Thursday, December 21, 2017

I've Moved to Wordpress!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Running for Office

Here is the note I posted on Pantsuit Nation, garnering over 51,000 likes and 3,700 comments. The comments have been absolutely incredible. A wave of support and love. I am inspired more than ever to do something concrete and tangible and good, to turn my caring for my fellow human beings into real action.

I submitted my petitions today- 450 instead of the minimum required 130- and now the harder work begins. I am ready to campaign. I expect to learn a lot in the coming months.

My post:

So... I’m running for office here in Illinois 😀🇺🇸
I decided to run because I don’t see enough diverse representation at any levels of government, and of the 18 people on the County Board, there are no minorities and only 4 women! The County Board makes decisions that affect our lives. But as a woman, a mother, and a Muslim, I do not feel sufficiently represented.
So. I’m out there knocking on doors, collecting signatures, listening to people. Doing my best to be part of the solution 💪🏼
It’s going to be a very tough election to win, but that’s ok. I’m out there, setting an example and sending a message! I don’t have unlimited resources, but I do have kindness, empathy, common sense, and determination. I am giving it my best shot, and maybe that will inspire someone else to run as well. Maybe I’m part of a snowball effect that will change the face of leadership by the time our kids take the reins.
And in the meantime, my kids are watching. If I win, they learn that their mother felt strongly, set out, and succeeded. If I lose, they learn that it’s not the end of the world, that I can always try again, and that just by running, I have, in fact, already succeeded.
I know it’s all going to be just fine. Onward!✌🏼


Sunday, October 01, 2017

Summer Recap

We had a great summer. Yusuf is 9, Nooriya is 7. They have just started 4th and 2nd grade, and I have just realized that I am not blogging nearly enough.

I was looking at old videos from when they were 5 and 3, and I found myself feeling so very sentimental. Then I read old blog posts about the funny things they used to say at those ages, and knew that I need to capture more of those moments now, for when I am sentimental about 9 and 7 :)

Lamia's wedding was in July - it was the most fun I have had at a wedding since my own. We had so many relatives fly in, including Aziz and his family. They stayed with us, which meant cousin-togetherness time, and that makes me so very happy. The wedding itself was family-togetherness time, and we all got to hang out day after day after day. Taking crazy pictures and laughing a lot and feeling lucky. Alhamdolillah, it was awesome.

Nooriya was mesmerized by the wedding and by Lamia- when Lamia slow-danced with Shabbir, Nooriya leaned against a pillar and watched them with stars in her eyes. The way she was gazing at them was something almost everyone in our family noticed. Since then, she has been planning her own wedding, which I have had to tell her is extremely premature!

We also went to the Shine Festival, where we got to send our lanterns up into the sky and be a part of something so magical and surreal. 

Two days later, my birthday, we had a solar eclipse. We pulled the kids out of school for a half an hour to watch it- we sat outside the school with a handful of other parents and students, donned our special eclipse glasses, and took part in something historical and amazing. 

This semester Yusuf is in soccer and tennis. His soccer coach is awesome, so Yusuf is enjoying soccer so much more. He told me the other day that he was excited all day long about getting to soccer practice. I love hearing that. 

Nooriya is in gymnastics and cheerleading. She sprained her wrist a couple of weeks ago and it is extremely slow to heal, since she won't give it a rest. She has a game today for cheer and tells me her wrist feels fine, so let's see.

Both kids have been focusing lately on choosing experiences over things. They are noticing when others are unkind, and vowing not to behave that way. They are sharing what they have and really absorbing the lesson that if even if you only have a dollar, you have enough to share. They are saying Alhamdolillah. 

Yusuf is into Greek mythology now since he's into the Percy Jackson series and the two series that come after it. He is also into inventions and whistling and his clarinet, which he just started a week ago. 

