This past month has felt like a year.  It felt like a life – with all that comes with it: anticipation, hardships, joys, tests, relief, grief.  But I will only say Alhamdulillah.  I’ve been shaken with such small, miniscule shakes in the grand scheme of things and I don’t feel like I stood as tall as I could have, as I should have – given the enormity of blessings that weigh down my life.

A new friend phoned me the other day and called me graceful in the way I handle things.  She was speaking of what she knew of on the outside.  Would the One who knows the whole, the inside and the outside, call me graceful?

I hear my sister’s voice and it is asking me not to ask so much of myself.  But who else to push myself to a true state of submission and all that goes with it: sustained patience and sincere attachment to truth, to Him?

So I  remind myself of my central blessing:

“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones
– the ones at home. “
Mother Teresa
My family: overcrowding with love, brothers who cry with you, for you, so you feel like comforting them in your time of grief; parents who love unconditionally with inhuman sacrifice; a sister who bears and shoulders with you; in-laws (parents, sisters, brothers) who are beacons of kindness and understanding; children and nieces and nephew who are love in cuddly form and a husband who is all that I have ever asked for in love.  And friends who don’t forget.

That is A LOT to have in your life.  Thank you Allah.

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I also wanted to share in this post.  Share 9 things.

1.  I’ve loved a beautiful, inspirational photo blog for a long while now: Daily Colours Photography
I love her pictures and her gleanings (see the Mother Teresa quote above).   Her photography is soft and observant and reminds me of being attentive to how God measures beauty and how easy it is to find it immediately and so nearby. The words she chooses to accompany her pics are often just right for the moment I’m in.

2. The most appropriate, best?,  umbrella in the world:

3.  When I grow up, I want to blog like her: Maira Kalman, of “And the Pursuit of Happiness” fame
(and psst, her husband, now deceased, designed that most appropriate umbrella).

4.  A Story Before Bed (http://www.astorybeforebed.com/) is such an awesome idea.  If you are far from a treasured child in your life, connect with them by reading them a favorite book via this service.  The child gets to access the book you chose and your recorded image and voice reading it.  There’s a small fee – but it’s worth it if you cannot be close in proximity to a little one who would really appreciate hearing from you.

5. Islamic Relief Fair Trade Partnership: bring it to a mosque near you.   Equal Exchange (with over 2o years in the fair trade “trade”) is the partner – and yum, their quality is as good as their integrity .

6. Profound Aesthetic.  My husband likes their t-shirts – they strive to have meaning (profound?) in them. They have an interesting blog too. This is one of his favorite t-shirts (I think I need to get him another one) – the designer we talked to described it as asking one to consider the dichotomy/or synthesis (depending on your view) between nature and human-produced music:

7. Kareem Salama has a new reworked Generous Peace song – it’s more upbeat now.  He’s reproducing many of his tracks – look for them coming soon to his updated website or itunes.  Here’s the official video to the new Generous Peace, directed by Lena Khan:

I like that he’s continuing with his talent.  And with the new song and video, he has an added fan at our  house – my son, an avowed country-music avoider who would argue with my daughter when she would want to play Kareem’s songs in the car over and over.

My son actually made me buy the new song right away on itunes –  for HIS ipod.

8. Chicago.  I just got back from there – visiting my husband, who is designing a restaurant in the windy city.  Even though it holds a part of my grief, I still found it a fascinating city – one that I would want to spend more in.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

pic by my husband

9.

Missed

a shadow dies
medically pronounced
it sounds mistaken

i grew ten more years
in the time you stopped your perfect heart
small, lifeless but still
it had filled,
so completely
taken over mine

I just made this post public.  After searching for solace – I found it in the words of God’s Prophet.  How perfect is Islam in that it addresses everything a human goes through.  How beautiful a Prophet who went through trial after trial, a simple human with all that it entails, yet again and again, he finds his fortitude in that which lies awaiting with his Lord.

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