Rescued or Not…Naomi Forges Ahead, by Paula Rose Michelson

When we left Naomi, it seemed that her plans were thwarted. 

Have you ever been in a situation like that? If you have, remember back, if not, think of something you wanted or something you wished would go away. Now ask yourself:

Were you able to control the outcome?

Did you need someone’s help?

What would you have given up to get what you wanted or wished for?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chapter One Continued~~~~~~~~~~~~

“She has no sponsor. We must send her back to Spain.”

“But she says she has no people,” a man she could not see said.

“I tried to call the lady but was told she was out,” the small man said.

Naomi saw the large man wait while the man she had not seen left the office. Then he turned to his associate. “I told you not to speak about that!”

“It doesn’t make any difference. I left a message, but there’s no one to help the girl.” He looked at his watch. “We can’t wait any longer. It’s already five thirty. The office should have closed half an hour ago.

The large man glanced at his watch. “You’re right. We can’t wait any longer. Ask her to come in.”

The teenager was certain they were going to send her back and muttered, “Oh, Adonai, I cannot go back there!” When she heard her own words, she thought, Perhaps in America I should speak with Adonai in English, so she pled, “Oh, God, please help me … I cannot go back there!”

An old woman sat down next to her. “Would you like to stay in America?”

Si!” Naomi wondered where the old woman had come from and why she had asked her such a question. She feared that the woman might not understand her, so she switched to English. “I mean, yes, I would. I would love to stay.”

The old woman smiled. “I will arrange it for you.”

Naomi gasped. Maybe God is watching out for me after all!

The small man stuck his head out of the door to the office, caught Naomi’s eye, and motioned for her to enter as he left.

When she stood, the old woman rose as well. “Say nothing,” the old woman whispered. “Let me talk.” They walked into the office together.

In seconds, Naomi and the old woman stood before the large man. He frowned. It seemed to her that the lines on his face were so deeply etched that he had never heard of the word smile. This man has the power to send me back to a life I wish never to see again, she told herself while she tried to steady her wobbly legs.

The man pointed toward the chairs, which faced his desk. “Sit down please. We have very little time.”
He fixed his dark eyes on the old woman. “Since you did not answer your phone, I thought you might be done with this business.”

“You know how it is with me, Victor.” She reached into her oversized purse and handed him a sheaf of papers.

Sí, claro.” Victor seemed to smile with relief as he replaced the girl’s official papers with the documents the woman had handed him. “Still looking for that special one, eh, Tía?”

“But of course.”

He reviewed the documents. “I see you are still using the same lawyer.”

“Yes. He is able to help me in my work.”

Victor turned his attention to Naomi. “This lady will vouch for you so you can stay here. Would you like to stay in America?”

Sí, I would like to stay very much.” She peeked at the old woman. She looks just like mi tía Rosa, the same stark white hair, the same small frame, the same dignity of bearing, the same edge to her voice, and, I am certain, the same caring heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Authors Comment ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like each of us thrown into a precarious situation, Naomi does not know what will happen next. Yet she forges ahead. Why? Perhaps fear, failure, and the unknown are better options than she had before. For some, the lure of the future offsets the situations they are faced with if the situation they face is of their own doing. As we read, we see that this seems to be our heroines’ frame of mind.

However, one wonders how a fifteen year old finds the fortitude to go on. Perhaps it is because leaving her family as she did, she knows she cannot go back. Perhaps it is because her wishful thinking affirms her choice.

