What is my blog about? It's about Torah family living. It's about letting Torah affect our daily lives, from mealtime to bedtime, homeschooling to farm chores.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

An encouraging word

Sometimes we just don't feel like ourselves. We are tired, frustrated, dissatisfied, and perhaps just a tad bit cranky. We feel as if we will never be that person that gets things done, reads to their children every day, shows patience when the heat lamp for the chicks gets mysteriously unplugged, and manages to keep a neat and orderly home. We find ourselves surrounded by chaos, barely treading water only to remember that we can't swim. We don't know what to do, but we know we can't go on like this. We feel guilty for yelling which seems to only induce more yelling. So you might have guessed that I have felt a little like this lately. I have prayed and asked for help, and I was led to a blog I had never seen before, and clicked a link to one of their posts in the sidebar. It spoke to my soul and I want to follow the advice given. I am anxious to see YHVH work and help me out of this slump I found myself in. Please read this post if you ever find yourself feeling a bit off. There is great wisdom in the words shared.
HsKubes Haven at Home: In times of discouragement

Friday, May 27, 2011

Torah Family E-magazine Issue #1

I am so excited to announce the arrival of the first issue of Torah Family E-magazine! Thank you to all those who contributed to help make this issue possible. Be sure to download your copy today. If you do download this issue, please take the time to leave a comment, to give us an idea of readership.

Download Issue #1 here

You will also be able to download it at any time on the Torah Family E-magazine page.

Two words

Green grass

Happy 9th Birthday!

Two weeks

Fluffy chicks
 Cheap gas

Long driveway

Little scarecrows

Happy 4th Birthday!

Hippy Hair

Hi Daddy!

Shabbat Shalom to everyone.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20, 2000

Eleven years ago today, I married my best friend.
The journey has had many rocks, cliffs, valleys, and meadows.
I'm so thankful we are best friends, to go through life together.

Our relationship is a crazy, lovely, beautiful one.
He picks on me, but never offends.
He tells me all about the cashiers that flirt with him even with him flashing a wedding ring.
He encourages me to try new things.
He still finds me attractive and likes to hold my hand.
He loves my cooking.
He likes the way I dress.
He knows I prefer the wildflowers.
He tells me all his secrets.
He is king of his castle and I am his queen.
He gets all upset, and then I distract him and he bursts into laughter.
He asks my permission about everything, and I him.
He gives really good hugs.
He fights with light sabers with the kids.
He tries to keep Torah the best he can.
He loves Israel with a passion.
He brags about me to his friends.

He loves me.
And I love him.

We don't always like each other, but the covenant we made with each other is not going anywhere. I tell him he is stuck with me. :)

This is one of our first kisses. The first one was at the altar.
Today he gave me a wonderful gift. When we were courting and engaged, we did not touch. So Doug gave me Hershey's kisses and hugs every time he saw me. When we got married, he stopped because he could have the real thing. :) Today he gave me a bag of Hershey's kisses, and it took me right back to those happy days of learning about my best friend. He is so much more to me now.

 Douglas and Heidi
May 20, 2000
2:00 pm

So, Happy Anniversary to my dear sweet crazy nut!
I love you, idiosyncrasies and all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sourdough Adventures

This is my bowl of sourdough starter. My timing was impeccable, as I started this about a day before Noah was born. Consequently it got a difficult start, and wasn't rising as it should. I added some rye flour, and the thing just exploded! This morning we enjoyed sourdough pancakes. I poured the batter in a cast iron frying pan and baked it for 15 minutes. Delicious! Note to self: make a double batch next time.

This evening we enjoyed a sourdough spice cake. If this is sourdough, count me in!

I have messed with sourdough before, but sourdough bread doesn't excite me, and sourdough biscuits only seem to fit in a Sukkah setting. So when I found the ebook about sourdough at culturesforhealth.com, I was pleasantly surprised. They have recipes for everything from tortillas to cookies, along with bread, of course. Check out the link in the sidebar, and discover all kinds of wonderful things. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fresh air project

It was nice to get outside today. Noah and I enjoyed some fresh air while we supervised the building of this:

This is our very first square foot garden and we are very excited. I do not have a green thumb or a green toe, but I hope that this year's garden will give us a positive experience. After all, I have a dehydrator that really likes to be used. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An incredible day

I would love to do another post on previous birth experiences, so you would completely understand how incredible this birth was. But I like to keep my blog a relatively positive place, so I'll keep it brief. I have had many false alarms, lasting days at a time, 2 c-sections, 3 transfers to the hospital, pushing lasting 3-4 hours, and the list goes on. But this time it was different.

