One Year Blog Anniversary!

I’m Back! download

I think that it is only fitting that the day that I returned from my forced one month hiatus, because of my college courses, is also the day of my one year anniversary blogging. One year ago today I started this blog! I sat down and wrote! I pushed down the fear and I just let it all pour out! I I gave myself the permission to be honest, raw, and genuine. To not be afraid of what others thought about me or my writing. It flowed out! Memories, opinions, recipes, pictures and so much more! I told my story, sent it out into the world and it was not so scary! In fact I learned that people actually wanted to read what I had written. download

This year of blogging has been absolutely amazing for me. I have met so many other writers. Learned new things about other cultures and families. Have seen a window into other’s lives. In this year I have moved back to California from Michigan and started my path in school towards becoming a nurse. My daughter has grown and learned new skills. Our family is flourishing.

I thank all my wonderful readers for all of your encouraging comments. This month of not writing had been very hard for me! I found myself yearning to write. To express my feelings, observations, and desires. To not have the time to do this was very frustrating. Looking back to my pre-bloggin days I wonder how I survived.

How did I NOT write !

My blog is humble. I don’t advertise, I dont have all the niffty blogging tools. I just write!

In one year I have written 132 posts, that is roughly 2.5 posts a week

In one year I have had 64,457 visits to my blog 

This part makes me the happiest,

In one year of blogging I have had 1,099 comments, almost all of which were positive! thank-you-for-reading

I want to thank my readers! Your encouraging words and wonderful insights make writing such a joy!

School is now done for the semester, crossing my fingers I passed chemistry, because it was the hardest class I have ever taken ! I am overjoyed to have the time to write again, so expect lots of new posts, pictures, stories, and recipes! I cant wait to catch up on all of my favorite blogs and reader’s comments and emails.

Its Crunch Time

1798799_10205294798403617_7629066103069954276_nThis early morning I have stolen a few minutes from my studies to write a quick post.  I personally become very attached to the blogs and writers that I read, and I worry when there is a period of silence. I start wondering if everything is OK at home and speculating about the details they have left in past blogs. I know I am a dork, but I really do get affected by blogs. I see a blog as a window into someone’s life and a period of silence is like the drapes being closed.

I don’t want any of my readers to worry or be left wondering why I have not been posting in recent days. I love writing this blog and connecting with all of you wonderful people but my college classes end May 19th, so until then I will have my head buried in my studies.

Its Crunch Time!

I may sneak away for a post or two but nothing too time consuming. I hope you all are having a wonderful spring and I cant wait to be done with these classes and feel free again to catch up with everyone!  Thanks for understanding. 11025766_10205294798083609_6801602802542996323_n

Stockton Nagar Kirtan: An Afternoon of Cultural Pride!

This last weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the Stockton (California) 17th annual Nagar Kirtan.

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The Guru Grath Sahib Float before the book was placed in it

A Nagar Kirtan is a Sikh religious parade. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the holly book,  is put on a float and paraded through the town of Stockton while prayers are recited. The Guru Grath Sahib Ji is treated with as much respect as a living Guru (prophet). The holy book is placed on a special alter covered in colorful cloth. Everyone in the presence of the book must cover their heads and take off their shoes. Even outside people had their heads covered in respect but kept their shoes on for safety. As the parade moved down the street, the roads were cleaned ahead in respect to the the holiness of the book.

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Love my husband in a turban

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Hot and tired but we are happy

It was an amazing afternoon, here it is Tuesday and I am still filled with the excitement from this weekend! We left the house early in the morning all dressed in our best Punjabi clothes. My husband wore a yellow turban in honor of the event. It is the tradition to wear yellow, orange, or blue. Nasreen and I did not have those colors so we wore pink, which is fine.

The Nagar Kirtan was done in honor of Vaisakhi, which celebrates the founding of the Khalsa( Sikh community).

When we arrived there were hundreds, if not a thousand Sikhs all gather at the Stockton Gurdwara. It was an amazing sight to see so many people with turbans and suits and speaking Punjabi. There were also people from around the area who were not Sikhs but who came to enjoy the event, some even dressed in Indian attire.

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yummy Saag

There were food stands everywhere. It was overwhelming to see so many options of yummy food to eat. There was maggi noodles, samosa, chanas, Saag, all kinds of fried foods, Gulgapas, Julabies. Oh my I cant even began to explain all the food that was available! All of these stands were serving free delicious food. Everyone in our group were enjoying all there was to eat. It was especially nice for vegetarians because there was no worry, because it was all vegetarian friendly.

