Two Months

It’s officially two months in (and 4 days if you really want to get technical) of me being Jewish. Or should I say–since my conversion–because it seems I’ve had a Jewish soul all along, it was just time for me to discover and do something about it. Either way, it’s time for a check-in and update on my feelings, and what’s changed. I know I still haven’t shared my full-full-full story, nor have I really shared what I felt while in the water. Still thinking about keeping that mostly private. But anyway, thoughts:

-The light is deeply rooted within me. Any negative thoughts (minus being slightly impatient while hangry, just a bit road-ragey while behind slow people on the road and very super grumpy while it’s raining because on a scale of 1-10 my body hurts over 500%) have practically been non-existent. I’ve been thinking and being 95% more positive than I’ve ever been. When I feel as if I would be dropping that, or even feeling sad, I’m like nope, I’ve been given this chance to become Jewish and I need to keep to the light and I turn it back around. Thankfully…that is what I do.

-My desire to learn has become even stronger. As you’ve read, I’m keeping up with new classes and attending new Jewish events. I am also reading/learning on my own.

-I’ve been letting go of anything negative in my life or things that I feel is a waste of time or something I don’t like doing. I’m changing my outlook. I’m cleaning, sorting, doing anything I can to make sure I keep positive and happy around me.

-I’m a little bit (or a whole lot) braver with trying and doing new things.

-The biggest issue I’m having right now is I’m struggling with finding a pattern of attending Shabbat and keeping to my tradition on Fridays. It’s because I never know what my schedule will look like due to what happens in the day or what I’ve got going on during the week that really messes with those plans. A lot of my plans are very, very, very sporadic or very last minute….and Fridays are usually the days that suffer. I am currently truly 100% trying to work on either writing it in that I take a half day or completely take it off and make up for it on Sunday. But if I’m working a show, that won’t work so much, so….I’m not sure what the solution will be. And now with the event planning part it’s going to be even harder.

-I’m becoming more and more myself every day. Finding Judaism has allowed me to find myself. And, when I converted, I literally really did become whole. I don’t feel like a chunk of me is missing. Now I just want to meet my beshert….but I’m assuming that won’t happen until I am fully aware of who I am. I still have karmic duties to work out and lessons to learn. That would be the perfect timing. And, by golly, it better be Tu B’Av.

-I’m still a mess but G-d loves me anyway. (I think that’s why he lets me look good in glitter, to make up for that mess part. Ha ha ha.)

-I’m STILL finding out things from my past that makes sense now, such as certain times of the year make me feel certain things. (Most recent was finding out my birthday was such a disastrous time to our people, and having felt guilty all this time for celebrating, it comes full circle.)

-I’m sincerely more in love with life than I’ve ever been, like, ever.

-I celebrate a whole lot more, even the small things.

So, JEWBELONG sent out a newsletter today with a personal roadmap for Rosh Hashanah. (Speaking of which, I need to find my goals from last year and see what I’ve actually accomplished.) I might just answer a few things here…. lucky number 3. I’ll answer 3 of their questions, then do the full thing at the new year.

We are looking at from Sept 9 of 2018 – until Rosh Hashanah at the end of Sept.

  1. What are my 3 most significant achievements in the past year? (1) CONVERTING! (2) putting on my own show in Nov 2018 (and doing everything that I did, including acting for the very first time) (3) stage managing the SOAs by myself
  2. What are my biggest mistakes in the past year? Letting winter depression get me so down which led me to everything happening in January. Potentially very much disappointing and unintentionally hurting a friend that I (still) deeply care about, and wrecking said friendship that meant so much to me. Wasting time. Not celebrating more. Not relaxing more. Not taking a vacation earlier until it was at the tipping point of snapping. Not taking care of me at the beginning of 2019. Not taking Eisenhower’s original shell out of his aquarium when he was in a bigger one, because it could have potentially saved his life and he might’ve lived to celebrate this year’s birthday with me.
  3. What is the most important decision I need to make this year? Vegas.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

FB memory pop up.

On August 1, 2013 — on Facebook — I wrote this:
Where do you even go for inspiration when your candle is burnt out and you can feel you’re close to the end of the road?

Dear 27 year old me,
You find Judaism years later, and it enriches & saves your life. You complete your intro to Judaism studies and convert on Anne Frank’s birthday, and you find light that keeps you lit day in and day out. That’s what happens.
-Ahava @33 years old.

The reason I’m Ahava.

