Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

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.



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I recently read Alex Shalman’s blog about avoiding 15 years of regret, and thought it was so profound. So many of us rush through life, reacting to all that comes into our path, and we live in such a frantic pace, we never have time to realize what happened, until we look back and realize we have regrets about what did or didn’t happen.

I am a believer that we can avoid this pattern by living consciously, and making proactive choices, but how do we do that?

Alex’s proposed “conversation” with our future selves is an excellent idea. Have you ever had a conversation with your past self? Conversations like…”Why did you handle things that way?”…”If I’d only said/done this or that”….But those conversations are useless. We can’t go back and change time, so we’re just punishing ourselves for things we did (or didn’t do) that we just didn’t realize we would regret in the future.

Here’s our chance to correct that dialogue. Having a conversation with our future selves lets us take today and examine it, and plan for tomorrow, anticipating the dialogue that we will eventually have with ourselves, regardless. We can live consciously, and analyze what impact each choice we make will have on our futures, whether it is 15 days or 15 years into the future.
Think about it. What did you do today that you will talk about with your future self 15 years from now? How will your future self reflect on that? Will it have empowered you? Will you see the good that came out of that choice? Did it create a positive impact? Or did it just bring more negative energy to the space you live in? Making choices with our future selves is a great way to live consciously.
Thanks for the post, Alex. You remind me how valuable each and every moment I live in truly is.


  1. Alex Shalman said,

    December 1, 2007 at 10:00 pm · Edit

    Hi Debbie,

    I value your feedback on my previous post and thoroughly enjoy your writing voice. I can already tell that I will be enjoying reading your new blog in the future, and I wish you success. It seems to me like Lauren and Trevor have one awesome mom ;)

  2. Administrator said,

    December 3, 2007 at 1:10 am · Edit

    Thanks, Alex!
    That means so much, especially because I’m such a big fan of yours!

    Feel free to leave constructive feedback as well – any time!
    – Deb

  3. Stacey Ramer said,

    December 6, 2007 at 2:30 pm · Edit

    Hi Debbi,
    I loved your Blog! You write beautifully and I love to hear about the next big thing happening in your life… because you always seem to have something big coming up next! Lauren’s poem was great… I can see where she gets her talent for writing! Good luck with everything! I look forward to hearing more on your blog!


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So, once again, I cannot believe how fast time flies. I have had so many amazing opportunities come into my life over the last few months, I’m not sure how to write about them all, but I will try to catch up in as short a time as possible.

The one thing about this work that never ceases to amaze me, are all the really personally rewarding experiences that come from them. Just when I think things are getting kind of routine, I get phone calls or emails from people right here in Florida, or all around the world, and somehow, I find the most amazing connections with everyone I work with.

The first story that comes to mind is that of Brett and Diane. Brett called me one day, back in February. He was kind of rambling, and kind of all over the place with what he had to say, but I could tell, there were some heavy thoughts on his mind. He was looking for someone to officiate his wedding to the woman he loved, but I could tell, he had experienced some major challenges in life, and he needed someone to listen – and to help.

He met Diane in recovery. He had been in and out of recovery his whole life, pretty much. He had a son from a previous marriage, who he was somewhat estranged from, his Mom had since passed away, and he really didn’t have any family to speak of to be with him on his wedding day. He was alone. Except for Diane – and her Mom. Diane was such a cutie. The minute I met them both in Starbucks, I was in love with them both. Brett had told me on the phone – they didn’t want anything elaborate. A simple ceremony on the beach in Delray, and off they would go, together, into the big bold world of sobriety. But, they had nothing to speak of, financially. They needed someone to stop, and listen to them, to believe in them, and preside over their vows. They wanted someone who would understand what they had each gone through to get where they were today, and most especially – someone who could give them a financial break – because again, they had relatively little to spend on their most very special day.

So, as I mentioned, we set up a meeting, and in came Brett, Diane, and Diane’s Mom. When I saw Diane, she had the most amazing smile, beautiful beaming eyes, and I fell in love with her, and Brett, and Diane’s mom – instantly. We talked about how the stars had all aligned themselves, in the most amazing ways, to bring them together, and how, miraculously, they brought each other through recovery – for most definitely (in their minds – and mine) the last time ever.

