Living with Intention in 5775: Week 47 and Beyond

So this is the official last blog I will be making for this year of intention 5775. It has been an amazing year, but I know the work is not done.

I keep thinking, “you must do the hard thing(s)”. Everyone knows deep down inside what those hard things are, and if you don’t there is time to figure them out and begin to tackle them. If you decide to do this week’s challenge, “doing the hard thing(s)” will be the focus until Yom Kippur. (Around Sukkot, I will begin a new blog series for 5776, which will focus on the Torah portions.)

You are unique–one of a kind, and no one else has been given your skill set. You must do the hard things, so that you can more fully become who G-d has called you to be, so that you can be unencumbered and able to do what He’s called you to do.

It is hard to do the hard things, but like we, who are good parents, don’t ask our children to do things they can’t do, our heavenly Father doesn’t ask us to do anything we are not already equipped to accomplish. The battle is in the mind, it is with our own will. If we can just surrender our own will, our own desires and put on His mind, His will, His desires, we will see His ways are better, higher, more wondrous than we could ever have imagined.

Be in prayer this week, and continue to put on the armor of G-d, strengthen your spirits and bodies, and move in the direction of overcoming those hard things that want to keep you down.

So if there is any encouragement in Messiah, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Messiah Yeshua, who, though he was in the form of G-d, did not count equality with G-d a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore G-d has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Yeshua every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Yeshua Messiah is L-rd, to the glory of G-d the Father.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is G-d who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of G-d without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Messiah I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:1-16)

Blessings and Shalom,
Sarah

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Living with Intention in 5775: Week 46

Shalom, all. We’re only two weeks away from a new year! How crazy is that? It has been an amazing year of intention, and I am already thinking of what we will be doing for this next year. But for this week, we are going to be intentional about balancing our spiritual fitness with our physical fitness. I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to take care of my body as best I can, so that I can do all the things Hashem has called me to do. Over the last year and a half I have lost a little over 30 lbs. and kept it off. Baruch Hashem! But I have been noticing that my muscles in certain areas are weaker than I would like, so this week I’m gonna get moving, and want to encourage everyone else to join me in a 30-day grace filled exercise challenge. This challenge is not like other challenges, because it does not require you to exercise everyday. This is a go-at-your-own-pace challenge; the goal is to find what you love and get your body moving. This can be anything. Stretching (such as pilates or yoga), dancing, walking, jogging, aerobics class, or weight training.

Above all else, and I want to make this clear, it is okay if you don’t “move” everyday. I don’t want anyone feeling guilty, or like they are failures just because they don’t do this challenge in 30 consecutive days. We’re all busy, and sometimes we just don’t have the time to exercise. In fact, if you feel your chores count as movement for a day, I want you to write that in your box and count it as a day of achievement.

There is no time limit on the 30 days, in other words, you can take 60, 90, or more days to complete this challenge, and I am providing a chart that you can print out and keep track of what you did, so you can have something to look at and see what you have accomplished. I’ve also included a place to record Scripture you read on the days you exercise. After all, we are trying to find balance between both the spiritual and the physical.

Note: I did not add dates to the chart, because I thought that might bring in a guilt factor–which we do not want. (The box to the right of the day is to give yourself a big, beautiful check mark!) Feel free to add dates to the side bars if you want to keep track of that information.

Exercise/Scripture Reading Chart

May you all have a “moving” week,

S~

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 45

Shalom, dear readers! First of all, I want to apologize for not getting this week’s challenge up before now. This week marks the anniversary of my husband and I making teshuva (repentance). It was a crazy weekend of resting (on Shabbat) and then preparing (Sunday) for the day trip that we took yesterday up to Cedar Point to celebrate the end of 5 years in Torah observance.

I had a challenge in mind, but hadn’t been able to post till now, and I also wanted to listen to the message I would post this week.

