Thursday, December 30, 2010


I am so inspired by Mrs. Nalle at! She came home with her son "shouting", as she puts it, for the "lost boys" at her son's mental institution in his former country. She prayed, and wept, and raised money, and made connections, and...she made a difference.

I have very little money, no connections, and zero experience. But...I can blog. I can tell. I can pray. I can also donate the little money I have. Reece's Rainbow has a very real need. I will not turn my back.

At the moment, Reece's Rainbow needs donations to their Voice of Hope fund to help cover merchandise for their Buddy Walks (major awareness events), and of course the waiting children need money in their grant funds as well. Please consider donating or at least praying. Thank you.

Wonderful News!

"Grady" is officially his parents' son! His name is now Andrei Asher. God be praised! Go visit his parents' blog ( to find out more.

Also, I am considering participating in the Reece's Rainbow prayer warrior program again. On the one hand, I feel that this is a great way to help as many children as possible; on the other, I feel attached to Andrei and feel that I must keep praying for all of his needs, and that I want to focus my energy on him. Please (politely) let me know your opinions on this very important issue, and please consider lookng into the prayer warrior program yourself!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just so nobody thinks I'm perfect (not that anybody did)...

I know I said I had a goal to save money to donate to the Down Syndrome Older Girls' page on Reece's Rainbow. I still want to do that. But...

I wanted a Hannukah gift.
I want a birthday gift.
I will not deny myself those things because it's been a hard year and quite frankly I emotionally need them.

Extra money will go to Reece's Rainbow:
Left over birthday money from parents.
Birthday money from relatives.
Money from doing chores around the house and hopefully from my first job this Summer (assuming I can get one).

Because I know that I am important, I take care of myself first.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Two Conversations I Never Thought I'd Have

1. How far away from home do I want to go to college? What if I have a mental health crisis while I'm there? Fortunately, all my chosen schools are in driing distance, but just in case I am really sick at the end of the Summer, I am also applying to the school that is in walking distance from my house. I never thought I would apply there. It felt too close to home; now there is no such thing as too close to home.

2. Do I want to have biological children? Statistically, bipolar disorder gets worse with each generation. Before last week, I would have said that I was mostly stable, that I wanted kids, and that they could handle it. I was so sick last week that I do not want to subject a child to that or worse. Besides, there is always preschool onset bipolatr disorder, a possibility about which I would need to worry. I believe right now that having biological children would be nothing short of selfish. It would be heart-breaking not to, but I can always adopt, and I really don't want anyone to experience worse bipolar disorder than mine.

I never thought I'd be sick enough to have either of those conversations.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Please visit the above link and read today's post about the vote and the "lost boys". It is oh so important. Please pray!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Grady's family has him! Grady's family has him!

Go to to see pictures!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Maybe if a different sperm had hit a different egg, I wouldn't be bipolar. Of course, I probably wouldn't be precisely me, either, but I wouldn't be bipolar. Just something to think about.

Also, PLEASE PRAY. While we in America are asleep tonight, a bill will be passed which, with its current wording, will stop all foreign adoptions from a country in Eastern Europe, including the ones already in progress. I'm not sure exactly which country, but I'm pretty sure all of Eastern Europe has those awful mental institutions. So please, for the sake of the children: PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Resolution

Wuth everything that happened in the past year, I lost sight of my "challenge" to save and donate money. I meant to save and donate to Grady's account, and yet other less important things got in the way.

I am starting again. Grady is about to be adopted; it is too late--thank God--to raise money for him. My new goal is to rais money to donate to one of the "older girls" pages on the Reece's Rainbow site. I will let you know how it goes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You Know You Come from a Certain Walk of Life When...

1. An easy blood test makes your day.
2. The most exciting thing about your upcoming eighteenth birthday is that you will get to sign your own medical forms.
3. Having only one sick person to pray for feels amazing.

(I will be updating this list periodically.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Real Deal

I gave in. I gave up. I caved. For reasons far too private to post on a blog (so please try not to judge my decision) I came home for break early on medical leave. I didn't even bring any of my school books or work with me because I expected to be sick for a long time. I am not. I feel fine now. I should have brought my books.

But the real deal is that it is very hard to think straight during a bipolar episode. The real deal is that I had to give in (although really adults in my life made the decision for me) because sometimes life is just too much. I will be working with my therapist to develop coping skills so my next episode does not get this bad. Nevertheless, the real deal is that this one did.

Just keeping it real.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Real Deal

All right, everybody. I am being raw and real here. I am not hiding anything or holding anything back.

I am depressed, the worst I've felt this episode. I actually had to regularly stop studying tonight to curl up in fetal position and try to get rid of some of the pain. Depression is disabling. In an hour and half, I only took flashcards on six pages of notes. This is unbelievably slow for me.

I have tests next week, and I can still muster up the strength and presence of mind to be a little bit worried about my grades. It's lucky this didn't happen during finals week. It's lucky break is coming soon.

I feel awful, torn apart at the seams.

That is all.

Monday, December 6, 2010


That one word sums up my life right now. Uncertainty. My mental stability cannot be depended upon moment to moment, day to day.

I had a great weekend (healthwise and otherwise) and thought I was stable. Then I went to school today. I aborted the beginning of a manic episode using Xanax, but I shouldn't have to do that. I am in the stage now of "GET. HOMEWORK. DONE." just in case I can't do it the next day. I cannot trust my brain or relax into its abilities for more than a few hours at most before I am checking symptoms. I am sick. I am chronically ill, and for the first time in a long time I am feeling what that means.

Prayers, please?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Still in an episode...

...and here is a poem I wrote today.

Maybe someday this wild ride will cease.
Maybe soon I'll wake up from the dream.
I'll raise my eyes; the sun will shine.
Rain will fall, but only gently.
I'm praying someday soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Another episode starting.

Why? Why now?

Very simple.

I missed some sleep.

Yes, you read that correctly. For ONE night, I got slightly less than enough sleep. ONCE.

And now I'm entering a mild episode, requring a temporary medication change to fix.

Why am I so emotionally strong but mentally fragile?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving Thanks

I have so much for which to be thankful this year. I have my health, my family, my home, and my friends.

I think most of all I am thankful for my friends. I have a dozen friends--I counted--half of whom go to school with me. For someone who as a little girl had at most two friends at a time, this is no small thing. I don't use real names (except for mine) on my blogs to protect people's identities, and I cannot possibly come up with twelve nicknames (the individuals so nicknamed would not recognize themselves anyway), but I love. my. friends.

Thank you, God.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Here I am. blogging from my room at home. Break time is such a blessing. I am enjoying a quiet day, just relaxing, with nothing I have to get done (probably my only day like that, besides Shabbat, this break). In a little bit I will go grocery shopping with my father so I can pick out vegetables for salads.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Going Home!

In twenty minutes I am heading home for Thanksgiving! 6:05 pm flight, arrive home 10:57 pm. SO excited! Sorry about missing a couple days of posting; my computer would not let me access blogger.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Finals Status

Math: Done. I think I did better than I expected.
Hebrew: Presented my project early this afternoon.
Biology: Tomorrow morning. I only got three hours of studying done; if I prayed for frivolous things, I would be praying now!
English: Tomorrow afternoon. I studied for about an hour to an hour and a half; I think I'll manage.
Psychology: Wednesday afternoon. I'll have lots of time to study for that one.
Death, Dying, and the Afterlife: Thursday morning. Open notes.

