December 12, 2011

Nationalism and Islam

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So this question started floating around in my head a bit today. What does it mean to be American? How do we define that? Does it mean our blood flows red, white and blue? Does it mean we strive to uphold the ideals of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"?

I don't think it means any of that. To be American means, simply, that you were born in this country. There are millions of Americans incarcerated; untold numbers who are pedophiles, child abusers, drunkards, and wife-beaters. There are red-blooded Americans who still believe in apartheid on the most basic level and would see the majority of our population ruled by the very distinct minority. (Oh wait, it already is, my bad. LOL).

Please, before my detractors get all riled up, I believe there are many more good, kindhearted, open-minded people in America than there are from the above groups. I am just making a point. :-)

So if by definition, being American simpy means you were born into this society/culture or accepted as a citizen (after testing and payments and hardships, btw) what is there to be so proud about?

Mahatma Ghandi (among others) said, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats it's weakest members". If we look at the track record of almost any nation that was ever in existence and judge them by this standard, it would be disheartening to say the least. None should be "proud" to be called from any nation.

This is why in Islam we are taught to turn from nationality and turn to Allah. To turn to the teachings of our prophets and messengers, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them all! We are encouraged to love and want for our brother or sister what we want for ourselves. To love what Allah loves and hate what He hates.

Even in the last sermon of our beautiful Prohet Muhammad (saws) he said:

"All mankind is from Adam and Huwa, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.

How beautiful, how clear are these words, these commands. We are to feel NO superiority over another unless it is in our good deeds and piety. Which, btw, a Mu'min never feels he is pious enough nor good enough in his deeds. As Cap'n recently related to me:

"He (Imam Malik) was the man about whom Ash-Shafi’ee said, 'When scholars are mentioned, Malik is like the star among them.' Malik said that he did not sit to give Fatwa, before 70 of the Madina scholars first witnessed to his competence in doing so."

Subhanallah, Imam Malik, who had more knowledge than you or I can comprehend, refused to consider himself knowledgeable, a scholar, a shaykh, until 70 of his peers felt him to be so. Just a little dose of reality for you all, my friends. :-)

It is narrated by Abu Da’wud that the Messenger of Allah (saaw) said:

“He is not one us who calls for ..Asabiyyah, (nationalism/tribalism) or who fights for ..Asabiyyah or who dies for ..Asabiyyah.”

This does not mean we cannot be proud of the good actions of our country. If you live in a place where Muslims are accepted and allowed to practice freely, be proud of that. If you happen to be of a certain ancestry and you like to learn about your history or past customs, there is no problem. What this hadith means is that we do not place our nationalism ahead of our religion. (Even the sahaba had names which indicated their country of ancestry such as Salman Al-Farsi for example.)

"My prayers and sacrifice, my life and death are all for Allah, Lord of all the Worlds" (Qur'an 6:162). There is no clearer injunction that our lives, in totality, are to be lived for the glory of Allah swt.

So we can see as Muslims we are to turn away from nationalism, to be proud only of the good deeds we do FI SABILILLAH. I wish more people in this world, non-Muslims and Muslim alike, would strive to be good people, not good nationalists.

Ma salaama ya'll.

December 6, 2011

Introducing the newest member...

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Sorry I just can't get into the hang of updating again. Before, I had a very ordered life and writing was a very important outlet for me. Now I feel like I stay busier but in happier ways (not as frantic as before) and my desire to write has dropped off by the wayside.

By the way, if any of ya'll are staticians, you would see this correlates nicely with my "love" life by which I mean married life. :-) When I am single I am so busy taking care of EVERYTHING I don't have the luxury of sitting around, thinking about the world's problems. :-) Once that area of my life gets settled, I always have much more free time.

And what is your status, UofA? Well now isn't that the million dollar question. I hate hate hate hate hate (ok not really so strongly) when people suggest and hint at things but never spill the beans so to speak. So I shall endeavor to keep my openness and transparency alive and well.

I can't say. :-))

Oh that's funny. OK yes alhamdulillah I am engaged. I am not asking for advice or support in this issue, dear readers. It's done and dusted as the English say and I'm all set (my nod to Massachusetts speak).  I have made my selection carefully and will, in due course, update you all. I thank my reader who very sincerely have her advice that I concentrate on my daughter and my life, finding a way to support ourselves sans husband.

I've done that, for most of my life actually. I've never been married long enough to feel stable alhamdulillah. I no longer feel like I have to prove anything, to myself or the rest of the world. As a Muslim woman, I am entitled to have a husband or other mahrem who will take care of myself and Aaminah. But sisters, I do not mean simply financially. I mean emotional support. That kind that comes from the male of our species. :-) Someone to hold my hand and kiss my forehead, someone to take bugs out of the house *s* and to snuggle up with when watching a movie.

More importantly, someone to grow in my deen with, to encourage and be encouraged, to love and honor and respect, to have someone to take care of again. Oh how I miss that! Yes I take care of little Aaminah and others but it's just... different with your husband. It fulfills a part of me and makes me indescribably happy. Making that post-fajr tea or preparing a favorite dish; what can I say, I am a nurturer to the nth degree and I am happy being this way. :-)

However in the past I have nurtured others and ignored myself. I will definitely be looking for more balance this time, someone who can baby and be babied and yes, sisters, I need that too. To be treated sweetly, like a glass vessel masha'Allah. How perfect is all of Allah's creation and how beautifully he has made us for one another. I still trust and believe in this sisters, despite it all, because of it all. :-)

I love my sisters in Islam, I love my community, I love my family, my children. I am blessed beyond compare but I, like so many others, want what I do not have. For me, my holy grail is a good marriage, stable, with a loving, kind, funny, affectionate, practicing brother. I have amended my definition a bit as I have gotten older of what makes a great husband. I use to want the whole package; how tiring, looking for something that doesn't exist. :-) I cannot be everything, I can just be me. I can't expect more than that of my brothers, now can I?

So what am I doing different this time? Personal references baby from someone who reallly knows the person. It's very nice for the imam to give a good reference as I got for A but that doesn't really tell you what the person is like outside of the masjid, in a home setting, when we are bad-tempered or sick. So my very best friend Um Bilal is married and her husband is a wondeful person masha'Allah. His best friend of 13+ years was introduced to me and I am pleased to say that the brother has been everything I was told he was.

