Thursday, May 31, 2012


Thank you to all my dear friends and especially to my favorite, Feraz, for a lovely surprise birthday party. Here are some pictures if you would like to see.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How Ambreen Ali Ruined My Birthday Cake Surprise - A Tragicomedy

The cake that started it all.

Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to read is true. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent.

Email to Fahad                                                                                                                         May 9, 2012

I'm planning to make a carrot cake for lubna. (its a surprise!) do you think she would like that?

Reality Check Point                                                                                                               May 13, 2012

Carrot cake is made. Four slices are eaten. A large portion of the cake remains.

Email to Ambreen                                                                                                                  May 13, 2012

You guys have to come help us eat some carrot cake that I made. Please. Thank you.

Email from Ambreen                                                                                                               May 14, 2012

yum, sounds good! we've got plans for the next couple nights, but save us some!

Reality Check Point                                                                                                                 May 15, 2012

I ate the rest of the cake.

Email from Ambreen                                                                                                               May 16, 2012

is there still carrot cake left? maybe i can get some when i drop off CSA tomorrow? :)

Email to Ambreen                                                                                                                    May 16, 2012

There is no carrot cake left :( I gobbled that thing up so hard.

Email from Ambreen                                                                                                               May 16, 2012


i wanted carrot cake! :'(

now you'll have to send me the recipe so i can make some. you know, i have collected dozens of carrot cake recipes over the year (because i love it), but i have never, ever actually tried one. 

Photo Break                                                                                                                mid-way through post
Lets get another look at that cake. Safa wanted a piece of that action too.

Facebook Wall Conversation                                                                                                  May 24, 2012
Sumeera: are you coming over tomorrow in the evening? i can throw a carrot cake in the oven in the morning. 

Facebook Wall Conversation                                                                                                  May 25, 2012

Ambreen: Oh yes please. So nonchalant. :) I think we'll drop off the CSA after your yoga class. Does that work?

Reality Checkpoint                                                                                                                   May 24, 2012

Ambreen replied too late. No carrot cake was made.

Facebook Wall Conversation                                                                                                  May 30, 2012

Ambreen: carrot cake. carrot cake. tomorrow?

Sumeera: I think so! I am pretty sure those carrots are still in the fridge! But you have to promise to take a good deal of it home b/c we are leaving. We will leave some for my yoga teacher who will look after the 
place on Friday too!

Gmail Chat with Feraz                                                                                                            May 30, 2012

Feraz: ....12:44 PM Bent and family will be coming too iA  so we can see Safa before the wedding12:46 PM me: ok, cool Feraz: worrrd12:47 PM and I'll get some cupcakes!  yummy in my tummy me: i supposed to make the carrot cake!  do we still have carrots?12:48 PM Feraz: that's OK, I'll get carrot cake cupcakes!   me: hmm ok janoo  i will ask ambreen if that is ok  it won't take long to make12:49 PM i'm just going to make it in a flat plan  not that round way Feraz: OK janee-mund

Real Life Chat with Feraz                                                                                                        May 30, 2012

(I am pulling carrots out of the fridge. I am going to make a carrot cake.)

Feraz: Bump it. I will get the carrot cupcakes. 

Sumeera: But Ambreen really wanted to try a homemade one. I told her I would make it.

Feraz: Let me just get the cupcakes. It will be easier.

Sumeera: This is really easy. It will just take me a few minutes. Do you feel bad because you feel like I am making my own birthday cake?

(Feraz looks at me sheepishly.)

Sumeera: I saw you looking at a carrot cake on the internet yesterday. You can just surprise me with it in Michigan.

Feraz: (Lying badly) No, I just want to get cupcakes.

(I stare at Feraz with a look that threatens to start peeling the carrots.)

Feraz: I already ordered the cake for tomorrow. 

Sumeera: I'm really sorry I ruined your surprise. (I give sympathetic hug to Feraz.) But actually its Ambreen's fault, don't you think? I'm going to go make her feel bad about it on her wall. Actually, I'll go blog about it!

(Today I am grateful that Zeena was able to bring a beautiful new life into the world and was able to post blackberry message us throughout her labor!) 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why I stopped driving.

