Category: Spiritual

A Simple Life Too Gives Thanks

What_A_Simple_Life_Too_Is_Thankful_ForI am thankful for SO MUCH and I hope to encourage others to take time this year to think about what they are thankful for – so along with my list, I am participating in a link-up AND co-hosting the link-up with some other very grateful ladies.

I am thankful for…

  • God’s provision this year in the midst of job loss – now my husband has a better job.
  • The freedom to homeschool how God has shown me to, not someone else thinks I should. This is good since we are doing more delight directed learning and unit studies this year.
  • Blogging as a healthy, personal time outlet.
  • My girls and especially for my new baby at 45 years of age!
  • God, my husband and my community for getting me through a tough pregnancy.
  • Having place to live that we can afford and flexible landlords (who we are also blessed to call friends) that understand our rough time this year.
  • My husband, who is working hard to overcome much.
  • God who is helping me to overcome many struggles and issues.
  • Our church community, who has walked with us through all kinds of things and has loved and supported us.
  • Kind neighbors and friends for our children.
  • Grasping the understanding that God is good, that He wants what is best for me, and what Grace really is.
  • A fun provision in our family’s (the girls and I) pet sitting business.

There are probably more and I reserve the right to update this post as I think of them 🙂

Now for the link-up. Please share what you are thankful for this holiday and/or any Thanksgiving related posts you would like to link with us. Please also visit all of the hosts and some of the other link-ees. Sharing posts of others is always a blessing.

Thankful

Alisha @ Alisha In Progress

Connect at: Google Plus | Pinterest

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April @ A Simple Life Too

Connect at: Google Plus | Facebook | Pinterest

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Hannah @ Shining Stars Magazine

Connect at: Google Plus

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Joy @ Artful Homemaking

Connect at: Facebook | Google Plus | Pinterest | Twitter

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Joy @ Blog Of Joy

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Leticia @ King Maker Blog

Connect at: Facebook | Pinterest

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Naomi @ What Joy Is Mine

Connect at: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

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The Ladies @ Radical Femininity

Connect at: Facebook | Google Plus | Pinterest | Twitter

 

Helping Others: Yes, YOU Can Eradicate Community Poverty In Kenya

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Yes, YOU can eradicate community poverty in Kenya.

This community of Artisans in Kenya have been given a wonderful chance in life – to make a sustainable, fair living from making beautiful, creative goods from local resources. When World Vision found them, they were in extreme poverty – widows, orphans, people suffering from disease like T.B. and Aids. World Vision helped them organize a group, get the licenses, training, and equipment that they would need, and then they brought their products to market through Gifts With a Cause.

Here is a little more on their story (click the graphic to open the full page):

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Would you like to help this group or another group somewhere in the world to get started? You can!

Donate to World Vision

Become a Gifts With a Cause Affiliate and Sales Rep – scroll to the bottom of the page, under Company, click the Affiliate link and walk through the process. Contact me for more information or join my Gifts With A Cause FB Group.

Purchase products from Gifts With a Cause – click the banner below to see many of the Soapstone products from Kenya.

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Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Gifts With a Cause.

 

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Pentecost

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Pentecost is May 24th. What will God do in your life this season?

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.” 

This text from Acts 2 is all many Christians know about the day of Pentecost. But Pentecost is actually 3500 or so years old!

Yes, the original day of Pentecost was when God gave the Torah to the Israelites at Mt, Sinai. It has then been celebrated over the 1500 years as a one day festival remembering God giving His Word to his people. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, it became a day of remembering of the giving His Spirit to his people.

How Our Community Will Celebrate Pentecost This Year

Our community will gather Saturday night, May 23rd for a time of worship, prayer and ministry. We will also have a baptismal setup. Since Passover, Our community has been praying for the salvation and baptism of our friends and family that need Jesus.

We have also been praying for:

  • That we will receive the Spirit or more of the Spirit in our lives.
  • That there will be healings – not just physical, but mental, emotional, heart, etc… We are especially focused on healing hearts and families this year.
  • That the Lord would give us visions for our lives, what He wills for us and our families for the coming year.

