Followers

6:39 AM

Finding your CALLING!

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

There is so much to share I almost don’t know where to start.


You see I have this secret.

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When I wake up and feel like it might be a bad day or things might not turn out so great or run smoothly, I only have to think of my precious secret and suddenly I smile or even laugh with joy. (No I'm not preg!)

When people piss me off in the world I draw a deep breath and put things in perspective by remembering my secret. If someone praises me I always remember any goodness I do or am comes solely from Allah and at any moment He can change me into something else. One ill-intentioned action here, one bad action there, and I'd be slipping back into the chaos that engulfed my life as a teen. I can never allow myself to think I'm safe from the threshold or the brink of it. Always we all teeter on that edge, some closer than others. I'm hoping by this point in my life my actions and intentions have lead me to have a foot solidly implanted on the safe side. The side leading to Allah and severely away from Shaytan and his ilk.

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Who you share your journey with in this world affects that position on the edge. The Prophet's (SAW) is correct 100% saying to the summarized effect: "Be careful who you are friends with, the bad will bring you down, the good will raise you higher."

I've struggled for years to find and keep friends. I take my job as a friend very seriously and have my deep loyalties. I try to be the one that does not bring their friend lower but only encourages them to the higher.


When I had moved away from my parents to another city my friends from the teenage years would come visit. But sometimes though I loved them dearly I felt their topics of conversation would bring me down in a religious way yet raise me in their general support of my life. They are good people and always accepted me and my changes in life. And they still do, Bless them for that. But I needed to be raised higher religiously.

I went to the masjids and tried making friends with the sisters in the community. Sadly the only one I really hooked up with was one sister also American Convert. She was going through a rough patch in life and when we met we would raise each other higher. I was there for her sudden marriage to my husband's close friend and there for the quick divorce that followed only months later as the cultures were incompatible. She moved in with me and we both would strive harder in Islam. Praying more and trying to find our calling. Poverty was eminent in this time of my life more than any other time. We were both struggling to pay rent and deal with this problem. She started turning to easy fixes while I maintained my high road. Looking back I can see where she started to fall but neither of us was clear seeing enough then to help prevent her. Sadly after I left America and she had re-married, she left Islam from lack of Community Support. It was a crushing blow to me. We had prayed together. We had fasted together. We had read Qur'an together. I felt I had failed her somehow. I should have seen the signs, but I was too wrapped up in the drama of my life then. And I will tell the truth that in those last months I was beginning to fall with her but I couldn't see that, I could feel it in the back of my heart but I didn't know what to do about it. I was trapped in it just like her. I only prayed for my swift release from the prison I was in.

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In Lebanon things were very lonely at first. Until I got immersed in the "married to Lebanese" clubs. Meeting sisters who just like me came from all over the world and had embraced Islam and had fallen for the passionate Lebanese. We bonded and I was enthralled with the goodness they had to offer. Sisters so intent on bettering themselves. But there were too many sects. I had three different sets of friends from different sects and they all preferred not to be with the other groups. I was torn to choose one group over the others. How can a person do such a hard task as to WEIGH their friend's worth. I finally had to decide to stay mainly with the ones that lead me higher in Islam. Offered me the most knowledge and practiced with the most God-Fearing Sincerity. I still had the other friends though and would keep in contact and good spirits with them and every other friend I'd met in my life through emails or phone calls and visits and such.

My three closest friends were Swedish, Latvian, and Taiwanese. These three souls really helped broaden my knowledge and practice of Islam. The Latvian sister brought strength to my heart and taught me never to apologize for being myself. The Swedish sister taught me the joy of continual struggle despite the demands of life. She always gave me excellent advice on how to get through those prickly situations and stay on top Islamically. My Taiwanese friend showed me the real spirit of generosity in not only helping me if I was ever in real trouble but by always having her house open to those who searched for the truth. She always gave her time and energy and never accepted base excuses for laxity. She one of the few in life who always pushed me to do more than the obligatory and always strive for the greater reward of adding extra Sunnah and also learning Arabic to read Qur'an.

I miss them so deeply. May Allah reward them and their goodness.

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Coming to UAE was also very lonely. I was pregnant and was dealing with the most difficult part of my life I had ever faced. I had no one to go to, no one to help me, to sound things out with. Friends in USA couldn't help me more than the basic support because religiously they weren't at the same level of understanding. But at least that much support helped me when i felt totally alone that at least there was someone out in the world besides my family that cared I was in pain. Friends came slowly and in stages here.

The first ones through a link from Lebanon who knew sisters here and had given me their numbers. Each one of these new friends proved a special role in my life May Allah Bless them 100 fold for their goodness.

Then I met more and more and word would spread and new contacts were made. Perhaps I made a few wrong moves and wore my heart on my sleeve a little too much and thus was backstabbed a bit but I came out of it wiser. Open your mouth and heart to the sincere few who take the time and energy to stay in your life. At this point I gained my next closest friend from America with Euro roots that I blogged about here in 2009.

We were swept in a wave of friendship, love, and companionship. She never accepted excuses for me to be less than the best Muslim I could possibly be. And I supported her emotionally through her troubles and offered the most sincere and loving and loyal advice I could. And as many long term friends do we've had a few fights that were ironed out eventually.

But after I moved to Dubai we've drifted. Phone calls and texts becoming fewer. I wish her the best in life for her and her family wherever she is or whatever she is doing now. She also gave me a strength in Islam that has lasted me into this new stage. She helped guide my prayers on track and always reminded me of gaining those moments of extra blessings when they are in their time. Like the time between Asr and Maghrib on Friday. My other friend very close to me from Botswana(white African) I met through work in Al-Ain was a recent convert and her freshness to Islam and her need of companionship and knowledge allowed me for once to be the one helping another. To help guide her through those sticky issue that pop up first for a convert. I tried to raise her higher and her excitement for Islam was a breath of fresh air. She hadn't been in it long enough to know the realities of the Muslim world and hadn't yet seen the Sects or the Muslim Hypocrites that tend to sour one's faith a little bit. She reminded me Islam IS ONE.

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Also she taught me how easy it is to give your time and energy to a good cause. In Ramadan she decided to make trays of food to send to the masjid to feed the hungry men there waiting for Iftar. She was in connection with others doing the same and Bless her a 1000 fold for her willingness not to just think but to DO. She showed me the power of ACTION. Now she's in charge of the Sister's Network I set up in AL-Ain to keep the sisters there close and always in contact with one another.

Also both of these close friends in Al-Ain taught me the importance of self-improvement through reading religious books besides the Qur'an. The first friend I mentioned gave me a book called DONT BE SAD (and a few other wonderful ones) but this book DONT BE SAD helped me really get over my depression for good and not return to that energy sucking maw of darkness. May Allah Bless her and her family a 1000 fold. The second friend gave me two special gifts that have changed me. The second gift I have not finished gaining from yet as the 10 Book Set of English Translated- Tafsir Ibn Kathir. I have started with the first book and I am slowly pouring through it to gain every pearl I can. Tafsir, for those that don’t know, is an EXPLINATION of the HOLY QUR'AN. So it not just translated the Quran but tells you what each part of every Suraha and Ayah means and how and why it was revealed. I KNOW this will lift me higher in the future and I'll keep you informed on that.