We prayed long and hard about this delivery. We talked about my previous hangups and uncanny ability to stop labor. I printed verses and hung them on the wall by the tub. I talked to Noah and asked him to help me know what to do during labor to help him get out. I searched my heart and repented and forgave so I would be a clean vessel.

One day, I was visualizing pushing Noah out and putting him up on my belly. (I don't remember any of my other babies being put on my belly.) YHVH asked me, "Is that what you want?" "Yes, it is," I answered. "Then that is my gift to you." He showed me that all those hard births and rocky roads were needed to make me what I am. I used to be the ninety pound weakling, as my dad teases me. I was weak in many other areas, too. But Israel overcomes, and I needed to be molded into what He wants.

So as I got near to D-day, as it were, I had an incredible sense of peace. YHVH had personally given me a promise, and I thanked Him for it. I knew that everything would be okay. I had specifically asked to know when to call. I wanted to know it was real labor. On Monday, I started having contractions, but they were too sporadic, so I waited. I felt like Mary, who pondered in her heart. I kept things to myself prayerfully, thankful for YHVH's confirmations and answers. On Tuesday, I went to my midwife appointment. I am so thankful for her. I was able to share with her my fears and frustrations. She knew my fear of false alarms. She understood my desire to call the shots and not be told how to handle everything.

Wednesday, the contractions returned around dinnertime. This time I was really wondering. Doug went to work as usual, and we had complete peace about that decision. By seven, I decided to start writing down times between contractions. The kids and I watched a movie together and they asked to camp out in the living room. By ten, while talking to Doug on the phone, I knew it was time to call. My dear mother was ready to come, but I told her to go ahead and get some sleep. I would call when I needed her. My midwife started out, with a long drive ahead of her. I started collecting last minute things like the camera to take upstairs where the big tub is. By this time I was leaning against the wall, praying through each contraction. "Help me to work with my body and not get in the way. Help me to be strong." I felt YHVH's presence each time. At 11:30, I did not want to be alone any longer, so Mom came and helped me get in the tub. What a relief that was! I listened to hebrew lullabies and read the verses I had posted on the wall. (More on those later.) YHVH's promises were surrounding me. I truly felt like I was under the shadow of His wings.

I think Noah truly was helping me, because I strongly felt the need to keep moving around, to truly work with each contraction. I refused to let myself cry, but got very good at moaning. I leaned against the wall, crawled on my hands and knees, lied down on the mattress on the floor. Sometimes I felt like a flopping fish, trying to find the right position. My midwife soon arrived and her approach was amazing. She was often in the other room, but knew exactly what was going on. She timed my contractions by my moans, checked the water temperature, offered me water, but gave me full freedom to do what I needed to do. It was so empowering to be able to listen to YHVH, listen to Noah, listen to my body, and do what I needed to do. I didn't have to work around cords hooked to me, or a hospital gown, or being told to get back in bed. My mom never left my side, but she simply was there. Her presence was very comforting. I remember one particularly strong contraction. I said, "Mom, look at me." She helped me calm down and breathe through the contraction.

The first time my midwife, Laurie, checked me, I was a little nervous. How many times in the past had I been checked and checked, and the numbers never changed. I prayed, "Please let it be at least 4." I was seven! I asked her where he was in regard to the pelvic bone. +1 station! He was already settling in! YHVH is sooo good! I was progressing! I continued my routine of bouncing around like a fish out of water for some time more. It was getting very intense. I was thankful for the little 10-15 minute breaks when I could doze off.

At about 7 am, I found myself very desperate. I felt I could not go on. I asked mom to call Doug, but she couldn't get a hold of him. It was then that Laurie checked me again. "It's time to push!" At this point everything was so painful that I couldn't get off the mattress, so I started pushing right there. My poor Mom wasn't ready for me to start grabbing her legs, her knees, her hands, but she was wonderful. Laurie could feel his head, and let me feel it. I had never felt that before. It was an incredible feeling. My sister soon arrived, and scooted in behind me to hold me up. She would tell me that I was doing good and I could believe her! In the past, I would be told I was doing good, but I just wanted to smack them. How could I be doing good if I had been at it for three hours?

