Character Building Day

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So I really like this…


A friend told me that when they have a really tough day, they call it:

“A Character Building Day!”


I thought that was pretty astute. 


When people are up against the wall…


And they feel like they practically have their hands and legs tied…


And the world is spinning around them out of control…


And others are throwing tomatoes, darts, arrows, and all types of other sh*t their way…

– We can either just close our eyes, feel powerless, get upset and depressed, and basically give up

OR

– We can see the tough times as challenges–however great–to build our character.


Every situation is a learning and growth opportunity. 


Don’t give in–Get up and fight.


What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!


Yes, many days are character building days–it doesn’t always feel good–often it feels horrible–but we can approach it with the right attitude and help shape our character and soul for the better.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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@Bethesda Trolley Trail

You can walk for miles…

It’s quiet and green in a suburban setting.

Who’s that dummy?

Lovers come out here too.

Some graffiti tells you there is still the big city of Washington, D.C. nearby.

A little surveillance—the “I’s” have it!

ADT security plus some colorful wind adornments in front of the houses. 

Park is good, but only until sunset. 


Watch out, “old people” crossing (saw a deer too).

 

The whole trail runs between Rockville and Bethesda–see the French International School, The National Institute of Health, Suburban Hospital, houses, shopping, parks, and more. 

Try not to get too lost in the fun of it all.  😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Live 4 Something

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I was on the treadmill the other evening. 


On the TV was Sylvester Stallone in the movie, Rambo. 


Ah, some nice welcome action to take my mind off the exercise.


Some doctors and missionaries are trying to make their way to to Burma to help the helpless victims being slaughtered by the military warlord and his henchmen. 


Stallone knows the danger in going there, and at first, he ties to discourage them from going.


The beautiful and sincere women in the group convinces him to take them there…to try to make a difference in these people’s lives who are suffering. 


Stallone takes to the lesson and incorporates it into his inner persona. 


And later he says:

“Live for something 

Or

Die for nothing!


I thought this was a really good philosophy. 


THINK ABOUT IT: 


– We can choose to make our lives meaningful and impactful or to hide in the closet or under the bed and really accomplish nothing.


Our lives are a gift, given to us to do something good with–it’s a sin to waste that gift and not do everything we can to be a good influence, help others, and make this a better world. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Ooh That Is Good

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Hey, congratulations to Roger Federer on winning his 19th tennis championship. 


It’s an absolutely awesome level of athletic achievement and it’s definitely something to celebrate. 


But when I saw this photo of him and his trophy in the paper this morning, it seemed over the top!


Whenever someone sets their mind to something, works really hard, and is thank G-d able to achieve it–that is something to be happy about and enormously grateful for. 


Hey, listen, I understand there are some real superstars out there and I respect them! 


However, seeing this guy clutching his trophy in both hands, smelling it, kissing it, and more…it looks to me more like idolatry than the pure, sweet smell of success. 


I get it–he worked super hard, achieved impossible things, and deserves to savor the incredible moment–no one is taking that away from him. 


Instead of that gold trophy, wouldn’t you rather see him kissing his wife and children, thanking G-d (and his coach maybe), and saying things like how he will continue to use his success and earning to help others or maybe train the next generation of aspiring athletes. 


I applaud Federer more for his known philanthropy in helping disadvantaged children and doing charitable events for disaster victims than for winning his 19th championship (hey, 18 would’ve been fine too).  


In the end, self- (and trophy-) love and admiration is not the something to celebrate, but should instead point us back to character and using our strength and achievements to help others.


For what is really important in life, there is no earthly trophy for–and certainly not one worth any ultimate embrace. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Wall Street Journal)

Big Mouths Alert

Big MOuth.JPeG

So I took this photo in the Museum of Natural History. 


As you can see, this hippopotamus has quite a big mouth. 


He is also not alive and is behind a glass-enclosed case for viewing. 


To me this screams that those with big mouths often don’t end up well. 


I remember a relative of mine used to bluntly call it, “being full of sh*t.”


Whether these people are in politics, your neighborhood, bullies at work and school, or even those in the fake news media…they have become all to somewhat frequent.


Sure there are other animals with small mouths in the same situation, but the hippo truly is a decreasing and vulnerable species.


And like it’s neighbor in the museum, the dinosaur–another one who has a big mouth–that ended up extinct, the prospects for talking big, but accomplishing little is sort of part of the character. 


The hippopotamus is mostly a herbivore–it has a big mouth and some big sharp teeth, but it mainly eats humble plants and doesn’t pursue the hunt of the big game and eat lots of red meat. 


Listen, big mouths can still be highly dangerous–words are powerful and can do a lot of damage. 


But overall “talk is cheap,” especially when people focus on words and not good deeds and who don’t have the right intentions. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Aging Is A Process

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This guy was a hoot on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 


His shirt says:


“With age comes oldness.”


Ah, yeah!


When he was sitting, he had his arms crossed over his chest, and I thought it said:

“With age, comes baldness.”


That too!


Getting old is not easy.


Being young is not easy either. 


But it’s really how you handle yourself during every stage and turn in life that defines who you are and what you become as an person and a creation of G-d. 


You’ve got to get up and walk the dance through thick and thin…life bring old age and oldness…what’s the alternative. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Courage To Do The Right Thing

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So it takes courage to do the right thing. 


It’s the easy way out to shut your eyes and overlook when things are wrong. 


Taking a stand and standing up for what’s right often means fighting the good fight. 


But who wants to fight?


Everyone wants to live in peace and quiet. 


In fact, every day we pray repeatedly in the Amidah for peace


In the 19th prayer…

May it please you to bless your people Israel at all times and in every hour with your peace. Blessed are you, O Lord, who blesses his people Israel with peace.


Then again after the prayer for thanks…

Bestow peace, goodness and blessing, life, graciousness, kindness and mercy, upon us and upon all Your people Israel…May it be favorable in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel, at all times and at every moment, with Your peace.

And yet a third time at the end…

He who makes peace in His heavens, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

What can be more desired than peace and wellness in our lives?


Yet, when we see corruption, wrongdoing, and evil, people are called on the confront it, and stand up for good. 


Because when evil prevails, there is no real peace in the world. 


Hence, the courageous and righteous are called on to stand up based on integrity, merit, and values, and to work to return a state of justice and peace. 


G-d watches to see to it that good ultimately prevails over evil. 


May He who makes peace, make peace for us and all Israel, and let us say Amen. 😉 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)