Finding Happiness in Adar

Today is the 18th day of the Jewish month of Adar (Adar II, actually, since this is a leap year).  Adar is known to be a month of happiness.  Even in the code of Jewish law, the Talmud, it states: When the month of Adar enters, we increase in joy. -Talmud, Taanit 29a

Life has it’s ups and downs.  When down, we often choose to stay that way, riding the tide, until it passes or look for outside sources to “make” us happy.

Sure, the holiday of Purim which comes in the middle of the month of Adar is happy, but how does a 1 to 2 day holiday translate to an entire month being considered joyous?  We still have the same challenges (bills to pay, carpools to run, illnesses small or big to contend with…) as every other month.

One hint to the success of Purim transforming the entire month to being one of happiness and joy is in looking at the ways it is celebrated – we give additional gifts to the poor, we dress in fun costumes, we give gifts of food and treats to friends, we read/ listen to the story behind the holiday (The Book of Esther) and we have a special feast to “eat, drink, and be merry.”  We set aside our usual routines in every way and connect with our history, selves, and others.  

To look deeper into the source of happiness in the holiday of Purim we turn to the actual story of the holiday.  In reading “The Megilla”/ The Book of Esther, we see a chain of events that add up, in the end, to the Jewish people going from a risk of being wiped out by all the people who hate them all on one day, to having the tables completely turned and it being a day of all of their enemies at the time being wiped out.  All, with no open miracles.  G-d’s name is not even mentioned in the entire book – He is there, of course, orchestrating the chain of events, all from behind the scenes.  In fact, the turning point of the story was when “The king could not sleep”.  A simple sleepless night can have more impact than ever imagined.  And, there in lies the key to happiness – not the seeking of open miracles to inspire us to happiness, but utilizing the events in our every day life to make a difference and to appreciate the day-to-day miracles around us.  

… like my getting 6 costumes sewn in one week, around my work schedule, in time for the Purim celebrations, all while my kids did the treat baking and packing… Or, would that be considered more of an open miracle…. 

So, Purim lessons on keys to happiness can boil down to: give what you can to help others in need, do nice things for the family and friends you have, appreciate the great potential in seemingly small things, and celebrate life with others.

Another important lesson from the story of Purim is to “give credit where credit is due” as the whole turn-around of the story came from something reported to the king in which “…Esther said in the name of Mordechai…”  So, to do likewise, here are links to the great sites I got the pattern piece layout and instructions I used to make the two kimono above.

And to help get you in the mood of being happy, here is a great video – Pharrell Williams – Happy in Jerusalem!



Picture gift for my DH

Is life one long journey or a series of many journeys?

Is a journey a going to someplace or a leaving where you were?

When embarking on a journey do we carefully pick and choose the baggage to take along, or haphazardly bring extra “baggage” out of indecision and lack of clarity for what to carry into the next stage of our journey?  When physically traveling somewhere, extra baggage can be an inconvenience and perhaps an additional expense.  In personal growth, “extra baggage” can weigh us down more than we realize, stunting our growth as we carry the regrets, fears and emotions tying us to the difficult challenges in our past.

I recently read a commentary (from the book HaYom Yom, compiled by The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson) that explained the significance of the description of the Jewish People’s journey journeys from slavery in Egypt to the promised land 40 years later.  The wording was “goings forth” – “exoduses.”  Plural. They did not just leave the slavery of their past the first time the crossed over the threshold of Egypt’s border; they left it at each stage of their journey – all 42 of them.

In a similar way, we “need to break free from bondage of our own personal Egypt – from the shackles of [our] own unwanted habits and mental blocks, [our] psychological hang-ups…” (from Tackling Life’s Tasks Every Day Energized with HaYom Yom, excerpt for 23 Tammuz).

Reading this statement was so liberating to me.  It helped put into perspective the challenges I was facing in personal relationships and in professional growth.  Updating a basic 2 page resume to seek an OT position was no problem – just a brief list and description of the series of the experiences I have had over the past 25 years.  Adding additional information to a longer resume about my accomplishments at each stage made me aware of how much I really have done outside of taking care of my family.  But, filling out a job application requiring a description of “Reason for Leaving” each job made me uneasy.  Why?  And why was I so apprehensive about this current transition in my life?  What was holding me back?

