Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day Homily

Sharing the homily I wrote for today's church service (Mother's Day 2016)

When Colette asked me to give the homily on this Mother’s Day my first thought was AHHHHHH I’m not sure I can handle another thing to do!  Then my second thought was, WOW, maybe this is my chance.  I’ve been struggling lately and trying to think of a way to move forward.  I feel like life is just a juggling act at all times and my balls are all in the air – family, work, home, church, friends – and at any moment one of them may drop.  The last 8 months or so has been pretty challenging – between changing jobs, Mom’s surgery and recovery, a family vacation that wasn’t as we expected it would be, and just a rough winter with illnesses both in my immediate family and extended family.  It’s been an act of survival with all of us just keeping our heads above water.

I’m blessed.  I have an amazing husband who loves me unconditionally, two beautiful girls that are the light of my life, two parents who have been there for me supporting me through everything and taking care of my family more than grandparents should have to, wonderful friends, and a job that I love.  But, being everything to everyone is hard…amazing, but hard.  The thing with mothers is we are everything to everyone and often that comes with not taking good enough care of ourselves.  I know that I’m a good mother, but there are days I definitely second guess how good a mother I really am!  I neglect myself physically and mentally more than I’d like to admit to.  I’ve struggled with my weight for over half my life and though I’ve taken steps this last year to improve myself physically, I haven’t done as much as I should.  And the reasons for that come down to being a mother and a wife and a daughter and having too much on my plate, which I know we all struggle with.

I have faith that God won’t give me more than I can handle, but just like that saying, I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!  Living in a house with 4 adults is wonderful and challenging at that same time.  Mahir and I have been blessed that ever since we brought Leyla home from the hospital that her grandparents have been there for us and for her and for Hannah.  Parenting is sometimes difficult because all 4 of us discipline and when we don’t all agree it becomes quite the ordeal!  Mom and Dad make it easier for us to be able to work and not throw our entire paycheck to daycares or after school care.  Mom prepares meals so that after a 12 hour day of commuting and working, I don’t have to worry about that and we can all eat together each night.  But the blessing of having my parents with us is also a worry of mine – a worry because I am the only child and I will take care of my parents in their later years – something I have no problem doing and after all they have done for me and my family, I want to do – but something I’m not ready to face as taking care of them in their later years also means I won’t have them in my later years. 

For me, just because I have faith, doesn’t mean I fear things any less. In fact, my fear was so amplified at times that I was having trouble getting through some days without crying. As much as some people would say that medicine shouldn’t be used, taking the step to see my doctor and get on my small dose antidepressant has allowed me to get through the day without having my mind in a million different places worrying about more things than I should.  And I still worry, I mean, who doesn’t?  I worry that I’m not being a good enough wife, mother, daughter, and friend.  I say yes to more things than I should!  But I believe, because of my faith, that at the end of the day no matter what has happened and no matter where I have failed in my life on that particular day, that God, as my ultimate parent, loves me unconditionally, and I have a chance to start fresh the next day, with him giving me the forgiveness I need and strength to continue to try.  I have faith, maybe not as strong a faith as many of you, but I do have faith.  It’s another thing I need to improve, but the motto I have recently begun to keep in the forefront of my mind is “Progress not Perfection”.  As long as I am doing better than I was the day before, even an ounce better, then I’m doing OK. 

Going back almost 20 years, If life wasn’t hard enough as I moved out and started college, deciding what I wanted to do for my career, ultimately changing majors completely from engineering to business, It became more challenging when I met my husband when I was just a sophomore and a very young 19 years old.  My Mom was always worried I’d come home from way up in Maine with a Mainer that would move me up into the woods – never did she imagine that I’d come home and tell her that my boyfriend was a Turkish Muslim.  I prayed daily in my dorm room that if Mahir and I were not meant to be, for God to put obstacles in our way that would not allow us to be together.  While the idea of me dating someone that was not Christian was a bit of a surprise to my parents, in the end, love won, and my parents began to approve.  Obstacles were put in our way through the next 5 years of our relationship, including over 2 years where we only saw each other a total of 6 weeks, but none of them were permanent obstacles.  On June 1st of 2004 we were married on the hill across the street from this church.  Yes, we have our differences because of the two religions that we practice and the cultures we both come from.  Mahir’s family and his culture, though they are different, they all want the same things as we do.  His mother is a wonderful woman who loves her sons unconditionally, just like my mother loves me unconditionally, just like I love my daughters unconditionally, and above all, just like God loves all his children unconditionally.  Ever since the beginning of our relationship, Mahir and I have always agreed that there is one God and whether we call him God or Allah, he is the one we follow.  We may not agree on some of the smaller stuff, but when it comes to raising our daughters knowing both religions and to be good people, that we agree on, and that’s the most important. 

