A Mother’s Grief

The infant had died unexpectedly in the womb and the subsequent birth had been difficult.  I watched silently nearby as the mother hovered over the lifeless body of her daughter and leaned down to gently touch her face.   An unfathomable sadness emanated from her vacant, sunken eyes, she turned her head to look away in disbelief and pain.  It would be three days before she would eat or drink much of anything while she struggled to overcome the smothering grief.   Not knowing how to comfort her in this terrible loss, I placed my head against hers and cried.   Slowly I then led Fancy, my Guernsey cow, back to the barn to relieve her udders of the milk her calf would never suckle.

If a non-human creature can suffer such anguish over the death of her offspring, how can mankind, created in the image of Yahweh, condone abortion?

by: Debbie Reed

Yom Teruah

Yom Teruah

The way that thunder rolls across the sky from ten miles or more..you can count it coming as it rolls

Like shofars blowing from one tel to another tel

Across the land, across the whole world, how do we know; maybe across the universe

So comes Yom Teruah blasting, blowing, rolling

Like a wave across the lands made by Yahweh

From one end of the world the moon comes shyly rising

Till it shines in every place where it can be seen

With Jerusalem at the apex of that infinite moment

Of the calling of His bride to awake

by: Gayle Bonato


Clean Cuisine – Pumpkins

Mention the word “pumpkin” at any time of year, but especially in the fall, and most people can’t help but think of the enticing smell of freshly baked pumpkin pie wafting through the air.  In fact, so popular is this alluring smell, that many retailers have it on their shelves in the form of room sprays, body scents, and candles.

Native to the American continent, pumpkins are from the family of Cucurbitaceae, which also includes cucumbers, squash, and melons.  Scientifically speaking, they are considered to be a fruit, although seed catalogs will categorize them as vegetables. There are countless varieties of pumpkins, running the gamut from the small 2-5 pound “Baby Bear” to the 50-100 pound “Mammoth Gold,” or from the deeply ribbed “Fairytale” to the smoother skinned “Howden.”  Some have long necks, some are round, and some are more elongated.

Most often when someone thinks of eating pumpkin, it’s the orange to yellow-orange inside (although there are a few varieties that are white inside) that they’re thinking of.  However, this is one of those versatile foods, wherein not just the flesh is eaten, but the flowers, seeds, and peel can be consumed as well.  And it seems that each edible part is a powerhouse of nutrition.

Just like zucchini blossoms, pumpkin blossoms are also edible.  They are best the same day you pick them.  You will want to choose the thicker-stemmed male blossoms.  The female blossoms will have tiny little pumpkins growing at their base. If you don’t garden, you might be able to find these delicate blossoms (blooms) at your local farmer’s market.  Make sure these are grown organically since these fragile blooms are difficult to wash.  Most popular, it seems, are recipes wherein the blossoms are batter-dipped and fried, however, some prefer to eat these mildly sweet  flowers raw in salads, or stuffed with a cheese mixture and baked.  These delicate flowers are low in calories and are a good source of Vitamins A and C, as well as folate.

One of the things you will notice when cutting into a pumpkin is all the pulp and seeds.  Once separated, the pulp can be put into your compost pile, but the seeds can be rinsed (make sure all trace of the pulp is washed off), dried, and eaten raw or seasoned and roasted in a 170˚ oven for 10-20 minutes.  Also known as “pepitas,” these flat, asymmetrically oval seeds are packed with zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.  While the other parts of the pumpkin are fairly low in caloric value, the seeds pack a punch of 245 calories per 1 cup serving, which come mainly from protein and fats.  However, they provide beneficial amounts of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which can help to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise the good cholesterol (HDL) in your body.

At only 49 calories in a 1-cup serving and low on the glycemic value scale, the flesh and the rind of pumpkins are a powerhouse of nutrition, rich with the anti-oxidant beta carotene, Vitamin A, and potassium.  Personally, I have never considered eating the rind, but according to nutritional reports, the peel is just as healthy for you as the flesh, having the same amount of nutrients, along with significant amounts of magnesium and iron.  The orange-hued flesh is what most people think of when they consider eating pumpkin  or pumpkin-based foods.  Some people prefer to cook or bake the pumpkin themselves, claiming they get a much richer taste.  Others opt for the simplicity of opening a can of store-bought puree.

