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.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Second Day of Thanksgiving

The morning didn't start well.
I had one of 'those dreams.'
If you are a military sponse, child and/or parnet, you know what 'that dream is.'
It is the dream where your loved dies.
My ended with having to tell Mark's parnets of his passing.
I awoke rather early, trying to remind myself that it was just a dream.
But I just couldn't shake off that feeling of dread.
So I prayed and prepared for the day.
I had to go in for blood test before my doctor's appointment next week, so this morning was an early one. I showered, dressed and headed out for the Lab, which wasn't far.
I kept with the 'shaking this off.' Yes, one has to go through the emotion, but not stand there.
After blood work, I headed for the bakery to pick the Challal and stopped for Starbucks.
I thanked the dear lady who made my coffee; it was the best Peppermint Mocha I'd ever had.
I then came home and made another cup of coffee, this time to go with a slice of the cranberry-nut bread mum Reel send me home with.
By this time I had shaken off the dread and could once again move on with my plans for the day.
Since I have plenty of leftovers, there is no need to cook. So I plan to crochet this afternoon and watch a movie.
I plan a nice quiet weekend, because next week gets busy.
I start Operation Love Afghanistan. It isn't just school supplies needed, but also candles and blankets, sweaters, socks, shoes. Afghanistan is one of the poorest nations and this is why the Taliban is so appearing to many of the people: working for the Taliban gives one the money one needs to live. Much like many of our poor here get involve with gangs and drugdealers to feed and cloth their families.
So next week I begin to shop and collect blankets, candles, clothing, school supplies and even toys to send as well as sending Hanukkah cards to our Jewish soldiers.
I rather like being part of the work my hubby is doing.
I think I shall pull out the army boots Mark brought me.
I feel like I'd earned now.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Boka Tov:
The collard greens are done and at the moment safe in the Fridge.
Onion and Sage Stuffing is baking in the oven and smelling very good.
I just hope they make it to the folks.
I spoke to Mark last night. The phone kept dying (network was down) But we did manage to share Thanksgiving memories.
This time of the year holds special meaning for us. It is the time we realize we were more than friends. When Mama Jordan and Mark met for the first time. We had just learned Mark had cancer and weren't sure if this would be his last with us. It is when Mark said he did wish to marry me one day.
It is when we shared our first thanksgiving not just with family, but held a Thanksgiving Dinner for the Seniors at Beth Messiah. It is when I make the biggest pots of collard greens and pull out the recipe for Onion and Sage stuffing I found in an old english cookery book.
It is watching videos of the Thanksgiving From the History channel and The Mayflower; The Untold Story.
It is the time when I have send and recieved Thanksgiving cards during three different deployments. Including this one.
It is late night hot Turkey sandwiches and coke with my beloved.
Next year, G-d willing, it will be Thanksgiving in Williamburge and one day Plymouth. Then we shall have more memories to share with the children we still pray G-d will give us.
Memories we shall share over and over.
On a quiet night as we cuddle on the sofa.
Or over the phone during another deployment.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Lailia Tov;
I am taking a break from preparing for tomorrow to share some of my thoughts on Thanksgiving.
I love this time of the year. Oh not the weather, but the quiet that begins to settle upon the earth. I think of late Autumn and Winter as Shabbat for the earth; so that she may also sleep, she may also rest.
People become reflected this time of the year; looking back over the past twelve months and looking to see what changes they would like to make in the coming year.
But for the Jew, we have already done that. The month of Ehud falls between August and September. This is the last month of the Jewish year. The month is used to reflect over our deeds and the beginning of the time of repentence.  Our New Year (Rosh HaShanna) begins at the same time we start to bring the harvest. It is also the beginning of the Days of Awe leading to the Day we stand before G-d. Then a week later, it is Sukkah, rejoicing in the hravest and the blessings G-d has brought in our lives.
In fact, our modern Thanksgiving is model after Sukkah; the thanksgiving feast.
I always find it interesting when folks try to divorce the biblical meaning to this day. The Pilgrims, who model their lives are the Children of Isreal, chose to follow their example to give thanks to G-d for all He has done.
And will do
In our home on this day, there is no Football. It is a Day given to G-d and Family. For the sharing of stories, playing games, enjoying the blessing of our table and talking to family in Ohio, South Carolina, Montanta and Afganistan.
So to all of my beloved friends and family who read this blog, May the Holy Bless you richly and Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Week That Was

Lailia Tov:
As you can see from the above, this is the aftermath of the Nor'Easter that blew through a few weeks ago.

