Friday, November 25, 2011

Priority # 5 - Myself - Getting Myself in Order

Okay so my family finally forced me to give up my pretty pink flip phone that I have had for the past 4 or 5 year (which worked perfectly fine, thank you) and convinced me to get a "smart phone." Right.

So, I am exploring the world of self-help apps and I think I found one that I like. It is called Habit Streak. Scientists say that it takes up to 21 days to develop a habit and since we know that I have been an epic fail at being a FlyBaby, this seems to be helping me to take baby steps toward developing a habit. This the product description from the Android Market:

Track your progress at achieving daily goals. Build streaks to change your life!

✓ Join thousands of users to achieve your goals with Habit Streak.

✓ Habit Streak helps you achieve your goals (or New Year's Resolutions) in exercise, diet or other areas of your life. Each day you report on whether you succeeded yesterday, building up streaks of habits and ingraining the activities into your life.

"After a few days you'll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You'll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain" (Jerry Seinfeld)

Habit Streak has two key advances on Jerry Seinfeld's original technique. Firstly it allows you to build several chains up at once. Secondly it (optionally) prompts you every day to report on your success (whereas one could easily forget to update or look at a physical calendar).

Another app that I am discovering is Cozi. FlyLady is connected to it. At the moment, I am downloading the Zone 4 To Do list onto my phone. It would be of help to be able to check off my square right from my device. We'll see how it works...again.

Here is my problem with developing a new habit.
1. A new idea comes to me.
2. I implement the idea.
3. I am excited about the success of the idea.
4. I modify the idea further.
5. The new modification derails the idea.
6. I give up.

I don't want this comic I found in the Sunday paper to be true of me!

Habakkuk 2:2 AMP gives me two helps for this problem: "And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by."

1. WRITE IT DOWN. If my goal is not written down, no one will know if I give up.
2. THAT EVERYONE WHO PASSES BY MAY BE ABLE TO READ IT. Be accountable. Since Cozi is shared with my family, they see what my goals are. They can encourage me and may even come up with their own goals with which I may encourage them.

Let's see if technology can help give me a boost in achieving my goals.

I also made a list of chore charts for my children as well. They are similar to mine. They, however, are typed up on paper and hung on the outside of their bathroom door. This way Friend Hubby can see if they are meeting their goals as well.

Continuing in my study of YHWH and His establishment of time, this Sunday will mark the beginning of the Hebrew month of Chislev, a New Moon. I think one of the things that I love about learning about our Hebraic roots is that there is ALWAYS a new beginning. New beginnings are tied to creation. It speaks of our great salvation, being born again. When the light becomes dim, a day is born again (and the evening and the morning were the first day). When the sun goes down on Friday (Sabbath), the new week has begun. When the moon can no longer be seen, the beginning of the next Hebrew month is just a day away. When we bring all of our sins to the surface (the darkest parts of heart) and repent (Yom Kippur), the new year Rosh Hashanna is about to begin. For all eternity, we will be on our Heavenly Father's time schedule:
"And it shall be that from one New Moon to another New Moon and from one Sabbath to another Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me, says the Lord." Isaiah 66:23 AMP

The New Moon festivals were often associated with women. Why? Because within our bodies, we carry a cycle. Throughout time, women have kept time for our families. (Thus my efforts to find apps applicable for that purpose). Man's time leads to death. We don't think we need sleep, or rest, or to eat at certain intervals. We want to plant crops when that are out of season and find the fountain of youth. We have been in rebellion to YHWH's time since the beginning of time. Everything YHWH has given us has been to prolong our time on earth (i.e., the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath).

Learning to move in sync with Heaven has been such an awesome journey for me!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Priority #6 - My Ministry - Girl Scouts versus American Heritage Girls versus Keepers at Home

Our pastor in Okinawa used to always say, "Don't just give your children a head knowledge, also give them a hand knowledge."

I guess that's kind of how I feel about Girl Scouts right now. The whole program has been revamped. I don't think the girls of 1912 would recognize the badges of 2012. I have had several conversations with others involved in Girl Scouts this year about all the changes. What it boils down to for me is the difference between teaching our girls to be consumers, versus teaching them to be producers.

I recently read an article for Girlfriends in God called "Grandma's Inheritance." While reminiscing about her summers with her grandma, this caught my attention:

During my weeks with Grandma, there were no trips to fast-food restaurants or shopping sprees at the mall. That’s just not what grandmas were for. So what did I do for seven days? I did what Grandma did (except dip snuff). I made biscuits, shelled lima beans, canned vegetables for the following winter, and learned how to sew.

