Category Archives: Islam

A is for Anticipation

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The air is thick and perspires with anticipation. It’s 5 am and I am checking in as 2 and hoping to leave 2 days later as 3.

This time around I tried not to post any obvious pictures these last 9 months. I used to blog more about personal matters and journeys such as these. But I’ve learned you really can’t take anything for granted. After a health issue a couple years ago it was a blessing to make it to this point, to be able to give birth, to watch my family grow a little bit more.

I have so much respect for those that go through child birth, but even more silent respect for those who want to be mothers and quietly witness those around them becoming moms. For those who stoically witness adorable newborn pictures and blossoming baby bumps on social media all the while diligently praying to become mothers and strive to start a new chapter of their lives. For some reason, sigh, not everyone who wants to be a biological mother gets to. And for those who do, I really hope even in the tough sleepless nights we get to savor it.

Prayers for those mothers- to- be, those who want to be mothers, and those in the throes of motherhood in which day and night blends a little too easily in which sleep becomes broken, and yet everything becomes whole again.

On a side note, I always thought my children’s ages would be all squished together. A one or two year gap perhaps. Z and A are sort of squished together. But baby H is 7 years younger than Z and 4 years younger than A!
My 3 brothers and I are all born within 5 years so I just assumed I too would have children also spaced closely together just so. I loved how we were all in college around the same time just a few miles apart in Atlanta and how friends were easily shared.

You can plan as much as you want and circle as many dates in the calendar, but God has His own plan for you.

We live in a world where everything is so instant. Instant results for tests, Uber delivery within a few minutes, digital pictures that no longer need developing. (Does anyone else remember the anticipation of dropping of refrigerated film hoping and praying your photos came out just so?!) You can’t plan your exact date on if you will conceive, when that would happen, and on when you will deliver. Something so primal and basic yet God knows the answers to those.

In the Quran, it says during trials to pray and be patient. I heard somewhere the praying part is easier, but the patience part is so much harder. Because patience is passive and impatience gnaws at you while instilling doubt. But still we hope and pray and wait because sometimes that’s all you can do.

And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive.” (Quran 2:45)

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T is for Travel

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I am currently editing the images of clients so my mind is too full of images, too empty of words. My words are stuck somewhere swirling amongst the images. Here are a few images  of a recent road trip!

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“And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”  (Quran 13:3)

Assortments of -ing

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Appreciating–
the golden ray of sunlight that reaches the exact spot in the room where I am sitting. Golden Ray that makes the room look special all of a sudden.
Wondering—
on the phone, I am telling someone about what everyone in my acquired little family is doing tomorrow. I realize with a numb surprise as I pack my husband’s lunch, Z’s little lunch, and A’s littler lunch, that I don’t have a packed lunch. Where’s my lunch? Who makes my lunch? What am doing tomorrow?  Where am I in the picture? Am I to always remain behind-the-scenes?
Adjusting —
to children who are bigger, yet still so small. Adjusting to a here-and-there preschool routine of A and trying to find smidges of time to get writing done, or to just sit and stare out the window and try to avert my eyes from the smattering of things everywhere.
Feeling—
the tingly warm feeling return to sore fingers as I rub an ice cube chip over my wrists, fingers, and joints. Note to self to do wrist circles and wrist bends and general exercise. Must avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!
Welcoming–
hummingbirds and butterflies (a monarch even!) to a couple of finicky zinnia blooms. Further welcoming the upcoming weekend in which aforementioned lunches do not have to be thermosed, foiled, and refrigerated.
Reading–
Claire Bidwell’s memoir, The Rules of Inheritance, about losing her mother (and then her father!) is raw and real and her words strung together are like little treasures.
Reminiscing—
on Hajj. I still remember my mother telling us that Hajj would fall in December and that my brothers and I wouldn’t have to miss work, that this was an opportunity to go. I thought I would perform Hajj in my 40’s, not 20’s. Shrugging a “Sure, why not?” in response. The uncertainty of applying for visas and being told that there wasn’t space for us in the Hajj group to go. Then by chance, the person on the phone happened to ask my mother our ages. We were in our early 20’s.
Then to be told they always encouraged young people to go, were we still interested? Yes. Yes. We Were. Then being swept on the journey of a lifetime. Being one minute person in the midst of millions of people, but being in exactly the right place to be.

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Eid in Atlanta!

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Sharing a few of my Eid photos as well as this article on Atlanta Muslim that featured the many diverse Eid celebrations in Atlanta! Was happy to see a few of mine in the article! What I love about Eid are the colorful dresses and excitement of the little ones whether it’s from getting a goody bag chock-full of candy or catching bubbles in silky Eid joras!

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baby-greeting always brings spontaneous smiles!

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‘Eib’ is so close to ‘Eid’!

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Author Interview: Razeena Gutta of “Read Little Muslims!”

