Showing posts with label Angels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Angels. Show all posts

December 5, 2018

Stained Glass Majesty

There is something about stained glass which is so beautiful and amazing. 

It's not only artistic and colorful, but also it's a magical combination of opaqueness and translucence.

It provides cover and privacy from the outside world, yet it plays with the light that comes in through it to give a wonderful effect to any room.

If I could, I would make every room in every building with stained glass. 

I would bask in the light and the color. 

It would feel warm and holy--the light of G-d on me. 

It's as if G-d and His holy host are streaming in from the Heavens, and surrounding me all about. 

I feel lifted up in space and time stops, all is safe and wonderful in the world. 

Beautiful and holy spiritual energy celebrating, dancing, and singing all around me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 7, 2018

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)
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February 18, 2018

Together 4Ever

In elementary school, the children sing about love and romance. 

"The spades go.
Two lips together.
Twilight forever. 
Bring back my love to me."

When 2 people are together, it's as if the angels in heaven themselves are dancing and singing. 

Love seems to make everything in the world right again. 

Recently, an old person from my building lost his wife of over 60 years!

I see him around and while he continues to go about doing his everyday things, I can see that he misses his wife so much. 

He is broken, and his strength is gone. 

I remember my grandfather and father the same way when they lost my grandmother and mother, respectively. 

Completely devastating to them--their wives were their lives and what made them complete-- afterward, they were never really the same. 

Our companions are truly our other halves. 

When someone asked the old man from my building how he was doing late last week, he simply responded:
"I'm getting along the best that I can."

He said it was such sadness and loneliness for his wife who passed that his words literally cut right through me. 

People need each other--no one is an island--and especially loving couples who have been together for decades and decades--they are for each other and with each other, even if "together forever" is just a song that children sing...it is what we all ultimately wish for. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 5, 2017

Thou Shalt Not

Interesting speech by the Rabbi today in synagogue. 

What stood out to me was when he talked about the Ten Commandments, particularly the 2nd set of five. 

And how some people hear what they want to hear. 

All of the 2nd five start with "Thou shalt not,"  but there are those people that only hear the part that comes after those words. 

So for example: Thou shalt not kill...steal...commit adultery...lie...desire.

But not everyone listens to the "Thou shalt not" and instead they just hear--selectively:

- Kill
- Steal
- Commit adultery
- Lie
- Desire

If you take out the "Thou shalt nots," you are left with a list of terrible and evil deeds.

How convenient for those who are looking for the upper hand and pleasures in life--get rich quick, get and maintain power, take whatever and whomever you want and when you want it--no matter who it belongs to or how they feel.

Like the good angel and bad angel sitting over our shoulders and one says don't do the bad thing and the other encourages us to do!

Who you going to listen to? 

Not everyone seems to care--they live for today and forget about tomorrow. 

Yet every misdeed leaves a tarnish on our soul, while every good deed adds a merit. 

And if there is no justice in the end then who the hell wants to be in such a world anyway. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 24, 2016

Computer Luminaries


I wanted to share these photo that I took at Micro Center, a computer and electronics store, outside Washington DC. 

On the wall are these pretty awesome photos of many of the founders and inventors behind modern-day computing. 

1) Doug Englebart - the GUI and Mouse

2) Dennis Ritchie - C and Unix

3-4) Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston - Visicalc and Spreadsheets

5-6) Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard - HP 

7) Gordon Moore - Intel

8) Grace Hopper - First compiler that led to development of COBOL

9-10) Robert Khan and Vinton Cerf - TCP/IP

11) Steve Wozniak - Apple I and II

Of course, the following deserve a place of the wall of fame as well:

12) Steve Jobs - Apple

13) Bill Gates - Microsoft

14-15) Larry Paige and Sergey Brin - Google

16) Jeff Bezos - Amazon 

17) Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook

On one hand, these are people like you and I, who live, feel joy and pain, and one day die. In the end, we're all just flesh and blood, plus a soul that is our moral compass. 

