USE YOUR VOICE (social media… I’m not kidding!)

A Single Quaver - Gael Turnbull

A Single Quaver – Gael Turnbull

Well, it’s been a while.

Almost a year since my last blog!

Adult life is hard. Adult life is tiring and exhausting and painful. It has also been beautiful and inspiring.

I guess the correct thing to say is that adult life is intense, because while the challenges get harder the rewards also become bigger. As we get older and gain more control and influence of our own lives, we also gain the power to spread out our influence to others. Our elders start to take us more seriously and people younger than us start to look up to us.

Add to this the fact that we now live in a world where anything we say can instantly be put on an easily accessible platform to spread a message to the entire world (a.k.a. social media) and we now more than ever have the ability to exert change.

This is one reason why I hate to see people using social media to post content that is vulgar because they think it is “funny” or “entertaining”. 10 years ago, if you had a chance to send a message to everyone you know, what would you say? Would you say, “look at this funny video of a girl falling over and accidentally flashing everyone!” or “look at this video of someone so drunk they passed out on a bench!!” Do you realise how absurd and stupid that sounds? Have you been living under a rock for so long that you have never ventured out and seen this yourself on any Friday or Saturday night? Anyway, I realise most people who post these things probably would not come across my blog on any of their usual searches, but in case they do, then the above message is for them!

My point is, each of us now has a voice. Each of us now has a platform. Please use it for good! Use it to start conversations that mean something!

I am so pleased to say that the majority of people I have on my news feed use this platform for positive things. They use it to spread awareness of things we should be angry about and also things that should be celebrated. This is why I feel positive change in this world is so imminent, despite whatever horrible things I am hearing on the news. MY generation is displaying itself to be a caring, passionate and conscientious generation, and what we have that previous generations didn’t is a platform!

I hear so many people talking about how terrible “kids these days” are, and how the world seems to be getting worse, seems to be filling up with more and more “sicko’s”. Puh-lease. The sicko’s were always there. Where do you think the terrible “kids these days” learned it from?? The difference is these sicko’s also have a platform, just like the rest of us. We also can use this platform to expose them and demand justice where it is necessary. We can also use this platform to show how amazing our generation really is. But if you don’t use it, then all people will see are the sicko’s!

I may have been quiet on the blogosphere for a while, but trust me, my facebook page is FULL! I intend to keep it full because I have a lot to say!

We have an amazing opportunity for our voice to be heard each and every day. Please do not waste it.

With Love,

S. :)

Sharing About Pregnancy Loss

OMG ignore the typo!

I found out that I had a missed miscarriage on the Monday of Holy Week this year, I then had an ERPC on Holy Thursday and stayed home for the rest of Easter Weekend. It was my first pregnancy. My husband and I really wanted this baby. I was 12 weeks. I am currently working on a blog post about the whole experience of being pregnant and then having a miscarriage, but it’s getting so long. In the mean time, instead of writing my whole story I have decided to just write this quick post.

I have read over and over a million articles about miscarriage and also getting pregnant again. I am also reading a book, considering buying a second one. I look in the mirror and my eyes see the same person, but my mind and my soul feel as if I have aged a few years over such a short time. It’s not that I am not the same positive and life loving person, it’s just that being that person takes a little more effort now.

When I was pregnant I had, at some point, read the statistic: 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That was jarring to read but I had hardly ever heard anyone talk about it, so I figured for whatever reason that it was unlikely I would have one. I fully immersed myself into this pregnancy. I sang for my child even though she barely had ears yet. I knew she would get the message somehow! She has a soul, she’s connected to me, so she must be able to “hear” me. I sang songs that I wanted her to hear and learn from. I sang songs about love, life, strength, heart break, pain, resilience. When my husband and I had an argument (I can’t even remember what the argument was about now) I told her afterwards that this is ok because there will always be arguments, they happen, but our love would always be there to carry and support her.

I miss the company. I miss the feeling that I was carrying a tiny person with me every day, who I would eventually get to show all of the beauty of this world to. I still sing to her. And send my little random messages. Any time I pray it is for her, I pray that God is taking care of her even though I was upset with Him for a long time. I knew in my mind that He does things for reasons that I may never understand.

For a while I was in two minds about writing anything. I’ve always had this irrational superstition in my mind that if I talk about something, I will jinx it. But the more I read, the more I realise and agonise over this silly lack of information and awareness! It was so naive of me to think that I would not be part of the 20% statistic. 20% is a big number. But when everyone and every bubbly pregnancy website seems to skip the subject as if it’s nothing then what am I supposed to think? When I told 3 of my friends (who I had not actually told about the pregnancy in the first place) I got back 3 warm messages, 2 of which stated that both of them had been born after their mothers had also suffered through miscarriages. So why the silence? In an age when so many things are well out in the open there is no need for all of this silence about ANYTHING. Even as a feminist and also a Catholic at the same time, I should be allowed to say all of these things and feel acknowledged and understood by both sides.

So here I am, I am open to talk about this because my pregnancy, my baby, has become as much a part of me as my religion, my marriage and my culture. All of these aspects of my being which are usual topics of discussion and expression. So I have no reason to hide one.

Love.

Pope Francis Takes Aim at Ideologically Obsessed Christians, Says They Have Illness.

YESSS!

Thank God for Pope Francis, keep it up!

Read article here: Pope Francis Takes Aim at Ideologically Obsessed Christians, Says They Have Illness.

Being Proud of Your Faith

Over a year ago… Probably around March 2012, I had a friend and her sister in my apartment. The older sister noticed all of the religious decorations that my now Mother In Law had left with us. There was a crucifix, a painting of Jesus, and a few others. This is new to me, but I loved and appreciated the gifts anyway as it really can’t hurt to have pictures of Jesus and Mary in your apartment (going to the kitchen in the middle of the night after reading a scary story feels much safer!!).

Anyway, the older sis noticed all of this and proceeded to question me about my faith. She really wanted me to say that I’m only Catholic because I want to marry my boyfriend. She also talked about how her boyfriend was Catholic growing up, but then his whole family left the church because of the child molestation scandals in the Vatican.

I affirmed that following the faith and the Bible is not the same as following the Vatican, and that although my then boyfriend and his family did teach me a lot and they are very happy about my decision, I was not becoming a superficial Catholic just so that I could marry him. They are not so close minded and I am not that shallow.

She was not convinced.

She then stated “but it is easier, isn’t it?”

I looked away and said “mmhmm.”

Because, duh, it IS easier in one aspect, but it is in no way easier on ME or MY side of the family and is in no way a reason for me to change my religion.

I suck at confrontation. I knew nothing would change her opinion, she only wanted to hear what she wanted, so I gave it to her.

This stuck with me for a good while after because I wish I had something that was somehow more convincing to say. Some of the history of the Vatican is incredibly disgusting and shameful but that didn’t deter me from becoming a Catholic, I just couldn’t find a convincing enough reason to explain why.

Anyway, life went on. I had my Lent experience and later left work and prepared for my move back to the Caribbean.  So much stuff happened but that conversation did stick with me and every now and then I would think about it.

I had spent a week in Egypt that summer as it would be my last time there before my family returned to the UK. I had plenty of time to reflect on how blessed I was to have spent so much time there over the past 6 years while it was still stable-ish. I thought about all of the people there fighting against an oppressive and corrupt government so that they could continue to live eventually in peace in a country that they love. So many people who can say that they are so proud to be Egyptian, but contain a deep desire to change their government that in many instances only works against them.

The same could be said for almost anyone. You could ask a British person “Are you proud to be British?” And the answer would most likely be “Yes!” But then you could ask “Are you proud of David Cameron?” And the answer could very easily (especially in my case) be an emphatic “NO!”

Being British is not the same thing as being a supporter of David Cameron!! No no no! Being American is not the same thing as being a supporter of Bush, Clinton or Obama! It is very easy to be one and not the other.

So why is it that some people must think that if you are proud to be a Catholic then you must also be proud of the Vatican and all of its history? Not true!! Nope nope nope! I do not support any of that scandal, I am disgusted by it.

I hope and pray that those involved in those scandals are brought to justice and dealt with by God. I also hope and pray that Pope Francis can continue to do everything he can to reform the Vatican and spread to the world what the real and true message of Christ is.

You can be proud of your nationality, history and culture without being proud of your government.

You can be proud of being a Catholic without being proud of the Vatican.

I think it is that simple.

God Bless!!

Mrs. :-)

P.S. That said, I am really liking Pope Francis so far!! I hope he continues to do a lot of good representing the Catholic faith just as it should be!

The Wedding Post!!

I AM MARRIED! :D OMG I can’t believe how crazy everything was in the 10 days leading up to the wedding… and how at peace we finally are now!

Wow.

I kinda half expected to be calm throughout the whole thing, I was ever so slightly worried about it being anti-climactic and just feeling like nothing was different. Very glad I was wrong!

The week before was a tough one though. I was perfectly calm despite being really busy up until the cake lady called me on the Friday before the wedding saying she had no notes on what I wanted…. not “Sorry, I seem to have lost my notes.” But “Hi, I need instructions as to what you want on your cake” despite the meetings and phone calls made months in advance to sort everything out, and many follow up calls to try and find out when we should expect to receive a costing. Despite all that, the cake lady called me exactly one week before the wedding day to find out what I want as a wedding cake and seemed to have completely forgotten that we had spoken many times before and that I had in fact watched her write at least 2 pages of notes! Anyway, I told her to speak to my future Mother-In-Law. I did not want to hear from her again!

That set me off, from that moment up until the wedding day I was being bombarded with phone calls while running up and down all over the place, feeling nervous, busy, worried, tired, overwhelmed with all kinds of adrenaline spikes showing up throughout each day.

Basically I think the underlying worry (sugarcoated with cake issues, bouquet hang ups bla bla bla) was the dreadful thought that I could potentially ruin a wonderful mans life by marrying him. Yea I sound a little crazy, didn’t think that I would be that bride ESPECIALLY after being with this same wonderful man since we were both 14! But I was. Why was I worrying about that? Because I have no real idea what kind of person I will be 20 or 30 years from now. My Dark Side has managed to surprise me in the past… I hate to think of what kind of surprises it has waiting further down the road. Ugh!

The worst was every morning when I woke up early to do whatever else needed to be done for that day. I woke up with all these tasks looming over my head, plus that worry! All my belly could handle was fruit :P I think I lost some pounds in that week, not on purpose because my dress had fit like a glove by the end of my last fitting!! My stomach just doesn’t handle food and adrenaline very well :-s

Anyway, once I got busy and surrounded myself with my wonderful family and bridesmaids I calmed down by the end of the day :) the hen/bachelorette weekend was wonderful. We went to my favourite hike in the whole world!! It is a beautiful river in a jungle and you can either walk along the river or wade/swim up the whole way until you reach 3 pools one after the other. I had not been back since the last time we lived here in the year 2006. Went with my family and my bridesmaids :D One of them was very scared as she had never been on a hike before and was worried about snakes, I re-assured her that she was safe but of course she was still scared, I almost offered to end the hike but she kept on going and I really feel she deserved a medal for trekking on! And then doing 3 more hikes as well before going back to London after the wedding! Anyway… I can’t put in words but the end of that hike was beauuuutiful and I was so happy to share that with 5 of my favourite girls and again with my family!

Then for the actual hen night we started off at my best friends house and they surprised me with food and drinks and of course explicitly shaped confetti and games and drinks… oh yea I said drinks already hehe! :D it was great having my mum and sister there too, plus my now Mother-In-Law and Auntie-In-Law and Cousin-In-Law’s and a bunch of old friends from high school. I had not partied with my mum and sister in a while! In fact I don’t think I had ever properly partied with my sister before! Then the Mother-In-Law and Auntie-In-Law left and the rest of us (with my mum) went to a gay bar :D most likely the ONLY gay bar in this country. One of my friends had got his connections there to book us a separate booth which was great :D and we got a surprise show at the end while we were sat inside the mini-bus. Some guys decided to start wining up in front of the bus, and then would stop and try to look inconspicuous as soon as anyone walked past.

Then the next day was a big family get together at our house in which my family were introduced to a LOT of the Husbands family. I loved it! My dad especially made sure to socialise with EVERYONE and we all enjoyed ourselves so much! That was another blessing because our families are so different I had always wondered if it would be an awkward introduction but it wasn’t. It was just perfect!

Then from that Monday to the Friday was back to business and worrying with a break for the rehearsal dinner on the Thursday. The Friday I had a good cry to at least 2 of my bridesmaids and also the Husband. All at different times of the day. They each managed to reassure me that I probably won’t become a horrible person in the next 20 or 30 years :P I just needed to vent! I had hoped to spend that last day relaxing with my family, but instead ended up getting caught up with more tasks all the way up until 8:30 that evening. As I sat down ready to close my lap top and head over to the hotel where I would spend the night with my family, I checked my voicemails and had an ANGRY message from the nun! One of the documents she needed for the marriage certificate was not there, so luckily my dad was already on his way to pick me up. I just told him we needed to go and deliver this document to the nun’s convent which happened to be on the top of a hill that was deep into one of the not so nice parts of the country :-s at night as well! The Auntie-In-Law managed to direct us all the way there and I was able to deliver the document to the nun who lowered a basket on the end of a rope from her balcony for me to put the document in… felt so old school! My husband calls that nun Sister Thug. She is very assertive and strict and opinionated.

I finally got to the hotel at about 10:30-11ish and spent a few hours sitting and debating social/racial/historical issues with the rest of my nerd family INCLUDING my relatives from Canada and Fiji who I had not seen since my cousins wedding exactly 11 years before my wedding date! That is a complete coincidence by the way! Her wedding was on the 10th August 2002. She was 24. Now I am 24 and our wedding was the 10th August 2013 :) Aaaah life! But after sitting and talking with them it is very easy to see that despite distance and time, we are all one family of hard core nerds :P I ended the night snuggling in bed watching cartoons with my sister and brother as we have done so many times before. OMG this post is getting long….

Anyway, the next day I woke up and got married!! :D It actually went by so well, it was beautiful. My nerves all seemed to go away as I walked up the aisle. Even as my dad whispered “you know, it’s not too late to turn back now! :D ” and I turned and whispered “SHUT. UP.” I was just cool… like this is exactly where I was meant to be. We hugged and then Dad “gave me away” to my husband and as we sat down I realised… wait for it… my calm and collected man was very nervous!! I squeezed his hand the whole time, and to be honest, this helped me a great deal. I loved that I could support him just as he had supported me. My favourite part of the wedding was reading out our vows. We went with the traditional vows as although they are simple they are also as perfect as they can get. Husband and I used to talk about writing our own vows years ago when we were teenagers, but over all this time it’s kind of like we have said everything we could possibly think of that we are happy now with the vows the church has given us. It’s like they are the only thing left to say.

My heart was pounding but I can’t call the feeling nervous. I just remembered to tell myself not to stumble over my words, to focus, to concentrate on what the priest was saying. I was telling myself all this in my mind because these had been big worries of mine before as well. I often think of the worst way I could possibly mess up at crucial situations so that I can try and make sure it doesn’t happen. Believe me, I can think of many ways and they can get pretty bad! But even though I was telling myself not to mess up I didn’t need to. I felt so relieved to hear myself say each word and I loved to hear each sound as I said it. As I said, this is exactly where I am meant to be.

Oh, another little detail, it was POURING rain throughout the ceremony! There was even some thunder that happened to come at a crucial point… I can’t remember if it was during the priests homily or right after the gospel reading. Perfect timing anyway :P Will have to review that when we get our wedding video… It continued to rain as we took our family photos in the portico for shelter.

It stopped raining just in time for our portrait session in the Botanical Gardens! Photos of just my husband and I with our Best Man and one out of my two Maid of Honour’s (my wonderful sister!) with us to help with the veil, bouquet, wiping sweat from my husbands brow etc! That was so nice and intimate, husband and I were talking to each other through most of it. The photographers were so professional while also very relaxed and interactive! Helped to let us just feel comfortable instead of micromanaging every pose.

Then we got to the reception and that is when I started to feel the adrenaline again! Neither my husband or I could eat more than a couple bites of the really good food. And we also only had a bite of our cakes as well, and completely forgot to ask the staff to cut it up and serve it to everyone. We are now desperately trying to eat all of my cake before it goes off :P. Husbands cake is a fruit cake with brandy in it so that is fine.

The speeches were beautiful. A little nerve wracking cos I was wondering what stories were going to be exposed to all of our guests but it wasn’t so bad. My sister was the one worst! She spent the first half talking about how mean we were to each other growing up to the point where she actually stopped and said to me “don’t worry, it gets better!” and it did to my relief!! We were at each others throats as kids, but since we both grew up we have definitely become much closer and I am very happy to have her. My husbands speech was very RAW and that is because he was so sure that he would remember everything he wanted to say without writing notes, and then as we stood up by the mic he made sure to begin with “I forgot what I wanted to say!” Psssshhhh, we all told him before to at least write some notes!! But oh well, he did actually manage to say most of what I remember him preparing to say before, it just came out sounding much more free-styled. He made sure to thank everyone for helping to make me and him into a wonderful couple, and also to tell everyone that he loves me with all his heart even though he usually doesn’t like all that public mushy stuff :P

The dances were a little awkward, especially since we just picked songs we liked rather than songs with a more dance-y rhythm :P plus my dad cannot dance at all!!! AT ALL!! That’s ok I lead our dance with a sort of two step thingy and we sang along to the music.  My husband and I just kinda cuddled and swayed to our song which was a very nice song, I wish it could have gone on longer :)

After that we went straight on to cutting the cake and tossing the bouquet most likely because everyone just wanted to start dancing and partying :P the ceiling was pretty low so I had to make sure to try and toss the bouquet directly behind me, and it landed right in my bridesmaids hands she didn’t even have to fight for it, just stood there… Husband says I cheated and was aiming for her :P I swear I wasn’t!

Either way, it was a very good wedding, I wish it went on for two days instead of just one but that would have gotten very expensive :P after the party my husband and I went home to pack our overnight bags and headed to the hotel. It was beautiful! Luxurious! Never stayed in a room so fancy! There was a shower with a rain effect shower head and it was placed in a glass enclosure in the middle of the room! For breakfast the next day I still couldn’t eat everything :P It was such a good night though.

We went on our honeymoon 3 days later as a lot of our guests only arrived a few days before the wedding and we wanted to spend more time with them. I have a couple of stories for that as well but I think those will have to wait for another post :P I might even write it tomorrow just because there’s still so much to say about the past couple weeks!

Of course there were mishaps on the wedding day as well. No one ever seems to mention those so people end up working so hard to achieve the perfect wedding, but the truth is, everything can’t go according to plan! I could list a bunch of mishaps! From little things like food stains on my dress, cake issues, to proper family drama on both our sides and even between ourselves (just a little bit!) as when you put enough people together in an emotional situation I think it’s just fate :P but the point is no matter how you put it, a wedding is a beautiful occasion and any mishaps do not need to overshadow this.

My husband and I are now united together for the rest of our lives by God. I think one of the nicest feelings that I am feeling right now is pure relief and gratitude that we got this far. Despite everything. Despite all of my issues, all of his issues, all of our drama that took us through ups and downs over the past 10 years we are finally here and married!

Thank God!

Lots of Love

Mrs. Smileyface

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan Kareem

Wishing all Muslims a peaceful and faithful Ramadan.

I’m a little afraid to write this post cos it’s a hot topic in the world today :s

But this blog doesn’t get much traffic anyway so maybe I am safe?

As I think I mentioned in this post one half of my family is Muslim. Therefore I grew up celebrating both traditions, however whenever someone asked me what religion I was I used to say that I am a Muslim. This was until I started university when for a while I would say that I am “undecided” and then eventually became a practicing baptised Catholic :)

One thing I LOVE about the Catholic faith is this:

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as “a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life.”332

Everyone is searching for God.

We are not perfect human beings and on top of that we are all different.

I don’t think God would close himself off from people just because their circumstances led them to a different religion.

The truth is that most people are taught only one religion and that will be which ever religion their parents follow. Also, if someone does want to decide it can be quite difficult when EVERY religion claims to be the one true path to salvation!

I find too many people have such an exclusive view on religion and I don’t like it. And everyone always emphasises that “we ALL have to make a choice!”  and that is why there is no sympathy. Yes it is true that everyone has to make a choice. But making a choice to break a family tradition or even face ostracism from either your family, community or country based on a change in your belief, is not nearly the same thing as making a choice to stick with the religion and traditions that you and many generations of your family have safely and happily grown up with. That applies to all religions.

So to all Muslims, have a wonderful Ramadan. I am definitely looking forward to Eid as it just so happens to be on the same day as the Rehearsal Dinner!! AAAAAAAHH!! Can’t wait to see my family and friends!!! :D

Lots of Love

Engaged Lady

Update / Forms of Prayer

OMG I’m getting married in almost ONE MONTH!!

This year went by incredibly fast!

I have been so busy.

I have been hiding from the internet.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

My faith, along with many other things tends to progress in hills and valleys, meaning: sometimes my faith is strong, sometimes it is weak, sometimes I take God for granted. Seeing those last few words on paper just seem so harsh. I don’t like it.

I’m not like some people who’s faith is so ingrained in them that it just seems to come so naturally, that missing church on New Years Eve or on a random Sunday would be unthinkable. Sometimes I have to remind myself to pray and some times it. just. doesn’t. happen. For whatever reason, I could be distracted, I could have nothing to say. Most of the time distracted.

Anyway, I was very happy this weekend because 1. I went to church. 2. It’s time to choose readings for the wedding :)

Reading seems to help me more than anything when it comes to prayer. It just focuses my mind and it motivates me. It gives me different topics to think about and dwell on. I feel/hope that on the days when I don’t manage to lie down and focus on just silent prayer, that my reading and the thoughts sparked by reading are heard by God.

On top of this, I am very thankful when people are willing and eager to talk about faith. You could be Christian, Atheist, Muslim, whatever. We don’t have to agree on everything or even on most things, but I am just happy that these kinds of discussions keep my mind on or around God and that hopefully I am doing the same for you too!

Anyway, time to go and prepare for tomorrow. Tonight that means sleep and pray!

Goodnight and sweet dreams :)

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