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

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Is Prayer like an ATM Machine?

I once heard a speaker say before a large crowd “Listen, God is NOT an ATM machine!”  atm-machine-1355804210AhG

The imagery was great; I immediately pictured myself standing before the local ATM  machine, plugging in my card, and punching on the screen: 2 bills of health. 5 bills of livelihood, and 3 bills of a speedy recovery for that friend of ours.

As trite as the metaphor sounded, I   got his point.  It’s not a matter of demanding from God what we need. It’s not a matter of EXPECTATIONS. It’s a relationship, and we have to “give” to God as well in the ways that we know are correct. Continue reading


Sharing Sad Feelings

I can’t even bring myself to write a chatty and cheery blogpost. The past few days have been very sad ones for all of the world and especially America. The Connecticut tragedy is something that is unfathomable, and beyond belief. To use an old and tired cliche, I cannot wrap my head around it. Continue reading


The Grands

My son and daughter-in-law went somewhere the other day and left our grandson,  their two-year old son with us for a few hours. He screamed and cried so loudly when they left, “Mommy, Daddy,…” that I thought the neighbors down the block would hear. (some exaggeration here).

But seriously, he really cried like he meant it. He eventually calmed down and was a happy camper, but his method of communication that was so “real” and “honest” made me think about my own honesty in my communication.

Do we all express our feelings to our close ones like we really mean it? Or do we muffle our sound because we want to please the next person? Are we afraid to look bad so we don’t express what we really mean, or at least tell the other one  “Let’s agree to disagree,” rather than misrepresenting ourselves and our reality? Continue reading


The Ultimate Friend

Saw this somewhere on a Group that I follow:
“G-d doesn’t use an iPhone but He is my favorite contact.
He is not on Facebook but He is my best Friend.
He is not on Twitter but I follow Him nevertheless.
He doesn’t need internet yet I am connected to Him,
And although He has a massive communication system,
He never Un-Friends me, nor does He put me on hold.”
As I shared this on Facebook (the app that is on my blackberry), and then jumped at each of the “Likes” I got while browsing the internet, I decided I have a ways to go before integrating the essence of the above quote.

C’est la vie. It’s all about the process.

 

 

 

 


Another Chance

Second Chances are great; we just have to know to use them.

I didn’t make that slogan up. I read it somewhere (And I don’t remember where!), and the author expounded on that topic by explaining how after awhile the excuse or plea to pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease give us one more chance (remember as kids we begged our parents — or more correctly, “I” begged “my” parents…??)  is lame and stale. Eventually, we have to pay up, suffer the consequences, so to speak.

When I played piano for my professor back in college (or at weekly piano lessons as a younger student), I had the urge to start my piece of music a few times. Usually the refrain I would say would go something like: “Wait, let me start again…that doesn’t count..” and with a wave of my hand, I would take a deep breath, and begin the song again on the piano – from the beginning.

Until one teacher said to me, “hey, Miriam, start the piece one time, and keep going….”

Wow. What a concept. He was one tough teacher, but I did learn from that person to move forward, not backward.

So sometimes, we want to go back and correct our mistakes. Other times, we just move forward, and improve the future songs of our lives. Never mind the past. That is history.

On Rosh Hashanah, our rabbi spoke about how this holiday was two days – not one day. Even in Israel, where many of the Jewish holidays are celebrated for only one day, Rosh Hashana is still celebrated for two days. And why not? We need another chance, another gift to be able to pray better, articulate to G-d our praise and feelings, and to just do a better “job” at talking to G-d.

As our rabbi said, just in case we feel we “blew it” on the first day of the New Year, and didn’t get a really good “davening” (prayer session) in to our Hashem (G-d), we get a second chance.

Second chances work for me. I need that extra gift of time to process things, and improve. Revise, edit, and fix things up before turning them in.

And knowing that we (I) did our best is  all we can really want. When we feel secure that we did our best, we know we can move forward with confidence.


Fresh Starts – and a Happy Birthday Wish!

I can’t believe it is September already! Never mind that we (I!) have been counting down the days till date of my book’s release. Never mind all that.  Let’s forget about my book for just a moment (as hard as that may seem for me to do! Oy).

Let me take a big breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. There.

This is a time for introspection.

Even though, I – the grandmother – completely forgot about school starting last week, only to be reminded by my little grandson, “Omi – I started school today!” — still I feel the newness in my bones. The fresh start of the month of Ellul. The time to introspect, take stock of the past year, regroup for the New Year, and pray to the One Above for blessings in our lives.

It’s the month that school starts – that awesome place of newness that we grew up returning to every year – day after Labor Day! That amazing chance to start fresh every year with our new school supplies, new resolutions to do our homework, keep our books nice and neat, pay attention in class, study hard, follow directions….you know – all the “right” things.

And for me – this time of year is that special time that our family celebrates my mom’s birthday. My mom, may she live till 120 in good health and nachas – was born on first day of Rosh Hashanah in Bremen, Germany many years ago (I’ll be a good girl and won’t write her age, even though my mom is not shy about her age). My mom thank G-d defies her age; she is youthful, vibrant, active in many community and family activities, and is even a techno-computer-savvy grandmother.

