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Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

My friend, Linda, is wrapping up a very important project.  I know I have mentioned her here, and she is certainly on my blogroll, but in honor of her 1000th Mitzvah, I needed to send out a reminder.

Linda, who lives in Portland, Oregon,  decided to perform 1000 mitzvahs in honor of her father’s memory.  For anyone who doesn’t know, a Mitzvah is a good deed – regardless of how big or small, but it is having an intention in your heart to help someone or make someone feel good.

Linda’s blog entry, as she reaches 1000 was about how she felt it needed to have something to do with food, because her father loved to cook, loved to eat, and loved to serve.  In her blog, she asked everyone, near and far, to consider making a donation to feed someone less fortunate, and I am echoing her request, because in these days, many of us forget that even though times are tough – they are tougher for others.  I certainly need to watch every penny I spend, however, today I remembered that I was fortunate enough to eat breakfast, and lunch. But certainly, in my town, there were hundreds of families who could not say the same.

So, in honor of Linda’s 1000th Mitzvah, I made a $36 donation.  Nothing big, nothing major, but the thought counted more than anything.  Now – I know that charity is not something that should be advertised, and I certainly want NO kudos for making my donation, but – I would like to ask everyone who reads this blog today, to please take a moment and help someone in greater need than yourself.

If you live in Florida, our local food bank is in dire need of donations. For $35, 2 families of four won’t go hungry for eight days, because they can pick up groceries at an emergency food pantry.  The link is http://www.dailybread.org/index.cfm/category/2/page/11/lang/en.html

If you live outside the area, please consider making a donation to your local Jewish Family Services or Daily Bread Food bank, or any other program that helps others put food on their tables.

Linda – thanks again for inspiring me to remember how fortunate I am.  Congratulations on your 1000th Mitzvah, and may your father’s memory be for a blessing upon this earth.

B’Shalom

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I was just reading Meg’s blog, A Practical Wedding, and loved one of her most recent posts.

First, she shared a new perspective on the glass breaking in  a Jewish wedding, and that was that an old Moroccan saying was related to the broken glass of a Jewish wedding, in that “A difficult beginning is a good sign”.  It really is true in so many ways.  We are an instant gratification, disposable society sometimes.  We expect our life’s path to roll along smoothly, and often get derailed at the first sign of trouble. It really isn’t about the trouble at all, though, it’s about our perception of it, so if we start out with a little tzurres, perhaps that helps frame the perspective, and helps us appreciate the peaks that the road of life will certainly bring us to, while remembering that the valleys are not so long lived, and give meaning to the experience.

The other topic of her post was our current economic conditions, and its impact on today’s wedding experiences.

Meg – I have one additional perspective to share with you, in response to your sentiment of mild envy at last year’s crop of brides, who were planning well before the onset of layoffs, closures, and the like….Fast forward those brides to today.  They planned without worry, but they were the most unfortunate, because they also most likely incorporated a whole lot of expense and debt into their plans, and guess what they’re thinking today?  I’m sure many are wishing they still had the $10, 20, 30, 40k or MORE they spent on the wedding, because it sure would have helped them get through the difficult times, now, because they possibly lost their jobs or have just been hit financially.

Knowledge is power, and you have much more knowledge today than they did.  You have been given the gift of perspective, so today you can CHOOSE to be more economical, simple, realistic, and responsible.  And in the end, what you will most likely end up with (especially based on the sentiment of your readers) is a more personal experience, knowing that those who surround you on that day are there because YOU are one of the most important people in their lives.  If that’s not a gift, I don’t know what is.

Last year’s brides are not feeling like they got so much of a gift.  I hear many lamenting that they wish they had created a more intimate, personal setting, and not felt so compelled to pay $200 a plate for someone they barely knew.  They (and/or their families) are saddled with debt they really didn’t want nor could afford, and while the memory of the experience begins to fade, the credit card balances are mounting, as finance companies raise rates through the ceiling.  Not so much of a blessing, and certainly not much to envy.

One of the reasons I absolutely LOVE my destination weddings, is because I am always so touched at what every person experiences through them.  Certainly, the guests are the MOST important people in the world to them.  They made it a life priority to take that trip with them, and share in their joy.  They got FAR more than a 5 hour party, they got a life-long experience, of sharing the most relaxing time and special moments.  The final bill is far more palatable than that of a grand-wedding-experience, and provides so many more special memories to look back on.  This year more than ever, we are returning to simpler values, and that is the TRUE blessing of this economy.

