I believe in God.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 30, 2012
Later today I have an appointment with my therapist. Her office is right across from a Judaica store, which is very convenient because I want a new prayerbook, specifically one by Artscroll. They have a more literal translation than Sim Shalom (my current prayerbook), and I like that. While I am in that store, I may treat myself to a new Jewish theology/philosophy book and/or a new kippah. I will post pictures of whatever I buy.
Oh--and the girl I met who wants to talk interfaith stuff? She was serious! We are currently facebooking back and forth to set up a time.
See you later, hopefully with pictures!
Sunday, July 29, 2012
I believe that every aspect of God is new, important, and true. To me this means that God is what we perceive God to be. Therefore, if one feels that God is an evil little boy who sets things on fire for fun (see my previous post), then God is an evil little boy who sets things on fire for fun, if only for that moment.
I experienced an evil God last night, one who cared to punish His people seemingly without mercy, one who served to make life miserable for sinners, one who did not forgive. I went to bed last night truly scared of God, so frightened I could barely close my eyes.
And yet, I feel privileged to have been able to perceive God that way and have feelings about it. In Judaism, we are taught that the Torah has 70 faces. I believe God has at least as many per person, just waiting to be uncovered.
Last night I uncovered one.
Our sages teach that the Temple was destroyed because of sin'at hinam, senseless hatred. Yet in that post, I was essentially hating on Jews who are different from me and therefore perpetuating the issue rather than being part of the solution.
Last night I went with "Emily" to a women's prayer group to read and discuss the scroll of Lamentations. In that scroll, there is a verse about God being Israel's enemy. As I thought about that, I realized that God, as I felt about Him last night, is a little kid with an evil laugh who sets things on fire for fun.
Nobody likes to think of God that way. We like to think of God as mature, loving, and merciful. In Judaism, however, God has many aspects and appearances. I believe that each holiday is there to help us experience a different aspect of God. tisha b'Av is for the God who destroys people through fire.
A God who destroys people through fire is dangerous and scary. I went to bed last night so scared of God I could barely keep my eyes closed. Yet we must remember that the month of Elul is coming, the time to ask forgiveness and fix our mistakes. We can change that fire so that we are warmed without being consumed.
Let's do it.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
I filled out the forms and took them to financial aid. The people there pointed me to the address on the forms, the center for continuing professional education. While I was at the bus stop waiting for a bus to get me somewhere close to where I needed to be, a random young woman invited me to a bible discussion at noon.
I got off the bus and found the appropriate road, but then had to walk a long way along a highway. The center for continuing professional education did not know what to do with me. The receptionist there made some phone calls and directed me to administration. She had one of the employees in her office get me some water and drive me back (thankfully). I decided I was done for the day and would go to admin tomorrow.
Because the woman who had invited me to the bible study said she was asking "random people", I assumed it would be an interfaith sort of thing. Wrong! It turned out to be a Christian bible study in which I was the token Jew.
But the woman who invited me wants to meet up with me next week just to discuss Judaism, which makes it all worthwhile.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Here is a list of commandments I attempt (and generally succeed) to fulfill on a daily basis.
1. Pray three times
2. Wrap tallis and tefillin
3. Recite blessings before and after eating
4. Observe laws of kashrut (keeping kosher)
5. Observe Sabbath restrictions (on the Sabbath and holidays)
6. Fast on the apropriate days
7. Add my own prayers for those who need them
And here is a list of commandments I would like to fulfill on a daily basis.
1. Ritual handwashing in the morning
2. Miscellaneous small blessings in response to the relevant phenomena
3. No longer picking at my fingers; my body belongs to God
4. (Not really a commandment, but I'm adding it anyway) Knowing when to tell about the revelations etc. I receive, and when to keep my mouth shut
Thursday, July 19, 2012
We began the conversation with the fact that I wanted my internship to start and it wasn't happening, and the man said that sometimes God's plans aren't our plans, which is EXACTLY what I've been thinking recently! He also agreed with me that gaining six people who need prayer, in the space of a week, is no coincidence. God knew these people would need me and God adjusted my situation so I could pray for them effectively.
Yay, God! I love You!
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Suddenly this morning I realized (or God revealed to me): the "someone lighter than [I]" has to do with the child I will one day adopt! It could be describing physical appearance (perhaps I am destined to adopt from Eastern Europe after all), but more likely is has to do with personality, spirit, and soul. I can't wait to find out more!
Also, although Laura Mouro tells me her family is OK right now and I believe her, I can't help but feel that the energy of the universe is turned against them. (Don't ask me what that means; I can't put it in any other words.) I will continue to pray for the health of both Laura and her unborn baby, as well as for the rest of the family.
