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was a seamstress, she made dolls, and knit caps for newborns
We are preparing to celebrate using new virtual methods, Rosh Hashannah. The other day I read a Facebook message and someone from my generation (growing up in the 50s and 60s,) asked how many of us remember getting new Fall Outfits for Yom Tov? Often they were wool or something very warm despite the temperatures that may influence something less, but it was September/October and we must be dressed appropriately for the Jewish New Year. I remember one year my mother sewed me a black & white hounds-tooth wools suit and I got this corduroy black corduroy hat that today has the 60s written all over it.
Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur were traditionally spent in shul, while my parents sat in the synagogue with all the other parents and grandparents, the three of us went to youth services and met up with our parents when their services ended. It was a solemn day of reflection and it also was a time to show off your best and make your parents proud.
After services on Rosh Hashannah, we would either walk home with friends or pack into my dad’s car for the short 5-minute drive home. Once home, the men in the family took off their jackets and loosened their ties, but we all remain in holiday finery. I would help my mother serve the traditional foods like homemade chicken soup with noodle kugel, and course after course I would jump up to assist. Momma made a tzimmis (a carrot, honey, prune sweet side-dish), sweet and sour meatballs, a sweet kugel with raisins, brisket, and or a roasted chicken (and sometimes we would go to the Shechitah days before to pick out our live chicken and watch the Rabbi, kill it, bless it, and make it kosher.) Can You Say Tradition?
That was Rosh Hashannah and ten days later for Yom Kipur again we would have our traditional meal before attending Kol Nidre Services. Much was the same as the week before, but in our home, my mother added Kreplach to the meal (a Jewish Ravioli.) After filling ourselves up to the gills with food, we began our 24 hour fast for the Day of Atonement. And just like Rosh Hashannah, my parents sat in the main chapel while my brothers and I went to youth services.
I miss those days – those were the days when my paternal grandparents attended our Shul and they were part of our inner circle, and years before my mother’s parents would join us for the break the fast 24 hours later. Again, break the fast was centered around food, fresh bagels, and rolls with condiments including LOX, also my mother baked Mandel Bread, Chocolate Chip Cookies, a yeast coffee cake. Food brought us together after a day of repenting.
Many of those traditions faded for me when I got married and moved away. It took me over 36 years to find a Temple where I feel accepted. However, this year I will not be able to sit in the sanctuary with my new family of Temple Friends I will be sharing in a zoom service like so many of us due to COVID. However, I hope and pray next year we can feel safe in coming together as one, and as we say at the end of the Yom Kippur service, “Next Year in Jerusalem,” May we say next year in our Temple/Shul.
2020 or 5780 has not been the best year of my life, nor the worst. However, I pray that 5781 will bring new peace to OUR LIVES so we may live in harmony. Even those of us who sing off Key should be appreciated for the value we bring to this world. We must make this year the first step to doing this and making it an everlasting journey for those that follow.
I ushered in 5780 last year with my Temple Israel Akron family. Sadly, too soon after that COVID crept into our lives and turned things upside down. However, if I have learned nothing else as I turned 70 in March, I am responsible for my feelings that can contribute to my happiness or sadness, and I have chosen Happiness! I have spent the last year reaching out and making new friends and relationships. I have continued to follow my dreams with newcleveleandradio.net. I have been a support system for my family encouraging them to follow their dreams and not settle because someone has told them to. I will go into the new yeat 5781 with new hopes and dreams and I will take the steps forward because that is what life is all about.
To all who may be reading this whether you observe the Jewish Holiday or not, know that I believe in you and all the good you too will put forth in the days to come.
Love, Karen KIKI
We have a lot of resources to share this week. First, it’s National Suicide Prevention Week, September 6-12, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reminds us that you don’t have to be a mental health professional to make a difference.
September is also National Preparedness Month, and here’s an awesome resource to help you plan for anything that might come your way. And it’s National Self-Care Awareness Month which, of course, we observe year-round!
Our self-care topic this week is decluttering your space, and probably the most famous expert on this topic is Marie Kondo, whose KonMari method is focused on how to make your home a more calm and relaxing space. With so many of us now working or learning from home, we could all use a little less stress and a little more peace and calm. Here are some of her top tips:
- Tame the clutter.
- Assign a place for everything.
- Bring the outside in.
- Purify your home.
- Turn up the cozy.
- Make tidying fun.
And here’s a checklist to get you started.
