5:28 PM

Neat as a Pin

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

I've had these boxes piled up for years and inside are surprises of interesting papers that I wrote long ago. Diaries full of teenage thoughts, early marriage thoughts, and a whole lota weird things hehe. The best thing though was finding old story ideas and excerpts from those unfinished rough pearls. I've thrown out a lot of old papers that just aren't relevant. My friend told me try to keep this basic rule: Besides necessary important documents, keep only one or two papers from every year. That is very good advice but Veeeery hard to put into action. I'm trying but it really IS HARD to part with worldly things. I have thrown a lot of things and put a lot more things to be donated to Red Cresent (like american red cross) but still I have too much stuff. I just want peaceful home not cluttered by anything not needed in this dunya. I'm just looking around my house and I'm sick of looking at it and sick of it stuck in my head on a list of things to do that never gets done. I have enough to worry about with daily vacuuming and dishes to worry about sorting boxes and weeding out old broken toys.
UGH don't get me started on toys! Too late! TOYS!!!! AAARRRRRRGGGGGG!!!!!!!
They really don't need so many toys. Best things to get are imagination toys like a few dollies, a group of Lego's/blocks, crayons and paper, etc... these mcD's toys that break in three minutes are just worthless wastes of time money and space and for what? for them to feel special that they got a new toy everytime they have a meal? I know i know I used to love getting the toys too and then having a long bubble bath and using all 500 mcD toys from the past 5 years to act out a play (when i was 10). But now that I'm the mommy and have to clean up every stupid little piece of plastic that invades my peaceful space it's too much and enough is enough. I'm getting rid (donating) all the old toys that the baby wont need for the next three years and that the toddler doesn't really gain anything from it. In the future I will try VERY hard not to get anymore of those silly little toys but the problem is all restaurants have them now ugh so i will have to keep donating them away.
But I'm seeing real progress in my home. My closet is neater and orderly without those guilt-kept clothes sitting in the back under a pile of winter clothes. My old baby things are ready to be taken to my sister-in-law's who is due soon. And boxes and boxes of files and papers are being sorted daily into a few piles:
1. Keep because they are VERY important
2. Put into a box to be scanned into my PC later (when i get a new PC and a new scanner) because i like to see them now and then but i don't want to forget the memory but i don't want to cart them around with me as actual papers, take up much less space on a portable hard drive.
3. Donation because they are worth something but not enough for me to take the time to sell it.
4. Sell because they are worth money and why not get a few cents instead of just giving it?
5. Throw away because it has no use for me anymore and no one else either.

So that is what i do daily right now without my blogging times. I sort out my life and take care of my kids and try to keep the house from becoming one massive lump of sorting piles. It is NOT easy but it will be worth it. Less stuff to clean means it will be easier to clean, insha'Allah. A cleaner house will be a happier family. I have a full plate right now and I'm just trying not to spill everything.

8:00 AM

On the Fritz

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

My PC went wacko.
My phone is going wacko.
My DVD player (that my daughter is addicted to) went wacko.


So my hubby brought home his work laptop and we have to literally run an extension cord to the garden where there is a faint signal of Wireless Net to use. Ugh! This is my first time haveing 2 minutes peace without kids to internet so sorry out there for taking so long to comment but i only have half an hour to do everything. So it may be a while before everything is settled and I can post and comment on my and other's blogs so I'm sad but what can i do? Maybe this was a good thing because i was severly addicted to blogging and being cut off has freed a lot of time hehehe. Anywho, I'm just hoping to get around to visiting you all soon and that you'll comment if you havent already on my other posts until i get back. :)
Thanks a billion and make du'a I get everything fixed and replaced!

4:23 AM

Tagged #2

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |



1. ON your blog, post the Rules & 10 things you have HOPE for in your life.

2. LINK Tag 10 people (we want hope to spread people!) and LINK the person who tagged you.

3. Comment/Notify the 10 People they've been tagged.

10 Things I HOPE for in my life:

1. I Hope to Reach Jannah (Paradise) after I die

2. I hope for my Marriage to never end

3. I hope for my Children to be good Muslims and good people

4. I hope for my Parents to become Muslims

5. I hope for Being a good Muslim and doing all my obligations everyday

6. I hope for Inspiring others towards goodness and self-reflection

7. I hope for my Friends to remember me with Love and Respect

8. I hope for the Muslims Lands to be unccorupted

(well while I'm hoping the whole world too!)

9. I hope I can Help people better themselves through my writting

10. I hope to memorize the whole Qur'an


Have fun but think deep. ;)

3:51 AM


Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Don't get me wrong. When i said aim low that doesn't mean don't have high expectations for your life. By all means strive hard in your life but when trying to reach those high expectations start slowly and work your way up. Everyone has hopes and dreams but sometimes we loose sight of our hopes. Hope is what drives our lives. Gives us meaning to go on when all seems lost.
Many of us expect failure if things don't work out quickly. We give up any hopes that things will turn around. We must be reminded that Allah is capable of all things. Don't think you wont get that promotion you've always dreamed of because Bob Shnob has been sucking up to the boss? Just make du'a and put your trust and hopes with Allah that he will fulfill your dream. Or maybe it is a problem more close to home...your family. Perhaps you've given up hope of ever working things out with someone you have a problem with.

