Sunday, June 29, 2014

On Heart Surgery

This is going to be quite a week for us. Once again, we are headed to the hospital with Daniel for a procedure.

Daniel was born with a number of disorders. He had surgery on his esophagus immediately after birth, lived in NBSCU (NewBorn Special Care Unit) for 5 weeks, and had open heart surgery at the age of three months. After his heart surgery, the cardiologists told us that eventually, maybe when he was as old as 5, maybe older, he would need future surgery.

So the future is here. Daniel needs surgery this summer to replace his valve.

The heart condition he was born with is called Tetralogy of Fallot. Cincinnati Children's Hospital has a nice explanation of the heart defect here.

Yale New Haven children's hospital has an incredible pediatric cardiology department. They have actually been on the cutting edge of new ideas and procedures. Instead of replacing the valve with open heart surgery, the doctors are reasonably certain it can be done via catheter. The valve is called a melody valve, click here for more info. There's a really nice animation which is essentially the explanation the doctor gave me during the pre-op appointment.

Recovery should be super quick. One night overnight in the hospital, then only a week or so of recovery. Open heart surgery generally would require a week or so in the hospital, and longer recovery.

Prayers are welcome. Prayer has kept Daniel through all his medical struggles since birth. Thanks for reading. I'll try to keep things up to date as the week goes by. Our appointment is for early morning July 3. Daniel should be home July 4. Then, he'll have the summer to be a kid.

May it be so!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Real Life Shabbat - Picnic on the Green

What constitutes a perfect Shabbat? 

There are many opinions as to what elements are important for an Erev Shabbat dinner. Different forms of Judaism call for different levels of ritual and routine for the dinner. Having a set table, complete with candle-lighting and prayers is beautiful, and is my goal for a normal week. Some Friday nights call for something a little different, and I'm not opposed to messing with routine a smidgen.

Last Friday, we took our Shabbat dinner and picnicked. There have been dinnertime concerts on our Green all week, and we love sitting outside, eating, and listening to good music.

What was in my dinner bag? 

  • Fresh challah that I cut before bringing. It was still warm.
  • Pieces of butter that I'd frozen in an ice cube tray. I put them in a thermos to keep cool. They were still frozen when we tried using them!!
  • Baked sweet potatoes (my 8-year old daughter ate 3!)
  • Tomato/cucumber salad
  • Bucket of Fried Chicken from KFC. 
I used paper plates and plastic silverware. We thanked God for our food, and enjoyed the evening.

What makes the perfect Shabbat evening? Rest. And a Picnic Shabbat dinner can certainly be restful and peaceful!

Shabbat Shalom, friends!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Shema - a Guide to Teach our Children

I'm writing over at the Messianic Times today. 

I watch my five year old and my husband. My husband is getting ready for work, and my little one is miming every action his father does. Dishes in the dishwasher, lunchbox out, brush teeth, tie shoes, Rueben is doing it three steps behind. As irritating as it can be when you step on your child because he is underfoot, imitation is one of the most powerful forms of learning. Children learn a great deal by watching and copying. When we do something over and over again, we create muscle memory. Then the muscle memory kicks in, and the action happens automatically, without actively thinking about it.

Read the rest here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Real life shabbat: If You Want to do it the Easy Way

I wrote this in around 2006 when I had a 2-year old and a newborn. Have you ever seen The Fresh Beat Band? My kids loved watching this show. To solve a problem, Twist would always concoct some crazy scheme to make things happen, often involving something flying or rolling. Then, one of the other kids would state the obvious solution, and Twist says, "If you want to do it the easy way!" 

That's how I feel about Erev Shabbat dinner. All too often, we concoct solutions to make things perfect, but it detracts from what is important. Look for the obvious, simplified solutions..."If you want to do it the easy way!"

I have to say that I totally understand the trials of getting  Shabbat on the table on a consistant basis. For my family, Shabbat started happening consistantly after Daniel was born. But I don't think it was so much of having a child, but rather where I was in my walk.

There are a couple of important things that I started to remember that helped me start begin consistant with Erev Shabbat. Think: Baby Steps!

1. It does not have to be perfect. The point of an Erev Shabbat dinner is to remember and observe, not to be perfect. Our children will remember the candles and the family...what they're eating won't matter so much.

2. Plan, plan, plan. Throw something simple into the crock-pot for dinner. Make a meal on Thursday night to reheat. Cut up all of the veggies on Wednesday or Thursday. Buy your challah...or better yet, just get rolls.

When I first was determined to celebrate Erev Shabbat consistantly, I gave myself allowances: I didn't have to have chicken soup, homemade challah, and a 3 course meal. I just had to have dinner, bread, grape juice, and candles. I'm sure there was at least one week that I've made boxed maccaroni and cheese (yeah...nutrition's 
worst nightmare) with rolls from the bakery at the grocery store and frozen veggies. But we had a Shabbat dinner, and I know that the purpose was met.

Now, 2-1/2 years later, there are still days that the dinner is unplanned, but I find it easier to get to making the homemade challah in the bread machine...even on those challenging days. Daniel knows what time it is when I get the candle sticks out. In fact, I can't get them out too far in advance, or he'll sit in his chair at the table waiting for Shabbat to start. Maybe in a few months, he'll want to help me make the challah. I don't know. But I know that I'm building memories for my children. We're also setting the stage for moments our children can learn about Torah, HaShem, and Y'shua. If they are comfortable talking to us at the age of 2, and things are consistent, they will know that we're here when they are saying the blessings for us as they approach their Bar Mitzvah.

The first step to being consistant in celebrating Erev Shabbat is your desire to do so. The next step is to strip things to the bare bones. We have little what you can do. Keep it simple: candles, grape juice (ok, or wine), Challah, and Dinner. The rest will come.

Let me challenge you to start thinking about Shabbat today. When you do your shopping, plan a simple and quick meal,(who wouldn't like burgers on the grill?) and pick up a challah and rolls. Set the table, and light the candles. I've taken to putting out a tablecloth. The first night I did that, my husband had taken off his shoes before dinner, came in, and went to put his shoes back on. The extra minute I took to put the cloth on the table set the tone for a special evening.

Shabbat Shalom, Friends!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Real Life Shabbat

Many years ago, when my oldest was two and I had a newborn, I attempted to create a network of Messianic Mothers. I put it on Yahoo groups, and garnered a small -tiny- following. I called it, "Messi-Moms". I wanted so badly to have a fellowship of other young, Messianic Jewish women. My Messianic Synagogue is small - less that 100 people on any given Shabbat. Only a few of the them were mothers. I was starving for others walking a similar walk of faith in a similar life stage. With a newborn and a 2-year old with medical needs, I quickly lost track of my writing, and let the Yahoo group dwindle.

I still wish to connect with other Messianic Jewish women. It can be hard, and somewhat isolating, to live a Messianic Jewish life. Those who understand Jewish practice generally don't understand faith in Yeshua. Those who understand our faith in Yeshua don't generally understand Jewish practice. I understand a need to have a broad friendship base, but it is really comforting to fellowship with others when you share common struggles.

Having said all this, I'm starting a series called Real Life Shabbat. I suspect we all have ideals on what our Shabbats should look like. I know I do. Then, when we examine reality we wonder why it doesn't quite look like our ideals.

So as we enter into Shabbat this evening, embrace the real life that is and turn your hearts to God.

Shabbat Shalom!