Tishalish

Well, another Yom Kippur has passed. May you have had a blessed holiday and may your name be written in the book of life.This year I stayed home from school and fasted, prayed, studied,  forgave some, and reflected back on the sins I had committed the past year. During the high holy day season it is a time of self reflection and making things right with others and most importantly right with G-d.

As an young child I have memories of going to synagogue during Yom Kippur services in the afternoon and confessing, chanting, praying, and doing traditional rituals for hours on end. I now admit that I probably zoned out during Temple a little bit more than I should have. Now, I see the significance of this holiday and I realize how blessed I am to have a Rabbi who is a wonderful congregational leader, who leads these services in a respectable, but easy to follow manner.

It is Jewish tradition during this season to go to a body of water and have a Tashlich ceremony. The Tashlich ceremony is basically throwing bread into the water and symbolically casting your sins to G-d. Because the synagogue that I attend is not located near any body of water, we typically don’t have this service. This year my mother and I privately did this at the local park.

This year while doing Tashlich about four ducks were swimming around. These ducks were not little polite ducks. They acted nothing like Robert McCloskey’s Make Way For Ducklings.  These ducks were hungry. What are ducks going to do during a Tashlich ceremony? Eat the bread of course! The ducks were not violently fighting, but there was definitely a competition to swim out and eat the food first.

In a way these birds had a way of showing me their own Yom Kippur message. This message could go something like this…

Just the way those ducks were attacking the food, Yeshua is out immediately taking the Challah that represents sin away as soon as you cast them unto him. He wants you to give the sin unto him. He desires that for his children. There’s also someone else who wants your Challah bread and that is Satan. The difference between giving it Yeshua and Satan is one of two ways.

Casting your Challah on to the Devil might seem easy or fun at first, but it’s only a matter of time that it will directly turn into guilt, shame,  and it will take you many places that you never intended to go.

When you cast your Challah on to G-d, He has the ability to set you free from all guilt, shame, and any chains holding you down that Satan placed on your hands.

Everyone has a choice of who they cast there Challah on to. Who will you choose?

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THINK

I don’t normally start working on my Wednesday post on Monday, but because of Yom Kippur I decided it would be appropriate to start writing earlier, therefore, I’ll write about my Monday so far.

I’ve written about school before and my lack of love for it.
When I think of school I think of: frustration, insecurities, pain, and the dreadful thing called exams, more specifically getting the exams back. I have never had “school spirit” because I find other ways to use my time. I don’t go to basketball games on Friday’s (I go to Shabbat); I don’t go to any “fun events” that are on Saturday (I’m typically at the art museum), or any events on the rest of the weekdays as I’m probably leading or participating in a lengthy 4-H meeting. I don’t have a desire to have “school spirit” because I will never be a part of the rural community that my school is located in and frankly I don’t have a desire to. Don’t misunderstand me, I am grateful for my private Christian school education but often times it is hard to find a place to fit in when you’re the city girl who is considered preppy.

Monday…why do we have to have Monday? My Monday was discouraging. I had several disappointing moments and I just was not in the brightest mood. My mom asked me how my day was and all I said was, “I need chocolate.” I did not go into depth or tell her any glimpse of what was wrong until several hours later.

As I look back on my short life, so far, I see how just a little bit of encouragement can brighten almost anyone’s entire day. As Christians we should be lifting each other up and putting sunshine in their life when our acquaintances  are experiencing the thunder roar through their lives.

My Monday turned out to be okay. It was a reminder to always be kind to those around you. Especially to those who might not be cool.The tongue can do more damage than a sword, so use your words gently. Always “THINK” before you speak.
T-True
H-Helpful
I-Inspiring
N-Necessary
K-Kind

Isn’t It Amazing How Life Is One Thing and Then In an Instant It Becames Something Else

The movie “If I stay” is one of my favorites. I love the idea of a rocker and a classically trained cellist falling in love. Last week I had the chance to watch the suspenseful movie again. Lately, I have been thinking about how so many things in our life can change just in a split second. For Mia, in the movie, her entire life was transformed by driving on an ice patch.

September is national suicide prevention month. During this month I have unintentionally talked to a few loved ones fighting depression. I love talking to others and being a listening ear. When I hear their stories I hear hopelessness. I hear how others have said countless numbers of  unedifying words.

It’s amazing how life can be one thing and everything can change in a instant because you don’t know what those around you are going through and you don’t know how close they could be to ending their life through suicide. Be nice to all. If as a nation if we truly cared about suicide prevention, we’d be friends to each other and not condesending towards mental illness.

One small instant could be the difference between life or death. Be willing to listen to anyone feeling down or has depression. Never be judgmental, or tell someone to “get over it,” or tell them they are being selfish. Please be willing to be kind, selfless, or even save a live.

Happy Saturday!

The Good, the Bad, the Bald

Well, it’s 3:15 AM on a weekend night and I should be working on homework but I found some inspiration somewhere and I know I just need to blog where my mind is pondering; my thoughts are going in a completely different direction than my research paper I’m working on tonight.

Earlier, I was reading a magazine and it had a section on random women’s cancer stories. In a way, I’ve watched my mom go through her own ‘cancer story,’ but at the same time not really.

In 2008 my mom was homeschooling me and my mother’s  friend noticed a bald spot on my mom’s head. Worried and scared she made a appointment with our family doctor, and after that a dermatologist. After a quick test at the dermatologists, she was officially diagnosed with alopecia. Though she was never in life ending danger, I tearfully watched her go through life changing challenges.

Personally, as her child it was hard to watch someone you love have a change such as this in their life.
As the young daughter’s perspective – life was hard. Losing your hair isn’t a big deal until you watch a woman do it.

The first time she went wig shopping, I physically got sick after the appointment. I didn’t want to tell or talk to the few friends I had about it. I did not know how to approach the topic with anyone besides immediate family. Most girls go and get their hair done with their moms; I went wig shopping. We hugged, we cried, and we got through it,l. Eventually she overcame it with many prayers and even healing, though the doctors said she’d never heal.

Besides the idea of my mother being completely bald, as an elementary student I had to get use to the thought that because of genetics, I’ll probably face alopecia as well. Last fall my thick blond hair started dramatically thinning. Before this started happening, it took at least half an hour to straighten my hair. Within a matter of weeks, it only took me five minutes to straighten my hair. Thinking I already knew the results, I went to my family doctor and was referred to a dermatologist. My results? At this time in my life I just had hair thinning I was put on a medication to slow it down but several months later I stopped taking it because of the possible long lasting affects the medication would have on my body if I took it for a extensive amount of time. Today my hair is thick, healthy, and occasionally has dye in it.

To this day, I am not looking forward to the day I am told that I’ll be bald for the rest of my life. But I know that if G-d allows this path for me, it will be for a reason and everything will be okay in the end.

Just a few days ago G-d really encouraged me with this. A year ago I was worried I had alopecia, but recently I had the opportunity to pray for a young little girl whose hair is falling out mysteriously. As silly as it sounds, being able to pray with her helped me realize, if I am diagnosed in the future, I will have others in my life who will lay their hands on me and pray for me, just as I did one night with a group of delightful ladies for that precious little girl.

I can’t hold onto something that might not be G-d’s will. I can’t count on having thick hair for the rest of my life; the same way I can’t count on growing up and having a white picked fence and a dog in my yard. I have to grateful for what I’m given – all of the good, bad, and ugly because G-d is with me all the way no matter what happens in this crazy thing called life.

Lama-Leah readers, through the hard times He is teaching you something and there’s always something to be grateful for. Blessings.

Ditch the Data

I feel that sometimes as an culture we are consumed with iPhones, iPads, iPods, iMacks, and everything in between. Over labor day weekend I became ill. I couldn’t keep any liquids in my body for several hours. It was a scary and frustrating time. I confess that while I was lying around waiting to become sick again I spent many unproductive hours on my down fall–Pinterest!

Recently I was in a waiting room setting. What I noticed was everyone in the small room had their eyeballs glued to their smart phones! With four of us in the room, none of us made eye contact with each other. I thought to myself, how ridiculous is this? “Smart phones” are keeping us from having any sort of social interaction with each other. We are all sitting here, have said no words to another person but only have utterly made the same thumb motion of just swiping up and down. I am in no way going to say that smart phones are evil or bad. Cell phones have the potential to be a really good thing. But sometimes that power of having the internet at your hand is abused. I refuse to make an snapchat account because I observe others around me all the time spend more time taking selfies to send to ‘Bae’ than actually taking advantage of those physically around them.

I encourage you to spend a little less time on Instagram and a little more time with others without a screen connecting you to them.
“Ditch the Data” I think it should be called. Because memories aren’t made by staring at a screen but by connecting with your surroundings.

This weekend I was at a little cafe that my family enjoys going to for breakfast on Saturday mornings. Towards the end of our meal, a beautiful family came in and sat near the booth we were sitting in.  Shortly after they seated every member of the family had their electronics out; a sight that is common in this day and age.  Soon afterwards the mother told her family that they are to put their phones away so that they can enjoy each other.  This is what families should get in a habit of doing, so that they spend time with each other, not with other screens.

For the season of high holy days, I took social media off my phone until the holiday season is over. I did this because I realized that I was spending A LOT of time on Facebook and Instagram when I should of been reading Yeshua’s Word, and it was becoming a idol for me. In this way I have “ditched the data.” I’m not sure if I will re-download those apps when the holiday’s pass.

In conclusion, spend time with others, not with Data.

Happy Saturday Lama-Leah readers!

BBQ Anyone?!?

The more I am around good Sunday morning Christians, the more I sense a distance between Jews and Gentles. What I seem to observe from Gentles is that they have a mindset that they are superior over G-d’s chosen people. But few would admit to this though. They seem to take out any sort of Jewish tradition and coat anything Jewish as, “It was relivent 2,000 years ago but not in this day and age.”

