Back from the Feast of Tabernacles

Shalom Precious Girls,

Sorry for the absent of the last week. I forgot to tell you that since our family used the Gregorian Calender for the feasts, we were celebrating the feast of Tabernacles this past week, so I wouldn’t be able to write much, if any.

But wow! What a feast it was! Our family has a goal each year (but especially make it a point every 7 years) to read the whole Torah (first five books of the Bible).

Deut. 31:10-11″And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before Yahweh thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.”

This year is the seventh year, so we made it a point to finish all five books. It was so incredible! Each time we read it, we are reminded why we do what we do and why we do it how we do it, as well as being reminded of the things we aren’t doing or aren’t doing correctly,etc. It’s always such a thought-provoking and wonderful experience!

Well, this year was no exception to the rule. It was by far one of the best years we have had. As we were reading through it, the conversations we had were incredible and SO thought-provoking! Each day we would see things that we seemingly never saw before or had forgotten was there, or had new questions or thoughts concerning different passages, etc. We all came away from it feeling so refreshed, challenged, and inspired in our relationships with our precious Heavenly Father!

And yes, we didn’t want it to end!!! It is by far one of our favorite feasts, as we camp and cook on a fire pit, play games as a family, read and study the law, sing, fellowship, etc. It was definitely a bitter sweet night last night as we slept out for the last night. How I thank Yahweh for such a beautiful time of being refreshed in His word, being refreshed as a family, and just having a wonderful time!!! :)

Which brings me up-to-date. I have quite a few articles running through my mind in which I hope to very shortly write down and share with you. But it may take me a couple of days as I finish unpacking and getting back into the swing of normal, non-vacation time! :)

Praying you all had a wonderful week! Keep pressing on!

~Samantha

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Feminine Modesty Monday

Shalom Girls,

Here is some pictures from a dear reader (and my precious sister! :)), Sarah. I pray that you enjoy them! ~Samantha

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The shirt, i got at the thrift store for $3.00. The skirt was a gift from one of my sisters, the shoes I got from K-Mart with something like a buy one get one for one dollar sale. I’m not positive what it was, but I know it was something like that.

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The headband is a 100%  polyester scarf, and the bobby pins are from Lilla Rose called Princess Tiara, and are so heavy duty and I have absolutely no trouble with them slipping out. The Black Eyed Susans were picked by my loving brother for me.

Posted in Modesty, Modesty Monday | 1 Comment

Israel…What does it matter?

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Note: I’ve been trying to figure out how to put my thoughts into words with what is going on in Israel, what I’m feeling, etc. but just didn’t know how to express myself in words. My dear friend (who I was with in Israel) put it perfectly and so I asked her if I could share with you all what she wrote and she readily agreed, so here it is! I do pray that it will be a blessing to you all. Love always, Samantha

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About 24 years ago, shortly after my parents were married but before I was born, my father was reading a newspaper in their apartment. There was a report about a terrorist attack in Israel and as he read about it, he began to cry. Confused, he wondered what it was about Israel that had called for such a reaction. Growing up a southern, Christian gentleman, he did not understand why he should care about that little country over in the middle east but he knew that it was tugging on his heartstrings for some reason!

As a little girl, my biggest dream was to go to Israel one day. Of course, as our family grew, it didn’t seem like a realistic option for us all to visit there, but the desire was in all of our hearts. Then in 2004, my father had the opportunity to visit for almost three weeks. He called us back in the States and told my mother that our whole family would be going there. When she asked how we would afford it, he told her that someone was going to drive up and buy our house. It seemed highly unlikely, since we were living in a non-electric community, our house wasn’t even finished and we certainly were not trying to sell it. But before my father got back from Israel, a man had driven up in our driveway and asked if our house was for sale!

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By the time we had sold our house, gotten all our paperwork and were heading to Israel, it was November of 2005. As tourists, we could only get a three month visa, so when our first visa expired in February, we crossed the border to Jordan, spent a very unpleasant one hour there, and returned to Israel to receive another three month visa. After six months, we were out of money and could not work as tourists, so we retuned to the States. Our plan was to work hard, save up and go back to Israel within a few months.

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Eight years later … our desire for the whole family to be in Israel together was made reality. In the meantime, our hearts ached as we longed to be in Ha’Eretz (the Land) and we prayed every day that the Heavenly Father would take us back there soon. Why did we want to return? Because our family thrived there! We loved the land, the people, the culture, the language … and we loved the countless opportunities we had to share our faith. Nearly every time we went out, as a family or individuals, people asked us questions like “who are you?” “where are you from?” “why are you here?” “what do you believe?”