For a decade, I drove. I drove every day as people in Michigan do. I drove the 16.2 miles between my parent's house and OU. I drove the 38.4 miles from my house to Dearborn to see Feraz. I drove 30.8 miles to my first real job in Detroit. I drove the 14.5 miles from Canton to go to my law school classes in Ann Arbor.

For years, I drove without thinking twice. There was a time in my life when gas cost $1.13 a gallon and the only way I could quiet my overly active mind was to get in my car, turn on the radio and drive in a direction which I had never gone. I was calmed by the promise that there was so much out there I hadn't seen or know of. It gave me a great sense of hope.

On February 13, 2007, I left Ann Arbor to do my nightly drive to Canton. It had been snowing but it looked like it was slowing down. What I didn't realize was that the temperature had also gone down and the roads had become sheets of ice. I was already on the freeway when I began to feel how slick the road was beneath me. I pulled into the left lane and didn't worry too much since the roads wasn't very full. I was driving slow and I noticed that there was a semi coming up on my right. The semi truck was drifting into my lane and pretty soon I realized that it was not pulling back into its lane. If I didn't speed up, it was going to smash my car into the median. I hit the gas and was able to get out just in time as the back of the semi crashed into the median and the front swung out to the right.

As the truck veered out of control, it crashed into the front of my car sending it into a tailspin. Six more cars hit me head-on sending my car crashing from the median back into one car after another. I kept saying my prayers as fast as I could, pleading for God to forgive my sins and preparing myself for the angel of death. But as quickly as it started, everything went still and was quiet. I looked down at myself. I was completely fine. My car was completely destroyed, all around me were smashed up cars. I got out of my car and stood in the freezing cold waiting for the police and tow trucks. It would take them ages because the roads were so bad. I stood there in shock. They shut down the freeway. An hour later, Feraz was finally able to get to me. He took me home. I closed my eyes too afraid to look at the road. My body didn't stop shaking that whole night.

I went back to school the next day and life carried on. I went right back to driving and for the next two years, it was almost as if nothing had happened. And then one day it started. Every time I got in a car, all I could see were cars crashing into each other. Every time I got in a car, I would imagine someone hitting me head-on, I would imagine my neck snapping and it all ending. In a fifteen minute car drive, I might see this image 20 or 30 times. It is an irrational fear. It doesn't go away. I don't know if it was because of the accident. I don't know why it took so long to manifest. Not being able to control these thoughts, I became worried about my ability to be on the road. So, I stopped driving. I didn't want to hurt myself. But I especially did not want to hurt anyone else.

I can understand why I am afraid of getting in a car. But I miss the independence of driving. And I don't like being scared. So, when I made my list of goals for this year, I aimed to drive alone three times. This past week, I drove by myself for the first time this year. Without fear. I took a deep breath. I pulled the car out of the driveway and I said to myself, It is ok. And it was. Alhumduhlillah.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. (Nelson Mandela)

(Today I am grateful that nothing has to stay the same forever.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Instant Dance Party - Queen Edition

I can't stop listening to Queen recently. I think right now is the right time to have a dance party wherever you are. Here are some of my favorites. Enjoy!

(Today I am grateful for Sarah Bedy who helped me in a foolish pinch.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

After the Fall

After the Fall was one of Arthur Miller's more poorly received plays. It was criticized for too closely mirroring his real life and particularly his relationship with Marilyn Monroe. In my eyes, Arthur Miller can do no wrong and despite the criticisms, I love this play. I re-read it over dinner this past week and hope you will pick it up. Here are some of my favorite excerpts to whet your appetite.

"A couple of weeks ago I suddenly become aware of a strange fact. With all this darkness, the truth is that every morning when I awake, I'm full of hope! With everything I know- I open my eyes, I'm like a boy! For an instants there's some- unformed promise in the air. I jump pout of bed, I shave, I can't wait to finish my breakfast- and then, it seeps in my room, my life and its pointlessness. And I thought- if I could corner that hope, find what it consists of and either kill it for a lie, or really make it mine..."

"And yet I may stand in her mind like some important corner she turned in life. And she meant so little to me. I feel like a mirror in which she somehow saw herself as glorious."

"Or maybe I don't believe that grief is grief unless it kills you."

"She did, she offered me some... love, I guess. And if I don't return it- its like owing for a gift that you didn't ask for."

