I’m better with you

I swear at times the older I get the more absolutely clueless at life I become in ways.

For example. I have felt like I have a good handle on how to be a parent. Like, I got this, I’m good. I’m coming up on Thirty two years old now.

That’s garbage. There is SO MUCH MORE TO LEARN, not to mention so many more perspectives beyond my own that I am constantly taking in. Either from parents who have been there done that, professionals who have opinions, or just trail and error of my own! It’s all a process. Just like being Jewish, I learn how to be a better Jew or learn more about Judaism ALL THE TIME. You’d think after going through a FORMAL CLASS I’d know all I need right? A lot of people think so. You’d be DEAD WRONG in thinking that. Am I pulling out my three in one book of like, practical Judaic information so I don’t mess up the prayers lighting the Chanukah candles this year? You’re damn right I am.

Life is always smacking me in the head with DUH things. For example. I have always limited the amount of toys Alex was allowed upstairs because they drive me nuts. He has an entire playroom in the basement. Matt told me his mom had a rule when they were kids that all toys stayed downstairs. THAT, was a DUH moment for me. So, no more toys upstairs lol. It’s been rather nice to see him hanging out downstairs instead of all over the place.

I’ve known Matt roughly ten years now. There has never been a time I can’t talk to him, about anything. He’s been the absolute best friend I’ve ever had. I’ve logged more game time, webcam time, and phone time with him than any person I’ve ever known lol. Dating him has been this incredibly natural and comfortable. We have this spacial rhythm about us like we’ve been doing this forever.

Then it hit me. In a way, we have. In different stages of my life, he’s always been my rock. During break ups, surgeries, painful situations with family, hardships with life in general. Never mattered what it was. He was always there. Just from a few hundred miles away. That was always a constant. It was just here, present, in person for once, with his arms around me keeping me grounded. Holding my hand, lifting me up, and dealing with LIFE. It’s been the most natural thing in the world.

He’s the Matt I’ve always known and that’s all the same. The kicker though? I’m getting to know things and parts of him I never got to see. Like seeing the way he looks at Alex when he’s asleep in his lap. Or the immediate fear in his eyes when Alex gets away from him in a place he shouldn’t, and the split second response as he scoops him up quickly. The fatherly feelings. Seeing the level of responsibility in him immediately kick in when we have things we have to worry about and get done. I can’t explain what that stirred in me, but they’re things I’ve not had before. There’s more, but I’ll keep those things for myself. We’ll just say that despite it all I’m very happy right now, and I feel safe. Clueless though. Knowing someone so long, and yet missing pieces. Though I did know how much he loved family, I think I’ll chalk some of this up to distance. After all I’m not THAT blind, BUT, it’s melting my heart all the same.

I know that there is going to be plenty of things life is going to continue to teach me. I hope I’m around as many years as I can be for Alex, and right now I know that I don’t necessarily NEED someone to be my caretaker, but I want my life, the way that it is right now. There is a lot to figure out, but I see a good future involved in it.

There’s been so much emotion lately truthfully. My health is all over, divorce court is DURING Chanukah, I’m doing my very best to keep it all together. Then I got news that my Grandfather (father’s dad) passed away. While we weren’t incredibly close, I still loved him. I’m living in constant roller coaster mode at the moment and I’m really just waiting to land softly on the other side. I know it’ll all be okay, but I’m so thankful that I have Matt here. On TOP of all that I get to go meet his family for Thanksgiving and that is a thing I have not done in many years! Though the last family I met with a boyfriend I made a good impression I guess lol. They still talk to me. Come to think of it so does the first family I ever met. I’ve only done this twice before, so I guess it bodes well that they liked me. It dosen’t make me any less nervous.

I guess it’s back to the grind of life. I’ll try to remind myself to work past my goldfish memory, and enjoy the beauty that is my boyfriend as I get to know even more about the beautiful person I already knew. Before we know it it’ll be a new standard year ya’ll. Crazy right? We have beautiful Chanukah decor up. Soon I’m going to go back to posting on the YouTube channel, don’t forget about my twitter too, I’ll start actually using it.

Shari

 

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Whoever does not see God everywhere does not see Him anywhere.

Raphael Abecassis - Passover

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The title quote I’ve listed is attributed to Kotzker Rebbe. While I totally agree with this ideal, it does not always mean it works for everyone. One of the things I absolutely love about being in the Reform movement is that your spirituality and practice is yours to own to a degree. What I do is on me, and what you do is on you. I am not your judge, I am your sister.

