Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Bit of Earth




Asalamu Alaykom.


That's a wish of peace. I'm not wishing you peace from me, myself, but rather from Allah.


Thanks for coming to this little garden spot.


If you see or read something good here? That's from Allah.


If you see or read something bad here? That's from me.


Take the good and leave the bad.


May Allah protect you and guide you.

If You want to Sing Out


Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
and if you want to be free be free
'cause there's a million things to be
you know that there are,
you know that there are

Well, if you want to live high, live high
and if you want to live low, live low
'cause there's a million ways to go
you know that there are,
you know that there are
You can do what you want
the opportunity's on
And if you find a new way
you can do it todayyou can make it all true
and you can make it a new,
you see
ahaha it's easy,
ahaha you wan't me
me to know

Well, if you want to say yes,
say yes
and if you want to say no,
say no
'cause there's a million ways to go
you know that there are,
you know that there are

Well if you want to be me,
be me
and if you want to be you,
be you
'cause there's a million things to do
you know that there are,
you know that there are

If you want to sing out,
sing out
and if you want to be free
be free
'cause there's a million things to be
you know that there are,
you know that there are

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Between Safa & Marwa



As I traveled between Safa and Marwa
I met a woman
she was like me
and like her
was I

We spoke,
like spokes of a wheel
we turned into sisters

Time came for tears
in her story
and in mine
we shed them together
and shed an outer skin
to reveal
deep revelations.

When her baby needed milk
she was low
I offered mine
the sun beat down
upon my breast
my scarf sheilding her suckling child

While traveling
you meet and part
the parting bittersweet
as strangers become beloved
kisses moist upon the cheek

The wind it blew sand about
and voices floated too
I heard my remarkable sister-friend
remark to someone new

She told of my happiness
shared of my dispair
told about my shape
giggled about my hair

Only hearing half the truth
Only half my heart was hurt

The other half still loved her
The other half was spared
The other half was loving
Half my heart still cared

So, midway in my journey
neither here nor there
I stopped to pray
to The Most Exalted
who already knew

I asked for forgiveness
for giving away my words
to anyone but Him
for He alone is The One
to turn to; The Only One
we need

I asked for Him
to lift my burden
to replace the bad with good
to love my sister still
as I know I should

The talk it spread about my head
I lowered it
but not in shame
I know who I am
I know My Creator's Name

Allah! Ya Allah!
Remove my ability to hear
deafen my heart as much as my ear
I want to listen to your message
and not to dwell on this plain.

Remind me to be as the Messenger
not to worry of the din
of evil talk of evil doers
of jealousy and sin.

I rose from sujud
my eyes saw sparkles in the sand
as if each grain were diamonds
as if I held riches in my hand

The world is but illusion.
We who are here will soon be gone
And I, who am truly pitiful
can still sing the true song
of Islam

sorry of being a Muslim
lost occassionally
longing for someone else
to be on the journey with me

As I traveled alone
I remember Abu Bakr
who observed,
"Solitude is better..."

Yes.

Solitude is better for me


As I
travel
between
Safa
and
Marwa

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Convert-ible



When I first moved here last year, I needed a car.

Need. Need is different than want. I needed a car to go from here to there and I thought that I should go for my heart's desire.

I decided on a Sebring convertible. I started looking them up on Craig's List. I made a couple of calls. I could afford it. I could buy own one. I could...

relive the days gone by.

Ya.

I had driven a Sebring covertible last when I was selling used cars. I had to deliever it some miles away. I had on this cute little vintage 50's dress and heels. I looked hot AND I was behind the wheels of a convertible.

I called up the golf pro with whom I had been chatting. I had gotten hooked on the chat line late at night when I couldn't sleep. Remember: this is before Islam. It was entertaining. This guy was really funny. We talked and joked. He didn't live too far from my dealership. I called him and told him that I looked good and was driving a cool car and I was going to show up. He insisted that I should not BUT you know me! I drove on over anyway and called on my cell.

He came out to see me.

I treated him with the utmost kindness and respect and said hello and goodbye.

Then, I drove off.

He called me when I was a few minutes away.

"You are dissapointed," he mumbled.

"Well, you aren't who you said you were. You could have told me what you really looked like," I said in comment about his shocking obesity and unkempt apperance.

"So, you are mad about my weight?" He asked.

"No," I answered. "I am upset that you weren't truthful. I liked you for the way you thought and really enjoyed our conversations. Why did you have to make up a lie? I would have talked to you regardless of your size."

"No, you wouldn't have."

"Well, now you'll never know because you never tried to find out."

And we said goodbye as I continued to drive.

There was a time when I was younger, cuter, and filled with more energy. There was a time when I was more desirable---and desired more out of life than what I ended up with. I lived through that time and I live in the now of this moment.

That was then.

This is now.

I eventually had to admit that my fantasy behind the wheel was before I had another child. After I had a little boy; my little love, I didn't need that convertible. I only wanted it. What I needed was a safe car that got the two of us from A to Z.

It isn't just me in this life. It is me and Mr. Boo.

When I pray istakkarah, I pray it for the two of us and how my intentions would affect not just my life but his. There are many things I might want to do, but I have to let those wishes fly away while making du'a for only the things that we really need.

