30 Apr 2013

Sponsor Life of TOI in May

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” {Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist}May Sponsor

It’s that time of the month when I remind those interested that my blog is open for sponsors. 

Thanks to everyone who supported me and is helping my blog work towards raising a fund for a good organisation.

Also this is how I utilise the morning I receive from this little blog of mine.

60% of the blogging “income” goes to The Champs Program and the PlanCanada. The remaining 40% is re-invested in this blog by sponsoring other bloggers, this will help it grow, which in turn, will send more traffic to your blog / website / business.

My banner is currently on Casey Leigh, To The Sea, We Are The Tabbs, Our Life Unrehearsed, Olive Heart, Adventures of Team Pancakes, Violet Lulu and Blabbering Thoughts

If you are interested sponsoring me please check the info page or email me for more details.

looking forward to hear from you,

xoxo, TOI.

29 Apr 2013

Week 17 – The Miracle of Everyday Life

AOI in the puddle quotesThis week I read the above quote by Paulo Coelho, one of my favourite authors, and I believe it’s true. He is one of the writers I look up along my journey as a writer. I would like my stories to inspire other people. Hopefully my simple words will encourage someone to believe and love themselves.

Last Sunday while getting AOI ready for bed I felt two lumps in her right neck. I phoned her doctor to book an appointment on Monday. After the phone call we went to the swimming pool as usual. AOI wasn’t keen swimming along in her life jacket. Nowadays when she doesn’t want to do something she asks for cuddles and she knows we can’t resist having a cuddle from her. In the water she wanted me to cuddle her all the time. Also she loves the hot tub. After swimming for some time she asks me to go into the hot tub. We didn’t stay at the swimming pool very long.

Tuesday was my turn to prepare snack for the French playgroup. I took more food than needed but it’s always good because you never know how many people will turn up on that day. I really love taking AOI to these playgroups because it’s a great way to socialise with other mothers and for AOI to socialise with other children.

Wednesday morning I started an online photography workshops at CreativeLIVE, an organization offering FREE educational courses to people interested in expanding their creative interests and expertise. Their hosts are world’s best professionals in photography, business, productivity, design, film, and more. I read about this website on Kelle Hampton’s blog and I couldn’t wait to share it with my bloggy friends. One thing I love about it is that you can be part of the live show through a chat-room.

So, last Wednesday I attended a photography class hosted by Matthew Jordan Smith. He is the acclaimed photographer/author of Sepia Dreams, a collection of photographs and interviews with fifty African-American celebrities whom speak about the motivations and qualities that enabled them to find and embrace their dreams. Just to drop few names he has worked with Halle Berry, Jennifer Connelly, Jamie Foxx, Mandy Moore, and Oprah Winfrey. Singer and actress Vanessa L. Williams.

Currently he is doing a personal project which I personally wish I  was young enough to participate but unfortunately I am not and I would be taking a spot from a child who can easily become a future President of America and his or her picture should appear in the book. Hope one of my readers can take part in it.

I was a silent spectator. He talked about how one can use their personal projects to launch their career. Though his focus was on photography the idea is relatable to all careers in life.

In the afternoon, I took AOI to see our doctor for the lumps I felt in her neck. She freaks out when she sees him, it’s quite funny. Well, he said I shouldn’t worry and to come back in six weeks time if they are still there. Sometimes I wish I was a doctor, I would just go and scan her to make sure everything is fine instead of waiting. I just pray it’s nothing serious.

We had a play date with C and her nanny.

Thursday we went to our local indoor playground. Friday we went to the swimming pool with C and her mummy. It’s so nice to see how AOI and C are building their friendship. On our way out from the swimming pool they held hands.

Saturday was one of the best days in ages. It was +16 and I was in a dress without cardigan. I went to my friend’s house who braided my hair for me. We stayed for a bbq.

