I think we could have been friends…and I do have some really nice lamps

That piece of paper changed your child’s legal parents,
but did nothing to alter their DNA.

Adoption and Birth Mothers

All my life I’ve looked into a mirror and wondered…
I’ve wondered who it is that has made the face that looks back at me.

Being adopted one wonders such things.

I turn 60 this year and I still look and wonder.

Whose eyes
Whose mouth.
Whose hair.
Whose lack of eyebrows.

When I first started blogging, this was one of the topics that I would often touch upon because
it was very much a part of who I was…who I am.

I am adopted.
Born in 1959.
Adopted in 1960.

Back at the first of the year I finally decided to do one those popular DNA tests.

My physician and I got to talking about my unknown medical history…as we keep
having little surprises…
What of my son and his medical surprises and that of my new grandchildren??
Plus I had a dear friend in Colorado who had just met her own birth mother…
What did I have to lose right?

As I mentioned, I had grandchildren now and I very much wanted for them to know this
“secretive” past of mine.
I wanted /want for them to know their genealogy, their origins, just as I want them to know their
medical history…just as I want this for my son.

As of now, I have three blood relatives…my son and my two grandchildren.

I was a history major for heaven’s sake!
History is so keenly important to me…and yet I don’t know my own history.
How pathetic is that?

I have been the unofficial keeper of my family’s genealogy…but the fact of the matter is…
this is not really MY family’s history.
I feel like a specter on someone else’s tree.

Adoption is an integral part of who I am and an integral part of my DNA.
Whether I want to admit it or not, it is the fact of who I am.

I recently stumbled upon a website written by a birth mother, who had given up
her child and her current quest is to dispell misconceptions and set the
facts straight.

Some of her words pierced directly through my heart…

“It’s natural and normal to need to know where you come from and how your child is.
It’s human nature and the fact that your adopted child
has searched for you is a testament that they are actually quite normal.”

The adoptee has a RIGHT to know where they come from.
No adoptee should not have to be a banned as a dirty little secret their whole life.
No one should have to have their very existence denied to protect another’s feelings,
even their own mothers.

It doesn’t matter that you view them as a stranger now,
they were not meant to be strangers, they were not strangers, your child is not a stranger!
You are still the only person in this universe that created this human who dares
to want to talk to you.
You have a moral responsibility to BE there for your adoptee.
Mothers DO for our children.

We are supposed to provide unconditional love for them.
That is our job and the relinquishment was not a discharge from service.

Adoption and Birth Mothers

This is just a small piece to a long story.
60 years worth of a story I suppose.

Just suffice it to know that I received some disheartening news today
regarding my birth mother.

She is still alive and is 83 years young.

I’ll put all of this together into a more coherent post soon, but for now,
my emotions are simply running quite raw.

They say that children who are given up for adoption have a lifelong battle with rejection.

Should that adult child ever find their birth mother and she, though a lawyer,
states that there is to never be any sort of contact as this is a “matter” of the past and
it is in the past that it is to remain…
well, then that becomes a matter of double rejection.

Why does having a lawyer these days seem to be the definitive answer to everything?
Rather than a “by God, this is the way it is”—rather now it is “by the words of this
specific legal eagle, this’ is the end of things, capiche?
Because if not, you will be hit with some sort of legal nightmare.

I sat with tears streaming down my face this afternoon looking at a lamp that was my grandmothers.
It is indeed a fine lamp.
A beautifully old lamp.
A coveted lamp by the lamp shop who repaired it.

I have some nice things…
I don’t want your nice things.

It is not a matter of my wanting anything from someone.
I am happy, comfortable and not lacking.
There should not be a fear of some sort of monetary want.
There should not be a fear of a knock on the door and the desire for
the need of a mother.
There is no desire to rock your neat and tidy world.

There are only questions and a desire for answers.
Like where in the heck did the lack of these lips come from?

I am a nice person.
I would be a good friend.
But yet you’ve opted not to know about that.
And you said so through a lawyer.
And for that, I am sorry.

Men who live far away will come and help to rebuild the Temple of the Lord.
And when it is rebuilt, you will know that the Lord Almighty sent me to you.
This will all happen if you fully obey the commands of the Lord your God.

Zechariah 6:15

the tale of a tetovierer

Who has inflicted this upon us?
Who has made us Jews different from all other people?
Who has allowed us to suffer so terribly up till now?
It is God that has made us as we are,
but it will be God, too, who will raise us up again.
If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left,
when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed,
will be held up as an example.

Anne Frank


(image of some of the children in Auschwitz holding up their arms to a cameraman,
showing the tattooed number on their arms / BBC)

I am not a fan of tattoos.

