Thursday, September 22, 2011

A New Love

I've been away quite a while, but haven't forgotten about this blog. My schedule is pretty hectic lately, which barely leaves me enough energy or time to check my e-mails. Sometimes I will check my e-mail briefly about once a week mostly on our phone because it's faster. The thing is, beside my tiring schedule, one other thing I've been dealing with is a new pregnancy. Of course this is exciting news for my family and me, though it happens to be during a very busy time. I've got about two months to go and don't know yet if we'll be having a boy or girl. All I know, is I love the thought of soon holding my little one in my arms. 
Monday thru Thursday I'm out all day driving between one city to another. I come home late at night to finally get some much needed rest. I'm hoping to be able to continue for at least another month. As of the past few weeks, I've been driving my kids to either college, college prep classes, and/or volunteer work at a nearby hospital. Soon they'll be of on their own, and I'll be awaiting the arrival of our new family member. We are very blessed and grateful for Hashem’s goodness.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

COG7, The Bible Advocate, and Messianic Judaism

   In the past issue of the Bible Advocate (Doing Dad Right, May-June 2011 issue), a magazine published by the COG7 (Church of God 7th Day), an article on Messianic Judaism was published. After reading it thoroughly, I was asked by an ex-member of the said church, who is presently Torah observant, to give somewhat of an answer  to the arguments concerning accusations to the Messianic Faith. The author of the article Israel Steinmetz wrote several points as to why the church disagrees with the Messianic Faith; and how the church should approach people with this belief within their church. (Please follow the above link to read the full article entitled Messianic Judaism in the Doing Dad Right issue, pages 20-23)

    From the beginning, my desire  was to clear up any confusion and mistaken assumptions regarding the Messianic Faith. As I clearly stated in my response, that I e-mailed to the Bible Advocate, I made no claim as to being a spokesperson for this faith; but am instead someone who has known it long enough to see the errors argued in the said article. My motive has not been to persuade a church into a certain way of belief, instead my hope was to make a clear explanation as to why such arguments were untruthful and at the same time hurtful to any future Christian-Messianic relations.

    In a future post, I hope to present the false assertions presented in the BA (Bible Advocate) Article. Also, I hope to take each of the points presented in the article, and explain why they are mostly based on assumptions and misinformation. I want to give the main reasons for disagreeing and stating they are in fact based on false assumptions, written in my response to the BA.

    Finally, I would  like to write one last post on the subject. Two nights ago, I received a letter from the editor letting me know they had received and read my response. The editor also mentioned, that I would soon be able to read the new issue within the next couple of weeks, wherein the discussion would continue. As a result of knowing about this follow up on the subject, I would like to write one more post with a follow up and conclusion of my own.

    My determination on writing to the BA, was not only to clear up the confusion being spread out there; but one other thing in mind prompted my response. The COG7, as a church with a large membership and the BA with many readers throughout The States, should be more careful, when writing about believer's of a different faith; and should first make sure, that they have all the facts right. In my opinion, such false statements about the Messianic Faith, will do nothing more than be a source of disdain and contempt for Messianics in general. It is with a hope of a better understanding on the subject, that I'm writing these posts for my blog.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Dreaded Struggle with Reading

   Homeschooling may be more of a challenge on some days than others. With the difference in learning styles among other factors, finding a teaching method that works for both student and teacher can be difficult at times. Despite any difficulties and challenges that may arise from the task before us, we can be sure that we can certainly succeed with the help of perseverance and dedication. Naturally every child can have different strengths and weaknesses which will need to be identified. There may be a child that is especially quick at learning new things and with a gifted memory, while another may seem to struggle and present an uncooperative attitude.
    I believe that with the several homeschooled children I've worked with, I've had my share of challenges. As a matter of fact, I once found myself in a situation where all hope seemed to be lost. My child was uncooperative and miserable on a daily basis. I'm not sure how I got through those days, all I remember is they seemed to go on forever. At the same time I was also teaching the opposite type of student, which only made things appear to be worse than they really were with my struggling learner. Time did pass by though, and struggle as we were, we continued on our homeschooling endeavor. The days were long and difficult, as at the time I was also raising toddlers and pregnant for the most. My child was in tears each and every day, and basically any time we were working on any kind of formal reading, writing, or arithmetic exercises. While I can't give much details on how we overcame our challenges, I would like to give a word of hope to any struggling parent trying to homeschool with similar challenges. One thing that I will tell you is DON'T DESPAIR! There is always hope and without a doubt, light at the end of the tunnel! Success is all the sweeter when it's something you've worked hard and longed for all along. This time of struggles were a learning time for both my child and me. It definitely was a lesson in patience for me; I can tell you that much. 

