Remembering Nick (and the December 2, 2015 Terrorist Attack in San Bernardino)

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It has been 3 years since the terrorist attack in San Bernardino that left 14 dead, shot many times by their own coworker and his Islamist extremist immigrant wife at their company Christmas party.  The main target was my friend Nick, a Messianic Jew like me.  We attended Shiloh Messianic Congregation together, in the San Bernardino mountains.  I was just down the street from the scene of this attack when it happened, watching it unfold on the TV news in a restaurant.  I had just returned from teaching English for 5 years in Turkey, Russia, and China.

Oddly, I have stood in the exact spot of terrorist attacks in all 3 of those countries.  Two were in airports in Russia and Turkey, and one was in Tiananmin Square in Beijing.  My timing was good–before the attacks occurred–but I could have been a victim like Nick.  Any of us could be victims–as could any of our children.

May we, in the new year of 2019, stand against anti-Semitism and terrorism.  May we truly promote the peace that Yeshua–Messiah–came to give.  Shabbat Shalom.

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Jennifer Thalasinos with our Pastor’s wife Kathleen

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Jennifer and Nick Thalasinos

See my video of Messianic Jewish Dancing at Nick’s Funeral:

Watch the Saying of Kaddish for Nick:

See the Aaronic Blessing:

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What I Learned in Prison

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I have been living in the California desert for awhile now, renting a room in a family’s home.  My almost seven-year marriage to a Turkish man broke up, and he is living somewhere on the streets of Los Angeles, stuck in his paranoid delusions that everyone is after him.  He leaves voice messages on my smartphone, though I had to get a restraining order against him, and he should not contact me.  I hope he goes home to Istanbul for medical help.  I feel alone, as the desert wind howls across rocks and sand, and autumn sun cools beneath clouds.  Better to be alone than yelled at, used . . .

Who would have thought that I, a free-spirited writer who has traveled much across this globe, would land in a regular job, from 07:30 to 16:00 Mondays through Fridays, 40 hours a week–teaching inmates in a prison?  I got the job after a 5-week background check (I had to list everywhere I lived since I was 16), a physical exam, and drug tests.  I drive to work across a desert Apocalypse landscape.  It is littered with rock queries, railroad tracks, and old industrial warehouses with broken windows and metal pipes.  Homeless people scarcely populate it, pushing metal carts or baby carriages without a baby.  I lost my three-level, wood-carved home in the mountain forest near a lake.  My children are young adults now, and I don’t see them much.

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My 2 oldest children have completely shut me out of their lives (and my grandchildren’s lives).  An enemy has much to do with this (an ex-husband who once laid me on a bed and strangled me, which I wrote about in my book “Fire and Ice”).  I don’t know what he’s said or why they listen and refuse to meet so that I may answer charges laid against me . . .  My few friends call me “Sweetie.”  I am not a serial killer or assaulter, some crazy grandma gone wild.  I can not understand how my own daughter, my firstborn, could take away my little remaining family . . . I lost my father at age 4 and my mother and only brother (that I knew about) not long after.  I never had a sister.

So . . . the best part of my life is the “Special Needs Yard” prison where I teach male inmates their high school GED course.  We cover mostly English reading, writing, social studies, and science (my inmate clerk helps with the math).  Most of the inmates are sex offenders who could not be in the general population; some are ex-gang members or ex-cops.  My classroom is the last one on the left, near the moving white-barred gate and blue door that leads to the desert yard.  I must have my special ID and my keys on a chain to enter the prison.  If I lose my ID or keys, the whole prison would be locked down until we found them.  I must wear professional clothes (like black slacks and a collared shirt, sensible shoes, my hair clipped back, with no identifying jewelry showing).  I walk through a metal detector, surrender my clear plastic bag for inspection, and pass through 9 gates.  A young guard in his khaki uniform with silver badge says, “Morning, ma’am,” as he holds the heavy door for me at Central Control’s Sally Gate.  I peer into the dim room filled with camera surveillance screens and many keys.

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Love Is Not from a Distance

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Love is not from a distance;

up close and personal, it comes close enough

to pierce us

like an arrow through the heart, a spear.

Can we get the hook out?

Love is the unexpected baby on its way to a stone-cold world.

How did you get in there, so soon?

I will try to love you, and I will often fail.

