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latest by jen

Chin up, buckaroo

Do you ever notice how when we perseverate on good thoughts, we say we’re meditating on something… but when we harp on bad thoughts it’s called worry? I suggest that meditation doesn’t indicate good or bad. It indicates focus. When we worry, we’re still meditating, just on the bad stuff. The stuff we want less of, not more of. And by meditating on the worry; worry becomes your world. You can pretend you’re fine. You …

Studies show: Sticking a bead up your nose indicates entrepreneurial spirit

Every family has one. The child who sticks beads up her nose. In our family, the child looks like this: Of course, she always has a good reason. In this instance, she wanted a nose ring. You know, like the one Jasmine has in the Disney makeup tutorial I let her watch 50 times a day? Which made a lot of sense until I went back and watched that video (while simultaneously criticizing myself for …

The felicity of freedom

I do not feel connected to Israel’s independence, nor America’s. My heart does not swell enough on Yom HaAtzmaut, nor does it burst with pride on July 4th. I am neither a loyal patriot nor a faithful expat. I am clearly a spoiled brat. Or a heartless wench. One or the other. If I were put on the spot and asked why I am so numb when it comes to celebrating freedom, I’d choose spoiled …

Kindness is less expensive than you think

I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe table when I noticed a praying mantis slowly crawling on the arm of the plastic chair next to me. I was sitting there because I had nothing to do but kill time  — 15 minutes to kill — until my scheduled driving test in downtown Haifa. It would be, in fact, my second driving test in as many weeks. I failed the first one. Since waking up with …

How peeling eggs turned me into Ralph Macchio

I think the majority of the world falls into two camps. People who don’t mind peeling eggs. And people who hate it with all their might. Peeling eggs, for me, is torture. It’s a slow torture, too. It’s painful to my senses. The uneven, unexpected cracks that may or may not lace the eggs once they come out of the pot. The stretch of the skin as you pull off the hard, cracked outer shell. …

An Israel Story Only I Can Tell

The title of my blog references my aliyah. Aliyah is the Hebrew word used when a Jew moves from somewhere outside Israel to Israel.  If you have been to a synagogue on Saturday, you might have heard the word also used to reference someone being called up to the Torah for a blessing. The word aliyah literally translates as elevation or ‘going up.’ My going up was from New Jersey. Depending on how much of …

Midterm exam in letting go

I imagine the ultimate test in letting go is when you die. If you progress into the afterlife or Heaven or stay put, cold in the grave (depending on your beliefs and spiritual affiliation), you get an A+ in letting go. If you turn into a nice ghost, just hanging around moving chairs and creaking doors ’cause you have  a few things left on Earth to clean up, you can probably bank on a C …

How I accidentally on purpose became that mystery girl

I have a tendency to say things I don’t mean. Or, rather, say things I mean, but wish I hadn’t said or wish I had thought through before saying out loud. This is not a new tendency. It’s a delightful and attractive trait I’ve possessed since the 2nd grade when my teacher Ms. Levin aptly, but inappropriately, nicknamed me Motor Mouth. Since moving to Israel, however, I’ve developed — like a nervous tick — a …

Unconventional workout

I started running. Yup. I’m a runner. A short-distance, short-time runner. For almost a month, I have been running for 15 minutes every day except for Shabbat. That’s it. 15 minutes. And it works. I finally found an exercise regimen that works. For now. Maybe it’s not enough for everyone, but it’s enough for me. For now. I’ve also committed to writing more. Tiny tidbits here and there. A blog or the start of a …

Sick with motherhood

I’m watching my 10 year old son move in and out of a sleep much lighter than I wish; his breath too rapid for my comfort. He’s disturbed. So am I. The muscles in my neck are tight. So are his. I realize just now my jaw is clenched. His knees move back and forth; the rapid shaking an effort to release his fear and pain. He’s home sick today. I’m home sick today. But …

The beet goes on

I thought the most interesting thing about today would be the beet. I pulled four beets from the vegetable drawer because I knew if I didn’t do something with them today they’d go bad tomorrow. I have a strange relationship with beets. I want to love them. I want to savor them like my friend Allison, who once said to me, “Mmmm…I love beets.” But I can’t. I just can’t. At best, I can tolerate …

This is best use of social media for social good I’ve seen in a long time

#Litterati   [vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/62367738 w=400&h=300]   And I’m playing in Israel. I hope you join us.