Over and over we would share our love for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His Messiah – Yeshua. It was this love that caused us to love the land and the people of Israel. We would share with the people that Yeshua was their Messiah too, and we encouraged them to examine Him and His life for themselves by reading what He said and what those who knew Him said about Him. People were intrigued that we observed the Torah and believed in Yeshua, since most of them believe that you can only have one or the other.

After having these thrilling conversations nearly every day for six months, we found it difficult to return to the States where there is no perceived need. Especially here in the South, most people claim to be Christians or to know God … and yet their lives are a mess! How can you present help to someone who doesn’t think he needs it? On top of that, few people understood our longing to be back in Israel because few people could comprehend what we had experienced and, hence the title of this post, few people understood the importance of Israel … it’s just another country in the middle east … what does it matter?

From a Biblical viewpoint, here a few indications that Israel does indeed matter.

  • It is the apple of YHWH’s eye – Zechariah 2:8.
  • We are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem – Psalm 122:6
  • Jeremiah 31:35-37 “Thus says YHWH, Who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (YHWH of hosts is His name): ‘If those ordinances depart from before Me,’ says YHWH, ‘then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever.’ Thus says YHWH: ‘If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, says YHWH.’” I don’t think we have reached this era … the sun is still shining, the moon and stars will be out tonight, and the heavens haven’t been measured!
  • YHWH promised to Abraham and his descendants that He would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him – Genesis 12:3.

From a secular viewpoint, Israel is the only democracy in the middle east, where Jewish and Arab citizens hold the same rights. Israel made incredible advancements in technology, agriculture, the medical field, etc, by which the world has benefited.

pg-23-khdeir-2Have you been following the news about what has been happening in Israel recently? The tensions started heightening several weeks ago when three Israeli teenagers, one of them an American citizen, were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists. In retaliation, some Israeli teenagers murdered a Palestinian teenager last week. Both incidents were terrible. Tragic. But have you noticed the difference in responses?

140615061730-missing-israeli-boys-story-bodyWhen Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah were kidnapped and murdered, the Palestinians openly celebrated and passed out candy in the streets. The mother of one of the kidnappers announced that she was “proud of him”. According to recent reports, the kidnappers have not yet been found and arrested. When Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and murdered, Israelis were horrified. The government immediately arrested those involved in the crime and have even refused them lawyers while they undergo interrogation. The prime minister and other officials apologized to the boy’s family and even the mother of one of the murdered Israelis expressed, “No mother or father should go through what we are going now … Even in the depth of the mourning of our son, it’s hard for me to describe how distressed we were over the outrage that happened in Jerusalem.”

See the difference? Don’t get me wrong … Israelis are not perfect and neither is their government! There are some hateful, aggressive Israelis but they don’t teach their children that they only way to heaven is to die while killing others in the cause of their religion, as Islam does. As you dig deeper into what is happening the middle east right now, it becomes very obvious that the Islamic terrorists are the aggressors and Israel is simply exercising her right to defend her citizens.

And for that, the world condemns her.

During the past week, Hamas terrorists in Gaza have launches hundreds of missiles into Israel. Some have been stopped by the Iron Dome system and others have landed in unpopulated areas. But unfortunately some have “hit home” so to speak. People have been hurt, one elderly woman died while attempting to get to the bomb shelter. Israel has retaliated by bombing targets in Gaza such as rocket-launching areas and Hamas terrorists. They have also called up 40,000 reserve troops for a possible invasion. People in Gaza have been killed. But once again, look at the difference: Israel targets militants and weaponry – usually giving warnings that they are getting to ready to bomb a certain area or house so that innocent civilians can get out. Hamas targets civilians.

Many people around the world are watching what is happening in Israel but can’t relate to it. For our family, this is impossible. Let me explain …

Have you heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”?

On Tuesday night, an Iron Dome battery intercepted rockets over the city of Rishon Lezion. Last year we sang and danced on the streets of this city …

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… and several months ago, we were hosted by a generous couple who have a beautiful mini-farm just outside of Rishon Lezion. As I remember the peaceful setting that we enjoyed while grilling out and fellowshipping together, I try to imagine the screech of rockets overhead.