Perhaps we will find out next week.

~~~Visit Amazon to order Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing.~~

Where Does Your Feeling of Safety Come from? By Paula Rose Michelson

From Chapter One of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing Book 1

“…believing that immigration would never let her stay in America now, Naomi closed her eyes. Only when the boat docked and the man grabbed her arm to hurry her onto the wharf did she open them.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Reflective Questions~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Have you been so frightened that you could not face the next moment?

Why were you in that situation? Were you all alone?

Was anyone there to help you?

What did you do?


They entered a building and turned down a dark corridor. The man pointed to a chair in a stark office. She nodded, entered, sat down on the hard, wooden chair, and clutched her worn, brown, leather suitcase to her chest. An official took a man into a room. Before the door shut, she heard his interview begin.

She believed hers would be next, closed her eyes, and tried to think about her answers. But all she could think of was that her bright plans of coming to America to find her uncle were for naught. She remembered leaving her family in the middle of the night without an explanation or a good-bye and tears threatened to fall. I was a fool to agree to work for no wage because Mr. Sosa promised to help me achieve my dream when we arrived. She thought of all she had left, Mr. Sosa’s promise, and admitted, He lied to me!

Her thoughts returned to Abuela Sosa’s death. She could almost hear the old woman say, as she had the day they first met, “Many get to America. But getting into America can be difficult.”

I should not be here, she told herself while she tried to still her fidgeting. My entry into America should have been easy. Everything was attended to at the American Consulate before we left Spain—my documents, my medical history … I filled each paper out with the utmost care!

She looked around the waiting room. She was the only one there. Aware of the stories of the chosen few who were allowed to enter the country, she tried to think of anything but the future she feared
and remembered reading that the original buildings had burnt to the ground and nonflammable materials had been used when they rebuilt the facility. It must have been an awful fire. Still

When she heard the door to the office open, she looked at the wall clock and realized that at least an hour had passed since she sat down. An official took the man they had interviewed away. He left the door open at another man’s request. Hoping she might hear the men she assumed would decide her fate; she leaned forward in her chair, saw them pace back and forth, and listened to their conversation.

“Too bad the grandmother died,” she heard the large man say, his voice filled with what she prayed was sympathy for her plight.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Authors' Comment~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Naomi is placed in an untenable situation for having left Spain without her parents’ permission, she cannot return! However, she knows and trusts no one. Had she read, 1 Peter 5:7, which says, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” she might have discovered that she was precious to God in a way she had never expected. If you would like to know more, follow the hyperlink.

"A Safe Haven" by Paula Rose Michelson

"Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, Book 1" 
now available at Amazon!

I'm thrilled that you can order your novel!

Before we begin “A Safe Haven,” I believe it important to mention that when one grows up feeling threatened because of who they are and what they believe, their emotional growth and ability to be congruent may become compromised. 

I know that each of us has experienced a lack of safety at some time. I remember that while playing dodge ball, the ball hit my glasses causing them to break. Whenever I had to play that game, I felt awful. Because my teacher wanted me to overcome my fear, she kept insisting if I learned how to do better I would like the game. However, I was not worried about doing better, or liking the game. I was worried about my glasses being broken!

This is a little worry when we compare it to Naomi’s concerns. Yet whether little or big, whenever we have felt endangered, each of us has found that there are only two choices: face the situation, or flee.

To prepare for Naomi’s journey, remember when you felt endangered, and ask yourself:

What did I fear?

Why did I stay, or flee?

What happened next. 


The Beginning of Chapter 1, "A Safe Haven"

Naomi knew she was in trouble the moment the immigration official had told her, he was taking her to Ellis Island. No immigrants had disembarked there since the end of World War I. Someone had told her that the authorities could remove a passenger from a ship because of a problem with their paperwork. Yet even when she sat where the man had pointed and closed her eyes, she refused to believe that her situation was as dire as it appeared.

Her mind brought her back to the moment her life had changed forever. She could still hear herself scream, “Abuela Sosa, please do not be dead,” sobbing while she had tried to shake the old woman awake. The next thing she remembered was that the old woman’s daughter-in-law had packed her meager belongings into her suitcase. Unable to stop herself, she demanded, “You have no need of me anymore? I gave you a year of my life! Your esposo—I mean, your husband—promised he would help me enter America and search for my uncle if I took care of his madre!” As she uttered the words, her sorrow had mounted, for the kindhearted old woman had treated her as if she were her very own kin. However, that was certainly not true of the daughter-in-law, who seemed unfazed by the old woman’s death as she dispassionately closed the lid to the girl’s suitcase and stared at her. Why is she in such a hurry to rid herself of me before the doctor examines Abuela Sosa and declares her dead? She remembered the secretive phone call the woman had answered worried that the family had somehow discovered that the last name she had given was not hers, felt a knot in her stomach, and knew her worst fears were going to come true.

In Gods Economy there are No Errors by Paula Rose Michelson

Many, especially those who have suffered, would love it if while living here in the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,’ they could really believe in ‘America the Beautiful.’ Yet for some reason the belief that a country or, for that matter, God could be both beautiful and worthy of their devotion, seems at best fiction, or worse. However, even though they profess no belief, they might wonder why the people who live here and abide in Messiah could still need to be brave. Though they might verbally assail us, we who believe in the sovereignty of God and the reality that in his economy there are no errors may find those who profess nothing looking at us esque or ask each other if we are nuts.

Lest you think that I state an absurdity, let us look at the end of my Historical Notes found in Casa de Naomi – The House of Blessing, which state;

“On March 31, 1992, five hundred years to the day the Edict of Expulsion was signed, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofia, his wife, stood in the main synagogue of Madrid. The king wore a yamulke—a skullcap. Chaim Herzog, the president of Israel, flanked him. What he said reveals the Spanish attitude toward the heinous acts the Jews experienced. ‘May hate and intolerance never again cause desolation and exile. Let us be capable of building a prosperous and peaceful Spain based on concord and mutual respect. What is important is not an accounting of our errors or successes, but the willingness to think about and analyze the past in terms of our future, and the willingness to work together to pursue a noble goal.’

Although the king rescinded the edict, he did not apologize for the expulsion because to do so would be unfaithful to Spanish history, which continues to view the country’s unification under Christian rule a most noble endeavor. However, history records that as of March 31, 1992, those who are Jewish may now live openly in Spain.”


If your hard drive is wired like mine, I am certain that you know that nothing quoted affirms that ‘In Gods Economy there are No Errors.’ On first glance you are right! But let us reason together, and see if we can unearth something we can learn from, or if we have missed something.

“What,” you might ask, “do you mean?”

I’m glad you asked! Especially since until now I have been the one asking and you, dear reader, have been the one thinking. Now, let us reason together and see what happens when we think about Spain’s status before, and then after the Inquisition. Did you know that Romans decline began with an inquisition? Perhaps I should amend that comment to read, during its decline, Roman instituted an inquisition. If you wonder why I am bring this up, it is because it seems to be Spain’s lot to be cast as the villain that began the inquisition, for few know that the laws that governed the Spanish Inquisition originated in Roman.

Spain’s nation-state was born out of religious factions that came together for the mutual good that a country could afford its citizens – or at least that might be what the various groups believed until the Inquisition made it apparent that the monocracy wanted the country unified under one faith—that of the Catholic church. In fact the country we refer to as Spain which is located on the Iberian Peninsula was part of the region formerly known as Hispania.

The Kingdom of Spain was created in 1492 with the unification of the Kingdom of Castile and the Kingdom of Aragon. Almost immediately the countries stability was threatened with overarching finical issues, which required a scapegoat. Since many had used the Jewish population to create a diversion before, the crown did likewise through the office of the Inquisition. While Jews that could not flee were baptized into the Catholic faith, Columbus prepared for his voyage. With this undertaking, and the New World’s assumed wealth, Spanish rule on foreign soil began ushering in the era of The Spanish Empire.

For the next three centuries Spain was the most important colonial power, the most powerful state in Europe, and the foremost global power during the 16th century and the greater part of the 17th century. Spanish literature, fine arts, scholarship and philosophy flourished during this time. And due to the countries seagoing prowess, Spain established a vast empire in the Americas, and colonies in the western Pacific. Financed in part by the riches pouring in from its colonies, Spain became embroiled in the religiously charged wars and intrigues of Europe, and at one time this country influenced or ruled most of the world’s leaders.

Did you ever wonder what happened to Spain’s power, influence, and wealth? After some reading, I believe I can give a simple but, for some, hard to believe answer. Having condemned the people God calls ‘The Apple of His Eye,’ God waited for them to set things to rights and give those Jews who fled this country, or could not leave and where killed, the recompense that was theirs or their families due. However, Spain got embroiled in nation building. After a period of growing political instability, it was plunged into a bloody civil war. Although the Spanish reminisce about bygone days, Spain never recaptured the world stage as a great power.

Why does this matter? As American’s with a legacy that moved Emma Lazarus to write, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me …” it should matter to each of us that our country not become another Spain. If you think I am wrong look at the last few lines of my Historical notes, which says:

"As you read the Casa Saga, please remember that our heroine’s story occurred while the Decree of Alhambra was still in effect. Before you begin, imagine what it would be like to grow up in a world where you were taught that who you are and what you believe might lead to your being arrested for life or killed and that what you experience could happen to your family. Those choices are the reason our heroine sets out on the journey you are about to experience. As she does, she thinks about America and silently repeats a line of Emma Lazarus’s poem, which says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me …” and remember, somewhere someone is praying and squirreling away what little they have so that they, like our forefathers, and like my heroine Naomi can come to the ‘Land of Promise’ for the Statue of Liberty still beckons them.

The Inquisition, the New World, and People of Sephardic Heritage by Paula Rose Michelson

Today we look at the reality of what man can do to their fellow man in the name of religion. This is a very important topic because hatred, human misery, and wars, were and are, waged in the name of one religious group or another. However, God never intended hatred to become a consuming issue causing daughters to lash out against mothers or family to hate family. But, when left to our own devises we can easily chose to judge others quickly lest they judge us.

