To Pin or Not to Pin: That Is the Question.

This might seem like a very insignificant question compared with the original, but it is a very real question many women are facing today. Should we or should we not get sucked into using Pinterest? Is it a fun and effective aid, or an absolute waste of time and depression enhancer? I’ve seen multiple Facebook…

Extremists. Oh, You Know… Like the Founding Fathers.

I would love to have a more specific definition of how the U.S. government defines extremism. I fear that, if that definition came out and were actually used, we would find that the majority of the country (that’s right, more than half, a democratic majority, would be counted as extremists). The Pentagon and Military have…

Be Beautiful. Be Greek.

The concept of feminine “beauty” has varied greatly throughout the centuries. Just look at a few pictures to see the difference. Characteristics of beauty have been not only different, but even conflicting. Take, for example, the preference for pale skin prior to the 1900s, and the preference for tanned skin from the 1940s onward. Or…

Facebook Needs Warning Label?

According to Fox news, the results of “clinical trials” may push the Surgeon General to require Facebook to post a warning on its homepage, notifying the public that overuse of the site could cause harm. They also suggest that lawsuits might attempt to hold Facebook liable for the “damage done.” Personally, I don’t even think…

WANTED: Creative Minds

Left to themselves, kids are willing to take chances, take risks, and make mistakes: a great recipe for success… But a recipe that’s torn up and thrown out in as kids are taught in school to fear and avoid mistakes. In the system of education currently used across the U.S. by most public and private…

Lincoln said WHAT???

If you regularly spend time on social networking sites, you may have already seen this: And this… And this… And countless other such memes. Even if you don’t use social networking a lot, you’ve probably heard of these “quotes”: “Let them eat cake.” Marie Antoinette “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Sherlock Holmes  “Money is the root…

Religious Freedom Pushed Under the Rug: Elane Photography

I generally avoid blogging about political issues, but felt that I couldn’t ignore this one… Elaine and Jonathan Huguenin, owners of Elane Photography, declined to photograph a same-sex union ceremony when requested to do so in 2006, on the basis of their Christian beliefs and conscience. The conclusion of the ensuring court case was just…

The Perks of Living Overseas

Maybe the title would be more accurate if it said “perks of living in Northern Iraq”, but many of these things have been true of other countries we’ve lived in too (probably wouldn’t be the same in Europe, though). You can get a Snickers for 40 cents. You can find these lovely little strollers that…

Easter Fun and Festivities!

After a Lent of waiting, preparing, praying and sacrificing, the Mady family Easter season is off to a joyful start! My mother kindly offered to stay at our place with the sleeping kids so Eddy and I could go to the Easter vigil Mass.  We decided to go to the English Mass – there is…

Palm Sunday: “Koinonia” – Then and Now…

We began Holy Week with a procession the evening before Palm Sunday. Like in biblical times, the day here is seen as starting the evening beforehand. All important feast days, not just Christmas and New Years, have a vigil. While palms continue to be blessed before Masses on Palm Sunday, the main Palm Sunday procession…

The Problem of Suffering and Evil

After the recent shooting rampage in Sandy Hook Elementary School, I saw countless social networking posts raising the question of how a good God could allow such evil to happen. The same question has been asked many times, in reference to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, cases of domestic violence, wars… whenever society is shocked by some…

The Human Experience

Follow the journey of two brothers who willingly chose to experience homelessness in New York city, followed by a series of mission adventures in order to deepen their understanding of a shared human experience. The documentary ends showing their reconciliation with their own father who had physically abused them in their own childhood.   They…

Smiling with the Angels…

A friend of mine passed away today. I knew her for several years in college – afterwards, I saw her infrequently, mainly due to distance: we left RI to head in opposite directions – I went off to the Middle East, while Erin headed down south of the border to Mexico. Erin was just a…

Exploring Iraq: Shaklawa

We were all participating in a professional development workshop on my mom’s birthday last Monday, so we decided to celebrate it with a family trip, followed by a homemade mint-chocolate-chip ice cream cake today. Shaklawa is a small, rural city about an hour away from Erbil. It has one main street, made of stone. The…

I Am An American…

I am not a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian or “other.” I am an American. When I see or hear discussions concerning the current state of the American nation and the upcoming elections, I sometimes wonder whether I come from a nation of Americans, or one of Republicans and Democrats. Many issues regarding the economy, foreign affairs,…

Benedict XVI through our Camera Lens

Yes – he was that close… We were in the perfect spot, right along the rail, as Benedict XVI slowly rolled by in his pope mobile, lifting his hands in greeting to the people as he made his way to the center platform that had been set up and decorated in preparation for his coming.…

Exploring Iraq: Dukan

We spend most of our time either at home or at work (school), so we really enjoy having time once in a while to get out of the city and explore the country. Last weekend we took a day trip to a region called Dukan. We got in the car believing that Dukan was a…

Mar Qardakh Mini-Olympics

In honor of the real Olympics, we decided to have Mar Qardakh School mini-Olympics for a day of family fun during the school’s six-week summer program. Although living, working and going to school in Iraq is very different from being in the U.S., some things are common to human experience: kids are kids no matter…

Our First Family Trip: St. Hermizd Monastery

We were up at 7:45 in the morning, getting ready, changing two diapers, making two bottles, packing two crib/playpens into the trunk, and getting all of us into the car. We were on our way to an overnight faculty retreat with a one year old and a five-week old – bound to be an interesting…

Differences

My husband and I share many things in common. We both love writing, playing sports, watching movies, going for drives and enjoying nature. On a deeper level, we share many values, including our love of family and our faith. We share a vision of our future life together – a simple, but meaningful life of…

Lebanese Traditions: Meghle

A sprinkle of dried coconut, raisins and crushed nuts (walnuts and almonds), and voila! The meghle is ready to be served. Meghle is a Lebanese form of rice pudding, made of boiled rice flour, sweetened with cane sugar and flavored with anise, cinnamon and caraway. This dessert carries with it a special meaning: honor for…

108 – Marina

108-Marina. Marina refers to the specific residential area we live in (so called after a popular restaurant located close by), within the broader 108 (Mia Wa Thmanyia) district of Ankawa, a region within the city of Erbil. While there are Christians and Churches in the broader area of Erbil, the majority of the Christians and…

Chocolate Creations

When my sister-in-law first told me that the Nativity Scene in the middle of the Beirut City Mall was made of chocolate, I imagined dark brown, drab, and somewhat featureless hunks of chocolate, molded into figurines loosely resembling Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and perhaps some of the other characters and animals present at the manger…

Charbel’s First Christmas

Ever since we first got engaged, Eddy and I began looking forward with delightful anticipation, to the first time we would celebrate Christmas together with our first son or daughter. Christmas this year, with our little Charbel, fulfilled and surpassed our expectations. It wasn’t quite as we had planned it… after a busy year and…