Also just before I moved to Dubai she gave me a very interesting book called "THE BOOK OF THE END". It looked very interesting as it showed on the cover and on the telling on the back that this book featured Hadith about the End of Times, how the world will end and the major and minor signs of the day of judgement. I put it aside as I started my life here in Dubai. But one important Day I picked it up and began to read. And I couldn't put it down. Every waking moment free in my life I spent reading this and gaining SO MUCH from its pages. It not ONLY about the signs leading up to the Day of Judgment; It is complete Hadith and Qur'an about the entire process for creation until we are either safely in Jannah enjoying its blessing or wretchedly in Hell tormented in our pain from our own wrong-doings. May Allah give us the first and keep us far from the last. Amin. It goes in depth in order from Current time to the End of this World and the stages there-in, the Mahdi, the Dajjal, the return of Prophet 'Isa (Jesus), all the way til the end and destruction of our world. The moment it tells about how only Allah will be left after ordering Death to Kill itself is amazing. It just brings you to reality of Allah's Power. Then it takes you deep (and sometimes repetitively as many hadith overlap each other) into the Resurrection. It describes in intimate detail how we will progress from one stage to another. It reveals WHY we are given so much information in the Qur'an about other cultures of the past, as we Muslims will testify to the truth of their sins based on our knowledge of what Allah has given us in the Qur'an. It's amazing how everything overlaps and touches each other despite the differences of TIME. Because Allah is not bound by Time as it is His Creation. It goes into the area of what becomes to those who lived only for the frivolities of the world never seeking anything higher than the high they could get from the nearest vodka bottle or heroine. It tells the fate of those who transgress Allah's limits and oppress those around them. And to counteract this it tell the Blessings of those who strived hard and earned Allah's pleasure. Next it takes you deep into the world of Hell and what happens there and why certain people get certain punishments. Then to counteract that as you really start to have a deep fear of not being good enough to get away from that fate. It goes into the supreme pleasures of Heaven Jannah where everything will be delightful and your heart just fills with so much happiness you can no longer see even the smoke from the fire of Hell. I have never laughed with so much joy than when i read this Book. It cleanses your heart. My prayer while reading this book was so deep and full of closeness to Allah.

I have never felt so spiritually pure and high before. It brought me with acute awareness my limited time on this earth to earn my place in Jannah like nothing else has ever done.

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Years ago I made a Promise to Allah. While reading this book it made me realize I only have to ASK whatever I want from Allah and He will grant it in this life or give it to me in the next if it would not be good for me now. One of the ways I learned this was through the hadith telling about when the Prophet would tell about jannah Companions would speak up and say to the effect, Wall I be of those with you there in Jannah? And the Prophet would reply, Yes, you will be of those. Then he continued to others in the Hadith after the first had left the scene that had others asked before those first Companions they would have received the good news. THEY ONLY HAD TO OPEN THEIR MOUTH AND SPEAK UP. To have that Hope! To have that desire that they will succeed enough to ASK for it. Some people don’t ask Allah for things thinking He will never give it to them. Well how will you expect anything in this world if you don’t ask for it? True Allah KNOWS our utmost hearts and knows already what we need and don’t. But part of receiving his bounty is trusting he WILL give it to you and that you only need to ASK him for it. And accepting the answer he will give you about it. Allah has so much Mercy and Compassion and Forgiveness beyond our comprehension. A Million fold than a mother gives Mercy to her tender baby.

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So I asked.

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I realized my True Calling in the this world. It took me this book to see past this worldly life and what was really important. To move past the squabbles and petty arguments and fights of everyday existence and do something Better. Release that Anger into Forgiveness. Not let it get attached to you in your Heart. Learn to forgive and take the upper road.



So I have my secret now of what my future will hold. I have ASKED MY ALL-MIGHTY ALLAH. And He in His Mercy has begun to give me. He let my heart be purified. He has turned my face from pettiness (well as much as a Human can try to manage to get away from it). He has shown me a glimmer of my Future. It is up to me to do the work that will get me there. I have to keep being good, Keep striving Hard in my goals. AND I have to help others on the same path.



He has not given me this task to hold by myself as it is a weighty and immense task. I asked for such a high thing and I have to remain humble and straight-forward enough to complete it. He has given me new friends.

Beyond what I already have in Support. I have two new special people in my life recently that happened in the most amazing and extra-ordinary way. The first I will tell you about is from Romania. The strange thing for me is that she is Not Muslim. Never have I had such a close non-Muslim friend since I was a teenager. She so strongly Christian. She so strongly good in her heart. It really broadens the scope of acceptance in Islam to have a friend like this. Christians and Muslims lived side by side for YEARS, even during the time of the Prophet, with helpful dutiful companionships. I strive to bring out the goodness in her more and guide her where I can to reach beyond this world and seek for the higher road. She brings to me a strength and dedication to be bold and high minded.

The other special friend is even more dear to me because she IS Muslim, from Indian/Arab origins. She is not like my other Muslim friends. They were all more conservative. She is definitely liberal in Practice BUT her heart is pure Gold. She has this inner beauty and charisma that shines like bright rays of sunlight. So powerful it is like looking directly at the sun, it hurts the intensity but it makes you so warm. She has so much energy to do good and to become good. She encourages it from others. She spreads her hope around her like a fuzzy blanket in the winter storm. Whatever good I have she magnifies it. And her goodness inspires me to reach higher and higher. She shows me that even though we are all struggling sinners in this life we have to keep trying to reach beyond ourselves.

She is the backbone to supporting me and my future secret plans. Without her I'd be almost all alone with my dreams, besides my Husband who is of course encouraging me. She makes it seem like it is just around the next bend and I had better hold onto it tightly. SubhanAllah how Allah gives us just the right friends at just the right time.

I have lent her my copy of the Book of the End to help her lift higher too. I really recommend you ALL read it. You can get it from Magrudy's if in UAE, order from any branch, or INTL: HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE

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So here I am and my life feels FULL. I was torn last month in November wanting to get started on my secret but wanting to complete NaNoWriMo. I managed to finish it and excelled at reaching 51,000 words by the end of the month on my new story "A Lira for Lebanon"! YAY! I didn't think I could do it as at first I was writing by hand and that was slow but finally I gave in three weeks after hand working to type on the computer and managed to make it all up right on the last day.

My job is going well at Magrudy's. My family is healthy and happy. My marriage is strong and unified. We managed to FINALLY find a Nanny after so many tries the past few months. I hope she stays and it works out. She is also the key to my life working in synch, without her it will fall apart again. I treat her as a close friend and a part of my family.

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Today I took the kids, our Nanny and my Christian friend to the Burj Al-Arab beach on my day off.

It was soooo peaceful and lovely. Just the absolute prefect moment in life where everything feels right and everything is going right and the worries of tomorrow will wait.

Tomorrow we will add the Indian friend to the group and go to the park. I can imagine a perfect moment ahead. Insha'Allah.

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I have my secret. It warms and purifies my heart.

It reminds me to keep:

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Daring to Work for Jannah.


10:32 PM

Breaking news: Fire

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Al-Quoz Industrial Fire
-Brandy AZ Chase

Breaking News Tonight: There was a fire at the Mitsubishi Motors Showroom in the upstairs offices, in Quoz Industrial section, right next to the Noor Islamic Bank Metro Station. When I got off the metro at 9:30-9:45ish and was walking to my car I noticed the flashing lights and many emergency vehicles down a block. I walked over to them and flipped out my phone, sorry couldn't get a clear picture was worried the police might try to confiscate my camera.... this is what I got though....  you can see the firetruck (squint if you need to).

