Tuesday, May 2, 2017

My season of Unforgiveness

PC: ME




I am in His presence and I can feel it.
But in these seasons ... I feel alone.
I struggle with my emotions.
To stay right here
Or to rise up and fly again



I have always had this problem with forgiving people.
A lot of people have the other problem. Asking for forgiveness. As Suresh frequently tells me ... as a child he would never say 'Sorry'.
I don't seem to have much of a problem with saying Sorry! Especially if I know I did wrong.  I have been willing to restore relationships by saying sorry. But I have been unable to build a relationship based on giving forgiveness.

 I did a small bible study and I was not able to relate much to the reason of the unforgiveness theories.
1. I do not underestimate the amount my Father in heaven has forgiven me
2. I am also not the unkind manager. I do understand that there may be people who cannot forgive me. I can pray for them.

As I sit brooding here about my incapacity to forgive, my thoughts take me to the people who I have a tough time forgiving. I have realized that they are people I love a lot .... I mean a lot.
They are also people I look up to. Like 'Role Model'. And in the midst of my brooding I realize that my season for unforgiveness comes up with the the reason of expectation.
I expected too much from these people. These are people I consider close friends, mentors and relatives who I honor and love.  There are people I look up to. No I don't seek their approval. But in my mind I believe they can do no wrong.
This is where I fail. Because there are after all 'people'. Me looking up to them, honoring them, loving them... etc ... doesn't stop them from being people.
When they hurt me, offend me and sometimes destroy a certain passion in me, I lose my faith in humanity. I now realize, my faith in humanity is not what will keep me. It is my faith in Christ.
My desire to look up to these people and expect from them a relationship without offense in unrealistic.
The only one I can look up to is Jesus.
It seems sad that I cannot have a role model. The only role model I can and should have is Christ.
Does it justify my lack of forgiveness? Does it give me an excuse to slip out of one of the key portions of the Lords prayer? No it definitely does not!
But at least I understand my struggle better.
We can try and do all kinds of bible studies and even read up devotionals on issues and struggles we have. But in the end we have to sit quietly in His presence and ask Him to speak to us on our struggles.
How does figuring out that my issues is not really with unforgiveness but rather the expectation of near perfection from these people help me?
Well I now pray to God to help me expect less. I pray to God to look only to Him as my role model.  I pray to God that I realize that as ordinary as I am so are these people who hurt me.


Going a little secular and thinking of a dialogue from 'Dear Zindagi'
If just for a moment, you can manage to see your parents as normal people, capable of making the same mistakes as you, maybe you’ll find the strength within you to forgive them and undo the damage. It’s hard to do this as a child, when they’re the ones teaching you life skills. But as an adult, you can see objectively what they did right, and what they didn’t. Parents are not perfect, they’re as flawed as you and me.


While this one specifically talks about the relationship between a parent and a child. For me it is in every relationship where I was learning a life skill and got kicked hard enough not to want to get up again. As I attempt to stand up this time ... I have myself saying 'They are normal people just like me.'

Christ forgave me not expecting an extraordinary and perfect person ... but yes one in the making. I get in this time with my fist down... no gear looking at a person - 'One in the making'.


I hope I am on my way to redemption.




 Love this song - only the cross has made us 'Flawless'. Else we are all normal people who need and must give forgiveness

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Touching a chord we have lost! #empathy


I dont like everyday to be the same. I want school to be a tad bit different each day. I like routine but I do want to make a difference in my kids lives.

One morning as I was searching for something on Youtube I came across this video



I got very emotional. Every time I watch a video like this, I feel- What am I doing! There is so much more I can do. I should be volunteering and working for the poor or doing some social service or raising funds or reading to the blind or something more dramatic!
But where is the time - with two. I am barely able to finish reading to these two. Forget reading to the world.
I showed the video to Isaac and Ziva expecting the same reaction. But they just watched and it seemed like there was not much reaction and I began to feel ' Am I creating a robot?'  Far worse 'Am I creating a child with no emotional quotient?'

In this world that focuses so much on the IQ of a people, very little importance is given to the emotional quotient. I copy below from wikipedia
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognize their own, and other people's emotions, to discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one's goal(s)


While emotions range a vast variety of feelings, empathy is something that may not be high on the list. We would love to discern when someone is angry and stay away from the person or when someone is happy and be part of the fun. But are we able to discern when someone needs empathy.
We love sympathy. We love giving it and we love getting it. As my husband frequently quotes 'Pity party'
But are we willing to put ourselves in the shoe of someone and feel how they are feeling. Are we teaching our children the meaning of the word 'empathy'. Are we more interested in teaching them to survive a over competitive world? Are we teaching them to stop and wait when someone is hurting or needs help, or just go by because time is so important?
As part of our homeschooling curriculum, we are reading missionary stories. As we read aloud to the kids, both me and DH find ourselves frequently crying. One particular story, I was barely get on with the words, Ziva asked me ' Amma why are you sad?'
'I don't know why Ziva' I had to reply. It wasn't that I knew anybody in the story. It wasn't that they were family or some dear/near one was involved. This was just some random person in some random place far far away.
And yet I could not keep myself from being in their shoes and weeping. Ziva who did not totally understand, just decided to to come very close and hug me.

We have been recently enjoying the song 'Zombie' by Cranberries and these words struck me as part of the lyrics
----------------------------------
But you see it's not me
It's not my family
In your head, in your
Head they are fighting
----------------------
Will you cry if its not your family?
Will it effect you if you don't know anyone who is blind?
Will it matter if you have not watched someone suffer of a dreaded illness
Will it?


