Thursday, December 26, 2013

Priority #3 - My Children: One Selfish Day

I am a wife to one man that I have loved for 30+ years.  I am a mom to three living, active, competitive, very social homeschooled and college attending children.  I am a pastor's wife of a congregation that meets weekly in my home.  I am a full time employee.  I am a mentor to women who are are walking through any of the above life journeys.  I constantly try to make myself available to as many people as I can on a daily basis for 364 days of the year.  I counsel, I pray, I teach.  

The one day that I keep for myself is December 25th.  If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know our family doesn't celebrate Christmas, as we believe the Messiah was born during the Festival of Sukkot, which occurs in the fall.  

On December 25th, I turn my phone all the way down.  I don't hear any text message notifications.  If anyone calls, I don't answer.  That's not completely true.  I do answer for one person.  She and I have walked hand in hand through grief.  When we suffer a loss, we usually turn to one another as the only other person who truly understands, doesn't give platitudes, and allows one another to be as expressive of our grief as we want to be.  

On December 25th, I'm afraid I am not very reverent, holy, or nice.  I do try to keep my mouth shut and recognize that at least my immediate family shares the grief of this day.  One loses all sense of humor, another posts angry words on social media, but we do at least TRY to consider that each of us feels the pain of our loss in our own way.  The younger ones just try to stay out of the way of the older ones.  We certainly don't want to wound well-meaning people who don't understand.  

On December 25th, 1989, my husband and I became parents for the first time.  Our firstborn Dancing Angel changed our whole way of living.  Like all first time parents, we thought every single thing she did was amazing.  She very happy and very healthy until December 2002 when she suddenly became very ill for three weeks and then in January 2003, suddenly died of a brain tumor she had been diagnosed with 72 hours earlier.  She had just turned 13 years old.  

If December 25th, 1989 changed who we were, then January 15, 2003 changed us yet again.  We became a family that flies in missing man formation.  Have we moved forward with life?  Absolutely.  We have had and are looking forward to achievements, graduations, and other celebrations.  

But on one day of the year, December 25th.  We are different.  I am different.  On that day, I acknowledge the hole in my heart that was created the day she left us.  I acknowledge that I wish life had turned out different for us.  I acknowledge that each of us bears our grief in our own way.  I don't like to give much attention to January 15th, although I know it exists.  I know what happened on that day, but I choose to give more attention to the day she was given and not the day she was taken away.  December 25th was HER day in our family.  We didn't give attention to January 15th when she was here, I see no reason to give it special significance now.  That's one reason why my grieving friend calls me on December 25th and I call her on May 11th.  We acknowledge that our children were born and they lived, no matter how short that time was.  
On December 25th, I am sad.  I am angry.  I am hurting.  I want to hit things.  I want to yell, scream, and cuss.  I don't, but I want to.  I am a bereaved mother.  I grieve much because I love much.  

On December 26th, I will go back to being wife, mother, mentor.  I will bow my heart and give thanks to Elohim for all His wonderful gifts, including the one that was given and taken away, blessed be He.  I will also thank Him for giving me December 25th.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Priority #2 - My Husband: Revival

Recently, a friend recommended my listening to a message from a certain Hebrew roots minister.  The message was good, but by the end of the message, I found myself wondering what his wife would have said on the subject.  I felt like what he was teaching was a decidedly male response to a gender-less issue.  I looked at their website to see if there were any teachings from his wife, but I couldn't find any.  That day, I developed such a hunger to be fed by women's ministry.  Among Hebrew roots ministries, there just isn't anything with depth out there directed toward women.

Our ministry has grown to the point of being able to have our own women's meetings and I want to make sure I have something to share.  I don't believe in doing all the teaching, we can all grow from one another.  I began searching and reaching out to other sisters in Torah and then another amazing thing happened.  During Sukkot, my cousin texted me from two feet away and said, "Let's get the women together for our own breakout session.  I texted my husband, who was also two feet away,  so he could politely interrupt the speaker so we could leave.  LOL

It was amazing, it was painful, it was revealing, it was refreshing, but it was so NECESSARY!   So much so that my cousin wants us to get the two groups of women together quarterly.  Awesome!

