Mar 29, 2010

"I Do" - Do you?!

For the husband & wife in each NRIHomes, let's take a minute to comprehend the meaning of our marriage oath taken year(s) back and recommit to one another!

F L A S H   B A C K ...

Do you Groom take the Bride to be your wife – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?

Do you Bride take the Groom to be your husband – to live together after God’s ordinance – in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?

There is no better friend you can find than in your better half. I agree they are not all perfect just like we are not all perfect. Let's cherish whom we've got and show him/her our heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others. Surely, it is worth the efforts!

Remember, "Love is not a feeling, but an act of your will..."

Mar 25, 2010

Snowglobe moments

Looking back in life, here are the snow globe moments I can recall:
* When it was announced we got a brand new baby brother 21st Feb 1982
* Cookouts with friends during school vacation
* Screaming, "We scream for Ice cream" in school excursion
* Shopping in Tirunelveli Junction with my best friend Nimmie
* Trekking during college days in Bangalore
* Dancing in the rain days

* Surprise unannounced visit from my husband before our wedding 12th Dec 1998
* The wedding, of course!
* Arriving in Boston airport for the first time. It was snowing that night! 23rd Jan 1999
* Visiting Lady Liberty for the first time
Birth announcements of our kids!
* Each and every achivements children accomplished over the years such as their first rollovers, sitdowns, standups, walks, cutting of the tooth, first hair cuts, first words, bike riding, etc.
* Visiting Niagara Falls for the first time
* First red rose & jasmins blooming in our garden
* Fishing, boating & beach days
* Surprise arrival of Green Card in the mail.
* Surprise Birthday gift from my husband
* Oath taking for US Citizenship

... more to follow I am sure!

Pleasurable Treasures

Are you a collector? I mean do you collect something? anything? Then you will be able to relate to me well. I have been a collector since little - candy wrappers, peacock feathers, greeting cards, stamps, stickers, rocks, seashells the list goes on....

A wonderful childhood memory of Snowy is when we bought him - a pomeranian puppy - for one hundred five rupee coins I had collected. It's a joy to collect something - anything. It kind of makes life more interesting. It is a beautiful way to express yourself with things that keep memories afresh.

Collecting is fun, it defines yourself, it adds a punch to ordinary days, it can make a room or office more personalized, it keeps you alert to look for treasures in day to day activities - over a busy day when you get some change in the cafeteria, you find a new state quarter, it makes your day!

We as a family collect the box top education coupons clipping it from cereal boxes, juice boxes etc for children's school. I now collect Presidents & State quarters, one dollar coins & globes. These are little treasures that bring us pleasure...What's yours?!

Mar 23, 2010

The way to a man's heart...

Dear All: "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" - when I heard this saying for the first time I was greatly worried as I knew nothing about cooking. Occassionally I have cooked some rice, boiled some water, made a scrambled egg... that's about it! 

When our marriage was fixed Papa was much worried. He called me aside and said, "Queenie, may be you and son-in-law can make some sandwich or salad or toast or an omlet and you can survive" I thought so too - until I learnt my husband had to have a dal or curry every day.

As he had lived in the US nearly two years before our marriage he knew a thing or two about cooking - definitely a lot more than what I knew. So he taught me to cook... After a few trials and errors I learnt the art and have slowly found the way to his heart!

I am not an expert now, but the few items I know, I do it the best. Haven't heard any complaints so far though my friends still tease me about few cooking adventures gone wrong over the decade... I am not much worried as my husband assures me I am the best cook he has ever known! That makes all the difference to me and I am all set to keep on cooking!

Here's an attempt to put together what I have learnt so far, thought it might be useful to someone who is in the same boat as I was 11 years ago. Here's introducing NRIMenu! Please share the link with your friends & family if you think they'll find it useful:

Yours truly,
~ NRIGirl

Mar 20, 2010

My First Drop of Sweat

When I was little I used to admire the sweat streaming from adult's foreheads and near their ears. It felt so mature, busy, serious, or whatever else adult's were upto all the time. I don't remember getting sweat at all - may be a few teeny-tiny droplets above my lips - that's all...

It became my fondest wish to get sweat streams on my forehead too. I would occassionaly keep a drop or two of drinking water on the crown of my head or near the ear to try mimicking it - it never dripped the way I wanted it - it was not the genuine kind.

One unforgettable evening I was in my tuition class after school and  busily working on my homework.  When I least expected it, I felt something near my ear and before I realized what it was, I saw a sweat drop dripping on my notebook! - A real drop of sweat!! 

My-my, I was elated! This was the real thing! I had desired for it for so long and finally I got it!! My joy knew no bounds at that moment and I slowly lifted up my head. Very carefully I tapped a nearby friend and showed it to her pointing with my finger while saying "See, I am sweating too.."

The next moment to my utter dismay, before I could stop her, she took her hand kerchief and wiped it off! I am sure she had good intentions - she might have wanted to be nice or she thought she was helping me, she defintely had no idea what she really did to me... It was my dream, my fancy, she absolutely had no clue!

My joy suddenly drained, turned to so much anger, I admit I even hit her with my notebook. I started crying in LOUD voice. When the teacher asked me what I was crying for, I explained the whole incident between sobs. She just burst out  laughing  leaving me perplexed.

That first drop of sweat was so precious to me... I was still crying & unconsolable for a very time!

Image Credit: International Hyperhidrosis Society.

Mar 18, 2010

Night Sky Mementos

If you are like me, facinated by the night sky, you couldn't have missed the three bright stars that form a straight line in the Orion constellation. If you are not a sky gazer, for once look up the night sky... You will be amazed at the tranquility it brings... Night sky reminds me how finite we humans are in the vast universe and it never fails to amaze me how mighty the Creator is for He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

The three stars in Orion are very special to me as I have so many promises made around them. The first time I noticed those I showed it to my close friends and the three of us made a promise that anytime we look up these stars in the night sky we will remember one another! Same promise was repeated few other times with different set of friends...

Though I have lost touch with a few of them and have tried long and hard in vain to connect with them, to this day I remember the friends every time I see those stars ...  We have a beautiful view of the night sky from our window, however not always I see those three stars... but whenever I do, I recall the promises once made and remember each one of my friends...

Pleasant thoughts are sent their way... I hope the fun and laughter I have last seen them with hasn't changed a bit... I wish them good health and cheer and everything else life is yet to offer... I pray they find peace and comfort in the Love Divine when things seem heavy to bear...

Not sure if they do, but I always do...

Mar 16, 2010

Being an excellent wife - The 'She' I wish to be

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewel.
* The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
* She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
* She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight.
* She is like merchant ships; She brings her food from afar.
* She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens.
* She considers a field and buys it; From her earnings she plants a vineyard.
* She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong.
* She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night.
* She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hands grasp the spindle.
* She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.
* She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
* She makes coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple.
* Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land.
* She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen. 
* Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.
* She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
* She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.
* Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her, saying: "Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all." Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, And let her works praise her in the gates. 
~ Holy Bible

I have seen these chracteristics in my Mom and both my Grandmas. My desire is to be like them...

Swans are back!

I have to share this exciting news with you - our swans are back in Lake Denmark!!

We have to go a few seasons back to introduce the swans to you. There is a small lake on the way out to school/office or whereever we go we have to pass that lake... It has an interesting name - Lake Denmark.

There wasn't much life in it until oneday a pair of beautiful white swans landed there - making it their home. Swans - especially the white ones are my favorite kind and I was so thrilled to see them in the lake nearby. Children joined me in saying hello to them every morning and evening. It brought life to the lake and to our conversations...

Over the seasons we have known them, they never fail to excite us - every single day. We make up stories around them, such as their conversations or what they are upto as we imagine...

During winter as they migrate elsewhere we wait patiently hoping they find their way back home! It isn't much fun looking at the frozen lake...

This past week we were so excited to see the couple back in the lake - bringing life all over again. And this time they have three babies with them... we are all the more excited!

Afraid to stop and take pictures as it might scare them away. But couldn't wait sharing the news with you first...

Mar 12, 2010

Visiting Places

I have been a little busy lately visiting places and meeting people... It is hard to believe, in just over the last two weeks I have visited Paris, Israel, the Gobi desert in Mangolia, Iran, Iraq, and travelled all over Brazil in bicycle - yeah, 2000 miles of biking from Paraiba all the way to Rio-de-Jeneiro...

You have guessed it right! I did all the travelling sitting in front of my computer, watching movies... It is a beautiful experience visiting places, learning about different people, sharing their dreams, meals, and conversations...

I encountered a group of farmers raising camels in the Gobi deserts, lot of little children living in camps in Turkey/Iraq border, an interesting ostrich farm and a family story associated with it in Iran and visited the cherry blossom in Japan, life as it unfolds in Paris for many different people and the journey with James to Jerusalem was an eye opener - reminding about life's journey...quiet a challenge...

You must have heard of the phrase "Books can take you places". Well, I believe movies can take you further... Also, to me books are only enjoyable as long as I haven't seen the places described, whereas in movies when they show places I have been to, it gets more interesting...

If you have some time at hand and love to join here are some suggestions:

1. Story of a Weeping Camel
2. Song of Sparrows
3. Paris, Je T'aime
4. Turtles can fly
5. The Middle of the World
6. James's Journey to Jerusalem

When you visit, please pass on my love to the camel farmers, the beautiful mom in the middle of the world and the kids in the camp and especially "Satelite"... Tell the little boy who dreams to raise fish that he did a good job cleaning the dirty pond and I wish him the best in his endeavors and to James tell him I am sorry he got lost, the next time he is out of the prison ask him to please go to Jerusalem at once and hurry back to his village...

Sorry, I didn't quiet get to  know anyone in Paris, may be you will ...

Mar 10, 2010

Gifts that blessed me

I love giving gifts. Doesn't matter big or small or how much it costs, a gift is a gift is a gift...Here are few that truly blessed me...

Once I had found this beatutiful cookie jar with an apple knob and thought it would be an appropriate gift for our Pastor's family of four kids. I also wanted one for us but could buy only one. We filled it with butter cookies, had the Pastor over for lunch few days before Chirstmas and gave it them. They were surprised at the gift and said the cookie jar they used for many years just broke the previous day and they were so blessed to get a brand new one the very next day - filled with their favorite kind of cookies!

I shared this with a friend of mine who was so touched that she also decided to bless her Pastor's family with a cookie jar for that Christmas - to her surprise and to my delight that Pastor's cookie jar also had just broken and the kids were so happy to receive one within days!! Such a coincidence!

Few days later my manager walks in to my office and hands me a beautiful cookie jar filled with yummy cookies!!! - I was overjoyed this time as my wish for a cookie jar was also answered the very same Christmas... Isn't that a divine intervention?!

Some other time I had made a meat dish and took some to church a wednesday evening to share with a random person. Whoever received it had no idea what it was or why I gave it but the following sunday she told me with tears that she was on Daniel's fasting (no meat) for 21 days and it was her last day of fast and she wanted to have meat for dinner but didn't have it. She was asking God that afternoon "Where is my meat Lord?" and that very same evening she got what she asked for... Isn't that amazing?!

Months later one Sunday morning as we were leaving for church, I felt the urge to pack some fruits. So I got little bit of every fruit we had that day and dropped it in someone's bag - wanted to give it in her hand but she was busy talking to someone - When the service was over she came to me and said, "Was that you who dropped some fruits in my bag? I am fasting these days and only fruits I eat and was running short and God used you to bless me" I got goose bumps this time...

Once I had got some salt/pepper sets for friends at church and as I was wrapping them and writing the names I was praying that it be a blessing to each one of them. We were new at the church and didn't know them much. One lady thanked me with a note that said, "How did you know I collect cardinals?" as she had received a cardinal set. I said, "I don't, but God knows!"

Couple of years ago I received a letter from a friend of mine in India. She wrote that she was very tight for money and needed Rs.200 immediately and was praying to get some saree blouse orders but none came. She didn't know what to do whom to ask and that afternoon she received my letter with an unexpected check and she was in tears seeing how she asked for a little but was blessed ten folds...

Giving is such a blessing... It's a humbling experience!

Mar 5, 2010

Life in full throttle

What is life if full of care we don't have time to stand and stare? It used to be my favorite saying but I hadn't put that to practice much, I hadn't taken the time to "stand and stare"...

We landed in America exactly 23 days after our marriage and had to start everything from scratch. To make matters worse we didn't have a job, didn't have a place to stay, didn't have insurance and Rachel was on the way! It was an overwhelming start of course!! Finding a job, finding the next job, having the next child, finding the next job, buying our first home, starting a company, applying for Green Card, having the third child, so on -  life went on in FULL throttle - a roller coaster ride of course! There was hardly a moment to pause...

Back home my parents continued to encourage us, cheered us on which kept us sane... Many a days I missed home and wanted to return. I wanted to be back home not having to worry about the unfolding events of life, wanted to listen to Papa's sermons, wanted to just simply sit back and relax, to ponder over the joyful moments... But life kept us busy in the United States.

Finally, after five long years, we booked our tickets to visit India. I was so looking forward to being home, seeing all, showing off my kids, and spending time especially with my Papa. But alas, life took a different turn. Papa was taken into eternity few short months before our journey date. I was so shocked and shaken and devastated. Life lost its punch then, the world as I knew it was upside down, my hold - my rock - was no more!

There is no one truly holy like my Papa. He practiced what he taught - he invited the beggers to eat with him on his table, shared meals with the poor and needy. He chose to live simple, be honest and love neighbors. He is my role model. I have not come across anybody as humble and loving as my Papa. Nobody comes even closer to my Papa. He was the best and always will be!

Didn't think life would be possible without Papa. Didn't quiet like it when people said "Time will heal". Hated the people who didn't offer any consolation... When asked what I wanted to take back with me to US, I said, "My Papa". I had everything I had wished for - a home, a family, a job, green card - but nothing truly mattered anymore...

I would have felt better if life would have stood still then and there - but it moved on and I had to ride on ... There is a constant void nobody can fill. There is truly no one who would listen to my side of the story when it comes to dealing with difficult situations, no one to pray for me and to bless me as much as Papa did, no one to argue my case with anyone.

Over the years I have slowly learnt to take the solace in the Lord. I am sure He pleads my case with all. He is my rock and my strong hold, my ever present help. He fills me with love, joy and peace beyond my understanding. He assures me of life eternal with Him and Papa and Grandmas...  His words comfort me.

I can think of Papa and smile now. I cherish the moments spent with him, I enjoy the childhood we had with him. The hope of meeting him again keeps me strong...

These days I make an effort to "stand and stare"  as often as possible... Things can wait, but time won't. What matters at the very end is, how much time we spent with our loved ones. Only that counts! That's what I am after these days... To stand and stare...

"What is life if full of care, we don't have time to stand and stare!"
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