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."

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Amazing

Months ago, I asked my friend Katherine, who is good at crocheting, if she had ever thought about making a kippah.  I honestly wasn't hinting at anything; I was just curious.  She responded that she hadn't--and then decided she was going to learn eight different patterns, and make me eight, each in a different pattern, as a Hannukah present.

Below are pictures of what she made.  I photographed them smallest to largest, and then did a group shot at the end.  I will let the photos speak for themselves.  The only thing I will add is that photo number six shows a white one.  This is very useful, because now I have a special one to wear to services Yom Kippur day.










Monday, December 19, 2016

This and That


  1. My vision problems can be corrected with therapy.  It's the best answer for which I could have reasonably hoped.
  2. I am, right now, feeling sad that I have health problems in the first place.  I am allowing myself to feel whatever I feel.
  3. I made a meaningful collage above my bed today.  I started with the pictures of "my" Reece's Rainbow kids which I had printed yesterday.  Then, next to them, I hung the three photographs of their girls which Lev Lalev orphanage in Israel sent me when I donated my first-ever tzedakah box full of money to their mental health fund back in May.  Now I have a tangible reminder of the good I have done in the world, as well as a visible push to do more, hanging where I can easily see it.
  4. I wrote a wonderful letter to God this afternoon, if I do say so myself.  It started with...confusion about why God would make me with so many health problems, and ended in a sweet moment of connection.
  5. When my tzedakah box gets up to 30 dollars, I will roll up the money, deposit, and donate.  I have gotten up to that recently, but "stolen" several dollars from myself as I waited for the box to fill...this has happened more times than I like to admit.  I need exactly 30 dollars, to "purchase" honeybees to be donated through Heifer International.  If I have extra money, I will use it to start saving again.
  6. When I first began keeping a tzedakah box, I came up with three organizations through which I wanted to rotate donating: Lev Lalev (perhaps a different fund each time...they have many), Reece's Rainbow (specifically whichever child I am praying for at that time), and Heifer International (a different animal each time, among the ones I can afford).  This is only the second time my box has filled, but it is my third donation (complicated story).  On the next go-round, it's time to start over!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Feeling Happy Again

(I would much, much rather be talking to a human friend right now.  However, none of them are picking up their phones.  To my mind, blogging was invented for those times when one just needs to talk and there's no one to listen...certainly that's how I got started, seven or eight years ago.)

I am happy again, for two reasons. Let's work our way up.

The less significant reason is that pictures of "my" Reece's Rainbow kids are finally, finally hanging above my bed! This is something I have wanted for years; I don't know what's been stopping me up till now.  I actually printed the pictures so I could tell others about Reece's Rainbow, but trying that once or twice showed me that that really doesn't work.  Later, thinking things over, I realized I had really printed the pictures for me, so I hung them in a prominent place in my apartment.  It was only after they were hanging that I remembered how much I wanted this, and for how long.

The second, more significant reason is that tonight, while writing a letter to God, I CAME UP WITH A NEW NAME FOR THE NOT-SO-SECRET LIST.  No, my psychiatric health is not in danger; this was a Sarah-originating thought, not a God-originating revelation.  I don't feel comfortable sharing contents of that list on the blog--and this new name is so new I don't feel comfortable sharing with anyone yet--but, still, it's exciting.

For a while now, until I don't feel like doing so anymore, I am going to end every blog post with pictures of "Jacob" and "Rheann."  I know how their stories will likely end, but I pray for miracles anyway, and I'd like to know I did my part to attempt to bring them about.  So please see their pictures below.

Jacob smb8jn5-165jf Rheann 2016

Tikkun Olam Mission

I can't sleep, because I had a very sad dream.  (I don't remember much about this dream, just that it was very sad.)  The Rabbi whose house I go to for dinner on Friday nights now said something very powerful and moving this week.  He said that, if one gets into bed to go to sleep, and cannot figure out what one did to improve the world that day, one should get out of bed and improve the world before going to sleep.

Tikkum Olam literally translates to "repairing the world."  It is the business of every Jew to make the world a better place.  My personal bit is to pray for Reece's Rainbow children.

Though Reece's Rainbow prefers each person to only have one assigned child, I actually have two. This is because my first (actually my second; my first got adopted in a matter of months) is in Russ!@, where pretty much all foreign adoptions are banned.  Also, she will age out in a little over a year.  It's basically a hopeless case.

When I realized how hopeless that one was, I asked for a new assignment.  I was given a little girl in Ch!n@; when she got adopted (in a matter of weeks!), I got another Ch!nese child, a little boy this time...my "Jacob", the child for whom I have prayed longest, not counting the Russ!@n girl for whom I will probably be praying for the rest of my life.

The first child mentioned in this post is "Rheann," and the second is "Jacob."  Recent pictures of both worry me greatly.  In "Rheann's" last picture, posted about two to three years ago, she looks all rosy and smiley, and now...well, now she just doesn't.  She finally looks her age (she's always looked younger), but she also looks all beaten up and tired.  "Jacob," similarly, looks as if he's slowly starving to death, wasting away.