When I was growing up, almost without fail, my Mom would buy one or two neck pumpkins each fall to cook and make pumpkin pie.  So when I got married, I figured I’d do the same thing and every fall for the first five or six years or marriage, I would get some neck pumpkins, and start the time-consuming process of cutting, peeling (no, I didn’t use the rinds), cooking, and mashing.  I even tried the technique my Grandma had used of roasting the pumpkin first; still it was a long drawn-out procedure.  To top it all off, if the pumpkin didn’t cook down enough, there would be excess moisture, thus making the pies a bit on the “runny” side.  One day as I was expressing my frustration to my Mom, I asked her if she could give me any cooking tips that would help me in my dilemma.  She looked at me, smiled, and said, “Oh, Debbie, I don’t do that anymore…I buy the canned pumpkin.”  And from then on, so did I.

Cooking pumpkin isn’t difficult, though, it’s just time-consuming.  There are a few different methods, two of which are roasting and boiling.  You’ll need the large round variety for roasting.  Simply cut the pumpkin in half, clean out the pulp and seeds, then put the pumpkin on a baking sheet, skin side up, in a 300 degree oven for about an hour.   When soft, scoop out the inside and mash into a puree to use in pies or other baked goods, or add some brown sugar to eat as a side dish.

A second method is boiling.  After cleaning out the seeds and pulp, cut up the pumpkin into uniform cubes (peeling it is optional), put into a cooking pot and add a few inches of water (enough so the pumpkin doesn’t scorch on the bottom of the pot, but not too much that you are left with a watery substance if mashing).  After bringing to a boil, simmer for about 30 minutes or until soft.  At this point you can season the cubes and eat as is or mash for any recipe calling for pumpkin.

I understand there are two other methods as well.  One method involves cutting off the stem of the pumpkin and roasting the entire fruit intact, then cleaning it out after it comes out of the oven and cools for a while.  The second method is to prepare it just like in the boiling process but to microwave it instead.

Once the pumpkin is cooked, there are a variety of ways you can prepare it.  Of course, there are the delicious baked goods– pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin roll, pumpkin cake, pumpkin bread, just to name a few.  And lest we relegate this versatile food to only the “sweet” category, let’s not forget the “savory” side where there are pumpkin casseroles, soups, and dips.

Joyous eating!


2 cup flour

3 tbsp. sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. cinnamon

½ cup butter

½ cup milk

2/3 c. pumpkin

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, & cinnamon into a bowl.  Cut in butter until the mixture looks coarse.  Combine milk and pumpkin.  Add to flour mixture.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board & knead gently a few times.  Roll out to ½” thickness.  Cut with a biscuit cutter.  Set biscuits 1” apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake at 450 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Yields 12 biscuits.


1 2/3 cups flour, sifted

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup shortening

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin   

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Grease a regular loaf pan 9 x 5 x 3 in. or use a non-stick coated pan & do not grease.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, & nutmeg. In a medium mixing bowl cream shortening, sugar & vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.  Stir in pumpkin mixture.  Stir in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with water until just smooth.  Do not overbeat.  Fold in nuts.  turn batter into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven  until a cake tester inserted in center of bread comes out clean, 45-55 minutes. Servings: 12

LIBBY’S® Famous Pumpkin Pie  

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 large eggs

1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin

1 can (12 fl. oz.) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk

1 unbaked 9-inch (4-cup volume) deep-dish pie shell

Whipped cream (optional)

MIX sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves in small bowl. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar-spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

POUR into pie shell.

BAKE in preheated 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350° F; bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate. Top with whipped cream before serving.  Yield: 8 servings.

