Showing posts with label Courage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Courage. Show all posts

September 22, 2019

Rambo Is Back



I got my tickets for this today. 

Can't wait to see it!

Rambo says:
"You started this; I'll end it!"

Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.  ;-)
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September 18, 2019

Aging Gracefully

So as we age, we've got to cope with a different reality.

Our bodies and minds may start to deteriorate. 

We can't do all the same things we used to do (even as we can maybe do others). 

There can be a deep sense of loss as abilities, things, places, and people that were critical to us for many, many years may no longer be present with us. 

When I used to speak with my aging father about he and my mom getting older, he would joke and say:
Yes, we're getting older--what's the alternative?

Then the other day, I ran into a nurse from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA). 

We chatted briefly about the good work they do in helping so many elderly and handicapped people.

And then she says to me about how she herself is starting to feel what it's like to get older, and that she often tells her mom that everything hurts to which her mother responds:
You're not supposed to leave this world alive!

Putting these together: 

I suppose we all need to do the best we can to age graciously ourselves as well as help others in the process--because there is no alternative to aging and no one leaves this world alive. ;-)
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August 29, 2019

Go Years of Retirement

Thought this was an interesting perspective on retirement.

There are three phases:

1) Go-Go:  You retire and are eager to enjoy your newfound freedom, and you spend the time and money to really do the pursuits and travel that you always wanted. 

2) Slow-Go: After the initial adventurism and spending, you settle in some more and spend your time on quiet activities, socializing, and relaxing. 

3) No-Go: This is the wind down phase, where you spend most of your time at home and at a certain point, may need some assistance to do everyday activities. 

Obviously, the last phase is sort of depressing, but it too is a part of life.  

Like a bell-shaped curve, we are born, grow, mature, and then decline.

This is the cycle of life for every living thing. 

It takes maturity and courage to face it and to make the most out of every single moment that we are blessed with.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 18, 2019

In Sderot: Bombs and Birthday Cake

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "In Sderot: Bombs and Birthday Cake."
Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and gave it to the Palestinians in a unilateral effort towards peace, but soon after terrorist group, Hamas, took control and has since been raining down missiles on the Israeli civilian population centers around it...Last night, as the missiles came towards Sderot and the Israeli sirens wailed for the people to seek shelter–they have only 15 seconds–the beautiful youth in Noaa’s birthday party ran towards the safe room. What was incredible with these youth, was that rather than stop the celebration and hide in fear and suffering from the missile attacks, instead they courageously continued the party and sang with great strength in Hebrew, Happy Birthday to Noaa!

Let us all learn from these amazing young people of Sderot to have birthday cake in the face of bombs and to celebrate life in the face of death, and let Mashiach soon come and bring us peace in the Promised Land.


(Credit Photo: Miriam Sasy)

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July 15, 2019

OMG, What A Beautiful Song

And Even In Hiding
By Yaakov Shwekey & Kobi Peretz
Even though I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death
I fear no evil
Because you are with me
Even behind the difficult things you are going through
I stand...I stand...I stand
Even in the place which is hidden, within that which is hidden
Surely, the blessed Hashem is found there too 

My heart and soul are uplifted by this beautiful song. ;-)
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May 29, 2019

Beautiful People

I ran into this lovely lady in Rockville. 

Obviously, she has a disability, but I was so impressed with her. 

She had this cute dog sitting on her lap while in her wheelchair. 

And the wheelchair had this awesome colorful mosaic in the wheels. 

She seemed to be with family that loved her.

They stopped to stay hello and permitted me to take a photo. 

I was so inspired by them.

There are truly beautiful people in the world and they make the world a wonderful place for all of us. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 6, 2019

Wrong Direction--Who Stands For The Truth?

So I thought this was pretty funny in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. 
A wife is listening to the radio and she hears that a car is dangerously going in the wrong direction on the highway. 

Immediately, she calls her husband to tell him about the car going in the wrong direction, and to be careful. 

He husband replies: One car going in the wrong direction...there are hundreds of cars going in the wrong direction!

How true this little story is about life and what direction we choose for ourselves--in the face of the groupthink and the tidal wave of public opinion that will sweep you away if you aren't strong of mind and especially of character. 