As I mentioned, most of the community has been praying (and some even fasting in some way or for a part of the days) since Passover for the Spirit to move in our community and beyond. Pentecost is the culmination of that time. We will then rest and celebrate together on the 24th with a community picnic for the afternoon / evening.

Every year we look forward to what God will do during Pentecost!

Learn More About the Biblical Holidays

If you and your family would like to explore the Biblical Holidays together, I recommend A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more.

Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

Christian Books:

181604: A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All Ages A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays: with Activities for All AgesBy Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce / Heart of Wisdom PublishingThis guide to celebrating Old Testament Biblical holidays includes historical/biblical background on the feast days, as well as activities and crafts, recipes, suggestions for celebrations, timeline charts, puzzles and games, Jewish customs today, readings, coloring pages and even a special homeschooler’s unit study designed to expand this book into other subjects. Information for planning, co-ops, resources and ideas to read & discuss; memorize; study; dramatize; video recommendations; investigate; displays; songs and more are included. Holidays are divided by season, and include the well-known feasts such as Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, as well as feasts such as Yom Habikkurim and Sukkoth. A chapter on the Sabbath is also included. 582 pages; noted pages are reproducible for family use only. Softcover.

There is also: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah In The Festivals.

Amazon: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our messiah in the Festivals

Christian Books:

292590: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the FestivalsBy Susan Mortimer / Eagle’s Wings EducationalThis large manual provides everything you need to know about celebrating Messianic Jewish traditions. Examining the Old Testament festivals through the lens of the New Testament, the author lines up the seasonal parallels, New Testament parallels, and current/future parallels in the Old Testament feasts. Worksheets, readings, games, songs, stories, crafts, prayers, plays, recipes, lessons, banners, and illustrated charts are included for Sabbath, New Moon, Passover, Pentecost, New Year, the Day of Atonement, Festival of tabernacles, Hanukkah, and Purim. Combining traditional activities with those the author created, this is a unique guide perfect for families with children. Both English and English transliterations of Hebrew words are provided for festivals and biblical words. 681 pages, softcover, with glossary and index.


A Simple Truth: Why Do We Keep Doing What Doesn’t Work?

A_Simple_Truth_Why_Do_Keep_Doing.jpgThey say the the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So why are you still doing it?

During a session with our counselors, my husband was told the above quote to something he is working through. Of course, my first response was, yea, why aren’t you making the changes that need to be made. However, the correct response that I needed to make was to look at my own life and see what things I was continuing to do that weren’t working, and figure out what needed to change.

The first thing I realized was I needed to change some things with my interaction with my children, They have a routine they are supposed to do every morning – yet they don’t do it w/o me reminding them to do so – every morning! So what do I need to do, to change this?

1) I need to get up when they get up. I have used my pregnancy as an excuse to sleep in, in the morning. If I get up when they do and I tell them to do their routine, it will be done before breakfast, not after.

and/or

2) I need to tell them today, that from now on, they are to do the routine every morning after they get up, whether or not I am up, and that they will be disciplined if they do not. The consequence should be that they miss out on something “fun” that day.

The next thing I realized was that I was not spending enough time / days in devotionals. Maybe one or two days per week. I don’t do well in the morning, usually falling back asleep, so I have to do them later in the day. What do I need to change so I can do daily or near daily devotionals?

1) I need to make devotionals a priority before I work on my blog or do afternoon projects. I am not allowed (with rare exception) to start working on my blog business or project until after I have spent time seeking what the Lord wants for me. And if He wants something different that day than my plan, then I need to be prepared to do it.

One more thing that I was seeing is that some interactions with my husband were getting strained and that I was trying to “get” from him instead of give.

1) To change this, I needed to change how I was dealing with him daily. When he gets home at night, no matter what I have been doing or how I feel (did I mention I was pregnant:-)), I choose to greet him as he comes in, ask what I can do to help him settle in for the evening, and what he would like to do tonight.

