Essential Oil Spotlight: Bedtime Rub Recipe!

I want to send a special shout-out to my fellow sleep deprived mamas! I honestly can’t think of another thing that affects my mama abilities so much as my sleep does (or lack thereof!). And by the time the kids’ bedtime comes around, I’m often exhausted myself and not in the mood for any of the battles that can so often accompany that time.

And so I present to you: my Bedtime Rub Recipe!

I use this coconut-oil based salve to rub on my boys’ backs every night as they lay in their beds. It does wonders – and I mean WONDERS – in helping them settle down to a peaceful night’s sleep. It helps me too – the aroma is soothing and calms me as I help them calm down. Total win-win if you ask me!

bedtime rub recipe young living essential oils

Here’s to a better night’s sleep for you and yours!!

* If you are interested in ordering these oils, please contact me or check out this post -here-!

** I recommend only using Young Living therapeutic grade essential oils for topical application.  There are no fillers, no additives (as there are in pretty much all other EO brands), and they are the only oils I trust for my family!

 

Homeschool Spotlight: Human Body Unit!

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For the past few months, we have been working through the Apologia Astronomy book. We just finished it before our winter break, and now we are starting a fun little unit on the human body! I am personally really excited about this particular unit because my mom did this same unit with my brothers and I as kids and I remember it fondly. ūüôā

Here’s what we’re doing:

1. First of all, we went to the local newspaper office and picked up a roll of newsprint. They give these away for free or cheap because it’s just the end of the roll and they can’t use them on their machines. We got ours for $3. When we got home from picking it up, the kids took turns laying down on the rolled-out paper and I traced out their bodies.

2. We’re using this book:

It’s a basic, elementary-level look at the main organs and systems in the body, complete with life-size coloring sheets for each one. And here’s the fun part – each page gets copied off for each child and they color it and attach it to their life-size body that is hanging on the wall. Isn’t that fun??!?

3. I’m also reading correlating pages in this book, because I just love Usborne books:

It has flaps to lift and all sorts of fun tidbits of information. The kids love it!

And that’s it! I’ll probably grab a few library books to add on to this, but it gives a great, hands-on look at the human body in a way they’ll hopefully enjoy and remember for a long time!

Happy Learning!
– Judy

My Word for the New Year

The first day of the new school year, Rosh Hashanah, my birthday, New Years Day. All of these are new beginnings, fresh starts. I love fresh starts. I love a good excuse to evaluate and set new goals – makes me feel productive and refreshes my hope in the future.

This year, my RSS feed has been full of new years resolutions, goals, and focuses for this coming year. ¬†I wanted to write something myself, but I was finding myself stuck. I had lots of ideas, but I didn’t know if they were from God, or from my own self. ¬†So instead of blasting full-strength ahead, I’ve spent this week meditating on different things, and I believe now have some direction for 2014.

First of all, I wanted to have an anchor word for 2014. ¬†Something to hold to when my world gets topsy-turvy and I’m losing my focus again. ¬†My anchor word is Intentional.

Intentional.

It’s not all that unique or creative of a word, but it’s where I believe God wants me to focus this year. ¬†In life, we have many seasons. ¬†2013 was a year filled with pregnancy and caring for a newborn. ¬†It was a year of gripping on tightly to the roller-coaster and trusting God to see me through. ¬†And of course, He was faithful as He always is. ¬†When barely holding on, counting the hours of sleep on one hand, it’s hard to live with much intention. ¬†I’m okay with that, though. ¬†I know that the wild ride is part of the season of newborns and new beginnings. ¬†I enjoyed the ride and have so many sweet memories from those months! ¬†I learned a lot about prioritizing my life and letting go of things that don’t truly matter.

Now we’ve begun 2014, and I am thankful for that year of prioritizing and letting go, and it has opened the door for me to live with more intention in this new year.

There are a few areas of my life in which I want to be more intentional.

1. My Walk with God – I desperately need to get back to my daily (pre-kids-waking) quiet time. ¬†I did well on this until Micah was born, and since then it has slipped away. ¬†Must get it back. ¬†Must pursue my God with reckless abandon. ¬† Must hide His Word in my heart. I’ve been a reader of Ann Voskamp’s blog for a few years now, and every year she puts out a Scripture memory challenge. ¬†This year I’m going to do her challenge from 2012, which is to memorize the Sermon on the Mount.

