Thursday, 31 December 2009


Laili Tov;
Well in a few hours it is going to be a new year; 2010.
Since we celebrated the Jewish New Year, 5770, tonight for us is just more a time for partying, family gathering and fun than reflection.
Did that three months ago.
I spoke to Mark this afternoon. He is very busy since there was a change of command right after Christmas. He is now covering two provinces in his area as the lone Civil Affairs Offier.
Since explains why I haven't heard from him in three days.
But he has now recieved all three of his carepackages; the one I mailed last Tuesady arrived today.
Over the weekend, I will go shopping for the things he has asked for. I feel better knowing the mail is now moving better and faster since the holidays are almost over.
Everyone is in a rush to get to 2010.
I'm not.
One thing having a husband deployed has taught me is enjoy the moment. Don't rush through life. That's why so many folks suffer from stress; rush, rush, rush!
It isn't 2010 and already Valentine cards, candy, etc are filling the selves. What happen to the month of Januray. How about enjoying each day that leads to Valentine's Day?
Though I can go ahead make Mark a special sweetheart package...but couldn't have waited until the middle of the month instead of right now?
Maybe it is me, but I don't wish to look back over my life and wonder where the time went because I went from project to project, holiday to holiday, this job to that job, without enjoying the sights, scents, sensations, taste of the moments, the minutes and hours that were in between.
There is a song I love, Joy in the Jounery.
May you find Joy in all the moments of 2010.

Monday, 28 December 2009

I Even Won a Game

Lailia Tov;
Well, I;m home.
And I miss my mother already.
I remember waking up this morning and having a cup of coffee.
Once again, alone. For I had gotten use to having the dark brew with my mother the past several days.
We had a wonderful time. We played Scramble. I even won a game.
Mummie was so proud of me.
So, you, as many of you have already figured out, I have a sevre form of dyslexia. How often I'd to come back and do a rewrite; correct a sentence, fix a mispelled word (or is it misspelled) etc. From time to time Marty gets me to giggle over my 'bowel of chicken soup', :)
Mummie said that she could see I have been working on my spelling (I have) and she was qite impressed. We played three games, I won one and she said I made her work hard for those two wins.
We also watched movies.
I can now say I am nolonger the only woman of colour who has never seem the movie, The Diary of A Mad Black Woman. It is such a good movie. Not just laugher, but the power of forgivness, the ablity to start over and making the choice not to allow yourself to become bitter.
I can see why the critics hated the movie: Tyler Perry's faith shoved throughout the film, yet it didn't slap you across the head.
Everyone I spoke to loved it and I plan to buy it so when Mark comes home we can watch it together.
I so enjoyed the peace and rest I had at Mummie's. But now it is time for me to return to my own world, my own life.
And I think the down time I'd had the past four days, I can do just that.

The Fourth Day

I hope that all of my friends are having wonderful, happy holiday.
As traditonal in our home, my mum is still opening her gifts. Until Jan. 7th, she shall, enjoying this wonderful time of the year.
I plan to write letters to family and friends this evening, catching up with folks I haven't heard from in a while.
I was on facebook today, reading several comments about the 'Christmas letdown.'
I guess if you spend the past few months building up to one day, it is to be expected.
Like planning a wedding. So much thought goes into the Wedding Day that little or no thought is given to the marriage that follows.
That's why I am so glad my mother did (does) the 12 days of Christmas. And while it is a holiday I nolonger keep, I do carry that spirit with me.
I have been thinking about the the carol, the 12 days of Christmas of late.During the holiday season, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is heard everywhere from shopping malls to television commercials to church functions. Everywhere you go, you can hear about Two Turtle Doves, Seven Swans-a-Swimming and Eleven Pipers Piping. But what does any of this mean? What does a song about doves, hens and geese have to do with Christmas?
The carol has its roots in 18th-century England, as a memory-and-forfeit game sung by British children. In the game, players had to remember all of the previous verses and add a new verse at the end. Those unable to remember a verse paid a forfeit, in the form of a kiss or a piece of candy to the others
 Many years ago, I was told it was more than a love sick young man recieving gifts from his lady fair, but connects the carol to the era when Catholicism was outlawed in England, from 1558 and 1829. The carol, it is said, was a catechism song for Catholics to learn "the tenets of their faith," as they could not openly practice in Anglican society [source:]. While many still hold the idea of a coded hymn to be true, Snopes points out there's no substantive evidence that this was the case, nor is there any evidence that the verses contain anything uniquely Catholic.
Here are the verses of the song, along with their supposed symbolism:
•A Partridge in a Pear Tree - Jesus Christ

•Two Turtle Doves - The Old and New Testaments

•Three French Hens - The three virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity

•Four Collie (black birds) Birds - Four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

•Five Golden Rings  (five ringed birds, like pleasents)- First five books of the Torah

