Musing from the Mountain


I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself to you, the lovely readers of “At Home with Kare!”  My name is Trish and I am writing for you from the mountains of Montana.  I grew up in the midwest and am a country girl at heart.  I’m in my 20th year of marriage to a great guy and we have wild and adventurous kids.  I’m also a full-time working and homeschooling mom.

I hope to share with you about a variety of topics.  My husband is in law enforcement so sometimes you might hear me express some things about our experiences in the law enforcement world.  Some days I might write about the challenges of juggling full-time work and homeschooling.  My teens are a constant source of entertainment, so brace yourselves because we’re a little bit redneck and some crazy things happen around here!  I’m also an avid chef and baker and we love the living a traditional lifestyle as much as possible.  Early in our marriage, we spent several years ranching, and even though we’re removed from the ranching world these days, we’re still just country-bumpkins.  We try to cook traditionally and do things the old ways around here, so sometimes I might chat about that.

Mostly though, my passion is discussing faith, relationships, and finding balance in life.  I was raised in the Christian world and about 13 years ago, switched to a religious tradition called Messianic Judaism.  I’m deeply into studying history and theology and you’ll often hear me discussing Christianity, Messianic Judaism, and Judaism because the three are so intertwined.  My faith is what centers me and although our lives are definitely not without challenge, I feel we’re so blessed and am excited to share a bit of our journey with you!

I’d love to hear a bit about you if you’d like to share, dear friends!  I’d also love to hear some things that you’re interested in reading about…why are you here?  I can’t wait to get to know you more!

♥ Trish

 

 

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Happiness in the Holiday Season


We’re entering the season of joy…the time of year filled with family, feasting, and friends!  As wives and mothers, sometimes the holiday season brings a whole additional workload to our lives that can make it difficult to find joy in a season that is designed to bring feelings of happiness, gratefulness, and goodwill.  In reality, though, it often overwhelms us with the additional responsibilities of planning, cooking, entertaining, and giving generously, all the while keeping up with our typical full load of responsibilities.  It’s a bit of a conundrum we may find ourselves in!  For me personally, I hold convictions that mean I don’t believe in religiously celebrating some of these holidays, further complicating the issue.  In these days of Pinterest moms, superwoman expectations, and at time where we have an influx of information of what to do and how to do it, how can we measure up?

The truth is that we can’t!  Statistically, this is the time of year where people most struggle with depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.  While I hope this is none of you, if you are experiencing any of these things, please, seek professional help immediately.  There is hope!  The reality is that society paints a picture of impossible standards and if we’re trying to meet the expectations of everyone else, we’ll feel like we’re letting everyone down.  The solution?  Change what we expect of ourselves and don’t concern ourselves with pleasing everyone else, either.

A good first step is to decide what is most meaningful to us as individuals and what is meaningful to our family.  This doesn’t apply to to our extended families!  Often, extended family is where the pressure comes from, so leave them out of the mix.  What is it about this season that you believe builds a better family, a better society, and what is it that strengthens your faith (no matter your religious belief system)?  These are the core issues that we should know about ourselves.  If you don’t know, take a little time to explore these thoughts and decide for yourself what’s truly important to you!  Don’t just “go with the flow” anymore…we don’t have time for these things.

Another thing to decide for yourself is if your traditions hold value.  What is their cultural relevance in your family and in today’s society?  Maybe your traditions are meaningful because your entire family looks forward to doing them together.  Maybe they hold religious or educational value.  Maybe your traditions are simply meaningful because they bring you back to your childhood.  If you find yourself searching and searching for something of value…maybe it’s time to ditch those traditions.

Once you decide what’s important to you as an individual family unit, recognizing that doing away with some traditions that you realize are not meaningful may be confusing to extended family members.  Change is never easy.  All you can do is try to be graceful and explain to them why you’re changing things and what meaning that holds for you.  It’s not up to you to convince them to accept the change.  This is an area where you might just see the “ugly” come out in some people because they don’t like you messing with their traditions, but it’s up to them to accept or not accept.  On the other hand, you might see others that want to join you in changing their ways too, if they can see the value in what you’re doing!  Of course, it’s always best to try not to create division, so if you can find ways to make the changes you see fit without controversy, then by all means do so!  Be understanding and kind, but be firm when you decide to make a change.

