Tuesday, 28 December 2010

We came home to the welcome scent of lilies. (Mark)


I woke up yesterday to the embrace of my Beloved.  Slowly opening my eyes, I looked into the beautiful face of Laini and wished I could stay there all day.  Alas, I knew I had to arise and start my day, so I got up, took a shower, and said my prayers.  Before we went downstairs, we looked outside to see how it looked after the snow finally stopped.

  We were greeted to a holiday greeting card picture.  The snow covered the trees and laid on the ground and buildings in an unspoiled blanket of white.  After taking in the beauty, I started moving the luggage down to the car…it’s amazing: we only left for three days, and yet our luggage filled up the back seat of Princess (our car)!  Where did we get all of this baggage?  Did it reproduce?  Did we have luggage babies?  After we had breakfast of home fries, mixed fruit, and coffee, we began our trip back to Norfolk.  It was a nice drive – the highway was clear until we reached the exit for Norfolk, and that is when we hit the ice and snow that had not been cleared yet. 

Driving through Norfolk was treacherous as there were huge patches of ice – talk about nerve racking.  We headed to Starbuck’s for our usual drink: Peppermint Mocha Latte made with whole milk and an extra shot of espresso and an extra pump of Peppermint.  We also got a treat and sat in the seating area, drinking our drinks and munching on our Gingerbread Loaf.  We chitchatted for a little while about the weekend and generally enjoyed each other’s company before we headed home to what we envisioned was a cold apartment.  We then headed home, driving through snow and ice until we finally made it to our driveway and parked in our parking area.  After parking we headed up the stairs to our apartment.  We touched the mezuzah and turned the key.  I was greeted to a sweet, heavy smell that filled my nostrils and enticed my senses…  It was the lilies I had bought for my Beloved before we left.  The apartment was surprisingly warm, and I felt a sense of "I'm home."  I loved the weekend in Williamsburg, but now it's so good to be back home with my
Beloved.  

A Jew With A View: Snow Days

A Jew With A View: Snow Days
More pictures from Williamsburg.

Snow Days

Boker Tov;
It is our first  morning back home since the snow came. But if I had to get struck in a snowstorm, I can't think of a better place than a lovely hotel with my beloved.
To our surprise and delight, the roads were pretty clear from Williamsburg to Norfolk. As you can see, the road felt like we were driving through a Winter WonderLand. I kept expecting little snow fairies to popout at any moment.
Reaching Norfolk, we found the roads patchy with ice and snow, so we had to take care as drove. The few folks out and about were also careful.
We were back home in about two and a half hours, which wasn't too bad.
We made a stop at Starbucks (Marty, I have a picture for you) for Peppermint mochas. I was telling Mark this new snowstorm reminded me of the one I flew back into last Januray from Montana. 
If you remember, I spend almost a month in Montana and two nights before I returned home, Virginia was hit with snow. Interesting that we began the year and now end it with snow.
After making friends with two black greyhounds, a brother and sister named Roger and FeeFee,  we headed home and found to our delight that the heat had been on and the apartment was comfortable. It stayed that way most of the day and into the night.
Ah to be home again! Mark had brought me flowers a few days before we went away and when we came back, I found the liles had opened and the house was scented with the heavenly scent of lilies.
The scent of love.
I worked on my hebrew and after finishing the leftover chicken soup, Mark finished reading A Christmas Carol.
He had never read the book before and this was a treat. We had many long talks about the novel.
Now, this morning, we are enjoying a cup of coffee and listening to Fox News. So many people are still in airports, trying to get home. Cites like Boston and New York closed because of the snowstorms. How bless we are to be in our home. While the heat isn't the best, there is some. We have the comfort of our own bed.
O the things we take for granted.

Monday, 27 December 2010

We're On Our Way Home

So after one more wonderful night in Williamsburg, we are on our way home.
It usually takes about an hour to get home, but in this weather, it might take all day. It shall be a slow going, but that's ok. We have the Torah and Psalms of CD to play.
And of course we can talk.
I enjoy talking with Mark. He is such an interesting man. A hebrew sholar who is also a soldier and science teacher. Makes for some interesting discussions.
Our snowball yesterday was brief, for we found Laini needed longjohns. We weren't thinking snow, so we didn't pack for it. 
Good we did wear boots, however.
 So off to Wal-Mart we went. I found two pairs to go with the three I have at home. The store, of course was packed.
After x-mas shopping you know.
After a wonderful supper of streak and baked pototoe, we headed upstairs, to settle in for the evening. The snow was still falling, so soft and whie, so peaceful. Everything looked so fresh, clean and renewed.
We stood at our hotel window, each with a cup of hot coco and watched the snowfall.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

A Jew With A View: Pictures From Williamsburg

A Jew With A View: Pictures From Williamsburg

Shalom:
Mark and I decided to spend the holidays in Williamsburg. It is one of the traditions we have created; holidays in Williamsburg.
It has been a wonderful time.
We visited a Snygague in Richmond, the sky showing signs of snow caming. Later that afternoon like most Jews, we had chinese food, since it is the only thing open. And then after a supper of roast chicken and dressing, we came upstairs where we are still reading A Christmas Carol.
When we arrived to our room, we saw that a lovely blanket of snow was covering the ground. The news said it would snow all night.
So this morning, we found that six inches of snow had falled and it was still snowing.
Outside our window laid a breathtaking scene. So I picked up my cameria and took several pictures. They came out so nice that we plan to use them for holiday cards next year.
So now, having enjoyed a cup of hot coco, Mark and I are going out to build a snowman.
Another memory in the making.
And yes, I have my cameria.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Just Plain Cold.

Boker Tov:
This has to be one of the coldest Demember's in Virginia. I know it is mostly like the second or third since I'd lived here. We awake to find the windows frozen over and hurrying to make coffee.
It's just plain cold.
Adding to the problem is the apartment itself is cold.
We have a small heater in the bedroom we use at night. In the morning, we have to close the bedroom door, and turn on the heaters in the dinningroom and the livingroom to warm up these rooms that we use during the day. We have to let the water run about ten minutes for the water to heat up and wear longjohns under our clothing.
You would think we were living in a low income apartment or Windsor Castle. At least Windsor has fireplaces in evey room.
Sadly, we live in a building where there is an ongoing fight of the landlord complaining about the heating bills and tenates who are copmlaining about their cats having to heat up their Little Friskies before they eat it.
We live in a wonderful old building that has been allow to become rundown. Better to sell the building to people who would truly take care of it.
I know that it is a novel concept, but how you care for what you have been given, even the people in your life, is a reflection of the person you are, the condition of your soul.
If you treat every one and every thing like a precious gift, then you have a soul of gold.
But if you threat your belonings, the people about you like crap...do I need to say more?
So as we look for a new home, we are looking for a house where the owner put in much love and care into it. Where the precious memories of those who lived here linger long after the family moves out and blends in with yours.
That no matter how cold it is outside, it is as warm as toast inside.
And that frankly is the only good thing about this apartment being cold.
More cuddle time with my beloved.
Back to househunting.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The First Snow

Boker Tov:
We are enjoying the first snow of  December 2010.
I am enjoying it because i don't have to go out into it.
Yet.
I am sticking to going for walks and unless the weather is really nasty, I am going for a brief walk this morning.
The crisp, semi-clean air shall do me good.
It is the different of the snow in Montanta. There the snow is clean and stays white for days.
And of course you can enjoy snow if you have to deal with it for a few weeks.
But Mark is happy. He loves snow.
And right now, anything that makes Mark happy, makes me happy.
I am looking out my study window, the snow still falling softly.
It is pretty.

In the livingroom I hear Mark practicing the Shabbat prayers. How I love to hear the chant of the prayers of our forefathers. I love to hear Mark chant the prayers, filling the morning air with the Holy Words. I sometimes stop typing just to listen. Why don't I join him? Because this is his time with the Holy One.
What really makes me smile is when I hear Mark say my name, bringing me to the Throne of G-d. There is nother like knowing, hearing your husband pray for you.
And while do we do pray with each other, it is important to pray for each other.
It was what got me through that time of hell was praying to G-d for my husband, asking for not only the strenght, but the wisdom to help my beloved.
Like snow, prayer is pure and clean, cleasing the air of that which is impure.
Ever notice how people stop what their doing, gather at the window and look outside when snow falls. They draw closer, visions of snowball fights and hot coco fill their heads. That people look up into the sky to see where the snowflakes is coming from.
Prayer is like that.
You know, I hope the snow does stick. I rather like the idea of having a snowball fight with Mark.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

It feels So Good to Smile Again!

I have to say that I enjoyed the quiet this morning.  It felt good to sleep in; I must have really been tired!  When I woke up, I felt refreshed and ready to take on the day.  I chanted, “Modeh Aini,” Hebrew prayer said first thing in the morning.  It translates:
I thank You, O living and enduring King of life.  For You watched over my soul with compassion and returned it to me in faithfulness.  Great is Your faithfulness.
I could feel my attitude changing from what I had been experiencing only two weeks ago for I suffered from depression.  No, I had allowed depression to overcome me.  Depression is such a cruel, enslaving disease.  It oppresses; it dominates; it causes people to not think, but to turn inward and focus on themselves.  Instead of focusing on those we love, we focus on ourselves.  We only see the world through our lens; we have trouble seeing ourselves as others see us.  Finally, with the help of my Beloved, I had decided and had started to turn away from depression and to turn towards thinking about life.  I have to say I am so glad that my Beloved never gave up on me and always found a way to fuss over me and encourage me.
Yesterday, I really enjoyed getting to meet with other like-minded believers.  It really uplifted my Beloved and me.  We finally felt like we are part of a group that accepts us as we are.
Again and again, my Beloved told me that others had been praying for us.  To them, I say, “Thank you.”  Please continue to pray for us that our G-d will give us the strength to endure and the wisdom to know the right way to walk.  And know that it feels so good to just smile again!

