Each of us has a special way to honor those who were lost and what was taken away from our nation. This is mine.
May we all learn to love each other some day.
There's an expression that horse trainers use whenever a client's ride becomes difficult - "Keep riding through it." I've heard it at least a hundred times while riding my horse. It's a function of good horsemanship. If you give up or get off in the midst of difficulties, you might win the battle that day but lose the war in the long run. Learning to be really good at something takes persistence and time. Such it is with life; so it is with writing.
There are no words. I just feel sad for our nation and its people on this day. I wish we could go back in time and change it. Change all those lost lives. Change the sorrow it caused.
Each of us has a special way to honor those who were lost and what was taken away from our nation. This is mine.
May we all learn to love each other some day.
I just found out that a friend’s son has passed away. I lost a dear friend last week, and another friend was in the ICU this past week. My heart aches at the unimaginable pain of losing a child. It is difficult enough to lose a dear friend. And the thought of my good friend being in pain and in the hospital frightens me. This all brings me back to my own mortality, and especially how I want to live my life.
Like my dear friend Tim, I want to make a difference. He did. The people he touched and helped are countless. He was a mentor to so many people. The same for my friend who has been ill. She has made such an impact in business and in the industry in which she works. That is why it is important for me to continue as an author and hope that what I write entertains, helps or strengthens others.
When I wrote Riding Through It, I wanted other women to see that even though bad things happen to good people, that they should stand up, not be beaten down, and take control of their lives. It was important for them to understand that by taking responsibility for their lives and not living in a pity party about the past, they could thrive! It was cathartic for me to write my memoir, and then, I wanted to move on to another level.
So, Luke’s Tale was born. Debbie Snyder, a reviewer on Amazon, said it best:” I think in this day and age, people are grasping for a more spiritual way of life but don't always know how to start. Weaving this tale into the human frailties we all possess was brilliant! Hearing it told through Luke's perspective was absolutely beautiful.”
Debbie so gets my message. Yes, it is a story narrated by a dog, but the message is so much deeper. It is about finding a more spiritual way of dealing with each other.
Loving people unconditionally means accepting them for who they are and not expecting them to change to measure up to the expectations we place on them. Think about how a dog responds to his human, and you’ll get inkling. It isn't easy to love someone unconditionally. Often times our selfish needs take over and prevent us from making that happen. The goal is to just try to be more understanding, to express love more willingly and to forgive instead of always having to be "right."
So, if I can bring that message to people, then I will have lived my life the way I want.
What about you? What do you want to do with your life? Think about it.
This photo was posted on Facebook by a friend of Tim and Deni’s. She said it reminded her of the two of them. And it does to me, too. Life-long lovers of huskies, they always have two or three or even more as part of their pack.
Deni has always leaned on Tim, and he on her. Today, she is supporting him through his last battle. One without the other is unimaginable to me and to all their many, many friends. For me, they have both been mentors and friends. I worked for them some 20 years ago, but we have always stayed in touch.
What always impresses me the most about them is their unconditional love for each other. Through thick and thin, illness and health, lean times and prosperity, they have always remained the same. I don’t know very many who can say the same.
But, I want to focus on Tim for a moment. We met in 1981. I worked for the two of them at their small but flourishing publishing company on Cotner Avenue in Westwood. Tim and I only had one real disagreement in the decade I worked for him. But before I could pack up my stuff, he was in my office, blue eyes sparkling with an apology. I loved that he allowed his team to be Intraprenuers within his organization. He gave us the tools to do our job and then trusted us to make the right decisions. I loved the way he and Deni always considered each others’ opinions and conferred together. Together they were generous and kind as bosses. They expected a lot, but they rewarded greatly. It was a wonderful place, filled with others to whom I still am close. It was a family, and it grew. We moved to new digs and then even bigger ones. When I decided to go out on my own with my husband Mark to launch our own business, he agreed to sit on our advisory board and helped us in more ways than I can reveal. But always, with that blue twinkle in his eye, he’d look at me and say, “Yout office is still empty; when are you coming back?”
As for, Deni, she is a rock. She always said that Tim was the strong one, but I have never seen so much inner strength, grace and willingness to share her thoughts and feelings with her friends during such a heart-breaking time. The way they have both fought this battle makes them my heroes!
May each of you be lucky enough to have a Tim and Deni in your life!
-By Herman Rosenblat
Note:This story is being made into a movie called The Fence. It is such a moving and memorable love story that I had to share it with you.
August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland
The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square. Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated.
'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.
'I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker.
An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, and then asked my age.
'Sixteen,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood.
My mother was motioned to the right with the other women, children, sick and elderly people.
I whispered to Isidore, 'Why?'
He didn't answer.
I ran to Mama's side and said I wanted to stay with her.
'No, 'she said sternly. 'Get away. Don't be a nuisance. Go with your brothers.'
She had never spoken so harshly before. But I understood: She was protecting me. She loved me so much that, just this once, she pretended not to. It was the last I ever saw of her.
My brothers and I were transported in a cattle car to Germany. We arrived at the Buchenwald concentration camp one night later and were led into a crowded barrack. The next day, we were issued uniforms and identification numbers.
'Don't call me Herman anymore.' I said to my brothers. 'Call me 94983.'
I was put to work in the camp's crematorium, loading the dead into a hand-cranked elevator. I, too, felt dead. Hardened, I had become a number. Soon, my brothers and I were sent to Schlieben, one of Buchenwald 's sub-camps near Berlin.
One morning I thought I heard my mother's voice.
'Son,' she said softly but clearly, I am going to send you an angel.' Then I woke up. Just a dream. A beautiful dream. But in this place there could be no angels. There was only work. And hunger. And fear.
A couple of days later, I was walking around the camp, around the barracks, near the barbed wire fence where the guards could not easily see. I was alone.
On the other side of the fence, I spotted someone: a little girl with light, almost luminous curls. She was half-hidden behind a birch tree.
I glanced around to make sure no one saw me. I called to her softly in German. 'Do you have something to eat?'
She didn't understand.
I inched closer to the fence and repeated the question in Polish. She stepped forward. I was thin and gaunt, with rags wrapped around my feet, but the girl looked unafraid. In her eyes, I saw life.
She pulled an apple from her woolen jacket and threw it over the fence.
I grabbed the fruit and, as I started to run away, I heard her say faintly, 'I'll see you tomorrow.'
I returned to the same spot by the fence at the same time every day. She was always there with something for me to eat - a hunk of bread or, better yet, an apple.
We didn't dare speak or linger. To be caught would mean death for us both.
I didn't know anything about her, just a kind farm girl, except that she understood Polish. What was her name? Why was she risking her life for me? Hope was in such short supply, and this girl on the other side of the fence gave me some, as nourishing in its way as the bread and apples.
Nearly seven months later, my brothers and I were crammed into a coal car and shipped to Theresienstadt camp in Czechoslovakia .
'Don't return,' I told the girl that day. 'We're leaving.' I turned toward the barracks and didn't look back, didn't even say good-bye to the little girl whose name I'd never learned, the girl with the apples.
We were in Theresienstadt for three months. The war was winding down and Allied forces were closing in, yet my fate seemed sealed. On May 10, 1945, I was scheduled to die in the gas chamber at 10:00 AM. In the quiet of dawn, I tried to prepare myself. So many times death seemed ready to claim me, but somehow I'd survived. Now, it was over. I thought of my parents. At least, I thought, we will be reunited. But at 8 a.m. there was a commotion. I heard shouts, and saw people running every which way through camp. I caught up with my brothers. Russian troops had liberated the camp! The gates swung open. Everyone was running, so I did too. Amazingly, all of my brothers had survived; I'm not sure how. But I knew that the girl with the apples had been the key to my survival.
In a place where evil seemed triumphant, one person's goodness had saved my life, had given me hope in a place where there was none. My mother had promised to send me an angel, and the angel had come.
Eventually I made my way to England where I was sponsored by a Jewish charity, put up in a hostel with other boys who had survived the Holocaust and trained in electronics. Then I came to America, where my brother Sam had already moved. I served in the U. S. Army during the Korean War, and returned to New York City after two years.
By August 1957 I'd opened my own electronics repair shop. I was starting to settle in.
One day, my friend Sid who I knew from England called me. 'I've got a date. She's got a Polish friend. Let's double date.'
A blind date? Nah, that wasn't for me. But Sid kept pestering me, and a few days later we headed up to the Bronx to pick up his date and her friend Roma.
