

Published in: on August 3, 2014 at 1:27 am  Comments Off on Apple of His Eye  
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Got Breath?

“Let everything that has breath
praise the LORD.”  Psalm 150:6

It we do this, we’ll never have to worry about wasting our breath.  😀

Lord, let me not waste the breath that You gave me to praise You with.  And here’s a simple poem . . .

All Given To Glorify

tabathastinyinspirations.wordpress.com

tabathastinyinspirations.wordpress.com

All that I’ve been given
are tools with which to glorify
to praise You and exalt You
until the day I die.

Dear friends and readers,

I’m going to be stepping away from blogging a bit, but I hope to stay in touch, reading and commenting on your blogs when I can.  🙂  I’ll be leaving my blog up, but closing the comments.  And maybe coming back to it in the future.  🙂

Thank you so much for teaching me, inspiring me, challenging me and always lifting me up!  Blogging has been such a huge blessing to me.  YOU all have been such a huge blessing to me.   

For those who’d like to get J of Jerusalem’s letters sent to you directly, please email me at dfeller2@yahoo.com with “Inside Israel” in the subject line and I will hook you up! 

Thanks again!!  God bless you!!!

Published in: on May 11, 2013 at 5:19 am  Comments Off on Got Breath?  
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Inside Israel – Memorial Day

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel as our sis from Jerusalem shares today about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua.  Thank you so much for praying for Israel and our Sis!  Now, here she is . . .

Greetings, brothers and sisters, from the city where God chose to put His Name…just as He chose to put His Name in your hearts.  May you be blessed and may He be blessed and glorified.

Once again we are in the ‘cycle’ of ‘spring’ with it’s unique ‘appointed times’.  As I thought about it this year, it hit me for the first time how much these appointed times remind me of the cycle of life…and the events of spring remind me of birth.  Of course we see birth as the earth itself buds it’s first swellings and births into bloom, but the hagim (holidays) themselves remind me of ‘labor’ in that they gain in intensity and ride waves of changing emotions before the produce and exhausted but fulfilled ‘end-of-cycle’.  Those of you who have read these letters over the years may remember Pesach signals the beginning of a series of events.  We hold on to the wonder of the miracles of the deliverance of this people that we celebrated at Pesach as we walk to stand beside the gaping grave of the Holocaust.  One week later the sirens will again signal the shared mantle of grief as we observe our Memorial Day (Yom h’zik’a’ron)(this year 15 April) for the fallen soldiers and terror victims.  Then the – dare I call it – mystical transformation from grieving to rejoicing will occur again as the page dramatically turns from the price paid to the promise gained and we enter our Independence Day(Yom h’atzmaoot)(this year 16 April) …this year will be the 65th birthday of the resurrected state of Israel.  Following Independence Day there is a nearly two week break before Lag b’omer(this year 29 April) is celebrated with bon fires and ten days later we dance in the streets and rejoice at the fulfillment of yet another promise: the 1967 restoration of Jerusalem to Israel  on Jerusalem Day (Yom Yerushaylem)(this year 9 May).  AND…exactly two weeks after that is Shavuot (Pentecost)(this year on 16 May) marking the end of the spring cycle.  Beginning with Pesach and ending with Shavuot is the ‘counting of the omer (not to be described today).  Now… these are a LOT of holidays to bare witness to, and any of you who have been through labor and birth of a baby can likely identify with the intensity of these ‘compressed’ events. OF COURSE (you remember…just to complicate things) that our holidays begin at sundown the night before (our ‘day’ is measured from sundown to sundown) and the dates are according to the Hebrew calendar, so they change yearly in respect to the Western calendar.  J  Are you following me? 

So we are currently preparing for Yom h’zikaron (Memorial Day). 

Yesterday the first flag was placed across the grave of the most recently fallen soldier and now the placing of the rest of the too many flags continue.  Films about our history are increasing daily on the radio and television as are stories in the news.  They are fascinating and often poignant, touching and even miraculous.  I encourage any of you who might wish to read along to check some of the web sites noted at the end of my letter and before my Pastor’s prayer update, which came to us today and so I am including.  At this time of year, our young soldiers, who constantly go through an enviable education process that often grows them up, are taken in large groups to visit different memorials and learn of those who fought before them, just as they visited Yad V’Shem (the Holocaust Memorial museum) last week.  I watch these young faces on the bus and train as they absorb the weight of the legacy that has gone before them and is being turned over to them…learning of other young people who have paid the ultimate price for this tiny nation…and yet at the same time they are also beginning to understand that this nation stands by God’s protection alone.  With the intensity of our surroundings and history comes an innate challenge…perhaps a challenge presented by God Himself: HOW has this happened?  WHY has this happened?  WHAT will happen?  WHO… May that question ‘WHO’ be the one that is answered THIS year in the hearts of many!  Oh Lord, BE GLORIFIED!  BE RECOGNIZED!  BE WORSHIPPED!   

I hope to share with you as each event presents itself.  For those of you who wish to follow in our local news here are some sites…but please be blessed by my Pastor’s ‘offering’ copied below.  I send much love, your sis

http://www.jpost.com/    http://www.idf.il/english/    http://www.jerusalemonline.com/    http://www.ynetnews.com/home/0,7340,L-3083,00.html   http://www.israelnationalnews.com/    http://blogs.cbn.com/jerusalemdateline/

 

Published in: on May 5, 2013 at 7:58 am  Comments (12)  
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Inside Israel – Sirens For A Season

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel today!  This is from an April 8th letter our sis in Jerusalem sent as she shares about the time leading up to Holocaust Memorial Day.  Thank you for praying for Israel and our sis there!  Now, here she is . ..

