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Lost and Found

Lost.......and found?

Lost…….and found?

Lost and Found by Miriam Hendeles

Here is a familiar scenario to which we can relate. You are rushing, stressed out and need to take care of something. You have deadlines to achieve. You are looking for something that you put somewhere safe.

It is not there. Maybe it is  your cell phone, or your sunglasses or your wallet.

What? Why? Where could it be? You look all over. In the drawer. Back where you remember putting it.

Gone. Panic.

You have no time to look more because you are late to the appointment that you had (the one for which you needed that item), and you must get there on time.

So you go. But you are worried about the item.

This scenario happened to our family in NY (where we were for a week) the other day on the way to a wedding. Substitute wedding for appointment. Item lost= expensive rings. Person stressed = not me, but another member of my family (anonymous to protect the stressed out one).

You already know how this story ends.

Lots of angst, lots of prayer (Hey, the jewelry had sentimental value, if not only monetary), and a bit of blame (Who was that worker, housekeeper who worked in the house the other day? They for sure took it!).

And then….we decided to trust.  Put some money in the charity box for a good cause.

Daven to Hashem that the lost items should be found…soon, by the one who misplaced it.

Well, the next day (after more searching and obsessing), my family left NY to travel back to Los Angeles. As I was coming out of security and heading back to the gate, I saw a text on my phone.

It was from the One Who Lost the Items.

“Found it. All because of your good wishes. Thanks so much. Love…”

Yay! Lost and Found!

Who was the Bard who said, “All’s well that ends well…?”

Photo Credit:

Gearing up for Gatherings

Hello everyone!

As I compose my post today, my family is outside preparing to have a barbecue. Well, that is for those who have arrived. You see, as is customary with our gang when we get together, everyone comes when they can…when they come..when they …well you get the idea. We are preparing lots of food, and I am feeling the angst of the Sandwich Generation.

Presently, one of my sons is putting the food up on the barbecue. Grandma – the matriarch of our clan — has gone shopping for all the food, and brought it over together with one of the cousins, who drove her around. Grandma is gearing up to direct the action.

The rest of my sons are out on errands and will be here shortly. Some of the other cousins will come as well, with the salad and some other food that they offered to make. My daughter-in-law is preparing some of the side dishes

My little grandsons  are scooting around on their scooters, taking turns with the bikes (most of the time) and having a great time.

Why am I writing all these seemingly irrelevant details? Well, one reason is that I am warming up as I have not written in awhile, and I am scrambling for material. No…kidding. Actually, I find that barbecue entertaining is in its own category. They can be challenging, and expensive, and chaotic, as well as fun, and exciting and fattening, and sometimes even stressful. And in writing these details, I take a look from afar at the action and events, and achieve some clarity and inner control over the seemingly challenging – albeit fun – gathering.

Never mind that my son does all the work. Never mind that it’s all outdoors on paper dishes and so there is no hassle with washing dishes and clean-up. Still – I find that barbecues can be stressful. When families gather together for summer get-togethers, after a long day of outings, it can breed very interesting family dynamics. Several generations under one patio roof  – or in our case – under one palm branch roof of our Sukkah, can yield some interesting interactions.

It can be a challenge to have fun when matriarchs manage, grandkids beckon, adult kids comment and stress surmounts. But it is definitely doable, and with some deep breaths, and some bracing, gearing and preparing, it will happen.

Ohhhh – I think I hear the rest of the company (or some) coming! Gotta run…


Simchas and Stress

This morning I woke up feeling charley horse, achy, and with a sore throat. As I reached for the Advil, I wondered why I was feeling this way. True, I had attended an out-of-town  family wedding the night before, and yes, I had traveled quite a bit the past few days both by plane and by car. But I didn’t do much exercise to warrant all the achy feelings; aside from a little bit of circling around the bride in a joyful dance, I didn’t exert myself too much. I didn’t drink any wine, so no excuse for a feeling of a hangover, and I didn’t even stay up too late.

So why was I feeling this way? Well, to quote my friend, a Bubby: “traveling and simchas are always exhausting.” (a Bubby quotable quote!)  There is just no way out of it.  If every day, we have the usual stress of work and the phenomenon called life, then when we travel on vacation, and/or when we participate in family occasions, we have a unique form of stress: SIMCHA STRESS.

Simcha Stress:

This unique form of stress- (for those planning it, and for others who are close to those who are planning the event), manifests itself in  heartache or physical aches. Simchas, which are supposed to be happy occasions, are peppered with little annoyances and bumps in the road. Simchas, which are joyous weddings, engagements, bar mitzvah’s, and graduations are often accompanied by deadlines, pressure, lists, shopping, expenses, and endless details that cause lots of tension.

Simcha – which means “happy” in Hebrew, produces anything but simcha, for many. But at the end of the day, no one is changing the word, “simcha” to “lachatz” which means pressure in Hebrew. Nope. No one is saying, “hey, can you come to my lachatz next week to be held at the Hilton Hotel?

 Time to Smile:

No Jewish person on the East or West Coasts is inviting their friends to their wonderful Pressure Party. Not any time soon.

You see, even though I have experienced my share of stress amidst simchas in the past (including the achy shoulder that I have right now!), I still feel that no Jewish family should be without a steady stream of simchas – happy occasions — in their life.

Stress and all. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Time to Count our Blessings:

I believe that simchas are what keeps us going. Simchas are the water that G-d sprinkles on our souls to fertilize our spirits to grow and soar. Simchas give us that message that G-d loves us, that life is good, that we are blessed, and that it is okay to feel happy and celebrate.

Simchas are times to socialize and accept mazel tov wishes.

And most of all, simchas teach us priorities, and help us realize what is really important. Even when little things go wrong and glitches arise, we keep our simcha as our goal — our families’ and friends’ happiness and joie de vivre.

Because when it all comes down to it, we can deal with a little bit of burnt chicken, canceled guests, and rain on the outdoor ceremony. After all is said and done, we can rise above the little inconveniences and feel gratitude to G-d for providing us with loving families, children, and grandchildren with whom to plan and celebrate simchas (and pressure too!)

Who is Daydreaming Now?

These days there’s a lot of talk about “over-scheduling” of children. Too much structured time. Kids don’t have enough time these days for good old-fashioned day dreaming. You know that behavior that we call “spacing out,” “tuning out” or “ADD” symptoms? Yeah, that one. Well,  here’s my thought on that: I say that grandmothers don’t have enough day-dreaming time. Yes, we run, we go, we text, we drive, we shop, we — and then we collapse into bed at night, and suddenly wonder why we are so stressed.

And then, stress may lead to daydreaming – but not the blissful, imaginative, positive kind. Something entirely different. Continue reading

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