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Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 To Do List

I am not much for New Year's Resolutions. Not that I haven't ever made one before, but because I never, NEVER, see them through. It's the same for most people, I'm sure. Its like an empty promise to myself. Why go through all the agony and guilt? I'm just not doing it this year. Instead I'm gonna make a "To Do" list, because on all my to do lists, I usually accomplish a few things before changing and altering the list. This way, I figure I have a higher success rate.

Here it goes:

1. Memorize one new Bible verse a week.
2. Organize my Kitchen.
3. Start a stockpile of food/goods.
4. Declutter my house.
5. Paint and redecorate the dining room (a room I spend most of my time in)
6. Complete one writing project.
7. Organize photos and back them up.
8. Fire safety plan for my home.
9. Piano lessons with kids.
10. Join a book a the month club.
11. Try one new dinner recipe every week.
12. Sign up for a race to run. (4 miles or more)
13. Start reading program with the boys.
14. Take an art class.
15. Go paperless in my home office.
16. Redesign business websites.
17. Sew/craft one Biblical banner.
18. Take a Bible study class.
19. Make one family scrapbook.
20. Create crafting/project/sewing area.

Now, I know not all of these can be accomplished in one year. Since I still have to clothe, feed and attend to my children and husband, I'll be happy if I accomplish at least three in 2013. That would be a success in my book. Actually, I think that should be my motto for the new year: Small Success is the Best. I am not trying to lower my expectations, I am just trying to give myself a little grace in knowing that I am a busy mom and wife and anything I accomplish is a success, no matter how small. So goodbye 2012 and hello 2013 and hello to a more relaxed me, by God's grace!
"Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future." Proverbs 31:25

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Do you Chrismukkah?

No, I'm not asking you about your banking preference. I'm referring to the fusing of two holidays: Christmas and Hanukkah.
It is basically when a family celebrates Hanukkah and Christmas. Although Chrismukkah is traditionally referenced by people who celebrate both holidays due to interfaith marriages, this actually becomes more of a reality to the Messianic. Why? Because we actually do believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is our Savior. Therefore, the question becomes: Do you CHRISTmukkah?
After all, the Christmas I am interested in is the one that is centered around Christ. I have never taught my children about Santa, in fact, they know he is not real. And we don't put up a Christmas tree.
This year, since Hanukkah was so much earlier than Christmas, I was in the middle of Hanukkah celebrations as various school and social Christmas activities were taking place. A few people have asked me this year, "Do you celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas?" And I replied, "No, just Hanukkah." Then I felt odd. Like I was turning my back on Christmas. Why? If we tell Jewish people that they can become believers and not turn their back on their Jewish roots, then why, as Messianics should we not partake in a holiday that unites us in celebrating the birth of our Messiah with other believers?
I acknowledge that most Messianics, having done the research, have come to the conclusion that Yeshua's birth most likely occurred during the Fall Feast of Sukkot, known as the Feast of Tabernacles, described in Leviticus 23, Numbers 29 and Deuteronomy 16. My family and I celebrate Messiah's birth during this Feast because the central theme of Sukkot is God dwelling with us. To me and my family, the connection is obvious.
However, I am a mother. My primary goal is to raise my children for the Lord, so that they may know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and have a personal relationship with their Messiah, Yeshua. And they need to have a firm grasp of their identity as a Messianic believer. I want them to know that Christmas is about celebrating Messiah's birth, not about Santa Claus and not about a Christmas tree. I want them to know that while we may not know exactly when the Savior was born, it is never a bad thing to celebrate His birth.
So this year, I am going to display my Nativity scene during Christmas and since I just had it out during Sukkot, it won't be difficult to get it out again. I'm also going to teach my children the songs that directly speak of the Messiah. How can I go wrong teaching our children songs like God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Silent Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, Angels We Have Heard on High, and the Little Drummer Boy (which always brings me to tears), and many more? I will also read the story of Messiah's birth from the Bible. I'll make it a new family tradition. My boys are at an age now where they have begun to understand the festivals and holidays. They remember our traditions. If they can understand the menorah and the story of the Maccabees and God's redemption during Hanukkah, then Christmas is a perfect time to celebrate and rejoice in the birth of our Savior with our Christian brothers and sisters. We are all on the same team. Let's celebrate together.
So to all you Messianics, Happy Christmukkah!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Address Book

Nowadays it is more common to have an address app rather than a traditional address book. It's about as uncommon as having a day-timer. (Those of you who know what a day-timer is, you know what I mean.) Although I have phased out my traditional desk calendar and now "write" everything down on my calendar app on my phone, I am still clinging on to my address book. Why?
Every year at this time, I pull it out and go through it, just to make sure I don't forget anyone as I am making my Hanukkah card list. I look through every page and I see all those names I have crossed out. Some have moved out of town and thus, right out of our lives. Some friends we have just grown out of touch. Others have divorced. Others have just moved so much and taken so much space so that letter in the alphabet runs into the next letter (I won't mention any names, but you know who you are). And others have died. 
I can't bring myself to throw this address book away. Some of the letters are overrun, as I said, and there are more marked out, than there active entries. But how can I just dismiss the people I knew? I know it makes more sense to get a new one and start over, but I just can't do it. I want to remember these people every time I look through it each year and make my card list. I want to remember our time together, how we laughed, how we spent our time together, and when we cried together. I want to feel the happiness that comes with remembering the friendship or relatives and the sadness that comes mourning their loss. I wouldn't trade one day with each of these people. My life has been enriched by each person that has crossed my path. Yes, some relationships may not have been pleasant all the time, but I still grew personally.
So, I'll keep my address book with all the crossed out people in it and be thankful that I have known so many different people in my life. For my part, I'll try to be a better person to others, so I can leave happy memories in the people I encounter. 
Happy Hanukkah everyone! I hope you make many new wonderful memories and relish in the old ones, too. May the light of Yeshua our Messiah shine on you and your family, wherever you are! 
At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem ; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense ? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe ; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. "But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish ; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all ; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. "I and the Father are one." - John 10:22-30

