Sunday, October 30, 2016

My Choice for Hero of the Year

Each year CNN presents  an award to one person among thousands who have been nominated for Hero of the Year.  Out of that huge group, ten finalists are chosen and viewers can vote for their choice.  Carrie Meghie didn't make the top ten, but she's my choice for Hero of the Year.

Often it's the seemingly trivial things that are overlooked when a family is in crisis. Trivial things, like getting to the hospital or even if you do, the high cost of parking.  When Carrie's infant son spent the ten short months of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, she was with him
every day, but she noticed that many other parents weren't able to visit their infants because of the high costs of transportation and parking.  So to honor her child's memory, she vowed to help parents meet those needs.  She and her husband started the Jackson Chance Foundation and have raised over $1.5 million dollars to pay transportation expenses or parking fees for parents of infants in the NICU.
How many people would have thought of this small yet large way to ease the worries of parents who long to spend time with their babies but can't afford to do so?

Why did I choose Carrie, even though she isn't a finalist?  When my husband Ralph was in the hospital battling leukemia, I spent over $2000 parking in the Texas Medical Center even though I bought monthly parking passes at a reduced rate.  So I know first hand how parking fees can eat up funds.  That's one reason why Carrie is my Hero of the Year.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Books of September

 Crossing to Safety, which was written some time ago, follows the lives of two couples who meet when they're beginning their careers (well, the men are) and follows them as their lives intertwine.  Careers, births, tragedies and so on.  The best part of the book is Stegners's vivid descriptions of the landscapes.

Suspenseful story of a mission to get a famous scientist out of Auschwitz.

I picked this up at the Atlanta airport when I ran out of books on my Kindle.  I enjoyed it.  Another World War 2 story, this time of a young Jeiwish woman who poses as a Christian and goes to work for the Kommandant of the Krakow occupying forces.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

October 16: Remembering

My husband died eleven years ago today on a bright October morning after a courageous battle with leukemia.  Sometimes it seems like yesterday; sometimes it seems like an eternity since I've been without him.

The following poem is sometimes included in the memorial service on Yom Kippur.  I think it speaks to anyone who has lost a loved one:

In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.

In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.

In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.

When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reunion, Reflection, Repentance, Remembrance

At sunset last Sunday Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began.  This Tuesday evening Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins.  Unlike the secular New Year in January with parties and balloons, the Jewish New Year  is a time of reunion, reflection, repentance and remembrance.

Families reunite to celebrate the coming year, always sharing apples and honey to symbolize a sweet year.  I always spend one of the High Holidays with my sister and her family in Atlanta and this year it was the New Year.  This will be an important milestone year in her family when three of her grandchildren celebrate their Bar Mitzvahs, their entry into adulthood with their first time to read from the Torah.  My sister's family belongs to a small congregation in suburban Atlanta.  During the Rosh Hashanah service, the ram's horn, the Shofar, is blown.  With a sound like no other, it calls us together as a people.  This year a dozen or so young men stood before the congregation and blew their Shofars all together.  It was a lovely service.

Reflection is part of the change of years, of seasons.  Who am I?  What is my goal, my purpose? What can I do in the coming year to be a better, more ethical, more generous person?  Even though we look forward to the next 365 days, there is something about autumn that invites reflection.  The falling leaves and the shorter days remind us that life is fleeting and that each of us should live the best life we can.

Repentance is the theme of Yom Kippur, the day in which we communally confess our sins and ask forgiveness, not just from God but from people we have offended, hurt or overlooked during the past 12 months.  Hardest of all, I think, is to forgive ourselves, but we should try.

Remembrance is another Yom Kippur theme.  During the holidays we recall those who are no longer with us and, we have a special service called Yizkor to remember loved ones who were part of our lives.  This week's quote will be my favorite Remembrance poem.


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