Part of my search for women's ministry lead me to a program called Revive Our Hearts by a teacher named Nancy Leigh Demoss.  Because I taught on Abigail and David at our last women's meeting, I began to listen to her series of teachings on Abigail.  I have the message A Soft Answer saved in my phone.  I have been listening to the same message over and over and it has been stirring and reviving me.  She says, "When you have a heart full of love, you can say a lot and be a lot more effective than if you’re just being a contentious, domineering, controlling woman. You can say hard things to the most difficult men when you say them with a gentle and gracious spirit and with genuine concern and compassion."  Oh how I long to be THAT woman!  I recognize this kind of response can only come as a byproduct of the overflow of a heart that is totally surrendered to Yehovah.  

Recently, I played this video for my husband and our assistant congregational leader because I feel does a good job of illustrating the differences in male and female communication.  I was amused at the look of confusion on their faces.  They don't get it.  My husband has been married long enough to know how to pretend to get it.  LOL.  Male and female are two different elements of creation of Elohim and it is amazing that we have learned to communicate as well as we have, I think.  Sometimes my dog hops up and puts her front paws on my leg.  When I lean over and ask her what she wants, she just stares at me.  She would like for me to read her mind, but unfortunately, I can't.  Sometimes she goes away in frustration, running to shake the life out of one of her toys because she can't communicate to me what she wants.  That is how male and female communication can be at times, especially in the unfortunate event of H-A-L-T (too hungry, too angry, too lonely, and/or too tired).    

I recognize that men rarely understand all the thoughts that are conveyed in a woman's words, but a woman's actions can effectively break through that communication barrier.  The phrase "actions speak louder than words" would certainly be applicable here.  I have been teaching my daughter the same thing.  Don't come to Daddy with, "Please let me go see Suzy because she's leaving for three weeks and she's my best friend, well not my first best friend but my other best friend, and I haven't spent time with her in like forever and I'm so going to miss her because I'll only be able to text her because where she's going there might not be internet and Facebook won't be available (sniff, sniff)...."    He's not going to hear you.  You will have wasted all of those words because he will only be focused on whether or not your room is clean.      

So at this point, I am revitalized in my excitement to communicate with my husband in ways other than words, through my cooking, through my touch, through my availability in a crisis, through my listening ear.  I am excited to make first contact -- again!  To boldly go where no woman has gone before --  okay, I'm getting carried away.  

I leave you with a scene from one of my favorite Star Trek TNG episodes where Captain Picard is having to learn to communicate with another humanoid life form who communicates only within their cultural legends.  

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Priority #1 - My Elohim: Great is Thy Faithfulness

While cleaning her room, Princess Butterfly came across an old diary once belonging to my firstborn Dancing Angel (1989-2003).  Like everything else Dancing Angel and My Diva owned as little girls, the diary was Lisa Frank.  I had read it before, but it had been many, many years.  It made me laugh. She never could finish a paragraph. She starts telling a story of how I yelled at her for no reason, but didn't finish it. She mentions meeting her two best friends for the first time and had planned to bring them some gum.  She didn't date anything, but even though few pages are written on, it spans a few years, from life in Okinawa as an Air Force brat to moving to Texas.  It's a treasure. I'm so glad we have it.

I laughed while I read it, and then cried like a baby until I fell asleep. There is not a moment that goes by that I don't wish she were still here.  The following morning after reading the diary, I thought I would get up depressed, but I got up remembering that His mercies are new EVERY morning. GREAT is His faithfulness. I'm thankful for every one of my loved ones who have passed on, but I'm not going to lose one minute of the joy of being with the ones that I have with me. "I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Bless His name!

As soon as I got on my computer, I saw a video posted of my cousin giving her testimony in church recently.  She and I have lost two shared relatives this year, but on her mother's side she has lost so many more, back to back.  It has been rough.  