However, like many things about self-care, decluttering can be hard, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So, if you’re like me, you might want to start small, maybe committing 30 minutes a day. Don’t try to do the entire house in one day – go room to room, closet to closet, drawer to drawer.
One of the benefits of decluttering is that it feels great to take control of something you can control, especially in these stressful and complicated times. The physical space in your home is one area where you are generally free to make the changes you want and adapt the environment to best meet your needs.
And as we declutter our physical space, we also need to consider decluttering our minds. When I think about this, I am reminded of when our daughter was little, and she had a hard time falling asleep at night. She would say, “Mommy, I have so many thoughts in my head – I can’t sleep!” So, we had the idea to keep a journal next to her bed so she could “empty” all those thoughts from her mind in order to fall asleep. It worked perfectly! Maybe journaling can help you declutter your mind, too.
Meditation also can help. Actually, I think about it as the antidote to a cluttered mind. Guided meditation has helped me, and I may be biased, but I think our Courage To Caregivers leaders are the best! Consider joining us on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday evening, or consider subscribing to our YouTube channel. Our Breathing Meditation program is designed just for this – to declutter your mind, heart, and soul!
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers
The cult of trump is destroying and killing this Country.
Vote him the fuck out.
As I borrow the tag line from AGEMARCH.org and the founder, Barbara Rose Brooker, #AgeMagnificently, I challenge you to become the best YOU. By becoming the best versions of ourselves we allow ourselves to be open to the opinions of others and dialogue rather than argue or fight! We are all products of our environment, we bring to the table not only cultural differences but the interpretations of the culture we have (and are) experiencing.
My Jewish upbringing as a Conservative Jew is not necessarily the same as another who may identify as the same. Growing up my parent’s kept a Kosher home, however, on Pizza nights we all sat around eating Pepperoni Pizza off Paper Plates because my parents created their personal interpretation of the Kosher Laws. However, my Baube and Zayde would have said we were creating a ‘SHANDAH’ or a SCANDAL!
Whether my parents were right or wrong in the eyes of my maternal grandparents, they chose to create their version of keeping kosher.
Today we are living in a global society full of tags – we all need a tag line to be identified and often the tag lines do not give us enough information. They are often like sound bites that do not give us the whole story. However, #AgeMagnificently provides us a picture that with AGE comes Magnificent if we choose it.
To be magnificent means to be “admirable in action; displaying great power or opulence, especially in building, way of living, and munificence. Magnificent(adj) grand in appearance; exhibiting grandeur or splendor; splendid’ pompous.” However, leaving out pompous, we can be admirable in our actions if we accept that all people are created with goodness, some may need a little more guidance than others. Opulence does not necessarily reflect wealth but the rich and kindness of one’s personality. We can all build a world of fairness that will lead to the growth of FAIRNESS! We can walk straight and tall with our heads held high without stick our noses in the air, avoiding the truth. Facing the truth is not easy but no one said that change was easy!
If we age magnificently from birth we will no longer be judged by a number, a color, gender, sexual preference, or no preference. Our religion will be accepted and our traditions will not be frowned upon. We will be the BEST of OUR BEST while lending a hand to someone who may appear to be different. It is time to accept differences and come together.
It is time to make a Change – Do it!
It’s a new month with a new theme, and we have lots to share as we focus on management as it relates to caregivers. This week, we’ll focus on planning for the future as well as the resources we have available to help us. We’ll also keep in mind that September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month – an important month for all of us.
Here’s a resource from WRAP – Wellness Recovery Action Plan – that combines all of those themes. Utilizing the WRAP for Life process for suicide prevention is an invaluable tool for caregivers and their loved ones. What I love about this process is that it involves your loved one directly, including taking ownership of their future planning. It includes resources for daily planning, a wellness toolbox, and crisis planning.
Management is an essential but often neglected topic for caregivers. We have a lot of things thrown our way, and it’s often difficult to keep up. Planning for the future, allocating resources, decluttering your space, time management, and determining who is on your professional team are all ways we can manage and maintain control.
Whether you’re helping your loved one on a sporadic basis or with more consistent care, providing primary emotional and financial support or occasional assistance, or co-caregiving with a partner, it may be concerning to think about your loved one’s future without your presence. Caregivers also can feel the impact of depleting their own financial, emotional, and mental resources to care for a loved one.
Planning can help reduce this stress, and it’s a key part of self-care. When you feel prepared, you feel less anxious.
