Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Bar Mitzvah to Remember.....

Leaving Childhood
March 16, 2013
Well, I told you we had a special day coming up last posting. I also said you'd hear more about it.....but between tax season, Purim 10 days before the Bar Mitzvah and now Pesach 10 days after I've been up to my ears in cooking.....and taxes. Grin.

But here was a huge love letter Papa sent see 13 years ago I got the best birthday present I've ever had....the birth of my Little Critter. (Our birthdays are 3 days apart) Mine was the first face he saw, mine the first voice he heard, and mine the first arms he felt...I caught him as he was being birthed. Which was a great thing since the doctor missed! He just leaped from that birth canal straight into my arms! Dodi and I had spent 8 years praying for a child of our own. We'd been chosen multiple times (about 7 to be exact) to be adoptive parents. But each time at the last minute the birth mothers would change their minds.By the time the last rejection came, I was completely and totally devastated. We went to a Y2K celebration and while there I told Papa that if He didn't want us to have our own kids, I was fine with that. That I left it all in His Hands. The following week we got a phone call from someone we'd never met who asked if we'd be interested in adopting her child. We were a bit hesitant, but agreed to meet her and talk. After that first meeting, we prayed (a lot) and in 3 days she called and told us to draw up the adoption papers....she'd sign them and give us her child. We had no idea whether he would be boy or girl, healthy or ill, normal or retarded. But we didn't really care....he'd be ours! And 2 1/2 months later, I was in the delivery room, catching my darling son.

From the beginning he was ours....he looked exactly like Dodi, was the same length and weight as Dodi had been,  had my hearing problems even in the same ears!( and as he grew he had my allergies) Now 13 years later, he still looks like Dodi, is tall like Dodi, built more like me which makes him slender but 5'9", sharp witted (got that from me I'm afraid....) with a slightly warped sense of humor (again from me....) intelligent (had to be from Dodi) head strong, determined, with a tender heart and a gentle spirit. I've been his Ima, his teacher, his confidant, his boo-boo kisser, food provider, discipler, disciplinarian, his sounding block, his protector and his prodder. But last Sabbath, I got to fulfill the vow I made at his birth. And like Hannah of old, I gave him back to Papa.

As I stood before him, Hashem (and the whole congregation) I held up the cap I'd put on his head 13 years ago. I told him "Thirteen years ago, I put this cap on your head to keep you warm, and protect your soft spot. Today I put this new cap on your head (a new kippa I'd made him) to remind you Hashem protects you. I then held up the blanket I'd swaddled him in and said " Thirteen years ago, I swaddled you in this blanket to keep your little arms and legs from flaying around and help you feel safe. Then I wrapped you in this blanket (a warmer one) I made before you were born to protect you from the cold winds and keep you warm. Then I held you in my arms so you'd hear my heart and know how dearly you were loved. Today I wrap you in a new wrap (his new tallit) so you'll always know Hashem will hold you. I love you more than you know....but He loves you more. Papa will now teach you how to be the man He's called you to be. Everywhere I didn't teach you correctly, He'll teach you better. I look forward to seeing the man Papa told your Dad and me that you'd be. A G-dly man who will stand firmly in his faith and not hesitate to tell others about our Heavenly Father. A man who will lead many others to know Papa intimately. A man who will be in Israel, a shining man....a Tzadik. I love you, and I'm proud of you sweetheart."

