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)

Enter With A HANDSHAKE & Leave With A HUG

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So after almost 6 years at the U.S. Department of State, I am moving forward in my career to a very exciting role at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 


As I look back, I have fond memories of the wonderful high-performance division I was part of and the many amazing achievements we had together, and what our Deputy Assistant Secretary called, the “A Team.”


But one thing today is sticking out in my mind and it’s this image.

“Enter with a handshake and leave with a hug.”

On the first days, when I arrived it was all formality and firm welcome handshakes.


We don’t really know you and you don’t really know us, but we’re embarking on this journey together, and where it takes us no one really knows, BUT we wish you the best of luck–now go out and do great things!


Then on the last days, as I was preparing to leave, the formal handshakes were long gone and instead they were replaced with warm heartfelt hugs (and some special emotional words and cards). 


I was no longer a mystery of a person, with just my reputation, coming in to do G-d knows what. 


Now, I was a human being that had a genuine history with them, formed relationships with many, had faced challenges together, and had touched not only minds, but also it was apparent, hearts. 


I will not forget the special people, nor the many times shared, our accomplishments as an organization, and how we grew. 


I am moving forward not only with their tight hugs to more handshakes anew, but also to once again hopefully grow heart-to-heart with people, as further relationships are formed and we make, please G-d, amazing new progress together–for the mission and for the people. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

On The Train Of Life

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My beautiful daughter, Michelle, forwarded this wonderful message to me about our journey through life, and I wanted to share it with everyone.


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Life is like a journey on a train…
with its stations…
with changes of routes…
and with accidents !

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We board this train when we are born and our parents are the ones who get our ticket.

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We believe they will always travel on this train with us.

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However, at some station our parents will get off the train, leaving us alone on this journey.

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As time goes by, other passengers will board the train, many of whom will be significant – our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

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Many will get off during the journey and leave a permanent vacuum in our lives.

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Many will go so unnoticed that we won’t even know when they vacated their seats and got off the train!

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This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, good-byes, and farewells.

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A good journey is helping, loving, having a good relationship with all co passengers…and making sure that we give our best to make their journey comfortable.

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The mystery of this fabulous journey is:
We do not know at which station we ourselves are going to get off.

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So, we must live in the best way – adjust, forget, forgive and offer the best of what we have.

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It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to leave our seat… we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.”

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Thank you for being one of the important passengers on my train… don’t know when my station will come… don’t want 2 miss saying: “Thank you.”

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Body of Armor

body-armor

So had some disappointments recently.


Nothing terrible (and for that I am so grateful). 


Just life happening. 


Have to fail and fail and fail {more}…in order to get to that single success. 


Along the way, sometimes it feels like arrows going through your body.


Or as someone said to Tina Fey in a movie we watched yesterday:

“Hearts and minds, the two best places to shoot someone.”


Is that funny? 


Ok, now I know that I am feeling a little down, because even that made me smirk but not fully smile. 


It’s okay.


Life is a series of peaks and valleys. 


Time to climb that next peak. 


I will do it with body armor on and solid. 


Won’t let those arrows pierce me, while I ascend.


I am trying, and learning and growing along the way.


If I am to fall, Hashem, in mercy, pick me up that I may keep doing my mission you have for me in life, so that I may ultimately prevail toward the destiny only that You know and have planned for me, for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Driving Your Organization Off A Cliff

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So life is generally supposed to be a series a peaks and valleys. 


There are highs, but also lows.  


No one and nothing can perform at peak all the time. 


Like the commandment to keep the Shabbat, everyone needs a rest. 


And studies have shown that getting a healthy dose of sleep, pause, and rest in life is healthy.


When we force ourselves or others to perform past their “designed” limits, then we risk a breakdown. 


Machines break and people can break. 


The risks are either explosion or implosion: some people can frighteningly “go postal” and others end up on psychiatric medication or even sick and in the hospital. 


What is key to remember is that you can push the limits of performance so far, but then no further without a healthy, recuperative rest period and down time. 


If you want to raise the bar on yourself, others, or your organization, you need to do it strategically so there is a surge forward and then a normative recovery and energy buildup again. 


As we all know, life is a marathon and not a sprint, and the journey is as important as the destination. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Alan Levine)

Should You MYOB?

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Great Salt And Pepper comic in the Wall Street Journal today.

“What makes you think the meaning of life

is any of your business.”

Man goes to mountain. 

Man seeks to know the meaning of his existence. 

Mountain tells man to mind your own business.

I guess it’s just not that easy. 

No one will just tell us how each of us is to make our difference in this world. 

Of course, there is faith and religious teachings to guide us.

But each and every one of us must find our path to G-d and our mission to his world. 

In doing that we struggle through life’s trials and tribulations. 

It is painful at times, but we change and grow especially when the pain of what we are doing wrong becomes greater than the pleasure we gain from it. 

The meaning is in the journey and in the destination we seek. 

Our paths are not straight, but winding and hilly and not without obstacles–but it is a trek not only to the mountain, but to the very heavens itself. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

(Re)Kashering The Kitchen

Kashering The Kitchen

So with all the 613s that we and are our friends and family are seeing, we are taking these as a sign and important message. 


Yesterday, I posted that I would show you today how it is personally affecting us.


So one of the things that we are doing is (re)kashering our kitchen. 


New and separate dishes and cooking utensils for meat and dairy meals.  


We got these beautiful French Perle Lenox in gorgeous lilac and ice blue (of course, no one better actually use one and break it). 


Being more a part of the synagogue and community now, we are hoping to host more people for Shabbat etc.


There are other small (and large) ways that we are coming back to more of our traditions, but we are far from perfect. 


Sort of a blend of the secular world, the religious one, and just being ourselves. 


But that is our road, and we strive to do better in all aspects of our lives and pray for G-d’s mercy and blessings all along the way and at the destination. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)