   We continued studying and though it may seem illogical, I never tried to water down our lessons or making them any simpler; if anything, we constantly reached for higher goals. Naturally, there had to be much encouragement along the way. I had to not only convince my child of the certainty of success, but I had to believe it myself first. We read and eventually the tears stopped. We mastered the basic math concepts with even greater ease. Little by little we moved forward making progress as the days and months went by. Today this once struggling student is unrecognizable. Not only did reading become bearable but it's become somewhat of a hobby as reading is done voluntarily and even for pleasure. I can honestly say this is my ideal kind of student. My child did not only learn what we aimed for, but embraced learning as a goal and a way of life. This days, when I need help on proofreading any kind of writing guess whom I turn to. Even when I need to refresh my memory concerning any math concept I'm covering with my other children, my once struggling learner is there to the rescue.

   I've got to admit, that I'm far from being the best teacher. I don't have all the answers and I'm still learning and trying to improve my teaching skills. Every chance I get, I want to learn from good teachers and their methods. At the moment I'm happy to say, I'm in the middle of reading Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire after having just finished There are No Shortcuts which are both a great inspiration to me. There is no special method that I follow, just a desire to be there for my children and watch them succeed. I may do a lousy job at times, while have great days on others, but my focus is not on the immediate results. My goal is to do the job I've been called to as helpmeet, mother, and teacher; hopefully to the best of my ability. If you find yourself struggling or desiring to give up, remember there is hope, and sometimes the first kids to be labeled are the very ones to prove to excel among the rest. I would encourage you to read about Einstein's childhood.   Even when every child is not necessarily a genius, we can know that they are teachable and that we can reach our goals.  So don't give up and most of all don't lose sight of why you began homeschooling in the first place. Remember that success is waiting right around the corner.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Just David - A Beautiful Story

For a second time now, I began reading a book titled Just David with my kids. I first got this book a while back as a gift when I purchased some things from Timberdoodle. I had never heard of this book before this, but decided to read it, since I had it. I read it together with my kids when my oldest son David was about 13-years-old. It's been about five or so years since and now I am reading it with my younger children. Once we started reading, I realized what a beautiful story it is; from that moment, it became one of my favorite books from our library.

The story of Just David is a story of innocence and beauty. It is a moving story about a delightfully sweet boy, whom after being lovingly brought up and surrounded with all things good and pure, and sheltered from all else, finds himself suddenly plunged into a world he has never known. It is through the various circumstances, that David finds himself in and his peculiar and unexpected way of dealing with them, that makes for quite interesting reading. The author draws, one, through a journey along with David to find his place in this world and a search for an unknown family. He touches many lives along the way, mainly teaching other characters from the story, along with its readers, valuable lessons. I highly recommend this book for reading along with the family, or alone if you like a good book. It brought many smiles, laughs, and even a few tears to our family. I hope you enjoy it, and comment on it if you do. Happy reading!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Why Me?

   When things go wrong an expression often heard is, "Why Me?" Whether we had it coming or not makes little difference. We may question in self pity many times, as if saying "What have I done to deserve this?" The attitude may often be that of "I deserve better". Well, I'd like to take on a different approach to this commonly used phrase, and here's a reason why.