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

It's Never Too Late To Be Thankful

Pinterest has consumed my crafty world! There are so many neat and cute ideas and projects in the vast bucket of Pinterest, and I just don't have the time to do all of them. This Thanksgiving, I searched out many projects and accomplished a couple with the boys. We made Hand Print Turkeys, always a favorite when it involves painting their hands! And we made the Thankful Turkey napkin rings. Although, I didn't use them as napkin rings, I used them to tape around small cups that I filled with fruit for one of the boy's preschool Thanksgiving party.
However, there was one that I absolutely intended to do no matter what: The Give Thanks Gratitude Board.
It is such a neat idea! Each member of the family records what they are thankful for on a card for each of the 30 days of November. Then next year, you can use the back of the card, or add more cards as needed to each day. I just loved the thought of using this year after year and being able to reread previous years' and relive all those thankful memories, especially those recorded by my children. Of course, I will write the boys' responses down until they are able to write, and I'll write my husband's responses because he doesn't like to write anything and avoids it whenever possible, but it's still a great idea.
However, as usual, time goes faster than I like. November 1st came and went and I still hadn't even purchased the items I lacked to start the project. I have a plethora of crafting items in my attic. It's like a Hobby Lobby/Walmart/JoAnn's/Michael's melting pot. But I was still lacking the board, coin envelopes, coordinating ribbon and Fall scraping paper. I didn't want to make the item out of a wooden board as the directions suggested, because I just didn't want it to be that heavy. I knew I had burlap and I love burlap, so I used a foam display board and hot glued the burlap over it. The only coin envelopes I found were at the office supply stores and they were so expensive! I didn't want to spend $28 for 250 envelopes, when I only needed 30. So I improvised and used small mailing envelopes. I simply sealed and cut them, then painted each one with a sponge to make them brown and no one can tell that they are regular mailing envelopes. Plus I can replace my stash for a mere $1. :)
I spent a total of $8. Now I have a beautiful Give Thanks Gratitude Board. So what if we didn't start using it until November 14? And so what if we missed a day because of sickness? We still have 7 days completed and 9 more days of potential memories to record.  I am thankful I did the project this year, otherwise I would have missed out on such precious responses from my boys like; "I'm thankful for God", "I'm thankful for my pillow", "I'm thankful for my new jacket", "I'm thankful for my backpack you promised to get me for Hanukkah" and so many more. I'm thankful I decided it was okay for the project to be late, because it's never too late to be thankful!

Here's a link to the Give Thanks Gratitude Board tutorial I found on Pinterest:
http://jellybeanjunkyard.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/tuesday-tutorial-give-thanks-gratitude-board/

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Getaway

Every year my husband and I look forward to a conference in the Fall. This year it was from Friday, October 26 through Sunday, October 28, in Grapevine, Texas, in the Dallas area. It is a weekend getaway that we plan and save for every year. But it's not just any weekend getaway...it's a Messianic Conference. What's that? Well, it's an entire weekend of learning more about and praising the Lord. It's bonding with like-minded believers in Yeshua from all over the region. It's a time of coming together and feeling part of a whole. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. First let me tell you who runs the conference.
Our boys having fun in the children's class.

The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America is a group that brings together messianic congregations and synagogues from all over the nation. They have an annual national conference in Pennsylvania every year in July and then about 4 regional conferences throughout the year. The conference is full of events like, praise and worship concerts, Torah service, Shabbat service, singles mixers, youth groups, nursery and children's programs, adult classes on specific teachings by Rabbis and Messianic instructors, dance symposiums where you learn Davidic dancing, and so much more.
We always have a great time and we come back so relaxed and renewed.
It is a blessing to be in a room of 200, 300, sometimes 400 people who have like-minded views and call themselves Messianic. Sometimes, being a Messianic can be lonely. Most Messianic congregations and synagogues are relatively small compared to Christian churches who are not only more numerous, but will always have the mega-churches in their mix. I have yet to visit a Messianic mega-synagogue. But I am hopeful!
I am just grateful to be able to attend a conference and feel like I'm part of a bigger mishpacha (family) than I see every week at my home congregation. I am blessed to share talents and discussions and praise time with believers who have the same goal in mind, and that is: To serve Yeshua and reach the unsaved Jewish people.
If you have never been to a Messianic conference before, I encourage you to seek one out! We have been going for 7 years and have always been blessed. The conference we attend are the ones hosted by the MJAA, for more information about those go to their website http://www.MJAA.org.
Following is a short video I recorded during the last concert of the conference. Paul Wilbur was singing. More people came that night than had been for the entire conference, since he is such a famous praise & worship singer. I wanted to capture the feeling of warmth I felt. There were people of all ages, races, and backgrounds worshiping together. No one had to be told to stand to worship. Some people were even kneeling and laying prostrate, some were dancing. Some were blowing shofars. Some were weeping. And it was all so beautiful. Forgive me for my amateur video, I didn't do so well, but it was hard to stay still while praising and recording the video.
  video
You don't have to be Jewish to attend a Messianic conference. You don't even have to be a Messianic to attend a Messianic conference. My prayer is that if you've never been to one before, you make a goal to attend the next one in your area and get fed by people who have a love for the Lord, His people and serve His Son, Yeshua. You will blessed beyond measure!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Last...but not Least: My Marathon Story