AOI stylish

details

AOI mummy1

AO helping in kitchen

  • AOI stylish on Saturday morning
  • AOI learning the art of photographing children
  • AOI taking care of her stuffy toys and teaching them to read
  • AOI helping daddy wash the dishes

      The Beetle Shack

      ____

      This is week 17’s iPhone photo dumpiPhone Photo Dump week 17

      Wishing everyone a happy and hopeful week 18

      HELP US REACH #1
    • 27 Apr 2013

      Portrait of My Child #5

      week 14AOIshovelling
      such a great help, shovelling the snow for us
      week 15AOIamongbooks
      she loves books and I hope this love is everlasting
      week 16
      AOI listening
      listening to daddy play the guitar
      week 17
      AOI bubbles-horz
      let’s catch some bubbles
      "A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
      I want to capture precious moments this year, for this reason I am taking part in various photo projects.
      Above are the portraits of April
       
      +
      PLEASE, HELP US REACH #1

      26 Apr 2013

      The Lime Spring Dress

      she rocks spring #3

      She Rocks Spring Assignment

      shoes: Handmade in Italy/ tight: intimissimi/ dress: Mine @Winners/ cardigan: Warehouse London/ earrings: Handmade in UK/ hair scarf: Vintage/ spec: Firmoo

      I really enjoy coming up with assignments for She Rocks link up, is such an enjoyable task.

      But most important creating something based on that assignment word is exhilarating.

      So She Rocks Assignment #3 was Hope +or Spring.

      I choose to interpret Spring.

      Initially I thought about a yellow or mustard colour outfit but I found the above lime dress last week and I had to have it. In my mind eyes it had spring written all over it.

      As you can see in the picture spring is not here yet, but I can smell it in the air. For instance on Tuesday on our way home back from the playgroup I breathed deeply and that was first because the winter cold doesn’t usually allow me to breathe deeply. I feel like peeling of my winter mood and light up my wardrobe slowly.

      So, though I haven’t seen green grass, the like dress makes me feel good.

      You can grab a badge here and link your She Rocks Assignment for me and everyone to check out

      i am also taking part in

      25 Apr 2013

      #ProjectMilf: Week 12

      Hello, hello ladies,

      I can spring in the air and my body is getting to a happy place.

      I can’t believe we are in week 12. I am loving this project and knowing that I have to report to my fellow #projectmilf ladies prone me to view at my goals with different set of eyes.

      Week 12 #ProjectMilf is all about  embracing and meditating on some powerful words from the ever powerful and ever present Oprah Winfrey.

      Oprah was on a Canadian tour and her last stop was here in my province. I couldn’t go to her show but one of my friends did and she told me it was amazing to be in the same room as the woman whose presence is so strong. Sometimes she reminds me of a modern day messiah, her words and presence touch so many souls.oprah-winfrey-hbz-sfta-2

      The Quotes:

      1. “Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure."
      2. “So go ahead. Fall down. The world looks different from the ground.”
      3. “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.”
      4. “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.”
      5. “Devote today to something so daring even you can’t believe you’re doing it.”

      I choose #1. If you read my week 16 update {and my general philosophy about life} then you will understand that this is a perfect quote for me.bubble in the sky quote

      _________

      Now the general update of Week 11

      FITNESS/HEALTH

      I am happy, happy about my new mind set. I am eating everything I want but I am working out double. I walk as much as possible because the weather is getting better and every chance I have I take AOI for a stroll around the block if she wants to sleep.

      Also, also… I bought a new bikini.IMG_1360[1]Becca by Rebecca Virtue Colorized Banded Halter Top

      I can’t wait to wear it with my flat tummy. When I feel the muffin top, it seems impossible to achieve the Mel B tummy, but deep down I know I will get it by June.

      I have a workout and healthy meals plan

      FUND RAISING

      I have $125 towards my $1000 funds for a good cause The Champ Program {War Amps} and PlanCanada, I am happy about the progress. God’s willing, I will get there.

      Anyone can help by sponsoring this blog, because I am going to offer 60% of my blogging “income” to this cause, the remaining 40% will be re-invested in this little online space by sponsoring other bloggers, this will help it grow, which in turn, will send more traffic to your blog / website / business.

      If you are interested please check the info page or email me for more details.

      And I am working to bring out new enticing way to reach my goal!

      NOVEL

      {click to view the book on amazon}

      I am reading the writer’s bible, 2013 Writer’s Market, day and night. It’s really great anthology for the wanna be published author. Full of useful tips to get your work out in the world.

      1projectmilfbadge2013_thumb3_thumb2_

      Hurray to Week 13 of #ProjectMilf, may it be GRAND! My fellow ladies Just Do It! You can just jump into this project with me and the other fabulous ladies.

      Link your weekly update here

      P.S: Don’t forget to link up your She Rocks Assignment tomorrow

      24 Apr 2013

      Biracial Not Black or White

      Last Friday at the swimming pool a little girl, about four, came to me and asked

      “Why is she different colour from you?” I didn’t understand the question initially because I was trying to comfort AOI who was crying.

