Farewell Rio

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

With sadness, I bid farewell to the 2016 Olympics.  I have been filled with pride and joy watching my teams compete these past two weeks.  Yes, I said teams.  Of course USA is my number one, but I also support the countries that make up my heritage.  After all, they are underdogs compared to team USA.  No harm done!  Let’s take a look at the medal count:

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

• Team USA 🇺🇸 | 121 Medals | 46 G – 37 S – 38 B

• Team Great Britain 🇬🇧 | 67 Medals | 27 G – 23 S – 17 B

• Team Spain 🇪🇸 | 17 Medals | 7 G – 4 S – 6 B

• Team Israel 🇮🇱 | 2 Medals | 2 B

• Team Ireland 🇮🇪 | 2 Medals | 2 S

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

What were your favorite moments in Rio?? I have so many I could mention, but I will try to narrow it down.  I felt like a proud mother watching Michael Phelps have one last successful Olympic games after the rough few years he’s had (maybe he’ll be back!).  The USA women’s gymnastics team kicked butt and made me feel more patriotic than I have ever felt in my entire life.  Shout-out to Michael Phelps (5G, 1S), Katie Ledecky (4G, 1S), and Simone Biles (4G, 1B)!!  According to Google, they are the top medalists for 2016.  Team USA made me proud all around, but it felt good to dominate artistic gymnastics and swimming.  After a rough start, I am so proud of Spain for getting the bronze in men’s basketball.  Also, a silver in women’s basketball.  Top 3 in the world.  Not too shabby!!  I watched Marc Lopez & Rafael Nadal win gold in men’s doubles.  I’m pretty sure I grew gray hair during that match.  The stress was real, but Lopez earned his first medal, and Rafa now has a gold medal in singles and doubles.  I watched Team GB get the gold in women’s field hockey.  It was a stressful but thrilling game.  Well done ladies!  I did not have the pleasure of watching Ireland at all, but I am nonetheless proud.  Last but certainly not least, I want to express my admiration for Team Israel.  My heart breaks knowing that the Israeli athletes continue to be treated like trash.  However, they held their heads high, maintained composure, and walked away with two medals.

Farewell Olympics!  See you in Tokyo!! 🇯🇵

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

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– Lauren Michele <3

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D.N.A.

Normally I steer clear of discussions involving ethnicity, but I saw a video the other day that frustrated me and can keep my mouth shut no longer.  The whole point of talking about prejudice is promoting appreciation and respect for people from every corner of the world.  No one ethnicity is better than the others.  This world is so large and diverse and intriguing.  I constantly find myself searching the internet for hours learning about different countries.  Cultures are fascinating to me, especially those that make up my own heritage.  I’m proud of who God made me to be therefore I physically hurt when I see people ashamed of and unhappy with who they are.  I was watching a group of people take DNA tests on YouTube the other day, and one man was upset with his results.  He wasn’t upset in an explosive way, just disappointed.  His results showed that the majority of his ancestors came from different parts of Europe.  His exact words were “I’m just a… basically just a white guy.  I’m a little disappointed.  I thought I might be something cool.”  Of course he has the right to be disappointed, and it’s not like he flipped out or overreacted.  I don’t want to blame him directly because he didn’t do anything wrong, but I do want to make a point.  Europe consists of more than 40 countries and shares a land border with Asia.  It is anything but boring, and labeling European as “white” is a disservice.  Aside from my Sephardic heritage, I am European (as far as I know).  I am Jewish and Spanish on my mom’s side and English, Irish, and Scottish on my dad’s side; additionally, there is a possibility of Arab ancestry on my mom’s side and French on my dad’s side.  I have no problem identifying as Caucasian, but it isn’t a label I use often because my heritage deserves much more than a shallow adjective.  I encourage each and every one of you to dig beneath the surface and learn as much as you can about your heritage.  If you feel pressure to be ashamed and not care, don’t give in to the pettiness.  Set a good example by appreciating where you come from and respecting where others come from.  If your attitude and heart are in the right place, that is the best you can do.

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Chanukah Sameach

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The day is finally here!  Today, December 1st, begins the Lauren Michele Poetry/Photography holiday favorites mania.  My December 1st favorite is as follows:

What is my favorite part of Chanukah?  Reconnecting with my Jewish heritage.  I am very proud of who I am, and the holidays are a reminder of how special my heritage is.  My traditions include putting my little blue menorah on display, saying the Chanukah prayers at night with the help of Youtube, reading “Alexandra’s Scrolls”, a book about the first Hanukkah as told by a young Jewish girl named Alexandra, and watching Maccabees, a DVD by NEST.  Also, when I was little, I had a teddy bear named Judah Maccabees.  :)

If you do not know the story of Hanukkah, allow me to enlighten you: The Jews were, at one time, oppressed by a Greek king; he killed Jews, outlawed their religion, and defiled the temple, their place of worship.  Despite their small number and “underdog” status, Judah Maccabees and his army were successful in their rebellion.  The temple was restored, and a celebration took place.  There was only enough oil to light the temple menorah for one night, but the lamp miraculously burned for eight straight nights.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we celebrate Hanukkah.  Tonight is the 4th night of Hanukkah; please take the time to celebrate the Light: Jesus.  Chanukah sameach!

What is your favorite part of Hanukkah?

– Lauren Michele  :)

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam, she’asa nisim la’avoteinu ba’yamim ha’heim ba’z’man ha’ze