Here’s one case for NO separation of “Church & State”!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:16+00:00 March 14th, 2017|activist, anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, broadway, civil rights, Creative, creativity, death, donation, education, elections, family, grief, gun violence, hate crime, inspiration, Life, loss, mental health, motivation, nyc, politics, prayer, relationships, religion, sadness, school|

I don’t talk much about politics in this space, although if you have been a reader of this blog, you can pretty much gauge what side of the dais I would sit on. Don’t worry, this post isn’t going to be about politics….really, well, not really, but sort of, maybe a little bit. This post is going to be about theater, drama, comedy and friendship. I went to theater the other night with a group of friends, to see a play that was written and produced by friends, and it had equal parts comedy and drama. The play is called “Church & State”, and it’s in previews now at New World Stages. While I was watching the play, I was struck with imagery of a heated tennis match, because my emotions were being slammed across the net between laughter, anger, fear and sadness. In less than 90 minutes, I was moved to a point of paralysis. Yes, moved so emotionally, that I couldn’t move physically for a few minutes after it ended, because I was taking it all in and letting it wash over me. I was having varied experiences, mind you. I had just watched a play that someone I know wrote and someone I know produced, and it was good. I mean, not just like “Oh wasn’t that sweet” kinda good, I mean “Holy crap, that was impressive” kinda good. And, the content was just so relevant, and important, and crucial to the current state of affairs of our country and our communities, that I wanted to get up and holler that something needs to be done!!! So here is my holler, GO SEE THIS PLAY!

Powerful new play!

I can tell you that this play is about a lot of things including politics, but also faith, speaking your mind, marriage, community, and death. I can tell you that this play is already making an impact and it hasn’t even opened yet! Politicians and celebrities are not only coming to see it, but some will even be participating in panels throughout the run of the play to further conversation about the controversial subject matter. I guess I’m being a little vague on purpose here, because I want to protect the power of the play and if you go in knowing too much, it might color the way you receive it. Even thinking about the play now, I get choked up! Of course, you can click on the link above and learn a little more about it and what inspired it, or you can take a chance and see something that will undoubtedly leave you thinking, if not shaking just a little bit.

Off my soapbox!

Stay well.

 

Totem Tamers presents WARRIOR WEDNESDAY or Tears for Jacob.

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:21+00:00 October 4th, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, death, family, friends, friendship, gratitude, grief, gun violence, inspiration, Life, loss, love, mental health, mind/body, motherhood, parenthood, parenting, politics, prayer, sadness, school, teenager, teenagers, teens, victim|

This is not a political post about gun control or mental health treatment (lack thereof), this is not about our current election crisis, or the state of the union, this is a post about a little boy who dreamed of superheroes. This is a post about Jacob Hall.

Fly on Jacob....

Fly on Jacob….

This is about a smile that will now only live on in photos and the hearts of Jacob’s family and friends. This is about a life lost way too soon. 6-year-old Jacob was shot by a teenager last week in South Carolina, and succumbed to his wounds this weekend, you might have heard about the story. Jacob will be laid to rest today in the outfit of his favorite superhero, Batman. Even a replica of the Batmobile will accompany his procession.

Jacob’s parents, who are the WARRIOR’s we honor today, have encouraged mourners to show up in costumes, dressed as their favorite superheroes. Not only to honor Jacob, but in the hopes of not scaring the many children that will attend the funeral to bid  goodbye to the their lost friend.

This isn’t a post about propaganda and polling, this is a post about parents and children, about love and loss, and about making the most of the lives we are granted. I will keep my children close today with my invisible lasso and hope that my cape will keep them safe and all the while I will think of Jacob’s smile and his family’s tears and the unwitting WARRIORS they have become.

Stay well.

Totem Tamers wishes all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, a sweet new year!

By | 2018-04-07T23:19:21+00:00 October 2nd, 2016|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, childhood, children, church, family, food, gratitude, holiday, inspiration, prayer, religion, stress, stress relief|

This is one of the good holidays in the Jewish religion, not that any are bad per se, but this is definitely a happy one. I am not religious, I am spiritual, but I guess I would call myself a “food-Jew”, because I actually really like gefilte fish, and I make great rugelach. I actually wrote about my rugelach in an old blog post, feel free to go back to it here https://totemtamers.com/religion-in-a-rolling-pin/. You can read about my rolling pin that was handed down, that is easily a hundred years old. That’s my religion. Or you can just marvel at this season’s rugelach waiting to be demolished over the next week!

My grandma in my heart and my heart in my dough!

My grandma in my heart and my heart in my dough!

Yes, that’s a butter heart that appeared in the dough as I was making this batch of rugelach!

This is rugelach before...

This is rugelach before…

This is rugelach after...

This is rugelach after…

I always make specialty flavors, which is definitely a departure from how my grandmother taught me, but I know she would be impressed!

There's Whitman's sampler, and then Selma's Sampler!

