Wednesday, 31 March 2010

LeftOvers

Lailia Tov:
Well it is leftover this evening.
The rest of the matzah ball soup, some matzah and a glass of wine.
I never get tired of matzah ball soup. I guess because the recipe I use, my come out nice and light and fluffy, not heavy. And I have different stocks I can use. I found a wnderful veggie stock last year. And this year, onion soup. Onion soup with whole wheat matzah balls is amazing.
Tonight, however, tonight is my favorite, chicken soup.
Tomorrow's supper will be an adventure. While shopping last week, I found a Passover Pizza.
Now this should be interesting. I have salad fixings and salmon on hand just in case
It is one of the beauties of Passover; one becomes very creative.
I doublt the hebrews had kosher pizza on the way to the Promise Land.
No time to make goat cheese.

The Second Day



Shalom:
It is the Second Day of Unleaven Bread.
I often think about what it must have been like to leave the place of your birth, the place you had lived your whole life as a slave. You really didn't have a childhood, but worked in mudpits, carrying water and dodging the taskmaster's whip. To see your mother and father treated like dogs, yelled at, cursed at, whipped and beaten.
To grow up and marry, then bring children into this same world. To pray that your wife or daughter isn't whipped or worse, raped on this day. To hold onto your faith, the Promise that one day you and your people shall be free.
And now here you are, with your wife and children, free! Heading for the Land your forefather told you G-d had promised. No more whips or chains or tears.
The future laid somewhere along the sandy path you now walk.
My people.

My people were once free and then, one day, a child, a woman, a man, were trapped and chained. Put on ships and crossed the blue waters to another land, another world.
The freedom they once knew in North Africa, West Africa, their faith, Hebrew, ripped from them.
Drawing on the old stories they knew by heart from the Torah, G-d would free them. They hung to that hope, their faith. It was their lifeline.
And one day, news came that they were indeed set free, nolonger slaves.
My people. Hebrew slaves. Afrcian slaves.
This week, I celebrate the freedom of my people.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A Jew With A View: Passover 5770

A Jew With A View: Passover 5770
Shalom:
These are my pictures from my Seder last night. It was quiet, personal, moving and very spiritual. Mark and I spoke later and we more have moving Seders, filled with meeting and memories. But his was much more fun. I will be sharing about that in LoveFromIraq.

Who Says G-d Doesn't Have a Sense of Humour?

Shalom:
It has been indeed an interesting Passover.
Around 3pm, I realize no one was coming to fix the light, so I called the rental office, leaving another message. I calle again and this time the office was closed. Well now I was mad. I needed to get into my kitchen! The above is how I worked; by candlelight. But the kitchen was still not kosher until the workers had done the work needed to be done.
The building manger called right back and when I explained I had called Friday and expected someone Monday and Passover was four hours away, he got right to work.
@ 4:50 I recieved a call; one of the maintance guys would be over in a few minutes, but he didn't have a ladder. No problem I told him, I have a step-ladder.
By 5:15 the lights in the kitchen was fixed. Just as he was leaving, another maintance worker showed up. It seems he got my message and came over just as the other guy finished. At that time another worker showed up to work on my lights; with a ladder.
By 5:30 I was mopping my floor and finishing my preparations for Passover.
When I ws single and celebrated Passover, I had a Passover Setting  Everything from Dollar Tree. The plate had a Palm Tree pattern, the glass, grapes. 
 A few days ago, I remember where I put the dish and after for Passover, set my table with things from the past.

I also decided to take a page from my african ancestry; the hebrews of africa did not and do not use a Haggadah, but use the Torah it, since the order is right there. In Africa, places like In Ethiopia, the Jewish culture was very strong Orthodox. Their customs followed the rules and rituals laid out in the Torah, and are in line with Judaism practiced during the time of Moses. This is because many Ethiopian Jews believe they are descendants of Moses, since his wife was Ethiopian and his relatives separated from the rest of the Israeli tribes after leaving Egypt. Others believe that they are descendants of Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Many african who are not Ethiopian believe this also. The Seder is very similar to any other. The theme is freedom and the story of Moses is told in celebration of their freedom from slavery in Egypt. Like other Jews, Ethiopian Jews avoid leavened and grain-based food, and use special Passover dishes untouched by such foods. However, Ethiopian , like Sephardic Jews, do not forbid legumes during Passover, but they abstain from eating fermented milk products like yogurt, butter or cheese.
I chose to follow this example; of following the order from the Torah. It made the evening more personal. There was a soft, holy feel as I remembered how G-d "saw the Blood and Passovered us." Bringing us out with a Mightly Strong Arm.
Today is the first day of Unleaven bread. Today, the hebrews left Egypt, their first steps of freedom. And they ate unleaven bread.