I have taken a liking to the works of Heschel over the last year and I have always been of the philosophy that if you don’t have the best words to start yourself off, seek to those more intelligent than yourself. They have probably said it better well before you.

 Last night we had what is to be one of our last classes, and on that note, I have a date set for my Beit Din and, God willing, my Mikvah and conversion alongside my young son. The amount of reflection in me right now is unreal. Unfortunately it’s been coupled with a great deal of health issues, however, they are beginning to even out. I’ve had to be incredibly careful with myself, which has meant my rationale winning at times over what my heart wishes. Which really brings me to the initial point. The topic for our class was the Judaic ideal of God. We spent the night discussing (with one of my most favorite facilitators of the year to be frank, discussion, banter, and debate in Judaism go hand in hand which I adore) the many different meanings across different movements of Judaism of God.

We talked about the components of God in the world. We explored how many struggle with it, not just in conversion, but as even born Jewish individuals. I mean truly, what a concept! We as humans are built with egos well beyond our own comprehension and sometimes control so at times the idea of the LACK of control over our own lives and destiny and the idea that there is something more powerful, much less something we can’t interact with, that’s a big pill to swallow. Many, grapple with the concept their whole lives, I am certainly in the category of a person who did that for most of my life. That is not to say that I may never go to those mats once more, but for now there is rest, for me. I spoke up some, but as this is my space I want to expand, from my viewpoint, here. Maybe it will help those looking to enter the process, or perhaps those simply looking for some hope or perspective in their Jewish life.

I am an incredibly rational person. I always have been. If you go back and read when I started this journey, conversion was a flatout choice of mine, end of story. I already knew what I was doing the moment I walked into the synagogue my family is now active members of and has made a home at. I put long and hard though and searching into my choice to commit to this. This is not the first time I have made decisions this way and it will not be the last. My belief? This is part of how God plays a role in my life.

You see, I see God in everything. I feel God in everyday life. Be that the amazing milestones my son undertakes that we have waited a very long time to see and watching him and his dad build models together. Or sitting at my dining room table and watching as the sun sets over the hill behind my back deck and waiting with baited breath for the gardenia bush to bloom, ever reminding me of the blessed memory of my mother in law. I breathe in those moments just as much as the oxygen I need to survive and when I do it’s like being lifted up by God. True, I feel just the same when bad things can occur to even still. I feel comfort at times when there is no one there to rightly be comforting me, or my sons small hand will find mine when I cry and say “It okay mama” and I know it will be, and is. I find that strength and I know my strength of will is not just my own. This world rationally is so much larger than is possible to just be. I can’t believe it any other way and I feel otherwise every single day, in every single thing I do. In the music that I hear and sing that touches me so much I can’t help but shed tears.

My husband and I almost weren’t, but we are because I made a choice and I made that choice because I was shown it was the right thing, practically by yellow flashing lights in front of my face. I may not know the big picture and what the plans are and I remind myself of that all the time, but I know that I am not alone. The Rabbi used the word relationship a great deal last night and I couldn’t agree more that it is a relationship. Just as advertised it’s a covenant and you’ve got to work at it, by doing your part to keep things together, in your own life, and the world. You can’t ever give up and give in to settling for good enough, do better, and be better. I spent most of my life turning completely away from that and now that I haven’t my life has been filled with more blessings as has my families than I ever thought possible. Find your way to find God, however that fits for you. You’ll not regret doing so and it will fill your life with more joy to have those people and that covenant in your life than I could ever say if I was given a lifetime of words.

I still cannot fathom that this part of my journey is almost at an end. I have been finishing up some of the books I started this year. Looking into which ones I want to acquire next (There’s one about the first female Rabbi I’ve been REALLY wanting), and making my next plans for continuing my Jewish education when possible. I also need to begin shopping for a Tallit. They are a bit pricey and with our medical expenses I haven’t been able to fit one into our budget, but I dearly want one, especially for the high holidays. Which, I’ll be singing for! On Erev Rosh HaShanah and for N’liah. I’m very excited. What an amazing start to an amazing new part of my life. I’m looking forward to all of the amazing things to come, and watching all the blessings our son will receive in the years to come.

