Snapshot Challenge Saturday

This week’s Snapshot Challenge is a picture taken from the airplane, right before landing in Utah a few weeks ago. We may not know exactly where our path will take us, but if we can learn to appreciate the journey along the way, we’ll find that life will be much more enjoyable.

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Day 2 At Canyons Village In Park City, Utah

Upon waking up in Utah on our first official day there, I looked outside the window and saw so much snow. This could mean only one thing (besides knowing I would freeze once I walked outside); it was time to ski.

I had never skid before, so it was quite the adventure putting on skis, walking around outside, taking a ski lift, and getting off the lift all decked out in ski gear. Fortunately, my uncles were very helpful in showing me the ropes and teaching me everything there was to learn about skiing. I started on a green mountain (which is the easiest course to take), and tumbled most of the way down. But with much more practice throughout the day, skiing down mountains became much more enjoyable than falling and uncontrollably sliding down the route. By the end of the day, I had skid down a few blue courses (the next level up), and was having a blast!

Nighttime was much more relaxing (not having to worry about falling down any mountains), and as you can see pictured below, the scenery was absolutely beautiful.

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Remembering Those Lost In The Holocaust

Seeing as yesterday was International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the 71st anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, it is only fitting that we take some time to remember those whose lives were so tragically taken away, all too soon. I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to listen to Michael Marder, a Holocaust survivor, share his personal story yesterday afternoon. This incredible man was able to survive nine different concentration camps, but unfortunately, no one in his immediate family had such luck.

Hearing Michael Marder tell his story reminded me of just how important it is to continue to share such stories so that we never forget about the atrocities that took place not too long ago. And with that, I’d like to introduce you to part of the Gottheim family. The woman in the photo is my great aunt (my grandmother’s mother’s sister), and pictured alongside her is her husband and three children. Unfortunately, they were never given the opportunity to tell their names, so all I have is a last name to go off of.

The Gottheims lived in Poland, but upon hearing of a potential German invasion, they made the necessary plans to make the trip to America by boat. When they arrived to the docks, each member of the family was inspected to make sure that they were in good enough condition to travel. However, as it turns out, one of the children had an ear infection and wasn’t allowed to board the ship. The father told the mother to take the other two children to America, and he would follow shortly after, once the child recuperated. The mother refused, and instead suggested that the father take the other two children to America, and she would follow shortly after, once the child recuperated. The father also refused, and the general consensus was to wait it out together, and make the trip as a family, once the child got better.

Unfortunately for the Gottheims, the German invasion came sooner than they had expected, and the family was murdered in their home before they were able to escape to America.

11 million people were killed during the Holocaust, 1.1 million of whom were children. 6 million of these individuals were Jewish, and others who were targeted and murdered include persons with disabilities, people from the LGBTQ community, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma, Slavs, political opponents, and plenty others. So many of these people died without their stories being told, which means to us, they will sadly forever be nameless and faceless. Like the Gottheims, millions of lives were cut short, and who knows what kind of greatness these people could have gone on to achieve?

One would think that we have since learned from the Holocaust, but it was not the first act of genocide to take place in the world, and unfortunately, it was not the last. If we do not remember the atrocities that were carried out just a few decades ago, we will be bound to have history repeat itself. We must never forget the Holocaust, and we must always speak up whenever we see any one person or any group of people being targeted by others. We owe this to the Gottheims, to all of the people who perished during the Holocaust, and to the survivors like Michael Marder who have dedicated their lives to spreading the word about the inhumane treatment they endured.

Martin Neimöller, a well-known pastor once exclaimed:

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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Day 1 At Canyons Village In Park City, Utah

A few weeks ago, my brother, grandfather, and I traveled to the Canyons and Park City in Utah to ski for a few days with some of our cousins and uncles. When we arrived, the weather was nice and cold, and much different from Florida’s typical weather—so we were in for a bit of a shock, to say the least. Granted, I had also never seen so much snow in my life, so it was pretty exciting getting off the plane and looking around at so many mountains covered in snow.

We hopped into a car and made our way to Canyons Village, which is around 45 minutes away from the airport. On the way, we passed Salt Lake City as well as the Utah Olympic Park, which was built for the 2002 Utah Winter Olympics. As you can see in the bottom left photo, we were able to see one of the ski jumps that was used during the Olympics, and is still currently being used for practice. Upon arriving at the Village where we were staying, we unloaded our bags, and walked around outside—enjoying the incredible weather. Although we didn’t ski our first day here, we stopped by the local strip consisting of restaurants and small shops. And of course, we stopped for dinner along the way. After a long day of traveling, we were ready to turn in for the night, eagerly (and anxiously) awaiting the opportunity to ski the following morning!

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Running For A Cause: Miami Half Marathon

Yesterday, my brother, sister, and I participated in the Miami Half Marathon for the second year in a row. We wanted to run in an attempt to raise money and awareness for Misioneros Del Camino—a cause that is very important to us all. After months of training, the big day had finally arrived! And go figure, it just so happened to be the coldest day of the year here in South Florida (which we were very thankful for).

We woke up at 4:00 in the morning to get some last minute carbs and protein in for breakfast, and made our way over to the American Airlines Arena, where the race was set to begin at 6:00am. When we arrived, we walked over to our assigned corral, and were in the company of 25,000 runners from over 80 countries!

Running throughout South Beach, Downtown Miami, and Brickell was invigorating, and the sights were incredible! What I enjoyed most about the event was the amount of individuals on the sidelines and all throughout the streets who cheered us on. Complete strangers spent their entire morning motivating us to keep on running. It was absolutely beautiful, and it made the event even more memorable. And running alongside thousands of individuals from all over the world, and working together to reach a common goal by pushing one another forward was incredible. After 12 full weeks of training and 173.06 miles completed, we crossed the finish line and were finally ready to rest!

This experience was definitely one to remember, and seeing how many loved ones came together to help support our cause has left me speechless. We were able to raise over $2,700 these past few weeks, which will help provide four children special education and daily therapies for an entire year—all for free at Misioneros Del Camino! Thanks to everyone’s help, we have been able to positively affect the lives of numerous children, and we will be able to help give them hope for a brighter future; one which they deserve! I could not be any more grateful or appreciative, and for that, I thank you all.

Simple Quote Sunday

Although I’m not a fan of re-using quotes, I figured that in honor of running in today’s Miami Half Marathon, there is no better individual to quote than a well-known runner and co-founder of the New York City Marathon.

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
-Fred Lebow

Although Fred Lebow’s quote is geared towards running, the same holds true for anything one sets his or her mind to. There is satisfaction to be found in accomplishing any task at hand, which is just one of many reasons to always persevere and never give up—even when faced with a trying situation.

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