Friday, March 25, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journey Blog Hop

 The Homeschool Mother’s Journal is a blog hop. You meet new homeschoolers and peek into their week.  Just answer seven questions and post on  your blog.
In my life this week....
We are busy, busy, busy, and seem to be more exhausted than usual.  We are trying to get back into routine (whatever that is) after spring break.
In our homeschool this week...
We started a new science unit this week on Light, and our curriculum ties this in with Yeshua being the Light of the World, Creation of Light, God's Lamp (the menorah), man's light, the history of artificial light, Thomas Edison....  So very interesting.  The kids are actually semi-interested.  But alas, fatigue has been a real difficulty with them this week.
Places we're going and people we're seeing....
Girl scouts, visit to friends from our congregation who live in Ashland City, recent out of town family visiting us, library, Kroger, Grandma, birthday parties and more birthday parties.  And a great Purim celebration!  A new friend in the neighborhood for my boys has been really great too - they are not complaining about playing outside anymore which is so much healthier than sitting in front of that computer!  So much going on, I'm sure I've missed a few things.
My favorite thing this week was...

the Purim party.  We celebrated with heart and with a zeal for the Lord.  And hamentaschen!
What's working/not working for us...
Chore charts that we found on Robin's blog are working really well for us, breaking down cleaning tasks into steps the kids can handle.  We are competing too - who ever gets the most stickers for tasks completed gets a movie-theater size box of Gobstoppers.   
Bedtimes have creeped later and that is NOT working for us.  Morning errands are NOT working for us, but having no choice because of Papa's school and work schedule is teaching us how to be flexible!
Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...
motivation other than candy... I hate bribing my kids to get their work done.  I hate threatening punishments/consequences even more.  Their topics seem to be of interest to them, but they just don't feel like 'doing school.'  Trying to find ways to get all five senses involved.
Hoping to really incorporate some arts education in well also, both fine and visual arts.  For being a music major I stink at this!! 
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
 Chag Purim Sameach!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Trust Part of the Trial

I've been wanting to post this for a couple of months but just haven't been able to wrap my brain around how to explain it all.  This one really needed to marinate.  I guess it needed to wait for barbecue season.
This is from a message I heard back in January that really had an impact on me.  As I've stated before I was raised in the church and every time a "trial" came about, there must have been a reason for it.  Usually in church circles, and from many-a-pulpit, it indicated sin in the life of the sufferer.  So it stands to reason that every time I felt like I was going through a trial, I searched for the sin that I must have been committing and prayed for forgiveness, looked for ways to absolve my guilt, pay penance, have more faith, etc.  That's what good Christians do, right?  C'mon you protestants out there - you know you do it too.  It's not just the Catholics.  It's just wearing a different name tag.
Ok, maybe I've over-simplified, but seriously, how many times has someone comforted a person by telling them that if they just repented, or had more faith, everything would be fine.  How many pastors have alluded to or directly said the same thing?
But in hearing this message, this is what impacted me:
We are living letters or testimonies and there is purpose in our trials. One purpose is to minister comfort to others and draw others to Messiah through our afflictions.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6, “Praised be God, Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, compassionate Father, God of all encouragement and comfort; 4 who encourages us in all our trials, so that we can encourage others in whatever trials they may be undergoing with the encouragement we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the Messiah's sufferings overflow into us, so through the Messiah our encouragement also overflows. 6 So if we undergo trials, it is for your encouragement and deliverance; and if we are encouraged, that should encourage you when you have to endure sufferings like those we are experiencing.”
G-d uses us to a greater degree out of our brokenness. Paul suffered many afflictions and look how G-d used and is continuing to use his life! 
Did G-d afflict Paul because he was in sin? NO!  He afflicted Paul because he knew he could TRUST Paul. He knew Paul could withstand the refining.   G-d trusted Paul.  So maybe, just maybe, when WE go through trials, its not just because we did something wrong, but MAYBE its because we did something right!?  Maybe its because He knows that we can be trusted to withstand the refining, the breaking.  He's filling us up so that we can encourage others to come to Him, because He is what is getting us through.
Just like the alabaster box that Miryam (Mary) broke to release the perfume over Yeshua's (Jesus) feet, we need to be broken sometimes to release the perfume to those around us.  That perfume, that pleasing aroma, fills the house and draws others in.