IMG_7519 copyWhen the news source reports that rockets struck Zichron Yaakov, with shrapnel from the rockets starting a brush fire in the area and one person sustaining shrapnel injuries, it reminds us of these dear friends who live just a few miles from this town.

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On Thursday we learned from a friend that there was a protest march on Yefet street in the city of Yafo (where Jonah fled on the boat, and Peter had the vision), with 400 Palestinian-supporters shouting “Death to the Jews”. Our family lived on this very same Yefet street for six weeks in March/April.

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Yesterday a rocket hit a fuel tank in the city of Ashdod, causing severe damage and fire, with one Israeli critically injured and seven others lightly injured. Last year we visited a coffee shop/bakery in Ashdod that is run by an Israeli believer … they had delicious pastries and coffee! It was here that I took this picture with a little girl from Germany who was part of our group.

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When we hear statements from Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the Israeli chief of staff, it brings back memories of meeting him last year – you can watch a video of this event by clicking here. We pray YHWH would grant him wisdom in this operation, as well as the other government leaders involved.

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We pray often for the safety of our friends who are soldiers … Noam is active duty and, last we heard, stationed near the Gaza border. This picture was taken after we had spent a day walking around Jerusalem, including an incident where Arab boys threw rocks at us.

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Ziv lived in the house that we stayed in for six weeks, he is a reservist who was called up several days ago and is now, from what we have heard, near the Gaza border. He and the younger children often played basketball together.

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We also pray for the soldiers that we don’t know … those that we sang and danced with …

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… those that we took pictures with …

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… those with whom we shared our faith.

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Do you have an iPhone? I encourage you to download the free app “red alert”. It works like an air raid siren, giving notifications of rockets that are launched and where they are aimed to land. Several days ago my brother installed it on his phone and as we all sat around our living room chatting with a friend, it went off multiple times. Even though we knew that we weren’t in danger, we could all sense the tension when the alarm went off. I think it is the best way to relate to what the Israelis are experiencing without actually being there in person.

But what about those in Gaza, you may wonder? What about the innocent civilians who want to live in peace but are unable to because of their government?

In March we met these ladies in Tel Aviv-Yafo … they were from Gaza, what was formerly the well-known Jewish community of Gush Katif. In 2005, Israel forcibly evicted the residents of Gush Katif, a thriving agricultural community, from their homes as they turned Gaza over to Palestinian government … in an effort for peace. Of course, the Palestinian leaders don’t want peace – as they have sent thousands and thousands of rockets into Israel in the past several years. But when we hear report about deaths among Palestinian civilians, we can’t help but to think of people like this. See that cute little baby that my sister was holding? What if she is one of the innocent children who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time?

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Or think of these young ladies who stopped to take pictures with my little sister on the beach one afternoon. They were from Shechem (modern day Nablus), which is under Palestinian control, and had to wait a year to get the papers from the Israeli government, allowing them into Israel for a short visit. They were ecstatic to be at the sea! These are the type of people who do want to live in peace, and yet they are caught in the middle because their leaders prefer hatred.

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So what is to be done? Does Israel stop attacking Gaza and allow its own civilians to be targeted, terrorized and murdered? Or is it the responsibility of the peace-loving Palestinians to stand up and say “no more!” to their government?

As I was typing this, my brother started reading a news report that thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated in London and Paris on Friday, demanding an end to the Israeli strikes on Gaza. What about calling for an end to Gaza’s rockets on Israel? Why do the news organizations make an effort to report that Israel is killing civilians in Gaza, but forget to mention that Hamas is targeting and trying to kill Israeli civilians?

Most news sources are very biased against Israel but there are some that tend to be more accurate in representing what is happening there.

Jerusalem Post
Arutz Sheva
HaAretz
Ynet
Jihad Watch (this site isn’t specifically dedicated to Israel but to radical Islam and jihad around the world)

There is a saying that neutral people are the devil’s allies. It isn’t true of every situation but I believe it is definitely more accurate than most people would like to admit. When it comes to Israel, you can’t take a neutral position. You can either stand with the people and the land that YHWH chose to be His own thousands of years ago — which, as believers in the Messiah, we are brought into the commonwealth of Israel (Ephesians 2) and are children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7), is our land too … or you can stand with those who hate this land and these people simply because they are the chosen, and these people will be destroyed – it may not be today or tomorrow or this year, but YHWH does not bless those who curse His people.

