Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas. Clean.



I am feelin’ mighty clean. Alhumdullah! Baby and I bathed in our new tub over at the apartment. You know, when you are looking for a place to live, you look at price, location and then the room sizes and condition of the walls and such. You don’t really spend time looking at the bathtub. But oh! What a pleasure it is to have a full-size tub--no scrunching your knees up in order to fit. I could stretch out in splendiferous relaxation. The water pressure too! Did I forget to tell you about that? It’s so powerful over here! Wowzers! The tub filled with really hot water in no time. And baby and I, along with our multi-colored plastic dolphin friends, finally eased into our new life.

It hasn’t been easy, but then we all knew that. This move is really taking a lot out of me. It’s the constant back-and-forth between the old place and the new. It’s packing up and then discovering a paper copy of an email I was sent while he was in Egypt the second time. Of course, it wasn’t the third time, as he completely forgot about me the third trip. Astragferallah. I was “Habibi” the second trip and “Dumb-ass” the third.

Still, after I cleaned up our bedroom, I sat down in the hallway, nursing the baby who was conceived within those walls and I cried. Hold on…I might just cry now writing about it. Bear with me. I can so vividly picture the passion and there was so much of it that we shared. I really have never experienced intimacy like that ever before. It was the best. He never stopped saying that it was the best. Even now, he would have to admit…and so would I.

But, it was so much more that took place in our private sanctum. It was waking up slowly and opening our eyes to a new day with an old love. The tenderness of those morning gazes was simply to die for. I know I experienced something that not everyone gets to and I do thank God for those times of complete, complete love. It ended badly-- right, I know. But, it was so good for so many years.

Dancing together to something on the radio and catching our reflection in the mirror and having to stop and look at how cute we were together. And him kissing my neck while watching my reaction. I loved it. I loved him. I loved us.

And when the baby came into our lives, I got my wish fulfilled. I got to sleep between my greatest loves; my husband and my son. And I got to feel that I was so very blessed for being exactly where I was. How often do you feel like that in life? Some people never do, but I felt it. I knew where I was in the world. I was in a sweet moment. I remembered only those moments as I sat on the hallway floor.

The court case in Egypt has been decided. He is now allowed to marry her two more times. Not just once, but twice more. He tells me that they are not married now because he wants for the divorce between us to be done before he marries her. That’s not for any moral reason, but rather so the U.S. government doesn’t question the timing as he tries to get her over here.
How do I feel? I feel glad that I tried once more to do what was best for the baby by asking if there was anyway we could remain married. And I’m glad I got that question out before the ruling. I’m really so very glad that I learned how impossible it had become to stay together in anyway whatsoever.

Do I wish them well? No. No, I don’t. But, I don’t also wish them ill. I don’t wish them a thing. Their highest wish was for this reuniting to take place and they got their wish no matter what the consequences to anyone else. Wishes can be powerful things. But, I want more in this life than a man--especially a man who can’t be a good man.

So, I’m going to focus on me and my roommate. He’s a great roommate. I love him a lot. And inshahallah, we are going to keep clean, as a clean life is better than what we have had.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's Hard to Stay Mad



"I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me. But it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain. And I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I'm taking about I'm sure. But don't worry. You will someday."


~The last lines of American Beauty


Originally posted as Honorary Arab

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You're Married?!



While I was looking for our marriage certificate last night, I found a poem I'd written.

Seems long ago now, though it was only five years ago when I was asked to be a wife to the man I loved. Just minutes after I agreed, he told me he had children and then that he had a wife.

You died
once over the threshold
with me in your arms
the you I knew ceased to exist.

As the truth came out
I wanted to love you
but I hadn't ever met you;
your lies had never let me in.

I commited to a man who never was.
I made love to a falsehood.
Whispered to a snake, a charlatan, a chameleon.

As the snakeskin shed,
confusion spread:
Who am I if I married a lie?

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Dear Yahya Letter


Bismallah a Rahman a Raheem~Dear [Husband],

What else do we need to say to each other? You want to talk, and I agreed, but what is really necessary to say now?

You have left me. You left me before you even went for Egypt. You left me two years ago and sometimes I'd see you come back to your old self. We'd have some fun and share some smiles and laughs and then you'd be gone again. Of course I miss that person I married. I love that person you used to be. If I could have that person back again, I'd never want anything else.

But, you aren't really ever going to be that person again. You have done too much that has hurt me. You have lost my trust and my respect. Each time I try to find those good feelings for you, you simply break me again. I am so broken up over your choices. I have lost you, my kids, my house, my money and, if I'm not careful, I'll lose my faith.

I can’t give any more.

You have taken all I have to give. You are greedy to keep asking for more all the time. I have to stop---for my sake and for the baby's. I have to leave the marriage. I never wanted to do that. I wanted to be by your side forever. I loved you completely without question. I put my life in your hands. You mistreated me again and again. You lied again and again. You stole from me and robbed me of my sense of worth. I am worthy of so much more.

Please let your family know that I will always love them and I will do my best to keep the baby close to them. The same is true for you. Of course, I feel sad for the baby. I never would have had him if I'd known how you would become.

Let's start the divorce now, before you get back. There's no need to try anything else. No matter what you said, I won't believe you anymore. I don't say that in anger, but in sadness. It is so sad to loose the one you love. But, since you don't love me anymore, I doubt you are sad.

I will help to get the items exported to Egypt and that will be my last job for [our export company's name]. Funny name: [our export company's name]. I picked it from where we met so long ago. You used to think I was beautiful. You used to love my eyes. You stopped. You stopped everything. You can't blame me. You can only blame yourself.

I never sent this letter. Some letters you never send.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

I Sold the House



Subhanallah!

Break out the cheese puffs!

I SOLD THE HOUSE

This is the day after I tell my husband we are all through. Subhanallah! The energy that was released from that action, then released the house. Subhanallah! Go ahead, tell me it's a sign. Everybody---all together now---say with me:

IT'S A SIGN

I'm doing the right thing.

And the really amazing thing is that these people already had been the lowball bidders THE DAY HE LEFT TOWN. Remember?? They didn't value the house enough and after I countered they let it drop...until today; the day after I end my marriage. NOW?! Well, now I am getting full price and we pay closing costs. That's so fair and so right. Alhumdulillah. AND the closing is set for the end of this month. Subhanallah. I move in three weeks. Inshahallah.

God is indeed great. God is indeed merciful.

Think what you have blocking your blessings and get it the heck out of the way! God is trying to give you something wonderful!

originally posted as Honorary Arab

6 Weird Things About Me




6 Weird Things About Me

There is one BIG weird thing I haven't told you:


Weird Thing #1

Growing up I had pet porcupines.

This is very strange. It's just about the strangest thing you can have for a pet. My dad was a wildlife biologist, infact if you google him, you 'll see all his studies on porcupines. Mama porcupines only have one baby at a time and they are not good at adopting little ones that aren't their own. An orphaned porcupine baby will simply die and so rather than let that happen, my dad brought Ernie home.

Ernie was the first. I don't remember him as well, since I was around four years old. He got some press coverage and appeared in the local newspaper. He grew up in a cage out back and was released into the wild once he was older. Blondie was next. I have photos with her. I was older by then so I got to be more "hands on" as it were.

You can actually pet a porcupine. You start at the head and move towards the tail, just like you would a dog's fur. My dad would put on big leather gloves to handle her and then I could pet her.Some people think that porcupines shoot their quills. They can no more do that than you could shoot your hair. Their most dangerous quills are on their back and tail. That tail is powerful and acts like a rudder when they do their low waddle. They are not graceful and they are not fast. But Subanawatallah has given it a defense against predators.

I did get 15 quills in my right knee once, when I fell. My dad methodically pulled them out. If you don't get all the pieces of the barbed, hollow, spear of a quill, then the parts can travel through your body and attack your organs. In my crazier, over-tired moments when I can't get to sleep, I wonder if the pieces really were all removed.

Their natural born enemy is the fisher, which is like a weasel. It is super speedy and very crafty. It knows that the porcupine doesn't have quills on its soft underbelly. So the fisher zooms around and around the porcupine trying to get it off balance. When that happens, the fishers torpedo its abdomen and bites into it with its sharp pointed teeth.

The modern day enemy of the porucpine is us. Because they are so slow, many are killed crossing the road. It is sad for me to think that drivers can't wait 30 seconds in their commute to avoid killing nature. The other way porcupines are suffering is through deforestation. Their habitat is in fallen trees, their safety is in climbing trees, and their food are young branches and leaves. They need the forests much more than we need another Walmart.

Blondie was funny. She loved peanut butter and bananas. I mean, my dad would cut fresh branches for her every day, and I think he fed her monkey chow. She would make these lovely little pleasure sounds when she ate; like a baby nursing.

One day, she got into my Hubba Bubba Bubblegum. Boy! Was that a mess!

She was one of the family. She used to go sailing with us. She was great on the boat. She had better sea legs than anyone, due to her low center of gravity. She'd waddle down the hill into the small town sometimes. We'd take her around. The townsfolk got use to her.She got more press coverage as my dad was the director of an ecological institute. He'd take her to work. There was one terrific photo of him at the office talking on the phone, while she sat on her haunches trying to eat a pen. The funny thing is to see my handsome dad completely unfazed by the porcupine on his desk.

The photo of me and Blondie was taken because my classmates in the city didn't believe me. I had to provide photographic proof. I brought some quills too. Isn't that something? For most of my life I haven't been believed.Blondie was released to the wild eventually. She visited once. I'm sure she's long since passed away. I never really thought of her as dead until just now. I guess I just thought of her as still in the wild, muching away. Her descendants, enshahallah, are out there. And I bet they have an unrealized craving for peanutbutter and bananas.

Weird Thing #2

I didn't drive until I was 23.

Weird Thing #3

You might have heard my voice already.

Years ago, my voice was recorded for a well-known amusement park and used for the instructions at the beginnings of the rides. "Welcome! During the duration of the ride, please keep your arms and legs..."So, chances are, some of you have heard my voice without even knowing it was old Honorary Arab herself!

Weird Thing #4

I have a dime-sized brown birth mark on my left thumb. It's the EXACT same color as my husband's skin. I explained to him that after God was done making him, there was just this little extra skin left over and I got it, since I'd be united with him later on. Subhanallah. I use to hate it and cover it up. Teachers always thought it was dirt and make me wash up again.

Weird Thing #5

I used to keep a list of all the countries and then write down the name of the foreigner from that country once I had kissed him. My goal was to kiss a man from every country.

Weird Thing #6

My husband is in Egypt trying to marry his ex-wife whom he divorced three times, but she says ...OH! You already know that one!

How about this one...

I was once addicted to the British soap opera EastEnders. I collected all the clippings, the books, the vids, the mugs, the Tshirts and then I went for the autographs. I wrote to all my favorites and got their signed glossies.

I idolized them, astragferallah. I use to attend a weekly EastEnders web chat, write for a newsletter, appear on live PBS pledge breaks, and even write for a British fan club's website. It was way out of hand until I decided to stop watching their fictional life and start concentrating on my actual life.

There! That's six! You know the rest!

originally posted as Honorary Arab

Desperately Seeking


I watched about half of "Desperately Seeking Susan" last night with Boo and a big bowl of popcorn. Though this movie is known as Madonna's screen debut, it is really an excellent film in its own right. Susan Seidelman directed. Let's hear it for women directors!

The name of the movie comes from a romantic personal ad placed for Madonna's Bohemian character. The second line of the ad is, "Keep the faith". Suburban housewife Roberta, played by Rosanna Arquette, lives vicariously when she reads these ads. She decides to show up at the published rendezvous to see just who Susan is. While spying on the couple, a bump on the head has her believing that she is Susan.

She needs to be Susan because she just can't be Roberta any longer. It hurts to be the person she's become. She has lost her individuality. Her husband is having an affair. She sits alone in the dark watching the Hitchcock movie, "Rebecca."

We see her watching Laurence Olivier speaking the line, "It's gone forever; that funny young lost look I loved. Will it ever come back? I killed it when I told you about Rebecca."

And, I hear that and have to rewind. It sounds so much like what happens to us women who are stuck in polygany. We sit in the dark with memories of a time when we were first told about the other woman. We sit there.

Last on His List


I know that my mind isn't crazy.

Maybe I was crazy for trying to hold onto a person who wasn't good for me. Maybe I thought I could help him be a better person, or we could grow together. And maybe we did! I think we did grow as people during these five years. I know I have, alhumdulillah. But, his growth is now stunted and there is nothing more I can do for him. The only thing he can do for me is subtract from my life. He's not adding anything positive anymore. Not one thing I can think of. I gave him a real chance to tell me something that could make me stay his wife. And he told me nothing worth hearing.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,"To talk of many things: Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--Of cabbages--and kings--And why the sea is boiling hot--And whether pigs have wings."

OK, I'm quoting Lewis Carroll, but I've been trapped in an upside world, so it seems appropriate. It's been a Wonderland, where a wife who helps her husband is given rudeness and an ex-wife is given perfume and a night out on the town.

Lastly, I'd like to share my deep thought of the day. Ya, I know, you thougth the Walrus thing was deep. But, I got to thinking about my leather couch, which I KNOW is a blessed gift from God, no doubt. I thought about how I had to get rid of the old white couch I hated desperately before I even knew this couch existed. Had to clear the way! Had to sit in the chairs for months and wonder if we really needed a couch. When I realized that we did, I was patient but mindful of our needs and trusted in God, that eventually I'd get what we needed. It took a lot of hard work, but we have what we need now.

I think that remembering this will help me as I get rid of so much in my life. I have to clear out the bad to make way for the good. Inshahallah.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Allah Knows Your Name

I've been writing about big things.

Today, I'm going to write about something small.It doesn't make the big things go away, but it does give some balance to life.

On Thursday, we had a house showing afterschool, so the kids and I took the baby to KMart to buy him a toy. His dad had spent $40 on his other children, so I figured that we could spend that much buying the toy that was sure to bring a smile: Elmo.

I never thought I'd love Elmo like I do. The other kids weren't really into him like this baby is. He really watches the furry muppet and gets so engaged with an Elmo lift-the-flap book. This toy was sure to be a winner because it wasn't just Elmo. It was ELMO KNOWS YOUR NAME.The CD-ROM,that comes with, installs into your computer and you actually program the doll to speak your child's name and the names of three others.

Now, my older children have names that don't usually show up in the mainstream, but they were included in the program. And my baby has a Muslim name (alhumdulillah) and his name was there too! Exciting! There are many Muslim names available for Elmo to speak! You can make him say, "Aisha loves Mohammed and so do I!" Cool,huh? There is the name Ala, which is very close to Allah, so you can make him say, "Halima loves Allah and so do I!"Take a look and listen: http://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=8059&e=getProd&selCat=kyn_elmo&pid=34159

The amazing thing is that no matter what cool technology we create, Allah is cooler. He knows all our names; first, middle and last. Subhanallah! And he knows everything about us! He loves us. Alhumdulillah!

I watched the pbs show Religion & Ethics again this morning. It is an excellent program.I don't know why I don't have the capability to place links and pictures, but I'm going to give you the website so you can watch this amazing report about a movie executive who knows the names of 200 children in Cambodia.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/week923/profile.html

I won't say more. Watch it and feel the power of God working in and around us.

