Sunday, October 23, 2016

Books of September

 Crossing to Safety, which was written some time ago, follows the lives of two couples who meet when they're beginning their careers (well, the men are) and follows them as their lives intertwine.  Careers, births, tragedies and so on.  The best part of the book is Stegners's vivid descriptions of the landscapes.

Suspenseful story of a mission to get a famous scientist out of Auschwitz.

I picked this up at the Atlanta airport when I ran out of books on my Kindle.  I enjoyed it.  Another World War 2 story, this time of a young Jeiwish woman who poses as a Christian and goes to work for the Kommandant of the Krakow occupying forces.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October 16: Remembering

My husband died eleven years ago today on a bright October morning after a courageous battle with leukemia.  Sometimes it seems like yesterday; sometimes it seems like an eternity since I've been without him.

The following poem is sometimes included in the memorial service on Yom Kippur.  I think it speaks to anyone who has lost a loved one:

In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.

In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.

In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.

When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reunion, Reflection, Repentance, Remembrance

At sunset last Sunday Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began.  This Tuesday evening Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins.  Unlike the secular New Year in January with parties and balloons, the Jewish New Year  is a time of reunion, reflection, repentance and remembrance.

Families reunite to celebrate the coming year, always sharing apples and honey to symbolize a sweet year.  I always spend one of the High Holidays with my sister and her family in Atlanta and this year it was the New Year.  This will be an important milestone year in her family when three of her grandchildren celebrate their Bar Mitzvahs, their entry into adulthood with their first time to read from the Torah.  My sister's family belongs to a small congregation in suburban Atlanta.  During the Rosh Hashanah service, the ram's horn, the Shofar, is blown.  With a sound like no other, it calls us together as a people.  This year a dozen or so young men stood before the congregation and blew their Shofars all together.  It was a lovely service.

Reflection is part of the change of years, of seasons.  Who am I?  What is my goal, my purpose? What can I do in the coming year to be a better, more ethical, more generous person?  Even though we look forward to the next 365 days, there is something about autumn that invites reflection.  The falling leaves and the shorter days remind us that life is fleeting and that each of us should live the best life we can.

Repentance is the theme of Yom Kippur, the day in which we communally confess our sins and ask forgiveness, not just from God but from people we have offended, hurt or overlooked during the past 12 months.  Hardest of all, I think, is to forgive ourselves, but we should try.

Remembrance is another Yom Kippur theme.  During the holidays we recall those who are no longer with us and, we have a special service called Yizkor to remember loved ones who were part of our lives.  This week's quote will be my favorite Remembrance poem.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Books of August

One of the best books I've read this year.  Of course I'd heard about the determent
camps for Japanese on the West Coast but I'd never heard of the family camp at Crystal City, a small town south of San Antonio, where Japanese, German and Italian families were kept behind barbed wire for years.  Most of the children there were born in America.  The stories of these families were fascinating and heartbreaking.  A must read.

A private plane crashes this novel tells what happened before.  What...or who really caused the plane to crash?  A late season beach read.

A lifelong love story between a Jew and an Arab in Jerusalem.  I especially liked the writing style.

About seven famous skeletons, one of them a hoax, and how they furthered our knowledge of early humans and how they influenced our culture.  I'm always fascinated by such information but somehow this book didn't bring it together as well as I'd hoped.  I'd give the author a couple of stars for trying but that's about it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Quote for the Week

Because I'm a speech-language pathologist, this is one of my favorite quotes:

"The limits of my language are the limits of my world."
                                      Ludwig Wittengenstein

Monday, September 5, 2016

A Success Story

Once upon a time there was a young mom, my niece Joy, whose baby daughter's skin was so  sensitive that she could hardly tolerate disposal diapers.  What could be done?  Joy looked into cloth diapers, enlisted her mother Carol's help and began designing cloth diapers herself.  They were not just the old-fashioned white diapers that my children wore when they when they were babies, not just cutesy pink or blue diapers for infants, but bright-colored, cleverly designed diapers that looked like pants.  She and Carol decided to market them on-line, and Ragababe was born.  To me this seemed like a risky endeavor.  Who would pay a lot of money to buy a cloth diaper when you could buy a package of disposable ones for much less.  But Joy and Carol tapped into something--families who wanted to go green, who liked the idea of diapers that would last and that looked adorable besides.  Ragababe began to grow.  Now they have 15 employees; they have a Facebook page and devoted cloth-diaper fans who post frequently, who chat and give each other advice about how best to use the diapers.  Recently some of the customers asked to visit the shop and had a Ragaconference where they met one another, had a chance to visit the company and design a diaper of their own.  Now Joy has five children and another on the way.  There's a play area for the little ones so they can have fun while Joy and Carol and Joy's husband Andy and Carol's husband Dave run the shop.  Here's a picture of their current designs--they change frequently 
Below is a picture of their shop.
And here's Joy's car with her personalized license plate:  Ragamom.  Of course.
I'm so impressed with their creativity and their determination to create product that benefits both babies and the environment.  You can read more at 

Template by: Bright Sunshine Designs by Mary - Affordable Custom Blog Design © 2011