Will keep you posted!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Math Final Coming Up Tomorrow

I thought I was totally lost...then I went to the review session with my teacher and now I feel that I might actually be fine as long as I take my time. We will see tomorrow.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


NOTE TO SELF: Stop watching anti-bullying Youtube videos! All they do is trigger memories!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I had a happy day today. I am still obssessed with my past, still feeling driven to talk about it, but I am neither sad, angry, nor scared. I feel better.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ten Minutes to Bedtime...

...I feel ready to be done with this lsat memory, but I am obssessing over it. That tells me that I am not done.

But I am taking care of my inner child, and I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel again.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ten Bullet Points

  • Hebrew project well underway.
  • Began processing awful memory today. Feeling ripped open and vulnerable.
  • Don't know how well I'll sleep tonight.
  • Nine days until Thanksgiving break.
  • Have four final exams, one open note exam, and a project coming up.
  • Got two new pencils today.
  • Going to bed early tonight.
  • Got Senior pictures taken this week.
  • Did not do any studying for finals today.
  • My favorite color is purple.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reading Week Day 1

Flashcard Status: Biology and Math complete. Psych and English next.

Reading Assignments Status: Hebrew reading finished. Notes for Death Dying and the Afterlife finished. Now to work on Hebrew book report.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Guess What?!

I got into college!!!!!!!!!!!

...that is all.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Memory

So I guess I missed posting on Friday, but I am picking up again.

I know what will happen with that memory. It will be present and a little bit painful until I can find time and space to begin processing it, at which point it will be very present and very painful for a while, until it fades into the background. I'm trying to decide whether to start processing it now so it will go away sooner, or wait until after break so it won't interrupt finals.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


It's going to take a few days for me to feel like myself again after last night. That awful memory is still too fresh for a quick "recovery" from feeling it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Too Many Memories

Tonight here at school we had a program on school bullying. I have a long history with that, one I prefer to forget and/or shove aside. I couldn't tonight. Video clips of hallways, bus rides...way too many memories. Overwhelming.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 2

Not much to write about today. In a couple of minutes I am going to go work on a Hebrew worksheet. Then I am going to eat dinner, revise an English essay and study for a Sports Medicine test. feeling homesick today.

Monday, November 1, 2010

National Blog Posting Month

November is National Blog Posting Month, when one tries to blog once a day. For today, I have nothing to say except comgratulations to my school's cross country and boys' basketball teams who represented our school very well at States (cross country) and a tournament against other Jewish schools (basketball). Go Teams!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Please, please do something...

Read this. Please. something. Donate money, donate time, donate prayers, or just post this to your blog as well. Please help.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ally Day

Ally Day has come to a close, a great success. Here's a rundown:

Homeroom: Each student receives a rainbow "celebrate diversity" bracelet (similar to a livestrong bracelet) and fills out a survey about bullying at our school. The surveys are collected and returned to one of the faculty members of the Gay Straight Alliance.

Lunchtime: People sign cards pledging to be an ally (support others, intervene when necessary and safe, refrain from using anti-gay slurs) and stick stickers on a banner proclaiming "That's So Gay" in an attempt to cover up the message.

Dinner: People sign preprinted postcards advocating for gay marriage, the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and safer schools in our county.

Evening: big assembly using video clips and the morning's survey data to drive home the necessity of taking a stand.

It was a big success. So why am I upset? I still believe that, if there were a choice, no one would choose to be gay. Ever. It's simply too hard.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ally Day on Wednesday

On Wednesday, the Gay Straight Alliance at my school is putting together a program called Ally Day. I can't give details here because people from school read this blog, but it is going to be EPIC.

I am proud to be part of such an awesome, difference-making group, and I am excited to put my plans into action.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What a miracle!

I feel normal! I can study! I can't make up for lost time, but I sure as heck can study now.

For those interested in the medical/clinical side of this, I am now taking one milligram of Risperdal (up from one half), 800 mg Seroquel, 15 mg Abilify, 900 mg Lithium, 200 g Lamictal, one B vitamin, half a No-Doz (to counteract the side effects of the Seroquel), and one half milligram of Xanax as needed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Totally Destabilizing...

...worse than I've felt for months and months. I am practically unable to study for my three big tests coming up. I feel really, really sick. This feels awful.

(And, as my therapist suggested I say: This feels awful, but it will pass, and I will get through it.)

Feeling Bipolar Again...

...and I have to study for three tests today. I have my wieghted blanket on, I have played a game of solitaire, and at 12:30 I am getting to work. I meant to be working two hours ago, but it didn't work out that way.

Wish me luck! If you are the praying sort, I would appreciate some prayers too.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

New Button

The new button will take you directly to donate to Grady's family grant for his adoption. Apologies for the size; if anyone knows how to make it just a little bit smaller, I would greatly appreciate the help. Thank you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Heavy on my Heart

Grady's family ( is just about paper ready to bring him home. Now they need...the money. A lot of money. $25,000, more or less. Come on people. Pray, donate through Reece's Rainbow (specify Coffman family), check out their blog, tell your friends, anything! Let's get this show on the road!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


This is the blog of Grady's new family: They are trying to get their paperwork in before November. As they explain on their blog, this is extremely important! I am praying for them.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Today I went to Target and Michaels to pick up a few necessities, and I found...

A three-pack of Scotch tape, with a roll of double-sided tape included.

For $3.89.

That is less than a dollar per roll!

Target rocks!

Saturday, September 4, 2010


The Xanax is no longer a miracle drug. Last night it did not help at all; today it put me to sleep for hours.


1. Keep experimenting with the Xanax, including dosages and timing.
Pros: No side effects, no addition of yet another new chemical.
Cons: This is not an "official" treatment for bipolar disorder.
2. Risperdal
Pros: This has worked for me in the past.
Cons: At a dose large enough to work, I have experienced prolactin side effects.
3. Depacote:
Pros: Triple mood stabilizers are supposed to be very effective, would automatically raise my Lamictal levels.
Cons: Potential for polycystic ovarian syndrome, not usually used in young women of childbearing age.

That's where I am now!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Don't be shy...

Leave comments! Please! I love them!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Deeply Happy

Coming out of a bipolar episode and back into the "real" world always fills me with a happiness deeper than any other I have ever experienced. It is just so sweet to be thinking clearly, to be able to love and be loved, to really take part in class. Even homework takes on a sense of fun because I can actually do it, with no loud music (to combat depression) or weighted blanket (to combat mania).

Truly, everything feels wonderful, as the conversation below will show:

Me: Hello, "John"; isn't the world beautiful?

"John": It is. It's also hot out.

Me: Who the he*ll cares? Life is beautiful!

(And yes, admittedly, it was actually hot out.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Miracle of Xanax

I feel totally, absolutely, wonderfully normal! No symptoms at all! It happened so fast that I am a little bit suspicious (I could be headed for mania), but I am enjoying every minute of it. God is truly in control...perfect timing on so many levels.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My Stupid Psychiatrist...

...has dumped me off on my mother (also a psychiatrist). He is uncomforable raising my medications because of potential side effects like sudden death (next to impossible). He refuses to take suggestions from my mother and just wants to get rid of me.

But my mother is fighting this battle for me, so I will just sit back and survive.

Tell me how I can be this sick (real mania, real depression) despite two mood stabilizers and two antipsychotics! This should not be happening.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Need Hugs

I'm scared. Very scared. My condition is rapidly worsening; today I was verbally exploding right, left, and center. I didn't (still don't) want this to get worse, so I called my doctor.

He doesn't know what to do, and wants to find me a specialist.

