Category Archives: Photography

2 New Books (!!) and 5 Fun Things…

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Today is Z’s last day of first grade. I can’t believe she will be a second grader, the grade I used to teach.

It doesn’t seem like yesterday in which I packed up my crayon-filled second grade classroom and had a newborn in the sweltering June summer. It seems ages ago. To be precise 7 years ago! For me, those newborn baby days were long and slow, tiring and tedious. But to have that slow time was a gift in which I could find pockets of peace.

Once Z transformed into a running toddler and child, that was when time caught up with Z and then A and started to run too.

Ramadan for Muslims starts this Saturday. It’s nice to see my book Lailah’s Lunchbox pop up on people’s radars again and to see it displayed proudly for Ramadan.

I love seeing how creative people get with their displays. If you do use my book in a Ramadan display, please send me a picture. Sometimes while I sit on a computer cranking out words on a plain old Microsoft Word document, it can be hard to see my words as a book.

Speaking of books, I am excited to say that I should have two picture books coming out in a couple of years I believe!

Amira’s Picture Day (Holiday House) for Spring 2019

Ramadan is over and Amira can’t wait to celebrate Eid. Spotting the new moon, she celebrates because Eid is tomorrow and she gets to miss school to go to the mosque for the Eid prayer and brunch.  But then she realizes that tomorrow is Picture Day at school. How will her class remember her if she’s not in the class picture? What will Amira do?

         2. Let Me Show You The Way (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) TBD

The main character often happily volunteers to help a fellow classmate who needs a little extra assistance in school. It is only when she gets picked on by two popular students for helping him, she decides to distance herself from the fellow classmate to fit in more with her popular classmates. Later, she feels regret for her actions, but it is too late. Now, she decides to take matters into her own hands…

I will share more about these two projects soon. A big thank you to those who helped me thus far with these stories, editing, critiquing, printing, submitting! The publishing industry is quite a prooooooooooooooocesssssssss. And a long one at that! And an additional thank you to all of you who have read Lailah’s Lunchbox and supported me. I hope you all will like these two picture books as well.

I hope for all those of you who will be celebrating Ramadan that it is a beautiful and peaceful month full of growth, renewal, and that you find time to enjoy the slow moments. Meanwhile…

Five Fun Things:

  1. a heartwarming Middle Grade book I read recently by Lisa Graff with a strong, emotional male character’s voice:

“My dad’s face, you should’ve seen it. It went from normal to chili-pepper red in seconds. He was angry. [. . .] The fire, it was all the way to the tips of my fingernails. Digging down to the bottoms of my heels.”

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2. A teacher’s blog post I liked about my book.

“Lailah’s Lunchbox is a fantastic story based on Reem Faruqi’s own life experience moving to the United States and explaining what Ramadan is to classmates and friends in Peachtree City, Georgia. This story captures many different and important social issues, including moving somewhere new and different religions. This story emphasizes the humanity of the children and their experiences and promotes understanding and empathy of others.”

3. A beautiful Ramadan Read Drummer Girl   by Hiba Masood and illustrated by Najiyah Maxfield about a spunky female character Najma and the tender relationship she and her father share during Ramadan. I love how author Hiba Masood loosely based this story on a true one of a female drummer girl. The imagery, language, and pictures are gorgeous. I am a fan of Hiba (Drama Mama)’s words and this book showcases beautiful language. I have been saving this story for Z and A to read during Ramadan so I know they will savor it this Ramadan.

“Najma held her breath. Would he be angry? Would he say she was being foolish? No woman had ever been a musaharati in her neighborhood…”

4. A fun activity to do. Envelope decorating with nail polish. It kept Z and A busy for a while…

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5. the Islamic Speakers Bureau of Atlanta will be doing a Ramadan puppet show at the Children’s Museum on June 24th for your children. Check our newsletter here for more details. (scroll to bottom!)

Have a Blessed Ramadan and Beautiful Summer!

Weaving a Web of Fragile Silence…

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I have dropped of Z to school, and there’s just A and me in the car. The car is mostly silent. Thoughts whirl around us.

Before, I used to attempt to fill in the silence with meaningless prattle.

Are you excited about school today?

We’re almost there.

I hope you have a good day.

Now, I appreciate the silence and let it be.

I decrease the amount of questions. Now, we enjoy the quiet.

When we pick up Z later that afternoon, the silence is instantly sucked out of the car.

Words and stories bounce around the car excitedly.

As a child, I used to be much more like Z. Sometimes I still am. My words used to tumble out, sometimes carelessly here and there. Incessant chatter.

Now, I appreciate the quiet. I cherish it.

When A tinkers with the quiet after a day of preschool, I try not to knock our fragile web of silence down, but rather help weave it up.

In the silence moments I get, my thoughts swirl gently. New sentences for emerging manuscripts come to life. My mind slowly refreshes.

I am ready again for volume.

 

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Some images below of our spring break and before….

 

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great grandmother snuggles!

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baking time!

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Regina’s Family Photoshoot

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“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart,” – Winnie the Pooh

Regina’s family session was my last fall session. Their little baby Zayna is 6 months and this was her first photoshoot. Regina said she missed out on newborn images at the hospital, so I was honored to take their baby’s first professional photos! Regina was looking for pictures of Mom and Dad interacting with baby, pictures that would show their love for Zayna. When I see these images, I can see their faces and expressions soften toward her and their smiles grow; I hope you can see it too.

Their session was cut shorter when their little one started to cry. I’ve noticed sessions of six-month-olds tend to end quickly since the babies are vocal through their cries about what they need and their moms are able to read their signs.

