25 Things My Dad Taught Me

J.

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As a little girl, I was daddy’s little princess. Looking back at home videos, it amazes me how happy I made him, like a little kid on Christmas morning. Now that I’m older, we have a tricky relationship but when everything is pushed aside he is still my hero and I am still his baby girl. Here is a man that was once a young boy himself and grew up to have his own kids and did everything in his power to make our lives perfect with love. Father’s aren’t just born, men grow into them and it’s a very important stage of their development. As my mother always tried to protect my siblings and me from the world, my father threatened us with it as we grew up. We aren’t kids anymore he would tell us; the real world is not all rainbows and ponies. For that I thank…

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Words Build. Words Destroy!

Launch-Small


“Words! What power they hold. Once they have rooted in your psyche, it is difficult to escape them. Words can shape the future of a child and destroy the existence of an adult.”

Vashti Quiroz-Vega


Words on a Limb is proud to announce the launch of its first picture-book:

Words Title - Regular
Written and Illustrated by Lora Rozler

Softcover MarketingIn this emotional and Hardcover Marketing
highly visual picture book,
a lonely letter sets off on a journey to find meaning.
As it encounters various letter combinations, it is confronted by two distinct paths and must make an important choice.

Readers of all ages will be captivated by this simple, yet high concept, story that explores universal themes of discovery, relationships and the need to belong, with an underlying message about bullying. Both timeless and original, Words is an evocative tale about how letters become words and words create meaning – meaning which could ultimately build or destroy.

“A compelling story-line, simple yet poignant illustrations, engaging language, a great read-aloud that offers many opportunities for reflection and discussion with children.”

“A heart-warming story with a clever, powerful message about anti-bullying. An absolute must-have
for every parent and educator.”


Available at all major online retailers including:

  barnes_noble_samsung

chapters


For a FREE Parent and Teacher Companion Kit, based on the book, Words

click on the image below

Resource PackPic


Attention all Mini-Artists: Join our Words-Through-Art Sketch Competition

IMG_20150707_180423Get out your sketch pads, sharpen those pencils, it’s time foIMG_20150707_171159r an Art Competition. Words on a Limb would like to invite readers (ages 6-10) to send in their best illustrations, capturing the essence of the picture-book, Words. The winner will receive a hardcover edition of Words and have their work featured on our site, as well as Lora Rozler’s author website.

All entries must be submitted to wordsonalimb@bell.net by August 15, 2015. Please indicate Art Competition in the subject line and specify the artist’s age in the email. The winner will be announced on August 22, 2015. Let the sketching begin!

How Diving In Helped Me Get Over Being Bullied

IMG_6388Hello everyone. I hope you are enjoying the beginning of summer. We have something great to share with you. High school student, Kathleen, reached out to us after taking a look through our awareness-related articles. She wrote to us from Educator Labs where she is volunteering to speak out for Asperger’s Syndrome. Along with her research there, she is also creating an outreach program to share resources to empower others to overcome their obstacles. We felt it was a worthy cause and are delighted to share her story. 


Diving

If you’ve ever been bullied, you know how humiliating it can be. Even though you’ve done nothing wrong, you end up feeling ashamed, inadequate, and isolated.

That’s how it was for me during my freshman year of high school when two factors converged to make me an easy target. First, when I entered high school I was around a lot more people who didn’t know me and who didn’t understand my Asperger’s. They saw someone who wasn’t like them and singled me out.

Second, during the summer leading up to freshman year and during freshman year, I gained several pounds. I had always been prone to a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, this is common among kids with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome and may be a factor that contributes to the high rate of obesity within the population. Because I wasn’t good at playing sports and I didn’t like exercising, I was always much more content reading a book or watching TV. Then, when middle school ended so did my required PE. It had been the only real exercise I was getting each week.

In high school, the kids who weren’t familiar with me thought I was odd. They’d pick on me because of the hand-wringing and clasping motions I often made and because of my weight.

Soon, just as I had begged my parents not to make me participate in PE when I was younger, I would now ask them if I could stay home sick from school. I even tried to convince my mom to start homeschooling me.

