Thursday, June 30, 2011

Priority #3 - My Children - Fill in the Blanks

If collectively homeschoolers had a nickel for every time someone asked us about socializing our children, we wouldn't have to worry about supplementing our income that is lost by choosing to stay at home and teach our own.

Homeschooling my children has not shielded them from the ignorance of others. Through their various extracurricular activities and personal pursuits, they have encountered racism, ignorance, foolishness, bisexual propositions, sexism, bullying, and a host of other socially deplorable situations that they are supposed to be missing by not attending the four walls of the institutional public school system.

Recently as I was working and thinking about a social problem that my Princess Butterfly has had to endure, I started meditating on the books of Psalms and Proverbs. Christianity, at times, has encouraged us to be doormats to mean-spirited people, but I feel that is contrary to the whole counsel of Scripture, particularly in regards to the Psalms and Proverbs. Rabbi Ralph Messer teaches that for every person in life assigned to walk with you, there is a person assigned to walk against you. I believe those people are identified in scripture as scoffers, scorners, and sometimes fools. If we don't learn to identify these people in our lives, we will be destined to be tied to them in one way or another and will continue to be annoyed and harassed by them.

I suggested to Princess Butterfly that as she reads through certain scriptures, to substitute her name and the names of her oppressors in the blanks. I have used ficticious names throughout.

For example:

Psalm 1:1-2 AMP: BLESSED (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable) is {Princess Butterfly} who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly {Minerva} [following {her}advice, {her}plans and purposes], nor stands [submissive and inactive] in the path where sinners like {Gertrude} walks, nor sits down [to relax and rest] where the scornful {Ethel} [and the mockers] gather. But {Princess Butterfly's} delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) {she} habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and by night.

Do you see how that works?

The book of Proverbs can help you to learn HOW to respond to people like this.

Proverb 26:4-5, "Answer not a [self-confident] fool {Agnes} according to {her} folly, lest you also be like {her}. Answer not a {Agnes} [self-confident] fool according to {her} folly, lest you also be like {her}."

I am not teaching her to go around calling people fools, but I am helping her to identify foolish behavior and respond to it in a godly manner.

In the same way, I taught her to substitute her own name in I Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP to ensure that HER behavior is above reproach:

{Princess Butterfly} endures long and is patient and kind; {Princess Butterfly} never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display {herself} itself haughtily. {Princess Butterfly} is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); {she} is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. {Princess Butterfly} does not insist on {her} own rights or its own way, for {she} is not self-seeking; {she} is not touchy or fretful or resentful; {she} takes no account of the evil done to {her} [{she} pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. {Princess Butterfly} does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. {Princess Butterfly} bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, {her} hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and {she} endures everything [without weakening].

As what always happens with homeschooling, while I'm schooling her, He is schooling me. (sigh)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Priority # 2 - My Husband - Sprit of Rebellion

Last week's Torah portion is about the Korah rebellion. More accurately, according to Hebrew4Chrisians, there are four different rebellions that take place in that Torah portion.
"Korach against Aaron; Dathan and Abiram against Moses, the tribal chiefs against Aaron, and finally, the entire community against Moses. The chief conspirator, however, was Korach, a member of the Kohathite clan who appears to be involved in all four of the rebellious movements."

After studying and meditating on this section of scripture, I came to the conclusion that the seed of rebellion is often fear. Consider the Apostle Peter's admonition to wives on the subject of submission in I Peter 3:6, written in the Amplified version:

It was thus that Sarah obeyed Abraham [following his guidance and acknowledging his headship over her by] calling him lord (master, leader, authority). And you are now her true daughters if you do right and let nothing terrify you [not giving way to hysterical fears or letting anxieties unnerve you].

The second seed of rebellion, I believe, comes from a lack of trust in YHWH. Remember how the children of Israel cried in their tents all night long because of the report of the 10 spies who had reconnoitered the land? Their lack of trust in the God who brought them out of Egypt led them to rebel and not enter the land. As a result, that generation NEVER got to enter the land.

How many blessings to I miss because of fear and unbelief? Oh the thought of it is overwhelming! My prayer is that Adonai will bring my anxieties to the forefront of my mind so that I can confess them and turn from them! He has given us such great promises and assurances in His word that he would be with us in our moments of great fear and doubt!

Granted, if you are married to an abusive husband, these words may not apply to you. Flee! may be the watchword for your situation, but for those who are not in that type of situation, consider these verses on fear with regards to being fearful in adaptation to our husbands (I was taught recently that in the Hebrew definition of the word that has been translated as submit in our English Bibles, it is more accurately described as the word "adapt.").

IN LIKE manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives.

Psalm 94:19 AMP: "In the multitude of my [anxious] thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul!"

Isaiah 43:2 AMP: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you."

Philippians 4:6-7 AMP: "Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God's peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."

Psalm 46:1-2 AMP: "GOD IS our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas."

I Peter 5:7 AMP: "Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully."

My toes are more than a little crushed as I read these verses because I KNOW I'm guilty of giving in to fear and thus at times acting out in rebellion. How are your toes feeling about now?


Monday, June 20, 2011

Priority # 1 - My God - Keep My Mouth Shut!

Leviticus 19:16 AMP, "You shall not go up and down as a dispenser of gossip and scandal among your people, nor shall you [secure yourself by false testimony or by silence and] endanger the life of your neighbor. I am the Lord."

Proverbs 18:8 AMP, "The words of a whisperer or talebearer are as dainty morsels; they go down into the innermost parts of the body."

The other day I saw something. It was something juicy. It was something secret. It was one of those things that make you go, "Oooooooo!" Have you been there? Have you been idly standing by and suddenly the curtain is pulled back and you see something you were not expecting to see? But just seeing something forbidden is never enough, is it? It is the telling of secrets that power is felt. In telling of a secret, we feel important. We feel powerful. Why? Because we are still holding our lives up and comparing them to others. We don't feel as if we are as sinful as Sister SuzyQ. When we are exposed to privileged information we forget, for a moment, the skeletons in our own closets.

I struggled with preventing what I saw from rolling off my tongue. The very fact that the struggle is there says something about our own nature. Look at Proverbs 17:4 “An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.” As believers, we belong to a kingdom whose commerce moves by means of sowing and reaping.

Galatians 5:14-15, "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!"

I have been the victim of vicious gossip and slander! Psalm 41:6 AMP, "And when one comes to see me, he speaks falsehood and empty words, while his heart gathers mischievous gossip [against me]; when he goes away, he tells it abroad." I know what it is like to be separated from loved ones because of the words of a slanderer. I still deal with the aftermath of it. "A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates close friends." Proverbs 16:28 AMP

Gossip is like a wildfire. You can't put it out. Once it starts there is nothing you can do to contain it. You can only hope that when it finally burns itself out and the spring rain comes with its new growth, that it covers the ugly, black scars with the promise of new relationships.

If you run across something juicy, remember to keep it in your mouth.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Priority #4 and #5 - My Home & Myself - Working it out.

Our Shavuot Feast was quite a blast. I think we made it our own and it is the beginning of establishing new traditions. Unfortunately, because of the computer problems I had last week, I was not able to take the day off as planned (the day after a festival is usually a Shabbat so that one can rest from the festivities), and so ended up sticking close to home so I could work in the afternoon.

In the morning, I got myself up and out of the house to work in the yard. I hand watered the front lawn that has seen much better days. It's just SAD. We got a postcard from the HOA telling us to encourage SOME growth. It's just so hard with the drought going on. I don't want to spend an arm and a leg at the water department. At the same time, while I was watering, I saw so many cigarette butts in the yard. With all the wildfires going on, it is definitely a concern.

