Friday, April 18, 2014

Ready for Easter- some fun from the oven-Family, Fun

These turned out super cute, little bunny ears and bottoms ! Go ahead say it , "some'bunny' needs a life " ;-) 

The Ultimate Sacrifice:Good Friday-Faith

"Jesus went to the garden
And fell down on His kness
Jesus prayed in the garden
Of Gethsemane
Not my will but Yours be done
Father, not my will but Yours be done

Jesus went to the mountain
To bleed for you and me
Jesus died on the mountain
Called Calvary
Why have You forsaken me?
My God, why have You forsaken me?" ~ Jesus Went to the Garden


CLICK HERE to take a moment to experience a beautiful version of the song...

 

Being forsaken is one of the loneliest and darkest places I've experienced and what a place to be, in order to offer the ultimate sacrifice; to lay down your life for the benefit of everyone else. And who other than Jesus can relate to the joy of being revered for your faith only later to be rejected and rebuked because of it.  To die for the sins of others...And Jesus was in absolute agony in what was to come that he began to perspire blood ( an actual, documented medical condition called hematidrosis- where a person undergoing extreme stress and secretes blood through their sweat glands). 

I recently saw the theatrical and musical production of The Thorn, which I highly recommend and today I recall the scene where Jesus is praying and pleading in the Garden of Gethsemane and we were able to see the actual battle between good and evil for the soul of the Darling of Heaven. But it was a cup of suffering that G-d could not take from him.


That brought me to the revered verse John 3:16 "For G-d so loved the world that He gave His one and only son..." 

I am a mother and while I can if called,  substitute my life for those of my children and  for their sakes, I could not fathom the pain to be endured to sacrifice a child for even such a cause, no nobler cause.  In the Old Testament with the story of Abraham and Isaac, where Abraham also exudes unwaivering faith and obediance, Isaac most likely would have shared his anxiety and confusion with his father whom he trusted. Just as when Jesus was dying a death bathed in shame, he cried out to his heavenly father , "Father why have you forsaken me?" And there, before his accusers and those who judged him, he offered himself as atonement of their sins and all of our sins. 

And just as the final chords strike in Natalie Grant's song "Why" (a favorite of mine and my 8 year old daughter), we are able to hear the pain the father and son experienced on the fateful day.

"And I heard a voice come from the cross

And it said, `Father, why are they screaming?
Why are the faces of some of them beaming?
Why are they casting their lots for My robe?
This crown of thorns hurts Me more than it shows
Father, please can`t You do something?
I know that You must hear My cry
I thought I could handle the cross of this size
Father, remind Me why
Why does everyone want Me to die?
When will I understand why?`

`My precious Son, I hear them screaming
I`m watching the face of the enemy beaming
But soon I will clothe You in robes of My own
Jesus, this hurts Me much more than You know
But this dark hour, I must do nothing, oh I've heard your unbearable cry,

The power in your blood, destroys all of the lies,

Soon you'll see past, their unmerciful eyes,

Look there below , see the child, trembling by her father's side?

Now I can tell you why,

she is why you must die"

Today is a sad day of reflection but one that offers me hope that sacrifice is not in vain.

Below are my children's blogs on these event. I'm very grateful for them and proud of them.  I have them blog and then use them as school editing exercises, but these are their raw, unedited thoughts, they'd love to share them, so click below:

Ysabel, 8 - The Thorn , Good Friday  

Rylann, 10 -The Thorn, Good Friday

Aemilia , 7  -The Thorn, Good Friday

 

 

 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Night Awakenings - Spiritual

Okay everyone, I'm back up on the blog! If you see a large time gap, that's as a result of me doing some "cleaning" and those entries are now reserved for a book project.  Please feel free to follow me if you are in Blogland and read what speaks to you.  New format in my titling is - "Topic " and then I will place the "category" after a dash (e.g. Night Awakenings-Faith).  This blog is a full view of my heart and life, the good, the bad and the funny. Lots to get out there quickly so bear with me! Sometimes it will be, Family, sometimes, Funny, Food or Faith...

NIGHT AWAKENINGS

It is no secret that in my walk as a Christian woman, where admittedly I've detoured and fallen off of the path many times, I have experienced some very scary spiritual warfare, that's another blog and and book in itself but I will share what I have studied, Godly and worldly to reach some conclusions.

