Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What happens after converting to Islam?

          Once you convert to Islam, you not only have to adjust your own life but help others understand it as well. For a man, very little changes on the outside. Of course, he is encouraged to grow a beard and his behavior may change due to the peace of Islam taking over but these could be attributed to any number of reasons. When a woman comes into the fold of Islam, she is encouraged to don the hijab or headscarf and dress and act modestly. The sudden change in appearance will make her stand out. While many new converts are greeted with warm welcomes from the local Muslim community, there could a negative reaction from others, even family members. It is important to remain patient with those that are not as excited about your new found life. Being mean, defensive or harsh towards others will only cause people to push farther from Islam and accepting you. It is only natural for family to be confused. When you suddenly choose a religion different from what you were raised with, your family will likely wonder why. Perhaps it was something they had done wrong or maybe there is something wrong with you. Of course, we know nothing is wrong with our choice, we were simply guided by Allah. This is an opportunity for dawah or spreading the message of Islam.
            At the time of converting, you most likely have a basic knowledge of the pillars of Islam and fundamentals of belief. You can begin by simply living your life and letting your family see how Islam has not changed who you are, but only improved your life. For some, they are leaving behind lives of addiction and sin while others will only have subtle changes. If you choose to let actions speak for you and not make a big announcement of the introduction to Islam into your life, this can help ease family into asking questions. They may ask about the ‘new’ you or you may take the opportunity to bring up the changes and begin to give credit to Allah for these changes. For many, it is easier to refer to Allah as God initially to prevent unnecessary harshness, especially in the western world where Islam is vilified and the name Allah is equated with evil. It is helpful to anticipate questions people may have about Islam in order to prepare your answers. Beginning with common misconceptions can be a great starting point. It is always best to pray to Allah for guidance and strength in all endeavors.
            In some situations, one spouse may have chosen the path of Islam while the other has not. This is another situation where patience is of the virtue. There are various rulings on what a person should do when they are Muslim and their spouse is not, it is important to consult a scholar, Imam or sheikh for guidance in your particular situation. Following the same principles of showing your spouse how Islam has affected you positively will speak volumes. Be prepared for any number of reactions from total acceptance to total rejection. While we like to think our spouse will love and support us unconditionally, it is not always the case. Remember, Allah guides whom He wills in His time. Having open conversations about Islam with them will help immensely.
            When children are involved in the conversion process, it adds a greater dynamic. In a perfect situation, the entire family accepts Islam at the same time after having open dialogue and conversations. The next best scenario is where one spouse accepts Islam and the other allows the children to hear about Islam to make the choice for themselves. When introducing Islam to small children at home, it can be helpful to begin with what they know about God/Allah and begin to show comparisons to current knowledge and Islam. Many smaller children will be readily accepting of Islam as we are all born with the inherent belief that God is one. Older children, especially adult children, will likely have similar reactions and need similar treatment as other family members and spouses. You may wish to gradually ease out of previous celebrations and traditions by putting less focus on them and more focus on Islamic holidays or if you are comfortable, completely cutting out previous traditions and forging new.
            Many family members will want to know how you will celebrate holidays like Christmas or Easter. You may choose to remove yourself from these types of celebrations or agree to get together for family meals but skip gift exchanges or religious ceremonies. Whatever you decide to do, make sure family knows you are not wanting to disconnect family ties, but rather wanting to keep your faith pure and obey Allah. You can be respectful of their desire to practice their traditions while removing yourself from them, showing them how, and what you believe.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

#FreshisFierce CareFree Acti-Fresh

I was blessed with the opportunity to try Carefree Acti-Fresh liners thanks to Influenster. I am normally very picky about the feminine products I use due to allergies and sensitivities to the various chemicals and ingredients.
After using these liners, I can say I am impressed! Typically the layers pull apart or the liner bunches or folds up during a lot of activity in many brands I've tried. Through lounging around, traveling, exercising, and working on my feet all day this liner stayed in place and I felt incredibly fresh!
These are incredibly easy to find in the store and are reasonably priced as well. Simply locate the Carefree products on the feminine product shelf and voile! I will definitely be purchasing these in the future!
Try them for yourselves and let me know how they compare to your usual brand!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Coppertone ClearlySheer

Sun screen is sun screen is sun screen. Right? NO!!! Bzzagent was kind enough to send me Coppertone ClearlySheer in Sunny day and Beach and Pool to try. The application was amazingly simply-either spray on or apply the lotion type as usual. I waited for the typical sunscreen smell to hit me...and waited....and waited....WOW! That was a light and refreshing scent that even my husband noticed the pleasant aroma.

