Little Pals

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I love watching my daughter grow. It’s such a privilege to be apart of helping form another human being. I love seeing her develop her friendships. She navigates so beautifully towards the right kind of friends. I’m thankful that she is not a “mean” girl. She has always been and continues to be a kind and considerate little girl. She is actually very picky about who she befriends. Her friends posses the same sweet qualities that she has.

IPAD 2015 1281Last week she had her first sleepover with her best friend. Watching them interact brought a smile to my face but it also broke my heart just a little bit. It just made me think of all the ups and downs she will experience with her relationships in her lifetime. Friendships are amazing. I know by my own experiences that I couldn’t have made it through life without my friends. I’m thankful for them all. But sometimes our closest friends can also be the ones capable of hurting us the most. I couldn’t help but think of what will happen between her and her best friend five years down the line. Then I snapped myself back to the present and decided to just enjoy watching them be happy little girls now.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a present. I choose to live in the present.

Cellphone 2015 770The girls spent the day doing crafts and watching movies. Then they spent the night whispering and giggling well past their bedtime. My husband and I didn’t interfere with their fun. We let them stay up and enjoy the sleepover.

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The next day they were up at the crack of dawn, ready for a hearty breakfast. They giggled and told me how they got up and danced in the dark without our knowledge. It seemed to give them joy that they were able to get away with that and we didn’t even know. They wanted to be free and to rebel I guess.

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After breakfast they did some singing, played in the snow, went out for lunch, went ice skating and then off to Starbucks for some hot chocolate. As I was waiting for my latte, I looked back at these two little beauties sitting and sipping their hot chocolate and just being silly kids. I could picture them all grown up and out for coffee together. I realize just how fast that can happen. I feel privilidged to spend time with them because I know that one day soon they won’t want me around. These beautiful little people are given to us for a short while to guide, nurture and love. Before we know it, they will fly off and begin their own journey in life.

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In the meantime I feel very fortunate to be apart of my daughter’s day to day life and to witness her growth and all her firsts. Life is so much more beautiful with my little love. The one thing I have learned and try to practice is not to get lost in the chaos of everyday life. Stop, be in the present and be grateful for every second of this beautiful life with my loved ones.

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Valentine’s Day

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I have a friend that thinks Valentine’s Day is a made up Hallmark holiday. He thinks it benefits the florists, jewelers and other such stores. According to him, Valentine’s Day makes people without romantic partners feel lonely. It puts pressure on husbands, boyfriends and lovers to be romantic, buy flowers, give gifts and profess their love.

35a28fedd6727a3fda1f206381b647cfI agree, it is a made up holiday. It does financially benefit many businesses and I LOVE it! Personally, I think men need a little pressure. They need a shove and a push to pull out all the stops. Before your protest, I will say that there are a few men who know how to make us feel loved. They know how to whisper sweet nothings and bring home flowers periodically but you have to admit that they are a minority.

292ce79bb3f51f76a4dcae2c45491ee3As for the lonely people, I don’t believe that we are ever lonely if we just focus on all the people who love us. In high school, my best friend and I sent each other flowers, and gave one another a card that spelled out how much we meant to one another. We didn’t need romantic partners to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We celebrated our great friendship, our sisterhood!

d39a5ccc0c7909c72fa8f673f6bb024aI see Valentine’s Day as just another excuse to be my mushy self. I enjoy getting flowers and presents and beautiful cards with meaningful words. I also enjoy giving to my loved ones and expressing my love.

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This Valentine my eight year-old daughter and I bought beautiful heart-shaped cookies from whole foods for her little classmates.

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Along with all the sugar we wanted to put a little more love in their goody bags, so we did. We decided to create little compliment notes. They have positive sayings such as “You Rock”, “You can do anything”, “You are kind” and then at the bottom we wrote “Pay it forward”. The purpose of the note was to make the children feel good about themselves and inspire them to say kind words to others. We wanted to highlight their wonderful qualities. We wanted them to believe in their goodness. We wanted to show love. That’s what Valentine’s Day is all about. I  spent most of Valentine’s day with a lovely friend whose child got a split lip in a fall. She needed me to take her to the hospital.

395a9432b2f07d12f7046571eb864a6cAside from having a lovely dinner with my husband and child she was the highlight of my day. Spending time with my family and a friend who needed me was the best way to spend Valentine’s Day.

34125c6887dae88706841f2ef257bceeI love this “made up” Hallmark holiday and how it inspires people to show love…even if it’s not so comfortable for them. I don’t particularly want to focus on its history, although it is interesting. That’s another blog.

It’s all in the way you look at things. I’m feeling pretty happy and thankful for my Valentine’s day. I have so much love around me! I hope you do too!

 

 

The glass half full

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If all is going wrong in your life, the worst thing to do is to dwell on it. Give yourself a little time to cry and feel your sadness and then move on.

That’s life, we all come across difficulties but we must make the best of the life we have been given. Death, illness, rejection, depression, a friendship or marriage that ends, they are all part of life. There is also so much beauty and glimpses of happiness in life. A new love, seeing your child for the first time, having a wonderful laugh with a friend. Our relationships with our family, our friends, that’s always been the key to happiness for me. Years ago, an important friendship that spanned over twenty-five years to someone I considered a sister came to a shocking end. It threw me into a deep depression. I wasted years dwelling on it and other unfortunate situations. Now if I encounter something that makes me feel depressed, I have the tools to help myself.

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How do I do it?  I guess you can say I’ve become an optimistic person. It’s not something that comes naturally to me. I look for the best in any situation and expect good things to happen. It’s my faith in God. I think certain unpleasant things happen to help us grow and push us into places we wouldn’t normally go to on our own.

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New research shows that there’s a positive impact that optimism has on both mental and physical health. Finding happiness all boils down to the way we talk to ourselves. Having a deep connection with our source and believing that everything happens for a reason.

The Quran and the Life of ExcellenceA book that really has helped me shape my positive attitude is “The Quran and the Life of Excellence” by Sultan Abdulhameed. The book literally changed the direction of my life. This inspirational book is a great read for anyone that has faith in God. I consider the author a mentor and a friend. He has helped me and many others see the power that is within us to live a life of excellence.

imageOne of the ways I have tapped into the power within me is to practice gratitude. I’ve blogged about the importance of gratitude before. I know from my own experience that if we take time to notice and reflect upon the things that we are thankful for, we experience more positive emotions, sleep better and even have stronger immune systems. I keep both a gratitude jar and a gratitude journal. Writing brief reflections on moments for which we’re thankful—can significantly increase well-being and life satisfaction.

I also try to spend time doing what I love to do. It helps me find joy in my life. I love reading good books and poetry. I love to travel and learn about other cultures. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do that but I still want to see more. I enjoy going to the movies, shopping, dinning in fine restaurants and taking in the beauty of nature. I love spending time with my family and friends.

I love helping people. That’s the direction I am taking now, to work on things that give me the ability to help others. It’s a selfish act because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel fulfilled. I hope someone reading this can benefit from my practice in their own life.

If you are interested in the book I recommended, “The Quran and the Life of Excellence” you can buy it on Amazon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Like a girl”

fd3890cf91802dd4b2b6f91a15d2f7d3I always love watching the Super Bowl. I enjoy seeing my husband really get into the game and I enjoy all the entertainment and commercials that come along with the game. This year, the “like a girl” commercial really affected me. My sister-in-law emailed the commercial to me earlier and it really made me very emotional. It upset me.

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The premise of the commercial is some adults and a little boy are asked to run, fight and throw “like a girl”. Of course they perform these tasks in the wimpiest way, hence “like a girl” is basically used like an insult!  The punchline is that the same task is asked of a bunch of little girls and they just gave it their all! Just like my daughter would. They ran, fought and threw with a mighty force. There was nothing wimpy about these little girls. “Because throwing “like a girl” is the same as throwing like a person, right?” says one little girl.

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On a day that glorifies masculine athleticism, Proctor & Gamble made viewers consider female strength. It’s important that we as parents remember to use the phrase “like a girl” with power and strength. Women are the ones that carry and nourish a child in their bodies for months. We are the ones that give birth to them and many of us single-handedly raise them. If that is not strength then what is? We have to make sure that we don’t put our girls in a category that makes them feel weak and passive. We’ve got to encourage them to celebrate the unique aspects of femininity. Girls should see themselves as designed and valued by God and savor their femininity as their strength, not a flaw. We parents, both mother’s and father’s are the ones that have to empower our little girls to grow up to become strong, capable and confident women.

Like the commercial says, let’s make “like a girl” mean amazing things! Just like Malala.

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