I will let her testimony be the completion of my blog today.  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Priority #6 - My Ministry: Why, in spite of all the Controversies, I am still a Girl Scout Leader

In June, I went on a Girl Scout leader's retreat.  We have had a lot of leadership turnover in our area, and it gave us a chance to get to know our new service unit directors and other troop leaders.  During the retreat, my co-leader paid me a great complement.  She told the group of leaders that in our troop, that I was better at dealing with conflict resolution between the girls.  That blessed me.

That is one reason why I enjoy being a Girl Scout leader.  So I can help this generation of girls learn not to run from conflict, but how to deal with it with dignity.  My daughter and I read a great book for a mother-daughter book club called Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.  Because a princess, among other things, is a diplomat, these were the Rules of Diplomacy covered in the book.

  • -State the problem
  • -Admit your own error
  • -State the error of the other party
  • -Invite mutual acceptance
  • -Illustrate the negative outcome of refusal and positive of acceptance
  • -Assert a deadline for acceptance

Love that!

Recently I have been in the process of developing an older girl planning board.  It has been challenging, but exhilarating because my I get adrenaline rushes in developing it, but my co-leader for this group is more thoughtful and laid back.  I think it is a good balance.  By working with someone who's outlook is very different from mine, I can hone my skills to pass down to the girls.

I left the retreat with a greater sense of purpose of why I am (still) a Girl Scout leader.  In spite of whatever controversial issue or resolution may be passed at the national level (this includes Boy Scouts as well), we as the leaders are the ones meeting on a weekly basis helping to mold and shape the next generation of women.

I once had a chat conversation on Facebook with a woman who was lying on the floor in pain because of a back problem.  She had a newborn, a toddler, and a preschooler, all daughters.  I asked her if she needed me to call emergency services, but she said she could hold out until her husband arrived.  She was worried about the children because she was afraid they would try to get the newborn out of the bed and hurt her. During the course of our conversation, she told me that she always prayed that her children would never be in difficult situations.  I told her that I prayed the same, but I also prayed that if a difficult situation would come, that my children would be leaders and not have to be led by someone who might be puffing out their chest without any real knowledge.  That would put them in greater harm's way.  I can't teach my daughters EVERYTHING I want them to know by myself.  Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls (my younger daughter is a member of both) provide opportunities to gain valuable skills that they may or may not use, but the confidence that they can try new things or the confidence to teach themselves, if necessary.  

I also came across this poem while surfing the net that illustrates how I feel about being a Girl Scout leader.

Why I'm a Leader

I'm not a Girl Scout leader for the easy hours, high pay,

parents' gratitude, power or prestige.

I'm a Leader because I want the world for your daughter and mine

A world she can share and help shape:

a world of love and laughter where she can show compassion.

I want to help her learn to finish anything she starts and do it well 
and to guide her to know her worth with a deeper understanding of herself.

I want to help shape women who have strength of character and are 
sensitive to the needs of others.

I want them to be the best they can be - whether as career women 
or as homemakers, wives and mothers who are the hearts of the family.

In giving of my time and myself, I reap rewards far beyond what I give.

I receive a better world for my children and future generations.

I'm a Girl Scout Leader because I care.

Author Unknown

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Priority #5 - Myself: Productivity

Back when I did the Bible study Life Management for Busy Women by Elizabeth George, I remember her saying that she was always reading books on time management.  I guess I have updated that to this time period by watching YouTube videos on personal productivity.  

Here are some things that stood out to me personally.     

# Take care of yourself:  I have a gym membership.  It's not doing my body or my wallet any good if I don't use it.   "She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm."  Proverbs 31:17 AMP

# Time management is really attention management.  "Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil."  Proverbs 4:27 AMP  I really do "turn aside" too often. 