How could I have said no to this couple? They needed someone so desperately, and I was sitting there, in front of them. What they could afford was 1/5th of what I charge, typically, but it didn’t matter. I had an opportunity to make a difference in this couple’s lives, and there was no way I could walk away from them. It wasn’t an option.

So, on March 21st, I married Brett and Diane under the Jerry Garcia tie-dye style chuppa they hand made on the beach in Delray. Diane looked adorable in her hippie-style wedding dress, adorned with all of her tattoos and beaming smile. Brett couldn’t have looked any sweeter, in his casual beach wear, professing his undying love for the woman he met – just 3 months earlier, Many people would look at Brett and Diane, and swear they don’t stand a chance. I looked at them and saw a couple I just knew, would be together, until the end of time. I wish them so much luck and good fortune. I just know they will find it, too.

….More stories to come in the next post….

In the meantime, here is their wedding ceremony…Brett & Diane\’s wedding ceremony

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This is a big week for me. In celebration (and maybe a tiny bit of fear and trepidation) I decided to post a more personal entry here today. Not because I think this is anything revolutionary that people need to read, but because I think it’s all good – and I should be willing to share.

Trevor, my youngest child, is leaving on Tuesday for college. This is the day all parents have on their minds from the day their child is born. We think about it, yearn for it, dread it, avoid it, embrace it – no matter what the emotion – it’s on our minds, constantly. It has been on mine for years. I remember when he finished his last day of preschool. Endings and beginnings, I thought. Life is just a series of impermanent situations, and as hard as we try to hold on to moments, jobs, situations, money, anything – really, the more we hold on, the more they escape our tightest grasp. I’ve watched my kids very closely over the years, but at times, have stayed far away, allowing them to grow and experience life. I picked my battles, and let them fall down and bruise themselves, so they would know how to make their own boo-boos better, because I knew I would not always be there to kiss them.

When Lauren was getting ready to leave, 2 years ago, we struggled in our relationship for the first time ever in those last days at home. She was obsessed with spending time with her friends, and none with me. The end of year parties and hanging out, and relentless attachment to the kids she might never see again were just too much to bear. I learned then, and am applying now the lesson of my life – Let them go, allow them to be, and look forward to what they will become. UGH!

Sometimes I look at my parenting process, and my children, and know I am only a self-proclaimed rock star. I have a better relationship with my children than any parent I know (except for Alison – we share the same views). I give them more freedom, allow them far more misgivings, but yet, they are amazing kids, and we have a profound respect for each other, and I wonder how many people can actually say that about their teenzillas. Sometimes I wonder if I give myself too much credit, though. A little voice inside of me tells me to write the book, and now that I have time on my hands, I think I just might give it a whirl. But – how do I know if I’m really a great parent? What if nobody agrees? Well – I received some interesting feedback on Friday, which inspired me to begin writing, and so here it begins…

Not only is Trevor leaving for school, but I am doing the unthinkable, and, 2 days after his departure, I am moving out of the big house in Weston, into a condo in East Fort Lauderdale. Downsizing, living where ** I ** want to live, rather than where my kids get the best education, being closer to my family (especially Lexi), and having a social life enticed me to say “WHY WAIT”? If you have to move the last kid out of the house – do it BIG! Move EVERYONE! So, I had to endure this incredibly painful condo application and background check – including 6 character references, to get the process started.

My friend, Irv called me, and told me about his call with the condo association. I suppose they asked him about me, and my character, and he told them I was a great Mom. (Thanks, Irv!) But what was funny was that the woman told him that everyone she had talked to about me had told her the same thing. WOW. 6 people all told the condo association I was a great Mom. It’s one thing to self proclaim, but it’s completely different when the people closest to you in your life all send you the same resounding message. I think I actually did it right, and I couldn’t be happier.

Now, I’m sitting here amid piles of boxes and clothes, almost ready to make the trip to Gainesville in 48 hours, and looking back, looking at now, and looking at the future. And I still couldn’t be happier. The road to today wasn’t always easy, but it absolutely was the most rewarding experience of my life. Looking back with love, I know the challenges were the lessons we all had to learn, to get us to today. Looking at today, I see that I have an amazing relationship with my kids that money cannot buy, and living in Weston, that’s pretty darn good. And looking into the future, I see clear visions for my children of being happy, successful, and fulfilled.

