Me in the Middle of FlashBack A to Z Reflections 2016

      
It’s FlashBack Friday ~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.  This Blog-Go-Round is hosted by Jemima Pett and originally introduced by Michael D’Agostino from A LIFE EXAMINED.  That’s where you’ll find the rest of the participants or to join up yourself.

The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on May 4th, 2016.  Even though I was unable to participate in this years A to Z Challenge I was still able to visit some blogs and enjoy their posts.   I updated the Dozen Brave Bloggers with the links to feature those who participated this year (2017).  They did such a great job meeting the challenge!  I hope  you’ll visit their blogs and let them know where you heard about their great A to Z posts.    

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Me In The Middle of #atozchallenge Reflections

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]

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Reflectons

When I saw Damyanti Biswas‘ post introducing me to the A to Z Challenge 2016, I thought ~ ‘Oh, another one of those challenges.  Maybe I’ll try this one!’  One month’s commitment seemed like a doable time period to make this effort a challenging one.  As time went on I began to realize the amount of organization and the scope behind this endeavor!  My enthusiasm grew!  This could be a very rewarding event for me!  I was #100 on the Sign-Up List and I watched the number of sign-ups grow to an impressive number of 1,946 bloggers!

When the call came for us to Reveal A Theme, I had already been pre-scheduling my alphabet letters around the thought of sharing with my children and grandchildren some of the Lessons Learned through my life.  This was becoming for me a moment in time where I would no longer just think about it.  I was being inspired and motivated to get my thoughts on life down in writing.  The Challenge provided a creative and inspiring vehicle.

Much thanks to Arlee Bird and his Ambassadors for providing this moment in time to what turned out to be the most rewarding (and intense) experience in my blogging so far.  I look forward to 2017!!

https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/category/a-to-z-challenge/

My A to Z Challenge ~ Lessons Learned (Click Here)

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~ My A to Z Blogging Community ~

During the month of April, every morning was like Christmas morning!  I would wake up with a sense of anticipation and log onto my laptop to see who stopped by and commented on that day’s post.  I created my website/blog in September of 2015 and had met a lot of great bloggers.  I was pleased with the initial reception of my blog ~ Me in the Middle ~ and was gaining confidence and experience as I went along.  A to Z was something new!!  The traffic to my blog shot up and I had 1,611 views, 548 visitors, 678 likes and 652 comments throughout the April A2Z Challenge.  I used Facebook and Twitter to launch each day’s posts.  Visitors came to my blog from Facebook, Twitter and WordPress Reader.  Honestly, I’m now in A to Z Withdrawal and miss the stimulation of non-stop connecting and blogging with other bloggers.  It’s nice though that my life has returned to a calmer, steady pace and, to be honest, I wouldn’t be able to maintain the effort for more than one month out of the year.  So Bring It On 2017!

2016-05-03

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~ A Dozen Brave Bloggers ~

(Updated for AtoZ 2017)

(There are so many more bloggers who came to visit Me in the Middle and I hope to return to everyone’s blogs and read all of their AtoZ posts.  I decided to share a dozen of these bloggers because I got to know them through visiting their blogs and chatting in comments.  Click on their links and see the amazing blogs they’ve created!  ♥ )

If I Only Had A Time Machine

Happiness and Food

Simply Marquessa

Madness of a Modern Writer

Sharon E. Cathcart

Coach Daddy

All in a Dad’s Work

Cresting the Hill

A Momma’s View

Poetry Penned in Moon Dust

Planet Pailley

Dandelion Fuzz

 

Me in the Middle of Looking Back (#FlashBack)

        
IT’S FLASHBACK FRIDAY – A TIME OF THE MONTH WHERE YOU CAN REPUBLISH AN OLD POST OF YOURS THAT MAYBE DIDN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION, OR THAT YOU’RE REALLY PROUD OF, OR YOU THINK IS STILL RELEVANT ETC. THIS BLOG-GO-ROUND IS HOSTED BY MICHAEL G D’AGOSTINO FROM A LIFE EXAMINED–THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE REST OF THE PARTICIPANTS OR TO JOIN UP YOURSELF.

THE POST I’VE CHOSEN FOR THIS MONTH FIRST APPEARED ON ME IN THE MIDDLE ON Friday, September 18, 2015.  TO SEE THE ORIGINAL COMMENTS TO THAT POST YOU CAN CLICK ON THE TITLE BELOW TO BE TAKEN TO THE ORIGINAL POST. 

I CHOSE THIS POST BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT’S A MESSAGE THAT’S NEEDED IN TODAY’S WORLD WHERE SO MUCH SEEMS TO BE TAKING US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION:

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Arrival ! ~ 2012 ~ at the Abu Dhabi Airport

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0061 Emirate with Falcon at Abu Dhabi Corniche

(c) Photo mlq

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As 2016 Campaign Season comes into full swing, I resolve to remember my visit to the UAE in 2012 and the lessons learned there.  Cable News 24×7 spews out fear of terrorist concerns about the Middle East and Muslims.  While I know there are genuine concerns about extremists, no matter where they spring up, I resolve to remember my arrival to a place in my awareness where I recognized that we all have so much in common as human beings and I refuse to let the media hype up divisions among us in the name of ratings.

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 My first introduction to the United Arab Emirates was through the Abu Dhabi Airport. This was the moment when I put aside all the preconceived notions and inner messages of fear of the unknown and of threat about the Middle East.  As I departed the plane and entered into the Abu Dhabi airport, I felt an inner peace and feeling of trust that enabled me to meet this new world with new eyes.