Now, here is where the full-disclosure ends. Abu B's friend is a very private sort of person. I have of course already directed him to my blog to find out how I feel about everything from refrigerated hashbrowns to matters of our ummah. So he is aware I have this space and I write in it. After marriage, my content might change depending on what he is comfortable with. Of course I am hoping certain things will still be ok with him but as I've never been particularly private I definitely want to make him comfortable.

I do however, have a photo of him I snapped today that I would love to share. Enjoy!

Yes it's not really him, my new man isn't made from legos. :-) But he is a pirate (we'll call him Cap'n) and he is from the Caribbean and other than that, I must keep mum. Insha'allah post wedded-bliss, we will see what transpires. I hope to keep you all updated on my life and times, my sads and happies and always always always my striving to be a better muslimah, wife, mother, friend and human being. :-)

November 22, 2011

And...yet again

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So I think I've mentioned on here I haven't been hired by a non-Islamic entity since becoming Muslim. Yes some people have no problem but they either A) have a very advanced degree or B) cover in a less traditional manner. Or both but .... anyway. :-)

So I had applied for a job at a call center type place. Decent pay (much better than my babysitting job!) and I could work part-time which is important for me to have time with Aaminah. I did the data entry, typing, call center etiquette and another test online. My scores were excellent far above average (they give your results immediately).

The lady from the staffing company called me the next day, gushing about my scores. "Well if that's your off-day, I would love to see a good day!" is what she said in response to my comment on my data entry score. Alhamdulillah. I went to meet her and yes, I wore my brown abaya, black khimar, black pants and black shoes. I am friendly, clean, well-spoken, articulate and intelligent. I am also a covering muslimah. And? No bearing on the job. It's halal, answering calls for doctors' offices all over the country. I do not have to have close interactions with anyone (which means really non-mahrem) so I was very happy. Also close to home. Wow, great.

Yeah, you know there is a catch right? Today I get the following email:


Good afternoon. I so enjoyed meeting you last week, so thank you for your time in the interview and the computer testing.

I wanted to update you on the ___________ assignment. Unfortunately, you were not selected for the assignment. However, I'm working on some exciting other opportunities (new clients) that I think you might be interested in, but it will take some time. I have you registered with us now, so I can give you a call when we get a little closer. And of course, please feel free to check back with me as well.

Thank you,
__ ______________, PHR
__________, President
_____  _________   ________
Knoxville, TN 37922

Office: 865-xxx-xxxx
Cell: 865-xxx-xxxx

Hmmmm. Well, alrighty then. Honestly, I just said "Alhamdulillah" and went on. Surprised? Yeah a bit. She really liked me (or seemed to) and I know, before covering, I would have had that job like nobody's business. Let's be honest, the job is not beneath me but it's far beneath what I am capable of. I told her I really needed the job and could be very flexible.
Nothing else makes sense except my religion. Muslim=unemployed here. OK sorry, let's go back. MuslimAH muhajabat = unemployed. As I said, I have seen some muhajabat with jobs here but they are more trendy, mainstream, a bit more current in their fashion. I really thought (silly me) that my personality and my qualifications would help me land the job.
Alhamdulillah. :-) I am learning many lessons in humility and trusting in the qadr of Allah. I will continue to do my best, to strive, but when it falls away at the end, still praise Him for it all.
May Allah swt make it easy on my family and I. Amin.

November 18, 2011

Into the info age (LG mytouch Q)

Mine is a really pretty muted purple color. Yay me! Um ignore the website above; where I got the pic from :-)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll.  So I felt I was fairly tech-savvy until the time my son offered to set up a Jitterbug (simplistic phone designed for the 55+ set) for me. I realized, yikes, I'm becoming obsolete!
OK so I wasn't too worried about it. I liked the mobile phone I had (I posted on here about it before). It had a slide-out keyboard I really like as I am a fairly prolific texter. It was internet-capable but I never used it. Small screen and slow speeds = no reason. Plus I like my laptop.

Well all this changed when my phone broke. :-( I really was happy with it and stressed when it broke because I am broke too! :-) It stopped charging and I took it in to be looked at and they told me (a bit condescendingly) that this model has been discontinued and I just needed a new phone. :-)

I had my contract over 2 years so I was eligible for a free upgrade. I really didn't want a smartphone, and Android platform pocket computer. :-) I just wanted a nice phone with a pull-out keyboard, for free. Well that dream didn't happen but they did have the brand new LG mytouch Q smartphone. Subhanallah. I didn't know what to do with it and still don't partially! I'll just give ya'll a rundown of the features I kind of understand. :-))

You can email, text, update facebook, shop, watch tv, download immense time wasters (games), and about 50 others things. Oh yeah, you can call too I've heard. LOL It has a 5mp camera on it (not stellar but nice and especially as my camera recently bit the dust, I am happy with it). It also has a pull-out keyboard which was the selling point for me.

I told the guy I didn't want a smart phone or internet access. I really do prefer my laptop (where I am now)  I tried once to update blogger thru the phone and I just got annoyed as things like capitalization and other functions work differently. Anyway it has turned out to be kind fun as I can check email from anywhere and email photos. I have updated fb once from it as well. Look at me. :-)

So I guess I am far away from needing a Jitterbug as my son threatened. I might not understand or even use all of the awesome features but I have them. :-)) As for what I want, it texts nice and has a touch screen which is fun. I have downloaded a couple of games that Aaminah might play with if we are stuck somewhere. It can also take videos which I can forsee enjoying in the future. :-)

As for price, well... I didn't wanna spend anything. But I did have to pay $100 with a $50 rebate which ohfortheloveofpete I haven't sent in yet!!!!!!!! I'll do that tonight insha'allah. I really want my $50 back. :-)

It seems a big sluggish sometimes, like taking a moment to turn off a call or go from one screen to another. At other times it's pretty fast and I am not knowledgeable enough about theses issues to say if it's my fault or if the phone should be faster or if this is just what it's capable of. I'll let ya'll know.

Oh I was saying I didn't really want an internet-capable phone but it is nice when you get lost and need GPS directions or a phone number. Sometimes you realize you need to get access to an email and that is nice too. However this was the only phone with a pull out keyboard that I liked the layout. The other was too scrunched up and tiny, it wasn't good for my texting.

