Saturday, April 25, 2015

How the Sabbath Changed Me

I didn't always observe the Sabbath. In fact, I was convicted to keep it for years before actually beginning the practice of honoring Shabbat. I grew up with Sunday as our day of worship, and when I began to feel convicted about keeping the Sabbath--on the actual Sabbath as I believe the Bible commands, I heard the justifications from many Christians of how it doesn't matter when we keep the Sabbath as long as we have a "day of rest". The thing is, I've had the traditional Sunday-Day-Of-Rest experience for almost my entire life. That wasn't what I was convicted of, nor what I understood from my reading, of what I was to do.

So I talked to my husband about it. More than a few times. Verbalizing my struggle, verbalizing my questions, allowing myself to process the fact that I was feeling like this was a big deal and that I was uncomfortable with doing it, and with not doing it. Finally, I decided I was going to do it.

Observing the Sabbath has changed me. At first, it was a struggle. I didn't know how I was going to manage not doing my regular work (laundry, dishes, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, homeschool prep, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning). What would happen to the house? What would happen to my sanity that was questionable anyway? Why do I feel selfish? How do I deal with feeling lazy (feelings not based on truth, but feelings, nonetheless)?

I slowly transitioned. First, implementing that on the Sabbath, I would study some Biblical topic of interest. Next, rushing to get my work down prior to sundown on Friday. This was followed by looking into what the flow of the Sabbath meal/service was to be. I printed document after document, watched YouTube videos, and did everything I could to learn what the burning flame in my soul was being called to do.

And then recently, a few months into this, I realized something. I am no longer eager to study a Biblical topic just on the Sabbath--I'm instead doing it all week long. I'm eager to share Biblical scholarly lectures with my children on our car rides, and to read entire books of the Bible at a time, with completely new insight than I ever had before. I'm less depressed. Less frantic.

I've learned that having that 24 hours from Friday through Saturday to continue my mindless cycle of never ending housework doesn't actually help me get anything done. I was so fearful of being "behind" a day, only to find that that day never helped me get ahead or behind to begin with. In fact, the opposite has happened. Because I'm not doing my "normal" work on Shabbat, I'm getting all of the other things "done" that I never had time for before. Research. Beautifying my house. Getting rid of accumulated piles of papers. Making gifts for my children. So many important things that I never got to before because they were always at the bottom of my list.

I've seen it change my children. They are so peaceful having a whole day to rest. We have a special Shabbat Box with toys, books, and videos that are only to be used on Shabbat. They are eager to light the candles, blow the shofar, receive specific blessings, break the bread, and talk about Shabbat every week. The tradition, meaning, and experience is something they look forward to, and as my daughter said, they "wish every day could be the Sabbath!"

I did not change for the Sabbath. The Sabbath changed me.

Isaiah 58:13-14
“Keep the Sabbath day holy.
Don’t pursue your own interests on that day,
but enjoy the Sabbath
and speak of it with delight as the LORD’s holy day.
Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,
and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
Then the LORD will be your delight.
I will give you great honor
and satisfy you with the inheritance
 I promised to your ancestor Jacob.
I, the LORD, have spoken!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Dear It Works!, you don't determine my "sexy"

Dear It Works!,

There are some things you should know about our relationship. I began my partnership with you two and a half years ago (I think?), and was amazed by how I saw my body change with the first wrap I ever tried. I had no preconceived notions--no one where I lived had ever even heard of It Works! before and I had simply decided to try it out after I found you online and researched The Ultimate Body Applicator. worked. It literally showed me the results I had been working towards for quite a while. Results that I believe were probably due to finally being able to get toxins out of me even though I'd been doing INSANITY and even a medically supervised weight loss diet prior to finding you. The wraps were a tool, and it was such a relief for me to finally see what I'd already been working on. Thank you for that.

I can't tell you the number of people I've wrapped who cried when I took it off at the 45 minute mark. Women who told me stories of how they hadn't been able to be intimate with their husbands for a long time because of their self esteem problems since pregnancy. Women who told me stories of being fat shamed since childhood.

But here's where the problem lies: you are fat shaming women. And you are skinny shaming them, too. Because here's what happens. You suggest that distributors walk up to women who they don't know, and hand them a business type card that says "Get Your Sexy Back!" on it. You have distributors take before/after photos of people at parties and wrap groups of women at parties, and then the thinner women at those parties hear comments about how they're "too skinny already" and "oh my gosh, I can't believe you just got smaller after doing that wrap--that's sickening".

What happens to the woman bombarded by a distributor who is nervous and really wants a relationship with the unsuspecting woman, but instead holds her breath in hopes that she'll book a party and hands her a card, instead? And what does it say to a woman when your reply to how rude you think she just acted is "listen, I'm not saying you need it. I just know that everyone wants it." Now you have just told a woman that if she does want it, then she thinks she isn't sexy enough, and that if she doesn't want it, then she'll never be sexy enough.

