Friday, 17 September 2010

As Evening Comes

As evening draws near it is the end of the Days of Awe.  I am sitting back, reflecting upon my life before the Kol Nidre service.
I have many blessings, many treasures.
And many of them are the friends I have here on
Whether you leave a comment or not, we consider you a friend. A few we have even met. Some of us we exchange e-mail, snail mail. All have been supportive and compassate and even from time a teacher. Some it was no suprise we found each other. Others, I am truly amazed you love me and call me friend.
But that is the gift of friendship. Acceptance. Respect. Freedom to be without worry of changing.
Each of you are a jewel G-d has placed into Mark and my's lives and we humbled by the honour and do not take it lightly.
So from the Reel House to each of yours, Shalom and May you be written in the Book of Life and Sealed for a sweet, happy and joyious New Year.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

What is a Good Parent?

So what is a good parent?
Ah don't ask easy questions, do you?

No, I don't. Iike to make people think.
And that oftens gets me into trouble.
When I think of a good parnet, I think of (of course) my own mother.
True, she made her mistakes and wasn't perfect, but there was a truth she modeled for me that lasts until this day.
I remember my grandmother, Grondmother Calli, a gaint of a woman. Again not perfect, but g-dly and precious to me.
 I also had a wonderful mentor, and for the life of me and to my shame, I do not remember her name. But she would be the first to say: "remembering my name isn't as important as remembering the lesson."
From each of these women I learned many times, but the one thing they all said and well as modeled:
"A good parent doesn't damand respect; they earn it."
So what does that mean?
I remember growing up, hearing over and over again, "Honour Thy Mother and Thy Father."
And what does that mean? At the time, it meant I did whatever I was told, didn't sass back, obeyed their rules.
As a baby, I needed those barriers that kept me safe. The crib, playpen, safely gate and fence. The lock doors and the Pram.
When I got older the crib gave way to a big girl bed, a bed I had to learn how to make up in the morning. Once mummie taught me to brush my teeth, I had to brush them on my own. For a while I had to be reminded to brush my teeth, make my bed, take a bath, put on clean clothes, until I started doing it because I like the way a clean mouth and body felt. I had to be taught and told how to clean my room until I started doing it on my own.
Funny thing, when I became a teenager, mummie allowed me to decorate my bedroom the way I wished. No rules. Why? Because I already knew what my mother would and would not permit in her house. And knowing the rules, I was free to decorate however I wished. She trusted me.
Then, mummie started knocking on my bedroom door. Yes, the room was in her house, but my bedroom was MY SPACE and she honoured it.
When grandmother made my lunch for me, she gave me a choice between peanutter and jelly or just jelly. Knowing I hated peanut and jelly, I would always pick jelly. But I got to chose.
When I became a woman and was on my own, mother told me: "You are now a woman and I trust all that I put into you. Remember, if you wish me to treat you like an adult, act like one."
I never forgot those words.
Later, when I became a mummie, I often quoted "honour thy mother and father," until a pastor's wife pulled me aside.
She said we as parnets cannot demand obediance or respect. Yes, our children are to obey us. But we should treat our children with respect also. We must live in such a way that makes our children want to obey us. Praise them for jobs well done, respect their space, respect them. She said, never use the Scriptures as a club (the bible says you have to honour me!!!!) You want your son to honour you; honour him."
It has been 32 years since I heard those words. And they still ring true.
Not always easy, but in the end, worth.
Aries, if you are reading this, I love you.

Preparing For Yom Kipper; What is Repentance?

In a few days, it shall be Yom Kipper, The Day of Atonements.
I say Atonement because there were really more than one Atonement made.
First, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holiess. He was permitted to enter that chamber only once a year, Yom Kipper. He would offer two bulls. One for his sins and then one for his family. There were also two goats involved, one was send off and would die in the wilderness. The other would be the offering for Israel.
It was and still is a solemn time, for it is a time for reffection, repentance and for reconcilliation between G-d and man and man and man.
While we repent of our sins, there must also be an action, a turning around and resolving not to walk in that path again. But in our sin, we wrong and/or wrong someone, so we must make that right as well.
In our faith, it is wrong to gossip about another. During the month of Elud (last month of the Jewish year) as I repent of this sin, knowing I was wrong and ask G-d to forgive me. I know He does.
But He then calls to my mind, who I have gossiped about. I now need to go and ask that person to forgive me.
Not easy? Well, it gets better.
"G-d, I realize I have been a talebear and I know I was wrong. I ask you to forgive me."
G-d: "Are you, daugher?"
Me: "Yes Father."