•Six Geese-a-Laying - Six days of creation before G-d's rest on the seventh day

•Seven Swans-a-Swimming - Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

•Eight Maids-a-Milking - Eight Beatitudes

•Nine Ladies Dancing - Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit

•Ten Lords-a-Leaping - Ten Commandments

•Eleven Pipers Piping - Eleven faithful disciples

•Twelve Drummers Drumming -Twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed (the 12 tribes of Isreal)
While these verses are what most of us associate with the "Twelve Days of Christmas," the phrase refers to an actual 12-day period. The 12 days of Christmas, in fa­ct, are the days from Dec. 25, celebrated as the birth of Jesus Christ, to the Epiphany, celebrated on Jan. 6 as the day when the manifestation of Christ's glory was realized.
While sects of Christianity celebrate the 12 days of Christmas differently, certain ones, such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, consider the Epiphany to be the most important day of the Christmas season. Some exchange gifts on each of the 12 days instead of only on Christmas day, as my family did.
To me, like spinning the Dreid ( a spinning top with Hebrew letters on it) I do think the carol is an excellent way to teach our children to count, their faith AND a way to prolong the joy of the season.
Example: today is Four Collie Birds.
I'm going to see if I can find Collie Birds.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Blessings To All

Lailia Tov;
First, Happy Christmas to all my friends and family who celebrate this day.
Yesterday morning I arrived at Hope Haven, the place my mum calls home.
I was told they had been waiting for me since 7am :)
My room was ready, including a nice basket filled with goodies, a few gifts and bottled water. The bathroom nice and tidy and sweet. There is even a sitting room for me to write, read or use my laptop.
Last night after supper we watched "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, " which is a wonderful, funny movie I highly recommend. Henry Winker at his best.
This morning after breakfast, I moved my mother's gift bag (a huge garage bag) of gifts into the other room. Mummie likes to open a gift a day and it is going to take about a month to go through them. Then we watched The Diary of an Mad Black Woman. I had never seen this movie and it is a stitch! But is also it is a story about the power of forgivness, forgiving those who hurt us and ourselves for allowing ourselves to live without joy or love in our lives. That hurting people hurt others and even that person we think could or would ever change, can.
A powerful message that crosses all lines.
Later I got to speak to my sister, two nieces and two nephews.
Then during my nap, Mark called, so my day is made.
He did recieve his two Carepackages. Because of the change of command, he hasn't gone through all of the boxes, but he hopes to in the morning.
Betty, Mark told me to tell you, thank you for your letters. He loves hearing about what is happening in your neck in the world and about his buddy Koda. Your letters mean so much to him.
And to me. For I know how much his spirits are lifted by letters from home.
It's almost supper time and mummie will be waking from her nap soon.
Hope each of you are having a happy, healthly, loving holiday.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Early to Bed

Lailia Tov;
First, thanks to all who left comments. Love and hugs to each of you.
Beth, so good to see your smile again :)
It has been a busy few days.
I am planning to go and visit my mum this weekend. The assisted living home has my room ready and already wanting to know what my favorite dishes are.
I have a feeling I am going to come home more spoiled than I already am.
I'm done two loads of laundry and about to pack my overnight bag, making sure the charger to the cellphone is included.
I did make make the pumkin spice cookies and they came out better than I thought. I dropped some off at the Drugstore (they always ask about Mark and deliever my medication) a very nice saleslady at a store I like to visit (she shared them with the staff) the video shop where I rent my movies (the Pug loves the cookies) and my former Phyical Therapist who told me I looked great when I walked in the door and before she saw the tin of cookies.
So now I am preparing hot coco with peppermint shavings to have before I crawl into bed, hoping Mark calls before I fall asleep.
I realize today that I have been feeling rather overwhelemed....
No sooner than Mark was in Afghanistan I came down with the flu.
Right after that the Nor'easter and the drama that went with that.
Then I had the swine flu shot and came down with the swine flu during the holidays.
All the while I have been trying to get my house back in order and create a role for myself while Mark is gone.
Sick, Blackout, no heat or water. Sick again. Holidays.
No wonder I don't wish to get out of bed in the morning...
So getting away is good for me. To be with my mum, play scramble and get my butt kicked, giggling over cookies and hot coco and watch the Christmas Carol.
Next week, I am planning a day at the Spa.
Time to be good to me.
Mark would agree.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Hey Beloved

Lailia Tov:
"Hey beloved!"
After four and a half years of marriage, I never tire of hearing those two words.

Last night, late last night, the phone rang.
It was Mark.
H had barely been back at Base when he learned he had three villages he had to left to visit.
The next day. So it was a few days before he could call me.
But I got to hear his voice before he had to go to work and I went to sleep.
And I slept well.
"Hey Beloved!"
When I those words, along with, "Baby, I'm fine," I know all is right in my world.

