Leftover Crumbs

Passover is on its way! I have to admit that I am loading up on carbs this week. People who don’t observe Passover don’t truly understand the struggle of avoiding bagels for a week, especially because we are around items with levening.

Passover has many traditions and rituals. One of them is to completely clean your house before the festival and take out all items that have leavening in them, but you leave a small part of the crumbs and the parents hide it. Once it is hidden the children find it, and then the family proceeds to burn it. This is a standard tradition in Jewish homes.

As Pesach is only a few days away I thought it would be fitting to talk about the physical and spiritual preparation of this feast. I have been touched over the past week by the amount of people who are hurting. Several have expressed to me that they are struggling with different things, but are not exactly being open about it to many. It has been concerning to me. Although none whom I’ve talked to are a Messianic, orthodox, or hasidic Jew, and they will not even be thinking about Passover, there are still things that they can learn from it. But I’m sure someone reading this is struggling with the same thing and will be observing Passover.

Around Easter Christians tend to reflect on their sin nature. Well… I’m not actually positive about that, but I imagine they do something like that. I’ve had to go to enough Easter related things that I kinda get that idea. There’s times that repentance is emphasized usually before salvation is adressed.

We all have areas in our lives that need to be cleaned out. Honestly, that is uncomfortable to do. I have to check myself on a regular basis because I fall into sin all the time. It’s easy to get rid of the stuff that is  comfortable enough to adress with God and get rid of; it’s nice and easy to hide things from God, but in reality it doesn’t do any good. He already knows what you are involved in but if you keep your hidden parts from God you will have heartache eventually.

As you clean your home for Passover, I challenge you to exam your heart. When the crumbs are left in your house, think about the sin that you have left in your spiritual house.

If We Took Worship Songs Seriously …

Shabbat Shalom! I hope that you have had shalom with God this weekend. I have been disturbed with a phenomenon going on in the church. This is not a new trend by any means. The phenomenon is worship music! Sounds kinda strange and off beat, right? Well, in some ways it is.

I sit in synagogue, chapel, or Bible study and witness the same thing over and over again: myself and my siblings in Christ sing songs with lyrics they don’t truly desire. Songs that invite the Rauch HaKodesh in the room and ask Him to challenge our faith but with no comprehension of what that means.

When you truly invite the Rauch HaKodesh in your presence many events can happen that requires a lot of responsibility. Sometimes a special apearance from the Holy Spirit happens and He will ask you to do certain tasks that deep down you may not truly believe that you can accomplish.

Songs about faith are similar. I think that sometimes we want amazing things to happen when we are finished with the song. Sometimes that does happen! Many times God allows your faith to be tried in ways we don’t want it to be, then blame God for it when in reality we asked for it. You may be joyously singing about faith on a Sunday morning at Church, then when you are ready to go home and car won’t start, it becomes a little uncomfortable. It’s a test of faith that you don’t want. 

I’ll tell you a little story about my own experiences singing about faith. About two years ago I thought that I wanted to become a missionary in the entertainment industry. I prayed for God to open doors. Less than five minutes after praying for this He gave me an opportunity for an audition. I had a month until the audition and I didn’t truly know what song I was suppose to sing until about a day before my audition. The song was about calling on God when you are in danger. Well, by the grace of God I received a call back and I needed to have another song prepared. The song “Oceans” by Hillsong United was one of the top Christian songs on the charts at the time. I began working on it and practiced any chance I got (the car, doing homework, and any spare time I ever had). The lyrics of part of the song goes, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.” I thought this was perfect because I thought I was being called to be in this field at that particular time in my life. I was praying secretly, “Spirit, lead me to a runway show, or a stage to perform on for You.” I was asking for the faith for God to send me to Los Angeles. I thought that’s were I was suppose to be heading. I went to the call back and had the time of my life. I created memories with others who were also auditioning and the topic of bullying came up and I had the opportunity to share a little bit about my story of being bullied. It was really the first time I was emotionally strong enough to talk about it. I cried but I healed some that day. Well, that day I didn’t make the cut. They did tell me that I did have an opportunity to work with them, however, that season was not my time. There were many tears that day. I still believe that I will be called into some aspect of the entertainment industry, however, I do not know when.

I sang to God for faith to do amazing things but instead he gave me the strength to have faith to heal. It’s not what I was expecting — not at all. It wasn’t what I wanted but it was so much more.  I challenge you to consider the lyrics the next time you are worshipping through music because sometimes what you may image God is going to do, He won’t allow at the moment. 

