Monday, 30 April 2012

Lucy Meets William Holden

 This is Beth's (Nutwood Junction )  favortie. From Lucy Does Hollywood.

Sharing the Laugher

Boker Tov (Good Morning)
For the past few days, people have been sharing their favourite I Love Lucy episodes. So I thought it would be a good idea to share laughs and memories. In these days when so many people are having hard times, I thought we all could use a good laugh.
And I invite my readers to share your thoughts; I shall add them to the blog as well.
This is Desi and Lucille on their wedding day. Miss Ball, noted for her enjoying the company of older men shocked everyone when her attentions turned to the younger, tall, dark and handsome Cuban Desi Arnaz. This is when I Love Lucy really began.
Wanting to work with her husband, I Love Lucy was loosely based on a radio show she had starred in, My Favourite Husband.
Miss Ball wanted also to stay away from Hollywood glamour. Instead, she wanted to be a full-time homemaker, married to a Night Club performer, with dreams of stardom herself.
And the show was a hit.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

A Long Stem Rose

Boker Tov;
It has been a bittersweet few days.
Friday morning when I logged on facebook, I found a message awaiting me.
A dear friend and sister in faith had passed from earth to Paradise some time Monday.
Her name was Lana.
Mark and I met Lana and her husband Wayne years ago when we attended the same congregation. We later attended a home Torah study.
Lana and I both had a love of cooking. And Lana was an amazing cook. Amoung my treasures are recipes she gave me, including one for pickling watermelon rinds which I haven't tried yet.
But this summer, I will.
The message said that there would be a viewing that evening.
It doesn't matter how many times I enter a Funeral Home, into a viewing room, there is always that lump in the gut, that pain in the heart, the tears that begin to well up.
Because I know I am here to say a final earthly goodbye to someone who had been part of my life. As I walk down the carpeted hallway, thinking of words of comfort and finding none.
Wayne stood near the coffin of his beloved, breaking out into a huge smile when he saw Mark and I. Wayne told Mark and I how he would pass our home going to work and look up at our apartment window. There he would see the menorah in the window. He said, "I know you guys have been hoping to move, but every time I see the menorah, I rejoice because your still here."
Lana held a single long stem rose in her closed hands.
Wayne's love gift to his beloved. I couldn't keep the tears back.
 I kept expecting Lana to sit up and say "got ya!"
Mark wrapped his arms around me. I could feel the sorrow in Mark's body.
We shared precious memories about Lana, thankful she was no longer in pain and knowing we would see her again.
Then, the most beautiful part of the day occurred.
The person who send me the message about Lana, she and I had a major misunderstanding and had broken fellowship. How often I wanted to contact her and say for my part I am so sorry.
It took Lana's homegoing to bring us back together. My friend and I messaged back and forth, forgiving and accepting forgiveness.
She walked into the room and we embraced, crying in each others arms, knowing our Heavenly Father and Lana were smiling down, quite pleased.
The moment was as beautiful as the long stem rose in Lana's hands.
It was at this moment we all gathered around the coffin that contained the earthly remains of someone we all loved and recited the Mourner Kaddish, remembering that even in this painful moment, we are to praise G_D.
I leave you with the following quote from a post I did about death about a year ago:

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. I truly believe that hell was not only created for satan, but for the likes of Bin Laden, Hitler and Stalin.
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 righteous, 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 of all of this.
I am reminded of quotes from two of my favourite 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: 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 journal called life. Our stories intertwine 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. Lana has finished her portion of the Great Book. We are left to continue writing our part.
 We miss you, Lana


Friday, 27 April 2012

The Gift of Laugher

" I would rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not”
Lucille Ball
Boker Tov:
I love it when my friends, like Beth, leave comments. Not just because this way I know folks are reading our blog, but because their comments add so much.
Like Beth said in her last comment, Miss Ball never failed to bring a laugh to us. I hope one day to have the full seven years of I Love Lucy on DVD, but for now I just enjoy the last season I taped off TV.
One of my treasures is the Here's Lucy Show. My mother gave me the DVD set as a birthday gift few years ago.
By the time I was introduced to I Love Lucy, the show had been off the air for years, Lucille and Desi were already divorced and remarried to other people. But I still loved the show.
There was so much I leaned from Lucy; never give up, never stop dreaming. She wrote a lousy novel. But she still wrote a novel. She baked a huge loaf of bread, but she still baked bread. She got a charlie horse while dancing for the Queen, but she danced for the Queen. She was willing to at least try.
I remember in second grade school being asked to play the role of a teacher in the school play. I was so frighten. But then I thought, "Lucy would never pass this up!" So I threw my head back, put my hands on my hips and began to practice my grown up walk. Later, Mummy gave me an old pair of black high heeds and taught me how to walk in them.
Sadly, there are no pictures of me walking on stage in my mother's purple and black dress and black high heels, trying not to break my neck. But I was a hit.
Once the laugher died down and I could finally deliever my lines, I learned the power of making people laugh. How big people smile, how their eyes brighten. That for a brief moment they forget their troubles and pain. How it can heal. Even bring peace.
I would take my I Love Lucy videos with me when I worked as a Hospices Nurse's Aide. It was the highlight of my patients day as they recieved their daily dosage of laugher.
Even now, with all we are going through, Lucy's attics not only lifts our spirits, but gives us hope.
Lucille Ball left us much richer for the time she graced this planet.
Thank G_D, for the blessing of Lucille Ball.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Good Night, Sweet Lady

