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Have you seen it?  I just saw it this morning for the first time, and I gotta tell ya, if it doesn’t get you to want to make better choices everyday, then I don’t know what will.  If you have seen it, watch it again.  If anything, it’ll be a good reminder.

As for me, you better believe I’m going to keep doing my part to lessen the effects of consumption on our world.  Thrift stores, here I come!

Christians should have more beautiful gardens, should be more careful to build without cutting down the lovely trees, should be more sensitive about keeping the brook unspoiled as it bubbles through their lands.  Sadly, this has not been so.  Of course one must speak of the historic and prophetic facts which people need to hear, the truth about G-d and the universe.  But this makes much more sense in a setting which shows that action on the basis of truth really does fit in with the universe as it is, and was created.   -Edith Schaeffer (The Hidden Art of Homemaking, pg.88)

Last night I went out to dinner with some of the girls from my book club.  It was Ladies’ Night and I showed up with my baby boy, haha.  Oh well.  Thankfully they all understand since they pretty much all have kids and about half of them have kids Hezzy’s age.

We had dinner and drinks, talked about our lives, the book.  I’m woefully behind.  Chapter 1 actually.  Sad, huh?  I think I can still catch up though.  It’s Adam Bede by George Eliot.  So far, the first nine pages are good!  Hehe.  I guess I’ll have to do a whole lot of reading these next couple weeks.

Hezzy and me.

Isn’t it fun when you can learn more about your friends through memes?  In this one, we get to answer five questions and then ask five to someone else (should they wish to play.)  Here are my questions from Tammy:

1. How do you feel about cloth diapers? Love them? Don’t really like them? Or on the fence? :)

I think I romanticized cloth diapers before I had my son.  I thought of all the wonderful benefits that they provided and one of the best perks, in my opinion, was that I really liked going against the flow and doing something society still thinks of as kind of a burden.  Truth is, cloth diapering can be kind of a chore.  You have to remember to wash them and to have enough covers too, for blow-outs.  Someone once told me I could get by with 2 or 3 covers.  Really?  Because I need at least five.

But you know what?  I loooooooooove that I cloth diaper my son.  I love putting in a load of diapers, and folding them to be used again.  I love changing him in public places and having people look at me with curiosity and me giving them a look of “yep, it’s that easy! You can do it, too!”  Some have actually commented that it looks easier than they thought it would be.  I love it when others comment on his big-looking bum and say, “is he in cloth?” and we sort of have this unspoken connection.  I love knowing how they’ve been washed and what’s against my son’s skin.  I love that he doesn’t get diaper rashes.  There’s just so much to love about cloth, and a lot of what I thought before hasn’t disappointed me now that I am actually doing it.  Yeah, sometimes it’s a chore, but anything can be a chore with the wrong attitude.  Going out to buy diapers all the time can be a chore.  Emptying a disposable diaper pail can be a chore, too.

So, I guess the *short answer* is that I love cloth diapering.  Haha.

2. What is your favorite color?

This seems to change every few years.  Right now, my favorite is burgundy.  :)

3. Tell me about your faith journey/religious background!

Hm.  Well, I grew up in a Baptist home, as a pastor’s kid.  We went to church every Sunday and I really enjoyed practicing my faith with my family.  I was sort of “born into” my faith, but I made a confession of faith when I was 5 and was baptized at 8 or 9.  Is it awful that I don’t remember?  For a few years during my late high school- college years I was in partial rebellion to the Word, though I wouldn’t admit it, really.  After I got married, the L-rd started to bring me back and He began to show me things in His Word which I hadn’t understood before.  I still consider myself a Christian, in the sense that I believe that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah, but there are a lot of things that have changed in my views.  I believe in keeping the Torah out of obedience to the L-rd, which includes keeping a 7th day Sabbath and eating biblically-approved foods (Kosher).  For these and other reasons my husband thinks I’m now Jewish, but I’m not.  I mean, maybe (my dad’s ancestor might have been a Jew), but since I don’t know for sure I don’t wish to call myself Jewish.  I just follow the scriptures as best as I can, which Jews happen to have been doing for a long time.  And they have some good ideas in how to walk in obedience with Scripture, and so I’ve been adding those to how I choose to follow Scripture, as well.  But that doesn’t make me Jewish.  It would be a great privilege to be a member of the Chosen People, but I’ve been chosen through faith in Messiah and that’s an even greater privilege!

