December 24, 2009

Random thoughts

*The title on this graphic said "dua" so insha'allah it will remind us all to make frequent supplications to Allah swt, something I personally forget to do as often as I should.*

Well not that I don't have any ideas for a dedicated post but I have so many little things flying around my mind today I thought I should let them out before my head explodes. lol Once again, list girl here, so bear with the numerals. :-)

1. I hate xmas now. OK that isn't fair; obviously I don't celebrate it but as someone raised Christian I do love the beauty of the lights and decorations and the fact that families actually get together at least once during the year.

That said... I hate it!!! For the past week I've needed to go to Wal-Mart but was stymied at every turn! lol It was rammed, jammed, packed in, the entire parking lot full. I'm thinking... what?? I needed that mix of items that you can't really get anywhere else except a discount store. Diaper wipes, facial cleaning cloths, a rug for my van, canned pumpkin, etc. etc. I finally made it out at 8am this morning and was just in a normal busy crowd. lol

2. Do people really still think the southern US is backwards? My husband to be, masha'allah tabarakallah, is so cute. He keeps telling me these little tidbits of info gleaned about the south from who? Danged ole yankees! ;-) Things like, and I kid you not: southerners only deal in cash and the whole place is a backwater, redneck, KKK card-carrying member paradise. These are just two of the little gems he has picked up and asked me about.

I am sure part of it is tongue-in-cheek but I really think there is still this lack of understanding that we actually have progressed some since the Civil War. You know, I love Tennessee. East TN to be exact. ;-) I was raised to say yes ma'am and no sir, to help out my fellow man, and how to make the best biscuits and cornbread. ;-) So see? Ain't nuthin' wrong 'bout being from the South and ain't nuthin' wrong with sayin' ain't'. lol

3. Diet Rite should not be allowed to sit by the other tasty diet drinks. Sorry all I have to say on this subject. :-)

4. I have become horrifyingly inept. I can no longer make a decision and it's annoying the life out of me! I mean important things, yeah no sweat. It's the LITTLE THINGS that are getting me. For example, A wants to buy me a nice wedding ring. Nice as in I have never had jewelry this nice before (most of mine always came from Avon so there you go!).

I can't pick one. I can't. I mean the options are STAGGERING. Really. Now of course the price is a helpful factor but not too much. There are a huge number of rings available in the price range he quoted. So I tried to look online and soon my little head was swimming. Bezel, cathedral, post mounted? What shape stone? Diamonds or plain metal or colored stone? Bling bling or simply elegant? Ya Allah. I am going to tell him my ring size and khalas, let him deal with it. I think that's best for my sanity. lol

5. A has only met one other Tunisian since he came to the US 10 yrs ago. Subhanallah. So I invited a Tunisian brother and his wife to our nikaah but alas, they are out of town. I don't think he meets many of his countrymen either because his "regret" was sincerely regretful.

6. Oh we are adding cabbage rolls to the menu. You've had stuffed grape leaves? Well Umm Wael (Sr. D's mother in law from Jordan) makes them but puts the stuffing in cabbage leaves. That overpowering tartness is diminished and they are oh-so-good. I am happy to add them to the menu and insha'allah to my take-home baggie as well.

OK I guess that's enough. Oh I am making slow-cooker chicken to make sandwiches out of; it's sooo easy it should be outlawed. I'll post the pics and short short recipe soon insha'allah.

Ma salaama and please keep us in your dua...only 2 days to go! WOO HOO!

Walima menu and... only two more days!!!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. You know I really feel like I am legit in saying "ya'll" now (meaning the plurality of it) because I have followers. I am not an attention hound but I do like knowing I have sisters out there who care. So a big old jazakumallahu khair to you all and for your du'at as well!

OK so the nikaah and walima are going to be low-key. As I said before, we do not want a big production. We feel the best wedding is the most simple as RasoolAllah instructed us. Insha'allah I am sure ours will qualify as simple! ;-)

We are having the nikaah in the masjid so we really want to be sure that we have enough food to feed who ever might be stopping by to pray at that time. Our masjid is not a huge one so there is no worry there will be more than we can handle insha'allah.

