Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm Thankful for my Family

There is a new post over at Juggling Frogs entitled Carnival of Overdue Thanks. Carolyn got me thinking about being thankful not just for the surreal once in a lifetime experiences, but also, on a more mundane level to be thankful for the things we love so much that we tend to take for granted.
Now mind you, this wasn't exactly the best week for me to embark on this journey... my air conditioner died and needed replacing, my washing machine developed a substantial leak and needed replacing... and yet, as harried, hassled and delayed my Shabbos preparations were, I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed, TRULY ENJOYED, the act of preparing Shabbos for my family quite so much. I've said many times that I love our Snowglobe Shabbos, but this time the feeling diffused into the actual cutting, pitting, slicing, baking, cleaning {ok, maybe not the dishes} because as I was doing these things I was focused on my wonderful family - most notably my amazing husband who puts so much of his own efforts into making our Shabbos special.
And as a side note, if you keep up with my sidebar on what I've been reading lately, I've been reading Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and it's all small stuff and I have to give it credit for a lot of my newfound serenity. I mean, those that know me know that my modus operandi is to stand over repairmen and installers and watch them with my obsessive hawk-eye, giving myself an ulcer all the while. Well you'll be proud to know that while my new appliances were being installed {and spraying water and gunk everywhere} I was in another room in a state of blissful ingnorance. This is amazing growth for me and I am allowing myself a cyber back-pat :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dealing with Grief

Sometimes we lose things we love. Sometimes they are people, relationships, treasured keepsakes.
And the grieving, though it may vary in intensity, has much the same process whether it is for the death of a person, the death of a relationship or the death of a memory.
I am working on coming up with ways to deal with grief.
An interesting tactic du jour is to say to oneself, "It won't hurt so bad for as long as it felt so good". And then remembering moments it felt good.
I'm interested in other people's ideas for ways to deal with loss.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Emperor's New Clothes

I'm a "people pleaser". I often find that I hold my tongue on occasion in order to keep everybody happy.
But lately I've seen a very disturbing trend and have had some personal experiences that highlight this problem and I've decided that political correctness has got to go and I'm just not going to take it anymore.
I certainly try hard not to judge the belief systems of others. Firstly, that is a job best left to our Maker and secondly, the glass on my house isn't even tempered... That said, I am getting REALLY TIRED of pretending that every rebel and crazy is NORMAL.
There are entire groups of people out there that may or may not being doing anything contrary to halacha (and I leave that distinction to the more erudite bloggers - though for my intent and purpose it doesn't really matter)but they are certainly being unconventional in a very "in your face" sort of way, and we are expected to act like everything is normal.
I have been guilty of this time and time again until lately I have come to the realization that these people do not afford me (and the rest of the "mainstream") the same courtesy. They are MOCKING us. They are rebelling for ATTENTION. and we sit around and admire their sartorial splendor in all our political correctness.
It is time we stepped up and stated the obvious - THE EMPEROR IS NAKED!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Happier addendum to my earlier post ,
(or: Great Minds Think Alike)

A short while ago I posted A Phoenix Rises from the Ashes, detailing how one never knows on a given day what is to come on that same day in the future.
Interestingly, my mechutan echoed these same feelings in his speech over Shabbos lunch, though with a much happier parallel, I am pleased to say.
You see, this was the 33rd anniversary of his marriage to his lovely wife and he found it quite poignant that he never envisioned 33 years ago that on this same day in the future he would be surrounded by his family celebrating such a simcha.
The future holds WONDERFUL, unfathomable things. I like to believe that most will be joyous.
This morning my younger daughter woke up teary eyed that, with the completion of this special Kiddush Weekend, all the "good stuff" is now over. I told her that I prefer to think it has just begun!

Sometimes it's the little things....

