Wednesday, 6 January 2016

My JWRP experience

I have been trying to put into words all the experiences I had on my recent trip to Israel with the JWRP. As the weeks pass by since my return it has been become clearer to me what the trip has done for me. When I first applied to the JWRP in 2012 it was more about taking a trip on my own, without my family. A "break" if you will. I didn't know exactly why I wanted to go on a woman's trip to Israel but I did know I wanted to experience Israel again, through adult eyes. It had been many years, almost half my life since I'd last visited the Holy Land. As time passed and I had the opportunity to speak with many women who had gone on the trip I learned more about it. They all said the same thing - the trip was amazing and had significantly change their lives. I knew I had to go. My first application was rejected and again my second application was rejected, both for reason's beyond my control. I was becoming increasingly discouraged and started doubting my desire to go on this trip. Then something happened that shook me to the core and solidified my need to visit Israel again. A long time "friend" began posting an array of anti-Israel, free-Gaza and BDS (BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS) propaganda on her Facebook page. I was shocked and disgusted that someone I had been good friends for many years, someone whom I had invited to my Passover Seder, someone who lived and worked with Jews would believe and spread those lies. I confronted her and asked what she was thinking posting such rhetoric. She began spewing all sorts of ill conceived "facts" about Israel, things she had obviously read in propaganda. She had clearly been brainwashed. When I expressed my utter disgust at her being so blatantly antisemitic she replied with the old adage that she didn't hate Jews she just hated Zionists. My attempts to explain that antisemitism and anti-Zionism is one and the same fell on deaf ears. She did not want to hear or read the factually accurate rebuttal I carefully constructed for her. She immediately dismissed me with the statement "you're too invested in being Jewish to see the truth" With that statement I knew beyond any doubt that I had to experience Israel again. Of course I was invested in being Jewish. It is a major part of who I am, how I was raised and how I want my family to live on a daily basis. I needed to learn more ways to bring Jewish values and ethics into my home for the long run. It was more than just lighting Shabbat candles weekly or forcing the kids to go to shul on the high holidays. I needed to be pro-active. Educating my family about Israel was to become a regular occurrence in my home. My kids would learn about the importance of having a home land for all Jews to return to. While the trip definitely helped renew my love of Israel it also did so much more. Adrienne Gold our trip leader was so inspirational. She spoke about so many relevant topics including "don't blame and don't complain" which essentially made us think about how important it is to take responsibility for ourselves. Be thankful for what we have and take the time to appreciate those around us. (Baruch Hashem, I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband, so what if he doesn't always close the drawers or cupboards or occasionally leaves his socks on the floor. OR So I feel a sense of boredom on occasion with the life I've been living- make the effort to change things for myself instead of waiting for change to come to me!) I was really challenged to look deep into myself and decide who I am, who I want to be and what kind of kids I want to raise. The trip definitely brought laughter and many tears (especially for me!!!) and overall I would highly recommend this experience to almost any Jewish mother I know. Along with all the learning and self-reflecting we did I was extremely fortunate to have made some amazing friends on this trip. Our group really gelled well. Everyone got along beautifully and I think that many of us feel as if we have made "sisters" for life. Most of these women I would have never had the chance to meet if it weren't for the JWRP.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year's a comin'

Every year I debate the resolution thing... this year I decided I'm not going to resolve for anything since overall I am happy with what I have and where I'm at. I have realized that although I am not the big powerful executive or corporate lawyer I had wanted to be I am in a job that is well suited for who I am. My husband is a teacher and is income is fair. He doesn't earn huge money but he is a very hands on father and an awesome husband. He is so supportive and understanding. He brings rational and balance at times when I don't! So I don't live in the big fancy house, nor do I drive expensive cars but I have everything I could really need. Of course more money would come in handy but I know that if we continue on the path we are on we will be fine in the long run. I will however make small changes in my life that hopefully will have a positive effect on all those around me. I will surround myself with positivity. I find that negativity is not healthy for me. It makes me feel sad and angry, while these feelings are normal on occasion there is no need to immerse myself in it.

resolutions

2015 came and went and I didn't blog even once... Not that I didn't have anything to say but only because I had too many things going on I put my blog on hold. I hope that 2016 will resurrect my love of writing and get me back to the keyboard! I will start off with an old favourite in blog-postings... my new years resolutions! I have tried for several years not to set impossible goals and to keep them to myself, not making them public makes it much easier to break them though. SO here I go... 1) I resolve to make my own fun. I have noticed for quite some time that I find myself often bored or distracted, wishing I were somewhere else or hoping that something "fun" would happen. This year instead of waiting for the fun to come to me, I am going to try and make my own. This means that when I'm sitting at a get together and things are super mellow/quiet maybe put on music and try to get others to dance, read more and stay more in touch with what is going on in the world, that way I can contribute more the conversation and actually know what I'm talking about. - essentially forming opinions based on my own knowledge/understanding rather than just nodding my head and agreeing without actually having any clue. Finding more interests. Photography, knitting, dancing...whatever. 2) I want to keep positive people in my life. I met a wonderful group of women on my Israel trip and we really bonded so well. Some of them have become like sisters to me and their presence in my life is so amazingly inspirational. I can only learn from them and want to try hard (well not too hard) to see them often as their friendships are really important to me. We just seem share such similar values and interests I can't believe our paths had not crossed earlier! Feels like we've known each other for ever! 3) This is a hard one. I hope to yell less. I get frustrated with my family often and just didn't seem to possess the coping skills to deal with them without yelling. I am trying very hard to keep my cool, not scream and talk to them with love but firmness. I promised them that each time I do lapse I will put a dollar in a jar. I hope to have no money in that jar but reality is I am sure that I will have to really work hard on this one. 4) FACEBOOK. I am taking a break from Facebook. I am not making a big announcement and exiting with drama, just quietly sitting back and posting less, privatizing more and removing myself from many conversations. I can't delete my account as I belong to some groups that I need access to but overall I think i'm pretty much done with social media (of course it has it's positives and has been a great resource for a lot of things and can be very helpful but there are a number of negatives which can't outweigh the positives.)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

