Happiness in Life is Made

"O, happy the soul that saw its own faults" – Rumi

Terukir di bintang

It is February and you can see “hearts” virtually everywhere, on the cards, the banners, the parfum parlours, the diamond shops, the restaurants, the florists and the chocolate advertisements on tv. Personally, I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. But it seems that this year’s February has more charm than it has ever been before. Maybe because I have been watching too much of The Pawn Stars, The Pickers and King of Restorations over History Channel lately. Perhaps the all rustic, old and vintage  antiquities have caused me to be slightly airy-fairy. Romanticism on TV or film is highly over-rated I must say.

Having said that, I will make this my February theme song. Terukir di bintang literally means Engraved on the Stars that somehow fits well with February and vintage and oh so Venice!

Gondola anyone?

 

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City of lights (love)

Somehow, I was so into Paris since last year. Maybe it was because of the DVD or a novel, I seriously could not recall now. Or maybe it was because that the fashion scene decided to make Paris (read: vintage) the theme last year, until you can see everything Parisian as the exhibits and decor on the window.

Thanks to Dan Brown, I once thought of visiting the Louvre just because I wanted to trail back all the places mentioned in the Da Vinci’s Code. I am currently on Bonjour Happiness and thoroughly enjoyed it so far. For now, I think that if I ever get to Paris, I would like to savour it as everything that she is: Mysterious, Lights, Love and Living well.

Two novels, a non-fiction, a DVD, a free bookmark, this and this were too much of a coincidence. After all, happiness is made. Someday.

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Just be…

Calm
Content
Aware

Ambitious
Kind
Creative

Happy

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A heart of a what?

So went the fable that I heard on the radio this morning. It was about a mouse who were so stressed out when he was bullied by cats. The mouse went to see a witch and asked her to change him to a cat so that other cats would not bother him anymore. Wish granted, he was made miserable not long after by dogs. So he went and asked the witch to change him to a dog, only to be stirred later by lions. So he asked the witch to change him again to a lion, and he was then changed to a lion. His life was still miserable because at that point the hunters would want to catch him. He went to see the witch, so that the witch can change him into a hunter. However, unlike the last 4 attempts, this time the witch refused to change him to a hunter. She said ” you will never be the person you wanted to be for as long as you have a heart of a mouse!”

This discipline and rough treatment are a furnace to extract the silver from the dross. This testing purifies the gold by boiling the scum away“. – Rumi in Rumi Daylight.

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Opportunities

I have been blogging from my phone ever since I downloaded wordpress apps which I must say, is very user-friendly and I can type away whenever and wherever.

Over the radio this morning, Ustaz Badlishah talked about opportunities. Almost instantly it hit me: that opportunities have knocked on my door more than once in the past years. Some of the opportunities, were well-received while many others went swooshing by like a fast train, leaving only the dust and the sudden jolt of noise. Then: nothing.

I remembered at Raudhah, in Masjidunnabi at Madinah,  I prayed that Allah blesses me with unknown sustenance from unexpected sources. But when it happened, I did not even care. Isn’t it weird that you ask sonething from an important person, and when your wish is granted, you do not take it and worse still is you are acting as if you do not ask for it in the first place?

Astaghfirullah, what have I done that made me think that I have the ability to foresee what is best and what suits me when multiple opportunities come right at your door?

U.B quoted someone – “If no opportunity comes knocking, build the door!”. Subhanallah! With the spirit of thirst for knowledge, experience and abundance, with the intention to give back, it is going to be my call. Nobody else will do it for me. Only me.

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Life simple pleasure

Whenever I feel like I need a moment of hirameki, I would either:
– imagine Sydney Harbour
– drink fruit tea
– watch uplifting dvds

So tonight, while pulling by the curbside waiting for Munawwar, I watch for the umpteenth time: Julie and Julia. I love Amy Adams. I just do.

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I am happy already.

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If you want to buy something for your children, “buy” for them EXPERIENCE

As parents we always want the best for our kids. The book by Sir Ken Robinson entitled The Element was the triggering factor for my husband when it comes to buying experience for our kids. Exposure to sports for example is our way to identify their talents and support their interest, and for our boys it is football (soccer).