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Razeena Gutta is the author and founder of Read Little Muslims. I first noticed her a few months ago on Facbeook. I saw her site pop up and instantly clicked ‘Like.’ Her words resonated with me. She’s based in Australia and is passionate about books being produced for Little Muslims from around the world. Her site supports children’s books from other authors and illustrators and she is quick to feature their work proudly on her site, making her site an exciting hub for literature for little Muslims!
She sent me her book We’re Little Muslims all the way from Australia, a book that Z has already said is her favorite book(it has been added to her bedtime books!) and that it reminds her of Sunday School. I enjoyed the child-friendliness of the book and the gentle way it introduced facts about Prophet Muhammad in there.  I can’t wait for more books from her. Interview below!

1. How did you choose the characters Faatimah & Ahmed?

 
I chose the names because I wanted them to be immediately identifiably Muslim and I wanted children with those names and those who know children with those names, as they are so common, to see themselves in a book. I wanted Muslim children to relate to them immediately. They are both slightly older than my two children are currently and as this book started out as just a story for them, I needed them to be characters that they’d look up to.

2. What is it you want children and parents and teachers to get from reading your book? I liked the way you shared just a few facts — my 4 year old Z latched onto them!

I wanted this to be a book children would WANT to read and not one that they’d have to be coaxed to read. Its bright, colourful and shows two children having a bit of fun but learning at the same time. I want to pass this attitude on… It’s important to inculcate a love for learning from young, and I hope that this book can be a tool to help parents and teachers help their little ones to learn.

3. When did you start Read Little Muslims?
I started Read Little Muslims in July 2014. Alhamdulillah it has been a great journey so far!

4. How did you get a good following for them? I noticed you have 6,000 + likes!
Read Little Muslims seemed to attract a lot of interest on Facebook when I first started out – While Facebook has its limitations, it is a great tool to spread the word about what I am trying to do – which is create a forum to find, view and review great books and to support Muslim authors – After Facebook, I started a website where I also sell other great quality books (mainly to my local market in Australia), and joined Instagram and Twitter. Through these outlets I made contact with so many people worldwide, all looking for the same thing – a way to teach our children in a manner that is age-appropriate, has an impact on them and that will create lasting memories, at the same time making things fun and light. Children’s books can do just that – they can be so simple and yet they can have such an impact.
5. What are your goals for all our little Muslims and their world of children’s books?
So through Read Little Muslims, I hope to keep searching for and finding great books to Muslim kids, encourage people to consider writing books if they feel they have a story to tell, and support those who do. On readlittlemuslims.com we also have some free resources which people can download and use for their children, and we hope to keep building that up. Through guest writers, bloggers and author interviews, we also hope that Read Little Muslims becomes a place that people can go to find behind-the-scenes info about books, seek out the latest books for kids and share any great resources they may come across and help us to spread the word. Insha Allah, I also hope to have a 2nd book in the Faatimah and Ahmed series completed soon too!

Fragments of Ramadan

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I see the picture of the girl-lady and it takes me a second to realize that it is me. And then it takes me a minute to realize that I’m holding Baby A.

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I see a young mother who is working with a child in her lap, but they are seamlessly blended. 2 into 1. A mother who when holding her baby on her hip has an imbalanced walk, yet at the same time, everything is balanced. 2 into 1.

I am grateful for a Ramadan in which I was able to fast. In which I was able to nurture my children. A Ramadan in which I was able to reflect in bits and pieces of day and night. A Ramadan in which Z, now 4, was able to understand. A Ramadan in which we made eid cards. I forgot how soothing it is to pull out forgotten pastel crayons and blend to ones content. To ignore cooking, cleaning, laundry and just blend.

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A Ramadan in which I printed and mailed potential hopes and dreams and a book deal was made.

A Ramadan in which a sunflower bloomed.

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A Ramadan in which toddling cousins crept upstairs to pray together.

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A Ramadan in which summer is almost over, pre-K is almost beginning and I may not need this cart for 2 much longer.

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During these last hours of Ramadan, little stresses and worries we have are insignificant to those who are suffering and struggling in many parts of the world. What we have, we need to cherish and savor.

And when in doubt, pull out the pastels, and blend. And Maybe if we pray enough, we can blend the worries, pain, and sorrow of the world away.

Eid is…

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Eid is pajamas-be-gone!

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Eid is welcoming bangles

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Eid is cakes substituting for meals

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Eid is decorated, happy masjids. This one is in West Virginia- a warm, welcoming community!

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Eid is remembering ones back home

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Seeing this diverse community here makes me realize that even though you’re far away from what you consider home, your heart is where your home is.

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Eid is a crawly baby and a chattery 3 year old, that may cling to me in a masjid hallway, and for now I am at peace and thankful for them.

Eid Mubarak to all those who celebrate eid!