Monday, April 10, 2017

Hold my hand -






No one gets you, Why you cry
Let me not deny
Sometimes neither do I!

No one gets your intensity, Your need to be perfect
Let me not deny
Sometimes neither do I!

No one understands your dream world, as you build up mansions in your head
Let me not deny
Sometimes neither do I!

No one gets your passion, your love, your kindness, your gentleness, your anger, your craziness, your laughter, your tears
Let me not deny
Sometimes neither do I!


Everyone will want you to change!
Be more boy, be more rough, be more loud
Let me deny
Never will I!

Everyone may seem like they don't understand you
But I always will try





Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dayyenu - What's in the name? #givethanks #gratitude

December 20 2010. That's when I published my first blog.

http://momstheword2.blogspot.in/2010/12/mils.html


Since then, several people have asked me what the name 'Dayenu' meant. I know it sounds strange. But I guess I was on this 'Hebrew' high. I had named my first born 'Isaac' which in Hebrew means 'laughter'.`
My first blog also shows where I was in life. Grieving possibly. And also trying to be happy since I had just found out that we had a second little one on the way. Its hard to be happy and sad at the same time. And it was during one of those up and down moments when I was asking God 'How do I praise you at this time', that I read a blog by one for the editors of the RZIM ministries

It was an email that I received called 'A Slice of Infinity' from the RZIM website
http://rzim.org/a-slice-of-infinity/

This particular article was written by Jill Carattini and the title was  'Like a Letter from Christ'. (See the entire article at the end)
An excerpt from the article

A tradition in the Jewish Passover celebration called Dayyenu marks in the Passover ritual the rising crescendo of thanksgiving.  "Dayyenu," which essentially means, "It would have been enough for us," is sung as a response after merciful acts of God in history are remembered one by one—the parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Sabbath, the completion of the temple.  Each act alone would have been enough to sustain our praise and faith, but God moves well beyond our imaginings.  



Pagbourne way with Ziva, Roni and Yuvali
We lived in 1409 Pangbourne way at this time and had lovely Jewish neighbors who invited us every Sabbath (i.e. every Friday night) for their special dinner. We had once gone over when they were lighting the candles and the two little girls they had, Yuvali and Rony, wanted Isaac to light the candles with them. Their mother had to plead that only girls lit the candles and Isaac was a boy. She never once said he is not Jewish and therefore cannot light the candles.
In a strange country, on a quiet street, in a room full of lovely food, stood two families from two different countries and yet united by one Good God. Sometimes you meet fantastic people and they change your perspective of life!

Pangbourne way with Bhageera, Isaac, Roni and Yuvali
I looked up the song Dayenu after one such Sabbath meal with this family and fell in love with the word.
I realized that this blog would be both good memories and sad memories. But in all of it 'Dayenu' - It was enough! Each act whether Good or Sad was enough for me to praise and keep my faith in God.




I recently read a meditation about 'Happiness'. Happiness was part of a 3 fold program. Joy, Gratitude, Prayer.
Dayenu is a reminder of all that I have to be grateful for, all I pray for and all I am joyful for!


Like a Letter from Christ
The question is asked with both biting sarcasm and pained lament:  Why isn't God clearer?  Why the complicated hunt for answers?  Why not a God with far more interest in direct communication?  Such questions are perhaps further disquieted by those who seem to claim precisely that experience—hearing God as surely as in a letter, as directly as any other conversation. 
It used to bother me that I couldn't give an exact date for my conversion.  I can't describe the moment when I finally bowed and admitted God was God.  This troubled me particularly when it was my turn to speak after going around a room of believers with specific dates and encounters to tell—and the expectation that I could tell likewise.  I've since learned that conversion is more than one moment of waking—even for those who indeed have one moment that stands out among all others.  But I've also come to love the diversity of means and ways God appears before a life—gently beckoning one to follow, pursuing over a lifetime the one lost or running, dramatically opening the eyes of another in an instant. 
Could this broadened picture itself not be something like direct communication from God?  The apostle Paul describes the converted one "like a letter from Christ... written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:2).  In this description, we discover conversion is inherently personal—a letter from creator to creature, written not in ink but in God, not on paper or tablet, but on living flesh.  Accordingly, there are as many stories of God drawing near a life as there are words one could put in a personal letter.  Like Paul, I have come to expect and to admire the compilation.  Some will speak of waking to God's truth gradually; others will describe being moved nearly to blindness as they encounter Christ more fully than they have eyes yet to see.   
But like the God we discover, conversion stories can still surprise us.  I met someone recently who told me that pivotal to his waking to faith was a profound desire to give.  He said he simply found himself thankful and wanted to know the somewhere and someone before he could act out his appreciation.  There was something in this confession that made me marvel at the God we both profess, as if I was shown another facet to appreciate, another layer I hadn't fully considered.  Not only is there someone to thank, but there is one who moves within our desire to give and our deep realization that much has been given. 
Moreover, when we learn to see conversions as reflections of God, letters that come to us personally and communicate something of Christ, we also learn there is something of God to behold in our neighbor.  Standing within a community of believers, it is hard not to marvel at the unsearchable riches of Christ, the depths of the person of God written on hearts all around us.  What other god comes so personally, meeting the world as individuals, moving followers into a community that reflects more and more of him?  Gratitude is a natural response. 
A tradition in the Jewish Passover celebration called Dayyenu marks in the Passover ritual the rising crescendo of thanksgiving.  "Dayyenu," which essentially means, "It would have been enough for us," is sung as a response after merciful acts of God in history are remembered one by one—the parting of the Red Sea, the giving of the Sabbath, the completion of the temple.  Each act alone would have been enough to sustain our praise and faith, but God moves well beyond our imaginings. 
God is indeed gracious in ways we never anticipate, meeting one profoundly in his desire to give, another in her profound suffering, coming to all in the sending of the Son and the manifestations of his life, death, and resurrection.  It would have been enough to sustain our praise in the Incarnation of the Christ child or in the ministry and miracles of Jesus—"The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor" (Luke 7:22).  But God wanted to bring more.  "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17).  And that Son was sent to the Cross, where he was crucified, died, and buried.  This too would have been enough to elicit our gratitude—an innocent sufferer, God hanging with us on the gallows.  But then Christ rose from the grave, defeating death, and inviting us to follow and do the same. 
God is always moving beyond our imaginings.   As we live further into our conversions, as we tell the stories of God's acts in our lives and in history, as we remember again the unfathomable mercies of Christ, might our gratitude be heard across the land, a rising crescendo of thanksgiving for the one who is worthy of our praise. 
Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Mommy Prayer #Leadme #SanctusReal