To journey forward, we must first “exodus” – leave where we were.  Even though I want to go to a new “place” in life, my reluctance to leave “where I am” is what was enslaving myself.  This realization was liberating.  Even more so, now that I know I am “leaving,” I am better able to think about what “baggage” I am carrying with me – to choose to focus on my new awareness of my accomplishments and capabilities and to discard what I do not want to take with me on this next stage of my journey(s).

To achieve improved relationships, we need to let go of the emotions that were binding us to the past difficult experiences and instead carry with us the vision of where we want ourselves and relationships to be on the new journey to get “there”.  By doing so, we can travel lighter and happier.

Enjoy your journeys and may all the “baggage” you choose to bring with you enhance your joy and successes!

- DebBee

A New Year – A New Beginning!

The calm before the storm?

A step back before a big leap forward?

Slipped off the band wagon?


So many possible explanations for my 10 week hiatus from my weekly “Made-a-Move Monday” postings.  Maybe a little of each; maybe none.  Regardless, I am back with a renewed new commitment to go along with the start of the new year.

Over the past couple months I have made a switch – not a sudden shift, but one so gradual and nearly imperceivable that I am not quite sure how I got here.  But, here I am.  Where am I?  More connected to my family and on track to ‘re-become’ an occupational therapist.  [My blog - I can make up words if I want to :) ]  I am ready to let go of many of the things I have been doing and head in a new direction.  And what of my dreams?  They are still there, but with a new twist.  The projects I imagine making can be fun dreams and/ or hobbies to enjoy – either way is fine and goodAnd, the Creativity Center I really want – that is still my big goal – but now I want it run by an occupational therapist with the goal of providing personal fulfillment to those who come there…  an OT named me.

I am stepping into 2013 with finishing off my first 4 (of 43 needed) continuing ed contact hours and the first few pages read of the book I need to study for an oral exam.  Just as “Made-a-Move Mondays” got me moving each week in 2012 – I am now going to use this blog to keep me moving towards my goals in 2013 – not so much with boring details of my progress; but, hopefully, with nearly daily updates on my progress in the new goal progress bars I figured out how to add to my blog in the sidebar – Aren’t they great!?

Have a goal you want to track on your blog?  Here’s where I got the simple plugin for adding them to mine and how to do it:

First download the plugin to your computer from the link below.  Then go into the Plugins menu of the WP Admin sidebar and chose to “Add New”.  From there, browse your computer files to add the plugin to My Widgets on WP.  To add the new plugin to your page, go to the “Appearance” option of the Admin sidebar to get to Widgets.  Find the newly added widget and drag it to the right to put in the  Main Sidebar of your page.  Once placed, you can customize the titles, size of bars, and the colors of the bar and fill color.  Click the Save button at the bottom and you are good to go!

Dave’s Whizmatronic Widgulating Calibrational Scribometer

I know there are fancier ones out there, but for my limited programming knowledge, simple is good!

This morning, one of the things I started 2013 with was viewing today’s “A Minute with Maxwell – Word of the Day” message from John Maxwell - “Beginning”.  He concluded his brief message with a quote I have heard him say before – “All’s well that begins well.”

Wishing you a very “Well” beginning to a great year… a wellness that grows in great, positive, happy and sweet ways throughout the year!  Happy New Year!

- DebBee

To choose life… Choose Joy!

Made-a-move #38: Commitment to live life with more joy

I started this posting two weeks ago.  Time has sped by – but I think the message of this posting is worth it for me to finish writing and try to ingrain in my psyche.

The 23 days leading up to October 10th of this year encompassed the holiest days of the Jewish calendar – starting with Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, followed by the 8 day holiday of Sukkot and concluding with the holidays of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.  “The Season of Our Rejoicing” is another name for these final holidays.  I have read in several sources, based on the teachings of the great leader referred to as The Bal Shem Tov, that what we accomplish with joy and dancing on Simchat Torah surpasses what we accomplish through prayer and fasting 3 weeks prior, during Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.  This doesn’t negate the importance of the serious introspection and affirmation of dedication to do better.  But, rather emphasizes the all-too-forgotten message that we need to LIVE life, and to do so be joyful.

In one of the weekly Torah readings not so long ago, The Creator told the beginning Jewish Nation “I give before you a choice … choose life.”  Not just existence.  But, choose LIFE.  It is oh so easy to get caught up in the “rat race” of busy schedules, going with the flow of trying to keep up with what others around us are doing, and would-could-should to-do lists, etc.  We need to choose our life.  Take a stance on what our core values are and choose to live by them…  with joy!  To really move forward into the year, rather than be caught in old holding patterns, we need to make conscious, and continual, decisions to live life with joy Not an easy thing to do by any means!  Still have the lack of chores being done.  Still have the messes in each room.  Still have carpool, work, childhood illnesses, family member melt-downs, housework, finance challenges, and other demands needing attention.  But, to face them with joy… that makes them part of life – not pulling us away from living.

I am struggling to make this shift in my daily life.  Old habits are hard to break!  Fortunately, my DH is working on the same shift and helping me along.  The beginning results… procrastinated housework is starting to get done, a workable budget is underway, more family-time, less arguments, more mindfulness of what I am doing and more awareness of what I want to do/ accomplish… including doing things to make others smile (like making mandel breit to give to others) and thinking up new project ideas I would love to do… and, at the very least can have fun dreaming about with materials in hand. (I think I need to stop my kids from convincing me to take them to Michaels Craft stores!)

So, how can I remember to Live Life with Joy?  This picture of my Rabbi on a zip line is a great inspiration!!

Have a great, and Joyful, week!

- DebBee


Bee Yourself

Made-a-move #37: Being true to myself… even beyond logic

About a year ago, my youngest DD bought this charm for me with a bee on one side and the message “Bee Yourself” on the other.  My “move” during the past week was doing just that.

Last week, I had a busy week between work, family, Yom Kippur observance (which included a 26 hour complete fast and many hours of prayer concluding on Wednesday night) and a Thursday of making challah breads (with many helpers) – from 4:30 am til the breads were done being packaged at about 3:30pm (well almost done, I went back later to finish putting the last away)So, when I heard a voicemail message late Thursday afternoon from someone who forgot to place their orderfor 30 more challahs,… hoping it wasn’t too late… my eyes went wide and I had to remind myself to breath.  In the back of my mind, I knew what my answer would be, but I needed to wait until I got off my feet for a few minutes and cleared my brain of the exhaustion.  As I am trying to be more responsible in communication, I let a couple women that frequently help me make challah on Fridays (that weren’t able to make it on Thursday) know that I was going to be baking again after all, and received confirmation that they were not able to do so this week.  Then I returned the challah order call and, of course, assured the caller that I would be happy to make the challahs for them the next day… no problem… I was planning on making a batch anyways – so I’ll just do a little more…  Afterwards, I was also able to tell the next 2 people who called that I would be happy to make a couple challahs for them as well… No problem… My pleasure...

Walking into the commercial kitchen I use the next morning at about 5:30 am to set up the dough felt so good As crazy as it would seem, I was being true to myself – I love making challah.  I love everything about it.  It is invigorating and touches me to my very soul.  With only the help of my middle DD, we made and shaped 3 big batches of dough (over 12 lbs of flour in each batch) that Friday.  The challahs turned out beautifully and I knew they would be enjoyed by many, many people.  No logic can explain the self-satisfaction that comes from being true to yourself.

With much appreciation to The Creator for giving me opportunity and strength, (and  for the assistance of my DD, along with the assistance of the many women who helped me make 8 batches of dough on Thursday!), to be true to myself and complete the challah baking last Friday, I wish you clear vision (that may even go beyond face-value logic) in the decisions and opportunities that come your way, strength and resources to succeed in your efforts, and satisfaction knowing you have done well as you follow the part of you that goes deeper than heart and mind.