This happened with me just a few days ago. I lost all hope that my marriage would make it. I gave up and resigned myself to figuring out the single life. Then I called my Canadian friend and begged her for advice and mash'Allah did she come through! After hanging up I renewed my hope that this strategy might work. It was worth a shot. So after Hubby came back from Jummah prayer I took him by the shoulders and apologised for my haste in loosing hope in our marriage and I told him words that would give him hope to continue too. In less than 5 minutes a month's worth of problems seemed meaningless and a new ray of hope ran between us. Of course I did have to work really hard to prove to him that my words are meaningful and then because I worked hard so did he. Masha'Allah. See what just a little hope can do! Just put your trust with Allah and He will take care of you. Just like a child places it's trust and hopes with it's parents to catch it when it falls. (But with Allah of course it's the Greatest)

One of the worst problems that comes with depression (I've had it so I DO understand this) is hopelessness. The feeling that nothing will ever have meaning again. Nothing will turn out right and no one can fix it. But this is just not so. Everything has meaning because Allah created it to. So being the Creator we should put our hopes in His Will.
There is always room for more hope in our lives and if we let Shaytan(Satan) fuel our fires of depression and hopelessness we are LETTING him win. We can fight him by putting our hopes with the All-Powerful, Most Merciful, All-Forgiving, Creator of us.
So I will make a "tagged" for people to try and realize where their hopes lay.

2:55 AM


Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Here is the latest from my other blog but I felt that it deserves to be HERE too because it is about improvement in Islam too and any part of your life really. So I will post it becasue I'm a lazy blogger too and don't like to click links much either.


Many people aim really high when they try to loose weight. They have it in their head that they need to change their whole life around to loose weight. Ohhh no i said the C word! CHANGE. It can be a scary word for people stuck in their ways. Entrenched in their habits. It’s hard for some people to take a chance and risk the posability that their life will change when they start to loose weight. It’s scary to them to think that by their life changing so will their personality and goals and whole “master plan”. Some people don’t feel comfortable stepping outside the box. They love the security of the four walls blocking the view, trapping them, ensuring their daily routine…. these same people when forced out of the box (for example because the doc says if you don’t loose weight you will die soon) tend to over aim when setting goals. They sign up for expensive gyms vowing to go to it everyday maybe twice a day, throwing all junk food away and buying only the latest healthy foods, weigh-in regularly and expect to see rapid weight loss…. then a week or month down the line the whole new lifestyle is hard to maintain so soon old habits return… chips and soda infiltrate the cabinets and fridge…that special meeting at the kid’s school interupted your workout routine…. you miss a morning weigh-in… or the scale doesn’t move fast enough… all of these leads to a meltdown of loosing weight AND depression that you will never be able to change so you curl up and slink your way back into your box and build your walls higher.

Many of you are nodding your heads that this has happened to you. Where’s the flaw what did I do wrong you may ask. You aimed too high.

To start something new you do need enthusiasm and motivation but you also need realistic goals to set for yourself! You can’t start this whole regimen thinking in one month you will loose 10 lbs! Especailly when your sluggish body is used to it’s style and habits too. Start yourself slow by slowly incorporating good habits and slowly weeding out the bad foods and drinks. Replace each bad thing with a good alternative so everytime you want that bad thing you have something healthy to stuff your mouth with. LIke I for example always want chocolate! Yet I got a large bag of carrots and told myself when I wander to the fridge for chocolate just pick up the carrot and munch away, as many carrots as you please. Eventaully I dropped most of my chocolate cravings. I say most because I believe in a treat now and then as long as you realize it is a treat and you’re not cheating yourself by treating yourself too often.

Exercise once in a morning and the next day maybe you don’t and that’s ok. Maybe the next day you’ll feel motivated by your previous workout to work out again the day after that. You don’t need to kick the ball out of the park you just have to get it moving slowly to start loosing weight. ANything you do towards your goal of loosing weight is a good thing and if you do nothing that is ok too and you just have to re-motivate yourself. Set small conquorable goals. I started out with a goal of loosing 10 kilos in 10 months. So if by the end of the month I lost one kilo I forced myself to be happy with that small advantage, hey a kilo is a kilo! I knew I could do better than that and I strive to do better than that but I don’t want to burn myself out and not complete looosing weight. After the first month when I lost 2 kilos I realized that would get me to my goal in half the time so I re made my goal to every month loose two kilos and that has worked really well for me. After many months I have been able to see a steady drop. Sure it looks slow on a graph or chart (which i do keep) but it does keep dropping without going up again. When I feel extra motivated I try for 3 kilos a month or GASP! 4 kilos! When i told my hubby maybe this month I will try for three kilos he scoffed at me! Whoa one more kilo wow don’t rush things he mocked. I gave him my “I’m smarter than you” look and said haven’t I lost so much weight so far and kept it off? If I aim low I can’t fail.


again: A I M L O W = N O F A I L !!!!

So by aiming low you set yourself up to achieve small but managable goals. This works in nearly every area of life not just weight loss when you want to step out of your box.

When I converted to Islam it was daunting the rules one has to follow and how much you have to change in your life. But I felt the pull and truth of Islam and that kept me motivated to continue. Sure the first time I aimed too high. I expected to be the perfect Muslim right away. Hijab, no alcohol, praying etc… but I failed why? I aimed REALLY too high… it takes a lot of small peronal obsticales to change so radically. I had to start with a small hedband scarf and work up to the full hijab. I had to learn small sections of the prayers before ebing able to do them once then up to 5 times a day. I had to realize the stupidity of drinking alcohol and it’s effect on me (which is bad effect..) [thanks friends for teaching me that one]…………

So again to step out of the box: AIM LOW = NO FAIL

Insha’Allah! and Good Luck to you all in your goals and weight loss!