Every year, our family has a tradition. We send my mother 2 cards in the mail. She gets them – a New Years Card plus a Birthday Card on Erev (day before) Rosh Hashanah – wishing her in advance a happy New Year, and also a Happy Birthday.

Some of my siblings and siblings-in-law write long, humorous and touching; amazing and creative poetry for my mom to read on Erev Yom Tov, and then to savor after shul on Rosh Hashanah itself. I write long, mushy and funny prose. (maybe this year, I’ll try a poem for a change…)

So here’s to a fresh start, Mom. A new year again. A happy and blessed New Year. Nachas from all the kids, grand, great grands, etc. Thank G-d!.

Here’s to my mom- my biggest fan, the one who dares to write cute comments on my blog, even if she has to keep changing her screen-name  so that people don’t realize it’s my mom! (just kidding!!). To the one who has already read my entire book – the one I sent to her from the pre-release carton that came for family only. To the one who validates me, compliments me and believes in me.

I love you, Mommy! Happy Birthday!


Glow in the Dark

My grandson came over for a barbecue last night with his Mommy and Daddy and little brother.  We were standing outside the house, and I noticed his new shoes peeking out from under the bottom of his pants. I said, “Hey, you have new shoes!”  And he answered, ‘Ya, and they light up? See?”

And then he stomped his right foot a few times on the sidewalk, and I saw some little red light flash.  I said, “Wow! That’s so cool! And what happens at night?”

“They glow in the dark!”

Continue reading


Correct and Consistent

I struggle with consistency. No, I’m not talking about the consistency of the texture in a baked cake or potato kugel. Nor am I talking about the consistency of the mayonnaise as it is mashed inside tuna fish. (although I have trouble getting my tuna so perfectly mashed —and one of my daughters-in-law is  by contrast amazing at making very consistently mashed tuna fish sandwiches!)

But again, I digress!

The kind of consistency that I have trouble with, has more to do with my commitments to myself regarding habits and goals.

What in the world am I talking about? (you ask).

Continue reading


Letting Go of the Remote Control

An all-too familiar situation:

Here’s the scenario:  I see something going on in my surroundings – whether with my adult kids, or with a close friend, or even with a colleague at work.  I think about it a lot,  decide I know better, and make an assessment. A voice inside me says “stay out of it” but I don’t heed that voice. Another voice says, “help them, get involved, say something.”

Eeny meeny miney moe. Which voice to listen to? I listen to the second voice – the busybody one.

CLANG! I realize immediately that I shouldn’t have! Voice #1  inside me says, “you knew better than to get involved….”

Proactive or Reactive?

There is a new word the past decade or so: proactive. That refers to taking care of things ahead of time, planning for the future so that there is more chance of success.  Pushing the buttons on the Remote Control – the mechanism that thinks we can control and take care of everything in the world. We are going to save the day.

Proactive is a great thing. But usually “proactive” is for one’s own life. Not someone else’s life.

In fact, when one gets involved in someone else’s life, it often only complicates things for them —– and for us. It doesn’t help.

Shouting (to myself!) to Stop!

So when I read about people in books and periodicals who have dilemmas “should I or shouldn’t I?”…..I want to scream through the pages of the book, “DON’T!….. Stay out of it! It’s a train wreck!” But then again, I can’t tell them what to do. It’s their life to live (even if it’s just a fictional account in a book!).I think unless something is in a  life and death situation, or in a case of abuse or serious danger, OR if that person specifically asks for help (and even then it’s probably best to refer to professionals – a friend should never take the place of professionals), then it is best to stay out of it.

Prayer and relinquishing control:

Sometimes I really have to protect myself from places that I am not equipped to navigate the difficult waves.  Prayer always is a good thing. We can pray for the well-being of others, let G-d take over, relinquish control. And then give them love and encouragement.  And finally focus on the one place that we were given power to change: ourselves.


Warrior Woman

I had arrived at a huge event of the “Siyum Hashas” last week on Wednesday. My husband came home from work early, so we could leave at 3:30 for the program that began at 4:45 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Downtown Los Angeles. There was no traffic surprisingly, and we parked, ate our lunch in the courtyard, rented binoculars, and submitted our pre-purchased tickets to the uniformed doorman by 4:15 pm. We were ready to go into the theatre and the doors were still not opened.

No problem. We sat in the huge lobby and relaxed. I heard my cell phone beep, and noticed a text from my mother who lives in New York. Noticing that she had sent me a picture attachment, I opened it, expecting to see the counterpart Siyum that took place in the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Instead, to my alarm, was a photo of my mom in a hospital room. Her face was all bruised and bleeding. She had bandages on her forehead. My mom was sitting on what appeared to be a hospital bed, fully clothed. Her eyes were as  blue as ever, against her flushed face. Except for the black and blue marks all over her face, she didn’t look too bad. (I guess……). If not for her huge smile, I might have fainted. But I stayed strong.

I called my mom. She didn’t answer. I sat there – glued to the plush bench, feeling quite worried. Here I was  in the expansive lobby, waiting to enter a theatre and watch a momentous exhibit of Jewish men celebrating the completion of a 7 1/2 year Talmud learning goal, and my spunky mom just sent me a scary picture of herself. Continue reading


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