Friday, October 31, 2008

Firmness of Purpose


Subhanallah! Sometimes the Quran is so powerful that Allah's holy words can come back to remind you many days after you read them.

Within the surah of Ta-ha, there is the story of Adam, (a.s.). He lost, as it says in my Mohammed Asad translation, "firmness of purpose."

That one phrase is what is prodding me through my days.

FIRMNESS OF PURPOSE

Do I have that?

Do I know who I am?

Are my actions supporting my vision for me and my life?

Inshahallah, my efforts to improve through my days and years will win favor with Allah, whether or not anyone else on earth likes it or not.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pink Hejab Day, October 29, 2008

As other blogs are reporting, tomorrow is:


This has been done before but inshahallah will be even more observed this year.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Standing There Standing Bare


Standing there
Standing bare
Wishing for a rescue

My face a vacant stare.


Even as a woman

my mind remains behind

Hoping for the moment

someone is caring; kind.


Through years no one came

or came and then they went

I turned to Allah

and prayers were said and sent.


The answers will not be here,

Among the stranger friends.

If I am to find the peace

then this searching ends.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Your Name on the Terrorist List?



Is your name on THE LIST?

Go here to check.

It's put out by The U.S. Treasury.

Mine wasn't on the list.

There sure are a lot of names that are.


For some more information, you can read up on it here.


If you really want to make a statement with your name...


at Facebook there is a new group which is encouraging all users to adopt the middle name of, "Hussein." I did it! And thousands of others are doing it to show solidarity against biogtry. Do it in, "settings" on your profile page. Feels great!

The NY Times reported on this back in June, but I'm a little slow.

If you want to see how horrible the bigoted smear is against this fine American man, google, "Obama Hussein". I've been searching for a picture to put with this posting, and I'm a bit shocked. Hate crimes always feel worse than a regular crime and it's much the same with bigotry in a campaign.

May God protect Senator Obama and his family.

Friday, October 24, 2008

People Who Live in Glass


Part I

Abdi didn't have his shoes off; didn't even have time to wish his wife, "Asalamu alaykom," when she rushed him at the door.

"Alhumdulillah you are home now."

Abdi stood up and asked, "What's wrong?"

"There is a sister who needs help. She lives here. She lives over there, actually; across the parking lot."

"She Somali?"

"No, I saw her. She's American. She is...astragferallah..." and Aisha couldn't finish.

While Abdi knew his wife was well-meaning, she was also one to make a confusion out of something simple. He really just wanted to wash up and pray, but she stood in his way.

"I told you that you shouldn't care what others do." But then curiousity got the best of him, "What did she do?" he asked knowing that he probably shouldn't.

"She---astragferallah---is infront of her window and I can see her."

Abdi's mind, tired and dull from hours of driving his taxi, couldn't quite understand.

"She's naked in front of the window?"

"No," but then his wife paused. "Maybe. I don't know. All I know is I can see her shape in front of her bathroom window."

Even with little sleep and almost no food, Abdi knew that sounded crazy. "But the bathroom windows here are those glass blocks! You can't see anything!"

His wife was having none of it. "When I am here and I look out, I can see her shape moving through the window. This is wrong. She should not think it shows nothing. It shows something."

Ever logical, Abdi said, "Let me go see."

Aisha pulled him back, "Astragferallah! No, you cannot! Astragferallah! Haram!"

Abdi sighed, "Well, what do you want me to do, then?

"I want you to write her a note and tell her don't do this thing. It's haram and she could be tempting men and bringing them to do major sins."

That was one problem with being the only English speaker in the family. Everything fell to Abdi. Sometimes, he wished that his wife would go to night school like he had asked, but she had refused, since men and women co-mingled in the classroom. She was so against the Western ways that she continued to wear not only the niqab across her face, but gloves as well. She didn't understand English and didn't understand America.

"A note?" he didn't need one more thing to do, before his prayer, his dinner, and his rest.

"I'll tell you what to write. Tell her, 'I see you through the window. Stop doing this bad thing or more bad will happen.'"

