Friday, 26 July 2013

Oh Deer

A week ago today, Mark, Monti and I took a friend to the Veteran's Hospital for an examine.
Since it would be a couple of hours, we thought an outing at the nearby park in Helena would be a great idea.
After dropping Mike off, we were slowly driving out of the parking lot, when I shouted; "Deer! Stop the car!"
Of course Mark thought I said "DEAR! Stop the car."
Good thing we were only going about 10 miles per.
I jumped out the car with my trusty camera. It was then Mark realize what I was yelling about.
Leaving the VA center, I caught this picture...

A young Doe, rather thin, was leaving the grounds of the VA center...
At first I thought I had frighten her and she was running from me. Until I saw who she was running to...
Twin Fawns.


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Moon Over Montana

It was about 4 O'clock in the afternoon a few days ago that I notice the moon was already out. Not unusual in Montana, but my friends in the South had never heard of such a thing.
So, here are the pictures...
And as you can see, it is a full moon.
And here is the Super Moon of July, 22, 2013

The Future King George

Meet His Royal Highness, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.
A big name, for a tiny little guy, but he will grow into it.
The picture says it all; the look of love the Duke has for his son, the look of wonder and pride and just a little fear as he realizes he holds in his arms a tiny bit of humanity, his child and this child is totality relying on him
Little Prince George has no idea he will one day be King. That he is even a royal prince. His biggest task is to just to adjust to this big, beautiful world he has been born into.
Like any of us really have.
As I watched the Duke and Duchess make their first appearance with their son, I couldn't help but remember another summer day years ago, when another Princess came out with her newborn son to cheering crowds....
Diana, handing to Charles their first born, William....Kate, handing to William their first born...
Such bittersweet memories...

Monday, 22 July 2013

Welcome Little Prince

Just before retiring for the evening, I had heard on the telly that the Duchess of Cambridge had gone into labor and on her way to hospital. St. Mary, the very same hospital the Duke of Cambridge was born.
So this morning, after prayers, I checked the news.
No baby.
So I went about Monday's chores, doing laundry and keeping my eye on the Fox News Cam.
So many of my friends were also waiting. Adding to the excitement is that a friend in Virginia is about to give birth to her third child.
Not yet.
And then, 2:45pm UK time, came the news we were all waiting for...
From all news sources, mother and son are doing fine.
The birth of a child. With all the sad news we have had to deal with these past few weeks, the world's spirits is renewed with the birth of a child.
Yes, a big deal is being made over this child, because he is a Royal, heir to the throne of Great Britain. But does this mean we cannot rejoice over his birth, just as we would rejoice over the birth of any child?
For me, the birth of little Prince Cambridge reminds me that despite its pain and ugliness', the world is still a beautiful amazing place to live. That life is still beautiful.
Mazol Tov to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their first born child. May the little Prince live a long and happy life.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Wool Gathering

One of the nice things about living in the mountains of Montana, there is never an dull moment.
Take for example some of my family members.
We share a home with two wolf hybrids, a wolf, a cat and of course, our Monti. We have to keep Monti and the wolf cubs from each other.
They touch noses outside at the gate, but that's it.
The wolf and Monti are cool. They share the same backyard and even touch noses from time to time.
And then there is Monti and the Cat...
That's another story....
JJ, the wolf is rather timid, it is taking some time for him to get use to Mark and I. We get along with Queenie (the cat) and the wolf cubs, they are now use to us and we can even pet and rub tummies. But always mindful, they are wolf hybrids.
Every day is a learning experience. For example, in the summer time, wolves shed their heavy undercoat. That under coat is wool.
So last week, since I take care of the backyard where the Wolf and the  Papillion play, I was asked to pick up JJ's wool.
So I send part of my Monday afternoon Wool Gathering.
I did not expect it to be as soft as lamb's wool. It's a pity I don't know how to spin, otherwise, I could start collecting JJ's wool and spin it into yard. Would make a nice blanket in the winter time.
Maybe I shall look into spinning classes. If not at a local college, then maybe online.