Oh, and an interesting side note: is that out of the top 25 Christmas songs currently played, only one mentions Isa/Jesus (pbuh).

Here's what they say:

Secular Songs Rule Christmas Music List
A list of the most popular Christmas songs was released this week by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Number one was the secular "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)." Indeed, of the 25 most frequently broadcast holiday songs over the past five years every one was secular, except number eight -- "Little Drummer Boy."

Today marks the start of Advent. If you are Christian, please consider observing this time of trying to find the light in the darkness. And the light I'm talking about isn't coming from your neighbor's flashing red sleigh decoration. Allah knows the name of that light. Even we Muslims do. Do you? Keep remembering it through this time of materialism and celebrate Advent.

Originally Posted as Honorary Arab

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Grappling

Grappling Inflected Form(s): grap·pled; grap·pling /'gra-p(&-)li[ng]/transitive verb1 : to seize with or as if with a grapple2 : to come to grips with : WRESTLE3 : to bind closely

Yep. That's what I'm doing. I'm grappling; I'm trying to seize, or come to grips with; to wrestle. With what? With whom? Well, with a lot. With where my life is right now. With my role as a mom. With who my children are, and their needs. With the man I've been married to, as opposed to the man I fell in love with. With Islam. With the roles of a wife in Islam. With polygany. With this headache I've had all day.

Are you still with me?I don't even want to be with me, so I'm not really sure why you're here.

Things haven't gone well today. That's an understatement. It's perhaps better to say that this has to be my rock bottom. I just don't want to live if there's something lower than this moment. Really.

So, I sit typing away without very many answers. About the one thing that I could figure out today is that there is one person for whom I must remain on this earth and that's the baby. He actually needs me. The others can get along without me, but not him. I must continue for him.

I thought of naming this post, "Desperately Seeking Yosra," but thought the referrence would be too obscure. I'm so 80s. I love the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan," and I wanted to watch it tonight, but I must have loaned it out.

I watched "Trading Spouses" instead and laughed when the screen came up with an appeal for other families to apply. Really? Could any other woman go through this life I'm living? Would viewers be able to believe this stuff? I can hardly believe it and I'm knee-deep in it. Sigh. I'll let you go. I've got so much more I could say, but I just can't say it. That's really unlike me, but this day has done me in.

Originally posted as Honorary Arab

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Kullu Mumkin




Asalamu Alaykom,





It has been a wacky day.

It started good enough with prayer. I'm good with the first four lines of Ad-Duha and I've been using it a lot in my prayers (by holding the transliteration and looking when I forget). Alhumdulillah. This is so helpful.

How are you doing, Jamila, in Australia? The beautiful bank teller today was named Jamila! I wanted to tell her about you, but knew that it was better to just let her count the money correctly.

So, after the prayer, I checked messages on the computer. There I was, in jammies, when my daughter ran downstairs, in her jammies, saying, "I think there's people here for a showing!"

Sure, enough, the showing that I thought was too early on a Saturday was happening anyway. Nobody had called to tell me. I sent my son up to tell them that we had been uninformed and they would need to leave and come back.

I could hear the realtor try to weasel her clients through right away. My 12-year-old son stood up to them and said, "We'll need a half an hour."I was so proud of him! He truly is the man of the house! Sure, he broke down into tears tonight from tiredness, but he shined in that moment and I saw him man-up.

We scrambled and made it out. I had to deposit money at the bank anyway. Then we were going to grab some food for tonight. But, a sign caught my eye:


GARAGE SALE EVERYTHING FREE TODAY

Let me reiterate that I love the word "free". I have lovely dreams of getting things for free.

So, off the kids and I detoured, to see what this address might have. Would you believe a whole table covered with books in beautiful condition? And not just the books, but the audio-books on tape?! Wow! In the Heart of the Sea, which I've read an excerpt of. It's a great historical account of a shipwreck, complete with cannibalism. There were actually a bunch of copies and I took them all. Dad is getting one! Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and Into Thin Air, about a group of inexperienced climbers on Everest, which I've also read excerpts of. Both of those had the tapes to accompany the book. Memoirs of a Geisha! I'm so excited to read that. Midwives. My son is deep into the stories of Rod Sterling. My daughter is listening to The Greatest Salesman Ever on tape. There's so much! More than I'll list here. I took it all. God bless that former English teacher.

But, that wasn't all I took! There was...are you ready for this? There was a leather couch! I have wanted a leather couch for years. We couldn't afford one. I got rid of my white couch that I never liked, which was a left-over from my parent's marriage 40 years ago (it had been re-covered once). And we remained couch-less. Until today!

I thought about the real estate company that we are dealing with. You get free use of their company moving van. So, I called and the van was available! I asked the people bringing out the stuff to put a sign on to say that the couch was taken. I dropped kids off at home and headed back to the office. I grabbed the van, and for the first time in my life I DROVE a moving van. Subhanallah! I didn't hit anything, but I was really scared I would.

I arrived at the house, and it was still there! I asked a big beefy guy to please move his car. Yes, me in hejab, sitting in my moving van. I had all my positive energy flowing. Nobody got in my way. The woman who had placed the sign laughed and said, "My God, you went and got a van!"
"I work it," I said as I climbed up the little hill to the couch. Big thing. A guy named Bob offered to help carry it to the van. Didn't even have to ask. The trick is that you have to start moving it yourself and that attracts attention. The nice guys always offer. God bless Bob!

Loaded up, I headed home.

My son helped me get it to the front door. The baby was crying for MOM. Poor thing.


Eventually, I had to hammer out the hinges of the front door. I was on a roll! We got it in after that. I then had to sit down and nurse the baby before I drove my van back. Subhanallah!

Turns out that their office closed at 2 PM and if I had done this escapade any later, then it wouldn't have worked. Or if someone had been using the van, it wouldn't have worked. Or what if we hadn't turned the car around to see what was being offered? Subhanllah!

So, I grabbed $5.15 worth of outlet store bread and headed back home to soothe crying baby. Turns out that baby was knocking on doors throughout the house trying to find me. First time for me to leave him like this. Mashahallah!

I cleaned out the couch (won't tell you what I found) and fixed the one torn cushion (it's on the side, so not as visible) and we ate our turkey sandwiches with chips while watching the tape of Survivor on OUR NEW LEATHER COUCH.

It was awesome. So comfortable. It's a lot taller in the back than the other one. Your head actually rests on cushion. Ahhh...it was dreamy.

Won't my husband be surprised that I bagged us a free leather couch?

And, even if he hasn't called, and I don't know what's going on, I know that God will provide for me exactly what I need. Alhumdulillah. I was given the couch as a blessing and I truly am thankful. Thankful for the thing, but also for the feeling it regenerated in me.


Kullu mumkin Everything is possible.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Appearing on Oprah

What's the difference between the Jerry Springer Show and Oprah's show? Visualize that for a moment.

If you were to air your story on a program, which one would you rather use as your mode of communication? Low brow? Or high road?

So, we don't have a choice about the story Allah sets infront of us. Those are the challenges and we have to accept them, say elhumdullah and do our best.

Is it our best to participate in our life ala Jerry Springer? With angry words? Crazy actions? Are we the people who throw chairs and tear our clothes?

Astragferallah.

I'd rather be on Oprah with calm people sitting and discussing and thinking before they speak. I'd rather be a woman of dignity who shows she perservered through the pain and came out INTACT on the other side. There is another moment beyond this moment.

Jerry Springer is about being an animal and acting no better than a beast and not using your brain to see further ahead than your desires; your fitnah. If you notice, Muslims don't show up on Jerry Springer. Sure, our stories, of temptation, infidelity, and second wives could be fodder for the undeducated masses, but why? Why would we want to live on that level?