Don't get me started on the women who don't see a result with their first wrap. Or the women who seemed to never get a result at all--which always puzzled me until recently when I found out that if you have a diastasis recti (pretty much EVERY woman who has been pregnant), you could EASILY have that "mommy pooch". Meaning, a wrap isn't going to put your muscles back together, so you will still have that "pooch" unless you do physical therapy for it. Did you know this? And if you did, why didn't you ever tell your distributors that?

You can't sell a product by shaming women. And yes, you are shaming them by implying that they have lost their "sexy." Here's what's happening, It Works!. People are having pretty strong negative feelings about these marketing tactics. Marketing psychology will tell you that the classical conditioning happening with those negative feelings and your slogans will soon become negative feelings associated with your black and green bling instead. Tools that I really do like and really do help people aren't going to be used anymore, because they aren't tools--they're "fix it quick because you suck the way you are" products.

Forget the diabetics I've seen who got their blood sugars points lower after every meal by taking Fat Fighter. Forget the people with adrenal fatigue who felt better on Confianza. Forget that I actually don't see a change with your wraps anymore (baby #3, and a diastasis recti for sure now!), but that I lose weight without even trying when I faithfully take the Greens and It's Vital. Forget all of that, because I can't even tell people that anymore!

I want to tell people about all of the good things I see in you, but I really don't want to be associated with a company who tells women that they're not enough. I know that makeup and any product that alters your physical appearance can be considered that...but I don't sell those (and there's a reason for that!). I'm ok with people wanting to change their appearance (have you ever seen someone judge another person because they dyed their hair? Not so much.), but I'm not ok with telling them they aren't sexy. That there is something wrong with them. That they aren't beautiful the way they are.

You see, It Works!, I don't know if we can continue our relationship or not. Because I want a relationship with people. I want them to know that while there are things that can help all of us physically, mentally, socially, monetarily, spiritually...that they don't need any of those helpful things to give them worth. You see, women are already worthy. And tighter skin or firmer bellies doesn't increase that worth. If they want to change their bodies, that's fine, but you need to stay out of determining who is worthy and who is not, and you need to stop associating how a person looks with their worth or sexiness. Having saggy skin or a soft belly doesn't take away your sexiness, but shaming women does.

So It Works!, I suggest that you get your sexy back, because you are losing it, and I only want to be in the business of building people up.

an embarrassed distributor

*Note: the comments in here are my opinion only. They aren't affiliated with the company, are not approved of by the FDA, and I am not making claims, promises, or even associations between products and medical conditions or anything else here. The ONLY claims about these products that can be made are listed on the ItWorks! website, in their marketing materials, and on the products themselves.*

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Kid Friendly Passover Seder Resources

We're always on the hunt to make Biblical holidays the most memorable experience possible, which means incorporating as many hands-on and fun activities as possible for young children! Here are our very favorite Passover and Seder resources that we are using this year:

Messianic Haggadah and Seder Instructions from
A great resource that quickly outlines the basics of Passover and how-to of doing a Seder. The Haggadah is the "instruction book" for families during the Seder, and he has a free printable one that you can copy off for your family. It's in color, easy to follow, and you can just change things to accommodate anything different that you want to do for your family.

10 Plagues Finger Puppets -- FREE printable over at 
There's also a coloring version of these available. Just print on cardstock, cut, tape, and go! Use these as a teaching resource before the Seder, or use during the Seder to keep hands busy and to aid the kids in acting out the 10 plagues when you get to that part of the ceremony.

Kid's Passover Seder Set -- made by KidKraft
We use this in the two weeks leading up to Passover to introduce the elements of the Seder, to let the kids have a special "toy" to play with around the holiday, and to have a chance to have dramatic play of Pesach.

Preschool Pesach Printable Activities -- FREE from
Just scroll down to the Pesach section. Our favorites right now are the activity book and "Pesach, Pesach, What do you see?". I laminated the activity book and put it in a 3-ring binder so it can be reused. For the puzzle pieces, I printed two copies, cut one into actual pieces, and adhered velcro to the original and the pieces so that you can "match" the pieces to the puzzle. We use the KidKraft set in conjunction with "Pesach, Pesach, What do you see?" to talk about the different parts of the Seder. 

Other Things:
- Various "Sunday School" printables about the life of Moses and the Exodus
- Reading Exodus from the Bible
- Watching "The Prince of Egypt" (on Netflix)
- Watching The Greatest Story Ever Told's "Easter Story" episode (cartoon I watched as a kid and loved--available on YouTube!)
- Various "Sunday School" printables about the death and resurrection of Yeshua (Jesus)

The kids have a BLAST and are eager to learn and experience the Seder and Passover, and can't wait until Friday to start everything! It is such an honor to teach my children and experience for myself the Feasts of God. Every single time, I learn new things and discover deeper heart truths! Have a blessed and awesome Pesach!