Friday, September 30, 2011

Why I Love Rosh Hashanah

Yesterday we celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish year 5772.  Every time I celebrate Rosh Hashanah I learn new things and have deeper insights. (I say this about all of the Biblical Holidays, but it's true!) This holiday is so full of meaning that I could not begin to describe it in this little blog post, so I will just share a few of the things that I love about it.

Rosh Hashanah is also called the Feast of Trumpets, or Yom Teruah: the day for the sounding of the shofar.  A shofar is a ram's horn.  In Bible days the shofar was blown for a variety of reasons, like: a call to war, a warning of danger, the coronation of a king, and, of course, at Yom Teruah.  To me, the shofar is a wake up call.  Rosh Hashanah begins the 10 "Days of Awe" leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  These days are also called the Days of Teshuvah (repentance, or turning around) The shofar reminds us that, if we want to be right with God, we need to turn our whole selves and our entire lives toward Him. In the future, the shofar will be sounded to announce the second coming of the Messiah!  I love the sound of the shofar!  If you haven't heard it, you should look it up on Youtube and listen for yourself.  My husband and I decided we wanted our own shofar, so we ordered one just in time for Rosh Hashanah.  I tried and tried, but I just can't make a sound come out of it.  It takes some skill to blow those things!  It's a good thing we have two trombonists in the family.  They will be doing all of the shofar blowing. 

Of course, just like every other Biblical Holiday, this one has some great food!  It is traditional to eat apples and honey for a sweet new year, and sweet, round loaves of challah to symbolize God's kingship (round like a crown).  I love trying new recipes each year.  I found out a couple of years ago that honey cake is definitely not a favorite at our house!

This year for the first time we attended a Rosh Hashanah service at a messianic synagogue. Congregation Beth Yeshua is over 2 hours away from us, but we try to attend when we can.  We were so glad we did! The place was completely packed with people equally as excited to hear the sounding of the shofar. It was so inspirational! We loved every minute.

When we returned home, we walked to the nearby river for the symbolic and meaningful ceremony of Tashlich, which means casting the stones.  This is a custom where we gather little rocks and put them in our pockets to carry to the river.  The rocks symbolize our sins.  We throw them into the river, like God casts our sins into the depths of the sea.  Tossing those rocks into the river, where they will be carried away to the sea, never to be seen again, is a very liberating feeling!

There is so much more to this holiday.  If it is new to you, I encourage you to do your own research and learn more about it and all of the Biblical Holidays.  They are God's holidays!  My life has been deeply enriched by learning about each one as we celebrate them.

Coming soon..."Why I Love Yom Kippur", to be followed by "Why I Love Sukkot"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Introducing Dot

This is Dot. Simply the sweetest little tote bag you will ever meet.

Dot is my latest design.  My favorite one yet.  I designed it to be perfect for me, but I thought you might like it too. 

First of all, I wanted a bag that would coordinate with almost anything.  It had to be cute and fun, yet sophisticated and chic, modern with a touch of vintage.  The answer:  polka dots!

I also added some extra touches, like interfacing in the lining for more stability, and a divided pocket so I can put my phone in one side and my lipstick and lip gloss in the other side.

I name each of my designs after a lovely lady in my family tree or my husband's family tree.  This one is no exception.  Dot was my great-aunt.  My grandfather's sister on my mom's side.  Her name was Dorothy, but she was known to all as simply "Dot".  She was the sweetest lady you would ever meet.

You will find this new Dot bag in my etsy shop .  You will find a similar one on my shoulder. And coming soon: more Dots in different colors and different sized polka dots.

Friday, September 23, 2011

You Are Beautiful!

Have you heard of Operation Beautiful?  Here's the idea:  you post anonymous notes in public places like restrooms, fitting rooms, inside library books, etc.  The notes should say positive things like "You are beautiful!", or anything else you can think of to make someone smile, boost their confidence, or just make their day a little brighter.  I think this is such a great idea!  In a world where we are constantly bombarded with images of the way we are "supposed" to look, we need to remember that we are beautiful just the way God made us.  We need all the reminders we can get!

I left my first two notes today in the Walmart ladies room.  I placed one inside a stall (pictured above), and the other on the mirror.  I didn't take a picture of the one on the mirror, because I was afraid of getting "caught" doing my good deed.  It was so much fun! 

If you would like to participate, here's a link to the Operation Beautiful website. You can send in photos of notes that you post or notes that you find. And there is also a book Operation Beautiful: Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it at a Time.  I haven't read it yet, but it's definitely on my to-read list.

Will you join me and Operation Beautiful, and take a few minutes out of your day to spread a little sunshine?  I hope you do.  And, don't forget, YOU are beautiful!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Goodbye Summer, Hello Pants

Well, with summer officially coming to an end, the Summer of No Pants is over!  I actually cheated a little, though, and declared it to be over after Labor Day weekend.  Here are my thoughts on the Summer of No Pants:

It was fun!  I loved picking out a skirt or a dress to wear every day.  And I liked the fact that most of the time I could either wear just flip-flops, or dress up the outfit a little with a pair of really cute shoes.

I found that, in the heat and humidity of a Delaware summer, skirts are WAY more comfortable than shorts!  Much, much cooler.

I learned that I like skirts more than dresses.  I can mix and match my favorite tops and skirts, and I just find skirts to be more comfortable.  Dresses are great for once in a while, but skirts work better for every day.

I now don't feel strange about wearing a skirt when I'm just going to be at home for most of the day.  Just call me June Cleaver, cooking and cleaning in a dress and pearls!

The transition back to pants was a weird one. First of all, I felt a little guilty, like I shouldn't be wearing pants (haha!). Then, I put on my jeans and they felt too tight (and I didn't gain any weight). They fit me fine, I guess, but yikes! How was I wearing them so tight?? I tried on a whole bunch of tops, and nothing looked right with my tight jeans. So, I bought some bigger jeans!  Much better, but still when I wear pants I don't feel quite as feminine, so I have to make sure I am wearing something pretty, too.

I also learned that I can make my own clothes to fit me, especially with the help of my fabulous dress form!  I think I will be making a lot more clothes for myself in the future, rather than buying things that just don't quite fit right.  I'm even going to try making my own patterns sometime soon.

I will definitely still be wearing skirts often.  I can't wait for the weather to get cooler so I can wear skirts with tights and boots. 

The Summer of No Pants was a great experience, and I'm glad I did it.   

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Today I canned peaches for the very first time.  It was the first time I canned anything, actually.  For some reason I've always been intimidated by the whole process.  It just seemed kind of...scary.  But, really it wasn't that difficult at all, and kind of fun even, once I figured out how to handle those slippery little guys without dropping them on my pretty apron and the floor.  It's okay, I know how to get fresh fruit stains out of my pretty apron.  You pour boiling water on it! (did you know that??)  I can't remember where I learned that little trick (my mom, maybe?), but it works every time.

My first batch of peaches turned out wonderfully, if I do say so myself!  All of the jars sealed, and they look so pretty.  I really thought I was packing in a lot of peaches per jar, but apparently I wasn't.  It seems like there's a lot of space of just liquid at the bottom of the jars.  I'm just glad they turned out, and now I'm confident enough to do more...a LOT more!