How Do I Choose?

So I thought this was an interesting topic for the sermon on Shabbat by Ben Shemony. 


It was about how we are confronted in life with whether to follow our impulses or our values. 


I think there is a lot to this topic…


Some may see it as the little good angel standing over one shoulder and another bad angel standing over the other trying to convince us what to do when it’s decision time.  


Others may be perpetually torn between temptations or pleasures of materialism and the flesh versus of pursuing what you know to be spiritually good and right in this world. 


Either way, as human beings, we are a complex make-up of both body and soul.


Do we give in to temptation and do what feels good–more money, more food, more clothes and jewelry, more houses, cars, and yachts, more vacations, more carnal pleasures from the proverbial “wine, women, and song” or do we pursue the path of spirituality, serving our maker, caring and giving and doing good for others and the world?  


It sounds simple, but our impulses tell us one thing and our values tell us another. 


Are we being selfish or selfless?


Perhaps, too much of anything is bad for us–even too much giving and selflessness–we need to care for ourselves too–we are mortal, we have needs, we have to nourish ourselves, and we need to live. 


But you can’t be a glutton or a slave to your impulses–you can’t take and not give, your can’t indulge until you make yourself sick, or take at the expense of and harm to others.


Like all things in life, there is a need for balance.


Certainly our spirit should guide our animal. 


If and when our animal is dictating to our spirit then we are in real trouble. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Today is Father’s Day

What a beautiful Father’s Day card from my daughter. 


Also, the message she wrote to me inside was so thoughtful and mature. 


It is wonderful for me to see her grow up to be such a lovely young lady. 


The cover of the card:

“Father:
Neither an anchor to hold us back, 
nor a sail to take us there, 
but a guiding light whose
love shows us the way.”


As parents, we certainly don’t have all the answers either for ourselves or certainly for our children. 


And frankly, the kids don’t want us to tell them what to do or how to do it. 


The best we can really do is to be there for them–to spend time with them, to support them, to show them we really care, and to provide perspective, balance, and faith. 


I used to love going to my parent’s house even if just to lay on the couch and feel the comfort of being “home” and with them. 


I didn’t have to think about what I did or said–I could just be me, and they loved me for that. 


Now, I want my home to be that for my kids. 


Even though they are adults now, they know we are always here for them in any way that they want or need us. 


Our home is always their home. 


Our love is always surrounding them. 


My father used to say, he would go through fire for his family, and I always knew he meant it. 


I could count on him for anything.


I miss him always, and especially today, Father’s Day. 


But I can carry on his fatherhood to my children and try to be a good dad–there, and loving and giving–no bounds, no expectations, no judgment–just love, plain and simple. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Missed The Shot But Someone Else Got It

So check out this sleek garbage for bottles and cans. 


Like many of these, it has a small opening hole at the top to convey that only bottles and cans (like it says on the side) should be put in for recycling–no garbage. 


When I was walking by quickly, I took the shot, attempting to throw in my bottle.


But it bounced off the rim and landed on the floor. 


Before I could even turn around to pick it up, I saw another gentleman behind me swoop in and pick up the garbage and put it in the can for me. 


I tell you that I was really quite amazed. 


He could have easily said, I missed the can and so I should just pick up my own trash off the floor and throw it out–that’s only right!


Instead, it was in his mind nothing to do this random act of kindness and he picked up my trash. 


I know it sounds like a nothing burger, but to me, it represented just a real decency from another human being. 


Not standing on ceremony.


Not being too hoity-toity to pick up the garbage.


Rather just saw something that needed to get done and doing it. 


I tell you that as much as some people disappoint me with their arrogance and evilness, others are genuinely good people. 


This is what it’s all about–the good people showing the bad people what kindness, generosity, and humanity is all about. 


To the evil f*ckers out there–who are arrogant, materialistic takers, haters, bullies, aggressors, and abusers–to h*ll with you!


To the good people–keep doing good and let the good win over the evil every single time. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting To Know You

So we recently took on a new function at work.


With that came a new group of employees.


Today, we had a wonderful breakfast as a meet and greet for everyone to get to know each other.


There was a tremendous spread of food laid out everything from bagels and smear, granola and yogurt, free fruit and vegetable salad, donut and muffins, and more.


