Bleeding Green

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“Pakistan needs one good win to get in motion,” ~ Javed Miandad.

I don’t know what it is about Pakistan cricket that makes me keep wanting to watch. It’s one thing to watch in a country where everyone watches cricket and it’s always aired. It’s another thing to watch cricket in America. To actively seek out opportunities to watch it. It’s also a chance to reflect on where you are since the world cup only occurs every 4 years.

Last world cup, I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and left my sleeping family early in the morning to watch cricket at Georgia Tech – Pakistan vs. India. As the world slowly woke up, I was with a group of excited fans watching and celebrating cricket eating green iced cake. It’s always reassuring to see cricket fans like yourself.

This world cup, I can watch it in the wee hours in the luxury of my own home with a password and email address and an Espn account.

Pakistan lost to India already which was a crucial match emotionally. They just lost to West Indies yesterday. Pakistan fans everywhere are feeling the sting majorly by now.

Yet when I sit and watch the eager Pakistan fans on the screen, I cannot help smiling inside. Feeling a glimmer of hope. The commentator said it correctly yesterday, “One thing you have got to love about these Pakistani fans. They have hope. Until the last ball, they’re hoping.”

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And that’s so true. Pakistan is a team that has high high ups and low low downs. You never know what they’re going to do, if they’re going to let a victory slip out of their fingers, or all of a sudden crush a supposed-winning-team.

But one thing we Pakistanis are good at is hoping, and hoping we will continue to do. Until the last ball.


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Nurturing Gifts

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 “Sometimes I feel like the bulk of my job – as a writer, as a mother, is simply to protect my time – to spew a series of No’s in order to allow Yes’s for the gifts I have been given, today.

To refuse, to accept.

No, I cannot meet you for coffee. My gift, today, is to mother.
No, I cannot attend your event. My gift, today, is to write.” ~
Erin Loechner

 

Be Present. Be Present. Be Present. I always hear the ‘Be Present’ phrase and have read dozens of articles about the Art of Being Present, in a smart phone age where we are always on-the-go. Being Present is the thing to do. It means putting your things to the side and sitting on the wooden floor for who-knows-how-long and playing and conversation making with a person who is a minute two year old. It means paying attention to everything and doing everything, and doing it all, or at least that’s what I made myself think. It means you must have a fresh, home cooked dinner on the table, be there for your children, do mundane household chores, read your child scores of books, and manage to get some juicy writing in. It means having your laundry in neat, little piles. Or does it?

I read this beautiful article here by Erin where it says you can be selfish, and if you have a gift, nurture it. So if you can write, then it’s okay to stay in and write. It’s okay to pore over photos and edit to your liking. Actually, it’s more than okay. Because if you don’t ever give yourself that time, then your gifts may not linger so much. I’ve heard others say writing is a muscle and if you don’t exercise those muscles, it’s so easy to get rusty, to get stale, and to have your thoughts become stagnant.

I have had some unforeseen circumstances in which lately I am at home more. Naturally, being at home more and less on the go is more relaxing. When you are always on the go, from picking up children, grocery shopping, park-going, library-visiting, drive-through-eating, you feel like your life is simply going-through the motions. Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

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Being at home more, it’s natural to feel the I-should-be-reading-to-my-children-moreI-should-be-playing-with-her-more-on-the-wooden-floor, but there are many times when I get to sit down with my pink laptop, and write, and in those moments I feel the most present and alive and happy. Happy to let my thoughts free. In those moments, I push the guilt to the side, and just allow myself to write.

Then, those moments post writing when I am sans pink laptop, I feel more attuned to the lives of the little ones around me. More attuned to the things they say, and more likely to appreciate. More likely to ‘Be Present.’  More likely to realize that the meaning of being present is to be slow and gentle with yourself and the expectations of what you can do, to appreciate what you have done, and to look forward at what is upcoming.  To not just Rinse, Wash, Repeat, but to Make Bubbles, Linger and Lather , and Soak. Soak in the goodness of it all.

 

“Verily, in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest.” – Quran 13:28

The Troubles of Strangers

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“Are you waiting to get a transplant?” He asks earnestly.

The question is direct. It twitches a smile across my lips.