After a trip to the doctor revealed that I could now be classified as “overweight,” upon the recommendation of my doctor, my mom began taking me regularly to swim at the local YMCA. I had learned to swim when I was little, and while I liked being in the water, it was never something I had a deep desire to do. But it didn’t take long for all that to change. After those first trips to the YMCA, I fell in love with swimming. I began to feel better physically and mentally, and on really difficult days it gave me something to look forward to. Here are a few of the ways swimming helped me overcome being bullied:

  • It gave me something to achieve. My mom was completely on board with me losing my excess weight, but she didn’t want me to become focused on achieving a certain weight. So, instead I set different goals for my swimming. For example, I’d set a goal to for swimming a certain number of laps without stopping or to beat a previous time. Having swimming helped me focus on something that I really enjoyed instead of lingering on what certain kids at school said about me.
  • It helped reduce repetitive motions. Swimming regularly certainly helped me get back to a healthy weight. But it was another physical change that helped boost my self-esteem. With autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, repetitive motions such as hand flapping, or in my case, hand clasping are common. But as this guide on aquatic therapy explains, exercise can help reduce those motions. I think swimming and getting other exercise helped me relax a little. I was less anxious and therefore needed to comfort myself with those motions less often. And while kids continued to make fun of me for it, I knew that I had been working hard and that my motions were less noticeable. That gave me a much-needed self-esteem boost.
  • It offered me a safe haven. Swimming has many benefits, and they aren’t all physical. In fact, for me, some of the most helpful side effects of swimming more often have been mental. In an article on the many different kinds of benefits of swimming, U.S. Masters Swimming lists a few of the mental benefits.

One, in particular, stands out for me: “Offers relaxation through the repetitive nature of movement.” Once I get in my rhythm many of my worries about school and being bullied drift away. The water has become somewhat of a safe haven for me. A place where I can just be, without worrying about what someone else might say about me. It has played an important role in helping me move past the negative feelings that being bullied caused me to have.

This is my story, but it isn’t necessarily unique. Many kids with Asperger’s Syndrome are made fun of or bullied by their peers. I want them to know that they shouldn’t lose hope. For me the pool has become my refuge. Find a similar place or activity that provides you the kind of comfort I get from swimming. It will help you make huge progress in getting over being bullied.


Kathleen Carter is a teen living with Asperger’s Syndrome. She enjoys educating her peers and others about AS. Recently, she began writing proudly about how her experiences differ from other people her age. She is so grateful to have the opportunity to write for EducatorLabs.

What it means to be Canadian

In a word


Hope, richness, belonging, open. These are a few of the words some naturalized citizens from across Toronto used to describe their feelings about Canada and their citizenship.

To celebrate Canada Day the Star profiled 10 naturalized citizens, representing 10 different countries. Some were refugees; others came as immigrants. Some have been here for decades; others are newly arrived.

But they all share a common love for the freedom Canada has guaranteed them and the security their citizenship has given them. They place great value on their Canadian citizenship and it has deep meaning for them.

Click on the images to hear their answers.

From Pakistan

Aisha Daanish, 42, laughed as she recalled how she missed Canada when she went back to Karachi, Pakistan to visit family and friends only a year after she first arrived.

It was an odd and surprising reaction, she confessed. She had spent most of her life in Pakistan. Yet, here she was back in her native land and all she did was miss Canada.

She chose the word warmth to describe a country that has some of the bitterest winters on the planet. But it isn’t the temperature that she’s referring to, but rather the warmth in people’s hearts.

In Pakistan, Daanish, a kindergarten teaching assistant in a private faith-based school in Mississauga, realized it was that warmth she was missing; craving. Even the tiniest gestures of friendship, such as a neighbor advising her and her children to dress warm on a crisp fall day, made her feel she was part of the fabric of the country.

“That really touched me because that’s what Grandmas used to do in my country of origin,” she said, explaining she doesn’t feel she can call Pakistan her home anymore. “This is home now so there has to be another word other than back home.”


From Sri Lanka

Tolerance is the word Keren Stephen chose to represent her feelings about Canada.

“We are mindful,” she said of Canadians. “There is a reluctance to succeed at any cost here. And I guess the whole culture is one of tolerance and including people.

“I like Canada. I like its values. It’s amazing the amount of volunteerism that goes on here.”

The 50-year-old chartered global management accountant came to Canada in 2009 along with her brother, his wife and two nieces from Sri Lanka. They left because of the violence.

“Being in a war area there’s so much activity,” she said. “There’s so much negative. Even if you’re not personally suffering, you hear about others suffering. I was affected, but not directly. You’re living in a war. There is fear, risks.”