Ultimately, there will never be true peace until the Messiah returns. The closest that we can get is to have the peace that passes all understanding in our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7), and this can only come through a personal relationship with Yeshua. That is our prayer for the people of Israel … that they will recognize their Messiah and cry out Baruch Haba B’Shem YHWH – blessed is He Who comes in the name of YHWH (Matthew 23:39).

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Posted in Articles from readers, Choices, Prayer | 2 Comments

Feminine Modest Monday Pictures

Oy! I know! I’ve getting really bad at this! The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy ones for our family, but I do hope to start doing better at getting you the pictures on time! :-)

Last week, among other things, I decided to throw a skirt together from fabric I’ve had hanging around for awhile now. With summer here and camping right around the corner, I knew I needed to get on the ball! I also knew I needed to really try to get out of the dark browns and more earth-tone colors, into something with a bit more color. You know it’s bad when your family teases you that you are in mourning! :) So this year I decided to really try to get away from my darker colors, and get into some brighter ones. Honestly, I have to admit, this is really trying! I LOVE my earth-tone colors! :) But, a splash of color never hurt anyone, so this gal has been working hard at adding colors to her wardrobe. Thus the pictures you have been seeing. :) Maybe someone else out there is also having some trouble getting away from the dark colors and moving into something with a bit more feminine color to it. For you, I pray these pictures will help give you some ideas and encouragement!

Honestly girls, our men generally like color. For those of us who aren’t married, I’m talking about your brothers and fathers. For those of you who are, its your husband who matters. But go to them and ask them what they think of the choice of colors that you wear. You may be a little surprised! I love putting on something and having my brothers tell me “WOW! I LOVE that skirt! It’s so feminine!” or something along the those lines.

What I wear should matter to me. Not only because I’m a daughter of the King of Kings (and notice all the brilliant colors he adorns us with!), but also because I am an earthly sister and daughter and I want them to be pleased with what I wear, too. So go ahead…ask them and then see what they say! And if need be, change a bit and notice the difference! Instead of being teased you’re in mourning, you may hear how beautiful something is or how they love how bright and feminine something is that you are now wearing! ;)

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Shirt was bought at the thrift-store for around $2, skirt was homemade from some fabric I had laying around. :-)

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Then I twisted my bangs and clipped it back with a extra small Divinely Framed Jewel flexi for $13 (can you tell this is one of my favorites?!)

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I didn’t really use a pattern for this. I started with a a-line front and back, then added a waistband to it (okay, a bit of truth hear…I only had 2 yards to work with, and it came out shorter than I like, so that’s why I added the waistband to it, as it gave me the added inches I needed…and I LOVE how it came out! It fits so perfectly and is super comfortable!), with a blind-zipper down the side. So if you ever run short on fabric, just make due! The waistband was cut from the top portion of fabric that I had my skirt piece laying on (I just folded the fabric in half width wise, and then again length wise). I also flared the waistband out, so it too, was an a-line cut. This allows it to rest very comfortably on my hips without a problem (I don’t have much of a waist at all, so tend to wear everything on my hips as it’s more comfortable for me). I also lined the waistband with the same type of fabric, but with an off-white fabric. I have to admit, I love the “added look” even though I’m the only one who sees it! :)

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Feminine Modesty Monday Up Close

A reader asked me to please post another picture which shows the detail of the front of the shirt. So here you go! :)

The shirt front is made up of 4 pieces. Each side of the button holes/buttons has a panel that has the elastic thread sewn over, making kind of a smocking design on it. Then it has the two outer sides, which doesn’t have anything. The “mock smocking” also adds kind of a ruffled effect on the bottom of the shirt, which adds a really pretty look to it (atleast I think so!).

Anyhow, hope this helps give y’all an idea as to how it was made!

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Feminine Modesty Monday

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10

It’s time for another Feminine Modesty Monday set of pictures! :-) Remember, please don’t forget to send in any pictures that you would love to share with us! I’d love to see some of y’all’s outfits, too!

This has to be one of my all time favorite outfits. A precious friend bought this shirt for me at the Thrift-store, and of course, the skirt was also a thrift-store find…and yes, for only a couple of dollars!! :) Can you tell that I love thrift-stores??

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This skirt is a simple a-line, but is down with panels sewed on the diagonal, and is actually made from a summer weight corduroy. Very cool!

