Monday, September 30, 2013

30 for 30 Outfit Challenge Week 4 and Lessons

Here are:
Week 3Week 2Week 1The Mostly 30 Pieces and the Background

Here we are at the end of Week 4.  This past week, I was feeling discouraged and painfully insecure about the outfits I picked.  

I'm still finding it hard to match head coverings with outfits.  When I got to Israel in November, I will look for solid coloured scarves, although I'm not sure if the lack of pattern will help matters.  I feel that I am adding too much extra colour or pattern with a scarf on my head and somehow it takes away from the outfit.  I don't really look very good in berets and I don't want to start living in 3-4 hats all the time either.

I'm open to ideas...should I just stick to a certain set of colours in my wardrobe? I've received feedback that certain colours definitely look better on me (earth tones, warmer colours, a few of the cooler colours too but definitely in what would be considered neutral/safe tones).

I feel overall, I look best in the tighter fitting skirts.  The jean skirt and the brown corduroy skirt has been less of a favourite of mine and also of some readers (please keep in mind I was using what I had in my closet too, so be gentle on me :) ).  I'd like to have a basic denim skirt, so I am on the look out for something better.  I do have a denim-y pencil that wasn't part of the challenge, but it tends to look dressier which is why I opted for the more casual one.

The green chiffon blouse...sigh, I think that is one I'll have to give up, I think I've given it a bunch of tries and it's one of those, looked great on the mannequin, should have left it in the store.  I love all the other blouses (3 recently purchased) used for the challenge (chambray, blue, white, purple/black).

By far, this outfit was one of my favourites.  I don't know why, I just really liked the combination of casual with fancy.  My black pencil style skirt from Old Navy was also a favourite piece, I guess it's just really versatile.  If you've been following along, you know by now I love black and white stripe skirts, and I really like mine and I am looking forward to wearing my newly acquired one (more pencil like style).

I'm glad I gave my sheath style dress some new life by wearing them with blouses (rather than only shells).

Here are the pictures for Week 4.  One outfit is missing, striped skirt with dark red t-shirt/white shell.  It looked bleh, but I was feeling pretty bleh that day and I didn't care.  One of those days.

I was rushing to get my son ready so I  missed the top buttons on the sweater.  They got done up later one.  
Taking Sprout out for a little wagon ride
for sure not my favourite, but i needed something for that day and too much was in the laundry (or previously worn combinations)!
I know it all looks dark, but I was in fact wearing burgundy tights.  I happened to try on black mary jane heels in a store and it really looked much better than my black ballet flats.  This beige sweater thing is a hand me down from a friend, I feel mixed about it.  I kind of like the idea of it, I'm just not sure it suits me, what do you think?

I didn't mind either of these outfits (worn during Yom Tov, thrown back on for picturing purposes).  Quite honestly, I think a lot of these outfits would look far better on me if I had on a little eyeliner and concealer.  

and for Day 30....

A big lesson after all of this...with the right pieces you really can have a closet with only 30 items (crazy i know!) and wear 30 different outfits over a month.  I think there are still a few more combinations I could have made if some of my pieces were a bit different.  
Thank you for following along!  Have you ever done a 30 for 30 outfit challenge?

(what 30 day challenge should i do next???)

I appreciate all comments. Please don't be shy and share your thoughts! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Holiday Burn Out

I have been feeling depressed the last week.  I have had so much on my mind.  I feel like my faith is doing the ebb/flow thing.  I don't know where I belong in the Jewish community.  Infertility.  Holidays.   Reflecting.  Cooking.  Cleaning.

The best way to describe the feeling has been a burnt out exhaustion.  It started around Rosh Hashanah.  After I finished that 30 day writing challenge, I didn't really feel spiritually ready for the Jewish New Year.  I felt.  Empty.  Like a "so what?" kind of feeling.

Those feelings have been staying right through Sukkot, a time that is supposed to be filled with joy.  I put my son in extra day care hours this week to give myself some mommy alone time.  It has helped a bit.  One more set of three day Yom Tov this weekend.  I admit I'm not feeling spiritually or emotionally ready to do it again, but, like all my hard races, I will do one more push to the finish line.

Do you feel holiday burn out?

I appreciate all comments. Please don't be shy and share your thoughts!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

30 for 30 Outfit Challenge - Week 3

Has it been 3 weeks already?  It seems to be going by fast.