CAN ONLY REPRODUCE WITH PERMISSION AND CREDIT GIVEN TO MY SITE

As I arrived closer (stowing away my camera), the fire fighters blasted the upper floor with a long stream of water.  Very professional! It really was amazing seeing the water gushing straight up in the air though! Two Police cars, One Ambulance, and One Firetruck were surrounding the corner.  I looked up to the area of the fire and saw the sign of Mitsubishi Motors half covered in black soot and fire marks. Police and paramedics were entering the building  They had already put out the worst of it and were waiting for flair-ups.  I nodded to the Officer in Brown as I passed, stepping lightly over the fire hose, passing between the truck and the fire-fighters. (Talk about IN THE ACTION!) Then on my way one block south to my car I saw another Fire Truck hovering on the back side of the building, probably waiting to see if extra help was needed.
I got into my car and at that time the 2nd Fire Truck had moved on down the road and I followed him a distance as he drove very very very slowly away with his lights on.  Finally I had to pass him....
  As soon as I got home I contacted Gulf News with the tip-off and hopefully they'll print it, I'll give you the link when  it's available.
Now back to your regularly scheduled lives.

PS: My Queendom Al-Quoz Industrial is in good hands with DUBAI'S FINEST!
Don't know what I'm talking about see this post!

4:38 AM

The Balance

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Family first has always been my motto.
If you are having children then you should be ensuring they get the best care possible.  The care that matters because it comes from YOU. Leaving children for a Nanny or Governess or DayCare to deal with while you go wax your legs or shop til you drop (for non-essential things) seems like cruelty to me. I'm not talking the parents that do this once in a while to relax a bit but the ones that chronically do this.
Another alternative to this is parents who work when they don't really have to. They spend gobs of time away from their children and family and in the end is the money they are bringing home going to fill the void the child might be feeling? Of course I'm not talking about parents who need to work to put the Halal-Turkey-Bacon on the table, but those who work because that is what they are programed to do by society no matter the end result it has on family.
There are Sooooo many factors though to this all and it's hard to make open faced judgements like these because everyone's situation is so unique. I see too many families split across the globe. Philipina mothers slaving away as maids or sales clerks with their 2-5 kids back at home with grandma. They need to work, they have mouths to feed. Yet some of them work for sheer ambition... it's hard to draw the line.
I see wealthy Arab mothers flitting from one store to the next in a large group of women, maids and babies training behind them. I have seen children literally left in carts with AND WITHOUT nannies in the middle of the Mall while the mother pops into a store for a good ten minutes.  The child without the Nanny kept staring around her looking so lost and forlorn, sitting dolefully in the shopping cart stuffed with bags as if she were no more than an inanimate object herself. I stared in horror thinking sure NOW the mother would turn around and go back to her child...okay and NOW she would?...and Now?...I guess that shoe sale was just so irresistible to wipe the memory of your child from your mind!  Finally after ten minutes or so she stuck her head out of the shop and waved the maid who had followed her into the shop to bring the shopping cart so she could place the new bags into it.  They walked onto the next shop. I stopped watching lest I vomit or commit murder.
What and where is the Balance to this?
The lines are so blurry it's hard to find which is right or wrong.
How much time Should you be devoting to your family/children?
How much time Should you allot for necessary work?
How much time Should you allot for personal improvement/relax time?

As a non-working mother I was finding it hard to separate my personal time from my family time. If I spent too much time on one thing I became cranky that I was over burdened and never saw the light of day. The whip was cracking 24/7 and there was never enough time to finish everything.
My creativity was dying and manifesting itself into other ways...like mass organizing...re-decorating.... etc...
For a long time I put off writing my novels all together, sure and 100% certain family was more important and my novels could wait.  Yes they did wait. But I found myself writing inane stuff like in depth shopping lists for food. Finally I began this blog, I had to release my stress and somehow get my words back out. I had used LiveJournal and MySpace to vent and keep up with friends but it puttered out and I wanted MORE.
As I posted and posted I began to realize my time was importantt and I needed to allot myself time for my creativity and making more friends.  So I did, and my family life suffered a bit more. Things got less clean, meals got less tasty, children got less quality time.  And the guilt would start again.
I'm being selfish using time I could have spent with my kids.
Then on top of this began my working career, with publishing projects that took up huge chunks of time, and then getting my job. Now everything seems to be hanging precariously by strings.  No one item seems to be getting enough of the time it deserves.... especially my kids.  And it cuts me to the bone.
I love my family and it will always be number one. That is how Allah created me and that is what I've learned from living a difficult life. Every time I see my kids playing by themselves I think why am I not with them? Memories always come to me of times when adults didn't have time to be with me, and that is all I wanted, more attention, more time.  I told myself I'd be different, I'd sacrifice EVERYTHING, to make sure they got that extra attention.  And for years I did. I refused to work unless it was absolutely necessary. I put aside my dreams and aspirations (or at least toiled on them when the kids slept). We lived mostly in scraping-by-poverty. But it was worth it, watching the bond grow between me and my kids.
It stopped being worth it when I was self destructing mentally, emotionally, maritally, and physically.
It stopped being worth it when my kids wanted more to eat and there was nothing else.
I don't regret those years, but now as things are changing there had to be a new balance.
I know I need free relax time
I know I need creative time
that keeps me sane.
I know I need time with my husband separate from the kids
that keeps us stronger.
I know I need time with my kids
that makes them stronger.
I know I need time for work/society
that makes us able to live.
I know I need time for family and friends
that makes us connected.
Above All else, I need time for Allah.

But it needs to be Balanced.
Crazy rushing from one areas to the next or bypassing some areas completely leads to burnout.


The amount of work I'm doing sometimes feels worth it when I'm helping people out in the world.  Other times when I get home to find my kids asleep and only get a few hours with them in the morning it feels like utter HELL. But then when they are sleeping peacefully in their beds and I have some alone time or creative time it's refreshing. When I get that paycheck it feels good to have helped out my family and be able to take the kids out for a special treat.  But I worry and feel guilty that the special treat is a bribe for taking away their quality time with me. I love the extra time I get on the metro to write my novels or read books, but it's transport time away from my family. I adore teaching my kids and have placed the responsibility of their education on my shoulders, yet if the day gets scrambled and there is no time for that, the guilt falls to me.

It's all a giant balancing act.  Everyday there seems to not be enough time. Everyday something new happens to tip the time scales. Routines get disrupted or slightly unbalanced and the whole system must begin again.
I've wrote two long posts this week and sacrificed my Nano Novel.
I've spent yesterday recuperating my mind and heart and contributing to society and sacrificed my Nano Novel and my family.
Today I spent really quality time with my family but sacrificed my work.
Now I will sacrifice my sleep (and thus tip the scales awry for the next 12 hours) to catch up my Nano Novel.
Without my Nano Novel I'd be fluttering aimlessly creativly which would make me go mental.



It may seem madness, but this is my Balance Beam.  I'm glad I was in gymnastics so I wont fall off, but I was never in the circus to learn juggling.

Today I had T I M E.
That may seem odd as everyone has exactly the same amount of time.
Twenty-four hours.
But today surely Allah gave me more than them.
Even though I gained so much today I still feel I lost so much too.
Shall we start at the best place for stories to start? The begining?