Express – Go!

Hump day! If you’re having a bad week I have good news — it’s almost over! Soon enough it will be Shabbat.

During the course of this school year I had to take personality tests to learn what my love language is. When I reviewed my answers and added up the score, I realized that my love language is coffee. Well, not really, my love language is touch; but if coffee was an option that’s what I would have gotten. This week I had a lot to get done for school, on top of extracurricular activities, and I’ve been stressed. Yesterday despite not having the time I went to a coffee shop that has wonderful reviews and I had not yet tried. The coffee was amazing and the atmosphere was even better. It had a welcoming and artistic atmosphere. What makes this particular coffee shop special is how there is no specific type of people who drink coffee there. Elderly, teenagers, artists, business people — they all congregate here. If you know me, I love diversity and different cultures, so I immediately fell in love with this coffee shop.

When I was getting ready to leave some musicians were setting up to play their music. While they were getting ready they played some of their recorded music. A particular man, who was maybe a manager of the group, started dancing with the music. I thought this was amazing! These days people don’t just let loose. This man could have had a little too much coffee and was extra energetic, but no matter what his reasons where, it was still cool. There was over two dozen other coffee drinkers in the store and that didn’t matter.

In certain situations I’m that person and in fact I almost joined him. However, I didn’t because I was insecure and embarrassed. Now that I think about it, what really did I have to be embarrassed about? I let others determine how much I do to have fun. Why does it have to be that way? I’m guessing that everyone reading this has let others determine how much they let loose at one time or another because really what do you have to lose?

This post was light-hearted and short, but as always I have a challenge for you! The next open mic night at a coffee shop or karaoke at a bar, participate! Don’t let your insecurities bring you down. You only live once so what’s stopping you from having fun and doing things that you wouldn’t normally do? Dance like nobody is watching!

Hands Cuffed

Forgiveness brings emotional healing, even when the person who was in the wrong did not seek forgiveness. Some would even use the analogy that forgiving is “as sweet as walking into a candy shop.” Forgiving is in no way saying that what the other person did was okay but rather saying I see past that and I’m not holding a grudge anymore.

I am a caring person. Sometimes I may even become too caring at points and take on other people’s problems. At a young age I figured out how to get people to talk about things that they would have normally kept private. Even in my very young age I had several conversations with people that the world would consider to be  victims. Victims of bullying and rough household situations mostly. Because of this I have a huge heart for victims.

I love serving the victims of the world. I am often times praying for healing over them. A verse came to mind when I started to ponder the other side of victims – the abusers. James 5:8 says: “Confess your  sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful and affective.”

When you are in the middle of a sin it chains you down. Confessing it to man can be relieving but also terrifying because a lot of sin breaks not only the biblical law but the courts system law as well.

When I read James 5:8 for the first time I realized something, the abusers are people, too! I know it’s obvious but embarrassingly in my mind I think of these people as being horrid creatures forgetting that they need help in forms of emotional and spiritual realms just as much as the victim does. I would hope that they get legal justice but I still hope that they have a positive and wise mentor who helps them get out of the chains of their sin and began a new godly life.

My Uncle Nick is a godly man who does this. Once a week he goes into the local prison and has a men’s ministry. For years he has done this and because of his willingness to serve, hundreds of prisoners are going to heaven.

If we don’t invest in the victims and the abusers too, we are impacting society in negative ways. I say this because its extremely hard for an abuser to change their ways even if they have a desire to. It’s only through Christ that this can happen, but how can a transformation take place if they don’t even know Christ or have Christ like examples in their life?

You have to be someone special to be involved directly in this form of ministry. You MUST have decernment, strength, and caution. However, everyone can pray. Powerful things can happen through faith in Him. With faith as small as a mustard seed you can move mountains. What’s stopping you?

The Hour Glass

Inspiration can be found anywhere, if you look in the right places. For me, I became inspired in grocery stores. Yes, it’s probably not where everyone finds inspiration but it works for me. The color of the produce is beautiful and within that limited space I see endless possibilities of combinations to bring into the kitchen. It is a reminder that in life there’s endless possibilities of ways to live life.

I enjoy cooking. I don’t enjoy cooking with recipes because that becomes restrictive to what can be added into a dish. When you are cooking this works well, however, when you’re baking you can’t really operate that way. I think I might be a decent cook but I am HORRIBLE at baking. Even when I try to follow a recipe while baking I usually forgot at least one ingredient.