"I left out many things I saw. I lied. For a good cause, I thought, but all that lasts is the lie."

"That's the point! Yes- now, now! Its innocence, isn't it? The innocent are always better, aren't they? Then why can't I be innocent?"

"How few the days are that hold the mind in place; like a tapestry hung on four or five hooks. Especially the day you stop becoming; the day you merely are. I suppose its when the principles dissolve, and instead of the general gray of what ought to be you being to see what is. Even the bench by the park seems alive, having held so many actual men. The word "now" is like a bomb through the window, and it ticks."

"And I saw that we are killing one another with abstractions. I'm defending Lou because I loved him, yet the society transforms that love into a kind of treason, what they call an issue, and I end up suspect and hated. Why can't we speak with the voice that speaks below the "issues"- with our real uncertainty?"

"Don't you ever doubt yourself? Is it enough to prove a case, to even win it, when we are dying?"

"It was dreadful because I was not his friend either, and he knew it... he saw through my faithfulness; and he was not telling me what a friend I was, he was praying I would be - "Please be my friend, Quentin" is what he was saying to me, 'I am drowning, throw me a rope!'"

"And yet, I must not forget the way I wake; I open up my eyes each morning like a boy, even now; even now. That 's as true as anything I know, but where's the evidence? Or is it simply that my heart sill beats?"

"I tell you there were times when she looked into the mirror and I saw she didn't like her face and I wanted to step between her and her suffering."

"You know how to see it with your own eyes. That's more important than all the books."

"Yes! - that we conspired to violate the past, and the past is holy and its horrors are holiest of all!"

(Today I am grateful for daily talks wtih my Auntie Rani who has wisdom that I greatly need!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

from the clouds

I love flying. I love the feeling of the plane picking up speed, looking down and watching as the plane lifts off the ground. I love seeing everything below and finding places I know. I love thinking of the little people looking up and thinking that someone is looking down at them. When I was little I would watch airplanes and imagine who was on the plane. I would make up stories about the people and I would daydream about the next place I would go.

I love that on a plane you can watch three movies in a row and no one judges you. I love being able to read and being able to push a button and someone will bring me a drink or a snack. I love that no one can call me. I love that I don't have to check my blackberry and I love that I am cut off from the internet and the world. 

But my very favorite, favorite thing about planes is flying through the clouds. When there are clouds outside I can't peel my eyes away. As you may know, I absolutely love the sky. One of my favorite things to do is lay on my back in a wide open space and pretend I am falling into the clouds. I love that when I am flying, I am there, in that place I fell into so many times.  

Sorry this post isn't all there. Hope you are having a great Tuesday. Here is a nice song and video for you.

(Today I am grateful for doctors who have answers.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

How not to spend 30 hours.

Check out of hotel Sunday at 1 pm.
Arrive at SJO.
Go through security.
Learn that flight is cancelled.
Exit airport to get a new ticket issued.
Be told that bags are still at baggage claim.
Go back to get bag.
Not allowed to go back in.
Wait for someone to come escort me.
Go through security again.
Wait one hour in line to get new ticket and vouchers.
Go to Hampton Inn.
Eat dinner at Dennys.
Sleep half an hour.
Eat breakfast at Dennys.
Go to airport at 5 am for 7 am flight.
Go through security.
Flight leaves after 8.
Miss connecting flight because of delay.
Wait to get a new ticket.
Go through security.
Watch security guard find jar of honey in my carry on.
Watch him say, I'm going to let this go.
Bless him one thousand times.
Go to new gate and wait for boarding with the Real Housewives of DC.
Board plane.
Wait one hour on the plane.
Land in DC at 7 PM on Monday.

Never fly American Airlines again.

(Today I am grateful for coming home to a clean house and lots of cooked goodness in the fridge.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

traveling for the first time

On my flight to Costa Rica, I sat next to a boy who was in middle school. He was part of a large group of students from New York who were going to Costa Rica for a week to practice their Spanish and learn about the culture.   

It is so amazing to see the excitement of someone so young as they go on their first big adventure. When the plane made its descent, he looked over my shoulder in wonder (I didn't think to give him the window seat. This probably explains some bad karma later). “It is so beautiful,” he says softly. There is no machismo there. There is no need to act cool. I turned to him and in my most serious, Iamreallyoldsoyoushouldlistentome voice, I said, “Make sure that this is only the beginning. If you have to save all your money, if you have to take an year off college, whatever you have to do, make sure you travel. See all the places you can because the world is full of so many amazing things and so many amazing people and so many amazing ideas. And when you travel, you have a key to all those things.”