****Did you know….The original “pumpkin pie” consisted of slicing off the pumpkin tops, removing the seeds, filling the insides with milk, honey, and spices, and then baked in hot ashes.****

by: Debbie Wirl

Clean Cuisine – Pumpkin Toffee Crunch Cake

Pumpkin Toffee Crunch Cake
1 (29 oz) can pure pumpkin purée

3 eggs, beaten

1 (12oz) can evaporated milk

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 box yellow cake mix

1 1/4 cup sugar

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

1 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly grease 9 x 13 baking dish. In prepared dish, mix pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and pumpkin pie spice until well blended. Scrape down sides and spread batter in pan.

Sprinkle yellow cake mix evenly over top. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs followed by toffee bits over top. Drizzle melted butter evenly over cake.

Bake 55 minutes until the cake is lightly brown, testing with a toothpick until it comes out clean. Cool before serving and refrigerate leftovers.

Serves 15

by: Jennifer Folliard


Going Bananas

When shopping for something healthy to eat, is it the color, taste, or texture that first crosses your mind? What actually makes you pick up the item and put it in your cart?  Surprisingly enough, all three characteristics play a role in the final decision. I consume at least 365 bananas a year, one daily, and it has not turned me yellow in color, mushy in texture, nor am I “bananas” yet. This yellow crescent-shaped fruit which we know as a banana offers us great benefits such as fiber, potassium, vitamin B-6 and much more for our daily health.

Even though the peeling is not edible, before just throwing it in the trash you can rub the inside of a banana peeling on your dry crackly elbows, heels, and knees. This is an awesome home remedy moisturizer that really works.

Also, I have discovered that there is nothing like a mustard, banana, and cucumber (fresh from the garden is the best) sandwich.  Do not knock it until you have tried it at least once.  If you’re looking for a quick, tasty snack just mash a banana, stir in a little cinnamon (to taste) and spread on a plain rice cake. Last but not least, after the bananas have begun to ripen with the brown spots, they also make delicious popsicles.  Just peel, cut in half, place a popsicle stick in the center, wrap in aluminum foil, and freeze. You can take the popsicles out and eat immediately or let them set out for about 5 minutes first. They freeze well for 3 to 4 months. I hope you now see bananas in a new light when passing by them in the produce department

by: Lisa O’Neal

Clean Cuisine – Easy Corn Soufflé

Easy Corn Soufflé

1 (15oz) can corn, drained

1 (14-3/4 oz) can creamed corn

1 (8-1/2 oz) pouch corn bread mix

1 (8 oz) pkg. shredded cheddar cheese

(Sharp if desired)

1/4 cup melted butter

Pre-heat oven to 350˚ & grease a 13×9 pan. Mix all ingredients together (except for the cheese). Cover pan with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove pan and sprinkle cheese on top.  Return to oven uncovered and bake approx. 15 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly.  Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish.

by: Jennifer Folliard


The Power of Confession

The most important confession that I have ever made was when I asked the Father to forgive me of my sins. Romans 10:9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Master Yahshua, and shalt believe in thine heart that Yahweh hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” The result of this very and most important confession is that it has brought much deliverance to my life. Every ugly, nasty, disgusting sin that I have ever entertained had to be confessed.

During my journey I also came across a passage of Scripture that taught me how to correctly confess my sins: James 5:16, “Confess your faults one to another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  Before I understood this verse of Scripture, I used to get on my knees to Yahweh to confess my faults and ask for His forgiveness, then just go about my business.

Before and after the Feast of Tabernacles, I struggled with a fault. When I arrived home and after getting settled in, I was led to confess my fault to two of Yahweh’s called out ones. I requested prayer for deliverance and healing. The brethren were willing to support me in any way that they could. One joined me in a 30-day, 6:00 a.m. prayer and the other extended the availability for me to call every time that I got the urge to entertain this fault.

Confession of this fault exposed the enemy that was controlling my life and gave me power to resist the devil. As I submitted to the Word of Yahweh I was able to resist the devil and that devil had to flee from me.

