Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Week in Islam: Hajj and Eid Al-Adha

Hajj is the largest annual pilgrimage in the world. An estimated 2.5 million Muslims are performing Hajj, this year. The Hajj, or pilgrimage, is the 5th pillar of Islam. It is required of all Muslims to attend Hajj at least once in their lifetime, if they are physically and financially able.

During Hajj, Muslims remember and commemorate the trials and triumphs of the Prophet Abraham. One of Abraham's main trials was to kill his only son as commanded by God. Upon hearing this command, Abraham was prepared to submit to God's command. When he was ready to kill his son, God revealed to him that his 'sacrifice' had already been fulfilled-an animal had been killed instead. Abraham had shown God that his love for him superseded all others.

At the end of the Hajj, Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice). During the celebration of Eid Al-Adha, Muslims commemorate and remember Abraham's trials by slaughtering an animal such as a goat, sheep, or camel. The meat is then split into thirds. One-third is to be kept for the family to eat, one-third is given away to friends, and one-third is donated to the poor. The act symbolises our willingness to give up things that are of benefit to us or that are close to our hearts, in order to follow God's commands. It also symbolises our our willingness to give up some of our own bounties to strengthen ties of friendship and help those who are in need. We recognise that all blessings come from God and we should open our hearts and share with others.

It is important to note that the sacrifice itself, as practised by Muslims, has nothing to do with atoning for our sins or using blood to wash away our sins. Instead, this symbolism is an attitude, a wiliness to make sacrifices in our lives in order to stay on the Straight Path. A true Muslim, one who submits himself/herself completely to God, is willing to follow God's command completely and obediently. It is this strength of heart, purity of faith, and willing obedience that God desires from us.

On the first morning of Eid Al-Adha, Muslims around the world will attend prayers at their local Mosques. Prayers are then followed by visits to family and friends, and the exchange of greetings and gifts. The holiday is the larger of the two Islamic holidays. It will begin on Friday and is celebrated for 5 days.

My Little Lady LOVES To Paint!











Sunday, November 15, 2009

Things I Miss and Things I Like

We've been here for 4 months already. Man, how time passes you by when life takes you for a ride like this. We have been so busy since we decided to move from Milwaukee to Amman. Since we are finally feeling fairly settled into our place (with the exception of a few 'major' or 'minor' things depending on who you ask), I decided to take inventory on what things I like and what things I miss thus far.

What I Like
-Being a stay at home Mom! Even though I want to pull the covers over my head some days, I am so thankful for this opportunity to be able to spend so much time with my kiddos! I love them so much. They put a smile on my face and make me laugh everyday. They are my reason for everything!

-Our new place. I really like our new apartment. We have yet to buy our own home, but this is as close as it's come. I feel that we have really made this place ours in the short time we have lived here. I always put aside the ideas of purchasing things for our previous rentals, because they were just that-rentals. However, even though we are renting this place, I really needed to have the feelings of home and comfort while living so far away from my home.

-My husband is getting the opportunity to advance his skills. He is learning many new things at work. Things that will be added to his resume. I'm glad he is getting the experiences he is experiencing.

-The weather. Yes, it is still warm and in the 70's around here! No snow in the forecast, unlike the Midwest where I lived before. No doubt, winter is coming, but it won't be like the intense winters that I am accustom to!

Things I Miss
-I miss my family. Not just the fact that they live so far away from me, but from my kids. I miss the missed opportunities. I wish we were closer so that they can watch my son grow as they did my daughter. I wish we were closer so they talk with my little girl who is now talking a million miles a minute...although the words are not all clear, she seems to understand.

-My friends and work. I miss you all! I wish I could just hang out on 3rd floor and CIC (and the rest of the hospital) for a few days just to say hello to you all! Thank you to all that keep in touch with me on my blog, FB and email!

-I miss the convience. Nothing here is set up for conveinance. Nearly everything is difficult, if you ask me. It's difficult because I am comparing. I shouldn't compare, but just live it. But I am still comparing. I miss my Target, Wal-Mart and Dollar Store! Thank goodness, we do have a few grocery stores and nice malls.

-Things that are suppose to work, work! I am still waiting for my clothes dryer and oven to work properly. Currently, I wash my clothes as before and then hang my clothes all over my apartment. It looks terrible, but does the job. I also miss the fresh smell and the 'no need to iron' look you get from the dryer! My oven is not working properly either and it makes it a challenge to cook dinner for four! Oh, I can't forget the vacuum. Every time I go to vacuum my floors, I blow another converter! I just bought this vacuum a few months before we left, I love it and don't want to buy another one....currently, I am sweeping my floors. Not ideal, but it's doing the job for now.