And for the next seven so do we.
Right now I am about to enjoy a bowl of Matzah ball soup. I do have pictures as well as the story of Mark's Seder in Afghanistan.
Shalom

Monday, 29 March 2010

Never A Dull Seder

Shalom:
So this year, as of 12:29 pm, I am still without kitchen lights. It is a dark, rainy day here, I mean pouring down rain. There is a Seder here in the area I could attend, but the weather is too bad to travel.
So, I am finishing the last of the kitchen cleanup by candlelight and then preparing for the Seder.
Mark send Passover flowers, so it brighten my mood alittle.
The interesting thing is, as my mother would say, this didn't catch G-d off guard. I am working on keeping my spirits up and even playing the Ten Commandments in the background to give me the inspiration.
There is one thing I have learned throughout this; who my friends really are.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Taking A Break

Shalom:
Man, it has been a busy day.
I am so thankful so such a beauitful sunny day to clean. The sunshine was so bright, it lighten up our kitchen, which frankly is rather dark. During the Spring and Summer I leave the back door open for the light.
So tomorrow I have to wait for the guys to come and change the light bulb.
Last night, just after Shabbat ended, I went into the kitchen to do a final sweep of cookies, cakes, bread, etc. And just as I threw on the light switch, the light bulb went out.
Now you have to understand, we live in a building that is over one hundred years old. And that means the light fixtures are tricky. While the last time Mark was able to change the bulb with no problems, even with a step ladder the fixture was too high and the screws too tight for me to reach and undo. Plus the danger of my falling was too real from being so high up. So I have to wait until Maintiance comes tomorrow to take care of it.
That's fine. However, we have one, slight problem.
Tomorrow is Passover!
This means I cannot mop my kitchen floor and anything they touch I have to wipe down again so that the kitchen is kosher for Passover meal preparations.
Who said this was going to be a drama free Passover?
Anyway, all of the foods we are not permitted to eat is now out of the house. What was open, I either used or threw away.
What wasn't open, I gave to my upstaairs neighors for thier use. It is a custom to sell our leaven, but I rather give it to the Food Bank or to someone who could really use the food.
Well, break time over. Heading for the main stetch.
The Dinningroom.

Some Passover Traditions

Shalom:
We as hebrews are about to enjoy one of the grandest times of our lives: our freedom from the hands of Pharaoh. When G-d brought us out with A Strong Hand.
All over the world, where there are hebrews, Passover will be remembered.
For example:
The Jews of Ethiopia strongly identify with the story of Exodus -- and indeed, the first of the famous airlifts that delivered them to Israel was actually called Operation Moses. In some Ethiopian families, the matriarch would destroy all of her earthenware dishes and make a new set to mark a true break with the past. Ethiopian Jews had no Haggadahs, and read about Exodus directly from the Bible. Matzahs were homemade, often from chickpea flour, and on the morning of the seder, a lamb would be slaughtered. They also refrained from eating fermented dairy like yogurt, butter, or cheese.


In a custom that began in Spain in the fourteenth century, the seder leader walks around the table three times with the seder plate in hand, tapping it on the head of each guest. Many Moroccan, Turkish, and Tunisian Jews adopted this tradition, which is said to bless those whose heads are tapped. This is sometimes connected to the Talmudic custom of "uprooting" the seder plate so that guests might ask questions about the Jews in Egypt. This is a tradition in the Reel home. In many Sephardic traditions, (a term used to describe Jews originally hailing from the Iberian peninsula and North Africa), an elder member of the family enacts a skit in costume, posing as an ancient Jew who experienced the exodus from Egypt and describing the miracles he saw. In the countries of the Caucasus region, Iraq, Kurdistan, Yemen, and others, the seder (usually the head of household), would put the afikoman matzah in a bag, throw it over his shoulder, and use a cane to support himself. Sometimes a child participated, and there was a call and response with the table: "Where are you coming from?" "Egypt," was the reply, followed by the story of the Israelites following Moses out of slavery. "And where are you going?" someone at the table would ask. "Jerusalem!" In our home, Mark comes in as Moshe, carrying the Passover lamb (it's one of my stuffed lambs)

Many different customs surround the welcoming of the prophet Elijah, who is said to visit every seder. While Ashkenazi Jews (whose families came from Germany and later Eastern Europe) commonly leave a goblet of wine for the prophet, in Casablanca, Morocco, Jews would set up an elaborate chair with cushions and ornaments and leave it empty for Elijah's arrival. (Next year, we shall do that) And in Marrakesh, dishes are prepared using the wine from Elijah's cup. (I use it for the following evening meal) Ashkenazi Jews often open the door to allow Elijah in, a tradition that wasn't historically a part of the Sephardic practice.


Both Hasidic Jews and Moroccan Jews have the custom of wearing white to seder, possibly to signify joyfulness. Some Jews wear white on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, or on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, although this varies. Mark wears the white tunic and Tallits from our wedding and I have a white and silver tunic from Morocco.

The important thing is not just in the celebrating of Passover, but the customs and stories that we bring to each of our Seder tables makes the Passover celebration not only more meaningful, but personal.
This year, Mark will have more stories to share at next years, for this year, he shall be celebrating with his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan.
Me? It will be quiet and personal as I remember Passovers of out and make new ones this year.
Like cleaning my kitchen by sunlight.
Yeah, there is a story. And when I finish the kitchen this eveening, I'll come back and tell you.

Why Is This Day Called Palm Sunday

Shalom: This is a teaching from my friend and former teacher, Michael Wade.