I had to admit, for a blind date this wasn't so bad. Roma was a nurse at a Bronx hospital.. She was kind and smart. Beautiful, too, with swirling brown curls and green, almond-shaped eyes that sparkled with life.
The four of us drove out to Coney Island . Roma was easy to talk to, easy to be with. Turned out she was wary of blind dates too!
We were both just doing our friends a favor. We took a stroll on the boardwalk, enjoying the salty Atlantic breeze, and then had dinner by the shore. I couldn't remember having a better time.
We piled back into Sid's car, Roma and I sharing the backseat.
As European Jews who had survived the war, we were aware that much had been left unsaid between us. She broached the subject, 'Where were you,' she asked softly, 'during the war?'
'The camps,' I said. The terrible memories still vivid, the irreparable loss..I had tried to forget. But you can never forget.
She nodded. 'My family was hiding on a farm in Germany, not far from Berlin ,' she told me. 'My father knew a priest, and he got us Aryan papers.'
I imagined how she must have suffered too, fear, a constant companion. And yet here we were both survivors, in a new world.
'There was a camp next to the farm.' Roma continued. 'I saw a boy there, and I would throw him apples every day.'
What an amazing coincidence that she had helped some other boy. 'What did he look like? I asked.
'He was tall, skinny, and hungry. I must have seen him every day for six months.'
My heart was racing. I couldn't believe it. This couldn't be. 'Did he tell you one day not to come back because he was leaving Schlieben?'
Roma looked at me in amazement. 'Yes!'
'That was me!'
I was ready to burst with joy and awe, flooded with emotions. I couldn't believe it! My angel. 'I'm not letting you go.' I said to Roma. And in the back of the car on that blind date, I proposed to her. I didn't want to wait.
'You're crazy!' she said. But she invited me to meet her parents for Shabbat dinner the following week.
There was so much I looked forward to learning about Roma, but the most important things I always knew: her steadfastness, her goodness. For many months, in the worst of circumstances, she had come to the fence and given me hope. Now that I'd found her again, I could never let her go.
That day, she said yes. And I kept my word. After nearly 50 years of marriage, two children and three grandchildren, I have never let her go.
My friend, Cindy Fulton McMahon, posted this on her blog today. She, her husband Joe and I all worked together at Miramar Communications almost 30 years ago. I was lucky to watch first their friendship and then their love grow.
When Cindy posted her blog today, I asked her if I might use it as a guest blog to show how all of us can work on developing unconditional love. She was gracious enough to say yes. Learn and enjoy from a very, very intelligent and lovely couple.
“So, what’s the secret?”
It was just a simple question from a virtual stranger in an email exchange. Mariana S., a hotel employee, was helping us arrange a few extras for our upcoming 25th wedding anniversary stay. She congratulated us on our marital longevity, explained that she was at year eight in her marriage, and asked us for “the secret.”
I could have been funny, or flippant, or politely brief. But she asked, right?
So without getting too heavy or long-winded, I replied:
The secret to a successful marriage? So many things come to mind — shared interests, shared faith, shared laughter, date nights, making each other a priority. There’s a saying that sums it up perfectly: “The grass is always greener where you water it.”
Obviously, there’s more to it. Like all couples, we have had some great times, some tenuous times, some fun and some sadness. There has been disappointment, failures, hilarity and joy. We’ve gotten on each other’s nerves, and we’ve yearned to see one another when we were apart.
So, why is it that our marriage has lasted – and flourished and gotten better through the years – when those of so many others who seemed just as well-suited to one another have failed?
Only God knows that answer for sure, but after pondering the question for a few days, I’ve got some ideas on the subject (about 21 of them, as a matter of fact). I am certainly not here to judge your marriage, its potential for success or failure! We all work it out our own way and none of these are deal breakers, for sure.
[Note: This is our experience, and if there's something you can apply now to your current marriage, or to your future marriage (or even to repair a broken or rocky marriage), please take liberally. If you'd rather not partake, ain't nobody holding your eyeballs captive, so I hereby release you from the obligatory read. Get on along, now.]
So here they are, not in order of importance, but more in order chronologically:
The Top 21 Reasons I Think Team Cindy & Joe are 25 years and still going strong
1. We were friends before we were lovers. We worked for the same company, so we had an opportunity to hang out, occasionally work together, and get to know each other without any pretense or expectation. Over the course of many Red Onion Happy Hours with the crew from work, we found out about everyone’s past, lots of mistakes, and crazy stories that one might not tell a potential suitor. The benefit of this start to our relationship was two-fold:
First, we had truly been transparent with each other – not necessarily the way things go when you’re getting to know someone through stilted first-date conversations.
