I and Thou: Hanukkah Night 2

Speaking as a non-Jewish bystander who profoundly appreciates the Jewish faith, tradition, and the stories surrounding it. I share this poem with you in pieces for each night of Hanukkah.

The Lights of Hanukkah

Hanukkah lights burning bright,
A marvelous miracle from Heaven above.

Eight days and eight nights,
One jar of shimmering incandescent oil.

I and Thou: Hanukkah Night 1

©iStockphoto.com/Fevziie Ryman

Speaking as a non-Jewish bystander who profoundly appreciates the Jewish faith, tradition, and the stories surrounding it, I share this poem with you in pieces for each night of Hanukkah.

The Lights of Hanukkah

Hanukkah lights burning bright,
A marvelous miracle from Heaven above.

I and Thou: You Are Worthy!

You Are Worthy!

You are worthy of unconditional love.
You are worthy of self-identity.
You are worthy of self-esteem.
You are worthy of self-confidence.
You are worthy of clarity.
You are worthy of independence.
You are worthy of connection.
You are worthy of friendships.
You are worthy of parental love.
You are worthy of motherly love.
You are worthy of fatherly love.
You are worthy of spiritual love.
You are worthy of protection.
You are worthy to live in peace and not fear.
You are worthy of loving communication.
You are worthy of kind words.
You are worthy of unconditional love.
You are worthy of love from a child…

And so am I.

Image Credit: https://test.adultchildren.org/literature/aca-is/

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I and Thou: Guitars, Sand, Surf & Kids

Guitars, Sand, Surf

Nursery school, pre-school, kindergarten,
Playing dress-up, building blocks, and learning to read.
Kids Kamp, pre-cherub, t-ball,
Singing, crafting, and swinging a bat.
Mothers loving arms cradle.

First grade, second grade, third grade,
Reading, writing, and more writing.
Cub scouts, choir, Tai Kwon Do,
Pinewood derbies, musicals, and orange belts.
Mothers loving arms cuddle.

Fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade,
Science conventions, school plays, and cell phones.
Bike parades, circus tents, fireworks,
Summers swimming in lakes and pools.
Mothers loving arms snuggle.

Seventh grade, eighth grade, ninth grade,
Smart mouths spewing bratty words.
Clarinets, guitars, trombones,
Sitting on stage and playing so proudly.
Mothers loving arms grow weary.

Tenth grade, eleventh grade, twelfth grade,
Internalizing questions not ready to ask.
Tennis lessons, football, and lacrosse,
Scoring a touchdown, goal, or 15-love.
Mothers loving arms start separating.

Red robe, mortar, tassel,
Processing to pomp and circumstance.
Protecting, guiding, parental role,
Unfair situation hoisted upon.
Mothers loving arms feel empty.

Glimpses, shadows, silence,
Gradually disappearing from plain view.
Suitcase, car, gasoline,
Interstate highways across the country.
Mothers loving arms love from afar.

Apartment, condo, house,
No known address to be found.
Sand, pebbles, white beaches,
Relocation destination miles and miles due west.
…Mothers loving arms feel forgotten.

Surfing, kayaking, lifeguarding,
Commanding waters to abide.
Instructing, directing, tutoring,
Strategically working to earn a degree.
…Mothers loving arms feel so helpless.

Black robe, mortar, royal blue sash,
Graduating livestream with purple Lai.
Congratulating, celebrating, handshaking,
Proud parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Mothers loving arms clap so loudly.

Holidays, birthdays, special events,
A seat empty and waiting to be filled.
Cheering, shouting, echoing,
Come back, come back. We miss you so.
Mothers loving arms open wide.

Doors open, gifts waiting, keeping watch,
All hands-on deck for arrival.
Excitedly, gathering, anticipating,
Patiently waiting for return.
Mothers loving arms extend further.

Harry Potter, Pokemon, laser tag,
Birthdays celebrated in movie theaters and fun places.
Red belt, brown belt, black belt,
Memories of yesteryear.
…Mothers loving arms holding a camera to commemorate occasions.

Living, accepting, healing,
Life is rapidly speeding by.
Glorious, celebration, awaits,
Slaughter the chocolate-covered insects.
Mothers loving arms embrace once again.

Artist Credit: Lonely Guy on Sea Coast by Mykola Nisolovskyi (royalty-free)

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I and Thou: Lavender & Time

Hustling, bustling, weary with achy soles,
Massage and soothe our inner souls.