I woke up startled from my sleep by two children who should not have been SO CHEERFULLY awake for children who went to bed so late .... at 6:34am this morning. My alarm hadn't even gone off I thought groggilly.  Then i remebered why i had set my alarm. I had a meeting today!
"Mama you have a meeting today!" my daughter aka mind reader, said sing-song. I hugged them because despite the odd hour they were in such great moods. My son was rolling all over my bed giggling about the silliness of life. I quickly got them up and dressed and fed them breakfast.  I was preparing their lunchbox when i realized i was tired of making them PBJsandwhiches for lunch, especailly when my son had just demanded that for breakfast while his sister ate cereal, as he doesn't drink milk. So I looked around the kitchen for something quick and edible and found NOTHING.  Nothing easy to cook either like mac and cheese. So I popped out some frozen chicken burgers and fish filets and fried them up. For "healthy" I added a large handful of baby carrots to the lunchbox.
I combed their hair and walked them upstairs to the Egyptian family babysitting them everyday.
I came down and dressed for work and thought about eating a sandwhich myself but again didn't feel like it, and certainly didn't want peanut breath for my meeting. I did notice the strange stillness and quiet to the house without the kids in it. But I was in too much of a hurry to really spend long reflecting. It was 8:20am.
I went down and waited and waited for a taxi, but luckily one came after only five minutes. I hopped in and said, "Jumairah 1, Jumairah Shopping Center". Then I sat back as he took off. I liked not having to drive for once. I could relax. I had my notebook on me and thought about writing on my Nano project. Never waste a minute when you can write....and I didn't write. I was too absorbed in enjoying the silence and calm.
We went around the huge roundabout packed long and deep with trucks and cars. I kept a side glance on the taxi meter as we stopped for another red light. Eventaully we got near the turning point to go left, he started going straight. "Left!" I cried urgently and he dutifully swerved over. As we sat at the red light i bit my lip thinking, did he know a faster way? "Is this way faster? What way you were going?" I asked finally.
"Go straight and take Shiekh Zayed over to Safa Park up to Jumairah." He replied.
"Well okay, if it's faster." I replied, I had SOME extra time, i could try a detour. So off he went the way he said he'd go. I passively watched out the window letting my mind roam as many topics as there are shiny buildings in dubai. We reached Safa Park and I noticed a Choithams, then with growing concern I saw we were only half way there and already the meter said 23.00dhs. Last time I went to Jumairah by taxi MY WAY, it only cost 23.00dhs! So I said do to the taxi driver and he got ticked off I was questioning his route. He said NO WAY I paid that much......Uh I'm not making up totals here. Just stating facts.  I tried to appease him that it didn't matter as long as we got there. No problem his way wasn't better.
Yeah.... useless to fight a man on "men's turf".  That sapped some of my morning glow and I started to feel drowsy as I just let him take me the rest of the way. I closed my eyes at red lights for a doze and glanced around when we moved to make sure we're staying on track.  Eventaully we reached Jumairah Shopping Center where Magrudy's has it's administration building.  Total was 37.00dhs. To make him pay for his bad judgement I handed him a 200DHS bill to break for me. (well ok no matter how fast he got me there that's all the cash i had) He grumbled and fumbled for change but managed to find it. Feeling better for exacting a bit of revenge, I moved onto Magrudy's.
I walked into the well decorated sitting entry room and waited to be called and again thought I should write in my Nano Book but was too keyed up and they took a while so I went in serach of the mother of a former co-worker. He was 17 and had quit his once a week job at Magrudy's to have more time for education, I wholly supported his quitting, as he's taking on like 3 majors and he NEEDED the extra time. But for 17, he had the funniest dry wit and sense of humor. I hadn't even known he was 17, he had the maturity of at least 24-26 year old person (my age).
I felt a bit daunted to go searching for some random employee but soon found her and she was ever surprised as I introduced myself and why I was there and how much i enjoyed working with her son. She couldn't quite beleive I was indeed talking about HER S O N .... I know the feeling, thats how my parents reacted sometimes when someone complimented me out of the blue... "Our daughter? You mean Brandy?" As if they HAD another daughter (they dont).... so I left feeling happy I had made someone else's day a bit more special.  By then my retail manager called me up to the meeting.
  Something I really like about Magrudy's is they don't just employ any old shmuk to work for them.  Each person is so unique and has charisma and charm and that certain sparkle in their eye that makes them stand out from the rest. My Administration Staff is no exeception. One lady I particularly get along well with as we both read personalities and try to work on meshing people together well.  So I had a fun productive meeting. It was just another moment of calm and peace as we chatted, as I mused at how far I'd come in my business life. Here I was out in the world trying to help others achieve their best.
  Afterward I headed off down the road a block to McDonalds. I was hungry and I knew their breakfast menu has the Sausage Egg McMuffin I'd missed eating since becoming Muslim in America. But here in UAE it is made from Halal CHicken which yes does taste every bit as good, if not better. I got their breakfast meal which includes coffee, as I was feeling the early hour by then. Bonus I got a free mug, YAY! Which I'd been needing to use at work for making coffee. I sat down and enjoyed the taste that took me back to many memories when i was younger. Again I wanted to write, in fact I felt the burden and obligation resting on my shoulders, but I shoved it off. It was peaceful and quiet. Slowly eating bite after bite of steamy egg, chiken, and cheese squashed between two mcMuffins. Time was just draggin by so slowly. And I was loving every second of it. But a part of me was missing sharing it with my family. My husband would love McDs in the morning, and the kids would be running around glowing in the morning sun trying to play between bites. But for now it was just me and peace and quiet....and i savored it. I spent about a half hour chilling then wondered what i should do with my day.  I could technically park myself at McDs all day writing until it was time to start my shift at work.  I could probably churn out 5,000-10,000 words in that amount of time.
   I got up and filled out a satisfied customer report adding they only needed to smile more....and left. I walked over to the bus stop and tried to figure out the map, it was hopeless. I'm good with maps but this only listed bus numbers at each stop not bus route lines so you know which way the bus goes.  I guess it would look too crowed with all those lines but still RTA needs to work on that map.  Not very user friendly.  So this Indian guy walkes into the Air Conditioned Bus Stop (Arizonians eat your heart out) and after a moment's hesitation...in which I wonder, why am I hesitating? I'm a Customer Service Executive... i chat with total strangers everyday, all day long..... I speak up.
"Do you know which bus goes to Deira City Center?"
"Yeah take the same as me C10.  But it's better if you get off early and take the metro the rest of the way, because it's faster than the long traffic the bus goes through."
"okay thanks." I reply and we continue to fill the silence with the usual conversations in DUbai, where are you from, how long you been here, what job you do?  But I was also sick of the USUAL conversations.
"Do you feel as an Indian you are treated unfairly here? Do you LIKE working here?" I asked.  Surprised at my sudden turn he gets interested.
"Well yeah, no Indian who works here REALLY likes it here. We just have to live to feed our families just like everyone else though.  So we just shut out mouth and take it in."
"Yeah it's not fair that I'm treated any different than you just because I'm white and you're darker." I sympathised. THen the bus came and we got up.  We boarded, swiping our dual use metro/bus pass.  He moved off to the back of the bus, while I stayed up front.  WHich SOUNDS very Rosa Parks-ish, but the men go to the back and WOmen have saved seats in the front, it's not segregated by COLOR. Allah Bless segregation by gender, it's so nice that there is a seat saved for you and you don't have to wait for someone to stand or ask some poor dude who'd been working hard all day to get up.
After a bunch of stops where again i wonder if i should write on the bus ride, and decline in favor of seeing the city and learning this route, a philipino lady gets on and I hear behind me her talking to some other lady who can't speak english well about Deira City Center.
I pop into the seats next to them to help.
"Go City Center?" The lady asks me.
"I'm going City Center, you go with me." I replied using lots of hand genstures.
"What's the next metro station?" I ask the philipino lady.
"Karama." she replies.
"You can go on metro?" I asked the lady not sure if she has a pass or cash for that.
"No City Center, I go City Center." She says in halting English overlayed with a thick Russian accent.
I wrack my brain to make the words come out simpler.
"You have money?" I asked wincing as it sounds like I'm asking for money to help her, but she understands me and pulls out her metro/bus card.
