Friday, 18 November 2011

Good Night, Sweet Angel: Part 2

Boker Tov;
It is a cold morning here in Virginia. In the 30s. So it is a hot coco morning.
I awoke thinking about baby Jazzlyn Grace. I have so many pictures of this lovely girl with the big blue eyes. I had never held her or heard her coos, but I am just imagine.
The death of anyone we love, even if we know they are in heaven. It is times like thess we ripe our garments ( the picture of the heart being ripped open) and declare:
 Barukh attah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam dayan ha’emet. Blessed are You, O Lord our G-d, King of the universe the true Judge (or Judge of truth). 
The death of a child is the worst pain a parent could have.
I remember the months I struggled after Mark and I lost a child to miscarriage. A child we never saw or heard. It took time and the support of a loving husband and a Faithful G-d to get me through. And knowing our little one was with her Creator slowly, slowly eased the pain.
At times like these we reach for words:
G-d needed another angel, so He took him/her. With respect, when humans die and go to heaven, they remain human, their not turned into angels.
We are not needed in heaven. That is where we go when our work is done. We are needed here on earth.
When our loved are taken, it is their time to go.
But knowing this doesn't ease the pain. Nor should There is a hole in our lives, our family, our heart that can be mended, but not fully healed until we are together again. G-d is closest to times like these, holding us close.
Anger is normal too. I remember being so mad with G-d over His taking our unborn child. There will be no baby scents and nappies, no baby coos and first tooth, no first day of school, first dance, no seeing this precious one married under our huppah or grandbabies.
The wordss came slowly, softy...."Quiet day you will understand...this is not that day...."
His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. Sometimes that is enough and sometimes we storm with,
That's it???"
And sometime we just have to lean back into the Father's Arms and let Him hold us, knowing He loves us.
And weeps with us.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Good Night Sweet Angel

Yesterday morning bright and sunny.
And then I recieved the news that a friend's three month old granddaughter Jazzlny was found in her crib, blue. We prayed that The that gave us Jazzyn would allow her to remain longer.
But the Holy One, Blessed be He, had other ideas.
Today, as I prayed for Linda and her family, I remembered something I would a few months back and felt during this time of questions and tear, it would encourage:
From 11th April:
It is hard, even impossible to understand how a loving G-d would take someone so young. It is times like these that people of faith draw on G-d. I repost something I wrote awhile back that gets me through moments like this:

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 doubt that He is. It enforces it. For only G-d can make sense out o fall of 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.

From 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.)

And 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 tapestry 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.

Jazzlny  finished her part of the Great Book: we are left to continue to write ours.
May those who have gone before us rest in peace and may the G-d of All Comfort comfort those left to mourn.
We miss you, Jazzlyn.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Gettryburg, PA

Boker Tov:
Gerryburg, PA.
One day we hope to spend more than a few fleeing nights in this remarkable city;
But right now, here a few pictures from our brief time....

Gettysburg Pennsylvania Movie Theater -

This is the Gateway Theater. 
On the Reel to-do list. Since we're going to be here long, I did some research:
The Gateway Theater is a state of the arts theater and is the home of the "Fields of Freedom" movie. Field of Freedom is an unprecedented look at the Battle of Gettysburg, and  has eight  movie screens.
 I hope lots of leg room. Mark and I are tall people.
 Featuring giant viewing screens, landmark Gateway Theater boasts the most advanced sound and viewing technologies for the ultimate experience possible at a movie theater. Two theaters feature the largest digital movie screens in the country - three stories high.
Yeah, we need to come and stay longer than a night.

Looks like a cool place to eat, but Old Eagle was still close when we checked out.

The fire is as cozy as it looks....

Alas, we have to leave far too....

But now refreshed..we are on our way to Rochester, New York....

On the Road Again: Part Three

Boker Tov:
So after crashing in GettysBurg and getting a pretty good night's sleep, Mark and I took our time preparing for the day. We should reach New York by evening, so we didn't feel a need to hurry.
Our hotel room at the Courtyard Marriott in GettryBurg, PA.

And yes the bed was quite comfortable...
One of the nicest things about this hotel is the internet is secure. There is wireless internet service in each room. You don't even need your own computer cord; just plug your baby in and off you go. I had a lovely talk with the night manager. She has a son station here in Norfolk and the family has plans to get together for the holidays. I told her make sure they visit Bush Gardens while in town, one of the best places to be for the winter holidays.
The morning meal was pretty good as well, though I couldn't eat it all. The only thing missing is the Starbucks coffee. Once out of Virginia, we had yet to find a Starbucks.
Not good.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

Boker Tov:
11-11-11 Today we remember all those who have given their lives for this nation, so that each of us may enjoy the freedoms we have, including to protest, to speak out against their government, the freedom to or not to worship.
Today we give thanks to those who have served as well as those who still do.
Today I remember cousins who are deployed and praying they return home safe.
Today I give thanks that my soldier is still home.
A very happy and blessed Veteran's Day.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

On The Road Again. Part 2

Along the I-95, Virginia.

The Beauty and Glory of G-d's Creation.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

On the Road Again

Boker Tov:
Well, we're on the road again.
I do need to catch up on the others two we have been on. Each connected with the Yellow Ribbon Reingeration Program.
But more about that later.

We set out for Rochester, New York a few days ago. While it is about an ten hour drive from Virginia, I told Mark I prefer to break the trip into two days. This way we arrive safey and he will be refresh and alert for his training.
And after what we went through the last two trips, Mark was willing to go along.
So Monday afternoon, after packing and setting the house in order, headed out for our next adventure.
And you know Moshe and Abraham had to go along.

