April 27, 2012

The last word

Salaam ya'll. I removed the Chip-in because, while I do not feel I did anything wrong Islamically, I simply do not like controversy or conflict. It has obviously caused some people to look at my lifestyle and make assumptions about me that are untrue. While it annoys me it mostly hurts me. I know my heart, I know I try to be a good person, a good Muslim. I am not a money-hungry beggar and if having that little box on the side of my blog causes people to think that about me, well I'd rather remove it. Subhanallah, so not worth it.

It's funny, when Cap'n reminded me of the evil eye and haters, I was shocked. I just always assume everyone who reads my blog loves me. LOL No honestly. It always surprises me (and I am not saying ANY of the sisters who commented negatively hate me) that there are people who will read and follow a blog just to revel in any misfortune or to hate when something good happens. Please, let me reiterate, I am not saying this in regards to a specific person, this is just something that came up in conversation between myself and Cap'n.

He requested I stop sharing so much personal information. I never saw the harm in showing some photos of my home, in sharing when I found a really good price on used furniture, or talking about my children's accomplishments. I naievely assumed everyone would be saying "masha'Allah!" and well, just be happy for me. As proof, he pointed to this recent issue with the donation site. He said no one can see how hard life is for me day to day all they see is my happy smiling face, my beautiful, handsome intelligent children, and a blessed life. Guess it's a good thing I don't talk about Cap'n a lot or show his photo; talk about some haters then! ;-) lol

In my culture (southern U.S.) we love to hear about the good someone has experienced. Whether it's a promotion, a raise, a great deal at a yard sale... we are happy for our neighbor. Cap'n reminded me not everyone is like that I should be careful and not share too much of my life, of the good in it because of those who will hate and envy.

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful: "Say: 'I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak. From the evil of that which He created. And from the evil of darkness when it settles. And from the evil of the blowers in knots. And from the evil of an envier when he envies.'" [Quran 113:1-5]

OK I need to go. I had surgery last week to replace a dialysis tube and now I have to have a vein mapping procedure so they can decide where to put a permanent access. This is one of my least favorite surgeries but it's necessary alhamdulillah. Please make dua for me and my life sisters.

Masalaama ya'll...

April 25, 2012

Be Kind

Salaam ya'll. I got a very mean-spirited comment on my post about the chip-in site ANOTHER SISTER started for me. I want to share it because I do feel I should address it:

"It is haram for a Muslim to beg money from others without dire necessity, thus losing his/her honor and dignity. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "A person keeps on begging until he meets Allah (on the Day of Resurrection) with no flesh on his face." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim) Islam considers begging a hateful act. It forbids it except in dire necessity. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) dispraised begging and warned against it in many Hadith. Al Bukhari and Muslim reported from Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radiya Allahu Anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "The person keeps on begging until he comes on the Day of Resurrection with a face without any bit of flesh." It seems that you are being provided my the welfare system of your country, even your health care is free. Why are you begging if you have enough to live? Sarah on Chip-in site started by a friend"

Sister, I am not begging. Another sister (as clearly stated before) started this for me. I did post it on my blog. After a lot of thought and mostly because of people who would think as you do.
I have no money. I have applied for disability but it has not came through yet. I cannot afford the gas to drive my car to my life-saving dialysis treatments. Is that poor enough for you? I cannot buy my daughter clothing or shampoo or supplies for school. Does that qualify in your eyes? I am unable to change the oil in my car or repair it or pay my phone bill or utilities. I have $23.57 in my bank account. Perhaps that seems luxurious; I am sure it does to many in the world.
However, there is a thing called "urf". Forgive me if I am mis-spelling it. Meaning we all live within the cultural norms and parameters of the society where we reside. It is normal for me to have running water and electricity. It is normal for me to be able to wash my clothing and maintain my home's cleanliness. It is normal and customary for me to provide my daughter with more than a blanket wrapped around her to hide her nakedness. Yes that was dramatic but I'll be honest, I'm pretty hurt right now and puzzled.

