The Sounds of the Trumpet

Yom Teruah (the day of trumpets) approaches. This year, it falls on the evening of September 18th and lasts until the evening of September 19th. For me, it signifies 4 things: an awakening, a call to repentance, a mustering of the troops or gathering of the people, and eternity. I am basing the significance on the 4 different trumpet blasts that are traditionally blown on the shofar, the Hebrew “trumpet.”
1. T’ruah: many short, urgent blasts that one could imagine might awaken the dead. I don’t know for sure, but I believe this to be the sound that will rouse us up at the resurrection. Personally, it was near this time a few years ago that I began to “wake up” to God’s everlasting covenant with Israel, and how I played into that covenant. I just felt like something in the back of my head was screaming, wake up! wake up! wake up! Nowadays, I liken this feeling to the one I’m having politically. I feel like we need to wake up to satan’s desperate struggle for power. The things going on around us are blatantly, obviously ludicrous and smack of extreme desperation. The powerful pedophiles in the upper echelons are about to be exposed and deposed, and they’ll stop at nothing to maintain status quo. “And because [lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12).
2. Shevarim: sad, wailing blasts. In a word: repentance. After the resurrection, Israel will look on Him whom they have pierced, and it will be marvelous in their eyes. I believe repentance follows spiritual awakening, just as Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) follows Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) in the calendar that God gave to Israel at Sinai. Many years ago, I needed to turn back to the Father and His ways, following a phase of awakening. But before I could repent, I needed to know the TRUTH. Today, as evil grows ever bolder in the world, those who have awakened to it need to take action. Repent, turn back to the Father and his ways. Turn to Yeshua for salvation, because we have and will fall short. Politically, once people awaken to what’s boiling beneath the surface, they need to make plans to change the situation. We cannot allow the status quo to continue. Satan is a master of using evil politicians in an effort to win his battles. Take the crucifixion, if you need an example. That particular scheme completely backfired on him, and I have faith that this one will too.
3. Tekiah. One long blast. This one symbolizes the mustering of the troops or the gathering of the people. During Armageddon, the troops will be mustered, and all those who hate the Father and His ways will fight against Him and lose. I believe this to be the second death. The one from which there is no return because Yeshua will not be crucified again in the world to come. It also signifies a gathering of the people, and/or the coronation of a king. When Yeshua returns, He will take His place as our King, our Commander in Chief, our Husband. We will dine with Him at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, which I believe is symbolized in the Torah by Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), which follows the last two feasts I mentioned. We know for sure that it symbolized God’s providence for Israel in the wilderness, because it was given to them as a memorial. However, I believe it prophetically pointed to Yeshua, who came and tabernacled among us (John 1:14). I think it also points to the Millennial Reign (Emmanuel – God with us). How this feast relates to the current political climate – I’m not a prophet, so I don’t know, but maybe God is getting ready to call more of the lost tribes to Israel? This is my genuine hope. In the meantime, we rely on the fact that He will never leave us nor forsake us, not even in these trying times.
4. Tekiah gedolah – similar to the tekiah, but the instrumentalist blows the longest sound he possibly can. And that’s the end. It’s victory. It’s eternity. It’s the day without night – the long day. I believe that the 8th Great Day, given in the Torah as the day immediately following the last day of the week-long feast of tabernacles, symbolizes the infinite future. This day may very well be on the horizon. It may very well be coming around the bend. Until that great day, let’s live like we believe it’s coming. Let’s allow our faith in that day to be evidenced by our actions in the here and now. Let’s fight for life, liberty, justice – knowing that even in the shadow of the valley of death, we need fear no evil. Our future is secure in the one who created and maintains us, and seals us until the day of redemption.

Self-Inflicted Slavery, and What I Am Doing About It.

