Life's like that!

May 29, 2010

The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Last weekend I rented two movies, Twilight and New Moon, and watched them with husband. I always enjoy watching vampire movies since young, and I have heard good reviews about these. While husband found them to be quite boring, I was drawn to the storyline about a human (Bella Swan) who falls in love with a vampire (Edwards Cullen). Her best friend and romantic pursuer was a werewolf (Jacab Black) and that caused tension between the vampire and the werewolf since they have been enemies since a century ago.

After watching the movies, I borrowed the books from the public library and finished reading them in two days (while nursing DD2 and taking care of DD1).

Yesterday I picked up the other two books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, that I requested to be placed on hold at the public library. I am already half way through Eclipse this morning and since I cannot stand not knowing the ending, I cheated and read the last few chapters of Breaking Dawn. (I am not going to tell who Bella finally chose as her soul mate.)

I have to say that I quite enjoying reading the Twilight Saga. The last book title that I read from book one to the last sequel was the Harry Potter series. During pregnancy I was reading cooking, parenting and children's books. I think now I am ready to go back to reading fiction books whenever I come across the ones with good reviews.


Our First Cucumber Harvest

This morning while watering the vegetables in the backyard, I found this cucumber hiding underneath the big cucumber leaves. All praise be to Allah SWT we finally have out first cucumber harvest this summer! I also harvested some french beans that were ready to be picked off the vine.

I showed them to husband and DD1 and they were surprised to see what I found. Allah SWT willing hope we'll have more cucumbers soon.


The Beginning of Cloth Diapers

Since yesterday I have been using cloth diapers for DD2. Now that she is 5 weeks old and I am feeling almost 100% back to normal, I feel that I want to start using washable cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. I am also using BumGenius to hold a cloth diaper in place and prevents the wet diaper from soaking through.

After soaking soiled ones with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water, the cloth diapers all came out quite clean. I hang them on this cloth rack and they take about 3-4 hours to dry in the house. Allah SWT willing we will save about $40-$60 per month just by using cloth diapers. And since I am breastfeeding DD2, we don't need to budget for milk powder. All praise be to Allah SWT it is so much easier this time to take care of DD2.


Lavender Ridge Farm

All praise be to Allah SWT today's weather is quite nice. So in the morning husband and I decided to bring the kids to the Lavender Ridge Farm located in the city of Gainesville.

Gift store

Lavender field where you can pick your own bunch.

We reached the farm at 11:30pm and the parking lot was full of vehicles, about 50-70. I guess many people decided to come because of the Lavender Festival at the farm (May 29-31) and also because of the Memorial Day holiday on Monday. It was a really nice getaway location for us to get out of the city for two hours. All praise be to Allah SWT the DD2 slept quite well during the 1 hours drive to and fro the farm. We only stayed for half an hour at the farm because it was quite crowded and it was time to get lunch for DD1.

Allah SWT willing next month we will visit the peach orchard near this farm.


May 25, 2010

Save the Turtle

Yesterday on the way home, husband found this turtle on the road. Since this big guy or gal measures about 30cm from head to tail. it could been squashed easily by careless drivers since it couldn't move fast enough out of traffic's way. So far it seems to be doing well and does not have any noticeable physical injuries.

Now the turtle is staying in a plastic tub temporarily in the backyard. Husband intends to release it into one of the parks during this week. I hope that the turtle has a chance to live a long life in the pond Allah SWT willing.


Vegetable Garden Update - May 2010 (5)


Thai Chili Pepper



Summer Squash


Vegetable Garden Update - May 2010 (4)

All praise be to Allah SWT we have been blessed with rain this month. The plants are happy that they are getting water and loving the sunny days. Husband has been harvesting the green tomatoes to boil them with chicken soup. It's one of his favorite Cambodian soup recipe.

Better Bush tomatoes

Better Boy tomatoes

Bell Peppers

Chinese Long Beans; Middle: Black-eyed Susan

Pole Beans


May 24, 2010

Singapore Former Deputy PM Dr Goh Keng Swee

When I was growing up in Singapore, I hardly know much about Singapore leaders except for former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and former PM Goh Chok Tong. Much of Singapore's success of being transformed from a fishing village to a powerhouse in South East Asia is due to the hard work and strategic planning of pioneer grass root leaders and political leaders. Although I do not know much about Dr. Goh's life, but his invaluable contributions to Singapore's success will not be forgotten.

Ordinary Singaporeans share personal memories of the late Dr Goh

By Hoe Yeen Nie

SINGAPORE : Over 7,000 people streamed into Parliament House on Friday to pay their last respects to former Deputy Prime Minister Dr Goh Keng Swee.

It is the second day his body is lying in state.

Among the 7,198 visitors were those whose lives had been touched by him.

In the main hall of Parliament House, five ceremonial guards stand vigil around the casket of Dr Goh.

For commander Foong Kok Pun, it is a role that brings on strong emotions. LTC Foong, who is the Commanding Officer of the Underwater Demolition Group at the Singapore Navy, said: "It is a true honour, to be able to do this small little thing for him.

"When the public comes and pays their last respects, and you can see some of the public sincerely, really coming all the way to pay their sincere respects, that touches me. It makes me very proud to be a Singaporean."

LTC Foong added: "In all my 19 years in the armed forces, there are some touchpoints where you come across him. Not in a personal way, but some of the speeches he made when he was defence minister, offer us a lot of leadership lessons."

One speech in particular left a strong impression. Called "Real Solutions Versus Bogus Solutions", the 1975 speech called on officers to "challenge assumptions, so that as a leader, you carry out tasks meaningfully, and not for the sake of doing". These words still hold true for LTC Foong today, who said that his role as a vigil guard allows him to reflect on them, especially "when I can actually see him".

Read more here.

State Funeral Proceeding of Dr. Goh Keng Swee at Singapore Conference Hall
May 23, 2010
Ernest Luis follows the state funeral of Dr Goh Keng Swee at Singpore Conference Hall.

2pm: The live telecast starts on national television in Singapore.

2.15pm: The ceremonial gun carriage carrying the coffin of Dr Goh is being transported now from Parliament House to the Singapore Conference Hall, where invited guests, ministers and his family members are gathered in solemn silence.

2.18pm: You can almost hear a pin drop even on the streets. President SR Nathan arriving at S'pore Conference Hall now with his wife to take their places.

2.20pm: Accompanying the body is Mrs Goh herself. There are media photographers and public along the route on Shenton Way taking pictures as the procession goes past slowly but steadily. There is an instant sense of quiet dignity you gain from the proceedings, quite like the late Dr Goh himself, one of Singapore's founding fathers.

2.23pm: Ex-colleagues of Dr Goh, the various religious leaders representing the different communities in Singapore, are all seated among a full-house crowd in the S'pore Conference Hall. There are pre-recorded interviews with Singaporeans on the street being shown now on television.

2.27pm: The casket of Dr Goh is draped in the state flag, to accord him the highest honour. The ceremonial gun carriage is headed by three outriders and a patrol car in front of them, with another two outriders further ahead. Five cars are following Dr Goh's casket. They are all travelling at around 15kmh.

2.30pm: Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam awaits Dr Goh's family emerging from the convoy as Scottish bagpipes play the tune of Amazing Grace.

2.34pm: The eight army coffin-bearers draw out Dr Goh's casket from the ceremonial gun carriage and head into the hall, as the tune from Handel's Death March is played by the military band.