My Mark's Smile

Boker Tov:
It is a quiet morning in the Reel house.
Mark is sleeping in while I work on the blog.
I really try not to write when Mark is home. Not that he doesn't approve, but it takes time away from him. From us.
As wonderful as comptures are, they can take away from personal contact. Though we do like to flirt with each other on facebook.
We went to torah service yesterday and came back home to a cold house. So turning on the space heater, we took a long nap.
That evening we had leftover chicken soup and enjoyed just talking.
Hmmm, seems rather dull. But then, right now this is our life.
Quiet. Peaceful. Dull.
While eating, Mark spoke of how much he loved Shabbat, how much he loved being with me. Just being in my company.
I can see it in his eyes. That sense of peace is back.
Mark came home with a mild form of PTSD. We had been dealing with it since Mark returned, but the stresses of our life and knowing another deployment hangs over our heads, pushed him over the edge. At first I couldn't understand why we were fussying so much.
Then I realize the depression had coiled itself around my beloved and was slowly squeezing him to death.
The judgement of others didn't help and caused Mark to pull away from others even more.
It is hard to live with someone battling with depression. The feeling of helpness, of not knowing what to say or do, how much space to give, when to push and when just cry with them.
So many times I wanted to shake him, slap him, scream at him. At other times I just wanted to hold him and take away the pain.

Thankfully, going away to Williamsburg and now getting the help he needs was the breakthrough. That we needed. There were a few times I thought the disease would take my Mark.  But there was enough of a G-d sparkle in my beloved to keep him fighting for freedom of the depression.
So, my friends, this is what Mark and I have really gone through these past four months. We are so thankful for all of you who prayed for us all these months. For those who dare to sit and judge that which they did not know, I leave you in G-d's hand.
Just don't call our house.
Today, Mark and I plan to go see the Dawn Treader and  then see the new train display at our local mall. Chocolate is in order as well.
But most of all, I am looking forward to just seeing my beloved's smile.

It's a Reel Thing: A Christmas Carol Revisited

It's a Reel Thing: A Christmas Carol Revisited
From time to time I like to reread past post of my blogs, to seeing is I am truly growing and becoming what rabbi Mark Gulon calls a lovely human being. This is one of my flavorite.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Pictures From Hanukkah

A plate of latkes, golden brown and yummy.
 The table is set with latkes (pototoe pancakes if your goy) beer-battered fish, sour cream and wine.
 Our little buddies enjoy the eight nights with us.
My first attend at making a Hanukkah villiage. I think it came out pretty good.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Ok, Where is The Snow?

Shalom:
It is late afternoon. Mark is running a few errands while I catch up on blogging.
As he walked out the door, a gust of cold air blew in.
It has been cold the past several days. I keep looking for snow.
Not because i want snow, but because it is cold enough.
Cold enough for hot cuddling underneath the blanket, slipping on hot coco, popcorn and watching back to back verisons of A Christmas Carol.

I rather like the way things have settled down in our lives. Mark is feeling so much better. I see improvements every day. It took some time for him to admit he suffered from PTSD, but once he admitted it and now getting the help he needs, there is calm in the house.
So now this last night of Hanukkah, we begin to look foward to the future. Of finding a home, starting a family and beginning to plan for the day Mark retires, which is a few years away.
In the meantime, I am keeping my eye out for the snow.
Maybe it will be enough for a snowball fight with my beloved.

Hanukkah, O Hanukkah

Boker Tov:
Tonight is the eight and last night of Hanukkah. Because of all Mark and I have gone through the past several months, we decided to keep it lowkey.
But it was needed. For this was a time of rest and shalom for my beloved and I.

I have been hearing the Hanukkah was early this year.
No. It came right on time. Hanukkah begins on the 25th of the hebrew month Kislev every year and this year was no different. It just didn't come around the same time as Christmas.
The reason.  Jewish festivals and commemoration begin on different Gregorian dates each year because they're set by a lunar-based Hebrew calendar adjusted to ensure certain ones fall during certain seasons.
For which I,  for one am glad. Often Hanukkah is seen as Christmas-Lite, or mini Christmas.
And it isn't. Frankly, camparing the two holidays cheapens them both.
Hanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because it often falls the same week of Christmas. Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of the Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar.

And while I love to decorate and the gift giving, the parties and of course the food, I sometimes think the true meaning of Hanukkah, along with Christmas, gets lost in the piles of white and blue gift wrapping.



