Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for...


The zenith is the culmination of an event, and this is the culmination of mine.

This is the end of my ABC challenge.

I feel an actual sense of accomplishment alhamdulillah :-D It is always a little sad when something comes to an end, but I'm really excited to start more regular and unstructured posting again!

I am planning to do this again, maybe during Ramadhan inshaAllah but with the arabic alphabet. Is anyone interested in joining me??

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for...


People have been using yeast for millennia to bake.

One of the things I can remember very vividly from childhood is the fresh baked yeast bread my grandfather's second wife use to make for us when we came to visit. She would cut us thick hot slices and slather soft butter all over the top. Me and my dad would sit in the kitchen and eat half a loaf in 5 minutes between us.

I have always wanted to learn how to bake yeast bread, but always had the image in my mind that it was incredibly hard. I never even tried because I thought I would fail. Failing at cooking always seems extra terrible because I didn't just fail... I also wasted precious food.

Anyway... finally I decided that I just couldn't wait any longer.

When I got married I decided I would try it. You all have already seen the results from that!

So now I feel pretty competent making a loaf of yeast bread alhamdulillah and my husband loves the smell of the house when I bake.

My next project is to learn how to make pastry dough inshaAllah!

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for...


An unreasonable fear, distrust, or hatred of strangers, foreigners,or anything perceived as foreign or different. 

Racism and discrimination against people of another religion and culture are all forms of xenophobia. 

Xenophobia is something that Muslims in the West have to deal with a lot. Even western muslims may have to deal with it in majority muslim countries.

 Many converts experience it in different levels of our lives.
Some experience it within themselves. How terrifying would it feel to be afraid of anything different than yourself or your set group of people? It influences some new muslims to only accept those things that do not make them seem different from their group, such as rejecting hijab. They are afraid of feeling foreign.

 Some experience it from their families. Many of our families do not know how to adapt or react to the changes we make in our lives that make us so different from them. They are afraid of it because they can't identify with it. They look at their family member and suddenly see something completely foreign to their experience.

 Many experience it from their communities. Communities tend to develop a group identity and those that don't fit in are excluded, feared, or rejected. Fear of the unknown is common to all humanity, and foreign/different people have shown themselves to be an unknown quantity.

 Even muslims exhibit characteristics of xenophobia. Many communities fear the corruption of their religion and culture so intensely that they actively discriminate against people who are different, even if those different people do not pose a threat to them.

 Xenophobia is a destructive to the community as it excludes minority people, creating a group of of people who feel no allegiance to the community and no sense of responsibility to them. This is something that Islam totally teaches against and encourages marriage between muslims of different races and cultures in order to create a community whose identity is belief in God, not in culture or color or geographic location. Muslims are even taught to accept the disbelief of others and that this life is not where their judgement will be found. We are taught to say "to you your religion, and to me mine."

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for...

Wove... Twoo Wove:

That is "love... true love" to those of you that never watched Princess Bride.

Alhamdulillah I feel so fortunate that I married a man that I can truly love and respect. Allah knows better but I feel that he is really the love of my life.

I know many people are not as lucky as me and some just don't care.

I think the best thing is not that I love all the good things about my husband. This is the easiest thing for us women to do...

The best part is that the bad things don't drive me crazy alhamdulillah. This is the real gift from Allah. That is how I know that this is the man for me subhanAllah.

I could make a long list of all of my husbands good qualities mashaAllah but the truly remarkable thing would be the list of annoying qualities that just don't phase me :-P

***please say mashaAllah***

What is difficult for you in your marriage? What is easy for you? How do you deal with it?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for...

very very... extra-ordinary:

not really lol, V is for...


I am not good at making myself vulnerable. Sometimes I think it is a bad thing.

For example, I am a perfectionist. If I don't think I will do something correctly, I just wont do it. Like with language, if I don't think I will say something correctly or wont have all the right words or right pronunciation, it is almost impossible to make myself say anything. I will sit and think about what I want to say over and over but never actually SAY it.