Image by orythys from Pixabay

There is a quote in circulation that is credited to JFK, 7 days before his assassination. I was not able to confirm whether he actually spoke these words, and I’m not trying to say that he did. However, the moment I read them, several issues in my own life immediately came to the surface in my mind. I have been wanting to discuss a few of those issues with you all. Here’s the “quote:”

 

There’s a Plot in This Country to Enslave Every Man, Woman, and Child.
Now, just for a moment, imagine that someone in-the-know did speak these words several decades ago. As an exercise, mentally list off three or four things in our current culture that you think may have come about as a result of this “plot.” No, actually stop and think before continuing to read.
This isn’t an exercise in futility, and let me tell you why. The things that sprang to your mind are the things that enslave YOU. Or, at least, they are the things that make you feel like a slave. Quite possibly, they are even things that you exert some control over in your life.
So when I read that quote the other day, I thought: what better way to enslave an entire nation than to make everyone fat, sick, distracted, dull-of-mind, lazy, and dependent on the government? What better way to enslave a nation than to make everyone completely dependent on the tracking devices in their pockets?
Let me tell you a few of the issues that surfaced for me personally:
My addiction to social media and entertainment.
My addiction to excessive sugar, excessive fats, and artificial additives.
My avoidance of saving money, exercising, and learning to plant, harvest, and put food by, etc. because I believe that my life and the world around me will maintain its status quo, and that I won’t ever really NEED to learn any true life skills.
My dependence on the system for survival in general.
These are the things that personally make me feel like a slave. Lately, I have been trying to do better. I’ve been totally failing in the social media department because I am keenly interested in the future of this country and what’s happening to push us toward socialism/communism/fascism or toward democracy.
But, I am doing better in a few of the other areas. Partly because I’m not sure what the future holds. I’m not sure of food supplies. I expect an actual plague in the upcoming months that may shut down our economy and way of life even if the people are willing to stand up to the government. Because of these things I’m learning to plant and grow, and will hopefully pick up the skills to harvest and preserve food later.
As far as my diet goes, I’m doing better in that department too. Here’s why: I expect revolution. I expect to have to pull a trigger to defend my freedoms. I am tired of dulling my mind with sugar and artificial additives. I am tired of weakening my immune system and my body’s physical strength by way of keeping it loaded up with toxins and not providing it with enough life-giving foods. I’ve even been strength training more faithfully because I now have purpose and resolve.
Now, I might be wrong about all of my “predictions,” and I sincerely hope that I am. However, changing these things about myself will at least help me be the most prepared I can possibly be, and none of these things depend on what anyone in power has to say about my personal freedoms. I should start by freeing myself from my own personal slavery, right? And even if we live in a perfect utopia beginning in May or June of 2020, these changes I am making to my life will only enhance my quality of life for the foreseeable future.
This is kind of a personal post, but I felt compelled to share it with you all in case you have been thinking about freeing yourself from some sort of self-inflicted slavery in your own life. And if you’re thinking about changing your diet, allow me to add just one more thing to encourage you:
When I ate clean for 14 months, just before my surgeries and slightly after, I didn’t get sick even once for the next three years, even though I had gone back to my old diet. Even the chemo didn’t make me as sick as it did most people. My mind was the sharpest it had ever been. My sight-reading capacity grew in leaps and bounds, and I got up at 7am every day because I just wasn’t tired any more! The dumbest thing I ever did was go back to eating “normally” after the threat of death had passed. I think that our diets will have more to do with surviving the next wave than anything the government is encouraging us to do at the moment.
Sorry this got long, but I’ve been meaning to get these things off of my mind. Hope it helps someone.

Late to the Party, Tip #1: Bread

Okay, so I have made a few recent “discoveries” lately, for lack of a better word. I’m sure that most of you have these figured out by now, so I feel a little silly sharing them here, but my goal in sharing these is to help other people who are late to the party, so to speak. Even if it makes me look a little dull, lol.

Tip #1. Knead your bread for the recommended time.

I always thought, “10 minutes? No, that can’t be right! Who would stand there and knead for 10 minutes?!?” So, I never did.

My bread-baking always failed, and I never could figure out why. Was my yeast bad, was the water temperature wrong, was the air temp too high or low for rising dough, did I cook it too long or not long enough? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. I just needed to knead. I can’t believe I’m admitting this to you.