But on the other hand, G-d has given some people special gifts to pass to mankind, like a master painter, musician, inventor, or holy person, whose worldly works are as near to G-dly as perhaps we can get outside of Heaven itself.

G-d must have a plan for us as he sends us these people--or more like angels--to guide our development and our destiny. 

Whatever G-d wants from us, we're definitely on a course to get there and that is comforting and a ray of hope for all of us. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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December 26, 2014

Going For A Healing

So my wife tricked me today...

First day in Santa Fe and there was so much to see. 

By afternoon, my wife said she was tired and wanted to stop in an "Oxygen Bar."

Good Jewish boy from the Bronx, what do I know from Oxygen Bars?

So they had these cool health tonics, soothing music, beautiful artwork, oxygen therapy, and...

In the back, they did healing treatments!

So my wife tells me I should do this.

Ah, why do I want to spend money on healing treatments?

She jumps up, goes over and talks to the owner, and comes back and says "Okay honey, she is going to give you a sampler."

A what!

I hem and haw, but my wife doesn't take no for an answer, so I reluctantly go to try it.

Well...

I really enjoyed it.  

From spa-type treatments to spiritual healing.

I had a smorgasbord of some light massage/reflexology, oils, sprays, rocks, branches and leaves, warm wet cloths, figure eights with a dream catcher, angels and animal spirits, and even prayers said. 

The very nice Jewish owner, Kadima Levanah, spoke about releasing your energy, having compassion on yourself, doing your best, starting anew, and having a full healing. 

By the end, I was smiling and feeling a lot more stress free--even though my wife tricked me like usual! ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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September 14, 2014

Who Can Resist

It's the age old image of an angle sitting over one shoulder telling you to control yourself and do what's right and a little devil hanging over the other telling you to indulge and do whatever you want. 

The New York Times says that regardless of the push and pull of these two forces in our lives, we can learn to show restraint and stay goal-oriented.

By seeing the long-term rewards of good behavior, we can avoid pigging out in the moment. 

With Kids, it's called the Marshmallow Test--those who can resist eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes, get two marshmallows to enjoy later!

For adults, it may be that those who avoid the cake and ice cream today will live healthier and longer in the future. 

In Yiddish, there is the term sitzfleisch that refers to our ability to sit still and get our work done. 

The point is that if we can distract and distance ourselves from the indulgences of the moment, we can focus on the important things we really want to achieve with our lives. 

Of course, this is always easier said than done, because the two forces are both powerful and can be convincing.

For example, how many times can you hear, "Enjoy life a little, you aren't going to live forever" or "You've worked so hard, you deserve a little break", or "Come on, no one is perfect"...before you give in to a little excess? 

We are all tested in life, and we must try our best to pass as many as we can with flying colors--probably success is a healthy balance between living a little today in the here and now and working and saving abundantly for tomorrow's marshmallows.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 5, 2014

New And Hip

So this is what a new hip looks like.

Well almost, anyway--this is a small-scale model of one.


About 300,000 people per year benefit from this procedure in the U.S.


Thank G-d for such medical advances. 


I don't know what people did in earlier times having to live with the pain and loss of function and mobility before they had this available. 


My father always told me that the doctors are G-d's messengers and they only know and can do what G-d tells and enables them to do.


In that sense, a good doctor is really an angel of G-d's mercy.  


It's amazing and miraculous! ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 26, 2014

The Great Afterlife

I finished reading the bestseller Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander M.D. -- and it was awesome. 

Alexander, trained in rational, scientific thinking and a practicing neurosurgeon was not a believer of consciousness (i.e. the soul) outside of the functioning of the brain itself until he ended up for 7 days in a coma himself.


His near death experience (NDE) was not only unbelievably vivid, but also, as he reiterates again and again, absolutely real ("more real that the house I sat in, more real than the logs burning in the fireplace")!


The key beautiful messages that I came away with:


What is the relationship between G-d and man? 

G-d loves us, unconditionally. 

- Our physical bodies and brains, with limited sensory organs, are filters that give us a kind of "amnesia" of the Divine


- Our personality, soul, spirit "continue to exist beyond the body"and is a "direct extension of the Divine."