Connecting with Life

Made-a-move #36: Connecting with others

Move number “36″… hmmm “Double Chai”.  Chai is the Hebrew word for Life and, as each Hebrew letter has a numerical value, the two letters that spell the word Chai (ח י) add up to the total of 18.  The number 36 is extra-special as it represents a double blessing of Life.  (This is why many Jews have a custom of giving gifts in multiples of 18)

At this time of year, during the time between Rosh Hashana (the New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Judgement), we reflect on our actions of the past year, make commitments to improve, ask for forgiveness for past misdeeds, and request that The Creator seal a favorable judgement for us with the blessings of health, peace, prosperity, and, most of all, LIFE.  How fitting that this posting carries the number 36 – Double Chai.  May this be a spark towards a doubly blessed life for all those who benefit from the HoneyTreeBuzz blog.

One of the goals I wrote for myself a couple years ago was to be more mindful in my interactions with others.  My previous self of constantly running from one task to another left me disconnected from putting time or focus into what I was doing or who I was interacting with.  I still have a long way to go, but am happy to see that I am being more and more involved with Life.  And, with it, I am now improving in my relationships with the people closest to me – family and friends.  One result of this is my improved ability to understand my daughter’s needs and encourage her in her own personal journey.  As she is thoroughly enjoying the Creative Writing class I encouraged her to take, she suggested I share her new poem with you here.

With the wish that your journeys take you to greater inner strength, deeper happiness, brighter futures and meaningful Life, here is a poem of my DD’s journey… by Shoshana

Where am I From?


Where am I from?
I am from the sky.
I follow the rays of the sun.


Who am I?
I am a bird who soars in the sky.
I paint the sunset,
as I glide through the air.
I rise with the sunrise,
and when my days have come and gone,
I slip to sleep with the sunset.


From where do I come?
Breaking free of the dark shell around me,
I came to light.
From a bed of twigs to a bed of clouds.
I ventured beyond the protective wing of my mother.


To where am I going?
I am going wherever the wind takes me.
I am going to fly high.
I will say “look how high I have gone.”
My wings are like that of an eagle,
carrying me higher than all others.
I will say “look at my strength.”
Built upon generations of strong birds before me.


Whom do I wish to be?
I will add to those wings.
So that my baby can do as I have.
So she can say “look at my strength.”
Built upon generations of strong birds before me.
Where am I from?
I am from a line of great ones.
Who paved the path on which I walk.


Who am I?
I am one amongst many.
I rise with the call of the rooster,
and when my days have come and gone,
I ease into an eternal sleep with the hoot of the owl.


From where do I come?
Breaking free of the dark forces in eastern lands.
I sailed west, to the promise of light.
From a bed of hay, to a bead of feathers.
I ventured beyond the safety of my mother’s house.


To where am I going?
I am going wherever my heart takes me.
I am going to go far.
I will say “look at what I achieved.”
My wings are like that of an eagle,
carrying me farther than all others.
I will say “look at my strength.”
Built upon my generations of strong forefathers.


Whom do I wish to be?
I will add to those wings.
So that my child can do as I have.
So she can say “look at my strength.”
Built upon my generations of strong forefathers.


I am all this when I spread my wings and fly.


The missed Posting

Made-a-move #35: Accepting limits – taking something out of the plan to better accomplish current needs.

Do you know the feelings of wanting to do something so bad you can nearly taste it, followed by the uneasy feeling of something being amiss, only somewhat comforted by accepting your own human limits?  That was last Monday, as I accepted the fact I was not able to make my weekly posting.  So, my #35 “Move” was a missed posting.

I had a planned posting.  But, between taking care of details of my starting work at a school, late meetings, and getting my 6 kids settled in 5 different schools, my love of posting to the HoneyTreeBuzz had to take a step back.  Not a permanent step back, but rather the type that leads to a big leap forward. 