Next I moved into the backyard and worked on my little square foot garden. Just SAD! By the time anything started to grow, the heat swallowed it up. My lettuce bolted before I even knew what in the world bolting was. I moved it into flower pots into a shadier part of the yard. No, I don't know why. I just did it. (sigh)

We finally pulled something up today that looked like it might have become a carrot, if we let it continue at its current rate of growth, in about January 2012. (sigh) My collard greens look so pretty (and small), but I'm told the 100+ degree heat we've been having will swallow them up. (sigh)

The tomatoes that we started from seedlings seem to be doing pretty well. We're starting to get some little yellow flowers. We've been cross pollinating them with a Q-tip, just in case the worldwide shortage of bees happens to be in our area. Boy Wonder and I took the smallest one today and put it in the Topsy-Turvy and hung it from the old swing-set. We'll see if it works.

I dug up my crop failure of carrots, spinach, and tomatoes that didn't survive transplant and put ONE watermelon seed in each square. Then I reserved a couple of books at the library on the subject of preserving and pickling watermelons. I'm going to benefit off of something in this garden, dog-gone-it!

For the future, I did find a nice planting calendar that the Texas A&M Aggies put together probably just for my benefit (be it known to all concerned, we are Baylor Bears and Texas Longhorns around this house). It is a nice chart that will tell me what to plant when so I don't end up having another season like this one. (sigh)

So, after all the stress of yard work, I thought I'd unwind at a yoga class at the Y. I haven't been to a Thursday class in quite a while, this was a new teacher. UNwind is quite the opposite of what we did! I can't tell you how many times the thought went through my head, "You want me to put my leg where???"

Sleep and I are about to become really good friends right about now.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Priority #3 - My Children - Celebrating Shavuot/Pentecost

This is the first year that our family has begun, in earnest, to celebrate all the appointed feasts of Adonai. This is different for all of us and we admittedly have emotional ties to all the pagan festivals we have celebrated in the past, even though we have never put up a Christmas tree. We knew that in order for what our heavenly Father said our children were supposed to ask, speaking of Passover, "When your children shall say to you, What do you mean by this service? You shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, for He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when He slew the Egyptians but spared our houses. And the people bowed their heads and worshiped." Exodus 12:26-27 AMP

My girls and I love figure skating. Our favorite competition is the freestyle. In the freestyle competition, you do have some required elements, but the creativity is limitless. That's how I see making these feast days our own. There are some required elements to some of them, but for the most part, we are to be creative and make them our own, in order for them to become a part of who we are as a family.

Take a look at these two scriptures from the book of Acts. One is written in the Amplified Version and the other in the Complete Jewish Bible.

"AND WHEN the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place." Acts 2:1 AMP

"The festival of Shavu'ot arrived, and the believers all gathered together in one place." Acts 2:1 CJB

The Book of Daniel tells us, in versus 12:3-4 that in the last days, knowledge will increase.
And the teachers and those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness (to uprightness and right standing with God) [shall give forth light] like the stars forever and ever. But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the Book until the time of the end. [Then] many shall run to and fro and search anxiously [through the Book], and knowledge [of God's purposes as revealed by His prophets] shall be increased and become great.

I believe we are in the last days and more knowledge is available than ever before because of the internet. It has been through this that we discover that the early disciples were still celebrating the feasts. I also believe that the more we learn about them, the more we discover how prophetic they are.

So these are some of the things we will be doing to celebrate Shavuot/Pentecost:

Reading through the Chag Shavuot Power Point slides from Hoshana Rabbah's website.

Helping the children make homemade ice cream in a bag.

Eating other dairy foods, after all, He was bringing them to a land flowing with MILK and honey. I thought maybe we'd throw in some spicy things to represent the fire of Pentecost.

Read through the book of Ruth and learn the function of a kinsman redeemer (Yeshua-Jesus is our kinsman redeemer!)

My daughters are working on homemade Shavuot/Pentecost greeting cards for each family in our fellowship.

My son has learned all the steps of the ">"New War Dance."

Finally, I watched a great video on Shavuot today. It does a good foundational teaching of what this festival represents.

We hope to establish new family traditions of rejoicing in the biblical holidays that for generations, unless you are Jewish, were like gifts stuffed in the back of the closet.

Blessings and Chag sameach! (Joyful holiday!)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Priority # 2 - My Husband - Team Work

I was blessed this morning by a blog I read at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home called Helping Your Husband Lead & Father's Day Resources.

