Author Archives: The Toy Box: sub-urban farm

About The Toy Box: sub-urban farm

Sub-urban farming was a hobby. It has become a way to live because of the economy we live in. I are discovering the surprise of living abundantly, cooking voluptuously, and loving wildly on our toy box of a farm. I love my God and the life he has given us here on this tiny "Toy Box" of a farm. Everyday is an adventure!

Morning Devotions: Unmasking Jesus

Can Jesus be found in the “Old” Testament? Yes, once you know where he has been hidden by the translators. I do not think less of those brave translators who spilled their blood to bring the words of the Almighty to me and you in a language we can understand. There were some things the Almighty hid from them. There were no conspiracies in their life’s work.

September 20, 2017

O LORD, in Your strength the king will be glad, and in your salvation how greatly he will rejoice!

You have given him his heart’s desire, and You have not withheld the request of his lips.     Selah.

For You met him with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine gold on his head.

He asked life of You, You gave it to him, length of days forever and ever.

His glory is great through Your Salvation, Splendor and majesty You place upon him.

For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in your presence.     Psalm 21:1-6 nasu

Did you see Jesus? He is mentioned twice by name and once more as the “Alpha and Omega” in this passage. Let me unmask Him for you.

Salvation. The Hebrew name of our Jesus is Y’shua. The name Y’shua has become a popular way to call upon the name of the Lord in this era. The name is almost always translated from Hebrew as “salvation,” do you see him now?

21:1  O YHVH (LORD) in Your strength the king (David) will be glad, and in Y’shua (Jesus) he will rejoice!

David said that in Y’shua he rejoiced! That is the first unmasking.

21:5 His glory is great through Your salvation, splendor and majesty You place upon him.

Salvation. David recognizes that his worth (glory: a manifestation of deity) is because of Y’shua. Through the ages there have been many kings of multiple nations. Few of them are remembered the way David is. What sets him apart? He tells us that it was Y’shua; it wasn’t the “things”. I agree with him. Psalm 21 declares that YHVH gave David “good things” including the crown of Israel (verse 3). But the “things” were not the desire of David’s heart. Most people fix their eyes on the “things” just as Eve fixed her eye on the beautiful fruit of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Like Eve, we miss what is really valuable, and like Adam, we want what someone else seems to have instead of seeing that our God really is our greatest treasure.

21:6 For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence,

‘ot The Aleph and Tav. Have you ever wondered why Y’shua-Jesus said that He is the Alpha and Omega? I have heard a lot of preachers and teachers come up with a lot of different reasons. I will tell you what I know, you can decide if the facts lead to my conclusion.

The “New” Testament sitting in your lap has been translated from the Greek language. The first and last letter of Greek is the Alpha (we get our Latin letter A from it). The last letter of the Greek alphabet is Omega. Track with me… Salvation (Y’shua-Jesus) is from the Jews. The Jewish language is Hebrew. Throughout the Hebrew Scripture you will find a little word, ‘ot. That word is spelled with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph, and the last letter of Hebrew, Tav.  When Aleph-Tav is translated to Greek it became Alpha and Omega. Most English translators simply transliterated Alpha and Omega instead of translating it to A and Z. They must have known it was important but did not make the connection.

Hebrew is a unique language. Letters in Greek and English represent sounds. When the letters are put together into words, we readers are able to “sound them out” and speak the written word. Hebrew letters are different. Most of them represent sounds, but not all of them. Aleph, the first letter, does not represent a sound. That is why it is often represented with an apostrophe instead of a letter. (the “o” in this word is from the vowel marker, not from the Aleph) Hebrew words are pictographs of ideas. Aleph represents “Almighty God”. Tav does represent a sound, it is the same sound as our letter “t” but there are two Hebrew letters that make that sound. The more important aspect of Tav is “a sign” from the Almighty. Tav is the cross! When you put them together, you can say that the Aleph and Tav are “the God of the cross” (…and this shall be a sign, the ‘ot, for you… Luke 2:12; the angel was telling the shepherds who the babe is. The sign was not the swaddling cloths, that was just how they would distinguish this baby from all the other babies in Bethlehem)

Three times in the Revelation, Y’shua-Jesus told us that He is the ‘ot, the Aleph-Tav, The God of the cross. But what does that have to do with Psalm 21:6?