My usual sunscreen routine is to have a towel nearby for greasy hands to be wiped on. Surprise number two! There was no greasy residue.

I prepared myself to nurse sunburns after the kids playing in the pool. Surprise number three- No sunburns!

I'm sold. I will definitely be buying ClearlySheer in the future.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Finally Have a Diagnosis!

That's right, after all of these years of pain, suffering, anguish and confusion I finally have a name to label my affliction. I suppose I should start off with the list of symptoms: apathy, failure to finish what I start, quick to give up, goal driven (but don't let the goal not happen too quickly), procrastination, lack of motivation. Sounds miserable-and it is.

Sure I can pretend I don't care that I rarely finish what I start or stick with anything for very long. I've blamed it on others, Attention Deficit Disorder, depression, and the list goes on. Simply put, I may start something, but quickly give up and blame everyone but myself. As result, I have accomplished very little in my 30+ years on Earth.

I'm married, have children, own a vehicle and have a job-sounds reasonably successful. However, I find that I don't commit 100% to any of them and tend to blame one of them for not completing school and having the career I am happy with or living in the town I want or having an organized and tidy home.  When it comes down to the basic bare-bones reasoning for my "failures" the common denominator is me.

I choose to not finish what I start, to push myself until I reach the finish line. Why on Earth would I do that? Why not commit? If it is a fear of commitment, that surely has roots somewhere deeper and comes from somewhere. I ultimately think I am afraid of being successful. When all my dreams come true and I meet all of my goals-what's next? I'm afraid of the unknown. I suppose deep down, I don't feel like I deserve anything better. My diagnosis is fear of succeeding.

I came from a lower-middle class-working poor family. My dad worked 40+ hours a week to keep us fed and clothed and a roof over our heads. We didn't have name brand clothing or the latest technology, but we had what we needed. My parents didn't go to college, so institutes of higher learning are a foreign concept to me. I am in no way ungrateful to the sacrifices my parents have made for me or my siblings and cannot blame them for my failure to accomplish anything. I simply have not learned to set a goal for myself and see it through. I have never seen anyone rise above 'just getting by'.

I've started a million different projects in my life and the minute it seemed I would have to put forth any real effort or risk failure, I backed out so fast one would think I was asked to give up a limb. This blog is a big example of my lack of commitment. I get grand ideas of making at least a weekly post, but it tends to be a quarterly post. I tried blaming it on no feedback from readers, but that should make me all the more dedicated to putting out quality content-to bring in more readers. Roller derby was fun, for the 2 months I made it (started seeing progress and quit-who does that?). School started to feel too challenging and was getting close to being over so I let myself take a "break" while I contemplated a change of major. I've been attending classes off and on for 10 years and have 2 certificates to show for it. I have enough credits to have at least one Associates degree, yet all the classes are in different subjects so its hard to compile them into one degree. I get grand ideas of having the "perfect" household and doing all of these amazing activities with my kids, yet I tend to drop the ball on them. I don't neglect them by any means, but in my head I would love to take them on hikes, serve them perfectly balanced meals, build their knowledge of religion and the world around them, but I tend to put my brain into survival mode and focus on other things. "Have to work, can't play today."

I would love to end this with some grand plan for the future, but I know me. Unless I begin to find worth in the completion of tasks, it will never happen. I just want to figure out how to make myself stick to the plan and find joy in marking things off my 'to-do' list. Instead of saying "I don't have time" I will say "that is not a priority" and see if that changes my answers or motivation.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Whoa Winter, take this weight back!

So apparently I am a bear, or other animal that packs on the pounds in preparation for hibernation. At least I can say my body's capability of survival during a famine is working. Sadly, I have put on a few pounds of cushion. Could it be the excessive amounts of carbs I'm shoveling into my face? Could it be my dysfunctional thyroid? I would say it is most likely a  result of the perfect storm.

Needless to say, I'm creating a mindset of mindful eating in order to get this excess weight off -its *only* 10-15 pounds, but we all know 5 turns to 10 and 10 to 20 and next thing you know you've gained 100 pounds and wondering where it came from. Its best to stop the cycle while it is starting. Starting today, I'm increasing my protein and water intake and decreasing my carbohydrate consumption. I'll also be more active-hooray for hiking season!