Note: I’m digging through a lot of really, really, really old files from all my online blogs that I saved, and I found this report. Not sure where it came from, but it’s almost like Ahava has been my name all along, waiting for me to find the perfect time to take it…(It also helps that I’ve been 100000000% for love my entire life. It’s like, duh, it SHOULD be my Hebrew name.)

Karen, your subconscious mind is driven most by Love 

Everyone has a desire to love. But your desire is rooted very deeply in your unconscious and affects many of the decisions you make in life – whether you are aware of it or not. 

You have an energy about you that inspires people to experience their true feelings of love and act kindly towards others. In this way, you and your drive for loving relationships start a chain reaction of positive experiences. 

The reason you are driven by love, may be because your unconscious is trying to avoid the opposite of love – hate. You, more than others, may be afraid of experiencing severe discord with others. That may, in turn, heavily influence your choices about relationships and the way you communicate your ideas, wants, and desires to others. 

With such a strong orientation towards loving others, your relationships hold a very special place in your life. Your capacity to love may be greater than those around you, and therefore you may have more to give in relationships than your romantic partner does. Remember that this is a gift you have and one most others don’t possess. 

Though your unconscious mind is driven most strongly by Love, there is much more to who you are at your core. 

Happy Merry Christmas in July!

Yeah, it’s probably not exactly Kosher saying this on a Jewish blog of a recent convert, but I’m going to say it anyway: Merry Christmas in July. Go right ahead and judge me.

I’ve been told that this was actually the day I was “supposed” to be born, but arrived in the world one week later. Christmas in July is a made up holiday (from people who live in the cold-in-Dec states), and I learned about it back in my middle school years on July 24/25th while down on a houseboat. We had the whole shebang on July 25th that Florida actually gets to have in Dec: boats decorated for the boat parades and contests, cookouts, parties, etc. It’s so much fun.

I’ve been listening to Jimmy Buffett’s radio station just to get the island feeling, especially since it’s dark and awful outside with the rain, and I need some sunlight.

Also, RIP to Joe Anthony, one of my most favorite people on this planet. I can’t believe it’s been 5 years now since he left us. An important person in the boating industry and a close friend of mine. I miss his fun ways.

I mentioned I’ve been lightly celebrating all the things the last couple weeks but not completely fully. I started my pre-birthday celebration by meeting a friend for dinner last night, and have something else planned tonight with someone else, then I return to my normal/traditional Shabbat. I hope I get some peace and quiet this weekend where I can read, write, and just relax… and plan. Then next week is party, party, party.

I’m so far behind on my Jewish newsletter emails once again, but I did open a few of Aish.com’s daily emails to find this…

#635 Live Your Dreams

Others cannot know the full extent of your goals, aspirations, dreams, visions, wishes, hopes, and prayers. These can be much more courageous than anyone else might imagine.

Here it is important to have a mixture of present reality, with believing that the Almighty can enable you to accomplish and become much more than anyone can know.

(Sources: From Rabbi Pliskin’s book, “Courage”)

It fits right in with me announcing my news of where I’m heading next after the one acts next year. I see it as a sign.

“In order to have what you really want, you must first be who you really are.” – Tim S Grover (aish.com)

“Jews cannot afford the luxury of pessimism.” – Golda Meir (aish.com)

I can’t believe our new year is coming up already. I’m ready, though.

I’m holding out on information so that I will have something to fill up my Shabbat entry, but a tiny hint… I have to get my plays together for an early submission… because, well, I’ll tell you tomorrow… but I’m itching to write a play about finding Elvis–inspired by me wanting to go to Vegas to find Elvis among the streets. Is it actually Elvis or something else I’m searching for?

Life’s confusing, and so am I.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

PS. I just happened on FB to find out that someone I went to school with passed away from a bad car wreck. RIP Charlotte.

Thankful.

Becoming Ahava was the best thing that could ever happen to me.

I’m so in love with life. Opportunities. Parties. Celebrating. Living.

It’s all about.. love, love, love and potentially making people turn green from me speaking of looooooove sooooo much. It’s almost the equivalent to my constant wearing of glitter and color. *starts singing* Blinded by the light.

It’s just so crazy how things have just turned completely around in the last few weeks. So hard to believe it’s almost been a month and half since converting. Reminder of: I still need to write my story.

I had to say this. Send it out to the world.

By the way, “Becoming Ahava” will be the official title of the book I’m writing about my journey to converting.