2. My Relationship with Mark – When you introduce a new baby into a family (even if it’s baby #5!), it changes the dynamic of the marriage. ¬†It’s hard to find time for each other when you are constantly caring for the needs of a baby completely dependent on you. Mark and I agreed early on that in those early months, establishing security and trust in our new baby was highest priority, so there have been many times that our own needs have gone on the back burner. ¬†And that’s okay for a season – but it’s SO important to make up that deficit as soon as you can! ¬†And that’s the season that we’re in now – time to make up the deficit. ¬†I was inspired and challenged by Sarah Mae this week to be more intentional in my relationship with my beloved. ¬†I am going to commit to praying for him daily, continuing our bi-weekly dates (and being more creative in planning some fun activities for us this year!), and pursuing him in the bedroom as well. ūüôā

3. My Relationship with my Kids – Having 5 kids is hard work. ¬†Hard. ¬†It’s amazingly wonderful, and the blessings far outweigh the work – but it’s still SO hard. ¬†The hardest thing for me is knowing how much I want to pour into each of my children individually, but feeling inadequate in doing so. ¬†There is just only so much time in the day, and there are so many nights when I put my kids to bed and realize that we never really had a chance to connect during the day. ¬†This year, I want to be more intentional about connecting with my kids. I want to listen better and laugh more. I am going to aim to spend one-on-one time with each of them every day (even if it’s just a few minutes). ¬†I am also going to commit to praying for them daily (oh, how many days do I forget that?).

4. Everyday Life – Life gets so filled up with so many things. ¬†Laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, errands, doctors appointments, the list goes on and on. ¬†This past year I was able to purge my life of a few things that didn’t belong in it anymore, but it’s still so full. ¬†Part of being intentional for me will be learning to be more efficient. ¬†Also, I need to cut down my internet time in a big way. ¬†I need to use the internet with intention – not just as a mindless way to disengage from the craziness. ¬†Anyone else there with me?

2014. ¬†Here’s to a year of intentional life!

– Judy

Here’s to a Healthier You in 2014!

Okay everyone, I have to share this awesome testimony of how Young Living essential oils have been rocking my world!

On the Thursday before Christmas, I started coming down with a cold. I could tell it was a bad one too – my chest felt tight and I had major body aches. You know that feeling, right? That knowing that your body is succumbing to something; that feeling of everything being “off”. I just knew that if I wasn’t serious about fighting this off, it would ruin our extended-family time that would be filling our days over the next week.

So, I immediately intensified my oils use. I started taking capsules formulated with oils to fight off sickness. I used oils on my chest and sinuses. And I used them on my kids too, seeing the same symptoms rearing their ugly heads in them too.

And my turnaround was remarkable!! I have never recovered from a cold like that before. I actually waited a while to share this because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a fluke – it was that amazing. These kind of colds normally knock my out for a good week of coughing and blowing my nose. Here’s a brief timeline of how quickly I healed using my Young Living Essential Oils: On Thursday was when I felt it coming on. Friday I coughed sporadically throughout the day. Saturday it was already moving from my chest to my head with intense sinus congestion. Sunday it was loosening up and I was blowing my nose a bit. And that was IT! On Monday I felt almost completely back to normal – minimal sniffles, and that was IT. My kids all recovered quicker than normal as well, which is just as exciting, because having 5 kids in the house, colds can easily take us out for a few weeks by the time they cycle through everyone.

These oils work! They really do.

Now, I want to address a couple of concerns that you may have – concerns that I know I had when I first started looking into essential oils.

Concern One: How do essential oils work, anyway? How can they really be that powerful? Okay, let’s talk about this a bit. Essential oils work on a cellular level. They are extremely concentrated, with each drop of essential oil containing around 40 million-trillion molecules. We have 100 trillion cells in our body (which is a lot!), but one drop of oil has enough molecules to cover every cell in our body with 40,000 molecules! These molecules are made of compounds – Phenols, Monoterpenes, and Sesquiterpenes. These compounds clean our cells, deprogram bad information in our cells, and reprogram them with good information. (For a more detailed description of what these do, please read this article – she explains things in a clear, fun way! -Let’s Get Our Learn On-)

Concern Two: How much money will I have to spend? ¬†So, first let me say that yes, I know that Young Living are on the expensive side when it comes to essential oils. ¬†But there’s a good reason why I have chosen to trust Young Living with my family’s health instead of the local drugstore brand or another competitor – Quality. ¬†There is no regulation for the labeling of essential oils – basically, if your bottle contains any essential oil at all, it can be labeled “100% Pure”. ¬†Most essential oil companies use a cocktail of pure essential oil, fragrance, and chemical copycat fillers. ¬†When it comes to oils, you get what you pay for. ¬†If your bottle of oil only costs a couple of dollars, you can guarantee that it’s not a pure oil.