The picture below jogged up some memories. Not the song 'Promises'! The group that sang it. 'Sanctus Real'. Back in 2010/2011, I remember listening to their song 'Lead me'  a lot.

PC and Edit Credit : David John

95.1 FM. Car drives to work and back, this was the radio channel that kept my faith going. Sometimes when you are way down in the midst of a trial and you don't know how to pray, and a song keeps you going. I really liked the song, but I have never paid close attention to the words.




 The other day as I watched the song again on Youtube, I took a closer look at the words. Then I dug a little deeper into the story behind the song.



While the story of 'Lead me' reflects the prayer of a 'Daddy and husband' for me it was a prayer I had been praying for me as a mommy! For 1.5 years after becoming mommy, I had worked. First as a full time physicist and then switching to part time. During each drive to work, I found myself asking why I was doing this. I was neither able to be there fully at work nor at home. We literally worked shifts at home where I left at 6 am and returned by 11 am and Suresh left as I walked into the door.
This song reflected how both Suresh and I felt! The loneliness at home where both of us were just trying to be brave and chug along.
I was told several times that I would raise a strong independent child and I should not feel so guilty about leaving Isaac at daycare. After all it was sometimes only for 2-3 hours. But one morning as I walked into work put on my lab coat and sat down, the phone rang and it was from Isaac's day care. They told me that he didn't seem well and had thrown up and that I needed to come pick him up. The best thing about day cares in US is that they never keep sick babies! To prevent other babies from getting sick! I jumped up and ran out. And as I was driving I kept thinking, why am I doing this! I needed to be at home with him.
----------------
#Lead Me by Sanctus Real
So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I am called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't you lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love
Chasing things that I could give up

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone."
 -------------------------------

Giving up my career was not easy. I still get notifications from the American Board of Radiology reminding me that I was a fully certified physicist and I need to such and such thing to keep it active. But I do believe God honored me when I gave up what I was not called to chase. I still remember when I got the offer from old colleagues in Physics my first statement was to Suresh was ' Looks like this Medical Physics won't leave me'. Even as recently at two days ago, someone told me I was missing out on an adult conference because I wanted to volunteer for the simultaneously happening kids conference. But for me, in my head, I was thinking, maybe another year or two and if I could 'lead them', I know God will honor my desire to be show my children how much I love them.

Moving to India was not easy for Suresh. I mean giving up John's Hopkins was a tough call. But he did it anyway. God honored his sacrifice. God honored his desired to show his family that he was willing to fight for us. For the first two years, as I struggled with two kids below 3, Suresh took a lot of time off  and worked from home. While his friends had several days of vacation and leave carried over to the next year, Suresh barely made it till the end of year with enough time off. Every year it was time for the annual evaluation he would prep himself saying how others around him worked longer hours. But God honored his desire to ' Lead his children and stand up for his wife' when we were not able to.

So now that they are older are all the problems over. Oh boy no! Now they have a greater demand on time. But this verse made me realize there is only one solution. The third strand #Jesus!


Monday, March 13, 2017

Silence in the midst of pain

This morning during my time with God, I was reading about Simon of Cyrene. The man who carried  the cross for Jesus when the Lord could carry it no more! The title of the meditation was 'The weight of suffering'  (Take a closer look by Bryan McAnally)

The questions at the end of the chapter got me thinking on how I handled suffering. It gave me a reason to think about what I had learned in suffering. When I think about a time when I felt a heavy weight on me, the first thought that comes to mind is when I lost my mother-in-law.
Some of the things I felt was the shaking of my faith. I wondered why I felt so distant from God. I did all that was possible physically to get out of this mode. I took over all the chores of the house and over-killed myself at work, as a mother and as a wife. I realized that this was not the solution. 'Doing' things was not helping. Some of my sufferings has made me realize how imperfect I am.
Unless you fall and go into the deep pits of agony, you cannot empathize with those around you. I also learned not to 'holify' my situation.
I remember when my mother in law passed away a lot of people quoted bible verses, gave encouragement through verses and promises. And while I had to smile and listen to those, in my heart was a retching feeling. It felt like someone had cut an important organ in my body and had tried to replace it with holiness. My body just could not function. I had to watch my husband silently mourn the loss of his mother and listen to people talk about what a wonderful woman of God she was and all that she had done. In his heart of suffering, all he wanted was one more moment with his mother.