Why do we call it Palm Sunday?( Our text for this can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19.)
The first thing I’m going to tell you might be a little hard to swallow, after all it contradicts about 1700 years of church tradition.
 I don’t think Y’shua – Jesus – entered on a Sunday. We get Palm “Sunday” from the church around 378-394. The Catholic Encyclopedia (see footnote 1) states, “on the authority of Severus, Patriarch of Antioch, and of Josue Stylites, states that Peter Bishop of Edessa, about 397 ordered the benediction of the palms for all the churches of Mesopotamia. The ceremonies had their origin most probably in Jerusalem. In the "Peregrinatio Sylviæ", undertaken between 378 and 394…” Since the church which by then was almost exclusively gentile confused the Jewish Gospel writers use of Sabbath they assumed that Jesus was crucified on a Friday before the Sabbath and using John’s timeline this entry must have been six days earlier or on a Sunday. Not being Jewish and not understanding that major holy days were referred to as Sabbaths they didn’t realize that the beginning of Pesach or Passover was also referred to as a Sabbath. Think of it like this Thanksgiving always occurs on the fourth Thursday in November no matter what the date; it is a day holiday. Christmas always occurs on the 25th of December no matter what day that falls on; it is a date holiday. It is possible to have Christmas on a Thursday which the first century Jew would refer to as a holiday or Sabbath and have the weekly Sabbath on Saturday thus having two Sabbaths in one week. Chew on that and on to the lesson.
When the pilgrims would enter the Temple Mount they would literally have an uphill journey (that’s why scripture so often refers to “let us go up to Jerusalem”). Herod had also designed the Temple steps in such a way that your “pattern” of walking would be broken – there would be 2 or 3 steps of the same stride and then a long step or several short steps. This design prevented anyone from being able to run up the steps. Its purpose was to slow the pilgrim down and allow them to focus on the reason for their journey and its ultimate destination – the Temple or “haBeit l’Adonai”, the House of the Lord. As they ascended they would sing from the Hallel or Songs of Ascent. These were Psalms 113-118.
In Exodus 12:3 the Jew is told to select his lamb which he will sacrifice for Pesach. This date is the 10th day of Nisan. This is the date upon which Yeshua entered riding on a donkey. It is as if God is saying to Y’srael, “Here is my lamb, pure, spotless and without blemish.”
When the crowds saw this Rabbi entering many would have recognized Him. The cry of “Hoshanah” literally means “Save (or deliver) us”. Perhaps the Zealots in the crowd were the first to wave a Palm Branch. It was their political symbol and would have great national significance to the crowd. The palm branch was to Y’srael what the Stars and Stripes are to Americans. It was a symbol of freedom and national pride. It had attained “political” significance during the Maccabaen Revolt an hundred years earlier. And by identifying Him as “ben-David” or the son of David they were aligning Him with the “correct political party”.
Rome also recognized the importance of the palm to Y’srael. When Titus razed the city and the Temple in AD 70 he had all the palms surrounding the Temple mount stripped of their leaves and branches and used as crosses upon which to hang his victims. Rome also minted a coin to commemorate this event. It showed a Roman soldier standing over a Jewish woman with his foot upon a palm branch. Commenting on the victory Titus refused to accept a wreath of victory as was customary as there is "no merit in vanquishing people forsaken by their own God" (footnote 2)




Thus we can understand that the crowd was crying out to the Messiah not for salvation from sin but for the end of Roman domination. It became a moment of political action and had no spiritual significance to them. It’s no wonder Yeshua wept and remind them that they had missed the moment of His coming. He returned the b'rakhah or blessing that they had given Him, “Baruch haba b’shem Adonai” (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord) back to them with the admonition that He would not return until they really understood what it meant and would say from their hearts.
This is why we call it Palm Sunday.
Thousands of years later there is still a lesson or two for us in this scene. The Holy One of Y’srael had bestowed upon His Beloved the greatest gift He could offer, “Come, let us reason together, even though your sins are like scarlet I will wash them white as snow.” (sefer Yeshaayahu1:18) He offered them shalom – peace with God, joy eternal even in the midst of turmoil, salvation and yet they were willing to settle for so much less. How many times do we turn away from the Holy One because He hasn’t given us the little we demanded of Him but has instead offered us more than we would have even dared to consider asking of Him? (Ephesians 3:20) And how often do we look to our political parties, our leaders, to Oprah for answers. If only MY candidate was elected this nation would get better, my circumstances would improve.
Even now if Yeshua, Jesus, would come into our lives, our businesses, our churches would we see Him? Would we welcome Him for Who He is? Or would we miss Him also? A Rabbi, commenting on sefer Shemot (the book of Exodus) said, “The Jews were just like everyone else, only more so.”
I am like everyone else, only more so. I long to see Him as a friend, face to face.
“Hoshanah, ben-David! Baruch haba b’shem Adonai!"
Footnotes:
1 - (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11432b.htm )
2- Philostratus, Vita Apollonii

Friday, 26 March 2010

Rainy Friday

Shalom:
The day began as a bright, sunny one. A friend came over, picked up the cookies I'd made for her and after dropping off Mark's Carepackage and picking up my Challah, we headed off to Starbucks.
My buddie Birdie and I had a wonderful time and I really needed to get out of the house.
The fact that Mark will not be here for Passover is hitting me hard. I keep wiping away tears.
It was Birdie who said I needed to get out and she even treated me to Starbucks.
But as the morning wore on, the clouds began to roll in and it started getting cooler. Soon, we were inside Starbucks, looking at the storm rolling in.
So, after a bit we headed to the store (I needed eggs for next week) and Birdie dropped me off and went to pick up her daughter at school.
Me?
It is cold and rainy which means matzah ball soup tonight. The bakery had chocolate chip Challah and that is a real treat for tonight.

A friend of my on facebook posted the following useful phases. I really could have used them earlier in the week., but I have written them down in my Phrase Book for future use.
And here there are:
 Useful phrases!
 I like you. You remind me of when I was young and stupid. I'm not being rude. You're just insignificant.
I'm already visualizing the duct tape over your mouth.
It might look like I'm doing nothing, but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy.
And my personal favorite:
Thank you. We're all refreshed and challenged by your unique point of view.
Thanks, David.
Back to my Shabbat preparations.
Shabbat Shalom Ya :)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Getting My Hands Dirty

Shalom:
During this Passover/Spring cleaning season, as I was cleaning the Middle-Eastern room, I realize I had several empty plant pots. So after watering the lone plant, I decided to throw out the old soil  and start fresh and new.
Now I have nice and clean, freshly soil plant pots just waiting for new plants. So after I pick up the Challah tomorrow, I shall look for a few new little plants that would like a new home.
Besides, it is Spring; time for more green indoors.
I spoke to Mark last night. He is doing well. Has several projects, as always, that he is working on. I told him about his Passover Carepackage that I am mailing tomorrow morning, so he can be watching out for its arrival.
He says the weather is rather nice and it is starting to turn from dull grey to alive green, which is lifting everyone's spirits. The kosher meals for Passover have arrived and he says he has no idea what these meals are going to look like, let alone taste like. So he is thrilled that I am sending him his favorites to go along with what the army has issued the hebrew soldiers.
I also promised to make him matzah ball soup and lamb chops when he comes home.
So, I need to get back to work. A joy really.
A friend is coming over to pick up some cookies I made and share a cup of coffee with me. I am looking for to day.
Shalom

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Passover Care Package.

Shalom:
This afternoon the weather was lovely. In the 70's. But still a slight chill.
I went all for a few things and...well, you know how it sometimes go.....
I ahead and did most of my Passover/Shabbat shopping, though I do have to pick up Challah tomorrow.
While shopping, I went ahead and picked up some Passover goodies for Mark since when he recieves this box, it will be the Feast of Unleaven bread.
Mark love Almond Macaroons. This brand, Shabtai Gourment is one I found several years ago. It is hard to believe that these macaroons which are gluten, lactose, casein, soy and dairy frre taste so good. But they do.

This is a macaroon, firuit and chocolate plate. Yummy.
Yes truffies are kosher.
I added some dried fruits and dates. Of course it will also contain several love letters from "his pookie" as well as a few Passover cards. Enough for Mark to share the High Holy Days with his fellow soldiers and still enjoy a sweet taste of home.
I didn't sleep well last night and plan to turn in early.
All and all it has been a very good day. The only thing that would make it better is a card from Mark.

ReFocus

Boker Tov:
Yesterday is gone-over-finished. I saw the ugly side of people I thought I knew.
And G-d knowing I needed it: Mark called three times yesterday.
What a wonderful surprise.
To the people of faith; this weekend and yesterday on facebook, your brothers and sisters of colour were attacked and you sat a back and said nothing.
I shall remember your silence.

Today it back to the needful things. I will not be holding a seder. Well, I will for me. I have my seder plate, need to pick up the food and the book of service and the story itself. It shall be a wonderful evening.
Who knows, I just might even recieve an invivtation to a seder.
But I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

America The Ugly

Shalom:
Now, someone tell me that THIS is ok. Tell me, members of the Tea Party, why you allowed this?
And what is interesting, there are men and women, like my husband who are fighting for these fools Freedom of Speak.
"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sorry Tea Party, Mark and I were for awhile with you. But if this is what your about, if is what you will allow (what you allow, you condone) you lost us.
Funny, if this wasn't a protest, these signs would be considered a Hate Crime.

Monday, 22 March 2010

LoveFromIraq: More Pictures From the Beach#links

LoveFromIraq: More Pictures From the Beach#links

These are pictures from our time at the beach. What a lovely we had. Have to do that again.

The Health Bill: My View

Boker Tov:
 I start with a statement from a friend who sums up my own feelings:
LaMonte Odums: We speak of legislation passed that seemed illegal and immoral, but what Obama did is in no way different from what Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, and Nixon have done. We have forgotten about this because we have become more focused on Democrat or Republican titles and less on Christian/Child of God titles. People get out the television and get on your knees. We did this not any politician!!!