I did it! I finished my marathon! I can slap my 26.2 sticker on my van! Was it worth it? Absolutely! Will I run another marathon? No thank you. Here's my story...
I signed up for the early start at 7 AM because during my training I was averaging 14 minutes per mile. Official start time was 8 AM and the barricades would be torn down at 2 PM. So I figured I needed the hour cushion. Saturday I went to the expo to pick up my packet. I saw all these really fit people picking up their packets and then there was me. I am not fit. But I was happy to be a part of this group. I bought my 26.2 sticker to put on my van because I am going to finish this thing, no matter what! I asked the registration workers what time I should show up and they said, it didn't really matter because it's electronic and the race starts when I cross the start and ends when I cross the finish. I thought...O..K.
I couldn't sleep all night. I was so anxious. I needed to get some sleep, but I was too worried and excited and just hyped up. All those relaxation techniques I'd read about in the marathon training book were not working. So I prayed and finally fell asleep. I'm up at 5:30 AM. We agreed that Guillo would just carry the boys to the van in their pajamas and they would drop me off, then he'd take them back home, dress them, feed them, and come back to cheer me on throughout the race. So we didn't leave the house until 6:45. All the roads were blocked off and I was late to the starting time. I showed up and the runners were already running. So I had to make a mad dash to the starting point and ask if I can still start the race even though they already left. Thankfully they let me. I started at 7:05 AM.
By myself. Which in retrospect was okay. I trained all by myself. So why shouldn't I start that way? Besides, God was with me. I was gonna be fine.
The first 4 miles were easy and went really fast. I was super pumped up. D-day was here. It would all be over soon, or so I thought. At 13.1 miles I was still feeling pretty good. Seeing my husband and the boys was awesome! I was still excited.
Just after mile 16, I almost got lost. I was at an intersection and no one was there to tell me which way to go. I asked some runners who were walking and had just finished the marathon and they couldn't remember, but told me that left was mile 24. Well that's not the right way. So I went forward when the person in front of me had turned left. I had to call Guillo, who I had just passed, and ask him to look at the map and make sure I was going the right way. I was and then he caught up with me at mile 17.
After that, Guillo and the boys were by my side...in the van. Later, Guillo would tell me that he had planned to stick with me in the end. He knew that I had only gone as far as 18 miles in my training, so he wanted to be there for me at the end. Isn't that just the sweetest? He's the best husband in the whole world!
At mile 19, I started to suspect that I was the last one, or at least one of the last few people. All the water stops were closing down. Which was disturbing, because I would not be able to last without some Gatorade. I eventually had to ask Guillo to bring me some.
Mile 20 went right in front of our friend's house. I had seen the map of the course, but I actually didn't look at it too much, as evidence from my almost getting lost, so I didn't even know I'd be running by their house. Guillo drove ahead of me and asked them to come out and cheer me on. That was pretty neat. It was support when I needed it.
And then I saw the workers tearing down the mile markers. I was starting to think negative thoughts. "How humiliating. I can't believe I'm last. Very last? Really?" But then I had to just start thinking, "It doesn't matter. I'm finishing!" And I kept thinking that over and over.
At mile 23, I asked Guillo, "Will it ever end?" And he said "You can do it! You're almost there!"
It was surreal. The sound of the road blocks and mile markers being torn down right after I passed each one was intimidating. But I'm very thankful to the workers for not tearing them down before I reached them. They were great. The officers working the intersections were so supportive. "You can do it ma'am!" You're almost there!"
After mile 24, Guillo couldn't follow me anymore. They had taken the road blocks down and moved me to the sidewalk. A PF worker followed me in a golf cart and kept supporting me. "Look! You can see the Hyatt. You're almost there!" he said.
At this point I was half walking and limping. I probably looked like Igor. But, I was moving forward and I was grateful to not be flat on my face. I pass marker 26. Only .2 miles left! "Over the bridge and you're home!" the golf cart man said. I started to pick my pace up to try to mimic a jog. I see my husband and boys at the finish line. I see two of our friends there, too. I see a woman waving a shirt and medal. I SEE THE END! Then my boys run towards me. They each take my hand and run with me to the finish line. It was SO precious. It was the best feeling and the highlight of the whole marathon! I started to cry. My husband was crying (he told me later). I crossed the finish line holding my sons' hands at 2:36 PM. It took me 7:31:37. They give me my medal with a pin on it that says, "Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which trumps Did Not Start."  A worker beings me fruit and a whole pizza and cold Gatorade. They immediately start to tear down the finish line. And I am just surprised that I am still standing up. Seriously...can I sit down? My friend opens our van, which Guillo had pulled up right the the finish line, and I finally sit and eat my fruit and thank God it is over and I have finished. I was last. Dead last. But I finished. That was my goal. 806 people registered for the marathon, but only 723 finished. I am not an athlete. I am not an elite runner. I am not even a well trained runner. I am a 38-year-old mother of two preschoolers who loves salty foods and indulges in Oreo cookies and loves to watch movies. And I finished a marathon. I jogged, walked and limped through 26.2 miles. And I am happy. I am grateful. I am blessed to have been able to do it. I can tell my sons that perseverance is worth it. Comparing your achievements to another person's is meaningless. Being grateful for what you have accomplished, no matter how long it took you to do it, is a great feeling and something that no one can take away from you.
So, will I run another marathon? No. But I'm happy I did it. Will I stop running? No! Next year, I'm signing up for the half marathon and Lord willing, I'll be doing a whole lot of 5Ks in between. :)

My boys running with me to the finish line.
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
 
My wonderful husband and me at the finish line.
To see the results of the marathon, go to the Prairie Fire Marathon website at http://prairiefiremarathon.com/ Click on marathon results and go to the last page to see my name. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yom Kippur Unplugged

It's no secret to those who know me that the Fall Feasts are my absolute favorite!!! I L-O-V-E this time of year! One of the appointed times is Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. While this is a more serious and somber time of reflection and repentance, it is also joyous in knowing the blood of the Lamb has redeemed us and we are cleansed through His sacrifice. The ultimate and final sacrifice. And because of that sacrifice, and our faith in Yeshua, our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. So after a day of fasting, you break the fast with a joyous celebration and of course FOOD!
We have fasted during this feast every year. About the only time I didn't was one year when I was 6 months pregnant during Yom Kippur and there was no way I could not eat every two hours. Fasting is such a blessing. If you have never experienced the act of fasting, it really trains you to take control of your thoughts. It seems our flesh is easily attracted to the things we shouldn't have, especially when it is food. So during a fast and a holy day such as Yom Kippur, you have to make a conscience effort to keep your mind off food and on the Lord. You reflect on the sins you know you did the last year and repent for those as well as the sins you are unaware of and you acknowledge the sacrifice that was made to cleanse you from those sins. You acknowledge Yeshua. It's a great time of reflection and worship.
Since children are usually exempt from the fasting laws and last year was the first year that my boys could really "understand" Yom Kippur, we added a family tradition. We did not turn on a television during the Yom Kippur fast. So what happened? We actually had to spend time with each other! It was great. I'm not saying we don't do that on occasion, but on Yom Kippur, it was more special because we could use the time to discuss with our children about Yeshua's sacrifice and what sin means.
This year I am going to unplug completely. No television, radio, computer, or cell phone. What did we do before the cell phone? I am even going to exclude all books and magazines unless they are scripture related.
I am excited to see how the world will continue to turn and how our lives will still go on without all these technological gadgets in play. I am planning some intimate story time and discussion for my family and maybe even a craft centering around the Lamb of God and His Book of Life. This Yom Kippur is going to be off the hook!
Leviticus 16:29 "This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;"

Leviticus 23:27 "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement ; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the LORD."

