Why Blogging..!

 

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If you have asked me this question 4 years ago, I would have laughed and said “Why would anyone -sane- expose themselves, so raw and so vulnerable to practically everyone who has internet!” Fast forward, 4 years later, one beautiful son, and tons and tons of growing and evolving, here I am, pouring my heart and soul every single time on blank pages, sharing them with … practically everyone who has internet! Every time I sit in front of my computer, a light sweet wave takes me somewhere I have never been before, and as I write and keep writing, that wave makes me lighter and lighter till I am thin as air. A feeling that I have never experienced before, even though I have been writing and journaling my whole life, yet knowing that someone else- even if it is just one single person- also behind their screen is reading what I have wrote, makes it all so worth it.  It means that someone is probably feeling all the feels that I have poured straight from my heart and soul, and even though I might not even know them, we somehow would have connected so deeply and intensely through words from my world to theirs.

 

What I have never realized up until my son was born, is that writing is the cheapest form of therapy. Whenever life hits me on the face, the first thing I do is pick up my laptop, and strip down all the masks that we all wear in our daily life. The smile we wear even though we are struggling to keep the tears away, the “happy” we force just because we don’t want to burden friends and family with what troubles our minds and hearts, the empty look we wear when you know that everyone will sense the sadness and sorrow inside your soul, and all other sorts of ornaments we keep in boxes for special occasions. I get real, and raw. Whether I end up publishing the post or not that’s up to me, but at least I know that my feelings, my hurt, is no longer just inside my heart; it is somewhere else, either kept safe in my folders or out in the open, and this somehow feels like someone else is sharing those feelings with me, and this makes the burden a little lighter.

 

Writing is what feeds my soul, it is what keeps me balanced and on top of any mess life can bring to my life.

 

Sometimes when I have absolutely nothing to write about, I simply put some loud music on, close my eyes and let the magic happen. I can see the words dancing in front of me, I try to catch them one by one, and put them in the right order, because boy sometimes they just flood into my radar and I can’t keep up.

 

Each and every word has a story, and each story makes its way to my heart and takes a tiny piece of it, till the words are done, my mind is blank again, and words-free, only then I enter some kind of trance, one that leaves you high for hours and hours. A beautiful feeling that I won’t trade for the world.

 

And so just like that and soon after my son was born, writing has become the most essential and rewarding routine in my life. So yes, I now crave the feeling of being true to myself and sharing it with the whole world. From a pure introvert, a fierce and brave woman has risen, one who is not afraid to share and share and share, and share little more.

 

So there you go, this is why I have a blog, this why I write, and this why I get behind the screen to write, so you, who is also behind the screen can enjoy 😉

 

Ouiam

 

 

 

Say Cheese…!!!

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After becoming a mother to my sweet Adam, documenting memories has been a very important task, this is why I started this blog in the first place. Time was/ is slipping through my fingers while I watch my baby boy becoming this big kid, and knowing that yesterday will never come back is a very sad feeling that makes it very hard to enjoy the “now”. So that’s why I write! I created this little window to take me back on time every time I needed to. With the blog came the need to take plenty of pictures, to make the posts complete. I take an immense pleasure taking plenty of pictures everyday, because I know how happy it makes me to scroll through my phone and find these forgotten and long gone but very much cherished moments. I am no professional photographer though, but I try my best ;), and you can imagine my excitement every time I plan a professional photo-shoot, with photographers who capture magical moments and transform them into forever lasting memories. However, personally, I find it very hard to be myself in front of a camera, in front of a stranger who wants me to look at the camera, smile, pose and I don’t know what else!!! I feel so awkward, and I suddenly don’t know what to do with my arms, hands and …. Myself in general. I also find it very hard to “act natural” how can I act natural??? Some photographers though have this special gift of being almost invisible, which makes you almost forget their presence. One of these special gifted photographer is Makenzie! I worked with Makenzie once and I watched closely how people were slowly feeling relaxed and themselves under her gaze. I also saw how warm and sweet she was which makes you fee like you’ve known her for a very long time. So when I had a chance to be one of her “models” I couldn’t wait to see the results!

