Upside Down Flower On Stairs

Thought this was an interesting picture to take. 


It’s an upside-down pink flower bent over a concrete stair. 


And the stem is sticking straight up and out. 


The contrast of the live soft pink flower and the cold hard grey of the concrete stairs is astounding to me.


Life can so easily be bent over, squished out, and left for dead in the cold harsh realities of this world 


We are alive, but life can be hard. 


We fight to go on, but life is sometimes unforgiving.


The bright spark of life seeks to illuminate the hard grey block.


Breath, beat, live…good health is unbelievably precious.


Arise flower and once again stand tall in the glowing sunshine and the pouring rain. 


Nourish yourself in the soil of the Earth, give praise to the L-rd as only life can do. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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What Is Life?

Here is a great parable that speaks to the meaning of life:

A man died.

When he realized it, he saw God coming closer with a suitcase in his hand.

Dialog between God and Dead Man:

God: *Alright son, it’s time to go*

Man: So soon? I had a lot of plans.

God: *I am sorry but, it’s time to go*

Man: What do you have in that suitcase?

God: *Your belongings*

Man: My belongings? You mean my things…clothes…money…

God; *Those things were never yours, they belong to the Earth*

Man: Is it my memories?

God: *No. They belong to Time*

Man: Is it my talent?

God: *No. They belong to Divine Providence*

Man: Is it my friends and family?

God: *No son. They belong to the Path you traveled*

Man: Is it my wife and children?

God: *No. they belong to your Heart*

Man: Then it must be my body

God: *No, No… It belongs to Dust*

Man: Then surely it must be my Soul!

God: *You are sadly mistaken son. Your Soul belongs to me.*

Man: I never owned anything?

God: *That’s Right. You never owned anything*.

Man (with tears in his eyes and full of fear took the suitcase from God’s hand and asks God): Then? What was mine?

God: *Your choices.*

Every choice you made was yours.

Create each moment by filling it with meaning.

Do G-d’s will at every moment.

Choose to act kindly to others in every moment.

Life is the choices of every moment.

(Adapted from and with Gratitude to Minna Blumenthal for sharing this with me)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Feeling Blue, Feel Better

Life is filled with so many wonderful marvels and joys–thank you G-d!


Yet interspersed is what feels like a series of non-ending life challenges. 


Yes, of course we wouldn’t recognize or appreciate the good, if we didn’t have the bad to compare it to. 


But just when you think you’ve gotten through one obstacle and are cruising nicely down Life Lane, then it seems like it’s time for the next speed bump.


I know that having faith through thick and thin is a huge part of it. 


Also, challenging oneself to be strong and work through the next life dilemma. 


Sure, not everything is life and death, thank G-d.  


But even daily upsets can be frustrating.


I know inside though that in a weird sense, this is really what life is all about. 


It’s not paradise we are living in–that comes later when we get our angel wings!


This is a world that challenges, teaches, and grows us. 


We are not here just to have a merry ‘ol good time day in and day out. 


While that may be nice for a while, it would get pretty tiresome and pointless. 


Life is like a puzzle–a very big puzzle–and we are here to help solve it and in the process, we have the opportunity to become better souls for it.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Do You Become Old?

Is being old an age, a feeling, or both?


Some people seem to get old before their time.


They go about echting and kretzching–at 40 and 50, they are saying this hurts and I feel crummy about that!  Nu, I’m not 18 anymore!


Other people never, literally almost never seem to get old.


One lady I know is going to be 94 this month and she is going strong mentally, emotionally, and physically.  It almost seems impossible.  


This guy in the photo has a funny shirt on that says:

“I thought growing old would take longer.”


Yeah, it does sort of creep up on you, but really, really fast.  Like where the heck did that come from!


I know inside for me, I always still feel like a kid. 


I have the same funny side, playful side, and curious side; the desire to be productive and accomplish something meaningful with my life and time, and to love and be loved. 


Yeah, things hurt a little more than they did years ago–can’t believe the things I used to be able to do–Yes, at one time, I use to break cinder blocks with my bare hands, true!