I’m actually thankful for it, and while I wouldn’t wish a single hardship on anyone, I suppose that it was, is, and continues to be necessary to re-align our values, to re-think what is important, and to re-define what we consider to be our blessings.  Those brides that are planning their upcoming weddings in this downturn economy – rejoice!  You have the gift of knowledge, perspective, and POWER to choose to do what’s right for yourselves, your families, your friends, and the economy over all.

Life is not about broken glass, it’s about the meaning you give it.

B’Shalom,

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Heck no.  Why should I be nervous?

Because tomorrow I am officiating the biggest wedding in my career?  For a family known throughout the world for RATING people?  Well, yeah, ok…I’m nervous.  I didn’t say I wasn’t confident, but when you know that people who write about what people do for a living are judging you, then I’d think you might be a bit nervous, too.

Regardless, this wedding is all about the couple, and the couple is definitely something to write home about.  Good looking, brilliant, ambitious, charismatic, benevolent, compassionate, and really-truly, down to earth and very very real.    I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity, and hope that their wedding ceremony is everything they could have ever hoped for.

In the meantime, I’m certainly excited to have my name appear with theirs, in the New York Times.  It was even more special to see it come out on Valentine’s Day. Stay tuned for details…

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The Psychology of Blogging

There is so much to know about this wondrous activity called blogging.

I remember the first time I heard about this thing called a blog.  Hmmm, a web-log, eh?

Kind of like a diary?  Yes.

Kind of like a journal?  Yes.

Kind of like a documentary?  Ok, that too.

“It’s so easy”, I was told.  Just go to (wordpress, blogger, blogspot, livejournal, typepad, etc.).com and start writing.  Everyone is doing it!  It sounded easy.  I began to look for other blogs, and see what other people were doing, and I kind of relished the thought of putting my experiences out there for people to read about me, and what I was doing.  Not only that, but it seemed like a great way of getting my name out in the community.

I guess I didn’t realize that it could also become my 2nd full time job, if I allowed it to.  I must admit, that the more I learn about blogging, and WordPress, and all the other “stuff”, the more inadequate I feel, and sometimes, I am just blank.  Some days, I think of hundreds of ideas to write about, and the next day, I am so overwhelmed, I can’t even bring myself to log on.  I’m really busy writing meaningful weddings, Bar Mitzvah ceremonies, and representing the Jewish faith, that I forget to write for days at a time.

Then, a blog reviewer comes along, sends me an email, and says…”Your blog would be excellent – if you could only be sure to blog every day.”  WHAT?  Every day?  Seriously, I’m trying.  I really am.  But I have realized that my blog productivity is absolutely tied to my mindset on any given day, and there really is so much psychology around the written word.

There are days when I am incubating some really ground-breaking ideas, as I have been since returning from NY.  And guess what has happened to my blog?  I realize it has been almost 11 days since I returned, and I haven’t published a single entry.  I also realize that I have withdrawn a bit from my social life, my family, and even my friends.  So, my blog is also a victim of my mental state on any given day.  I suppose that’s one of the maladies of being self-accountable – nobody to force me to produce, which some days, I admit, I really need.

Anyway – I’m wondering if I’m the only one who feels that their blog productivity is tied to the way they are feeling, or what is going on in their lives?  Does it just come naturally to want to put something out there every day?  Who knows if what I write is interesting?  Who cares?

I have 14 drafts sitting in my to-do list, and yet, here I sit writing about not writing.  It all gets so overwhelming, sometimes, and no matter what anyone says, it is NOT easy.  Once I write, how do I get people to read?  Am I writing about the right stuff?  Does it matter?  There are 207.601 bloggers on WordPress.com.  What will make someone read mine?  Some days, just seeing that number makes me feel insignificant, and when I feel insignificant, I tend to avoid that which makes me feel more-so. There are so many feelings tied to writing.  So many issues to consider, and so many connections to how I feel, on the inside.

Today, I feel bold.  Today, I feel happy to be alive, more so because 49 people lost their lives on a flight from Newark to Buffalo, and I remember that I must live every moment to its fullest.  I remember that I shouldn’t ever let a moment go to tell someone I love them, and just maybe, I shouldn’t miss a moment to blog.  I remember to move from guilty to forgiven, because I have the power to forgive myself, and move on.

So much psychology around blogging…

B’Shalom,

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It is the eve of Max’s Bar Mitzvah.  I am back in the hotel, after spending the last few hours reading and preparing for tonight, and reflecting on the last 24 hours.  My heart is pounding for some reason, today, like that feeling you get when the police car turns his lights on behind you.  I’m not sure why.  Sometimes this happens, when there is so much inside of me, and things going on that I just can’t see clearly yet, and hours of meditation and thought have to occur to see what this message is.  I consider it a message, I just don’t know what it’s saying, yet.  I’m overwhelmed by my relationship to Audrey, Rob, and Max, and perhaps it is just a sign that a shift is taking place in my world, and that tonight is going to be one of the most moving experiences of my life.