After travelling the world for business, she settled on Canada after ruling out the United Kingdom and Australia. “I had heard good things about Canada…One of the key things is values…Canada is a very inclusive country. I wanted to form my home base here.”

She got her Canadian citizenship in November, 2013. And it was momentous. “It was the final signing off,” she explained. “That’s it. You’re there now. You’re a citizen and have obligations. It also gave me the feeling that I can really behave like a citizen…I can call myself a Canadian.”

Continue reading

Childhood Thieves – The Residential School System

Imagine!

A frightened child sits beside you, her hand clasped tightly in yours. Silent tears stream down her face, clouding her otherwise golden brown eyes with a pool of grey. She is voiceless. Despite her heartbreaking pleas, you cannot help her. She must go.

Sitting on the damp bench, you wrap your arm around her quivering body and wince as you look at her grief-stricken face – the same sweet face that treenourished your soul for the past six years. Images of her inundate your mind, cascading from one scene to another. The day she was born was your happiest ever. You planted a tree in her honour that year. Will it continue to grow in her absence? You recall how easy it was to soothe her then. You’d hold her in your arms and sing sweet lullabies, the very ones your mother once sang to you. But who will comfort her now when she’s lonely and scared? Will they care for her when she is unhappy or sick? What if she’s hurt? What if she’s hungry? You panic. You try to restrain the fear that is taking over.

You close your eyes and pray. Please take care of my baby. Oh hush, you mustn’t let her see you cry, or she will surely realize your comforting words were nothing but lies.

70b141c03a68de3794d94b7c1ce75c2fIt will not be alright when they tell her she must abandon her birth name. It will not be alright when they cut off her braids. It will not be alright when she feels homesick and is denied her brother’s embrace. It will not be alright when she wonders why you cannot be there on her birthday or why she has to miss grandpa’s 70th. Time will surely not fly. But you do and say what you must, for the choice is not yours.

The cruel rain continues. They will come for her and you must let her go. You gave birth to her but somehow you do not know what is best for her. You raised her, nourished her, taught her, but she is not yours.

A van emerges from around the hills, slowly making its way up the road. She squeezes your hand, a final plea. Ihandn just a few moments the scent of your hands will be all she has left of you.

“Please Mommy, I don’t want to go”.

A kiss, a hug and a swift smell of her hair, your heart is in pieces, yet you pry her hands out of yours. You try to sound sensible when you know nothing you say or do will ever be so.

“I will see you in the summer, my sweet rose,” agony overwhelms you as you watch her climb aboard, sobbing and confused. Why is mommy letting this happen? What did I do wrong? Doesn’t she love me anymore?

Untitled-1You are numb. You wave when all you want to do is shout at the world. That is my baby disappearing into the thick mist.

You continue to stare long after the van disappears behind the hills. Surely this must be a horrible dream, a nightmare.

You look around. All is still. You pick up the discarded doll and hold it close to your body. You weep for the child they thieved from your home.

Imagine!

Lora Rozler


It was a few months ago that my friend and colleague, Michele Parkin, enlightened me with one of her picture books, Shin-Chi’s Canoe by Nicola Campbell. I had reached out to her a few days prior when I sought an Ojibway translation for a picture book I was working on at the time. As always, she was more than happy to help and the discussion that ensued left me wanting to learn more about the Aboriginal people’s struggles. Knowing my passion for children’s literature, Michele kindly offered her book.

I brought the book home with me the same day and as I read it, a sense of rage began to build. My children happened to be playing in a nearby room and and all I remember feeling is deep sadness for those families whose children were taken away from them, stolen from their home, their culture, their life. There was something about the the way the story was told that touched me deeply. As a mother, the thought of having to endure something so horrific is beyond comprehension. 

I’d like to share an article I read online, written by Erin Hanson, a researcher at The University of British Columbia. It beautifully articulates and captures the effects of the Residential school experience on the Indigenous people. You can visit the article by clicking the image below: Continue reading

Happy Passover / Happy Easter

easter_passoverWords on a Limb would like to wish everyone who is celebrating, a Happy Passover and a Happy Easter!
May your homes be filled with endless joy and delight.

In honour of the holidays we would like to share traditional Passover and Easter soup recipes – light and delicious for spring-time.


Here is a wonderful Matza Ball recipe, courtesy of Paula.

Favourite Matza-Ball Soup

This is a family favourite Matza-ball soup recipe. It is simple to make and will have guests lingering around the kitchen volunteering to do taste tests. Put on your apron and let’s begin.

