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A Blog Hop About Writing

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Last week Jen invited me to participate in a blog hop about writing. I was more than happy to say yes, though I had no idea what I’d be answering to the four questions asked in this blog hop, but I had a general idea to who I would have liked to pass the baton in the next round.

You see, the rules are simple: I answer the four questions, introduce three bloggers, and next week they will do the same, and I’ll link to their posts. Now, just because I’m such a rebel, I’m going to introduce four bloggers, because one of them might or might not be able to continue with the blog hop, but I think she needs a mention.

So let’s see those questions!

1 – What am I writing or working on?

I have two blogs, one of which is very dormant, but I hope to resurrect soon. That one is about crocheting. I am currently working on writing some patterns and a tutorial for that blog, to resurrect it with some actual content.

Then there is this blog, where I write about things that I find interesting. It is an absolute “Me blog”.

Non blogging projects include an e-book about my Judaism. I have written a few chapters, and I now know what are some of the things I really want to include, and what I don’t.

Parallel to this, thanks to my LDS upbringing, I’m working on a family history for my kids and nieces and nephews.

2 – How does my work differ from others of its genre?

About my blog I said that it was Me blog, which used to be the standard in the LiveJournal days, but now it seems every blog out there has a theme. Not KosherKola.  It is not a dad blog, not a Judaism blog, not a craft or recipe blog, not a lifestyle blog, but it contains all of those and more. I comment on politics, on books, coffee, whatever.

Hevel in the Jewish Quarter is unlike some of the Judaism 101 books out there that it doesn’t intend to include everything that could be written about Jewish life that goyim might be interested in. The e-book format allows me to refer my readers to well written sites for information or prayer texts, while I get to share what I find to be important for non-Jewish friends to understand about somewhat casual Judaism without being overwhelmed.

The family history started out as a collection of things I knew about my family. Later it grew with information about Kevin’s family, then various in-laws’ families. It is in a story telling format, because stories are more memorable, and often more important, to remember about our ancestors than cold data about dates. It also ties in nicely with my e-book project, because it includes lots of stories and experiences of Jews from Chasids in Poland to Arabic speaking families in Yemen to assimilated Jews in Hungary.

3 – Why do I write what I write?

Everything I wirte is a piece of me finding a way to be expressed. I have a hard time expressing myself offline. Part of it is my lack of Hebrew, part is just being odd.

I basically write, because I want to share a piece of me with those interested. I write, because there will be grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who might be interested in who I was. I write because I was taught to (though my cursive never really happened). I write, because it just makes sense.

4 – How does my writing process work?

My blog has at least one weekly post: the 7 Quick Takes. I always plan to write them throughout the week, but most of the time Thursday evenings see me tell my friend Jill, “I need more quick takes.” I think that will be the case tomorrow, again.

Other than that, I have some regular features: I post about holidays, Harel Skaat songs, and the Eurovision Song Contest. However, there are certain posts that take a lot of emotional involvement for me to write. Those are my best, and often most read posts. I wish I could deliver an even quality of posts at regular intervals, but I can’t.

I also do my other writing in waves. When inspiration strikes, I write pages upon pages in one sitting. Then nothing for weeks. I really lack discipline in my writing.

OK, now onto the four great bloggers and writers!

10481941_10202887144792560_6873169976255415244_nI met Jill through a Facebook group discussing international adoption ethics. She blogs at Learning Veranese, and today is her birthday! Her blog focuses on life with Down Syndrome, from a refreshing and very real point of view. In addition to being simply awesome, Jill can draw well, too, and her reluctance to give homeschooling advice made me believe that I can do it, too.

Jill is the mom to 7 of the calmest children on the planet… plus one with ants in his pants. She loves Diet Sunkist, Boden dresses, Vietnamese food, and all the noodles and baby bok choy she ate for breakfast in China. She has given up reconciling her appreciation of  modern Israeli pop music with her heartdeep love of old hymns. She laughs at herself all the time because she’s as surprised as everyone else by what comes out.

Happy birthday, Jill!

My second featured blogger is Tricia. I found Tricia through Jill, and she blogs at Clean White Canvas. Our mutual love for Converse shoes proved to be a good foundation for our friendship, but my favourite thing about her is heart, that’s in every word she writes. Oh, and she made me aware of Feed The Children. I love her passion in life, in love, in faith and in education.

triciaTricia, like onions and ogres (according to Shrek), has “layers”—each one more complicated than the next. On the surface she lives a (relatively) typical life: mother, school administrator, freelance writer.

Despite Tricia’s best efforts to stay “unpeeled,” though, God did what Tricia couldn’t. He carved away that top layer and exposed some truths she’d hidden even from herself: a slightly feminist lesbian who struggles with guilt and grace. Tricia started her blog Clean White Canvas because she thought there might be other onions like her. Other families struggling with peeling layers (or maybe even hidden ones) who need to feel love, belonging, and acceptance.

I ran into Galit on a mutual friend’s blog about adoption from Serbia. (Do you see a trend here?) Her name made me suspicious that we might just be members of the same Tribe, and I followed the link to her blog where I learnt more galitabout the yearly Torah cycle than I have in six years of synagogue attendance. She says about herself:

I am a mom, a teacher (M.Ed. from Harvard in math education), a thinker, an idealist, and a Jew. My blog, http://matir-asurim.blogspot.com, is a vehicle for expressing and sharing all of these aspects of who I am. I am now taking my ambitions to the next level, by starting a coffee shop as a social enterprise to create inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities (http://thepowercafe.com). 