The weather was wonderful; sunny, cool, but not cold. The interstate ablazed with the autumn colours.
But my favorite part of the trip was just riding with my beloved. Whether we were singing with the radio, listening to the news or just talking, laughing over silly, private jokes, I still love the simple pleasure to be with the man I love.

We arrived in GettyBurge, PA around 8:30 pm and after a supper of pizza, and lousy pizza at that I crashed.
And Mark decided this was a good time to take a picture of my socks.....
I think their cute....

I Married Calvin

Boker Tov:
One of my favorite Cartoons is Calvin and Hobbs.
I love that little guy and adore Hobbs;

Little did I realize I would one day marry Calvin...
Have to admitt, he is rather cute...

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Giving. Thanks

Boker Tov;
My mother always says one really can't speak about Thanks Giving without giving thanks.
Thanks why she would give to the Food Bank and ask around her office and where she attended church to make sure everyone had somewhere to send Thanks Giving.
I am thankful to be married to such a man. I rmemeber the very first time we went food shopping together and he picked up one of the food bags for the Food Bank. He said he didn't like the idea if sitting down to supper and knowing others didn't have anything to eat.
So for the most part, we try to give to the Food Bank before Shabbat, that way we know there that a faily would be site down to a family meal (whether shabbat or not).The past yeat, we have not been able to give as often as we wish, which hurts, knowing the need is even greater.

This year we learned the Jewish Family Services has not one, but two Food Closets. One for the general public (the director said she will turn no one away) and another for the Milk and Honey Closet, this side closet collects food that is kosher. Since we keep kosher, no problem there. So we buy enough for both. This day a family in need can enjoy shabbat meal.

The Hebrew word for tzedakah is often translated as charity. But tzedakah actually means something slightly different; it means justice, righteousness. According to our Sages tzedakah means we have an obligation to give to those in need.
We don't just give when we "feel the urge" or even guilted. It is an awareness that we are indeed our brother's keeper. It is done to prove how good, how holy, how g-dly we are, but because a fellow human being is in need. We give knowing "we enterian angels unaware."
We give because there, but by the grace of G-d goes us.
We give to say thank you to the G-d Who gave to us.
How do you say "Thank you to G-d?'
Share your bread.

Friday, 4 November 2011

The Joy of Oatmeal-Cholocate chip Cookies.

Boker Tov;
A few days ago, I decided that it was time to make some cookies for my beloved.
I think a large part of this was due to the fact that once again our apartment is freezing.
The heats has kicked on a few times and then it is no more.
So we have once again broken out the heaters and sweaters. I figure a little baking would warm up the house.
So yesterday, I made some oatmeal-chocolate cookies. As I had, the front rooms of the apartment warmed up as well as making the house smell good.

"Ahhhh...cookie..... :) "

"Hmmm.....cookie..... :) "

Giving thanks for the cookie...

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Jolly Rogers Was Here

Boker Tov:
A few days before Halloween, I spotted this flag on top of the apartment building across the street from ours.
"Mark, that looks like a pirate's flag."
It is, Mark said. It went up Friday.
Our neighourhood is big on Hallaween, so this really didn't surprise to see it.

But I thought of my buddy Beth, knowing she loves all things pirates, so I took this picture.
Besides, I thought was kind of cool.

Autumn in Ghent.

Boker Tov:
While out for our walk yesterday afternoon, we spotted down the street we were walking.

The streets of Ghent paint a lovely picture in the Autumn, often remind me of the picture puzzles my mother loves to work on.
We do a lot of walking in Ghent. The Laundry Mat we use is right there on the main street, along with the Naro, where we rent our vidoes and of course Star Bucks.
Many of the homes in Ghent are works of art. Many dating back to 1890s to 1900s, you can just imagine the stories they tell.
We spend a lot of time in Ghent during our courtship. So much so that this is where we chose to live when we got married. We laughed about the fact we actually started getting serious about where our relationship was heading around this time eight years ago, when Mark began to think about how to ask me to marry him and I was wondering when he would.
We had no money and the winds of war blew all around us. But so did love and a future together.
Ten years later, we have come full cicrle. Now married and living here in Ghent, we have no money, and Ghent is still amoung our favorite date spots. We still laugh and talk about G-d and His Torah, about books we have read and what we imagine our life looking together.
I would like to see the no money part change, however.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

I Think Pink Would be Nice....

Last Sunday Mark and I were sitting at breakfast, doing a little daydreaming about finding and buying our own home.
I have always imgained a Pink or Peach coloured two-story family home. Pink or Peach. Such peaceful colours...

"I don't think so, Laini..."
"But Mark, picture it....the outside painted pink or peach...a pink bathroom, powder blue kitchen and I even have the colours picked out for your Man Cave...."

"The same colour as the lily in the center of this flower arrangement..."


Hmmm, I don't think Mark likes the ideas for his Man Cave.....

Just Keep On Keeping On


Well, we're still here, though there were times I'd had my doubts.
Since I last wrote, our car Princess died and the new car is doing great. And she came at the right time.
In late September Mark got a job overseeing the clean up from Hurricane Irene.
What we thought was going to be a great job, turned into a nightmare. Problems with pay, not getting paid for mileage until the job was over, early mights, late nights, missing torah services and pay checks that should have gotten us ahead, only managed to help dig us deeper in the hole.
It is times like these that you find out the stuff your marriage and your faith is builded on.
I would be lying if I didn't say the "intense fellowship" was INTENSE."
Or if I haven't been doing a lot of praying, questioning, even doubting.
There was even a time I wondered if we were going to lose our apartment and car.
Yet, through it all, G-d made a way for us to keep food on the table and pay our bills.
Last week Mark's job ended and back on unemployment he goes. For those who say "oh, there are plenty of jobs for people who really want to work," where are they?
We just keep moving, praying, praising G-d through and loving each other.
Sorry, no great insights at the moment.
Just faith