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We invited Makenzie over to take some pictures of me and my son, and we were so excited. She instantly connected with my son, who wanted her to take a picture of “Zang” his favorite toy, to which Makenzie happily obliged, and Adam couldn’t be happier!  She told us to go on with our day, and just do what we usually do, which is a little weird, because we usually have no audience in normal days, but we still pretended that we were alone. Few minutes later, Adam and I were all over the place, reading books and doing our morning school work, we couldn’t even hear Makenzie’s footsteps! She was gracefully moving doing her own thing, without asking us to pose, smile, move shoulders or chins! And guess what: It was AMAZING!! When she finally said “I think I’ve got plenty of pictures”, we were pleasantly surprised. Few days later I received a folder full of beauty, magic, and love! The pictures were so amazing! She managed to capture more than just a mother and her son taking few pictures together, she captured feelings too. The pictures were so vivid and alive in a very beautiful way. She has this unique style in taking the most mundane pose and turning it into an unforgettable moment! I will happily share some of these treasures with you , in this post, and you can see for yourself.

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I also had the chance to ask Makenzie few questions, to know a little more about her, and what she does. Here is what we talked about:

 

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First please tell us a little bit about yourself? Who you are, where are you from?

 

I am a wife and mom to two amazing girls, 4.5 and 2.5 years. We moved from Washington DC to Bahrain last July, so we’ve been here for almost a year and a half.  We are really enjoying living here and hope to stay for another few years!  Before becoming a photographer, I was a teacher for 4 years, and then worked for a textbook publisher as a sales manager for nine years.

 

How did your relationship with the camera start?

 

When my oldest daughter was born 4.5 years ago, like most moms, I wanted plenty of pictures of her so I bought my first DSLR camera.  I quickly became interested in going beyond just the basics of what my camera could do and read all I could online about different lenses, settings, and so on.  Lots of practice, reading online tutorials, and watching YouTube videos about editing got me to here.

 

How long have you been taking professional pictures for?

 

I did my first paid shoot in October 2016.  Before that I had taken photos for friends’ families a few times, but never as a paid job.  With the encouragement of friends, I decided to start the business about a year ago and started regularly taking clients.

 

Do you have a favorite style, field, things to take pictures of?

 

My style is lifestyle and a bit of documentary.  I like to do minimal posing, and gravitate towards very natural images.  I love working with families.  We are all so busy with work, school, and other activities: how often as families are we all in the same place to just relax and hangout with no distractions? I feel so honored that I get to share that together time with my clients’ families and to document it.  I love sessions that are joy-filled with lots of laughter.  I want clients to look back and not just say “the photos are nice” but also think “that session was a lot of fun!”

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I love to take pictures, yet I hate to pose, would you like to give me and the other mamas tips on how to look great on camera?

 

Relax, relax, relax.  Relax and be yourself.  Connect with your child, and that emotion will be the first thing you notice in the photo and not what you’re wearing or if your hair was perfect.

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And how to get more natural pictures?

 

See the above answer 🙂 Focus on connection, having fun, laughing together.  Focus on the people around you and forget about the camera.

 

Many moms love photography; what advice would you give them in case they want to pursue a carrier in this domain?

 

Take pictures every day!  The more you practice, the better you will get.  The more you’ll figure out what you like and don’t like.  You’ll start to notice which settings on your camera give you the results you are looking for.  There are lots of great free resources online.  Use those to your advantage, but nothing can replace 1:1 instruction and mentorship.  I love working 1:1 with moms to help them learn how to take better photos day to day of their children with whatever camera they have available. Besides lots of practice, also follow photographers whose work you love and notice similarities in the images you connect with.  It will improve your eye for what makes a great image.

 

How do you see yourself and your photography in few years from now?

