Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dream I've been having

I could basically just re-write what I wrote HERE.

Seriously, this dream about my husband marrying a second wife just won't get lost! It always happens when he's neglecting us... Like a couple days ago, he played his game all night and it bothered me the whole night, knowing that he promised he would take care of the kids so I could sleep in for one of the first times since Adam's birth and that he would not be honouring his promise because of his gaming.

Last time I guess it was the store who was the second wife and this time it's back to being his games. I'm a bit sick and tired of being dream-cheated on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

God's Mercy, 3rd post

I got inspired by this link so much. It goes into detail about the amazing phrase bismillah ir-rahman ir-raheem. Continuing on from my other two posts (first one, and second one) about rahman and raheem I want to share this: 
Such repetition is a joyful celebration of this Divine attribute, much the same as saying "The One who is the Supreme Loving-Kindness, oh such Loving-Kindness" 
from  this link.

To summarize the three posts:

1) rahman shows us that God's mercy is inseparable from Himself and that He is the source of the mercy, as well as describing the intensity of the mercy God has for us.
2) rahim is about the effect of this mercy, the action of it being given as well as the continuity of it
3) if we combine the two words together, we amplify the meaning and feeling of grace and mercy contained and poured onto us continually.

Help Name my New Blog!

I need a better name for my beauty blog. I am not very imaginative and I can only come up with very descriptive blog titles (like the current title, Candice and Beauty). I need something with a bit more flare, but something that keeps the meaning that the blog is related to beauty (beauty boxes, skin care, product reviews, bit of fashion). 

Please suggest titles!! Anything that you can think of!!

Brainstorm! (Thanks you guys)


Here is the new look of my blog and my chosen (for now) blog title.

Mirror Image: A Beauty-Full Blog

Parenting: I need a break

I'm suffering from an "ecoeurantite aigue" which means something like "sick-and-tired syndrome". I'm having a lot of trouble tolerating my daughter these days and it doesn't make me feel good (obviously).

She's quite a "spirited" child which means that she's intense in everything she feels and does. She's intense in expressing her joys, her love, her excitement, she's intense in the energy she has in any situation. She's also intense in her frustrations and in her reactions to everything. Combining her with the baby who is with me literally 24/7, I'm a little tired.

It's too bad for Nora because really, Adam is the one making me need time off since he's the one with me all the time while she goes to daycare for a few hours each week day, but because she's the one with the intense attitudes, she's the one who bugs me. She's mostly just the final drops that make the glass overflow, not most of what is contained in the glass, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I need to calm down and find a way to start over and get my patience and energy back because I'm just doing the zombie lately. The angry zombie.

My parenting strategy for this situation will be to try and make some sort of drastic (short-term) change in my routine to feel like I've started over. I may have to ditch blogging and Facebook for a day or two and force myself to take a nap during the day. As well, seeing a friend and hanging out would be nice for everyone and would probably spark me into better parenting. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Feeling a bit Hopeless

I'm realizing how bad people are. I might even use the word evil (or at least evil tendencies). All these bad intentions to deceive... the pure greed! It just disgusts me and I'm noticing it more and more. I've written before about how naive I was, always trusting and seeing the best in people. I don't want to lose that, but I'm finding myself seeing the negative more often and more easily and I'm finding my faith in people being a bit torn apart. In certain situations I now assume that the person has bad intentions.

I don't want to make this about my husband because he is not a bad person but he has contributed to my new "assume they're deceptive" way. For example, yesterday there was a big wait at the resto we were ordering from so I told him to just cancel the order and that we'd find somewhere else to eat. He then told me that they could have it ready in  30 minutes so we went with that. I didn't believe him. It was actually 40 minutes and he lied that small amount to manipulate me into saying that we'd keep the order with this resto. For every tiny thing like this, I now always assume he's manipulating the truth (lying, basically). So almost every day, I assume my own husband is lying to me - and I'm usually right. Sometimes he isn't flat-out lying, he's just making promises without making any real intention to keep true to it, but that's just one small step away from a flat-out lie.