The first time I tried it the right way (last week), I succeeded! And I was back in the kitchen 2 days later doing it again, so I must not have minded the kneading process all that much. As a matter of fact, it worked muscles in my arms and abs that I could feel the next day, and that made me pretty happy with myself. If it weren’t for the calories involved, I think I would be baking some once a week! (But if I have bread in the house, I can’t NOT eat it… But wait – does kneading it negate some of those calories???)

ANYWAY, to get through the boredom of such a repetitive action for minutes on end, I borrowed my husband’s headphones and listened to a Matt D’Avella podcast. And guess what? I didn’t get bored after all! Magic!

Instead of uploading a beautiful stock image with you all, I am uploading the actual product of my kneading activities.

Okay, that’s all my pride will allow me to share for one day. But I’ve got more, and some are quite recent! I’ll humiliate myself again some other time. Hope to see you then. I guess…

My Best Tip for Writing Research Papers

This tip is for the actual writing process, which can sometimes be the most overwhelming part. I mean, you’ve checked out all your books, you’ve printed online articles, you’ve taken notes, and you’ve arranged everything into chronological order. You’ve discovered a ton of new things, and it was almost even fun. But now, the dreaded day has arrived. You must actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write the darn thing!

How to begin?

Here’s an activity that will warm you up and teach you how to write your paper without stress. I have all of my research paper students do this in our very first class together. I’ve named it Memory Writing, and I hope you find it useful!

Read a fairly-short, informative article at least three times over the course of one or two days. You can choose an article from a book, a magazine, or the internet. Later, put the article completely away and write about the topic in your own words, based on memory.

If there is a name, date, or some other detail that you can’t remember while writing, just leave a blank space. After you are finished, you can go back and insert facts like names and dates.

Write without stopping and without fretting too much over grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. These things can be corrected once you have something written. Sometimes, just getting started is the hard part, and that’s what this exercise will help you conquer.

Now take your research and apply this technique to it. You’ll find that writing from your head is much easier than writing from notes! You won’t have to worry about the drudgery of changing each note card into your own sentence or rearranging someone else’s words into your own. Just write down what you know, and fill in the blanks later. Happy writing!

A New Era of Health and Happiness

Strangely enough, I have entered an era in my life where my happiness seems directly related to something that I am purchasing on a regular basis. Now we all know that happiness can’t be purchased. But health? Health is largely dependent on the food we eat.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

In the last couple months, I have been using Instacart religiously. I have been waiting for it to come to our area for quite some time now. You see, I had all of these hopes and dreams of what my life would be like – how it would improve – if only I had access to Instacart.

Usually, the fantasy versions of our lives never quite match up with reality. The grass is always greener and all of that. However, I was actually right this time.

Here’s how Instacart has benefited our lives (and no, they aren’t sponsoring me or anything like that – life really has improved, and I’m wanting to share the reasons with you, in case you want to try it out for yourself.)