Sprinkle us with lavender and thyme,
As we enter into this sacred time.

Instead of focusing on wrapping presents,
Prepare us to enter a holy presence.

Frail, empty, lost, and weak,
Guide us through another week.

Fill the hallowed, dark hole,
Repair the damage to make us whole.

Restore our hearts piece by piece,
And grant us never-ending peace.

Image Credit: Lankford Associates Landscape Architects

I and Thou – December Prayer

A Prayer for December

Dear Lord,

As we enter the traditional holiday season of yuletide celebration, we are reminded of our holidays of yesteryear. May we honor and bless these memories in our hearts forever and forge new and different memories of love, joy, and peace.

We are grateful for the abundant love and light you have given us in this season of giving. From the lighting of the candles of Hanukkah burning bright, the newborn babe in the Christmas manger bringing light to the world, to the candles of Kwanza producing identity, purpose, and direction. Let us, with one voice, proclaim love. The love of our Creator. The love inside each and every one of us – and may this love be given to others. Others who want to accept our free gift.

Bowing our heads in deep reverence or lifting our heads up high to the heavens, we humbly ask for more comfort and joy this holiday season.

May you pour your blessings on us all and grant us extra peace.


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Image Source: https://wallpaperaccess.com/abstract-holiday

I and Thou – Random Words for December

Chanukah Candles
Christmas Carols
Generous Gifts
Glimmery Glitz
Goodwill Greetings
Layering Lights
Philanthropic Presents
Red Ribbons
Star Snowflakes
Tinseled Trees

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Image Credit: https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/christmas-background-with-snowflakes-string-lights_996886.htm

I and Thou – The Quick Brown Fox

Forgive me if I use the wrong terminology. Technology and I have had a strange relationship starting with the IBM Selectric typewriter. There I was in Typing 101 at Clifton High School. A colossal poster board in the front of the room had the keyboard displayed. There were no letters on the typing keys. They were blank. I sat down at the table with the typewriter in front of me. To my left was an easel to stand the book I would be typing from – eventually. But first came the typing exercises to learn and memorize the keys and my finger placement. It was a true test of manual dexterity and hand and eye coordination – thankfully, I excelled at both.

First, I learned where to put my fingers.

Then, I learned what keys were where.

Finally, I could type:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

At my prime, I was able to type 70-80 WPM. The goal, of course, was to type as fast as possible without any mistakes. Over the years, I have come to appreciate my ability to type. My favorite is still the look on people’s faces when I am typing and looking directly at the person I’m conversing with. Often, the person asks, “How do you do that?” To me, it is second nature.

Remember the first and only rule of typing.
Never look at the keyboard.

Typing Class

I won’t bore you with the details of the technology migrations I have managed throughout my career. Although, for posterity’s sake, I’ll list them in the order I remember. Typewriter – DEC 350 with Word 11 – Apple with FileMaker Pro – IBM with Microsoft Word – Dell – Asus. To date myself, my master’s thesis was typed on a DEC 350 with Word 11. How grateful I was to be able to cut and paste and use the backspace (delete) instead of having to insert the white-out strips when I had a typo. By the way, my thesis was on IRCA (Immigration, Reform, & Control Act).

I’m not an expert by any means. I’m a novice at the flash drive and forget about trying to copy files. I acknowledge my strengths in typing and my weaknesses in needing to learn about internal and external hard drives. Much like the car – I’m an excellent driver but not so much a mechanic. Although, when I flip up my hood to add oil to my car in 3 minutes flat, dressed in a suit, I receive raised eyebrows – if to say, “Well done.”

Tangent here: How often have you heard the words, “Well done?” Think about it. It makes me think of the parable of the good and faithful servant. Although scripture meant this to be a lesson in the sense of duty, it is a lesson in affirmation, for me.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’…

Matthew 25:21

Typing itself is affirming to me. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But the more I write and type, the quicker I get. Sometimes, I even feel an inner Spirit guiding my thoughts and fingers. Words flow out of me, and for that, I am grateful. What a gift to be able to type letters that become words that can speak to a person I may never meet. To me, that is affirmation. The one “like” to a post. It is affirmation. One encouraging word from a friend. Is affirmation.

The typing class was one of my most practical classes in high school. It baffles me when I see today’s students hunting and pecking on a keyboard.

Don’t they teach typing anymore?