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daddy’s shoulder is the best place to see the event

After eating we enjoyed some of the demonstrations they had on display. I am trying to remember the name of these sports, but at the moment I can not and hubby is at work so I cant ask him. Adults and young people dressed in the blue and yellow of the Khalsa  and performed battle exercises with ancient styles of mock weapons. Sikhs are warriors at heart, and faced with decades of oppression have learned special styles of self defense. Think Sikh Kong Fu. It was amazing to see all these young people embracing their roots and seeing the pride they had in demonstrating these skills they had learned.

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These kids were amazing

We lined up for the parade behind the float containing the Guru Granth Sahib. From the loud speaker prayers were conducted! Waheguru ( The most holy word for God) could be heard chanted all over Stockton! “Waheguru,Waheguru,Waheguru” It was beautiful! I felt a pride for my husband’s culture well up inside of me. I am not Punjabi or exclusively Sikh but I felt that sense of community with all of these people! I am used to my husband getting strange looks when he ties a turban but here in this group it was so normal and beautiful!

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Walking in the parade

We all walked in the parade. I was not able to walk the entire length of the parade because our daughter Nasreen being only four and it being a hot day could not take that kind of walk, so we went back to the Gurdwara with our friends. My husband and his friend walked the entire length.There was even more food available when we got back. I had an amazing time with my friend and her daughter and family. It was just wonderful to be around so many people all so proud of their culture and traditions.

Sikhs , especially after 9/11, have been attacked by people in the United States and around the world because of their turbans and the perception that they are terrorists. Public events like the Nagar Kirtan shows a community that Sikhs are just like everyone else. They may speak a different language, wear different clothes, worship in a different way, but the reality is people are all the same all over the world. We all want to be able to take care of our families, worship our God, and enjoy life.

It was a blessing to attend this event! My daughter has been greatly effected by this, and has now been wanting to speak more Punjabi. In the past she has been shy about speaking the language. Her dad would speak to her in Punjabi and she would answer in English even though she knew how to respond in Punjabi. I think this is because none of her friends or cartoons speak Punjabi so she felt odd speaking it. The Stockton Nagar Kirtan showed her that she has a beautiful proud community that she can be apart of and I think that she felt included in that wonderful energy and has a renewed interest! I cant wait until my next Nagar Kirtan!

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh

Started a Photography Blog

Some of you may or may not know that I a photographer. I have a real passion for photography. I recently switched from a gallery based photography page to a business blog page. I really love my options on a blog format! I have only transferred a few of the photo shoots, I will be continuing to update all the work. Feel free to subscribe if you like the page.

https://tinarallhanphotography.wordpress.com/

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“Seeing” My Sister Through My Viewfinder

Over the years I have had the great honor of photographing my family. These are by far my favorite people to photograph in the whole world. Photography is incredibly important and personal to me. To capture a moment in time and freeze it right there! I feel that it is my responsibility to do the very best that I can! 

When I was kid I loved photography! I did not own a camera of my own, but I sure used those cheap disposable film cameras to the best of my ability! I would dress my three younger siblings up in matching clothes and hang a sheet behind them and simulate what I thought looked like a photo shoot. Looking back at these photos I laugh! They really are quite ridicules! I cropped my sister’s top of her head off, I can see the wall in the background, and there is a stain on the sheet. Not to mention the photo is underexposed and there is a big teddy bear in the middle for no apparent reason!. My thirteen year old self thought these early pictures were awesome! I felt like a proper professional!

Left to right, My brother Brandon, Sister Crystal, and sister Rachael

Brandon, Crystal and Rachael

In some shoots I got more creative! One in particular I had my sisters dress like princesses and my brother like a pirate and they stood on the dresser in my room. It looks like a picture from Halloween, but no its just a normal day in our house!

As the years went on and I went to college and learned the proper techniques of photography I have had the opportunity to  photograph my siblings again, this time with better equipment.

This last weekend my youngest sister Rachael had asked me to take some photos of her for her college graduation announcements! It was such a honor to photograph my little sister for this momentous occasion. This may sound strange but when I look through the viewfinder of my camera I see more then I do with my naked eye! I see a new depth! A new inspiration!

Looking through my camera I really “saw” my sister!  She was not that tinny little girl with a bowl cut anymore. She was a beautiful young women about to start her professional life! I saw her joy radiate out from her!

I chose a beautiful location on the American River. Sure it was a bit chilly, the ground was slippery, and we often risked falling into the water, but it was a beautiful session!  Right when we were packing up to leave, the sky cleared and we saw the most wonderful sunset! The colors from the sunset reflected from the water and it was amazing! I took out my camera and took a few more photos! These turned out to be my very favorite ones!

Just like my photos from childhood, this photo was not perfect. There was not enough light on my subject because of the bright sunset in the background, but this picture means so much more to me than technique! This photo represents my sister; Warm, colorful, exciting, and beautiful! The whole photo shoot I kept trying to get that excited look from her for graduating, but without it being over the top or staged. When I put her in front of that sunset she literally glowed! I saw and felt her excitement! 