I hope he listens. I hope that the promise of the world opens to him and those eyes that are full of innocence and wonder always stay that way.

Also, I love this song and video:

(Today I am grateful for a smooth first day in CR.)

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Have you seen the movie Once? It is one of my favorite movies and I recommend you check it out if you haven't seen it!

Here is one of my favorite songs from the movie.

(Today I am grateful for a surprise dinner at Sichuan Pavilion with dear friends.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Aurora Borealis

Images of the Northern Lights are so awe inspiring. When I see them, I think Everything is OK. And also, there are definitely aliens out there.

via the huffington post
via Borealis2000
via the huffington post

via Wiki
via here

(Today I am grateful for having our friends find us in a crowd coming out of RFK and the time we got to spend with them because of it.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

McPherson Square and a Lesson on Kindness

vis Foursquare

Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. 
-Desmond Tutu

Every day I take a little break from work. I go sit in the park at McPherson Square and watch the people and observe what is new with the Occupy DC movement at this particular location. It is a nice contrast from sitting in the office.

Most days I just sit by myself but some days I welcome conversation from the people that hang out in the park. Usually it is a panhandler or a homeless person who comes and sits and asks if it is ok to talk.

Today, as I was sitting on my usual bench, I could hear someone talking on the next bench. I looked over to make sure he wasn't talking to me and observed a slightly older, overweight man. He had hair that had grown long, mostly grey. His beard was patchy. He had pulled his shirt half way up his stomach and was talking to no one in particular.

A few moments later, a man about my age walked past my bench and approached the older man. He looked clean. His clothes were a little worn but he could have had an office job.

Curious as to how the interactions would play out, I put on my eavesdropping ears.

"What do you have in that bottle?" he asked the older man, who was holding a water bottle.

The older man just stared back at the younger man.

"Is it vodka?"

The older man held the bottle closer to him.

"Look, I'm not going to steal it. I just want to know- is it vodka?"

The older man grunted at him.

The younger man made his appeal. "I just want to smell it. I promise. I promise, I won't drink it. I just want to smell it."

After a few moments of his pleas, the older man handed the bottle to the youger man. He opened the cap and held it close to his nose. He sniffed it again and again. He wanted a drink. There was desperation in his eyes.

The younger many handed the bottle back. "See, you can trust me."

"I know that now," said the older man, looking at him with sad eyes.

Sitting there, I could see the journey from the younger man's still strong and healthy body to the the weathered body of the older man. Addiction is such a cruel and ugly beast. Sitting in McPherson Square each day reminds me that there is a very big world out there. It is full of many different types of pain and many different types of kindness and trust. Today, I saw kindness and trust expressed in the offering of a sniff of vodka.

(Today I am grateful for walking home in the thunder and lightning and then the relief of the cool rain on my face.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why didn't I go home?

At the beginning of this year, I made a list of goals for 2012. One of the goals was to call my grandmother at least three times. As I worked through my list in the first months, I neglected this task completely. It was a goal that required pushing 12 digits on my phone. And for the first three months I hardly even thought of it.

Then, my mom called me and told me that my Amee Jaan had a stroke, shortly followed by another one. After the second stroke, her condition severely deteriorated.

Even after I heard that news, I let another month pass. Yesterday, I finally made the first call.

My cousin picked up the phone and we spent a little time catching up. I asked to speak to Amee Jaan and she told me that Amee Jaan doesn't talk anymore.  I heard her tell Amee Jaan that I was on the phone for her. She told me that news made her smile. I asked my cousin to tell her I called to see how she is doing.  She says Amee Jaan started laughing at that question. I can imagine her laugh. That sad laugh that says why are you asking such foolish questions? She has given me that laugh many times since I was young.

Seven years have passed since I have been to Pakistan. Over those years I have gone to over fifteen countries- many of them several times. I had winter breaks from law school, I had time off after the bar, I had flexibility during my job in Turkey. Why didn't I go home?

