Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Things Change...

First of all I'm sorry it's been so long since my last post. So much has gone on since then and several changes in life as well. For starters it seems as though our aliyah has been postponed for now and we're not sure until when. The impending war with Israel and Iran and Gaza is a pretty clear message that now is not the best time to be coming home. Also, all of the chaos and corruption right here in the states has drawn us in and it seems that G-d wants us to help fix things here before we go running off to Israel. My husband has been getting involved in politics and has joined the tea party movement and we hope to help completely tear this government apart and rebuild it from the ground up. For the people, and by the people as it originally should have been.

I was also dealt another blow in my life recently which my husband thinks is another part of the message telling us to stay here and help fix things occurred just last week. Let me explain. Unexpectedly, on June 5th we learned that I was pregnant again. It was such a shock that for the first 24 hrs I didn't believe it. After which time I realized I was pretty happy about it and of course wanted the baby and was happy to be giving our baby boy a new sibling. Only a couple of weeks later I began to realize that something might be very wrong and tried to chock it up to silly worrying. Then the weekend before last I couldn't fool myself any longer. I had a strong instinct feeling that something was definitely wrong and we hadn't seen a heartbeat to the new little one on ultrasound yet when the doctor had said that we definitely should have been able to by then. She had me take two blood tests that week on Wednesday and Friday to check my hcg levels to determine where we stand. I have very irregular periods so we were hoping that maybe I was just much earlier in gestation than we thought. The following Monday I got the phone call from the doctor (while in the grocery store) with those results after pretty much knowing all that weekend what the fate was to be. Instead of my hcg count doubling as it should, it had dropped by 10,000 points. It was then, that I instantly knew that my instincts were correct. The new baby passed away inside of me at about 7 weeks gestation. I was crushed and devastated. My heart broke and I sobbed right in middle of the grocery store. Yikes! But I didn't care what others around me thought at that moment, my world had just suddenly stopped and I felt like part of me died with my tiny baby. Just two days later, on Wednesday, we confirmed the miscarriage (called a missed miscarriage) via ultrasound, and then got sent straight to the hospital to be prepped for surgery to have the baby removed. I somehow managed to hold it together until the moment the scrub nurse began to wheel me down the corridor in the hospital bed towards the O.R holding area. I lost it and sobbed the whole way. I wanted this baby and there was nothing that could be done and no answers as to why this happened. Without a good reason for this to go on, I've felt very angry and confused as to why G-d gave us this pregnancy only to take it away from us. While he probably has his reasons, for now I cant really see what they are. I'm trying very hard to trust G-d and that he will pay us back for this but right now, faith is not coming easily.

Meanwhile, we plan on trying to conceive this fall to hopefully have our daughter to complete our family. As much as that is exciting to me, it's also terrifying at the same time. It's been said that 1 miscarriage doesn't raise your chances for another one with the next pregnancy but regardless I'm so scared of it happening again that I almost don't want to get pregnant again. Hopefully everything will go very smoothly just as it did with my previous pregnancy with our 10 month old little guy. Except for the borderline pre-eclampsia right at the end of the third trimester.

Anyways, as I said before my husband thinks it has something to do with trying to get us to stay put here in the states for the time being. To me, that doesn't quite make sense but whatever helps him cope with this too, I won't smash for him. Goodness knows this has been hard enough to deal with as it is. The loss may have only occurred early on and the baby may have been really, really tiny but it was still our baby that we made together out of love and so it's hard to deal with the fact that it died. So healthy coping habits have been the key for the past week as well as the on and off tears. Especially today since today is exactly one week ago that I had to have the d&c and really said goodbye to our tiny baby.

Since we are planning on extending our family by one more baby, we are going to need more space. That means more rooms. So we're also looking to move into a bigger house. Just not sure if we're going to be able to afford it. The other thing we're kind of agonizing over is the fact that we hate renting as it's money down the drain, but we don't really want to buy either as we are still planning on making aliyah at some point. We just don't know when is all. Oh well. I'm sure we will get it figured out.

It's getting late now and I need some sleep. As porky pig was famous for saying..."That's all folks!".

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Ball Rolls On...

