September 26, 2010

Faded novembers (2nd post of the day)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I came across a poem I had written in 2004 posted on the internet by someone else, a fan I suppose? Anyway when I read it, I was transported back to that time. Pre-Islam, my days of jahaliyya, ignorance. Really words can be very evocative and I just remember the underlying sense of despair that I felt. I wasn't depressed; I was outwardly happy, fairly well-adjusted, blah blah blah. But inside... there was a hole. A big black hole, an ENORMOUS black hole, of the depth and breadth that Steven Hawking can only fantasize about! :-)

Anyway, I just wanted to share this. A little background: my birthday is in November and I suppose I was feeling particularly melancholy that day. Not about aging but about this unsettled feeling I had inside me, that NO amount of dunya-loving could fill.

So here (especially for my born-Muslim or less dysfunctional friends) is a glimpse as to what it can feel like to have no purpose, no plan....

All These Faded Novembers

All these faded Novembers slip past

leaving me with the stale dusty taste of things forgotten

on my tongue

Maybe I haven’t the memories…

Or perhaps I haven’t the heart.

Sometimes, I think I can recapture the moment:

How freedom felt on the soles of unshod feet

crisp and sharp like new grass.

Or the decadence of the sultry summer sun on naked flesh

ripe with the promise of possibility,

without the threat of "forever"

But my courage has left me;

I drift aimlessly on the bitter winds.

I now drink from the placid waters

and feed upon the bracken and moss

which grows within my shadowed soul
I have to say that while re-reading it again, I can clearly see the metaphors I didn't recognize when I wrote it. I recalled a time of innocence, when a sublime pleasure was to walk barefoot for the first time in the spring. That would be the time when I had faith (though misguided) which was a great comfort and moral compass for me.
When I spoke of the "stale dusty taste of things forgotten" once again that was my lost iman, my faith, my strength which ONLY comes from the Creator. Subhanallah this whole poem is a lament about the passing of my innocence, the loss of my faith, and my weary acceptance that I would never again find that kind of solace and comfort.
"Without the threat of forever..." I couldn't even begin to contemplate what would happen after my death. I had no assurance of anything. That is truly a scary place to be.
ALHAMDULILLAH I was wrong. Allah swt guided me, He led me gently back to where I had been but elevated me to another plain, to the straight path. Subhanallah. I never want to feel that void again.
Ya Allah, I thank You with all my being for the second chance You have given me. I place my life, my destiny in Your hands, I acknowledge my helplessness, my futility, my utter inability to do anything of worth without Your assistance, Your rahma (mercy). Please forgive me for ALL my sins, past, present and future. Help me be the best wife and mother I can be so I am insha'Allah an instrument of Your will. Make me among the PIOUS muslimeen and among those destined for Jannah.  Ameen SUMMA ameen.

September 25, 2010

OK almost done...

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Hope you like the new layout. I wanted something kinda homey and comforting. To me, nothing is more comfortable than a well-worn quilt. They warm you in the winter and feel cool in the summer. Pieced together by my ancestors, painstaking tiny stitch after stitch. Using the scraps of cloth left over from a flour-cloth towel, an apron made for Aunt Sally, or the bonnet made for the neighbor's new baby.

Each quilt tells a story: poignant, hopeful, determined, joyful, resourceful, dedicated... Just like the women I am from. :-) So I am very happy with my new look. This is actually my first time trying to make my own layout (somewhat). I snagged the background quilt from Shabby Blogs and then I made my li'l photo montage at Fotoflexer. I wanted it bigger and I do want to have a banner (graphic to place my photo box or at least my text in) but insha'allah I'll figure it out eventually.

I did pick my colors for the side bar, text, text size, etc so it is somewhat a "custom" job and I have to say a big thanks to Sr. Mona at Swell Blog Design. Her page gave me the idea to try and play around and not be afraid to have a little fun. :-) It's also where I learned how to get the little icon to pop up on the address bar when my blog address is typed. Don't you love it? :-)

So gimme a little "shout out" if you like it; if you don't... ah just keep it to yourself, cause I don't have the energy to change it! ;-)

She's beautiful, she's beautiful, it's true... Masha'allah!!!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I took some really cute pics of Aaminah the other day and just wanted to share them with you guys. If you are one of the "easily bored by pics of other people's children" kinda person, you might wanna just sliiiiiide on past this entry. Oh and btw, I am tweaking/playing with/messing up my blog so bear with me. I know my header is impossible to read right now; I'm workin' on it!!! The last template, while cute, was a little too busy for me plus it took for-ev-er to load. Kinda like how long it's taking me to put up the pictures of my little darling.

She has been crazy to get to ride a pony. Luckily for us, we appear to live in the "small town festival" capital of the WORLD, Hudson, MA. There is always something going on around here (and it usually costs $$$). Anyway we saw the pony, unfortunately named "Little Dude" and she was hooked. Look how happy masha'Allah!

