Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A Quick Note

I confess, I becoming alittle sad because we are close to the end of this Blog. It's intend was to share the lead up to and our Wedding.
Funny how life works.
A few days ago, I saw on the Blong I Have Tea, a challenge. To write a novel in a month. A friend thought our story would make a cool novel, so I am going for it, and in this way, fill in many of the blanks I didn't cover here. I really don't know the outcome of this, but isn't that part of life?
So, I invite you dear readers to continue to hang in there and when I find out how you can read my written in one novel, I shall let you.
In the meantime, enjoy the remaining passages of We Made Only Own Huppah.

Monday, 2 November 2009


It is an old, anicent tradition of beauty for women going through various stages of life as well as men.
Thousends of years old, the henna plant is ground into a fine powder, made into a paste and then applied to the skin in lovely patterns. I remember seeing the Henna applied first hand in Morocco; it looks like buttrfly wings that have been woven into gloves and slipped onto the hands and feet.
Brides in Africa, The MiddleEast and The Mediterranean, Jews, Muslims, Hindi and Christians brides have henna parties the night before their weddings. It is also done for preparation of the birth of a child, coming of age, birthdays the circumcision of a son and for a Warrior when he comes home victorious from war.
And I wanted this lovely custom for my wedding.
We ordered Chinese Food and tried to make it fun. But because only my Matron of Honour was willing to take part and then learning I had dropped my wallet (a very nice man called to tell me he found it. It just had our Wedding Plans, Mark's orders, my ID and a few hundred dollars.) the fun went out the door.
Plus the henna needed to settle for 24 hours.
So instead of getting it done Thrusday, it was Friday evening.
But Isabelle, my niece who did the artwork, had drawn the template on my hands and feet.

Henna actually feels good on the skin and has a reddish-brown to black colouring. With my skin colour, my Henna would come out a Dessert Rose, just a few shades darker than my hair.
 Once dry and the henna is bushed off, you must take care not to wash the hands and feet for ateast 24 hours. In other cultures, this is the reason why the Bride has bridesmaids; to help her not only dress, but even to eat and bath her.
I used plastic gloves to cover my hands and feet. The pattens usually last with care betwee three and six weeks. The reason is to give the bride and groom time to get to know each other and enjoy each other. It is said as long as the Henna lasts, so does the Honeymoon.
Mine lasted  six weeks.

The next morning, when I went to pickup the wedding gown, the Indian ladies who had worked on my gown was fluttering about me, giggling like little girls. They had never seen an American Bride with Henna and it thrilled them to no bitss that there was someone who understand and appreacted the wonder of Henna.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009


I confess: I had three Bridezilla moments.
Mark said he was very proud of me.
Considering I was marrying Groomzilla, that was saying something.
The first was my dealings with Information, trying to obtain a phone number.
If you work the Information line, take my advise; if you are dealing with a screaming mimi on the other end of the phone, you are dealing with a stressed out bride. Saying; "now, now dearie," is going to cause a sudden blast and you find yourself  a pile of ciders. Just take a deep breath and move heaven and earth if need be to find the phone number she is demanding and no one will get hurt.
The dodo I was dealing with didn't know this. And it didn't help when Mark, having found my personal phonebook, pointed to the very number I was looking for.
But imformation couldn't find it....
Mark, taking his life in his hands, started laughing at me. For I was screaming, storming about my tiny apartment: "What I want is my hairdresser's telephone number! Is that so much to ask?"
Mark took me in his arms, kissed my forehead and held me for a few minutes, allowing me a good cry.
Then, letting me go, he stepped and showed me what I looked like...
Stomp, stomp stomp..."I want that number and I want it NOOOOWWWW!"
I couldn't help but laugh at want I really looked like.
Next was the invivtations. My niece design our wedding invivations. Using Parchment paper, the invitations looked like scrolls.
And of course there  several complaints because they weren't "real wedding invitation" i.e not Emily Post approved.
Without getting into the details (Because it was done as a favor and we really did appreate the effort) there were problems with the printing job and tempers flew. The shock: no one expects ME to get angry. Because I am so 'nice' it is assured I will just roll over. There are several former classmates who ended up with busted lips who would tell you otherwise. When I let out a blast of flames, the matter was quickly settled.
The next was four days before the wedding and it had to do with the wedding party itself.
 In this case we were willing to make a compromise, but I let it be known the parties involved should have come to us instead of running to someone else. At this point I was ready to clute the whole thing and elope; with or without Mark.
Please don't ask me what that means: I was a stressed out bride at this time.
And then came the tirara. Each of the bridesmaids were going to wear a tiria since I was wearing a Coined Crown.
Would you believe there was a problem with that as well?
Lesson: Maid/Matron of Honour/brides's maids: it's the Bride's day. Please don't insist on YOUR way. Your role is an honour, not a right. Your job is to support your friend/ sister, and do the jobs you are asked. And as long as you are not asked to dye your hair green or shave it bald, don't kick up a fuss if your asked to have it curled, braided, upswept.
Brides: be willing to compromise. If you wish to keep these relationships after the wedding. Be willing to listen, be willing to give several options. And if it that important to you, be willing to pick up part of the cost.
But brides and grooms aren't mind readers. If your Tux or bride'smaid dress is something you can't allow, we are willing to work with you, even help with cost or make some changes since your presence is important to us.
We did this and we still have wonderful relationships with all but one that was in our wedding party.
All in all, I think I did ok.
For a Bridezille.