Below are both their pictures, one below the other.  Maybe, just maybe, someone will see them and go after them.  It's a long shot, but I can always hope and try.

"Jacob":
Jacob sm

"Rheann":
b8jn5-165jf Rheann 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

"Gonna tell you how much I love you, though you think you already know."

*Title quotation from song "My Little Girl," by Tim McGraw.  I have considered several potential titles for this post; this is the one I like best.*

How many of you remember "Rheann?"  "Rheann" is a Russian orphan with Down syndrome, who was listed with Reece's Rainbow.  She was also my second-ever Prayer Warrior assignment, after "Grady" got adopted.

In late 2012, Russia outlawed US adoptions, including stopping the ones already in progress.  Reece's Rainbow reallocated the grant funds of its Russian children to those it felt had a better chance of being adopted.  I asked for a new Prayer Warrior assignment, and was given "Isabella;" when she was adopted, I was given my "Jacob."  Three and a half years later, I am still praying for my "Jacob;" however, his story is for another post.

Today I watched a documentary on the Russian orphan crisis, "Children of the State."  It was not exactly in the spirit of the Sabbath, but I could not find a law it actually broke, and the documentary would only be available for free on Youtube until Monday...so I watched it.

Break.  My.  Heart.  Then tear it into pieces.  I had never seen, or for that matter, heard, an orphanage in action before.  Absolutely horrible.  I also learned something I did not know, which is that the same law halting and banning American adoptions, also halted and banned adoptions in many European countries: Germany, Italy, France, and Spain among them.

I still pray for my "Rheann" every day.  She is second to "Jacob," but I make sure she gets her share of prayers too.  "Rheann" will turn 15 in January...and then, a year later, she will be headed for an adult mental institution, unless God works a miracle fast.  I pray for that miracle day in and day out. It's the least I can do.

I will close this post with the two pictures of "Rheann" that can still be seen if one knows how to search.  The first is the first I ever saw; the second was new a couple of years ago.

EDITED TO ADD:  Oh! Oh! Oh! There is a new picture! Unfortunately, she does not look nearly as happy as she did in the previous one, which makes my heart flop and my stomach sicken...but at least she's still alive, and people can see what she looks like.

b8jn5-165jf Rheann 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Something I've Wanted for my Entire (Jewish) Adult Life

FIRST: I went to a new social group tonight.  It was a horribly disappointing experience, but at least I tried.  I might or might not write more about it later (like tomorrow), after the swirling feelings have died down.  Tonight I need to soothe myself, then go to bed.

SECOND: I thought about several titles for this post, but this one conveys the magnitude of the event, so I went with it even though it is a bit wordy.

NOW: For my entire adult Jewish life (so starting from Bat Mitzvah)--and even before, in the months leading up to my Bat Mitzvah, as I thought about the equipment an adult Jew needs--I knew I wanted a pink tefillin bag.  I wanted my tefillin wearing to have feminist flair as does all the rest of my Jewish life, but pink tefillin bags simply do not exist on the commercial market; apparently not enough women wear tefillin.  I got a maroon bag, the next best thing.

It wasn't good enough; for almost twelve years now, I have wanted that pink bag.  I finally decided to make one.

Gathering materials was easy.  I had just enough of a pink-and-white check for the bag; it closes at the top with a pink circle button.  (Tefillin bags usually zip closed; I don't know how to do zippers.)  A tefillin bag is usually richly, ornately embroidered.  I knew I could not do anything like what is usually seen, but I had to decorate my new bag somehow.  By luck--or the grace of God, depending whom you ask--I had narrow, bright pink ribbon.  I made a large Jewish star on the front of my bag, using strips of this ribbon.

I absolutely love the result.  Once again, I have used my very best craft skills to make something I will be proud to use.  It does not get much better than that.


Making a Mizrach, Part Five

MIZRACH COMPLETED! In the last "Mizrach" post, I said this was going to be a six-part series, not a five-part series, because of the extra space at the end of the word "Mizrach."  (See photos below.)  However, I have decided that I like this minimalist look, so this is a five-part series, after all.

As I said in the italicized portion above, MY MIZRACH IS NOW COMPLETE.  I did have enough extra space to add additional decoration, and I was thinking of adding a Jewish star, in strips of the same fabrics that made the letters.  However, extra space or no extra space, I decided I liked the look of just the Hebrew word "Mizrach," no additional decoration.

So now I have all four letters of the word Mizrach: mem-zayin-resh-chet.  With the vowels that are part of this word (not intrinsic to the letters; see "Making a Mizrach, Part Four" for an explanation of that), these letters spell out "Mizrach."

There are two pictures below.  The first shows the Mizrach laid out on my bed, as I have positioned it for every photograph in this series.  The second shows it hanging on the wall above my dresser, where I can use it when I pray.  I am so, so proud of how it turned out.  I have made something beautiful to use in my worship of God; there's no better feeling than that.

Next up? A pink tefillin bag, something I have wanted since before my Bat Mitzvah, something unavailable on the commercial market.



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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!