Since the prayer I wrote out last week (for theatre) actually did work, here I go again…

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha`olam…please allow me to be presented with opportunities that move me forward and towards the destiny of which is planned for me. To stay strong with positivity, moving towards the light, and far, far, far away from any sort of drama or negativity. Let me let go of those who are not good for me or situations that do not belong to me anymore or for the time being. Please let me walk away from anything harmful, or doors that close, to know that there’s something better out there. Please allow me to see my beshert and vice versa through the realm of love and openness and future life goals. Amen, Ahava.

A prayer upon request.

Not even a few hours into my day today, and I get an email from our producer, and something else has happened (in G-d’s hands/beyond our control). It’s like, this has been the most dramatically insane “behind the scenes” show in the 4 SOAs I’ve ever worked… and it’s not even the second week yet. #HolyStoriesBatman. And here I created the most simplest show with the least amount of everything and the most laid back to be the most smoothest…All these tests, G-d; I’m going to be passing them with flying colors! To note though: after every single issue our producer or I have shared taking care of the issues right away, including today’s, so that it would be over before it started. If that makes sense. So thankful for that.

Having said that, serious question: is there an actual prayer to say before opening of a show? Like, we theatre people say to one another: break a leg (NOT good luck because that actually means bad luck.. so you never want to say that..) I need to say something, and I want to say it in Hebrew. Anyone Jewish reading this? Help! If not, I’m going to have to create one…. the Jewish show girl’s guide to prayer! Or something like that.

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha`olam… please let the remainder of this show go smoothly, not giving us too many more problems (that we/I obviously cannot handle), and for us to just have fun and bond as a group for this final week. Keep the rest of us safe and allow us to break legs (in the theatre sense). Amen, Ahava.

On another note: I was conned into doing another story of creating the ending of everyone’s characters like I’ve done in the past two years. I’m not quite done, but I’ll give to the cast Saturday. There’s so many characters this year, like 30-40, and coming up with an ending and twist of a story….was actually more simpler than I thought it would be. But nonetheless, everyone’s like “TRADITION” you can’t let us down now! They enjoy reading what I come up with, especially those who have already been exposed to it.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

Thoughts & Things: Some Jewish & Some Not

This is going to be a very random bloggy post considering my brain is so full I need to dump it somewhere and I haven’t really been able to write in ages.

First things first: I need some jazz in my life. Like, pronto. Like, live jazz… like jazz that can be processed in through my ears/mind and immediately take over the core of my body all the way down that I can feel it deep within my soul… I need that. Story: When I was working Next Fall, they were playing all kinds of music backstage, and I asked them to play jazz (they chose blues, really), and the first song that came on was the song that belongs to Momma (h/s teacher friend) and I — Frank Sinatra’s My Way. That’s our song. How fitting it came on first. Of course, I had to text her and tell her. But anyway, wish I could find more Jewish Jazz. I know about Paul Shapiro – I love his “To Life” song and I’ve posted about it before. It’s just not enough.

My life is solely revolving around the Summer One Acts right now. I only have a few final things to tend to for finalization of props, then I get to work on moving props/furniture and sit on book for the remainder of rehearsals….Once I know we’re settled on show order, then I need to assign jobs for the CH. A few more weeks, then it’s over. Must remember to stay in the moment and enjoy all of the new people I have met. Next week we have 3 rehearsals at our home, then we move that weekend, do two weekend performances (7/11 – 7/21), then the whole theater will take a break until September (with the exception of our private awards ceremony sometime in August). Needless to say, I’m looking forward to a break after shoving so much into the past couple of weeks.

I have so much to celebrate (mostly my new life / conversion), and I haven’t been able to do it yet…I purposely put it off because I didn’t want to get too involved/distracted in celebrating when I still have lots of work to do. I have to balance myself and stay humble. I was thinking about birthday plans how I might start celebrating Christmas in July Eve / Day (July 24) – maybe a private thing in remembrance of another father-figure of mine from the boating industry–Joe–who died a few years ago on Christmas in July (and I have a story/poem that came out of literally feeling his death at the moment it happened)... and continuing a celebration until the weekend after my birthday (8/1). I have to celebrate: my conversion, all the new things already, the plays, 3 years with GCP (4th SOA), a toast to the future, and so much more… !!! I have a few places picked out of where I’d like go meet up with friends: definitely a repeat of the same 3 things I did last year, go to John’s Pass, sunsets every night, get my ears pierced twice or nose repierced, kiss an alligator again (and possibly adopt one), adopt more hermit crabs, bar meetup, get a Cafe con Leche (since I haven’t had my favorite coffee in over a year), attend Shabbat, do more than one thing Jewish (OY!), catch up with friends I haven’t seen or spoken to in a while, do a few good deeds, live out my favorite Katy song (#iwish), and I would really like to go and see a Burlesque show (don’t judge).

