So, we are going to get some of that hurricane here in the NE, a rarity in Philadelphia, so firstly, I want to ask that everyone in the hurricane’s path, be safe. Me, I’ll be fine, studying and testing for certification in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) through it. Working on laying the foundation for our new corporation, art in many forms, jamming out to the Police and Sting… you know, storm stuff. The month is going by so quickly since my vacation started, with just ten days left until I see the wife and kids again, so I’m excited. 

This has been my first Elul leading up to the high-holy days in September, I love the sound of the Shofar blown at our services, it’s very stirring. I’ve been very contemplative about my past and what I want to seek Tshuva for, so this high-holy day season will be a big one for me. I don’t know what it will be like for me honestly, and I’m a bit nervous truthfully, but it is worth it tenfold. This Elul, for me personally, is something I’ve searched for, for the better part of a decade now, forgiveness, repentance, and moving forward.  

Well, back to my studies in CBT and maybe some art, Shavua Tov!

So I’ve been alone for ten days now, and it has been a whirlwind of doing whatever I want, deep cleaning, missing my wife and kids, and studying. I’ve watched so many things streaming, I’ve gamed, I only eat when I’m hungry enough to feel it, it’s actually been nice in that respect. The one problem I’m having is that as I am deep cleaning, my back is getting wrecked worse and worse from the Ankylosing Spondylitis. Today is the tenth day of 30, yet it is the second time I’ve had to take off from almost everything due to pain. 

I have had two days out of ten whereas I wasn’t deep cleaning a large house, working, and on the go, and that was because my back gave out on me almost entirely. So today, like once before during my being home alone, I am sitting in a chair, hardly able to walk down the stairs and to the kitchen. I’ll be honest, it’s a bit depressing, especially since I can pick up each of my 120-150 lb sons and walk around with them with ease when it isn’t so bad, and that I’d given so much of my life to the martial arts…

…but that’s life’s way of pushing us out of our comfort zones and forcing us to grow as people. I am alive, I have a place to stay, I have food and clean water, I have a computer and the internet, I’m doing pretty swell. I have a wife and kids and a mother who loves me, Life could be a lot worse. I am working on strengthening the muscles to support my back issues, but this may in fact be my new normal, so not the end of the world, more like a new beginning. 

While this may be a vacation for the kids, it has not been so much for me (cleaning and in pain from it) and my wife (as she has all four kids by herself). That’s who this whole excursion was for though, the kids/grandparents, and they are having an amazing time out there, with their amazing mother at the helm. Having to celebrate Shabbat and Havdallah alone, was a whole new experience, I much prefer it together with Sam and the kids. So for me, this is in no way a vacation…

All of that aside, I’ve been working very hard (aside from cleaning) for Beyond Barriers and on a secret project my wife and I have been working on that’s going to launch soon. I’ve been studying and practicing Judaism, it’s pretty much my life, and even have another meeting with my Rabbi tomorrow (which I’m uber excited about). I’m always looking to the sunny side of life, even when bad things happen, and that’s really a first for me too. 

Tomorrow, July 30th is my birthday and although I’ll be 43 years old, it’s my first birthday as a convert. Today I had a great lunch, we’re going to my mother’s house tonight to celebrate with a birthday cheesecake and pizza (4 kids and 3 adults… we’re outnumbered!) and then tomorrow I’m having Halal Guys for my birthday dinner. It’s been a pretty awesome lead-up to my birthday honestly… 

Then on the 31st, my wife and four kids leave for NC for a month-long visit with my wife’s parents, while I’m home with our two cats… Paaaaartay jk jk!

It’s especially special for me that my first birthday as a convert and it’s on Shabbat, it truly lends meaning to this day in so many ways. I don’t believe in sheer coincidence, I am absolutely positive that this is how it was meant to be in my life and everything seems to be showing me as much. I am truly grateful for all Hashem has done for me and given to me and my family and mere words cannot express the depth of my love for Adonai. 

Anyway, I am excited for tonight and tomorrow and if I don’t get a chance to post here, Shabbat Shalom!

The kids nor my wife have seen her parents in almost 2 years now, so we all planned that they would go from Philly to North Carolina for a month in August. I’ll be staying home with the cats and keeping an eye on the house, so we will be a part for 30 whole days, me here, Sam, and my kids there. Needless to say, this is a long vacation and a lot of planning has gone into it since February I believe. Last-minute, just six days away from them leaving on this adventure, we’re still making preparations for both their greyhound journey, and my being alone.

Yes, I am plenty old enough at nearly 43 in a few days from now, but we still need to clean the house up a bit, buy finalized things I’ll need, plus I want to plan for all of this alone time. I mean, it will be one entire month for me to set up,  and get things done, without distractions! 

I have been exceedingly busy with work and getting everything ready for both my birthday and the family leaving for a month. Therefore, my posting here has remained almost daily with at least new articles, but otherwise slower, but still steady. I have a ton planned for this website while my wife and kids are visiting the in-laws, so be sure not to miss the August posts. I can’t wait to share all of the new content coming…