While I do believe the bible verses heal and speak to some, I am the kind who needs silence. Quoting verses may soothe pain. But presence, prayer, understanding and silence can soothe pain too. I learned this as part of my little cross that I dragged along.

Simon of cyrene was not going to be crucified. He knew they would not kill him. But he had to share in the suffering of Christ. He has to carry the cross to Golgotha.  Simon silently (maybe a little reluctantly) took up this responsibility. Was he quoting the old testament promises to Jesus? Was he reassuring Jesus that all would be well and we would all be happy in heaven. No! He just walked along silently.
I wonder what he felt as he lay the cross down on the hill. He had brought with him the instrument that was going to bring pain and death to another human. He could not even be a hero and rescue this man! What a hopeless situation!
In our utter state of hopelessness, Christ revives our faith. When we just want to give up, we reach Golgotha and it feels like we can breath again. Not by our strength ... But by HIS!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Broken

In my brokenness, I find You
In my shame, You lift my face
When I don't know how to pray ... You give me a song to sing!

When I am weary, I know You are here
In my fears, I can feel Your strength
When I don't know how to laugh ... You bring a rainbow of hope

I feel the world bear me down, I feel you put my hand over Your shoulder
In my discomfort, I can feel Your reassurance
When I don't know how to cry ... You hug me so I can feel You near!

The world says be brave, this is how it has got to be
But You say, 'I see the bigger picture, Trust me!'
When I think its hopeless to hope ... Your set out the sun to shine on me!
 




Isaiah 61: 7
Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The move! #kidsmoving

We recently had some close friends move out of Bangalore. It was a strange mix of emotions! Laughing about old fun times and getting mopey at the thought of not seeing them often.

Suresh and I have moved several times. In fact during the first seven year of our marriage we moved

2003 January 300 E Franklin #805
2004 May 300 E Franklin #1401
2005 October 1503 Irby Drive
2007 July Lodges at Seven Oaks
2008 January 2601 Barred Owl way
2009 January 1027 S Hanover Street
2010 January 1409 Pangbourne Way
2011 November MIMS Ardendale Bangalore

You could say that we had gotten pretty good at moving and settling and packing and moving in the first seven years. It was easy to move when it was just Suresh and me. Though we had plenty of furniture. It seemed like there was nothing in particular keeping us clinging to one spot.
The last move however took a heavy toll on us. It was a big move. It also was accompanied with a significant life change. Arrival of baby #2 'Ziva'. As we made the decision to move and as we ironed out the fine details of the movers and dates and other logistics, we had forgotten one small element. We forgot to prepare our 1.5 year old. It may seem silly! You may even think that 'What can a 1.5 year old understand?'. The move to Bangalore took a heavy toll on Isaac.



This was my happy and sweet boy a few weeks before we left. The first couple months in Bangalore was a nightmare. Not too clingy a boy, he suddenly had deep separation anxiety. He would cry every morning as Appa took off to work. This made the first half of my day miserable. I tried to keep pushing through it with the hope that dad would come home soon and rescue me.
At about two weeks past birth, Isaac smiled a big broad knowing smile. A friend, who was also a pediatrician, commented - 'You guys must have smiled a lot during the pregnancy'. 2 years and one big move later and Isaac spent a lot of time crying. Whining to be precise. There was a lot of tears all the time.
Nap times were easy till 1.5 year for Isaac. I could never remember him waking up crying. In fact our favorite memory of Isaac waking up was a quiet sound we heard whispering over the baby monitor. Several times we peeked through the door and he would be lying quietly talking to his fingers or staring at the wall as if it was a piece of Picasso. Come Bangalore and I could not leave him alone at nap time. The minute I rolled out of bed he followed me. It seemed a different person.
Now five years later, I am thankful the phase is over. But a small part of me knows that moving and change is an inevitable part of life. What will I do differently this time?


Moving with someone who cannot express how their are feeling is tough business. Moving with someone who now can express a lot but doesn't understand their own emotions is far greater a turmoil and while I pray it will not happen ... Tomorrow is another day

Once I mentioned the fact that we had moved so many times, it seemed ridiculous and my brother in law mentioned that we were after all Isaac's parents and like the biblical story of Isaac's parents, Abraham and Sarah, maybe we were destined to be nomads.
How did Abraham do it? Keep moving! How did the Israelites do it? Keep walking. No stability and nothing the same.

This being said, the community of MIMS Ardendale has been the place we have stayed in the longest. (we did move between two houses less then a few meters from each other). And I am thankful for this stability. However a few months ago, in the midst of some trials I impulsively told Suresh - Lets move! For me - move is an escape route. The EJECT button. But maybe it time for me to make my peace with here and now - for the sake of Isaac and Ziva!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

R>E>S>P>E>C>T

Be a woman who earns respect,
By your actions
By your words
By your kindness
By your love

Be a woman who doesn't have to fight for it
By your willingness to give
By your ability to forgive
By your joy in strife
By your laughter in conflict

Be a woman who shows that you are a blessed creation
By supporting your husband
By loving your children
By caring for those around you
By your devotion to your household


Be that kind of woman!

Happy Woman's day!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Life is not a snapshot!

If I can just get past this exam, I will be great.

If I can just get into a good engineering college , I will be fine.

If I can just get into 'an' engineering college, I will be good.

If I can just  make it past these 4 years,  life will be normal again.

If I can just find a job, I will be good.

If I can just get into grad school, things will work out.

If I can just make it past my thesis defense, I will party.

If I can just finish my residency, I am sure I will get a great job.

If I can just find a perfect guy, life will be a piece of cake.

If I can just get married to the nice guy without the world being at war with me, things would be perfect.

If I can just have a child, life would be super duper

If I can .....

 
We all go through those stages of life. Each stage seems uncertain and scary. It always seems like if you can just pass those scary stages, life will be perfect. If you can just pass this one crazy phase in life then all will work out.
But life is not a snapshot! Its not about that one moment of pain when you lose someone you love. Its not about that one moment of joy when you hold your child in your arms. Yes those are the special moments. But life is all the craziness in the middle. Sometimes in the midst of all the craziness there is a strong desire to press the eject button. My way of 'eject button' is to go into hiding. Stay low and let the wave go over!

The above statements describes all of me for the past 40 years. Initially stressing about each and every exam. Then the jobs and then getting married etc. Half the time I didn't know what I was doing.
To put it in F.R.I.E.N.D.S philosophy : It seemed like there was a plan ... everything was all figured out ..But now its just 'floopy'.
Actually ... if you look around almost no one has a clue of what is going on. Some are just getting rocked about by the waves of life and ... others are the waves of life!
But again with the F.R.I.E.N.D.S philosophy: It's all gonna come together and it's gonna be un-floopy!

Notice after the last line ... I kind of stopped....
If I can just have a child, life would be super duper

.... Once Isaac came, life was super duper for sure. But there were so many floopy moments still. Moments where I felt like I was going to drown. But some how it became un-floopy and I rose above the wave. It was around the time that Suresh's mom passed away. A big wave for me! Maybe my faith got hit more than anything and it washed me to the shore till I picked up and decided to dive back into the ocean called L.I.F.E. You can't sit on the shore forever! With the arrival of Ziva, I had another round of floopy to un-floopy. I had been wallowing so long in the self-pity of being a terrible mother that I was honestly terrified of baby #2. But the ease of being her mother made me realize - motherhood was not a snapshot. There were going to be floopy and un-floopy moments!



Life is not about losing that job or getting it.
Life is not about buying that dream house or moving.
Life is not about an empty womb or one abundantly filled.
Life is not perfect ... but if you rise above the wave each time... look around ...It's beautiful!




Before the morning - Josh Wilson


Do you wonder why you have to,
Feel the things that hurt you,
If there's a God who loves you,
Where is He now?

Or maybe, there are things you can't see
And all those things are happening
To bring a better ending
Some day, some how, you'll see, you'll see

Would you dare, would you dare, to believe,
That you still have a reason to sing,
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling,
It can't compare to the joy that's coming

So hold on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on, and just fight the good fight
'Cause the pain that you've been feeling,
It's just the dark before the morning







Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why we are equal! #equality

So the thought keeps going through my head after my little blog on feminism and strong women.

http://momstheword2.blogspot.in/2017/01/feminist-or-independent-or-strong.html


We recently had a bible study where we are studying the word of God from Genesis and looking at it divided by events.
This week we were looking at the creation and the fall of man. For those who don't believe in creation... well too bad... You really cannot believe in equality or anything else! As it boils down.

So Adam was created and then made to realize that he was lonely. Don't you love God! He brings you to a point of realization  before He takes you to higher points.
Then God creates Eve and bring her to Adam. Adam's words  'At last! This is now bone of my bone!'. Adam was happy to find his EQUAL. Adam had fellowship with God. He had lots of company with the animals. But finally God created for him an EQUAL. Lot of people look at the word helper and try to tie down the woman's role as secondary. But the sequence and the events that went into creating both Man and Woman makes it clear. At last Adam had found his 'EQUAL'.
So how did this equality, gender roles and struggle for significance start. The CURSE!
Adam and Eve messed it up. They ate the only fruit they were forbidden to eat.  In response to the disobedience, God had to punish them.
The punishment for Adam
Genesis 3:17- 19
And to Adam he said,“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife  and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,  ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you;  in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;  thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;  and you shall eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Genesis 3:16
To the woman he said, ' I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;  in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to[f] your husband,   but he shall RULE over you.'

Ah! the wages of disobedience that we still bear as women. The fight for equality!

But the Aha for the evening was this point: When Jesus came and died on the cross for each of us - He lifted the curse off us! We are no longer under the curse. We are EQUAL!
So you got a choice - believe Jesus lifted the curse and treat all equally - or spend time arguing :).

#dontneedtoargue #biblesaysitIbelieveit #believe #God'slove #Jesushasliftedthecurse

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Don't look into my eyes ! #stillgrieving

Don't look into my eyes,
You'll fall in love with me!
Don't hug me so much,
You wont want to let go.
Don't let me follow you around,
You'll get used to my feet at your feet
Don't look into my eyes,
I see your pain and fears ... I know when you're happy and sad!
Don't pat me too often,
You'll never want to stop.
Don't let me lie on your lap,
You'll get used to my warm fuzzy feeling.
Don't look into my eyes,
Cos when the light stops to sparkle you will hurt!
Don't hug me too much,
Cos when I grow cold you will miss my warm hugs.
Don't let me follow you,
You'll miss me when I am not around!