I sat down last night to write a little on my conversion story. I’m wanting to write an overall summary of the bits & pieces up until then, something I can turn into the Jewish paper here….but I am having a hard time sitting down and doing it though… just thinking about how all of the signs were clearly there the whole time, then I get really emotional, distracted on having to tame those feelings, and then it’s already time for bed. I need to do this while it’s still fresh. I would really like to share my story. It’s also hard to write an outline when it’s going to be an entire novel. That’s next.

After getting on Facebook and seeing all of the Pride pictures from friends, I’m actually really sad about not having attended. That heat, though. It’s really affecting me worse this year than it ever has.. heat used to be my friend. I know there’s a “Come Out” St Pete Pride in October along with a film festival in Tampa, so I will be very ready to do that.

Another funny thing that happened…..so I went on a whim and got my hair cut on 6/24. I woke up like, “I hate my hair. I need a change. I’m so very bored. Let’s just go cut everything off.” (Cool side note: found out (accidentally) that my hairdresser is Jewish. He asked, “You plan on coloring your hair tonight, right?” UGH NO. You mean I have to color it again? I just did it weeks ago! 3 boxes of bleach! I told him before I colored it, I was trying to grow out the natural color for my conversion but didn’t work out that way. That’s when he mentioned he’s Jewish, and he asked me what made me convert.etc.) Anyway, so yesterday I hop on Facebook memories for a minute, and I see that on 6/25/18 one of our directors for the SOAs last year had cancelled the last rehearsal… and I went to get my hair chopped off. Seriously self? I had to laugh. I don’t do things in patterns. I try NOT to! I do things on whims, on random. BUT ALMOST THE SAME EXACT DAY A YEAR LATER I JUST WOKE UP LIKE I HATE MY HAIR, NEED TO CHOP IT OFF? I had no idea, I don’t keep up with things like that! I just find it crazy. I’m supposed to do things randomly, not in sync! OY VEY. Maybe I need to write a song about this. Seems crazy.

I tried nova for the first time yesterday… and on nachos for Taco Tuesday. It’s my new favorite thing. I can’t believe I broke tradition after 1.5 years. What happened?

I’ve been thinking more and more about my goals and I have a few I really want to accomplish before the end of the year. Of course, I have some private goals of stuff I need to take care of that I won’t be mentioning here, but here’s some other plans…

-Working on my Jewish art + turning profit. I want to be able to test out the market, so that I could maybe set up a tent at the Jewish food festival next year.
-Publish short version of conversion story to Jewish magazines.
-Finish the full novel about my journey thus far to conversion and publish it.
-Have next year’s schedule planned out. If I’m following the Jewish New Year, then that won’t be so bad….but I’m committing to so many things, I need to know ahead of time when to say no to new projects.
-I’ve been discussing some ideas with close friends on a “Jewish-based group” that I started making plans for in December, but it wasn’t the the perfect opportunity to do it at that point. I feel like now (very soon) is the time, or maybe starting in late summer, so now I need to go back to the old proposal and revamp it.
-Figure out what’s going on with my other group.
-Fix my websites.
-Update everything that needs updated. (Which is so very much.)
-Start my own biz again to make extra money.
-Start making a difference.
-& so maaaaannnnnnny moreeeeee!

I’m not quite sure what’s happening
but the tides are changing
and the wind has captured the sail
pushing it in a different direction.
What is in a name, Ahava?
Love, unconditional love?
Did I fall in line with my journey
to find and embrace my beshert?

I’m not sure that I want to question it.
Some things are better left unsaid.
Actions speak louder than words,
but what I would give for an embrace, a hug.
Gleaming with happiness last Shabbat
I wore my Pride kippah for the first time
:
Proud to be Jewish, and one day, a coming out.
I lead a colorful & glittery life.

I am Proud of everything
I am becoming in the name of Ahava.
I found the light, and now: the love
in the ultimate wholeness of life.

Love Always,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

Pride Shabbat Weekend

I didn’t do a specific Shabbat entry on Friday due to coming right off 3 weeks of nothing but working performances of Next Fall (there’s already an entire entry dedicated to that), then going straight into working rehearsals for Summer One Acts. That means: I have not been able to do anything else. Can’t report on something that didn’t happen!