I interviewed for a job down here which would have taken me away from Mr. Boo for half of each day during the time we are staying here. It would have meant me rushing around every morning and being stressed out at night planning the lessons. All for $26, once you take out the gas, the tolls, the babysitter and ...wow! That's even before taxes! So, it would have been rewarding in many ways and a hassle in more ways than that.

I am not going for that job.

Incredibly though, I was down here for two weeks and got an interview. You know that whole time I was without a job up north I didn't have one interview for a job in the metro area? It is a better place for me here.

However...

I am sitting in someone else's beautiful house, using their car, and eating their food. Keep thinking of The Talking Heads' song and remarking, "How did I get here?" I mean, I lost my job and my money and landed in a great spot by the Grace of God. Truly. I am blessed in this moment.


And I need this moment of grace. I need to get a grip. It's been tough, Gang---this life; this time.

I've brought you all along for this ride. Some of you are here for goodness. Some of you are here for badness. Some of you act like the "Golf-pro" only to have me find out who you really are. Allah knows.

Just like that convertible not being right for me (because it doesn't meet our needs), I am thinking that the blog ONCE AND FOR ALL is unsafe. "Unsafe at any speed," was what Ralph Nader once said about a recalled car. I don't think I can trust my life on this internet highway. And it's not just me...it's me and Mr. Boo.

In 10 days, I will close this blog once again. I will not delete it. If you come here, you will read that you need a password to get in, but really...I'm not going to let anyone in.

This might seem unfair to those of you who have been on the journey with me. I agree...it is a bit unfair but I am deeply concerned over what has become of my life in the hands of others.

For me? I thought being open and honest was possible. It isn't. Not here. This isn't safe. There are too many hidden dangers.

I envisioned this blog...my new incarnation of the old blog...as a garden; a safe haven of goodness. However, I forgot that we Muslims don't believe in reincarnation. We simply keep going until the day we die. All our deeds being counted. The past comes with us. The old friends, loves, and lovers and countless baggage accompanies us.

I have to leave from this place if I am ever going to really leave this level in my life.

This means that I won't be telling what happens next. I hope it's good, inshahallah. Please make du'a that it is. I need the good but more importantly my little boy needs the good. Sure, the other kids too, but most of all my little half-Egyptian. He needs me and he needs a good life that is protected. I am not protecting him enough if I am here on the web.

I ask Allah's protection on all of my sisters who love me and my family from their hearts. May Allah bless you with better than what you wish for yourselves.


Dr. Wayne Dyer on the Ellen DeGeneres Show


I know this is another video, but it's a good one from one of my favorite people in the world. I saw the PBS special and, as always, it was stellar. I highly recommend it!

Dreams That Cannot Be

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yul Brynner - Anti-Smoking Commercial



Sad, eh?

Forbidden Niqabi Love Part IV


It's the final chapter!

Get out your kleenex!

But can I just say...have you ever seen worse running?!

Forbidden Niqabi Love Part III


The part where he heads back to town? I really doubt that the Algerian man would have only had something to say to him. I believe there would have been some throwing down.

Really some unusual stuff happens in this movie!

Forbidden Niqabi Love Part II


Danièle Gaubert is the young woman who plays the niqabi. In real life, she was French and posed naked for men's magazines.

According to www.imdb.com the bikini she wears in this scene is silk weighing less than 3 oz.

Forbidden Niqabi Love Part I


This is from, "Flight from Ashiya," with Yul Brenner and

Start watching from 5:30

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Look Closer



This is what I saw today in the backyard.

Look closer....closer....closer! Do you see?

When we are patient and look closer, we discover more than what first meets the eye.

There is more to life than what you imagine.

And it is GLORIOUS!

Alhumdulillah.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Where Should I Focus?

Increasing faith 10 (38%)

Mothering Mr. Boo 6 (23%)

Finding a husband 0 (0%)


Finding a job 10 (38%)

Watching reality T.V. 0 (0%)


