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