Carried in His Hands


"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

I believe in God.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Representative Yarmulke Showcase

Every once in a while in the past, I have photographed my entire yarmulke collection and shared it here.  With the collection the size that it is, that seems too complicated to do again; and plus I don't know how much you, my readers, really care.

Instead, over the course of last week, I photographed the yarmulke I wore each day.  What results is a representative showcase of my collection.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

God's Plan (Not Mine)

I have been enjoying rereading old entries on this blog.  As I move backwards through the years, one contrast between Younger Me and Current Me really stands out: Younger Me thought I knew God's plans for my life.  As of 2014 (I would have been 21 years old), I thought I knew that I would one day become a Rabbi--through the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), no less--and that I would adopt a little girl with Down Syndrome, hopefully from Eastern Europe.

Current Me, 2018, 25 year old me, understands that I really do not know God's plans at all! Not only am I not a student at JTS, I am not even on track to become a Rabbi at all.  I have also decided--for myself or with God's help; it's kind of hard to tell sometimes--that it is better for everyone if I never have children of my own.  I am making up for this by planning a career as an early childhood educator.

You know what? It honestly feels freeing to know that I cannot predict the future.  If my 2014 plans have been abandoned by 2018, perhaps my 2018 plans will be abandoned by 2222.  You would think knowing that I know nothing about my future would cause panic, but actually, I find it relaxing.

I don't need to know what my life will look like four years from now to know that I am on the best path I can make out in order to get there.  I plan to have the best future I can have, but I don't need to know what that looks like yet.

Monday, June 18, 2018

God's Big, Small, Wonderful World

I am violating my new one-post-a-day rule; sorry-not-sorry! This is a post I have been waiting a few days to write, and I am excited.

There is a blogger who blogs at One Thankful Mom (; her name is Lisa Qualls.  Lisa is old enough to be my mother; in fact, I am the same age as a couple of her kids.  (She has 11, so it's hard to place my age exactly vis a vis them.)  Lisa and her family live in Idaho.

I do not remember how I found Lisa's blog in the first place, but I stayed because she was "telling it like it is" about her four children adopted from Ethiopia: her struggles and triumphs with them, and how she felt about it all.  At that time in my life, I believed I wanted to adopt one day, possibly internationally, so I soaked up all the information regarding adoption and post adoption life that Lisa posted on her blog.  I believed it was helping me prepare better.

Over the years, Lisa struggled most especially with one of her adopted daughters.  Somewhere along the way, I began to include this child in my daily prayers: asking God to heal her of her trauma and help her live a happier, more relaxed life. 

When this child died in a tragic car crash (injuring Lisa and leaving her husband unhurt), it didn't seem like such a big leap to pray for her family's emotional healing from her death, instead of for her directly, so I started doing that.

In recent years, I have realized that I do not want children of my own: birth, adopted, or otherwise.  I just could not be a proper parent, for a variety of reasons, primarily my own disabilities.  However, I have kept reading Lisa's blog for a different reason: her Christian faith.

Lisa is an example to me of what I would like to be in my faith.  She is Christian and I am Jewish; but we see eye-to-eye on a lot.  Her faith brings her comfort, healing, and happiness; that is what I would like mine to bring me.  The two of us pray for each other.

I titled this post the way I did because I do not believe it was a mere, trivial coincidence that brought us together.  Only God! Lisa lives in Idaho; I live in New York.  Lisa is Christian; I am Jewish.  Lisa has 11 children; I am a generation younger, right around the age of her "big kids," as she calls them.  Yet God and the internet have brought us together, and we both benefit.

Simply amazing.

Honoring my Father (One Day Late)

Yes, this post is one day late.  Sorry, Daddy! Enjoy now.

I feel as though I must honor my father this father's day (which yes, I know, was yesterday).  Where to start?

My father is the Rabbi whose authority and opinion I follow.  If I have a Jewish legal question, I go to him.  It's actually a good match because I am somewhat stricter than he is; Jewish law states that one can always be stricter than one's Rabbinic authority, just not more lenient.  Those times when I go to my father for an answer, I tend to already know he will give me the lenient opinion.  Not only that, however, he can always back it up with clear thoughts about how he got there.  Recent examples that have helped me a lot are why it's OK to use a metro card on the Sabbath if it already has the money on it (you already spent the money, and the swipe is electric), as well as why it's OK to take books out of the library on the Sabbath (it's all electronic these days, as long as you tell it not to print a receipt).

My father was also the Rabbi who saved my Judaism when I was trying to handle being queer and Jewish.  In those early years (by "early years" here, I mean from when I figured out I wasn't straight--so age 16--to sometime in college), I was compartmentalizing: I thought about and honored the Judaism sometimes, and the queerness sometimes, but never both together.  In fact, when I did think about both together, my Judaism "trickled through my fingers" and disappeared.  It was my father who pointed out that if there is an obstacle on our path to God (in my case, my sexual orientation), it did not make sense to get rid of God, it made sense to get rid of the obstacle.  Ever since, I've mostly been OK with being queer and Jewish.  It's not to say I don't have my moments; but for the most part, I am a proud bisexual Jew, and it's all thanks to my father.