Second, we knew what we were getting. No surprises!
2. We liked each other just the way we were. This was huge, I believe. I didn’t expect to change the essence of who Joe was, nor he me. Sure, I made some wardrobe changes for him (goodbye Gilligan-style painter pants! He wasn’t a painter, ok?), and longed for him to write down appointments and events so that he didn’t double-book himself. He encouraged me to grow my hair long and to learn to snow ski, but those were just exterior things. If those things had never come about, they would not have been deal-breakers.
We ended up growing and changing together, but not because of expectations or pressure from one another. We matured together – with support from one another, but not with a push (occasionally there was a nudge though).
3. He was a good-hearted person who cherished me. Joe is and has always been kind – not just to me, but to strangers, old folks and children — even the crazy drunk homeless lady that wandered into our tailgate party at the Rose Bowl.
When we began dating, he doted on me. He bought me flowers and wrote me sweet notes. He took me out to dinner, and he gave me compliments. You can’t marry a mean, dismissive person and think you will change them into a nice, attentive person.
Ladies — if he doesn’t treat you right during the courting days, you’ll be in trouble once you are his wife.
Gentlemen — a demanding, belittling or drama-oriented girlfriend will not change into an accepting, encouraging non-dramatic wife once the ceremony is over.
Sadly, I have seen this misperception play out with some friends over the years. Were they perhaps so in love with the idea of being in love that they overlooked the personality flaws or red flags? Maybe they just wanted the ring, and the promise of a non-lonely future? Maybe they thought that marriage would “change everything.” It didn’t. I imagine, it rarely does.
4. We share a common faith. Neither of us were living the poster-child Christian life at the time that we met. And, in fact, I might venture that despite early commitments to Christ when we were adolescents, our faith was unrecognizable from the outside. However, as our friendship and courtship intensified, we had a few heart to hearts on long drives and camping trips, and realized that despite our failure to practice our faith other than at Christmas and Easter, we held in common the belief that Jesus is the Christ, the only son of God, and that he died for us, was buried, and resurrected, and that we believed the Bible to be true.
Although that faith was indeed the “tiny acorn” of scripture, it became the mighty oak of the shelter for our marriage. We have both had some pretty profound spiritual experiences over the 23 or so years that we’ve been seeking a closer relationship with God. I can’t imagine how sad I would be NOT to be able to share those experiences with the one person I’ve committed to spend the rest of my natural life with, or to miss out on the blessing of praying, worshiping and serving together.
Our commitment to living a life that honors Christ has given us guidance in all matters of marital life, from honor to patience to commitment – especially in the moments where our human nature would have sent us in a different direction – away from one another. Shared faith has been huge.
5. We already had common interests, and created more on purpose. Our first date was to a Raiders game (that is if you ask Joe…I didn’t know it was a date!) We both have always loved sports — especially baseball, football, and – a sport that Joe introduced me to – hockey. He wanted to teach me about hockey and I wanted to learn since it was important to him. We still laugh about my first Kings game back in 1986 when I asked why some guys were wearing the “hats” and others weren’t. (Yeah, they’re called helmets, just like in football. Who knew?)
One of those common interests we’ve developed over the years: skiing/showboarding!
Nowadays we do the hockey fanatic thing together as a family. We enjoy water sports and snow skiing, fitness and movie-watching, and entertaining, even when one of us perhaps isn’t as interested as the other person (I semi-enthusiastically tent-camped for a number of years before I threw in the dusty towel on that one!)
While it is great to have your individual interests, my caution is that if your hobby consistently takes you away from your mate, and they have no clue what it’s about, it’s probably not helping your partnership at all. My husband wouldn’t set foot in my hip-hop class – and that’s okay. But I also don’t go out partying with the hip-hop class group. If I did, I’d bring Joe.
Check out your local parks and rec listings of classes. Is there anything you both might like to try? (Joe, take this as foreshadowing: I want us to do Stand-Up Paddleboarding!)
6. We were a couple before we were parents. We were friends for about six months before we got romantic. Then we dated for almost two years before we got married. We were married four years before we became parents.
