Friday, December 31, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday

Ok, I lost my image...oh well.

So, how did I do? Overall not too bad, but I did not succeed. I ended up sick twice during December, making it very hard to stick to all my elements. The cool thing is I am really craving healthier foods, fruits and veggies while trying to get over the last bits of this sinus infection I had. So, the right amounts of those have not been a problem.

I have not worked out regularly, again because of sickness...but I will get back to it as soon as this is completely over.

I lost some weight, but not my goal of 8 pounds. It was more like 3. Wish it was better, but I am happy for at least going in the right direction!

I did post some of my verses...not every Monday....slacker, no other excuse.

I did drink my water as committed to. YAY!

Overall I would say I am in a better place than when I started and I am so thankful for that and ultimately that is my true goal. To continue on a better path of daily health.

So, for the new year I am kicking things off with a cleanse. I went to my naturopath and got all I needed to begin the cleanse and I will start on Monday. I know how cliche, I did not really plan it that way, I had been planning on a cleanse for a while, the timing just worked out good. So, I will be on a diet of select fruits and veggies, brown rice, lenitls and wild rice, select lean meats, chicken and fish and finally smoothies made with a detox powder of herbs and veggies along with detox herbal supplements. I think this will be a good thing for me, body and mind.

Congratulations to all of you who were in this challenge with me. You all worked hard at improving your health at some level.

May the Lord bless you and protect you in this new year.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bricks vs. Stones

Genesis 11:3-4
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Exodus 1:14
They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly.

As we read this week in our Torah portion about the bricks being made by the Israelites, I started thinking about the idea of bricks and the teachings I have heard on them. My favorite, by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, shows us how bricks are man made creations, they are made in such a way that they portray uniformity, mans way of being one, at peace with one another. Bricks are made to fit together and create a monument to the handiwork of man. They are not a reflection of the sovereignty of God. Bricks are what our society wants. Human beings that fit together nicely, building a strong society that looks, thinks and behaves the same, yet taking pride in our diversity, while never judging. A trophy to mankind showing that without a god we can become one, a strong functioning, diverse unit. If only we would all behave according to the standard, a worldly standard, not a godly standard.

I also thought about the process of brick making. Slapping together the mud, sand and straw. Spending hours each day mixing, forming, drying and baking to produce more bricks to become apart of a larger project. A project that was not God's desire in the first place. How often are we caught up in a brick making project, working endlessly toward a goal that in the end has no spiritual significance for us, does not cause us to grow in our walk with the Lord or reflect His light into creation?

1 Peter 2:4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Messiah Yeshua.

Then I thought about stones, as Rabbi Lapin says, stones are made by God. What a contrast. This beautiful picture above shows us the true diversity in stones. They are different sizes, shapes and colors. Stones start off jagged and broken and as they are tumbled about the earth, being washed with water, rolled through sand and tumbling against other stones, they become smooth, polished and beautiful.

As we walk through life, we are also being washed by His word, smoothed and polished. As we have encounters with other people we are being rubbed and our rough spots worn down. As we are caught on someones jagged edge, we must remember that we have them too, we still need smoothing and a forgiving heart as we are being used to smooth the rough spots on our brethren.

Exodus 20:25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it.

The altar was always to be made of stones, never bricks or stones that have had a tool used on them. The tool would be mans way of smoothing the stones, or bricks. And as we know from experience our way is rarely God's way. Allowing Him to create the stones upon which we would offer our sacrifice is the way. He gave us the Living Stone, our Messiah upon Him we can make our sacrifice daily of our own desires, or own way of doing things. Lay down our tools and take up His Torah. His teaching and way of living, so that we can walk in abundant life found in His wisdom.

Stones are what build up the Kingdom of God, bricks are what build up the kingdom of man. Let us be found pleasing in His sight, loving one another and working for His Kingdom.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fit Mommy Friday - Verse Update

Fit Mommy Friday

Hm, can't seem to find my fit mommy image. So, this is getting done without it!

Here is a much overdo update to the Fit Mommy Challenge. Around the 1st of the month I came down with a cold, by the end of the second week I was mostly over it but had a wonderful case of laryngitis. (wow, I just spell checked that and it was right!! WOO HOO!!) So, that is why I have not been doing my regular check ins. But here is how things went over those couple of weeks.

As I started feeling better I was exercising again, I even went to Zumba which was great fun and will now become apart of my regular routine. I am going to attend class once a week with some of my girlfriends, how fun is that!? I did pilates as well, but I did NOT exercise all through the sickness, which I don't think I should do anyway, so no loss there. I did drink my water, albeit some of that was in the form of copious amounts of tea. But I could not possibly do both regular water and all the medicinal teas or I would never have a chance to lay down and rest! I did eat my fruits and veggies, sometimes that was in the form of orange juice as that was one of the few things I actually wanted to consume during this whole thing, but in my book that counts. Interestingly I found myself craving fruits and veggies throughout this cold. Which is not my personal that was a wonderful change for me! I did do my no sugar days as well! Which was not easy, but I did it! YAY ME! I did not always maintain my after dinner eating. I would have juice or something like that several nights after, sometimes I had to because of the tinctures I am taking. Does that count? I don't know...but I was not so concerned about it while trying to get better. I was making reasonable choices though. I also have not been keeping up on my bible verse, which I will be posting next. However I have been reading the word more frequently and that makes me very happy.