2) Anytime I feel I want something from him, I take it to the Lord instead. If what I need really is something I need and is good, the Lord will work through him or someone else to provide it, whether it is changing a faucet or just needing some affirmation.

I hope these examples will help you stop what you are doing today and examine what you are doing over and over again and are getting results you don’t like / want / need. See what you could do differently instead. I would love to hear your stories!

Blessings!

Celebrating Biblical Holidays: Purim

Purim starts Saturday, March 11, 2017.

UPDATE for 2017. Purim starts sundown Saturday, March 11th this year.

There is a growing movement among Christians: many are casting off traditional American holidays for the Biblical Feasts, Fasts and Festivals. One of the festivals is the holiday of Purim.

If you are not too familiar with Purim, if you have considered celebrating it, or are simply curious, I am going to give a quick historical overview of the holiday and then share how our church community is celebrating it this year.

Purim and The Story Of Esther

The Book of Esther is (usually) the last book of the Old Testament. It is the final story of God’s people before we jump to the New Testament and the stories of Jesus and the Apostles. In this book, we find the Jews have been taken captive and are now fairly integrated within Persia. Some  Jews have been given permission to return to Jerusalem to rebuild, but many stay, having lived there for so long. Esther, under the care of her cousin Mordecai, are some of the people that stayed.

The King of the time, one of the line of Xerxes, has been offended by his wife and exiles her. He then sends out servants to gather up the most beautiful women in the kingdom to search for a new wife and Queen. Esther ends up being one of these women.

Skipping forward a bit, we two crucial things have happened: Esther has been chosen to be Queen and her cousin Mordecai has fallen afoul of the King’s right hand man, Hayman. Hayman has manipulated the King into using the “purim,” (a casting of lots) to set a date to have the Jews in the kingdom killed! What God knows, and Hayman doesn’t, is that Esther is actually a Jewess named Hadassah, and she will risk her life (after some prayer and fasting) to ask the King to save her people.

As Esther approaches the King uninvited (an act punishable by death), we reach the moment of tension: has God interceded enough to make everything work for the good? Through a stirring at night, the King had a servant read some records of previous actions and was reminded that Mordecai had saved his life! So, he give Mordecai a procession the next day and Mordecai is now on his heart. His heart, for whatever reason, is also open to Esther approaching him and he pardons her when she does. She invites him and Hayman to dinner and then tells them what has transpired, asking, begging for the life of her and her people.

After the King grants her request and the Jews are able to preserve their lives, Mordecai, at the prompting of the Lord, declares the day a holiday for all Jews to celebrate and they call it Purim.

Why Do Christians Celebrate Purim

  1. Some Christians see that Romans Chapter 11 speaks of Gentiles being grafted into Israel, and therefore Christians are also partakers in all Israel’s blessings, commandments, etc… Which means we, Gentiles, become part of Israel, and whatever was commanded to the Nation by God / Jesus, we should also do.
  2. Some Christians simply see the richness of their faith and knowledge of God increase when they learn about and participate in these feasts and other Biblical practices. The story of Esther is all about God knowing what will happen, allowing certain events to play out, and directing the hearts of that will allow Him to, to bring about a good ending. It is a great, faith increasing story.
  3. At the minimum, learning about Purim makes a great homeschool project / event to learn Biblical History.

How Does Our Community Celebrate Purim

Update 2017: This year our community will be having a Purim hoedown. Think Esther done Western Stlye, cowboy and cowgirl outifts, chilie and pie baking contests, and square dancing at the end of the night. I can’t wait to see what they do with the play!

My church community is a Messianic / Hebrew roots community, so we tend to lean towards view number 1. This year, our Purim celebration will include:

  1. Mediterranean & Middle Eastern food
  2. Persian costumes
  3. A venue decorated (by the community) as an Ancient Persian Marketplace, including a live camel! There will be products sold in the marketplace as a fundraiser to support an Israel based charity.
  4. 6 plays of the story Esther, done with different themes (i.e. Star Wars, Cinderella, a rap song, etc….). The plays can not be longer than 5 minutes and will be done by small groups on a “theater in the round.”
  5. Great fellowship and outreach to the community.