As I've stated on my aliyah blog, my husband and I had our first meeting with a Nefesh B' Nefesh representative. I left there confused, frustrated, insulted, and quite upset. This blog post wont be about the meeting or what I blogged about in that one. I wish to delve further into my story and my situation.

Like I said in my other blog, yesterday I was accused of being a delusional goy and an anti-Semite. I'm over my initial anger and feelings of being insulted. I forgive her as she was ignorant and I have faith that Hashem will handle it.

In the previous blog post on this blog, I mentioned that I had converted before finding out that I am Jewish by blood. What I failed to mention was that I was only 99% converted and that the only thing I lacked was the dip in the mikvah. However, there isn't one nearby that we could take me to in order to complete the conversion and then shortly after that was when I learned of my maternal heritage. Does this make me still a goy? Absolutely not. I am a Jew. Period. Regardless.

My husband and I follow the Lubavitcher Rebbe. As he had once said so eloquently, the soul was Jewish all along. My life is not without it's challenges. Jewish life is not extravagant. I choose to be conscious of tzinus. Which also gets us strange looks every time we go anywhere. I also have a strong sense of self respect and respecting others too. I wish I could say the same about the rest of my family. Sadly though, I cant. Matter of fact, the only two members of my family that accepted me when they found out pretended not to mind my way of life and my being Jewish. Since then though, they have kept their contact with me to a minimum and the rest of my family has stopped calling and sending cards at birthday times for me and my children as well as mine and my husband's marriage anniversary. We really have become very isolated. All we have is each other and so I cling to my little family very tightly. Just as the rest of us Jews cling to each other. I look forward to being surrounded by those of our own kind and can feel like one big family with our neighbors and friends in Israel once we have made aliyah.

Jewish life is likely one of the most challenging ways of life there is. There are MANY rules we must adhere to and we are glad to do so as to please Hashem and because we know it's what is right. We are his children and his chosen people. That's a privilege and a burden. As we all know, with privilege comes great responsibility. We have 613 mitzvot to fulfill. That's a lot of work for ONE lifetime but I strive hard to achieve as many of them as I can. It also helps that I am used to challenge as my life has been full of them ever since I was very little.

We have many holidays as well. All of which have different meanings and purposes. Today for example is a fast day. As I write this, I have had nothing to eat today, nor will I until sundown this evening. It's in honor of the risk of her life and prayers that Queen Esther went through on behalf of our people by appearing in King Achashveirosh court uninvited and unannounced to save the Jewish people from Haman's evil decree (as related in the Book of Esther, chapter 4). The fast also commemorates Esther's fasting on the 13th of Adar, as the Jews fought their enemies (see "Today in Jewish History" for Adar 13). No food or drink is partaken of from daybreak to nightfall by all adults (i.e., over bar or bat mitzvah age) . Pregnant of nursing woman or people in ill health are exempted from fasting.
This is not the only fasting day that we have. There are at least 7 fasting days per year. It's a challenge, but I am determined to complete my fast successfully. It's worth it as the blessings I will receive will be far greater than that of my short term suffering. I use the term "suffering" very loosely and jokingly in case you didn't realize that.

Life as a Jew will never be easy. That doesn't mean that we wont ever have fun though. Once in Israel going places and having fun I suspect will be easier to do than here. Especially since we live in the southeast of the USA right now, where we have to worry about bumping into anti-Semetic, modern day, white power, nazis where ever we go. While living in Israel will be much easier and better for us while I do bear in mind the fact that there will be people there who will hate us as well such as the Muslims and Palestinians. However by comparison to here, their numbers will be less than they are here.

You are probably thinking if things are that rough and that bad, then why would you want to be Jewish? Because it is who I am and what I am. While most Jews who were born Jewish, are jealous of the converts because they are usually more observant and know more about Torah and being a good Jew than they do. However, I am blessed that I am both. As I said earlier, I was born Jewish, however did not know it and had converted before finding that out. I feel as though I get to have the best of both worlds. Instead of just being a convert or just being a born Jew, I am a Jew that got to come home and that feels good.

