“Valentine’s Day” – #MSDStrong

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have the normal connotations anymore. It doesn’t mean red hearts and love. It doesn’t mean going out with friends or significant others and celebrating relationships. It all changed last year. No one had a say in giving up this day of love every year for the rest of our lives. It just happened that way.

Today is Valentine’s Day. I don’t celebrate with a significant other. I celebrate with my girls. We get wine, ice cream and watch movies all night. It’s a day to be thankful for those you have. Not to mourn those lost.

February 14th 2018, that all changed. I can’t gather with my girls and laugh carelessly about boys of the past. I can’t eat ice cream and lose myself in wine-induced thoughts.

I have to mourn. I have to think about the 17 neighbors of mine who were taken from us in America’s largest mass shooting. I have to think about my community and how our home was hit. Especially this year, on the one year anniversary, I feel worse than ever.

I’m away. I’m across the world with no one here who understands. I want to be with my community, my family. I want to join hands with my neighbors and feel the empowerment of numbers. I want to light candles for those lost and share stories about the good times they had.

This day is forever changed.

Although I sound cynical I do believe we need to find a way to make this day a positive one. A celebration of life rather than another funeral. If we treat it like a funeral, if we don’t turn this into something positive, he wins. And he can’t win.

Gather with your loved ones. Buy chocolate and flowers. Dedicate this day of love to our 17 angels. Celebrate their lives and yours as well. The world is a scary place sometimes but if we search for the beauty in it we can make a difference. Our community is so strong and I’m forever positive, passionate, and proud to be an Eagle. Happy “Valentine’s Day.”

Smile Through the Fear – A Trip to the South of Israel

On my trip to the south, we visited a kibbutz called Ein Hashlosha which is about a mile and a half from the Gaza border. This community experiences rockets weekly, but this is an improvement. At one point, I learned, they were being attacked up to six times a day. Like the playground discussed in my last post, safe houses are within a 15-second sprint from any point where one might be standing on this kibbutz.

In May, before the school day began, the sirens went off and everyone sought shelter. The rocket happened to hit directly next to the elementary school in the community. Everyone was safe, but that might’ve not been the case had it been shot 10 minutes later when school was supposed to start.

Our tour guide told us he has four young kids. When asked what he tells his kids who have to grow up in this reality, he said he’s realistic yet hopeful with them. He tells them there is no reason to live in complete fear or stop living your life, or else Hamas – explained in my Gymboree post – wins. He also tells them that he hopes there will come a time when their days and nights won’t be interrupted by sirens and screams. Continue reading Smile Through the Fear – A Trip to the South of Israel

List of Warm-and-Fuzzies

Hello Friends!

I’m happy to announce that I have been compiling a list of things that make me genuinely happy.  I’m currently on my cross-country flight to San Francisco to visit my brother for the weekend and I find myself with some time to finally take what has been pounding on my frontal lobe for weeks and share it with you all!   Continue reading List of Warm-and-Fuzzies