I SO want my girls to have these skills, not because I expect them to always grow up and be stay-at-home moms, but because there is therapy in creating things with your hands or in participating in creation with YHWH. There is wisdom in keeping your hands busy and your mouth shut. Over the course of my adulthood, I have been paid to make a mini Thanksgiving dinner, to sew on military patches, and of course for 20 years I financed our homeschooling as a cake decorator. My daughter in college has made money sewing hemlines for other girls in her dorm, even though I never got around to teaching her to sew clothing by a pattern (yet). She keeps some of her frozen meat in the dorm kitchen rather than in her room because she knows the other girls don't know how to cook and won't bother it.

I'm coming into a difficult season for me emotionally. It always happens right after Thanksgiving. It is difficult to shake, but I work hard trying to get through it. Having a craft or something to do with my hands, something to teach my children to do, would help. While we were making Thanksgiving dinner, I pulled an empty jar out of the pantry, poured in the rest of a carton of heavy whipping cream and a touch of salt (From a failed attempt to make a chocolate marble cheesecake for Friend Hubby's birthday - it was so terrible, he thought it was a gag gift. Note to self--only bake from cookbook recipes. Leave the untested internet recipes alone!) Anyway, we put the cream in the jar with a clean marble and all took turns shaking it. Voila! Home churned butter. I'm afraid there's no Girl Scout badge for that.

I've been looking into American Heritage Girls.

"American Heritage Girls is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country."

The last word I heard on American Heritage Girls was that they were full. I would not give up my Girl Scout troop, but it would be interesting for Princess Butterfly to be a part of both. I even told my co-leader about it the other day. She and I agree that we will just run our troop according to how WE want, not with all this new (and may I say TOTALLY unorganized) practices that Girl Scouts have taken up.

Another idea I have is to just break out the old Keepers at Home Handbook from when Dancing Angel and My Diva were young girls and go from there. Princess Butterfly is quite the baker now, but there are still other skills I'd like her to have. They make charm bracelets with silver and gold charms for the girl to earn depending on their proficiency with the skill. Looking down the table of contents, I can see that my girls had earned:

Creative Skills
  • Candlewicking
  • Counted Cross Stitch
  • Decoupage
  • Latch Hooking
  • Pressed Flowers
  • Rubber Stamping
  • Scrapbooking
  • Cake Decorating
  • Cooking
  • Scheduling
  • Soapmaking
Knowledge and Skills
  • Library
  • Literature
  • Sign Language
  • Wildflowers
  • Etiquette
  • Friends
  • Special Needs

There are still other categories that they didn't earn awards in, such as Recreational Activities and Biblical Girlhood, and those listed above were just what they actually EARNED. There are so many more that are not listed here. Hmmm. Does it seem to you as if I have found the answer to my conundrum? Well, I did say that blogging was a place where I could think out loud.

The sad thing about it is that I remember when all of these skills were a part of the Girl Scout program. I remember when My Diva, every year, would be the only one from her troop to attend an event called Etiquette Arts where she got to dress up and go and eat at a fancy restaurant downtown with our Girl Scout council. When I was a Girl Scout, I learned sign language and was able to assist with a deaf and blind troop in our area.

I REFUSE to allow Princess Butterfly's girlhood to take place from behind a computer screen in the name of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), and if my co-leader and I have anything to say about it, neither will our troop.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Priority #4 - My Home - Thanksgiving

This was the Thanksgiving that almost didn't happen. Friend Hubby is the head chef for this yearly meal and for weeks now he has been saying he just wasn't feelin' it. We have been on the edge of our seats in anticipation. Finally, while we were sitting in the car, he called a friend who has been gracing our table for many years and told her that Thanksgiving was on. What? I had to hear about it through an eavesdropped conversation? You know he was soundly rebuked for that. LOL! We had just been to the military commissary and I think all the prep displays got to him. We're just thankful it did! It would have been a sad year without it.

We understand that it is NOT one of YHWH's feast days. We are not trying to replace Sukkot or the Feast of Booths with this American tradition, but this is just a celebration of gratitude, like the father of the prodigal son held. It is a time to catch up with old friends, laugh and play games.

When we were in Okinawa, our entire church went camping for Thanksgiving. What GREAT memories we have of that! We hope to start going camping every year for Sukkot. That will be a wonderful new tradition to begin.