Where's The Scotch?

Planinng a wedding can make drive even saint to drink.
So many details, so many people who feel they have the right to tell you how it should be and not be done
For some, Mark and I were making a big deal out of it. I'd been married before and therefore it should be a small affair. 
What these folks fail to realize that in our traditional, for me, this marriage was a new beginning and worth celebrating. And it was Mark's first marriage and he wanted to celebrate our union.
 For others it was the religious issues. Many had a problem wrapping their brains over the traditons, over the program itself. And only one was decent enough to come to and ask US about what we were doing and not gossiping about us and our wedding plans to others.
Yes, I called it gossip. And it added to my stress level.
Today I advise brides to hire a Wedding Planner and I mean HIRE. Someone who does this for a living and not a personal friend, family memember or well-intended Caregroup memeber. If your place of worship has a Wedding Ministry, by all means work with and make use of  it.
The life you save will be those in your wedding party. Your groom. Your mother and soon to be mother by marriage.
I also advise work that body. If you jog, speed walk, kick-box, swim, etc, keep it up. If not, go to the Y and take up boxing. And don't forget the pink boxing gloves. It works off all of the stress and care and you walk away clear headed.
In my case, it was dance.
Since Marissa and Sarah were working with the dancers for the beginning of the wedding, I turned my attention to the groom's dance.
One day while running errands, I was musing out loud about the Daughters' of Zion Dance.

"Should it be in the beginning or the end.."
Mark piped up, "Don't worry baby, I'm dance for you"
"Your on!"
And to Mark's horror, I held him to it.

What was a hoot was the groomsmen.
None wanted to dance.
But of course, I had a trick up my sleeve...
You see, we have a saying: "Anything that makes the Bride rejoice."
And I used it to my advange.
"I am sure gla to hear your dancing for my wedding..." batting eyes, big smile.
"Of course, Laini. Anything to make the Bride rejoice."
Ahhhh the power :)
The "Rejoicing Over the Bride," over the bride was the Hora, a Hebrew dance done by Jews around the world during weddings, celebrating the becoming Bar/Bat Mitvzah, etc. It is very simple and can be picked up quickly.
Mark and I also worked on our first dance. Since I am 5'8 and Mark is 6'5, there is a slight height difference and we had to work on our waltz. Being a dance teacher, I am use to leading, so it was both hard and funny for me to give up the lead and allowing my body to just rest and trust Mark where he would lead me. Soon, the flow came and our pratices went well. I remember one afternoon whlle praticing at Beth Messiah, we felt eyes upon us. The workmen had stopped the work on the roof to watch us.
Mark just held me closer, reminding me many more eyes would be upon us for our first dance.
And of course there are spiritual truths here:
The success of a marriage rise or falls on the trust each mate has in the other. We are to yield to each other. There are times I lead in our love dance; they are times Mark does. But we  must trust each's steps.
We who claim the Name of Messiah have not yet been removed form the world. Our dance with our beloved, with our Beloved Messiah is viewed by a watching world. Are we waltzing together? Or fighting for control? Do they see a loving couple? Or the Clash of the Titians? When watching us, does the world seeing Yeshua in our lives, as the One leading our lives. Or do they see a breakdance solo?
It was during this time I realize when we prayed that people would see Yeshua in our relationship, our wedding, our marriage, this would be a tall order.
Were we up to the task?

Monday, 1 June 2009

One Month and Counting

I realize as I make this entry, it was four years ago today that it dawn on me I was getting married in 26 days.

We were at MacDonald's enjoying ice cream with my new two nephews and niece when the thought hit me.

And we were still working on the Huppah, I was still working on Mark's prayer shawl.

Mark's sister-in-law had come down to help when both dad and mum Reel took ill and we had to drive them back to Ohio. This also cut into our preparation time.

We just had to trust G-d to redeem the time and He did.

