ISRAEL: Is Balance Possible?

ISRAEL: Is Balance Possible?

Greeting to my Family

I was blindsided.

It was Family Day, or Yom Hamishpacha, as it’s called in Hebrew. The day that somehow ended up replacing Mother’s Day here in Israel. My youngest was so proud of the card she had made for my husband and me. She had colored pictures of balloons, and had written all the words on her own.

I smiled as I read lines of “To my dear family, all the things I want you fulfill,” and, “I love my siblings and I’m happy to be with you.”

The sucker punch came at the end.

“I want to wish for health for all the sick people in the world so that my mom can stay home with me.”

Ouch. A heartfelt painful dagger to the heart. I was caught off guard. She had never said anything to me about not wanting me to work.

I work part-time, only three days a week. I’m a nurse in outpatient oncology. I do important work, fulfilling work. I work because my salary makes a difference in our finances. I work because if I don’t work, it’s that much harder to get back into it when you do want to work.

And yes, there are days when I wish I didn’t have to work. There are also many days when I’m glad I do work. Yet like every working mother, I’m constantly tormented by the demands of both worlds and with the impossibility of finding balance. I think the emotional and mental balance is even harder to find than the physical, task-related balance.

And then, when I think I’ve found that precarious balance, I get hit by innocent words, words pleading for more love and attention than I’ve been giving.

All I can do is accept what is, and try harder. Try harder to be true to my needs and to give those I love what they need.

The question is how.

Any tips?

 

This is a post original to World Moms Blog.  Photo credit to the author.

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

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ISRAEL: The Empty Promises of Nostalgia

ISRAEL: The Empty Promises of Nostalgia

old letters

They sit there.

A mixed pile of emotions, long lost puzzle pieces of my youth that have surfaced with a surreal reminder of joy and heartache. A collection of recollections of the beauty and naivete of my tormented, confused yet vibrant teen years.

Pieces of papers and assorted mementos, all too precious for me to have thrown away, yet not important enough for me to taken them when I started my married life and moved away.

Yet here they are. Twenty-five years later they have made the journey overseas and have arrived in my home. When my parents cleaned out my childhood home before moving away, I once again couldn’t bear for these pieces of my youth to be thrown out without a second glance. Who knows what treasures might be hidden in their midst.

Now I’m overwhelmed. By the amount and variety of written correspondence I saved. There are letters from my first love at the age of 14, so beautiful, sincere and full of promise. There are tender letters from my husband back in the years before email and text messages. There are stacks of heartfelt letters from people whom I don’t remember, people I’m sure I thought I would never forget. There are letters from people whom I remember but am surprised to find out how close I used to be with them. There are blasts from the past like my old college roommate who by chance recently friended me on Facebook. There are cards and yearbooks full of short wishes and goodbyes.

Some comments make my heart go thump, while others like “ Don’t beat up too many boys.”, remind me of parts of my personality that I wish I could forget. There are words of friendship, caring, support and encouragement that warm the cockles of my heart. And I wonder yet again why certain people stayed in my life and others drifted away.

That’s the hard part of nostalgia, trying to make sense of things, trying to understand how you gently got rerouted to a path so wonderful yet so different than the one you had envisioned.

The empty seductive promises of the past are dangerous, for they’re not real in the present moment in time. They were real in a different reality when you were a different person. Yet even so, it’s hard to read your youth without wondering about alternate endings to your life story. The past is an enticing illusion, a strong magnet drawing you in and distorting the present.

Do you think there is any way to embrace the joy and wonder of what was without leaving both the past and the present a little less whole?

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

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ISRAEL: The Most Important Building Block of All

ISRAEL: The Most Important Building Block of All

Colorful building blocks

I love watching little kids discover the excitement of building blocks. Their pudgy little fingers slowly stack one brick on top of another squealing with amazement when the lopsided house they built comes tumbling down.

Kids might not realize it, but we all know that a house build on a shaky, soft or unsteady foundation will never weather the elements or the test of time. Our lives are the metaphorical houses built out of the relationships woven into them.