Without thinking logically any more, since logic wasn't getting him closer to the rug, the table, or the bed, he found paper and wrote. His writing wasn't really that good. It was all large capital letters and they were more scrawled than written. Abdi eyed them critically, but Aisha was happy.

"Good! Good!" She praised his efforts. "Now, you go slip that under her door."

"What?! Come on. I---"

"You don't expect me to do it, do you?" Aisha always said this. That's why she had gained 60 pounds. She never went anywhere. She had been slimmer as a high school girl, but as a young women she had become sedentary inside the home. She never left without a fuss. She loved the safety of their one-bedroom apartment. Maybe too many years of civil war and refugee camps left her wishing for those four walls more than for her freedom.

"OK, but can you heat up my dinner? I have to pray and eat, and then sleep. I want to go out again tonight for the late night fares." He used to say, 'bar rush,' but had learned not to talk about the drunks he carried around town. Aisha almost had him quit, since his actions, "contributed to the haram of others"

What a life. Some nights it just seemed like being a man was a never-ending job. Abdi trudged through the windy night and made his way across the dark parking lot to the other building. He got in when someone else opened the door. He walked up the stairs to her door.

For a moment, he paused outside the door. Something didn't seem right. It didn't. He wasn't sure which piece of the puzzle was missing, but he knew that he should stop. Instead of stopping, which took a lot of energy to think about, he did the easiest thing, which was to obey. The note was slipped under her door and he left for his own door with hopes that his second arrival would be more welcoming.

II

"You didn't leave the note, or what?" Abdi was greeted at the door the following night.

"Asalamu alaykom," he greeted her in a way to remind Aisha of her duties as a wife.

"Wa alaykom asalam," she answered, but she didn't give the kiss and there wasn't any smile.

"I put the note. I told you."

"OK, then there has to be another note, because I saw her again," Aisha stated emphatically.

Abdi knew he could discuss but wondered how many more discussions he really needed. It was easier to submit. He never thought he would become one of these men who let the wife wear the pants. The pants just didn't seem as important as the food or the night's rest. He sat down and had her dictate another note.

"You didn't listen to me," Aisha wanted him to write. "You better do what I say or you will be sorry."

"What does that mean?" Afterall, Abdi had to listen to the Somali from his wife and then translate it the best he knew how into English. While his English was better than hers, it's not as if he had a full command of it.

"I mean, Allah will be her judge on Judgement Day."

"I don't want to write, 'Allah,' because the note goes under her door unto the floor."

"True. OK. Tear that up. Start again."

The next attempt went better. It met with approval and Abdi was off on his delivery route again. He was more decisive this time. It had to get done and he had to go home and sleep.

"Oh, and take the trash out before you get your shoes off," was his wife's request once he walked back in.


It was on the way back from the trash that he saw the police car. The apartment complex was so quiet. Normally, the police didn't cruise around. This one actually pulled up and parked. Two officers got out.

"Good evening," the fat one said to Abdi. "You live here?"

"Yes, sir," Abdi wasn't a fool. You don't act anything but respectful with the police. They meant the difference between jail and Jennah."


The skinny one asked him, "You seen anybody outside here in the parking lot?"

"No, sir, only me. I am dumping my trash."


"What's your name?" the fat one asked. This didn't feel good to be questioned by police, even if he hadn't done anything wrong.

"Abdisalam Mohammedsadek Dire."

The skinny one was now writing it down in a notebook.

Why?

"Which apartment you live in?"

"Over there," and Abdi pointed, "in the first floor. Number 10."

He walked back to his apartment with a troubled heart. If he hadn't done anything wrong, why did he feel like he had?

Aisha greeted him with a hug and a kiss, "What did the police want with you?"

"I don't know."

There was a knock at the door.

"Open up. It's police we just want to talk to you."

There had been a paper grocery sack in the dumpster which included a crumpled note, with the words, "I said stop what you doing." Seems that the crumpled note in the trash, had been sitting next to junk mail addressed to Abdisalam Dire.

