Mål og planar.

Me er komne fram til siste dagen i 2012. Sjølv om dette er ein heilt vanleg kvardag her i Israel, kan ein jo ikkje unngå å leggje merke til at i dag skriv me 2012, og i morgon skal me skrive 2013. Og dette er jo slikt som kan setje tankar i gang hjå dei av oss som er litt filosofisk anlagt. Ein tenkjer tilbake på året som har gått, og ein tenkjer framover på året som ligg framfor. Ein tenkjer på stort og ein tenkjer på smått. For min del er det eigentleg mykje smått. Mange små augneblink, som saman gir meg eit rikt liv eg er utruleg takksam for!

Mange set seg på denne tida av året nyttårsforsett. Mål for korleis alt skal verte så mykje betre frå no av. Noko eg har tenkt på ein del det siste året er at ein når vanlegvis ikkje desse måla dersom ein ikkje lagar seg ein plan og fylger den planen, steg for steg, trufast frå byrjing til slutt. Dersom planen og gjennomføringa av den uteblir, vert det heile berre ønsketenkning.

Ein kan ha tankar som – Det hadde det vore kjekt å gjere ein gong…, eller – Ein gong vil eg gjere det… Men dersom ein verkeleg vil gjennomføre det, så må ein lage seg ein plan og byrje å handle deretter! Og så skjer det ting!!

Noko nytt for meg dette året er jo nettopp denne bloggen! Eg starta min første og einaste blogg no i 2012, etter å ha tenkt på det i fleire år faktisk. Som kjendt er eg jo også ein stor tilhengar av at det er ei tid for alt, og eg seier ikkje at alt du vil få gjort her i livet, må du gjere akkurat no, men det er jo kjekt å kome i gang med iallefall eitt prosjekt, å lage eitt mål om til ein plan.

Noko eg ser fram til å gjere i 2013 er å springe mitt første fulle maraton den 15. mars i Tel Aviv. (Skrekk og gru! Glede og spenning!) Det er forfriskande med nokon nye prosjekt i kvardagen, å utvikle nye sider ved seg sjølv. Og det er enormt fornøyeleg når ein faktisk når nokon av måla sine, og også delmåla undervegs.

Storebror her i huset har i fleire månadar arbeidd med eit strikkeprosjekt som skulle bli til eit skjerf. Han kjøpte både garn og “quick knit”-reidskap då me var på handletur i Sverige  i sommar, for penger han hadde fått av oldemor og oldefar. Vel heime i Israel var det for varmt å byrje på noko slikt prosjekt, så me venta til litt utpå hausten, og deretter har me hatt mange koselege strikkestunder. Og han har målt fleire gonger undervegs for å sjå kor mange gonger han kunne få skjerfet rundt halsen.

knitting scarf

Og no er det altså ferdig! O, glede stor! Snakk om å vere kjempefornøgd!! Her hadde han kjøpt alt ha trengde for eigne penger, og så strikka det heilt sjølv, – så dette er det inga tvil om at er hans! Og noko anna som er heilt sikkert, er at ingen andre har likt skjerf som han har!! Eg tykkjer det er flott at borna får slike gode opplevingar av å ha arbeidd med noko og så meistra det, å ha oppnådd noko etter å ha investert i det. Det kan virke oppmuntrande også på andre område. (Dette gjeld forresten på ingen måte berre borna!)

Her er eit bilete av gullguten min med ferdig skjerf klar til å gå på skulen der venene vart storleg imponert og nesten ikkje kunne tru at han verkeleg hadde laga det sjølv. (Gjett kven som elska den responsen, då!)

scarf done

Dette er noko eg ynskjer for oss alle i 2013, – at måla våre må verte meir enn ønsketenkning, at me må gjere dei om til planar som me sakte men sikkert gjennomfører. Måtte me leve dei liva me ynskjer å leve! Måtte me skape dei vanane me skulle ynskje me hadde! Det seiast at det tek 28 dagar å skape ein ny vane, så, lat oss byrje i dag!

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For the love of running!

