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Posts Tagged ‘appreciation’

One year ago, today, my website had just launched, and my blog was in its beginning stages.  I remembered, today, that on that day a year ago, I wrote a blog entry about Thanks and Giving, and I decided it was the perfect time to go back, and see how far I had come, and express new thanks for what has taken place, and for the blessings that had been bestowed upon me in another year.

Honestly, not much has changed, but everything feels different.  I am still thankful for the same things, yet, this year, I want to be a little more specific about the things I’m thankful for, and to look closely at and appreciate the most profound blessings of the year.  My list from last year is below this year’s, at the bottom of the page.  Many things are still the same, and many find their same position on my list, but this year, I feel even more fortunate than last, because so much has changed.  I really hope to convey what I am most thankful for.

1.  I’m so thankful, first and foremost, for my amazing children, Lauren & Trevor.  They are truly the most precious gifts from G-d, they are my source of inspiration, and purpose, every minute of the day.  This year has seen its challenges, for both children, with Trevor leaving home for the first time, and finding out that the world can be harsh, cruel, and unfair – and Lauren, who is just beginning to see the world that exists outside of her limited perspective, and realize she has so much left to learn.  She has realized that while she’s an amazing human being, sometimes, the world mirrors back what it sees most, and she hasn’t loved what she has received in terms of messages.  The constant phone calls from each child this year seemed more than I could handle at times, but through them, we have all grown, and can clearly see new paths being formed for all of us.  I am thankful for the clarity I receive from the experiences with my children.  I am thankful they continue to strive to be independent adults with multi-dimensional personalities.  I am thankful they still call home for comfort, and run down the Turnpike or I-95 just to get a hug (and home cooking and clean laundry) from Mom.  Some might look at my relationship with my children and say I am too involved.  I am thankful that those people are not very important in my life, and that I have the courage to ignore them, and do what feels right.  I am thankful that they are healthy, ambitious, determined, kind, and sensitive.  I am thankful for the inner and outer beauty.  I am most thankful, above all else, for Lauren and Trevor.

2.  My parents and sisters.  This year, I have to put the emphasis on my sisters.  I am in awe of how each of us, quietly, and at the same time, seemed to put the resentment, and trivial annoyances behind us, and began to appreciate each other for who we were.  We stopped looking at each other under glaring microscopes, and realized that we are all flawed, but family is family, and we love and accept each other for who we are, and who we are not.  I’m thankful for Alexa.  My most amazing, precious niece, for whom I would do anything.  Anything, at all.  And I hope I am here to help guide her and listen to her, and be the most amazing Aunt anyone could ever hope for.  She lightens my life, makes me feel so special when she asks for me to come see her, and makes my heart sing, when we skip and gallop down the sidewalk together.  I am thankful for Nancy for giving her to me, and thankful to Nina, that we can share Lexi, and be great Aunts, together.

3.  My ex-husband, Wayne.  Yes, I still learn very important life lessons from you, and am eternally grateful that you are the father of my children.

4.  I have found an even greater appreciation for the voice I have inside of me, and the sensitivity that God gave me.  I have far more confidence this year in my voice than last year, and it grows daily.  Not the singing voice, but the inspirational voice.  The one that shows compassion, boldy speaks my own opinions, and allows me to set my own direction, regardless of input from others.  The voice that is connected to its source, who knows where I belong, and has given me the unlimited power to get there.

5. The roof over my head, the friends in my life (most specifically – Mindy, Alison, and Nancy), my comfortable car that gets me everywhere, my guitar, the beautiful community I live in, and peace.

6. Air. Food. Mountains. Nature. Highways. Technology. Friends. Chocolate.

7. Courage. Independence. Abundance. Freedom. Satisfaction. My job(s). Little did I know last year that this would be such a powerful segment of my gratitude.  I have pushed all of these to their limits this year, and it has proven to be the most rewarding experience of my life.  I thank G-d for the courage to fight for my independence, which created the most satisfying freedom and ability to create the job(s) that gave me the most joy and pleasure, and hence, abundance has sprung from sheer determination to do anything but fail – even when I was staring failure right in the face.  I am so grateful.

8. Tolerance. Understanding. Acceptance. Peace. (Yes, I know I said it already, but it’s important enough to say again)

*** New for 08/09 ***

9.  My commitment to health and physical well being.  I am thankful to know what I should and shouldn’t eat, and to finally begin to understand that I am what I eat.  I must honor my body by eating only that which empowers me, and fats and carbs just won’t do.  I feel so powerful when I know I am eating for success, and that enables me to pursue exercise and mental well being as a result.