"I'm not funny. What I am is brave."
Lucille Ball


Shalom:
Today, twenty-three years ago, one of this world's greatest treasures left us.
I remember that day well. On April 18, 1989, Miss Ball complained of back pain and rushed to hospital. Suffering from a dissenting aorta, Miss Ball went through an almost eight hour operation, receiving an aorta from a 27 year male donor. She began to recover quickly.
But then on April 26, just after dawn, Miss Ball awoke with server back pain. The aorta had ruptured in a second site and at 05:47 PST, Miss Ball was gone.

I remember being up and just applying a warm paste of henna to my hair. I started using henna at age six-teen years old and loved the way my hair looked. It was the closet I got to looking like my favourite actress.
As a hospices Aide, I carried video tapes of my favourite I Love Lucy shows. knowing they would bring joy to my patients. The power of laughter.
I remember reading about Miss Ball's sad childhood and how it was the fuel that drove her forth. While many who have lost a parent at an early age, had a step-parent who didn't like them, stern grandparents, have teachers who never thought they would amount to anything, Lucille set out to prove them wrong. Instead of striking out at the world in anger, she taught us to laugh. She taught us not to listen to those who said we couldn't sing, dance, write, paint and make our dreams come true. She taught us to get up and keep going.
Lucille Ball was a trail blazer. Not just as an actress. But as the head of the production company she began with her first husband Desi.

First airing in 1951, one can still find I Love Lucy on TV somewhere in the world. Where it is trying to talk Ricky into letting into his new show or trying to sneak eggs out to the hen house in her jacket past a sleeping Fred, she never failed to left us balled up in laughter.
We watched her handle trials with grace. When her first marriage ended due to Desi's cheating she and Desi remained good friends until his death, never speaking ill of him. She found love again and married Gary Morton.  Her career continued, though shows after that, Lucy's character remained unmarried.
Miss Ball summed up her success in life this way: "getting rid of what was wrong and replacing it with what is right."
Desi summed her up well: "wanna woman!"

Reel Books Part 2

Boker Tov: (Good Morning)
Thanks to Beth for her comment about Kindles. Beth shared that a Kindle is like having a travelling library. That was the same reason why Mark brought a Kindle for his last deployment.
And Mark says they come in various colours, including purple.
I can live with that.
 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Reel Books

Shalom:
I am one of the few hold outs concerning the Kindle.
Not that I have anything against it. Mark has one. He brought it for his last deployment and found it quite handy.
But for me, nothing beats the feel of a book in your hands. The feel of paper on your fingers as you turn the page.
I remember many summers, lying in tall grass with the sun beating down on the back of my neck as I got lost in a thick hardback book. Or winter days, in bed with the flu, trying to balance a bowl of chicken soup and a paperback novel. And while much of my research for any subject is online, you can still find me heading the library or a bookstore.

Even now, sits on my nightstand three books I am reading.
Amoung them a book about Papillons.
For me, the Kindle just looks so cold and impersonal, whereas a book looks warm and inviting.
One day I might change my mind and actually try reading Mark's.
But for right now, I have a good book to finish.


Learning to Rejoice Through it All

Boker Tov:
The Baal Shem Tov (Master of the Good Name) was one of our greatest Jewish sages. Noted for the joy he could find in life, rejoicing in the gift of life, for life is a gift from G_D, though long dead, his words still encourage us today.
And this day I needed those words.
This morning, Mark and I sat drinking a cup of coffee and sharing a chocolate chip muffin, We were going over the day, dreading really Mark's having to go and apply for Food Stamps. But we really have no longer choice.
He had gone in yesterday, but because Social Services had made their numbers of those applying for the day, Mark had to return this morning.
We were looking around the apartment, thankful our landlord had given us a few more days to come up with the rent.
We can't sell the laptop; it's needed for Mark to look for work. We could do a yard sale with the books we have. Might bright in a few dollars.
So, Mark finished off his coffee and I set about straighting up the apartment.
That was 7am.
Mark just got home from Social Services when I was about to do my reading of the Baal Shem Tov. The Worker looked at his paperwork and told Mark he made too much money to receive Food Stamps.
Your kidding.
Because of the monthly salary from Drill and unemployment, Mark makes too much money for us to receive Food Stamps.
Interesting enough, even if all we were getting was unemployment, Mark makes too much money to receive Food Stamps.
I looked up at Mark and smiled.
"I guess this is a good time to pratice being joyful.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The Gift Box