At the start of my struggles , I felt "haunted" like in the movies, creepy, haunted.  So not to freak everybody out right away out of the blogging gates sabbatical, I'll leave it at that, (but if you ever wish to know just ask me and I'm happy to share.) To lay the background for the point of this message,  I can tell you that I was a brand new, born- again Christian, hot on the heels of being a bad,bad girl as most "Catholic school girls" become. Yes, we're talking Billy Joel's "only the good die young" stuff... (I'm kidding , sort of lol, don't message me about that.) I was also in a terrible marriage.  Needless to say I was comfortable in the "baby" Bible verses, those that are sunshine, love and light ,and uplifting and encouraging. All things that are characteristics of G-d. (Having a diverse audience, I do not fully write His name out of respect for my Jewish friends and their faith that they share with my Savior, Jesus).  So I was fulfilled by, as I learned to refer to them as "the milk" verses :

1 Peter 2:2 NIV "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.."

G-d is so good to give us such hope and an actual guide to living in the Bible, but sometimes we stop at the sweet, digestible "milk" verses and never experience the full spectrum and endless names of G-d.  There are those names and verses that like a newborn's milk, offer a feeling of fullness and comfort. Those like El Roi (Hagar's God -the "G-d Who Sees Me"), Emmanuel (G-d With Us) the many Jehovahs. I encourage everyone to at some point to read Praying the Names of G-d by Ann Spangler,  if they feel called to more on this topic .



 But the Bible tells us that there are "meatier" and grittier verses to come, those that introduce other facets of G-d like,  Shopath (G-d the Judge), seriously, the phrase the "wrath of G-d" didn't come from nowhere.  They are harder to swallow so to speak because they usually require something of us, and I've found it's usually something we don't want to give !:

1 Corinthians 3:2
"I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready."




So, I dove in and did numerous Bible studies independently and through my church.  I sought and sought and in the interim dissolved that marriage and then began studying marriage and relationships from G-d's view, I didn't know much but I did know I tried it my way and that didn't work well for me. And then the war for my soul ensued. And I mean war. Seriously, movie worthy. I am convinced that when you are on the verge of making a commitment to a life with G-d, Satan and his fallen angels make a huge somewhat "final attempt" (although we know they never quit ) to keep you in their darkness.  And if you don't believe in Satan and his demons, his battle is half won.  One of my favorite movies The Usual Suspects has a great rendition of a historical quote "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." Rest assured I learned the hard way and I learned much about spiritual curses and gifts that I have been given by G-d. 

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

This is a tough concept, especially when people hurt us or just flat out getting on our nerves. (HUGE EXHALE). So now that the foundation has been laid there is this: hearing G-d, step one, and obeying him , a huge and difficult step 2.

I've been listening to so many people especially lately and in the midst of struggles, state that they cannot sleep or that they are awakened in the wee hours of morning and oddly , at the same times every morning it occurs.  I am very familiar with this especially in difficult times, mine is 3 a.m. and I get these uneasy feelings followed by a release.  I was intrigued when I found this outline of the basis of beliefs from the Agapegeek Blog, one I will faithfully now follow.  (Agape btw- is Greek for love- but G-d's love) Full blog

"
  1. All beliefs are based upon human ignorance (limited knowledge) of the subject under discussion.
  2. Many beliefs originate from the teachings from parents, schools, churches, religions, governments, friends, books or other influences.
  3. Many beliefs are based upon rumors or speculation overheard, yet un-provable.
  4. Many beliefs are from personal life experiences without knowing all of the facts.
  5. Other beliefs come from the observed life experiences of others in our culture and our world also without understanding all of the facts.
  6. Beliefs can be influenced by a thought of our mind, originating from either our own spirit or from an influential spirit either demonic or angelic.
  7. Finally our beliefs can come from hearing from the Spirit of God in our spirit.
 I'm focusing on points 6 and 7, as those are the ones that have been tried and true for me and so many truly blessed people I know. 

If you are awakened frequently at night there are a number of theories you can access to attribute the behavior. Eastern and even some Western medicine will tell you it may be the Chi, and certain meridians and organs anguishing or rejuvenating and healing, or chemical fluctuations. And this will be a personal thing for you reading this, what you believe but I introduce the concept of the "Witching Hour" or the "Devil's Hour".


