Category: God’s Fingerprints

I-CU


“This week we want to…” get everything done we have planned.  We have  Rachel’s piano concert, a visit to Pittsburgh to meet up with my best friend from high school whom I haven’t seen in years, a Father’s day celebration.

“The kids are…” excited to go to a new kids day at the library tomorrow.  Happy they got to spend the day with friends.  Happy and busy doing what they love.

“I am learning….” some cool new coding things that have recently come out, to juggle more things at once and balance it all.

“I am struggling with…” going  to bed at a decent time and getting up at a decent time so I can get things done and see Shamus (who is sleeping during the day).  Also struggling with having a list of things to do on certain days– I prefer laid back to must dos and to not over empathize with those who are hurting.  When I do I get moody and cranky and am not able to be a good wife and mother– so need to stay focused on the positive and lean on God instead of joining in when others are struggling.  It is  a balance– I am not a good leader– I like to fix things and make them better and too often I can’t.

“This week is the first time….” I found not one but 2 decent shopping cart programs for wordpress sites.  YAH!  Also got some painting done– sadly weeks when I spend a lot of time working on paintings and websites mean the house gets trashed.

“I am grateful…” for God’s faithful provision.  It has been amazing to see and even though I forget He does provide, over an over.

 

Provision

Green Energy Snap Circuits
Issac saved up his birthday/Christmas money to get these. Just ordered them and got them right before our derf we ar a lmost out of money moment..

We have been, for several months, gratefully living off the money we got back from the government (via paying our taxes) for which we have been very, very grateful.  The problem is we knew it wouldn’t last.  We didn’t go crazy and buy all sorts of things– except for stocking up on the things we had been out of for some time, getting a few things to replace broken other things (though not replacing all the broken appliances– well attempting to, but when the replacements also broke we just waited).  So we are at that place.  The place where we are back relying on Jehovah Jireh daily.  The oldest isn’t too thrilled as she doesn’t like being uncomfortable at all but here we are.  SO I thought I should share what all He has been doing (though I have been sharing daily on Facebook and on the CU group.)

 

Moraine State Park
Impromptu trip to Moraine on a very hot sunny day.

When we realized how low we were getting we did the same thing we always do– avoided paying the bills.  We are awful that way.  Then we went to pay the bills and realized, wow, we really are low– too low to buy groceries.  Okay, now what God?  (I hate that we do that, but we both do, especially as it almost always happens when Shamus is sleeping during the day and we aren’t seeing each other except when one of us is falling asleep.

Green Energy Snap Circuits
Intent on his new kit.
  • Right around that time I got a spur of the moment, last minute, please help us get this done in time book cover job (thanks Grace!) which paid for a bill that needed paid NOW.  The book is here: http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Keven-Newsome/dp/tags-on-product/0987653105, the cover was nearly done, just needed to place some text and clean it up for print.  Holly Heisey did the cover and it is lovely.
  • I helped a friend transfer her blog for fun and she sent us gift cards for a local restaurant– which is awesome and will provide a much needed date with Mr. Hubbypants (if our sleep EVER lines up again!)
  • The first thing that happened, immediately following paying bills is I started really analyzing the cost of GAPS foods and deciding what was most important.  We then realized that trips to Broadrun farms were VERY important as raw milk, meat, and eggs are the cheapest nutrition for us.  So, knowing we didn’t have the money we prayed that God would provide.  And around the time that we HAD to leave I got money via paypal through the same friend who sent us the gift cards!  Enough for everything we needed at the farm!  YAH!  (And thanks to my grandma I had enough gas to go!)
  • If you follow my husband at all you will know that he was finishing up his book, Libreoffice hiccuped and LOST 3 days of work– which was HUGE and he was devastated.  Then a reader sent him a free gift of  Word (the “good  version–can’t remember which year).  He was grateful but felt it wasn’t time to get back into it– which is fine because he works in his head like I do, THEN put sit on paper.
  • Because of that he suddenly got back into programming and started working on a game engine again– and is going at warp speed doing what he calls the best programming he has ever done.  Which is awesome and I am excited to see where God takes that.
  • I have multiple jobs right now, all of which will help pay the bills in the coming month (some things due soon so that is awesome.)
  • Right after I had a huge panic attack about where the money would come from, God started putting everything into place.   A friend sent us not only enough to renew our Science Center Membership (which he says we should do) but also added enough to pay some bills and keep us in food until these jobs pay.  Praise the Lord–some stress relieved.
  • Another friend was doing a rummage sale at her church and told me to let her know what appliances we had that had died so she could watch for them.  Then she offered to pick them up at the pre-sale (just for helpers) so I would get them.  THEN when I tried to pay her she said no!  So now we have all new small appliances to replace all our broken ones!
Moraine State Park
Moraine State Park, Pa

I-CU

Intensive Care for the Christian Unschooler– this is a weekly meme (you post the questions to your blog each Wednesday that you are able, using one of the buttons here to link  over to the CU blog, add your site to the linky at the bottom there.)


