Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ramadan Mubarak to all!



I hope everyone has a beneficial and safe month of Ramadan :) 




Friday, June 6, 2014

Parenting: A Little Story

This is a story inspired by a news event. 

I live in a nice, safe neighborhood al7amdulilah! It's nice to be able to walk around with no real fear of being attacked or abused, offered drugs, witnessing crimes, etc.

One beautiful fall evening I went to the convenience store for one missing ingredient on my way back home from getting my children from daycare. They wanted to stay in the car instead of coming in with me and I agreed. After all, I was parked close to the door, my oldest knew not to unlock for a stranger, but also knew how to unlock and leave to get help if needed. It was a nice cool evening, not really sunny. As far as I'm concerned, staying for 2-6 minutes was no more dangerous than any regular life activity like riding in the car to get there or playing in the park.

I went to buy what I needed and and then we went home.

Unlike the news story, I did not have an asshole send a film he took of my children to the police to have me arrested. Other than that, this is the same story.

Commentary:

The person in the news story lived with such guilt at what she'd done in leaving her kid in the car. She'd been programmed to never leave a child unattended, no matter how safe the situation - it was dangerous - her kid could've died. She felt horrible. Her story is full of "I know I shouldn't"... "I had a momentary lapse of judgement"... "I know it's not ok but"... as she tells it. She knows what she did shouldn't give her a criminal record but she can't get past the judgement from all sides that tell her she was still in the wrong. She apologizes and has trouble coming to terms with the horrible event for a long time.

Well, I (the same "I" from the inspired story I told you before the commentary) will not apologize for leaving the kids in the car in a situation I evaluated as perfectly safe. I will not apologize for not being sucked into every story of irrational fear I hear about. I will not apologize for following laws for what they are meant to be (the reason and idea behind the law) rather than what they literally say! So everyone who wants me to apologize and admit I did something terribly wrong that cool autumn day can just SUCK IT!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thankful Thursday!

After not posting for Thankful Thursday in over 2.5 years, here I am again! I've had so much to be thankful for since then, what a wonderful life :) My children are growing up healthy and happy, my marriage is solid, my outlook on life is positive.

Today, Thursday June 5th, I'm thankful for who I am. I actually wouldn't want to be any other person; I feel "well in my skin" as the expression goes in French. I have been blessed in life.

It's such a nice day too! It was nice and cool outside, but sunny at the same time; it's perfection! In my dress, wearing pearls, showing off a bit of my tattoo, wearing turquoise as an accent colour in my outfit, woohoo ;)

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spiritual Experience in Egypt?

I just came back from an amazing month-long vacation in Egypt. One idea I had before going there was that I wanted to go visit mosques regularly by going into a nearby mosque when the call to prayer rang across the city to pray, going to Friday prayer, doing wudu and wearing hijab at least occaisionally. Basically try to live more of an Islamic lifestyle, a lifestyle centred around Islamic obligations. This is something that is easily possible in Egypt with mosques everywhere and the call to prayer reminding us 5x a day... and being on vacation, I had few obligations preventing me from doing it.

However, it didn't really work out that way. I guess that's to be expected, nothing really works out exactly as planned... Concrete plans are not a good thing in Egypt!

Still, I do find that I had more God-consciousness going on than I had before. I went to Friday prayer 2 out of 3 times and prayed a few regular prayers here and there. One thing that I didn't expect would make a difference was making wudu more regularly. It really is an act of worship to prepare yourself for God. Sometimes I didn't pray or anything like that, but just doing this for God made me more conscious of his presence and importance throughout the time that I was in a state of wudu.

Although I didn't have a life-changing spiritual experience, I had one that is right for me. Gradual and private.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Disgusting Habit of GOSSIP

I had a falling out with my 2 main co-workers who were before this incident in November, people I considered real friends... It wasn't a fight so much as an incident that made them say things that made me realize that they weren't REAL friends. It left me extremely hurt... I don't have a lot of friends at all and it felt after this that I had no one close to me, no one I could trust or who loved me unconditionally. These people like me and support me on condition that I do exactly as they recommend... and it hit pretty hard.

Anyway, since this happened, I haven't been able to interact with them in the same way, and really I've come to see it as a good thing. We had a tendency to chat a lot about just anything and it would regularly become gossip. I have a love/hate relationship with gossip... I feel that it's so wrong - overall I try to understand why people are how they are, I make excuses for why they do things the way they do (that is less than ideal, or just wrong) and when we gossip about that, there's no place to add much of that and it makes it overall so negative, I feel like part of myself is left behind, part of the puzzle of what I'm actually thinking. On the other hand, there's something fun about it and I can't deny that I had an amount of fun at the time.

Since the falling out, the gossip or  backtalk I used to engage in has become flat out ugly to me, I feel disgusted whenever they mention others, I see it for what it truly is and I've been pretty much staying away. It's my respect for them that has gone down a whole lot. My hurt at losing friends has been replaced by relief that I'm not on this track anymore.

A good tip someone once gave me about avoiding gossip is to flat out say something nice about whoever is being gossiped about, so that the gossipers know not do talk about that person with you. You might still hear it but you won't be asked to participate at least and sometimes (like in an office setting), that's as much as you can ask for!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Child Whisperer - Learning About Type 1 My Daughter

I'm reading a book called The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle which talks about letting our children's natural tendencies shine through to help them become happy, successful, cooperative children. It's about respecting your children and allowing them to grow up without feeling like they need to go against what comes naturally to them.

It's based on her 4 energy types which are basically like her version of personality types which she markets as being more real and true than a person's personality.

I have to say that I really disliked the first chapters because I really just don't like her style. It sounds like she pretends to be scientific when her work just isn't, and she talks as though her book is the best thing ever, a true handbook for how to raise children that every single parent should have. I don't like the arrogance, it goes further than just confidence. If this was a novel, I would have stopped right there (I stop reading something very easily) but I thought there was probably something I could get out of this book, especially since it was recommended by my son's daycare educator.

I fought to get to the good stuff and the first energy type was an exact description of my 6 year old daughter.

Here it is: 
Type 1: The Fun-loving Child

  • Primary Connection to the World: Social
  • Primary Movement: Bouncy and random
  • Primary Need: To have fun and happy parents
May be described as: animated, fun, bright, light-hearted, friendly
May be negatively judged as: flighty hyperactive, unreliable


I feel like I learned so much about who she is when I read the detailed descriptions and examples... it expanded on what I had noticed and knew about her and told me that it was not only OK but necessary to accept and embrace her nature as a fun-loving, carefree, happy, random, high-energy girl. I've been struggling because I highly value my daughter for her spontaneous, high energy nature but the other part of me wants her to be able to sit still and be able to concentrate better on tasks especially for school grades. I've been struggling with knowing she's not a bad kid at all because of her tendencies but also knowing that the educational system is not tailored for children like her at all and wanting her to do well!

I was reminded of how amazing her energy is, how true and pure it is and how much better she will feel in the present and future if she is able to be true to herself on a day by day basis rather than be molded into what we want from her. I recognized that I squash her nature when I tell her to "stop talking - for crying out loud stop talking!!" and that a child like this will go from one subject to another and be very talkative, but will also be easily redirected and might just need a moment!

For those of you who watch My Little Pony, I've said it from the beginning, my daughter is Pinky Pie! Way random, always wanting to have FUN, talks non stop, intuitive, quirky, etc. Pinky Pie was probably based on this "energy type".

This book basically says that for children who are of this fun-loving energy type, FUN is not only fun to them, it's what makes them who they are, what makes them well. It's a necessity in their life, not just distraction or entertainment. Honouring her nature, it's not a good thing to force her to spend a long time doing one homework or project before doing the next, etc. The book suggests breaking up the homework into shorter time spans, mixing up what needs to be done in a more random fashion that these types respond well to. And why not?! This is something I will try with my daughter. IThere were other nice tips that I will take note of so I can remind myself every once in a while.

So I have to say that despite the shaky beginning, I'm really getting something out of this book and I feel that it's very helpful to keeping things in perspective as a parent, helping our children become happy, well adjusted people and it remains to be seen, but hopefully I see some good outcomes for their current behaviour.