Nooriya is leading some sort of cheer club during recess with her friend Lexi, and they have a huge following of 1st graders who come and try out for their club. She has run into mean-girl behavior but we talk about it and she is learning how to shrug it off as not her problem. She just told me a joke: "what do you call the Eagles cheerleaders if they're mad?" - Angry Birds! (Disclaimer, I made this joke an hour ago and she's passing it off as her own)

Both kids love sleeping in the "kacha" under the stairs in the basement, which I do admit is an incredibly comfy and cozy little nest. I love that place. They are allowed to sleep there on Fri and Sat nights and anytime there's a break from school. 

All caught up, sort of :)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Power to the People!

I have never been interested in politics. I have never researched candidates, looked up my local representatives, watched debates, discussed policy with friends. But the last 18 months have changed that.

I feel like I have been awakened to just how much I should be interested. Because of course this election cycle has been unlike any other and we have all been impacted by it in ways we never have before.

But I am also finding myself awakened to the incredible power and strength individuals have once they organize and act together.

Like everyone else, I have been watching the news and reading articles and bemoaning the state of affairs. But I also quickly tired of the fact that all I was doing, really, was observing. And I knew I could do more.

A couple weeks ago, W and I went to the airport to protest the immigration ban. It was an exhilarating experience to do something tangible with all the frustration we felt. I have since then been calling my representatives and that feels like a solid step as well. We have donated money and that too is a concrete, positive action.

But I still knew that the kids are seeing Taher and I discuss what is happening (and we do take the time to explain things to the kids- at their level, of course, but truthfully)- but they aren't really seeing us do anything about it. Seeing me call my Congressman or donate money has an impact, but could we make more of one?

Today was the National Strike, so we decided to take the kids out of school for the day and take them downtown to join the peaceful rally happening there. To show them what it looks like when people exercise their right to protest in a positive way. To hear the speeches. To feel the energy.

To be inspired.

We heard one man take a megaphone and make a speech calling for violence as the only way to take back our rights, and that speech disturbed everyone. But we sat them down a little distance away and explained to them what was wrong with that speech. And why that is certainly not the way we think about things. And then we walked back over and heard some speeches that were uplifting and kind and inspiring, because they were about helping each other.

About lifting each other up and protecting each other.

And both kids heard that message loud and clear. They are receptive to that because it's what they hear from us every day.

After a couple more (positive and lovely!) speeches, we headed home.

They were tired, but I feel that we accomplished something here. They know that observing is only part of the equation when it comes to all of this. We can do something too.

In fact, we can do quite a lot.

Power to the people! And Alhamdolillah!

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Magic in the water, magic in the sky

Last night the 8 of us visited the Bioluminescent Bay here in Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. (Our annual WP trip with Farida and Husain). 

Our guide met us on the boardwalk where we were scarfing down french fries and staring at the Caribbean Sea. We piled into his van and turned onto a bumpy dirt road. Eventually we stopped at a gap in the mongrove trees, put on life vests and discarded our shoes, and squelched through the mud to the kayaks. We boarded - 2 people per kayak. 

At this point we were giddy with excitement. Barefoot in the mud, we felt some creatures walking over our feet. We were told they were female violin crabs who were here to lay their eggs. (Upon finding out they were crabs, we obviously did the requisite squealing and screaming.)

We then rowed out into the bay. The night was perfectly quiet and still. The only movement came from our paddles. We glided through the water in a group and marveled at the warmth of the water.

The guide explained to us that the glow we were about to experience was caused by plankton which, when agitated, initiated a defense mechanism that causes their bodies to shine from within. 

And then the glow began to surround us. As we splashed our hands in the water, they glowed. The glass bottoms of the kayaks glowed. The stars on this clear night- they twinkled, they glowed. 

We couldn't decide whether to gaze above us at the bedazzled sky or below us at the stars in the water. It was glorious and exciting and relaxing and serene at the same time. 

I found myself exclaiming happily; I found myself contemplating our place among the stars. It was joyous; it was calm. 

As we scooped water in our hands and let it trickle down our forearms, our arms became covered in sparkling light. 

Thank you, plankton. You made that night one of the most magical of my life. 


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Monday, June 27, 2016

A Non-Processed Sherullah

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Summer begins

Summer has begun. Our morning routine has evolved over the years as the kids have grown and changed. As of now, we are going to bed late because of daily masjid in Sherullah. So the kids get up a little bit before I do, and they know their summer schedule.

