Friday, July 23, 2010

Honoring others

This week's Torah portion dealt with Deut. 3:23-7:11. It has to do with the Shema (Hear, O Israel, the Lord is your G-d, Adonai is one....") but also with the 10 Words or Commandments. The fifth commandment is the one our commentary took up. For those who can't remember what the 5th commandment is, it says to "Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you. (Deuteronomy 5:16)"

The commentary goes on to state the obvious....that today's society teaches our kids that it's more important to be 'cool' and disrespect your parents. I know that while I was still teaching in the public schools, I was horrified to see how many kids (even elementary kids!!!) would back talk and sass their parents. I was reprimanded more than once for stepping in and telling a student that it was disrespectful to talk to their parents that way! (Oh well, the parents were shocked, and grateful, but the principal felt I'd stepped over my 'bounds' while silently agreeing with me.)  As this world seems to be hurtling faster and faster to some kind of explosion or perhaps a glorious reappearing, it seems our children are getting worse and worse about not knowing how to honor their parents. It just breaks my heart to see the disrespect shown parents. Even by many in MY generation!!!!! (and we're older than dirt, let me tell ya!!!!!!) Which reminds me, that even though you're grown, does not mean you get a free pass on this one!!! Many times, showing respect for an aging or chronically ill parent is even more difficult, but we're called to do it! After all, without parents, we wouldn't be here.....think about that a minute. Ok, back to the gist of this......

But this does not have to be so. There's an easy fix. If parents will respect each other (I know that's tough in this world of instant divorce and step families, but it CAN be done!!!!) and show that respect in front of the children, it would go miles in teaching our kids how to act. I know Dodi is INCREDIBLE about not allowing Little Critter to diss me. And I in return will put a stop to disrespect towards Dodi in a heartbeat! Not that we 'jump and bash' Little Critter....but we will not allow disrespect. We also crack down on disrespect to any adult!!!! Several of his little friends were shocked when we wouldn't allow them to call us by our first names.
"Why ever not?!?!" , they asked us. We told them that it was a form of respect and that as they got older, and had to deal with bosses and co workers, it would stand them in good stead. These kinds of manners would help them get ahead, be treated better than others, and give them far more friends. They were surprised. Now, these are 9-11 year olds. Why were we having to teach this idea to them?????Because parents had not. Shame on those parents. We can no longer expect our kids to learn manners in school, or one hour of church. As parents, it's our responsibility and DUTY to teach our children. Can we demand honor and respect? Of course not. If we treat them like dirt, they of course will have no respect for us. But if we treat them as the amazing gift from YHVH that they are, teaching them to honor and respect us will be fairly easy. And if they can honor and respect us, it's easy to honor and respect others....and if that happens, well, the blessings WILL flow to them! YHVH promised. So let's be sure we're teaching our kids HOW to honor others...not just with words, but with actions. And while we're teaching our children, let's not forget all those children in our sphere of influence. If each of us teach our children, and 3 of their friends, we could easily make a major difference in the attitudes of this world. What an amazing idea! So as you contemplate my ideas here, and ask Papa to show you His truth, don't forget to look for the blessings He's given you. You'll find them gathered around your table, living in your house and taking flight from your nest. Be sure you thank Him for them.....they are truly an amazing blessing. Now teach them well. Shabbat Shalom, Spitfire

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The power of our words......

This week's Torah portions contained several mentions on the power of our words. It talked about how the Israelites took the words of the 10 spies who didn't think YHVH was big enough to clear out the 'giants' in the Promised Land.(Deut. 1) And then in Isaiah, it talked about how YHVH was so angry with the children of Israel that He was turning His back on them. That they refused to "come now, let us talk this over together." (Isaiah 1:10a) These were both kinda sad commentaries on the children of Israel and their faith in their Papa. Then we read Acts 1-2, and there's further talking about talking....and the words people use, even speaking languages they don't know. And then it hit me!

We all tend to think of our words as no big deal. They're just little puffs of air that are gone as soon as we say them. But these words spoken so many years ago were written down and we get to read them now....several hundred years later!!! So perhaps our words are more important than we think. Well, I stewed on that idea for a bit, then got a book I'd ordered for us to read as a family. It's called Positive Word Power..The Torah's Wisdom on Human Interaction for daily study. As we read the first study in there, guess what it was got it. The power of our words! So now I realized I was on the right track about the Torah portion for this past week....

Well, this book presented an idea I found fascinating and more than scary at  the same time. It proposed that since Adam was brought to live by the breathe of Yah, we all have a breathe of Yah in us. And each word we speak uses a little of that breath, sending His breathe out into the world around us. That means the words we speak have the power of either life or death in them. Whew! That's scary! So as Dodi and I tried to explain this  a little more to Little Critter, I came up with an analogy that helped he and I both understand it better. I told him it was like our words are bricks. Each time we speak to someone, we have to I saying something that will bury that person under these bricks? Or will my words serve to build a protective wall for them to help stop the harsh, unthinking words of myself and others? And which words would you want to be known for? Does that make sense? It did to Little Critter. He understood what we were getting at. Now, I'm not saying Little Critter buries folks with his cruel, harsh words. But it's something we all need to work on. There's far more times than I want to even think about that I'm tired, not feeling well, or stressed that I'm sure I buried my loved ones under the bricks of my words...with their sharpness, or impatience, or out and out meanness. sigh..... But now, like the disciples in Acts 1 &2, I know the power of my words. I know now how much I need to lean on Papa for wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent. So I can attempt to unbury those I've hurt with my words, and attempt with His help to not make the same mistakes again. In this way, even I can help make the world a better word at a time.