10.  Meditation, and The Power of Now – The ability to tune “in” as well as “out” is incredibly empowering.  It seems that the universe opens up and the most dramatic changes occur, shortly after deep meditation and introspection.  When I stay focused on the Now, my energy is reserved for what is important, and I am so thankful for the perspective it gives me.

11.  The past.  Looking at it, I am able to find life’s lessons I might not have learned when it was the present.  Therefore, I try to remain thankful for the present, and also the future, as I know that the greatest lessons will be learned there.

12.  Love.  There is so much love in my life.  I love my family, my children, my career, my home, my community, my world, and my friends.  I am blessed many times  over, and could not hope for anything more than what I have been given this year.

13.  Optimism.  The ability to choose the positive over the negative.  To find silver linings.  To empower, and cheer – myself, and those around me.  To smile, just when I need to cry, and remember, that someone always has something worse to worry about than me.

14.  God.  How is possible He was not on last year’s list?  He brings all gifts, bestows all blessings, and provides all things.  I am so grateful to know him.

I didn’t do as well as I could have in the giving department this past year as I had hoped.  I gave of myself hundreds of times over, and I intend to make more of an outward financial commitment to help those less fortunate than I.  Perhaps there’s an opportunity for balance?

I believe that it is imperative that before we ask G-d for anything at all, that we count our blessings and show our gratitude.  Perhaps it is that once we do so, there is actually far less to ask for?  For me, I ask for nothing, this year, other than the continuation of the blessings I am already fortunate enough to have received.  They are enough.  They are everything.

My you and your families find peace and contenment in your hearts this holiday season.  May you find the abundance that exists, even when money is scarce.  May you find the love, even when conflict arises, and May you find peace, among the angry stress of the day.  May you be blessed.

B’Shalom..

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Thanks…..
1. I’m so thankful for my awesome children, Lauren & Trevor. Truly the most precious gifts from G-d, they are my source of inspiration and purpose, every minute of the day.

2. My parents and my sisters. The road to today certainly hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s the best path we have ever been on. I’m so grateful for having them in my life, and the relationship we share.

3. My ex husband. Thank you Wayne, for being you. Whether you know it or not, you play a huge role in my being on this path, and there are some very important lessons you have taught me in life. I will always treasure you – no matter how angry we get at each other.

4. I’m thankful for the voice G-d gave me. I’m thankful that I am sensitive, and sometimes overly emotional. It means I have feelings. And the opposite of that is unthinkable.

5. The roof over my head, the friends in my life, my comfortable car that gets me everywhere, my guitar, the beautiful community I live in, and peace.

6. Air. Food. Mountains. Nature. Highways. Technology. Friends. Chocolate.

7. Courage. Independence. Abundance. Freedom. Satisfaction. My job(s).

8. Tolerance. Understanding. Acceptance. Peace. (Yes, I know I said it already, but it’s important enough to say again)

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I was sitting here, thinking of all the overdue posts I have to write about, and all the organizing and task lists that need to be handled, and I realized that before I did one more thing, I wanted to reflect on what has made this month incredibly amazing.  Because, without the events of this past month, next month, and the months after just wouldn’t be possible. I think it’s soooo important to say thanks – even for the small things, like someone stopping by and saying hello on my blog.

First, my Mom had surgery last Thursday on her back, and I’m happy to say she came through with flying colors.  It’s been a long time (Thank You, G-d) since anyone in my family has had any health concern at all, so this one was scary, but she’s on the road to recovery.  I’m so thankful that I have both of my parents, and they are in great health.  The alternative is unthinkable, so I’d like to keep this status quo for a LONG time.

Second, I think Lauren and Trevor are beginning to settle in to this year, so I’d like to say THANKS to them both, for being great grown up children, and spreading their wings.

I have some great new weddings that I am planning – and I am so thankful that the calendar is filling up daily!  I looked at my spreadsheet yesterday, and every month is just jam packed with weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and lots of other great events.  I’m co-officiating a Jewish/Catholic wedding in Gainesville in May, a 2nd wedding for a lovely couple right here at home, the wedding of a good friend’s son, and lots of upcoming events in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and The Bahamas.  (Doesn’t anyone want to hire a Cantor on the Amalfi Coast in Italy????)

On the Bar Mitzvah front, I’m going to do the Bar Mitzvah for my friend Jacey’s brother in law in Chicago, a Bar Mitzvah on a yacht, and then, of course, there is Andrew’s(Spencer’s brother) Bar Mitzvah next year, on the Majesty of the Seas.  I recently began working with 2 new families in Boca, and I’m alternating their tutoring sessions with live & video chat formats.  So, I’m really thankful for web technology that lets me do this, from my office.

