Sunday, January 31, 2016

10 Things I Hate About Me-Mother-Daughter book review.

Years ago I read this book and shared my review with you and now my teenage daughter has read it and written a review on her blog. Please read both and let us know your thoughts. Have you read it? Would you read it? Do you agree with either of us? Have you ever read the same book as your child?

Swimming in words.

I've taken 4 online writing courses now and am feeling overwhelmed. I need to take a breather. But maybe I can't ; still books to read about writing ie memoir writing. Phew.

 Suddenly, also, there are writing courses for Muslims, but at a price. I watched some webinars for Zarinah's course; she wrote Jihad of the Soul which looked interesting and had lots of free tidbits. Ribaat is offering one also which has already started.

 I need to finish off these how-to books and review my courses and then buckle down and actually write something. But wait! I'm supposed to have an intention, oh,whoops? You mean cathartic exercise is not a sufficient goal? I have a lot of self-reflection to do and probably istikharah prayers. Writing is a very serious endeavour and lives on long after you are gone. May Allah purify our intentions and lead us to create a masterpiece for the sake of Allah. Amin.

Have you written a book? What's your advice?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Think outside the GTA box!

A little pet peeve I have which was resurrected once again at RIS (Reviving the Islamic Spirit) is, people from GTA (Greater Toronto Area) who are not aware of any cities outside their area! Where are you from they ask, which city are you coming from etc is the question and each time when I tell them their eyes glaze over. I try to help them by telling them how far south it is compared to Toronto and even that it is near the border which leads them to say oh, you live in United States! SubhanAllah can someone please buy a map for the people of the GTA? Or introduce them to Google Maps or get them a GPS or an atlas...anything! When I lived up north and I traveled to the GTA and told them where I was from, they would always say oh, north of Barrie? That was always their absolute cutoff. As for being south of the GTA, well you better not live any further than Kitchener and if you are super lucky then they might know London (Ontario of course!). Beyond that is no man's land, a veritable hinterland. Some of them know Windsor though because if they want to get to the States (where I don't live..sigh) then they have crossed the border there. I think all people in the GTA should be forced to take a geography course of at least Ontario, if not the rest of Canada. For sure I guess they know Ottawa (it is the capital of Canada after all and also right here in Ontario) and Montreal and Vancouver. Not much else exists though. What can we do for our lost sisters and brothers in the GTA? Oh and did I also mention that they think big cities are towns? Yes, you live in a mega city but that doesn't mean that smaller cities in comparison to you, are towns. I guess a town would be a village to them. I dare anyone from the GTA who is reading this or perhaps your friend who knows less than you ahem to take out a map of Ontario and gaze down BELOW Kitchener-Waterloo and then gaze ABOVE Barrie and discover new cities! For those really brave souls, you can also plan a trip somewhere new, outside the GTA box! I dare you!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Finding My Voice

Tonight was the night I shared my writing with my writing club. It really was the first time I shared my writing out loud with anyone, besides speeches I gave in school so many eons ago.
I had no idea what they would think regarding my topic or my writing talent or lack thereof. All I could do was read and share my outlook on the world and wait and see how they would react to it. It was very silent and then I got to one part and found myself overcome and had to stop. I apologized, but they said that it happens to everyone when they read at one time or another. I felt validated and then the leader of the group finished off my piece for me as I quickly composed myself. In the end they said they liked it and the leader told me to keep writing and that this story was definitely going to be in the anthology. I felt like I had come home. Birds of a feather really do flock together, but sometimes, you just need to find them.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

STOP THE PRESSES: My third daughter has a new blog! Young Muslim Girl in the Shoe.

Nope, I didn't come up with the name. She did all this when I wasn't around. Love how it ties into my name choice. So if you want to read about how it feels to be the daughter of the Old Muslim Woman in the Shoe and how it feels to be a half Malay Canadian teen growing up in Canada then go to her blog now! Tell your teen daughters too! Then come back here and tell me what you think ;) Now I have 2 daughters blogging. Check out her blog here.

And if you want to read my other daughter's blog, the oldest one with the 3 kids then go here. In case you forgot, I have 5 daughters and 5 sons. Masha Allah.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Writing Club? Write on!