Get dressed, pray fajr namaaz, come downstairs and eat your breakfast, do your academic and madrasa homework, do your tadreeb, and then go play! 

They have been spending hours and hours outside with the dozen neighbor kids who are their age. It's been wonderful for Taher and I to watch them play and explore and run around outside. They found a baby bird and helped it back into its nest. They found a dead garter snake. They collect bugs. They are planning a lemonade stand with the other kids. They play City and cops n robbers and sharks n minnows and they have soccer tournaments. It's awesome. Alhamdolillah for the million kids on our street.

The kids are impressing me in their own unique ways. It is fun to watch.

Nooriya is beyond confident. During tug of war at Field Day two weeks ago, she told me that she singlehandedly won the contest against much bigger kids and that her team, behind her on the rope, weren't doing anything but chit chatting while she pulled their way to victory. Not sure how accurate this is, but I love that she assumes that she is stronger than several larger children.

At her ballet recital, she didn't want to leave the stage. On rehearsal day she was actually disappointed that there were so few people in the audience, and I had to reassure her that on recital day there would be hundreds of people. That satisfied her. She was a total ham up there- she loves the attention. It's cool to see someone brimming over with confidence this way.

Yusuf meanwhile made a hifzing niyat for Sherullah. And he woke up for sihori today and ate like a champ and then went back to bed after fajr. He is taking his rozu very seriously and is now playing outside. 

He is showing dedication to namaz and rozu this Sherullah and I am impressed that he is absorbing the spirituality of the month. 

Alhamdolillah :)

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Proud Momma Moment

Nooriya came home today and told me that a few kids (friends of hers, actually) were being mean to her and calling her names. I asked her what she had said back to them, and she said the only thing she said was "Please stop calling me names." But they didn't listen to her and kept calling her names.

I asked her how she felt about it, and she said it was their problem if they were rude, and not her problem. 

Which is something I have told the kids a million times.

If someone is unkind, that doesn't mean you lower your standards of behavior towards them. Stay kind. What others do isn't your problem.

She has clearly internalized this message. She told me they were being rude, and then she shrugged it off and went on with her day. Back to her usual cheerful strong self.

I could not be more proud. If she has the tools to deal with these situations at age 6- tools that I don't even know if I fully have yet - then she will be a happy person all her life, inshallah. She has power over herself and she knows who she is. The poor attitudes of others isn't going to change that.

I see in my confident little girl the strong woman she will inshallah become. 



Sunday, November 29, 2015

Moving and Settling In

So it's been about 10 days since we moved into the new house. We moved last Thursday, and spent about 4 days turbo-unpacking so that by the end of the weekend, we had unpacked every box. Then the next week was spent arranging and organizing and even decorating.

So now I can comfortably say that we are almost done.

As T mentioned in his blog post, everything still feels very new. A few months ago, when the house was still being built and all around us were plywood walls and concrete floors, we had our "light switch walk through"- we told the builder where we wanted the light switches to go and what we wanted them to operate. At that time, I couldn't have imagined how the house would turn out. As I look around at the now-finished home, with everything we chose over all those months actually installed in the house, I am still taken aback at the fact that it's actually done. 

Everywhere I look, I see the items T and I chose together. The aspects, the features, the placements, the finishes, the very walls, the floorplan, the whole thing. And we had so much fun doing it- and even that fun is part of the house now. The experience, the teamwork, the discussions, the decisions, the delights, the disappointments, the deadlines, the shopping trips, and most of all, the fun- all of that is part of the house. And now we finally get to live here, and I can only say alhamdolillah for that.

I still don't quite know what switches operate what. I flip the wrong ones all the time. I am not on autopilot yet in this house. It feels like home, but it feels unfamiliar still. We aren't taking things for granted yet- we are not blindly walking a path from bed to bath or from kitchen to stairs or from mudroom to kitchen- these paths, inshallah, will become traversed thousands and thousands of times as we age in this house. But today, at this moment, it is all still so new. I still haven't sat on every seat in the house. I still haven't stood in every spot. I still haven't cleaned every crevice, haha!

The newness, once lost, will be lost forever. It will be replaced by familiarity, which is lovely and comfortable and will truly let us know we are home. And I welcome that. But for now, I want to savor the newness.


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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Mr. R comes to masjid

This past week, our jamaat lost some of its very valued members. The repeated hits have taken a toll on the psyche of the jamaat. Yet today, even as the rain fell upon this grey day, the sun shone brightly inside the masjid. 

We experienced a momentous and uplifting afternoon, for the man who saved so many of our mumineen visited the masjid. Our jamaat invited him to come and visit as our honored guest.

He brought his family with him, and from the moment they walked through the door, we made it our priority to make him and his family feel welcome and to try to impart to them how meaningful his actions were to our jamaat.

If not for Mr. Mike R, we would have lost 9 mumineen instead of 1. It is unthinkable. 

And it is deeply spiritually satisfying to think that Allah put the right person in the right place at the right time. Alhamdolillah.

I was asked to be a liason between the members of Mike's family and our jamaat. It was my honor and pleasure to be able to show them around, make them comfortable, explain our customs, get to know them. 

The family Mike saved was introduced to him. Many hugs ensued. Emotions were running high at this point- so many people had tears in their eyes. And before my own, bridges were being built. It was truly a beautiful moment amidst the tragedy of the past week.

My dad delivered a small speech to Mike. Mike took the mic and said a few words too. The jamaat then presented Mike with a shawl. When I explained the significance of the shawl to Mike's wife, she looked as touched as I felt.

Hundreds of people made their way over to Mike and his family to shake their hands and say thank you. Mike, you could tell, was overwhelmed with the outpouring. But as I told him and his family, we are all one. You save 8 of us, and you have 800 more who want to embrace you as their brother. In a way, he saved all of us - with his selflessness and his bravery, he gave us something to praise, to wonder at. To raise up and to gain strength from.

We took Mike and his family down to eat. They ate the kheemo and the daal chawal and we talked about the thaali and college and our customs and parenting and... well... life.

There was just love, love, love. Sadness, support, taziyat, dua, and love, love, love. Alhamdolillah. That's all it takes.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Post Ashara 1437

We just got back from Houston Ashara 1437.

Still reeling. Processing my feelings. Trying to absorb this incredible experience.

Hectic, chaotic, exhausting, amazing, beautiful.

We stayed with friends who are like dear family. And my parents stayed with us for a few days too.

I got to attend waaz daily with someone who is my dear bhen. We got deedar. We got qadmbosi. We got nazar. I attended my R2S meetings and there I got to connect with new people and old friends - all wonderful people. We went to a ziyafat where such intense and surreal and beautiful things happened that I haven't yet been able to journal about them.

And the waaz. The daily, incredibly rich, metaphor-filled, enlightening, reassuring, encouraging waaz, which charged our batteries and renewed our strength and readied us for the year ahead. The best new year's resolution one can make at the beginning of moharram, the first month of the year, is to spend the following first month of the new year exactly the same way. Letting these waaz envelop us.

We are lucky, blessed. Alhamdolillah.

I think the feeling of renewal and recharging has trickled into other aspects of my life too. I am noticing that as I read, I am picking out gems the way I used to, writing them down- I haven't done this for years, since I had kids and my leisure time diminished. I still read constantly, but I don't have the luxury anymore of easily transcribing the gems into my journal or this blog.

But let me try to get back into that.

I am reading "The Little Paris Bookshop" at the moment. Two gems I came across so far:

"Some stars had seen the dinosaurs and the Neanderthals; they had seen the pyramids rise and Columbus discover America. For them, the earth was one more island world in the immeasurable ocean of outer space, its inhabitants microscopically small."

"Perdu suspected that these small children, listening with eyes wide and in rapt concentration, would one day grow up to need reading, with its accompanying sense of wonder and the feeling of having a film running inside your head, as much as they needed air to breathe."

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Friday, July 17, 2015


Today was Eid. One of my very favorite days of the year.