The air already carries a grey mantle of mourning.  The television stations are shut down showing only several powerful Holocaust movies over and over and interviews with survivors interspersed with history.  In an hour and a half the opening ceremony will begin at Yad v’Shem, our Holocaust memorial, and we will again share the grief as those who lived through the horrors open their hearts and their memories.  They can’t bare it alone, so the nation bares it with them…and there is healing in that.  Somehow it works.  Somehow it acknowledges that they walked that impossible path and they can go on through another year. 
Tomorrow at 10:00am the soulful siren will sound and bring the country to a silent, still 2 minutes of remembrance.  Places of entertainment and restaurants will be closed.  Do I get ‘used to’ this?  No.  It brings tears each year.  The news announced that there has been a 30% rise in violent anti-Semitic acts in the Western nations this year.  Right now, this will have to be VERY short as our nation is the subject of an active ‘cyber-attack’ and I don’t want to leave my computer open.  I will enclose an article that I found a real blessing.  Perhaps it will be safe to write more tomorrow.  God bless you all! Love, your sis
Palestinians visit Yad Vashem: ‘A tragedy beyond words’

Bassam Aramin, whose 10-year-old daughter was killed by IDF rubber bullet, visits Jerusalem’s Holocaust museum, says ‘I surely can identify with feeling like a refugee – humiliated, weak, lost – but the tragedy of the Holocaust is very different’
Noam (Dabul) Dvir

Ahmed al-Jaafari, a 43-year-old Deheishe refugee camp resident, stands opposite the list of Jews who were sent to the Sobibor death camp. At a certain point, he turns to the guide, Roee Hanani, and asks “why did they keep such an organized list if they planned on killing them all along?”

 
Hanani replied him in Arabic “the Nazis were very organized. They believed that they were solving a world problem and wanted to take pride in what they did.”  
As part of a unique “Combatants for Peace” trip to Yad Vashem, eight Palestinian Authority residents visited the museum to learn of the fates of European Jews during the Holocaust.
 
“This was a jolting experience for me,” said al-Jaafari. “I saw the reactions of people who were here and wanted to experience it for myself. I heard and read about and saw movies on the Holocaust, but nothing comes close to a visit in which I can see it with my own eyes. I don’t understand how the world conspired a crime like this.”  
Al-Jaafari continued by making a few comments with which Jews can identify, but likely to cause Palestinians to become irate. “When you look at the background of the Jewish nation, you can try to understand your anxiety and fears. A nation that went through something like this cannot live without scars. I don’t agree with the comparison between the Holocaust and the situation in the territories, and people who make this comparison make it out of pain and anger.”
 
“Combatants for Peace” was established by a group of Israelis and Palestinians who participated in what they call the “circle of violence” in the region,” and have now abandoned their weapons in favor of peace and coexistence.
 
However, not all the Palestinians who registered for the tour, made it to Yad Vashem. This is due to the difficulties they had attaining entrance visas into Israel.
 
No Arab Righteous Gentiles
Upon arrival to the station dedicated to the Righteous Gentiles, Hanani told the participants about a devout Muslim couple that hid the Jewish Habilio family in their home in Sarajevo. The couple also took the father in, who managed to escape a labor camp. The Habilio family immigrated to Israel in 1984 and turned to Yad Vashem; bringing recognition to the Hardega family as Righteous Gentiles.
 
The story did not end there. During the civil war which saw the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Sarajevo was under massive attack. Yad Vashem and the Joint Distribution Committee brought Zaynba Hardega to Israel with her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter. Zayba has since passed away, but the rest of the family still lives in Jerusalem.
 
Hanani explained to the group that there are still no Arab Righteous Gentiles, but the relevant committee is currently discussing a few cases in which North African citizens saved Jews during World War II.
 
“I began taking an interest in the Holocaust 20 years ago when I saw the movie ‘Schindler’s List,’ said Bassam Aramin, who organized the tour on the Palestinian side. “Since then, I have seen it four times.”
 
“Less than a month ago I was at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. When you arrive at a place like this, you forget who you are. This is a tragedy that cannot be described in words.”
 
Some five years ago, Aramin’s 10-year-old daughter was killed by an IDF rubber bullet. When he hears comparisons being made between the territories and the European Holocaust, he becomes indignant.
 
“This is a big mistake. These are very different things. As a person who lives under occupation, I surely can identify with feeling like a refugee – humiliated, weak, lost – but the tragedy of the Holocaust is very different,” said Aramin.
 
Nabil, another participant, said that he didn’t think twice about joining the tour. “As soon as I was called I said I was coming. I heard a lot about the Holocaust and wanted to see Yad Vashem with my own eyes. I am not afraid of reactions from the Palestinian side. I think that everyone needs to come here and see it with their own eyes.”
 
Published in: on April 28, 2013 at 7:16 am  Comments (12)  
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Inside Israel – Bits and Pieces, Part 2

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel.  This is the second half of last week’s letter from our sis in Jerusalem.  Thank you so much for reading and praying. Now here’s our sis . . .

(And (since I am going to bed now) here is the second part of the letter…which was really first)
 May He be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed and encouraged.  A dear local sister and I encouraged one another over the phone this afternoon, simply sharing what we were receiving from The Lord during our private times of devotion.  She told me that she has been focusing on the Passover and Resurrection and shared some wonderful insights, one of which touched me deeply.  She shared about the body, all gathered together around Jesus, at the ‘last supper’, the Passover seder, just before He laid down His life for us.  She had thought about how close the disciples were that Peter could see how John was leaning on The Lord’s chest, (at the seder, all ‘lean’ together) right against His Heart, and how he could ask ‘Who is it, Lord’.  Because He was right against The Lord’s heart he could hear immediately the answer.  What a precious picture this was to me of ‘the body’; you and I and all of those who dine with Him, leaning on one another, sharing and caring about what HE has to say.
 