The pagan and Christian views acknowledge the time to be approximately 3-4 a.m.from different historical basis but in my research I've noticed they may be stating the same thing but with opposing opinions on solutions.  Pagans believe that the Witching Hour (midnight to 3 a.m. ) is a time where we are to be in deepest sleep and the most vulnerable and impressionable state for the "spiritual realm" to gain access to us.  In essence, they have a captive audience.  Conversely and similarly, the Christian "Devil's Hour" is based on the foundation that Jesus likely died at 3 in the afternoon and the Devil's works are to be found opposing all works of G-d and Jesus, so the opposite of 3pm is 3a.m (debatable, but angels and demons regardless are a "spiritual realm".and G-d is supernatural)..... All clear as mud. While I do not usually place a ton of emphasis on Biblical numerology (e.g. 7 being God's number of perfection and divinity and 666 being the number for the anti-Christ), 3 , which is the time I've personally experienced and been hearing the most, indicates completion and perfection ,like the holy Trinity.

There is good and evil, and like the Book of Job, both are able to access your heart, soul and mind. So there's a choice. I'm not saying G-d is going to grant everyone the gift of prophesy because they wake up at 3 a.m., (although that's when I'm given a great deal of "supernatural clarity" that wouldn't happen in my normally clamorous and crazy daily life ). But I am saying it's worth you considering that G-d is speaking to you and challenging you to think outside of the points 1 through 5 listed above and those that oppose him.  Maybe He's inviting you to try His still, and small voice for peace and direction in life. So at 3 a.m. when sleep evades me, I now reach for my devotionals and pray , and more importantly...LISTEN. In times of fear and uneasiness I love this verse, and if I'd ever consider getting a tattoo (which I would NOT  lol ) I would choose this to be it:

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Emphasis and simplification mine ..." Be strong IN THE LORD, stand firm in TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS as outlined in the GOSPEL. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit , which is the word of who? GOD. SO THAT YOU CAN TAKE YOUR STAND AGAINST THE DEVIL'S SCHEMES."





 






Monday, February 13, 2012

Balancing faith and sensibility

It's extremely simple to remain characters in our own story and never change our circumstances. The beauties of some fables and theater pieces includes the presence of a narrator . I like to consider the narrator of these stories sort of, voices of reason ; someone outside the situation who can offer clarity and another point of view. Sometimes we can get so wrapped in what we're " doing" even if it's with the best of intentions, or in the position of faith in waiting on the Lord. Sometimes for me it's so challenging to discern and separate the desires of my own heart and mind from his actual plan for me. And it's a simple misstep to allow ourselves to cloud our judgement. Sometimes I need to get out of my own way. I love the verse Jeremiah 29:11.

I also love this joke , that reminds us that ,even with God,sometimes things really are simple,but we refuse to accept His solutions in their simple forms. It's the good old," pray to God, but be sure to keep rowing to shore !" theory.

The joke:
It rained for days and days and there was a terrific flood. The water rose so high that one man was forced to climb on top of his roof and sat in the rain. As the waters came up higher a man in a rowboat came up to the house and told him to get in. "No thank you, the Lord will save me!" he said, and the man in the rowboat rowed away.

The waters rose to the edge of the roof and still the man sat on the roof until another rowboat came by and another man told him to get in. "No thank you, the Lord will save me!" he said again, and the man rowed away.

The waters covered the house and the man was forced to sit on his chimney as the rain poured down and a helicopter came by and another man urged him to get in or he'll drown. "No thank you," the man said again, "The Lord will save me!"

After much begging and pleading the man in the helicopter gave up and flew away. The waters rose above the chimney and the man drowned and went to heaven where he met God.

"Lord, I don't understand," he told Him, frustrated, "The waters rose higher and higher and I waited hours for you to save me but you didn't! Why?"

The Lord just shook his head and said, "What are you talking about? I sent two boats and a helicopter?!"

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seeking direction and conviction of heart

"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward." ~ Victor Kiam

God does not call only the equipped , he will equip those He calls. I' m thankful in the stillness for Jeremiah 29:11 "' For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to give you hope and a future'". I'm trying to get in God's passenger seat more, as it turns out I get lost more easily when I insist on "driving". 


