Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

[breadcrumbs]

Thumbs Up to 10 Blogging Buddies

thumbs-up

As we enter the New Year of 2016,  I thank a group of  people who enrich my life with their insights and creativity. They enlighten me with their humor and spirituality. And they inform me with their knowledge and wit.

Most of these women are  younger than me; some are older and a few are just about my age and stage. Whether they blog about parenting, spirituality, grandparenting, midlife issues, world events,  religion or anything else…their sharing of ideas online  has improved my life.

Without further ado, I wish a Happy 2016 t0 the following talented bloggers (listed below in alphabetical order).

1.

An Empowered Spirit. Cathy Chester

From writing and advocating for those who have multiple sclerosis to bringing a positive angle from events….to teaching us the value of friendship and love….kindness and creativity to her friends and acquaintances…to reminiscing about oldies in movies, books and culture…to sharing exciting happenings in showbiz and musicals…..and how to age with grace and love and humor, and mindfulness….Cathy’s prose always inspires, hits the spot. Her ideas expressed on popular sites  and her personal blog resonate with spirituality and her words sing with just the right tones and beats, encouraging us all to find the beauty in the everyday lives we lead. Cathy’s blog has garnered a great deal of public attention, winning numerous awards, especially in her capacity as an advocate for people with disabilities.  One of these days, Cathy and I will meet – hopefully sooner than later.

2.

Cycling Grandma. Lisa Winkler.

Lisa and I began as grandmother friends as we both have grandma blogs and found each other online. Pretty soon we were swapping stories and grandchildren cute antics through email and some posts. Eventually, we actually met IRL when Lisa came to Los Angeles last year. Lisa is a woman of many passions: bike riding (“cycling”), knitting, play scripting,  teaching, stimulating her grandchildren’s growing minds, reading, traveling, and of course writing (I’m sure I left out a lot!).   I consider Lisa a dear and supportive friend who has given me many tools and tips for coping in my personal and professional life.

3.

Empty House Full Mind. Sharon Greenthal.

Sharon is one of  the founders of  Midlife Boulevard, a community of women who blog.  I joined that group a few years ago and met some like-minded and similar-staged friends. Sharon’s posts on her personal blog and other online platforms cover versatile topics including being a “mentsch” in social media, dealing with empty nest syndrome, perspectives on marriage, relating appropriately to adult children, and appreciating the good in our middle aged lives.  Sharon’s subjects are relatable and timely but always with an original twist that keeps me entertained and enlightened.  Her material is a reality check reminding me to laugh, relax and enjoy the ride. Sharon recently  became a columnist on About.com as their  expert in young adult parenting.  Thanks, Sharon!

4.

Friend for the Ride. Barbara Younger.

Barbara, a fellow grandmother was one of the first people that I met as a blogger. Barbara ran a guest post of mine and the rest is history.  Recently when I had a health scare that related to  menopause, Barbara gave me the encouragement I needed (and everything worked out well thank G-d!). You see, menopause –and everything tangentially related to it – is Barbara’s niche and expertise. Barbara is a hoot and expresses  serious medical topics with refreshing humor and candidness. Barbara’s bravery and optimism along with the accurate information that she posts are what attracted me to her blog. Her stories about being a grandmother and mom who juggles the sandwich generation are always relatable. Thank you, Barbara for being there.

5.

Grandma’s Briefs. Lisa Carpenter.

Lisa’s blog struck me from the beginning as the consummate “Grandmother Blog.” I loved the way Lisa gave her grandsons anonymous “bloggie” names on the blog. (Check them out on her blog in the sidebar). Lisa’s sense of humor, down to earth writing and really professional layout are what got me coming back. Lisa’s recent subjects on her blog have been movie reviews, combatting weight gain around holiday time, and other family matters. Lisa is the coordinator of an event where bloggers contribute their best post in one spot. She calls it the Grand Social and holds it weekly, inviting other grandmothers to submit their links on any topic (even non-grandmother topics – just no sales).  Lisa loves traveling and can often be found visiting her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in nearby Arizona. Check out some of those fabulous photos and videos  she takes of her grandsons. Thanks, Lisa for the inspiration.

6.

L.ife in the Married Lane. Rivki Silver.

