Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Colin Firth's Stately Role

This morning, I am sharing a chip, the story behind the story of the King's Speech. Having reading difficultings myself, the movie was both painful and an inspiration as I press on to learn hebrew. Seeing the shy, insecure grow into the strong and beloved King George reminds the viewer that we all have a voice and we are blessed to find those who help us find our voice.
The movie is also a celebration of marriage.
Elizabeth didn't belittle herhusband, even in private. But was his strong right arm. She went out and found help for her husband, became part of the treament and taught their daughters to honour and respect their father, even when he had a painfully hard time getting through telling them a bedtime story. King George not only knew but apprecated his wife, her strenght. Queen Elizabeth knew and drew out the strenght, the spirit, the voice she knew was deep inside her man.
Lessions Mark and I are now enforcing in our marriage.
The King's Speech deserves every reward it is up for and it is released on DVD, it shall be added to our librany.

Friday, 21 January 2011

we delight in your shabbat batya segal

This is one of our favorite songs, one that we play in our home as we prepare to welcome the Shabbat.
One of the beautiful things about Shabbat is we don't have to wait a year to celebrate. We give and recieve gifts, have special foods, gather with our loved ones and dress up weekly.
Our weekly date night with the Creator and our beloved.
Ah Sabbat; your just a few hours away.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King Still Speaks

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

Dr. Martin Luther King
In the Reel home, Dr. King's birthday isn't viewed as a "day off." but to remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

 Michael King, Jr., was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, the middle child of the Reverend Michael King, Sr. and Alberta Williams King. He had one older sister, Willie Christine and a younger brother, Alfred Daniel Williams.
 Both Dr. King and his father names were Michael originally, until the family traveled to Europe in 1934 and visited Germany. His father soon changed both of their names to Martin Luther in honor of the German Protestant leader Martin Luther.

As a young minister, Dr. King called for this nation to live up to her creeds. The army he raised up fought for the rights of those americans denied them, through marches, sit ins and boycotts.
In their hands were bibles and the hands tof those who walked with them. On their lips, prayers and songs. When attacked, they did not fight back. When a church was bombed and four little black girls were murdered, Dr. King did not call for revenage.
At 39 years old, Dr. King's voice was silenced by bullet. His four children forgave his murder.
But even all these years, we can still hear his voice, calling, challenging us to go higher.
We as a nation have come a long way, but we still have a ways to go.
Today, Mark and I reflected on the fact there was a time in this nation's history, our marriage would be illegal, we would be in jail.
There are people who still think our love is a crime.
All amercians are indebted to Dr. King. It is all of our job, not just his three surviving children and granddaughter to make his dream come true. For he still calls out...

"...Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false with the true."
"....The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become anirrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."
Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963
".I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood.”

Will we listen?


Thursday, 13 January 2011

A Life of Passion

Abandon all worldly pleasures in your desire for G-d and people will call you a fanatic. But don't think serving G-d is a fanaticism. If anything, it is those who devote their lives to the worldly pleasure that are the real fanatics

-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

I love being a messinic hebrew.
From the prayers and blessings to the celebrating of the high holy days to the joy of the huppah, learning hebrew and G-d willing one day, seeing our children dance with the torah, there is something so right, so sweet, so delightful, so out of this world about being jewish.
Our roots are deeps, our prayers rise high and heard at the very throne of G-d.
Perfect? Of course not. But G-d, torah and family makes sense of the craziest of this world.
Loving G-d. Serving G-d is an adventure. It's highs and lows and whirls and twists makes life a joy and a wonder. It gives our lives meaning and purpsoe.
I'm not missing a thing.
Ok, the joy of a child. But G-d willing, one day we shall hear a child's laugh in this house.

I think of a little girl who's family is laying her to rest.
May justice come quickly.
May G-d comfort her father, mother and older brother.
I echo Mr. Obama's words last night. Let us all live lives that Christina would be proud of. Let us be the nation she believed us to be.
A little child is leading us. Shall we follow her?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A Single Rose

A few years ago, a man walked into a Amish school and after releasing the men and boys, he shot and killed five girls.
The Amish community set the lead and example as they mourned the deaths of five daughters. They never spoke out in anger or rage, wishing payback.
Instead, when the nation showered the families with funds and offers to help with the experinces, the families of the victims also shared what was given to the widow and children of the gunman. They were also the innocent victims of a husband and father's actions. They reached out with forgivness, even asking the family to remain in the community.
Yesterday, a young man left a single rose on the door of Jared Lee Loughner. Reporters tried to ask him why he did that, but he gave no answer.
That simple act reminded me of the Amish. For Jared's parents are victims as well.
I chose not to judge these two people. The reports are they are broken hearted, crushed by the actions of their son. As a mother of an adult son, I know the measure of pride I have in him.
But I cannot begin to image what they are feeling; the sense of horror knowing that it was my son who released this hell upon this nation. That sense of I am somehow to blame. What did I do to raise a murder? What could I have done to stop him?
Yes, I know, I am so Polly-Annish.
But I chose not to get into the angry fray. I chose to pray for the families who lives will never be the same. That G-d will meet them need them and comfort them during this time of need. That He shall comfort this nation and we as a nation (ALL OF US!) will take some time to do some soul searching and see where we can help this nation soar once again.
And in my prayers, I include the parnets of Jared.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Soul of A Nation