  1. We are healthier. The minimum order in my area is $35, so I order fresh food two times a week. This is twice the frequency that I used to do my shopping, so we eat a lot more fresh fruits and vegetables. I only order 3 or 4 days worth at any given time, and we make sure to eat it all up before I place another order (or plan the next day’s meals around what’s left). Therefore, I’ve barely thrown any food away since using this service.
  2. We are happier. Health = happiness in a lot of ways. When we eat better, we feel better. Our minds are sharper, we don’t need as much sleep, we don’t have as many sugar cravings (because we’re meeting our nutritional needs), we feel better about ourselves because we aren’t as wasteful as we once were, and we look forward to each and every meal because we aren’t eating out of boxes as often. Oh, and the kitchen usually smells like a restaurant. Happiness! 🙂
  3. We are spending quality time together. It’s been way more fun to cook together lately. There really is something to be said about using fresh ingredients – it just seems…right…somehow – authentic. (I once read that when boxed cakes first came out, they contained powdered eggs, etc. All a person had to do was add water and bake. However, after a while, companies caught onto the fact that people like to be more involved in their food – we want to feel like we are actually responsible for what’s on the table. We want to be able to say, “I baked a cake!” Not, “I added water.”)
  4. We are more adventurous. We’ve been trying a lot of ethnic dishes – at least one or two new ones each week. Turns out, it’s a whole lot easier to rely on someone else to find the more obscure items in a store. I think that’s what had been preventing a lot of experimentation in my kitchen.
  5. We are more productive. I can get my shopping done at 6am, at the very beginning of my day. The Instacart shopper is the one that has to wait for ALDI to open, by which time I’m usually already teaching. Also, I don’t have the excuse of procrastinating until the weather warms up or until I have other things marked off my to-do list. I can shop first and just forget about it until the delivery person shows up at my front door.
  6. We are coming out ahead financially. On the surface, the extra costs of Instacart service (driver tip, price differences, and either delivery fees or yearly membership) seem extravagant. However, I really do believe we are spending less money on food nowadays. Maybe that requires some explanation:
    1. We almost never eat out anymore because I plan out my meals in advance. And because we’re incorporating so many fresh meats and vegetables into our meals, we can’t really skip a meal that I’ve planned without worrying about food going bad. (Last time my parents invited us to dinner, I took what I had been planning to make, and cooked it at their house. We had a feast because they made food too!)
    2. We are also eating our leftovers for lunch the next day, every day. That way, I can have an empty fridge before I begin cooking the next meal. Since we are so careful to do this on a daily basis, almost nothing goes bad.
    3. Since our health is improving, we’ll also see a reduced cost of doctor’s visits and medicine in the future. In fact, we have already had better luck staving off sore throats and the common cold.
    4. And last, but definitely not least – no more impulse purchases. This is the one benefit that I had been looking forward to all along – the one I needed in my life. I had actually hired my sister to shop for me a few times for that reason alone – which worked out until she got too busy. She wasn’t going to see a box of cookies and put them in the cart thinking, “Amy would really want these!” Guess what! My Instacart shoppers don’t do that either! If I wanted to, I could totally plan out my weekly calories in advance too, and have a better chance of sticking with it.

Okay, so that’s just a run-down of the benefits that I’m seeing. Does anyone have anything to add? Have you tried Instacart or Walmart Pickup? What do you think?

Already Breaking My Rule

Okay, even though I said yesterday that I didn’t want to post everything to two different blogs all the time, I’m just too excited about today’s post to keep it in one place.

Our little studio is beginning to offer workshop and classroom space to local teachers and experts. We’re hoping that 2020 will be full of guest speakers, community classes, etc. Well, we already have an engagement planned for January, and I couldn’t be more psyched!

To see what we have planned, check out my blog post at Crescenza Studio. (Hint: it’s a seminar for homeschooling high school and college prep.)

The Direction of this Blog vs My New Website

Hey, everyone! I posted yesterday about my new website. As you can probably tell, I’m super psyched about it, but I wanted to be upfront with you about how that might change things around here.

First of all, I haven’t been posting anywhere regularly (not even Facebook). I’ve just come back from a Facebook purge of sorts, and now I’m all set with new goals, a new outlook, and a new Facebook page to go along with it. (And it’s not even 2020 yet!)

I’d like to start blogging here again, and if the past couple days are any indication, I probably will. This will be my space to post about my beliefs, my life, homeschooling and second-generation homeschooling, and anything else I consider to be generally inspirational. I’ll also keep this blog up-to-date if I upload a new book to Amazon.com. So if you enjoy reading about those kinds of things, stick with me here at WordPress. If there are any other topics you’d like to see here, let me know that as well.

My business website, however, will collect all of my local events (workshops and classes), curricula that I’ve written, thoughts about productivity, writing, mathematics, teaching, brainstorming, and music – all of which are relevant to my business. (I’m a  musician, author, music teacher, language arts & math tutor, and entrepreneur. I also have a small venue that other local teachers can use for workshops and classes.) If you’re interested in reading my methods or thoughts about those kinds of topics, and especially if you’d like to get in on local classes (Franklin County, MO), follow me over at Crescenza Studio.