Revelation 21:22-27 "I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there ) its gates will never be closed ; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life."
 Read last year's blog on the Fall Feasts Fever.

Friday, August 17, 2012

And then I was running!

One evening, as my family and I were driving around running errands, my husband stopped at a convenience store for gas. My husband and the man putting in gas on the other side of the pump began a conversation and from inside the vehicle, I assumed my husband knew him from somewhere. When my husband got back in the van, I asked him who the man was and he said, "I don't know." (Now those of you who know my husband know that people just talk to him for no reason, that's just one of his gifts.) Then he told me that the man was traveling to Seattle, and made some comment about not knowing how long it would take to get there. My husband then told him, "Just keep moving forward! That's what it's all about!"
Now where had I heard that before? Hmmm...
I am training for a marathon. I am not, nor have I ever considered myself a runner. The last time I ran was in high school. I wanted to run hurdles, but because I was one of the only ones who could run a mile, I was the long-distance runner. I hated it. I always came in last. It was not good for a teenage girl's self esteem. In fact, when the home track meet came closer, I quit the track team so that I could avoid the embarrassment of the entire school seeing me trudge in dead last in the race.
So why run a marathon? I was inspired! Why not work at accomplishing something that seemed impossible? After all, can't I do all things through Him who strengthens me? One of the things that I want to be is a positive role model for my children. And I want my boys to see, that with hard work and perseverance, you can accomplish anything. I want them to see the importance of staying fit and being healthy. And this seemed perfect. I don't have to go to a set class, I make my own hours, I don't have to rely on someone to push me, I can work on my own endurance mentally and physically. It has been great. I don't have a fast pace. But hey, I'm out there. I have gone farther than I thought I ever would. The longest distance I've ran all at once to date is 12.12 miles. Throughout the training so far, I have ran a total of over 100 miles. If someone would have told me that I would have accomplished that a year ago, I would have laughed hysterically as I was sitting on my couch and eating my whole bag of chips and guacamole with my 32 oz. of Diet Pepsi!
But look how far I've come already by the grace of the Lord! And you know what? I'm having fun. I'm moving forward. When things get hard, I just take one step at a time.
And now I more fully understand my faith race.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
I thought this was about staying strong in your faith, keeping on the path and not straying away from the Lord. After all this training, I see that it means so much more. Paul goes on to say this:
Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim ; I box in such a way, as not beating the air ; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27
I've got to constantly be in training spiritually. Learning more about my faith, renewing myself in the Word daily, practicing my walk with the Lord, and fine tuning my stride so that I can be a better witness. I've gotta walk the walk. It's not good to be complacent in my faith. I should never think, "Everything is fine just the way it is." It's like that old adage, "If you don't use it, you loose it." I have to exercise my spiritual muscle. I've gotta live my life like I trained for it. I have a better understanding of what Paul was trying to convey. I get it now. All thanks to running.
So now, when I stumble during my runs, or in my spiritual life, I just think, "Just keep moving forward." I want to live my life in constant training, moving one foot in front of the other to gain endurance. Even if I have to crawl across the finish line, I'm not dropping out of this race! If I'm last, I'm going to raise my hands and praise the Lord that I finished, and He is the prize!
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Watching Every Second!

We had our first ER visit. The boys and I were at the grocery store. I was getting cilantro into a bag, and then...crash. I turn to find both my children on the cement floor. Judah had the grocery cart on top of him. And he has kicking his legs and screaming. I lifted the cart and cradled him while several people came over to me talking and talking....
I was just in a haze. You know how in movies people are in shock and they show all the people's voices muted and their mouths are moving, but the person doesn't hear them? That was me. All I could hear was Judah screaming. I looked into his eyes and his eyes were so red! I wanted to throw up. I grabbed Guillito's hand, who wasn't hurt, just scared, and left immediately. I loaded the boys into the van and drove to the nearest ER. The whole time talking to him and trying to keep him from falling asleep and also feeling so guilty for not watching them. But really, I was just picking out cilantro. It was an accident. But I couldn't shake the guilt. I should be watching them every second so that these things don't happen!
It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn about the Lord while parenting my children. I realize that I cannot watch my children every second. It's humanly impossible. But God does watch me every second, and He watches my children every second of every day. It is by His grace and protection that Judah didn't end up with a scull fracture or worse. Judah had a very large hematoma on the back of his head. And it was very sore and very painful for a few days. Now, five days later, he has a normal-sized bump on his head and that's all. He never had vomiting, or dizziness, or any other symptoms. I am so grateful to the Lord!
How amazing to know that the Lord is watching us every second. It's easy to forget. And while things happen that may hurt us, or cause us to stumble, He is always there to help us up and cradle us in His arms, to comfort us, and care for us.
As a mother, it's comforting to know the Lord succeeds when I fail. As a child of the Lord, it's comforting to know the Lord watches over me every second and is there for me whenever I need Him. I cannot imagine not having the Lord as my protector and shield. Just as I'm sure, a child can't imagine not having a parent or guardian to nurture and care for them. We would be lost. And whether you are Jew or Gentile, if you are a child of the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, if you believe His Son, Yeshua, died for you, then you have that protection. Not just from the occasional bump on the head, but from the afflictions on your soul! Praise Adonai!
"I lift up my eyes to the hills-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip-- he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm-- he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." - Psalm 121