4. Have you been drinking any especially good teas lately? :)

No, not really.  I like drinking lemon grass tea, which my mom sends to me from her garden, and some good sleepy-time teas, but mostly I’ve been experimenting with powdered mocha drinks (partially taken from a recipe from your website and someone else’s).  I’m sure I’ll be back to drinking new teas soon though.  ;)

5. On a normal day, how do you wear your hair?

Ugh, I’m almost embarrassed to say I’ve been wearing it up in either a pony tail or a bun-like thing at the back of my head almost exclusively since my son was born.  I’ve even been recently tempted to chop it off so I have one less thing to do after I wash it, which isn’t very often anyway.  I will admit I’m pretty amazed by women who have tiny babies and still have great hair and makeup.  I admire their dedication to looking good in the morning, but I don’t have it.  My hair goes up, sometimes with a head-covering (which I admit I’d like to do more often but sometimes forget) and I pretty much ignore my face unless I’m going somewhere for a special event, for which I’ll add mascara and eyeliner.  Thankfully, my husband couldn’t care less about my hair or face.  He thinks I look good no matter what.  Makes things so much easier.  :)

If you want to play along:

1 – Leave a comment with your blog URL, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 – I will respond; I’ll ask you five questions.
3 – You’ll update your blog with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 – You’ll include this explanation.
5 – You’ll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

Hezzy, 5 days old

DISCLAIMER: These are the events as I remember them, which may or may not be the way things actually went.  I have a terrible memory, you see, and it’s been nearly 5 months since this happened.  Oh also, I was drugged up most of the time. That said, I’m sure this is pretty close to the actual events.  Ok.

To be able to accurately tell the story of Hezzy’s birthday, one must start way before the day he was born.  We must go back to when I was 19 weeks pregnant.  After my check-up with the midwife I knew that I had gestational diabetes.  I put a plan in place to eat right (including my Reliv shakes) which worked well in controlling the disease until the latter part of my pregnancy.

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One little dude I know is all ready for Shabbat!

As for the rest of the house, well, we’re still working on that.  May you all have a restful Sabbath!

I have to be realistic with myself.  This year my house will not be spic and span clean.  I wish I could say it would be, but if I’m honest with myself, it’ll be hard enough just to be rid of chametz (grains, leavening and anything already leavened) in the house.

whole wheat breads with different grains/seeds on top

So, first things first, right?  I have to use up my flours (lots of it, for some reason!), baking soda, baking powder, yeast and anything in the pantry that might be leavened.  That’s a lot of work right there!  Do you know how often I check my pantry?  Not as often as I ought to, I suppose.  Sometimes I find things I bought last year, or canned a really long time ago.  Like apple butter.  There’s still a few jars of that around.  I’m not even sure those are safe anymore.  Thankfully, there’s also things that come in handy, like passover things I didn’t use last year.  Noodles and some matzah meal and stuff like that.  So I’ll have to go in-depth in my pantry and clean it out.  I can take that time to wipe down the shelves, too.

If I can do all that and keep up with the regular house cleaning and chores before passover, I’ll give myself a passing grade.  Things I hope I will accomplish before passover: cleaning the windows from the outside, cleaning the light fixtures and ceiling fans and the top of the door frames in the house.  I know this doesn’t seem like a very extensive list, but I just don’t know how I could add cleaning closets and shoe soles and every drawer to my already seemingly overwhelming list of to-dos.  I just don’t think I can handle it all.  I wonder how orthodox wives and new mommies and mommies with lots of kiddos do it.  With help, surely.

So now, I’m off to do some serious baking.

whole wheat pitas

Anyone need some bread?

John Hezekiah Crall was born January 7th at 6:41 pm via c-section.  He weighed 11 lbs and measured 22″ long.

We finally came home from the hospital the evening of the 10th (Sunday) and I have been slowly recovering from the surgery.  John has been a champion eater and sleeper, giving us a few 4 and 5-hour stretches of sleep at a time already.  He has excellent neck muscles and has been holding his head and upper body up for short periods of time since he was three days old.