I have been reading people's reflections as Sherullah draws to a close. People are thinking about what they want to carry forward from Ramazaan, what they want to retain. How they've done. Their resolutions, their wins, their shortcomings. 

While I am certainly also thinking about what the past month has meant to me, today I am fully in the present. I am no longer in the routine of the past 30 days. Masjid every night. Rozu every day. Nocturnal schedules, focused ibadat, dehydration headaches, so much Quran, so much satisfaction, so much striving.

I am also not yet in the post-Ramazan days. Withdrawal from the schedule has not yet set in, I have not yet figured out how the past month will affect my next months- spiritually, mentally. I have not yet reestablished a "normal" schedule. I have not yet slept a full night. 

Instead, I am only in the now. The one day, Eid, that is suspended between Ramazan and post-Ramazan. The day we celebrate. The day my community members - the people I have known since infancy - are so, so happy. So dressed up. Exchanging greetings and gifts and laughs with abandon.

I love Eid. I feel love and I feel loved. And whatever happens tomorrow, today is a remarkable day. A magical day. A day out of time, in which I don't have to reflect upon yesterday or decide about tomorrow. 

Side note- Eid 2015 was red-letter for Yusuf. He has been coveting the Xbox One that has sat on the raffle table for the past month, walking by it daily and telling me, "I hope we win that!" I knew that the chances of winning the one thing he wanted were slim, so all month, I have told him, "Yes, that would be cool! But if we don't win, it's ok! Alhamdolillah, right?" And he has dutifully answered, "Yes, alhamdolillah."

Today. The raffle began. They announced some prizes and winners. And then they announced the Xbox and Yusuf looked at me with hope in his eyes. I love that boy and his optimism :) But then. They called my name. I was in disbelief- there was no way this could work out this beautifully. But it was true, and Yusuf was cheering excitedly to prove it. I won the Xbox, and Yusuf got what he had been clearly doing the right kind of dua for all month :)

I am proud of my kids. They participated in the Quran competition and did beautifully. They were so comfortable on stage- they seemed to be enjoying themselves. Nooriya loved being up there. Yusuf was at ease.

All month, they have worked hard at hifzing. They have stretched themselves and they have achieved so much.

I learned from them this month. I decided to not only host family Eid dinner at our house, but to cook for it as well. I don't like to cook, and I don't hide that fact. But it occurred to me - I needed to stretch myself as well. I haven't cooked for my extended family in longer than I can remember. So I cooked. Yesterday and today, I cooked. I took a page from Yusuf and Nooriya's book and I tried something new. 

And my sasu sasra were happy, and proud, and they told me so. They are used to seeing me do interviews and have literary accomplishments, and they say they are proud, but when I cooked for them, they were truly delighted. And I was proud of myself.

So. On this magical day, Yusuf's wish came true, my enchiladas were delicious, I spent the day surrounded by family and friends, and all I can say is this: may my last word always be


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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Touching Base

It has been a while since I blogged. Lots of balls in the air :)

The new house is coming along well. Alhamdolillah. We had another walkthrough last week, and it is very exciting seeing everything framed out. It is becoming so easy to imagine the house being finished, where our furniture will go, what activities we will do where. 

We have had several of our family members come to the house and sign the wooden frame of the house in various rooms. All 4 parents and Yusuf and Nooriya came after Nooriya's ballet recital. Some of the brothers/bhabis/nieces have come, and the rest intend to. 

It's neat, having their signatures and well wishes and funny messages on the walls. When the drywall is up and painted and we live in the home, we will know that right here, inside the wall, this person wrote this, and that person wrote that. 

Built on the foundation of khaki shifa from Karbala, and framed with the love of our family. Alhamdolillah :)

On a different note, I lost a friend on Sunday. She wasn't well for a long time, and her passing wasn't a surprise, but the loss of her has reminded me of how much there is to do shukr for. I am eternally grateful that I got to speak to her on Saturday, the day before she passed. That she heard me and knew I was thinking about her. That her pain is over. 

Onward. We just have to keep spending our days teaching Yusuf and Nooriya to do shukr and to be kind. That's it.


