Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ramadan blessings...

Ramadan is full of mixed feelings for me, and I have been trying to write a post about that for a few days now. It just doesn't seem to be coming together. Maybe I'm just clouded by low blood sugar or something. If you are wondering about the picture... That is what I am focusing on this Ramadan. Trusting Allah. Trusting that all the things I am experiencing are part of my fate, Trusting that I have to do what is right and everything else will come, trusting that if He handed me a challenge I can meet it. Anyway, Ramadan and me...

The good part, is pretty simple. I feel closer to the religion, I am reminded all day of the importance of Allah in my life, and my husband and I share meals together on a regular basis (something our schedules don't always allow us to do).

Then there is the down side... I feel more isolated than usual because I know people everywhere are sharing iftar invitations and going to the mosque. And these are things that we just don't do. So there will come a time in the month when I will feel really sad about that. I will remember how much I enjoy cooking for a party, how much I would love to go to the masjid and pray a peaceful taraweh.

Realistically, I know I'm not the only person in this situation. I know the hadith about being strangers, the one about holding onto the deen being like holding onto a hot coal. And I still feel a little sad sometimes. I am an extrovert. People around me do matter. Things around me do matter. Although I'm not weak, and I will hold my beliefs even if they are different than those around me... But I do feed off of the rare person who sees things as I do. And right now, those people are a phone call or an online chat rather than a physical presence. And that's hard.

I'm not just crying into my latte here. I'm hoping that if you are like me and you are reading this... Don't let it get to you. Do something fun, something memorable for your kids... Even if you are all alone in your celebration. You have to build your own memories, start your own traditions. You are shooting without a script. It's hard, but you chose this path. And you wouldn't be on it if you didn't believe it was the better way. Most of all, remember that you are not alone. Somewhere out there is someone like me, doing the exact same thing as you... And in my heart I am with you. And I will remember that all of you are with me even if we live hundreds of miles apart.

So I am making dua for all of you. Kiss your kids for me. Buy your spouse something special to wear to the Eid prayer. Feed that elderly neighbor a share of your iftar (even though they are not Muslim). Hang some lights around your house. And remember you are not alone.

Happy Ramadan friends, I hope this is a time of prayer and reflection for all of you wherever you are in the world.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

I heart this easy bread thing...

I bought the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day maybe 4 months ago... And I have been really enjoying it. One thing that has been a challenge is finding a large container that I can use to mix and store the dough in. I found this at Sam's yesterday:

It's 6 quarts and if you can't see there are three of them. That means that I can have a loaf pan dough, a sweet dough and a basic dough and just refill as needed. I like mixing in the same container I store in and before that was impossible because I was storing in a casserole type tupperware. I am also moving a little half fridge that DH had at work to the basement so I can store the bread dough without eating up all my fridge space. Here is one with the dough just mixed in it (plenty of room to rise):

If you have not tried this method and you definitely should. I don't know why I was making it so much harder than it had to be all this time. You really can make bread in only five minutes a day. It's so nice!!! There is nothing like fresh baked bread, it just smells so wonderful and tastes so good!!! Next to nice fresh laundry smell there is nothing more comforting to me than fresh bread throughout the house.

Does this mean that my bread-making has reached the level of obsessive? **wink** MMMM, no one is complaining yet!