I expect to be fully recovered in a few weeks, but for now I spend most of my time sitting in bed nursing our  sweet boy and not doing much of anything else until my incision heals.

Many of our friends have been kind enough to bring meals over to us, and I’ve got to say I’ve never eaten better in my life with such little effort on my part!  It’s something I could get used to, if it weren’t for the fact that I would miss cooking very much.

He is very much admired by his grandmas and will be missed greatly.  My own mother has been calling almost every night since she left.  She calls him her “piojito” and was of great help to me while I was in the hospital.  She held him and rocked him and sang to him while waiting on me hand and foot and helping me get around.  Poor woman didn’t get much sleep, although I tried to let her have as much as she could get.  She’s an amazing mother and I know she will be a wonderful grandma.  My husband’s mother was also here helping out in my house while I was in the hospital.  She cleaned our house to perfection and cooked a couple meals for us to have on hand in case we needed something in a hurry.  What would we do without the grandmothers?!

Though the birth did not go as we had planned, and in fact was quite the opposite of what we wanted in almost every aspect, I saw HaShem’s hand in it all and His plan is always better than our own.  Had we not had the c-section, I’m sure both his life and my own would have been in jeopardy.

All in all, we are very blessed.

Hanukkah Sameach!  Happy Hanukkah!  Erev Shabbat candles.

Friday night was the first night of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Dedication or the Festival of Lights.  Did you know Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah?  He not only celebrated it, he made a special trip to Jerusalem for the festival, according to John 10:22-23.  So what is this festival all about?  It’s about the preservation of a remnant of faithful Jews, at a time when many were assimilating with the Greeks.

There was a ruler at the time, Antiochus IV who called himself Epiphanes “God Manifest”,  whose goal was to Hellenize all the Jews.  He didn’t like it that they worshiped only their own G-d and that they had a special diet.  His plan to Hellenize them included building a gymnasium by the Temple, then desecrating the Temple and erecting a pagan god in there.  They were also forced to sacrifice pigs daily on the altar.  Antiochus’ army went from town to town forcing the Jews to renounce their G-d and to eat non-kosher meat and bow down to the Greek pantheon.  Many were willing to do it for the sake of not losing their lives, and “keeping the peace”, however there was a small band of faithful Jews who would not , regardless the cost.  There are stories of some famous martyrs, including a woman who watched her seven sons die and was killed herself for not renouncing their faith.  These mere 4,000 Jews fought Antiochus’ huge army of over 40,000 for three years, and in the end they won back Jerusalem, including the Temple.  It was a miracle by the hand of G-d.  They may have been few, but G-d always manifests his power through the faithful few.  Remember the story of Gideon?

So anyway, the faithful Jews entered the Temple, cleaned it out and wanted to rededicate it to G-d.  They only found one bottle of holy oil that was untampered with for the Menorah, which would only last one day, but they went ahead and used it anyway, even though they needed it lit for eight full days.  They story goes that the oil lasted the full eight days, yet another miracle by G-d.  This is why it is also called the Festival of Lights.  So the festival is observed for eight days every year beginning on Kislev 25.

As we celebrate this holiday, we are remembering and recalling G-d’s faithful hand in preserving His people, we are remembering the importance in not allowing the little things of the world to turn us away from G-d’s ways, we are remembering the martyrs of our faith, and we are remembering our role in society today.  Afterall, Yeshua said we are to be the light of the world and that our light should not be hidden.

Latkes!

As is usually the case with Jewish festivals, there are many fun ways to celebrate this holiday.  There is food, of course, which is usually fried food to remind us of the miracle of the oil.  Traditional are latkes, or potato pancakes, and sufganyot, or jelly-filled doughnuts.  Chocolate gelt, or coins, is also traditional.

Second night of Hanukkah

There is the 9-branched menorah called the Hanukkiah, with a branch for each of the eight nights, plus the middle branch, which is for the shamash, or servant candle.  It is interesting to note that the hanukkiah would not be lit if it weren’t for the servant candle, for it is this candle that gives its light to the rest of the candles on the hanukkiah.  Just so, it is through Yeshua’s light that we can be the light of the world, and it is through the servant that we can have light.

