Carried in His Hands

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

I believe in God.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

In It for the Long Haul: The Qualls Family

I began to pray for the Qualls family when God moved in my heart and told me to do so.  (I cannot give a specific time; I am horrible at remembering things like that.)  More specifically, I was praying for one of their girls, Kalkidan Ella.  She had been adopted from Ethiopia a number of years before, and she was really struggling in many ways.  I believe that at the time when I started praying, she was at a special boarding school to help her in these areas, with the goal to move her home as soon as possible.  I had many things for which to pray: Kalkidan's health, safety, and well-being; the family's health, safety, and well-being; strength and faith for the parents.

The Qualls family lost Kalkidan in a tragic car accident, I think a little more than a year ago.

Since that day, I have been praying for the family as a whole, rather than just Kalkidan.  I pray that they have the strength needed to even turn to God in the first place.  I pray that when they turn to God, they find strength and solace through their faith.

They are Christian.  I am Jewish.  It does not matter; it truly does not.  They are in this for the long haul, and I am right there with them.

I am right there with them, every day.  They have a permanent spot on my prayer list, or at least permanent for as long as they need.

Please join me in praying for them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rosh Hodesh Adar I

Today (and tomorrow) is Rosh Hodesh Adar I, the start of the new Hebrew month of First Adar.  There are two Adars this year because it is a Jewish leap year, when we add an extra month to make our calendars go back to normal.  This ensures that our holidays stay within the same season each year.  The holiday of Purim, which is celebrated in Adar, is celebrated during Second Adar this year, which will be next month.

As usual, I am marking the day with the relevant special prayers, and also by wearing a ladies' tallit katan, jewelry, and my special Sabbath-holiday-and-Rosh-Hodesh bobby pins for my kippah.

In other news, I am enjoying settling in to New York; I have gotten three job leads.  Three!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Graduation Gift

When my parents have the money, which will be when they finish paying off my college tuition (sometime in the next month), they have promised me a college graduation gift.  I have picked out a special pair of Sabbath and holiday candlesticks from...you guessed it...the Yair Emanuel site (emanuel-judaica.com).

I do have candlesticks that I am using right now, but they are the ones I have been using since I was a little girl.  Here is a picture:


I want a pair that I have chosen using my adult tastes.  The pair I have picked out is brushed metal (like the purple handwashing cup I bought with babysitting money this past Summer), and they are pink.  I would have preferred purple, I think (everything should be purple!), but this candlestick style does not come in purple.

What makes this pair of candlesticks so expensive is not so much the cost of the candlesticks themselves (39 dollars), although I definitely do not have that much money to throw around right now, but the cost of shipping from Israel (where the Yair Emanuel company is based), which on a three-dimensional object (meaning not a kippah) will nearly double, if not actually double, the price.  However, for a college graduation gift, my parents have said it is OK to spend that much.

I had wanted to get the candlesticks before I moved, to sort of double as a housewarming gift, but I understand that money is money.  My family is not doing so well right now (my mother, a psychiatrist, is  making a lot; my father, however, as an Army colonel in the Reserves, is barely working) and I want them to prioritize paying off college so my official transcript can be released and sent to Rabbinical schools.  It is the last piece of my application, and it is already over two weeks late.

That's all for now! Later today I am meeting up with a friend whom I haven't seen in a while.  She works in downtown Manhattan, and I will take the subway alone for the first time ever (well, the New York subway, anyway; I've done it in Boston) to  meet up with her on her lunch hour. 

I promise to post a picture of my new candlesticks when I get them.  Perhaps I'll take the picture right before I use them the first time, so they have Sabbath candles in them, and post it after the Sabbath.  I like that idea.  Unless they get here on a Monday or something, and I don't want to wait that long.  Then I will just open them, set them up on the cloth I use under my candles (and, now that I am  lighting real candles, with a piece of aluminum foil under the candlesticks and on top of the cloth, so nothing catches fire), and take pictures.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

"Coming Home to Our People, Coming Home to Our Land, Coming Home from All Directions Scattered Like the Sand"

(Title is a song quote, just not sure from where.)

I have slipped easily and seamlessly back into being a fully observant Jew.  I washed my hands ritually this morning, and I have not missed an opportunity to pray since I decided to start praying three times a day again.  Tomorrow when I have lunch out with a friend, I will take along a small prayerbook and say the Grace After Meals.

I thought you all might like to see a picture of my prayer-and-religious-study area.  Here it is:


Kosher Kitchen Challenges and Wonderful Fun

Below is a picture of the teeny, tiny kitchen in my apartment.  The sink cannot be kosher because there is only one of it (and therefore no way to keep meat and dairy separate); the countertop (far right in this picture) poses a similar challenge.


What to do? You may notice two cutting boards (red and white) and two sink mats (also red and white) behind the sink.  The red ones are for meat, and the white ones are for dairy.  Every time I wish to put a dish on the counter, I first lay down a cutting board; every time I need to put a dish in the sink, I put down a sink mat.  Annoying, but there you go.

Also, I have made an official prayer-and-religious-study area of my apartment! I turned the rocking chair so that it faced East (and I am really trying to use that chair only for those purposes), laid down the rug about halfway between the bed and the chair, and put my pink lamp in line with the rug. 

 Right next to where the chair is now is a fireplace; it is boarded up, but it still has a nice, deep mantlepiece.  On this mantlepiece I put my tallitot and tefillin (in separate piles, so I can grab a tallis on the Sabbath without worrying about touching the tefillin, which are forbidden), as well as the ritual books that I hope to use every day: my Bible, my Book of Psalms, and my favorite Prayerbook. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Letting A Little More Judaism Back In

Two days ago, I moved into an apartment in Brooklyn Heights.  I'm beyond blessed that my grandparents own this building and are willing to let me live in the smallest apartment (basement studio).

Recently, what with one thing and another, my Judaism has waned a bit.  I was still keeping the Sabbath, still keeping kosher, and still donning a kippah and tallit katan each day, but that was about it.

This is the order in which I would like to add things back:

  1. Daily prayer, three times a day
  2. Morning handwashing
  3. Grace after meals
If I add all that back in, I will have a fulfilling Jewish life.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hebrew Birthday (Happy Birthday, Me!)

Today is my Hebrew birthday, the one I now acknowledge and celebrate.  The Hebrew date is the seventeenth of the month of Shevat.  The date moves around the English calendar, because the Hebrew calendar is lunar; next year, for example, my birthday will fall on February thirteenth.

Because Jewish days start the night before, I opened my birthday gift last night.  This year, I got a Vermont Teddy Beat misfit bear (four colors of brown plush on one bear, and allegedly each bear unique), which I have been wanting for years.  Her name is Theodora, so she can go by Teddy, and her middle name is Ketamine, because of all the good that that treatment did for me.

And now I am a whole year older! Goodness gracious, I don't feel 23!

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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (I'll be 23 in January) who also suffers from RSD. 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. When I grow up, I think I might like to be a Rabbi. Scratch that; I AM going to be a Rabbi! Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!