Votes so far: 26 Poll closed

Sister Aminah



Last April, a Moroccan mother flew to the U.S. with her son. He was about to start his college life here and she went with him to help him settle. She went with him around the busy city gathering what he would need.
One night, Sister Aminah and her son Mahmoud went to Best Buy. Mahmoud picked out his new laptop. Upon leaving the store, they could see that the night around them buzzed with activity.
When they were crossing the street
Sister Aminah went first
an SUV was coming towards them
it did not stop
it struck her.
She had put out her hand, in reflex, as if the driver could see and stop in time.
It couldn't.
She was gravely injured and rushed to the hospital. Surgery was performed to save her.
Through her nephew at my school, I met her Mahmoud two days later as he sat with the laptop. He was in shock. His mother was in a coma.
I immediately sent out a prayer request to my co-workers and friends in the Muslim community.
"Please make du'a for this Muslimah who is unable to pray for herself. If you find that you are up late this weekend, it would be especially good to make Tahajjud prayers ."
She did stay in my prayers. Last Ramadan, I thought to ask her nephew. What had happened?
His aunt was still in a coma. Her son had returned to Morocco and had needed extra help getting over what he had witnessed. He had been unable to continue with his studies.
The story touched me deeply. Why? I don't know. It's a mother who wanted to help her son begin a new life and yet...
So, upon my return here to this place with these people I learned the last chapter.
I went to a class on Islam. I was late arriving (as usual) and the Imam was already talking.
"The nurses said they had never seen anything like it. A woman deep in coma yet was moving her tongue as we said, 'La illaha il Allah wa Muhammadar Rusullulaha.'"
I wondered who they were talking about. I hoped that it was Sister Aminah and that she had made a recovery. After class, I got to ask.
"Sister Aminah passed away on Monday. We're having couscous and salad from the family today."
Subhanallah! That a woman I never met so touched my heart and died the same day I arrived back.
And that class? In all the time I lived here before, I never made it to one of their classes. This was my first and it was the very day Sister Aminah was honored.
"May Allah accept her into Paradise," I said before eating.
The meal was delicious. I enjoyed every bite.
Alhumdulillah.
Mr. Boo enjoyed the couscous once he got over the fact that it wasn't rice.
Last night, I wrote again to her nephew:
"From Allah we come and to Allah we return.
My condolences to you and your cousin. What a big chapter for anyone's life. May this bring about peace and healing for those who have been so saddened by this accident and hospitalization.
Thank you for sharing the food with us. I was delighted to taste Moroccan food and remember a true Moroccan lady.
She loved her son so much that she absolutely did everything she could for him. I will always remember her as an example of what a real mother should do. May Allah accept her into paradise.
May Allah guide her family on the righteous path.
May Allah forgive all our sins and may we all meet again in Jannah."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Hanging Basket of Impatiens

It was the summer
before--

She was sparkling white,
fresh and new;
a child born from grace
from the grace of God

Her face shone with
simple beauty and
her eyes looked deep
into the distance

I see her now because
someone cared to save
her image among flowers
her and flowers

and then

just flowers because
flowers fade and die;
someone cared to save
just those flowers

but

if anyone had known
that little girls can die
those flowers would not
be all alone

Pages of Our Life



The rain continues today.

Spent the day getting to know the kitchen so I could navigate it better. So many things!

Inside this house, there are so many things...

There was the notebook from a girl no longer here. Page after page of journal entries. Each page I would marvel at her creativity. She was only six-years-old. The picture of two girls on the wings of birds was especially good. Each turn of the page I would tell myself that I was witnessing her last days on earth. This is how she spent her time that she would never get back again.

I would look at the date and know that I was nearing February. As I turned each page, I would wonder what would be her last entry on her last day of school; three days before she died.

And then there it was.

It didn't have any kind of foreshadowing. It simply was yet another day in her life.

Like today is for me.

Like today is for you.

I refuse to write on the pages of my life that I was bored.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tyra Banks - Muslim Couple


Note: Though they show champagne on the show, they did not drink it.

I realize they are not the "perfect" couple (Valentine's Day and being in bed together, not in hejab, etc.) but they are Muslims and being Muslim isn't being perfect---it's about striving.

Alhumdulillah, the best thing is that she's in Islam and he helped bring her there.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bringing God into the Deal


It was the third phone call of the day that did it.

I had to confess that I was having a hard time thinking of leaving for Egypt any more.

"Why? Because of me?" he asked.

"Yes, of course!" I answered.

Like...what else?

What else could make me drop all my plans like a man?

Nothing.

"Well, maybe you could go ahead with your plans for teaching in Egypt for this year and then when you come back, we could see how we feel."

Then we had to say goodbye.
I hated what he had said. How can a man be so ready to give me up? That's what it seemed like to me, in my hormonal state.

On the next phone call, I told him that I didn't want to talk until he had prayed istakkarah. I had prayed it and he had not and WHY NOT?!

I didn't ask him, "Why not?" but I was asking God. I felt that all our phone calls needed to stop until he had talked to Allah.

There was this quiet space in which I didn't know how I had just been received. Then we said goodbye.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I wondered what the hell I had done. The phone didn't ring that night. It didn't ring until yesterday afternoon. First, there were the pleasantries. Then he got to the reason for his call.

"I sent you an email," he wanted to say.

"I'm over at a friend's apartment. I haven't had a chance to check."

"OK, we can talk later tonight," he said and then he was gone.

So, of course I asked my friend if I could hijack her Mac to check email.

There it was.

His message.

Opening it, I needed to hold my breath until I scanned the text for phrases like, "stop this," or "no more," or "I wish you only the best."

It looked safe to read. He had written this heartfelt request that we move forward while remembering Allah and trusting in the plan which is best. It was positive.

So, had he prayed istakkarah? I mean...he didn't state it.

Last night, we got to talk in depth after my attempt for clarity. Yes, he had prayed istakkarah. Not once or twice but three times. He had an hour break in his work day, so he used it to go to the masjid and pray istakkarah that third time, then he read Quran.

Mashahallah!

I also had prayed istakkarah one more time.

And last night, we reaped the rewards of remembering Allah. The feelings are deeper, clearer, and sweeter. The teaching job in Egypt might be in question, but our feelings for each other are not.

This isn't the "crazy love" of my life before. There have not been any tears, or hysterics, or of hidden secrets spilling out and spoiling the proceedings. It feels calmer and safer. It feels like walking together; not like colliding in bumper cars.

Alhumdulillah.

May Allah guide us.

Boost


Do you need that extra BOOST of energy today?

Read SARK. This "succulent woman" will make you take a new look at yourself and at life.

Take a look at beautiful masjids from around the world. You can look at the exteriors or the interiors.

Listen to Johnathan Coulton's awesome song, "Lady Aberlain's Mumu".


Read about making a butterfly garden.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Housesitter and the Frogs


I am now officially housesitting.
As an official housesitter, I thought I'd better check the pool.
Oh, ya baby, there's a pool.
I stood there looking at it from the other side of the black mesh safety net surrounding the water.


"Uh-oh!" I observed. There were two frogs in the pool and I was supposed to add cholorine.

"Oh, no!" I was alarmed to see that there was a black string which seemed to have caught them. It must have come off of the enclosure.

So, even though I wasn't going to go into the pool today, I donned by swimsuit. I grabbed the long-handled pool net and carefully reached it over to the two endangered frogs. They were now contained and I was going to release them from the death's grip.

"What the...?"

Um...ya...that wasn't a plastic string. That was a string of frog's eggs. Those two frogs had been getting busy in the pool and laying eggs. I had just rescued two animals procreating.



Here are two of the happy couples in the pond next to the pool. Do you see the black dots on the stalk and in the water? Those are the eggs!

May Allah protect me and protect all the animals from me.

Sometimes I am just a total idiot.

Alhumdulillah for those frogs. Because I was already in the pool, I swam and swam. Then, I got Mr. Boo and we played and then I swam some more. I had not been swimming without cover since my honeymoon to Egypt, in 2002. It felt great and it made me yearn for not just a house but a house with a pool!

And maybe some frogs...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

To Make an End


What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

T.S. Eliot

I needed to make my ending and alhumdulillah I feel that I made a successful one.


This morning, when I awoke with butterflies all around me and rain softly patting the cement outside, I wanted to find the quote in my head. I searched and found this sermon. It comes from Rev. David Tinney, from the Methodist Church. I'm an equal opportunity believer and whoever has something good to say; I'll listen. The talk was of transitions.

Yes, I am in transition. Maybe I never stopped being in transition. Yes, I would like to stop. But, I'm not there yet. When I arrive, then I will stop.

Eventually, I found the quartet of poems T.S. Eliot wrote which also contain these wonderful lines:

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.


T.S. Eliot

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Estoy Lista


Estoy lista. I am ready. I am ready to move on.

I think that standing out in the FFFFFFFFFFFFREEEEEEEEEEEEZING cold yesterday for my yard sale definitely helped me want to get the hell outta here. 42 degrees?! Really?! Subhanallah! That was some serious determination to keep going.

Alhumdulillah, I got rid of some stuff and made some money; $62 total.

You know what made me the most money? Items from the dumpster. Seriously. I am telling each and everyone of you readers that THERE IS MONEY IN DOING THIS. For some reason, people (even in these hard economic times) throw things out and are wasteful. If you, in your wisdom, as a steward of the earth, simply grab the stuff and then sell it in a yard sale, you will make a little money.

Add up the items from the trash which were sold yesterday:

Kid's plastic desk $5

Dishes $10 (could have gone for $15 but I sold them to a Muslim family here from Togo)

Chairs $15

Ironing board $5

That's $35. Alhumdulillah. When you think about it: getting paid $35 for stuff you never bought is actually making money. However, if you BOUGHT things, used them (or let them sit in your closet collecting dust) and then sold them, you are breaking even or at a loss.

Sure, it's not a fortune, but it's money and it's my money and it's halal. Alhumdulillah.

My girlie hung out with her little bro while I sold on the front lawn. They had a great time and were totally tired out by nightfall. We watched a video and ate our burgers.

Before you ask, my big guy was having a dude sleep-over. So, I was very happy to have my girlie away from all that raging testosterone---and according to her, "B.O."

Since I have had so much back-and-forth with their dad, X1, over these arrangements, I had the cojones to ask if he could do me a favor. Yes, I asked him for a ride to the airport, saying, "At least you know I'm getting outta town!"

And you know what? He said yes. So, the kids' dad will be driving us to the airport next week, inshahallah. I told him that shows we've evolved.

We have.

Alhumdulillah.

And the new man will, inshahallah, be picking us up. I gotta come up with a name for him...

Mr. Nice Guy?

Br. Nice Guy? Ya, he is definitely a Muslim brother. He is the one translating for the Sheik at his masjid, praying all the prayers he can in congregation, giving the lecture after isha, and giving rides to those who need help. Mashahallah. This is a practicing Muslim. Alhumdulillah.

He has an education, a career, and money.

He has been married, divorced, and has arranged times to see his kids. He doesn't want more.

ALHUMDULILLAH!

And? And? And we'll see.

That's next week. We'll see next week when we meet, inshahallah. May Allah guide us.

For now? I've been reading about women who have traveled alone in the book, "A Woman Alone," which got me to read about Elizabeth Taylor from Minnesota---ya, not the actress from England. She was a Victorian travel writer. And then, I had to look up more about the modern travel writer Catherine Watson, who I love for many reasons.

And those stories of letting go and learning to live are pushing me onward and out the door.