“This week we want to…” prepare for a yard sale and figure out ways to get enough money to go visit friends that are moving soon and get enough together to go to the science center before our membership is over.
“The kids are…” enjoying Issac’s new scooter, struggling with the fact that we are tight with money again and can’t do all that they want to do.  Issac is adoring the Green Electricity Snap Circuit Kit he bought with his Christmas money (he saved it till now).
“I am learning….” more like relearning.  I am having to place everything in God’s hands, again.  WHEN am I going to learn?
“I am struggling with…” trusting that God will provide.  There are things that really need to be done this month (I mean yeah, they don’t have to but this is our last month our our science center membership and we would like to go at least one more time, we have two different friends moving in the next month (1 3 hrs away, the other 5 hrs away) both of which my oldest really wants to visit before they move because it is likely once they move we will never see them.  And honestly I have no idea where the money will come from to do any of that since we are that place– the car needs inspected this month, and we are coming up empty–we are back to waiting for provision for the basics let alone for road trips.  He has provided thus far and I am trusting that He will continue but…I am nervous and I really shouldn’t be.  I KNOW He is Jehovah Jireh.  I KNOW He has provided in the past.  I just wish I could get the rest of me to remember and accept instead of worrying.  Yes, I am struggling with panic– we are in the month the house foreclosure can take place and it is scary sice we have no backup plan and what we thought God was doing hasn’t happened (and suddenlyShamus switched gears from the book to programming and we were hoping that would get finished soon.) So…trusting Jehovah Jireh.

Apparently my lack of sleep these last few nights is also getting to me even though I “feel” fine– not tired or anything.  Just irritable and anxious.  I think Mandy might be onto something there.  I think a lot of that is a shift in what I am eating–still eating GAPS but out of some key components and so haven’t been eating according to my cravings, which means I often just can’t be bothered to eat (eating plenty, just meh.).

“This week is the first time….” hmmmm, trying to think of first here.  I guess it is the first time I have had a Facebook Bible discussion group– which is amazing and awesome and relaxed and beautiful and EXACTLY the type of Bible discussion group I have always wanted.  No schedule, no real plan, just lets study what God has to say about this word and everyone posts as they feel led.  Beautiful.

I am grateful for… (Yes, I added this one, will probably add it to the whole list on the group blog.)  God’s provision.  Yesterday we needed milk from the farm (and eggs and meat and cheese ) and since they are only open Tuesday and Thursday evenings (well and Sat but we don’t do Saturday stuff) I needed to go if I was going.  I had been praying all day because we didn’t have the money to go and get what we needed and really were low on groceries.  And then a friend gifted us with enough to go!  So we went and it was such a blessed time.  Rach and I stopped and visited my step-brother to give him his birthday gift which we have been carrying around for over a month.  We were able to spread the cash out to cover plenty of milk and meat plus lots of eggs and cheese and bananas (key on the GAPS diet).  We were able to check the gift cards that a friend sent us for Chili’s (we have had gift cards sent in the mail before that something the postal service did demagnetized them and they didn’t work so always check them before purchasing anything) and the gift cards are good so hubby and I get a date night!!!  Anyway, it was an evening of one blessing after another and it was amazing and awesome and God is so good!   And then we had enough in our gift fund to give to another friend in need which was also a blessing– I love being able to help others even if it isn’t much.  God has blessed us in such amazing ways that I want to pass on those blessings!

Oh, and both girls wrote essays for the Gaming Angels girls Computer Camp contest and I am proud of both of them– they did a beautiful job and each essay is so unique and really shows their personality and thought processes.

I CU

Intensive Care for the Christian Unschooler– this is a weekly meme (you post the questions to your blog each Wednesday that you are able, using one of the buttons here to link back to the CU blog, and hop over here and add your site to the linky at the bottom.)

“This week we want to…”…hmm, will have to ask the kids. We did what they really wanted (went to Moraine State Park, where they made friends with a family that is eerily similar to our own in all sorts of awesome ways. Also took Rach to the outlets and to Moraine yesterday– which she announced was the best day ever, though I guess today almost trumped it.

