July 29, 2010

2nd post of the day: I is a college student agin

*View of campus where I'll be attending some classes*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Please note the grammatical error in my title as well as the obvious "suthern" accent. Go ahead, laugh. I'll wait.

OK so I registered for my classes alhamdulillah. I was THRILLED I didn't have to take my Anatomy and Physiology I and II over again. Yippee! I was also happy because of my steller grades in said subjects I was exempted from taking General Bio. Yippee again! THEN I was able to move out of one math class and just put into the college algebra. Hmmm just gets better huh?

However I do need to take some lower level courses I somehow managed to ignore first time 'round. I am doing Sociology 101 and Psychology 101. I wanted to take more interesting classes but these are required so alhamdulillah at least those are 2 easy peasy A's insha'Allah.

That leaves my history elective. They don't have really interesting classes here unfortunately (its a smallish community college) so I'll be doing US history from inception to 1855 or so. I know much more about World History than US so I thought I should remedy that.

Now the math and sociology are both online courses. Yes! The psych and history are on campus but I elected to take night classes (pending A's complete approval) so I'll be out on Mondays and Thursdays pretty late. I'll be double checking with him but I think its best with 4 kids and 2 adults who have various appointments and errands which can only be accomplished in daytime hours.

Sisters, make dua for me please. Not for the school work portion; I love to learn and study and I am a good student masha'Allah. Just pray that I can keep up with school and house work and children and husband and keep my deen first and foremost. I wish I could study Islam instead but my situation dictates something different right now.

If A and I go overseas at any point I want a career where my US passport and degree will ensure a western salary and I can also do more formal study there in Qur'anic Arabic and fiqh classes. Insha'Allah.

Alrighty that's that and I am excited and looking forward to being BUSY! Ma salaama

Please spread the word :-)

*I found this graphic on the blog "Chill Yo Islam Yo". Just giving the brutha some credit*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I still get emails from my old community in Knoxville and this one came thru and I just wanted to inform you all.

There is a FREE SeekersGuidance course on Ramadhan that I wanted to share with you. It is lead by some very respected scholars; I think they are Hanafi but to the best of my knowledge, the fiqh of fasting isn't fraught with too many differences between madhabs. Insha'Allah this will definitely be of benefits to newer converts or those of us who just want to be sure we are doing our best to please Allah swt and get the most spiritual good from our Ramadhan.

Go here to check it out and sign up insha'Allah. :-)

Ma salaama!

July 26, 2010

salam! I am zainab! love you! I am 10!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. That was a guest-post by my stepdaughter, Zainab. :-) She was "guarding" the laptop for me while I put Aaminah to bed.

And that brings me to the body of this quickie post. I was on my way home today from an appointment and A called. He wanted me to pick something up for him at the store and ask when I would be home. He then said, "Habiba, I got you a surprise". Hmmm. I was just about to stop and grab a quick something before heading home so I ask, envisioning chocolate doughnuts or the like, "Is it food?" lol

"Nope," he said. I told him I'd be home in a bit insha'Allah. I figured maybe he had gotten me some flowers or some other little thing. I was really pleased; I like the effort not the end result so just knowing he had done something specifically for me made me one happy girl.

When I get home, he says, "Oh it's in the bedroom". OK! Sign me up! Although this is a little too metrosexual for my husband. LOL I walk in to find not a trail of rosepetals, but a brand new laptop, still in the box. Woot woot! Better than a seduction scene and far longer lasting than flowers!

How sweet is that? My laptop, which I love, has not been been dealt kindly with by his kids. Tripping over the power cord, knocking it off the table, etc. etc. 3 headsets broken... I'll stop there. :-) Wasn't this just a nice surprise? Masha'Allah, I have a thoughtful husband.

Ma salaama...

No mo' black satin with gold designs :-)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Any one else ever felt like most of the Islamic art was really a black velvet Elvis poster in disguise? lol I don't really do that look nor do I like to cover my home in papyrus-like posters or neon plastic signs. So imagine my delight when I came across this website.

