Why is it that Valentine’s day is about flowers and chocolates and romantic gestures? These are things that make most people, not just women, happy 365 days a year. Don’t wait for February 14th to go out of your way to show your significant other that you love them. On a day that has been touted as a Hallmark holiday and one that men all over the world dread, here are a few thoughts on making not just today special but practices that we should try to incorporate into our daily lives as much as possible.
Giving. It doesn’t have to be a $150 bouquet of long stem roses or a box of decadent chocolates. I recently gave someone half a bag of Dove chocolates (I kept the other half) and every time we opened one, we sent the other person the sweet message that was under the wrapper. The sentiment lasted for weeks and those little love messages were even better than the smooth creamy chocolate inside.
Partnership. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in marriage and in being an Entrepreneur is that if your partner isn’t a partner, then you are better off going at it alone. Everyone could use an extra ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, another set of hands. Not just when it comes to work but also when it comes to a relationship. Know your partner – how to speak to them, how to listen to them, how to react to them and most importantly, understand them and what they need from you as their partner. Last year I wrote about the 5 Languages of Love – look them up, figure out what your partner is and learn to speak their language. Thank me later.
Respect. The way you speak to each other and treat each other…. alone and when other people are around…. says so much about your level of respect for each other. Treat each other the way you want your kids to treat other people. And remember that your actions speak a lot louder than your words.
Adoration. Remember in the beginning of your relationship when you truly went out of your way to make your new love feel special and loved. You may have sent them sweet notes, walked their dog for them, shoveled their driveway or picked up the phone in the middle of a chaotic day just to say hi and hear their voice. Maybe you had a cute name for them like pookie or cupcake or baby. Start again… let them know you adore them with little gestures….. use your pet name for them again if you haven’t in a while, leave them a little love letter. It will bring back memories of the early days and maybe create a new spark.
(card courtesy of http://www.elumdesigns.com)
Reflect. Granted we were a lot younger and dumber back in the 80′s and early 90′s when it came to relationships but remember when you didn’t have a cell phone in your hand 24/7? Remember how you had to communicate when you couldn’t send a text and you actually had to call someone and talk to them with the spoken word? We are all busy these days and caught up with our phones, computer and ipads and the endless amount of shows we have access to thanks to Netflix and AppleTv. Try to take a few hours a week (I initially wrote day instead of week and then realized how much that would be asking) without technology and focus on the person in your life without the constant interruptions. Enjoy the moment that you’re in without having to share it with the world on a social media channel.
Happy Valentine’s Day from WTHayley
Last Wednesday night I hosted an event at my house for the UJA in which one of the Rabbis from my synagogue spoke about bringing Judaism into your home. This post isn’t about being a super-Jew so just keep on reading.
Going into the evening I wasn’t sure what to expect. My Synagogue is reform and very family/community focused – (nothing like the one I grew up in where you feared the Rabbi or Cantor when they looked in your direction). The Rabbis are down to earth and up on the times. The head Rabbi reads his sermons on the high holidays from his iPad and our services are broadcast live over the internet. They are on FB, they tweet and blog and one, if not both of them will probably read this post.
The evening was truly special, invigorating and further justified (not that I needed it) my love for the community I live in and the people that make it what it is. Rabbi D didn’t come in preaching about saying prayers three times a day or mandating to us that we obey the rituals of Shabbat. What he did talk about were the little things, spiritual things, we can do daily or weekly, traditions we can start establishing now while our children are young and how we can use the basics of Judaism as a foundation for the things that are important to us, not just as Jews but as human beings in general.
My big takeaways were as follows:
Be Grateful: Judaism says we should pray to g-d three times a day. The first prayer should be said the second we open our eyes and we should be thanking g-d for giving us life for another day. How many times do you wake up and say ‘ugh, please give me 10 more minutes’ or ‘kids go back to bed I’m not ready for you to wake me up yet’ or ‘I hate Monday’s’. Whatever it is you are cursing probably sets your mood for the entire day. What if… when you wake up tomorrow, you open your eyes and you say to yourself or out loud, something that you are grateful for and think about how that gratitude is going to carry on throughout your day. Its been proven that people that write Gratitude journals and happier people. With the exception of today, I have done this the past few days and have to admit that my days have been a whole lot better because of it.
Give Back: The prayer that is recited in the middle of the day is the blessing for daily miracles. How often do you see someone struggling with a door and ignore them or pass someone that had just dropped something and you don’t say anything or the person in front of you doesn’t have enough on their metrocard and you give them a dirty look when they have to go back to the machine? Next time, do something out of the norm – buy someone a coffee, help someone in need, say something nice when someone is having a shitty day or swipe your card and give someone a free subway ride. Pay it forward or give back – either way, you’ll feel better about yourself and chances are you will have impacted that persons day and hopefully they will pass it on as well.
Life Lessons: At the end of the day we are supposed to be reflect on our day and ask for peace and that we may wake up the next day after a good rest. Tonight, before you go to sleep, think about what you learned today that you can take with you to bring into tomorrow and what do you want to leave behind. Go to sleep with a clear head.
Weekly Ritual: Weekly we are told that we should stop and take a break. Even g-d took a day to rest. Shabbat is what that day is for. We didn’t focus on the importance of lighting candles, going to temple or having challah bread. Instead talked about taking time to be with our families and people we love and doing something special – make Challah French toast on a Saturday morning, wake up and sing your favorite song with your kids or just do whatever you love that makes the time special between you and your loved ones. Not so hard, right? Put the phone down, stop rushing and take a break and just enjoy each other.