We also talked this past weekend, and maybe that is part of the reason I feel like it is time to share this, about the sacrifices and the atonement in Vayikra (Leviticus).  Some of the sacrifices were mandatory, and some voluntary.  But they all brought a pleasing, satisfying aroma to Adonai.  Probably smelled a LOT like a barbecue.  But think of it!  How humbling, comforting and wonderful to know that our sacrifices, our prayers, our worship, our love, all bring satisfaction to our Lord!
And that smell will draw others in.  Just like a neighbor to a barbecue.
Lord, give us the opportunity to draw others in to You.  Give us opportunity to spread the pleasing aroma of your incredible love, grace, and mercy to those who so dearly need it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday March 7th week in review

I saw that someone else did a week in review with their menu plan from the previous week, and I thought what a great idea!  Then you can add photos of what you made AND get the family opinion poll as well.
So here's what we had last week.

Monday: chicken quesadillas, salad, tortilla chips
I used the leftover chicken from Friday night, added some enchilada sauce as I warmed it on the stove, added some quesadilla cheese and tortilla shells.  Easy peasy!
Tuesday: homemade calzones
Homemade pizza dough rolled out with spaghetti sauce, mini turkey pepperoni, mozzarella, and smoked turkey lunchmeat shredded stuffed inside.  Seal with fork pressed edges, bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
Wednesday: hot sour soup, veggie tofu stir-fry over brown rice
Thursday: Hamburger Helper lasagna stretched with a bag of mixed veggies and made with ground turkey.  Great quick prep before running out to girl scouts!  Shockingly they even ate most of the veggies.
Friday: Slow cooked Roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad, green beans, challah and grape juice.
Saturday: ONEG delight with potluck after services.
Sunday: pasta bar at birthday party.

For fun one morning we made something 'new' with the beautiful red pears that were on sale.  We called them Perfect Pear Parfaits.  We wedged the pears, put vanilla yogurt on top, some almond dark chocolate granola, and then just a little more yogurt.  All organic and all yum.
Some of our other breakfast ideas this week included our challah toast (french toast style with leftover challah) topped with organic blueberries, omelettes, yogurt/fruit/cinnamon toast, and chocolate gravy with biscuits and bananas.  The only complaint I heard was not enough chipotle Tabasco sauce to go around for the eggs.
Lunches are always really rushed in our house so cold cut sandwiches, mac & cheese, and soups along with leftovers are rounded out on slower days by popcorn chicken salad and min-burgers on hawaiian sweet rolls.
Have a yummy week!
For more ideas, check out the co-horts on