“The kids are…” happy and sunburnt. VERY sunburnt (though I am the worst)– apparently staying 3 hours past when we were going to leave might not have been such a great idea. 🙂 But it was worth it, see above.

“I am learning….” that I forgot how much sunburn hurts? And that maybe God is filling in my lack of leadership ability, maybe. I don’t WANNA lead. That I don’t have nearly enough time to write all the stuff I want to write about (SO much that needs written down), take care of the house, visit my grandma, AND do all the cool stuff I want to do with the kids. So, I really need to be praying for wisdom at any given moment so I am doing all things in His time. And I am learning that I forgot to take pictures today. I think I took like, 3. Sigh. And once again I am learning that YES God is taking care of us. I had to stop and get groceries on the way home and was really upset at how much they cost because we have bills to pay and car inspection. Got home and found almost that exact amount had been donated to us via Shamus’ blog. So whoever you are, THANK YOU!

“I am struggling with…” sunburn? Ow?

“This week is the first time….” I have taken the kids to Moraine alone. Don’t know why I never have, but I just didn’t. Didn’t occur to me how close it was.

Plank Pullin’

 

I pride myself on looking for the good in people and things and have often, in the past, chided my daughter for her rotten outlook on life and for not looking for the good in people.  Really.  And usually I am pretty good at seeing all sides of a situation (I actually picture it as a ball in my hand, rotating it around to see it from every angle– yeah, that is how my brain works. :l Weird brain.)

Well, this week, TWICE, I have had conversations with this wonderful wise young woman of mine and SHE has pointed out to ME that I was looking at people from a negative perspective– thinking the worst instead of looking for the positive and seeing that there is more to the situation than meets the eye.

So, there’s the pride, watch it fall.

So now I need to grab that plank and yank it out, reminding myself to look at the situation and really see what is going on instead of just what is on the surface, knowing that I CANNOT read a persons heart, only God can.  And praise Him that this child HAS become positive and really does have a wonderful outlook regarding people and all their issues.

* and this is me completely unable to type because I am short on sleep and had coffee to make up for it.  Typos are our friend.

 

God’s Thumbprints

I haven’t talked a lot about it lately, well, because there have been so many other things going on, however a friend of mine started a monthly meme called “God’s Thumbprints” in order to remember to record what God is doing so, here I am.

For those who don’t know (and I know there are a lot of you now because of the  CU group) my husband went from full time programmer and full time writer a few years ago (the same week my mom died) to part time programmer and then this last summer switched to no time programmer (except for personal projects like the game he is still working on in his head) and full time writer.  This would be fine, really, because he gets paid to be a full time writer as well, except that he hasn’t been paid for being a full time writer, despite continuing to BE a full time writer for almost exactly a year now.  This means that since last July we have been living completely on what we had saved and God’s provision.  We are trusting that he will EVENTUALLY be paid by this company and if not that the Lord will provide from other means.  He has gotten us through in many amazing ways, from friends gifting us (both money and food– our friends are AMAZING!!!! and God has used them in many miraculous ways right down to the necessary ingredients showing up WHILE I was cooking), Google ads from Shamus’ site, donations from Shamus’ readers, web design and painting work I have done and miscellaneous other  sources.  You can read through my stories of how God got us through the winter here.

We haven’t been in as dire straights as we were this winter, mostly because the Lord provided that despite no  regular income we would get back almost all of the money we paid in taxes.  And due to small incomes from various jobs I have been doing plus Shamus’ Google ads we are leaking slowly instead of going through it all in 3 months as we expected.  We are, however, in a place where we really need to be careful and wise with our spending.  Not that we aren’t normally but extras are extras and we are avoiding those (we did use some of the money from our tax return to get some things we really needed and had been putting off).

So, God’s provision.  Well.