But the planning process itself can also make us feel anxious. It may be hard to have a conversation with your loved one about the future. But remember our tips from two weeks on how to have difficult but necessary conversations? You’ve GOT this.
And as you plan, consider all of the resources you can draw upon to help you function effectively. These include tangible resources, such as people, places, or things that help us as caregivers or make life easier for our loved ones. They also include intangible resources – such as empathy, flexibility, support, and hope – expressions of goodwill that help make our days a little easier. Without a doubt, my go-to intangible resource is HOPE.
Finally, here’s an outstanding resource on caregiver management from AARP Foundation: “Prepare to Care – A Planning Guide for Families.” It’s a helpful guide that applies to caregivers of all kinds.
Setting goals for management and planning for the future can seem daunting at first, but they are necessary for self-care. It might be helpful to start small. Baby steps forward ARE steps in the right direction!
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers
Forty-nine years ago, I said I do for the first time. On that Sunday afternoon, I honestly thought this was a forever marriage – although as I waited behind closed doors to walk down the aisle, I had second thoughts “it was too late” to change my mind. I was more concerned about what my parents would say and how I could explain this to anyone, even myself. So, I walked down the aisle, sobbing on my father’s arm as my future husband was waiting for me with his parents.
In Yiddish, if this is your destiny, it is said to be, beshert. Sadly, this marriage was not meant to last. We went into it caring for each other and trying to please our parents by finding a Jewish Mate. His parents never liked me, and my parents never felt a connection with him.
However, if not for that day in 1971, we would not share our son, and Steve is the icing on the cake.
We eventually found our soulmates, and despite the early years of anxiety and tension between us, we moved on, putting the past behind us and enjoying the lives we detoured and created. We both celebrated 36 years of marriage to our soulmates this year.
The reason I am sharing this story today is to let you know that even when we think we are on the right road, it is possible to take several turns that will lead you in a new direction.
The direction you choose to take may create changes for others in your path and but it should be by personal choice to live our best lives. Too often, we try to please others, hoping that it will reflect on us, creating an aurora of happiness. However, making someone happy does not always make you happy, it may happen in love songs and movies, but it does not always relate to real life!
Forty-nine years ago, today, I had no idea what my future looked like. I knew I was saying “I Do,” but I was too young and naive to understand what that would mean as time moved forward. However, today with hindsight, I can look at the years that have passed and know that I am where I should be today. I have matured in becoming an authentic version of myself.
Our topic this week is really two related topics: changing the subject and having hard conversations.
Every one of us has a story. We own that story, and part of ownership is deciding when to talk about it and when to change the subject.
You may recall that our son had a horrible motorcycle accident last year, and for some time afterward, it seemed that everywhere I went, I was greeted by, “I’m so SORRY … How’s your son?” Of course, I realized that people meant well when they asked this, but I felt I was being pitied. I was desperate to get back to talking about something else – and doing something else – instead of constantly being defined by my caregiving role.
Changing the subject in this way was hard for me, but it was also necessary. Sometimes, we just don’t want to talk about our story. And that’s our right because it’s OUR story, and we OWN it.
When people constantly focus on the negatives, it can keep those negative scenarios alive for far too long. In other words, when people do this, they interview for pain. It’s better to focus on the positives by asking uplifting questions, talking about opportunities and possibilities, creating HOPE, and painting a picture of a brighter future that could be. If you know a caregiver, here are some great questions to ask:
- What do you dream about?
- What brings you hope?
- How can I best support you?
- What do you need?
While changing the subject is hard, it can be just as hard to know when to face things head on and have hard conversations when necessary. If we avoid all of the hard conversations, we may just be kicking a can down the street. We risk the conversation blowing up even BIGGER than if we opened the can today.
So, here are some tips for tackling difficult conversations:
- Plan, and be prepared. Go in with the facts, and be specific. Remember, there are always at least two valid positions on any topic.
- Set ground rules – healthy boundaries for healthy conversations. There should be NO judging.
- Communicate directly. Be assertive (not passive or aggressive) in your communication.
- Listen – really listen. Prepare a few open-ended questions in advance to flush out the other person’s point of view.
- Regulate your emotions. Emotions can run high in hard conversations, and being prepared helps you to keep your emotions in check. If your loved one can’t keep their emotions in check, remember that it’s OK to hit pause and take a break.
It takes a lot of courage to have hard conversations as a caregiver. It also takes courage to own our story and to decide when is the right time to talk about it. As Brené Brown says, “When we deny the story, it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.”
Founder and Executive Director