"You come with me okay?" I say again using hand gestures.  She nods and smiles.  She's in her late 50s and is content to watch the world go by, so I do as well for the rest of the trip til we reached the metro. I stand and wave her to follow me. She stands in a hurry.  I point at the Metro station and tell her to come on.  We get off and go upstairs and down the LOOOONG walk to the ticket station. I try a few questions in English but she doesn't understand. I shrug and we continue on.  We get through the ticket gate and go wait 5 minutes for the next train heading south to Rashidiya.  She sees the Metro Map with Deira City Center clearly shown and gets excited and sits down happily on the bench. Then pointed to the sign Rashidiya and got confused. I did a visual demonstration that Deira City center comes before Rashidiya.  THen this other guy asks me for directions to Mirdiff, "Last station Rashidiya, get off and take taxi/bus into Mirdif."
I feel like a tour guide but it's nice to help people.
 Finally the train comes and we get on. I find her the last seat and order her nicely to sit. Guys pack in all around (as I've chosen the front of the train to sit in not the women's so we can get off at City Center and up the escalaters faster.) and as we got through the next stations more seats open up but I refuse to sit in them far away from the lady, although every single guy in the carriage seemed inclined to offer me the seat. I kept pointing to the lady and saying I should stay with her.
God forbid she gets off the train at the wrong station and gets lost.  So finally we reached Deira City Center and we get off and make our way up the many escalaters to the light of day. As we reach ground level I point up at the Magrudy's window and then at my badge, "My work." I say. She makes AHA! Murmers.  i take her up the first escalater and she's determined to go off on her own but she gets lost not knowing the mall doesn't connect  to the metro entrance. You have to go to the third floor.  So I take her up and she thanks me again but looks more lost. "Sharja" she says. My heart sinks. I brought her all this way and she still wants to go further. I can't take her to Sharja. "Bus?" she asks.  Ahhhhh the bus to SHarja.  I helpfully point out the bus stations on the mall map, which unlike RTA is user firendly. She nods happily and goes off. We part ways but I see she's wondering and start moving my way to the ground floor, which happenes to be the same way as the bus station, she followed me at a long distance, as the signs clearly showed the way this time. At least I dont feel guilty leaving her lost at the top floor. That would be evil.
So it was 1pm on the nose 1:01pm as I stared at my clock. I had a few hours to kill until my shift started. I could park at a cafe and write but again... I haven't had time to mall browse by myself for a long time!!!! A LOOOONG TIME!!! I'd almost forgotten the fun of actaully going into stores you plan on buying nothing from and touching and checking out everything.  I started in of course a BOOKSTORE...okay i just can't help it I really DO love books. It's my Rival Company though so I hide my name tag under my hijab.
Yes I'm confident enough to walk around Dubai all day with Brandy pined to my shoulder. They are having a sale, it's not as good as the sale we had recently, but a discounted book is a discounted book! So I look around for my favorite authors and find Anne McCaffrey on sale. YAY!!! I find 2 books for my daughter and 2 for my son. Although I got SOOO many books (another post later) from Magrudy's sale, there hadn't been enough of my fav authored books. So leaving there I moved on to the next store. 1:10pm, what? it only took ten minutes? I was surprised.  Shopping with my friends we used to spend so much time at the mall when i was a teen. Though I was with them and we needed time for talking and opinionating everything, now i was alone. So in silence I shopped. Or window shopped. Checking out clothes that were rediculously fancy and sizes so small I actaully saw one dress my six year old daughter would have trouble shimmying into.  I was tempted to ask the sales lady if anyone had ever actaully fitted into the dress but didn't want to get laughed out of the store, sooo I smirked to myself and walked away.  Shop after shop it was just rediculously fun and peaceful. I learned FULL HD TVs are absolutly stunning and yes I do want one in the future when i can save up for one. About clothes though, shopping for them puts you in two frames of mind... I'm gonna work my butt off to fit in that skin-tight dress ...or... that's so depressingly small I'll never even fit my toe in it...  I felt like both off and on and was further discouraged by how many outfits I didn't even like! Did no shop have my style or fashion? It was disconcerting.... the ones i did like fell under can't fit my toe category.  But it was fun searching for my never ending quest to find a Purse that screams ME! I want red, bright or dark, shiny, with pockets and gold touches. I've never found it. Nothing in dozens of shops screamed to me, this is your dream purse. Same went for abayas. Nothing with thin red trim and no flashy sparkles.... i got frustrated so much I got a bit mean, in the last shop instead of browsing i just asked the poor guy, "DO you have red abaya?"
 "No, Black abaya."
 "No I want red trimmed abaya?"
 "Red?"
 "R E D"
 "Red?"
"R   E     D !!" I enounciated.
 "Red!" he said... 
"Yes Red Trim..."
 "Trim?"
 I had had it. i walked out even as he suddenly grasped the concept.  I felt bad being mean to him. It probably wasn't his fault his ENglish sucked but I was pissed, he didn't even learn the lingo of his trade, at least basic colors!!! I checked out perfume shops next to chill myself out. They had some pretty small bottles in pretty jewel colors for only 20 dhs. I wanted to smell some to calm myself but the sales guy looked pushy and I didn't want another encounter and wasn't planning to buy anyways so left there too.
My last shop filled me back with the calm I had had earlier. A shop with crystal nicknacks, and collectable porcelin dolls and bling bling jewelry full of crystals. But the best thing they had were CARNIVAL MASKS FROM VENICE!!!!  Anyone who really KNOWS me knows I love masks.  I stared at the empty faces and zoned out on the swirls of colors.  One red and gold one almost had me weeping, until the sales lady was trying to push too much (hello that price tag does say 1,300DHS ON SALE).  I made my way back to work.  I'd gotten a fresh perspective on Customer Service in the dozens of shops i visited.  Greet, Offer Help, Help or get out of their way, AND DONT HOVER!!!
I started my shift feeling so calm and fabulous. I hadn't writen hardly a single word of my story, but I had learned so much, about myself and the world.  It's so good to help other people. It's so good to be kind to yourself. We had a new demo product of Leap Frog Junior and I helped everyone learn about it and then took it to customers and quickly managed to sell one of the other Leap Frog products. Guy needed a present for his daughter, who happened to be in that age category. Another Customer helped.
 I made that my goal to help as many as I could. Even the guy who came with a list of books he wanted to get from our competetor downstairs and was trying to see if we had better prices. I gladly helped him figure out how to save the most money, as I wasn't allowed to give him bigger discount. And I had used them to save money too so why shouldn't he? My favorite customer though was a man needing a relationship book because he was late getting home to his wife. I offered him The Surrendered Wife (which I highly reccomend and will be blogging about later) and outlined the book for him. He was just so surprised and amazed by the info. It was fun to help him. I wish him a happy marriage.
We have a lot of new staff, because we had a major staff shuffle so I tried hard to also get closer to them. Let them see me and understand me better.  The team is getting stronger and that is awesome to work with.
Finally it was time to go home. I braved the battle of Thursday night rush hour at Carrefour to buy diapers then hightailed it back to the metro to get home. I could have wrote on the metro home and racked up another 800 words.... but why break the tradition I'd had all day?  I opened my Anne McCaffrey book and got so absorbed I looked up just in time to see we had reached my stop and i almost missed it. I jumped off the metro and made my way out. I had to wait an aweful 15 minutes for a taxi. There was another lady who came up after me waiting too and I was nervous to ask her if we were going the same way and wanted to share a taxi (so we wouldn't have to wait longer). But I felt shy and nervous.. until again I remebered what my job is.... "What way are you headed?" I asked.  "Oh, no, I'm waiting for my husband." She smiled. Ahhh... see now I learned she's not taxi-grabbing-competition. I smiled back. Her husband got her and I waited for another 5 minutes.  The taxi drive home was the final point of the night. His driving was bold, assertive, a little wild (when he missed the wrong turn and had to back up), just like my driving, so I knew I was in safe hands. He was blasting Indian Pop-Rock. Not the high pitched normal indian music, real awesome stuff all in Indian Language.  I melted back in the seat and just chilled all the way home.  "Cool music." I said as I paid swiftly and got out. I then waited calmly while he flipped a fast dangerous u-turn where had I been walking I would have been flattened by my own driver, and sped off into the night.  I went upstairs and found my family in bed fast asleep.
I had TIME for Soooo much today. I accomplished soo much and helped so many poeple and discovered so much about myself and others.....................