If making changes to your family traditions does cause conflict with family and friends, it can be helpful to prioritize.  Decide what things are absolutely non-compromising issues that you can’t bend on.  Decide what things you are willing to meet them in the middle on.  And lastly, decide what things you’re willing to do to show them love and compassion even if they aren’t returning the favor.  Maybe this means joining in a treasured family meal but then leaving for other parts of the day’s traditions.  Whatever it is, remember that you do still love your friends and family even if they might not be as understanding as you’d like about some things that are very important to you and try not to over-analyze their motivations.  And as I’ve learned over the years, they often come to accept the changes and will even be willing to compromise with you in ways eventually.  Baby steps!  Just remember to stay true to your hearts desires and values over your obligations to those outside your immediate family.  If the issues are within your immediate family, this is a topic for discussion another day!

In my experience, there are several phases that we go through when we decide we want to implement major overhauls to our traditions.  We typically start out zealous.  We want everyone to know what we’re doing and why and we fully expect that they’ll naturally just want to join in the fun as well!  But then that doesn’t happen, so next, we experience frustration…frustration with our loved ones for not going along with us, frustration that we’re having to blaze a trail alone, frustration that it’s often not going to be everything we dreamed when we’re doing something that’s counter-cultural.  Later, frustration often leads us into losing hope.  “Am I ever going to have someone who understands and will be with us on this journey?”  This is where so many give up.  The truth is that your friends and family might never come to see value in your way of doing things.  If you can stay strong here and continue to build meaning with your immediate family and accept that “Even if it’s just us, it’s okay!”, as the years go by, those new traditions (or less traditions, or whatever your change was) will become your way of life and you’ll feel less and less ostracized by those who are less accepting of your differences.  Finally, you’ll reach a point of balance.  You’ll learn contentment and joy even in being different.  You’ll experience so much satisfaction from staying true to your values and you’ll experience new-found confidence the next time you face a challenge.  You’ll know in your heart that it’s okay to make a change and to be different and you’ll be happy in your choice.

We personally made these changes in our lives about 13 years ago and it hasn’t always been easy.  We essentially changed religious traditions and therefore, wanted to make a changes to the holidays that we observed.  We took a little look at the traditions of our faith and decided what to keep and what to throw out.  We threw out a LOT!  At the beginning, we really only kept the bare minimum because it was a little overwhelming.  As time has gone on, we’ve added a few new things in that we love, but even at that, we’ve learned our lesson and haven’t even adopted all the traditions of our new faith.  If we don’t feel it’s beneficial, it doesn’t stay.  At the beginning, our extended family has been angry with us, told us how much we’ll regret, lectured us, and persisted in not respecting our new traditions with respect to our children.  We’ve been at this long enough that they’ve slowly come around to accepting that it’s okay if we live our lives a little differently than them and that it isn’t harming them in the least.  They’ve learned to be respectful.  We’ve always tried to be compromising wherever we can to show our sensitivity and understanding toward what’s important to them and now that we’ve been around the mountain and back again, things are great!  We look forward to a holiday season where mutual respect is at the forefront and everyone can be joyful with each other again.

Sometimes we’re called to make significant changes in our personal lives and it isn’t always easy!  If you’re over-taxed or having feelings of, “Why are we even doing this?”…maybe it’s time to take a second look and make a change.  Even if the only change you seek is to cut back or get rid of the materialism, it will be well worth the effort.  Change doesn’t happen haphazardly and it will require dedication, but don’t let our culture determine how you live your life…know your values and live by them and don’t let others bully you into not making the changes you seek.  Life’s just to short to put off changes that bring such rich rewards!