Other cons: I seem to hit this one hand-free button often (it's a touchscreen so really easy) and it's always popping up. Also there are only like 4 cases for it right now as it just came out this month. I am really worried I'll drop it and scratch it but there are not enough options for me to be interested in getting a case yet. That's all I can think of for now. :-)

So I've been thrust, albeit unwillingly, into the full-blown information age. How many of ya'll have smartphones/iphones and love it? Hate it? Wonder why we have to always be connected??  Let me know.

Ma salaama  ya'll...

November 17, 2011

Just some pictures

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I found some old photos online and wanted to share them. Hope ya'll enjoy!

Alex with Cookie, our friends' dog.

Alex and Aaminah :-)

Just a swangin'

Gooby Zack. Have I posted this one before?? It's classic Zack. :-)

King of the Moutain. :-) My little mountaineer

A rare "snow storm" for E. Tennessee. LOL

Love the expression!

Rare pic of Zack with Nova. :-) Alex was the dog boy.

Zack and his friends. Yes, all girls. LOL

Oh my, yes I had both a nose ring and an eyebrow ring. Whilst rockin' the al-amira hijab. LOL LOL LOL This was taken at my job at the time.

The tiny garden I was inordinately proud of. lol  We had a praying mantis that lived in it. One day she apparently fell victim to the landscaping guys' weedeater and the little neighborhood kids came to me, "Miss Jeanna, Miss Jeanna! Your little buddy is dead". I liked to teach them about nature. :-)

November 8, 2011

To work or not to work...

Really, there's no question. :-) A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. UofA has found herself in a weird position: having to work again! Gasp! OK before any of you "get off your lazy butt" kinda people chime in you should know being a homemaker is a FULL TIME JOB. There was many a day I would have (almost) switched places and gone to work. There you do your time, clock out, khalas.

A mama never rests. Cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry, ok yeah fair enough. Oh wait schedule and ferry to doctor appointments, Islamic school/religious education, trips to the park or for a walk. Don't forget you need to get more supplies (shopping again!) and referee in the all-too-frequent spats which occur with alarming frequency.

This is just an easy day, ya'll. :-) And my day lasted from fajr to well past isha. Yes, get off my lazy behind indeed!!! lol

Now however, I must seek employment to provide for myself and little Feisty One. :-) Most places are not very muhajabat-friendly and I cannot say I blame them. Given the choice between me (nice person, competent, intelligent) and someone who fits in with society in general... well businesses are there to make money right? :-) So I tried my Islamic school where I used to work as a preschool teacher but alhamdulillah 2 months into the year they of course have their positions filled. :-)

I realllly wanted my old job back as admin at my masjid. Yes it was a paying positiong but my opportunity to do good for my community was immense. I loved it! Alhamdulillah the previous admin had just left which boded well for me.

Except... a member of our Shura board felt our community didn't really need an admin. Oh woe is me! So of course insha'Allah it might change but I am not banking on something to happen that might not. So I have found a position babysitting.

My problem with it however is that the pay is ultra-low: $4 an hour. :-( I want to help out the sister and her family but as I only work about 3-4 hours a day, well you can do the math. Plus it's in the middle of the day so it's almost impossible to do anything else. My whole day taken up for $12. :-)

Now I have one other issue which is making me have doubts. They are masha'allah very neat and their home sparsely furnished. In the room we mostly stay in Aaminah plays with 2 blue bean bag chairs. Of course I bring some toys for her. Anyway when we arrived yesterday the sister tells Aaminah very nicely, "Your job today is to be very neat and not make a mess".

I'm thinking, WTHeck, we take all of our toys home and other than that, there is only 2 bean bag chairs and 2 little stuffed bears. The sister goes on to tell me her husband is VERY particular about their home and doesn't like it messed up.

I was offended, sisters. I am very careful when in someone else's home. I always insist Aaminah behave and clean up after herself and I assist her. I knew we never left a mess here! Then I noticed the bean bag chairs are always in the EXACT same position, pushed down in the middle, pushed down a bit on the top, so the rest is fluffed out fully. The little bears are on opposite sides of the masjid clock and always at the same angle.

Oooooh now I see. Subhanallah. So I always put things back in their place but I never did those things. And sisters, do not judge me harshly, I will not. I will not put a chair back, and push it down, and plump the sides and tilt a stuffed bear at an exact angle. I am doing them a service and I do not want to feel like my daughter is viewed as a messy girl simply because they have very exacting standards.

I really don't know what to do now. It isn't fair to Aaminah, yesterday I was so worried about her bothering these things. I don't want them to feel we are messing up their things but I don't want my daughter to feel stressed nor myself.

Subhanallah. Also there is the issue of transportation. My van is still in MA and I was borrowing my son's car. So I am currently without transportation. :-( The sister said she would pick me up and bring me as it's only 5 minutes to her house, jazaki Allahu khair.

Then yesterday she calls and says her husband needs to get me. I said, "Sister, I am not comfortable". She seemed surprised and a bit offended so, realizing if I were to every take a taxi, I would be in a car with a man, I agreed but unhappily and she said she would be the one to do it afterwards. She did bring me home yesterday.

Now she just called and said the baby wasn't being happy and her husband will come again!!! Subhanallah. I am very unhappy. I made my position known yesterday. I felt they thought I was being a bit ridiculous and now, because I agreed yesterday, I didn't know how to say no today. I am very unhappy right now and Allah forgive me if I am speaking out of turn. I think I will have to make some changes but, as small as my payment, I need that money and I don't really know what to do otherwise.

Please make du'a for me and ask Allah swt to make my way clear and help me to trust in His provisions, amin.

November 6, 2011

'Eid Festivities!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. As most of you know, I am a pretty visual blogger. Alas, my camera is still not in working order. I am gonna try to get the lens cleaned but we will have to see. I really miss having photos to post on here. :-(

Anyway 'Eid Mubarak/Kareem to all my Muslim friends and family!!! I hope you all had a blessed day full of frienship, fun, food, and worship! My favorite part, hands down, is the takbiraat. I cannot say what it is that draws me in so but I really hate to miss that. Alhamdulillah I made it in time today and very much enjoyed raising my voice with others in praise to Allah swt.