Of course, there were no dry eyes in the place by then. Even Little Critter had tears in his eyes. Then Dodi said " Well, that's gonna be a hard one to follow!"He gave his gift after the service. But then he gave Little Critter the traditional gift of his family and his heritage as an American Indian. He gave him a weapon (a pocket knife) and assisted Rabbi as he and the congregation gave Little Critter a bigger and more powerful weapon....his own Torah. (it's a practice Torah....but a Torah all the same!) And of course after the gifts, we had food overflowing. I'd spent all week cooking food...I saw it as my final gift to my little boy. (Of course I'll still be cooking for him, he's reached the bottomless pit stage of life!!!!! But he's no longer my little he's a mensch. A man in training.) It was a bittersweet day. My little mommy heart was full to bursting with pride in my son who did SUCH a marvelous job chanting his Torah portion in Hebrew (with only 3 assists from Rabbi!) had a truly adult homily about the portion (and he did it on his own with only 2 suggestions from Dodi and I) and was incredibly humble and grownup thru the whole thing. But at the same time, I realized my time as primary instructor, teacher and confidant was ending....sigh. I know I'll always hold his heart, he'll always have a place for Momma that no one else can fill. And I saw glimpses of the man he's becoming which was really cool.....but my little boy is just about no more. And that's tough. But I rejoice. Papa gave me such a wonderful Love Letter in this squirmy, wiggly, wormy little being who now is reflecting back the love I've given him all these years and now is beginning to attempt to 'take care of' Ima. I know I've made plenty of mistakes with this precious child.....but it would appear I've done plenty right also. And on this most memorable of days, Papa's Love Letter told me I'd done a good job....and He'd correct any mistakes. What more could I ask for???

So dear friends, as we prepare for Pesach tomorrow, I'll say an extra prayer for each of you. That Papa will send you a Love Letter telling you how proud He is of you....and what a great job you've done being the best you you can be. May you be blessed with life, and health, with shalom, and understanding and may all evil passover your household and may Abba lead you thru the storms of life, keep you safe and make His face to shine upon you. Chag Sameck! Spitfire

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Purim Time! See His Hand?

Hoorah! It's Purim time! Boy I love this holiday. It's so much fun! For those that don't know this is the celebration described in the book of Esther in the Bible. At the end of the book, Chapter 9 verses 23-28 it's recorded that Mordacai and Queen Esther proclaimed that these days would be celebrated and never be forgotten. It's a huge party!
But lest we forget, it's also a time to praise Papa for all He did to preserve the Hebrew people. Although G-d is never mentioned as in other books of the Bible, His fingerprints are ALL over this story! From beginning to end, you really can't help but see Papa protecting, leading and directing the events from 'behind the scenes'. It's really not that different from what He does in our time in our lives. How many times have you 'just missed' an accident, or gotten distracted by something that kept you from making a huge mistake? How many times have you complained that the car wouldn't start and now you'd be late to work only to find out later that there was a major wreck happening at the time you would have been driving but for that car not starting? Coincedence? I think not. I think that if we were more observant, we'd see His fingerprints all over our lives.
And while we're discussing the big celebration that Purim is, I have a major announcement.....drum roll please. I'd like to announce that Little Critter (my precious, well loved and youngest son) will be celebrating his Bar Mitzvah next month! I can hardly believe my baby is almost 13 years old!!!!! Sigh. Well, rest assured my friends, you'll hear more about this as we get closer to the event. Suffice it to say my little mommy heart is brimming with pride, joy and a bit of bittersweetness. It hardly seems like 3 weeks since we brought him home from the hospital....hard to believe it's been almost 13 years! Whoo. I know where the years have gone, but boy did they go fast!!!! Grin.
It's also still tax season and that means my plate is already full....but things are going well at the office and Papa has blessed us many times. We've met a couple other Torah Observant families (pretty cool here half way to anywhere!), been able to minister to tons of folks and even gotten to answer questions some people have about what it means to be Torah Observant. SO Cool!!! It's always nice to be able to talk about Papa while working at the same time. And knowing we're sharing His love with all our clients is really awesome.
Well, got to finish working on invitations for a Bar Mitzvah (grin) and making Haman's fingers for Synagogue this weekend. Little Critter has a t-shirt I got him last year that is so cute....let me see if I have a pic to show describes Purim so well! Grin.
Can you read it? I couldn't find the shirt, but found the wording....Hopefully it's readable. So as you enjoy your weekend this weekend, think of us celebrating our preservation (not to mention our salvation!) and know we'll include you in our prayers of praise for His Love Letters to us. Shalom, Spitfire