Week 2, Week 1, The Mostly 30 Pieces and the Background

This week included outfits for Yom Tom (Holy days), some of which were just casual meals out.  The outfits are out of order, (sorry), but you get the idea.  Jean skirt got featured a lot this week.  Usually I might be out for maybe an hour or so, and then change back into yoga pants for hanging out at home.  The one thing I didn't really like is how the button and the fly kind of show through whatever I am wearing on top of the skirt.  I don't like how things look tucked into this particular skirt, so maybe it's a sign I might need something different?

I apologize for the quality of the pictures.  Oh well.

I appreciate all comments. Please don't be shy and share your thoughts!
I kind of liked my retro tichel with this outfit.  
Blurrrry.  Oops.  

I'm wearing a sinar (apron) tichel with this outfit.  I was mostly happy with the ensemble.  

See what I mean?  Bumpy.  What do people do about that?  

I have to admit, this outfit makes me happy.  

Comfy and casual

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Our Sukkah: The inside

Our Sukkah has come together nicely (You can read about the building of our Sukkah, here).  I don't think it's anything glamorous, but it's ours and I am happy we finally have a Sukkah we can enjoy.

The thing about Sukkot in Canada is that it can be cold and wet during September (or October), so all decorations need to be waterproof.  Here is a run down of the crafts/decorations I made:

  • I prepared a few of these, I guess I will follow up later and let you know if it helped at all.  I know from friends' Sukkot, bees and wasps can be problematic and generally causing freak outs. 
  • My husband helped me make a simplified version of this.  
  • I didn't make a garland, but I made the plastic pom poms.  
  • I tried making a couple of these, but I didn't like the way they turned out.  
  • I got a couple of the banner ideas from here.  The Bruchim HaBaim Banner (Welcome Blessing) is made of foam sheets.  
  • I made a variation of these using dried beans, electric tea lights and large mason jars.  I like the colours.  

I created a few print outs of the list of Ushpizin (guests) because I couldn't find anything online, they are obviously very basic.  It's one of those things I plan on improving, just looking for the right print out and idea.

A beautiful idea I've seen at my Rebbetzin's Sukkah is a collage of pictures of Sukkah's past.  I'd like to make something like that for ours too.  What a beautiful way to keep memories.

Anything out of paper got laminated using clear sticky book covering stuff from the dollar store.

A really great resource for crafts for Sukkot (other than searching through Pinterest) is Creative Jewish Mom.  She is absolutely an inspiration.

I think that covers the crafts.  Without further ado, here is a look inside the Sukkah.

I know, they are basic and simple, but they'll do for now.  

"Those who reap with tears will sow with songs of joy"

A view of the pom poms

My husband made the welcome a little too Halloween-y, I think, but he says it's Dr. Seuss.  What do you think?  

Our cute little centrepiece


I appreciate all comments. Please don't be shy and share your thoughts!

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's Monday, let's talk: Modest Fashion

I'd like to start a "It's Monday, let's talk..." series.  We can share insights on different issues, parental, spiritual, fashion...whatever I think of.  If you have a suggestion, please let me know!

For the first one, I decided on Modest Fashion (as you might have guessed).

The laws of Tsniut (Modesty) extends beyond dress, and applies to behaviour and certain activities (such as a man cannot be alone with a woman who is not his wife, or there must be a divider between the men and women in a Synagogue).  (As well as other things, but these are just examples). 

I would like to chat about modest dress.  I only know from what I learn from my Rebbetzin (Rabbi's wife), so I won't quote specific references online.

The basics:

  • Tops should cover collar bones
  • Sleeves should cover elbows
  • Skirts should cover knees, even while seated
  • Hair is covered (up to a fistful can be showing, and I know there is discussion as to what that means, but I won't get into that.  I don't look good in bangs so I'm not worried about that too much).  
Some people wear longer sleeves, long skirts, wear tights all the time...

Why have I started to do any of this?...It felt right?  I guess it is just some irrational reason I cannot fully explain.  When I started to learn and I wanted to take on more Mitzvot, dressing modestly just seemed like the right thing to do.  

I admit, I have a hard time finding skirts that are the appropriate length, so many of my skirts may cover my knees, barely, and definitely don't while I'm seated.  I am short, so I don't really like very long skirts, I end up looking like I wear a blanket.  (I'm not a petite short build).  I'm sure some people might consider that an excuse.  I want to feel good in my clothes and I won't enjoy or appreciate the Mitzvah (Commandment or Good Deed) of dressing modesty if I feel bleh every time I get dressed.  