# There is no such thing as multitasking:  Ugh!  This is SUCH a challenging issue for me because there is so much that I want to accomplish.  If I could manage my attention to do one thing well and get it done, then I would have time to move on to the next thing.  "She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard."  Proverbs 31:16 AMP

# Model excellence.  "Do you see a man diligent and skillful in his business? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men."  Proverbs 22:29 AMP

# Have a clean and orderly environment:  My desk at the moment is SAD.  For that matter, so is my daughter's.  My son's, however, is not.  I can learn a thing or two from him about orderliness.  "The way of the sluggard is overgrown with thorns [it pricks, lacerates, and entangles him], but the way of the righteous is plain and raised like a highway."  Proverbs 15:19 AMP

# Don't use your memory.  I tell my daughter all the time, "Your memory is not your friend."  Given the conversations I keep repeating, as if for the first time, it is not my friend either.  "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."  Habakkuk 2:2 AMP

# Clear boundaries on electronics.  Honestly, our electronics have become our idols.  We eat with them, sleep with them, and get up with them.  What does that say?  We say we created them so that we could get more done, but are they really helping us or hurting us?  "Behold, this is the only [reason for it that] I have found: God made man upright, but they [men and women] have sought out many devices [for evil]."  Ecc. 7:29 AMP  I am not saying that the devices are evil, but we certainly tend to put an abundance of reliance on them.  What would it be like to have an "electronic sabbath" where we rested from the use of our devices?  Hmmm.  

# Though he says to ask every email and phone call, "What do you want?" We could say the same for school assignments. What does the syllabus or textbook want?  "In a multitude of words transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent."  Proverbs 10:19 AMP.  Sometimes we just need to politely say, "Get to the point."  We waste too much time in a sea of words just trying to find out what needs to be done.  
I am praying to apply much of what I have learned from this video.  My goal is to work "smarter, not harder" as a transcriptionist so I can have more time for my family.  

BTW, love his accent.  Don't you?  London East End, I think.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Priority #4 - My Home: From Dreams to Reality

Recently, Techno Teen has developed an interest in residential floor plan design.  He has been drawing pictures of what house he wants to design for Friend Hubby and I when we retire, what our house would look like if we won the lottery, etc.  

So, for fun last weekend, we decided to visit some model homes.  My husband and son fell in love with this one:  

Allow me to show you around and highlight some of its features.  This is the master bedroom.  Outside the scope of this photo, to the far left would be the entrance to the bathroom.  To the far right, the private entrance from the master bedroom to the covered back patio.  It has large windows to let in natural light.  The color scheme ranging from beige to brown is calming, comfortable and inviting for an evening sanctuary, free from the hustle, bustle, and stress of the outside world.  It is on the first floor, far away from the noise of the teenagers who have staked their claim to the upper levels of the home.    

This is the media room.  The windows are completely covered so you have movie-theater darkness when the door is closed.  There are three pairs of plush comfortable red microfiber upholstered chair with an end-table between them, a projector screen, and surround sound.  I would hope that the art work would be safely secured to the walls because the volume level at which my husband and son would watch their action movies would have them crashing to the floor otherwise.    

This is the well-lit family room with its high vaulted ceilings.  On the left, there is a built-in bookcase for all of our favorite family reads (likely most of them would come from the Sonlight list).  

To the right of the fireplace is the built-in armoire for the television that can be hidden from view.  This is where I would likely watch television (on the rare occasions when I do watch it) because my ears are much too sensitive for the volume level of the above-mentioned media room, and also because the men in my house would probably have a set-up that would have the same amount of buttons needed to launch a missile just to turn it on.  We don't call him "Techno Teen" for nothing.  When he goes camping, I don't watch TV at all because I can't remember all the buttons he told me to push.  I just need one button that says, "ON."  

Back to center, we have the fireplace.  Ahh, the fireplace.  When we moved here from Okinawa, Japan 13 years ago and were going over the specifics for getting our new home built, we had a fireplace in the plans and then at the last minute said to one another, "This is Texas, what do we need a fireplace for?" and took it out of the plans.  Thirteen winters later, we still regret that decision.  

To the far right is a breakfast bar where I could see my son having his tank of cereal every morning.  It overlooks the kitchen.  If the photo continued to the left, you would see the door for the covered patio pictured below.  