Young Living has been in business for over 20 years and is the only oils company to offer the Seed to Seal Guarantee. From Young Living:

We carefully monitor every step of the production of our oils from beginning to end through our unique Seed to Seal¬ģ process, ensuring the purity of each essential oil and protecting nature‚Äôs living energy in every bottle.

When I am using essential oils internally and topically (remember that anything that goes on your skin enters your body), I want to be sure that it’s both completely safe and most pure/powerful. ¬†I look at the expense of Young Living oils as an investment into the health of me and my family, and it is totally paying off! ¬†Instead of spending $30 in cold medicines that only mask symptoms and don’t actually help heal (and have tons of side effects!), I spent $50 in essential oils and got better in less than half the time (with no side effects)!

Here’s the thing. You will spend money on health for you and your family – it’s just a matter of how you spend it. ¬†Essential oils are safe, effective, and created by God. ¬†Pharmaceuticals are loaded with side effects, not so effective, and made in a laboratory. ¬†How do you want to treat your body? ¬†I am so thankful for God’s gift of essential oils and am SO excited about a healthier 2014!

– Judy

2013 Year in Review

What a fun year 2013 has been!

We traveled a LOT the first half of this year. In February, we traveled to Wisconsin (33 straight driving hours in a minivan with 4 kids!) to be with my family and celebrate the life of my grandfather, who passed away. In April, I took our little crew on our first trip without Mark. We went to Washington to stay with some close family friends, and it was a wonderful time of reconnecting.

Of course, the highlight of our year was the arrival of our new little guy, Micah, at the end of May. We were also blessed to be able to take a quick family trip to Washington for his Bris right after he was born. In July, my mom and sister came to visit for a week, and we had a blast celebrating summer together.

After that, things slowed down a bit around here as we settled into another school year and a fall of birthdays and holidays. We have (so far) taken a year-round approach to school, which frees us up to take more breaks during the year and have frequent days off. School has gone well this year, although having an infant definitely makes everything a bit trickier! We’ve also begun attending church again, and are excited about getting involved with our new community.

At the end of September, Eliza broke her leg, which has been an interesting experience for our family. She had to have surgery to put things back together and wasn’t walking for 2 months afterwards. Micah has been growing in leaps and bounds as well – he’s been our youngest teether (cut his first two teeth at 4 months) and crawler (crawling at 5 months!). Apparently he missed the memo that as the last baby in our family he is supposed to take his sweet time growing up! ūüôā

This winter has gotten off to a fun start, with our little girl finally potty trained and our big girl finally walking again. We’ve also enjoed an earlier-than-normal first snow that has lasted on the ground for a few weeks now! We’ve had many days of snowplay and cocoa, and a couple of now-melting snowmen now add character to our backyard. Also, Mark and I have begun playing on the worship team at church. We are happy to be somewhere that we can help fill a need with the gifts God has given us.

We went to Colorado to celebrate a quiet but lovely Thanksgiving with my parents and youngest brother. It was nice to have a few days to relax there and get the holiday season kicked off! Thanksgiving was immediately followed by Hanukkah, after which we only had a couple more weeks before Christmas and family visits here in Idaho.

2013 has been a fun year of adapting to the many changes that the Lord has brought us. I don’t know what 2014 has in store for us, but I’m satisfied with knowing that we are held in the hands of a God whose love for us and plans for us far surpass our understanding!

Praying many blessings for you this upcoming year and always.
– Judy

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Eliza rocking her leg brace, finally walking without crutches!
Avigail, cheesing it up for the camera!

Micah, working hard to keep up with his big siblings!
Caleb and our little snowman!
Judah, my big boy, happy about his new scarf that I made him!

Homeschooling: Working through some common concerns…

Today marks the one year anniversary of the largest massacre of children in our country’s history. The Sandy Hook shooting left 27 people dead, including 18 children, most of them kindergarteners.