"Abdisalam, you been watching the woman across the street?"

"No!"

The conversation was too confusing to his mind with his empty stomach and his tired head and his wife constantly asking for him to explain what was being said. Her. This was really all because of her. She had wanted to help some stranger and ended up hurting her husband.

Aisha began to cry as her husband was led away in handcuffs. She left the apartment and followed him without even thinking. She watched him as the police car drove away then looked up to search the heaven for Allah's mercy. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the light on in the apartment of the American Muslimah. Aisha turned her head to see that the shadowy figure moving in front of the window really wasn't that revealing.

"Alhumdulillah," she spoke alone in the night air.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

God Has the Steering Wheel


Ok. You ready for this?


I was called into the office and shown a set of car keys.

I had asked one of the administrators of the school if he knew anyone who could help me get a car. He said he would do his best. This pious brother was evidentally the one to ask.

He told me that the same day I asked about a car, one was donated to the school.

Yes.
The school is going to get a new battery for the vehicle and then have me try it out. If I do decide to buy, then I purchase at a very reduced rate. My payments would be a little every paycheck. I could have a car before the snow flies, inshahallah.

Allahu Akbar!
I was right to hold on to my convictions. I wanted to do the right thing and it is never going to hurt to stick to the path. Maybe, we might be momentarily inconvenienced...but never hurt, unless Allah wills it.
Alhumdulillah, I've dropped some weight from all my walking.
Alhumdulillah, I have a renewed appreciation for cars.
Alhumdulillah, I have re-evaluated my commitment to a halal life and chosen more wisely than in the past.
Hey, it ain't no Audi...but if it gets us to the grocery store, that sure would be AWESOME!
Let's hope that it all goes well, inshahallah.

Free Islamic Books


This notice came to my attention.

I trust that it is legitimate

but since I have never requested books from them,

I just don't know for certain.

Give it a try and let me know!


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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tired of No Voice


Last night, like the night before, and the night before that...

I had no voice left. Maybe, during these day I have been managing a croak when needed. Yesterday, I knew that I couldn't even risk that. I didn't talk during the day. AT ALL.

You might be able to figure out from this blog that I like to express myself A LOT and OFTEN. I've been heard to say, "I can't think unless I hear myself say it." So, imagine how hard is has been for me not to speak...

not to my co-workers at the conferences...

not to the other teachers during round-table talks...

not to my kids...

and not to my friends.
There was one strange moment for me when I was visiting the booth displays at RiverCentre. I only said a very few things to those wanting to greet me. I knew that, in hejab, I had to be pleasant. But then, I freaked out.

"VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE!"

That was me uttering a guttural squeal. The Gutherie Theatre was doing a new production of the play that got me the most local notoriety. The booth was giving away little pins with the show's title.

"You know this show?" I asked the man standing there.
He started in on some discourse on Arthur Miller and the history of American theatre.

"No, I mean..." I tried to find my voice. I had my words, but I wasn't able to get them out, "I was ....in...this...show. I was Catherine!" I tried to tell him which local theatre it was.

Did he hear me? Understand me? I was this woman in hejab who couldn't talk.

Then I saw the button with, "WALKING WAVY," written on them. I squealed again, "That was one of my lines!

But, I wasn't connecting. My voice wasn't allowing me to connect.

The last button I picked up said, "Paper Doll," and I did feel as if I were less than human.
That was with a stranger.
Last night, I dealt with two of the people who have been closest to me and it was even more frustrating.

AbuBoo came over with the toaster oven he doesn't want. He brought food. He could watch his son while I got time to myself. It was nice. No complaints (oh, except from somebody reading this blog who wants to complain that we shouldn't be alone together--keep reading). After dinner, Mr. Boo was playing with his dad's phone and, since I've been unable to call my mom, I asked if the two guys could call.
Big mistake.
Mom had found a car for me. $2,800. She was going to take it to the mechanic. She arranged for me to take a small loan out from the bank. The whole thing was orchestrated without my input.
I told her, "No, I don't want a loan. It goes against Islam."
I handed the phone to AbuBoo, thinking he'd explain.
NOPE!
The two of them talked about me like I was unable to make a decision with my priddy widdle head. Heard the whole thing, as the phone was set on speaker still. They talked about me like I wasn't there!