I actually took a picture of this tree a few days before the storm. This tree, like some many here in Ghent, was over one hundred years old. This tree, along with another at the corner, blocked off the street. That's its root in the picture above.
We are still cleaning up.
If you read the last entry, you knew I had a mini crisis during this time.
A time of tears and fighting fear. Crying out to G-d and wondering if He heard me or even cared.
There are many who would question my "lack of faith" or my "failing to trust G-d."
But I am reminded of the Song Book, Psalms. There are hundreds of songs and prayers crying out to G-d such as I did and in the end, G-d meets them, just as He met me.
As I laid in my bed Thrusday night, I realize what I was going through was pure hell. This is what Hell is like; cut-off from everyone, from light and life, sound and touch. Even the face of G-d.
A place I do not wish ever to go.
But the next evening, as I crawled into the warm, sweet smelling bed in the guest bedroom of mum and dad, this is heaven. It is light and life, surrounded by people who love you.
And it is warm!
Since Dad allowed me to use his computer, I was leave a message for Mark that I was home with his folks. I was so tired that the first time he called my cell-phone, I slept through the first ring and by the time I realize the phone was ringing the second time, he'd rung off when I answered.
But he finally got through and was relieved to know I was safe and with his parnets.
I stayed with mum and dad until Monday. By then, the lights were back on and the heat was on by that evening. I had gone to church with them that Sunday. It was good to see old friends.
I truly loved being with mum and dad. They showered me with love and I truly felt I was home and welcomed.
I confessed to both mama Jordan and mum Reel my meltdown that thrusday night, friday morning. Both lovingly assured me that given the circumstances, they could see how one could react as I did and it wasn't a lack of faith. It was a holding onto what I knew to get me through.
Lessons learned?
Keep a flashlight in the house (Mark took our with him)
Keep plenty of C batteries.
Keep my over night bag packed.
Stock up on Wine Coolers.

The Nor'Beaster

Well, I'm back.
Last week, we were hit here in Virginia with an Nor'Easter. It rolled in Wednsday.
I'd seen the duck in the canone that morning and was a little concern that I had somehow missed the notice to build an ark. Many of my friends in Virgina Beach lost power and even had lakes in front of their homes. Some even flooded.
In my neighorhood, we got the wind, the rain and even streets flooded, but we were riding it out.
Realizing that this wouldn't blow through before the weekend and I did need a few things from the store, I decided to Man-Up and headed out that afternoon.
Seemss many of my neighors had the same idea.
I had just gotten bak to the apartment, popped  the last of the frozen Chili in the micowave to heat up and begun to put the food away when the power went out.
It was 4 pm.
I didn't think it too bad. We usully get power back on within four hours. I even saw the Power company truck in front of my house.
At eight p.m. I began to become concern. The Power truck had long left.
No phone. No lights. No heat.
 Using my cell-phone and called my mum so she wouldn't panic and then again using my cell phone, I was able to log onto facebook and leave a message for Mark to call on the cell, since the power was out.
I laid in my bed, under a blanket, the apartment now icy cold.
It was that ickly dark that you can't see your own hand. Thankfully, I did have candles. But darkness swallowed its light up. We had D batteries.
I needed C.
So it was dark and as silient as the grave.
For the first time I understood why some many military spouses turned to drink. I could have used a wine cooler at this moment.
This is what Hell feels like.
I began to cry, I don't know for how long. Just that my throat began to hurt.
My prayer was my tears.
And then I began to sing the songs I knew as a child and felt asleep.
Hours later, several loud booms woke me, lighting the ebony sky an eerie green. Several generators had explosed, one right after the other, filling the air and shaking the buildings for several blocks.
I checked my facebook via and found that Mark had left a message on my page, trying to reach me.
And my cell phone battery was dying.
Again I fought fear and tears and lost the battle. Again crying myself to sleep.
Friday morning found me groggy and heating water on the store.
Thank G-d the gas was still on. But we had no hot water. So I had to heat water for not only tea and chili for my am meal, but to wash up.
I debated whether to go and get batteries when a screw fell out of my glasses and they fell off.
Another tantum.
Once I pulled myself together, I headed out the door to get an eyeglass repair kit and batteries. On the way to the store, I walked the full lenght of of street and found two older trees and two power poles had been uprooted and fell against power and phone wires.
That explains why it was taking so long to get the power back on.
On my home, I stopped at a Pay phone and called my in-laws to assure them I was OK.
Who was I fooling? I couldn't assure ME I was doing OK.
Thank G-d my sister-in-law, who lives in Ohio, saw my message to Mark and called his folks. So they knew my plight.
I told mum not to come and get me, since I wasn't sure what the roads looked like in their area. But after I got home and realize; 1. I didn't buy enough batteries and 2. it was even colder in the apartment and 3. with those trees and power poles, no telling when the power would be back on, I had enough juice in the phone battery to call mum back and asked them to come and get me.
A few hours later, after gathering some laundry, picking up the apartment as much as I could, I laid down on the sofa and waited.
Mum's knock on the door was music to my ears.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

If you can read this thank a teacher. If you can this in english thank a Soldier.
Thank you to all who have served, serving now and their families.