My hands nearly twitch in anticipation as a catch glimpses around me of the projects I am eager to leap into.  Like an arrow drawn back in a bow, I can feel the tension of anticipation ready to fly forward.  The “pulling back” and waiting, as the aim is set, is a challenge to be experiencing, but I know that it will result in greater accomplishments beyond my limited field of vision.

Looking forward to flying forward with you.  Wishing you much patience when you need it and success in all your endeavors!


Simple Words

Made-a-move #34: Getting grounded in the basics

The complexities of life so easily sweep us up in their constantly changing flow and draw our attention to navigating the obstacles and rushing current.  How fitting that with the start to the transitions of the new school year, including adjusting to my oldest DS going out of town for school, my move for this week was to delve into basics.  Starting with taking time to stop and marvel at a double rainbow on our way home from dropping our DS off at his new school.

Just as Emily Dickinson wrote that “To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee… and revery,”  I am striving to find and share meaning in life with basic elements – and, this week, my focus was on doing so with further exploring “simple words” – The words that say so much standing alone… Strength.  Health.  Happiness.  As Adin Steinsaltz said so eloquently in his book, Simple Words, Thinking about What really Matters in Life,

“Words are vehicles, and very powerful ones.  To use and ancient metaphor, the connection between the idea and the word can be compared to the relationship between a person and a horse.  The horse is far more powerful and much faster than the person, but it must be harnessed and guided.  The combination of man-horse is a very different thing from each of them as an individual being… We ride our words, but words have a tremendous power of their own.  They form a vehicle that makes the person within it a different being.”

This week I also looked to find out more about Annie Dillard, the author of the quote:

“The way we spend our days is, of course, the way we spend our lives.”

In doing so, I found many more inspirational quotes from Annie Dillard to share (and probably try to read from their original sources.)  Here are several I discovered:

“It is no less difficult to write a sentence in a recipe than sentences in Moby Dick. So you might as well write Moby Dick.”

“The dedicated life is the life worth living. You must give with your whole heart.”

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

“You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.”
Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

“He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, for that is what he will know.”
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

I wish you an inspirational week, filled with words of insight, blessing, and connectionAnd may the coming year (The Jewish New Year is just 2 weeks away) be good, sweet, healthy, and happy!

- DebBee

A face-lift – inside and out.

Made-a-move #33: Self-care

A couple weeks ago I mentioned reoccurring advice from experts in personal coaching and success that mutually recommend journaling.  Two other big messages these various experts repeatedly give are the importance of Reading and Self Care.

As for the Reading, I found pieces of myself in two poems in the book, Half Hours with the Best Poets.  From Robert Frost (1874 – 1963), The Road Not Taken.  I, too, in so many ways take the “one less traveled by” – it has it’s difficulties, but I think the “difference” that results from it is worth the effort.  Or, at least, I hope so since this is just how I do things.  I stumble through life foraging my own path – somewhere between the lifestyles that look so normal and smooth paths of the people around me.

The second poem describes the habits and direction I was falling into that I am determined to make moves to turn around: Abel Melveny, by Edger Lee Masters (1868 – 1950).  Though for me, rather than equipment left in the rain to gather rust, it has been crafting supplies, past interests, and business ideas and starts that accumulate inside and gather dust.

Self Care As my lack in attending to my self is well known by my family, they (my DH and DD’s) conspired together and got me to go for a make-up make-over (under the pretense that I was taking my daughter there for her to have the fun of the make-up appointment before the start of school).  Completely oblivious to their scheme, I didn’t find out until after the make up artist motioned that I should take a seat.   – Good thing I was sitting down when she told me!  Part of the deal was that I had to purchase make up too… I guess if I divide the cost by the nearly 20 years it has been since I last bought make up beyond a cheap eye pencil and a discounted tube of lipstick…

As one good move leads to another… next step was giving a ‘face-lift’ to the area around me – or at least putting in a very good start…



Keep Moving.  Keep Growing. Wishing you much success and joy in your journeys in this year and beyond.

- DebBee