Estoy lista.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Embracing the Sufi



This website was a blessing to me in the middle of the night, when I needed the Nur of Islam. I realize that I don't agree with everything said in the Sufi experience. However, as always, I take the best and leave the rest. We can enjoy the juicy orange, but not eat the peel. See if there is something beneficial to you as well.
There was this profile of a Sheik on the site as well. It's all Sufi stuff, but still...I revere any leader who can call the azan, get jailed for doing it, then get released and when asked by lawyers to stop, says, “No I cannot. Spirituality must be spread.”

There are some great quotes from Sheik Nazim al-Haqqani, including this, "“When you meet a darwish, a faqir, a seeker in the way of God , begin with him with sincerity and loyalty and with lenience. Don’t begin with him with knowledge. Because knowledge might make him wild at the beginning, but leniency might bring him quickly to you.”


While looking for an image for the post, I happened upon this site which showcases a relatively new art form: sufi kathak dance. I took kathak dance way back before Islam when I was searching for a way to reconnect with life. The movements tell Indian stories of earthly love between man and woman. This is now a new twist in order to rise to the higher level of love of God.

Manjari Chaturvedi is the creator of this new fusion of Indian classical dance and Sufism. She is the beautiful, mashahallah, woman pictured above.

She says, "In Sufi Kathak, the concept of the beauty of the image-less Beloved becomes the guiding factor for me. The image becomes the act itself, the creative form. The state of love finds an image in the Beloved...the image acquires dimension...dimensions acquire reality. Human body outlives its form and the surrender becomes dance.'

You can view her dancing here. At night, when I dream, my dances look something like this.




Release and Get More



I am in the process of realizing that Allah has blessed me with much. I need to release some of what I have in order to get more.
I can't keep it all and continue.
I have to let it go and feel confident that Allah will give more; maybe not right away, but over time.
Afterall, we have a lifetime of risq allotted to us when we are born. To be given all of it at once would be a burden and not a blessing at all. Each offering to us is given at precisely the right time.
However, if we are already overloaded with the blessings meant for someone else, then we will not have room in our life for what is meant to be ours now.
Ya Allah! Our Sustainer! I release and remain open to the goodness you have planned.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Really Living




I know that today I am really living.

Maybe I've been hibernating these last months

slowing down my heart rate so I could keep going through the winter.

Now?

I am


ALIVE!


and I am ready to feel how it is to be alive.

I am not sleeping; not numbing; not avoiding.

I am enjoying.

This is truly my life right now.

I feel it.

I welcome it.

I thank God for it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Adam Lambert National Anthem




I just left this comment on People Magazine's website,
"Asalamu Alaykom~I am a covered Muslim-American and I adore Adam Lambert. He is so freakin’ talented that it ain’t even funny, gang. Whether or not someone uses their religious views to try to deride him, it won’t matter a hill of beans. He is on the fast track to stardom and I would love to count myself as one of his fans."

Learn the Arabic Numbers


This is what Mr. Boo is doing right now.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Babysitting Except with a House


SUBHANALLAH!

I really was at my wit's end yesterday. Seriously, thought I might go insane. I literally cried off and on for two hours.

Today?

Well...

I have been given a chance at house sitting for two months. I could leave my mom's and alll the issues here and just go BE at my lovely friend's beautiful place. I prayed istakkarah about it and so far it feels great.

Mom is happy with it.

AbuBoo is mad about it.

The man I've been talking to (ya, I know) lives an hour away from that spot. He's thrilled.

What about YOU?


Thursday, May 7, 2009

One Week with Mom


Has it only been one week living with my mom?!

May God grant me the patience and understanding.

OH MY GOD!
Do I really have three more months of this?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Enjoy the Goodness


In a happy sign of the times, maybe a Muslim can be in the news without being ridiculed. I read about Yusuf Islam/Cat Steven's claims of Coldplay plagiarizing from one of his song. Not sure if they did rip off or not. I don't hear it completely. I love them both!

But what I do hear from the comments is everyone treating Yusuf Islam as more of a person than a MUSLIM. And this was on
www.perezhilton.com !

Very cool :)


The other thing I was looking at today is Elizabeth Hasselbeck's gluten-free regime. See more about it
here. I continue to go easy on wheat and corn. I do think it's making a positive impact on me and my health. Just hope that decreasing gluten doesn't turn me into a Republican.


Lastly, there is a SPECIAL OFFER from www.walgreens.com for today;Wednesday, May 6, 2009. If you order photo developed through their site today, you can get a FREE 8 x 10 print. I did this last year and it's so nice to really get something FREE with no strings attached. You MUST put in the special code word MOTHER when you are ordering. Do that and it's YOURS!
I really love Walgreen's photo developing. It works especially great when you are living away from grandparents and want to send photos. All you have to do is send the info to a store near them and you save all the hassle of mailing. This could be especially good for those Americans living overseas.
Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We Are Family





Asalamu Alaykom,




I love X2. I do.

But this is now the most freeing love. I don't fear I'll lose him. I don't get tight with a possessive craziness. I don't try to fix him. I simply love him.

We spent Sunday together as a family. Me, him, Mr. Boo and my girlie (my older boy finked out so he could hang with his friends). And you know what? This was so easy. I had planned the day with my two younger kids, but had only alerted AbuBoo to it. As I was picking up my girlie, I then gave him a call and he agreed to be ready in 15.

