Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook December 29, 2010

Outside my window... its a dreary morning that is belying its age.  It seems earlier than it is.  A bit of snow lingers in the shadows, but I expect it to disappear quickly when the rain comes later today.
I am thinking... no wait.  I'm not.  Tabula rasa this morning, LOL.  Need coffee.
I am thankful for... a nice warm house! 
From the learning rooms... crickets...  Taking a break right now and its been highly beneficial.  I sorta wish we'd taken off the week of Hanukkah instead of this week, but the Papa is off from his classes right now, so we've had some nice family time.
From the kitchen... GOOT (thank you Jacque Dixon!) - a homeopathic recipe to cure what ails you.  It seems to be helping the sniffles pretty well around here.
I am wearing... lots of layers to keep from shivering.
I am creating... tallit bags (for the prayer shawls) for two of my favorite Godly men.  For having no pattern or instructions, I guess they came out pretty well!
I am going.... to have to get out to the store today.  I usually prefer procrastinating on that one.
I am currently reading... lesson preparations for my first go at teaching Shabbat school.  Need to do more on this!  This is so much deeper than the old bible stories that I taught back in the day.  Types and shadows, prophecies, and wide age range of children.  This should be good!
I am take life just as it comes, and quit worrying about who's going to be mad. That's a hard one.
I am hearing....the EdenPure heater and my girls "coloring" on older DD's new cellphone app.
On my mind... guilt, sort of.  That's not the right word, but I am not sure what is. Frustration maybe?  Conviction? Celebrated more of Christmas than I wanted to, and considering ways to weed more out for next year.  Its a balance and a weaning/detox process.  For us and for our families.  We don't want to offend.  We still love our Lord, and honor his birth.  But I want to honor Him in the ways he has set up so that we can worship in spirit AND truth.
There's a great video that the above mentioned Jacque posted this week that really reflected my heart on this.  I'd love it if you could take a few minutes to watch this.  You can also watch on YouTube.  Its a nine-parter there, but might allow your computer to handle the files better.
My heart is just to share this message from G-d and welcome his people back to his ways.  Let's feast together!
Noticing that... my toddler is getting exponentially smarter and figuring things out way more quickly than I anticipated.  Isn't that their usual mode of operation though?
Around the house... we are trying to assimilate gifts into the household.  We received some really nice toys for the kids - things that are making their brains work.  We were very blessed!  Thank you to all the gift givers!
One of my favorite things... sleepy faced children.  They are starting to emerge.
A few plans for the rest of the week... birthday celebrations for #2 DS.  Sell some Girl Scout cookies. New Years party, and we can't wait to get back to our congregational family for Shabbat.
A picture to share...  the Band. :) Markers and scribble pads open an infinity of creativity, no?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Back on the Proverbial Horse

Well, after getting knocked off my blogging gumption, I have been struggling to ride again.
Here's where I'm at right now.  Its the middle of the night, but technically Christmas Eve.  I am exhausted.  I have had a houseful of giddy children all day, baking, packing, wrapping.  Trying to get the kids involved and making multiple trips to re-involve them, at least in their own packing.
All the trappings that I want to avoid and feel like I can't.  Baking to save money over the pre-made stuff.  Packing to go visit family that I miss.  Wrapping to oblige the gift exchange, but also to show my love for my family members.  I miss them.  I love them.  I can't wait to see them.
It occured to me that I don't have to do this.  We could do what other families do and head to the beach.  Maybe one year we will.  I always feel like this is the only time of year the family gets together.
But its not.  They get together other times too.  And we could go see them then.
I want to share - so much - the biblical holidays with our family.  There is so much richness and so much depth and holiness and righteousness.  Nothing could be more wholesome than that which our Father has set up for us.
Our families are all believers, but I fear that some might be complacent.  Hopefully not.  I hope they will not be lukewarm.  I believe there is potential for better, deeper and more rich relationships with our Creator.
And so in the middle of the last load of laundry, with a sink full of dishes still to be washed in the morning, I settle in to await what another Christmas will bring.  We go to be with those we love.  I want to maintain these precious bonds so that one day maybe we can Feast together!
For the first time Christmas will feel pagan to me, and no longer sacred.  In my heart, I celebrate His incarnation, His conception. 
I'll just take it as it comes, and see where it goes.
We'll hand out Hanukkah cards, which will definitely be noticed, and include an invitation to celebrate part of Papa's calendar next year.  We'll see where that goes!
I hope that if you are celebrating, that you are enjoying the warmth of your families as well.  Chag sameach.
Have a blessed Christmas Shabbat.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Blessings and Curses of Yeast

