Several years ago Hana came to me expressing her desire to become a vegan. She was rather articulate when presenting her case and we allowed her the opportunity to try it out. She stayed away from the meat, eggs, and dairy, but we were concerned that she was not getting enough of the nutrients a growing girl needs. I am not sure exactly what happened, but one day Hana returned home telling us that she was going to stop being a vegan. Inside I was acutally happy. We affectionately refer to the early period of Hana's veganism as her becoming a "crap"eterian. She needed to branch out and embrace diverse plant based foods. I think maybe a teens idea of branching out is trying french fries from various eateries. Hana retuned to me maybe a month ago requesting to try vegan again. In an attempt to help her navigate this time, I am going Vegan for the month of January. Tuesdays will be my day to talk all things food on the blog. I will leave you with an amazing spaghetti squash lo mein that Angie, from work, suggested I try. Not only was it super simple, it was also incredilby tasty!
I might need an intervention as I currently have 7 planners and I am thinking about adding one more. I will list the planners I use in order from bottom to top.
1. Happy Planner Large Format - Social Media Planner
2. Day Designer - Planner Command Center
3. Mixed Media Notebook - Fauxbonichi Journal
4. Happy Planner - Creative Planner
5. Piccadilly Journal - Bullet Journal
6. Happy Planner Fitness Planner - Healh Planner
7. Day Designer (not pictured above) - Work Planner
8. ---(yet to find)--------------Spiritual Planner
I thought one planner would be enough at first, but then I went down the rabbit hole of Instagram and Pinterest and emerged wanting one of everything. Over the next few weeks (Monday's post) I will share with you each of my planners and how I use them in my daily life. Below I have showcased my work planner. Honestly, it is my go to to keep me organized at work! I utilize the monthly spread to keep up with all work related events. I then utilize the weekly layout to manage tasks and to do lists. Being able to color in the box next to a task lends itself to a feeling of accomplishment. It is my daily routine to take a few minutes to write down my goals for the day. Anything that doesn't get finished is migrated to the next day.
The prospect of a new year is really pretty exciting. I have a lot of ideas swimming around in my head. I just need to work on the process of implementation. So here's where I am going to write it all down. My blog form of a vision board. I have provided some links on words that are mustard yellow. I feel that 2017 will be quite an adventure. Would love to hear about your journey. What visions do you have for the upcoming year?
PROJECT LIFE APP
INSTAGRAM [PERSONAL] [CREATIVE ACCOUNT]
52 WEEKS TO AN ORGANIZED HOME CHALLENGE
POST MORE LETTERS
HEALTH AND WELL BEING
I want to believe that I am not the only one that owns this feeling. As I begin my trek through my 40s, I have really begun to question my purpose. I moved through my 30s believing that I was on the right path. However, it was strange to see that even though I had been afforded a degree of success, I was still aching for something. Something just didn't seem right. I was absolutely sure when I stepped out of my career as a classroom teacher, that I was stepping into something that would satiate this thirst I had for fullfillment. However, it didn't happen. Part of the reason is when I stepped out of one role and into another, I was still holding on to the past. I knew that I needed to leave it all behind but the comfort was too strong to let it go. And honestly the fear of not knowing where I was going or what I was doing was terrifying. There are a few things that I am absolutely sure of:
1. I have to get honest - If you had asked me what I wanted to be as a teenager, I would have said something along the lines of, "I want to work for the State Department as a specialist on Near Eastern studies. Specifically, Iran." Ok now readers how many 15 year olds are that specific in clarity on what they wanted to be? I was also too keen to listen to the voices around me. The voices that told me that I needed a job with security. I needed to seek out a profession that would allow me the opportunity to be a mother (I still can't believe a college deen sat and told me this during a meeting). I never defined my own strength to follow my own path. So I wonder now in my 40s if I have it in me. It was never my intentions as a young woman to ever work with children or in education. I was manipulated into believing that was my path. Please understand that I am not saying that I didn't enjoy working with children or I didn't find some joy in the classroom. But what I loved was the dynamics of creating something meaningful and watching students embrace their strengths. I loved working with my colleagues to design amazing lessons. I loved pouring over data and seeing how I could craft my lessons to bring better results. I currently have a job that has kept my foot in education. It is my job not my passion. I keep on feeling like it should be. Like that is what others expect it to be. However, looking at what others expect is how I have sort of found myself in this place. I no longer wish to seek out the guidance that would limit my dreams and aspirations.
2. I am seeking outside of the box mentorship - I need to step out of my comfort zone and seek some mentorship from some creative sources. I honestly don't know what that means, but I am willing to take a journey to uncover it. One of the things that I know about myself is I am highly creative. I have just done a really good job of supressing it through the years.
3. I don't know how I will look a year from now - I am really ok with this statement. Sure it scares me because I think most of us want a plan. I think part of my struggle is not allowing myself the time to create a plan. I let others create it for me, and I moved along their time line.
4. I will begin to write again - I have dabbled in writing over the years but I have never let it be a sustained practice. There is something vulnerable and in the end insightful about the words we pen. For a person that didn't really want to own a sense of self, writing would have been too telling. I can't tell you how many times I sat down to read something I wrote and felt so disconnected from it.
I look forward to reading back over this post next year and see where the journey has taken me. I know the best version of myself is waiting to be discovered. The thought of cultivating me is something I very much look forward to.