To make Matza balls, combine:

  • 2 cups of Matza mealIMG_20140416_183824
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons of oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt

Mix until you get a thick pasty consistency.  Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes to solidify.

In the meantime, chop and fry onions in a little bit of oil, using a pot big enough for the portion you’d like to make.

IMG_20140416_183833To make the soup, grate and combine 1 of each of the following: carrot, zucchini, turnip, sweet potato.

Mix the vegetable with very little water, letting it steam.  While they are cooking, continue making the Matza balls.

Using wet hands, roll Matza ball mixture into one-inch balls.  IMG_20140416_191223In a wide pan, boil water, adda dash of salt, 1 tablespoon of oil, and cook a few of the balls at a time (not to overcrowd pan). When the balls rise to the top (about 5 minutes), scoop them out. Continue until all are done.

IMG_20140416_194133When vegetables in soup pot are tender, add enough boiling water to go just below rim.  Season the soup with 2-3 tablespoons of chicken seasoning mix. Add additional seasoning to your liking, including paprika, turmeric powder, and salt.

Let the soup simmer for another 30 minutes. Once ready, serve with as many Matza balls in each bowl as you like.IMG_20140416_194258

Warning: make plenty.  Enjoy with or without Matza crumbs or soup croutons.

Paula


Here is a scrumptious Easter Soup submitted to us by Gloria.

Favourite Matza-Ball Soup

Ingredients

For the broth:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound lean beef, cut into 10 to 12 cubes
  • 1 pound lamb, shoulder or breast, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks celery, with leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 branch fresh rosemary
  • Cold water

To assemble the soup:

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
  • 6 toasted bread rounds
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy stockpot, heat a few tablespoons of meat-raw-beefolive oil. Season the beef pieces with salt and pepper, and add them to the oil. Let the beef brown on both sides. Cut the onion in half; stud each half with 3 cloves. Cut the celery and carrots into chunks add them to the pot with chopped-vegetablesthe onion, the herbs, and 3 quarts cold water. Let broth come to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Skim off any gray foam that forms on top; simmer soup for one hour. Add the lamb pieces; simmer the broth for another hour, skimming as needed.
  2. Allow broth to cool to room temperature; strain off and discard the solids. (You canHerbs save the meat for a delicious salad: Shred the meat finely and dress with olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced red onion, chopped capers, fresh parsley, salt, and pepper—terrific on top of toasted bread rubbed with a little garlic.) The broth can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated overnight.
  3. When you are ready to serve the soup, bring the broth to a boil, then turn off the heat 6a00d8358081ff69e2017c3701126a970b-800wiand let it sit in the pot for about 3 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary. It is important that the broth is hot, but not boiling, which would curdle the egg yolks. Place a warm, toasted round of bread, dribbled with some extra-virgin olive oil, in the bottom of each soup bowl.
  4. Place the 6 egg yolks in a warm soup tureen; whisk them20080316-eggz-thumb lightly with the minced fresh marjoram and parsley, a few grinds of pepper, recipe-2647and the lemon juice. Slowly ladle in the hot broth,whisking simultaneously to prevent the egg yolks from curdling. Immediately ladle the soup into the bowls and over the bread; grate plenty of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top.

5069daef74c5b64af3000788._w.1500_s.fit_Enjoy your soup!


On behalf of our team at Words on a Limb, we hope your holidays are full of heartfelt moments with family. Please feel free to share your holiday recipes in the comment section.

Lora

Multi-race Families Have Changed Our Lives

A.S. Chung jpg

A.S. CHUNG

 

 


My six-year-old daughter is an ABC, not an FOB and therefore can be considered a Banana. Thank goodness she is not showing signs of being a Twinkie but on the road to growing up Fobulously!

Immigration and exponential population growth has given rise to a global ethnic diversity of epic proportions. I don’t need to delve into statistics for everyone to know that the colour of our skin is beginning to cross international boundaries and one can no longer automatically assume it is associated with their country of birth. This has inevitably given rise to multiracial unions and first generation immigrants being born in their country of residence. We are literally becoming more colourful! Society as we know is changing at a rapid rate and it is forcing everyday people to either accept the diversity or continue to struggle to co-exist in the general rat race.

I personally love what immigration and multiracial families are compelling us to do. I relish the changing landscape of language, heightened awareness of other cultures and the beautiful ability of everyone to inhabit the same space.