My 'Eid preparations started yesterday. I went to the masjid to help decorate it; we had an iftar for those who fasted the day of 'Arafat, may Allah swt accept their fasts, amin. I tried to help decorate and set up at the Islamic academy for the 'Eid breakfast but I got very sick with a horrible headache and was in bed for the entire day. :-( I missed the iftar at the masjid which I was so looking forward to as I was not present for Ramadhan. Insha'Allah next year. :-)

After prayer which was held in the local convention center, we went to our community's Islamic school on the other end of town for 'Eid breakfast. Alhamdulillah it was very nice, crowded of course, and cold! Brrrrrr! Maybe in the mid 40s and most of the tables were set up outside. The inside of the school commons isn't large enough for  400+ people and we all know the mess that accompanies a large crowd. Alhamdulillah after the sun came up more fully it warmed up nicely.

Around 12:30 pm we left for the 'Eid picnic. A local family has hosted this picnic for several years; there are hundreds of attendees masha'allah! Really I love seeing our community out in force, celebrating the Hajj and the sacrifice Ibrahim (a.s.) was willing to make. There was food, games, and just socializing in general. I enjoyed it but Aaminah is at the age where the older girls love to take her off and play with her. I have no worries; Muslim girls (in general) know how to take care of children and love to spend time with them. Girls and boys alike; it really warms my heart to see it. :-)

Anyway most of my time was spent roaming around looking for her. I know she is safe but I like to see her ocassionally too. LOL Silly mama huh? Anyway she had a good time but we were more than ready to go by 4:00 pm. She was exhausted and I was tired of trying to keep tabs on her in a HUGE crowd.

Aaminah did get a few gifts alhamdulillah. We do not stress gifts but it is a beautiful and joyous part of 'Eid. I just don't want it to be her sole focus. So I bought her a "I can be a child care-giver" Barbie. She wanted this so bad and do you know why??? Because the tiny baby Barbie holds really drinks and pees. It just excited Aaminah to no end!! lol So I got that for her. My friend Sr. Deanna (who I am staying with right now) bought her 2 or 3 gifts, masha'allah tabarakallah, another sweet sister bought her a super-fun game, and a friend's Baba gave her $10. Woo-hoo rich girl! ;-)

Alhamdulillah we had a good day overall. I am grateful for beautiful friends, both near and far, new and old. :-) I am grateful for a lovely 'Eid with my sweet little girl Aaminah. I am grateful to Allah swt for everything in my past, the circumstances of my present, and the hope for my future. :-)

I pray you all had a joyous celebration whether alone or with the company of others. I pray for all of the Muslims around the world, that Allah swt blesses and protects them, amin!

November 4, 2011

And yet again...

A'salaamu alaikum. I received another couple of comments from an anon. I wouldn't repost it here except they cast aspersions on my ex-husband A. So it made me think, if one person feels this way maybe others do as well. So I have decided to post our comments here.

AnonymousAnonymous said...

thats why you should never consider leaving these awesome countries you are born in for some muslim country where even their citizens don't have rights. btw i was born and raised in a muslim country and moved to usa. i found this country gives me freedom to practice whatever i want to practice much better than my muslim majority country.

coolred blog is an example why should you not leave your country or marry a foreigner.

Umm Aaminah said...
Anon, I am not sure where your comment came from. I do enjoy the rights and priveleges that I have as an American citizen. I do not agree with US foreign policy on almost all issues, however.

As for moving to a Muslim majority country or marrying a "foreigner" that is purely up to each individual. I love to travel and would love to be able to visit more countries. I prefer to live in my own. Many sisters are very happy living overseas and I am happy for them. Many are also happy with their foreign-born husbands.

Although A and I divorced, he was never anything but kind and respectful to me. I wish him the best in this life and the next, amin.

Apparently this did little to soothe Anon's worry for me. Next I received:

Anonymous said...
ok then why did he divorce you? why did you have to leave his house with no money? why is he not paying you now?

So here is my reply, not being posted to the comment box:

As I stated, A has been nothing but kind to me. Yes I left with no money but that was of my own volition. Although I am sure it is none of your business, he is paying my relocation fees upwards of $1000. He is in NO way obligated to do so; he is merely doing it because I am his sister in Islam.
Also he has packed up all of my belongings and moved them to storage until my apt is ready to move into here. Once again, only fi sabilillah.

Our marriage ended because of personal issues which had NOTHING to do with our shared religion. We both have faults and I will not detail any of his here although mine I frequently admit to.
A wife is to hold a husband's secrets and that pertains even after divorce. Therefore anything about A is no one else's business.

He is not obligated to pay me anything. I left our home of my own desire. I requested khula which he assented to due to the issues we jointly had.  Khula is where the woman is able to request separation and it involves (usually) the foreiture of the mahr. I've written about it on here before. We partly amicably and with sadness as well.

He was never anything but kind, courteous, and appreciative of anything I ever did for him. He treated me as a cherished wife, friend, and advisor. Divorce will not change my opinion of him and I pray Allah swt gives him the best, amin.

I hope that answers your questions!

November 3, 2011

ResMed S9, my new love!

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So I think I am done with my enforced hiatus.:-) Really it's one of those things where they longer you go without it, the less you miss it. I write because I want to or I have something I think might benefit others, not because I have a quote to fill. I've been through quite a few changes alhamdulillah and now I am getting to a place where I can just "be" again.

Still waiting on the apartment, mid-Dec. the lady said. Oh please hurry and come!!! I hate to wish my life away but it's difficult being so unsettled. Insha'allah soon that will be rectified. I try to keep everything in perspective.

I've also been thinking if I should change the tone of my blog. Not the overall flavor; I mean after all it's just a mish-mash of what's in my mind at the moment. But rather the amount of information I share. I did think about it but decided I am totally comfortable with the things I share about my life. I do try to give some anonymity to others whose paths cross mine but at the end of the day this is my little place to be me. So I'm gonna do just that.