Whenever we choose the road less traveled, others see us as dangerous and going the wrong way. 

Yet to us, others may just be following blindly, and we may truly see something that everyone else is missing...could it possibly be that they are really the ones going the wrong way!

But there is always some doubt in our minds...we are fallible, we can wrong, we can be crazy.  

Whose truth is it anyway--Mine?  Yours?  Or could it really be "The (objective) Truth"?

Alternatively, maybe we just lack confidence or courage?

It is very hard to be the nail that stands up (and doesn't get hammered down) and say that something is wrong and everyone should pay attention and change direction or their ways. 

Perhaps, they are all heading off a moral cliff or just heading towards disaster.

In some cases...

We know the agendas of the people who want to steer you wrong. 

We hear the propaganda and lies they are feeding you. 

We can see down the road or just around the bend where the danger lies in wait. 

- Can we stand up to the crowd?  

- Can we demonstrate the moral truth?  

- Can we get others to see what we see?  

It is certainly not easy to be the contrarian in the crowd. 

Not only may you not be recognized for what you are doing, but you may even be persecuted for it. 

It doesn't matter...

Because you need to do it anyway just because you know deep inside that it's the right thing to do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 15, 2018

It's Fight or Surrender!



This is why President Reagan was able to "tear down that wall" and win the Cold War. 

He was a true role model for leadership and what a President is. 

- Faith in G-d.

- A strength of convictions.

- The Integrity that touches hearts. 

- Courage to carry forward. 

- Pride in our nation.

- Judicious use of our might.

Go USA! ;-)
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June 20, 2018

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)
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June 10, 2018

Living Life Vicariously

So the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.  Go DC!

This little figurine made a debut on the counter of the concierge late last week for us to cheer them on!

You can ring the bell for help and while your waiting, get excited about the game. 

While these types of sports are not my thing per se, I do like watching a good Rocky movie or action flick where the good guys beat the sh*t out of the bad guys.

Whether you'watching your favorite sports team, your Hollywood dream stars, or even an occasional do (something) good politician, we are living vicariously through them. 

It's not our success we are seeing, but somehow we temporarily suspend our own selves and live through others (their eyes, their actions) and we partake just for a second of what it's like to be them winning or doing something really significant in life. 

We all can't be superstars in the center ring duking it out (all the time) and so we take a step back to see others that we relate to face up to the challenge, fight and hopefully win big. 

We don't walk away with the trophy, prize money, or fame, but we congratulate ourselves somehow for being on the winning team. 

Heck, I didn't do anything but have faith, go along for the ride, and then take pleasure in seeing my guy(s) win. 

Yet, from the humdrumness of perhaps some of our own everyday lives, we fantasize and garner the courage and strength to do our own great things. 

We can't be the strongest, smartest, most good-looking, personable, and talented in the world, but we can see parts of ourselves in others and we can try to model the best of them in ourselves and leverage what we got going on!

I don't really like spending a lot of precious time living like this through others--I don't mind getting inspiration when I see something amazing, but really I just want to try my hardest to be the best that I can be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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March 13, 2018

Outgunned Yes


I liked this saying that I heard:

"Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outsmarted."

I think there is a lot of truth to this. 

Might does not make right. 

Right makes right. 

There is a G-d above who watches over us. 

Those with the big guns may just end up shooting themselves in the foot. 

G-d reigns supreme and he gives wisdom and courage to his faithful. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 7, 2018

Cross The Street

I like this saying by life coach Iyanla Vanzant"
"When you see crazy coming, cross the street!"

I remember learning similarly from experts that the first lesson in self defense is always:
"If you can run, run!"

That doesn't mean your not strong or courageous.

It's just common sense to try to avoid trouble if you can. 

When people seriously fight, both usually can end up with a black eye or worse. 

And there are truly a lot of crazies out there.

Peace is always desired.

But strength (and preparedness) is always required. 

This makes sense as well in the larger context of the USA upgrading it's nuke arsenal and other weapons systems and platforms to deter enemy aggression.

Thus, peace through strength and of course, prayer! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 11, 2018

Bringing Down The House

I love this silver sculpture of Samson.