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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Making a Home

Taher and I started the process of building a home a while ago. Almost two years ago. There were a lot of steps between then and now. We found the right spot. Bought it. Sold our house. Found the right builder. Made plans. Revised them. Waited through the winter for the ground to thaw.

And today, the process of actually constructing the house has finally begun. They demolished the old home that stood on our property and inshallah the digging will start later today.

I am excited. I am grateful to have the support of our family. I am grateful to be starting this journey with Taher, whose presence and involvement make everything fun for me. 

We have been picking brick and stone and roof colors and bathroom fixtures over the past 2 weeks. Ahead of us lie many many more decisions. And although the prospect of making 1,000 decisions, one after another, is daunting, the reality of making them hasn't been all that stressful. 

Instead, it's been cool. I feel like we are on a shopping spree. In a sense, I guess we are. We find ourselves calling each other throughout the day and talking about the differences between wrought iron and flat black finishes. 

Then we convene at the computer after the kids are in bed and try to finalize some of our choices. When we get tired, we call it a night and go continue binge-watching The Office ;)

I know the idea is to get these choices made and to move this process along, but I hope it doesn't go by too quickly :)

More updates will follow. In the meantime, alhamdolillah!


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Moula TUS in LA!

We had an incredible weekend. Deedar, qadmbosi, sharaf for the kids, sharaf for us, reuniting with old friends, spending time with dear ones.
Moula TUS brings us together. 

Later: more on the mini-miracle in the way Nooriya's mysteriously remembering my cell phone number led to not only her qadmbosi, but mine as well. And the green pass that magically appeared when I needed it to.

For now, alhamdolillah barely covers it :)

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Morning Routine, Winter 2015

Sometimes I like to write a post about our morning routine, just so I can see how much it has changed.

It represents how much the kids have changed. 

And it reminds me that the changes are good- they may be moving further and further away from chubby babyhood, but that's ok. They are relying on us in different ways than they used to, and they are closer to us in ways that wouldn't have been possible when they were still infants.

So. Nowadays, Nooriya wakes up first, around 6am, and goes potty and brushes her teeth. Then she changes into the clothes that I laid out the night before. Then she goes downstairs and grabs the cereal bowl and spoon and cereal off the counter, and puts them on the table, and then opens the fridge and grabs one of the two cups of milk that are on the lower shelf. She has her breakfast - sometimes early enough where Taher gets to have breakfast with her - and by this time, Yusuf is usually up. He goes through the same potty/teeth/change/breakfast routine that Nooriya just completed.

At this point, I am wide awake but trying to stay in bed until 7am. I usually accomplish this. I then walk out of my room and call Nooriya upstairs so I can brush and braid her hair, and I remind both kids to make their beds. If Nooriya doesn't have her glasses on yet, I remind her to put them on.

While I am getting ready for the day, the kids are either playing together or reading side by side. When I come downstairs and I see them sitting next to each other, noses buried in books, I am reminded of how different life is now. When they were babies, the morning meant crying and milk and diapers and wrangling and juggling - and I rarely got to shower in the morning. 

But alhamdolillah, although we have left the wrangling behind, they are still so cuddly. This morning they don't have school, so they came into my bed and we just hung out for 20 minutes before starting our day. 

Alhamdolillah. Did I say that? Is it even possible to say it enough?

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On Tuesday, I began my new position as Adjunct Professor of English at Elgin Community College.
I am only teaching one class per semester until Nooriya is in school full time- the flexibility associated with teaching is awesome. I am so glad I finally got around to applying to do this.

Tuesday was my first day teaching- there so much anticipation leading up to this day! I wanted to just get in there and meet my students.

I don't think they knew quite what to make of me when I walked in. How old is this girl? What in the world is she wearing? Why does she talk like a surfer?

I have never been a formal person, and although I can be professional, I can't pretend. So when I walked into this class of 20 freshmen/sophomores, I was being myself. And I knew that that was the only way I would make connections with these kids, the only way they would learn to enjoy writing, the only way I would enjoy teaching.