It's time to point out the good points of being Jewish. Number one, we are G-d's chosen people. He gave us the land of Israel to live in which was designated just for us. It's a huge gift. We are blessed in that while when we screw up we are punished more strongly than other people. However, when we try our best to live a Torah life and abide by the rules and be the best Jews we can possibly be and help out our other fellow Jews, we are blessed immensely. One example is how as soon as my husband and I started living more as Orthodox, G-d began to open doors for us and point us in the direction of returning home to our given land. Not to mention, unlike christians who only get presents on christmas day which is one day, we get Hanukkah. Hanukkah is 8 days long and we give/receive presents on each day of it. So that's definitely a plus, especially if you're a kid.

Another blessing I have received is that of my baby boy. I am so lucky to have such a healthy and happy baby and a devoted loving husband and father to raise him with rather than be having to figure it all out on my own. As well as the fact that he has two older brothers who love him too. The only part that makes me sad is that my own parents and siblings don't want to be part of his life too. However, my in laws love him dearly as do we and my husband and I will do everything in our power to make sure that's enough for him as he grows up.

All in all, no matter how challenging things are and no matter how hard things get, I am Jewish and I am proud of it. I will continue to work to fulfill the mitzvot and live a Torah life. I hope to raise my children with the same goals and priorities once they grow up and mature. I can only hope to be a source of inspiration for them just as the Lubavitcher Rebbe of Righteous memory is for my husband and myself.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bitachon - From There to Here

Bitachon is the perfect word to describe my life. It's a Hebrew word that basically means the faith that everything that G-d does, everything that occurs, will be for the good. Nothing could be more true than how my life has turned out. It's nothing like what I expected and I mean that in a good way. Take my Hebrew name for example which you see on here, Eliana. It means my G-d has answered. And indeed he has! Baruch Hashem!

If someone had told me years ago that my life would go like it has, I would have laughed at them, accused them of being high or drunk and brushed it off. However, I sure am glad it turned out as it did. Before I go any further allow me to explain that I come from a long history of abuse from my father and other kinds of abuse later on from other family members. My life has been filled with lots of anger, pain, hurt, depression, and anxiety. However I will try to not go into too much detail as it would keep you here reading this all day long. Not to mention keep me typing all day long as well.

For starters, I am a Jewish woman who is happily married to my precious husband, Yehonatan. We have 3 lovely sons and hope to have a little girl of our own sometime in the next 5 years. That is to both, A) have a little princess, and B) fulfill the mitzvot to "be fruitful and multiply" which by the laws in the Torah means we have to have both a son and a daughter to have accomplished that. At the moment we live in the USA but plan to make aliyah in 2012 or 2013. We are already gathering our resources and planning our pilot trip but that's on another blog of mine. Found here. Also, my husband's aliyah blog is found here.

My journey into adult hood was far from smooth and easy. I've had to deal with a lot of crummy people and senseless struggle. I'd like to be able to say that my mother was the one good parent but that would not be truthful either. It's taken me years to see just how her resentment of me has stemmed and grown into a nasty problem. So much in fact that I am now having to write her out of my life which does make me sad.
After numerous failed attempts at forgiving my father (who by the way is a christian extremist) and reconciling with him, he finally slammed the door shut on me and left for China as a gospel underground minister. Claiming that G-d gave him a heart for the Chinese people. Which as I told him it was a shame that he did not give him a heart for his own family. But anyways, I digress.

At age 14 my parents divorced with what was a very nasty custody battle that followed. Two of them actually. Since then my mother immediately started throwing herself at whatever man would put up with her and was only around enough to make my life hard. At 16, almost 17 I became pregnant and had my first son. The father, my boyfriend at the time, was only around for the first couple of months of my baby's life so he doesn't remember him. One night he and I got into a heated argument and that's when he raised his hand and hit me. With all of the years of abuse from my father under my belt this was something I was not willing to tolerate. All those years of pain came rushing at me like a raging bull and I screamed at him to get out and not come back. He did leave and after which, I called the police. Long story short, I pressed charges, they found and arrested him, he did time, I filed a restraining order and that was the end of that.