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I and Thou – A Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Dear God,

We are in different stages in our life journey, so we ask your help meeting us where we are.

Sit with us.

Hold our hand.

Listen to us.

Give us a hug.

Drink wine with us.

Share a meal with us.

The basics for sustenance. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Meats and baked breads.

We are thankful O Lord, for all you provide.

The foundation for spiritual nourishment. Holy scripture. Holy Spirit. A community of friends.

We are thankful O Lord, for all you provide.

Without you we are just a bag of bones. Brittle. Stale. Broken.

With you, Lord, we are caring souls. Resilient. Refreshed. Whole.

We are thankful O Lord, for all you provide.

We are thankful O Lord, for your infinite mercy and grace. May you shower us with your healing power. And let us remember to be grateful for what we have, not wishing for what we don’t have.

We are thankful O Lord, for all you provide.


Image Credit: https://wallpapercave.com/thanksgiving-cornucopia-wallpapers

I and Thou: The Labor of a Diamond Part 2

Photo Credit: found on https://www.thermofisher.com/blog/mining/the-diamond-shortage-the-hunt-for-kimberlite-and-new-high-quality-synthetics/

The Anatomy of a Diamond

In The Labor of a Diamond Part 1, you learned how and why diamonds are precious and rare. You also learned how complicated they are – from the scientific perspective of temperature, pressure, carbon, and crystals. Then, we went down the rabbit hole of an “old boys network.” Today, we start with its anatomy.

Have you ever wondered why a diamond looks the way it does? Do you even know the language used to describe diamonds? In the next few posts, a deeper dive into the mystery of diamonds will be explored, including the five c’s of carat, cut, color, clarity, and confidence. First, we start with the anatomy of a diamond, which has five parts. One facet will then be compared or contrasted to an aspect of a relationship between two people. Ready?

Picture an upside-down triangle where the point is at the bottom. Then, picture a trapezoid. Place the trapezoid on top of the upside-down triangle. Now, let’s place three points on the top of the trapezoid and three on the bottom, each equidistant to the other, with the last point at the bottom point of the triangle. You should have seven points on this image which is how we can imagine each section. Are you with me so far?

Table, Crown, and Girdle

The top three points of the flat line at the top of the diamond are called the Table. The Crown is the distance between the middle point of the top and bottom lines of the trapezoid. It is the top portion of a diamond, from the Girdle to the Table, where the Girdle is the bottom line of the trapezoid at its widest length. It is also known as the setting edge, where the diamond is held in the jewelry setting. I call it the base where the diamond sits in its setting.

Pavilion and Culet

The bottom point of the upside-down triangle, vertically up to the middle point of the bottom line of the trapezoid, is called the Pavilion. It is the lower part of the diamond. The Culet is the bottom point of the upside-down triangle, the bottom of the diamond. The middle point from the trapezoid’s top to the bottom point of the upside-down triangle is called the Depth. It is the height of the diamond from the Culet to the Table. So, are you with me so far? To identify the parts of a diamond, you will need to differentiate between Table, Pavilion, Culet, Crown, and Girdle.

Is what you pictured in your mind bear any resemblance to this?

Graphic Credit: https://mintdiamonds.com/pages/step-5-2-anatomy-of-a-diamond

Thoughts and Feelings

Is the anatomy of a diamond relevant? I’d say yes! What girl wouldn’t want to know more about diamonds? It is a girl’s best friend, right? Knowing anatomy provides a framework to discuss systems and processes like a diamond in a box with clear parameters and precise dimensions. A relationship, however, is different – certainly not something that can be put in a box! Sure, a basic understanding of systems and processes still applies here. However, there are more intrinsic elements to consider, such as thoughts and feelings, which will be a scrambled mess at some point in a relationship.

A Scrambled Mess

How can you prevent a scrambled mess? By listening to the unspoken word. People may respond to situations based on their childhood experiences, including wounds and traumas they may not even know they have. If your partner overreacts, dig deep and ask them about it. What is the unspoken word here? Ask them about their past thoughts and feelings.

I remember my first boyfriend. Captain of the track team. Rival school. Water-skier. Boater. Fun kind of guy. Plus, he had a driver’s license. He bought me a tiger’s eye necklace. I loved it! But then he broke up with me. From that moment on, I associated pain with Tiger’s Eye. See? A scrambled mess!

So, the next time you ask your partner if they would like a Tiger’s Eye, don’t be surprised if they want a Diamond instead!

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