I am not sure why you felt the need to leave that comment. We are told to make seventy excuses for our brother/sister, not judge the hell out of them. I've been guilty myself but usually, ALHAMDULILLAH, I stopped myself before making my sister feel bad and myself worse.
I am going to assume you did this out of care for me, as your sister in Islam. However, the rather witchy tone you used at the end when you queried, "Why are you begging if you have enough to live?" doesn't seem very charitable, sister.
Not at all.
Ma salaama ya'll.

April 20, 2012

Being a woman and being sick

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Wanting to get something off my chest, metaphorically speaking. Actually, it could be literal as well, because I would loooove to get these tubes OUTTA my chest. :-) But I digress. As usual.

It's hard being a woman and dealing with the side-effects of illness in so many ways. As a  mama, as a homemaker, it's hard to have to admit we can't do things that need to be done. I'm not ashamed to tell you my shower hasn't been cleaned since I've been ill. I simply can't do it and I have no plans to lick it anytime soon. :-) So no matter how distressed it really makes me deep inside, I know cosmically speaking, it's a thing I just have to let go. I don't have the energy and with the swelling and the placement of the tubes, bending over is difficult at best, and painful at all times. So shower-cleaning has fallen by the wayside.

It's difficult to be unable to be the active, supportive sister I've always tried to be. My best friend, Um Bilal, just had hernia repair surgery yesterday. I want to cook for her and help her in so many ways but alhamdulillah I'm really limited right now. So I've set up for other sisters to cook and masha'Allah she has a wondeful husband who is able to stay home with her and the baby. But still... feel like I'm just not doing what I should for her. Thanks to her and Abu Bilal, anything I've needed since I've fallen ill has been taken care of. Garbage taken out, clothes hung up, driven to the hospital... anything and everything masha'Allah. Abu B is Cap'n's best friend of over 15 years and Um B is mine for the past 6. We are blessed with them.

It's also difficult for me from a purely feminine standpoint. Steroids are difficult meds. They do a great service (keeping my kidney from rejecting... or at least anymore!) but the side effects are harsh. I've broken out in bumps which I've never had before (except post-transplant when I was also on high doses) and it makes you gain weight/retain fluid and fat in odd places. Namely face/neck/trunk. Also the back of the neck like a buffalo hump? Yeah, Attractive. So I'm not only dealing with feeling pretty bad on some days but also dealing with these other side effects. I'm engaged, Cap'n and I have never met in person and now it's looking like when we do meet I'm going to have these unattractive side effects.

I know he respects me as a Muslimah, as a woman, as a friend and fiancee. I know he loves me for my character and he also is attracted to me. But now? Of course he will not change how he feels for me but I've changed. I feel self-conscious. I feel ugly. :-( I want to feel confident and happy when we meet not worried he will be unhappy with me. Of course he hasn't seen me sans hijab and believe me, hijab is a fat girl's friend. Now I don't mean normally but with this extra swelling... it reminds me of a bullfrog's neck. It's gross and it's ugly and

OK so that's my whine for the day. Oh wait, one more thing. Also the steroids make you ravenous. So my appetite has increased dramatically. I've gained about 12 to 15 pounds, a lot of which is fluid retention but some is pure fat. Prednisone causes you to store carbohydrates quicker than you normally would; it can also cause (insha'Allah temporary) diabetes which I now have since my massive doses in the hospital. I am insulin-dependent but it is getting better and if I'm careful how I eat, I don't have very bad problems with it.

So I've had a lot of changes in a short time. I've been put back to only 2 days a week dialysis because my kidney does have some residual function. I'm so happy for that; it's like getting a free day a week. :-) I'm also grateful I am able to dialyze; in Cap'n's country, for example, no one over 40 or diabetic is subsidized by the government. Ouch. Subhanallah. It's a poor country so that means a great number of the population with kidney disease simply has to... die. So there are still so many things to be grateful for, to be happy about.

One of those is the fact that Alex, my "baby", called last night. I haven't heard much from my sons recently. I text and call them but masha'Allah they are busy young men. I try to be patient for them. So he calls to tell me he has a band concert. He's first chair masha'Allah, he plays the bass which is a large brass horn. He was so handsome and sat so straight. He shook the other players hands (since he had beat them out! lol). It was just wonderful to see him so competent and confident. Aaminah was ecstatic too!

