Thursday, March 26, 2009

Toys for boys...

It's hard to find things to make for the boys, but I got a great book at Barnes and Noble called Creepy Cute Crochet and I have been having some fun with it. This is a knight (maybe 5 inches tall so it works up QUICK) I did for my oldest son since he seems to be into knights right now for some reason. Next I'm doing a cute little monkey with a fez to hang in the car and a ninja for DS #2.

Friday, March 20, 2009

call me book dork...

You know you are a bibliophile when you spend your free day out of town book shopping. And when you find yourself giddy when faced with a warehouse of Islamic books. And when you total up your spending on said books and realize you have really passed your 100$ limit. And then you go to Barnes and Noble and spend even more...

Not that I'm talking about me here **blushing** but like if that stuff happened that girl would definitely be a book dork... **grin**

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Book suggestions???

I am trying to add a new habit to my life every 30 days... Do something useful every day for 30 minutes until I have a new habit. This month, study religion for 30 minutes every day. So, any books I should read??? Audiobooks, podcasts, internet videos are all especially welcome. Thoughts? What are your favorites? Of course something that requires thought, but not anything too dry. I know, I'm asking a lot when we are talking translations for the most part I know... And any tips on reading without freaking out over poor grammar and misused words obviously gleaned directly from the pages of an Arabic to English dictionary are always welcome!LOL

Friday, March 13, 2009

Being religious without being plastic...

Can it be done? I always have the feeling that I am one of those converts who just sounds plastic when they start talking deen. Have you ever noticed how silly it is when a person who doesn't really mean it is all, alhamdulilah, masha'Allah, and so on? It is very rare that I meet a person who can tell a story about God in their life without sounding like someone bearing witness to a tel-evangelist.

Have you ever wondered if seeming a little fake is just the nature of being a convert? Or maybe the nature of being religious in general... Maybe it's because along with the religion we try to adopt the culture. Or maybe I'm just over-critical. I try hard to be myself... Sometimes that is strict, sometimes I am pretty relaxed... And I think that I probably make some converts pretty uncomfortable with it sometimes. But I try to be upfront with my views.

It's one of the things I think we all have to work on in our lives if we want to progress as a religious group beyond practicing the deen within the context of a culture. I mean, if we are all just putting on the good Muslim mask doing what we think other Muslims expect us to do, saying what is widely accepted... How will we ever progress?

So I propose that we should all do what we believe. You have a cultural background that you can keep if it doesn't conflict with the religion, and that's OK. And if you are uneducated and not sure... Find an answer. Don't just become a convert doll saying the things you have heard when someone pulls your string. Own your answers. Own your deen. And hopefully you won't feel plastic at all, ever.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New doll

Here are some pictures of a doll I just finished. Insha'Allah it will go to meet its little girl soon;)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Conversations with my 2 year old

So lately I have been telling the older children to give the 2 year old some room when she gets into their things, bugs them, cries for something they have, whatever. I tell them, "She's just being a toddler, be patient with her." So yesterday I was in the kitchen and I heard the sound of small objects skittering across linoleum and I looked behind me to see the 2yo pouring a package of mini m&m's through the tube in the paper towel out onto the floor of the kitchen and watching them as they went everywhere in the kitchen and under all the appliances. I stood looking at her not knowing what to say, and she saw me. She finished the package and then looked up at me, "Is this being a toddler?". Well, I guess it is!LOL

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Capturing the muse...

I don't know about how other creative types work, but I don't choose when I can muster up the full force of my creative mind on something. So, when I heard the title of a lecture series for educators here in WY was Teaching Creativity... It brought to mind the two major questions I have always had about creativity.

Is creativity innate, or can it be learned?

Can creativity be forced or directed?

Well, here's my answer as a performer, writer, and generally right-brained person. Creativity is innate, and you can't force or direct it (much to the chagrin of people like myself).