This weekend I had to do some baking for a volunteer fundraiser. Honestly, I was dreading this because baking is not my forte. Before starting my baking fest I went on a Netflix bing session of Fuller House. After I finished my baking, I reflected on my evening when I was cleaning the bowl to my mother’s Kitchen Aid mixer.

Baked goods are not necessarily nutritious. They are yummy, but are essentially carbs, sugar, and empty calories. I do enjoy my homemade baked goods, but they need to be consumed in moderation. In fact, a lot of the meals that are in the American diet fall in this category.

In life we all have a tendency to consume empty calories ourselves in forms of food or entertainment. I do enjoy my Fuller House but after an hour of watching it I really haven’t fed my brain besides thinking about how much DJ and Steve need to get together. 😉 But if I spent an hour reading I would of accomplished much more. But also if I gorged myself on my mom’s baked goods I would not really accomplish anything. Neither one of these are bad, however it’s all a matter of moderation.

My challenge for you is to find things that don’t only consume food that fills your belly, but entertainment that fills your soul. Read, meet new people from other cultures, go to art galleries, even create art yourself, but most importantly always keep learning.

You have a limited number of minuets to live this life. How are you going spend the ones that seemingly don’t matter?

Once Upon A Time

The world is obsessed with telling stories. In nearly every aspect of life stories are being told and heard. Television, books, art, social media, dance, plays, and performances. All of these elements of life are telling a story. We try to escape our own reality by living through someone else’s even if they are fictional plot lines.

I love to story tell by creating my own stories and retelling familiar ones. I do most of my original story telling through art on a canvas all through my emotions, use of color, and then portray my message through these elements. I also retell stories by my music. Vivaldi is my all time favorite composer. I am in love with his style of compositions. With my instruments I retell something that someone else has already written, within this I add my own interpretation of what I think the author originally intended the notes to be played. Or change it a little bit by using different dynamics and note variations. It doesn’t matter what instrument I use. It could be violin, or even my voice.

Whether you want to believe it, YOU TOO are a story teller. How you live your life is a reflection of your compositions. You have the power to make it a best seller or have it barely be read. However, so the unexpected is always listening to your stories you are telling. Your stories are compiled upon how you do the mundane in life and most importantly how you walk  the pages of life.

If your life was a reality TV show would others want to watch it because of the monotony or how you told your adventurous stories.

Be-YOU-tee-FULL

To a woman it is dangerous to read a magazine, especially, fashion magazines. Women of all ages are constantly bombarded with images of what the media says we are suppose to look like, especially teenagers. Teenagers are vulnerable and ultimately looking for acceptance. February was National Eating Disorder Awareness month. I apologize that I did not reflect on this issue during February, however, I realize that that I can write about this on any day.

During my childhood I was vulnerable, even though I had many once-in-a-lifetime experiences, I ultimately wanted acceptance in society. I often times thought that I wanted to be a “normal little girl living a normal life.” I wanted to wake up early, get on a  school bus, and live a slow paced life. I dreamt of going to a Sunday morning church with my family. My parents did take me to Sunday church when I asked them to but it was different because a lot of people knew that my family left the entire conventional church to “do some Jewish thing.” Even though I was little when I went to attend normal church, I felt maybe a little looked down upon and really out of place. I didn’t have the same traditions or beliefs as the other children and I didn’t go with my family as many did. I live in the mid-west. There are not many Jewish people, especially Messianic Jews and Jewish culture is looked down upon to a degree, but then again, it’s probably looked down upon in every part of the world.

I never knew where exactly I belonged. I still don’t. Outside my identity in Christ, I don’t have anything. As a young child I struggled
immensely in trying to find my place. I tried about a dozen sports (ice skating, karate, gymnastics, etc.), several odd hobbies, and many other things butbultimately I still didn’t feel accepted by society. In several places, some not God-honoring things where said to me because of my Messianic background. I would not abandon my beliefs because It feeds so much into my idenity.