The Almighty kept the ‘ot a mystery. You can find it all over the place in the “old” testament. Translators did not know what to do with it. It is in Genesis 1:1 but it is not translated into English. Plenty of times it has been translated “the”. My Hebrew teacher told me that it is usually the “definite article,” but not always. He believes in Jesus the Messiah (a big deal for a Jewish man). When I asked him about the Alpha and Omega, he sat back. I could see him making the connection as he thought it through, but he did not answer me at that moment. It seems that the Almighty kept ‘ot  a mystery to more then just the translators. It is mistranslated in Psalm 21:6 as “with” in kj. In Hebrew the phrase is ‘et-panneykaaPanneykaa, or Paniym (H6440) means “the face” and is translated “presence” or “countenance” in kj. Strong’s says that the word is plural but is always used as a singular word (like many of the words for deity). David says, ‘YHVH (You) makes David (him-the king) joyful with gladness in ‘et-panneykaa (‘et because of a different vowel marker) in the face of the Alaph-Tav is joy! Have you experienced it?

In His presence is fullness of joy!!!

Debs in Everett, Wa. September 21 (Rosh Hashannah) 2017

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Bible Study, Morning Devotions, Word Study

Harvesting what I did not plant…

September 12 (1)
I missed the my spring chore season. The tomatoes I started in March, for the most part, did not get planted. Squirrels ate the pea sprouts. I was so busy with school in May that the beans did not get planted, corn did not go in, there wasn’t even a good row of salad greens. The Fava beans I planted while Ray trimmed fruit trees got lost in a weed patch. Depressing. Even so, there seems to be an abundance.

September 12 (2) bean August 1st I was feeling an urgency to get out and plant… AUGUST 1st! The garden is usually on a “harvest only” schedule. It is late for winter crops and I am too busy putting up baskets of tomatoes, beans, cherries, peppers and cucumbers. But I missed my planting target dates this year for different reasons.September 12 (4)

Just add water and seeds. My soil had become hard, disinclined to embrace seeds in the dusty soil. We needed to re-hydrate while it was still drought season. Running sprinklers is not something we like to do, but there was no other way to bring the life back to the garden. Jade II green beans, Soleil yellow beans and our favorite Dragon’s Tongue beans, each got a row of garden space on August 1. Honestly, I was not expecting to harvest beans from such a late planting. It was a roll of the dice. Today I saw tiny beans developing. Hallelujah! We prayed for God to glorify Himself in the garden, but I sort of suspected He was very busy elsewhere. There are moments in life when I feel like the Almighty is showing off His love for me. We also put in cucumbers, as of this morning, they have blossoms that I dare to hope that the Almighty will show off his love again and make ripe cucumbers.

September 12 (5) Volunteer Tomatoes. Like many of you, I am a collector and saver of heirloom vegetable seed. I have a greenhouse and a great collection of tools for seed starting, but the tools only gathered dust this year. Even so, I am eating sweet, Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes by the apron full. I did not plant any this year, so how do I know what they are? They grew in this spot last year. Heirlooms reseed themselves and come back the next year true to type without any fussing from me. God gave them one job, “Be fruitful and multiply” They seem to be really good at glorifying God.

September 12 (6) orchard Apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, plums, raspberries, loganberries, cherries, herbs (both medicinal and culinary), cut and come again greens and the best eggs ever. Even if I do not plant another seed, God willing, we will have fresh food. I love reading about Eden. God put the man and his wife into the garden to work it and tend it. That is what we do. We can work it, crowding every unused space for plants that are beautiful and good for food. But we can also have seasons like this one, where we only tend to what is already growing. We still eat, knowing we are loved.

Debs in Everett, Washington… tending this years garden. There is sweat on my brow but it feels good.

Leave a comment

Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Chickens, Fresh from the garden, Square Foot Garden, Urban Farm

Moments of Doubt

Tuesday, the day before school starts and I was not getting up to go to a teachers meeting. That is never going to happen for me again. I almost couldn’t breath. This is no way for a warrior to start her day.

20170907_061744 Strong coffee and a little bit of time on Face Book. Does anyone care about me? The Almighty answered me… FROM FACE BOOK! His answer came from “Hebrew For Christians” by John Parsons, who posted…

What are you seeking today? The Lord says, “Seek Me that you may live” (Amos 5:4). If you feel empty today, ask God to feed you with His life giving food. Ask Him for energy, power and strength. Seek YHVH and His goodness. He is faithful and true and will surely answer the sincere heart. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Well that was nice.