My mother was never around much either. I had to bust my backside working for Wally World and she demanded half of each of my paychecks or she'd throw me out. With a child in tow, that wasn't a risk that I could take so that was that. I too dated a few men here and there a little bit when I could manage to twist my mother's arm around her back just to get her to watch my little one long enough for me to go on a date. None of my relationships lasted very long and this was why.

As years and other events that I won't get into right now went by, I kept focused on trying to raise my son as best as I possibly could. In 2004 I met this guy online in Great Britain. He seemed very nice and polite and gentleman like and thinking nothing would ever come of it anyways, I stupidly let him into my heart. In 2005 he moved here under a fiance' visa and we got married. Turns out a month later he was already on dating/singles websites and looking to cheat on me which of course I didn't know at the time as I THOUGHT I was in middle of wedded bliss. Boy was he a good actor! He had me fooled until he got dumb and started slipping up and that's when I realized what was going on and of course I tried to fix the marriage only for him to shut down on me and refuse to even try. This went on until January of 2008 when he left me. He was originally planning on meeting me at the door after work one evening, handing me a "Dear John" letter and getting in the car and driving off. However, thankfully a good friend of mine who he foolishly confided in told him how unfair his plan was and that he should at least give me a couple days notice. So, he did and he was gone just 2 days later. Leaving me heartbroken and trying to pick up the pieces. This is when my depression went into overdrive and I dove into my work and my job full on taking as many hours as I could get to try to not have to deal with my pain.
It was when I started cutting again that I fortunately realized I was out of control and needed help. That's when I got myself to the doctor to get on anti-depressants and started going to counseling. During this time, none of my family ever bothered to be there for me. I couldn't get my mother to come anywhere near me as though I had the plague or something. My sister never called or came around either (but she always hated me) and I only got the very occasional phone call from my brother and SIL. However, to their credit right after my ex left they did allow me to come stay with them for a weekend to get out of the house and clear my head. So that was nice. But other than that, I never heard from them much either. I struggled and fought my own battle by myself and worked and took care of my son and myself as best I could for a good few months.

When I was finally ready to date again I found a website called which I signed up on and waited to see who would become interested in me. As I was still a bit afraid of relationships at this point. I was frightened to get used or hurt again the way that my ex did to me. That's when my husband found me. He sent me a couple letters via email and included his IM (instant messenger) address. Honestly I waited for two months before I contacted him back. Even then he had to work his way to get to me. I didn't make it easy for him. After meeting him the second or third time, I took him with me to my counseling appointment because I wasn't going to play games like I wasn't a broken person which I was at that point. But it didn't deter him. He made it clear that all he cared about was me for better or for worse. When he heard about my past and my cutting and depression and he still didn't run for the hills, I knew this guy was a keeper. He hasn't failed me yet and I know he never will!

Last year, much to our delight we learned that I was pregnant. During my pregnancy, my husband and I were doing some research on genealogy from both sides of our families to find out where we came from that I learned that my maternal grandmother's side was from a Jewish city in Germany before the days of the Holocaust. They left Germany without a trace and changed their last name upon arrival in America in order to cover their tracks. My grandmother claims they were Catholic but as my husband says, that's like claiming you are the only goyim on the 700 block of Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights. So come to find out, my family was actually Jewish and I didn't know it and I'm not totally sure if my Grandmother knows it or not too. By this time I had already converted to Judaism on my own accord but as it turns out, I didn't have to as I was Jewish at birth. Funny how that worked out.

Since my pregnancy last year, my mother has started a lot of trouble for me. A lot of stress, and most of it completely and totally without need. She has been very cruel towards me throughout my pregnancy and even since my baby was born last August. Since then, I feel it's better for me and easier for myself and my family if she is just kept at bay. I have my own family now and I need to be able to focus on them without having to keep my head turned at all times worrying about from which direction the knife will be coming at my back from. Other than that, I'm truly happy with my life and very content. I am loved and respected for who I am. I have a wonderful husband who wouldn't dream of leaving me or anything of the sort and three healthy kids. What more could a gal ask for?

That is my life in a nutshell a lot of crap, a lot of crappy people, all turned around for the good. Once again, Baruch Hashem!