Just as the fog seems to begin to lift it seems that the past can creep right back up on me and invade my present. This has been the week of resurfacing of all the I know is not Gods intention for my life. In the midst of the reminders of my failures in relationships, harsh words directed at me, the heartaches i've endured, struggles in business and even my concerns of shortcomings as a parent, I begin to let the negative in and I question things about myself that I know my Heavenly Father would never question.( kind of makes me think of that Pink song where the lyrics say, "you're so mean, when you talk about yourself , you are wrong. Change the voices, in your head, make them like your instead.." So today especially, I am choosing rest. Physical rest and rest in His unconditional love for me and the knowledge that he knows the desires of my heart. I always think I have a great plan, and as it turns out, many times it s not what He had in mind. So , although I go kicking and screaming most days, I think it's time to succumb to the faith I know as truth. I am truly trying to seek conviction and take intentional actions.... So very challenging!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012



All I can say is thank G-d and I do mean that reverently that the year 2011 is finally over. I absolutely love the holidays but am anxiously waiting to see how "getting back into the swing of things" frames up. I hardly recognize my children based on their recent behavior and their roller coasters of emotions and health issues. I guess it's true what they say, children respond best to structure and boundaries. We had family in town for a brief period of time and therefore the children were allotted freedoms and bed times that would not be welcomed in our everyday life.

Their sugar and " holiday food" consumption must have left them wanting and certainly did not thrill me, since I try to be as organic and low sugar and gluten as I can. Boy, have the two weeks really affected them! They are ready to embrace their homeschool schedule again and dance is back up and running too, so the regular crazy schedule has replaced the holiday, ludicrous, crazy schedule and I, for one will take it,

Dance is in full swing and this month is super busy with costume completion and cleaning up numbers.... The shadow of their first competition looms over us all and is approaching us in almost a month exactly to the date.

Not so much resolutions, but reminders for me have become the forefront of my thoughts. Thoughts of my hopes for our overall future, hope for my relationships, hopes for my children and so on... I am fighting to regain focus and I'm working on my spiritual walk as well, 2011 did not bring me what I desired, but apparently it brought what God had planned for me. As much as I dislike it, I have to choose faith in that. I revisited one of my favorite messages from preacher TD Jakes on letting go of our need to control ( shared).

I know that my discontent with my daily life is greatly in part to my busyness and disconnect with God. So, no matter the exhaustion level or the hour, I am trying to take more time to search and seek His Word.

Today my devotional for my children focused on what we truly desire for our children and it summed it up perfectly. What more could we want for them but to have thanksgiving, wisdom, knowledge of and relationship with God and more than ever PEACE!! I never want my children to struggle the way I do in so many aspects.

As they, my oldest daughter in particular , have been quarreling over the simplest and silliest, mind you, of things, we have been discussing the importance of relationships and storing up treasures in Heaven.

I told them as I'm usually "shaken" awake by discontent and screeching and hollering amongst siblings ( a sure fire way to make for a cranky me- considering I also hate mornings) that I want to focus on kind tones, sweet voices and loving actions and gestures. I played for them some chords on the piano that illustrated "harmony" and then I demonstrated how sour a song can sound with the wrong notes in place and a lack of harmony. I asked them to please try to fill our home with heartfelt harmony and a focus on kindness, humility and sacrifice for the sake of those we love.

Romans 12:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[a] Do not be conceited.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Latkes for Hanukkah




The Book of Judith is a multi-dimensional literary piece, stated to have occurred during the "twelfth year of reign of Nebuchadnezzar"  that has influenced many religious sects and has become a reference (although not a recognized portion of actual religious doctrine or canon) for the Jewish faith.  During the Middle Ages, stories began to influence religious observances, for instance the consumption of fried foods (signifying the the use of the 8 day (or 7 , because there was enough for one day) abundance of oil present in the Temple for the Maccabees and dairy as told below during Hanukkah = חֲנֻכָּה‎

So, an adored story from the Book of Judith highlights the heroism of the Jewish widow (Judith-יְהוּדִית= "Praised" or "Jewess")who delivered her endangered village from the invasion of the Assyrian army.  Judith enticed the leader of the army (Holofernes) to partake of an abundance of cheese, whose saltiness caused him to be thirsty. She  encouraged him to douse his thirst with wine.  As he was overtaken by thirst, Holofernes eventually passed out drunk from the alcohol consumption.  While in his stupor, Judith successfully beheaded him with his own sword.  The Israelites were able to defeat the unsuspecting and confused Assyrian army as they were found to have no general.  Dairy is eaten in honor of the brave and wise Judith :)

Latkes through the Middle Ages emerged as a dish traditionally served during the Hanukkah celebration.  We either make them ourselves or visit our favorite Jewish deli each year to have them.  Generally these are potato latkes, probably the most recognized form of latke. 