I remember the day it happened last year. My Facebook feed was full of prayers for the victims’ families, hugs for children, and talk of homeschooling- both thanks that they do and wishes that they were. It was a terribly sad time for everyone, and a time of holding our children extra-close.

 

Just a few days ago I was asked why I chose to homeschool.¬† I responded that I really enjoyed my children’s company and liked being able to tailor their education to fit each of them individually. ¬†But as I remember all the emotions surrounding that fateful day a year ago, I can also say that I am so thankful that I am here to protect my children – not only from the very improbably catastrophe, but also from the much-more-common issues of bullies, unkind teachers, and ungodly influences.

I frequently hear various reasons why a family chooses not to homeschool.  Sometimes this decision is made with much prayer and communication between everyone involved. But more often than not,  it seems the decision has a lot of fear behind it. And it breaks my heart when parents feel like they have to make this decision out of fear!  So today, I want to address some of the most common fear-based reasons I hear for choosing not to homeschool.  I hope I can be an encouragement to those of you who may feel a pull towards homeschooling but are struggling with some of these fears.

1.) I would go crazy without a break sometimes.  Or,  I have to work to get out of the house.

This is a hard one! I wish I could tell you that you won’t go crazy, that the need to get away will fade, but honestly, this is something that all homeschooling moms struggle with. But it’s far from hopeless! In fact, this need for an adult social life has created some amazing support groups from which many moms build deep, lasting relationships. Just like every other phase of life, you will learn what you need to finish at your best and will need to learn to prioritize your life to make that happen. For me, this has included involvement in a support group and/or Bible study, moms nights out, and focused alone time to process my days.

2.) My kids need more socialization that homeschooling allows for.

Not so! Most cities have at least one homeschooling group with opportunities for field trips, playdates, and activity days. Many larger cities have co-ops, where your kids can take classes on various subjects or participate in sports leagues with other kids their age. Also, many school districts even allow kids to enroll part-time, giving them access to choir, foreign language, and more, especially in middle and high school. ¬†In addition to this is the age-blended socialization aspect. ¬†Only in public school are children surrounded all day by people in their own age bracket. ¬†This doesn’t prepare them for real life, but the age-blended socialization of homeschooling does.

3.) I’m afraid my kids won’t know how to stand up for and/or share their faith if they aren’t exposed to non-Christian kids at school.

This one makes me especially sad. As parents, we have been assigned by the Lord to protect and guide our children through life. What better way to raise children who are firm in what they believe than by having their primary education source being your living room couch! And just because you keep your kids at home for their education doesn’t mean they can’t have ample opportunity to share their faith. It just means that you as the parent will have to help provide those opportunities! Invite the neighbors over. Join Little League or some other community program. Serve at a soup kitchen together. And most importantly? Model the kind of faith you want your children to someday develop.

4.) We can’t afford to homeschool.

There are times that this is a legitimate issue. However, much of the time this is just another hurdle to overcome. What are you prioritizing, financially? Is it cable & a gym membership? An expensive vehicle? Rent in a certain neighborhood? Frequently eating out? Yes, going without an income that I could bring in means we have to watch our expenses very carefully. We don’t have many of the extras that many families enjoy. I cook most of our meals. We don’t take fancy vacations. But we’re choosing to invest that money into our children’s future instead.

And actual expenses of homeschooling? They can be as much or as little as you can afford. Many states now offer home education programs through the local school district that are free. You can find endless free resources online. The library is amazing. And you can choose certain subjects that are more important for you to be able to individualize and spend your resources there. For example, for history and science, we use curriculum in which we purchase the “spine” and depend on the library for most of the rest. ¬†My annual school budget is around $500.

5.) I’m not organized enough to homeschool. Or, I don’t think I can make the time with my little ones running around!

Don’t worry- you’ll find your groove eventually! I struggle with organization and time management too, and I’m constantly adjusting to meet our changing needs. Another advantage to homeschooling is that because you are teaching your children one-on-one, you can fit an entire day’s worth of education into only a couple of hours, leaving the rest of the day for what children should be doing – playing! Remember, just take it one day at a time, one week at a time, one year at a time. You don’t have to commit to homeschooling for 18 years! Every day, every year you give your children at home is a gift.