Tuesday went ok. I liked the experience, but I didn't feel a connection to any of the kids yet. However, since it was only the first day, I wasn't too worried about that.

And then yesterday, Thursday, was my second day. And it went so wonderfully that I am now not only "not worried" about this semester, I am looking forward to it and very, very happy.

I got a chance to walk around to every student and read what they were typing and chat with them and impart to them the idea that writing should not be torture. I told them that my job this semester would be to show them how to look at a blank Word document as an opportunity, not an intimidation. I spoke to them about writer's block. I encouraged them to choose topics for their Formal Research Paper that they actually felt passionate about or interested in. How that would make the difference between researching and writing this paper feel like a job versus a joy. 

I think I got through to them. They opened up. They told me about their difficult stepfather, their drug-addicted parents, their chameleons, their future plans, their poodle, their lives.


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Changing it Up

Farida mentioned to me this morning that the past two months have brought about a lot of changes and transitions in my life. She said, why don't you write about it? Post to your blog! And she was right. 

So. taking a moment here to process the changes whirling around me. In the midst of Sherullah I haven't been reflecting much- I have been doing, going, preparing, helping, caring, fasting, praying... but not much reflecting. It hasn't been a quiet month for me, as it can be for some.

Six weeks ago, we moved from our house into the masjid house, and put our house up for sale. The house that we moved into when I was pregnant with Yusuf - the house in which both Yusuf and Nooriya were babies, took their first steps, spoke their first words, made countless memories with us. I did take a moment to say goodbye to that house, but even as I was doing so, I was looking forward. Stripped of furniture, with new carpet and new paint, ready for sale, the house looks so different. The house is still there, but the home we made within it in not there anymore. 

For now, it's here. Masjid house. New, large, filled with people much of the time- it's our temporary stop on our journey to Home. We moved and unpacked and settled in within a day. One long day. And now we have set up our routines and our habits here, and I am trying not to think about the fact that inshallah, next year, we will do this all again. In the meantime, though, I can only do shukr. For this house and the family support that this house represents. And for the family itself. Alhamdolillah, we are blessed people.

More on this later. Someone is calling Mummy :)


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Little Science Guy

Yusuf loves science and experiments. Yesterday he was asking Taher about evaporation (pronouncing it EV-aporation instead of EVE-aporation, which was adorable- and he set up an experiment with two glasses of water. He placed one by the sunny window and another on the counter and he wants to see which evaporates faster. He even made a little chart to note times.

I love the things they come up with.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Women's Ijtema in India

A couple days ago I returned from a week-long trip to India. I was there because I was asked to speak at a Muminaat Ijtema (a women's educational forum) that was taking place in Mumbai. 

The ijtema was organized by Zaenab Bhensaheb, the wife of Moula's (tus) oldest son. Over 300 women attended. The event primarily consisted of a moderated panel discussion, but also included videos, visual presentations, and a couple of poetry readings/speeches.

The point of this ijtema was to open up a dialogue and reach out to the young women of our community- to create a space in which these women could gain perspective, ask their questions, and be heard. Not too different from the mission of ISFM :)

I was proud to be a part of this ijtema. I think honest dialogue is powerful, and in widening an individual's perspective, you are giving him/her the tools to affect positive change in this world. We all have so much to learn from one another, and united in our desire to carry out Moula's (tus) khushi, we embody potential in the very best sense of the word. I have never been so proud to be a muminah as when I looked out at the audience and realized that I can count myself one of this group of strong, intelligent, curious, beautiful, caring women. It was a powerful moment for me.

I was supported by many people as I endeavored to go on this trip. My mom came with me, so that I had her company and her solid presence with me throughout; Taher gave me immense peace of mind as he beautifully handled the kids, his job, and the house while I was far away; my dad told me he was proud of me- praise that continually ranks higher than any other I have ever been given. Thanks to the women who attended the ijtema and to those who have been sending in their feedback- thanks especially to the lovely young ladies who approached me during and after the event to tell me they were inspired by what was discussed and that they gained fresh perspective.

Alhamdolillah- a great experience :)

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