Throwback Thursday: Writing is a process

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m exhausted from a day at the beach today, but I haven’t written anything today (don’t ask me about the novella, the inspiration seems to come to me once a month) and I remembered it’s Thursday so it’s time for a throwback post. Let’s do this!

Writing is a process

There is this tightness in my chest…

When I suddenly remember things that have bothered me in the past and these feelings of being trapped wash over me in waves…

I feel like I’m drowning…

Me, as I type on my laptop.

I’m doing this to myself.

I’m working on a project, and I have another project on the back burner for later when I’m done with this one.

It’s a process. Writing.

My blogs, sometimes I research for them, and sometimes, like now, I just write what I feel. I’m sure you can tell the difference.

On my laptop, however, are the juicy stuff. The ones that I have to dig deep within my soul and talk about the things that make me feel most vulnerable. It’s exhausting and painful at times, but necessary for my growth and hopefully future success.

I get busy with housework and motherhood, which is all-important, so I don’t find much time to type. It’s not possible to just spend my days writing.

Inspiration comes from my experiences as a mom, as a wife, as a friend, as a sister, as a daughter, as a Muslim, as a human.

If I had no experience, I’d have nothing to write about. Often, though, my most inspiration comes at dawn, when I’m supposed to be either asleep resting or doing housework or reading.

Last night, I had a great idea to write. I wrote the whole thing in my head as I was putting my son to sleep. Moments before I fell asleep, I could feel that great idea slipping away. It’s gone now. Well, I remember bits and pieces. It had something to do with dreams, the kind you have in your sleep. I was psychoanalyzing why I’m always running away from someone in my dreams. They never seem to catch me, and I never get to see them. I just sense they’re there, and I’m afraid, so I run and hide. If someone is an expert in dream psychology, feel free to psychoanalyze me.

So I was responsible today. I didn’t sit down to write this blog until after I finished my housework. I didn’t even drink my coffee until then. I didn’t eat much, just 7 almonds, literally. I’m not proud of it. My appetite is a bit off lately and my sleep is not so good. Sometimes. Not every night. Last night I slept from 10 pm until 4 am. That’s it.

I have to go now. My son just woke up. It’s a big day today. Long to-do list.

I’m pretty much the same as I was last year, and that project was probably another book or the novella. I feel so guilty for not working on my novella. Why do I feel guilty? I write when I write. No rush. I feel like sleeping and eating and reading and watching a movie, all at once. I don’t know what to do…its a process. Self-improvement, life, writing, … It’s all a process.

Throwback Thursday: My true calling (a poem)

She wakes up thinking how to spend the day
Watches the sunrise sipping on her coffee
She reads a book and then watches a movie
Sometimes she feels her life is kind of boring

She wants to leave a mark and make a difference
She wants to feel that people crave her essence*
She is a writer and a poet
She has a bright mind and she knows it

But deep inside she has this melancholy*
It weighs her down and causes her to reminisce*
She wants to be a happy-go-lucky*
But she’s an old soul*, she can’t seem to help it

She keeps looking for things to fill the void
She’s running out of ways to make some noise
And even though she knows fire’s not a toy
She keeps playing with it

She says
I wish I had a story
That would put me on the cover of a magazine
I wish it was gory*
Full of all the things from a movie

But I’m just a regular girl
With a regular life
I was a daddy’s girl
And now I am a wife

Impulsive and groovy*
I never think twice
I think books and movies
Are living my best life

Never was into parties
I can’t see all the hype*
But I know my true calling*
Has always been to write

Maybe I should smile more
Maybe I should socialize and go out
I know I should eat healthy more
And I know that I should work out

Sometimes my priorities get all mixed up
Sometimes my responsibilities feel a bit much
But I know I got 1st world problems so I should be grateful
So I will make the most of my life and try to be thankful

I will make it my life’s mission to spread happiness
And to focus on bettering myself every day
I will train myself to selflessly give
But to 1st give myself love and care

*gory means unpleasant
*groovy means interesting
*essence means true nature
*melancholy means thoughtful sadness
*to reminisce means to recall the past in a private moment, often fondly or nostalgically
*happy-go-lucky means easygoing and carefree
*old soul is a person of unusual maturity
*hype means promotion of something or marketing it as a good thing
*true calling means something you were born to do

Throwback Thursday: Adjusting vs. Adapting

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to Throwback Thursday, in which I bring a post from a year ago back and give my thoughts about it. Today’s post, ironically, is about adjusting versus adapting.

