Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review

          Well I finally finished reading The Committed Life, by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, and I can honestly say I think I'm a better person for it. She touched on many areas in my life where I needed to work on and encouraged me to seek out YHVH's way to fix it. She inspired me to dive even deeper into learning the "Torah way". Maybe it's because I'm new to Torah Observance but she opened my eyes to things that I had never put much thought into.

            The book consists mostly of short stories. Which she explains is the way the Jewish Sages teach lessons. We can see that to be true just by turning to the Bible. Yeshua told many stories, parables, that were for the purpose of teaching. Rebbetzin Jungreis opens up her heart and discusses the death of her father and her husband. In doing so she allows the reader to really connect to her stories. She paints a picture with her words that makes you feel as if you're right there with her. She touches on many different areas with chapters on: inviting G-d into your life, responsibility/accountability, charity-tzedukah, peace, prayer, and forgiveness just to name a few. This is a book I definitely recommend for others to read.

“But even as the wisdom of the Torah sustained me in the past, I knew that it would enable me to make this new transition as well.[…]  To be sure Life is cyclic. At one point or another, every one of us will be confronted by difficult and painful challenges. Our reactions and how well we cope will depend upon our spiritual resources. Please do not consider however, that it is only in times of crisis that we require G-d’s guiding hand. In moments of triumph, in the hour of our greatest achievement, we need him as well. Without G-d, we are left empty. Our successes leave us with a taste of ashes in our mouths and we sense that there must be something more to life… but what? 
There is a charming story about an exchange that took place between a rabbi and a little boy.
“Tell me, my son,” the rabbi asked, “where is G-d?”
“That’s easy,” came the ready reply. “G-d is everywhere.”
“No, my son,” the rabbi said, “G-d is not everywhere. G-d is only where man allows him to enter.” 
It is for this reason that I have written this book--- so that we might open our hearts to G-d, invite Him into our lives and discover the blessings that will enhance our days, the blessings that are our rightful spiritual inheritance.”- Epilogue pg 333*

*Jungreis, Rebbetzin Esther. The Committed Life: Principles for Good Living from Our Timeless past. New York: Cliff Street, 1998. Print

Friday, March 25, 2011

Preparation Day!

It's almost Shabbat and my heart is heavy.... I usually try to keep my preparation day posts about Shabbat or something light hearted. But something happened today that made me feel just how hard it is to be set apart. Making decisions for myself is easy. When dealing with family sometimes its hard to go into details and when I just say "I don't want to," most times people leave me alone after that. But when it comes to my children for some reason it never seems to be so simple; at least not with my family.

You see my cousin is throwing a party for her daughter. My daughter who is two was invited. Now normally this would be no big deal! But this party is being held at an indoor water park. Sigh. While the idea of a water party for little kids sounds like great fun, my mind turns to modesty. This is not a secluded water park, it's not like the children will be the only ones there, AND its not likely that any of the children will be dressed modestly. Sadly in the world we live in, being near water means its ok to be naked. I can't allow my daughter to be around that. I know to some it may seem innocent enough but I can't knowingly and willingly submit my child to that. Some of my own family members have boasted about the bikinis they will be wearing. How then am I as a Torah loving follower of Yeshua HaMashiach supposed to handle this situation. 

Just simply saying no we will not be attending brings question after question of why not. When I finally just say point blank we don't want our child in that environment, although it may be taken fairly well, I know in my family it means I will be talked about behind my back. But that's not the part that is making my heart heavy. Its the feeling of not allowing my child to take part in what should be innocent fun! She's two and she has a few friends from Sunday school but how will it be received when she can't attend their parties because it's Shabbat? Although I   KNOW this is the right path, it breaks my heart to think that my children will have lonely lives. That they won't get to go to friends parties and that they won't have any friends but me and their father. While in a way that's fine and well, because I'm more than happy to be my children's friend, but the fact still remains that I am their mother and not their friend. There will be times where they may want a friend but I have no choice but to be a mother. We don't have a local Messianic fellowship and I don't have any like minded friends that live close by. This road is certainly not the easy road but I know it's full of blessings that I can't even pretend to imagine. 

Here is the patience of the saints: 
here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. -Rev 14:12

But I won't end this on a low note! Its's SHABBAT after all! :o) So enjoy this adorable video I found on youtube. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Help a worthy cause

My Grandfather, who is 80 years old,  is a survivor of Multiple MyelomaWhich is a type of blood cancer. He was diagnosed in 2004, so he's still in the recovery stages. But doing VERY well. We are so thankful to God for his recovery and for all the help he recieved from his doctors, so as a family we've decided to do a walk for all forms of blood cancer. I don't know if any of you can spare even $1 but if you could I would REALLY appreciate any and all donations to this very worthy cause. You can donate directly to the LLS (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) through my walker fundraising website that they set up for all registered walkers. If you live in an area where they host a walk I would also appreciate it if you walked and raised money in your area. I know asking you to walk is asking a lot lol BUT if you're willing that would be such an encouragement to me and I'm sure to others.

Thank you in advance to all who are willing to help out with this! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Preparation Day!

Another joyous preparation day is upon us! Friday has become my second most favorite (and hectic) part of the week. Of course I LOVE Shabbat but I also really enjoy getting ready for Shabbat. Knowing that its coming and that in just a few short hours it will be here! Everything that gets done on Friday is in preparation for Shabbat! I love it!