2.36pm: The by-invitation-only service is being attended by groups from the Singapore Armed Forces, Home Team, schools and statutory boards. Civil service head Peter Ho will be the master of ceremony and five eulogies will be presented by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, Temasek Holdings chairman S. Dhanabalan, Dr Goh's grandson Goh Ken-Yi and grand-niece Marian Hui. The cortege will proceed to Mandai Crematorium, where a private ceremony for family members will be held.

2.40pm: The guests rise as the Singapore Symphony Orchestra - which he pushed for the founding of - plays Bach's Air Suite 3, while the coffin-bearers walk in slowly on stage carrying Dr Goh's casket.

2.43pm: The coffin-bearers now put back on their caps in order, smartly and sharply, as the crowd start to take their seats again.

2.45pm: PM Lee Hsien Loong walks up on stage to deliver his eulogy, he's wearing a white shirt and black tie.

2.48pm: PM Lee said Singapore, too, has had "giants" who have helped shape the nation. PM Goh starts off by detailing Dr Goh's famous thrifty nature, in starting the journey that would famously make Singapore the strong financial economy it has become. He credits Dr Goh's transformation of Jurong's swamps into an industrial hub.

2.50pm: PM Lee is talking clearly and vibrantly, as he recaps Dr Goh's achievements in the face of much early difficulties, describing his role as a "backroom" one. But his "robust attitude" encouraged the whole team to press on against "unwinnable odds", to help create today's Singapore.

2.58pm: PM Lee talks about being in the first batch of SAF scholars. He recalls how Dr Goh presented his group with two military classics: Sun Tzu's Art of War and Liddell Hart's Strategy: The Indirect Approach. He talks about how Dr Goh's gesture showed both his "grasp of strategy and security issues, as well as his keen interest in nurturing talent for the SAF".

3pm: As PM Lee smiles a little, recollecting the various tales of Dr Goh's robust exploits, a few guests in the crowd smile too, at the reminder of the "giant" Dr Goh.

3.02pm: Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew now takes over from PM Lee as it's his turn to give a eulogy for his comrade. He says how Dr Goh challenged his views and they would then reach a better decision for Singapore. MM Lee captures their long relationship perfectly in a nutshell.

3.05pm: MM Lee describes first meeting Dr Goh, how he had a large Adam's apple and a gruff voice. Soon, they would become good friends, and plan a grand vision to win over the country from the colonialists. How he, together with Dr Goh, got rid of the Communists after, and their various tentacles. Dr Goh, the "thinker", MM Lee himself, the "executor".

3.11pm: MM Lee slows down a little as he recalls from his speech notes, and you can see that he is almost savouring the memories he shared with the colleague and friend whom he once gave "the toughest jobs in Government to".

3.12pm: MM Lee breaks quickly to take a sip from a glass of water.

3.14pm: Like PM Lee, MM Lee is also wearing a white shirt, together with a dark tie.

3.17pm: MM Lee says that with the passing of Dr Goh, "we have lost a remarkable son". He closes on that note and walks down from stage to take his seat.

3.20pm: It's the turn of Temasek Holdings chairman S. Dhanabalan next, to deliver his eulogy. Mr Dhanabalan says Dr Goh was a visionary. But he adds that Dr Goh hated being called one. "Visionaries are dreamers", he recalled Dr Goh's remark once. Mr Dhanabalan says Dr Goh was a "realist". But he could see "over the horizon".

3.23pm: Mr Dhanabalan recalls meeting Dr Goh in late 1959. How Dr Goh's willingness to meet him - when he had other pressing governing matters to attend to and did not know Mr Dhanabalan before - convinced him on his path in economics that would change his life. Dr Goh would eventually become his mentor in his early days as an MP.

3.28pm: Mr Dhanabalan recalls how an American company in 1968, wanted to build a petroleum refinery on Sentosa, but Dr Goh - even when the plan was potentially lucrative - believed that Sentosa should be kept for recreation. The company was persuaded to set up in Jurong instead.

3.30pm: Mr Dhanabalan closes his eulogy, describing Dr Goh as a man with a "great mind".

3.32pm: Dr Goh's grandson Goh Ken-Yi - the apple of Dr Goh's eye - is up next for his eulogy on stage. He recalls the cherished moments with his grandfather. How he nudged Dr Goh awake from his naps in the 70s, not realising how tired he was from shaping a nation then. How Dr Goh bought him a Nikon camera in his teenage years, which he has kept till today. Dr Goh loved photography. They would visit the zoo, bird park, fireworks, air shows, and take pictures together, but Dr Goh always tried to avoid his grandson snapping pictures of him. Sometimes, Dr Goh did comply with his grandson for a "comical pose", which was totally different from his public persona.

3.37pm: Goh Ken-Yi recalls how his grandfather reminded him at the start of his adult working days, to always be "someone whom others could always rely on", no matter what path or position he would end up in.

3.40pm: Goh Ken-Yi is clear in his points all the way through, and he is clearly determined to share the same dignity and ethics of principles his grandfather had taught him, with the guests in the hall.

3.42pm: Grand-niece Marian Hui is up next on stage, to deliver her eulogy. She recalls how Dr Goh never made her feel that she was ever "too small" to be of any importance to him. She looks as if she has clearly been through an emotional time before her speech, but she continues to deliver her eulogy firmly, always referring to "grand-uncle" Dr Goh. She recalls how "grand-uncle" Dr Goh used to tear tissue paper into halves, to keep the other piece for later, perfectly personalising his famed frugal nature in one simple reference.

3.49pm: Marian Hui recalls how Dr Goh, even when his health worsened, would always have a robust "Hello, how are you?" question for everyone in the family. She almost chokes as she finishes her eulogy, determined to make a difference in her life, as Dr Goh did.

3.51pm: Mrs Goh places a wreath on stage now. This is followed by PM Lee placing a wreath, on "behalf of the nation", as described by Civil Service head Peter Ho, the master of ceremony.

3.54pm: The state flag and accoutrements are taken off the coffin and folded by the coffin-bearers. They will be forwarded to President Nathan, who will then in turn present them to Mrs Goh. Both stand up as President Nathan says a few words to Mrs Goh.

3.58pm: A minute's silence as all guests in the hall stand and bow in respect. This is followed by a solemn bugle call titled "Last Post", signifying the final call for Dr Goh Keng Swee. Uniformed groups and officers in the crowd salute.

4.02pm: The cortege will now proceed to Mandai Crematorium, where a private ceremony for family members will be held.