Hope all is well in your homes.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Mark Update and Stew Night

Lailia Tov;
It has been a busy day.
It isn't as chilly as it was yesterday and made for a rather nice walk to the post office to drop off Mark's CarePackage. Of course the line was going into the lobby, but hey, it is the holiday season.
I stopped oat the store because I needed sugar cubes.
I know it sounds insane, but I grew up using sugar cubes in coffee and tea and still do so. I even have sugar tongs for the cubes.
One lump or two?
I then decided that since tonight is the beginning of Winter (Winter Solistic) I would make a pot of Moroccan Lamb, Beef stew. It is a hearty meat stew made of browned beef and lamb (cubed of course) wonderful Moroccan spices, carrots, onions, fennel, leeks, and sweet pototoes. I  start with a base of soup bones and seasonings, letting that come to a boil and then add the browned meat. I then allow the meat to cook for atleast 45 minutes as I then saute the root veggies in alittle olive oil (not butter because it is a meat dish) before adding the root veggies. This way the meat cooks and seasons the both, and the veggies don't get soggy.
I hate soggy veggies.
Of course the house smells heavenly within a few hours. And since it is going to be a big pot, I shall freeze some.
All of this keeps my mind off the fact that Mark hasn't called.
He did fly out to another part of Afghanistan with other Jewish soldiers to celebrate Hanuakkah. He was suppose to get a flight back to base Thrusday, but it was cancelled.
Mark called Friday to say he did have a flight Saturday morning. And that is the last I heard from him.
Given the fact he is the only Civil Affairs officer in his unit, once he returned, has been quite busy with work and will call when he can.
I just hope it is soon.
It is hard not hearing my beloved's voice.
That and my faith is what keeps me going.
Anyway, time to grab a nap before I start supper.
Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Tears in The Hot Chocolate.

Boka Tov;
Last evening I briefly spoke to a friend.
They were alone, decorating their tree. The person they loved was nowhere to be found. No phone calls, nothing.
My friend was sad, hurting.
What could I say? My pain was different. I was alone for my holidays, though my beloved called as he could.
And then I remembered I still kindled the lights of Hanukkah, so I told my friend: "remember the reason your decorating the tree."
My friend told me late I was right and a change came over them.
It snowed last night. And I was angry.
I hate snow. Having growth up in New York and Boston, I really have no use for the white stuff.
 And my Mark who loves snow and would have been outside  with his face to the sky catching snowflakes with his tongue was not here to enjoy it.
I made a cup of hot chocolate and wanted to cry.
We forget that during this holiday season that there are others who are alone, who are hurting. I think of the family of Oral Roberts who have just buried their father, grandfather,and great-grandfather. Of Michael Jackson's children. Say what you will about the man. Michael was raised a Jehovah's Witness and did not celebrate Christmas as a child (JWs don't celebrate Christmas) but it was known he made it magical for his children. There are three children without their dad and maybe without the holiday.
There are families who have gone through separations due to divorce, death, deportment,  jail or illness.
For me, as wonderful as my Christmas were as a child, there was horror that with them as well: family drunken partys and fights. My deadly ill at six months old and my father chosing this time of the year to leave and never return.
For many, this time of the year is a painful one. In our celebrations, let us remember to reach out and include the lonely amoung us. To remember them in our prayers.
Every time a church group or family comes to visit the assisted living home my mum lives in, she calls to tell me about their visit. How cute the children are. The beautiful music they performed. The gifts they brought. Sometimes the group even brings and serve a special holiday meal. While my mum isn't lonely, there are others who live there with no family. This year, I will be staying with my mum for a few days and enjoy the company of "seasoned folk" as my mum would say.
Today I am trying a new recipe of pumpkin Spcied cookies. And if they turn out as well as I think they shall, I am sharing them with my upstairs neighors along with a cup of hot chocolate with peppermint shavings.
Think I'll take some to my mum's place as well.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

A Christmas Carol Revisited

Lailia Tov;
One of the many traditions so many of us enjoy doing this time of the year is the watching and/or of Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol.
Ah old, Ebenezer Scrooge!
How often those of us who do not celebrate Christmas or "keep it" as others may are called "Scrooge."
Frankly, unless one truly feels as old Ebbie does about the whole affair, it is an unfair comment.
Because, if one truly reads the story, the backdrop is Christmas, but Scrooge's bitter, angry spirit really has nothing to do with the holiday.
Ebenezer's mother dies in childbirth, his birth. And as a result, his father turns away from the boy, leaving him to be raised in boarding schools, until his half-sister Fran manages to change their father's harden heart.
As a young man, he losts that dear sister when she as a married woman dies having Ebenezer's nephew and now only relative. He turns from the boy, just as his father had done.
Ebenezer soon grows to believe the only thing one can truly rely on is money and his drive to become rich drives even the woman he loves away. He later is showed by the Spirit of Christmas Past, Bell not only married a wealthly man, just as himself, but blessed with many children that could have been his own.
Over the years his heart grows cold and closes to all.
It really doesn't matter the time of year or reason, Scrooge is a bitter old man who loves and cares for no one. Not even himself.
The needs of the poor that is greater during this of the year only heightens Scrooge's feelings.
Interesting, the nephew, Fred, who also loses his beloved mother in childbirth, his heart reminds open and gentle. He even continues to reach out to the uncle who rejects him. He, along with Scrooge's Clark, never allow Scrooge sour mood to affect them or dampen their joy.
After the night visits, Scrooge is a changed man. But not just to Christmas, but to his fellowman. Not just Christmas Day, but throughout the year.
Scrooge chose to be a sourpuss and when shown his life and his fate, he had the chose to continue on his path or change.
We are have that same choice; we can choice to walk about looking like we dined on sour grapes or feasted on sweet wine and apples. We can take the hurts of our lives and use it as a sword to attack others, or as oilment to help heal the world around us.
The holidays tend to brings out what is in our hearts; the bitter or the sweet.
I like to stick sheperd staff's in my hot chocolate.
What about you?