I’m just not nor have I ever been.

And this coming from a retired art teacher who had many an aspiring tattoo artist
in class.

I truly believe that what one finds grand, fascinating, bold as well as defining
at say age 18, will not hold the same sense of fascination, boldness nor still
be defining at say age 58…

Plus I can’t help but see a good bit of an underlying psychology underneath a
need to permanently “ink” ones’ body…..

But hey, that’s just me.

It’s obviously not the rest of our culture’s or society’s mindset….
I’m just a one hole pierced earring sort of girl….

I like things understated and simple really…elegant, ageless and timeless.
I blame my grandmother…thankfully.

I grew up with many Jewish friends.
I attended Synagogue with them as they came to church with me.
I feel a deep connection to our Jewish brethren as I happen to
claim one of their own as my Savior.

Yet in all my years, I never knew nor had met anyone who had been a survivor
of the Death Camps.

I knew many a WWII veteran but never an individual who lived to tell the
horrific nightmare of having lived when one was expected to die…

I knew Vietnam Veterans and even POWs of that war, but none from
those infamous Death Camps of a previous war.

So I have never seen an aged wrinkled arm that bears the fading yet distinct
numbers of one’s time spent surviving death.

I did a pencil drawing once of a portion of a forearm and hand…
It was a man’s arm and hand.
There was a number scrawled on the inner wrist running about an inch and a half
lengthwise up the forearm–along with an inch wide hole piercing all the way through
the palm of the hand…
the backdrop was what one would assume to be a rough hewn piece of wood….

His death, the death of the man whose arm I had drawn, had not been in vain and
had not been for but a select few…it had been for all…
as He had been there, in their midst, with all those who had those numbers
inked onto their arms, despite many Jews to this day truly believing that God
had abandoned them during the Shoah …

The biblical word Shoah (which has been used to mean “destruction” since
the Middle Ages) became the standard Hebrew term for the murder of European Jewry
as early as the early 1940s. The word Holocaust,
which came into use in the 1950s as the corresponding term,
originally meant a sacrifice burnt entirely on the altar.
The selection of these two words with religious origins reflects recognition
of the unprecedented nature and magnitude of the events.
Many understand Holocaust as a general term for the crimes and horrors
perpetrated by the Nazis;
others go even farther and use it to encompass other acts of mass murder as well. Consequently, we consider it important to use the Hebrew word Shoah with
regard to the murder of and persecution of
European Jewry in other languages as well.

Yad Vashem

And so I never gave much thought as to those tattooed numbers on those forearms.
I never thought about who was charged with having to “write” them…
I never thought about when exactly it was, during the ordeal,
that they had received them…
And how odd that I had never known anyone who had endured what it meant to have one.

The other day I caught a story with a rather interesting title….
The Tattooist of Auschwitz–and his secret love

Visions of today’s tattoo artists in my mind is of an individual who
themselves is covered in various images and colors, electric pen in hand…
a master of a cultural craft.

Throw in the notion of a secret love and all manner of clandestine activities
suface in one’s imagination.

Clicking on the story, I am met with the tale of a man and of the life
he lived and of an age-long sense of heaviness for having betrayed the
millions who did not survive.
I believe that is called survivors guilt.

And yet in this tale there is found love, loss, rediscovering, life, hope….
and finally a sense of understanding that there was no culpability for
simply having survived.

The story is set in Melbourne, Australia…
a far cry from a Death Camp in 1940’s Poland.
And the hero of this tale actually died in 2006.
It took him until he was well into his 80’s to even be able to share his story…
much of which his now grown son had not known. Not many who survived liked to
talk about their stay.

The story is of Ludwig “Lale” Eisenberg who later changed his name to
Lale Sakolov.

Lale’s story was coaxed out of his memory by Heather Morris
who has since written a book The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Lale was a Slovak Jew who, like the other Jews in Czechoslovakia, was sent
to Auschwitz.
He was 26 years old.
He did manual labor at the camp until he contracted typhoid.
He was cared for by a Frenchman who had actually been the one who had
tattooed Lale’s number on his arm 32407.
The man was known as in the camp as a tetovierer, or tattooist.
He was charged with “writing” the numbers onto the arms of those coming into
the camp who would be staying—those being sent immediately to the gas chambers.
did not receive numbers.

Eventually Lale became the tetovierer to the camp.

Yet in the middle of madness and death, love was actually kindled.

An 18 year old girl found herself standing before Lale…one in a myriad of women
waiting in the long line…
waiting their turn to exchange a life and a name for a number.