Friday I went to our Pride Shabbat. I was decked out in color and glitter, sat with my friend from my Jewish class to support to him as he read “Blessing for Pride” out loud in front of everyone. I wore last year’s kippah in celebration for both ONE YEAR at CBI and being able to wearing the first kippah I’ve received after becoming a Jew. This was also the first service I attended after my conversion. My friend (who also celebrated his one year at Pride Shabbat) asked, “Why are you wearing last years???” Ha. I told him the above, but I did grab a new one. I guess next year I’ll be caught up with the times and wear the one they’ll provide. It was just extra special for me to wear my first this year!

What a beautiful Shabbat service. We had both our Rabbi, some others that recited work, and then a Rabbi from Bradenton that spoke. His speech was beautiful and deep, and he spoke the actual true meaning of Pride (Stonewall). One thing I admire about him and would like to talk to him more is that he worked with Keshet, and I love that LGBTQ-Jewish specific organization so much… and would love to work with them one day. We read a prayer that was originally from Los Angeles Pride Parade. We recited every other paragraph and it was very emotional for me, especially when it came time to read “Prayer for the End of Hiding” with the speaker who led us to read. Both of those prayers can be found on my Instagram. I suggest you print them out or something, and tuck them closely to your heart.

One day–and I hope soon–that I can be well on my way to help those that a) are Jewish but haven’t practiced it in a while or dropped it–find it again, b) find those Jewish souls who haven’t converted yet, and c) help those who are hiding come out and be proud…I just want to make a difference in the world, and in others lives.

I talked to a friend on the phone last night and she said, “You have already gone through so many changes this year…. and it’s not even half way through.. changes for like 20-something people!” Ha. I live a fast life. I love it. Wouldn’t trade the fast for anything. Even though, I wish my memory wasn’t getting so bad… but alas, I guess when: every day feels like one week and every week feels like one month… it’s bound to happen?

Now that I am about a week and half away from the day I converted….there are a few things I have considerably thought of the last few days of stuff that is changing, something I didn’t really have an answer to last week:

-the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that… I have had no problem blurting out what I think and without apologies. I used to sugar coat everything, but the last week and half, I haven’t been.

-decisions are being made more wholly (it that even the right spelling????), and I don’t spend that much time making up my mind anymore (on some things, still working on this a bit!)

-if it isn’t somewhat Jewish-related, bringing some sort of light, or happiness to my life… it’s going going gone. I’m working on that one day at a time. That’s the best I can do right now!

-I’m asking myself more questions like: what is truly close to your heart that you want to do–not because you feel you have to, but want to–and what is the right thing for you to do at this moment? (That has to do with extra activities.)

-Is this healthy for you and your future? (This goes for absolutely everything, including what I read, listen to, and do.)

As Ahava, I feel so much more whole that I have ever had in my entire life. It has always been my policy to believe that there is everything to a name, and boy is that true, I feel it within every letter… even in Hebrew. In the next few weeks, maybe next month (since my time is sold to the SOAs right now), there will be a thousand more changes coming to my life. I am excited!

By the way, I’m not writing about how amazing Pride was… because I didn’t end up going. After Pride Shabbat, I went downtown, and that heat (even at 10pm to midnight) just about killed me. Saturday I walked outside, and right back in, and Sunday the same thing… so I did miss everything even though I wanted to go so badly… I just didn’t want to have another heat stroke again. I had a pretty bad one last year. And that was really scary. But alas, I literally slept all weekend… and caught up on not having slept but more than 4 hours every night for the last month. It was one of those Jewish questions I asked myself: do I go play and risk my health, or do I stay in and catch up on sleep knowing that I will not be able to get extended sleep for the next month once again? Sleep it is! I also put all of my new Jewish books on my bookshelf, cleaned some trash up, prepped some stuff for the upcoming yard sale, and so on. I think it was a decent weekend.

Until next time, much love,
Karen Maeby (Ahava)

PS – In 2003 & 2008, I went to Philadelphia. Both times I fell in love with the “LOVE” statue that is in Love Park, and it instantly became my favorite thing from there. Who knew years later, it’d have even more meaning to me and my life.

What does Ahava mean?

Ahava means love in Hebrew.

But apparently it also means “water” or “river” in specifics to the Bible.

Not only that, but as notorious as I am about writing things down, I found in my iPhone notes this…

3/6/19: I had a dream about seahorse hatching. (I wish I wrote specifics about this, but that’s all I wrote.)

3 months, six days later… I went through my conversion.

Maybe the seahorse hatching is a better analogy than the hermit crab one I gave in my private note of what happened in the water.

From Google: The seahorse is a luck of good fortune/charm an attribute of the sea, the seahorse is considered to be a symbol of strength and power.

#HolySnap #ThisIsCrazy #WhatIsHappening