Archive for July, 2014

Aryeh’s life has been a journey.
A journey of struggles and a journey of hope;
A journey of pain and a journey of soaring;
Aryeh’s life is a gift. . . . a pure gift of light.

As I quietly celebrated Aryeh’s birthday yesterday, my head realized something my heart needed to know.  It is time to put fear on the shelf.  My 21 year old son is thriving and full of life; his spirit is strong as he navigates his next steps.  He is in the midst of figuring out what he will do with his life and how he will get there.  AND, with each step, he reflects on how he will impact the world for good.  Aryeh is no longer the 14 year old boy that lived through two brain surgeries and lost most of his teenage years to illness.  And while he still may be the first baby born to survive the blood disorder of his birth, today Aryeh is a healthy, vibrant, and thoughtful being.  He talks back, he considers the injustices of the world, and he is the first person to offer help when I or anyone is in need.


Perfect Birthday Treat for Aryeh. Love Camp Mountain Chai traditions.

Perfect Birthday Treat for Aryeh. Love Camp Mountain Chai’s traditions.

After years of living on edge and living with the fear that any moment could be Aryeh’s last, it is time to believe in what I am seeing.  My son who was named Champ at birth because of his ability to survive birth against all odds is now a champ in life.  He is healthy, strong, and actively engaged in life.  He is wise and caring.

And sometimes challenging moments happen; they just do.

Within his first week as a counselor at Camp Mountain Chai this summer, I received a text from Aryeh in the middle of the night, “I am ok, but I wanted you to know that I am in the infirmary because I had a little accident.”  The next morning, the Steve Gerard, the camp director, called to say, “I want you to know that Aryeh is now ok, but he did pass out cold in the evening when he tried to stand up after his staff meeting.”  Steve was enormously kind when he called; I am not sure if he knew that my heart stopped or that my entire world came crashing down for a moment.  I am a chameleon, I can act cool under pressure, but inside I was a wreck.

Instinctively I knew that Aryeh really was just dehydrated, but in all honesty that didn’t make things easier.  The nurses and doc at Camp Mountain Chai kept Aryeh in the infirmary for the night and it appears the unit head and his co-counselor cut him some slack until he was better later the next day.  And after finding out that all was ok, Dovi, Aryeh’s brother, and I went to a wedding.  Life really does move forward.

“Fake it till you make it.”

The good news is that I often choose to live by the philosophy, “Fake it till you make it.”  Outwardly, I trusted the universe and I trusted the wisdom of those that were surrounding Aryeh at camp.  And privately, I sobbed because Aryeh is my baby (even at 21 years old) and for a moment, I feared that something could be wrong.  While intellectually, I really did know all was fine.  

Aryeh’s father, Michael, and I have really had to learn to trust the universe and let go.  It is horrible to experience watching your child in ICU on multiple occasions, sitting up with your son for months on end as pain envelopes his body, and falling asleep only to worry that something happened when you finally crashed.  And yet, in our case, Aryeh not only survived, he persevered and developed into an extraordinary young man.

Time to Put Fear on the Shelf

So, Aryeh passed out – so what!?!

The time has come for me to see Aryeh as the man he is, strong and healthy.  Nurturing fear isn’t going to serve me well.  As someone who has passed out and dehydrated, experienced car accidents and choked on veggie burgers, I know that moments happen and all is ultimately ok.  Life is full of gifts and sometimes challenges emerge too.  Illness, accidents, and even moments happen; most of the time the moments end up just fine.

Today, I decided that it is time for me to put fear on the shelf.  

Doesn’t Aryeh look great?!?  He is!


July 4th

              July 4th




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Ann Cameron Siegal Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows                                                  Photo Courtesy of Ann Cameron Siegal

So many paths are guiding me to new horizons.
As one chapter ends, it is leading to many new chapter beginnings.

A part of me broke as my move to Tucson came to be.
I lost a part of my heart; I lost a part of my soul.
And with each passing day another piece of me chipped away and is still at times peeling.
My spirit lost one friend, then another, and looking back. . . .
I lost the only home I ever knew.

Tucson was a chance, a chance to grow, to evolve, and to find a new home.
Instead for a time, it was the place that I became lost.
Friends were gone; community no longer existed except via Twitter, Facebook, and phone.
For a time my sons and I had only each other.

With each loss, I found the strength to keep moving, even with the gaping hole in my heart.
I began reminding myself to breathe deeply, as deeply as I could.
And I believed that one day I would be OK.
In truth just being Ok has never been enough; what I really have always needed was to thrive.

I am ultimately stronger now than I was when I first arrived in Tucson.
There are moments when my life feels overwhelming, when drama takes hold.
But more moments fill me with blessings as I honor the human being I am becoming.
So many dichotomies, so much adversity, and yet. . .
I breathe in devastation and I breathe out wholeness.

I am becoming whole, always building and rebuilding my foundation, my yesod.
The Tucson mountains remind me to reach higher,
The desert provides warmth for my soul.
The monsoons wash away the losses and devastation as the storms lull my pain to sleep.

Being in Tucson has given me the opportunity to explore where I really want to be and who I want to be. When I came to Tucson, I believed in possibilities. Two years since arriving and I am now believing in different possibilities. My job is gone, some of my friends are gone, and new connections have emerged.

The journey. . . .
Today I am looking deeply inside my soul.
What do I want for my life, my family?
Where do I want to be?
What do I want to keep with me?
Who nurtures my life? Who needs more boundaries?
How much solitude do I crave?
What do I need to do to be heathy?
Do I have what it takes to create the next chapter of my life?

The world is full of open doors.
Now is my chance to choose which doors to go through.
Only after going through new doors will I soar to new heights.

Soaring . . . .

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“I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all of my heart.”

