Sendie-Lou’s musing

Yesterday marked the 10th year of the 9/11 tragedy. I still remember what I was doing that day. I was off that day and after saying good bye to husband for work, I watch Golden Girls – Yes, I’m a fan of the Girls! 🙂  then my husband call told me to switch to the news. At that time it wasn’t sure of what happen yet, we know a plane crash the twin tower but not sure whether it was an accident or what.

Later on that day, the pieces started coming together and it sickens me. It was a very dark days for a lot of people including me. I was grieving for those who lost their life, I was grieving for those who left without a husband, wife, mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sisters… those who lose their family.

I also personally grieve in the name of my religion. A group of small minded people decide to do this in the name of religion, in the name of God. It angers me. I was angry for a long time and I’m still angry. To be honest for a long time I was so prejudice against people from Middle East thinking they have ruins my religion.

I have never ashamed to be a Muslim that even that day, but I was ashamed Islam connections to Middle East. I’m not sure why I took my anger out to Middle Eastern people I just do. Later on that same year when we celebrate EID, at the mosque after the prayer and the sermon that’s the first time I feel like I can let go of the anger.

All Muslim – the true Muslim – regardless of where we came from condemn this act of violence. Including Arabs and the rest of the Middle Easterner. They hate it as much as anybody with the right mind.

It hits me, I was no difference then the terrorist for having that small minded. I am no difference then bigots for being so prejudice towards Middle Easterner. I feel so ashamed. I guess I was so angry and somehow direct my angers towards Middle Easterner. I apologize for having such a small minded.

There were (and still are) so many anger towards Islam and us Muslim, there are so many hate and unanswered questions. I can honestly say I understand the feeling, I understand the anger and even the hate. However as times goes on, I also wish that people will see that 9/11 wasn’t the act of a true Muslim and bring the message of Islam. As times goes on I wish that people will and can see that even Muslim was hurt by this.

Instead of linger with anger and hate; I try to see the message behind this tragedy. It’s about life. How life is short and it can be taken anytime. As corny as this might sound, but really I am trying to live my life as humble as possible, forgive often and be grateful for everything I have.

Life really is too short, let’s makes it the best possible way, so by the time we end this chapter it will be a celebrations of life instead of memorial services.

Love always,

Sendie

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The day of forgiveness…

Most of you know that I’ve been fasting for the past month. Today is the last day of Ramadan, and even though (honestly) there are part o me that relieved the fasting part of it is over, but there are part of me that’s really sad that it is over. Ramadan is a holy month for Muslim, it is the month that all sins are forgiven, the time where we truly can redeem our self and reborn as new person that is sin free.

Tomorrow is EID or Eid Ul-Fitr [Eid in Arabic means festivity, whilst Fitr means purity] so to sum up its mean the festivity of purity. Victory is another word use a lot during the festivity. EID is also the day of forgiveness, the celebrations involved apologizing to others and forgiving those who have hurt you in turn.

This holy month always brings a mixed feeling for me. I have many – many fun loving memories of my childhood especially during this holiday. The house is glowing with decoration and the smells of the traditional holiday food cooking in the kitchen….

My Mom normally already picks the new prettiest clothes for us to wear for the celebration tomorrow and I can’t wait to wear it! That night all of the kids at the neighborhood come out and play and we chant Takbir – glory and praise to Allah, we play fireworks … it’s like a whole block party, even better, it’s the whole nationwide party cause majority of Indonesian is Muslim and we all celebrate EID!

Tonight the EID eve or end of Ramadan is one of the best night for me to have as a child… the whole atmosphere seems to filled with love, happiness, laughter, with Takbir always at the background. Can’t wait for tomorrow, the EID where after prayer we went and visit relatives asking for forgiveness and for us kids, we’ll get money!!! YAY!

To me, EID is a very beautiful holiday, it’s about thanksgiving, forgiveness and charity. No gift exchange involves, no material stuff. All pure humanitarian holiday from the heart. We supposed to ask forgiveness from each other. This is the year where I know I have the best parents ever. They will humbly ask forgiveness from us – their child. It’s always makes me cry when my mom and my dad will hugs me and ask for forgiveness – sincerely.

I mention earlier how I feel a bit down because again I spend holiday away from home… here in this place, where even most of my friend doesn’t share my excitement of this holiday – gosh I’m such a baby! I look at my family’s picture on Facebook on how the holiday is back home and it’s always bring tears….

Beside the normal pray I said, I also pray for peace and little hope maybe I will be given a change to celebrate next holiday with my family and share that special moment with my two girls. Amien.

Eid Mubarak to you all.

