Living With Intention in 5775: Week 16

Shalom! I hope everyone is having a blessed day. We are in week sixteen of our challenge. This week’s challenge was suggested by our dear sister Jane. She has recently left FB for a much needed break from social media and has been experiencing an excess of time which FB used to fill. So, this week, we are going to join her in evaluating what we do with and how we spend our time.

Some questions to keep in mind this week:

  • Is it productive?

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Master Yeshua Messiah. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

  • Is it intentional?

“I know also, my G-d, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You.
“O L-RD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You. (1 Corinthians 29:17-18)

  • Are we helping others or ourselves?

This is what the L-RD of Heaven’s Armies says: Judge fairly, and show mercy and kindness to one another. Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and the poor. And do not scheme against each other.
“Your ancestors refused to listen to this message. They stubbornly turned away and put their fingers in their ears to keep from hearing. (Zechariah 7:9-11)

  • Are we drawing near to our Creator?

let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:22-25)

Blessings and Shalom,
S~

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 15

I hope everyone had a fruitful week of inner work on the “why” in order to continue to do our part concerning those things Hashem has revealed He wants to repair in us.

This is week fifteen, and I feel like we’ve circled the wagons, completing a cycle, and in some ways, like we’re going back to the beginning. Not coincidentally, as I began to sit to write this week’s challenge, I realized that the fifteenth letter of the Hebrew alef-bet is the samekh, which just so happens to be in the shape of a circle. The root word of סמך samekh (15th letter) means ״to lean upon״, ״to uphold״ or ״to support״. Within the family structure it is the job of the husband and the wife to support one another. The number fifteen is represented by the yod (10) and the hey (5). In Hebrew, husband is איש (eesh) alef-yod-shin and wife is אשה (eeshah) alef-shin-hey.

ish_isha_fire_god

As couples, we have many things in common–those things that brought us together–and yet we are different. How many times have we heard or said, “I just don’t understand you!” However, many of us rarely stop to think about the fact that the things that make us unique are the very things that are meant to reveal the name and presence of G-d in our in our homes and in the eyes of the world.

This week we want to focus on prayer for our husbands–the priests of our home, and our children–the future generation, from a different frame of mind as I hope you will grasp from the following.

Rabbi Shalom Arush in his book Women’s Wisdom, says this:

A woman’s main strength lies in her power to pray on behalf of her husband and children…the strongest power Hashem blessed women with is their capacity to pray…Through her prayers, a woman can bring her husband to repent, and even transform him from an evil man to a tzaddik (a righteous one). The power given to women to uplift their homes is manifested through their prayers.

Prayer is the epitome of giving…A woman knows how to pray fro her home because she is keenly aware of everything that happens within it; she knows exactly whom and what she should pray for…In comparison, the husband is usually too involved with his dual struggle of making a living and fighting his Evil Inclination.  The wife sees the needs of the entire household best; she must take it upon herself to pray for their home.

What reflects that a wife truly loves her husband more than anything?  When a wife says to herself, “It doesn’t matter what he does or doesn’t do. I want to fulfill my role; I want to give of myself to the people that I love.  I want to learn to be the best possible influence on my husband.  I want to understand what I can do to make him happy.  I’ll pray that he overcomes all of his shortcomings and that Hashem will help him improve.  I’ll give him plenty of encouragement and positive reinforcement.” (pp. 52-53)

As you have read, we women have incredible power to affect our the whole atmosphere of our home, to bring true and lasting change, and truly it starts with our own attitude of our hearts.

Concerning our children, R’Shalom Arush has this to say:

King Solomon, the wisest of all men that ever walked the face of the earth, makes a cogent observation: In the same way the surface of the water reflects an image, one heart reflects another heart. (Proverbs 14:17) The hearts closest to us reflect the us the most. With this invaluable principle in mind, we reach a landmark conclusion with far-reaching ramifications as to child rearing: A child mirrors parents…Before parents begin praying to Hashem that their child should become a great person, they first need to ask Hashem to help them improve in their own behaviour and character traits. (pp. 235-36)

For one final thought on prayer (some of my dear readers will be familiar with this thought on prayer, because this video was played at our congregation not too long ago, but for those who are not) here is Rabbi David Aaron explaining prayer.

Shalom and blessings for a fruitful week!

S~

Epitaph

One day, when I have breathed my last,
More than anything, these are the words
I want written on my epitaph–

“Here lies _____ the compassionate,
_____ the merciful.
Loving mother and faithful wife,
She was a blessing to everyone she knew,
Until the very last day of her life.
She always put G-d first;
She loved Him with all her heart,
With all her soul and all her strength.
She sowed beauty into this world;
May she reap great joy in the next.”