Everyone is worried about my grandpa. My cousin told me to reassure him, to tell him to take care of himself, that we couldn't have them both suffering this way. So, I talked to my Babu Gee and I told him that it was ok.  That it has been hard for all of us to be away from each other during this. But that there will come a time when we will look at this life and it will be a blink of an eye in the face of the eternal life we will live. And there, we will all be young and healthy. We will not worry about the pains and limitations of our mortal bodies. And best of all, we will all be together. Free of sadness, worry and fear.

But after I got off the phone, I thought of my poor Amee Jee, her inability to walk or speak or even go to the bathroom. I sat across from Feraz as I told him about the phone conversation. And the tears came in floods. I thought of our niece. The overwhelming love that filled us when we heard the news of her birth while we were at Umrah. I thought of how we all dote on her. How gently we held her when she was born and how we have celebrated each little milestone she has reached. I think about how we talk about the world that she will grow up in and how we want to protect her from every little hurt. "They loved me like that," I said to Feraz. "They loved me like that and I have not visited in seven years. I didn't even take the time to call."

The few times I did call them over the years, my grandparents would ask when I was coming to visit. I would tell them it was so hard, that life was so busy, that if there was any way I could come, I would. But that was a lie. There is always time and a way for the things that are important.

It was a simple goal I put on the list. To call my grandmother three times in the span of an year. But I knew that I needed it. These phone calls, these reminders of my family, the lifeline that made it possible for me to come into this world. The lifeline that nurtured me when I was not able to care for myself. And now that my grandmother is sick, I wish I was there, that I could hold her as tenderly as she once held me. That I could care for her and repay even a very small portion of my debt to her.

(Today I am grateful that I finally picked up the phone.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

What to do with a CSA delivery?

Photo courtesy of of Ambreen Ali.
We got our very first CSA delivery yesterday! (Find a CSA for yourself at this great resource.) We are splitting a full share with our friends Ambreen and Bilaal and thank goodness because there were a lot of greens in our first delivery! The list above is a breakdown of everything that came in the share. The thing I am looking most forward to with the CSA is trying out new vegetables that I probably wouldn't buy otherwise.

The first thing I did was clean down the sink, fill it up with water and give everything a good scrub. My friend recommended prepping everything right away so I would be more likely to use it and would be able to cook at the drop of a dime. 

I laid everything out to dry a bit before I went to work. I looked up recipes while the greens dryed so I would know how to chop everything and also so I could package things I would be cooking together in one bag.

There were three turnips in our half. Aren't they a sweet little family?

I think asparagus are beautiful. That is probably why they are a luxury vegetable

Here is everything nicely chopped up and ready to go. I ate about half the greens as I chopped- it was so hard to resist!

Here is everything all packed up and ready to be stored in the fridge. Here is how I organized everything:

I put the asparagus and kale together because I will lightly marinate them with olive oil, salt and pepper and put them in the oven to be baked. I have been hearing rave reviews about baked kale chips but this will be my first time trying them. 

I chopped and packaged the spinach and red komatsuna together so I can use them in a stir fry with fresh shitake mushrooms. The komatsuna has such a beautiful taste. I can't wait to see how the mushrooms bring it out.

I chopped the scallions and curly parsley and packaged them in their own bags because I will mostly use them as garnishments for the regular desi food I'm making in the week.

I mixed all the salads and leaves and soft stems of the into one bag to have a nice base for salads or to just snack on alone. 

I cut the bok choy up in medium sized pieces so I can try to recreate the bok choy I love having a Sichuan Pavilion.

Instead of throwing away all the stems I cut off, I put them in a ziplock bag to freeze. My friend recommended doing this because once I fill up the bag, I can use the contents to make a lovely vegetable broth.

I do hope to see some more color as the CSA continues but this was a great start. Even though I like to eat salad, I never would have thought I could enjoy snacking on greens so much. 

(Today I am grateful for an unexpected moment. I got a little lost as I tend to and ended up on the mall right between the Capital Building and the Washington Monument. The mall was almost empty and with the backdrop of the dark sky, both looked amazing. I am grateful for the moments being lost can bring!)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

memories of pakistan

via Flickr

If you lay on your back with the hot sun beating on your face. If you clear your mind and rest your left arm over your eyes. If you play this song and let the words dance through you, you would know something about the memory this song evokes in me. When I hear it, I feel like I am nine years old, laying on my grandparent's veranda on a charpai listening to a tape worn from years of use.

In Pakistan, life is scary and sad and difficult for many people. But it is also a life where you can eat food that was recently in the land, walk in fields where there are not telephone lines in every direction and know that if look around you, someone you have known your whole life will probably be looking back at you. It is a place where, when I think of it, I can find a perfect stillness.

(Today I am grateful for a lovely email from my friend Selin who tells me that she will be moving to America in September.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Stories from a cab driver

via Pinterest

Today, I tried to walk home from Yoga but soon the rain was coming down hard and I looked for a cab. After a few minutes without much luck, I saw a cab with its light on and I tried to hail it. I noticed that there was a passenger and stepped back on the sidewalk.

The cab driver pulled up to the curb and asked, "Do you mind that my son is in the car?"

"Not at all," I replied, thankful to have a ride home.

The driver explained that his son was autistic and he couldn't leave him at home alone. He told me about how difficult it was to raise him and how he lost his business because he couldn't tend it and his son. His wife used to help but one day she was experiencing back pains and went to the hospital. They told her she would need surgery and admitted her. Her english was poor so she signed waivers without fully understanding what was happening. She would never walk out of the hospital. Complications from the surgery would leave her paralyzed. She grew increasingly depressed and finally the husband sent her back to Ethiopia to be with her family.

He told me of the difficulties of finding a good school for his son. His worry about what would happen if he died. Who would take care of his son? I tried to explain to him the importance of drafting a will and naming a guardian for his son. I gave him my card and told him to call me if he needed help. He won't be calling. He will move with his son to Ethiopia in August.

As he talked, I thought about how the American dream was not realized for him. I thought of the great courage it takes to come from a country where you are affluent and educated and drive people around in a cab while fearful of losing your house. "I lost my house once here, I won't lose it again," he said. He looked over at his son. They share a playful relationship. The son plays with the dials on the car. Looking up at his dad and giggling becuase he thinks he is being naughty. "It is for the child. I am an old man. He is a child. He needs a father." With all the family that he and his wife have in Ethiopia he hopes to find someone that he can trust with his son's care after they pass on.

I made a silent prayer for this good man and his son who waved excitedly as I got out of the cab. I prayed they find peace in Ethiopia. That they are clothed with the love of their extended family and that worries will roll gently off their backs so they no longer carry the great burden of fear and uncertainty.

(Today I am grateful for a taxi ride and a hot shower after coming out of the cold pouring rain which soaked right through my Toms.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Stop Yourself From Sending an Angry Email

via Pinterest

I was about to send an angry email and decided to write this blog post instead.

I think sending angry emails is wrong and mean. But I really want to send it. So, I'm stopping myself to examine why I want to send the angry email. The email is in reply to an email I recieved.

Upon reading the email, I felt:

1. Like I was being insulted.
2. Like I was being disrespected.
3. That my energy and efforts weren't being appreciated.

In sending the angry reply, I wanted to:

1. Use the zinger that came to my head immediately upon reading the email.
2. Make the sender feel as bad as they made me feel.
3. Communicate my disagreement with the sender's point of view.

When recieving my email the original sender will probably feel:

1. Like they were being insulted.
2. Like they were being disrespected.
3. Like their voice or concern was not being listened to.

It is easy to see the problem with the approach I want to take when I write it down. I did this exercise publicly to show both myself and others that engaging in aggressive or mean behaviors is unproductive for everyone involved. We can't become better people unless we are conscious of the consequence of each action we take in the world. It is through small hurts to others that we slowly erode others trust and our own inherent kindness.

"If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue." -- Dalai Lama

(Today I am grateful that I updated my iPod shuffle so I have all new music to listen to on my way to and from work. I am especially grateful for Tim Buckley.)

Monday, May 7, 2012


Did you get a chance to see the super moon this weekend? Here are some glorious pictures from around the world. See them all here. I love the moon!





New Mexico

North Holland

(Today I am grateful that I made a new friend.)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

God loves me. (and you too.)

via Pinterest.

“For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord . . . plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Every day I pass by the Third Church of Christ in DC which has this verse etched in giant letters on it. It is such a peaceful reminder and somehow I find I can never be reminded of it enough.