      “What did you say?”

      “Why is she different colour from you?” she asked referring to my skin tone and my daughter’s.

      “Oh, because her daddy is white, just like you?” I wasn’t prepared, I thought she was asking me why are you cuddling her? so I never thought about a better answer. She looked at her skin and said

      “Is he yellow like me?” she was confused, because she was not white. Black or White is the most simplistic classification us adults make when referring to a skin tone, children see the colours as they are.

      “Yes, her daddy is yellow just like you.” I smiled “He is like you.” I said but not referring to her skin tone anymore but more in relation to her blue eyes and blond hair.

      Just last week my daughter, who turned 17month few weeks ago, showed me that she knows I look different from her daddy, because we were at the library when she approached a lady sitting at the computer and looking straight at her {I was standing right beside her} said mummy? As if to say “You look like my mummy.”

      feetinwater1I wonder how my daughter will choose to see herself in this society of clear Black or White skin tone stratification. If we live in a society where the minority is looked upon, a child from two different culture background might favour one over the other. I hope she will love her rich heritage.

      I was browsing the net when this film caught my eyes.

      {click the image to view the clip}
      Is a documentary about mixed race children – some old, some still young – and the issues they face in their daily lives. Although our society is 'more tolerant' towards different culture, mixed race children tend to be classified as White by Black communities and Black by White communities. But the people interviewed in this clip prefer to be known as both and being recognised for who they are transcending their race. But if one what to define them by their race then they should be known as Biracial or mixed race.
       
      I believe is quite right because they have bit of both races in them and, contrary to another school of thought, they are not trying to hide their Black heritage.
       
      Question: What is your thought on the Biracial Not Black or White debate?

       

      Guest Post: Life-Saving Motivation to Conquer Cancer

      Life-Saving Motivation to Conquer Cancer by Heather keepcalmandwrite

      My 7-year-old daughter has a great perspective. She understands the significance of her role in my cancer story, and if you ask, she will inform you that she saved my life. She doesn't have to think about the response at all. It's a matter of fact that she doesn't doubt one bit. While some people might not take her seriously or realize the significance, I can tell you that she is absolutely right in stating, "I saved my mommy's life."

      We didn't rush into parenthood. Cameron and I were married for seven years before we decided we were ready to have kids. I was uncertain at that point because I was already 35 years old. It only took three months to get pregnant once we decided that the time was right, and we were thrilled with the news. The emotions were wonderful, though I was definitely nervous about being a new mom. I was ready in spite of the emotions, taking on my mommy role right away. It was a thrill to rub my belly and
      realize that our baby was developing right there. I knew that I wanted to be the best mother possible, and I faced a thousand questions about how I would handle the job.

      The pregnancy went smoothly, and I would have repeated the process many times more if I could have. Things got bumpy when Lily was breech, and the emergency C-section was a
      challenge. At least she would have a round head. I am a definite optimist, and I found the sunny side of most situations in my journey toward parenthood. The joy of holding my baby girl
      was overwhelming. I knew that there wasn't anything I wouldn't do to make sure that Lily had a wonderful childhood. I was ready to be her teacher, coach and friend, and I knew that this love
      was unique, something I'd never experienced before. Nothing ever felt so perfect, and I was completely unprepared for the adversity just ahead of us.

      Lily was only three and a half months old when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Without an immediate start to treatment, my doctor indicated that I would only have another 15 months of
      life. What a shock it was to me. I'm so thankful that Cameron was right there with me. My mind raced to my daughter and how devastating it would be to leave her and my husband to carry on without me. Cam kept his cool and listened to the doctor as I descended into despair. He made the decision to pursue drastic treatments needed to give me the best chance at surviving the disease. This led us to Boston, and one of the best specialists in the world provided the beginning of my path to life. He removed my left lung along with the lining of my heart and diaphragm. It was definitely extreme, but it was necessary. My hospital stay lasted more than two weeks, and then I was moved to an outpatient facility in the area for another two weeks. This was followed by a two-month stay at my parent's house in South Dakota. We joined Lily there, and it was wonderful to see her again after the challenge of surgery.Screen Shot

      We made some definite sacrifices to confront this disease, but it was necessary if I was going to be there for my husband and daughter in the future. I may have missed a month of my daughter's life, but the challenge doesn't begin to compare to the joy of being able to spend time with her today. My adorable daughter needed her mother to live, and we faced the unknown that accompanied surgery, chemotherapy and radiation to make that possible.

