#BlogElul 3: Bless

#BlogElul 2014 topics

Today, my husband was blessed with a very short workday. We took advantage of it to get out and enjoy a rare treat: coffee at our favorite local place. In Judaism, we bless God for the big things and for the little things, such as every bit of food or drink of which we partake.

Caffeine and sunshine, both worthy of blessing today.

Caffeine and sunshine, both worthy of blessing today.


#BlogElul, the brainchild of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, invites participants to chronicle the month leading up to the Jewish High Holy Days through blog posts, photos, and other social media expressions.

#BlogElul 2: Act

#BlogElul 2014 topicsI am a thinker. One could make a well-supported, cogent argument that I am an over-thinker, one who lives too much in her head and not quite enough in the world of action.

Confession time: I was already way overdue for an eye appointment and a dentist visit when the Navy moved us to Florida in March of 2013. A year and a half later, long after all the urgent upheavals of the move had settled into the routine (well, as routine as life ever gets with a Navy pilot for a spouse), I still had not managed to look up a new optometrist and dentist to call for appointments. Oh, I thought about it — frequently, in fact — but there always seemed to be something more compelling I could shove in front of it on the priority list.

I’ll do it later, I thought, and proceeded to throw up all kinds of excuses for why I needed to think about it more before picking some names from a list of covered providers and picking up the phone. I need to do research. I need to be sure our schedule is set. I need to… 

Today, goaded by the blog prompt’s exhortation to “act,” I pulled the dreaded task of phoning strangers off my mental back burner and made the calls. I now have appointments. Done. More than that, a chunk of my brain’s proverbial clock cycles were suddenly freed up. What I had thought was a low-priority task waiting to be done was actually a mental resource hog that had been taking up energy for so long that I had ceased to notice it.

In the new year, I want to be more aware of the difference between thinking about things because they need thinking about and thinking about things as a way to “deal” with them without taking any concrete action. Thoughtless, impulsive action is no help to anyone, but then, neither is overthinking a simple task to the point of paralysis.


#BlogElul, the brainchild of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, invites participants to chronicle the month leading up to the Jewish High Holy Days through blog posts, photos, and other social media expressions.

#BlogElul 1: Do

#BlogElul 2014 topicsIt would take more geekly wherewithal than I currently possess to get through this post without quoting Rabbi Yoda, so I’ll get it out of the way now:

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to do #BlogElul again this year. My regular blogging fizzled out for an extended spring/summer hiatus sometime before Pesach. The months were filled with more doing than writing about doing; I have no online record of events longer than a Facebook update or more deeply examined than a tweet.

We are one month away from Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This month, אלול (Elul), is our chance to take stock of our lives, to sift through the events of the past year that might have whooshed by, unexamined, masked by the background noise of daily busyness. For the next month, thorough, thoughtful reflection is on our daily to-do list.

Because life goes on even in this month of taking account of ourselves, there will be times when the work of self-examination elicits a “do not” reaction from me. I’m not going to like everything I find with all the usual comforting, self-justifying excuses stripped away from my actions this past year. On those days, I will focus on R. Yoda’s first statement and do the work anyway.

Yoda

“Blog daily this month, you will.”


#BlogElul, the brainchild of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, invites participants to chronicle the month leading up to the Jewish High Holy Days through blog posts, photos, and other social media expressions.

#BlogExodus 6: Clean

#BlogExodus promptsYesterday, when I was supposed to be ruminating on the topic of “Clean” as it relates to the rapidly approaching holiday of Passover, I was out playing instead. We braved the morning fog to get to the movie theater in time for an early showing of “The LEGO Movie,” which was just as awesome* as my brother and various other family members had told us it was. Still singing to ourselves the movie’s notable song, we moseyed on over to Mellow Mushroom for a chametz-ariffic lunch.

It felt great to get out of the house for fun rather than errands. As much as I love the holidays, it takes a lot of work to get ready for them. For Pesach, much of this work is centered around thoroughly cleaning the house to remove all traces of leaven. Having the chance to step away for a few hours from the reminders of work yet to be done accomplished a lot in the way of cleaning up my attitude for this week’s home stretch.

* If you’ve seen it, you get it.


#BlogExodus, the brainchild of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, invites participants to chronicle the weeks leading up to Passover through blog posts, photos, and other social media expressions.

#BlogExodus 5: Prepare

#BlogExodus promptsTwo #blogExodus posts in one day? Well, not really — this one is for the 5th of Nisan, which begins, like all Jewish days, at sundown. I wanted to make sure the day’s post went live before the setting of the sun ushered in Shabbat and I shut down my computer for the next twenty-five-ish hours.

Here’s a glimpse at one aspect of Pesach preparation at my house: the time-honored ritual Perusal of the Cookbooks. I’m a food geek who reads cookbooks cover-to-cover for fun, so dreaming up a menu that makes the festival’s peculiar dietary requirements sing is one of the most enjoyable parts of the holiday prep for me.

Passover Cookbooks

This isn’t even all of them.


#BlogExodus, the brainchild of Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, invites participants to chronicle the weeks leading up to Passover through blog posts, photos, and other social media expressions.

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