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Life

Life-learned lessons, relationships, marriage, faith, lifestyle, and everything else in between.

Filtering by Tag: life

Stop The Bullying. Spread the love.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

I didn't really plan to write about this until yesterday when I was reading an article and found out that October is the National Bullying Prevention Month. We have so many good causes being campaigned and celebrated almost every month here in the US. However, beside human trafficking and child sponsorship, bullying prevention is one of the very few that are truly dear to my heart. Just like many of you, I have experienced bullying when I was a child. However, sadly enough, I had to experience it until as recently as 6 years ago, when I was in my early 20s.

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With the social media and advanced technology these days, it's so easy for people to voice their opinions about others without even checking the facts or filtering their thoughts first.

I experienced cyber bullying a few years ago due to a horrible mistake that I had publicly made in my workplace. I owned my mistake, I had apologized for it and made amends with all parties involved and damaged by the incident. Even though it was really hard, I had decided to gather the shattered pieces of myself and start over. But women around me were not all excited for me. And I get it. What I did was wrong. But it was none of their business either and it did not validate their being mean to me.

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Many of them trash-talked me on social media, deliberately looked the other way whenever I said hi to them, and they never really got over being mean to me until months and months after.

I don't know what is it about women, but we tend to feel threatened when another women are doing something good for themselves. It's as if they're when they start doing something good for themselves, we ask ourselves "But what about me?" - as if that person is better than us. Better according to whose standard? Don't we realize that we are all works in progress? We tend to compare ourselves with other women, and either beat ourselves up for not having what they have, or beat them up and bully them for our own insecurities.

Why the negativity? Why the hate?

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So today I'd like to encourage you to love others, be kind, be supportive, without being a doormat. You can be selective when it comes to choosing the right friends, because some people are just not worth your time and energy. However, when it comes to being kind and friendly, we can do that to all.

Feel free to pin or share these images I have created to encourage y'all to be kind to others and listen to these songs that might encourage you too :) If you'd like to campaign the anti-bullying cause in your community or at your kids' school, reach out to organizations like Bee Friendly, Pacer, or Stomp Out Bullying and be part of the solution.

***

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8]

Love how she talks about loving yourself despite what people tell you. A beautiful and powerful music video too.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOcLz3YJGCc]

Life might throw your heart to the ground, but the heart of life is good. Love the lyrics, very encouraging. One of my all-time favorite pick-me-up songs. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ism8dBjxKvc]

I am not the mistakes I made, what my family did, or the color of my skin. I am light. India Arie slays as usual in this song.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEVXlTxY_Wk]

This awesome dude is my cousin! This song talks about a little songbird who stopped singing because 'those girls and their circles' talked about her. But then the song went on to encourage the songbird to never stop singing. So beautiful.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTrt6FFuqdA]

This song is to encourage you to embrace your flaws and all the bad things that might have happened to you because they have only made you stronger.

What I Learned from J's Recent Surgery

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

When I first became a mom, I didn't want to believe when people told me that no matter how careful you are in taking care of your kid, no matter how thick you bubble-wrap them, accidents happen. Because that's just how life is. Bad or unfortunate events happen in life. Well, an unfortunate event happened to J back in January. I was trying to get my New Year's resolution going by working out at the gym in my apartment complex, and I brought J with me. Why did I bring him? Because I brought him last year, when I was training for a 5K run, and he did fine. He enjoyed watching the cartoons there, he would play with his toys, I mean it wasn't a problem at all.

But this year...It's a different story. Why? Because he's almost 3. He was more curious about equipments around him, and he ended up sticking his left fingers under the treadmill I was running on. Yeah, it was pretty bad. Blood was splashing everywhere.

So that brought us to last Wednesday, when he had a plastic surgery that will enable him to extend his fingers again. Because they got burned really badly.