Now I'm scared.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Almost There...

I am almost done with my pre-study-hall to-do list for today. I just have to interview our new Director of Residential Life for the school paper and then I can collapse. I've done a mediocre job on everything, but at least it's done. So. Little. Energy...and zero motivation.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


And...we're back to square one. I need help. Symptoms are worsening, and I'm scared. No one thinks I can go into a full blown episode on all my meds, but it's been a week and a half and the symptoms are not going away. (In fact, they're getting more dramatic.) I am becoming quite the actress as I work to keep up the facade: the "everything's OK" face, getting my homework done, paying attention in class. I am trying not to lean on people; in fact, I am avoiding most people except for "John" and "Lucy", and sometimes "Mike" and "Cheri" (newer friends). I can't post more here because it gets too personal, but pray for a miracle, please!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Feeling Better, Working Hard

The good news is that, having stopped my caffeine supplement, I feel fine psychiatrically.

Now the emotional work begins: the crying, the hugging, the memories.

It's been a tough week.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I am not feeling well again.

It's not a steady sickness; it fluctuates. Every day I have a collection of "moments."

And today was a very long day. I have been counting down the minutes to bed time since 9:00-ish.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Wonderful News, Awful News

First, the most wonderful news:


Secondly, my bipolar brain is misbehaving (just slightly) again. I really thought this was over. I wanted it to be over.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So many hurting people in the many ways to help...such limited resources...

My heart hurts.

I am saving money to donate to help Grady, while hundreds of other children languish without hope.

And Haiti and Chile need help.

And Soles 4 Souls could always use more shoes.

I feel so limited.

Perhaps you could help too?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Purchases (from Parents)

I am so blessed for this school year:

3 New Notebooks
1 New Pack Pens
5 New Pairs Socks
1 Water Bottle
1 Pack Detergent Sheets


I suppose the camera was not, strictly speaking, necessary, but this is my senior year after all.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A New Picture of Grady

My New Charity Project

Some of you may remember Grady, whom I mentioned several months ago. For new readers and those who do not remember, Reece's Rainbow is an organization that helps disabled children around the world find families in the US and Canada. The organization also matches children with Prayer Warriors, whose job it is to "pray them home." I was matched with Grady approximately five months ago, and have been praying for him ever since.

Each child on Reece's Rainbow has an adoption grant fund to help prospective families afford the adoption. At the top of each page is a Donations button; click on it to make a paypal donation and then send an email specifying the child for whom you are donating. My current project is to raise, save, or receive via birthday and Hannukah gifts, money to donate to Grady's grant fund.

To see a picture of Grady go to Click on Waiting Children, Other Angels, Boys, and scroll down about five boys. Grady is the one who currently has about 670 dollars in his account.

Let's bring Grady home together!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Two nights ago, I donated 13 dollars saved from the school year, 10 dollars I earned from my parents for washing dishes, and 5 dollars of my parents' money to American Jewish World Service to help Haiti. That's 23 dollars of my own, worked for money, and donating it was the most amazing feeling ever.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blog Post Number 100

So. Here we go. The big 100. Is this announcement big enough?

I am bisexual, not lesbian.

I am a woman, and I am strong, and I can handle this.

Sorry folks, that's all I've got tonight.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aimed at "Anonymous" Who Commented on my Pain Blog

Thank you for your comment about Jesus. I appreciate your consideration of what you believe to be my best interests. I am asking for just enough tolerance from you to allow me to walk my own path, even when it is not yours.

Also, please, take responsibility for your actions and words and leave a name with your comment next time.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Money Update

After saving what I could all year, I have thirteen dollars to donate to Haiti. I am fully aware that it is not very much, but every little bit counts.

My parents pay us two dollars a load for doing dishes, and from that I have saved up the money to buy an Equality Ring, symbol of the National Marriage Boycott ( I want two more cheap items (dolls for my dollhouse), and then everything else I earn will go to charity again. I shouldn't be buying the dollhouse dolls, but every now and then one needs to spend some money on oneself, you know?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Past Eight Months

Tonight I was talking to my mother, saying she and my father seemed to think I've had a really hard year, and what was up with that.

She helpfully reminded me that it's only been eigh months or so since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Eight sounds so short when you put it like that. Eight months of trying this and that medication, dealing with this or that side effect. Eight months of blessed stable periods alternating with places no brain should ever have to go. In the past eight months (especially at the beginning), I have been to the depths of depression, soaring in the air of mania, and everywhere in between. These episodes form an emotional rollercoaster I cannot forget.

Yet I also had and have great reason to hope. Mood stabilizers have worked wonders, giving me back my life: granting me, for the first time, the potential to control my emotional reactions. (Developing the ability is another story entirely and one of my major tasks this summer, but the potential is there.)

Some things have changed forever. My noise thresholds are permanently lower; I'm glad I worked with Habitat for Humanity while I could still stand the sound of a hammer. I will forever be cautious in the summer sun to avoid mania, forever need eight hours of sleep a night, forever have to monitor myy fluid intake to prevent dehydration. (Thank you, Lithium.) But mine is a story of courage and rainbows. Mine is a story of hope.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stupid Mistake

(Background: sunglasses help prevent mania in the spring/summer. A while ago I was feeling weird mentally and got some, and that seemed to fix the problem. Once I was feeling better, I quit wearing them because I hate them.)

I stopped wearing sunglasses a couple weeks ago. BAD PLAN.

It is the night before my history final, and two nights before my math final. I have done a half-way job studying for history, and I am studying math as I am able. BAD TIMING for hypomania. VERY VERY BAD.

Friday, June 4, 2010

LGBT Online Forums

I don't know if any readers are looking for an online LGBT group to join, but just in case...

Sign up at
Click on groups.
Most are region/school specific, but two, Pride and Rainbow Pride, are not.
Find one or both of these groups.
Join one or both of these groups.

Monday, May 31, 2010

What happened?

There used to be three followers, and now there is one...did I offend somebody?

I Remember

On this Memorial Day, I remember...

The soldiers who bravely gave their lives for our country.

That we are currently fighting at least one war in the Middle East.

The courageous, selfless men and women who serve our country every day.

And I bear witness...

To all those who are hiding a part of who they are in order to serve.

To the boyfriends and girlfriends left behind, their love never acknowledged.

To the 14,000 military careers claimed by "Don't Ask Don't Tell".

In closing, "When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one." ~Epitaph of Leonard P. Matlovich, 1988

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lesbian and Loving It

I am proud of being lesbian.

Yes, you heard me: I am proud of being lesbian.

I am PROUD to be crushing on girls, with all the heartache it brings.

I am PROUD to keep up with news in my world via

I am PROUD of the courage of my people, standing up for our right to life in Africa and our right to marriage in America.

I am PROUD to be different. I am PROUD to be "out". I am PROUD to be a color of the rainbow.

I am lesbian and I am PROUD, and I will shout it from the rooftops!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Unexpected Expenses

$3.00 at the zoo for powerade to prevent lithium toxicity

$3.00 splurge on ice cream at the zoo

$3.00 for a party for my Hebrew class.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Raising Awareness

Apalling...makes me glad to live in America. I cannot say that I am yet proud to be an American, but I am glad to live in America.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Identity Dress-Up

Sometimes I feel like a little girl trying on dresses as I explore and experiment with various parts of my identity. Yesterday I discovered a national marriage boycott ( and of course I signed up. I will shortly be ordering my equality ring (see the website) and the day I get to discard that ring will be one of the happiest of my life.