So here is the menu. And yeah, it's a big eclectic but so am I and my friends so :-P lol

1. Sr. N is making a big pot of spaghetti with meat sauce for the children. It should definitely go over well with that crowd. She is also making Sindhi biryani which should be YUM.

2. Sr. D is going to make the maklouba. Oh happy day! The photo above is from a dinner I made and served at my home but is the same dish. Sr. D's is infinitely better than mine. :-)

3. Sr. B is going to ask her 12 yr old son to make knaffeh. You know the big orange, "hay" on top, creamy cheese layer on bottom dessert? Yeah that one. It's really good and I have even had this at a famous bakery in UAE but her son's is the BEST I have ever had.

4. I am going to probably purchase a couple of other small desserts. I really won't have time too cook; mama be busy doing other things! Like chasing Aaminah, getting her dressed, dressing my self, blah blah blah. :D

For drinks there will be bottled water, possibly coffee, and maybe a couple of pops. My new husband to be and his children do not drink pop. I crave diet Pepsi so I guess I'll have a stash set by for mama. :-)

OK I am exhausted and so much more to do plus my eyes are closing and I am about to fall asleep!

Ma salaama.....

December 21, 2009

5 more days... doing the happy dance!

A'salaamu alaikum ya akhiwaat! I'm getting married in FIVE, count 'em 5, days. Woo hoo. OK not very ladylike but then I never said I was. :-p

I am very excited for my zawj-to-be to get here. Of course I've had a FEW things to get done. :-) I've offered for them to stay here as I noted earlier so really a top to bottom clean of my apartment is in order. You know pre-Aaminah anyone could have dropped by and I wouldn't have broken a sweat. Now though.. well alhamdulillah I have the intention right? lol

You know I love lists so here goes:

1. Clean apartment- work in progress, coming along nicely. Note: My place isn't nasty just a little cluttered here and there. Not helped by my 3 mo long illness. :-)

2. Plan the nikaah- OK granted this isn't some fancy, high-faluting (does anyone besides Yosemite Sam even SAY that? lol) shindig. It will be small and brief insha'allah. :-) Of course I would appreciate a nice khutba but just saying.. My planning for this consists of getting the Imam there plus 2 witnesses and a wakil for myself. Really this is quite a task considering half the people will be on Muslim time. lol

3. Plan the walima- This task is a bit more daunting but still not too bad. As we are going to hold the nikaah at our masjid we will also serve the walima there. My friend Sr. N offered to make spaghetti for the kids plus a yummy biryani dish. I am going to implore my friend Sr. D to make maklouba (that's Arabiy for "upside down") which is D-lish and yes that's with a Capital D. :-) I will bring desserts and drinks and the paper products insha'Allah. The hardest part of this is making sure the quantity of food is correct because anyone at the masjid will need to be fed insha'allah.

4. Get myself ready!- Self explanatory but come on ladies you know this is probably more nerve wracking. Pick out an outfit for nikaah, pick out one for later ;-) trying to plan how to have some "alone" time when there are 4 kids involved. lol Insha'allah it will all work out.

THEN there are all the plans for moving I need to get started! Part of my cleaning bonanza is getting rid of that junk we hang onto that we don't need. I mean random things even like a scribbled recipe that has lived in my silverware drawer for 4 years (even surviving a move!) and various other unnecessary items that do not need to be moved to a new locale.

I have some Islamic clothing items I need to find a new home for, some khimars and abayas, maybe some of my Indian clothes. Insha'allah I'll go through them tomorrow. I would like to sell some of the things I am getting rid of but really just don't know if I have the time.

Anyway I need to get alot of things done, put in notices, etc. I am very excited about my life with my new husband-to-be insha'allah and it's worth any amount of work!

Please keep us in your dua that Allah blesses our marriage and our family,

Ma salaama....

December 20, 2009

Really? No one noticed??

A'salaamu alaikum. I had a post titled "Late night posts = embarassing typos" because of the huge number of typos I discovered upon re-reading.