      My journey has been tough, and the reality is that mesothelioma takes the lives of nearly 95 percept of patients diagnosed with the disease. My life as a mother was threatened, but the threat gave me strength to face the fight with determination. My daughter would need me for the long term, and it was this knowledge that kept me going on the roughest days. Lily is spot on when she tells others, "I saved my mommy's life."

      heather

      BIO: I am 44 and a mother to a quirky little 7 year old, Lily. She is my only child, and my whole world. When Lily was just 3 1/2 months old, I was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a type of cancer that kills 90-95% of those who have it. As I’m sure you can imagine, the first thing that came to mind when I was diagnosed was my baby girl and how I wasn’t going to be able to watch her grow up.

      After intense treatment and recovery, I’m still here almost 7 years later and cancer free! My journey with cancer was a terrifying one and I'd like to turn my pain into purpose and become someone that other people can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like my own. You can find me here

      23 Apr 2013

      EggMania a Review

      slide2
      I recently received this EggMania: Where’s the Egg in Exactly? (March 2013), an enhanced ebook aimed at children ages 6-12. It narrated the adventures of a boy who hears mispronunciations of the word "exactly" as “eggzactly,” even by highly-educated people. In his quest to find the "egg," he searches the world and meets unusual creatures who help him discover the importance of speaking correctly while learning an important life lesson: even if he makes mistakes, he can still be extraordinary.
      EggMania was written by Sherry and her husband and business partner, Stephen, their aim is to entertain children growing up in a digital world while providing cerebral enrichment, specifically cross-lateral brain hemisphere stimulation that can increase intelligence by expanding neuronal pathways and synapse connections.
      EggMania includes expansive vocabulary (more than 100 advanced words and definitions), 97 pages of original art, narration with sound effects, animation, tongue-twisting rhymes and a hunt-and-find game with over 170 mind-bending fun facts. The series is illustrated by Denise Caliva, renowned artist and owner of Caliva Arts. EggMania showcases a myriad of art styles, from classic to modern, expanding children’s art appreciation beyond the cartoons and gaming characterizations so often used in digital media.
      PERSONAL OPINION
      I must confess, though the story was very uplifting and it has a great message behind, unlike some other books I’ve enjoyed reading and reviewing, this wasn’t one of them. All because it came in the form of interactive e-book. First, I am not a technology savvy, and I was annoyed with my iPhone because it was slow in showing me the story and projecting the sound. Second, I am still very traditionalist when it comes to paper books versus electronic books. Third, I couldn’t appreciate the art in this book because I am passionate about cartoons, I don’t know maybe it is because of the perfection they seem to evoke but I am just old school thought.
      When I think about the way my daughter sees me in front of a screen, I am not sure if I would cope to see her clued to a digital screen. I use my iPhone and computer 70% of my daily life, I am not proud of that and I would like to come to a point in my life where I use less, but I know that’s not possible because of the age we live in.
      Still, I hope my child/children will grow to love traditional books {paper form}, and if they want to use digital books then I hope they read books which have a great message behind.
       
      • If unlike me you are all for the digital way of reading books you might find these tips interesting. 6 tips for using interactive e-books to engage your kids

      1) Visual Sense:
      Choose illustrated e-books that are visually-rich, those having artful (not merely stick figure kiddy art or cartoon types common to digital games) and colorful graphics to fully engage children visually and to stimulate their imaginations.

      2) Audio Sense:
      Select e-books that have two modes of reading: a) Narration with Enhanced Sound—music and sound effects; b) Read Myself. To optimize audio integration, allow children to enjoy and explore the narrated version with enhanced sound. Then, to practice oral reading skills, set up an audition for “the best narrator.” Use an audio recorder or smart phone to tape children’s versions. Allow them to create some fun sound effects and add music along with their narration. Parents may record for younger children who are not yet reading advanced vocabulary. Involve them in the nuances of your oral expression. Make it theirs by including their voice on the recording. Have them read, speak, or repeat after you, some of the words or short sentences.

      3) Kinesthetic Sense:
      Encourage tapping and touching of the screen to activate kinesthetic and interactive components. To maximize these features, have kids zoom in and out on art images, tap for duplication or animation of image, and tap words for definitions. iPad users can take screen shots of illustrations, then print them in black and white for kids to color, paint, trace, or copy.