So alhamdulillah I am a horrible Eid photographer. It's always hectic and I think, no worries, just dress up again later. No worries except I never do it and am then stuck with 3 or 4 subpar pics. Anyway this was her beautiful princess dress I bought for Eid-ul-fitr a year ago but didn't wear. I kept it cuz was just too precious masha'allah. She loved it but was happy to put on her pretty Eid play clothes. :-)

What a cheeser! We went out for lunch together at 99 Restaurant. I had to put this one in for the sheer personality she was exuding. :-)

Here's my little punkin's first day of "school". Isn't she looking all big, walking away? :-( I took some really cute photos of her at the school but forgot to take my camera in so they are on my cell phone. Once I figure out what's wrong because I can't load the pics to the web, I'll put them up too.

Hey while we are on the subject of photos, any of my sisters our there good with pho-to-graphy? I am thinking MamaMona and MuslimMama at the very least. :-) I just have a point and shoot Sony 8mp digital camera. I want to know why in the bright light my pics are so washed out. Look at horse shot above for example. If ya'll can tell me why, please share. I think maybe my lens needs cleaned; even looked like I saw a crumb, a CRUMB, in the inner lens. I am mystified as to how it could get there and appear to be happily stuck at that. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

OK ya'll take care, ma salaama!

September 23, 2010

Mama, mama I'm coming home!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I am really excited because I AM GOING TO SEE MY BOYS! I get to go to home to Knoxville, Tennessee Oct. 4th thru the 16th. I was just gonna stay for a week but A said I should stay 2-3 weeks. He understands how much I miss my sons and family. However, I don't want to be away from him that much so I thought 10 days was sufficient.

To be honest I am looking forward to a mini-vacation; not from my husband no! just from the 24/7 responsibilities of a large family. I am grateful, I am, but to be with my sons, my family, my sisters in Islam, to go to MY masjid again. I am looking forward to seeing all that is beloved and familiar to me. Can I get an "alhamdulillah!"

On a totally unrelated note, I just discovered (via A) that my keyboard can "magically" convert to other alphabets. Who'da thunk it? So with a tap of the mouse pad, you can switch between English and Arabic. I just need to find the clear stick-on Arabic letters to place on the keyboard now. I am trying to teach A how to type so insha'allah this will be a help to him so he can explain himself in his native tongue.

We received a package from overseas for Eid. It was so sweet but everything with the exception of Aaminah's stuff was too small. I felt bad for the girls but alhamdulillah it's hard to get the right sizes unless you take a measuring tape with you. Which I would but just because I've had so much experience in getting the wrong size.

So we are now the proud owners of several really cute Moroccan-style djelabas for little girls. It would take Aaminah til she was 7 or 8 to fit but they are super cute. Hmmm.. what to do. Oh and we got the funky little pointy-toed shoes to go with every outfit. Maybe I'll give them to my friend Lisa for her little cutie Aliyah whose 5. I think she could probably wear them.

Alright I need to go, just wanted to share my good news with ya'll. :-D

September 22, 2010

Looks can be deceiving!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll! Did you see the yummy looking box of goodies we received from a neighbor for Eid? Masha'allah it was sooo sweet of the brother, and sooo beautiful!

Don't these look absolutely divine?

Alas, I could not eat them. :-( And believe me, I was salivating at the thought. However, these had a really funky taste, like they had marinated in cigarette smoke for a good couple of days before being liberally doused with pine tar. :-(

OK maybe I am exaggerating a tiny bit but they tasted smoky/piney. I've never had a pastry that tasted like that before! I think possibly it was pine essence... dunno. My family liked them pretty well but it was a deal-breaker for me.

Anyone else experienced this level of heartbreak before? :-) Jazakallahu khair to the brother for the beautiful thought but maybe next time he'll just give me a bottle of Liquid Smoke instead. LOL Oh for what its worth they came from a Lebanese bakery; maybe there's some weird little flavoring they use that just doesn't jive with Western tastes.

Ma salaama ya'll!

September 13, 2010

It'll all happen insha'allah

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Just wanted ya'll to know I really enjoy putting down my random thoughts and I liked that graphic. :-) Soooo... Aaminah will be going to childcare for 3 days a week. I am a little leery about her going but allahu alim. It's a really nice center, great recommendations, the staff has been really nice everytime I've called/stopped by. I don't really feel ready but she does. She keeps harassing asking me, "When I go to school?". It's really cute; she wants to be like the bigger kids and go to school masha'Allah. Now if only Mama was as excited. :-)

I had an epiphany of sorts today. Actually, I'm pretty sure I've had that same epiphany before, which makes it a bit less "epiphany-ish" but I like that word and it's been so long since I had this thought, I think it still qualifies! lol

Anyway, Aaminah fell asleep today while I was coming home from some errands. I decided to forgo all the long walk to the other end of the parking garage, the wait for the elevator, the ride, and then basically walking back the same distance to our end of the building. Instead I opted for the 2 flights of stairs and significantly less walking.