Walking Bulll

Yesterday, just around noon, I was looking out the living room window when I saw a huge, black object walking up our driveway.
It was a Bull.
Yes, I said Bull.
At first thinking I was once again seeing things, I closed my eyes and shook my head to clear it. But when I opened them again, there he stood, looking at the window, as if to say; "yes ma'am, I am really a Bull."
My first thought was, he's standing in the garden, but since the gate was closed, that wasn't so. But then he kept walking and I said out loud, "there's a Bull in the driveway."
Mark came to the window to see what I was talking about. But it was gone.
I went out to the front porch, the Bull was no where in sight.
Mark and his cousin Jay looked at me, not seeing a thing."
"There is nothing there, Laini,' Mark said, now worried that I was slowly beginning to have another melt down.
The family was kind, but concern because I have been known to see unicorns from time to time. But to mistake a possible deer, moose or horse for a bull....?
I was in tears. I knew what I saw! After four months of living in Montana, I now know the difference between a bull, horse and moose. The bull even looked like it belonged to the herd down the street.
So I went downstairs and got my camera, I just knew it was coming back.
About twenty minutes, it did.....
 This time, walking on the other side of our garden, came the bull. He even was kind enough to stay still so I could take this picture,
Once I showed the picture to Mark's aunt, all doubt was removed. Then Jay, who was still on the porch, turned around and cried: "Holy Cow! there's a bull in our yard!"
Animal control was called and the owner contracted. Soon, the bull was headed back out towards town, where we hope its owner found him.
And no one was more relieved to know my brain wasn't playing tricks on me, than myself. For a second, Mark was ready to call my therapist.
So how was your Tuesday?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013


Yes, there are Llamas in Montana.
We planted this golden apple tree about three months ago. It seems the Humming Birds like to hang out amoung the branches.
The view from our bedroom window.

Shalom In The West

Well the Reel Tribe has been in Montana four months now.
Lots going on.
Good news, Mark has found a part-time job. He is now working the grave-yard shift at Town Pump, akin to a 7-11 in the South. He likes it and likes the people he works with. Not his dream job, but it will help us we start to rebuild our lives.
Things are also moving with his VA claim. While we were in Virginia, it still wasn't even being looked at. Here, however, things are moving right along and we hope to get an answer soon.
And Monti? Well, the little guy is in heaven. All the trees he could ever want or dream up. A huge backyard to run wild and free. And of course, great places to go for nice long walks.
As for, I am slowly recovering from all that happen. I am blessed to be in a safe, no fear of being evicted or kicked out. I am receiving intense therapy and have been blessed with the greatest doctors, nurses and counselor's around. And of course, Mark has been the greatest blessing and huge part of the healing progress.
A huge part of this is due to the fact that Mark is studying all he can about Bipolar II, Border-line Personality Disorder and PTSD. Knowing that your spouse wants to be part of your healing teams is amazing. Not every person is so blessed.
Oh have had those who have suggested I get the "devil casted out of me," "it's all in my head" (Really???) and my personal favourite, "if you stop calling yourself sick and call yourself heal, you will break this curse!"
Sadly those of us who suffer from mental disorders have to learn to deal with such negative folk. They don't see their "wise counsel" actually makes things worse. That if they even bother to study, read and then pray with wisdom, insight and compassion, that goes so much farther than blaming the devil and your weak mind.
In order to heal and to remain mentality healthy, I have had to make the choice of removing negative folk from my circles. In some cases, I just have to limit my time with them, for they are family. But I do draw very fine boundaries.
It is part of the progress.
Another huge part that G-d is using to heal my mind, body and soul is Montana itself. What an amazing state. No wonder it is called Big Sky Country.
We are blessed to, for the time being, to live in a small town in the mountains. I swear our little town is just outside the Door of Heaven. For Montana is just a slice, just a taste of heaven right here on earth; big and wide, spacious and it goes on forever and ever.
G-d called us to Montana. For a fresh, new start. To heal Mark of the wounds we have suffered over the past several years. For me to recover from my breakdown and pursuit my dream of being an Artist. For our little Monti to run free and just enjoy being a dog.
Slowly, surely, we are finding Shalom once again.
In Montana.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Twist and Turns of Life

