Day 66 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Eighth Night – There is always something to be grateful for.

 I am grateful for the 8th night of Hanukkah. We had breakfast with the family at IKEA as usual. The grand kids love Swedish pancakes. while waiting for our food my daughter was kind enough to share her lovely pictures with me this morning. She knows the camera on my phone is cracked and her pictures are wonderful.

Lighting candles and saying prayers last night before eating. 

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Hugs from sweet Z’s.  

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I am grateful for happy kids who are so sweet and grateful for time spent together for Hanukkah.

Tonight is peaceful and quiet, maybe a bit too quiet. The last night of Hanukkah is tonight and tomorrow the decorations will be put away. (If I have the energy.)  Two more weeks until winter break and I am happy that I will have my holiday complete. I am grateful that I will have time to make gifts for some extended family far away.

Two minor miracles (a bit of a stretch but I choose to use the term here.) happened today. I sent one gift overseas and it arrived in time for Hanukkah. I was convinced it would not make it, but it did. I also sent a Hanukkah gift to my aunt. She received it in time for Hanukkah also. I am grateful that she enjoys reading so much as a spry nonagenarian. (I had to look up that term.)   I am grateful for the family and friends that I can share my holiday with.

 

 

 

Day 65- LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Seventh Night – There is always something to be grateful for.

I am grateful for the celebrating of the 7th night of Hanukkah. I have gathered the seven gifts for the beautiful Z children. My spouse and I are happy with the ability to share with them this holiday. Sadly my daughter is ill and debated not coming so as to not get us sick. I told her to come anyway and I would feed her and send her off to bed. That way she will actually get a night’s rest and the kids can have fun with us. I am OK taking care  of a house full of loved ones.   The candles are set out on the multiple menorah’s awaiting the hands and prayers of family.   

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8 Days Of Hanukkah

Seven Bridges   night 7

So I reused the giant boxes that the dog bed and supplies came in for the Z’s. Spouse thinks it is mean because there are eight small presents in the boxes. I think it is funny. We shall see.  Outside is ready for their arrival too.

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Awaiting their arrival…I’ll Be back

Family arrived and we had a lovely time. Candles were lit and prayers were said.

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Dinner was enjoyed by all. The Z’s actually tried the chicken Parmesan and two of the three liked it and had seconds.

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We finished our yummy dinner and enjoyed dark chocolate brownies in honor of today being what would have been my mother’s 88th birthday.  The kids knew the table had to be cleared in order to open gifts so everyone pitched in to help.    

I am so proud of my grand kids. I warned them that the boxes were large but the gifts as usual, were small. They were so very polite and appreciative of the dreidel, the games, the DVDs, the candy, the books, the small games, etc. It made my heart warm that they were not greedy in any sense. 

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Z2 was excited by the small container of Starbucks hot chocolate and asked if she could make it immediately. I asked the kids to sit on the hearth and open the container at the same time. They were very excited to say the least that they each got a gift card to purchase something of their choice. They even allowed me take more silly pictures of them in the large boxes.

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So after cleaning up and Z1 and Z2 contemplating what they might buy, Z3 asked if we could watch his movie.  Everyone got comfy and snuggled up to watch Incredibles 2.

So I am enjoying the last minutes of night seven of Hanukkah. Z3 fell asleep already. Z1 and Z2 are holding on but will fall asleep soon.

My heart is happy. Even though I am sad for family I do not have with me, I am so grateful for those still here in my life.

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Day 64 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Sixth Night – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for the fact that today is the sixth night of Hanukkah. It was the last day to celebrate at school. I decided to give every student a free homework pass as a gift. I fashioned a pass out of a dreidel clip art design. I accomplished two goals by creating the pass. As students completed their assignment they brought it to me to record. I then gave them their pass. I enjoyed being able to give each child a holiday greeting. There are limited opportunities to share personal appreciation for every student. While every good morning, have a good day, and thank you is responded to, this feels more acknowledging.   

I am grateful that  my chosen profession allows me to impact so many lives. A special experience occurred today at work. A substitute teacher for a core mate came in my room to ask for my assistance this morning. She asked if I had changed my name and I confirmed that more than 20 years ago I remarried. She then informed me that she was my student in 6th grade so many years ago. I found it amusing that all day long my students kept coming in to my class telling me that their substitute was a former student of mine.      