   Yesterday I was feeling worn out and extremely exhausted. Perhaps to a great degree the lack of sufficient sleep was the culprit. A poor diet coupled with the long errands of that day only made matters worse. Sometime around 6:00 in the afternoon I was finally free, and ready for a much awaited nap. I turned my TV on to drown out the noise and nestled in my bed. Shortly after this, my 16-year-old walks in with a bowl of food for me. Of course I was pleased and grateful, but I told her I was too tired to eat and all I wanted was to get some rest. Not long after my daughter came, in walked my 10-year-old son with what else, but a bowl of food for mom. I thanked him as well and explained that I'd gladly eat later after taking a nap. Before I went to sleep, I had one more visitor; and of course he was not empty-handed. This time it was my two-year-old. With the sweetest tone and baby voice he called to me, "Here Ima, for you," and handed me a bowl with food. Oh how sweet it is to have such thoughtful children. It fills me with great joy and gratitude.

   As I reflect on things I wonder, "Why me? L-rd why are you so kind to me. I know I don't deserve it." There are so many excellent mothers out there. Some moms are very organized, some are very sweet, other are so much fun to be around, and others excellent cooks or home managers. I don't feel adequate in any of these areas I don't consider myself the virtuous woman I ought to be, though I truly want to be. Yet I'm constantly showered with love and kindness. So much so, that it makes me feel unworthy. At times like this all I can say is, "Thank you L-rd for the many blessings; for the love with which you've surrounded me." I'll always cherish moments like this, and my heart will be full of joy and gratitude.

Friday, May 6, 2011

An Excellent Daughter, the Greatest Mother

     When my mother was around 18 years old her life was turned up-side down, due to a terrible occurrence. Her mother had a tragic accident, which brought on an unexpectedly early death; shortly thereafter, her father's health quickly declined leaving him in a bed-ridden state, which required constant care. While yet grieving the loss of her mother, my mother found herself caring for her father as his health abruptly deteriorated. Despite the fact that she was not the oldest, she stepped into the role of taking responsibility for her father. For months, she would tend to him night after night, while having to adjust to the move, to her grandmother's house.

     It was during this difficult time that she would meet the man, who would soon be her future husband. While staying at her grandmother's house, she met a young man, who was a close friend of the family. He was very much welcomed there, as her grandmother recognized and valued the character traits this young man possessed. The idea of her granddaughter marrying this young man was set in her mind. However, my mother was not the granddaughter she had in mind for him, since she had another granddaughter close to her at the time. The grief caused by her father's health was too much for her to bear, let alone have time to think of other things. It was during this distressing time that her loving kindness and the way in which she honored her father, won this young man over. Sometime later, after my mom's father passed away, my father asked her to marry him. My mother at times jokingly has said that he just felt sorry for her and all she went through. Contrary to this idea, is the fact that my father always had a great reverence for his own parents, and highly esteemed these types of values. My mother was not a woman that spoke beautiful things about her ideals. She was not looking to be noticed. She was not even someone who was looking for a relationship. She was only being herself. Not a lot of talk, just action. She lovingly served her father to his very last breath.

     Many years later she once again found herself in a similar situation; this time it was her husband in his deathbed. Also due to an accident, this in his case happened at work. She cared for him throughout many difficult months, day and night there by his side until the day he too passed away. When she found herself on her own, and facing all the needs of her family, she did all she could to become the sole provider and head of the family. This meant two jobs, in order to get my older sister through college, while supporting four more children. By this time, two of my siblings were married and living in their new homes. My mother's life was basically dedicated to serving others and sacrificing herself. Although she had the opportunity to remarry, she decided her family was more important and without giving it a second thought, denied herself the possibility of remarrying. My mother, always a hardworking woman, only decided to quit her second job after many years, and after speaking to our pastor, who urged her to attend services with her whole family. Her strong character, dedication, loving kindness and the way she sacrificed herself without hesitation are things I highly admire in her. I will never be able to thank her enough for all she's done and for setting such a high standard of both an excellent daughter and mother. May the L-rd give her many more years of life to see the fruit of her labor, and to give me the opportunity to show her how much I love and admire her.

     There are many other things in her life, that I could write about, so much so, that I could fill a whole book's worth, only- I selected this short description instead, in her honor, as Mother's day approaches, though I strongly believe everyday should be Mother's day.