So it is Friday evening now and I am preparing for the shabat and thinking about this week.  The days of the eating of the matzo between the first and last Pesach seder are called ‘col ha’moed’ and are ‘half holiday’.  ‘Col’ means ‘all’ and ha’moed means ‘the appointed feast’ or ‘meeting’.  They are days of rejoicing and joy here in the city of Jerusalem with many events.  Schools are on vacation and so are government services and many small shops owned by the religious are also closed.  People are actively ‘vacationing’ so most that remains open during these days are open ‘half-time’…except for restaurants that are ‘kosher for Passover’ (in other words, that are totally free from leaven).  For the past few years most of the museums in the country have been free during this time (free admission for the country being donated by the banks) and it is fun to watch Israelis literally explore every inch of the country that they love…their own!  Ofcourse…for those of us who ‘like our space’…this is a difficult season and EVERYTHING is crowded; museums, shops, nature reserves, roadways, restaurants, sidewalks, seaside, mountain trails, … not to mention the trains and buses!  NOBODY is in their homes.  Remember the word ‘belagan’?  It applies here!  Somewhere, mid holiday, there is the ‘blessing of the Cohanim’…the priestly blessing, which is given BY the descendents of the priestly tribe to the rest of the house of Israel, who gather at the Western Wall of the Temple in the Old City.  This Passover it was on Thursday as the area in front of the wall filled up – the Cohanim covered with their prayer shawls, stretched out their hands over the crowd and recited the blessing found in Numbers 6:24-26 “The Lord bless thee and keep thee, The Lord make His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; The Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace.”  Since many people come into the city for this event, the streets and restaurants afterward are full to capacity!  Since my husband and I needed to work all week, we met downtown to try to accomplish something on Thursday afternoon.  What a mistake that was!  My husband got off of the jammed train and walked, arriving at the same time as the train. 
Also on Thursday, Catholics in particular celebrate ‘Holy Thursday’, so large crosses were mingled with the crowds.  These are more pronounced today…on ‘Good Friday’, as many walk the Via Delarosa with large wooden crosses commemorating the walk to the crucifixion.  At early morning prayer meeting today, Chuck pointed out something very interesting.  In his own words
 
This week’s prophetic portion is Ezekiel 37:1-4 – the vision of the valley of dry bones. This section is always read on the Shabbat during the Passover/Unleavened Bread week. What is most interesting is that this Shabbat during this Passover season is the Shabbat when Yeshua was in the grave. So in synagogues throughout the world, Jews are reading about the resurrection of the nation of Israel and the Church is waiting for the first day of the week to celebrate the resurrection of Israel’s King Messiah, the world’s Savior Yeshua!
And my dear sisters and brothers…least I continue on and on and on…I will close this very fragmented letter…call it ‘bits and pieces’ – it may be ‘confusing’ but in a way that helps it catch the flavor of this VERY condensed season… moving on so quickly!  I am too tired to tie it all together and polish it, so please accept what ever scrap of this offering that might encourage you.  Believe me…it comes with LOVE!  May the risen Lord bless you! 
Lovingly, your sis
ani b’derek

Inside Israel – Bits and Pieces, Part 1

 

 

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel!  Today in part one, our sis in Jerusalem shares what was going on  there right after Easter.  Thank you for reading and praying!  God bless you!  Now, here’s our sis . . .

Greetings dear sisters and brothers in Yeshua, HE HAS RISEN INDEED and I pray that He will use each of you (us) that has this precious Gift and understanding contained in earthen vessels to glorify Him in whatever way He leads, for fruit in His kingdom!
 
SO…This special day, the commemoration of the most pivotal and important event in all history, the resurrection from the dead of Yeshua, our Savior, has pre-empted the letter that I had already begun (ever so slowly) to write to you.  I will share it as a ‘second part’ although it was written first, but today is fresh in my mind and heart. 
 
Today is Sunday, Resurrection Sunday, and also the last day of Pesach is settling upon us as the sun begins to go down.  Can you imagine the amount of intense spiritual activity in this city!  Whew!  May The Lord ‘condense’ my words to an acceptable portion… perhaps you would like to read this letter in parts. 
 
This morning very early I found myself reading the last chapter of each Gospel, and I suddenly remembered hearing some Jewish theologian being interviewed on the news several nights ago, concerning ‘how the new Pope would be affecting Jewish Christian relations’.  Perhaps you remember that I have explained that Jews are generally as confused about Christian denominations as Christians are about Jewish ones.  I listened as this esteemed ‘expert’ explained in detail how ‘The church used to accuse the Jews of killing Jesus based on one erroneous verse in the writings of Paul, but that was changed through a church edict during [one or another] a convocation some time ago…and all is still ok.’ I ‘felt’ a ‘collective sigh’ among the Jews.  ‘Whew!  THAT blood libel is past!’ I didn’t pay much attention but it stuck in the back of my mind and came flooding in this morning.  A number of years ago I studied the scriptures in depth to know how to answer people on this question and I saw, beyond a doubt three things; 1) that we the Jews, our leaders, demanded His crucifixion, 2) the Roman soldier carried it out and 3) NO HUMAN HANDS TOOK HIS LIFE…but that He laid it down at the command of His Father, and as He came to do.  I also saw that it HAD to be through the Jewish priests that The Lamb of God was chosen and killed for the sins of the world …because this was how the sacrifice for sin was prescribed in the law by God!  As I studied these things, I was amazed at the intricacy of the plan and also amazed at the sheer amount of scripture speaking directly to this subject!  In other words, the scriptures leave no doubt that He laid down His life for us…chosen of Abba Father for this very purpose…and He again took up His life – with the lives of His followers wrapped in His!- as He said He would!
 
So…as I thought about this theologian speaking so authoritatively on our news, and how many people listen and believe what they hear, and how often these ‘untrue truths’ are spoken, I again had to worship Him that His Name is TRUTH and that He offers us unmixed TRUTH…if we will hear; “Let him who has ears hear…”  Dare I share that I am of the opinion that TRUTH is being sacrificed ever so quickly with the rapid advent of technological communication, delivering to our itching ears ‘comments’, ‘sermons’, articles (yes, this one too.  PLEASE NEVER take ‘my word’ as ‘authority’! I try to be faithful witness to what I see.  Period.) and films at the expense of the revealed Word of God read through in context with The Holy Spirit as our teacher, and under whatever spiritual authority God Himself has lead us to sit under, according to His order?  This means so much to me for two reasons: first, I live in an area that is the subject of wide spread lies told over and over again until they are believed;  and secondly  because before I was saved I did not believe that there WAS ‘Truth’.  I thought that everything was relative and subjective.  When I met The Lord and He showed me that very first night that there was absolute Truth, my life was overturned!   I want that Truth, even if it slays my most beloved ‘thought’ and ‘premise’.  But it must be HIS Truth…which is first of all MERCIFUL.  He is so patient and kind with us as He turns our hearts in His Hands as on a potter’s wheel.  How incredibly PRECIOUS is that balance between Merciful Patience and Truth!  ONLY by His Holy Spirit can we handle Truth mercifully! 
 