There has certainly been times when I would not have believed you, if you had told me I would come to love running. Not that I was all that inactive, – I have always enjoyed walking and hiking, – but running, it just didn’t seem like it was for me. The pushing yourself. The struggle. The sweating. The hills. It just didn’t seem that enjoyable. And what made me dislike it the most, was the fact that I had to do it for school. So much so, that as I finished high school and thereby my last sports class, I considered signing a document that said I was never going to run again in my life. Well, – never say never…!

Me coming out of Jaffa Gate on my 21.1 K training run earlier today.

Me coming out of Jaffa Gate on my 21.1 K training run earlier today.

Fast forward a few years, and running seemed a lot more fun when no one made me do it. It was actually a great way to just get out some energy. You feel like you move forward fast and efficiently. And at the end of it you feel like you really did something. What a great feeling it is when you sit down to eat something after a shower, you still have that somewhat heavy feeling in your legs that reminds you of the feat you just did, and now you can put your feet up and feel pretty good about yourself!

Fast forward even more, and my husband, who always seemed less into sports activity than me, all of a sudden signed up for a half marathon! What got him into it, was that there would be a first ever international marathon in Jerusalem, and he saw a sign at the university about joining a running group to train for the half marathon, no matter what shape you were in to start with! This is two years ago. And from then on, our family has been into running. It is a before and after type of thing. Our son has done a popular short run of 4.2 kilometers at the two international marathons that have been arranged here in Jerusalem. Last year I did a half marathon. And this year my husband and I are both signed up to run FULL marathons! The way it works out, he is going to run here in Jerusalem, and I will do one two weeks later in Tel Aviv, because this year it is my turn to run with our son, who has advanced to the 10 kilometer distance by now. (Quite impressive, don’t you think? He will be 9 years old by the time the race actually happens.)

Jerusalem Marathon March 25 2011-376

Jerusalem Marathon 2011 (Photo credit: Brian Negin)

So now I am training for a full marathon. It’s even hard for me to believe it… Me?!? A full marathon! What am I thinking??!? This is like, over four hours of running!!! I am just not that type…. Not me. The cozy coffee drinker, chocolate dipper, baker, craft maker, – is all of a sudden taking on a full marathon! How can it be?!?

But actually, I am here to tell you that just about anyone can run a marathon!! If you just put your mind to it! If you want to do it, decide to do it, plan to do it and train for it, – you can do it! One of my mantras is this: “It’s all in the mind.” And really it is! You get tired, and thoughts of quitting starts entering the mind, – but you need to replace those thoughts with thoughts like: “I can do this. I have decided to do this. I am accomplishing something here. I want to do this. Of course I can do this! Why shouldn’t I be able to do this, if others are! Really!!”

The key to successfully running a marathon is together with the mind and decision-thing, a good training plan! It is crucial. I got mine from marathontrainingacademy.com. The guys over there put up great podcasts about running as well. I have gained so much information from them, and they are entertaining and motivating to listen to as well. (You should try it, it’s free!)

my favorite running partner

my favorite running partner

Having a training plan helps me stick with it too. If I was just going to run when it worked out for me to run, I surely wouldn’t have gotten out there during Hanukkah, or when the weather is not all that cooperative, or when there was a war going on and all I wanted to do was staying glued to my TV and computer! Having a training plan helps me not having to decide every day whether to run, how far to run and so on. It is all there for me, and all I have to do is, well, – just to do it! 🙂

The benefits to running are so many! Having a healthy body, living a healthy life style, – it just gives you a better life all around! I feel that after a run in the morning I have more energy for the tasks of the day. And who wouldn’t want that?!

Another blessed Shabbat.

Here in Israel we are rejoicing over a very good start to our rain-season this year! This is the best beginning of the winter that we have had in over twenty years, as far as rain goes! This past Friday was one of those days when it just felt like the skies were open, and it just POURED big time! Thinking it was going to stay that way, I prepared hot chicken soup and hot apple cider for Shabbat, and we brought out all our puzzles to enjoy during this rainy Shabbat. And yes, Friday night was perfect in a warm home with comfort food and family fun with puzzles.

English: Wailing Wall from the Tankizyya

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But come Shabbat morning, and the weather had cleared up quite a bit. It was still very cold, but the wind and the rain had moved on. So, as we say in this family, – there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes, – we put on good, warm clothes and walked to the Western Wall, the Kotel. In the Women’s section, one could notice that a lot of the regulars had decided to stay home on this cold morning, so those of us who did make it out, were blessed to get the best seats, – all the way up close to the Wall!

