In the After…

So much pain, fear, and for some–absolute agony and despair. Surprisingly, I’m almost glad that I am not trying to raise children in an environment that’s become so fraught with divisive and negative language and actions. Years and years of watching news reports about political violence following elections in other countries, I could not have imagined it might happen in the United States. Yet, here I am watching the news reports from around the U.S., of peaceful protests turned on a dime because its participants are consumed, in a moment, by that very fear, pain, and agony from the last few days.

I can’t see in my mind’s eye, participating in such a protest; or being so angry at the result of an election that I would resort to violating someone else’s rights or space. Is it because I don’t have children whose future hangs in the balance of decisions made by the current grown-ups of the world? What do we tell them? How can we explain, if possible, to the bi-racial, special needs, and Jewish children in our family that everything will be okay, when we’re so unsure about the future?  I don’t know if I would have the words.

Earlier this week one of my sisters forwarded to me the email sent out from the rabbis at the temple where her two beautiful boys are growing their faith. It is one of very few pieces I’ve read this week that spoke to me in a very personal way. And while I didn’t seek their permission to include this here, I hope they’ll be okay that I have. I am grateful today for the faith leaders in our communities who provide us with the support and guidance to get through difficult times.

Lastly, as we take next steps forward towards an uncertain future….a word of prayer…..
O Guardian of life and liberty,
may our nation always merit blessing.
Teach us to give thanks for what we have
by sharing it with those who are in need.
Keep open our eyes to the wonders of creation,
and alert to the care of the earth.
May we never be lazy in the work of peace;
may we honor those who have died in defense of our ideals.
Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance.
May they govern with justice and compassion.
Help us to appreciate one another,
and to respect the many ways the people serve You.
May our homes be safe from affliction and strife,
and our country be sound in body and spirit.  Amen.

Warmly and with Shalom,

Jay & Todd

Temple Beth Shalom, Needham MA

Other Bloggers’ Thoughts:


The Cardiologist

My Mom is in the hospital. She will be okay after a surgery that will reorganize her twisted stomach and diaphragm.  If you’ve read any of the other posts about my family you know that I am one of eight children, so our mom is not lacking for company as she sits in her hospital room waiting for the surgery that is scheduled for Tuesday morning. Each day she’s there we will be a constant parade of visitors to her room; grateful that she does not have a roommate so more than one of us can visit at a time.

When I was there yesterday, overlapping my visit with my younger brother and his wife, a doctor came into the room introducing himself as a cardiologist.  He had only a stethoscope and his ID badge around his neck — no white coat.  He explained that the general surgeon who be operating on her asked for a consultation to assess as cardiac risk.  My mother is 77 years-old and while there is risk at any age for surgery, there is bit more as the body ages.  After an almost 40-minute visit the doc said Mom would be cleared for surgery.

blue heartsNow, I’m sure you’re scratching your head; a cardiologist spent 40 minutes with one patient and he was not even going to be operating on her!? The three of us in the room couldn’t believe it either. He was simply lovely, asking questions and listening to the lengthy answers my Mom gave as she was thinking out loud to craft her responses. Maybe it was because it’s a small hospital or because the ward was not jam-packed with patients, or maybe because it was because it was 6:00 pm on a quiet, rainy Saturday night, that this particular doc was able to spend so much time with us.  Regardless, I left the hospital more confident in the care my Mom was receiving there.

I spoke to Mom this morning, she asked, “What did you think of that doctor last night?” I told her I thought he was terrific.  She checked him out by asking some of the nurses about him and sure enough, our feelings were confirmed by everyone she spoke to–he is wonderful!

Today’s thank you goes out to the wonderful cardiologist who is looking out for Mom!

Bloggers’ Doctor Stories

Moms Are Good Secret Keepers

Today’s writing prompt is a fun one for me:  Can you keep a secret? Have you ever — intentionally or not — spilled the beans (when you should’ve stayed quiet)?

I’ve always been the friend that could keep a secret; so much so, that by the time I graduated from college I felt relieved to be moving home away from the throngs of people who relied on my ability to keep their confidence.  Most of these secrets are long-since forgotten, thankfully.  Since then the only secrets I have to keep are things like surprise parties for a family members or coworkers.

There was a secret about ten years ago that I didn’t need to keep, rather it was being kept from me.

One weekend in July of 2005, my then boyfriend and I were headed down to a lovely B&B in Mystic to celebrate that we’d been together for a year.  I knew we would be going out to a nice dinner and likely exchanging gifts.  I’d gotten him a beautiful watch and was excited to give it to him.  A big part of me expected that this might be when he would ask me to marry him.  Really, at 42 years old and a year-long relationship I figured it was time or I’d have to cut him loose.

Unbeknownst to me, the week before our trip my intended paid my parents a visit.  He’d bought a ring and asked their permission to marry me.  Sweet, right?!  Of course it is, but, the challenge would be for my mother to keep the secret.

In order for her to be successful with such exciting news, my Mom had to “go dark” for the week.  The problem with that is my Mom speaks to at least one of her eight children on a daily basis.  The week in question, however, no calls were taken or placed.  In fact, she told only one person the news (because it simply had to be shared); but she was sure it was someone who would not have any contact with me or any other family member.  By the end of the week when I spoke with a couple of my sisters, we were all wondering, “Where the heck is Mom?”

On Friday night when we arrived at the inn we exchanged gifts as expected.  I will save the actual proposal for another post, but as you can imagine I had phone calls to make when I finally stopped crying and said “yes”.  The first number I dialed was my Mom and after she said congratulations, she said, “Thank goodness! I don’t think I could have kept it a secret much longer.”

1-29-2006-07Today’s thank you goes to my Mom for keeping such a great secret so that I would have an awesome story to tell.