      4) Emotional Components:
      A. Host a live chat to discuss stories and illustrations with children; ask what’s their favorite illustration? And why? Their favorite words, etc. Avoid asking, “What did you learn?”
      B. Support the hero in your child. Develop their subjective thinking skills by helping them analyze the subtler life lessons typically inherent in children’s narratives. Kids do not always integrate what we think they will. Help them come to positive conclusions by asking them questions about the main character or characters, asking what they liked about them/him/her and didn’t like about them. Ask how they would respond to the dilemma or conflict if they were that character.

      5) Language Development:
      Give kids a choice of two illustrations from an ebook or have them select two favorites. Then have them write a new story or poem based upon the illustrations and what the images inspire in their imagination. Older kids can be required to have a lexical humor slant to their story or poem, or to choose a genre such as comedy or drama.

      6) Memory and Family Fun:
      Further develop kids’ memory and integration by extending the subject matter into family time by playing games, such as charades, using vocabulary-rich phrases from selected ebooks your children enjoy. A family/friends version of “Who’s Smarter than a Fifth Grader” can be played using the Fun Facts that some ebooks provide.
      By Sherry Maysonave
      Author: EggMania: Where’s the Egg In Exactly
      www.maniatales.com
      BIO: SHERRY MAYSONAVE, an admitted grammar enthusiast, has a B.S. in Education and began her career teaching third and fifth grades. In 1998, she founded Empowerment Enterprises, one of America's leading communication-image firms. A mother of three and grandmother of five, Sherry remains passionate about helping children develop positive self-esteem and achieve higher levels of success at school and in all facets of their lives. Sherry and Stephen live in Austin, TX. 

      22 Apr 2013

      Week 16

      bubble in the skyPersonally our week was good. Apart from C and mum joining us to our routine trip to the swimming pool on Friday and going to the swimming pool as a family on Saturday, we didn’t do anything different from the previous weeks.

      One thing we did differently was listening to the radio more than usual. I felt the pressure of the outside world heavy on my shoulders. This was the week I wanted to rewrite history.

      I heard about the Boston Marathon bombing from the father of the little boy I tutor in Italian. I was devastated, because I was trying to come to terms with the bombing caused by two Canadians in Nigeria the previous weeks.

      I remember on my way to the library I switched the radio off, instead I played the children CD we play to entertain AOI on our car trips. I am one of those who doesn’t like listening to the news very often because ever since I was little girl bad news get to me so much and I lose hope in mankind.

      These bad news wipe away the belief that we don’t live in a world populated by only wicked people weakness. On my way back home from the library, I listened to the news. Right there I wanted to go back in time like an heroine from Heroes.

      I once wrote that life is like a film, we all live a part and one day, when we die, we will get our rewards in Heaven. This thought recurred several time this week. But it is scary to have live and fiction blur together like that. But then again films are inspired by real like and it seems like real like is inspired by fictional life.

      We live in a world made of secret agents, ordinary people becoming heroes, evil people killing innocent lives, sick people harming little children…

      So, this week I wanted to go back in time to change few things.

      But unlike a fictional world, I couldn’t go back. The only thing I can do is to live a better life, and work hard at my dreams and life purpose. To capture every second of my life with my loved ones because we don’t know how long we have left on this earth.

      Monday night while I was getting ready to sleep, I thought about my daughter in her crib in the next room. I thought about this city I live and I know there is no safety anywhere but we can’t live in fear. We can only strive to live harder for those who lost their lives prematurely.

      My thoughts and prayers go to Boston, Texas, Colorado, New Delhi and the whole world.

      AOI listening

      feets

      AOI snack time

      AOI dance

      • AOI listening to daddy play the guitar
      • Busy little feet walking over relax big feet
      • Raspberry and tomatoes for snack
      • AOI dancing with daddy

      The Beetle Shack

      ____

      This is week 16’s iPhone photo dumpweek 16 iPhone Photo Dump

      Wishing everyone a happy and hopeful week 17, may it bring luck to everyone

      HELP US REACH #1

      19 Apr 2013

      Letter To AOI #4

      Dear Amore AOI,

      I wish you will always live life to its fullest. That you discover your life purpose and you live for it. God brought you to us to show us the real meaning of love. You are love.

      Always remember that…

       

      Source: okdani.com via TOI on Pinterest

       

      Daddy and I will always be here to support and guide you. If we can’t open your heart to the Almighty and He will show you the way.

      I love and always will, even when I am grey and toothless

      Love,

      Mummy TOI.

      18 Apr 2013

      #ProjectMilf: Week 11 Favourite Smoothie

      Hello there.