Along the way, I’ve met many incredible people out here on the internet, and I’m also incredibly thankful for them, and wish them the best of luck.  The top few are Roz, from http://www.sayitwithecards.com.  She makes beautiful e-cards for Jewish holidays.  Then, there’s Alex Klein (Are you out there Alex??) who I feel very connected to through our writings, in the gulf coast.  I hope he has made his way online after Hurricane Ike, and I have been thinking about him daily.  Tomorrow, I  am meeting Lisa, from Torah Tunes, who just happens to be in South Florida visiting from the North.  Today, I heard from 2 new friends – Audrey & Rob.  Audrey just dropped by and said hello, and I can’t believe how happy that made me.  Just to hear from someone, who took the time to make me feel special.  THANKS.  And Rob – with his very cool Mitzvah Art.  I sent a link to his website around to my most special contacts, and I think I made him feel special too.  OH – And then there is Jenni – She was soooo funny when she sent me an email the other day, pleading with me to book a date for her (sight unseen) and telling me that I fit right in to her family so well, I was going to become a member!  I cannot wait for that wedding!!! (Mexico, May 09)  I actually DO feel like part of the family already!

I’m so thankful for all the great contacts I’ve made, the word of mouth referrals that so many of my past clients have offered, and the work I get to do with close friends, because – that is the greatest compliment of all.  Thanks to everyone who supports me, who has been my greatest champions and cheerleaders, and for those who love me the most.  Those of us whose job it is to give from our hearts, cannot possibly continue to give without the love and support of those around us, and I am so lucky to receive so much love from my closest friends and family.  I am so excited about the coming months, and the opportunities ahead of me.  I am so thankful for my new clients, and my new friends, and I am so amazed at how the universe brings us just the right things, and just the right time, when we have faith it is so.

Thanks.

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In working with my Bar and Bat Mitzvah students, I spend much of our time teaching, and applying, the 10 Mitzvot. Of the 613 commandments we received from G-d on Mt. Sinai, there are but 10 or so that still apply in our lives today. Those 10 are somewhat timeless, and we all need to do them, and experience them.

In order to enable my kids to really embrace these, I have them journal about whenever they catch themselves in the act of a mitzvah, or they observe others. We observe what that act looked like, how it made them feel, how it made others feel, and what positive change it made in the world. It really gets them clear about doing good deeds for others. But the magic that occurs, is that they find themselves doing more good things, recognizing the positive value of them, and creating more positive energy in their world, and the world around them.

So, it’s only fitting that I journal about my own experience pertaining to random acts of love and kindness…

I was on my way to Orlando. I had decided to take Amtrak, because they had the most amazing $32 fare from Fort Lauderdale. I was standing on the platform, waiting for the train, and I saw a young woman – she couldn’t have been more than 20 years old (Lauren’s age) and she was holding an infant. Next to her, there were 5 humungous suitcases and an infant car seat. I had already checked my luggage in, and the luggage clerk had already taken all of the passenger’s suitcases way down the platform, where the baggage would be stored. It was too late for her bags to get loaded in cargo. The train was 5 minutes away, and I wondered..How would she get on the train? How would she load her bags? Wasn’t anyone there to help her? She was alone, and all I could think of was that she could be my Lauren, and the thought broke my heart.

I approached her, and asked her if she was alone. Yes, she replied. She was.

I asked her if she needed help. Yes, she said. That would be so nice.

I asked her how she got there, and where she was going? She explained..Her husband dropped her off. He had to go to work. She was going to visit her Mother in Orlando. She was 19. (I was right) She was married when she was 16 years old. (Oy Gevalt) She wasn’t sad, in fact, she was quite happy, and spoke so kindly of her husband. She thought nothing of the fact that he couldn’t stay – he was a hard worker, and he had to be at his job to support them. She was happy to be able to go spend a month with her Mom, and visit relatives from out of town.

So, I offered to help. But, some of her luggage was bigger than I was! So, I walked up to a man at the platform, and asked him to help. No, he replied. I have a bad back…Can you ask someone else? (I can’t print here what my thoughts were at that moment). But, a nice man, named Don, who ended up sitting next to me on the train offered, and together, we got her loaded on the train, and settled into her seat. We asked the conductor to help her get off, and he assured us he would. Whew.

So, that was my kind deed for the day. Nothing major, but what a feeling I have had since then. What did I do? I stepped outside of my own needs and concerns, and put someone else’s first. I sweated a bit, in the 95 degree heat, but other than that – not much. The girl I helped was so appreciative, and knew that nobody was going to offer her any assistance, and she so appreciated what I had done. I felt so good, knowing that I put some really great karma out into the universe, and felt warmed by her appreciation.

The lesson I always want my kids to learn, is that the positive effect almost ALWAYS outweighs the effort. Can you imagine how great the universe would be if we all put forth the positive effort and got exponentially more positive effect in return?

What mitzvah have you done today, and how have you changed the world?

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