Well, I couldn’t find my place in this world, but I could look/dress like society in hopes of being accepted into some form of it To put this into perspective, I was very young when my parents started going to Synagogue. I was almost five years old and my body image issues started around then. I didn’t know much in my young age, but I did know that the skinny girls where the beautiful ones. I would watch T.V. or movies and see this expectation of what I was suppose to look like. Even my doll’s looked this way. There wasn’t any reason why I shouldn’t look this way. At the age of seven years old someone told me that I needed to lose weight and I started a diet for the first time. I would work out constantly (let me clarify this was the only time in my life I’ve been willing to work out) and restrict food. This was not an eating disorder, just a diet, but this was the start of my journey of having a distorted view of food and my body. From my first diet it led to another one to another one. I became a pro at dieting by the time I was a pre-teen.

I became obsessed with weight loss shows and wanted to have a dramatic transformation that contestants had on those shows. Even though I didn’t need to do that from a health perspective. I have been overweight from a medical standpoint. In fact, I have been under. But I have also have never had the body that the girls have on T.V. This puzzles me. Today I have a healthier relationship with food but I still secretly strive for unrealistic beauty expectations.

My struggle with body image from a young age is sadly too familiar to most. Eighty percent of girls say that they have been on a diet by the time they are the age of ten. Older people are often times shocked by this satistic. If you put the pieces together, it makes perfect sense. Little girls are always surrounded by unrealistic body expectations. Toys have them. I challenge you to go into a toy aisle and find a toy that doesn’t have unrealistic body standards. If they turn on the television to watch a kids show every female is underweight; almost 90% of the females on the major TV stations that are appealing to girls this age are underweight, too. Young girls have the exact same pressures to be thin as teenagers, and any woman, for that fact.

Prevention is key to protecting the hearts of young girls. I want to see a world that it is barbaric to diet when being underweight. But I don’t know how this can happened. Although I do have some ideas. Girls need to be taught that girls have the power to empower each other. If girls spent the amount of time and money that they do on their appearence and used it for the higher good, think about the postive change that could be done in the world. We need to educate students how to use discernment when on the internet, and become involved in the changing of Photoshop laws for models.

Statistically you know one of those girls who have dieted by the age of ten. How do you plan to positively influence her and emphasis that she is beautiful?

Re-routing

Although some may disagree, life is fair in the way that you get out of it what you invest in it. It is fun because we all blindly wake up not knowing what will happen and walk through to the evening never knowing what will happen. Sometimes the great Lord gives us detours in our day-to-day life.

Yesterday I was blessed to have a detour. My family and I skipped church to see God’s beauty in a different form by going to a few community art shows. Towards the end of the evening we decided to go to an art gallery that we hadn’t gone to before. Well, the parking was full and we ended up accidentally taking a detour. The next block after the gallery laid a high class apartment building. Somehow in hopes of finding a parking spot we end up behind this apartment building in an alleyway and,  let me note, that my family has lived in this city for years and has passed by this building hundreds of times. It turns out that large Victorian homes are tucked away in a busy intersection. This was one of the blessings of Shabbat.

The second blessing arrived moments after the first one. Once a parking spot was foun, I finally was able to enjoy the art. Now, art shows are almost as much about the social aspect as the art. It’s about running into old friends, making new ones, and meeting the artist. It is a type of atmosphere that you have to experience and words cannot explain. In the midst of all of the people I ran into a dear friend that God has given me. This lady is very special to me. This was only the third time that we have seen each other ever but yet I am very blessed. She told about what God is doing in her life amongst other things. I secretly hoped to be a little introverted that night. This was definitely God re-routing my evening, but it was 100% worth it.

In a day the Lord will always be sure the sun rises and the sun sets, however, when He sees fit, He throws in hail storms, warmth, wind, spring storms, and snow storms, but it is your own atitude that decides if you dance in the rain. Embrace every moment.

If my family hadn’t been desperately looking for a parking spot, we wouldn’t have found  the beautiful houses. I was extremely fortunate that these detours were good ones; however, life doesn’t always play out that way. As I live in this life that’s full of blessings, some of which I can see now and some that I don’t understand, yet I learn it always works out best to be open to directional  changes because you never know where He will lead you until you actually move forward in that way.

Blessings,
~Lama Leah

sTeReOtYpEs

Do you ever notice that notice that who look like each other are often friends with each other? No matter where you go Aclose friends will often times have similar occupation, world views, social class, and maybe even dress like each other.

I understand why people do this. We find comfort in spending time with others who are just like us. We relate to each other. This is great. I don’t have many close friends but those friends that I do have act just like me. As much as I love spending time with others who have similar views on things as religion, ethics, and politics, I can’t do that all the time.

