Blessing Our Children like Ephraim and Manasseh (31 Days of Israel)

 
Names, Vows, Blessing and Cursing – words have real power and the Jewish people believe this to be true in a way that Christians do not, but probably should.

One of the prayers recited at Yom Kippur (according to my research using Google) is a prayer the nulls vows that have been made. Jewish people ask God for mercy against any wrathful vows He has made against them. (If I understand correctly). But to be in a position to ask this of God, one must release others we have vowed against.

This only happens once a year, on the holiest day of the year. I think there is a lesson here for everyone to speak your words very carefully.

 

Another custom of Yom Kippur is for parents to say a blessing on their children. The blessing used refers to Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s sons born while he was in Egypt. When Jacob (Israel) was reunited with Joseph, he asked to bless them alongside his own sons.

Info in part courtesy of Chabad.org

http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/520258/jewish/Why-do-we-bless-our-sons-to-be-like-Ephraim-and-Manasseh.htm

 

I wonder if this deeply rooted history between the tribes of Israel and Egypt will play a part in the events to come….

Israel, Gaza and Questioning Everything I Read (31 Days of Israel)

I started writing this in the summer and never published it. At the time, I really thought the mainstream media would realize that the whole truth was only just being uncovered. But after I discovered this little tiny article in the link below, nothing much more came of it. It’s sad that the way history gets written is never the full truth.

From the beginning of this conflict in Gaza, I have just felt like I was NOT getting the full story of what was happening from mainstream North American media.  For the first time, I started following and searching for information I knew that was missing.  I started following the IDF on Twitter, I started reading British, European and Middle East media.  I knew in my gut, we were NOT getting the full story.

Finally, some of what I knew in my gut, is finally starting to come to light

The Australian reported earlier this week

WHILE no civilian casualties are good, reports are emerging that strongly question the number of civilian casualties in Gaza.

The BBC’s head of statistics has highlighted that the figures presented are highly improbable. He says “some of the conclusions being drawn from them may be premature”. With that, Hamas’s illusion begins to crack. The reality behind it is far uglier, and more dangerous, than many have realised.

 

Have an Easy Fast (31 Days of Israel)

…In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work … For on that day he shall provide atonement for you to cleanse you from all your sins before the L-RD. -Leviticus 16:29-30

Yom Kippur is the Jewish day of atonement – as described in Leviticus. It consists of a complete 25 hour fast with no work being done.  It is considered to be the holiest day of the year.

Jewish believers greet one another saying – Have an Easy Fast

Muslims mark Eid al-Adha by giving meat to the poor in remembrance of a story in the Quran stating that Abraham was to sacrifice Ishmael and Ishmael agreed to it before they were stopped by Allah.

Muslims greet one another saying – Eid Mubarak (“Have a blessed Eid”)

Yom Kippur 5775 (2014) – Today and tomorrow, for the first time in 33 years, the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur and the Muslim holdiy of Eid al-Adha coincide so let’s especially pray for peace for Israel today.

Israel shuts down

31 Days of Israel

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As part of the 31 Days Challenge I will write for 31 days on Israel.

Why Israel?

The events of the past summer in Gaza led me on a path to search for truth and answers that I didn’t think I was getting from North American media. I have been wanting to write a series of blogs about the thingst that I am learning about Israel so the #31Days challenge seemed like a good opportunity to get it going.

Disclaimer – I am a Canadian girl, married to a Chinese guy who has never travelled off the continent of North America.  I am just interested in what the future holds for God’s chosen people.  This is my own learning journey.

Some days might be a prayer for Israel or just a verse and other days some interesting facts that I have uncovered, that maybe the rest of the world already knew!

 

 

Tempted into Depression?

We had a guest preacher a couple of weeks ago who was talking about living a godly life. It was a terrific sermon, but he made one comment that I kept circling around in my head. I don’t even remember what he said or in what context exactly but something along the lines of resisting temptation and listing some things you could be tempted into and included not being tempted into depression.

Tempted into depression?
Isn’t a temptation something that you desire?

And who on earth would want to be depressed.

And I had intended to do digging into this a little further.

Can you be tempted into depression?

And this this past Sunday, a different guest pastor was speaking on Breaking away from Fear. It was also an excellent message.

But I caught a phrase he said.

Do not be tempted into Fear.

That sounds a lot like being tempted into depression. Who wants to be fearful?? Why would that even be tempting?