I have a problem also with asking for things that I want. Especially in relationships with people I love like my family and my husband. A part of me is always afraid they will say no or I will realize that it wasn't what I actually needed or wanted or maybe they will resent me asking or it was something that wasn't really important and I caused trouble for no reason. So I don't ask. I keep thinking it is just better all around to not ask... I am an easy going person and it is much easier for me to forget and move on than it is for the people around me alhamdulillah. I think I am completely incapable of holding a strong grudge because I just forget things so fast!

I have a hard time opening myself up in general. My feelings bruise really easily and people can hurt me without even having the intention to do it, then they feel bad because I feel bad and it becomes a huge mess...

I know in a lot of situations this is a good thing. I am not haunted by the past deeds of people around me, I am in touch with my feelings and can easily recognize my motivations, and I usually think really hard before I say anything alhamdulillah. On the other side I am impeding my own language progress and I am not always upfront about how I am feeling or what I need from people.

alhamdulillah 3la kul 7al, inshaAllah this is something I can work on. Any advice?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for:


This post is going to be underwhelming. It is 5:24am and I realized that I hadn't written a post yet.

I am trying really hard to actually finish this thing I promise!!!

Anyway, I guess this is a good time to tell you guys. I'm a terrible finisher. Did I already say that earlier??

I get so excited about things but at some point, I lose my steam. I start out with great intentions and millions of ideas and then.... ... .. . blah.

I am trying to work on it, as you can see here. InshaAllah it is something I will learn how to overcome in the future.

Any tips or tricks??

Thanks for bearing with me ladies, mashaAllah I admire your patience!

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for:


I love tea. I love sitting and enjoying tea. I love all of the snacks and foods that people usually enjoy with tea.

I especially love tea with habeg/habeq. I have never heard any other people using habeg except for Saudis, but it makes tea absolutely delicious!!!

Habeg is sort of minty, but has a kind of dry bite to the end of it. It is really difficult to describe. I don't even think it is actually in the mint family.

Anyway tea is delicious and always comes at a time when things are slow and you can just sit and savor.



Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for...


I don't use the stuff. Or rather I can't use the stuff.

I have a condition called hyper keratosis or keratosis pilaris. Its not like a disease, but more like a certain skin type.

This keratosis thing means that my body produces toooo much keratin which is a protein. The symptoms include bumps on my skin where the protein builds up in my hair follicles, skin that is incredibly resistant to exfoliation, extremely dry skin that cracks especially on my feet, and dry hair. I could take a bath in vaseline and still come out a little dry lol.

Anway, most shampoos have sulfates and sulfates dry skin. (sulfates are what make your dishwashing liquid work) Drying agents like sulfates exacerbate my skin condition.

So as an alternative I wash my hair with conditioner that doesn't have any silicons in it. Water can't dissolve synthetics like silicon.

I slather conditioner on my scalp and scrub, let it sit for a while, scrub and rinse. I put a higher quality conditioner on my ends. Every once in a while I use vitamin E oil on the ends as well to keep everything hydrated.

Have you ever considered going without shampoo? It is healthier for almost everyone even if you don't have my crazy skin problems.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for...


I love to read. I mentioned before that I consider reading to be my "imagination supplement."

I could read for hours on end on almost any topic.

Lately I have been reading a lot about corporate finance. Weird I know, but it is what my husband studies in one of his classes. I'm learning all about stocks and returns and operations management and capital investment.

I also love reading about languages and cultures and science fiction novels.

How do you spend your free time? What do you enjoy reading about?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for...


Astaghfirullah I don't spend enough time with it. At some point it became a real struggle for me, like a duty instead of a joy. I know this is related to the general malaise I have felt recently about actually practicing the religion that I love so much. I WANT to want to read Qur'an, if that makes sense... Allah make it easy on us ameen.

When I read Qur'an I spend so much time trying to make sure I pronounce each word correctly that I miss understanding the very few words that I actually know.