It has been a while since I have written in the blog. I have missed it so much. But the thing that took me away could not be helped.
For you see, soon after we arrived to Montana, after the events that led to our moving out to Montana; Mark's long deployments with no support, the care and death of my friend David, Mark's being out of work for over two years, three evictions and so many losts, I had a nervous breakdown.
I am thankful I was able to be treated outpatient and finally on the road to recovery. But after years of doing so well, my old friend, Bipolar II came back full force, awaking pains long buried, but never forgotten.
While I have spoken about my depression from time to time, being Bipolar was never something I would speak of, because for so many years there were few triggers and when they came up, I could handle them.
But there is just so much that the human mind, soul and spirit can handle and as Popeye would say "I can't stands no more."
Part of my healing is speaking out about Bipolar disorders, the why behind the disease and how to both live and manage it. Encouraging loved ones how to support their "bipolar bears," and even learn to have fun with it.
I have also decided to start a new blog to that end. I haven't come up with a title yet. But I have decided, after much thought, to keep this blog going.
After all, Montana is a beautiful place to live. And there is so much to share.
See you around the bend...

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Yes, I am Still Here

It has been a while since my last post. But that was due to a very bad cold I came down two weeks ago and finally feeling human once again.
As you know, we now live in Montana.
And it was quite a trip here. Traveling from Virginia to Montana should have taken between five to six days.
But in our case, we stopped to see family for a few days, sitting a snow storm.
One day, Easter Sunday, we just chose to spend an extra day at the hotel, just to rest and relax some. And we truly needed it.

This Says it All

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

I Love Your Torah

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.
107 I have suffered much;
preserve my life, Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, Lord, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws.
109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a snare for me,
but I have not strayed from your precepts.
111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.
Psalm 119: 105-112


Follow Your Own Path

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

I Want to Hold Your Hand


I saw this on facebook a few minutes ago and just couldn't resist.
It made me think of Mark and I because we too hold hands while we sleep. If we are not holding hands, we are holding each other.
I believe the Sea otters have something. Because the currents of life we float upon; jobs, housework, children, family crisis, can cause even the most loving couple to drift apart. Reaching out to friends and loved ones, that simple gesture of touch reconnects us, reminds us we are not in this world alone.
I love watching sea otters at play. They are not lone wolves, but pack beings, needing community. Family.
Just like we humans.
Nature is one of our greatest teachers.
If we allow her.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Precious Faith

I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word. Psalm 119:147

It was during this time that I could once again focus on my bible reading. With everything that was going on, each time I sat down to read the Holy Bible, the words would become scrambled and fuzzy. But now, the fuzz was clearing up and I could once again make sense of the words. Of The Word. It was in the silence of my brother-in-law's home that G-d began to speak with that soft voice. In His Word. Slowly, a returning love, the words of Torah rang once again in my heart.

It is times like these that one realizes how precious one's faith is. How precious the Word of HaShem is. How thankful I am fr people who prayed for me when I could not pray or myself. Who had faith when my was somewhere in the basement. For those who kept sending me bible verses, lifelines to hang onto.
There were times I even lost my faith. But I really didn't.
Faith isn't really faith until it is tried and tested. Like gold under heat, that which isn't pure rises to the surface to be removed and all that remains is the pure gold.
My faith is real. It has been tested and trialed. There have been times it has gotten heated and I wasn't sure if it would hold. But it has.
Just as my beloved Mark and I are so much closer, so I feel a nearest to HaShem I haven't felt before. A trust that came from this series of trials. It looked dicely for awhile, but He never let us down. He was there.
We questioned. We wondered. We even cried out; "what are you doing?" But in the end, He carried us through. On eagles wings He carried us, teaching us to trust Him as He carried us higher and higher in faith.
And love.
For the Holy One, Blessed be He, Who never stopped holding onto me.