I feel you hiding in my secret place, moving

like a white swan’s feathers (or maybe black)

brushing up against me, about to take flight

over waters of a vast lake, splashes of yellow against blue,

ripples in growing circles toward the rising sun

too bright to look at directly, creating, consuming . . .

You are not really mine; I borrow you for a time (too short).

I will hold your small hand tightly, sad to think that

maybe after yours grows big enough to break away

–you will forget me– Continue reading

Letter from a Murdered Mom

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I bought a beautiful old handmade writing case at a thrift store in the California mountains.  A wildcat crouched in trees on it, yellow against green and brown, carefully stitched with leather.  The store clerk asked $5, but I talked her down to $4 because I always seem short of money.  I thought I’d use it to keep my part-time college English-teaching papers in, for classroom use or Starbucks.

When I zipped it open, I saw the old-world style of neat suede pockets for business cards, pens, and letters.  A small “Made in India” stamp marked one side.  When I reached into an inner, hidden pocket, I uncovered an old letter.

Typed with an old-style typewriter on faded yellow paper, it bore a date and names and details I felt unworthy to read, like a voyeur into someone else’s private life.  It was a letter from an American mother to her daughter.  It mentioned names, events, and details.  Folded inside it was a hand-written note about getting bifocals and a scratch-sheet of home mortgage calculations.  It also held a surgeon’s business card and a Retail Clerks Union receipt stamped with a full name, date, and social security number. Continue reading

My Brighton Heart Box

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I wrote some texts from my smartphone to my youngest daughter’s smartphone.  That’s how writing works these days.  I sent her photos, too, and tried to share my heart by showing her what hides in my old Brighton tin heart box.  I hope my 3 other children, from whom I never hear, read this too–and mothers everywhere, who save things for children in hopes of giving them bits of treasure gathered over a lifetime (and sometimes a world of travel).  Please enjoy this and feel free to share:

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Jessica, are you OK? Do you still have your phone? You know, I lost a lot of our treasures in my travels across the globe, but I managed to keep a few. The 1st photo is sterling silver and crystal, my ring from Turkey, official Arwen pendant and fern pin with matching earrings from New Zealand, Brighton crystal earrings I bought from a Lake Arrowhead Village store in the California mountains when you were little and we all lived together there. I am saving these for you. You are precious to me–and even more to Jesus, who made us and loves us and came down from Heaven to heal us–painfully–and rise again. He patiently polishes the tarnish, smooths out the tangles, and connects broken links of our lives–like this sterling silver necklace from Italy that I hold in my hand.

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Darkest before Dawn

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“Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” Psalm 30:5.

Sometimes it seems as though the night will never end.  I am writing the 4th book in my “Survival” series, “Darkest before Dawn.” I survived cancer, car accidents, loss of my family, abusive men, and teaching English overseas for 5 years–in Russia, Turkey, and China.  What more must I survive?  How can we all survive what is coming?

Have you ever noticed that it really is darkest–and coldest–before the sun rises?  I often have trouble sleeping and have stayed up until dawn.  Just knowing that the sun will rise gives me hope.  Then, ironically, when that yellow orb breaks upon the eastern horizon, I can relax and go to sleep.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.”  In the book of Revelation (written by John), Jesus is “the bright and morning star.”

I often do my writing at night.  If you like my blog, please check out my books.

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Opioid Epidemic’s 2 Sides

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About the #heroin epidemic: those who take “legal” prescription #opioidssuch as #oxycodone or #morphine are no better than those who take street black. It all comes from the same #poppy flowers of #afghanistan. Heroin was invented to get people OFF morphine. Do not #judge. Help and say “#loveu” instead. This #tiffany #lamp has a #light side and a #dark side, but it is the same #thing, found in a #drug #house.

Read how I overcame legal prescription addiction to morphine, Atavan, and Ambien.

Fire Cover

 

Shabbat Shalom

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For #galgadot, #wonderwoman, who has been banned in many countries for being #israeli–a #poem: My little #silver #star of #david slipped off my silver neckchain. “Am I no longer #jewish?” I wondered as I kneelt to find it. As if more than 3000 years of #history could be erased, God’s ancient #prophesies#yeshua— everlasting #torah, #temple, golden #candle sticks, #jerusalem, #spirit, #blood, and #stone. I have never #stepped a foot in #israel, but it will ALWAYS be my #home. #shabbotshalom.

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