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Seeing with His Eyes

Well, good evening my friends. Hope you had a wonderful and restful Shabbat. I had to work at the office this Sabbath, but hope Papa will understand. And I did get to help several folks so that would make it a mitzvot perhaps. So, let's talk about the love letters He sent me this week.
I chose the above picture taken by an awesome person overseas because it is called a snowflake. We call them lily of the valley here, but if you look closely, there's a difference. The Lily of the Valley flower looks just like the one pictured above, but without the little dots on each petal. The ones with the dots, are called Snowflakes. And while I'm fairly certain they're in the same family, there are several less obvious differences. Snowflake flowers are common (bordering on wild) in most of Europe, are one of the first flowers of spring to bloom and will grow even in snow if the temps are above freezing. (They also are in my flower beds! Grin)  These lovely little harbingers of spring look so dainty and delicate, but are tough as nails! The Lily of the Valley that grows here in the south US, are also some of the first flowers to bloom and herald the coming spring. But are not nearly as hardy as their European cousins, although just as lovely.
So, you ask, what were the love letters??? And what does this have to do with flowers. Well, glad you asked. This week was a little difficult in that we had lots of changes in our programming (not all that worked, thank you so much!) several clients (which is when we found out our programming wasn't working right.....ARGGGH!) and an awful lots of interruptions of all kinds. So as I was taking a quick break one day, I walked outside for a few minutes away from phones, people and headaches. There, under the sign for the office, my sweet Little Critter had made a flower bed for me and then we planted some pansies. Those little dears were 'looking'' at me with their little heads raised towards the sun, their leaves spread in praise to Papa and looked incredibly beautiful. I think they may be related to Snowflakes......why, you ask? Well, they've had no real care other than being planted. It was freezing this morning (and the past several mornings!), we've had no rain in several weeks, and little sunshine for them. But there they were looking so incredibly beautiful and joyful! I quickly thanked Papa for the beauty of them and He prompted me to look for the Letter. I actually found two Love Letters when I thought about it. Little Critter had wanted to plant bushes under the sign for the office....but I told him how much I love pansies. So out of love for me, that's what he planted. So there was one Love son loves me enough to plant flowers I like, to cheer me during drab, dreary days. The second Love Letter was that it didn't matter how stressful the past few weeks have been on them, they were so grateful to be in a bed, in the sun,protected (by the sign) from the wind blowing things on them and still alive....and here I was stressing about things that really didn't matter. If Papa cares so well for little flowers, won't He do the same and more for me?!?!