They let me keep touching his head, it was poking out now! "Push through the hurt!" "You're almost done!" And then that terrible moment of the ring of fire, the widest point of his head! I screamed, "Get him out! Get him out!" And then, in a few more pushes, he was out and on my belly. I looked down at my beautiful, pink little boy, and sobbed tears of joy! It was the most wonderful moment! Twenty minutes later, Doug walked in and saw Noah on my belly. All he could do was kiss me and tell me he loved me. He was so happy.

The placenta was a little slow in coming, but Laurie was right on top of it, and handled everything so calmly. Soon everything was cleaned up, and Noah was attempting nursing for the first time.

I tried a few different things this time, and they worked very well.
First, I had only women with me. I love my men (Dad and Doug) but having them elsewhere and just praying for me really worked. Just having women really helped me relax and do whatever I needed to do.
My children stayed at home, and YHVH gave me the night delivery I had prayed for. It was so wonderful to have them come in and meet their brother.
I planned a water birth. He wasn't actually born in the water, but the water was so helpful during labor. Maybe next time, lol.
Having so few people put me in the driver's seat. I had to be strong and brave. I had to do what needed to be done. I had to depend on YHVH for strength. He was faithful to give it.
I surrounded myself with YHVH's promises, and He kept them all. Psalm 20 was particularly helpful.

YHVH does answer you in the day of distress! The Name of the Elohim of Jacob set you on high!
He does send you help from the set-apart place, And does uphold you from Tsiyon!
He does remember all your offerings, And does accept your burnt offering! Selah.
He does give you according to your heart, And fills all your plans!
We sing of Your deliverance, And in the Name of our Elohim we set up a banner! YHVH does fill all your requests!
Now I know that YHVH shall save His Anointed; He answers him from His set-apart heavens With the saving might of His right hand.
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, But we remember the Name of YHVH our Elohim.
They, they have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and are established.
Save, YHVH! Let the Sovereign answer us in the day we call. 

If you are expecting a baby, I would recommend printing these verses off and posting them where you will see them during labor. But laminate them! Mine curled all up from the humidity in the bathroom.
YHVH is so good to His children, and gives far above anything they ask or think. He answered my prayers down to the tiniest details. I know He is there for me, no matter what comes down the pike.
So here's another picture of Noah Ephraim, which means:
Rest, be comforted, and be fruitful.
Sadie is telling him a story about Noah and the ark.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Noah Ephraim

Noah arrived safely at home at 8:47 this morning, May 12.

It was a beautiful birth that went just as planned, however it was quite painful and a lot of work. He wasn't born in the tub, because I couldn't make it back to the bathroom in time, but I only had to push for 45 min. which is very short for me. Doug arrived home shortly after he was born, and he was still on my belly. His older siblings came in right after breakfast to meet him, and they just adore him.

Oh, and he weighed 7 lb 14 oz, 21 in long. Donna, he does have a touch of red in his hair. More later, perhaps after another nap.

Some comments were lost when blogger was down yesterday. I copied and pasted them here.

How how wonderful! I was thinking and praying for you this morning =)
Shema Yisrael, little Noah =)  - Sigalit Chana

He is beautiful Congradulations!- ReneeK

Oh so sweet! Congratulations! :).- faelih

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bulletin board letters

My children found some bulletin board letters from my old Sunday School teaching days. I have them organized in a file box. They were quick to put them to good use making words, etc.

They also had fun with numbers. My set has punctuation, too, so they could have fun making sentences.

Do you have old forgotten items that your children could use? They have wonderful imaginations and are fascinated by old, interesting things that we forgot we had. Way better than toys! And, for your enjoyment, here are some pictures of Elisha with a diaper cover on his head.

Now go have fun enjoying your children!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

As I wait

I am up early this morning. It is getting harder to sleep comfortably, well harder to even move in the bed lol. I find myself in an unexpected position. I am anxious to meet Noah, and wonder often, was that a contraction? But I feel enveloped with great peace that he will come at precisely the right moment. I pray that I will know for certain that I am in real labor. (No more false alarms, please! I have a bad history of that.) I pray that those helping me will not be inconvenienced. I pray that the birth will be peaceful and all present will be at ease and trusting YHVH. And somehow, this time, I know He has heard my prayers. I know He takes care of His own. I thank Him ahead of time for the amazing time that it will be. Will it be today? He knows. Noah knows. But they aren't telling me yet lol.