And one of my favorite stories and Biblical characters. 

Samson was dedicated to G-d from birth and was an enormous warrior. 

Even when he was betrayed, blinded, and bound, he maintained his ultimate faith in G-d.

He prayed that he be given the strength one more time to bring justice to G-d's enemies. 

And that's when he pushed against the pillars and brought the house down on them.

On one hand, a tragic figure that trusted and was fooled by the beautiful Delilah, but a completely heroic man of great integrity, who believed in G-d and in vanquishing his enemies.

Look to the Heavens for your strength and G-d can grant you the ultimate strength to achieve your mission in life and even in death. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 6, 2017

Mazel Tov On Jerusalem

Today, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel--Mazel tov!

- 70 years after President Truman instructed the State Department to support the U.N. partition plan.

- 50 years since the Six Day War in which Jerusalem was reunified.

- 22 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed for relocating the U.S. Embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.

Everyone has been patient and waited a long time for this.

As President Trump stated, we are recognizing the reality, the obvious, and "it is the right thing to do!"

Yes, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine their own capital as every nation does. 

And Jerusalem is that capital today as it has been historically from the times of the Bible. 

We are blessed to be witnessing in our time the miraculous fulfillment of G-d's promise for the quintessential return of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and toward the ultimate redemption.

From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-d has resurrected and brought us alive again.

Many that I have spoken with today express genuine fear about the ramifications of this announcement of recognition. 

But as President Trump displayed today, we must all go forward together courageously and in celebration. 

The State of Israel is blooming from its agricultural fields to the incredible medical and technological innovations that are helping people throughout the world.

We must never forget that it is only with G-d's blessing and under his watchful eye.

May we all pray for peace and security, and let their not be war or terrorism anymore! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via WhiteHouse.gov)
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November 10, 2017

Mechanisms for Coping With Stress

Just reflecting on the day off today on helpful ways for being resilient and coping with day-to-day stress. 

1. Teamwork - Remember you're not alone and you can rely on your colleagues/teammates at work and your family/friends at home to work with you, help you, and also be a support. Together, when you distribute the weight, the load is lighter and more manageable for everyone doing the lifting! 

2. Work-Life Balance - Listen, all work and no play is good for no one. When you create a healthy balance in your own life--professional, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual--then you will be more balanced, holistic, and better able to manage the ups and downs in any one or more areas of your life. The whole of you is larger than the sum of the parts!

3. Perspective - You've got to maintain a healthy perspective and attitude in life. All is not doom and gloom. Not every setback is catastrophic. There is good and bad in everything. And we need to use the challenges in life as learning and growth opportunities. Also, remember that there are many others in even worse shoes than us and their fortitude and seeing it through can be an inspiration to us. At the end of the day, look at the bright side--we all have so much to be grateful for, and every moment of life is a blessing!

4. Sense of Humor - When all else fails, a sense of humor can sometimes be the savings grace of the moment. When you're looking out over the abyss and you are seeing things dark and maybe quite ugly...perhaps, you can find in yourself, in others, or from a moment in time, something ridiculous or absurdly funny to think back on and laugh to yourself a good, strong, and healthy laugh!

5. Faith - No matter what...G-d is always there for you. Always watching. Always guiding. Always caring and loving you. You can have faith that whatever He does for you is ultimately for your best. The G-d of your forefathers/mothers, the G-d who created you, the G-d who sustains you every moment of every day will not abandon you in your time of need. If you have faith, He will protect and save you and after your amazing life's journey eventually comes to an end, He will bring you home to reunite with Him!

On my Bar-Mitzvah, now many years ago, my father gave a speech and he said to me from the prayers, be strong and remember:

"The L-rd is with me, I will not fear!" (or in Hebrew "Adonai li v'lo ira")

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 10, 2017

Face The Fear

I have to give my wife credit. 

She said something to me the other day that was really profound and had a deep impact on me. 

Something bad had happened and honestly, it was a truly frightening situation.

At first, it seemed like one of those negative surprises in life that brings bad news and you are at first sort of shocked. 