 

I would love to start doing more documentary sessions.  Right now most sessions I do are at locations around Bahrain.  I’d really love to add in some at-home documentary sessions.  Much like the time I spent at your house, a documentary session means I come to a client’s home and take photos of the family spending time together doing a favorite activity together, whether it’s snuggling on the couch together with stack of books or making breakfast together on a weekend morning.

 

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How do you balance your work, and duties as a mama of two?

 

This is a great question and something I’ve been working on the last month.  In this first year in business I was saying yes to doing sessions at all days and times.  I was in business building mode and didn’t want to turn down any opportunity.  Over the last couple months though, I started to resent weekends when I was gone all day long or weekdays where I’d miss dinner rushing back from a sunset session.  So a few weeks ago I came up with a list of specific “yes” days and times when I will take sessions, and “no” days and times when I won’t take sessions.  I do a lot of my editing and computer work in the mornings while my oldest is at school, and in the evenings after my girls go to bed.

 

Do you do maternity and birth photos?

 

Yes!  I love, love, love all things baby and motherhood.  I would like to be doing even more maternity sessions.  I have not shot a birth yet but I really would like to.  I recently put together an investment guide for birth photography so that I will be ready when more inquiries come to me.

 

Any advice on which camera to buy, to take normal (not professional) pictures?

 

Oh this is a tough one!  There are so many good entry level cameras on the market.  I started on a Nikon D3200 and I still think that is an excellent series to start with.  (I now shoot on a Nikon D750 for all client sessions.)  Canon makes a comparable entry-level series which is well regarded.  If you travel a lot, check out Fuji mirrorless cameras which are lighter and more compact and produce fantastic images.  I travel with a Fuji XT10.

 

What are your favorite spots to take pictures at, in Bahrain?

 

Bahrain Fort is probably the most popular location with clients.  I’ve been loving the Sheikh Isa House in Muharraq lately.  Al Jasra Handicrafts Center – when the shops are closed – is a green-filled hidden gem (although the watchman there last time didn’t look pleased I was taking photos ;)).  The Royal Camel Farm is super fun.  The grounds of the National Museum are filled with beautiful and interesting architecture.  Tree of Life is still on my wish list, haven’t done a session there yet.  The Bahrain skyline over the water at Prince Khalifa Park, off Hidd Bridge, is amazing at sunset.  I could go on and on!  I’ve really enjoyed exploring all over Bahrain so far.

 

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I Hope you enjoyed this super cool interview with Makenzie, and the super cool pictures too! And guess what……That’s not it….. We have a great giveaway for you guys!! Check out my Instagram account and follow the steps, to win a fantastic mini-session with the very talented Makenzie!!!! YAAAAAAAY!!!

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Ouiam

You’ve Been “Ghosted”!!

 

 

Just between me and you, how many messages, calls, emails, and RSVPs you have to look into that you haven’t replied to yet? How many friends have you left hanging this week, just because you have many things planned for the day and you are not sure which one of the events planned you are keen to attend? No don’t be shy just raise your hand, I won’t see you lol

 

 

How did it ever become so normal to ignore calls, messages, and people in general! How is it OK to treat people this way? I am all for spending your time wisely, setting priorities, and focusing on what’s more important (people and things that make you happy in life), yet this doesn’t mean ignoring other people, it doesn’t mean disrespecting them and  “Ghosting” them! Yes peeps, it has a name now! The action of disappearing, not getting back to people, and basically ignoring friends and family members, just because you are “busy”, has a name now: GHOSTING!!! Since when this was acceptable to start with, let alone have a proper name and be included in the list of normal things?