The sister makes crafty little Islamic (and secular) signs. So cute masha'Allah. :-) And more at home and fitting with a modern household who isn't into glitter pics. lol

Check it out here. I haven't ordered from her, just found the website.

Ma salaama.

July 25, 2010

But first, these five things

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. A will give us mini-halaqas at night, most especially after maghrib prayer and on Thursday. As he is ensuring his children have a solid Islamic basis, he is going over the basics to make sure they not only know but have an understanding of why.

Tonight he gave a small talk on the fiqh of salaat. This is installment one and insha'Allah it will be of benefit to you. A note: my husband is a respected sheikh both here and overseas; he has been the imam in countless masjids. He is very conservative but he is NOT someone who seeks only the hard way. He seeks the correct path, the sirat-al-mustaqueem. Therefore some of you may have opinions that differ from his and that is your right. OK on with the show!

Five pre-requisites for salaat:

1. Wudhu- Um a no brainer. ;-) We must perform our ablution in the proscribed manner. When water is not available (truly NOT available) you may make tayyamum. One condition for making wudhu is that the water must be clean which means: a) no color b) no taste and c) no smell.

2. Make the salaat in it's proper time- When it's time for dhuhr pray dhuhr. Really this one is pretty simple as well. If you make your salaat late, there is NO hasant for you but it is still obligatory that you make up that missed salaah. Point: don't be late! :-)

3. Free of najasa- This means a) your body b) your clothes and c) the immediate area you are praying on. We assume a place is clean unless we have proof of najasa.

4. Qiblah- You must pray in the direction of Makkah and the Kabbah. Every effort must be made to ascertain the correct direction and only under extreme circumstances should you just "wing" it. Make your best educated guess if you don't have certain knowledge and there is no one you can ask.

5. Halal area- There are 4 areas you cannot pray: in the hammam (bath), in the marketplace, in a slaughterhouse, and on maksooba, which is land unlawfully taken. Most of these are not going to pose a difficulty for us insha'allah.

Bear in mind all of these conditions must be met for Allah to accept your prayer. And then of course there is the correctness of the prayer itself, your niyyat (intention) and other things. But these are the 5 things you must pay attention to before you begin.

OK just sharing some love and spreading some knowledge. Remember once you become aware of a requirement for your faith, you are then held accountable for it. May Allah help us all strengthen in our deen, be supporters for each other, enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and prepare our hearts for a blessed Ramadhan.

Ma salaama...

July 23, 2010

Buy with caution

A'salaamu alaikum. I bought 5 abayaat from East Essence because their prices were, well, too good to be true. We paid $140 for 5 abayaat. Mine was fine, true to size. None of them were great quality but for the price, didn't expect it.

The other four were all too small. They all measured about 3 inches too small in most areas. We contacted the company to return them, and then of course I had to pay return shipping.

The company just contacted me and said they will not honor the return because they measured them and they were correct. ?? They also said they had been worn and were stained and wrinkled.

Ummm they were wrinkled because I had to stuff them back in the packaging and as they were SKIN tight they were never worn. Any stains were from their factory. Subhanallah.

I am very displeased with the company, especially the tone they used when writing to me. Accusing me of being dishonest, wearing something and then returning it. Anyway now I have to spend ANOTHER $10 to get them returned to me. I will hope to sell them on eBay and make a little of the money back so I can buy the girls some new abayaat for Ramadan.

Please excercise caution if you want to do business with this company. No problem if your order comes in good shape; beware if there are any issues.

Ma salaaama.

July 19, 2010

The hardest step...

*This is our original "Little Buddy" Nova. I wanna cry!*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. As you know, when you convert to Islam there are alot of changes. Everything from how you dress to what you eat, even how you order your day. Islam, as we say, is a way of life not just a religion.

