Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hello Kitty lamp

This is the lamp that I got last week:



Cute, huh?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cold....

It's been really cold for the last few days. It actually snowed yesterday morning! It was awesome. I was so excited about it that I woke up early and sat in the recliner and watched the snow falling. It was so pretty!

I went shopping with a girlfriend today. She found "Hello Kitty World" at a flea market, so she took me with her today to see it. I got a Hello Kitty "My House" play set, a pink Hello Kitty car window decal, and a little lunch container with a fork and spoon. It was great. I haven't spent time with my friend in over a month, so I really enjoyed just hanging out and goofing off.

How are all of you doing?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Question

Okay, I'm confused. It's Eid again? I thought that was right after Ramadan. Can somebody clarify this for me?

Sooo cute!

I was out and about today, doing some of my favorite things: lunch with a friend, shopping for books, stopping by the Goodwill. While doing so, I found the cutest thing:



Prayer Dress Fulla! I've been wanting a Fulla doll for a while. This is the official New Boy product. Something like this would probably go for at least $30 on eBay (not including shipping).

I got it for $5.99. Score!

While browsing on the Net, I found this:



It's a Fulla prayer set, complete with prayer rug (not shown), two-piece prayer outfit for girls 6-12 years old, and a bag to hold it all. It goes for $59.99 on www.muslimtoysanddolls.com, a U.S.-based website. Yeah, I'm not Muslim and never will be, but holy moly! It's soooo cute that I want one! But, I digress.

I also got a Hello Kitty lamp and a Hello Kitty waste basket ($4.99 and $2.99, respectively). Today was an awesome day for thrift store finds. : D

On another random note: this is epic cool. Who wouldn't want to live here? :



It's a Hello Kitty HOUSE!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sooo...

What's going on, you guys? I've seen Kimdonesia's name mentioned in several posts -- is she okay?

Sooo busy. New job kinda has my head spinning. It's like I'm flailing about, all "I dunno what's going ooooooon!!!" And it's *cold*! I hate the cold.... However, it is good for sleeping and having 4 cats curled up around and on me as my own personal space heaters! LOL I love my kitties.

Hope you've all had a lovely Thanksgiving filled with turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and green bean casserole! I'm looking forward to seeing "The Road" (which comes out tomor...oh, today, LOL). Viggo Mortensen is my favorite actor.

Man...now I totally want to cook a nice big dish of green bean casserole. I love it! It's my favorite "Turkey Day" dish.

Anybody planning on going out and braving the madness of Black Friday today? Not me! The noise and crowds stress me out so bad. I'm just going to go to the grocery store and get some basic food stuffs for GBC, then sit in front of the t.v., watch my new season 1 dvds of "That 70's Show", and pig out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hello

Hi, everyone. I've been very busy with my new job and trying to buy a house. Life is hectic.

How are all of you?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Time change

I'm so glad the time has changed! I feel much peppy-er early in the morning now than before, although that will not last once it stays dark a little longer and gets dark earlier. For now, I'm enjoying waking up at 7:30 and feeling wide awake and refreshed. ^_^

The weather here is cooler in the evenings and mornings, too, which is Fantastic. I love fall weather, especially when I can switch off the a/c and open a window to let in the chilly, fresh air. : D

You guys liking the time change?

Some favorite Storm costumes, and another female character.

Here are a few of my favorites. I can't find them all, so this is only partial, and in no particular order.



The white costume, originally designed by Jim Lee. This is what Storm wore when I first started reading X-Men. Below is a more "comic book-y, animated" version as seen on one of the variant covers for X-Men #1.



Next we have Storm in her "X-treme X-Men" costume. I loved this costume and this series --- the first 18 or 19 issues had truly superb artwork.



Last, we have Storm from the '90s "Age of Apocalyse" storyline miniseries "Amazing X-Men". I thought this was a cool outfit, and the plot was interesting. Unfortunately there are so many parts to this Marvel storyline (a common problem, particularly in the X-titles) that it becomes hard to follow if you want to know the whole story. Getting all those back issues would be an epic pain, and Storm is the only character I really liked, anyway.



Moving on from Storm, there's another, more recent X-character that I like. Her name is Dust.