.........................Yet there lay the three most precious people I didn't have time for.

4:19 PM

Queen of...

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

My daughter popped up to me just now holding her pink sparkly jewel/bead crown and with a official tone proudly announced,


"You are now Queen of Quoz Industrial!"

She placed the crown upon my head and beamed at me, wearing her own crown of sparkle gold.

"Queen of Quoz Industrial?" I asked.

"Yes, and I'm the Princess of Quoz Industrial." She beamed again then wandered off to rule her domain.

Now I'm left here with this title.  Well I'm not one to scoff at being promoted to Queen, Buuuuuuttt....... I was hoping for something a little more substantial like London, Venice, Versailles, or heck, even Jumairah.  Even just Quoz sounds better. As the Quoz area has Villas and a beautiful park and a bowling center.

However I've been deemed worthy of ruling over the down-trodden industrial section, filled with factories, and masses of accommodation apartments, and more trucks and large vehicles than you can shake a stick at.
But I'm not one to turn my nose at those unfortunates so I shall accept my appointment and shall rule my Queendom with all the geniality and care I possess.
May my reign be long and true .....(and a quick promotion.....)

~Written this twenty-fourth day of the tenth month October in the year two-thousand-ten.
   Brandy AZ Chase, Queen of Quoz Industrial

8:22 PM

NANOWRIMO 2010

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Scream of Fear or Happiness, could be both.

I realized National Novel Writing Month 2010 will begin in a few weeks!!!!





Maybe you didn't hear me!?!?!





I SAID....


NANOWRIMO 2010 STARTS SOON!!!!!

AND I DON'T HAVE A PLOT!

Worse, I don't even have a character!

Worse yet, I'm not even sure I can even manage to do it this year.  I just moved, I'm working, I have kids, and a husband, and a house, AND I HOMESCHOOL!!!! (Not to mention a slew of other stuff to do)

But failing to do it and leaving that Nano Winner Sign on my blog sidebar all alone for another year would make me disappointed in myself ALL YEAR LONG TIL NOV 2011!!!

But how can I possibly pull long all nighters and drink mounds of coffee, while praying by the end of 50,000 words I have the semblance of a book, and still haven't trashed my responsibilities so much that I've lost my job and family.....?

If that's not enough the disappointment I didn't get last year's novel polished off and published like i had hoped is kinda getting me down, thinking why should i bother with yet another unfinished novel? I already have like over 40!

BUT HOW CAN I RESIST SUCH A CHALLENGE? I love CHALLENGES!!!!
It's tempting me awfully strong! Racing to do all my responsibilities and STILL pull out a novel...
MUAHAHAH.....

OKAY OKAY, I know it sounds absolutely crazy! I'm gonna do it!!!!

(is it too late to delete that sentence? In Nano you're not allowed to go back and delete, just keep writing.... So I guess I better get into that habit right?..... then again the month hasn't started yet!)

YES!
I'm gonna do it!

Plus it will be fabulous meeting all the Novelist here in Dubai when the Nano people get together at a cafe.... (although I'll be the only one without a laptop...  )

So count me in!  And I DARE YOU TO DO IT TO!!!
Come on ya know ya wanna.....

5:52 PM

My Metro Ride

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Hello & Salam ,
It's my first day off work, as I had to use all my off days last month to make up for days I took off work to move. So I wanted to update you what has been happening lately with me.

I've finished moving to Dubai, UAE from Al-Ain, UAE.
My husband got a job in technical services with Emirates Airlines and he's happy with his new job. (especially as he was out of work for 5 months!)  He works the morning shift right now and as soon as he gets home I leave for work ensuring our kids have someone with them all the time.  Although his schedule will change soon to flipping hours every two days, so mine will too!!! UGGH!!!
I'm working at Magrudy's a Bookstore as Customer Service Executive. (what a cool title :) ) I work at a mall in the middle of the East side of Dubai called Deira City Center. I live on the West side of Dubai so to get to work everyday takes about an hour.  I drive around this huge roundabout (traffic circle) which has 3 traffic lights IN it. Then go up three more lights to the Metro station. I park in a dirt parking because the paved parking is astronomically high priced for the 8 hours I'd be parked there.  So I walk in the Humid sweltering heat of Dubai about 5 minutes to the entrance of the station. I swipe my pay tag and go up the escalator to wait for the metro train. Dubai's metro is fully automated (no driver) and is very awesome and stylish.  It has a GOLD carriage for those who wanna pay more for more comfort (aka not me). Then it has a Women and Children ONLY carriage so we don't have to be squashed like sardines in with the men. Many of whom have been away from their wives and children for years....

So if you're Blessed enough to find a seat then you can enjoy your trip with ease otherwise you gotta hang onto a rail and hope someone gets up from a seat at the next stop.  The ride takes 35 minutes from my entry to my exit. I get to ride through the heart of Dubai everyday. Tall buildings loom on both sides of the track which is raised high above the traffic. Quite awesome though is passing the Burj Khalifa (Khalifa Tower) everyday. It's currently the tallest tower in the world and people pay an arm and a leg to buy tickets to come see it from around the world. (http://rwrant.co.za/2010/04/26/the-burj-khalifa/  for a cool pic of it) I'm not a big fan of spending gobs of money on superstructures that benefit few rather than many, but there is something neat in craning your neck to look up at it and as you pass by to watch the sunlight follow you gleaming up and down the sparkling exterior.
Moving on though we eventually enter an underground tunnel to go under the river that separates two halves of Dubai. When you sit in the front of the train you get a really awesome view of the dim tunnel whooshing by separated by stops at glossy well designed train platforms. Finally I reach mine decorated in Silver with Circles overlapping.  I rush up the escalator to the exit where i swipe my card again. Another long escalator leads me to the to street. Buses and taxis and gobs of traffic rush through the busy streets and a beautiful view of downtown Dubai I just left is framed by the creek I went under. The humidity starts to stick on me so I forget the view and rush the ten feet into the Deira City Center Mall entrance. Up two flights of escalators and to the right is my work at Magrudy's and the hustle and bustle of commerce is enticing.

After my shift is finished I make my way home backwards from how I came and by then my kids are sleeping so I take the chance to read for a half an hour and then Pray and Sleep. It's tiring but at the end of the month is is satisfying to have money in your pocket and to know you've helped people, and joined with society in some way. I'm also enjoying our new house. Although it's far in Quoz Industrial area, it's safe and clean. And best of all I finally have AC in every room! Which I didn't have in Al-Ain. I'm only 15 minutes drive from the huge Mall of Emirates where I can find any shop. (Although the most awesome thing about working at Deira City Center is they have TACO BELL!!!!! WOOO HOOOO!!!!)  So it's fun and exciting living here in Dubai now.