As I've mentioned several times already, 2 1/2 weeks ago, I experienced the life-altering event of becoming a grandmother.
It didn't quite sink in at first. I knew I loved reaching this milestone. I revelled in holding baby Kayla in my arms. And yet, it all felt rather surreal. It hadn't quite "sunk in".
Until this weekend. This weekend was Kayla's "Kiddush Shabbos" (because we all know that no girl can possibly ever hope to get married if her parents haven't made her a "girl kiddush" {insert eye roll here}). In any case - and slightly off topic - it was WONDERFUL!! Moshe's parents came in from England, his sisters and niece/nephews from Toronto and Brooklyn (with traffic who knows which took longer, lol), my brother from Passiac, my mother from Bnei Brak and (Shadchan) Lester (already in from Amsterdam but walked in from Woodmere which should've taken about an hour but took Lester 1.5 hours....). It felt like a Shabbos Sheva Brochos at every meal. The atmosphere was amazing. The zemiros, the laughter, the banter..... the whole feeling.... was indescribable.
But I digress..... This weekend, for the first time I felt like a grandmother. "What did it?", you ask?A little tiny placecard. A placecard that read simply "Oma G". Up until 2 weeks ago, my placecards always read "Mommy". Oma G was my mother in law. Seeing that placecard - realizing that Oma G is now ME..... THAT drove the point home. NOW I truly feel like a grandmother. And yes, I saved the placecard :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My Mantras for the Week

  • I cannot control other people's behavior - only how I choose to react to said behavior.
  • Nobody can make me feel bad about myself besides me!

..... and let's not forget .....

  • Nobody ever died from a full Inbox

Let's give a big cheer for an attempt at mental health.... any and all other suggestions are most welcome.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Into Every Life a Little Pooh Must Fall....

OK, so you all know now... my husband - a grown man (and a grandfather) has a "thing" for Pooh.
I just got an email from my son Michael, directing me to this story with the following comment:
"How sad is it that this news story makes me think of my father?"
Alas.... is there no dignity left??
And what's with the no clean clothes? Was it a 9 days thing?? At least my husband saves the costume for Purim and weddings.....

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Going for the Gold

The Beijing Olympics will be starting this weekend. I'll grudgingly admit that I've even watched a few of the Olympic trials on TV over the past few weeks (I'm a sucker for the diving) and I'm trying to figure out what the draw is.
I think it's a combination of striving for personal excellence, coupled with a sense of community pride, and isn't this what all of our lives are about on a smaller scale?
We all should strive to become better and better in every aspect of our lives and thus bring pride to our communities and on a grander scale, our Jewish nation.

That aside, I'm TOTALLY rooting for the 41 year old mom who's going to show them all a few things at the swimming competitions ;)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Life's Conundrum #129

Why is it that all bodily functions that elicit reactions of distaste from others when performed by adults, are accompanied by oooh's and aaaah's when coming from tiny babies?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Aviva Kayla

The naming of a Jewish child is a most profound spiritual moment. Naming a baby is a statement of her character, her specialness, and her path in life. For at the beginning of life we give a name, and at the end of life a "good name" is all we take with us. (see Talmud - Brachot 7b; Arizal - Sha'ar HaGilgulim 24b)

Naming a Jewish baby is not only a statement of what we hope she will be, but also where she comes from.
Ashkenazi Jews have the custom of naming a child after a relative who has passed away. This keeps the name and memory alive, and in a metaphysical way forms a bond between the soul of the baby and the deceased relative. This is a great honor to the deceased, because its soul can achieve an elevation based on the good deeds of the namesake. The child, meanwhile, can be inspired by the good qualities of the deceased -- and make a deep connection to the past. (Noam Elimelech - Bamidbar)

Aviva Kayla - to be called "Kayla", is named after my dear husband's grandmother. She was an "Isha Chashuva", from a family that was strong in it's Yiddishkeit and service of the Klal. She also enjoyed Arichas Yomim, outliving all of her siblings and her only son. She left this world at age 97 with no fanfare, nobody to sit shiva for her and a GOOD NAME.

Hat tip:

A Phoenix Rises from the Ashes

My father was niftar on Shabbos afternoon, Rosh Chodesh Av - seven years ago.
I remember vividly walking home from the hospital in utter desolation after his petirah, feeling like my world was so very dark, that I would never learn another thing ever again --- how would I smile and laugh again?
How I wish somebody could have come up to me at that very moment and taken me by my shoulders, looked in to my eyes and said..... "SEVEN YEARS FROM THIS VERY DAY you will be sitting at your Shabbos table, surrounded by your entire family, which will include a new son in law, a new daughter in law and you will be cradling your brand new granddaughter in your arms on her very first Shabbos, as everyone at the table sings zemiros and learns in your father's memory. Your granddaughter will be given her Jewish name on this very day seven years from now. Today you are saying, 'does it get any worse than this?' - - seven years from now you will be saying, 'does it get any better than this?'
There are no coincidences in our world.