4:08 AM

Dizzy 2

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Just living one day at a time trying to improve my life so that in the future i can improve others. How can I take care of my kids if life is crazy? Alhamdulliah for those helping me realize to take things as you can and just give yourself up to Allah and His Will of your life. Everyday I want to scream and run and burn the house down (not because I'm a pyro-well actually I am but that's besides my point here, which is to get rid of physical things that tie one down to a place). My friend kindly took me literally by the face making me focus on her direct words and her deep knowledgeable eyes. She told me beautiful words that I try every minute to re-affirm and adhere to. Every new problem that adds fuel to the fire burning in me I try to sooth with her words. Sometimes I'm consumed though and later when left with ashes I try to rebuild and re-affirm. This is such a big trial for me subhanAllah.
Sometimes the tears threaten to come and choke me but I swollow hard and harden my eyes and refuse to let them come this time. They didn't help in the past so how can they help this time? I don't want to be a slave to tears. I want to do something and to be shown what path to take this time.

2:51 AM

Heart Flips

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

When your heart flips and accepts something it hasn't before and it leaves you feeling disoriented and feeling strange and surreal, what do you do? Many of us at one point never heard of Islam or never accepted it then suddenly our hearts flipped for whatever reason and we said Shahada. Allah is the only one who guides us and insha'Allah we follow obediently.

SO my heart has been doing flips this past month or so. It has to do with the controversial topic of polygamy. Everyone has this Poly post and there is hot debate each time. I'm not looking for hot debate I'm looking for answers. Real Answers. My heart started flipping when I asked my husband if we could have someone in need stay with us. He joked about marrying her and such but it was all banter and I joked back threatening to break his neck if he tried etc... but inside my heart did a little wiggle and suddenly a little voice asked, would poly be so bad? I pushed it aside and gawked at myself in the mirror for asking myself such a question. I'd read blogs like Angry Muslimah and Peaceful Muslimah about the trials to overcome in poly and how many men abuse it for their own whims. I began reading more and more online about it and all said bad bad bad though accepted by Islam if done right, yet I haven't found yet a blog pointing to their idyllic marriage of poly done right by Islam. My sister-in-law's sister-in-law is in Poly because she couldn't have kids and she chose her co-wife. SO this topic is nothing new to my ears and it's always piqued my interest. So to make a long story short after getting to know a friend better we discussed this issue at length and she surprised me with all the benefits Poly holds for the woman if done right.

She explained how if the two women are friends and live relatively close to each other:
1. they can take care of each other's kids giving the other wife a chance to clean, cook, pamper, or take a romantic walk/drive with hubby without kids around.
2. they can have a lifelong friend to always talk to when sad or in need of company
3. The kids will have friends to play with who are related to them yet wont have the daily sibling squalls because they live in separate houses.
4. They get a free day without Hubby under feet to bother them or demand attention.
5. They have a reason to not hang around in sweats when Hubby is home, good natured jealousy to always look as nice as the other wife. (though naturally the friends/co-wives wont talk about bedroom stuff)

Now of course you have to get used to sharing HIM and he of course has to be fair and pay for all you both need and such but this was the first time i had heard about BENEFITS to the wife. Always I hear how horrible it is and such. Here's the funny heart flipping thing.... I like the benefits. It does make sense in many ways and as long as you and the co-wife are good friends there is no reason why it shouldn't work. Just because they don't blog about it doesn't mean there aren't happy Poly marriages out there. I did actually get the guts to discuss this with my hubby and he didn't want it because of the financial burdens. Yet my heart is still inclining towards it being good in the right circumstances and with the right co-wife. So I want to really hear from people out there the Benefits of Poly. When I searched it online I found a lot of Mormon sites soooo I'm looking for Islamic benefits and such. Not benefits for the man but benefits for the wives. Here's a challenge my readers and I want you to come through on this one. Be brave and be bold. I wont put you down if you don't agree with me. I'm just naturally curious to hear what everyone has to say.

9:11 AM

Case of the Missing Pen

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

At 15:00 hours MST, a young girl searched in vain for a loved one she lost many times over. Authorities believe that the missing was thin and blue, black head, with blue ink, and gnawed cap. Though it vanished mysteriously they believe no foul play was involved.
"I had it a minute ago," the girl was quoted saying brokenly, while dabbing her eyes with a soft blue tissue. Her eyes shifted restlessly around the room as if suddenly her beloved would appear.
Though the best agents of the CIA, FBI, and local police have searched the premises with a fine tooth comb they haven't found any evidence of the victim. An insider who wishes to remain anonymous says she suspects the girl herself saying, "She's so careless and flighty you know. She sometimes sets it down on a bus, or on a table, or even on a bench in the park and then just walks away without it in an imaginative daze. I've seen her do it a hundred times. She has a secret stash you know. A whole drawer full of them. I think she's an addict."
After this information was revealed the girl was taken into custody and thoroughly interrogated. After three hours of denial she finally confessed, "All right! I admit it! I'm a pen addict! I keep twenty packs of them stuffed around my house, in my backpack, my purse, my pockets, even in the bathroom! They are sometimes the same color and sometimes multi-colored and sometimes I'm very careless with them. I can't handle the responsibility of keeping track of them all. I can't help it though. I use them up so fast writing 20 pages a day that I need many around me. "
After her confession she was taken to a writer's rehab where she was subjected to remain in a blank room alone for two months without a writing utensil or paper. She had this to say upon leaving, "The first two weeks were the hardest. I took to writing on my plate with ketchup until they took away my plate. I was only allowed solid foods after that but I kept trying to form them into letter shapes secretly. The security cameras caught me each time. Now though I feel like a new person. They convinced me I don't need to write down every little thought that comes into my head. Some thoughts I CAN let pass. I'm a new me..."
Our insider though had the last word to add, "No one ever changes, don't give me this 'new me' bull. So she went through rehab but that hasn't stopped her. I saw her heading into the stationary store just yesterday with a crisp $100. You think she bought bubble gum? She's resupplying. Mark my words no paper can sleep safe tonight with her on the loose with a mass of pens. She's sloppy too leaving them as a trail as she goes. No one really stops writing. Keep dreaming."