 

 

How many times, you found yourself, on a Thursday night contemplating your options, yes you had that invitation at a friend’s house for dinner (which obviously you haven’t confirmed yet”, you also have a thing with your family that you said you might be able to do (even though you knew you had other things planned for that day!!), you also want to stay home and watch a movie on your couch!!! Don’t worry I won’t judge you -I am behind my screen, remember?! – The confusion, the not knowing of what you’ll say to the people who won’t see you that day? The wasted energy trying to come up with a list of good excuses that you might use/need? On the other hand, how many times have you found yourself texting and calling people to check whether they are coming to your party/ gathering /lunch-anything else- or not? How frustrating was it? How unpractical that was? Do you remember how upset you were when you couldn’t know how many plates you will have on the table, because someone hasn’t replied yet?  Do you remember how disappointed you were? VERY!!!

 

You remember a time where there were no Facebook events, no “Going”, or “Maybe”, where you leave people hanging, not knowing whether they should add another chair or not? There was no texting and hiding behind a screen just because you’re not up for a real conversation? When you would call people back, go visit them, instead of sending a text, or liking their Facebook status! Where and how did that time go? We developed a weird kind of social epidemics, where we simply don’t care about others. Ignoring someone has become much easier than calling them and apologizing. Not calling people back has become the norm. Ignoring texts, calls, emails, friends and family members has become a habit, and I wonder why? Why we care more about things, than we do about humans? I can’t even point out a time when this started to be ok, I just remember that few years ago, I could never leave someone hanging, whether it is a text, a call, an event, whatever it is, I would never think twice before picking up the phone, or laptop and answering all what needed to be answered. It used to bother me and make me cringe every time, I call, text, invite someone and they leave me hanging, just because they think they are too busy to do so, however, few months ago I found myself not mad anymore when I got “ghosted”!!! I realized that now I became very familiar with the idea too, it has become so normal to me if someone didn’t RSVP, or answered a call or an email, or didn’t get back to me like they said they would! And this is exactly how social epidemics creep into our lives! While we know and are absolutely convinced that these things are wrong, seeing and encountering them in our daily lives, makes them NORMAL!!!

 

What if right now after you read this post, me and you, we go back to our phones, and get back to those waiting for our calls, texts, RSVPs, emails…etc? How about from today we pay a little more attention to people, and not things?  How about we say enough to ghosting? How about that?

 

Ouiam

ZZZ in Style ..!!

 

Hello Friends!! How is your Saturday looking like?

Today I have something absolutely exciting for you all! Something that will make your eyes sparkle, and will take you few years back, wishing you could relive your childhood again!

Sleepee Teepee is a new concept that two fabulous women came up with few months ago, and it is the talk of town right now! It always makes me so proud to see women, and especially moms navigating through their own journeys, not the motherhood one, but one where they blossom and thrive as women.

The whole concept consists of having gorgeous looking teepees, with themes that you can choose yourself, delivered to your home, fixed and ready to take the sleep over shenanigans to a whole new level.

I met with one of the co-founders: Elizabeth Dadd, and had a little chitchat with her! Here is some of what we talked about:

How did you get the idea for sleepee teepee ?

Sleepee teepee was something I was seeing on Pinterest throughout the summer, while in Australia. With girls coming up to the the sleepover stage in life, I thought it would be great to offer them something they will enjoy with their friends in Bahrain.

 

How did you move from the thinking phase to the creating one? 

After speaking to some friends about the idea I found that there was a lot of support. I decided to join forces with a good friend of mine “Nikki”. We designed a prototype and our children lit up when they saw it! Seeing their excitement made us realize we needed to have other children experience this too. We spoke a lot about our concept and how we could make this product and service something Bahrain would embrace. Our teepees have been designed to be sturdy, child safe and of the highest quality.

 

When did you launch your business? 

We had our first booking in the beginning of October this year. The business is still very young.

 

How do you balance being a full time mama and being a working mama now? 

The idea that I’m working on something of our own really excited me. With young girls I am happy that they finally get to see mom work and do something she loves. Our busy periods are over the weekends so Nikki and I try to do as much as we can while our children are at school so they don’t have too much time away from us on the weekends. The work family balance has been nice as we have a lot of support from friends and partners.

 

What are some of the difficulties that faced you when you started? 

Creatively we wanted to create a teepee that was child safe and sturdy, design wise we changed a lot of things to make the teepee transportable, functional, beautiful and easy to store. We found the themes we wanted were hard to come by locally and started bringing in bedding from outside Bahrain.

 

How do you see your business in 5 years from now?

Nikki and I are a great team, and I think Bahrain has embraced Sleepee Teepee. We hope to be able to create a product that adapts to the times. We would love to expand the business into more than just hiring and selling teepee services but to include the options of party planning and party bags. We also would like to refine the business to include more sustainable and organic options and use only locally sourced items, carpenters, tailors and staffing.

 

Any advice you can give mamas/women, who have great ideas yet haven’t worked on making them their realities like you did, yet?

I’d say that its much better to try something now than regret not starting in the future. I would also encourage everyone to collect support and advice from their friends and work in a field they are excited and passionate about. There is a saying: “Do not deliver a product deliver an experience” and I think that rings true to all businesses, doing anything that makes anyone’s life better or happier is worth the trouble. “

 

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Elizabeth is a mama of two gorgeous little girls, she is so passionate about what she does, and the minute she starts talking about her new baby (Sleepee Teepee) a big smile lights up her face, and her eyes shine with delight.

 

More exciting news here ladies: Sleepee Teepee offers 10% discount to all Amwaj mamas!!!!

You can find sleepee teepee here:

Facebook: Sleepee teepee Bahrain

Instagram:@sleepeeteepeebh

 

Ouiam x

 

Thyroid 101-Part 3

Hello everyone! So after knowing all about Hashimoto disease, the immune system and autoimmune diseases, today I will try to sum up ways to reboot your body, give your immune system the boost it needs to be able to do its job properly, and hopefully ways of getting your thyroid back to functioning properly and for your body to finally stop attacking your cells.

So let’s start from the liver, as we saw here, liver is what converts your T4 into T3, and so if your liver isn’t working properly, this won’t be done and therefore, you will have a malfunctioning thyroid gland. So let’s look deeper into ways of supporting your liver. The liver’s main job is to detoxify your blood before passing it to the rest of the body. It is constantly dealing with chemicals and harmful substances, to make sure your body is pure and toxin free. In order to support your liver, giving it some kind of break from time to time is a great idea. How to do that? Here are few tips:

 

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine
  • Try to have a healthy diet as much as you can
  • Make sure you minimize the use of medication, because your liver is responsible of analyzing synthetics and passing them to the blood.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • From time to time stop eating the following items, not because they are all harmful, some are very good for you indeed, but because it is your liver that is responsible of their digestion, so in order to lightens the liver’s workload it is a good idea to stop eating the following foods for a week or 10 days each season: Eggs, tomatoes, grapefruits, gluten-containing products, soy and soy products, peanut and peanut butter, Tuna, shellfish, milk, cheese, cooking cream, margarine, butter, soda and soft drinks, white or brown sugar, chocolate, ketchup, and corn.
  • On the other hand you might want to increase your intake of the following foods: Avocadoes, apples, bananas, apples, berries, grapes, kiwis, nectarines, papaya, peaches, plums, strawberries, artichokes, asparagus, arugula, bell pepper, cucumber, eggplants, squash, peas, radishes, yams, mushrooms, lettuce, okra, zucchinis, spinach, legumes including lentils and peas, almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, cashews, milk substitutes such as rice and almond milk, olive and coconut oils, all fresh and frozen fish (except shellfish and Tuna) wild is better than farmed of course.
  • Reduce stress!!!!! I can not stress enough on that (how ironic is this sentence lol). Indulge in sports that focus on breathing such as Yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong. Try to get enough sleep (8 to 10 hours if you can, or just as close to that as you can). Try to listen to calm, and meditative music in the car, make sure you spread meals throughout your day not to put the body under unnecessary stress and just avoid stressful situations.
  • Start your day with some warm water and lemon juice (Juice half a lemon, add half cup of warm water and drink it first thing in the morning). Lemon is truly magical, it acts like a natural cleanser and helps the liver gets rid of the toxins.

 

Now that we made sure the liver is well supported let’s move to your gut’s health. As explained here, your immune system is strongly linked to your guts, so keeping healthy guts is essential in having a healthy immune system. How do you do that? Follow these steps:

 

  • Increase your intake of fiber and fermented food like yogurt, kim chi, sauerkraut…etc.
  • Consider probiotic supplements
  • Avoid using antibiotics as they kill all kind of good bacteria in your guts
  • Stock up on anti-inflammatory foods such us spinach, kale, walnuts, almonds…etc.
  • Eat less refined sugar
  • and of course lower your stress levels.

 

Now let’s talk specifically on how to improve the health of your thyroid gland.

 

The first thing you should start doing is test your TSH, if it is high, you will need to take your thyroxin medication religiously, to adjust your TSH, as we will need to first stabilize your situation then look into getting better.

 

Then consider getting your Iodine, Magnesium, and Vitamin D levels tested. You would also want to check your liver function too, a very simple blood test can do that, because if you remember, liver is what converts T4 to T3. You might want to also test you RT3 (reverse T3, which is what your liver produce instead of R3 to get rid of unwanted and unneeded T4). Your doctor might not agree to do all these tests, (because again, no doctor in this island wants to spend more than 5 minutes with each patient), but if your insurance will cover the cost then please insist.

 

After getting all the needed tests, now it is time to strengthen the Thyroid gland, and the production of the T4 and T3. Consider adding some supplements into your diet, such as: Selenium. Selenium is a very important ingredient in the conversion of T4 into a T3. However, unfortunately it is not easily found in food, or if found it will be in very little quantities, that will not really help the body. Also some selenium rich foods are also rich in mold, or are not recommended if your thyroid isn’t working well (like Soy products and wheat). So you really have to be careful when it comes to this mineral. To stay in the safe side, take supplements that you can find over the counter. Here are some selenium rich foods however: Eggs, Mushrooms, Oats, Tuna, Sunflower seeds, Salmon, Brown rice …etc.

  • Increase your good fats daily intake, as well as zinc, vitamin A, B, and D.
  • Consider getting checked for other autoimmune diseases like Celiac.
  • Avoid mold in whatever form it is, whether it is in your house or in the coffee you have in your mug.
  • Avoid toxins, by being careful in what utensils you use in the kitchen, avoid plastic, stainless-steel. Use cast iron pots, and wooden tools instead. Drink plenty of water. Let your body sweat as much as you can (the best way to get rid of toxins) so don’t hold back in using Saunas, and hot baths.  Try to not use your phone at least at night, in your bedroom, either switch it off, or put in on airplane mode.  Avoid all the wireless devices as much as you can. And of course avoid SUGAR!
  • Finally, I can’t stress enough about exercising, getting enough sleep and avoiding stress!

 

 

I personally advice to get your TSH tested after you do all the above changes, every 2, 3 months, just to check if you need medication and if the dosage is right. If you follow all the protocols above, I guarantee you that you will boost your thyroid function, and if you won’t get a 100% results you will at least manage to reduce your medication’s dosage, as well as the inflammation in your body.

 

I really hope these three blog posts (this one you are reading now, this and this) will help you get your life back, and that you manage to finally get your body to function the way it should.

 

Many healthy vibes from me to you.

 

Ouiam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Holiness of Marriage, Truth or Myth?

 

Most women when they come into a marriage, they come in with very high expectation. They feel that life will somehow turn pink because now they are going to live what fairytales make us believe: “Happily ever after”. With all the romantic movies, the chick flicks, the pictures every married couple is bound to post on social media platforms, we form a very different idea of what marriage truly is. Since early days, marriage has been looked at as: “Sacred” and “holly”. In all religions, ending a marriage is -almost- a sin. However, and with all what society forces us to believe, the statistics are showing otherwise. Wherever you go, people are getting divorced. Homes are being destroyed, children are being dragged from one home to another, and life is never the same after that, for every person involved in this dilemma.

 

Marriage if done right is a true source of happiness. It is the feeling that you have someone with you throughout the good and bad. It is knowing that no matter what happens the person with you is going to hold your hand and tell you that it will be OK. Marriage is knowing when to back off and when to move forward, it is knowing your partner and accepting their flaws, it is seeing the worse parts of them yet still love them to no end. It is mainly communication, communication and communication. It is a daily struggle to make sure you both are on the same page. It is a work in progress, just like we all are. The person you were when you met your partner is not the person you are today, you have changed and so did your partner, and so while this continuous changing and evolving is happening, your marriage is also moving forward, and it is your responsibility to keep track of things, because if you don’t, with every passing day, a bigger gap will form, and you will end up becoming strangers in your own home.

 

Marriage is a different kind of love, it is a love that is strong, free of doubts, joyful even in the most mundane situations. It is a love that gets tested every single day, and whether it makes it through the day or not, depends on how well are we going to communicate, how open are we with each other and with ourselves.

 

I met my husband almost 10 years ago, we were friends for a while, then together -in a relationship (Yes we were!! Don’t frown!)- then engaged, and finally married 2 years after we met. The people we were 10 years ago have long disappeared, the people holding the torch today are absolutely different people, yet we did it together, we explored who we were and who we could be together. We gave each other space to venture in the craziness of oneself, yet we held each others’ hands through those tough times, when we couldn’t see the hidden truths. We struggled to find a common ground where we both can be whoever we want to be, yet still be the same person we were to each other. We were hopeless together, we cried and laughed together, our hopes got crashed and we watched each other drawn, yet we held on tight, and we were each other’s anchors. We lost babies together and experienced what I would call”Seeing your heart being ripped out of your chest” together, and the love burning inside each one of us got stronger and clearer. Every single morning, I wake up, and pray God to guide us through the day’s challenges and hardships, and show us the way through his light and love. Every single day is a different scenario, and every day has its own drama, yet every single day we both believe and know that we are true to ourselves, we are honest and we are in this together, not because we are married, and marriage is sacred and because we have to be happy and in love, but because we both do want to be together no matter what life has for us.

 

 

No one ever enters a marriage with the intention of getting a divorce, no one! Yet people still do and I wonder why? The first thought that jumps into my mind is how society looks at marriage, and how it is somehow striped of any normality and taken into a whole new level. Starting from how movie makers show married couples, or couples in love who are getting married, and you would think they live in another galaxy. How life is literally “happily ever after” in their worlds. Therefore, every single lady who sees that expects that in her future life and marriage, and there she is, starting her new life already holding the bar so very high. In all the rosiness and the beauty of marriage, life unfortunately creeps in, and just “happens”. Things happen every single day, and every day is a different story. Not necessarily bad all the way, but the stress life puts on a marriage makes it impossible to have rainbows and unicorns dancing in your skies every single day.

 

What also really bothers me about this whole idea of marriage, is the “sacracy” of it. While I agree that marriage is a beautiful bond that attaches two strangers together, hopefully for life; it also attaches their families and makes everyone part of an even bigger family; but the idea that marriage itself is something holly and sacred is a little too strong for me. It puts so much pressure on this whole marriage thing and on us. How can I live normally when I am in this almost surreal, holly, divine, religious thing? Me a humble creature? Someone who is far away from divinity? How about a little bit of reality here? Marriage is simply the union of two completely different people, different ideas, different brains, different opinions, and different characters, who are linked to each other, living together, having kids together, making a family together, facing life’s challenges together, arguing over who will take the trash out, experiencing happy and crappy days together, and so on. It is simply NORMAL, nothing sacred or holy about it. Wait don’t hate me yet…!  To me marriage is something secular, it is something as normal as life can be. It will go through ups and downs and that’s absolutely fine. It will reach low levels and rise up to even higher ones. And even though myself I see God everywhere I go, and I hold my faith closer and closer to my heart each and everyday, yet I still believe that for once we should see marriage for exactly what it is and that’s it.

