Thursday’s Thought

What man is a man who does not make the world better?

– A Latin saying

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Until You Live the Life

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Show support for a person in need.

Why has society decided that they can judge others without truly knowing the ins and outs of the story? Since when have we become so perfect that we feel we can tell others what they should be doing? When it is become to norm to hear about someone’s life and automatically judge them without knowing what led them to that place?

I will be the first to admit that I’ve struggled with judging others throughout life. It used to simply be a part of who I was. I would sometimes justify the judgmental thoughts, and other times I wouldn’t even feel that they required a justification. About a year ago, I started to focus on changing this element in my personality. I asked others to hold me accountable and I forced myself to actively shift thoughts. For example, if I was driving down the road, obeying all laws as a driver, and an individual decided to just pull out right in front of me while causing me to forcibly apply my brakes, I would state something to myself such as, “What is wrong with that idiot?” I have since tried (I have far from mastered this goal.) to reshape my thinking. Instead I might interrupt the former thought to tell myself, “Maybe he/she has a legitimate vision problem and wasn’t able to see my vehicle in time.” Or “Maybe there’s an emergency at the hospital so I should be sympathetic.”

However, while I’m working on myself (and screwing up here and there), I find myself getting annoyed when others are making these types of comments. I think that’s initially what lead me to notice the “log in my own eye.” Nevertheless, I find myself wondering why we make such harsh judgements of one another. For example, the many mothers who are bashed on social media once viral stories take over. Such as the lady whose son fell into the gorilla exhibit at the zoo, or the family whose son was killed by the alligator in Florida. We do not know what was happening in that exact situation. We do not know what the parent was in the middle of doing. There are many situations where people rush to criticize others without knowing what was happening to the individual whom they are scrutinizing. How many times have you sent a text while watching your child, or had an uncontrollable sneeze while driving? Those few seconds could completely change your life. It could be something as “simple” as that which forever shapes the rest of your story.

Since becoming a mother, I feel like I am extra sensitive to this topic. It has been in

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Parenthood

motherhood that I have experienced the most judgements from others. I try to overlook it and focus on just doing what is right for my family, but that does not take away the sting that is inflicted when someone those judgmental words your way. For me, this started before childbirth. I had “friends” and “acquaintances” who would ask me questions about motherhood and then respond with hurtful comments or actions. Some of those situations included:

– displeasure with our decision to only have immediate family at the hospital

– stating that we are over-reacting by not exposing our newborn to screen                                     time

– lack of support with our precautions with having a newborn during cold and                               flu season

– expressing the view that we are spending too much money on cloth                                               diapering (which was not the factual truth)

– explaining that raising a bi-lingual child will not work

The list could go on and on. People have given very harsh opinions during this stage of life and it has even resulted in ended friendships (By the choice of others.) At a time (parenthood) when we should rally around each other and provide support and encouragement, people have instead chosen to lash out with their judgements and opinions. Perhaps it is rooted in their insecurities, or maybe in their internal regret for the choices they made. Regardless, it does not make it right to treat another person in this manner.

An area that has repeatedly struck a deep vein for me is when others make statements such as, “Oh, must be nice to stay at home with your child. Not all of us can afford that.” Or “I wish my husband made enough money so that I could stay at home with our kids.” Or “Well, it’s easier for you to get XYZ done because you are home all day. It’s harder when you have to work all day and then come home.” These comments make my blood boil! Every situation is different. Some people get to be stay-at-home parents while living a comfortable life due to the finances they have been blessed with. Other people struggle to make ends meet and choose to make significant sacrifices to be at home to raise their children. Then there are the many stages in between those two sides. Few people know what a family is genuinely experiencing. When deciding which path to take in raising our future child, I sought the advice of an acquaintance. Though I did not know her well, I knew that her judgements were solid and that her family’s decisions were rooted in faith. She explained to me that in order to stay home with her children, the family did not have any vacations for years and they only went out to eat if someone had given them a gift card at the holidays (She told many other examples of sacrifice as well.). Looking from the outside, you would have never known the choices that this family made so that they could have one parent at home with the children.

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Doesn’t every mother’s day look like this??? Every day, right!?! 🙂

Truth of the matter is even if you “know” a family, you probably do not know what they have given up to be under one income. You probably do not know what they go without, or how they financially saved for years for this moment in life. You might not know how they got that new Lexus from an unfortunate situation, or how they live in fear every day of the unknown. You might not see the markings on the mother’s knees from the hours upon hours that she spent praying over her family, nor the way meals are prepared with every scrap available so that the children never notice the family’s struggles. See. You really don’t know, and yet these judgements are thrown around as if you are an expert on the life of someone else. The reality remains that no matter how much you think you understand; you cannot fully grasp what it is like to be in another person’s situation until you live the life that have lived (Which, another reality check here… that can never happen. No two lives are alike.) So, instead of judging one another, let’s refocus our thoughts and decide to encourage one another during this journey of life.

Ahmeli… that we will replace judgements with supportive comments.