It's 1 am and what's on my mind? Sleep! Sleep! It's become a precious commodity lately, if you couldn't tell. (Um because I am up so late.) I don't know what my problem is but it's just been hard for me to go to bed earlier. Than I kinda pass the window of opportunity and I sit here, awake. Good for the blog, bad for the me. :-)

Oh btw dinner kinda by-passed me tonight (Yeah don't really know what happned but a big cup of hot chocolate with real whipped cream was involved!) So I sit here now, eating from a bag of Great Value (Wal-Mart brand) Harvest Vegetable baked crisp snacks. Wow, that's a mouthful. The name, not referrring to any lack of manners on my part. Hmm they are pretty good just wish I had a diet coke in my room. Ahh well, have to have something to get up for tomorrow, right?

Ah yes, sleep, sorry I even confused myself with the crisp snack tangent. I just got a new sleep machine (CPAP or continuous positive air pressure) and a new fancy-shmancy nasal pillow mask. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea about 8 years ago, shortly after my transplant. I hadn't used a machine in years, though, since pre-Aaminah so I was re-tested recently.

Not hijab friendly. LOL You are covered head to toe almost literally in little electrodes and wires. It is actually very restrictive and I had a really hard time falling asleep. Nice. :-) Anyway turns out I stop breathing 60 times an hour or roughly once a minute. I am never falling into the deep, REM sleep that refreshes us and allows us to heal and regenerate.

When I use my machine, all is right with the world. I am able to actually sleep and be more energetic and productive. Really it's like someone telling you they have a little magic pill to make you more energized. I love it.

What I didn't love, however was the face mask. O-Y-Hee. It was super-unattractive. Link Soviet Bloc meets Snuffle-ufagus (the crazy elephant-mammoth thingy from Sesame Street). Oh my bad. It's a SnuffleUPagus, not UFagus as I have thought for years. LOL Anyway compare:

Mr. SnuffleUPagus

My nasal mask. See the resemblance??? lol
Anyway so I really disliked the whole "I gotta a trunk sprouted from my face look." Enter the Breath-o-matic Wonder 3000. OK it's really just called the ResMed Swift FX for Her nasal pillow mask. Ah lookit, so cute and little! And... strap covers in piiiiink. lol So yeah it is much more feminine and thusly more pleasing to me. Check it out:

What a nice, unencumbered silhouette!
Now I just have to get used to it. :-) Insha'Allah that won't be too hard. Oh while we are doing show and tell here is my super-high tech CPAP machine. It has all kinds of fancy features such as humidity adjustment (Alhamdulillah there is a humidifier!) and a remote wireless transmitter to send my readings. Automatically. Yay! Anyway here it is:

Is so fancy yeah? And quiet masha'allah :-) I love how you help me sleep little machine!
Now that I have sung the praises of my gear, I have to poke a little fun. Apparently they now carry SKINS for these babies. So they blend into the interior and aren't so ugly and obtrusive. Personally I think it's because the company thought of another way to make money; who knows? lol Here are a few options:

For when you feel the need to channel Melissa from "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"

When singing the national anthem just isn't enough

Whoda thunk it, Bubba likes his musheen to be perty too! :-))
OK so a little poke at American capitalism and our need to feel validated and special and unique. Not to mention the mindless consumerism that runs rampamt here.

Ohhh wait, is that Hello Kitty I see?? ?LOL  Alright falling asleep now, ma salaama ya'll!

October 26, 2011

Still here :-)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. This is just a brief update. Why brief, UofA? Because I'm mentally and emotionally drained, and I am physically exhausted. That's why. :-)

Anyway so I am still waiting on my own apartment! The complex had one opening up the first of November then the lady calls and says, "You are going to hate me.". I was thinking, great. But alhamdulillah I was very polite to her. She made an error and it's going to be Dec. 1st before an apartment is available.

Oh my gracious, really? It's getting very stressful living here and there. I feel like we are homeless. My daughter needs a home, I need a home. It's getting difficult to live off the charity of friends. I mean alhamdulillah we are great houseguests. We cook and clean, are quiet, play well with others. :-) But it's just mentally hard. I like my own space, my own little piece of this world where I can have a modicum of peace and tranquility. Ya Allah I need that!

So I am also looking for a job. A very sweet sister has asked me to babysit her 2 week old baby for her. Yes 2 weeks old. She is here to finish her Ph.D and she must go back now. I feel so sad for her but I need the money and I really want to help them.

I kinda miss the days when I could do those things fi sabilillah! But now it's necessary to take money to help provide for my daughter. Pray this works out and that something more stable and better paying comes along. Amin. :-)

So what else can I whine about?? LOL I think that's it. I haven't been taking good care of myself though. When things are rough I am the one I forget about, trying to take care of everything else. Alhamdulillah. However, I am so overdue for an appointment with my nephrologist, I need a CT scan to check on placement and exact size of that pesky little stone, I need and encoscope AND a colonoscopy done. Yes joy joy, it's just another wonderful perk of being Jeanna. :-) Yay me. lol

I am keeping my spirits up pretty well; I have days where I think, "What can I do with $3 and a pocket of used tissue?" (Thanks to Ms. Aaminah's newfound allergies! lol). The answer is simple:

Nothing on my own. So it is supremely humbling to be in this situation again and I am trying to use it as a tool to remind me of all my blessings. Yeah we don't have a home... but we have so many wonderful friends and family who would let us stay with them. Yeah my van isn't here.... but my son has let me borrow his car since I've been here. I didn't have the money to bring my van here... then an online friend I've never met sent me $200 to pay the expenses of someone driving it down.

Subhanallah. The barakah, both big and small, we can find when we just look.

Please make dua for my family and I as we go through this difficult process of moving back to our home. I hope to start blogging again regularly but you know my motto... um well I've never really had a motto but I always try to not whine and I really super-try to not talk ill of another Muslim or say things they would prefer be left unsaid. That's why my blog has been a bit quite. I am sure you all understand.

So keep me in your duat and say a special prayer for Aaminah that Allah swt blesses and protects her, amin. :-)

Love you all fi sabilillah! Ma salaama...

October 6, 2011

And life goes on :-)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Soooo what's new with UofA? Wow really? I don't think I would have the time to go through it all. :-) So let's start at the top and one of the reasons my posting has been... nonexistant. :-)

My laptop broke. But... good news is A had purchased the extended warranty (which at the time I thought was wasteful) so I am getting it fixed but they had to send it off for repair. Thanks Geek Squad. :-) Anyway I'll have it back in a week or so insha'Allah. I've wanted to update but I hate using my friend's computer too much.

Another reason I've been absent so long is just waiting for things to calm down. I'm living with a friend (did I mentiont that?? I can't remember!) until my apartment is ready. It should be ready Nov. 1st. Insha'Allah! So I am really ready to be settled down, AGAIN, so I can get back into a normal routine.

Aaminah is missing her family in MA, miskeena little girl. She asked if her Baba was still her family. I said of course he is. She asked if she could live with him. I was almost devastated (except ok well she's 3 lol) but then she said, "Because I miss Basheq the cat". Masha'Allah how sweet children are. She really does miss them and I assured her that Baba and the kids are still her family but we had to move back to Tennessee.

She asked why they didn't come. Subhanallah, how her mind words. You can tell she's been thinking on this for a while. I hate to see her sad but alhamdulillah I think once we are living in our own apartment with her toys again, her books, etc., she will be more settled and happy. I mean right now she is having a ball! Friends all the time, trips to the masjid, having her family so close but still she is a little girl and misses what she knew.

Please make dua for her and for me that I can be both Mama and Baba for her. As yall know her Abi left her completely, has no contact, so she is, according to Islam, an orphan. Islamically a child without a father is considered an orphan; this has been hard for me to understand because with all of my children, I was the one who took care of them. Islamically that is also how the househole is ordered. Subhanallah this is a ruling of Allah's that I don't understand the basis for but accept it regardless.

Alright I have to go. Aaminah is reading a Toys r Us circular and picking out toys for baby Bilal, my friends baby. She says, "He is my little brother in Islam" masha'Allah. She has such a great accent masha'Allah when she says "Islam" and "Bilal" etc. May Allah help her grow to be a pious muslimah, a wonderful caring loving person, amin!

September 22, 2011


A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Sorry I've been so quiet lately; our life is in a bit of upheaval, trying to get everything moved. It's really stressful trying to get things organized long distance.

Hudson is about a 15 hour drive from Knoxville; I have to find a way to get all my furniture, our clothing, Aaminah's toys, cooking utensils, etc down here. I found an apartment but unfortunately they do not have an opening until November.

We are staying with my friend Sr. Lisa right now, may Allah bless her. She had her baby boy, Bilal, a beautiful little guy masha'allah! I've been busy trying to help her, take care of Aaminah, get our things situated, see family and friends... really I am exhausted.

I have most of the things taken care of except for the physical moving. Ya Allah.. honestly I don't know what to do. A offered to pack my things, rent a truck, and even load it; masha'Allah that's very kind. However, I have to find someone to drive it down plus my van.

I am terrified at the thought of having to do that myself; I'm not sure why either. I've been driving for 20 years, it's not like I'm incapable. However, that 15 hour drive, especially if driving a moving van and towing a van!, is more than daunting.

If ya'll have any ideas for me, please share. Otherwise, I am just not sure what to do. :-)

Ma salaama...

September 15, 2011

Wow :-(

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. For the majority of you, thank you so much for your care, concern and duat. Wallahi you just don't know how much you are appreciated!

However, I did receive one comment I felt was decidedly un-sister-like in it's tone. Here is the comment received from Anon of my last post (about my divorce and move):


I dont mean to be rude, but why aren't your sons living with you? I just cant understand why you would leave your children to raise your husband children and your daughter. And if they didnt want to move, then YOU have to stay put for them.

From what you mention here, they havent been living with you for awhile. Its very strange to me."


Anonymous, wow. Guess your comment kinda took me by surprise. I like to see my blog as a positive place, one I turn to for support but alhamdulillah.

So long story short: i was dying. Yeah that's pretty short. And going through a divorce. And my ex's family paid for a lawyer but I had no money for one. My ex asked to have full custody on paper because of my rapidly failing health. (My kidneys were failing, I was in End Stage Renal Disease and I had suffered a stroke and 3 grand mal seizures.) He said he didn't want any issues with my family interfering if I were to die suddenly and had joint custody.

I agreed. He is an excellent father and was always honest. For several years I picked my boys up every day after dialysis when I could barely drag my body out of the clinic. ALHAMDULILLAH.

I helped them with their school reports, bandaged their cuts, and helped heal their little broken hearts. ALHAMDULILLAH.

I scheduled parent conferences between the thirteen different surgeries I had during the space of 2 years. I even managed to make goodies for bake sales and chaperone field trips. ALHAMDULILLAH.

Did I forget to mention I also went to college, full-time, pre-nursing major, and got a 3.8 gpa? ALHAMDULILLAH.
I did all I could, I gave my best, and then some. I did it gratefully, joyfully, happily because they were my sons. ALHAMDULILLAH.

Then their father got a girlfriend. Oh don't worry getting them today, he said, just rest a little. You're so sick. When he kept making excuses and I said, ok I'm just coming to get them he said no. He reminded me that on paper HE had full custody and HE felt it was for their "best interests" to not be back and forth between our homes.

So for a while I got them every Wednesday and every weekend. ALHAMDULILLAH.

Then he said, you know, the Wednesday really messes up their week and I want them some on the weekends. How about you just get them on every other weekend and every Sunday?

I cried, I begged... he was firm. It seems I wasn't good for his relationship with the new woman. I was still on disability, still poor, and had no way to pay a lawyer to go back to court to change the custody arrangement. ALHAMDULILLAH!

I did contact Legal Aid; they do not take family law cases. ALHAMDULILLAH.

So fast forward many years. I convert to Islam and search for a husband who will move to my town so I can be with my sons every other weekend. It's hard, I find one, and he turns out to be a green-card seeker. ALHAMDULILLAH!

I finally accepted A's proposal and with it, the knowledge I had to move away. I am sure that you know children are given to the father after a certain age or upon the re-marriage of the mother. So according to Allah swt my sons were supposed to be with their father, although it was something I fought against and could find no comfort in for a long time.

I finally realized that while they do need their mother, they need to grow to be MEN. They need to grow with a strong male example. Their father loves them and is a wonderful dad to them.

I was faced with the decision of remaining single (which is not from our religion!) to see my sons every other weekend. Or remarry (as we are urged to do) and allow them to live with their father (as Shariah tells us they should).

I guess, Anon, I fail to see what's so confusing about this. I went through a horribly sad time, I missed my sons so much and I did everything in my power to be a loving, attentive mother.