I am beginning to feel overwhelmed with all the praying God needs me to do. In fact, I just had to turn down a case that was brought to my attention because I simply cannot handle any more. If you are the praying sort, would you mind taking up one of my causes with me (I'll be happy to write them out again; the list has grown) or even just praying for spiritual strength for me as I try to fit them all in? THANK YOU!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I really, deeply enjoy having a friendship such as this where we can just share back and forth without worrying about what is being said, whether either of us is talking too much, or pretty much anything else. We just sit down and talk.
And you know what? I CAN DO IT. I successfully navigated an important (albeit simple) social situation today! I DID IT. I have friends.
I have friends. I have friends. I HAVE FRIENDS!
On another note...
I was supposed to start an internship in early July, but it hasn't happened yet. I know that God knew it would work out this way (He knows everything), and I think that it's quite possible God planned it this way all along.
I believe that God knew I needed to move in with my friends, learn some basic "live with people" skills, and find my place in the group before the school year started, without the added pressure of schoolwork. I also think it is no accident that so many cases that need prayer (six now!) have come to my attention in the last few days. With an internship, I would not have the energy to properly keep up with all these prayer needs; as it is, they are my primary obligation and I can rise to the occasion.
Thank You, All-Knowing Mother and Healer, for Your actions in my life.
Monday, July 16, 2012
1. "Erin": Her needs are obvious and ongoing. She needs a loving family and home of her own, ASAP.
2. Sawyer Patterson: It would be miraculous if God could completely heal his Crohn's disease, but he at least needs the Remicade to take care of this flare-up.
3. "Emily": Without going into too much detail and violating her privacy, "Emily" has some ongoing health issues that have been plaguing her non-stop. She also has a friend who is basically using her as a therapist while he finds a real one. (I told her to tell him to start a blog; it can be private if he just wants to vent or public if he wants people to "listen.")
4. The Mouro family: As you know, I was blown away with an inexplicable urge to pray for them yesterday. I am continuing to pray until I know everything is OK with them and their seven (soon to be eight) children.
So there you have it: my prayer "line up." I feel so awful putting it in these terms, as if I am reducing these most important lives and their needs to nothingness. I pray for strength to pray for them.
If anybody feels inclined to pray for "Emily," please do so.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
But I was sitting and writing a letter to God about something totally unrelated today when I got the urge to include the Mouro family (themourofamily.blogspot.com; number twenty on my list from the previous post) in my prayer in a big way. Sometimes, just sometimes, when I get feelings like that it means something major is about to happen.
I have a feeling the Mouros need prayer.
Again, I could be wrong. (I hope I'm wrong!) I may be made to look like an idiot or a fool. But I beg for prayers for Cameron and Laura Mouro and their children.
Also, the "Randomness" post was an experiment to see whether one long post each day would be better than a couple of shorter ones. It turned out to be so long, however, that even I am turned off by it. So tomorrow I will go back to shorter posts.
First of all, having met "Emily's" sister and heard "Emily's" and "Julie's" opinions of Reece's Rainbow, here are my thoughts on adoption as it pertains to my future.
1. I will most likely end up adopting someone at some point; I'm just not sure who, how, when, or how many.
2. If I adopt a child with Down syndrome (or other severe developmental disability) I will be done having children, by birth or adoption, right there. That child will be my family.
3. I will not adopt out of birth order, especially if I have biological children as well. I think that would just be too off-putting and confusing for my children, both as a group and as individuals.
4. I will not adopt a boy who is my size or bigger. For safety purposes, I need to be stronger and in control if/when my child is raging.
5. I'm thinking that I may not have biological children at all, so that they don't have to be affected by the issues their adopted siblings may bring home. (One can avoid things like FAS or Down syndrome, but things like RAD are pretty much unpredictable.) If I choose to build my family through older child adoption, then that is how I will build my family.
6. I want to adopt my child/ren one at a time, giving each one a chance to settle in and get to know me while I get to know them, and letting my knowledgeand understanding of that child determine whether or not I "go back for" another one.
Now, on to something else:
Yesterday, for Sabbath lunch, I was at the home of "Emily's" boyfriend's sister. (Got that?) In the afternoon, a couple of "Emily's" friends came over. One of them knew how to read Tarot cards, and soon he was doing readings for all of us. Last night I told my mother what my reading said, but something in me feels that from here on out I should keep it private. I wonder if that's an indication of accuracy. If you're dying to know what was said, leave a comment, and I will consider posting both your comment and the reading.