 

Life already puts way too much pressure on us and on our marriages, leaving us struggling to even breath, there is no need to put even more pressure, just because society wants things this way. From now on look at your marriage as the most normal, common and ordinary thing. Take all the pressure off, and just be, you and your partner. Live life the way it presents itself to you. Forget about what society thinks, or how everyone expects you to smile and giggle all day long with your partner. Forget that you need to show that you are happy and just live, just be! Forget what people will think of you if you don’t see your marriage as holy and just accept the challenges that life will bring your way each and every day. Don’t worry if by society standards you are doing something wrong by not forcing yourself to fake it. Be real for yourself, for your partner and for your family. Articulate your worries, fears, and dislikes. Talk about how crappy some days are, speak up about the bad days and how sometimes all you want to do is leave. Be real, be normal, be you.

 

 

My advice to you dear friend is to live life to the fullest, honor your marriage by being real and true to yourself. Dissipate the idea that married people shouldn’t argue, shouldn’t slam doors, shouldn’t be mad at each other. Respect your partner even in the middle of a war, yet let your emotions come out as freely as can be, without worrying about what your friends, neighbors, or family might think. Respect, Honor, and immerse yourself in the goodness of your marriage by embracing the bad before the good.

 

 

Ouiam

From My Heart to Yours!

 

I met you almost 8 years ago, in an airport, where we both took the same flight, to the same destination, where you were going to meet my family. You had a big smile on your face, one that only you have: big, bright, and beautiful. You greeted me with a firm, yet very gentle handshake. We started talking about random things: the flight we were about to take, the weather, the airport…etc. As we boarded the flight, our conversation got deeper and deeper. We talked about religion, childhood memories, life, work, and tons of other things, and that’s when I knew that I have made the best decision ever. The whole 12 hours journey we took together passed in the blink of an eye. I felt comfortable and at ease with you. I wanted to tell you all the stories I had and you listened with interest, you asked questions, you wanted to know more, you always do, because you are a true gentleman .

 

The look in your eyes was so soft, loving and just one that makes everyone around you feel happy and special. This look is always there, even now, almost 8 years later. Every time I see you, you still greet me with this exceptionally wonderful look, you also hug me, kiss me on the cheeks, and on the forehead, every single time. This is how we do it: A hug, a kiss on each cheek , one on the forehead, and I just love it so much.

 

Since day one, I felt like I could always rely on you, I felt you were a friend, a father, and great big brother.  I felt that you were my home away from home, and that your heart was one of gold. I knew how lucky I was to be in your life.

 

I was blessed with your presence in the last 8 years, and you have offered me all the love, guidance, and support I needed and wanted. You were there in every up and down I have faced, you offered advice and you loved me no matter what.

 

I always look forward to our late night chitchat sessions, with coffee, nuts, and tons of funny stories from you. You take story telling to a whole new level and boy do we all love you for that!

 

My child sees you as his hero, and it melts my heart every time. He always keeps the best hugs and kisses for you, and only you. He will run to you for a “bear hug” –as you guys call it- every single time he sees you, even if it was the 50th time that day. I am not only blessed because you are in my life, for me and with me in every step of the way, but also because you are there for the person I love more than anything in this world: my son.

 

No I am not talking about my husband, I am talking about his Dad, my father-in-law, and my son’s grandfather. The light of Al-Amri family, the one we always pray God to keep bright and shining forever.

 

This is for you to tell you that the value you add to our lives is unmeasurable, and that the love we have for you is unconditional, sweet and incomparable. May you always stay blessed, healthy and happy.

 

From your daughter in law, with so much love.

 

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Ouiam