She enumerates four character traits that we as godly wives need to have:

1. Be prayerful---before you act or speak be prayerful. A godly woman is always growing her prayer life, washing in prayer her family, herself and those around her. She knows how important it is to pray for her husband, his walk, his decision making, his character, his work, his mind, his purity, his protection, etc. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

2. Not fearful.--Many times as wives we act out and do so out of fear. We are afraid our husbands will make a wrong decision, we are afraid of the future, what others will think, etc. We need to recognize when that is happening a realize how we can make bad decisions from it. We need to follow the example of Sarah. (1 Peter 3)

3. Be silent--Before we speak we need to make sure we are not speaking out rashly or driven emotionally. Sometimes it helps to be silent for awhile (yes, I know this is hard for many of us!) and pray and think over the situation. (Ecclesiastes 3:7)

4. Communicate biblically-- After we pray, look to scripture/get wise counsel, we need to communicate biblically. We do this with speech that expresses love, with kindness, forgiveness, submissiveness, always hoping and trusting without anger, pride, not keeping a record of wrongs, etc. (Galatians 5:22)

This really blessed me this morning. It made me think of a baseball team my daughters were on once. The coach's son was obviously gifted at baseball. He could play each and every spot on the team with great precision and skill. The problem was that in every play, he was playing every spot on the team. None of the other children were able to develop much in their skills because before the first baseman could catch the ball, the coach's son was running from short stop with his glove out, "I got it! I got it!" The other children eventually just gave up and let him do everything.

In Proverbs 31, there is a list of responsibilities that women have in the home. Food procurement and preparation, clothing, child rearing, prayer, wise investments, physical fitness, etc. These are not demeaning, they are simply responsibilities that I am accountable for and am supposed to take pride in. If I would take care of the tasks that Adonai has assigned to ME, I would spend less time judging the tasks that Adonai has assigned to my husband. Nobody likes a micromanager. Who assigned me these tasks, my husband? No! My God did and it is HE who will hold me accountable for how they were carried out.

I love how Stormie Omartian's book "The Power of a Praying Wife" begins with a prayer for "His Wife." Before I try to pull the speck out of Friend Hubby's eye, I need to look in the mirror and make sure there's not light pole sticking out of mine!

Lord, help me to be faithful to do MY part!


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Priority #1 - My God - Arise and Shine

Bless Adonai for a wonderful, refreshing weekend!

I received instructions from My Father this weekend. I need to stretch myself and begin my day earlier (working REALLY hard on not complaining here). LOL!

I've come quite a ways in a year concerning the time of my arousal. When I used to work until 1 a.m., it was quite natural for me not to get out of bed until at least 9, but as I stated in an earlier blog, He has really been working on my times.

He, Himself, created time. Genesis 1:5 AMP says, "And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day."

Genesis 1:14 AMP says, "And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs and tokens [of God's provident care], and [to mark] seasons, days, and years."

One of the first things He gave to the Children of Israel upon their departure from Egypt was their OWN calendar so they would not mark the passage of time by pagan festivals. Leviticus 23 outlines HIS calendar.

Last week I studied what is meant in the Scriptures by "watches" and "hours." My own practical application of that was to divide my waking hours into three hour periods. I get a whole lot more accomplished when I break my day up from 9 to noon, noon to 3, 3 to 6, 6 to 9, and 9 to midnight. Backing up my day to where it begins at 6 a.m. is my ultimate goal, but it is now 12:15 a.m. so it is not practical to believe that this will happen on THIS day. Instead, I think I will set my alarm to wake me up at 7:15 (15 minutes earlier than I have been getting up). Next week, maybe I'll back it up to 7:00, etc. until it is natural for me to wake up at 6 a.m.

What I hope to accomplish is that I will discipline myself to get all my work done, (homeschooling, housework, cooking, etc.) done before 6 o'clock in the evening. I have learned this year, from one of my medical transcription jobs, that if I set a definite beginning and a definite end, I am much more productive and not dragging things out.