~Vincent Van Gogh


A long time ago I realized that I always have a choice on how to navigate my life’s journeys.  And while it may take a little time to decide how I will ultimately maneuver, I absolutely still have a choice.  And yes sometimes I have to simply allow myself to feel before figuring out a plan.

Two years ago, I came to Tucson for a position that I had hoped would be great for my soul and maybe even take me into retirement.  Eighteen months later, my dream job went to half-time and then the position was eliminated six months later.  Financial challenges for my employer was the ultimate reason that I was left without a position,  Regardless of the reason, it still left my sons and I in a part of the country that we had few friends and now little money to support ourselves.  And it also left me with an opportunity to actively explore what options I have for my next chapter.  (Note: While my sons are living with me now, I realize that as I type this that they are emerging into adulthood.  I love watching them grow and look forward to seeing how they evolve.)

Yes, the journey invokes some fear and at the same time it mostly inspires me to seek the possibilities that will honor my essence.  How cool is that?  With each passing day, I can consider what doors I will go through or whether or not I will simply sit in the doorway and get a taste of what could be.

With each step I have taken in this journey, I have been touched by the generosity of a few awesome friends and the love and caring of many others.  One friend gave me a job to help support myself as I look for a position that would allow me to not only survive financially, but thrive as a human being.  Another friend gave me a computer that he rebuilt after my computer stopped working.  One dear friend gave me a substantial amount of money to fix my car and a few others have offered to help if need be. And other folks have helped me improve my resume, given me an ear, and found little ways to show they care.  There seems to be no shortage of ways that my friends are willing to help; in truth, some of the love is sometimes overwhelming.  

Amazingly, I am really OK and my sons are good too!!!  Going through each and every emotion is what needs to happen; sometimes I am focused and sometimes more distracted.  Life is moving forward and I am not only hanging on for the ride, I am making decisions all the time.

The great news is that overall I am really happy taking this journey.  It isn’t easy, but I am actually forcing my to look deeply at who I am and what I want in my life.  The obvious options or ideas are not necessarily the given paths for me any longer.  I am open to finding the best place for me to go whether it be for long or short term.

Catalina Mountains remind me to keep climbing. :)

Catalina Mountains remind me to keep climbing. 🙂

Every morning, I see the beauty of the Catalina Mountains outside my bedroom window.  As I gaze to the north, the mountains appear like a metaphor reminding me that I can always keep climbing the mountain and striving to become the best person I can be.  

Not only have I taken this time to explore what to do for a living, I have also considered where I want to live, what I want to own, how I need to evolve creatively, what writing projects would give my life more meaning, how to live more consciously and healthy, who I want in my life, and how can I serve the world I live in the best way possible.  There are so many options to consider and so many ways to navigate this journey.

The choices I make now may not be the choices that stay with me forever – that is truly fine.  The key is to explore each option and at some point let the universe open up for me as it will.  Living as authentically as possible feels like the best way to emerge with inner peace.

I am starting to learn a little more about what I love, what and who I need, and what jazzes my soul.  At this point, I can’t share too much because I am just letting it resonate inside of me.  Once it takes root, I can’t wait to let you in.

Every night, I look up to the skies and I watch the cycle of our beloved moon.  Watching the moon’s cycle, reminds me that life is full of cycles too.  And I am going to continue to embrace my exploration for all the days of my life. 

Let the journey continue. . . .



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Yesterday, I was asked a great question during a job interview, “What is your favorite movie was and why?” For just a split second, I hesitated on how I should respond. If I was very wise, I could have responded by saying Milk, I was truly inspired by the Harvey Milk story, but that isn’t what I responded. I responded with the truth; my favorite movie is Flashdance.

My goal in each and every job interview is to be as authentic as I can be. So as I blurted out the name of a major chic-flick, I was mortified. Yet ever since I originally saw the movie in 1983, one line in the movie has been a grounding force for me.

“When you give up your dream, you die.”

That one sentence has contributed to me becoming the person I am today.  It sits in my toolbox at all times reminding me to thrive as a human being as I continuously strive to reach for the stars even as I am grounded where I am.  It was this saying that has kept me company at each and every crossroad of my life; in fact it is this saying that has moved me forward even when I should have fallen flat on my face.

Since the moment, I heard these words in the movie Flashdance, I have been making  dreams happen.  Giving up has never been an option.

Here are the five core dreams that have stood inside my soul for the last several decades.

  1. Writing: From the moment I could create stories in my head I have wanted to be a writer. Weaving words together has been a constant in my life since I can remember.   Today I realize that my words really can impact people, so I often share them via my blog.  At the same time, I am also actively pursuing my dream of publishing a book in the coming years.  🙂
  2. Raising my sons with love and compassion: My sons have taught me how to truly live and to be the mother I am.  Still it has been my job to nurture them so that they may emerge into phenomenal beings who are full of love and compassion for themselves and the world around them.  As they reach towards adulthood, I am blessed to see that this dream is happening as I type.
  3. Living Consciously/Walking Gently: Every aspect of the world matters and if I don’t do my part to walk gently and to make a difference for good then I am not honoring the universe and her many gifts. May gratitude course through my veins as I do the holy work of living consciously.
  4. Creating a healthier Israel: I love Israel and struggle with the many destructive actions of her government. My hope and my prayer is that I can work with others so that we see a truly democratic state that can live side by side with her Palestinian neighbors.
  5. Being a warm and positive Jewish presence: Living actively as a Jew is part of who I am.  May I be a person who helps keep Jewish people engaged in their faith and a positive Jewish connection for others.  Sharing my  love for Judaism and the Jewish people is a driving force for me.

Allowing myself to love life as I do happens because I actively engage in making my dreams  come true.  If I didn’t actively engage in making my dreams happen, I would not be where I am today.

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