As things progress though and the news unfortunately doesn't get better, but in fact gets worse, the shock turns to fear and maybe even panic. 

Oh shit, what do I do now?

Turn this way..no good. 

Turn that way...no good.

Retreat...not an option.

So I speak to my wife, and at first she says:
"Just look away."
But I can't look away...I can't ignore a problem...my instinct is that I have to plan for it, deal with it, solve it. 

I go back to my wife, and she says to me:
"Face the fear, and walk through it."
And I had to stop in my tracks at that. 

She was right--there is no use being fearful or worrying--I would face it and walk through it, and come out the other side better for it. 

That was some of the best advice anyone I think has ever given to me. 

Got to be strong, have courage, face the challenges in life, and "walk through it!" 

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

Have to have emunah (faith), and realize it's just a test. 

And the Almighty G-d is my shield and protector. 

It's a test, but I can pass it with G-d's help, and everything will be alright. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 1, 2017

And It Will Come To Pass

I was walking today and this is what was in my mind...

And it will be in the days of Putin king of Russia and Xi Jinping king of China that Trump king of the USA will advance peace between Israel and its neighbors. 

So that nation shall not life up sword again nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

And you will quiet your enemies to the north, and to the southwest, and to the far east. 

None shall stand against you. 

The time is coming when great arrows will pierce the hearts of your enemies, and the eyes of the people shall see and know that G-d, the protector of Israel and the judge of all, doth live and fulfills all his promises to those that honor their commitments to Him. 

The answer is in your words and deeds to bring glory to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. 

Sharpen your swords, gird your tongue in prayer, and cover yourselves in the everlasting deeds of your forefathers and mothers. 

The time arrives for all mankind to witness the long arm of the L-rd and know his reign and mercy endures forever. 

Be of faith and good courage. 

And Israel will dwell in peace and security and the world will prosper in the redemption. 

The ambers and ash of history are still warm, but the times of evil and destruction shall give way to a renewal of the simple, the good, and the peaceful following.

He who sits on the throne that is the foundation of all that lives gazes upon his creation with a sadness and promise. 

Those who commit the worst evils will be found guilty and cleansed, and those of pure heart will be guiltless.

Evil will not stand in the presence of the L-rd of Hosts. 

Redemption is at hand and the glorious saving by the spirit that is the spirit that speaks to all with a voice of thunder and lightening, and the angels will be awakened, and man will know and serve Him once more with a full heart and mindfulness to the Almighty.

Blessed be His name and His deeds are magnificent beyond wonder, generosity, and holiness. 

Amen, Amen, Amen.   

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 3, 2017

Under The Feet Of Haters

So there is a saying in Washington, D.C....

"You know you've made it when you have your haters."

This is a very political town!

But more than that, a leader has to take a position. 

You have to stand for something. 

There are oodles of constituencies and no matter how hard you try, you will never satisfy everyone. 

Yes ideally, we always want to create a win-win situation. 

However, every give, usually has a take, since the pie isn't infinite. 

Compromise where possible, but hold your ground where necessary. 

The key is to choose a direction from your conscience and follow your moral compass and do the most good for the most people and what's right in the eyes of G-d. 

Unfortunately, some people will declare themselves your mortal enemy and try to stamp you out of existence just for being and following who you are. 

Many of us who have experienced racism, discrimination, slavery, and even genocide know this senseless hate all too well. 

Be strong of of good courage and do righteousness. 

G-d is our rock and shield. 
Psalm 27: "The L-rd is my light and salvation--whom shall I fear?  The L-rd is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid." 
So as your enemies advance to step on and try and crush you, remember that G-d will decide where their feet actually land and how they will fall. :-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 27, 2017

Courage To Do The Right Thing

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)
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February 17, 2017

The Success Iceberg

Thought this was really so true.

Under the tip of the iceberg of success lay all the factors that most people don't see.

The vast mass of persistence, failures, sacrifices, disappointments, good habits, hard work, and dedication. 

Success really is an iceberg!

Don't be jealous of the success at the tip of the iceberg of others unless you put in all the ingredients beneath--plus a prayer to the Almighty Above for his blessings.

Have a Shabbat Shalom!

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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