 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Slow down

Slow down Amma ... dont walk away
Slow down Amma ... I want to watch time pass away
Slow down Amma ... I want to hear the birds sing
Slow down Amma ... I want to talk to the flowers a minute
Slow down Amma ... I know we have lots to do
Slow down Amma ... Because I want to enjoy each minute with yo

Silence

I'm not afraid of being alone
I'm not afraid of the silence around me
I can make my peace with no laughter
Sometimes silence can heal me
I'm not afraid of loneliness
I'm not afraid of stillness
I can make my peace with no craziness
Sometimes silence can heal me
#mylittledreamer

To HIM

The road is narrow that leads up to HIM
And I have fallen many times
But I must keep walking
The destination is beautiful.
The road is narrow that leads up to HIM
And I have slipped many times
But I hold on to the promise
The destination is beautiful
The road is narrow that leads up to HIM
And I will walk with you
Not side by side,
Sometimes you will lift me up and sometimes I will hold you up
The destination is beautiful
#ToHIM

Hold on to...

Hold on to ...
Hold on to memories...
Pictures may speak a thousand words but memories last a life time
Hold on to ..
Hold on to a friend who keeps your secret. Many will want to help you and fix you ...But a real friend will know the value of your trust!

Hold on to ..
Hold on to a hand that lifts you up ...
There will be many who throw you down and trample you but the hand that lifts you up is strong!
Psalms 136:12
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever;

Sit Beside me

Come sit beside me my little one let's talk
Let me tell you a story of when you were born
Let me tell you about the tears in my eyes when I first held you
Let me tell you of all the sighs I gave when I realized you were mine
Come sit beside my little one ... Let's talk

Through your eyes

Through your eyes the world looks innocent
Through your eyes the world looks peaceful
Through your eyes troubles seem just momentary
Through your eyes tomorrow looks promising
Through your eyes yesterday holds no regrets
Through your eyes today brings nothing but joy

Isaiah 54:13
All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Dogs ... cats and other critters! #petlovestory

I recently got jogged to the memory of the first pet I got for Suresh! I know right. Me getting a pet for him! Considering he is the animal lover and I am not much.

In August 2007 when we moved from Richmond, Virginia to Baltimore Maryland, we had two dogs and a cat. I still vividly remember the car drive from Richmond to Baltimore with a cat in the back seat that kept scratching the cardboard box he was locked in! I expected him to jump out of the box any minute and scratch my head for the terrible motion sickness he probably was feeling. Bhageera was one feisty cat!

We had an Indian family once visit us and say 'You both are an unusual Indian couple'. This happened as a result of seeing more animals than humans in our house. The lady of that family loved dogs and confessed that even though she had a dog in India, she could never think about a pet in the US, let alone three animals. The concept of having an animal living in the house was I guess something to get used to.

So who was responsible for the influx of animals into the Joel household. I guess I shall slowly raise my hand and take blame. Going back to the first pet. About the year 2002, for Valentines day, I got Suresh a 'Hamster'. I guess it was our first valentines after we were engaged and I knew how much he loved animals and well  all the 'love' came out in the form of a hamster. My roomie who was used to handling the rat category of animals helped me buy the hamster since I was too terrified of even holding it. I guess it was good preparation of things to come. Suresh's roomie name the hamster ' Sukhwinder Singh'. I do not know why! But it was a cute name for a very cute pet.
Sukhwinder Singh went to hamster heaven a year later.





We had a lull period after that with occasional references to dogs and Suresh getting over-friendly and playful with other peoples dogs as I got over-friendly and playful with other peoples babies.

 
In 2005 we bought a house and a month later we picked our first dog from the SPCA.  As we drove to the SPCA, we started picking out names. Daniel the shepherd dog. Aka Danny. When Suresh went to pick a dog, the first choice was a yellow laborador. But the little guy had a foot long waiting list. The SPCA guy turned Suresh's attention to a cage full of puppies who were all available just because they were not pure bred. It was love at first sight as Suresh decided to take one! Any one of them. He still tears up thinking what may have happened to the other three pups.


Danny came home with a runny nose and some pink cold medicine. He was super cute till Suresh had to leave two weeks later for a conference. I then realized the term 'Alpha male'. He decided he was in-charge of the house and to show his disapproval to Suresh leaving decided to poop all around the house. 24 hours later I called Suresh and told him I had enough and was sending Danny back to the SPCA. A frantic Suresh asked for another 24 hrs to arrange some place where Danny could be put up  till Suresh got home. I guess I figured out Danny in those 24 hrs and got some good advice from my mom-in-law : newspaper Vadi. Danny did not have to leave the house and I showed him that even if he was the alpha male .. I ruled the house :)


A few months later, Suresh sent me a picture of a dog. The email read a sad story about the two puppies left behind by a mother who was probably abused. I fell! I said Yes! We were set to get our second pet in 6 weeks.
We were still getting over the thought of a second dog when we had a friend come over during Sunday service fellowship. She looked disheveled. Her neighbor had a stray cat who has two kittens. One kitten had gone missing and they suspected that it was probably a bird that took it away. They were frantically searching for a home for this little kitten. My friend already had about 6 pet cats and had adopted several stray cats in her neighborhood. Since the kitten needed an indoor home, her husband looked at us pleadingly. I don't know what came over me and I said Yes! Again!
That evening Bhageera came home with  a bottle of Enfamil and an ink filler to use as a feeding bottle and his poop box.


A month later a furry little ball of chocolate brown came home while I was at my physics conference. That weekend when I returned home, our house was filled with more prancing animals and one happy Suresh! We named him Baloo, going in the Jungle book style.



We had to give up Bhageera when we returned to India as we could bring back only two animals. We found a home for Bhageera where he could run up trees and chase rats and squirrels. He was an outdoor cat all through and was mostly found on top of trees, unable to come back down himself! I miss good old Bhags and the love that Ziva shows to stray cats, I know she would have loved him too.