I'm still waiting for my Internet connection at home, thus the sparse communication.  But we are all doing fine and the kids love it here too. They are currently terrorising the Internet Cafe here in the small Al Khail Mall (next to my house), so I have to run off.
I miss you all and I hope to talk to you more later (hopefully next week on my day off!)

Goodbye and Salams,
Brandy Aminah-Zahira Chase

2:03 PM

Into the Madhouse

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

I clearly remember the day I was watching CNN and they have those beautiful Ubber-Keep-Dreaming commercials on far away lands to visit. I was living in a poor village on the outskirts of Beirut.
On came a advertisement for Dubai. The Burj Al-Arab (the D looking building) and the beautiful beaches. I was amazed. I turned to my husband:
"Wow I wanna go live there."
He laughed.
"That is Dubai, the most expensive city in the Middle East."
I sighed and crushed moved on with my life.
A year later we had the chance to Leave Lebanon (thanks Mom and Dad) and we decided on UAE to live. Sure my flashback of CNN helped that decision but once we got here we realized Dubai was still beyond our dreams and settled into cozy Al-Ain.
We've lived here for 4 years now. I love Al-Ain, seriously.
But now amazingly it's off to the Madhouse.

We are moving to DUBAI!!!
My husband finally got the job of his dreams in Emirates Airlines Maintenance Dept.
His job gives him accommodation (not free).
So with my working still with Magrudy's we'll be able to at least make rent and have a small bit left over, much as we are living now in al-Ain.
I'll be transferred from the Bawadi Branch here in AL-Ain to Deira City Center in Dubai.
I went there and checked it out and its a bigger shop so that makes me happier.

So now I have to lovingly toss all my stuff in boxes and haul them up to our new home.
I get to do ALL of this JUST BEFORE RAMADAN!!! YIKES!

So Sisters in Dubai...looks like you'll get a new Blogger moving in.  ;)

3:50 AM

MY NEW JOB

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |



Up and down the aisles she wanders stalking her pray.
They hide in fear and scamper around corners trying to remain unnoticed.
They are no match for her though.
She angles right then twists effortlessly around the display to time their next turn until they are face to face.
Their eyes are wary and uncertain.
She can read their thoughts.
They wonder how much of their time she will take and how much of their life she will disturb.
She puts out her bait of a glowing smile.
Confused by the sudden charm they relax a little.
A smile edges on their faces in a socially accepted form of greeting.
"Hi there!" She begins brightly, reeling them in like a caught fish.
"Hi." They reply still a bit wary then realization dawns that they've been hooked.
"Can I help you find anything?" She asks letting them bask in her warm friendliness, showing them being caught by the hook doesn't have to be painful.
"Uh, no, I'm just browsing around." They answer, uncomfortable still and flop around on the hook.
"Well let me know if you need help with anything." She assures them gently releasing the hook and setting them gently in the new pond.
With sudden clarity at her friendliness, they realize she can indeed help them with finding what they desire.
"Actually, can you help me find this?" They reply and name their desire.
Hiding her shark smile of satisfaction, she nods pleasantly and leads them to their doom down into the back. They follow vacantly but eager. She shows them the correct item they want and their eyes light up with joy.
She drinks in deeply the mood. Savouring the rushing high and glow it gives her.
She needs more.
With a nod and friendly smile she backs off slowly seeing they have been maxed out.
She turns abruptly and begins the hunt again, wandering the aisles, searching for the next pray.
They go up the left side trying to avoid her behind the taller displays.
She again hides her shark smile as the chase is on.
Rounding from the right again she manages to trap them and face off with them.
Another beaming smile appears,
"Hello! Welcome to Magrudy's Bookstore! Can I help you find anything?"


____________________________________________________________

  I am the Customer Service Executive at Magrudy's Bookstore in Bawadi Mall. Located in Al-Ain, UAE.
Although I don't actually "hunt" my customers, it is a thrilling feeling to find exactly what they are looking for.


We offer a wide range of items from various categories of Books to Toys, Games, Stationary, and Gifts!
It's been a fabulous place to work in with very friendly fun staff and getting to be with two of my favorite objects everyday: notebooks and BOOKS. I'm actually paid to read back covers! (To widen my knowledge and experience...)
Not only I've used my book skills but as an Artist I've been able to redo the front displays.  I've recently finished my Summer Display. Come check it out!! For those afar I will be posting pictures later.
I get to be creative and spontaneous, organized, efficient,and above all very friendly. Definitely everything I've ever wanted in a job. (Not to mentioned highly valued, wink wink...)

One thing I was surprised to find was an excellent section of Islamic books in English! We have various categories such as:
Prophet Muhammad's Life
Companions of the Prophet
Fiqh and Jurisprudence
Questions and Answers of Islam
General Knowledge
Qur'an
Hadiths
Tafsir
Women's Issues (lots of good books there)
Inspirational and Life
and of course books on the 5 pillars of Islam
But recently we've added Children's Educational Resources!

I'm working with the Administration to start getting Islamic Fiction involved too so look forward to that!

Otherwise we have the backbone subjects of Bookstores:
Fiction
Thrillers & Mysteries
Fantasy & Sci-Fi
History
Biography
Learning Resources for Adults and Children
Children's Books separated by ages: Baby to 4, 5-7, 8-12, Young Adult, and Sci-Fi.
Mind Body Spirit
Mother and Baby & Parenting
Photography
Destinations World Wide
Middle East
Architecture
Music Movies & Fashion
but most amazing is we have these same subjects in Arabic too!

So there is something for everyone here in the UAE!

Please feel free to come in and experience the BEST Bookstore.  :)
I promise not to bite you......
                                                 ..... much.

6:32 AM

Catch Me If You Dare

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Browsing Amazon for Books about Muslims (and Muslim Women at that) I came across this rare gem recently published.  It's a Mystery Novel. Catch Me If You Dare. Check out the info about it.  What struck me is the cover the most.  I'm a sucker for all things red! As it's my favorite color. But I loved how the Title is inside the Hourglass instead of on top as most titles are.  It's making a good statement. Also following the website for it they offer a discount ebook coupon (link under header). NICE!

Here is brief synopsis: For the full version click on the site.

"The elusive Scarf Killer has struck three times. Post-it notes ’3 of 10′, ’4 of 10′ and ‘5 of 10’ have been found on the bodies of murdered and mutilated Muslim women. Phoenix PD task force cannot find a motive, or the first two victims. The killer leaves little evidence for forensics. The investigation is further hampered by the distrust of the Muslim community. With five more murders threatened, the PPD requests help from the FBI. The FBI sends Rainey Walker, their anthropology consultant and nationally recognized police sketch artist...... After receiving the killer’s blood smeared message, “Catch me if you dare”, Rainey knows time is running out for the next victim.

OOOOhhhhh *chills* sounds like a good books to curl up with! Just be sure to lock your door first ;)

12:49 PM

Back on the Clock

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

It's been a crazy time in my life the past few months.  My husband has been out of work and money has always been tight but more so these last few months. You all know what a firm position I take on staying home with my kids and dealing with household tasks and Homeschooling my two kids.
Now things are flipped around and I got a job.