I admit it too, I'm a pen hoarder. I have always lost them and bought more packs to ensure my supply wont fizzle when I need one the most. Sometimes though I'd loose my last one and be miles from a stationary store and I'd have to resort to BORROWING them. Sometimes I'd loose those too. My younger sister-in-law makes sure when I leave a room she has her pen back because she knows if it leaves the door with me she'll never see it again. I have a few quotes about my pens.

"A writer without a pen is like an artist without a paintbrush." -Brandy A. Chase (my sister-in-law cringes every time I quote this because she knows that means I'm on the hunt for her pens.)

"There is few things more beautiful than a blank paper and a new pen." -Brandy A. Chase

Legal Disclaimer: This article 'Case of the Missing Pen' & two quotes were supplied fully by the blogger's active imagination and any resemblance to an actual article, person, or circumstances is pure coincidental and of Allah's Will.

3:40 PM


Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Oldies song: Dizzy, I'm so dizzy my head is spinin'..........

From all the circles my husband puts me through. One day we're fine and the next we're not. I don't know what to do about it anymore really. Same old arguments and same old answers. Sure I reply to your blogs out there about relationship problems you have but that doesn't mean mine is perfect either. And now I'm the one who's lost and confused with no one to talk to. My phone is out of units too so I can't call anyone and I can't ask HIM to get me more since he said he's NOT coming home tonight..... when is he coming home? I dunno......should I care though? Not DO I CARE .. SHOULD......! Just when i thought i had a possible solution to talk over with him he acts like this so I don't know anymore what to do. We've had counceling and gotten through a really bad almost divorce. We were fine and happy last night then all of a sudden this afternoon noooo. I try to talk it out and he ignores me. What can i possibly do? No I'm not asking anyone for answers because though you can show sympathy for what I'm dealing with you don't knwo the whole story to provide answers.... I was all ready in my depressed dizziness to just delete my blogs thinking no one reads them anyways but after all the replies to my What's in a name? post that were positive i might keep it up but still not sure.
SO for now I'm in an unfunkable funk and that's all for today. No comments please.

3:22 AM

What's in a Name?

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

This blog post I knew would eventaully be written. When I had enough courage and guts and the whim to do it. I was touring Veiled Muslimah and read this exerpt which made me immediatly think of this post.

It is reported from Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Ayyaad that he said:
"If you can be unknown, do so. It doesn’t matter if you are not known and it doesn’t matter if you are not praised. It doesn’t matter if you are blameworthy according to people if you are praiseworthy with Allaah, Mighty and Majestic."
Al-Bayhaqi, Az-Zuhd Al-Kabeer p.100

I have avoided using my name on my blogs because of fear that I'm a failure. Other writers proudly state their name in huge letters hoping the world will remember it and buy their books. Little me here upublished didn't want the scorn of my name being associated with failure. Even the good Angry Muslimah states her name often in her blogs. I thought eventaully once I'd achieved a Goal and had some success under my belt I could proudly stand on a sand dune and shout my name to the world and all would say Wow, Ooh, Ahh, ...........blah blah blah yeah right...i'm so imaginative eh? But after reading this and doing my in depth thoughts about this life and the next I realize not only my name doesn't matter but to be vain about it is stupid and worldly. At one point on contemplating life I realized not even my books about Arab Romance, Sci-Fi, etc.. will matter ...though I still want to write and publish someday. I used to look at my High School's library collection and stare at the spot between CER and CHI where my name would go when I was published and famous. I used to dream of my name being as famous as the authors that roll off my tongue. Also my name means something haram and though i DO have an Islamic name I use both frequently but I didn't really want lots of comments about how I shouldn't be using my birth name in public and blah blah.... The point is that it really doesn't matter what our names are. It only matters what we do in this life. SO making a big deal about not using my name is silly. It doesn't matter if I'm ever famous as long as I do what is right enough to get to Jannah insha'Allah. Though at times I also wish to be famous Islamically as a female Shiek like the American converts in USA who give lectures and such. BUt back to reality.... So do the names of bloggers really matter? Do you think differently about a person once you find out their name is X instead of XMuslimah? DO you think bloggers should be more free with their names? I like the spirit of calling people by their blog names but in e-mails their real names, though it feels weird to type their name instead of the blog name.....

So here I am. I'm still me. I'm still the same blogger I was, just less worried about failure and fame. [--well as much as any human can try to be]

I am American Muslima Writer aka Brandy A. Chase (Aminah-Zahira)

7:31 PM


Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

This book was wicked awesome! "Sandstorm" by James Rollins. It was Adventure, Romance, Science Fiction, Religion, Action, all rolled into one. Every page made you ask yourself a question and none got answered until a few chapters later. Antagonizing.... I TRIED to read it slowly and at first I did....soon though I couldn't resist the draw of the written word.
Since I was around 15 I had an idea in my head of a book set in Arabia that dealt with buried treasure, a mysterious woman, archaeologists, scientists, swords, Arabs, British, American stars. After reading this book which fit the bill above I don't think I will bother to write that one ever again because though mine is a little, OK a lot, different in plot it still will not come close to the brilliance of this book If you can't outshine SOMEONE why write it?
I was just amazed how easily this book flowed and covered a variety of landscapes and themes. Each Point of View had it's theme of sand, water, wind, rain, lightning, even the sense of smell was regularly covered as all writers should. Going back and forth between each theme was a balance of your mind along with the plot. Even until the very end you don't know which man the lady will choose to be with. You don't know who might end up shot next! AHHH!!! It was wonderful and terrific and when the last page turned I was satisfied. As I closed the book I realized Mr. James Rollins just got a big new fan. And to think it had been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for over a year now. I haven't been this impressed with a sci-fi book since my early days of reading ancient Alan Dean Foster books. It was hard to tell what was real science and what was theory. Thankfully at the end he explained himself....whew because I was about to question it all over my blog!
As to the religious aspect who knows the real story about the People of 'Ad, Queen of Sheba anyways. The part in the Qur'an mentioning their fate was covered here but the author's elaborations I took with a grain of salt as being the fiction part of Sci-fi. It made me interested to visit the graves of Prophet Job and Imran (Mary's father). Also I'd really like to see Oman now the main setting of the book. I have heard it really does mist in the mountains for some part of the year which would feel wonderful after all this hot summer sun we get here.
Still I give this book "Sandstorm" by James Rollins - the Seal Of My Approval [SOMA]. I can't wait to read the others. Thank God that my husband read this first and asked my mom for more of his novels, so somewhere in my fallen books are the next ones by him.