I know that practice makes perfect. The more I read, the easier reading will be inshaAllah. And the easier it is to read, the more concentration I can put into remembering meanings for words that I recognize and such.

In order to help me move forward with my goal of understanding the Qur'an in Arabic, inshaAllah I am starting one of the Understand the Qur'an courses. I am going to start the short course 1 inshaAllah! The short course should give you enough vocab and grammar to understand about 50% of the words in the Qur'an.


It is free mashaAllah, it concurrently teaches basic vocab and grammar of the Qur'an and uses the Qur'an and common du3a and phrases to teach the course so you spending time only learning Arabic words that are in the Qur'an or used for Salah. It consists of video lectures, a textbook and workbook, vocabulary sheets, quizes and tests, power points, sound files, posters, and verb sheets. MashaAllah it has a really nice and easy way to remember the form of verbs for conjugation!

It also comes in a lot of languages mashaAllah: English, Urdu, Hindi, Bangala, Malayalam, Farsi, Tamil, Telugu, Turkish, Malaysian, French, Spanish, Bosnian, Burmese, and Chinese.

There is also a longer "basic course" available which covers about 70% of the words in the Qur'an, a "full course" which teaches you how to cover all of the new vocabulary as you read through the entire Qur'an, and a children's course which covers mostly the same material as the short course but with colored pages and doesn't require being able to read the Arabic script.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for...


First of all... it is an adorable word. It reminds me of fairies and stars and glitter.

Second... what a great color!! Periwinkle is a dusky blue-purple-grey color. So beautiful subhanAllah.

Periwinkle flowers have this color and so does one of my favorite gems, tanzanite!

When I graduated from high school my parents bought me a tanzanite ring. It is so lovely mashaAllah but still too big for me :-P

What is your favorite color?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for...


Our house is in chaos.

My husband is in the midst of finals and massive term projects and its turning our little life upside down.


Allah give us the strength to make it through this time unscathed ameeeeen!

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for...

No no no no nooooo:

Since I moved I'm missing a lot of my nieces growing up. I have two nieces with a third on the way inshaAllah.

The oldest is 5 years old mashaAllah and the middle one is 1 year old and the new baby will be born in late June or early July inshaAllah.

So at this age you can imagine that just a few months of separation means leaps and bounds of developments!

My 5 year old niece is starting to sound out words and copy sentences, the 1yo is beginning to stand up and take steps on her own.

There is one thing that I hear everyone talk about that I haven't gotten to see yet and I can't WAIT to see it for myself inshaAllah. When you say "no no no no nooooo" the 1yo girl starts shakin her head and wagging her finger at you lol! I've seen a video of her shaking her head but not the hand part yet. She gets so into it that she shakes her whole body with this big grin on her face mashaAllah!!

Also she has started to say some names. For instance she can say mama and dada. She can also say "baba" which is her version of "beebee" which is what the girls call my mom.

I can't wait to see them inshaAllah, I'm so excited to catch up with them and give them a million kisses!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for...


I am married.

Ahh I can still hardly believe it subhanAllah. I have been married for 4 months now alhamdulillah.

In Islam they say that "marriage is half the deen."

SubhanAllah I can really see why. Especially considering the VAST majority of my muslim interaction time is with my husband. All of my muslim manners are practiced with my husband, taking care of my home and husband is considered 3ibada, and we remind each other about Islam (enjoining good and forbidding bad).

InshaAllah I get ajr for being patient with my husband and for protecting and managing his home. I even get ajr for not letting random people into my house!

ahahahahahahahaha, it says "before marriage, after marriage"

SubhanAllah marriage is an excellent institution. We get help and company and emotional fuzzies and ajr and financial support and... other stuff.


Now don't get me wrong. It isn't all rainbows and butterflies... You have to work too. And you get PLENTY of opportunities to practice your patience. And a lot of times you have to put someone else's needs before your own.

But it's rewarding alhamdulillah. It is fulfilling.