      Week 11 #ProjectMilf challenge is another simple one, we have to share our favourite HEALTHY SMOOTHIE/DRINK. A smoothie or drink that makes us feel like we are on a holiday, therefore it just relaxes us or a smoothie/drink so yummy but healthy it doesn't make us pick at unhealthy snacks.

      Last week Mrs M aka April requested a recipe of the green smoothie I share in my post. It is also my favourite smoothie among the four or five I’ve been trying. Another factor which inspired me to set the above challenge was a short conversation between AMI {aka hubby} and I.

      “You are losing it” AMI commented as I was getting ready for church

      “What do you mean? Am I losing my mind?” my irrational side questioned

      “No, you are losing…” be bobbed his head up and down

      “The baby weight?” I ventured

      “Yes.”

      “Thank you.” I replied after I’ve told irrational side to not take offence. My rational side heard this as a compliment, because I was trying my best to lose the baby weight if I am allowed.

      “Is it the raw smoothies?”

      “Maybe, that’s the only difference.”

      “Good job, keep it?” That was so nice of him to notice my hard work. I don’t see results when I wear my old clothes but I’ve decided to not dwell on that issue.

      All that long rambling just to share with you my favourite healthy smoothie. I am a crunchy mummy and finding a way to say money is my aim. One day I decided to put some raw fruits and veggies in the blend and see what turns out. It was so easy, took me could of minutes to get this smoothie I call

      Green Scams Smoothie {Spinach, Cucumber, Apple, Mango, Soya milk}


      1 heaping cup (or more) fresh spinach leaves, thoroughly rinsed
      1/2 medium cucumber rough;y chopped
      1/2 large apple roughly chopped
      handful of frozen mango
      1/2 cup unsweetened soya milk

      Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
      *this recipe makes a large smoothie – two adults and a 17 months toddler who loves raw veggies could easily share

      smooties

      General update of Week 10

      FITNESS/HEALTH

      I must say I missed week 9 challenge I set myself.

      I slacked on my fitness and healthy living. I had smoothies but not enough raw green smoothies. I had a glass and half yesterday because I had to report to #ProjectMilf. I walked to the playgroup on Tuesday, went to run on the treadmill at AMI’s work gym and went to a quick stroll. I worked with three of my favourite turns. I will build up and my new challenge is to go to the gym at least once a week.

      I can do much better!

      I am still very bad with my sleep patterns, going to bed at the wrong time.

      I am not weighing myself yet, I am finding hard to keep myself off the scale, because health and confidence are not measurable.

      FUND RAISING

      Nothing new here, just working hard at finding ways to raise funds.

      NOVEL

      Taking a break before reading the whole novel.

      1projectmilfbadge2013_thumb3_thumb2

      May Week 11 of #ProjectMilf be grand! Have yourself a healthy smoothie/drink!

      Link your weekly update here

      17 Apr 2013

      Fearless

      pray-for-boston-photo-3-630x429

      Life is too short to wait for tomorrow to pursue your life purpose.

      That's what I've been thinking since my four years old niece passed away back in December. At the same time I am aware that “Life is a long journey…” because one of my friends’ grandfather died but he was 102 years old.

      Every other month, when we hear heart-breaking news about lives taken away prematurely, the fear in us escalates to a new level, but at the same time the will to live a purposeful life to its fullest is strong for some.

      As I write this my heart is in my throat, burning for all those who lost their lives or some of parts of they body on Monday in the Boston marathon booming. These are some of the most horrendous things that make me angry and lure me to live in my bubble and forget about the outside world.

      In a blink of an eye a person decides to do something atrocious and lives are taken. In this instants we are reminded of the age we live. The age of terrorism. The age of fear. The age of no safety. In this age in which there is so many illnesses that find their way into our bodies unbeknown to us. And outside we find no place to escape to.

      How can we not live in fear?

      Knowing that God's is right next to us. That no matter how long we got left on this earth, God brought us here for a purpose. I thank God every waking hour for my life and the lives of my loved ones and many other people in the world. At night before I sleep I say a little prayer to glorify His name.

      This year I accepted God’s calling to do his work. The work He sent me to this world to perform, my life purpose. I also decided to be fearless but I must say fear never leaves our side in this life. In fact when one decides to be fearless, her fears leap to a different level. It is a human nature to be afraid of what lies ahead.

