The more things change…

 A few observations:(1) This was the last time I let my hair go wild and free, Jew-fro style, until I kicked my blow-drying addiction last summer.(2) Those Levis look as though they might fall right off of me.(3) The yearbook photog caught me in an unfortunate sneer, but I was smiling on the inside. Seriously.(4) I was giving a speech about Jesus and the Passover. I didn't know a whole lot about either one, but I was pretty darn excited as a Jewish person to tell my classmates … [Read more...]

Parents, you can not predict the future. You know that, right?

I had one of those time-transcending moments last night in a warehouse in Chicago.Travel back in time with me for a moment, to 1995. My thee children, then ages 12, 10 and 9 and I have started another typical home school day. Breakfast, a few chores, prayer, then the day's instructions, which invariably included a few minutes of journaling. Their journals were the one school assignment they had each day where I didn't have to bust out the green or purple pen to correct mistakes. (I rarely used … [Read more...]

The lessons of 2011

2011, it's been an interesting trip `round the sun with you. Before you turn into something that's so last year, I thought I'd review some lessons I learned while I was in your classroom during the last 365 days:  (1) Shoulder surgery IS as bad as they say. Everyone kept warning me that last winter's rotator cuff repair was going to hurt, be awful, be a ridiculously long recovery, yada yada yada. I've survived reconstructive knee surgery, and lived through a six-month rehab in a two-story … [Read more...]

One sweet tradition

Twenty-nine Christmases ago, our first child was a little baby girl just about able to sit up by herself for the first time. In the days leading up to Christmas, my husband and I knew it was time to think about one thing we could begin doing that would mark our own Christmas as a family.At that time, my husband and I had been married for four years, and had created a couple of scrappy holiday traditions out of the meager ingredients we each brought to the marriage. I brought a menorah and … [Read more...]

In those days at this season

When I was a kid, Chanukah meant eight nights of presents, wrapped in shiny blue and silver paper. It meant treats of Chanukah gelt, foil-wrapped waxy coins of chocolate, and playing the dreidel game while each night’s candles burned. The game featured a four-sided top with Hebrew letters on each side that were meant to remind us of the “reason for our season”.I was told the reason for these December festivities was to celebrate the miraculous story of brave Judah Maccabee, who hid out in the r … [Read more...]

My favorite things, 2011 version

If Oprah can create a list of "favorite things", I decided that I could, too. However, my list is quite a bit less fancy-schmancy than O's.It's meant to be fun, and perhaps spark some reflection about what comforts, blessings and experiences have been favorites for you in 2011.So (sing it with me) - these are a few of my favorite things:When we were in Israel last spring, a friend there gave me a tube of this ointment-thick cream from Ahava that lists mud from the Dead Sea as one of its … [Read more...]

A simple gift for you this Thanksgiving

'Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free / 'Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be / And when we find ourselves in the place just right / 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.Click and enjoy the haunting voice of Allison Kraus on this lovely Quaker melody, accompanied by Yo Yo Ma.  … [Read more...]