Mountain Mama (Season II)

  • Remember how hard it was for me to leave the mountains–how I pined over the beauty and clung to my little trailer like the security blanket that it was? No? Well, to be honest, I really can’t remember what I blogged back about a year ago, and I don’t feel like looking it up. Anyway, as it turned out, it was equally as hard for me (harder) to leave Missouri. And no, I have yet to miss the humidity, the mold, the fleas, the ticks, the definite possibility of snakes… I do, however, truly miss the people. I also miss the twelve acres of paradise (tick ridden paradise, but still paradise) we had found ourselves living on. But I’m back here, now…and in a beautiful house that I’ll blog more about later. Stay tuned for many pictures of snow.

 

  • For those of you who follow the Torah Cycle, we’ve passed Simchat Torah, and I’ve just posted the children’s lesson plan for the year’s second Torah Portion. Click the Torah Portions link at the top of the page; it will take you here. I’ve included ideas for children’s ministry administration, just in case anyone might be looking for ideas for their new congregation or home fellowship. It’s the format I’ll follow if I can ever get people to come to my house. Sigh.

 

  • Did you all have a happy Sukkot? Do you celebrate Sukkot? The kids and I made a [purely decorative] sukkah in our yard (out of scrap wood, twine, and branches). Our second try actually stayed standing (for three days). We also had a more practical sukkah on our porch, but it was a very cold week and we spent most of our time inside. We spent that time singing carols, making edible sukkahs, talking about the birth of Yeshua, talking about the second coming of Yeshua, and eating just a little too much (I think I gained ten pounds which I now have to lose so that I can gain them again during Hanukkah).

 

  • My fabulous illustrator is working on a project that I’m super thrilled about. Oh, OK, I’ll tell you. It’s a children’s book based on the ideas in this post. I’m working on a little promo video, and I really could use your help. All I need is your beautiful face! If you’d be willing to pose by your children (or not, if they’re not interested) and hold a sign, then please have someone standing near to snap the shot. On the sign, I need the word/phrase that answers this question: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of having the “sex talk” with your kids? E-mail me the photo, and I’ll e-mail you back a giant hug!

 

  • That’s it for now. It felt weird leaving this little scrapbook hanging without an official ending. More soon.

 

 

 

 

Grow a Garden

Well, we’ve done it. We’ve written our first children’s book! When I say we, I most definitely mean we. This book was a family affair in every sense of the word. The entire book was illustrated by my phenomenally talented children (under the direction of my amazing mom).

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The cast of Kingdom Twindom got a name change: meet Lily, Lola, Luke, Laura, and Landon. But the adventures are the same! The next two books are in the works, and we’re sure to find time to write and illustrate from our cozy new home in the mountains.

Yep, I said the mountains. We’re headed home. Of course, if you follow me on Facebook this is already old news. But oh, new tidbit, the chickens are coming, too! The Beverly Hillbillies have nothing on us.

It’s a bittersweet move, and we will miss our church family dearly. I’ll blog the story, and the move, soon. For now…buy the  book and help us live more adventures!

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31 Days to Lovely Promo

It’s FREE again!!!! Get your free copy through 7/19/2014!

31 Days to Lovely is an introspective look at the biblical requirement to forgive. In this beautiful and easy-to-read month-long journey, Sarah encourages the Christian woman to release her hurts and bitterness by more fully embracing the beauty of her salvation—to dwell on those things that are lovely, and to allow her thoughts to change her life. This book is for anyone who is struggling with unforgiveness or trudging through anger and pain. Through the Word of God, her own testimony, and the experiences of her blog readers, 31 Days to Lovely reveals the power we have in Christ to lay down those issues we’ve carried for far too long.

Get your copy today: click here!

 

“Beauty of the Lord” by Jared Anderson, “Where Faith Comes From”

 

 

Where Homeschooling Meets Blogging

I was without a computer for about six weeks (can’t. stop. twitching.), but now we’re back with the surprise I’ve been promising the kids ever since I looked up one Shabbat evening to see this:

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They love to write. And I love to encourage them in any non media related passion.

So they’ll be here, with me. This blog is about to get a lot more interesting. I’ve told them they are free to share their silly stories, their serious thoughts, their dreams, their drawings…maybe even a video from time to time. I hope that you’ll be blessed!

From all of us at Kingdom Twindom!