Locked and Sealed:


The Ends of the Ham

Yesterday was Father’s Day in many countries. If you could dedicate a holiday to a more distant relative, who would it be — and why?

Have you heard the one about the women who, when she cooked a ham, always cut the ends off before she put it in the oven?  It goes something like this:

baked-ham-treacleA young woman was preparing a ham dinner. After she cut off the end of the ham, she placed it in a pan for baking. Her friend asked her, “Why did you cut off the end of the ham”? And she replied, “I really don’t know but my mother always did, so I thought you were supposed to.” Later when talking to her mother she asked her why she cut off the end of the ham before baking it, and her mother replied, “I really don’t know, but that’s the way my mom always did it.” A few weeks later while visiting her grandmother, the young woman asked, “Grandma, why is it that you cut off the end of a ham before you bake it?” Her grandmother replied, “Well dear, otherwise it would never fit into my baking pan.”

We’re moving at a pace that would cause whiplash in our great and great-great grandparents’ generations; they might be surprised to find their family secrets on Pinterest on Stumble Upon! We do things every day because they’ve always been done that way.   Stories, traditions, and tips passed down for generations for how to prepare a ham, how to get a baby to sleep through the night, the best way to plant the tomatoes in your garden…these are the things that make us who we are.

Unless you’re someone who has spent hours on or in the annals of a local historical society, you may not readily know whose recipe you’re using or how the lullaby you sing to your child became emblazoned on your brain. Today’s thank you is for all the relatives who have somehow contributed to the fabric of our families’ histories–whether we know them or not.

Familial Feasts

Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile

If you’re feeling blah, what is the one thing you do that you can count on to put a smile on your face?

There is one thing I do to make me smile when I’m having a difficult day.  I look at pictures and stories about my great-nephew, Liam, and my great-niece, Lily.  Whenever I’m having a tough day at work I hop onto Facebook or Instagram and have a peek at these two.  Nothing really brings me sunshine on a cloudy day like looking at the these two children succeed and be joyful! 

Thanks Lily and Liam, you bring a smile to the hearts and faces of everyone you meet.

Lily bug


Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile

  1. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | The Ambitious Drifter
  2. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | christinamasterman
  3. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile- Studies Report: what make us really happy in life | Journeyman
  4. Family Outing from Hell: Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  5. A Whiskey on the Rocks | Musings | The Wangsgard
  6. The Match (Part 7) Shares | The Jittery Goat
  7. F Is For Film | My Little Avalon
  8. DP Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | Sabethville
  9. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
  10. Here We Are, Entertain Us ! | Knowledge Addiction
  11. The Power of Victory | the FLAVORED word
  12. too much smiling gives you wrinkles | FamousFeline
  13. smiling too much will give you wrinkles | FamousFeline
  14. blend | yi-ching lin photography
  15. love at first sight is | y
  16. Broken Filipino: Returning to the Language of My Heart | Kosher Adobo
  17. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | Blissful Pages
  18. Four Things that Make me Smile | Dragon Droppings
  19. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | Bob’s Blog-O-Rama
  20. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  21. Aberystwyth 1976-77: Are YOU in either of these photos?! | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  22. begin the healing (tanka in three) | peacefulblessedstar
  23. Daily Prompt: Hope it makes You SMILE! | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  24. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | Sued51’s Blog
  25. Daily Prompt: Make Me Smile | THE WRITE PLACE…
  26. Day 144 | Tales of a Recovering Recoverer
  27. You Make Me Smile | Triumphant Wings


A Habit of Gratitude

gratefulWhen I opened my computer tonight to begin to compose a post, I went first to my “Reader” at Word Press.  The Reader is where I see a feed of the blogs that I’m following.  The first two posts were these:  Thank You, Stars, on Word Exchange — Love Words, and Friends, on a blog called My Happy Place.

Today, these two posts seem to say what I’m feeling about the family and friends who’ve made my life richer.  A day does not go by that I don’t think about all of these people, it’s why I created this blog.

Thanks for reading!



Sisters (in-law) by Chance, Family Forever

I’ve mentioned before how lucky I am to have such a big family; and I am, hands-down, one of the luckiest people I know.  I’ve written about some of my sisters, brothers, and brothers-in-law (not all of them yet though) and one sister-in-law.  Today I’d like to thank two more sisters-in-law.

One of the few times I've seen Kevin look right at the camera and smile!
One of the few times I’ve seen Kevin look right at the camera and smile!

First off is my sister-in-law, Debbie.  She is funny, smart, pretty and a great mom.  When I was in college I was on the Student Orientation staff and would have to drive up to Vermont for a few weekends each summer to be on campus for orientation weekends.  I didn’t have a car of my own  and wasn’t sure how I was going to make the trip unless I took the bus.  Debbie offered her little tan Chevette to me for these weekend trips.  It was a standard transmission and I was still getting the hang of shifting.  I don’t think I did too much damage to it.  Without that supportive gesture, I couldn’t have been part of such a great experience during college.

Laura and Dave, New Year's Eve happy couple!
Laura and Dave, New Year’s Eve happy couple!

My other sister-in-law, Laura is also talented, smart, pretty and a great mom!  Shortly before my grandchildren came to live with us I’d had surgery on my thyroid.  While I was recovering Laura generously made several really terrific meals to stock our fridge so we wouldn’t have to worry.  When the kids did come I’d put the word out that they each came with only one small suitcase of clothes and toys.  Laura was there again!  Clothes that my nieces had grown out of and toys to share, delivered to my house. 

What I’m most thankful for with regard to these lovely ladies, is that they love my brothers and make them happy!   I’m also quite grateful to count them as my family!  Thanks Laura and Debbie, XO

Differing Opinions from Other Bloggers: