Archive for September, 2015

Meeting my granddaughter for the first time

Harmonye The Days of Awe…


In the Judaism faith one of the highest of holy days is the 10 days that begin with Rosh Hashanah and conclude with Yom Kippur. During these 10 days the Jewish people spend this time as a deep time of introspection. It was during these 10 days that I truly experienced my “awe” moment.

I was able to begin these important 10 days at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs for Rosh Hashanah. It set the tone for the beginning of my introspection as we chanted together as a temple family and listened to the words of our Rabbi.

The next day my best friend and I began our road trip which would take us up north from Palm Springs, to San Jose, to Oregon to our final destination: Washington. It was in Washington where I experienced my true moment of finding my heart open and fill with pure joy and love.

I have had many moments of awe in my lifetime. I was filled with those moments of wonderment the first time I walked through Yosemite, held my children, had an aliyah, carried the Torah, marveled at the sunrises and sunsets on the Sea of Cortez.

There is something so beautiful about what I am about to tell you. As I writer I love words but yet I am at a loss for what I am trying to put onto paper. As I stepped out of the car and saw my first grandbaby in the arms of her mother, my heart began to beat so loudly.

As she was handed to me, already a month old, I looked into her perfect face and saw what every Bubbe or Grandmother sees, perfection. Her sweet cheeks, hair, fingers and toes so soft. I wanted to hold her close to my heart and let her know that I would always love and protect her. I wanted to share everything I am with her and it was at that moment that the days of awe came into significant meaning for me.

You see, during these 10 days of introspection, the Jewish people spend this time making amends and righting any wrongs they may have done during the past year. As I held Harmony in my arms I wanted to be someone she would be proud of as her Bubbe or Grandma. I wanted to work harder, love more and be kinder. I want to be an example to all that is good in the world. As her eyes focused on mine I prayed that she would grow up to be all that she can be and that her pain will be less in this world and her joy great.

As I rocked her that evening I whispered a prayer in her ear:


Sweet gift of God, my sweet little Harmony. As you lay your head on my shoulder may you always know that you are a miracle. As I look at your precious little face, I see so much of your father in you and it seems like just yesterday I was rocking him in my arms. You are such a gift, a miracle to all of us. Welcome to this magnificent life, I want you to know how very much wanted you are by your whole family.


I ended the prayer with the Hashkivenu (A Jewish bedtime prayer asking for a peaceful nights sleep and may God’s angels watch over us during our slumber):


„הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיִּים. וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ וְתַקְּנֵנוּ בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ וְהָגֵן בַּעֲדֵנוּ. וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אוֹיֵב דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב וְיָגוֹן וְהָסֵר שָׂטָן מִלְּפָנֵינוּ וּמֵאַחֲרֵינוּ וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנוּ כִּי אֵל שׁוֹמְרֵנוּ וּלְשָׁלוֹם מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַפּוֹרֵשׂ סֻכַּת שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלָיִם.“

Hashkiveinu ADONAI eloheinu l’shalom, v’ha-amideinu malkeinu l’chayim;

Ufros aleinu sukat sh’lomecha,

V’tak’neinu b’eitza tova mil’fanecha,

V’hoshieinu l’ma-an sh’mecha.


The beauty of my granddaughter Harmony is that she will have a Christian Nana and a Jewish Bubbe, but the love is all the same. She will be surrounded by a family who adores her, and isn’t that what life is all about?







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Mondays with Melitas – September 7, 2015

Hi This is Tammy, Melitas’ writing coach.  She will be a little late with her blog because she is awaiting my arrival!  I will be flying into LAX this afternoon and will be staying with her and the warden for a few days.

I will be sure to post some pictures and post a blog or two for her since I will be there ready to type, type, type!

But that won’t be the only thing I will be doing, it seems the warden and Melitas love my morning breakfasts, so I am going to be slaving away in the kitchen cooking delicious meals for them!

I guess this is what I get for moving away to Baja!

Stay tuned for more adventures….

or….if you haven’t purchased her book, why not???

Send her an email and she will send you an autographed copy…for the price of her book of course!

The author in residence can be reached at

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A Letter to Doggie Heaven

Courtney Coia

Doggie Heaven

Cloud 1


Dear Courtney,                                                                                                 September 3, 2015

I turned 5 a few weeks ago so mama said I am old enough to learn how to write. I wanted my first letter to be to you. I know it has been over a year since you went to Rainbow Bridge and I keep waiting to see if you will write us a letter but mama says you are busy over there. She told me that when you crossed over the bridge that you could see and hear again and that you were running and playing all day and that you were too busy to write us. But mama finds the feathers you leave for her. Each time I look up at mama as she bends down to pick them up. I see that her eyes get all teary as she holds it to her heart.

I was just thinking the other day while we were walking the beach that you would really love this place we live now, it is called Baja. Mama takes me for walks on the beach in the morning as the sun is rising and in the evening as the sun is setting. Mama talks a lot about you on these walks. She tells me things I never knew about you. She told me you used to love to run the beaches in California when you were younger and that you would even run and bark at people like I sometimes do!

Today on the beach just as the sun was rising, mama cried. I think she was thinking of you. I can see it in her eyes. She usually picks me up and hugs me when she is thinking of you and I do my best to kiss her face, and I know she loves me, but I know I can never fill the hole in her heart that you left when you crossed the bridge.

Mama has your ashes next to our Shabbat candles and as she lights them each Friday night she pats your box and I know she wishes you were here with us. Your picture is on the refrigerator so she can see you each day she goes into the kitchen.

I wish I could have known you when you were younger, I know I only got a year to live with you and by that time you were already deaf and blind, but I still remember our talks late at night. I want you to know that I have kept my promise. I watch over mama very carefully. I am never far from her side, I just wish I could talk to her in a language she would understand.

Mama likes to go to a restaurant here called La Picazon, but I am thinking it is not so much because of the food, although the food is delicious. The owners have two dogs that look like you. One is red and one is black. She holds them when she goes and hugs them. I have a feeling she thinks of you when she does. The interesting thing is that I am not jealous. I know and understand that mama always had enough love for the both of us. I know that mama loves me in a different way from you and love is love.

I bet you would be happy to learn you became an aunt, and it was on my birthday! Our brother Kurt and Jessica now have a little girl named Harmony and I get to go meet her soon. Mama told me you always loved babies. I will try to be good and I will try to make you proud of me.

I know as a little brother I wasn’t always nice. Part of it was that I was scared mama was going to take me back to the shelter and I wanted to stay with you. So when I acted out it was just because I didn’t know how to behave after all those years of living in the shelter. I do think you would be proud of me now.

I hope you are having fun up at the rainbow bridge. Mama still talks to you every day, but I think you know that. I will keep protecting mama and doing the best I can to fill your shoes.

Love, your kid brother, Bruce

Bruce and mama aug 31 2015bruce sunglassesIMG_2838jewish mom pic

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Como se dice Pay it forward?

Bruce and mama aug 31 2015This morning in my meditation I have been thinking a lot about two words: Compassion and Awareness. Both very powerful and both are words that I strive to attain each day.

The heat of the afternoon was upon us all in Baja and due to my morning commitments I had to run my errands in the afternoon. I drove the 10 minutes into town and stopped first of all at the water store to get my 5 gallon jug of water filled with alkaline water. I smiled at myself as I (in my broken spanglish) told the water guy I wanted him to only fill it up 3/4 of the way full. He kept looking at me strangely until I showed him my muscles (or lack there of) and that I couldn’t carry the full 5 gallons. He told me no problemo, he would carry to my car. I smiled and said, bueno, but mi casa! too heavi-o. I notice I add an “o” to english words thinking they will magically transpose to spanish words.

My next stop was to the supermarket where I wanted to purchase some fresh fruit. The store today was crowded with tired people just getting off work and there were only two checkers checking. I took my pineapple, watermelon and cantaloupe and stood in line. I believe I was the only gringo in line and I just smiled as they looked at me.

It was then that my focus zeroed in on the young woman in front of me. She looked back at my arms full of fruit and smiled at me as I returned her smile. She had bottle of oil, a bag of rice, a bag of pinto beans and a clown sucker. I noticed the napkins she also placed in her basket she left off to the side. As the cashier was finishing the purchase in front of her she began looking through her wallet, counting her change. I am sure she was hoping she would have enough for the purchase.

As the cashier exchanged her normal greetings of buenas tardes, I could see the woman in front of me begin to worry. As she was given the total she began handing her change to the cashier and just as she was about to put the clown sucker away, I reached over and handed the cashier a 50 peso bill.

The cashier didn’t want to accept it and just stared at me, while the woman was still counting her change. I said in my spanglish again,” por mi amiga.” At this point the woman looked at me as her eyes welled up with tears and said “no, no.”

I smiled and said looking in her eyes,” por mi amiga.” I could see that this one small gesture of kindness on my part meant the world to her. You see, she could have put back that clown sucker, but she didn’t have to. She kissed my hand as a tear slid down her cheek,” muchas gracias senora.”

You see, 50 pesos to me is less than $3.00 in American money. As I paid for my groceries I stepped outside to walk to my car when I saw her sitting outside with her mom and her little child. He must have been about 4 years old and I was able to see the joy on his face as his mom gave him that special gift. When she saw me, she brought him over and said something to him in spanish and he reached over and touched my hair and then hugged me with the sweetest hug. “Gracias, gracias!” he said joyfully.

I left the supermarket knowing that those two words in my morning meditation came alive in my world: compassion and awareness.

As I drove home I uncovered a memory that I hadn’t thought about in nearly 30 years. I was that woman once standing in the grocery store line. I had my son on my hip and a $20.00 bill to buy groceries. As the cashier was ringing up my purchase I could see it was going to be close but not sure if I needed to put anything back. As I stood there I could feel my face becoming flush as she announced the amount I owed. More than the $20.00 I had come to the store with. As I was trying to decide what I didn’t need, there was a kind woman behind me who handed the cashier a 5 dollar bill. I said, “no, no, that is okay, thank you but I can put something back.”

She looked me in my eyes and said, “I am happy to help. You keep it all.”

I thanked her that day and remembered that she didn’t make me feel ashamed but she saw my need and stepped in.

Several years later the Pay It Forward movement happened in the states. I am sure you have all had it happen to you where you were just getting ready to pay for your order at Starbucks and the barista says “the car in front of you just paid for you and says have a nice day!”

As I drove home that late afternoon I recalled that I did what I needed to do, I paid it forward.

I hope that someday this woman will have the opportunity to pay it forward like I was given the opportunity to do 30 years later.


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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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