Boker Tov:

So the sun came out this Monday morning and Montaque was ready to face the day.
Yesterday was a wet, cold Sunday, so Monti just ran out long enough to do what he needed to do and come back in.
This morning,  Mark took the Monti out and after about twenty minutes later, Monti came back in with a huge smile of relief upon his face and then started chasing Mark around the apartment, running off the build up energy.
Now, he is sitting on my lap as I try to type.
The Doggie Park is close because the ground is still wet, so a walk around the neighbourhood will have to do. Not that's a bad thing. Just not a lot of placing for Monti to run.
Today I start a new project; declutter.
There are those times one realises one just has too much 'stuff' and it is time to get rid of some it.
So this morning I pulled out a box
In this box I will pull in things I am not using, books I have read, clothing I have not wore in a while. Are they still in good condition? Is it something someone else can use? Have I outgrown the need of this item? Have I leaned all I need from this book, video or DVD? Does this really serve a purpose or is it collection dust?
By filling what I can my Gift Book with things we are no longer using, have no need of, I am gifting this to someone else who can use it. 
Now if I can only talk Mark into giving up those ugly green and black sneakers.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Boker Tov:
It's a rainy day here in Norfolk. Mark and I are watching Living on the Edge, while Monti is curled up underneath Mark's feet.
Like many dogs, Montague doesn't like the rain. In fact, his mood is rather mellow until the sun returns. He views rainy as good sleeping in weather.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Adopt The Elephant

Boker Tov:
There is an elderly man I know that I greatly admire.
Recently, my friend made a decision I know wasn't an easy one. Because of several health issues as well as several embarring moments, my friend realise he needed to start wearing adult diapers. A proud man, this was hard to face.
And yet the last time I saw he, not only did he tell me what he was wearing, he actually joked about it. He told me how freeing it was not to worry about having an accident or have to cut a visit short because he has to hurry home. The freedom he had now to return to the things he enjoyed doing.
This is called adopting the elephant.
It simply means, not only accepting, but learning to make this work for you.
Another friend of my is facing the home going of her mother. Mother had the decision to stop the treatment that was keeping her alive. My friend's mother said she had a wonderful life and she was ready to go home to her Creator. The family is honouring Mother's decision, though it is breaking their hearts.
This family has embraced the elephant.
The elephants in our lives can crush us or become our companion through life. We can ride Ellie or allow her to stoop us like an ant.
The choice is ours.

Eat The Elephant? Part 2

Boker Tov (good morning):
Behind the old saying,' how does one eat an elephant? one bite at a time,' is the meaning that in order to deal with the impossible, you need to break it down to something you manage, i.e, one bite at a time.
The other thought is "avoiding the elephant in the room."
Despite our best efforts to step around it, avoid it, paint it to match the wallpaper, or pray it goes away, the big guy is still hanging about; eating the dog's food, breaking your favourite easy chair and making a mess.
So can you do if the thought of eating elephant makes you vomit or the landlord is going to charge you an extra $25.00 a month for the your new pet?
Adopt the elephant.
Right.
OK, I allow me to get real...
"I thought you were already Reel,"
Yeah, that was cute....back to what I was saying. When life sends us elephants, we must learn how to deal with it.
The first thing is, we have to be honest, who let the elephant in the house in the first place? Who opened the door to it? Who offered Ellie a seat? What were the choices that led the elephant to your door?
 Many times, it isn't life choices, but life itself that sends the beast crashing through our front door. A life threatening illness, an freak accident, lost of a job, a parent, spouse or child dies, crime victim, etc. 
That elephant still has to be dealt with. Whether we chose to eat it, send it back to jungle or adopt it, Ellie Elephant still needs to be dealt with.
No matter what you do, it is still going to create a mess that has to be clean up. It still requires making  decisions, it requires action. If your going to eat it, you still need an elephant gun to take it down. You still prepare it to the point of being consumed.
Sometimes, when we realise this is not our elephant, we send it packing. But we still need to lead it out the door and back to went it belongs. And you still have to clean up the mess it left.
But in some cases, you realise Ellie is your baby and you two need to learn to get along.
And if you think about it, travelling by elephant is a great way to save on gas.


Friday, 20 April 2012

Eating the Elephant? Part 1

Boker Tov:

So how does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

How often over the I have found myself saying this.  To friends and family. To Mark. To myself.
I would say this when I was a single mum on welfare,  a single working mum, caring for my mother covering from a series of strokes.
I said when caring for Mark when he had cancer, during four deployments and as we deal with PTSD and being without work  for almost two years.
I said a few days ago when I learn I now suffer from SPTSD.
How do I eat this elephant?
This week, once again, I have been finding myself staring on the window or just staring into space, wondering how to eat this elephant.  Feeling overwhelmed with life. Wondering when will the Dark Shadow return to the Shadow Lands and the Sun shines in our lives once again.
 When will the phone stop ringing from bill collectors and start ringing with friends calling to say hi.
 When will we be able have Monti's hurting mouth worked on. When will this long winter end and its spring again.
That instead of grilling elephant for supper, the big, grey beast is squashing the life out of us.
So how do you eat an elephant?
First you have to catch the sucker and kill it!
I mean come on, do you really think Ellie Elephant is just going to stand there and allow you to shoot her????
Besides, elephant isn't kosher.
So  Mark and I have decided, instead of eating the elephant,  to adopt her.