We are at the end of the summer season and the situation in Lebanon just keeps getting worse. There are so many negative events happening in the world that I’ve taken to watching The Good Doctor and playing Candy Crush all day. Well, that and my million responsibilities that come with being a mom and housewife. I’m trying to be a supportive wife as well, but it’s easier said than done.

Anyway, a year ago today, I wrote:

What’s the difference between adjusting and adapting?

I ask because 2020 has been something else, for everyone, and at the beginning of March, I was optimistic that this would only be for a month. As we near the middle of August, it seems as if things will never go back to the way they were. So much has happened this year. Memes have been made about 2020 being a very difficult year. What with the pandemic, the collapsing economy, and everything else that happened, it feels like we’re standing in the middle of rubble and we have no idea how to rebuild or where to start.

This brings me to the question of the day: Should we adapt or adjust? Human beings are known for their ability to adapt and evolve, some more than others, but what does it mean to adapt? Adaptation involves modifying something for a new purpose, while the adjustment is simply making small changes, like turning the volume on the radio up or down.

If we adapt to this new world, what does that mean exactly? It means finding out what the world needs most from us and focusing on that. We have a new purpose, to rebuild, to ensure that our children aren’t traumatized by everything that happened this year, to serve our communities the best that we can.

In normal circumstances, we would adjust our routine, wake up earlier, exercise more, eat healthier, do small things every day that would bring us closer to our goals. We still need to do all of that, but in addition, we must adapt and renew ourselves. The world does not revolve around us, and we must do our best to ensure the future of our children in this unpredictable world.

Try to be thoughtful, polite, and compassionate is rewarding. A compliment and a ‘thank you’ can go a long way.

Are you adapting well to the new norm?

Flash forward to August 2021 and the pandemic is still here. There is a new delta wave coming. The fuel crisis in Lebanon is just getting worse. Prices are sky-high. We have no electricity, no wifi half the time. It’s predicted that soon we will have no running water. I’m trying so hard not to panic, but it’s hard not to. My body is in flight mode, ready to book a ticket to the US, but I can’t leave my son and husband behind, and I don’t want to venture into the unknown. I mean, we are heading into an unknown in Lebanon as well, but at least we have food and shelter. I believe it’s time I start adapting. I’ve been adjusting here and there for 2 years, spending less money, buying cheaper brands, and over time we will have to make more and more sacrifices to our standard of living, all because a corrupt government does not know how to run a country. Honestly, we shouldn’t have to adapt. We should make a change, but how? I’m not sure yet. Comment below if you have any suggestions.

Here’s to a new adventure, into the unknown. May we adapt and persevere until we don’t have to adapt anymore. May we make positive changes in the hearts of the people we know and in the world. May we make a difference. May we pave the path for our children so they won’t have to struggle. I hope a year from now when I’m doing a throwback Thursday post, I’ll have good news.

Throwback Thursday: That one time I nominated myself for a Blogger Award

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I bring back a post from a year ago and share my current thoughts about it. A lot can change in a year. My writing style has changed and so have some of my thoughts.

For example, I now think it was vain of me to nominate myself for a blogger award. I also don’t like it when a blogger receives an award and doesn’t nominate anyone in specific. When I nominated myself, I went through a great deal of effort to choose my nominees and tag them. Most of them didn’t even respond.

I like the idea of blogging awards, and I especially enjoy the questions. I like answering questions, but coming up with my questions is much harder. I will mention only the questions from the award here today. I won’t repeat the nominees and links and such.

That one time I nominated myself for the Sunshine Blogger award:

I wish I’d be nominated for an award. I was nominated once, a while ago, and I kind of freaked out. I feel like I missed a golden opportunity. I feel like awards are a nice way to help other bloggers get discovered and to encourage them. I wish I knew how to create awards. Anyway, I just read a post by Betul, a fellow blogger, whose blogs I love. She was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Congrats Betul. And said she nominated anyone who would claim it, so since no one ever nominates me for an award, I think I’ll claim it. You should go check her blog. It is full of short stories and other interesting topics. Donโ€™t miss out!

Betulโ€™s questions:

1- What is a good morning like for you? When I wake up without an alarm, feeling light and non-zombie-like without heaviness in my heart. When I’m not in a rush and I can make my coffee, read Quran, and then a book, maybe even have enough energy to exercise.