I am the kinda person that tackles things head-on. I wore hijab from the get-go. No not for modesty reasons (at first) but because I did my homework before I said my shahada and I believed it to be the command of Allah. Pork hasn't passed my lips again and to be honest, I don't miss it. I had many male friends that I literally dropped overnight with a "Dear _____" email or call. I told them I had converted to Islam and it wasn't permissible. For me it was best to do it all at once and practice as completely as I could so I had no other distractions to keep me from my growth as a Muslim.

Except Nova. We all know dogs are prohibited to keep as pets. I knew this before I became Muslim. But I truly believed in my heart that I was responsible for him and I had promised my youngest son, Alex, that I would never get rid of him. He was my contant companion. For many years, while I was single (pre and post conversion) he was the only living being to care if I came home at night. He was my little buddy and my friend and to be honest I was more attached to him than I should have been. Hey at least I never dressed him up in clothes!!!:-)

He was a great dog, though. Smart, with a capital S. He had alot of toys and knew them all by name. Lamby was his oldest (and most loved) and he could find any if you said, "Nova, go get ____". He could find the boys or another person. He had a large vocabulary of words he knew and if you started to say "bath" he would run and hide. He was immaculately house-trained and only if under great duress would use the bathroom in the house. He was so ashamed afterwards but honestly this only happened a handful of times in 7 years.

Once when Alex was only 5 or so Nova helped save his life. I had a bell on the front door because Alex was a sleep walker and I worried he would escape. I always locked the top lock and the bottom and slept soo lightly when the boys were with me. This night I heard nothing but woke suddenly because I felt eyes on me. Nova's little black brown eyes. He was sitting at attention and uttering little whines in his throat. He was agitated. I got up and did a quick perusal and found Alex wasn't in his bed.

I didn't panic at first. I looked in the bathroom, the kitchen, beside my bed. He was nowhere to be found. I started to panic. I wake up the house and everyone is looking for him. I go outside and look and call and can't find him. I go back inside and looking again when I hear a knock at the door. I open it to find my baby there, in his night clothes. He is still partially asleep and he's crying. "Mama, why did you put me outside?" Subhanallah. I wouldn't have known he was outside if Nova hadn't of alerted me. Maybe when I went out my voice carried to him and it woke him from his daze enough to come back to the door. Allahu alim.

Let's see some cat do that. :-)

Fast forward many years. I knew I needed to find him a new home but I just couldn't. It wasn't until after Aaminah was born and I got really worried about the malika not coming in the house and I hated his shedding. Oh yes that was Nova's vice. His thick undercoat shed like nobody's business! Before Aaminah was born I would groom him fairly regularly but after she came, it was so difficult. I couldn't leave her inside alone and if I took her out his fur would blow on her. Anyway I wasn't able to care for him as I had before.

So the fateful day came when I put out ads looking for another home. Eventually someone responded and they had a house, a yard, another well-behaved dog, and a small horse farm. The dogs had the opportunity to be outside but weren't forced and when we met them at the park I could tell they really liked him.

I cried on the way home. I still miss him and I pray that he doesn't remember us anymore. I know people says dogs have short memories but he would remember people he hadn't seen in two years so that isn't always accurate. Anyway I just want him to be happy and well cared for.

The phone I had the new family's number in died a horrible death. :) So I guess it's for the best. Otherwise I'd still be randomly calling them up until one day they changed their phone number. :-)

I love my little buddy and I always will and you can laugh at me if you want. What? We can have cats you say? Yep I have one now bec A and his children already had him. I'm not really a cat person but alhamdulillah. :-) I have my memories of Nova.

Ma salaama...

July 18, 2010

Just say "alhamdulillah" and go on!

*Just for laughs. LOLOLOLOLOLOL*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. One guess where I am? Yep hospital time again. Same ole same ole, e. coli infection back, isn't it great to be me? Alhamduillah, alhamdulillah, AND alhamdulillah.

OK I think I had a great idea for a really moving post but it just left my mind. Like that. Started getting texts from family on FB and talking to my sister and away it went. So consider yourselves updated and make du'a for me please.

