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:


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. 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?


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 contendedly
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 Holy Land. The Holy Land is thought of as the joint home of the Jews and the Christians. Americans rarely think of it as an Islamic Holy Land as well.  In fact, 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 ascension 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.


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 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