Friday, 18 December 2009

TheSimhaofOurLives: The lights of Haukkah#links#links

The 8th and final night of Hanukkah:
TheSimhaofOurLives: The lights of Haukkah#links#links

Tradition, Tradition

Boka Tov:
My mother gave Mark and I a piece of advise just after we were married that has bore us well over the pass four and a half years.
Actually, it began with our wedding.
Because Mark and I are Messianic Jews, this meant a Jewish wedding. Since most we knew had never been to a Jewish wedding, and those who have been, but not one with a Sephardic touch, it proved be a bit unerving for quite a few people.
(See our blog, We Made Our Own Huppah)
I'd been married before, so why a big wedding?
A Jewish wedding?
What do you mean your not wearing a garter? Etc.
Our wedding was a clear statement; we set the standard and the traditions in our home.
The next challenge was Thanksgiving. With who's family would we have supper with?
Mark and I decided that what we would do instead was host a Thanksgiving Dinner for the elderly in our congregation. This turns out to be our favorite Thanksgiving yet. Mark's family joined us and the next day we visited my mother.
This led to the discussion about what to do about Christmas. Mark prefers Hanukkah and we agreed that for us, since Christmas was based on pagan celebrations, as Messianic Jews this wasn't kosher for us.
Now note; I said for Mark and I.
But what about the rest of our family who does keep the Day?
We decided that on the 24th and the 26th we would visit family. The 25th was PJ Day. We would louge about in our PJ's and enjoy old movies, play games, cuddle, etc.
We are supporters of World Vision and we give in our families names. I still make cookies and send. And my aim is to make a tapesty for each family for their family celebrations.
We spend days scubbing and decorating in white and blue for the Festive of Lights. I finally found blue lights to go with my white ones.  Mark brings home pine branches for that fresh, clean smell only pine can bring. And of course the dancing Dreids I break out the cookie cutters; dreids and jewish soldiers, torahs and menorahs, lions and stars of David, huge hebrew letters that will form almond cookies.
Like all of our Holy Days, we open our home to guest to enjoy and celebrate.
.Each window that faces the street has a menorah set in it. Each night for eight nights, a candle is lit.
The 8th. The house is ablaze with lights and it breaks through the darkness of the night. The air is filled with the scents of latkes fried fish and sweet wine. Apples and almonds. Stories of hanukkahs long ago and the Hanukkah story itself.
And how during on one of these nights, an angel appeared to a jewish teenage girl, just engaged and announced that the Holy One of Isreal had chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah.
Miryiam (Mary) said yes and in her womb was concieved He would was to be called Yeshua HaMessiah, the one our people had waited so long for.
We have celebrated Hanukkah twice with our familes. Because my mum and Mark's dad can no longer manger stairs, we will be looking for a home that would be easier for them to enter and thus have our family over more often.
In the meantime, we visit them.
This year, with Mark in Afghanistan and me getting over the flu, it has been a quiet celebration. I'd lit the candles, eaten my jelly doughnut and tonight, fried fish and latkes.
Mummie was right; we had to find our own tradition as a family. As every family must. But not just for tradition sake, but with reasons behind them. To teach our young ones the truths, values and morals that are important to us.
It is one of the things I love about this time of the year. I love walking through Holiday homes; the ones that are so decked out. And so many of my friend's blogs are decked out as well, giving me a peek into their homes as well.
Next year, G-d will, my house shall be a hanukkah house.
I have a full year to make it happen.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Catching Up On My Reading

Boka Tov:
Well I finally got my rasberry Jelly doughnut. I am enjoying it with a cup of coffee, using one og the coffee mugs that was a gift from Betty and Koda.
So what's up with the jelly doughnut?
Doughnuts are amoug the foods we enjoy during Hanukkah. The doughnut because it is cooked in oil, reminding us of the oil that lasted for eight days. The jelly is to remind us of the sweetness of the Holy Days.
Since I am pretty much over the flu, I can enjoy the foods of the season.
So this morning I had a rasberry jelly doughnut with Egg Nog creamer in my coffee.
Talk about sugar overload.
This morning I am catching up on my blog readings.
Oh I have missed my friends. So many are decorted for the holidays. I had planned to do the same for Hanukkah, but got sick. So there is next year.
I like reading my blog with a cup of coffee. Of course, after the accident several months ago when I spilleed my coffee all over my laptop, I keep the cup faaaaar from the laptop. But reading my friends blogs is like having a cup of coffee with my friends, catching up on what it going on in their lives.
Yesterday, I began cleaning the house. I hate the smell of Lysol, but out it came just the same.
I remember as a child, when my sister and I had recovered from a cold or the flu, mummie would wash the house down with Lysol, raging war on those gems. How we hated that smell!
But when I opened the Lysol bottle yesterday, ahhhh! It was quite welcome. I opened the back door and dinningroom window to let fresh air in and then washed down the kitchen and bath. I made a solution of Laysol (8 part water, 2 part Lysol) in a spray bottle so that I can spray down both rooms every day.
This morning I awoke with sunlight pouring in the bedroom and the air fresh.
Today I pick up the dinningroom and the front room. I am expecting company today and it will be fun.
So until later, make it a good one.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Winter Time Celebrations