  • This last week I went to the farm to get milk.  I have been putting it off because other than a steady stream of ground beef and eggs we didn’t need as much from the farm with the GAPS diet.  I use milk only for making yogurt and kefir right now, so the 4 gallons I buy is lasting longer (4 gallons of raw milk for $16 is an amazing blessing btw– thank you Vicki!)  So last week I went not knowing how much cash was in my purse.  Poor Vicki is used to this– I remind myself of the missionary who found a bag of cash, invited some military men to breakfast, and then afterwards finally counted the money, praying he would have enough (true story– he did, right down to the tip though while he was praying and counting he asked God if maybe there might be a tiny bit left over for him– there wasn’t).    So anyway, I knew I didn’t have much cash as my grandmother has recently moved much nearer and now instead of once  a week I visit twice a week and often have to run out and get her things.  So, as usual, I started with the milk because I KNEW I had enough for that.  Then I got the meat, because I knew we needed it and I would just buy as much as I had cash for.  Well I had enough for 2 extra lbs.  Then I still had enough for 2 dozen eggs.  THEN I still had enough for 2 bricks of cheese.  It was like the cash was multiplying in my purse.  Vicki and I just watched it happen as I had enough for EVERYTHING I needed.  God is SO awesome!  Oh, and I had $3 left over. 🙂  (And if you go back and read some of my archives you will see that this is not unusual in our household– we have an AWESOME God.)
  • Another cool God thing that I haven’t had a chance to share.  My food processor died.  (So did the dryer, and the blender, and I swear everything in the house is dying.)  I REALLY need to get a good one.  I used to have a Bosch.  Loved it to death.  Literally.  It died after 10 years of daily use.  I didn’t know what to do because it was smoking and therefore I really shouldn’t use it.  So I prayed about it and prayed some more.  Then I realized that my grandmother had given me money for Mother’s Day.  Not enough to buy a good one but enough to buy a decent one on sale.  So I researched and found one that was almost $100 everywhere else, on sale that DAY at Target for $60–the amount I had.  The motor was slightly stronger than the one that just died on me after a year (never buy a Black & Decker food processor– the bowl was cracked into hairline fractures within a week of getting it and it just got worse from there.)  So now I have a working food processor again, which is necessary because I use it AT LEAST once a daily– usually more than that.  Someday I am getting a good one but for now this will do. 🙂
  • Another awesome God thing that happened recently.  Facebook transferred the old groups over to the new group format.  Suddenly the Christian unschooling group I created several years ago showed up and had people in it.  200 people!  200 people TALKING and loving each other and encouraging each other!  Of course I had the other group already and that was a bit of a mess but now that is mostly worked out and so we have a huge group of people to love and support one another which has been such a blessing to all of us.  And yes, there have been some hiccups but for the most part we all get along and treat each other with kindness, respect, and grace, which is awesome.  It also means that suddenly I have a ministry facilitating and leading women again.  I thought I was done with that when we left the church we were in and suddenly God thrust mew into this place again.  Let me tell you, it is hard even though this group is really great and loving.  I am not naturally a leader (I call it the church planter mentality– I like to start things then backup and watch them develop on their own, handing off administration to others).  Instead God has handed me this group of women to encourage and it is scary and amazing– because I am not such a great leader– my spiritual gifts (the ones I am sure of) are service/helps and knowledge– my HUSBAND has the gift of leadership, not me!  GAH!  Anyway, God is working and it is a beautiful thing and exciting to see so many new to CU being encouraged (and many are new to unschooling completely though there are a few of us who have been doing it for a while and are comfortable in our own skins.  Sometimes I forget how hard it is to be starting because I am so used to not fitting in.)

Now go visit Mandy at A Bona fide Life and share what God is doing in YOUR life!

Scrims and Seemings

When I was in high school I had no urge to be on the stage. I wanted to be behind the scenes, making the invisible workings work, creating illusions, and making fake seem real. I loved stage crew and especially adored painting scenery. The curtains and lighting were completely beyond me but there was one aspect of both that I adored. Occasionally a musical we were working on required a scrim. For those who don’t know, a scrim is a thin mesh material that hangs the full length of the stage, with a scene painted on it. When the light shines in front of it you can’t see what is behind, but if a light shines behind you can see that beyond the scrim. In fact you can shine lights on individual aspects of the scenery or props behind the scrim and just show those. (If you are having a hard time imagining what I mean this site has a cool image that demonstrates it.)

I loved all the effects that you could get with a scrim– where with a bit of scenery and some props you could have a few scenes with a scrim you could layer them and create dimension. You could add light to just one part, rearrange everything behind while the light was shining without anyone even realizing you were on stage. You could create many different scenes with a few drop down scenes, some scenery blocks on wheels and one scrim. It was amazing and exciting to see all changes in view and perception that that one illusion could produce.

The thing about scrims is they are really just a seeming. They seem to be there, they seem to show a scene but when you get close to it you can see that it is really nothing more than a bit of mesh. The illusion seems totally real until the light shines just so from behind and your eyes are opened.