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A Multi-Cultural Christmas

 

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A gift from his Gramps that keeps Little One very busy – yippie!

Christmas 2016 was one for the books and it wasn’t because of the gifts, nor bustling around from house to house. This year we elected to visit with family before Christmas day and then spend the day itself in our home – just the three of us (My husband wouldn’t approve of me counting the dog as #4. ha ha) Since we would be celebrating in our home, I decided to cook a Middle Eastern dish as opposed to the large American Christmas Day feast. This is a small piece of what our multi-cultural Christmas Day looked like.

We awoke when Little One began stirring (No need to wake up earlier when the child is this young – thank goodness!). We headed downstairs and I began to cook breakfast. As a little hey-I-love-you to my husband, I tried to cook a dish the way he does (Though his skills will always win out!) I made eggs (Think omelet minus everything, but the eggs.) and curried tomatoes, served with yogurt and fresh fruit.  We then ventured out to the living room where presents were sitting with our stockings. Little One was given a wooden chicken pull toy and some socks. My husband gifted me with an assortment of bath products (No, he’s not suggesting motherhood’s limited showers are creating an odd smell…he simply knows I prefer practical gifts. Smart man.). Meanwhile, since Habibi is not into receiving gifts, I gave him some snacks for work and a special white envelope (If you never heard the story of the original idea, here is a link that tells that family’s story). Then, the special meal of the day began. It is called Dijaj Mahshu; translated Chicken or Turkey Stuffed with Rice (Very different from the American breaded stuffing inside of a bird.)

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Actually, it began the night before since I had to brine the chicken. I never heard of this technique before, but I gave it a shot. The recipe comes from a cookbook I mentioned before titled Delights from the Garden of Eden by Nawal Nasrallah. I had to soak the chicken in water with salt and sugar. After that, I had to rinse and dry the bird (Due to the raw meat in my hands, there’s no photo of this step.) Next, I rubbed in lemon juice and an assortment of spices and seasonings (See recipe below.)

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As the chicken soaked in those spices, I began the stuffing. This process included sautéing vegetables with a variety of spices.

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While the vegetables were softening, I prepared the browned potatoes and basmati rice (I’ve fallen in love with this type of rice!)

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Once those were ready, they were added to the vegetable mixture, along with more spices. The rice stuffing was then placed into the bird, while some was reserved for plating (Again, there is no picture since my hands were full of raw chicken. Yuck!)
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One of the ingredients was prepared noomi Basrah which is dried lime that I then had to grind into fine pieces. I find this ingredient listed in many recipes within this book; however, I didn’t buy it until recently so I have previously just added some lime juice. Apparently the noomi Basrah has a unique flavor that I do not recognize within a dish because my husband noticed that I had included it in this meal. Interesting how individualized our pallets are designed.

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Once again, spices were added to the outside of the chicken before it entered the magical oven.

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Before the chicken began to cook, the recipe called for coating the top with plain yogurt. I never heard of this before, but I did it anyways. It is hard to see in this picture, but the yogurt is there and I believe it made a real difference in the skin once the chicken was cooked.

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After hours and hours of baking, the chicken was ready to be plated. I was so excited for this presentation that I even made some of my husband’s beloved bread (The non-fake kind. Ha ha).

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I had to add this picture in. Typically, at our family’s holiday meals, the meat will be carved, or sliced, with an electric knife. My husband’s family has a quicker approach. They take kitchen scissors and cut the meat into pieces. This is what the deconstructed chicken looked like. And I cannot end this post without saying how amazingly moist this chicken was!!! Like none I ever had. I am not sure if it was the yogurt, or the brining, or something else – but it was magical! I truly need to investigate that further.

And that concludes our multi-cultural Christmas. Hopefully as the years progress, Little One will have elements of both of his cultures spread throughout the memories.

Ahmeli… that we enjoy learning about different cultures as we journey through 2017.

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Celebrating a Bilingual Child

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The title page of Sleep Tight, Little Wolf.

Although Little One is still too young to read books, we have been actively reading to

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A page from the book. 

him in an effort to develop and enrich language skills (along with so much more!). To go along with speaking two languages in our house, we have also included books from both
languages in Little One’s library. (Initially this began when a friend bought Little One a few books in Arabic. It was such a thoughtful and cherished gift!) Since then, we have looked for books that will enrich both languages, while providing the opportunity for Little One to see the different alphabet characters in print.

Tonight’s bedtime book was Sleep Tight, Little Wolf by Ulrich Renz. It’s a cute book with nice illustrations; however, the reason I am sharing it is because I love the reason the author has created this book. I’ve included a picture of the description for you to read.

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If you are promoting a second language in your home, I strongly recommend this children’s book. It’s a great way to celebrate a bilingual child!

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Little One enjoying his book.

Ahmeli… that we would foster a love for reading at an early age; it’s an amazing gift to give your child.

If you like this post, please follow Ahmeli by submitting your e-mail (to the left), sharing on social media, or adding a comment below as we strengthen our tomorrows. Thank you!