On Tuesday, we observed the fast of Tisha B'Av. It was hard; it always is, being 25 hours without food or water in the middle of summer... and although we have a nice comfortable home with air conditioning, one can't always lie on the sofa and just count the hours until the end of the fast - not with little children and a bunch of animals to be attended to.
Our girls are now of an age when we can begin to explain to them about the Temple and its destruction, and I was struck with the freshness of their perspective. "The Temple was destroyed?!" (said in genuine distress). "But why?! Why did the bad people come and destroy it?" - their questions serve as a great reminded to us to think about things we have gotten used to take for granted.
I often find myself thinking with longing of, and looking forward to, a period when we might have our own, permanent home, in which we could make deep roots, and invest our time and energy by improving it, and hopefully, remain living there for the rest of our lives and then pass it on to our children. Then I remind myself that, as lovely as having such a home would be, and as thankful as I would be for it, nothing on this earth is truly permanent. We are all in G-d's hands; this was illustrated all too painfully a few years ago through the story of the Gush Katif settlers.
So... wherever you are, whatever you do - enjoy it. Whatever your situation in life, your family, your occupation, your present location is - make the best of it. Love those who are near you. Send love to those who are far, yet dear to you.
We are busy as bees today, since tomorrow night is Shabbat, and an entire day in the middle of the week was "lost", in terms of work, on account of the fast. So today, I'm making pot roast chicken, oven-baked salmon, eggplant dip and (thanks to your helpful tips!) pumpkin bread. I hope it all turns out well, and hope you are all having an equally pleasant, enjoyable, and productive day.