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.”
― Stephen King, 11/22/63

After school I came home to work on preparing for my grand kid’s visit tomorrow. I am excited to visit with them and spend time sharing Hanukkah with them. Guest beds were refreshed and warm quilts were applied. The kids are excited to get to visit with the dog. This will be the first time they will see her since we adopted her. I am not sure how confusing it will be for both sides. I am grateful for the ability to help out the kids and the dog. Annie is already joyfully running our house.   

I am grateful for the ability to get special things to have at my house for the kids. They know that Nana and Grandpa like to overindulge them. My spouse orders candy from Sweden to spoil their appetite. The “cars” are enjoyed by the Z’s as well as my daughter. We purchase the Blue Machine Naked juice they love so much. I make three varieties of  mac and cheese to cater to dietary restrictions as well as specific preferences. I shall possibly attempt to make latkes. It is a labor intensive process but the outcome is so yummy.  I am grateful that they have very healthy appetites.   

On this the sixth night of Chanukkah I am grateful for my home that has space to welcome my family. Happy 6th night

The sixth light is the light of love. When the love which our parents gave us makes all our lives beautiful, we learn to understand the biblical words: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy G-d with all your heart and soul and might”…

I am grateful that I am almost finished shopping for the kids. Our goal is to usually give seven small gifts and one special gift. This becomes more difficult as they get older and are much more specific with their tastes and wants. It is still fun going on the hunt for what we hope will make the holiday fun for them.

While we will only be able to celebrate for one night with the kids I am still trying to pass on traditions with them. Each person will light a menorah tomorrow night. The kids will each get a dreidel, a game, a book, a DVD (typically educational), possibly PJ’s, favorite candy treats, and something special for each child.

Happy 6th night of Hanukkah.

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Day 63 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Fifth Night & Charms – There is always something to be be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for the way I get to spend my holiday with others. For my mother’s  celebration of life party three years ago I found an idea for a  special memento to gift to others.  I decided to alter the gift a little and pass it out to my coworkers for Hanukkah. I purchased small heart charms and made an envelope with a poem I adapted to hold them.

In memory of one who lit up your world.   

Put this charm in a pocket, purse, or just lay it down and forget it.    

When you think of a loved one and think of light they’ll always be there day or night 

A candle flickers out of sight,

But in your heart, they still burn bright.

Whenever you run across the heart remember the light your loved one shined on you.

 I have a few heart charms in my home right now. When I rediscover them I pick them up and move them to wherever I am going in my house to be rediscovered at a later date. 

It makes me grateful sharing with my staff members.  I like to make connections to those whom I spend so much time with. I recently had a conversation with a fellow long-timer about how we came to this school so many years ago. We were early in our careers and knew we had a long time to make connections. Now as we approach retirement,  we remember those who have retired before us and gone on to have very fulfilling new experiences.

I am grateful for a busy successful day at work today. I accomplished all I wanted to, I graded all my assignments, and I prepared for my lesson tomorrow. The kids were absolutely frenzied as it rained hard all day. Middle school kids and rain are a perfect match for playful insanity. They scream when they go outside and see the rain. They run from class to class in the rain instead of under the provided covering. They try their best to find every puddle they can and then jump in them.  I am grateful some things never change. 

I had planned on staying late at work today as my spouse had scheduled a meeting with a friend of his after school. However, by the time the bell rang at the end of the day it was pouring hard and I knew the longer I stayed the worse traffic would be on my way home. I ran to my car and made my way home. The line of traffic to get in to my school was backed up to the point that traffic was stopped up at a light and cars were honking away. I am glad I left when I did.

I am grateful that I received numerous books I ordered in the mail today. A few are replacements for ones that “disappeared” when my guest left my home. A couple are gifts for others. One is a new book I found for my grand child.

How can you not want to look at a Magritt inspired cover.  Image result for Magritte artThe story just appealed to me. The setting is the 1970’s suburban life. The characters are the only Jewish kids in their community. While my grand kids are Christians, I believe they will understand and enjoy this book.   

 

I am grateful for the posts of friends and family celebrating Hanukkah. A song I had never heard was shared with me today.   Hanukkah song 

 The fifth night is the light of holiness, purity of thought, nobility of action. “Make all of life sacred.” From the prophet Isaiah. These words have been taken into Israel’s prayer book. “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts.” 