This is one of my favorite songs from Paul Wilbur. It came to mind as I was writing this and I believe it fits perfectly. I hope you like it too!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Order in the House

I'll give you three guesses as to what I'm planning to accomplish this summer. When I got pregnant with my second son, I was discussing the fact that the boys would be 17 months apart with another woman who had two of her children that close. She told me, "I refer to the year after my second was born as the 'black hole'." I didn't know then, just how right she was!
I have always been a very orderly and organized person. I could multi-task and get things done in record time. But as soon as I became a mother, that slowed down. Then becoming a mother of more than one child so close together made my accomplishments in anything come to a complete halt. I was under the illusion that I could continue doing everything I normally did while taking care of two toddlers, and I was SO wrong! After much stressing, freaking out, kvetching and just plain fit throwing...all by me, of course, I changed my foolish thinking. I have pared back my to-do-lists and tried to focus more on the home and my family. I feel much better and I am not so stressed and much less hurried, frustrated and frazzled. But now that I have slowed myself down, I look around at my house and think...'Who lives here?'
I have become a pack rat! And a disorderly one at that! I didn't realize that in my haze of busy motherhood, I would move things from one place to another, stacking and stacking and stuffing, until those places were full of everything under the sun. Sadly, with no rhyme or reason. I'm not saying my house in untidy, or dirty. It's picked up and clean most of the time. I'm talking about disorganization. Do I know where my marriage license is? Are all my irreplaceable pictures in one place? Where is the house insurance policy? Can I keep all the yarn in one place so that I stop buying the same color yarn every time I start a new crocheting project? Why are the shorts packed in the winter bins? How many glue guns do I need? And it goes on and on!
I was speaking to a dear friend of mine and I said, I don't understand why I can't keep order in my home. I use to be the manager of a collection agency and a supervisor of a hospital business office early in my adulthood, and yet I can't seem to run my own household. She responded,"Not enough people on the payroll." So true. It's not my fault..or is it?
Then I went to service on the Shabbat before Mother's Day and the Rabbi read from Proverbs 31, of which Eshet Chayil, the Jewish Shabbat hymn, is based. What stood out at me was the verse 27.

"She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

Well, I just sat there. I thought, I can't say that about myself. I'd rather watch a movie and do my nails while the kids are taking their nap than to go through my pack rat piles and restore order to my house. So, just as it is when the Lord's Word strikes a chord in your being and will not stop, I had to make a change. It was time for me to look well to the ways of my household. It needs to run like a well-lubed machine. I'm not necessarily going to press that old adage 'a place for everything and everything in it's place' because quite frankly, with 4 and 3 year-olds in the house that's laughable. But I can strive to have the kind of order that gives me peace when I sit down and watch that movie and do my nails, knowing that I don't have clutter looming in the dark places of my house.
First, I am rejecting the need to buy every new gadget and nick knack just because it promises to be useful or fun and it's cheap. Do we really need it to survive? Most of the time, no. And I would be better to save those $1 or $20 buys here and there in the bank and spend it on family outings, creating memories that are irreplaceable and that will last a lifetime. I am rejecting the American mentality of more is better. I'm reworking my mentality to accept a minimalist kind of thinking. And focusing more on what the Lord has already provided us, a family. But most of all , I don't want my children to think it's okay to have lots of stuff. Especially when so many people in the world do without.
Secondly, I need to have systems in place that help me prevent clutter, rather than contributing to it. I need systems that handle incoming mail, and school handouts, stocking and maintaining pantry items, clothing needs for the ever-growing boys, planning and preparing healthy meals for the whole family, etc.
Finally and most importantly, I have to balance my orderly household goal so that I am including my family in the process while still making sure we have quality family time. Some days I get so wrapped up in my to-do-lists, my quality family time evaporates. It's not fair to anyone. After all , they're only this age once.
Since I've made this commitment, I am pleased to say I have reorganized the laundry area, my cleaning supplies, my home office, and reconstructed a closet to handle more items more efficiently. It's a slow process, but I've already realized progress and it makes me happy.
I am confident that this is something I can accomplish. Why? Because the Lord speaks in His word about a Woman of Valor, and it is something we can all strive to achieve. With the Lord, it is possible!
"Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future." Proverbs 31:25

 And I want to be able to "smile at the future." What a beautiful sentiment. Next time someone says "Keep on smiling", I'll remember the Lord and His word.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dayenu - My Testimony

I was asked to give my testimony, so since I had to write it all down, I decided to add it to my blog. Those who know me, know my story and have heard it many times. I will never stop telling my story. We all have testimonies of what God has done for us. Please always share your stories for the glory of God.
"Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable . One generation shall praise Your works to another, And shall declare Your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, And I will tell of Your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness And will shout joyfully of Your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and merciful ; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom And talk of Your power ; To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts And the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom." Psalm 45:2-12


We are in the middle of celebrating the Passover season. The first night of Passover begins with a Seder, or dinner. During the Seder you read a Haggadah, meaning “The Telling”, about the story found in Exodus, God’s salvation and deliverance of the Hebrews from bondage. One of the traditions is to sing a song called “Dayenu” – which in Hebrew means “It would have been enough” or “It would have been sufficient.” I’m telling you all this, because this is the background for my testimony.

This season will forever remind me of how the Lord gave me personal deliverance from my own bondage that was affecting my faith. Infertility. Some of you may share the same kind of story. My husband and I have been married for almost 16 years now. After 3 years of marriage we started trying for children. For 7 years, we tried. We did fertility treatments, and called on all our friends and church family to pray. 7 long years. It was agonizing. I began to think, “Why? What did I do wrong? Why was I being punished?”