For the summer I find it challenging to find tops that cover what they should cover and I end up relying on shells under T-shirts, and I'm starting to get tired of that look.  Not to mention how very hot I feel wearing layers on the hottest days of summer.   

I started covering my hair full time since May.  I like covering my hair.  I admit in part, it's because I hate my hair.  I don't think my hair ever recovered from my pregnancy and it is always up in in a pony tail anyway.  I have found that matching scarves to outfits a bit difficult but I am slowly figuring it out.  

I have been working on rebuilding my wardrobe and dressing more fashionably, yet modest.  I have been learning since I am quite fashion-challenged.  You can check out my Pinterest Board and see that there are ideas out there.  

Do you dress modestly?  Why?  What rules have you chosen to follow?  Where do you find clothes?  

Let's talk!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Building the Sukkah

Sukkot is a few days after Yom Kippur which means a lot of scrambling to get it all together before the next set of Yom Tov (Holy) days.

In a nutshell, the Sukkah is a booth (hut?) that needs to have certain characteristics.  The roof must be made so that it provides shade during the day but the stars are visible at night.  These huts commemorate Jewish people's housing as they travelled the 40 years in the desert after leaving Egypt (as in the story from the Bible).  

Our Sukkah went up today.  This is the first year we have a full sized Sukkah.  Last year we used a Pop Up Sukkah which was very cute and very cozy.  We recently had the backyard redone (you do not want to see the before pictures, we're talking dead grass, decaying deck...).  We added a pergola to the design which would act as our frame for the Sukkah (and give us shade the rest of the warm season).  

The area and our son acting as general contractor.   

The Schach (roof).  This one is a 10x16 roll of bamboo mat.  

My husband is proud that the schach covers the area.  

Added support for the tarp walls. The walls can't sway too much, since we are using tarp we needed to find a way to keep the walls more secure.  

A very massive tarp.  It was cut in half before being installed.   The walls are secured to the frame with bungee chords.  

And there it is!  

Next Sukkah post will show the inside (which will give me a chance to actually decorate the inside!).

30 for 30 Outfit Challenge Week 2

You can view Week 1The Mostly 30 Pieces, and a bit of a Background on my doing this.

Week 2 and we're almost half way there.  I find the one thing that's challenging is that I'll find a combination I like, then I can't wear it again for the rest of the month.  Doh!  I'll probably do a post at the end of the outfits that I liked the best/least.

So here are the outfits from this week.  I apologize for the clothing mess for Yom Kippur's outfit, it's horribly wrinkled, and I had an AMAZING head wrap with two scarves only I haven't been able to recreate it. Doh.  I was also home all day one day this week, so I didn't do the challenge and stayed in comfy clothes.  Maybe that's cheating?

I have been focused on necklaces as a statement, and patterns in general.  I realized I can use my head scarves as my statement piece and just use an slightly understated necklace too.

I realize I've been wearing my new brown shoes lately too.  I guess they just worked well with my outfits I chose.  My legs are also painfully white.  Sorry.  I don't tan.  The weather is starting to be cool enough for tights, so at least those will get hidden a bit more.

Thanks for reading!  

Saturday, September 14, 2013


This post is based on the writing prompt from Creative with Kids...

I need to allow things to happen as they are meant to happen.  I need to allow my body to be as it is and I need to allow G-d to either make a pregnancy happen or not.  I do need to allow myself to mourn and feel sad and know it's ok.  

I need to allow my son to make his own decisions on eating and not get so worked up.  

I have to allow certain things to happen because I can't control everything. 


Friday, September 13, 2013

Should I or Shouldn't I?

Ottawa Fashion Week starts tonight.  I can't go tonight or tomorrow night, but Sunday night is a real possibility (assuming I can snag a ticket).  I'm tempted to go.  I don't know why.  Do I want to start a career in fashion (my best friend would faint!)?  Do I just want to be a fashionista (wanna-be)?

What would I even wear?

What do you think?  Should I go?


Thursday, September 12, 2013

It doesn't go away

Emotionally, Rosh Hashanah was very hard for me.  I had reached the end of my 30 Elul writing prompt challenge, and I felt a little bit drained.