-Water. Hot water and seemingly endless supply of water. I have to wait for the water to warm up before I take a shower and every other day I am pumping water to the apartment. It's not that big of a deal to wait for warm water, except when you are finally able to take a break from the kids, so you quickly jump in the shower, turn on the water and CRAP it's cold! The pumping of water is really no big deal either. I just hit a button for a few hours during the day and presto it's available. It's just the quilt I have when I have to keep pushing the button every other day, like did I really use that much water yesterday?

I'm sure I will add more to these lists as time continues to pass on. But this is where I am at in this moment of time! No matter what the day brings or how much I miss the things I miss, I am thankful. I am thankful everyday for my wonderful family. A wonderful husband and two beautiful kids. I am thankful for a wonderful family who live at home, who are supportive of this move even though they miss us dearly. I am thankful for a wonderful family here who are helping us get settled in. I am thankful for health. I am so thankful that our family is all healthy. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn and to grow. Sometimes I have to remind myself, but I am truly thankful. I know Thanksgiving isn't here yet, but I guess these are the things I am most thankful for! Happy Thanksgiving a bit early!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Random Pictures

Our apartment builing and the view of Amman


View of Amman near our apartment

Omar

Aisha

Aisha excited to be out for a walk in her car

Mommy and Omar
Bathtime!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Great Day!

Well, today was absolutely beautiful! The temperature was 78F! It was wonderful, especially since the last week and a half has been rainy and cold. Naturally, I took the kids out for a while.

As you know by now, Yanal works all day as I stay home with the kiddos. However, you may not know that he takes the car, so we are home...car-less. This means that when I take the kids out I have to stick around our neighborhood. It's a really nice neighborhood; safe, quiet, many of young families. However, there is no good place for the kids to play. The streets are fairly busy, the drivers are not paying attention and there are no sidewalks; so, I worry about taking them for a walk--remember they are 2 1/2 years and 9 months. I could take them in the double stroller....but we are near the top of a huge hill, so the options are literally straight up or straight down and then straight up again. Not an easy, relaxing push in the stroller for this Mamma. I usually do end up taking them for a short walk and wishing that we could go further. But it is what it is and that's what we have and that's okay.

Due to the difficult walking and no nearby parks, we usually just hang out in the front of our apartment. There is no lawn or grass to play on. No parking lot to hang out in. Just a small sidewalk-like area between the apartment and the street. It's not the ideal place, but it works. The kids really don't know the difference, they are just excited to get out of the apartment for a while! We bring out with us Aisha's bubbles and sidewalk chalks. So there we sat today, basically on the side of the road blowing bubbles and drawing on the tiles with sidewalk chalk! It was warm, sunny and simply wonderful! We spent about an hour and a half on the sidewalk and then went up the hill for a short walk.

The view is really beautiful from the top of our hill. We can see nearly all of Amman! It's a huge city (2.5 million people live here), built on many hills, buildings of stone and rock. We have a straight view of the newer addition to the city where they are building their first of many to come skyscrapers. Way off in the distance you can see rolling hills of stone buildings that eventually disappear into the desert. It's really a neat place to be located. I plan to post some pictures of the city someday.

Another beautiful thing about today is that it's probable that I met my first Jordanian friend! I have family friends of course, but it would be nice to meet some more gals to hang out with, especially ones that live near our home. This lady has said hello to me on another occasion as we sat on the sidewalk playing; however, this time she said hello, came up to me and we talked for a while. She started the conversation with "My mom is American". She moved to Jordan from the US when she was 2 years old and she was raised here. She then married and moved back to California and lived there until 6 years ago. She is probably a few years older than me. I have seen many kids in her 'yard' (she has a personal 'yard' space where kids play throughout the day). I often wondered if there was a daycare there, but no, she has NINE (9) kids! Wow, Mashallah (May God Bless Them)! Anyways, the great things about her 1-she lives in my building 2-she lived in the USA 3-She speaks fluent English 4-She has a 2 year old son that she has invited us to play with!! Yeah, a playmate for Aisha AND a friend for me!

Lastly today, another independant move for me....I was able to look up a doctor under our insurance plan, call them and make an appointment (Yanal helped me some....but mostly I did it myself)! Funny how life is. This makes me feel so normal, when before it just was normal! LOL!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Things You're Not Suppose to Talk About.

So, I'm going to do it. It was bound to happen sooner or later....talk about the things you are not suppose to talk about. Politics and Religion. That's right, I'm going to talk about them both, in one blog posting. For those that don't know me, I am a Democrat, Muslim and I 100% believe in healthcare for all.....just getting that out there while I'm at it!