"Yes, she does have to get a car right away."

All the time I was shaking my head.

"She can afford a couple hundred a month."

I was gesturing wildly. I will never again inshahallah be sucked dry by riba.

"Or, if YOU co-sign, then I can put the loan in my name," and that was from the man who just went through bankruptcy.

I started hitting the arm of the chair and holding out my hand for the phone to come back to me.

AbuBoo kept talking and motioning for me to be quiet. Me? It's only MY LIFE!
I couldnt' take it any longer and grabbed the phone.

"Stop! Stop!" which would normally be a shout, but sounded like a hoarse whisper.

The phone call ended and the argument began. I was blamed for getting Mr. Boo sick by taking him out in the cold mornings. I was blamed for not thinking ahead to the next step in my life. It was too hard to hear and even harder not to respond to. I walked out of my own apartment.

I calmed down and when I returned I asked him to leave. He wondered if he should go to the store for me. No. I didn't want anything else. I did that in spite of my wants for a few items. It wasn't worth it to me any more. AbuBoo got ready to leave. Mr. Boo freaked out. The whole scene was HORRIBLE.

Now, I do try to see the reasons for horrible experiences. I see this one on many levels.

On a very personal level, I have got to be in command of my own life. I cannot have others, let alone others who don't have the same ethical standards, decide for me what is right and wrong in my life. Never again.

It has me seeing that allowing AbuBoo to be welcome in my apartment, has him feeling like he's welcome to comment and take charge. He becomes a pseudo authority figure
And this car issue is huge. It's looming larger with every degree that falls every day. I do have to figure it out. I did ask Al in Cal via messenger (no voice needed) what his thoughts were. He, God bless him, started off with being supportive of my need to stay good with Allah. He heard all my needs and limits and then worked out a plan. That's actually what he does for a living and it was great to see how he handles clients. I might just follow what he said.

OK, now on another, more global level, all of us understand the issue of having no voice.

It's parents not listening to kids.

Or husbands not listening to wives.

Or canidates not listening to voters.

We can see all ourselves as not being heard. We can also see ourselves as the well-meaning go-doer who doesn't pay attention to the signals from the one we are pitying. Most of the time, we vacillate between victim and the perpetrator throughout our lives. Lots of times, we allow others to victimize us. People will only treat us the way we have allowed them to treat us.
I do want help, that's true, but I need to remember my own thoughts, needs, and goals. I can't have anyone's help over-ride who I am and who I want to be.
When, inshahallah, I do get my voice back, I will use it less and use it more effectively.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boys & Girls are Biologically Different


I sure have been learning a few things these past days!


We just had our state teachers' convention, and since I am a teacher, I went. I did learn a lot actually. I always do. Some of it is actually re-learning.

One of the most interesting lectures was on the biological differences between boys and girls. While both boys and girls can learn the same amount, there are differences in the ways they learn.

Did you know that a boy's eyes have more M cells? They are able to gauge how fast something is better than girls. They also have thinner retinas. Because of these differences, they can't see all the same colors. They prefer colors such as black, gray, silver, and blue, along with bright colors. It might not be that they want to play with the red truck over the Barbie car due to gender roles, but because they can SEE the truck better! Also, boys need more light in order to be happy and think.

Girls, on the other hand, have more P cells and cones (whatever that means) and look for softer colors and texture. They can see more color variety. They are able to take in more details. That's the way P cells are wired. They need less light in their environment.

Between the two sides of our brain, the girls have a longer span which connects the halves. Think of it as a bigger bridge. This allows for more multi-tasking. Girls can respond better to stress.

The boys can't multi-task or transition well. They have a shorter span which helps them focus acutely and in turn they excel in math and science. Boys like lists.

