Saturday, January 31, 2009

Common Ground

.
So often we
...me
...I

...ok, so often, I stop the flow. I start visualizing how things would work if only the other person would understand me, or comply with my wishes.

When I put up those road blocks, the movement ends. We are at a standstill without any possibilty of resolution.

How to continue?

Take a break.

Stop talking.

Stop trying to make my marvelous point. Maybe it isn't that marvelous, because the other person doesn't agree.

Then I ask myself, "What if?" I mean...what if the other person were right? How could that actually work out?

After that, the cure for my mental immovability is to do a chore. I zone out while doing dishes, or laundry and the thoughts flow again.

And truly? The way I want it for myself isn't often best for everyone. There is a common ground always and if all of us strive to reach it, we might just find out that we were joined by someone else wanting the common ground as well.

Inshahallah.


Make some du'a, gang.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This Little Sheepie Went to Market

I watched him as he took Mr. Boo's hand and did an adorable little finger play rhyme in Arabic. Smiles and laughs all around!

"Ahhh, that was cute!" I coo. "What did you say?"

"It was a little song about the slaughter of the sheep and all the blood running down."

I laughed even more.

I was once again in a cross-cultural relationship.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Somewhere Only We Know


I'm getting old and I need something to rely on.

I'm getting tired and I need somewhere to begin.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Questions for a Prospective Husband


Today, I went searching through my computer for thoughts on marriage, since that's what I am thinking about these days. I came across this document which my older kids put together with me over a year ago. Not too shabby! Take a look. See their wisdom...and their humor.


Questions for a Prospective Husband
from
Yosra's Boy and Girl



B: Where were you born?

B: How was your childhood?

G: What is your feeling on your parents? Are you close?

G: Do you like your job? Do you want to work the same job forever?

G: How do you feel about Mr. Boo?

B: Would you ever want children of your own?

G: Are you serious about Islam?

G: What are your feelings about magic? Like Harry Potter?

B: How would it be when we came to visit?

G: What would be the things you would let Mr. Boo do? How strict are you?

G: What do you think are your best qualities?

G: What do you think are mom’s best qualities?

G: Are there any things mom does now that you’re not going to let her do?

G: Do you like mom’s parenting skills?

B: Have you ever been arrested?

B: What did you do for education?

G: Have you been to college?

B: What do you like for music?

G: What’s your favorite movie?

B: Other than something from your home country, what’s your favorite food?


B: How ‘bout that Allah?!

B: What would you do if my dad or AbuBoo disrespected mom?

B: Are you media orientated?

B: Do you ever play video games?

B: Do you believe in physical punishment?

G: How many surahs do you know?

G: What’s your favorite musical group/person?

B: What’s your favorite book?

G: What countries have you been to? Which is your favorite?

B: Where would you like to go in the U.S.?

B: Do you have anything against snow?

G: Where do you want to go in the world?

G: If we came to visit, would there be a certain amount of time we’d spend with mom or would we spend time with you too?

B: If we were a family of gerbils living in a town called Splunkit, what would your favorite jelly bean?

G: Who is your best friend?

B: Have you ever tried marijuana?

G: Do you like chicken?

G: Do you have a safety plan?

G: Fans or air conditioning?

B: Do you have any bizarre brothers or sisters who might want to bring their children over?

G: Do you cook? What is your favorite dish to make?

B: If mom ever becomes FAT would you still love her?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Killing My Ego




