Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Saying Good-Bye to Loved Ones

Hello Grafted in Readers,

Today is Tuesday, April 25 2017, in my corner of blog land. It has been a rather sobering month for my immediate family, as my 92-year-old father has been in and out of the hospital in another US state. He had cardiac issues which turned out to be gastrointestinal in nature. Presently, he is home, but talking with him on the phone, one can tell the stress is taking its toll even though he is strong and has a strong faith in G-d. Now his focus is learning how to "hang in there." What does that mean to any of us?

I am going to take a segue from our Jewish Heritage discussion, and return to the Mayo Clinic HouseCall newsletter of this week. There is an excellent article about caring for a loved one who is approaching the end of life. I cannot highlight all the tips given here. I'll give the starters though.

Our role, not easy, is to provide comfort and relief. Hopefully, some discussion has occurred to plan for that.
- Is care going to be at home by family, friends, or an agency or hospice?
- If inpatient care is chosen, will a holistic approach be considered? This provides symptom and pain relief, some spiritual/psychological care, focus on symptom control if supports are not to be used. This would be like respirators, ventilators, dialysis, etc.

Saying Good-bye
"You can help your loved one communicate their final wishes to family and friends. Encourage him or her to share their feelings, thanks or forgiveness, and give others a chance to say good-bye. This may stimulate discussion about important, unsaid thoughts, which can be meaningful for everyone."

The article suggests having the loved one leave a legacy albeit some letters, recording, or communication that conveys who they are and what is important to them that others recall. My mom before her passing, urged us to think of her when looking at the stars in the night sky. Her name was Stella, which means star.

Again, these are some things we can do to make the end of life for our loved ones a bit more graceful for them and perhaps for us too. It is by no means an exhaustive list.

I sent my dad an email this week. On the phone, I told him the email contains the current book I am working on, Waiting for Messiah, and it is the draft form. I don't know how much time he has left, but wanted him to have something of me in his life. If he reads any of it or not, that is strictly up to him. Right now, when we talk, my goal is to have each conversation be respectful and treat him with dignity. Honor your father and mother that it may be well with you. Very, very true!

Mellow Rock
David Russell

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hello Grafted In Reader,

Today is April 18, 2017 in my corner of blog land.

In previous posts, I mentioned working with other writers on an anthology on the topic of forgiveness. Well, I am pleased to tell you that work in progress is now reality! Last Friday, The Power of Forgiveness: A Collection of Short Stories was published on Amazon and CreateSpace. Some of the stories are based on true life events, while others are speculative fiction from the group Writers 750 on goodreads.com.
The link is rather lengthy and pasted below for your possible interest and perhaps purchase.
The Power of Forgiveness: A Collection of Short Stories
Hot off the press!  #AmWriting flash #Fiction - some stories based on true life events.

From the authors of Writes 750 at Goodreads comes an anthology that is now published at Amazon in time for Easter: The Power of Forgiveness

Edited & published by Stephanie Baskerville; edited and cover art by Glenda Reynolds; edited and conception by David Russell. We would appreciate some book reviews for this and if you could share with your friends, family, and church groups.



- I have two stories in the anthology. One is titled Released; the account of a personal friend's struggle with acquaintance, and, Forgiveness Takes Time, a speculative fiction piece on the Bible story of Joseph and his family from the Tanakh or Older Testament.

In my own life, forgiveness is a process ongoing with a person near to me. I don't know how it's going to conclude so names are left out. I can say it hurts not having contact with this person, but that's the way they want it!

- I keep working on my current anthology, Waiting For Messiah, playing piano gigs at a local restaurant and feeling somewhat young again in doing that. I'm glad younger folks are still singing I'll Be Watching You and Stand By Me for example.

Until we chat again, thanks for stopping by. If you care to drop me a note visit david.sonofhashem@gmail.com

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with us daily.

David Russell
Mellow Rock

Friday, April 14, 2017

New Anthology, Count the Days, David and Others

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is Friday, April 14 in my corner of blog land. We find ourselves in the forty-nine-day period between the Festival of Passover and Pentecost known in Hebrew as Shavuot, and we will then celebrate G-d giving his Word, Torah (instruction) to Moses, the children of Israel and Hebrews of all time to aid our daily living empowered by the Spirit of G-d. We may count each day in preparation for receiving His word as direction to us. May our beings, souls, minds and hearts be clean and ready to hear what G-d wants to say to us. At evening some observe a custom called counting the omer. The following may be recited each evening.
"Blessed are you Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments, and commanded us to count the omer."

After reciting the blessing, one states the "appropriate" day of the count: This year counting began on Wednesday evening, so as of this post, tonight will be day three. After the first six days, one includes the number of weeks one counted. Example, Today is one week one day of the omer. You can read more about this by doing a Google search on "counting the omer" and suggest either My Jewish Learning, or hebrew4christians.com.

***** Announcement:::::

I am very, very pleased to let you know the "Forgiveness Anthology" has been sent to CreateSpace.com for publication and is reportedly available for purchase now. The title is "The Power Of Forgiveness" authors: Glenda Reynolds, David Russell and Stephanie Baskerville. There are twenty-one stories in this volume that focus on forgiving or being forgiven. They are well-written, genuine, and suggest the process is not necessarily an easy one for many of us. A Kindle edition and paperback edition are available at market prices. It would make a good reflective read! I am pleased to have two stories included. One is an adaptation based on the Bible story of Joseph and his brothers, and another, is the story of a personal acquaintance and the struggle to forgive her parent for childhood abuse.