 

 

Our Endless Numbered Days, Wisdom Comes In Time

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“There are times that walk from you like some passing afternoon
Summer warmed the open window of her honeymoon
And she chose a yard to burn but the ground remembers her
Wooden spoons, her children stir her Bougainvillea blooms

There are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days
Autumn blew the quilt right off the perfect bed she made
And she’s chosen to believe in the hymns her mother sings
Sunday pulls its children from their piles of fallen leaves

There are sailing ships that pass all our bodies in the grass
Springtime calls her children ’till she let’s them go at last
And she’s chosen where to be, though she’s lost her wedding ring
Somewhere near her misplaced jar of Bougainvillea seeds

There are things we can’t recall, blind as night that finds us all
Winter tucks her children in, her fragile china dolls
But my hands remember hers, rolling ’round the shaded ferns
Naked arms, her secrets still like songs I’d never learned

There are names across the sea, only now I do believe
Sometimes, with the windows closed, she’ll sit and think of me
But she’ll mend his tattered clothes and they’ll kiss as if they know
A baby sleeps in all our bones, so scared to be alone”

I cannot get over the symbolism and beautiful undertones in this mans music. I have listened for so many years. A friend introduced me to his music when I was much younger. As I have aged, so has my understanding of things of course. As life continues so to does our knowledge and acquisition of it. I like to believe we become smarter as we age, though I’m not sure that’s true for all people. I have always strived to keep my mind sharper over time, seeking more to feed it. I am seeing every single song of his in a brand new light.

Granted I’m probably the last horse to cross the finish line on this one, though that may be, I’m fascinated. There is so much more substance than I ever knew in some of these songs. Of course “Jezebel” has always been easy to identify.

“Who’s seen Jezebel?
She was born to be the woman I would know
And hold like the breeze
Half as tight as both our eyes closed

Who’s seen Jezebel?
She went walking where the cedars line the road
Her blouse on the ground
Where the dogs were hungry, roaming

Saying, “Wait, we swear
We’ll love you more and wholly
Jezebel, it’s we, we that you are for
Only”

Who’s seen Jezebel?
She was born to be the woman we could blame
Make me a beast half as brave
I’d be the same

Who’s seen Jezebel?
She was gone before I ever got to say
“Lay here my love
You’re the only shape I’ll pray to, jezebel”

Who’s seen Jezebel?
Will the mountain last as long as i can wait
Wait like the dawn
How it aches to meet the day

Who’s seen Jezebel?
She was certainly the spark for all i’ve done
The window was wide
She could see the dogs come running

Saying, “Wait, we swear
We’ll love you more and wholly
Jezebel, it’s we, we that you are for
Only”

That said, it’s somewhat easy to identify that all of his music has ties to theology in some way (from what I read he is formerly Christian, and labels himself Agnostic currently). Thus of course not all of this resonates with me personally story wise being Jewish, but seeing the beauty in the artform is no less amazing. Knowing that a fair few of his songs were based in biblical reference was one thing. Seeing him weave this in such a way that songs I used to believe were simply about a man, woman, and a dress are not so, is quite incredible.

If any of you are unfamiliar with his work (Iron & Wine being the band name, though he does all the instrumentation and vocals) if you have ever seen movies such as Twilight, Garden State, or In Good Company, you’ve likely heard his songs. “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” was used in the Twilight series so it’s pretty familiar to most.

Sometimes things are not always what we first see, and sometimes, moreover, oftentimes, age gives us wisdom to see beyond what we once saw. Listen to music, listen again, read books once, twice, three times, then read them again.

During our last class we spoke of Ecclesiastes and the main question the younger people in class had was WHY is SUCH a sad book included in our reading for such a joyous occasion (Rosh Hashanah)? Now I’m not sure of everyone’s ages. I do know I’m one of the older individuals, and I do know for certain I am one of the only ones with children, I am still green in my years to be sure, though more seasoned than some. That said I felt it was an important inclusion in the readings. I listened intently as the Rabbi explained that the book is important at this time, so as to show us that we will leave this world the same as we entered it. “As he came forth from his mother’s womb, naked shall he go again as he came, and shall take nothing for his labor, which he may carry away in his hand.” Ecclesiastes (5:15). King Solomon realized too late in his life that all the materialistic items in this world would not matter once he had perished. Thus it leaves a depressing tone to the book to be sure, as there is a lamenting to the time lost. There is also a beauty in the realization of what is truly important. For that is the lesson taught. The bonds, the time we have here, the need not to look forward to work toward “what comes next”, the living here and now for those around us, that is the importance of it during Rosh Hashanah and even more during the reflection time coming into Yom Kippur in my personal opinion. In assessing your shortcomings, and the things you wish to improve upon, it is ever important to recall what truly matters in life.