So remember when I told you about  the woman who told me she had no time for a book club because she was taking 4 Gale Writing courses? Well she also told me about a writing club, well actually two. One in a town about 20 minutes from me which I went to once but then she told me there was actually one in my town and gave me the email. But no one answered my email. So what to do? Then an article appeared in the local paper mentioning a writing club and the one running it was the one I emailed! So I got in contact with the place that runs the club and was told that they were meeting that very night! Did I just write 3 sos? Forgive me. I know that's wrong. Anyway, I grabbed my beautiful writing book that my daughter ; Handmade Beginnings made for me for Eid, and headed on down! I was a little late since I had to do my prayer first but when I arrived I saw that they had a special guest who was telling them how they could get their anthology published finally. I also have to submit a piece too for the book apparently,ahem,so nice of you to ask. Now I have to think about something to write about. You've been following my blog right? In your humble opinion, what would be the best topic for me to write on?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

His Book and My book.

Now that all of my kids are going to school, I have time to focus on myself. Before September came I signed myself up for an Arabic class. My sole reason for this was to learn the language of the Quran. It is really disappointing to not fully understand what is going on when you are reading Quran or saying your prayers and spending time in the mosque. For example I never know whether they are reciting Quran or saying a dua at the mosque. Feeling like a stranger in your own religion is a very painful thing to go through. So to rectify this I signed up for Arabic1a with Rabata. If you are unfamiliar with them, they are a group of sisters mainly a sister; Anse Tamara (a convert like me) who studied in Syria then started this online portal of Islamic learning. Arabic 101 was too easy for me as I already know my letters and basically how to read so I chose the next level. Its been a few weeks now and there are two classes per week including grammar and vocabulary. At first I was literally getting headaches and the teacher said its normal when learning a new language. It never happened to me before when learning other languages though. This is really intense for me I guess. Another strange thing is that sometimes now I think of random Arabic sentences. This is amazing to me since I only just started learning.

The second kind of learning I am doing kind of fell in my lap! I asked a woman from the mosque if she would be interested in starting a book club and she said she had no time! She said she had just signed up for 4 writing courses. I expressed an interest and she said I could sign up too and that they were free through the library website! My library doesn't offer these courses sadly, but, my old library does in the city I used to live in. I still have my card from that library and our town has privileges with theirs so I signed up. These courses are offered through Gale.  The course I am taking now is Writing for Children. I also signed up for 3 other courses. This course has homework just like my Arabic course so I am very busy now with that and like I mentioned in the last post, teaching the kiddies in the mosque. Sadly though we still have no book club at the mosque.

So insha Allah one day with Allah's help I will be able to understand the language of the Quran and also write a book of my own.

A little bonus for my hubby was that when I went to the library I saw a bookmark there advertising another Gale resource; CHILTON. If you are a car enthusiast you will know what I'm talking about but if not it refers to the repair manuals used for cars. He has already used it to fix the power locks in our van. Alhumdullilah.

My First Arabic PhrasesBook I borrowed from the library (not part of Rabata) which has proved useful.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Omwits got her groove

Whoa! Remember my last post? I was kind of lost? Well, now I seem to have so many activities that I'm overwhelmed but in a good sort of way. Alhumdullilah. One activity I planned but the others fell into my lap! Again alhumdullilah. One thing that fell into my lap was when I signed up my kids to a different islamic/arabic class. At the original one it was 3 hours and now revamped to 5 hours. At that place I had to travel there just like the second one but at the first I was not allowed to access the classes so had to sit in the hall for 3 hours. Contemplating sitting in the hall for an additional 2 hours made me say no way! So I decided to travel the other direction and bring my kids to a school that was only 2 and a half hours long with a break in between and a lovely playground outside. The first place had neither. Funny thing happened though on the way to signing up. I got roped in to be the kindergarten Islamic Studies teacher. So on the spot I had to come up with a lesson. Since it was almost Eid at the time, I figured I'd go with a hajj theme. First I read to the kids about the story of Ibrahim (as) and hajj. Then I got them to colour a picture of the kabba (photocopies from a colouring book). After that I got the kids to build kabbas out of legos/mega blocks which was something I saw on Facebook and since the mosque had these, why not? Whew, that was my first unplanned night. The cherry on the top is that I also get to teach my littlest daughter who is tickled pink and during the first hour I am learning quran. When one door closes, another one opens. Subhanallah.