The last several years, particularly since the bombing at the Boston Marathon and different terror attacks throughout the world driven by Isis who claim to be attacking in the name of Allah, have made it very difficult to be a Muslim and to be the wife of a Muslim.  Mahir has much thicker skin than I do and can just shrug off the statements about “ALL Muslims being terrorists,” but I have a much harder time and often find myself correcting those who make those statements.  The words people use are very hurtful to me because I love an amazing man who happens to be a Muslim.  The words are hurtful to me because they are inaccurate and the last thing I want is for those words to be spoken to Leyla and Hannah and have them be hurt by that hate.  The overwhelming message of the Quran is that peace is found through faith in God.   Anyone claiming to be performing an act of terror in the name of Allah is not obeying the wishes of Allah or the words of the Quran.  They are the same as those of all other religions who claim that their acts of terror and hate are in the name of their religion.  We need to stop blaming all Muslims for acts of terror by ISIS just like we don’t blame all Christians, Jews, and Sikhs for acts that their extremists have carried out.  Labeling a particular group in such a hateful way is teaching our future generations more hate than we’ve seen in a long time, and that is scary.

Facebook and Pinterest and all the social media crazes out there have added to the pressure of being a mother, telling us that being the perfect parent means having an immaculate house and a perfectly behaved child.  This makes many of us feel like we’re failing.  That if we put the kids in front of the television or tablets and order takeout and have piles of laundry everywhere and an explosion of toys all over the house, that we’re doing it wrong.  But in reality, those are the parents that are not being realistic with themselves.  They’re not willing to show their imperfections.  And God wants to see our imperfections.  He wants us to show him that we need help and that we are willing to learn from our mistakes and carry on trying our best. 

On this Mother’s Day I want to praise all of you fellow Moms out there – moms, grandmothers, and godmothers.  Thank you for what you have done for your families and what you continue to do.  Let’s keep supporting and uplifting each other, because we know the struggles we each face.   To my own mother Barbara and my godmother Regina, you both have shown me the strength, commitment, and love that it takes to be amazing mothers, and I can only hope that someday I am half the woman that both of you are.   I love you. 

And now I would like to leave you with a prayer I found while putting together this homily:
Dear God,
Thank you for blessing me with my beautiful, wonderful children.  Thank you for equipping me for motherhood, even though I don’t feel equipped on most days. Thank you for giving me grace in my faults, and for teaching me to give grace to my children in their faults. Thank you, Lord, for the awesome privilege of raising your perfect gifts.  Please, Jesus, help me to be kind, patient, gentle, and loving; slow to anger, and quick to forgive, just like you.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

A reader...and something else...

Last night, on January 14, 2015, Leyla read her first book.  She sat at the table while I was doing dishes and read Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs & Ham with Grammy. Sure, there were a couple of challenging words, but here we go - she's off and running with reading. I can't believe we've reached this point - 4 teeth gone, 2.5 grown back in so far...a kindergartener who is one of her teacher's favorite students and is an amazing student...and now a reader! I remember being pregnant with her and now here she is growing and flourishing. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about people and how individuals treat you...I'm really at a loss for how people can say things and commit to things and how they can walk away from commitments without a care in the's happened too many times I can't even count...and I'd truly like to hope that my children don't have to witness this as much in their lives as I already have. When I deal with people and situations I'm of the belief that you should treat people the way you'd want to be treated and going even further, the way you'd want your daughter, son, mother, father, spouse, etc. to be treated. That's the way I've lived my life and I will continue to do so. I can only hope that one day I won't have to experience people who commit themselves to me and something in my life and not have them break that commitment. 