So I followed my husband this morning to the 5:30 train as we made our way to the Garden Tomb, near the Damascus gate of the Old City, for the sunrise service that I have described to you in years past.  It is mostly attended by people who come and visit from the nations around the world and perhaps some of you watched it broadcast this morning.  Even after these years, it seems so strange to watch the some 1,500 worshipers make their way there and back again amidst the crowds going to work and about their daily tasks.  I suspect that it was the same way on the day when He arose…that life went on as usual through out much of the city…that silently He came into the world, born in a manger and noticed by shepherds and a few old people, Simeon and Ana… And silently He meets each of us, ‘alone’… one by one…called to Him.  But we are called NOT to be silent.  May each of us be sent from our knees to those whom we pray for, and may we bare fruit 100 fold for His kingdom! 
 
We have been so very blessed by the presence of old (and new) friends from Alaska this year, and we joined them for (a FANTASTIC!)  breakfast that they hosted.  We were doubly blessed that our dear friends and my prayer partners were with them also for breakfast, and soon the morning turned into a deep time of reflection and learning. Again the issue of TRUTH presented itself as my friend shared the fact that the popularly held ‘view’ in the church of an upcoming ‘Joshua generation of young people’ was based on error; just how old was Joshua?  Considering that he wandered in the wilderness for 40 years AFTER he had been one of the 12 spies, and THEN stepped into the shoes of Moses…he was at least 80 years old!  I had never thought of that and I was so thankful to have my eyes open!  May The Lord open our eyes to what is good and true!  Our friends who had been here on tour were asked ‘What had most struck them about their time in Israel.’  These were all first-time visitors.  Oh how good it was to hear their answers for me as it reminded me of things that I now take for granted.  One spoke of how surprised he was at the proximity of Jew and Arab…Jewish village and Arab village across the street from each other…joined by the same road; how very tiny the country is and how (as they went to the borders) we are so closely surrounded (within and with out ) by those seeking to destroy us.  Another mentioned that ‘This was the Bible!’ and that it just brought the Bible to life.  A third spoke of the intermingling of spirit and flesh in every day life…that spiritual things are ‘naturally’ a part of everything…that tour guides quote the Bible, as do signs on buildings etc.  Another spoke of the desert blossoming… how the land is so productive and green.  Another spoke of the peace…the lack of fear…the peace in the people.  These and more observations served to remind us of what has become every day life.
 
So, with that still in mind, as we drove home thorough a MONSTER traffic jam, my husband and I tried to look at the city through new eyes…as we saw it when we had first arrived…and it WAS FUNNY!  One of the things that we had forgotten (became used to) was the traffic signs.  They are NOT ‘normal’!  At any given corner, cross walk, or simply for no reason in particular, there are strange and confusing cacophony of signs giving you ‘directions’…each one meant to ‘clarify the other’.  Picture (if you can) a stop light with red, yellow and green, and a ‘caution’ light blinking.  Over the stop light there are THREE separate signs: a left hand arrow, a right hand arrow with a line through it, and two double arrows going straight…but in opposite directions.  UNDER the stop light is a U turn arrow with a line through it.  Next to the caution sign is a yield sign and in the midst of it all (just to make sure) there is a ‘STOP’ sign.  Oh…and a ‘do not enter’ sign as well.  We have become used to these signs but at the BEGINNING?  OY!!  Today we decided that they are that way because they are designed by people who use A LOT of words…then trying to translate into signs.  You really have to see it to believe it.  We looked with fresh eyes at people talking on 2 cell phones…at the same time; at Moslems in traditional dress, religious Jews in traditional dress and secular people having picnics side by side, their kids playing together.  We laughed again at drivers alone in cars waving their arms at WHOEVER they were talking to on their phones as they drove.  It was fun to be reminded of how much we have adapted to culturally.   
 
___with love, your sis________________________________________________ 

Pesach Preparations Over – The Day Is Here

JerAtNight1

Happy Resurrection Day!  🙂   And welcome to another look inside Israel and our sis in Jerusalem shares about her Passover this year.  Praying you are blessed by her letter and by your Lord!  Thank you for praying and reading. Now, here’s our sis . . .