If you think I am wrong, think of the new kid on your block, the one who comes to school a week after it began. Now ask yourself, “Did I look at or treat him or her differently than I would have if that person began school when I did?” How about the person who spoke with an accent, did you think of or treat that person as odd? We all do things like that, you might be saying to yourself. And your right, humans like to be around people that affirm them and their beliefs. Think of that when you read the expert posted below, and then ask yourself:

Do I think of people who differ from me as odd or inferior?

How would I feel if I were in their situation?

What would happen to me if I decided to treat people who are different from me as if they were entitled to the same rights and privileges that I am?

The Inquisition, the New World, and People of Sephardic Heritage

It is sad to realize that the place where Judaism flourished after the Jewish diaspora from Israel became an extremely hostile environment toward them for hundreds of years and horrifying to note that Hitler’s Third Reich used the pure blood laws that Spain had instituted against the Jewish people when Hitler implemented his final solution.

When we study the Inquisition and its effects, it is important to mention that the Spanish Inquisition came to the new world. The first governor of New Spain, Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva, was a converso. The office of the inquisitor brought him to trial and found him guilty of Judaizing. He died during his incarceration. The office arrested the members of his family, and they faced the reprisals mentioned above. The only member of this family to survive the Inquisition was Leonor de Caceres, a distant niece of the governor’s. She recanted her Jewish faith at fourteen, was placed within the house of the inquisitor, and when she reached marriageable age was married to a devout Catholic.

Throughout the world, many people are interested in discovering if their heritage is Jewish or, as the Spanish Jews say, Sephardim—a word derived from Sepharad, a root word found in Scripture. In the Southwestern United States, many people of Spanish and Mexican ancestry, as well as Caucasians and some Plains Indians, wonder about the artifacts they have, customs they practice, and stories they heard that suggest a Jewish heritage. Some use the name Sephardic, Ladino, Anusim, Marino, or Converso when they refer to themselves, and that leads many knowledgeable people to believe they are Jewish. Since the Jews lived in Spain for hundreds of years and married Catholic Spaniards, many believe that if you scratch a Spaniard, you will find a Jew. Others, both here and in Spain, have noticed that their last names are the names of Jewish towns razed during the Inquisition. Whether here or in Spain, whether people know they are Jewish or just suspect, the Spanish Jews have learned, over centuries of percussion, to hide who they are as a means of survival.


If you are wondering where I came upon such an unusual idea as each of treating others as we have been treated, you might have thought of the Gold Rule. Although that is a good place to start, I was not thinking of that rule, but of Scripture. In 2 Corinthians 1:2 Rabbi Sh’aul (the Apostle Paul) wrote, “Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” I believe that Paul is saying, that without God’s grace we cannot place ourselves in another person’s shoes and act, as we ought. However, with Gods gift of grace bestowed upon those that believe in is son Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ) we receive a gift that allows us to do that which the flesh reviles, and act in accordance with Gods will for our lives.

Think of it, by believing we are set free of the need to look down, and we only look up to God and His anointed, everyone else stands on a level field – none better or worse. Therefore, there is no need to rank, demean, or attack another person.

If you think, I am a lunatic or worse, check back next week.

Trials of Judaizers becomes a Snare for Catholic Spaniards by Paula Rose Michelson

Today we look at what others think, how their thoughts become actions, and how their actions can change our life. As you read the selected section from Casa de Naomi, I want you to put your name wherever the text mentions Judaizers, Moors, Muslims, and gypsies, a repentant or unrepentant convert, penitent, Jew, or New Christian. Then add to that list the words Catholic Spaniards.

By now, you are probably scratching your head and wondering if I am daft since this list puts all in harms way. That, my friend is the Spanish legacy for what began as an Edict intended to correct the financial instability that shook the country became a means of forced exile for a large portion of the population, the eradication of those who could not or would not leave, and the seizing of coveted property.

If you think this scenario could never happen here ask yourself:

Is there stratification within my family, within the groups that I have joined?

Does stratification positively or negatively affect the social norms or me?

Does someone covet what I own, my rank, or status?

Do I covet what someone else owns, their rank, or status?


During the trial of Judaizers, the church sought repentant conversions. If a person was unrepentant, the office stripped him of his rank and worldly possessions, tortured him for information, and killed him. If the person repented, the church occasionally showed mercy and allowed him to serve as a cleric. A penitent forfeited everything he owned, was incommunicado for life, and forced to wear a penitent garment, which reflected his reduced status, making him a target of ridicule. If the church deemed the penitent unsuited for service, he incurred everything listed above, was placed under house arrest, and never allowed out of the sight of someone associated with the office of the inquisitor. Jews who became Catholic during this time were called New Christians as a means of differentiating them from those who had no Jewish blood.

Since the majority of the population was illiterate and poor, they viewed this as God’s recompense for what they assumed was the Jewish belief in their superiority. It took little encouragement for those working within the office to find many who were willing to falsify their witness to curry favor with those in power. The Inquisition’s purpose was to rid the country of all dissidents, including Moors, Muslims, and gypsies. Records show that some Catholic Spaniards used it to acquire the wealth, property, and power they coveted from other Catholics who practiced Catholicism hundreds of years before the Inquisition began.

“But, this is just an example of heightened reality,” you might say. “We see or hear of things like this quite often.” You are right! Sad as it is may be many believe that their desire to feel superior through demoting others, to feel empowered by stripping others of their inalienable rights, and when all else fails to silence decent is not a new thing. However, it is a sad epitaph for a person or a society.

God inscribed within our essence a longing to reach beyond our human drives. I believe the solution for behaviors that divide are found in scripture and suggest that whenever any of us are assailed with a desire to have what we feel is ours though another owns it, we remember Luke 12: 34 where Messiah says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Financial Instability and Prejudice by Paula Rose Michelson

Today we will look at a painful truth, that being the need for humans of any religion, color, or opinion to blame or assault, the character of another person or group because their faith, thoughts, or actions differ from theirs. Many justify their actions by becoming part of a group or coalition of likeminded people. Some vent their thoughts on the Bully Pulpit. And when the stakes are high enough, we might decide to follow along rather than get involved in something that we believe does not affect us, those we love, or our country.

I believe that is what happened in Spain when the king signed The Decree of Alhambra, formed the Office of the Inquisitor, and empowered it to bring heretics to faith or irradiate them. The historical notes from Casa de Naomi are below this writing, but before you read them, I would like you to think about Spain. Then think about America today. To do that let me share that Spains’ commercial centers – Toledo and Cordoba faced with the same problems that we face. The finical system that had worked could not rectify their problem. The kings’ solution was to sign a decree that forced all Jews to leave the country thus freeing up jobs, which he believed would solve the countries financial crisis. When the church and nobles heard of this they petitioned the king because they needed the Jews to continue keeping their accounts and conduct all fiduciary functions as they had been doing since the church forbad them to do so. Out of this countries need for finical stability and the churches ban on its member’s involvement in commerce the heinous acts of the inquisitors office were born.

Today, we face a similar crossroad. How we handle our finical malaise will define us as a people and affect our children’s children and us. Ask yourself:

• What do I value?

• Why do I value what I value?

• What am I willing to risk to keep what I value?

• Do I believe that others have to give up something they value so I can feel secure?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Historical Notes~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prior to the signing of the decree, the crown moved the Jews into towns expressly set aside for them. This made it easy for the office to monitor the conversion of those Jews who had not married Catholics and subsequently converted or convinced those in high office that they believed in Christ. During that time, fervent priests were preaching against the Jews; many who feared death became Catholic and were assimilated into that faith. Others allowed themselves to be baptized and acted Catholic while practicing their Jewish faith at home. The records show that Jews who did not covert and could not, or would not, leave watched their homes and towns razed and torched before the officials killed them.

The church appointed the office of inquisitor and his assistants. Their work involved the unification of Spain under the Catholic Church. While the office hunted the hidden Jews, some Jews who followed the Laws of Moses, as they called the Old Testament, sought Jews who had fallen away from Judaism and called them back to that faith.

Historical Notes by Paula Rose Michelson

It might seem odd to some that a reflective blog would post historical notes. However, I believe that what the Sephardim experienced during the inquisition is something we all encounter, namely name-calling, or group labeling, and targeting. Many believe this practice is harmless. However, name-calling and group labeling, and targeting are abusive because it affects an individual’s life and influences how others see them. Unlike like other abuses most verbally wounded people have no one to commiserate with and never speak of what happened. This is what happened to the Spanish Jews and it most like happened, or will happen to you as well.

The portion of text for today says:

The Spanish Inquisition began with the signing of the Decree of Alhambra on March 31, 1492, which was in effect for five hundred years. That decree instituted pureblood laws, which forced the Jews to leave Spain before midnight of the above date, become a Catholic converso (which was the title the church gave them, meaning convert) or Anusim (the forced ones, as they called themselves), or die.

Here we see that the church (a group of people) named another group of people, thus defining and threatening them. Historically this has happened to many groups. Kings and rulers, countries and people of different faiths have done this to stigmatize those they want nothing to do with, those they envy, and those they fear. The key words that drive this situation are envy and fear. So let me ask you:

• Has envy or fear caused people to treat you differently?

• Have you treated others poorly because you envy or fear them?

• How did you feel when others treated you differently?

• How did others react when you treated them differently?

• What types of people want to be your friend?

• What type of people do you wish would befriend you?

• What behavior will attract people to you?

Since you might wonder why your answers to these questions matter please read “Watch Your Thoughts, They Become Words” by Frank Outlaw, which I have posted below.

Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become actions.

Watch your actions, they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become your character.

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

Reflection: Since these simple statements might be ones you have never read before, take a moment to reflect on, or write down your thoughts.


By now, I hope you have realized that what was done to the Spanish Jews is no different from what some do to others. That is a good first step. However, another must follow if we are to clean our internal house and keep it that way. To learn the importance of keeping your commitment to choose to be a person that does not prey upon others, please read Matthew 12:43-45. “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation,” is critical to us if we want to facilitate life change.