My father has also contributed to my yarmulke collection.  When I was younger, he brought home two kippot s'rugot (Hebrew for crocheted yarmulke) from Rabbinical Assembly conventions.  The one he brought home when I was eight years old is hard to describe, but it's beautiful, and I will share a picture of it here in an upcoming entry I am planning.  The one he brought home when I was ten years old has a flower design, each petal a different color.  More recently, he brought me two "Bat Mitzvah Beanies" (our family's term for freebie satin ones from B'not Mitzvah), one in pink and one in purple, from a B'not Mitzvah celebration for twin girls.

Which reminds me, all those years ago (13 years ago), my father trained me for my own Bat Mitzvah.  I learned the Torah reading backwards, so that in case I couldn't finish learning it in time, I would be the last reader instead of the first.  I learned my Prophets portion.  I learned how to lead a service.  And because of my father's tutoring, I was able to get up in front of a congregation on my Bat Mitzvah day, and lead an entire service, start to finish.

This entry wouldn't be complete without mentioning that my father also transports me to medical appointments.  When I was doing Ketamine infusions and had to be at a hospital in New Jersey every morning, my father drove me back and forth from Brooklyn, often involving the Holland Tunnel at morning rush hour.  When I was in the hospital in Brooklyn for five days in September 2016, he came down and housed himself in my apartment so he could spend time at the hospital with me.  He will transport me back to that same hospital in Newark for my upcoming stimulator surgeries.



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Kooky, Crazy, Wonderful Ezekiel

Right now, in my daily Bible reading, I am in the book of Ezekiel, the third of the three major prophets.  I contrast the mood to that of the other two prophets: Isaiah, sweet and loving but in a deeply meaningful way; and Jeremiah, angry angry angry.

As mentioned in the title of this post, the main feeling I get from Ezekiel is outlandishness.  In virtually every chapter, the prophet is having another vision--for lack of a better term, an oddball vision.  Though I am only a quarter of the way through the book (I just read chapter 11 this morning and there are 48 in total), I can say that most prevalent so far is Ezekial's impression of cherubs, with hands below their wings and wheels inside.

Reading Ezekiel is a pleasure, and I find myself just picking it up to randomly read more than I did with Jeremiah.  I find the mood easier to handle: less death, doom, destruction.  Although Ezekiel's visions are crazy, somehow they're easier to deal with. 

Another reason reading Ezekiel is easier than reading Jeremiah is that the chapters are shorter.  This shouldn't matter, but somehow it does; the faster I get through a chapter, the more motivated I am to read another.

One final thought: I was discussing Ezekiel with my father this morning, who said that Ezekiel may actually have had a psychiatric illness.  As someone with a psychiatric illness (Bipolar Disorder Type I), I can relate.  Thinking of Ezekiel this way casts the prophet and his visions in a whole new light.  I'm not sure what I think of him right now: the connection is there but it's hard to deal with.

Sorry so long.  These are my impressions of the book of Ezekiel.  Next up are the twelve minor prophets (called so only because their books are short, not because they're unimportant); however, as I am only a fourth of the way through Ezekiel, it will take me a while to get to them.  This is Bible reading at its finest, and I am loving it.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

At Peace

This is an attempt not to bother my friend Katherine with this subject matter.  Katherine is a generous, giving person; she will always let me talk religion if I need to.  However, she is completely nonreligious herself, and is only humoring me in my religion moments.

Due to an insurance mix-up (surgical center where the procedure was to be done would not take my insurance; a different one had to be found), my surgery was postponed two weeks.  For a day or two, I felt crumbly and fragile emotionally, primarily  because I had gotten myself psyched up for surgery on a specific date, and now it was happening on a different date, and I hate changes in plans.

And then I paid attention to my Jewish religious sources: ritual prayer and Hebrew Bible reading (that's reading of the Hebrew Bible, although I read it in English).  Odd as this sounds, I paid attention to Christian religious sources: one particular blog I like a lot right now, and Steven Curtis Chapman music.  And I paid attention to that universal religious source of comfort: crying out to God in moments of strong emotion.

All of this led me to the following conclusion: God has a plan for me.  It may not be my plan, it may not even feel good (though I suspect it will feel right), but it's God's plan.  God can handle this; S/He has handled many bigger things before, both in my life and in the history of the world; and I rest and am carried in God's hands.  This plan may feel like walking a tightrope--sometimes it even feels like falling off the tightrope--but the hands are there to catch me down below.

I can rest, and I am at peace.  What will come will come, and God knows best.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Approaching Surgery

As the day of my surgery (Tuesday; I do not know the time of day yet) approaches, I am beginning to feel fearful, more than nervous but less than afraid.  I am afraid of:
  • The whole thing just not working, after all;
  • Waking up in the middle; and
  • The reaction I always have upon waking up from anesthesia.  (I tend to wake up SOBBING from anesthesia.)
All I can think to  jot down before bed, but I had to get this off my chest.


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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!