So as you think about what I've written, may my words be balm to your souls, healing to your wounds, and a path to help you on your journey through this life. Shalom.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Here I am!

Well, I did it's been about a month since I posted anything. I'm sorry dear friends. I have no real excuse....just didn't have much to say. Let me catch you up on things here. We took time to go to Grandma's house the middle of June. I hate the drive to Grandma's.....roughly 6 hours. But I love visiting my in-laws. They're wonderful folks. This time was a little harder than normal though. The girls that we had as foster girls for 1/2 a year were not there much (back with their mother) so Little Critter was lonely for them. Budget was tight so not much shopping for me to get to do....bummer! And that means there's not much to do but watch the grass grow and sit in front of the TV with Grandma. ARGGGGGG. Usually I take plenty of books, handwork and movies for us to watch, but silly me left the bag with all that stuff in it here at the house while we were there. And since my in-laws are not Torah observant, there was the usual difficulties with Shabbat and such. But we're used to that. All in all, it was a nice visit. We were there in time for Grandma's birthday, and one of the sisters-in-law had a big party for her at sister's house. There was food out the bazoo and we were at her private pond so it was beautiful. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera. ARGGGGH again!
Little Critter was great with his 4 yo cousin...he loaded her fishing pole with about eleventy million worms and 'helped' her fish for hours. It was so funny. He put the worm on the hook, hand her the pole, she'd hold it about three minutes then hand it back and run off. When he'd catch a fish, he'd yell "Gabby, you caught a fish!" She'd come running while he'd reel the fish up to the bank, and then hand her the pole to pull the fish onto the bank. She'd show everyone her fish, then hand it all back to Little Critter to take the fish off the hook and throw it back so they could repeat the process. They did this for about 3 hours!!!!!!! It was SO cute!!!!!

Fourth of July (a couple weeks later) we fixed burgers and dogs for Papa. We also took some home made ice cream that Little Critter made. (Fresh cherry! Yumm!!!!) While eating, we watched the movie 1776. I LOVE that show!!!!!  Then met Papa and Brother in law at the park for the city fireworks. Due to rain, there was no music this year which was disheartening. But the fireworks were spectacular!!!!!!  Then we went home and watched the DC fireworks with the Boston Pops on TV. The fireworks were great, but I was totally bummed when they didn't have the Boston Pops play the 1812 overture for the finale. They've always done that and it just makes your heart soar! This time they used inane PC music that really hurt my feelings. Sigh...all our wonderful traditions being changed....poop! The next morning the cub scout troop (both boys that are still active!!!) met and we cleaned up all the exploded fireworks mess. Little Critter even found several that still had the wicks in them with unexploded caps!!!!! We disarmed them of course. It was a lot of work for the two boys, but of course we helped and we got it done quickly. One of the major perks was we got to bring home all the used 1/2 lumber they'd used for the fireworks. So far, Little Critter (with a very little help from Dodi) built me a corner shelf to put out by our pool so we can listen to music while in the pool. He did a GREAT job on it!!!! Next, he's going to work on a chicken tractor for us. I'll try to get pics.

Then the week after the Fourth, I had to have oral surgery. YUCK! I'm allergic to local anesthetics so don't like dentists much to start with. But this time there was no avoiding it. One tooth had roots that had gotten tangled in the nerves that control my face....and the root was being strangled so was rotting. My whole face hurt most the time, I could hardly eat anything, and was starting to have trouble with paralysis/cramping in my face. Needless to say, with my allergy to locals, this was a trip to the oral surgeon. He put me out, told Dodi he used an anesthetic that wears off quickly so I'd have to have pain pills within 2 hours of surgery. Silly Dr. He didn't know me well......3 1/2 days later when I finally figured out which planet I was on and who I was I really didn't need any pain meds. Yes, I said 3 1/2 days later! Poor Dodi was trying to keep fluids in me, (all I could eat), feed himself and Little Critter and then explain to Little Critter why Mommy was so odd. Thank goodness Shabbat was not with our congregation that Friday!!!! I was still half dopey, so we ate really simply here at home. Dodi was beside himself trying to figure out how to make the challah....Little Critter was trying to help, but I don't have a recipe. At least it's not written down. And I don't usually measure things, so Little Critter was having a mell of a hess trying to explain amounts he'd seen me use to Dodi. I walked in, figured out what the problem was, and salvaged what they'd started. But I goofed too. I thought I'd picked up the flax seed, poured it in, then discovered it was Gluten!!!! I poured in about double the normal amount. oops. Did I mention those were GOOD drugs the surgeon used?!?!?! Anyway, the bread was extraordinarily light and only tasted a little bit strange. So there's proof YHVH loves me!!!!!! LOL!

So as you can see, we've been blessed. We got to share in Grandma's birthday party, still keep our traditions in a modified way, saw outstandingly beautiful fireworks twice, and even got to enjoy challah that had to be made by Yah Himself.....No one else could have straightened out the mess we were making of it!!!!! And I finally found my way back to the land of the living on the same planet with those I love. What a wonderful month it's been. So did you have a blessed month? I pray you each had blessings you couldn't begin to count. Yah willing I'll be back in a few days with pics and more to share. In the meantime, look around you. I"m sure Papa sends you love letters everyday....several a day in fact. Take the time to look for them. He loves you, you know. Be blessed. Shalom, Spitfire