Blog Award? What??

Wow – I was nominated by Dinah at The Traveling Classroom for something called the Liebster Award! Thanks, Dinah! (I had a lot of fun looking at her tales and pictures from homeschooling in Central America. Talk about the beautiful handiwork of our Creator!)
So, I’ll go with this, and those of you looking for deep thoughts might want to skip this one. Feels a little like a Facebook game. . .
The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs.
So, the rules of this award are:
You must post 11 random things about yourself.
Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post. No tag back, but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!
1. How long have you been teaching?
As an oldest sister, I guess since I was three . . . I always tell my children that it’s their job to teach their younger siblings how to play. One of the first necessary lessons is to enjoy this gift of life!
2. Do you have a TpT or Teacher’s Notebook Store?
3. What is your hobby if you have one?
4. What grade level do you teach or have taught?
All, from baby to adult. Just different lessons!
5. Favorite Season?
Fall – the mist in the meadow, the colorful leaves, the awesome holy days, digging in to a new learning season with my kiddos, and cuddling by the fireplace!
6. Favorite Food?
Oh, that would have to be B’Stilla, an amazing Moroccan chicken pie with cinnamon and eggs and powdered sugar. There is scrunched phyllo dough on top of the one I make (hardly ever, as it’s quite a project). My son saw me putting the uncooked pie it in the oven once, and asked, “What’s that? Buttered toilet paper?”
7. Favorite Christmas song? Can I say Handel’s Messiah Oratorio? But I don’t play it for Christmas. I play it because it’s full of Isaiah’s restoration prophecies!
(Time out for a pet peeve: I heard when I was in Israel recently that the Messiah was performed a few years ago in Hebrew for the first time, at King of Kings in Jerusalem. So when I got home, I googled it, and most of the links were to the Hallelujah Chorus! Hell-OOOO!! The only word in the Hallelujah Chorus is “Hallelujah!” And that’s ALREADY in Hebrew! How is that different? And the articles referencing it talked about how it has now been “translated” to Hebrew? All the lyrics are scriptures that would just need to be looked up in a Hebrew Bible, and set to the music. No translating necessary. Still, Kudos to the folks at King of Kings for doing the necessary work. I’m sure it was quite a project. Just had some disconnects in how it was reported. OK, off my soapbox, on with the questions! πŸ™‚
8. Favorite subject to teach?
Hebrew – just so I can have someone to practice with!
9. Do you have a Smart board?
Sorry – I have no idea what this is. So no, I don’t.
10. Favorite blog?
Several I will mention below, however, I have really enjoyed How to Be Israeli, lately, and it’s over 200 followers, so I’ll mention it here.
(Oh, dear. I just realized I’m doing the 11 questions that my nominator was supposed to respond to. Oh, well. They stand. How about we count them for the “11 random things about myself”?)
11. Favorite place to go on vacation?
11 blogs I love (in no particular order)
Now – to answer the real questions my nominator asked πŸ™‚
1 How long have you been blogging?
Since April 2011
2 What do you like about blogging?
It’s keeping some record of my crazy random ponderings.
3 What donΒ΄t you like about blogging?
It takes time out from interacting with my beloved family – but not as badly as facebook (see this article for my take on that!)
4 Do you sell things on line? If so what are your links?
No. I tried ebay for awhile, but it was a lot of wheel spinning for not a lot of profit. Again, I’d rather be wholehearted, taking care of my family! However, I am very thankful for those who DO sell online, cuz I buy a lot of stuff that way! πŸ˜‰
5 How do you find balance in your life?
Balance? What’s that? I’m a radical, and I’m OK with that. Actually, I use the Torah as my plumb line, so I’m only radical in the current world’s culture, right?
6 What is your favorite animal?
For hanging around with – my Otterhound/Lab mix, for looking at – peacocks!
7 What kind of art do you like?
Anything my daughters draw! (Cuz it blows me away! They are so much more talented at art than I ever was! Just proves that a parent’s ignorance of a subject will not hinder a talented homeschooled child!)
And colorful, whimsical, or realistic, otherwise. Hardly any modern/abstract stuff.
8 If you could do anything what would you do?
I am doing it, every day! Making a home for my amazing husband, teaching my amazing horde of children, following G-d with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and supporting Israel!
9 Any Words of Advice to new bloggers?
Well, I still consider myself a new blogger – what is this? post #14? Sorry, people – I got nothing!
10 Do you have a favorite blog tutorial?
Umm – yeah – it’s linked on my sidebar. Just can’t remember what it is at the moment.
11 What are your future blog goals?
Well, nothing lofty. Continue to post every once in awhile, I guess. πŸ™‚
11 Questions for my nominees:
1. What books are currently next to your bed?
2. Do you have a regular date night?
3. What was the last thing that made you laugh?
4. What was the last thing that made you nervous?
5. What is a recent challenge you have been inspired to take on? Are you making progress?
6. Favorite dinner?
7. Have you ever visited Israel? If so, what’s the most personally meaningful site you visited?
8. A favorite baby name you haven’t used (yet!), or one you love, but your spouse doesn’t (yes, I know, Dear – you hate the word “spouse”!)?
9. A verse you are meditating on?
10. What measures do you employ to ensure that technology doesn’t take over your life?
11. What’s the most obvious blessing you’ve received in the last week?
Gotta run to a birthday party!!