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All she ever thinks about

I was inadvertently told by the child of an adult I know that the adult thinks that my faith in G-d is 'all I ever think about.'
I'll take that as a complement!
I have prayed for the hunger and thirst of Psalm 42 to remain with me.  I am certainly not perfect, and I don't think that it's truly at the 100% mark yet.  However, I have had an intensity to my walk, my halachah, for the last 18 months that has been unlike any I've experienced before.  It rarely wanes.  I seek ways to cram in an extra sermon, another documentary about a hero of the faith, listen to podcasts and praise music almost exclusively, and scour the internet for more ways to teach my kids about Him.  Sometimes the intensity is overwhelming.  I'm doing research and studies on issues and questions whenever I can, digging thru those 'boring' old commentaries and concordances.  I am finding ways to submerge myself in Torah, in all of scripture.
G-d answers prayer, no?
And of late I have also been 'cramming' in as much prayer time as I can.  While driving, I'll sometimes pause those podcasts and just pray for the person that came to mind or over the issue that is being discussed.  Over dishes in my sink, I'll pray for my kids finishing their schoolwork in the next room.  I have seen so many mini-miracles from this.
The first and most dramatic was the protection I received last week while driving directly below a tornado in the dark.  I knew it was there.  I could feel it.  I flipped the radio on to check the weather.  There was indeed a warning for my location.  My ears popped and released the fluid that had been trapped in my sinuses for weeks.  The windows on my car started whistling.  The 'little hairs' all stood up.  The rain was completely horizontal, and the wind nearly removed my vehicle from the road.  And as I tried to see thru the sheets of water, tree limbs at least 8 feet long danced vertically across the road ahead of me.
What did I do?
I prayed.  That was my first instinct.  I asked for more people to pray for me to cover me until I could get out to the other side of the storm.
Later, I was able to confirm that He did have others pray for me right at that moment.  Two families stopped what they were doing and prayed.  And as you can see, He protected me and brought me to the other side of the storm.  (I still had shaking hands for about two days afterward.  Tornadoes in the dark are just plain scary!)
So as you know I'm just an average Jill, making my way on my journey, occasionally populated by toddlers and twisters, and praying my way along.  Like the Psalmist, there are many times that I feel a groaning inside, times I am downcast.
And I am seeing more answers than just for protection.  I am seeing blessings on those I know and love as they seek to follow Yeshua.  I am hearing words for their walk, to edify them deeply.  I am humbly blessed to be able to bless.  There are times when I am overjoyed to be with the crowd in the house of God, and joyful to be with the praising throngs celebrating the festival.  There are times when I receive confirmation and resonance in my spirit, in ways that only G-d could have set it up.  Deep calls to deep.
Yet I lack courage to share to the extent that I should.
Its an imperfect, and very personal journey.  I'll keep praying about it till I can come out with it.  I have so much courage in some things, and none at all with others!
So pray with me, hunger with me, thirst with me.
Make Him all YOU ever think about.
Psalm 42
1 For the leader. A maskil of the descendants of Korach: Just as a deer longs for running streams, God, I long for you. 2 I am thirsty for God, for the living God! When can I come and appear before God? 3 My tears are my food, day and night, while all day people ask me, "Where is your God?" 4 I recall, as my feelings well up within me, how I'd go with the crowd to the house of God, with sounds of joy and praise from the throngs observing the festival. 5 My soul, why are you so downcast? Why are you groaning inside me? Hope in God, since I will praise him again for the salvation that comes from his presence. 6 My God, when I feel so downcast, I remind myself of you from the land of Yarden, from the peaks of Hermon, from the hill Mizar. 7 Deep is calling to deep at the thunder of your waterfalls; all your surging rapids and waves are sweeping over me. 8 By day ADONAI commands his grace, and at night his song is with me as a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, under pressure by the enemy? 10 My adversaries' 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.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Menu Plan Monday 2/21/11

Here's what's on the docket for the Vicks this week:

Monday: Broiled Nachos
(browned ground turkey with taco seasoning topped with refried bean & cheese, broiled on baking stone; top with salsa and lettuce, and other toppings as desired then dig in with tortilla chips)
Tuesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs (my own sauce made from my organic CSA veggies last summer, and ground turkey meatballs made with italian bread crumbs and an egg), Caesar salad from kit
Wedesday: Broccoli Beef stir fry over brown rice
Thursday: Split Pea Soup
Friday: Whole slow-cooker chicken, roasted potatoes, california blend, garden salad, challah, and Sweet Moments dessert.
Saturday: lunch out
Sunday: chicken noodle soup with leftovers from Friday.
Breakfasts planned for this week are oatmeal, fruit & yogurt, pancakes, chocolate gravy over biscuits and scrambled eggs with cheese, cold cereal, egg quesadillas, bagels with cream cheese and bananas or cuties (clementines).
Lunches will hopefully happen quickly! Pita salad sandwiches, ravioli, manwiches, chicken nuggets w. curly fries and crudites, hot dogs & chips, mac & cheese.
And just in case my menu isn't inspiring, someone else's might be!  Check back to see what others are planning for Menu Plan Monday at

