USA: Moving On – Taking Brain and Heart Along

USA: Moving On – Taking Brain and Heart Along

sophia-dad-reunionThe last time I saw my father was in March 1991. In July 2016, after 25 years and many more questions, I finally saw him again.

Leading up to the day he was coming, I kept wondering what it would be like to see him after so long. Would we both cry? Would I be happy, or mad, or something I didn’t yet know? So it was fairly perplexing to discover that I’d react as if I had just seen him the previous week.

My older brothers, my husband, my oldest niece and I picked him up along with my youngest brother, whom I hadn’t yet met. The airport was busy with people and taxi drivers bustling about, which made the experience kind of surreal, as if experiencing it from outside of myself with ‘Café sounds’ playing as mood music in the background.

We all hugged, got in our cars and drove to my mom’s house. I was really curious to see what my parents’ first in-person interaction in 25 years would be like. There were no fireworks and no war-like explosions; just hugs and excited happy voices.

I pulled my husband to the side later that evening and explained how weird it was to not feel anything extreme. How could I not want to cry from seeing my father and my youngest brother? How could I not want to yell in frustration for having so many questions left unanswered? In the end, I theorized that because I already knew that I wouldn’t be getting any answers, I was mentally and emotionally prepared for this very special encounter.

Although we were around one another here and there for about two weeks, it was only toward the end of my stay that my father and I had ‘the’ conversation. We were at the beach, and he was by the water, standing alone. I walked over to take a food order from him, and he said: “Listen, I am really sorry for not being in your life, but all that is in the past, and I hope we can move forward with a new life. Okay?”

I could see it was a difficult sentiment for him to get out, as he could barely look at me as he spoke. It seemed that he wanted to let me know how bad he felt, but he wasn’t going to get into it, whatever his reasons were.

All I could do, given where we were, was say “okay”, smile, and take his food order. On my way back to the restaurant at the beach I couldn’t help but analyze my response. I was a bit incredulous at myself, but I also knew this wasn’t the place to have ‘the’ conversation with my dad.

The sum of the experience, for me, was to learn that life presents us with a myriad situations in which innumerable people are involved. Sometimes we find the strength to ask questions to find closure, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we ask the questions and we get answers, and other times we don’t. What do we do then, when there are no answers but the answer-bearers are alive?

We can come up with as many solutions for this as there are people, but I found that my lesson was to let it go and agree that it’s all in the past.

Finding closure for yourself can be difficult, but if you pretend that there is no other way (for instance, if you wanted to ask Michael Jackson how many times he rehearsed The Man in the Mirror, you couldn’t do so, and you’d have to be at peace with that), then I believe you can put your mind to accepting that you can move on, taking your brain and your heart with you and have closure regardless.

What are some of your experiences in which you wanted closure but couldn’t get it? What did you do about it? Does it affect your parenting in any way?

This is an original post to World Moms Network by Sophia of ThinkSayBe. Photo credit to the author.


I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!

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JORDAN: The Most Important Things Out of Education

JORDAN: The Most Important Things Out of Education

#WorldMom Jackie's children

First day of school! #worldmoms

September is the month of renewal for parents, educators and children, as they return to school to start a new academic year. The smell of the starch in the children’s shirts and the taste of the anticipation and excitement in the air was almost palpable today as I walked into assembly at the Amman Baccalaureate School in Amman, Jordan, where I am consulting.

As the assembly hour unfolded with talk of teamwork, youth empowerment, holistic education and global mindedness, my heart and soul began to swell. At one point I whispered aloud to myself, “I am with my people, this is my language.”

As parents, we hope for and strive to put our children in educational environments where academic performance is solely one piece of the much bigger educational pie. We yearn for our children to exit the educational system after grade 12 with a sense of global responsibility, an ability to empathize with those less fortunate than themselves, as lifelong learners steeped in an understanding of their own unique heritage and mother tongue with strong academic skills as the spine to all this greater knowledge. As an educator, I know that data supports these values and shows this to be the education with the most impact.

Over the next few weeks, homes around the world will fill with stories from the first days of the 2015/16 academic year and there will no doubt be celebrations of friendships renewed, as well as, tears from children who feel disappointed with their class placement.

These precious moments provide us, as parents, a unique teachable moment.

Don’t miss this opportunity to introduce terms like resilience and grit; characteristics, which, in the long run, will mark life success.

I know with certainty that I will be making my children’s favorite dinner tonight in the hopes that whatever stories come from my ninth and fourth grader, I am ready to seize the teachable moment and remind them of what is truly important to learn from school.

