Friday, 20 May 2011

I Don't Believe So

By now most who are reading this blog entry have heard that the World is Ending tomorrow.
One Harold Camping, 89 years old, has, using the scriptures and what he believes are biblical dates (i.e the date of Noah's Flood, etc) that the rapture will occur tomorrow evening around six p.m.
Mr. Camping believes that the Rapture, when Messiah will call His people home to be with Him and all hell will break loose on earth.
I did a little research on Mr. Camping; this isn't the first time he has set the date as 1994, even wrote a book by that title. 1994? (That's the title)
Because of my home training and torah teaching, Mr. Camping is an older man and so I shall be respect, though I do believe he is wrong.
As a Messinac Jew, I do believe in the words of Yeshua who said "No man knows the times or seasons of the Coming of the Son of Man, not even the Son."
The meaning is clear, not even Messiah knows when He shall return.
The return of Messiah is to be as a Thief in the Night.
No thief announce when he/she will break into a home.
Are we living in the last days before Messiah's return? Yes. But for people of faith, this isn't a fearful thing, but something that gives us hope. A hope we can share with others.
Sadly, all Mr.Camping has done has caused fear with many and caused g-dly people to be a laughstock. Because every person who has ever set a date they believe is when "Messiah Returns" or "The World Will End" has proved to be false and they come out looking like liars.
I truly believe in the Promises of the Bible and Messiah. I also believe the Torah.
"No man knows the day or the hour."
With respect Mr. Camping, I don't believe so.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Heaven: My Home Sweet Home

Today, in  a interview with the Guradian newspaper, Stephen Hawking, the famous British physicist, called the notion of heaven a "fairy story". A belief that heaven or an afterlife awaits us is a "fairy story for people afraid of death."

In a dismissal that underlines his firm rejection of religious comforts, Britain's most eminent scientist said there was nothing beyond the moment when the brain flickers for the final time.
Well, Professor Hawking has a right to his opinions. And franking, I am not smart enough to debate. I would never stand a change; look like at this cute, round, brown jewish frum and I would be tasty pudding within minutes.
I know many who share his thoughts. Again, that is their belief and their right.
But for me, I have never even wrestled with the thought of if there is life after death. Not because of my upbringing, but just a sense in my being that this could not be all there is. That to life some seventy, eighty years and then to go into nothingness just doesn't make sense to me.
It IS science that convice me that there is life beyond the grave as well as my faith.
And I am married to a science teacher who says the evidence of G-d is there for all who wish to see.
His words, not my.
Fairy Story.
Those who say we who believe in G-d and Heaven are trusting in a fairy story. I would suggest Professor Hawkins read the history of Fairy Tales. More often than not, they were based on some true event or story. There was some morale to them that imparted a truth to the young and old alike.
Since a white knight did indeed come riding into my life, slay the dragon and after our fairy tale wedding, took to the castle we decorated ourselves and living pretty happyily ever after, I have no problem believing in the fairy story of Heaven.
Besides, no one as of yet has made me a better offer.
Heaven: what a wonderful choice.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

What is Your Torah? Part 2

Boker Tov:
It has been a quiet day for far.
Mark is attending his last day of drill. It's crazy to miss your beloved so much when they shall return home with twelve hours instead of twelve months, but I do.
So, right now I am taking a break from cleaning the bedroom. Really can't rearrange the room; too small. And still no good leads on finding a home.
But our house is out there.

I remember as a child learning Torah at the feet on mother, grandmother and uncle Oscar.
Different points of view and yet they said the same thing:
"Put shoe leather to your prayers (Grandmother)
"Be the answer to the prayers you utter (Mother)
"If you can't live it, keep my mouth shut. (Uncle Oscar.)
Oh there was more, of course, but the lession stuck.
Mainly because I watched the examples of others.
I watched people who claimed to be followers of G-d, to love, honour and obey Him. People who could spend hours and hours studying the bible, praying and preaching to others. Yet their families went often time neglected, their work habits weren't the best and were as mean as a snake.
And then I knew people claimed to love G-d, to honour follow and obey Him and spend a few hours in Bible study and prayer and their familes had their full attendion and knew they were loved. These dear people were the most faithful of workers and were amoung the kindnest , sweetest, G-d like folk I have ever met.
The diffence?
One word: Balance.
Yes, I love my time of prayer and study. But it cannot be my life. I am also a wife, G-d willing day, a mother, a daughter and a friend. I am a servant of G-d.
Just as there must be a balance in all areas of life, it must be the same in our spiritual as well. Just as I must make time to be with the Holy One, I also must make time to be with my beloved, with friends, with family. It is the making of a meal, changing of a diaper, sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. It is sharing a laugh with Liz via the inernet and praying for my doggie buddie Koda who is fighting cancer. 
So what is my Torah?