Boker Tov;
I woke up in tears this morning.
I gave into the room as Mark finish his morning prayers.
He saw the fear on my face and held me.
I woke afraid. Afraid for the soul of this nation.
During my life time I have seen leaders and well known people killed ebcause someone didn't agree with their political, religious or cultural point of view. Abortion doctors, Civil Rights leaders, Presidents, Soldiers on post, Radio announcers.
We have nothing to fear from Terrorist: we are destroying ourselves.
I find it interesting that when the shooting at Fort Hood took place, the public and media was asked not to jump to conclusions about who did this and why. Even when we found out who gun down soldier and civil workers, we the public were asked to remain calm and not assign blame.
But within minutes of the shooting Saturday,  before we learned the who and the why, blame was laid at the feet of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beack and others for their "hate speech." It was laid at the feet of those in Tea Party, and all those who are on the "Conservative Right."
What happen to waiting until we learned the who and the why?
Since Mark and I are conservative, I guess that would include us.
Democrats' and liberals’ acuss the Tea Party movement and Republican politicians to contributing to a climate that might have encouraged Saturday's shootings of  Gabrielle Giffords, John Roll, and a nine year old girl.
That would suggest that Demorats and liberals have a few dogs in this fight as well.
For you see, heated' dialogue is an american tradition, it is woven into this nation's fabric. For example, supporter of Andrew JackesonJackson often referred to the 1824 election as the "Stolen Election". Why?  Because while Mr. Jackson swept the popular vote hands down, he did not have enough electoral votes to automatically win the presidency. Therefore the election had to be decided by the House of Representatives.
 John Quincy Adams was horrified at the thought of Jackson becoming president. The patrician New Englander thought Mr. Jackson a  badly educated bumpkin with little preparation for high office.
 And then there was the charge of adultery.

 During the 1828 campaign the Adams camp charged Jackson and his wife with adultery. The claims grew out of naivete on the Jacksons' part. Rachel Donelson had a first, unhappy marriage with Lewis Robards. In 1790 the Kentucky legislature passed a resolution granting Robards permission to sue for divorce, though he did not do so at the time.

Andrew and Rachel confused the permission to sue with an actual declaration of divorce. They married in 1791, not realizing Rachel was still legally married. Robards finally sued for divorce in 1793 citing Rachel's "adultery" with Jackson. The Jacksons remarried in 1794, but the embarrassing and often malicious gossip persisted. Rachel Jackson was known as 'that whore." She died a few weeks before her husband's inauguration and Mr.Jackson blamed her early death on stress caused by the public discussion of their supposed immorality during the campaign.

Sound familiar?
On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South by killing Mr. Lincoln.

But it was Booth's bullet that took Mr. Lincoln and his alone.
 There is not a shred of evidence that Jared Loughner, was influenced in any way by Sarah Palin, by the Tea Party, by opposition to health care. Jared as a sick, troubled young man who has left behind grieving parents trying to figure out where they went wrong, not realizing how trouble their son was.
No politcial party is behind the actions of Jared Loughner: you can't always explain evil, nor can you alway assign bla
What we as amercian can do, is refuse to enter into another Civil War. We as americans can do is stop laying blame and start praying together, for each other. Refuse to enter into the words of war and put out in oral and written speack words that heal.
As Mark said to me as he kissed my forehead: "We have to be above the fray and be the voice of reason."
HaMessiah, if we have ever needed you, it is now.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Farewell to ShadowLands

Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, dayan ha-emet.

Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, the True Judge.

 In Judaism, death is not a tragedy, even when it occurs early in life or through unfortunate circumstances. Death came to the world because of sin, but one day, through Messiah, that shall be removed. Our deaths, like our lives, have meaning and are all part of G-d's plan. This does not mean that G-d condones to actions of murders; they shall indeed face judgement, in this life and in the next, for their crimes.
 In addition, we have a firm belief in an afterlife, the world to come, where those who have lived a worthy life will be rewarded. Knowing that G-d has created a place for the rightious, while our hearts are ripen open with the death of a loved one, we know where they are and one day, we shall join them.
Times like these do not make me question my faith in G-d or doublt that He is. It enforces it. For only G-d can make sense out ofall of this.
At times like this, I am reminded of quotes from two of my favorite books: C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle J.R.R Tolken's  The Return of the King.

The Last Battle: There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are–as you used to call it in the Shadowlands–dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
(C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle (HarperCollins: New York, 1956) p. 228.)

From The Return of the King:
Gandalf:Gandalf: Farewell, my brave Hobbits. My work is now finished. Here at last, on the shores of the sea, comes the end of our Fellowship. I will not say "do not weep", for not all tears are an evil. It is time, Frodo."