I'm sorry you feel it's very strange. Next time, ukhti, try making 70 excuses for your brother (or sister) and make du'a for her instead of judging her.

To my readers: Sorry if I am a little emotional. Usually I am pretty even-keeled but this is indeed a sore point with me. I am feeling a little fragile right now and just don't need this kind of drama. If I have spoken out of turn, I ask you all to forgive me.

Ma salaama...

Ummi is movin'

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So here's a bit of an interesting update: Ummi of Aami is moving. No not to wordpress, not to a private domain... I'm actually, physically, moving. Back home to Tenneessee. Alhamdulillah for it all.

I've missed my sons, my family, my muslim community here. I missed my volunteer activities at my masjid and I missed my job there, too, as the administrative assistant. I missed my muslim sisters here and the companionship and camaraderie we shared.

Alhamdulillah A and I had some issues in our marriage but my stance has not changed. I will never divulge private information that was at one time priveleged confidences between spouses. May Allah give him better in this life and the next, amin.

Of course we did not divorce in animosity; we are Muslims alhamdulillah and fear Allah so we have kept our discourses kind and have no ill will or feelings towards the other. I just ask that you all keep us in your du'a. You should also know I did not disclose our issues when they first occurred; it's just that I'm now comfortable informing you guys.

So of course I'll miss some things about Massachusetts; Aaminah and I lived in the cutest little town, Hudson. It was awesome in the winter, to experience the 3 foot high snow drifts and snow in the moonlight is something I wish everyone could experience in this life. The summers were muhajabat friendly too and sisters, ya'll know that's awesome!

But in the end, I wanna be home. Where snow is practically non-existant and schools close if 2 inches fall. Where snow falling in the moonlight is a rare occurence indeed and the summers send me running inside, to seek the comfort of an overworked A/C. Home is home and the rest simply doesn't matter.

So how will this affect UofA? Psssht ya'll must be kidding. I'll still be here, doing what I do, talking about mi vida loca, my children and family, my faith, food.... yeah you got it.

I love you all fi sabilillah!!! Ma salaama...

September 12, 2011

On hiatus

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I left on Sept 2nd for a long over-due visit back home to East TN. Yay!!!! :-) I've spent time with all of my close family and I've seen my muslim family too. It's been awesome!!!!!  My friend Sr. Lisa is expecting a baby on the 19th of this month and her husband had to go out of the country for a couple of weeks. I stepped in to fill-in. :-)

I'm so excited about her baby!!!! Insha'Allah I can stay here a bit after he's born as well although once Abu Bilal returns it will be a tight fit and a bit awkward, staying around a non-mahrem. Anyway, I'm home!!!!

Here are a few pics for your viewing enjoyment. :-) And I'll be back, sooner or later; sorry I've neglected ya'll!!!

Aaminah and Alex, two of my babies!

Brother, Mom, myself (how did you know?? lol) and my sis.

View of my great-uncle's flower-covered shed. Beautiful!

Me and ALL my babies! 18, 14, and 3... wow.

She's a country girl at heart! PS this is a self-portrait titled "Bare feet" lol

Yeah, I was "glowing". It was hot as heck out there!

At least 3 generation have swung on that tree! Mamaw (my grandmother) used to have a clotheline strung there.
Aaminah and I at 'eid prayer. BEFORE the crowd. This is my chador-e-melli abaya btw. :-)
My little sweetheart. Later there was no room to move up there, masha'Allah!
From Oct. 2010 when we last visited :-)

September 1, 2011

Stupid cats and buttermilk biscuits

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So the title of my blog post is born of my early-morning annoyance. :-) I got up to pray fajr and decided to stay up, do the post on my homemade buttermilk biscuits, and have a nice cuppa latte. Uh, yeah, homemade from a mix! :-D

Anyway had my steamy, milky, yummy cup all made but didn't put the spill-proof lid on it yet. Foreshadowing, anyone? lol It was a bit too hot. Then my stepdaughter Zainab needed me to sign a few forms for school, ok great.

Basheq our cat likes to jump on our counters. I hate it. I don't want his behind on the place where I prep my food. So he jumps up, Zainab PETS HIM, and I instruct her to make him get down. This is a never-ending saga at our home. Well he jumps up again and I slap his bottom.

He takes off like a greased bullet, not jumping straight down, but rather streaking across the counter, spilling my FULL HOT CUP OF STEAMING LATTE, knocking over a dish and the fruit bowl. STUPID CAT!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrr. I put up with him on the best of days (ok ok so I like him a little!) but this just took the cat. Well that's a freudian slip. Meant to say "cake" as in took the cake. LOL

Out goes the cat on the balcony, and down goes me and Z to clean the floor. So now, here I sit, happily ensconced with my 2nd latte of the day and a toasted Pop-Tart. Ooops, sorry, toaster pastry cause ya'll know frugal mamas buy generic. LOL

Alright on to the recipe! I need to check and see if I have any photos; surely at some point I've photographed my lovelies. :-) To any of my UK/rest of the world readers, down south in the US a biscuit is a work of art. It's not a sweet or what we call a cookie and ya'll call biscuit. It's a yummy, lovely, fluffy, edible work of art and every southern cook worth her weight (and ya'll, I got some weight!!!) can make these babies.

I started being responsible to make the family bread when I was about 9 or so. Down south, for the most part, that's either buttermilk biscuits or cornbread. Rolls are for Sunday dinners and Thanksgiving. Please try to keep up. lol

First, and this is gonna stymie most of my readers, you must must must must have White Lily self-rising flour. OK so you can use all-purpose, I'm no stranger to adding baking powder, but White Lily is a must. It's the only flour made from soft winter wheat. It has a lower gluten level which equates to being less tough and chewy. Nice for white bread, bad for biscuits.

You can use another flour but I will not eat your biscuits. LOL When I came here to Massachusetts, I tried King Arthur (a very well-respected brand) Pillsbury, and generic brands. Nothing came close. I looked it up online, trying to find a retailer here. No such luck.

So how, Ummi of Aami, do you get your flour? It's a well-known fact you must bring me a 5lb sack or two when you visit here. My mom and sister both have kept me supplied if I am judicious in my usage. Meaning no more thrice weekly biscuit baking sessions. Boo hoo hoo! Losing my southern accent and my biscuit eating. LOL Actually my sister MAILED me 10 lbs of the good stuff once.