Papers with prayers and wishes that have been ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I felt so privileged sitting there praying, looking up at the huge stones above me, and at the cracks next to me stuffed full of prayers written on notes. Those notes were soaked wet from all the rain that God has blessed us so richly with lately. I felt so deeply rich who got to sit right there and pray in anticipation:

ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ברחמים. ברוך אתה ה” המחזיר שכינתי לציון

May our eyes behold Your return to Zion in compassion. Blessed are You, HASHEM, Who restores His Presence to Zion.

Then later, we got to hear the whole Torah Portion read right there, including the very exciting words: I am Josef! Those words carry within them the anticipation of the coming of our Mashiach, and He will say: I am the Mashiach!

Today, Sunday, is the tenth of Tevet, a fast day in the Jewish year, and I just listened to a very inspiring lecture about this day by Shira Smiles. She said that we have to live every day in the anticipation of the coming of the Mashiach, of the awaiting redemption, which she called ציפיית ישועה – TZIPIAT YESHUAH! The expectation of Salvation, of Yeshuah! 

Wow! Isn’t it just so exciting to be alive??! To get to live and work towards such a wonderful hope! To get to be a part of something so much greater than ourselves!

Puzzle pieces falling into place.

This week’s Torah Portion, “VaYigash“, tells about Josef revealing his identity to his brothers. It has certainly been a lot of excitement leading up to this. A lot of mysteries for the brothers to wrap their minds around. So many questions. So few answers. So much difficulty. So much pain.

And then, at the climax of the story, Josef stands in front of them and says two words: “.אני יוסף” – “Ani Yosef.”  – I am Josef. And with these words, – all the questions are instantly answered! All the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. The mystery is solved. It’s like you can feel the relief of everyone involved!

At our weekly Torah Study this evening, we talked about how this picture of Josef, parallels the coming of the Mashiach. When He will say “Ani HaMashiach.” so many questions will be answered, so many puzzle-pieces will fall into place, and the picture will be as clear as it possibly can be. We will all see Him for who He really is!

English: Foggy sunrise in San Francisco and Bu...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a great, great moment that will be!!!

For the love of candles!

candlesHanukkah may be over, but winter is most definitely still here, which means it is still a very good time to light candles, – lots of candles! I love candles! They just bring with them a special sort of relaxed atmosphere. There is something alive and beautiful about them. Somehow candles encourage us to enjoy the moment, don’t you think? And hello, – they literally LIGHT up our world a bit!

candlesI can be found to light candles even in the middle of the summer. Here in Israel we have warm and dark summer evenings, and to then sit outside in the garden with a few candles, is a very nice experience! But there is no competing with how perfect candles are in the cold and dark fall and winter! To me, they add to the quality of life! So, yes, I go through a fair bit of candles during a year. But I am not a person to waste stuff, and in this post, I want to show you what I do with the left-over wax from large candles like the big one featured in the pictures above. I keep the left over bits of wax in zip lock bags in my large candle drawer, and once a year I melt the wax to make new candles from it. (This activity is ideally done during Hanukkah, but this year we just weren’t able to fit it in, and anyway, it was nice to have something fun to do the day after Hanukkah too!)

By the way, this is a GREAT way to use broken Hanukkah-candles too! Anyone who has put candles in a few hanukkiot night after night, knows how easily they break, especially when children try to “help”.

So, step one, – collect all your left-over wax from old candles.

left-over wax from old candles

left-over wax from old candles

Step two, – prepare the moulds, cups or glasses that you would like to make your candles in. Glue a piece of wick to the bottom of the mould, and tie the other end to a stick on top that will keep it in place. (At this point I also added various flavors and smells to my candles, but in retrospect I think the oils would have mixed better had I added them straight to the melted wax.)

moulds prepared for candles

Step three, – put the wax in old empty cans in boiling water, to heat and melt. Be careful not to let the cans fall over and get any water in them. It is helpful to use a pot that just fits your cans, and stay nearby to help keep them upright.