By now this might be beginning to sound like alot of work. You might be asking yourself, “Why would I want to change?”

The answer is easy if you believe that ‘as you do unto others it will be done to you.’ To illustrate what I mean I have posted another portion of Scripture from the book of Mathew, which many refer to as the Beatitudes. As you read, you will discover a way of living, acting, and reacting that you may not know about. My challenge to you is to conceder that you create your world through your thoughts, which drive your behavior. If you want to create a better world, allow Gods word to dwell within you, and watch a miracle unfold.

Matthew 5: 1-11 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Becoming an Overcomer by Paula Rose Michelson

During the last two weeks, I have had the privilege of sharing the faith journeys of two unique and courageous women. Today’s posting is the last of the trilogy of Sephardic Voices that appear in the first volume of Casa de Naomi. As you read Janice’s story I am certain that your heart will be as stirred as mine was when she told me her story. It is one thing to discover through a confidence shared and another to find out through traveling with family that you are not as you seem. However, to discover the truth after everyone who could affirm it had died, made this gut wrenchingly poignant last entry a hard one for me to write. I hope that you listen with your heart instead of your ears. For the story Janice shares, and the pain and joy she experienced in finding out her families truth might be yours unless you learn that secrets kept secret, are obstacles that hinder us until they are overcome, and each of us can be an overcomer!

Before you read Janice’s story ask yourself:
• Do I need to do what everyone else does?
• Will I be better or worse off if I check things out for myself?
• Does fear come before or after change?
• Is it the fear of change that keeps me stuck?
• Must I continue to carry the secret burdens of others?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Janice’s Voice~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was a stirring in my heart to follow my mother’s influence and learn about the Jewish people. I remember my fourth grade class in parochial school, where Sister Demetrius instilled within us the fact that the Jews did not kill Christ, but it was our sins that put him on the cross. Between my schooling and Mom’s love for the Jewish heritage, there was birthed within me a tenderness toward the Jewish people. As I reached what some would call middle age, this stirring intensified until I needed to know more. For years, I told people that I was Basque. However, I never went to the town whose name I bore. Then I met a woman whose son was a missionary in Spain. I asked him if he could take me to Ulibarri and he agreed. In 2008, I made the trip to Spain. We traveled throughout the Navarra region until I finally stepped onto the soil that had been home to my family centuries before. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was a strong Jewish presence in that region. Could my mother have been trying to tell me something all those years ago? I will never know for sure. However, my journey of the heart allowed me to look at my heritage and history with new eyes. When I returned home, I told my children, “We have a Jewish heritage.” They rolled their eyes. Months later, my son called and said, “I was waiting for the metro and was approached by a scholarly man who looked at my badge, which identifies me by my last name. He read ‘Mireles’ and asked me if I knew about my name and my heritage. I was able to give him the information you had shared with us. I was stunned when he gave me additional information, which proved to me that what you had said was correct! I called you, and I told my brothers and sisters that what you had said was true.”

Janice Mireles-Ulibarri has been involved in Messianic Worship since 1994. She served as a volunteer in the Israeli arm in 1999.

In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Another Sephardic Voice – by Paula Rose Michelson

This week I have posted my interview with Betty who, at age twenty, saw and heard things while traveling with her parents, but did not understand or question anything until later in her life.

Before you read her interview, I want to mention that it is thought, and I believe, that there are no secrets in family’s just things we have not shared with each other. However, we somehow seem to know or sense many things though they remain unspoken. This is easy to understand because each of us wants to be accepted and it is a normal fear that our secrets, those hidden things that make us different, are unacceptable or even worse shameful.

Those in recovery call this bundle of guilt, ‘The Invisible Elephant in the Living Room.’ Everyone is aware of and has to walk around this problem or pretend it does not exist. Once we do that for one person it becomes easier to do it for the next person, and so it continues perpetuating the myth that our family is perfect. 'Perfect' is a very hard place to live in and a harder place to keep that way when reality threatens to intrude. I hope that being aware of this trap will help each of us realize that everyone, whether they admit it or not, has fallen victim to 'Perfect' or as it is most often labeled 'The Elephant Syndrome.’ And I hope that finding out about this common madly will make you chuckle as I did when I realized that this experience and the feelings of shame it arouses is part of the human condition.

Before you read Betty’s brief testimony, ask yourself:

• Why am I hiding all that I am or know?
• Do the members of my family know what I know?
• If they do, what would happen to them and me if I revealed the ‘Elephant?’

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Betty’s Voice~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was in my early twenties, my parents took me on a trip to visit relatives in Saltillo, Mexico, where my grandfather Miguel Narro was born and raised. They were rich and very Catholic. They had disowned my grandfather when he accepted Yeshua as his Savior and became a Protestant pastor. Many years later, my great-aunt Rosario (Rosary) confided to my mother that there had been two rabbis in the Narro family. After that, my mother wore a Star of David that she had bought. She told my son John David that we were Jewish. My grandfather refused to eat pork, but we never knew why. No one ever talked about our Jewish heritage. However, now I know that some believed we were Jewish and other family members denied it. My father, David Alcala, most likely had Jewish ancestry also since Alcala is a Sephardic Jewish name. My great-grandfather Ambrosio Alcala was born in Alcala de Henares, a city in Spain that had an imposing Jewish presence and two synagogues.

Elizabeth Alcala-Narro Bennett is a Sephardic Jew whose children bring the gospel to those in Spain. She worships at a Messianic congregation.

John 8:31-32 is a very important verse to me because it says, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The meaning is clear, truth, no hiding- but admitting the truth sets us free. Free to receive forgiveness, healing, absolution or most importantly for my heroine Naomi, the ability to own who she is in the full light of day. If your journey mirrors hers, continue to sojourn with us for each of us has had to learn to trust, release, release, and trust.

A Sephardic Voice – by Paula Rose Michelson

If you have read chapter one of Casa de Naomi, which is posted at, you know that my heroine has a secret. Before you get into the body of this post, please remember that everyone has secrets – some keep us safe, others keep us hidden. Now with complete candor knowing that no one is looking over your shoulder or able to hear your thoughts, ask yourself:

• Do I, a friend, or some one in my family have a secret?
• Is that secret one that holds me or that person back?
• What would happen if I, or they shared that secret?
• What would happen if I, or they remained silent?


For the past several years, I have been working on the novels that comprise The House of Blessing Casa Saga. I found most Sephardic Jews reticent to speak or write about their families experience during the Inquisition because until twenty years ago, the Decree of Expulsion was still in effect. They feared revealing themselves for they were taught that to do so in a country of only one faith—that of the Catholic Church could place them in peril.

After much research and discussions with a few Spanish Jews, as well as dialogues with those who teach history and literature, I discovered that only a few knew of and understood these people’s lives, religious practices, and personal histories. This disconnection occurred due to the ongoing pressure within Sephardic families to remain hidden within a culture that has been hostile to their existence. This started with the signing of the Decree of Alhambra, which began the Spanish and, later, the Mexican Inquisitions. This decree was in effect until March 31, 1992. Because of this, it is only now that a few brave people are willing to step forward and share their stories.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Corrine's Voice~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was born in 1929 and raised in downtown Los Angeles. My religious training was in the Catholic Church, as all in our family had done for years. In 1984, my son David, who had research our history told me that we are Jewish. I paid no attention to him.

In 1974, I found myself drawn to Jewish things. When my grandmother died, my mother showed me her baptismal certificate. I noticed that her godmother’s last name was Gold. I asked my mother about that, as Gold is a very unusual last name for a Spanish person to have because godparents are usually family members. She told me that her cousin had told her when she was a child that they were Jews but not to tell anyone. It was then I remembered my grandfather singing in a strange language out by the chicken coops, and my mother saying, “He sings like a cantor!”

The realization that we were not what we seemed to be created within me a hunger to know more. Since then I have invested my time and energy to learn all I can about my Jewish roots. That investigation has made me aware of the charges the Inquisitor made against my family, revealed the possibility that they may have come over with Columbus, and the knowledge that they settled in what is now the southwestern United States.

Today, through much work on behalf of my family, I have acquired the documents to prove what I am saying. Were it not for the Decree of Alhambra and the Spanish Inquisition, we would still be in Spain, but due to that decree and its effects upon my family and the Jews still hiding, I am willing to state that what man meant for evil, God used for good! For in Messiah Yeshua, I have found my Jewish Messiah and have been able to own who I am as both a Jew and a believer in my Kinsman Redeemer.

At seventy-four, Corrine Ehrick began to worship as a Sephardic Messianic believer.

Tomorrow - Sephardic Voices

Don’t miss tomorrows posting where Corrine shares a secret that set her free to be who God created her to be.

Praise for Casa de Naomi Reflections Interactive Blog - by Paula Rose Michelson

Since the blog’s opening two and a half weeks ago, three people have praised it! As you read their comments, I hope you will realize how unique this blog is and that its success depends upon your participation in its discourse. After you read the postings, please read my “Meet the Author” post, and tell me something about yourself. I will post your comments on Wednesday, so that everyone involved in this blog will get to know each other as friends do.

This week a viewer wrote, “Glad I stumbled upon this blog cause I've never seen anything like it before. Hope I’m able to catch the next one.”

Last week the blog received two noteworthy comments:
• “This touched my heart.”
• “Lovely blog. I’ll visit it again.”

Meet the Author of the Casa Saga - by Paula Rose

As promised, the next two weeks we are going to get to know each other. Today, I have posted "Meet the Author." Next week I hope to post something about you. But I cannot do that unless you email me and I am praying that you will. So, without further adieu, I present...promise not to laugh, I present, myself.


Whether I was perusing the book selection of the drugstore or walking down the isles at a bookstore, my quest was always the same. I wanted to select a novel about people I might want to met, written by a person I might want to know. That was important to me because as I read the books I selected some of the characters became my friends. These characters internal landscape influenced mine. I learned many important things without having to live the lesson because the characters did that for me.

I believe that may be true for you as well so I have written this piece. You will notice a degree of levity, which I seldom use in my writing, so let me being by saying, “I am not pulling any punches. What I have written is true and because of that, the miracle of God calling me to write is truly miraculous indeed!"

