Yom Kippur

On September 25th, we joyfully celebrated with the sounds of the shofar the return of our Saviour and King. We gathered together to look back at all Yahweh has done for his children; we see what marvellous things he has orchestrated for us today and we look forward to his triumphant return.

Saturday was Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. On that day we are to afflict ourselves; this holy day is considered a solemn fast day – a day without food or drink.

 

26 The Lord said to Moses, 27 “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. 28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. 29 Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. 30 I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day. 31 You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 32 It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.” ~ Leviticus 23:26-32

 

As I approach the throne of grace, I come to a place of repentance and thanksgiving. As I reflect on my own relationship with Yahweh, I continue to examine my life.

When Yahweh returns to judge, to sit as our just and fair King, doling out what is deserved, where will I stand? How will I answer his probing questions? How will I stand up under his scrutinizing gaze? Will he say to me, ‘come my good and faithful servant’ or ‘depart from me, I never knew you’? Am I obedient to his commands? Am I searching him with all my heart? Do I passionately desire to be in an intimate relationship with my King?

 

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight. ~ Luke 16:14-15

 

I can do all the right things and still be wrong. I can go through all motions perfectly but miss the mark. The Bible says that Yahweh looks on the heart, where our true intentions are held. What’s in your heart? What is in mine?

 

Blessings, as you continue your searching,

jotsig

Yom Teruah

yom teruah trumpets

Learning about anything specific is a journey. I started almost 3 years ago researching the history of the holidays we celebrated then – Easter, Christmas and Halloween, among others. Once I learned that these were pagan holidays, celebrating pagan gods, I decided to find out what God wanted us to celebrate. My first stop was Passover. If we are supposed to celebrate Passover, as the Bible commands in Exodus (among other places) why were we celebrating Easter?? And what is this holy day called Passover and Unleavened Bread??  From there I went on to explore Leviticus 23 more fully. There are numerous feasts and fast days commanded for us to celebrate each year. I was so excited to begin learning about Sabbath, and Passover and Tabernacles.

This journey over the last 3 or so years has been incredible, soul-searching, marvellous! I love getting to know my God, my King through his words and his plans, his celebrations. I don’t pretend to know it all. Not even close. I search and read and listen to others who have been there before me. My understanding of the holy days has changed and developed over time and this year is no different. I don’t even remember really celebrating the Feast of Trumpets last year, except that we gathered with friends, ate and blew on the shofar. This year, things are different.

Tonight starts the sabbath day of Yom Teruah – the Feast of Trumpets. I have pulled out books I bought shortly after our fire and gobbled them up again. I have compared those with the Bible, with trusted advisers and people I read and interact with online. This year I have a much better understanding of a very vague holiday. There isn’t a lot of reason given for this holy day but I’m sure there is meaning I’m not finding, not understanding. (And I’m hoping to learn more at our celebration tomorrow.) The way we celebrate Yom Teruah will be somewhat different this year than last. There seems to be more definition to our celebration the more we understand what we are celebrating.

I am not good at explaining what I’ve learned but I can point you to a great resource – The Seed of Abraham – Yom Teruah. It’s quite lengthy and I will need to read through the material again, over time to find more treasures hidden in the man’s writing style.

Leviticus 23:23-25 says, “ADONAI said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘In the seventh month, the first of the month is to be for you a day of complete rest for remembering, a holy convocation announced with blasts on the shofar. Do no do any kind of ordinary work, and bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI.””

The word Teruah is said to have four meanings. “All of them revolve around the sound made by either a trumpet, a shofar, a human voice or a combination of the three:

1.  “It is used for ‘signal’ (Lev. 25:9), for the blowing of the trumpet on the day of atonement,
2.  for ‘alarm’ as in the ‘case of attack (Josh 6:5; Jer. 4:19),
3.  for ‘the tumult of the battle (Amos 2:2), and,
4.  for the exultation of praise to God (Psalm 150:3).” (***From The Seed of Abraham website)

So we are called to remember with the sounding trumpet. What are we remembering?? The things that Yahweh has done for his people – brought them out of Egypt, saved them from slavery, giving them the Law. All these things translated to a time of great joy, a reason to celebrate.

yom teruah

 

This year I look forward to starting the day with my husband and children – maybe we’ll play a game; I’ll tell them about the holiday and we can be loud, joyfully, together for a few minutes (because that’s all this momma can handle).  Later we’ll spend time with good friends sharing in not-so-good-for-you food and having a wonderful afternoon and evening together. I’m sure we will sing and shout and blow the shofar. (You know I’ve never blown it, but all my kids have!) This year is especially special because one of the young men turns 16 tomorrow as well!