Boka Tov:
It is a cold, rainy day here in TideWater; someone forgot to send me the notice to build an Ark. I had planned to go to a Veteran's Day Parade in Portsmouth, but what we believe to be an NorthEastern blowing in, stopped me.
So today is a day of coffee and quilting and maybe some writing. I have a few movies I rented and this is a good day to get into them.
Today I wish to give thanks to all the Veterans both here in America as well as thoses Veterans of other courtries, who served with us.
Ninety-one years ago today, at 11 AM on the 11th day of the 11th month, the armistice that ended World War 1 went into effect. To commemorate this, congress declared Nov. 11th Armistice Day, thus beginning what has become known as Veterans' Day. The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war. In many parts of the world, at 11:00 am, there is two minutes of silence, to remember the twenty million who died.
Also known as Remembance Day, this day is not just a day to remember American Veterans, but those of our Allies, to whom I also salute and give thanks to all who fought and have fought for our freedoms.
I also thank and salutes those left to man the homefront.
The military is a family busniess: we are make sacrifices to see that our nation is protected and defended.
 I remember when the War on Terrisiom began. There were Protesters along the streets of downtown Norfolk, speaking out against the War.
There was, as always, a yelling mate between those who stood behind the choice and those against.
A teenager walking up to an older man, and said: "my dad is going to miss my 18th birthday because he is defending your right to protest." And then the boy walked away.
So, as my Mark, my soldier would say: "To those who serve or have served, thank you. For welcome else. Your welome."

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

NaBloPoMo: A Hard Day, A Painful Reminder

Lailia Tov:
If you watched the Memorial Service on the Telly this afternoon, you know how painful and yet moving it was.
I cried through the whole thing.
The blowing of Taps always rips at my heart.
For 13 families, this is just the beginning and I pray for each one.
It is hard enough dealing with a loved one in harm's way.
But to have on our one who wore the umiform....
I sat there, mourning with mums and dads, sisters and brothers, children, friends. Fellow soldiers. Our hearts are broken, but not our spirit.
As always we shall go on.
Our fallen soldiers would expect nothing less of

NaBloPoMo: Healthcare

After reading and hearing about the Healthcare Bill, I decided to add my two cent.
I come from another point of view.
As a single parent, we lived on Welfare for several years, that included Medicaid.
Medicaid was created July 30, 1965 to meet the needs of low income and poor families.
Hower,  poverty alone does not necessarily qualify an individual for Medicaid. It is estimated that approximately 60 percent of poor Americans are not covered by Medicaid.
Like many insurers, Medicaid has services they do not cover. And like insurers, there have been times my doctors had to fight to the services me or my son needed.
 There were doctors that wouldn't even touch a Medicaid patient; the reimbursement is poor at best. As one of my former doctors told me: he just couldn't allow to take care of Medicaid patients
 And in some cases the care is poor. In fact, I almost lost my life if it wasn't for another doctor stepping in. The reason? The first doctor didn't take the time to run the test needed. In his words, "medicaid patients aren't worth it." My doctor referred me to another for the operation I needed. This doctor performed the needed operation for free, so upset he was about about my treatment by of his own.
Not don't get me wrong, I had some very fine doctors and fine Social Workers. But it is government run. And if you have ever dealt with the government.....
I have also been in Public Housing and have nightmare stories as well. That which was suppose to make sure every person has a home, makes one jump through hoops to get an apartment. Again, because of the poor reimbursement, many landlords will not enroll in the HUB program.
Once I got off welfare and started my own busniess, I began one of those 60 percent who could not get medicaid.
So I had the choice of no insurance ( I have asthmas, not an option) or find another means. The medical school here in my city has a low income clinic where I could pay a small fee and be seen. There was also Satate and Local care that covers such things as a visit to the ER or an operation. But that's if there is money for the services.
This year, there is no money.
Several years ago, I was able to get insurnace and now, being married to Mark, I am covered.
But I know what it is like to have the "Public Option." I know what it is like to have the government as your father and husband, telling you what you can and cannot do, where you can and cannot live. An like the rebellious teen straining at the bit, break off the lead and get out on my own.
My advise to Mr. Obama, to Congress, to the House, would be to expland the programs that you already have. Make it easier for the 60 percent of Americans to obtain Medicaid. Pay Healthcare providers better.
But then again, why would anyone listen to me? I'm just a bitter old white man who's mad because their party lost the election.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The BookSeller of Kabal: My Thoughts