Alhamdulillah it's part time for now so I still have time for my kids when I get home.
But gosh how it's been tormenting me having to give up staying at home. I've been just unable to think about it for long without getting upset so I have just zoned out on writing one of my stories every spare second I get in the day to cope with not having to think about it.  It's much easier to deal with plot lines and character's issues than my own. I'm getting a lot written but still the day has come and in an hour I'm off to work.
I have many posts to make about the adventure I had getting a job but that will wait for another day.

My business suit is ironed, my pumps dusted (it's a country filled with sand, shoes always need dusting), and my new notepad and pens ready.
My husband will watch the kids for my six hour shifts until he gets a job, where then we will try to figure out another solution like a Nanny or DayCare without schooling involved. I'll have to fit in the homeschooling on my days off or after work.
It's a big change for our family and it's not without it's Price but I try to see life as an adventure and this is something new for sure. I'll just take it one day at a time.
At least with all this worry I may finish this novel :D
Where am I working? Well that will come in another post :D  I'll keep you updated!

6:36 AM

POLITICAL TENSIONS

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

In an age where Muslims have to keep their heads down and their political views under wraps sometimes we read news pieces that just make up pick up our heads a little bit and find a way to talk more about things that interest us.

I just read this news report on "Between Two Worlds" about Israel gearing up to go to war with Lebanon/Syria/Iran THIS SUMMER! Possibly backed by US forces.

Oh how my heart clenches and how Terror strikes fear deep in my gut. My beautiful "home away from home" of Lebanon, a land of rich culture, beautiful scenery from shore to mountain top. My piece of the Mediterranean. Ready once again to be blasted. To have thousands of civilians killed on our side while if ONE civilian is killed on THEIR side, it is a crime most heinous. I don't want this report to come true, yet I'm seeing the pieces fall into place already.

I am writing a novel featuring UAE-Iranian Political matters, a work of Fiction, yet based on my observations of real life. I closely follow the Politics of the region and have my personal speculations about how things will turn with certain rising powers. But I try to keep all that off blogland for the safety of my family.


But I'm really wondering with this possible war: Will US really be involved in another Middle East War? Will Barak really blah blah blah the political jargon needed to appease American's minds that killing innocent civilians is good for their interests.  Will Lebanon's Army be brave enough and strong enough to actually retaliate against Israel? Or will it be up to Hezbollah to save their bottoms again.

How quickly at the end of 2006 War (which i was there for some of it, and the rest, there in heart) they praised Hezbollah and called them their savior. Then when things settle back down into internal politics they are once again a threat to peace.  I'm not sure Lebanon can have it both ways. They want Hezbollah to be strong to save them in case Israel wants to play war games, but they don't want it to be strong fearing the Western Powers wont let them rise up.  For USA, Lebanon is it's ally and foe.

I really don't want to see another War this summer. I have family and friends there and I don't want to see harmed. I don't want their life thrown into chaos. Forced to run away if they are expats or hide out in unbombed territories. Lebanon has been gaining in it's economy and the lives of the citizens has slowly been improving. Another War could really set that back.


 One of my neighbors once said "Hariri will never let War touch Lebanon again." Overly optimistic? Or right on the button?  I guess only time will tell and the fate of Lebanon is up to Allah.  May He protect these nations from more War.

1:48 AM

Stuck in a Rut

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

Imagine: Walking around in circles, moving yet going nowhere.  Or worse yet, stuck in a rut, unable to really do much at all.

Sometimes this happens in life where we are stuck in a situation that we cannot get out of.
Sometimes it involves family members, jobs, abuse, pain, weight, it could be almost any situation you feel stuck in.

It is these times our faith helps us and teaches us how to cope.
You continue to make du'a and Pray hard hoping for better times and the Mercy of Allah.
More than that though you really have to rely on Allah that He will get you out of this situation. No one really has control over life and it's events than HIM. That is real faith.

We all are tested and tried by God to improve ourselves and to give us the chance to help more than ourselves in the end.

10:35 AM

It's good to be outraged

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

A fellow writer mentioned this site and her dismay at seeing these objects.  Clicking the link I too grew outraged and you should be too.
Nationaism put behind us and talking about these pictures not a symbol of Saudi or Iraq but the WORDS that are being used.

____________________________________________________________________________
Words used:


ALLAH
MUHAMMAD
SHAHADA - LA ILLAHA ILLA LAH MUHAMMADUR RASULLULLAH, There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger(Prophet) of Allah.

The items on display are shoes, Footballs (soccer ball), T-shirts, Skateboards, Bumper Stickers, and yes, even Dog's Clothing.
All bearing the words above.

Now starting with the shoes. Is it right to put the word for God on a shoe so that it steps in all sorts of filth and dirt and perhaps even gets kicked by other players as they have a game. IMagine a player does one of those awesome moves and does this flying kick in the air in Soccer and then lands hard dragging his shoes through the mud as he falls.... yeah lets smear mud across the name of ALLAH!!! NOOOO!!!!!!

Would the same poeple buying these shoes go up to a masjid and smear mud across a sign saying Shahada!!!





Moving onto the soccer ball. Again is it right to smash your foot or other appedages into the words of Shahada that incude our beloved Prophet and the name of our More Beloved God? NOOOOOO!!!!










Now T-shirts, come on, you might say, T-shirts are harmless!  Are they now? Where do you go with a t-shirt? At somepoint after eating and drinking fluids all day you're going to have to relieve yourself in a bathroom.  Unless your willing to take off your shirt and flip it inside out or fold it nicely and hide it from sight then you're going to be entering the bathroom with words of Allah and Muhammad on your clothes.  All clothes: hats, shoes, shirts, pants.  Even jewelry! If it says Muhammad or Allah on it, it should not enter a bathroom.  It is disrespectful.  Those that wear necklaces always tuck them into their shirts or hijabs so they aren't displayed.  What would you do with your clothes?









Skateboards! I dont know if you've seen much skateboarding but I have. The board is repeatedly slammed across railings, steps, dirty streets, not to mention the feet always stepping on it. Here the sacred words are written to be used in such manners.  And have you seen boards that have been used fo a long time? They get roughed up and worn off so imagine these boards in like 5 years from now how messed up they'd be from use.  Should we tatter up the most beautiful words? NOOOO!!!!







Also with Bumper Stickers, OK if you wanna use the stickers in a proper way in your house for your kids to learn from and for decorating the hosue these would be awesome for that but what do they call them? Car Bumper Stickers! As in stick them on the front or back of your car where most cars bump (hense the name Bumper) into each other leaving the chance for it to get mangled or dirtied quite probable.  What if you put it someplace safe though like a window on a car? I see stickers with Masha'Allah on them all the time on cars here reminding people not to give their cars the evil eye. But still what if something happens to your car and you're responsable for the damage of such precious words?




Moving on to dog's clothes: Yes dogs are allowed in Islam under certain conditions, but their saliva is deemed as impure.  To cleanse yourself of the impurity you must wash your hands 7 times with water and the first time must contain dirt. So sticking a clothing on a dog is a bad bad idea. What if it irritates him and he turns to lick it or bite at it? What if he's playing and rolls over on it sticking the words of Allah and Muhammad onto the dirt? What if God forbids, another Dog comes over to him and pees on him? Or licks him? What if the dog licks himself and then licks his clothes?!?!?!  NOOOO!!!!!!

BAD IDEAS People to buy these things.  BAD IDEAS product makers. I know you're trying to be COOL and all and offer Nationalistic things for people in the region but take into consideration all the protesting done by Muslims for other offensive things and learn from it.



Go to these sites and Protest, where you can, for their removal and get the companies not to sell them.

Protect your Religion from the Disrespect ignorant poeple wish to do to it.









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