 

May it be a Day of Unspeakable Joy for You!

jotsig

Treasury of Bible Stories – A Review

Check out this amazing treasury of Bible stories. What a great way to share stories of the Living Word! I can’t wait to dig in further with my crew.

I love reading these to my kids! Even the baby (2 years) listens to the rhythmic wording. Cora read to Axle the other night until he fell asleep. What better way to fall asleep than listening to Scripture!

Here’s Axle reading one of my favorite stories – the story of Queen Hadassah (Esther).

Treasury of Bible Stories

 

 

Being a homeschooling family, we do a lot of reading and these quick poems are a wonderful way to share precious stories.

 

 

About the author:
Kelly Pulley has illustrated dozens of books in The Beginner’s Bible series and has authored and illustrated several other children’s books, including Ten Unusual Features of Lulu McDunn and The Cycling Wangdoos. He enjoys spending time with his four grown children and his beautiful wife, Vickie, in the Nashville area.

You can purchase a copy here, or anywhere that books are sold!

 

Digging in,

jotsig

 

 

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

My World is More than Minecraft – enter Titanic

 

For well over a year now, Wyatt has been focused on one thing and only one thing. The boy lived and breathed and spouted and screamed and ate MINECRAFT! The boy couldn’t get enough. Everything was Minecraft – his Lego play, his pretend play, his food, his YouTube watching, his chatter. Every time I turned around, I was learning something new about Minecraft because he had learned something new from a “training video” by StampyLongNose or some other Minecraft guru.

The children discovered another game extremely similar to Minecraft. (I believe it is called RoBlox.) Through this game (I believe) Wyatt discovered the Titanic! He wanted to learn about it so I JUMPED on the opportunity to get something new onto this boy’s radar! Within seconds of his expressed interest, I was on the library system ordering books. I needed to visit the library anyway in regard to some overdue fees, so I grabbed all the books on that topic off the shelf to tide us over until the others arrived.

titanic image

Now my life is completely immersed in Titanic. All the children are reading the books; we’ve watched the movie; we’ve watched documentaries. We read “Tonight on the Titanic” by Mary Pop Osborne in just two sittings. (We even skipped ahead in the series to read it.) Marrissa is reading me facts from a National Geographic Kids book as I type this.

Can you tell I’m EXCITED?!?!?! Oh my!! I was sooooooooooooooooooo sick of Minecraft. No one tell him there is a Titanic Minecraft Mod; (this one is based on the movie) I haven’t figured out how to get the mods working on the computer. It’s a little beyond my skill.

Guess what we did?!? We took my husband’s measuring wheel to the Ag grounds and measured the length of the mighty “unsinkable” Titanic ! (I didn’t take any pictures of the actual process, but here’s a group photo I coordinated while we were out.) Wyatt LOVED it.  He says, “Mom, you were as small as an ant! I could hardly see you!!!” Marrissa sat at 400 ft and for them, even that was a long way from one end.

 

group shot

 

I’m so excited that we’ve worked math facts and operations into this study and history and social studies. And we’re not done. I have more books coming from the library – a series by Gordon Koran, recommended to us by our homeschool facilitator. I also scoured the internet for free Titanic unit studies and found a number of options. I’m sure we’ll have more to share over the course of our study!

 

Encouraging their love of learning,

jotsig

Homeschool Checklists

I have been racking my brain to find a way to easily transfer information to the children on what their tasks for the day include – homeschool, zone chores, etc – and I came across this planning method. This also solves another problem – following through with checking that their work is done.  With this check-list method I have the children mark what has been completed. I can review their work and zones at my earliest convenience.

 

Now I just have to follow through.I think that’s my biggest hang-up!

 

checklistHere are our current lists that I will update and tweak. Most of the chores repeat every other day and are similar from child to child.  I hope we have a smooth transition to this process after the long weekend.