The people who are making me really angry though are the greedy. Greedy has got to be the worst thing a person can be. Recently I think of Facebook. They were making full of cash with the ads that are all over the place but they are trying to make more (and more and more). They are trying to cash in on mobile users since there are no ads for those using the app. They are trying to make pages pay to get their statuses to their followers! I just feel disgusted at the amount of greed here... Can't a company be doing well and just leave it that way? Why the need to maximize and bring it to another level (of greed) always?

What about appliances and cars that have such a shorter life expectancy than they used to? I'm convinced that they could be built to last us a lot longer but out of greed they have been built to break so that consumers need to buy buy buy to replace these things more often. And companies with their out-to-screw-you guarantees! Here in Quebec, the law itself guarantees reasonable use for price on everything. If you buy a TV with no guarantee with the company and it breaks after 3 years, they have to give you another equivalent one because it should be lasting a lot longer than that - even without a guarantee with the company. BUT the companies don't inform us of this and try to sell us what the law already covers! Or else they inform you but tell you that you'll need to go to court so you might as well buy the extra guarantee. Basically this way they're telling you that they will not respect the law and they will force you to sue them to get the guarantee applied, so you should give them extra money to make sure they actually apply the guarantee. CROOKS!

What about companies filing for bankruptcy only to open again under another name?! I know a club in my city does this every couple years because they get caught with minors time and time again. They knowingly let minors enter and consume alcohol so they can have more profit and then they close and re-open to do the same thing again.

UGH is all I have to say.

It does make me understand religion better. When I believed mostly everyone was good I didn't "get" religion much. Why was it necessary? I also felt a lot more negatively towards the idea that some people would be punished but now I'm starting to understand things differently. I guess it's a comfort to believe that there will ultimately be justice and that every decision we make that helps us stay away from bad things can never be wrong.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

30 Things Day 21 - Superpower

21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

If I could have a superpower, it would be flying. Just to have that sensation and be able to feel the peace of being away from the world. I think it would help think more clearly. 

God's Mercy, another aspect

As I have previously written, we could learn for hours and hours and never get the full meaning of this amazing and beautiful phrase (bismillah ir-rahman ir-rahim). Here is another aspect we can consider about ir-rahman, ir-rahim.

The note from The Message of the Qur'an which is Muhammad Asad's translation:

"The best and simplest of these explanations is undoubtedly the one advanced by Ibnal-Qayyim (as quoted in Manar I,48): the term rahman circumscribes the quality of abounding grace inherent in, and inseparable from, the concept of God's Being, whereas rahim expresses the manifestation of that grace in, and its effect upon, His creation - in other words, an aspect of His activity."

He translates the phrase as:

In the name of God, most gracious, the dispenser of grace.

See also my first post on God's mercy and the third post on God's mercy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

God's Mercy: Multiply Intensity with Continuity

I swear, hours and hours of contemplating this phrase and learning what I can about it and I still learn more.

I was watching a small course and the way he explained "ar-rahman ir-rahim" was like this:

  • ar-rahman describes the intensity of Allah's mercy 
  • ir-rahim describes the continuity of Allah's mercy

Allah is not only extremely merciful, this mercy is as well endless.

One possible translation:
In the name of Allah, the most intensely merciful, whose mercy is without end.

See also: Next post about God's mercy and third post about God's mercy.

Fasting and Breastfeeding an 8 month old

not a picture of me

If my baby was under 6 months, I would most definitely not even attempt to fast because it's obvious that fasting will have an effect on my milk production and maybe even quality if I don't manage to eat enough during the few hours of the night. It would have been a no brainer.

But at 8.5-9.5 months, Adam will hopefully be eating a decent amount of solid food even though my milk will still be the main nutrition for him. So it's still an issue.

And on top of that (second issue), my delicate body will definitely have trouble tolerating fasting. I normally eat multiple small meals during the day, drinking regularly, but while breastfeeding, it is a MUST for me or I get nauseous and dizzy. I always eat every 4 hours or more often. I have breakfast the minute I wake up, a second breakfast around 9-10am, lunch just before noon, small snack in the afternoon, supper around 6 and after that a snack before bed though this last one I'm able to skip without feeling ill since I'm just going to bed anyways. Yesterday I was out with my husband late and I was really very nauseous and dizzy at 10pm or so and felt better instantly after taking a few bites of food. I once nearly passed out at Wal-Mart but probably managed to save myself by just opening something off the shelf and eating. lol (I paid for it afterwards of course)

Anyway, I was planning on trying to fast and just breaking my fast if I needed to. If I felt close to passing out or felt unable to care for my baby, then it would be an obligation for me to break the fast anyway - Islam is not here to destroy my life and health or my baby's. BUT I'm realizing that my husband doesn't support me trying to fast and will my weak will, I don't know that I will even end up trying without his support. He figures I have a valid reason to not fast and that I should use it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Things We Tell Ourselves

I see Muslims going through difficult struggles telling themselves sometimes that God tests them for their own good and to help them grow in faith, etc. Almost like it's a blessing.

And that non-Muslims who are going through a perfectly easy life are getting benefits in this life before the Hell they will endure in the afterlife.

What about Muslims who are not dealing with huge struggles? Or non-Muslims suffering?

I believe in ultimate and complete justice for everyone so I do believe that difficulties people have dealt with and ease that people have lived in will count towards something. I definitely feel like this life is not fair if taken alone and because of my deep belief in ultimate justice, I can't *not* believe in some sort of afterlife where everyone gets what they deserve. But it sort of bugs me when I hear Muslims saying that non-Muslims are happy and not going through difficulties because God has allowed them this mercy before they go to Hell.

What do you think?

30 Things Day 20 - Childhood Memories

20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

1) I remember believing that my teddy bear had some special magical powers and would help things come true for me. Sort of like how a child might think about God, but for me it was my teddy bear since I was pretty much an atheist until I became Muslim. 

2) I can remember the pride my parents had at coming to school for parent-teacher day because they knew they'd be getting nothing else than good news about my behaviour and achievements. They always talk proudly about both me and my brother and always have.

3) This is from pre-teendom or maybe early teens. My mom and dad came to tell me that they are always there for me, whatever situation I might be in. Even if I'm drunk, even if I took drugs, even if I'm out of town... That I should never ever hitch hike and that my safety was the most important of all. And that if I wanted to try something like pot, to let them know and they'd get some from a trusted source and I could do that with them. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

30 Things Day 19 - Where I Would Live

19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

I'm perfectly happy where I am and I wouldn't sacrifice living close to family for any place in the world. Egypt is the obvious choice because we would be close to the other side of the family which is worth something and I LOVE Egypt and LONG FOR Egypt. If I could have the whole family, both sides, together anywhere in the world, it still probably wouldn't be here or there but I simply haven't thought of where. 

I like the idea of a place that has a Muslim majority to make things easier for me in Islam. I also like the idea of the place having Arabic as a first language since it's one of the family's languages. I also like the idea of being in Europe where a lot of countries are easily reached unlike here in Canada where USA is the only country we can easily reach. Even the opposite side of Canada is hard and expensive to get to! Putting all that together and you get no country. lol

Candice has started a beauty blog!

Well, I decided that the beauty part of this blog was just too off topic and also that it deserved its own space, so I've started a new blog called Candice and Beauty! Visit me and subscribe if you're interested! Thanks you guys!

PS: To clarify, only beauty posts will go to that blog and posts about my personal life and parenting and of course Islam will stay here. This is still my main blog for anything I feel like saying.

Friday, June 15, 2012

30 Things Day 18 - Forgive

18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

I guess that would have to be what my husband didn't do for us the first 3 years that he was here in Quebec. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

30 Things Day 17 - Being Great

17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

I wish I was great at public speaking and being persuasive and convincing. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

30 Things Day 16 - Accomplishments

16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

1) Giving birth to my children.
2) Raising my children. So far I have accomplished raising a girl who is now a well-rounded and well-adjusted 5 year old. Happy, kind, confident, imaginative, generous, affectionate. She is also healthy and will eat anything. She loves to take a bath. She is modest and feminine all the while getting dirty and being active as any kid (more, actually). My son is healthy and happy and generally thriving. I'm proud of having breastfed my daughter past 2 years and to still be breastfeeding my son. I'm proud of how close me and the kids are. 
3) Making it to 6.5 years of marriage (where we're at now)
4) Getting over body image issues
5) Getting female athlete of the year in elementary school and getting player of the week (or maybe month) the first week (or month) of being in the high school team for the whole school board. lol

30 Things Day 15 - As an Animal

15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

I'd like to be a whale maybe. Just swimming peacefully all the time, no stress and fear of predators. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Excited but Scared

This is how I feel with Ramadan fast approaching. Excited but scared.