Welll the title SHOULD say that however it actually read "Late night potsts..." Yes I make a typo in the heading for an entry about typos. Oh the funniness of it. :-)

Ma salaama

Oh it's great to be me :-p

How incredibly cute! This is Aaminah at about 4 months of age masha'allah. How beautiful? Verrrrry!

€A'salaamu alaikum. Just gonna leave ya'll with a little tidbit about why "it's great to be me". :-)

As you know, I've spent too much time in the hospital lately, alhamdulillah. Anyway as a side effect of the antibiotics I was on, I now have thrush. Yeah I said it, thrush. The oral infection normally only suffered by babies. A yeast infection of the mouth. Oh the joy, the pure and utter joy of it. lol

It hurts, fyi. It's like having a caustic substance poured on your tongue and letting the top layer of taste buds peel off, one section at a time. Gross but accurate description.

Plus to all this? Yep, food loses all appeal and taste so maybe I'll shed a few pounds before my nikaah. Here's hoping! lol

Ma salaama,

December 18, 2009

Update on my impending nikaah

*I got this table at a yard sale for $5 and put it by my entrance way. Since I am talking about my furniture later in the post I thought I would show this photo.*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Just wanted to update everyone on the brother I spoke so glowingly about. Alhamdulillah things are moving along just lovely. I spoke with the Imam at his masjid (which is a very large well-known one in his area) and received a stellar report on his conduct, attitude, and knowledge. He was referred to as "Sheikh" by the Imam which, to be honest, intimidated me. :-)

He also spoke with someone where I live in regards to my Islamic character and attitude; he was apparently very pleased as he texted me later and said I had received a high rating. ;-) Masha'allah he is also very funny and relaxed which I appreciate as well.

So what next? Well he lives about 1000 miles from my home so traveling to meet is no light matter. However, he is coming down next weekend for us to meet. Alhamdulillah he will be bringing his 3 children (he is a single father) and I will have Aaminah and my boys so it will be really nice insha'Allah.

I've offered for them to stay in my apartment and Aami and I will sleep at my friend's place. I thought it was unnecessary for him to pay to rent a vehicle, drive all the way down and then have to stay in a yucky hotel. Especially having his children with him. I have toys for the youngest to play with and more space for the two older ones.

I am looking forward to meeting my future husband insha'Allah. :-) Now I want ya'll's opinion on a couple of things: what should I do here to make him more comfortable? He is of Tunisian origin so if anyone knows of some neat little tradition or a beloved snack, please share insha'allah.

If all goes well we might go ahead with our nikaah while he is here. Then the next time we would see each other would be when he makes the trip back to Tennessee to help me move my things. You see, I like my stuff. :-( I am not materialistic but I enjoy having nice furniture and I like cooking with my own utensils. So we'll need to rent a U-haul (or equivalent lol) and drive it 1,000 miles. Subhanallah.

Please make dua for us that Allah guides us to what is best for us in this dunya as well as in our deen. May He make it easy for us, amin.

Ma salaama,

THAT'S what I'm talking about!

*Sometimes I like to take photos of the raw ingredients. In this case, the colors of the beans and seasonings were so nice I opted to show it that way instead.*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Back when I was in UAE I posted about the spicy Arabic sausage stew I made when I was unable to find the ingredients for what I really wanted. :-)

I thought I should post the recipe and photo for what I had truly been craving that day which is 4-Bean Mexican soup. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Fairly healthy, can definitely be made meatless (though I don't know why you would want to!!) and feeds a bunch. As it's just me and Aaminah most of the time I freeze it in single serving containers. It freezes beautifully and reheats in about 6 minutes in my low-wattage microwave from frozen (a two cup portion).

4-Bean Mexican Soup:

1 lb ground beef (use very lean or ground turkey if you like to reduce fat)
2 cans diced tomatoes with onion, undrained
1 can each: black beans, chili hot beans, dark red kidney beans & great northern.
1 pack each: taco seasoning and dry ranch dressing mix

That's it. Really. I like to make mine in the crock-pot for ease of cooking. :-) Just add your raw ground beef and cook on high for about 2 hours; chop up into small pieces with wooden spoon. Drain or spoon off accumulated fat but remember: fat=flavor so don't take it all out! Then add remaining ingredients. Be sure to drain the beans (except for the chili hot beans). You can used dried beans but be sure to soak for 24 hours prior to cooking.

You can further reduce the sodium content by using low-sodium taco seasoning. I usually buy that and am very happy with it.

Say "bismillah" and enjoy!

December 14, 2009

Late night potsts= embarassing typos

*Who's a beautiful girl??? :-)*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Wellll I always like to re-read my posts and I was APPALLED at the number of errors I made last night! Granted it was 2:00 am I think when I wrote it but still... Let's see, I mistyped "rerepresentative"; that extra "re" really makes the word, right? haha And somehow "appropriate" became "approproiate". Wow. Next time, I guess I need to use spell-check to see what errors my flying fingers have made.

Really I can spell. lol

Oh and other news, my friend said Aaminah had a fever all night. :-( She is taking her daughter to school right now so I don't have any other info. As a mother I know she needs ME to take care of her. I don't mind missing my sleep all night to care for her, I don't mind if she vomits head to toe on me. OK well I don't like it but it's part and parcel, right?

My friends and my family are awesome. I am very blessed but they just ain't mama. Please make dua that she feels better soon. I feel very helpless being here in the hospital if she is sick in any way. :-( Miskeena Aaminah.

Hospital stays and husand-hunting forays

Well here is a pic of the yummy food at my hospital. lol OK so it's not really great but the women who deliver it are awesome. :-) I really like the hospital and the nurses and staff here. They are great to me!

Well alhamdulillah it's been a while since I posted and alot is going on. I have been really sick and in and out of the hospital. As you all know, I had a kidney transplant in 2002. Alhamdulillah! However the anti-rejection meds I take (twice a day for life) make is easier for me to get sick and unfortunately stay sick. Which is where I am now.

Since returning from UAE I have been hospitalized 4 times for an e coli infection that JUST WON'T GO AWAY! Alhamdulillah it isn't system/septic it was just in my urinary tract. Now however it has turned into a full-blown kidney infection (pyleonephritis) and in my transplanted kidney at that! Alhamdulillah my kidney function is ok but I have had pain, high fevers, and chills off and on now for two months.

When the kidney pain returned this weekend I had to come back to the hospital. They want to keep me for about 4 or 5 days total to give me i.v. antibiotics in the hope that this will knock it out once and for all. Please make dua/pray for me that these meds work. Having an infection for a long time can really wreck havoc on your body and I need it easy for a while. :-)

I have been searching for a new husband, sisters. Once my iddah was up I was halal and I really didn't feel like allowing the disapproval of others to stop me. If Allah says I am halal, then that's good enough for me. :-) I feel like I have been single for years now because both of my marriages post-Islam ended in divorce and they were not true marriages.

I know the sisters and brothers who think I am being hasty have good intentions but I really feel they are letting western ideals cloud their Islamic reasoning. I am not trying to substitute anyone for another, I simply want a good, practicing Muslim man who puts Allah first, his family second, and the rest of the world last.

Alhamdulillah I have met a very good brother masha'Allah. He was schooled in Shariah in KSA, teaches at an Islamic school in the northeast and has 3 children masha'allah. He has been caring for them since his divorce several years ago. His son told him, "I'll call you Baba in the morning and Ummi at night when you cook for us". Masha'allah!lol I feel very positive about this brother and here are some reasons why:

I changed my MO. As a convert I am restricted in how I can search for a husband. I don't have family to look for me and help me separate the wheat from the chaff and as I am older with children, no one in the masjid thinks of me for anyone unless they are old enough to be my father subhanallah. :-)

So while I did the Muslim matrimony website thingy I developed new rules. Here they are (and he passed all these with flying colors!!!!):

1. References, references, references. If a brother isn't willing to give me personal and family references, I am not interested. I don't expect it the minute we make contact because who knows? But if we make that intention to marry it is a must.

2. I have to meet or at least talk to his family prior to marriage. Sounds straight forward right? Well it never happened for me before and I always accepted the excuses. Not now; this is a non-negotiable for me.

3. When a brother wants to marry me "if..." I pass them by. I am not perfect, subhanallah, I know this. But I am worthwhile. Allah swt LED me to Islam. He tests me daily with a multitude of trials. I am learning to see my positives more than my "negatives" such as age, marital status, educational background, and weight.

4. If I feel uneasy for ANY reason, I take it as a sign from Allah. He gave me a brain and I feel He expects me to use it. :-) In the past, for a myriad of reasons, I would ignore those feelings and it led to disaster or at least divorce.:-) Untenable situations or half-truths, lies, I tried to justify. No more. I demand the same openness and truthfulness I exhibit.

5. I will not compromise on my important needs. I never thought my list was particularly stringent: a practicing Muslim who STRIVES for the pleasure of Allah and it SHOWS in his life, who loves his family, who is kind, affectionate, and willing and happy to spend time with me.

6. FATAL ERROR: One brother said to me, "It's ok you have a small daughter." WHAT? It's OK? Its a blessing from Allah and he should have been HONORED I would think of letting him help raise Aaminah. So big big BIG mistake brutha. lol

It's getting late but I think that is all. Of course I need to be attracted to him but really that is easy for me. I am not so picky. I like moderate to appropriate weight (I know the irony lol) and I reallllllllly like a beard. Oh masha'Allah a brother with a beard, straight in his behavior, on the sunnah, good with his deen, taqwa.... these things are so beautiful to me.

Anyway so this is pretty representative of what I am looking for and what I demand. The brother I have met is all of these things... and more. I pray Allah makes it easy for us. Amin!

Please keep me in your dua sisters; really I cannot keep doing this, trusting and being hurt. I just need a good zawj who fears Allah and will treat me like he would insist his sisters be treated. Not too much to ask. :-)

Ma salaama.....

Queens of Islam

A'salaamu alaikum. This is an AWESOME, inspiring song and video by MPAC called the "Queens of Islam". Sisters it makes you PROUD to be a muslimah! I love this and wanted to share it with you all insha'allah.

Ma salaama,

Umm Aaminah

December 2, 2009

To end it all...

* This is Aaminah with the babydoll I bought her for Eid. She loved it! It talks and laughs and cries and sleeps and burps. lol She doesn't like to go anywhere without it masha'allah!*

A'salaamu alaikum. So we do things in this life with the best of intentions and yet, still, somehow, they come back to bite us in the rear.

I am talking about my recent marriage. It is over almost before it began. How strange really when I sit back and think I was only there for a month and then it could just end. Subhanallah.

I had to come back home because of my illness, and the fact I couldn't work there, and he lost his job. Fair enough, no one said marriage is easy or we always get what we want.

After I returned home I received no correspondance from him until I found out he was seeking a third wife. My viewpoint was, if you want a third wife, you should really be able to provide for the two you currently have. If he wanted a third wife he should have brought me back instead or spent some of that time with me, not searching for something else.

Subhanallah. I am not hurt now; I am practical and I thank Allah swt that it ended when it did instead of me hanging on, crying, begging, and just in general making a right @$$ out of myself. :-) Alhamdulillah I only did that for a couple of weeks and then asked to be released thru khula.

My waiting period is up and I am seeking another husband. I believe in the rulings of Allah swt and that a woman is available for marriage once her iddah is up. For khula you only have to go thru one cycle to ascertain there is no pregnancy and hand over your mahr. So alhamdulillah those things were accomplished and I am ready to move on with my life.

I am still searching for what I want: a strong muslim husband who will help teach and guide me, who will love and adore me, who will help raise my daughter as his own, who will be kind and caring and laugh with me. Who isn't afraid to let me see them cry. Who loves Allah swt and His Rasool more than anything in this dunya and who places his family above all other pursuits.

Insha'allah I feel positive and hopeful. I know that Allah swt has decreed this path for me; I am really working on becoming more patient and less demanding, on being a better Muslimah despite my circumstances. I cannot keep waiting for everything to be "perfect". I dont want perfection, I just want a marriage.

Ma salaama,

Umm Aaminah