The Amazing Strength of Every Woman

Often when we hear about the hardships of our friends or strangers, the common response is “I don’t think I could survive that”. When in fact, we have all overcome adversity that we had initially thought were impossible –  failing a class, heartbreak over a first love, never ending job search, long nights with a crying baby. And as we get more invested in life, the bigger our adversities become and the more we have to lose. But for whatever reasons, we still feel unprepared for the struggles that await us and panic at its arrival. However I have found that women, all women, possess amazing strength that we are unaware of. When disaster occurs, that strength finds us and carries us through. Because we, as women, are more resilient than we know and stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

When we think of war, we think of the big bombs and courageous soldiers. But what we forget is that life goes on. That on the same fields where bombs are destroying, there are people marrying, dying, divorcing, growing, laughing, crying and loving. And while we’re familiar with the heroic tales of the soldiers and commanders, what we do not hear are the stories of the women who keep life going. Zainab Salibi tells in her Ted Talk of the mother who puts on puppet shows for her children so that they would not be afraid of the fighting taking place outside their doorstep. The music teacher who kept her school open during the war and had children playing wearing coats, mittens and hats so that they  could still have music in their lives. The woman who ran around her village and collected all the flour the moment cease fire was declared so that if there was no cease fire tomorrow, there would be bread for everyone to eat. These women went above and beyond just the call to survive but rose up beyond the tragedy and made something good. Their strength aided not to the end of war but the continuing of life. Because when war ends, and it eventually does, there will be something to come back to, children to carry out the generation and life still flourishing all thanks to these women.

When my dad passed away suddenly, my mom found herself alone for the first time in her life. She had gone from living in her parents’s home to living with my dad. They lived together, they worked together, they did everything together. My dad took care of everything – from home life to the store and driving in between. If my mom had a doctor’s appointment, my dad would drive her the day before so she would know where to go. But in a matter of mere moments, my mom found herself alone. Alone at home, alone at work and alone to take care of all things that my dad had done. My sister and I helped where we could, stayed with her as long as we could and even invited her to stay with us but she refused. This was her way of life now.

Since then my mom has adjusted. She’s been running the store by herself, finding her way to the doctor’s by herself and living in a new place by herself. She comes over and plays with the kids, she volunteers at church and even cooks me food. Where she finds the energy, I do not know. I used to hold my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Its been two years and it never has. I know when her world turned upside down, she didn’t think she could go on but she did and did so with more grace and strength than I thought was humanly possible.

There are moments in my own life when I’m not sure how things will turn out and if I have much more to give. But I remember that deep inside myself, I have a reservoir of strength to draw upon. Strength that have been deposited by my mother and her mother, my sister, my daughter, my friends, the women before me and the women after me. No one wakes up with the thought that today, they will do something life altering. We all wake up and we do what the day asks of us. But its in answering those calls that we find ourselves doing the extraordinary – giving more than what we thought we had in us to give and doing better than we had anticipated. It is only when we look back that we see how hard it was, how much we’ve grown and how much stronger we are now. So, my dear friends, the next time you’re up in the middle of the night worried about how you’ll make ends meet, how you’ll face the day or how you’ll ever go on, take a deep breath and know that you have the strength to face whatever challenge that stands before you. Because you, a women, are amazing and have more strength, more courage, more love than you think you do – I am sure of it!

 

 

The Forgotten Art of Apologizing

My three year old loves Daniel Tiger and frankly, so do I. There’s no violence, sexual innuendoes and each episode includes a life lesson  wrapped in a catchy tune. The other day, we were watching Daniel Tiger and the lesson of day was saying sorry. According to Daniel Tiger’s mom, saying sorry is only the first step. To fully rectify the situation, we have to ask, how can we help? I think this is a lesson many of us have forgotten, myself very much included. We do malicious things or say hurtful words to our friends and loved ones and when confronted, say sorry and expect to be immediately forgiven. Its a familiar scene: you muster up the courage to tell your friend how their comment hurt you, they say sorry, then five seconds later, asks if you’re still mad. Of course I’m still mad! Saying sorry does not relieve the anguish – it’s just the beginning! To complete the apology, we have to ask how can we help make it better? This may include confronting a third party, paying for a damaged object, adjusting our attitude, having some quality time, or picking up the tab after a round (or two) or drinks. In most cases, the perpetuator knows what needs to be done (if you don’t, ask); the hard part is following thru. But an apology is nothing without the after action. So the next time you slip up and find yourself apologizing, remember the words from a very wise tiger and ask how can I help?

Confessions of a Temper Tantrum Survivor

Hello Readers! Our good friend, Pamela, is sharing her experiences dealing with the terrible twos as a stay-at-home mom of two kids – Aubrey, 2 1/2, and Evan, 9 months. The terrible twos – that dreaded stage where tantrums can hit without any warnings, test your every nerve, patience and sanity and leave behind a trail of destruction. No shelter can shield it, no parent is immune to it, no discipline/punishment/method/medicine/bribe can prevent it. You just have to buckle down and weather the storm as best as you can. To Pamela and all the parents of toddlers – godspeed.

