Glass Half Full

As the end of the Jewish year approaches and a new one begins, I find myself without a clear mind. I have many thoughts and reflections on the past year and just about life in general. The one thought that I would like to focus on would be the idea of self-examination. Are you happy with whom you are right now at this point in your life?

This idea is a process that indicates one is ready to make an internal change—seeing oneself differently in the world, in your relationships, in your community; seeing the glass as half full if you’re normally a glass-half-empty kind of person; being able to enjoy life’s journey and make meaning out of it.

How can you see yourself differently in the world, in your relationships, in your community?

To quote Robert Byrne, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” We must strive to create lives that are filled with purpose and meaning. One way to approach this philosophy is to live a life with the glass-half-full mindset. Take a positive approach to all of life’s challenges, pains, losses, obstacles, etc…because, not to be negative, life is filled with them. That’s not always easy, but speaking from experience, trying to put a positive spin on negative occurrences goes a long way. You must gain the mindset and realize that whatever you’re going through could be worse, and chances are, someone else in the world does have it worse than you do.

Make meaning out of life’s journey—remember and reminisce about the past, celebrate the present, and plan for and be excited about your future.

These are just a few thoughts that are going through my head at this point in my life…and maybe some words of wisdom. Please share your thoughts with me!

Fun Fall Facts

Today, September 23, 2011, the first day of fall (or autumn as also commonly called), marks the beginning of my favorite time of year. I love the way the leaves change colors (not for me, since I live in south Florida). I love holidays that fall around now—beginning with the Jewish new year, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Hanukkah and Christmas. I love the flavors and scents of the warm apple cinnamon, the spices, pumpkin, ginger. I love the change in weather; that change in wearing shorts and tank tops to wearing jeans and boots.

Fun Facts About Fall

  1. Glucose trapped in the leaves gives them their red color. The brown coloring comes from the waste trapped there. Red and purple come from anthocyanin pigments formed in the dying leaves (the same pigment in purple grapes, red apples, and violets).
  2. About 500 years ago when Middle English was spoken, expressions like “fall of the leaf and “fall of the year” were commonly used. Thus, the name “Fall” stuck as the name of the season.
  3. Football season has started back up again.
  4. Orange and black are the Halloween colors because the orange symbolizes the colors of the Fall harvest and the black is associated with the darkness and death that come with Halloween.
  5. Pumpkins come in other colors besides orange—white, blue, and green.
  6. Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving. Their celebration lasted 3 days.
  7. In the U.S., about 280 million turkeys are sold for family Thanksgiving celebrations.
  8. Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving in the U.S. begins the Christmas shopping season.
  9. The first day of fall is also the second equinox of the year and the Earth’s axis isn’t pointing toward or away from the sun.
  10. The first day of fall has approximately equal amounts of daytime and nighttime.

Music as My Life Coach

Gone – Jack Johnson

We are all consumed in materializations—our “fancy clothes…and cars and phones and diamond rings” (to quote the song). We must take the time to actually consider what’s really important—our new Steve Madden shoes or the footprints that we make with them to lead the way (be leaders) and make a path; texting on our iPhones (which I think lead to being anti-social) or social skills that will get us through many of life’s challenges—just to name a very few examples. Realize that there are more important things in life than our materials. Yes, maybe these “things” make life more enjoyable, but it is possible to survive them—think for a minute, what would you do if you couldn’t use your phone for a day? Chances are, most of us would be very unhappy. Life is all about prioritizing—what’s most important to you?

 

What Means the Most – Colbie Caillat

This song talks about romantic love, specifically, but I can relate it to any kind of love. Make sure the people that you love most know that you love them.

 

Laughed Until We Cried – Jason Aldean

Make the most out of all of life’s experiences and whatever gets thrown your way. In this song, the “narrator” reminisces about friends and high school memories, family and now his own baby. “Oh man we were livin’…we laughed until we cried.” I have my own memories and can’t wait to see what else my life has in store for me—our experiences shape us into the person that we are today and the person that we are still becoming.

*Note: Also, listen to the song Lessons Learned – Carrie Underwood.

 

You Get What You Give – The New Radicals

“Don’t give up / You’ve got a reason to live / Can’t forget / We only get what we give.” (to quote the song) Put forth an effort and don’t ever give up because “If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” – Mary Pickford

* Note: Also, listen to the song Unstoppable – Rascal Flatts.

 

Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw

Overcome fears. Do the unthinkable. Live without any regrets. Live as if today was your last.

* Note: Also, listen to the song Life is a Highway – Rascal Flatts.

Blog Neglect

Hey blog followers!

Sorry I’ve been neglecting my blog the past few days. Trying to work out some health issues in my family, but I promise I’ll be back soon!

On That Day…

September 11, 2001. History was placed on our shoulders exactly ten years ago today (I was only 10 years old at the time, but definitely old enough to know and understand what had happened). We always read in textbooks about historical events such as Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, etc. (just to name a couple examples), but who would’ve thought that we would’ve actually experienced, first-hand, our own historical event that is now found in textbooks everywhere? September 11th (just like I know my parents remember where they were when JFK was assassinated) is one of the those days in history that you will always remember where you were, what you were doing, who you were with.

On that day, I was in my fifth grade science class, taught by Ms. Heffron, at Donna Klein Jewish Academy.

On that day, in school, when I asked what was going on after seeing the horror on the faces of the entire faculty, I was told that there was a flood (instead of being told the truth).

On that day, I was picked up early from school by a sobbing, frantic mother.

On that day, I remember watching the planes crash into the World Trade Center on TV.