That's a step up from when people started to talk about the month approaching; I was just scared that time.

I have never successfully fasted the whole month of Ramadan and I wasn't even close actually. Last year I was pregnant and didn't try and I don't feel bad about it but the other years, I do. I didn't have the willingness I guess. I think I've grown spiritually and I feel like I might be able to do it this year finally. Things are in my favour like being off work. I won't have to pretend to drink or hide my fasting. I'll also be able to take a nap during the day if the baby is cooperating. It's still going to be hard with the days being so long and having to fulfill the exhausting job of taking care of a baby.

Do you know what made me start to feel excited? When someone posted about waking up for suhour. It surprised even me that something like that would make me excited because I hate waking up and I hate napping because it means having to wake up an additional time in my day, but there's something about suhour that's so peaceful and serene. It's something special to the month that I have a good feeling about :)

God, please give me the strength to fast successfully the blessed month of Ramadan this year and allow me to gain the blessings and rewards that come with it. Ameen.

Healthy Eating

I'm into healthy eating but anyone who knows me (in real or through the blog) knows that I'm not a person of extremes. I am a very gradual person and over time, I've included different things to my family's diet.

  • I don't keep any unhealthy dessert at home; it's a treat when I buy it. This has kicked me in the butt financially quite a few times because it makes me go out to the ice cream place or to buy a couple donuts which costs as much as a week's worth of stuff I'd keep at home if not more! Still, the consumption of this junk is down. 
  • I don't ban juice, but I buy it on rare occaisions only.
  • I always have a variety of fruits available for our sweet tooth.
  • I'm not turning us vegetarian in one day. BUT, I cut our meat consumption in half.
  • I'm not putting the family on a raw foods diet, BUT I'm cooking less and less of our food (vegetables especially) and have not had a hot side in about a week. Only a variety of raw veggies. 
  • I'm not going gluten-free right now, BUT, I'm making changes that include less foods full of gluten and giving more gluten-free options a try in order to be able to make an easier transition when the time comes (if the time comes)

I have written about some of my goals before, but here goes:

  • First, I hope to at least keep up with what I've started in the past few months as a minimum.
  • I would like to have the meat we eat be exclusively organic and halal. 
  • I would like the fruits and vegetables we eat be either locally grown OR organic
  • I would like to have us go gluten-free
And what would be important to my success is if my husband was on board with this. He's not against eating what I've been making, but he needs portions that go against the idea of healthy eating and he adds extra salt and fat a lot of the time, and the ratio of veggies to other is "off". He also supplements my food with a lot of fast food. At least my daughter likes it and has no complaints. She's a good eater, not very difficult and open to trying different things. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm so torn about coming out of the closet

I'm really torn about this issue. On some days, I really don't want anyone to know I'm Muslim. On other days, I feel the need to say it out loud.

Not wanting to tell anyone:

- they wouldn't understand what I actually believe and they wouldn't be able to get the information because what is out there is mostly the traditional sunni Muslim beliefs and that's not me.
- it would upset my parents
- it would cause gossip in the family
- it would cause gossip at work
- I don't want to deal with questions about my faith
- I go through periods where I'd be literally embarrassed to be considered a Muslim, based on what Muslims are doing or have done and the publicity those idiots get
- people here detest religion and that includes people I'm close to
- people here don't respect other people who believe in God (lots of them detest organized religion to the point of being atheists)
((Isn't it idiotic of me to not want to tell people because they wouldn't understand while at the same time not wanting to explain what I believe? They'll never understand that way, will they?))

Wanting to tell people:

- I go through moments of pride that I'm a Muslim, even to the point that I'd be proud to be associated to the Muslims in the community who are for the most part more traditional and do not believe exactly like I do
- I feel like I need to let go of what others think of me to grow spiritually
- I want to go to the next level in my religion and this might be it
- I need freedom to achieve the closeness to God that I desire, not this persistent worrying
((my last three are close to the same thing))

BASICALLY: I feel that I need to stop caring what others think about me in order to grow as a person. And with religion, I need to stop caring what others will think so that I can grow spiritually. Announcing my religion might not be the only way to make progress on this so I feel better tonight about my decision to stay a closeted Muslim but I definitely want to find other ways that I can be who I am.

*Thanks for letting me type this out* :D

30 Things Day 14 - Strengths

14. Describe 5 strengths you have.

1) I'm pretty well-rounded in my abilities. I've got a decent amount of good sense in most aspects of life, I'm pretty good at any sport I try, I'm able to connect emotionally a decent amount, I'm able to learn what I want to learn without too much difficulty.

2) I could accomplish anything for my kids.

3) I feel strongly about fairness, justice, equality and am willing to sacrifice for my principles. 

4) I'm pretty good at putting myself in the shoes of others to understand what they're going through.

5) I can type pretty fast. 

Wow, I'd have an easier time coming up with an additional 10 weaknesses than I did doing this list.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Incorporating islamic phrases

A loose English translation of bismillah with my main idea of God drawn out

I don't think it's essential for a Muslim to throw in all sorts of Arabic in their day to day talk... But I do think it's recommended to use certain islamic phrases or at least have their meaning in the back of our heads.

With a lot of time I've started to develop the habit of using some of them, mostly while writing since we write slower than we speak and I've started to think them when I'm speaking to people. 

Masha'Allah is my most automatic lately especially when I see a baby and compliment it (though it could be when I compliment anything) and I have also started thinking alhamdulilah when someone or I sneeze. I also feel the need to greet people with salam and I do especially in written form. 

Hopefully with time I'll be using these out loud and I will be able to incorporate the two most important ones, insha'Allah and bismillah... There's some work to be done but I do have a bit of progress with insha'Allah though it's definitely not an automatic yet. 

30 Things Day 13 - Weaknesses

13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

1) My main weakness is my anger towards my husband. I just can't keep it in check sometimes.

2) Gossip/idle talk. I hate this, but I have this attraction towards drama sometimes and I also talk too much about nothingness.

3) Certain foods. I'm lucky to have a body that doesn't give me all sorts of crazy signals. I normally have appetite and cravings for good foods, but when I have a craving for something unhealthy, I easily succumb. I'm not very strong-willed about this stuff. 

4) Dealing with emotional situations. I don't know what to do when someone is crying or going through a rough time. I feel the need to avoid the person or the situation... For example I was on my way out from my company after going quick quick to bring a girl a book I borrowed (I'm on mat leave so I have no business staying long) and I saw the woman who miscarried the night before and she was crying at her desk... I just ran right out. I still don't know what I should've done.

5) Caring for the home. I let laundry pile up and I make food last minute and I don't pass the weed-wacker on the lawn, etc. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

30 Things Day 12 - A Typical Day

12. Describe a typical day in your current life.

Not too interesting... Bit of me time in the morning since the baby is relaxed when he wakes up and Nora continues to sleep. When she wakes up she has a pill to take 30 minutes before eating and I normally use these minutes to take a shower while she watches Adam since he's not very difficult in the morning. 

I sometimes do grocery shopping after bringing Nora to daycare... On weekdays I like to watch an opinion show at 10am and I like to have lunch while watching Sarah Richardson sometime between 11am and noon. 

Any day that it's nice out, we go out to walk if I'm only with the baby or we go out for a walk to the park to play if I'm with Nora. Could be a picnic or something like that. 

I go to my parents' about half the days, sometimes in the morning only with the baby, sometimes after I get Nora to daycare. Sometimes I have supper there and stay until 7-8pm or sometimes I leave before the meal... It kind of depends more on my husband's schedule. When the store closes and whether or not he has to leave for work at 6pm (since he works nights). 

If my husband is there in the evening, we eat together around 7pm because he's always at least 1h late and watch The Nanny. It's no use trying to bring a "family supper" habit with him around because if he's not watching TV while he eats, he's reading stuff on his phone (this applies to the restaurant too) or reading Mickey kids magazines from Egypt. And that won't change - I've tried. He can't even control himself while at the table at my parents' house.

I then prepare Nora for bed with a bath or shower and a story (I'm trying to be more consistent with the daily story because it gets left out a lot) and I put Adam to sleep as well. Sometimes it means a bit of time for myself, sometimes time with the husband, sometimes I'm just too tired and I go to bed. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

30 Things Day 11 - Pet Peeves

11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

1) Use of the word "race" when speaking about human beings
2) Preachy people
3) People who come out of the bathroom without washing their hands
4) People update FB for every little thing they think or do in their lives
5) Water on the bathroom floor
6) People who drive more than 15% above the speed limit (past 25% it's more than a pet peeve, I get angry)
7) Loud bass in a car that makes the whole street vibrate
8) Basic grammar mistakes
9) People who cannot answer a simple question
10) People who add salt to food automatically without tasting it

Raising Children to be Open-Minded

I want my children to be open-minded. I want them to know about other religions and cultures and not be stuck in the way we see things here. I really want them to be able to look at the world with an open mind and to be able to understand differences. Most importantly,  I want them to love others and accept differences there might be whether it's cultural or religion or personality or anything else like sexual orientation.

Instilling the right values is the most important thing for me. I'm not very concerned about making them be the right religion and believing in all the little things contained in the organized religion if Islam.

For some people it's very important to make their children believe and follow every little rule that they themselves personally believe about Islam but for me these are things that they will figure out for themselves and that will fall into place for them as they solidify who they are and what they believe. If they have a good base (which is my focus), I believe their decision will be good.

For some people, it's important that their child have the most unbiased education so that they can decide fully for themselves what they believe in. Meaning that even if they the parents are Muslim or Pagan or Christian or whatever else, they will not teach that to their child. Personally, I feel that it's fine but not as beneficial for the child as having a stronger starting point.

I will raise my children as Muslim but I will let them explore. I know this increases the chances by a lot that they will also be Muslim later on and that by raising them to be Muslim, I am shaping their future in that direction. And I don't feel conflicted AT ALL. I want my children to have the comfort of knowing what they are, if they don't have the inclination to question everything I teach them. If they do question, I like that they will have a starting point and I know that I will be there to help and support them.

I believe that will give them the best chance in life at being well-rounded but stable individuals.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

30 Things Day 10 - Embarrassing!

10. Describe your most embarrasing moment.

I don't even want to tell the story of the most embarrassing one I can remember for modesty reasons. But let's just say I'm glad my mother in law and I don't speak the same language because the conversation following the moment would have become the most embarrassing moment of my life. 

An embarrassing moment that I will share is the time I walked in on my husband's uncle in the bathroom (sitting on the toilet). Very uncomfortable!

Blogs I follow

I love finding new, interesting blogs to follow and I often find them when others link to them or through their blog roll. I don't have a blog roll so I wanted to make a post with a few blogs I follow in case anyone is interested in checking them out, I follow MANY more than this but I've chosen just a few that I saw in my Google Reader that I enjoy. I will hopefully link to others in the future because many more deserve to be linked to than what I'm going to do.

A Muslim Housewife - a blog about motherhood and being a homemaker including recipes. she is now in Palestine visiting her husband's family

Mama Mona - mother living in Egypt, blogs about her life with the kids in Hurghada as well as fashion

Fashion for Giants - A fashion blog, not a Muslim one but I just LOVE her style and she's funny as well! 

Single Dad Laughing (aka SDL) - His blog is his job so it's a bit different than the other ones on here, but he is consistently posting really good stuff, inspirational, funny, etc.

Struggles of an American Muslimah (Abroad) - Convert and second wife recently moved to a village in Egypt to live with her husband. She just gave birth this week to her 3rd child, OMG to the birth story. Such a strong, courageous woman. ((congrats to her))

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

30 Things Day 9: People who have influenced me

9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.

Except for my parents which are a definite number 1, the others are in no specific order and off the top of my head. I decided to only do 5 because I didn't want to wrack my brain to try to figure out 5 others, who probably would have been people like Gandhi, Muhammad (pbuh), Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. 