Instead of throwing a pity party, whining and complaining, I have decided to jot down what I've learned from the incident :

  1. You don't have to bring toys to the hospital. They have tons. (Especially Children's Medical Center!)

2. Your spouse might be as stressed out or as anxious as you are. So try your best to not cause drama. Keep calm. 

hospital (2 of 16)

3. When eating at the hospital cafeteria, don't go for the Asian selection. Always go for the popular, Western selection. 

4. Nobody can replace you, mom. Not even dad. Not even the kindest nurses. So please, be there for your kiddo. He's prolly scared and confused.

5. What you do today might and will affect your kid(s) tomorrow (or years after), not only physically, but mentally and spiritually. 

hospital (14 of 16)

So please, do your best to put their wellbeing first. And when accidents happen, have grace for yourself and others. And have faith! Things will get better :)

Have an awesome weekend y'all!

Burning Bridges

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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Have you ever felt like you could remember how a certain event in your past made you feel, without remembering the exact details of the event? After a few years of being a 'sane human being', I sometimes wonder how on earth do I still struggle with the thoughts of my past. My past was not that 'bad', to be honest. I wasn't a prostitute and I thankfully have never been abused or anything like that. But from time to time, I find myself having flashbacks about the many things that might not appeal to me anymore, but used to feel so good in my younger years.

I call them my toxic thoughts. It's like there are a million little bridges in my brain that connect me to them.

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But I know I am not alone. We all have those bridges that connect our experiences, feelings, thoughts, and emotions to each other. Some are good, some are toxic. That's why we have our good and bad habits, right? In fact I think, habits are formed by these bridges! You go over the bridge everytime you think of that one thing that you want to get/feel/achieve on the other side of the bridge. Maybe this is how an addiction develops as well.

I'm no expert in neuroscience and brains, but I was blown away when I heard a cognitive neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf spoke about these bridges last year at a service I attended. The scientists call them 'neural pathways'.

You know what's cool, though? You can change them. You can alter their directions to everything good, true, and lovely instead of those toxic, destructive, stupid things.

So here's what I'm trying to say. I want to set my toxic bridges on fire.

I know it's gonna take time, but I hope to get rid of these million bad bridges as I grow daily. And hopefully, I can build the new, good ones in the process.

I hope you're ready to burn yours too.

 

 

 

*photo by Ana Gabriel & Muhammed Fayiz

T-Shirt-Making, Butterfly-watching - Latest VLOGS

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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If you've followed this blog for more than a couple of months or if you follow me on  social media, you might be aware of the fact that I have started a youtube channel since the beginning of this year. It's something I've always wanted to explore, and I'm grateful that I took the big step to make it happen. I don't really talk in my videos because I still feel weird doing it, but I would definitely start 'talking' on my upcoming videos, especially the 'travel' ones :) Anyways, for now, here are some of my latest videos!

https://youtu.be/D1bQOu59HXw

https://youtu.be/4b-gttt73dQ

Feel free to like and share them, and most importantly, don't forget to subscribe :)

A Mother's Promise

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Whenever our toddlers scream and throw a tantrum in public, our natural response as parents would be trying to calm him/her down and sometimes even apologizing to people around us for the inconvenience that the loud noises have caused. We feel embarrassed, often because it makes us look like bad as parents. Or at least that's what I usually think. What is it about being parents that makes us we feel so obligated to have kids that do not embarrass us? Why do we have to look good anyway?  Aren't the other parents dealing with the same things too?

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I remember how I used to set crazy goals for J, like getting potty-trained before he turned 1 or speaking 2 languages by the age of 2. Why? Because I wanted him to 'make me proud'.  Don't get me wrong, determination is good, goals are great, but if you've come to the point of forcing them to your kids before they're ready, you better check your motif :) Why do we them to advance so much?  To make us look good? Some parents do this until they're kids are grown!

In my case, it was simply potty-training.