And now something funny:
When I gave my roommates nicknames for my blog, I was not thinking about real people in my life with those names or similar names. I called one of my roommates "Julie" despite the fact that I have a blog follower whose name really is Julia. This doesn't confuse me at all, but others get them confused, so that if I say Julia, talking about my blog follower, they think I mean "Julie," my roommate.
Let's end with a list of the blogs that I read, with brief descriptions of each. (This will be long. You have been warned.)
1. add-one-chinese-sister.blogspot.com : One mother blogs about her two biological sons and her daughter Luci, adopted from China. Luci is seven (I think) and the blog is filled with descriptions of her antics.
2. adoptinggrady.blogspot.com : The blog of the family of my first Reece's Rainbow Prayer Child. Andrei ("Grady") suffers from arthrogryposis.
3. allarepreciousinhissight.blogspot.com : One family and their endless faith in God. Their daughter Chrissy died from heart problems in 2010, but the family has persevered, adopting several more children since, and trusting God to guide them through. Their son Sawyer was recently diagnosed with Chrone's disease; I am praying for him and you should too! (If you want.)
4. becausehefirstadoptedus.blogspot.com : The Smiles and Trials family's blog chronicling the adoptions of their two newest sons, Nolan and Oliver.
5. buildingtheblocks.blogspot.com : BEAUTIFUL family with multicultural children who know how to share, give, and sacrifice for one another. Check them out!
6. covenantbuilders.blogspot.com : This is Julia's blog. Her son Aaron was the first boy EVER to be adopted from his mental institution. His disability is physical, not mental, but I don't know much beyond that.
7. crazyforkids.blogspot.com : Another multicultural family with a good number of children. (I think ten.) Their most recent addition is a little girl from China, their second Chinese daughter.
8. creatingourjoy.com : One single mother and her two daughters from Ethiopia and Guatemala. Judging by her blog, she is enjoying life. We should all be able to enjoy life as well.
9. inashoe.com : Christian family with ten (or eleven? twelve? LOL) children. They live in a small house (hence the "shoe" in their name).
10. largefamiliesonpurpose.com : I love, love, love this blog. I may not always agree with the worldview of the blogger (in fact I often don't; she's very Christian), but I delight in reading about the daily lives of her nine children. She's also INCREDIBLY organized about running her home, and I could use to learn some organizational skills.
11. onethankfulmom.com : Twelve children, four adopted from Ethiopia. One daughter in particular suffers from major attachment and trauma issues. Very transparent blog, giving me clear warning about what I can expect when I adopt someday
12.ourjourneyoffaith.net : Another woman who has kept strong faith through great struggles, iincluding a daughter (adopted from Ghana) who suffers from depression and Reactive Attachment Disorder. Her courage gives me strength and faith.
13. raisinghomemakers.com : I don't agree with the worldview of this blog AT ALL, but something keeps drawing me in to read it time and again.
14. raisingolives.com : Another large, Christian, homeschooling family. Their oldest child is fourteen and their youngest is one.
15. ralphcrew.blogspot.com : This is the newest addition to my blog list. It is written by a woman who is raising several children--both biological and adopted--with Down syndrome.
16. riggsfamilyblog.com : Beginning at age three, their daughter Abby battled cancer for two long years. I watched most of it unfold after I found their blog. Today she seems to be doing really well, and they are moving forward with the adoption of another little one. (I don't know the details.)
17. smilesandtrials.blogspot.com : Seventeen children, ten adopted, several with disabilities.
18. smockityfrocks.com : Another large, Christian, homeschooling family. "Smockity," as she calls herself, is very creative with food, crafts, etc.
19. themakingofmom.blogspot.com : seven children, two adopted through the foster care system. They are planning to move overseas as missionaries in Africa. Their oldest daughter is only seven years old.
20. themourofamily.blogspot.com : I started following this blog after a disrupted adoption of a boy from Liberia while their daughter from Liberia was still living with them. Her adoption ended up getting disrupted as well, but by then I had been reading so long I just kept reading. And now I just love to read about their family!
21. welovebigfamilies.blogspot.com : Seven children; planning to move to Africa as missionaries and to run a school.
22. zoromski.blogspot.com : Two sons and three daughters, two of whom have Down syndrome, one of whom was adopted from Ukraine. This woman just loves her kids and it oozes out of every blog post she writes!