 

Anyway, I need to get back to my little crew now. As I’m reminiscing about the loss our country experienced last year, I’m feeling the need to hold them extra close today. I hope this post has been a blessing to you and has settled some fears that may be lurking in your mind. Many blessings on you today and always!

– Judy

Anchor Points

Life has been rather chaotic around here lately.  I would love to say that things are smooth and I have adjusted to life with five children, but the reality is that life with a newborn is rarely ever smooth!  There are constant bumps in the road, and every time you start to get into a groove, something major changes and you have to readjust all over again!

I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, with the holiday season upon us in full-force. ¬†With everything that has happened in our life in the past 6 months, I have had a tendency to allow the busyness to derail us from truly living. At the same time, I have had an almost panic desperation about cherishing every moment, knowing how fast this stage of life will be all over.

I need to find a way to cherish all the important moments, but also keep the laundry and dishes clean Рknow what I mean?  The mundane and the priceless collide everyday in these parts, and I feel a bit lost as to making the most of it all.

The other day I was remembering reading about the value of “anchor points” – places in your day, week, month, and year that “anchor” your family. ¬†Essentially, the idea is that no matter how crazy your day, week, or month becomes, if you stick to your anchor points, it will bring rhythm to your days and help calm the chaos.

So I’ve been thinking about what these “anchor points” are in our family, and I thought I’d write them down here – share them with you – and maybe it will help you in your journey of mothering!

Daily Anchor Points

1. Breakfast Devotions: I lead a short devotional every morning as we eat breakfast together. ¬†This usually centers around character development, and right now we are going through “Our 24 Family Ways: Family Devotional Guide,” by Clay Clarkson.

2. School Time: I’m working to make school time a more anchoring time for us, and not a point of struggle. ¬†I am trying to achieve this by focusing on connecting with my kids instead of focusing on educating. ¬†Relationship is primary, education is secondary. ¬†ūüôā

3. Tea Time: My kids are so much like me in that they can’t get enough quality time. ¬†I also have a love affair with good tea and coffee! ¬†I enjoy my morning cup solo, but in the afternoon, we are working on establishing a “tea time” together while the younger two nap. ¬†They LOVE it, and it helps everyone stay in good spirits, which of course helps school go well too!

4. Daddy’s Return Home & Dinner: I’m working on also remembering a daily clean-up time right before Mark gets home so that the house is inviting and all put together before dinner. I try to play fun music to help motivate them, but sometimes this is still a challenge! ¬†Still working on it though.

5. Bedtime: We are pretty involved in bedtime. ¬†For the 3 older kids, bedtime includes lullabies (really worship songs) and backrubs with a “lullaby rub” I made with coconut oil and a blend of Young Living Essential Oils. ¬†It smells amazing and knocks my kiddos out. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†The younger two both nurse and rock. ¬†I usually lay my toddler-girl down and hold her hand while she falls asleep, and I rock my baby to sleep and transition him to the co-sleeper.

I also have my own “anchor points” in the day that are strictly for me – my morning quiet time (which has been rough-going lately due to way too many nights of teething and little sleep) and my evening time. ¬†After the kids go to bed, I try to get some reading in, enjoy a cup of tea with my hubby, and maybe get a fix of Downton Abbey or another show we’re currently addicted to. ¬†ūüėČ

Weekly Anchor Points

1. The Sabbath: The Sabbath is by far, the most powerful anchor point our family has. ¬†Given to us by God, the Sabbath offers a reprieve from the world’s demands and influence – a day to rest our bodies and invigorate our souls. ¬†We keep a Biblical seventh-day Sabbath in the traditional way, from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, but the principle of resting applies if you rest on a Sunday too. ¬†God gave us the Sabbath because He in His divine wisdom knew that we needed that day to rest and focus ourselves back on Him.

Practically speaking, for our family this means we only do work that is necessary for our family to function in peace (I have to still feed my family, make sure we have washed dishes, strip peed in beds, etc.).  We keep the TV and computer off as much as possible (although we still stream live feed from our Seattle congregation).  We enjoy relaxing pursuits such as drawing (kids), crochet (me), playing music, or playing games together. And most importantly, we worship together as a family and study the Word together, as a family and with other believers.

2. Wednesday nights: Wednesday nights are an anchor point, mostly for me. ¬†Every other Wednesday we alternate between our date night, and my ladies’ Bible study. ¬†So I know that Wednesday nights are always a night for me to be refreshed – a very important thing for a busy mama!