I have been reading the US news about the horrible shooting in Fort Hood. I want to first say that I feel awful for the families that lost their loved ones in such a horrific way. This post has nothing to do with them, their families or you and your families. This post has to do with how politics and the news continue to blame the religion of Islam on horrific crimes like these.

I want to complain tonight. That's right complain and my target is the US news. I sat and listened to it, read it, watched it and complained about it in my own home (and to a few of you) over the last however many years since 9/11 (when I truly became interested in it...don't we always start paying attention once it starts affecting our own life?!). Actually, I have also been one to watch TV programs and news programs from an objective eye. I have always liked to watch TV and get upset at how the black guy is always the one who is killing someone or getting thrown in jail and how the white person is always lending a helping hand to the black guy, like the black guy always need help or something. Or how the woman is always shown crying with a close up view, but if the man cries it is shown from behind in a group hug or something (unless its Brett Favre retiring, then it's okay to show his face..LOL). Seriously though, the media teaches us how to think. It puts the idea into our heads of what is okay and what is not okay. And when the US media is continuing to bombard their viewers that Islam is the culprit behind all the evils in the world, then viewers like you and me may start believing them.

The truth is that man who killed all the soldiers at Fort Hood, was a Muslim. But that doesn't mean that Islam is what caused him to kill the soldiers. In fact, Islam may have been what kept him sane for a little bit longer. I mean it may be what kept him from doing this act now instead of days ago, weeks ago or months ago. Lets look at other factors of his life. He was a physician. A psychiatrist. Pop quiz: Who knows what the highest suicide rate based on occupation...give up...physician's (suprising huh) and psychiatrist are amongst the highest number of those physicians who kill themselves. I know this guy didn't kill himself, but the idea of killing others and killing yourself fall along the same ideas. Their rates of suicide are based on the fact that they have demanding jobs with long hours and a intense stress level, many of them have type A personalities. On top of that psychiatrist deal with, listen to and try to solve other peoples problems and issues on a daily basis. They have little opportunity to discuss the cases they are working on or to have someone help them solve their own problems. The stress eventually wears on them in the form of relationship problems, divorce, substance abuse or...suicide. Now lets take another look at this mans life, he was in the military. From what I know from friends who live this life, the military is a very difficult, high intensity and high stress level as well. He was facing deployment. This alone raises many questions, fears and a new intensity of stress to any ones life. Lastly, he was an Arab and a Muslim. Many Arabs and Muslims report added stresses in the military because of 9/11 and the racists thoughts that came from with those terrible events. Lastly, he was human and sometime humans just snap for whatever reason if any reason.

The US media is so fast to find a Islam link and make a political link to continue to justify these horrible wars and to make the American people afraid of Islam for whatever reason. Sometimes they forget to look at themselves, Christians. They forget to mention that it was a Christian man, Hitler, that started WWII and all the terrible events that occurred in the camps. It is Christians who are members of the KKK and all the terrible things they do. In Oklahoma City bombing, it was Christians. In the USA there were 16,272 murders, 89,000 reported forcible rapes, 441,855 robberies, 834,885 aggravated assaults committed in 2008......I don't have the numbers for you, but I assure you that nearly none of these were not committed by Muslims! Just for interest, here are the rates for Saudi Arabia (the scariest, worst Islamic country per the media) 202 murders, 59 rapes, 598 robberies and 13,864 assaults. (USA population 307,881,579 and Saudi Arabia population 27,601,038.) I'm not saying that all Christians are bad, so quit saying/thinking that all Muslims are bad!

I guess what I am trying to say is, I don't know this man and don't want to know him. What he did was disgusting and horrible. And what he did had nothing to do with Islam. I am just so sick and tired of people/media blaming Islam. Islam is a peaceful religion that teaches us not to hate, not to kill, not to be wasteful, not to gossip, not to be jealous, not to hate, not to want bad for others. It does teach us to respect each other and our self, to take care of the poor, to take care of our families, to love our parents, to obey God, to appreciate all the things God has given us, to pray, to give charity, to learn and study, to do good.

I want to be clear that I am not defending this guy and what he did, so don't get any ridiculous thought about that. All religions and all people have bad people within their group. Just as all religions and all people have good people within their group. Let start focusing on the good of our religions so that we can better understand each other and start to work together.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Aisha'a Sticker Chart Video

Aisha talks about her sticker chart! It's been working wonders for us!! She still has issues, but she has been going every other day or daily since we started the chart!! YEAH!

video

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

VIDEO?!

Here is a video of Omar from yesterday....I hope it works!!



video