Rivki, SAHM mother of four, musician of too many instruments to count (clarinet, piano, saxophone and more) published writer, and performer,  blogs (in her free time…) a potpourri of ideas including Judaism, parenting, music, marriage,  motherhood and general “of interest” subjects.  Whether she’s covering serious or funny topics, Rivki’s writing is both engaging and gripping.  Check out some of  Rivki’s published posts and amazing you-tube videos where she articulates thoughts on spiritual growth and healthy priorities. Enjoy her musical selections such as “Ode to a Cosmic Carrot” that she’s composed and arranged. Rivki’s story about her spiritual journey and her gifts at combining technology,  spirituality and art with down-to-earth topics, inspire me to personal growth.  Thanks, Rivki!

7.

Nina Badzin, Writer.

In the beginning I read Nina’s blog to gain insight from an accomplished writer and blogger. I saw how vast her publishing experience was and I wanted to learn from her. But soon I realized that I was learning more about character traits and relationships than about knowledge on how to write. Nina has an intuitive sense of honing in on a theme and  is the go-to person for  how to navigate the complexities of social media;  I read her  friendship advice column and am amazed how spot-on she is. Nina seems to get so much done in a day that often I’m dizzy (in a good way) after reading her posts. From Challah baking groups to the myriad books she devours and reviews…. to the creative things she does with her cute kids, to her ambitious yet pragmatic outlook, I’m constantly inspired. But what I most enjoy about Nina’s writing is her solid voice with a sense of who she is and who she aspires to be. We can all identify with her  practical and sensible advice that always has a positive and hopeful tone. Keep teaching, Nina and thanks!

8.

Out of the Orthodox Box. Ruchie Koval.

Ruchie Koval’s blog’s title is reflective of her mission to bring Orthodox Judaism out of the box or to demystify the customs and practices of Orthodox Judaism for the Jews of all ages, affiliations and levels. Besides being the the author of the newly published book, Conversations With God,  her articulate posts offer perspectives on hosting unaffiliated guests for Shabbat meals  , a young Orthodox girl’s  conviction to wear a skirt for gymnastics, Orthodox Jewish women covering their hair after marriage, parenting, and relationships. Ruchi and her husband are the dynamic team who run the Cleveland program of Jewish Family Experience or  JFX, an organization for Jewish outreach. They, their seven children and staff  bring  Jewish people back to their roots through lectures, programs, entertainment and trips to Israel. With raw honesty and sincerity,  Ruchi breaks down complex issues into little understandable bites. Thanks, Ruchi.

9.

Rebecca Klempner’s Blog.

Rebecca Klempner, my IRL friend before my blogging friend,  was the one who got me motivated to get into blogging. She is the mother of four, science fiction fiend, and talented author of children’s book. Additionally, she has published anthology collections online and on the website Tablet magazine, and countless short stories and essays. A regular contributor to several print magazines and periodicals, Rebecca has become the go-to person in our community for knowing the ins and outs of the publishing world. Rebecca’s blog is about writing including her journey as a writer, her writing process, struggles and successes in composing essays and novels, news about her new publications, and general tips on writing for all of us readers. I always learn about the industry and the craft of writing when spending time with Becca or reading her blog.

10.

Renee Jacobson’s Blog.

Talented artist and painter, writer, blogger, lover of cute hats,  Renee and I met when she organized a Hannukkah Hoopla blogging event for a group of bloggers in December 2014. After that, we became fast Face-book friends (love that alliteration…) and Renee even painted a set of colorful canvases (!) for my new kitchen. Renee’s creativity in fashion, writing and teaching are only a small part of who she is. I’m happy to have met Renee online and look forward to meeting one day! Maybe you’ll come out to LA and give an art workshop. Who knows?

 

My wish for the coming year is that we continue to enjoy to gain inspiration through reading, writing and sharing our thoughts. Happy 2016!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


10 Similarities Between Zumba and Life

I’ve been taking Zumba classes on and off for the past few years. I enjoy the fast paced music, the steady beat, the can-do feeling I get from the simple (ish) steps. The hour session really flies by quickly, and I love the satisfaction I get afterward knowing that I’ve put in a good, calorie-reducing hour of exercise.