Boka Tov:
Since I was a wee one, I have always been full of questions.
My mother says that's because I not only read, but thought too much.
That's another story.
And many of my questions centered around Christmas.
I grew up in a Baptist home and for the most part I loved it. It gave me not only grounding, but a knowing that there was a place and a purpose for me in the world, that I didn't just exist and take up space.
I often asked the following questions: if we are celebrating the birth of the Messiah, why isn't He recieving the gifts? The Scriptures say the sheperds watched their flocks by night, yet why do we say Messiah was born in December? How did we come to pick this date? Etc.
My mother, like many didn't know the answer. But I would later learn that she left it up to me to find them on my own. If I really wanted to know, I would search out the answers for myself.
A wonderful way to learn.
It was in  Junior High School I found the founding:
It seems that Winter celebrations are nothing new, predating Christianity by thousends of years. The Norse folk after the harvest was brought in would settle in for the long, often brutal winters in their homes. The men would fell long trees and bring in the logs that were known to burn a good 12 days or so (yule log). Most of the anmials were slaughted and used for food because there was really no way to house them during the long winter months. Families often visit each other as the winter permitted and shared games, gifts and feast. Between the scent of many humans and animals filling the house air, pine branches were often brought in, not only with the reminder of Spring, but to freshen the air. There were also cults such as the Druids and Asherah that the evergreen tree, mistletoe, holly and the Yule log were part of their worship traditions. 
 The night rider who has since be come to know as Santa Claus came from a Norse myth as well. So the Winter Solstice was a wonderful time to gather with the community and celebrate the harvest. A large feast of fresh foods served as a send off to the fruitful autumn months, as people hunkered down for the stored food that would sustain them through the winter, telling stories of the night rider and other ghostly tales.
Just as we do now during Christmas and Hanukkah.
The celebrations took many different forms in different cultures around the then known world, most  celebrating the lengthening days and the return of  Spring and the return of the sun.
So how did these celebrations become what we know as Christmas?
Well, the first 300 hundred, there was no celebrating of Messiah's birth. In fact, the central message was the death, burial and resurrection of Messiah. Not His birth. No where in the scriptures do you find the Apostles including the birth of Messiah in their message.
But then came the Council of Nicea.
Christians faced a trouble from within:  the Arian controversy began and threatened to divide the church. The problem began in Alexandria, it started as a debate between the bishop Alexander and Pastor Arius. Arius proposed that if the Father begat the Son, the latter must have had a beginning, that there was a time when he was not, and that his substance was from nothing like the rest of creation. The Council of Nicea, a gathering similar to the one described in Acts 15:4-22, condemned the beliefs of Arius and wrote the first version of the now famous creed proclaiming that the Son was "one in being with the Father" by use of the Greek word "homoousius."
Thus the Nicene Creed, that which was to untiy the believers.
"Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate, was made man, was born perfectly of the Holy Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit."
Since the Messiah was now seen as both Human and Divine,  it was decided by church leaderes that His birth must be celebrated.
 At the same time, the church was having a hard time getting pagans to accept Messiah and decided to use their celebrations as a way to teach about Messiah. Some call this redeeming the pagan holidays or using for teaching spiritual truths. Others call it borrowing, bait and switch, tricking or stealing.
Take your pick.
So the evergreen began the Tree of Life or the Christmas tree. Holly  and wealths reminds one of the crown of thorns Messiah had pressed upon His head, etc.
 25th is also the birthday of the Persian sun-god Mithras. While in Iraq, Mark met a family who celebrate this day with the same abandment Christmas is here in the States and one is hard press to see the difference. Around 350, Pope Julius decree that the church would celebrate Messiah's birth on this date, to replace the false sun-god and worship G-d the Son.
Yule is the Chaldean name for 'infant' or 'little child.' In ancient Babylon, the 25th of December was known as Yule day or the birth of the promised child day. This was the day of the birth of the incarnate sun, who appeared as a baby child to redeem a world bound in darkness. It was an essential belief of the Babylonian religious system, that the sun god, also known as Baal, was the chief god in a polytheistic system. Tammuz was also worshipped as the god incarnate, or promised baby son of Baal, who was to be the Savior of the world.