Last year, I was so desperate to get him potty-trained by the time he turned 2  over the summer, that it frustrated the both of us. He just wasn't ready! After a few months of battling over the potty, I've finally made peace with it and tuned out all of the negative voices that said, "No he's ready, you're just too lazy" - in my head.

Today, I am content with the fact that he is not yet potty-trained at the age of 2.5. I know that every kid is different and mine will be ready whenever he is. Some might be interested in getting potty-trained at the age of 11 or 18 months old, and some don't. So why compare? Why get insecure?

In the words of one of my favorite speakers, Nancy Houston :

Your children are not here to make you look good.

Ouch! True this! They are their own person, with their own sets of skills and purposes on this earth. They are here to grow, love and learn - and we ought to remember that and respect that. Oh little J, I'm sorry for the way I forced you into things just to make me look good. I love you just the way you are. And I promise to remember what you are here for.

To remind me of my #MothersPromise, I've printed out this cute photos and framed them for his nursery :)

frameedyow

We are planning to try potty-training him again before he goes to school this fall, but until then, I know that J is well taken care of in his comfortable, hypoallergenic (y'all know how sensitive his skin is), high-quality Pampers Premium Care diapers. I love that the fact that it's got a wetness indicator, unique absorb away liner, extra absorb channels, and that it's breathable inside & out! No sogginess and rashes for my bebe :) You can get them at your local Walmart or here at walmart.com.

Check out this video and don't forget to subscribe to my youtube channel :)

https://youtu.be/qGGLqc068Jw

 

How about you? What is your #MothersPromise? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Time to Start Unpacking.

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

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Today is the International Women's Day, and according to wikipedia, it is the day where women are celebrated for their social, political, and economic achievements. But I personally believe that women are to be celebrated, loved, and respected regardless of their socio-economic status.     So I wanna take this time to honor you ladies, no matter who you are, what you do for living, and what you look like - you are amazing, beautiful, and loved :)

Speaking of honoring women, I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to know some of the most inspiring and strongest women I've ever known at the monthly gathering called OpenSeat

unfiltered-2 This month, the decor theme was Rustic (hence the burlap table runner!), the meal theme was Brunch (I made the virgin mimosas and it was pretty awesome!!), and...

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the overall theme was "Unfiltered". I came up with that word for the theme because I've noticed how we as a society have been 'depending' on photo filters to make our lives look better online. But at this month's OpenSeat, the founder Queen aimed for us ladies to hear a real, unfiltered story from our fellow woman, and learn from her. And last Saturday, it happened to be the beautiful Ashley Nesbitt

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Her story was so powerful and inspiring, it left me pondering upon this one quote that she said :

Throughout my childhood until adulthood, I've had a lot of new beginnings. But I realized one day, that I had not taken the time to upack the things I'd been carrying with me.

She wasn't just talking about the suitcases and physical things that she had carried, but distorted perspectives, unresolved issues, fear, and disappointments that we humans often carry through life. 

Some women still make their current spouse/partner pay for their past lovers' mistakes, because they still carry that trauma and distrust. Some still carry their fear to try pursuing their dreams because of their past failures. Or...in my case, I was still carrying my past mistakes, those labels people put on me in the past into my marriage! 

   And you know what, you might have physically moved on  (hey, I've migrated to another country!), but until youresolve your  ast issues, you will always find yourself battling with them, over and over and over again. Some even until they are on their deathbed! 

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Now we don't want that do we? Especially with our families and our future at stake, we cannot afford to 'crowd' our lives with our baggages and destroy our relationships. It's time to start unpacking, ladies. I said 'start' because I believe it's a journey, and not an overnight thing. 

We're in this together. 

 

*suitcase image cred 

My 5 Dollars of Happiness

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Mr. Man : We got $17 left in our checking account

Me : Really?

Mr. Man : Yup, and tomorrow is Payday 

Me : So?

Mr. Man : (smiling) Wanna get some ice cream? 

