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Posts Tagged ‘Milky Wave Tie-Dye’

I believe that every day is a gift, not to be taken for granted.

Eight years ago next month, my son Aryeh suffered his first debilitating headache. From that first headache until now, life was forever altered.  In the days, weeks, months, and years that followed, I learned that life as I knew it could end in a moment’s notice. The good news for us was that while life drastically evolved, my son thrived in ways that can described as a miracle.

I AM ALIVE!

I AM ALIVE!

At 13 years old, the doctors found 6.5 centimeter arachnoid cyst wrapped around my son Aryeh’s brain.  For over three years, Aryeh suffered from horrific pain, life and death struggles, and deep sadness; we all suffered from loss.  For anyone that has experienced the serious illness of a child or any loved one, you know how quickly life changes after a serious diagnosis.

For years, Aryeh couldn’t handle bright or flashing lights, loud or sudden noises, kinetic energy or any movement.  Our very active household was silenced both physically and metaphorically.  Dovi, Aryeh’s little brother, was the most impacted.  My once very kinetic child was forced to quiet his body and spirit.  And with the silence came the fears that mounted with each passing month. Would Aryeh survive the hell that was taking over our lives?  Would the two brain surgeries save his life? Would his pain ever end? So many questions, so few answers. . .

Every one that knew Aryeh watched in horror as his pain could not be managed. To help us through this journey, we learned to find the gifts – some spiritual and some tangible. One precious gift was both. A group of friends and staff members from Fairhaven School tie-dyed a queen set of sheets for Aryeh. The sheets arrived days before Aryeh and I were to leave Washington, DC to go to Los Angeles for Aryeh’s second brain surgery. Those sheets stayed with Aryeh from the moment they came into our house through the many years of Ayeh’s illness, and beyond.

As a mother, I can’t even begin to explain how impactful the gift was not only to Aryeh, but to his whole family too. Aryeh’s friends knew that he absolutely loved and still loves tie-dye. At 13 years old, Aryeh surrounded his bedroom walls with tie dye wall hangings and wore only tie dye shirts.  🙂 While this might have made his grandparents a little nuts, it put a huge smile on my face!!!  Tie-dye t-shirts are still one of Aryeh’s favorite pieces of clothing (and for that matter Dovi’s too).

The good news is that we were fortunate to have amazing friends who made and sold their wares at Milky Wave Tie-Dye; Aryeh was also lucky to have friends that knew him so well!

The sheets became a comforting treasure very quickly.  The fitted sheets and pillow cases were immediately put on Aryeh bed and pillows.  Aryeh only stopped using them recently when they became threadbare. And when we went to California for his surgery the flat sheet came with us.  In fact, while he was in an induced coma, his father and I wrapped him in the sheet and just made sure the sheet was always on him. On one such day, a nurse came in and told us that the sheet was in his way and we needed to move it. During that particular conversation, the nurse enlightened us by telling us that he didn’t need the sheet nor would he know if it was on him or not.  Needless to say, the sheet stayed, but the nurse was asked not to return.

Once we came home, Aryeh reunited with his pillow cases and fitted sheet; the flat sheet however was placed in a drawer under his bed for safekeeping.

A few years after Aryeh’s brain surgeries, I was learning a chant that lifted my spirit and moved my soul. As I prepared the chant for a service I was leading, Aryeh walked into my room and said, “I’d like the words of the first line to be on my tallit* (prayer shawl) one day.” The words were poignant and perfect for Aryeh.  The Hebrew/English chant written by Rabbi David Zeller (of blessed memory) was:

I am alive. (x4)
And who is this aliveness I am? (x3)
I
s it not the holy blessed ONE.

http://davidzeller.org/aliveness/ – You can hear a snippet of the song from the first track of the CD on the website.

Once Aryeh decided that he wanted the words ‘I am alive’ (in Hebrew) to be on his tallit, then it only seemed natural to use his tie-dye flat sheet. Unfortunately, it took Aryeh and me years to make it happen for him, but last week we did it!!! With the help of our good friend Laurie Dietz, we were able to have the words I am alive (in Hebrew) embroidered for the tie dye tallit. And then I tied the tzitzit, fringes, for his beloved ritual garmet.

Aryeh in his amazing new tallit.

Aryeh in his amazing new tallit.

Full Circle
While the creation of the tallit began with illness, the tie-dye ultimately became a symbol of living and thriving.  Aryeh is very much alive and loving his new tallit too!

*tallit – A shawl-like garment worn during morning services, with tzitzit (long fringes) attached to the corners as a reminder of the commandments. Sometimes called a prayer shawl.