But in order to look forward so positively, I must let go of what was. I gave my kids roots to keep them firmly grounded, but wings to fly. But even more importantly, I am giving myself the same wings, as I must redefine and recreate who I am and what I am, without 2 children at home to center my life around. I’m happy to allow us to just be – whatever any of us want to be – in full support of their choices, their mistakes, and their successes, because that makes them who they are. And I am looking forward to whatever life brings, because it means I am alive, and I cannot think of a greater thing to be.

Lauren and Trevor – You have taught me the most amazing lessons in life. I love you more than anything in the world, and I hope you are half as proud of me, as I am of you.

My amazing kids

My amazing kids

  1. sharyn schoen said,

    June 23, 2008 at 12:32 pm · Edit


    You truly are a great mom, friend & person!
    Good luck and hopefully we’ll see you when you return.

  2. Ann Daniels said,

    June 23, 2008 at 1:45 pm · Edit

    That was a beautiful story and you are starting your own journey that I am sure will be very exciting. We will miss you in Weston, but hope to get together soon. I will be feeling what your feeling in a few months. Corey doesn’t leave until August. Good Luck

  3. Sue Mindel said,

    June 23, 2008 at 2:03 pm · Edit

    You moved me to tears! This is an equally traumatic, exciting and anxious week for me as well as I send my first child off to college. I like to believe that I too have an amazing relationship with both my kids and am experiencing very similar feelings as they each learn their way and grow to be extraordinary people. This message of letting go, allowing, and looking forward could not have come at a better time.

    I was truly inspired by your words!

  4. Irv Silverstein said,

    June 23, 2008 at 10:25 pm · Edit


    You are going thru one traumatic time. Your youngest is leaving the nest and off to college. You too are leaving the nest and starting a new chapter in the book of Debbi.

    Rest assured that the past 18-20 years of doing your most important and successful job has paid off. You have instilled your ideals, beliefs and spiritual feelings in your children. They are on their way to becoming young adults with a solid foundation. They couldnt have been an any better hands.

    Enjoy the next step.

  5. Nancy Robinson said,

    June 23, 2008 at 11:38 pm · Edit

    You never cease to amaze me! Is this the same “girl” that I met in high school so many years ago? The “girl” that…well we won’t get into the details…that I went to college with? You have grown into the most remarkable “woman” and yes, one of the most remarkable mothers that I know. I am so proud of you and ALL that you have become. You are one in a million! No matter where Lauren and Trevor end up in life they will always be the luckiest two kids for having you as their loving mother.

    Good luck to YOU in this very exciting new chapter of your life…Chapter One…Debbie Does Fort Lauderdale…You know me…I couldn’t stay serious the entire time! Love you!

  6. Debbie Benami-Rahm said,

    June 24, 2008 at 12:13 am · Edit

    You have said what so many of us have thought when we faced the time and space you are in right now. It is time for the wing span to be spread fully and proudly as you have earned the right to soar to new and different heights in this new stage of life.

    I want to thank you for reminding me that when my one and only son left for college, 5 years ago, I too realized that no matter what my professional and academic accomplishments had been, what held the most meaning for me was that I am Josh’s Mom.

    Enjoy the next phase of your hard earned life and don’t forget you will always be Trever and Lauren’s Mom!

  7. Cantor Debbi Ballard said,

    June 24, 2008 at 1:40 am · Edit

    Dear Debbie, Nancy, Irv, Sue, Ann, & Sharyn, (And Alison – through your shared comments tonight over a glass of wine)
    WOW – I’m speechless back at ya! Thanks for your amazing comments, and incredible support of me as a friend, and as a fellow parent raising our kids. It means so much to have the respect I do from each of you – and you have it back tenfold from me.

    I have solicited advice from all of you at one time or another – and you have all helped me through this incredible experience, so I can never take full credit. I’m thankful for you all as amazing friends, and wish you so many well deserved blessings with your children.

    Thanks for helping me count my blessings along the way!
    I’ll talk to you all – when I’m officially an “empty nester”!

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