Many believers did not buy this reasoning, seeing it as the mixing of the holy and the unholy. Many Jewish believers saw this as the worship of another g-d and wanted nothing to do with it. Sadly, the holiday that was meant to make all believers one became a divider between the Greek believer and the Hebrew beleivers.
 In fact, this began the acid test of belief in Messiah: those who did not celebrate Christmas were considered non-believers.
There was even a time when England (1644), New England and other places where Christmas was forbidden by law because of the drunkness and volence connected with the day. Religious folk rejected the celebration because it was regarded as a pagan holiday. The English Puritan even regarded the day as the work of satan. Even Martin Luther and John Calvin rejected the Day.
It wasn't until the 1800's that in fact that Christmas became a national holiday and soon after started to be in embraced as a Religious celebration.
Today's Christmas is thanks in part to the Victorian era and Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.
And then there is the date itself.
In my twenties, I did the math:
Yeshua was 33 and half when He was put to death passover. Late March, early April. If you count back or forward six months, that would make His birth in later September, early October, during the Feast of Booths. Hanukkah would be the time Miriam (Mary) would have recieved Him in her womb. Not December.
So I found my answers.
I still love this time of the year. While Mark and I do not celebrate Christmas, we still can find joy in the seaason.  G-d use both nature and culture to teach us about Himself and others. The winters winds indeed slow down our pace, and we can use these to draw us closer to friends and family, to tell stories, share our goods with others,  for fun and fellowship.
I still have fond memories of days gone by, but find myself truly enjoying the Feast of the L-rd, Shabbat and the lovely scents and sounds of Hanukkah
We as Jews are commanded not to learn the way of the heathen. So that we do not fall away from the G-d of Abraham.  To redeem means to return someone or something to its origianl state, not change its meaning to suit ourselves.
But I don't believe that means we are to cut ourselves off from others. Nor look down on how others chose to celebrate or not celebrate this time of the year. G-d shines the truth in our lives as we can handle it.
Nor is there anything wrong with tradition; as long as it doesn't counter Torah. And again, that is a truth each of us must come to.

Boka Tov:
I am feeling so much better. In fact, I only awoke once with a cough. Cleared out the junk from my throat and wnet back to sleep.
So this is the third morning I actually awoke refreshed and it feels so good.

It is a good morning and so much to be done. Getting over the flu, I am wise enough to take it bit by bit. The evergreen ceterpiece my sister-in-law still fills the air and while we don't celebrate Christmas, I am going to get some more greens for the house.
It just smells good.
But I do have to clean my room. Get the smell of medication and Vicks out.
I am going to make that Hanukkah Gingerbread house after all. I think my little niece will like it. I also need to do other baking and get it off in the mail. And of course get another Carepackage off to Mark.
I found a tiny Herb Garden for Mark. This way he will have something green to grow and even leave behind for the soldiers after him.
Some life and colour in a grey place.
So off to get my coffee.And who knows, I might even get to work on my photo blog.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Precious is The Death of One of His Saints

Lailia Tov;
This afternoon while lacing my new boots (there is a story behind them) I was watching news and heard of the Homegoing of Dr. Oral Roberts.
I paused, remembering the man that had been, though we'd never met, a part of my life.
All of my life.
Like Billy Graham, whenever Oral Roberts was on the Telly, Grandmother would be found sitting in her chair, with her bible open to follow whatever scriptures he would read from. His voice, listen Dr. Graham's is as familiar to me as my mum's, sister' or grandmother's.
Oh I know he had his faults; don't we all? And as I grew up, I questioned many of the things he taught. But never did I question his faith.
I know that there are many will acutally celebrate his death, thinking its long overdue. Others making fun over his beliefs, his ministry, his father. I can hear the sick jokes even now as his grieving son, daughter and grandchildren prepare to lay him to rest.
Yes. I am aware of the stories-those that are true and those that are false.
I also have met many people knew Dr. Roberts and his family. Who were helped with getting an education, helped with getting their marriages restored and seeing wayward teens growing into men and women of G-d who are serving as doctors, nurses, ministers and teachers around the world.
I know people who had the honour of not only feeding at his table, but being treated as a son, as a daughter.
And from what I have heard of this man, the very people who are dancing on his grave, slinging mud and making cracks, Dr. Roberts would be the first to smile, laugh with them and offer them a place at his table.
That's the kind of person I wish to be when I grow up.
R.I.P Dr. Roberts

The Best laid Plans

Boka Tov:
Well my wonderful plans fr Hanukkah went down the toilet with my breakfast.
Two weeks ago I had a doctor's visit and had the swine flu shot.
And got sick.
Oh, it wasn't too bad the few days, just a sore throat. But then, Thrusday, the aches and fever came and by Friday, all I could manage was the lighting of the first candle.
Mum Reel took me to the store earlier in the day and I barely made it through. But I picked up much needed juce and soup fixing and frozen laktes.
They weren't that great and I missed my sour cream. And there was no way I could eat a jelly dougnut and keep it down.
So I never got to order the goose, make the Hanukkah Gingerbread House or even have my Hanukkah tea.
I have spend the Holy Day sick in bed, other than opening the gifts Mark send and lighting the candles.
So what have we learned through all of this?
That it sucks to be alone and sick during the Holy Days.
Since I am beginning to feel somewhat human again, it is time to slowly begin to air out the house and wash things down, getting rid of the gems from my being sick.
And who knows, I still might get to that Gingerbread House yet.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Instructions For Living

Shalom: Mark send this to me yesterday. In light of all the news, it was a nice reminder of that which is truly important. Sometimes I need a reminder of who I am.
And Who's I am.