What is Your Torah? Part One

Boker Tov:
A Hasidic Rabbi once went to visit his friend. His friend studied while his child cried in the next room. The Rabbi asked him "Don't you hear your child? Why don't you go to him?" His friend, emerging from the reverie of learning, said "You know, I get so immersed in the intricacy and beauty of Torah that I tune out the world." The Rabbi admonished him, "If your Torah makes you neglect the cry of a child, then your Torah is no Torah."

The Torah.
Most people when they think of Torah, this of the first five books of the Bible, The Law given to Moses to give to the Nation of Isreal.
While true, Torah also means The Teaching of G-d, The Word of G-d. It means Command, Commandments. It is the first five books, but it is also all of the Bible.
The Torah  is the Tree of Life and a Light to our path. The Torah is as sweet as honey and a balm to those who are need of healing. The Torah teaches us how to live, how to treat others as well as The Holy One's love letter to us.
But how often is Torah neglected? How many who claim to love G-d, not go to His House to ear His Torah? How many fail to sit at the feet of a teacher and learn? How many bibles sit on bedsides and coffee tbales unread?
The beauty of Torah. So yes, I have gotten lost in her....and then found myself running about, because I have twenty minutes to get ready for work!
That isn't being holy...that was a misuse of my time.
Torah drives us to do better, be better, treat our family, friends and co-workers in a lovely, loving matter.

 But Torah can be misused as well. As the story above, child's cry went unheard because its father was studying Torah. How many cries of children, husbands and wives, mother and fathers go unheard because we are "studying" "praying". How many neighour needs go unmet because we are hurrying to the House of G-d, to prayer, to Bible study. 
 If we are beating others over the head with its teaching, if we are pounding the desk or table with her as we judge others, then our torah is not Torah. 
 If we are so busy praying and studying that our wives, husbands, parents, children are neglected, that we tune out the needs of our neighours, then our torah isn't Torah.
Torah leads us to a life of love and good deeds. It leads us to shine forth the Light of the Holy One onto a darken world. It leads us to share our shabbat table as well as the beauty of Torah.
Some of my favorite stories is of rabbis, pastors and teachers who have been late for services because they stopped to help change a tire, stopped with supper for a sick neighour or was helping their daughter with her math homework. A minister who sweeps the church floor, the rabbi who deliver meals on wheels. A family who invites to their table the family of a soldier serving in Iraq.
That's Torah.


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Carolina CupCakery: A Sweet Treat

Boker Tov:
Several years ago, I gave my mother a Mother's Day card that cost six dollars.
Yes, it was a VERY nice card.
Mummie loved it. But guess who forgot to blacken out the price on the back of the card?
One eyebrow went up; "I better be able to eat this!"
To say that mummie was ready to hit me with her cane over spend so much money on a card is an understatement.
So this year, to avoid a repect of the above, I decided on something sweet.
Several months ago, Mark while getting coffee, found  Carolina CupCakery Cafe. A little pricey, but worth it. Made from srcatch, all natural, the company offers not only kosher, but vegan and gluten free cupcakes.
There are several reasons why I love this store and not just because they offer a good cupcake:
Dawn, the Founder and owner of Carolina Cupcakery, along with her two daughters started the busniess about four years ago.  From the beginning, Dawn has been committed to offering a preservative-free, chemical-free gourmet product. She had been advised that her idea would not work because so many people prefer the cheaper super moist box mixes.
Thankfully, Dawn didn't listen. 
As a baker myself, I know that  scratch baked goods do not taste like pudding and they do not last for weeks. Butter, sugar and flour have expiration dates and cupcakes do too. There are no  preservatives in Carolina Cupcakes, but they are nice and fresh. 
The fact that the owner has gone out of her way to make a product to a market often overlooked as well as  taste good is a major plus. 
And they are pretty.
This is AnnaBella, made for mum Reel's birthday. It is a lemon cupcake with a lavender flower on top. She said it was wonderful.

