Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Ramadan Journal- Day 4-19

Keeping a Ramadan journal seemed like a very good idea at first, but apparently, it isn't.
I'm finding it really hard to squeeze "posting an entry a day, AND a photo" into my schedule. So I guess I'll see you in 11 days!

In the meantime, check out Unique-Muslimah's photo journal, and Umm Travis' (from the Tea Break Thoughts blog)  Ramadan journal :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cover Girl!

I was contacted by Na'ima B. Robert, editor-in-chief of SISTERS, a magazine for muslim women, a few months ago, they wanted to use one of my photographs for the cover of their Summer issue! I was thrilled really, for someone to show interest in my photography means a great deal, but to have one of my photographs on the cover of a glossy magazine, well.. it's a great achievement! (at least for me..)

When we spoke on the phone, and she found out that I've been homeschooled all my life, she wanted to interview me about my experience as a homeschooler as well. Apparently, homeschooling is becoming a new "hit" among many Muslim mothers, and a lot of people are considering it as an option.

This is a photo of mine as well

You can read the article here.

The magazine came out about three weeks ago, click here if you want to get your own copy.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Ramadan Journal- Day 2 and 3

Due to lack of sleep, and some other thing I'm sure you won't be interested in reading about, I missed yesterday's post.

The past two days taught me that things don't always go according to plan. Actually, they always NEVER do.
I have been planning to do certain things this Ramadan, starting from day one. I set a schedule for myself, I'm going to do this and do that, I never came around to doing any of what I've planned on doing.
I know.. Ramadan just started, and I've still got about 27 days to go, but still, I feel a bit disappointed.

I have a feeling the coming days are going to be different though..

On a side note, my grandmother is here visiting from Toronto.
Gramdmas are such wonderful things! They are truly a blessing! Having them around makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, they bring such beautiful, bright cheerfulness, and make home feel more "home-y"!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Ramadan Journal- Day 1

I was in the middle of writing this post last night when the electricity blacked out, and the post wasn't saved. So I called it a night and went to bed, in the hope of retrieving some of the words I wrote from my memory in the morning.

It was an extremely hectic day yesterday. The kitchen was such a mess, there were piles and piles of dishes from the day before heaped on the counters. Grocery that needed to be packed in the cupboards, and a floor that desperately needed a good ol' scrub! A nightmare.
It was left up to me to clean all this mess before Iftar (sunset, when we break our fast) and those who know me well, know how much I love cleaning.. I'm a big fan of cleaning (since you can't hear those words being said in a sarcastic way, I thought I'd mention that I'm being really sarcastic here..).

So, on the first day of Ramadan, my whole afternoon (and part of the evening) was spent scrubbing away in the kitchen. My plans of reading a chapter of the Quran and taking advantage of the blessed day to do something constructive all went down the drain.

A day gone to waste. The first day of Ramadan gone by without me doing anything significant, learning something new, or gaining any spiritual growth. Nothing..

So there I was, standing in the kitchen, with soapy foam all over my arms, hot water streaming down the kitchen sink, with the sound of forks, spoons and knives clinking so loud it started to echo inside my eardrum, and  I wondered, surly there must be something to be learned from this..

What, you may ask, would scrubbing a bunch of dirty dishes teach you?

Well first of all, that you shouldn't leave dirty dishes over night, they will stink so bad and make it harder for you to wash...
No, I kid.. but seriously though..

It really taught me that if you do something for the sake of God, even the hardest of tasks will turn out to be surprisingly easy and time will fly by without you even noticing.

Why would someone do the dishes for the sake of God? For a few apparent reasons. Here are three.

1- Cleanliness is next to godliness. Or, to phrase it Islamically, cleanliness is a part of one's faith, as prophet Mohammad peace be upon him said.

2- It could be considered as an act of "helping others", which is highly valued in Islam, especially during Ramadan. Who am I helping here? My family members, mainly my mother (yes, I still live with my family..)

3- Being alone in a place, doing something that does not require brain power gives you a chance to reflect on things, to try and look at your life from a different angle, a more positive angle. To count your blessings and give thanks for them.. etc.

Turned out it wasn't a wasted day after all! Dirty dishes or no dirty dishes.. there is always a thing or two to be learned from everyday life activities!

Thanks to Bobo (my little bro) for modeling in this photo, and the previous one :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

هلا رمضان!

So, today was the first day of Ramadan!! I was looking forward to this day for sometime. I know.. who doesn't? But somehow this time feels different. For some odd reason I feel more mature this Ramadan. I feel more aware of how much of a blessing this month really is. More grateful for this opportunity to cleanse my soul and strengthen my relationship with my creator.

So I've decided to create a mini to-do list to keep track of things I want to accomplish during this month. So here goes!

1- read a chapter of Quran a day

2- complete my Ramadan reading list

3- pray taraweeh everyday

(I know, you must be wondering "Three things? Thats it?!" but believe me, they're a handful!)

One other thing that I wanted to do was keep a Ramadan journal, where I'll list one thing (or several things) that I'll learn everyday. I think this will be a very encouraging project, since I NEED motivation in order to be productive.

So watch this space! (if you're interested, that is..)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DIY Room Makeover..

I've been going through a very "unproductive" phase lately, a "stuck in a rut" sort of situation. So.. what better way to remedy this than a room makeover? Change always leaves me feeling fresh and productive. All I needed was a visit to the local hardware store, a few buckets of paint, and some creativity! No.. I didn't repaint the walls, just the bookcase, and dressing table/shoe closet thingy. I chose white because I wanted the room to appear bigger, and white does that..
Plus, its always nice to wake up in the morning and feel the whole room welcoming the new day with its bright cheerfulness. The walls are a very pale shade of pink, which I thought would look nice with white.

Here is a before and after photo of the dressing table/shoe closet.

I also painted the mirror frame white, it was brownish red, my least favorite color!

The bookcase.


Painting was the easiest part! Sanding? Well.. that wasn't so easy!


The poster on the wall is a present from my very talented friend :) its one of her photos printed on canvas. It's really nice to have pieces of original artwork on your walls, instead of some poster you got from IKEA..

I had so many seashells lying around, so I thought why not go for a seashell theme?
Some of those seashells were gifts from a friend, some were ones that my sister and I collected from Ain Sokhna beach, as well as Marsa Matrooh a few years back.

I broke this photo holder by accident a while back, I thought about throwing it away, but decided against this idea.. it might come in handy someday.. and it did! I removed the pink paint using sanding paper, and glued three seashells on, it looked even better than it did before it broke!

The rose photo on the right is mine, while the sea at sunset (or was it sunrise? I'm not sure) is my friend's.

One other thing I did to save space, and organize my "very messy" jewelry box was an earring chandelier. My jewelry box was always such a mess, I would have to spend a considerable amount of time looking for the piece of jewelry that I wanted to wear, so an earring chandelier sounded like a very efficient time saving device!

..and it was! No more having to rummage through piles and piles of sparkling objects to find the wanted earring! I also made a necklace stand, but forgot to photograph it..
This chandelier was actually a candle holder, it was golden, I used a sliver spray paint to make it silver.
A close up

the photo on the right is the only photo I took of the necklace stand

So if you're feeling depressed and in desperate need for change, I strongly recommend a room makeover!! It didn't cost much either!