The Story of Hanukkah.
It begins in the reign of Alexander the Great. Alexander conquered Syria, Egypt and Israel, but allowed the lands under his control to continue observing their own religions and retain a certain degree of autonomy. Under this relatively benevolent rule, many Jews assimilated much of Hellenistic culture, adopting the language, the customs and the dress of the Greeks, in much the same way that Jews in America today blend into the secular American society.

More than a century later, a successor of Alexander, Antiochus IV was in control of the region. He began to oppress the Jews severely, placing a Hellenistic priest in the Temple, massacring Jews, prohibiting the practice of the Jewish religion, and desecrating the Temple by requiring the sacrifice of pigs (a non-kosher animal) on the altar. Two groups opposed Antiochus: a basically nationalistic group led by Mattathias the Hasmonean and his son Judah Maccabee, and a religious traditionalist group known as the Chasidim, the forerunners of the Pharisees. They joined forces in a revolt against both the assimilation of the Hellenistic Jews and oppression by the Seleucid Greek government. The revolution succeeded and the Temple was rededicated.
According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle.
Now if you notice, this holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.

So on 25th Kislev and the next seven nights that follow, we reenact the miracle of the oil, by lighting a candle each night. It is traditional to eat fried foods on Hanukkah because of and, the significance of oil to the holiday. Among Ashkenazic Jews, this usually includes latkes (pronounced "lot-kuhs" or "lot-keys". Pronounced "potato pancakes" if you are a goy. In our house, this is fried fish, sweet pototoe latkes (a Sepherdic tradition) and cheese cake. Friends who are really family, and of course stories of hanukkah, both of past and our own.

This year, Mark and I have had our own battles. Mark battling PTSD, helping a sick friend and family drama. We have fought the assault of those who still cannot and/or will not accept who we are as Jews, the pressure to assimilate and be like everyone else. To take off the kippoh and the snood, letting the hair down and forgetting Who we belong to.
Hanukkah is not only known as the festival of lights and the festival of rededication, but the celebration of religious freedom. That a people was almost wiped out, not only by war, but by assimilation. That a small band rose up to to fight both and in doing so, saved not only the Jewish people, the faith we hold dear, but the whole world, then and now from total darkness.
This Hanukkah told on a whole new meaning for Mark and I. A cleaning out of our home, our souls, our marriage. A rededicating of ourselves to the G-d we love and worship, to each other, to our marriage. Of resetting the cornerstone of our faith, of our marriage. Cleaning, polishing the menorh so that our light would burn brighter.
And thrus the lights of Hankkah. Those eight little lights that pieace the darkness of this world.
 May they ever burn brightly in our home and in our hearts.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Thanksgiving in Williamburg Part 5

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This is from the offical Colonial Williamsburg Site. As Mark and I ask questions about jews in Williamsburg, we are starting to get bits and piceces of what life could have been.
And since I finally figured out how to use the video on my cameria, I hope to include video clips.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Thanksgiving in Williamburg Part 4

Shalom:
It is our second day, third evening here in Williamburg and we are having a blast.
The lobby of our hotel.
This morning, durnig breakfast, the manager came over to our table. He had seen our names and wnated to welcome us personaly. Since we have been coming to the Holiday Inn Williamsburg since it opened four years ago, the kind folks here do not only remember us, but roll out the red carpet.
Jeff (the manager) asked if everything was alright.
I said my only complaim was we couldn't get a king size bed as we usually do. All those rooms were booked.
Well, Jeff asked us to give him a few minutes.
When he came back, Jeff had made arrangements to have our things moved to another room.
We got an upgrade. All we had to do was pack our stuff.
So we went out and did our shopping, came back and found that the move had taken place. Jeff himself made sure the move went smoothly, oversaw the moving of our things and the setting up of our room. We even found our little traveling buddings placed on our bed.

For those who are history buffs, next to Plymouth Plantation, Williamsburg is one place you should add to visit during the Thanksgiving season.

Williamburg Virginia is the the world’s largest living history museum. The restored 18th-century capital of Britain’s largest, wealthiest, and most populous outpost of empire in the New World. Here is interpret the origins of the idea of America, conceived decades before the American Revolution. The Colonial Williamsburg story of a revolutionary city tells how diverse peoples, having different and sometimes conflicting ambitions, evolved into a society that valued liberty and equality. Americans cherish these values as a birthright, even when their promise remains unfulfilled.

In Colonial Williamsburg’s 301-acre Historic Area stand hundreds of restored, reconstructed, and historically furnished buildings. Costumed interpreters tell the stories of the men and women of the 18th-century city—black, white, and native American, slave, indentured, and free—and the challenges they faced. In this historic place, we help the future learn from the past.
Here the values that made us and kept are remembered and even celelbrated.
While much isn't known about Jews here in Williamburg (right now), we have been encourged that there were a few here and their lives are beginning to unfold as well.