Something Crazy

Okay, I am going to tell on myself today! Before my husband and I moved to Ohio we had an argument. I can honestly say, I have no idea what we were arguing about. Do we ever really remember? Anyway, he eventually left so we could both cool off, but I took his absence as an opportunity to break the household dishes–yes, yes, I did; it was a set of eight dinner plates, salad plates, and bowls that I hated and didn’t want to pack up and move with us. I’m a very passionate, dramatic gal; can you tell?

Smash! Crash!

What must my neighbors be thinking? Oh, I don’t really care.

Wham! Slam!

It felt really good to drop those dishes one by one on the concrete below my porch. I felt quite liberated by it! However, the clean up was not all that fun, and hubby was not very happy about not having normal dishes to eat off of; we used paper plates for a month before our move. Now,after almost three years, we (he) can finally laugh about it.

Take the advice from this crazy lady, if you hate your dishes and you want to smash them, ask your husband first; if he doesn’t like the idea, take them down to the Goodwill, after you’ve saved up some money, and get some new ones.

Got a crazy story? Please share below! Happy Monday everyone!

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 14

So last week, the goal was “to let Hashem into your dark places–the rooms in your heart that you’ve locked up, wanted to ignore, and pretended don’t exist.” Yesterday, my accountability group was discussing what to do for this week. We all agreed that we wanted to camp out on the current challenge for an extra week with one little minor focus change.

In order to have any lasting change, we need to have a reason to change and we need a means by which to accomplish change. Without a “why” or “how” we will not form a new habit. So last week having recognized the “what”, now let us ask Hashem to show us the “why”.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey says of habit:

“Habit is the intersection of knowledge (what to do), skill (how to do), and desire (want to do).” ~The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

The “desire” is the “why”. I personally see the skills–the “how”–at least where spiritual growth and maturity are concerned, as being our ability to choose to bring our will into alignment with Hashem’s will. The best way I know of to accomplish this is by daily renewing my mind with the Word of G-d.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of G-d.” (Romans 12:2)

I will leave you with a short lecture on “starting with why”. I hope as we camp out and continue to let the Spirit shine the soft lamplight in our dark rooms, we will begin to get concrete, solidified reasons to help us form new habits that will better help us to manifest the Love and Light of Hashem into a dark and hopeless world.

Blessings and Shalom for a good and fruitful week!
S~

The Locked Room

The cry of a child–
Shrill screams
Behind the locked door.
I draw close to the portal;
My legs are the trunks of trees,
Heavy, cumbersome, immoveable.
Gripped by terror,
Fear squeezes my heart,
My blood runs cold.
I call out for help,
And a faint whisper emerges
At the top of my voice.
You come and tear down the door,
And leave me to myself.
An empty room
No frightful sights to behold.
My prayers arise in songs
To the only One I know
Who can unmask the truth.
You give me eyes to see;
The screams I heard
Come from my younger self,
The one who feels out of control,
Angry, impatient, alone–
I have been my own worst enemy,
And You have come to set me free.
You wait patiently for my surrender,
For my invitation,
“Come shed Light
In the dark places of my heart,
And redeem them for Your Glory.”
Let the Healing begin.

~inspired by a dream

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 13

Well, we’re 17 weeks into the year 5775, and in week 13 of the Living with Intention in 5775 challenge!

Yesterday, I was at services and my face began to flush as the congregational leader spoke; I felt shame. Hashem has been trying to get my attention for a while now about rooting out this major issue I have with my mouth when I get angry. You see, I am impulsive and when I get emotional, overwhelmed or frustrated I tend to say whatever pops into my head. Now, over the years, I have gotten a little better, but every now and then–my mouth…what’s that verse?

“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:10)

I knew what my own personal challenge this week would have to be concerning this issue. I believe Hashem is so loving and so kind that He warns us about a possible “humbling by situation/others” if we don’t take proper steps to humble ourselves. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t want to bring dishonor to my husband, my children, and most importantly my King and Heavenly Father by not at least trying to overcome this fleshly weakness.

We all have things that we want to change. Well, it’s a new year, it’s a new week, and now is the time. Today is the day. I heard a whisper in my spirit yesterday, “You didn’t actually think this was going to get easier did you?” And we shouldn’t. Every day, every hour, we are coming closer to the redemption and coming of our Messiah. I don’t know where I stand, whether I will be found worthy to be the Bride of Messiah or an honored guest at the Wedding Supper, but I don’t want to just get in by the skin of my teeth either. I do know that Hashem loves me enough to correct me, to speak to my heart and ask me to humble myself before Him–and for now that is all I need to know.

So yesterday, in the middle of service I humbled myself before my King and asked Him to change my heart. I know that only by the power of the Holy Spirit can I overcome this flaw.

This week’s challenge is about letting Hashem into your dark places–the rooms in your heart that you’ve locked up, wanted to ignore, and pretended don’t exist. It’s time to deal with them, bringing them into the light of His glory, because until you do, you won’t be able to move forward with Hashem.

I don’t pretend that I will have some miraculous moment where I will no longer struggle with anger or the flippant words that have been known to come out my mouth; I am saying, Hashem wants me to let Him into that place where the anger has found a place to take root. I believe we’ve all allowed things to take a hold in the soil of our heart, and they want to choke out the good seed that has been planted there.

I pray we all have the courage to come in humility and give Hashem the keys to our locked rooms.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the L-rd. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the L-rd. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

Therefore He says:
“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Messiah will give you light.”

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the L-rd is. (Ephesians 5:8-17)

Blessings and Shalom,

S~

Essential Oils: Counting the Cost

So, I made my final DoTERRA order today. Why? you may ask. Well, that is what I would like to discuss in this post today.

When I began my research over 2 years ago on essential oils, I ran across this blog HERE. I won’t rehash everything, but the bottom line was that she chose Native American Nutritionals (NAN) over all the other popular EO companies. My first online purchase was actually from NAN because of her review.

So how did I end up with doTERRA?

Well, as with many things for me, it was through a friend. She was wanting to do doTERRA as a business to help earn money to supplement her family’s income, and that seems to me to be a worthy thing. She told me about the Family Physician Kit. It contains 10 oils, and really for me at the time was a no brainer, especially when I found out enrollment was free and I could order more oils at wholesale prices.

What I like about doTERRA (pros)

I really like doTERRA as a company. Their customer service representatives are super friendly and shipping is quite fast. The oils themselves are high quality and work just as they claim. If you are looking to build a business, this is a great way to make a paycheck, if you’re motivated to put the time and effort in.

What I don’t like about doTERRA (cons)

In the beginning it didn’t bother me, but as the year progressed, I found that it annoyed me that they had a flat shipping price (shown below). They do offer rewards points on the shipping cost, but that just ensures that you’ll come back again to spend more on oil and pay for another flat shipping fee. Young Living also has a flat shipping price and rewards program, as I discovered. I suppose this is part of being an MLM (multi-level marketing) company. Another thing that I wasn’t too thrilled about is that because doTERRA is a relatively new company they don’t offer very many single oils, so if you are looking for something like Neroli, you’d have to order it through another company.

So what changed my mind?

Talking to my older sister on the phone the other day, she mentioned that she’d decided to go with NAN. She mentioned the differences in pricing for frankincense, and it got me looking into my reasons for using doTERRA. I asked myself, Why am I using doTERRA again? In the beginning, I had thought about doing doTERRA as a business, but I have never been a huge fan of selling; I hate putting people in the position of feeling like they need to buy something from me. I believe in the power of essential oils and their ability to help the human body heal itself, but surely there are other companies that I can get EO’s from that would allow me to pay shipping per pound, and have more of a variety.

Why not Young Living?

I have heard good things about Young Living; I have some friends who use their products, and they offer a wide variety of oils–both singles and blends, but again, I don’t want a business, I don’t like flat shipping rates, and I don’t care about rewards points.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line for me was doing a price comparison. I decided to take the list of oils that come with doTERRA’s Family Physician Kit, and find the comparable oils that are offered by Young Living, and NAN. As you can see the numbers speak for themselves. (Pricing for DT and YL are wholesale prices and are current as of January 2015, NAN is regular pricing listed on their website, and I chose the most expensive single blends I could find.)

essential oils price comparison sheet

As you can see NAN wins the price comparison, hands down. And the cherry on top, for me, was discovering that if I were to order the above oils in a single order from NAN, I would get free shipping.

NAN, recently joined up with Rocky Mountain oils (who I don’t have any prior knowledge of), and together they offer a huge variety of single oils as well as blends. All of their oils are listed as therapeutic grade (see Wikipedia page under “Dangers”), and they let you know what is GRAS (safe for consumption) in the descriptions. They have reasonable shipping, and decent delivery time.

I share all of this information, because I would have liked to have known the difference in pricing before committing to an MLM company. As much as I liked being able to get a kit and not have to sit down and decide where to start on my EO journey, I can now see that if I had done just a little more research, I might have saved my family a little more money in the long run.

My husband and I are not paupers, I am a stay at home mom, and it is a blessing to be able to stay home, but it means that my husband and I have to be more intentional about what we spend, so we can provide for our three children and be equipped to do the things G-d has called us to do.