So those are the blogs I read.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
"Julie," who has a little brother with autism, stated that she feels that Reece's Rainbow romanticizes (actually, her word was fetishizes) children with special needs and the adoption thereof. In her opinion, Reece's Rainbow encourages families to adopt just because they feel like doing a good thing, and because they can. She said (and she's right) that there is nothing wrong with adopting for those reasons, but that they should not be the main or only reasons. She also said that the fundraising process reminds her of a little girl running a lemonade stand to earn money for a doll.
"Emily's"(she has a sister with Down syndrome and autism) main objection was the fact that Reece's Rainbow, and the blogs of the people who connected to their adopted kids via the organization, was that the challenges and sturggles of raising such a child are never depicted. Reece's Rainbow's slogan is "because every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down syndrome." "Emily" and I both feel that these words sugarcoat the truth, if not hide a large part of it completely. Yes, a child with Down syndrome can be a blessing just like any other child, but the challenges and struggles that come with raising such a child are enormous. For the most part, even the blogs by the adoptive families minimize the struggles to a vast degree.
In summary, "Julie" has issues with how the website and organization are set up and run all together, and "Emily" has issues with the stories that are told and how. I am not yet sure what to think. As I listened to "Emily" and "Julie" in our kitchen today, I found myself agreeing with them; as I type this, however, I find myself feeling like defending Reece's Rainbow.
One thing I value about my friends is the fact that we can have conversations like these.
From my meager research (I may do more later), I gather that, at the very least, posting photos of children from Russia and Ukraine is illegal. I am sorry for all the adoptive families, and their children, involved here, but more than one website has confirmed this fact.
That being said, I truly believe, and will continue to believe until proven otherwise, that the organization did, and does, more good than harm. Many, many children have passed through its system into the arms and homes of forever families. If Reece's Rainbow shuts down, these children will not disappear. They will still be waiting in orphanages and mental institutions, still desperately needing homes.
All of this has helped me to reach a decision: even if Reece's Rainbow shuts down and I never get word of her again, I will continue to pray for "Erin." It may not happen every night, but in general I will continue to pray that "Erin" find a warm and loving home, with enough food etc. and that, once there, she have access to the therapies she needs in order to thrive at her fullest potential. Until I know that has happened for her, I will continue to pray.
Now, on to the fun stuff:
Tomorrow "Emily," "Julie," and I are going out to lunch at a kosher sushi restaraunt. It was my idea; we had planned it for last Friday, but then I got (mentally) sick so we pushed it off. I am so excited. I love sushi, I love my friends, and this is going to be awesome! Then we will all crash at "Emily's" house for the Sabbath (though we are eating Friday night dinner at "Dan's" and lunch at "Emily's" soon-to-be-fiance's sister's house) and just all enjoy each other's company.
Still waiting for my internship to start. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Today I learned that, as far as I can understand, an organization called Spotlight on Adoption is trying to force Reece's Rainbow to take down all its listings. There may in fact be some legal issues with the way Reece's Rainbow operates; I don't claim to know nearly enough about the situation to have an informed opinion. All I know is that Reece's Rainbow has found homes for over 400 children in the past five years, and there are many more children listed who need our/their help.
Would you pray with me that Reece's Rainbow "wins" this one, that the listings go back up, and that all the children involved may find families soon? THANK YOU!
I'm not sure why it's so hard for me to trust and believe today. My symptoms are no worse than yesterday's. I am still plagued by causeless anxiety, but not so much that I need the emergency fix of my as-needed anti-anxiety medication, and my noise thresholds might even be a little higher.
And, on the other hand, the irritability just kicked in again. However, although every day is hard, overall this episode is starting to dissipate. I should find strength and hope in that.
Also, just because I feel like it: Yelling for "Erin"! Yelling for "Erin"! YELLING FOR "ERIN"!
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Thank you all for providing me with courage, strength, and most importantly trust and faith in God.
Many of you have likely noticed that I used to maintain three blogs, and now only use this one. There is a good story behind that, and I am now going to tell it.
When I first ventured into the blog world, I very quickly discovered that I enjoy reading blogs about and/or by large families, many of whom are very Christian. I have absolutely nothing against Christianity, but there were times when I didn't feel like wading through religious posts to get to the large family posts. Because of that, I decided not to blog about religion.
As I went on through high school, however, religion became a much bigger part of my life, and I felt like a hypocrite for not blogging about something so huge. I began another blog (this one) so that people could read about my religious life if they wanted to, and not if they didn't. I continued to blog about other things on my other blog.
When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I decided to start yet another blog for that, and chronicle my everyday life there. Once I was stabilized, however, I faced a confusing choice: should I blog about daily life on my pain blog, or on my bipolar blog? For a while, I flip-flopped back and forth, depending on which invisible illness was affecting me more at the time.
