Friday, April 30, 2010


"The more we protect ourselves with fancy houses, life insurance, etc., the more of a barrier we build between Hashem and ourselves. Living in simple quarters makes us more dependent on G'd's protection." --Women at the Crossroads, Rebbitzin Chana Bracha Siegelbaum

I read this the other night and the truth of this just really hit me! In our society, we work SO hard to insulate ourselves from all chances of trial and in essence, we lose that "hand-to-mouth" provision from God. With the amounts of debt that we have today, it's not surprising that we all carry these insurance policies to cover our debt to others should something catastrophic happen. However, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all just simplify to the point of not depending on such things and seeing the provision of God working daily in our lives? He's there, providing, every step of the way, regardless, but it's our own illusion of protection that veils our eyes from seeing it.

Just a thought for the day.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Word Study: Religious

Religion shouldn't be simply an organized system that we adhere to or an exclusive social club. ascribes several definitions to the word "religious," one being, "scrupulously faithful; conscientious: religious care." If we consider ourselves to be religious people, we should be very conscientious about how we live our lives and very faithful to the religious practice we claim to adhere to. In other words, it should be the way our core beliefs shape how we live our daily lives.

In the Christian religion, I would say this has just as much to do with what we DO in our daily lives and not just what denomination we follow. Some denominations say that you will not be admitted into heaven unless you are a member of their denomination but in reality, it's not an exclusive social club where we must meet certain requirements (ie. membership class, etc.) so we can say that we belong to their group. It doesn't matter if we're in church every weekend. What matters is how God sees us trying to get closer to Him. It all starts with our belief but is much more all encompassing than that. Do we listen to His Word and do what He says? Being scrupulously faithful and conscientious is how we live in relationship with Him at home, at work and at play. In an article titled, "Rest for the Spiritual Seeker," Good News, May-June 2010 by Gary Petty, the author so aptly put it, "Christianity has plenty of believers. But what Jesus wants are committed disciples."

1 John 3:1-7, "See what love the Father has lavished on us in letting us be called God's children! For that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it has not known him. Dear friends, we are God's children now; and it has not yet been made clear what we will become. We do know that when he appears, we will be like him; because we will see him as he really is. And everyone who has this hope in him continues purifying himself, since God is pure. Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. So no one who remains united with him continues sinning; everyone who does continue sinning has neither seen him nor known him. Children, don't let anyone deceive you — it is the person that keeps on doing what is right who is righteous, just as God is righteous." Let's put our words and beliefs where our hands and feet are!

Kid Friendly but not Family Oriented?

We live in a society that seems to be kid-friendly, but shamelessly not family oriented. I'm blessed to live in a small town that isn't as bad as, say, a big city...but even here, it's really tough! We have so much gear, toys and other forms of entertainment geared toward our kids, but where do these things encourage our relationship with them? Most of the time, they detract from it. The goal these days seems to be working to be able to put our kids in activities they enjoy and get them (and us) the stuff they like. Wouldn't they be much happier with a close relationship with their parents? I think our teens would be much less rebellious and much more mature on the whole, if that need for relationship were adequately met.

Having to spend so much time away from our families working to have all this stuff that just takes us further away from an intimate, nurturing relationship with our children seems to me to be defeating the purpose. It's a societal epidemic. We've got daycare, preschool, and pressure to get them in school as soon as possible. Then there are the endless talents they need to pursue perfecting as they get older. Poor kids are getting shoved out the door at every turn before they even have a chance to be kids...time to learn who they are, what their relationship with their Creator truly is, time to figure out what the things are that truly matter in life.

Please don't misunderstand. In our family, we allow our kids to enjoy activities. They get to watch a little TV and spend a little time on the computer. But these times are very limited as well as the amounts of outside activities they get to participate in. Family comes before social activities, school, and even before church activities. Our time with them is too precious and to short-lived to waste a moment. With all the time they spend at school and that we spend working and doing chores...then with homework, church activities, and sports...the day is gone in no time. We've learned that we must say, "No." A LOT.

The only answer is to limit those outside activities, as hard as that is to do. Have less...and therefore, work less. Include the kids in seemingly mundane things that give opportunities for relationships to grow. Make time for each other and find joy in the simple things. Someday, the kids will thank us for it!

Long Time No Bloggy Bloggy

Wow, it's been a while! I think I've come to the conclusion that I go through phases where I'm much more introverted and then there are the times where I'm quite the extrovert. Multiple personality disorder? I think so.

Today I'm feeling a bit diary-ish (as opposed to the very gross but similar sounding malady that I'm not feeling at all like). I'm curious if I'm the only freakishly frugal 30-something out there. I mended TWO things today and I'm wondering if that's just a bit quirky in this day and age?

As I got into one of my mending projects, I realize this particular pair of boy's shorts has been mended before! So I'm just a little ashamed to admit that I mended them again. Wouldn't it be simpler to just buy the boy a new pair of shorts? But alas, they're his favorites and he wears things out sooooo quickly...typical boy. He's very active, playing rough boy things, and it tends to take it's toll on his wardrobe. But that's's got a needle and thread! Hah! Poor guy will be wearing threadbare clothing and look like he's just climbed out of a cardboard-box-home before he knows it. Perhaps it's my grandmother showing through, but gotta love her for it! Besides, we do enjoy the laugh we get when he comes in from outdoors and his tighty whiteys have been peeking through his torn shorts bottoms, unbeknownced to him. One day I know that he will have some sort of complex about wearing mended clothing and will have his mother to thank for it. ;-P

So for tomorrow, he will once again have his favorite pair of shorts to wear, as mom heads off to the store for some more appropriate and less mended clothing, preparing herself for the fight to throw away the beloved camoflage britches.