Bring A Little Color Everywhere You Go

“Bring a little color everywhere you go.”

Doesn’t that just sound fun? Well, I (unintentionally) did just that today. About a month ago my friend asked me if I wanted to try a cultural experience. I’m always up for trying new things so I eagerly agreed. My friend took me to a Mennonite German fundraiser. She told me that she’d introduce me to German food. I was excited. This morning when I was selecting a outfit my mindset was to pick something conservative. What I ended up finding was a pair of colorful tie-dye-style high waisted loose pants, a crop top with a cami underneath (you couldn‚Äôt tell it was a crop top because my pants were so high waisted), black sandals, and to complete it a hippie headband. I was proud of myself for finding a modest but yet stylish outfit. I wear outfits simular to this to school and I go to a conservative Christian school so I thought this was socially appropriate.

When my friend came and picked me up she made a little comment, “You may stick out a little.” Oh, I sure did! I forget that when you get out of the city fashion isn’t a big deal anymore. We drove an hour out of town but the social atmosphere changes as if we were in a different country. Suddenly, wearing jeans and a t-shirt was fashionably acceptable. One of my first thoughts was a line from the theme song from the television show, “The Nanny.” The line goes, “She’s the lady in red when everyone else is wearing tan.” But my song would’ve gone, “She’s the lady in a hippie headband when everyone else is wearing sneakers” or something like that, but, of course, it would rhyme. ūüėČ

Although I was overdressed I didn’t feel out of place. I dressed in my own style even though I got a few funny looks. I wouldn’t have changed my clothes even if I had the chance. Ironically, the verse of the day on my Bible app was Romans 12:2; this verse states the following:

“In other words, do not let yourself be conformed to the standards of ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will agree that what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.”

Don’t let others preferences change who you are or make you be uncomfortable.

Don’t be conformed.
Stand out.
And leave color everywhere you go.

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!

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. ūüėČ 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?

Two Full Days, Four Powerful Lessons

Happy Saturday lamaleahblog readers, I hope you are all having a fantastic weekend. On Wednesday I went on a small road to visit my big sister and came back today. I learned several things while on this adventure and this week I’m going to share with you some of the things that I have learned.

1) It’s okay to relax.
It sounds simple but it’s harder than some think. I have been under a lot of stress and it’s been hard to relax. However I realized it is actually okay to relax.

2) When you don’t have the the right supplies, be creative!
On my first full day there, my sister left with instructions for me to make homemade applesauce. If you have never made applesauce before, you need something to smash the apples with. However, I had one little problem, they didn’t have anything to do this with. By the time it was time for the apples to be mashed the two other girls who live there came home. Both of them wanted to help and had ideas as to how to get the job done. Some ideas where using a whisk or even a hand mixer. However, with team work and creativity we were able to get the job accomplished.

3) Sharing about truly difficult journeys bring emotional healing in the long run. Yesterday my sister left with the instructions of, “Get out of the apartment today!” I personally desired to stay in and watch Netflix. I decided to at least search for something to do. Well, I had forgotten that a Starbucks was near by. I hadn’t eaten lunch so I set out by foot in search for some food and caffeine without any particular plan, but I knew the general area that I was headed. After stopping at a few stores, I decided to go to a favorite local cafe. The last time I was in there it was a hard night. That visit to the beloved cafe, I shared with someone pain that I had been keeping inside for many years. I was crying and was unintentionally making a small scene. It was hard because I’m not one to really share my personal feelings with anyone. This visit was much more delightful. I was alone this visit and brought my poetry journal and reflected how much I have actually healed since the last time going in there. I had come to the realization that, that particular evening I emotionally healed more than I had in the years that I had kept that chapter of my book to myself.

4) Your dog will always welcome you home. I am very close to my two dogs. I was ready to come home. By the time I got home I was tired and little was on my mind. I was home for almost ten minutes before realizing that my furry babies had not said “Hello” to me. I asked my parents where they were and they told me that the dogs were running around in the backyard. I went back there to tell them that I was home again. My sweet Pomeranian ran to me and tried to jump into my arms; this was a special moment for me. This reminded me how special it is when God greets a lost Christian coming back home to Him. Just the way my dog does, He misses us and is patiently waiting for you to come home.

Everyone turns away from God at some point, however, it’s the uniqueness of when you come to Him when He Ftruly welcomes you back home.

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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?

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. ūüėä 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.

Until Everything is Complete

Dayenu! Mazel tov! Latkes! Any of those words sounds familiar? Well, most of the words previously mentioned are common words to know? even if you have not been exposed to the Jewish culture.