There is also a game the children enjoy playing which retells the story of Hanukkah.  It’s called dreidel, and it’s a four-sided top with a letter on each side for each word of the hebrew phrase “A Great Miracle Happened There.”

Since it’s only me who keeps the holidays here, I made us a fine dinner of roasted chicken and roasted veggies, latkes and beet salad.  Then I had vanilla ice cream topped with vegan peanut butter cookie crumbles.  Delicious!  The hubby always enjoys the latkes and has been asking for latkes since I made them last year during Hanukkah.  Maybe next year we will celebrate the festival together as a family, or with other families.

This will be my first year to really observe the tradition of introspection and prayer during Elul. 

Elul is the last month before the civil new year and the fall feasts of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot.  It’s traditional to take the 40 days before Yom Kippur, which begin on Elul 1, as a time of reflection and introspection, to prepare for the coming Days of Awe.  We take this time to right any wrongs and to ask and give forgiveness, as well as renewing our focus on charity.  In short, we do what we can to come closer to G-d, to right our relationship with Him and to do good to others so that we may be prepared for the High Holy Days.  This may be done any time of year, obviously, but there is a focus on these things during this time as a tradition.

shofar

The shofar is blown in the mornings after the morning prayers (except for Shabbat), which include Psalm 27 every day through Hoshanah Rabbah.   The shofar blasts are said  to be a wake-up call to rouse sleepers from their complacency.  There are also a special set of prayers called Selichot prayers, which have a focus on repentance.  These are said the last week of Elul, as the time of the Days of Awe approaches.

This is also a time to bless each other with the greeting “ketivah vachatimah tovah”, meaning “may you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.”

Interesting fact: Elul means “search” in Aramaic.  It’s an entirely appropriate name since that is what one does during Elul: search our hearts.

yoga-2

When I recently mentioned to a friend that I was thinking about doing some prenatal yoga for fitness when my morning sickness abated, she cautioned me using some pretty urgent tones.  A man she met from the east (I don’t remember from where) told her once that Westerners didn’t know what they were doing when practicing yoga, because every pose was an invitation for a certain spirit.  It wasn’t just in the chanting or meditation they do, it was in the poses themselves.  She asked me to consider a different form of exercise.

At first I thought it was totally batty.  Like when those Christian tapes came out about holloween and said whenever you put a mask on your kid a demon would enter him/her.  I thought that was pretty batty too.  But it’s kind of been sitting in the back of my mind since then.  It refuses to go away.

The truth is, I’m not sure I know enough about yoga to say, “yes, I know it’s safe.”  Before I practice something that’s associated with pagan worship and possibly evil spirits, shouldn’t I be sure of it?  The benefits of physical and emotional fitness might not be enough to outweigh whatever spiritual outcomes there are, if any.  So I began looking.

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I have not dropped off the face of the earth.  I’m sorry.  I’m here.  I promise.

What have I been up to, then?  Good question.  Unfortunately, the answer is not quite so good:  I have no idea.  Time flies.  Have you heard that?  It’s quite true, you know. 

I had a lovely Passover at home with the pets as my dear hubby was working that night.  I did get to see him before going to bed, though, and he had some matzo ball soup and I think I made a goat dish that night.  And rice.  And potatoes, and I think there was a salad, too.  Maybe coconut milk ice “cream” as well…?  Can’t remember.  It’s been over 48 hours and my mind usually draws a blank about then.

I ran out of Matzos half-way through the week.  Did you know that grocery stores don’t carry Kosher for Passover matzos past Passover?  It’s like they don’t even know about the whole week after Passover!  Come to think of it, they probably don’t.  Okay, mental note: Next year get too many boxes of matzo bread.  Better safe than sorry, right?  Turns out, I finally did find a couple boxes of matzo bread but they were egg matzos.  I’m not technically elderly or infirm, but it was better than nothing.  They’re good, too!

At some point, in the last week we went to the forest for a walk.  It might have been good friday as we had that day off as a company holiday.

Forest Man

Forest Man

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