While I already enjoyed her blog, I became fascinated by her dedication to make this workd better for all of us. I mean how could a café that benefits people who are otherwise marginalized in society and sells coffee not make the world better for everyone? Make sure you check out her page to find out details and to learn how you, too can be part of Power Café!

gloriaThe fourth blog I’m linking today is anonymous, written by Gloria, The Wrong Gloria. Her view of the gay agenda,

Gloria is a remedial lesbian, an experienced mom with over a 100 years of experience, a lover of Facebook chat and a useless Tweeter. She loves to sing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing to her kids and God. After a lifetime of viewing the world through a mask, she is now working to be the truest version of herself.

Now it’s these four bloggers’ turn to tell us something about writing. Make sure to check back for links to their blog hop posts!

7 Quick Takes – 6

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— 1 —

Israel. My home, my heritage, a country where the West meets the East, where falafel and French cuisine live in coexistence (and hopefully, so will the inhabitants soon in the future), where the Sun shines of us, whether we are Jews, Muslims or Christians, like to hang out on the beach wearing briefs, or live with Down Syndrome (1:01 I think), work at the shuk or go ski with friends. This is Sunshine Across Israel.

— 2 —

In my previous post, I put up some crochet pieces for sale, with a goal to get myself something that woukd aid my everyday communication with people, who don’t sign. Go, check them out, please.

— 3 —

I wanted to give this rosary its own blog post, but ended up deciding to include it here.

In the summer I was at Gouba, an artisan market in Budapest, hunting for gifts for various upcoming birthdays, Hanukkah and just whatever occasion. The market is located at the Gozsdu udvar, a series of connected courtyards between Király street and Dob street. Most of the traffic comes in from the end at Király, and the closer the stand is to Király, the more desirable it is. Some of the last courtyard towards Dob utca, however, are used free or with a discount by various non-profits. Since we always walk down to Dob utca to do some shopping at the kosher shop in the last building of Gozsdu udvar, we knew that these non-profits usually have nice things to offer.

One of my favourite sellers is a Jewish non-profit, who sell a lot of donated items, some handmade ones and the the stand is usually staffed by cheerful, crocheting ladies. That day it wasn’t different, and while we chatted (thanks to my iPad) and they gave me crocheting tips, and sold me a beautiful mezuzah, I looked over the table and saw a small bowl of rosaries and cross pendants. It seemed a bit out of place among the Judaica, but then it was explained that they usually come from estates that were donated to them. Since they work with non-Jewish people mostly, many of their donors are also not Jewish.  They initially weren’t sure what to do with them, but then decided not to discard them, because they once belonged to someone who cherished them. They sell them a lot cheaper than the Catholic bookstores, not really making money on them, but hoping they will find a home with someone who will cherish them again. “It’s faith that makes them sacred,” one of the ladies said.

She was right.

— 4 —

Today is a day for videos! Here is Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch with the sign of  four. Or something! Khan he count them all?

— 5 —

I have a very secret cod we use at home. I mean cod recipe. It’s also probably the easiest ever, the kids usually make it themselves, so I have very little hassle with it, and hardly any dish clean up.

Basically we take a large piece of tin foil, place a slice of cod on it, with seasoned butter, frozen green peas, a few slices of potatoes on top, wrap it all well in the tin foil, and put it in the overn till the whole kitchen smells great. I think it’s 15-20 minutes at 200°C. We usually eat them without utensils, with some freshly baked bread and lots of ice cold Coke.

— 6 —

It’s 16°C (61°F) here right now, and I’m a bit cold and very hungry. We don’t turn the heating on much here, so now I’m sitting on the couch, wrapped in an EDS blanket (no idea where it comes from) and reading the new blog of my friend Jill, about her daughter Vera. Jill and her husband adopted Vera, who has Down Syndrome from Russia when she was 5 and a half years old–long before it was the popular thing to do. Vera is turning 15 in a few days, so let’s celebrate her birthday by visiting her new blog!

Learning Veranese

— 7 —

Google gets it.

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For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

 

I stand with Israel

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I just posted the little banner today, and 2 people have already asked me where to get it.

This is the link: http://chaispace.com/support-israel.html If you use WordPress, add teh HTML code in a text widget. that can possible work with Blogspot as well, but if it doesn’t, you can just add it to the layout code.

Custom layout

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The last few weeks I have been thinking about buying a premium or custom layout. I just have no idea where to look. Since I have absolutely zero ads on my site (heck, I don’t even get enough traffic to be an Amazon Affiliate, I think), I am pretty cost conscious. I mean, I don’t want much, but I’m absolutely unwilling to pay $100 for a unique background like some places sell for Blogspot.

So anyone with a WP blog and custom layouts, who did yours? For how much? Do you just love yours? Please, help me!

Saturday Revelation

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I just realised that Protestant/restorationist/Bible believing moms like to blog on Blogspot, while Catholic and atheist mommy blogs are more likely to be found on WordPress. Adoption blogs are more common on Blogspot.

Only a few truly self hosted blogs are out there in these categories.

I wonder why?

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