My faith was wavering. I was depressed and losing myself in my circumstance. Then just before Passover about 5 years ago, I went to lunch with a dear friend of mine and had a complete breakdown. I just poured out my sorrow all over the place in the middle of Chipotle. I explained to my friend that I was feeling so guilty and ashamed. The Passover season was going to start and we’re going to sing Dayenu and I don’t even feel worthy to sing it. Why don’t I feel like God’s deliverance is enough for me? Why do I want more? Isn’t it enough that he sent his son for my eternal salvation? And I am angry because He won’t give me a child? What is my problem? That friend is a prayer warrior, and I have no doubt that the Lord heard hers and everyone else’s prayers that had been lifted up for 7 years because after that something changed in me. I decided that if this is the way it is suppose to be, then I wanted my prayers and the prayers of people who prayed for me to be that I would be content with God alone. That He would be sufficient for me. Passover was coming, and I should embrace the “It is enough” mentality. God is enough for me. If I never become a mother…God is enough. If I can never bear my husband’s child…God is enough. If I can never have the joy of nursing my own child…God is enough. I celebrated that Passover without my yoke of infertility. In fact I was pregnant and didn’t even know it. I found out about a month later, and the next January I had my first son. I have two boys now, because as you know, when you pray, sometimes the flood gates of heaven open up and the Lord just keeps on giving! Just after the Seder this last Friday, my husband and I were lamenting about how the boys kept us on our toes the whole Seder and they were so loud and running all over the place, you know, basically being normal 4 and 2 year olds, during a 3 hour Seder. And one of the Elders in our congregation commented, “But you know, that’s what we all prayed for. We prayed for those children. That’s what I think about every time I hear them. We prayed for those children. And now they’re here.” When I look at my boys, I remember that the Lord answers prayer. Maybe not right away, but He does.

I heard a teaching once and I never forgot it. It was at a Messianic conference and the Rabbi said, Sometimes as we go through our trials it’s easy to say, “Oh why is this happening? Why am I going through this?” But people, the point is you’re going THROUGH it. God doesn’t leave you there to wallow in it! No! He brings you through it, to the other side, where you are better and tougher than you were before.” That’s’ how I feel about what I went through. I truly believe that my faith was enriched and I grew closer to the Lord because of my infertility problem. Who knows if I would have the walk I have with the Lord now, if I had never gone through that. 

This time of year is so precious to me. During Passover the Lord reminds me that no matter what I am going through, He will be enough for me. Whatever He gives me or doesn’t give me, it will be sufficient. He is sufficient.

This is a lesson I have to remember to apply to other areas of my life. I didn’t end up with the career I thought I would have, but God is sufficient. I don’t have the body I’d like to have, but God is sufficient. I may not be as financially stable as I’d like to be, but God is sufficient. And He always will be. God gave His Son, to die for all of us. He is sufficient.
"And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have abundance for every good deed" 2 Corinthians 9:8

I'm thankful for the opportunity to share my testimony. I hope that as the Passover season ends, we all take the lesson of Dayenu with us throughout the year!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Counting Up

The Passover season is upon us and with it the hustle and bustle of cleaning homes and getting prepared for the days of Unleavened Bread. I usually am so focused on this that I miss what comes next. The counting of the Omer. The Omer is the span of days in between the 1st day of Passover and Shavuot which total 7 weeks. Shavuot is the Feast of Weeks, also known as Pentecost (because it occurs on day 50).
“You shall count seven weeks for yourself; you shall begin to count seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Then you shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with a tribute of a freewill offering of your hand, which you shall give just as the Lord your God blesses you." Deuteronomy 16:9-10
I'd rather not look at the counting of the 49 days of the Omer as a countdown, but rather a counting up, or a counting forward to the great time of out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. It is a joyous occasion and something to look forward to!

I have seen instances where congregations choose these 49 days as a time to have targeted prayer. I have always thought that this was a great idea. So I wrote my own list and this is the targeted prayer I will pray each day during the Omer. Feel free to print this out and join me in prayer!

49 Days of Targeted Prayer During the Omer:
1. I pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.
2. I pray for the unborn, that they may not see abortion.
3. I pray for the orphans, that they know a father with Adonai.
4. I pray for those without husbands, that the Lord will be their covering.
5. I pray for the people with cancer, that they receive healing and are blessed with Shalom.
6. I pray for the family unit, that it returns to a focus on the Lord of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
7. I pray for the abused and beaten, that they find relief and hope in Adonai.
8. I pray for our youth, because they will be our leaders.
9. I pray for those who need jobs.
10. I pray for the poor.
11. I pray for the opportunity to witness and for the Holy Spirit to use me.
12. I pray for the unsaved souls, that they may see Yeshua and be filled with the Holy Spirit!
13. I pray for the future of my children.
14. I pray for the school systems who are molding the next generation.
15. I pray for people with financial stress.
16. I pray for people with spiritual stress.
17. I pray for people who are missionaries.
18. I pray for missionaries whose lives are at risk at this moment.
19. I pray for the eyes of Jewish people to open to their Messiah.
20. I pray for the leaders of our congregations, churches and synagogues.
21. I pray for the leaders of our cities and towns.
22. I pray for the leaders of our states and nations.
23. I pray for Barack Obama, the President of the United States specifically.
24. I pray for Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister specifically.
25. I pray for my husband, the leader of our household.
26. I pray for people who own and run their own businesses.
27. I pray for charitable organizations such as the Red Cross, and the United Way.
28. I pray for the financial stability of our nation.
29. I pray for the preservation of the freedom to worship the God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.
30. I pray for the wisdom to prepare for end times.
31. I pray for the wisdom to bring my children up in the way they should go, so they do not depart from the Lord.
32. I pray for the adversary to be bound and cast out of our congregations, churches and synagogues.
33. I pray for a repentant heart to fall on all peoples, so they may seek the Lord's forgiveness and grace.
34. I pray for the people of God to learn to live healthier lifestyles so they can be better equipped to do the Lord's work.
35. I pray for the protection on God's people when they are witnessing to the nations.
36. I pray for the Christian churches to gain a better knowledge of the Feast Days of the Lord and how it applies to their life.
37. I pray for the United States armed forces serving in active duty or who are deployed away from home and their families.
38. I pray for the Israeli armed forces and their families.
39. I pray for the farmers and their crops.
40. I pray for a mild summer without harsh temperatures.
41. I pray for the work of my hands and that of my husband's to be pleasing to the Lord.
42. I pray for relationships to be mended in families and friends in the body of Messiah.
43. I pray that I do not get in the way of Your plans You have for me, Lord, please help me to live out Your will.
44. I pray for runaways.
45. I pray for gang members, drug dealers, prostitutes and other people like them, that they turn from their ways and seek out the Lord's ways.
46. I pray for the moral standard of society to rise up to the Lord's standard.
47. I pray for forgiveness of my sins, for trampling on the blood of Yeshua each time I sin.
48. I pray for whatever need or person enters my mind at this moment.
49. I pray for righteousness to rain down on us.
"You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the LORD, have created it." Isaiah 45:8
Passover is about the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world. Shavuot is when He sends back the Holy Spirit to help us until His return. Don't miss the point...He showers us with His Spirit until His return!! Baruch Hashem! Blessed is (His) Name!
"All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:25-27