Bless Your Home: I realize this one sounds more religious but the way we discussed it was more about writing a blessing for your home that means something special to you and your family. Some people have a blessing that is inscribed in an Hamsa(the hand of Fatima) or in a plaque on the wall. Rabbi D gave us a drawing of a Hamsa hand with nothing in it and told us to sit with our kids and ask them ‘what makes this house a home or what makes this home special to you?’ Take their words or have them write them on the paper and color it in and make it their own. Frame it and hang it on the wall. Each time you walk past it, you will remember the time you made it and the little people that made it with you. Memories are what makes a house a home. (Hmmm, maybe I’ll put that in mine)
We each have things that make our home special or traditions that we have carried on from other generations. These little things are what makes us who we are and sets the precedence for who hope our kids will someday be. I truly hope that you can take just one thing from this post and bring it into your daily life – no matter what your beliefs are, we can all learn something from the teachers around us, like Rabbi Danny and Rabbi Z, or from the big man up above.
It’s been a while…. Sorry for being such a stranger. I’ve written a bunch of posts that I just haven’t felt the need to publish. However, tonight I was sitting with my daughters and we were talking about Thanksgiving approaching and I asked them what they were thankful for. The answers were so sweet and adorable from the little one (4) and the older one (6) may have been trying to find the ‘right’ answer. My youngest is thankful for: Ms. Jacklin and Marsha (her teachers), Evie and Lyla (her two best friends) and her toys. My oldest was thankful for God (hopefully my Rabbi’s are reading this and are thinking about my wonderful influence) and for ‘the food we eat and the world so sweet’ (which is a song she learned at school). They turned the question around to me and I told them that most of all, I’m thankful for them. Feeling a little emotional that this will be the first time in 6 years that I will not be with them on Thanksgiving, I used the best possible outlet I could find and wrote this…..
My little angels
How I love you so
Those smiles and faces
And blue eyes that glow
My little angels
How I love thee
Your belly laughs
And huge personalities
My little angels
How you make me smile
Your adorable dimples
And your fashionable styles
My little angels
How you light up my soul
Your tender little kisses
And big hugs that console
My little angels
Never change your sweet ways
May you love and be loved
For all of your days
I’m also Thankful for all of you who read my nonsense, support my nonsense and come back for more. You keep me writing… mostly about nothing but as long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.
Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday.
At all stages of life, we have goals and dreams and desires. But not everyone has Hope. Some people have it and then lose it. And sometimes, just when you think you’ve lost Hope, there she is, the top of her head cresting over the horizon and she comes into view again, determined, placing one foot in front of the other and pushing forward to reach new limits she never thought possible.
Sometimes, it’s not Hope alone that can get you to where you want to be, sometimes it takes a village or a team to help push you and motivate you and give you something to strive for.
And when Hope transforms into a tangible and successful outcome, you can look back on the experience and realize that without Hope, you may not have seen things so clearly or even pushed yourself as hard as you did just because Hope was by your side.
This weekend, I had the support of an amazing team and that team had Hope. We worked together, pushed each other mentally and physically and psyched each other up to get to the end of our 10 mile journey together. It was an amazing ride but not a minute of it would have been the same if it weren’t for Hope. I feel privileged and so very thankful to have you in my life.
Less than two weeks to go until Tough Mudder New England. I kicked my training up a notch this weekend with some ‘high altitude’ workouts in the Colorado Rockies with a fellow TM Teammate.
I talked a big game before the weekend telling him that I’m excited for hiking and work outs galore while I’m in town. In hindsight, training at higher altitudes is a huge advantage over my sea level lungs. Although I was sucking wind and hugging trees on the way up the Ute Trail, I still managed to make the trek up to the top of Aspen Mtn in just over 2 hours. Thankfully the Gondola was still running to take us back down to the bottom (during each I booked my deep tissue massage for the very next day). Shockingly, I wasn’t as sore as I though I’d be and attribute it to the massive amounts of Stair Treadmill hours that I log each week at the gym. The following day prior to the massage, I climbed the stairs for 20, ran at intervals for 20, lifted and did 100 crunches. My last day we hiked the Ute trail again shaving at least 5 minutes off our time from the hike two days earlier. It was still an ass-kicker but felt great. (Pic is of me at the top…. still smiling)
The weekend wasn’t all about working out though. As you’re probably aware from previous posts, I’ve been on quite the health kick the last few months. I haven’t had a piece of meat or chicken in 4 weeks, pretty much stopped having dairy (an occasional pat of butter or weekend cone at Marvel but whose counting) and have been pounding veggies and fruits along with fish, good carbs and natural fats. However, I am not one to deprive myself and if you know me, you know that 5pm on weekends (7pm on some week nights) is cocktail time and if it’s chocolate and in my face, chances are I’m gonna eat it. This weekend was filled with lots of naughty pleasures – i’ll just fill you in on the oral pleasures (actually that doesn’t sound right either) – wine, mojitos, squid ink pasta, fried calamari, rock shrimp tempura, a nutella and banana crepe, a hot dog (I only took a tiny bite) and certainly one of my favorites…. BACON (which in my humble opinion should be its own special food group). And I enjoyed every moment of my gluttonous indulgences. From now until the big day, I’ll be cutting back (notice I didn’t say ‘out’) on the bad stuff and pushing the limits on my workouts.
So while some of you may think I’ve lost my mind and transformed into a health freak, my philosophy is this….. If your foundation is rooted in a healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercising, then go ahead and indulge when that sweet treat or sugary cocktail calls your name and by all means….. enjoy it…. you deserve it.