I am sitting amongst 4 men of different ages, jovial men, in the waiting room blood work lab. These men’s smart phones are stowed away and they are sharing stories. One talks casually about how he was on the very bottom of the Liver Transplant list and got bumped up to number 1 when he was given 24 hours to live. He lost his spot when a 9 year old boy took it because he had priority over him, but not to worry, he lived a week and now has a spanking brand new liver!

Congratulations are said, the stories proceed. These men are present, alive, happy to be given the opportunity at life, like a fish thrown back in water, yet  they converse and breathe sans gulps.

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I know the ways of waiting rooms. Rooms in which pregnant women cradle smart phones and bellies, rooms in which toddlers cry for their mama’s phone, and rooms in which people generally avoid eye contact. Rooms in which actual conversations don’t take place, life is too busy for that.

But this waiting room is different- this room is the hospital waiting room; and in this room the patients are surprisingly happy to be alive, they are present. Some have brand new livers and some are awaiting them, yet they are positive and at peace.


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Back to his direct question, “So are you getting a transplant?”

He is waiting for a liver. He is 28 and has had problems for over a decade. His first liver was a bad liver. His second liver clotted. And then the third one clotted. So he is patiently awaiting for his fourth liver, yet he is full of hope.

The morning has been a rush for me. I was feeling dreary and tired and heavy. But, my attitude has shifted gently by sitting in this waiting room. I answer his question, lightened by the troubles of strangers, that no I don’t need a liver. I’m just waiting for some blood work.

But his story lingers with me, and gives me perspective. It makes me grateful for having a liver, a liver that doesn’t clot, a liver that works.

So many times we think we are the ones with challenging situations, only to meet another who is in a harder situation, but has a better attitude. Sometimes we just need to sit and listen and be present and listen to the troubles of strangers, troubles that give us perspective. Troubles that give us the extra fuel to include those strangers in your prayers and hope that all the challenges smooth over once more.

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12 Non-Goals

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I was inspired by this post of Erin, another blogger’s. At the turn of a new year, you see a lot of posts from bloggers, beautifully written goals and hopes for 2015. Erin creatively suggests making Non-Goals and writes it eloquently here,

“You know the drill by now, it’s non-goal time. In a month where we’re encouraged to pick apart bits of ourselves – more of this, less of that – sometimes it’s just refreshing to take a step back and see the landscape for what it is. To swim in the grace we’ve been given; leap in the forgiveness we’re granted. To just keep walking, one foot then another, without searching for a new route that might offer a quicker arrival to a destination we were never intended to seek.” – Erin Loechner

I love how she worded it, rather than making goals and critiquing one’s self and thinking I should have done this differently, I should do more of blank, blankitty, blank, SIGH!, why not look at one’s self and think, You know what? I did this well last year.

Taking Less Pictures

1. You are doing better taking less pictures, going for longer stretches for days in which your camera stays quietly stowed away. Rather than documenting all the time, and whipping out the camera, you are learning to witness moments with eyes, rather than a camera lens and that is good. Eyes trump camera lenses. And when you do pull out your camera, you find your camera eyes refreshed.

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A Little More Patience

2. You are doing better being a little more patient. You know that patience can sometimes be bitter, and that unforeseen unfortunate circumstances force you to be patient, but you hope at the end of this journey, for you the bitterness will become bittersweetness.

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Mail It In

3.  You have learned to take risks, to mail in children’s book manuscripts, even if you get rejections. To write new stories, edit old ones, email them for critiquing to a book group, to re-edit the stories. And then the hard part, to take action. To actually take action, go print out the story and Mail It In. And that sometimes, when you mail in your stories, you might get a positive response, and a book deal! Lailah’s Lunchbox comes out this year!

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Let Things Pile Up

4. You have learned it’s okay to let things pile up, it’s okay to let things slide. It’s the only way you’ll ever get any work at home, to ignore crumbs and spills just temporarily until you can make your heart hum and your thoughts and words dance. (The below actually happened when Z accidentally dropped the dust buster [or as baby A says it buster buster] while making sprinkle cookies).

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Crochet Soothes

5. You have learned to crochet hats a little better, as well as crochet longer items like snoods! And that it is relaxing and gives you a break from the computer. You have learned to value this hobby and hiding your yarn behind the sofa, it is easier to make time to crochet during reading aloud or TV watching.

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Family is More Important than you Thought

6. You learned it a little more this year. You will remember it for life.

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Zinnias Bloom

7. Your zinnias actually bloomed this year. Reading the directions on the seed packet helped, and that quick short cuts in gardening don’t always help flowers in the long run.

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Blank Weekends are the Best Ones

8. You are fine with unmarked blemish-free white squares that fall on Saturdays and Sundays. You cherish it. With the hubbub of events that whirl around you, it’s refreshing to step back, and you’re learning to do that.

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Health is Important

9.  Same as #6: You learned it a little more this year. You will remember it for life.

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Packing Light Finally Clicked

10. You learned how to pack a little lighter, to do a little more laundry. You wished you’d clicked with this earlier. You also realized how quickly you can upack your clothes when you’re back home.

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Kite Flying is an Art

11. It is a skill in which you are witnessing and are inspired by. It is a skill in which you will gladly don a warm coat, mittens, lug a toddler on your hip, and rush out into the chilly air to witness your father flying his kite peacefully as the sun sets.

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And to end…

12. Patience and Prayer

“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, God is with the patient.” – (Quran 2:153)

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You’re learning this slowly and surely.

 

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Thank you Erin for your inspiring post! What are your Non-Goals? Writing them is therapeutic!

Look, look, and look…

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The other day was grey and unremarkable, and suddenly at sunset, the sun finally made an appearance and the sky got painted so beautifully and so quickly, I couldn’t help but look, look. and look.

Sometimes days can blend together and you need to look, look, and look for the good because it can happen so quickly and beautifully before quickly and quietly disappearing in the foreground!

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“Do you not consider how God has created seven heavens in layers?” (Quran 71:15)

Making the “Un-Special” Special

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“Don’t just count your years, make your years count.” – George Meredith

“Did you do anything special today?” the voice over the phone asks.

I’ve been asked this question a couple of times already. You’re-supposed-to-do-something-special is the vibe I’m getting.

As each birthday comes and passes, the bubbly exciting feeling lessens, but I am grateful for the ebb and flow of life.

Did I do anything special today? Not in the ordinary sense. I didn’t want to go out to a restaurant in the evening or order in food. Putting Z and A to sleep early seemed more appealing and getting an extra hour of peace was too precious to give up. I specifically avoided telling Z it was my birthday until late, because I didn’t want to be tied to the kitchen, mixing and stirring cake mix for a ‘Supposed-to-be-Special’ birthday cake. So when I got the repeated question of whether I did anything special, no not in the ordinary sense of ‘special’ but un-special things can be made special.

To sit in pajamas
To crochet beautiful things
To watch Call The Midwives
To just sit
To sit in peace is the best gift of all.

IMG_8397.JPGdiscarded treasures

 

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matching paint swatches

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picking up Z earlier from school

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Bakery Crayons

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Grandmothers who take granddaughters to parks in good weather!IMG_8282.JPGSisterly hats

 

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yarn in action!IMG_8259.JPG

 

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Friendlyish CatsIMG_8229.JPGGrandfather walks!

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(I finally made some space on my iPhone, so enjoying the iPhone snaps lately!)

Livia’s Family Photoshoot

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I’ve been meaning to share these fall family photos of Livia’s family for a while now. This fall photosession felt more like winter so we all wore jackets for this session and Livia was lamenting over the fact that the boy’s outfits were covered up, but being warm and cozy put us in good spirits!

It was fun to capture these 2 boys who are the same ages as my 2 girls. It was like spending a morning with the boy versions of my children.

These photos are taken at Piedmont Park and we had some friendly and inquisitive geese who are great posers below!
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He loved his Darth Vaider hat below…IMG_3883-2 IMG_3880-2 IMG_3847-4 IMG_3845-3 IMG_3828-2 IMG_3794-4 IMG_3789-2 IMG_3783-5

“There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between mother and son.” – AnonymousIMG_3918-2 IMG_3775-2

“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.”
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“In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.”
Alex Haley