If i was a lawmaker, but then again no…

Today’s Daily Prompt: You have the power to enact a single law. What would it be? Wait for it. Wait for it. Wait for it. I would make a law that allowed me to make three more laws. Ha! Don’t ever try to limit me to just one anything! I will beat you at your own game every time. But, in all seriousness, as much as I love laws — and I do, I’m one …

Practice hard what you preach; then practice some more

There is what I preach and there is what I practice and there is sometimes overlap. All of my preaching is prepared and shared with good intentions. Yet there is intention and there is action and in between there is emotion. Emotion gets in the way, sometimes. A lot of times. Meaning, no matter how good my intentions, and no matter how loud my preachin’, my emotions trump. My emotions are Royal Straight Flush. Which …

Ideas that spread

I love TED talks. I love the concept. I love the execution. As a marketing professional, I think TED talks are often brilliant examples of storytelling and I often share them with my clients to show how delivery can reel a person into a topic that might be dense or unfamiliar. I have watched TED talks that seem to have nothing to do with my life — that are by people so foreign to me …

Friday writing challenge: 15 minutes of…

In Israel, Fridays are Saturdays. Which is to say — they are the first full day of the weekend. But Fridays aren’t Saturdays. For many reasons. For one, Friday is the day leading up to Shabbat — the 25-hour or so rest period during the week for observant Jews. We’re not observant Jews. But we’re not, non-observant Jews. I often refer to myself here in Israel as a Jew-in-progress. I am playing with my Judaism. …

How dog poop can change your life for the better

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a post about pet love. I got no pet love to give. Unless you are a fish. Then I’ll give you the best three weeks of your life. I am many things, but I am not an animal lover. More specifically, I am not a dog lover. Don’t worry. I’ve never hurt a dog. Or a dog owner. Try as I might with my evil eye. I get dog …

An imaginable future

When we first moved to Israel, I felt uncomfortable sitting on buses and in cafes. I would casually look around, trying to avoid notice, to see if there were any suspicious people or packages about; not sure, exactly, what my reaction would be if I spotted one. Over time I have found myself less and less suspicious. More at ease in public places, as it so happens, but still not at ease. “At ease” is not a behavior …

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  • Love |

Love is as close as the refrigerator door

When I was a girl, our refrigerator was stocked. Not just with food, but with memories. My mother liked to collect magnets from places she had visited — and while it’s difficult to remember exactly from where and from when, I do distinctly recall a trail of experiences splattered like…
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  • Nonfiction |

The day I didn’t break up with the Internet

My recent post about my disappointment in the behavior of the Internet (specifically as it related to a Twitter lynch mob against PR professional Justine Sacco) garnered a lot of traffic. I asked myself, “why?” Sure, the post was opinionated and related to a trending topic. But I think the…
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  • Modern Life |
  • Technology |

Why I am more appalled by the internet than by Justine

In the ongoing, yet soon to be old news saga of PR professional Justine Sacco, Gawker has surprisingly (not!) tarred and feathered a woman, and called it “reporting the news.” When I saw the #hasjustinelandedyet saga in a friend’s Facebook feed over the weekend, I was drawn in. It was hashtagging…
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  • Events |
  • Spirituality |
  • Technology |

Do your dreams predict your Facebook feed?

I’m entering dangerous territory. Dreamland. Dreams — and how they figure into our waking lives — fascinate me. I don’t remember which came first —  my vibrant dream life or my wonder for that version of reality. But both have been with me since childhood. What’s curious to me these…
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  • Philosophy |

The space between dreams

Fevered dreams Unfulfilled chills Can’t shake ’em off. The space there between awake and asleep Hot outside Cold inside A mystery understood only by the archetype of me. If I could write the space there between awake and asleep it’d be a bestseller. The book of the month for vampires and demons…
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  • Letting Go |
  • Parenting |

Life Lessons of Learning to Ride a Bike (Part II)

Who knew what a wealth of life lessons teaching your kid to ride a bike would provide? (Who knew, actually, what a wealth of life lessons parenting, in general, would offer. Not me! Can I have my money back? Just kidding… sorta…) Three years ago, I remarked on the magical…

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