This is the covered outdoor patio.  To the extreme left out of the picture is the door that leads from the breakfast nook (not pictured in this blog).  Spanning from left to right you see first the private entrance from the master bedroom onto the patio.  Next to that there is a propane grill, mini-fridge, and sink.  Friend Hubby and I learned years ago that the best direction to build a home in Texas is facing east so that you have the shade of the house covering your backyard in the afternoon.  The neighbors whose back yards are opposite ours NEVER go into their back yards, while everyone our side has a different cookout going on every weekend.  

This is the kitchen.  To the far left, obscured by the plant, is the other side of the breakfast bar.  Don't you just love the extremely large island with its own sink?  Since everyone in my family cooks, we could all cook at once in our own designated space without breaking into a brouhaha.  There is a double oven and microwave on the far back wall and the gas stove top has six large burners.  We haven't cooked with gas in over 20 years.  I love the large refrigerator.  There is, what looks like, a butler's pantry in the little room next to the ovens.      

This is the master bathroom.  Because it is a model home, they did some changes to it.  At the end of the room where you see the matching towels hanging, that would be the entrance to the closet, but it is not there because it opens on the other side of that wall to the showroom.  The door to the left of the towels is the water closet (toilet room for you Americans, LOL).  

I love the wrought iron and wood combination of this beautiful staircase.  The floor is a combination of wood and stone tiles.  In the back you see a hallway.  To the left on this hallway is the master suite, to the right leads to the family room and kitchen.  My favorite room in the house can be seen on the far right of the photo.  On the floor plans, it is the living room, but it reminds me of a room in my great-grandmother's house called "the sitting room."  When I was little, there was no TV in that room.  That was the place where she sat quietly and read the newspapers.  I sat in there the day we visited the model home and put Princess Butterfly out of it because she was talking too much.  I told her, "It's the sitting room, not the talking room."  

This bedroom was claimed by Princess Butterfly as hers.  It is a Jack and Jill bedroom where there is an adjoining bathroom that is not accessible from the hallway between them.  This is the larger of the two.  I was told that My Diva would get the smaller one since she has almost finished college and would only be visiting.  :-)

And finally, the game room.  Our game room is our school room, so I suppose this would be the vision when they are all graduated.  To the right of the picture there is a wet bar for snacks.    

REALITY CHECK:  This is probably the most accurate depiction of our game room at the moment:  

Although it is only a cartoon, it really is pretty accurate.  In the foreground is my desk (ooh, I didn't see the coffee maker in the front --- but I digress).  In the background, you see Princess Butterfly's desk, and yes, the floor looks like that too.  To the right, you see Techno Teen's desk, and yes, even with the box organizers from IKEA, on the desk and on the floor.  LOL

Is it any wonder that we go into model homes and long for their comfort and order?  I try to remind myself that it looks like that because no one lives there, but that excuse doesn't hold water because I know of friends and family whose homes more resemble the model than they do ours.  

"She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry..."  Proverbs 31:22a

SO much work to do over this summer.....


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Priority #3 - My Children: Princess Butterfly - State Champion!

This has been a red-letter year for my Princess Butterfly.  
  • In October, she completed her Girl Scout Silver Award project, which was a Martial Arts Seminar for younger Girl Scouts.  
  • In November, she earned her second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  
  • In December, she turned 13 and had her Bat Mitzvah (all of our children have had one, even before we came into Hebraic Roots).  
  • In January, she was recognized for doing over 100 hours of community service in 2012.
  • In January, she and her competitive theater team won first place at the regional NHD competition.  
  • In January/February she became the third top Girl Scout cookie seller in her troop. 
  • In March, she was commended for having the most community service stars on her American Heritage Girl sash.    
  • She has earned badges in both Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls.
  • In May, her competitive theater team won first place at the state NHD competition and now has an opportunity to compete nationally in Washington, D.C.  
  • In May, she promoted to C/SrA in Civil Air Patrol.  
My other children are very competitive as well (I'm sure they get that from their father, LOL) but honestly, this was the child that I expected the least from because, well, she's "the baby."  I am being dragged, kicking and screaming,  into her young womanhood.      