Did these speakers mean tempted to succumb to our fears?
And does that work in the context of depression?
Can you be tempted to succumb to depression, as opposed to fighting it.

The Bible has many verses about not being afraid.
Are there verses about not being depressed?

I’m not sure I have a clear answer to the question yet, my dear friends. But in searching for the answer, I found this beautiful Psalm – psalm 42 that ends with this verse

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

And one of my new favourite songs this week – it is Well by Bethel Music Video

Favourite lyrics:

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
It is well with my soul

I think the thought I want to remember is that when my soul is downcast, I remember that the one whose name is known by the wind and the waves holds my soul and
It
Is
Well
With
Me.

http://bellefaith42.tumblr.com/post/98919266103/let-go-my-soul-the-waves-and-wind-still-know-his

Disney – The Best Trip for the Best Price

There are lots of blogs that will give you tips on how to do Disney on a budget, frugal family tips etc.

But for those that LOVE Disney and want their family to fully enjoy all the magic that Disney has to offer, but still without breaking the bank, here is what works for my family of 5 (including 3 teens).

2014 Disney at MK

 

  • Stay at a Disney Resort – this is our personal preference, but we still strongly recommend it for almost everyone.  You can stay at a Disney resort for as little as $85 per night.  I think people have the impression that it is much more expensive to stay in Disney, but it really isn’t.  There are so many resorts to choose from.  You remain immersed in Disney magic, with Disney’s excellent guest service for the entire vacation.  Disney has 3 levels of resorts – Value, Moderate and Deluxe.  Our family of 5 can be accomodated in 2 of the moderate resorts for around $130-$150 per night.  The theming at the resorts is amazing and so much fun.  Disney provides free transportation to any where in the ‘World’ at all hours of the day.

2014 Disney at MK with MNSSHP decorations

  • Disney Magical Express – free transportation on the Disney Magical Express is provided to resort guests who fly into MCO.  This in itself is a fun and fabulous service – especially since it is free!  No need to rent a car. You can walk off the plane, skip baggage claim, walk aboard a beautiful coach bus and arrive at your hotel fairly quickly.  Your luggage will be delivered to you later while you are busy enjoying the parks!

 

  • Take the kids out of school and go in off-peak season – sometimes making memories is more important than whatever french and math homework they might miss!  We thought that as they got older and in high school, it would be difficult to pull them out of school for a week, but it really is not that big of a deal.  We did it last year during the last week of school before Christmas break.  There was little new work being taught during that week, and our kids could make arrangements for the homework ahead of time.

Disney 8

Disney 2

  • Take advantage of the special offers – especially the free dining deal if you can get it; unless you absolutely need to go on Christmas Day or Thanksgiving weekend, NEVER pay full price.  There are always special offers, either room only discounts or some kind of package discount when you buy park tickets and dining plan. We are going for the 4th time in 5 years this August on the Free Dining Deal.  Basically our family of 5 can stay for 7 nights/8 days at a moderate Disney resort, with 8 days of park passes and 7 days worth of meals for under $3,000.  An all-inclusive vacation in Mexico would cost more than that.

Other Tips

  • Start when the kids are young
  • Don’t think if it as a ‘once in a lifetime’ event
  • Use points for flights, try flying from a different airport to get a better deal
  • Research and plan in advance to make the most of our time there
  • Know how your family and how you like to travel – your family – your vacation – do it your way

Disney is great when the kids are very young, it is great as they grow up, and it is great when they are teens.

A few years ago, we decided to surprise our kids.  They weren’t really young, but we still had a bit of fun putting it together.  Here is a video of what happened.

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Beauty of the Earth

 

I’m not going to say that Fall is my favourite season, but I sooo love the beauty of the earth that I see around me at this time of year.

My worship pastor commented recently that he had been listening to a new worship song and was just really moved by the lyrics. It’s only after a couple of weeks of listening did he realize the words were from a Psalm!

King David was the original worship leader. So many of his psalms proclaim the beauty of God’s creation. He uses words like majestic and splendor.

I don’t get to travel too much so I am enjoying via social media access to pictures of friends who are currently travelling in Bolivia, Iceland and England.

And I am awestruck by the sheer diversity of numerous sources of splendour on the earth.

Here are a few snapshots from this week – from my neighbourhood to Iceland to England to Bolivia.

Iceland (photo courtesy of H.Lee)
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Iceland (photo courtesy of H.Lee)

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Ottawa River

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England (photo courtesy of K.Gardiner)

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Bolivia (photo courtesy of J.Myers)

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