I sat with Max for a couple of hours today.  He practiced his blessings, we read through his D’Var Torah, and his prayer of gratitude.  Wait till I publish this prayer.  I sobbed at his kitchen table, and I promise you – these are his own words.  The child is amazing.  We played guitar in his Mom’s office, and shared more philosophy at his kitchen table.  I walked 2.5 miles to his house from the hotel, and another 2.5 back – in 30 degree weather, and it was the best 5 mile walk I’ve ever had.

Max's House, as it was starting to snow

Sure, I love the beach, and certainly don’t know if I could trade my daily walks at the ocean for the walk I experienced today, but, today was special, nonetheless.  I love being here in New Jersey, in the north, in the cold, and among friends I’ve only known for 24 hours but feel I have known forever.

Last night, Audrey (Max’s Mom) had her family over for dinner, and Sharon, Hal, Hannah and Bess were there.  Sharon is my soul-sista, and I couldn’t wait to see her.  It was SO much fun, and I just don’t want this time to end.  Tonight, Hannah and Bess are chanting the V’Ahavta, while Max reads the prayer in English.  It will be beautiful.

Tomorrow, I set out on my journey to see my brides – past and future, and hopefully somewhere along the line, I will get a chance to meet Rabbi Andrea, my friend, in person.  (some technical difficulties this morning prohibited that, but I’m sure going to try to catch up!)  Andrea was responsible for connecting me to Yelena, who connected me to Sharon, who connected me to Audrey, and on and on we go…I know I’ve said all this before, but it’s all so divine, it’s worth repeating.

Thank You, G-d, for this blessing.  I am, once again, the luckiest girl on earth.

B’Shalom,

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So, now that I have your attention…..

I am drowning in a world of Social Media I do not understand. Though it fascinates me, I could spend as many hours (if not more) on trying to figure out what to do with Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Ustream, YouTube, and goodness knows whatever other resources are out there – but then, when would I ever get to do my job?

I believe strongly that a person should do what they are best at, and give the rest to someone else who is best at doing what I’m worst at. Therefore, I have made the decision to go out and find a professional (or, a really good amateur) who can help me navigate this very confusing world.

See, I have a message to communicate, and a passion for what I do. I think that’s what marketing is – bringing my message out to the masses, who wouldn’t have ordinarily known I exist. I need someone to keep me on track, help me brainstorm, build my brand, and send my message.

I know what my brand is – I am warm, dynamic, passionate, original, creative, spiritual, and personable. My heart is bigger than I am, and you feel it when you meet me, speak to me, or even when you land on my website. (So I’m told). I believe that everyone has a right to faith, and I want to be someone who helps them find it. I want to be the connection to their Jewish faith, when all else has failed them.

I’m not looking for a guerilla marketing coach – I don’t want to generate “hundreds of leads”. I just want to present myself to people, and I want them to be people who will appreciate me for who I am and what I can offer them. I don’t want to turn my business into a metrics machine, but I believe everyone should be efficient – and effective – at what they do.

I want to attract REAL people into my life. People like Rita & Dan, Keith & Faith, Yelena & Lenny, Felix & Evelina, Jerry & Audrey, Josh, Amanda, Megan, Jesse, Beverly, and more…all the people you can read about on my blog – I want to serve more of them! I know I have an exceptional talent, I just need someone to help me advertise it.

I want to grow, and expand my presence. I’ve had the most amazing – I mean it – the MOST amazing year of my entire life, and I want MORE. I know I am directly connected to my source of energy when I am performing my job, and I bring so much love and energy back to the world in return. I know that by practicing the Law of Attraction, and the Law of numbers, that the more people I tell what I need, the greater chance I have of it arriving.

So – I am looking for someone to grow with me. To help me navigate this foreign world of media, and make a place for myself, and my marketing. If you know of someone who can help – I would be forever grateful! THANKS for reading my note!

B’Shalom,
Debbi

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Today, as I watch the Presidential Inauguration, just as millions around the world are watching, I am moved, and inspired. No more, and no less than millions around the world are inspired, but enough so, for those feelings to change my life, and invigorate me to make passionate commitments in my life, about how to take my part, in changing the future.

Who am I to think I can? I never learned much about politics, and certainly never got involved. I didn’t get an Ivy League education, not even close. My job is not necessarily important to the world, but it is certainly one of the most important things to me, and my life. I’m a mother of 2 extraordinary children (yet ordinary in the view of the world), I’m the daughter of an ordinary family, and I have my own strengths and weaknesses that I must wrestle with every day.

