Thoughts about Redefining Yourself

One day at a time.

Find a reason to get up every morning: some passion, some outlet, something fun... whatever helps you greet the day with an easy smile.

Dare to dream a small dream, and then a little bigger one, and, eventually, dare to dream big again.

Have faith that the delightfully unexpected does, sometimes, occur.

Throw yourself all in, cautions be damned.

Pen, Neal sent you a hug.
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Got a story to tell you

At last year's Jewish High Holy Days services the rabbi presented a task to the young woman who blew the shofar (ram's horn...sounding like the blast of a trumpet, it is supposed to Rouse us from laziness and complacency and encourage us to be better beings with other people and our environment and it also tells God that we are not just merely paying lip service to these ideas but we are serious with intent)

He gave her the task of finding another person to blow the shofar for the following year since she was a graduating senior at Yale University.

I felt like the rabbi was talking to me. I had the shofar at home. I had the shofar for about 25 years or more. But I was not very proficient at playing it. Probably because I hardly ever picked it up to practice.

I decided during that service that I wanted to be that person. I wanted to be the student of the shofar who would play the following year.

So I spoke to the young woman and ask her if she would teach me. I told her I knew a little bit but I needed to improve. She told me to send her an email.

I did send her an email. But she never responded to me. I did see her again at some point and she said to send her another email. I sent her another email. She still did not respond.

I decided it was up to me to learn. I looked on YouTube but the instructions I found there were not very helpful. I kept thinking that the only way to really learn was to keep playing it.

And so that is what I did. Everyday I would play for 5 or 10 or 15 minutes until my lips didn't work any longer. I felt like I was honoring Emilee, my wife who had passed from pancreatic cancer, by playing every day. I also felt a spiritual connection and some sort of grounding which enabled me or at least helped me in some way to deal with my grief.

I started getting better and more consistent. Until one day I felt confident enough that I could put my lips to the shofar and not question whether the sounds would be Clunkers or melodic.

One day when I felt particularly confident which isn't too often, before the surge of confidence subsided, I called slifka cntr (the Jewish Center at Yale University) left my name and contact information in case they wanted someone for the reform service.

I figured they would probably use a Yale student again this year but I thought I could be a backup in case they didn't have somebody. I really didn't think I would be contacted.

And then a new Reform Rabbi sent me an e-mail. Which I answered right away and then he called me. And that's how I got

To meet him today to rehearse.

I feel like I am being given a task which honors Emilee and all the others who have transitioned as well as those in process. A call to spirit to hear our commitment to keep learning and do our best to be authentic and to yessss, to find and follow our dreams.

I am not religious. Last year was the first time I was in a synagogue in 17 years. I consider myself spiritual but not religious in any way. I feel so blessed, so grateful to have this opportunity this year.

I thought you would appreciate this story.

Battell Chapel which is a part of Yale University campus, is a beautiful Chapel used for a variety of denominational services.

God's spirit or some universal spirit works in strange ways. And I love it.

I loved your post today. It got me thinking about the things I have gratitude for and all I forget to and often struggle to give thanks for. It made me think about the days I struggled to find a shard of light to pierce the darkness. How it is my dreams that give me reason, and how I don't ever want to stop dreaming. I wish for all of us to experience moments that are delightfully unexpected. I also realize that it truly is an ongoing learning process, an art and a gift to find delight in everyday moments.

Here is to many unexpected delights
Bill, 1 Very Palpable Hit like this comment
Thanks, Neal! That is truly a great story. Love it. are so delightfully more succinct than I
1 Very Palpable Hit likes this comment
I love this. So inspiring!!
Neal likes this comment
This Summer my youngest son encouraged me to learn to scuba dive. I have had hip/pain issues from side effects of radiation, so i was unsure I would be able to be proficient enough to be certified. I went through a local dive center and took one on one lessons which helped. I worried about the check out dive as bowel control can be an issue along with hip pain. But my son encouraged me on, helped me with my gear and waited patiently as I would run back to the restroom for one last time. When I received my Open Water Certification, I was so excited. It had been something I had wanted to do, but always family and time took me elsewhere.
Prior to my son returning to college, he and I flew to the Caymans for a week long dive trip. He set up boat dives with boats that had smaller numbers and told them in advance of my needs. They put my gear on as I sat on a platform, helped me stand and plop I was in. When it was time to come back to the boat, the crew helped to take off my gear in the water so all I had to do was pull myself up the ladder. It did help that the Caymans are known for no currents and that I had special fins for those with joint issues. My mask has tri-focals a gift from chemo and spending a month in the hospital wondering then if I would ever go home.
So all in all. Live life as much as you. I am forever in debt to my son for pushing me on even when I was hurting, scared, embarassed and just wanted to quit.
Neal, 1 Very Palpable Hit like this comment
I admire your determination and courage to persist in spite of your fear and discomfort. High fives and bravo.
Wow, Laura, what a great example of taking the leap and being transformed. Hats off!
True. I started communicating with old friends and make new friends over the net, till now I had been busy with managing family affairs and somehow had let my world shrink,but now I like to reach out to others! I also took up reading lot of spiritual books as an escape from thoughts of impending death. Cancer does not only change our body but also our thoughts.
1 Very Palpable Hit likes this comment
So true, Smita. Thoughts are still one thing we can exercise some control over, though, some of the time. It's a kind of revelation, I've found in living with cancer, to discover that I am not my thoughts or my body.
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Vital Info


July 10, 2011

Ontario, Canada

June 15, 1976

Cancer Info

Ovarian Cancer

June 28, 2011

Stage 4

over 6.1

Grade 3


The losses of my future and a good deal of my present.

You are as much about what you don't do as what you do.

You all do it. :)

Complementary therapies of massage, acupuncture, diet, meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer, and naturopathic medicine.

supraclavicular (aka scalene) lymph nodes, both right and left; pelvic, abdominal lymph nodes; fallopian tube. Brain 2016. Para aortic lymph nodes 2018.

They all want my tissue.

The gift of your presence is especially important.

Seek out all possible solutions.

Accept all the love and support that comes your way and marvel.

November 23, 2011

April 11, 2012

Twice so far.

I found a lump in my neck above my collarbone, and I had been having shortness of breath when speaking and exercising. Also tightness of upper chest when exercising.

TBD, Feb 2016 - Brain

Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope


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