Sun Kissed Days

Sun Kissed Days

Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking Back with Gratitude-The Year in Pictures

Thankful for stormy seas that bring us back to shore,
with wonder in our hearts and gratitude in our soul.

 Josh on a medical mission trip to the Dominican Republic during his Spring break.
 Josh- one of the directors of a mobile unit helping the underserved
 Daniel playing around
 Carl loving life
 A beautiful day
 Josh receiving his white coat
 Fishing is life

 From the roof of the Vatican
In Rome finding peace 

 On the way to Monteray
 Daniel's first Spanish Mackerel

 The Florida Keys

 We lost our Angel this year
Thank you for coming here to read and to comment, I wish you and yours a happy new year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Daniel

Dear Daniel,
Happy Birthday my sweet boy!
Today you are ten years old . It's hard to believe that ten years have flown by. The first time I heard the sound of your cry I smiled. The surgeon in the room said,"look at the color on this one!" because your skin was pink and your lips were red. Today you turn "double digits" as you say. You are tall and you are wise beyond your years. You are always thinking, always dreaming. I love you and I love everything about you. You were shy as a toddler and you had imaginary friends. I watched you as you became confident in preschool and you became a leader. This year you were elected into student council and you took pride in the responsibilities that came with the position. You love to collect rocks and your shoes are always full of sand  because you are searching for fossils in the school yard. Your smile lights up a room and lights up my life. You write and you paint. You are creative in so many ways. When you grow up you aspire to be a scientist and you want to find the cure for Cancer. We read and we laugh and we have conversations at bedtime. You tell me about the Bey Blades that you play with and about your friends. You help others and in your room there's a jar of money that you collect for charities.You make up jokes and I laugh because you are funny and I am your greatest fan. You swim like a fish. You gracefully do your Kung Fu forms. You are sensitive to others and on your night table there are mementos from grandpa. You have watched me mourn the loss of both my parents. You make sure to tell me that you miss them. We devour books together and even though now that you read long chapter books, once in awhile we enjoy reading an old one like" The Kissing Hand" or" I Love You Forever". You are a fisherman at heart, like your father and your grandfather. I have pictures of you fishing when you could barely hold a rod. You love to explore for hermit crabs and shells,you love it all. You are amazing, kind, sweet, smart, simply charming. I will tuck you into bed tonight and rub your back while you hold your bunny. I will wonder how long he will remain under your arm.I will wish that you stay a boy a little longer. I will savor this moment. I will try to linger in your room as you fall asleep. I will kiss you goodnight and I will be thankful that you are my son.

Friday, December 24, 2010


Merry Christmas and happy holidays. 

I wish all of you happiness and love.

Friday, December 17, 2010


The road was rough this year,
the electric bill was collecting dust,
a loaf of bread was left,
there was no help in sight.
She placed an ad on line,
she needed to work so desperately.
She was called for a job,
they gave her a Santa costume.
She wore it with a smile,
her face lit up with gratitude.
Proud that she had a job,
hopeful that things will get better,
her merry attitude inspired those watching.
She stood in the cold waving,
smiling as the world was passing.
Doing her best,giving it all.
A testament to lending a hand,
a small job,a new beginning.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The lovely Antico Arco

"Fear less,hope more;Eat less,chew more;Whine less,breathe more;Talk less,say more;Love more,and all good things will be yours."-Swedish Proverb
Today I will try to let go of the stress of the holidays, and follow this proverb. Today I will delight in remembering happy moments of this past year. A beautiful dessert at a wonderful restaurant on a beautiful Giancarlo hill. A dessert shared with my childhood best friend. The friend that I can call at two o'clock in the morning when I need to. The friend that I share my life with like an open book to read. Today is a day to celebrate those I love.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Villa Borghese

As I reflect on this year, I think back to my trip to Rome. Villa Borghese is one of those places that I will always remember. It was built for Scipione Borghese as a party villa and to house his art collection. The villa is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Gardens that whisper stories of long ago. As I stood in those vast rooms, drowning in the beauty around me,I felt whole. My parents had been there years ago,and they marveled at the beautiful sculptures of Bernini and paintings of Titian and other old masters. I walked through the rooms and the pain was numb. Home the sadness seeped in like the wind through the cracks of a windowpane. But in these rooms that I walked through I was inspired and uplifted. In these rooms I felt as if they were walking beside me.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Love Story

Love exists, love blooms, the kind of romantic sweep you off your feet kind of love. I was fortunate to be a witness of a love like that. My father fall in love with my mother the first time he saw her. He told her that she will be his wife. When she heard his statement,she laughed. Their love affair went on for almost sixty years. They were married for richer and poorer and they built a beautiful life. There were times my father would sing or read poetry out loud to my mother. He would write her poems and send her flowers. He was charming in more ways than I can describe. As I am writing this post, I am crying as I remember,the last time I saw my dad alive. I was visiting my parents, my dad was helping my mother up from her chair and he embraced her tightly. Then in a joyous tone in his voice he said,"I love this woman. To me she is still the same girl I fall in love with." I looked at my mom and said,"you are a lucky woman!" because I knew that my dad meant it.That vision stayed with me. My father was my mothers care taker in the last two years of his life. He would not complain. He would do more than we knew for her, and even though it was difficult he made it seem effortless. They were best friends and true partners. They would laugh and they would argue. They were everything to each other. They would hold hands and whisper sweet nothings. As I ache today, I stop and think how lucky I am. I am lucky that I was a part of the love that they had for each other. I am lucky that I watched a great love story unfold.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Moment

It was a dark, chilly night. We climbed into bed and hid under the covers getting ready to read. We were still on the early chapters of the book we were reading. Sadly the mother of three sons dies in a car accident. As we resumed our reading the father was giving all her belongings away. One of his sons voiced his outrage and he grabbed his mothers picture. He told his father that the picture is his and he can't take it away from him. At this point Daniel became visibly upset. He covered his head with the quilt, "I hate this book and I don't want to read it anymore." I sat for a moment and said, "but Daniel things like this happen, I am sorry." I peeked under the blanket and Daniel's eyes were saturated with tears that he was trying to hold back. My sweet boy was sad. I surrendered, "we don't have to continue". This was a first for us, we always devour the books we read. I was wondering if he was upset about the mother passing away or if  he was upset because he identified with the son? I decided not to discuss it further. I decided to shelter him from the pain. At that same moment my thoughts drifted to Elizabeth Edwards and her brave children. Mourning is a wound so deep. I felt a deep sadness for all three children that will forever miss their mom. I held Daniel a little tighter. He is a sensitive boy and he feels empathy for others. I couldn't help but feel proud that life touches him that way.

Friday, December 10, 2010


The tree glowing in this home,
warms our hearts and our souls.
There is another tree at school,
with angels dangling from colorful strings,
sweet children with their gift wishes.
They do not ask for much,
a shirt,shoes,pants,and socks.
I question need over a desire,
I question how little they want.
I pick angels off the tree
as if I am picking dreams.
My heart is filled with gratitude
imagining Christmas morning at their house,
When they unwrap shinny gift wrapping.
Their eyes twinkle to a surprise
a  present that they didn't expect,
a game to share with siblings,
Yellow,red,green,Legos to build.
A book to lift them away
to a place of sheer joy.
As I think and I dream,
I am the one being given
the gift of my soul soaring.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


"A well developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life" -William Arthur Ward
Laughing oxygenates our bloodstream. Laughing fills us with endorphins. I have even heard Dr.Oz say that it keeps us young. I am fortunate because my husband makes me laugh. There are times when I am quiet and he sees the shadows closing in. He will say something funny. For a moment I smile, I laugh. The laughter enters my being like medicine given intravenously. I protest and tell him that it wasn't funny. As his eyes wrap me in his I find a twinkle in them . "I made you smile", he will exclaim like a boy that just won a stuffed animal in a carnival. Then I smile on the inside because all he wanted was to comfort me, to protect me from the ghosts in my mind. He is the one that adds the balance to my steps as I walk the tightrope of life.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Artist

What makes an artist? Is an artist born that way or nurtured to become one? Pablo Picasso said, "every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." My nine year old son Daniel asked me if I had an extra sketch pad that I could give to him. I said that I would have to check my treasure drawer where I keep my supplies of notebooks and assorted pens. "Why do you need an extra sketch pad?" I asked. Daniel replied that he saw a tip while watching television. The tip was that if you are an artist then you need to carry a notebook to write down your thoughts and your ideas. I smiled and said,"I used to do that". Daniel's response surprised me,"you used to write your thoughts on scraps of paper even on napkins". I felt delighted that he remembered. It was long ago I shared that with him .My heart soared because my son the artist remembered. My son had seen and captured my spirit. He held my stories the way I held his stories. I also smiled that he is inspired to write short stories. That he draws. That he makes me laugh with his sweet jokes that he makes up. He dreams and most of all I love that he recognizes himself for what he truly is,an artist.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Today we picked out our Christmas tree. It stands tall and beautiful and warms our home and our hearts. But today I am writing about love and forgiveness. I am writing about guilt. I am writing about not knowing where I fit in. A confession of sorts. The thoughts in my head asking to be freed. When my dad passed away my brother told me,"dad was devastated that he asked Daniel about Hanukkah and Daniel didn't know why we celebrate Hanukkah." He went on to say that my dad wept in front of him. My father was a child that survived the holocaust, he had lost relatives and he almost lost his life. I broke his heart when I married a Christian. He pleaded with me, "don't make me into Tevye," referring to the character in Fiddler on the roof. When Tevye's daughter falls in love with a Christian her father disowns her. He tells the rest of the family to consider her dead. When I was little we would pass by a synagogue, and I would ask my father why he never went in to pray. Dad would say that he could pray anywhere, he didn't believe that he had to go to a synagogue to pray. To him God was everywhere. I grew up with tradition and more as a spiritual person than a religious one. I adopted the same philosophy. After all those years my brother's words stung.My dad was the world to me. When he walked into the room I always felt safe. He would kiss my eyelids and he would call me his little girl,even though I was a grown up and had children of my own. My dad would come to my home during Christmas time and he would see my tree,lit up with ornaments. Ornaments that I collected through the years. Ornaments marking special days,baby's first Christmas,ornaments made in preschool, Duke University marking Josh's first year at school. I always linger with delight as I place them on the tree. The story my brother shared with me pinched my heart. This week we lit Hanukkah candles. When I lit them I thought of my dad. I broke his heart but we healed. He accepted me and didn't abandon me. I know that it was a difficult reality for him to accept but that's the power of love. The power of forgiveness.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