Sadly, a few of the people we wanted in our wedding party could not be a part due to our changes the date.

But we were thankful for those who were able to stand in

But I was also in for a shock: my wedding gown.

In march, I had been rushed to the ER due to a migraine headache. It was that bad and i had never suffered like that before. It turns out my blood pressure was through the roof and the only thing that stopped me from stroking was the vomiting taking pressure off my brain. It turns out I had a small tumor on my pituitary gland that made my pressure shoot up. Thankfully after three days in hospital I was send home with steroids to remove the tumor. But the steroid caused me to gain 20 pounds. Once off the steroid, I lost 10 pounds, but I still could not get in my wedding gown, which in February had been a perfect fit. I was told it had to be let out by an inch and a half. Which wasn't bad, but I was still in tears. The seamstress told me to eat lots of watermelon, drink water with lemon to remove the rest of the fluid. Which was the same advise I had received from my doctor.

Since I loved salad and salmon anyway, Mark in support of me, joined me in the adjustment of om y diet. Plus to be honest, hitting the fastfood places because we were so busy didn't help.

Lesson for future brides: no fastfoods. It adds to the stress as well as could affect your last fitting. Make time to prepare healthy meals. Workout and drink lots of water.

Well, the changes worked so well, not only did my gown fit nicely, it was loose!

On my wedding day I had to take tiny steps; no stripe teasing in the synagogue :)

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Great Get Away

Williamsburg: May, 2005
Mark and I with a new found friend; wish I could remember its name....and yes, my only are my legs showing, but my hair is uncovered. But then, Mark and I aren't married yet.

Funny looking at these pictures. Mark gained weigh from Chemo; me from taking streoids to remove a nasel growth. We have both lost some much weigh since then we look like different people.

The Governor House. Since we didn't have Guest passes, we couldn't go into. That would have to wait until our honeymoon.

The Mail Office.

It was a wonderful, restful three days. We left Friday before Shabbat and returned Sunday evening.
The first night. Mark and I had supper in his room. I ordered a hamburger and fries, he the Governor's Special; fowl and spring veggies.
When our meal arrived and the waiter left, we Blessed G-d for the food and Mark got the shock of his life.
The piece of fowl barely fit in the palm of his hand. It was really a Chicken McNuggart. The veggies were tiny and a spoonful.
"Your kidding!"
I had to work hard not to laugh. My supper was less than $20.00.
Mark's 35.00
So, after Mark finished his three bite chicken, I cut my hamburger in half and shared half my fries.
He walked me to my room, said good-night and in the quiet of my room, burst out laughing.

A Breather

In May, our lives changed.
We went from having another three months to plan our wedding to suddnely four weeks before the big day.
And that is a huge jump.
With the preparings there was major family illnesses and Mark and I spend much of our time running from hosptial to hosptial to assistance care. Thankfully, Mark had finish is Chemo and was getting to get his colour back, but he still tired easy and there were times I was concern about his health. And naturally we were beginning to snap at each other.
Finally, at one point, Mark looked at me and said, "Enough!"
"Excuse me?"
"Enough. Enough of this. We have been taking care of everyone but each other. We need to get away. Just enjoy being in love."
I can live with that.
So, that weekend, which was a three day weekend, Mark and I threw packed our over night bags, turned off his cell-phone and headed for Williamburge, Virginia.
Williamsburge is beautiful in the Spring. After settling into our rooms, we began to unwind.
No drama.
Mark had been waiting for his back pay, since we were planning a honeymoon trip to Israel. But since the pay still haven't come in, we had to make other plans.
And since Mark and I both love history, we decided Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown for our honeymoon. One cannot take in Williamsburg in less than three days.
Of course we didn't tell anyone about our plans until after we came home.
So, here we are, all alone, save tourist, remembering what was really important.
Each other.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Put Them In Check

This lovely couple are not only best buddies, but family, Rudy and Jereel.
And during the preparation of our wedding, Rudy saved many a life.
One of the things I came to realize is dispite the face we were an older couple and paying for our own wedding, that people, friend and family, would still feel they had the right to say something about our wedding.
"Why do you have to have such a big wedding?"
"Why don't you just elope or go to the Justice of the Peace?"
"It's isn't going to be a Jewish Wedding, is it?"
"You'd been married before, what's the big deal?"

