Candle 5: #Hanukkah Hoopla

 

5 hanukkah

My favorite menorah. Tech Support made it when he was 5! It’s still intact!

 

Ever wonder what it’s like to celebrate Hanukkah? Read Tikva Kennedy’s piece “Hanukkah Without a Christmas Tree.” Good stuff!

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Short on Decor, Long on Miracles: #Hanukkah

 Leave a comment for a chance to win some of my handcrafted stationery! 

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I stopped into The Christmas Tree Shoppe to pick up last minute items for our Annual Hanukkah Party.

(I know, shopping for Hanukkah at the Christmas Tree Shoppe, the irony isn’t lost on me. What can I say? They have great papers goods.)

Traditionally, there isn’t much décor associated with The Festival of Lights, which – truth be told – is fine by me. I see friends struggling with wreaths and trees and ornaments and inflatables and lights. How do I get ready for Hanukkah? I go down in the basement and open up one blue bin, take out my three favorite menorahs and a couple of dreidels, and I place these items on a table.

That’s it. No fuss. No muss.

The extent of my Hanukkah decorations.

The extent of my Hanukkah decorations.

Now, you have to understand. I wasn’t looking for anything, so of course that’s when I found it: a colorful door decoration with the word CHANUKA printed boldly on the front.

CHANUKA? I tilted my head, confuzzled.

Because I’d never seen it spelled that way.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Hanukkah spelled a lot of different ways. Because the initial sound used to pronounce the word Hanukkah isn’t a sound used in English. The gutteral h is pronounced at the back of the throat, and — when pronounced correctly — sounds like someone trying to hork up a loogey.

So I liked the decoration, but I didn’t want it if Hanukkah wasn’t spelled correctly.

“Okay Google,” I spoke into my phone. “How do you spell Hanukkah?”

Yummy, yes.

Yummy, yes.

As it turns out, the most common spelling for Hanukkah is “Hanukkah” with 8.5 million hits in the Google search engine. “Chanukah” came in with over 3.3 million searches, and “Hannukah” came in with 862,000 hits.

You might be interested to know Xanuka is considered a valid spelling.

And Channukka.

And Chanuqa.

So I’m still standing there, clutching this felt decoration in one hand and my phone in the other, trying to decide if I should buy it or put it back.

You know, because it was spelled weird.

(Or at least it felt like it was spelled weird to me.)

And then I laughed at the silly dilemma I’d created in my head.

Because Hanukkah isn’t about decorations or spelling. It’s about miracles.

As some of you know, I was sick for 15 months. During that time, I didn’t know anyone else who had ever been through what I was going through, and those months were terrifying, isolating and awful. Many times, I felt G-d was punishing me.

And yet.

Some unnameable thing kept me hanging on. Some little voice inside of me – perhaps the G-d part of myself – knew that one day the suffering would end and that I just needed to wait. And pray for a miracle.

What appeals to me most about Hanukkah is the idea that miracles can be found in every day moments, how big and small things that seem impossible can come to pass.

I appreciate the way we gather together to tell and retell the story of how people overcome difficult times, to celebrate the miracle of friends and family whom we love and are loved by; the miracle of having the chance to learn something new everyday; the miracle of our collective curiosity and kindness that inspires us to make meaningful connections with others.

These days, I can even appreciate the eleventy-seven jillion ways we spell Hanukkah.

So it’s decided. Starting now, I’m collecting decor where Hanukkah is spelled any which way.

Because why not?

(So do you think The Christmas Tree Shoppe still has that cute Chanuka door decoration? Or did I miss my chance?)

What are you celebrating this time of year? What kind of decorations, if any, do you set out? What do you love/hate about the holidays? 

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NOTE: I’m participating in #HanukkahHoopla with 7 other bloggers. In the spirit of the season, we’re giving away 8 gifts to 8 lucky commenters. Click on the menorah to find links to other writers’ blogs & increase your chances of winning!

tweet me for an extra chance to win handcrafted stationery! 

Candle 3 of #Hanukkah Hoopla

Miriam of Bubby’s Joys and Oys broke her ankle, and found herself writing about it a lot. Today, Miriam takes a break from recounting her own pain and frustration to look outward in her piece  “Eight Personal Miracles of 2014.

Comments are closed here, so leave her a good & you might win some cyberswag.

tweet this post for a chance to a non-denominational holiday gift from me!

 

Candle 2 of #Hanukkah Hooplah

Yummy, yes.

Yummy, yes.