Our Thanksgiving menu has long been the merging of two cultures. Friend Hubby is from the east coast. Traditionally, his Thanksgiving consisted of baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, candied yams, rice, and of course, turkey with sweet potato pie for dessert. I'm from the midwest and our Thanksgiving included corn on the cob, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie as well. We compromise, adding elements of both, along with my homemade cornbread dressing that is the nemesis to my diet every year.

I have a friend who is Vietnamese, married to a Jamaican. Her Thanksgiving menu is entirely different from ours.

Where are you from and what is your menu?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Priority #3 - My Children - Mama Bear

Hosea 13:8 AMP, "I will meet them like a bear that is robbed of her cubs, and I will rend the covering of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lioness, as a wild beast would tear them."

I love that verse, because I know how protective I am of my children. It shows me how protective He is over His children (especially the disobedient ones).

This was a conversation I had with one of my children recently.

ME: Okay, but remember that anything that affects your well being causes an autonomic response in my nervous system that releases 6 inch claws from each of my fingers, turns my teeth into fangs, and causes animalistic predatory instinct to kick in beyond my control.

MY CHILD: So you are... a werewolf?

ME: I am a mom. The claws and fangs are standard issue equipment. They automatically deploy when your child faces any danger, perceived or real. The quantity of love you carry in your heart for them directly affects the response time of the claws and fangs' deployment.

Alas, the ability to be omnipresent was not standard issue equipment (intuition is the closest thing to it and of course, we have the ability to make them THINK we might be able to see them from everywhere, LOL). So I have no choice but to trust the One who placed them in my care.

And why do they have such an effect on us? They're absolutely gross! I've been peed on, boo booed on, thrown up on, sneezed on. At any given moment, they may give off a foul odor. They put buggars in their mouths and Lord knows what else. They won't sleep when you sleep. They communicate by tears and whining and treat you like a hired servant. They demand all of your attention and your time. They have no appreciation whatsoever for fine strands of pearls or brand new houses with white carpet. That's only toddlerhood.

When they become teens, you get to do it all over again only emotionally instead of physically. They are schizophrenic and you never know what side of the bed they're going to wake up on. They tell you all their problems then tell you that you don't understand them. They eat all the wrong things and all the sleep they wouldn't do when they were babies, they try to do now. They communicate by tears and whining and treat you like a hired servant. They demand all of your attention and your time (did I say that already?). I am certain, we would never tolerate that behavior from another human being in the world.

But somehow or another, we can't seem to extricate ourselves from their grip. Their successes become our successes, their failures our failures, their disappointments our disappointments. We are constant co-competitors in the three-legged race of life. The single helpless look in our direction is enough to melt our hearts and run to their aid. We will work all night long to sew costumes, too see if the medicine is working, and do anything in our power to hear the words, "Thanks, Mom."

A friend shared a blog called "I Take Joy" this blog on Facebook and it blessed me on a day where I was feeling particularly low as a mom. She says, "But, as moms, we must hope that the voices in our children’s heads that come from us speak to them of our unconditional love for them, our belief in their dreams, validation of God’s call on their lives, encouraging words that give life to their souls."

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy, blessed, and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the [city's] gate." Psalm 127:3-5 AMP

My children are captivating, but are also my captors, but you know, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Priority #2 - My Husband - Not the Early Bird

I am NOT an early bird. For six years, I worked until 1 and 2 in the morning. Last year, Adonai began to deal with me about my times and seasons. Even as I write this, I just finished a study Friend Hubby is doing on the Seven Covenants, and I realized that when the creation of earth began, the first thing that Elohim established was times and seasons:

"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." Genesis 1:14 AMP

To Noah, He says:

"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22 AMP

So what is the first thing He does when He brings the Children of Israel out of Egypt? He gives them His own calendar. {See Leviticus 23}

Apparently, time is important to Him. Hmmm.

So, my times and seasons have been changing. First with the Sabbath. From the time that I started keeping the Sabbath more consistently, I have changed jobs, not once, but twice, and now work exclusively in the daylight hours (with the exception of Sunday evening).

Now, it seems, that is not enough. It appears, that He is trying to make an early bird out of me. My flesh is kicking against the goads! LOL!