What do you talk about with your children regarding the most important things to get out of their education?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by our contributor, Jackie Jenkins in Jordan. 

Photo credit to the author.

Jacqueline Jenkins (Jordan)

We are a few months into our new 'home of our heart' location in Amman, Jordan. Originally from Canada, I have been moving around the globe for more than twenty years as my husband works for UNICEF. While we were a carefree couple in Uganda, Lesotho and Bangladesh, Meghan joined our family in 2000, while we were living in Myanmar. She was joined in 2005, while we were posted in India by Charlie, her energetic younger brother! Since then we have lived in Mozambique and New York. I am an educator and have been incredibly fortunate to have found rewarding jobs in international schools wherever we have been posted. Most recently I was the Elementary School Principal at the United Nations International School in Manhattan. Since arriving in Jordan, I have been a stay at home Mum, exploring, photographing and learning about the incredible history of the region and the issues facing not only the Jordan population but the incredible number of Syrian refugees currently residing in the country. While I speak English and French, I have not yet started to learn Arabic; a big goal for our time here. I write to record and process this incredible journey we are on as a family. Time passes so incredibly quickly and without a recording of events, it's hard to remember the small moments and wonderings from each posting. Being a mother in this transient lifestyle means being the key cheerleader for our family, it means setting up and taking down a house with six weeks notice, it means creating close friendships and then saying goodbye. All this, while telling yourself that the opportunities your children have make the goodbyes and new hellos worthwhile. Raising a child in this lifestyle has incredible challenges and rewards. The challenges include culture shock every single time, even when you feel the move will be an easy one. It means coaching yourself, in your dark moments to be present and supportive to your children, who have not chosen to move but are trusting you to show them the world and the meaningfulness of the lifestyle we have committed to as a UNICEF family. The upsides to this lifestyle are incredible; the ability to have our children interact and learn about cultures, languages, food, and religions firsthand, the development of tolerance and empathy through relationships with many types of different people and the travel, they have been to more places before the age of ten than some people do in a lifetime! My commitment to raising children who believe in peace and feel responsible for making a difference in creating a better world is at the core of everything I do.

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India: Journey of the Joy Called Life

India: Journey of the Joy Called Life

joy“Be like children in the kingdom of God,” said Christ.

As a child, I always wondered what this saying meant—sometimes I still do—though I have heard a really meaningful explanation which goes like this:

A personality trait in adults, akin to that in children, which is: to have unconditional love, perennial joy, unshakeable faith in ones parents, strong spirit and a “Go get it!” feeling which can never be explained. In short, to have the heart of a child – strong and soft, at the same time.

Observe a child for even a short period of time. And anyone would know what that biblical phrase means. So, I did too.

A few months ago, I was so worried about my son, that he did not exhibit an interest in outdoor activities and that his bicycle was rusting away. And then, suddenly one day, he got this urge to ride his bicycle.

We helped him, ran behind the bike, he fell down a little bit. His best friend was with him constantly, who had already mastered the art. His grandfather was there too. And then his father. It was a big moment! Yes, it was.

And I saw all the stages with my own eyes. Trying to ride, balancing, joy, falling, pouting, getting-back-on, smiling, balancing, riding-joy, smiling, more riding-joy, riding-fast-joy, exhilaration-joy, racing-joy, controlled-riding-joy, showing off-joy, being-a-pro-joy, and so on …

These were all different stages of joy. There was no disappointment even in falling. There was not an iota of doubt that he could not master it. I marveled at the heart of a child. Yes, I was that too, once, long ago; a few decades ago. He never doubted his joy, he never doubted his ability to master it. As adults, we have regressed a long way.

I wondered, “where is that beautiful joy in me now?”

Yes, I am very happy in my life. And I am joyful now and then for many of life’s blessings. But why isn’t that joy, that zest for life,  always there, 24/7, 365 days a year? I am not really sure, I guess “life happens” as they say.

So it made me wonder: “wouldn’t it be great if we all had that kind of childish joy always? Looking at the sky, filled with clouds, making out shapes, dragons and dinosaurs; licking an ice cream like a wild child; stopping to smell flowers; looking at a starry sky at night. Are these the things which give me joy?

Cuddling with my son; seeing him fulfill his aspirations; seeing him successful; seeing him joyful and happy and content. Is this what gives me joy as a mother?

“I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.”
~Hafiz of Persia

So what gives me joy? All of the above, and this too:

Bringing silence into my life, even when it is noisy and filled with all the activities of being a mother, a wife, a woman.

Acceptance, forgiveness, and being content with life, even while  striving for my own personal sense of perfection.

Reconnecting to my own heart, my own inner self, seeking it in the stillness of my heart.

Will these bring me joy?

Being like a child, enjoying this beautiful journey of life, at the same time, not losing focus, and still loving, and accepting and trying, and being joyful all through!

joy riding

Oh be still, little heart… the wonders of a joyful heart! Stillness gives me joy!

What gives you joy? Has any simple life event helped you introspect, reconnect with your Higher Inner Self and brought back focus to your life?

This is an original post from our World Mom and Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan.

Her contributions to World Moms Blog can be found here. She also rambles at The Alchemist’s Blog.

Photo credit to the author.

Purnima Ramakrishnan

Purnima Ramakrishnan is an UNCA award winning journalist and the recipient of the fellowship in Journalism by International Reporting Project, John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Her International reports from Brazil are found here . She is also the recipient of the BlogHer '13 International Activist Scholarship Award . She is a Senior Editor at World Moms Blog who writes passionately about social and other causes in India. Her parental journey is documented both here at World Moms Blog and also at her personal Blog, The Alchemist's Blog. She can be reached through this page . She also contributes to Huffington Post . Purnima was once a tech-savvy gal who lived in the corporate world of sleek vehicles and their electronics. She has a Master's degree in Electronics Engineering, but after working for 6 years as a Design Engineer, she decided to quit it all to become a Stay-At-Home-Mom to be with her son!   This smart mom was born and raised in India, and she has moved to live in coastal India with her husband, who is a physician, and her son who is in primary grade school.   She is a practitioner and trainer of Heartfulness Meditation.

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UK: The Power of Gratitude

UK: The Power of Gratitude

2 keys to happinessI love reading other people’s blogs and sometimes a post just stays with me and I go back to it a number of times because it is worth reading over and over again. Last August I read a post by Glennon at Momastery and she summed up my stance on life in such a fabulous post, one that quickly went viral.

Go and have a read if you like and then come back, or alternatively, here is the low-down. Glennon starts by saying she posted a picture of herself in her kitchen on Facebook and very quickly people started to comment on her status with offers of help. Help to update her kitchen, pictures for inspiration and advice of how she might move away from her kitchen of clutter, mismatched appliances and 80’s style work surfaces.

Guess what happened? Within minutes Glennon had moved from her place of contentment and was converting a shiny new kitchen, one that did not make her look lazy and dated. She then talks of going to bed that night and remembering a quote from Thoreau’s Walden: “I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes and not a new wearer of the clothes.”

In her words “Walden reminds me that when I feel lacking – I don’t need new things, I need new eyes with which to see the things I already have.” Of course the next morning as she walked into her kitchen her eyes were aligned very differently and instead of a craft covered refrigerator and overflowing sink she saw plenty of chilled food that could sustain her family and easy access to clean drinking water, things that much of the world cannot take for granted.

I can’t urge you enough, dear friends, to choose to be grateful for what you have in life. Of course your life is not perfect, no-one’s is but there is always joy to be had in every day. Around the same time as I started to write my personal blog seven years ago I adopted the stance that we all choose how our day would go. I had baby twins and a toddler and life was full-on, I could feel myself spiralling into late-onset post-natal depression and I knew I had to make some changes to help me.

The big change was to choose to be happy, happy with what I had in life, happy that I had been blessed with three small demanding children and happy that my life lay ahead of me and that I had the freedom to choose how it might look.

This choice, combined with continual talking about how I felt, led to me feeling so much better, and the depression started lifting. I know I was lucky, it is not always that easy to rise out of the blackness, but my faith and belief in God’s goodness really helped me.

In 2011 I started a new series on my blog called Reasons to be Cheerful and this is an excerpt from the launch page – “Do you know what I believe are two of the fundamental keys to happiness? One, is to choose to be happy and the other is to want what you already have! Endless seeking of things, money, status, time or anything else will never fulfil you! This is where the gratitude comes in….“ And over time I just felt my contentment grow.

For me as a Christian it is important that I express my gratitude as the bible tells me ‘to give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever’ (Psalm 106:1) but you do not have to share my faith to believe in the power and necessity of practising the principle of gratitude. I am living proof that gratitude makes a massive difference in your life. With practise when you choose to look for the good and see where you can be thankful rather than focusing on the bad you will find your mood, your health, your outlook on life and your contentment lift. It is a precious gift indeed to feel content.

So I urge you next time you see someone else’s shiny new kitchen and you start to think that yours needs an update, try and delve a little deeper and see what it is you are really missing, as its unlikely to be kitchen units. What has caused this dissatisfaction? Then once you have pondered this, turn it around and share your #3GoodThings for that day and watch the low feeling disappear as you revel in all the goodness and beauty you already have in your life.

As my lovely friend Karin always says “Not every day is good but there is good in every day.”

What are you grateful for? How do you seek happiness when things are not going well?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Michelle Pannell of Mummy from the Heart. Photo credit to the author.


Michelle Pannell

Michelle’s tales of everyday life and imperfect parenting of a 13-year-old boy and 9-year-old twin girls and her positive Christian outlook on life have made her name known in the UK parenting blogosphere. Her blog, Mummy from the Heart, has struck a chord with and is read by thousands of women across the world. Michelle loves life and enjoys keeping it simple. Time with her family, friends and God are what make her happiest, along with a spot of blogging and tweeting, too! Michelle readily left behind the corporate arena but draws on her 25 years of career experience from the fields of hotel, recruitment and HR management in her current voluntary roles at a school, Christian conference centre, night shelter and food bank. As a ONE ambassador, in 2012 Michelle was selected to travel on a delegation to Ethiopia with the organisation to report on global poverty and health. Then in 2014 she was invited to Washington, DC, where she attended the AYA Summit for girls and women worldwide. When asked about her ambassadorship with the ONE Campaign, she stated, "I feel humbled to be able to act as an advocate and campaigner for those living in poverty."

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Egypt: 10 Ways to Live a Happier Life

7janHappy New Year!  In this season of resolutions, many of us are looking for ways to live a happier life.  As a mother, I believe increasing one’s happiness is a wonderful thing to do for oneself and for one’s family–an angry, bitter and unhappy woman can never make her family happy.  But how do we find our way to a happier life?

Happiness is all about us, about our mindset, what we believe and how we feel. Our circumstances, our possessions, our job and our bank account are just temporary sources of happiness. Real happiness shines from the inside out, reflecting how we feel about ourselves and how satisfied we are with who we are and how we live.  As a life coach, here are 10 practices I’ve found that enhance my daily happiness.

1- Improve your self image: For me, the first and most important source of happiness is how I feel about the image I see in the mirror.  How proud do I feel about myself? What kind of relationship do I have with myself?  Do I offer myself love, respect, acceptance and appreciation? Or is it guilt, shame, anger, and low self esteem? Being happy with who I am is my main source of happiness.

2- Don’t seek approval of others: Many women live in a way they don’t want just to please their partner, their family, or their friends.  Though this may result in short-term approval and acceptance, living according to others’ expectations will not create lasting happiness.

3- Keep your word to yourself:  Learn to say NO to what is not a priority in your life.  If you set a ME time for yourself ,do not give it up easily.  Keeping your word to yourself will greatly enhance your feeling of self worth and  self respect.

4- Eat healthy food and exercise: Healthy food will positively impact your mood and give you more energy. Working out regularly has a great effect on physical and mental health. According to a psychiatrist friend of mine, walking one hour in open air equates the effect of an antidepressant pill. So when you feel down, try going for a walk outside.

5- Let go:  Let’s face it.  There are some aspects of our lives we cannot control.  We certainly can’t control, or change, the past.  Accepting the reality that we can do nothing brings a great relief and freedom.

6- Find your passion: Working on something you love brings real satisfaction. If you haven’t yet found your passion, play around with different hobbies like making or listening to music, drawing, or writing.  Expressing your thoughts and feelings in any way will help you get clear about what your passion is.

7- Keep only fulfilling relationships: Continuing with unhealthy and non-fulfilling relationships is an energy drain.  See no. 3.

8- Keep a gratitude journal: Make it a habit to jot down 5 things in your life for which you are grateful.  If  have something you complain about all the time, follow your complaint with any positive you can find in it.  Eventually, you may find a blessing in what you were complaining about.

9- LOLFind a reason every day to laugh, and spend time with your beloved ones having fun and laughing out loud.

10- Spend some time away from media and technology: Take a brief holiday from the TV, radio, internet, even your iPhone.  Spend the time working out, meeting friends, reading books, playing with your kids and pets, or taking a walk.  Observe how you feel.  Just few days (or even an afternoon) without media and technology will make great difference in your life and your satisfaction.

These are my tips on how to live a happier life.  What are some things you do to add happiness to your life?  What is your definition of happiness and do you find it easy to live according to this definition? What challenges do you face to live a happier life?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at  Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image courtesy of  “Pretty Girl In A Hat At Sunset” by Stuart Miles


Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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