I'm grateful for my family and friends and my beautiful daughters, who though they all make me crazy sometimes, they make me very happy and proud. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014


It's that time of year where Facebook explodes with daily thankful posts. I've done this in the past and then gotten upset with myself when I don't post what I'm thankful that day, which I feel is not the point of the activity. I feel like Facebook and Pinterest and all these things have set mothers up to feel like we're not living up to the lives we should be living. So, instead of posting on Facebook this year what I'm thankful for each day, I'm going to use this post to tell my couple of readers what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for those who do read my blog - I'm not the greatest writer and I don't blog very often, but I'm thankful for those of you who follow me.

I'm thankful for my family who supports me in everything I do - my parents, who are my rocks, who raised me to be a pretty good person, and support my husband, girls, and I more than I could ever imagine - Mahir, who has loved me unconditionally since the moment we met and gave up so much to be here with me - Leyla and Hannah, who have loved me unconditionally from the moment they were born and can make me feel like the most important person in the world to them and drive me crazy all in one moment. You are my world and I can only hope that each day of the rest of my life I can be a better daughter, wife, and mother to the 5 of you. 

I'm thankful for my true friends - the ones who have stood by me through thick and thin - the ones who don't leave because I don't have a chance to email or call or drop by in days, weeks, months, etc.

I'm thankful for my job and my boss and all those who challenge me day in and day out to be a better worker. 

I'm thankful for my amazing godparents, who have been adoptive godparents to my husband and girls from the moment they entered my life, for my church family, and our amazing priest who is also my friend.

I'm thankful for the roof over my head, for my health despite the extra weight I carry, for iced tea, for sunrises and sunsets, for my Dad's camp and the amazing summer we had there and so many more to come, for fires in the wood stove, and all the little things and the big things that make life what it is.

I'm thankful.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Time & the little things

First of all, I can't believe I haven't blogged in 5 months.  Yes, I'm crazy busy, but this blog is important to me and I'd like to be able to make the time to post.  The last time I blogged I had a I'm a month away from sending Leyla to kindergarten and Hannah to preschool.  Where did time go?  When did they grow up and no longer look like those little babies that are in the photo of the front of my blog?  Yes, time flies, and there's nothing I can do about it.  I'm trying very hard to enjoy every second.  Some days are better than others as any fellow Mom will understand.  We're having a great summer, spending some time each weekend down at "Camp David" (that's for another blog post) and soaking up as much time as possible before back to school. 

Part of my intention in creating my blog at the beginning was to teach my girls some things and leave them words of wisdom for down the road.  I have lots of thoughts and never get them down in this blog but this morning's event was very important for me to document.  We all know that the little things are important and I hope that Leyla and Hannah learn this as well.  As society seems to become more and more selfish and people walk around with their noses in their phones, I'd like to teach the girls that the little things matter and that they need to look up and look around them.  Dennis, the Boston Herald man, stands across from South Station selling his newspapers.  He always greets me and my fellow commuters as we come across the street and puts a smile on our faces each morning (EARLY - 6:30 AM!).  Recently he started using sidewalk chalk and writing words of wisdom, including my favorite giving us "warriors", as he calls us, encouragement as we begin our day.  I don't know if he realizes how important his notes are to me and my day.  So, the other day I was at the Dollar Tree and I bought a box of chalk to give him.  I forgot it on Monday and again Tuesday and so I brought it today.  You would have thought I had given him the world when I held up that box of chalk.  He jumped up and down like an excited kid and gave me a hug.  He was so appreciative of a box that cost me $1.  I made his day and he definitely made my day and I'm sure will continue to make my days going forward as I see the words, pictures, and inspiration he provides us.  I am grateful for the little things that truly are big things.  I challenge everyone to do something little each day because it really could be a big thing to someone.  And I challenge my girls to try and live life with the little things being just as important as the big things. 

I love you Leyla and Hannah.  You are my world.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thank you