Lailia Tov;
It has been a good and peaceful day. It's get everything done, but hey! there is always tomorrow.
I finally dragged myself through the Bookseller of Kabul. The book ended on a very bad note. Rather depressing, filled with dread, like Leilia, the youngest sister: one's heart turns to dust and it is swept out with the morning dirt.
If you have read my first review on this book, you know I didn't care for it.
Now allow me to say: I hated it.
Ms.Seierstad choices to narrate from an fly on the wall viewpoint. She does not appear in the story, nor does she become part of the family, but remains a stranger looking in, a ghost if you will.
 She remains.....a  reporter...
 A reporter, cloaked in speculation and condescension with a veneer of journalistic self-rightious.
Ms.Seierstad delivers on golden plates the warm, juicy, sensationalism she knows we Westerners will eat up.....
 There is Sultan's being the favorite son and showing a head for busniess early on....
 A split with a younger brother who will not respect him. The courtship of the 16-year-old who became his second wife, against the wishes of his mother and the pleas of his first wife. Together with the Taliban book-burning, within the first several pages.These events, she did not witness, but reported upon.
And then there is the scene in the bath house. The english translation,  tame conpared to how it is really written in the author's mother tongue,  makes one blush, but for such a modest culture, this scence would feel like a rape. Yes, I said rape. For I have several muslim friends and such things are just not discussed. There are other scences I will not mention. Let's just say they shame not only Sultan Khan and his family, but thoughs around them as well.
Having cared for my mother in my home for several months after her stroke, I utter at the thought of such a scence written about us.
 I have been told by many who have been to Afghanistan that  polygamy is uncommon, that the middle-aged men they have  met had grown old with their wives and love them dearly. That they will sell everything they own to make sure their children recieve an education and they adore their wives, children, and their parnets. There is no reason why Sultan wishes another bride,
 What truly sadden and yes made me angry is that the author never tried to find out why Khan and his family did  the things she describes.  Sultan Khan himself remains an enigma, a man who endured two prison terms for selling books by immersing himself in Persian poetry. A man who demands respect, yet shows none. Willing to pay for his young bride to learn to read and write, yet pulled his sons out of school to mind his shops. The author never took the time to find out who Khan  was, or to try to explain his contradictions.
Contradictions that truth be told lie in all of us.
I felt cheated, betrayed. This was not the story I was expecting. And I am sure Ms. Seierstad could care less. In fact, she would take one look at me and think me as oppressed and as backwards as the women of Afghanistan.
For me, The Bookseller of Kabul was like watching CNN.
Which I hadn't watched in years.
Interesting, Mr. Khan has written his own book, There Once was a Bookseller in Kabul.
Now that should be an interesting read.

If The Shoe Don't Fit,.... It Ain't Your Shoe.

Boka Tov:
Well once again I'm up at 0:Early.
I know the reason; mourning.
Mourning the deaths of 13 Amercian heroes. As I learn of each of their stories, I realize how much we truly lost. A young woman who told her mother she was going to find Osama Bin Laden herself. A young woman having her first child, a baby that died before it was born. A soldier who was married two months ago. A 54 year Nurse Practitioner. This is what we as a nation have been robbed of.
That same evening I learned of the death of a sweet little girl, just 15 years old.
No wanted to discuss how she died or what happen. The silence told all. A few days ago I would learn the whole story. A story I already from the silence. I story I'd heard too many times having worked with teens. I hope this causes parnets to talk to their kids, I mean have real, heart talk with their children.
So I have been doing a lot of praying this weekend.
I rmember Amir and his Baba from The Kite Runner. Baba is explaining to his son that there is only one sin. Stealing.  All sin is rooted in stealing.If you, you rob someone of thier right to know the truth. When you kill, you have robbed a husband, a wife, children and friends of their love and support, you have robbed the world of a soul. You rob joy and replace it with grieve. Our actions do affect those around us; for good or evil. I continue to pray for all who mourn.
It is a new week, that means a new beginning. It's a nice sunny day and I need to pickup boxes for Mark's CarePackages and start getting them ready this week. I might even do some shopping for me as well.
I started a puzzle last night. The gathering of the animals for the Ark. I had brought the three part series a few years ago, but haven't don them yet. So this week is a good week.
As I worked, I was reminded of all the life lessons I'd leanred doing puzzles. It was something my sister, my mum and I could enjoy without War World III breaking out.
And one of the things I was reminded of is: if the piece doesn't fit don't force it.
How many times do we try a force things to fit, to work; a career, a friendship or relationship, too small jeans. It just isn't going to work.
Find the piece that does.
I remember during Mark's last deployment, I went out to find some boots. There was this cute pair I really wanted. And they were my size.
Or so I thought. Becuase of the way the boot was made, I really needed a larger size.
I didn't want to admit that. So I tried to force that boot on my foot.
After a few minutes I realize, these aren't my boots.
If the shoe don't fit, (or in this case, the boot) it ain't your shoes.
Well, after a few weeks of searching, I did find just the boots I wanted. Costed alittle more, but better made and very comfortable.
Now I need to find another cute jean skirt to match it.
Enjoy your day :)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