White Lily used to be produced in Knoxville, TN, my little almost-home town. (I was from the countryside, not the "big city" lol.) They shut down production and now it's getting harder to find. They were bought out by Smuckers (damn you, Smuckers!) and now it's made in a plant in Ohio.

OK I just realized how extremely passionate I feel about the subject of biscuit-making and flour. That's because, as a southern girl, biscuits were a part of the almost daily fabric of our lives. Many stories and memories are played out with them in the background, the humble little biscuit.

Alright so if you can get the flour then you need the fat. Before, of course, people used lard which is rendered pig fat. OMG. We never used it (of course pre-Islam I used to eat pork) but it has a heavy greasy odor that's a bit foul to my delicate sensibilities. hehe  The fat of choice?

Cue Crisco! Hydrogenated vegetable oil, solid at room temp and creamy white. OK yeah I've used generic in the past but for my bona-fide, no-fail biscuits, it's Crisco baby.

Yeah, as the picture shows, it makes awesome pie-crust too. ;-)

Alright, flour check, shortenin' check, now the buttermilk. Finally something you can get generic but up here in MA I prefer to use Katie's. Is a home-town company and a great product. Anyway never ever ever ever ever make biscuits without buttemilk. If you don't have it, you don't need biscuits. Do yourself a favor and just make bread. LOL Because there is truly no substitute for thick, tangy buttermilk. Still following? Ok great...

Hey, that's it! 3 ingredients, super-yummy, and here's how ya make it:

Pre-heat oven to 500f. Yes, 500. They cook hot and fast!

Measure out 2 cups self-rising flour. If using all-purpose add half-tsp salt and about 1 tbsp baking powder. Add around a 1/4 cup shortening and mix til crumbly. Don't over mix; I use either a pastry blender or a fork. It should resemble course crumbs.

Next take about 3/4 cup buttermilk. Add it slowly to make sure you don't over-saturate. Wet dough sucks! Mix in slowly with a fork and mix it gently. You don't wanna over-stimulate the gluten; biscuits should be light and airy.

So mix it gently til you have a cohesive ball of dough, sticky but not wet! Turn it out onto a well-floured counter top. Growing up, we used to make them on newspaper. Yeah, go figure. Anyway sprinkle it lightly with flour, and knead GENTLY 8-10 times. Really use a light touch or you'll end up with hockey pucks. :-)

Either roll or pat out; I usually just pat it out with my hands. I also don't have a biscuit cutter so I use the outer sleeve of my measuring cup (it's a sliding one). I really need a biscuit cutter tho!

Gather up the scraps and gently pat them out cut again. We don't waste biscuit dough!!! lol

Place them gently on the non-greased cookie sheet. I don't let my touch, placing them an inch or so apart. Do it however you like.

Never throw away the little scrap left over. Either make a whimsical biscuit shape or let your kids make their own. Aaminah and both my boys loved doing that.

Now bake in the hot 500f oven for 10 minutes. Yeah 10 minutes. In the meantime, melt a bit of butter to brush on the tops as soon as they come out. The yum-factor is outta this world.

Serve with turkey sausage gravy (oh yes please!), any breakfast meat, or just butter, jelly or honey. Or do like us and eat it all 3 ways at one time. haha Makes 8 or so biscuits.

Hmmm now I'm wanting some biscuits! Here's a pic of the finished, mouth-watering photo:

Delicious homemade buttermilk biscuit with beef baconomgomgomg! :)

Ma salaama ya'll! This was in response to Sr. Teri's request for my buttermilk biscuit recipe.

August 31, 2011

Random bits and pieces

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Usually I'm not too wordless (or I am fairly verbose, take your pick!) but here is a lazy-daisy picture post for your viewing enjoyment. To all my fb peeps, sorry you've seen these pictures. :-P
Aaminah learned about the surface tension of water; I learned how to let her play in it! :-)

Subhanallah, how peaceful.

Aaminah reading to her toy :-)

Just like her mama, she took my camera, staged this pic and came to show me. Masha'allah!

Made home-made "birds in a blanket". Uh turkey sausage wrapped in home-made buttermilk biscuit dough.

Hmm dipped in grape jam, yes ma'am!
Ma salaama ya'll!

August 29, 2011

Post #2: Homemade spaghetti

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So I went on a bit of a cooking spree recently and I decided to make homemade spaghetti again. I learned how to make homemade sauce from A but of course, like always, I then put my own spin on it.

You'll need:

olive oil
1 4oz can tomato paste
chopped onion
4-5 garlic cloves, finely chopped or mashed
2 dried red chilis (can use more, wasn't very spicy) or turkish red pepper paste, love 'em both
small can black olives
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp homemade spice mix (this one had 1 clove, bit of cinnamon, cumin, a dried lemon, coriander seeds)
1 tbsp oregano, more or less to taste
package turkey meatballs or can use whatever meat ya'll prefer
parmesan cheese for yummy goodness at the end ;-)
Get your olive oil nice and shimmery-hot, medium heat.

Add the tomato paste but be careful! Mine had a little sizzle to it. :-)

About a tbsp of salt, don't over salt, you can always add later

Poppin' in 2 dried red chilis; shoulda put one more but was nice masha'Allah

In go da onions!

Aww, can't forget the garlic! Yummmm!

Let it cook, stirring often, for at least 15 minutes. Low heat.

Added the chopped black olives. Everyone here are olive snobs but I can use these in sauces. :-)

See how the oil is separating? Yeah, that's what you want. Cook til it gets a nice dark color and don't forget to stir!

I added chopped turkey meatballs. You can leave 'em whole but I prefer them chopped up.

Tada! I used about 12 oz of pasta, probably coulda just done with 8 oz but I don't mind a drier pasta. I don't like gobs of sauce on mine. :-) Oh and cue the parmesan please!
Hmmm so that's that. I like to use a smaller noodle, I know scientifically a thick sauce should have a tube pasta or one with a corkscrew shape but I like thin noodles like vermicelli (above) or cappelini (angel hair). And al-dente my behind. Sorry I kinda like my pasta soft, I always go that last minute of cooking. :-)