Without getting into too many details, my body clearly is not cooperating with our TTC (trying to conceive) plan.  I had a chemical pregnancy a few months ago, and it seems that will be the closest we will get to giving our son a sibling.

Rosh Hashanah came, and there were so many pregnancy friends.  Pregnant with number two (or three or four...).  I am happy for them.  I truly am.  I am happy for them because I know how hard it is to get and stay pregnant.

I am also hurting.  The feelings of infertility do not simply vanish once you have a child.  I feel like my body has betrayed me.  I feel old.  Did I wait too long?  Maybe.  It didn't help that it took two years to get pregnant to begin with.

Time.  Is it time to stop?  Accept it won't happen?

(We've looked into IVF and the rates of success for my numbers/age is not that great).

When I heard the shofar, I felt my heart breaking.  I want so much to grow our family and it's hard when things are so beyond our control to the point of hopelessness.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never Forget

I was at work in my office on September 11, 2001.  A friend and I had been emailing about mountain biking, and he wrote to me about a plane that flew into a building in New York.  I remember scrambling the news to find out.  Was it a small plane?  An accident?  A stunt gone wrong?

Websites were slow in loading.  I couldn't get through to the news sites and it became clear to me something more was happening.

When I finally got the news loaded up, I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Two planes had flown into the Twin Towers in New York.

Later that evening, I watched the news reports.  I remember watching an interview with a husband, whose wife had left a message on their answering machine.  She was trapped in one of the towers.  She was saying how much she loved him and good bye.  My heart ached.

I think about those families, those who lost loved ones and those who survived and can't imagine their thoughts and emotions.

I pray every night with my son for a world filled with peace, love and understanding.  May we see it in our days.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Preparing for Yom Kippur

I spent the entire month of Elul (August leading into September) writing each day on one of the themes of Rosh Hashanah and the High Holidays.  We are now in the Ten Days between Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Repentence).

I am still writing, this time privately, answering the questions of 10Q.  It's a pretty awesome project.  Answer ten questions, one a day from the Jewish New Year until Yom Kippur.  The answers are "locked up" until next year.

I did this last year, and I admit, I was a bit depressed after re-reading my answers.  I had hoped to be holding a second child in my arms.  I had hoped to be more patient...I feel like I am rewriting the same goals of last year.  I guess some years we make tremendous growth and others, well, not so much.

This year I spent 30 days writing for Rosh Hashanah and really took some time to think about my goals.  Maybe that will make a difference?

Do you spend any time preparing for High Holidays or the "regular" New Year (like resolutions)?  How do you keep track on your goals?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I made something!

My goal for this upcoming year  is to make a few crafts.  For my first official creation, I decided on something to organize my necklaces.  I get very frustrated with how they always end up in a knotted mess.

I had seen a few really great ideas, and I decided on a frame with hooks in it.  I used wrapping paper for the background (Dollarama).  The frame came from Value Village ($4), and the hooks were from Home Depot ($1.15 per package).  The whole thing cost less than $10 to create.  I am really happy with it.  Eventually we will repaint the room, which is why I am went for the black and white colour theme.

I used a piece of cardboard behind the wrapping paper to make up for the space of the glass part of the frame that I didn't use.  I wrapped the carboard/back of the frame with the wrapping paper and pressed into the frame (being careful not to rip anything).  The hooks screwed right into the paper/cardboard/frame back and are pretty secure.  They do poke out the back, I will eventually cover the pack with some paper to protect fingers and wall.

I measured roughly 3 cm between hooks and alternated them high/low.  I was a bit off in the measurements, so the last hook is actually a bit further than 3 cm from the edge.  My very accurate husband thinks it looks fine and it is barely noticeable.

I think it looks like a great piece of art up on the wall.  How do you store your necklaces?

30 for 30 Outfit Challenge Week 1

I am in the first week of a 30 day Outfit challenge.  In case you are just joining in, the rules are I can only wear some combination of a few of the 30 items each day and I can't wear the same outfit twice during the month.  These are the 30 pieces ( 27 actually) that I chose for the challenge.  I am still deciding whether shells should be included in the 30, which would make up the last 3 pieces (black, beige and white shells).

I think it might get a little annoying to post daily, so I decided to do a few days at a time.