Nit-picky religious/political/whatever discussion aside (because that is not my focus here and I'm not in the mood for it), it impressed me that Marvel put an Afghani niqabi character in the New X-Men book only 3 months after 9/11, and that she wasn't cast as a terrorist. Some people may complain about stereotypes, but I'm not going there. To me, it doesn't really matter. I see her as a positive character, even though I've only read a couple of books featuring her.

The only part that bugged me is that her clothing is under-researched. It's constantly referred to as a "burqa". However, what she wears is an abaya and hijab with a quasi-half niqab. Equally annoying is that they really do the whole "nijabi" thing. She looks like a ninja! FYI, dudes at Marvel, the abaya isn't supposed to accent the chest area (or any area, for that matter).

Muslimah niqabi clothing research by Marvel = Epic Fail.

Comics and vampires and superheroines, oh, my!

Okay, I know this is a little late for Halloween, but I thought it would be a cool, fun post anyway.

Did you know that Dracula made a couple of appearances in X-Men? Check these out:



Uncanny X-Men #159 -- Dracula attacks Storm, tries to make her his vampire queen.



X-Men Annual #6 -- the saga continues. Kitty Pryde as would-be vamp slayer. Also features "Rachael", the last of a line of vampire hunters (I think it was Van Helsing, but can't remember). She hunts down Dracula and tries to kill him, but ends up vampire chow, then a vamp herself, instead.

The cover below is a much later reprint of the annual:



After reading these two issues, I'd always wondered what would have happened if Dracula had succeeded in making Storm his bride. In the now-ended series "Mutant X" (a sort of alternate timeline), Storm is renamed Bloodstorm and retains both her elemental powers and vampiric powers. She also has the awesome "punk" look that she had back in the '80s.



How cool does she look? After a year of the series running, Marvel had gotten so many requests for Bloodstorm's story that the thirteenth issue was "The Origin of Bloodstorm".




Coming up next I'll be listing my favorite versions of Storm's constumes.

Pumpkin pie

I love food. I am a foodie. Therefore, I am so happy that it's finally "Pumpkin Pie" season!

And Whataburger has such excessively delicious pumpkin pies. : D

I am looking forward to Thanksgiving, even though I won't be able to go home. I'm going to make turkey and green bean casserole and eat allllll day. ^_^

It's so easy to make me happy. Just give me food.

What's your favorite food this time of year?

Monday, November 2, 2009

More changes!

Yes, more changes in my life. I've already quit the job I just got because I got a really great offer to do something that is awesome. Plus, the pay is Super Great. Unfortunately, it involves moving, which isn't cool.

However, it isn't too terribly far away, so I can come back and see my friends and everyone on the weekends.

I start next week, so I need to get a move on with the packing and finding a place to live. : )

Sunday, October 25, 2009

My new "casual" hijab style

Okay, I don't have a camera, so I can't show you. However, I will do my best to explain.

In my attempts to find a style of covering that doesn't look specifically Muslim, I found a pretty casual way of wearing the shayla scarves. For this, it is better if you have longer hair that you can put in a bun.

First, you center it on your head with the ends hanging in front of you (like you would if you were going to pin it at your chin -- but you don't pin it!).

Then you pull the ends tightly from the front, so that they hang down your back like a ponytail. Don't let them go, or you'll have to start over!

Then you twist the ends at the nape of your neck so that they hold the scarf in place, and pull the ends in front of you so that they hang like pigtails. I leave them hanging down, since the weight helps keep the scarf in place longer. They can get in the way, so I don't recommend using a very long scarf.

The end that starts on your right will be on the left, and the one that starts on the left will be on the right. It's very simple, and the small excess of fabric that is left in the back covers your bun. Do a double check in the mirror to make sure it's covered, though -- it can be sneaky and just sit on top of your bun.

The only downside is that I have to redo it several times a day, as it slips up and starts showing my hair. : P I haven't tried wearing an underscarf, though, so I'll give that a shot and see if that helps. : )

Still, it is very comfy.

Sick.

Hi, gals. Sorry I haven't been around. I started my new job last week (yay rent money!), and then I was sick all day yesterday. Some weird, unexplained dizziness, which prompted nausea a couple of times when the world did back flips and somersaults. I'm okay now, just confused about what was going on yesterday, and peeved that I missed my Saturday to go shopping. : ( There was a lady in my class who was out both Thursday and Friday because she was sick, so maybe I somehow got it from her? Who knows.