3. Sunday morning church: We’ve recently begun attending church on Sunday mornings again. ¬†We’ve found a community where we can serve and grow, and are looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us there. ¬†After church we resume our normal Sunday to-do’s and such, but Sunday mornings are now another anchor point.

Annual Anchor Points

1. Holidays: Keeping the Biblical holidays has always given our family a full calendar of anchor points throughout the year, but I will admit that there have been many times that a holiday has passed us by without getting the full weight that it deserves. ¬†Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to bring more meaning and memory into our holiday celebrations. ¬†I am working on a family devotional for the Biblical holidays from a Christian/Messianic perspective that I hope to share with you all as I complete it. I’ve also been taking advantage of Pinterest to find ideas that we can use (sometimes changing slightly) to add to our celebrations.

2. Seasons: I really want to do more to embrace the seasons that God has given us. ¬†I’d like to work to develop seasonal traditions, learning to appreciate the year in a more cyclical way. ¬†I’m thinking I’m going to get this book: The Rhythm of Family for some inspiration in this area.

3. Birthdays: Having a family of 7 people, we celebrate a lot of birthdays around here! ¬†All of our birthdays fit almost exactly into 6 months of the year, and I have been thinking about also doing little celebration for the 1/2 birthdays during the other 6 months. ¬†I have heard some really neat ways to do this, and I really love the idea of honoring my kids individually again during the year. ¬†We are also working on developing more birthday traditions as the kids get older, but right now we keep it simple with the birthday child choosing the 3 meals of the day, and cake/presents after dinner. ¬†We also take off of school for birthdays. ¬†ūüôā

 

So, what about you? ¬†Have you ever thought about establishing “anchor points” in your family’s life? ¬†What anchor points to you already enjoy?

Blessings!
– Judy

The Lord Establishes Our Steps

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Many of you all know that deep in Mark and my heart has always been the desire to build a healthy, vibrant, Messianic community here in the Boise area.

In that vein, we built a website to get our name out, hoping that others would find us who were also interested in this same thing. Through this website, we have met wonderful people and are so very thankful for that!

However, we have been realizing over the past few months that the Lord has really called us to something a bit different, at least for this season of our lives.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but we have returned to the greater Christian church. Many Messianic believers cringe at this idea, turned off at the idea of facing replacement theology, supercessionism, and ‚Äúgrace vs. law‚ÄĚ doctrine. And we know that it this change will carry with it its own set of challenges. But we also know without a doubt that this is the path that God has called us to walk. We are excited about joining with a local church, working to help grow their community, worship together with them, and build friendships for us and our children.

In the process, we are praying that the Lord will open doors for us to share the joy that we have found in the Torah and in discovering the Jewish roots of our faith. But that is not our main reason for returning to church. It is truly where the heart of God has drawn us.

And we want to seek the heart of God most of all.

Three Months Later…

It’s been over three months now since my precious son was born. These months have been hard, but absolutely amazing! My son has truly been a gift to me. He is such a delight.

I wanted to write a post specifically to follow up on our choice to end this chapter of growing the size of our family. (Please read the first part of our story -here-)I want to do this in hopes that someone will someday find it and be encouraged. There aren’t very many people out there sharing about this important decision – it’s so personal – but I know that it helped me to read about others’ experiences when we were trying to figure things out.

When I was reading about vasectomy aftermath, I came across two distinctly different views.  Either women felt: 1. Relieved & Happy that they were finished having children, or 2. Depressed and Dejected that they were finished having children.

I fall somewhere in between.

To be completely honest, even though I had peace about the decision, I was a bit concerned about being depressed afterwards. ¬†I struggle with a tendency towards depression to begin with, and I wasn’t 100% on the same page as my husband about our family size. ¬†Sounds like a perfect storm for a major emotional struggle. ¬†I was hopeful, however, that things would be okay.

Fast-forward a few months.  When Micah was 2 months old, I had to pack up his 0-3 month clothes.  That was when things really started to hit me.  I wept several times that day.  I had dressed 3 sons in those clothes, and I was done.  Done.  No more of that sweet newborn smell, no more of the squishy not-yet-firm limbs, no more of the fuzzy lanugo shoulders, no more froggy limbs all curled up on me.