      I recently finished reading Fearless {Awakening to My Life’s Purpose Through Breast Cancer} by Maimah S. Karmo, the founder and chief executive officer of the Tigerlily Foundation. A six-year survivor of breast cancer. Her memoir is about how God saved her from breast cancer and gave her a new life full of abundance and purpose.

      The beauty of memoirs is the way its author takes you behind the scene of a their life story.

      I received the book before the end of 2012, however I couldn't finish it because, as I mentioned before, before the end of the year our world collapsed when our little niece passed away prematurely. I also took my time because I love her style of writing, I wanted to take in her words like a good cup of hot chocolate drink.

      Karmo, through her beautiful writing, took me on a voyager through the landscape of Liberia. In part I can relate so well to her childhood recollection in her native country. The state of freedom a child climbing trees in a tropical weather still plays in my mind as I read her own version of child’s life in Liberia.

      I couldn’t relate too so easily to her journey through breast cancer. But with her calm way of telling a story, Maimah takes me through her thoughts on life before and after breast cancer.

      She recognises that Breast Cancer brought her old world down but at the same time it opened up a new life she would never thought possible. She doesn't go into details about the ugliness of the illness, yet one can imagine the pain a cancer patient has to struggle during the moments of intense chemo.

      Not everyone who have had Breast Cancer survives so when she went through all her treatments and her doctor told her the most important words in her struggle with cancer "You are cancer free", she didn't know how to live after cancer.

      In looking for answers, she found her calling, she made her mission to inspire other people to

      give up the facade of having it all together, give up control, and just believe. Life is not without imperfection... being fearless isn't about living without fear; it is about jumping into life despite your fear 
      (Maimah S. Karmo, Fearless, p. xxii)

      To be honest, I didn’t get the title at first. How can fearless go together with breast cancer.

      In the last chapter of her memoir Maimah writes

      My new name is “Fearless.” Welcome to my world. The fearless female’s journey is not without fear – it is about leaping into fear, embracing change, and becoming stronger through every challenge. Our goal is to inspire and be inspired and to light someone else’s candle along the way.
      As I write this book, I sometimes think, What the heck am I doing writing at this age? I have something to say, and I deserve to say it. This is my life, and I’ll create it as I want.
      (Maimah S. Karmo, Fearless, p. 257)

      I get it now, that was my thought after I read this passage. I tell my story on my blog because along the way I would like to inspire at least one person. Maybe writing my ramblings will inspire someone to tell their beautiful story. Everyone’s life journey is important in it own right and it deserves to be told.

      And, I am glad Maimah listened to her instincts, Oprah and her family's encouragement to write her story for the world to read. But most importantly I am over the moon her daughter asked her

      “Mommy,” she asked me, “do you believe?” […]
      “I believe,” I said. And I do.
      (Maimah S. Karmo, Fearless, p. 259)

      It’s also thanks to her inspiring story that I try to live my life as if it is the last minute. As I live my daily, with God near I will fulfil my life purpose even if I have few hours or a lifetime on this earth. With God near, my new name is Fearless, I leap into life with head held high I will embrace change, and will become stronger with every new challenge.

      May you be fearless and find your life purpose in this age of uncertainty.

      16 Apr 2013

      Post-Partum Marks


      In the novel God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, there is a beautiful scene with the twins, Estha and Rahel, and their mother that captures the essence of motherhood.

      One day, after their mother's afternoon nap, the twins go to her room and when they manager to wake her up they trace with their fingers her silver stretchmark.
      Rahel, the female twin, says to her brother

      The God of Small Things


      When I was pregnant, I played this scene in my mind several times each time my daughter kicked me I thought she was going to leave a stretchmark.

      For this reason and being obsessed with body lotions and oils in general, I used so much pregnancy oils that I reminded my husband of a seal. However, all my effort was without success because I stopped applying the appropriate products at the critical period of my pregnancy. The unwanted stretch marks appeared on my waistband area and I am struggling to keep them at bay.


      I recently came across Healing Natural Oils, a natural skin care and beauty products company. They’ve been in the health industry for 15 years but have been on the market with their products since 2001. Practically they've been in business as long as hubby and I have been together.stretch-marks-p-big-bottle

      So they are quite seasoned.

      I haven’t tried their products on my skin so I cant give a personal feedback but I might try the pregnancy H-Stretch Marks oil if I become pregnant again because they have an unconditional 60 Day Money Back Guarantee and also promise that

      When used as directed, H-Stretch Marks will improve the appearance of mild to stubborn stretch marks safely so that your skin regains the softness and appearance you enjoyed before you became pregnant.