About a month ago, while dance-moving around a few feet behind the teacher and focusing on doing things more or less correctly in an attemped  coordinated manner, I suddenly realized something.

refocusing-exercise-12768020292775PPVD

My insight was that many of the Zumba  instructions (and with other exercises as well – swimming, aerobics, physical therapy) mirror rules for life. Each time I would come back for my twice weekly session, I would feel as if I was getting a session in self esteem and relationships.  It was funny (to me) how I just kept thinking about these things over and over while the teacher called out her Zumba prompts.  I had to put it down in a blog.

What was stranger was that about that time, a blogging friend, Nina Badzin,  wrote a post that was published over at the site, Kveller,  about how yoga reminds her of certain Jewish values of tolerance and friendship.

Wow. I thought that was an odd instance of synchronicity.  But then again, there’s really nothing new under the sun, so I went with the thought that maybe I was onto something with the Zumba-life skills thing.    And here’s what I’ve come up with.

  1. KEEP YOUR TUMMY IN: The tummy is considered the core of the body and is supposed to be kept tucked in when doing movements. In life, we have to be cognizant of what our core, our identity is. Keeping the tummy in is like keeping our identity card in our pocket at all times.

  2. WHATEVER YOU DO TO ONE SIDE, FOOT, ARM…, REPEAT FOR  THE OTHER:  A standard procedure in Zumba to balance movements on both sides of body. In life: We have to keep all segments of our life – physical, social, spiritual – active and in tune.

  3. FORM IS EVERYTHING. In Zumba, a lot of attention is paid to positioning of toes, hips, back, chest while doing the movements.  In life it’s not about what you say sometimes, but how you say it. Tone, body language and facial expressions are super important.

  4. GENTLE LANDING:  You know? Like when you sit down, bend down, put a foot down on the ground with each step? When offering help to others, best to do it as gently as possible.

  5. PAY ATTENTION TO REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR: It’s all about self-awareness and honesty in life’s relationships.

  6. BREATHE IN AND OUT: In Zumba…and in all of life, don’t forget to breathe

  7. START AND END WITH STRETCHING: To me, this is a metaphor for a constant self-assessment where we try to set goals for ourselves, which is a recipe for stretching and growing.

  8. KEEP THE BOUNCE IN THE STEPS: Zumba is full of springy dancing, which reminds me to have fun in life. Life can be challenging, but it’s always better to laugh and enjoy (if possible!).

  9. FOCUS: – All important skill for every day life.

  10. BUILD UP GRADUALLY: In zumba, all exercises and life, it’s important to start small, and take things one step at a time. It doesn’t do any good to take things too fast, because then you fall flat on the seat of your pants!

That’s all I thought of for now. Any similarities you gals and guys find between exercises like Zumba and life?


Writers Wondering About Writers

A few weeks ago, writer Kristen M. Ploetz wrote an article called “Nine Questions I Wonder About Writers,” where she invited other writers to answer some questions about their own writing.    Some of my blogging friends, Nina Badzin, Rivki Silver, and Rebecca Klempner  followed through on their respective blogs with extremely insightful answers to Kristen’s questions. I read and enjoyed  their ideas, and commented on their blogs.

I briefly thought about following suit on my own blog, but wasn’t sure whether I had enough material in my conscious mind to respond coherently to many of the questions.

Anyway, today I decided to stop overthinking, and to formulate Kristen’s answers on screen, thereby sharing my process with you.

Here are Kristen Ploetz’s questions in bold, followed by my answers:

1. Do you share your work with your partner or spouse? Does it matter if it’s been published yet?

Yes, I often share my work with my husband, usually before I submit to online or print magazines.  I print out hard-copies of the drafts and he goes through them with his pen, circling and commenting on material that he thinks is not working  My husband is an avid reader of sci-fi and math books so he knows what does or doesn’t work clarity-wise! He also tells me if he thinks something is not ethically okay to write.  I don’t share my blog posts with him, though. Those I just write, edit myself and post! Now I’m thinking maybe I should share some of those with him too before publishing…hmmmm.

2. How much of your family and/or closest “friends in real life first” read your stuff…let alone give you feedback about it?