Oh, and I would also like to invite readers to feel free to answer any or all of the questions, too! I’d love to hear from you! Which question made you think or just smile?


Lessons from Barefooting in the Vineyards of Israel

My bare foot – Resting on the Solid Rock, in the Land of Israel


I know – It’s been an extended absence, but how worth it! My family and I recently returned from an amazing experience, helping harvest the vineyards in the mountains of Israel. (See Isaiah 61:5, Jeremiah 31:5 – Our G-d keeps His covenants!)

How beautiful upon the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who proclaims peace,
Who brings glad tidings of good things,
Who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion,
β€œYour God reigns!” – Isaiah 52:7

Several months before our departure, I started hearing “prompting” to go barefoot over there. Though I had been to Israel before, I hadn’t been to the vineyards, and those I asked about the barefoot possibilities were pretty skeptical. “Lots of thorns!” they said. But I kept noticing things about feet in the Scriptures. The main reasons we found there were:

1. Holy Ground – We consider the entire Land of Israel to be holy ground, and following Moses’ example seemed appropriate.

Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. – Exodus 3:5

2. It speaks of humility, since we were coming as servants, and not as conquerors. Historically, foreigners who came to the land shod were desiring to conquer and subdue the Jewish people. Our desire was to come as servants to assist them in their own efforts to reclaim the land.

Now I say that Yeshua the Messiah has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers – Romans 15:8

3. It seems to be part of the process of claiming the land, scripturally, to tread with the soles of your feet, particularly.

Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours – Deut. 11:24

Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.- Joshua 1:3

Then my daughter found an article in Answers magazine about the health benefits of barefooting. (Click here for the article: The Barefoot Professor.) That led us to some sites on barefooting, and were amazed to find quite a subculture of barefoot enthusiasts. Notably one article, The Barefoot Path in the Western Contemplative Tradition, resonated with us. This is an article on bare feet in history, tradition and symbolism in Judaism and Christianity, including very interesting discussions. If you don’t have time to get into it, the bare bones is here:
Thus going barefoot in the religious tradition of the west is serious symbolic business, representing by turns:

  1. A sign of proximity to holy ground
  2. A token of humility, mortification, or penance
  3. A prophetic “sign to the Nations”
  4. Obedience to Jesus’ advice to ministers
  5. Unstinting reliance on Providence
  6. Identification with the poor
  7. Experiencing the holiness of the redeemed earth.

I will argue that the seventh representation, walking in unity with the redeemed earth, is the symbolic center of the barefoot path in the contemplative tradition.

We started looking more seriously, and taking practical steps by removing our shoes for the summer, nearly everywhere we went. We wanted to toughen our feet for the potential thorns, and be ready to obey what we were hearing. We cleared the plan with our group’s coordinators – and prayed.

When we arrived at our vineyard workers’ base camp, we were amazed by the sheer number and variety of the thorns! Let the lessons begin!!

vineyard hand

My hand, after a few hours’ work in the vineyard. Just so you know I wasn’t watching my feet the WHOLE time!

1. Hazards are many – thorns, glass, ants, etc. – but they only inflict temporary damage. Fear of them is not a reason to quit! They are only temporary distractions. You learn to step lightly, and pick them right out. They also puncture less easily, when you have callouses built up.

2. The path of obedience doesn’t promise to be easy. The instruction to “possess the land by treading with the soles of your feet” doesn’t exclude thorns and difficulty.

3. Watch the road ahead. Plan every step carefully.

3. Stick to the path that has been laid out for you.

4. It only works in the light. Darkness hides the thorns, so you can’t avoid them.

5. Sometimes, when you are busy watching your feet, you get smacked in the head by a tree branch.

6. A large part of redeeming this land from its previous curse is removing thorns and thistles, products of both the original curse on the earth – the price of disobedience in the Garden (Genesis 3:18), and also the curse that came on this Land when its inhabitants were spewed out for disobedience to G-d’s laws (Isaiah 5:6, 7:23-25). Seeing the obvious fulfillment of the previous curse only highlights the truth of the promised restoration that is beginning before our eyes!

7. The safest, most sure footing is only found on the Solid Rock!

Maybe these seem obvious, but it’s always fun, to me, to see how G-d’s truth pervades His natural world.

For the record, I didn’t manage to go barefoot the entire time, but I obediently did SOME in each location we visited, which included Jerusalem, Shiloh, and Hebron, in addition to the vineyards. Per the above lessons, there were things I wanted to look at in the Land, besides my feet!

Here are just a few examples:

Sunrise at Elon Moreh

A fun morning’s work ahead!

Grapes with morning dew!

There’s so much more I could share, but it’s bedtime!

P.S. Credit where credit is due – these last three shots were all taken by my 11 year-old son. πŸ™‚