Until next visit, may the presence of Adonai be ever near us as we lie down, wake, go about our day, ponder, piddle, play, or plow ahead at what tasks face us. I am glad for our visits!

David Russell
Mellow Rock

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Looking Back: Reflection For The Season by Julia Blum

Hello Grafted In Readers,

Today is April 8 in my corner of blog land. In most places the season of Passover begins this evening, and Jewish people internationally, recall and celebrate their freedom past and present from Egypt w which began with the Exodus over 3500 years ago.

Christians, internationally prepare to celebrate Passion Week or Holy week by remembering Yeshu's entry into Jerusalem. There are some parallels between this and Passover that are contained in a blog post I wish to share with you by author Julia Blum. This is posted below from Biblical ETeacher.
In Blog by Julia Blum/April 6, 2017/7 Comments
When  did  Jesus  enter   Jerusalem?  
Christians over the world  know that Palm Sunday is the beginning of Passion Week. But do you know why Jesus was entering  Jerusalem on that particular Sunday? We can find an answer in the first verses of Exodus 12. In the beginning of chapter 12 of the book of Exodus, God instructed that the lamb that was to be slain on the eve of the exodus, be separated out four days beforehand:
In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house…
 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening[1].
So, we learn from the book of Exodus that on the 10th of Nisan, the Passover lamb was chosen and set apart and preparations began for its slaughter. For this very reason, Jesus had to enter Jerusalem on that very day, the 10th of Nisan – the very same day when the perfect lamb was to be selected and set apart.  According to the synoptic Gospels, Jesus was arrested on Thursday, the fourteenth day of the month, on the eve of Passover; four days before this, on Sunday, the tenth day of the month, He entered Jerusalem and began preparations for His sacrifice, in order to become the Passover Lamb on 14th of Nisan! The Gospels show clearly and convincingly that everything that happened to Jesus fulfilled the scenario laid out by God during the time of the Exodus.
Jesus’ Tears  
However, before this entrance to Jerusalem, something very important happens to Jesus: something that definitely belongs to His suffering, to His agony, to His pain – and in this sense, also belongs to His Passion week, even though it happens before the week itself. What are we referring to? In Luke 19 we read that when Jesus approached Jerusalem: “He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”[2] This episode is often overlooked or forgotten, however it is of crucial importance for those who want to understand His heart. Do you remember how many times Jesus weeps in the Gospels?  Years ago, my book about God’s tears over Israel’s suffering (“If you are the Son of God…”) started from the realization (revelation) of this simple and obvious fact that I had never before considered: in the entire New Testament, Jesus weeps only twice – once here over Jerusalem, and once over Lazarus (“Jesus wept”[3]). There are no coincidences in the Word of God, therefore it is important to see these scenes alongside one another, and the lessons to be learned from this juxtaposition are immensely profound. Of course it’s impossible to cover it all in one post – I have a whole chapter in my book about this juxtaposition – however, it is essential for us   not to overlook this scene:  knowing that He came not only for His own suffering but also for the suffering of His own people, for turning them into “enemies for your sake” – Jesus weeps openly over all the torment to be unleashed on Israel in His name.
A Man with a Jar
In Matthew 21, we see Jesus and his disciples approaching the Holy City. Jerusalem was swarming with people who had come for Passover. Every house had additional guests, every room was packed, yet Jesus seemed strangely unconcerned about a place to eat the Passover meal. Confidently, He told His disciples, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters.”[4] How did Jesus know they would meet a man with a water jar? A man with a water jar was a very unusual sight, as this was ordinarily women’s work. Why would a man be carrying a water jar in Jerusalem?
The only group of Jewish men that traditionally did carry water jars, were Essenes. Since Essenes were mostly celibate, their men did women’s work. Therefore, a man carrying a water jar could only have been an Essene. Essenes had their communities, not only in Qumran, but in various towns. They also had a community in Jerusalem. Josephus tells us that one of the gates of Jerusalem was called “the Gate of the Essenes”. Apparently, it was through this gate that they entered Jerusalem, and from Jesus’s words, his disciples understood they had to enter the city through the Essene’s gate. Also, since Essenes used a different calendar, their guest rooms were still available. That’s why the Teacher knew that a room would be available for the Last Supper.
What did the people of Jerusalem shout?
We know that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, “the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”[5]
What is the meaning of these words in Hebrew? What did the people in Jerusalem think and understand about Jesus that made them use this particular Scripture?
I suppose that most of my readers know that the English word “Hosanna” transliterates Hebrew Hoshia Na (הֹושִׁיעָה נָּא – Literally: “save, please”) and that these words are taken from Psalm 118:25: Save now, I pray, O Lord אָנָּא יְהוָה הֹושִׁיעָה נָּא
What you may not know however, is that Psalm 118 is one of six psalms (113-118) of the so-called Hallel (Hebrew for Praise), the songs of praise and thanksgiving. There are special occasions when we have an additional obligation to praise God, and on these special occasions we recite special psalms, known as Hallel. According to the Jewish sages, there are several fundamental themes distinguishing the psalms of Hallel – and one of them is acknowledging the source of salvation.  On the other hand, we know that Psalm 118 was recited on the way to the Temple and also in the Temple on Passover Eve, Erev Pesach, at the time of the slaughtering of the Passover sacrifice (“korban Pesach”). So these words from the Psalm 118 not only confirmed that Jesus entered Jerusalem as the ‘Ultimate Sacrifice’ – as the Passover Lamb – but also recognized and acknowledged Him as the source of salvation.

Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with us always and forever freeing us from that which holds us enslaved.

David Russell