Previous years have included a masquerade ball and the story of Esther done as improve theater. Purim is one of the more fun, celebratory holidays.

For Further Study

Want to learn more about Purim? This year, I have created a free App for Android and other devices (Kindle, Fire).

There is a very limited selection of books on the market for learning about the various Biblical Holidays. The one I am the most familiar with is: A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays.

Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays

There is also: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah In The Festivals.

Amazon: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our messiah in the Festivals

Food

I recently found a Healthy Purim Cookbook on Amazon!

Encouragement From Holley Gerth: God Wants to Encourage You Today

Encourager

From Holley’s Blog:

You encourage them and you listen to their cry. Psalm 10:17

It would be easier to pull the covers back over her head. It would be simpler to let the sun stream through the windows and not rise to greet it. It would be less painful to turn over and let sleep seize her again.

But she doesn’t let the depression win. Not today. She pushes back the blankets and puts her feet on the floor. She stretches her arms to the heavens and whispers, “Help me, Jesus.” She takes a step away from her comfort zone and into the arms of the Savior who is waiting to walk with her through every moment of her day.” Continue:

A Simple Truth From Holley Gerth: Yep, You’re Growing

 

 

MMMMM. Sometimes you just read things that are so good that you must share…  Holley reminds us that walking with God, with Jesus is a continual growing process. One day, you wake up and realize that you aren’t doing some really annoying thing that you used to do. Jesus has changed you, little by little. What a blessing.

Read from Holley’s blog:

Dear You,

When we belong to Jesus, because we never stop growing. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year, we become more like him.

And here’s the interesting part: we hardly ever notice it. Picture a child with her back to a growth chart, grinning ear to ear as she hears that, yes, she is taller than last month! “How did that happen,” she wonders, “when I was just playing and eating and sleeping and living?” CONTINUE READING HERE.

 

Mercy in the Midst of a Miscarriage

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God is Good,” I said after the Ultrasound Physician informed me that they could not find the heartbeat of the baby. They also had just told me that the baby was much smaller than the 10 – 12 weeks gestation that I was supposed to be at.

However, the truth of my heart would be revealed a week later when the baby passed. I then had a moment (the moment lasting a few weeks) in which I was not so sure that God was actually good. I was hurt, angry and felt like I had failed – or He had failed me

A little seed of bitterness would take root and it would be the mercy of the Lord to remove it as the weeks passed by. Instead of focusing on what was lost (although I did take appropriate time to grieve), the Lord revealed to me his mercies during the time of the pregnancy and subsequent loss.

It was God’s mercy to provide people grateful to help.

I had been sick, very sick for most of the pregnancy. I learned that people want to give and serve when given the opportunity. Many people helped me during this time. Some provided emotional support, some brought meals, some helped with housekeeping, and some provided a little childcare relief – I have three living children that still needed my care during this time. I was very grateful that people gave up their time to help our family. I was convicted that after this, that I wanted to be more purposeful about helping others in my community.

It was God’s mercy to teach me that we are created to serve others, not self.

I also learned that my children could do more than I allowed them to do – and it was good for them. My eldest daughter, all of seven years of age, was able to make breakfasts many mornings, heat up some lunches in the afternoon, do some laundry and dishes, and clean up the kitchen after meals. My five year old could be my “gopher,” getting whatever was needed, help pick up after her younger sister, and help with cleaning the kitchen and putting away laundry. Even my three year old helped to set the table and go get things for mom. 

The girls thrived in their productiveness. They still had play time and sometimes, we would just watch videos, so life wasn’t just work. But they seemed to take pride in their usefulness. They found joy, grace, strength and maturity in the help they provided to the family.

It was God’s mercy to provide productive outlets for the children.

In the end, I was able to rejoice in the blessings, see the layers of God’s mercy surpass the suffering, and I can say – “God is Good!”