      I sure need something like that, because every time I go the swimming pool with my daughter and I see those mothers who look like they never had a baby makes me want to be able to wear a bikini again.

      But the quote reminds me that, even if I try the best stretchmark products on the market and I still find myself with post-pregnancy marks, those marks are the badge of a proud mother for when my child was a temporary resident in my womb.

      15 Apr 2013

      Week 15: So Far So Good

      AOI photographyWell, in the end the weekend turned out to be great. Yesterday was sunny and I felt so warm I didn’t mind the snow on the ground. Also it is slowly melting, I can even see the grass in the backyard. We went to church and for the first time AOI went to Sunday school. She thought S, her future babysitter was going to be with her all the time but S had to go to the big girls’ Sunday school. The lady who was the last reading part of the word before the sermon stopped and the whole church stood still because the most disturbing cry came in from outside. I ran out of the church to go and take my daughter. I took her up in the baby’s room to play with the toys because after all she is just a baby.

      On our way home she slept in the car.

      Hubby dug out the BBQ out from the snow and he grilled four baby mackerel coated in salt. Meanwhile I prepared the most yummy salad I’ve ever prepared. This is the kind of salad that made me eat the whole bowl {hubby had little}.

      After lunch, while AOI slept, we chilled by listening to jazz music and just enjoying our company. This was the first in a long time since hubby had switched off work. I really enjoyed the sweet little details of our everyday life cooking together, watching Netflix together. We also had our personal time out I read, and wrote while listening to music and after AOI had her lunch she went out on the deck to help daddy mend his bicycle.

      So Far So Good by Bryan Adams is came to mind as I was updating our week 15 of 2013.

      So Far So Good by Bryan Adams on Grooveshark

      Weekly activities were old same, but for a toddler having a routine is the best.

      Monday late morning we went swimming. Then when AOI had a long nap, more than two hours. It’s funny when AOI sleeps for more than what I hope I start to panic and go and turn her to make sure she is breathing alright.

      Tuesday hubby took up on a breakfast date the we all walked to French playgroup. It was the first time he was coming with us. He knows what we do with our time now. When we got there AOI didn’t want to let him out of her sight. He had to sneak out at snack time.

      Wednesday we didn’t do anything important because I don’t remember {gosh, my brain is getting old fast}.

      Thursday we went to the local playgroup and then home. At some point I observed AOI absorbed in her toys and I wondered when did my tiny baby became this busy toddler?

      I love this stage, because she can say understandable syllables which she speaks to her toys and she take care of them as if they are real. So cute!

      Friday we went to the swimming pool. She was sleepy but she didn’t fall asleep in the car because I believe she is starting to use her will power when it comes to sleep. She can rest sleeping because she understood where we were going.

      After swimming pool I met with a friend, I though AOI would be awake at that time but she fell asleep as soon as we got into the car after swimming. She slept throughout our chat but woke up few seconds before we left for home. She went back to sleep when we got home for about another hour.

      When she woke up and had snack we went to C’s house for play date. C bought a set of toddler table and chairs for her daughter. It was so cute to see them sitting on their chair. Hubby promised to build one for AOI but he hasn’t had time to do that.

      I told him what we did the whole. He also told me he wants to make a gentleman’s corner in our living room. For this reason he bought an iPod/iPhone dock.

      Saturday was cloudy and grey. We spend the morning organising the house and then hubby bottled his wine. In the afternoon we had a party to go to. Hubby and AOI went to buy a gift the for the birthday boy. When they got home he told me “I bought a little treat for her”

      He bought her a toddler table and chairs set. He is such a sweetie. He really loves his little daughter sometimes we wonder if we are spoiling her too much. I am sure we are not. She doesn’t have very much material things, we only purchase the things she needs.

      We went to the party at a gymnastics playground. AOI had so much fun. She was the youngest among all the children but she wanted to try the rings and the trampoline. She is such a little brave-heart, I love her so much.

      yummy salad

      AOI rainbow game

      AOI among books

      AOI after nap

      AOI waving bye to daddy 

      • yummy salad
      • AOI playing catch the waves on the parachute at gymnastics playground
      • AOI reading many books
      • Capturing a precious moment after an afternoon nap
      • Waving bye bye to daddy going to work
      The Beetle Shack

      ____

      This is week 15’s iPhone photo dumpweek15 iPhone Photo Dump

      Wishing everyone a warm week 16

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