So, before this summer is out, I really need to complete our "trophy" wall.  Techno Teen also earned his Mitchell Award in Civil Air Patrol this year as well.  

The down side to all this success is that Princess Butterfly has also suffered some stress-related health issues in this past year due to all of this "stuff."  Are ANY of these achievements worth her health?  NO!  

After doing some research, we have learned of some supplements for her to take that are helping to resolve the problem.  B-Complex of course, but I had just happened to stumble across an article that mentioned the benefits of NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) for her particular issue as well.  

It should go without saying that we also "discovered" that increasing her fitness level also helped to resolve the problem.  When we stopped exercising regularly again, the problem showed back up.  Now that most of our extracurriculars are over for the year, we will work to develop a fitness plan that we can do consistently and when fall rolls around again, not allow anything to replace that block of time that is dedicated to exercise.  

Part of the reason I am blogging again is because it gives me a visual of my priorities, which this past school year have been WAY out of whack.  I hope my "thinking out loud" will be a way for me to pull it all together over the summer so next school year will be better than this one.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Priority #2 - My Husband: Feeding the Hungry Thing

This was a favorite book of my children.  It is about a monster who comes into a restaurant, but his English isn't that great and the children have to guess what it is that he wants to eat.  They are afraid of what might happen if the monster doesn't get fed.  

According to WebMD, these are the symptoms of moderate low blood sugar levels:

Symptoms of moderate low blood sugar

If your blood sugar continues to drop (below 40 mg/dL), your behavior may change. Symptoms may include:
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Confusion and irritability.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Unsteadiness when standing or walking.
  • Muscle twitching.
  • Personality changes, such as anger or crying.

Sometimes, when someone you love is challenged by diabetes, it can be as confusing as dealing with the Hungry Thing.  I only learned by much prayer, how important my assistance is in helping my husband to manage his diabetes.  After I finally caught on to these symptoms (they are so subtle sometimes that you may think they are just personality quirks, and become offended by some of the characteristics) I sought Yehovah diligently to deliver my husband from this and He flat out told me no.  Well, that was abrupt.  He instructed me that my role as a wife of a now middle-aged man (Friend Hubby is in his 50s now) was to change into more that of caregiver.  Of course the vivid imagination I have immediately pictured my husband in a full bodycast sipping soup through a bendy straw.  Not quite what Abba had in mind!

He wants my husband to walk in health.  Sure, He could miraculously take the diabetes away, and I would like Him to, but the discipline of learning what is proper nourishment for these walking tabernacles we walk around in is important to learn.  

So let's start with breakfast.  Most important meal of the day, right.  Every Shabbat, Friend Hubby reads Proverbs 31 over me in blessing.  I am constantly listening as he reads which verse is standing out to me to work on for the coming week.  The verse that has been shouting at me (though my husband is not shouting when he reads it) is verse 15, "She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks."  

SHE RISES WHILE IT IS YET NIGHT.  How I hate those words!  LOL  To say that I am not a morning person is the grossest of understatements.  However, since being led into our Hebrew roots, I am discovering so much about Yehovah's time clock and how we have tried to alter it in so many ways.  

Over the past six months or so, I have begun setting the alarms on my phone to go off at dawn, sunrise, sunset, and dusk.  You can find out what those are for your location here.

Now, I have not yet been successful it rising at those times, but I am closer than I was.  Since that is such a challenge, I have been looking for other strategies.  ENTER PINTEREST!  :-)  

I now have a board just for Slow Cooker Breakfasts.  It only has 5 pins on it so far, but it's a start.  I also have another Pinterest board called Breakfast and Brunch.  It is a much larger board.  Now that I look at it, it has some slow cooker breakfasts on it to.  I will have to adjust it.  On Sundays  I don't have to go to work until 3 o'clock.  Last week, I made a slow cooker breakfast for Shabbat morning.  It was a hit!  I like Friend Hubby to be well fed before he teaches our Shabbat services.  I see a difference in his teaching when he has eaten well first.  