Today we brought new jeans and sweaters. K-Mart wasn't that busy. And tonight we are heading for Busch Gardens. Tonight starts their Christmas Town,
We're hoping to pick up some things for Hanukkah.
Hey, ya never know.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Thankgiving in Williamburg: Part 3

 This is the Holiday Hotel and Suites in Williamburg, Virginia. Whenever we plan a trip to Williamsburg, this is where we stay. The service and the food is awesome. Just a few minutes drive from anywhere you wish to visit.
Shalom:
This days has always been special to me. Mainly because it was a special day for our family. The Prude family always made Thanksgiving an grand affair. The morning would begin with going to church to give thanks. Lots of good, traditionial food. Lots of laugher and fun. Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving and other holiday specals.
But over the years, After much study and discussion, both Mark and I tend to go low key on this day.
The Feast of the L-rd, Shabbat,  Passover, Shavort, Rosh HaShanna, Yom Kipper (which is really a Fast Day) and Sukkot are all Thanks Giving Days. Thanks we gather with family and friends and rejoice in the good gift we have been blessed with.


 So today my sister, who lives in Boston, will continue the tradition: her husband Frank, their children and grandchildren will gatheraround the table  the foods our family has always enjoyed.
Mummie is sharing the day with her very special family where she lives.
And Mark and I? 
We are going to Williamsburg.

There is a chill in the air in Williamsburg.. But the day is a sunny and as I knew it would be, aflames with reds, oranges, browns and golds.
And people. Families with kids riding thier bikes. Dogs enjoying Colonial Williamburg as much as their families.
Mark took my hand and kissed it.
We are going to have a blast.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Thankgiving in Williamburg: Part 2

Boker Tov:
Well this is the day.
Mark is still sleep, but I can't.
When I was a child, I would be up like this, going through my clothes and books, jazzed about spending Thanksgiving in New York or the family coming herr and all the preparations that went with.
I guess some things just don't change.
So I am cleaning the house and packing for the trip. We aren't planning on taking a lot; we plan to do a little shopping while gone.
There are several Thanksgiving Plays as well as an reactment of Coloinal Thanksgiving ( sadly we were too late and the event is sold out) and other cool sites.

After all we are talking about Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. I wonder if we'll be served wild turkey. The bird, Marty :)

Both are aflamed with colour this time of the year, so the cameria, of course is a must. Along with walking shoes and sweaters. Hot chocolate with my beloved before a fire.
As long as it doesn't snow.
So, back to my cleaning and packing.
 I'm so jazzed.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Thankgiving in Williamburg

Boker Tov:
Well it is Thanksgiving Week.
Because all we have gone through, we made the decision to head for Williamsburg. We have once been to Williamburge once since Mark came back home and that was a one day trip.
It is going to feel strange not being home, not preparing a Thanksgiving Feast. No homemade cranberry sauce.
But I am sure they have both in Williamsburg.
It will be nice not to cook and clean up. Just to spend time with my big guy.
There is much healing needed.
We need the time to forcus on us, on our marriage. On our friendship.
Both took a beating this summer and despite the blows we took from outside forces, we came out the better for it.
But yesterday, I realize how much my beloved needs to get away. The hurt, the anger has finally come forth.
He spoke for the first time of  trying to do the right thing by caring for another in our home, someone in need. And then being judged by this man's church,  the very church that dumped their member on us. Of the many deployments, the cancer, ther family drama and just wanting to be with the woman he loves and practice his faith without judgement.
After letting go of all that was in his heart, he felt better, but tired. I reminded him that The Holy One will reward us for caring for one of His own. That we cannot get weary in well doing, non allow what others do or fail to do affect us or our faith, or being what I heard a rabbi call, "being lovely human beings."
We can't change the fact there is another deployment in our future. As long as Mark is in the military, it is a fact in our life.
But we can't forcu on the future. We need to be in the here and now.
So this week, I am taking my beloved away and delight in him. To give thanks for the many blessings in our lives and who knows, learn a few new dishes for our feast next year.
Think I shall by Turkish delight for the trip.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Ask Me How I know.