He knows what is in the hearts of humans, and nevertheless, in His unfathomable wisdom, allows the darkness of oppression to grow at the expense of the light of freedom, and then causes the light to overcome the darness: an eternal cyclical recurrence which dominates the life of humankind.
Al-Hajj 76
The truth of The Holy Quran is so simple.
Following the truth of The Holy Quran can sometimes be hard.
We want.
We want things and people that we don't need.
That's our ego; our sense of the self which is different and consquently better than everyone else. It is our disconnect from the whole. It is the part of us which gets tempted and which causes fitnah.
Today, I am going to kill my ego.
I am not living for myself or even for my young son, or my older kids. I am not living for my parents, or my friends, or my co-workers. I for sure am not living for any man (as that's a sure road to dispair).
I am not living for acceptance by others. If the entire world loved me but I was not accepted by Allah, then I would still be worthless. The days of junior high school popularity contests are done. I am who I am. I am not the best. I am not the worst. I am a striving servant of Allah.
There are others who serve Allah and they are letting me down because I put my trust in them. Others will always let me down. I am a fool to think that people around me won't make mistakes simply because they have a label of, "Muslim." Islam is perfect; Muslims are imperfect. I know this but I choose to forget it so I can continue to live on this earthly plain, instead of thinking higher.
Allah knows. Allah knows what is troubling my mind. Allah knows my pain. I told a few people yesterday but they will never know like Allah knows. So why bother them so much? Let it go. My life is what it is. Inshahallah, everything will work out. It will work out with wondering, but not with worry.
And it will work out with me being smart and sacrificing now in order to get what I want later. Being smart means staying put and putting up. Runing away means that I get to protect my ego while giving up the blessings Allah has in store for me if I continue to work for Him. Running to something or someone on this earth takes me further away from Him. Getting back to Him becomes harder than if I simply stayed put.
Yes, there are times I have run and there are times I have traveled. The signs from Allah pointed to this last night. I want to be a traveler in this life-long journey. I do not want to be a runner who has no home and no true destination.
I put my faith with Allah. May Allah accept me, forgive me, and bless me.

Slough



Main Entry:
1slough

Pronunciation:
\ˈslü, ˈslau; in the US (exc New England) ˈslü is usual for sense 1 with those to whom the sense is familiar; British usually ˈslau for both senses\
Function:
noun
Etymology:
Middle English sloughe, slo, from Old English slōh; akin to Middle High German slouche ditch
Date:
before 12th century
1 a: a place of deep mud or mire balso slew or slue \ˈslü\ (1):
swamp (2): an inlet on a river ; also : backwater (3): a creek in a marsh or tide flat2: a state of moral degradation or spiritual dejection
— sloughy
\-ē\ adjective



I'm not in a good place. I'm in a slough. I feel like I'm in the backwaters, yes. I feel like I'm in a state of spiritual dejection, yes.
I was in Slough, England once. It's a place.
I just looked it up on a map.
There. Sitting in the middle of the map was one word I didn't expect to see, "EGYPT".


Egypt?

In the UK? I have studied the UK and UK maps for decades. I had never heard of this.

Subhanallah. I am searching my heart for what to do. Did I just find the answer?

Read some poetry and see if you feel me.

Or, better yet...read some Quran.

The khotba today was on Prophet Musa's flight from Egypt. Should I take a flight to Egypt?

Subhanallah, now I'm looking for a photo for "backwaters" and every shot sends me to a place in the world that I once longed to travel to. Subhanallah. This is too much for me. I know these are all signs from God. I know.

I had better stop searching the internet and search my connection with Allah. I'll pray istakkarah, inshahallah.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

September 11 to January 20


I carried my little 13" portable TV to school today. The kids laughed at it.

"That is so 80s!"

"Come! Come here! Look at Sister Yosra's TV!"

Sigh. The sad thing is that it is our only TV. I had a bigger one but I couldn't carry it AND I was worried that it would fall over onto Mr. Boo.

Alhumudulillah, my little TV works. That's exactly what I told the kids.

I also told them in the morning message, "Inshahallah President-elect Obama will visit us today."

We sat down, as a class, and watched the inaguration. I am proud of how I taught them about this election, the voting process, about Dr. King's fight for Civil Rights, about Abraham Lincoln. Sometimes I worry if I am a good teacher and other times I know. Today I knew.

Afterschool, I had to carry it home again. That's when I saw it. My old name. I had written it on the top of the TV. I must have written it there when I had it sitting at my former business office.

Why did I have a TV at a business office? I'll tell you.

Every Friday would be a huge influx of new projects with immediate deadlines. If I wanted to keep my job, I had to endure the overestimating expectations of my co-workers. I served them. So, I ruined my children's Friday nights. I would pick them up from school, grab food, cart them back to my office and there they would sit. The TV was for them. What a time!

I forgot the little TV at the office one weekend. I had another TV at home, so it didn't matter that much. I thought about just leaving it at the office. That must be when I marked it. I kept it under my desk just in case.

Subhanallah, I never thought I would everturn it on during the day for everyone to huddle around and watch. I did though. We all needed to see what was happening in New York that Tuesday morning; September 11, 2001. We all stood in my office watching the second tower collapse. We watched in horror.