***

The most beautiful and soothing conversations  I've had all week. I love how we can enjoy life with whatever we have in our checking account. No, we're not broke so don't panic and start feeling sorry for us. This happens sometimes when you have too many expenses in one pay period, right? Tomorrow is payday and we'll be 'wealthy' again :) 

Now if you'd excuse me, I'm gonna make the most of our last dollar with some mini pecan pies ($1.90), ben & jerry's ice cream ($3.80), and gratitude (priceless). May you find happiness with whatever you got left with you as well. Tomorrow is another day :) 

The Other Root of All Evil....

Debora Manusama-Sinaga

Woooo...sounds so intense and spooky right? Okay Halloween is over and I'm not in the business of scaring people off. But bear with me okay? Just read along.

Okay so, thanks to my Netflix subscription, I have been watching up to 20 documentary films in the last 2 months, from the ones about food, basketball, civil rights movement, to Virunga Park in Congo, Africa. Mr. Man and I are so into it, we watch documentaries like girls watch Sex and the City. We somehow think of it as a form of entertainment that actually educates its viewers.

However, the more you watch documentaries, the more restless you grow because you'd realize that this world is basically effed up. What? Did I just say that? Oh yes I did.

See, the way documentaries work is usually by exposing us to a certain issue or problem that actually occurs in real life, caused by a malfunction of a system or an environment. And these malfunctions are normally caused by no other than men themselves.

As the film progresses, you'll get to see the film's main character struggling to solve this issue. And finally, after all of the up's and down's, you'll get to see the conclusion of the whole journey and  how you can help solving the problem (they usually give you a link at the end of the movie that'll lead you to their 'fight-for-this-cause'-website). And I think I have clicked on almost every single one of them! I just got so moved by all of these facts and I usually end up thinking about them all. Like the gorillas in Virunga park, the kids in Uganda, the farmers who got shut down by Monsanto, the people who cut the trees at the Amazon forest -- oh I can't breathe! I gotta save the world!- I felt like.

 

*These are my top picks. Click on each poster to watch the films*

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broke

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"God, are you not seeing this?" I said one night after watching a documentary. "People are destroying this earth, send some fire and burn them or something!"

Right, like that's gonna work.

I then went on to read various different historical accounts about how ancient civilization used to live. And you know what I found?

This madness has been going on for centuries, it's nothing new!

Whites used to have separate schools and even bathrooms, but before that, they used to enslave, kill and hang black folks on the trees. But then again before that, blacks used to enslave fellow blacks back in Africa (watch it here). The Romans used to crucify people upside down, Pharaoh used to cut people's vein just because he felt like it and no one could complain cause he was revered as god. Cain murdered his brother Abel and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.

But you know what? If you look closely, they all have one thing in common, and I name it 'the other root of all evil' : the inability to say 'What we have is enough' a.k.a ungratefulness. 

That's why diabetes-causing food and beverages are still being made (and the government is doing nothing about it cause they are supported by the companies that produce the very food they need to ban), why probably 90% of the music you hear on the radio is either about sex or about money, why local civil war is still going on in Africa (the rebels are being used by foreign companies to help them extract natural resources without consequences), and so forth and so forth. It is all about money. And these people (companies), who are causing all this? It's not like they are broke! they already have much money! But it's simply isn't enough for them.

Gratitude does not mean settling for less than the best. It's about being content with what you have, because it is only through that contentment that you can find the wisdom and motivation to grow without hurting/damaging other people and the God-given nature. That's what I think.

Now I don't know what kind of household that the owners of these companies were raised in, but I surely know what kind of household I want my kids to grow up in. 

I want gratitude to be our lifestyle. I want it to be at the very core of our values.

And it is just right to start campaigning it today, especially this season, as thanksgiving and christmas approach.

I hope that you find everything you got today to be enough, and that you can work through it and make it even better as you grow in gratitude and wisdom.

***

*phew, that lifted the weight of my shoulder! I guess saving the world begins at home :)