Beloved sisters and brothers,
Blessings and loving greetings to you all as we all stand in the midst of a week that represents God’s great faithfulness. What a joy that we can step aside and worship The Lamb in so many forms, glorifying Him and remembering all that He has done, is doing and WILL do.  As is written in Psalm 126:3 “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad” for sure!
I had fully intended to write yet one more ‘Pesach preparation’ letter (I did it in my head)…but I’m afraid that the ‘preparations’ gathered speed and took up ALL of the time and energy until the sun went down and the siren sounded throughout the city ushering in the feast of the Passover.  That ‘holy hush’ fell only briefly as soon the streets filled with people making their way to synagogue or to the house of another…and the festive joy in the streets was tangible as strangers greeted one another with big smiles ‘Ha’ag  sam’eh’ach’ (Joyful holiday). Our new neighbor’s children brought flowers to us which comforted us as our own children are not with us.
This year’s celebration was to be different for us and we discussed it excitedly on the way to the lovely home where we were being hosted.  It would actually be our FIRST time at a “Gentile Christian Seder” (as was written on the haggada…the little book of ‘liturgy’ that is used to guide the order of the evening.)  We were being hosted by dear friends who came as a tour group from Alaska and were staying at one of the local ‘Houses of Prayer’.  We were very excited to see our friends whom we had not seen in 19 years, since leaving Alaska.  When we made aliyah (immigrated to my ancestral home land of Israel) back in 1994, Israel was a very far away place to most of the Christians of our area, and except for a rare few, there was very little revelation, if any, concerning Israel’s place in God’s heart and God’s plan for the present and the future.  Indeed, the purpose of Israel, past and current, seemed a vague, at best, history lesson.  One dear elderly worker for The Lord approached me gently one day just before we left and said ‘Dear…don’t you realize that you are a Christian now and you are not a Jew anymore?’  I must admit, that took me aback as it revealed a foundational misunderstanding of ‘who’ the Jews are.  Yes, there is the Jewish religion…but not everyone born a Jew… born to the nation of the Jewish people, follows the religion.  Sadly, there are Jewish Buddhists, Hindus, secular, witches and even moslems …but they are all still considered Jewish.  A common question asked at the time was “WHY is it again that you are going to ‘Palestine’?  Are you going to be m….s? (a word describing people who ‘share’ that I can not put in a letter…a word that we don’t use here…nor by the way…is if found in scripture, believe it or not!  AND…Neither is ‘Palestine’ … except in the maps at the back of the Bible! J) At any rate…there were not as yet teachings in the Churches concerning the holidays.  At our home, we yearly had our own form of seder with our children in which we would read about 10 chapters in the book of Exodus as well as others concerning the fulfillment in Yeshua and ending with the ‘last Passover seder’ … the marriage supper of The Lamb.  Occasionally my mother couldn’t get matzo to us on time by mail and so we would use tortillas as our unleavened bread…asking for grace.  Aside from a couple of seders with my parents, that was our general ‘tradition’. It all changed when we made aliyah and neighbors and friends began to invite us to their seder.  Some were orthodox, some had ‘child friendly’ seders, some were believers …all were Jewish, but each one was different from the last.  Some lasted until midnight (I understand some go all night!!) and some were so full of singing laughing teenagers that our stomachs hurt when we got home from the laughter!  And that is right, because although the SUBJECT of the seder is The Lord and HIS great Faithfulness…the OBJECT is stated again and again in scripture: TO TEACH THE NEXT GENERATION WHOSE EYES HAVE NOT SEEN FOR THEMSELVES. 
My husband and I discussed all of this on the way to our friend’s.  What would a ‘gentile Christian seder’ be like?  (I know from my emails that a number of you are going to one, and others are hosting them…some very big!) Well… I can tell you right now, IT WAS A BLESSING!  It WAS learning.  It WAS a testimony to the faithfulness of God!  It WAS the gathering of a deeper understanding of The Blood applied to the doorposts as a type of our hearts… and we could only stand back in wonder when it was over, my husband and I: “Great things The Lord hath done for us, whereof we are glad.”  Here we were in Jerusalem, being hosted at a seder by old friends from Alaska…wow!
Ofcourse, ‘the last supper’ before the crucifixion, was a Passover seder, so we know that when Jesus, Yeshua, walked the earth, Jews were still fulfilling this commandment.  It has never stopped.  It has continued through out the centuries, through out the persecutions and dispersions, through out the wanderings and the return.  In concentration camps it continued to the best of their abilities.  It remains a testimony to God’s faithfulness…and I can only wonder!
I have a dilemma. The longer that I am here…the more that I see and experience and begin to understand…the more difficult it becomes to write about and explain.  It seems to me that the less I knew…well…it was just less complicated and simple to talk to you about.  Now…having ‘dug down’ layer past layer past layer…the intricacies of the work of His Hands and Heart defy description!  Thank you for the grace to be blessed by my inadequate offerings. 
So today we awoke – tired – to a hot spring day, beautiful and quiet.  No one works on this day as it is a ‘high holyday’.  The house is so clean (the kitchen anyway!) that I just want to stare at it and not use it…and…OFCOURSE I spilled the juice (yes, fresh squeezed orange juice!) spilled all over the table and floor first thing this morning.  DAVKA! (remember?  That word means ‘Murphy’s law’, or ‘wouldn’t you know it!’) But I didn’t get upset … His Presence was still too close.  We ate our matzo (which we will have for 8 days) and went out for a walk in the country.  It was there that we were reminded of the ominous realities of the day in which we live as we ran into some locusts.  Yes, it was a very small swarm, but if they have made it this far north, it is NOT good.  They are laying their eggs in the ground right now…not good at all!  The south of the country is experiencing huge swarms. Not good at all.  We also understood from the news that the Syrian rebels have taken over the area north of our Golan border.  This is also sobering news as they are making a great deal of noise in Arabic about how Assad has been so bad by “not liberating the Golan from the Zionist regime”.  We had 2 cross border fire incidents this past week.  The US pressure following the Obama visit upon our government to ‘make painful concessions’ also became ominously evident this week as we ‘eased the Gaza blockade’, released money to the Palestinian Authority and ‘apologized’ to Turkey for the death of those on their ship who were trying to breach our naval blockade on Gaza.  Lord knows what else is coming. 
BUT GOD…WHO IS FAITHFUL, AND WHO HAS BEEN FAITHFUL, WILL BE FAITHFUL TO GLORIFY HIS NAME!  You know, the longer I live here, the less I know about WHAT He is going to do (and I hear many who claim that they do know!) except for that one thing: HE WILL GLORIFY HIS NAME!  His purposes are about ours and His thoughts and ways are above ours, and to stand in the center of His will is the ONLY safe place!  I think of the Israelites standing between the sea and the Egyptian…how HOPELESS it looked; BUT GOD was planning to glorify His Name.  I also think of Miriam (Mary) and the other disciples at the foot of the cross…and at the tomb…thinking all was hopeless…BUT GOD had plans to glorify HIS Name!  The older I get, the more I simply want to draw near to Him and trust Him. 
Ok…my husband is ready to eat; more matzo! When we lived in California many years ago, we had to be creative with zucchini that was incredibly abundant…In Alaska it was salmon (I know…most of you can’t IMAGINE getting tired of salmon…but after 3 times a day, YES!  You CAN!)…and here we go to the matzo. WE WILL GIVE THANKS AND EAT WITH JOY!  I send much love, May His Presence rejoice your hearts and change you (and me) to the reflection of HIM! 
Lovingly, your sis here.
OOOOPPPSS….Personal p.s.: 
Our younger daughter and new husband apparently arrived at our older daughters’ family last night for 8 days of Pesach together.  I would appreciate prayer for them all. 
It has come to my attention lately a couple of you have sent us things and you did not receive a response from me.  IF THIS HAPPENS PLEASE CONTACT ME!  With VERY rare unavoidable exceptions I ALWAYS respond as I am SO THANKFUL for anyone who thinks of us.  I am seeing that neither snail mail nor email is always getting through – especially from here to you. 
And finally:  I know that it is annoying, but I still need to ask you to PLEASE make sure to keep MY NAME or the names of any member of my family off of email completely.  That means even in your address book (as it shows up on your email).  (Just list me as ‘friend’ or whatever you would like)  This is because my emails are very explicit and could jeopardize us.  Thank you!!!   
ani b’derek
Published in: on March 31, 2013 at 7:42 am  Comments (28)  
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Pesach Preparations 3 – Speeding Up