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For that reason, the boys were so excited when we enroll them into a football academy. After a year of training almost every weekend, we can see that they appreciate and respect this game that encourage team work, good individual skills and excellent fitness level even more. Rujhan even bagged a gold medal last year for U8 tournament and Itqan scored  a hattrick of 3 goals for the U10 tournament.For us as parents, eventhough training over in Singapore will take up our weekends due to traveling and the long queue of vehicles at the check-point, we are more than happy to use the time as bonding sessions.

If you have never read The Element, I strongly recommend that you grab a copy and I can assure that you will look at success and education like never before. Happy reading!

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The homework helper

The kids are growing each day and unlike other parents, I admit that I have not been so helpful with their homework. Partly because, they usually do a super quick work in the class ( and thus the usual outcry of “No homework today, ummi!” from whatever they were playing with) and another part because even when they have homework they would not usually ask for help. I have been thinking I had experienced such as primary-goer too. My usual subject when asking-for-help-homework-moment would usually be art. I assumed that my work was not neat enough or beautiful enough and they made me unhappy with myself and ended up doing bad drawing. (No teacher would praise me for finishing that difficult task anyway so why finish them if you could not get an A?) In retrospect, I realised that I was quite a perfectionist in myself. I would always arrange my colours in the box as they were when I first bought them. And no, I don’t like dirty corners on my eraser either so I would rub it on my desk to “clean” it from the black pencil marks.I even made sweeping my class job into act of charity by collecting all the stationary especially pencils that I found under the tables into a container and whoever needed them could use them.

For those who do not like the usual messiness of crayon on your kids little fingers, try this out!

Where was I? Oh yeah, my kids homework. I was peaceful in my head regarding their homework until the report card day (does that sound familiar? epiphany always occur during the report-card day *sigh*) when I was told that my eldest was not finishing his homework on time. I did not know how to react. First, I thought should I be angry and promised to have a long discussion regarding this with him later but then I thought oh well, these are my kids and the teacher did not seem to care enough about my child as an individual. But what really struck me was that my son told his teacher that he did not finish them on time because I was not there when he needed to ask me regarding his homework. My heart was crying inside, not because that my son did not finish his homework, but because I was not there when he needed me the most. The tell-tale signs were all over ( the problem with a doctor as a mother) but denial is the biggest and sometimes the longest challenge for acceptance to problems. No awareness equals to no action.

With the recent realisation that I must help them with their homework, and also the echoes of my friend (who by the way home-school her children) regarding the importance of actually, physically, intentionally sitting with your children doing whatever the children want to do, I announced yet another ongoing project of happiness: Homework helping. What I am currently doing is coaching them with their schoolwork. Let them get the feel of what the material is about before they start their class and later let them do a pre-test (well actually I let them do the pre-test and later the skim reading). I always believe that nature plays pivotal role in determining our children temperament, and just like me, I know that I learnt better the hardest way when I was younger. Meaning, that mistakes hurt but would forever be remembered. (Which was quite a challenge considering that I was quick to abandon any project when I foresee failure looming ahead). Knowing this, and knowing that learning style can be “learnt” and “re-learnt” I intended to groom my children into the habit of learning in a systematic way. When things clicked together like pieces of puzzles, the homework helper is born. I have to say, that I was quite happy already now that my husband helps with the Quran, religious subjects and Arabic language. The expertise has been there all this while but again if no awareness, no action!

The altruistic part of me know that I can do better if I engage others in such project. One because, somehow I know that my kids would also learn from others, be it on the subjects or the mannerism when having others in the house and two, it helps me to focus on being consistent that every Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I have coaching project instead of doing other unimportant stuff elsewhere and the stakeholders are not just my kids.

It is still early to say anything regarding the effects of this project of mine for the children. For one hour on those nights, I have started seeing the sharing of books and dictionary, opinions changed for certain questions and answers and the older helping the younger ones. I cannot predict if my effort would change their grades form, Cs to As. All I want them to understand is that I will be by their side when they need me.

Later I will share with you the wisdom of study motivator regarding the useful strategies to study any subjects in a systematic way. Keep coming back.

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