Then Zack called and he needed a ride back to his dorm room. He doesn't normally keep his car on campus. So we got to have a ride and visit with him as well. Since I just recently got a washer and dryer (yay!) I'm hoping Zack will come here to do his laundry. The campus is about 5 minutes from my apartment so hoping we'll hear from him soon. Sisters, as your children grow up, they grow away. It's natural in many ways but difficult in all. Of course the fact that Alex doesn't live with me makes it harder. He is always welcome here but he is so busy with school, running, band, drama club (please not girls!!!!) that he just doesn't have a lot of time. I take what they have left over and I'm happy for it. :-)

I wasn't able to get a picture of him last night cause we were so far away up in the balcony where Little Miss wanted to sit. I'll try to get some new pics of them soon; my boys are so handsome masha'Allah! Actually here are some pics from their mission trip to Guatemala last year. I appreciate the work their church does. They do not go and tell starving people "Jesus saves!" they go out and get their hands dirty. My boys helped build walls and plant gardens. They did it in the spirit of their beliefs but without the heavy-handed conversion tactics I find so distasteful. Plus, the majority of Guatemalans are Christian anyway. So it was truly a labor of love. :-) Enjoy!

Zack (l) and Alex (r) bending re-bar. :-)

Zack then Alex on the far end. :-)

Breaking rocks into smaller rocks. This is so the craftsmen can build walls. :-) Alex is in the front.

Zack translating. He is very gifted in Spanish; it's actually his minor in college. His mad skillz were a god-send. :-)
Ma salaama ya'll!

April 16, 2012

Chip-in site started by a friend

Salaam ya'll. A very sweet sister from my previous masjid community started a donation site for me. Jazaki Allahu khair sister. I hesitated to list it on here but, if anyone feels they should give a bit, barak Allahu feek. If you do not feel so inspired, barak Allahu feek. :-) Is all good. Should you want to give, please see the "Chip-In" widget to the right.

Ma salaama...

2 silly girls :-)

Salaam ya'll! I'm currently watching 2 very cute n rambunctious little girls jumping all over my living room. My friend Angel's little girl, Jayanah, stopped by to play. I was there when she was first born subhanallah. It was an unbelievable experience. Her then:

I was in the delivery room when she was born subhanallah. I said the kalima in her ear. Yes, I now it's supposed to be the athan and the iqama but I did what I felt was right and I am not her father. :-)

The crazy girls now:

WHERE did Aaminah learn to pose like that? I mean, I said let's take a  pic and she drops her arm around Jayanah and cheeses it, masha'Allah! :-)
Cute yes? Yes. :-) Here are a few more pics for your viewing pleasure:

Our new obsession: the memory-foam filled "bean" bags. This is a pic of the huge one, has 2 queen size mattresses inside it.

I've had these decorative orbs for a couple of years but had them in an antique wooden bread bowl. Picked this glass bowl up at Goodwill intending to fill it with colored glass rocks, water, and an aquatic plant. I think these look good here though.

Photo bomb! Was trying to snap pic of my new mini-orchi and Aaminah kept timing her entrance right as the shutter snapped! It was so funny, I was laughing so hard I couldn't even reprimand her. :-)
As for my health alhamdulillah I've been put on dialysis only twice a week. I'm sooo happy! My kidney has enough residual function that I can only dialyze 2 days instead of 3. Bad news, my access isn't working so sometime this week I'll be back in the hospital but hopefully only for a day. We'll see insha'Allah.

As for my impending nuptials... sigh. Trying to get our fiance visa paperwork filed and hope they accept our reasons for NOT meeting face to face within 2 years of filing. I mean, the US will not grant him a visitor's visa and I cannot travel overseas now. Dialysis in Jamaica costs $300 per treatment. I just can't afford it alhamdulillah. I had just repaired my car (to the tune of $600) and now another thing is broken. The radiator/coolant system is messed up. No car. Sisters, when it rains it pours. I know Allah tests those He loves but sometimes it is hard. I am waiting on my disability determination; usually once you are on dialysis it's very simple to get approved. I need it desperately sisters so please make du'a for me.