And I am still grieving. ¬†I know it’s going to be long process. ¬†Today I gave away my tiny baby boy clothes to my sister-in-law who is expecting soon, and while it was easier than giving them to a stranger, it was still hard. ¬†Part of me wanted to snatch them all back and lock myself in my bedroom and cry all over again! ¬†And I haven’t done anything with all the baby girl clothes I have either… ūüôā

But there are good things too.

The biggest thing is that my husband seems to have fallen in love with me all over again. ¬†Not that we were ever “out” of love – he has always been a loving, caring spouse and my closest friend. ¬†But something changed in him after the vasectomy. ¬†I honestly believe that it was such a huge release of stress for him to know that the family we have will not grow any larger, that he will never have more children to provide for, that his wife will never go through 9 months of pregnancy again. ¬†He has been happier, more carefree, and more affectionate. ¬† And this has been a good confirmation for me that I did the right thing by yielding to his desire.

And my husband has been wonderfully understanding with me too.  He knows that this is hard for me, and has let me take time to cry and mourn and process it all.  I am so thankful for that.

So, all in all? ¬†It’s hard. ¬†I’m still grieving the children that I’ll never have. ¬†I still find myself reminding God that He could work a miracle and I would be okay with that! ¬†But I’m working on being fully present with the children that I have been given. ¬†They are all gifts from God, and I am so, SO honored to be their mama. ¬†And I’m leaning on the Lord for peace.

~ Judy

Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur

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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – they are the High Holy Days of the Jewish year. But what is their significance for Christians? Do these holidays still hold meaning and power for those of us who either aren’t Jewish or are Jewish Believers?

If you know me, you know that my answer is obvious. Yes! But why? Why do we, as Christians (or Messianic Believers) celebrate the High Holy Days?

First of all, when it comes to celebrating the Biblical Holidays in general, I believe that we serve a God who never changes, and our God created these holidays for us as Appointed Times. Did you get that? God created holidays as an “appointment” to meet with us, and for us to celebrate! Their importance and significance has not been diminished over the years, because God never changes! We also know from Scripture that Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated these holidays and commanded us to imitate Him. The early believers all worshiped in the context of Judaism, and these holidays were celebrated by believers until antisemitism crept in and began pulling Christians away from their roots.

So with that established, you may now be thinking “Okay, I see that there’s value in celebrating God’s holidays, but what are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur all about? How do I celebrated them?”

Let’s start with this. The main theme of the High Holy Days is repentance. These are good days, but weighty days. They are joyous, because we serve a God who forgives, a God who desires right relationship with His people and gives us a way to be right with Him through His Son. But they are still serious, because our sin separates us from God, and that is a very serious thing.

Rosh Hashanah is known in Scripture as Yom Teruah – the Day of Blowing, what we also call the Feast of Trumpets. On this day, there are only a couple of commands – to gather together (a holy convocation) and to listen to the blowing of the shofar.

What is the significance of the shofar? The shofar has been used in Scripture as an audible symbol of the presence of God. It brings us back to Mount Sinai, where the people heard the shofar blast growing louder and louder, as God Almighty was preparing to give His people His instructions for life. It was used in worship throughout centuries. And we know that when our Messiah comes again, the sound of the shofar will precede Him. God, in His wisdom, established a holiday in which we are to listen to the shofar. We not only spend this time looking forward to His final return, but we remember the importance of paying attention to His presence in our lives now and listening to His voice.

Rosh Hashanah also begins what is called the 10 Days of Awe. This is a time set aside for introspection and righting wrongs in your life, especially in the area of relationships with others. This time prepares you for the holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. It is the holiest day of the year. Unlike other holidays which are feasts, Yom Kippur is a day of fasting. It is a somber day. Jewish people traditionally spend this day in prayer, repenting for sin and asking God to seal them in the Book of Life for another year. As Christians, we don’t believe that we need to ask for salvation year after year. Our salvation is promised to us through our surrender of our lives to the Lord.

But there is still great value to keeping Yom Kippur! We still have the theme of repentance that is so important. It is another chance to make sure our lives are in right standing with God. We remember that atonement for our sins was bought with Yeshua’s blood. And we thank Him that we know our names are written in the Book of Life!

I hope that I have inspired you to celebrate these fall feasts to some degree through this little blog post. God has designed these Appointed Days with so much meaning and purpose, and I know He has something planned for you in them as well.

L’Shana Tova!
~ Judy