致最后敬意 ——沉痛告别吴庆瑞博士

十天前,在曙光尚未洒落大地前,建国元勋吴庆瑞博士悄然与他参与创建,热爱一生的祖国辞别了。昨天,在国葬礼号角鸣起时,新加坡这个已傲然于世的国 家,恭敬地为这位它永世感激的新加坡之子送别。

  永远的感激——这是李显龙总理在国葬礼上代表政府与人民宣读悼词时,对这位为新加坡的长 期繁荣与安全奠定基础的人物所致上的最高敬意,也是850名受邀参加国葬礼的各界人士,以及沿着从国会大厦移灵的路线送吴博士最后一程,乃至透过电视荧光 屏目送这位陨落的巨人的全国民众心中的一份感动。


  有报道说,吴庆瑞博士节俭成性,甚至“连一毛钱一杯的甘蔗水都要省”。不过新加坡前高级政务次长陈志成却认为,新加坡有个像吴博士那样的部长是 很幸运的,“因为他不是在压榨我们,只是不想浪费金钱。这也说明新加坡如何可以省下很多钱,进而成为世界上最富裕的国家之一。”

  深圳特区报讯 享有“新加坡经济发展之父”和“新加坡经济塑造者”等美誉之称的新加坡开国元勋之一的吴庆瑞博士14日凌晨逝世,享年91岁。

  吴庆瑞祖籍福建,1918年10月6日生于马来西亚马六甲市。吴庆瑞博士曾在新加坡内阁中担任多项重要职务,其中包括在1959年出任财政部 长,1965年至1967年间任内政部长兼国防部长,1968年至1984年间任副总理等,为新加坡的独立和繁荣做出了卓越的贡献。

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道德经 Tao Te Ching

When I was in my early teens, I started reading books about self-improvement whenever I visited bookstores and libraries. Since my parents were both working and couldn't find time to spend with us, these books were my best adviser and teacher on how to make myself a better person.

One of the best books on self-improvement is 道德经 Tao Te Ching by Lao-Zi. I just found a web site, TaoTeChing.Org, that has some of Lao-Zi's teachings. I like to ponder about Lao-Zi's teachings and reflect on how I can apply them in my life as much as possible. Here are some of my favorite ones.


Compassion is the finest weapon and best defence.
If you would establish harmony,
Compassion must surround you like a fortress.

Therefore, A good soldier does not inspire fear;
A good fighter does not display aggression;
A good conqueror does not engage in battle;
A good leader does not exercise authority.

This is the value of unimportance;
This is how to win the cooperation of others;
This to how to build the same harmony that is in nature.

Cultivate Harmony

Cultivate harmony within yourself, and harmony becomes real;
Cultivate harmony within your family, and harmony becomes fertile;
Cultivate harmony within your community, and harmony becomes abundant;
Cultivate harmony within your culture, and harmony becomes enduring;
Cultivate harmony within the world, and harmony becomes ubiquitous.

Live with a person to understand that person;
Live with a family to understand that family;
Live with a community to understand that community;
Live with a culture to understand that culture;
Live with the world to understand the world.

How can I live with the world?
By accepting.

Lead By Following

The river carves out the valley by flowing beneath it.
Thereby the river is the master of the valley.

In order to master people
One must speak as their servant;
In order to lead people
One must follow them.

So when the sage rises above the people,
They do not feel oppressed;
And when the sage stands before the people,
They do not feel hindered.

So the popularity of the sage does not fail,
He does not contend, and no one contends against him.


Those who wish to change the world
According with their desire
cannot succeed.

The world is shaped by the Way;
It cannot be shaped by the self.
Trying to change it, you damage it;
Trying to possess it, you lose it.

So some will lead, while others follow.
Some will be warm, others cold
Some will be strong, others weak.
Some will get where they are going
While others fall by the side of the road.

So the sage will be neither extravagant nor violent.


八珍汤 (Ba Zhen Tang)

Yesterday husband and I brought the kids to the Chinese medicinal clinic in Richardson to see the Chinese physician, Wanda, who cured husband's liver and kidneys. My Chinese herbs for confinement have run out, and husband was not feeling very well, so we decided to make the trip even though my confinement period is not yet over.

All praise be to Allah SWT it was great to see Wanda and she was happy to see DD2. When she saw my tongue and checked my pulse, she said that my body is very weak and overheated. She advised me to stop eating ginger and prescribed a herbal drink, Ba Zhen Tang, 八珍汤 to take for 10 days. This Chinese herbal drink will also help to get rid of the heat in DD2's body since she is drinking my breast milk. When she checked my husband's tongue and pulse, she said that he has been exhausted from taking care of DD1, DD2 and me. She said he should try to get some rest to let his body recover. Husband also asked her to prescribe Chinese herbs that can reduce his cholesterol and blood sugar level. Eventually she prescribed a herbal drink for him to take for 10 days.

I am glad that we went to see Wanda early because after we arrived several patients were waiting for her to see them. Allah SWT willing we will return to see her in two weeks' time to follow up on our health diagnosis.

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May 23, 2010

Educating the Whole Child

I love to listen to National Public Radio (NPR) because it offers so many interesting information on many topics.

Educating the Whole Child: Listen online or download free MP3 from Human Media.

Bringing out the highest part of young people

What is the duty to impart wisdom to the next generation? Besides prepping kids for tests and teaching them technical skills, what kind of human beings should parents and teachers seek to raise?

"Educating the Whole Child" includes these 8 half-hour segments:

  1. Two inspired veteran teachers, Parker Palmer ("The Courage to Teach") and Nel Noddings ("Caring") offer a provocative vision of educating "the whole person".
  2. Journey with us to a Vermont elementary school where a folklore professor teaches age-old wisdom proverbs to enthusiastic kids.
  3. At a time when young people need guidance to make wise choices in the face of powerful social influences, hear these helpful ideas from authors Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn, a couple with three children.
  4. Darrell Scott, whose 17-year-old daughter Rachel died tragically at Columbine High, leads a movement to reach out to alienated youth and promote compassion.
  5. Children's advocate and National Book Award-winner Jonathan Kozol celebrates the heroes he's met in poor neighborhoods where dedicated teachers and clergy give children hope.
  6. This powerful documentary chronicles a remarkable family of Mississippi share-croppers who risked their lives to get a good education.
  7. and 8. We hear from teachers, students, parents and the principal at Maryland's South Carroll High--cited by the U.S. Dept. of Education for "character education" that promotes voluntary service and respect for diversity.


Miss USA Controversy

From Voice of America online news:

'For the first time since it was founded in 1952, the Miss USA beauty pageant has crowned an Arab American as its winner. Rima Fakih, 24, - who was born in Lebanon - has been at the center of controversy since winning the crown. Some say as a Muslim she shouldn't be in beauty pageants while others say she has every right to wear the crown.'

In Islam, there is no compulsion in religion.

I respect Miss Rima Fakih and her family for her decision to do so in the Miss USA beauty pageant. We are living in the United States, and everyone is free to do anything according to his or her own wish as long as the action does not bring harm to him/herself and others. Although she is a Muslim (as stated on the web site) she has the right to choose how she practices her faith. If her parents do not force her to live her life according to the religious way, then others have no right to tell her to do so except to gently remind her of the benefits of doing so. I do not believe in criticizing people who choose not to follow the guidelines of their belief, whether they are Muslims, Jews, Christians, Buddhists or others. We should respect their decision and accept them for who they are. We are answerable only to our own souls and nobody else.

Personally I do encourage my daughters to compete in intellectual events or travel the world to widen their horizon when they reach the legal age. But I will not allow them to compete in an event that requires them to remove their headscarves and wear clothes that do not cover their modesty. When I was in labor with DD1 and DD2, I prayed to Allah SWT to help me raise pious and healthy children. I prayed that Allah SWT help my children to live a righteous and religious way of life. That is how I hope to bring up my children in this world so that we can get the rewards for the world here after.

From Islam For Today:

The Holy Qur'an lays down the principle of the law of modesty. In Surah 24: An-Nur: 30 and 31, modesty is enjoined both upon Muslim men and Muslim women 4:

Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for Greater purity for them: And God is Well-acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women That they should lower their gaze And guard their modesty: and they should not display beauty and ornaments expect what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that They must draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband's fathers, their sons, their husband's sons, or their women, or their slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their ornaments.

The following conclusions may be made on the basis of the above-cited verses5:

1. The Qur'anic injunctions enjoining the believers to lower their gaze and behave modestly applies to both Muslim men and women and not Muslim women alone.

2. Muslim women are enjoined to "draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty" except in the presence of their husbands, other women, children, eunuchs and those men who are so closely related to them that they are not allowed to marry them. Although a self-conscious exhibition of one's "zeenat" (which means "that which appears to be beautiful" or "that which is used for embellishment or adornment") is forbidden, the Qur'an makes it clear that what a woman wears ordinarily is permissible. Another interpretation of this part of the passage is that if the display of "zeenat" is unintentional or accidental, it does not violate the law of modesty.

3. Although Muslim women may wear ornaments they should not walk in a manner intended to cause their ornaments to jingle and thus attract the attention of others.


Is the organic milk that you buy really organic?

I just received an email from my doula, Sr. Muneera, that contains a link to a web site that lists whether the organic milk that consumers buy at the stores are really organic.

Check your organic milk

Apparently the use of the term 'organic' is not strictly regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

I am so disgusted by those companies who claim that they sell organic products when in fact they are not just because they want to rip off consumers. Now that I know the truth, I will only buy Whole Foods Market's 365 organic milk from now onwards.

The Cornucopia Institute
: promoting economic justice for family scale farming
Seeking economic justice for the family-scale farming community. Through research, advocacy, and economic development our goal is to empower farmers - partnered with consumers - in support of ecologically produced local, organic and authentic food.


May 22, 2010

DVD Rental Kiosk

Husband and I are quite selective when it comes to the types of movies that we watch. So instead of subscribing to cables to watch movies, we usually rent DVDs from a nearby Blockbuster store.

Yesterday I rented three movies on DVD from The interesting thing is that I did not get the DVDs from a typical movie rental store. Instead, I
1. logged in on the web site after creating an online account,
2. select movie titles that are available at a kiosk that dispenses the DVDs,
3. pay for the rental ($1.00 per title) via a credit/debit card,
4. go to the kiosk (in our case it's located in a gas station about 2 minutes drive from our place) and pick up the DVDs.

The white area in the DVD shown in the image above is the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag. When I need to return the DVDs, I just go to the same kiosk in the gas station and pop them in the same slot that dispenses them. No fuss, no worries.

When I was working at the National Library Board of Singapore, I learned about the RFID technology and how it is used to allow patrons return books at any branch libraries in Singapore. It is an amazing technology and I was impressed by the NLB for implementing this all over Singapore.

Here is how RFID works according to
  • Data­ stored within an RFID tag's microchip waits to be read.
  • The tag's antenna receives electromagnetic energy from an RFID reader's antenna.
  • Using power from its internal battery or power harvested from the reader's electromagnetic field, the tag sends radio waves back to the reader.
  • ­The reader picks up the tag's radio waves and interprets the frequencies as meaningful


May 21, 2010

Poem: Gardening Blues

Gardening Blues

The roses are dead,
The violets have wilted.
I fell for the gardener,
But now I’ve been jilted!

—Leah Carmical, Grade 7

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Poem: Why I Love My Sister

Why I love my sister

The Importance Of A Sister

© Shiv Sharma

A sister is someone who loves you from the heart,
No matter how much you argue you cannot be drawn apart.
She is a joy that cannot be taken away,
Once she enters your life, she is there to stay.

A friend who helps you through difficult times,
Her comforting words are worth much more than dimes.
A partner who fills your life with laughs and smile,
These memories last for miles and miles.

When she is by your side, the world is filled with life,
When she is not around, your days are full of strife.
A sister is a blessing, who fills your heart with love,
She flies with you in life with the beauty of a dove.

A companion to whom you can express your feelings,
She doesn’t let you get bored at family dealings.
Whether you are having your ups or downs,
She always helps you with a smile and never frowns.

With a sister you cannot have a grudge,
She is as sweet as chocolate and as smooth as fudge.
Having a sister is not just a trend,
It is knowing you can always turn to her, your best friend.

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May 20, 2010

Mini Roses in a Pot

This afternoon Sr. Zaleha visited us and we chatted for two and half hours. It was so nice of her to bring a pot of mini roses which I love!

All praise be to Allah SWT I get to know her through Sr. Nor. Allah SWT willing this summer I will be bringing the kids to spend time with Zaleha, and most probably we will be going to the public library together which happen to be one of our favorite places to hang out.


National Missing Children's Day, May 25th

As a parent of two girls, it gives me chills to read about how innocent children are kidnapped and sometimes killed by criminals all over the world. As a precaution, I ordered a Child Safety Kit from the Polly Klass Foundation. Allah SWT willing I will order another for DD2 soon.

May 25th is National Missing Children's Day. I encourage all parents to get a Child Safety Kit for their child/ren.

About the Polly Klass Foundation
Polly Hannah Klass was kidnapped from her home on October 1, 1993. Her body was found on December 3, 1993. Her father set up this foundation to
work with law enforcement and the public to protect America's youngsters. Read about Polly's story here.

National Missing Children's Day

Dear Friend,

We would like to invite you to participate in the upcoming National Missing Children’s Day, which will be next Tuesday, May 25.

Participation opportunities for parents:
You can make a wonderful contribution to your children’s safety by reviewing our free Child Safety Kit. You can then set aside some special time on Tuesday, May 25 to role play with your children the safety lessons that are most pertinent to their lives.

If you have misplaced your free Child Safety Kit, you can use this special link to review the contents. If you would like to order your personal free Child Safety Kit, please click here.


Mom Stories on PBS

I love to read/hear accounts about the special bonding between parent and child. This one featured on PBS is one of my favorites.

Synopsis: This three-minute animated short from the producers of StoryCorps features Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger's Syndrome, interviewing his mother, Sarah. Joshua's unique questions and Sarah's loving, unguarded answers reveal a beautiful relationship that reminds us of the best — and the most challenging — parts of being a mother. (4 minutes)

Watch the movie here.

Asperger's Disorder is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder. In Asperger's Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication. Though grammatical, their speech may sound peculiar due to abnormalities of inflection and a repetitive pattern. Clumsiness may be prominent both in their articulation and gross motor behavior. They usually have a circumscribed area of interest which usually leaves no space for more age appropriate, common interests. Some examples are cars, trains, French Literature, door knobs, hinges, cappucino, meteorology, astronomy or history. The name "Asperger" comes from Hans Asperger, an Austrian physician who first described the syndrome in 1944. - Asperger's Disorder Homepage


May 19, 2010

New Play Date for DD1

This afternoon Sr. Fatima brought her one year old daughter, Khadijah, to visit us. She also brought dinner for husband and DD1. It was so kind of her to do so because this week husband has been cooking late dinners for DD1 and him, so today DD1 and him were able to have an early dinner..

I took the opportunity to set up a regular play date for DD1 and her daughter starting next week Allah SWT willing. It is a blessing that Sr. Fatima comes from China and she speaks Chinese. So I have someone to converse Mandarin with. This way DD1 can also have a chance to interact with another younger child and hopefully she will learn to take care of her younger sister. She will also have the chance to speak Mandarin with Sr. Fatima.


Poem: Children Are A Gift From God

God sent me three packages
That needed special care
"Take care of these tiny gifts
For they are very rare."

"Watch over them with all your love
And let them feel your touch
Take care of their every need
For you are needed very much."

"These gifts will grow up very fast
As you soon will see
Love them with all your heart
And let them be what they will be."

"When these gifts have fully grown
Look at Heaven up above
Know they exist because of God
And all his precious love."

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Lovely Baby Gifts from Ex-Collegues

This afternoon Sr. Sarah and Sr. Henna, my ex-colleagues from the school where I worked, came to visit DD2 and me.

All praise be to Allah SWT I am really happy to see them. It was so nice of them to bring a cake and lovely gifts for DD2. During our conversation, I told them that I would really prefer to have children when I was in my 20s, but Allah SWT has other plans for me and I only get to have kids in my 30s. Both of them were surprised that I am not in my late twenties (seriously, I am not) and expressed their disbelief. I told them that my mother prepared Chinese herbs for me regularly when I was growing up, and the confinement diet helped to restore my health quickly after giving birth. I think they were impressed by the wonders of Chinese medicine.

They stayed for about an hour before they had to leave. Allah SWT willing I plan to visit Sr. Henna and her 7 month old daughter soon.

Sr. Anita came by later to bring gifts for DD2 from Sr. Mazida, a teacher from the school. These dresses look so cute! Can't wait to dress DD2 in them.


The Wounded Platoon on PBS

If you have watched the movies 'Platoon' and/or 'Casualties of War', you would be confronted with the issue of soldiers who suffer psychological effects of war and those who harm/kill innocent civilians during war times.

Last night I watched the PBS documentary 'The Wounded Platoon' while husband and DD2 were sleeping. Husband does not watch this type of documentary because it brings back painful memories of the Khmer Rouge war. Although it helps for survivors of war to talk about what they went through to help them deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), husband rarely brings up the topic. I do not push him to do so unless he feels like he is ready. Until then, it helps me to understand him a little bit better by watching this type of documentary that addresses the issue of PTSD.

Here is the synopsis from the web site:


On Nov. 30, 2007, 24-year-old Kevin Shields went out drinking with three Army buddies from Fort Carson, Colo., a base on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. A few hours later, he was dead -- shot twice in the head at close range and left by the side of the road by his fellow soldiers. Shields' murder punctuated a string of violent attacks committed by the three, who are now serving time in prison for this and other crimes, and it contributed to a startling statistic: Since the Iraq war began, a total of 17 soldiers from Fort Carson have been charged with or convicted of murder, manslaughter or attempted murder committed at home in the United States, and 36 have committed suicide.

In The Wounded Platoon, FRONTLINE investigates a single Fort Carson platoon of infantrymen -- the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry -- and finds, after a long journey, a group of young men changed by war and battling a range of psychiatric disorders that many blame for their violent and self-destructive behavior. Since returning from Iraq, three members of the 3rd Platoon have been convicted on murder or attempted murder charges; one has been jailed for drunk driving and another for assaulting his wife; and one has attempted suicide.

The FRONTLINE investigation also uncovers extraordinary footage from police interrogation tapes alleging that members of the platoon murdered unarmed Iraqis. "There's a whole bunch of people in the unit that killed people they weren't supposed to," according to Bruce Bastien, who, along with Louis Bressler and Kenny Eastridge, is now serving time for the murder of Kevin Shields. In a stunning confession recorded by police interviewers and shown for the first time on television, Bastien admits to his role in the murder of two U.S. soldiers and the stabbing of a young woman during a robbery in Colorado Springs -- and he makes claims about more murders committed in Iraq during the surge. "It's easy to get away with that kind of s*** over there. You can just do it and be like, 'Oh, he had a gun,' and nobody really looks into it. 'F*** it, it's just another dead Haji.'"

Read the rest here.

Watch the full program online.


May 17, 2010

Vegetable Garden Update - May 2010 (3)

So far the day temperature has been between upper 60s and 80s degree F. We had scattered rain during the week and a heavy downpour on Friday. The plants in the garden bed and backyard are looking good and happy in the warm weather.

Husband has been too tired to mow the front and backyard, and now they look like a mini jungle. I hope that he'll get some sleep and gain his energy back to mow the lawn soon so that we don't keep having people knocking on our door to ask if we are willing to pay a fee for them to mow the lawn.

Sunflowers looking good!

Pole and bush beans growing like crazy!

Green Better Bush tomatoes

Green Better Boy tomatoes

Bell Pepper plants growing well.


May 16, 2010

Cute Baby Clothes

Last Wednesday Sr. Mazifah and K. Izan came to visit us. It was so nice of Sr. Mazifah to bring gifts for DD2. Since she stayed close to our place, she was able to come during her lunch break as she works from home.

Last night Sr. Anita came with her husband and three kids to visit us. When Sr. Anita visited me at the hospital, DD2 was undergoing bili light treatment for jaundice, so she didn't have the chance to see DD2. So I was glad that she came by to see DD2 yesterday. She also brought gifts for DD2 and prepared Malaysian-style chicken soup and rice for us.

All praise be to Allah SWT all the baby clothes are so cute! I can't wait to dress up DD2 and take lots of pictures for her scrapbook album!


R.I.P. My Favorite Hen

One of our chickens died today. She was the fourth chicken that we bought at the animal farm, and my favorite one because she would let me pet and hold her without putting up a struggle like the other three.

This afternoon when I went to the kitchen to get a drink after taking a nap, I saw this scene through the double French doors. The chicken was laying on her side near the tree where the bird feeder is hanging.

As I wasn't wearing my glasses at the time, I hurried back to the room to get them. I went out to inspect and confirmed that one of the ladies had died. I told husband about it and he went to check it out. There were no apparent bite marks and all the feathers were intact, so we have no idea how she died. Yesterday she was just happily chowing down on grass, weeds and bugs, then today she is dead.

Husband buried the corpse under the garden bed. Daughter kept asking how the chicken died, and we couldn't tell her the exact reason. I think she is still too young to understand life and death, and so I didn't say anything else about it.

I am going to miss this lady. It will be a while before we get another chicken from the animal farm.


May 15, 2010

4th Week of Confinement

All praise be to Allah SWT, this coming week will be the fourth week of my confinement.

So far I have only stepped outside of the house twice. Once was for DD2's eye exam at a pediatric eye specialist's clinic (to make sure there is no white spot on her left eye retina), and another on at my OB doctor's clinic for the incision wound checkup.

I am not doing much around the house now. Allah SWT willing I'll give the house a good cleaning after my confinement period is over on May 27th. Husband tries his best to keep the house in good shape (no toys scattered around the house by DD1) in addition to taking care of cooking for himself, DD1 and me.

I am trying to rest as much as possible, but my travel bug is biting my butt and I am already thinking of taking a short day trip with husband and the kids after my confinement period. I think I just need to get out of the city and go to some other places to breath fresh air. With DD1 still so small, a day trip would be nice for us to unwind with DD2 after she has been coup up in the house for a month.