Boys can use their hipppocampus like a compass, so they really don't need maps like us girls.

Boys actually can't hear female voices as well. Didn't we kind of know that somehow? Women teachers need to talk less and write more.

Girls can also hear more tonal range. Everything about language is increased in girls. They have more pathways connecting neurons to the brain. There is more word production, expression of experience, emotions and cognitive development. Girls generate more crosstalk. They get jokes deeper and generate more feelings of reward.

Girls' prefrontal cortex is more active than a boy's and it develops earlier. It is the place of decision making. Girls make less impulsive executive decisions.
Oh, and remember seeing a guy "zone-out"? Boy's brains go into a neurological rest state to re-set their brain 3-8 times a day.
When girls get bored, their brain still functions.

Boys are more competitive and naturally aggressive. While girls' levels of oxytocin (the love drug) rise when they communicate verbally, it doesn't for boys. Boys' levels of oxytocin are lower. They don't learn as much through listening and talking. Boys need action-response. Boys communicate through physical action.

They are big risk takers. There is more dopamine in boys. In order to deal with this need, the blood needs to be flowing around, so get them up out of their seats often (if only to stand, stretch, and sit back down).

Boys, who play more aggressively and take more risks, also have thinner skulls and often have undiagnosed brain injuries. Sports, such as soccer, with heading the ball, contribute greatly to this problem.
We could really learn about these differences and embrace them, but in our society of equality, we still believe in ONE SIZE FITS ALL. We punish those who willfully (as we misinterpret) go against our ways.


This has led to some awful statistics:


Boys earn 70% of all Ds and Fs.


Boys get 90% of all discipline referrals.


And lastly, since 1997, there has been a 500% increase in the use of Ritalin for boys.


Allah made us different for reasons in His Divine Plan. Our attributes can compliment each other---in the classroom, in the workplace, in our homes. Biologically, we are made exactly right, but we need to first learn the truth of who we are and then embrace it..in ourselves and others. This is true for teachers in the classroom AND for husbands and wives at home.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Snotty


Subhanallah! We always forget how great it is to be healthy, until we get sick.

I am sick. Been sick. Nobody ever realizes how sick I am. That's a real problem for those with high thresholds for life's challenges. Since the weekend, I've had a cold and kept going. I had to! Who else is going to be me and do my duties?

What sucks (like the hot lime with honey I'm drinking) is that I lost my voice the second half of yesterday's school day. LOST IT! Like....beyond Kathleen Turner in Jewel of the Nile into more of a Froggy from The Little Rascals. Allllll my co-workers joked with me that I've been yelling at my kids. Sigh...probably comes across that way. I got one offer of speech therapy from a parent and some tips for crowd control from Mr. Boo's babysitter. I actually do well with classroom management when I'm healthy...which I haven't been. Nobody knew just how sick I was except me.

The babysitter did give me a large plastic bear filled with honey, God bless her. It is saving me in this middle-of-the-night liquifacation. She also gave me some questions.

"Is there any chance you could get back together with his father?"

She had seen AbuBoo when he came to visit the daycare with me afterschool last week. We look good together. We seem happy together. When we are with Mr. Boo, we appear to be a happy family.

So...she got some of, "The Story."

Matt from http://www.mattlogelin.com/ has his own sad story of his wife dying the day after she gave birth. It's the answer to the question, "What happened?" We end up having to say something; to say an answer to what they've been dying to know.

Curiosity killed the cat.

Then we tell them that sound bite answer, which totally belies the depths of the absolute misery we have been through. It's hard to know what to tell; what to leave out. Once you start it sometimes becomes this snowball rolling down the hill which grows bigger and more out of control and you don't know how to stop.

My teacher's aid, having heard me talk about Mr. Boo in class (which I do daily in order for the kids to see the humanity of their teacher and help develop their sense of empathy) asked me yesterday. She asked and I told during my lunch break; during the time I should have been resting the little I had of my voice. Don't get me wrong! I adore my aide. If you hear I'm a little mad, it's at myself. I can't stop myself from answering.