Shalom:
Last night Mark and I watched the O'Rielly Factor.
We really don't watch much news these days, making for a rather peaceful house.
But we did hear about a report that Mr. O'Rielly was doing that caught our attention. It was about body screenings at Airports and if this was a voilation of americans rights. That there are groups who are upset about being singled out for screening.
We are all aware of security checks at Airports, militiarty post, courthouses, etc. Often those with their hair covered are asked to remove it or go through pat down,
Annoying, yes.
But we know how these folks feels.
Whenever Mark is deployed, he has to remove his boots and berat, his kippoh (headcovering) is patted down. And because I wear scarves and snoods, I have to go through the same thing.
A TSA officer always directs me to the side with; "ma'am, I am going to have to ask you to step to the side. A nice lady will come over and very politely (I have never met anyone who wasn't pleasant) tell me that she is going to pat down my head and neck, then slowly pass a metal wave over me.
I smile a nervious smile and tell her I understand and thank her and her co-workers for keeping us safe.
I always get a huge smile when I say that.
We don't take it personaly; TSA is just doing their job.
Just as Mark has done each time he has been deployed.
But I think there needs to be a compromise. For women like myself, modesty isn't just a nice idea; it is a way of life. We cover our hair, our bodies, for the Holy One dwells in us and  anything that is precious is always draped and hidden, revealed to few. Men cover themselves for the same reason. The forus isn't on the body, but the soul.
Yes, I remember 9-11 and what has happen since. I have kissed my beloved off to four deployments so I know the price of freedom.
We pay it.
But I believe that people of faith should not feel harass or abused. I think that if religious leaders and TSA can sit down and talk, I believe a reasonable situration can be reached.

After my last session of PT (from a shoulder injury) I was waiting for Mark to reurn.
He had gone for gas.
While waiting I was reading an article about  family dinner. A woman had decided at the beginning of her marriage, there would be family dinners, that they would important to family life. She and her husband had two children, girls now in their teens. And all their lives, the girls knew nothing different.
But the couple divorced three years ago. And this woman kept the family dinners going. Why? Because it was important that during this time of change, the girls needed something to hold on to.
Soon, she began inviviting her ex-husband, that it was importandt that the father remain part of thier lives. It was tense to be sure the first few times, but now, the couple are friends and the girls enjoy once again a piece of their old life.
I remember that my mother, though a single mum, insistes we eat together as a family. I carried on the same tradition with my son. And today, it is rare that the dinningroom table isn't set for meals.
It is important to break bread with those we love, to share our joys and sorrows. It is a teaching and bonding time.
Times we build lovely memories.
Ask me how I know.
I am told this happens to Mark and I because we look muslim.
We're wearing Stars of David.
No, sadly, we live in a world that people with their head covered, mostly for religious reasons, have to be searched to make we are safe

Monday, 15 November 2010

ReGrouping

Boker Tov:

Mark is still sleep as I enjoy a cup of coffee.
Poor guy is finally winding down and getting some well needed rest.
With David gone, the tenison is gone and our bodies are slowly releasing the tenison that has builded over the last four months.
Having another person in the house and a sick person at that, takes a lot of a couple. Emotionly as well as spirituality.
Now it is our time. To pour back into each other as we move on with our lives.
The start is allowing Mark to sleep in.
Usually we are up for prayer. But this morning, I felt my beloved needed to sleep in, knowing that G-d will minister to Him right in his sleep.
There is nothing pressing today.
So I shall finish my coffee and put on one of the new walking suits Mark brought me  (yes, there is a story) and go for a walk.
Maybe Mark will be up when I get back.
Or maybe not.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Shabbat Begins Today

Boker Tov
(Good Morning)
This is the first day of the week.
In a Hewbric home, The Holy One, The Torah and the Holy Days are the center of ther home. For in each is the reflection, the essence of G-d Himself.
For the study of Torah is the highest form of worship: we sit at His feet and hear His voice and are taught His word. We can feel His smile,  His look of correction and His hugs of comfort and delight. For like any good Father, G-d loves spending time with His children.
The Holy Days, Shabbat and the various feasts, are Torah acted out, lived out. We remember what G-d has done, is doing and will do in our lives. It is time to gather with family and friends, with the Holy One Himself and teach our children Torah and pass onto our faith. It is a time of joy and celebration.
And that is why so much attention is given to the home. This is why the wife's role as homemaker is celebrated, for it is she who prepares the home, the temple on earth, for those holy times.
Yes, I know it is 2010, not 1960.
In 70 C.E. when the Temple was destroyed, the temple was brought into the home, saving our faith.
 The heart of Judiam is in the home and not the Synagogue.

The table is the altar, where the kiddish (blessing) over the wine and challah is given and torah is taught. It is here that prayer begins in the morning and ends in the evening. The hebrew home is the house of prayer and study.
And thrus why Shabbat , in our home, begins today.
Today I look at our Shabbat clothes and make sure they are ready for Friday night. If they need to be washed, a buttom replaced or a hem that needs to be repaired.
The menorahs and candlesticks are cleaned and polished, fresh candles are placed. I send out the invivations for shabbat supper and in the afternoon, enjoy my husband.
It sounds like a lot of work, but as I go about my chores, as the scent of almond  oil polish fills my head and and our home, I think about how I am cleaning the House of G-d, that it is pleasing it is to Him and my beloved. I feel Heaven come down and fill our home.
Yes, I know it is 2010, not 1960. Women aren't chained to their stoves or the nursey. We can be CEO's and Senates. Queens and rock stars. Choir directors, archor women and doctors.
Even rabbis.
And then there are women like me, who raise them to become CEOs. Wo makes the challah that the queen enjoys and who's roast lamb the rabbi wants the recipe from.
Hmmmm roast lamb sounds good for shabbat supper this week.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Yom Shalom Shabbat