My grandmother was a beautiful,strong,independent woman. She was a modern woman before her time and a role model. She had dark hair and a gentle face.She married my grandfather and they had a beautiful home that she opened up to her younger sisters. After World War II ,my grandparents were left with nothing. Their house leveled by bombs. My grandmother was grateful that their lives were sparred . She was selfless. When she heard of anyone needing help she would jump and assist them in whatever they needed. She attended people's funerals,people that she didn't even know. She said a lot of them had no relatives left and she didn't want them to be buried alone.She became an accountant to a large import and export company and she had hundreds of people depend on her.She was loved by them. When I was born my grandmother started a dowry for me. Custom made feather pillows, fine linens of white cotton with pink flowers stitched on the sides. Fine dishes,the pattern delicate with bone colored china with a light trim of orange. Hand made tablecloths that I bring out during our holiday meals. It humbles me that as she built her life back she was also building mine. She was dreaming of the home that I would create for my family someday. I wonder if she visualized that I would see those things that she carefully collected for me and I would smile the way I smiled when she walked into the room . Smile with love at how she thought of every detail. Her dream was that I would have a beautiful family of my own.Sadly she passed away before any of those dreams were realized . I was sixteen. It was sudden and I never got to say good bye. It's an ache that I carry inside me. I was loved by her. I think of her with pride.
I think how much she meant to so many people. How she lead by example as a humanitarian. How she displayed dignity with her courage through crisis and honored her family .Yesterday was her birthday anniversary. I think of her today and my heart is grateful for the love that we shared.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Rise before the sun comes up.
Rich,dark,coffee aroma seduces me.
News,emails,blogs,all thought provoking.
Daniel hugging his Grey stuffed bunny,
under his blue spider man quilt,
awakens to my kiss and embrace.
Breakfast, uniform,backpack,off to school.
Equipped for the day to unfold.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Role Model

Captain J.F,a hard working family man, an anchor to many. He is one of my husband's role models. He possesses many qualities that my husband longed to see in his father. Captain J.F underwent surgery yesterday. It's the third surgery he has gone through in the past two weeks. Yesterday it was a heart surgery. In my family room,there are photographs of a younger Captain J.F with my father in-law and my husband as a child. Photographs at Hampton Bays,of smiling faces,with decks full of silver shinning fish. When my husband cooks mashed potatoes he remembers,the Christmas that he had his first"real" mashed potatoes(his mom only made instant) at Captain J.F's house. I smile as I watch him drift back to his childhood. A childhood of carefree summers,fishing,digging for clams,finding treasures that he would never forget. As I silently wish Captain J.F good wishes,I think about the many sunrises he has seen on the ocean. I suppress the thought of him drifting away into the sunset. I suppress it with a wish.I suppress it with a prayer.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Conversations around the kitchen table. Conversations at bedtime. Words floating, words dancing round and round. When Daniel was born, Josh was in high school. A fifteen year old that was absorbed in his AP classes,volunteer work,and social responsibilities. He was also a fifteen year old obsessed with his computer,his friends and taking long showers. At the time, I would ask him for his help with the baby. I did not ask for much, just to hold the baby for ten minutes while I would finish a chore. Josh would oblige and cradle Daniel in his arms. My heart would jump, my heart would smile. When I returned I witnessed how a change happened. Josh was captivated by his little brother. Their eyes locked together,and a faint smile would be draped on his face. Truth be told, I was building a bridge. A bridge that they could meet at. A bond, that goes deeper than the blood flowing through their veins. This holiday weekend Josh now, a third year medical student and Daniel a fourth grader were having conversations, and they were having pillow fights. I found myself still building the bridge between them. A age gap this large is difficult. They don't have the same interests. And so, on the phone with Josh every night I share stories about Daniel. Stories about the food drive at his school that helped nine families. Stories about wise things he said. Stories about books we are reading that I used to read with Josh. I also tell Daniel stories about Josh. I tell him about Josh's new rotations. I tell him about his volunteer work at the clinic. Most important I tell him that his brother is thinking of him. This is how I nurture the bond. I stitch a needlepoint of a life. This is how I create a legacy. A love that I carry like a locket in my heart. A love that will carry them through time.