I am lesbian. I know that.

Yet three weeks ago I was battling random waves of rage as I struggled to remain socially acceptable.

I am bipolar. I know that.

I am a bipolar, lesbian Jew.

Or a lesbian, bipolar, Jew.

Or a Jewish, bipolar lesbian.

Or a Jewish lesbian with Bipolar Disorder.


It's a lot to wear all at once.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Treasured Conversation Snippet

Me: I love you a lot.

"John": Sarah, we are the dearest of friends.

Me: You kow you're one of two friends I count as family, right?

"John": You know you're one of two friends I count as friends?

"John": That didn't make any sense, did it?

Me: No.

"John": That's OK. It didn't need to.

[I love conversations like that!]

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Favorite Things

(Inspired by this [] post at the Mouro Family Blog.)

1. My best friend "John": He has been there for me through everything--good and bad, usual and not-so-much--from day one. He has seen me through chronic pain, great test scores, Bipolar Disorder, my amazing religious experiences, etc. He's been there to wish me luck for plays and interviews and tell me he knew I could do it, no matter what "it" was.

2. Music by Steven Curtis Chapman: I have had to be a bit careful with this one because he is a Christian music artist and I don't want to be blasting Christian music at this school, but his songs are all amazing and I've managed to find a sizeable playlist. My favorites are "God is God" and "Fingerprints of God".

3. "Battle Hymn of the Republic": My favorite song ever. It is such a powerful poem!

4. Jewish philosophy: There is more to being spiritual than simply praying. I like to read about God (or rather other people's metaphors for God) too.

5. A good rain storm: I love to watch rain, feel rain, play in the rain.

6. Clean, cold water: There is nothing so refreshing in the world, and I know how lucky I am to have it.

7. Sewing: I love to sew, especially when I am doing something practical, such as repairing clothes. That just makes me feel so productive!

8. Sculpey III modeling clay: I got my first pack for my sixth birthday...let's just say I've been hooked ever since!

9. My favorite nightshirt: It's from a klezmer (Jewish folk) music concert in 1997. It is a mens' extra large and I will never outgrow it! It's actually been my favorite nightshirt for thirteen years.

10. Reece's Rainbow: I just love the work of this organization! What a worthwhile cause! And of course, I feel very attached to the little boy, Grady, for whom I am praying.

*Just one more: Meir Panim: A charity that works in Israel to provie hot meals and more to Israeli children living below the poverty line.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I feel the need to blog but I'm not sure about what I should write. In no particular order:

I am studying for the AP Language exam, twenty pages of study guide per night.

I am making a scarf as a surprise present for a special someone. (No, just in case you're reading this, not the someone who already has one.)

I am rereading a biography of Mother Teresa; this is the book that inspired my Challenge, my shoe drive, etc.

I plan to start studying for finals the day after prom.

Hmm...this still has not generated a real blog post. Oh, well. We can all deal with it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Challenge Day 73

Today I bought my prom ticket (ten dollars) and entered a raffel for a thirty dollar gift certificate to a local restaurant (two dollars). This Sunday I need to go to Target and buy conditioner and earplugs (probably under ten dollars). This will leave forty dollars to donate at the end of the year.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Plans for This Challenge

Oddly enough, I am no longer finding "The Challenge" challenging at all. Over the past two and a half months, I have grown accustomed to it, and I now derive great joy from treasuring my possessions, using things until the very end, and saving money to donate to people who need it so much more than I. The thing is that, although in some ways I've given up so much, if we divided the world's resources, opportunities, and "things" evenly, I still have much more than my fair share. I feel called to right that balance wherever, whenever, however possible, with Mother Theresa as my role model and inspiration.

Also, life just tastes sweeter with less. Everything is appreciated more.

The Challenge Day 72--Patching

So yesterday I repatched a skirt that was the first thing I ever patched because I have learned so much more since then. Here are some tips about patching:

1. Cut the hole into a square or some other basic shape. This makes it easier to work with.

2. The edges of the patch should far exceed the edges of the hole. You'll need more than you think, and you can always trim the edges later.

3. All fabrics are not created equal. Think about where you are patching. A hole in the knee of your jeans needs a nice, stretchy patch. A hole in a skirt just needs newish material without too much stretch.

4. Sew twice around the patch for extra durability.

5. Fabric: You may attempt to match the clothing fabric or go for something obvious and wild. I like to have fun with material; my blue skirt now has a purple, flowered patch.

6. Wear your patched clothes with pride! It's a great way to show off sewing skills.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Challenge Day 71--A FREE show!

My school is putting on a play! I'm going to see it today, because it's FREE! SO excited.

Also, please all pray for Grady. His third birthday is in less than two weeks, and after that he will have only one year before being sent to a mental institution, possibly for life. How awesome would it be if he could get a family before that?!

(See earlier post titled Introducing Grady for further information.)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Introduce Yourselves!

I see I have gained some followers recently. Very exciting! Please comment and introduce yourselves if you feel comfortable doing so.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Not Quite Stable

...but giving thanks for my weighted blanket, which, when cuddled in my lap or around my shoulders, can make many things much better.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rejoice with me!

I am feeling better! I am myself again! I have my soul again! And it was my pleasure to spend three hours studying math this evening.

It really does feel wonderful just to be alive and could I not be happy?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

That Horrible Place

There is a horrible place between depression and mania.
It is a place where there are no tears, but also no laughter.
It is not raining but there is no light.
I do not feel hopeless but I cannot feel hope.
I cannot tell you how awful it feels.

And I'm stuck.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hard Day--Hanging in There

I am up to date on my schoolwork but only just. I could have been so much farther ahead if I were feeling better. Somewhat manic today...and now just crash. Not even exhausted, just energy and motivation completely gone.

I am restarting that one medication again tonight so I should be feeling OK by the morning...I hope.

Prayers, please? I have two tests, SAT IIs, and two papers this week...


Sunday, April 25, 2010


All of a sudden I'm scared. I don't feel right--I don't feel quite like myself--and it worries me. Logically I know I'll be back on that medication by tomorrow night, Tuesday at the latest, but I'm worried that this will turn into a full-blown episode before then. I had to force myself to study today; I never have to do that! I love to study! And something in my head doesn't feel right.

Off a Med

I went off Abilify and I may need to go back on it. I don't want to post anything I'll regret while my impulse control is down, hence the silence.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I am now taking seven pills a day (not eight) and medicating twice a day (not four times). This is great!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy Birthday Israel!

Not much time, but I have to post this.

The country with the greatest number of Ph.D.s per capita,
Leading the world in medical research.
The number one immigrant absorbing nation in the world,
The only Jewish State,

Israel is 62 Years Old!

May she live for another 1200! (Usual blessing is 120, but that seems young for a country.)

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Challenge Day 58

Can I manage the rest of the school year on roughly 45 dollars? I only need basic supplies and a prom ticket...I bet I can.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Challenge Day 57

Today I went to Target, and bought everything I needed for under twenty dollars. If I budget well, the money I have will last me the rest of the school year and then some. I am feeling rather pleased with myself, I must admit.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Challenge Day 51

Flying is expensive!

And not just the ticket.

Between the bag check and lunch, I spent more of "my" money today than I usually spend in weeks. And I may have to make a necessities run to Target this weekend, too.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Challenge Day 50: Haircut

Today I spent a good chunk of my parents' money but it was for a good cause: I donated my hair to Locks of Love. Let's just say it's creepy to see a braid of one's own hair lying on one's table in a plastic bag.