When I was a young bride, I used to try to get Friend Hubby to let me make him breakfast in the morning. He kept telling me no and after a while I stopped trying, but now, after nearly a quarter of a century of marriage, we both realize that breakfast would be good for him in the morning, so one of us should fix it. So far, that hasn't been me, but I'm moving closer. In the last six months I have moved from not even being aware of when he left for work to actually being up to say good-bye. Eventually, I'm sure I will be down there breaking out a skillet or two. I can feel it in my bones.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Priority #1 - My God - Where My Path Began

My favorite poem of all times is Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

This poem reminds me of this Scripture, copied here from the Aramaic-English New Testament

"Enter by the straight door, for wide is the door and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many are they, those that go in it. How narrow the door and straight the road that leads to life, and few are they, those that find it." Matthew 7:13-14 AENT

I have had the opportunity to fellowship with believers from Portugal, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Japan, Argentina, and the Philippines. I lived outside of the United States for 12 years and now have lived back in the states for 12 years. My only emotion derived from what I have experienced is sadness in much of the church in America is sadness.

Read the commendation and indictment pronounced on the assembly of believers in Laodicea from Revelation 3:14-22 AMP:

And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the trusty and faithful and true Witness, the Origin and Beginning and Author of God's creation:

I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!

So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth!

For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see.

Those whom I [dearly and tenderly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [will eat] with Me.

He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne.

He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the [Holy] Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).

Probably to others, the church in America is just the same as it has always been. But because we were outside of it for so long and then returned to it, we view it differently. We left the U.S. just a few years after the Jimmy Bakker/Jimmy Swaggart scandals. I think one of the reasons it was such big news, even to the worldly media is because the church still, at least in certain arenas, held up a high standard of clearly what is right and wrong. From that stone rolling, we have had the Catholic church scandals, church shootings, murder-suicides, public affairs, strange phenomena (not miraculous, just strange), and yet, there is no mass repentance, mass reform, no mass weeping for what we have done, for the little ones we have led astray. Instead, our buildings have gotten larger, our sacred music more marketable, our offering buckets larger because we've got to meet the expenses on all of this, our families more dysfunctional, our "outreaches" less about repentance and more about a social club.

I don't suggest throwing the baby out with the bathwater. There are pockets of light, but isn't that the point of Matthew 7:13-14. FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.

Can we no longer sing with our own voices? Can we no longer us our homes as houses of worship? Can we no longer search the Scriptures for ourselves (we cannot possibly say we have been "fed" in a 20 minute message, can we?)?

All of our WWJD and COEXIST and other market schemes to make Jesus more palatable to the masses further illustrate that we do not know Him. Had we really searched the Scriptures, we would know not only His acts, but His ways. If you REALLY believe that Jesus is God in the flesh, and you truly believe John 1:1 AMP, "IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself." Then how could He contradict Himself? How can He himself honor the Sabbath and then get rid of it or change the day? How could pronounce a curse on all that is dark and evil and then turn the house of worship into a haunted house on Halloween? How could He go from spitting in the dirt and making a salve for blinded eyes to punching someone with stomach cancer in the stomach? Would He declare sexual immorality to be wrong and then turn around and support it?

My goal, my aim, my desire is to KNOW HIM as revealed in His Word, not reinvent Him. He came to this world and manifested His glory to the Hebrew nation. Not because they were big, not because they were might, but because He was faithful to keep His word to His servant Abraham. When they rebelled against Him and were scattered to the ends of the earth as a result, He came to earth Himself, declared that He came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel and demonstrated how to keep the commandments that He Himself established through progressive covenants, Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, Abrahamic, Mosaic, Davidic, and new or Renewed Covenant. He established seven festivals that themselves tell the story of redemption. Paul's blessing over the community of Ephesus was, "May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality]." The treasury of His glory is His Word, specifically the Word that Paul would have had access to the Torah and the Prophets.

Rev. Sam Pascoe put it like this: "Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise."

Return! In Hebrew, T'shuvah! Retrace your steps back along the path, past the church coffee shops and book stores, past the T-shirts, CDs, jewelry, and greeting cards. Go home, all the way home. Take your family with you. Spend the sabbath with them. Study the word together. Let your husband lay hands on you and bless you and your children. Speak a blessing over him, EVERY WEEK. Look forward to it, delight yourself in it. Invite people over. Dance, pray, study, laugh. Let them be themselves and untie the yokes that bind them. Pull them out of ditches. Love the Lord and Love His people. Connect. Romans 12:9 AMP, "[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good."

I'm empty of words now. LOL! But today is the Sabbath, and I am SO looking forward to getting my refill!