2- What is your #1 stress-management strategy? Reading and writing. I’m talking about healthy strategies. Unhealthy strategies are snacking cookies and chocolate, and scrolling on instagram, and binge-watching tv series.

3- What do you value the most in a partner? Honesty and straightforwardness. I don’t like it when people beat around the bush and try to spin the truth or omit the truth.

4- What is your #1 hobby? Reading and writing. They are merged.

5- If you had enough money and time, what would you like to do the most? Travel the world.

6- What is the meaning of life for you? There is good and bad in the world. Good people were put on this Earth for a purpose. We each have a prophecy to fulfill, a message to send, and a difference to make. When you are working towards your purpose, then you are living. Otherwise, you just exist.

7- Who do you value the most in life? I think we all have value, and as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is love. But who could I not live without the most? It’s a tough pick between my parents, husband, and son.

8- Describe your life in three words. Mundane. Dramatic. Privileged.

9- Beaches or mountains? Both, but if I had to choose, beaches.

10-What is your favorite dessert? Chocolate fudge cake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies (I couldn’t pick one).

11-Which culture do you find most interesting? Malaysian. I’d like to go there someday.

My answers are still the same, except for the last question. I would pick Turkey, after having been to there 4 times. I would go 10 more times if I could.

My Questions:

1. Who is your hero?

2. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

3. What is your biggest fear?

4. What was your favorite family vacation?

5. What would you change about yourself if you could?

6. What makes you angry?

7. Have You Ever Dined And Dashed At A Restaurant?

8. Would You Rather Have Endless Money Or Endless Love?

9. Have You Ever Been In A Car Accident โ€” And was it your fault?

10. If You Could Star In A Movie, What Movie Would It Be?

11. What is the first thing you notice about a person?

Throwback Thursday: Anxiety and Depression Self-reflection

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to Throwback Thursday where I bring back a post I wrote exactly a year ago, sometimes 2 or 3 years ago, on this date, and reflect upon it (after fixing the mistakes using the Grammarly keyboard).

Today I’m reflecting upon a post of self-reflection. How poetic is that? Did you know that when you remember an event, you don’t remember the event, but you remember the last time you remembered the event? It’s mindblowing, right?

Reflect upon a recent victory in your life:

I need this pep talk. I do. I can’t think of a recent victory. Yes, I published a few books during March, April and May, but it’s July now, almost August. Besides, barely anyone bought my books and I can’t help but feel bitter about it.

It’s just my luck. I publish a book and the world goes into chaos a week later. A pandemic breaks out, the economy falls, etc. Chaos began in October 2019, after my 28th birthday, with the political situation and riots. Oh well, we’re supposed to be talking positively here.

Another recent victory:

I watched 4 seasons of The Vampire Diaries and 2 seasons of Gilmore Girls, but that’s hardly an accomplishment. I feel very useless and addicted to dopamine shots because of this.

I read over 30 books in the past year, but I need something recent.

I haven’t had a meltdown in public in over 2 weeks. That’s pretty impressive.

I started reading Anxiety and Depression for Dummies recently and so far it’s quizzing (if you know me, you know I love quizzes). “The negative thinking quiz” and “The distraught behavior quiz,” say I’m a bit anxious, but not too anxious that I need medical attention.” The sad, stressed sensations quiz,” says my body is feeling sad, but not entirely depressed. “The conflicted connections quiz” indicates that I’m a bit isolating myself, which I am, kind of.

What was a recent victory in your life?

I’ve had some victories and losses in the past year, but on the top of my head, I’ve published 10 books so far, between poetry, self-help and autobiographies.

I’ve also read some books and many blogs.

I’m also growing my blog and I even created a podcast.

I’m working on my marriage and my parenting, so there are some small victories there, and a lot of room for improvement as well.

What are some recent victories you have had?

Throwback Thursday: My Likes and dislikes (a pointless ranking of items that many people despise because, well, why not?)

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to throwback Thursday where I bring back a post from exactly a year ago, and give my insights about it. Today I’m going to see my likes and dislikes from a year ago and see if they’re still the same.

My likes and dislikes:

I have a lot of pet peeves (things that annoy me). Seeing hair on a plate makes my appetite go away. When people talk while they chew, I can feel my stomach turn.

Here is a list of things that I will rank from disgusting ๐Ÿคฎ to intolerable ๐Ÿ˜ฑ to infuriating ๐Ÿ˜  to “I couldn’t care less” ๐Ÿ™„ to “what’s the big deal?” ๐Ÿ˜’ and finally to “actually, I like this!” ๐Ÿ˜…

Using the above emoticons.

Here we go.

1. Country music: ๐Ÿ™„

I rarely listen to music, but when I do, I don’t listen to country music. I still don’t like country music, but if you do, who am I to judge?

2. Blue cheese: ๐Ÿคฎ

Mold. Fungus. You get the idea. Do you like blue cheese?

3. The word moist: ๐Ÿ™„

Words are powerful, yes, but I think the only words that make me cringe are swear words. Are you triggered by the word moist?

4. Cigarettes: ๐Ÿคฎ

They smell revolting. They’re bad for your health. They’re toxic, and the smoke makes me cough and my eyes water. Also, I’m convinced they’re prohibited in Islam. I stand by that, forever and always. Do you smoke?

5. Reality TV: ๐Ÿ˜ 

I think all reality tv is fake. When you know you’re on camera, you act differently. There is no way that reality tv is real. It’s rehearsed and overdramatic and just a waste of time. What about you? Do you watch reality tv?

6. Loud chewing: ๐Ÿคฎ

Lips smacking. Mouth opening, showing the food inside. The noise makes me want to throw up. Do you or anyone you know chew like this?

7. Mushrooms: ๐Ÿ˜…

I used to only eat the canned mushrooms, but once I tasted fresh mushrooms, I fell in love. They’re good with pasta, chicken, meat, and salad. But they’re really expensive in this economic crisis we’re going through in Lebanon. I miss eating fresh mushrooms. Do you like mushrooms?

8. Astrology: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I feel strongly against anything that goes against Islam. Of course, for non-Muslims, to each their own, but when Muslims read and believe in astrology as if fate and God mean nothing, it makes me feel self-righteous. Nevertheless, I must remember not everyone has the same Islamic background as me, so many people are unaware that astrology is involved with witchcraft and the devils trying to listen in on the angels in the sky. Do you believe in Astrology?

9. Early mornings: ๐Ÿ˜…

I’m an early riser, not 5 am but more like 8 or 9 am, sometimes 7. Sometimes I have trouble going back to sleep after Fajr (dawn) prayer, like today, because I’m anxious to do something specific or have a lot on my mind. When I wake up at 10 am, I feel groggy and disoriented, and grumpy the whole day. Besides, I’m more productive when I wake up early. I still wake up every day at 8. The only difference is every day I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck.

10. Hair in the drain: ๐Ÿคฎ

Just yuck. Especially if it’s not my hair. In my house, I put this thing on top of the drain to catch the hair before it gets clogged and disgusting. Do you leave hair in the drain or remove it right away?

11. Republicans: ๐Ÿ˜ 

The only thing I hate more than injustice is flaunting injustice and being proud to be racist and rude arrogant and…๐Ÿ‘€ I mean, everyone has the freedom of political opinion but… Come on! Of course, I don’t know enough about politics to claim one party is better than another but I was referring to a specific republican and his supporters.

12. Waiting: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I don’t like it when someone wastes my time and keeps me waiting. I got used to it because people in Lebanon are fashionably late, but it still annoys me. If there is a long queue to get something I want, for FREE, I wouldn’t stand in that queue. I’m not as annoyed with waiting as I used to be, but it does bother me a bit.

13. A tall glass of cold dairy milk: ๐Ÿ˜…

Yum. I mean, with peanut butter and jam toast. Heaven on earth. I’m not even going to start on those who drink almond milk. I mean God created cows, sheep, and goats, so you could squeeze an almond?! Anyway, you do you. I like my milk from a cow. I rarely drink milk these days, except in my coffee but I still like cold milk. I also like hot chocolate milk.

14. Sleeping warm: ๐Ÿ˜…

I can’t sleep without covering, no matter how hot it is. I usually get cold while sleeping in hot weather, with the AC off. I’m still the same in that regard.

15. Silence: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

Awkward. Deafening. Especially in an argument. Yell at me but don’t give me the silent treatment. In social gatherings, silence makes me want to lie in a hole ๐Ÿ•ณ especially when everyone is looking at me. I’m still uncomfortable with silence.

16. Bad weather: ๐Ÿ˜’

I like sunshine and I like rain. I think there’s no such thing as bad weather, except hurricanes and tsunamis and avalanches. I just don’t like cold weather.

17. Small talk: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

The reason why I have social anxiety. I’m not interested in shopping and gossip and makeup. I’m not good at finding people’s favorite colors and favorite numbers. I’m not good at giving personal information without giving TMI, so I just sit quietly and hope nobody knows what’s going on inside my head. I still don’t like small talk but I think I’m better at it. I hope.

18. Raw tomatoes: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I can’t. I can tolerate it in a salad, occasionally, but to actually cut a tomato and eat it next to something. No. The skin on the tomato weirds my teeth out. I now occasionally eat raw tomatoes with eggs.

19. The dentist: ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

I admit I haven’t been to the dentist in 3 years. I know I need to go, but the smell. The sound of that zing thing. Having my mouth opened and afraid I’ll swallow my tongue or choke on my saliva, or have my tongue cut by that zing thing if I move my tongue the wrong way. It’s all too much. I went to the dentist a while ago and he said I need one of my wisdom teeth pulled out (the last one standing since I had 3 but removed 2 around 4 years ago). I just need to get an x-ray 1st. I still didn’t get that x-ray or get my tooth pulled out.

20. Cilantro: ๐Ÿ™„

I mean I use it in my cooking, but I don’t crave it. This is still the case.

21. Traffic: ๐Ÿ˜’

Yes, traffic is annoying, and I’ve never driven in traffic before. Maybe if I did, I’d switch this to intolerable, but as long as the AC is on in the car and I’m not running late, traffic doesn’t bother me. I just don’t see how people get into fights over traffic. Some people go into RAGE over traffic. I have never driven before so I have only ever experienced traffic as a passenger.

That’s all I have. I got this idea from Connor Franta.

He made a video on Youtube about just this. I edited the ranking a bit, but I thought it was fun to state my opinion of things nobody cares what I think of anyway. How would you rank these things?

Throwback Thursday: What are you optimistic about?

Hello and welcome to my blog! I am a mess physically and emotionally. My back and neck are strained (pulled muscles) and I have a migraine. Emotionally I’m either angry and yelling or sad and distant. Nevertheless, I’m trying to be optimistic and productive. A year ago, I wrote about a book I was reading but stopped reading a long time ago (I have 9 books I still need to finish) and I wrote this:

What are you optimistic about?

I started reading this book “What are you optimistic about?” yesterday, and it got me thinking.

What am I optimistic about?

The economic fall in Lebanon suddenly rises and for the Lebanese Lira to get its value back?

Nope. My thoughts were accurate. The then 2000LL to 1$ ratio is now 17000LL to 1$ and prices are tenfold everywhere.

The political bickering to stop and for us to finally have a democratic country that doesn’t imprison Muslims just because they have beards and who look after the Sunni Muslims of the country and build our wonderful country instead of putting our money in their pockets, leaving us to starve?

Not really. Again, I was right, and I wish I was wrong.

How about my son being able to go to school this year, as opposed to last year when he couldn’t go to school 1st due to the revolution and then because of COVID-19, and having a normal social life where he can play with his friends and not feel confused about what day it is and why he can’t just go to school?

This year no, but I have hope for him to go next year when he is going to be in 1st grade. True, this year he only attended 2 weeks of school, but he had a graduation ceremony and that made me very happy. Plus, I signed him up for summer camp and karate classes. He got used to staying at home so he makes a fuss every time he has to go but I don’t know if he will be attending school next year, not because of covid, but because of the fuel crisis.

How about this: Do I feel optimistic about getting over my anxiety and depression?

Yes, because I’ve done it before and I can do it again. That’s why I’m writing this post, to find things to be optimistic about. A year passed by and I’m still depressed. I’ve been in and out of depression several times this year. I’m disappointed with how my life turned out but I made my choices and I have to live with them. I’m working on finding inner peace rather than chasing happiness.

Before I continue, what is optimism? To me, it is hope for a better future and it stems from my faith in God. I now believe that optimism is being able to see the bright side in every situation.

Let’s talk bigger.

The book I’m reading was written by 100 people who have never experienced poverty, and who have high social statuses, but let’s see what they’re so optimistic about. In my opinion, the people who wrote this book are 1%ers who no one can relate to. Money and social status play a big role in happiness levels.

I won’t relay the whole book. I’ve only read a few pages so far, but 2 prominent things were:

1. Optimism about decreased violence.

As much as I find it hard to believe, but statistics say that there has been decreasing in violence over the years and that although violence still exists, it is usually hidden and condemned.

My personal opinion is that people with power still exercise their power on the weak, torturing people. And I believe it’s not well hidden, people are just too scared to do anything about it.

I don’t believe violence has decreased. Just have a look at what’s happening to minorities in America, Syria, and Palestine.

2. Optimism about the end of war.

I must say that if it weren’t for my faith, and the knowledge I have, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

See, I’ve read the book “the signs of the day of judgment”, and in that book, it says that Palestine will be freed, and that KSA will become all green instead of being a desert, and that Jesus will descend and kill the one-eyed gargoyle (dajjal) and bring peace to the earth. Now nobody knows when the day of judgment will be, but I have a feeling it won’t be during my lifetime. At the look of things, the apocalypse is nothing like the film 2012, but rather something different, killing us slowly.

I stand by this opinion.

So, what are you optimistic about?

I asked this question on Instagram and one person answered “nothing” while another answered “to get out of Lebanon“, so there’s that.

What am I optimistic about?

1. I’m optimistic about not becoming poor, or at least I have hope and I keep praying. I’m still optimistic about this.

2. I’m optimistic about not catching COVID-19 or any other serious disease. Still optimistic about this.

3. I’m optimistic about not becoming paralyzed, but I’m not so sure about cancer. Both my grandparents died of cancer and 2 cousins of my dad’s as well, but I hope I don’t get cancer. A year has passed and I still feel the same way.

4. I’m optimistic about not becoming obese. I’m not exactly model weight but I have the hope and confidence that at least I won’t go overboard. I’m a little optimistic about reaching my model weight, but not with my current diet.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds for me, and even today is full of surprises.

5. I’m scared, but deep down I have hope that tomorrow won’t suck and that I can become a better person if I keep trying to get over my social awkwardness, and most of all I pray for world peace and the end of poverty. I have lost hope in getting over my social anxiety, but I will keep trying to improve myself.

I still haven’t finished the book, though now I’m tempted to pick it up again, but I got a busy day today.
I got plenty done today but not enough.

Throwback Thursday: 5 free games to play with your kids from the couch

Hello and welcome to my blog! Welcome to Throwback Thursday, where I bring back a blog post I wrote exactly a year ago and reflect on it. I’m half-asleep in bed. Thursday is almost over, but I couldn’t sleep before bringing back this gem. I wish I read this in the morning. It would have come in handy while I was passed out on the couch and my son kept waking me up because he was bored.

5 free games to play with your kids from the couch:

I don’t know how everyone else is spending their summer. Some people may be spending it outdoors. Some may have enormous backyards or a house next to the beach or next to the woods.
For me though, I don’t drive, and the nearest park is 20 minutes away on foot. The weather is also really hot. So I can’t take my only child to the park every day, and the beach is too far and not free anyway (the swimmable one, not the corniche which is crowded so I’m avoiding it anyway).

I went to the beach yesterday for the 1st time in 3 years, and I wasn’t able to swim because I was looking after my son the whole time, but it was fun, albeit exhausting. Also, I took some great pictures and videos.

So when I’m trying to read and my son is nagging out of boredom, I whip up something from Pinterest and play an easy game. So here are 5 free games you can play with your kids when they’re bored while you’re on your couch, so they require zero movements (on your part).

1. I spy

You can play according to colors or shapes. It’s entertaining and educational. And you can take turns. Like right now, he is nagging because I’m on my phone, so as I lie in bed with a migraine, we are playing this game.

2. Simon says

This can be a great funny game and bonus points, exercise for your kid/s.

3. Scavenger hunt

You can write a list of items or just take a page out of Pinterest as I did. Have your child/ren find the items and tick when they find them.

4. Guess the sound

Have your child/ren gather items that make noise and then close their eyes while you shake it or move it near them and they must guess the sound.

5. Play sick

If all fails, pretend you’re sick and have your child be the doctor. You will be able to close your eyes for 5 minutes, or 1 minute, but it’s worth it.

Good luck.

Good night.

Throwback Thursday: How to minimize screen time for kids this summer

Hello, and welcome to my blog! Today is the 1st day of summer here because my son just finished school (today was supposed to be his last day but because there are protests due to the bad living conditions in Lebanon, school is out). I have been giving my son up to 1 hour of screen time a day, in total, but now that school is out, I’m worried his boredom will have him asking for more.

I plan on teaching him the rest of the curriculum so he can go to 1st grade more prepared (they gave him half the curriculum due to covid this year) and I also plan on enrolling him in karate classes, and then there are family visits in the weekend, but I’m a bit worried about how I’m going to fill his time otherwise. I have a lot of reading and writing to do, and I don’t know how I’m going to get my work done with him around. The whole time I’m blogging, he has been nagging for the phone (he sees me on the phone or laptop and suddenly he needs screen time).

Here is what I wrote about screen time for kids a year ago:

My son doesn’t have chores but we do play board games occasionally and he likes to draw, color, paint, and do arts and crafts. Legos, not so much.

Well, I’m not an expert, and I don’t give my son the same amount of screentime every day. There are days when he gets a few minutes of screentime and days when he gets a few hours. It all depends on my mood, my energy levels, his mood, his energy levels, and whether we leave the house that day or not. However, I have picked up a few observations and a few tips and tricks to help not let my son get addicted to screen time, and I thought I’d share them with you.

I don’t give my son screen time until he cleans up his messes.

5 don’ts and dos of screentime

1. Don’t give them screentime when they 1st wake up. I do it sometimes, I admit, when I’m too tired and need a few extra minutes of sleep, or when I’ve been up since dawn and need a nap and he just woke up at 10 am (sometimes I even have to wake him up because of lazy summer mode). However, I realized when I do that, he tends to throw a tantrum when I turn it off an hour later and is usually lethargic all day when he gets screentime 1st thing in the morning. The morning is the time when creativity is at its peak. It should be used for creative work. Writing, drawing, arts and crafts. It’s hard to implement daily, but do give them screentime only after they have done something creative.

2. Don’t let them watch videos on the phone. The phone is smaller and closer to their face. If they must have screentime, do give it to them from a distance, like on tv or a laptop.

3. This advice is something I don’t implement often because my son is a picky eater and he eats more while watching a screen, but I am a strong advocate of mindful eating, and although I don’t do it myself when I eat by myself but don’t feed your child while they watch on a screen. I was successful at this while he was going to school, but half the time I give him a game to play on the phone or YouTube on the tv because I desperately need my time and I gather it every chance I get. Do try to eat together as a family and open up a conversation with your child while you eat.

4. Don’t give them unlimited time. Do let them know beforehand how much screen time they’re getting and remind them every once in a while how much is left. If you’re going to give them an hour, remind them every 15 minutes. I sometimes get busy and tell my son he gets 30 minutes and end up giving him an hour. However, after his screentime session is up, I let him know how long he had been watching. This teaches your child to have a sense of time. You’ve watched movies before. You know how time is irrelevant when you’re absorbed in a movie or binge-watching a tv show.

5. Don’t leave your child to do free pay all day. While it’s important for a child to get bored, play independently, play imaginative play, it’s also important to have structured activities as well. Do balance between free play and adult structured activities where you do the activities with them (I’m guilty of not following this advice lately as I’m binge-watching The Vampire Diaries) and keep in mind to include at least 10 minutes of 1 on 1 time with your child where you simply bond with them and express your love for them.

That’s all I have for now, as my son is getting frustrated from me being on my phone for the past 30 minutes writing this. Remember, limiting screentime is not a punishment for you or your child. I’m not saying any screentime at all, but having healthy regulations around screentime is good for your child’s mental health and physical health in the long run.

Too much screen time can impair brain structure and function; it can cause obesity, insomnia, mood swings, and even problems at school. Because children’s brains undergo so much change during their formative years, this excess screen time can be even more damaging.

I’m proud to say I don’t give him screentime until after he eats breakfast and goes to the bathroom, not during meals and not for more than 30 minutes at a time. I also no longer binge-watch tv shows (not more than 2 episodes a day) and I also spend more one-on-one time with him than I used to. I also never finished past season 4 of vampire diaries and I’ve watched so many shows since, but currently, I’m watching “Superman and Lois”.

What are your rules for screen time?

Throwback Thursday: Racism; A tale as old as time

Hello and welcome to my blog! I am a very nostalgic person. I often go back to old pictures and videos, reminisce about the old days (before I got married) and so throwback Thursday suits me perfectly. I have too many blogs to go through all of them (767 and counting), but it’s nice to see what was on my mind exactly a year ago.

On June 10th 2020, I wrote about racism:

Disclaimer: I was very reluctant to talk about this because as a white person, I didn’t think I had any knowledge of racism, but a lot goes unnoticed when you don’t pay attention.

Close your eyes and put your hand over your heart. What do you hear? A heartbeat. I bet you if a Caucasian or an Asian or an African closed their eyes and put their hand over their heart, they would hear the same thing. A heartbeat.

We all have the same internal organs. We all feel the same range of emotions. Happiness, sadness, fear, anger,… Love. So why are some people treated with more preference over others?

You see… Racism is a tale as old as time. When the Pharaohs were still around, there were kings and there were slaves. There was a hierarchy in the society, and if you were born a slave, you remained so all your life. That is racism based on social status.

Around the time of the prophet Mohammed PBUH, there was slavery. The prophet banned slavery and made it clear in Quranic verses and hadiths that no white man is better than a black man except by piety.

I don’t know how to address this. I don’t live in America, but I have been bullied in Lebanon because I’m half American. Some Lebanese are racist and hate Americans and think that Lebanese are smart and Americans are stupid. They pride themselves on their attributes and think of Americans as selfish and ignorant. I said some. The thing is when you don’t know someone, and you make snap judgments about them, you come to hate them and your mind wards off any evidence contrary to your fixed belief.

The same applies when you believe all African Americans are drug dealers, or all Asians are whatever stereotype Asians are given, or all Italians as mobsters, or all Muslims or Arabs as terrorists, that’s racism. You are judging an entire race by the actions of a few. There are American terrorists. There are French mobsters. There are Swedish drug dealers. Maybe. I don’t know. My point is corrupt people come in all ethnicities and colors, and so do kind good honest people.

We should treat people based on how they treat us, not by the color of their skin. Another thing I noticed while living in Lebanon, is that the only dark brown people I’ve ever seen were Ethiopian maids. I do not know Ethiopia, but this made me believe that maybe it’s such a poor country that women are forced to leave their country and work as maids in homes, and are often mistreated because their lives are so bad in Ethiopia. So after some digging, I found that:

Ethiopia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and is Africa’s second most populous country, with 23.5% of the population below the poverty line.

Let me tell you something ironic. Before all this drastic fall of the economy happened in Lebanon starting October 2019, 40% of the population lived below the poverty line. There are no statistics up to date, but I’ll bet in a year there will be around 60% Lebanese below the poverty line, which makes Ethiopians richer than Lebanese. So according to racists who believe Lebanese are better than Ethiopians because they have more money, this does not make sense.

Back to the racism problem in America. It is only prominant in America because there is such a wide range of ethnicities in the “Land of opportunities”. However, this type of racism is present worldwide. A lot of people are denied jobs or given less pay because of their skin color. As a result, people who are not white are more likely to be poor. Click here for the statistics regarding poverty in America.

Here in Lebanon, the Syrian refugees are only given jobs as janitors or construction workers. I know that Lebanon specifically has a problem with job opportunities. An overflow of college graduates and not enough jobs to move the economy. Again, I’m no expert, but you tell me. When a Syrian is payed an amount a Lebanese would never agree to work for, isn’t that racism?

Again, I’m not an expert in economy. I only know that racism is when you think you’re better than someone because of the color of your skin or ethnicity or social status.

Your kindness makes you better. Your generosity makes you better. Your humility makes you better. You thinking you’re not any better than anyone else, and that we are all humans, worthy or life, love, respect, and dignity, is what makes you, in God’s eyes, better than the racists who think they’re better.

I try not to provoke anyone with my writings. I say I’m like an ostrich, burying my head in the sand when I’m scared, but that’s a myth. Ostriches stick their heads in the sand to hide their eggs and protect their young.

I hope my words explained what racism is, because you can be racist without noticing it. You can go along all your life functioning with what you feel is the norm because that’s what everyone around you does. So if you see any signs of racism happening in front of you, speak up, say it’s wrong, and if you can, prevent it.

As long as white people are quiet about the racism that happens around them, it will continue to happen.Good night ๐Ÿ˜ด

1. Racism is still ongoing. Despite the increased awareness, protests, petitions, it is just ingrained in some people.

2. The dollar is now 14,000LL and the poverty rate is 55% in Lebanon.

3. Ethiopia is not richer than Lebanon. According to Global Finance, Lebanon is ranked 107 while Ethiopia is 165. There is yet hope for Lebanon.

4. I was listening to a podcast yesterday about unconscious bias so I will correct myself for using the phrase “you can be racist without noticing it”. People with unconscious bias are not racist. Racism is intentional. If it’s unintentional, it’s unconscious bias.