While I did say 'Yes' to the pets entering the house, I blame Suresh for the love for animals he has instilled in me with over the years! There have been several times that I have thought of giving them away. I refer to the dogs constantly as Suresh's  dogs and have ignored them after the kids arrived!
But I do know that I feel safe when they are around. No one dares come close to your house with the two big brown balls of fur!
I know that my kids have enjoyed having the animals walk and wag their tails into their faces as they grow up. I know that in numerous mess cleanings, I have had the chance to experience animals I may never have ... had it not been for the pet lover and his love for animals.
I know the presence of these dogs (and the cat for Isaac) has enriched the lives of Isaac and Ziva.



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Reading !

I will read your books
I want to know what happens in your dreams

I will listen to your songs
I want to know what's playing in your head

I will do the things that make you smile
I want to know what makes you happy

I will listen to your songs
I want to know what you are feeling

I will read your books
I want to be a part of your life



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Feminist or Independent or strong #daughterstories



This was what my daughter wore to a wedding recently and while she got a lot of 'ooos' and 'aaas' and maybe a few frowns, one particular comment led to a lovely conversation with my most favorite person!

Comment : 'Lovely and elegant!! Zivakutty I hope 20 years later also you will show the same passion to this most elegant dress.
While that comment hit some deep dark wound from a long ago. I responded this way

Response: In 20 years ... I pray she is happy.. healthy and as passionate about life as she is now. The sarees, skirts and pants will come and go :)

One person seemed to like my comment and I wondered whether I had touched some deep dark wound from long ago! I wondered if there were other wounded souls walking around who had to wear clothes that others thought were elegant.
FYI: My closet is very mixed. I have it all. No not 150 sarees in all colors! But pants, skirts (short and long ones), shorts, tops, sleeveless, salwars, dungrees, sarees, pyjamas, jeans, t-shirts, sweats, tracks. I am not one who will tell you what to wear and not to. I believe you are mature enough to decide that. I am not one who will tell you your 'inner' wear is showing. I believe everyone in this world wears one and sometimes it shows!

At one time Ziva and I were at war over clothes, some two years ago when she three years! Yes! She wanted to wear only skirts and she had a lot of very cute shorts. Somehow, I think, she had figured in her head that girls wear only shirts. She actually looks the cutest in a pair of chequed pants that are a hand me down from her brother. And no she doesn't look like a boy. She looks like a feisty 5-year old with fire in her eyes and passion to conquer the world, with a naughty smile to kill all!

I did wonder if I was raising her too boyish and I realized with the saree episode, Ziva was a strong young girl, and she would be herself no matter what she wore. She would light up any room she went into.
While my thoughts were brewing over the saree and other fancy clothes, this person sent me this particular article.
https://www.vagabomb.com/Adichies-Powerful-Essay-on-Raising-a-Feminist-Daughter/

While I love the article and agree with the lot of the things the author says, I am not so sure about the use of the word 'feminist'. I have been called a feminist (by someone who did not know me) because I asked a husband to got help his wife make tea instead of comment on the color of the tea or the taste as she struggled to make it for 20 people. Its not about equality. Its not about independence.
As I was brewing over this article, the person who sent me this said one more thing and I liked it very much
Comment:While saying/believing men are superior is misogyny, saying/believing women are superior is misandry. Both aren't helpful. Its not a competition between men  and women.
Wow! How true? So then feminism was wrong?
I thought on my initial experience on wanting to be equal to men or boys. Most of the resentment to be better or equal came from an extra bias toward the boy cousins in our family. We were always restrained or told we couldn't do certain things which our boy cousins got a free hand at.
Don't climb trees!
Don't ride the bicycle so much!


I brewed on that thought for a moment and wondered what I wanted to pass on to my daughter. No! Not what I want her to be. But what I want to share with her. Here is how it came out.
A feminist may think 'equal', but actually we are not. Some things, we women do far better and something men may do far better. No, this is not gender roles. I do not intend to say that I bake better than Suresh! But here is a more role reversal rarely seen in families - Finances. I do a far better job at maintaining them than the man of the house :). I, however, believe he has a God ordained responsibility over the house which he protects and provides for.

So Ziva - don't strive for equality,  strive instead toward your strength because when you are strong there will be no need to be equal.

Be a strong woman... one of character and confidence. Be a passionate woman. Be an emotional woman one who is willing to shed and show her tears. Do not mask it under holiness or false egoistical strength.
A feminist may think that hearts don't get broken!
An independent woman may never accept that her heart is broken!
But a strong woman is willing to set a heart in a place where it may get broken time and again. Sometimes her family will break it ... sometimes her friends will break it. She picks up the pieces and keeps at her strength.
Be that kind of a woman Ziva!


A feminist may climb a tree just so that she can show equality
An independent woman may not want any help while she climbs the tree
But a strong woman will accept help and want to climb up to enjoy the view and the company! As she climbs she will take help others climb up to.
Be that kind of woman Ziva!

A feminist may look for reasons to exclude the men in her life (father, brother, husband etc)
An independent woman may think she can get on in life without these men
A strong women knows the value of these men in her life. She knows they bring her a significance and security that she can gain from nowhere else. She also knows she is valued and honored by them. Her strength comes from not demanding it but realizing it
Be that kind of woman Ziva!




PS: This is not meant to offend anyone. I do not have a problem with feminism or independence. But I have learned through life that a person is more complete when they can believe that they are both strong and weak. No one is equal. :). The war for equality makes one person feel victimized and the other made to believe they are superior.