And these lovely beauties are the Red Velvet. This is the sweet treat we decided to give our mothers instead of cards.
Mummie said her cupcake lasted 15 minutes.
Both mums love the new tradition of cupcakes instead of cards.
I know dad is waiting for next month :)

Friday, 6 May 2011

Shabbat, Lovely Shabbat

It is almost Shabbat.
Lovely, lovely Shabbat.
After the week that was, Shabbat is the glorious rest we need.

The roast and veggies are done and I am about to make the salad. The scent of challah fills the air.
The table will soon be set. The wine pour and the songs of shabbat shall echo through the house.
It is times like these that shabbat is the most precious.
We will turn off the TV and the computer, shut the door on the world.
For it is shabbat.
If the there is ever a time we have needed you, it is now.

Honour thy Mother and Father

Boker Tov;
Well it is that time of the year again: the selling of pricely cards, flowers and boxes of candy. Dresses and jewerly on sale.
No it isn't V. Day, but Mother's Day.
Or as we call it in our home, Guilt Day.
Why Guilt Day? Because all we long we are told "buy this flower to show your mother you love her." Or "Show your mother you love her and buy this necklace." And my favorite "20% off all Mother Day cards this week only."
Like they sell Mother Day's cards the rest of the year.
Even the woman who's idea Mother Day's was by the time of her death was calling for its end because the day had become too commerial.

My mother and I were talking about this a few days ago.
Some of my friends do not celebrate Mother's Day because of its pagan roots. And if it isn't in Torah, they don't have a part in it.
Others go on the other extreme and shower their mother with all the above.
My mother thinks the pagan connection is silly and the other extreme of showering mother with gifts and flowers (which is frankly worshipping your mother) is uncalled for and insane.
"Instead of spending five dollars on a card, just give me the cash." Mummie would say.
My mother would often say of her own mother: "I gave mama her flowers while she was still alive." Whether she was living with us or later when Grandmother had to go to live in a Nursing Home, mummie always brought her mother flowers for her room once a week.
For the last five years of her life, Grandmother lived with us. It wasn't an easy time. Yet I watched my mother give my grandmother the love and care she needed. No matter how busy she was, mummie always found the time to visit with her mother. Even if it meant traveling to 45 minutes to the Nursing Home three time a week.
I learned from watcing my mother care for her own mother what it means to truly honour your mother.
Mummie often tells me how proud she is of my sister Eileen and I. How happy she is with the women we grew into and how we live our lives. How we live our lives is our gift to her; this is honour we honour.
The flowers and candy are nice. But for her, she knows her daughters and sons-in-law love her, are there for her and that every day is Mother's Day.
Mother's Day is suppose to honour the 'mothers of our nation."
That's nice. And how many "mothers" will have to go to work that day instead of getting the day off? How many will get a Mother's Day bonus in their paycheck?"
How many of us will get a call from a child we haven't heard from in a year. Or not at all?
I love my mother and mother-in-law. I love being a mum. And next to be a military wife, it is the toughest, yet most rewarding job on earth.
Sunday this nation will say "Happy Mother's Day." to the nations mothers. And I do think that is a good thing.
Mothers, like fathers, are our nations heroes. She who rocks the cradle, rules the world. And I don't see a thing wrong with giving every mother the honour she is due.
But let us just be sure it is because we love them and not because call companys tell us to.
Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A Wasted Life

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that" - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr

 On 10th March, 1957, in Riyadh Saudi Arabia,  Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was born int a wealthy family, which had and still has close ties to the Saudi royal family.
There was much Bin Laden, as he would come to be called, could have done with his life.
Gone into and taken over his family busniesses. Gone to school and become a doctor, lawyer or even a religious leader or teacher of his faith. With his money, Bin Laden could have have used his family's wealth and name to help his nation and/or the world's poor. The building of schools and hosptials, building busniesses that gave people jobs and better their lives.
Instead, Bin Laden's life was one that took, and not gave. He took lives; not only over 3,000 on 9-11, but fellow muslims. His extreme religious and political views did not remain his own point of veiw, but became the fuel that that flew planes into the Twin Towers and place a sword into the hand that put to death Daniel Pearl as well as others.t harm. He did nothing to make world a better place, but caused many tears.
 In 1994, the bin Laden family disowned Osama and the Saudi government revoked his passport. The Saudi government also stripped Osama bin Laden of his citizenship, for publicly speaking out against them, after they permitted U.S. troops to be based in Saudi Arabia in preparation for the 1991 Gulf War.

All of my muslim friends say they were glad Bin Laden was gone; that he brought nothing but shame to Islam. He brought dishonour to all they hold dear and do not mourn his death.
As one friend said: "he wasted the life G-d gave him."
Mark and I were up when the news came about his death.
Interesting, Bin Laden has been a part of our lives for these ten years. Part of our friendship, courtship, marriage. The reason my beloved has bee deployed four times. There isn't a miliarty household Bin Laden hasn't touch and we are all thankful he is no longer in our lives.
As a miliarty family, we are glad justice has been served. No, his death will not bring back his victims. All justice on this side of heaven is imperfect. Full and total judgement will come from G-d. And we are fully aware that though the warl-rd is gone, the war still goes on. But we are not dancing in the streets, cheering or passing out candy.
Bin Laden was pure evil and needed to go.
But Bin Laden is not an victim. He didn't go up poor and derived. He wasn't oppressed or depressed. He made choices that led to his dead body being dumped into the sea instead of being buriel with the honour given to those of his faith.
Yes, his followers and his young wife shall mourn him. But they few.
A wasted life, my friend said.
When I am called before the Throne of the Holy One, I hope to have lived a life where people will indeed cry and mourn and be sadden that I am no longer here. That I shall leave this world better than when I arrived and people will give thanks to G-d for my life and not uttering, "Thank You G-d, she's gone." 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Week That Was.

Boker Tov:
When friends, it has been quite a week.
Last Thrusady we woke to the news of six states being hit by killer storms that wiped out homes, lives and whole Friday, the future king of England, Prince Williams was married. Now known as the Duke and Duchness of Cambridge, they couple has begun their new live together and most of the people of the world wish them the best.

This Sunday, the Vatcan took the next step in making the late Pope JohnPaul a staint.
And in the Reel house, we were preparing to remember Holoust Remembance Day which started @ sunset.
On this day, we remember those six million Jews who were send to their deaths for being Jews. Hilter's "Final Solution" And sadly Hilter got his idea from the writings of Martin Luther.
But other also went to the gas chambers. Six thousend Jehovah's Witnesses, Russians, Gyspies, the elderly as well as those "rightious gentiles" who worked to save Jewish lives.
In the Reel home, we remember and honour their lives as well.

And then there was that Breaking News later that evening....
Mark and I were up late Sunday evening and about to head for bed when we heard the breaking news. The TV was on Fox, which meant the news was coming in real time.
Mark and I finished up what we were doing, listening.
What could be so important that it's announced after ten o clock?
I said to Mark, someone died. With recent events, I thought it was  Libya's Colonial.Muammar al-Gaddafi.
But then, out of the blue Geraldo Rivera said: "could it be Bin Laden?"
Where did that com from?
Twenty minutes later, the news was indeed that Bib Laden was dead.
Good guess (?????) Mr. Rivera.
Interesting that the news "broke" during Donald Trump's show, The Apprentice.
We listened to the President's speech and then, after shutting everything down, headed for bed.
Yes, we saw the celebrations on TV.
We didn't join in.
Bin Laden was pure evil. He needed to go before destroying any more lives. We gave thanks that justice was finally served.
But we do enjoy in any man's death; even our enemies.
Before bed, we prayed for those in the South, still reeling from the killer storms and for the families, friends and survivors of 9-11.