As a result of emigrating from Asia to Australia, my daughter is now a first generation Aussie, hence an Australian born Chinese. She was born in a first-rate hospital for women and is most certainly not fresh off the boat. Although I try to instil some Chinese traditions in her, she is a true Banana, Asian on the outside and but practically white on the inside. I am confident she won’t grow up being Twinkie, embarrassed by our loud Asian gatherings and only being able to converse in English. Instead, she’ll be Fobulous, having the ability to assimilate in both cultures and proud to have a varied heritage.

Derogatory or not, these slang acronyms and very specific cultural terminologies, do exist. Whether we approve of it or not, the Urban Dictionary is here to stay. It is now a highly useful resource to decipher these new words! Let’s not get too caught up and start debating about the correct use of the English language. The fact is multiculturalism has actively contributed to a whole new phrasebook!

Another reason I love multi-race marriages is that they are creating new ‘breeds’ of children. We are now able to loosely and humourously identify them as Filatinos, Blacknese, Chicanese, Chindian, Korgentinian or even Blaxican! From blue-eyed kids with afros to freckled brown skin with natural blonde hair, these children no longer fit in distinctive racial silos. I look at these families and I see nothing but beauty and a whole new world ahead of us.

Food culture has also naturally progressed away from the basic meat and two vegetables. I remember watching a movie once and this man was buying a gyros from a food vendor and he proclaimed “thank goodness for immigration!” I live in a metropolitan city that has embraced multiculturalism. I am constantly surprised by how educated we have all become about the different types of cuisines. We are now even able to tell if a traditional dish was up to par and where to get the best laksa or pho in town. I enjoy having the first world gastronomical problem of not being able to decide what to have for dinner, simply because we are spoilt for choice.

Children don’t see colour. Children see people. I recall a couple of conversations that made me wish we could live in this perpetual bubble of innocence where labels didn’t create racial boundaries.

Scenario one:

5-year-old child: Mummy, we had a new boy in our class today

Mum: Oh that’s lovely, what’s his name?

5-year-old child: His name is Dinesh and he brought these yummy spicy things for lunch called samosas.

Mum: Dinesh must be Indian?

5-year-old child: No mum, he’s vegetarian.

Scenario two:

5-year-old child: Mummy, Mattea and I played on the monkey bars at school today!

Mum: That’s nice sweetheart. What nationality is Mattea (I was not familiar with the origin of the name)?

5-year-old child: What do you mean?

Mum: Is Mattea maybe white or Asian?

5-year-old child: Neither Mummy, he’s a boy.

Looking back at these conversations, I made a whole bunch of assumptions and generalizations. It’s interesting the thought process I was going through and I, as an adult, brought race into the mix. She simply didn’t see her friends that way. To her, they were merely her classmates she went to school with and interacted with on a daily basis. Adults feel the need to classify cultures. We need to start realizing that this will become even more difficult as the lines continue to blur. Bottom line is, don’t do it. Don’t feel the need to compartmentalize people.

Multiracial families unknowingly teach us about other cultures. My daughter’s friendships have taught her that Teita is Grandma in Lebanese, Greek salad is a culinary delight because it always has crumbly feta and its good manners to take her shoes off when entering into an Asian home. She will continue to grow up in an environment that will educate her in the cultural traditions and customs.

It is imperative children are encouraged to assimilate and embrace multiracialism. This is the most effective education system which in turn fosters tolerance and understanding. Much conflict as we know it is borne out of ignorance and no desire to understand the diverse human race. We need multiculturalism to become an innate part of society. To the point where we can no longer imagine what life would be like without it.

Multi-race children inherit multiple ethnic backgrounds and by understanding the heritage of both their parents, they usually have a broader sense of the world. It allows them to be more empathetic in different scenarios instead of just having the one view-point. They become naturally open to understanding that different people make different decision based on diverse motivations. Possessing more than one language also contributes to children being more open-minded and worldly. The subtle etymology of their language brings about insights into their ethnicity.

The scientific and genetic advantage of “cross breeding” has become a prevalent topic for research. Does heterosis exist for humans? One would think it would! Imagine a population of children that have superior qualities or increased vigor in their genes purely from combining different races! A farfetched notion? Perhaps, but it is definitely worth exploring.