My Thought For the Evening

Lailia Tov;
It is the eveningtide here in Virginia.
I just finished a yummy suffer supper of pasta and sauce I made a few nights ago. Always better the next day. The kettle is on boil, plannig a nice cup of hot chocolate. My aunt Michael makes the best hot chocolate and I hope I do her justice in my efforts.
It is a quiet night here.
But then, it always is. Even when Mark is home.
For believe it or not, Mark and I aren't loud people.
Oh, we do know how to have fun, we have been out with friends and gotten into fits of giggles that causes heads to turn. But all and all, we know how to have fun and yet there is a peace in our lives. In our home. It is a peace one chose's, a peace G-d gives.
And even with Mark being deployed and we live our lives often moment to moment, I do have a wonderful life, one I would not trade for all the Mint tea in Morocco.
For my life is filled with purpose and love, joy that takes the string out of pain.
I once told Mark I would go with him through Hell itself; for I knew on the other side is Paradise. My devotion and love for G-d is even greater.
It is quiet in my house. It is peaceful and warm.
Yes, I miss my beloved. He is in my heart and I am in his.
It has been a good day and a good evening. I shall spend the evening with the Lover of my soul.
And hopefully, my beloved will call.
Night all.

A Bright, Bright, SunShiney Day

It is a beautiful November day. I walked out with a Peacock blue shawl, thinking the day cool and found within minutes I was carrying it on my arm.
I attended a service at the Church my friends attend. The sermon was wonderful and I enjoyed the hymns. I'm going to call later in the week and ask if I may come in and take pictures for my blog, A Jew With a View. The inside is amazing. I reconnected with my friends; it had been so long since we'd seen each other. Turns out the Church is starting an outreach to military wives and families. Something that is truly needed in this area.
Now that I'm home, I am planning a quick lunch and then getting down to the busniess of cleaning my house. One of the disadvanges of not having children, I don't have little ones for whom I need to keep myself and the home together for. I have to remind myself I have to take care of me, for G-d, for my beloved, for myself. And that included our home.
And it is a beautiful day for it; the Sunday is high and warm, there is a nice, soft breeze. A good day to draw back the curtains and open the windows.

LoveFromIraq: Your Son, Your Friends, Your Husband, The Killers#links

LoveFromIraq: Your Son, Your Friends, Your Husband, The Killers#links

Boka Tov:
This morning I got up bright and early.
A change of pace for me.
I have reconnected with some friends I lost touch with years ago and I am meeting up with them at their church. Which is a 20 minute walk from my home. It will be so good to see them again.
Then I come and clean the apartment. I confess, I have not been keeping tidy as I should.
No one is here to care.
And then I remember: I am Somebody and I care.
Chat with ya later.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Captain's Visit

Getting ready to start my day. Soon I will go on patrol to look for suitable places to emplace a karez (an ancient form of water storage and distribution).

Lailia Tov:
Mark called me about an hour ago.
This is his second day at a Army Camp that, on a fact finding mission. On this Base, he can even get on facebook briefly and we were able to chat after we got off the phone. The above is the message he left for our friends.
Mark was telling me that one of the main problems in Afghanistan is water. It isn't that they don't have any; it is storage. Because of the mountians and the snow that is gathered, plus the rain, the people of Afganistan don't how to collect and store the water and snow that could reduce their water problem greatly. So today, Mark is going out into field with a gentleman who can help improve the water storage for the people  and their use. This will go a long way in also improving the people's over all health as well as their crops.
As we were talking on the phone, LoneStar's I'm Already There, began to play. Mark said; "their singing our song."
It was then I realize I haven't sung to my husband since just before he left for Afghanistan. So I sang our song to my Beloved.
It felt good and he loved it.
It's moments like this that I miss the most.