Lale did not like tattooing the women—there was always a sickening feeling in
the pit of his stomach, but he did as he was ordered.

Gazing up at this girl who stood before him, his heart was immediately taken
by this girl’s bright eyes.
Her name was Gita.

Gita and Lale’s life together actually began that fateful day in Auschwitz–
and the twists and turns are amazing…

There is a lovely video clip on Heather’s kickstarter page that she put together—
which I assume was created to help raise the necessary funds to write and publish
Lale and Gita’s story.
The book is now available on Amazon…I ordered mine today.

Below are two links—
the first is Heather’s story along with a brief video overview about her finding
and forging a relationship with Lale, who would eventually share his story with her.

The second link is about the story as written by the BBC.

For even in the midst of misery and death, remains hope…there is always Hope.

http://www.bbc.com/news/stories-42568390

reading my mind…

“The first peace, which is the most important,
is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship,
their oneness with the universe and all its powers,
and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit,
and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”

Black Elk


(shelf fungus hidden in the woods / Julie Cook / 2017)

Time is a funny commodity.
Whereas we are each allotted 24 hours within a single day’s time, those hours are
not always necessarily our own…

Ebbing and flowing like the tide, what is ours and what is not, comes and goes.
Sometimes plentiful, sometimes fleeting…

And as I’m finding myself currently without the ample time I’d prefer
allowing for say our, as in you and me, being able to chat more in-depth
about those things I think most important for our current track of exploration…
I must settle instead for the reflection of a quick observation.

There was a ‘Verse of the Day’ that came in around Saturday or so….

“I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
according to what their deeds deserve.”

Jeremiah 17:10

And like most mornings and time, I did my due diligence in opening, reading and
in turn, mentally ticking off the one more item on the packed list of to dos
thus far for the day.

Yet it was there, right then and there, that I stopped suddenly,
almost stumbling over my own feet as I read….
“I the Lord search the heart AND EXAMINE THE MIND…

whoa…

I totally understand the use of the word ‘heart’…that’s a plentiful enough word when
reading scripture….but it was the notion that God was / is not only reading,
but was / is rather actually examining my mind.

Really???

Imagine that….
that one little thought made me shift my weight from side to side
as if I were a bit uncomfortable….hummm…

Examining is not just a cursory passing or glancing over but more like a
thorough inspection….a pretty image was not now what I was watching unfold.

You know that thing that is basically like a steal trap…??
that thing we call a brain which houses a mind that runs and races
almost constantly…
Racing even while we sleep, racing with all sorts of positives accented by a
plethora of rubbish???

Rubbish that no one on earth is ever privy to unless we allow those thoughts to
then flow from moving lips—-but chances are…the lips don’t slip.

Our thoughts, we fiercely believe, are our own.
For both good and bad, they are ours.
By all outwardly appearances, we can look to be a paragon of virtue,
but peel away our head and read that racing ticker tape….
and any notion of virtue flies right out the window.

Yet we are the only ones who know such—everyone else just sees the exterior
paragon.

And yet here, in what I’m reading, I’m being told that He reads my mind.

My ugly, dirty, selfish, self absorbing thoughts…
thoughts that are less than loving, pleasant, gracious or kind.

Hateful, hurtful, cussing, fusing…unsavory thoughts….

UGH!

So I stop.
I stop reading.

This is bad…
this is really really bad.
I know my thoughts and if God is picking through them,
then I might as well be toast.

So I go seek out the full passage…
and I see that there is actually a ray of hope sitting a bit further
down the page….

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
save me and I will be saved,
for you are the one I praise.

Jeremiah 17:14

As I am reminded that not only is it important to physically tick off my daily
chores and actions…it shall behoove me to be mindfully focused…
that I may be healed and in turn saved…from particularly myself….

The closet of the soul is the body; our doors are the five bodily senses.
The soul enters its closet when the mind does not wander hither and thither,
roaming among things and affairs of the world, but stays within, in our heart.

Our senses become closed and remain closed when we do not let them
be attached to external sensory things, and in this way our mind remains
free from every worldly attachment, and by secret mental prayer
unites with God its Father. “And thy Father which seeth in secret shall
reward thee openly,” adds the Lord.

God who knows all secret things sees mental prayer and rewards it
openly with great gifts. For that prayer is true and perfect which
fills the soul with Divine grace and spiritual gifts.
As chrism perfumes the jar the more strongly the tighter it is closed,
so prayer, the more fast it is imprisoned in the heart,
abounds the more in Divine grace.