What is the meaning of life (i.e. why are we here)?

- The universe is purposeful, and it "bring[s] beings into existence and allows them to participate in the glory of G-d."

- Evil exists in this world only to provide us the free will for growth to the Divine and ultimately for our ascendance in other dimensions. 


- There is "no need to fear the earthly world" and thus no need to be concerned or build ourselves up with "fame or wealth or conquest."


To return to the spiritual realm, "we must once again become like that realm" by showing love and compassion for others. 


"Other family" (i.e. angels) are "watching and looking out for us" and helping us navigate our time here on earth."


- "Our struggles and suffering" are eclipsed by the larger eternal beings we are.


What is the future world like?

- Injustice in this world is eclipsed by the "beauty and brilliance of what awaits us."

- The visible, physical world is but a "speck of dust" compared to the invisible, spiritual world that is "awash" in goodness, hope, and abundance.


- Time doesn't function the same in the spiritual world, "a moment can seem like a lifetime, and one or several lifetimes can seem like a moment."


- Our understanding of space is false; the "vastly grandeur universe isn't far away physically, but simply exists on a different frequency."


- We are not only part of the fabric of the universe, but also are "completely unified"with it, and are "intricately and irremovably connected" with "no real differentiation between 'me' and the world."


Having recently lost my mother, I found great solace in this book and its timeless message of purpose in our worldly lives, hope through a brighter future in the next world, and the immortality of our souls with our loving Father In Heaven. 


Thank you Dr. Alexander for sharing your experiences and these eternal truths with us. ;-)


(Source Photo: here and my first GIF)

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December 14, 2013

Radiating Goodness

So I met two amazing people today. 

The first was a lady with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  

She told me her story about how it was her 30-year anniversary this year. And she said she had been diagnosed with MS only one year after her wedding. 

She almost cried when she told me that her husband had stayed with her all these years she was sick. 

First, she had a nurse at home to care for her, and then when the demands were too much, she got into the nursing home and has been there since May, which she said wasn't a long time and that it was good there. 

Talking with her, I was amazed at how good an attitude she had for someone that had suffered so much and for so long. She was also an incredibly nice person and said how lovely some of the other patients looked today and that they should eat something to keep up their strength. This lady was truly inspiring.

The second lady I met was a private nurse for one of the elderly patients in the home. 

She sat at lunch between the old lady she took care of and the other woman with MS. 

Yet even though she was privately paid by the elderly lady, I was amazed that when she wasn't caring for the old lady, she took the time and effort to care for the MS lady, whom she otherwise had nothing to do with. 

In fact, she was alternating in feeding one and then the other. Also, making conversation with everyone else at the table asking how they were, taking pictures with her iPad mini (she found a place that sells them for only $79!) and saying how happy her patient was looking today and making her smile (even though the patient seemed unable to even speak). 

It was truly amazing to see the caretaker generally caring for others, not just for the money or because it was her job, but rather because she could help and really wanted to.

I'll tell you, there are still good people out there--some almost angels. And when you find them, it is a miraculous experience. You can almost see G-d in them. Like the physical world is just an illusion, but these eternal souls are what's real--radiating goodness to every soul they touch. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 16, 2013

Jumping Jean Saves The Day

Metro
This was beyond my belief this evening--it is a true story!

As I was getting off the train, my iPhone slipped out of the OtterBox clip on my belt and fell...but it didn't just fall down, it fell at the precise moment that I was disembarking the train and it fell perfectly vertically right between the small space between the train and the platform. 

I couldn't believe it--I don't think I could drop it through that way myself even if I tried. 

Sure enough the phone is laying in the rock bed on the tracks. 

As the train pulled out, I was sure it was a goner, but apparently it survived not only the fall, but also the train running over it as it lay there.

A woman next to me, saw the whole thing unfold and she says to me after the train pulls out--"if you're going to get it, you better hurry up and do it now!"

I must've looked completely astonished when she said that as I peered over to the signage that said the next train was arriving in literally 1 minute!

I looked around for someone from the Metro to help, but no one was there. 

