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