I love that! I love that spontaneity without question.

The mood was sunny and carefree. There were laughs and smiles and fun.

When I finally figured out where he lived (hadn't known before), I could spot him in his usual mode: on the phone.

"He's lost weight!" said my pre-teen, who was once a Baba's girl. And he has lost a ton of weight. He's busy all day doing heavy lifting and very little eating.

Really? I was in total lust for him when he was beefy and bearded.

Now?

It's not a lust thing. It's a love thing.

We headed to the May Day parade. Tons of people surrounding us on our walk to the route. In the past, I've been sad thinking, "They think we are a family, but we're not. If only they knew..." 

Now?

I know we are family. No family is ever as, "normal," as it should be. But every family is as great as you make it. We are a great family.

We stood there together and united. We were connected and close. We were watching the alternative society and maybe felt more at home with people who don't fit into, "normal,"either. Those people just WERE who they WERE.

And I thought, as AbuBoo held his son high to see, how hard it would have been without those strong arms. I didn't need a man to make the day complete, but I enjoyed having him along with us.

We joked on the way back to the car. Running. The girls trying to catch the boys. My girlie knew everything we've been through---well, not everything but a lot of it. She knew the hardship and could feel the ease.

"See, Sweetie," I said. "We don't have to hate each other. We can still have a kind of love and respect."

She doesn't feel this with me and her dad. I found out she didn't have school the next day and she began to beg me for a sleepover. I called and her dad said, "No." Spontaneity is not that guy's strong suit.

Later, she called me and told me how her dad had said that I, her mother, was not, "reliable enough." She was so upset and I could only calm her with, "He can say what he wants but it doesn't change who I am. He can't change our fun day."

And it had been fun. Before we had brought her back, we had stopped at McDonald's for ice cream cones. We ended up getting fries and chicken strips too. As I drove, AbuBoo shoved fries in my mouth---making everyone laugh; including me with a mouthful of salty, greasy potatoes. We all laughed again when Mr. Boo started wearing his chocolate more than eating it.

But, I left the best part for last.

Don't image I am talking about lingering looks or slight touches. Nope! I'm not after that now. I'm in such a good place with him, alhumdulillah that I am really talking about something so much better.

I talked with Mr. Boo's grandma. Not my mom. His other grandma---in Egypt. That's who AbuBoo had been on the phone with when we picked him up. I had not heard her voice since 2006. I had not been able to talk to her all this time. I had sent messages to her through my ex and through my former sister-in-law, but I had not actually spoken with her.

AbuBoo put me on the phone. I could tell her in Arabic that she was Mama before and she is Mama now. I love her. I love her husband, who died almost two years ago. I told her that when, inshahallah, we come to Egypt, I want to go to the land where he is and pray (I didn't know the word for, "cemetary," in Arabic).

It was so healing.

She got to hear Mr. Boo say, "Asalamu Alaykom," and sing the Spiderman song. She got to tell him how much she loves him.

She even got to talk to my girlie, who was only five the first time they talked.

Yes, my former husband is married to another woman but he is still family with us. His current wife can be the one to wonder, worry, and (try to) possess. I will simply enjoy like I did on Sunday.

Alhumdulillah.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

White Hawk and Me


It was like a dream, except I lived it.
I was following AbuBoo. He was tired but he helped with the last load. He was speeding as usual. I knew the way to go, yet I let him take the lead.
My car wasn't really my car. It was my mom's. It has this horrible shifting problem on the freeway. It won't rev past 60; not all the time but too often it gets stuck. I was driving below the speed limit and watching AbuBoo drive over it and drive past a pile on the road.
There was something white on the road.
It was on the line. It wasn't in this lane or the other; just in the middle. I saw the wind ruffle it. Fur? No, feathers. It was a bird.
As I drove past, I saw that its head was up and its eyes alert. It looked at me and I met its gaze.
Was it hurt? It must be or else why would it be on the road in a heap.
I began to call 911 and thought better.
I called information and got the Raptor Center. They were closed.
I had to load the items from the two vehicles but the whole time I kept thinking about the bird.
I kept remembering its eyes. It was beautiful. Was it dead by now?
It haunted me and still haunts me.
I tried to think of how to rescue it.
I've been talking to a man I used to know two years ago. Call him "Mr. Kabeer". He asked me why it was bothering me so much.
"I always feel like I'm the only one who knows; that it's down to me and I have to do the rescue. I rescue kids, and animals, and ..."
"Maybe, " he astutely observed, "it has something to do with you once wishing you could be rescued."
Yes. He's right.
I see myself in that moment of the bird. I see myself as neither here nor there but in danger of being done in; wishing someone would care enough to help me.
In the end, I had to settle down and admit that it would be highly dangerous to try to save this bird on the freeway. I had to trust that Allah knew about the bird and cared enough to do what was best for it.
My hope? I hope the bird was only dazed. I hope and pray that the bird flew away free without anyone needing to help it at all.
I know it's a sign from God.
I need to take care of myself and not hope for rescue. I am hurt, but preserve myself.I'm not done. I have life in me. I am beautiful but I need to get out of danger in order to survive.

