Glancing Back at Summer

20140814_185833It is so refreshing to take a walk with my 5 year old. He is still young enough that he has a sharp eye for the things us bigger people just do not see. He did not want to come for a walk with me, but I dragged him along (literally had to do it for the first few steps, after that he was fine. ūüôā ) I needed out of the house and didn’t want to go by myself. We chatted for a while, found worms and slugs (a¬†first for him). When we finally turned back around to go home, he hit the jackpot! No, not any chairs this time for it had been¬†garbage day. (Baruch Hashem!) It was another amazing treasure for boys. ¬†They might call it “Gold Dust,” but without the gold.

“Mommy, can I bring home some dust!?!?!?” (As if I need anymore dust in my house!) “It stays outside and does not come into the house.” “Ok. I need a bucket.” “Does it look like I have a bucket?” as I stand arms apart. I then precede to hand him an imaginary bucket. He laughs. I tell him to use his hands and carry it home.

He gathers some dust and we start to walk back home. He is careful, like a 5 year old, with his gold mine when I felt pity on him and started to wonder if he would have any gold dust left by the time we made it 15 minutes to the house. I offered to stop at a friend’s house on the way and ask if they might have a plastic cup or something we could have. Our friend found a paper towel and our gold was safe. Now, we had to make the trek BACK to the mine to fetch more dust.

We finally started walking back and found more worms and slugs. As we passed a worm, I bent down and gathered it up with a leaf to take it off the rough sidewalk and put it on the grass. He then told me to stop and he took out his dust and needed to put some beside the slug. I told him not to put it on the slug for that would not be nice, and he knew that, he just wanted to be nice and put it next to the slug. We then preceded to find more slugs so he could be nice to them as well. Not sure how that was being nice, but he felt it was the right thing to do. Cannot argue with a 5 year old!

It has been an interesting summer. I am still trying to figure out how it went. There is always 20140814_144503stuff we do not do during the year and I have been trying to make it up in the summer times. I think last year was the most successful year. I decided to work on that and have an even better summer with regards to things that needed to be done. I listed all the things we were going to work on this summer and made a schedule. It seemed like for a week or so things were going per my schedule, however, I did not like it. Something was missing. It finally dawned on me – I was not able to do my summer cleaning! For me, it was still like school. So, I decided to just keep the parsha, chitas,mishnayos, along with the new Gemara learning the boys are doing with their father (Makkos,) and one special project, everything else was ditched. I spent several days not doing much and feeling guilty about it (but not giving in to my guilt!) and by the end of the week I had a much nicer kitchen. I seemed to just have more time.

As some of you know by now, where we live we can recycle items by putting them out by the road. Last week my oldest came home:

“Mom, I need to get the wagon, I found a huge fish tank – with a stand, heater, light, filter, food and everything! Except the fish.” “We already have a fish tank.” (Not in use, but we have a nice 10 gallon tank.) “But Mom, this is a really HUGE one!” ūüėź¬†I try to explain to him that I am trying to get RID of things, not acquire more stuff. He was persistent.

“But someone let me put it on their lawn until I came back with the wagon!” Now he is making me feel guilty for he now has to fulfill a promise he made to someone.

I finally told him that he had to get rid of that amount of volume of stuff and he had to find a place for it. I even helped. I had him get rid of a broken 2 drawer cupboard for starters from the living room and he put the tank there. It is a 55 gallon tank. I made them check the seals of the tank in the tub before they were allowed to fill it up. In the end, the tank was filled in the living room and the filter turned on. After a few days the oldest took his hard earned money and bought 20lbs of rocks, a decoration, a backdrop and of course, two fish. The next morning we woke up to a nice surprise Рa baby fish! We all learned something new РI thought all fish laid eggs, but there are also live bearers. So, off to the pet store we went to get a net to separate the little ones from the big ones, and we also got 4 more fish. It turns out we caught 7 babies in total, with 4 still alive. (Now is is an awesome time for the benefits of homeschooling! Love how we can learn, and in the middle of the day as well!)