Oh funny story masha'Allah. Aaminah and I were at the grocery store and I gave her a big kiss. She giggled then looked around and said, "Is it ok for us to kiss here?" LOL MashaAllah my modest lil muslimah. I assured her it was fine. :-)

So Aaminah tells me she looks like Cap'n. Masha'Allah. She does resemble him more as they both have brown skin tones, brown eyes and a slight tilt to them masha'Allah. I agreed that yes she looks like him and she says frequently that when he comes he will be her Daddy. Sisters, I hope most of you do not know the pain that comes from not having a father in your life. Aaminah is starting to feel different from her friends. I explained today how Allah gives us all a mother and a father but sometimes we get a gift, another person who just loves us so much that they CHOOSE to be in your life and they CHOOSE to love you.

She said, "Yes like (Cap'n). He wants to come here to me and my Abi wanted to go away." I never speak ill of Abu Aaminah but yes, that is exactly it. My daughter masha'Allah is so smart and understanding. I agreed with her that yes Cap'n loves her very much because his desire is to be with us, to be her Daddy, to take care of her. I didn't have to say anything about Abu A as, at the age of 3.5, she understands perfectly.

Well the girls need me, I better go. Just another quickie uninspired update. :) Ma salaama ya'll!

April 11, 2012

Just some randomness

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. As normal, when I'm bored and uninspired I just put up some random bits 'n pieces. :-) So enjoy a few photos and captions.

$3 bucks each for cupcakey-goodness. Yeah, it was worth it. From City Cupcakes in Knoxville, TN. Yum!

Super-cool 30 foot high sculpture in the new part of the hospital. It's very beautiful.

Little Miss on my Mamaw's front porch. I've spent many hours of my life here; it's so beautiful and peaceful.

Some of my favorite "ethnic" ingredients: basmati rice, masoor dal, tomato paste and red pepper paste. I can make countless meals from these staples!

Meet BOBB (big ole bean bag). He is made from shredded memory foam and is comfy!These are really pricey but I found it on craigslist for $40. A $200 savings. :-) It unzips to make a full-sized mattress. I also bought BOBB II which is MASSIVE and has 2 queen size mattresses in it. Subhanallaha. :-)

Natural cleaner. White vinegar and citrus (orange) peels. Cleans like a charm!

Another craigslist find. Paid $55 for this uber-sleek Ikea tv stand. Nice.

I was there today. :-) For my CT-guided biopsy.

From latest issue of Food Network Cooking magazine. Love it! This is Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic ya'll) chicken. A nod to my Caribbean Cap'n. :-) Insha'Allah I'll make this soon and update ya'll.

One of our local playgrounds. Very nice and Aaminah is quite the fan.

Larger pic. I snapped this for Cap'n as he said his cute little country ;-) doesn't have public play areas. :-( So sad, we have miles of greenways even in our little mid-sized city.
Alright, hope ya'll enjoy our little picture time. Tired and gonna rest. :-)

April 2, 2012

Just a li'l tag

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. A sweet young sis at the Creative Muslimah blog tagged me in a post. I'm waaaay too lazy to do it correctly (sorry sis!) but I wanted to answer her questions. :-) And anyone who wants to answer them also, go ahead. I'll even be a semi-good sport and add another question.
  1. What's your top productivity tip? Hahahahahahahaha. OK seriously, just do it. Don't blame for a 3 days then procrastinate for another 2. Just get up, and do one thing to start you on your path. Hey, that's how I got the dishwasher loaded today. It all started with a single spoon. lol
  2. How long have you been blogging? Since 2009 masha'allah. Wow, I've really stuck to it!
  3. Are you an avid reader or not so much? LOVE to read. Just recently received a Kindle as a gift and I'm kinda getting the hang of it too.
  4. What's the best thing your mother has ever said to you? Not so much said but I was raise to believe I was just as good as anybody and better than nobody. A wonderful lesson.
  5. Do you like to make things yourself? I do in fits and spurts. Right now, my creative juices are pretty dry but at other times I'll work on stuff. Oh well I've been doing some drawing with colored pens. Kinda graphic drawings (as in graphic, not fine arts, NOT nasty lol). Here I'll post some doodles.

Ahh this is my pretty little girl outside my Mamaw's house. :)

Add caption

This is my most recent that I did whilst sitting in the chair at dialysis. I don't like sleeping in front of strangers so I had ot pick up a portable hobby. lol

Started this last year for my sis. Just a montage of what her life is like. :)

  1. What's are the two things about Islaam that make you love it so much? I love the dignity that is inherent in our religion and I love the sisterhood I've experienced.
  2. Have you hugged a family member lately? Yep, Little Miss as a matter of fact. :-)
  3. Pullovers or cardigans? Hmmmm. Pullovers=comfy. :-)
  4. What's your favorite fruit? Apple.
  5. What's your best memory from 7th grade? Wow. Let me orient myself. Probably having my gifted class meet off-campus so we got to walk to it once a week. It was fun. :-)
  6. What's your favorite weather season? Spring!!!!!
OK so I answered the questions put to me and I'll add one. How many plants/flowers do you have in your home? Currently I have 4 potted plants, 2 vines, one green thing :), and an orchid. Planning on getting a couple of Boston ferns this week if I don't forget. :)

Ma salaama ya'll...

Sick mama

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I'm gonna tell ya'll a bit about being a sick mama. Eh, just one of those days.

Being ill takes on a new dimension at bath time. Previously, this was a joyous occasion, the culmination of a day hard-played and hard-lived, as evidenced by the sticky little hands and grubby face. Now it’s a time for planning, and conserving, and scheming. Should we bathe before we go out to play? She needs it but then afterwards it’s a sure bet and well, doing it twice in one day just isn’t doable now. It’s little things like this that make being a sick mama so hard.

Eating. Wow, that’s another one. She likes to eat masha’Allah. She has a healthy appetite for healthy food. I am very blessed and grateful for that but planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning… it’s all like a marathon for me. I can do one at a time but add another level and it all goes pear-shaped. So one day we do the shopping. I’ve only been twice I think since I was “released” J and it wears me out. Come home and well, the groceries must be put away, at least the perishables. The other things, the crackers and bottled goods, those can patiently wait their turn on the kitchen floor, beside the magnet that dropped off the fridge yesterday and the timid little dust bunny hiding under the cabinet’s edge.

Next day, if it’s not a treatment day, it’s all gold. Well, in my new world, within my newly defined capabilities that is. I can do some things. Today for example… oh watch out world, I’ve been unleashed! I made scrambled eggs and toasted a bagel for Little Miss. I vacuumed after instructing her in the fine art of small object removal from the carpet. I eventually made my way into the hallway and re-arranged the closet to better house our shoes.

Now, don’t let this fool you, it exhausted me. I would prefer to pretend, with all my super-human powers, that it was nothing, a lark if you will. But it wasn’t. It made me tired deep inside. I now understand the term “bone-tired”.  

What’s worse, in my estimation, is that now Aaminah understands it too. She knows all about my “treatment” (wow, that sounds like a euphemism for mental illness or an STD!) and what function our kidneys should play in keeping us healthy. I love that she is so smart and inquisitive masha’Allah but I hate the reasons for it. She knows I’m tired, she can’t hug me on my right side for fear of hurting my vascular access, we can’t play on dialysis days, she can’t she can’t she can’t…. it’s a litany that’s impossible to escape, at least for the time being.

Please do not take this as a great big complaint. Rather, it’s for me to step back, assess my situation, say wow, yeah, you’re doing pretty great if you brush your teeth today! Or alternatively, laugh at myself and say, “Get over it!”. Again, as I’ve said before, it’s my blog and I’ll whinge if I wanna.

Being a sick mama means confronting reality. It means accepting our own limitations but even more difficult, accepting them in light of our responsibilities to our children. I am very limited alhamdulillah in what I can do now. I can accept it (somewhat) for myself but when it comes to what Aaminah or my boys want or need, and I know I cannot fulfill it, wow, that’s infinitely harder. I have to drag myself to the toilet to make instinja for her. Her room is still not re-arranged from having gotten our belongings post-move as I was working 7 days a week and then went straight to being deathly ill. Kinda put a kink in my plans, ya know.

Anyway, being sick is hard and being a sick mama is much much harder. May Allah swt grant my children patience and put love and caring in their hearts for me and also please give them forgiveness to overlook my shortcomings and failings, amin.

Ma salaama ya’ll…