Family: Marriage & Parenting, Spiritual

Remaining Thankful, Especially When It’s Hard

November always ushers in a season of thankfulness. Everyone seems to crack down and place lots of focus on what they’re thankful about. However, what I’d like to introduce is the fact that remaining thankful – especially in hard times – is, well, hard.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can put on a nice little gratefulness show. I can smile through the pain. And I can even talk up some good encouragement. All the meanwhile, on the inside I am crumbling, stressed, and everything but thankful.

How to Deal

What do we do about this, because surely I’m not the only one that knows or feels that “acting” thankful can be overrated?? Am I right?? My suggestion is that we talk about it. We need to talk about this topic of remaining thankful, especially when it’s hard. 

I believe there are some real breakthroughs waiting to happen because we are willing to address the “why me’s” and “how could this be happenings” that often occur in life. There is also some growth in admitting that being faithful, grateful, and blessed are sometimes farther than we’d like to admit.

The Ugly Truth

Truth is, somewhere along the lines we’ve been taught to not talk about the ugly side of faith, or not being thankful or grateful. We cover it up in rehearsed reactions of fake smiles and recorded, “It’s okay’s!”. When in all actuality, no, it’s not okay. Life sucks sometimes, and there are times when we simply find it hard to have a good day, let alone a thankful one.

My Personal Suggestion

I joined in a 30 Days of Thanks blog series where I chose to talk about this very topic. My family and I are experiencing some not-so-bubbly times right now. Finding the umph to be thankful is taking A LOT of work. And I talk about it in my 30 days of thanks guest post on How to Homeschool My Child’s blog.

CLICK HERE to read my take on Remaining Thankful in the Hard Times.

While you’re there, check out the [limited time] giveaway and posts for other contributors. Oh, and I have a free printable for you over there too! 

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Spiritual

Practical Ways to Observe the Fall Feasts: Family Style

Fall is approaching fast which means the Biblical Fall Feasts are right around the corner. If you’re new to observing the feasts, click here to read more about them. If you’re not so new but looking for practical ways to observe them with your family then keep reading.

A few years ago when we first started getting in touch with our Hebrew heritage, we had no idea what we were doing. Fast forward to today and we’re still navigating the roads between Truth and tradition and ensuring that we are doing what Scripture says. Our family has also grown by two more kiddos since pursuing Torah, so that has been interesting in and of itself.

When it comes to understanding what Scripture says to do, it’s not so hard when you have proper context. Majority of us who are pursuing Torah have similar backgrounds of being told that certain laws and commandments were done away with – so why attempt to follow them?

Without going off on a tangent, the simply answer is because YHVH said so and it is what sets His people apart… plus they are a blessing, and we’ll be doing them in the Millennial Reign… so why not?!

So let’s talk about how to teach our kiddos about these amazing appointed times, rally together some reliable resources, and get ready to have a Spirit-filled feast season.

Before going into detail about each individual Fall feast, something you can be sure to do is read Scripture about each feast. Gather together on the couch and read the Word together!

Yom Teruah

Scripture says in Leviticus 23:24-25 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh new moon, on the first day of the new moon, you have a rest, a remembrance of Teruah, a set-apart gathering. You do no servile work, and you shall bring an offering made by fire to YHVH.” I won’t get into why we don’t do sacrifices today, but I will say that we still observe this day by not working and gathering with others (if able).

Teruah literally means soundings, by instrument or human voice so you can imagine how fun (and loud) this Holy Day can be.

Below are some resources to help teach about and observe this feast day:

Yom Kippur

Scripture says in Leviticus 23:27 “On the tenth day of this seventh new moon is Yom HaKippurim. It shall be a set-apart gathering for you. And you shall afflict your beings, and shall bring an offering made by fire to YHVH.” This passage also goes on to describe how to set this day apart: no work. There are also various ways people have attempted to describe “afflict your beings” but we choose to use this day to fast from food and reflect on teshuva (repentance).

Yom HaKippurim means Day of Atonement or Day of the Coverings so spending this day in total reflection and observation of how one can follow YHVH’s instructions is a day well spent.

Below are some resources to help teach about and observe this feast day:

  • Use these free Atonement activity pages by Bible Pathway Adventures (did we already say they’re our fave)
  • This is a neat song that my kiddos love that relates the story of Jonah to Yom Kippur
  • Enjoy this lapbook by Anna Matrix

One of my sis’s-in-Yah (thanks Marciea) gave me the idea of having each family member (for those old enough to understand) go to their own place to pray alone. She also suggested a dream board and/or writing down prayers, reflections, goals, etc.

So to help your older kiddos (and you) reflect throughout this day, I created a mini reflection journal that includes pages for writing down specific prayers, things to reflect on and repent from, goal setting, dreams/plans, and Scripture study. Don’t just use this for Yom Kippur! 🙂

Snag your free journal!