10:22 AM

Slow Reading

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

I actually had time last night because my kids had fallen asleep easily and husband too. My stomach was hurting badly making it imperative that I relax in a way that doesn't make it hurt worse. I stared blankly around my house wondering what to do with my time. Can't do dishes requires too much work and standing. Can't even do computer because my pathetic little folding chair requires a hunchback squish stomach seating which will cause more harm. My eyes then fell upon my disheveled bookcase. The plastic pins holding up the shelves have bent under the enormous weight of my books and they fell being held up only by the books under. This is what I get for buying cheap bookcases. Since half the paperback books had fallen under the crushing pressure of my Islamic books (on top shelf naturally) I could pick a book out from the floor (which is where I'm leaving them until hubby fixes the bookshelf) or from the few remaining on the shelf. I spotted the top book on my "to be read still" pile and saw it was a book that my husband had read. I picked it up and read the back. It didn't grab me but I didn't want to hem haw all night when my precious time was normally limited. A baby waits until you're comfy to wake up. I shrugged and took the book to my couch and poured myself a glass of mixed berry juice to help ease my aching stomach. The book is James Rollins' "Sandstorm". The first sentence really grabbed me into the book that I thought might only mildly interest me. I read two character's Point Of Views until the next one was to begin on page 15.

Then I did the unbelievable. I put the book down and went to bed. Without being dragged there by my crying baby. My thoughts were in turmoil though despite the calm state of body. After only 15 pages my heart was crying out to write again. The natural flow of words I read so elegantly stated had reminded me of how much I loved the written word and how much I had missed reading. It has been months since I read a fiction book. Should I pick up my pen again? How cruelly I had cast it aside for other goals. Leaving my beloved characters hanging in their trivial problems until a further date when I could go and help them again.
This morning when I woke up I roamed the house. I felt better so I could do my chores but the pull of Sandstorm yanked my heart to the couch where I had fallen in love again last night. To return to the lover's tryst with my book would mean things might not get done in the house, thereby sparking my husband's disapproval. Yet I couldn't resist. I set up as I had done the night before even down to the glass of mixed berry juice. I started at page 15 and read until the Chapter 2 break. Then I did another incredible thing. I put the book down.

It was too good. Reading again. Feeling words that my own heart ached to write. I have to take this slowly. Like a smoker who quit and has to build his three pack a day habit back up slowly. I'm afraid of my writing addiction. Afraid it will consume my life. I will forsake cleaning just to write one more page. Forsake playing with my daughter to write just one more paragraph. Embrace baby's feeding times and stretch them out to be able to write just one more word. Life which has begun to finally organize itself will fall into disarray as I scramble to get things done and still have time for my addiction. So I'm hoping that by reading slowly it will take me longer to read the book and longer to start writing again, thus delaying the inevitable chaos.

10:13 AM

Everyone's a Cinderella 3

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

So now I have gone from being a messy person to learning the Arab culture's version of CLEAN. It was time to really test out my skills that I had honed for 3 months in the mountain of Lebanon. I finally got my own 3 bedroom house with one and a half bath. I had to set it up and deal with cleaning it weekly and cooking Arab style for my husband and myself. I struggled and many times we fought because without the support of the in-laws I had to do everything on my own. In time though I manged to do it well. With my first pregnancy I slacked off a little bit for the first few months because of sickness and cravings and a certain computer game that i was addicted to. I got back on schedule after a stern talk to. Things were going smoothly enough until I had my baby then i had to balance cleaning and mothering and oh how it was so stressful to me. Every time i got my groove something new comes up. When my daughter was six months we moved to a house just south of Beirut. Again I had to work on keeping things tip top and deal with my daughter. I did try but cleaning just isn't my thing. I can do it and I can do it well but I can't do it all the time. I get caught up in my writing and playing with my daughter and when we got an illegal hook-up from the satellite cable whoo hoo MOVIE CHANNEL!!!!! That sucked a lot of cleaning time away. Luckily my husband's schedule at the time was good for my procrastinating habits. He worked from 7am til 9pm. So I could get my cleaning done while my daughter was napping or sleeping for the night. Sure I wasn't perfect but at least I could get the main things picked up most of the time before he got home.
Now we moved twice since coming to UAE and it has again been the struggle of my life to keep things Arab ship-shape. Just yesterday I decided to just do it and get things re-arranged how I want them and to do that everything gets flipped upside down and you have to clean all the rooms simultaneously. I have two kids one of whom is a baby that i can't just plop somewhere (like in front of a TV) and expect them to be good. So it was difficult and by the end of the day I was only a quarter way done. With the UAE schedule though my husband comes home in the afternoon before working the rest of the night so it's frustrating to have to get things clean enough for him by afternoon and then again in evening. Now with my daughter not having preschool anymore I can't have free time to do things in the morning like I used to. But this is the life of women cleaning, cooking, children, and for the super moms out there that have to work to I salute you. ( I did work when i first got here and was preg. by the way so don't think I'm a total slacker)
SO though I have come far from the messy beginnings of my biological mother and leaned a new culture and Idea of cleanliness I still struggle and everyday is a mountain that I have to climb just to get by. Constant toys to clean up in the playroom, beds to deal with all the time (since there is an afternoon nap and the baby takes naps sporadically all day), dishes to deal with, etc.. you know the USUAL chores. I know I'm not lazy, before i was lazy but not now, because I can do it and I DO do it, yet still I'm never on top of the game like I see some women. My husband wants me to be like the Arabs he grew up with but though I try I'm just not up to par with killing myself by cooking and cleaning all day. No wonder even poor women try to get a maid to come to their house weekly and help them. Keeping Arab standards is an undertaking. Right now we can't afford a maid but I keep wishing and praying for that one day when we can and I can finally relax a little and do what I love to do which is write and take care of my children. I never regret learning the Arab style because it HAS made me a better person and definitly a cleaner and more organized person than I would have been if I stayed in USA. I may not have turned into the messy pack-rat my biological mother is but I certainly wouldn't have had a calm and peaceful home most of the time and a house I wouldn't mind guest to see.
Sometimes I feel like Cinderella and pray my dreams of a maid do come true.....