/ A friend of mine responded over FB to this blog and I am sharing it here. I dont agree with all of it./
Such a nice article. I am so glad your daughter is growing so well, also growing with such an amazing role model. .....Also, feminism may not be a bad word.... Independent women :: may be equal to :: strong women :: may be equal to :: feminism. It is not probably to show anybody outside the measure of equality to the other gender. The thought process could have come from a time where women had to fight for equal rights just to vote or drive a car (we have traveled in a long way in most countries... some countries are still fighting for it). For our country - it may not be so strong, nevertheless sometimes, extremely subtle.... Sometimes, also has a religious/superficial cover to it. Nevertheless, still exists. We are fortunate that we do not face major issues for our rights, but the struggle still is strong for the majority. Feminism is not a bad word; it may not be the struggle to prove a point. Just the aspect that one recognizes the efforts of the past women who fought to where we can be free and those women who continue to fight for basic rights. Feminism may just be strong :) Happy Day

/To which I responded/
It's just that the word has been misused/misconstrued/misunderstood!
#respectthewomenwhofought
The pursuit should not be equality ...Rather respect !


/To which another was made/
I agree. "feminism" as a term is being shunned. But if it was not for the women's movement who fought so hard, we would not have been where we are as a society. I would not be working with equal wages or given a right to vote. I agree feminism is not about superiority but mutual respect - Unfortunately, the terminology now when used is not perceived the same way. Nevertheless, feminism was the movement that we can even have this discussion. So, feminism is good :) Also, one correction - the discussion is not about equality (since equality is given) but the argument about superiority is to be removed.

/And me again/
I believe equal wages should be given to those who deserve. Gender, race, minority, class, religion etc ... nothing ... nothing should define equality! We are unequal. We were created that way. We were created to fit into each other. What a peaceful world that would be if we just recognized that! If we were all equal then we would all look alike and behave alike. What a Black or White world that would be? Respect - the weaker person not because you feel sorry - but because you fit into one another. Respect - the stronger person not out of envy - but because you have so much more to learn.

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sleeping with the enemy! #notwhatitsoundslike

It was 2:58 pm ... I had woken up 15 minutes  ago and yet not gotten out of bed. Thanks to the enemy! I jumped out of bed and started to hurry around the house, because now I was late for taking the kids to gymnastics class. Then there was the rushing and the hushing and screaming at the kids
All because of sleeping with the enemy!

It seemed like a regular affair now. To sleep and wake up with the enemy.
I thought I was the only one in the disastrous down spiraling path till DH confessed too!
'I spend so much time after I wake up just scrolling through FB'


Yes - That's the enemy I am talking about. The darn phone!
Luckily we ended 2016 by making a solid effort to stopping this 'affair'. It not like DH and I did not realize this but the following video was simply perfect!

www.facebook.com/VineSurvivor/videos/1232136226872420/?pnref=story

We slept with the enemy most of the time because it was our alarm clock and 'woke up' much later than even if we didn't have the alarm ring and feeling much worse.
In the past few months, I can, with a lot of guilt, say that I have wasted so many hours on Facebook and Whatsapp. I wish I had watched a movie instead. At least I would feel like I had done something.
I remember my dad calling the TV an idiot box when we were kids. He would repeat time and again on what a waste of time it was and how we would become ... well Idiots.
But I now think the TV is much lesser of an evil!
Its not just the time - but the complete lack of accomplishment of anything at the end of the time with this enemy that leaves you feeling well... miserable.
And it was just not me that this habit affected. The whole family... no wait the whole community ... all the people around me seemed affected by this vice. Some time mid last year, DH made me realize that I was way too addicted to the phone even when there were people around me. He, of course did not mention his early morning rendezvous with the 'enemy'.
I consciously made an effort to put away the 'enemy' when I had company, when I visited people and when we went out as a family. And while it was improving, I had forgotten to put the 'enemy' away while I slept.
The issue with sleeping, eating, walking and everything else with the 'enemy' is that it becomes so much a part of you that you almost need a de-addiction center for it.
I realized that I got irritable with the kids after reading a few frustrating messages over whatsapp chats. Yes people now feel the chat a far safer way to share bad new and negative reviews :). I do too. But it affects the person at the receiving end so much.
As part of my de-addiction process, I tried to uninstall FB and Whatsapp from my phone. But that really did not seem like the solution.





After watching the videos a few key things struck us. DH watched the video few more times and we made a couple quick changes.
1. No sleeping with the 'enemy'. As the video suggests - get an alarm clock. We had an old phone with not sim card and we started using that. In the past few days since starting this habit, I have been able to wake up, get my quiet time, get my work time and get my me time with a nice long walk!
2. I would often go for Gymnastics class and sit outside and turn on my internet. Now instead I make sure I  turn of the internet till I get back home. And so for the past few classes, I have been going for walks up and down the road outside the venue.
3. No phone at the table. No phone during school hours. In general being available completely for the kids. Ignoring phone calls if possible.

It sounds all good. A nice New Years resolution. But on day 3 of the New Year I found myself at it yet again. I was at a hair cut appointment where I had decided that I would read some stuff. But half way through I found myself commenting on other peoples photos on FB! Just as I was starting to feel the enemy slowly take over my 1.5 hr, I noticed a missed call from my mom.
I called her back and saved myself from the enemy! Small changes ... Big Difference. My phone call with my mom ... made me very happy as she shared lots of good news about many in the family :)

PS: I don't think its Facebook and Whatsapp or other social media that's the evil. It's our complete lack of self control and an instrument that makes it so accessible at out finger tips that causes all hell break lose!