Reasons to Love Short Hair:

1. Your shirt or nightshirt does not get soaked after you shower.

2. Three minutes to wash + two minutes to style = five minute hair.

3. More body because there is less weight.

4. Better accentuates face.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Challenge Day 43: Cellphones and Study Guides

Yesterday my phone died from water damage. Today I got a new one, free of charge because of the two year thing. My new one is purple, with a qwerty keyboard. I love it. My old cellphone is now a lounge chair in my dollhouse.

I also got a study guide for the AP English Language exam, for which I used my five dollar gift card to help offset the cost.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Challenge Day 41--and Another Dollhouse Craft

This craft is absolutely free, and a good use for old catalogues.

You Will Need
One or Two Catalogues with Lots of Pictures
White or Pastel Colored Paper
1. Cut a picture out of the magazine.
2. Place the picture on the paper and cut a long strip the same height as the picture.
3. Fold the paper in a zig-zag; try to keep the edges even.
4. Staple the picture on top of the paper, making sure the staples go all the way through the zig-zag.
5. Trim any visible edges.

These magazines look great on a dollhouse coffee table!

Also, today's found object tip: an old film canister with some bits of paper, plastic, and/or clay inside makes a great dollhouse trash can!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Challenge Day 40--Dollhouse Crafts

Today I am going to give some instructions for making dollhouse miniatures with only basic craft supplies.

1. Books
You will need:
Step 1: Cut a small square, at most two inches long and wide, from the paper.
Step 2: Fold square in half and unfold.
Step 3: Fold square in half the other way, unfold, and fold along first fold line.
Step 4: Cut from the folded edge halfway along the middle crease.
Step 5: Press in on the ends and fold to make pages.
Step 6: Color the covers.

2. Dishes, Vases, Toys, etc.
You will need:
Modeling clay or playdough (I like Sculpey III.)
Step 1: Shape the clay the way you want.
Step 2: Bake or let dry.
Step 3: Paint if desired.

3. Board Games
You will need:
Step 1: Cut a rectangle out of the cardboard.
Step 2: Color it with a light colored marker.
Step 3: Write the name of the board game on the cardboard in a darker color.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Challenge Day 39

To quote, "No matter how little you have, you always have something to give for God's glory."

How true that is. And I am officially announcing the expansion of this challenge. I will not stop with the money for Haiti at the end of the school year. I will continue this challenge, spending money only for basic needs (except for small Hannukah and birthday gifts, and donating all spare money) indefinitely. This Summer my cause will be Haiti; for Hannukah, perhaps Grady's adoption fund; for my birthday, maybe Meir Panim, a charity that feeds Israeli children living below the poverty line. I don't know. There are so many charities out there. But we always have something to give.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Challenge Day 36

I have decided that this Hannukah (which isn't even until December), I will splurge a bit and get something small for myself, then donate the rest of the money. I just can't stand the thought of not getting a Hannukah gift.

Today my family is cleaning for Pesach. We must get rid of all leavened food. This morning I vacuumed the basement.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Challenge Day 34

Yesterday on the way to the airport (I am home on break), it came up that I wasn't buying anything much because I was saving money for Haiti, and one of the girls in the car deadpanned, "Wow, that's amazing."

I wish she didn't think it was so amazing. If she thinks it's so amazing, it means it's uncommon. More people should be doing things like this.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Challenge Day 33

Actually, the hardest part of The Challenge today is not picking out things to buy for my dolls for Hannukah. I have a family of about twelve dolls (two or three at school with me at a time) who are very special to me, and I love spoiling them on Hannukah. Not this year, though...this year I will be donating my money.

PS When one loves a doll, yes it IS harder than you think it is not to give them Hannukah presents.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Challenge Day 32

I realize I missed yesterday...nothing much to say. I will be flying home on break tomorrow and will have to pay to check a bag. Over break, I need to buy an AP English study guide and I want to donate my hair to Locks of Love. There are 22 pairs of shoes in my room awaiting donation.

Will write again when I have something more to say.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Challenge Day 30

Today is the thirtieth day of my Challenge. It really has been a whole month.

And I've already adjusted to not having so many clothes.

Also, I have so far collected sixteen pairs of shoes to donate.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Challenge Day 29

Today I went to Target and bought laundry detergent. That's it. It was probably the most boring purchase ever made by a girl of seventeen.

No question about it, I will need more money from my parents after break. Right now I have just the amount I need in order to get home. Oh, and I plan on cutting my hair for Locks of Love over break, which will cost for the haircut and the shipping. My parents will pay, but still...why is it so hard to save money?!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Challenge Day 27/28

First of all, I have been numbering a day behind since about Day 21. Today is in fact Day 28.

Now that we have that settled...

Today in Shabbat services, I suddenly realized, "Oh, my God, I'll be wearing the same two skirts every week." The only way I could overcome this sudden horror was to remind myself that I got along fine with one skirt on my program last summer. This incident demonstrates the necessity of inner conviction when changing lifestyles.

Also, tonight at a school thing I tie-dyed a t-shirt. I will be giving up a plain red t-shirt to make room for it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Update on Shoe Drive and the Challenge Day 26

My shoe drive is going quite well. I have gotten three donations already, five more people have offered me shoes, and I will gather my family's when I'm home over break. One of the faculty members here at school has offered to put a box in her classroom for faculty donations, and of course I said yes!

The hardest part of The Challenge to save money for Haiti relief right now is...I want to give now! There are so many worthy causes out there...I just want to give...I don't know if I can hold out on not donating until the end of the year.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Challenge Day 25

The other day I figured out how to both get a gift for my next birthday (18) and still donate all my gift money to charity. I don't know whether I will actually find this satisfactory; we'll have to see.

I am knitting myself a scarf. It is a lot of work, and I have no doubt that I will not be able to wait patiently to wear it once it's done.

So I will hide it, in a gift bag, until my birthday in February.

Happy birthday to me!


I do find it interesting how well adjusted I am to this Challenge compared to how well adjusted I am to giving away my things. I barely notice The Challenge anymore--really!--while I really want my stuff back. It's not that I really want anything in particular (well, except for one sweater, and that's a long story) back, I'm just stuck in the consumer mindset of wanting STUFF.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Challenge Day 23

I am going through my room and donating a lot to Goodwill. I just have too much...stuff, especially clothes. I do not need so much clothing when so many people in the world go partially naked. I kept enough clothing to get through a week, plus ten sentimental items, and packed up the rest. It came to three and a half bags.

I also packed up the books I never read. Next project is the rest of my desk.

I really do believe in living with few enough things to be almost uncomfortable for our society.

My two big English quotes in this vein: "I saw wnat I saw and I can't forget it." (Sara Groves)
"Give until it hurts." (Mother Teresa)
Also, my shoe drive is happening! Yay!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Challenge Day 22

I am thinking about donating clothes as well as shoes. The bottom line is that if I have more than enough clothes to get through a week in each season, I have more than enough, and somebody else could use them. I will bag them up and save them till the end of the school year just in case I change my mind. If anyone is interested, I can list what I consider enough for a week.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Soles 4 Souls and This is Enough

This morning, I was on the phone with my mom saying I wanted to donate my superfluous shoes to people who needed them. She said she didn't know any place like that, and the search was on.

I discovered an organization called Soles 4 Souls. They accept used shoes of all types, and bring them to impoverished communities around the world. I have now started the easiest "shoe drive" ever: I sent out a couple emails to my school and now I will just wait for people to bring their shoes to my room. After Spring break, I will get transportation and possible help carrying and go donate the shoes to the nearest Soles 4 Souls location. (UPDATE: The school community service committee is now running the shoe drive. This makes sense, but I hate beaurocracy.)

