Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Difference Between Two

Hello All. Sorry I haven't written for a while. Between all the activities during Ramadan and not being able to log into my's been a while since I last posted.

The story of this week are my two precious little children. How two children, with the same parents, growing up in the same household, living through the same experiences, can be so different. How amazing and mind boggling it is!

Little Miss: My first of two. She is 3 years and 3 months old. She was always the quiet type. When she was a baby, I would bring her to meetings at work (you know, those ones scheduled on my day off). My coworkers were always amazed at how quiet and well behaved she was as she would sit for one, two and sometimes three hours at a time. I was thankful that she was so well behaved, as I didn't have daycare for her and no where to bring her other than with me. However, I didn't know how well behaved and how quiet she was until I had little one number two.

Little Boo: My second of two. He is 1 year, 6 months, and 24 days. If I knew him before I knew her I would have wondered what was wrong with her. Why is she so quiet, why doesn't she move? Instead, I just wonder, why won't he sit down?! He is a busy, busy, busy little boy. He goes and goes and goes, until he crashes into his blanket and its there is sleeps, until he's at it again! He has always been this way, since before he was born. He has met all his milestones early: raising his head off my shoulder at day 3, running after his sister by 10 months, kicking the ball the next month, speaking over 60 words including 3 word sentences in two languages by 18 month - Mashallah - he simply amazes me....and exhauss me :o).

The other day, after breaking our fast, we went to visit Hubby's cousin would just gave birth to her 4th baby. In addition to her other three children, there were another six children for a total of 9 kids - ranging from the age of 2 years to nine years. My daughter and I were the first to arrive and she sat with the adults for a little while. I knew she would be nervous meeting all the new kids, so we took it slow. We walked to the door to where the kids were all watching TV and playing. She held my hand, her left hand had a sweaty grip to mine and her right hand held tightly to her favorite Teddy Bear. She looked up at me and said, "Bear is scared just a little bit". So we sat together and watched the friendly, yet unfamiliar faces of each child. One by one, each little face and each little hand came by to greet Little Miss and invite her to play. As each one passed, she got closer and closer to me, and more and more uneasy. Before I knew it she was curled in a ball, face buried in the couch, behind me, refusing to get out of this position. I tried to calmly help her relax, just making things worse. Actually, her best cousin, S. , was there too and I encouraged her to go sit by him. Nope. She wanted to sit with Mom and with the adults. This back and forth of uneasiness went on three times before she decided one of the little girls was safe to play with. (and by the end of the night she loved all the little girls and didn't like any of the boys! Until now, she continues to talk about all her friends she made at the party)!

Little Boo's reaction to the same get together, about an hour later, when he arrived with his father. He and Dad entered the front gate. Dad says hello to the adults sitting outside. Little Boo enters the front gate, sees the kids (through the wide open door) playing inside. He streaks right past the adults, runs for the stairs with a huge smile and lots of giggles, triea to run up the stairs, falls as he is running too fast, stands in the doorway, looks at the kids to say HELLO, I'M HERE, LETS PLAY!

Amazing, how to kids can be so different! I love them both in so many ways, for so many reasons! They are amazing. They are so different and both so special. We are so blessed to have them in our lives. Alhumdillah.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

1.5 BILLION Muslims observing Ramadan

The 1.5 Billion Muslims around the world are preparing and will being their month of fasting over the next 24 hours.

In Jordan, it has been announced that the holy month of Ramadan will begin tomorrow. This means beginning at 4:27 am, Jordanian Muslims will be abstaining from food, drink, sex, and smoke until 7:25pm. The Ramadan fast is set to begin at dawn and be completed at sunset; therefore, the times will vary slightly from one day to another and Muslims around the world will fast during and based dawn to sunset in their area of the world. The actual month of Ramadan (in the Islamic Calender) is determined on a Lunar calender. This means that we have an idea of when Ramadan will begin; however, it is not known until the crescent moon is observed in the area in which you are living. In other words, this means its 1st day varies by 24 hours around the world, dependant on when the crescent moon is observed in each area of the world.

You can feel the excitement in the air. Muslims are excited to fast as we are instructed to do so in the Holy Quran. During this time of abstinance from food, drink, sex, and smoke-we are filling up our mind, body and spirit with Allah (God) and our religion. "O believers! Fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you become more conscious of God." [Noble Quran 2:183].

During this month, it is not unusual for Muslims to read the Quran from cover to cover, and to spend their days and nights praying, even more than the prescribed 5 daily prayers. In fact, many stay awake the entire night praying, either at home or in the Mosque. Each Mosque offers extended evening prayers, called taraweeh, where long portions of the Quran are recited: in doing so, by the end of the month the entire Quran has been recited. As many people are staying awake throughout the night praying, staying up late reading Quran or spending time with family, and they are getting up before Dawn to eat - the business hours are changed during the Holy Month. The Jordanian Prime Minister announced that all government business will have the working hours from 900am-230pm. Personally, my working hours will be from 1000am-400pm, rather than the usual 830am-500pm.

Ramadan is also a month of giving. Abstaining from food and drink for such a length of time helps us recognise the suffering of those who do not have the means to eat and drink at their leisure. Muslims are encourage in the Quran, hadiths and thru this personal recognition to give to the poor during this month. If one is unable to give money, food, shelter, a simple smile or gesture is also considered giving. During Ramadan, we naturally recognize the blessings God has given us and thank him for these blessing whether they be health, family, food, work, etc.

Muslims are encouraged not to over-indulge in the abstained once it becomes prohibited (such as over eating once the fast for the day is over). We are to eat slowly filling our stomachs with 1/3 food, 1/3 drink and 1/3 empty space.

People decorate the outside of their homes with special lights. Eat special foods and desserts. Vendors set up shop on the sides of streets to sell special juices and desserts. The shops close during the time to break the fast and then reopen after evening prayers. The shops are filled with shopper late into the evening.

Ramadan is a special time for the Muslim world, as well as for those Muslims living in the Christian world. "Ramadan Kareem", "Ramadan Mubarak", "Happy Ramadan" as interchangeably used to wish someone a Blessed Ramadan. If you live in the Christian world and know a Muslim(s), please wish them a Blessed Ramadan. They will be happy to hear this from you and may be excited to share with you what Ramadan means to them!