We, as Muslims, want to rise aboveSo, while the stories are sensational, our reactions must be grounded in the inspirational. I have come to this. I must continue to be the person I want to be regardless of the pulls on my lower self. I must continue to be a person I can be proud of; as the mother to my children, as the best wife to my husband and most of all as a Muslimah in the ummah.Now, this is EXTREMELY hard to do when my children yell that they hate me. Kids do that. It's EXTREMELY hard to do when your husband is leaving on a trip to see his ex wife to see if they can re-marry. And it is EXTREMELY hard to do when so many temptations around you pull you from Islam.

Yesterday, I got a grip, as I was in the throes of my freefall. And I remembered that I am still married to this man. He is still my husband and I am still his wife. Well, I am! In Islam, there is no such thing as a seperation. You live together even during the three months of iddah, and only after giving it that time are you considered divorced. Up until that time, you give your marriage every single, and I sincerely mean, every single last chance.

Why? For the husband? Are you doing him some great favor? No.

For yourself? Because you're such a pathetic loser who can't handle life on her own? Please, no.

For the kids? So, you don't break the foundation that you were building for them? Even that isn't the biggest reason.

For Allah. You do your best in your marriage for Allah.

And if you have even an atom of belief that your marriage could work ...Well, then that's the one grain of sand that you use to start piecing together again the life that you want. It's not easy. It doesn't always feel good. It is a test of endurance and patience. It brings you to the ends of your limits and the depths of your soul. But, I believe it is worth it.

My husband leaves tonight for Egypt.

Last night, I realized that he should be with me and the baby during our house showing. I realized that I wanted to buy gifts for his family. I decided this is without a lot of recent niceness between me and my husband. But I wanted to be nice--not for him, or them, but for me; for how I want to be. I want to be the kind of person who is proud of her actions and does more when others insist on doing less. At the end of my life, I can then say, "I know who I am and I am proud of my time on the earth. I wasn't perfect, but I always strived for better."

I thought about their connection FOREVER to my son. Our son. He belongs to them by name and blood. Why alienate them? That doesn't make sense. I felt I needed to reach out to them and make an effort. If we stay together, or if we don't, then at least I've remembered that my son stays a part of them.

Even when my husband wanted to look for winter coats for his kids (knowing full well that the coats he sent last year were still fine) I went. He saw the pricetags and we left without buying anything. His mind is better.

And while I know that his mind will have moments of madness, I still kissed him. The first kiss to touch his lips in over a week. I decided that it serves nothing for those lips to go untouched. Nothing. If he leaves me with bad feelings, then for sure his actions will be stem from the low place our marriage has been residing. How then will he make good, well-informed choices? How will I ever feel like I did my best? And Islamically, it's not my job to push him away, but to embrace him.Is that a Muslim wife? I believe so.

And I was Muslim when I bought the little round boxes, placed the bracelets inside with a chocolate and a handwritten note in transliterated Arabic. It cost just over two dollars for each of my sisters-in-law and my nieces. For my mother-in-law a tinned candle with her initial letter on the cover with matching stationary. For my diabetic father-in-law, sugar-free candies. For my nephews, a book on cars I bought previously for the the younger one and a big pack of the older one's favorite gum; Wintergreen Apple. Sugar substitute for my brother-in-law (the other one in U.A.E., I was told not to buy for). The kids will all get English books I've saved up for them. My husband's children will get all the little garage sale toys I stock up for them. And that is me. This is who I am. I give because I want to.

Now, I'm not going to give my life for my husband and his family, but I'm willing to give him this time. I'm willing to say that these next two weeks will show me more and until I've been shown more, I will hang tight. I've waited for a year and a half for this resolve, so I don't want to bail now. It hurts like hell, but I can go to Allah with my pain and Allah has guaranteed me time and again, "After a hard time there is ease."

If you only knew how much that means to me. If you are Muslim, then you probably know how much it means for you.

Maybe a lot of you, who support me to make my own decisions, will leave me now in this decision of mine. If you decide to withdraw, I'll understand and I'll thank you as you go. But, if you decide to stick around, then please do so with an open mind and see how the ability to go backwards and re-think is a worthy one. Acting in haste means you repent at leisure. And in this world, we are held accountable for all our actions.I can't change what he's doing. I can't. I can only change what I am doing. I haven't been doing my best. You say I have, but I know better. I've been 'appearing on Springer.'

Now, I feel like I'm doing my best; I'm 'a guest on Oprah.'

Sunday, November 19, 2006

One Small Step for Woman

I'm sleepless.

Once again, I can't sleep.

Three hours last night. Woo-hoo! That maybe enough for President Clinton, but not for me.

I don't feel good and I bet I don't look good either.

But, I do feel that I'm transforming.

Change is in the air.

I won't say everything, but I'll tell you this: no condo. That is a dream that has died and that's the right thing to happen, alhumdulillah.

Sometimes, you just need to take a step to figure out where you are. One small step. Then you raise up your head and take a breath as you look around you. How does it feel? Ask yourself that question, "How does it feel to have let my foot fall here?"

Then, be quiet. You can't hear your small still voice if you are loud. What do you hear?

I hear, "Thank you for bringing me to this spot. I knew you'd figure out how to get here and I was cheering every moment of forward motion. Be happy here. Know that Allah is with you. Stay here as long as it takes for you to feel energized enough to make the next step."

Originally posted as Honorary Arab

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Poem for Friday

There's a sadness in me today
That simply won't go away
Trite rhymes beguile the truth

I'm a melancholy mother
with no echo even answering
I'm a lover who feels no embrace
and a homemaker with no place

Winter's edge brings longing
for a settling in of soul
but my feathers are all ruffled
to protect me from the cold

To migrate and fly away?
To hibernate and lie still?
If I not bird or bear then
Fish! Not fowl or growl but fin.

To keep circling contendly
underneath icy sheets overhead
to enjoy the watery slumbers
of your flowing waterbed

Then I wouldn't need an answer
to stay or if to go
I'd keep being a sole with swish
and I could make a wish
that Allah answers all.


Originally Posted as Honorary Arab

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Blocking the Path

What if I picked out your outfit for today?

Would you be content with the size, the color, the material, the style?

Think about that. Whom do you know so well that you trust with dressing you?

I don't think I know anyone well enough. Maybe my husband...but that just couldn't be everyday. Maybe I could handle him styling me once.What about you?

What if I got to schedule plastic surgery for you? I could re-do what I don't like on you. I could choose the nips and tucks that would change you into the person I find more attractive. Deal? No? Too much? Is there anybody in your world that you would want making that choice.Hey, not even my husband would get the right for that!

How about you?

Well, then let me ask if I can stand on your path and direct you and your life choices. Could I? Please?! If you tell me you're happy heading in one direction, can I force you to go the other way? Or, can I at least stand there and prevent you from seeing down the path? I mean, you'll be happier if I block your way. Right?

Blocking someone's way is kind of like blocking the TV. Do you ever do that to be a jerk? I have. It's funny, for a moment. The zombie in the chair is totally zoned out and you step infront of the screen so you can hear, "HEEEEEY! MOVE OUT OF THE WAAAAY!"

But, that's something you can only do for a moment. To stand there longer, just doesn't make any sense.

And, have you noticed that the remote doesn't work if someone is standing in the way? Even, if they wanted to change the channel, they can't. You are blocking them. That is very frustrating for them. They basically want to kill you. They forget all about the shows and focus on you. Maybe some of you get a thrill from that sudden attention, and maybe I do too. But, it's not a great way to have a relationship; to get a charge from negative reinforcement.

You know, if you weren't standing there, they could see what exactly is on TV and they could see how dumb a lot of it is. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. And you're done (we don't have cable). If they could really see the true picture, they could face their own dissappointment in the offerings. But, you won't let them see what is possible and they can't make that decision.