I am trying to train myself to live with what I have and only spend money on necessities. It sounds hard until you realize the average American's list of necessities:
  • Food
  • Water
  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • A Warm Bed
  • A Roof over One's Head
  • Education
  • Medical Care

So many people in the world don't even have the first two. Obviously I slip up now and again, because I collect kippot, need laundry detergent, etc. My current motto (taken from a mother who used it to teach her taumatized adopted child to calm down []) is "I have enough." "This is enough." or (this one is mine) "I am blessed with what I have."

And you know what? It's true.

The Challenge Day 21

I cannot stop thinking about many pairs I have, how lucky I am to have them, how unfair it is that other people don't. It kind of makes me want to donate all my shoes except one pair for me. if I did, Iwould keep my Converse. They are cool in summer, warm in winter, can be thrown in the washer and dryer when necessary, and are reasonably comfortable. Not that I'm seriously thinking of doing this, mind you...nope, not at all.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Challenge Day 20 (I think)

Apologies if my numbers are a day behind.

Yesterday I spent under five dollars on lunch at the airport (fruit and a cookie are pretty cheap). Tomorrow I am taking the SATs.

More later.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Challenge Day 18

Tonight at school is the Senior Cabaret, a show put on by the seniors to raise money for thier class trip. Admission costs three dollars. I was leaning towards going, justifying it by the fact that I didn't have to pay IT after all, but still feeling guilty. As it turns out, I have a mountain of homework, so I cannot go anyway.

Don't you love it when things work themselves out like that?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Challenge Day 17 and Yair Emanuel

The two topics mentioned in the title are actually very much intertwined. You see, Yair Emanuel is my favorite Judaica (Jewish religious and cultural items) artist. (Here is a link to his website: .) My first tallis and the kippah that came with it were both his design.

I genuinely collect kippot, and I would love another something by Yair Emanuel. At the same time, I already have 11 different kippot, and that's more than enough for anybody. Maybe after The Challenge I will let myself get an Emanuel kippah.

Semi off topic: There is a Jewish concept of Hiddur Mitzvah, beautifying the commandment. At the same time, we are not supposed to get so caught up in material things that we forget God and religion. Where is the line?

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Challenge Day 16

Sick today (stomach bug), and thankful for quality nursing staff on campus.

UPDATE: Tonight I donated five dollars to Grady's adoption grant fund. Anybody can afford to give five dollars, and I just couldn't stand praying and praying and not doing anything.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Challenge Day 15

No opportunities to spend money. Instead, money has essentially been given back to me.

I found my old ID, so I don't have to pay IT for the new one anymore.

I have rides to and from the airport arranged with the faculty, so I don't have to pay for taxis.

Now I have more money to save to give to Haiti. God is good.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Challenge Day 14

I can't believe it's been two whole weeks since I started this challenge. It's been easier in some ways and harder in others: although I have adjusted to the idea of wearing last year's prom dress over again, I never realized I'd miss the theater so much. Still, once again, I have everything I need and most of what I want; people continue to die in Haiti. I must do my part to right this balance.

Tonight I am going to Target to pick up a few "necessities" by American standards: hair ties, pantyhose, AAA batteries, and 3-oz bottles for shampoo etc. when flying. I will try my hardest not to buy anything else; I will, of course, be honest if I fail. We will see how things go.

UPDATE: It turned out that I also needed Conditioner, which I bought; I also bought a big jar of dried fruit because I am trying to lose weight and will be less tempted to eat dessert with that available. I also withdrew some money from my bank account: either I'll use it for a taxi to the airport or I'll use it over time as needed.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Bipolar Update and the Challenge Day 13

First of all, we finally found a medication combination that works. I am HAPPY--deeply settled and contented and feeling like me--for the first time in weeks.

The hardest thing to give up for The Challenge has been trips to the theater. My school's Theatrical Society organizes trips to see plays--good plays--every so often, but tickets cost five to ten dollars apiece. If I cannot afford to donate to Grady's grant fund because I am saving for Haiti, I certainly cannot afford to buy theater tickets while I am savinf to donate to Haiti. Still, I miss the theater.

13 is a lucky Jewish number. I wonder if anything good related to The Challenge will happen today.

Also, speaking of Grady, perhaps you could consider signing up to be a prayer warrior for another child.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Challenge Day 12 and an Update on Me

Once again, no money spending opportunities. I am thinking about putting some money in Grady's grant fund rather than saving it all for Haiti. I am not sure, though, so right now I am just praying for other people to donate. I would also love to get ten people praying for him; let's do this thing together!

In other news, I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and he upped the dose of the medication that makes me sleepy and fat. As far as I can tell, it hasn't done anything yet other than severely drugging me, but I know I have to wait and see.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Challenge Day 11 and Depression

Again, no opportunity to spend money, so nothing really to report. I do have an appointment with my psychiatrist this afternoon; he does not take insurance and my parents are paying out of pocket. I feel bad about that.

On the other hand, I really need to see him. I am sooo depressed right now. I am literally living moment to moment because life is so excruciating. I was depressed in my sleep last night, and I could tell. This morning, my Biblical Archeology class worked wonders to raise my spirits, but now I can feel myself sinking back into that horrible depression. I need help; I want out now!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Introducing Grady

Here is a picture of the boy I am "praying home". Maybe if we all work together he will be home soon!

Prayer Warrior Update and The Challenge Day 10

I have been matched with a child to pray for. Grady is a two year old boy (turning three in May) in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. He has arthrogryposis affecting his lower limbs. His grant fund (money to help a family adopt him) already contains 360 dollars (not from me), and if I could I would donate too. To see his picture, go to, and click on other angels. Click the boys link and scroll down until you see his name. (There is only one Grady on the page.)

Please consider helping this boy any way you can. It would be wonderful to get people together and form a network to "pray him home"!

No real update on the challenge, except that saving money for Haiti means I cannot presently donate to Grady's grant fund. There is so much need in the world; I don't mind the fact that my donations are small but it's so hard to know where to donate.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Feel Compelled to Write This

I have it from a trusted source that people who know me in real life are talking behind my back about my blog(s), claiming that what I post is too private or personal and I should keep it more to myself.

I hardly know how to respond to that. I do have a journal for the really private stuff. Obviously, if I post something on this blog I don't mind the public knowing. That should be the only criterion for what gets posted and what does not, because guess what? This is my blog.

My entire purpose for blogging is to be honest about my life and thorough in my story telling in order to give the world an accurate picture of me. What is the point of providing that picture if it is only a partial picture?

I will continue to be honest, open, and up front on my blog. It is my blog and I choose what gets posted. To all those who know me in real life: if you feel my blog is too personal and none of your business, I propose a very simple solution: stop reading.

Thank you.

The Challenge Day 9, Community Service, and Prayer Warriors

No opportunities to spend money today, so not much to report. I did get my new student ID made, and now I owe the school the fee. It's not money I wanted to spend, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be either. When I go to Target this Sunday to get pantyhose and three-ounce bottles, I will get cash back to pay that fee and also for a taxi to the airport.

In other news, my school is taking a group on a great community service trip and I can't wait to go. Near our school is a battered women's shelter and my school takes groups every so often to play with the children and give their mothers a chance to relax. Always before, the school has volunteered there on Shabbat; as an observant Jew, I missed out on the opportunity. Today, however, is Monday. I am going and I am excited.