 

Everything Old is New Again

A few times in our lives, truly course altering opportunities knock quietly and wait patiently–just to see if we will notice them. Often times, these opportunities come in the form of, well, work–and if not back breakingly hard work, at least work that we feel (and possibly are) completely ill equipped to handle. Now that I’m more comfortable opening the door, I can’t help but wonder how many blessings I turned away. Maybe they took a long walk and then came to knock again when I was ready. But really, I don’t think we always get  a second chance.

I sat writing on a Sunday afternoon. Whether perfect timing or distraction, an e-mail alert stole my attention. Essentially, the message read:

God said you should edit my mom’s book. What do you think?

And what I thought was, “Yeah, like I have time for that!” Thankfully, what I wrote was, “Tell her to send it right over!”

I told her to send it right over because, to me, her mom is my mom, too. I’ve been blessed with just a couple bonus moms in my lifetime, and I hope my kids will someday find that same gift. I haven’t seen this bonus family since I was in my early twenties, but family never stops being family–especially not when you join them of your own free will.

My first day in the Stein home was a whirlwind of activity. I didn’t have time to unpack my bags until very late that first night. I was nineteen, still painfully shy, and the reality of what I’d gotten myself into hit me as I sat on my new bed and flipped open midwifery textbooks. I turned off the light and sat still in darkened silence, tears welling in my eyes. This was stupid. I can’t do this. I should just pack up my car and leave now.  Then, I heard laughter. And not just any laughter. If your run of the mill breed of laughter works like a medicine, laughter in the Stein home behaves more like wine.

The midwife I would be training under had two daughters still living at home–one older than I and one younger. I never did ask them the question I’d wondered as I sat in the darkness that night, “What on earth was so funny?!” Because, as I would soon find out, pretty much everything was. I’d lost my joy; but I found it again, among many other things, in the Stein home.

There were a few times over the past several months when I tried to back out of this editing project. Times when my work and my time crawled back to the top of my priority list.  I shudder to think what I would have missed, what you would have missed, if I hadn’t seen through to publication a book that far exceeds the importance of anything I’ve ever written. If I’d failed to swing open the door to this opportunity, I wouldn’t have seen that what was veiled in a tremendous amount of work (on my part and of course on the part of the author herself) was not so much a chance for me to serve. It was an invitation for me to change–and one of the most important invitations of my life. How could I not share that with all of you?

Everything Old is New Again: A Jewish Midwife’s Look into Pregnancy and the Feasts of Israel is making it’s Kindle debut today. And for the next five days (through 3/18) you can download it for FREE. Let me encourage you, please, this is not a book to simply add to your someday collection. This is a book to read. Tonight. I’ve asked Renee to answer a few questions, and I hope her answers will woo you to dive heart first into this incredible invitation she has hand engraved especially for today, and especially for you.

Where were you living when you first received the revelation for this book?

In Colorado, the first nudge was a word which just would not go away. That word is release. Release is the word used for the emancipation of Hebrews from captivity (known as Passover), and release is the word for the beginning as a human  egg is released from the fallopian tube during mothers’ ovulation. I kept seeing that parallel for a very long time. Then, at a birth in Colorado, which was just before Chanukah which is the Feast of Light-Chanukah celebrates victory over darkness. I suddenly saw this baby as being  ‘born into the light”, and I made a mental note to find out more. The revelation of this book came in pieces. Many years later I made Aliyah to Israel, and there I found more answers as I was immersed in Judaism. I became drenched in the Feasts of the Torah and realized this was all part of the plan of G-d for this little book.

Is the ole wives tale true, does revelation come easier in the Holy Land? Is it a wives tale at all?

I’m not sure if there is an ole wives tale or not, but the people in general told me spiritual things do come easier in Israel as nothing in Israel distracts from the Torah. When there is a holiday in Israel, all things come to a halt. They even turn off the TV nationally. No distractions. All things being Torah seems to lead to an open heaven for those who seek Hashem.

Why do you think this comparison has been missed by so many people?

For many,  the topic seems too complicated to follow, and people are busy. How could one be as crazy to make the Holy Feasts line up with the act of childbirth? The two side by side become a controversy. The Holy Feasts and the growth of the preborn become unsettling to rabbis, and rabbis do not want much to do with childbirth. But once you get past all the complexities, both the Holy Convocations, or the Feasts, do align with  the growth spurts of a preborn baby! I believe both are relevant today and are perhaps a timeline which may be understood now because our time is so short.