If you’re married, you’ll appreciate Life in the Married Lane. Please enjoy Rivki Silver’s heartfelt piece “The Miracle of Marriage.” 

Comments are closed here, but leave Rivki a good one and you can win a little Hanukkah present.

tweet this post for a chance to a non-denominational holiday gift from me!

Candle 1 of #Hanukkah Hooplah

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Please visit The Culture Mom’s blog and read Holly’s stunning post,  “Hanukkah Hoopla Story.”  If you’ve ever had a difficult time as a parent, you’ll appreciate Holly’s honesty regarding her special needs son.

Comments are closed here, but leave her a comment if you want to win some of her #cyberswag.

tweet this post for a chance to a non-denominational holiday gift from me!

Time For #Hanukkah Hoopla 2015!

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The last time I wrote about Hanukkah was waaaay back in 2011.

That was soooo long ago! No wonder I found myself thinking: I want some #Hanukkah Hoopla!

With a little networking, I was able to connect with SEVEN other bloggers, each of whom agreed to write something Hanukkah-ishy.

We’re offering cyberswag to people who leave fabulous comments.

That’s EIGHT chances to win, people!

When you click on the button on anyone’s page, you’ll be brought back here, so you can see the schedule and figure out which blogs you’ve already visited and which folks you still need to meet.

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This is our button.

Comment on anyone’s blog from December 16th thru the end of the 2014. Winners will be posted here & on individual bloggers’ pages in the new year!

Hanukkah Hoopla Blogging Schedule 2014

12/16 : Holly Rosen. “My Hanukkah Hoopla Story”

12/17 : Rivki Silver. “The Miracle of Marriage”

 12/18 : Miriam Hendeles.  “Eight Personal Miracles of 2014.

12/19 : Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson. “Short on Decor, Long on Miracles.”

12/20 : Tikva Kennedy. “Hanukkah Without a Christmas Tree”

12/21 : Rebecca Klempner. “Ready For a Little Hanukkah Hoopla”

12/22 : Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr. Attunement.”

12/23: Monica Gebell.  “Light.”

Enjoy this year’s Festival of Light! And remember to celebrate everyday miracles!

What are you doing to celebrate this season?

@tweet @rasjacobson for an early, extra chance to win

Friday Dance Party: A Birthday Dance For Dad

For as long as I can remember, my father has sent me a birthday limerick. These poems are never naughty (because that would be creepy), but they definitely rhyme – and I always get a kick out of them.

My father’s birthday falls just a few weeks after mine.

This year I’ve decided I’m tired of giving him pajamas.

This year I’m feeling more creative.

So I’m giving him a dance.

(Not that kind of dance. That would be creepy.)

Let me explain.

Growing up, I remember my father singing two songs. The first is called “A Song of Safety.” Actually, I don’t know what the song is called. That’s just what I call it. Somebody must’ve created a public service announcement for children back in the day to make sure they weren’t crushed by cars. You know, “Always use the crosswalk and look from left to right” that kind of stuff. Because my father used to sing this wacky song me, I know all the words in the first stanza.  I don’t even know if there is a second stanza.

Anyhoo, I scoured the Internet in an effort to find this song, but absolutely nothing came up.

And we all know if it’s not on the Internet, it isn’t real.

The second song I remember my father singing to is the one I’m featuring today.

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Click on my nose to see me dance.

Happy B’day, Dad.

Hope you enjoy the song and my dance of appreciation and adoration.

And my big ole mane of hair.

What are some of your favorite birthday traditions? 

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Messy Hands: Wordless Wednesday

This is how my hands look at the end of nearly every day. I don’t mean to do it. It just kind of happens.

Thank goodness it's acrylic.

Thank goodness it’s acrylic.

When’s the last time you did something where your hands got dirty?

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What I Learned From My 2nd Art Show

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This summer, I had the opportunity to help a friend sell costume jewelry at a local Barn Sale.

“You should sell your canvases,” she offered.

I thought, How hard can it be to set up for a festival? I might as well try it.

The day before the show, I got $10 in singles, and I filled a baggie with nuts and fruit and yogurt.

Before the sun came up, I drove over to Sara’s house and helped to load her car with tables and chairs, bins and shelves, baskets and… oh yes, the humongous canvas canopy.

When we started driving, I realized that I no idea where we were going. As I followed Sara’s car, I cranked up the radio and enjoyed the morning breeze. But it was August, people. After we’d unpacked our cars, moved them to an adjacent field, and hiked back to our reserved spot, I noticed my shirt was sticking to my neck. It was hot. Damn hot. I wished I’d thought to bring a sundress.