LoveFromIraq: Love From.....?#links

LoveFromIraq: Love From.....?#links

Friday, 6 November 2009

Me and My Sari

Lailia Tov:
First, thanks to welcome who is praying for the soldiers and their families at Fort Hood. We are still trying to wrap our brain around the fact that one of our would do such a thing. Right after this, I learned that a sweet young girl I knew had died that evening as well. Out of respect for her family, I cannot go into details, just ask for your prayers for her family and friends who are left to mourn.
This morning was the day of having my protrait taken.
Last night I decided to wear the Sari Mark brought for me at the Indian Feastival in April. He hasn't seen me in it and so I thought this was a good time.
A Sari is a strip of unstitched cloth, ranging from four to nine metres in length that is draped over the body in various styles. The most common style is for the sari to be wrapped around the waist, with one end then draped over the shoulder baring the midriff.
I'd wore it once, having finally learned how to wear it period. And I love the look.

However, when I arrived at the store, putting on my lovely garment, it had a mind of its own. I realize too late that the petticoat I chose was too heavey and fought againt the Butterfly soft material of my Sari. It took 35 minutes and then my hair, which had been spilling over my shoulders like waves, was a massive mess and I had to rebraid it.
Anyway, the shot was over in 20 minutes. It was a lot of fun and I truly hope Mark his latest "Pinup."
Tonight I am making roasted chicken with stuffing and streamed veggies for Shabbat Supper.
And thinking about my beloved.

Mail Call!Supporting the Troops: Keeping the Ft. Hood community in my prayers...#links

Mail Call!Supporting the Troops: Keeping the Ft. Hood community in my prayers...#links

For anyone who would like to send a card, teddy bear, blanket, to comfort a family, a frighten child, please go to the above link. Many say they support our troops; this family puts feet to prayers.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Murder At Fort Hood

Lailia Tov;
Around 1:30 p.m. at Fort Hood, Texas, there was an attack on Base, at this time, a lone gunman.
At first the reports were he was shot and killed. Now he is alive and in stable condition.
A muslim man in his late 30s, single, no children.
He joined the military agianst his family's wishes. After the War on Terrorism began, his views on the service changed. He did not believe we should be in Iraq and Afghanistan and fighting his deployment. He hired an lawyer to fight, but no go. He had hoped Mr.Obama would quickly return the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. But when that did not happen, he began more angry and was known to exchange angry words about the war, about Amercia.
He had served in Walter Reed for six years, leaving the hosptial in July for Hood.
There are many Amercians, both muslim and non-muslim who are against the War, yet they do not set out to kill Amercian servicemen and women.
I have not written his name. By choice. For his has dishonoured and disgraced the umiform he once wore. He has killed his brothers and sisters, killed fellow Amercians. He has brought shame to his name, his family and his faith.
I pray for the families who have lost loved ones and for us; for the military is a family and one of our own has turned his weapon on his fellow soilders. A thing that is not done.
I am sure there are those who would try to explain or defend his actions.
Don't bring it here! I have a dog in this fight. I am married to a soldier, the daugher and granddaughter of soilders, the mum of a navy Chief. And the excuses don't fly here.
May those who died rest in peace and may G-d comfort the living.

A Sweet Surprise and Bright Spots

Boka Tov:
It was 9:21 pm
I decided to call it a night.
After, Mark was in the field and I wouldn'r hear from him until next week.
And then phone rang.
I knew who it was...
"Hi baby....I just had to find a phone, I just need to hear my beloved's voice."
"It is barren here, Laini. Every few trees, mountains, even with the sun out, this place is gray and dready. I need to hear the voice of Sunshine."
The name Elayne (Eileen) means 'Sunshine' or "Sunlight.'
"You need a plant."
So I have added seeds, a small bag of soil and a plastic pot to the ever growing list of things to send. This way he has something green and alive around him. Plants have amazing way to revive the soul. And working in the soil is great therapy.
He can also leave it for the next Civil Affairs officer that replaces him next year. Brighten things up in a gray place.
I went to sleep with a smile upon my face.

The Great Live Without G-d-Out

Boka Tov:
Yeah, you read right: The Great Live Without G-d-Out.
No, it isn't a joke. And it it Co-led by a former Paster, now.
While on facebook, answering a message from a friend, my eye spotted an ad for th Great Live Without G-d-out. Fashion after the Great Amercian Smoke out which its aim is to help the Smoker for at least one day live without smoking and this just might be the starting off point of breaking the habit, so it the aim of this day. For one day, live your life as if there is no G-d. And one of the things those who take part in this day is to lobby for geniune Separation of Church and State.
I started not to write about this at all.
But then I thought, people, even those who claim to believe in Him, live their lives as if there is no G-d anyway. And while in this nation we have Freedom of religion, to believe and practice whatever faith we hold, I also believe we are free NOT worship. Unlike the days when the Taliban reigned in Afghanistan, men are not dragged out of their places of employment or home and taken to the Mosque to pray.
And yes, I know my American history. In fact, I know it better than most. One day I shall share why.