You want to decide what is right for your husband. You want to dictate and you want to detour his decisions. You plunked yourself down infront of him and started controlling everything in sight. He didn't like you for it. He would have liked you better if you just left him alone to handle his own life. But, you decided that if you were married, then you got a partial say about his life. You don't. You don't have any say in his life, just as he doesn't really have any say in yours. Try to enforce that partial claim, and see what I mean. Or, the next time he tells you not to spend so much money, I know you are going to push for just a little over what he says.

I've been writing "you", but I really mean "me". I just can't write it! I don't like being the person who stands in the way of my husband's journey. But I do! I stand there, like a big dummy wanting him to drop everything and just be with me. Men don't do that. Women do that. Men are never going to stop their life to blend with ours. They have too much testosterone.

If I would just let him see down the path he wants so badly, then he could see the truth. Instead, I have been waving my arms, jumping up and down, and yelling at him for months to see the truth. But, he CAN'T see it when I'm in the way! I AM IN THE WAY OF HIS TRUTH. It's not helping him to have me infront of him. I need to be beside him and to support him; not push or pull him. If I could just let this grown man make these huge decisions for this life, then I would be blameless if they fail. And the only way that he is going to be able to admit that those choices were bad, is if I am not gloating with an "I-told-you-so," expression.

On the flip side, what if he's about to make the best decisions of his life; the ones that will alter every sad thought into a happy time. It could happen! Only Allah knows. But, should he have to fight me for those happy times? I shouldn't be so sure that I am a better decision-maker for his life, than he is.

Would I let him stand in my way? Would I let him make my decisions for my happiness? If I felt that I needed to go down a path, how would I want him to behave?

I do need to go down a path. We all need to. The people, that we will allow to be companions on the journey, will be our staunchest allies; the ones who love us unconditionally and fearlessly. They want the best for us, no matter what that may mean for our relationship. They want the best for us, even if it isn't readily apparent. They trust in our relationship with God, that we will make each steps with "Bismallah".

I want that chance to live with my own decisions for my own life guiding my steps. And I don't want to be in charge of someone else's path, as it's too tiring. Jumping up and down, waving my arms and yelling is tiring. And it keeps my from my own path. It serves nothing to block someone's path.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Breaking My Silence

I'd like to share something I read this week:

Accepting Love

Many of us have worked too hard to make relationships work; sometimes those relationships didn't have a chance because the other person was unavailable or refused to participate.

To compensate for the other person's unavailability, we worked too hard. We may have done or most of the work. This may mask the situation for a while, but we usually get tired. Then, when we stop doing all the work, we notice there is no relationship, or we're so tired we don't care.

Doing all the work in a relationship is not loving, giving, or caring. It is self-defeating and relationship-defeating. it creates the illusion of a relationship when in fact there may be no relationship. It enables the other person to be irresponsible for his or her share. Because that does not meet our needs, we ultimately feel victimized.

In our best relationships, we all have temporary periods where one person participates more than the other. This is normal. But as a permanent way of participating in relationships, it leaves us feeling tired, worn out, needy, and angry.

We can learn to participate a reasonable amount, then let the relationship find it's own life. Are we doing all the calling? Are we doing all the initiating? Are we doing all the giving? Are we the one talking about feelings and striving for intimacy?

Are we doing all the waiting, the hoping, the work?

We can let go. If the relationship is meant to be, it will be, and it will become what it is meant to be. We do not help that process by trying to control it. We do not help ourselves, the other person, or the relationship by trying to force it or by doing all the work.

Let it be. Wait and see. Stop worrying about making it happen. See what happens and strive to understand if that is what you want.

Today, I will stop doing all the work in my relationships. I will give myself and the other person the gift of requiring both people to participate. I will accept the natural level my relationships reach when I do my share and allow the other person to choose what his or her share will be. I can trust my relationships to reach their own level. I do not have to do all the work; I need only do my share.

That was from, "The Language of Letting Go," by Melody Beattie, which is a book of daily meditations to stop being co-dependent. If that excerpt resonnants with you, then I urge you to run, not walk, to the nearest bookstore, or to click over to Amazon or ebay.

This is the part that hits me HARD,"...the other person was unavailable or refused to participate.To compensate for the other person's unavailability, we worked too hard. We may have done or most of the work. This may mask the situation for a while, but we usually get tired. Then, when we stop doing all the work, we notice there is no relationship, or we're so tired we don't care."

That is exactly me in my first marriage; to a "t". It came about after I was pregnant with my second child, while the first was still so needy. I couldn't meet all my son's needs with so much tiredness, discomfort and pain. I asked my then-husband to participate, but he couldn't. Or if he did, there was so much tension and anger surrounding my request that it didn't feel worth it. I stopped asking. I did the work of two parents and I was the life of that family, thus stopping my own life.That hurt. I was hurting. I searched for a way to stop the hurt and eventually found Islam. Alhumdulillah.

But, here I am again, in another marriage. And I have to look at patterns and see the truth and ask myself questions. Did I get myself into another situation where I am doing all the work? Where I am left waiting and hoping?

Originally posted as Honorary Arab

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Muslims Hold the Key

This morning I flipped through the morning news shows and stopped at Diane Sawyer in The Holyland. The Holyland is thought of as the joint home of the Jews and the Christians. Americans rarely think of it as an Islamic Holyland as well.Infact, Jerusalem use to be the Qibla, or the place Muslims face during prayers.

And it is where Allah brought Mohammad (pbuh) one night. Mohammad was taken from his bed and brought to Jerusalem.The Divine rapid-transit system! It's called Isra and the next part of the journey is called Miraj. From on top of a large rock, Mohammad was allowed to rise through the heavens. Subahanallah!This spot of accension is the site of Al Aqsa Mosque.

Diane Sawyer did talk about the conflict going on, as the masjid sits on top of not only the rock, but some of King Solomon's Palace. England has much the same problem of churches being built on top of Roman amphitheatres, for example.But, the most interesting part for me was when she was visiting The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which houses the supposed tomb that Jesus (pbuh) was suppose to go after death. After touching the rock of that tomb, she walked out into the modern world again.

She started talking about how the religions overlap all the time in this region and then she told of the MOST SUBHANALLAH fact.

There is a key for that church and it is entrusted to the family that lives next door; a family of Muslims. They open the door everyday, as they have done for 700 years. Seems that the Christian factions were arguing too much about the church and so they all agreed to hand over the keys to someone they could trust; the Muslims.

Subhanallah.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Just the Facts, Ma'am

Height: 5 foot 6 kind of...well, not really...I'm really more like 5 foot 5 and a half, but in figuring out my BMI, I always put 5'6 ;)

Color: It's not easy being green

Some like to call me: Habibi, Honey Girl, Mom, MOMMMMMM!

Piercing: Voice LOL ! Nah, I just have holes for earrings, and even those took until age 12

Tattoos: I only managed the temporary kind and those are usually butterflies

Right-now Time: 5:16 PM

Mood: Mellowed out stress

Taste: Fresh baked bread

Weather: brisk

Bad habit: I'm not telling, but I do wish I'd stop it

Current crush: My husband, but don't tell Antonio Banderas, he thinks it's him ;)

Biggest regret: Not canceling the first wedding

Perfume(s): only spray it on at bedtime ;) And I don't know the name as it was a guilt gift from BIL to me via husband.

Thing I want to do: Have dinner cook itself and vote in Barak Obama as President in 2008

Favorite TV show: If it's a reality show, I'm watching: Amazing Race, Survivor, Top Model, etc. Currently, I'm liking Dr. Phil a lot.