Sweet Peace

While we were visiting our Ohio family, the family was preparing to attend an Amish wedding. To be invited to an Amish wedding is an high honour.
So one morning, my niece was heading out for a dress fitting and asked me if I would like to go along. In West Union, one either walks, rides a bike, buggy, car or a scooter to get about. My niece and nephew talked me into riding part of the way on scooter.
The last time I was on a scooter, I was a child, so I was willing to give it a spin. This is going to take practice, but I still had fun.
And of course the way I was dressed, I could pass for an Amish lady.

Later that afternoon, our niece was able to talk Mark into riding the scooter as well. Everyone laughed at how quickly and easily we seem to mingle in with the locals.
What I found amazing was the peace I began to feel.
At night, there is no traffic sounds, just sweet silence. We would lay down and just close our eyes, allowing the quiet to wrap us like a babe and rock us to sleep.
There would be times I would awake during the night, watching my beloved sleep. The worry lines across his closed eyes were going away. He wasn't tossing and turning. He was at rest. His soul was finding peace.
At last.

Reel Eggs

One of the wonderful things about being with Todd and family is learning that they as a family had gone through similar losts as we had over the year.
Not only did Todd lose his job, but his home as well.
But it was the kindness of the Amish that saved his family.
First, they were given a trailer to rent, later they were offered a home by the family who rented out the trailer.
A home Todd and family opened to Mark, Monti and me. We saw first hand how HaShem not only restored, but gave our family so much more.
The family is also in the egg business.

It is a nice way to bring in income as things get better. And when you have had fresh, farm fresh eggs, you will settle for nothing less.

Yes, these are Reel eggs. Yes, they are coloured eggs, one a slight pink, the other, light blue. Mark and I talked about it. We are thinking about raising chickens when we get settled in Montana. Though I will have a lot to learn.
But there is no great hurry in deciding what to do we get to Montana. Right now, I am just enjoying the journey.
Until next time.

Stop Worrying

Sunday, 21 April 2013


West Union, Ohio.
Amish Land.
While I have always admitted the Amish people; they faith, they values. I even have a devotional I love entitled Amish Peace. But I never realise that a huge part of our healing would be found in the heart of Amish country.

Mark's brother and family live in the heart of Amish country. In fact, their home, owned by an Amish family is being rented to our family.
Not only is it huge, but lovely and the craftsmanship is amazing.
It is here, with our family that our healing began.
As I said in another entry, Todd and his family welcomed us with open arms and hearts. Even down to the bedroom they created for us; the feel of a jewish honeymoon suite, with sweet little touches.

I met the children eight years ago, just before the wedding. They were so young and I was afraid they wouldn't remember me.
But they did! To hear my two nephews and one niece call me "Aunt Laini!"meant the world to both Mark and I.
And of course everyone fell in love with Monti.
We had planned only to stay a day or two. But thanks to celebrating Passover and then an incoming snow storm, we were there five.
If we weren't committed to moving to Montana, West Union could have easily become home.
More next time.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Enjoy the Simple Things

Enjoy the little things,
 for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. 
~Robert Brault~
Enjoy the little things,
for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
~Robert Brault~