Anyone who knows me fairly well, and anything about what has happened in our life in the last year knows I've developed a habit of making challah every Friday.  I love the depth of the symbolism that is entangled within those braids, and the reminders of Yeshua's love for us and how we are grafted in to the Olive Tree.  I love the smells of the baking bread, and the special blessings that we come together as a family to speak to welcome the Shabbat G-d has given us. 
I've learned LOTS about breadmaking in the process, and it has been quite enjoyable and usually, very tasty. 
Recently, I had the disappointing experience of buying a "bad" jar of yeast.  I had been experimenting with gluten free breads, but even the gluten containing recipes were NOT raising.  Everything came out pretty flat.  My DH was kind enough to exchange it for a fresh jar, and the next batch of challah to be made happened to be for our Hanukkah party.  I decided to make a double batch, four loaves, instead of the usual two, so that everyone who wanted some could be sure to get some for the enjoyment of the festivities.  (I almost never have any leftovers to take back home with me.)
The good yeast made all the difference and when I went to check on the raising process, my loaves were already ready to be baked and were twice their usual size.
A friend who is a big fan of the challah remarked on them, saying G-d is so good, he multiplies!  Yes he does!  He blessed when the people needed to be feasting.
If you know much about the process of yeast breads, you know that a lukewarm liquid, usually water or milk, is the best environment to get that yeast good and frothy so it will raise into beautiful breads.  And it struck me the other day, that just as the yeast is likened to sin permeating our lives, many believers are readily provided today with that lukewarm, milky environment.  Revelation 3 rebukes the believers at Laodicea for being neither hot nor cold.  They have become complacent, saying "I don't need anything" just as many believers in today's church are so comfortable warming the pew and drinking the milk.  Many have even given up warming the pew.  Generations are leaving the church en masse.

I was watching a recording of a television show recently where a rabbi and an author were discussing the biblical holidays .  They discussed how Yeshua fulfilled them, and specifically touched on the Feast of Weeks being the only holiday with presentation of leavened, or yeast-containing, bread.  There are typically two loaves of challah, and two candles, on every Shabbat, to signify keeping and remembering the Sabbath.  (There are many other meanings as well.)  The author though, was remarking about the representation of Jew and Gentile, in the loaves, at the end of the Feast of Weeks, together for the first time after Yeshua's crucifixion.  Pentecost had not yet gotten the leaven out.  They were not to be burned before the Lord because they contained leaven.  G-d poured out his Spirit on those first Jewish believers on the day of Pentecost, as a down payment of what was to come.  There is a Great pouring out of his Spirit yet to come. 
The next holy day to come is the Feast of Trumpets (aka Rosh HaShannah) and  the literal Hebrew meaning is Memorial of Blasting.  This is not celebratory!  It is a wake up call to G-d's people, a warning of judgment.  In these last days, judgment will begin in the household of G-d.  He is getting ready to come for his bride.
Will she be clean and sparkling white?  Will she be pure and spotless?  Or will she be asleep?  Will she be returning, purifying herself, repentant?  Zechariah 12:10 tells us that there is a day yet coming when G-d will pour out on the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a Spirit of grace and supplication.  They will look on the one they have pierced and mourn for him as one mourns for an only child (that's what he was!) and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.  The Day of Atonement will cleanse us and make the bride ready for our Groom.
I've heard the biblical holidays and the bride of Messiah referred to as an engagement.  The holy days that G-d set up for us are the 'dates' that he has scheduled with his fiancee.  Yet, the organized church has decided since the third century that her ideas are better and has set up different holidays.  She is not showing up to the dates that her future husband has scheduled for her.  How much she is missing out on!  How much of that future marriage relationship is she not building!  How sad for that Groom that has literally given his All, that his bride doesn't even come to the Feasts prepared for her.  He waits patiently for the Remnant of the Bride that is starting to come to the table.
SO yeast.  I've also been experiencing the curse of yeast on a more personal bodily level, after an IV antibiotic treatment well over a year ago.  It caused systemic, internal organ yeast overgrowth.  It was sneaky, just like sin is. It caused me to have very foggy thinking, just like sin does.  It took a long time to diagnose because it mimicked another health problem.  It was deceptive, just like sin is.  The manifestations were varied and unpleasant, just like the consequences of sin.  The cure was bitter, and difficult to take, just like the atonement for sin was a bitter, cruel death.
So yes, as believers we want to avoid sin.  But the shofars are sounding from the watchmen on the wall. Sh'ma!  Hear and obey! Fan into flame the fire placed within you, the gift that he gave you.  Get out of the lukewarm liquid that is causing the yeast to grow.  Move on to purity, to passion, and prepare for the coming Messiah.  Come to the table prepared for you.  Dance with the lover of your soul.    He's already got it scheduled on his calendar. 
Go check yours.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Confirmations in Black & White, Salt & Pepper, and the Stars