9:52 AM

Everyone's a Cinderella 2

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Cleaning Arab style wasn't easy at all. You have to spend hours and hours doing the whole works weekly. Sometimes daily depending where you live and how many children you have.
At first all I had to do was make my bed, organize my one-door closet, sweep and mop my bedroom floor. Bi-weekly. This felt like a lot of work to me. Then I had to start doing my own laundry in a washing machine that you have to fill bucket by bucket by hand. Once it's washed you have to rinse it and wring it by hand and put it in the spinner. Once all that is finshed you hang it to dry.
Also I had to learn to start cooking real food not ramen noodles and garlic flavored rice. I had worked at a movie theater so that was my diet in addition to popcorn and soda. No veggies no fruits. I was not in healthy shape. The mosquito bites I scratched took ages to heal and where I scratched my hand at work it took also ages to heal but after two weeks of good eating in Lebanon of fresh veggies and fruits they healed swiftly. So I learned the tedious tasks of scrubbing veggies and how to peal them and cut them up. No open can and dump in pan method here. I was so slow and clumbsy with a knife. Cutting potatoes took me hours to make french fries for the whole family. This was my job because it took me hours and I think they wanted me to practice with a knife more... I learned how to scoop out the innerds of zucchinis (kousa) and stuff them with rice and meat. I learned how to roll grape leaves with rice and meat. And all other Arab dishes taht are so popular. My main task besides potatoes in the kitchen was pealing, cutting, and pounding garlic. I loved the smell and flavor so i was fun for me. In the motar and pedstle I'd grind and smash the garlic then add sea salt and fresh squeezed lemon juice for the dish of that time. (meaning I'd do this many times a day for each meal).
Besides helping with the food and learning to serve tea and coffee to guests I learned how to weekly clean the whole house top to bottom with my in-laws. In Lebanon many rooms have holes/drain in the floor so you can throw water and soap on the floor and swish them around with these brooms then using a giant squeegy guide the water to the drains. You start at one side of the hosue scooting the soap and water to each room and adding water when it becomes too dirty (as they do this weekly there isn't TOO much dirt so only minimal water is needed). After each room you take a rag cloth and mop up the access water that may have pooled like under beds or around bed legs. We roll up the carpets and beat them with stick-wands on the balcony. Finally everything is sparking clean and all the windows and doors (glass) are clean too. We relax for all of ten iminutes after putting everything back. Then it's time to go make lunch because soon the men will be returning. After we eat with the men and sit and chat as a family we get some free time to do what we like (usually I wrote or if my younger sister-in-law at the time wanted to play games I'd oblige). This goes on until evening when again we heat up the food or make something new (though usually we made enough in the afternoon to last all day and have leftovers for the morning). Again we sit with family in the evening chatting and drinking tea. In the mountains you have to go visit a lot or have visitors alot and offer them food and drinks constantly. It was hard at first for me but after a few months everything was very natural. I became a good cleaner and a pretty good cook....

9:12 AM

Everyone's a Cinderella 1

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

We all do it, everyone does it. Some do it more than others but we all do it.
Anytime you get people especially women together they spend a lot of time talking about this subject. Whether it's cleaning yourself, your home, your car, your garden, your family....everybody cleans.

It is one of my personal flaws that I struggle daily with to better.
My biological mother is the messiest person I know. When I was 16 and got my driver's licence I went and drove to her house to see her again. When I arrived I was shocked by what I found. I was always told how messy she was and I remember as a child boxes and crates and trash bags everywhere filled with things, but as a child we don't notice the normal as being bad.
So when I stepped out of my truck I wasn't sure if anyone lived in this dump. I asked the neighbor with his sparking garden and white fence if she lived there and he was all ready to talk about her but I wasn't there to see him. SO I walked tentatively up to the chicken wire fence. dog bowls and toys were scattered in the first quarter of the walled off yard so I avoided that side. The other side of the yard was blocked off by an old car that looked like it hadn't been used in years. I found the closure tabs on the wire and began to undo them and roll it back so I could gain access when a woman comes yelling from the window of the house "Get back, you can't do that you can't trespass!" I recognised her right away and called back, "Hi (name), it's me you're daughter. I've just come to visit you, can I come in?" She looked dazed and confused for about two minutes then suddenly she began rushing around to get her dogs under control and tie up a nasty mean dog she has (which is what the chicken wire was caging). Finally she looked me over and was happy to see me......blah blah blah we met and chatted about life and such out by the dusty car.....then she invited me in. I was looking at her backyard with new eyes that saw what no child understands. Junk was fence to fence in the back yard just a swath large enough for a trailer/car to get through. It came about shoulder high to me (I'm 5'7" /170cm). I saw old baby toys that were most probably mine as a child and when i asked her about it she said You never know when someone might want to visit and has children. I thought these toys were not fit to be used by a dog at this point much less children but didn't say anything. We went inside and the dishes were clean but nothing else was. It was a two room house (one bedroom, one living room) and to get to the bedroom you literally had to wind your way through junk piled to the ceiling. It was like a junk jungle. Some places it was a tight squeeze for me (since i was "bigger" than her) but we got back to the bedroom and at least the bed was made and not full of things. She showed me pictures of us kids long ago and we chatted more. As we went back out I saw the pieces of 5 computers (at least 5 years older and ancient) sitting around and asked about it since i wasn't aware that she was techno savvy. She said she's saving them so that when all of us kids come to live with her again she can have us use them. I said riiiight...and moved along. Wound my way back to the outside where I could feel less cramped and invited her for dinner. I drove.

