Monday, December 31, 2007

From Endings to New Beginnings

As I begin to reflect back on the year 2007, I recall so many blessed memories. What more could anyone ask for then to be richly blessed with good health as well as family and friends that remain loyal through all things.

2007 was a year of ending of many things, be it work, relationships, current financial situations, spiritual journeys and even life. Although to some this may be posed as a negative, but rather endings are a great thing, and certainly a natural progression of life. For those of us that have loss work and/or revenue during 2007, we realize we’ve been freed to now explore the possibilities of what God has in store for us next----how exciting. For those that have ended relationships whether it is romantic, friendship, family or otherwise, we embrace the moments we had with them and hopefully grow into stronger individuals as a result of these endings. For those that have been seeking spiritual growth, this has been perhaps a year of ending old patterns or expanding our minds to grow deeper into our faith, which is certainly the most precious of all things in this lifetime. For those that have lost a love one (or more than one) 2007 was a reminder that their time here was finished. Although sad for those of us that are left behind because we miss them so painfully much, it’s also a great reminder of how compassionate and feeling we are in our hearts. It’s very easy to go through life and rationalize everything in an attempt to protect one’s heart from pain, but when instances as described above come along and cause us to feel with our hearts and no matter how much we try to reason ourselves out of our hearts, our heart is always successful if only to a degree, and this wonderfully painful or joyous experience is another precious gem from God to us.

As we soon begin to embark on 2008 it will definitely be a year of new beginnings for many, inshallah. Who truly knows where the road will lead each and everyone of us except for God. As we perhaps set goals and/or New Year’s resolutions for 2008 I would be curious to see how many of those truly come to fusion. For me personally no matter how many goals/plans I’ve prepared for, I’m always pleasantly surprised to see that they usually don’t turn out as planned-----and most times thankfully they didn’t because the result is always greater. Truly each year, I’m blessed far beyond that which I could have ever possibly imagined, alhamdullilah. May God bless each and every one of you far beyond your dreams and imagination. May you always be surprisingly gleeful when you recognize his blessing in all things.

My love to all.

Friday, December 28, 2007

What's in a day?

You never know what a day can bring. Yesterday morning as Vicky and I arrived at the gym to have our final workout together as she’s traveling to Las Vegas to spend New Year’s with her family, we climbed on the treadmill to begin our routine cardio warm-up. Nothing unusual or out of the ordinary from the day; however, the moment I looked up to one of the many TV monitors positioned in front of the cardio equipment I saw for the first time the headlines of the assassination of Pakistani’s former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. For those that know me at all, know that politics are my least favorite topic as it’s something I neither show interest in or have enough knowledge to even sound remotely intelligent when discussing the latest news; however, the moment I saw this woman’s face----again without even knowing who she was, but merely an assassinated woman I could feel tears begin to well up in my eyes. All I could think was how senseless----murder. Of course this is not the first political leader, high profile person, actor/actress or ordinary person like you and me, that I’ve heard murdered, but there is something so extremely precious about the human life that when it is taken from them in such a heinous manner it pains me.

Of course, things can be corroborated, justified, and even rationalized to somehow subdue the pain and suffering of the human heart, but the fact remains whether we knew, agreed, or opposed Benazir Bhutto’s political nature, another one of God’s creations has been killed. And the result of this recent event throws an already pained country further into despair; again, not from a political standpoint, but from a humanistic standpoint.

I’m not certain why, but it always seems more painful when it’s a woman or child. Maybe somehow, someway we can become more compassionate people through such hardships----I don’t know.

May God forgive her and bless her soul as well as all the others that have been killed.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

This was the first Christmas since Amira's been born or maybe even longer than that that the holiday was enjoyable for me, alhamdullilah. What set this holiday a part from years gone by was I'm sure my mindset. As a result it was mild, calm and very peaceful. I don't like the whole commericalism of any holiday and certainly Christmas is no exception; however, I do enjoy the get togethers with family and friends. I hope this little slide show presentation link I threw together comes up for you to glimpse inside our last few days. Sorry MusicLover some of the pictures are not clear and concise, but nonetheless still included. :-)

I hope all of you have a blessed New Year and that Allah blesses you beyond words. May He continue to provide for you all your needs which are not always necessarily our wants, but without fail exactly what we need when we really think about it.