In preparation for our family's first Hanukkah season, I was seeking and studying, looking up recipes, learning about traditional decorations and the like.  This has been a steady occurrence over the last year as each biblical holiday is still new to us.  I learned the story of Judah Macabee and his little band of rebels and the miracle of how they overcame the Greeks, and of the miracle of the oil lasting eight days while the cohen purified the next batch of oil.  I learned about the beauty of dedication and purifying not only the holy temple, but also the temple of our homes, our lives and our bodies.
Of course the story of the dreidl came up, and my son sorely wanted a store-bought dreidl.  He was sick of "doing crafts" and he wanted one like his friends had in Shabbat school.  I searched in every store I was in and because we live in "the rusty buckle of the Bible-belt" I never even saw one.  And time was running out to order one online.  Not to mention the fact that due to several extra expenses in the weeks prior, we really couldn't even afford the shipping.  I needed to find one local, and cheap.  I was stumped.  I actually sat down and prayed, "Lord, we want to honor you and celebrate the holidays that you celebrated.  Help us to have the right focus, and help us to find what we need, for what we can afford, and if you could, a dreidl?"
I considered just making a salt dough dreidl and "suprising" him with it, but I knew he would still be disappointed.  I knew in my spirit that G-d had his own little suprise on its way.  I had his shalom and the assurance that Adonai Yireh would indeed provide.
Later that day a friend called to check in on us as we had been ill for several days.  We chatted about our holiday preparations, and favorite foods, and about being Berean in our decisions.  We both are leaving behind, due to individual convictions, the paganism of the Christmas holiday, and embracing the biblical holidays to the best of our understanding and abilities.  Evaluating decorations, traditions, and the like to see what we like and can embrace as being glorifying to him.  I relayed that, though this year would be sparse, I looked forward to adding to our family's collection of traditions and decorations over the coming years. I have very few friendships of this nature, and these conversations are precious.  We looked forward to an upcoming celebration we would both attend and said goodbye.
The next morning we all struggled to even get going and get breakfast, and slathered on more vaporub.  We finally set down to home school around 11:30.  A few minutes later our doorbell rang.  We were still in our pajamas!  My younger son ran down to see who was at the door and came running back smiling!  "Mom - get down here!"  Our friend walked in and announced that G-d had woken her very early that morning and asked her, "Weren't you trying to simplify?"  She got dressed and went out to her shed and pulled out several boxes.  She packed them and her husband into her car and drove over to our house - about a 30 minute drive.  She came in with arms loaded with hannukiah lights, dreidl-shaped salt and pepper shakers, beautiful latke trays, and DREIDLs!  One for each child!!!  They were so excited, that most of the rest of the school day was abandoned and we started our celebrating a little early.
I went to work that evening, just after our first taste of latkes, and our first Hanukkah blessings.  I was reflecting on the sweetness of our time around our table.  I enjoy praying as I drive, and many times I will just turn off all other sounds and just spend time with Yeshua.  As I prayed, I noticed the stars were extra crystal clear this night because of the cold.  Suddenly from somewhere behind me an incredible meteor shower began, like heavenly fireworks.  It felt to me like G-d was saying, welcome to my Festival of Lights!
And so it was confirmed to me - once again - that we are on the right path.  Seeking G-d in HIS own ways reveals him in ways so much deeper and clearer than our own ways.  After seeking him in the pages of scripture, in the context of his language and culture, and seeing his will in the black and white of scripture, he used his natural world to re-confirm in more black and white. This time it was in salt and pepper in dreidl-shaped shakers, and the sparkling night sky filled with falling stars.
And as the dreidl spins, I am grateful: Nun Gadol Hayeh Shin AND Po!  A great miracle happened there AND here!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Shabbat Shalom status post Thanksgiving 2010

Things have been a little extra harried around here the last few days in a joyful way.   I love Thanksgiving.  I love that last year we learned that it probably came about because the Puritans who landed and helped found our country were most likely actually celebrating Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles.

