Mikvah……4 days and a wake-up

This week I’ve had lots of emotions.  Some good, some of great joy, and some of anxiety.  My Mikvah date is almost here.  I’ve waited 3 years for this day.  You would think that tonight as I write this I would be overly happy.  Instead, I am filled with a feeling of unworthiness.  How can some one like be be a part of the “chosen”?  I am so thankful that HaShem has looked upon me, and said, YES.  *eyes filling with tears*

There are all kinds of people in the world.  Those who love HaShem, those who don’t know Him, and those that just don’t care one way or the other.  I’ve seen many kinds of Jews and wondered how could it be possible that we are all one, yet different?  There are many Sages I can turn to for understanding in this matter but the one that resonates with me the most is RamBam.  I once read “it is natural for a man’s character and actions to be influenced by his friends and associates and for him to follow the local norms of behavior.  Therefore, he should associate with the righteous and be constantly in the complain of the wise, so as to learn from their deeds.  Conversely, he should keep away from the wicked who walk in darkness, so as not to learn from their deeds”.  Mishneh Torah Chp 6

In my youth, I did not heed such advice and found myself in my situation that were preventable.  It’s strange sometimes to think how it takes us, humans, to understand such simple lessons only after we fall.  I am happy to say that on Sunday I will be born and all that will be no more.  I will have a new name and a new outlook on what is right, good, and true.  There are many things one can say about conversion, but no one can ever tell me that I’ve made the wrong choice.  Life as an Orthodox Jew is not going to be easy, but when has anything rewarding ever been easy.  

Yes, tonight, I am super happy and thankful.  I will remember this entire week my whole life.  

My very first Passover

As I set here I am taken back to the day when I first dreamed of spending Passover as a Jew.  I would always say, maybe next year….well, next year has come for me.  I will spend my very first Passover as a Jew this year.  I am filled with all types of emotions and fears.

I don’t think there is a greater feeling than knowing you have come home.  Not like any home I’ve ever known before.  I will be a part of a people, a nation of Hashem.  Erev Pesach will mean something different to me.  When I sit at the Seder and recount the Exodus story, it will not be as a spectator but as a participant.  My 4 cups of wine, my matzah, maror, and all the songs will be done as a Jew.  Hallel HaGadol will fill my soul.  The beautiful Nishmas prayer which follows the Song at the Sea in the morning prayers on Sabbath will mean more to me than ever before.  This year I will recount the details of the Exodus knowing I was there……

You may not understand the joy I’m filled with now but someday, someday you may.  Someday you will come understand that I’ve come HOME!

Conversions 

Shalom,

Well, we are at the end of our road…..we have our mikvah date.  10 days from today we will be Jews!  Wow, it is almost unreal to even say that after so many years of studying, yawning, and praying.  We made it and it has all been worth all the heartache and tears.  Hours of studying, memorizing, and droughts.  I am so thankful to Hashem for having the love that He has for me.  

No one can take this away from me, no one can ever make me dought what I’m doing and the truth of it all.  (Ha emet)

I still have days that are filled with questions about this or that but my emuna is strong.  I know I am doing what I was created to do in life and I will continue to learn and grow in this new life.  

I was asked by a friends, “what was the hardest part of this joinery”?  I would have to say, learning Hebrew. It took all my time.  Second would be learning all the new concepts and understanding that are within Judaism.  It is not like Christian worship at all.  There is a lot of emotion in Christian worship.  Judaism is about learning, living, and understand what and who Hashem is and what He wants you to do with your life.  

If I had to pick what was most meaningful and important for me in this joinery, it would be learning and understanding Maimondies’ Principles. Those 13 principles are life.  They are the fundamentals of Jewish faith. To know and accept all that they contain.  Believing in one G-d.  This belief is with perfect faith.  You can never really understand this just by studying on your own.  Knowing that He is the Creator and Ruler of all things.  He, alone, make all things.  He is One and there. Is no unity that is in any way like His.  He is without a body.  Physical concepts do not apply to Him.  He is first and last. All the words of our prophets are true. The prophecy of Moses is absolutely true.  The Torah was given to Moses and it is what we have today.  It will NEVER be changed.  G-d knows ever deed of man and his thoughts.  That He rewards those who keep His commands, and punishes those who transgress them.  I believe with perfect faith the coming of the Messiah.  I believe with perfect faith that the dead will be brought back to life when G-d wills it to happen.  

This is what I have come to know and have faith in.  There is no other. In just 10 days, I will be connect to my family in a way I’ve never known before.  My soul will be free to fly.  

We’re PCSING

So as it turns out my husband and I found out about 15 months ago and we will PCS to (drumroll please), Germany! We were so excited but we did not have pinpoint information as to where in Germany we would be going. My husband got his official orders and we now know that we will be going to Kaiserslautern. 

So, now for the fun of organizing, scheduling the movers, shipping the car, booking our flight and saying good bye to friends and family. This is our first overseas dusty station. We need any information we can get to help with it all.

Basic Soup (vegetarian) 

(I forgot where I got this.  Would love to give credit to the person)

This is an all-purpose soup stock base. 

