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Monday, August 24, 2015

It's A Girl!

Most days, I dread reading the newspaper. Yet when I don't, I feel incomplete as if I have missed out on an indispensable part of my every day life. News that often hog the front page are always so depressing - plane crashes, terrorism, earthquakes, our sliding Ringgit and other horrible things.

And it's not everyday that you get to read about happy stuff like the births of pandas instead of my daily dose of dread. First it was giant panda Liang Liang and now Mei Xiang!

Liang Liang who is on loan from China to Malaysia's Zoo Negara, gave birth to a cub last Tuesday (18th August). Initially, there were concerns that Liang Liang and  her mate Xing Xing, were not hitting it off. Well, looks like they have overcome their intimacy issues.

It's a girl!
image credit -  The Star Malaysia

Let's toast to the first panda cub born on Malaysian soil! And to Mei Xiang too, for her twins who were born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C on Saturday night!

Panda Cookies

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wordish Wednesday

Oreo, our guinea pig is five years old this year. Old for a guinea pig but she sure doesn't look it!

Isn't she the cutest thing ever?
According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the oldest guinea pig known was 14 years and 10.5 months old and was named Snowball. The average life expectancy of guinea pigs is about 4 to 7 years. We pray and hope Oreo will outlive Snowball.

This week's cookies

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Of Birth and Death

As I was decorating these baby shower cookies for hubby's co-worker, I was thinking of the irony of life. While we're celebrating the life of a newborn, somewhere out there, someone is mourning the death of a loved one.
Just yesterday, Josh came home from college, shaken and traumatized. A college student fell to his death just a little distance from him. Josh and his buddies were feeding the ducks at the campus lakeside when they heard a loud thud. At first, they thought the sound came from the construction site nearby but upon scanning the area, they saw a body sprawled on the ground several feet from where they were standing. Their first thoughts were the victim had collapsed from heat stroke which is a common occurrence in our very hot climate but as they approached the body, it was evident that the victim had fallen from a great height. The campus' auxiliary policeman was alerted and the victim was confirmed dead. Later, college officials revealed the case was suicide.

What drove him to such a desperate measure?  Did the pain of his existence become so unbearable, there was no way out but to end his young life? Wasn't there anyone who could have made a difference? I was told that suicide survivors instantly regret their decision the second they jump. Though Josh didn't know the student, he was deeply affected by his death and wished he could have done something to prevent the tragedy. I am still reeling from the incident.

My heart breaks for his family  and I grieve for his mother. No parent should ever have to deal with this. I can't begin to imagine the pain they are going through. I want to pray for his soul and for God to give the people he had left behind the strength to brave through their sorrow. I want to hold my sons a little closer every night and remind them no matter how hopeless the situation may seem, suicide is NEVER the answer.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Indian Wedding


The bride for whom I made these cookies was a flower girl at my wedding 23 years ago! Time does fly!

Did you know that a traditional Indian wedding lasts an average of three days!!!??  On the first night, a priest will perform the ganesh pooja, a ceremony that usually happens at home with only the couple, the bridal party, and close relatives in attendance.

The second day begins with a mehndi ceremony. For this, the bride and her female friends and family members will have intricate henna patterns drawn on their hands and feet. That evening, the sangeet takes place. Every wedding guest is usually invited, and it involves an introduction of the couple's families, mingling, a meal, and dances or other performances.
A mehndi party
On the third day, the main ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception take place. You may be invited to the last day of the events, or to any part of the three-day celebration. Your invitation should clearly state what you're being asked to attend.

Expect to see the groom arriving to the wedding ceremony on a decorated white horse! Over here where a white horse is nearly impossible to find, the groom makes his entrance in a fancy car instead. Guests dance around him to the beat of the dhol, an Indian drum. After that, the bride and her family greet the groom, and the couple exchanges floral garlands to wear around their necks to symbolize their acceptance of each other.

image credit - http://www.indianweddingsite.com/
During the ceremony, the priest, groom, bride, and bride's parents sit beneath a mandap, a canopy similar to a Jewish huppah. The ceremony starts off with the kanya daan, in which the bride's parents give away the bride. Then the couple joins hands and circles around a small, enclosed fire (the agni) in a ritual called the mangal phera.

The couple will next take the saptapadi, a seven-step ritual where each step corresponds to a vow the groom makes to the bride, and a vow the bride makes to the groom. Saptapadi is performed near a fire, which has religious significance. After each of the seven oaths to each other, the groom and bride  walk around the fire with part of each other’s clothing tied to each other.
Finally, the groom will apply a red powder to the center of the bride's forehead and tie a black beaded necklace around her neck, proclaiming that she's now a married woman.
image credit - https://www.chennaihalls.in
source - https://www.theknot.com/content/hindu-wedding-guest-qa

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