Monday, March 19, 2012

Do Over

Have you ever been on a diet? Have you ever struggled with losing weight? This has been the story of my life since finishing college. Why? Well, that's a very loaded question. Why. I could blame married life, I could blame having children, I could blame a lot of things, but that would just be placing blame, rather than taking ownership.
Two years ago, my husband and I jumped on the Biggest Loser band wagon and began their 30-Day Jump Start. It was amazing! The pounds just melted off. And we didn't even do the exercise program that came with it. We just did the strict diet and lost the weight. We looked and felt better. I lost over 35 pounds. I went from a size 20 to size 14. I was so happy. I gave all my fat clothes away and was able to go shopping for skinny clothes. It was a dream come true!
But then we went on vacation and several splurges later, I was right back to eating fattening foods and overindulging. I am ashamed to say that I have almost gained every pound back. I am already toying with size 18! What a disaster! What happened?
At the time I was so distressed, I was invited to join a book study at Central Christian Church. The book is called Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. The study was about how to crave God, not food. I don't think it was a coincidence that this happened to be offered at the same time I was distressing over my weight regain. God's timing is perfect! It was a great study!
It is distressing to me to realize how I have used food to "fix" or "fill" things in my life instead of God. It is very hard for me to tell everyone that, but it's true. So, here I am. I'm going to "do over" my quest to get healthy. This time exercise will be coupled with my eating plan and I will stay committed because I understand that my crutch doesn't have to be food, because I have the Lord. Amen! I'm not saying I won't falter, but I know that I can have ultimate success when God is on my side. Praise the Lord!

So armed with  my new inspiration from the class and working through my food issues, I created a eating plan for 40 days. (That's the calendar in the picture.) It was a lot of work but I am so happy it's done. It is like a weight has been lifted. Being a stay at home mom, you may think it is easy to eat healthy, but actually, if I don't have a healthy eating plan mapped out, that's when I will run through the drive-thru in between errands, school and doctor visits. So, I took what I learned from Biggest Loser and tweaked it to match our tastes. Then I took a popular menu board idea I found on a blog called RobbyGurl's Creations (http://robbygurlscreations.blogspot.com) and made it my own. Instead of using the menu board for only planning dinner, I made a menu board that plans my day menus as well as dinner. And with 40 days planned out, I can cycle the days and not have a lot of repetition throughout the year. My husband and I are so excited and we began the healthy eating on March 1st. Last week we didn't even look at the calendar, because we had company. But that's okay. We're back to it now and with the planning, comes relief and peace for the day's food choices.
The next thing I am going to do is make an exercise plan. I'm setting a goal to be able to run a marathon. It's going to be a great journey. I know I'll have the Lord with me and He can be my strength, when I feel like I can't continue. Now you may think, "What does eating healthy have to do with living a life for the Lord?" I think it is very important to take care of the bodies the Lord has given us. There are a lot of scriptures where the Lord talks about how important food and discipline is, but one in particular stands out to me.



"They willfully put God to the test by demanding the food they craved." Psalm 78:18
Now we all know the story. The Israelites are saved in the Exodus and as they settle in the wilderness with the Lord to protect them and provide for them, He is giving them Manna to eat, food from heaven! Yet they are unsatisfied. I had seen the obvious life lesson, but I had never before seen this applicable to my issues with food until I read Made to Crave. Lysa does a great job in presenting how God's Word can help us in this every day struggle and how it is completely applicable. God's Word came alive for me with this stumbling block, and I am confident that this time, taking Yeshua with me each step of the way, I will make a permanent change.
If you are looking for a chance to "do over" your quest for a healthy lifestyle I suggest the following:
  1. Central Christian Church will have another class of the Made to Crave Book study in June. Watch for it at www.ccc.org
  2. If you don't live in the area, get the book at the author's website www.MadetoCrave.org or on Amazon.
  3. The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start is an excellent way to lose weight and learn how to eat and what to plan. You can find the book at Amazon.
To those women who were in the book study with me, thank you so much for your stories and commitment. Each one of you are an inspiration and a joy to know! I pray God showers His Shalom on you all!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Purim: Party On!

Purim is such a fun festival, and I am so glad I have children to share in the crafts, baking, costume making, game playing, storytelling and just plain fun! Purim is the biblical feast that celebrates the Lord's salvation of the Jewish people from annihilation using Queen Esther. It is also known as the Feast of Lots, since Haman casted lots to determine what date he would destroy the Jewish people. The story is recited in synagogues and Messianic congregations from the Book of Esther. It is a great story. And of course, it has many traditions! Hamantachen are the traditional cookie that is made to mimic the hat, or some say the ears, of the villain, Haman. Children and adults dress in biblical costume with special focus on dressing like the good guys, Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus and Mordechai. While the story, or Megillah, as the scroll of the Book of Esther is called, is being read, the audience yells "Yay!" for the heros Esther and Mordechai and "Boo!" for the nemesis, Haman. Traditional noisemakers for the event are used, called graggers. There are expensive and elaborate graggers,  or inexpensive mass-produced graggers you can buy, but I think the best ones are those made by the children themselves.
So the boys and I ventured to make our own graggers! Below are the instructions. If you have never celebrated Purim, I encourage you to make this easy craft with your children. Even small toddlers can accomplish this craft. Then, have them dress in costume (any sheet can make a biblical costume and couple that with a self-made crown and you have Queen Esther and King Ahasuerus already!) and read the Purim story out loud to them. Don't be afraid to read the whole story from your own bible, rather than a children's bible. The fun is getting to boo and yell during the story, so wait patiently after each main character's name to give them a chance to join in the fun. Have a blessed Purim filled with lots of Simcha (Joy)! Party on!
These graggers turned out so great and are really loud! The boys can't wait to take them to the Purim Spiel on Friday!