Margaret Hamilton on Mister Rogers


I love what she says about the witch being frustrated. Most witchy women are simply women with a lot of passion who lack an outlet.

If you are feeling witchy, think about what you really miss doing and ask yourself how you could do it.

The Wicked Witch


Single mother of a three-year-old, eh?

Friday, May 1, 2009

My New Old Homes


I am here.
Yep, back at my mom's. I didn't grow up here. I don't think of this as my home. It's hers. But, for now...in this bed...it's me and Mr. Boo snuggled up and rent-free.
Alhumdulillah.
My stupid junk (gosh, you hate your stuff more with every move) lies scattered in four diffferent rooms. It's been dumped by some careless mover---me!
AbuBoo helped. He helped a lot. Drove me crazy when he came to the apartment after work and fell asleep for three hours. But after that, he did a ton of hard labor.
Always hard to feel how well we work together. My mom commented on how the two of us were out in the backyard laughing as we moved the loveseat together. Ya. We still can laugh together. We just can't live together.
Allah knows.
I was thinking how the Post Office needs a forwarding address but Allah does not. Allah knew where I was going before I knew.
Subhanallah!
Tomorrow it will inshahallah be the last big day. Inshahallah. YA RAB!
Honestly, this takes some serious strength to keep going.
May Allah give me that strength.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

HILARIOUS MINUTE MAID COMMERCIAL


I searched the internet to finally find this! Hope you enjoy it :)

Where in the World Should I Go?



I asked you, earlier this month, where you thought I should go. Here's what 31 of you readers said:


Bangladesh 2 (6%)

Egypt 3 (9%)

Oman 2 (6%)

Morocco 4 (12%)

Qatar 0 (0%)

Saudi 4 (12%)

Turkey 2 (6%)

U.A.E. 4 (12%)

U.S.A.--don't go! 10 (32%)


OK, so most of you thought that I should stay. I hear where you are coming from. I have family in the States and I really do love them.
On the other hand, I am having trouble getting employment and child care. I have run out of money. I need to leave my apartment and move in with my mom.
So, leaving for me, while sad, is also an exciting possibility.
I did get interested in Saudi and Oman before, but the harsh realities of living in either country didn't keep me dreaming of those places. I am perhaps too free-spirited to be in a very restrictive Muslim country.
Qatar isn't really sending a beacon of light to welcome me.
Morocco is less restrictive, but doesn't pay enough. Yemen is both restrictive AND doesn't pay well.
Bangladesh? Man, I feel for those brother and sisters in Islam, but I don't want to live there. I don't. It's too much deprivation AND strife.
Turkey really isn't interested in having hejabi teachers. Even though I didn't put Tunisia on there, the same goes for that country. So, wouldn't that be the pits to make hijrah only to end up in a Muslim country that makes it difficult to be Muslim?
Soooo what haven't I mentioned? Ya, it's the one place I really feel like I'm going.
EGYPT!
Why Egypt?
I went to Egypt in 2002. Ya, it was a dream. I was reunited with AbuBoo in Cairo and married in Port Said and spent my two-week honeymoon there in a kind of happy daze.
But, I'm not planning to relocate there in the hopes of finding memories of the man I once married.
I'm hoping to go in order to find myself.
Since my trip there, I have not traveled overseas. That is CRAZY to me, as I readily identify myself as a traveler. I love being the "fish out of water" and feel the boundaries and explore where I stop and my world begins.
Every time I thought of leaving the U.S., it was to go back to Egypt. In all those years of struggling, you'd find me lying in bed at night dreaming of being back in Egypt. My TEFL certification was obtained so I could someday teach in Egypt.
Every Ramadan I wanted to be there. I felt so strongly about it this past year, that I actually bought tickets for us to go. I wanted and NEEDED to be there. It's been a powerful pull on me.
Sure, it's partly the people. I need to see Mr. Boo's other grandma. I might not have an Islamic obligation to do it, but I feel the burden on me nontheless. I want her to meet her grandson. I want to hug her again. For years, I would pray for her and her husband in my fajr's sujud. I loved them deeply as my family. The divorce forced me to re-examine that. The death of my former father-in-law made me feel the finite nature of our relationships.
And there's aunties and uncles and cousins. I have never felt more a part of a happy family than when I belonged to that family. Honestly, I feel like I still do belong to them, through Mr. Boo, as I am UmBoo.
But, people are not the whole story. There are the number of schools wanting an experienced teacher (but not needing a Masters). There's the amount of pay versus the cost of living. There is the moderate Islam I would be able to practice. There are fun places to go and the freedom to go to them.
When I was sending out a high number of cover letters, I would never cut and paste. I wrote each letter from the heart. This one particular letter was different from the rest. I ended up writing this:
There is nothing I would like more in the world
than to be hired to teach in Egypt.
Seriously.
Wallahi.
I found myself writing that. When I wrote it, I stopped at thought for a moment. I had written, "Wallahi." Did I really feel that way?
Yes, I did.
And I opened myself up to God with my heart's desire and God rewarded me.
Alhumdulillah.
Hey, Gang, wherever you thought I should go (or not go) please make du'a that our trip to Egypt be the beginning of goodness.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Like a Bedouin Beauty


Like a Beduoin beauty I moved on

from a house that could not hold me

and I placed my trust in Allah

but my precious things could not believe

and they fled


No longer needing a house

I had a flat of three rooms

My Lord allowed my things to sit

contained within walls and to be safe


Then He called to me again

so on I went to serve Him

but my wonderful things could not bow

so they broke


No longer needing a flat

I was given but a room

Subhanallah it is full of things

but I look around and fear


For the time is coming when

the Spring's air will turn hot

and then I must leave

with what?


