Ponderings: Religion

If you are afraid, it might be that you are involved in a religion.
If you are involved in a religion, you may be afraid of being rejected by those within that religious community.
But if you are rejected by the religious community you belong to, aren’t you seeing the words of Yeshua come to pass?
He said we who believe in Him–the Word made flesh–would be rejected by men for His name’s sake.
We are not called to be a part of any religion, but G-d often uses religion to cause us to see there is a higher power.
We are called to follow Truth, and Truth can be found in any religion.
Truth is not equal to one’s opinions, but opinions can be based on the Truth.
When we use the Truth to further our own opinions, we get religion,
When we base our opinions on Truth, we attain spirituality and relationship with our Creator.
Truth can be found in any religion, yet Truth is not confined to any one religion.
Truth is not confined to any particular religion, but there are some religions that have more Truth than others.
Ya’akov, the brother of Yeshua, says that true religion is caring for the orphans and widows.
How many people in this world help the poor and widows outside of the confines of religion?
Here we see that taking care of “the least of these” is universal; it spans all religions.
Care for these precious souls is love for our brothers and sisters.
Love for our brothers and sisters is what we were sent into this world of existence to learn.
If we can learn to love, truly love, without condition and without boundaries,
Then we will attain an affinity of form with our Creator,
Then we shall be like our elder Brother, who gave Himself for the salvation of the entire world,
Without condition and without boundaries.
He came to show us the way;
It is through death to self and self-preservation,
Through the ability to stand on our own, apart from the crowds of religion, that has its own agenda,
That we can hear the Voice calling us to love one another, even as we have been loved.
If we can stop being afraid, maybe we will finally be able to love–for real.


Living With Intention in 5775: Week 41

Last week, I began to get a scratchy throat, and I am full-blown sick. I am so lacking in energy and brain power, that I am having a hard time coming up with a challenge for this week. The only thing I can think of is wanting to finish a crocheted hat and to learn to play something on the guitar, so maybe we could all do with a little creativity this week. So find an adult coloring book, or photograph your dog, or sing, or write, or make a delicious meal and plate it in a extra special way. Creating something beautiful always makes me feel better, so join me this week in finding a creative outlet to accomplish a goal and stop putting off that fun activity you’ve been meaning to get to, but haven’t made time for! And when you’re done with your project, share it with someone.

Happy week and shalom and blessings,


Ponderings: Menachem Av

On a regular basis, I get phone calls and emails and private messages on Facebook. It doesn’t bother me; it is a blessing; it lets me be who G-d has made me to be–an encourager and exhorter. I love to listen and to speak words of life and blessing to others. Sometimes, however, it does take its toll, and I am learning that all the difficulties in this world are not for me to carry, but to offer up into Abba’s care time after time–to never stop surrendering to His will.

These past few weeks during the Dire Straits have been particularly trying for me and for many of my friends and acquaintances. I have felt raw, and completely exposed to the elements. I know my Covering is still there, but He has felt a little distant.

Last night, I spoke to a friend on the phone and I found myself speaking these words: G-d doesn’t show His character to those He doesn’t love.

Who does G-d love? He loves all. So then, how does He get those whom He loves to see His character? Through trials, through illness, through hunger and thirst, through sleepless nights–by whatever means necessary. For how can we recognize the true nature of our Father unless we know we are lacking, unless we see that there is a Great Provider, the source of all life and peace? He makes us to feel the lack of Him, in order that we will, like a little child who’s gone too far from her mother, notice the distance and run back to her mother’s arms. He makes us feel alone so that we know that we are never alone; He is steadfast; He is always there, longing, waiting for us to run back to Him.

Image courtesy of winnond at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

He speaks to my heart; is He saying something like these words to you as well? “Will you come to Me; will you come to Me even now? When your world is crashing down around you? When all hope seems lost? Come. Cast all your cares, your worries and fears on Me.”

O, how He longs for you and me, how His arms ache to comfort us.
Run back, dear ones of the Father, run and He will run to meet you, and take you up into His bosom and hold you tenderly. Let Him love you; let Him show you who He really is, for He is the Father of all comfort. Truly, He is Comfort.

To learn more about the month of Av, I highly recommend K. Gallagher’s post here: Month of Av: Tisha B’Av and Tu B’Av
I also recommend The Power of Rachel’s Tears from Aleph Beta Academy, which speaks specifically about the purpose for fasting on 9 Av.

Tzniut: My Story (Part 6)

tumblr_mipe1i5krv1s5098to1_1280I keep guidelines of tzniut, because I feel most comfortable in doing so, and I must say it has been a progression over the last few years. I feel more feminine and beautiful in skirts and dresses, and I love to mix and match my outfits with beautiful scarves. I never expected it would become a way for me to express myself in an artistic way–my body as a canvas, covered and draped with all kinds of delicious colors and patterns–to reflect and complement my personality.
I suppose I would be dishonest if I didn’t disclose that I don’t really do it for any moral or even religious reasons (not that those aren’t perfectly legitimate reasons). It is a conviction purely at the whim of my Heavenly Father, Who put the desire in my heart to do so. And after contemplating the “why” over the past few years, I can only conclude that I do it as a type of encouragement to those that desire do the same, so that they know that there is someone else in the world who dresses modestly and enjoys it.
I am by my very nature an encourager. I am not afraid to stand out from the crowd, and I will do it if it means giving others a little courage to stand out, too. So that’s my story; maybe it seems too simple to some, but why should it be more complex?

Shalom and blessings,

For more on tzniut/modesty click HERE

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 40

If I were to name this week’s challenge, I would title it, “Getting to Know You(rself)”

Many of us have little awareness of who we are. We don’t know what our gifts or talents are, we don’t know who G-d designed us to be; we’ve let the world dictate and decide our identities. We often don’t know what our purpose is, and we tend to self-criticize, rarely looking at our personality and character traits in a positive light. So this week, I am going to give you some resources that have helped me on my path to self-discovery in hopes that these things might open up your eyes to who G-d has created you to be.