There’s Whitman’s sampler, and then Selma’s Sampler!

So yummy, and you should smell my house!! I don’t care what religion you choose, or don’t choose for that matter, just be kind and share sweetness! Who wants?

Stay well.

Paris in our hearts and on our minds.

By | 2018-04-07T23:21:54+00:00 November 14th, 2015|anxiety, anxiety disorder, anxiety relief, brothers, death, family, gun violence, hate crime, Liberty, Life, loss, military, nyc, parenthood, parenting, politics, prayer, soccer, totems, travel, Uncategorized, victim|

We wake up to a new day, the sun shining in New York City, a chilly wind providing shivers and reminders that winter is around the corner. Those shivers hardly distinguishable from the ones I’ve experienced since last night while following the tragic, and horrific attacks that took place in Paris. I can only consume the news in small doses, and find that watching it is even too much, so I periodically check Facebook and Twitter for the latest little tidbits. It is just so overwhelming. Some people need to know every detail and not miss any news update, because that’s helpful to them, but not me. A friend’s status update on Facebook  helped me find the words I wanted to share this morning. She was contemplating having the conversations with her children about what was happening in Paris, understanding that her older child would be able to process more info than her younger child. This made me consider how I would talk to my children as well. I know there will be lots of counselors and authorities out there giving their tips and suggestions, and they will all surely be helpful in some way or another. Please know that I am not a psychologist, or a social worker, or some “lettered” authority, I am a parent, and that gives me a voice for my experiences, and gratitude for a forum to share them. This is not about advice, this is not about right or wrong, this is about one person’s process, mine. My youngest (9) is sitting in the other room now, blissfully unaware and playing some game on his computer. I will go to him and plainly give him the facts about what happened in Paris, because opening that communication is more important than protecting him from reality, no matter how horrible. “Honey, I want to tell you what happened in Paris yesterday because you will probably be hearing a lot about it over the next couple days.  There was an attack, and many people were injured and killed by some very angry and very bad people.” That’s how the conversation will start, and then I will take his lead while guiding him along the way. He may ask tons of questions, he may also choose to go right back to watching silly YouTube videos, and that’s perfectly ok. I am all about honesty and being very straightforward with my kids, because I have found that the imagination can color way more horrifying pictures than the truth can. That being said, my almost 16 year old will be able to handle a whole lot more information than my little one, and even my middle one, and he’ll discover it on his own on the internet. So with him, the conversation will surely be different and maybe even more philosophical, but again, he may not want to go into all the details, but I will reassure that I am here to talk if he needs to. The bottom line is giving your children permission to ask questions, and giving yourself permission to being ok with not having the answers. Also, not being afraid to be open with them, even if it is about your own fears. Because sure I’m scared, and that’s reasonable, but I have faith that the people we charge to protect and serve us will do everything they can to protect us, and that’s how I go about my days. That’s what I will share with my children as I pray for their innocence to last just a little bit longer, and as I pray for the people of Paris and the rest of the world while we mourn right along with them.

Praying for Peace in Paris

Praying for Peace in Paris

Stay well.

Charleston on our minds and in our hearts.

By | 2015-06-18T16:45:11+00:00 June 18th, 2015|charleston, church, death, gun violence, hate crime, Life, prayer, racism, south carolina|

The only thing that can keep us going when faced with horrible scenarios like the one that occurred in South Carolina last night, is togetherness. We need to stand together in the face of this violence and mourn with each other, as the families and loved ones of those killed and injured yesterday will mourn. We now know that young man allegedly responsible for this hate crime is in custody, and the only hope is that there will be some light shed on what could bring someone so deep into hate as to take the lives of so many. Let’s not make this about religion, even though violence in a house of worship is sickening. Let’s not make this about race, even though this was yet another white against black crime. Let’s make this about people, about humans, about how we treat one another and about how there are still those who are taught to hate. Yes, this is a hate issue, a gun issue, a mental health issue, but underneath it all it is a people issue. We must teach our children that this kind of violence doesn’t have to occur. We must teach them to understand and accept the differences in people and embrace the beauty in those differences. In the last couple months, we have seen a champion change identities and become a woman. Does that make her less of a champion? More recently, we have seen a woman’s claimed identity stripped from her. Does that make her accomplishments and advancements for the organization she led any less impactful? We need to talk. We need to cry. We need to change. Then, and only then, will we be able to truly love each other because we will have found love within ourselves. I am grateful that I can have these open dialogues with my children, and counter their questions and reactions with communication and exploration. I won’t get everything right, but I’ve also learned not to be afraid to say I don’t know, or don’t understand. I don’t understand what drives someone to want to kill so many people. I don’t understand what those affected by this tragedy are contending with right now. I don’t understand how this keeps happening. I only understand that I can do my part with my children, to foster goodness within them, because I know I would not want to be that alleged shooters mother right now. Hug your children. That’s all we need to know.

Stay well.