One of the most interesting recipes I've ever used combine the blessing of the oil with that of the dairy of the story of Judith, so I delved further into the origin of the recipes I've used in the past.

Interestingly, the latke was actually derived in Italy and first recorded in the form a cheesy ricotta pancake. yu-MY (that recipe follows)! The first Jewish connection I could find was by an italian, Jewish rabbi, named Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus (1286-1328) who featured them “in a list of dishes to serve at an idealized Purim feast, as well as a poem about Hanukkah. After the Spanish expelled the Jews from Sicily in 1492, the exiles introduced their ricotta cheese pancakes, which were called cassola in Rome, to the Jews of northern Italy. Consequently, cheese pancakes, because they combined the two traditional types of foods–fried and dairy–became a natural Hanukkah dish.” ~Marks, Gil. the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.

Potatoes became the ingredient of choice during the Eastern European famine of the 1800's where potatoes were a staple crop that was sought as a primary source of sustenance.  Potato latkes, ALSO delicious.

So I've included a couple of recipes for you to try with your family, in observance of such rich history.

CHEESE LATKES yields approx 16 latkes

1 cup ricotta cheese
¾ cup flour
3 eggs
2 tbsp  sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp baking powder
Nonstick cooking oil spray, for frying
  1. Combine all ingredients except the nonstick oil in a food processor until the mixture forms a thick batter.
  2. Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking oil and heat over medium. Use a spoon to scoop up the batter, then pour it onto the hot skillet in the size/shape of silver dollar pancakes. Use 1-2 tablespoons of batter per pancake. Spread the batter out into a thin circle after it hits the skillet.
  3. Fry the latkes for 2-3 minutes on each side until they turn golden brown. Test the first latke for doneness and make sure it’s cooked all the way through; if the latkes are browning faster than they’re cooking, reduce skillet heat. 
  4. Serve the latkes immediately plain , drizzled with honey, or topped with jam or fruit preserves, sour cream, maple syrup, yogurt or agave nectar
POTATO LATKES  yields about 12 latkes

4 medium potatoes** see fast version below
1 medium onion**see fast version below
2 eggs
1/2 cup matzah meal (or flour or bread crumbs)
1 tsp. baking powder
Salt and black pepper to taste
vegetable oil
1.   Shred the potatoes or zucchini and onion into a large bowl.** Frozen hash browns work REALLY well to and eliminate this step.  And also thank G-d for the now pre-chopped onions available at most markets
2  . Squeeze out all excess liquid, helps to wrap in a paper towel(if using a food processor, use the chopping blade for 2 or 3 seconds after pressing out liquid )
3  .Add eggs and mix well.
4.  Add matzah meal gradually while mixing until the batter is doughy, not too dry. (you may not need the whole amount, depending on moisture left from the vegetables)
5.  Add the baking powder, salt and pepper and mix well. (don't taste the batter raw-- it's really gross! cook a mini tester in the oil to test seasoning)).
6. Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat.
7.  Form the batter into thin palm sized patties patties.
8.  Fry batter in oil. To ensure thorough cooking, flip once when the bottom is golden brown.
9.  Place finished latkes on paper towels to drain.
10. Serve latkes immediately while they are hot. We love ours with sour cream and  applesauce.

Zest them up by adding fresh veggies to the batter ( bell peppers, parsley, carrots, celery, or even jalapenos. You may need to add another egg and  more matzah meal for the batter to hold during frying).


Family 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Mad Season

This year has once again flown by and we're looking down the business end of 2012!!!! It's been so long since I've blogged mainly because it seems like everything has picked up.  The children's first season of competitive dance has been beyond a time and financial commitment.  Tuition is expensive and then the shoes for competition and everything. GEEEEZ! I am glad however I am thankful that we are still homeschooling this year in addition to the dance schedule because for some reason, I cannot see how children can attend school and excel academically while maintaining this intense rehearsal schedule.