I love that my brother and his wife and children were able to come from out of state and share in the celebration of the American national holiday with the rest of us.  We did the whole traditional dinner, turkey and all the trimmings.  We went around the table and talked about what we were thankful for, and it was a very sweet time.

Before the cooking started though, or at least just after the bird went in the oven, I sought the Lord.  I haven't been feeling so great and was pretty run down, and I knew I would need some extra strength for the day.  And he responded immediately and conversationally. It was as if he was saying, "Come talk to me."  I turned to Psalms (Tehillim) and specifically 42.  It opens with the deer panting for water - just like we do for our Lord.  Humbly, I must say of late I have been blessed with this thirst and this hunger.  As was prayed at our last Shabbat service, we agreed in prayer to ask for increase in hunger, increase in desire for the things of Adonai, of scripture.  It blessed me to read this as I so readily identify right now.
At the end of the chapter there are verses that seemed to me as a warning, though they are not usually read that way.
"10b...taunts make me feel as if my bones were crushed, as they ask me all day long, 'Where is your God?'" 11 My soul, why are you so downcast? Why are you groaning inside me? Hope in God, since I will praise him again for being my Savior and God."
Some members of my family have questioned our decision to leave the protestant church and seek the Hebraic roots of our faith.  We were going to be spending time with family, but I honestly didn't know what to expect that day.  Sometimes that's good!  
The questions came about our "new church" - or do they call it that?  All went politely, warmly.  
I had spoken a few months ago with some family members, when questioned, about comments my children made regarding Christmas v. Channukah.  At the time our explanations regarding the pagan roots of Christmas were met with frowns, whining, pouts - that was from the adults.  
Our menorah is poised at the ready for next week's first lighting.  But as soon as the leftovers were put away, a direct request was made for Christmas music.  Ugh.  I always loved it, but this year it almost arrives with me feeling some disdain.
Then the request turned into a whine, and eventually a demand.  And then a discussion about when Jesus was actually born.  
So I guess the 'taunt' came in the form of the Christmas music.  (Such irony.)  While I certainly didn't feel as if my bones were crushed, I did feel the needling.  I heard the "where is your God?"  While all I really wish for is that their eyes would be opened to the things that we've seen and learned about being believers, I feel as if they are just waiting.  Waiting for us to move on to the next thing.
I hope we never do.
I've never felt like things are more right, more true, or more healthy.  I don't think that we have all the answers, but I definitely feel like we've found something more, something amazing.  And the only interest seems to be to make sure we haven't joined a cult.  That's where I feel the bone-crushing.  I only long for them to see the richness and the depth of meaning and sacredness and holiness that is right in front of us, and is yet unseen.
I can't wait to learn more.  I can't wait till they see.
My hope is in G-d and I will now praise him, my Saviour and my King.  And for now I will follow in his steps in celebrating the Festival of Lights, dig through all the layers of meaning, of re-dedication, and figure out what its all about as we go!

Monday, November 22, 2010

MPM for 11/22

Monday: Piccolini Alfredo with Sliced Smoked Turkey
Tuesday: Oven Baked Nachos
Wednesday: Hot Sour Soup with Chicken Vegetable Potstickers
Thursday: Chili and Hot Dogs (delaying the Turkey due to work schedules)
Friday: Turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, buttered corn, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and homemade yeast rolls
Saturday: leftovers!
Sunday: (by my dear son's request) Pizza Bomba

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook Nov. 21, 2010

I've followed a few other mom's blogs who've had a roll going on these little entries.  They are somewhat mundane but interesting all the same.  Here's the "Mess" I'm in today...

Outside my window... we're enjoying unusually warm temps and night has fallen, too early once again.  I struggle with the short days.  I enjoy warm cups to drink however, so its a trade off.

I am thinking... of how deeply I am engrafted into the flow of this river of life, this mayim chaim, and of how there is such a depth that I have never known before.  And I can't wait to get more.  And more.

I am grateful for... this relative quiet - it is really nice.  I hate that the baby is not feeling well, but I'm SO grateful that she is sleeping a lot today, cause Mama ain't feelin' so grand either.

From the learning rooms...  I am considering lesson planning for tomorrow, and how to do school without printouts.  I've just discovered my printer REQUIRES 2 black cartridges to operate.  Didn't even know it had 2 cartridges until I put the other new one in...  Hmm....  Regardless we will have a very light week this week due to Thanksgiving.  Planning a craft where everyone writes their "thankful" items on a leaf and tacks it to a paper tree.  We did that last year and left it up till the new year.