Having said that, I do hope and pray now that this Bill has passed, it will indeed be a help to those who truly need it.
For those who have not heard this before, I have been on both sides of this issue. When I was growing up, most people didn't have health insurance, either they couldn't afford it or they didn't need it.
My mum, a single parnet could not afford health insurance, until she went to work for the State House in Mass and then for the first time in our lives, there was health coverage.
By this time I was a single parnet, living on Welfare and recieving Food Stamps (that did not-do not cover the month) Medciad and Public Housing.
Once the Government gets into your bed, it is like getting roaches to get it out. The Government is not the greatest husband and it took many years for me to get a divorce. Welfare is a modern form of Slavery; it keeps the soul down and it takes a strong will and an act of G-d to break the cycle.
11 years ago I broke my ankle while performing in a Passion Play. My job offered no health insurance. My church paid not only for the medical bills, but help to support me until I was back on my feet.
The Amish live by the same moral code.
But my doctor informed of a program that was setup for people like me. And until I married Mark, this is how my medical needs were met. And the care was wonderful.
Frankly, both Mark and I would be hard press to get health coverage if he wasn't in the Mililarty. Mark is a cancer survivor; I have asthma and mild High Pressure. For two months we were without healthcare and my medication alone was close to what we paid in rent. Many companies turned us down cold, others, the cost would be as high as our rent, if not higher.
Therefore, I am not some cold, heartless person who wishes to see the poor die in the streets because they don't have health coverage. I am just not sure this Bill voted in yesterday is the way to go.
The other thing that has bothered me is how Americans have acted and treated each other over this issue. I watched Fox News and was sicken by the way Americans on both sides behavored. And to call someone the N Word or ugly names because they are gay was out of line and uncalled for.
Far worse, people of faith have put their faith in the GOP, The Dems and The Tea Party and forgotten Who it is they are to bow the knee to. Yes, the govenment works for us and yes, good critzens are involved in the care of their nation. But we are "in the world, but not part of it." This world is not our home, but we are passing through.
I think people of faith forgotten that.
Otherwise we would spend more time on our knees in prayer and less time protesting. G-d is Sovereign: He is still in control.
And I have to get ready for Passover.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

A lovely Tribute

Shalom:
Right now I am still wiping away tears.
I just read the latest post of Beth from Nutwood Junction. Last week her beloved father had a massive stroke and has since passed onto The Beautiful Land.
Her tribute to her father was so beautiful, so moving, that I wished to share it with my readers.
The love of a daughter. A good father, loving husband, a man who loved this nation, a man of faith and a good friend. His touch has reached far and wide, even to people who only got to know him through his daughter.
Beth's father was a giving man from what I could tell. One who lived his life to the full and also seem to bring joy and meaning to others along the way.
And that is one of the reasons we are all on this planet; to love and be loved, to move and be moved, to pour into the lives of others as well as recieve.
Your father continues to teach and inspire Beth.
Blessings my friend.

LoveFromIraq: Sweet Surprise#links

LoveFromIraq: Sweet Surprise#links

Entry about Mark's latest phone call

Happy Mother's Day

Boker Tov;
A friend of my who is from Lebanon tells me that the first day of Spring in his country is Mother's Day. He send the following that I share with you:
"Happy Mother’s Day to every Mom and Mom to Be… "I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her." Genesis 17:16

I rather like the idea of the first day of Spring being Mum's Day. After all, isn't this the time that earth awakes from her slumber, a renewal, a rebirth of life? And mothers are indeed life givers.
So I am going to make this a tradition in our home as well;
to each of you who are mums, mums-to-be, grannies and even mums to others, Happy Mother's Day.

The Birds Have Returned



Boker Tov;
While the tree just outside our bedroom window hasn't begun to blossom, the birds have returned.
This morning, just as the sun was rising, I heard the birds singing.
I just laid there for awhile, enjoying their song.
Ah Spring.
Today I start preparing for Passover. I haven't decided about inviviting folks over. While it would be a good idea, both my doctor and Mark have caution me about doing too much, too soon.
So I shall play it by ear.
The bedroom needs to be dusted and then the bathroom will recieve a going over. It's tiny, so it won't take long. Since the weather is nice, I am also opening the windows.
Then to the little Shul. I need to dust, put away books and tidy up the desk.
That's the beauty of list....
As I write this, I smell the coffee that just finish brewing and eyed the menorah that needs cleaning and polishing.
Menorahs added to the polish list.
But I don't plan to work all day. The weather remain lovely and I do intend to go for a walk this aftenoon.
With my cell-phone in me pocket.
After all, I just might get a call from Afghanistan.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

A Day of Rest and Peace


Lailia Tov;
First I wish to thank all of you who have reached out with such encouraging words. Believe me, it does help me get through those rough patches of depression that come along.
I have come to realize that BlogLand (for lack of a better word) is really a community. Yes, we all have a common interest, blogging. But for many of us, it goes futher than that. For some us, we actually become friends, forming bonds that may not never had happen if it wasn't for the internet. Yes, I do believe now that one can really get to know folks, form friendships and relationship over the impersonal computer. And frankly, it is being able to blog as well as my online buddies, yes, I would even say in many cases, family, that has kept me sane.
It has been a quiet day. A day of peace.
I am almost finish reading a book called Amish Peace. And you don't have to be Amish to benefit from its pearls of wisdom.
It has been a slow read, for it calls for reflection with each chapter. But like a nice piece of cheese, chocolate or glass of wine, it is enjoy by small bites and sips.
And it being the First Day of Spring helped my mood.
I opened the back door, allowing the sunshine and fresh air in.
My thoughts went to my beloved: wondering how his first Challah came out, wondering how his little herb garden is coming along. Wondering how the plans for Passover is coming along.
Tonight, after this entry, I need to write him a letter. Tomorrow, go shopping and prepare a CarePackage for Passover.
And then the real fun begins.
His birthday.
Now about that later