I'm still having a lot of trouble with head ware, which is why I threw on black hats over the holidays.  I guess if I am wearing something casual, I have enough scarves, I feel when I am dressed a bit more fancy, the scarves take away from the outfit.  I am hoping to find scarves that will work better.

Inspiration for this outfit

Head covering from

I think I would have liked something a bit bigger for the necklace, what do you think?

I've linked up to Sunday Style!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

29 Elul: Plan or The year of no excuses

Plans are foiled for lack of counsel, but they are established through many advisers. - 

A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord prepares his step. - Mishlei (Proverbs) Chapter 16

For I know the thoughts that I think about you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. -  Jeremiah Chapter 29

So here we are, one more post for the year 5773 and just before Rosh Hashanah.

For many reasons, it is starting to feel that this is going to be a time of no excuses.  I have made excuses for so long:

I'm not creative, I'm impatient, I am a stay at home mom, I don't have time, I don't have energy, I don't have motivation...

I'm better than excuses.  I want to live a meaningful life, and I also want to live a beautiful life.  I want to feel beautiful and I want to make our home beautiful.

I took a step.  I've decided to stop dressing so frumpy and start making the outside a bit prettier.  I'm going to do the 30 for 30 outfit challenge.

I've also signed up for my Hebrew class which has already started.

I want to read a book a month (this was also last year's goal, time to reset it).

I am going to go to Shul and aim for twice a month.

I've decided to stop just Pinning cute crafts on Pinterest.  I'm actually going to make some of them.  One a month or maybe every second month.  I figure holidays will bring on a couple of extra.  (Or I could be super organized and do them much earlier).

I'm going to use that feeling of my blood boiling as cue.  I am very aware of it, and I know I feel like screaming (and admittedly, sometimes I do), I need to let it go.  I've found the Orange Rhino, which is focused on parenting, but I think can be applied to any reason for losing one's temper.  I will pick ten strategies (she has 100!).

I want to develop my creativity.  I think doing some crafts can help, but I need to work on my own creativity.  I am going to use a journal and a random generator.  I'm not sure if I can do it daily.  Maybe aim for 1-2 a week.  (Maybe that will be my next 30 day challenge hardy har har).

I will go to my JWRP alumni classes and listen to one other lecture a week, whether it's going to my Rebbetzin's class or an online lecture.

I will exercise again.  I'm not sure what that will look like yet, but somehow I will get this body of mine moving.

My list may seem ambitious, the fact is, I AM a stay at home mom with a toddler.  A big chunk of my day is watching my son play.  So maybe sitting with him with crayons and a journal is a good way to spend some of the day.  Or working on a craft.  Or reading 2 pages of a book (or one page!).  My Hebrew class is set for Thursday evenings, after my son goes to bed.  The biggest chunk of time will be the alumni classes, since it's usually 2-3 hours of the evening.  Shul is on Shabbat, and it is better than just sitting at home.  Outfits, well, I do have to get dressed in the morning.

I will be thrilled if I manage even part of any of these goals.  If it means that I've read more books over the course of the year, have a few pages with colour in my journal and a couple of funky crafts decorating the house, it will mean I tried.  I may only make it to Shul once a month and that's ok.  There  may be weeks when I revert back to plain t-shirts/white shells and that's ok too.  They key is to keep trying and reset and refocus when necessary.

I will stop making excuses, get off my tuchus and with G-d's help make some things happen.

Thank you for reading and following along.  Most of the translations for the Torah (Bible) quotes came from

May the new year be sweet and filled with joy, good health, peace and prosperity.

Shanah Tovah


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Rosh Hashanah Menu

I get so much inspiration reading other's favourite recipes.  I thought I would share the menu for the Three Day Yom Tov (2 Days of Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat).  It will be "just" us for the at home meals, so I tend to keep them simple.  

Wednesday Night Dinner:  Challah, Harvest Stew (first time making it) with rice and Roasted Green Beans (instead of snap peas, the tomatoes will be from out garden, I've made it before and it is excellent).  Symbolic foods (apples and honey, fish, leeks, beets, squash, carrots).  Honey Cake for Dessert

Thursday meals are out all day!  We will likely have a light early dinner since actual dinner is late.  We'll have the Veggie Pot Pies with some sauteed mushrooms.  

Friday Night:  Challah, Lasagna (from scratch, including the noodles) and salad, and apple crisp for dessert. 