The holidays are upon us and for the past few years, I've taught the children the fundamentals of Judaism and its foundation within Christianity.  Tomorrow begins the celebration of Chanukah  and the children are going to be able to light their menorah, say their blessings and read about the history of the holiday.  Every year we have latkes and other Jewish yummies during this week as well.  Here is a great and simple recipe for latkes and we love them with apple sauce.  I have read that the focus of fried foods is related to the importance of the abundance of oil in the book of the Maccabees.

Recipe for Latkes 

Makes approximately 12 palm-sized latkes

  • 4 medium potatoes(I've also used zuchinni-very yummy, but needs another egg and a little more matzah meal)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup matzah meal (flour or bread crumbs can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. each salt and black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • vegetable oil 
Shred the potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Press out all excess liquid.(if using a food processor, use the chopping blade for 2 or 3 seconds after pressing out liquid to avoid stringy fly-aways). Add eggs and mix well. Add matzah meal gradually while mixing until the batter is doughy, not too dry. (you may not need the whole amount, depending on how well you drained the veggies). Add the baking powder, salt and pepper and mix well. (don't taste the batter -- it's really gross!). Don't worry if the batter turns a little orange; that will go away when it fries.
Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat. Form the batter into thin patties about the size of your palm. Fry batter in oil. Be patient: this takes time, and too much flipping will burn the outside without cooking the inside. Flip when the bottom is golden brown.
Place finished latkes on paper towels to drain. Eat hot with sour cream or applesauce. They reheat better in a microwave, but not as well  in an oven.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1 Thessalonians 5:14-parenting

"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all".

-sigh- All so much easier said than done:-(  Today's devotional was on recognizing appropriate discipline for children.  As a mother with so many children, I see the a large spectrum of personality traits in each of my children. Some make them very unique to their siblings and others make it undoubtable they are members of our family! I have the constant challengers and the ones that care to aspire to follow the rules.  Then when I think I have it figured out, they go through a transition in development/age that undoes everything I thought I knew!  This stickler of it is that, with every emerging trait, I have to approach each child differently as they respond to circumstances differently.  First in the form of discipline, these days ..

Kameronn's currency is hard earned money and technology- easy...grounded from electronics or if appropriate he has to use his own money to compensate a loss from carelessness.  Time out or sent to his room ? Completely ineffective, he's fairly introverted and as a teenager, prefers his individual time. When he was younger he would transform time outs into a nap...good old fashioned spanking worked for him.

Seth- hands down the socializer, he works well to have social events or opportunities taken away.  Time outs always worked well for him.  He loves his extra-curricular activities, not a fan of school work, so he knows now they are directly related to each other.  No school work. NO dance. NO discussions. A couple of times sitting out showed him I meant business! He gets it done now, so much improvement.

Rylann -Rylann is my challenge child, he is strong willed, a trait that will serve him well in later years, but at presence, bordering belligerence.  Additionally, he has a temper.  Both need to be admonished as necessary . This little guy will have a stand off with anyone big or small.  Rylann has to stay in the Word, so that he recognizes daily the need for self control.  His strength of course is his loving soul that will defend what is right quickly and consistently. Pointless to spank this one, he'll endure it with a smile to feel victorious.  Rylann is also motivated by extra curricular activities for school work and overall tidiness.

Ysabel- Ysa is fairly compliant, aiming to please. She rarely requires discipline, but when she does, it is crushing for her, almost as if it scars her very soul.  She dislikes time outs and when and if she needs a punishment for moral or danger issues, she thoroughly understands the reason.  The downside to her sticking to the rules is she has deemed herself worthy of being the "enforcer" a.k.a. the tattletale or the reminder that "so and so  is in trouble when we get home...." But thank God for the one who has her coat and shoes on, etc and her dance bag, while we shuffle everyone else along.