 I am grateful for the time spent soaking in a very hot tub today. The cold weather aggravates my fibromyalgia.  My body feels like someone has been hitting me with a rolling pin. An Epsom salt bath gives a little relief. After a long soak I started the task of going through all my deliveries. Of course as soon as I settled under some blankets on the sofa the door bell rang with yet another delivery, this time it was for my spouse.   

Dinner was had and I was grateful to be ready to spend my Thursday evening watching my favorite TV shows. I snuggled under my quilt on the sofa enjoying my hot chocolate. I reclined the seat and in mere moments I fell asleep. I awoke at 10 having missed all my shows. I went downstairs to sleep in the comfort of my bed. I fell asleep with little Annie shnurfing beside me. Sadly I awoke at 11:30 unable to go back to dreamland.

So, grateful for the sleep I did get, I came upstairs to finish my blog. It is doubtful I will get back to sleep any time soon so I am grateful that I can  come upstairs and surf my computer. 

Happy Hanukkah to all.

Happy 5th Night

 

 

Day 62 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Fourth Night – There is always something to be grateful for.

soup

My family and I cannot get enough matzo ball soup in the winter. It warms my body and my soul. This brings me sweet sweet memories of having soup at my grandmother’s table. She was so kind to me and loved me unconditionally. No matter what I was going through she didn’t pry.  She showed me nothing but unconditional love. I was starved for the positive attention she showed me. 

 

 

 

The fourth light is the light of mercy. Cruelty hardens the heart and destroys  friendship. “Do justice and love mercy,” was the teaching of Micah, the prophet. 

 

My dear friend snuck a holiday surprise in my box again today. I am grateful she wants to share my holiday just as much as I want to share hers.  My friendships are with people of all religions. I am grateful that good people come with all beliefs.   

I made it to a thrift store before my evening appointment and found some DVD’s for a friend. I looked for more bowling balls but didn’t find any I liked. I am grateful that I get to look for fun things at thrift stores. I then made it to my appointment after finding my treasures. I am so grateful that I made it home in the rain safely without too much stress. I don’t see well in the rain and I don’t see well at night so I am very careful when I drive. Surprising enough traffic was not a horror.   

I am grateful that I have a very special gift tomorrow to give to my staff if I get it all together. I am grateful that my staff are welcoming to my holiday.   Happy fourth night of  Hanukkah. 

 

Day 61 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Third Night – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for the third night of Hanukkah. I am disappointed that I will not be able to meet up with one of my friends this week. She is booked up and busy all week. I have a very heavy gift for her so I must deliver it when I can.  A few other dear sweet friends are giving me a Happy Hanukkah by acknowledging my holiday. I am grateful that they are in my life.

The third light is the light of Justice. No nation can endure which is unjust to the weak. “Justice always justice shalt thou pursue”, was the grandest commandment of Moses.

Oh does this evening’s value hit home for me. I truly never thought I would be living in a country whose leaders are not only unjust to the weak but encourage others to do so also. I won’t go further in to this topic as I truly want to focus on gratitude. I am not grateful for many of the leaders in our country. 

I am grateful for the positive responses to the dreidels in my staff room. More than a few kind people expressed joy sharing in my holiday. I currently have no students that celebrate Hanukkah so it interesting to see my student’s  reactions. Once upon a time I never decorated my room for Hanukkah as others did not decorate for Christmas. Over the last years more and more Christmas decorations appeared so it seemed only appropriate that I too shared my heritage.   

I am grateful that I am making matzo ball soup to take to my staff tomorrow. The weather is cold outside and there is nothing like matzo ball soup to warm your innards. The school secretary offered to get spoons and bowls for me.   While cooking I am watching a Saturday Night Live Christmas special and literally laughing out loud at some of the skits.  How do you spell Hanukkah? Adam Sandler

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I am grateful that tonight I took some time for myself and read from the current book of choice. This book keeps literally falling off tables and edges of places to tell me to read it. I get the hint. I think the Swedish Tomte is telling me to read more. I appreciate that it needs to be read. 

I am grateful that this long and busy day is about to end with a hopefully restful sleep. Tomorrow is another day to share gratitude, to be thankful for what we have, and to celebrate.   

Happy third night of Hanukkah. 