Out of nowhere, a young man rushes forward and says, "I can get it" and before I know it--he jumps into the tracks with the train approaching.

He did it so fast, picked up the smartphone, and jumped back out onto the platform, all in the nick of time--I've never seen anything like it--it was completely amazing. 

I was in disbelief that anyone would do something so crazy as to jump in front of an oncoming train to get a dropped phone that didn't even belong to them--simply to help a fellow human being. 

I tried to help grab him onto the platform, shook his hand, thanked him profusely, and offered him a reward--he refused to even take that. 

On the train we sat together, and he told me about how he came from Cameroon where he had little opportunity and was working two jobs here, including helping seniors and working at McDonalds. He told me how he liked to help people--and that was more than evident to everyone who witnessed this. 

In the end, the iPhone was still working and Jean strengthened my faith in good people still out there. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal from a prior Metro ride)

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December 28, 2011

People--What's Inside

People can perform good and kind deeds--they can love and care and share, they can be giving and help others in need, and they can innovate and create magnificent and beautiful works.
Yet, as we all know, people can also do horrible things. It's strange that when people do such things, we call them inhumane acts--I guess that helps to divorce us from their behavior, which we cannot understand or accept.
In Hebrew School we learned that it's as if there is a good angel over one shoulder telling you to do the "right" thing, and a "bad" angel over the other shoulder telling you to do the base and corrupt thing.
We were told that we all have free choice--to choose good over evil--some succeed and some do not. Unfortunately, there are way too many instances of the latter.
- Last week, I followed in horror the news story out of New York, where an elderly women in an elevator was cornered by a man who proceeded to douse her with gasoline and set her afire with a Molotov cocktail. This woman didn't have a fighting chance. She died a gruesome and senseless death.
- This week, I watched "To Catch a Predator" on Dateline with Chris Hansen. After many sessions airing, it is unbelievable that dozens upon dozens of sexual predators keep coming out of the woodwork and descending upon those who they believe are young teens home alone for what they think will be a "good time." This week, they caught a married man with 3 children of his own, someone who worked for Nickelodeon, and even a doctor!
What is remarkable about the Dateline series is that most of the predators know exactly what they are doing is wrong--they openly acknowledge it--yet they seem helpless to stop or control themselves. Many pursued the children even when they suspected it was a sting operation and they would get caught. The bad angel must really have their ears and consciences!
Of course, these examples are just that--snapshots of scary, bad things that people do every day, every moment in time. The flip side is that there are also good people doing extraordinarily good things too. The "CNN Heroes" series is a great example highlighting people feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, healing the sick, and protecting the downtrodden. These are just but some of these admirable and giving actions of decent people in our society.
Sometimes even it's the simple things that no one knows about or sees, but you know you did good. For example, the other day, there was some trash on the staircase going down to the metro. Someone could have easily slid, tripped, and fallen down the stairs. But after seeing numerous people just walk by it and pretend it wasn't even there, one person stopped and took the time to move it and prevent anyone from getting hurt. A simple thing, yet a small good deed in time.
Regardless of how we choose to live our live, the point is really that every choice/action we make can be a pivotal one--like our actions on a scale of justice--that can throw the world (our individual world or literally the entire world) into judgement for good or bad, and therefore we should choose wisely.
In the Torah, where G-d's angels are sent to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham tries to negotiate for the cities by whether their are 50, 20, 10 and so on good people there. Good people and their deeds count.
So what's inside people that really counts--it's potential. People have the potential to do the greatest acts of love, kindness, and self-sacrifice. But they also have the ability to do the unthinkable and inhumane.
It's challenging to know who and exactly what we are dealing with every day.
Maybe that's where the expression comes from: to hope for the best, but expect the worst. Judge everyone as if their intentions are good, but don't be too surprised when they are not.
While hope and expectations are part of our daily interaction with others, they are not enough. We need to be demanding of good choices of ourselves. Maybe even harder yet, we need to have the courage and strength to stand up to those who choose to listen to the demons that drive them.
(Source Photo: here)

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