Waiting till sundown…

Today is the 17th day of Ramadan – meaning 17 days of fasting for Muslim. I’ve been fasting since the 3rd day of Ramadan. And so far everything is good. The 1st week I have lower energy than usual and not having my morning coffee is a huge adjustment to my routine. Other than that it’s all good.

I also learned that between 2 – 4 pm is usually the worst time of the day. That’s when my hunger and thirst reach its peak and of course, it’s mostly the busiest time at work as well so I struggle a bit during that time.

I’m not going to lie, fasting is hard, there are times I feel like “forget this, I’m going to eat something!” but that’s just my temptation talking, so far I can suppress that feeling and stay fasting till the end of the day.

Yesterday I have to do several errands before headed home, it was very hot yesterday and I feel like I can use a big gulp of soda. Then as I stop on the red light, there’s a homeless guy holding a sign asking for help. There’s a few of unopened bottle of water in my car and also a box sandwich that I took home from meeting cause I can’t eat it due to fasting, I offer it to him and he graciously took it. He immediately opens the water and just gulps it as if he hadn’t drink in a while and maybe he hasn’t.

As I drove off he keep on thanking me and there’s a look on his face that I can’t never forget, such gratitude that shows. At that time it hits me, one of the reason for Ramadan is for us to be more compassion towards the unfortunate one. Through fasting, we all experiences hunger and thirst, and will sympathizes more with those in the world who have little to eat and drink every day.

During fasting, no matter how thirsty I am I couldn’t just buy a drink and drink it or just grab any food and eat it. No, you have to wait till sundown before you can eat and drink. Fast food places and restaurant and convenient store are all around me but I couldn’t just stop and grab something. It’s just like that guy at the intersection. No matter how thirsty and or hungry he is, he couldn’t just go there and grab something. At least I only have to wait until sundown, who knows how long he has to wait until he has his “sundown”.

At least I only have to wait until sundown….. I need to remember that feeling, that look on that guy’s face as he gulp the drink.. this feelings and lessons that I experience should stay with me throughout the year.

To all: May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path. May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness and mercy, and bring us peace and all closer to Him and to each other. Amien.

Welcome Ramadan

Here I am, finding myself (almost) in the midst of the Islamic Holy month of Ramadan in Colorado. Ramadan is the holiest month in Islam, most people only known it to be the times where Muslim fasting from sunrise to sunset. That’s part of it, it is the time where Muslim practice a strict self-discipline, abstaining from food, drink, and sexual relations.

This is also the month where Muslim More than ever) asking for forgiveness for previous sins and preventing oneself of committing new one. It is also the time where we emphasis forgiveness from each other – not just God, but with friends and relatives. Refrain from speaking ill of one another or even just thinking impure thoughts.

The idea behind fasting is as practice of self control, to draw focus from earthy material stuff and to think of those who are less fortunate by understanding the true meaning of hunger and thirst are. Hopefully we all will be more compassionate as person and reborn to be a better person, a better Muslim.

I would like to enter this holy month with clean slate. Therefore I ask for forgiveness from you all in case I say (wrote) something that offended you, or un intentionally say or do something in appropriately or hurt your feeling. May the light that we celebrate at Ramadan show us the way and lead us together on the path of peace and social harmony.

Salam, Sendie –Lou

What I wrote last year during this time…

The beauty of Ramadan….

 

Another battle lost

My dear brother pass away last Friday at 4:20am in the morning. He was buried the same day.

He die of cancer – lung cancer. I got a change to see him during my short visit home last month. How happy I am that God give me some time to spend with him. He was undergo some alternative clinical treatment at that time. We talked, we jokes, we laugh and we cry. As I say good bye I told him not to give up and how he will always have our full support. He told me, “little sis, I never give up. Although if I have to be honest, I’m tired. Physically and emotionally tired. I just wanted to rest. Stop wasting more money on me, think of my son, your nephew. He still have a much longer future than me. I’m not giving up little sis, that just the reality.”

With his weak body he manage to give me a firm hug and kiss as I say good bye and headed to the airport. Deep down I know that will be the last time I saw him on this earth. I never want to admit it but how can I deny it?

Good Bye my dear brother… I hope you can rest now. I will always forever cherish the last short moment we share together. Love always, Sendie

God Saw You Getting Tired
Funeral Poems : God Saw You Getting Tired

By: Unknown

God saw you getting tired
and a cure was not to be
so he put his arms around you
and whispered,
“Come to Me”
With tearful eyes we watched you
and saw you pass away
and although we love you dearly
we could not make you stay.
A Golden heart stopped beating
hard working hands at rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us
He only takes the best

When life happens…

Sometimes when we think we had everything under control and life is good everything is beautiful,  until a twist of faith decides it otherwise. One of my colleague ask me this: “What would you do when you learned that your husband only had six months to live?” I stumble upon the question. To this day, I don’t think I ever answer her back. I was crying with her – this is the day she learned her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer – a very aggressive lung cancer.

Her husband – who is happen to be my boss was a fighter. He refuse to give up and accept the 6 month sentence. He died two years later. Two years after doctor gave him 6 month sentence. Two years of battle and never give up. He will forever be miss. Along the way he taught me a very important valuable lesson about life and dying. One time he told me this is when he realize how powerless we are as human. There he was, an Executive Vice President for the bank, with all the money in the world. Money that he said he will gladly give up to have his health back, but can’t. Time he loss chasing that prestige position and career – losing a lot of precious time with family – that position he’s now just realize can’t do anything to help him.

He told me he never miss the important date. He never miss any birthday party, graduation, baseball or football game, proms etc… but he also told me there are others time that just as equally as important. A simple waking up late snuggling with his children, a walk in the park when the day is gorgeous, playing in the snow, normal regular family dinner at 7 pm. Seeing her children practicing ballet and piano or football and baseball. Or just saying “I love you” for no reasons… Those things that he often miss thinking ‘it’s just an ordinary thing’ but it’s not.

At the same time, wife of another colleague I have – also happen to be a very close friend of my boss – was also diagnose with cancer. She just recently pass away. Leaving a husband, 2 children and 3 grandchildren, 1 just born about a month before her passing. Her husband never seems to recover from the loss. He was to a 1st executive vice president for the bank. He just recently came back with his leaves and decide he want to give up his title and only work as a bank teller.

He’s been a great boss, a great lender, a great bank president. He build his career in banking for over 30 years and now he just want to give it away and just be a teller? Even a teller don’t want to be a teller – it’s a stomping stone position. He is adamant. So many people has tried to change his mind remind him that it maybe the grief talking not his rational mind. He is adamant. He had think it through and very sure of his decision.

As the story sounded more and more familiar, he told me, all those years climbing up the ladder, all day and night working is all for his family and old age – just like the rest of us. When his wife is dying, none of that helps her, but yet, in the process he lose precious time with his wife and kids. Now he vow will not lose any more precious time with his grandchildren. He still here working from 8-5 but that was it for his work commitment. No worries of weekend client entertain, of working late, the pressure of being in management.

He was once one of my boss and now he’s under me. Feel weird but we all respect his decision. Just now I walked pass by him, he was sitting at his teller station (no customer at the bank). I just notice how much more peaceful he look, he was sitting there, with picture of his family next to him and reading his bible.

Now here I am.. sitting at my desk reevaluating my life and my goal. I will not give up on my goal but I will make few adjustment. Somehow my life priority has change, and I need to find some type of balance to still be able to reach my goal but never lose sight of what important in life. Especially family and friends who had help us along the way.  Stop and smell the roses is a phrase we often hear, maybe this time we should really do stop and smell the roses.

We live in this materialistic world that most people have lose sights of what really important  until something terrible happen. I pray so hard that I won’t be that person that I will live my life everyday to the fullest and never lose the sight of what’s really important. As my parents taught me, Money and worldly possession, those are just a “loan” from God. He can take it away from you anytime he want whether you ready or not, but love, memory, knowledge and faith is all for us to keep, make sure you have that in you always.

So, what would you do when you learned that your spouse of family member only had few months to live? Or if YOU only have few month to live?

Thankful

We celebrate our thanksgiving with our friends/family,  Some of the Hmong family sorta adopt us into their family and we always spending holiday together with them., so they are our family. It’s our little tradition here in CO, it’s been that way for about 5 yrs now – except last year because my Mom accidently accept different invitation for us, but it was still a very nice thanksgiving with another friends.

 The amount of food we had yesterday was enormous! It’s crazy, I thought it’d last us until Christmas! But after second and third serving, few rounds of games and eat again, I was not surprise that most of the food gone by the end of the night.

 Last night was the most fun Thanksgiving I ever had – it was always fun to spend time with my family and past thanksgiving was always fun – something different about last night. We’ve been friends with all of them for over 4 years now, the whole family quickly adapt us into their family and include us in their family functions. I’ve seen the worse of them, they’ve seen the worse of me but like with family, we go through the bad and the good together and our relationship is stronger as ever. Who said family have to be blood? Not in my case.

 As we go around to say things we thankful for… it give me flashback of when I first met them, when they first welcome me into the family, the ups and downs, the tears, the fight, the drama…. (we’re family after all) and I am forever Thankful for them.

 Last night, I learned about sincerity of friendship, nobody is perfect and family normally forgive each other (most of the time) but I came in as a stranger with no relations to them at all whatsoever, but they’ve seen the worse of me and still accept me of who I am. No such thing as holding grudges or retaliations….  We all adults with different background and different mindset, it is only natural sometimes those ideas will clashes, I’ve seen it happen, but it’s all left as it is, at the end we know we never meant any harm, we move on and stay strong.  

 All this time a lot of us normally worry about  (and wish for more) money, and I know that money is not everything, but last night it’s been proven to me over and over again I already have the most important things in life, my family and their support , our health, a great husband and a great supporting friends.

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 And I’m thankful for my blogging friends too! Our conversation and sharing experience through blogging and comment have been interesting and something I look forward to.

A life lesson….

I’m thankful for my years with this “family”… every opportunity to learn…. every changes for us to grow. I will take the best of them with me and lead by their example wherever I go…

A friend told me to be honest, so here it goes…

This isn’t what I want, but I’ll take the high road. Maybe because I look at everything as a lesson or maybe because I don’t want to walk around angry all the times, or maybe because I finally understand there are things we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to learned but have to know…

And people we don’t want to live without but have to let go……

I quote that from JJ last day on my favorite show. That saying suite me very well with how I feel on some issue I dealt with right now. It’s time to just closed that chapter of my life and move on. As much as it hurt me, it’s not worth it to walk around angry all the time… just take the lesson and move on….

Picture Credit

We’re not perfect.. we’re family!!

That’s coming out of my 4 yr old few weeks ago. We were just relaxing in the family room when she just blurt it out. My husband and I just look at each other and laugh…  She’s right though. No one is perfect certainly not us, but we are family.

Bring me to this story… about a month ago, little incident happen to my father in law that lead to a discovery that he have dementia and early sign of Alzheimer. He was hospitalize for few days for observation. Although he is getting better but I think what had happen is this incident makes them finally realize that they not young anymore and can’t do things they normally do. Maybe they still can but need to slow down a bit.

We went and visit the family in WI over Labor day weekend and it was a nice relaxing family visit. No plan of sightseeing or places to visit, just a plain relaxing family visit. Some of my husband’s niece also come down to see us from other state and city, so is my husband’s sister that drive from Michigan. It’s like little family reunion. Now they all regret that we didn’t take family picture! Oh well, too late now.. hehehe…

We spend the first night at my husband’s brother house in Madison, they were waited for us that night and we have a very delicious Hmong food waiting for us when we got there.

 My mother in law know that Tyra is turning 5 this year and did little celebration in the backyard for her. She prepare everything, all I did was buy a cake. Early that Sunday morning when I woke up, everybody is already gather in the garage cooking for Tyra’s party, my mother in law made her famous Hmong egg roll and all of my older sister in law were there to help cooking and my brother in law already start the grill for bbq. I was really touch. Then the family start coming and we all have a nice lunch together.

On a  different day my husband’s niece also made an effort to cook for us and invite the whole family to come and eat. She make Kophia  (I know I probably butcher the spelling) from scratch! – and Pho. My sister in law made her famous Kaphong the next day for lunch.

Tyra is having so much fun with all of her cousins. She just play and play and play… I swear I hardly see her as she’s always out there playing. My 4 month old, somehow she was very fussy during our stay there, it was very nice to have a lot of helping hand around us, my mother in law so quick in jumping and help us with her, so is my sister in law, and niece, they were all helping us when we’re overwhelmed with her.

My husband comes from a big family and majority of them live closed to my parents in law and they house is always open and people always comes in and out from the house – remind me of my own family homes where all of my cousins living so close with us and their kids will comes to see my parents all the times – it gave me such warm and good feeling.

We stayed in Colorado because it makes sense for us financially. We kinda already settle here, we’re both have a good jobs and house, with my father in law being sick and the experience from our last visit we realize that money isn’t really everything. Yeah.. we’ll miss living in this beautiful place, yeah we’ll miss our friends here. In the end we just have to make decision that makes sense for us.

We have 3 – 5 yrs plan to move to WI, things may change along the way that enable us to move faster or not moving there at all… again, we’ll see what makes sense for us in all aspect.  The perfect plan is to move to Indonesia, but that’s almost impossible – I said almost because I come to realization that nothing really is impossible, you just never know what life can through at you, the good, the bad and the unexpected.

In term of family, things has not always this smooth, there’s drama along the way, things were said and done that wasn’t meant to, but just like Tyra said, in the end we’re family.

“We’re not perfect, we’re family!”

Enjoy some picture from our trip below….

Our niece Vicky making Kophia (Laotian chicken noodle soup) from scratch

Grandma and Tyra's auntie making eggroll & cook for her birthday

Family gather on grandpa & grandpa yard for Tyra's birthday

Tyra & some of her cousins opening present

Pinata time

Cousins play at the park

Tyra (on the right) & Bella

Bella & Kalia

Tyra & her cousins in Hmong dress