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My hair was done in a simple twist, which is held in with the Copper Rose (size large) Flexi clip. (This one actually has a matching headband, which I also love!)

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WOW!!! Lilla Rose 2 Day Sale!

Dear Girls,

This is SO exciting!!! Lilla Rose is having a huge sale! Not only do you get 10% off of all products (including June’s FOTM), but if you spend $40 or more, you get free shipping with it! But that’s not all!!! They are offer the July FOTM (Flexi of the Month) early! And believe me, this one is going to be a HUGE hit!!! Can you picture your daughters and you wearing these for the 4th of July?

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I would like to also add to all the wonderfulness of the two day sale…if you place an order of 3+ items, and register an account under us (you do have to be a first time customer, though), I am offering a “Have one on us” coupon! This means that after you order, send me an email (found on side link) with the item you’d like for free (up to a $16 value), and I will order and ship it to you FREE OF CHARGE!!! :)

REMEMBER: This is a 2 Day sale, only!!! I ends tomorrow at midnight PST! So don’t wait!!!

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Feminine Modesty Mondays

Aka…Tuesday! ;) I know, I’m a day late…again! :) But…the good news is…a precious reader has contributed her pictures!!! :) Sarah, again, thank you so much for these pictures! It’s always nice to be able share different pictures from our readers.

Here is Sarah…

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“My shirt was a great Thrift-store special…I only paid $0.75 cents for it! The skirt I am wearing was a gift from a sister in law, and then the sandals are a Croft & Borrow which I paid around $30 for (they were on sale) and they are the type of sandals that you can go hiking in. I actually climbed a mountain in them!”

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For my hair, I did a half-up bun, leaving about a 6″ tail, clipping it with the Native Filigree Copper size medium flexi”

Thank you again, Sarah, for sharing with us! I really appreciate it!

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Are We that Bride, that Girl?

Old open bible lying on a wooden table in a beam of sunlight

“Yahweh possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:  While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.  When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:  When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:  When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of Yahweh.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” Pro 8:22-36

I read this passage this morning and I couldn’t help but read it over and over again.  Oh, precious sisters, read that passage again! Isn’t it so beautiful?! It makes me smile when I think of Yahshua’s relationship with the Father…he was always there with Yahweh. He was there right from the beginning, right by his side. He was his father’s pure delight…always rejoicing before him.  Why do you think Yahshua was such a pleasure to his father? Was it not because he was also obedient? Keep reading the passage. It doesn’t stop with Yahshua telling us that he was his father’s absolute joy and that he truly did love his father (we can see this in the fact that he was always rejoicing in him).  He goes on to plead with us.

Yahshua goes on to plead with us to also keep his ways, hear his instruction and be wise. That the person who truly hears him, watching constantly at his gates (reminds me of the expectation of a bride waiting for her Lover to come home from work!), anxiously (in a good way) awaiting his return.  He goes on to say that he who finds him, finds life and obtains favor of his Father Yahweh.  Oh precious Girls, Yahshua has told us right here, how we are supposed to live our lives! How we too, can be the apple of our Father’s eye…and his eye, too!

My question is; do we live our lives always walking by his side, with such a lifestyle that we portray a wife’s utter joy at the thought of her husband coming home? It isn’t just about obedience…but joyful obedience…and about the relationship we have with him! Do we have the joy and expectation of a bride when her Love is getting home to be with her after being gone all day? Girls, are we the apple of His eye? Do we long to hear and heed his wisdom, his instruction, to be obedient to his ways? Do we look for every opportunity to please him? To rejoice before him for all he has done for us? Are we just like a young boy who follows his father around, always being with him, trying to imitate his every step and word…are we like this with Yahshua? Are we like this little boy…or like that little girl following her Mama around, trying to imitate her every step?  This should be our goal…and oh, girls…it’s such a beautiful picture!!! Please go back and reread this passage. It’s so precious!! May this become our longing, the desires of our hearts…that one day we too, will have such a beautiful relationship with our Lover of Lover’s! :-)

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Website Under Construction

Dear Girls,

As you can probably guess, I am in the process of changing Virtuous Daughters around…so if you find something a little off, you know why! :) I’m still working on colors, trying to get everything the way I’d like it…but it may take me a little bit of time. I’m really excited about the new look! Please feel free to leave me some feedback! I’d love to know what you think and LOVE your feedback as to colors and all! So don’t hold back!

Off for now,

Samantha

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