Finally I admitted to myself that religion is not just part of my life; religion IS my life. I am firmly Jewish, rooted to the ground and at the same time soaring upward as I pray (both the required prayers [required thrice daily but I usually only manage once] and my own prayer-letters.) Because of how much influence religion has on my life, I decided to only keep updating this blog, and make it my blog about anything and everything.
On the bipolar front, so far I seem to be doing OK today. I get swoops of stomach-sickening fear washing through me, and the noise from the air conditioner is unpleasent, but that is all. At some point I will have to venture into the basement (out and around) of the apartment house to get my laundry, but I cannot face that task just yet.
Monday, July 9, 2012
OK, let's find some thankfulness!
Here in this episode, I am thankful for all the things I mentioned last week, as well as a Great Big God Who created bipolar disorder and Who can get rid of it at any time. Right now, I trust that God completely. Symptoms are lightening up and I have no doubt they will eventually go away.
And while I'm at it: lest you readers forget,if you are the praying type, please do not just pray for me and neglect to pray for "Erin." She needs prayers too, perhaps even more desperately than I.
Now I would like to talk about an issue that is burdening my heart, and that issue is the number of people needing prayer for various reasons. The one problem I have with reading so many blogs (21!) is that sometimes it seems as though everyone needs prayer at the same time. I am human; I can only pray for a finite number of people, and that number varies. There was a time when I could handle up to seven, but that time is not now. At the moment I can only handle two: me (I really am going through a lot right now what with therapy, bipolar disorder, and chronic pain, so I do not feel guilty inclluding myself in my prayers) and my little Reece's Rainbow girl, "Erin." I would love to be able to pray for more, but the two of us are taking all my spiritual energy right now.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
That being said:
I can read, and concentrate! I can venture beyond my room (into the rest of the apartment) and still feel comfortable! I can follow my thoughts, and actually think them, one at a time! Still drop-dead exhausted (I just woke up from a three hour nap), and still taking that as a good sign.
I have reason to believe that at least one reader has been praying for me, and so I thank you all. Thank you!
Also, today is the seventeenth of the Hebrew month of Tamuz, the day when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem during their conquering thereof. We Jews remember/memorialize this sad day by fasting sun up to sundown. Six hours to go.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Today was hard. I spent the first third or so feeling so depressed I just wanted to go back to bed, much of the rest feeling so overstimulated I was trying to muffle the sound of cards as I played solitaire, and am now tentatively feeling all right because I am listening to music and surfing the internet. If I tried to go "live life" right now, I would not feel OK.
It's funny, but I was just reading a post over at Large Families on Purpose (largefamiliesonpurpose.com) about choosing thankfulness. So. Here we go: a "thankful-while-bipolar" list.
While in this episode, I am thankful that:
1. It's happening while I have no obligations, educational or otherwise.
2. I live with good friends who are loving, supportive, and forgiving.
3. I have a competent psychiatrist.
That, sadly, is all I can think of right now.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Anyway, I am currently dealing with rapid mood swings from irritation to world-is-too-big to fear to no-energy. THIS IS NOT GOOD.
Monday, July 2, 2012
My inner child has not been very inner recently. I have been clingy and needing lots of reaassurance, both verbal and nonverbal. And yet somehow my friends enjoy my company anyway. (They have told me so.)
I have also been taking that inner child and (silently, mentally) gently introducing her to my friends by saying things like, "This is 'Dan.' 'Dan' is cool. He likes to play board games. You like to play board games." or, "This is 'Julie.' You'll like 'Julie.' She's really very nice." etc.
The big problem is that my inner child does not want to meet 'Emily.' I have absolutely no idea why; 'Emily' is a good person and a wonderful roommate. Oh well. I'll probably figure that part out in therapy.
Friday night, I was at dinner at 'Dan's' house with 'Julie' and a bunch of people I didn't know. One of those people was a girl my age with her hair and makeup done in the style worn by the girl who made my life h*ll in elementary/middle school. When I saw her, my trauma signals went through the roof.
As luck would have it, I ended up sitting next to her at dinner. I felt threatened, but I found myself thinking, "D*mned if I'm going to spend the evening terrified of someone who's probably totally harmless." In order to conquer my fear, I turned to her and started making conversation, and guess what? We had very little in common, but she was totally harmless!
And then that night I woke 'Julie' and myself up crying in my sleep. ('Emily' is my roommate, not 'Julie,' but Friday night we stayed over at her parents' house and 'Julie' and I shared a bedroom.) Oh well. At least I tried.
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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!