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Many of my friends know I really do love tie-dye!!! In fact my entire family loves tie-dye!

What I have grown to appreciate is that our friends actually acknowledge our love of tie-dye in a variety of ways.  Over the years, we have received a few special presents that included tie-dyes of varying types.  When my son Aryeh was sick, his friends made him tie-dye sheets that actually covered him and surrounded him when he was recovering from brain surgery.  On other occasions, friends have found great tie-dye shirts and even a scarf at a thrift shop.  And then last week a good friend found an amazing t-shirt at a Grateful Dead Weekend.  And guess what, he mailed me the shirt this week! Why do you think he did this? Just because. . . . .

TyeDye6

Over the last few years, I have thought a lot about how I can connect with people.  I am not the best in staying in touch, but I have been  intentionally trying to change my ways.  Still I know that when I am not staying in contact, it does not mean that I don’t love someone; it is because I have been honoring my need for quiet time in a world that is often too kinetic.  There is always something to do.

Yet, I have to say that I am profoundly touched  by those that somehow find the time to give in any way.  I love when friends and loved ones drop me a card, send me a small treasure, or give me a new rock/stone for my collection.  I never take the small and large acts of kindness for granted; I am in awe of each and every person that reaches out.

When my older son Aryeh was critically ill, people went out of their way to send cards, make us meals, or visit for just a few minutes.  People cared.  Once when Dovi, my younger son, was really sick, an acquaintance came over to give me a new Book of Psalms because she knew that I like to say/chant psalms as part of our healing journey.  To this day, tears come to my eyes nearly each and every time I use my book of Tehillim (Psalms); since I use it nearly every day, I am wondering if I should have saved those tears in a bucket. 🙂

Recently, a new friend took time to find chants that she thought would touch me and then she took time to create a few CDs for me to cherish.  Another new friend has been sharing some amazing musical compositions that he wrote, nearly every one of them takes my breath away.  They are beautiful!  People keep sharing, their music, their art/photographs, their words – Just because. . .

How awesome is that?!?!?!!!!!

With all this in mind, I have been sending ‘thinking of you’ cards to people for every occasion.  The funny thing is that I sent out a ton of cards over the last few months and I am not sure that all of them reached their destination.  Unless people acknowledge them, there is no way to know.  (BTW, I believe a large stack was lost by the mail service; but I can’t know for sure. LOL!) And you know what? I love that I am learning to give just because. . . 

Through watching the many people that have touched my life through giving in large and small ways, I am learning to be a little more thoughtful.  Sometimes I pick up the phone and call an old friend, just because it feels like it is time to do it.  I really do love forever; I care in profound ways.  Today I am trying to show those I love  and/or those that I care for how much I do by taking a moment to reach out.

To give and to receive is such a gift (physical and/or emotional). I love when people do something just because they can, just because they care, just because. . . .

One thing I don’t want to leave unsaid is the power of giving to a stranger.  When Aryeh was really sick, I was blown away by the strangers that reached out to help us over the years.  Why did they do this? Just because. . . . And now as I am in the midst of reaching out and asking for people to help us in our journey to move east by giving to our Go Fund Me account http://www.gofundme.com/g8o220, I have been completely humbled by the lovely souls that have given to the fund without having met me.  I have also been brought to ‘happy’ tears by those that know me. I really never expected that people were give.  I was praying and hoping they would, but not expecting. Wow.

Whether we send cards, give tie-dyes, make meals, or ________ (you fill in the blank), know that giving always makes a difference in the lives of those we touch.

May I remember to always give in a loving way,  just because. . . . .

With blessings & light,

Chava

PS – When I buy Tie Dye for my family, I only buy from Milky Wave Tie Dye in Opal, Virginia; it’s our family tradition.  We found this Tie Dye shack years ago; it was a gift in every way.  The moment my family walked into the store, we became a tie dye family and the family that owned Milky Wave Tie Dye became our family too.

PPS – Take a moment to like Milky Wave Tie Dye on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/milkywavetiedye?fref=ts

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Time has always been a challenge.  Finding time. . . .Taking time. . . .Creating time. . . .

Writers_Clock_ Black

Yet time is our gift.  Taking time to do what you love. . . . . Using your time so that you can make a difference. . . . . .Finding beauty within the time that you do have.

While I have been overwhelmed by how time has seemingly evolved over the past week, I am also feeling a moment of intense gratitude.  This week has also been full of amazing gifts that would not have been possible if I had no time.