It has almost been 18 years since I took my Shahadah on a hot July evening surrounded by peole who I no longer have any contact with. I often wonder to myself if the disconnect comes from me or the community at large. In reality I think it is a mix of both. So today I am going to try to explore a topic that is complex and very personal. Statistics show that a vast majority of those that convert to Islam will leave the religion in the first year. If you then ask those who have left if it was a matter of belief, they will say, "no". So what is it that drives people away from this amazing beautiful religion? For many I have spoke to, it is the lack of support within the community or the lack of knowledge of how to access any support that is available. What wears on me is that we have become so disconnected from the Prophetic tradition. So much of our understanding of our deen is based on our undestanding of the seerah of the Prophet (saws) and what was happening historically in the Arab world at the time of the revelation. Islam has an incredible legacy of converts. Their stories are incredible. They are full of strength, sacrafice, and unending devotion to this blessed deen. We read their stories and become motivated and empowered. However, we sometimes forget that they had a support system. Even when they were in Mecca and were secretive about their faith or in the time of persecution, they had a network they created that supported them. Today's scenarios are not as encouraging. Now a majority of converts sit in a masjid and take their shahadah, while aunties and uncles look on shouting takbir. Both the convert and the congregation leave the masjid feeling inspired. However, months later the convert is left to atrophe spiritually, while the congregants continue to feel uplifted by all the recent converts they have seen taking shadahah in the masjid. I guess what I am saying is there is a disconnect.
I have wrestled with this for years as I have seen organizations try to establish programs for converts. I am absolutely not laying all the responsibility at the feet of the Muslim community. I think we as converts also must take charge of our faith and make our voices heard. Starting in March, I will begin exploring this topic. Each month I will post about Convert Care to bring awareness and begin my own journey of helping others who are entering Islam.
Time is a strange thing. When you start a journey, it seems like you can never see the destination. Then it happens. You wake up one morning and years have passed by. I am absolutely not the same person I was 17 years ago. I am not the wide-eyed optimistic girl I once was. It has been replaced by a more cynical version of myself. The one thing I am still optimistic about is my marriage and family. There is of course a dash of reality I add to the equation, but I am blessed beyond measure Alhamdulillah.
Today I woke up to 17 years of marriage. My husband is patient, kind, and did I mention patient? Really, I know I am a handful to deal with on any given day.
I very rarely make traditional "New Years Resolutions". No sooner do I resolve to do something, than that something desolves from memory. I decided this year I was going to focus on a word. A word for the year to help anchor me as I try to find more structure and peace in my life. My word is "Connect".
Connect with Allah
Connecting with Allah is something I have struggled with for years. I can only venture to guess that this is due to my own issues of letting life consume me at times and just not taking care of that relationship. For years I have allowed myself to get swept away with the circumstances of the moment. With small children and a husband, it seemed everyone needed me. I was being pulled in multiple directions. My thirties were a time of moving one foot infront of the other and trying to not trip. I didn't leave a lot of room for Alah. I suppose a person observing could see that my relationship with Allah was strained. I acknowledged He existed, but I had lost the connection. This year is about finding that connection again. I am always impressed by my husband's resolve to pray each of the payers on time. He is a great example and I know it was something he was taught as a young child. I feel at times that being a revert has robbed me of some of that discipline. I pray I will find it this year. May Allah grant us a closer connection and increase our desire to draw closer to him. Ameen
Connect with Friends
Friendship is so incredibly important. It is the thing that brings a sweet fragrance to our lives. However, it is hard to stop and smell the roses in our fast paced society. So I took the opportunity to invite several friends out for dinner on my 41st birthday. I was just using the birthday as a way to get all these sisters together to start working on the connection. A month before the event, I asked each sister to send me their 2016 word of the year. What amazing insights I recieved just by them sharing their words. I then prepared little gift bags for each of them including a few of my favorite things. Mother's Circus Cookies, Magnet (with a picture the logo on a truck I happened to share the road with on a road trip through New Mexico - I know the driver probably thought I was a nut job trying to get a picture of his vehicle - I thought it was sheer serendipty to see such an iconic vehicle out in the middle of nowhere), and a pendant that I handstamped with their individual words.
We left with several ideas of getting together in the future. Just spending an hour or so with people you love is an amazing thing.
Connect with Self
I think it was when I turned 40 that my knee started to cause me major grief. I had spent 20 years completely neglecting myself in aspects of my health. Finally the ache of my knee reminded me that I had disconnected from myself. What is frustrating for me is had I not had issues with my knee, I might still be walking around in a fog, completely disconnected. The truth is that it's really hard. It's hard to get to know yourself when you have allowed so much time to pass. It has become a thing of intention. I believe that journaling and reflecting on my life has truly helped me plug in. I feel more alive. My senses have been revived and life just seems more vibrant. I still am putting one foot infront of the other. However, this time it is with intention.
As the year progresses, I will be revisiting these connections through the blog. I ask you to take this journey with me. I have asked my friends to share their words. Words like faith, perservere, embrace, love, give, health, and growth are just a few things that people around me are focusing on. I feel truly blessed that they shared these words with me. It will help me as I continue to make connections with them and as I check in to see how their year is going. Please take an opportunity to share your word in the comment section.
"Fear is an idea-crippling, experience crushing, success-stalling inhibitor inflicted only by yourself. "