May 14, 2010

十全大补汤 (Shi Chuan Da Bu Tang) + 生化汤 (Sheng Hua Tang)

Five days after DD2 was born, my dear sister went to the Chinese medicinal clinic in Richardson to get some Chinese herbs for my confinement.

十全大补汤 (Shi Chuan Da Bu Tang)

One of them is the Shi Chuan Da Bu Tang. Basically this combination of herbs is to be cooked with a whole chicken and eaten twice a day. The new mother should wait for 12 days before drinking this soup. The purpose of this soup is to help restore energy and improve blood circulation to the new mother.

The image below is taken from a Chinese herbal book, 中药材轻图典 (Zhong Yao Cai Qing Tu Dian).

生化汤 (Sheng Hua Tang)

Another set of herbs is the Sheng Hua Tang. I brew this combination of herbs twice and combine the two liquid together before drinking it twice a day after meals. The new mother should drink this herbal tea 7 days after delivery of the baby. The purpose of this drink is to let all the blood discharge from the uterus and help the uterus to shrink back to the normal size.

Since I am used to drinking bitter Chinese herbal teas and soups, the mild taste of these tonic soups is quite alright for me. As a Chinese, I firmly believe that consuming time-tested good old Chinese health remedies are necessary to strength our body and speed up recovery from illnesses, injuries or surgeries.

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May 12, 2010

Fly, Birds, Fly

Husband just told me that the wild baby birds that were hatched in the blue backpack have flew away two weeks ago. They were all grown up in a matter of weeks, and left their nest with their parents.

I wish I had seen them before they took off. Allah SWT willing hopefully the parents will return next year to hatch another batch of eggs.

What happens to the backpack?

Apparently the chickens have decided that it is a good place to lay their eggs.

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How to Get Treated Faster and Better at the ER

Just read this article about things that one can do to get treated faster and better at the Emergency Room via a link from ER Stories.

Read the full article here.

Emergency-room docs offer inside scoop: How to get treated faster, better

by Eric Wahlgren

"We have people who've called an ambulance for earwax impaction or prescription refills," says one ER physician, who writes a blog called ER Stories. "When they come in by ambulance, they go right into the waiting room."

Here are some things you can do to be treated faster and better:

Avoid nights, weekends and holidays:
Face it folks, doctors take time off, too, and you'll be seen more quickly if you show up at 10 a.m. on a weekday rather than 10 p.m. on Saturday night -- after there's been a series of car wrecks. "Even if it happens to be less busy on a night or weekend, the staffing is lower," the ER doc in the northeast says. "There may only be five people ahead of you, but it will take a while to get seen." Holidays are also a bad time to go, as is the day right after, as hospital staff may extend their vacations. True emergencies, of course, give little advance warning. But if you have an inkling your bandaged finger, say, may need stitches, best head to the ER as soon as possible, rather than waiting until after work when you'll have plenty of company.

Call your regular doctor before you go:
If you let your primary care physician know you're heading to the hospital, he or she may be able to call ahead and alert the staff. Often, the ER department may even be able to hold a bed for you if your doctor requests it.

Bring a list of your medications: Certain drug allergies or interactions can harm or even kill you. To begin treatment, doctors will ideally need to find out about all the medications you're taking.

Have your medical records and tests handy: Another major slowdown for doctors in the ER can come from having to order medical records and tests from other hospitals or departments to get the full picture of your condition.

Make sure your hospital treats what's ailing you: Knowing ahead of time whether the ER to which you're heading actually has the right staff and resources to treat your problem will save you time.

Try to be understanding: The reality of the ER is that unless you're dying, you're going to be treated after someone who is in much worse shape.

Bring somebody with you:
It's likely that when you go to the ER, you won't exactly be feeling your best. It's always a good idea to bring somebody with you -- a spouse, perhaps, or a trusted friend -- who can help answer questions about your condition and recall any information the medical team gives.

Avoid the ER altogether: If you're suffering from an urgent -- but minor -- problem like a cut, ear infection, flu or animal bite, you may be able to go to an urgent care center instead of a hospital ER. Typically, patients are seen more quickly at urgent care centers.

Keeping these tips handy may make the mess a little more bearable.


May 10, 2010

Decode Your Medial Bills

Understanding my medical bills for hospitalization can be confusing and frustrating sometimes. All praise be to Allah SWT I found this article that is quite useful in this matter.

Los Angeles Times: Decode your medical bills
February 15, 2010

Before you pay, make sure you understand all of the charges. Here are some tips.

People with health insurance who get a medical bill this early in the new year may also get some sticker shock. Few will have satisfied their plan's annual deductible this soon, meaning they'll be responsible for a hefty portion of the bill, if not all of it.

That's especially true for patients who go out of network -- that is, use a doctor who doesn't accept their insurance or is not part of their managed-care plan.

I know this firsthand.

My portion of a bill from an out-of-network physician -- for an hourlong checkup that included lab work, an EKG and chest X-ray -- recently came to just over $1,000.

Regardless of the amount, all bills should be read carefully.

"Much of a doctor's bill and insurer's explanation of benefits can seem indecipherable, and often they are," says Tom Billet, a senior consultant on healthcare issues in the Stamford, Conn., office of benefits consulting firm Watson Wyatt. "Reviewing the doctor's bill to be sure they didn't add in services you didn't have, and reviewing the insurer's document to make sure the charges match what's in the doctor's bill, could save some people some money."

In my case, a review of the bill found no blatant mistakes, padded charges or unjust refusals by the insurer. But it did find that the doctor's office had charged for separate lab tests done with just one blood draw. The insurer flagged and allowed only a bundled test, the fee for which was much lower than the individual tests on the doctor's bill.

Reviewing medical bills and reimbursement notices -- and challenging them if necessary -- is crucial. Billet and other consultants offered these suggestions:

Pay attention to the details.

Whether or not you're insured, the doctor's office should give you an itemized bill accounting for any professional encounters and tests. Make sure you received all the services for which you were billed.

After breaking a toe several years ago, Billet was told he didn't need an X-ray because the treatment -- taping the toe to its neighbor -- is the same regardless of what the films show. But Billet's bill included an X-ray charge.

Even if you receive the bill in the office -- and must pay before leaving -- take the time to look it over and fix any mistakes. As Candy Butcher, chief executive of Medical Billing Advocates of America in Salem, Va., notes, getting a refund can be difficult. If the bill is complex, ask to take it home to review before making payment arrangements. If the office balks, ask if paying a small percentage of the bill will suffice.

Learn the terminology.

Insurers offer glossaries in their handbooks and on their websites explaining such terms as "deductible" and "co-payment/co-insurance." It's good to be comfortable with the terms, Billet says, so that you can explain discrepancies or overcharges. For example, people who are used to paying a flat-fee co-payment can be confused if they switch insurers and are now paying co-insurance, or a percentage of the fee. "Understanding the terms helps put you on a more equal footing with the insurance representative when you have your conversation," Billet says.

Read the remarks.

Insurers include number codes, typically explained at the end of the document, to let you know why they refused a particular charge. Dr. Geni Bennetts, formerly a pediatric oncologist and now a billing advocate based in Napa, says a common reason for refusal may be that a physician simply billed for generic lab tests and that the insurer needs to see specific tests listed, such as "lipid panel" or "complete blood screening" to determine whether the charge is eligible. In those cases, check with your insurer to see how a more detailed breakout would be resubmitted. The doctor's office may have to redo the numbers before the bill can be resubmitted.

Use customer service.

Don't hesitate to call your insurer about a charge you think should have been paid, or paid at a higher rate. For example, many insurers now charge a large share of an emergency room bill if there was no actual emergency -- sometimes a hard thing to determine at the time.

"If you think you had medical care that was justified but your insurer turns you down, call customer service, but then also ask for a supervisor if you think you're not being well served," says Helen Darling, head of the National Business Group on Health, an association that helps large corporations tame high healthcare costs. Other encounters worth an appeal to customer service include an appointment with an out-of-network specialist if the plan's network did not have someone with the same specialty or an emergency room visit for chest pains that turned out to be gas if the patient had a family history of heart disease.

No satisfaction from customer service? Insurers allow appeals, usually within 90 to 180 days of the date of payment for a denied claim. Check the manual or customer service number to find out how to file an appeal.

Consider a billing advocate.

For particularly expensive bills, such as for a major operation or long hospital stay, for which you paid completely out of pocket or got little reimbursement, billing advocates may be able to go to bat for you. Advocates may charge by the hour or take a percentage -- often 20% to 30% -- of any money they are able to reclaim from the insurance company. A few firms offer this service free to their employees. More likely, the person who handles insurance at your company can refer you to a billing advocacy firm; so too can a hospital's patient advocate office.

Deal with doctor's office.

My biggest blunder: I should have asked the doctor if I could have the lab work done at an in-network lab instead of at his office. Less convenient for sure, but billing specialists say I could have saved $400 or more.

Even if I'd decided to stick with the in-house tests, doctors often will give a discount to patients paying in full, perhaps as high as 35%. In my case, that would have been over $350. Butcher says I likely would not have had to bring it up with the doctor at all; many office managers are authorized to adjust bills for patients. And they'll often discount a bill even for patients paying in installments.

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Hoarding Severity Scale

I just took this Hoarding Severity Scale self-assessment on, and here is my score:

Clutter score: 2

Difficulty Discarding score: 0

Acquiring score: 0

Each of these scores can be interpreted as:

0–2: Minimal This is probably not something you need to worry about.

3–7: Mild Although you may have a bit of clutter, difficulty discarding or acquiring, it is unlikely to be a significant problem for you. You might want to consider working on these issues, perhaps using a self-directed manual such as Buried in Treasures.

8–12: Moderate In all likelihood, you have a significant hoarding-related problem. People who score in this range typically find their lives to be impacted by clutter, difficulty discarding or acquiring. You might benefit from working on the problem on your own with a manual such as Buried in Treasures. However, you could also consider working with a mental health professional who knows about the treatment of hoarding.

13–17: Severe People who score in this range usually find that their quality of life is suffering quite a bit due to hoarding-related concerns. A self-directed manual such as Buried in Treasures might be a good start, but if you score in this range, you will probably find that you need the help of a professional to beat the problem.

18–20: Very Severe If you scored in this range on any of the clutter, difficulty discarding or acquiring scales, it's time to get professional help. People who score in this range are probably going to have a very hard time tackling this problem on their own. Contact a mental health professional who knows about the treatment of hoarding.


May 09, 2010

Video: Waking Up Is Hard To Do

Saw it on 10 Centimeters and Beyond.


Spouse Support During Labor

When I was in labor with DD1, husband was with me throughout the 12 hours of laboring. He was the one who fed me ice chips and offered his hands to let me hold when a contraction came on.

With DD2, I did not want to see him at all.

In fact, I told him to leave the room.

Maybe it was because I had my doula and Nurse Yvonne with me, so I didn't need husband to be around. Maybe because the contractions made me so tired and hurt that I didn't want the person who impregnated me to be around. Maybe I wanted to spare him the agony of seeing me in pain and there was nothing he could do about it.

Nurse Lochia who has a blog, 10 Centimeters and Beyond, put it exactly how I think husband felt when I was in labor:

'Dad was scared, worried and felt helpless. He wanted to do what a lot of dads want to do: make the pain go away and didn't quite know what to do to help.'

Throughout the labor, I thought that he had waited outside the room or left the hospital to take care of DD1. Then my doula told me that he had been waiting by the door all day long. I didn't mean to chase husband away, but I was glad that he stayed.

Eventually when I decided to have the epidural, he was there to hear it from me. When I was advised to have a C-section, he was there to discuss it with me and gave his support for this procedure. All I said to him was that I love him and asked him to pray for the baby and me, which he acknowledged with a nod and a kiss on my forehead.

When DD2 was delivered in the Operating Room via C-section, he was there to take video of DD2's birth and recited the call to prayer in her ears.

I thank Allah SWT for my husband's patience and his support for me during these most difficult hours.


Poem: I Thought Of You

When laboring DD2 became difficult and unbearable, I was praying so hard that Allah SWT give me a healthy baby. It didn't matter that I didn't get to have a VBAC or I have to undergo a painful recovery from a C-section, but the well-being of my baby came above everything else.

Just read this blog, 10 Centimeters and Beyond, by Nurse Lochia. I'm sorry to read about the loss of her fourth child during the 11th week of pregnancy. Here is poem that she wrote on her blog for her unborn child. I was crying as I was reading it earlier this morning.

I Thought of You

I thought of you and closed my eyes and prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother and I know I heard him say.
A Mother has a baby this we know is true.
But God, can you be a Mother when your baby's not with you?
“ Yes, you can ” He replied with confidence in His voice
“I give many women babies; when they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime and others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb but there's no need to stay.”
I just don't understand this, God, I want my baby here.
He took a breath and cleared His throat and then I saw a tear.
"I wish I could show you what your child is doing today.
If you could see your child smile with other children and say"
"We go to earth and learn our lessons of love and life and fear.
My Mommy loved me oh so much I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a Mom who had so much love for me.
I learned my lesson very quickly. My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much but I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep, on her pillow's where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek and whisper in her ear
"Mommy don’t be sad today, I'm your baby and I'm Here".
"So you see my dear sweet one, your child is OK.
Your baby is here in My home and this where she'll stay.
She'll wait for you with me until your lesson is through
And on the day that you come home she'll be at the gates for you.
So now you see what makes a Mother - it's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of right from the very start


May 08, 2010

DD2's Birth Story

I have been reading birth stories posted by The Rural Doctoring, and this post kind of made me wonder about my own psychological state of mind when giving birth to DD2.

'Because a woman's psychological preparedness for giving birth really matters. Women have to reach deeply into their inner selves during labor, and they need to have some self-reflection to get to those deep places.' - The Rural Doctoring

2:00am: I woke up with strong contractions. The pain got more and more intense as time passed. Had to get out of bed and sit on the exercise ball to ease the pain.

2:30pm: "I think I will call my doula at 3am if the pain continues."

3:00pm: The pain was not going away and I could hardly talk when I have the contraction. Called my doula and she said she will be here soon.

3:45pm: My doula arrived at my place and I apologized for the bad timing. She said not to feel bad about it and checked my belly. She said that contractions are getting stronger and suggested that we go to the hospital now.

4:30pm: We arrived at the labor and delivery ward and got checked in. A nurse came to check me and got me to change into a gown.

10:30am: When I was in active labor after the OB doctor, Dr. C, broke my water in the morning, I did not request for epidural because I wanted to try giving birth without pain medication. I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. Initially with my doula's coaching, I was able to take deep breaths and focus on relaxing my shoulders and body instead of each contractions.