You know the chorus of that song by Sara Bareilles where the chorus says "I'm not gonna write you a love song 'cause you ask for it, 'cause you need one." For me it's like that. I don't choose what inspires me, and it isn't always logical. I can't set out to write (poems are the worst) about something because I want to write on a certain topic. Things either come to me or they don't. It was the hardest thing about being a live performer playing characters... It would sometimes take me a long time before I saw that character in my mind, before the whole thing came to me. And I still can't choose to write a poem, I can't sit down to do that before it comes to me spontaneously. I have often wondered how artists paint commissioned works. How do they draw inspiration to do something someone else is choosing for them? And writing for a deadline must be really hard. I think this must be where the myth of the muses comes from. People knew that things just came to you, and they wanted a reason that would explain why creativity couldn't just be turned on when you needed it.

What I do think we can do for our children is offer them a variety of creative arts so they can find their niche. Somewhere inside of us all there is some small seed of creativity, and I do think we can help our children to nurture that. I want my kids to try all sorts of mediums as they grow, maybe they will find something they love. But I disagree with the idea that I can teach them to "be creative". Do you see what I mean?

This is where you see that some people are crafty, and some are artistic. You can see it when you go to classes for arts and crafts. The person who has a very logical brain will produce a replica of the instruction sheet. The artistic person (if they dig the project) will somehow give it their own flair.

I wish we would just accept that you can't force someone to love and be inspired by anything. You can't teach someone to love reading novels. No matter how good they are technically at reading. You just can't, and what a crazy disorganised world it would be if we all just went around pursuing artistic endeavors. We NEED the diversity of logical and creative... So I hope they NEVER find a way to teach creativity, or logical thinking for that matter.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Go rent it NOW!!!

I will admit that as DH has accused me of in the past I like to rent things that CAIR hates... Or protests or whatever because I like to form my own ideas about the work. I'm a rebel like that. And the NAME of this movie was disliked by CAIR. They made the argument that it would normalize the insult and more people would feel free to say it. I don't agree with that argument. See, it doesn't matter how much you hear a racial slur... It's still a racial slur. Just pause and think... How many times would you have to say nigger before it would be acceptable vernacular? Yeah, no way. Anyway, I digress.

This movie has some strong sexual content. And some strong messages about the sexuality of young women... But just like the director's other film American Beauty (another must see) it really dissects and lays open for you such a tender time in the main character's life. And wow. I saw it last night and I am still thinking about it today. DH didn't watch it, but I have told him the whole thing!!! So, go watch and just think deep thoughts about it. I know I did.

And so you know, I think she could've been from any minority group and the film would have been the same basically. It just needed a conservative cultural backdrop... So don't think it's all anti-Arab or anything. It's not. It is about racism though... Among other things.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Answering tags.....

I got tagged twice for this one, and of course I want to say thank you to the moms who tagged me and the best way to do that is to post it!
Umm Nassim from Islamic Unit Studies and Mona from Mama Mona
Here are the rules of this tag:

1. Admit one thing you feel awful about (involving being a mom). Once you have written it down, you are no longer allowed to feel bad. Remember you are a good mom!

2. Remind yourself that you ARE a good mom, list 7 things you love about your kids, you love doing with your kids, or that your kids love about you.

3. Send this to 5 other moms of the year that deserve a reminder that they too are the best moms that they can be. Remember to send them a note letting them know you have selected them, and also add a link to your post that directs people back to the person who nominated you!

OK, so here are my answers...
1. I lack the patience I once had... And I don't get down on the floor/in the dirt/on the grass/wherever and play with my kids. Being a playful parent has always been important to me and somewhere along the line I lost touch with that.

2. I. I love that my kids will try almost anything.
II. I love playing in the bath with my 2 year old.
III. I love the way my youngest son keeps trying at something until he gets it.
IV. I love how well my oldest daughter draws, and how she sees things with an artist's eyes.
V. I love taking my kids to the movies.
VI. I love taking naps cuddled up with the baby.
VII. I love the way all of the kids smell fresh out of the bath. (don't we all!)

3. I tag... Well...
Ruqayyah from Bipolar Muslimah
Mona from The Imam's Daughter
UmmYehiya from Goodnight Lamplight
Umm Ibrahim from Stranger in This Dunya

And also thanks to UmmHasan from The Muslim Clothing Store for the award ;)