I pray that Allah give you happiness in your marriage, or send you the ideal husband if you are net yet married ameeeen!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for...

Line Dances:

ahhhh line dances. They remind me of summer camps and being a kid.

I was a camp councellor back in the day. Line dancing was a way of getting all the kiddos involved without having to touch anyone :-P. I loved showing the kids that they could have a good time without grinding on each other the way the "grown-ups" did on tv.

I learned a lot of line dances and taught a lot and forgot a lot. The electric slide, the hustle, the cupid shuffle, the bunny hop...

As a muslim I try to avoid music when possible unless it is instrument-less. But that doesn't mean I don't dance... I still love to cut a rug, but mostly when no one is looking (or just some of my close friends :-).

Line dancing is one of those things that will always remind me of my "youth" and "back in the day." It makes me remember being a leader, and making stupid mistakes in my life, and growing up and being responsible. It reminds me of spending time with my mom and dad and friends from my childhood. It also reminds me of the effect of music on people and why it is something that is better avoided**.

Also did you know that line dances are cross cultural?? Once I watched a video of a Arab Gulf wedding and the men were doing a "traditional dance" which I swear was exactly the same as the electric slide. You see them everywhere! They are community dances that include everyone and allow you to keep your personal space a the same time. Awesome.

** Note: I'm not bringing this up so we can have a discussion on whether you think music is halal or haraam. I am of the opinion that it is something in a grey area that people argue about so it is better to avoid it because it leads to haram.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for...


Lol, Kora is "ball" in Arabic but is the short word for "korat al-qadam" which is football/soccer to us.

I Love Soccer.

My team is FC Barcelona and I have a fondness in my heart for all of the Spanish League and the Spanish National Team.

Soccer is something that allowed me and my husband to bond which was really great alhamdulillah. It is good to share each other's interests.

Do you share interests with your husband?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for...


I had never lived away from my family until I got married. I had an apartment during college but it was about 5 minutes away from my parents house. When I lived in an apartment without a washer and dryer, I took my clothes to my parents house to clean them.

When I got married I moved away, about an 18 hour drive. I got on a plane with one day's notice and left my friends and family behind.

I moved to a place with more Muslims, but it is not any more "islamic" than my hometown. Maybe even less so, since the good manners that southern people have are mysteriously missing in this part of the world.

I consider this a trial-run for living in my husband's country.

Can I make it without being able to drive and have my own car? Can I make it without having my family around 24/7? Can I suffice with just phone calls and text messages with my friends? Can I adjust to a different culture (yes I maybe in the same country but the culture is still very different where we live)? Can I make it in a place where I don't go anywhere without my husband? Can I make it only getting to watch videos of my nieces growing up? Can I make it in a place where I don't know anyone and have no support system?

So far... yes alhamdulillah I've been able to make it.

I won't lie and say that I don't miss my old life. I really really do... but alhamdulillah I am happy and content with this life too. I feel fulfilled taking care of my tiny little family, I don't like driving anyway and my husband is my best friend so why should I complain having him around all the time?

I feel that this is the beginning of our journey. InshaAllah it will be a grand adventure.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for...


This is one thing about little kids that I love so much. They have awesome imaginations (unless we squash them out, which I have been guilty of doing astaghfirullah).

What is it about little kids that makes imagination necessary? Is it that their short attention spans need constant stimulus so they provide entertainment from within? Is it a coping mechanism to help them sort out all of the new concepts they are starting to notice and understand? Is it practice for being a grown up?

And why do we eventually lose our imagination as we grow? Are we too stuck in the real world?

I keep thinking that I read fiction books because this is like taking an "imagination supplement." I can't be bothered come up with stuff on my own anymore, so I pay people to do it for me. Some people do this with TV and movies too.

This leads me to believe that we really do need our imagination for something. There is something about it gives relief and rest for our minds; a vacation from the intense focus we require from ourselves these days.

On that note, I'm going to go spend some time taking my imagination supplement.

Buona lettura!

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for...


Everyone is seeking happiness right? Worldly people are seeking happiness in this life; religious people are seeking happiness for the next life.

Well I guess I should say worldly people are seeking happiness in this life and hoping there isn't a next life while religious people are seeking happiness for the next life and hoping to have a little in this life too.

I think there is a lot of happiness around, but people are just blind to it. For some reason humans let negative feelings take precedence in their lives even though they seriously crave the positive ones.

Why? Why do we do that to ourselves??

Why is it so easy in a grey situation to focus on the black and forget that where there is grey... there must have been white.

Blue Skies

Smiling at me

Nothing but blue skies

Do I see...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for...


Ashhadu an la ilaha ill Allah, wa ashhadu anna Mohammadan 3abduhu wa rasooluh.

I testify that there is no god except God, and I testify that Mohammad is His slave and messenger.

I am Muslim, hear me roar....

But seriously I am a Muslimah which I guess everyone got by now. I believe that there is only ONE God and he comes in just ONE unique being.

I try to always direct my hopes, fears, joys, thanks, praise, and needs to God though I am not perfect and sometimes I don't execute properly.

I use to be Christian. I considered Jesus to be my "lord and savior" astaghfirullah, but honestly it wasn't until I discovered Islam that I truly understood what this meant to ascribe attributes of God to a man. I just stayed away from the conflicting ideas and accepted it because there was no alternative and I wanted to be a good person and be close to God.

I was ignorant. I thought that I had to shape Christianity to fit my idea of who and what God was. I thought this is what everyone did... Ignore the conflicting parts and shape the rest to fit your God-given conscience.

But then I realized that there were a billion something people out there with the same idea about God that I had. That Jesus wasn't really God, that blood payment wasn't necessary for forgiveness if God's mercy really was absolute subhanAllah.

And so I accepted Islam as my own religion, much to the consternation of my father and brother and even sometimes my mother.

But alhamdulillah 3la kul 7al (Thanks to God upon every state of being)!!! I still feel solid faith on the path I have chosen along with those billion something people, and inshaAllah our feet will stay on this path until the Day of Judgement when we meet Allah, ameen!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for...


Ok this post isn't going to be so much about fat as it is about body image.

When I was younger I thought I was fat. I wasn't. I was actually very tiny, but my body shape was much different than everyone else my age. I had curves on my tiny body.

Ok so I wore a size 24/25 jeans when I was younger. That is, my "natural" waist was 25 inches. At the time I was a little over 5 feet tall. I was really tiny y'all, but I had the shape of a woman unlike everyone I saw on TV and everyone I saw at school. I had that cute little lady tummy, not the flat kind. There was a marked difference between my ribs, my waist, and my hips.

I was soooo self conscious about the way I was shaped and at the same time I tried to fit myself into the "fashions" made for flat chested women. I either looked pregnant or obscene. It made me even more self conscious. I never once considered that there was something wrong with the clothes, there must have been something wrong with me!!

I felt there were either over-weight people or normal people and since I wasn't normal, then I must be fat.

But I wasn't.

I have put on about 30 pounds since then and I am STILL not fat alhamdulillah. I am average.  It took me a long time to come to terms with that. Probably until I got into college.

The sense of modesty and appreciation for every kind of woman was something that deeply drew me to Islam. Women are considered so beautiful in Islam that our modesty is protected no matter what we look like... It doesn't say that only the particularly pretty ones should cover or that you should cover only if you weigh less than 140lb or if you have a flat tummy.

The beauty of each and every one of us is protected and cherished, because subhanAllah we are all beautiful.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for...


Who knew it would be so hard to exercise when you never leave the house, LOL!!

My exercise pre-Islam consisted mostly of stretching and swimming. I would do extensive stretching each day (about 30 minutes) and when I got to the pool I would swim about a half mile in laps. This is not feasible anymore because women-only gyms are not very popular in the US yet, unfortunately. At ones with swimming pools...

Post-Islam during University it consisted of walking around campus for classes. I had to park my car 15 minutes walk off campus. There was a 5-10 minute walk to each class. They call our campus "the hill" so you can imagine it was a quite vigorous walk..

Post-University it has consisted of... nothing.

I figured that stretching is something I can definitely do in the house so I have started to stretch again every day.

Also, I talked to a new sister that I met (mashaAllah she is super sweet!!) who gave me some good exercises I can do inside my living room, YAY! These thinks called "burpees" which involve a lot of jumping and kicking, jumping jacks, squats, and running in place for now, but as I progress I will add more inshaAllah :-D

How do you exercise post-Islam/post-marriage/post-baby??

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for...


There is a point in time when every single person has to make a decision about their life. For some people it is a lot of small choices and for others it is a huge and sweeping decision.

I am in the second category, along with a lot of you I'm sure.  Most of my family is probably in the first category. Making the sweeping decision took an immense amount of determination, which I am convinced did not come solely from myself. It only happened through the help of Allah, alhamdulillah.

There was a lady at my masjid who was fond of saying that people who convert to Islam go through things that people who are born Muslim could never understand. With all respect due to this very intelligent lady, I disagree. Every single Muslim has a time when they choose Islam for themselves or reject it in their hearts just like every other person. Many Muslims fight to practice the Qur'an and sunnah in the face of their family's version of cultural Islam, just like I fought in a Christian household. Many rebelled against their "conservative" families but eventually realized that Islam was the right path.

I think that not enough people realize that Islam is a choice for every single Muslim, even those who were born to the religion.

They tell the new converts "oh you are so blessed mashaAllah, Allah has chosen you to be one of his people," "please make du3a for me because you are one that Allah chose." Alhamdulillah we are blessed to be chosen, but those who were born to Islam were chosen by Allah as well... as long as they choose Him back.

Some decisions are easy and some are hard, some are big and some are small but all of them shape our future in this life and the next. Offer support because we are all in the same boat called dunya.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for...


Community is such an important part of life... we humans are social creatures.

Community is a huge factor in converting to Islam.

A positive experience can make people feel at home in the deen. A negative one can crush the new tiny bud of belief.

Many people don't realize just how important support is in the beginning. Some people will say "if you really believe, you can just do it on your own." While it is true that Allah is the best helper, I believe that He uses other people to help. For someone who is new and isolated and maybe broken from their family and very confused, having no support can be the straw that broke the camel's back.

Left alone, the shaytan can amplify and twist every single tiny thought.

The shaytan likes to divide and conquer. That is why Muslims are supposed to stick together in our family called ummah.  That is why when new faces show up at the masjid, or the forum, or the blog it is so so so important that we take them under our wing and build a community experience for them and for ourselves.

'You will see the believers in their mutual kindness, love and sympathy just like one body. When a limb complains, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever' (Muslim and Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammed salAllahu 3alaihi wa sallam  said 
"You shall not enter Paradise until you believe; and you will not bellieve until you love one another. Shall I not guide you to a thing? Which when done , will make you love one another: Spread the greeting of Salam among you"- (Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah (salAllahu 3alaikhi wa sallam) said : A muslim is a brother to a Muslim: Neither he wrongs him, nor hands him over (to another). And whoso comes in need of his brother , Allah comes in his need ;and whoso removes a calamity of a Muslim, Allah will remove a calamity from the calamities of the Resurrection Day, and whoso conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his sins on the Resurrection Day' (Bukhari and Muslim)

Monday, April 2, 2012

B is for...


I have one brother. He is older than me by five years. We are the only two my mother was able to have because of complications, even though she wanted to have more.

When we were growing up, we weren't really very close. He graduated from high school by the time I got into middle school so we never had any similar friends or even spent time in the same places as I was growing up.

We didn't really become friends until my brother went into the army reserves when I was in high school. I wrote him letters while he was in basic training and he would send me some of the cartoons and grafiti style art that he did when he had free time. I loved getting his mail, I thought it was so cool getting to know my brother and realizing that he thought of me.