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Tears For Boston

At age nine, my family moved to Boston, Ma. from New York. It was another world, another culture, but quickly I adjusted and adapted, for I fell in love with its distinct European feel.
While school years weren't the best (being bullied) it is where I grew up into a woman. Where my son was born.
The last few years I lived in downtown Boston proper. The Boston Commons was my son's playground. We would visit my mother when she worked at the Governor's office. It was here that I studied through a program by Mass General to be a CNA and began my career in the health profession. My son and I actually lived, I went to work along the same route as the Boston Marathon. It wasn't uncommon to see men and women out and about in the early mornings, beginning to train. We could even watch part of the Marathon from our roof top. 
I moved to the south in my twenties, and like the reasons we moved West, to begin a new life, I still have several friends as well as my sister still living in Boston and I hope one day Mark and I can go for a visit.
So you can imagine my horror as I watched the events unfold on TV yesterday. I kept saying, "I know this area!" And as silly as it sounds, I kept looking for my younger sister's face, my heart knowing she was down there.
Turns out, my sister was just a block away from the bombing. We thank the Holy One for His protection.
Our hearts are still broken for the city of Boston. Right now, we still do not know who is behind this. At least, we do not see the human face or faces.
So we know that satan, the evil one is the force behind this.
I shall not sit back and blame G-d or question "Why did You allow this?" I shall, instead give thanks that there weren't more dead.
I shall pray for those families who lost loved ones, who have been injured. And I shall pray that those who did this are quickly found.
This was an act of Terrorism. Even the President has said this. The only question is; this the word of enemies inside or outside the nation.
 It is G-d that changes the hearts of men, not laws, not bans. As long as evil lies in the hearts of men, there will be such actions. Sadly, there will be the horrors we have seen over the years with school shootings, bombings, etc. Bans will make it tougher to get a gun, but it wasn't a gun used yesterday. Materials to make bombs are very easy to come by. So are butcher knives. But a ban or tougher laws  won't stop a someone bend on causing harm to others. The peace we are seek and long for, will not come until Messiah Himself comes.
My suggestion is to take a page from Israel's play book. Israel faces this sort of attacks all of the time. They are prepared and ready to deal with it. But at the same time, the people of Israel do not walk about in fear, they don't allow the Terrorism to control their lives. And we must not either.
Let us continue to put our faith in the Holy One, be watchful and not live in fear.
Beloved Boston, you are not alone. We pray for you, we weep with you.

Daily Dose


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Next Stop: West Union, Ohio

The next day, after a light breakfast and a quick rearrangement of our luggage, we were off again. This time, heading for West Union, Ohio, the home of Mark's brother Todd and family.
We stopped in West Virginia for lunch. The weather here was must colder, so Montaque got to wear his new packer. Knowing that the weather would still be chilly in Montana, we brought the furry baby a new coat.
Turns out he needed it now.
I had just gotten a copy of the Chronicles of Narnia on DVD. It is the radio program Focus on The Family had produced years ago. So this is what we chose to listen to as we travelled.
Listening to the Narnia series kept us both awake as well as something to talk about.
It was a long trip and I was thankful for packing bottles of water, fruit and nuts, as well as doggie treats for Montaque. Our little guy prove to be a very good traveller. How he love to step upon my lap and look out the window. At other times, he would crawl into his bed in the back seat and sleep.
That afternoon, we received a call from Todd.
He had asked if we could hold a Passover Seder for the family. It would be good for the children since they had never been to one.
Mark and I were delighted. Since we were travelling, we had made no plans for Passover, thinking we would have to wait until next month to do so. And now here was an golden chance to not only keep the Feast, but to share with family.
Reaching Ohio, we entered into a snow storm, even hit a patch of black ice and spin out. Everyone was fine. Montaque was thrown from his bed, laying on my jacket and went back to sleep.
We made it in safe. Mark called Todd to let him know where we were.
Todd told us how to get to the nearby MacDonald's, where he would meet us and drive us the rest of the way.
It was dark and late, but no matter. Within thirty minutes, we were with family, being embraced by nephews and a niece that I feared would not remember me, but did.
We were embraced in the arms and warmth of family.
What an amazing feeling.

And We Are Out of Here

It was a nice sunny Saturday afternoon the Reel tribe took off for Montana.
I had done most of my crying earlier in the week.
Virginia had been my home for some 33 years. I came here with my first husband, with hopes of saving our marriage.
And you can see how well that turned out.
It was here that both my son and I grew up. Where I reclaimed my faith as a Messianic Jew, enjoyed a career as a Hospices CNA, started my own small business and met my beloved. I had developed many close friendships. My mother is still here.
And yet it was now time to leave, with my husband, for the new chapter in our lives.
I looked out the window, my body filled with so many emotions; sadness and joy. Excitement and dread. Curious to see what the unknown holds. And fearful of it.
Mark took my hand and squeezed it. He understood my feels. But didn't share them.
He was so ready to move to Montana, the place his heart been longing for all these years.
We arrived in Fairfax, Virginia around ten pm. Since we are travelling with a dog, this meant finding a Pet Friendly hotel. The local Quality Inn was such an hotel.
Our timing was excellent because the hotel we went to was quickly filling up with groups of high school kids and their teachers.
And of course, Monti  made a new friend.

