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Archive for April, 2008

My Better Half

February 16, 2003My heart is 39 years old today. No, it’s not my birthday, and the man in the photo is not a burglar. That is my husband, Michael, and today is his birthday. The photo was taken by a friend of his on February 16, 2003, which happened to be one of the coldest days of that year (at least according to a news account then).

I think back to the first day we met and all the days in between until today — and I am so grateful for the man that he is. We were completely in love when we got married and promptly had three kids within three years. We moved to Canada in 1999 with four kids (the oldest 5 years at the time) and with another one on the way. We stayed in 3 different rentals before we finally bought our very first home. We have had eight children in the fourteen years we’ve been married. He has worked hard at different jobs, is a very professional and extremely good photographer (I’d say it even if I wasn’t married to him…..) and he continues to give 100% at his job everyday. We’ve laughed a lot, fought some, prayed together and hold our marriage vows sacred. Ours has been an amazing adventure together!

I understand what people mean when they identify one’s spouse as their better half. It makes so much sense, at least for us it does. Mike is my better half; he completes the unfinished parts of my life like no one else can and ever will. He is the patient half of our marriage; the strong but silent type. He shares my dreams and gives me courage to carry on when I cannot see past disappointments and failures. He knows when to listen and he knows when not to listen too much. He knows how to apologize and — more importantly for me — he knows how to forgive. He knows how to love.

My heart belongs to this wonderful man and his belongs to me! And today, my heart is 39 years old and still beating strong, faithful and true. Happy birthday, dear heart.

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Our home smells amazingly good right now. I finished baking these potato pies called pirojki, the recipe of which I got from the blog of Farida, a very personable young mother from Azerbaijan. I had my children kind of roaming around earlier, hoping for some of the pies. I let them each have a half since I did not want them to spoil their appetite for dinner.

The pastry dough came together quite easily and baked beautifully. Before putting them in the oven, I brushed each pie top with beaten eggyolk, according to the recipe. The finished product looks golden brown and smells oh-so-good!

I have to kick myself mentally, though. I was so thrilled to see the pirojki that I immediately made up my mind to take photos and post these on this blog. I got the camera out and turned it on…….only to discover that the battery was dead. Aaaarrrrggghh! Anyway, you will have to trust me on this for now: they are beautiful savoury pastries that have a light slightly bready crust and a flavourful potato filling. I would not mind having one or two for a snack.

If you haven’t baked anything lately, consider doing so for the sake of having extremely happy children milling around the kitchen, hoping against hope they can be allowed to taste the result of your culinary efforts. It does not have to be complicated. It doesn’t matter if it is a cake mix from a box. Just bake. Open the windows and let the lovely smells of home baking spill out into the neighborhood. Bring a smile to your children’s faces and help put a sparkle in your husband’s eye when he sees something sweet for dessert.

It’s amazing what a little home baking can do!

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A sense of gratitude and appreciation for other people’s work and help is so important. It is, unfortunately, not encouraged enough these days. It’s almost as if a lot of people go around with this attitude or belief that they deserve good things and only good things. And since they deserve it, they do not need to say thank you.

So when someone actually shows their appreciation for a service or help you’ve given, it almost startles you…..or at least makes you smile.

For dinner tonight, I cooked some burgers from the butcher in the oven. I fried up some eggs and set each one on a burger. This burger composition was completed with some brown gravy ladled all over it and served with oven-fried potatoes. It had been a long, busy day and truthfully, I did not feel like going through the whole exercise of getting all this food ready. But I had promised my boys this dish and I did not want to disappoint them.

Everyone was quite hungry and the first part of our meal was a bit on the quiet side. They seemed to enjoy the meal and I was gratified until……

My taste buds are taking a walk in paradise tonight!

That was child number 4 (son #3 who is officially 9 years and 359 days old) who said that with a big, goofy smile on his face and a smudge of gravy on his lips.

Ahhhhh! Talk about gratitude and appreciation! Gotta love that kid!

I was gratified before; I was supremely pleased and grateful then.

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Mom You’re Incredible!

Do you remember this television show where they would feature various stories of people doing all sorts of fascinating, heart-stopping or mind-boggling things and then the live audience would shout in unison: “That’s incredible!”? (That question really dates me, doesn’t it? Anyway…..) Although that show is long gone, I remember it now as I tell you about this event some friends of mine are organizing in Ottawa.

This annual event is called “Mom You’re Incredible!” and is hosted by the Neeje Association for Women and Family, a charitable organization that runs the Valrideau University Residence for women in Ottawa, and offers programs to encourage women and strengthen families. It is — as the publicity below states — “an afternoon celebration of motherhood”. This year’s event presents a talk entitled “Mission Possible: Putting Family First”.

myi-publicity.jpgI happen to think that moms are incredible! We live in a world now that does not really recognize the true value of motherhood. It is discounted as something very ordinary and unsatisfying, something that women simply settle for. On the contrary, motherhood should be celebrated! Where would we be without our mothers? What would happen to future generations without mothers?

Motherhood is a privilege; it is a blessed gift. It is not just a job. It is not a 9-to-5, cut-and-dried, time-in, time-out kind of work thing you can change like you would clothes. This is a life’s work that embraces you, giving you meaning and energy as much as or even more than you give it meaning and energy. It is like an art form that evolves and changes yet reflects so much more than you could ever hope for. It is not something one ought to settle for because it is a giving of yourself. And the returns are boundless and precious! Motherhood itself is incredible!

So if you live in or close to the Ottawa area and are interested, and/or know others who may be interested in taking part in this very special event, you may contact Mrs. Natasha Gajraj at 224-1179 to register. It will be an afternoon of tea, a talk and lots of other moms!

I have the privilege of giving the talk at this year’s “Mom You’re Incredible!” event. I hope to meet you there.

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