OMG, IT’S FINALLY HERE! WHOOHOO!
I’m thrilled that my book has already been a #1 Amazon New Release! Whether you prefer a printed book or an eBook, it’s here! It’s been five years since our fateful trip—what I can only believe was meant to be. In my book I share my opinion about what happened solely from my perspective. It’s seventeen chapters of our wild adventure as well as two on the impact of my experience. While part of what took so long to write my book was the fact that I researched all of the places we visited and read numerous articles and books to understand what we were seeing, hearing and living, this is at its core, a memoir. Other than raising my son, I believe it is my purpose in being on this Earth, and it is my “ethical will.”
On July 8th it will be five years since Operation Protective Edge—the war that began while we were on our family vacation. And no, I still don’t seem to have gotten over the Jewish guilt of taking my son to war for his Bar Mitzvah present. Running to bomb shelters was what we experienced and it is nothing that I ever would want to get used to—but this sadly is life as an Israeli.
The Palestinians had already started firing missiles against Israel, but it took hundreds of missiles before Israel decided enough is enough. Unlike other nations it is what’s expected of Israel. After all, what do you think the United States would do if hundreds of missiles were fired across the border from Mexico into San Diego and families cowered in bomb shelters? Meanwhile the world said Israel shouldn’t do anything about it. Preposterous? It is what is expected of Israel and only Israel. One has to ask why?
As an American Jew, I was raised to care about Israel. I carried it in my heart, especially since my first trip in 1989, long before I met and married my husband. I made the occasional donation to various Jewish fundraising campaigns and then went about my daily concerns. Israel was a small blip on the radar screen of my life. After all, we were here, they were there, and most of us struggle to keep up with our to-do lists as it is.
But being human targets changed all that. Seeing how Israelis live with the threat of death at any moment, and yet how little compassion they are given blew my mind. Rather, the news was primarily filled with Palestinian death and injury statistics. The old news adage, “if it bleeds, it leads” comes to mind. Far too often the news neglected to mention what precipitated Israel’s military action. It’s as if the media began their sentences leaving off the first part.
Now, do I believe in retaliation? Absolutely not. No amount of killing would ever bring back anyone’s loved ones. As a start, just stopping the missiles could positively change the whole situation. But to understand the circumstances, you have to fairly portray the facts and present the whole story—not just part of it. Both sides need to stop and remember that we are all humans and deserve to have our children play safely in their backyards.
But as outsiders we need to tread lightly. Unless you’ve lived these types of experiences as a way of life, judgement is a wickedly strong spice best left on the shelf. I was shocked at how the impact of living this way impacted me in a very short time and both sides have spent generations slogging through the muck of their harsh reality.
I tried to absorb the concept of trusting in the unknown, a belief that everything happens for a reason. Although Israelis have every right to be fearful of what might happen, they choose instead to move forward and continue to go to work and attend their kids’ soccer practices. They live by fate—go on with your life; what will be, will be.
Perception is always key in our lives, whether it’s how we view ourselves, our family and friends, or Israelis and Palestinians. How we interpret experiences flavors what makes sense to us—sometimes sweetness tingles our palettes, other times rancid reactions simmer. Events can provoke us to take action. The good news is that we are in control of our thoughts and can choose to change our perceptions if we remain open to the possibility.
This trip was the catalyst to my new life. No longer sitting on the sidelines, I was motivated to act—and I did. I wrote my book, became a speaker and am also in the Jewish National Fund’s Speaker’s Bureau, blogged on PennySTee.com and founded Writers4Writers an online writers’ support group. You would not recognize my life today compared with what it was then—a well-traveled former corporate executive and consultant who chose to stay at home with her son.
Ever since I decided to write my book to share our experiences, I have been working toward this moment. The impact of the missiles was that it made me want to work on Peace. What I realized by writing my book was that I had been working on Peace all of my life, but it had been internal. As Deepak Chopra would say; you have to be inside what you want to bring outside to the rest of world. Some days I feel more Peaceful inside than others, but just like everyone else, I’m still a work in progress. I just wish I could wiggle my nose like Samantha in the old sitcom “Bewitched,” and be fixed. Don’t you? All of this self-examination is lots of work!
Change is always part of life and now there are some new attempts at Peace. How it will turn out we can’t predict, but by the Palestinian leaders rejecting out of hand any attempt at reconciliation and calling participants traitors—it’s the same attitude that’s prevented Peace all along. It’s a shame because I know that there are Palestinians and Israelis that work together on Peace every day of their life. But most of us don’t hear these stories because their leaders that make the news have other agendas.
And now my book is finished and available for sale. It’s the first step of my new career—my new life. At a time when most might be thinking about retiring, I’m gearing up for my next adventure. Well so be it, the last time I did something later than most like having my son at 44, it turned out just right 🙂
I want to thank so many people who supported me on this journey. From professionals like my developmental editor, designer and copy editor to other colleagues in the writing profession to friends and family who tolerated the incessant chatter of a woman possessed by her life’s calling. For more on that you can read the acknowledgments.
I also included a recap of eight lessons that I live by. I hope you find them helpful. At the back of the book is a Resources section to help those who might be on a transformational journey of their own.
It’s been a joy, as I said in my last blog, to reconnect with friends and colleagues from the many decades of my life and catch up. I am blessed.
I read every review and it touches my heart. So far readers have been very kind and I’m humbled by the acceptance of my heartfelt work. As I’ve said previously having Jean Houston, someone I consider my “spiritual mother” and someone with an amazing career that includes advising the United Nations and Russell F. Robinson, the CEO of the Jewish National Fund write testimonials, as well as so many other talented people enjoy my book—it’s very gratifying.
Penny Tee is a gifted writer. The way she moves from viewing monuments to how the war spawned a maelstrom of madness is as thrilling as it is chilling. What Penny and her family learn about themselves and human courage is a testament to the endurance of our species and the hopes we all have of creating a world that works for all.
—Jean Houston, Ph.D., Bestselling Author, Scholar, and Advisor to the United Nations
. . . compelling and wonderful story. An awakening for sure! The motto of the Jewish National Fund is to teach our leaders that you must stand up and be counted. Your book exemplifies that.
—Russell F. Robinson, CEO, Jewish National Fund
Now that both the eBook and printed book are available I’m looking forward to hearing from you. I’d appreciate it if you could spread the word to colleagues, family and friends that my book is out and I’m available for speaking engagements.
So here we go. The next step in my adventure. I wish you all Peace, שלום, سلام and thanks for Joining Me On My Journey…
Share this Post