Instructions For Living

A Reel Quiet House

Boka Tov;
I'm not sure if I meant it yesterday, but when I awoke, I found my voice was gone.
I had the flu shot last week and been a little achy since.
Then, some time yesterday afternoon the phone went out.
So it has been rather quiet in the Reel House.
So all I manage to do was pay the rent yesterday.
This morning, the phone is back on and I sound like Minnie Mouse.
I'm sure Mark will get a giggle out of that.
So with energy back, I am back to getting ready for my tea for Hanukkah.
To answer your question, Betty, we have a wondeful kosher section at the Market and I am going to ask the gentleman who manages it if he has any geese or if he could order one from New Jeresy.
I have invivted several folks and even plan to invite my neighors.
I just hope my gingerbread house turns out ok.

Monday, 7 December 2009

A Kosher Goose: A kosher Home

Boka Tov;
To answer Betty's question (what makes a goose kosher) is really what makes any meat or fowl kosher.
For an animal to be kosher, it must have split hooves and it must chew its cud. (Examples: cow, goat, lamb.) Non-kosher animals include pig, camel, and rabbit. Fowl such as chicken, turkey, certain duck, and certain goose are kosher. Animals and fowl must be slaughtered by a specialist (a shochet) and then soaked and salted to remove the blood. All carnivorous (meat-eating) animals and fowl, and the blood of all animals and fowl, and any derivatives or products thereof, are not kosher.
A shochet. A shochet or butcher plays the same role as the priest of old. He examines the meat for disease and then in a merciful matter, slaugthers the animal. It is then socked in salt water to remove the blood. I grew up knowing what to look for in meat (thanks to one of my uncles) and soaking it in blood.
So what makes any fowl kosher is what it has been raised on, the condition of the farm and the matter it is slaughter. And rabbi overseas these operations to make sure that everything is on the up and up.
The word kosher means 'fit and proper.' All food is kosher.
But the issue really is; what do you call food?
The book of Leviticus lays it out what G-d considers food.
Many believe that at the time of Yeshua's death, this was done away with.
But Yeshua Himself said, He came, not to destroy the Law, to do away with it, but to fulfill it. And since Yeshua is the same Yesterday, Today and Forever, for many of us, this means we keep kosher (clean) homes.
But what is a kosher home?
It is more than what we eat. It is what we wear, what we watch on the news, listen on the radio, read and speak about. It is the way we speak to those we live with and how we treat them. It is the love, honour and respect spouses show to one another, parnets to children and children to parnets. When a child fails, he knows that his mum and dad, while not pleased is willing to love him through the correction. It is when a spouse knows dispite her failings, her husband loves her.
It is a place when people enter the home, they feel not only the love of G-d and those who dwell there, but they feel peace, they feel welcome and don't hurry to leave.
It is more than meat dishes and dairy dishes, the scent Challah filling the air on Shabbath, the kindling of the lights and saying the blessing at meals.
It is the love that goes with it.
I wish you Shalom in your home.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

It's Beginning to Look Like Hanukkah

Boka Tov:
I see the sun!
Was beginning to forget what it looked like.
Today I begin to prepare for Hanukkah. I decided since Mark isn't here to keep it lowkey, but still enjoy the holy day.
There is a lovely poem I hear years ago called 'A Cup of Christmas Tea.' It is about a man who recieves a letter from his great-aunt, invivting him to come visit her for a cup of Christmas tea.
I heard it again on the radio last week and decided to do the same, but instead have a Hanukkah tea. Bake Haunkkah cookies and serve the teas of the season, which would almond and apple. I love almond tea, haven't it in years. I have a recipe for almond cookies as well and of course Hanukkah cookie cutters.
I also saw a pattern for a Hanukkah Giingerbread house and going to give that a go as well.
I just need to find a kosher goose and I'm all set.
Last week I was looking forward to Hanukkah with dread. My beloved isn't here.
But this week, I am looking forward to this season of miracles, of joy. Remembering Hanukkahs past with a smile and know my beloved and I shall share this time together in spirit.
Next year, G-d willing, we will be together.
But this year we shall share a cup of Hanukkah tea.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Shabbath From the News

Lailia Tov:
It is a cold, raining evening here. It has been all day.
Great sleeping weather.
Since the cold snap last week, my hips have been aching and the doctor put me on a small dosage of Valim. It also helps me sleep at night.
I have started doing small stretches again, refusing to give into the fear of pain once again.
I also plan to do some rearranging of the apartment. I need to get a few space heaters in here. While the Boiler heats this apartent for the most part nicely, it does take on a chill at times.
After all, the building is over one hundred years old.
So I need to rearrange two rooms for two welcome additions. Mum reel has two that look like fireplaces and I like the look.