I immediately left my office for the hallway so I could privately call Mr. Boo's dad. He was driving taxi and I was scared for his safety. We had only known each other a few weeks.

If you had told me on that day that not even eight years later I would be a Muslim teacher watching the inaguration of a man with the middle name of, "Hussein," I would have been checking for fever on your forehead. It's incredible. It is.

That little TV has been my window on the world and shown me both the ultimate miseries of yesterday and the immense blessings of today.

May we never forget that everything comes from Allah. Alhumdulillah.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Slumdog. Millionaire.


Subhanallah. Subhanallah. Subhanallah.

I started my weekend with an pre-arranged evening out. We were dropping the kid at Grandma's and then going to the movie theatre. It would be my first visit to a movie theatre since I was pregnant with Mr. Boo. We were to see Slumdog Millionaire and I was excited.

The movie has, "Oscar buzz," as they say. It is an excellent movie. The main character is Muslim, by the way. There is a scene of Hindu violence against Muslims. There is a moment of prayer. Maybe the most important Islamic thread woven into the plot is that of pre-destination; everything we go through in life prepares us for the role we are to play later in life.

By the end of the evening, I had agreed to consider marriage with a man who could be my naseeb...my destiny.

But, in a strange twist of fate, it was not with the latest and greatest. Yes, Dear Readers, there is another man in the picture. He is Muslim. He is ready to marry. He is serious.

What shall I call him? Not sure yet. Not sure if I even want to write much about him. This is very new.

My friend's sister had talked with me in the school hallways on Friday. She heard me say that I was considering a non-Muslim man. She didn't think that best for me. In a phone call after the movie let out, she told me of a man who just moved here from overseas.
I have now met with him twice this weekend. I've got to say that the reality of this possibility is wacking me between the eyes. He is very, very good so far. Alhumdulillah.

And what about my man from the movies? Honestly, I could have imagined us working out a life together...but that was before. He isn't ready for marriage now. He told me that on Friday. Actually, he told me that before, but I didn't hear him. I heard him Friday.
I put my trust with Allah; The Best of Planners.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mohamed Jebril Qaf


You can't live an authentic, soul-directed life without disappointing people, hurting their feelings, or making them angry. That's the truth.

You deserve to ask for and receive the support you need—but first, you must resign as General Manager of the Universe.

It's time to stop swallowing your anger and instead, step up and take a stand for yourself in the face of inappropriate behavior.

In order to live a rich and meaningful life you'll need to honor and protect your sensitivity. The days of "sucking it up" or "developing tough skin" are over.

-Cheryl Richardson from her book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One Size Does Not Fit All


This is how I would look if I was Indian.
Most days? I wish I looked Indian.

Really hard day at work on Friday. It was the kind of day when you wonder if you'd be better just jumping on any train out of town.

Just when I thought I couldn't take one more crazy moment, I went into the staff room and discovered
FREE CLOTHES


You don't have to know me for long to find out that very few things make me happier than free anything, with the best perhaps being free Indian clothes. And there they were!

I brought them home, but was actually too tired to try them on yesterday. Today was the day! Are you imagining my excitement?

First shalwar khameez....wow! Arm length is good! Color is sooo great! I love all the details! And...dangnabbit! The bust is too small...shoot.

Second outfit....same.

Third outfit....same. Man! What a drag! I thought I had sized them up correctly.

I started to wonder how I could alter the ill-fitting tunic tops. I thought of all the work I'd have to put into it. Would the clothes just sit in my closet collecting dust? What was the point to holding onto something that someone else could love better?

I folded up the garments and put them back in the box. They were not for me. I hated admitting that but the truth is the truth.

I tried on the next outfit. It fit! It was sooo great! I was so happy at the fit actually. It was sooo beautiful in green with orange accents.

The next fit like a glove...like a gorgeous dark brown glove.

And I marveled at my pile of perfect clothes. I didn't need the ones that didn't fit. I thought I did, but truly they were not meant for me. They were literally made for someone different. As long as I kept trying to figure out how to make them work, I couldn't see how there were others that really were perfect.

Letting go.

Letting go of that which does not serve you.
I'm not that good at letting go.
I hope I get better, inshahallah.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why Americans Don't Care About Gaza


No, Americans don't care about Gaza.

They don't!

