Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keeping Busy at Home

So many things have been on my mind lately but I’ve had very little time to write. My time is spent mostly on housework and cooking. I have to say though, I’m really enjoying cooking. My kids are constantly telling me they like my brown rice among other things, which is a big relief. I still think my daughter Ruth makes the best rice.
Winking smile
 At the time I’m working on reorganizing my bedroom and closet. There is so much left to do. Maybe if I get it all done this week or next, I’ll have time to repaint before the month is over. There is also a sowing project that I’m anxious to work on soon (new curtains for our family room). If all goes well with organizing, I’m planning to move on to our family room/home library next.
Lately what’s been mostly in my heart is how I can be a better wife. I have been so blessed with an amazing husband, that I wish also to be a blessing to him. My heart’s desire is to truly be the proverbs “woman of valor”. Throughout the day while working around the house, I’m meditating on Hashem’s Word on the subject. Listening to Doug Phillips’ message on The Wise Woman’s Guide to Blessing Her Husband’s Vision has inspired me. I pray Hashem gives me the wisdom to be the helpmeet I was created to be.
Also lately, I gladly have spent more time with my firstborn, David. I drove him to a campus nearby where he registered for college. Later that week, I had to drive him back for his assessment tests. Every moment I spend with him is an opportunity to share G-d’s Word, which is one of the things I like best. I love when we talk about the Scriptures and how he can serve Hashem in his life. His books were ordered online, and are now on the way soon to arrive. We are so happy for him and know he’ll do great.
My daughter Chava has been keeping busy lately practicing on her keyboard and learning music. This week, we drove her to practice with our congregation’s music team and I was amazed at how well she did for it being her first time. Soon she plans to leave the dance team to join the music team; which also means I’ll be driving her to practice every week. It’s so great to see her enthusiasm for music and how her hard work is paying off.
So many things are going on that I need to slow down and take some time to plan my schedule better. Besides my chores and homeschooling my kids, I need to always make time for prayer/devotions and personal reading. I’m so blessed to be free to stay at home and serve my family in their various needs. I’m also especially thankful for my husband’s hard work and support;  which does free me to stay at home to begin with.
 In love
Chava at Zion’s music rehearsal

Believers Beware

Here is an old post from another blog I had. There are a few more posts I'm planning to upload eventually when I have a bit more time. 
Pharaoh in his stubbornness and pride refused to listen to the Almighty, he refused to let his people go. Pharaoh's magicians at first encouraged Pharaoh's refusal to free the people. They convinced him that they with their magic could do the same as Moses. But later on their thinking changed. They saw "The finger of G-d" was the only answer to the entire phenomenon. Sadly, despite believing this, it wasn't enough and they would later have to face G-d's judgment like the rest of Egypt. Only those willing to obey were able to be spared. By the end and throughout the signs, G-ds people were manifest to all.
Today we too are faced with the same decision.  We have to decide whether to believe like the magicians or obey like Israel when preparing for the Passover. Can we get by with just believing with our mind? 
Maybe for now we may believe so, but eventually G-d's children will be made manifest. G-d's children hear and obey Him. Those that think believing is only a matter of the mind, better think twice. What terrible thing to let these sins separate us from G-d. Sometimes even as believers we become captive to these sins. Erroneously we deceive ourselves thinking all we need to do is believe. We are saved by grace, no doubt. But like Israel in the days of Moses, we are required to take action. So many times we read in his word "If you love me, keep my commandments"; But do we actually believe this. Love goes hand in hand with action; it's much more than a feeling. If it were not so, how could we be commanded to love G-d with all our hearts, soul, and might? We are undoubtedly to use all our resources.  In other words, our lives must be evidence of what we believe.
Finally remembering that not all who call him L-rd will be of his kingdom we should then walk in obedience. Obedience to G-d is not in order to earn something.  We can never win our salvation. But when we are truly his children, it will indeed be evident in our lives.  We will not be living like the rest of "Egypt”.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Channukah, 8 Days Remembered

The very first day of Channukah was without a doubt the most memorable. The L-rd, Blessed be His Name, answered the prayer of our hearts. My sister's husband, a sweet, godly man underwent a vital surgical procedure. Not long ago his health was suffering from several issues that  required immediate and dangerous treatments. I'm glad to say that by Hashem's loving kindness, and mercy, he underwent a successful kidney transplant, and is quickly recovering. We feel so blessed that my 18yr.old nephew with the greatest love and honor for his father, made the decision to be the donor.
We also lit our menorah together with my other brother-in-law, and my sister via skype.

We completed the project worked on for the past few weeks. Together with my husband, we designed and made a giant menorah.

