Special hugs xo

My nephew turned 10 yesterday. I can’t believe that he is already in double digits. I can still remember the first time I met him when he was only a few days old. He was so little and helpless. I feel the same protectiveness towards him today that I felt then. He is one of the people in my life that gives me unconditional love. His hugs are special. He really hugs like he means it. They’re not forced. You can feel the love radiate through him when he hugs you and when he looks at you. 
It’s especially apparent when I see him interact with his beautiful mother. She is clearly his everything. The kid loves his dad but his mom, well it’s a special kind of love he saves only for her.
You see my nephew has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum disorder. It’s a developmental disability that can cause major social, communication and behavioral challenges. You wouldn’t really know it if you looked at Zayn. In fact it almost hurts to look at him because he is so beautiful. He is a strikingly handsome, sweet boy filled with laughter and a certain passion for Spiderman. It’s when you get really close to him and you’re having a conversation with him that you realize that he is a bit aloof. That’s when his mother really feels pain. It hurts her to see that others notice he is different.
There was a time when Zayn wouldn’t look at you when you spoke to him. He certainly wouldn’t converse with you but today he does. I’ve seen this little boy transform so drastically. He now responds to questions and looks at you when you speak to him. I see him slowly coming out of the dark. On the other side of that darkness is his mother, coaxing him to step out into the world.
I’ve had many tearful conversations with my cousin. I’ve felt her heartache and anguish but I’ve also witnessed her strength. They say God gives special children to special people. It must be true. This woman has gone through hell and back within her own childhood. When she was only a few years old she witnessed her father being taken away by the Russians in Afghanistan. He was never seen again and presumed dead. I often think about how much that has haunted her and her brother. That’s just the beginning of her struggles in life. Fast forward to her getting married and having children of her own. No one can really prepare for a special needs child. My cousin is no exception.
Once Zayn was diagnosed she had to mourn the son she thought she had. My cousin decided that she would fight for the son she had. She researched and tried everything from music therapy, to speech…..the list goes on. She spent hours at home repeating what the therapists and psychologist had done with Zayn. She worked so hard that she lost herself in him. The world would see her beautiful smile but only a few of us knew what really went on inside her heart. Now that she is seeing a difference in her boy she is finally able to get out and find herself again.
I started writing this in honor of my beautiful nephew who gives me special hugs. In the end, it’s his mother that I honor and look up to. That’s what parenting is all about. Giving of yourself, loving to the end. Never giving up.
I can see Zayn becoming an actor, a computer scientist. I can see him doing anything he wants in life because he has a mother who helps him soar.
Zayn is different. He is beautiful, kind and he knows who is helping mold him into the wonderful, successful man he will become one day. So he will give special hugs to her always.
I love you Zayn. Happy Birthday to my one of a kind nephew!xoxo

Parenting Conciously

If you are a parent, you use some sort of guideline or method to discipline your children. I know I do.
What do you do and does it work?
We get all kinds of experts telling us how to “discipline” our children. We also get unsolicited advice from the people who love us. Our parents chime in, our siblings and our friends. Everybody has an opinion on how we should be raising our children. Some suggest giving a child a time out. Other methods of disciplining a child could be to take away toys, play dates, television or computer time. Well what if all these methods were wrong? That’s a question that I ask myself, especially after using all the methods above and seeing no results.
Lately my eight year-old daughter and I have been butting heads. We fight over cleaning her room, doing her homework, putting her dishes in the sink and bickering over the way she has been behaving in general. My sweet little girl has literally turned into a teenager way before her time.
Spending time together has gone from being quality mother-daughter time to a stressful mess!
Just as I’m about to throw in the towel, my sister, a very wise and loving aunt turned me onto a clinical psychologist named Dr. Shefali Tsabary. She’s made a name for herself by calling for a radical restructuring of the parenting hierarchy. Dr. Tsabary says that our children are our greatest spiritual teachers. She says they are here as a reflection of where we need to go and grow in our lives. That our relationship is a partnership and not a hierarchical control situation. “Who you are, your child will reflect. Who your child is, is a reflection of your consciousness or unconsciousness.”
Those are some deep words. They stopped me in my tracks! Just think, how daunting it is to know that we the parents are what shape our children completely. It’s something I’ve always known, but to see it put in those words make it so real.
I’ve just picked up some books that Dr. Tsabary has written. They are “The Conscious Parent” and “Out of Control”. I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve read them. In the meantime, I’m going to change the way I look at my daughter, consciously.
The conscious parent, she explains, understands that children are not possessions; they are expressive, free-thinking individuals with their own spirit and interests. “They are not ours to possess, to control and dominate, and to act as if they are our puppets, our minions, our products,” Dr. Tsabary says. “Because that’s where we begin messing it all up.”
I’m going to stop, pause and tune into my child. I’m going to connect more.
Dr. Tsabary says, that we should be the parent we need to be for our children and not the parent we think we should be.
It makes your really think. It’s a different type of parenting. It’s more spiritually connected. Being a parent is the most sacred job and sometimes we have to go back and take some new classes in order to be the best in our job.