Friday, 19 March 2010

Got the Lamb

Hang in there, Laini. I keep telling myself that pain and sadness doesn't last forever; it will pass if we ride it out.
Hugs, Beth


First, thank you Beth. I know what a tough time you and your family are through and you are in my prayers.
Beth is right about riding out the storm.  And knowing that G-d is in the boat with me.
After my coffee, I did pick up the lamb and the rest of the things for Shabbat.
The sunshine felt good upon my face and it is actually warmer than I thought it would be. Close to 70.
I watched a man pick out flowers for his wife. A little girl carrying a large bottle of orange juice and placing it in the shopping cart. All the wonderful items for Passover and Dave, who manges the Kosher section told me that the rest of his Passover orders will be in next week.
There was a sale on strawberries, blackberries and blueberries and I brought a pint of each. They will be nice for dessert this evening and breakfast in the morning.
Depress, yes. But taking Beth's advise, I am holding on and riding it out.

Depression

Boker Tov;
Depression.
I awoke depressed.
I have been focused on recovering from the asthama attack, my energies on getting healed, I hadn't had time to get down about Mark's return to Afghanistan last week. My thoughts have been that Mark won't be here for Passover and preparing myself to deal with the waves of emotions that will come with that.
Until this morning.
He's not here.
I even got to speak to Mark twice yesterday: the second time he called he walked me through the use of the Passport which held my backup files. So now they are back on the Laptop in the study.
As I laid in bed last night, I found myself squeezing the stuffing out of Mark's pillow, inhaling his scent that was still there.
So when I open my eyes, said my morning prayers and realize, my beloved isn't here.
So, dispite the beautiful, sunny day, dispite the brewing coffee, I am depressed, working through the emotions of my beloved not being here.
The coffee is brewed.
The Market just called: the lamb is in.
So after coffee, I am off to the Market for Challah and lamb.
The walk will do me good.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Waiting For The Lamb

Shalom:
Well, the doctor's visit went great.
I have been taken off the Nebulizer and the streiod. The Asmanex inhaer I am to continue taking in the evening due to the fact we are now in pollen season. I see the doctor again in two months (May). I planned it a week before my trip. It is hopeful that I will able to use my recuse inhaler as needed.
The doctor was so pleased with how I turned around. She had wondered if she had done the right thing in sending me back home in the first place. But it turned out to be the right call.
And I even lost another four pounds :)
So, now it is time to turn my thoughts and attention to getting my back files back on my Laptop and getting ready for Passover.
I am going to ask my upstairs neighor to help me with the computer; he is good and I can make Will and his girlfriend cookies.
Start getting the leaven out.
While out yesterday, I noticed there was no lamb in the kosher department. But the store manger assured me that he should have some for me by tomorrow.
I am reconsidering having a home Sedar. I several single friends and I think it might be kinda of cool to have some friends over.
Mark would tell me to slow down. So, I'll give it a few days and see how I feel, then decide what I'll do.
It is so pretty outside.
Think I'll take another walk.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Rush For The Lamb

Boker Tov:
It is a beautiful, sunny St. Patrick's Day and I am hopeful to get out for some fresh air.
My voice is coming back stronger and stronger and I am feeling even 50% better than I did over the weekend. I see the doctor tomorrow and I think she shall be pleased with my improvements. I am still taking my medication and following doctor's orders, but thanks for your prayers.
Tomorrow, after I see the doctor, I need to go a search for the lamb.
This year, the celebration of the Resurrection of Messiah is the 4th April. And this year, applies to the western calendar (Catholic and Protestant Churches), also  applys to the The Eastern Orthodox church. This is an unusual event since the two branches of Christianity have different methods for calculating the correct date for Resurrection Day. There are only a few years each century when the Resurrection dates match like this so 2010 is seen as extra special.
And because  like Sephardic Hebrews, Greek Orthodox serve lamb, the rush will be on for lamb this year. We have a large Greek Orthodox community here and the heat is on :)
Because my Passover dishes, cuttery and pots are still in storage, I will be using plastic and buying a few new pots.While I hate the idea of plate, the one good thing is clean up. And since it is just me, might as well as keep it simple as possible.
Though knowing me, I might hit the trift store for a simple dinning service.
Hey, what can I say? I like things nice. And if I am going to keep the High Holy Day, I want my table to look nice.
To many, this sounds vain.
However, consider:
When the Temple was destroyed, Hebrew Home, the Hebrew Heart became the temple. Our homes are viewed as the very Holy Place of G-d. That is why we had the special dishes, foods, blessings, etc. It isn't just our castle, but G-d's. Most High Holy Days are held in the home and that is why so much attention is given to the care of our homes, our families, our marriages.
G-d created a beautiful world for His creation; us. We in turn, wish our homes, our lives, to reflect that same beauty.
That isn't a hebrew thing or a religious thing.
It's a human thing.
May your day be a beautiful one.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Making A List, Checking it Twice