I think it is safe to say we are in full fledge tantrum hell.  Our little soon to be threeanger is a completely different creature than the sweet baby girl who graced our lives these past 2 ½ years.  Don’t get me wrong – she is still my best friend and the sweetest girl that I have ever met (of course I say that because she’s deliciously mine). However, this sweet baby girl has an attitude of a teenager girl and no fear of public shame.

I think my all-time low came in the parking lot of Home Depot.  It was a beautiful day, one of the first warm days of 2016, Aubrey (my soon threeanger) and I were out pretty much all day.  It was as perfect as it can be.  With a 9 month old baby boy, it’s rare to get any alone time so I really relished this girls day for us.  We picked out some flowers then walked a few doors down to get some pizza together.  On the way back to the car, I needed to change her soiled pull-up.  As I removed her pants and diapers, she decided she didn’t want to be clothed from the waist down.  She threw a tantrum in the middle of the parking lot.  With safety and sanitary means in mind I couldn’t just leave her to throw her tantrum.  It was nearly impossible to physically hold her up so I gave her a warning then a spanking.  At this point, she really didn’t care about being spanked or the punishment.  She was going to have her tantrum.

Strangers stared as I struggled to physically hold this demon possessed child in my arms, trying not to restrain her too hard so she doesn’t get hurt.  Finally I managed to get her pull-up on and into her carseat.  A mere seconds later she was cheerful, happy and snacking on her gold fish crackers.  I looked back while driving home and gave her a smile all the while thinking in my head, my child is certifiable.

Sounds familiar?  Well, it’s our life right now.  A tantrum of some sort or intensity occurs at least once a day.  I used to be confused and try to reason or discipline her during these outbursts…bribery, coercion, yelling, threats, etc.  What I realized is that my emotions only added to the steam and made me regret my own behavior later on.  I’ve learned what works for us for now, is for me to pray in silence for patience and God’s grace.  Then I wait for the tantrum to run its course.

I often feel defeated and a failure as a parent.  However, Aubrey and I are starting to discuss her misbehavior after a fit.  She and I agree that she was not listening and obeying.  Sometimes she will even imitate her own hysterical behavior. We’ll laugh and then I set forth the privileges she’s lost due to the tantrum.  At best, we have found a way to cope with these dismays.  At worst, I dread the imminent coming of the next tantrum.  I try to stay positive and think about the countless parents who have endured and survived.  My husband and I encourage each other to look forward to the end of this phase.  After all, God’s promise is that “this too shall pass”, right?  In the meantime, I find myself anywhere between laughing or crying at the thought of my daughter’s terrible tantrums.

Dance When No One Is Watching

Its a popular scene. Girl is sad and moping in her room. Her favorite song comes on and slowly she starts to dance. First, its just a tap of the foot but by the time the bridge is playing, she’s dancing like she’s auditioning for Foot Loose. I’ve always watched these scenes with skepticism. Who really does that? Is one song really going to produce an about-face on a person’s crappy mood?

Well, I did it. I turned off the TV to write a blog about something serious, put my headphones on and sat down to write. But this great song that I had never heard of came on. The beat was catchy, the words were happy and it screamed get up and dance – so I did.  I closed my eyes and danced like no one was watching which wasn’t hard at two in the morning. I jumped, bobbed my head like a chicken, high fived a million no ones, and kicked my legs in the air without a care about rhythm or looks. If anyone had seen me, they would’ve thought I was having a spasm or doing some ancient calisthenics – Elaine Benson had nothing on my dance moves. But I didn’t care and man – it felt good! I’ve had my fair share of hitting the clubs and have dance parties with my kids but this was different. Dancing alone, I had the freedom to dance without worry or forethought of my next move. Adrenaline pumped through my veins, a smile crept in and somewhere after the twelfth karate kick I lost all self consciousness and happiness took over. I forgot about the tiredness of the day, the cold I’ve been fighting all week, and my normally reserved nature and started having the best time, pumping my fist all alone in the middle of my living room. So do it – get up, plug in your earphones, close your eyes and dance when no is watching. I promise, it’s every bit as fun as they show in the movies.

To help you get started, here’s the song that got me up and moving. What’s your song?

Charlotte’s Dohl

Dohls, or Korean first birthday celebrations, have become ridiculously ornate – at least in Northern Virginia. Why? No one knows. Even Korean ahjumahs are perplexed, wondering why young moms are losing precious sleep to overproduce an extravagant first birthday party the intended recipient will ultimately not enjoy.  But its a thing and in the microcosm of Koreans in Northern Virginia where teenagers drive BMW’s and carry Louis Vuitton purses, the trend is gaining traction. The celebrations are getting more extravagant, looking more like a wedding then a child’s birthday party. So when my baby Charlotte was nearing the one year mark, I was faced with a decision: do I conform or do I dare buck the trend and stand against the man (or in this case, the Ferragamo clad Korean man). I’m not going to lie – I buckled like a shoe. I hired a fancy event planner who planned a fancy event. On December 13, 2015, history was not made. But fun times were had, memories were created and shared and a whole lot of good looking people got together at a good looking venue to share a delicious meal. The evidence is as follows:

Charlotte-14

 

Dohl Table
Destiny: Musician
Photo Table

Charlotte-74Charlotte-81

Happy Birthday my sweet baby Charlotte!

Venue: 2941 Restaurant
Event Planner: Party Eve
Photographer: Sincereli