The best part of the whole day was at my brother's house when 2 1/2 year old Evan had recently woke up from his nap and walked out to the living room just as Anthony and Amira were opening some presents and said with his arms all stretched out and his one eyebrow raised, "What's going on? Did that Santa come again?" Classic!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tis the holiday season

As the holidays begin to spin at a much faster pace this time of year, one must keep their senses keenly aware. Last night after the gym, Vicky, Amira and I grabbed some dinner, and then decided to drive through one of the nearby neighborhoods to look at the decorated houses. There's just something so spectacular about seeing all the lights lit up at night---so many different colors, themes and designs.

As an aside, I was so surprised to see these white lights dawning on buildings in Dubai when I was there last February. I learned that this is a tradition for announcing a wedding. Thought that was pretty cool, and yet reminded me of Christmas time. :-)

Anyway, as we are slowly driving down these lovely streets, ooooing and aaaahing over the houses and their displays we see Santa on a moped with a plastic Rudolph either bungee corded or duct taped to the front of the moped. I'm telling you all three of us laughed so hard. We could not believe our eyes. This was yet another reminder to myself to be ready for anything because I was so shocked at the sight that I failed to pull out my camera and capture the sight, so my apologies for having to share another image. However, it certainly was a fun way to wind up the week and the evening.
Last weekend Grandma, Amira and I went to our local mall so Amira could see Santa. She had decided on her own that she wanted to write him a letter---which she told me, was about God and the angels. Anyway, we waited in line for an hour or so, but made great use of our time by watching all the people. People are rather amazing creatures and such a fun form of entertainment. There was an older couple in front of us that we assumed was holding the spot in line for their grandkids or something, but when it came their turn they gleefully went to sit on Santa's lap for their picture. The older man said, "by now at my age he (Santa) should know my name and what I want", to which we all laughed.

Amira bravely walked up to Santa, handed him her letter--to which he and the photographer looked so pleasantly surprised to receive, and dazzled them with her brilliant eyes.
It was so fun to share this experience between Grandma and Granddaughter---one I will always remember and feel blessed for experiencing.

The next few days will absolutely be madness in the retail business, of which I plan to take no part in----other than to maybe sit somewhere and watch the delirious madness in people’s eyes. :-)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Monkey Business

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Speeding Ticket

Got stopped for speeding the other day.
I thought I could talk my way out of it until the cop looked at my dog in the back seat.
A sign you might be driving too fast! (This didn't happen to me; I just thought this was funny.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cochrane Mural

Look closely by clicking on any part of the mural.

For those not living in the WEST, Cochrane is NW of Calgary and east of Banff, in the foothills of the Rockies.

This mural was unveiled last week at the Cochrane Ranch House.

Each tile is 1 foot square, is it's own individual picture and each is by a different artist. All of them together form this huge mural.

You can click on each of the tiles to see them in detail. Check out the horse's eye.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Interesting Artwork

How many horses in this picture? Should find 7


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Evil Eye

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Littlest Nutcracker

Well the big day finally came for Amira's first dance recital, and as to be expected we were so EXCITED. She and her little friends did a great job. The show was really fun.

Can you tell it's a bright sunny day for her big performance?
Little sweetie getting ready for her big "Candy Cane" performance.
Anthony presenting Amira with a rose after her performance.
The "star" feasting
Grandma & Grandpa had a little party after the show for Amira

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Feel Terrible

Oh my goodness, I just got some news that's going to change my life as I know it, and I'm scared.

I just received a call from one of my bosses and I was adviced that I'm being let go from my position due to the economical market.

With having my own business, and it's a little unusual how it works, but regardless, I've been so blessed to have the people I've had around me to work for as it's allowed me to concentrate on raising Amira as a single mom. Receiving the news that I did today, advising me that my position will be done away with by the end of December, forces me to have to re-evaluate my life's strategies. Again, I've been so blessed to have all this time with there's a part of me that feels I need to go get one of those corporate jobs just so I can continue providing for us. If I do, this will ultimately take away the flexibility to take care of Amira if she's sick or anything like that.

It's never a good day to get a call like this because your ego immediately places you in the seat of "OH GOD----NOW WHAT DO I DO? PANIC? YEA, THAT WILL WORK----I'LL PANIC".

All I can do is cry, then fall to my knees and pray. Some how some way, Allah always opens a way-----I just have to find it, but until then my human side is screaming "what the hell am I going to do?"