By providing your name and email, you will be joining our virtual mishpacha (family) and receive your FREE Reflection Journal immediately via email.

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Welcome to the family!

Festival of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)

In Leviticus 23:34-44 we read about the Festival of Sukkot being observed on the fifteenth day of the seventh new moon and celebrated for seven days. This passage also sheds more light on the how-to: first day is a set-apart gathering with no work, last day is a set-apart gathering with no work, and dwell in booths (tents) for the seven days.

Some people have the amazing privilege to be off work the entire week and camp out with like-minded believers. Our first year of observing this we camped out at a lake and had an amazing time with our little family (just 5 of us at the time).

Below are some resources to help teach about and observe this feast day:

Don’t forget the FOOD

One thing that is well-known with Feast Day celebrations is the FEAST! Cooking big meals is common and expected. The few times we have had the privilege of observing feast days with others, none of them lacked in food.

Check out this YouTube playlist of clean eating recipes for feast days and beyond!

K.I.S.S.

Simply put – keep it simple sweety. Don’t over complicate it! Scripture reminds us that YHVH’s commands are not too hard, and they are not far off. Try not to get caught up in finding out how to do it perfectly, or keeping up with how someone else is doing it. Do the best you can and remember why you’re doing it in the first place – to obey our Heavenly Father.

CHIME IN: Do you have some practice Feast Day tips to share?! Please share them in the comments below!!

Home Education, Spiritual

Hey Homeschool Mom, STOP Letting Limiting Beliefs Define You

Psst… this post is part of Homeschool Success Hacks Blog HopCheck out the other amazing bloggers in this roundup and enter the giveaway (at the bottom) for some awesome homeschool helpers!

Moment of confession: we all have limiting beliefs, am I right? Let’s take our confession a step further and admit that we also allow limiting beliefs define us.

If that weren’t the case there wouldn’t be books, movies, conferences, and blog posts like these to combat it. So now that we aired the dirty laundry, let’s talk about four ways to go from letting our limiting beliefs define us to walking unapologetically authentic – especially as homeschooling moms.

IDENTIFY THEM

Admitting the fact that you have limiting beliefs is a good step forward. But, that’s not enough. Now comes the often overlooked (and daunting) task of identifying them.

What are your limiting beliefs? As a homeschooling mom, you’ve probably believed many of these:

  • I’m afraid I’m not doing a good job.
  • I don’t know how to be mom and teacher.
  • I feel guilty for pulling my kids out of school.
  • I’m worried what other think.
  • Everything I try doesn’t make it better.
  • I don’t know how to handle the hard day.

This list could literally go on and on. And that’s okay. It’s all part of identifying what your limiting beliefs are so you can move on to the next step. Keep in mind and decide now that these beliefs will no longer define you!

FACE THEM

This is where most people stop and try to take a detour, landing them right back at facing them all over again. I did this for a long time. I could admit that I had some pretty stinkin’ thinkin’ about myself, but I wouldn’t face it.

I would brush it off and attempt to go about my merry way being a better wife, mom, homeschooling mom, and business owner. The harsh reality is not facing my limiting beliefs didn’t mean they’d go away.

It meant that it would only be a matter of time before they’d begin to show in everything I attempted to do. I had to come to a place where identifying them wasn’t enough. Facing them wasn’t enough. I wanted them gone.

Facing them prepares you for that. However, it’s consciously choosing that you want to [and will] move beyond simply facing your limiting beliefs – living free of them.

It’s one thing to say, “My homeschool doesn’t look like [hers].” but another thing to believe that you can be okay with your not-so-ordinary homeschool.

When thinking becomes believing, it’s time for the next step.

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REPLACE THEM

In order for you to start seeing a different pep in your step, it’s time to replace your limiting beliefs. This is the point where enough is ENOUGH. No more identifying and facing them and expecting things to miraculously be different.

Now is the time to replace those limiting beliefs with affirmations. And not just any affirmation either. I’m talking about affirmations that get into the depths of your very being, provoking a change that will be evident in your actions.

The limiting belief of – “If I could only get it right!” – becomes – I TRUST MYSELF TO MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION!

“I don’t know how to handle hard days.” becomes I WILL FIND WAYS TO IMPROVISE ON HARD DAYS!

“I can’t figure out how to do this.” becomes I WILL FIND UNIQUE WAYS TO TEACH MY UNIQUE CHILDREN!

An affirmation should be something you can actively walk out, not something you merely say and maybe believe.

