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Counting Blessings, Elul Style

“I’m not in the business of making people skinny, I am in the business of making people strong.” – Brittany Shaddle

Elul is a time for taking stock of one’s life, and part of that is counting blessings. In May of 2010 I made an appointment that I wasn’t sure I wanted to make: I called a personal trainer.

I thought only movie stars and billionaires worked with trainers, but I had a problem: I had a long history of getting hurt while exercising. I’d start with great intentions, and then in a week or two I’d be in the doctor’s office getting a review of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for a dinged-up body part. I figured it was time to get some supervision.

This is how I wound up calling Brittany. She had a Yelp.com review from a man in his 70’s in which he talked about how much she helped him. Her credentials were impressive: a degree in Kinesiology and certification as a trainer. Mostly I hoped she wouldn’t be mean to me.

That was five years ago, and now I count Brittany among my blessings. She’s kept me moving from 55 to 60, and taught me that whatever the diagnosis for my pain problems, the best medicine is movement. A sciatica flare-up last weekend was limited largely because she had taught me how to move through it. As for the expense, her fee for an hour was less than I had expected, and it’s worth it.

Brittany is a good woman: she and her husband Mike are two of the best and kindest people I know. She’s younger than my kids, but she’s one of my best teachers, and not just about exercise. Her positive attitude about every challenge inspires me.

Who is a blessing in your life? Be sure to take some time this Elul and let them know what they have done for you. As the liturgy will remind us, we don’t know what the future will bring. Let’s not leave the good words unsaid.

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at http://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

One thought on “Counting Blessings, Elul Style”

  1. Ten years ago I made the first of many appointments with a breast surgeon for an evaluation of a suspicious lesion in my breast. After a biopsy this surgeon, in the most kind hearted manner gave me what I thought then was an end of life diagnosis, “CANCER.” I met with an oncologist and these two wonderful and caring doctors have cared for me and guided me through the most unbelievable and scariest situation of my life. Thanks to them, I am well, no sign of recurrence and otherwise a healthy woman. Meeting and working with them has been the blessing of life to me.

    And may I add that I have the blessing of a hero in my life? That is my loving and adoring husband of 43 years! Were it not for him, I would have had no one to keep me laughing daily, kissing and hugging me frequently, constantly telling me that I am a beautiful woman and supporting me through thick and thin! He is a mensch beyond compare.

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