There is a board on Facebook that I belong to. It annoys me and I learn things from it, both at the same time. As the majority of those who read this know, I am not a stay at home mom. Yes, I would like to be, but I'm not. Anyway, a topic of thank you notes has come up on the blog, and so much of me wants to fire back a huge response to the question, but I was very simple and direct I thought. I definitely believe in thank you notes - when I receive them I get happy and I appreciate the thought that individual has put into them - most of the time. The rest of the time it just reminds me of the guilt I feel for not having thank you notes from the girls birthday party done. I don't have any excuse other than I'm constantly out straight and don't have a moment to breathe, and Leyla and I are never really in a place where we can do them together - that and 3.5 months later, are we just going to look stupid sending them?! Some of the time when I receive a thank you note I get angry - angry that the people that I get them from have the time that I don't - that within 2.5 seconds of the birthday party a thank you note is in the mail. I'm going to do thank you notes for the girls birthday presents and Christmas presents, and hopefully this week, so if you get one from me, please don't make me feel stupid for sending it so late. And for those who I may have never sent a thank you note to over the years, I'm so grateful for everything you have given me, Mahir, and our girls over the years. So unbelievably grateful, and my lack of a thank you note at times shouldn't make you think I'm not grateful. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Bedtime at our house is chaotic...bedtime at our house is truly an unpredictable event...and yes, we bring it upon ourselves!  Mahir and I try to swap off on bedtime that way if we have time to read a story it's Turkish one night and English the next.  But, I'm going to sit here and admit, I don't remember the last time that we read snuggled up in bed.  It makes me sad BUT then again I know that we're doing other things that are important.  The girls get read to by Grammy, Grampy, Miss Becky, Miss Linda, etc.  Instead, I do different things with them that I think they'll also remember.  Time flies when we get home from work between 5 and 5:30 and next thing you know it's 8 PM!  Time to get clothes picked from tomorrow in a dire attempt at making mornings less crazy for Grammy and Grampy - and then into pajamas and onto the couch for snuggle time.  New to the routine is one episode of Full House - a show that really was a part of my childhood and one that the girls enjoy as well.  Then ATTEMPT to get upstairs and do all the teeth brushing, potty, tucking in, etc.  Some night we read, some nights we sing songs, and some nights we do none of that and say oh my goodness, it's already 9:30!  Don't judge - I'm a working Mom that if I didn't keep my kids up with me until just before my own bedtime I'd never see them and neither would Mahir.  In any case, the point of my blog today is about something that made me really proud last night.  In addition to Mahir and I taking turns putting them to bed, the girls take turns who gets to brush their teeth first.  It's always a competition, some nights better than others...last night it was Leyla's turn.  Hannah rushed up in front of her and started pushing her buttons.  I removed Hannah from the stool and proceeded to take care of Leyla - Hannah disappeared to go hide under a bed someone upset with me.  So I told her that if she didn't come out I'd be going downstairs.  She didn't so I went downstairs - or so she thought - I only hid a couple stairs down.  While I hated to hear Hannah cry she does have to learn to do what Mommy asks her to.  I hear Leyla get out of bed and start comforting Hannah and giving her this whole pep talk and everything that Hannah should say to me to have me come back upstairs "say you're sorry and that you won't do it again" all with this very soft and comforting tone.  If I learned anything last night it's that my girls will have each other's backs no matter what - yeah, I wish I had a sister but that can't be changed and I'm so lucky to have what I do have - but I also felt like I had done something right.  In all the yelling and all the frustrating times, I've done something right that makes Leyla a kind soul that takes care of her little sister more often than not. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Expecting too much?

It's been quite awhile since I blogged...been crazy busy but yet have so much to talk about.  But I'll start with today.  I definitely feel like I expect too much of my family at times.  I took today off and planned this great day with Mahir, the girls, and my parents, going to see Santa at Bass Pro Shops, head to the outlets, have a late lunch, and end the day looking at the gorgeous light display at LaSalette Shrine.  Well, it wasn't as amazing as I imagined, with everyone smiling the whole time and everyone having a great time.  We had a great time but it was filled with drama and someone not being happy at least one part of the day (more times for the little ones).  I then wonder, why do I plan these outings?  Is this how it's going to be when we go to Disney next year?  Who am I trying to make memories for - me or the girls?  I have to stop expecting so much out of things and just try to sit back and enjoy them as they happen.  We drove away from LaSalette freezing and tired and I said to everyone "well, I hope everyone had a fun day" and Leyla and Hannah both belted out "It was awesome!", despite the meltdowns and frustrating times, that's what it comes down to...that Leyla and Hannah had an awesome time with their grandparents and parents despite all the things that in my mind went wrong. 

I hope to get back before Christmas to write some more but I have too many things that I've put on my plate...when am I going to learn to just let go of the things that really don't matter?  Probably not this year!  I'm a work in progress I guess...but one thing's for certain, I love my girls more than anything and that's why I try every day.