I would also like to actually see Friend Hubby off to work (THAT hasn't happened in YEARS!). Given that I read through the entire book of Psalms and Proverbs on a monthly basis (in addition to the weekly Torah, Haftarah (prophets), and Brit Hadashah (New Testament) scriptures, getting up this early will give me time to do that, especially on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday when I have to be at work at 8:30 a.m.

Pray for me, as I try to walk in obedience in this matter.

"She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks." Proverbs 31:15 AMP


Friday, June 3, 2011

Priority #5 - Myself - Downtime

Adonai has really done wonders with my work schedule over the past year. I freely acknowledge that I really had nothing to do with it. Until January, for the previous 5-1/2 years, I had worked for an MTSO (Medical Transcription Service Organization) where my hours were 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. scheduled, but then I would get on and work more hours during the day. One reason why I had had such a late night schedule was that at the time I was hired Friend Hubby worked 3 to midnight. Working kept my mind occupied until I knew he was safely home then we would both stumble into bed exhausted. Over time, Friend Hubby got a new job while I remained at the same one. I was working in the morning before homeschooling, driving kids to afternoon activities, and then coming home and working late again. Through a series of events (seemed unfortunate at the time, but now seem to be most fortunate), I no longer work for that company but now work for two others but my hours are during daylight hours. Wow, what a difference it makes!

In college, I worked for a hospital pharmacy. It was in the basement with no windows, carefully sandwiched between central supply and the morgue. Some of the people I worked with were very nice, but the night shift people seemed to be like the mole people. My job was to hourly carry a shopping cart with medications and IVs up to the 12th floor and stop at all the nurses' stations on the way down dropping off medications and picking up new prescriptions. The eleventh floor had a fantastic view of Pike's Peak and Manitou Springs at the foot of the front range. The view was breathtaking and a welcome escape from the dungeons (oops!) I mean pharmacy.

That has been what the feeling of working in the daytime only has been for me. It has also been nice because I only work half days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If I can break myself away from these computers long enough, MAYBE I will have fewer boring posts like yesterday about being frustrated with my house because I haven't DONE anything with it. If I'm a good girl, and quickly get the work done that I DO have to get done today, I can reward myself with a yoga class at the Y.

So here I go. Hands off the computer!


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Priority #6 - My Ministry - Shabbat Shalom!

"You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but on the seventh day you must stop working, even during the seasons of plowing and harvest." Exodus 34:12 NLT

I have EARNED this rest this week! LOL! I've had SO many computer issues. But I am not going to glory in those. I'm going to glory that my Heavenly Father thought enough about my stress level to put me in stasis one day a week so I can be refreshed.

"I love the Lord. He heard my cry and pitied every wrong. Long as I live, while trouble rise, I will hasten to His throne.

That's were I'm headed. To His throne!

Enjoy some worship by Jimmy Black while I make preparations to come into His presence. Shabbat Shalom!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Priority # 4 - My Home - Ummmm.

I am late writing this blog. I have been doing really well blogging first thing in the morning, but I procrastinated today because sadly, I really don't have a lot to say about my home. My home is rather large, but in the decade I have lived here, I really don't feel as if I have really given it the attention I would like. I have always admired FlyLady's methods, but never stuck to them. Perhaps I need to join a FlyLady support groups or get a FlyLady accountability partner. Working from home 40 hours a week, homeschooling, and helping my husband who pastors a small home-fellowship community is challenging time-wise. I hate to say I don't "have" time, because the truth is I don't "make" time.

I was at a friend's house recently. She has 3 very busy children and she works, more than part time, less than full time outside the home. Her home is immaculate (even the children's rooms). Each room has it's own theme with accessories to match. *sigh*

It is said that if we aim for nothing, we'll hit it every time. One of the things I have tried to teach my children is the principle of "little by little." I remember how proud at least two of them were the first time they put something expensive on layaway and paid for it faithfully, little by little until they paid it off. They were so proud of their accomplishment! If I can pick up blogging again and try to stay within the time parameters of 15 minutes a day, surely, I can pick a room and work on it for 15 minutes a day and accomplish SOMETHING!

"Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased and are numerous enough to take possession of the land." Exodus 23:30 AMP