 

This works well with our partner system because partners work on zones together – the older one directing and demonstrating the tasks for the younger ones. The jobs on these lists take the family about an hour to complete, when they work diligently. I’ve used the zone and partner systems for a number of years now and our house maintains an acceptable level of clean that increases in excellence as the children have grown better at their household jobs.

 

The school work listed here looks minimal because these things are the minimum I like to complete each day. There is so much other learning happening each day that I don’t track the same as this book work. An audio book is almost always playing in someone’s ear. They are learning computer skills through daily usage. Many of the girls make meals – at their request. I have shoppers that run for groceries. The summer reading program and other library programs are not listed.

 

Learning as we travel this road called life,

jotsig

Budgeting Inconsistent Income

budgeting inconsistent incomeMy husband and I are self-employed and his business is somewhat seasonal. Budgeting inconsistent income has become an adventure for me.

 

I love working the numbers and figuring out the best way to pay the most bills and still allow for groceries, gas and business expenses.

 

We do have a couple of consistent amounts that come in each month – one through the summer and then my Child Tax Benefit through the year. I use those to pay most of the bills as many of our utilities are due on or around the 20th and the first week of the month. Any automatic payments also get set up for after the 20th because I know the money will be there. I plan for that.

 

So what’s my nitty gritty process?

Almost all my bills come via email, so I go back through and determine the “paid in full” amount to get each bill to zero dollars owing. Some months we can do this, some months we can’t. Then using Quicken Home and Business I enter in the money I know is coming, deduct the automatic payments and bills I pay manually and pray the number is “in the black”. If I can’t get all the bills to zero and still buy groceries, I juggle the utility payments until I can. Once the bills are covered, any extra money that comes into the account gets put back into the business first (because that’s what generated the income). As needed, we pull our wage to purchase groceries, fuel for the suburban and other necessities.

 

Based on Dave Ramsey’s Four Walls, we cover the utilities, the vehicle fuel, groceries and basic/required clothing. If the power and heat are not in danger of being shut off and there is food on the table, we worry less and can focus on bringing in more income. With fuel in the trucks and the necessary clothing, we can make that income to get the rest caught back up again.

 

Tell me about your budgeting process. Or do you just fly by the seat of your pants? Do you face the struggle of budgeting inconsistent income too?

 

Learning as we go,

jotsig

Yom Teruah – The Feast of Trumpets

May it be a Day of Unspeakable Joy for you

Yom Teruah

Oh I know it is more than a month away yet, but I started reading about this holiday already. My desire for the coming year is to make these holidays from the word of Yahweh more meaningful and exciting for my children. Yom Teruah, the New Year, a day of Unspeakable Joy, is such a great time to rekindle the excitement of Yahweh’s holy days!

We have taken from our children (and ourselves) the holidays of our society and need to replace them with the things of Adonai. The children are asking for Halloween and Easter celebrations which we no longer celebrate. I believe it is unfair of us to withhold from them the holidays of Yahweh, our God, who has so many better things for us!

With growing excitement for the coming year,
jotsig

Problem Solving Taught

I have excessive quantities of audio input into my life on a daily basis; for a moderately introverted individual that can be extremely draining. I felt the need to dispose of at least one constant source of auditory clutter. This is what I came up with:
problem solving

On my way out the door to run an errand, I wrote this on the whiteboard attached to our stainless steel refrigerator. Upon my return, I was presented with a couple of viable solutions to the dilemma. Their solutions were required to meet my approval and coordinate well with our daily interactions with each other and with the world.

The first suggestion was to grant a new person the privilege every half an hour, rotating the 6 computer savvy children throughout the day, a couple of times each.  Not gonna fly. For one, I don’t want the computer on all day.  Two, we don’t run on a specific time schedule but rather a loose routine of sorts that could start anywhere from 6 am to 9 am, leaving the people in those early time slots without their privilege at no fault of their own.

I sent them back to the drawing board with those comments. They came back with simply rotating through the children, youngest in age to oldest. How do they know if it’s their turn? Look at who is currently on the computer. Investigate to see how long that person had been there and make a plan to switch. I suggested half hour to 45 min time slots and they could work with that.

It’s been a couple of weeks now, and when I’m asked about computer usage, I simply say that I don’t know. Magically, they walk away and ask a sibling. They are working this very simple problem out on their own; social skills and common courtesy are being developed. Problem solving at it’s finest… or something like that.

Education and parenting WIN, in my opinion!

To find joy, you have to dig a little.

Some of us are really good at talking about our problems
because we have lots of practice. Time fora  new skill.
Let’s practice talking about our blessings
and what’s going right in our life! ~ Charlotte Siems

To find joy, you have to look for it. ~ Reagan Kerr

Are you finding yourself down in the “depths of despair”? (Remember this scene from Anne of Green Gables) Lately it seems that at every turn something goes wrong, or doesn’t go MY way. I know it’s my own perception of the situation and not reality; or it’s my self-indulgent nature, not the way things truly are in my life.

So why the dramatic “depths of despair” moments? Because, like Charlotte said in the above quote, you get what you focus on. If I’m focused on how hard life is (or appears to be), then life is going to be hard. Instead, I desire and choose to focus (from this point forward) on what is going right. I choose to find joy in the blessings all around me.

Starting right now.

  1. Bedtime went smoothly tonight and I was able to spend some time writing.
  2. I ran; my body is strong enough to carry me fast than a walk.
  3. Lovely friends popped in for a visit.
  4. There are sunny dandelions in a vase on my desk. (The kids assure me they are leaving lots for the bees.)
  5. The wind has died down; the night is so still that the frogs seem loud!
  6. Technology allows me to contact friends and acquaintances, on a regular basis.
  7. I look forward to my parents’ visit in June.

So tell me something that’s going right in your life!

Searching for joy,

jotsig

He never prays so she can hear, but she knows he prays

She waits anxiously, hour after hour, for him to return, thankful for the text messages he sends from time to time though they aren’t enough to put her mind at ease. Why is this call taking so long? It came across the lines as routine. He should have been home hours ago.

She comfortingly explains to the children that their plans have changed because he is needed to save a life, or someone’s property. They are disappointed but after years of similar situations they have become accustomed to changed plans, walking home from events and holiday meals where he was serving his community, instead of visiting with them. They aren’t angry. The children are gracious and understanding that their father has a special passion; he fulfills a calling that not many desire to meet.

When they are finally united, and the afternoon’s activities completed, just a lot later into the day than originally planned, he shares with her a little more of his experiences through that long day. He tells of the scared pets, the damage to the building, the lives affected. At her request, he leans on her and she holds him as he processes the day, thinking nothing of how the information shared may affect her later. She thinks only of him and what he needs in the moment after such a taxing day that didn’t end when the trucks were put back in service. She thinks how he continued to sacrifice for his family after the not-so-routine call ended.

Life goes on for a fire fighter and his family, but not always for his wife. Like Mary, the mother of Yeshua, she takes and ponders these things, mauls them over, contemplates how they will affect her man, how they will change the families affected. Having suffered great loss herself, she knows acutely the emotions and the fears they are experiencing.

And, though not always, this time the nightmares start. Days later, the fire fighter’s wife, lays down to sleep but sleep is the enemy. So unexpected the images come, a terrifying inaccurate retelling of scenes never experienced by her or by her man, but so real and so disturbing that she can’t tell reality from the dream. And she clings to him. Rousing him from his near slumbering state, tears streaming down her face and screams stifled into his strong shoulder, so as not to wake the children sleeping nearby.

As he comforts her, his words are as you would expect.

I’m sorry.

It’s gonna be okay.

You don’t have to be sorry.

And just as suddenly as the terror started, there comes a unexplained peace. The room slowly fills with a presence, a peace she can’t explain. But she doesn’t fight it, she allows the peace to fill her body, to fill her soul, as she lays, safe in her fire fighter’s arms. Her mind pushes to recapture the images, to see the horrifying scene again. Not of her own desire but from somewhere deep within. But the images are gone. An inky blackness stands between her and the terror. A thick wall. A comforting blanket of peace and her mind sees nothing, nothing but complete peace.

In her heart she knows he prayed for her, but before she can form the question, she is asleep. Safe in the arms of Yahweh and in the arms of her man.

He realizes anew that his job of protection starts at home. And he decides again that night, that there are just some things, she doesn’t need to know, even if she asks, even if she has them already figured out. But his faith is strengthened, his prayers were answered. She is protected and the enemy can’t bother his family with those images ever again.

 

With much love,

jotsig