I was clicking around the Reece's Rainbow site yesterday (yes, I am slightly obsessed) and discovered the concept of prayer warriors. When one signs up to be a Reece's Rainbow Prayer Warrior, one is matched with a specific child to "pray home". A photo and brief medical history are provided and updates are sent periodically. Prayer Warriors are asked to pray daily for their children at least until they make it home. What an easy way to help! (The Reece's Rainbow website is

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reece's Rainbow

If you are currently visiting my blog, you have most likely noticed the Reece's Rainbow button at the top of the page. I meant to put it on the side, but it's much more noticeable up top, so there it will stay.

Reece's Rainbow is an organization that matches orphans with Downs' Syndrome and other special needs to waiting families all over the world. Especially in Eastern Europe, special needs children without families are sent to mental institutions when they are still quite young, most often when they hit the age of four. In these institutions, children often remain in bed all day, literally wasting away sometimes to the point of death.

Sadly, I can never adopt from Reece's Rainbow unless something big changes because there are currently no countries outside the US allowing same-sex couples to adopt. Still, please take a look at these sweet children and pray for them if you wish. Perhaps you can even afford to sponsor one, bringing his/her adoption ever closer.

Please grab the button and put it on your blog to continue raising awareness.

The Challenge Day 8

I just realized that I will be flying to NYC for my interview in two weeks. I mean, I knew I would be, of course, but it just sank in that I will either have to buy 3-ounce bottles or check a bag just for toiletries. The bottles are the cheaper option; I'll buy them when I buy the pantyhose. I will also need to withdraw money for a taxi. My parents' usual policy is to put more money in my bank account as needed; if I need mroe money this year I will feel rather defeated in this challenge. On the other hand, by making my money last as long as possible I will still be saving my parents money, and that's something. I will still donate what is left at the end of the school year.

In other news, my schedule for the 11th through the 14th (Thursday to Sunday) looks absolutely crazy. Here it is:

Thursday the 11th: school, pack up, fly to NYC, stay overnight with my dad at my grandparents' house

Friday the 12th: interview, fly back to Greensboro, shower, start Shabbat

Saturday the 13th: Shabbat (thank God for the day of rest!)

Sunday the 14th: SATs

Hectic, chaotic, exciting. My life is never boring. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Challenge Day 7

So apparently the groggers being sold were being sold to raise money to donate to a food bank. It seems a little contradictory to me not to donate money because I'm saving it to donate, so I will pay my dollar when I next see the Deans of Jewish Life.

In other news, I am missing my school ID, which will not be cheap to replace but definitely counts as a necessary purchase.

I have also decided to allow myself to splurge on a pair of pantyhose for an interview later this month. I am trying to win a scholarship for a summer program and I'd like to look professional (well, not professional, but teenage sophisticated).

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Challenge Day 6 and Other Ramblings

First, update on the challenge:

Today is a Friday with no opportunities to spend money or not. I did read an email yesterday that said that groggers (noisemakers to be used during the megillah reading) would cost a dollar apiece this year, so I got ot work and made my own. It is taco shaped.

I am feeling totally mentally well today. I am not naive enough to think this means I am stable--I only started my new med two days ago and nothing works that fast (also this same thing happened last weekend)--but it is nice to be feeling well in time for Purim. It is so nice to be comfortable inside my own head, and have a normal noise threshold, and be able to think...

I observe that this challenge really helped me when I was feeling so sick. It gave me something other than Bipolar Disorder on which to focus and about which to write. Also, when one is living for others, one has a greater purpose than oneself, and is less likely to give in to "life is pointless" sentiments.

Today's Appreciated Luxury is my nice soft bed, with as many covers as I like, into which I can burrow and fall asleep feeling all comfy-cozy.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Challenge Day 5

Nothing really to report; today was much more of a bipolar day than a challenge day.

I couldn't sleep last night because I was manic, and today I felt really tired. Honestly, today reminded me eerily of the last few months before mood stabilizers: I felt slightly irritable all the time and could not control my temper or my comments. After school, I came back and went right to bed for approximately two hours and woke up feleing absolutely fine. I am now feeling incredibly happy and a little bit hyper for no good reason. This either means I am leveling off (please God) and randomly hitting normal me (I'm not sure I remember who that is), or it means I am heading for mania again.

In any case, we now have a four day between-trimesters weekend, so I should get lots of rest.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Challenge Day 4

Today my teacher took our Hebrew class to Panera and I deliberately didn't bring money. I did end up eating a couple bits of bread and somebody's pickle. No more update today because I am too sick to think straight.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letting You In

If you want to know least my the following poem I wrote today:

Utter Desperation
It's forcing me to hurt you.

No, I cannot stop crying.

It's hurting me too much.

It's pulling me towards night.

I feel so very sick.


The Challenge Day 3

First of all, today I am exceedingly greatful for this challenge. My bipolar brain is misbehaving (rapid cycling) again, and I need all the motivation/distraction I can get. This challenge is one of my top three distractions.

I have realized how vital my craft supplies are if I am to succeed at this challenge. Over the years I have built up a collection including one drawer full of fabric and one of yarn, polyfill (stuffing), one pair of knitting needles, several different colors of thread, sewing needles, a pincushion, and pins, beads, safety pins, ziploc bags, craft foam, scrapbook paper, cardboard, two sizes of scissors, scotch tape in two sizes, a good quality ruler, a gluestick, pipe cleaners, a hole punch, and stencils. Although these materials were not necessarily cheap (the most expensive stuff was my birthday gift the year I turned sixteen), I can now mend my pants, make birthday gifts for my friends, entertain myself, etc. etc. The savings are amazing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Challenge Day 2 (and a Poem)

I have been rapid cycling again recently, and I realized that this challenge occurred to me in a hypomanic phase. Not that I do not plan to follow through; it is an excellent idea. It's just interesting to see what results from mania.

Today I am most thankful for my laptop. I came back from school today suffering too much anguish for life to seem worth the trouble (depression). I have been playing on my laptop for roughly half an hour and already feel much better.

And here is a poem I wrote about an hour ago:

Invisible Hell
Oh, Hello there.
Have you come to visit me?
I live in Invisible Hell.

Welcome, sit down.
Let me show you around.
These are my pills;
Aren’t they big? Aren’t they pretty?
I get to take them every day.
How lucky am I!

Over here is Depression.
It courses like waves, and
Makes my life…not-life.
I try to surf through it; have you seen my surfboard!?
But sometimes the waves are too big.

Come here and see Mania.
Can you feel the tornado?
It wraps itself round me, stealing my breath.
It takes my thoughts.
They jump out of my head.
And then I cannot stop spinning.

When they come together is the worst time of all.
I bob up and down.
My surfboard is lost.
The waves wash over me, tumble me with them.
My thoughts and my breath disappear on the wind.
I am thrown up and down and spun in fast circles.

Did you like my Invisible Hell?
Come back soon!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Challenge Day 1

Today on the phone my parents tried to convince me that buying me clothes when I needed them was their expense, not my expense. Since they give me the money I spend, I think it's the same thing, and I refuse to buy any new clothes.

I am heading out soon to buy materials for my Purim costume. I need a cardboard box, packing tape, and scissors. This is one of my allotted luxury purchases for the remainder of the year.

Today's appreciated luxury: SHOES. Everybody at my school owns at least one pair of shoes. I own fourteen pairs, fifteen if you count the rollerblades. So many people in the world do not own even one pair. Today I am thankful for shoes.