Mother’s Day

My mother is my wings. She keeps me in flight.
My mother is my guard, my security, that soft place in the night.
My mother is my strength to go on with any fight.
She’s my best friend, my mentor, my heart.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you beautiful women who love and nurture your children.
I always knew my mom loved me, but not until I had my own child did I really understand.
So now on this day that we honor our mothers I think of all those who no longer have their moms.
How much they must miss the beautiful hand that always held their hand. What they wouldn’t give to speak, to seek advice, to listen to the voice of their mothers. I think of my husband and his loving mom. Her glistening blue eyes, her laugh, her words of comfort to him. I see the pain in his eyes, that missing piece in his heart. I think of my cousin who always keeps his heart in the cold, but oh how it pains me to see it warm with tears for his mother. I think of my three sweet friends who have lost their champion, a second mother to me, she was an angel who walked among us on earth.
Her smiling Irish eyes always filled with love and kindness. How I miss our weekly talks, so how are they able to bear her loss? Then somehow I know, she will bring them strength to get through this first Mother’s Day without her. My friend Jaime, she sees her beloved in butterflies, and still she speaks her heart knowing that her mother is listening.
To you and to all of them I say, keep her and your memories together in your heart. To those of us fortunate enough to have our mothers, I say cherish her and your time together. Seek her advice, talk, listen and love.
Happy Mother’s Day. May we all love and be loved.
I love you mom.

Feeling Thankful.

Today I woke up and felt thankful for everything I have in my life. I am thankful for my comfortable bed, my home and the fact that I am secure. I don’t have to worry about being homeless or hungry. I lack nothing when it comes to comfort and love. I am blessed with a wonderful husband and a beautiful little girl. I have amazing parents who have always supported me and loved me unconditionally. I have wonderful siblings and in-laws that love me. I also have a very tight relationship with my extended family. That includes my aunts, uncles and cousins. Who needs friends when I have such an abundance of love within my family? Well, I do. I always have. Friends are an important part of my life. I am lucky enough to be blessed with friends who care for me. That’s a bonus!
This all stems from just having a birthday and feeling a little blue about turning a year older. It’s true that I’m not where I should be physically. I’ve gained a lot of weight since having my daughter. I also don’t feel like I’ve found complete fulfillment, but who has?
The first text I got early on my birthday was from my sister. She suggested that I list fortysomething things that I am grateful for. The fortysomething is my age. You can keep guessing! I’m not telling! I thought that was ridiculous! It also highlights just how old I am. Then I thought about it and decided my sister was right, as usual….how annoying! It’s easy to find fault in everything in life. Perhaps for someone like myself that’s just what we are programmed to do naturally. The more difficult task is to see past all that is “wrong” and look at what’s “right”.
We all have things that we may want to change. It’s easy to focus on that. I am consciously choosing to focus on what’s right. It may not be in my nature but it sure beats feeling blue. Plus, with every hardship comes ease.
I’m thankful to have a chance at another year of life. I’m grateful for all that God has given me. I plan on making the best out of my life and reaching for the stars! I will continue to make goals and try to achieve them. I will make mistakes and learn from them. I will replace every negative thought with a positive thought. I hope you do the same.
Finally, I’m thankful that you are reading my blog!

Healthy recipes


Broccoli and Feta Omelet

broccoli-feta-omlet-1991656-xCooking spray
1 cup chopped broccoli
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
2 slices rye bread, toasted


1. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add broccoli, and cook 3 minutes.
2. Combine egg, feta, and dill in a small bowl. Add egg mixture to pan. Cook 3 to 4 minutes; flip omelet and cook 2 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with toast.

Welcome to my first blog!

It seems appropriate that the start of spring is when I have decided to begin blogging. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but have procrastinated, as is my habit. I’m going to be writing about the little things that bring me joy and help me cope with the ups and downs of everyday life. I will also share recipes that I love, pictures that I’ve taken , my art, poetry and much more.

Getting out and taking in the beauty around me has always made me happy. Recently I took a hike with four wonderful mommy friends. We are all very different people but the one thing we have in common is motherhood. We were able to enjoy nature, get some exercise and enjoyed some much needed adult conversation.

Spring and Fall are my favorite times of the year. With Spring comes new life, a new beginning and lots of eye candy for the artist in me. Here are some pictures from our hike.








Take some time in your busy schedules to take in the beauty around you. Here’s to new beginnings!