Loving all the posts you gals have been busy with. LK, loving the "hijabi-fied" Utena and Anthy, but, like I said, I could totally see Anthy as a gorgeous niqabi. : )

I can't believe Monday is almost here already... *weep* My weekend was an almost total waste.

On a happy note, I got letters last week from a couple of friends I hadn't heard from in close to four years. I just randomly decided about three weeks back to send letters to friends I hadn't talked to but wanted to reconnect with. I'm glad I did, because they were both excited to hear from me and said that they'd thought of me many times in the last few years.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Epic cool Army commercial.

Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlzdZqSVbJ4

It's an epic cool Army commercial from three years ago, when they debuted the "Army Strong" slogan (which replaced the "Army of One"). Almost enough to make you want to sign up, huh? I like watching it because it reminds me of all the good things that happened during my time in. I actually miss it, but I can't and won't go back. I'd end up crippled if I spent another four years there.

Anyway.... I already feel like I need a vacation from my job! So much information....brain hurts....can't...contain....it all.... LOL!

Amber, that Star Trek bloopers thing was hilarious. I love the new Star Trek film! I can't wait till the DVD comes out next month. : D

Monday, October 19, 2009

New job, day 1.

Today was the first day of my new job. There wasn't much to it --- just orientation. Still my first impression was good, and the cafeteria has yummy food (which we all know is epic important). LOL Everyone was really nice, too.

I'm looking forward to going home and hopping in bed with my kitties. I'm kinda tired... : P

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fire

Sorry I've been gone. Very busy preparing for new job, and there was a fire in my apartment complex last night --- friends called me and told me about it, so I went flying home from Walmart after begging them to go to my apartment and check on my cats. They said everything was fine and that the fire was on the other side of the pool -- close enough to smell smoke but no real danger to my babies. I still rushed home and cuddled kittens for a little while. I think that the thing that worries me most about living in an apartment building is a fire breaking out and me not being home to save my babies.

Boy, was I tired after that adrenaline rush! : P How are all of you doing?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Amethyst

I wanted to tell you all about a cool series that I got started on after finding a couple of random issues in the quarter bins at a comic store back home: Amethyst Princess of Gemworld.



This is a little-known, under-appreciated "girl comic" maxiseries (12 issues) from the early 80's. It was expanded to an annual, a special one-shot, a regular monthly series that ran to 16 issues, and finally a 4-issue miniseries in 1988. It details the adventures of Amy Winston, a 13-year-old girl who learns on her birthday that she is actually the Princess Amethyst, heir to the throne of the Gemworld. She was sent to the Earth realm as a baby to save her from the planet-wide civil war on the Gemworld. She gains magical powers through the amethyst pendant (her birthstone) and grows to the age of approximately 20 when she travels from Earth to the Gemworld (time runs differently there). Surprisingly mature, but also a lot of fun.

Interesting note: Amethyst and the Gemworld, though little-known, are one of the three roots (for lack of a better way to explain) of the DC comics universe. So, if you ever see any of these comics, I recommend that you get them!

Favorite comic books, part 1.

I've already posted my favorite manga/anime, now I have to share my favorite comic books of all time. The next post will be my favorite comic book series.

Number 1: Batman #503



I love this book (actually bought 3 copies) because the writing is SO GOOD, especially the first few pages, when pseudo-Batman Jean Paul becomes obsessed with Catwoman and wonders why the real Batman never arrested her.

Number 2: X-Men Unlimited #1



I love this book. The artwork is gorgeous, the storyline is solid. This is one of the first X-Men comics I remember reading (waaaay back in third grade, if you can believe it).

Number 3: Uncanny X-Men #289



This is one of the first comics I ever remember buying. Storm has always been my favorite "X" character, and "Knots" was a hard story to read. I was actually pretty devastated that Forge ended up taking back his proposal in the next issue and left the mansion with Mystique, all because he thought Storm would refuse him. I've been wishing for years that Marvel would do a "What if Forge and Storm had married?" issue. Of course, I was epic peeved when they made Storm marry the Black Panther. Grrrr... That's not the way that was supposed to end! //end rant// Now, that leads to my next comic...

Number 4: Uncanny X-men #186



Lifedeath! The second issue featuring Forge, and it details the start of his on-again, off-again relationship with Storm as he cares for her after she lost her powers. They don't make 'em like this anymore, folks. Just check out the quality of the artwork on the opening page:



Gorgeous.

