Friday, January 29, 2010

A day with my mother

I have not blogged in a while. I have been trying to keep my website updated with new content. And while things are busy these days, we were finally able to set aside time to pray at mama's grave. It was a long time coming. The plants we had planted died because of the lack of rain over the summer and fall. Masha Allah, it was a nice day to be out there with her, making dua and cleaning up her grave.


Before...








After.......





Is the snow going to pass me by?

Insha Allah, I hope so!!!!!! Last year and the year before, I really did not enjoy the snow! The past two winters, I did not do much in the way of driving. This year, I have been driving quite a bit, and the thought of driving in the snow REALLY scares me. The slipping, the sliding, and not to mention, accidents! But Alhamdulillah, we have not had any snow just yet and it is already February. I love the weather though. We have had some amazing weather off and on. Though it rains quite a bit, and I'm not really a rain person, I prefer it to snow. :) It is still winter, but I am going to continue to pray for a snowless winter.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Personal Tips from a Novice Amateur

Writing is fun when your imagination is on a roll and your pen (or keyboard) is writing away. But every once in a while, a writer slams into a wall of blanks. That wall is called writer's block, a massive blockade that subdues creativity, drains imagination and tires the pen (or keyboard.) But every block is meant to be overcome. Every writer, amateur or professional, has his or her own way of creatively getting pass writer's block. Here are a few of my techniques of over coming the creative blockade.


* Find your writing zone. I like to find a comfortable place to be in before I write.
Everyday is different. Sometimes, I like to write in my room curled up on my bed
where it is quiet. Other times, I like to be in an open area where I can find
inspiration all around me.

* Try to write everyday, even if it is in a journal. Writing everyday allows you to
keep your creativity at its maximum. I write about everything, that happens at
work, things I see in my day, or sometime I even describe a pretty flower or cute
animal.

* Write about things you like or are familiar with. Writing about something you
don't like or have no knowledge about can be a chore and sometimes
unpleasant. I try to write about things I like, usually stories, poems or activities
geared towards children as I am a teacher of young children. But if you have to,
give yourself adequate time to learn as much as you can about the subject you
are writing about before you start writing.

* Read other writings for inspiration and motivation. Sometimes, I find it beneficial
and helpful to read other writings. Reading is very important to the writer. You
can't be a good writer if you are not a good reader. Read writing that is both
similar to your genre and writing that is different. I like to write children's fiction,
but I love to read fiction for adults and non-fiction. The satisfaction of reading a
good book, story, poem or article also reminds the writer why they should keep
going!

* Use writing prompts when you hit writer's block. Writer's Block is bound to
happen, so don't let it get you down. If you happen to find that you don't know
what to write about or that you just don't have anything to write about, use
writing prompts to give you a jump start. Prompts can also be a lot of fun and be
wonderful starts to other writing projects.


* Give yourself writing incentives. Writing incentives are great and fun! I love to
buy new writing pads and pencils or pens. I have also taken writing classes to
motivate me to write more and even started blogs and a website to share my
work. It is important, however, to make sure your incentives are important to you
or else you wont be motivated by them.

* Surround yourself with positive reinforcement and encouragement. Nothing is
more important that being around like minded people who support and
encourage you. Join writing groups and clubs. It is a wonderful way to meet
other writers and share writing tips and advice from both amateurs and
professionals. I belong to a few writing groups that have proven very beneficial.
Everyone gives constructive criticism and encouragement to help me
increase my writing skills.

* If all else fails, take a break from writing. There are times when no matter what,
your brain just does not want to cooperate with your creativity and imagination.
When that happens, don't force it; take a break. Relax your mind; enjoy other
activities or, one of my favorites, simply take a nap. God has given your body
rights over you, that includes your brain, where your creative processing occurs.

Happy Writing!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Resolution: A Gentle Reminder.

Passing along a wonderful reminder from one of the many yahoo e-groups I belong to. Thank you to the member who posted it.

Peace!
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1st January 2010-New Years Resolution

Innal-Hamdalillah was-Salaatu was-Salaamu 'Alaa Rasoolillah As-Salaamu 'Alaikum wa-raHmatullahi wa-barakaatuh

So, here we are into 2010! Living in the "Western World", everyone is now greeting each other for an amazing and successful 2010 and the usual New Year Resolution thinking caps are on!... Hmmm... Interesting!

However, as Muslims, our thoughts must be to change our ways everyday, not just from the 1st of January because it is the start of the New Year, and hey, our Islamic New Year started a few weeks back by the way!!

We have to be focused daily on our prayers, our attitude, our Imaan and our goals.

Remember, the Prophet PBUH said:


When you stand up to pray, perform your prayer as if it were your last...' (Ahmad)

The whole purpose of Salah is to be ever conscious of Allah, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Salah is indeed, one of the most comprehensive forms of Dhikr (Remembrance) . No wonder, Allah states in a hadith qudsi: "Out of all the ways through which My servant gets closer to Me, Salah is the dearest to Me." (Bukhari) It is unfortunate, therefore, that we do not always take full advantage of this gift.

Remind yourself that engaging in Prayer offers you an opportunity to release yourself from the tensions of this world. The Prophet PBUH has said that in Prayer was placed the comfort of his eyes. Therefore cherish the opportunity to remove the burdens of this world from your shoulders.

Use your Prayer to remain focused on your mission in life, which is to bring your entire being to serve only Allah.

Use your Prayer as a source of strength, inspiration and enthusiasm for your life and activities.

On each occasion that you recite the Sifat or attributes of Allah in ruku and sajda, consider how indebted you are and how grateful you should be to Allah and express your true emotions.

Utilise the occasion of sajda to make additional dua to Allah. The Prophet PBUH said: "A servant is nearest to his Lord when he is in sajda, so increase your supplication when in sajda." (Muslim.)
Remember, Salah is an obligation. Whether your heart is attentive or not, it must be performed. You cannot give up Prayer because to you it appears useless. There is punishment for a Prayer not performed satisfactorily. It will be a witness against you rather than a witness for you on the Day of Judgment. Don't give up the obligation but try to infuse it with the purpose it seeks to serve - remembrance of Allah. It is important to remember the saying of the Prophet (pbuh): "If a man performs two rakas of Salah without the distraction of any worldly thought, all his previous sins will be forgiven." (Bukhari.)

So remember, our new year resolution do not being just at the start of the year! We should be focused every day, and we really need to get our salahs [prayers] in order. So many text messages are still flying around stating "Send this to 10 people and see how your fate changes"... What? Absolute nonsense! These `chain'; text messages are an absolute waste of time, energy and money. Your condition won't change by sending text messages to 10 of your mates. Your condition can ONLY change if you are committed to the 5 times prayers, you engage in Zikr, you ask Allah (swt) for forgiveness, you give to the poor and needy and you keep you heart and intentions pure.

Take provision from the world because you are a traveller, your place in the world is a delusion but many Muslims today are immersed in these long hopes. And they are heedless of Allah swt. They continue in doing wrong deeds and this is wrong. There is no doubt that this path will lead to ruin. In the Qura'n it states, "On the Day when every soul will be confronted with all the good it has done, and all the evil it has done, it will wish there were a great distance between it and its evil. But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself. And Allah is full of kindness to those that serve Him
Say: "If ye do love Allah, Follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." [al-Imran 3:30-31]

"Your days are spent in delusion and heedlessness.
Your nights are full of sleep.
You concern yourself with that which is temporary
And you find joy in this just as you do in your sleep as you dream."

Abdullah Ibn Umar who said: The messenger of Allah took me by the shoulder and said: "Be in the world as though you were a stranger or a wayfarer." Ibn Omar also used to say: "At evening don't expect [to live till] morning, and at morning do not expect [to live till] evening. Take from your health for your illness and from your life for your death."
[Related by Bukhari]

So, I pray Insha Allah everyone is focused on daily basis, not just because it is a new year, and that you start from the very basics, and that is to read your Daily prayers for this is the very 1st thing we are all accountable for!

Don't just read this email and take no action. Start from today, read your salah, make Dua after each salah that you can read your next salah and ask Allah swt; for you can not imagine what doors Allah swt can open for you....Allah swt is waiting for us to Ask Him...but only if we are good Muslims with pure clean hearts.!

And Allah swt knows best
w.s