 Goodword Kidz Kaaba Coloring Page

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Muslim Authors Send Me Your Books!

I love reading! So far this year I have read 44 books. Its my favourite hobby. I would also love to help promote the books of Muslim Authors here by requesting you send me a copy of your newly published book and I will review it here insha Allah. contact me at omwits at Jazakullah khair in advance.

At Loose Ends

In a few weeks the new school year will begin and all the kids will be gone including my one and only home schooled son who will be starting high school. Last year I tried to upgrade my computer skills and also got a little temporary job. Looking into the future I see a gaping chasm and am filled with uncertainty. Jobs are hard to come by in the first place and with an old diploma and barely any recent experience I am not a top candidate. What's the next step in my life? I have no clue. Other people seem to find their way don't they? Why am I so stuck? I am not feeling inspired either. Feel more like I'm spinning in circles. I need some kind of fresh start. How do I shake things up? Moving away would be great but I can't see it happening in the near future. Somethings got to give right? I hope insha Allah that Allah will send me a sign because I'm clueless. Have you or anyone you've known been in this situation? How did they turn their life around?

Monday, June 29, 2015

MS and Red Dye

First of all, take this with a grain of salt. I'm not a health expert but am only sharing what happened to me personally. Maybe by some extraordinary chance someone out there has experienced this too or someone in the science world can tell me if I'm crazy or not. So here it goes. After I got diagnosed with MS I noticed something very strange. When I drank chocolate milk, my legs would get worse. When I ate red licorice or other candies with red dye my legs would get worse. One day after drinking a litre of chocolate milk in one shot (it was a hot day and we were travelling) I could barely walk. I had to stop having these things. I could understand the red dye in the candies could be affecting me but why chocolate milk? White milk didn't harm me and neither did chocolate! I was perplexed so I checked out the ingredients and lo and behold it said colour. Colour? Why colour? Isn't chocolate milk brown because its made with cocoa? Apparently, people don't like their chocolate milk too dark so they add red dye to it to lighten the colour. Who knew? So red dye was really the culprit for me. But why? I knew that red dye was linked to hyperactivity in children but it was causing the opposite in me so to speak. I tried to search for information and came up with zilch! So I am perplexed. All I know is that for me personally, I have to avoid it. I don't know if scientists will ever discover anything about this or not but I have no choice in this matter. I am glad that I figured out it was bothering me. Alhumdullilah. Now whether it is a natural (ie made from a bug) or chemical dye that is affecting me, I still don't know.

Aside from this peculiar aha moment for me, my health regarding my legs is improving as I continue to see a homeopath. Still not cured but I am grateful for my mobility. Now in Ramadan I've noticed my legs seem even better than usual. But I think this is a first as I don't remember such a thing happening last Ramadan.

May Allah bless you all this Ramadan and cure you of any diseases. Amin.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ramadan and being yourself.

Ramadan Kareem! Its that time of the year again and everywhere I look I see pictures and stories that I can't really relate to as a convert. Maybe we need to fill the gap. Recipes from our own cultures etc and sharing our experiences. I'll start. This morning we got up at 3:15 am for suhoor. Hubby had leftover rice from last night and the boys grabbed bagels and cereal while I made an omelette with tomatoes and cheese and red pepper jelly meanwhile being so tired I hoped I didn't cut myself with the knife, and had water and orange juice with sliced strawberries thrown in.  I shared my omelette with my daughter. See this is not 'normal' right? Any other post and you would see the mother got up super early and cooked a big breakfast (when do these women sleep anyway?) and also the food is just 'off' for most people. But this is our life and its about time we converts took our place in the Muslim world er social media. So there you have it! Now please if you are a convert share your suhoor and iftar menus and stories about your Ramadan.

Some people decorate, I never really do but the one thing I do each year is order Ramadan books from the library and read them to my kids. Some people make elaborate menu plans and make fancy meals but we just continue as usual and eat what we always eat. My focus is read Quran and go to any potlucks on Saturdays that are offered in the mosque. The other days are by invitation only. As the only Muslim family in our town we know it will be quiet for us and being 45 minutes away from the mosque we know we won't be praying taraweeh at 11 pm and then driving back. Our lives are different but they're ours. Everyone is different. Vive la difference!


My,my,my! Right after typing this I went on facebook and found this awesome offer! A free e-book from a convert! Great minds think alike!