Sam: What does he mean?
Frodo: We set out to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me.
Sam: You don't mean that. You can't leave.
Frodo: [hands Sam the RedBook book] The last pages are for you, Sam.
Frodo: [Voiceover] My dear Sam, you can not always be torn in two: you will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy, and to be, and to do. Your part in this story will go on.
We all are authors in this jounral called life. Our stories interwine and weave into the taapestry of the universe, of heaven itself. The black threads of pain and sorrow are those that bring out the bright, rich colours of joy. Those who have passed on to the afterlife, either heaven or hell, have set down their pens. Their portion, as Frodo stated is complete. Just Frodo passed the RedBook onto Sam, for he had many pages more to write, so do we, who are still walk upon this good earth.
And one day, we too shall hear the crash of a train and find ourselves in Aslan's Land, where He shall begin to tell us The Great Story, the Story we, ourselves are part of and that goes on forever.
May those who have gone before us rest in peace and may the G-d of All Comfort comfort those left to mourn.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Spa Day and Stomach Flu

Boker Tov;
Amoung my Hanukkah gifts from Mark was an afternoon at Elite Day Spa.

 Nettled in one of the side street mini malls, away from the busy sounds of Ghent, the outside is just as peaceful as the inside. One of our neighors work at the Spa and that's how Mark heard about it.
The was wonderful. A hydrating facial, manicure and pedicure, with choice of nail  and lunch. The massage will be friday afternoon, since they only do massages on fridays and saturdays. I was told we picked a good time to come, it was one of the few quiets days. Still from all I could see, this is a wonderful place to just let go of one's cares for a few hours. The cold weather had taken its toll on my skin, so having my face, hands and feet pampered was great.
I needed quiet. For my head was spinning.
I  wish I could have enjoyed the day more.
As we were on our way to the Spa, I began to feel sick. Stomach cramps, my face felt flush and breaking out in chills.
At first I thought it was something I ate for breakfast, but realize it was more than that.
It was too late to cancel, so I had to just gut through the day.
I arrived early and was given a cup of tea, which helped settle my tummy a little.
There were several trips to the ladies room and finally I had to admit i had the stomach flu.
But I was determine it wasn't going to spoil my day.
Both ladies were awesome and since it is so close by where we live, I will make this a monthly treat. Every girl needs alittle pampering.
Mark said my face looked great, but there was concern his as he studied me closely.
"Looks like I'm making chicken-turkey soup tonight."
A few nights, Mark watched as I made chicken soup, adding the rest of the leftover turkey from shabbat to make chicken-turkey soup.
We shared some with our neighors upstairs who had the flu.
So, within a few hours, I smell chicken-turkey soup coming out of my kitchen.
Yesterday was a day of soup, orange juice and sleep. Sometimes I would wake up and find Mark there, wiping down my forehead or just watching me sleep.
So this morning, I awoke, feeling almost human again.
Mark awoke saying his stomach hurt.
Good thing there is plenty of chicken-turkey soup in the house.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Winter Cleaning: Both inside and out

Boker Tov:
Mark and I hope that everyone enjoyed their holidays, along with family and friends.
For Jews, the new year really began in September, the year 5771.
The month before is a time of reflection, of repentance, getting things right with our fellow men and women, with G-d. The new year is of course welcome with services and fellowship. And one cannot forget the apples and honey, for a happy and sweet new year. Then leads to Yom Kippah where we stand before the Holy One.
It is a time to look over our lives, seeing how far we have come, and how far we need to go.
For me, it is the learning of Hebrew and I am actually further in my studies. The other is to finish Mark's quilt. It is time that it is finished.
My mother started a tradition years ago that I have adopted. In Januray, I start going through stuff, decluttering our home. We do this during Rosh HaShanna as well. But like life, we tend to slowly start allowing things to start coming back in.
But this year there is a twist.
On Fox and Friends, there was a story about getting rid of 50 things that aren't work in our lives. This includes negative thoughts, negative people.
Life is too short on this side of heaven to hold onto stuff we are not using. It is draining our lives, resources and space.
Negative thoughts. You can't drive forward when your foruc is on the rear window. You can't recieve what G-d and Life have for you if your arms are full of stuff.
I can't get back into my favorite pair of jeans if I am not willing to lay off the pototoes.
The "I can't" "I am old/young/ fat/thin" "I'm not smart enough or have enough money," etc have held many a person from living their best life.
We can lose weigh, we can go back to school, we can find love.
I can learn hebrew.
Negative people. Those dear souls that sit on our sofa all day long, watching the telly and eating us out house and home. The person who has nothing nice to say, but fill the air with their doom and gloom. You what I am talking about. All they bring to the table is drama and more drama. All that is missing the bowl of popcorn and the bottle of coke.
I always this of vampires: those dark creatures of death that drink your life blood.
Time to put the silver cross into the coffin and nail that sucker shut.
So this week Mark have I have started the process of weeding out and declutterung our lives. And by doing so, we welcome all the fresh and new G-d has for us.