Thursday, 19 April 2012

It Hurts Some Bad

Shalom:
Tonight is the second evening that Mark has taken the laundry over to his parents. They have offered the use of their washer and dryer, which helps saves a little money.
It's also good for him to get out of the the house. To spend some time with his father. And it gives me some time to do some writing.
Last night when Mark came home, we got into a fuss. It was silly really. But a major piece of healing occur for us.
Mark often has periods of what I call Black Holes. That he couldn't tell you where he was or what he did two or three hours ago. It was hard for him to face up to that truth. It was frighting. He felt better when he finally faced it.
Later, as I held him in bed, feeling him fall asleep in my arms, I could feel the hurt inside.
I know that hurt. It hurts so bad that it doesn't even have words. You don't feel anyone hears you. Understands you.
I know how he feels. I am so busy caring for Mark, I feel alone. No one hears me. No one understands what I am going through. Or cares.
I know in my head that isn't true, but my heart is another matter.
Now, when I knon Mark is sleep, I get up and pray. I pour out all the emotions onto G_D, because right now my emotions overwhelem Mark.
Then when I finish praying, I head off to bed and sleep.

Out From the Ashes A Nation is Born

Boker Tov:
Today we remember the six million Jewish souls taken from us during the Holocaust,. While it isn't a day schools or businesses are closed, we do stop and remember the murder of men, women and children who's only crime was being Jewish.
But an amazing thing happen. Something Hitler never envision. The birth of a nation. The return of the Jewish people to their homeland.
From their ashes came the birth of Isreal.
Our home.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

The Rabbi's Last Prayer

Shalom:
The man in the much publicized Holocaust photo has been only recently identifieded as Rabbi Moshe Hegerman, the Rabbi of Olkusz in Poland. Brought to the town square for execution he asked to let him say first Kaddish for his slain brethren. The soldiers laughed while watching him praying and then killed him. Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) begins in the evening of Wednesday, April 18, 2012, and ends in the evening of Thursday, April 19, 2012."

We Will Never Forget...Am Israel Chai!!!

We Shall Not Forget

Shalom:
I well remember the day I first heard the word Holocaust, what it was about.

My family was living in Dorchester at the time, I was ten years old, in 5th grade. Our teacher was in a meeting, so we had a Sub the day. I wish I could remember his name, but I remember him. He was tall, very tall and thin builded. A thick mane of blonde curly hair that brushed his shoulders. His eyes blues and he reminded me of the pictures of Jesus hanging on the wall of my Sunday School classroom. A small group of my classmates and formed a circle and he told us about his past. He was first generation german-american, his family came here after the war.
He told us about that this day was a very special day for his people.
"Your people? Who are your people?"
"Jewish."
"Is today a holiday?"
No, it is a day we remember fellow jews who were killed for just being Jewish.
It was then he told us about the Holocaust. This small group of brown faces around him were all history bluffs, so we listen, taking it all in.
The reign of horror over Germany, over her people and the people of the world. Hitler wanted to rule the world. He wanted to created the perfect race of Man. A Pure Race. The Aryan Race. That would mean, if Hitler had sucessed, a global Holocaust.

And most of us would not be here today.
The teacher had lost 3/4 of his family in the death camps. His mother still had nightmares of being dragged out of her bed by Nazi soldiers, the family being herded off to awaiting trains.
He then told us about Slavery, about how our people were brought here in chains, treated like pack animals, whipped into submission and worked from morning to night, worked into their graves. How crude man can be to his fellow man.
But also how kind. This is when I first learned about people like Corrie ten Boom.
Years later, I learned that the Jews weren't the only victims of the Holocaust. Jehovah's Witnesses also were send to the death camp because of their religion and because they would not join the Nazi Party. Homosexuals, the mentily ill and the disabled were also send away as were others.
Today, we remember those taken from us. The lives we live honour them. We are their victory dance on Hitler's grave. Every Jewish child born, every boy or girl who becomes a Son or Daughter of the Commandments, every couple that enters the Huppah is a victory dance.

For we are still standing.
By the Will of G_D, we won.

Corrie Ten-Boom The secret Room (Full Length)

Yom Shoach Part 2: Corrie Ten Boon

Boker Tov:
One of my personal heroines is Corrie ten Boom.

Cornelia "Corrie" ten Boom was born April 15, 1892 in Amsterdam and passed away on her birthday 1983 in Orange California. Ten Boom was a Dutch Christian, who's father taught his family that the Jews were G_D's chosen people. The Ten Boom family helped many Jews escape from the Nazis during World War II.

In 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Corrie ten Boom ran a club for young girls, a club that was soon banned. The Ten Booms had long been involved in charitable work, Corrie herself working with disabled children.
Two years later, Corrie and her family became active in the Dutch underground. Those Jews who were hidden in the ten Boom home were provided with kosher food and the Sabbath honoured.
(One of the hiding places in the ten Boom house)
In 1944 Corrie and her family were arrested thanks to an informant. Mr. ten Boom died in Scheveningen prison ten days later there the family was first held. A sister, brother and nephew were released, but Corrie and her sister Betsy were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp  concentration where only Corrie survived.
Miss Ten Boom wrote eight books and spoke frequently in the postwar years about her experiences. She also  aided Holocaust survivors. 1971, Corrie wrote the Hiding Place, her autobiography. Two years later the book was adapted into a movie.

I have read the Hiding Place twice and highly recommend it. She and her family went against her country's mandate to wipe Germany of every man, woman and child, hiding them to the risk of their own lives.
They as Christians, opened their homes to Jews, made sure to keep and honour their Feast Days and even made sure their home was kosher, making the ten Boom home their home. The ten Boom said No to Hitler and yes to G_D.
And today, there are many Jews who are alive today, thanks to a small group of Christians who didn't just quote the Bible, believed the Bible, but acted on what it said.

 

Yom HaShoah-Holocaust Remembrance Day Part One


Boker Tov:
This evening at Sunset begins Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah).
The word Holocaust comes from the Greek "whole" and "burnt." In Hebrew it is The Shoah השואה, HaShoah, "catastrophe"; in Yiddish חורבן, Churben or Hurban, from the Hebrew for "destruction.
On this day we remember the genocide of six million European Jews during World War II. The Holocaust was the plan of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany led by Adolf Hilter throughout Nazi occupied territory. Two thirds of German Jews perished under Hitler's boot.  Men, women and children led into showers that were really gas chambers. Men herded into fields, made to dig mass graves,  made to stand in them and then shot to death. Human beings who's only crime was being the Sons and Daughters of Abraham were starved to death, all to fulfil Hitler's Final Solution.
However, there were others who also perish during the Holocaust. There were those Christians, like Corrie Ten Boone and her family who hid a Jewish family, only to have their hiding place betrayed. Her story is told in the book and the movie The Hiding Place.
 Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, those with disabilities, Polish or Soviet civilians. Those with a political or religious point of view that differ with Hitler's Final Solution. This raises the numbers of the honoured dead to about 11 to 17 million.
On this day, we often hear the chant "Never Again." Never again will we allow such a horror to happen again. That today, there are people of good will who will stand up to the next Hitler who even dares try such again.
And yet, Hitler's spirit still walks amoung. There are still people in Germany, in Iran, even here in the Until States that do not believe the Holocaust didn't even occur. There are people who don't believe Hitler went far enough, even some willing to pick up where Hitler left off.
Just last month, a rabbi and two of his children were gun down just because they were Jewish.
The spirit of Hilter.
As long as there is the held belief that there are those amoung us, who have no worth, who add nothing to The Collective, that all they do is eat, sleep and breath, who's world view not only counters our own, but seems to threat it. As long as we blame a group for the ruining of our nation, our values and morals, as long as we hold the belief that we as a nation, as the world community believe we were be better off without (   ), Hitler still walks amoung us.


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A Nice Start

Shalom:

Today was a good start to living with PTSD.
This past Sunday was Mark's birthday and as tradition, Mark's parents treated Mark and I to a Starbucks. Since there are sitting areas outside, we could take Montaque with us.
I was so proud of our little guy.
Because he is 13 years old, the thought is Monti is too old to train.
Not so. We have been working on barking, jumping and whining when left alone.
And today I am happy to report Monti did not jump on Mom or Dad. He only barked once when he saw Mark walk away for a moment and all together, he was a pleasure for everyone to be around. I do believe bringing his own doggie biscuits and a cup of cold water also helped. Having been raised with dogs, Mark's parents truly enjoyed meeting their "gran-dog."
As a drink, I chose instead of an ice coffee, a passion-fruit ice tea. The colour of an Moroccan sunrise and just as sweet and refreshing, I thought a lighter drink is more fitting to the uplifting of my mood.
And it did.
Later, after dropping Monti off, Mark and I went to see our friend David. He had been in Rehab, but his blood sugar dropped and back in the hospital he went. We went to see him and Dave's face brighten up when he saw us.
He just wished we could have brought Monti with us; Dave loves Monti's visits and Monti loves his uncle Dave.
Mark asked how I was feeling and I told him relieved. Relieved to know that there is really something wrong, that my crying jags and not wanting to do anything a real cause behind it. Now that the Dark Shadow has a name and there is treatment, I can move forward.
He stole a quick kiss and reminded me that we are in this together.
Yes, we are.

Sometimes You Need to Laugh

A New Beginning


Boker Tov:
So it is a new morning. A new day.
With learning that my depression is PTSD, brought on by caring for my Veteran husband, I actually feel much better. Not only knowing what is wrong with me and that there is help.
The Military family no matter the branch one serves, is called upon to do more, give more than in any time in our history.
We have been at war for over ten years. Children are growing up seeing mom or dad on a Web Cam than around the supper table. More husbands and wives talk more on the phone half a world apart than face to face. And many couples, like Mark and I are courting through e-mail than over a cup of StarBucks.
We can now point our loved ones on Fox or CNN News when the war is covered. We turn on the telly and there is a burning army tank and we begin to pray that all soldiers got out safe and that our loved one wasn't there.
And while there are more resources for the support members of the family, we feel more alone than ever.
While not every Veteran or his family member suffer from PTSD, many do and finally there is help for the spouse, children and even the parents of our Veterans.
That includes me.
So it is a new day for Mark and I. For me.
I awoke this morning, thanked G_D for returning my soul and then set about to take charge of this Dark Shadow and make it work for me.
1. I need to set a time to get up and stay up. Since December it has been a struggle to get up in the morning. Since I started taking Zofio, things are better. And with the addition of Monti, this means a little being that needs to be watered, walked, fed and groomed. Which means I have to get up and take care of my daily needs. Like I did this morning, getting up, prayer, bible reading and even doing some stretching is a good way to awake the body, soul and spirit.
2. I need to take time for me. As much as I love Mark, much of my time is making sure he is OK. Not that is a bad thing. But Caregivers need to take care of themselves too. One of the beautiful things about having Monti is I often take him our for his walk, enjoying the feel of the sun on my face, the breeze in my hair. I enjoy the feel of my body in movement. I enjoy talking to the Creator while walking amoug His creation. But I also need time just for me. Not walking the dog. But walking on my own. Visiting StarBucks with a good book or working on the story I'd been writing for the past few weeks.
3.Diet. There is a danger to overeat or not eat at all when stressed and/or depressed. A good, balance diet with fruits and veggies, fish, chicken, grains and nuts are great foods to raise the mood and spirit, feed the body and mind.
4. I confess to being bad in not drinking my water. But with walking Monti, I now carry water, drinking more.
5. Set time for bed. Whether I go to sleep or not, I now have a set time for bed. This causes my mind to begin to shut off and relax.
6.Hobby. Since Mark home from his last deployment, I have set aside my hobbies to attend to Mark. I have a needlepoint piece that longs for my attention. So I need to set some time in the day to work on it.
7.Don't be so hard on myself. Now that I know what is going on in my body and mind, I don't have to keep beating myself up. But to face this Dark Shadow head on.
And master it.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Secondary PTSD


Shalom:
This afternoon I went with Mark on his counselling session. Which Mark does have PTSD, it a mild form which can be treated.
But what also came out of his session was the fact that I am suffering from secondary PTSD. This means I as the care giver of Mark, am under the same stress as my husband. It was pointed out that often the spouse and children of Vets can have PTSD as well. It is liken to second hand smoke.
For example, I spend a great deal of time removing newspapers, turning off the news from both the TV and Radio, anything that could set Mark off. I know who sets Mark and why and keep him out of their company. I work hard to make everything perfect. But I never know if I have done enough. At times it is like walking on egg shells. And when Mark goes off, I just go off and pray.
Not don't get me wrong, Mark has never hit me, nor kicked the dog. He would hurt himself before he hurt either of us. But there are wounds and hurts brought on from his past and four deployments that are unseen. But wounds never the less.
And because I am the one caring for him, the one who sees the outbursts, the sleepless nights, the worry, I have taken onto myself his pain.
Then again, we are One.
So what we thought was seasonal depression (and I wondered why it didn't go away) is really PTSD. Thankfully I am already on medication.
The good news, just as there is help for Mark, which he is getting, there is help for me as well. Mark has been assured that counselling being setup for me as well. There is also a Support Group for the wives of Veterans I will be enrolled into.
I thank G_D for the VA Program. When a Veteran suffers, so does his/her family. The family must be treated as well as the Vet.
I am so glad to know what is truly going on with me as well as Mark. And to know I am not alone.

Too Cute Beyond Words.

Shalom;
I took this series of pictures this morning.
They were both taking a quick nap and the sunlight on their sleeping forms was just perfect.
Monti was the first to stir when he heard the clicking of the camera. I couldn't have planned this setting better if I had tried.
Later, Mark to this picture of Monti and I as I took a break from my morning writing.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

I am My Beloved's and He is Mine

I am willing to follow my beloved through hell itself, because I know heaven is on the other side.

Happy Birthday, Yeshua Eyes

Shalom:
Today is my beloved Mark's birthday. Right now, Mark and Montaque are having a little bonding time, better known as a walk.
Mark had a four day Drill this weekend, so since Thursday, it has been Monti and I.
The weather has been wonderful, so Montaque and I take nice long walks three times a day. Monti loves to be outside; he turns to his little face to the sun and just stands there basking in the rays. The walk does me good too. I find the walk a wonderful time of prayer as well as getting to know some of my neighbours.
But the nights have been lonely with out my Mark. And it is the first time we have been apart in two years. Monti's presence helped greatly.
But still it was hard getting use to not sleeping next to my beloved.
So Mark got home a little after two this afternoon. Both Monti and I were excited to see Mark. And the three of us laid down for a nap.
Mark said Drill was OK, but he was really glad to be home. There was no other place he wanted to be for his birthday.
I wish I had the money to throw him a party, but he said that was fine. He rather celebrate his day with me anyway.
Mark wanted a cheese cake for his birthday, but it cost too much, so we got a chocolate cake. And the guys get back from their walk, we shall celebrate his birthday.
I remember the day I met him. It was a Sunday, June 24th, the day after my birthday. I remember hearing, "excuse me, miss."
I turned around and saw a very tall, handsome man with the most amazing blue-green eyes. Those eyes, usually blue, when he is happy, when he looking at me are the brightest robin egg blue- Kelly green with  gold rims and flecks. For a second I thought I was looking in the very eyes of the Messiah Himself. Such loving, caring, tender eyes, filled with sorrow, yet pleading me to be his friend.
Which wasn't that hard to do.
Since then, I have had the joy of being Mark's best friend, his lady, his wife. My life is so blessed because on this day, Mark David Reel was born.
G_D has indeed blessed me with Mark. A man who insist on making the morning coffee and when he can, brings me a rose. A man who loves Torah and the G_D of the Torah.
And while he isn't perfect, he is perfect for me.
Those amazing eyes that shine bright with love when he takes me in his arms. And dance for joy when his little dog jumps into his lap and showers him with kisses. A man willing to help a friend as well as a stranger.
The man I am so humbled and honoured to call my husband.
Happy birthday my beloved.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A Mother's Cry

Note from Laini: In light of new facts, this post is being amended.
Boker Tov:
As the story of Trayvon Martin, the young teenager who was shot to death about 45 days ago, I watch with growing respect for this young man's parents.
Mr. Martin and Ms.Fulton have never called for revenge. Either went looking for Mr. Zimmerman to take the law into their own hands. All they called for Mr. Zimmerman to be arrested and for justice.Nothing more. Nothing less.
This morning, I read the comments of Ms. Fulton after Mr.Zimmerman's arrest. She said she believed that the shooting was an accident, that things just got out of hand.
As I listen to this grieving mother, I cannot help but wonder if I would be so gracious. I would hope so. I look at Mr. Martin, a man who has lost his son. And he isn't seeking eye for an eye or for blood to now flow throughout the streets of America. He just wants justice.
This is the beauty of grace, even in the mist of heartache, of lost.
Later in the day, Ms Fulton spoke again, this time making clear her meaning:
Earlier today, I made a comment to the media that was later mischaracterized. When I referenced the word 'accident' today with regard to Trayvon's death, in NO way did I mean the shooting was an accident.
We believe that George Zimmerman stalked my son and murdered him in cold blood. The 'accident' I was referring to was the fact that George Zimmerman and my son ever crossed paths. It was an accidental encounter. If George Zimmerman hadn't gotten out of his vehicle, this entire incident would have been avoided.
My son was profiled, followed and murdered by George Zimmerman, and there was nothing accidental about that.

I can't help but think of Miriam (Mary) the mother of Yeshua (Jesus) when her beloved Son was put to death. The heart break, the unspeakable sorrow. Yet, His death changed the world.
And I believe there will be similar meaning to Trayvon's death. Already, people are talking about Race at a deeper level. People from all backgrounds are reaching out to this family with love and support. No, Trayvon isn't a saviour or a saint. Just a teenage boy gone too soon.
And while I pray for justice for Trayvon, I also pray Mr.Zimmerman, whatever the outcome, will receive a fair trial.
I pray that this will be a lesson for all of us, that we are not so quick to judge others, not so quick to think the worse.
Listening to the 9-11 calls, clearly Mr.Zimmerman thought the worse of  a young black man he thought was up to no good. And if he had just left the police handle things, Trayvon would be alive today and he would not be in jail.

And maybe, finally Trayvon can begin to rest in peace.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Oh My Aching Mouth Part 3

Boker Tov;
Since Saturday afternoon, I have become a fixture on the living room sofa. Montaque, fulfilling his role as lapdog, makes himself comfort while I sleep, only moving to go out for his work or sharing my chicken soup.
It has been a slow healing, Doctor told me it would be. It has also been quite painful. The first night was the roughest with lots of pain and little sleep.
The next morning, Doctor James prescribe a stronger medication and I was able to get some much needed sleep.
I used the time well, reading, praying, grooming Montaque.
And of course Mark was as caring and loving as always. Saturday night when all I could do was cry because of the pain, he held me and prayed for me. I remember his kissing my hair as I fell asleep.
There is so much to be grateful for.
A loving husband.
An awesome Dentist.
Great pain medication.
Chicken soup.
And Montaque.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Oh My Aching Teeth Part 2

Shalom:
So here I am, Saturday morning, preparing to part with my wisdom teeth. To make things a little easier, Doctor James offered me a pair of cool shades.

But she wouldn't let me take them home.
Thankfully, I had Harriet the Hippo for support.
Ahhhh....parting is such sweet sorrow....
And it begins. First the numbing, then the anaesthesia for the removal of the two teeth.
We are so blessed to have found Doctor James. As I said in the previous post, Doctor James and her staff work overtime to make each patient feel not only important, but comfortable. Taking her time, Doctor James made sure not to cause undone pain. She made sure my mouth was numb enough to be worked on, not in the least bit in a hurry.
And she made sure I didn't squeeze the stuffing out of Harriet; otherwise she told me she would have to report me to Peta.

Oh My Aching Teeth

Shalom:
Painting by Thomas Kinkade.
I told my mother I posted the pictures of the Thomas Kinkade Gallery in her hallway. She was pleased with that. I think it is so cool that by now he has met He Who inspired the Paintings of Light.
Last week, I finally went to the Dentist.
Not because I didn't wish to do (now that I really did) but because up until now, we didn't have the money to go. But thanks to Tricare, we now have dentist care and I got to once visit the Dentist
yippee.
I already knew the lay of the land; the two wisdom teeth on the right and one on the left were broken and I had been spitting out tiny pieces every once in a while for years. So I already knew they were going to be pulled. I also knew there would a a few fillings in my future.
What I didn't expect to hear when I open my mouth, my nerves wave back at you.
Long story short, oral surgery was in my future.
Like Saturday morning. Passover.
I decided to bring Harriet my Pink Hippo with me for support.
And though our insurance would cover most of the visit, we did have to dig up 80.00 dollars for the co-pay.
Which we did.
The staff of Artful Smiles, is awesome and I adore my dentist, Doctor James. They knew how to put a nervous patient like me as ease.
I did have a bad experienced at the Dentist years ago, the issue wasn't fear, but money.
The last time I had been to the Dentist was a good six-teen years ago and then only because my mother paid for the extraction of a bad tooth.
Like many Americans, I could not afford to go to the Dentist, let alone afford the insurance. With the choice of paying the rent, putting food on the table, clothes on my son's back or cleaning my teeth, the needs of my family won out.
It is a choice many Americans still have to make.Unlike health care, oral health isn't covered by Medicaid or low-income clinics. While there are dentist who do offer their services for free or lower cost, they are few and far between.
I remember nights, crying because my mouth hurt, bathing my tooth in oral jel and praying for relief.
Now as I relax on the sofa, the right side of my mouth filled with stitches, minus two wisdom teeth, I cry again. Not for myself. But for the people who don't have the blessing of dental insurance and must take care of their tooth aches the best way they can.
I wish I knew what the answer was.
Affordable Dental insurance would be a great start.

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Gallery of Light

Shalom:As many know by now, the artist of Light, Thomas Kinkade's soul returned to the Creator. There will be many nasty things written about Mr. Kinkade concerning his recent troubles. The media loves to feed on the flesh of the fallen, made only worse when the person is a man or woman of faith.
I shall not do that.
Instead, I would like to share two stories of how Mr.Kinkade's work has touched and brighten my own life.
The first story.
It was September 2008. Mark was granted a pass from Fort Bragg to come home for the High Holy Days, just before he was deployed to Iraq.
Mr. Kinkade had a showing at Fort Bragg and Mark stopped to look around. Mark told Mr. Kinkade he was looking for a special picture for me since he would be leaving soon. Mr. Kinkade suggested the following picture, a limited addition which he signed for me.


This picture now hangs in our living room. How often I still look at this picture and pray for our troops.
The second is my mother.
After Mother recovered from her Strokes, she once again began to put together jigsaw puzzles. But not just any puzzle. They had to be Thomas Kinkade.
I credit the puzzle paintings of Thomas Kinkade in the recovery of my mother. For the past six years, mummie has received Kinkade puzzles for her birthday, x-mas and mother's day. During this time, mummie has been putting together and framing Thomas Kinkade's puzzles. After framing them, she has given the pictures out as wedding or birthday gifts. But most of them grace the walls of Hope Haven  Assistance Living where mother's lives, bringing both light and joy to the home.



Thank you, Mr. Kinkade for the joy and beauty, for the Light you brought to the world. The world is a better place you had been here.