30

Long time no post.  The trial that I’ve been working on for 2 years and that has been consuming my life for the last few months has finally begun.  I’ll probably be going down to Chicago next week to assist.

Today I turn 30 and I’m having a third of a life crisis (inshAllah I can hope that Allah [swt] grants me 60 more years).  We celebrated my Grandma’s 90th birthday this last weekend.  I was a late birthday present for her – 1 day after her 60th, I came into this world.

More than a hundred people came by to wish her well.  I can only pray that in 60 years, I am still happy and healthy, and that I have so many people that love me.  And, I hope that I am still worshiping Allah [swt] and striving to follow the path He gave our beloved Messenger [saws].

My third of a life crisis is many fold.  I’ve been a muslim for more than a decade – nearly my entire adult life.  And yet, I’m stunted in my spiritual growth.  I need to stop and rework my plans deen wise.

I need to get back on track with healthy eating.  I started some new medication that I think is causing me to gain weight.  And I’m not eating nearly as well as I have in the past.  That happens when you work 80 hours a week.

I need to exercise.  I haven’t been to the gym in 2 months.  I want to start running again, and run a marathon before I turn 40.

Once I lose weight, inshaAllah, I want to start to dress “nicer.”  These days, I look like a dumpy, chubby shlub who wears hijab.  Not the best dawah.

I want to become a socializer at my cat shelter, to help timid and feral cats become kitties that anyone would love to take home.

I want to spend more time with my cat.  Squeaky is desperately lonely without me.  And I miss her terribly.  This picture is from last Friday, when we finally had some time together outside.  Even when I get home at midnight, she still runs to the front door, thinking we’ll be going outside.  I hate to disappoint her.

I want to learn how to thread my sewing machine.  And sew sew sew so I can make costumes.

I want to develop patience to make more complex cross stitch.  I stitched my brother a Firefly piece for his birthday, and he really liked it.  Picture forthcoming inshaAllah.

I want to become a better cook.  I love to cook, and again, haven’t had any time to do that in recent months.

I want to spend time outdoors.  I used to camp and backpack.  I want to do that again.  Nature is a huge sign of Allah [swt], and I want to be there to see it all.  See that picture?  It makes me say subhanAllah!

Yes, there is a lot that I want in my life.  Oh Allah [swt], give me the life, the energy, the strength and the time to accomplish what is best in my life.  Ameen.

Advertisements

guess who submitted this to microagressions?

  • Random stranger:: Where are you from?
  • Me:: Wisconsin.
  • RS:: Um, so where are your parents from?
  • Me:: Wisconsin.
  • RS:: No, where is your family really from?
  • Me:: Parts of my family fought and died in the Civil War. We’re really from Wisconsin.
  • RS:: Oh, so does your husband make you wear that thing? *points to my hijab*”

Where are you really from?

Hint – she has an awesome fat cat named Squeaky

need feedback on my converts page

I know it’s sorely neglected.    Bad bad UmmS.  Here’s my feedback requests:

  • Is it getting to be too long and non-user friendly?  I’m thinking of breaking it up into subpages
  • It needs updating.  I’m looking both for new sections that may be helpful and new resources to go into existing sections.  Webpages, audio, video, and real life resources are all acceptable.  Also, if I’ve written an especially helpful blog post that you remember, let me know that too, and I can include a direct link to that as well.

Please do contribute if you can.  Abu Huraira (ra) reports that our beloved said:

“Whosoever relieves from a believer some grief pertaining to this world, Allah will relieve from him some grief pertaining to the Hereafter. Whosoever alleviates the difficulties of a needy person who cannot pay his debt, Allah will alleviate his difficulties in both this world and the Hereafter. Whosoever conceals the faults of a Muslim, Allah will conceal his faults in this world and the Hereafter. Allah will aid a servant (of His) so long as the servant aids his brother. Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise. No people gather together in one of the houses of Allah , reciting the Book of Allah and studying it among themselves, except that tranquility descends upon them, mercy covers them, the angels surround them, and Allah makes mention of them amongst those who are in His presence. Whosoever is slowed down by his deeds will not be hastened forward by his lineage.”

[Muslim]

Knowledge is power.  It’s not just a cheesy 80s cliche, it’s truth.  When we aid a fellow human being, inshaAllah Allah will reward us, and if we aid a person in doing something that they will use over and over again (like gaining knowledge), inshaAllah we are rewarded each and every time that knowledge is used.

JazakAllah khair all.

new mini project – must listens

I listened to Sh. Faraz’ most excellent talk Beyond Hijab again this morning and thought, I wish every convert would listen to this lecture.

Which in turn got me thinking.  I already recommend podcasts and general speakers, but since we don’t have infinate amounts of time, I thought it would be good to create a top 10 list of must listens for new muslims.  Ideally, I’d like a list to include a balance – emphasis on the importance of the 5 pillars and faraid, and stirring speeches that move us beyond mere action towards longing for Allah (swt).

Beyond Hijab is definitely on that list.  But that leaves 9 other spots.

If you, dear readers, could recommend a lecture (or 2 or 3) as a must listen to new muslims, what would they be?

*and of course ya’ll know that I’ve never hidden my biases.  I’d prefer lectures that are non partisan, but that respect traditional scholarship.  I’m a madhab loving, tasawwuf seeking girl, so anything that would put those things down will not be considered*

i’m not an inspiration…

…please do not see me as one.

I became muslim solely through the grace of God.  All praise is due to Him, and none to me.

la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah

Being a convert doesn’t grant me super special status.  My pitiful struggles in this life are nothing when you look to the great muslims of the past.  If you want a role model, look to the mothers of the believers (ra),  Rabia al-Adawwiya (ra), Sayyida Nafisa (ra) or any of the countless women who have dedicated themselves 110% to the deen and to Allah (swt).

Me?  I am nothing.  Please don’t put me on a pedestal.  It just means I’ll have a lot longer way to fall down.

well looky here

I’m ahead of the times.

Why do some Muslim converts change their whole names and others only part?

Like the motivations to convert in the first place, the reasons to change or keep one’s name vary from person to person. That said, the majority of Muslims who enter the faith choose to alter their names to mark the beginning of a new chapter in their lives. Experts on American Muslims suspect that converts to Islam are more likely to adopt new names than those who switch to other religions, and to make use of their new names in day-to-day life rather than assuming them purely for symbolic reasons. It’s not clear why that might be the case, although the adoption of Islamic beliefs and traditions may reflect a more substantial departure from mainstream American culture than, say, converting to Judaism or Christianity.

Are they really not sure why it’s the case?  Really?  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that new muslims are relentlessly pestered to change their name by (usually well meaning) born muslims?  Or feel obligated to adopt the name some stranger gives them when they make shahada?

Maybe I should be an expert on american muslims?

conversations with converts

One that happens every few weeks or so:

new person: soooo, are you arab? where are you from?

UmmSqueakster: I’m from Wisconsin

new person: ?????

UmmSqueakster: I mean, I’m an american convert. My family has lived in Wisconsin since before the civil war.

new person: ooooo, mashaAllah! So what is your name?

UmmSqueakster: Jennifer

new person: oh no no no, what is your muslim name?

UmmSqueakster: I’m a muslim. My name is Jennifer. Ergo, Jennifer is my muslim name.

new person: no no no, you must change your name when you become muslim. Let me see, how about Aisha? Amira?

UmmSqueakster: Um yeah no. When the vast majority of sahabi became muslim, they kept their birth names. Islam asks us to honor our parents.  My parents named me Jennifer, so I honor them by keeping it.