I suppose every spring I begin anew. This year with a different school, searching for a different job (trying to find something in the educational field), and getting my body and health back in order. Since finally being diagnosed with hypothyroidism and getting that treated I have noticed and improvement in my energy level and I lost a couple pounds with little effort on my part. I'm still noticing my hair is thinned on top and I'm losing eyebrows. I suppose its a good thing I wear a head covering/scarf and color in my eyebrows :)

This spring/summer will be quite exciting. As I shed the excess weight, we are preparing to go on vacation to Tennessee and I will be participating in my first ever Ramadan. I am super nervous about doing everything the proper way or just being able to fast at all. I have to admit, I'm not the perfect Muslim. I am so bad about not performing my prayers-and what good is it to call yourself  Muslim if you don't even complete one of the basic pillars of faith? This too will be part of my "beginning anew" game plan.

It looks like this year will be filled with mind, body and soul alterations for the good and I have to admit, I'm eager to watch my progress.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Musings of an Introvert in an Extrovert World

While in the minority, introverts exist. Yes, it is perfectly normal to prefer the company of your own thoughts over being the center of attention at the popular kid table. We all know them. Those people you have deemed too "good" to talk to the rest of the office, the ones that rush out after a mandatory meeting to elude small talk, the person that would rather eat lunch in their car or cubical versus hanging out in the break room.

No, we are not stuck-up, actually the opposite usually. We just don't know how to talk to you. To an extrovert, striking up a conversation with the cashier comes quiet naturally. Working as a salesman seems fascinating because chatting up the customers to earn a sale is easy. Invited to a party? Your biggest concern is what to wear. Introverts on the other hand, are thinkers. They like to think about the topic before giving input. Its so difficult to spout out what they are thinking as they think it. They prefer the solitude of a good book or movie over a loud party. If the conversation requires more than a "Hi, how are you?" "Fine thanks, and you?" "Very well, have a great day!" It is panic time!

For me, I was always told I was shy, socially awkward, a poor conversationalist, lazy or even stuck-up. After doing some research, I have realized that none of it is true!!! I'm simply an introvert in an extrovert world. I prefer the solidarity of me, myself and I. I prefer to hang out with my close family and pets over hosting a huge get together or attending a family reunion. While I would love to strike up a conversation with you and maybe even hang out sometime, I just don't know how. At a party I couldn't get out of, I will find something to do-any type of chore- just to keep my mind off of socializing. Do I like cleaning, no. Will I scrub your place clean to avoid talking to others, yes.

I think this is why the close friends I have are more extroverted than I am. They aren't afraid to be the leader in the group and I'm okay with that.

I really think this is why I tend to job hop. If a job requires a lot of conversation with a lot of people, I may not stick around. If I can get away with "Hi, Bye, have a nice day" I'm more likely to stick around. If I can clock in, do my job and clock out without many or any distractions-I'm your gal! You'll never buy a car from me, or have me call your house wanting to sell you something, I'll never be a bill collector or a hotline worker, but I give me a job where I can work carefully, dutifully and put in great effort to make sure all the details are in place and I'm home.

I love having deep, meaningful conversations about various topics; I just can't wrap my head around small talk. To me it is a huge waste of time.  I would much rather send a letter, email, text or write so I have time to think about what I'm saying. I will typically not answer my phone, I most likely will never call someone unless it cannot be avoided. I even dread picking up the phone to make a doctor's appointment.

So if you see me at the store and I act like I cut the small talk short just remember it isn't you, its me.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Accountability for the Orange Rhino Challenge....Day 2

So today ends Day 2 of the Orange Rhino Challenge to stop yelling at the kids........Needless to say, Day 1 was fabulous! Day 2....great until the end of the day. Kids are cooped up in the house because of extremely cold temperatures (-1 Fahrenheit) and snow/ice. They've been home from school for 3 weeks. They have played all the board games we have, played video games, watched TV and are too antsy to read. I had just gotten up (I work midnights so my days and nights are backwards, their afternoon is my morning) and while waking up with a cup of coffee and emails when the bickering and fighting begins......Daddy had a doctors appointment so I was on my own.

Looking back on the afternoon, I realize I should have woke up with my coffee and my kids not the computer....I definitely spend too much family time on tech time. I think this will be my co-challenge for the next 5 days. Spend time with the kids instead of checking my millions of social media sites or my email or hoping I have at least 1 comment on my blog today.... Use the time they are in bed or while at school for my tech time. Even if that means unplugging or turning off all devices until my allowed time frame. Hey, I might even save on the electric bill!

Many times, the boys are being rowdy or fighting when they are trying to get my attention. Instead of just coming up to me, they know that fighting is the quickest way to elicit a response from Mommy.

So to sum up the modified goal: I will spend more time being present with family and less time with technology in order to decrease the kids' need to gain my attention, thus decreasing the amount of yelling I have to do to get them to listen to me. Oh, and I still have to make this month's menu and grocery list.....