1) my parents - they are the most important influence by the years of time, energy and attention they gave me. the basis of what I believe in and the way I act comes from them

2) my husband - for 7 years I've been with him, building something totally new to me (a family) so it's normal that he has had an effect and influence on who I have become

3) the Egyptian people - being open to a completely different culture has made me reevaluate the way "we" do things vs the way "they" do things to realize we all have ways that are different but for the most part no more right or wrong.

4) my ex-friend (that Muslim one) - it's weird that she has managed to have an influence on me with a short crappy friendship, but she did. being very outspoken about everything and a bit of a haram police has made me deal with these types who are all over the internet. on the positive side, she was not shy to tell me when she disagreed with my behaviour and there were some instances where I agreed with her and just didn't realize what I was doing and I am thankful that she told me.

5) my cousin (the one with the baby around Adam's age) - she's simply crazy and the way she deals with babies has been contagious for me. her attitude with her own baby born 1.5 months before mine influenced how I take care of my son and helped increase my comfort level around babies

Monday, June 4, 2012

Skin Care

What is your skin care routine? Which products do you use? How much to you spend on your skin? How important is it to you to have healthy feeling and healthy looking skin? 

I'm starting to realize how important it is to take care of my skin. Especially with lighter skin more prone to sun damage, we age faster than we think! I'm starting to develop a more serious skin care routine recently. Not just slapping on some moisturizer every couple days, but cleansing every day, moisturizing twice a day, putting a priority on sunscreen, exfoliating once or twice a week. I'm still working it out but I've been serious about it for about a month and my skin has never felt or looked better! It's actually making me glad that I had weird skin in need of attention to snap me into this routine instead of waking up at 40 or 50 never having cared.

I'm going for the most part organic (with Eminence products, who also make the mineral powder I reviewed and use) except for my cleanser that I get from my husband's company (Aveeno ultra-calming moisturizing cream cleanser). I also just bought samples from Annmarie Gianni's organic skin care line and will see if I like anything.

I'm trying to make the most budget-friendly routine that suits my skin and makes me feel good... I think it's worth investing a certain amount rather than letting difficult skin not feel good but I would suggest trying a variety of products in different price ranges through samples to get a good idea of quality/price ratio.

My cleanser is free and suits my skin so I won't use a 30$ per bottle cleanser every day even if I prefer it somewhat. The free moisturizers I had access to and the 5-10$ ones too, did not work on my skin so spending 40$ on one that works makes sense and is more than worth it! Based on the use I got out of my samples, it should last 3-4 months using it twice a day so it's not extravagant even if it's in the high end price range (regular price is like 50something$ but I get a discount at my cousin's salon). The exfoliant I am getting is about 30$ but since it's used twice a week it will last a really long time. I will also probably get a moisturizing masque which, like the exfoliant will last a really long time because it's also going to be used less frequently than cleanser or moisturizer.

A simple but thorough routine, I think.
Approximate price per month: 23$
Approximate price per month INCLUDING sunscreen AND sun defense mineral powder which really should be counted as make-up: 32$

I like to think I was conservative in my estimates to allow for if the products got used faster than I thought or if I buy a couple extra products over the course of the year because strictly, it should be a bit less than that amount. 

30 Things Day 8: Passions

8. What are 5 passions you have?

I have written before about how passion is something I have always wanted in my life but never had. I'm not really passionate about anything so... I don't know what to write, really. 

1) My children
2) Equal rights (for women, for gays, for any minority)
3) Different cultures
4) Self improvement
5) Food

Sunday, June 3, 2012

30 Things Day 7: Dream Job

7. What is your dream job, and why?

I wrote a post very recently about what my plan is career wise

But "dream job" can be something that is a bit beyond my reach, can't it? I'd love to work as an anthropologist or maybe in sociology... Or I'd like to work in statistics (but NOT insurance). I feel like those things are beyond my reach because I don't feel like I can go beyond a bachelor's degree right now because of kids and responsibilities, and I don't feel super confident about being able to find a great job in these fields so I'm not going to go there. 