And then there is my all time favorite: "Your not wearing white, are you?"
No, I wore ivory and if I did chose to wear white that would be MY business. In a Jewish wedding, it isn't about how many times you have been married. A Jewish wedding is about celebrating a new beginning, a new creation. This bride and this groom make a new family. White is wore to celebrate a fresh start; white is the sign of joy and happiness. That is why a Jewish woman, whether widow or divorced wears white, because this is a new beginning.
Mark, knowing my heart, wanted to give me the wedding of my dreams. He wanted to celebrate his love for me and this wedding was his love gift to me, his beloved.
I remember one Shabbat, in tears, speaking to Rudy because of the trouble we were having.
"Tell me ask you a few questions," I remember Rudy saying.
"Who is Mark marrying? Who is paying for this wedding? If they don't have a shilling in that pound, then girlfriend, you need to put those folks in check."
How right she was.
So the next time someone had something to say about the Wedding, I simply said: "Mark and I figured out how much we wish to spend on this wedding. How much are you planning to chip in?"
A few days later, I had to inform someone at Beth Messiah that Mark told me to tell anyone who has a problem with how we are doing things, come talk to him.
Problem solved.

In May, we had members on both side of the families become ill. Mark and I were running here, there and everywhere taking care of this person, looking after that person, along with planning our wedding. And in the mist, we saw once again, hands working to pull us apart.
Having sat down with our Rabbi, it was decicded to push up the wedding date to June. This way we could deal with all that we facing as a couple.
We were thankful the vendors were able to work with us. But this met the lost of several memebers of our wedding party, but thankfully we had enough time to do some adjustments
And I felt better with getting married in June.
But this meant we had to work twice as hard and fast on the Huppah.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

And Then It Happen

Me, working on our Huppah. Our Huppah is a huge Prayer shawel with the colours from the Tent of Meetings.
In each corner is a Lion of Yudah. On them are stitched our Hebrew names, place and date of marriage.

Mark's Prayer Shawl. Made of Gold ribbons that denotes he will be the priest of our home. My love gift to my bridegroom.

So with the date (August) the Place (Beth Messiah) the Theme (High Priest Marriage to the Daughter of the High Priest) and wedding party (Sarah, brides maids, our sisters and my namesake as flower girl, four Huppah holders and two bestmen) flowers ordered,decorator in place, we began the work of the Huppah and Mark's wedding attire.
Any couple that can survive their wedding plans are sure to have awonderful life together.
I could "see" how the Huppah would look, but examing it to Mark was another matter. After, who doesn't understand "this big and this long???"
A man who needs measurements.
Details, details.
So, I began went through my sewing box and after blowing off the dust, handed Mark my measuring tape.
"You sew and you don't us a measuring tape?"
Go figure!
We went to up to the spot where the Huppah would be posted and Mark took measurements of the stage, based on where the posts should rest. This way I had a picture in my head of how it would be placed and Mark had his measuremnents for the materials.
We found two lovley pieces of linen; one for the Huppah and the other for his Prayer Shawel. We had to go to all five Michael in our area for find enough royal red, blue, purple and gold ribbons. The silver bells and Stars of David were at a ScrapeBook store.
In each corner was a cross-stitched Lion of Yudah. Mark, who cross-stitches also did two and I did the other two.
This was the beginning of our learning to work, learning each other's languge and creating our own.
And then it happen:
Family drama.
Fact is: the birthing of a blessed union, a man and woman leaving their homes and becoming one is no mean feat. There is bound to be fireworks and flairups.
And we were no exception.
We thought since we were paying for our wedding, planning and doing the work, there should be no problems within the families.
Yeah. Right.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

The Theme

Life has been crazy, but I am finally getting back to this jounral:

Every wedding has a theme. Even if is a simple, imformal affair, it reflects the couple and their relationship.
I had dreamed of a Jewish wedding for years; the making of my own Huppah and prayer shawel for my beloved. A veiling, the breaking of the glass. I also knew I wanted the Banners and dancers.
During the time of our courntship and engagement, we were studying the Book of Revelation. The Theme is the marriage of the High Priest (Yeshua) to the daughter of the High Priest (Believers) it is a royal wedding. Since as believers, we are a "royal priesthood" I took the idea and ran with it. Thus the idea of a Garden wedding, liken to the returning to the Garden of Eden.
I was thinking small, but Mark said he knew my heart and wanted me to have the wedding of my dreams.
And I did.
The colours were ivory and lavender. The plan was for Mark's buddy Sam (they served in Iraq together) to be bestman and my namesake, Little Elana to be my Flowergirl. Nice and simple.
Yeah, Right.

Since the Huppah would have to be held, we had to have Huppah holders. I wanted the Dancers and the Banners. And of course with a formal wedding gown, a wedding party.
So, with everything in place, we begin to work to make the wedding of our dreams come true.
And also have a very wise Rabbi who reminded us that the Wedding is One day, the Marriage is a lifetime. Remember which is more important.