I’ll most likely talk about some of those things here from time to time, but I don’t want to feel obligated to update this blog every time we have a new event at the studio.

My New Website!

I have been teaching music lessons since 1995, and for the last few years, I’ve been teaching writing classes as well.

For the longest time, I have wanted to give my studio a name, but have never been able to settle on anything that wasn’t already taken.

Last April, I came up with Crescenza Studio! I hope you all don’t think it’s too cheezy. 😉

So it’s the name of a kind of cheese, which is I guess why no other music studio uses the name, but I really love it. In Italian, it simply means “growth.”

Because we teach so many disciplines in our studio, and because it’s so close to the musical term, crescendo, I thought it was perfect!

And I don’t mind that it’s a cheese, because that just means that the other studios out there won’t want the name. So when people search “Crescenza Studio,” they’ll land firmly on our website. 🙂

Click here to see some of the exciting classes and workshops we’ve got planned for 2020!

And this just in: A few moments ago, in the middle of writing this post, I had a conversation with Kim Quon, one of the regional directors for FHE (Families for Home Education). On January 23rd, from 6:30-8:30, Kim is coming to Crescenza Studio to talk about college prep for homeschooled high-schoolers. I’m so excited to have our first guest in Crescenza’s classroom!

Let me know if you can make it!

Productivity Prep: a Form of Procrastination?

We spend a lot of time thinking about being productive. We have lists and notebooks and apps where we keep our goals and ideas. We follow YouTube channels and subscribe to blogs and perform Google searches, all in the hopes of finding that one thing that might inspire us or motivate us to be more productive.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Lately, I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that I’m using all of these things as a form of procrastination, all while tricking myself into believing that every minute of my organization and research is a form of productivity in and of itself. And, if used in moderation, I guess it would be.

However, I think I spend more time preparing to be productive than I do producing anything. If I spend 90% of my time in preparation, but only 10% in creation, am I actually doing myself any favors?

So my goal for the rest of this month is this: instead of binging on productivity podcasts or spending countless hours optimizing Notion, I’m going to resist the urge and pick up something to do instead. God knows, I won’t have to look very far to get started. I’ll just start with an item on an already-existing list, and dive right in.

First stop: Text the 5 people I’d like to have as guest teachers in my studio.

I have three questions for you:

  1. Do you think you spend too much time in the stages leading up to productivity?
  2. What’s first on your list of things to tackle today?
  3. Do you have any tips for keeping your nose to the grindstone?

Wondering about Colossians

I wrote this three years ago, very early on in my discovery of the eternal righteousness of EVERY word of God. I was just looking around my blog, hoping to find a link to this study, when I realized I had never shared it. So here it is, in all it’s underdeveloped beauty. I say beauty because it exhibits more humility than what you will generally find in my posts. Unfortunately, I am usually much more sure of myself. Sorry about that, guys. One thing I AM sure of though is that every Word of God is true forever, so that’s where my confidence comes from and why I seem arrogant sometimes. Anyway, introduction/apology/defense over. Here’s the study:

Colossians 2:16, 17: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

These are the verses that keep surfacing in response to what I have been talking about. I am trying to figure out if they mean what everyone says they mean, or if they mean something else. They obviously mean we shouldn’t judge each other. I am not judging anyone just because I would interpret the laws concerning the feast days differently, but I expect the same in return. If I think I should still be keeping feast days, then I have to do it, even if I’m wrong. It would be a sin to rebel against my own conscience. Also, Paul keeps bringing up the subject of love. Personally, this book convicted me because I have to remember that our journey is not about being right about everything; rather it is about Christ (who is our Head) and His body (who are my brothers and sisters).

Ok, so I just read the book of Colossians, and here’s what I have come up with. I need help with this though, so any input would be appreciated. First of all, I read the whole book without looking to see what anyone else’s opinion may be. However, I have 37 years of bias behind me, and a new direction I am leaning, so I don’t know how much good that actually did me.