My sister’s boyfriend was a great help during the photo shoot. I tend to get pretty demanding of people around me when I zone in on photography, and he was a great assistant. Not to mention he kept my sister smiling 🙂  We were able to capture some beautiful couples shots as well during this shoot

Looking back at those early photos I see how much we have all grown, how much we have accomplished, and how close we still remain! Photography gives me a special power to capture these moments.I will never stop clicking away and learning new techniques. 

I don’t usually come out from behind the camera but I needed one picture with my sister!

I cant wait to see my little sister receive her diploma in May! I am one proud sister! 

The Juggling Act of a Student/Mother/Wife

The constant balance of a student mom

This week has been very busy. Two exams in two Days! Tuesday was my Chemistry exam and Wednesday my Nutrition exam. My classes have covered alot of topics and information in the last couple of months. Both classes are very different from each other and are both rigorous.

It is always a challenge to study for an exam. The challenge is increased when two different subject have exams so close together. This situation is made more difficult with the fact that I am my daughter’s only source of comfort, love, and attention at home when my husband is at work. Last week I did  nothing but study and prepare for these two exams. No TV, no blog writing, no photography, nothing! It has been hard!

My daughter does not fully understand my need to study for these exams. She does not fully understand the attention that is needed to memorize ionic compounds and make sense of all the enzymes at work in the small intestine. She knows that her mommy wants to become a nurse, and loves to ask mommy lots of questions right when she is studying. She loves to insist that I come to her room and see something very important, which turned out to be a picture she had made on her easel. Which was adorable! She loves to ask for random bits of snack, drinks, and help with toys she cant reach. This happens all day long. The first couple of days were fine, then as the test dates got closer and I focused more, and her need for attention increased. She started exhibiting bad behavior. Refusing to eat her food, throwing her toys, refusing to brush her teeth, demanding candy.  In general she had a negative attitude. Oh it got bad! I had to stop myself from getting overly mad. I told myself she did not understand that I needed quiet.

Pushing her dolly in the swing while mommy studies

Finally when I had enough, I packed up a blanket, got a hot dog from costco’s deli ( her favorite) and headed to the park. She played and I sat and studied. I got up to push her on the swing and then encouraged her to push her dolly on the swing. It was a productive afternoon, I got some work done and Nasreen was happy. I wish I could do this more often but so much of my school work is online and that makes it hard.  We came home from the park and she passed out which provided me the perfect study time. Then it was time to make dinner for the husband. It was really hard not to spend time with my family especially when he came home. I could hear them outside my bedroom, where I had locked myself in.

Nasreen doing her “homework” with mommy

This is my second time in college. The first time I was single, 19 and without any responsibilities, but to myself. I had to work to pay for school but I always found time to cram for tests and organize research and study groups. My mind is so divided these days. I cannot be selfish and focus only on myself, because I have a child and husband that rely on my now. I am motivated and I hope that this is enough to get me to my goals.

Well the tests are over!!!

Chemistry was hard and honestly I have no idea how I did on the exam, even the smallest calculation error can mess up a test score. Nutrition is where I shine. I love that class! I love that I can relate to what I am learning, and apply the information to better feed my family and myself. I really feel it is one of the most beneficial classes I have ever taken, and I encourage everyone to take a class like this. It is really changing how I eat, see, and prepare the food that provides our bodies with all of its amazing functions.

I am happy to report I received my Nutrition score for the big test, 106% 53/50 (there were 3 extra credit points). Sadly no word on the chemistry score yet, but I don’t expect it to be as spectacular as this one, Chemistry and I are not friends. I am just so happy this week is over, a true TGIF! Headed to spend a fun day with my daughter, because she deserves it! Happy Friday everyone!

Nasreen’s Shot at Modeling

The other day I was online and I saw a contest for a modeling opportunity with a very popular Princess Entertainment Company, called Amazing Fairytale Parties.  This is the same company that we hired the Elsa for Nasreen’s Birthday back in December.

The contest required I submit a photo of my child. Most people chose a Princess themed photo of their child, but I wanted her to stand out. I chose a serious faced photo. There were hundreds that entered so I didn’t think to much about the chance of winning. There were some really Beautiful Kids. The next day I was on my Facebook and I saw Nasreen’s photo on their page. She had been chosen to model and represent their company in a photo shoot! I told Nasreen and she was so excited. I know the shoot is really going to be alot of fun!!

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The photo we submitted to the contest!

We are going to be scheduled in the next couple of weeks and I cant wait to see how they will dress her up! If she enjoys it, then I may pursue other opportunities for her.