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel during the Passover preparations.  I know it’s already past, but our sis in Jerusalem sent all these lovely letters prior to Passover and I wanted to share them with you!   Thank you and God bless you and yours!  Now, here’s our sis . . .

Beloved sisters and brothers in Yeshua,
Blessings and greetings in Him Who is our Peace…the only sacrifice that can wash us from sin and set us free to have real PEACE within.  May all of His blessings be found abundant in you through His promises so freely given.  Wow!  We are so incredibly blessed!
Preparations for Pesach are gathering speed and it is in times like these that the fact that the blinders that have been ripped off of my spiritual eyes becomes even more wondrously precious to me then ever. Because of His great mercy I have access to Him Who is all in all and I don’t NEED to walk in the shadows.  Do I have all light?  Ofcourse not!  But I DO have access to the One Who does!  Halleluyah!
So…I couldn’t sleep. L  It was two a.m. and I was suddenly wide awake.  I was NOT happy about this.  Four thirty (when I USUALLY get up) comes soon enough on a work day, but on Fridays I leave even earlier then my regular 6:30.  I leave at 5:50 so that I can be at prayer meeting by 6:30 for a half hour before running to work at 7 for a very intense day.  I tried to fall back to sleep but could not get the thought of “the death of the firstborn” – the final plague upon Egypt preceding Pesach – out of my head.  It was a loosing battle.  I got out of bed, resigned myself to a strong cup of coffee, and went to my Bible. 
Preparing the heart is definitely the most important part of Pesach preparations. I have been reading in Prophets, Psalms and the Epistles so had not been reading about Pesach. Since I had this extra time, I turned to Exodus 11 on, and looked for last plague; the death of the first born.  I was immediately enraptured, caught up by His Word into His ways.  “Then Moses said, ‘Thus says the Lord: “About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt’ and the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.  But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’” Wow!  NOT very politically correct, is it!  But this is The Lord God Almighty speaking.  It brought me back to something that I have seen along this path of His.  His Word DIVIDES.  We seem to have a choice all along the way…either it is ‘Yes Lord…let it be done to me according to Your Word’…or to squirm under the ‘unfairness’, the ‘inhumanity’ of His judgments.  ‘Humanism’ becomes more ‘just’ then God…more ‘merciful’…I mean…how can He command the death of the first born of innocent animals?  Why would He make a distinction between the Hebrews and the Egyptians?  Over and over, with increasing frequency, I hear these arguments and my heart shivers. I thought of the disciples turning away when He spoke of eating His body and drinking His blood…they could not understand…so they walked away.  I am so thankful that somehow by His mercy I have sought for and been given (in not great enough measure yet) a fear of God.  I truly believe that His ways and thoughts are higher then ours.  I have come to understand that sin is costly and painful in ways far beyond my pea-brain understanding, but that a truly righteous, just and merciful God DOES in fact, need to judge these things.  As I read on through chapters 12 and 13, scripture after scripture jumped into my mind, flooding me again with the intricacy of His Truth and Way.  “…and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your house to strike you.” (12:23)  I flipped to 1 Corin. 10:1-13, on through Hebrews, scripture after scripture and back to Exodus; “So this day shall be to you a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generation.  You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.” Again and again He clearly lays out the directions.  They are simple really.  “For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land…”  The blood of the lamb saved them…The Blood of The Lamb still saves…for HE IS THE PASSOVER LAMB WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD! 
Five fifty came too soon.  I didn’t want to leave the wonderful Light of The Word and His Spirit to plunge again into the swirling drama of daily life here, but I had no choice.  The day was oppressively hot…our first sha’arav heat wave of the year arrived as the Tel Aviv marathon took place inspite of strong health ministry warnings against it: sport must go on, right?  The runners began at 6am but by 9:30 one was dead and about 30 hospitalized as a result of the extreme heat.  The locusts continue to invade from the south.  The war in Syria on our northern border continues to press southward.  Iran runs toward nuclear weapons and US President Obama is scheduled to arrive here on Wed, paralyzing the city until he leaves on Friday.  He plans to ‘meet the people, rather then address our government.’  Hum.  As of last night we finally have a government …or at least, we will have once it is sworn in tomorrow (Monday). 
And in the midst Pesach draws near. 
People scurry around purchasing gifts, food, cleaning products.  We have one more week.  Next Monday night at sundown the order of the table will be set and a last breath will be drawn in as the subtle change takes place and the drama unfolds … again.  According to scripture on the 10th of the month of Nissan (which this year falls on Thursday the 21st) the lamb was to be taken into the home – a lamb for a household – and kept for four days until it was sacrificed at the Passover.  We are preparing. 
Perhaps you would like to take a fresh look at the first 13 chapters of Exodus. It truly never gets ‘old’! 
Having so little time to write and then finally writing when I am tired is very sad to me, but it is what I have and I offer it to Him – the Lord, the Lamb, Yeshua, with love…and to each of you, dear brothers and sisters.  I am so thankful that we are one in Him!  Blessings to you, your sis in Jerusalem
ani b’derek
Published in: on March 30, 2013 at 7:28 am  Comments (15)  
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Inside Israel – Passover Preparations / Part 3

JerAtNight1

Hi and thank you so much for stopping by for another look inside Israel.  Today our sis in Jerusalem continues to share about this special time, when people prepare their homes and their hearts. God bless you as you read and pray!  Now, here she is . ..