The rest of the day was punctuated with little moments that kept reminding me I didn’t know anything about how to prepare for an outdoor festival.

Our sale took place in and around a barn.

In the middle of a field.

It would have been a good idea to have brought sunscreen. And wasp spray. And a fly swatter. A hat would have been a good idea too. And tissues. And lip balm. And Advil. I had no idea I’d need all those things to have a comfortable outdoor festival experience. Sara, a seasoned vendor, had everything: safety pins, zip ties, scissors, twine and tape, even bungee cords.

Did I mention I set up my display in 7 minutes?

It’s not enough to have a quality product. One must also have a degree in merchandising.

Besides a freshly pressed tablecloth, it’s necessary to have clear signage and extra-enticing displays.

I didn’t have any of these things.

Luckily, Sara how to artistically arrange her bling in bowls and baskets. She heaped bracelets on silver trays and draped scarves over wrought-iron racks. Sara’s tent was packed all day with women who couldn’t get enough of her inventory.

At one point, someone touched one of my canvases.

And then put it back down.

Long story short?

That day, I sold nothing.

Not one thing.

I pouted, I’m never doing another festival as long as I live.

And yet.

Four months later another opportunity presented itself for me to sell my stuff, and well… it seemed like a good idea to give the festival thing a second chance.

My handmade cards & canvases paired with Pretty Bird jewelry

My handmade cards & canvases paired with Pretty Bird jewelry

This time, the event was indoors. I felt more confident. No bugs. No heat. Plus, I had a better display and a pile of cute business cards. I’d brought plenty of change, and I was prepared to take credit cards.

They say you only need one customer. That one person to make your day worthwhile, and guess what? My customer showed up. She was looking for some special gifts, and I was just thrilled to have been able to help her with her holiday gift-giving.

I’m still trying to decide if I want to continue doing festivals. I certainly have a new respect for artists who participate in them regularly.  It takes a lot of work to research and prepare for a show, not to mention the labor involved with setting up for and traveling to and from a show. You also have to have a kind of mental fortitude because strangers sometimes make unintentionally hurtful comments.

Right now, the honest truth is that as long as I’m connecting with other people and making some money while doing it, well… that’s a great day for me.

What’s something you’ve done that had a sharp learning curve?

• • •

Oh, and it’s a good day for Lisa Kravetz! She commented on my blog and won the HOME canvas. I couldn’t be happier for her. Lisa, please email me at rasjacobson.ny@gmail.com and provide me with your snail mail address so I can send that canvas out to you as soon as possible.

please tweet me @rasjacobson

Fill Me Up Friday: Ding-a-Ling Day!

Click on this picture to this and other work by Brian O'Boyle at Behance.com for this image.

Click on Van Winkle’s beard to see this and other work by Brian O’Boyle.

As I return to the land of the living, I sometimes like Rip Van Winkle. You know, that guy who fell asleep for 50 years and then woke up to find his beard had grown a foot long, his wife had died, and that his close friends had fallen in a war or moved away.

Unlike Rip Van Winkle who resumed his usual idleness once he returned to daily life, I feel motivated to work hard and love hard and play hard.

You know, YOLO.

I want to live like every day is a holiday.

And guess what? I found out every day is a holiday.

Did you know today is National Ding-a-Ling Day.

Yes, it is. And I’m not talking about the Salvation Army Bell ringers. Nope. Today is the day where we’re supposed to cut loose and act a little weird.

What am I doing to celebrate Ding-a-Ling day? I’m connecting with folks who are slightly off their rockers writers and artists whose words & images I love!

To that end, today is my first “Fill Me Up” Friday. I’m asking you to leave a comment for me in which you share ONE of your more recent blog posts and paste the link in my comment section.

Wait, How Does This Work?

  • Leave a short comment and then share a link to ONE of your posts. Remember, I’ve been out of the loop for a while, and I’m trying to figure out what’s going on in your world, so tell me about you, yourself and… you!
  • Click on a few links left by others. When you show up at someone’s blog, be sure tell that person, “Renée sent me.” Oh, and remind him/her to visit you at your place.
  • If you like each other, you might decide to do crazy things together follow each other!

Do me a favor and celebrate today and every day! I’m so grateful for each one of you. Here’s a link of me doing something a little out of the ordinary. Enjoy:

Oh, and if you haven’t entered the giveaway to win one of my 4×4 canvases, you might want to click HERE. There’s still time to win.

tweet me @rasjacobson