The point of this story is to show a standard of cleanliness which is far below average. This is my roots and where I come from. As a child this was normal for me. I was always messy and procrastinator and my Dad and his wife (my mom but not biological) had to always nag me to clean my room and some days I had a path through my room just to get to my closet. It took me a very long time to learn how to clean better. Though if I wanted to go somewhere special or my friends would come over I would super clean super fast and everything would be fine. My secret messiness wouldn't be known too much.
When I moved out into my own house it stayed clean for about a month. Then slowly (since i had no visitors) things got worse and worse and I was looking for jobs and was depressed and having issues with meeting my fiance so cleaning wasn't at the top of my menu. After a half a year I got a roommate and we moved to a new house which I kept up a little better (with her help and sometimes nagging). Depression got worse and life got more stressed because I got a job where I was working literally all the time. My roommate said once (just before I got the job) "You're a terrible housewife. I'm being the man and bringing home the bacon and when i get here I want to relax and enjoy my house not have to clean it more. Get off your A** and start making it nice." I did take her kind words to heart and cleaned more. My room was still a disaster though. Eventually came the time for me to move to Lebanon. I packed up my most important clothes and things and left the rest with my roommate (who was a darling to get rid of everything she didn't want).
When I got to Lebanon I stayed with my in-laws in their mountain house. I had one room to call my own (with my husband of course) and I set up "house". Daily I didn't make my bed, bi-weekly I didn't sweep my floors, though I didn't have junk to pile up, the things I did have in my closet I didn't do anything with them. My mother-in-law offered to do our laundry with hers so that worked well for me not to have to do anything. So I spent most of my days writing or trying to find privacy and quiet in a crowded house. They thought I was some weird recluse for always wanting to be alone. I knew nothing about the Arab culture and found the life tedious at first. Always cooking and cleaning and sitting together and eating together. Then my mother-in-law was quite fed up and so was my husband. They laid it out clearly for me that I was being a bad wife and daughter-in-law not to help more. I explained my upbringing a bit and my whole ADD issue (not that that excuses me to be lazy) and they understood a little more. From that day on began my great struggle with cleaning Arab style......

12:06 PM

Tagged #1

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Ah my first tag, thanks Angry Muslimah:

The Rules
1. Write your own six word memoir
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post
4. Tag six more blogs with links
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

[Picture loader not working so wait for the picture later]

Idealist wearing huge rose colored glasses

Stranger in this Dunya
Miss Muslimah
Jayne with a WHY
Princess Najeeba

3:20 PM

Peaceful Corner

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

I dream to have an extra room in my house that I can dedicate just to praying and studying Islam. I'd put those low Arab cushions on one wall. Soft blue carpeting (not too thick, just a mat style) in the center with a few prayer rugs on top facing the quibla so anytime i want to pray there is already a setup. The other wall will have a few bookcases with Islamic books and Quran. A nice Qur'an holder with Qur'an next to the Arab seats. Thin white curtains to allow in the sun and soft breeze. I picture my kids reading quietly on the cushions next to my husband who is drinking tea and reading Qur'an out loud. We are properly covered in this room with a loose hijab for me and my daughter and caps for the men. This is my room of peace and reflection and simplicity. Oh how I long for this room.... my personal Masjid.....
I have always loved Masjids. They are so dear to my heart. In America I used to ditch school just to go to the masjid to reflect. It had deep blue carpets and no decorations at all. Simple and open. I used to also clean this masjid because I felt the mexican maids (non-muslims) didn't do a good enough job. I'd scrub the walls and floor and vacuume. My favorite masjid is the one in Tempe built to look like the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem. Upstairs they have a dividing white curtain between the men and women and it flows in the breeze of the ac/open windows. The sun shines in through cut windows. Two short bookcases hold Qur'ans. It's a quiet neighborhood so you don't hear horns honking or anything disturbing. It was here I had my first real Ramadan and staying the night at the masjid. It' was here I learned my first Surah (besides Al-Fatiha) by listening over and over to a recording and repeating and following along in my transliteration Qur'an.
When I got to Lebanon and masjids were everywhere I didn't find a special one I loved the most. They all had fancy thick carpets. Never the less when I enter a masjid my heart calms and I feel at peace and am able to consintrate on prayers like I can rarily attain at home. Finally I found a masjid I liked to visit because the floor is made from bamboo rolled mats. When you put your head on that hard scratchy surface you feel the act more of bowing/prostrating to Allah. It is small and located on the Corniche (sea walk) so you can smell the fresh breezes and when you're done praying you turn to leave outside and the Mediteranean Sea is there in your face for you to reflect on.
I've been to quite a few masjids here in UAE. My favorite are the ones that are not too decorated. My first Jummah was in the Jumairah Great Mosque in Dubai with my two kids (also my son's first masjid trip) and it felt so peaceful. The next time we went to Abu Dhabi we visited the famous Shiek Zayed Masjid. It was huge and awesome but the whole time I could only see the beauty of it. I felt happy to be at a masjid but I didn't feel peace. Too many things for the eyes to wander to. It's not actaully allowed in Islma to decorate masjids liek this. TO waste precious money on a building when they could have used it to help needy people. It's sad. It was amazing yes but still I thought of the poor people that are starving and struggling to make ends meet praying in a fancy place like this. My blogroll "Flowers in the sand" has great pictures of the masjid in her achives. So I left with a sour taste in my mouth- though yes again it IS beautiful and breathtaking. There are two masjids near my house and I've been to one and it had a shabby woman's area that doesn't look like they even clean it so I'm not sure abou that place.
I would love to have a specail masjid I can go to with my kids (ie a place for women who can brestfeed and still pray) where I feel peace and openness and higher goodness. When I read of The most Pious Woman ever's tale in the Qur'an my heart burns to be like her. The Good Maryam, Mother to Prophet Isa (Jesus) used to have her seclusions where she prayed and reflected. Masha'Allah.
So I wish for my own peaceful corner.....

