Monthly Archives: November 2013

I’ve Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

I was honored this past weekend to be nominated for a Sunshine Award by my friend and colleague, Lisa Friedman. According to Lisa’s blog post on the topic, “a Sunshine Award is an opportunity to learn more about the nominated blogger (that’s me!) and provides an opportunity to highlight fellow bloggers who he/she feels make a significant contribution to the blogging community.”

Here are the rules (as listed on Lisa’s blog):

1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

So, here goes…

Please make sure you check out Lisa’s blog (link above). She writes beautifully about inclusion in Jewish institutions, a topic about which she is quite passionate, as evidenced in her blog. I know that Lisa’s posts often give me much to consider in my own work, and can certainly extend beyond the Jewish world.

11 random facts about myself:
1. I have lived in three different states (and 5 homes) in the last 7 years.
2. I met and started dating my husband during my first semester of college.
3. My mother says I did not like chocolate for the first two years of my life. I have clearly overcome this challenge.
4. I find it humorous every year when I go in for my annual exam and fill out on the form that I have had 2 pregnancies and 3 children.
5. I have a long-standing desire to be a song leader but I don’t ever keep up with guitar for a long-enough stretch to improve my skills and make this happen. (And yes, I know I don’t NEED the guitar – but it helps.)
6. I totally relate to Glee because I was the quintessential choir/drama geek in high school. And yes, I did spontaneously burst into song in the hallways, though it wasn’t typically so well-choreographed.
7. I consider myself an “accidental Jewish educator” as I have an MSW and thought I would spend my life working in child welfare – but my current field has proven to be my real calling and passion.
8. My family of five recently moved into a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment and discovered how much stuff we can love without. It’s been awesome so far.
9. I enjoy cooking AND baking. Though I try not to bake too often since I tend to sample my way through the process.
10. I made a decision about a year-and-a-half ago to live healthier and subsequently lost 20 pounds – which was not my goal but definitely a nice bonus!
11. My quote in my senior yearbook is from Kermit the Frog. If you know me, you know why this is entirely appropriate.

Answers to Lisa’s questions:
1. If you could cast yourself in any reality TV show, which would it be and why?
I’d have to go with The Voice. But not as a contestant – as a judge. So I could hang out in those chairs – they look awesome!

2. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?
I have a nut allergy, so I have to claim neither here. Though if I did eat it, I suspect I’d be a smooth person.

3. Favorite place to vacation?

4. What animal most describes your personality?
Um… I’ll say a frog. Because I often like to sit back and take in a situation before I hop in and contribute, participate, etc. Also, frogs are awesome.

5. Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint chocolate chip. Though if there is some type of raspberry-chocolate option, I will usually go for that.

6. Cookie or cake?
I love a cookie cake – best of both worlds!

7. Describe your ideal day.
A day of adventure in a big city with my family.

8. What is your favorite season?
Spring. I love the promise that comes with everything renewing itself, the weather getting warmer, and hopefully a lack of snow!

9. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
I don’t know about “favorite,” but I guess what I find most surprising is that so many people actually care about what I have to say! So maybe that is also my favorite thing.

10. How do you relax?
My Shabbat menucha usually involves sitting with the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly.

11. What did you have for breakfast?
A Thanksgiving morning treat –
my mom’s homemade French Toast!

11 blogs I am nominating for a Sunshine Award:

1. A Thread That Has No End
2. Building Bridges – Deepening Faith
3. All Things Ira
4. Welcome to the Next Level
5. Josh Nelson Project
6. Greatest Escapist
7. Scientific Artistry
8. Expressing Myself
9. The Confessions of a REAL Mom
10. In One Ehrlich
11. 5th Judge

These are listed in alphabetical order by first name of the blogger, so as not to give any perceived implication of ranking. And in full disclosure, there are very few blogs that I follow REGULARLY. But these have, at various times, inspired and/or entertained me, whether about education (Jewish or otherwise), parenting, faith, and/or life in general. The last one listed is a recently revived blog from my friend and go-to expert on college a Capella (from long before Pitch Perfect!) who will be sharing his opinions on The Sing-Off when it returns in a few weeks – show him some love and follow along!

11 Questions to Nominated Bloggers:

1. What is one change you try to be in the world?
2. What is your favorite drink from Starbucks?
3. What is the best thing that has happened in your life during the past week?
4. If you had $100 and were required to spend it on yourself, what would you buy?
5. What was your favorite childhood movie?
6. Where is a place you would like to travel that you have not yet had an opportunity to visit?
7. How many tabs do you have open in your browser right now?
8. What is your favorite board game and why?
9. What is your favorite website?
10. What is something that makes you weird?
11. What size shoe do you wear?

Thanks for allowing me to spread the Sunshine on this cloudy Thanksgiving Day!


What Can We Do? Maybe One Thing…

I was waiting for the guitar lesson to be over, casually browsing through Twitter, when I came across The Blog Post No One Wanted to Read. Which was really The Blog Post No Parent Should Ever Have to Write.

I cried. And pulled myself together in time for my son to emerge from his music lesson.

And as I looked at my 7-year-old, I thought, “Would I do it differently if I knew his time was limited?”

This question has continually cycled in my head over the past 24+ hours. I can tell you that the answer is an unequivocal YES.

Those crumbs all over the floor following dinner? Really not a big deal – we’ll clean it up. A request for two “small” pieces from the Halloween bag when usually only one is allowed for dessert? Sure, go ahead. And even some of the typically button-pushing, excessive whining? Maybe you, my child, just need a break from that activity and a hug.

Amazing how suddenly, there was less need to keep up on Facebook and more need to focus completely on whatever Minecraft nonsense my boys felt compelled to share with me. How kisses and hugs and cuddles at bedtime and saying “I LOVE YOU” was everything. Everything.

My heart is shattered, as are so many others. We all wish desperately there was something we could do to make it all better. We accept in despair that we cannot.

So I have decided to do something that is in my control. To not take for granted that my children have unlimited time – maybe they don’t. To make sure to remember that each day is, in fact, a gift to be treasured. To honor my friends, and their superhero son, by making every moment count – because we just don’t ever know how many moments we have left.

It might not change the thing we all want to change. But I am pretty sure that it WILL make a difference. It will matter. And it is something we all can do.