Next post: Type 3 (my son)

Gentle Discipline

I've been learning more about gentle parenting so that I can apply it to my family and hopefully help my kids feel and BE better. It's supposed to be a more harmonious way of parenting, that has the children's rhythms and needs respected rather than have them forced to fit into our adult lifestyle. It's about connection and compassion and allowing them to be who they naturally are.

I've always taken an attachment parenting approach, which I guess gentle discipline is a part of, so it's not totally foreign to me. The connection you have with your child is extremely important, your children's needs should be met, and your children need to feel secure and safe with you... This is part of the approach.

Here are some things I've been trying to do: 

-Make efforts for the children's routines to keep them well-rested, not hungry (snacks at appropriate times) and comfortable overall to avoid the annoyances that make behaviour worse.

-Be softer in speech, no yelling when anger overtakes me.

-Avoid saying "no" to Adam, instead I use the positive version... For example he wants an apple, I tell him he can have one after supper instead of saying he can't have one now.

-Not force the Adam to do things the "proper" way, but show him how by modelling good behaviour and manners. Positive reminders when necessary, but no forcing. This is something new for me especially when it comes to saying sorry... But I've decided to put the focus on making him FEEL sorry rather than just saying it.

-Have LOGICAL consequences. If he refuses to put his mittens, his hands will be cold outside. If he throws his food, his meal is done. If he hits his sister, she will play elsewhere and not with him (unless behaviour changes and a "make nice" attempt is made, in which case she forgives him immediately and they start over)

-Make efforts to understand WHY the behaviour is happening... I let the children know that I understand that they are angry/sad/frustrated/etc.

Next parenting post coming up is on this book I'm reading called The Child Whisperer which talks about 4 types of "energies", a bit like personalities and how to best deal with the children in each.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Charter (Bill 14)

I'm so sick of the closed-mindedness! I used to be proud of being both Quebecker and Canadian. I saw myself as having both identities, like someone with dual citizenship in a way, and sometimes it felt like being both wasn't even two separate identities, but just one, the one that I was...

Not anymore.

As time progresses, I've become embarrassed/ashamed of some parts of my Quebecker identity. I've become disconnected with the language and culture. It seems like I can't see past franco= xenophobe. It's all over the news, it's all over the words and faces of people I meet. Most of them are perfectly OK talking to a "non-franco" and can act with respect... But as a person who "passes" for a franco (since I'm both), I hear things and even if they can deal with immigrants, there's a strong underlying dislike, there's inappropriate language being used on a day to day basis.

This Charter of HATE has amplified all of this. Now people are welcome to show their hate, there's no use hiding it! It's truly disgusting.

Elections have been called so on April 7th, we find out if the population of Quebec has united in their dislike and hate of anything different enough to make the government a majority instead of the minority they have now. If so, WATCH OUT... :(

It'll be worse for the Charter.. immigrants and even Anglos.. And the question of separating from Canada.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Egypt HERE I COME

Me and the family are going to be in Egypt for the month of April (staying pretty much the whole month). I'm so freakin excited! I'm hoping to meet a couple blogger-friends I've made over the years HOW AWESOME!

Here are some things I want to do while I'm there:


  • Go to Hurghada or Sharm and go scuba diving
  • Visit the souks 
  • Go to the mosque regularly, try to get into a habit of praying at least sometimes, absorb the cultural and religious energy
  • Visit the hanging church
  • Take the metro, in particular the new line that was built since last time I was in Cairo, passes by the family condo
  • Go to Ahly park 
  • Go by Tahrir square (not gonna spend extended periods of time there though)
  • EAT FOOD, this will be a focus :P
  • Go see a show at a nightclub, maybe belly dancers or something
  • Spend some time at an orphanage
  • If possible, go to Manshiat Nasar. It's not super far, but husband thinks it's a little dangerous and of course not in any way touristic. 
  • See family and friends
  • Go to Alex (dad is based in Alex, mom in Cairo)
The more I think about it, the more I can't wait! I have so many things I want to experience, I want to re-live my experiences in the city... Nothing too fancy except our trip to Hurghada or Sharm. 

I need your help! If you have anything to recommend from specific restos or outings or clubs, ANYTHING, I'll be happy! 


Friday, February 28, 2014

Purpose of Sex

What's the purpose of sex?

My answer is... There isn't just one purpose, and people can have sex for any of the reasons, not just the best ones, the main ones or only when it's in order of the most important reasons. And it's still OK, it's normal, it follows the "purpose of sex".

My own personal view is that for humanity the main purpose is reproduction. It's logical that this is the first function because HELLO without it= no more humans. Same with any other sexual animal. This doesn't mean that every single woman needs to have children - life will still go on if only some women do, so sex's function doesn't stop there, because even non-reproducing people (whether by choice or nature) want to have sex and they have it for a purpose.

Sex creates a union between people. Even if it can be had with no real attachment, we as humans are known to fail at that and seem quite predisposed to unite in a special way when sex is involved. That's a purpose of sex.

PLEASURE. How can we skip this one? Feeling pleasure... Some might say it's only a "side effect" of having sex rather than an actual purpose, but I think we are meant to feel this pleasure. Sex is for the joy of it.

Next: Testing us? I believe so... I don't hold traditional beliefs about sex (like sex before marriage only, etc) but sex is powerful... It can hurt others, it can be used to manipulate, it can be used for no good reason, it can become addicting and challenge us, etc. I think this has some influence in the end...

This are just some rambling thoughts I have right now :) Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

30 Days: Day 25, dinner with anyone in history

25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be?

I would have a conversation with Muhammad and get from him exactly what he expected and hoped from Muslim people generations later, get those questions settled once and for all. And on all other levels,  I'm sure it would be hugely interesting and inspiring even! 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

30 Things Day 24: Family Dynamic

24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.


Comparison of certain elements: 

I'm the oldest child and I have a younger brother. My oldest is a girl, the youngest a boy. SAME :)

My mom is a francophone, my dad an anglophone and we spoke mostly French in the home, though my dad would speak to us kids in English. In my own marriage, we also speak different first languages (mine are French and English, husband's is Arabic). We speak French as a main language to the kids, English together.

Religion: I was raised as a non-practicing Catholic, both parents are Catholic. In my family, my husband is a Muslim, I'm whatever-I-am, an agnostic theist... Kids are Muslim. So far, we are not really practicing, but we're still more spiritual than my family as a kid and when the kids start to ask questions, they will be lead towards religion unlike me and my brother. 

Financially: It was tougher for my parents than it has been for me and my husband. My parents (especially my mom) had to take super crappy jobs to get by. My mom went back to finish high school when I was a child to be able to get a better job and it worked, since then they have been in a more stable financial situation and have better jobs. Both me and my husband started our lives together having completed "some college/university" which is where we still stand... But me speaking and writing French and English fluently coupled with luck got me the good job I have now and my husband... it took some time because of his limited French (he's really good now) but he got a job in a shop which they considered him overqualified for the very first day there, and since then 3 years ago he has been moving up positions and salary. Thank God for these opportunities to live a stable life financially and for not having to live through too many hardships in that area. 

Home: Though it was tougher for my parents financially for some years, they had their own home. Me and my bro each had our rooms, we had a pool outside. We had a dog. Right now, we rent and often go play at my parents where we keep a lot of the kids' things (trampoline, bikes, sandbox, etc). We now have a cat at home and I love him, but it's not the same for me as a dog person.

Discipline: Me and my brother are completely different children than my kids. We were a lot less to manage... Not hyperactive, just regular kids with regular energy levels and pretty good obedience overall. I remember being sent to my room a couple times but I just climbed out the window and that was that - no extra punishment for the disrespect. We punish our kids a lot more, there's timeout (aka "the corner"), going to their room, losing privileges. It feels like we've been trying everything since my daughter was 1 year old. It's tough! They are quite a lot to manage, very high energy, very stubborn, etc. 

Parents: I don't remember my parents fighting much at all. They would go out partying together maybe once a month or two. They didn't show physical affection in front of us very much (kissing, holding hands, etc.) but they called each other nicknames and we were a pretty tight unit. With my husband there have been A LOT of ups and downs which includes fights that I regret that my kids (especially daughter) has witnessed or at least heard. My husband is less "into" the family than my dad was, doesn't always eat at the table with me and the kids and if he does he's reading his own thing, there's no family conversation during the meal. His presence has been less reliable than my dad when it comes to routinely being there for the kids. When it comes to affection, me and my husband are more open about being affectionate with one another when the kids are there (in the house) when we feel like it. 

Activities: My dad was the main guy for activities for me and my brother. He would bring us to hockey, soccer, basketball practices and be our coach. He'd be the one to bring us sliding in the winter, he's the one we took walks with outside, he brought us grocery shopping. He's the one who came to play with us in the pool, he brought us to our activities, he talked to our teachers to find out how we were doing. In our case, I'm the one who takes care of all that for the kids.

Outings/vacations: I never had an actual vacation as a kid. We would have a couple day outings here and there but hardly ever further than 1h away by car. I didn't really get to experience the outside world as a kid - I mostly only knew my life here in my little city. With my kids, we go away from our city A LOT more often and it's not a huge planned trip to go 1h away, it can be spur of the moment, unlike my childhood. My daughter has been to Egypt twice and we might be going again this year. My daughter knows a lot more about other cultures and languages than I did at her age, she knows there's a lot out there to discover and is interested by it all. 

Overall

I would say my parents allowed us a more stable childhood than what I've been giving my kids. Their relationship, living at the same place my entire life, their routine. It taught me a lot of good things and allowed me to always feel secure. I was an extremely happy child, not a worry in the world! 

I don't think my kids are worried or have any stress on them because of our lifestyle, but they have certainly not seen the most stable of marriages to give them an example of what they should look for in adulthood. We talk about things a lot me and my daughter and I think that our conversations and being able to see my parents as often as she does will help her know a normal relationship from a dysfunctional one when the time comes. 

We have some work to do as a family but we also have some strengths over my parents which add another little something to our kids that I might not have had... 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

30 Things Day 23: Hobbies

I never finished this thing when I started it a LONG time ago! Here I am to continue, click my tag "30 things" if you're interested in reading the others. 

23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.


1) Running - Setting goals and meeting them. An amazing sense of accomplishment when I get it done. Seeing my fitness improve and feeling better overall. Knowing I'm setting a good example for my kids and husband by leading an active lifestyle. Getting outside and seeing nature when running on trails and in the mountains.

2) Blogging - It's something I do for myself... It's like my diary, but the knowledge that others might be reading helps me be more focused and organized in what I'm saying, and it motivates me to go further in what I want to say, which in turn helps me even more :) Another aspect of blogging is conversation with others, especially on my beauty blog and scrap booking memories on my fully private blog about my children. 

3) Wandering around the internet - I'm sure everyone feels this way for similar reasons! 

4) Going to the park - I love seeing my kids letting loose and having fun and the park is a place where both my children are having fun in a pretty safe setting. 

5) Shopping - After years of hating it, I grew to love shopping. The products, the deals, the variety of items that can be purchased! It's materialistic and not my best quality, but it's still something I enjoy and I won't sit here and deny it. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

So Basically..

All people are to a certain degree mislead, aren't we?

Here are my thoughts:

I say this as someone who believes there's an absolute truth that exists that is totally beyond our knowledge. I believe that we receive little  bits of this truth to work with (part of it in our natural core self, part in inspired books, part through other humans who have taught us, wherever they got it from) but our nature limits what we can understand, and as well leads us in all sorts of "wrong" directions.

Someone who doesn't believe this might just say that we're all on the path we ourselves desire, and that there's nothing "wrong" with any of it (therefore, we can't be "mislead")...

But I really, truly believe that we are unable to FULLY be on this true path.

Most non-religious people might disagree with this because of non-belief in ultimate truth and religious people might disagree because they believe they have all they need to fully understand the true path in whichever book or tradition they follow.

Seeing the differences in interpretation of the very same text or tradition seems a super-clear proof that we just can't know what is the truth! Seeing how many people believe each different interpretation, none of which are more or less intelligent than the others overall... Well, I can't say it differently: it's proof that we can't know which is the true. Knowledge and belief are VERY DIFFERENT THINGS!

And if there's one thing that's knowledge, it's that there's a WHOLE LOT that we don't know!



I'll leave it at this for now but I think I'll continue on this train of thought another day. :)

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