We were sadden to miss Sam, but he did send a gift to help with the travel cost. Our hope is one day, when back in Virginia, we can stop for a real visit.
After a supper of the worse Chinese food I have ever eaten, we headed off for bed. The excitement of the day finally catching up with us.
The adventure had truly begun.
We are really on our way to Montana.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Resist Tyranny.

Photo"To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies. So it is something in which no one believes and to which no one objects."
Margaret Thatcher

In a world growing ever more dark, the little light from the memorah shines brightly. I think about that with each Hanukkah. How brave the Jewish family above was to set their Hanukkah lights in the window, the menorah staring into the face of the Nazi flag. How easy to have 'hidden the lights," knowing the danger they were facing.
We may never know this family's name.
But we know where their family laid.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

We Shall Never Forget

Today we remember the six million men, women and children who were murdered, their lives ended by the single word of one man.
Their crime?
Being Jewish.
 Hitler's Final Solution to rid the world of, first every Jew in Germany and then the world.

But it is he, not the Jewish people that is gone.
For while six member Jewish hearts stopped beating, their memory, their lives live on in our hearts, our souls. While now with G-d, their voices ring in our ears, their voice, now our voice.
Never Again.
While Hitler is dead, the evil of his soul still lives on in others. There remain nations, leaders, even religious groups that have not learned the lesson of the past; when you touch the Apple of G-d's Eye, you are touching His Beloved. And He destroys all who seek to destroy His Beloved.
Like those before him, Hitler did not success in his evil plan. He is gone the way of so many of HaShem's foes.
The birth of every jewish child is a spit in Hitler's face. Every time we celebrate a Bat or Bar Mitzvah, a boy or girl becoming a Child of the Convent, taking their place in the Jewish community, their voices carry the tune "I'm Still Standing." Every Jewish wedding, including my own, is a victory dance upon Hitler's grave.
The world was silence during the murder of six million jews. Many who knew turned a blind eye.
Never again.
Out of the ashes of the gas chambers came the rebirth of a Nation, Israel. We returned to our homeland. And we say Never Again.
Never Again shall this be allowed to the jewish people or any other people.
On this day, despite our faith, we are all jews and we must cry out: NEVER AGAIN!
Future Fuhrers take notes: Try to destroy the Jewish is a quick track to your grave. Do not pass Go. Do not collect two hundred dollars.
Never Again.

Your Moving Where????? Part 4


Like the story of Yoseph and his brothers, our story was moved forward by desperation. At every turn the brothers were thwarted in their simple desire to to buy grain. 
Mark and I were, in turn, thwarted in our simple desire to have a job and a home to call our home. For a backyard for our little dog to run about and play, bark and just be a dog.
 Yet even to the point of  yielding to Yoseph's demands to bring Benjamin in Egypt , not knowing what their fate would be, the Jacob family moves on to what they must to save their family.
Mark and I found ourselves in the same boat.
Our life was no longer in Virginia. Our future laid West. And G-d allowed us to be brought to the very edge to make us stop looking in Virginia for salvation.
But to Montana.
I remember asking Mark right after my mother's birthday if he thought all we were going through was leading us to Montana.
"Then He better change mummie's heart, she's not ready for us to leave."
Little did we realize, my mother had already released us to go where ever we needed to. For she would rather see us living with my sister in Boston (she offered, but she was already up to her nose in family) than on the streets. Mark's brother had offered us a place with his family as well n Ohio. But Mark's heart had always been set in returning to Montana.
And where my beloved' heart is, so is mine.
With the help of several very special friends, including, Mark's best friend Sam and older brother Chuck, after many emotional I love you, like the Yacob family of old, we were off to the place prepared for us.

The first stop was suppose to see Sam and family. But because of the last minute details, (adding things to storage, saying goodbye to friends, getting gas) we had a very late start and rolled into Fairfax around 10 pm and it was way to late for a visit, so we found a dog friend hotel and settled in for the night.

To be continued....