If you have any questions I will be happy to do my best to answer them! Have a blessed and beautiful day.

Shalom and blessings,
S~

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 12

Lately, Hashem has really been impressing upon me the desire to cultivate leadership skills for my own life, especially in my home (primarily being more of a servant). I truly believe that this is one of the goals of this year of living with intention. I would have to say that the other is building up ourselves to become the body of Messiah that can and will work in concert with each other. Our motives as disciples of Yeshua should be to rebuild the tabernacle of David, for our inheritance is the Kingdom under the rulership of the Messiah, Son of David.

On Friday, I watched a movie about the last princess of Hawaii. It was centered around her life after leaving her homeland of Hawaii for England, and her eventual return, only to find she would never become queen as was intended. In England, she was sent to a “finishing school” where one of the instructors was “not impressed” by her royal status and gave the princess the task of emptying her chamber pot everyday. She was compliant, speaking no words of defiance, but did as she was told. Her ill treatment by this woman was constant, but she did not ever retaliate in word or deed. Later in the movie, **spoiler alert** the woman who had been so disrespectful of the princess’s natural born position, came into the kitchen of the princess’s place of residence looking for work as a seamstress, because her husband had recently passed away. Her countenance was low; she had been humbled by the circumstances that had befallen her. The princess noticed that she was humiliated and removing the woman’s damp cloak offered her hot tea and a seat near the fire. She didn’t humble the woman further, but had compassion on her.

The lesson I learned from the portrayal of this princess was how to be a true leader. A true leader is humble and a servant. They know when to withhold from speaking, and when to have compassion. We see this in the life of Yosef, David, and Yeshua.

Yosef was sold as a slave into Egypt; he didn’t argue with his master, but did exactly as he was bidden. After hardships and trials, being falsely accused and thrown into prison, he was finally elevated to second in power over all of Egypt. When he was given the opportunity to render judgment on his brothers, he instead extended compassion toward them and embraced them.

David was a lowly shepherd, watching over the flocks of his father, and he was chosen over all of his brothers to become the anointed king of Israel, but he was on the run from King Saul, who wanted to kill him, for a number of years; he hid in caves and conducted renegade attacks on the enemies of Israel in order to protect his people. When he was given the opportunity to kill King Saul, he instead let him live. After Saul’s death, King David ruled the people with justice and righteousness, and the Jewish sages say that there has never been a more glorious time of Israel’s history than that of the reign of King David and his son Solomon.

Yeshua was born to a lowly family, though they were of the descendants of King David. He was a wanderer in his own land by his own admission:

“Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20).

When He was falsely accused of blasphemy, he kept His mouth closed (Mark 14:61); He knew that only through His death would He be raised up and elevated to the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:32-33). He instructed His disciples that the greatest in the Kingdom is the servant of all. (Mark 9:35) When He was on the cross being mocked and spurred on by the crowds to come down from the cross and prove that He was the Son of G-d, He stayed, because He knew that without His death, there could not be eternal life.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of G-d in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

There is a time to endure trials–those things strengthen and forge our character–and then there are times that we are lifted up by God in order to show compassion and grace to our fellow man who is downtrodden.

This week, the focus is on discerning when to withhold from speaking in response to how we perceive we’ve been treated and when to extend compassion to people who we know have been humbled. There are many people with whom we would like to give a piece of our mind, but if we would simply think before responding, we would realize they would not hear the truth of our words. I think this is in part what Yeshua meant by casting our pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). However, there are other people with whom we can recognize that have been humbled by others or by their circumstances and showing signs of repentance; we should be all the more careful to not add to their burden.

Remember: A leader exercises discernment in how they respond to others’ actions and words directed toward them. A leader accepts trials willingly and serves others. A leader extends their hand in compassion to the humble. This is what we need to learn if we hope to have a role to play in the Kingdom of G-d.

Verses on G-d being our Defense:

To the Chief Musician. Set to “Do Not Destroy.” A Michtam of David when Saul sent men, and they watched the house in order to kill him.

Deliver me from my enemies, O my G-d;
Defend me from those who rise up against me. (Psalm 59:1)

Vindicate me, O G-d, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people,
from the deceitful and unjust man
deliver me! (Psalm 43:1)

On Remaining silent:

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent. (Proverbs 11:12)

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:28)

On being compassionate:

“This is what the L-RD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’” (Zechariah 7:9)

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the L-RD require of you
but to do justice, and to love compassion,
and to walk humbly with your G-d?” (Micah 6:8)

Shalom and a blessed week to you all!

S~