Paper Plate Gragger Instructions


Items Needed:
paper plate (sturdy dinner plate with lip on edge is best)
buttons, beads or dry beans
water colors
sponge craft brush
2-3 pipe cleaners
gift wrap ribbon assortment
single hole punch




1. Let the children paint their own original designs on the bottom of the plate.


2. After the plate is dry, fold it in half, and punch holes around the edges. Be sure to hold the sponge craft brush in place on one end and make sure the first two hole punches are close enough that the beads won't fall through but far apart enough to fit the handle of the brush through. Then punch the rest of the holes about 1/2 inch apart.


3. Let the children choose which buttons or beads they want to use and set them aside. It doesn't take much to make the noises. My children picked out about 3 times more than we needed, but that's okay. They didn't  notice that I didn't use them all.

4. Cut 8 inch strips of the ribbons. You'll need enough for half of the amount of holes that you made around the edge of the plate.


5. Cut 4 feet of one ribbon color. I let each of the boys choose their favorite color. This also helps in identifying their own gragger later! Use this longer ribbon to tie and wrap around the sponge craft brush. I folded it in half first, then tied it to the brush, then looped it around and through the first two punches I designated for it earlier.


6. Carefully place the beads and buttons in the paper plate. Then tie the remaining 8 inch strips of ribbon on every other hole punched from the handle. If the children are too small to tie, let them choose which color comes next.


7. Let the children use the pipe cleaners to weave through all the holes along the edge. Any way they choose as long as they get it nice and tight so no beads fall out. Weave ends in. This is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers to practice those motor skills!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Come Here

Come here. Ven aqui. Bohu he'na. Whether you say it in English, Spanish, or Hebrew, it's still a simple phrase. They are two little words and yet, they are most ignored and quite possibly the most difficult to obey. I cannot tell you how many times I myself have said "come here" to my children without a response, with an opposite response, and with a hopeless response. Most parents know what I mean. It's at these times that I remember the stand-up comedy of Bill Cosby and his recounting of how his beautiful wife became an ugly monster of a woman with a contorted face, repeating everything she said over and over again with increasing speed and volume to no avail, all on the account of motherhood. Yes, that's exactly how I feel sometimes. And yet, it was at this very moment that I learned something from the Lord. Here I am trying to get my children to heed my "come here" plea and getting so frustrated in the process. Don't they realize that I'm trying to help them out? Come here and put your coat on. Come here and eat your food. Come here and take a nap. Come here and take a bath. Come here and play with this instead of messing with that. Come here and pick up your toys. Come here and stay by my side so you don't get lost! Ahhh!
Yes. It was like a ton of bricks. How many times is the Lord frustrated over me, His child, when He is calling me to "come here" and I do not heed His plea? Come here and put on My armor before you start your day. ("Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil." Ephesians 6:11) Come here and feast on the Bread of Life. ("Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst." John 6:35) Come here and rest in Me so that you may be renewed. ("My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him." Psalm 62:1) Come here and pray. ("pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17) Come here and hide My Word in your heart. ("These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. Deuteronomy 6:6) Come here and witness to My people. ("...Tend My sheep." John 21:17) Come here and be by My side so you do not get lost! ("Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming." 1 John 2:28)
Come here. It's a simple enough command, and yet, so hard to obey. I will have to pay closer attention to my Father's voice and heed His requests for my benefit. After all, He is only trying to help me out.
"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand." John10:27-28
All I have to do is listen. Now everytime I am trying to encourage my children to listen to me, I will be encouraged to listen to my Lord, my Father, my Savior. What a blessed reminder!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Check Your Expiration Date

I don't know if this ever happens to anyone else, but I seem to do it all the time. I was making myself a turkey sandwich today for lunch because first, I like sandwiches, and second they are easy, and third, they're cheap! But then I realize that the turkey is expired. Expires: December 24,2011. I'm always doing that..buying something that is either already expired, or is going to expire in the next few days, making it impossible to eat it all before it goes bad. I know that some things can last longer than the expiration date, but nine times out of ten, it goes bad before we can use it. Can anyone really go through a jar of mayonnaise in two days? How wasteful! And it's my fault because I didn't check the expiration date. Why? I'm usually shopping with my two boys and those of you who shop with preschoolers and toddlers know that it is a mad dash to get what you need until the first melt down happens! Other times I may be shopping alone or with only one child, and even then I am in a hurry to shop before I have to pick up the children, or am still chasing after the one child I took. In any case, taking the time to read the labels is not a luxury I can entertain.
This issue of expiration dates got me thinking about how important they really are. You have to check the expiration dates before you purchase an item, because apparently the grocery stores cannot keep up with this task. Also, You have to be on top of the expiration dates for items you already have so that you can make note of when you need to replace something. You have to prepare so that you can have things available when you need them. Expiration dates are very important, especially when you want to get fed or are trying to feed your family.
So it becomes obvious to me to be aware of my own expiration date. We all have them. We will all eventually expire and pass from this life into the next. How important it is to prepare! While we do not know when it will happen, our time will be up.
"All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return." Ecclesiastes 3:20

"For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten." Ecclesiastes 9:5
So, what do I need to do to prepare? I believe I need to make sure that I have the Word of the Lord in my heart before that day happens, so when it comes, I am secure in knowing where I will be. I need to make sure that I am doing my job with my children, so that they know that when we die, we go to heaven if we believe in God's son whom He sent to save us, Yeshua, our Messiah.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
If the expiration date of hummus and yogurt are so important, how much more important are our own expiration dates? To me, it's definitely food for thought!
"You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." Luke 20:12