Jackie’s Family Session

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I love photographing repeat clients because I see to the children get so big! Last year I captured Jackie and Sam in fall and was so excited to catch up with them and make more new memories. Here is a collage from last year…

Below are from this year’s fall session!

A fun factoid about this family: Jackie and Sam met in the Target Lamp Aisle after Jackie had just moved to a new city and was looking for a lamp. Fast forward and now they have a beautiful family!

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Zina’s Fall Photos

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I love repeat clients because I get to see how big the babies get! Baby Jasiah below started walking at 9 months and was a joy to photograph. Below is a summer photo of him as a 1 year old with big sister Isis!13301396_1108853039178391_3224888130331161505_o (3).jpg13268517_1108850115845350_4737436437772319765_o

I couldn’t wait to do their fall photos. Here’s how big they are this fall!

When Zina saw their photos, she left me a lovely email saying, “Thank you so much!! I almost cried going through the pictures, we had fun! You captured so many loving wonderful moments! Please feel free to share any pictures you take, I can’t wait for our next session. I’m one happy mama! thanks again!”

I love watching Zina play with her children and their enthusiastic expressions. Below are a few from our fall session! I will be sharing a few more clients’ images soon!

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T is for Travel

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I am currently editing the images of clients so my mind is too full of images, too empty of words. My words are stuck somewhere swirling amongst the images. Here are a few images  of a recent road trip!

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“And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”  (Quran 13:3)

Book Review: A Quranic Odyssey

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Author Umm Muhemmed wrote this enlightening book, A Quranic OdysseyThe book is illustrated by Azra Momin  and is written for an adult audience. I had wanted to review this book in Ramadan, but didn’t get a chance to! Glad I get to share it with you now!

 

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This book is a great read for parents who would like to instill a love of Quran for their children. The book is split up into bite-sized-nuggets of information, short chapters in which a main character Khadija teaches Ibrahim lessons about Quran in a beautiful and engaging hands-on manner. I liked how young Ibrahim sometimes ended up teaching his parents his own unique lessons he got from the Quran.

I also liked how Ibrahim’s grandmothers are both of different faiths and cultures, but steadfast friends. Ibrahim’s paternal grandmother is an Italian Christian whereas his maternal grandmother is a Pakistani Muslim.

The story touches on Ibrahim’s challenge with having a grandmother that doesn’t share his religion, but also emphasizes the openness and acceptance and love that he has for her.

One sweet moment I liked from this story is when Ibrahim’s mother teaches him and his toddler sister Amna about Surah Quraysh, a chapter from the Quran which talks about peace and safety. At one point in the story, the family goes to a nature reserve in which they wish to spot endangered whooping cranes who are currently experiencing trouble with migration.

Ibrahim then has this idea, “I’m going to recite Surah Quraysh. I think it will be just the right solution to bring the whooping cranes to safety. Allah will keep them safe in the winter and the summer when they’re migrating just as He explains. So reciting Surah Quraysh will help them.”   Following his statement, Khadija writes, “Abdurrahman and I look at each other and share a rare moment of profound parenting joy.”

If you have little children, this is an educational and inspiring read to get started in helping your children not only memorize Quran surahs but learn and apply little lessons from them.

The book was sent to me by Umm Muhemmed for a review and is available here! Umm Muhemmed blogs and reviews lots of good books here and reviewed my story Lailah’s Lunchbox here!

 

Book Review: You Will Not Have My Hate

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I was approached by Penguin to review You Will Not Have My Hate, written by Antoine Leiris.

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I reviewed the advance copy of the story. It’s available for pre-order here on Amazon, and is set for debut in 4 days, on October 25th.

The memoir is a short 129 page read, but gripping. In the story, Antoine’s wife Helene is killed in a terrorist attack in France. Suddenly, Antoine is left a widower. Their seventeen-month-old baby son Melvil cries for his mother, but never gets back. In the light of such tragedy, Antoine writes a powerful letter to the terrorists, “You will not have my hate.” His letter went viral. In his letter, he also says, “There are only two of us -my son and myself- but we are stronger than all the armies of the world.”

“We were like two little Lego bricks that fitted together perfectly,” he says about his wife.

Antoine has to deal with being alone and navigating the left over reality as a single papa. At his son’s daycare, the other mothers rotate making him and his baby homemade soup. Soup that his son does not like to eat. As a result, Antoine simply discards the soup each week.

I love how Antoine writes, “I didn’t have the courage to tell them that Melvil never tasted their homemade meals, and that the little pots could not stay in our house. Maybe this is because, even while still full, sitting on the dresser, these pots nourished our hearts with a sweet, maternal tenderness.”

Antoine’s paragraphs are short but full of emotion. The story is touching but inspiring. It’s a read that makes you yearn for a world full of peace and wish that everyone had Antoine’s courage.

 

 

A Sealed Book

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I was driving through my neighborhood when I saw a couple of other mothers strolling with their toddlers in the neighborhood. Meantime, I was rushing home from the drop off of my now mostly school-aged little ones. The sunlight was just spilling over onto the road and I couldn’t help missing my days that were slower paced, more rush-free. Less Car. More Home. Less Drives. More Strolls.

I drove back home where the sunlight hadn’t reached my kitchen yet, where the eggshells were still on the counter.

Reading blogger and author Kelle Hampton’s blog, I found her words resonated with me. Kelle talks about being in the Middle Stage of Childhood where she says,

“The introduction of my parenting book is over, and the relentless work of the middle place is here where rewards aren’t as shimmery as feeling newborn baby breath on my neck. And yet, they’re here…

I have similar answers for all the “Do you miss?” questions.

“Do you miss teaching?”

I miss the first day of school. Pencil boxes. Memorizing all my students’ names in one day. Making them feel loved. Writing lessons. Taping great vocabulary words to the wall and seeing them pop up in the kids’ stories. After lunch read alouds.

But…I look for, find and create what I miss: the homework corner in my office with the jar of freshly sharpened pencils that smell like September. Tucking my kids in bed at night, nailing all the character voices from another chapter of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Tagging along for field trips. Guest speaking about memoir in my friend’s 8th grade writing class.

“Do you miss when they were babies?

I miss fingers curled around mine, snug sleepers, nursing in the middle of the night, walking into their rooms to check on them sleeping only to find them peeping through the crib slats. I miss sandwich bags stashed with Cheerios and peach puffs, tiny bodies glued to my hip, heavy heads resting on my shoulder as they fight their naps.

But…I look for, find and create what I miss: tickling their faces to put them to sleep, big-kid sleepers that still fit snug, catching occasional pincher grasps for goldfish crackers and pretzel stick snacks, nose-to-nose bedtime snuggles, holding little hands as I lead them into classrooms, mispronounced words, so many firsts still to come.

I too am like Kelle where I am in this middle stage where my little children are not-so-little. Where frantic school-drop-offs replace late morning walks on weekdays. Where Z’s teeth are all sorts of wobbly and it’s amazing how with one tooth missing, the faces of children all of a sudden look so big!

Sometimes I miss the old stages where my children’s cheeks were softer and fuller and where their first footsteps were still wobbly and unsure. I can see an old photo or watch a video of their first steps, but I can never go back.

And as much as I want to skim the pages forward in these chapters of life to get a sneak peek of what’s to come, I can’t. The past pages are glued together, and no matter how much I pry to get back, I can’t. The future pages are blank and I hope full of promise. I don’t know how many pages or chapters I will get though. It’s like life is a sealed book and the only pages we are on are today.

A Sealed Book. A reminder to me to focus on today. Sometimes so hard when emails are flurrying back and forth, meat is defrosting in the microwave, saucy pots await you in the sink, and laundry likes to take its company quietly with other likeminded items slowly piling on the floor. Hard to focus on today when children need to be picked up, dropped off, homework checked,

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and so much more!

But trying to find a little bit of peace here and there …

img_7663leaves that beg to be picked up!

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a broken winged, yet beautiful, butterfly enjoying its lunch on our deck! Harsh sunlight forced me to try different angles to capture more compelling images.img_7462img_7455img_7435img_7384Post Eid-Mehndi-Fingers!img_7382img_7381img_7274

my brother’s homemade eclairs on Eid!img_7275img_7221img_7223img_7222img_7225

The $3.29 for pre-rolled-out-Publix-Dough is worth the price as the effort is cut in half! Just bought it yesterday and was much quicker!img_7241img_7251img_7254img_7218img_7210img_7194img_7186img_7159img_7154Peekaboo dolls in my bowls cabinet!

More later!

“And with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures– none knows them but He; and He knows what is in the land and the sea, and there falls not a leaf but He knows it, nor a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green nor dry but (it is all) in a clear book.” – Quran 6:59