I had been thinking that the summer was just not as nice as I was hoping, but if I look back and remember all the neat stuff that happened, and most were not planned, I realize that it did not turn out all that bad. Yes, there were things that I did not care for, but if things were to be different, all the nice things would have to change as well, and I am not willing to give up any of those. It is nice and comforting to sit and look at the fish. I enjoy peeking at the little babies every day.

In the meantime, I have done a little bit of cleaning in the basement and decluttering. I have a little bit more that I would like to do before school starts. I have decided on books for the boys and just have to put it into a schedule now, and before I get too worried, my not-even-14-year-old is starting college in just 4 more days! AHHHH! I’m fine, really, and I am so glad I am finished my schooling. I think it is time to look at the fish. ūüôā

Wishing everyone the best in their new school year!

Yes, the 3 Weeks Have Arrived

20140717_110303Just in case anyone was wondering what time of the year it was. Each month has its own mazal, its own special properties and forces which surround it, and the 3 Weeks, which started this past Tuesday (17th of Tammuz) and ends with the climatic Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) is the time where sad things happen more often. Although this year, the 3 Weeks came several weeks early with the kidnapping and murder of the 3 boys in Israel, and continues with the continued firing of missiles into Israel. My list of names to daven (pray) for has more than doubled this past week, and I am talking about people that I personally know. Last night I had to actually write down all the names so I would not forget any of them. I know that I am slowly getting older, but ¬†I am not that old so as to say “this is life.”

Israel had its first casualty¬†from the missile attacks this week.¬†Dror Chanin was volutneering and delivering food, chocolate and happiness to the IDF soldiers when he was hit and killed. A beautiful boy looked at me and comment, “I thought Hashem protected you when doing a mitzvah.” A person learns from his rabbi, learns more from his chavrusah (learning partner,) but a person learns the most from his students. I did not really have an answer for him and told him so. My boys sure keep me on my toes! However, I did bring out some of their learning in Makkos where the Gemara talks about different people who were learning Torah and their time in this world was up, however, the Malach haMais (Angel of Death) was unable to take their neshama for they were learning Torah. The malach had to create a diversion so that for a split second the person was distracted from learning and the malach could do its job.

I have a friend in Israel who was woken up at 2 am last night from a siren. Despite everything, her posting this morning helped put things into perspective:

Good morning world! It was a quiet night after the 2:15 am siren. In Israel we are celebrating – not death and destruction, but the reality that God is protecting us day and night with miraculous technology created here in Israel, as well¬†as a stellar military. My heart is split, I cry for the victims of war in Gaza, yet I am high on the knowledge that God is showing his presence in our life as he has during every hardship…¬†Remember wherever you are, God loves you too!! “

When I read that, it put a smile on my face. She is correct. We do not know why things happen, but everything He does is good. Even when things are tough, He is kind. Despite all the missiles that have come into Israel (I am not sure the exact number, but I believe it is nearing 2000), Baruch Hashem we have only had one casualty. Though even one casualty is one too many. We learn that every single person is special and life is to be valued.

We Jews seem to do best when under pressure. Despite everything going on, there has been a lot of unity among all Jews. I read somewhere in the past few days (sorry, I forget where,) if sinas chinum (baseless hatred) destroyed the Bais Hamikdash, then imagine what baseless love can do.

It is hard to know how one can help. Sometimes (often times?) one can feel small and insignificant, but there is something that can be done. Baseless love. I have been encouraging my boys (as well as myself,) to open their eyes and see others more. Do you see anyone who needs any helping hands, are you talking to your brother in a nicer way, and let us go say some tehillim. It is hard for them for they are still young (will I ever stop thinking of them as young?) and are still at the point in life where they think only about themselves, but I am hoping that each time they do do something it is making a difference.

Last night I asked my almost-5-year-old to bring me an orange. I got small ones, they are only about 2 inches in diameter. He came into the room and had even peeled it for me, and as he was finishing peeling he asked, “It’s a big orange Mom, can I share it with you?” I turned to look at him and the small peeled orange and for no other reason than the fact that at that moment I was able to feel for someone else and know that at that moment, to share my orange (that all of a sudden seemed so big)¬†with him meant so much to him that I said, “Of course!”

May we all have baseless love for one another and thus merit the final redemption.