But now, I can do other things like swim and hike and I love to write things that I am passionate about or to be a little creative too!


Maybe we do not get old…maybe we are just like caterpillars that morph into something else like butterflies during this life and into the life beyond. 


Age is experience, learning, growth–lots of mistakes–and then recovering and trying again and harder.  


Life is wonderment and excitement and appreciation for every amazing beautiful thing. 


No, life does not get old. 


Suffering and loss gets old quick and wish it never was. 


But we are physical bodies with eternal souls, so we go on and on into the wild blue yonder. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Anxiety Filter

What a brilliant picture of “Anxiety” by a child in Montgomery County, Maryland. 


Notice the great big letters–and all in caps–for what ANXIETY feels like. 


Anxiety is black–it’s when we are in a dark foreboding place and we can’t find our way out–it holds us back from doing what we need and like to do. 


Anxiety feels so all-enveloping and ginormous–it dwarfs us in the “I”–and we feel so small and are paralyzed, incapable of freeing ourselves from it. 


Anxiety is a cognitive and emotional bias where we see things in black and white–everything is to the extreme–and there are no greys; we tend to talk in all or nothing and our actions may mimic our extreme feelings. 


Around the anxiety, we are bordering in blood red–we are in a dangerous place–where our feelings of fear, inadequacy, and being incapable of overcoming it can lead us to do something desperate and final. 


When we are drowning in anxiety, it is like a lens or filter that clouds our vision and thinking, so we can make bad decisions, not make any decisions, or just procrastinate in order to avoid the issue and thing we are afraid of. 


We have to fight off the octopus grip of anxiety.


We have to find our courage within and from G-d.


We have to conquer our demons so we can meet our destiny head-on. 


We have a mission to fulfill in our life, and we can’t let anything get in the way. 


Fate is waiting for us to make our important contribution, so then we can be gathered to our fathers and rest in final peace. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Beautiful Virus, Huh?

So this is an image of the Tobacco Mosaic Virus.


Yeah, I never heard of it either. 


It is a virus that attacks and destroys tobacco and other plants. 


Viruses are ugly and evil in that they hurt and kill other living things


Yet in looking at this molecular image, I seriously hate to say it, but it is also beautiful in a way. 


The shape, color, complexity–the design and wisdom embedded in it–what can I say, but even this too is a miracle. 


Sure, it would be better in a mortal sense if there were no viruses to make us suffer and literally eat away at us. 


Yet, surely G-d has a plan even for these nasty virus molecules.  


Do they help us gain immunity to even worse diseases?


Do they help us to use ingenuity to discover, fight, and evolve to withstand their attacks and progress our society in larger ways?


Do they help us learn however horribly to turn to G-d, strengthen ourselves, and somehow try to cope with suffering and loss in life and death.


All sickness is unbelievably horrible and the suffering it causes is truly impossible to understand, and G-d should please, please have mercy on us. 


Yet, looking at this molecular image of even this virus, there is something comforting in the supreme intelligent design and creation of it all.  😉


(Source Andy’s photo of image by Visual Molecular Dynamics)

Don’t / Can’t – Turn Back Now

My father used to say a very wise thing:

You can only go forward.
You can’t go back.


Often in life, I reflect on how wise this is and he was. 


Sometimes, we are hesitant or afraid of what lies ahead, and we turn our heads back and reinvent history and creatively fantasize how wonderful things were before and maybe we should go back.


Like the Israelites thousands of years ago, who G-d redeemed from the servitude of Egypt, but with hundreds of years of a slave mentality, they were in a sense paralyzed with fear of going into the foreboding expanse of the desert. 

“If only we had died by the L-rd’s hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted. But You have brought us out to this dessert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3)


But we know that going forward is the only way to learn, grow, and progress. 


Just like the Israelites that went forward through the depths of the Red Sea on dry land and to receive the Torah on Sinai and for forty years in the desert to ultimately get to the amazing promised land of Israel. 


Thank G-d, they didn’t turn back–there really was no turning back.


Back is death.  


Forward is life. 


We have a journey that we need to complete. 


The destination is wherever G-d takes us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)