Saturday Lunch - Cholent (beef stew) (and apple crisp or honey cake)

Seudat Shlishit (Third Meal) - Salad with "crab" cakes. (Also my first time making this).   

What are you making?  Any favourite recipes? 

28 Elul: Signed...sealed...delivered

I couldn't find a Torah quote that is appropriate to this theme (any suggestions?).

I remember my parents signing my reading homework as required by our teachers.  My parents signed notes explaining my absence from school.  I occasionally forged my parent's signature when I chose to be absent from school.

I signed leases and home ownership deeds.  I signed contracts for jobs.  I signed checks for debts that needed to be paid.  I signed the back of my credit card.

My University diploma is signed by the Dean of the Science Department.  Our portrait is signed by our aunt.

Each signature is a work of art.  There is a whole science around looking at the loops and lines of a signature and what it reveals about your personality.  I wonder what my messy signature says about me.

Monday, September 2, 2013

27 Elul: Book of Life

And it shall come to pass that every survivor shall be in Zion, and everyone who is left, in Jerusalem; "holy" shall be said of him, everyone inscribed for life in Jerusalem. - Isaiah Chapter 4

R. Kruspedai said in the name of R. Johanan: Three books are opened [in heaven] on New Year, 
one for the thoroughly wicked,24 one for the thoroughly righteous, and one for the intermediate. The 

thoroughly righteous are forthwith inscribed definitively in the book of life; the thoroughly wicked 
are forthwith inscribed definitively in the book of death;25 the  doom of the intermediate is suspended 
from New Year till the Day of Atonement; if they deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of life; 
if they do not deserve well, they are inscribed in the book of death. - Talmud, Rosh Hashanah, 16B

The whole idea of a Book of Life used to scare me as a child.  There was no way to know whether I've done enough Teshuvah or Mitzvot to deserve another year of life.  There is no way to know G-d's Ultimate Plan.  

The prayers of Rosh Hashanah does give us a formula to at least try to get us in the Book of Life:  Teshuvah (Repentance), Tefillah (Prayer) and Tzedakah (charity).  It is interesting that two of these requires us to connect with people in this world.  We can't do full Teshuvah unless we apologize to the people we've wronged.  By giving charity, we are obviously helping other people.  

The root of the world Tefillah, is Pallel - which refers to a self judgement.  While G-d is judging us, we are forced to take a real close look at ourselves.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Building my Wardrobe - More lessons

I listed some of the things I am learning about my style preferences in a previous post.  As I look for some basic elements for my wardrobe, I am still learning.

  • I think I may to have to give up on wearing boots for most of my outfits.  I just can't seem to make them work.  I bought these ones (and returned them).  They just seemed too long and didn't look right with any of the outfits I put together.  The shorter ankle boots make me look kind of stalky.  I really wanted a brown boot/shoe thing with a heel, since most of my shoes are black black and more black.  I am going to check out brown/cognac pumps and see how I feel with those.  

  • I love the black and white striped skirts.  Love them.  They don't like me so much.  I've tried a couple of different widths of stripes, and as long as they are going horizontally across this not. forgiving.  (update - I bought a black and white striped skirt!  I couldn't take it anymore, I wanted one...I will make it work.  Spanx (or similar)...)

  • I think I am going to aim for different coloured skirts with different textures rather than looking for patterns.  

  • I am starting to like the leopard print that is in right now.  I don't think I would do a skirt or a blouse, but maybe ballet shoes or a belt.    

I am finding this whole thing really challenging.  I am trying to figure out my style, or maybe even redefine it.  I am also trying to figure out who I am spiritually and somehow these two need to link up or at least agree.  Or something.  

26 Elul: Psalm 27

Of David. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; from whom shall I be frightened? When evildoers draw near to me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies against me-they stumbled and fell. 
If a camp encamps against me, my heart shall not fear; if a war should rise up against me, in this I trust. One [thing] I ask of the Lord, that I seek-that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to see the pleasantness of the Lord and to visit His Temple every morning. That He will hide me in His tabernacle on the day of calamity; He will conceal me in the secrecy of His tent; He will lift me up on a rock. And now, my head will be raised over my enemies around me, and I will sacrifice in His tent sacrifices with joyous song; I will sing and chant praise to the Lord. Hearken, O Lord, to my voice [which] I call out, and be gracious to me and answer me. On Your behalf, my heart says, "Seek My presence." Your presence, O Lord, I will seek. Do not hide Your presence from me; do not turn Your servant away with anger. You were my help; do not forsake me and do not abandon me, O God of my salvation. For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord gathers me in. Instruct me, O Lord, in Your way, and lead me in the straight path because of those who lie in wait for me. Do not deliver me to the desires of my adversaries, for false witnesses and speakers of evil have risen against me. Had I not believed in seeing the good of the Lord in the land of the living! Hope for the Lord, be strong and He will give your heart courage, and hope for the Lord.- Psalms Chapter 27