Day 59 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/First Night – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for the first night of Hanukkah, or Chanukah, or Hannukah. All these plus many more spellings are correct. The reason being that the name of the holiday celebrating the festival of lights written in Hebrew, is spelled, חנוכה. Because different scholars used different transliterations, English spellings are varied.
Jenni Fink “Unlike Christmas, which has one spelling in the English language, Hanukkah’s story is a bit more complicated because it has to do with transliteration. A transliteration gives a person an idea of how a word in a foreign language is pronounced. It changes the letters of the word’s original alphabet into similar-sounding letters of a different language’s alphabet.”
At sundown two blessings are recited. One person lights and holds the shamash (helper candle), the blessings are pronounced, and then the candles are lit. The shamash is used to light the others, and one candle is lit for each night. So tonight my husband prepared the menorah and I lit the shamash and the candle for the first night.
The Blessings:
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.
Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Ruler of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.
The first one is the prayer I was taught to use. Most add the second.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha’olam, she-asah nisim la’avoteinu v’imoteinu bayamim hahaeim baz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of all, who performed wondrous acts for our ancestors in days of old at this season.
On the first night, we add the shehecheyanu which is the prayer used for the first time you do something each Jewish calendar year.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha’olam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

 

Genesis-492630025_Breishit_preview  hanukkah home

 

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Each day we try to do something special for Hanukkah. I am grateful that I finished putting out all my decorations. I changed things multiple times until I felt I had a pleasurable arrangement.   The final winner for my mantle is the handmade Chanukah sign made by my mother (of blessed memory). On one side is my Mensch on a bench. The other side has the wonderful handmade Chanukah girl purchased for me  years ago by a co-worker. 

I am grateful that years ago a rabbi gave us a paper to help us with our home celebration of Chanukkah. My husband and I were taking a class to try and learn Hebrew. Sadly we did not finish the course. We loved the cultural learning that came with  the class but found the Hebrew reading and writing a bit overwhelming. 

The first light tells of Him whose first commandment was “Let there be light.” Darkness of idol worship was scattered when Israel brought radiant knowledge of one G-d . “I am the first, and I am the last,” saith the Lord.

Last year I gifted one mHanukkah 1enorah to my aunt, one to a coworker’s friend who had lost her Judaic belongings, and one to my cousin. This year I am grateful to be gifting one to my chiropractor’s office and a second one to my aunt at her request.  Years ago we had the great pleasure to gift each grandchild a menorah out of Legos that my hubby created. I am grateful that menorahs are such an important part of my holiday.

I am grateful that each year I try to learn something new about my holiday. I learned today that Chanukah was celebrated in space. Such a terrific piece of history.   An astronaut’s holiday in space. 

I am grateful for the internet because I can find new songs, books, and crafts to add to my holiday.  Hasmonean

I am grateful that I added two copies of  The Hanukkah Hop to my children’s book’s collection. I will keep one copy and gift one. There are many quality kid’s books to be found and adding them to my collection brings me joy. 

I am grateful for my holiday and that I am part of a wonderful history. 

Happy first night of Chanukah.

Day 53 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/IKEA Commercial – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for the fact that I get emotional when thinking about the holidays. Most of my emotions are from happy times and joys shared.  Everything right now speaks to me and reminds me of holidays I have shared with loved ones. This year will be one of the most difficult, but I will move forward and hold on to the moments of joy. I know there will be nights with no one to join in my celebration. I know that the empty nest is extra sad this year. I hope to spend time watching movies and reading books that comfort me and/or remind me of my holiday.   

Make the Dream Yours 

This commercial from IKEA brought me to tears. It is terrific in that it is one of inclusion. I am grateful that it speaks to me. I have celebrated many holidays from many cultures in my home. I feel that being spiritual is far more important to me than being religious. I do not want to separate from those I love because of our differences. The differences make us who we are.  I want to enjoy the time together with others in the interest of sharing closeness, good times, and love.   

“Religion is belief in someone else’s experience.
Spirituality is having your own experience.”
– Deepak Chopra

The commercial shows families sharing their holiday for the first time as well as families experiencing loss. The people are gathered to celebrate remembering those lost, those new, those who are united by blood, as well as those who are their  family of choice. Their tag line of “Make the Dream Yours,” speaks to me only in that I believe anyone can have a joyful holiday. I in no way believe that IKEA is the pathway to making dreams come true, but I applaud their interest in reaching out to everyone. 