There was a time, when the first settlers arrived here, folks were indeed forced to go to Church and punished if they did not. They were often placed in Stocks, the above picture. Or faced forty lashes. Sometimes both.
I am so thankful those days are over, since G-d wants people to come and worship Him, not because they are forced to, but because they wish to.
I once asked an Atheist friend of my, how can you have such strong reactions to something you don't believe in.
 She just at me like I'd gone a third eye.
"You say you hate G-d and then you say you don't believe in Him. How can you hate that which you don't believe in.

My friend thought for a moment and said: "I never thought about it. Your right. I do believe in G-d. I hate Him."
It was at that moment we could get to heart of what was bothering my friend.
Coming from a very religious background, she felt G-d and religjon stopped her from doing all of the things she wished to do. She wanted Freedom From Religion.
I asked my friend (and yes we are still friends) "I am a religious person. Do you see such choke holds on my life?"
She smiled and for the very first time in friendship, I saw my friend cry: "I wish I could believe as you do."

My friend has begun her jounry of faith. G-dspeel Bud.
For me, I cannot begin to imagine my life without G-d, nor do I wish to. I have been a believer of the Holy One since age five, Not because I was told to. But because in the way only a child knows, I just knew He is.
Over the years, I did learn that The Easter Bunny (who I have yet figured how he has anything to do with Easter) Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy (Tooth Fairy never visited our home; Gran brought the baby's teeth) were all make believe fun for childhood memories, G-d was never part of that.
I can't live with G-d one second, let alone one day.
I know there folks who feel differently. It isn't that don't believe in G-d: they hate Him. And like teens coming from controling homes (either real or imaigined) they can't wait to break free once out on their own. They not only want G-d out of their lives, but of the heart of  this nation's.
Freedom From Religion.
I would like Freedom From Booming Rap music coming from cars and Soft Porn pasted on BillBoards and TV shows.
But I am sure there will be those who will take up the challenge. And after that, I would like to see those same folks live one day with G-d.
That would be interesting.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

We have a New Governor, Virginia

Boka Tov:
We are knew before the Polls closed that Mr. Robert MacDonnell would be our next Governor.
Frankly, Mr. Deeds handed him the Keys to the office; he really just laid back until a few months ago and then came out as an attack dog.
Too little. Too late.
And while I thought and think that Mr. Donnell is the best man for the job, I am not so bold as to declare that G-d has returned to Virginia.
Follks, He has always been here, just as He is in every state. Just as He is in every corner of the world. If you  would but open your eyes; you shall Him. He is in China. True, the Chinese believers don't have the freedoms we enjoy. But allow me to point out that there are more Christians in china than there are in the Untied States?
If Mr. Deeds had won the election, G-d is still G-d. He is still in control. He works through He wills.
After all there was once occasion he spoke to a man of G-d through a Jack-Ass.
And He still uses them.
We are commanded to pray for our leaders, not whine and complain that "our religious freedoms are being stripped away."
Again I point to the likes of Moses, Daniel, Yeshua Himself and His followers.
 And I don't mean: "Oh G-d throw the bums out." But for wisdom to govern those in their charge. To be just to all. Yes, as critzens we not only have the right, but also the duty to know about those wishing to lead this nation. I also believe people of faith should not only know what the issues of the day are, but be involved. We need more Mick HuckaBees, Mitt Romeys and Sarah Palin. And they need to be up, not only for the task, but to have their noses bloody because for the most part, Media isn't very kind to people of faith.
But what troubles me that the devotion, the passion I see that truly belongs to G-d is going to the likes of Mr.Bush, Mr. Obama, Mrs. Palin and to political parties.
We seem to forget: we are traveling through. This world is not our home. It is the Messiah, not us through the Polls that will bring in the Kingdom of G-d.
I find it funny that folks of all political strips claim Yeshua is on their side. Just the other day I saw a bummer sticker that read: "Jesus rode the back of a donkey, not an elephant." Now I have to admit that was pretty good.
But I what I am reminded of one is one my faovite stories in The Bible.
In the book of Joshua, chapter five, the Hebrews had just cross the Jordan into the land G-d promised (thus the Promised Land) and facing new battles.
When Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in His hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?" "Neither," He replied, "but as Commander of the army of the L-RD I have now come."
When Yeshua shows up, He doen't take Politcal Party sides, He takes over. The question isn't, " is Who's side is G-d on, but are we on His."
Go ahead and throw stones; their great for my rose garden.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

I like my Bread Toasted, Thankyou

Do not meddle in the affairs of Dragons and Laini, for thou are crunchy and go great with Grey Poupon. And I so love a fresh human for breakfast.