I read once that talking about our tragedies, and this is perhaps (Allahu alim) the biggest tragedy of my life, helps us to weave the fabric of our being. We tell and tell and it develops us into a healed whole. Without telling, we never reconnect our fragmented lives back together. It's not so much that others have to hear, but that we have to tell again and again.

Matt, God bless him, has faced the biggest heartbreak I have ever heard. He keeps going.

For me, I have to keep going as well. Knowing Matt helps me to do that. Knowing all of you, who hurt and blog, helps me too. We are all managing with only one wing, they say, and need to connect with someone else in order to fly.

For the babysitter, I tried to explain that it was not a matter between two people: it was a triangulated relationship that was never going to work. Astragferallah.

For my teacher's aide, I tried to say how the haram that entered into our married life tainted everything else to the point that it was unlivable.

I did say that I couldn't hate AbuBoo. He brought me to Islam. He gave me a beautiful boy. Alhumdulillah.

They both answered, "You are mashallah a strong woman."

Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought her back.

Maybe that's why I tell. I forget that I am strong. I sit on my big comfy chair and type to all of you with my awful throat and my runny nose and I forget. I feel weak right now, but to hear that I've been through hell and back? Well, that's affirming.

"Religion is for those who believe in hell. Faith is for those who've been to hell and back."

Inshahallah, I'll keep getting healthier...in all the ways.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bye Bye Iddah

Crying jags.

Aching legs.

Extra tired.

Migraine headache.

YEP!

Today, my iddah is O-V-E-R!


Time for another marriage!

Just kidding!

Or...am I?

No, no, no...I'm not ready for that commitment all of a sudden today. While I couldn't get married today, I could work towards it.

I am ready for the slow building of commitment, of love and affection. I want to have support and help around the house. I'm ready to pray together and study Quran together. I'd love to learn more Arabic. I really do want to travel more with yet another foreign man---no Americans for me, sorry. Financially? Oh, wow--SURE! And a man to mentor Mr. Boo? YA!

But, now? This time is different.

I'm not chasing anyone.

I'm not putting myself out there right now.

I'm not putting myself at risk for heartache or mistreatment.

I am who I am.

Currently, I'm overweight by a combined three inches on my waist and hips. Considering that I want a man who is fit, I better get fit myself. I'm working on it...really. Since I've been walking to work, I have firmed up a bit. Also, it helps that I'm eating only a little breakfast and often skip a real lunch.

I'm also a bit shaky on trust.

I'm not flying anywhere. Not leaving to go anywhere. Any man would have to come here to meet us---and would have to accept us as a package deal. I might not even consider moving again. I'd really have to know and love the other city. I'm not sure if I could trust another man out of this area enough to move to his turf.

There is one man who has been waiting for my iddah to be over: Al in Cal. Ladies, take it from me that he is the MOST groovy-looking guy. My friends have seen his pic and all agree on his looks. His faith is better than most. His desire for me and Mr. Boo as his family is sincere. He's intelligent, funny, often kind and understanding.

Sigh...we'll see.

But, I'll tell you something, on the first possible day of getting married again: I'm not jumping into another marriage. I'm not. If another marriage happens, it will unfold and not explode.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Searching for VOTE Projects for Kids


Mr. Boo slept at 5:30 PM last night. He came home, got changed, demanded cheese puffs and promptly fell asleep on the floor. Didn't even get orange fingers.

When he woke, it was 2:00 AM and we watched TV as he got his snack. Bad mom? Good mom? Don't know.

While we were watching Conan, I learned about The Yarn Harlot whose blogging has led to a LOT of craziness---including coining the new verb, "kinnearing," meaning to, " to surreptitiously photograph someone."

That got me looking around from one thing to another.

Here's another knitting blogger who got Senator Obama in on the act.

Some serious crafters and artists are loving Obama here.

Finger puppets of the canidates. Almost would consider that...

I like the funkiness of this crafter.