We are not given hardships to hurt us, to make us bitter or angry. We are not given hardships to destroy us. We are given hardships to help us become stronger, to make us more beautiful and to prepare us for what better things are to come. I know it is so easy to lose sight of that.

When we face the difficulties in our lives with grace, patience and hope, we are closer to the people we want to be. It is easy to complain and to lose faith. But it is also easy to say it is ok, I can handle this, I am strong and I am good. As human spirits, we were not created to be defeated. We were created to survive.

Even though life can be difficult, we wake up each day and we meet it, don't we? I want to meet life with openness and faith.

In the Bible, in the Torah, in Buddhist teachings, in the Quran, in the mountains, in the rivers, in my spirit, God has made a promise to me. He has given me a promise of hope, a promise to love me and a promise of a beautiful future. I trust Him to fulfill His Promise.

(Today I am grateful for not being embarrassed to write about God's love for me.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

can you be fulfilled in your professional life?

Today I read an article about Sara Blakely, the creator of Spanx, who was recently on the Forbes Billionaires cover. She is the youngest self made female billionaire but there was a time she was selling fax machines door to door.

Want to know some of the crappy things that happened in her life?

  • At 16, she watched her best friend get run over by a car and die.
  • Her parents split a little after that.
  • Both her prom dates died a little after that.
  • She took the LSAT twice and did horribly both times, ending her law career before it began.
  • She worked at Disney World. She was too short to be the part she wanted and spent her days snapping people's seat belts on before they got on the ride.
  • Not finding anything better, she began her career as a door-to-door fax machines salesperson.
  • She had to do this while wearing pantyhose in Florida's hot summers.

It was this last crappy thing that led her to creating Spanx, which would become her billion dollar empire. After she would come home from her day job, she would work on a product to replace the pantyhose she hated wearing. She did this for two years and invested all her savings ($5,000) into her new product. Spanx made four million in its first year and ten million in its second. Today, it is valued at over a billion dollars. She is married and has a son. Spanx is getting bigger each year. Life is pretty good.

I have so many friends who hate their jobs and what they are doing with their life. Keep going to your job. Keep giving it your all. But also think of what yo want to do with your life. Do you want to make a lot of money? Do you want to impact the lives of women who are victims of domestic violence? Do you want to create? Figure out what gets you excited. Think of something you do or engage in that doesn't feel like work and research what types of jobs and careers are associated with that. They may not pay six or seven figures and you have to decide if that is a sacrifice you are willing to make. Are you willing to give 200% of your time and energy to something that doesn't offer huge profits? If yes, that is a great sign that is what you should be doing with your life. 

Now, wake up an hour or two earlier than you did before. Or set aside two hours in the evening and start working towards your goal. If you have children, find a way to share responsibility with your partner so you are able to have this time to yourself. Or pay a baby-sitter $20-$30 a day to make uninterrupted time. Invest in yourself.

If your schedule is already packed, think about working on your goal during your lunch break or think of cutting something out like tv watching or blog reading time so you can focus on your goal. It is possible to get to a place in your professional life where you are happy and fulfilled but to get there you have to be honest with yourself about what your goals are (not the goals that society will applaud you for having), you have to make a plan to achieve those goals and then you have to work, work and work some more until you get there. 

Sara had an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age and when you read her full story, it is easy to see why she ended up on the path she did. I hope you find your path and it leads you to a life that makes you happier than you thought possible.

(Today I am grateful for the man who plays his violin at Wisconsin and M. Every day on my walk home I pause my iPod as I pass him so I can hear his amazing talent.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I think that from now on, at the end of each post I will write something special about each day that I am thankful for.  To kick things off, I will dedicate this whole post to gratitude.

There is an old proverb that goes, "Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don't unravel."  It is amazing how quickly you can lose the blessings in your life when you stop being thankful for them.  If you aren't appreciating them and only focusing on the bad, isn't that the same as not having them?

Dear God, I am thankful for:

1. s'mores
2. living in a safe and interesting neighborhood
3. bloggers who write consistently so i can read them
4. getting a text from my new sewing friend today reminding me to sign up for the next class
5. having creative outlets
6. a nice conversation with my mom
7. knowing that i am loved

What are you grateful for today? 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...