~~~~~"From “Why Johnny Can’t Read,” to See Paula Write”~~~~~

When I was a new believer I read Ezekiel 11:19. "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh." Little did I know back then all that this verse would mean to me, or how many times God would challenge me beyond what I felt was my breaking point by this Scripture. However, coming to Messiah (Christ) at forty, I had much to learn, and God put me into, and took me out of situations, and relationships to mold me into this. What you might wonder, is the “this,” that I have become? Well, I’ll tell you, it certainly isn’t the “this” that everyone thought I would be. For as far back as my family and I can remember there was never anyone quite like the “me” I became in Christ, for the beloved transformed me!

But, let me tell you who I was, so you’ll be able to track with me. Ah, that’s easier said than done, to paraphrase a tune that was popular when I was younger, leaner, and couldn’t learn. Yep! That’s right. The book on my mother’s bedside table was titled “Why Johnny Can’t Read." I didn’t know that cause I couldn’t…read, that is. In fact, I only discovered the name of the book once I could, you know… read. By now, you’re probably wondering how a kid born into a family of an up and coming Aerospace Engineer who built the fuel cell that got us into space couldn’t read. My parents and the school wondered about that too, but in the fifties, everyone relied on the doctors who visited the school to give them a heads up if there was a problem with any of us kids. Every time I saw the doc, I got a clean bill of health, eye exam and all, which leads me to believe that the guy needed to have his eyes examined!