Firstly, I recommend you look up your Torah portion for the year of your birth. You can do this easily by going to Hebcal.com, and put in your birthdate in the “Convert from Gregorian to Hebrew date” boxes, and then click “convert to Hebrew”. It will give you the Hebrew date of your birth, and the Torah portion that was read the week you were born. You can learn a lot about who you are from reading your Torah portion.

The next thing I would recommend is knowing your Love Language and knowing the love language of those closest to you. This has helped me to express what I need to feel loved from my spouse, and has also helped me to try to love my spouse how he needs to feel loved. It just adds that element of intention and respect in our relationships.

The third resource I recommend is “Dressing Your Truth”. Yes, it is an energy profiling/personality analyzer, but I have found it quite accurate in assessing basic personality types. This information has changed the way I see myself (now in a more positive light), and also helps me relate better to my family and friends.

The last resource I can recommend at this time is self-assessing your sensitivity level. Did you know that 20% of the world population is considered “highly sensitive”? This does not mean that they are only emotionally more sensitive, but psychologically and physiologically more sensitive than the rest of the world’s population. You can learn more here: The Highly Sensitive Person

SENSITIVE TRAILER from Sensitive on Vimeo.

Other things to consider: what are your hobbies, what do you enjoy doing in a creative capacity, and what are you really gifted at in a creative capacity? Here’s a list to get you started in considering the different possibilities:

  1. Drawing – charcoal, pencil, pastels
  2. Painting – acrylic, watercolor, oil
  3. Calligraphy – typography
  4. Creative writing – short stories, poetry
  5. Cooking – canning, plate presentation, cake decoration
  6. Sewing – quilting, clothing construction, crochet, knitting, weaving, embroidery, appliqué
  7. Woodworking – carpentry, whittling, pyrography
  8. Drama – script writing and performance
  9. Dancing –choreography and performance
  10. Music – composition of music, lyrics, and performance
  11. Sculpture – mosaics, collages, welding, clay, ceramics, stained glass, basket weaving
  12. Photography – composition and various modes of presentation
  13. Computer – graphic, web design
  14. Jewelry design

There is no one way to assess who we are, and there are a lot more resources available to you in discovering your multi-faceted self. So go exploring this week. Discover all the beautiful uniqueness that is you.

Every person must realize, “I, with all my abilities, potentials and talents both physical and spiritual, am unique in the universe. Amongst all those alive today there is no other me. In past generations too there was no other me, and until the end of time there will be no other me. And if so, the Master of the Universe certainly has sent me here on a special mission that could be fulfilled by no one else but me – with all my uniqueness.” ~Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe

Shalom and Shavua Tov,


I Don’t Want to Be an Example

I don’t want to be an example.
I want to be the best human being I can be.
I want to be who G-d designed me to be,
To live up to the potential He sees in me.
I want to do what He’s called me to do,
Nothing more, nothing less.

I don’t want my children to be like me.
I want them to be the best versions of themselves
That G-d created them to be.
I want them to exceed the potential
That I was not able to achieve.
I want them to live their lives to the fullest,
Knowing their unique talents and gifts,
Knowing that those talents and gifts
Are not for their own pleasure,
But for the benefit of others
And all for the glory of the G-d.
I want them to do what He’s called them to do,
Nothing more, nothing less.

May we reach the highest rung on the ladder,
And walk on the high places.
Even though we may fall seven times,
May we always get back up again.
May we run the race faithfully
And when we have beaten our own shadows,
Hear those beautiful words,
“Well, done, good and faithful servant.
Enter into my rest.”
For this is the promise to us
And our children and our children’s children,
If we are diligent in seeking Him,
And loving Him, and walking in His ways.

So if I am an example to you,
I don’t mean to be.
It’s simply me, being me to the best of my ability.
So if you would be all that G-d has for you to be,
Then look only to me to see it can be accomplished
With much trying and striving.

© 2015, Sarah S. Walters

Image courtesy of blackzheep at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of blackzheep at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 39

This week, I want to focus on getting organized. I want to be a better manager of my time and my household, and there are many things I would like to do creatively, that I simply don’t have time for because I don’t make time. So this week, my goal is to make a chores list and/or start making menu plans. You might already have this process solidified in your own home, but perhaps there is another area where you can be a little more organized and intentional. I pray you’ll find and conquer a task this week, that will give you more time for whatever it is you’ve decided you don’t have any time for that you could be doing if you’d only plan a little better.

These are some of the tools I am hoping to get acquainted with this week.

Build A Menu: http://www.buildamenu.com/

Fly Lady: http://www.flylady.net/

If you have any other suggestions for organization, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

“Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.” (Proverbs 6:6-7)

[The woman of valor] looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.” (Proverbs 31:27-29)

Shalom and a good week!


The Pineapple Story

61FIKNsE73L._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_When I was young, we went to a little presbyterian church. There was an old missionary couple that also attended, who had served in Papua New Guinea. I remember the wife always wore the same dress every week to church, and when I asked my mother about it, she said it was because it was the best one she had.

One day we had gone to the old couple’s home, and she read us a book about another missionary who had ministered to a tribe of cannibals in Papua New Guinea. The story was called “The Pineapple Story”. For whatever reason, Abba brought her and the story to my mind this morning, so I looked up the name of the book, and found a message that the author of that book had given. Here it is for anyone who would like to hear his story and the beautiful lesson he learned serving G-d in the jungle. You’ll laugh, and you might cry, but I hope more than anything, his story will inspire you to change your thinking.

Shalom and Blessings,