Wow. That's all I can say. W O W. It was crazy how heavy she was. She is 30 lbs. Hmmm, 30 lbs. My how she's grown. My baby. Ya Allah she's heavy, how can I make it to the top???

During this inner monologue, I realized (epiphany time!) that I am about 2.5 Aaminahs overweight. :-) That's insane. It was soooo hard climbing the steps with her (yes in my arms, not distributed more or less over my body) but still. It got me a'thinkin'. How light would I feel if I dropped even a few pounds? Let's be conservative and say 20. Alright, 20 lbs. No one ever died (theoretically) from cutting back/moving more to the tune of losing the equivalent of 4 gallons of milk. Hmmm....

So I am gonna (here comes the "public commitment" part) reallllly try to drop 20. Not, "drop and give me 20" but lose 20 lbs. Well I've gone and done it now I guess (that's a southern-ism by the way!). It's out here for all the www to see, or at least the 37 people who follow my blog. lol

Next question, should I set a timeline for myself? Probably so. I think if I say that by Nov. 12 (that's my 38 birthday-not that we celebrate, just a matter of fact) that would be a good amount. Maybe even give me the time to beat the deadline and feel like a real winner.  Of course my (secret) plan is to keep doing 20 at a time, if I find this successful.

Note: This will never be a weight loss blog but if I do manage (insha'Allah) to reach my goal or even continue to strive, I'll be posting it here. Just no "before and after" in  revealing clothes. I'll do a before and after in my knee length khimar. LOL That'll get me on a Jenny Craig/WW/Slimfast commercial for sure! :-)

Okey dokey, alrighty tighty... one more thing to update on. I don't think I'll be doing any more "interfaith dialogue" here again. I just don't like it. It's my blog, I defended my religion and fellow Muslims right to build a masjid and to worship how and where we choose. I don't feel the need to validate my religion or "prove" anything. The fact the world exists and I am here and there is any goodness in this world is testament that Allah swt is the supreme Creator. The fact I am a Muslim is a testament to the mercy of Allah.

In my previous blog, I only tried to show (exactly the same way LFOG did) that my religion's holy book doesn't condone unmerited violence and that there is indeed violence perpetuated in his/her holy book the Bible. I received many more comments from LFOG but decided against posting them bec: a) it's my blog :-P b) I don't like debating c) I had my say and that's that. I allowed them to post their opinion once and then I defended my stance.

There is nothing to be gained by continous back-and-forth. I have my beliefs, they have theirs and alhamdulillah for it all. I do not hate Christians; almost all of my family identify as such. I don't hate the Jewish people; I don't hate Hindus, or Buddhists or any of the million and one ways people try to make sense of their life.

I do however believe that Islam is the straight path and I do believe there is only ONE God and He is supreme and infallible and has never been on this earth in the form of someone who, like myself or the basest criminal, has the pains of hunger or the need to defecate, who feels annoyance or desires the feel of human skin against His own, astaghfirallah.

Alright, I am pretty sure that clears up my stance; if anyone is thick enough to not understand, feel free to ask for a clarification. :-)

Ma salaama ya'll!!!!!!!

September 7, 2010

Busy little bee

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I am sorry I haven't posted in a bit but well with Ramadhan, my father's death (inna ilayhi wa inna lillahi rajioon), college starting this week, kids going back to school and all that entails PLUS the fact I was in the hospital again this weekend alhamdulillah... I just ain't had the time.

I'm looking at another 6+ week course of really strong iv antibiotics. Alhamdulillah. I would rather look forward to a 6+ weeks of good health but allahu alim. We have to accept the qadr (fate) that Allah gives us. Insha'allah I will feel better, in this life or the next.

Anyway my classes start this week and there is a little stress with the financial aid. I applied 3 months ago but they still do not have my awards in the system. Which is kinda ridiculous as all they need to do is an update I assume since it comes from the FAFSA website, all approved and ready to go.

Insha'allah it will all come together in the next couple of weeks. Of course, right now school is the LAST thing on my mind but you know, it has to be done anyway. I just really feel like I want to move. Blending families is hard and with Aaminah and I coming into a place already set it, its been hard to rearrange, change, and organize. Alhamdulillah I've done ALOT since January but some things can't really be fixed. We are pretty tight in here. We have 6 people in a 3 bedroom apt but 3 of them are girls so they are all crammed in together. Alhamdulillah I am not complaining but to be honest I am dreaming of a little more space.

The thing is, A works where we live so its super convenient plus I get to see him alot during the day. This couldn't happen if we take a place off of the complex. So it's really difficult to decide what to do. I just know these close quarters are getting kinda.... tight. :-) I pray Allah gives us the best for us in both worlds, ameen.

Alright this has been a bit of a disorganized post but that's really like my mind right now so it's appropriate. :-)

Ma salaama ya'll...