Made a trip to San Antonio, to visit the congregation Shearit Yisrael for their Channukah celebration. We were happy to see family there, especially my nephew Caleb whom was recovering from the procedure of donating an organ.
                                                My nephew Caleb and my daughter Chava 


                                                     Shearit Yisrael

                                              Preparing to light the menorah

Went to Shabbat Service @ Zion. We were so blessed to be at the Shabbat Service and fellowship with others there.

Made yummy latkes for breakfast. Went to Zion's Channukah celebration in the evening. The kids had an amazing time and really enjoyed themselves.

Singing @ Zion

Kids Playing with Dreidels

Matthew with his gelt

Everyone's Channukias

Celebrated Channukah at home and had a talent show. Not only did we have lovely music, but we shared many laughs that night and had a truly memorable time as a family.

Reading from my siddur

Playing and Laughing Together

Pretending to be asleep

Worked on project with the kids. We got the art supplies out and had a blast painting plates with Channukah designs. All I had to do is send one of my kids to get the paints out; and before I knew it, everyone was gathered around the table painting. Everyone at our house loves painting. =)

Chava's Creation

We had our last celebration at home; lit the candles (tea light candles), sang, and read from my siddur. We made hot fudge sundaes and nachos. As an old tradition of our family, my husband gave each one of the kids a flash light which they enjoyed playing with, till late at night.
Tea lights we used when we ran out of the other candles

My Siddur

The kids get their flashlights

Waving the lights around

Playing outside

Monday, December 6, 2010

Channukah, Memories and Musings

       For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.  Psalm 36:9
Channukah is a beautiful celebration to our family. Typically on one of the nights we have a special dinner in our home, and invite relatives for the celebration. The kids, decorate, help prepare their favorite dishes, and do all they can to help prepare for this special time. Each night we light our channukias.  Usually we’ll have some music, singing, and good food to eat. The kids open their presents and enjoy the time playing together. But most of all, we read about channukah; remembering the reason for observing it in the first place.
  - As the main purpose for the celebration, we talk about the events that took place around the rededication of the temple. There was the enemies’ attempt of forcing G-d’s people to be assimilated into their pagan culture. Then there was the defilement of the temple which was a terrible tragedy. To make matters worse and unbearable all observance of Judaism and basically all biblical teachings were strictly forbidden. Many gave their lives rather than give in to these outrageous demands at that time. Many terrible and dark things were suffered at that time as well. But throughout all this Hashem never forgot His people. He strengthened a group of His children lead by one Mattityahu.  This small army of Jews, however unprepared by this world’s standards, was chosen by Hashem because of their genuine heart for G-d. They did not fear what was at the time the greatest nation and army in the world. They instead had a zeal for G-d and His word, only fearing Him. By G-d’s help, this small group of His children was able to overcome the enemy. Victory was theirs, and the temple was once again in the hands of its rightful people. The temple was rebuilt and rededicated for G-d’s honor and glory.
    This has been our way of observing Channukah, year after year. Last year, we decided to make this year’s celebration different. This year wasn’t one with our bookcases overflowing with presents. Before, it was eight presents, one for each night; this year we decided to keep it simple. My thought was to make sure the overwhelming amount of presents didn’t distract from the purpose of the celebration. We opted this year for an alternative to all the gift giving. Instead we had a family talent show where each one would get one prize. The highlights of the evening were Kimberly playing the L-rd is my Sheppard by Ted Pierce, followed by a beautiful piece played by David with his guitar. With music and many laughs the time with the family was a pleasant one.
   Now as the last days of Channuka approach we will continue celebrating. It is a fitting time for us as His people, to rededicate ourselves as living temples to the Most High. It’s time to cast down anything in our lives intending to exalt itself against the knowledge of the true source of light. We have come to His knowledge at a time such as this that our light will shine forth to all humanity. Regardless where we find ourselves throughout the world as G-d’s people, we will stand for the truth in observance to His Torah. Just as we light our channukias and place them near a window to be seen by everyone passing by, so too must our observance of Torah in obedience to the Holy One Blessed Be He, be evident for the whole world to see. May we continue steadfast, unwavering, and true; serving our Creator amidst this world’s darkness.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Mattityahu 5:16

Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.  Psalm 43:3

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Menorah & Channukia, An Inovative Design

We have finally completed our channukia. When we began this project, we originally planned to make a seven branch menorah. As I noted in my previous post we were asked to take a channukia to a Channukah celebration. A congregation had seen the pictures and thought we were working on a channukia. We didn't want to mess with the original design and decided to come up with an idea to keep the menorah as we first intended. My other post has pictures of the menorah as it was before finished. After thinking it over a bit, we came up with this new design. Here I'm sharing some pictures I took throughout the process and with the finished product. Count the branches on the menorah and notice the difference. The last two branches are removable but in the pictures are just swiveled to show the difference.

              Have a HAPPY CHANNUKAH!