Book: The Good Girl in me says, "Quran"

Non alcoholic drink: As opposed to all the booze I drink? LOL! Cranberry apple with Gingerale OR Rootbeer with milk

Color: Beatrix Potter's palette

Emblem: Not sure where they're going with this one. Motto, I understand, but "Emblem"?!

Perfume: Whatever doesn't smell like old ladies who need a bath

Designer: Whoever was the designer cast off in the donations at the thrift store!

Chocolate: huge bars of dark chocolate that you can eat with dried apricots or pretzels, or...

Have I Ever Broken the Law: Just speeding---I was caught and shoplifting as a kid---not caught, but I paid my debt years later

Misused credit card: No, *&^%$#@+! So, how did I end up half responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt!?

Skipped school: I went to White Castle with the tall punked out guy, but I must not have impressed him too much :(

Fell asleep in the shower/bath: Can you do that and live to tell??

Had children: Three and I'm fine with three. Alhumdulillah!

Been in love: Constantly!

Been hurt: Constantly!

Have a job: Nope. I have a calling ;)

My CD player has what in it right now: I have no idea. I disconnected the big old speakers and was going to get cute little ones to hide behind the plants, but I didn't get to Best Buy. So, we've got a CD player with no way to hear a thing.

If I were a crayon, the color: The gold with sparkles that all the kids want and fight over

What makes me happy: Running away!

When/What Was the Last...

I got a real letter: This Spring, after staying with us overnight, my dad left me a lovely note (OK, not a letter) when he left before I woke up and he gave me sweet words of support

....got an email: today, but not anything interesting (person who is suppose to send me interesting emails, please take note)

...thing I purchased: stuff at a Rummage sale

...TV program I watched: a few minutes of Oprah

...Movie I saw in the theaters: Neverland

...Hugged: baby, but he doesn't always hug back...hubby hugs back very nicely

...Place I was an hour ago: cooking and chasing baby

...Song heard: A Bollywood song...I don't know the name

...Phone call: the realtor

...Was depressed: today over the house crisis WON'T THE BIDDERS ON THIS HOUSE JUST ANSWER OUR COUNTER OFFER???

What Comes to Mind When I Hear:

Car: Better shut down the blog, hubby's home.


Murder: She Wrote...Angela Lansbury

Cape: Canaveral

Cell: phone

Fun: Time

Shoe: fits, wear it

Crush: on you

Music: wish I could listen to some now and relax, rather than run after the baby all the time

Love: me tender

Originally posted as Honorary Arab

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Food! Glorious Food!


How do you like your eggs?
Me: poached until they're solid and on toast with cripsy hash browns
My Boy: fried egg sandwhich with cheese
My Girl: scrambled with shreded cheese

How do you take your coffee/tea?
Me: the free cappaccino drink mix my neighbors gives me or tea with milk, sugar and cardamon My Boy: flavored coffee drink with milk
My Girl: tea with milk and honey, if I would even drink it

Favorite breakfast foods?
Me: Foul medamnes with lots of cumin seeds and a ton of olive oil and crusty pita with some spicy Egyptian cheese and olives on the side
My Boy: Omlette with...I can't say ham...I don't want to say it...oh, just put with spicey potatoes on the side
My Girl: Eggs with spinach, cheese and onions with pita toast

Coke or Pepsi?
Me: Neither--I don't like caffeinated drinks. They really hurt my stomach
My Boy: Cherry Vanilla Coke (I could never drink it plain)
My Girl: Hate it

You're feeling lazy. What do you make?
Me: Grape nuts and vanilla yoghurt with lots of junk on top, like raisins, craisins, soynuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
My Boy: Sugary cereal with toast peanut butter, cream cheese or Nutella (depending on mood) My Girl: Toast with cream cheese

What kind of pizza do you order?
Me: if halal pepperoni is possible, I'm happy! Add spinach, onions, olives, artichokes, green peppers...pretty much all the veggies you can throw on!
My Boy: meat combo with mushrooms and spinach
My Girl: personal deep dish with extra cheese and black olives

You feel like cooking. What do you make?
Me: Chili fries!
My Boy: Pita with pizza sauce, and mozzarella in the toaster oven
My Girl: Tortilla with cheddar cheese in the microwave

Do any foods bring back bad memories?
Me: Green Bean casserole reminds me of my ultra-controlling ex-mother-in-law and all those family dinners she lorded over
My Boy: Over spiced Texas Toast and throwing up in the bathtub
My Girl: Chili with uncooked potatoes

Do any foods remind you of someone?
Me: Lasagne reminds me of my mom
My Boy: My mom's homemade Mexican-American food, but especially the tortilla chips she cuts up and fries up
My Girl: Eggplant Parmasian reminds me of my loving mom

Is there a food you refuse to eat?
Me: Organ meats
My Boy: Freaky ethnic foods made out of unknown animal parts
My Girl: Any animal fat

What was your favorite food as a child?
Me: Lefse with brown sugar
My Boy: Cheesburger (from sit-down restaurants; not fast food junk)
My Girl: Spinach souffle

Is there a food you loved as a child but now hate?
Me: Hamburger Helper
My Boy: Coleslaw
My Girl: mint leaves

Favorite fruit and vegetable?
Me: Spinach & Apples
My Boy: Potato & Strawberry
My Girl: Spinach & Pear

Favorite junk food?
Me: Popcorn
My Boy: Kettle-cooked potato chips
My Girl: Nacho chips with melted cheese and sour cream

Favorite between meal snack?
Me: sunflower seeds
My Boy: chips and salsa
My Girl: crackers

Do you have any weird food habits?
Me: unnatural ethnic combos, like fried rice with feta
My Boy: all food needs salt or pepper
My Girl: dipping fries into drinks

You're on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?
Me: apples
My Boy: salad with croutons and dressing...more add-ons than vegetables
My Girl: on BRAT diet--toast

You're off your diet. Now what would you like?
Me: garlic bread with a pizza (why choose one?)
My Boy: Red meat
My Girl: CHEESE!

How spicy do you order Indian/Thai?
Me: MediumMy Boy: Mild...but I dig the curry
My Girl: Not spicy

Can I get you a drink?
Me: Rootbeer with milk
My Boy: Whatever is on the adult's menu that's not alcoholic
My Girl: Cranapple, please

Red wine or white?
Me: That was long ago and far away
My Boy: Honestly, I haven't tasted either, so I don't know yet
My Girl: Never!

Favorite Dessert?
Me: Raspberry cheesecake with shortbread crust
My Boy: Ice cream sundae, any pie or cheesecake
My Girl: Banana chocolate popscicles

The perfect nightcap?
Me: None...I'll only have to get up in the night
My Boy: I really like something hot, but I don't drink it actually.
My Girl: Water

Sunday, October 15, 2006

D is for...


D is for...du'a It's pronounced like in the songs: doowah! doowah! It's the Islamic prayer which is closest to the Christian way of praying. Anytime. Any place --except for bathroom. Any way you are --do not have to perform wudu first. Say or think anything--in the language you know best. This can be pre-programmed with words someone else has thought appropriate, but it doesn't have to be. Another name for du'a is supplication.

D is for...dwaah It's pronounced dow-wah. And remember in Arabic, there are no accented syllables; both get equal measure. This is showing Islam to others. This happens in America every time a Muslimah in hejab walks out of her house. This is one of the biggest reasons to wear hejab in America, as you show Islam has a face; your face represents Islam.


Yesterday, I went to a rummage sale at a church. It was nearly void of buyers on a cold day. I walked in with my kids, then turned back. I was trying to put the baby in his sling and I needed to rest my foot on something. No sooner had I placed him in the sling, then a very nervous woman working the sale hurried from her duties to see what I was doing. Would she have done that with a woman who was dressed just like her? I don't think so.
I was watched closely. If I dropped an item accidentally, it had only a second on the floor before a church lady yelled out, "YOU DROPPED SOMETHING!" That kind of attention on your life is something else that happens every time a Muslimah in hejab walks out of her house.