Here is a little funny story: during my TWENTY FOUR hour stay in the ER (most of it spent on a stretcher!!!) I got a little hungry and tired of being overlooked. :-) So after having not been given breakfast I decide to ask for some lunch around 11 am. By 1 pm I ask again and they say, Oh sorry all the trays have beef. OK fair enough, get me some chicken, I'll wait.

Then a really sweet little grandma looking assistant comes with a tray. It has a little dish of hummus, a dish of tabbouleh, and some triangles of pita. She says, with the best of intentions, "Isn't this what you people eat?" LOL I said, "Yes ma'am and thank you." Sooo funny. And nice that they have different cultural selections on the menu.

She was really pleased with herself that she had gotten me a good tray masha'Allah. I, in the meantime, felt like Ramadan at the masjid after all the chicken has been eaten and you are left with side dishes. :-)

OH I would encourage you all to check out the blogs I follow. Many of the sisters there are uplifting and really just interesting reads. A couple of non-Muslim blogs for crafts and family fun. Anyway if ya'll get some time, check them out and enjoy!

Ma salaama and keep me in your prayers insha'Allah.

July 16, 2010

In praise of Miracle Gro

*Exhibit A*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. See how lush and full this flower box is? I did have masses of blooms I had to cut off about 7 inches of growth masha'Allah because they were overgrowing the box and crowding each other out. Nice. Insha'Allah it will fill out again in another month. My husband bought Miracle Gro and well it lives up to its name apparently.

However, me being the cheap-o that I am, refused to pay $10 for dirt. What can it matter, I naievely thought. Well obviously it matters a whole lot. Exhibit B: flowers from the same flat as exhibit A but placed in the cheap Wal-Mart "potting soil". Hmmm. I think you can do the math. :-)

Lesson learned.

Here is my wandering jew vine. I love it's plum and green hues. When I went looking for it this spring I was a little leery of goin to the plant store and asking for a "wandering jew" in case that was just the southern term for it. Alhamdulillah that is what it is known as. Whew! lol

Oh btw this is my second post of the day so if you just click on the title link you will miss out on the bea-u-ti-ful pics of Aaminah I posted just a few minutes prior.

Ma salaama ya'll and happy gardneing!

My miti Rani or sweet princess!

*Aaminah in her Indian finery masha'allah!*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! All of you with girls know how they love shiny sparkly happy things. :-) I think it's just a part of them. So Aaminah is no exception and she loves the pretty, the glittery. She has a few absolutely STUNNING lengtha choli outfits another sister gave her before she was born. They are so beautiful.

She wanted to put on something for dress up and I got this out. She said, "Ohh it's coot (cute)!". Masha'Allah she is sweet. She loved it and was a pretty good sport about it til the end of my photo shoot. Insha'Allah I'll dress her up soon and take her outside to get beautiful pics; these were just in front of a bedroom door. :-)

Just a quick post and please remember to say, "Masha'allah"!

July 14, 2010

Where would I be without my.....

*Stock photo of my phone. It's nice, ya'll. :-)*
A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! You know, when it rains, it pours. Once I post once, I think, oh wait, I wanna share this...and this...and this! I actually have ideas for lots of posts but far less time and they all require I take photos and well, my poor camera is feeling lonely. Since I married (alhamdulillah!) I no longer take the photos I did before. Direct correlation to lack of time but still, I miss it.

Anyway I realized I hadn't posted a list in a while. I love lists, really I do. I love to feel all resourceful and full of plans, committed. And I like lists just for fun too which this one is.

So without further ado, the "Where would I be without my ______" list:

1. Cell phone. Really I use it for so many things. With the sudden onset of 4 more people to be responsible for, I use alot more of it's gadgets. The calender in particular. You can set it for once or repeating (such as tutoring or karate!) and ya'll know I also have my fair share of doctor appointments. So it's used daily almost with the exception of Sundays which tend to be laid-back for us. I also like to text my sons and family and friends far away; nice way to send photos of Aaminah to them.

2. Lip balm. I am addicted to it. Really. I have at least 5 tubes in various (strategic) locations. My favorite was a coconut-scented one with a subtle shimmer which turned out to be too sparkly for public wear. Boo hoo! My most recent acquisition was a tube of Aquafina Hydrating Lip Oil. It's nice, has a little minty tingle to it and is nice. I also got it at the dollar store so nicer yet.

3. Laptop. Really now that I've had my laptop for a couple of years, I couldn't imagine using a desktop again. Being confined to one spot, just so BULKY. Not portable, etc. etc. This laptop has been to UAE and back, dropped countless times, and now you have to wrap the power cord just right right to keep power. The battery no longer charges but it works great otherwise! lol My next big purchase (other than a van) will be another laptop insha'Allah. Maybe a little lighter than this one but I am happy with the performance of mine.

4. Tie-back khimars. Laugh if you will but once I discovered the utter simplicity and modesty of a tie-back khimar 3 years ago, I haven't worn anything else. Well a wrapped shayla one day which, while definitely beautiful, annoyed the life out of me! Maybe because I tend to be on the ahem chubbier side, but the wrapped ones just won't stay put. I think being a modest muslimah should be effortless. So I am aware I am not cutting edge of fashion, but this is the girl who used to buy the same tshirt in all 5 colors because well, I liked the fit and it was simple and inexpensive. Plus the short sleeves (pre-Islam) guaranteed easy dialysis access!

5. My "new" kidney. Yep, its 8 yrs old now and still a tickin'! Well still a filterin' and I am grateful for it. My quality of life has improved 1000% since my transplant and it has opened up so many more doors for me. Having another baby (Aaminah!) for one. Really I love it and would wear a tshirt proclaiming so if I could find one long enough. :-)

6. Family. OK so I really meant where would I be without gadget-y things but I cannot overlook the obvious. This is birth family and Muslim family as well. Really I have been so blessed. I have 2 good friends who literally have no one in this life to count on. Their mothers died when they were both young, their fathers aren't even worth a mention, and their siblings are disinterested to say the least. They are both single mothers, awesome people, and they make me realize, no matter how crazy or annoying they can be, that I am grateful to Allah swt for them all. A L L. Um except the pervy uncle and cousins on my father's side. Sorry ain't happy for ya'll!

7. Sense of humor. I would be effed, for lack of a much better and less offensive word. I have had alot of interesting moments in my life, so much so that my sister (who only knows a TINY portion of them) said I should write my memoirs. Oh sis if only you knew! ;-) Anyhoo, the ability to laugh at the ludicrous and smile away the stresses has been indespinsible to me. And I am pretty sure I just misspelled indespinsible. Let's spell check... one second please... WOW. I did and how! It's indespensable according to my spell check . I rarely make real spelling errors but alhamdulillah. :-)

OK I guess I've rambled on long enough. It's kinda nice, being able to just talk about utter nonsense and have no one say, "Oh wow look at the time!" :-) I guess ya'll can just click off but I have a sneaky feeling you don't.

OK Aaminah just brought me a little cup of goldfish to share. She actually is insisting on it; Arab hospitality? lol

Take care ya'll and ma salaama!

July 13, 2010

I can't wait to get my books!

*This is one of the books I have requested online from my local library.*

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. This will probably be a short post as it's getting late and, as I like to say, the kids will get up whether I've slept or not!

Anyway I just realized that my local library has a great online request system. EVERY book I looked for was available! Woo-hoo! I am really excited. I take the kids to the library and they have a wonderful children's floor with toys, puppets, etc. so Aaminah is happy but I am left high and dry, no new reading materials. By the time the older kids pick out and I take Aaminah to see the guinea pigs we're all set. Hmmm. I was lamenting my lack of reading material and even more especially my opportunity to seek them out when I remembered their online service.

So now in the comfort of my home, in my house dress sans hijab and sans lots of kids needing my attention, I was able to pick out several books. Most of them aren't housed at the Hudson library but Central Massachusetts does a book-sharing program with area libraries. I get to pick them up in Hudson (4 min drive from my home!) and read, read, read!

I found a couple of books about Muslim women. One, "Tears of the Desert" (sorry can't figure out how to underline) is a true story of a Muslim woman who escaped the horrors of Darfur. I almost checked out "Jewel of Madina" then read a few reviews first. Alhamdulillah! It talks about Aisha (ra) and her marriage to the Prophet Muhammad (saws). It makes ALOT of assumptions and is really inappropriate for a Muslim to read. I don't like to read books that create fitnah whether intentionally or not.

I'll semi-review the books after I read them and insha'Allah some of them will be good reads and beneficial.

Happy me, happy me! Ma salaama!

July 5, 2010

To my lost love

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. This is a poignant post, about loves lost, hearts broken, desires unfulfilled.

OK maybe that a wee bit dramatic. I'm talking about a great cheeseburger! :-) You know the kind that's tender and char-grilled and so delicious you drool just thinking of it? For me mayo and sweet onions are requisite, all else can be haggled over or even left off.

I looooove cheeseburgers and I no longer get to indulge. Why, UofA, why you may ask. No it's not my fluid waistline or a problem with my cholesterol, it's the halal beef. Why can't it taste as lovely as a nice package of Angus 85/20 from Krogers always did? Why can't it have that lovely juicy, beefy taste? And what happened to the texture, the melt-in-you-mouth tenderness I need?

Ah the halal burger just isn't the same. To me, no halal beef is. I eat it, and some cuts prepared some ways I can accept. But ground beef just isn't one of them. Growing up, ground beef was a staple at our table. It was not so expensive so it found its way onto our plates at least 3 times a week. Now my life is all beige and white, with various poultry and fish products filling the void.

Pork? I don't miss you! You are nasty and greasy and the smell of you cooking does now truly turn my stomach. Hijab-free days, with the wind in my hair, you are missed but I do not yearn for you anymore. The guiltfree pleasure of music blaring on my car stereo while the windows are down and the sun warms my skin... you too have been replaced and barely missed.

But beef, oh beef, you shall not soon be forgotten.

Okey dokey, just realized unless some of my readers obsess about love food like I do, you might think this is a little strange. lol I'm prepared to deal with the backlash.

Cheeseurger, I'll see YOU in Jannah insha'allah!!!!!!!!

July 1, 2010

Go to sleep, go to sleeeeeeep!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. A four hour nap does not a sleepy girl make. Now Aaminah is wiiiiide awake and it's almost 11 pm. I didn't realize she had slept so long and I left to run an errand. A didn't realize either but guess who is up with her? lol Of course Mama.

I am also considering going back to finish my degree. Maybe I am the person who has been in school the longest without completing anything; what a recognition. lol I originally started university directly after high school but wasn't able to complete the semester. I was already sick then but didn't know it and I just couldn't focus. I mean my grades were awesome, all As but come on, they were easy classes. I had no drive, no ambition and it really wasn't like me.

Fast forward about 5 years. Zack was 3 and I felt he was old enough for me to attempt again. I was working full-time at TN school for the deaf and went to school on weekends. I did Anatomy and Physiology I and II plus some other small classes. I had a 3.8 GPA masha'Allah all while working full-time and being a mommy and wife. Then I got pregnant with Alex and put it on hold again.

Returned when he was two and completed a year but my kidneys had failed by then and I was on dialysis. Just got too sick, had too many surgeries, same old story. :-)

Transplant was 2002 and that same year I decided to fast-track (due to divorce) and just go for my LPN and later work on my RN. However 6 months into the program, you guessed it, I ended up missing too many hours and had to drop out.

So now my health is somewhat stable (if you dont think of my multiple infections and hospitalizations this past year) and I realllllly want to finish my degree. If I ever go overseas for an extended period I could help our family insha'Allah.

Please make dua that Allah makes this easy on us amin and I am able to start AND finally finish. Amin amin amin! :-)

Ma salaama!