Every year I commit to saying the above Psalm every day from the first day of Elul until the end of Sukkot.  I don't know too much about it.  I think it is an appropriate Psalm for the time of year since it does have mentioned of the sounds of Truah (shofar sounds) and mentions dwelling in G-d's tent (i.e. like a Sukkah).  

I've never taken a deeper look at this Psalm, even though I spend so much time with it each year.  King David is asking for G-d's help from his adversaries, which is the content of many of the Psalms.  I find it interesting (now that I look at it), that he is also asking G-d to hide him, and again asking G-d not to be hidden (which to me seems to add another holiday in the Jewish calendar, that of Purim).  

My other question is that at the end, it seems King David is telling the reader to trust in G-d, but throughout he is asking for G-d's help, shouldn't he taken his own advice?  He even mentions that G-d helped him when even his parents abandoned him.  

Do you know why we read this Psalm daily and not any of the others?  Do you know any deeper meaning of the words?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

25 Elul: Family

And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man is alone; I shall make him a helpmate opposite him." - Genesis Chapter 2

Honor your father and your mother, in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you. - Exodus Chapter 20

Hearken, my son, to the discipline of your father, and do not forsake the instruction of your mother - Proverbs Chapter 1

Family is important in Jewish life.  Jewish spirituality isn't mean to be done in isolation.  Communal prayer is important as is having many children (I didn't add that quote in for many reasons).  

Over time I have learned a family is what you make family.  Family doesn't have to be one mom, one dad and a few kids.  Families can be one mom or two moms or two dads or no kids or no related DNA.  Family is the group with who you feel connected with, with whom you share values and learn from.  You can argue with family and no matter what they will always love you and accept you.  

From my family to yours, may the New Year be filled with Joy, Good Health, Peace and Prosperity.  


Friday, August 30, 2013

30 for 30 Outfit Challenge - The mostly 30 Pieces

It took a few weeks to decide but I finally picked out my items for the 30 day challenge.  I choose to dress modestly, which means knees are mostly covered (appropriate length skirts are hard to find, I make do with what is available), elbows are covered and most of my collar bone (so shirts are probably not quite that, I am ok with that).  I also cover my hair.

Accessories and shoes are not included on the list.

So my items are:

  1. grey dress 
  2. grey skirt from Value Village (I love it)
  3. black/white diagonal skirt from H&M (You may recall how much I wanted a striped skirt)
  4. Brown corduroy skirt from Smart Set
  5. beige straight skirt from Reitmans
  6. Jean skirt from Value Village
  7. Chevron maxi skirt from Old Navy 
  8. Black Pencil skirt from Old Navy (they have since shortened the hemline...doh!)
  9. Basic black skirt
  10. Basic white blouse from Value Village
  11. Basic blue blouse from Value Village
  12. Chambray blouse from Old Navy
  13. Green Blouse I am determined to make work
  14. Red long sleeve top
  15. Purple/black gasp PATTERN blouse from Sears.
  16. Burgundy Corduroy Jacket
  17. Grey military jacket from Le Chateau
  18. Beige sweater thing - hand me down
  19. Yellow v-neck sweater
  20. grey button down sweater from The Gap 
  21. Blue sweater (Lord and Taylor from The Bay, CRAZY sale price.  As similar as I could find here)
  22. Burgundy T-shirt - Walmart
  23. Turquoise (what is that colour exactly?) T-shirt - Walmart
  24. Grey T-shirt - Suzy Shier
  25. Striped long sleeve shirt (which shockingly meets all the requirements and doesn't need a shell!) from Value Village
  26. Mustard long sleeve from Joe (Loblaws) (I like this colour and I want to experiment)
  27. Brown cross top

...the question is, do I add shells to the 30 (one white, one beige and one black) or pick 3 other things?