On Shabbat each person experiences a special holiness of G-d and realizes the greatness of the creator. Through this peace and love is created, because only through true humility and smallness in the eyes of ones creator can love and peace co-exist! Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Nachman



I find that most my friends who don't keep Shabbat, really don't know what Shabbat means. That's isn't a put down to anyone, but there are major mis understanding about the day.
First Shabbat is not just a good idea or an after thought. It is a commandment.  In Torah G-d tells us (one of the Commandmends) to keep Shabbat.
Shabbat is from Friday evening just before sundown to sundown Saturday. This day has never changed. Even Yeshua, His family and His followers observed Shabbat from Friday to Saturday. It was changed to Sunday 300 years after the death of Yeshua by those who wished to cut the church from its Jewish roots.
Today, many Christians who are learning about the Jewishness of their faith have begun to keep Shabbat.
Friday night is turned into Shabbat by the lighting of the candles, the lifting of a cup of wine to welcome the holy day.
We enjoy special foods, many of us have special clothes we wear. We go to Shabbat service as a family or have one in the home. The next day, we go to worship, have a special meal, study Torah, visit friends and/or spend time with our spouses and children. Children have special toys and games they play on this day. Family stories are told. If the weather permits, you shall see families, couples walking together. Some take their siddur (prayer book) to pray, some take books to catch up on reading.
Supper is a special time, for again there is a special meal that has been kept warm through-out the day.
It is a day we do something.
We rest. We spend time with G-d, family and friends.
In this hurried world of work, bills, grades, politices, on Friday afternoon, we turn off the tv and radio, turn off the phones (both land line and cells) and computers and tune into the Creator and our loved ones.
And yes, it takes work to create this time of peace. But it is well worth it.
So it is time for me to dress, go to PT and then prepare our home for Shabbat. It is our first one without David.
Let the Peace begin.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Coffe and Torah

Shalom:
I am sitting here in my new sitting room, waiting for the heat to come on.
It is one of the reasons we are looking for a house; because our landlord, despite how much we pay in rent, doesn't care about the people who rents his apartments. So it doesn't matter if we are cold; that's what space heaters and sweaters are for. So what the hot water takes twenty minutes to heat up? There's a lot you can do while your waiting for the hot water.
So we have stopped complaining and started looking at homes.
The first was nice, but not really us.
But half the fun is looking. And we are having fun looking.




In our home, breakfast, lunch, supper and tea time, we discuss Torah. It's just how we roll here.
The word Torah means more than "law." It means, teachings, commandments, the Word of G-d. It is the way of life for the g-dly. So if you ever sit at our meal table, you will find yourself listening to and hopefully join in, the bible discussion.
Questions are always welcome. And you don't even have to believe.
Mark and I are good for a laugh.
But I love these times with Mark. We come together and discuss what we have studied. Whether it is the Torah portion of the week or a subject we are interested in, we like to talk about, share and yes, sometimes even debate what we have learned. Often, "I haven't thought about that...." in uttered and out comes the bibles.
Of course we are careful not to spill coffee on the Scriptures.
But it isn't just Mark and I. How often we get together with friends and discussion of Torah comes forth. It is a teaching time for young and old alike. Ah the insights little ones bring.
I often feel that the Holy One is not only in the mist of such gatherings, but smiling and enjoying Himself as well.
I have heard it said the highest form of worship isn't singing or dancing, even raising of hands, but the study of Torah.
And don't forget the coffee.

Veteran's Day

Shalom:
Today is Veteran's Day, a day that we as a nation take time ti thank those who serve or have served our nation in the armied forces.
Recently, I read a blog entry about the military, The writer felt that our servicemen and women are not heroes, but murders, that there is no good reason for our nation to kill anyone who is different than us. that ours wars aren't the result of attacks upon our land, our people or way of life, but that our g-dlike need to force our will on others, the grabbing of land and theie resources and even wiping out those who beliefs are different than ours.
Well, that person has a right to their belief, though I disagree with thier findings and conclusions.

Every nation, every people has the right to live in peace and freedom, to deterine their own fate. Every nation has the right to defend theemselves. And if it wasn't for those willing to serve and protect our nation, one can only guess what we would look like.
Or if American would exist.
We as amercians have the honour to live in the greatest nation. There are people from all over the world who wish to become critzens and enjoy the freedoms we have. As many have seen written here before: we are not a perfect people, but we are a good people."
And the fact that we have men and women, fresh from highschool and after a twenty year career in another field, chosing to put on the umiform and enlist. To protect all that we hold dear.
Even the right to call american heroes, murders.
I come from a long line of such heroes. I would love to have gone into the AirForce. But my sight was too poor to pass the eye test.
So I support our armed forces the best way I and and now as a soldier's wife, I stand beside him and we serve together.
I say thank you to you all who have served this country. Those who have risked their lives and those who gave theirs.
G-d bless you all.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Shalom David

Shalom:
Yesterday, our friend david had a doctor's visit. While there is still concer about his heart and there is more test planned, the doctor said David was well enough to return to work.