When he went to further training after basic, he was allowed to use the phone again and we got to talk every couple of weeks. This is when my brother told me he realized I was a "real person." I wasn't just a little sister anymore; we actually became friends.

At this time my whole family moved to a different town. My parents both got new jobs and I was going to a  new high school for my senior year. My brother had dropped out of college after his first semester and he stayed for a while in my home town and worked.

After I started university, my brother decided it just wasn't going to work that his little sister got her bachelor's before he did, so he went back to school as well. He went to community college for a while to establish a grade point average and then started attending my university. For the first time in our lives we actually went to the same school. We would see each other on campus and edit each other's papers. Our friendship built even more.

During the second year of my bachelor's degree, I started making friends with ESL students, especially Muslim ones. I started learning about Islam and learning about Christianity. I was raised as a Baptist (that is a group of generally American Protestant Christian). The more I started questioning Christianity, the more religious my brother became. We had many arguments discussions about religion and what we each believed and what we learned. Even when we got frustrated with each other, we ended every conversation with "I love you, talk to you tomorrow." No matter how hard we argued, I never doubted that my brother loved me and respected me even if he was frustrated that I didn't agree with him.

Eventually I converted to Islam alhamdulillah. I started wearing hijab and dresses right away and a few weeks later took 3abaya full time. However, I didn't tell my brother and father right away. They saw me for months in 3abaya before I actually told them I was muslim. I decided that I would wait to tell them and let them adjust slowly and share my knowledge of Islam and let them see how I had positively changed before I dropped the bomb, but that if they straight up asked me I would not lie. If they asked if I was muslim, I would say yes.

One day in a car ride back from from visiting my mother's family, my brother asked me "So you consider yourself muslim now?" and I replied "Yes, I do."

He was upset because he loves me, and he was so worried about me because he believes only Christians will go to heaven. But he also realizes that I practice what I preach to the best of my ability. He tells me that I am a better person and that his faith is based on belief while my faith is based on actions. I told him that I never felt like I was a good Christian until I became a Muslim.

When my brother got married, his wife asked me to be a brides maid in their wedding. Honestly I was very uncomfortable with the idea of being on display that way, especially wearing a fancy dress instead of 3abaya and standing up in front of a lot of people that I'm not even related to. My mom and brother were upset that I wanted to wear hijab to his wedding, but my sister-in-law was so supportive mashaAllah.  She told me she couldn't care less what I wore, she just wanted me to be there to stand up for her. So we found a way for me to wear a big purple prom dress with a long loose cardigan and a nice embroidered chiffon scarf. I was a bit uncomfortable, but I was so happy to see my brother settling down.

He still doesn't agree with my choice of Islam, but he respects me. He has two little girls now with a third on the way. When he needed a nanny for his girls, he asked me. My friends in the masjid asked if he was uncomfortable leaving his children alone with a Muslim? When I asked he said that I'm the best person he knows, and he would be honored if I rubbed off on them alhamdulillah.

The level of respect I have from my brother, even when we don't agree, is something that is so important to me and I don't tell him often enough.

Are you close with your siblings or family? Are you closer with your friends?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for...

          of or pertaining to the alphabet, elementary or rudimentary.

My posts for this month of April are going to be abecedarian inshaAllah!  Not all of them will be vocabulary lessons, but each post will be themed with its own unique letter of the alphabet.

I will begin by posting this Sunday and then every day except for the remaining Sundays in the month inshaAllah.

Being abecedarian is about structure and order. I want to use this time to structure my world in a better way: my home, my family, my mind, my heart, my spirit, and my blog.

Being abecedarian is about getting to the basics. I want to use this time to get to the basics of my life, identify and write about what is important to me so that it doesn't slip into the background noise of life.

I hope you all will join me as I go through this challenge and may Allah  give us all only the good of this experience, ameen.