I still haven't found the perfect crafts project for my kids, but as usual on the internet, I did waste 30 minutes.

Now, I've done the same for you! Mwaaaahaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaa!

Ignorance about Senator Obama


Here's a wacky quote from John McCain's rally in Minnesota:

One woman called Obama "an Arab." McCain shook his head no and, taking the microphone from her, said that's not true.

"He's a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with over fundamental issues," McCain said.

Are people THAT ignorant?

Ummm...so, that means that people are honestly mixing up Senator Barak Obama's Kenyan father, who was Muslim with an Arab? Like...all Muslims are Arabs?

And hasn't Senator Obama been going to church for awhile? It is the United Church of Christ, which I grew up in, no less. I know it intimately as the MOST liberal and welcoming Protestant denomination.

Doesn't anyone realize that the beliefs of the parents are not always adhered to by their offspring? Don't they know any Catholic school kids who grew up to be Unitarians?

Are they the same people who put together
the ballots in New York?

Don't tell them about this article. It's got too much foddard for those who hate a son based on his father.

OH! And does being an Arab mean you are NOT, "a decent family man, [and]citizen,"?

May Allah protect Senator Barak Obama, Senator Joe Biden, Senator John McCain and Govenor Sarah Palin. And may Allah protect us from our own stupidity.
UPDATE:
To read more (this time from Campbell Brown) click here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Real Teacher


Today was a hard day of teaching. A lot of the "supposed to's" weren't in place and I had to wing it instead of going with the plan. Sigh...such is life.

And the kids! OH, MAN! I love, love, love them already but what a LOT of work! I didn't have them from the beginning and we need to mend some ways and pronto (pup)!

So, we had just dealt with a busy morning, when another teacher dropped off two ruffins with whom she'd had enough.

Oh, joy.

I can roll with it, though, so there I was accepting two more into the fold. These big boys were not exactly doing their best to be cordial to their teacher...or in turn, to me.

That one boy! What in the world was up with him?!
What was his name? What?! Wait a minute... was his sister---ya!

"I know you, " I told him. "I was the teacher right next to your kindergarten room four years ago. You were my favorite kindergartener. You were! You probably don't remember, but one day you lost your mitten..."

He interrupted me, "My Batman mitten, ya, I remember."

"Do you?" I asked, "I looked all over the school for it and found it..."

"And I was so excited, right?" He questioned.

"Well, you were very happy."

"Happy, ya," he said with a vastly different expression than before. He had softened. He had remembered and stopped being such a big rough and tough dude and morphed into that 5-year old.

Oh, I loved that little boy! I had been pregnant with Mr. Boo and just wished for a little boy like this one to be mine. So fun! So imaginative! So sweet!

Now, here he was again. Subhanallah!

I kept the boys with me through prayer time.

As I prayed, I cried for this young man. The tears ran silently down my face for everything that's happened to him over the last four years. I thought of all the children I have done my best to mentor, to teach, to guide, and to inspire. I wished all of them well.

We left the masalla after that, and he was ready to return to his teacher. We left each other in peace.

For him, he remembered he was truly loved.

For me, I remembered I was truly a teacher.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Dreamed a Dream


Dreams are important.

L_Oman on Culture Shocked has a post about weird dreams.

While I was growing up, my mother was going through Jungian dream analysis. I'd accompany her there (as I did for every place she ever went...including R-rated movies like "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," and "Harold and Maude"). While she delved into her psyche, I'd play with the sand table. It was fun, and at least age-appropriate.

My mother encouraged me to tell her my dreams and I learned over the years to remember my dreams very, very well. You have to really be still when you wake up and let the images drift from your subconscious to your conscious.

Last night, I had a dream of school and graduation and festivities and parties and pranks. In the midst of all the action, arrived Mr. Florida. I don't often dream of him. He was there, but I didn't care. I was involved with the other people with whom I had a real and immediate connection. They were all upbeat while he was somber. He was quiet too. I don't think we even talked.