DIY

I have never really been a Do It Yourself kind of gal. I do enjoy cooking and baking along with other "domestic" type activities but I would never consider making a cake for my kids birthday parties or decorating the house myself with my own homemade creations- only because I prefer professionally decorated cakes (and mine always look like a 2 year old did it) and I don't have a crafty bone in my body for making things that look nice enough to display in my home. BUT I have recently decided that although I'm not crafty I can still do some things around my home myself. So recently I decided that I would change the burnt out headlight in my car myself. I just looked up a Youtube video on how to change it and viola it took me less than 10 minutes to change both sides! Another attempt I made at doing something that looked hard myself went really well. I wanted to butterfly a whole chicken for the BBQ. I had been buying them pre-butterflied myself but they cost considerably more to buy them pre-cut. Again with the help of youtube I was able to find perfect instructions for butterflying a chicken- which significantly reduces the time needed to BBQ! My next attempt at a DIY project is going to be restoring our old bicycles. We bought 2 old bikes at a garage sale several years ago but we hardly ever use them because they are really rusty. They look terrible! I just looked up several websites on how to paint/restore rusty bikes. The process looks fairly straight forward but quite time consuming. I am doing to re-read how to do it several more times before attempting the process.I hope that I don't completely mess up but honestly I don't have much to lose in trying!

Friday, 6 June 2014

continuing the journey

I have committed to getting my house in somewhat liveable order. Last night I battled the linen closet. It was such a mess, towels just shoved in , sheets bunched up and not folded properly, no order or reason for item placement... after emptying out the entire closet I sorted every towel, sheet and pillow case etc.. I also came across crib sheets, receiving blankets and baby towels that we have not used in years! All those items went into the donation bag- no need for nostalgia here! I have files and files of pictures for that! Now my linen closet is something to be proud of! Everything is organized so nicely! I hope that I can keep it up!!!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Spring Clean Day 2

First day of project spring clean went well. I decluttered the space on top of the fridge and threw away a tonne of stuff. Don't tell my kids... a bunch of their drawings and "artwork" went buh-bye... I keep so much of it but now only keep the really noteworthy pieces. (quite hard with two budding artists in the house!!) Did find a form to renew my licence plate... well that is only 6 weeks overdue... i will take my car for that emmission test one of these days! Today I am going to attempt to clean the space under the stairs in the basement. We emptied it out a few years ago when we had our basement finished but just piled the stuff back in... i plan on installing shelves in there so that the space can be used more effectively. This may take longer than the one hour I give myself to declutter each spot.. much luck needed for this one!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Spring Cleaning

As spring is supposedly here I thought I'd think about giving the house a big clean. I've never really done one before and am scared about what gems I might find. We do clean the house weekly but I really want to get into the nooks and crannies, declutter and organize every cupboard, closet and drawer... only thing I can think to say to that is "good luck with that" Today I'm going to start with the space on top of the fridge. I'm not sure why that space constantly gets littered with "stuff". All the things I plan on getting to later end up piled on top of my fridge. I have cleaned it before and been shocked to find things I was supposed to do weeks months earlier. Like send in the kids immunization records so they don't get expelled from school! Or a hydro bill etc.. Anyway hopefully today is the first day of my "big spring clean project" Crossing my fingers it goes ok!!!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

a little late but better than never

I'm a bit late for a "resolutions" post but I am still working on making permanent and positive changes in my life as a whole. First thing I wanted to change and have been successful at it so far, is ridding myself of negative people in my life. As I had mention in my previous post I was dealing with a negative person who not only had a negative attitude but was a bad influence in my life altogether- that person is now out of my life completely. Next thing I am working on is a more steady and manageable work-out plan. I started with barre before the New year and have been sticking with it. I love the barre classes and have tried both spin and yoga too. I like both but can honestly take them or leave them. If the schedule had more evening barre classes I would make a sincere effort to attend them. Unfortunately most of the classes I love are in the day or weekends. Last night due to circumstances beyond my control I had to miss the yoga class I had planned to attend- due to the need to take a detour and drop something off in Markham on my way home I got stuck in hwy 7 traffic and would have been rudely late for the class. I chose to just stop and the super market and pick up much needed fruit instead. sigh... will try to go Thursday ! I am also trying to eat better, healthier and just more mindfully. This takes a lot of effort. For some reason I have been having a hard time with this one more than the others. I followed Weight Watchers for years and have kept off the 25 pounds I lost 4 years ago but now I feel that it's time to lost the last 5 pounds but just can't get there. My goal is to be at 133 pounds and to stay there (with the 1-2 pound fluctuations of course) Since we are going on a beach vacation I want to be at my goal for that time... will have to find a way to motivate myself to get there! am going to start now... going to track my food intake for today so far.