EMBRACE THE NEW YOU

Best believe that you will see a big change in every area of your life. Others will notice it too. As you begin to walk out the cycle of-

  • identifying limiting beliefs
  • facing your limiting beliefs
  • replacing the limited belief [with doable affirmations]

you will be a different person. Your new train of thinking will auto-correct your course in those moments when limiting beliefs try to regain control.

Your new thought process will help you see the positive in even the most negative situations. You’ll see blessed instead of stressed. You’ll see how unique you, your children, and your homeschool are (and how awesome that is).

And the biggest thing I’ve noticed in walking this out is that it never stops. Limiting beliefs will always be there to latch on to us. It’s about coming to the point where we decide to not let our limiting beliefs define us.

HELP IS HERE

In my best-selling book, Just for Today’s Homeschooling Mom, I tackle ten chapters worth of limiting beliefs.

At the end of every chapter, I help you identify the most common limiting beliefs that we as homeschooling moms deal with and provide you with life-changing affirmations.

You’ll also find Scripture for meditating and journaling, as well as prayer and journal space for noting your personal reflections.

Before you go…

Get your free Conquer Limiting Beliefs printable and join our thriving virtual community!

 

CHIME IN: What are some limiting beliefs you struggle with? Let me know in the comments below! Try the method mentioned above and let me know how it helped you!

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE HOMESCHOOL SUCCESS HACKS MAIN PAGE

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Holistic Health & Wellness, Spiritual

Self-Care: Spiritually Speaking

Self-care has definitely made its way to the top of the topic charts these days. I for one will rant about needing to take better care of myself, but it also got me thinking about the different facets involved in self care. I started pondering about it in terms of my spiritual self.

Yes, I read my Bible, and pray, and try to make good (and right) choices. But does that necessarily mean that my spiritual self-care is in balance? In reality, the answer is no. Perhaps you’re in this boat with me. So, let’s chat about three ways to take care of your spiritual self and make sure you’re in balance.

What (or who) is your spiritual self?

For me, it’s hard to separate or compartmentalize who I am spiritually apart from who I am naturally. I believe we are spirit beings in a human body; therefore, resulting in a natural gravitational pull toward a higher power. Now before you think I’m all “New Age-y” with that, hear me out. I believe in the Most High God, YHVH. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

I believe we were created for Him and by Him to serve Him, honor Him, and represent Him in the earth realm. So in terms of answering the question who is your spiritual self? I submit to you that it is everything about you. And with this in mind, there are several important ways we can make sure we are taking care of ourselves – spiritually speaking.

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Proper Focus

This can also be considered the mindset. It is often said that what consumes your mind controls your life. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. I’m sure you can think of a time when what you were thinking in a moment completely controlled your behavior. Just in case you need help, let me share a personal experience.

One particular day, I was upset with my husband about a matter. Instead of changing my mind and thought process about it, I let what had happened run continually through my mind like a broken record. Needless to say, it sparked more negative feelings which ended up resulting in more negative reactions, and it was like a hamster wheel.

It wasn’t until I began to shift my focus and take thoughts captive that I would see a difference in my response, and ultimately in my behavior toward my husband. Just as Scripture suggests, our focus (and mind) should be set on matters of the Spirit because the mind of the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:5-6).

Meaningful Meditation

I admit that my meditation is not even close to where it should be. Of course I could blame it on being “busy” with being a wife, taking care of the homefront, homeschooling, running a business, and so on – but another come-to-reality moment is those are all excuses. This is another area of spiritual self-care that often gets ignored, or even replaced.

But the truth of the matter is, the Creator places a great emphasis on it. Other religions have robbed and distorted it, making it look like some form of witchcraft, but what does Scripture say? For starters, we see Isaac in Genesis 24 going out to meditate in the field in the evening (verse 63). Then we read in Joshua about meditating on the Torah day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it (1:8).

We also read (a lot) in Psalms about meditation. Psalm 49:3 says, My mouth speaks wisdom, and the meditation of my heart brings understanding. So it’s safe to say that meditation is also a gateway to understanding!

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Purposeful Prayer

Not to keep sounding like I’m beating myself up, but this is another area that I want to do better in. And I’m not talking about just better overall, but better about for myself. Do you find yourself always praying for others and their circumstances? Are you taking time to seek the Father and petition for yourself? I didn’t realize how much I lacked praying for myself until I started my prayer binder.

It became second-nature to always pray for others. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with that as Scripture instructs us to pray for one another, but our spiritual self-care also involves praying for ourselves. Even the Messiah prayed for Himself.

When reading about prayer, we find words and phrases like: pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17), whatever you ask in prayer believe that you have received it (Mark 11:24), continue steadfastly in prayer (Colossians 4:2), and so on. Simply put, prayer for ourselves (and others) is important to having balanced spiritual self-care.