The point I’m making on it is this, go back and revisit things from the past with new eyes. You never know what your new perspective and the wisdom of age will give you. Fresh ears too. As we move forward in life we grow, and that growth unlocks so many things in us. Push ever harder to be a better version of yourself, more giving, more loving, kinder, harder working. Not just during the times of the year we are told to do so, but all of the time. If we all did the world would be a much better place for it. Recall that life is fleeting, we are small in the place that God has created for us, and we return to Earth once we are no longer here. Marvel at the beauty around you. Drink it in. Live in it, while you can, for as long as you are given.

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Much Germs, So Yuck!

So the video is live, Alex has a bacterial infection surprise, surprise, because sickness always runs rampant in this house. Took him to the doctor who was AMAZING. This guy took the time to earn his trust. Alex even opened his mouth and showed his ears to him. He gave the doctor a hug at the end, which is not something he does with people. Affection is not his thing having ASD.

I’ve decided to switch doctors to the one we saw. He versed me better in the short visit with him than the two doctors I’ve seen in the last two years have. There is a lot going on with me but I will save that for another day. For now I’ll just say there may be some serious items on the horizon for me and my own health some of it having to do with my thyroid issues that cropped up in 2015 around Christmas for those of you that have been long time readers. That is never anything new though.

 

Long Drive, Check out this amazing cover!

 
Title: Long Drive
Author: Jessica Florence
Release Date: Jan 9, 2017
 
 
 
There is a long road in everyone’s journey in life.
For some people, it’s a way to get from one place to another.
For others, it’s a search for one’s purpose in existence.
For me, the road was where I could find peace.
When everything in my life had shattered, I turned to the road.
And that’s where I met him.
Killian Lemarque.
A beautiful truck driver, and my salvation.
One month on the road together is the deal, and when it’s over, I will have hopefully figured out what I’m going to do about my torn reality.
But sometimes the road can change everything.
One Month. One Truck. One Long Drive.
 
 
 
 
 
Jessica Florence, Kaleidoscope of Romance
 
Author ❤ PotterHead ❤ Movie Geek Extraordinaire.
 
Writer of Surviving Valentine. The of The Heart trilogy, Evergreen,Lights of Scotland Series, and The Final Love series.
 
When she's not writing her next invigorating story. You can find her running her own business, and spending time with her husband and daughter in southwest Florida.
 

Okay so those of you that don’t know, I LOVE to read. I came to know Jessica by happenstance and this book of hers is something I have watched transform and grow. This story is one after my own heart as the wife of a truck driver. The subject matter is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Jessica is a fantastic novelist with such a talented and guided hand, her other works are certainly worth checking out as well. Do not forget to stop by her facebook and other social media outlets as well.

Trust me, you guys do not want to miss this book. Having gotten some delightful little snacks myself, I am chomping at the bit. I already have my preorder in. DON’T HESITATE, especially you trucker wives out there. This book is so unique. This is nothing like the weaksauce romance novels with the same old plot lines. This is new, fresh, and AMAZING. Give it a read and you won’t regret it, I cannot wait to see what the ending has in store. With a wonderfully strong female in the lead role and a hunky, hard working trucker as the counter part, this story has captured my heart from go. This cover is GORGEOUS. Stay tuned as sometime soon I’ll have more details to share with you about the book!

But if you never try you’ll never know, Just what you’re worth

The other day some friends and I played a game. We listed off songs that we could listen to for the rest of our lives. One song only, forever. I of course had trouble choosing and ended up picking three. Music has always been the mainstay of my life. One of my friends chose “Fix You” By Coldplay. I listened to all the songs chosen and this one resonated deeply with me.

As of late there has been a lot filtering around with Alexandr’s care that has been incredibly difficult, and I have found it so hard to muster the strength and tenacity in myself that I typically have. that strong will and push forward attitude I always seem to have has been so rocky. perhaps it has been because of some of my own personal struggles but whatever the reason my resolve is being tested by everything that is facing us at the current moment.

Alexandr entered this world under the most spectacular of circumstances, at thirty three weeks, and spent a month in the neonatal intensive care unit. Since then it’s been a non-stop roller coaster ride. In the last year we’ve spent a large amount of time in therapy four times a month. We have had progress, and we have had setbacks. Anytime we make headway I feel like we do an about face and it’s two steps in reverse.