While I was rummaging through a box of discarded Happy Meal toys, I found an odd plastic card. At first, I thought it was a pretend credit card for playing store. Then, I realized it was a Target giftcard. I called the number on the back and discovered that it had a $9.38 remaining credit. Briefly, I thought about what I could buy with that money. I only had managed to pry $2.00 out of my husband and was using the dimes and nickels from my bag of change (the quarters had been used up buying the training bra for my girl and I had not yet resorted to pennies).

But, what could I do really? If I tried to buy it for the 25 cents, when they didn't know what it was, it would be like stealing. If you steal anything, then it loses the enjoyment. For instance, if you grab a bunch of cashew nuts out of the bulk bin while grocery shopping, those will give you pleasure for a second and then burn inside while you try to digest.So, when it came time to check out I told them of my find and handed over the card with the $9.38. They were a bit surprised. There was one elderly lady who thanked me verbally, and when my total was added up, she is the one who gave me a good deal. That was a reward, wasn't it? But the real reward is that I did dwaah yesterday with church ladies. A bridge of understanding was built. And as my baby's eyes were complimented and his good temperment commented upon, I could say, "Well, all the thanks goes to God." And the church ladies could chime in, "Yes. Yes. Yes." We could all remember that it's the One God.

Perhaps, even, the next time a person in their midst makes a disparaging comment about, "Those Muslims," one of those church ladies might even feel like standing up for another believer.

D is for...dryer repairman He came yesterday. When he left he was $119 richer. I always arrange for these workers to come when I have my son here, since my son is old enough to be my maharam now. Even so, I'm not comfortable with a man in my house. I'm not actually suppose to be. When I signed over the check to his company, he took a look at my name and started to repeat it and then ask me about it."It's Arabic. I'm not Arabic, but my husband is. When we got married, I changed it. You don't have to change to an Arabic name when you become Muslim, but I wanted to."
Why had I said so much? Am I more comfortable with dwaah?

He stood up and said, "Muslim, huh? I was in a shoe store once and there was a man who walked in with two women. One had her head covered and one had her whole face covered."

I listened and nodded my head just wondering where this was going."So, I was curious and I asked him why one has just her head, and the other has her whole face except for her eyes. He told me, 'It's their choice.' And he asked me if I'd like to read more, so he went out to his car and got a copy of the Quran for me. I took it home and read some of it. The beginning part is all about believers and non-believers and I can understand why some radical thought that they could be the judge of who is and isn't a believer."

"We know who the real Judge is, don't we?" I asked and then continued, "You know, that first part is all about the time of Moses. He was going up the mountain and told the people, 'You be good while I'm gone,' but they just couldn't keep from worshipping idols while he was away."

"The way Muslims teach their kids the Quran is reading the short chapters first. So, do you still have that copy of the book?" I asked

"Yes, I do," he seemed reflective.

"Then I'd recommend going back and reading some of those really short chapters. Some of them are only three lines long. They talk about doing the work of the Lord, giving the burdens of your heart to God, and how after a hard time God gives you an easy time." I was paraphrasing #94 Al-Insirah, but I didn't trouble him with direct quotes and numbers. You don't when you are making dwaah.

You also don't say 'Allah' too much. Say 'God' because that is the name they are more comfortable with.And I did invite him to read more Quran. I pushed. Not a lot. Not enough to drive him away. Just enough to have him feel invited.

"Right now Muslims are in the time of Ramadan, when we read more Quran. So, if you sit down and read some tonight, you'll be doing the same thing as one billion people on the earth," I stated with friendliness.

"Ya, whoever wrote that book didn't write it for terrrorists," he tried to bridge the gap.

"Well, and Muslims don't think that a person wrote it. They think that it is the actual word of God sent down to a man who couldn't read or write, but who could speak them aloud for others to copy."

"And I don't think it's right for Christians to say that if you don't believe Jesus Christ is your savior you're going to Hell," he said as he was almost to the door.

"In Islam, they don't believe that any person on the earth knows what's going to happen on the Day of Judgement except God. And that Jesus was a great man who spoke of peace and brotherly love as a prophet. We really respect him; we just don't think he's son of God."

At the door, he said that if I had any trouble with the new heater coils in the dryer just to let him know. And he left. I don't know if he read that Quran again. I do believe that he thought about doing it, even briefly, but it crossed his mind.


D is for ...divorce. D-I-V-O-R-C-E as the song said. My husband met with his lawyer yesterday. I haven't yet sent my visitation ideas. I wanted to let them sit. My dad heard them over the phone and complimented me on my lack of vengefulness. I am not vengeful over this. I want my son to see his father every day if possible.The divorce papers will be ready and sent to my lawyer on the 30th of this month. My husband requested that it be after Ramadan (per my request) and after Eid (per his request). I'm not sure when it is that I am considered Islamically divorced from my husband. Do I have to see them? What if it is only my representative who sees them? Getting an answer from the sheik during Ramadan is tough. He defers all matter until "Baad Ramadan," after Ramadan.

I lay in bed last night with my cell phone in my hand. The light of the calendar display shining in the night. I clicked through the days and the months. My husband wants to go to Egypt as a man free to remarry in January. If the papers get filed in the court in early November, this would give him enough time for everything to be completed.

I'd say, 'inshahallah,' but I don't feel like it. I do begrudge this happening.

At the same time, I am proving my strength and my commitment to myself, my children and my family. I am not freaking out and throwing pots and pans as this happens.

I'm still having 'Fun Food Friday,' since my older kids requested one day a week of American food. I am low on supplies as I'm low on money, so I made one batch of mac n'cheese with tuna and the other with a cut-up hot dog. Then, I piled a party tray with toppings: ketchup and mustard packets, chopped chives from the garden, toasted bread crumbs, the last dregs from a bag of cheese crackers, cooked peas and also cooked broccoli, and parmesan cheese and red pepper packets. It was fun. It really was.

I said to them, "If we had all the food we wanted, I never would have thought to do this, so Alhumdulillah for no having everything we want."

We then watched a great movie from Iran, "Children of Heaven," which is bascially about the same thing, except using shoes as the metaphor.

So, the divorce. It continues. I continue. Love, laughter and happiness continue. Why not? We're in the last ten days of Ramadan. More power to you if you remember this and strive for this. Rise above your circumstances.

D is for dependency As I've said, though I haven't experienced being dependent on drugs or alcohol, I appreciate books for those wishing to be free from thinking that limited way, i.e, that something in this world is better than God. Nothing is better than God.

So, I'm going to end this posting with a dyn-0-mite excerpt from The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie.

"We can trust that all we need on this journey shall come to us. We will not get all we need for the entire journey today. We shall receive today's supplies today, and tomorrow's supplies tomorrow. We were never intended to carry supplies for the entire journey. The burden would be too heavy, and the way was intended to be light."

