Showing posts with label Dad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dad. Show all posts

October 2, 2019

Who's Fasting For Whom

Today is the Jewish fast day of Tzom Gedaliah. 

Gedaliah had been appointed governor of Israel by the Babylonian conquers in 423 BCE.  However, within the year, Gedaliah was assassinated. This resulted in the remaining Judeans fleeing to Egypt and the Babylonian exile being firmly established until the return from this exile in 371 BCE. 

Literally for thousands of years the relatively small Israelite nation in the Holy Land was repeatedly attacked and conquered by the large surrounding empires of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans.

Despite this punishing history, when it came to the Fast of Gedaliah, my father used to inject a little light humor and say:
Gedaliah didn't fast for me, so I am not going to fast for him.

I can still hear his words in my head and even now it still brings a warm smile to my face and happiness inside me. 

Upcoming next week is Yom Kippur--fasting and atonement. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 17, 2019

A Good Father

I know it's not Father's Day yet, but I had a beautiful dream about my dad the other day that I wanted to share. 

In my dream, I was looking at this ledger.

And at the top of the ledger, it said:
"A Good Father"

I understand that good didn't mean like good vs. great, but rather like good vs. evil in this universe. 

Beneath it, there were lists and lists of signatures of people who knew my dad. 

Their signatures were an attestation that he was not only a good dad, but a good and righteous person. 

I remember in the dream his presence was there with me as I looked at the ledger. 

Then there was an astoundingly bright light that I was basking in.

Now I could feel I was in the presence of the Master of the Universe. 

I looked up to the center and most intense part of the light, and lifted my arms upward in complete supplication to it...towards G-d.

And I felt myself crying out to G-d, and as I cried out louder and more intensely, I was transported back--whooshed through a tunnel at light speed...to awaken from this incredible dream.

Unlike most dreams, this one I remembered and it stuck with me even days later now. 

My dad was truly a great father and a great man!

I am grateful to Hashem for letting me see him this week, and I miss him greatly. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 17, 2018

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)
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July 19, 2017

Touched By An Angel

So the other night I dreamed.

And in the dream, an angel came to me and was over me as I lay down. 

The angel had it's finger pointing at my head in the right temple area. 

The finger was all white and while I could feel it having a solid state, it was able to pass in a non-solid state, transparently through the surface and slightly into my head. 

I felt pressure applied there and almost like a healing feeling.

The angel was pure white--like a holy marble, but not like marble. 

It was majestic, slender, and tall.

It had white feathery wings that were taller than it's body. 

It's face was like an adult, but also like a child--it was both. 

Its feet were like a smooth and solid arch, and did not have toes.

The angel hovered over my upper body, head area, and was looking at me and touching my right temple--with care and love. 

It was absolutely clear to me that the angel visiting me was my dear, dear father. 

Although, I woke with a slight headache, I felt happy and at great peace by his visit.

The experience was caring, loving, holy and I was uplifted by it. 

With his unbelievably pure and giving heart, it was beautiful to see my father as an angel--this was him all along. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 2, 2016

If I Could Get Back Time

My good friend, Jacob Elbaz, taught me this awesome saying in synagogue today:
__________________

"Yesterday is history.

Tomorrow is mystery.

Today is a present. "
__________________


Another way that my dad taught me is this:

______________________________________________________________

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. 

__________________________________________

Hope you enjoy these!

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)

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July 31, 2015

A Being of Light

So last night, I dreamed about my beloved dad. 

He was in synagogue praying--something he did every day.


I was telling my dad that it was time to go.


But he didn't want to leave--synagogue was his favorite place to be close to G-d and his friends. 


My dad was in the front of the synagogue elevated on the steps before the Holy Ark (where the Torahs are kept).


I looked at my dad and somehow knew/felt that he was near death. 


I ran to him and threw my arms around him in an incredible completely loving hug--clutching on to him to stay with us, longer.