My mother is my biggest fan and reader of my blog and other material. Not kidding! When I first had my book published, I was told she went into the local stores and made sure my book was prominently displayed. Ha ha.  A mom’s job! But seriously, some friends and family follow my blog, read my posts and often comment. Others don’t and that’s just fine.   I write for a weekly print magazine, Binah Magazine, and I often get spontaneous comments  from people whom I meet out and about,  telling me they enjoy my writing. Regarding feedback, I generally go to my husband for that, even published stuff, because I trust him to tell me the truth.

3. What do you do with the pieces that continually get rejected–post on your blog? Trash? When do you know it’s time to let it go? 

Usually, after a piece is rejected, I just put it aside. I can’t deal with it right away, because I’m too close to the situation and topic at that point and I’m kind of tainted in my opinion  of the piece initially. But I keep it in a file  and then sometimes come back to it,  edit and tweak it, revise, and then often resubmit, with success. Sometimes I put a condensed version of it (if it’s too long) on my blog, or use parts of it later for other pieces.

4. Are there pieces you write for one very specific place that, once rejected, you just let go of, or do you rework into something else?

With one particular site, I’ve submitted  different pieces repeatedly over time, and have been continually rejected. I’ve been told my style doesn’t speak to them. I tried reworking the rejected pieces into other forms or styles, and written completely new pieces. But so far no luck there. Something tells me it’s time to let that one go already, and realize that it’s not meant to be.

5. What is your main source of reading-based inspiration (especially you essayists)? Blogs? Magazines? Journals? Anthologies? Book of essays by one writer?

I like self-help books, blogs, magazines, and novels. I don’t enjoy anthologies (of myriad writers in the same book) so much. I generally get through half the book and then stop, or pick out the few writers whose writing I can relate to.  I enjoy Jewish non-fiction and biographies also. Regarding essayists, I enjoy humor writers. When I was a kid, I read a lot of Erma Bombeck’s books.  I also like articles on writing, such as William Safire’s work,  and satirical writing by Russell Baker.

6. What tends to spark ideas more for you: what you see/hear in daily life or what you read?

When I read other people’s blogs, I get sparks of ideas from my own life for future writing. But most of my ideas come from my own experiences in life as a mom, mother-in-law, daughter, friend, etc. When I have an inner conflict or some issue in a relationship, I try to figure out what went wrong, and to find some insight and humor in it. Then, when I have clarity I write about it. Incidentally, the material for  my book came about, after I experienced bumps in my new role as mother-in-law and then grandmother, and wrote about those experiences.

7. Who have you read in the past year or two that you feel is completely brilliant but so underappreciated?

There is an author, Riva Pomerantz, who writes books, magazine articles and online material for the Jewish Orthodox audience, and is completely brilliant, in my opinion. I love her stories, characters and also the dialogue she writes. I could never write such perfect and natural dialogue! (not yet, at least!).

8. Without listing anything written by Dani Shapiro, Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, or Natalie Goldberg, what craft books are “must haves”?

I started a book by Elizabeth Berg, which was very helpful to me.  I need to go back and finish that. Someone recommended William Zissner’s “On Writing Well” as a must have. I once wrote a post about improving our writing craft. So now I’m going to re-read that post and start to follow my own advice!

9. Have you ever regretted having something published? Was it because of the content or the actual writing style/syntax? 

I think the longer I write, the more I regret writing stuff. I think it’s because I become more honest in my storytelling.  and venture into areas that may have felt unsafe for me to touch in my earlier writing years. Recently I published a piece for a certain magazine and went back and forth in my dilemma while I was writing it, whether to submit or not.  Even after I submitted it and it was accepted, I worried that I would regret it. I recall emailing the editor and asking her if she felt it needed tweaking. (True story). When they sent me the final draft, I toyed with some phrases, trying to reword to make it more p.c. But in the end, I just left it as is.  And my husband backed me (he’s my reality check!) Anyway, now that it’s published, I’m trying to let it go and realize that it’s important to tell a story as is, even if it feels raw to do so.

So there you have it. My 9 questions answered. Thank for reading, and thank you, Kristen for writing up these questions for all of us to answer!

Happy writing and reading to all!


Subscribe to Blog!

Would you like to be notified of new posts? ENTER YOUR EMAIL HERE please and then look out for an email to CONFIRM your subscription.

Proud Member of Midlife Boulevard

Proud Member of Midlife Boulevard

Community

View Past Posts

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien