Breaking Stereotypes

I read in Jeremiah when a passage in chapter 44 jumped out at me. Jeremiah is warning the people that if they don’t leave Egypt where they’ve fled (he also warned them not to go there in the first place, but they didn’t listen) and return to Judah (where he told them to stay) that destruction would come to them. I guess there’s nothing too mind boggling there; they’d been well warned; this seems like a second or third chance. The mind boggling point is that he addresses the women! The women are the ones offering oblations and incense to the “Queen of Heaven” with the full knowledge of their husbands. But instead of addressing the men of the community, he addresses the women!

Here I thought men were the head of the house – the ones to keep their homes in order and in line. Aren’t women supposed to submit to their husbands? Aren’t women free of responsibility when they do something with the full knowledge of their husbands?  This is the stereotype we live by.

We have these stereotypes of women that we think comes from the Bible – that women are nothing, that we are supposed to be doormats who just do what we’re told. I am seeing over and over again that this is simply not true! True, our husbands are commanded to be the heads of their homes. True, we are commanded to submit, but it looks different than we have learned. The more I learn and dig deeper, I’m seeing my job as a strong and powerful neck to support and turn those heads in the direction Yahweh would have our husbands lead.

How many times have you, as a Christian wife, seen and understood something spiritual before your husband? What did you do with that information? I’ll tell you about me. In the past, when I saw something first, I’d beat him with it. I’d accuse him of not being a spiritual leader and why couldn’t he see something so simple. I was rude and disrespectful!  My actions did nothing to honour God or my husband. Things are different now, with this new understanding of my role.

When I have stepped into this position of neck and gently (no whipping the head around) turned him in the direction that Yahweh is leading us, I have seen my husband grow in leaps and bounds. And it’s exciting! (Catch more flies with honey than vinegar, right?)

And I believe this passage / chapter in Jeremiah is just one example of how powerful a force we are. If that force is used for Yahweh, what an amazing team we will be for him. But the opposite is true as well.

Just some food for thought,

jotsig

Becoming a Better Mother

I am a better mother, housekeeper and business partner because I choose to detach from the world wide web. Let me explain.wasted time

Time is so easily wasted; as I reflect (when I’m not utterly exhausted at the end of the day) on the day’s events, I discover too many minutes wasted at the computer. Since purposely noticing and creating an awareness of this wasted time, I physically detach myself from the computer more consistently and easily. I gather the children around to read a story, or we play a silly game together. I take time to help with the meal chores rather than defaulting to my chair. If I see a child fooling around, I get up and start their chore (or I join in with the silliness), rather than holler at them. I suggest and nag and cajole less; I just get up and do the job myself.

Modifying my schedule so I have a solid block of time to work on business projects has helped immensely as well. I get up earlier in the morning, and nap in the afternoon, so I can work without (or with fewer) interruptions. One of my biggest challenges as a homeschooling, work at home mom is the constant interruptions. Creating a loose schedule, that starts earlier in the day, has been key to my switching hats more smoothly. I work for 2-3 hours before anyone else is moving around (as I type, all I hear are snores from my bed and the occasional little one calling out in his sleep). This allows me to complete a thought, after my first cup of coffee of the day, sipped slowly while digging into Scripture.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still online a lot, even through the day. It’s a passion and a business focus for me, but I’m being intentional about what I do now. By creating a simple routine in my life, and sticking to it, I am better able to interact with my children, with my business and with the community around me.

 

Creating a routine,

jotsig

Planning our Steps

In the cool morning air, I listen attentively to an audio recording called Conscious Language while walking Doc, my Rottie-mix. Presented in this audio was a different take on Proverbs 16:9. The man paraphrased this verse (at least I think he referred to this one, as he didn’t give a reference) to something like “We plan our goal but God directs the steps we take to get there.”

Proverbs 16:9 (CJB) says:
A person may plan his path,
but Adonai directs his steps.

 

For me, the reasonable explanation is simple: we can plan what we want but God will do as he wishes. Such negative thinking! I recall thinking, “Well what’s the point then? Just let God have his way; I won’t plan anything.” Currently, I see things differently. We must plan, set goals and head somewhere. When our plans are in alignment with what Yahweh desires he’ll get us there – just might not look like what we expected.

Here’s a personal example:

We desire to own land to grow our own meat and eggs. (While living in town, we can garden, but meat and eggs have proven more difficult.) We are currently searching for property that could work. However, this may not be the location Yahweh has in mind for us.

Because I’ve heard this viewpoint on verses like this twice now, I’m prompted to dig deeper to see what I missed.

 

Digging deeper (almost) daily,

jotsig

My Yom Kippur Prayer

My King, I long to know you,
to match my desires to you.
For far too long I have gone my own way.
For far too long my desires are my own.
But you change my heart
as I earnestly seek you!
My heart aches to know deeply.
Yet I cannot alone,
only under your gentle guidance,
your
still
firm
voice
directing my steps
shaping my will
guiding my desire.

My King, forgive my impertinence,
my jealousy, my anger, my arrogance.
Show me the error of my ways;
guide me closer to your path.
My King, reveal to me your commands,
Show me how to love you.

My Gracious Father,
love me,
mould me,
teach me.
Show me.
I stumble and I fall,
loving others in my own way,
and loving you imperfectly.

I come to you, sinful and broken,
dirty
unclean
unworthy
begging for your love,
desiring, soulfully needing,
your grace.

Blessings,

jotsig

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