Add it all together and we had six years of double-income, no-kids fun, worked out some of the chaffing things we discovered about living in the same house, figured out how to handle friends and chores and responsibilities and family and bills and people dropping by with a 12-pack, etc. before we went into that four- or five-year survival mode that two little boys three-and-a-half years apart brings. In survival mode, it is quite difficult to work on anything except the daily to-do list.
7. We both wanted to raise a family – and we both wanted me to stay home with the kids. (Again with the shared values…see a trend?) We both came from very family-oriented crews, and so that one was easy. And when the time came, there was no doubt in my mind that I would stay home (which really makes no sense given my career-girl beginnings. I don’t know what happened, but I am so glad it did!)
With the blessing of being a stay-home mom all these years, I was further able to nurture our marriage by taking care of the myriad details and demands of family life during the day. When Joe returned from the office, we had family dinners, and down time, and then, when the kids went to bed, we could sit and be together. I know that’s a rare financial feat these days, and as I said, we know it was a blessing that not everyone can experience—or that everyone would find joy in. But I sure have – still do!
8. We sought outside help when things got prickly. When we married, we both brought life habits, coping mechanisms and ways of handling challenge culled from our families. There were good things, bad things and downright dysfunctional ways of handling strife that we had seen modeled through the years. We went through a patch where we needed a wise, trained third party to help us navigate those rough waters that involved extended family and personal history. We then began to forge our way of doing things, that held onto the functional legacy and, hopefully, jettisoned that dysfunction. (Of course, our kids will probably find something to seek counseling about our legacy someday!)
9. Date night: vital! When our first-born was about 10 months old, we were blessed to meet the best babysitter in the world! Tara was an education major at the local university, and had replied to a job ad for our church nursery. The day I interviewed her, she and my little guy fell in love. Nearly every Friday for the next 8 years, she babysat for us so that we could go out. Sometimes it was dinner and a movie. Other times to a pool hall. Once we even had a picnic on the beach. We stayed in touch with each other as a couple, not just as parents. (And now Tara is a wife and mom!)
10. We talk to each other – about everything – and we don’t have a “better” friend that gets more info. Communication is key to any relationship, but in a marriage, especially when kids come along, sometimes the verbal exchange amounts to a rundown of the calendar and a to-do list.
Often I would find myself too tired to recount a situation to him – some complicated challenge with a friend, or a concern about something at the kids’ school that I wasn’t even sure he cared about. It would have been much easier to vent to my girlfriends and let that be the end of it. But I didn’t.
He could have done the same with work issues. But part of that connection was sharing the things that were important and that were dominating our thoughts. We are each other’s number-one confidante. No co-worker or bestie gets more info or more input. Not even my mom or my sister.
11. We tell each other the truth, even when it is not a happy truth, and we don’t store it up. We are both non-confrontational people by nature, but we were given this advice early on in our marriage: If we’re mad at, disappointed with, or irritated by something the other person has done, is planning to do, or is doing, we say so. Get it out, talk it out, deal with it and move on. (A side note here: Bring up these issues at a time when you are both sober and have energy. Not after a bottle of wine; not when one spouse is about to doze off. Trust me on this!)
My folks always abided by the scripture from Ephesians 4:26-27: “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” Good advice!
12. We don’t air the marital strife in social situations. Now, I’m all for being transparent, and not putting on some façade that leads others to wrongly believe that we are perfect, but being critical of a spouse to others (whether he or she is present or not) is not beneficial.
No fair making passive-aggressive or flippant comments at a couples’ dinner about something that’s been bugging me. Nope! It’s disrespectful and awkward for everyone.
No fair griping to my girlfriends about an issue we’re having in a way that damages my husband’s reputation or would make them look at him in a different light.
While having a trusted friend who is wise counsel and keeps you accountable is important – vital – care still needs to be taken when sharing about struggles in your marriage.
Are you truly seeking advice and help, or are you just bitchin’? In the case of the latter, I recommend that it stay within the family cone until it’s resolved. Then and only then, with the other person’s permission, share it if your experience can help someone else.
13. We – and our parents before us — were in it for the long haul. Divorce has never been an option in our minds. We promised God and everyone important in our lives that this was the real deal, ‘til death do us part. We meant it.