We had decided three weeks ago that David didn't need us and was able to return to his home. It was decided that after his doctor released him, David would go back to his apartment.
So today, after Mark dropped me off for PT, he took David back to his apartment.
Given the fact that the doctors didn't even expect him to be alive at this moment, it is a true miracle that he is back home.
He still has a way to go to get his life back, but it is our hope that his church will at least now step in and take care of one of their own.
For they haven't been there up until now. Which is quite sad and a poor witness to what they claim to believe. Yes, there were several that were there for David, to help Mark and I. But a church of over 2,000 folk and pastors who didn't even darken our door to pray for the man. There are no excuses. None that we shall accept.
By their fruits you shall know them?
This has been the struggle Mark and I have faced these four months.
Our conclusion: that not every who claims to be a Believer is one. Not everyone practices what they preach. And while it is easy to say, "thy shall not judge," the fruit we have seen have been sorry and wanting.
And the things said about Mark and I were often unkind.
But judgement belongs to G-d.
I know in our hearts we have done what our G-d would have wished. David had he felt the love of G-d in our care for him.
That means so much, His family too, have expressed how grateful that we were able to step in where they could not.
To G-d be the Glory. The mistakes were ours alone.
So we send David forth with our love and prayers. He is so looking forward to what G-d has for him.
But he also said he is going to miss us.
We miss him already.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Here We Go Again

Shalom:
So Sunday, I had this sense of "having done this before."
I had actually. Twice.
It was that time again: preparation for an Colonoscopy.
Roubd three.
But my doctor had trailored my prep to make things just a little easier.
I had
 read a few months ago a suggestion that four days before your colonoscopy, you should begin to eat light; fresh fruit and veggies, more water, mint tea, etc. This begins to cleanse the colon. My prep Sunday included mixing a bottle of Miralax into 64 ounces of gatorade and taking my time drinking it. And while I did have nausea and chills, I did not become as ill as before.
This time, thanks be to G-d, I was clear out and the colonoscopy was proformed. However, I was awake and the medication did not put me under, so it was not a fun time. My doctor said next time she will use general.
Next time?
But the the scopy stopped because of some coiling that acted as a block, which means an x-ray, However, the doctor wa pleased because we finally able to do this test and find out once and for all why my iron count is so low.
Afterwards, Mark took me out for lunch and then I came home a nice, long nap.
Finally, sleep! And without having to run to the water closet every twenty minutes.
But the tummy is still sore. This will take a few days to work out.
So with this behind us, it is time to think about Thanksgiving and Hannakkah.
I need to get in touch with a friend to fget names of Jewish soldiers to send CarePackages to.
We are also planning of going to Williamburg for Thanksgiving.
With everything we have gone through this summer into the autumn, it would be nice to get away and enjoy some time together.
So what about David?
That's the next entry.

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Sheheheyanu

Boker Tov;
This morning after breakfast, I am back in my little chamber. The only thing left is for Mark to have the evergreen around the windows.

As I look around me, I am reminded of the blessings about me: a lovely home that has light, heat (sometimes) and running water. A loving husband who is still employed. Plenty of food.
Some measure of peace.
There is a blessing for moments like these;
It is known as the Sheheheyanu.
The BA-RUCH A-TAH A-DO-NOI ELO-HAI-NU ME-LECH HA-O-LAM


SHE-HECH-E-YA-NU V'KI-MA-NU V'HI-GI-YA-NU LI-Z'MAN HA-ZEH.


Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.
This blessing is said at special moments and gifts, some we thought would never come.

How we take such things for granted. Like new clothes. Think of all of the people who cannot afford a new shirt or blouse. Think about the work that went into making the garment: financing, designining, drawing, weaving, cutting, stitching, folding, ironing, packing, moving, displaying and selling that one garment. Such a wonder! The tree that had to be fell and all the skill that turned lumber into the beautiful desk before me. This is why before we remove a price tag and put on a garment, we recite the Sheheheyanu.
This is why when a child is born, or starts to walk and talk, when they go to school, on Holy days, even the monring of my wedding, we utter this blessing.
For it reminds us of these happy, blessed moments, the gifts from G-d.
As I look across the room and see my friend David, helping Mark with the dishes. A man who months ago was at death's door, now walking without a cane, putting away dishes.
I say : Blessed are You O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, Who has granted us life, sustained us and
enabled us to reach this occasion.