And just another dream for the fun of it. Being well off enough that I can be a stay at home mom and focus on volunteering once the kids are in school! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Position of Islam on Wasting Food

I felt the need to write about this after a little something that happened with my husband. I was eating a nectarine and it fell on the pavement when I tried to prevent Adam from grabbing it. For me, it's not a big deal. I'd pick it up, rinse it and eat the rest of it. For my husband, it was really against his beliefs to do that. I tried to tell him that it's very bad in Islam to waste perfectly good food like that and he didn't really care and just needed to throw it out.

I'm thinking it has to do with it seeming like something a poor person would do... I get the feeling that this is normal for the more well off Egyptians because my husband is definitely VERY concerned with the way he appears to others. Way more concerned about how he appears than how he really is but that's a whole other thing. There's also another weird thing related to food that seems to be cultural. He will always leave some food, often just a spoonful or two of food. Not enough to actually be worth putting away for another meal. I HATE THAT! If you take seconds, take some, leaving enough for another serving, or take it ALL so that I don't have to throw it out! He's getting better about it after 4 years of being yelled at, but still does it regularly. 

Here is a hadith that tells us that if something falls, we take off the bad part and eat the rest, and second, never waste any food (to the point of licking our fingers or the plate so that there's nothing left). Can you imagine actually caring about food to that extent? It's something we should all strive for. 

Anas bin Maalik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) finished eating, he would lick his three fingers. He would say, “If a morsel of one of you falls down then he must clean it remove the injurious, and eat it and leave it not for the devil.” He commanded us to lick the plate clean, saying, “You cannot imagine in which portion of your meal blessing lies.”Reference: Jami’ Tirmidhi, graded as ‘Sahih’ by al-Albani

I've also been thinking recently about how we could all stand to decrease our appetites by quite a lot. And yes, most people would lose some of their weight, even people who are considered to be in normal range but it would still be healthier for us all and for humanity and the whole earth to do it this way.
O children of Adam! Attend to your embellishments at every time of prayer, and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant.
Reference: Surah al-A’araaf 7:31
I was thinking about what would happen if we only ate the recommended portions of each food group and nothing extra. The recommended fruits and veggies, grain products, dairy products and meat and alternatives. No food that doesn't give us some portions in a reasonable amount of the stuff like sugary processed junk for example. I definitely don't eat like that myself so I have lots of work to do to get there, but it is my hope to one day eat only things that are healthy and drink nothing but water and the occasional healthy-ish juice or vegetable drink. 
That combined with only eating halal (in every way, like the way the animal is raised and taken care of too) would be the best and most Islamic way to eat for a Muslim and it's an important goal of mine that I'm making baby steps to reaching. 
If only my husband was at least a little on board! He does the things I described above and also eats quantities like no one would believe which includes very fatty, super salty food and lots of meat. I try to reduce fatty foods, meat and salt but he just piles on the salt afterwards and buys himself Burger King  multiple times a week to make up for the fat, salt and meat that I'm not giving him at home. Truly a lost cause at the moment. 

30 Things Day 6: The Hardest Thing

6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

I've been blessed by not having anything tragic happen in my life and I have not experienced yet the loss of someone who is so very close to me... So the hardest thing that I've experienced is not as hard as things to come I'm guessing.

I'm not sure what it might be. Maybe being a loser who got "dumped" out of every friend group in grade 6 and had to be alone? Or maybe the difficulties I had in my marriage with my husband? Maybe it was giving birth to my daughter and being a first time mom alone for the first 6 months, exhausted like crazy.

You see, nothing too intense and nothing I haven't gotten 100% over at this point in my life.

Friday, June 1, 2012

30 Things Day 5: What makes me Happy

5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

1) These two:

2) I saw half of this the other day and was close to tears. Watched the whole thing today and was in tears. I can't tolerate this type of love! Makes me tear up with happiness <3

3) My daily coffee. It's kind of ridiculous, but this is my little pleasure in life. 

4) Being out in nature. Being close to the earth makes me feel closer to God. I feel like it's a bridge between my day to day life and the truth. It helps put things into perspective. 

5) Reading. I don't read as much as I would like but it's a great feeling to be immersed into a story, a bit like a fantasy. It's also amazing to be able to learn things through reading and it's something that makes me happy. 

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