While other parents can speak to their children who are about to turn three, I cannot. Instead we communicate mostly through hand holding and pulling. I have spent the last few weeks struggling with what therapies to choose for him, what will serve him best, how to get them for him, and how to move forward.

Progress.

That’s always the word of the day, how to make progress. How do I get through to our son?

I told my sister the other day, who understands exactly how I feel, that I feel as though it’s like being locked outside a house with your child inside, staring in a window from the cold. You cannot get in until they can figure out how to open the door.

Autism is a fickle thing, and though he may not have an official diagnosis yet, that’s the label that we’ve all put on it at this point, his therapists included, and it’s something that over time, I’ve had to come to terms with.

Fix you.

That’s exactly how I feel.

I wish I could fix it. I want to fix it. I want to make it all okay for him, and make the pain go away. I don’t want my son to be upset when he is around too many people, too much light, sound, or just general chaos. I want him to be able to go from place to place without being so upset he can barely breathe. I want to take all his pain and anxiety and bear it on my own shoulders. Give it to me, and make him okay.

Today is world prematurity day and I was reminded once again how precious he is. Despite all of this, and all of our struggles, I have taken the last few days to step away, away from all of it, the appointments and therapist evaluations. The upcoming school placement (he starts preschool in February). The developmental pediatrician evaluations and the figuring out what to do about this child psychologist business, and I stopped to enjoy my son.

Sometimes I get so caught up in all of the need of development. I forget to just slow down and enjoy him as he is now. I focus so much on what the next step is, that I forget to take in the now.

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 Sometimes we have to just let go of what we think we can do, to find out what we really can do, and be. We have to get out of our own way. I feel like I spend so much time at times TRYING to be the best parent that I can, that I miss just playing in the dirt with my son. I should let go more often.

In the past two days I’ve been able to take down the barriers in my house and stop using the baby gate, and bring him a little more into my world. He has his own space in our office at that little desk of his own. He is learning a little more about boundaries and I think he’s actually understanding it a little bit, because I’ve given him that opportunity. We both have been feeling sick as well and for the first time since he was seventeen months old he wanted to sleep in my bed with me, and I haven’t gotten those kinds of cuddles since he was that age either. I forgot what it was like to have him need me that close. I cried my eyes out after he fell asleep. Something he will probably never know or understand, but I needed that from him so badly.

I just needed to try, to let myself know what not only I was worth, but what he was capable of.

I think we both needed what came out of the last few days.

There is no fixing that needs to be done in this house I have always known that, and while I may always want to make him feel better because I’m his mother, and will always want to take that weight off his shoulders, I’m learning every day to handle things a little better. It is all a process, and we learn from each other.

 

I hear voices all the time…

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What is it that defines us? Who we are and the choices we make? We all have paths in life. Roads we travel down, sometimes dirty, rocky, or even muddy. Other times we are met with smooth pavement under the tires. I feel we all are presented with obstacles and detours and how we decide to handle that is part of what it is that writes the ultimate biography of us. Who we are and the nuances of our personality.

I like to think that I am a strong person, one who has not only been off-road, but lost with a broken axel and busted mud tires more times than I would ever want to admit, even to myself. Every time I have found my way back to life. I mend the frame and drive on. Much like an old beat up Dodge that has seen better days but still runs and drives, I am here. Despite the fact that this old diesel engine is a bit knocky and tired.

I know I know, that is a lot of parallels to roads and trucks, but this is me we are talking about.

Lately I have had the voices of those around me, those who are so important, in my head. I have had a lot of things on my mind as well as many challenges to face. It has brought to the forefront some people around me who I don’t think will ever change. It has also reminded me that I do have the support of a few people that I could never trade. My wonderful husband, my amazing sister and brother-in-law, and even, at times, my grandparents down south. Though my phone calls to them are often short, and somewhat cooky, I will always be thankful for my grandmother and her silly southern love. I will never forget how much love I have been given from them over the years. My sister is a driving force in my world, I am ever thankful for technology and the ability to keep up with her every day when we cannot see each other.

I may not be perfect, and I have certainly been through a lot. I have become so much more aware of the truth in the world, and about people.

So what is it that makes us who we are? Is it those around us? The things we see? The way we were raised? I believe it is in the choices we make every day. You are who you choose to be. If you want to get back on the pavement, you need only turn the wheel, and start getting out of the mud.