Last night I remembered the scrim and realized how much of our religiosity is just seemings. It is only when God’s light shines on it that we see it for the flimsy scrim that it is. This one thing seems so important, it seems like the right thing and then God adds His light and suddenly we see that there is something more true, more real behind it.

The thing is we are all at different places in the theater, seated in different seats so we are all only seeing a part of the stage and that through multiple scrims and seemings, sometimes with various props, scenes, and false fronts in the way. And then God shines His light and refocuses our perception so we see a little bit of His Truth. None of us can see the whole though for some there are less seemings between us and Him. We have to rely on Him to lift those veils, open our eyes, and He does it gradually, never all at once– I think if He did it would break us completely. So we watch and pray and ask and receive and another seeming is removed.

Someday we we will see the whole and it will be glorious.

Plank Pullin’: Packrat edition

It’s Plank Pullin’ time! The one day a week that we strongly resolve to ignore the multitude of specks and sawdust around us and pull one bona fide plank from our own eye. Matthew 7:3-5, style.

So, I have been talking a lot about this new adventure where we don’t tell my kids to do chores anymore and they actually step in and do stuff around the house when asked (once only) or even, get this, without  being asked!  A lot?  It is the ONLY thing I have been talking about lately but that is because it is HUGE for us and it is taking up a lot of my thinky brain– you all will be TOTALLY SICK OF IT by the time I am finished, trust me. It is almost as if this whole “unschoooling” thing actually works when applied to other areas of life– who knew (and those of you who did, hush up– you have one a beautiful job not saying I told you so and I would appreciate it if you continued NOT saying I told you so. :))

So, it is still on my mind because I am still working through it so of course this week’s Plank Pullin’ is totally about that.

Here is the thing: I am messy. I like to have things look neat and deliberately get rid of clutter so it is easier to keep things neat (used to be a total pack rat–took 6 moves to make me stop)– when we have a lot of stuff I stash things and pile all the stuff I don’t know what to do with in one corner/drawer/cupboard/out of site.   My husband is fairly messy as well– he likes things neat and clean (no bugs) and will keep his desktop clean (well he declutters a lot more often than I do– you do NOT get to see my desktop but just know that as long as I have a spot for my water bottle I am happy) and if something starts bugging him he will do something about it, not complain to me about it.  He is also my absent minded professor– so when someone asks who left the cheese out, it was probably him. 🙂

So WHY am I surprised that my kids are packrats and tend to leave things behind when they are doing something (my oldest especially.)  They get it from US!  And my biggest pet peeve, the stufing and putting off doing something?  ME! ME! ME!  They get it from ME!

Oops.

You see, this week I helped my oldest rearrange her room (so she had a “wall” between her and her younger sister’s bed) and whilst doing that helped her clean the pile of junk she shoved into the closet when she was having company.  I was angry and irritated about that pile.  REALLY irritated.  I had been asking her to clean it up for over a month.  This time I stopped asking and just helped because I knew she hated the mess and was overwhelmed by it.  I was also upset that she still had a laundry basket full of clean clothes sitting on the floor.  She gave me all sorts of excuses and I just got cranky about it.

The things is?  I have a similar pile in my bedroom. Several similar piles.  Sure they aren’t full of garbage like hers (well the bottom of my closet might be since that is where presents get stashed and all those little wrappers and tags end up there, and there might be packing materials and random bits of stuff mixed in with the big pile but…..)  I also have a pile of clothes that I can’t be bothered to hang up (because I forget what I have if I hang it up–the closet door closes and I can’t see through it :)) and a huge pile of things that I have move from other parts of the house as we cleaned– because I didn’t know what to do with this stuff.

Did you see the excuses?

Yeah.

See God keeps showing me that MY attitude and actions are what the kids are seeing and copying (also that some of this stuff is just hereditary–you should see all the stuff my brother’s collect, and my dad, and my grandparents:)).  So whether I choose to clean up my own act I REALLY need to remember that I have my own messes to deal with first, THEN I can help them clean up theirs.

I have also found that when something really doesn’t work for them I need to adapt things so they WILL work for them.  Which is why my kids don’t have drawers– they, like me, stash things in drawers then forget about them (every drawer in our house is a junk drawer except those in the kitchen cabinets that hold designated items).  They used to dump their drawers on the floor every time they got dressed.  So we got rid of the drawers and put in shelves.  We find that having too many clothes leads to mess–they get overwhelmed looking for things that actually fit/feel right, so we go through and get rid of what doesn’t fit or feel right.  If a certain type of storage doesn’t work for me, I get rid of it and move to something that does, so we do the same thing for them. 🙂

Just had some tea with my oldest and discussed all the things that we have in common, that drive each other crazy– the messes, staying up all night playing video games, the interrupting, the… you get the idea.  And she pointed out how angry she used to get when I would yell at her for something that I do.  Yeah.  Working on it.