Shalom, dear body of Messiah.  May you be blessed and may HE be blessed and glorified!
It’s beginning to look A LOT like Pesach (Passover)!  As our stores suddenly become sparkling (well…almost) clean, we find that items that we forgot to get have already disappeared off of the shelves, ie; my husband’s breakfast cereal!  With nearly two weeks still left BEFORE Pesach, my poor husband (who usually goes through withdrawals during just the eight days of Pesach) will have to start early…or…discover a less popular cereal that is still on the shelf.  (as fewer and fewer shelves display foods that have leaven…or don’t have the ‘right’ rabbi’s stamp…when an item is ‘out’ it is not restocked.) 
Are there other signs?  Oh yes, many!  The strong but delightful aroma of fresh GARLIC hangs over the shuk and wafts through the air on the trains and buses.  The garlic harvest happens just before Pesach, and because of that many of us give gifts of the beautifully braided bulbs to hang in the kitchen allowing the recipient of such a gift to use a fresh bulb as they cook…whole barbequed and grilled bulbs of garlic are very popular here and garlic is used in many dishes.  Is that a reminder that our ancestors murmured in the desert because the missed the leeks and the garlic?  We have leeks and garlic in abundance here now…we simply needed patience.  Not just the garlic signals the season in the shuk, but the bright red, sweet and fragrant strawberries deck every fruit stand, the colors are dazzling – like a feast of wild flowers to the eyes – the deep greens, oranges, reds, purples, yellows, whites, of the fruits and vegetables so fresh and abundant – all very present and real evidence of God’s great faithfulness…the wonder of it! 
Other things pop up suddenly; ‘ahat pa’ami’ (literally ‘one use’) shops for a start.  These are shops full of every size and shape of disposable item …plates, baking pans, every kitchen item that you can imagine (almost) made in a disposable manner so that you can use it during this ‘inbetween’ stage when your regular dishes and pans are gone and your ‘kosher for Passover’ ones are not to be used yet.  And, yes, there are ‘ecologically friendly ones’ (although I don’t see how).  Plastics shops do a booming business as people replace everything from dish drains to garbage pails.  There is even a ‘sink insert’ the size of a kitchen sink that you can place in your sink with a drain hole in the center and … voila!  A kosher for Pesach sink is installed. 
“Where are you going for seder?” is the sentence I am now hearing through out the day.  It is such a blessing that people care for one another!  It is commanded that the seder be a big and full meal with your table full and ‘none of the  lamb remaining until morning’.  Although the lamb is now symbolic (yes, many do eat lamb, but it is awfully expensive as is most meat, so often fish and poultry sit on the table), it is considered sad indeed for ANYONE to be alone for this meal and great effort is made to make sure that everyone is cared for.  As you can imagine, it is a very costly meal to prepare, as often the table hosts between 10-100 people.  AND I NEGLECTED TO MENTION THE MATZO!  How could I have done that!  The war of the matzo sales has begun!  Who can lure you into their store with the promise of ‘the best price for matzo’ – this is now the battle!  Bitter roots are appearing to deck the seder plate, and there are gifts to buy as this is the time for giving of gifts…oh the ACTIVITY! 
I have had some wonderful opportunities to open discussions with women of late.  On Tuesday (when I began this letter) I had my regular blood test.  The technician who took my blood was a ‘dati’ (religious) woman and when I said that I was tired she said ‘Oh!  From all of the cleaning and preparations!’  This was a wonderful door.  ‘No, actually I have barely begun, but I find it not so hard to prepare for Pesach as I follow the scriptural command to simply have no leaven in my home.’ She smiled and told me that she has also remembered that this was the command.  ‘One year while I was scrubbing the floor on my knees’ I told her, ‘I felt as if God said to me ‘This is where I want you…on your knees letting me shine My light on leaven in your heart so that your heart can be clean of leaven!’  I told her how liberating that had been to me and she breathed in every word.  I am finding people so very receptive this year as I have shared this with a number of other women. It feels as if I am sowing living seed into prepared soil. 
But all is not ‘roses’ as we prepare together for the feast of remembrance.  We are experiencing our first ‘sha’arav’ (desert heat wave – hot winds blowing off the desert that literally suck the water out of you) of the year and this is early.  An international marathon scheduled to be held in Tel Aviv tomorrow has been cancelled by the health ministry as several years ago a runner died from dehydration during a sha’arav.  The locusts that came up from the Sudan, through Egypt continue to multiply and plague our south and threaten our crops inspite of heavy spraying and our still unsure government has been snagged again as they were to sign the coalition agreement tonight…it is again on ‘hold’.  My heart was deeply grieved to tears as our Prime Minister gave in to the very liberal, humanistic party demanding the education portfolio.  This party has the strong backing of the homosexuals.  Thus far our children have been spared these teachings that are rampant in western countries.  My heart was rent to wake up this morning to see that this ministry was now in their hands.  On top of these ominous events…American President Obama is scheduled to arrive on the 20th…this coming Tues., for a 3 day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.  He will not address our Knesset (parliament or congress) but plans to address ‘the people’.  This is what he has done in places like Egypt before their turmoil…and we are wary.  VERY wary…
There is never a dull moment here.  ‘Boredom’ does not exist. 
So we prepare.  We prepare our homes and our hearts…our families.    
When I came to Him some 37+ years ago, He began to open to me (sovereignly as I read and prayed- not through any teaching) the beauty of all of His patterns and paths.  I saw in the holidays, not a ‘law’ and a ‘restraint’ or ‘religious form’, but a tangible and visible expression of His character and nature…a picture of Who He is…and a loving ‘command’ to ‘keep these ways’.  Somehow it did not occur to me that if HE said somewhere in His Word that something was an “abomination” to Him, that because of The Blood of Yeshua I was now suddenly ‘free’ to ‘enjoy’ it.  It didn’t make sense to me.  Why would I WANT to ‘enjoy’ what my Lord called an “abomination”?  Did His opinion of it suddenly change?  In the same vain, if He told us to ‘keep this remembrance’ of a miracle that He performed ‘forever’, why would I NOT want to keep it.  NO, I DON’T keep if for my salvation, or to fulfill the law…He IS the fulfillment of the law.  I keep it for LOVE’S sake…for the love of beauty of His plan and purpose…from a desire to learn to obey His voice…from a desire to love what He loves and to identify with His people who yet have blinders on their eyes.  Paul (Shaul) said  in1 Corin 9:20“ To the Jews I have become like a Jew in order to win Jews; to men under the Law as if I were under the Law–although I am not–in order to win those who are …” 
I will go to sleep now as tomorrow begins early.  On a personal note, I am so blessed that our younger daughter and her new husband will be traveling on very inexpensive tickets, from Minnesota to California on the 25th to be with her older sister and family for the 8 days of Pesach!  It brings us much joy to know that they have chosen to be together, even if we can not be with them.  How wonderful that He truly has all things set in His order for His purposes and His glory.  May we choose His ways.  May we walk together in peace, demonstrating who HE is to a lost and dying world.  May each of you be encouraged in Him, His Word and His Spirit.  May we love what He loves.  ALL glory to The Lamb that was slain and Whose precious Blood is on the doorposts of our hearts. 
Lovingly, your sis in Jerusalem
 