♥ Trish

 

Please share your own stories of your own experiences making changes in your family traditions.  Your story will inspire others!

 

 

Life


Good-News-II1

Even though my life is in somewhat of an upheaval lately, I do have extra good news to share!  First of all, one of our sons got married and they are expecting a baby next summer.  I am going to be a gramma!  Everyone is elated!

Second, my oldest daughter is in a relationship.  The young man came to us and asked our permission to pursue her.   They have a beautiful friendship and treasure each other.    He is from a fantastic home with a very large family and they both love the Father.

I think that’s enough for one post.  =)  Shabbat Shalom to all of you!

 

 

Why We Chose Unity


This journey I have been on for the past 7 years has been all over the place.  Initially I felt disillusioned and somewhere between frustrated and angry that the truth had been hidden from me for most of my life.  Next came the shear joy of my new found Truth.  Learning, learning, learning.  Meeting new people who were in the same place.  Oh, the sweet fellowship!  The search for knowledge and Truth soon became an obsession and it seemed every stone I turned uncovered more pagan words, pagan practices, pagan history… the journey began to be more worrisome and less fun.  The calendar was wrong, but which one was right?  Every holiday was pagan.  The sweet celebrations lost their sweetness.  I began doubting everything.  Where does one stop?

I have come to the conclusion that it really all boils down to FAITH.  What will we choose to put our faith in?  People ask me how to KNOW that Scripture is true.  It is simply faith.  There is no way for anyone to know.  History books are written by the victors.  Our media tells false versions of what is happening.  Everywhere we turn we are lied to.  We can’t trust what we SEE or HEAR.  It’s no wonder there is so much suicide, rebellious young people, confusion.  The tester is at work.  So we must CHOOSE to have faith.  We can have faith in Scripture, that it has stood the test of time.  That is has been proven by history and archaeology and by how it is congruent.  And if we have faith in Scripture, then we can have faith in the ONE Whom Scripture speaks about.  Some will choose to have faith in a religion, or in themselves, or in the systems of this world.  As for me, I choose YHWH and His Word.

Ah, but I digress. The point of this post was to say that after all of that questioning and doubting and study, I have come to the point (full circle) that I am going to follow the traditional calendar for the Feasts.  Do I think it is correct?  Probably not.  Do I think some other calendar is correct?  I think that none of them are and it probably is not even possible to find a correct calendar until Messiah comes.  If I had to choose one, it would be the Enoch calendar, but at this time, I feel that UNITY is what we need.  Looking at this from the other side, I see this one celebrating on that day and that one celebrating on this day and we are not in harmony.  We are not enjoying the sweet fellowship of all celebrating TOGETHER.  Not that someone is wrong for choosing one calendar over another, but we are MISSING OUT!  The Father sees our hearts and our desires to obey and I really believe THAT is what He desires.  A pure, obedient JOYFUL heart!  … food for thought =)

Jeremiah 31:31-34


Behold, the days come”, says YHWH, “that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; forasmuch as they broke My covenant, although I was a ruler over them”, says YHWH.

“But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days”, says YHWH:

I will put My law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their Elohim, and they shall be My people;  and they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: ‘Know YHWH’; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them”, says YHWH; “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”

There are several things I see in this passage.

  1. This new covenant is only made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  My conclusion would be that if a person does not consider themselves and/or behave as the house of Israel or Judah, this covenant does not belong to them
  2. The covenant is: YHWH putting His TORAH inside of His people, in their hearts, so that they no longer have to teach it, everyone KNOWS Him.  This does not sound like Torah observance will stop, but rather that it will be followed from the heart and with devotion and love.  It also sounds like something in the future.  I don’t see in history or in our present day that this is true.
  3. The final part of the covenant is that He will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.  Is this as a result of everyone observing Torah from the heart?  It seems to be implied, but it does not say directly.

 

I  am doing some studying today and this passage came up in the process.  Does anyone have thoughts they want to share?  Post them in the comments!