Chapter 1

4-6 These are new believers.

9&10 They are still learning.

11 A verse for me. I need to be patient and long-suffering towards those with different beliefs.

26 The mystery. Of prophecies? Of the feast days? Either way, all were and are fulfilled in Christ.

Chapter 2

2 Love each other regardless.

8 Traditions of men – this could NOT be referring to feast days or the Law, which were ordained of God. Also, beware traditions of men.

8-14 There is nothing lacking for our salvation. Jesus Christ has taken care of everything. Don’t believe the traditions which say you must do this or that in order to obtain salvation. Don’t fall into following the ordinances of the Pharisees and Sadducees, because their ordinances were nailed to the cross, and Jesus exposed them for what they really were.

16-17 “Are” not “were.” Are they still a shadow of things to come? What things, specifically? Or is that still a mystery?

16 Not required for salvation. Don’t judge the Gentiles, whether they participate with the Jews in their feast days or not.

19 Keep Christ at the head.

20 Rudiments of the world – again referring to the extra laws of Pharisees and Sadducees? The wording here prevents me from thinking that he is referring to God’s perfect Law. It is not something to be despised, but a blessing. If anyone thinks the law is burdensome, just read Joshua 1:8 or Psalm 119. His Law is life – it is liberty. The ordinances were burdensome and not profitable.

22 Commandments and doctrines of men.

23 They denied themselves pleasures and freedoms because they thought they had to. They worshipped their own will-power over the flesh. “Shew of wisdom” – seeming to be wise. “Neglecting of the body.” “Not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh.” I didn’t understand this part, but I am reading a dual-language Bible, and the Spanish says “Pero no tienen valor alguno contra los apetitos de la carne.” I am taking that to mean that these things (will-power, humility -as referred to here, neglect) do nothing to actually help us overcome the desires of the flesh. In an effort to be concise, I will only post my thoughts, and not copy and paste the actual verses. (Although the verses themselves are far more important than anything I happen to think about them.)

Rant: I figure these new baby Christians, Gentiles, it seems, had probably just heard about the feast days and sabbaths and how they relate to their “new” religion (Christianity). Perhaps they were being told that they had to observe them in order to obtain salvation, or perhaps they were trying to observe them like the Jews and were being ridiculed for it. Maybe the Jews didn’t want to share their heritage with barbarians. Or perhaps the Jews were saying, “You have no inheritance with us unless you do the following things: _____,  ______, ______. Or were these believers perhaps being ostracized by society because they wanted to lay aside their own traditions and follow God’s? I am afraid that will happen to me, but I am speaking up anyway. I didn’t talk about it for the first 6 months or a year because I was afraid, – afraid of being ostracized, but more afraid of leading others astray if I am wrong. However, after having read almost the entire Bible again with this new perspective, I am more persuaded than ever. That doesn’t make me right, and I realize that, but I still feel pretty certain. The whole Bible makes more sense than ever before. Rant over.

Chapter 3

5-9 Mortify evil desires, etc. The law also tells us this. How could it be passed away? Paul is saying, don’t mortify your flesh (as in physically harming yourself), but evil. Not your body, but sin. He calls sin out, so we cannot say that it is impossible to sin, only that our sins are covered. The law still points out sin in our lives. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” I John 3:4.

3:11 Christianity is not a separate religion from that of the believing Jews. He is the fulfillment of their religion. We are saved under the same Christ. He is the head of us all.

3:14 Love each other above all.

Chapter 4

I feel like this whole chapter is speaking expressly to me.

From Rose Publications Bible Overview:

“Jesus Christ is sufficient in all things. No power, philosophy, or practice is effective in forgiving us and redeeming us other than Jesus…It is important to be on guard and aware of false teachings, heresies, and idle promises from other religions and philosophies that claim salvation can be found in something or someone else besides Jesus. Unlike Gnosticism that claims to have ‘hidden knowledge,’ God has revealed in the Scriptures everything we need to know…”