Four years ago, I found a message on Psalm 27 which is one of the Psalms read during the month of Elul leading up to the High Holies. Every year I keep coming back to it, to listen and glean something new. This year when I listened, I realized that I have been suffering from a kind of spiritual “battle fatigue”. In previous years leading up to the High holy days, I have felt like I was soaring. I really felt amazingly happy, and blissful. That hasn’t happened this year; I have felt like I am in a constant state of “war”, and realized yesterday, that I feel like I’m in a war, because I am. He’s been preparing me for this moment when I would see more clearly what my real surroundings are, and that I am fighting in a war. The kingdom of Heaven is filled with mighty men of war, and women of valor, and I want to be one.

I know I am not alone in feeling the fatigue of fighting. And what are we fighting? The yetzer hara (evil inclination) within and the principalities and powers of darkness without. Those who are feeling the fatigue of war, are just getting a glimpse of our current spiritual reality, a peak behind the curtain, if you will. So rejoice! Baruch Hashem! You have merited to see that you are fighting a battle, because Hashem desires and intends for you to win it!

This week’s challenge is to begin reading and studying Psalm 27, I would like for us all to have the intention of reading this everyday through to Yom Kippur.

To help kick start your study of this psalm, I recommend listening to Rivka Segal’s lecture on Psalm 27.

HighPriestIn addition, if you don’t do this already, I would ask you to add a prayer to your morning to include you visualizing yourself putting on the armor described in Ephesians 6.

Note: I believe, Paul also intended for us to see the imagery of a “priest of war” such as Pinchas, so in addition to Psalm 27, you might like to also read Exodus 28:4-42, Number 25:1-13, Numbers 31:1-7.

More food for thought (article):

http://www.psalm11918.org/Articles/What-Scripture-Says-About/The-Armor-of-G-d/All-Pages.html

 

Shalom and a good week,
S~

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 44

This week’s challenge comes from our dear friend Laurie L. Thank you, Laurie for a wonderful challenge!


There are lots of heavy & burdensome things happening in the world every day…there are people in my life who are going through agonizing physical pain, there are people in my life who are going through painful circumstances be it job loss, divorce, miscarriages, death of loved ones because of sickness or just old age… there are new changes coming up in my own life that I am hesitant about facing and they are not bad…just new and I’m not sure what this “new” will look like, I’m excited but unsure, uneasy, and gripping onto my normal for as long as I can.
All this stuff in and around my life can really make me lose focus. So as I get ready to enter this busy time, new schedule, and whatever else is coming my way in the future–I want to do it well with the right focus and the right frame of mind.
I want to meditate on TRUTH, EMUNAH (faith), & JOY for this entire journey. To focus on Avinu (our Father), love for Him and others. I desire to learn and dwell in unity with my brothers and sisters (Psalm 133).
Right now and all around there is unrest, war and rumors of wars, devastation, baseless hatred, and huge egos running rampant–but what if…
…what if I could start with a deep breath and a thought of truth, emunah, & joy and smile at what is to come in the future? (Proverbs 31:25)
This week I want to feel things fully with intention of living like I’ve been learning how to live out Torah–like my master Yeshua–with LOVE and INTENTION no matter what comes my way. To hold true to the truth and promises. Lately, I’ve been reading up on “His wings” and am seeing through Psalms and Scripture that when things get “crazy”, when there is just too much going on, when life is burdensome…cry out for Him. He will hide you in the shadow of His wings, in His wings you’ll find shelter, refuge, and joy.
Breathe.
Look up….lift your eyes, lift your eyes. Don’t look down and ignore the sound from all around.
Speak truth.

Psalm 36:5-12 (*7), Psalm 57:1-3 (*1), Psalm 61 (*4), Psalm 63:1-8 (*7), Psalm 91 (*4)


 

Shalom and blessings for a good week,

Laurie L. and Sarah

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 43

This week, we’re going to be doing a challenge based off of an article I read last week. You can read it: HERE. You’ll see in the article, what question to be asking.

This is about seeing the beauty in those around us. Their abilities to decide and do things in a way that is honoring and true to themselves.

Happy week!

S~

Living With Intention in 5775: Week 42

Shalom, all! Well, we’re at week 42, and this week’s challenge comes from this week’s Torah portion Eikev. The one thing I have been impressed with in reading the Torah portion is the need for humility and so this week this will be our focus. I recommend going to Riverton Mussar for more information to get you started: HERE

Shalom and a good week,
S~

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,

S~

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,

S~

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!

S~