Published in: on March 24, 2013 at 8:33 am  Comments (25)  
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Inside Israel – Passover Preparations, Part 2

JerAtNight1

Hi and welcome to another look inside Israel as our sis in Jerusalem shares about the preparations taking place as Passover approaches.  This is the second have of last weeks letter. Hope that isn’t too confusing!Thank you and God bless you!  Now, here she is . .. .

Actually, all of the cleaning and changing over that families do at this time of year is excellent opportunity to examine our hearts and the story of Pesach as we are on our knees scrubbing.  The religious families and many others take the full month to recount the meaning with their children.  In the synagogues the weekly readings are leading up to the Pesach itself. 
 
It is so much easier, in a practical way, to ‘keep the Pesach’ here in Israel, then it was in the ‘exile’.  In all of the stores and even in the open markets and our shuk, every shelf and bit of equipment is being scrubbed clean and/or exchanged for equipment kept in storage specifically, year after year, for Pesach.  Many markets boil their shelves.  Food items with any trace of leaven are already being removed completely from shelves or are being placed in a single area that will be cleaned just before Pesach.  Later, just before Pesach itself, certain food shelves and full aisles in stores will be sealed in shrink wrap, and other shops will close completely during the full holy day.  The actual Pesach is observed for 8 days when no leaven is supposed to be seen at all in the land.  Even though MOST Jews and most Israelis observe Pesach, sadly more and more of the secular Jews are casting it aside and more and more leaved items are available – though it is illegal for a Jew to sell them – (although many Arab stores often make a huge display of their leavened goods during Pesach, knowing that they will bring in many of the secular Jews).
 
The Bible (the first covenant or old testament) is part of our regular school curriculum here, so the children in school are also reading the account and learning the traditions that go along with it, including the order of the seder.  While our Grandchildren were in school here, it delighted me to hear their accounts of what they were learning.
 
Over the years that I have lived here I began to notice that the Passover account is referred to, scripturally, in just about all of the prescribed holy days.  I didn’t realize that before.  I began to delight in discovering another reference to the Passover.  At each holy day we are told to remember the exodus and rejoice in it. 
 
Living here has also driven me to pray constantly for increased discernment; not because of physical danger, but more so spiritual.  Often I have referred to my first Pastor’s admonition that we remember that not every spirit that wiggles is The Holy Spirit.  How true!  As each holy day approaches, the wide array of self proclaimed prophets that often join themselves to the local body here for a season or more, begin to announce that ‘this is ‘it’’.  If you have been a believer for more then a year, you have likely stood before The Lord on several occasions, holding the current ‘warning’ before Him and asking Him if indeed He is coming – and or judging – at this time.  It is usually as a particular Jewish holy day approaches.  Generally I have heard most pronouncements at Passover, Rosh h’shana, Succot and Shavuot…usually influenced by the events going on around the world.  It is surely a tumultuous season that we are in and a dangerous one, and the decay of morals and polarization of populations has increased.  One would be concerned just in the natural, and of course we are told to ‘not despise prophecy’;  but to discern which prophecy is of God and which is of the flesh or even of another spirit…this is most important if we are truly going to be lead by His Spirit.  It brings me much fear to recount what the discipline for a false prophet should be…and to see how LITTLE false prophecy seems to be dealt with today…or even repented of!  God help us to walk before Him and to know Him.
 
So, in this atmosphere I am hearing clearly to ‘prepare’, and so I walk.  Prepare my heart, prepare my home, prepare different things as He seems to lead, to prepare my mind by casting down vain imaginations and EVERYTHING that exalts itself above the knowledge of Him… follow Him! 
 
And…I plan to share more with you concerning the preparations for this Pesach as the time approaches. 
 
Thank you for your prayers concerning our family.  To update you concerning my husband’s hip, we were happy to learn that it was not a new fracture, but apparently when his other hip was fractured when he was hit by the motorcycle 2 years ago, there was an undiagnosed fracture on this side as well and it has developed bursitis.  J  We are beginning to function again at our previous pace.  Whew! 
 
Thank you so much, dear brothers and sisters, friends…body of Messiah!  What a privilege I have to walk with you!  I LOVE getting mail and email and I DON’T get a lot, but I admit to sometimes having NO time to answer and I do so apologize.  May The Lord be glorified in His body worldwide.  May He find us waiting, watching and reflecting Him…and finishing the work that He gave us to do.  May each of us be full of Him where ever He has placed us. 
 
I send MUCH MUCH LOVE!  Your sis
 
A small p.s.:  many jokes are going around right now about a locust plague that has descended upon Egypt just 3 weeks before Passover…even as we spray against them in our Southern Negev (they have begun to arrive).  There are some stunning videos of them if you google ‘locusts in Egypt 2013’.  It brings the book of Exodus very much to life.
ani b’derek
Published in: on March 17, 2013 at 8:51 am  Comments (14)  
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