Don't try to make them as it hurts their heads.

Besides, they are busy.

On a day when others are reading:
Thousands of protesters rally against Israel

This was the most viewed story for the majority:
Cutest Canine: Vote for your favorite pooch

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Being at Low Tide




Asalamu Alaykom,






I am OK with being sad. I was sad the other day. I'm better now and thanks for your concern.


Sadness serves a function in our lives. It is not something to rid ourselves of quickly, like spinach between our teeth. That low feeling; that low tide needs to empty us of all our ego and bring us to the sandy bottom. It is there we can see the seashells finally.

All of us need to be cyclical. That's cyclical, not cynical. We are cyclical beings. We are not machines. Machines go and go and go and never deviate from plan. There is no gentle ebb and flo. There is simply off and on.

I see people drinking all their coffee and see that mechanical edge rise in them. "I need a jolt of jo to get going!" they say and they force themselves to feel happy and energetic, when really they don't. Caffeine becomes their switch, rather than relying on true feelings to help unfold the day.

Life is not meant to be jarring. If you approach it gently, life will reward you with golden moments. That means, none of us should force ourselves or others to be more than we are.

This is why I hate positive thinking as a pseudo-religion. There is no time to be down, sad, sick, or introspective. The need is to gloss over emotions and aim for a perfect 10.

This doesn't mean that we have to be Debbie Downers. We need to see God's mercy in our everyday lives. We need to keep upbeat the best we can. Saying, "Alhumdulillah," for everything.

There has to be a balance, as everything in nature has a yin and a yang. We are part of the natural world too! To feel more of God, we need to embrace the balance of opposites which He has created for everything: day and night, fasting and feasting, hardship and ease. We need to accept the real feelings which waver.

Some days you need to turn inward and not smile. Some days are not happy.

Yesterday, my sweet friend called me sobbing about her marriage falling apart. I've been there. Done that. Horrible to hear. From her husband, there is no help, no support, and no understanding. That is super sad.

Did I tell her to snap out of it? Nope, I didn't. She needs those tears to swallow her bitter pill. Yes, she might have to divorce. Who could be happy about that?


She said to me that she was, "depressed." That's a clinical term, you know? It's when you can't get yourself up no matter what. We swing that word around in this country. We want to use it to show the severity of our pain. She wasn't depressed. She was justifiably sad. She's a mom with kids stuck with a husband who stopped caring. That's super sad.

I advised her to get distance from him and get closer to God. I told her not to blame him or keep harping on the, "unfair," aspect. It is what it is. She has to start working with what she's got.

What I experienced the other day felt super sad to me. It didn't help that I'm not praying this week and I'm suffering through another cold. Those conditions are temporary. Not praying is about a week and then it's back to worshipping Allah on the rug. The cold is subsiding (though I hope my voice holds out). The sadness left me low and now I can feel the energy coming back.

I got my haircut last night. I hadn't gotten it cut since August. Can you stand it? I barely could. But, when I was having a tough time remembering how attractive I really am, the haircut helped. Alhumdulillah.

I also picked up the &%$#@)! car from my mom's place and drove it back to the apartment. Apparently, it emits noxious fumes when the heat is on. Mr. Boo rode with my mom, God bless her. No, I'm not keeping this car.

Alhumdulillah. Life unfolds. We move slowly through the openings presented to us. Sometimes we move through our daily life in sadness and sometimes in happiness and sometimes with a feeling of bittersweet. Let's do what we can today to replenish our energies and help others to regain theirs.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Crying Buckets



Shoot.

Haven't written one of these posts in awhile. Don't really like them. You probably don't like reading them.

I'm in this really sad place in which only Allah knows the depths of my pain. I can talk about it to all of you, but it isn't ever going to illuminate my truth.

Or, if I ever did share adequately enough, I might get ripped apart for what I shared; or what I cared about.
I had just finished listening to the latest and greatest telling me that he might not be attracted to me. It's because I don't wear a alot (read: hardly any) make-up and my clothes aren't flashy (read: modest).

I could cope.

I mean, he says he has a great connection with me. I know we do.

But, I also know that I've had great connections broken time and again.

Then, the pre-arranged visit from AbuBoo starts up. I throw on my hejab and answer the door.

I can handle it. He's here to see his son; not me.