Shalom:
This morning was cloudly and yucky.
But this afternoon the sun is out.
I had a visitor; a dear friend who brought soup, tea and juice. I am able to handle more than sop these days. We even had a cup of coffee together.
My voice is still raspy, but it is coming back.
I cleaned the bedroom today, the only thing left is to dust and then it is ready for Passover.
Next is the bathroom and then the study.
Yes, I am taking it slow and easy, refusing to stress. It is a time of celebration and joy. Yes, much is to be done, but there is indeed joy in the preparations.
So I am making my list: cleaning list, shopping list and checking it twice. Making sure bases are covered and I enjoy this blessed time.
Mark is preparing for Passover in Afghanistan as well. He has his shank bone and the rabbi from Fort Dix is gone ahead to prepare the place where the Hebrew soldiers will celebrate Passover.
The unit has recieved the pre-made meals for the Hebrew soldiers, kosher for Passover, for they can observe the Passover and the seven days that follow.
OK, Laini, what does that mean?
Well, during Passover we do not eat anything with leaven. That means, breads and any other baked goods that uses yeast. Today there are wonderful bakery goods that we enjoy and one wouldn't believe it was actully a Passover cake or cookie (in the past, these products were known to have no taste) This includes no pasta (i.e no cous-cous). It is a pure, fresh diet. And depending on your tradition, no rice, corn or beans. In our traditon (Sephardic) corn, rice and beans are permitted. But since most of our friends aren't Sephardic, we tend to keep things simple, so we can fully enjoy this time with those we love.
In a few days I have a doctor's appointment, so I will stop and order my lamb. It is going to feel so strange celebrating Passover without my beloved by my side. Our first Passover apart.
But I also know G-d will see me through this, like He has everything esle.

Come On People! Book Review

Shalom:
I have finally finished Bill Cosby's book, Come On People. Not because I am a slow reader, but it is such a good read and I wanted to take it in slowly.
I will get right to the point: many people of colour don't like to hear what Mr. Cosby has to say. He is quite clear: stop with the excuses and let's get on with fixing our comminuty.
Yes, all people could and can benefit from his words. But they are aimed where he needs to: his people.
Folks, we sit our children in front of the TV anf expect it to babysit, yes even teach our children. TV wisely used is a fine tool and source of education and enterianment.
But it isn't you.
Teachers are doing the best they can with what they have. But it isn't their job to raise your child. Rolemodel, teach, yes. Baby sit no.
And shame on those parents who ALLOW their child(ren) to disrespect thier teachers!
Our children are looking up to Rap and Sports stars, thinking they are the ticket. But few are going to make it in either field. Not to say don't try.
But get an education as well. Learn the in and outs of busniess so you have and own your busniess. Become educators and doctors, lawyers, chiefs, peace officers and the military is a fine career.
Drug dealers. I never thought about it, but the only rich drug dealers you see are in the movies.
Most drug dealers are still living at home with their mamas. Their wages are lower than what you canmake flipping burgers. And you spend your day speaking to who: Crack Heads and Junkies. If you live to middle age, you will spend time in jail and still at 40's, 50's, 60's still be living at home with mama.
Thank you, Mr. Cosby for having the gutss to say what has been needed to say.
I recommend this to all and if you know a young family of colour, place this book in the parnets hands.
You just might save a family
Shalom

Monday, 15 March 2010

Nothing Like a Good Cup of Coffee

Boker Tov;
Well, I am sitting here at the Dinning-room table, with my coffee mug a safe distrance from the keyboard.
Yes, this is the second morning I have gotten to enjoy a cup of coffee with cream.
Usually, while recovering from an asthma attack, Asthmatic must stay away from dairy, because of the mucus that builds up along the windpipes and lining of one's lungs. Black cup actually helps with the imflamation and helps calm the body so one can begin to breath freely once more.
The fact that I am able to enjoy my coffee with my international creamer (white mocha) I am on that slow road of recovery and able to truly forcus on one of my favorite Holy Days, Passover.

It is a grey day (or is it gray? this is one of those areas I get mixed up) in Norfolk. I awoke with an idea for a photo prject, but I need to finish a few I have ongoing.
I learned that lesson with death of a friend's husband.
Just before we were married, a friend took Mark's old laptop and worked on it. Returned it no problem. 
Then he my old ( and today it would be really be old) computer to work on it. Mark allowed me to use his Laptop.
Well, we were married. No computer.
We heard reason upon reason for the delate.
No computer.
We offereed to where he lived and pick it up. He would bring it to us.
The next thing we heard a couple was thanking him for the new computer.
I have this feeling it was my old unit.
By this time Mark have brought me a Laptop for my birthday (I now have two). All I wanted was the information, the pictures that were on the old unit.
We never got an answer.
Even once in a while the thought of the old computer crosses my mind; maily because of the study notes and pictures that I no longer have..
Mark and I tried to reslove the matter with this person.
No go.
This person has since died.
While none of us know when our last day shall be, I do not plan to go into the Presense of G-d with my work undone.
I can not help if some people will have be left with a bad memory of me, but at least I can try to mend those fences, I can leave this world a little better place and know when I go to heaven, my friends, my family will have no doublt that is where I shall be.
But I'm not planning on that trip for a very long time.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A Tale of Two Saturdays

A TALE OF TWO SATURDAYS ...!
Frankly, I love the title.
I am catching up on my blog reading and yes, commenting. I like to leave comments to let folks know I did read their blog, and I do learn a lot.
One of my favorites is Marty at Heard at Starbucks.

