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Monday, September 29, 2008


Just checking in to wish you all a new year filled with the best of everything. May you be zoche to reach all of your lofty new-year goals this year!

Also, as I've gotten to know many of you better this year, the potential for accidental insults has risen dramatically... Please, please forgive me!

Even with all the judgement-day fear in the air, I'm so excited! This is one of my favorite times of year (I have a lot of them...) HaShem is so close and all He wants is for us to spend time appreciating Him. After the ten days, I feel so cleansed and ready to go into Sukkos, the yomtov of simcha, wholeheartedly. I love how the new year gives me a new chance to start over, hopefully starting from a better place than I was last year. So enjoy the yom tov, eat heartily, pray mightily, and emerge a better person!

(One thing that I find helps keep me positive is that at this time, I look back at the year as a whole. Not like a daily cheshbon hanefesh where you find all the little slips and trips -- when I look at the entire year a much rosier picture emerges of all I've accomplished. Try it!)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bas~Melech to Earth, come in please!

To the loyal readers out there, sorry for the long hiatus. This semester has hit me like a ton of bricks and temporarily disrupted my orbit of this Earth. I hope to return someday.

In other news, I have a cold. And I've realized something -- when I'm sick, life grinds to a halt. Now, granted, this is one really nasty cold. My head basically stopped working for a couple of days. So I called in to work sick, slept until noon, and cited Wikipedia as my only reference in all of my coursework. I turned off my phone because it hurt too much to talk, stopped counting calories and slurped shakes as fast as I could make them. I whined to anyone who would listen and did nothing around the house. So now I have work to make up, a dozen phone calls to return (I have never been this popular!), 5 pounds to lose, and a guilty conscience. (And I'm sitting here just blogging about it.)

All this reminded me of some friends I have who never feel as well as I do, yet they've made more of their lives than me even when I'm feeling great. Right, I'm back on the topic of my Simcha Special friends, because I can't get enough of them! Most live with chronic pain, many have breathing difficulties, limited mobility, and such, but they don't let that stop them. Wander into the beautiful library or beis midrash at camp, and you will find campers who rise in time to daven before breakfast every day. So many of the girls are full of smiles and bursting to share them with you. They never seem to be in too much of their own pain to think about others.

I think it's time I take a page out of their book and put aside my tissues to run a few laps around the block!

Please help give these kids a chance to live it up in Camp Simcha/Special by sponsoring me in the Team Lifeline marathon! Thank you, Apple, for your sponsorship.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sharing Simcha -- Part IV

Lifeguarding is hard work. Especially in a camp. How does one remain vigilant after spending hours outside in the summer heat? In Camp Simcha and Simcha Special, at least they have the benefit of making miracles daily.

Chemotherapy had bloated Leah's body beyond recognition. Movement was difficult for her; she almost never left her wheelchair, and talking, even smiling, was painful. To the casual observer, it would almost seem as if she could do... nothing.

Not in Camp Simcha.

We were surprised to see Leah accompany her bunk to the pool. But nothing could have prepared us for the transformation that happened after she was wheeled in one of the special pool chairs down the ramp (now where else have you seen a wheelchair-accessible swimming pool?) It was as if Leah's limbs had suddenly been released from the shackles that held them stiff all the time. Once in the water, she was able to move freely and even gracefully. For one hour, she was just like a regular, healthy kid!

The effects didn't end there, either. After drying off, Leah got to head back to the bunk with friends who saw that she, too, had talent. Friends who knew more than ever that she could be just like them. The kid who looked to "outsiders" like a silent lump in a chair had found her place to shine.

Though it may seem basic, the pool is actually a major part of the Simcha experience. Many campers, like Leah, are limited in their range of motion. In camp, they can come to the pool and break free of their uncooperative bodies every day. For various reasons, swimming is not usually accessible to many of the campers. However, with the medical team on call constantly and specially-trained staff, they can swim safely and securely.

Please help support Camp Simcha and Simcha Special by sponsoring me in the Team Lifeline marathon!