I used the wrong word: its grief, not guilt

I used the wrong word before.  I knew it almost right away, but I had to take some time to mull it over as to how to explain it.
From the entry Simple Woman's Daybook for 12-29 the "on my mind..." section.  I'm still not totally sure.  I think its one of those areas where you constantly grow and change.  Instead of guilt, I think I should have said grief.
Misinterpreted guilt.  Grief over paganism, it's strength and dominance in this world.  At the time I was really dealing with some of the paganism in the Christmas holiday on a personal level.  I've searched many blogs, websites, videos, ministries, books, and discussed with a few knowledgeable close friends and family members.  I've come to understand what many of today's traditions originally meant, and for me obedience to my Savior means leaving those things behind and altering my behavior.   I move forward in a more biblical manner. 
These Christian holidays used to be my favorite.  My heart was always bent to try to honor Him.  I think that's still what most Christians are trying to do.  But in reality, the celebrations are more honoring to pagan gods, not YHVH.  I know G-d knows my heart, but as I begin to know His heart, I believe turning from these holidays will please him more. That is where I want my focus to be - on His heart, and what his desires are.  As I move forward in this love relationship, I am invited further in to discover more truth, and to greater moral standards, and to blessed freedoms. 
So I am grieved: Yeast is permeating the whole earth through Christmas - Satan's added to truth that exists in the beauty of Yeshua's birth.  Satan places a sticker that says "Fresh" on a piece of rotten stinking meat, and the church has purchased it at a premium price.  Christmas is celebrated throughout the world.  The message is even passed on to unbelievers, and they celebrate as well.
The Bible tells us that there will be evil everywhere, "as in the days of Noah." (Matthew 24:37-41) This signals that the time of his return is coming.  We need to prepare our hearts, and be about the sharing of his message.  Those who know the Truth can be comforted, knowing our future is secure.  We should not only take comfort in that but also rejoice!  Our beloved is coming for his Bride!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Schedule Scare

I've been making valiant efforts to try to sit down to blog at something really a little bit deeper.  For weeks I've been contemplating multiple things, and so many things keep coming at me.  I wonder some days why I thought I could keep up a blog.  As a busy home educating mother of four from puberty to pampers, trying to help her hubby get through an intense college schedule, and still make all my frugal meals from scratch and work a few hours a week, blogging should stream right in to that pace.  Right?
Obviously I have some issues with reality at times.  Insert sarcasm here.  I have lots of life coming at me, and I'm getting lots out of life too.  But sometimes I get frustrated because there are so many things that I want to accomplish, so many things that I would very much love to get my fingers sunk into.  There are many arenas that I would love to run after with full vigor.  So many things I feel so passionately about.  So I try to streamline, and just fit them in as I can.
Streamlining means prioritizing.  My kids are going to head to a slot high a top that list, and their education is equally high.  We stumbled around a bit as we began a new curriculum this year with very limited resources, and difficulty finding the books at prices we could afford.  And we were delayed in some of the areas we started delving into until we could purchase materials.  There were further delays with figuring out what we were supposed to study when, and then with waiting on library materials at times too.  We would 'make do' with what we had, and then take a few steps back as the materials would arrive.  And as the year went on I realized we had not accomplished what I thought we should have by the time it appeared we should have.  Ten weeks into our school year we were on week 3 or 4 of the curriculum schedule.
Certainly I began to question: what are we doing wrong!?  We need to hurry up!!
But then I remembered that the program was designed to be used at half pace if desired so as to dig more deeply into the subjects.  So really we weren't as far behind as I thought.  And we were definitely learning.  I say WE because I am learning right alongside them.  Things I never learned when I was a kid.  It is delicious! 
Then we factored in field trips, drama class, illness, etc., and despite all we were actually right on pace.  Plus we were ahead of other families we knew of on our attendance already.  So that was kind of fun, and very reassuring.
The best part was - though - that G-d has had His hand in the whole process.  We studied several things that coincided with our torah portions schedule, such as studying the science part about creation - types of animals, classifications, and many other parts of nature - as we read about Adam and Eve and the days of creation in scriptures with our congregation, and with other Jews worldwide.
And now as we began to study Ancient Egypt, a turmoil arose bringing to light why the history is so important.  I couldn't have designed a better lesson than what is in our newspaper every morning.
And then as our torah portions describe the building and design of the tabernacle and the priests clothing, we are studying the same in our history course again.
All of life seems to be reinforcing itself, giving confirmation repeatedly that we are to leave our plans in G-d's hands.  These things that we can try so hard to design, plan, calculate, and set up - he holds them all.  We only need to strive for him.  For scripture.  To keeps our minds and hearts open to him and to his ways.  Striving and trying and struggling only toward him is where our efforts need to be.  Not on keeping a schedule that we think we "ought" to try to maintain, so as not to fall behind.
So for now I will try to stay hungry.  I pray for that, that I will not lose the intensity of the hunger I have had on this journey for over a year now.  Sometimes the intensity is almost painful because it is so overwhelming.  But when the meat of the word arrives, it is also intensely delicious!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Menu Plan Monday, finally

With an unexpected snow interrupting my plans today, and a coupon clipping marathon ensuing, I finally have a plan...