Now, an update to my update. After my cold was almost all gone I came down with a nasty sinus infection. Ugh. Double whammy. It's been years since I have been sick like this. So, I am now on a new tincture and 5000 mg of vitamin c per day. I am feeling much better today, but will have the doc check me over tomorrow to be sure I am fully on the mend. I am done being sick, time to go bug! I rested all day yesterday, did eat right, did eat later after dinner...but still not doing bad. So, I am hoping later this week to get back to an exercise routine, will start slow but move my way back into the groove.

I am grateful for this challenge, as it has kept me more mindful of how I am doing and what I am doing. Even while being sick I have seen some true positive changes I have made and it feels great.

Off to write a verse for the week! Hope you all are doing great!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

WHEW, what a week! This was a fabulous Hanukkah! We were SO busy! Started off the events with some lovely nights at home, having dinner, reading the Hanukkah story and of course, eating! We had latkes several nights, they are just so yummy! On Friday night our home fellowship gathered at our house for a Mexican themed Hanukkah party! That was a blast! We had plenty of food, doughnuts included and lots of fun. Max, Jeff's puppet friend made a special appearance to tell us all about what happened to the Maccabees and how they overcame with Gods help. We had a trivia game where chocolate was thrown to the person with the correct answer. We learned how to memorize the 10 commandments as well. We then moved on to some serious dreidel playing and closed out the night watching a Tim Hawkins comedy video. It was a fantastic evening.

We had Grandma Sheila over on Sunday to share an evening with her, light hanukkiahs and then of course she always brings them gifts. As usual, they were totally spoiled.

The week was wonderful, memorable and blessed. It went way too fast...but now my thoughts move forward to the spring when the cycle renews and with it comes more of His wonderful feasts.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Aleks Review

(From the ALEKS website)

What is ALEKS?

Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces is a Web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn't know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn. As a student works through a course, ALEKS periodically reassesses the student to ensure that topics learned are also retained. ALEKS courses are very complete in their topic coverage and ALEKS avoids multiple-choice questions. A student who shows a high level of mastery of an ALEKS course will be successful in the actual course she is taking.

ALEKS also provides the advantages of one-on-one instruction, 24/7, from virtually any Web-based computer for a fraction of the cost of a human tutor.

Math is NOT my strong subject, I love history. I thrive when my children and I are learning about History and so do they. Math is a struggle for us. I was really excited to review ALEKS.

I love the idea of someone/thing else teaching my kids math, assessing them and making sure there are no "gaps" in their learning. Gaps, scary word for a homeschool mom. Reality is, there will be gaps, no matter what you do. But thankfully, learning doesn't stop at 18 and they can work their entire lives to fill those beautiful brains with knowledge, and even closing some of those gaps. However, having a program that is so complete that it continually assesses for learning issues, moves them on when ready and keeps records of everything is incredibly appealing.

I set my children to work on this program right away, with very high hopes. They both enjoyed the assessment portion, both were happy with this portion. They then saw their pie chart that showed them where they have mastered and what they have yet to learn. Very satisfying, at least for mommy, to see this breakdown. Now I know what needs to be tackled! Not to mention I love to check things off! Let's get that green pie piece filled in!! I feel so accomplished! They liked it least the idea of it.

As they got working away, they enjoyed the program, but did have a few hiccups which turned into frustrations as we continued. They understood how to receive instruction by clicking on the explain button. However when they were sent back to the problem they had been working, the problem would be a new one after the explanation was given, they both found this frustrating as they wanted the opportunity to finish the work they had begun.

They both needed a fair amount of help from mom throughout the program. They would read the explanations, it was different than the current programs we use, and this caused confusion. And I have to admit, some of the processes they used in the math was different than I had seen. I could understand it, but it was a different and it just added to them not understanding the procedure.

I love the idea of the program, I even really liked the program itself. I think for my family it was just not a great fit.

ALEKS is available for a wide variety of uses. Homeschool, Public Schools and is available for K-12. They offer free trials, which I would highly recommend as this program could be an excellent fit for you and your children!

A subscription to ALEKS is

  • $19.95 per student, per month, or

  • only $99.95 every 6 months, or

  • only $179.95 every 12 months.
They also offer family discounts. Wonderful program, user friendly, just like everything it is not a perfect fit for every family or situation. I really enjoyed getting review ALEKS and overall, I think my kids liked it to.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As such I have received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of this product. I have not received any additional compensation for my review.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Hanukkah thoughts

The Hanukkah story is about a group of people, all zealous for the One True God, who would not bow down to an evil king who would have them forsake the commandments of their God for the religion of the king. King Antiochus Epiphanes was a very powerful ruler, he commanded the greatest army known to man at that time, the Syrians. They were feared by all who knew of them. They were powerful.

The king had set his eyes on the holy city of Judea, as it was known at this time. He wanted the people of God to worship him, he saw the incredible love and devotion these people had for their God. He coveted their adoration and determined to have it be his own. He set forth some laws beginning with a conversion from being Hebrews to becoming Greeks. And this is some of what the laws entailed:
  • worship statues of Antoichus
  • speak Greek
  • learn the way of the Greeks, customs and holidays etc.
  • circumcision forbidden
  • do not observe the Lord's Sabbath
  • do not keep a kosher diet
  • do not study the Torah
  • do not keep the Festivals of the Lord
As the story continues, the Maccabees, meaning hammer, rose up and gathered others who were zealous for God and His ways, they were a regular group of people from everyday walks of life. They turned anything they had into weapons, they prayed, they trained and they took on the most formidable army in the world. And by the grace of God, they won.

When they had won, they restored the temple, replaced all of the defiled instruments, and re dedicated it back to the Lord. That is where we get the name Hanukkah, it means dedication. This feast is also called the "Feast of Dedication" and you will find Yeshua celebrating it in John 10:22-23. As the traditional Hanukkah story goes, the Israelites found a single cruse of oil and it burned in the menorah for 8 straight days until more oil could be pressed. Sadly, there is not written documentation of this miracle. So for me, it is a fun story, but traditional.

However there really was a miracle at this time that should be celebrated and remembered! This band of regular everyday people, just like you and I, overcame the most powerful army in the world! They had full faith in their God and with His mighty hand, they WON! This is a promise for us to hold onto for today as well as for the future.

Just as in the past, this story is destined to be relived. There is coming a time, when a ruler will require people to live by rules that are against God's ways. Antiochus is a picture of the future anti-christ, what he did, the future anti-christ will do again (and I am sure a great deal more) ....refer to the laws mentioned above. Another one will sit on the throne of God and proclaim himself deity, just as Antiochus did. Can you see a relation between this story and the prophecy in the book of Daniel? Read Daniel chapter 11.

God says in Isaiah 46:10 I make known the end out of the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

If we look to the past, we will better know how to be prepared for the future. We will have better discernment of what is God's way and what is man's way. We can walk boldly into this future, with confidence as we remember His awesome acts in the past as they are a promise and a reminder of a God who does not forsake His people.

During this season, it is a good time to rededicate your life to God and His ways. To discern between what is man's idea of loving God and with God's idea of loving Him. (Deut. 5:32, John 14:15, John 1) It is a good time to let go of the traditions of man and embrace the life giving path of the One True God.(Deut 30:19) Choose this day who you will serve, choose life.

Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Master Ruler Review

Master innovations, LLC is a company offering homeschool families and classroom settings alike a wonderful new way to learn about units of measurement. I was looking forward to receiving this product for review, and my anticipation was nicely rewarded. The program I received "The Master Ruler" , was very easy to use, and my 10 year old daughter enjoyed the fun, quick projects to do in the workbook.

Items received for this review are: 1 workbook with 24 pages, 2 Master Rulers (which could be used for years to come), one for metric and one for standard measurement. We also received basic directions on how to use the product.

So, what makes these rulers special or different? Each ruler is layered, having clear plastic pages so to speak. Each layer giving a different measurement value such as inches on the inside layer, 1/2" on the next page, 1/4 inch on the next until you get down to 1/16 of an inch. This way he person using the ruler is able to see all the breakdowns in an inch at a glance, decreasing confusion in measurement.

The workbook is simple, black and white pages with different measuring projects to do on each page. Any given project never took our daughter more than 10 minutes to accomplish. It was a fun little addition to our homeschool day and she did enjoy her time learning.

Now, my only issue I have with this program is the price. The set I received retails for $41.25 (which does come with an additional teacher ruler, that I did not receive), but this is a bit steep for one minor subject in our homeschool life.

On the upside, on the back of the master ruler packaging, the creator has shared a wonderful testimony of how the Lord brought this idea about and what a blessing and encouragement to use a product inspired by the Lord.

Overall, I would say this is a fun product, a bit pricey, but also a blessing to help a local company and small business produce products that are meant to be a glorification to the Lord that inspired them.

You can find out more about Master Ruler and their variety of other products from Master Innovations though their website. It is filled with video testimonials and lots of wonderful information, check it out!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew. As such I have received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion and review of this product. I have not received any additional compensation for my review.