I am a witness that there is power in confession and prayer. As we confess our sins Yahshua has made a promise to us. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I praise Yahweh for Yahshua and for His Holy Spirit that leads and guides me to all truth. The Word is truth & life. I have been encouraged by Yahweh’s Word on how to confess my faults and I encourage all of my sisters to be heartened on their journey through Yahweh’s Word. Don’t ever be afraid to shine the light on the darkness in your life because, when you do, the devil loses his power in your life and you will have the power to walk in victory. Remember, with Yahweh all things are possible. Walk in the newness of your life In Yahweh. The power of confession has been very real in my life.  Try it.  It will free you.

 by: Donna Lambert


Women of the Bible: Esther – A Woman of Courage

“…there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7

My mother claimed that I started talking at a very young age – and never stopped.  This “gift of gab” has been a blessing and a curse.  It has blessed me with the ability to befriend strangers, question the unknown, and pass on information and ideas.  It has cursed me with vanity, foolishness and, sometimes, slander.  I have to constantly be on guard as to the words I use and the effect they have on others.  I have lost friends, distanced family members, created divisions, engendered hurt, and demeaned myself through the misuse of words.  This failing is always at the forefront of my prayers as I ask for wisdom to know when to speak, what to say, and when to remain silent.   Proverbs 21:23 states clearly that, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.”

There are times when we should not be afraid to express our thoughts and there are times when it would engender irreparable damage to do so.  The story of Queen Esther and the challenge she faced provides a sound template for knowing when and how to speak out.  The book of Esther is one of only two books in the Bible named after women, the book of Ruth being the other. A major Jewish holiday, called Purim, is based upon Esther’s courageous actions to save her people from destruction.

Esther was a Jewish woman whose family had been deported from Jerusalem to Babylon during the time of the Babylonian exile.  Her parents had died when she was very young and she had been raised by her kinsman, Mordecai.  Xerxes, king of the Persians, chose Esther to be his queen, not knowing that she was a Jew.  The king’s anti-Semitic advisor, Haman, wanted to destroy the Jewish community in the empire and tricked the king into going along with his plan.  Mordecai heard of the plan and asked Esther to intercede on behalf of her people.  This was a very dangerous thing to do as the law forbade anyone to approach the king without being summoned and anyone breaking this law would be put to death.  But, Esther sent word to her people and she, along with her maids, fasted for three days and nights.  “When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law.  And, if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16.  As a result of her bravery, Haman was hanged, Mordecai was rewarded and the Jews survived and were protected from those who hated them.

In the past, it was hard for me to speak to others about our newfound beliefs as I usually encountered skepticism and ridicule.  So, I either kept silent, thereby seeming to acquiesce to erroneous ideas, or would speak out in irritation and anger, instead of passing on biblical insights in a knowledgeable, forthright and, yet, noninflammatory manner.

How do our words affect others?  Is what we are about to say conjecture, slander, or is it biblical?  What is the purpose of our speaking out?  Are the words only meant for contention or are they necessary to help others understand?  I often remember the story of Esther who fearlessly, but gently, spoke out in truth for a very important purpose.  Our purpose is to serve Yahweh – in our thoughts, in our words, and by our example.

by: Debbie Reed

Treasured Time

As with any relationship, making time for that special someone, one-on-one time, is so important. My husband and I need our time alone together to connect:  time without the kids surrounding and interrupting us; time that says, “You are important to me,” time that says, “I care enough about you to stop everything else I’m doing and listen to you because I love you.”

We have a fairly large family of five children and, since I homeschool, we’re usually all together.  Still, my children often come to me and ask if we can have one-on-one time, just them and me without anyone else. So, every once in a while we’ll sneak in a shopping trip and grab something to drink.  But, most of the time I will simply let a child stay up with me and watch a movie later than the others, or snuggle in bed with me, or bake something, just the two of us. These are such precious moments when we can talk about what they are interested in or what is going to be coming up in their lives.  My husband likes to take a child, one-on-one, when he goes on an errand and the kids love to just be with him, secretly hoping that they end up with a little toy or candy. These occasions create memories that will last a lifetime.