I was rushing around, in this dream but at one point I caught my reflexion in a mirror. I was wearing a backless dress (nothing against Islam--that wasn't really an issue in the dream). All of a sudden, I saw that my back was all well-defined muscles. I was body builder intensely buff. When I saw that, I realized how proud I was of my strength that I didn't know I had. Nobody had to tell me I was strong. I could see and feel that I was.

It's an easy dream to figure out. I have found strength in my independence. I am finding a new group of people surrounding me at school. I will, inshahallah, become stronger through my work.

There is one more piece of info that brings it all together for me: I am almost done with this iddah. THIS NEVER-ENDING IDDAH is about to end. In truth, I felt like it had ended two months ago. But, the sheik here encouraged me to do the MOST time possible not the least.

Funny thing is that I've actually done over six months of iddah for Mr. Florida. Can you stand it? I barely can! We only lived together for three months, yet I've done over double that amount of time in iddah. Subhanallah! This time...no running back.

I'm not even running forward. I'm not running. I wore my heels to work...like...WORE THEM WALKING TO WORK which was as dumb a thing you can do as a non-blonde. My feet are aaaaching.

But apparently, not my back...because my back, mashahallah, is strong.

Alhumdulillah.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Defintions


Today I went back to work and Mr. Boo went to daycare. BIG DAY!
Here's what I figured out:


No car=God's weight loss plan

Daycare=toddler spa

Return to work=classroom chaos

Eid Party=Dentist's money in the bank

Old co-workers=new stories

New co-workers=old stories

Teaching again=Finding my voice

Naughty girls=my favorites

Reading a story=being on stage

End of the day=exhaling

Picking up Mr. Boo=healing my heart

Coming home=shutting the apartment door on the world

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dawa Love Story

This story was sent to a Muslim group that I belong to. Is it true? I hope it is!

There was a white young girl who came to Islam by simply reading the Quran.

As she was at work, a good white Christian young man saw her wearing the hijab andwanted to get to know her more, she informed him that she is a Muslim and that she wants to marry a Muslim man only. This was a unique man in our society. He had not even kissed a girl even though he is in his twenties. He promised his Christian mother and father that he will obey the laws of The Creator.

He decided to study the Quran, as the sister did. This was a few weeks ago that he started this journey. Besides my wife and I, there was another Muslim brother and sister that had been involved with giving him dawa while he read the Quran.The young Christian man came to our house last night and talked to us till about midnight.

Then, last night the sister that was involved with dawa, had a dream that he became Muslim. Alhumdulilah, this young man took shaddah last night at 1:30 am as the dream of our sister showed. Allah has blessed us with this new Muslim man to our community and soon insha'allah he will ask the sister to marry him.

Please make dua and remember to never be afraid to be Muslim, you never know who will come to Islam, by simply knowing you!

Moving to Deeper Faith


Ramadan is done.

Eid is done.

But I'm not done. I have to start really revving up towards Monday, when I begin teaching again. Mr. Boo goes to his daycare and I walk over to the school (still no car).

So far, I have gotten lost a handful of times in this new area. Resettling certainly is unsettling!

To wrap my mind around it, I tell myself that I'm camping. I was camping out at my mom's and now I'm moving on to a new campsite. Permanence is an illusion anyway.

The thing is that I know it's good for me, like cod liver oil or grape flavored Dimetap. I have to take it like a woman and persevere.

Moving is tough, man! I joke how you never know how much you can really hate your stuff until you move it. I have almost nothing now. The place has absorbed what I brought over and it still looks open and inviting, instead of cramped and cluttered.

I've decided that it does take some courage to run away (to Florida, for example) but it takes way more courage to stay. It's hard! I'm here and I'm going to make it work somehow inshahallah. I've got just enough everything: energy, food, money and friends. Alhumdulillah.

If I have to ask for one more thing, it's going to be deeper faith. Inshahallah. Inshahallah. Deeper faith will get me through, inshahallah.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Eid Saeed


May these next three days remind us

that after hardship,

there is indeed ease.


Enjoy!