Not a house

Or a flat

Or a room


No


I will leave with a suitcase

for there will be little left

which hasn't run away;

fallen away;

been forgotten along the way.


I was once asked,

"Where did you park your camel?"


And I don't know but

I'm going to find out.


And where

my camel is tied

is where

my suitcase

full of things will be

ready to find a home.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Building Our Lives




Living and learning is a lot like building with blocks.

When we are figuring out a new set of skills, we follow the steps simply. Look at how babies or little kids stack blocks. They just build one huge tall tower.

Until it falls and the blocks scatter all over the place.

The blocks sit there in a heap. Unused. It is not going to build itself again.

The builder has to eye the mess and figure out what went wrong. Now, that process can be short or long, but it's a process. It takes a level of maturity.

Sometimes, others can come upon the scene of destruction and view it only as a negative. The tower was good and the pile is bad.

When we view life in such snapshots, we forget that life is a cyclical process. The pile of debris is necessary in order to build a better tower. It actually still is the tower. It is simply the tower waiting to be rebuilt.

What was needed?

More.

More base. Widen the base; just like you need to gain information and widen understanding.

This graphic comes from a nice parenting site.

However, we focus on the building blocks of early childhood development and keep that image in our minds only. We forget that, even as adults, we are continually developing ourselves because we are organic beings. We keep changing because we are alive.

Everytime we learn a new aspect to being our authentic selves, we have to dissemble in order to put that missing piece in place. We can't build higher, higher, higher, or we crash.

We need to take it all down.

Look at it.

Reconfigure.

And when we rebuild, inshahallah, it can be the structure that can withstand the ravages or war and the sands of time. It, or rather we can be the glorious creation we were meant to be.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Woman Alone


I didn't sleep at my apartment last night...


He pulled me close and said, "I can't spend another night without you, Habibti."

So I laid down next to him all night, in his strong arms; finally unafraid in the dark.


Ok, I'm fibbin'.

I wasn't at my apartment last night because I stayed at my mom's. It was the first time since I last moved out. I had moved a carload of cr*p--
I mean treasures
and I was truly weak. Mr. Boo was so tuckered out, he had fallen asleep in the car. Mom had gotten a new Netflix and then she offered to grab a thin-crust Mediterranean pizza from Papa John's.

Ya, there was wheat in the crust. I'm no longer thinking ZERO WHEAT. I've decided that I can't be stringent about ANYTHING in my life. I just need to be mindful. I will continue to analyze the amount of wheat and corn that is in my diet and reduce it greatly. Already, I'm down half-an-inch on waist and hips because I eliminated both carbs for a week and reduced it in the second week. Alhumdulillah. Nothing in excess is good---ever.

I made my new favorite drink. My old favorite drink was frozen orange juice concentrate with milk, vanilla and sugar. My new favorite drink is the fresh juice of a lime with sugar and ice.

We watched The Station Agent together. So interesting how my mom kept making comments about the main character who is a dwarf.

"How terrible to always have someone staring at you."

"And they really shout out at him?!"

I finally had to say, "Ya, mom. I get the same thing for wearing hejab, you know. And the most amazing part to me is that those people neeeeeeeeever even question if it's right or wrong to stare or harass. They are sooooo sure that it's within their rights."

It was a good movie.

Loved the character of Joe. He's my kind of guy. A bit of a goof. Good looking. Funny. Talkative. Friendly. Always looking for the next excitement. That's how AbuBoo was when I first met him.

That actor is playing the character of "Cupid" on TV now. I refrained from contacting him on Facebook.

But that was the closest I came to being with a man on Friday.

So, my night away from the apartment wasn't a big romance. Honestly, there are moments of weakness when I wish I could just take the strength from a man and rest.

I was sooooo exhausted. Some days of the month SHOULD NOT be days when you move. I guess I was overestimating my abilities. I would really like to know how Wonder Woman or Bionic Woman handled their Aunt Flo!

It was, however, good enough. Mom actually was happy to have us there. She for real pinched my cheeks upon my arrival and tucked me into bed at night.

The thought crosses my mind about me alone in Egypt and feeling unwell. There won't be a mom. There won't be comfort foods. There won't be help minutes away.

Oh, ya...there won't be a husband.
I always pictured Egypt with a husband---with AbuBoo, and then later with one of the various interchangeable Egyptians who courted me.

Now? I will be A Woman Alone. I'm reading the book with that title now.

But, I've decided how to wrap my brain around it all. I am conjuring up images of summer camp. Yes, I LOVED summer camp. Whether it was the one-week Methodist church camp or the eight week arts camp, I loved getting away from the norm and living a new reality. I loved re-inventing myself with immediate friends.

So, if, inshahallah, we go, then we will go as campers--happy campers.