 

IKEA is not a store I usually visit, with the exception of breakfast with the grand-kids. My spouse is a a full Swede born and raised in Sweden. He has converted us all to the need of Swedish pancakes for breakfast when the kids are visiting. We did purchase many beautiful Swedish decorations when we celebrated Xmas in our home. I enjoyed having another culture to share.

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I respect IKEA’s inclusion this year and their beautiful advertisement. Their focus on lights and the fact that our holidays don’t look the same makes me grateful. 

“As long as Hanukkah is studied and remembered, Jews will not surrender to the night. The proper response, as Hanukkah teaches, is not to curse the darkness but to light a candle.” — Irving Greenberg

Day 52 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Menorahs – There is always something to be grateful for.

menorahs

Today I am grateful for the meaning of the special things in my home that connect me to my heritage. I love my menorah collection. I love to celebrate Hanukkah. The explanations I was given as a child  as to why we celebrate differ from what is the available knowledge of the time today. I won’t lie, sometimes too much conflicting information spoils your memories. 

“The commandment to light the Hanukkah lamp is an exceedingly precious one, and one should be particularly careful to fulfill it. In order to make known the miracle, and to offer additional praise … to G-d for the Wonders which He has wrought for us.” — Maimonides

So I shall briefly share what I was brought up with: A small group of faithful Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies of Greeks. They drove the Greeks from the land. They found only a one day supply of untainted oil that miraculously lasted for eight days which was the time it took for new oil to be prepared properly. Hanukkah is the eight day holiday celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem to the service of G-d.   So we celebrate by lighting the menorah for eight nights.

If you want to, read the detailed version here.

I am grateful that my holiday lasts for eight nights. It guarantees there will be at least one weekend for my grandkids to join us. Each person present gets to pick a menorah to light. Family, friends, and guests have shared in our holiday. We explain the different meaning attached to each night which I shall share during Hanukkah. 

“The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light — in a little cruse — lasted as long as they say; but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day: let that nourish my flickering spirit.” — Charles Reznikoff

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From the early days all who came to my house during Hanukkah lit the candles with us. And if you were lucky my mom crocheted slipper socks for you. I am grateful for every pair she ever made me.

“Hanukkah is about the spark of the divine in all of us made in God’s image.” — Suzanne Fields

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Visiting friends during Hanukkah meant sharing the lighting of the candles.         

 

 

 

 A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light.” — Moshe Davis

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Z1, our first grand child said prayers with us.
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Z1 was curious about all the gifts.
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Z1 looking at our star.

 

“We light candles in testament that faith makes miracles possible.” — Nachum Braverman

Adding another generation to our family is nothing short of a miracle in my mind. 

 

 

 

Day 51 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Hanukkah – There is always something to be grateful for.

Today I am grateful for a variety of things that make this holiday season  special to me.

I love to buy books for holiday gifts. There are so many books that remind me of special people and I love to share. I love books.  I am grateful for the books I find at thrift stores, Amazon, B&N sales, and my new best friend since October https://www.alibris.com/.  

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I am grateful because as soon as I found out an author my aunt likes, I went on the great “book hunt.”  I found some before her visit and gave them to her for Thanksgiving. I found three more today. When she is done with them they will be donated to the “library” in her retirement home.   

 

I need to climb up into my attic to get out the Hanukkah children’s books I have. Many are too young for my grand-kids now so I shall find a new home for them where they will be loved. Kid’s books are so special to me. They have such a strong connection to my inner child.

I am grateful for the music of this season. Here are some terrific links to music I love.      AMAZING – Chanukah Jewish Rock of Ages

Contemporary songs bring me joy.

Dreidel Song

Love the Maccabeats

Maccabeats Latke Recipe

Maccabeats Light One Candle

I am grateful for my menorahs and salt and pepper shakers that make me feel connected to the season. I love them all year long.

menorah 1  menorah 2

menorah 3  menorah 4

menorah 5  menorah 6

menorah 7  menorah 8

menorah 9 menorah 10 menorah 11  menorah 12

I am just now starting my preparations for my holiday. The cleaning has begun, many gifts have been mailed, some gifts are on there way to my home, and I am ready to put away Thanksgiving buckets. Tomorrow I shall bring down the Hanukkah buckets and begin my decorating. Hooray for the holiday season and all the joy it brings.