I just got back from buying my supplies. Cardboard boxes are ridiculously expensive. I am 98 percent sure I kept the rest of my expenses together below ten dollars, yet my total was twenty dollars. UGH. This was not a particularly big box.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Challenge

Recently, I have been feeling disgusted with the unequal distribution of resources in the world. I hate the fact that I have so much while people in Haiti, Africa, even Israel and America, are starving to death. I have come up with a plan to right that balance as much as I can.

I have divided my money use into three categories: things for which my parents pay directly, necessities for which I pay with money they give me, and luxuries. Here they are:

Parents pay for:
Medical/Psychiatric Expenses
Cell Phone Bill

I use money from them for:
School supplies

everything else

For the rest of this school year, I will attempt to limit myself to buying only necessities and two luxuries: Purim costume (about ten dollars) and Prom ticket (about twenty dollars). The money I save will be donated to Haiti.

I am not planning to humiliate myself in any way, shape, or form. I know basic sewing: neatly patched clothes can look qutie presentable. Also, despite the "rules" of prom dresses, my dress from last year is very pretty and perfectly capable of being worn again, thank-you-very-much. The world still isn't fair--I still have fresh water, good food, adequate clothing, a roof over my head and an excellent education--but I'm giving all that I can.

To make this more interesting, I will attempt to post every day with an update on my thoughts, feelings, and related events of that day. In preparation for tomorrow, Day 1, I have patched all clothes with holes and feel quite proud of myself.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Today is my birthday and I feel compelled to write before it ends. It was a wonderful day from start to finish, with multiple cakes (the joys of boarding school), a brand new book, roughly fifty happy birthdays in person and on facebook, and a happy birthday text message at midnight last night from one of my dearest friends, who got delayed traveling back to school after he went away for the weekend but wanted to make sure to wish me happy birthday.

I am so loved by friends and family, and I have so much.

I am so lucky.

I want to share with the world too.

And so I donated a large portion of my birthday money to Heifer International.

I am not posting this to be congratulated.

I'm not even sure where this post is going.

I just want to point out that as our children eat pink-frosted birthday cakes someone else's child is starving for protein.

We can help. We can work to end world hunger (and slavery and etc. but let's focus on one at a time).

Jewish tradition teaches: "Save a life and you have saved the world. Destroy a life and you have destroyed the world."

Jewish tradition also teaches that if you "stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" you have in essence killed him/her.

Let's not destroy the world by inaction. Let's join together to save it.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Slavery in the World Today

Fast Facts

What? real slaves. People held against their will and forced to work for no pay, or for just barely the necessities of life.

How Many? Free the Slaves estimates 27 million all over the world

Is It Legal? No, but the majority of governments look the other way.

How Much Does an Average Slave Cost? Roughly 90 dollars. By contrast, a slave in the 1850s cost roughly 40,000 of today's dollars.

How Many Slaves in the US? There are approximately 14,500 to 17,500 slaves trafficked into the US every year. At least 10,000 forced laborers are working at any given time.

Where do slaves work? Will I see them on the streets? Most of today's slaves never walk the streets or appear anywhere visible. They work in brothels, sweatshops, private homes, and on farms.

Do slaves in America come from foreign countries? Most do, but some are US citizens.

Where in the US is slavery? Forced labor operations have been found in as many as ninety US cities. Most appear to be concentrated in California, Florida, New York, and Texas.

Where in the world is slavery? The top ten countries based on number of reported cases are Mexico, United States, China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Vietnam, Honduras, and the Philippines.

What do most slaves end up doing? The vast majority of slaves are women and girls forced into prostitution. The other areas of work, in order by number of cases, are domestic service, agriculture, sweatshop/factory, service/food/care, sexual exploitation of children, entertainment, and mail order bride. Note that two "non prostitution" categories on that list could also be defined as sex slavery.

To find out more and learn what you can do to help, visit (also the source of all information above)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Because I am totally obsessed with this song (yes I know it's a Christian hymn)

"Battle Hymn of the Republic"
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword.
His truth is marching on!

Glory, glory, Halleluyah!
Glory, glory, Halleluyah!
Glory, glory, Halleluyah!
His truth is marching on!

I have seen Him in the watchfires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an alter in the evening dews and damps.
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps.
His day is marching on!


I have read a fiery gosepl writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with My contemner so with you My grace shall deal.
Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on!"


He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat.
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
Oh, be swift my soul to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on!


In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on!


He is coming like the glory of the morning on a wave.
He is Wisdom to the mighty; He is Succour to the brave.
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of time His slave;
Our God is marching on!


Now, whether you believe in God--any God--or not, that's some pretty powerfully inspirational poetry.

Monday, February 1, 2010

"It's not that unusual when everything is beautiful; it's just another ordinary ,miracle today."

(Unfortunately I do not know the title or artist of the song from which I hijacked that title. If anybody does, please let me know so I can cite the quotation properly. Thank you!)

EDITED: The song is "Ordinary Miracle" by Sarah McLachlan

Wednesday of last week I started cycling up into mania. I watched it until Thursday, when I quickly got going with contacting my mental health professionals to prevent actual mania (as opposed ot manic symptoms). Long story short, emails flew back and forth between me and my psychologist, phone calls flew back and forth between my psychiatrist and my psychologist, and we doubled my Seroquel, making the dose 800 milligrams.

Now. I *could* be feeling sorry for myself and complaining right now. My GPA dropped; my physical pain is worse because I haven't been consistently working out for a while; I am reminded that I am not well; etc. etc. But seriously, I am alive and stable and I am I; how can I complain about that? I wouldn't even have these problems on my radar if I were not stable.

Honestly, I'm really glad Thursday happened. I'm exceedingly greatful that it was that easy to shut off, of course; but without that scare, I would not remember how lucky I am.

Life is good.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Straight in a Homosexual World: An Upside-Down Story

Tip: when you come to a pair of words with a slash, read the first word if you are female, the second if you are male.

Humor me for just a moment and follow me to a world that will never exist.

If you are currently a high school student, this will be easier, but if you are not, imagine yourself back in high school. This upside-down story works best for a boarding school, but could probably work for pulic/day schools too.

Imagine that you are the only openly straight student in your high school. You have a few straight teachers, but none to whom you feel particularly close. To the best of your knowledge, everyone around you is lesbian/gay. The girls are all hooking up with girls; the guys are all hooking up with guys. Because teen culture is still the same, the blushing confessions and cheering friends that mark a new relationship still happen all the time, but each new relationship is with a girl/guy. If you are a girl, the movie star posters in your friends' rooms all show Megan Foxx; if you are a guy, all the movie star posters show Zac Efron.

You never get asked to a dance because the girls/guys all want a romantic night out with their girlfriends/boyfriends and the boys/girls aren't attracted to you. Some boys/girls are uncomfortable dancing with you (even fast, group dances) because they aren't quite sure what you mean by it. Most people are aware of the fact that you are straight but many are uncomfortable with it; certainly you cannot discuss the ins and outs of your sexuality with just anyone and usually confine these kinds of topics to conversations with your closest friends. Some people think this is just a phase, and you'll grow out of it. Others say you'll come around in time and marry a woman/man, because after all that is God's wish as conveyed in scripture.

Get the picture? Here's the best part: keep your feelings for your current crush, boyfriend/girlfriend, or significant other the same, and imagine that he/she is dating his/her best friend of the same gender and has no romantic interest in you.

Sounds ridiculous when it's reversed like this, doesn't it?