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Possesive Adjective "His"



I was trying to cocoon.I took a hot shower, (thanks PBS for putting on kids' shows that can entertain a baby for 10 minutes). I put on comfy clothes, that could be mistaken for pajamas.
After getting dressed and praying, I went to make breakfast: hashbrowns, eggs with spinach (and my new favorite seasoning of salt, chili powder, turmeric, cumin seeds and onion). I heated up pita in the toaster oven. Made my fake cappucino (which I don't know how to spell).
The baby started freaking out because he doesn't understand that, even though breastmilk is ready on demand, an omlette isn't. I sat down with baby and tried to eat with him. For some reason, he ran into the kitchen crying and stayed sitting amongst the line-up of shoes next to the door. I had to coax him out. Wacky kid. We ate and I thought we'd eat happily watching morning television, but President Bush wanted to talk with us.
I don't like hearing anything out of his mouth. It's way past the stage of getting a water pistol and spraying the screen every time he says something stupid. That's how I got through the Presidental debates. No, I can't listen because it's too much like the lunatics are running the asylum.
So, instead my mom called and we talked over some decisions I need to make. I didn't want to think over anything regarding a divorce during Ramadan. I had asked my hub not to present me with the papers at this time. But, I knew that his lawyer was working on matters.
Yesterday, my hub called me in a foul mood. I knew something was wrong. I had been out raking the leaves while the baby slept. After we talked over yard work, he said, "I've got to ask you something from the lawyer. He wants to know who gives the baby the health insurance."OK. Well. Even though I had given up lunch and postponed my prayer in order to get the leaves bagged, I could answer that question. There's about zero chance my hub will ever get a job with health insurance, so I offered to take responsibility for it. Currently, we get it through the state.
Then he said, "And he wants to know about visitation."
That hit me, but like a trooper, I started answering. I fumbled over my words. I began to answer and then stuttered. I was falling apart. He put me on hold to deal with a customer. I started to cry. When he was back on the line, I told him I had to go pray duhr.
That's the problem with postponing prayer. You need a constant supply to buoy your spirit. Without continually going to Allah, especially during times of crisis, you sink lower and lower. If you get too low, you feel like drowning.
Then I ate. I ate too much and too many carbs; bagel with my fish and then chocolate cake for dessert. Carbs act like a drug, you know. And I wanted to numb some of these feelings.
We had to leave the house for a showing. Remember, during all this fracus, I'm still trying to sell a house and find a new place to live. So, after I've scrubbed the tub, polished the faucets, and quickly organized the house, we left together in the car.
His bad mood continued."I can't live like this. It's only one hand clapping. I need to have more money coming in. We have so much debt. How are we going to get out of debt? How?! This is a crazy life. The only thing that keeps me sane is thinking that I've got a place in Egypt and I can get a job in Egypt. I can just go there and start over again. I've been back four years and what have I got to show for it?"
I sat in the backseat very detached. When he'd ask me a question, I'd answer along the lines of, "Alhumdulillah," or "Inshahallah," or "Allah knows best."He dropped me and the baby at my mom's while he went to get money from the man who bought the gas station from him.
See, when my hub had one business, he thought he was Donald Trump and could buy another and handle both. It wasn't enough that he had just bought out his partner in the store (using my lawsuit settlement money). He needed a gas station too. Why would he need another business?
Because he wanted a place for his ex to come and work. He built a haram life of loans and debt to make a haram dream of re-marriage work with a woman he's already divorced three times.
My mom saw my countenance and could tell that I wasn't well. I wasn't. I had just spent a half an hour in a car listening to a man spiral downward to the point where he's basically telling me he could cut his losses and run. I prayed. We ate together and watched Dancing with the Stars. TV acts like a drug, you know. And I wanted to numb these feelings.
He was better after he'd been to see the guy at the gas station and then been to the masjid. But once home, he found fault with something I'd done. Doesn't matter what. He was searching and he found something. I found something too. I checked his phone and found he'd talked with his ex.
His ex doesn't want happiness or goodness for this man. She wants to hurt him. She does. I know this. Think of people in your life. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS FEEL BETTER FOR HAVING SPENT TIME WITH THEM. They should add to your life, not subtract. His ex takes his peace of mind. She tells him how sick the kids are...how many doctor visits she takes them to...how they miss him and wait by the phone for him to call...how the teacher says they're the only kids in class who don't talk about their Baba...how they're the only kids whose Baba doesn't drop them at school...how they think some other man is paying for their life; not their Baba, because they never see him...how Baba promised them a bike, but she had to be the one to go buy it.
I know that I could say many mean things to my ex to have him feel low and worthless. I don't. Children say all kinds of things. It's up to the grown-ups to help them sort it all out. It doesn't help my ex to be a good father if I spew all kinds of hurtful things at him in the name of the children. No. I know this, because my ex has done this to me. Though, lately, after imploring my outlaws to help the situation, the mean emails and swearing on the phone have stopped.
So, today, as I cocooned on a cold morning, I thought about the visitation. Here's what I'm thinking:

from now until age 3-supervised visitation for up to one hour a day, seven days a week
from age 3-6-supervised visitation for up to two hours a day, seven days a week
from age 6-9-unsupervised visation for up to four hours a day, seven days a week
from age 9-12-unsupervised visation for up to eight hours a day, seven days a week
from age 12-15-unsupervised visation, including sleep over, for up to twelve hours, seven days a week
age 15-this custody agreement will end and a new agreement will be written based on the needs at that time

What do you think?

I told mom about all my thoughts. She just wants me to divorce this man who has brought so much chaos into my life. She wants me not only to divorce, but to be done. It's hard on her. She didn't sleep last night. Please send some good energy her way. She's past 70, and really needing some calm for me, in order to feel at ease in her own life.

Once I hung up with my mom, I noticed that somehow, the baby's socks were wet. And I've got to put the non-skid socks on him. He's on hardwood floors and those get slippery! So, I searched through all his drawers and turned up one sock. Thought seriously about just letting him walk around with one sock. "Bad Mother Award for 2006," popped into my brain so I rethought that idea. I decided to head up to my girl's room and search her sock drawer. Maybe some of his had gotten mixed-in with hers.

I had to remove a pile of junk that I'd thrown in there in my flurry to tidy up, but eventually I found socks. OK, they were pink, but they were baby socks with non-skid, so you say, "Alhumdulillah," and put them on. Then I sorted out the rest of her socks and put them neatly away. First time I'd done that in awhile. But, ever since Safa said that undone laundry is a sign of depression, I've been fighting the battle to get it clean and put it away. I then grabbed the pile of junk.

There was the "ME Poster" that my daughter had made for school last year. I love her dearly. She looks so cute. She's in a rainbow dress with her beautiful golden hair in one picture and in a white hejab in the other. Mashallah. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She likes playing soccer and going outside. Her favorite book is "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." She wants to see the Great Pyramids and go to Cairo, Egypt. She wishes there were no more wars.
Then I took a look at the book. This book isn't ours. It belonged to the boys; the nephews who were here a year ago. They stayed in my daughter's room (thus forcing her to share with her brother). "My First Steps in English Grammar." I meant to send it to them and then decided to just hang on to it for now. I meant to bring it to my teaching supplies and then forgot. I truly did not mean to let it sit in my daughter's room for almost a year.

Funny, that this morning, my hub and I had just had a disagreement over his family's visit. I had mentioned how many big things had happened to us over the last four years. I said that on the phone today when he called; he was wanting to be nice. The lawsuit, different jobs, money troubles, troubles with my ex, pregnancy, the family coming to stay. My hub couldn't agree that it was a big deal to have them come visit and he scoffed at me for even suggesting it. Get real. It was huge.

So, there I am looking at their book. I had never really looked inside. I opened it for the first time today and here is what I saw:

Exercises

25. Put suitable possessive adjectives in the blanks:

Ex. Although he loved........wife, he divorced her. ----->his
No kidding. "Although he loved his wife, he divorced her." I could only have seen that sentence one place and I saw it this morning in the book that God meant for me to see. Yes. I do take this as a sign from God.

It is interesting too that "Ex." is short for "Example," but I use it all the time to talk about the other woman in the picture; his ex. She is coming first in the wording. She is the reason.
You can believe what you want, but I see what is written. I feel that I will be divorced from my husband no matter what else happens in Ramadan. No matter how many beseeching prayers I do or how much Quran he hears, I will be given a divorce.
And, he will love me even as he divorces me.

Alhumdulillah. Allah knows best. Always say, "Alhumdulillah."