Wednesday, October 1, 2014

AROUND SEATTLE: Mt Baker

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Mount Baker, a spectacular active volcano in the North Cascades that Seattle gets to enjoy a view of on clear days, is the 3rd highest summit in the state of Washington and one of the iciest mountains in the Cascade range. A favorite for mountaineers it also makes for a great family outing because the highway takes you right to the center of it all and you get absolutely beautiful views of Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan, along with many trails, quite a few of them kid-friendly too. The views from Picture Lake and Artist Point are beyond amazing.

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Photos from our visit in mid September.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What lies within us

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One of my favorite quotes is this one by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'What lies behind us and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us'. We live in a world that places immense importance on outer appearances. We evaluate people by their outsides, by their jobs and their achievements, by the schools their children go to and their afterschool activities, by the clothes they wear and the brands they flaunt, by their homes and the areas they live in, and the list goes on and on. Good people lose their value and the strength of our characters loses its worth, because what we own, the image of ourselves that we show to the world, matters so much more.

When in fact, that is what we need to focus on, instead of striving for the next thing on our list, we need to spend at least as much time on our insides, on being better every single day, on learning from our mistakes, owning up our faults, and just improving our insides. The fact that none of this matters once we die, our worldly things and statuses. None of it. The only thing that will matter will be the kind of people we were. Not saying that our things and our achievements don’t mean anything, of course we all want a comfortable life but the problem is this never ending race that always shows us there is more to buy and more to achieve. It is just never ending. There is more to us than just our things and our achievements.

As Muslims also sometimes we are so focused on showing others how religious we are, on focusing on rituals and yet forgetting the core of our faith, which is to purify our hearts, to becoming better human beings, to learn from our mistakes and correcting them. Yet we are witnesses of the lies/corruption/fraud/injustice that happens in our own 'Muslim' country. I'll only talk of Pakistan as that is what I know. And this when our religion teaches us that Allah does not look at our outsides but at our heart and our intentions. That in front of Him we are all equal and only better than each other by our deeds.

As a start, let's look at ourselves past all the layers we show to the world, what our values are, what we believe in, what we've learned in life, the mistakes we’ve made. Let’s ask ourselves if we live our lives in a way that projects these values. And then everyday wake up with the promise to be better, better than your own self. Better than who you were yesterday. And make this your life long quest. As parents, each one of us has the added responsibility to give GOOD kids that will grow up to be GOOD adults, to the world. Let's give, if not more, as much importance to our kids insides as we give to their achievements.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dear Baby: The journey has begun.

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Dear little girl, It has begun, bit by bit, the beginning of your journey on your own in this world. All those years ahead of balancing the letting go and the holding on, the guiding and the letting you experience and learn on your own. You started school this week and it feels like the first time you started walking all over again. Letting go of your tiny fingers to encourage you to walk, and hovering nearby to catch you if you fall. Remember those days? It feels like that. But that is what parenting is about, in the end. We'll do this dance of letting go of you and then taking your hand again, as you slowly get used to this world until the day when you're ready to step on your own, to walk your own steps into the world. Saying a little prayer for you every time you walk through those doors and I drive away.

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More letters to my baby here.