My goal is to bake bread, and make breakfasts, at least for the start of the week.  I like to make quiche recipes and put bake them in individual muffin cups (if you have teenagers, you know what portion control sometimes has to be like).  I also bake my loaves of bread.  Last week when I did my Sunday baking, a friend was visiting.  My daughter came downstairs and helped (without being asked) and it became a "girls' time."  That's something I would like to see continue.  I have a friend who knows how to can.  I can invite her and her daughters over on a Sunday morning (they are also Sabbath keepers) and we can can (no pun intended) together.

But I digress.  This article discusses (more articulately than I) the benefits of a good breakfast for diabetics.  Starting the day with a good breakfast leads to a sweet disposition throughout the day, not just for the one affected by diabetes, but for their loved ones as well.              

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Priority #1 - My Elohim: Too Busy not to Pray

I have been thinking about getting back to my original format of blogging.  I enjoy the Simple Woman's Day Book format, but I may start a different blog just for that purpose.  I miss my priority planning blog.  This method of ordering my thoughts has been with me for so long that I feel so scattered without it.

My prayer list is getting longer than my arms these days.  So much so, that whenever I don't take the time to sit in Yehovah's presence, it seems that all Gehenna breaks loose.  There have been so many deaths and so much sickness.  I'm sitting here at this moment in shock at the sudden passing of a young man who visited my home only a few weeks ago.  I have lost an uncle, a great-aunt, and a grandmother this year alone and it is only May.  A cousin of mine has lost five family members this year, including the two that we share.

At the same time, I have seen much answered prayer as well.  I continue to hear the words of the Messiah ringing in my heart, "But you, when you pray, enter into your closet and lock your door, and pray to your father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you in public."  Matthew 6:6 ABPE

I am seeing answers to prayer that no human has heard me utter.  

I like to pray in my closet (literally), but I also like to pray when I am alone in the car.  I am easily distracted, so I set a timer and pray at least a minute for each prayer request.  It doesn't sound very spiritual, I know, but but I can go from "Bless my husband" to "I wonder how long it will take for my child to notice I have not cleaned up her mess" in 60 seconds or less.  

Since my journey into Hebraic roots, I see that prayer, in the time of the temple, took place at specific times of the day.  At 9 in the morning, noon, and 3 in the afternoon.  I see it repeated in the book of Acts (3:1, 10:30).  Some attempt to continue that practice at those exact times, but I'm thinking that they were connected with the daily sacrificial system and since there is not temple and we are not living on Jerusalem time, my goal is to pray three times a day, but not necessarily at those exact times.  

"Evening and morning and at noon will I utter my complaint and moan and sigh, and He will hear my voice."  Psalm 55:17 AMP

"Let my prayer be set forth as incense before You, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice." Psalm 141:2  AMP

"And another angel came and stood over the altar. He had a golden censer, and he was given very much incense (fragrant spices and gums which exhale perfume when burned), that he might mingle it with the prayers of all the people of God (the saints) upon the golden altar before the throne."  Revelation 8:3 AMP

"At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances."  Psalm 119:62

"And in the morning, long before daylight, He got up and went out to a deserted place, and there He prayed."  Mark 1:35 AMP

"And Isaac went out to meditate and bow down [in prayer] in the open country in the evening; and he looked up and saw that, behold, the camels were coming."  Gen. 24:63 AMP

"And after He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone."  Matthew 14:23 AMP

In addition to the time of prayer, do we know the DIRECTION of prayer?  

"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously."  Daniel 6:10 AMP 

I Kings 8:22-61 is Solomon's prayer of dedication to the Temple.  The temple is no longer standing; however, we know that one day The New Jerusalem will come down as a bride adorned for her husband.  In faith, we continue to pray in that direction, believing that He who has promised is faithful.   

So the conclusion of the matter is that I need to set aside time at least three times every day with my hands spread (different than the clasped, folded or palms together hands, isn't it?) towards Jerusalem, and let my voice be heard by the Most High and lay all my burdens at His feet.  

My favorite verse is:  

"But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]."  Hebrews 11:6 AMP