I came across this birth story this morning. (Thank you, Lusi, for linking to this site.) She put into words my hopes and dreams for my sixth baby also. I hope you are blessed by it. No matter what circumstances come our way, we should have this perspective.

 It is the first story, "Why I chose faith, a homebirth story."

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Priorities - family

In my last post I talked just a little about my relationship with YHVH. It needs to come first, and other priorities can fall into place below it. The next priority in my life is my family. Most people start at the top, with marriage, but just to be different, I'm going to start at the bottom, with babies. Below is an excerpt from a book I was playing around with writing, but will probably never finish. :)

Chapter 1
The value of children
    I know, you wanted to know if I recommend breast or bottle, or if I let my babies cry themselves to sleep. But this is where our journey must begin. I don’t know the circumstances around you becoming a parent. Is it your first child, and you are filled with ideological happiness? You picture your serene baby in your arms as you rock them in your beautifully decorated nursery. You have read the books and have planned your parenting approach. (Been there.)
    Perhaps this is a later baby that seems to be coming way too close to the last one. You feel overwhelmed and scared. You don’t know how to handle three or more kids at the same time. You have been in the trenches before, and aren’t sure you are ready for sleepless nights and crying. (Been there.)
    Perhaps others are judging the timing of this baby, and you wonder if they are right. You seem to barely be able to care for the children you have. You have no right to add another to the zoo. (Been there.)
    Perhaps terrible things have been going on in your life lately and you are almost afraid to enjoy this baby, for fear something terrible will happen to him or her. You are paralyzed with worry and fear that something will go wrong, or you will do something wrong. (Been there.)
    Perhaps you are thrilled with another baby, but are definitely aware that there is still much to learn and you need to be equipped to care for this particular baby. (There right now.)
    No matter what situation you find yourself in, there is one answer. This child is a gift. This child is entrusted to your care. No matter the timing, the spacing, the circumstances, this child is precious. This child is valuable. This child is unique. This child is on time. This child needs you, but you are not alone. You were made by the Creator, designed to raise children, even though you are imperfect. Even though you will make mistakes. His plan is for imperfect children to be raised by imperfect parents. Why? I have no idea, but if He planned it, I must assume that it is a good plan. Your baby was also designed by the Creator. He knows what your individual baby needs and He knows how you can best meet those needs.
    Parenting is the season in your life when you are depended upon entirely by another human being. However, you must learn dependence on your Creator. You must become a child, and empty yourself of fears, worries, ideals, dogmas, and plans. Crawl up in your Heavenly Father’s lap and ask Him for help. He knows all about it. He knows you are tired. He knows you have no answers. He knows that the last three baby books you read either brought you to tears, or made you feel so guilty you wanted to cry. Tell Him all about it and let Him help you.
    Now, is it possible to unconditionally love that little cherub that won’t stop screaming? Yes it is. Our example comes from how our Heavenly Father loves us. He puts great value on each person. His instructions for living (Torah) teach us about kindness and unconditional love. We put the other person first. We help them with their burdens. We return their lost items. We respect their property. We feed them even if they are our enemy. We use fairness and justice in all our dealings. We show mercy, particularly to those who cannot help themselves. We take care of the poor and oppressed. We love others as we love ourselves.
    How does this apply to parenting? Picture your baby at the other end of these commands. Do you see how our Creator shows us how to value and love those around us? How can you value your baby? How can you demonstrate unconditional love to them? How can you care for them in a just and fair way?
    I know, I know. You think I am advocating spoiling your baby. But there is a problem with that logic. Our Heavenly Father has never stopped loving us. Sometimes that love must be tough love, but it is only ever demonstrated in a way that is best for us. Our interests are always first in His mind. Each choice we make as parents must take into consideration the best interest of our child, just as our Heavenly Father cares for us.

Have a wonderful Shabbat!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I have been doing some soul searching lately. I am not what I would like to be in some areas of my life. What should I try to change? What matters most? Where should my effort be spent?

I'm sure the most obvious answer is that my relationship with YHVH would come first. But how does that translate into everyday life? If I read my Bible more, does that improve my relationship? What if I spend more time in prayer? What if I have a detailed prayer list? Somehow these answers just aren't ringing true for me. They seem to be a superficial way to measure a relationship, and they seem paved with cliches. "Prayer is like talking to God on the telephone, and you never get a busy signal."

For me, lately, my relationship with YHVH has been visible in different ways. I have spent moments knowing He was speaking to me, and then I acted on it, and had incredible peace. I was able to witness His provision first hand. It has been similar to my relationship with Elisha. We don't have an academic relationship, or even much communication, for that matter. He simply gets up in my lap, sucks on his fingers, and puts his other hand on my neck. He will sit there completely relaxed for quite a while. I have felt that way lately with my Heavenly Father. There doesn't have to be a lot of talking, simply a restful, relaxing peace. Seems fitting that Noah means "rest and comfort."

Canada Goose

We have a "swamp" right behind our pasture, which is actually becoming more of a substantial wetland since the beavers built a dam. We have seen egrets, ducks, geese, and other wildlife. We actually can see the water line through the trees from our dinner table. Doug has seen the trees chopped down by beavers. (Don't fall on them!) He also was showing me the size of the goose nests, which he unfortunately has only seen in the winter, because you can't get in there in the summer, too wet.

Well, we have had a visitor come all the way into our pasture and hay field. I've never seen the geese come so close for so long. This goose has literally been hanging out in our backyard, when normally we would only see them fly over.

I adore Canada Geese, ever since watching them fly in a V over my house when I was young. Watching this one every day might just be the motivator I need to finish the bird color and copywork book I am working on lol.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Water kefir, teeth, and other things

Wow, I have missed my blog. I have not been able to get on the internet for nearly a week. I still don't know what the problem is and can't get a hold of my service provider. Thankfully, my mom told me about a free dialup service and I am back in business again.

I have used milk kefir grains for a long time, not as regularly as I should. The only problem is that my husband doesn't like dairy, aside from cheese, particularly my homemade cheese. He is very supportive of healthy, nutritious food, but we all have our limits. So I was very excited to stumble upon the idea of water kefir. But then bedrest happened and I nearly forgot, until I tried to buy mesophilic culture for making cheddar cheese. (The first cheddar batch of the season is aging nicely. I love making cheese!) I stumbled across Cultures for Health. They have excellent information, recipes, etc. So I ordered water kefir culture. It came yesterday and is rehydrating on my counter right now. Doug is very excited about it. He wants to try ginger flavored kefir. I'll keep you posted on how well it is received.

In other news, I have been reading a very interesting book.

It has been very eye-opening. Okay, it has in some ways been so frustrating that I wanted to cry. It is hard to learn that even though I do my very best to feed my family well, I still need to improve. Even though I have made very good effort, my two oldest children still have dental problems. One has a problem with plaque, and one has already had to have a few cavities filled in her baby teeth. I don't appreciate taking them to the dentist, and being lectured about the importance of flouride (which is not permitted in our house) and being called a liar about how much juice I let them drink. As you can guess, I am anxious to get their teeth in better shape in a better way.
This book has been very helpful. The majority of dental problems can be fixed with improved diet. Much of the changes needed involve more steps in food preparation. My grain preparation is now a bit more involved. Doug has once again been very supportive and is helping with those extra steps. If you are struggling in the dental arena in your home, I would encourage you to glean what you can from this book. I downloaded the free kindle app for my computer, and was able to get the book for $10, instead of $26.

And a little about me! I am slowly getting back on my feet after a two week bedrest. I have been feeling cruddy, and I think it is partly my body trying to get rid of the remnants from the medication. It served its purpose when needed, but I'll be glad to be rid of it. Thankfully, I don't need it anymore, and Noah is free to arrive anytime. So I am trying to get my house back in order and ready before he does make his appearance. This is a challenge, because I work for about 20 minutes, and rest for nearly an hour, so I can get up and work another 20 minutes lol. Things are slowly coming together. My birth kit is laid out in piles just like I like it. Unfortunately, the piles found in other parts of the house are not like I like them lol.

I have also been researching in the educational department. I have been rethinking some of the ways I do things. This is still a process in my brain, so I will share more when I have things a little more concrete.

Shalom to you all!

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