When I arrived I received a warm welcome from an Emirati dressed in the clothing worn by the UAE nationals; a Gothra (white headscarf) and Kandura (long white cloak).   He asked me where I was from  and what brought me to Abu Dhabi.   Being greeted by an Emirati who was dressed in traditional clothing and who spoke in English was my first step towards embracing a whole new outlook.

The atmosphere was calm, not chaotic, and the airport was bright and clean.  It was hard to believe I was in a foreign land arriving from half way around the world.  Security didn’t seem as heightened and frenzied as it was in the Chicago Airport where I had departed from.

I began to take in the scene before me as people milled about….. some dressed in middle eastern garb and others, appearing to be visitors or expats from other countries, dressed in attire familiar to me.

As I was walking through the airport on my way to meet my family, the sounds of the Muslim Call to Prayer filled  the airport for about a minute or two.  The adgan, the Islamic call to prayer, is done five times a day and is heard throughout the United Arab Emirates.  While I was taking all this in, the visual and sensual experience all around me,  my visit to the Middle East was intensified by this sound of the Muslim Call to Prayer being transmitted over the P.A. system in the airport.  It was, at one and the same time, both calming and disconcerting.  In the US, under our Constitution, freedom of religion means government cannot show religious favoritism or choose a state religion.  I’d never been in an airport where the prayer time of a religion interrupted the daily routines at different times of the day, and yet I found myself lifting my heart and mind in prayer as I often did during my own daily routine.  It was calming.   My preconceived notions of a volatile, violent Middle East were slipping away and I could feel the building  of excitement for learning more about this new world welling up inside me.  Was I in danger?   My instincts and intuition told me …. No.

A year earlier, my youngest son and his family embarked on an adventure that would change their lives and open up a world of treasures.  They joined a group of families who had moved to the UAE to teach English to Arab-speaking students through the program called Teach Away (To Find Out More).  When I received the invitation to come visit them and spend “Christmas in Arabia”, I jumped at the chance.  It was a trip of a lifetime that I knew I couldn’t pass up.  I was eager to see this new world and the new life my son’s family was building.

….. And there waiting for me at the baggage claim was my son, his wife and my granddaughter.  My heart filled with joy and I felt I was home…… even though I was half-way around the world…. I was home.

This trip of a lifetime opened me up to an awareness of the common bonds we all share … we are all One …. People share so much of the same hopes and dreams that we all have as human beings.

On my returning back to the States I found I had a new resolve not to get caught up in the political fear mongering that makes a group of people or a particular religion a scapegoat.  I learned about the customs and beliefs of the people in the United Arab Emirates through this journey …… and I learned a lot about myself.  My trip to the Middle East helped me to discern what it is we really need to fear…. And what terrorism is….and how it can be addressed.  Terrorism is a tool used by those who hate.  It can reside in any part of the world …. In anyone’s heart… if we let it.

Visiting the Middle East has added so much to my conviction that we are a small world and have more things in common than our differences. When I was there, I felt at home and welcomed.   Traveling, in a way, grounds you and helps you appreciate life wherever you are.

The United Arab Emirates is a beacon of hope for the Middle East, rising out of the desert.  I hope they continue to be that example of hope for all of the Middle East.

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Me in the Middle of Looking Back (#FlashBack)

        
IT’S FLASHBACK FRIDAY – A TIME OF THE MONTH WHERE YOU CAN REPUBLISH AN OLD POST OF YOURS THAT MAYBE DIDN’T GET ENOUGH ATTENTION, OR THAT YOU’RE REALLY PROUD OF, OR YOU THINK IS STILL RELEVANT ETC. THIS BLOG-GO-ROUND IS HOSTED BY MICHAEL G D’AGOSTINO FROM A LIFE EXAMINED–THAT’S WHERE YOU’LL FIND THE REST OF THE PARTICIPANTS OR TO JOIN UP YOURSELF.

THE POST I’VE CHOSEN FOR THIS MONTH FIRST APPEARED ON ME IN THE MIDDLE ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 2, 2016.  TO SEE THE ORIGINAL COMMENTS TO THAT POST YOU CAN CLICK ON THE TITLE BELOW TO BE TAKEN TO THE ORIGINAL POST. 

I CHOSE THIS POST BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT’S A MESSAGE THAT’S NEEDED IN TODAY’S WORLD WHERE SO MUCH SEEMS TO BE TAKING US IN THE WRONG DIRECTION:

“If we continue to live in the fear and the protecting that it made us build up, we stop creating who we are… we shut all our light down… and then love isn’t prevalent …. and then we literally begin creating the world we don’t want.  If you want a world of love, you’ve got to be love.”

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Me in the Middle of Being a Single Mom

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© Mary Lou Q

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I feel like I’m standing on top of a tall mountain as I anticipate the coming of this new year ~ 2016.

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us, if we create the capacity to receive it.”

~ Rabindranath Tagore ~

This path of mine has brought me to and through so much, and here I am entering into another year to apply all that I’ve learned ~ through all that has given my life meaning, richness and purpose.  I want to create within myself the capacity to receive all that belongs to me with open arms and heart, and to be ready to take that leap when the timing is right.

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Over the Christmas holiday, one of my sons shared with me a memory of when he was a teenager.  He told me that when he saw the movie ~ E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, ‘the Mom from E.T.’ reminded him of me.

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