Dec 31, 2010

Congratulations to the winner(s)!

If you recall the giveaway announced earlier this month, today is the draw date.

It gives me great joy to consider all the participants as winners! It is truly my dream come true. Thank you for sharing in my dream! 

The winners are (in alphabetical order):

1. A
2. Bikramjit
3. Christopher
4. Doc
5. Jackie Parkes
6. Kalonda
7. ....Petty Witter
8. Raji, California
9. Reena - Oman
10. Renu
11. sm
12. Stranger

Congratulations to the winners! Thank you for participating in the giveaway! To claim your teddy bear, please email your mailing address to nrigirl at hotmail dot com

~ NRIGirl

Dec 29, 2010

We made it so far...

Today we complete twelve years of wedded bliss! That's right, tomorrow is our 12th wedding anniversary; honestly it only feels like 12 days... Few who started on similar journeys with us have gone apart which hurts me most. All I can say is it is mere grace that we are going on...

My sincere thanks to all who were involved in bringing us together and those who have prayed for us and guided us and helped us learn through ups and downs of life. Those who have been our role models, those who have shown us the way, those who have shared their stories to motivate us - are all fondly thought of.

Of course the friends and families; neighbors and relatives who all came together to celebrate our beginning with us, who dressed me up, walked by my side, held the vail, the little children who danced, the greeters, the stage designers, the singers, the Pastors, of course our parents and all those who blessed us with their sincere hearts - we are forever grateful for.

My Grandma who exclaimed when she first saw Israel that "Alu kollam, konjam karuppu dhan... aana alu kollam" (He is good looking, little dark, but good looking), my loving Papa who walked me thru' the aisle, handing me over to Israel, who often wondered how we were going to manage life's demands as he felt both of us were child like, my best friend Nimmie who loved us both very much, our nephew Sam who admired my driving skills and demanded to sit next to me from day one, my dear Mother-in-law who was all smiles all day long, yet kidded me, "don't show all your teeth" all are fondly remembered and greatly missed.

With our hearts full of praise, gratitude and hope we are set to continue rest of the way... with grace from above we will carry on...

Dec 28, 2010

Do you see what I see?

Do you see what I see
Trees made of only twigs
Leaves dancing on the streets
Swirling snow in the wind
Yet birds cheering on the poles?
If not, tell me what you see...
May be I see what you see too!

Do you hear what I hear
Aeroplanes flying overhead
Billowing winds with such a fright
Whistling cooker in the kitchen
Selling and buying in Monopoly?
If not, tell me what you hear...
May be I hear what you hear too!

Do you feel what I feel
Childhood doesn't last too long but
Memories forever will linger on
Loving the most and being our best
Are the only true treasures we can give away?
If not, tell me what you feel...
May be I feel what you feel too!

Dec 20, 2010

This Child

We all have Christmas favorites such as the carols, poinsettias, nativities, Christmas lights etc. Chestnuts, hot chocolates and gift giving are my personal favorites and take up my priority. It is all nice to have but it is not what Christmas is all about.

Christmas is the celebration of This Child - the Son of God or in other words God Himself - in human form. It is very difficult to understand the trinity of God - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. It is beyond our human nature to understand it all in full detail.

I wouldn't even dare to explain it, however let me share my few. The best example I can imagine is that of H2O which could be a solid (ice), liquid (water) or steam (gas). They are all the same, yet different form. They make the one substance H2O. Another thought that crosses my mind is the trinity in me - Hephzibah - my body, mind and soul - definitely these are three different forms of me - yet they make the "Me" in me. With my very limited capacity this is how far I can get to  - in understanding Trinity; however the Trinity of God is beyond any descriptions.

Now to get to the point, Father God created the whole earth and all that we see such as the sun, stars, seas, animals, creatures and also the humans. When He created the man(Adam) He created him in His image and in His likeness. He loved to spend time with this human on a daily basis. However sin separates Adam and God. Since then no form of sacrifice could redeem Adam fully. The wages of Adam's sin would be 'death' - eternal death. God couldn't allow that. That's when He decides to send in His own son - Jesus - to be born in human form and be sacrificed as a sinless lamb of God - forever paying off the cost of the sin, to bring Adam once again closer to God his creator.

Christmas is all about This Child Jesus who was born to take away my sins by His stripes. Christmas is a day to remember the birth of Jesus Christ and more importantly the death and resurrection of Jesus that brings me eternal life.

Christianity in it's entirety can be summed up in this single scripture: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16" The focus is on the word, "whoever" - doesn't matter young or old, rich or poor, brown or fair, anyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life!

For me Christmas is not just the 25th of December! It is also the 24th, 26th, 1st, 2nd or any day of June, August, February or any month! The date doesn't matter - it is the message that This Child was born to take away my sins - that's what matters.

Dec 18, 2010

Seasons Greetings from Mom

Christmas and New Year greetings to the friends from NRIGirl's blog.

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Palestine, a star appeared to a few wise men of the East and led them to the Baby. The wise men could recognise Him as a King, Priest and the Sacrificial Lamb. They bowed down and worshiped Him and presented Him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Jesus is the king who rules my life; Jesus is the priest who mediates between me and God; Jesus is my Sacrificial Lamb whose blood brings me forgiveness of my sins and cleanses me so that I can see God because without holiness no one can see God.

This is our simple Christian Faith.

Wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderfully blessed New Year 2011. - Y L

Dec 15, 2010

Dinosaur Eggs

The latest craze for Joshua is the dinosaur eggs. I must explain these are toys that look very much like eggs that you soak in water and patiently wait for it to "hatch" or if you are a little low on patience, pry them open with provided tools to get to your "baby dinosaur". We all know these are toys but Joshua would like to believe it is real egg with toy dinosaurs inside. Whatever!

Any shops we go to he asks for dinosaur eggs. Tell me how many is enough; will three do? Not for Joshua. He wants it again and again and again. Couple of days back we went to the nearby store to quickly pick up something and Joshua started his pleading for yet another dinosaur egg.

I would have bought him one if not for the fact that the girls gave lengthy lectures why I shouldn't buy him one. One explanation was that the last time he had a dinosaur egg while he was working on it he got angry with Mommy for something and decided to throw away the dinosaur egg in the garbage. Though honestly I do not recall the incident when two kids are saying so and the third not denying it, I had to believe it did happen. After that Kid 3 stopped asking for it and we left it at that.

Today was Christmas Boutique where vendors set up tables selling gifts at school and children could take money and buy gifts for their siblings and parents for Christmas. All three children look forward to this event a lot and throughout the year their conversation would be around how much they will get for Christmas boutique the following Christmas.

I am normally generous and give them $20 each but seeing all the garbage they brought in a few years ago I had to limit it at $10 for couple of years. So this year lot of pleading went in ahead of time to give them $20 each as I used to as some of the things they really want to buy costs them more and with $10 they can not get gifts for all five of us (yes, they always count themselves too).

So with a long lecture on what not to buy, they were given $20 each to spend on with a message that whatever left over money they bring back will go into their savings account. End of the day Rachel brought $7 back but then she didn't get anything for herself and daddy; she gave me a book lamp and her siblings finger puppet theatre riddles.

Sharon spent all her money and got herself a lot of gifts - six to be exact - and all of us one each. I got a cookie box which I liked, some erasers for Joshua, a tiny notebook that said 'Dad' for daddy and a nice framed art for Rachel's desk.

Joshua only got $15 to begin with - with a promise that his $5 will be directly going into savings. He comes home with a pair or winter socks each for the girls, a bracelet for Sharon and a mini cute little nativity set for Rachel and few bath toys for his favorite cousin (Joses) and the rest all he spent on himself! Guess what he got? Of course Dinosaur eggs - what else!! How many? Four!!

He is all smiles and so are we... Oh! that's not true; Sharon is not very happy about her "boring bracelet & puppet theatre" as she calls it, she wants the nativity set that Rachel got AND one of the dinosaur eggs! Whoever said money is the answer for everything?! It does not work that way for us... at least not now...

P.S: Rachel is 11, Sharon 9 and Joshua is 7 as we speak...

Dec 13, 2010

Window of Opportunity

I would never miss my chance at a window of opportunity - by which I mean, a window that can be made into a reading nook or seating area. It is my ultimate thrill of home decor. Any window for that matter can be turned into a relaxing oasis just by adding a few elements that are already available around the house.

Do you have a mismatched chair/bench/stool that doesn't quite fit into your room's style? Don't you worry; just drag it closer to the window and set a basket of books by the side and if you can bring a lamp closer, you are all set - your own private library! Add pillows and throws for extra comfort.

On sunny days open them up to let the cool breeze in. The honey bees in the flower pads outside will sing sweet lullabies as you catch a quick Sunday afternoon nap. Chickadees and robins and the playful squirrels will make the scene more fun to watch.

If your window is by a busy street curtains and shades can bring in privacy. Adding simple indoor plants will only make the spot more appealing to run to. The abundant natural light by the window will help the plants thrive making the room fresher.

Sitting by your window you can look at the world from a whole new angle - the rain that is falling, the snow that is drizzling, the birds that fly by, the children that are playing, the stars of the night, the moon up close, there aren't many things as mesmerizing as these ...

If a chair is not handy or you are not the type that would like to warm up with a book in the nook, the same window can be a show case of your favorite collections. Don't over do it though, as it will easily get cluttered. The best idea is to keep a few pieces - one if big - and rotate it through the seasons or depending upon your mood.

When we finished our basement, the interior room would have had absolutely no light if not for my idea of installing an indoor window on the dividing wall. The outer room gets ample natural light which then also fills the inner room through that window. Later I learned somewhere that the concept is called "Borrowed Light". Very interesting right?

Let's say you don't have any window that is accessible - the smartest thing to do is to create an illusion of a window with a big wall mirror or simply a wall art and adding window treatments to it. It will quickly brighten up the room along with your spirits.

Your window is a free gift to you though many of us haven't unwrapped it yet. When you do, you will be surprised at what it can do for you...

Dec 12, 2010

Merry Christmas to us all!

Dear God! How are you? Fine here and wish the same. Just returned from church. Pastor Doug's sermon on "Are you willing to do His will? If not, are you willing to be made willing?" was great. It put us right on track for Christmas.

As you know it is a huge celebration - your birthday - here on earth. Most of the homes, businesses and offices are decorated for Christmas. This season sure makes one merry. We sing carols, exchange gifts, gather as families, what not. Yesterday I was at the mall. It was full! The lines for Santa and family portraits were as long as the years before, if not longer. It reminded me of the little boy's question to his singer Aunt "Where is the line to see Jesus?" It did make me wonder the same.

The Live Nativity was much fun last night. We paid a surprise visit to see our "shepherd". I must say he was the best looking shepherd in the whole wide world. The hot chocolate, sugar cookies, the two lamas, the few sheep, the goats were all fun. Did you know one one of the goat's name was Nacho? That's right. Nacho got out of the pen a bit and stirred much interest among the younger visitors. Sure he behaved well. Even I got to touch him and the lamb. The lamas we wouldn't dare go near as we heard they spit. My favorite was the bonfires that warmed our hearts, the hay rolls we sat on and the huge trees full of lights. Pastor Rick's mini message at the end was icing on the cake.

So, what's news at your end? Busy busy I am sure, the angels and the heavenly hosts. Can't even imagine how beautiful the decor would be and how nicely the hallways are lit up. I must tell you it is so generous of you to keep the invitation open for all those who are willing to attend the party with you...

Oh! the reason for this letter now? I am glad you asked. We watched the movie "Letters to God" last night and I too felt like writing to you. After all we are in the midst of our letter writing spree these days, as if I needed an excuse to write... you know me better.

Okay Lord! Let me wind up now. Wishing you a Very Happy Birthday in advance and A Merry Christmas to us all!

Much love,

Dec 9, 2010

To Amma

Please click the image to view bigger.

Dec 8, 2010

$1 $pecials

 If you have read my Gone Shopping post you know that I love to shop. Not only in big fancy stores, but also in the dollar stores and garage sales. Some of my friends think it is below their dignity to shop in $1 stores, but I am a huge fan of dollar stores for specific items.

Garage sale is another one of my favorites. I have also held garage sales - twice - first time we made a little over $100 and the next time a little below - not bad for otherwise throw away stuff right? Thought so too.

Here's a listing of my top 12 $1 picks from both garage sales & dollar stores...
  1. Gilded Bibles (KJV) from Dollar Tree
  2. A mini desk fan - bought 10 years ago - which is still working good
  3. A tooled leather handbag which was originally bought by the owner for $169 - with the original tag still in place - never used
  4. A beautiful framed art which hangs in our basement wall nice and square
  5. Beautiful glass bowls - 36 in all - for only $1! I did distribute it among many of my friends - gave them all six each and I still have 12 for myself. Use it for dessert in all our get together.
  6. DVDs - which I later sold in amazon for prices ranging from $3.99 to $13.99!
  7. A finger ring with red stones - I am positive it is gold with rubies - but can't be too sure unless I take it to a jeweller...
  8. 5 x 7 picture frames from dollar store. For Rachel's birthday at home this Fall, I clicked the pictures of the guests as they arrived - alone or with their parent(s) as they were dropped off. Before the party was over, we printed the best shots of each child in Costco and framed it for the goody bag special. Trust me it was a hit among both children & parents alike!
  9. My kitchen jars from dollar store - I guess it was 2 for a $1 - bought 12 years ago in our first apartment. Since they aren't breaking I am still using them.
  10. Mylar balloon - which makes every occasion special. When Mom arrived from India kids brought "Welcome Home" balloons to the airport to receive her. When my cousin had a new born we visited with "It's a Boy!" balloon at the hospital. We always make sure to have plenty of "Happy Birthday!" balloons handy in parties so that each child guest can take one home; if there is no party we still have at least one balloon which is later released into the air with many "good bye"s.
  11. Birthday number candles - Hard to believe the same thing costs $3 or more in department stores.
  12. Not to forget the McChicken burger and fries
Money well spent - right?!

Dec 5, 2010

Introducing Coffee with Jesus

Though it has been out for nearly two months now, I wanted to make an "official" announcement of my new blog "Coffee with Jesus". It is a daily devotional blog; the idea is to share a devotion from the Bible in as little time as it takes to enjoy a cup of coffee.

Israel has been very kind to design me a logo for it - which I absolutely love. We had also ordered some  promotional products which arrived yesterday. I was overwhelmed seeing our own logo printed on something that we could touch and feel.

It is truly my dream come true! I am so grateful to God Almighty first and then to Israel for their support in making it real. I plan to use it for promotional giveaways.

The first giveaway is on; please check it out by clicking on the product picture below...

You may also check out the Help Page to see how you can be involved in the project... if at all interested.

Dec 4, 2010

Happy Birthday to Jyothi

Happy Birthday Jyothi!

Got introduced to your blogs through @A! Here's joining him in wishing you a wonderful birthday and many happy returns. May your fondest wishes come true this year. May you find much love and joy in the fellowship of your friends and family. Wishing you sunshine & good cheer!

On your birthday as my gift, I have subscribed to your blogs as a "Follower"! I know no greater gift to a blogger than new followers and yes of course a link to your blog.

I will be checking back shortly to visit your latest posts at "Life Does Have a Meaning"

Enjoy your day!

~ NRIGirl

P.S: It was @A's idea to surprise Jyothi with as much wishes as possible on her birthday. Please feel free to check him out at "Simply Speaking by "A" Simple Blogger"

Dec 3, 2010

Handwritten updates

Hope you all have enjoyed the Handwritten series so far. Hard to believe, but we have had a total of 18 handwritten correspondences, each one bringing us a tad bit closer as one big happy family!

We definitely can not deny the fact that we feel more connected now and we all feel terrible about losing one of us - Mohan Jadav - who had jumped onboard the idea so willingly just days ago but has departed from us so suddenly... Life has its way sometimes and we have no clue...

My sincere thanks to everyone participated in writing and also reading. Of course without the readers the writing would be of no fun. Appreciate it much!

I know some of you really wanted to write but errands have kept you busy or you were hesitant to publish your handwriting. Here's offering you another enticing opportunity to still be part of the game.

How about Typewritten letters?! Yes, I mean electronically typed in computer and sent by email... Why not?! We still want to hear from you one-on-one on your latest updates. I am sure rest of the players and readers would agree with me on this.

Also, you may "write" to one another - not only to me. Bikramjit is a candidate who would like to hear from some of you. His email address is: mannbik at googlemail dot com My Mom too would absolutely love to hear from you. Her email address is yohapushpam at hotmail dot com. Now, if you want it published you will need to email it to me. (nrigirl at hotmail dot com)

So, go ahead pen type a few words and mail it to

Eagerly awaiting,
~ NRIGirl

P.S: Handwritten posts are still welcome!

Dec 2, 2010

Mohan Jadhav

Dear All: I am so sad to share with you that Mohan Jadhav has passed away yesterday in Bangalore, India. He was the very first fan of my blogs and it was mainly due to his encouragement I dived deeper into blogging.

Mohan suffered from serious illness for a long time yet his upbeat spirit was amazing. Though we have never met in person I had counted on him as a good friend. He was a close friend of my best friend Sarah.

I am republishing his recent handwritten letter to me as a tribute to him. Please check out his blog Green Shoot when you have some time at:

Dearest Sarah! Thank you for introducing me to Mohan. In the short span I have known him I have come to fully appreciate his liveliness and the ease with which he handled his illness. I am glad you were a good friend to him during his time of need. The seeds you have shown will be a great harvest I believe! Please be assured he is alright. Love you much. Take care,  ~Hephzi

His letter below was originally posted on Nov 18th 2010...

Dec 1, 2010

Flipped Horizontal

Here's presenting "Flipped Horizontal" by Hari! Hopefully this will remove some of the frustrations over my last post... Thank you Hari! That was very smart! You Rock!!

From NRIGirl

Friends! Just for fun tried something new... Let's see if you can figure it out... Please click on the picture once to open in a new browser, click again to view bigger...

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