Now here comes the hyperbole, which if our parents were speaking would be an, “extravagant exaggeration.” If you think I’m kidding, look it up! I did cause as much as I knew that it was the word I wanted to use, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure how to spell it and I wanted to make sure it was the right word! See what taking a short cut through the first four years of elementary school will get you…a major need for dictionaries, spellchecking, and the like! However, I digress. Now, if you’re like I was, almost the most nearsighted person ever born, with very little peripheral vision, there’s only one thing that can make your learning experience a worse catastrophe than the cards you were dealt. That’s being born with a last name that begins with a letter which will absolutely put you in the chair furthest away from the blackboard, and as surly as I’m tellin this tail, that’s just what happened to yours truly! That’s why I call this ditty, “From Why Johnny Can’t Read to See Paula Write.” Speaking of little ditty’s, if you’re interested in what I mean, look at the refrain from Roger Miller’s song “Little Green Apples” which goes, ‘God didn’t make little green apples and it don’t rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.’ Now that’s poetic license if you ask me, and silly to the core! Yet when I look back on the one summer I had to learn everything all my classmates had learned in four years, what’s a little silly between friends?

I’ll tell you what it is, it’s the ability to laugh at our troubles that we hopefully learn to do before we meet the Lord. Because when were facing bad stuff without him, we’d better know how to laugh or we’ll cry ourselves a river. Though if the truth were told, and that’s what I’m sharing with you, I just learned to be silly this year! You’re probably wondering why it took me so long. Well, I’ll tell you since you seem interested. First, I had to learn how to learn, and then I had to accept myself with all my fears, foibles, and failures. By the time I did all that, I was nineteen and ready to get married, so I found a great guy who loved me back, and we walked down the isle, into wedded bliss and baby diapers galore cause back in the day, pampers didn’t exist. Fact is, back then some of us didn’t even have a clothes dryer. Living close to the ocean in the winter meant hanging the didies, as in diapers’ all over the house. Between babies, bottles, didies, and “The Hubb’s,” life went on happily well into my thirties when I intentionally took myself to college. Now I must confess that I had graduated Beauty College, gotten my Cosmetology License, and gone to work so my guy could finish college. And I must have been a pretty good student, cause I was offered an open-ended scholarship to return and study to become an instructor. Honestly, with my learning curve would you have signed up for that? Course not and neither did I!

However, a strange thing happened on my way to maturity, I discovered I would do whatever I could to make certain my kids had a great start. Anything, including the best preschool I could afford. I didn’t want my kids to end up being taken by the scruff of the neck, by the teacher, and led to the one remaining chair as I was, while she whispered in a voice loud enough to wake the dead, “I’m sitting you next to the smart girl. If you need any help, ask her.” What a confidence builder that was! And, I must add, it was a great way to begin the school year cause everyone knows the really cool kids want to hang out with “the class dummy.” So, given my druthers, I’d have rather run away from “The Hubb’s” who was, and still is the love of my life, than send my kids to school unprepared! Well, boy howdy! Guess where the best preschool was? Give up? Well, I’ll confess! It was part of the local JC, as in Junior College, which we have here in California and funny thing, they had room for my sweetie pie! But I had to be enrolled in the College to get her in. So, I kid you not, I’m sittin here today with a four point 0 average, which in my day was the highest GPA you could have, all because of sweetie pie, who is now thirty plus, and has preschoolers of her own.

All of this my friend, brings me to writing, or as we authors used to say, penning my prose. Wow! I only had to try three alternate spellings to get spell-check to figure out what I meant! This is a red-letter moment…time to ring the bell! It may sound a bit trite, but I think it’s a hoot that a gal who graduated third in her JC class, and went on to teach lots of stuff to some smart people is still humbled by the first thing that happened which, taught her, I’m nothing special unless I’m doing something for someone, or answering a higher call. I’ve been doing that all my like, but in a more focused was since March 2007, when God called me to write about the progeny of a small, and relatively unknown group of Jews called Sephardim that were trapped by the Inquisition, forced into Catholicism to survive, but continued to practice their faith at home.
Before I go any further, remember my saying that I only got funny this year. Well I can prove it! Yep! Way back, way before College, both Beauty, and the JC, people saw me as bookish, and they were right! When you can’t read, and finally can, the light goes on! You know what I mean? It’s like trying to figure out the Scriptures without the Holy Spirit, and then getting every nuance once you receive that Divine gift. Boy oh boy, as a Jew, I sure remember when the light went on and I came to know a lot about Messiah! I still remember a lot about not understanding the Scripture before then. However, that’s a topic for another day.

So being obviously bookish, as in there was always one in my hand, or I was telling someone about something I read. And being married to “The Hubb’s” who had gone to College to become a English teacher, and took classes like Zoology for the fun of it, it took people about two minutes to size me up, and say, “You should be a librarian.” Funny, I finally spelled that word right after all these years, but don’t get to excited, I spelled right, wrong. However, the system corrected it! Nice computer…what would I do without you?

Now, back to the library, if there was one thing I did under-sort-of-stand, it was the Dewey Decimal System. Do any of you out there in reader-land remember that? Well, they put numbers, the name of the book, and the authors’ name, on index cards, but backwards as in ‘all literary people know that library filling systems are backwards.’ I kid you not! The numbers where the first thing you saw when you opened the drawer where the cards were filed. Now if you remember my saying, “I don’t do math on the fly,” oh you don’t remember me saying that until now? My Ops! But…let’s continue, what do you think I did? You’re right! I knew I couldn’t begin to figure out that secret, and even if I did, I didn’t know where to look for the book, so I asked the librarian, after all that’s what she was there for. However, given my age, if you’re in the library, and ask the librarian for help it’s probably not the same one I asked. By the way, if you think asking or looking things up isn’t using the old gray-matter to its best, Einstein, as in Albert, said when he was asked how he came up with all his theories, “I never memorize anything that I can look up.” Yessiree bob, as in Bob’s Big Boy, Einstein, and me, we be buds!

But I digress! I had this desire which, if the truth were known, as in I’m telling it to you now, had been fanned for over ten years by a sweet sister in the Lord. I had gifted her one of my framed poems as a wedding present and once she read it she kept asking me, “Are you writing?” Ten years of that sort of gets a girl thinking. So having nothing better to do once my workday was over but to wait for “The Hubbs” to get back from work at ten, and there being nothing on the boob-tube to watch, but repeats, and inane reality shows, smattered with hour long promos for everything I never needed, I sat down at the computer for forty days, and wrote. Oops I forgot, first I said a prayer, asked for prayer, and discovered some of my friends were Sephardic, go figure! See, God was in this all the time! They gave me some literature, I did a ton and a half of research, and then I started to write.