So, brother, when you enter your closet and close your door, that is,
when your mind is not darting hither and thither but enters within your heart,
and your senses are confined and barred against things of this world,
and when you pray thus always, you too are then like the holy angels,
and your Father, Who sees your prayer in secret,
which you bring Him in the hidden depths of your heart,
will reward you openly by great spiritual gifts.

St Gregory Palamas

My Foe verses my Enemy

Who overcomes by force, hath overcome but half his foe.
John Milton

The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies.
Napoleon Bonaparte

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(“the enemy has grown bold in my neglect”—Julie Cook / 2014)

I come to you, lying in a pool of my own sweat, from somewhere on the floor of a cavernous basement.
The cement beneath me is hard, dusty but cool.
Flat on my back I stare bleary eyed at the wooden joists overhead.
“How do those cobwebs get up there and where do they keep coming from. . .”
These odd thoughts swirl through my mushy mind as I will myself to not give in to the overwhelming exhaustion.
I close my eyes.
I prefer not to see what I must clean.

Lungs and limbs alike now burn and ache.
I think I hear the sounds of angels, far off someplace in the great distance, singing.
“Is it help come to save me. . .?”
Oh, yeah, that’s my iPhone.
“Oh Bono, he’s still singing. . .”
“Bless his heart”
“He just won’t give up on me” a pleasant thought as a slight smile comes to my parched lips
The timer beeps.
“Must find water. . .” I hear myself mumble.

Not much has changed since I last met this nemesis, this foe of mine. Was it back in say late June or early July? We had been constant companions, it and I, for better or for worse–since Valentine’s day.
Day in and day out for months–as it promised to help me become the svelte mother of the groom.
We worked together every single day.
It never wavered.
I wanted to throw up.

Yet, my butt actually began to feel as if it could fit comfortably into my shorts.
My thighs no longer waved in the breeze.
My arms actually had a bit of definition.
My heart said “thank you”

The windows are still dirty.
The cobwebs are still hanging down from the ceiling.
Yet the robins are gone from the back yard only to be replaced with the summer resident catbirds.
The sun still shines through the lefthand window making me duly hot before I break my first bead of sweat.
As the elliptical just sits there, silently goading and taunting me. . .

The calendar has turned a page.
The seasons are changing.
My new leaf is ready to be turned over.
The excuse of Summer is no longer viable.
It’s time to get back to a healthier routine. . .

Which in a round about way, brings me around to the whole concept of “my foe verses my enemy.”
In my mind, I believe a foe to be a formidable opponent.
I find that we usually have respect for our foe(s).
We feel competitive toward this said foe.
We may actually develop an affinity for this said foe.
Be it the scales, the elliptical, the mountain, the wave, the mess, the deer, the cat’s litter box (digressing), the whatever it is that is staring us in the face and goading or taunting us to master it, to beat it, to out smart it, to clean it, to better it, to eventually better ourselves. . .

An enemy, on the other hand, is more sinister.
More callous.
There is no feeling of camaraderie.
No kinsmenship.
The enemy does not want me to better myself.
It does not wish me well.
It does not care.

Pondering this fine line of difference between foe and enemy, as I look off the back deck drinking my protein smoothie–yuck— I spy the small group of deer, who have been goading and taunting me all season long with my garden, boldly going where I have valiantly fought keeping them from. . .
Oooooo, they have now grown most bold and defiant as I have grown haplessly weary.
Daylight or dusk they now wander into the midst of my territory undeterred.

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We went round and round, those deer and I.
And yet, I never truly wished them harm.
I simply wanted to keep them at bay, long enough for me to gather, literally, the fruits of my labors.
I did not mind sharing those “fruits.”
I did grow frustrated.
Even discouraged.
I felt challenged.
And yet I knew that they did not wish me ill.
They simply saw an opportunity and took full advantage of it.
And now that I have grown weary, as the garden has grown over, they have thrown caution to the wind and are enjoying, with gusto I might add, the lingering fruits of my previous labors.

Others in this world of ours are not so docile.
Foe and enemy gather round–just as the clouds gather over head.
They are opportunistic to our weariness, our ignorance, our self obsessions.
They are poised to take advantage of the “crack in the door.”

There are foes who will always seem to be the proverbial thrones in our sides.
They will preen and strut, taunting and goading us, yet truly they do not wish to witness our destruction because in the back of their minds they are smart enough to realize that our destruction would be their own.

There are also enemies who are secretly plotting and planning.
They remain often in the shadows, waiting and watching.
They are patient, cunning and ever watchful.
They, unlike our foes, do seek our destruction because in their minds they see our defeat, our destruction, as their glory.. .
. . .Despite the fact that that glory would in turn be their own demise. . .

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. . .
Psalm 13:3-5