We will come to a point in the human race where a single race child will become a minority. When bi-racial adults themselves have children, the traceability of race origins will become imprecise. Multiculturalism and multi-race families have changed our way of life in more aspects than one can fathom. I for one am grateful to live in a city where this is so ingrained into everyday life. I am thankful that my daughter will be intrinsically educated outside of a classroom. My only hope is that we are all able to live and love harmoniously in this ever-changing kaleidoscope.

By A.S. Chung


Amy is an author, publisher, blogger, social media maven, crusader for women and children, but most of all, our good friend. She makes some great observations above and we ask that you give it some thought. Then, let us know what you think!

You can visit Amy here, and check out our interview with her here.

Enjoy your week,
Lora

To Build or Destroy – The Power of Our Words

pink-shirt1Bullying is a major problem in our schools, workplaces, homes, and over the Internet. During the month of February, many organizations across Canada will work to raise awareness on this issue and give us the tools needed to stand up against bullying and step in when we see it happening. February 25th is Pink Shirt Day and it is recognized in schools across Canada and worldwide by wearing pink in support of anti-bullying. 

I would like to share an animation that highlights the power of our words. Words (which is also the introduction post to Words on a Limb) has truly become one of my favourite videos to share with students when discussing issues around bullying and raising awareness of the impact we have on others through speech and actions. The power of our words can never be underestimated. To build or destroy, it is always our choice.

Creative Commons License
Words by Lora Rozler is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Here is a snippet of the Globe & Mail article that describes how Pink Shirt Day began:

“David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied [for wearing a pink shirt]…[They] took a stand against bullying when they protested against the harassment of a new Grade 9 student by distributing pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school.

‘I learned that two people can come up with an idea, run with it, and it can do wonders,’ says Mr. Price, 17, who organized the pink protest. ‘Finally, someone stood up for a weaker kid.’

So Mr. Shepherd and some other headed off to a discount store and bought 50 pink tank tops. They sent out message to schoolmates that night, and the next morning they hauled the shirts to school in a plastic bag.

As they stood in the foyer handing out the shirts, the bullied boy walked in. His face spoke volumes. ‘It looked like a huge weight was lifted off his shoulders,’ Mr. Price recalled.

The bullies were never heard from again.”
wear-pink-shepherd-price-300x201


It is not always easy to broach difficult topics with our children and students. This is where great literature comes in handy in opening a platform for discussion and reflection. Below is a collection of wonderful picture books to provoke questions about bullying, both as victims and perpetrators. Feel free to share other great books you’ve come across in the comment box below.  I will be more than happy to add them to our list. Continue reading

LIGHTS – Happy Holidays!

lights

LIGHTS

Laughter fills the room, so jolly

Igniting love, all pure and warm

Giving in abundant spirit

Hearts are marking, this is home

Tables hosting grand delights

Special moments, frozen in time

BLISS

                              – Lora

cheersWords On a Limb would like to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and safe Holiday Season.

May your homes be filled with endless LIGHT!

My Spiritual Journey

remToday is the day.

There have been many steps in my journey and now I feel I am ready to embrace a lifelong and forever commitment to Judaism. It is extra meaningful to me that this moment has arrived just a few weeks before Rosh Hashana. I hope and pray this will be a sweet New Year for me as well.

As part of my requirements for appearing before the Beit Din, I was asked to write a spiritual autobiography. I realized that this is actually very difficult, to put my experiences of changing my faith into words.

Anyway I looked back on the days and events, and tried to reflect on the spiritual side of my life. I was born and raised in Manila in the Philippines to a religious Catholic family. My 2 siblings and I were raised in a G-d fearing home with high moral standards by loving parents.

My parents sent me to Catholic schools, known for for their high quality academic excellence. After high school I attended university and in 2002 I graduated with a degree in Physiotherapy.

After university I felt a desire to leave home for “greener pastures” and to broaden my horizons.  But to do this I would have to leave my family and friends behind which I knew wouldn’t be easy. However the opportunity presented itself and in 2004 I immigrated to Canada; in 2011 I became a Canadian citizen.

In my early years in Canada I spent the greater part of my working time with Jewish families and sometimes went with them to the synagogue. I ate Matzah at the Passover Seder and lit candles with them and learned how to keep the laws of Kashrut in their homes. I feel I adapted quickly to their way of life. I heard more about the Holocaust – how 6 million Jews perished, innocent souls, murdered by Hitler, so heartbreaking to even think about.  I made close relationships in the Jewish community who became almost like my family and I thought the Jewish things they did were cool. I wanted to be like everyone else.

Continue reading