Now if you remember in Genesis 8: 6-7 the Scripture says, "...after forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth." Well, interestingly enough, I was sending my daily draft to this friend, and after forty days, she emailed me back. “You’ve begun to write a book!” I though she was “pullin my preverbal leg,” cause all I was doing was writing a character sketch for the book I thought I was going to write. I had it sort of all fleshed out in my thinker. It was going to be about three women who meet while hiking the Appalachian Trail, and how the believing one shares her faith with them as they walk along. I had no, absolutely no plans, to write a book about this Sephardic girl named Naomi! I was writing sketches about her as a means of getting to know her before I began to write the story. This reminds me of that old maxim, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.” Remember that one? If you did, you have a better thinker than I had, cause it never occurred to me that my friend was right! However, once I went back, and read what I’d written, I discovered that Isaiah 55:8 seemed to be written just for me! It says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. So here I was, fully commissioned to a calling I felt ill prepared to fulfill, as in call the other gal…please! Nevertheless, being a Messianic Jew, which means rather stiff-necked, but interested, I began to write and, the oddest thing happened, the characters began to speak to me, and tell me their stories. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Bring in the net! This one’s ready for the loony bin!” But I was, and am as sane as you are. Know why I know? Cause having graduated with honors, I went back to school, yes sir! JC you had me at hello! This time I studied to become of all things, a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Counselor. Which is just a fancy- smanchy way of saying, I found another way to read interesting stuff, meet some really smart people, and help out those that needed a carrying person to listen to them, and hold them accountable, kind of like we do when we’re discipling, and teaching others about Gods Word, and our Christian walk.
So, when the characters began to talk, I listened. After all, that’s what a counselor does, listen, which if you ask my friends they’ll tell you is something I have trouble doing. However, if your anointed and appointed, whether its to listen to someone strung out on drugs, or to the blessing of hearing what I, to this day, believe was a God breathed revelation of what I was to write, its amazing how quiet you become. Why? I’ll tell you why, cause when you’re called, I believe God has already fashioned you to answer the calling. In fact, if we look at good old Moe…Moses to you, we know this for a fact. You don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look. First, when the dude finally owns his roots, he tries to stop a fight and ends up having to hotfoot it out of Egypt in a hurry…which if we know and trust in God, we won’t do! Now the second way is Gods way! Here we see God calling, and appointing Moses, and when God sends him back, good old Moe is equipped, and accomplishes Gods’ purpose.

That’s the way it is with me, and you! "Me?" you ask? Of course you! Why do you think I’m writing this piece? It isn’t cause I have nothing better to do! I still have the last novel of the six to write. You heard me right, six novels in the Casa Saga. Five down and one more to go in this series. Then it’s on to the next assignment, another series, and another blessing yet to be revealed! So ya see, I have plenty to do. I’m writing this for you so that you’ll know that whatever God has called you to do, if you receive his commission wholeheartedly, and move forward trusting he will meet you at the burning bush, or anywhere else you need him! One day you’ll be telling others how God took you, and used you in a way you were never prepared to be used. You’ll be singing his praises, and it won’t matter if anyone asks why you enjoy being a servant of the Servant King, the one who will return to reign in glory. For all the reward people like you, and me will ever need is serving him, as he called us to, even if it means doing the one thing we know we can’t do. After all, we know that everything here will fade away, so why not answer Gods call, and store up in glory what matters for eternity! Ezekiel was right after all, when God puts a “New Spirit” in you, what else can you do but respond joyfully to his!

Never Forget by Paula Rose michelson

For many, ten years ago on this day, the world changed. For some, the world ended. For all who lived in America, it was a wakeup call that we will never forget, nor should we. To forget means that life has no value. To forget means it can happen again. To forget might mean it could happen to you or someone you love. Never forget, always be ready! Never allow the memory of those peaceful lingering summer, winter, spring, and fall days since we fought the last World War to dim. For if we do, we will reap what we haven’t sown, a world of anarchy and terror where who we are and what we believe will make us a target for others agendas.

Reflections – Through a Glass Darkly by Paula Rose Michelson

We have begun a great journey together you and me! Along the way, we might learn from each other and in that learning become aware of a greater landscape than the one we know. During that time, we may reflect and wonder why some make the choices they do. Whether we reflect on something, we or someone else has done or not done, personal reflection moves us from darkness to light. From where we are to where we are going. Since all of us are on a journey, sharing our experiences can enrich the lives of those who pay attention and maybe help some stay the course they have chosen.


When I opened Casa de Naomi Reflections, I invited everyone I knew on Face Book, and Twitter to visit and join. Therefore, I was surprised that none of my friends had sent me any comments. Taking matters into my own hands, I emailed some of my mishpukah (extended family) asking for their assistance. One lady told me the questions I had posted were to superficial. Another felt that answering the quires would be to revealing. Yet four stalwart friends responded. Their cherished answers appear below.

Before you read them, I believe I owe you an apology for I assumed that those following this blog knew each other and me. However, after reviewing each person following this blog, I discovered that only three of you know me. When I realized that I had not created a Safe Haven in which we could share, I decided that next week I will tell you something about me and I hope that you will let everyone get to know you the following week by sharing something about you as well. Also, just to finish the tidying up – as it were, since I now write two blogs, I will be posting to my Casa de Naomi Reflections Blog on Wednesdays.


Before you read the responses, I need to mention that they are grouped by question rather than respondent and since some seemed to be concerned with keeping private things private, I will share the initials of everyone who sent a response before you read their comments, thus preserving anonymity for all.


I want to thank T.C., A.O., K.F., and N.U. for their thoughtful comments. Since this is an interactive blog, I invite you to send me your thoughts, which I will post, after you have perused this article.

Text: Naomi knew she was in trouble the moment the immigration official had told her, he was taking her to Ellis Island.

Question: When have you been in trouble?


• I can get into trouble by just opening my mouth at the wrong time.

• I have gotten in trouble at work, at school, in social or religious settings.

Question: Did you create the problem or was it foisted upon you?


• Most of the time I get myself into messes, but sometimes I did follow the wrong crowd.

• Sometimes I helped create the problem without realizing it because I did not understand the personality conflicts or the situation (I did not have all the data). Sometimes they were foisted upon me; this is why I do not believe the Human Race is truly “good” but in need of the Messiach (Christ) because I have learned about the hearts of people and my own.

Question: Did someone help you?


• Yes, the Lord has always sent me the wisdom to know whom I should trust, and given me the ability to trust them. I was blessed to have a faith that would give me wisdom to also stay out of trouble, but growing up I always had to test the waters.

• Most of the time no one helped me, except for the one rare occasion when I was homeless and my “second mother” helped me.

Question: If you received help, did the person expect something in return?


• Upon occasion the help offered from others had a price or expectation, but not from my “second mother.” She told me to “pay it forward” so to speak.

• No, I only had to get back on the path and do my best to stay on the path. I would also try to help others by sharing my experiences and maybe helping someone to stay out of trouble.

Text: She remembered leaving her family in the middle of the night without an explanation or a good-bye and tears threatened to fall.

Question: Have you ever left family or friends without telling them why?


• Yes, they did not care where I was or what I was doing, even when a car hit me.

• I ran away from home, which lasted only a few hours because as a mother I had too many responsibilities, and believed that no one would make a meal or tuck my kids in at night.

Question: Have you ever felt trapped?


• Many, many, many, times.

• Don’t all children feel trapped at times?

Question: Did you find yourself wishing for the problem to disappear?


• You betcha!

• Prayed that the problem would disappear, or I would.

Question: Were you able to handle the situation as it unfolded?


• Sometimes: I had to learn how to survive, sometimes that was not a job done well. I have learned a lot in adversity.