 

Plank Pullin’: Crying into the Dishwater

For the first time in several years (at least–can’t remember the last time honestly) I am joining in a weekly meme: Jessica’s Plank Pullin’. Hop on over and read hers (which I totally identify with, or would if we actually had people randomly stopping by– in our case we still have all elderly neighbors and my kids are the ones going visiting.)

So, if you have been paying attention you know we are doing an experiment this week. In case you don’t have the energy to read through my wall of words here’s a run down:

This week I am fasting from telling the kids to do chores or insisting they do what I ask in general (the fast policy is ask once then let it go–it is not required obedience because I am asking not insisting).  They are 13, 11, and 9.  They know how the house runs.  There have been nightly fights since we instituted the “kids are in charge of the dishes” rule 6 months ago and I have had enough as have they–thus the fast (which may extend to all the time–usually my character fasts do in the end).

 

The problem is, my attitude about it stinks, as does theirs.  I can’t fix theirs but I CAN fix mine, which is where this week’s plank pullin’ comes in.

We have been doing pretty well– I had been making sure I asked for help only when the kids weren’t actively busy with something.  So if I said, “Hey, could someone run down and check the laundry” someone usually would.  But last night my attitude with a healthy dose of hormones reared its ugly head and when you live in a house with pre-/teen girls, THEIR hormones are also raging.

We had spent all day out shopping– the exhausting sort– and I was exhausted, wiped out, and REALLY didn’t want to do dishes.

See, growing up my parents didn’t get a dishwasher until I moved out– why should they when my brother and I made perfectly good dishwashers.  They got it when I moved out because my middle brother was busy with all sorts of after school activities and was never home to DO dishes, my other brother being a baby.  I’m not bitter. So I grew up hating doing dishes even though when my brother  helped it was kind of fun.  Despite how we acted around our parents we really enjoyed each other’s company and made doing dishes fun.  The result of this is I hate doing dishes but don’t mind so much if it gives me a chance to hang out with someone.

When I asked for help last night everyone decided they would rather do something else.  So I sobbed into the soapy water instead of yelling (because if I am on a fast and call it that then I rememberand I refused to yell–though BOY was it tempting.)  This led to a big wet, whiny talk with God about how I hated doing dishes alone and why was I the one who had to pick up all the slack and do all the extra work that needs done and how the kids know my love language is service and not one of them could be bothered to even offer to help and waaaaaaaahhhh.

Now remember, part of this experiment is that I want my kids to get a better attitude about work and not go about bossing each other and to quit looking at work as something to be avoided and foisted off on others.  Here I was whining about how I wanted my kids to come in and naturally offer to help without even being asked and that they wouldn’t even do it if I asked gently.  Meanwhile God often has to kick me in the rear (or shut down my computer) to get me going in the proper direction even though I should know what He wants me to do (I do have a conscience and the Holy Spirit uses it liberally) and even when He straight out asks I tend to balk.  So my love language is service and here I am whining about serving because I want others to serve me instead meanwhile I don’t pay near enough attention to the service that God is asking me to do.  Hmmm.  Big ol’ plank there.

And then, after all my whining and fussing I realized there really weren’t that many dishes after all (a little over a sink full) and suddenly I was done and I remembered that doing dishes isn’t really that bad and I was just really pulling the same stunt as my kids (why do I have to be the one to do it, why can’t someone else.)

A few minutes later, though still disappointed in my kids, my attitude had recovered.  I walked into the office and my boy ran up to me and said, “I know I didn’t help with the dishes but look, I cleaned up your desk for you!”  And he did, my desk looked really nice (and everything was where I usually put it so I could find it– and yes, it did make me feel loved–I have a very silly heart. :))  A few minutes later Rach asked, “Didn’t anyone help you with the dishes?”  I replied that no one had and why would she expect someone else to if she wouldn’t (okay, a bit of attitude lingering but her younger sister is the one who usually steps in and helps and Rach knows it).

Obviously I have some personal heart issues/attitude to address before I attempt to address those in my children.  So I consider it temporarily adjusted– I know I will have more adjusting to do but that is really what a fast is usually about (for me anyway) and fasts tend to bring out the big heart issues God wants to work on right now and this one is a doozy.