At the time of this photo (taken at our engagement party, our parents had about 60 years of combined marriage under their belts. Look how happy they were!
We are blessed with two sets of parents who stayed married. My hubby’s folks had been married over 40 years when my father-in-law passed away. My parents are on year 59. They are still having fun and sharing their common love for sports, socializing and card playing. What a rare legacy we have!
14. We were faithful to each other – and turned away from potential temptations. As my husband said when we were discussing some of these topics, “Who knew monogamy could be so great?” We were laughing, but we meant it. Adultery does not mean the absolute end of a marriage – and if you have worked through infidelity in your marriage and arrived at forgiveness and reconciliation, you are my hero! However, I would venture that most marriages do not survive it.
Although I don’t have first-hand info on this, my hunch is that most extra-marital affairs begin with a seemingly innocent flirtation, glance, comment or gesture at a point when someone can still walk away. There’s a scriptural promise that God always provides a way out of temptation (1Corinthians 10:13).
Everyone is tempted. Who hasn’t felt that rush of being noticed or flirted with, in person or online? It takes a strong, confident person, one who is being honest with him or herself, to recognize that temptation as potentially dangerous and to literally and figuratively walk away from it. If a marriage is in trouble already, the ability to do that is superhuman. God help you. Seriously.
15. We assume the best about each other. If Joe says something, or does something that bugs me or downright pisses me off, I first assume that he didn’t do it to purposely hurt me. Whether it’s an off-the-cuff comment, or a bathroom left in a state of nasty, I remind myself that he loves me, and that really, does any husband purposely want an angry wife?
16. We express gratitude and encouragement to one another. Whether it’s, “Thanks for making the coffee,” or “Thanks for putting out the trash,” – even if we do it almost every single day, we verbally thank one another. And, we speak words of encouragement often, whether it’s a comment on appearance, “You look handsome in that shirt,” or a nod for our effort toward a thankless endeavor: “I know you’re working you butt off for XXX volunteer project – keep up the good work.” It’s sincere appreciation (no BS-ing!).
17. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? I would say that Joe is better at this – he doesn’t sweat the small details. If he wants to go to a movie, and I really want to stay home and watch a video, he’s more likely to shrug than dig his heels in. I try to be that way, but I often realize after the fact that I missed an opportunity to shrug and acquiesce. See, we always have room for improvement!
18. We didn’t blame problems on circumstances. If you fight about money when you’re poor, you will most likely fight about money when you’re rich. If you blame marital woes on your finances, your bad neighborhood, or anything else that you cannot personally control, chances are, your woes will tag along even if all those things are miraculously fixed.
It’s not the problems and challenges that will get you. It’s how you handle them. We did our best to take responsibility for our actions, make changes when we could, and communicate with each other. That’s where a good therapist will help greatly – to help you see what the core of the problem is.
There are really happy couples who have very little wealth, and really miserable couples who have treasure troves of money (watched any reality TV lately????)
19. We are intentional about intimacy (and not just that kind of intimacy). There are ebbs and flows in the physical part of a marriage. Generally women who are chubby from childbirth, and exhausted from nursing and being up in the night, aren’t thinking about the bedroom (unless it’s daydreaming about taking a nap, right?). That would be what you’d lable an ebb!
As marriages “season,” male and female hormonal levels shift and change. During the “ebbs” it’s important to remember that intimacy isn’t just physical. It’s about connecting on a level where you share your innermost thoughts, your hopes, fears and dreams – being vulnerable with one another. As I mentioned before, you should be sharing this type of intimacy with your spouse, not with your co-worker (especially one who is the opposite sex. Danger zone, and I mean it!)
And on the physical front (no pun intended, really), sometimes you have to trust your hubby’s lead, or he yours if one of you is not feelin’, ahem, “romantical.” And if things really go desert-like in the bedroom, get thee to a counselor! Sex is God-given, fun and free, husbands and wives! Just do it!
20. We divided the responsibilities of marriage, but Joe is the head honcho. I know this will seem weird to some people. Honestly, it would have to me about 30 years ago. Some would call it old-fashioned or outdated, or an affront to women’s rights. But much like a movie production needs a producer, a director, a screenwriter and actors – all of whom are vital to the finished product – marriage and running a family requires that couples take on many vital roles to bring it to success and fruition.
However, someone needs to be ultimately in charge if unresolvable issues arise. Otherwise, production stops.
It is not always easy – I would characterize myself as a strong, opinionated woman. However, I am married to a reasonable, smart, strong man whose opinion I trust and value. We both have our areas of “expertise,” but should a huge disagreement on a family decision occur, I would acquiesce. Thankfully, we have only had minor challenges in this area along the way. That, I believe, comes with compatibility!
21. I am a wife first and a mom second. And I’m not just talking chronology. Maybe you can cross out the period of time when each of our boys were born — first six moths or so – but we tried to put each other ahead of the kids.
It is really easy to get so wrapped up in your children that you hardly speak to one another about anything else. But the truth is – and here it comes, running toward us at an alarming pace – that kids grow up and move on, and you’re left back where you started – only you’re 20 or so years older and wiser, chubbier and more wrinkly.
With intentionality – the intimacy, date nights, etc. – we have maintained our identity as a couple. This certainly makes the prospect of an empty nest (in about 13 months – yikes!) seem less scary.
Nothing says happy like a fancy dinner and gourmet dessert! Thanks to the Ritz-Carlton @ LA Live staff!
What will my days look like without the demands of Booster Club business and laundry baskets full of track clothes? What will our nights look like with dinner for two as the norm again? That will be a new journey. Thankfully, I will not travel it alone, but with the love of my life, my best friend, my confidante, my lover: my husband.
Here’s to the next 25!
I sat with a blank page in front of me and wondered what I wanted to say to you. To find inspiration, I scrolled Facebook of all places and found this photograph. I knew in that instant what I needed to tell you.
In Luke's Tale, my heroic dog is Ashlundt's constant companion, aiding the man to come to grips with his loved one's illness. Then, later, he is Sara's constant companion after another tragedy strikes.
I know whenever I have been sick or stressed, the real Luke, and now my current dogs, just snuggled up next to me. Just knowing that they were there for me makes all the difference in the world.
Oftentimes when tragedy strikes our friends or family members, we don't know what to do. The simple answer is to just be present for them. And love them.
Often, that simple act is too difficult for people. They tell themselves they can't bear to watch people they love suffer, be ill or go through challenging times. That is selfish and unkind. The fact of the matter is that being present for them will give them the courage they need to fight their battles.
So just be present for those you love when they need you. No words necessary. A simple shoulder will do.
Til next time.
I was so struck by the sight of ordinary people, not just first-responders, running into the chaos immediately after the bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday.
I’ve been focusing on unconditional love in my writings of late, and I can’t think of anything more unconditional than another human being ready to go into harm’s way and lay down his or her life to try and save another person.
Such it was with Carlos Arredondo who was there with his wife handing out American flags to runners to inspire them. Carlos, who works with returning vets, lost a son to a sniper bullet in Iraq in 2004 and a second son to suicide, triggered by depression over his brother’s death, a few years later.
When the blast went off, Carlos sprang into action, running toward the danger, even jumping fences to help any way that he could. Finding a man on the ground with both his legs blown off and in severe shock, Carlos got the critically-wounded man in a wheelchair and pinched a bleeding artery closed. Because of Carlos, this man is alive today.
And this is only one instance of hundreds of people who, instead of running away in fear, turned and ran into the terror of the moment.
We read a lot of sad stories every day now about the evils of mankind. But, I still have a lot of hope. Heroes like Carlos and those who ran without thought of their own safety to help others tell me that it is within us to love each other unconditionally.
Until next time,
I want to share with you a story told by a veterinarian. You may have seen it before. It's been all over social media, but I think it bears repeating.
A couple and their little boy brought a 10-year old Irish Wolfhound named Belker to the vet, hoping for a miracle. After examination, the vet found Belker to be dying of cancer. He sadly told the family he couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As they made arrangements, the couple thought it would be good for their six-year-old son, Shane, to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, the vet felt the familiar catch in his throat as Belker 's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that the vet wondered if the boy understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition, and they all sat together for a while wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ''I know why.''
Startled, they all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned the vet, who had never heard a more comforting explanation.
Shane said,''People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life -- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?'' The Six-year-old continued, ''Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long.''
If a dog was your teacher, you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
Never pretend to be something you're not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
The Bottom Line?
If dogs can love us unconditionally, why can’t we love each other in the same way? Wouldn’t the world be a better place?