Lechah dodi, liqarat kallah.
P'nei Shabbat neqabelah!

Shabbat Shalom,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tefilah (Prayer)

 I've mentioned before how difficult prayer is for me. I wasn't really taught how to pray. Growing up Catholic I had specific prayers to say but it wasn't the same as really reaching out to HaShem. I would go to confession and say the Our Father and my Hail Marys. But I never understood that Yeshua was teaching us how to pray and that the Our Father is an example of how we should pray.  I never really learned from the prayers. So I find my self struggling day to day and when I really need to reach out. I try to make prayer a priority but I'm not so great at it. I've come a long way but I'm not where I would like to be. I'm the kind of person that just likes to arrive, so the journey can be a bit frustrating. 

Despite my struggles with set prayers, the idea of a siddur (prayer book) appeals to me; I think its the use of the set prayers to get your mind right for your own prayers.  I started to make my own siddur, but, I don't know for some reason that didn't help me. I have a pocket NT that has Psalms and Proverbs, so I wrote down a list of Tehillim (Psalms) to be recited for specific occasions and began using that to recite psalms before diving into my supplications. That helped me out tremendously. Which leaves me thinking that maybe I need a "real" pocket siddur. Something tangible that has prayers that I didn't make up and that makes me feel closer to YHVH. 

The thought of getting a siddur leads me to my next thought which is the three daily prayers in Judaism. Something appeals to me about stopping what you're doing, no matter what it is, to pray. I haven't really made any definitive decisions about this but its something that is really on my mind. 

But what about you? What is your prayer life like?

Monday, March 14, 2011

My book has arrived!

I finally received The Committed Life by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis! I ordered it through and was patiently (well not really very patiently) waiting for it to come. I just wanted to dive in. I've heard great things about Rebbetzin Jungreis and her writing. So far the book has lived up to it's reviews! I'm almost half way through it! If I was still child free I KNOW I would've been done with it already, but I don't have a lifestyle that permits much time for non-stop reading. 

I'm pretty sure I will be reading more books by Rebbetzin Jungreis in the future. The next one I want to get is The Committed Marriage. Has anyone else read any of her books? 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Preparation Day!

lyrics and translation from hebrew songs 

Shamor  vezachor bedibur echad                           Guard and remember in a single utterance
Hishmi’anu El hameyuchad                                    We were made to hear by the unifying God*
HaShem echad ush’ma echad                               God is One and His name is One
Leshem uletif’eret velitehilah                                  For His name for glory and praise

Lechah dodi, likarat kalah                        Come my lover to welcome the Shabat  (referred to as the bride)
Penei shabat nekabelah                                            We will welcome Shabat

Hitoreri, hitoreri                                                       Wake up, wake up
Ki ba orech, kumi uri                                               Your light is coming, rise up and shine*
Uri, uri, shir daberi                                                   Wake up, wake up, and sing a song
Kevod HaShem alaich nig’lah                                   You saw the glory of God

Lechah dodi, likarat kalah                        Come my lover to welcome the Shabat  (referred to as the bride)
Penei shabat nekabelah                                            We will welcome Shabat

Boi beshalom ateret ba’alah                                      Enter in peace o crown of her husband
Gam besimchah uvetzahalah                                     Even in gladness and good cheer
Toch emunei am segulah                                          Among the faithful of the treasured nation
Boi Kalah, boi, kalah                                                 Enter o bride, enter o bride

Lechah dodi, likarat kalah                        Come my lover to welcome the Shabat  (referred to as the bride)
Penei shabat nekabelah                                            We will welcome Shabat

Lechah dodi, likarat kalah                        Come my lover to welcome the Shabat  (referred to as the bride) Penei shabat nekabelah                                                    We will welcome Shabat

(*wikipedia translation)

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Preparation Day!

I love Shabbat. It's such a peaceful time in my house. Spending time with HaShem, no rushing, and no chores. We're still learning about what works for us and how to go about certain things, but since we've been observing the Sabbath we have grown in so many ways.  

*Barukh attah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam, she’asah li kol tzorki*(Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, who provides for me all my needs)

And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.- Ezekiel 20:20

Shabbat Shalom!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook 1

Outside my window... The sun is shining and the wind is blowing
I am thinking... About what to make for dinner. 
I am thankful for... My husband and my children 
From the learning rooms... For me - Hebrew and Bible study, For Amina - Letter recognition and counting
From the kitchen... Nothing right now but I made oatmeal raisin cookies last night. 
I am wearing...  A red long sleeve t-shirt and an ankle length khaki skirt
I am creating...  A personal Siddur (prayer book)
I am going... No where 
I am reading... I'm waiting for my copy of The Committed Life to arrive, but in my Bible I'm reading Deut
I am hoping... That my book comes SOON! 
I am hearing... Amina singing old macdonald :o)
Around the house... Dishes need to be done and Amina needs to pick up her toys
One of my favorite things... currently studying Hebrew and watching Israeli movies. 
A few plans for the rest of the week: Preparing for Shabbat, making Purim plans,  and doing some studying with Hubs. 
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

We went to an animal farm over the summer. 
This is a species of sheep that is over 3,00 years old 
and if I remember correctly they are from the middle east.

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