What would you say to someone who might think, “So, I celebrated the Feasts in the womb? Why should that affect my life now?”

I would say to someone who may be skeptical that each one of us is so very special, and even our savior experienced the Feasts as do each one of us. If it’s good enough for Him, then it’s something I want to consider for myself.  For Believers, this knowledge should be extremely validating. For those who may not get it, (that each of us has had the opportunity to experience something of the Holy Feasts), the facts I have presented should help move them into a more ‘believing’ position and certainly a deeper understanding of the secret place.

Whom do you most hope will read this book?

I hope everyone will read this book, but this book may not be for everyone. I do think that it will speak to those who have an interest in Torah or a deeper walk with the L-rd. I also think teachers, pastors, and anyone in the Birthing Theater  (midwives, doulas, birthing assistants, childbirth educators, etc.) would benefit from this information.

And there you have it. Buy it, gift it, download it…but please read it. And for the next five days, I am also offering you another opportunity to claim your free Kindle copy of 31 Days to Lovely! Grab both today!

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I Know What True Love Is

In a matter of days (and yes, I realize that 300 is also a matter of days), but in a mere matter of days—in a trivial amount of days—I will be posting the interview with an author who has changed my life. Not only have I been busy writing my second book, I’ve also been busy editing and publishing Renee’s first. This will be the first “outside find” published by Whatever is Lovely Publications, and God is just so smart to have put us on paths that led to each other.

Until that interview and the corresponding book are ready, though, I do actually have something to blog. This is a throwback to when my blog was actually read, I guess. But I still think these words are worth repeating.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.      1 Cor. 13:4-7 (NIV)

In recent months, I have become enraptured by the goodness of God presented boldly and plainly in the Old Testament. Now, some of you are thinking, “Oh, no, God was mean in the Old Testament!” Though, if you call yourself a Christian you might not admit that thought out-loud. Others of you are thinking, “Duh! Of course He was good in the Old Testament! Our God is good all the time!” And of course, you are 100% correct.

To give you specific examples of what I’m feeling, though, let’s just think about Adam and Eve. God created a perfect world and plopped them down in its center. He gave them one law. One law. Obey me. Eat. Prosper. Enjoy. But don’t eat from that one tree in the middle of the garden.  Why did God even say that? Have you ever wondered that? Why did He make the fruit pleasing to the eyes? Why didn’t He place flaming swords to bar the way to that one tree?!

Before I offer my minor opinion on that point, let’s look at another story. In Exodus nineteen, when God came down from Heaven to give the law and to essentially marry Israel, have you ever noticed what He said?

“The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the Lord said to him, ‘Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish.’ “ Exodus 19:20-21 (NIV)

God is good, and because He’s good, He can know how fully awesome He is without any measure of arrogance. He is the very definition of awesomeness. No one is better. It’s not bragging if it’s true. And so, knowing full well of His own greatness and the measure of love He is capable of bestowing, God expected the Israelites to run full speed at the mountain. He warned them not to because He’s also aware of what His holiness does to unholiness. He wanted to protect them, and He thought that warning was necessary because He couldn’t even imagine His people not being eager about meeting with Him.

If your heart is anything like mine, you might need tissues before reading what happened next. Because, you see, our perfect God was not mobbed by throngs of adoring fans. The mountain was not charged. They did not approach to the point they’d been allowed to in hopes of catching a glimpse of His glory. No, they stayed at a distance and sent Moses with pathetic high school love notes addressed to the Creator of the Universe who’d rescued them to make them His.

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When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. Exodus 20:18-21 (NIV)

We know that God is love, but do we stop to think about all that that means? Do we stop to consider that the all-knowing God of the universe will actually set His knowing aside and assume that we will love Him correctly, obey Him perfectly, and reach the full potential He intended in our creation? He is love.

“Love always trusts, always hopes.”

Love is not concerned about looking silly or being let down. Love doesn’t care about those things. Love continues to assume the very best even when history would prove that a foolish thing to do. Our Creator assumes the best about us, even though—at the very same time—He knows exactly what we will do. He never lets the knowledge of our future failures taint the hope He has for our success. He’s been rooting for our obedience and love since the Garden of Eden.

If, like me, you have just a sampling of this kind of love, hope, trust for another human being…don’t let the world steal it. They have no right to take what you have received directly from your Father. And after all, you’re just daring to follow in the footsteps of a God who fully believes you can.

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