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As the crow flies, to get to Bethlehem to the heart of Moab it would be about 65 km …unfortunately that large body of water called the Dead Sea is in the way. So you have to go around, which by my judgement would be closer to 120 km. Even if they were only going to the very edge of Moab it would still be about 100 km. I looked it up and the average person can walk 7 km an hour. That’s with very little to carry besides water, maybe a small pack…and assuming the terrain is flat and they were all in perfect health. With all this in place it would take the family of 4 about 24 hours to walk. I have a feeling the road from Bethlehem to Moab is not completely flat or in straight lines, and I’m sure they had a bit more to carry than just one small pack each. Remember, these people aren’t on a vacation, they are leaving a famine stricken homeland to start a new life in grain and sheep-filled Moab. They wouldn’t be travelling light. Even if Papa Eli had said “pack light”, how do you leave behind that many memories?  Your linens and clothes? Naomi’s loom, her wedding dish set? Her favorite Paderno pots and Heritage House stoneware! Lucky for Eli, he had two boys. Had he had girls, the travel would have taken twice as long.  Plus I doubt they walked all night and maybe the parents weren’t as fit as they once were. And the Bible doesn’t say how young the sons were. (In verse 2 it ends “they went to Moab and lived there.” And verse 3 starts with Eli dying. I’m assuming the walk didn’t kill him, so they must have been there awhile…so it could be plausible that the boys were younger than teens when they left.)  As far as we know they could be the same ages as my sons… 4 and almost 2. I could not even begin to imagine a 100 km hike with my two boys! The “are we there yets” are enumerable on a three hour drive to “Grammie’s” house, the amount that would come from a 24 hour trek would be more than I could handle. And the stops! Even if they did have a cart hitched to a donkey for the belongings, it would be a long, long road. My guess, anywhere from a 3 – 7 day venture. Possibly longer if the cart blew a tire.

        *gasp*           He chose Moab for a few obvious reasons. It’s nearby. They speak a similar language. It’s bountiful and can obviously provide for his family. And again the story doesn’t mention this, but maybe he was God-led. Sure the Moabites were a bit hostile towards the Israelites…and sure their disdain might be a bit scary to face…but he did it to save his family. And maybe God led them there to save the world.

Ironic that there is, at the time of the story, a famine. The “Bread House” is empty. That’s like saying, “well, that’s a restaurant, but its completely empty, they aren’t serving anything.” When a name implies that something – or somewhere – is full of food, you expect there be something to eat. But during this time, there just wasn’t anything. But the neighboring area had food aplenty. It was one of the most fertile, grain-growing areas in the land. So, “a man, his wife and two sons” packed up and moved to “greener pastures”.

My Hubby and I have been struggling with what to name our third baby. I mean, I cant call it “Sprout” in real life. Imagine that name attached to a kid for the rest of their life! But finding names took no time at all when choosing for the first 2 babies…but #3, not so lucky. And choosing a name is important to me. I have certain criteria that has to fit every name if it is to even be considered as a possibility! First of all, I have to like it. (Obviously) But then I begin to go over everything from meaning to origin, from spelling to how it sounds with middle and last name. But I always need one important thing before it even makes it on to the “maybe” list…it has to end in “n”. This wasn’t some weird rule I set for myself with baby #1, nor really for baby #2. It just happened that I am drawn to names ending in “n”. So after naming 2 children ending in “n”, you kind of need to name the 3rd that way. It just sounds best, trust me.

To make matters more difficult, I had always said that Hubby would get the final say for baby #3. Lets just say that this is not how it went with the first two. And needless to say, this time around there is also more discussion, persuasion and searching. Mostly done by me. The “girl” name was easy. Hubby has only ever liked one girl name…and since it fits all of my “criteria”, I cant argue it. Finding a THIRD “boy” name however…I’m still not sold on Hubby’s choice and routinely spout names at him in hopes he will “bite”. So far, no luck. At least I do LIKE the name…just not in love with it.

I’m not entirely sure where this obsession with names comes from. Possibly because I always thought my own name was weird – and still do, but I like it more after researching the meaning. Or maybe because I always loved my middle names – both are family names.  Or maybe because I grew up in an age of “Brittany”s and “Jason”s, and my name was far from popular…or rather, it was popular in 1962. Or maybe because I grew up reading the bible and find biblical names and meanings fascinating. Or maybe because I read a lot of books in general, where sometimes character’s are given names as a bit of a “tip off” to the reader. An insight into that character’s…well, character. And there is no greater “names with meanings” book than the entire Bible.

The Light                  Prince of Peace               Wonderful Counselor

Mighty God                 The Heir                    The Servant

It reminds me of something even I know I am guilty of. There is a certain royal family…I wont name them…although that’s just out of respect, we all know exactly who I’m talking about. But growing up, the elder prince was always considered very attractive. I’m pretty sure my own older sister was “in love” with him, as were many girls. (I however, having an affinity for red-heads it seems, had my eyes on the younger prince, but I still couldn’t deny the good looks of the first.) “He looks so much like his beautiful mother” people would say. Now, as he gets older, many are disappointed to see he looks more like his dad. The sad thing is, I have caught myself thinking, “Wow, how unfortunate that the future king looks like that…especially since his younger brother now looks like THAT!” How awful is that!?! But we all know the whole world – or at least the teen-aged to younger 20?s ladies of the world – are saying that exact same thing. **

3/4 cup butter     1 cup of brown sugar (packed)      1/2 cup (about) of white sugar for later      1 egg     1/4 cup molasses        2 3/4 cup flour    2 t. baking soda    1/4 t. salt            1 T. ground ginger      1 t. cinnamon

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips       1 T. of butter        1 jar of chocolate frosting          3 cups of colored mini marshmallows    *optional* 1 cup of peanut butter, crunchy or smooth and 1/2 cup flaked coconut

Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, is the patron saint of the Netherlands. He was known for many wondrous miracles and was often referred to Nikolaos the Wonderworker. He has a reputation for secret gift-giving and was known to leave coins and other small trinkets in shoes that were left out for him. And that is where “Santa Clause” stemmed from. (Notice the close relation between Santa Clause and the Dutch “Sinterklaas”). Saint Nicholas is said to have loved “doing things in secret”, and often stories say that when confronted on his “good deeds” he would say something along the lines of “It was not I, but God alone.”

Christ is the Servant. He was sent as a “trusted envoy” or “confidential representative”…not only to serve, but to send a message to the entire nation. “I am here to save.” Pay attention to vs 3… “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” Christ was sent to heal, to bring life. Saint Nicholas worked for God’s glory… but he was only mimicking the work of Christ. Christ was the first to say, “not for my glory, but for the glory of God.” We were made to glorify Him. We were made to be servants of all, and in the end to say “It was all God.”

1 cup self-rising flour *     3/4 cup brown sugar    1 egg     1 t. ground aniseed    2 t. cinnamon     1 t. white pepper      1 t. salt     1/2 t. ginger     1 t. ground nutmeg     1 t. ground cloves     2 T. butter

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