Being a Starbucks supporter, I was drawn to this blog, but frankly Marty is also a good read and I love his photos. He just came home from Japan and I strongly suggest visiting his blog on his trip.
Speaking of coffee, my is ready.

Preparing to Leave Egypt

Boker Tov;:
Before I begin, I would ask all my readers to pray for my friend Beth, author of the blog Nutwood Junction. Her father had a massive stroke and hard choices have had to be made. Having faced this with my own mother ten years ago, (in our case, mother has gone to live another ten years) I know what first hand the emotions Beth is going through and I am asking all who know Beth, even if you don't, please prayer for her, her dad, mum, hubby and sisters.

I can honesty say I am beginning to feel better. I am not wheezing as much and while I hate having to take all of this medication, it is for a short time and it is appearing to be working. The compact Nebizler is awesome, just sits on a nearby table with the rest of my medication.
I made even try a cup off coffee this morning.

It is a beautiful sunny moning. I haven't opened the door, so it could be chilly. Either way, it is still pretty.
Soon, it shall be Spring.
I shall be able to open the window and let all the winter air out and the spring in.
It is also time to prepare for Passover.
In a few days it will be the Hebrew month of Nissan.
Already, many a hebrew home, the house is being clean, preparing for this grand celebration. In fact, if I haven't sick, my would be well on the way as well.
This is the time that with a Stronge Arm, The Holy One kept that long made promise to free the hebrews of their bonds and bring them back to the Land He had Promised them.
Because the Delieverance was sudden in one night, there was no time for the bread to rise. Because yeast (leaven) is spoken of in Torah as sin, all of the leavn was to be removed from the house as well. They were to eat the lamb, roasted with spring greens, dressed and ready to leave.
It was a Night to Remember always.
Today, we continue to remember this night, this is a teaching time for our children and all who wish to know how this Holy Day fits into their own faith. It is now a meal of Freedom and Rejoicing.
For once we were slaves, but now we are free.
Once we ate in haste, now, we relax, enjoy and remember.
And we pray. We pray for all who still long for freedom, the freedoms we as a Holy people and yes, even Americans enjoy.
This year, with a break of tradition because Mark isn't here, we will not have a Sedar. I hope to be well enough to attend one. But I will as my strenght returns, will prepare our home for this holy time. It is truly holy, because we are "cleaning our homes and our bodies" of the sins that have crept in during the year.
I opened the back door; it is very pretty outside.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

A Day of Rest

Laili Tov;
It has been a quiet day.
I am about to enjoy a cup of tea and then a breathing treatment.

I spend the day sleeping. The cough medication that my doctor ordered has arrested the cough and I could truly sleep most of the day.
I did awake, having to vomit earlier in the morning, the steiod made me sick to my stomach, but after that, I was able to sleep, really sleep, getting much needed sleep today.

It is said that good health is a gift. And how true that is. Having asthma all of my life, I can tell you first have how precious each breath is.
I never smoked a day in my life; my mother had asthma and it was passed onto me.
An asthma attack is a lot like drowning or being choked; one cannot breath and is fighting for every breath. Part of the treatment is calming the patient down and relaxing so that the medication can work.
Being an active person, it is difficult to be still and allow the medication to do its thing, but be still I must. I know that G-d is working through this; teaching me to slow down, take better care of myself and to listen to the still small Voice which is He.
I am once again enjoying the quiet of my home, trusting Mark is safe and even feeling well enough to to start picking the house back up.

Mark called about an half an hour ago. He is now in Afghanistan, arriving last evening. After a good night sleep and speaking to me, he is now about to get to his work.
I was reminded of a saying a few days ago, I believe I shall make it one of my life statements, but I added a line to it:
You can complain that the roses has thorns.
Or you can be thankful that the thorns has roses.
I prefer to thank and praise the One Who made the rose bush.

Friday, 12 March 2010

My Life

Shalom:
Many years ago a friend of my, who has since passed away from Cancer, use to look at me, shake his head and say: "Your life."
I have a feeling Philip is in heaven, shaking his head, even now.
So I have seem my doctor this morning.
I have taken 480mg of prednisone in one week's time.
And lost four pounds.
So my doctor is continuing the streiod treatment, plus ordering an two oral inhalers, anitibolic, a cough medication and a compact Nebulizer system.
One problem. Someone forgot to order the medication for the Nebulizer.
So the on-call doctor put in the order, but I might not get it until tomorrow morning.
Like I'm going anywhere.
So I have Mark's homemake chicken soup for Shabbat along with some Challah I brought. No wine, but grape juice. But it is the fruit of the vine. Pushing lots of fluilds and hopefully with the new medication, a good night sleep.
I just wish Mark was here.