From our first day on this planet, are lives are all about relationships. No matter which way we turn we can’t escape them. Even when we force ourselves into seclusion we can’t escape the relationship we have with ourselves. From the moment we are born, until the day we die, we build our lives one relationship at a time. Some are loving and successful relationships, while others are draining and weaken the fabric of our self esteem and lives.

So what makes some relationships better than others? What is the one key element that is found in every single successful relationship? What is the foundation of every strong union between two people? What is the most important building block that lends strength to our very essence?

Respect. Not one sided respect. Mutual respect.

It’s a simple word that rolls easily off our tongues, sometimes even said with casual irreverence. The question is how well, if at all, do we put it into action in our day to day lives?

Think about every heated argument you’ve ever had with anyone and I can promise you that if you break it down to the basics, there was no mutual respect between the parties. Each side wanted something badly enough to not treat the other side with respect.

Treating someone with respect does not mean agreeing with them. Treating them with respect means that you can hear their point of you, you can disagree with them and still love them for the amazing person they are.

When there is respect, compromise is easy because it is coming from a place of love and appreciation, and it’s not a feeling of having given in. It’s a feeling of give and take.

So how do you put mutual respect into action. Simply put, you need to work hard at treating other people the way you want to be treated. When you treat with respect, you will be treated with respect.

What do you think is the most important building block for relationships?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Susie Newday in Israel. You can find her on her blog New Day New Lesson.

Photo credit to the author.

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

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ISRAEL: What Is The Key To A Grateful Life?

ISRAEL: What Is The Key To A Grateful Life?

Love yourself

Sometimes I laugh at myself. Sometimes I scold myself. On occasion, I love myself. Mostly, I just don’t understand myself.

I have a good life. I’m healthy, I have a great husband, 5 amazing kids, a job helping people (which I do wish paid more money, but oh well), a house, a car, hobbies and so much more.

I also see first hand, especially at work, the suffering and the heartache people go through and the resilience and determination they show. Yet for some reason I can’t seem to find the right way to live a consistently grateful life, in my daily actions not just in my head.

I am grateful for my life. Logically, I know that and I really believe that. Yet I can’t seem to translate that into a life of consistent happiness and acceptance of what is.

There are some people who live a life of gratefulness, through good times and bad times. They are people whom I envy because they’re grounded, they have direction and their entire being, not just their logical head, feels their daily consistent gratefulness. I have spent hours and days trying to figure out how to become one of those people. Just when it seems like I might be moving in the right direction, life throws a curveball and hits me in the head.

Yet even then, every so often, that curveball shows me a glimpse of an answer. Like when I wonder if maybe love is the answer. Maybe the key to gratefulness is learning to love yourself, with all your flaws, real and imagined. Because how can you be grateful for anything else if you are not grateful for the wonder that is you, with all its imperfections.

I ponder and think about it, but I’m not sure and for me, loving myself is such a hard task. Because I’m critical and at first glance all that I see is what needs to change. All that is wonderful and good takes second place.

But maybe, just maybe, “gratefulness=love of self” is the equation for a happy fulfilling life.

What do you think? How do you learn to live gratefulness, in your heart and in your being, not just in your head? How do you learn to love yourself?

This is a poem I had written a while back that I happened across and made me think about this whole topic again.

It’s irrational the way the mind and heart are miles apart.
Is it the heart leading the mind or the mind tugging at the heart?

You know you’re a good person,
You know there are things you do well
Yet there’s that voice in your head
Repeatedly making you doubt every step.

You know you have so much to be grateful for
You know you should be living each day at peace
At peace with yourself, your surroundings
Your choices, your mistakes and your life.

But your heart tugs at your happiness
Because it doesn’t believe your mind, eyes and ears.
And your heart contracts and beats dissatisfaction
Pumping envy to every vein, artery and cell.

You know the truth
You know the logical smart choice
But the bridge between knowing and feeling
Can’t seem to be crossed.