I am taking a break from the News, even Fox.
I find myself increasing sicken by what passes as news these days. The latest of course is Tiger Woods. Instead of allowing him and his wife to work out there problems in private, every hour there is more 'breaking news.'
Well, being kosher, I don't allow swine in my home and I will nolonger allow it to air in my home. I refuse to feed at the feeding troughs known as CNN, MSBCN, Fox, etc.
With the exception of Mick Huckabee.
The daily newspaper is enough and I can wrap fish in it when done.
Both my mum and mum-in-law would say it is about time

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Enemy Camp???

Lailia Tov;

Like many Americans I stayed up to listen to Mr.Obama's speak. Of course, I made a small pot of coffee before he came on the Telly.
Even the coffee couldn't keep me from yawning.
And I don't feel bad, seeing bored Cadets and even a few nodding off.
I am sorry: the Speech was a huge yawn and inspired only our enemies.
I liked it to telling the school yard bully, I coming at you with eveything I got, but I only have ten minutes to devote to this fight.
And then Chris Matthews wonders why Mr.Obama chose to give this speech in the enemy camp.
WestPoint is now the enemy camp? I listened to the video three times to give the guy the benfit of the doubt. 
Yep, he said.
 Another good reason to keep my TV on Fox.

Mummie's Mouse

Lailia Tov:
For the last week there has been a war raging.
Between woman and mouse.
For there is now in my mum's room a mouse.
She first heard it last Monday morning and then saw it at bedtime.
One of the CNA's put down a trap with some peanut butter.
It turns out the mouse doesn't like peanut butter.
So a few days later, the same CNA tried lining the trap with cheese.
Cheese didn't catch his attention either.
It was decided at that point it was a Margerat Mouse. It just liked the peace and quiet of her room.
That's nice. Only problem is: Mummie hate mice.
Mummie and an CNA went through her room with a fine tooth comb to find out what was drawing this mouse.
A plastic mat, used for storing puzzles. Mummie hadn't used it in years. That was what the mouse was drawn to.
So the big guns were drawn in and posion laced food was laid out. This will cause the mouse to get thristy and drive it out into the fields.
We hope.
Anyway, I await to here the latest on the mouse saga.
I have this feeling if the posion doesn't work, Mummie is going after it with her cane.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Two Ears and a Heart

Boka Tov:
Well I'm up at 0:00 early again.
But that's ok. I have some cleaning to do as well as making some plans for the week.
I'd slept better these past few evenings; no more horror dreams. I believe the turkey helped me sleep better. So I plan to add on my shopping list this week turkey wings and legs for turkey soup.
Yesterday, I met with a friend at Starbucks. I haven't seen him in a while and we we needed to catch up. He's going through a rough period and so we just listened to each other, cried with each other and finally laughed. Because the weather is summer like once again, I ordered the Iced Tea Lemonaide. A first for me. I had it with green tea, since is supposse to be quite healthly.
Well it eas very good and I am going to start making it for home enjoyment.
Amoung the things my buddy David and I talked about yesterday is our words.
Have you ever had in the guise of 'cheering you up' 'giving you an encouraging word' what was really a correction-a sermon- and/or lecture? And you end up feeling worse?
Think Job's friends.
There was once a rightous man named Job.
satan felt Job was rightous because of all of the wealth G-d gave him.
So, knowing Job's heart, G-d allowed (did not cause, allowed) satan to steal his wealth.
Job praised G-d.
So satan came back and claimed it was because Job was still healthy.
G-d once again allowed satan to touch Job, this time it was his health.
Job praised G-d.
Next, satan went after Job's children.
Even Job's wife turned on him.
Job still praised G-d.
So here came three of Job's freinds.
For one week, they sat with him, mourned with Job.
But on the eight day, they blew it.
Their words were of no comfort to Job. In fact, they blamed Job for his troubles. The three would have done better to keep their mouth shut.
In Hospics Care, there is a saying: if you don't know what to say, say nothing.
How often I have caught myself giving pat, spiritual answers, when the person just needed a hug, for me to hold them their hand or find out how they like their Starbucks coffee.
Sometimes, I just need to use my two ears and my heart.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Another Weekend

Lailia Tov;
Well it is the end of another evening. Soon the weekend will be over and another week begins.
I had a hard time sleeping last night, so i began a new book, one I'd read before and it was time to pick up again.
There are those times you just need to reconnect to who you are and Who's you are.
Mark did call this afternoon. How good it was to hear his voice.
I told him I had one of "those dreams" and we talked about it. One of the thing I love about Mark is that I don't have to worry about "it's just a dream, Laini, get over it!" He knows as well as I it happens and the the best think is to allow me to talk about it.
My sister-in-law reminded me of a song, years ago, called The Warrior is a Child. I love that song and need to dig it out.
It tales the tale of a warrior Who runs to her Heavenly Father for healing, to be picked up, for strenght. That no one sees what she/he goes through but G-d. We as believers are His arms, His eyes. We are to embrace each other when hurting, pick up the fallen and heal the sick. But too often, we tend to cause more hurts, let each other down, even leave each other in the mud. And it has nothing to do with being imperfect or human. It is pure and simple failing to live up what we claim to be.
And there are folks watching to see if we are who we say we are.
I have to remind myself of that when I'm at the UPS store.
So I am doing my hair and calling it an early night.
I think I shall sleep this time.