To help you pray for yourself, I’d like to give you a FREE 31 Days of Praying for Myself printable, and a BONUS 31 Days of Praying for Your Husband printable. Snag these below and use them in efforts to having more purposeful prayer time, and ultimately a more balanced spiritual self-care routine!

 

CHIME IN: What are some ways you get and stay balanced in your spiritual self-care routine? Share in the comments below!

 

 

 

Family: Marriage & Parenting, Home Education, Spiritual

Spring Into Healthy Living by Taming the Tongue

Ah, spring. The hope of new life, a breath of fresh air, the promise of sun and longer days. We throw open the windows, letting the crisp breeze clear out the stagnant breath of winter. With this series, we examine every area of our lives where we need freshness, detox, and change. This article is about detoxing our speech.

Sometimes our homes smell clean, our food tastes clean, but our mouths shoot poison. Have you ever found yourself saying things that you wonder about later? Maybe afterwards you had thoughts like these:  Where did that come from? I can’t believe I said that! He made me say that or, She pushed my buttons. With spring and its representation of newness emerging, it’s time to clean up our words.

Examining our beliefs

The first action to take is to consider our core beliefs about ourselves, our spouses, our children, and others. What does our self-talk consist of? Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?

  •         I’m so forgetful.
  •         I’m not a good homeschooler.
  •         I’m not a good mom.
  •         I’m messy and unorganized.
  •         I can never get it right.

Or, how about these?

  •         He would rather be at work.
  •         He doesn’t help enough.
  •         They are doing it on purpose to get a rise out of me.
  •         They are unmotivated and lazy.
  •         No one really cares.
  •         No one understands.

What we believe in our heart of hearts makes its appearance when we open our mouths. The first step toward changing what we say is to change what we believe.

Make a change

Fill your mind with truth about yourself and others

We change what we believe by refusing to listen to the lies we conjure up from our past, from our impressions of what others think, and from the whispers of Satan whose aim is to destroy you and your family. We need to do less listening to ourselves and more talking to ourselves. Lies must be countered with truth. Those negative statements must be turned into positive ones. Most importantly, we must open our Bibles and fill our minds with the Word of God, otherwise we may become victims of worse lies as described in Luke 11:25-26,

“On its return, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and dwell there. And the final plight of that man is worse than the first.”

Fill your mind with noble thoughts

In addition to countering lies with truth, especially the truth of what God says about you, we also need to change what we think about. Our thoughts impact our beliefs, which then impact our speech and actions. We can still experience the temptation to focus on negative events in our lives and the hurtful behaviors of others. Then we become discouraged, depressed, resentful, and frustrated and find ourselves right back where we were—believing lies. What if we focused instead on the positive? What if we lived out Philippians 4:8, which says,

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Imagine the transformation in your home if there were more loving, kind, praising words!

Examining our words

Does your mouth speak both blessing and cursing?

Now that we have addressed our thoughts and beliefs—the root of all behavior, including speech—let’s look at the words that come out of our mouths. Are we detoxing our speech even as we detox our thoughts? The words we say ought to improve if we are filling our minds with good things, but sometimes old habits linger. Sometimes we behave one way at church or with friends and another way with our loved ones. The book of James talks about this—out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing (James 3:10).

But, I don’t feel like building others up!

If we are to improve our relationships, our speech should encourage others, build them up, and point them to the right path. We know this, but sometimes we’re just having a bad day and it’s hard to build someone else up when we feel down. HERE are some ways to get back on track and gain perspective when you have a bad day homeschooling.

We also struggle to encourage and bless others when they have brought us emotional pain. We tend to take on an attitude of “you hurt me, so I’m going to punish you/hurt you/refuse to talk to you.” But, as this post reveals, that response only intensifies our pain. It doesn’t heal us.

During this season of renewal and cleansing, of repentance and transformation, let’s get back on track with the way we talk to each other. Let’s detox our speech!

CHIME IN: What are some ways you tame your tongue? Are there any go-to Scriptures or prayers you use? Share with us in the comments below!

This post is part of the Spring Into Healthy Living blog series. Check the other posts:


Julie Polanco is a 16+ years veteran homeschooling mom of four challenging, artsy kids. She is the author of two books for moms–God Schooling: How God Intended Children to Learn and 100 Ways to Motivate Kids–and the high school botany instructor for www.SchoolhouseTeachers.com. Julie has been featured in several publications and blogs, including Today’s Parent, Old Schoolhouse magazine, Some Assembly Required, Homeschooling with Heart blog, and Alternative Health Guide. She teaches live middle school science workshops for her local homeschool co-op and is actively involved in her church’s women’s ministry. You can find her at www.julienaturally.com where she offers natural learning & living solutions for challenging kids and their families. You can also find her on Facebook @julienaturally and Pinterest @julienaturally.