There was enough food to feed a small army.


Aside from the group joining us, we had people come from other departments that support the process they are involved in–so folks from finance, legal, and even the front office.


The new lead assigned for the group that came over even gave out envelopes to thank their new team and 2 big boxes of gourmet coffee for them to share.


How nice this all was done and the investment that was made to bring the new team on board was really amazing to me.


I saw all the goodwill that was being built up from this event and the niceties put into it to recognize the people and make everyone comfortable together as a team.


I learned that an investment upfront like this in people and function can have tremendous benefits downstream in building a team and performing services that everyone can be proud of who is apart of this.


Invest not only in things, but also most importantly in people and relationships! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Braving Trust and Credibility

So I thought this was really good from a colleague this week. 


How to build trust and credibility in the workplace:


Credibility is about being “convincing and believable” and results from “expertise and experience.”


Trust is believing strongly in the honesty, reliability, character, and effectiveness of a person.”


BRAVING


Boundaries – Have good boundaries–respecting yours and having my own; show others respect in words and deeds. 


Reliability – Be someone who is both reliable (can be counted on)  and is authentic.


Accountability – Hold others and yourself accountable; we all own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. 


Vault – Keep information in confidence.


Integrity – Hold courage over comfort; choose what’s right over what’s fun, easy or fast; practice and not just profess values. 


Non-judgmental – Believe the best in people even when they occasionally disappoint you. 


Generosity – Offer and ask for help from others, and give generously of yourself in time and effort. 


No offense to anyone…the last thing they said was a little spicy for the workplace (but I know it was meant well):  “Good conversation with others should be like a miniskirt–short enough to retain interest and long enough to cover the topic.” 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Two Beautiful Hearts

So a very nice elderly lady we know from synagogue took a bad fall and broke her leg really badly…like in half.


She put up on Facebook that she had undergone surgery, had a metal rod and plate inserted in her leg, and was recovering in the hospital–and she wanted visitors. 


My wife saw the message on Facebook, and we ran over to the hospital to see how she was and spend some time with her to try and cheer her up. 


Considering how badly she had been hurt, she was actually in amazingly good spirits. 


A couple of her neighbors were there in the hospital visiting her as well. 


One of them had actually heard her screams from the backyard where she had fallen by her pond and had helped keep her from going into shock, cradled her head in her lap, and called for rescue services.


When I commented how amazing she was and that she was a real hero pointing to the heart–she said it was really nothing, and went on to say”

I have two hearts!


And she pointed to one on the left and one on the right. 


I thought to myself that really we should all have two hearts like that to care and to give to others. 


One heart is us alone. 


Two hearts are when we join with others. 


“Two hearts that beat as one”–one for caring and one for giving. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Purpose Is To Help People

I don’t get impressed by others easily. 

But one thing that does immediately get my respect and admiration are people who sincerely believe in and are there to help others. 

Of course, there are some professions like soldiers and first responders who put their lives on the line to safeguard others that come to mind. 

But then there are the people we sometimes meet in everyday real life–people that live for doing good for others. 

Yes, not many people are so unselfish and giving, and that is why it is an incredible person who lives this. 

One person that I have had the honor to meet recently is such a person. 

Months ago, in a stressful situation, I watched them get up and get someone a bottle of water who was choked up and just needed a sip of relief. 

Then again, I saw that whenever they were asked a question or for some assistance, they almost immediately dropped whatever they were doing–and without any resentment–to do whatever they can to help, anytime, anyplace. 

When I heard them talk recently about their philosophy on what life is all about–they confirmed exactly as I had been seeing, they said:

“I want to help people!”

And they went on to explain how that is the greatest job we can do–whatever our role is–simply, to help others.

Someone doesn’t have to be wounded or dying on the battlefield or in urban warfare to merit that help. 

Just being another human being with a heart and soul–that itself is enough to jump to their aid and help, help, help. 

To me, this person really encapsulates the essence of what life is all about. 

It’s not I, I, I.

It’s about what I can do for others.

We were created by the Almighty to learn to live beyond our meager selves and serve the greater good, our Creator and his children.

All I can say is that these people who live and breath this loving, caring, and giving lifestyle are totally awesome to me and my personal role model and heroes. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)