Into the word, which happened to be John chapter 4; I thought it was about some woman at a well. Turns out that it is about Y’shua (Jesus) and the food he eats. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.” (John 4:34)

I was back to thinking that being a teacher was my work, but that is only how I got a check. That isn’t God’s will for me. I was looking at things all wrong. I need to be about the work the Almighty wills me to do. I am not exactly sure yet what that IS but I do know what it isn’t. There was a time, not so long ago, when I sat in my Garden, praising Abba, telling him that I loved the life he had given me (an urban homestead), in fact I loved it so much that if He wanted me to do anything else He would have to drop it into my lap. He did just that, one day later. Now he has lifted it from my lap. I’m picking up from where I was that day. My garden needs some attention, but if this is the Almighty’s will for me then I’ll get it back in order.

20170908_112625 It is September. I am very limited on planting options. Ray is in the midst of making a hoop house for some VERY late winter crops for our farm. (If you look carefully you can see the structure out my office window.) Today, just to start getting dirty, I bought a tiny little philodendron, a small pot and cord to make a hanger (for the plant hook Ray put above my office window.) Before I had children (was that really 40 years ago?) I discovered that this little plant was always forgiving. A good place to start. Even as a tiny baby plantlet it seems cheerful. The next job, straighten up the green house.

20170908_113048

Me oh my! I had a jungle full of weeds growing in my beautiful green house. The outside walls and roof need a good cleaning, but while I build up my energy levels (there is a whole lot of sitting down when you are a teacher on a computer) I settled for cleaning  up the mess inside. I worked my way back, foot by foot. I knew the measurements because one square foot is the size of the bricks that make the path down the center of the green house. Bit by little bit I weeded and straightened my way down the aisle. There was color in the planter box to my right. Could it be? Tomatoes I had started from seed? When my hip hurt too much to get up and down to plant those little baby plants outside, I sat on my garden stool and planted my little tomato plants in the green house planter box. They had not been touched all season long, though Ray told me that he did water the box during the summer. I got the vines under control and harvested the pretty basket of tomatoes in the picture. Persimmons, Brandywine, Black Plum and Stripped Romas. We feasted on Pesto Pasta with some amazing tomatoes. All because the Almighty said, “Be fruitful and multiply” They live up to their calling. Ray was thinking Tomato Sandwiches sounded really good.

September 8, 2017 OAYSE - CAFeI even finished my next Ephesians study.

The will of the Father Ephesians 1:7-10

Debs… praying for Mexico (8.1 earthquake), Huston (still recovering), Everyone in Irma’s path, the firemen and citizens of the NorthWest while everything burns, and for the wisdom and wise counsel of those in DC who need to respond to N Korea. May God have mercy on America and Americans. ….Are you saved?

September 8, 2017

1 Comment

Filed under Bible Study, Fresh from the garden, In the greenhouse, Morning Devotions, Prayer, Urban Farm

Hello September!

September 1, 2017 Hello I love September! The scent of the air, the birds getting ready to travel and, finally (!), the weight of blankets while I sleep. September mornings are chilly but the afternoons are usually hot. Most of my apples and pears are ready to harvest. Their scent fills my kitchen with perfume that inspires favorite old recipes for pastries and pies that mom and grandmas used to bake. I just need remember to do my baking early in the morning while it is still cool.

September 1 flowers My September garden is usually just winding down but for different reasons I was not able to get a garden planted last spring. No peppers or corn this year. I did plant some beans and cucumbers on the first of August. We might get some green beans this fall. I was out weeding them this morning and noticed random flowers growing in the garden. I did not plant them. They are Fever Few and Snapdragons growing with the beans. I am so blessed. We are also getting chard and purple peacock kale that I planted in February (the last time I still had time and energy to plant) that look lush and inspire cheesy pasta dishes. I also put in two kinds of carrots, leeks, salad onions and cilantro on August 1st. All are doing well. I’ve been clipping a lot of cilantro. Surprise! if I look carefully in the mess that is my berry garden (Ray calls it a berry big mess) I can find some Autumn Gold Raspberries! (the plums from our young tree were amazing!)

September 1, 2017 lunch No more Box Lunches. Snohomish County in Washington State does not allow me to start a food business in my home kitchen. (I’ll keep my thoughts about that to myself, they are not as kind as I want to be). We are eating up our test recipes. I’m also trying new recipes for home. I made a big pot of Hawaiian Baked Beans in my Instant pot that are very close to what Grandpa Ray used to make. Shhhh! I did not read the directions very carefully and made a couple of mistakes that I think I will keep making with this recipe. Yum! Served the beans with left-over PNW Coleslaw with Spicy Lavender Dressing, Parmesan – herbs de Provenance bread sticks and ate up the Pumpkin Fairy Cakes. We still eat well!

September 1 2017 Par ici et par la... Debs in Everett, Wa, doing a word study on “In Him” for my Ephesians Study (the first of many In Him word studies on my other blog)… word study or a fun rabbit trail? Either way, YHVH speaks.

September 1, 2017

Praying for the rescue workers in Huston. 

1 Comment

Filed under Back to Eden Garden, Fresh from the garden, Instant Pot, Urban Farm

Instant Pot Hawaiian Baked Beans

September 1, 2017 Baked BeansGive my Father-in-law an invite to a potluck and we would be treated to a pot of his Hawaiian Baked Beans. He has gone to the other-side of eternity and I have not had his beans since. For some reason I had a hankering for his beans yesterday. There are a lot of recipes for Hawaiian Beans but most of them include bacon, since we do not eat pork, I was a bit worried until I came across a vegan recipe that I could adjust. Hallelujah!

Hawaiian Baked Beans

Note: do yourself a favor and read this through before you start, it doesn’t go together the way most Instant Pot beans do

  • 1 lb navy beans

September 1, 2017 beans In the morning: Rinse the beans and pick them over (removing stones, split and broken beans).  Let the beans soak for 6 hours (or overnight)

Bean soak option 2: Quick Soak (for those of us who forgot to soak the beans) Rinse and pick over beans. Put them in the Instant Pot with 6 cups of water. Set cooker to Beans/Chili for 1 minute. Allow the pressure to come down naturally for 20 minutes before releasing the steam and opening pot.

Drain the beans (into a bowl… see note below).

Note: I “accidentally” used the quick soak even though I did presoak my beans. I added the pineapple juice (drained from the can) and the can of tomato soup as part of my 6 cups of water… the beans were flavorful and wonderfully creamy. I think I’ll make this mistake from now on. I drained the cooked beans, saving the lovely orange liquid. I took my 2 cups of “hot water” from that liquid. YUM

  • 1 medium onion sliced into thin rings
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups hot water or reserved bean liquid (if it was flavored with juice & soup)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use about half smoked salt)
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper
  • 1 lb cooked and drained crumbled hamburger (see note below)

Return the drained beans to the inner pot of the Instant pot. Add the ingredients for this section. Seal the lid on the Instant Pot. Select Beans/Chili and set the timer for 17 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, let the pressure come down naturally for 20 minutes before releasing the steam vent and opening the pot.

Note: I have good results with Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Crumbles. You can add them with the pineapple instead of cooking them with the beans.

  • 20 oz can pineapple (Dad used rings, I use tidbits) (see note below)
  • 15-16 oz can stewed tomatoes OR Progresso Tomato Soup (see note below)
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (cider vinegar is ok)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 to 1 teaspoon smoked salt to taste (or liquid smoke)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The beans should be done. You can pressure cook them for another 5 to 12 minutes (letting the pressure come down naturally for 20 minutes again) if they are not done to your taste. Stir in the pineapple and remaining ingredients (if you are using soup instead of tomatoes they will have already  been added).

Turn off the pot, then click Saute. Use the lowest heat setting. Let the beans thicken up for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, enjoy.

Note: I drain the pineapple and use the liquid as part of my water measurement. I include the Progresso soup as part of the measure of water as well (for a total of 6 cups liquid in the quick cook method of the beans)

The original recipe does not recommend using unsoaked beans.

10 generous servings (we want to can the left-overs)

1 Comment

Filed under Home Cooked, Instant Pot

It all comes down to this…

20170824_202042

We have finally settled on a business name, Lavender Deb’s Boxed Lunches. Chris said it out-loud after we had gone through a small list of other possibilities. It is a phrase that I use often, it makes sense. One more purposeful step toward something that fills me with anxiety and, at the same time, joyful determination! I’ll start a tab on this site. It will have to do until either Ray or I have an idea of what we want for a website.

Today’s Ephesians study was all about “In Him.” How odd to be familiar with something and still learn new things about it. I have so much because of the prepositional phrase, “in Him.” You do to if you are a blood bought believer. Of everything that we have In Him, there is purpose. Tribulation is for GLORY (the manifestation of deity). In Christ (the Him of “in him), YHVH has an eternal purpose. That the manifold wisdom of YHVH might be made known in the heavenly places. Toward this purpose, In Him we have bold access to the throne through faith “In Him”

20170825_170910

Caramel Apple Fairy Cakes

What does Ephesians 3:12 have to do with Lavender Deb’s? Time will tell the full story. But today I have confidence “In Him” that even in loosing one job, YHVH has not thrown me away, he still has an eternal purpose for me “In Him,” who took bread and fish (as an American I like to think that He made sandwiches for everyone, and that the ravens deliver… who gets that last one?), the little bit that was given to Y’shua, which became enough to feed 5000 men and their families. A defeat for the wicked rulers in the heavenly places.

Lavender Debs… testing Parmesan garlic sticks for the Meatball Marina box. (hoping to survive the 82 degree weather today while baking).

August 27, 2017 Happy Birthday David!

1 Comment

Filed under Lavender Deb's Boxed Lunches, Morning Devotions

Sometimes life is like that

20170822_093351
I love to do research. I like taking notes, chasing a down a word or idea to find out what the author means, how the word interacts with the text, how it affects my life. Often, when I am done with my research I like to move on to the next project. It takes a lot of discipline for me to write a report or essay when I am done with the study part. It takes even more discipline for me to edit that first writing, type it up and post it. Then there are always the embarrassing bloopers I find when I read the essay on line. More editing. Sometimes life is like that.

Yesterday, after doing all my research on the section of Ephesians I was working on, I needed to sit down and write it out. When I was still a teacher I gave myself permission to skip this step because of limited time. I’m not a teacher any more. So there I was, in my fresh clean office, staring at a blank page. Now what? Sometimes life is like that.

There was prayer. There was coffee and a favorite pen (favorite today anyway, a girl needs variety), and that clean, blank page. It reflected nothing back at me, it gave no inspiration, it just waited for me. Sometimes life is like that.

I am surrounded by books in my office, books that were once blank pages. Part of the space is pantry space where most of the food is simple, waiting for my decision to make something wonderful from dry beans, simple tomato sauce or barley. It isn’t enough to find a recipe or to soak the beans (I do love my Instant Pot), I have to heat up the stove, rub herbs in my palms to release their essence and decide if that scent goes with this scent to effect the outcome. My space is full of color, bits of paper, stuffed animals, drawings and pictures, multi colored files, gel pens, ink pens, pencils. They are nothing until they decorate and highlight an idea. Everything has potential but it is only potential until something is created. Even the gray of pencil lead or the dull yellow of pasta has potential, but first it has to be sharpened and scraped on paper… or dropped in to a boiling pot of water to soften. Sometimes life is like that.

It is true, I’ve been fired from a job that I loved. The person who fired me is someone my husband and I love. It was horrible, I felt shame. There were those moments when I wondered if I had been better at my job if I could have kept it. There were moments of thinking, I never want to see those people again! Then a moment later I would be praying for them with grace that only the Almighty could fill me with, I want the school to thrive! I want the staff to minister. I want a ministry! My life has become like a blank page.

Thank you to all of you who have sent me messages, asking if I’m ok. Some of you expressed your rage at the school and Christian people in general (I am one). You helped me work through what I was feeling and let it go. Some of you told me that you have gone through these things and assured me that it gets better. The ice cream was wonderful Ray! I am especially thankful for the prayers. That was HUGE!

Once I decided on a verb and a noun my page quickly filled up with an essay that almost wrote itself. I say almost because I was prepared for this. It was satisfying. Now I just need to type it up and post it. I’m ready for the next idea to chase, a new adventure. Sometimes life is like that.

Debs …just breathing, waiting on the Almighty, thinking of a noun and a verb. August 23, 2017

1 Comment

Filed under I'm just saying...