These are the special times that we all need to stay truly connected to one another and feel individually special. The same is true of our Father in Heaven. Yahweh wants us to seek him, to want to have a relationship with Him. One man, David, was known to have a heart after Yahweh (Acts 13:22). When one reads the Psalms it is apparent that he and Yahweh must have had a special love for each other.  Psalms 63:1 reads, “O Elohim, you are my El; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirstest for thee, my flesh longeth for Thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” As believers we need to ask ourselves if we are truly longing after our Father in Heaven.

In John 14:23 Yahshua told Judas, “If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” Our Father and Savior  both want us to love and follow them.  We are told that if we love Yahshua and hold fast to His teachings, we will have our Father’s love and that He and Yahshua will reside in us. In John 15: 14 one reads, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” It is so amazing that we have a Father and Savior who love and care so much for us.

In Psalms 53:3 David wrote, “My voice shall Thou hear in the morning, O Yahweh; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.” Notice how David starts his day. We see a similar pattern with Yahshua in Mark 1: 35, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” There are many ways to find alone time with our Maker.  One reads in Joshua 1:8 that Yahweh commanded Joshua to meditate day and night on the book of the Law. Nevertheless, I find the morning such an appropriate time to start my day out on the right foot.

I know that when I make a conscience choice to wake up early and have that alone time with my Father, my whole day just goes better. My husband would confess to you that I like my sleep. For me, to wake up early before the kids get up is hard. However putting forth the effort is always rewarding and I always feel so refreshed and ready to start the day out right when I do.   It is easy to get caught up in the daily distractions of life: phones ringing, children needing attention, preparations for supper, etc.  The Spirit can lead better before everyone else is up.

I have to admit I struggle with patience. Yet, when I read Yahweh’s word, I find so many Scriptures encouraging us to be patient, longsuffering and kind, and to think of others more than ourselves. It is almost as if I can feel the spirit filling me with strength to make it through the day showing love to my family and to others. When I start to waver I can remember a Scripture I read earlier that day and I quickly try to redirect my attitude.

I have a friend who lives 10 hours away. We have managed to stay close even though at times we have gone through years without seeing each other. Both being super busy moms we simply call when we can. Every once in a while we will talk for almost an hour, but most of the time our calls are short and, sometimes, only a couple of minutes long. Still, on those days I always feel a bit more cheerful. Someday, when we are old women, we will call and be able to reminisce for hours. For now, on most days I am happy for an encouraging word or two.

Admittedly, my prayer time sometimes reflects this friendship. Not always do I get to my morning devotion. Sometimes the responsibilities of daily life –  sick children, staying up too late to finish chores, or simply feeling overly exhausted – cause me to stay in bed, trying to squeeze in every last ounce of sleep I can until a little one comes in asking for breakfast. But if I purpose to get up early every day, chances are most mornings I will get to my treasured time in prayer and reading.

Let us make a goal to work on the most precious relationship we will ever have in this lifetime and make sure we are setting apart time to let His spirit abide in us.

by: Jessica Mansager


Scripture Numerics

Numbers play a large role in Scripture here are some meanings of some of those numbers.

One – Unity

Two – Difference

Three –Completeness

Four – Creative Works

Five – Divine Grace

Six – Human Number

Seven –Spiritual Perfection

Eight – Resurrection, regeneration

Nine – Finality of Judgment

Ten – Ordinal Perfection

Eleven – Disorder, Disorganization

Twelve – Government Perfection

Thirteen – Rebellion, Apostasy, Defection, Disintegration, Revolution

Seventeen –Denotes a combination of Spirit and Order

Twenty-Five – Grace Intensified

Twenty-Seven – Divinity Intensified

Twenty-Eight – Spiritual Perfection (in connection with the earth)

Twenty-Nine – Intensifying of Divine Judgment

Thirty – Divine Perfection (applied to order)

Forty – Divine Order (applied to earthly things)

Fifty – Jubilee or Deliverance

Seventy – Signifies Perfect Spiritual Order