  1. Completing many tasks at work (of course, there is more to do.)
  2. Writing
  3. Hanging with my kids
  4. Watching my kids navigate life
  5. Missing what I can’t have, but learning to accept what is
  6. Finding time to write in my favorite place, Cafe Passe
  7. Staying up until 3:30 AM so that I could complete two mailings
  8. Eating dinner with an amazing couple that I have grown to love
  9. Freezing as I walked my dog
  10. Opening a package from our favorite store in the world, Milky Wave Tie Dye
  11. Breathing deeply
  12. Whistling, chanting, thinking. . .
  13. Fighting illness and winning!
  14. Teaching an amazing adult education class on liturgy
  15. Feeling anxiety when I dealing with hard stuff
  16. Working until I can’t keep my eyes open
  17. Making new friends
  18. Creating (in my head) new classes I want to teach
  19. Smiling, dreaming, being. . . .
  20. Coming home too hungry to cook and finding my son has already cooked dinner for our family
  21. Feeling my other son gently take my computer from my lap so he could guide me to my bed
  22. Living

Without time, none of this would happen.  When you have time; you have life.

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reeses

Today is Day  7 of my eliminating sugar from my diet.  In this moment, I am feeling pretty good, but tired too.  I haven’t been partaking in the sugar and caffeine pick me ups in the middle of the day; this is a good thing.  The biggest challenge in this journey is that when I am feeling anxious or just bummed, I really want ‘junk” and I have chosen to function differently.  All day yesterday, I would have loved peanut butter (the kind with sugar and hydrogenated oil) and chocolate.  In fact, I would have loved to chow down on a fair-trade chocolate and peanut butter bar (homemade or even a commercially made bar).

Yesterday was full of blessings, many of them, but still I had a few hours that felt a bit dark and overwhelmed.  I was feeling challenged by some intense issues that don’t usual wipe me out.  To begin with, I have four friends that are having intense physical challenges and I fear for their journey.  Secondly, I am navigating some financial challenges that sometimes feel overwhelming, but really aren’t.  And lastly, I needed time to write, to rest, and to chill, but that didn’t happen.  With all of this going on, I still found myself allowing my mind to wander to Israeli politics, the United States economy, and our environment.  My mind was full, too full.

With all of the intensity, I functioned well and didn’t let my mood stay down for more than an hour or two.  Work was busy, but manageable.  I even went with Aryeh to the 4th Avenue Street Fair in Tucson; I liked watching the people, but NOTHING really caught my eye.  We wandered without really feeling a strong need to pop into many booths and when we did stop, I was amazed by how many artists/booth operators ignored us, so we kept moving.  When I stopped at one booth, I would have asked some questions and perhaps purchased a mobile, but when no one noticed us, we just kept walking.

While lack of excess funds and a strong value for Voluntary Simplicity often guide me, I was still intrigued that I navigated a Fair that we were told about since arriving in Tucson 5 months ago.  It was an experience . . .I think  Aryeh and I enjoyed people watching more than anything!   I really do love walking on 4th Avenue and I was sad that I didn’t have time to curl up with my computer and go to Cafe Passe.  The one thing Aryeh and I noted with alarm was that we love amazing Tie-Dye and none existed at the 4th Avenue Street Fair.  Of all the things we could be judgmental about, it was Tie-Dye.  We love Milky Wave Tie-Dye; not only are Laz and Jess amazing artists, they are phenomenal people.  We love their business, their art, and their family too.  We loved their parents’ work too; we miss them.  So, Tucson, if you want to purchase real tie-dye, go to Opal, Virginia or look on FB. https://www.facebook.com/milkywavetiedye?fref=ts.

Tangent over. . . .

My biggest trigger food in the world is junky peanut butter.  If you ever see me eating junky peanut butter, you have two choices: get out of the way or gently ask me if I am ok.  If I am eating it, I am not ok.  And if I am eating peanut butter and chocolate together, do yourself a favor and get out of the way.  When I am dark, my natural inclination is to build a cocoon around myself and eat the foods that do nothing for my waist-line or my blood sugar level.  What I learned two years ago and what I am learning now is that tough stop happens and I can manage my emotions without the junk.

The blessing of today is that life happens and if I manage my emotions without sugar, I will soar to a healthier place.  Navigating discomfort and pain is hard; there is no way around it.  For me, today, comforting myself with unhealthy food is not an option.  I need to find a new ‘normal’ again.  Yesterday, I allowed myself tears, quiet time, and ultimately I functioned; I did everything I needed to do without feeding into my sugar addiction.

There really are many payoffs that are coming with this journey, I am:

  • learning to manage my emotions without sugar.
  • taking control of my life a little bit more than before.
  • losing weight (nearly 4 lbs. since last Sunday).

Today is a new day and I am thriving.

With blessings and light,  Chava

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