                                Still grieving over her father's death at the time of the wedding.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Children Get It: Passing Down our Beliefs to our Children

Pesach is now over, and we are now in the process of counting the Omer. My Pesach dishes have been put away and most things used put back into a storage container labeled with the feast's name with a black permanent marker. Much time and energy were invested in preparing for the feast to the last detail. New dishes were purchased which was a whole ordeal in itself, as I had to make several trips back to the store to get the right match and take back a set with a broken bowl. We changed our kitchen drapes to a gold and white combination for the special occasion, to go along with the table settings and tablecloths. Everything was beautiful and specially set apart for this occasion.

Although I do love to have beautifully table settings, this was not the main focus of this time. Our priority for all the prep was twofold. First of all, we wanted to make sure that all the chametz was destroyed and no trace of it left in our homes, in order to obey the command. To us this meant using separate dishes than the ones we normally use throughout the year in which we eat all manner of foods containing chametz. Next, we wanted to make it quite clear to our children of the importance of obeying the commandment and the special care and deliberate effort invested in this. When we begin our preparations, the children get the importance of the coming date. They remember all the detailed cleaning. They get why we will no longer be using our commonly used dishes for our daily meals. They get our diet for the next few days will be undergoing some major changes. Everything is different, and they get why. And if they are too young, it's an excellent opportunity for them to begin learning and storing up memories for future years.

This time becomes a time of anticipation. We actually look forward to this feast. Everyone enjoys eating the matzo bread, and the creative ways in which we adjust our daily meals. Using special dishes is also a constant reminder of the absence of chametz and its meaning. All the preparation and changes can be a good thing. It's a lesson and reminder of the biblical command to remove the leaven from our dwelling places. It's a blessing to obey HaShem's mitzvahs as a family. We see this feast not as a burden which is difficult to keep, but as a blessing that we may take part of in joyful obedience. As we finished our Seder and began picking up, we could hear our two-year-old singing in his sweetest baby voice the following chorus lines, "Dai, Da-ye-nu...Dai, Da-ye-nu...Dai, Da-ye-nu...Da-ye-nu, Da-ye-nu, Dayenu!" It was indeed a memorable feast.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Urgent Truth About the Resurrection

Here’s one delayed blog post, which I was not able to add until now. With all the celebrations going on now and all the hype due to the celebration of Easter, I wanted to share some links with studies concerning the timing and dates of the resurrection.  For those that have not had the opportunity to study the subject, here is something that will hopefully be somewhat of a spark to encourage a deeper more thorough study in G-D’s Word. As mentioned on an earlier post, our family celebrated the Biblical Feast of Pesach, Passover as some may better know it. It is my sincere desire that others be encouraged and provoked to walk in truth even as Yeshua HaMoshiach did; as He observed and never taught contrary to the teachings in the Torah.  Growing up within a church setting myself I have realized, that many times the doctrinal beliefs and an understanding of Scripture can be something we leave to the experts and or leaders, when in truth we should question what is taught and study it for ourselves. If we were more diligent, in seeking the truth, there would be an amazing unity in the body of believers instead of all the differences, which constantly separate us. Remember  Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt,7:21),  this should be our  goal;  focusing on and seeking His perfect will. Be strong in the L-rd and dare question where you stand, and what you have believed!

Wednesday Crusifiction Timeline

The Day of Debt

The Cronology of Christ's Crusifixion & Resurrection

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pictures, Pictures, and More Pictures

Someone is always baking around the house

Sharing with everyone

Fire at the neighbors yard

Helping to put out the fire

Firemen arrive

Seth feeding chickens

Seems he was pecked

Trying to feed the dog

Studying Torah

Traveling with the girls

Our boys (baby was sleeping)


Our Happy Baby

Playing Guitar

Our cat and dog resting together

Praise and Worship

Snow fun

Dog and Duck tracks

Pipe bursts at neighbor's property

Celebrating my sister's anniversary

Enjoying time with my Hubby

Playing games after Havdalah with the Talents

Trip to Mexico

My mother-in-law's pet

At my sister-in-law's restaurant

He made me a flower out of a napkin

My sister-in-law's restaurant

Heading back home

Kids sprouting apple seeds

Rehearsing for Purim play

Purim grogger

Kids make and fly their kite


My toddler burried our dog with freshly cut grass

Working on a yard project

Finished project

With her newly hatched ducklings

We stocked up on Matzos