12:00pm: But by noon as the labor progressed, the contraction pain was getting more intense for me to relax. My doula advised me to reach deep to cope with each contraction pain, and I tried to listen to her through the pain. Eventually, Yvonne, the nurse who took care of me, advised me to take some pain medication to help me relax. Yvonne has been a registered nurse for over 15 years and although I have only meet her that day, I trust her professional judgment. I was glad that I took her advise because after having pain medication given to me through IV, my cervix dilated from 3cm to 4cm and 90% effaced.

1:00pm: I was still 4cm dilated. At this point, I couldn't tell myself to relax and focus on breathing deeply. I have been in active labor for over 12 hours and was too tired to cope with the intense pain. Yvonne again advised me to get an epidural as it might help me to get some rest and hopefully my cervix will dilate more when I am relaxed.

I decided to go for it. But I had to wait for an hour to get it as the anaesthesiologist, Dr. B, was swarmed with laboring woman who wanted epidural.

It was an agonizing one hour wait and I had no idea how I managed to wait that long without losing my mind.

2:00pm: When Dr. B finally came into my room, Yvonne and my doula told me the good news. By this time I was just too tired to feel happy. Dr. B gave me instructions to be in a sitting position, and although I heard him loud and clear, my body was not listening to my brain. I kept hearing him saying things like 'You are not doing it right.' or 'You are not listening to me.' or 'You are not looking at how I do it.' I tried to push my lower back outward like how he showed me but I didn't quite got it right. Finally Yvonne told me to hug a pillow with both arms and helped me to bend my lower back as much as possible. She told me to stay very still and with her help, it worked.

(The next day when I was in a postpartum recovery room after DD2 was born, my doula told me that she didn't like the way Dr. B spoke to me, and husband was also quite annoyed at his tone. I told her that perhaps Dr. B was under a lot of stress having to deal with so many requests for epidural within a short time, that was why he was not very patient with me. )

5:00pm: Three hours later my cervix went from 4cm to 7cm. Then it stayed at 7cm and still 90% effaced for the next 3 hours.

When I learned that I was pregnant last August, I thought of giving birth this time without pain medication. I had also wanted to have a Vaginal Birth After C-Section (VBAC). But knowing that things can happen when you least expected it, I was prepared to be flexible when the time came to do so.

7:00pm: Yvonne checked my vital signs and updated me on my status as evening approached. She told me I was having a low grade fever, labor has not progressed in three hours and there was also blood in my urine by that time. She told me I needed to consider having a C-section to prevent harm to myself and the baby. She said that she was going to call Dr. C and let her know of my condition. For my husband and I, our priority is the baby's health, not my ego or pride. Even though I was hoping to have a VBAC, I knew that I have to do the right thing for my baby.

7:15pm: Just as Yvonne said, Dr. C advised me to consider getting a C-section. I am thankful that Dr. C was the OB doctor on call on that Sunday, and allowed me to try my best effort to have a VBAC. She did not pressure me to get a C-section even though my own OB doctor wanted me to consider scheduling for a C-section two weeks ago in case the baby was past the due date. After discussing with husband about it, we both agreed that this was necessary to avoid causing harm to the baby.

7:45pm-8:17pm: So after laboring for 17 hours, DD2 was delivered via c-section.

Upon reflection, I am glad that I did my best not to take pain medication unless absolutely necessary. I am also glad that I tried to have a VBAC although it didn't happen the way I wanted it to be. I can honestly say that I gave 100% of my effort in the laboring of DD2 and Allah SWT has blessed me with a safe delivery of my daughter eventually.

At an early age I learned that stubbornness will not help me in life's difficult situations. My mother has always told me that by being flexible and taking other people's good advise at the right time, with Allah SWT's blessings I somehow manage to survive life's trials.

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Teen Pregnancy and Abortion

I just read this blog post on RuralDoctoring 'which summarized a post by a medical student blogging under the name Pudu Overload who felt unnerved after observing abortions at a Planned Parenthood clinic. '

'I saw some things I can't get out of my head.
Med student 'incredibly freaked out' after a day at Planned Parenthood.'

According to a report published on the

Teen pregnancy rates per 1,000 girls aged 15-19, 2005

Highest teen pregnancy rates:

Mississippi 68.4
New Mexico 64.1
Texas 63.1
Arkansas 62.3
Arizona 62.0

Lowest teen pregnancy rates:

New Hampshire 18.7
Vermont 20.8
Massachusetts 21.3
Connecticut 23.5
New Jersey 24.9

We get more recent statistics from the Arizona Department of Health Services’ Vital Statistics:

Arizona had a total of 14,047 teen pregnancies in 2008, with 12,161 resulting in live births and 1,813 ending in abortion.

Girls under 15 years of age accounted for 230 of those pregnancies.


Teen childbearing in the United States costs taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $9.1 billion, according to a 2006 report by Saul Hoffman, Ph.D. and published by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Most of the costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers, including increased costs for health care, foster care, and incarceration.


Here is a response to a question about abortion from an Islamic perspective on

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

Dear brother in Islam, thanks a lot for your interesting question, which reflects your deep belief in the fact that Islam has answers for every problem facing mankind. Our utmost wish is just for all of us to adhere to the teachings of this great religion which came to save mankind from the peril of succumbing to the material life, to rescue them from darkness of following whims and self-inclinations to the light of guidance and eternal prosperity.

As regards your question, following is what the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, states in his well-known book, The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam:

“While Islam permits preventing pregnancy for valid reasons, it does not allow doing violence to it once it occurs.

Muslim jurists have agreed unanimously that after the fetus is completely formed and has been given a soul, abortion is haram. It is also a crime, the commission of which is prohibited to the Muslim because it constitutes an offense against a complete, living human being. Jurists insist that the payment of blood money (diya) becomes incumbent if the baby is aborted alive and then died, while a fine of lesser amount is to be paid if it is aborted dead.

However, there is one exceptional situation. If, say the jurists, after the baby is completely formed, it is reliably shown that the continuation of the pregnancy would necessarily result in the death of the mother, then, in accordance with the general principle of the Shari`ah, that of choosing the lesser of two evils, abortion must be performed. The reason for this is that the mother is the origin of the fetus; moreover, her life is well-established, with duties and responsibilities, and she is also a pillar of the family. It would not be possible to sacrifice her life for the life of a fetus which has not yet acquired a personality and which has no responsibilities or obligations to fulfill.

Imam al-Ghazzali makes a clear distinction between contraception and abortion, saying that contraception is not like abortion. Abortion is a crime against an existing being. It follows from this that there are stages of existence. The first stages of existence are the settling of the semen in the womb and its mixing with the secretions of the woman. Then come the next gestational stage. Disturbing the pregnancy at this stage is a crime. When it develops further and becomes a lump, aborting it is a greater crime. When it acquires a soul and its creation is completed, the crime becomes more grievous. The crime reaches a maximum seriousness when it is committed after it (the fetus) is separated (from the mother) alive.”


I personally do not support abortion rights unless the pregnant mother's health is in grave danger should the pregnancy continue.

It will not be easy to give up parental rights of your baby so that he/she can be adopted by a loving and caring family, but it is never justifiable for a woman to end an innocent life because of her irresponsible actions.

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