• It is hard to handle a situation when blame for anything bad is laid at your feet.

Text: Naomi gasped. Maybe God is watching out for me after all!

Question: When troubles come your way, do you engage in wishful thinking?


• All the time, but I soon realized there was no hope and no change (in the past).

• Sometimes wishful thinking helps me let go and allow God to take His rightful position in my life. Unless I can acknowledge what my heart wishes for I cannot lay those wishes at the throne of grace.

Question: Do you believe that behavior is neither good nor bad?


• Nope, behavior matters, it must be as per scripture.

• I never have considered behavior as good or bad. This is a very intriguing question. I will have to consider and get back with you.

Question: If you had to face a horrid situation, would someone help you?


I have been in situations where I have had help and other times when I have not had any help. What these situations have done for me is to realize that help comes from many directions. God always provides a refuge and even if family or friends are not there for me He always brings someone to my side. Just this year I was blessed with a friend I only knew as an acquaintance came to my side when family turned away from me. Our God is faithful if we lay down at His throne of grace and mercy.

Question: Do you believe that consequences are just or random?


• I believe they are just, although they may appear random.

• I cannot believe this and believe that God holds my future. Either I believe God or my feelings or I choose to believe in a faithful God.

Question: Are you safe because someone makes you feel or says you are safe?


• Both.

• Neither because it comes down to me, I have to chose to believe in something outside myself.

Question: What might you have to give up or become to feel safe?


• I need to have more faith in the 'Audience of One.'

• At one time I gave up everything to feel safe. Now I’m reclaiming my life.

Question: When you are in danger, can you make yourself believe you are safe?


• I try to remember to pray, and then make a decision. Hopefully, it’s a safe one, it depends. I have betrayed others twice by making myself safe, an act of omission.

• Danger for me means I’ve lost control so no I can’t make myself feel anything at the time cause my energy is feeding the problem.

Question: Is life more important than the way you live it?


• Life is a roller coaster ride. My life is only important if it is fulfilling the plans He has for me. This is of the utmost importance. I do not know if I would give my life for someone else or for His witness yet. Someday I may know if I can or, like Peter, flee. Right now, I do not know.

• The way I live is my life so the question is backwards. If my life didn’t matter then I wouldn’t be here. It’s that simple and that complicated!

Summary Question: When Tía helped Naomi enter America illegally, was she thinking of herself or the girl?


• Seldom does anyone do anything for someone else’s good without there being strings attached.

• I believe that whenever we do anything, we have our own personal motives. Even when we help others, it can be for personal benefit. I do not believe that Tia was helping Naomi to benefit herself only. Somehow, it seems to me like a calling she has. Whether or not she is going about it in the right way could be something to think about. I think Tia is a unique person, with a unique calling; it will take awhile to truly understand her and see her calling come to fruition!

Tomorrow Your Responses

I had thought to post responses to the blog today. Although several followers sent their comments to me, I have to wait until tomorrow to post them because one follower sent comments but they were unreadable. When I notified her, she told me that she was away from her office and would resend tomorrow.

I find this waiting very tantalizing. Especially since I have not read anything that, I received. Like you, dear friend, I await tomorrow with baited breath.

Welcome to Casa de Naomi Reflections

Thank you for meeting Naomi and me here. Pull up a chair and stay a while. While you are getting comfortable let me share that this Interactive Reflections Blog is for YOU!

Though one can garner blessings from visiting this blog without reading Casa de Naomi there are benefits to reading the text as we move through Naomi’s story so I have posted Chapter One – A Safe Haven on my websites home page. If you would like to read the first chapter, please scroll down to my website link posted in the right hand column, hit the icon, and read A Safe Haven. Since I will be sighting sentences from the novel with each posting, you might want to read the chapters as we work through them. Although Casa de Naomi is not available on the .com booksellers yet, you can order the novel from my website and I will send it to you as soon as I have the book.

When we consider why we might follow or join anything, each of us reviews our needs and the benefits accrued through participation. If you chose to form or become involved in a Casa de Naomi Registered Book Club, your group can use the material to further discussion. However, whether you participate in a group or not, you can experience the fullness of this and the other novels that follow by visiting this blog weekly, then reflecting on or writing down your insights.

I will post material every other week, and I am inviting you, dear friend, to email me through this blog, my website, Tweet PaulaWordsmith on Twitter, or email Paula Michelson though FaceBook with your thoughts, observations, and anything else you would like to share. I will post your comments and the feedback I receive every other week so that each of you can have a voice thereby making this an interactive, yet personal experience. Should you like your comments to remain anonymous, please let me know each time you correspond.

Before we begin, let me share that I look forward to getting to know each one of you and look forward to discovering what this blog will become since it is our interaction that will define and move this blog forward. Therefore, I feel that I can state with candor, that we are in this thing together and together, I believe we will create something lovely that each of us will value and share with others.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chapter One - A Safe Haven~~~~~~~~~~~

Safety is a fundamental need. Without it, nothing thrives. Since safety is the key issue in chapter one, that is where we begin our sojourn with Naomi. For while you read this Saga and participate in this blog you are choosing to experience Naomi’s life, issues, and her desire as the subtitle ‘The House of Blessing’ indicates, become a blessing and be blessed. My prayer for you is that all you experience here blesses you and prepares you to become a blessing when the time is at hand.

Text: Naomi knew she was in trouble the moment the immigration official had told her, he was taking her to Ellis Island.

• When have you been in trouble?

• Did you create the problem or was it foisted upon you?

• Did someone help you?

• If you received help, did the person expect something in return?

Text: She remembered leaving her family in the middle of the night without an explanation or a good-bye and tears threatened to fall.

• Have you ever left family or friends without telling them why?

• Have you ever felt trapped?

• Did you find yourself wishing for the problem to disappear?

• Were you able to handle the situation as it unfolded?

Text: Naomi gasped. Maybe God is watching out for me after all!

• When troubles come your way, do you engage in wishful thinking?

• Do you believe that behavior is neither good nor bad?

• If you had to face a horrid situation, would someone help you?

• Do you believe that consequences are just or random?

Text: “I used the handcuffs, just as you told me to. Do not worry. She is safe.”

• Are you safe because someone makes you feel or says you are safe?

• What might you have to give up or become to feel safe?

• When you are in danger, can you make yourself believe you are safe?

• Is life more important than the way you live it?

Scripture: Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge (safety); his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Did You Know that when Messiah wept over Jerusalem and said he wanted to cover the inhabitants with his wings, he was referring to his the Tzitzit (fringe)on his Tallit(prayer shawl) referred to as wings within the scriptures. Numbers 15:38-40, says, They shall make themselves tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and they shall place on the tzitzit of each corner a thread of techeilet. And it shall be tzitzit for you, and you will see it, and you will remember all the mitzvot (blessings) of the Lord and do them and not follow your heart or your eyes and run after them.

Summary Question: When Tía helped Naomi enter America illegally, was she thinking of herself or the girl?

Thank you for dropping by. Please send me your comments so I can include them in my next blog, and if this weeks posting has proven to be of interest or beneficial, please invite your friends to drop by.