Monday: chicken enchiladas (frozen chicken burritos covered in green enchilada sauce and baked) with hot wings and guacamole salad
Tuesday: Tortellini alfredo with beef sausage and ceasar salad
Wednesday: Schezuan chicken with stir fried veggies over noodles
Thurday: Popcorn fish, buttery southern corn, asparagus tips, pastaroni
Friday: Slow cooker roast with potatoes, carrots, garden salad and challah
Saturday: leftovers
Breakfasts will be whatever strikes our fancy, but will draw from oatmeal, pancakes, cream of wheat, fruit & yogurt, belgian waffles with strawberries, and egg quesadillas.
Lunches requested by the children thus far are pizza (duh), macaroni and cheese (duh again), miniburgers, cheddar potato soup, and some good kosher hot dogs.
And as my children are growing like weeds and snack incessantly the plan thus far is for fruit snacks, cheese sticks, carrots/celery with hummus, chips & cheese, pudding, cupcakes, and yogurt.
And it will all be gone by Sunday!
Be sure to check out Menu Plan Monday for far more inspiration than what you'll ever get here, LOL!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I feel good, da da da da da da

I just finished what should have been a grueling day, not getting back home till 1:30am.  Errands, homeschool, sick child, meals on the fly, software trouble, dishes, clean up, rush off to work.  I should be ready to collapse.  But I'm not, and I'm not even over-caffeinated!

I have talked before about my struggles with a systemic post-antibiotic candida since intravenous treatment following the birth of my daughter.  She will be two in just a few weeks.  It has affected most of my internal organs: stomach, GI tract, spleen, pancreas,  liver, and brain.  Even some skin. I had gradually spiralled downward into a crabby, depressed mommy who ached in every muscle and joint,  had no energy, and was struggling to put a sentence together some days.  Then more severe symptoms began that were much more graphic, but I'll leave those out for decency's sake.  This has been a long battle.  It took several months to even figure out what the problem was in the first place. 

Now, I don't want to be over confident, but I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!  THIS is what I used to feel like.   See, I KNEW it wasn't just the 'aging' process.

I have been using natural homeopathic treatments and have changed the way I eat fairly drastically.  Despite feeling desperately deprived for a few weeks, it was all worth it.  I don't think any of it would have done the job though, had I not broken down  in prayer.  Here's the story.

After several weeks of natural treatments (I was using grapefruit seed extract, probiotics, and activated charcoal.) alone not finishing off this nasty little bacteria, I begged God to show me what I needed to do. 

Diet needed to be addressed.  I started researching and He started  putting people in my path to help.  A very dear friend had already been giving me tons of help in treating, and then others started sharing their stories.   I knew the diet part was going to be very difficult, but also knew there was no victory without it.  Goodbye sugar, caffeine, all wheat products, anything with yeast, and most dairy.  This meant most of my favorites were gone.  Chocolate first.  Coffee.  Bread, (what, no challah!), cheese, ice cream, even fruit. No pasta, beans, potatoes, carrots. I was down to a few veggies and meat.  And it made me a little crazy!!
And it didn't work.
I thought I was going to cry.
And then I did cry.
And I called out to God - what else can I do?????!!!!
And then there was just one word that he put into my mind: garlic.
What!?  I usually love that in pasta or when we make beans and rice.  I can't have pasta OR beans!
But it reminded me that I needed to use God's medicine and garlic is one of his most potent ones.  I needed to support my immune system as it was fighting to overcome everything being thrown at it.
Then I started supporting with vitamin C as well.
And within a few days, I began to see major improvements.  Clearer thought, things started tasting better.  One morning I noticed my shampoo had a great smell.  I hadn't even noticed my sense of smell had been so diminished.  Then my energy started picking up.  I no longer fight falling asleep at the wheel toward the end of my routes.
The medicines man made didn't work this time.  God's medicine - our Great Physician - and my Healer came through.
And I just wanted to let you know.
Isn't He awesome!?!?