4:59 AM

Soul's Stages

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

I had read an interesting book long ago when first saying shahada. "The Complete IDIOT's Guide to Understanding Islam". It has been about 5 years since I picked it up and read it but with all my new thoughts about how to minimilaize I started searching and what I read was interesting and thought provoking: (rough summery -excuse me it's been a while since English class)

"The Three-Fold Journey
All human beings have three levels of self-development though which they must pass durirng their lives:
1. The Animal Self: Basic intincts and desires; food, sex, creature omforts, wealth guide the life.....THink of all the people in the world who do nothing but indulge their whims.....The struggle of the Animal self stage is made harder by the efforts of an evil Jinn named Shaytan.....They do this by playing upon our fears, desires, and emotions.......eventully we will forget our Creator.

2. The Accusing Self: Higher-order questioning of our purpose; When we discard the life-is-a-big-party attitude and begin to pay attnetion to our fitrah, we recieve a flash of insight, a deep thought.....questions come flooding in: Why am I here?..... Happens when I die? Is there a next life?....A person may reflect days, months, years until being motivated to seek spiritual guidance. The person has become ready to look for God. .....looking for the familiar --Christan, Jew, buddism....Islam teaches that a sincere seeker tries to fully satisfy his or her spiritual hunger, the seeker will eventaully move beyond those previosuly revealed (and compromised) religions and into the Islmaic was of life that Allah revealed as His last religious "installment" to the world. After we reach this second stage....we realize we need God....we can try to mold our life according to His universal way. Through a daily regimen of prayer, fasting, reflection, and study and a conciousness of morality our heart becomes more and more at ease.

3. The Restful Self: Transcending worldliness as a focus; ....we may achieve complete peace and tranquility in our heart.....Nothing in this world holds us any longer...not phaed by any tragedy or bounty that may come our way. We realize we will die and return to God and that this whole life is a test for us.....While still maintaining a normal life [job, family, vacations], the person is no longer living only to satisfy himself but realize the higher purpose of life. "

Ok so that is what the book has to say now here is what got me to blog about this:
I was in stage one as an Atheist and searched through the old religions and unsatisfied just as it said above. SO I reached stage one and begining of stage two. I found Islam and am implimenting it as best as I can right middle of stage two. Recently I have begun to enter stage three but am still trying to improve my stage two.... So there is some missing stages and a flaw in this stagement.
I realize the higher purpose and am taking steps to live it yet I'm still stuck in trying to implement. So there must be an inbetween stage called 2.5 where I think a lot of Muslim reach. They are not quite to that blissful forget the troubles of the world stage three yet over stage two.
Here at 2.5 the life becomes harder and Shaytan whispers more cunningly. When doing good deeds can get you in trouble.... "yesss stay up late cleaning your house and doing good for your family...pleassssing your husssband.....getting sssssooooo ssssleepy" Oops did I just miss Fajr cause I fell asleep exhausted from cleaning? We have to prioritize and learn to get things in order. Our spirit is excelling in following fitrah but our bodies are not yet follwoing orders to be obediant.
I'm personally at a point where i can give up my beloved collection of juice glasses [winegoblets] that I've collected since teen years. I see the dust gathering on them and see their pointlessness.... I even reached a state mentally where my stories don't matter and I know they don't matter for my future insha'Allah in Jannah but so far I have followed shaytan and decided to keep them for now though they take up so much room without a file cabinet in place yet....(see more worldly possessions i will forced to buy by keeping things i don't need)..... I can clearly see my mind and heart flowing easily into stage three but why are my actions so sluggish? Why can't I just do what I feel like doing and get rid of tv and get rid of these things I KNOW in my heart that don't benefit me and I know it's just shaytan whisperig to me to not follow good islamic teachings. In this book it also says some kids ages 4 to 7 read their first reading of the qur'an and have their party for it. I was like WHAT my daughter is 3.6yrs and she is just trying to get fatiha down much less reading the whole qur'an...... i'm failing as a parent? I'm leading my children to a life of worldly interests? I prayed and prayed for them to become religious scholors yet how am i helping them achieve this with Disney channel and not speaking arabic? I'm stuck at 2.5 stage of my soul's journey and I don't want to die in this stage uncompleted. I want to make up my missed prayers of the past years and continue to do good in the future and raise my kids to make it easy for their souls to reach stage 3 too.

What stage are you in?

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