Boka Tov;
It is Election Day here in Virginia.
The past few days my facebook page has been littered with pushes for this guy and that lady. And while it is their right, I have hidden them for I am tired of someone  screaming "Virginia! vote for Deeds! vote for MacDonnell!"
But where I draw the line is my inbox.
Several dear souls decided it wasn't enough to just to give a shout out (or maybe they knew I had hidden them, so as not to see their messages) to tell me who I should vote for and worse; if I don't support their guy (Deeds AND MacDonnell supporter) I am ung-dly, unamerican and worse, wish to see this state return to the Dark Ages.
I had a problem with being label a race-traitor because I didn't support Mr. Obama and now someone wishes to label me ung-dly because I don't openly support their chose?
How dare they!
How dare anyone!
Sorry, but the Taliban don't live here. And if they did, as Mark often points out, they would feel my Wooden Spoon.
No one tells me I HAVE to vote (I don't have to). No one tells me HOW to vote. That is between me and G-d. No one tells me what to think, feel or believe. Or who my friends are and are not (though Mark and I have had a few discussions about that)
To do is at one's own risk.
Ask Mark.
You just might end on my breakfast table. I like my meat well done, bread lightly toasted, heavy on the Grey Poupon and a nice pot of Earl Grey.

Monday, 2 November 2009

The BookSeller of Kabal

You don't have to lie about anyone because the truth about everyone is bad enough.

Mark told me right off: "You are going to get very angry with this book. You are going to go after Sultan Khan and his son with a spoon."
Mark was right: I did get angry reading this book.
Much of it was indeed in part because of Sultan Khan and his seven-teen year old son Mansur, how each treated the memebers of the family.
But most of it was the author herself.
It is just after the fall of the Taliban. War reporter Asne Seierstad, finds a bookshop and meets an elegant gryhaired man, the owner of the bookshop. After several visits, Anse is invited to Sultan Khan (not his real name) for the evening meal.
Here, the reporter meets many of Sultan's family and she decides she wishes to write a book about Sultan and his family.
He agrees.
She states shw would need to live with him and his family.
He agrees and so for three months Asne is part of the Khan family, experiencing first hand his family life in the newly liberated city.
I frankly thought I would read a story about  the BookSeller of Kabul; about how he came to be a seller of books, his customers and stories about the books themselves. I even had this imgaine of his telling stories to his family and friends, much like 1001 Arabian Nights.
It wasn't.
Yes, one does learn how Sultan became a lover and sell of books, how he kept his business going. But it stops there.
The stories of the Bathing House, a family wedding and a trip to the Bazaar are the highlights of the book. How women in burkas  keep track of each other; by looking down for familiar shoes. That the BathHouse is one of those few places women have some freedoms, can feel clean and fresh, even if it is for a short time.
Over the weekend, I had to pu the book down. I was becoming the women I was reading about.
I have a few more chapters to go, but I fear this is no happy ending in sight.
I find it interesting, but I shall not read this book again.
Nor do I recommend it.

Chili Making and Goals

Lailia Tov:
The weather warmed up a bit and I headed out for the store.
It is Chili weather and it is time to make a big pot.
So, as I work on this entry, the Chili is in the kitchen, doing its thing.
Ah I can smell it even now.
But I shall be good and after it cools, put the Chili away until tomorrow.
Chili, like soups and stews are best served 24 hours after their made. Some of it I shall for the coming winter months.
Tonight, it is leftovers.
Since Mark is on his mission, as I stated on the other Blog LoveFromIraq (I need to change that title since he is in Afghanistan) I have my as well.
Part of it is taking care of myself.
Another is getting goals for myself, things I wish to do, to learn.
One is finishing the Blog, We Made Our Own Huppah. I'd stopped midway and I really need to finish it. I enjoy looking back on those early days, reliving that precious time in our lives and how they are the backdrop, the fountation of where we are today.
I have friends who are having babies and I need to get those colourful balls of yarn made into baby blankets. I also need to get in touch with a Hospic program and offer to make Afghans for ill patients. There is a comfort that a blanket made with prayer and love can bring.
Mark is sleep right now.
Sleep well, beloved.