In this embrace, I could feel his total and undying love for me.


Now he no longer looked like my dad but like a being of light--such as I had never seen.


He had died, but was still somehow alive in another way. 


I miss my dad--he was a truly holy man (a Tzadik) and a loving husband, father, and grandfather, who would do anything for us. 


I wish I could sit and speak with him again, hold his hand, hear him sing when we came over, and see him smile. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Taltopia.com)

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July 10, 2015

Helpless And Helping

The following is all true.

So I dreamed last night a scary dream...

I was lying prone in a horizontal but bent position.

My clothes were tattered rags and my legs bare.

I could see my legs, but could not move them--at all. 

The bottom of the legs by the ankles were completely skinny, diseased and bright sore red (like burnt), and the skin was falling off them.

I knew I was in immense pain, but could not feel anything.

My legs completely useless, in hopelessness, I looked upward and called out:

"Father! Father! Father!" 

I was looking for my dad (who I know deeply loved me and vice versa), and hoping for him to come and help me somehow. 

Then, my voice turned and called:

"Father that art in heaven" and repeated this again. 

I was turning to G-d as the only one who could help me when everything else was stripped away. 

Then I awoke, and I was very afraid and yet somehow comforted--I had turned heavenward and found G-d. 

Later this morning, I went to the pool for a swim and as part of my post surgery rehabilitation. 

As I was swimming, I saw an old somewhat hunchback lady come to the pool.

I recognized her from other days when she does a little self-defined exercise routine against the side of the pool. 

But today, her lane at the sides were taken. 

Seeing that she was upset and couldn't do her exercise in the center of the pool, I stopped swimming and went over to her.

I said, "Why don't you share with me (there is plenty of room)?"

She hesitated and I could see maybe she needed help getting under the swim rope that divides the lanes, so I lifted it for her and told her reassuringly, "It's no problem."

And then she went under and did her exercise thing--and we shared.

It was such a small thing for me, but yet I could see it was a big deal for her--she was old and I could tell that she needed her routine.

Sort of funny but, when I offered to help, I could practically here the angels of heaven let out a little song of joy--seriously, I did. 

And I thought to myself...Andy, you can learn!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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June 21, 2015

My Dad, My Hero

I can't just call or visit my dad to wish him a happy Father's Day.

My dad is in heaven. 

But I am thinking about him, missing him, and wishing all the things I want to tell him but no longer can.

I'm sorry dad for not listening better and arguing so much. 

Your lessons were not wasted on me, I remember them all!

The most important you taught me to serve G-d and do good no matter what the situation--that is with me every day.

And I know with your grandchildren too. 

You are my hero--I believe that G-d watched over you your whole life because of what a good decent human being and servant to him you always were. 

Dad, if you can hear me in Heaven, I love you and miss you and Mom dearly. 

I hope if you can see me and the family, you are proud.

That is what I always wanted. 

When you said it later in life, I almost couldn't believe it. 

But I know in my heart, you are and and have been my biggest advocate. 

Thank you for everything--everyday--you never flinched no matter how much or inconvenient it was.

May G-d reward you and Mom in heaven and shower you in his eternal light, love, and goodness. 

You son, 

Andy

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2015

Mom Through The Years

My Nephew Naphtali Herbsman posted this on Facebook today and I love it!  

I miss my mom (A"H) and dad (A"H) and wish they were both still here in good health with us. 

But I know they are in heaven watching over us, guiding us, and still showering us with their love.
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April 22, 2015

Might Does Not Make Right

I heard from someone the other day...

"Do what is right--the others be damned!"

And this is right on the money.

You should always follow the dictates of your conscience.

Do not worry about pressure from others or what others will do that you cannot control. 

My dad (A"H) used to say:

"YOU do what is right--YOU be the example!"

He was my example, and I will always follow in his footsteps. ;-)

(Source photo: here with attribution to cursedthing)
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January 8, 2015

His And Hers

So grateful to my wonderful colleagues and friends here at the Department of State. 

Cards for the loss of my mom and dad...one year apart, but I put them side by side, where they belong. 

I miss my parents, but this is a beautiful reminder to me that they are together in Heaven!

I am thankful for the wonderful caring people I am surrounded with who provided me their support and warm sentiments during this challenging year. 

Hoping and praying for G-d's blessings and a better future. 
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November 2, 2014

"Wicked" Contact Lists

So two interesting things I learned today about information and communications technology.

One, technology is better when it's chocolate. Pictured here are telephones, cell phones, and smart phones made of luscious chocolate. Only problem is that the technology is too beautiful to eat!

Two, kids these days are putting in some very creative names into their smartphones' contact lists to identify their parents. For example, one of my daughters friends who went out with us today told me about three names her friends are currently using for their mothers:

- Birth Giver

- Financial Aid

- Mental Case

Ah, while we have to appreciate creativity in our young ones, perhaps too much of anything is no good. 

Anyway, I'm glad that I'm still "Dad" on my girls' phones--or at least I think that what they are still calling me!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 28, 2013

The Pain of Parkinson's

At the dedication of the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the picture of the elder Bush in a wheelchair really struck home.

My mom has Parkinson's Disease and is wheelchair bound. 

For a number of years, I have watched (feeling helpless) my mom go from a vibrant person to succumbing to the devastation of this disease of unknown origin. 

First, for many years (before we new) was a slowness of gait--with everyone yelling "come on mom, hurry up! Why so slow?"

Then, the uncontrolled shaking, especially of her hands, and deformity of the joints. 

Next came the difficulty moving, the shakiness when walking, and the falls--until the time, some nerves were damaged and her foot got turned inward, so she could no longer stand.

Therapy, a walker, and then a wheelchair, and now for most of the day--confined to bed and loss of basic movement that we usually take for granted. 

With loss of mobility, came loss of appetite, insomnia, depression, and GI problems. 

Despite visits to numerous medical experts--we could only treat the symptoms, but could never keep up somehow with the progression of the illness. 

My beautiful mom has suffered terribly, and my dad (despite his own medical challenges and age) has been her caretaker through it all.

Dad has done all the things for a person that can be done--on call every minute--until exhaustion at times. He has been nothing less than heroic in his deeds, dedicated to my mom and doing it with endless love for her--and always remaining (at least outwardly) optimistic and hopeful for both of them. 

My mom went to the hospital a week and a half ago and this last week was transferred to a home. 

Her eyes show the story of her suffering, and her body is drawn from fighting the illness, yet inside her the intelligence and love--she shows with a mere rise of her eyebrows and smirk--gives me strength. 

I love my mom and dad. It is a tough road when age and illness take their toll. 

It is scary to think at times what the future holds for each of us and how we will endure in the face of it. 

Mom and Dad have suffered in their lives from the holocaust, with seemingly endless hard work trying to make a living, and with debilitating illness. 

Their story and lives are a monument of strength and courage, love and devotion, and faith in the Almighty.
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March 14, 2012

Sharing Some Laughter and Happiness

There are some cool articles in Mental Floss (March/April 2012) on laughter and in Harvard Business Review (January 2012) on happiness--hopefully an auspicious sign for us all. 

Some things to think about with laughter:

- "Babies laugh 300 times a day, while adults laugh only 20 times." --  Maybe we all need to be a little more babyish?

- Laughter is "used as a social lubricant; we use it to bond with others." -- This reminds me of something my father always said: "when you are with those you love, the joy is twice the joy and the sorrow half the sorrow."  In essence then, people help us deal with our emotions and our emotions help us deal with people--we all need one another. 

- Laughter is contagious, truly. "Hearing laughter activates the brains premotor cortex. preparing the facial muscles to smile and laugh in kind."  -- What a blessing to laugh and help others laugh as well. 

A brief history of happiness:

1776 -- U.S. Declaration of Independence declares right to the "pursuit of happiness."

1926 -- "Happy Birthday" song composed.

1963 -- Invention of smiley face. :-)

1977 -- Introduction of McDonald's "Happy Meal".

So it's only March 14 (National Pi Day 3.14)--and it already warm outside, the beautiful cherry blossoms are in bloom, and there is plenty to feel happy about, laugh at, and be grateful for in this world. 

Thank you G-d!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 20, 2012

That Special Cane

After seeing one of my colleagues with this souped-up cane at work this week, I learned that this is the special gift for someone reaching their 50th birthday.
This is not an ordinary bamboo cane as you can see, but one with a rear-view mirror for passing, a honking horn for warning people out of your path, and even a little green change purse for the toll. :-)
While I am no spring chicken anymore, I am still not old enough to receive my special cane--oh shucks!
But this did give me pause to think about what it means as we get older and the weeks and months at work turn into years and decades.
Before we know it, the up-hill climb of life, plateau and eventually heads in the other direction.
It reminds me of whenever someone asks my father how old he is...he flips the numbers--so for example, when he was 72, he would say I "turned" 27 and so on
It's not easy getting old(er), we all want to be back in our youth or prime of life, which my father calls the time period, "when the world is too small," and I think what he means is our aspirations are large.
This week at work, I learned that one of my colleagues who retired just a few years ago passed away from one of the horrible "C's" -- it was terrible to hear this.
Moreover, it reminded me of other colleagues who I have seen work hard their whole life, sacrificing and putting off all types of enjoyment, and waiting for that big day when they would retire and then they "could live the good life."
And one guy, I remember, did retire after putting in his time and within about 3 months, he dropped dead of a massive coronary--I don't think he even made it with heart beating to the hospital.
Life is too short! And of course, life is hard--that's how we are tested and grow--but we can't wait for the good times. We need to savor every moment of our lives, appreciate our loved ones , and enjoy what we do day-in and day-out.
Else, we may miss the finest times that we have here on earth and then we really will be left holding that special cane and looking back at our lives in the rear-view mirror wondering why we wasted so much precious, precious time.

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May 13, 2011

Reading is Love


What an inspiring story this week about Jim Brozina and his daughter Alice Ozma.

Jim's wife left him when Alice was ten years old.

And when Alice started 4th grade, Jim (a retired librarian) made a challenge to his daughter to see how many nights they could read together in row--it was a way for them to spend time together and bond.

Well their "Streak" went on and on--for over 3000 nights--almost 9 years--until Alice's first night at Rutger's University.

Alice majored--of course--in English Literature.

And she wrote a book called "The Reading Promise" about her dad's selfless devotion and love to her, reading every night.

I remember as a kid, the commercials encouraging reading--"Reading is Fundamental".

Now I know that reading is not just fundamental (to learning and growth), but is also a way to love someone.

In the hustle and bustle of the 21st century, how many of us spend the time with our kids--consistently and with the utter devotion that this father did--one chapter a night, every night?

Aside from the lesson of selflessness in this story, I also see in this the message of incremental change and growth--by starting off with just 15 minutes a day and building on this incrementally, Jim and Alice were able to accomplish so much together over the years--in terms of learning and their relationship.

So while, the big blowout moments in life are significant memories for us and very often get a lot of emphasis (i.e. as in "let's make a memory"), the day-to-day consistent building of relationships and learning, can have a truly larger than life impact over the long-term.

On a more personal note, I remember when I was debating going back to school for my MBA (while working full-time during the day), and my dad encouraged me and told me that the years would come and go regardless, but that if I made the commitment, at the end, I would have something valuable to show for it.

I listened to his advice and went to school at night for what seemed like ages for an MBA and then numerous certifications and other learning opportunities, and I am always glad that I did. Dad was right...the years pass regardless, but your hard work pays off. I will always be grateful to him for that advice and support--love comes in many shapes and sizes.

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