Zayna hadn’t given me many smiles, but when her parents started to play with her under a tree, lifting her gently into the air, she was all smiles so was glad I managed to capture those images!

Below are a few images of them enjoying autumn at Tanyard Creek Park.

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Jackie’s Family Session

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I love photographing repeat clients because I see to the children get so big! Last year I captured Jackie and Sam in fall and was so excited to catch up with them and make more new memories. Here is a collage from last year…

Below are from this year’s fall session!

A fun factoid about this family: Jackie and Sam met in the Target Lamp Aisle after Jackie had just moved to a new city and was looking for a lamp. Fast forward and now they have a beautiful family!

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Zina’s Fall Photos

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I love repeat clients because I get to see how big the babies get! Baby Jasiah below started walking at 9 months and was a joy to photograph. Below is a summer photo of him as a 1 year old with big sister Isis!13301396_1108853039178391_3224888130331161505_o (3).jpg13268517_1108850115845350_4737436437772319765_o

I couldn’t wait to do their fall photos. Here’s how big they are this fall!

When Zina saw their photos, she left me a lovely email saying, “Thank you so much!! I almost cried going through the pictures, we had fun! You captured so many loving wonderful moments! Please feel free to share any pictures you take, I can’t wait for our next session. I’m one happy mama! thanks again!”

I love watching Zina play with her children and their enthusiastic expressions. Below are a few from our fall session! I will be sharing a few more clients’ images soon!

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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)

A Sealed Book

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I was driving through my neighborhood when I saw a couple of other mothers strolling with their toddlers in the neighborhood. Meantime, I was rushing home from the drop off of my now mostly school-aged little ones. The sunlight was just spilling over onto the road and I couldn’t help missing my days that were slower paced, more rush-free. Less Car. More Home. Less Drives. More Strolls.

I drove back home where the sunlight hadn’t reached my kitchen yet, where the eggshells were still on the counter.

Reading blogger and author Kelle Hampton’s blog, I found her words resonated with me. Kelle talks about being in the Middle Stage of Childhood where she says,

“The introduction of my parenting book is over, and the relentless work of the middle place is here where rewards aren’t as shimmery as feeling newborn baby breath on my neck. And yet, they’re here…

I have similar answers for all the “Do you miss?” questions.

“Do you miss teaching?”

I miss the first day of school. Pencil boxes. Memorizing all my students’ names in one day. Making them feel loved. Writing lessons. Taping great vocabulary words to the wall and seeing them pop up in the kids’ stories. After lunch read alouds.

But…I look for, find and create what I miss: the homework corner in my office with the jar of freshly sharpened pencils that smell like September. Tucking my kids in bed at night, nailing all the character voices from another chapter of Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Tagging along for field trips. Guest speaking about memoir in my friend’s 8th grade writing class.

“Do you miss when they were babies?

I miss fingers curled around mine, snug sleepers, nursing in the middle of the night, walking into their rooms to check on them sleeping only to find them peeping through the crib slats. I miss sandwich bags stashed with Cheerios and peach puffs, tiny bodies glued to my hip, heavy heads resting on my shoulder as they fight their naps.

But…I look for, find and create what I miss: tickling their faces to put them to sleep, big-kid sleepers that still fit snug, catching occasional pincher grasps for goldfish crackers and pretzel stick snacks, nose-to-nose bedtime snuggles, holding little hands as I lead them into classrooms, mispronounced words, so many firsts still to come.

I too am like Kelle where I am in this middle stage where my little children are not-so-little. Where frantic school-drop-offs replace late morning walks on weekdays. Where Z’s teeth are all sorts of wobbly and it’s amazing how with one tooth missing, the faces of children all of a sudden look so big!

Sometimes I miss the old stages where my children’s cheeks were softer and fuller and where their first footsteps were still wobbly and unsure. I can see an old photo or watch a video of their first steps, but I can never go back.

And as much as I want to skim the pages forward in these chapters of life to get a sneak peek of what’s to come, I can’t. The past pages are glued together, and no matter how much I pry to get back, I can’t. The future pages are blank and I hope full of promise. I don’t know how many pages or chapters I will get though. It’s like life is a sealed book and the only pages we are on are today.

A Sealed Book. A reminder to me to focus on today. Sometimes so hard when emails are flurrying back and forth, meat is defrosting in the microwave, saucy pots await you in the sink, and laundry likes to take its company quietly with other likeminded items slowly piling on the floor. Hard to focus on today when children need to be picked up, dropped off, homework checked,

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and so much more!

But trying to find a little bit of peace here and there …

img_7663leaves that beg to be picked up!

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a broken winged, yet beautiful, butterfly enjoying its lunch on our deck! Harsh sunlight forced me to try different angles to capture more compelling images.img_7462img_7455img_7435img_7384Post Eid-Mehndi-Fingers!img_7382img_7381img_7274

my brother’s homemade eclairs on Eid!img_7275img_7221img_7223img_7222img_7225

The $3.29 for pre-rolled-out-Publix-Dough is worth the price as the effort is cut in half! Just bought it yesterday and was much quicker!img_7241img_7251img_7254img_7218img_7210img_7194img_7186img_7159img_7154Peekaboo dolls in my bowls cabinet!

More later!

“And with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures– none knows them but He; and He knows what is in the land and the sea, and there falls not a leaf but He knows it, nor a grain in the darkness of the earth, nor anything green nor dry but (it is all) in a clear book.” – Quran 6:59