So you do more and more
To try to narrow the divide between mind and heart
But doing brings a short lived peace
Till the chasm widens again.

You do to feel
But you miss the point
Doing without gratitude
Just makes you feel even emptier than before.

“Mind and Heart” ©2014 Susie @NewDayNewLesson

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

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ISRAEL:  Don’t Let Evil Win

ISRAEL: Don’t Let Evil Win

EyalGiladNaftali

I’m writing this with tears streaming down my face. What everyone in Israel has been hoping never to hear, has happened. The three teenage boys who were kidnapped 18 days ago on their way home from school were found dead, buried together.

18 days of heartbreak, of feeling helpless, of hope and of unity. 18 days that have ended with the tragedy that we have all feared. During the past 18 days we saw so many glimpses of goodness and unity and support. 18 agonizing days and it’s so ironic because in Judaism, 18 is synonymous with life. In this case, it’s three lives that were brutally ended.

Tears are pouring freely. There is almost nothing on my Facebook wall this moment except an outpouring of grief and sadness. The whole country is in a state of mourning. From little children who have been following the news and saying psalms daily, to teens, to the elderly. We all have broken hearts and can’t even begin to fathom how Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali’s parents’ and families are breathing, let alone coping.

I wonder why there is evil in the world. I wonder how we can live in a world so full of evil and hate. I wonder why it is that so often we don’t see or appreciate all the goodness until something evil or awful happens. Do we need the evil in our world in order to appreciate the goodness? I hope not.

My heart is breaking and I am begging each and every one of you to make this world a better place. Be kind, do good and don’t turn a blind eye to evil.

May the memories of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel be of blessed memory. May they rest in peace and guide us in our quest to make this world a better place.

 

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Susie Newday in Israel. You can find her on her blog New Day New Lesson.

Photo courtesy of #BringBackOurBoys

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

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ISRAEL: We Walk A Fine Line

ISRAEL: We Walk A Fine Line

tightrope walker

I feel like a tightrope artist struggling to walk the fine line of life.

Not just a lone tightrope artist finding her balance without an audience but one who is trying to navigate in between a myriad of other tightrope artists, each of us attempting not to fall down. Life really is a balancing act, and not just because of all the daily tasks we each have loaded on our plates.

Life is a gentle precarious balance between right and wrong, love and hate, acceptable and unacceptable, pleasure and pain, righteousness and irreverence, wants and needs.

Every single thing we say and do has the potential to hurt someone or to make them feel happy. The potential to be viewed as right or wrong. The potential to be hailed and brilliant or to be regarded as dumb. The tricky part is that you can perceive something or mean something one way and it can be perceived in a totally opposite way.

And when then happens you get blindsided and knocked down, yet somehow you have to find the strength to get back up on that fine line of life and regain your composure and balance. It’s not an easy feat since it can happen quite often and each time you fall or get pushed over, you are left with invisible scars that leave you more afraid and more vulnerable.

I think of all the times I have caused others pain and all the times I have been hurt. I worry about the scars I’m inadvertently inflicting on my children because I’m not skilled enough to stay balanced on that fine line and because I stray from that fine line time and time again. But I’m human and need to learn to forgive myself.

Walking that fine line is scary.

How often do you fall down?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Susie Newday in Israel. You can find her on her blog New Day New Lesson.

Photo Credit:  Tauno Tõhk / 陶诺 ? Flickr Creative Commons

Susie Newday (Israel)

Susie Newday is a happily-married American-born Israeli mother of five. She is an oncology nurse, blogger and avid amateur photographer. Most importantly, Susie is a happily married mother of five amazing kids from age 8-24 and soon to be a mother in law. (Which also makes her a chef, maid, tutor, chauffeur, launderer...) Susie's blog, New Day, New Lesson, is her attempt to help others and herself view the lessons life hands all of us in a positive light. She will also be the first to admit that blogging is great free therapy as well. Susie's hope for the world? Increasing kindness, tolerance and love. You can also follow her Facebook page New Day, New Lesson where she posts her unique photos with quotes as well as gift ideas.

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