Aemilia- ah yes, the baby. She is still a loose cannon, vying for her position and identity both within and outside the family.  God knew what He was doing sending this one last, her spunk and energy, demand she be acknowledged, so no fading into the background here.  Her age truly plays an integral role here still, and so we still have to "play" with what's effective for her.  So far it seems to be a combination of all forms of discipline, encouraging her when she does right, time outs, withholding rewards, and even an occasional spanking :( But let's face it, she the youngest and it's interesting to see how the very siblings who will rat her out, quickly become advocates in her defense...lol

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New favorite snack! Healthy Cookie Dough "dip"

Many of my friends know that I am kind of obsessed with my body image, especially after having so many children!  And, no, not in the health body image way, moreso in the cutting calories however I can, and working out and just...obsessing.  But, I am very particular in the foods my children eat too, o fast food, organic when necessary..blah blah blah. I want them to have healthy eating habits and also I find myself catering to innumerable food allergy limitations.  I made a delicious and somewhat healthy snack for us and it doesn't stick around for long, especially if they don't know what's in it. This is a hit at parties too.  Also, I am a huge fan of The Sneaky Chef , where my kiddos' favorite foods are still their favorites but balanced and with the entire healthful food pyramid present and hidden inside...Here' s the recipe , I made two batches, allergy safe, (in parenthesis below), and then some for the rest of us. Give it a chance, it's yummy.  (We used graham crackers to scoop up and eat the dip).

Protein rich, gluten free , use sugar substitute, and sugar free chocolate chips for completely sugar free
Cookie Dough Dip

1 can of chickpeas, yes chickpeas! (also known as garbanzos),  drained and rinsed
1/8 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
2 T organic almond butter and 2 T peanut butter ( substitute 3 T soy nut butter for all)
2 t vanilla
2 T steel cut oats, or flax meal (sneaky)
2/3 cup brown sugar or fave sugar substitute to taste
Splashes of milk (or soy milk) to blend smooth 
As many chocolate chips as you'd like


Mix all of the ingredients (except chocolate chips)  in a blender ( I used a Magic Bullet- I admit it).  Add slowly,  small splashes of milk (or soy milk) to make the mixture blend to completely smooth. Stir in your favorite chocolate chips. Serve with graham crackers,pretzels coconut cookies or apple slices. Or like me you can eat it off of a spoon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Farewell sweet summer:-(

Well , despite my trying to will it away... It's SNOWING!! And, apparently it's forecasted to be a significant amount of snow. I'm even hearing talk of upcoming blizzard conditions this season and to all of this I say "bleck"!! I may be one of the worst California transplants to Colorado. The beach has never left my system and I'd trade all of this snow for a warm, sandy beach and palm trees any day!

But, it is Fall that is quickly transforming into Winter. So tomorrow ,since we have no need to go anywhere before afternoon dance, ( a definite plus for homeschooling), I think we will read " Stone Soup" and make some in the crockpot, make apple cider or hot chocolate ( whichever does NOT require a trip the the store) and Fall gifts for the kids' friends .

I wouldn't mind the snow as much if I never had to go out in it.So, I say , if it must snow , snow TONS, so the city is closed and everyone can enjoy warm, fun times indoors. :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stones of Remembrance

My Devotional Today:Joshua 4:20-22


Today was an odd day to say the least and it seems like more and more lately I just can't seem to break into my "future".  And even moreso, the past keeps creeping up.  I know that God has offered me so many provisions and so many times has lifted me out of the pit in the past, yet faith is the hardest thing sometimes.  I have tried to grant myself some "lenience" when reading the Old Testament in the inaccurate thought process that"well if the Israelites literally carried with them His presence and witnessed firsthand His Almighty wonders, He can only expect that I would encounter some obstacles in staying the course of faithfulness as well".  That's just good old fashioned reasoning, the truth is , I have felt His presence and experienced innumerable blessings in the darkest of times  Just like the lyrics of one of my all time favorite songs that carried me through my early walk and that I have found myself seeking again, "Who Am I?" by Point of Grace.

"Over time you've healed so much in me
I am living proof,
That although my darkest hour had come,
Your light could still shine through.
Though at times it seems enough to cast a shadow on the wall,
Well, I am grateful, that you've shined a light on me at all."

So in my parenting devotional today, the twelve stones set up at Gilgal by Joshua were both a visual and tangible reminder of all of the works God had done for the people of Israel. What a great way to honor his infinite grace, mercy and wisdom... I now find myself trying to think of ways that we, as a family can acknowledge His blessings and acts of grace, our own modern day reminder of God's presence in our lives. It struck me funny that these reminders may very well be the very things I discourage the children from dragging home from outings for example.  For instance today, we were at a beautiful park with trees clinging to the last of their vibrantly colored leaves , a shimmering pond and kid friendly ducks (and their not so beautiful abundant droppings) and a new small community of not so kid friendly Canadian geese.  I'm certain that if they had their way the children would have loved to bring home one of the mallards but they would have settled on and requested a leaf collection.  Ordinarily I would propose they leave them be for the simple purpose of not wanting to find a place for them upon returning home.  But in reflecting, I think that it may be God's desire for me to embrace the things that in His great design, they find beauty, and allow them to use them as reminders of what is good in their daily lives.... So the next question is where to put it(x's 5 lol)?.......

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Notes February 9, 2009

Here's what thinking gets ya!

by Tosha Ganga on Monday, February 9, 2009 at 12:48pm
If I had the chance to go back again, take a different road, bear a lighter load, tell an easy story. I would walk away, with my yesterdays. I would not trade what is broken for beauty only. ..every valley every bitter chill, makes me rally and climb back up the hill.... How could
I know morning, if I knew not midnight?

God has me and I will walk with Him in faith and hope knowing that I have His promise even when other promises come back empty. My road may be tough right now, but He has a beautiful and wondrous plan for my life and those I hold dear! Please hold on to us tightly Father God, this is a bumpy road. We know that you already have your plans for our lives laid out long before we reached this place and before we ever even had a concern. You know our hearts and you understand the endless meaning of every silent tear. Take our tears and pour them over us as a peaceful anointing. Thank you for our burdens that bring us closer to you, help us carry them. Thank you for placing the people we NEED in our lives not always the people we want, to draw on the canvases of who we are and to reveal how we need you. We cannot wait for the day that we can step back and see the masterful tapestry of our lives, you have woven and spun, with each intricate stitch.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord, lean not on your own understanding, in all of your ways, acknowledge Him, He'll make your path straight

Seasons of change

   It has been as torrential past couple of years.  In light of life changing events and children that grow like weeds, I could hardly hardly expect less.  As I grow aware of the the nip in air, I am as every year, not so much welcoming the cooler Colorado seasons.  As the morning and evening temperatures dip and we switch the A/C to heat, I was REFLECTing on how fast the years has slipped away, riddled with heartache and negative energy, poor relationships, brokenness, divorce and the struggle to find balance in our a new "family model".  It's taken so long for me to even determine which way is up trying to solely juggle my schedule and that of 6 children, plan meals, activities and teach and monitor their school work, as I am a fairly new homeschool mom.  All of this, overshadowed by a tightening budget has grown increasingly challenging.

   I light of all of that, I have been seeking within my faith to try to find a church home that encouraged and lifted me up in His.  I sadly became a person that fell to hands of human politics and religion within a community we had called our church home for 13+ years, and I scrambled and searched for the return of my foundation of faith and to still instill the same in my very impressionable children.  It has become my goal to return to blogging regularly in an effort to record our day-to-day joys and pains so I can offer a small glimpse of our lives to our friends and loved ones.



   When I returned to my established blog, and dusted off its cobwebs, I realized that while I would not delete or recant my thoughts, this is not the legacy I wanted to access to write on the souls of my children nor did I want this to be the person I clung to.  I refer back to a Note I wrote in a networking site, following below as a separate entry. I can honestly say , I have no regrets about my past blogs, they harbor very tender and irreplaceable moments as well as reveal a very delicate and fragile creature within me.  I want to RENEW the good that once was and move forward. I want to nourish our hearts, souls and minds with good and with the love our God has given us.  I'm keeping the old blogs, but today begins a brand new one.

   While I do not sense any dreadful feelings towards my honest reflections, I know that for me, I feel that stress does not become me.  I have been living under the umbrella of stress for so long it has become a part of who I am... that I will be processing here as well.  However, despite things I may have said in my utmost of "unproud" mom moments or even in the implications of my body language, I wanted to although impossible to do in a psychological sense, UNDO, the brokenness and rebuild them they way God has entrusted me to.  I wrote my treasures these blessings and have frames for them so they can serve them as constant reminders of how I see and feel about them, and more importantly how God feels about them. I would like to re- introduce them to you.

Kameronn Nicholas Ganga 7/28/95



Seth Christian Ganga 8/03/00

Rylann Jace Keaney 12/24/03



Ysabel Gabrianna Keaney 10/5/05



Aemilia Daelynn Keaney 6/29/07
Welcome to our new blog.  REFLECT, RENEW,...UNDO, and welcome to our new legacy. 

Our verses today:
Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

1 Peter 2:1-25

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.