He had, however, told me that he was hungry; he hadn't eaten all day. I know. He does that. I had offered to make him some food when he got here. I did. I did for him.
Then, he announced, "It's my birthday."

I was shocked. Every year since 2002, I have celebrated this man's birthday. That's seven years. I remembered it; honored it; gave to him.
This year? I totally forgot; not just a little, but completely.
I went back into the kitchen and whipped up a dessert of a leftover crepe filled with chocolate pudding and topped with sliced banana. Mr. Boo brought it out and we sang, "Happy Birthday."

Then, in the kitchen, it hit. The enormity of love, life, family, wishes, failure, fear, and hope. I started with just tears running down my face, and ended up walking to the bedroom to lie down in the dark and sob into the covers.

I keep feeling that I'm a joke. I'm living a joke.

How could AbuBoo end up here tonight? He wasn't supposed to! He was supposed to come last night, but I had plans with the latest and greatest (along with his kid). I changed around everything. When I changed it, we ended up celebrating AbuBoo's birthday together.

Subhanallah!

Lordy, I am tired of these little jokes, which add up to the biggest joke of all.

You know...the first birthday I ever celebrated with X2, he cooked a big fish dinner for me. I got off work and there was a scrumptious dinner waiting for me. I was so happy. I was. I was happy. I believed that life was good. Maybe it was. In that moment.

Just like all the moments last night were good: the kids playing together, us playing with the kids, us laughing A LOT, hearing grace over the food (and hearing the thoughtful edit at the end), eating together, sharing together, and just being loving and normal like a family should be...should be...should be...

Subhanallah.

May Allah forgive my sadness while I have all I need and yet complain. May Allah relieve the pain and suffering of others who are worse off than me. May I calm my mind and my heart and focus my love on Allah.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Party Like a Muslim

I went to a party last night.

This was not supposed to happen.

It was supposed to be me at home and him out with his daughter.

However, we got the call and the invite, so we went too.

I didn't really have time to think. If I had thought about it, I might have gotten too apprehensive. I mean... Me? In hejab? At a hipsters party? With my kid?

But, I went. We went. We went as a post-modern family. It worked. Somehow. It works. I can't really explain what the deal is. Somethings you can't explain.

I felt comfortable with his friends. I felt welcomed.

When we left, I felt glad to be in the quiet of the ride home; safe in his big vehicle as the snow fell. He always waits for me to get in the front door. Always.

I heard later what his little daughter told him, while they waited for us to get in.

"MARRY HER!"

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First Time to the Masjid


I brought someone to the masjid for the first time. Between the two of us, I was the more nervous.


Alhumdulillah the azan was beautiful. It calmed me. I knew that Islam was in that moment. Either the person would feel it or the person would not. It was not up to me to fill them with the peace of Allah.

The khotba, or sermon, was mostly about the tragedy in Gaza. Subhanallah! 400 or more killed in the name of what?

After we reunited, I learned that my visitor had given money to the cause. It was money that would not have gone to Gaza except due to my invite to the masjid.

I gave money too---not to tell you, but because it wasn't my money. The money needed to flow through me to those in need. I am not in need like they are. Give to Islamic Relief if you feel the same.

We left before the protest against Israel's massacre in Palestine.

As we ate across the street, I heard about his perceptions of the masjid. There had been a LOT of unexplained Arabic. There wasn't a friendly greeting from anyone, which was a shame. However, the feeling of togetherness was there and the ability to get in touch with The Holy was there. He said hopefully it would not be our last time attending.

On the way back to the SUV, I bought a beautiful dress. Why? I don't know. The last beautiful dress I bought was the day I went to go see the lawyer for the divorce from AbuBoo. This was the same manufacturer; Sajeda, in Jordan. Love the style. $45 and away I went. It had gotten the thumbs up from my cohort.

"Where is your husband from?" asked the shopkeeper.

Internally, I had to do somersaults in my cerebral cortex. Quickly, I answered a lie.

"America."

"Oh, really," she answered. "You look maybe like Arab."

"It's the hejab," I laughed. "It makes all of us look a little Arab."

And evidentally, a little married.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kings Of Leon Live - On Call

"If you call me now, baby, now I'd come runnin'."

Split Enz - I Got You

"I don't know why sometimes I get frightened."

2008



May the next year bring us all more clarity, love, compassion, determination, and success.