  • 1 big soup pot & stirring spoon
  • 1 complete bunch of celery, including the leaves (the darker & nicer the better)
  • 1 additional whole giant celery root (plus whatever is attached to it)
  • a few parsley roots
  • 8 carrots
  • 1-2 large fist-grab-size bunches each of fresh parsley & dill
  • (put a few sprigs of that dill to side to dry on toweling after washing. Mince fine and store in covered little bowl to use later to sprinkle fresh on top of soup right before serving)
  • 1/2 bulb’s worth of garlic (you can chunky-chop the cloves if you prefer)
  • salt & black pepper to taste
  • tablespoon or so of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • a bit of oil/fat of some kind
  • Optional: Besides the above, you can add whatever you like. For example, if you want a “sweeter” soup, add more carrots, a large onion or two, & some light-green zucchinis. If you want a slightly thicker soup, add some potatoes. If you accidently throw in too much salt, by the way,
  • throw in a potato or 2 to suck some of it up.
  1. Peel roots & wash veggies well.

  2. Yes, you are really using those amounts (it kind of melts/sink down, ok?).

  3. Chunk if you like (or not) & throw into pot to boil for a few hours into stock. 

  4. Add water if needed as you go, or conversely- boil down to concentrate taste & stir once in a while if you remember. 

  5. You can freeze this stock fine for some weeks. You can strain for consommé/broth if you prefer. It’s very useful for making some other dishes, as well as a slew of varied soups. If you concentrate it down, like to save on freezer space, just gradually add water to taste when heating later to use. *You can also do “cup-of-broth” by freezing a concentrated version in an ice-cube tray. Throw a few in a mug of hot water when needed.

We are PCS’ing

So we found out back in October that we would be moving in a year.  Well, time has past and the time has come for us to start preparing for that move.  It has been hard waiting but it is all coming down to the point when we get on our way.  I’ve been doing a little bit but now things are picking up and I have to get moving with the move.  PCS’ing is a way of life for an Army family, in fact, any Military family in the US.  You come to understand one very important thing, Home is where the Army sends you!

WOW, Its been a long time sense I last posted.  Lots of things have happened in our lives.  I’ll will try to give a summary of some of it.

We are near the end of our conversion process, YAY  What a year 🙂  We’ve learned a lot and understand so much more.  We’ve also been learning Hebrew this year and are much better at speaking to one another in Hebrew.  I did a post about the cost of converting and although it was high it was more about buying the things that a person born would have due to family.  Things like books, tallit, tefillen, scrolls, etc.  It was all worth it and we are so happy that we are soon going to be Jews.

I have lost some weight. I also had breast reduction and tummy tuck surgery.  More on those in another post.

I completed school.  I did not take the Board.  I don’t really fell I want to be a nurse.  I’m not sure I want to do.  I have a loving husband who is allowing me to explore and figure it all out.

So we are now 4 years in to our Army life and loving it!  It has its ups and downs but I would not trade it.  I get to spend the best years (so far) of my life with the love of my life, how cool is that?  It has been fun.  We are living on Post and I know I talked about Post life a little so let me open up to more of what it is like to live on Post, from my point of view.

Making friends is easier for some.  I’ve had a really hard time with it.  I don’t share in a lot of what goes on so I’m often left out.  My husband works in the OR and has really crazy hours.  I spend a lot of time on my own.  I’ve learned the joy of Glide.  It is awesome!  I get to talk to my friends from all over the world through video chat.  I like it better than skype.  Although there is nothing wrong with skype.

I’ve closed my FB account.  Way to much drama going on.  hahaha Now I just use my Instagram and Glide to share.  Look me up Chanaruth

Now that we are getting ready for our first PCS, I’ve learned a lot about housing.  When we moved in, I was so excited about getting a place on arrival that I did not inspect the house like I should have.  Now that we are getting ready to move out, in a few months, I learned that it is important to check everything and fill out the paper work showing any issues.  For example; on move out there is an inspection that the rental office staff conducts.  It is very detailed.  You would not think of most of the things they check but they don’t tell you to do this at move in.  Things like removing cobwebs.  When we moved in this house there were many cobwebs in the corners but move-out inspection wants it gone if not, they will change you.  You must clean the interior surfaces of the windows and exterior but this was not checked by my husband or I to see if it was done before we moved in.  I think a lot of what they require is wrong.  But, my house will be cleaned and ready.  Also, and this is a big one, they will charge you for damage to the house.  So you are living and the shower rod falls off the wall, you call for repair, what they don’t tell you is upon move out some of those repair cost are charged to you.  You would think that maintenance calls a free but not all of them.  If they feel it is residence fault, they charge you and you don’t find out about this until move out when they hit you with the bill.  Below are some pictures of things that can cost you.  In the first one, I dropped a pot on the floor and it dented the floor.  Normally this would be a charge to replace the whole kitchen floor, but the office told me that it was small enough and I’ve been so good at keeping the house clean over the years, that I would not be charged.  In cases like this you want to make sure that it is noted in your file because it can come back and bit you in the pocket.  Now, the second one is in the living-room floor.  I don’t know how this dent got there but they are going to charge us for it.  I think it is like $25.00 for each one they find.  I’ve heard from other spouses that they don’t replace the things they charge you for as they claim.  I don’t know if that is true but the carpet cleaner told me he has seen it happen.  He said they charge people for stains in the carpet and say it has to be replaced but don’t.  That is so wrong.

IMG_0009IMG_0010

So Now that I’ve caught you up on some of what’s been going on you are probably wondering where we are PCS’ing.  Well, I’d like to hold off on that info for a bit longer 🙂 One, it will give me more to talk about and keep me faithful this time to posting and two, I think it will be fun watching it all unfold.