Double Digits!

 

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My little girl is has officially entered double digits. I can’t believe she is ten years old! Since I’ve had my daughter I have made the choice of being a stay at home mother. I feel blessed to be able to be there for my child. I am able to be at every important function and witness every phase. I was there for her first word, the first time she took her first step and many other firsts. My husband on the other hand has missed many of her important firsts. That is the sacrifice he has made in order to have a parent always present for our child. I’m beyond grateful for that.

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We live in a beautiful neighborhood in a modest house. We take fewer vacations than we would if we were both working. I miss my career as a journalist but not enough to go back to work. Working full-time would not allow me to be as fully present as I am with my daughter. It’s a choice we are lucky to be able to make. I respect everyone’s choices, be it to stay at home or be a working parent. Whatever brings balance in our lives is what should be done. I have yet to be fully balanced but I’m working on it and this blog is just one way to help bring me balance. I still get to write, express my feelings and share what I have learned. My hopes are that my journey can be of help to someone else going through the ups and downs of life.

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To be a parent is a privilege. We are blessed to have our children. They are given to us by God to care for and raise to hopefully be adults that will contribute positively to the world.

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I know that my husband and I are so grateful to have such a kind, smart, funny, articulate and compassionate little girl. She is creative, artistic and most importantly she has a heart of gold. She is blessed to have a wonderful extended family of grandparents, aunts and uncles who contribute into forming her character and self-esteem.

She has given us a decade of bliss. We live each day, moment by moment taking in all the beauty of her childhood. I hope we can make her as happy as she has made us. We look forward to many more years of growth and learning together.

We love you Sophia. Happy Birthday!

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Message to my daughter

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Last year we bought our nine-year old something she had been wanting for a long time. Our daughter  really loves to write. She is very creative and imaginative. She likes to make up stories and write songs. We wanted to support her love of writing so we bought her an inexpensive no frills laptop.
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Sophia also loves to write and receive emails from family. She is only allowed to communicate with her family. It gives her a chance to keep in touch with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Sometimes she will email my husband and I little notes of how much she loves us. I in return like to  email her things I want her to know. Things she normally will not pay attention to in person. I noticed she really reads and re-reads her emails. So recently I put down a few things that I have learned though out my life.  I feel it will help her during her journey as she transitions from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood.
Here it is….
  • Everyone has a story. You are the writer of your own story.
  • Learn from every experience. If you make a mistake, try not to repeat it.
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Love yourself.
  • Respect yourself and others.
  • Every single thing that has happened in your life is preparing you for the journey to come.
  • Caring, compassionate, loving….describes you my sweet girl.
  • Don’t pretend to be what you are not, be proud of who you are. 
  • God talks to us all the time, first in a whisper, if you don’t pay attention…the whisper will get louder and louder. Make sure you are listening to what God is telling you.
  • We are more than what we appear to be.
  • Life is all about growing into your best self.
  • Your thoughts create your life. Be careful what you think. Always say “I can do it” to yourself. Never doubt yourself. You can do it and you will do it.
  • God can dream a bigger dream for you than you can ever dream for yourself. Surrender to God and just believe and then let it go.
  • Your intention is everything.  Please always have powerful intentions. 
  • You and you alone have control of yourself.  Do your best everyday, always.
  • Serve others, this will bring you happiness.
  • Be kind and compassionate.
  • Be loyal.
  • Be a good friend.
  • You are not alone.
  • You are the possibility of what can be. Everything you want to be is possible. Just believe in God.
  • Spend time with your loved ones. Love is everything.
  • Stay true to your calling. You will know what that is if you pay attention.
  • Everything that you put out into the world is going to come back to you.
  • There is an energy flow in life. You are either in flow or out of it. Try to be in flow. Be balanced in your life.
  • Be connected to God, always
  • Everything passes in its time. Only the soul remains.
  • Find out what your purpose is in this life that has been gifted  to you.
  • Always know that you are loved.

I love you.

Mommy

Best Friends

Just a blonde and a brunette, creating memories, having fun and standing by one another as they grow. Life is so much sweeter when you have a best friend to love and be loved by. Here’s hoping my little girl and her bestie will always cherish one another through thick and thin.

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Raising daughters

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Raising children is difficult in general but I think it’s especially hard to raise little girls. My daughter is nine and I’m already trying to prepare myself for her to enter the tween and teen years. It can be frightening because as parents, we want to protect our children but the reality is, there is only so much we can do. So, I have put together a few things I think would be helpful to mothers of little girls.

  • 1. How we dress and apply make-up will influence our girls

    My daughter really loves playing dress up like most girls. Since she was three years old, she has always loved high heels and make-up. In time, lessons will have to be taught on applying less but for now, it’s just for fun. She notices that I dress modestly. I think it will influence the way she chooses to dress in the future.

  • 2. Telling our daughters about the things to come like their period is really important. They should be prepared for when it happens.

    It’s my job to be open about my body and what’s going to change with her body. She needs to be comfortable talking to me about everything.

  • 3. The world will try to get them to grow up too fast and it’s our job to keep them girls as long as possible.

    That’s why even though my daughter hates it, no makeup when we go out, only appropriate clothes and no high heels. Yes, they make high heels for little girls! No inappropriate jewelry and NO cell phone yet. It’s my job to set boundaries.

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  • 4. Encourage and support the relationship with her father

    A girl’s father is one of the most influential people in her life. They have a big impact on their daughter’s development to grow into a strong, confident woman. He helps shape her self-esteem, self-image, confidence and opinions of men. The type of men that women get involved with are directly related to the kind of relationship a girl has with her father.

  • 5. Be mindful of how you talk about your body in front of your daughters

    You will become their example for how women should view their bodies. I have to admit I have made some major mistakes when it comes to negative talk about my body. Children hear and see everything. I now try NOT to speak negatively about my weight in front of my daughter. At 9 years old, she is already aware of body size and worries about it. I try to emphasize that she should stay healthy by eating clean and keeping active.

  • 6. Protect them but also teach them to stand up for themselves

    My daughter is super sweet and sensitive but she is also a people pleaser. I want her to grow up to be a strong woman. She knows that my husband and I will always have her back but we also want her to learn to stand up for herself.

  • 7. Compliment your daughter on things other than her beauty or appearance

    My daughter always hears about how lovely she is from us all but that’s not the only thing we focus on.  Little girls need to know that there is more to their self-worth than beauty. We make sure to focus on our daughters other attributes, like her intelligence, talent and her kind nature. Things that won’t fade with time.

  • 8. Set boundaries in your life with how people treat you

    Our children learn from what we do more than what we say. So, if you are strong and demand being treated well, there is a better chance she will grow up and do the same.

  • 9. Follow your own dreams and passions

    Set the example that what you love to do is important so she will believe in her own dreams and passions. It’s why I share with my daughter my blogging goals and achievements, so she can know that I have goals and things I do that I work hard to be proud of.

  • 10. Teach them to be smart when it comes to being around the opposite sex

    I always speak to my daughter about the importance of trusting her instincts and gut feelings. It’s never too early to speak about relationships. I talk to her about how important it is to marry someone who will respect her and treat her well, just like her dad treats me.

    These are just some things I think will help other moms raising girls. As mothers, we all need extra support and guidance from each other, especially those that have been doing it longer. Please feel free to express your opinions and share your experiences. I know I am always looking to grow and become a better mother.

Our children

I love taking pictures of beauty and innocence. I’ve captured some lovely moments with the children in my life. With a blink of an eye they grow and move on to make a path of their own in the world. This poem expresses what it means to have these little gems in our lives for a beautiful yet brief time.232323232fp83232_uqcshlukaxroqdfv3674=ot_2376=44_=648=XROQDF_2_5875933523;ot1lsi

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable. -Khalil Gibran

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Doll Face

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Sonia Singh is an artist, illustrator and scientist in Tasmania. She’s also a woman who is doing something that may change the way little girls see themselves.  When Singh was a child she says her mother didn’t let her play with Barbie dolls because of their curvy shapes and overt makeup. She says now she can understand that those are some things that can affect the way young girls perceive themselves.

Our daughters are influenced by celebrities, models and dolls like Barbie. With these unrealistic expectations projected onto them, how are they supposed to feel when they look in the mirror? Looking at Barbie with her unrealistic body and the Bratz dolls with all their overly done made-up faces and inappropriate clothing, you have to wonder if the girls who play with them, believe that is what they are SUPPOSED to look like.

I love that Singh navigated the world of hyper-sexualized dolls and decided to turn them into something that resembles what a little girl really looks like. She recycled, then repaired old dolls to resemble a child.

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She uses nail polish remover and erases away their overly done made-up faces. She then uses her artistic skills to make them under with new age appropriate styles.

It gives the dolls a new lease on life and gives young girls something that they can identify with.

 

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I love her idea and her dolls!  The recycled dolls are beautiful and ready for little imaginations to take them for an adventure. They are gorgeous dolls that I hope will take flight with mainstream doll manufacturers.

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My daughter Sophia thinks the new look is pretty and natural….”just like all my friends” she says. The overly made-up dolls looked scary to her. That’s my girl! See what your daughters say about the make-under look.

You can support Sonia Singh and her work by going to the Tree Change Dolls etsy shop and ordering a set of greeting cards or limited edition prints that features her original photos of some of first Tree Change Dolls. Every month she lists a Tree Change Doll on Ebay with most of the proceeds going to charity.

Want to give your child’s dolls a make-under? If you’re interested Singh has created some DIY videos to show you how. I know I’m going to give it a try.

– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqiNDsTcknk – – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bduNyTTIvF4

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Moving towards my purpose

 

 

 

232323232fp34;_nu=3285_359_557_WSNRCG=3234_86232_2_nu0mrjThere are some days when I question if I’m living the life I’m supposed to live. I wonder if I’m doing enough. Should I be going back to work? Does that allow me to be the kind of mother I want to be? Why is it that some women are perfectly comfortable balancing work and motherhood and some are not? There are also some who are not lucky enough to have a choice and they have to work.

I am grateful to be able to stay home with my child but sometimes I have a sense of unease. I feel like I’ve got to do more, to be more. Recently many in my family and some friends have suggested that I get back to work, but at this stage of my life, I’m not really interested in doing something just to work. I want to do something that adds meaning and value to my life. Having an extra income would be an added bonus but it’s got to be worth my time and energy away from my family.

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Why can’t I have a career and be a mother? I have so many friends who do both beautifully. I have really been looking into the meaning of my life. What is it that I want in life? Is it wealth, fame, acknowledgement and success? How does one define success? For some it’s what they do. For others it’s what they have. I know I have what’s always been important to me. I have a loving family and I am fortunate enough to have a handful of true friends that have stuck with me through thick and thin. Along the way I have lost people who were not supposed to be in my life anymore. In the end, the health and happiness of those I love is all that matters to me and yet there is still something within me that feels unfulfilled.

e1c9bd7c5a6d17f22402ff85f2df772dI think that feeling of wanting to do more helps push me to look for what I’m supposed to do. I think it’s telling me that there is more for me to accomplish. It compels me to continue to strive and move forward.

I often think that there has to be a reason for our existence. I think we are all here in the world to fulfill our purpose. To find it we must get closer to our essence. Part of our essence is giving. We have to look at something larger than ourselves. For me, it’s connecting with God. I’ve blogged about my grateful practice many times. It’s one of the best ways to connect with my source. The more I connect with a higher power the more I learn to let go and let God lead me to where I’m supposed to go.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Marcus Aurelius, the Emperor of Rome.

“Life is shaped from the inside out. Everything is turned to ones advantage when you greet everything that happens in life as something positive. No experience goes wasted. Everything that happens in life is the right material to bring about your growth and the growth around you. Everything contains some special purpose and a hidden blessing. All of life is here to greet you like an old and faithful friend.”

 

 

 

 

“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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Motherhood

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I thank God every day for giving me the gift of motherhood.

It has taught me to become more patient, loving and compassionate.

It has taught me to put someone else’s needs before mine.

It has helped me appreciate my parents more.

It has helped me grow as an individual.

I have learned to see the world in another light.

I have become more optimistic, spiritual and calm.

I know that we are  in this world for a purpose.

I think that our purpose is to serve others.

For now I will start by serving my family.

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The Conscious Parent

 

83ee7765cb0cb73a4af0fc9c30d7e691Parenting is the hardest job in the world. We’re all struggling to raise our children to be the best human beings that they can be. I’ve been reading a very profound book on parenting for a while now. I’ve blogged about it before. I’ve had to read it over and over again to really understand it. Oprah calls it a revolutionary way of parenting.

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The book is The Conscious Parent, by Clinical Physiologist, Dr. Shefali Tsabary.  According to her, disciplining our children does not work. She says the key to good parenting is to connect with our children.

I think I connect well with my little girl. My daughter knows that I love her and that she comes first over everything else in my life. I still discipline her. Yet, Tsabary claims discipline doesn’t work. That makes me panic about how I’m raising my daughter. Dr.Tsabary also says that our children are our greatest spiritual teachers and that they are here as a reflection of where we need to go and grow in our lives. I had to read and that sentence over and over again. It completely makes sense to me. I’ve grown so much since becoming a mother. I’ve never been a very patient person but since I’ve had my daughter I’ve learned to become a lot more patient. She has taught me about how I view myself and how that has impacted my life as well as her life. I have learned to be less concerned about other people’s opinions of me. I have learned to live more authentically. I no longer value things as much as I had before. I’ve always valued relationships but now I value who I spend my time with. My daughter has taught me so much already in her short eight years. I know she has a lot more to teach me about myself. This book just blows my mind!

Tsabary says the parent-child relationship is a partnership and not a hierarchical situation.  She says “Who we are, our child will reflect. Who they are is a reflection of our consciousness or unconsciousness.” Huh? What? Have I lost you? Exactly how I felt the first time I read the book. That’s why I had to read it over a couple of times.

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How many times have you caught yourself telling your child that they are being lazy or naughty? What labels have you used? Well, Dr. Tsabary says labeling our children creates the exact thing we fear. She says “we have to see their goodness so that they can manifest the light they see reflecting in our eyes. They should see how good they are. We should let them see their essence in our eyes.”

I know I can get upset if my child does something I feel is bad behavior and I don’t hesitate to tell her so. That’s a big don’t! I should be acknowledging her positive behavior instead of always acknowledging what she is doing wrong.

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She says our children are NOT extensions of who we are. When we do that we unleash all our emotional baggage onto them. They are not ours to own. They are not our puppets. The conscious parent understands that this is a journey. She says our children act as our mirrors. Every interaction we have with our children we are really interacting with ourselves. Basically what that means is most of us want to see our kids become great at sports we wanted to be great at. Maybe play an instrument we wanted to learn or learn to behave or look the way we think they should because it would make us look better. Push them to be doctors, lawyers, bankers because that’s how they can make money and be “successful”. Money does not equal success. What you do for a living isn’t who you are. Being a successful lawyer may not be who they are and therefore it will lead to an unhappy life. Do you get it? Why is it that most of us say hey you’re going to take such and such class and learn to be a great (put whatever you want your child to be). Instead she says we should let them decide what they want to do and not push them into what we want.

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If we are whole and complete and if we are doing what makes us happy they mirror that. If we are a mess, well that’s what they mirror. That is the scariest thing to be aware of because many of us are still struggling to find ourselves. This book is saying that we should work on ourselves and be happy and content in our own lives. That’s a much better way of teaching our children how to be functioning adults in the future.  Basically the best gift we can give our kids is our own awakening and then they can soar as well.

Dr. Tsabary says things that we try to hide from our children they absorb. For instance, if you are rushing them in the morning, or rushing them to hurry up and go to bed so you can have some time for yourself they feel it.  If all we care about is our ego based agenda they know it. They want you to care about who they are.

She says they are more attune and in the now then we will ever be. It doesn’t mean we let them loose to do whatever they want. Tsabary says every action has a consequence. We have to use the power of natural consequences. They emerge naturally stop, pause and tune it to what’s going on within them. It just means we have to guide them consciously. For example, one of my battles with my child is her sleep time. She always wants to sleep later. It becomes an argument every time. I end up making her go to bed but she is not happy. She feels like I bully her into doing something she doesn’t want. The way the book says I should take care of this situation is to acknowledge her wish of staying up. For instance, I can say I know you want to stay up. It’s fun to be up a little longer but you have school tomorrow and you will be very tired if you don’t sleep now. Maybe we can stay up a bit later over the weekend.

It feels better to me to help her sleep at a decent hour consciously. The other way feels like I’m fighting with my child. It’s my ego against hers. Our children show us how immature we still are…how we have more growing to do. Tsabary says that’s why they are our greatest teachers. When we are faced with challenges with our kids, this is the call for us to stay in the present.

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In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, kids serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness. Once they find their way back to their essence, parents enter into communion with their children, shifting away from the traditional parent-to-child “know it all” approach and more towards a mutual parent-with-child relationship. She says, “he pillars of the parental ego crumble as the parents awaken to the ability of their children to transport them into a state of presence.”

We are here as a leader, nurturer and supporter of our children. They are perfectly formed little beings. All we have to do is gently guide them. That’s a practice I will have to do consciously.

What are your thoughts?