From Me to You with Gratitude

I stumbled upon an email dated Sept. 5, 2006 from my beloved friend, Rosanne.

Dear Dawn,
Your message for the High Holy Days touched me in many ways.  My kids have often teased me as I point out the beauty of nature in the little way you talked about.  And each day it is important for us to remember that each small thing is a blessing.
xoxo, Rosanne

I wondered what I had said, so I looked back. My message from 12 years ago still fits so I’m sending it to all of YOU:

Thank you
Every year at this time I begin to review my life; as part of that process I think of the blessings that are showered upon me.  So it is that every fall I write a letter to my rabbi thanking him for seeing into my heart and bringing me to this work.

But I must also thank all of you.  Thank you for sharing with me, your thoughts and feelings, for being honest, vulnerable, frustrated, hurt – whatever is true for you.  It is all of you that makes every day a joy.  Thanks for your emails and calls.  I love to get them.  Keep ‘em coming.  Never hesitate to contact me, I am always glad to hear from you.

Getting the glass past half full
My grandmother, of blessed memory, gave me the best gift one can receive in this life, she taught me to take joy in tiny things.  She did more than literally smell the roses, she remarked on the color of the clouds, on a previously unknown fruit, on how tall the gentleman on the corner was, and how sweet the watermelon was this summer.  Years after I graduated from college a friend from school remarked, “I remember how much you love trees.”  Trees?  I thought.  Then I remembered, outside my dorm window stood several birch trees whose leaves swirled and glinted in the evening sun.  I loved to lean out the window and watch them.

You can go through life thinking you need more when in fact you have a full life all around you.  I suspect that each of you has someone you love (or you wouldn’t be on an email list for couples), and you may also have parents, grandparents, perhaps a nephew or niece, some close friends, a favorite recipe, a song you sing well… or not so well, but you have a good time singing it.  Now is the month of Elul, think on the things you have.  How can you have more of what brings you joy in this coming year?  Should you take swimming lessons?  A dance class?  Should you start studying for an adult bar or bat mitzvah?  Should you start getting home in time to read your child a bedtime story?  Should you start reading aloud to your partner?  Should you invite friends over more often?

Twelve years ago I told my couples that what I wanted was more time with my family, especially for Shabbat. I’ve continue to work on that. Some months are better than others. But my goal is always to spend more time with the people I love. I can honestly say, I NEVER regret time with them. I will renew this vow and maybe share some of my Family Time Expansion Experiments with all of you. Feel free to send me suggestions.

Find something you want that will enrich your life and resolve to do it.

I no longer have my dear friend and I would love to walk around admiring nature with her for just one more hour. Tell someone you love them every day this month.

For this year, 2018, let me add these resources for the coming holidays:

Rosh Hashanah Basics
Yom Kippur Basics 
Joyful Introspection for the High Holy Days
Are the High HolyDays a good time to introduce my non-Jewish sweetheart to Judaism?

The two recipes you NEED!
Bird Bread Rolls 
To put on the rolls –
Dulce de Manzana(Sweet Applesauce)