On that day, I remember how my dad was supposed to get on a plane to New York for a business trip.

A few years later, the summer before my senior year of high school, I went on a B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO) trip to New York and saw Ground Zero for the first time. A large hole in the ground with metal fences surrounding. Enormous football-stadium-looking construction lights. A copper memorial wall with flowers surrounding to commemorate all of the firefighters who risked their own lives and saved tons of lives that day. These are the sights I saw. Since I was on Jewish group trip, I remember the whole group standing silently in a circle and then reciting a prayer. From that moment on, we were more unified as a group than ever. The hardship, horridness of the September 11th attacks brought us together as one. In times of need, we learn to come together, to support each other. If there’s one lesson that can be learned from September 11th, it is that—learning to stick together through good and bad times. Becoming one. Becoming united.

A member of the Boston College lacrosse team years ago, Welles R. Crowther, after finishing college, had gone on to work in the Twin Towers. He had a sentimental red bandana that his dad had given to him when he was a little boy. On September 11, 2001, he became a hero, helping people escape the building and then going back up to the top to save more lives. Unfortunately, he did not survive that day. So, to honor this hero, my school announced that everyone should wear a red bandana to our football game last night against Boston College. There was a tribute to him and 9/11 during halftime and the whole stadium was in tears, waving their red bandanas in the air, proud to show off their spirit and commemoration for this beloved man. I have been a part of many September 11th memorial services (including performing a song that my aunt wrote), and every single one of them have helped shape who I am today and made me realize how important it is to count my blessings every single day.

 

Yummy Breaky

 

Oatmeal with a teaspoon of peanut butter and blueberries–yummy breakfast filled with tons and tons of protein!

 

My Love for Maroon 5

About a month ago, Sydney proposed the idea of driving to Tampa for a Maroon 5 concert to Beth and me. At first, I was skeptical since it’s an hour and a half drive, it’s during the school/work week, and I have an early class the next morning (Thursday morning). But let me tell you, it was totally worth the drive!!!!!!!!! BEST CONCERT I’VE EVER BEEN TO!!! Matt Nathanson opened–I love his music, but am not too familiar with him. I only know a few of his songs. Maroon 5 and Train were the main attractions. Maroon 5 came out first. Honestly, that’s who I was there for (Adam Levine is beautiful. Enough said.)! I’m obsessed with their music–they have an absolutely fabulous sound and you can tell that they have real talent. I feel you can always tell what artists are truly talented by how they sound live compared to their albums–Maroon 5 sounded the same–absolutely marvelous! Train came out to perform next. Sydney, Beth, and I felt that we would probably leave halfway into their performance because we weren’t as familiar with their songs and we’re not their biggest fans, but boy were we wrong!!! We ended up staying until the very end. Their performance skills were off-the-charts-amazing! And they sounded great. We also realized that we knew more of their music than we thought we did. OBSESSED WITH THIS CONCERT AND THE WONDERFUL MEMORIES CREATED!

Tzatziki Sauce

2 cups plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani, but feel free to use your favorite!)

1 cup diced seedless cucumber

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced (I used garlic powder so your fresh garlic cloves will probably make this even tastier!)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix everything all together and your all done–in only about 5 minutes!

P.S. I found this to taste a little bitter at first, but it definitely ended up growing on me! Such a fresh taste, but not necessarily for everyone. You can moderate each ingredient to your liking if you please.

*Thanks for the recipe!*

 

ACS Love

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service (their mission statement). They are “the official sponsor of birthdays” and they dedicate countless hours, days, years to helping people live healthy lifestyles and to enriching the lives of people who need their support. They also fund groundbreaking research to help find a cure to the hideous disease. The American Cancer Society deserves tons of recognition and appreciation for all of their hard work.

I am honored to say that I started volunteering there this morning. I am studying speech language pathology and hope to focus on patients with head and neck cancers someday when I open my own private practice. This volunteer position is not only a great foundation for my career and future, but it is a great foundation to teach me so so much about how important it is to live everyday to the fullest. They devote their time to making sure everyone has that opportunity. As you can tell, I’m full of praise for this not-for-profit organization and I am ecstatic about being able to contribute to it. Can’t wait to continue volunteering this year! I’ll keep you all posted about my experience there.

 

 

 

Overcoming Fear of the Unknown

My best friend in the whole entire world, Sydney, was trying to teach me how to use Twitter today. I do have an account and I do use it from time to time, but I really, honestly have no idea what I’m doing. Sydney said, “The best way to learn how to use it is just to click some buttons and see what they do.” She then went on to say, “It’s kinda like anything in life—sometimes you just have to try it and see what happens.” Thanks for your wise words, Syd, 1) because they gave me some perspective and reiterated an essential life lesson and 2) because they gave me a blog idea!

How do you know if you like something until you try it? And the opposite is true as well—how do you know if you don’t like something until you try it? How will you learn new things if you don’t try (kind of like this whole Twitter situation)? The simple answer to all of these questions is, “You don’t.”

Lots of us thrive on routine and live in fear of change (fear of the unknown). I will admit I am one of those people. Change can be scary, but it can also be absolutely wonderful and can fully enrich your life—but how will you know until you try? We often seek comfort in things that are familiar to us, things that we already know we like. With trying new things comes growth, experience, and strength. It allows us to realize that while we are creatures of habit, we can still come out of our shells and be fine. How can you possibly grow by repeating the same habits over and over again? You can’t. You can only learn from trying new things and from having new experiences (and by going to school, of course, but that’s not my point). The best lessons in life are learned by experiencing, trust me on that one!

 

 

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.”

–Nora Roberts

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