 

Our First Passover

I am going to apologize in advance.  I will probably step on some toes here, and I HATE stepping on toes but I need to be up front and honest about where God has us and how we got to this place.  I am not at all saying that anyone else should follow our path, this is where God has lead us, very clearly and surely.  And truthfully– hrough many tears and ” but LORD I don’t WANT to”s.  Just giving you a heads up.  And may I say that one of the hardest parts of going Messianic (or Hebraic or however you want to call it– we are whole Bible including the Torah– not to be saved–that is only through Messiah who died and rose again but instead to show our love for the God who created the Torah in the first place including obedience to how He wants to be worshiped.  That said there are as many vehement interpretations of Torah and how to obey as there are types of Evangelical Christian and we have spent the last few months wading through all sorts of information and prayerfully separating the chaff from the wheat.  (There is so much more information still to go through but we are taking things one step at a time and applying as God leads not as people tell us we should.  If you are female, you may remember what it was like to be pregnant and then have a new baby and everyone under the sun was giving you advice on how to do everythign and what was healthy and what wasn’t?  Yeah, that is what it feels like.)  As soon as we figure something out God moves us to something else and as Shamus said the other day, it is apparent He wants us to stay on the edge and set apart– and it is like that for everything– our work life, the foods we eat, the way we learn, the way we live, and our life in Christ.

Our first Passover has been an interesting experience.  We are blessed that it falls the same week as the traditional Easter/Resurrection celebration this year as it makes things easier for our family– who all celebrate Easter/Resurrection Day.  We never went in for the bunny (or Santa for that matter) so that simplified things a lot but this year we are not celebrating the Catholic church’s holiday either (and Easter is the Catholic church’s holiday even though other Christian denominations have taken it on.  They are the ones who stopped celebrating Passover switching to Easter and changed the Sabbath day to Sunday and I left the Catholic church when I first married and see no reason to do things their way now.  We figure if we are going to say that the Bible is true then we are going to live by it fully and leave off the traditions of man unless they are something that Jesus specifically did (or that the disciples continued after His death and resurrection).

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish anything from it, that you may keep the commandments of YHWH your God” (Deuteronomy 4:2).

This is the verse that the Lord has placed on my heart and this is what we are sticking to.  The problem is that there is so much out there and as we are only now learning Hebrew slowly  it is hard to be discerning.  So, this is where we come back to tons of prayer and step by step obedience.  As we obey in one thing He reveals another that we need to do.  It is so much like back when we were baby Christians that it  is just plain silly.

One of the things we did was clear out the yeast.  Since we are on the GAPS diet this one wasn’t that hard except for Shamus, or it wasn’t until we started realizing how far the yeast has traveled in our house.  You see before the GAPS diet saltines were a way of life.  They were cheap and easy to get a hold of in a form that no one was allergic to and the kids had a habit of taking them into other rooms.  There were cracker bits in every corner of the entire house and despite a deep cleaning and several sweepings I KNOW we didn’t get all the cracker crumbs.  It was an amazing lesson for all of us.  Every time we thought we found them all we would find more.  It is the same way with sin, as soon as you think you have extricated it you find another area that is even harder to reach and deeper ingrained.

After we spent the day (I had cleaned prior but the girls were very sick all week so we really didn’t get to it till Sunday) scrubbing and cleaning and scrubbing some more I found out that the day we thought Passover started wasn’t the same for everyone.  Some started on one date some another and I panicked thinking I had messed up, again.  Then I found out that we were all right, it was just another of those you say po-tae-to I say po-tau-t0 questions and we just needed to stick with what we started and we were fine.

Choosing the calendar is the next thing on the list.  Prayerfully and carefully choosing which calendar we are going by.  So I am reading up on the calendar and learning about the hows and why’s of the different ones.  Also looking at what others are using (but all of my friends seem to be using different calendars for different reasons.)

We did have parts of a traditional Seder–lamb, matzah (homemade), charoset, wine though we did not follow the traditional Seder prayers etc.  We have not gotten that far and have not felt led in that at this point.  We will see what God does in this area in the future, for now we are content to move as He leads.

The kids got multiple library books out on Passover and are more excited about celebrating this than they ever were about Easter/Resurrection Day.  As they keeping  saying, “It just makes sense, more so than any other holiday we have celebrated.”

Finally, today, after much prayer and watching several videos about the origins of various traditions, namely this and this–the firs tone is there as well but wasn’t nearly as interesting.  I knew most of these things from previous research but God convicted us all after watching these.  This is especially true as we just went through Judges, Chronicles, and Kings and over and over again heard about how despite worshiping God they “did not take down the high places”.  All of us had wondered aloud about this.  Why didn’t they destroy the high places, especially if they weren’t worshiping there.  Yesterday it finally occurred to us.  They were holding onto them because they were family traditions.  They weren’t hurting anything, they were just there, just like the idols that Rachel stole from her father’s house, and all the other idols that at first were just held onto and later became worshiped.  Today, after much prayer and discussion (and extreme conviction) we threw out all the extras– the Christmas decorations and very few Easter decorations.  We kept lights– we plan to use blue and white lights for Hanukkah and have promised the kids a real menorah and dreidel and presents for each of the 8 days– they are thrilled beyond belief and happily went through and removed the Santas, Christmas trees, and other Christmas decorations from the household.  It took a bit of tears on our part, especially mine as my mother adored Christmas and LOVED Santa, but all the more reason to remove them.  My kids never did Santa or the Bunny– we didn’t want to confuse them since Santa is so similar to Jesus, but he crept in and we had plenty of them around.  They seem innocuous but we have seen too many children confused by them (in fact I know a child who thought Santa was God) and we don’t want to add anything to God’s plan for worship.  Just like the yeast it is amazing to see all the places we found the decorations– we searched the house top to bottom and I am sure I still have missed quite a few.  So, as hard as it was, and as much as I know it will cause division, again– I swear everything we do causes division, it is done and we are doing it.  The most amazing thing was once we go past the initial “don’t wanna” it was relieving, even exciting and definitely freeing.  We didn’t give any of it away, we just tossed or burned it as material demanded.  And like I said, it was amazing to see how happy the kids were to do it–I didn’t expect that, I expected a fight or at least a few tears (there were a few but they were more about getting rid of things of my mother’s not about the celebrations or decorations themselves.)

This is not to say that we are telling anyone else to give up these things, it is what God has lead us to do.  As far as family goes, we are not celebrating but plan to get together per usual with family members around these holidays and will do gifts as they are called for (our gifts are always small anyway and the kids have never been used to piles of gifts at Christmas so that is not a problem.)

God is calling us to remove the high places in our lives, and get rid of our ancestors idols and this was an area that we felt led to do so.  No idea what He gives us next but it should be interesting.  We’ll just take things one step at a time–anything more would be too exhausting.  (And in case you are wondering–Shamus is 100% on board with all of this, I am just writing from my own and the kids point of view because he wasn’t actively involved in the great purging.)

The cool thing is that God blessed us amazingly today during our obedience.  After several hours and 5 huge garbage bags full of stuff and even more burning, we got a knock on the door.  It was the mailman bearing the sample of the card game I worked on (you can see it here) AND a box from a friend containing 2 laptops (one a tablet!!! and the other a gaming laptop!), 2 cameras, 2 memory cards, batteries and charger, and a mini tripod!  And then, as we were working some more a neighbor (the one who mows the back half of our property) came over and asked if we wanted the crab apple trees out back cut down and said he would do it!!!  YES!  This is something we have wanted to do  and have just been unable to do due to lack of funds.

So, God blessed us in our obedience to Him.  Some would say, well those things would have happened anyway– whatever.  I haven’t talked to this neighbor in over a year and though I knew the laptops were likely coming they weren’t supposed to come for sometime–I was just expecting the card game to come in the next few days.  And I didn’t know about the other things that came–which are amazing and a replacement for several broken items in the house.

Here are some of the sites that have been included in my research (don’t agree 100% with all –just some of the stuff I have run across and find interesting.)  There are tons more, these were just the ones I had open this morning while reading and praying over decisions.

http://www.karaite-korner.org/haggadah.shtml

http://lionlamb.net/v3/YAVOHHeiscoming/2003/03

http://www.hebrew4christians.com/

http://www.torahcalendar.com/SUNSET.asp

https://www.facebook.com/notes/brenda-cathcart/what-does-the-feast-of-unleavened-bread-mean-to-you/10150172794134417

http://ffoz.org/

Again, this is where we are and where He has led us.  We don’t expect you to do the same, it is just where He has led us.  And just like doing the GAPS diet it is HARD but the goal is not to take the easy way but to go where He leads us.  And it is nothing if not interesting and definitely an adventure. 🙂