Because of my location that I have grown up in, few people outside my synagogue know that ethnic Jews and Gentiles believing in a Jewish Jesus live in my area. I sometimes think that there’s little knowledge of the small little Jewish communities that exist in my area of the country.

When I try to begin explaining my religious beliefs to many/most Christians a typical response is, “Jews cannot be Christians” or “That’s not biblical; Jesus abolished the law so it does no good to follow it.” Something such as that will/has been said.

For some reason the only holiday I can convince skeptics about Messianic Judaism is Passover. Dozens of people who claim the name of Christ, say that Passover is a holiday to at least go to a service because Jesus celebrated it. This does not make one bit of sense to me because even though in America Jesus is pictured as having blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, he IS Jewish, not Norwegian, as Americans tend to portray him. As a Jew, he would have celebrated all of the biblical holidays as a part of the culture. I don’t know about you, but anything that Yeshua did, I want to do, too. Isn’t that enough? As much as I want to write about reasons to observe Jewish holidays this isn’t this weeks topic.

Too often when I invite someone to a holiday or a regular Shabbat service I get a response of, “I went to one of those services one time. I don’t need to go again; I’ve already experienced it.” Or “My Church {Insert denomination} did a Passover Seder once, I’m an expert. I don’t want to go: I already know everything.” These comments deeply bother me because those who say things similar to this when I invite them to synagogue it becomes obvious that they don’t want to expand their knowledge of Christ because He was Jewish. Then culture that one grows up plays a huge role in their worldview and how they view life.

How weird would it be if you celebrated your birthday just one time? Do you set up a Christmas tree just one time in your life? Do you attend church one time after being saved and call yourself connected with the beliefs and people in the church? No, mostly likely you observe these things yearly or weekly. If you celebrate holidays such as Halloween,  making and distributing Valentine’s cards, and other non-biblical holidays, how do you justify these holidays over God’s appointed ones?

The Bible commands us to observe the Jewish holidays until the end of time on this earth untill everything that God said will be done, is done. Not once in your lifetime but every appropriate time according to the moons. Did you just skip over that in your Bible study? Or did you simply interpret this as this portion only being for the Jewish people? Make sure to read Romans 11 about that. ūüôā

I challenge you to take Old Testament holidays equally as serious as the New Testament.

Shalom Y’all!

Go Ahead and Call Me an Angry Feminist

I gladly call myself a feminist. To many the word feminist is almost a cuss word. After realizing that I am a feminist, my (former) friends first response was, “Feminist are annoying.” Honestly I had no idea how to respond to this comment. She went on to explain how if women were truly equal, men would not be “socially obligated” to do things such as opening doors or paying for dates.

Before you make any assumptions about me, I am a conservative feminist; I am not an advocate for abortion (although I have mixed views on it), I am not a man hater, I don’t argue that women are always physically stronger then men, I am not an agressive person about my options, and I know that I am not going to change anyone’s opinion about this topic who is already set in thier opinions, I just ask that you keep an open mind while reading what I have to say.

I think the word  appalled would be appropriate when I started to really learn how girls are treated differently then boys. I was in a new friendship with a male and was in a vulnerable frame of mind and was searching for companionship in the form of a friend. Well, this so called friendship did not go as I would have liked because he became angry with me. He wanted to do some things that I was not comfortable with and I let him know that I would not participate in those activities. Before I knew it he was saying things to me that were not G-d honoring. I told him to talk to me like a lady and he told me he didn’t have to do that. Then he is started dropping the f-word repeatedly and calling me a b**** because he didn’t get his way.

 At this point I knew that the friendship was over, but I wasn’t going to walk away after being spoken to in this manner. I told him to respect me and he told me that he doesn’t have to do that because I am a girl. That makes sense, right? Basically because I have different body parts I don’t have to be respected. What does it really matter? We are both human; we both have legs arms, eyes, and ears and so what makes one susceptible to harassment and one isn’t? It is kind of like saying one skin color has the right to bully another based off of something they cannot control.

The media portrays women as sex objects and these boys are learning patterns as to how to treat the other gender. Is it a horrible thought that ladies are more then physical beauty but are also intellectual beings? 

I am a feminist, but I know that there wouldn’t be a need to be one if our views of each other hadn’t become corrupted. If both genders genuinely respected each other in godly ways. G-d created men and women to be different but we set man made limitations on each gender. In the Christian culture, we label men and women and put limitations as to characteristics in each gender. Men are not suppose to show emotions and are to be physically and emotional strong leaders; women are suppose to be physically beautiful, good cooks, and a soccer mom. While there’s nothing wrong, per se, to have these characteristics the Bible does not explicitly say that two genders are suppose to have these in particular.

I am for women rights and for women to be portrayed for more then just a sex object. You call that being an angry feminist, I will take that as a compliment.