melting wax

Step four, – pour your melted wax carefully into the prepared moulds. I didn’t get any pictures of this part, as I naturally needed both hands to pour… But I did get a photo of my children dipping candles into the colored can of wax, and thereby changing the color of their candles and giving them this handmade kind of look. (By the way, this is what I want to do to simple hanukkah candles before hanukkah next year! Writing it down here to hopefully help me not forget…)

candle-dipping

Here are my new and homemade candles at the end of the night:

homemade candles

It is such a satisfying thought that all this fun and beauty comes from stuff that could have easily ended up straight in the garbage! Now I am going to enjoy those candles without feeling that I have to save on them, – because they are bonus anyway! And some I will give away as gifts. I love to give something that I have made, – no worries that someone else will bring them the same thing, right?!

coffee candle

Here is a picture of our breakfast-candle:

breakfast candle

Fun stuff!!!

Let the Light shine!

Here we are, post-Hanukkah… Hard to believe. Even harder to accept. We looked forward to Hanukkah, prepared for Hanukkah, – and now we are on the other side of the whole thing! It is over. All that’s left to do is clean off the hanukkiot and put them back in the box, to stay there till next year.

But then again, the holiday is not only about decorations, sufganiot and beautiful moments. The heart of Hanukkah is Light and Miracles, – and that focus should stay with us also after the holiday! Every year it hits me with all its beauty and symbolism how the shamash, the servant candle, the ninth candle on the hanukkiah, gives of its fire and flame and lights the other candles.lighting the hanukkiah

Even though this candle is called the servant, it is actually given the most special, and in most cases elevated, spot on the hanukkiah.hanukkiah

This Light, which brings of its light to others, – is the Mashiach! And the other candles, symbolize us, the people. And we are to be lit by Him! This is the essence of our calling! To be a light to the nations! Oh, may we be faithful to our calling! May we let the Light of the Mashiach shine clearly through our lives! May this be especially true now that we come out of this wonderful holiday of Hanukkah, the holiday Lights!

The name Hanukkah, means Dedication, – this is the Feast of Dedication (of Beit HaMikdash, the Temple). Again, the symbolism is so deep, – may our lives be dedicated to HaShem, may we live for Him and His purposes!

Hanukkah HighLIGHTs.

eight night of hanukkahWell, here I sit. It’s the eight night of Hanukkah. And I keep on re-lighting the hanukkiot in some sort of desperate attempt to keep the holiday lights for a little longer. The kids are happily building their lego-models that they received in their Hanukkah-gifts tonight. My husband is entertaining us all with various Hanukkah You Tube Clips. I sip my hot cider with a little bit of red wine in it. The brightness of the candles is absolutely stunning.

I want to just hold on to this moment. This moment is going to become one of those memories that will be dear to me forever. The really wonderful times in life.

Holiday. Family. Home. Love. Traditions. Moments. Memories. 

I have so much to be thankful for!eight night of hanukkah

The seventh night of Hanukkah was Erev Shabbat, so we lit the Hanukkiot before sunset, before Shabbat came in. This is what our Shabbat table looked like this week:seventh night of hanukkah

On the sixth night of Hanukkah, we hosted our big Hanukkah party, where we had about forty guests here in our home, and abba made latkes/levivot of about ten kilos of potatoes! Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of him doing it, as I was kind of busy with other things (read: making home made sufganiot, apple sauce, hanukkah sugar cookies, hot apple cider etc. etc.) But here is a picture of him lighting one of our outside oil-hanukkiot on this last night of Hanukkah:abba lighting hanukkiah outside

After we had lit and watched and enjoyed our very many lit hanukkiot in our home on this last night of Hanukkah, we made another trip down to the old city to also there enjoy the beauty of the full hanukkiot. What a privilege to be able to make such a trip spontaneously! Old City Hanukkah Street

Here is a photo of our children by the hanukkiah at the Western Wall:

Western Wall Hanukkiah

On the way home we picked up the very best sufganiot, with flavors such as creme brûlée, tiramisu and black forest.photo-232

Well at home we re-lit a hanukkiah once again, and here I sit full of thankfulness for being able to celebrate Hanukkah in Yerushalayim.Hanukkiah at Jaffa Gate