Happy 5,778, L ’Shana Tova! Happy New Year!

For Jews, it’s the year 5,778. As I smell my brisket baking in the oven and cook my kasha on the stove, I’ve been thinking about the past year, and what I want to happen in the months ahead. New Years, whether Jewish or secular, is always a good time for reflection. If you’re not Jewish, you can always use the time to check on your secular New Years’ resolutions and still have time to course correct.

According to Jewish tradition, from Rosh Hashana until Yom Kippur, our fate will be sealed. Who will live, and who will perish. Really good hook — o.k. God, you have my attention.  I pray my future will be packed with light-filled events — right here on Earth… please.

I wonder what is in store for me next year?  First has to come the desire, and the next essential step is taking action. I adjusted last year’s theme. I wanted to continue with my practice of staying present, bringing as much Peace as possible to myself, and sharing it with others. I also wanted to add another piece ” learning to ask and accept help. That’s hard for me, how about you? It’s something I’ve struggled with all my life. I think because I didn’t have a lot of help from my family growing up, it’s like learning a foreign language.

I know in the next year, exciting things will be happening. I will finish writing my book and go through the process of getting it published. Sometime next year, my project of love about my life-changing adventure in Israel where we found ourselves touring incredible, sacred places and cowering in bomb shelters, will be born and ready to share with the world.

The next steps in my writing journey, will be filled with asking for help in an unknown land of editors, publishing, marketing — well, I’ve always loved to travel, so bon voyage…

The beautiful waters in the picture at the top of this blog was taken in Rosh Hanikra, Israel on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s located in the Western Galilee — a wondrous place with sea grottoes carved into the soft white chalk by the force of the waves. I love to share pictures of our trip to Israel. The beauty of the water always puts a smile on my face — I don’t know if you are like me, but before visiting Israel, I always thought of it as a desert. It’s true, there’s lots of sand and also the incredible beauty of Israel’s waters whether along the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea, in Jaffa port or at the hot water pools of Gan HaShlosha National Park.

In my family, we’re going through lots of changes. My husband and I this past weekend, went away — without our son. Strange. We’re about to become empty nesters as my son journeys off to college next year. No surprise, we all survived. We happened to go to Palm Springs, a place we’ve been to many times as a family. Consequently, the trip was a blend of remember when we did x with our son here and yahoo, let’s try something new…I even got my husband to take a painting class with me. It may not have had the profound effect on him like my first painting class, but I’m happy to report, he enjoyed it. Are you entering a new phase in your life too? The only constant is change — you’d think we as humans would be used to it by now. After all, even our cells change continually — why do we sometimes make it seem so difficult?

My teachers I’ve been studying, continue to inspire me and bring continued insight. My essential, daily meditation practice I’ve done for years, I learned from Deepak Chopra and Oprah. Jean Houston, as always, teaches profound lessons. Have you noticed that you have to be ready to hear something regardless how many times you have been told? Then in those magic moments, it’s as if the angels’ trumpets herald in the idea to you.

Another teacher, John Assaraf, of the 2006 book and film fame, The Secret is someone who I studied then, and now more recently. He’s the master of the Law of Attraction.

I was lucky to meet him in person last year when I was in a collaborative book with over 70 writers, Reach Your Greatness. His testimonial about the book was — “Achieving success leaves clues and this book is filled with hundreds of them!” If you’d like a signed copy, let me know at Penny@PennySTee.com. It retails for $24.95, on sale now, for $20.00 (shipping included). Such a deal!

John is the CEO of NeuroGym, a company established to help people achieve their life’s dreams by using scientifically-proven methods. He’s worked with scientists studying the brain extensively. I’ve begun reviewing his “Winning the Game of Money,” program. I’m hoping he’ll teach me how — college costs are looming… Another synchronicity, he was born in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Of course, part of my writing journey this past year continues to be my blog, www.PennySTee.com I’m grateful for those of you who follow my adventures and hope you’ll consider sharing my blog with everyone you know and a few you don’t : ) Like I said, marketing is my next challenge. Looking back over my blogs this past year, I’ve been interested in everything Israel, writing, Peace, spirituality and Jewish topics — no surprises there.

One of the things I think about during this time of year, is what I’m grateful for. Beyond my precious family and friends — in my writing world, one thing that comes to mind is my terrific writing class. I was graced first with meeting Maralys Wills, an accomplished writer and teacher at a writers’ conference. After taking my third class now, I know the input from everyone in the course is invaluable. The last chapters of my book will be finished in the next few weeks — phew, it’s been lots of joyous work. I hope they’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve been thankful to have them review my manuscript for feedback. Each treasured good, or occasional excellent makes my heart soar, each pertinent make this clearer or ?, essential to making my book the best I can. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

When I meet writing teachers along the way, I love to bring them to my writers’ support group, Writers4Writers, to share their wisdom no matter if it is for the craft, or business of writing. Maralys has spoken previously, and on October 21, Teri Rider will be sharing the “Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book,“released this year by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). Especially if you are thinking about self-publishing your book, you would want to attend. Knowing the hallmarks of professional books is essential for traditionally published authors as well.

My mind wanders next to family and friends — how blessed I am to have them in my life. My husband and I in August celebrated twenty years together. My son, always a profound presence in our lives, will complete his senior year, tie up the loose ends of his childhood and next year will set off on his own adventures. Thinking of my brother and my cousin, it seems everyone is about to make new life transitions and why not, they’re part of life.

Friends are part of our chosen family. Some friends, I get to see more often — like those who make my gym experience, tolerable. I’m grateful for their smiling faces and some, their awesome bodies to gawk at. O.K., I’m old, not dead.

I’m looking forward to seeing friends tonight at temple, it’s been too long. Everyone has so much going on in their lives. I’ve been a bit of a hermit with my writing career — writing is not something you do, initially at least, in a group. Other long-time friends I’ve been blessed with, please know you are always in my heart, if not on the other end of my cell phone. This is when I get a subtle hint from the Universe, I need to do better.

A new group of friends I’ve made, was inspired by my writing journey. I know part of my experience as an author, will be to speak. In order to try and get aligned with that new challenge, about a year ago, I joined Toastmasters.  I’m grateful for the feedback and friendships we’ve formed. With every speech, I’m hoping to learn more skills so I can say what I need to, as effectively as possible. Being succinct — never my forte, but their speeches are a maximum of seven minutes — what choice do I have? I’m excited, my next speech is this week and I’m talking about a profound experience I had while attending my first painting class at temple. It’s much more than what I learned about painting. It represents my life’s philosophy I’ve come to realize over the last few years … Try It! Discover the Story’s Ending.

That’s my Jewish year in review.  I hope your year was also filled with Love and Peace.  May you be blessed in the coming year to be healthy, keep loved ones close, make and keep friends and most of all, do what you LOVE! Then, we’ll all benefit from your talents. May Israel move closer to Peace, and may both sides find the strength to see and want to understand The Others’ reality.  Amen.

As always, I hope you Join Me On My Journey…

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