Another  Love Letter had to do with the way the Snowflake and Lily of the Valley look so much alike. We have all kinds of clients come in our office. Some are the most awe inspiring folks, and some, well, let's just say they aren't role models I'd want my child to emulate. We have young folks, middle age folks, and old folks, folks with pink hair, some with green hair, some with no hair and some with really long hair. So as we were explaining the new tax laws to folks, I realized that I found myself  using different language for the different ages/educational levels ect. When I asked Papa to help me see our clients with His eyes, I realized they are each like the Snowflake and Lily of the Valley flowers. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, things they understand easily and things they don't. I saw a husband lovingly help his wife with siging the paperwork when she couldn't figure it out even with my finger showing her where to sign. I saw a young single mom accept that the way she'd done things before would need to be changed to help her and her kids. I saw a criminal offender treat me with respect even when Dodi had to leave the office (and I was trembling inside in fear). I saw an unemployed biker/truck driver who's mom has Alzheier's  patiently  re explain to his slightly confused wife what I had just said to her. It was incredible. All these folks with troubles of their own, each thinking of someone else besides themselves, and not whining or complaining about their situations. Awesome! I saw the spark of Papa in each one of them! How cool is that?!?!?!
So as you go thru your week this next week, ask Papa to let you see each person you meet with His eyes. Look for those Love Letters He sends us and let me know what you find. May He bless your week with lots of joy, plenty of health and very few aggravations. Shalom.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Well, we've started a new year in this world....and as a treat to myself, I wanted to post some new thoughts. I don't know if anyone still follows this blog, but that's OK. This is mostly for me. It was a long and difficult year. So this is my treat to myself. Anyone that wants to is more than welcome to read my meanderings and comment if so desired. Just please be gentle with any critisims and feel free to be lavish with praise. Grin. So, let's start.......
Dec 2011, my parents were in a horrible car wreck. Mom, being blind so not seeing what was coming, sustained almost no injuries. But Daddy was rushed to hospital a bloody mess. It was quite scary to view it all. Once in hospital, they glued him back together, took tons of x-rays, CT scans and took even more of his blood for tests. The end result is we found out Daddy has 3 abdominal anyerisms. All are small and I found the love letter from Papa in the whole episode. We had no idea he had this problem! Now we know and he knows that he has to kinda mind his age....giggle. We took him to the doctor every three months for all of 2012 for checkups on the anyerisms and in Dec 2012, the dr said we could go 9 months before our next checkup. Whoo hooo!
Shortly after the accident (about 3 months later) Mom started complaining about one of her feet hurting. It took another 3 weeks for me to get her to let me look at it. And when I did, I almost spit! She had a sore on one toe that was black and I knew it was gangrene. Mom had Forneire's Gangrene about 9 yrs I recognized that awful smell. She refused to allow me to take her to a doctor, but once tax season was over (about 3 more weeks!) after I'd spent every night going to her house after work and washing her feet in a sonic bath with aloe vera and epson salts. I convinced her we HAD to go to the dr. We spent another month or so working on that foot, and got referred to a specialist when tests showed she had hardening of the arteries. (That kinda explained her contraryness about going to the dr) The specialist informed us she had more calcium in her veins than her bones and was shocked she hadn't had a stroke or heat attack. So after some new meds, and a home health aide to help me out a bit, and 6 months, we got the gangrene cleared up and she didn't loose any toes! (another love letter!)
Then during the summer, the owner of the building our office was in, sold the office and we were told we'd have to move by Feb of this year. This after we'd spent a little over $6000 to renovate the office. ARGGGH!!! By now I was beginning to seriously discuss our situation with Papa! So we started looking for a new office space. There were NONE to be found that we could afford the payments on and I was getting a little stressed. Then in Oct 2012, a storm came thru, tore up the awning in front of the building and the new owner had it taken down. OK. Kinda ugly, but OK. EXCEPT the man taking down the awning had a wind gust throw a metal bar thru the 8ft, 100yr old plate glass window directly in front of my's the next love letter! No one was at the office when this happened. The glass shattered the next day about 30 seconds after I LEFT my desk! I heard that glass cracking and was everywhere!!! Folks came out of buildings two blocks away to find out what that loud crash was. The new owner refused to replace the glass since he planned to tear down the 100 year old building......can we say historical? But the next day, we found a new office space. (Another love letter!) We had 2 weeks to get out of the building, get into the new office, paint everything, redo the hardwood floors and get all the computers back up and running for the opening of our season. Whew! We did it. The next love letter was as our customers started coming in and told us how awesome the place looked. We now are in an old house...folks say it's more like visiting a friend than getting their taxes done. Pretty cool love letter eh?!
Then in the middle of all this, Daddy started seriously loosing weight and looking ill. Another trip to the doctor and another round of tests confirmed our worst fears. He had Prostate Cancer and it had metacisized to the bones. He is now on hormonal therapy which is kinda like chemo without the heavy duty drugs. It's more holistic and mostly hormones. This DOES mean he's having menapausal symptoms at times, but I told him if the hot flashes get bad just stick your head in the freezer a few mintues. It feels SO wonderful. Giggle. After a couple months of treatment, he seems to be adjusting pretty well and the weight lose is slowed way down. In fact, it appears he's beginning to gain a little! The only real problem he has now is the confusion that is really confounding. He gets easily confused and calls me at the office on how to operate the TV....but at least I can help him with that over the phone. And he's still with us....I realize each day is a blessing and a gift. And I choose to cherish each day I have with my Daddy and my Mom.
And possibly the best love letter of all from my loving Papa is that Daddy shared all of Hanukkah with us and even began going to shul with us! Mom still refuses to join in, but now doesn't make as many nasty comments about our faith. I count that another love letter. (Sometimes you have to look to see them! Grin) So all in all, 2012 was difficult, at times harrowing. But we were blessed. We survived it, grew and learned to look for His love letters more carefully. I think I have lots to be glad for and as we start the new year...I look forward to seeing what new Love Letters from Papa I will find! I hope you find them too. He sends them to all of us...we just have to look. Shalom, Spitfire