Who am I to offer commentary on this new President’s inauguration, and message to the world? What makes me think that anyone should listen? Nothing, nothing at all. But, just in case, there is someone to whom my words might make a difference, then, I have made my own contribution to changing the world. And if writing these words creates a more defined clarity about my own responsibilities to this world, to peace, and to brotherhood of mankind, then, I again, have made a difference.

As President Obama stood among millions in Washington D.C., as well as around the world, of course the greatest message that was conveyed simply by his presence, was hope. Hope for change, hope for renewed economic development, hope for world peace, and hope for unity. As I watch the Bush’s and the Obama’s exit the Inauguration, and bid adieu to the Bush’s at the helicopter, I am struck most by the theme of unity, in today’s ceremonies. And it is this theme that I want most to elaborate on, and support, as the days turn less into ceremony and more into a process of getting down to business.

First and foremost, I was struck by the unity of every person in attendance there today, and throughout the world wide web. A common theme exists, yet, among citizens who undoubtedly have very different upbringings, opinions, financial resources, political platforms, and lifestyles. People of every race, religion, and sexual orientation stood together today, in hope. The most incredible feeling at that moment was that of unity.

But, what must we do to make that hope a reality? Is it enough that we stand together on one day to express our hope for – well, hope? No, no way. Not enough. A good start – but not enough. When President Obama was elected, and I realized that the generation of my older teenage child were largely responsible for voting him in – I encouraged them and admonished them – to remember that their vote was not enough. If change was what they wanted, then they had to evoke change within themselves, and find what their role would or could be, in evoking that change in the world. It is not enough to sit back, and watch as President Obama single-handedly takes office and leads the country – we must take action, each one of us. In our average communities, in our average jobs, in our average families, we are each charged with a responsibility to make change.

As I officiate my students’ Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies, I am moved by their expression of hope for World Peace, for people of different races, religions, and sexual orientations to live peacefully together. And this is exactly where I think all of has have a responsibility to change. We must remember that we exist together in this world, and take heed from the lesson that was demonstrated at today’s inauguration. I can see our political administration, who 6 months to 1 year ago today fought passionately against each other’s ideals, come together, as one administration. They came in support of our President – each one of our,s in America. We come together as citizens, not united by our faith or the color of our skin, but by our hopes for peace and freedom.

It is my children’s responsibility, it is my responsibility, and it is every single person’s responsibility on the face of this earth to make the commitment to being united to the mission of peace and freedom. 60 years ago, no single person ever would have dreamed of an African American in the White House. It seems a dream that was as obscure then, as World Peace is today. But, is it so difficult to dream? Is it so difficult to accept an individual because of his differences? Is it so difficult to think that our way may not be exactly the right way? And that by all thinking and working together, by involving each other and holding each other accountable for peace and freedom, that it might actually be achieved?

Or are we all too busy trying to prove that our way is the right way? That we or “I” am superior to someone else, simply because they are different? What if we all adopted a philosophy of being equal – under the eyes of God. “Hear O Israel, The Lord is Our God, The Lord is One”, Pastor Rick Warren repeated today. How true that was. Now, if we could only make the pledge to actually live our lives that way – and remember that God created our universe, created mankind, and put us all here to live peacefully together – in freedom. He has brought many races and religions through incredibly difficult victories in our fights for freedom since the beginning of time. Isn’t that a message of hope for us all to learn to live peacefully together?

It isn’t that obscure of a dream. I almost feel like we are right on the verge of an amazing eclipse in our world philosophy. I feel that in my lifetime, it’s possible, and that I can take steps to make that happen. President Obama didn’t reach the White House on the coattails of welfare, nor did he assign anyone else the tasks of reaching his goals – he took them on himself. Because of his commitment to surpassing the impossible boundaries he envisioned for himself, because he took his own action and made life happen for himself, I know that I too can break the impossible boundaries I may see for myself, and my country, and my world.

We have duties to ourselves, each other, our countries, and the world. We must work together to achieve unity. We must accept our neighbors for being different, and respect different opinions. We must embrace those who think differently from ourselves, and remember that it might just lie within that person, or that idea, to break through from the norms, and move to the unexpected. We must unite with distant families from whom we are estranged, and with whom we have allowed our differences to fall between. We must remember we are all family, we are all created in God’s image, and we are all human beings first, seeking freedom, and World Peace. I make a commitment today to live life through the lens of breaking impossible boundaries, and I urge every friend, colleague, and citizen out there today, that on this day, they make the same commitment to themselves, their communities, and the world.

Good Luck, America, we have reached a brand new day, and I’m confident we have witnessed a moment of profound change in our world. May it only be so…

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