Being Swedish by blood, always attending a messianic synagogue, and my parents send me to a conservative Christian school–I see things differently than most!
When G-d’s followers try to take out that Jesus is Jewish it’s like eating without nutrition, trying to play a piano without fingers, or riding a bike with knees–it just doesn’t work! Until you understand the Torah, you can risk not truly understanding the New Testament because both section of the Bible connects to the other, and you also risk not truly respecting and knowing G-d in the proper ways He is to be feared.

Recently I was in a setting that I was forced to listen to a Christian missionary speak. Not too long into the speech I could pick up that the speaker was not exactly a advocate for the Jews–or even a supporter of them. The speaker made a reference comparing blood sacrifices in the Torah to … BBQ. This is a perfect example of when you don’t study the Torah or take it as serious as the gospels you may not have as much respect for the L-rd.

Whether you embrace that Jesus is Jewish or not I encourage you to find a synagogue (preferably messianic) and attend a high holy day service, Shabbat service, or a Torah study.

You don’t truly understand someone until you learn about their roots and background. It’s the same with the L-rd.

The Little Girls Selling Lemonade

I made it to the weekend! The week has been enormously better than the one before. As many of my readers know, my top career choice at the moment it to be a artist. My parents have exposed me to many aspects of fine arts from an early age, and to them it shouldn’t be an surprise that I want to pursue art for a living. Unfortunately, many in my life compare my artistic ability to those in my family and have suggested that I do something else with my life.

Just over the summer someone asked me what I want to do after high school and I said that I want to be an artist and they told me, “You need to choose something that you wouldn’t mind doing and makes money.” I have been told many, many things, comparable to the phrase just stated.

Today I went to the art museum with a few others. Through different parts of the muesum someone in my group was mocking the fact that I am going to be a professional artist someday. It was upsetting to me but I have received so much disapproval that I have learned just to brush it off. I told my mother what they were saying and she said just what I needed to here. She said, “Well, you just have to prove them wrong.” And I know that I do because if I actually listened to what almost everyone has told me, I’d just let them win. Awhile ago I was telling a friend how many, many, many don’t believe that I can make it in the art industry and they pointed out that several world renown artists parents didn’t want their child to be an artist and they ended up being extremely successful. Another friend told me that Van Gogh himself was not very successful for a very long time and look where his art is now!

When I came home a little neighbor girl and her friend were selling lemonade. I chose to be a good neighbor and I walked over to support their little business. I asked them what they are going to do with the money and they told me that they want to go roller skating. This was encouraging to me because they didn’t let someone just tell them “No.” They were working to do what they wanted to do. Just the way that I have to work having little support from family and friends. Eventually the person who was mocking me apologized. They said, “I am sorry I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.” I said, “I accept your apology, but you have to careful what you say to me because someday I may paint you.”

Just like I have to do, don’t let others tell you not to follow your dreams because when you do, you are letting what they are telling you tear you down. You have no idea how impacted your goal may be if you don’t even try. “Fears kill more dreams then failures.” So go be the little girls selling lemonade, who took steps in order to do what they wanted to do.

Also remember, when someone has lemons support their lemonade stand.

P.S. I have added a virtual art gallery to this website. Feel free to check it out. If you have any art ideas for me, leave me a comment, or if you have a suggestion for a topic, do the same. https://lamaleah.wordpress.com/virtual-art-gallery-by-lama-leah/

Never Let an Old Flame Burn You Twice

Many say that high school is “the best years of your life!” Well,  those who say that are liars.

Just a few days before school started up I spent a good half an hour worrying about school with a friend straight up complaining how my peers at school can start drama over things that are simply and not worth getting into fights about.
I’ve written about bullying before, so beware this is another post about bullying, but this time I’m going to try to take a different view of it.

If I were to sum up my entire high school experience it would be: You never know who is really there for you until you need them most. Whether it be a family member, friend, or teacher.

I have learned when you let someone burn you, persay they win once. If you let them continue to hurt you they continue to win and slowly start to take over your life. Just like the wax in a candle burns down, they will start to melt the life out of you. In these cases no matter how hard it is, please take these people out of your life. When you are use to someone burning the life out of you, it will be difficult to let go of your relationship with them, but it will be for you own good and will help your well-being and mental health.

In my own life I have had to let go of friends who were tearing me down, not building me up.
Leaving these relationships are some of the hardest things I have done because I had security in their friendship but they were verbally assuring my own insecurities to be true. My friends who assured me that indeed I am stupid, fat, and ugly in a twisted way made me feel good because I was hearing what I wanted to hear. Deep down inside I knew that these friends were burning the life out of me. In my experience usually the other one left before I found the strength to.

Please do not let one burn you more than once. You are worth so much more than having someone in your life that doesn’t see their entire value and, therefore, tries to burn precious wax from your candle. In the long run, letting these people out of your life Will be better for your soul.

In whatever season you are in right now, I encourage you not to burn others down, but invest on others and bring them up.

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