In my journey of self educating myself, I have noticed some pattern`s between people who always had the same friends who were just like them. The danger that lies in having friends that are not diversified  that too often occurs called stereotypes.

STEREOTYPES ARE DANGEROUS! Often times stereotypes are far different then what they appear to be. One example, out of many examples that I have of how a stereotype was rebuked for me, was when I was very young. Now my parents sheltered me to a degree. They didn’t shelter me as in trying to not expose me to the “evils of the world” but they sheltered me by not always telling me what the typical stereotype of how the world sees certain groups of people. When I was very young, I was lucky to serve others who had disbilities. Through that I quickly learned that those with disabilities are not any less of a person because their body works differently than mine. By having the opportunity to serve those different than me it really has changed my perception on stereotypes.

I argue that if you don’t expose yourself to those in different cultures you will have more biases towards others. Building relationships with the weird, lost, broken, and different will give you a  deeper love for others. In the book of Matthew it says that the greatest commandment of all is to love the Lord and the second is to love others. If you are doing well with the first one, you most certainly will be succeeding at the second one. God doesn’t put limits on who to love. He just says to love others. By building relationships and serving everyone, you will be following exactly what His law says.

You may be thinking “this is great, but how do I find diversified people?” The answer to this is easy — just look around! Become involved in your community and get to know others. Go to coffee shops and at about any coffee shop there’s going to be a cork board advertising different cultural events in your community, read the newspaper and be on the look out for upcoming events and classes, volunteer at places you wouldn’t normally go, ask everyone what their stories are, and anywhere you are ask questions.

If done in a biblical way, the Kingdom will be expanded and you will become a more well rounded person. Don’t think of new friends by labeling them as the world labels them. Think of them as being a child of God whom you can minister to, and most importantly be a light to others in a world of utter darkness.

Be the Change You Want to See In the World

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Gandhi

This quote means more than words can express. This entire blog is based off of this concept. My entire life I have witnessed, learned, and experienced things about the world othat I would love to change.

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you most likely have picked up that I am passionate about a wide variety of topics and subject matters. I have a tender heart and so sometimes things bother me that would not particularly bother others.

One thing that bothers me immensely are misconceptions of the messianic po. Christians can be cruel in their words and sometimes actions to Gentile messianic but paticularly the Jewish ones. I have gotten to experience first hand what the these are when my parents put me in a Christian school.

When I started attending this school I was the very first person that most other students and staff HAD met that has any knowledge of the Jewish/Messianic faith. When someone meets a minority it is easy to single them out/unknowingly bully them because they don’t know how to respond to someone of a different culture than they are use to. Some incidents that have happened I have not been sure if it was intentional or unintentional because my culture is completely different than the ones I’ve been around at school  (although this year another Jewish student came so that makes two in the school).

In hopes of changing misconceptions of the messianic faith, I have started to become more vocal about my faith over the years at my school. I answer questions my peers have and try my best to explain the differences between my faith and their faith. I am constantly inviting others to my Synagogue  (although only few have taken me up on my other) and I often write about messianic misconceptions on Lamaleah blog.

In my own school I am sneaky about witnessing to the staff. My mother and I are a team in this. My mom is extremely talented in the kitchen. She has few recipes that are flops and even when the recipes don’t turn out as intended she still rescues it and tastes amazing. 😊 Well, there are several biblical Jewish holidays and most of them involve traditional delicacies. For  every holiday my mom leaves treats in the teachers lounge. She makes something and I write  about the holiday and creatively display it.

By doing this I am ministering but I am not doing it in ways that will draw others away. Sometimes when you desire to make a change, you have to do it in quiet, peaceful ways.

Gandhi made changes in the world that he wanted to see. However, He had to do it in sutle ways in order to be successful. In my quest to Dubuque myths in the Messianic faith I have learned lots here are a few tips to be successful in making the  change  that YOU want to see in the world.

1) Be kind
This  is mandatory! None will take an aggressive person seriously.

2) Know what you believe and why
If you don’t know why you believe what you believe, how will you change anything?

3) Be open
Be open to discuss things with anyone and listen to differing opinions.

4) Be ready to stand alone
You will lose friends when you stand up for something.

5) Be a strong leader
Lead by setting examples of the change that you want to see.

6) Always love
Love everyone all the time.

7) Don’t settle for anything less than what your goal is.
Be bold and stand up for your beliefs. Ask yourself what you’re willing to risk by achieving your goal and remember the reason why you wanted to make a change in the first place.