From the kitchen... take out today.  Thank you honey!  Mommy's been mostly absent from there today trying to get baby, et. al. "homeopathized" from this darn virus before holiday guests arrive.

I am wearing...  sweatshirt, t-shirt, jersey knit pants, and a bandana.  No socks because DH shampooed the carpets today, and they got soggy.  He worked hard today and is rewarding himself with a movie while we lay low.

I am creating... channukah decorations and thinking about making tallit bags for DH and a friend of ours.  I have been looking at for decor ideas.  This will be our first year to celebrate and we are very excited.

I am going... to the library in the morning to get DD's much anticipated book from the hold shelf.  And then to a friends to get trained on how to care for her small 'farm' while she leaves town for the week.

I am currently reading...
no books right now, highly unusual!  Sort of looking at a John Hagee book, but having trouble getting into it.  Voraciously gobbling up the parashot in the Complete Jewish Bible though.  Last weeks was so good - how we struggle just like Jacob did, with G*d, and how we need to lose to him so that we can ultimately win.  No?

I am hoping...  for some good sleep tonight, and for a healthy week, and for our pharmacy (that we drive courier for) to get us out on time this week.

I am hearing ... DS1 watching TV, DS2 clicking away at the mouse.

On my mind...
  waiting on the Lord on our housing "issues."  Believing that we are to have more property and that He will bless us with that.  Chickens, goats, garden.  Difficult in a subdivision...

Noticing that... nothing fell apart today, and I wasn't running around like crazy to prevent it.  How nice!  (Insert sigh here.)

Around the house... we are in limbo on a lot of mini-projects, but DH has a week off starting Thursday (YAY!) and they will get done at that point we hope!

One of my favorite things... is getting ready for the "holiday" season, which is nearly upon us.  This will be such a different year for us, as we are still discovering the biblical holidays.  They are such a gift.  Excited to experience Channukah for the first time. 

A Few Plans for the Rest of the Week:  My little brother coming in for Thanksgiving on Thursday with his family.  We will celebrate on Friday when my local SIL is off work, and have DH's niece join us as well.  DH wants to hit black Friday sales.  Oy vey.

Photo to share...

Ana "huggy dawgy awgy"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

getting started

"...fear leads us away from the work G*d wants to do in our heart"(
And it probably kept me from getting started here...

I think I've been getting the push to do this for several months, but I don't know where to start.  I know I want to talk about mostly just where I am right now.

I'm just an average Jill: an imperfect woman, an inconsistent wife, a sometimes-too-strict mom, an overwhelmed housekeeper, a home educator who probably doesn't capitalize on every opportunity, and a friend who doesn't call as often as she should.  And despite the fact I hope I never go to church again, most importantly, I'm a sinner, saved by incredible, humbling, overflowing grace.

I'm learning.  How to be a mom, even after 10 years of on the job training.  I'm learning.  More about history as I teach it to my kids, and it blows my mind how much I missed in a good public school.  I'm learning.  How to be a much better wife in this decade of marriage than the first one, now that we're getting ready to enter the next.

I'm learning how to follow hard after my Salvation.  I found out he's Jewish.  When you ignore what the church has been shoving down your throat, and read the scripture, wow.  The Jewishness of Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) is nearly sanitized right off him. 
But when you strip all that away.  Wow.  Amazing.  There is so much richness and depth.  Like going from black and white tube TV to 1080p digital.  There are holidays - holy days - that are ignored by those who think they believe in the Bible.  They are commanded to be celebrated, and they are ignored.  Their own celebrations fit them better.  Actually they fit better what the pagans didn't want to give up, and so that they could claim them on their list of "souls" saved, they just added a little Jesus to them and compromised with the pagans. 
That is only the surface, only a drop of what I've come to understand.
I'm learning how to celebrate in ways that are deeply true and right and freeing.  How to be what my friend called a 'newbie jewbie.'
I'm learning what it really means to follow, to honor, to obey , as an outpouring of love for Him.  Not out of fear.  Not out of obligation, or strict adherence to what any man has prescribed.  Out of love, and out of relationship.
But only Yeshua, and what his book teaches us. 
So here is a little peek into my journey.  Some things great, some things not-so-much.  A journey that has taken turns never imagined, and gone to places infinitely fulfilling, and sometimes surprisingly painful.
I am so far from perfect.  I don't wish to offend, but only to share. So please extend mercy.  Just read it all through.
I'll try not to get too Messi...