G-d; "You have gossiped about Jane...and some very ugly things you know."
Me: "I know...."
G-d: "You need to ask Jane's forgiveness and get things right with her."
Me: "Yes Father."
So I go to Jane and confess what I have done. Jane knows all I have said and more. Seems my little tales have reached her ears.
Jane, is gracious to forgive me. But Jane has been hurt. So I offer to take Jane to Starbucks and we begin to rebuild our relationship.
But it doesn't stop there.
The next step is I need to go to Terry, who I have gossiped to about Jane.
Me: "Terry, I must confess I sinned against Jane by telling ugly stories about her to you. Whether they were true or not, I was wrong amd I also sinned against you by making you think badly about Jane."
Terry: "Laini, your right. We were both wrong. And I should have stopped you. I need to go to Jane and ask her forgiveness as well."
Terry goes to Jane and ask her forgivness. But then Terry must go to her sister Jerry and her bestfriend Susans make the same confession...
While the results aren't always the same, that is what it truly means to repent.
You don't just say it: you do it.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Back Surgery and The Hat Lady

Shalom: is good to be back! I think if I could have gotten to the blog sooner, it would have relieved some of the stress we both have been going through.
To Liz; Mark's dad hasn't had the surgery yet. And we don't know what kind. Mark's folks haven't told us much about it and if and when they are ready to tell us, we are here.
It has been an interesting summer to say the least.
As most know, Mark was up for Major when he came back home and his name did make the list the last week of June.
What we didn't know until one day Mark was looking at his paystud a few weeks later is that his pay had begun to reflect his new rank. So he went back over the paperwork. I had been teasing Mark before he came home, don't be surprise if your Maj R when you come home from Afghanistan. Well, that is actually what happen. Mark was actully MAJ R the third of June, one day before he returned to the States.
So, last month, at Fort Eustis, Cpt Mark picked up  and was pinned the rank of Major. His CO said Mark waited patiently for his rank, a good mark of a fine leader.
Very true.
And I was honoured to pin his gold leaf upon his berat.
It was truly a proud moment. As well 105 outside.
When he recieved his award, Mark handed it to me, saying: "I share this day and this award with my beloved wife, Elayne. It is her love and strenght, her belief in me that made this day posiabble. I am the man, the soldier I am today because of her and I could not do my job without her love and support."
Try as I might not to cry in front of his unit, I did.

I als

I also decided to buy a hat for the occaion. Not being a hat person (other than Mark's caps) it was indeed a adventure. But I did find this beautiful white hat and a black lace dress to go with it. I wanted to look nice for Mark's big day.

And like the good husband Mark is, he decided to model it for me. Would you believe I lost a Facebook friend over this picture???? Someone who thought that Marks wearing his wife's hat was ung-dly, that because he was wearing a woman hat, it meant he was less than a man. I would look to see someone stand up to my 6'4 husband, who has pulled four deployments and tell him he is NOT manly.
I guess it is rather easy to sit back and judge others according to your values and standards, insteads of accepting people for who they are. Even if it is a bit of humour. Besides, I should be the one that's upset: he looks better in my hat than I do!
The following week, Mark came home and told me that one of the women he works with said, "Tell your wife she wore that hat!"
(That means she looked good)

And she wanted to see my hat collection.
Mark informed her that this was my first hat and I really didn't have one.
His co-worker told Mark I needed to start; I look good in hats.
I now have two.
I am thinking of buying one for a upcoming wedding.....

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A New Year

Shalom everyone:
Yes, I know that it has bee awhile since I have written. Our lives have been so busy.
But finally, I have created the time and space`to sit down and write.
How I have missed my blog and my blogger friends.
First, Mark and I are fine. It wasn't the summer we planned for, but we shan't complain for it is what the Holy One chose.
We do hope to make it to Montana at some point. But it looks like at least another month. We also had planned to renew our vows, but again, there is this thing called life....
Mark has completed the Wounded Warrior Program. Mark came home with heel spurs, so sever that he had to go into treatment for them. Also he had to report in for his cancer examines, making sure he was still cancer free.
He had to report into Fort Eustis here in Virginia and because he is a senior officer, he was able to come home in the evening. However, since he was "still deployed." Mark wasn't really home (on leave) and therefore we could not plan any trips, such as to Montana.
This week is Mark begins leaves and we are so looking forward to it. It has been a long time coming.
Our friend David is still with us. As of this writing, David is turning a corner. The doctor removed the dressing off his foot and he now covers his big toe with a band-aid. His blood sugar excellent, we are still getting the blood pressure under control. This week, thanks to a lovely gift someone send, we will be able to buy David new shoes and a cane. It has been a long, slow recovery, but thanks be to G-d, he is making it.
We learned the night before Rosh HaShanna began that Mark's father was going in for a Heart Catheritization. While a heart cath is common place these days, there was some confusion as to why he was having this procedure and how serious the situation was. So at the last minute, we canceled the bight celebration we planned and kept things small and quiet.
The heart cath turn out to only the precursor to a back operation that Mark's dad need and the doctor wanted to make sure Mr. Reel's heart was healthy enough to handle the surgery. A wise precaution to be sure.
But we had a wonderful Rosh Service in our home. There is two Jewish Cable stations I found several months ago and on Shalom TV, one rabbi taped and aired the Rosh HaShanna services for those who cannot attend. While most Synagogues still hold to not recording their services ( it has to do with work and using electricity) this rabbi felt that  it is important to include those shut-in for various reasons to feel a part of the community.
Would that other rabbis would feel the same way.
It was David's first Rosh HaShanna and he enjoyed it.
Lots of questions.
So now we begin a new year. One of hope and joy, filled wonder and awe.
What does the future for our world, our nation, the Reel Tribe?
G-d only knows.
I can't wait to see what He is going to do.