Number 5: Catwoman #1 (Jim Balent series)



Okay, so her costume is very tight and her endowments are... ahem, well-endowed. This is Catwoman as we all love her: strong, sneaky, and sassy.

Number 6: Catwoman Annual #4 (Pulp Heroes)



I don't know who drew this book. Definitely not Jim Balent. However, it has Egypt and mummies and the cat goddess Bast. I love the awesome mythology in this story. A plus: when Selina changes on the plane before landing, she changes into an abaya, hijab, and Saudi-style niqab! Cool. : )

Number 7: Amazon #1 (Almagam)



This was part of the Almagam line that was done by DC and Marvel after the big DC/Marvel crossover in the mid-90's. Amazon is a combination of Storm and Wonder Woman, and I think it turned out awesomely. The only downside is that the stories were one-shots, but they were ended with cliffhangers. No me likey. Still, the art was very pretty. : )

Number 8: Magik #1-4 (miniseries)



Very cool miniseries from the early 1980's starring Ilyana Rasputin, sister of X-Man Colossus. The artwork isn't great, but it's good, and the storyline - which I didn't like intially - really is awesome: Ilyana's struggle to choose between good (as represented by Storm) and evil (as represented by the demon lord Belasco). This was reprinted in oversize graphic novel format last year.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My top three favorite manga/anime

Okay, Amber, you spurred me to this. *grin* I now give you three of my favorite manga/anime.

Number One:



Revolutionary Girl Utena. This manga/anime is awesome, beautifully drawn with a complex and surprisingly spiritual storyline that seems to do more backflips and somersaults than an acrobat. Not to mention, it's just plain cool. The film is beautiful, as well, but since it's a wacky synopsis of the television series, you won't get it if you haven't seen the show (and maybe not even then, LOL).

In this photo, Utena is taking the Sword of Dios from the chest of the Rose Bride, Anthy. Hovering over them is Dios himself. Utena fights duels with the academy student council members (the playboy council president Touga, the abusive vice president Saionji - whom she first fought upon arriving at the school -, the disillusioned "prince" Juri, and the sweet, naive Miki) for possession of the Rose Bride, who does whatever the victor desires. Through her, the final champion will obtain the power of Dios, and access to eternity and the castle in the sky. Wild, huh?

Number Two:



Vampire Princess Miyu: the story of a centuries-old vampire who is the guardian of the Earth realm, which she protects from the Shinma (demons). Her job is to find them and send them back to the darkness. Larva (tall handsome guy with the mask) is a Western shinma who became Miyu's servant when she drank his blood. He helps her capture free-roaming Shinma. Shinma usually prey on the weaknesses of humans, and people die as a result. Miyu lives on the blood of the human victims --- her bite sends their souls to her own shadow realm, where they take up residence in one of the many orbs that float in and around the trees. The souls stay forever in a place that made them happy in life. For one character, it's caring for her flowers in a greenhouse. For another, it's his apartment and his beloved pet cat. Creepy and epic cool.

Number Three:



Sailor Moon. This is the first anime I ever saw. It's a fun "super girl team" story. Basically, Sailor Moon and the scouts, plus other characters, are reincarnated versions of themselves. They fight the evil Negaverse and its minions, seeking to restore the Moon kingdom and prevent the destruction of Crystal Tokyo (the future/past Tokyo), wearing really cool sailor costumes that change as time goes on and accumulating new powers. Yeah, it gets confusing, but it sure is pretty. : ) Interesting note: Kunihiko Ikuhara directed the Sailor Moon anime, and he also directed the "Utena" movie and series.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winter Sonata, Korean drama



On a lighter note, I just found out that they're doing an animated version of my favorite K-drama, "Winter Sonata". It stars these two lovlies: Bae Yong-Jun and Choi Ji-Woo. I admit, I have a bit of a crush on the handsome Yong-Jun. He's a huge star in Asia, and has a massive following in Japan. ^_^

Continuing discussion

LK has a most interesting entry in her journal, entitled "I guess I'm not a Christian", and since I had some more thoughts, I figured I may as well do a post on it. : )

Like LK, I believe in evolution. I also believe in creationism. As circumstances (particularly environmental ones) change, everything has to adapt in order to survive.

This was my initial reply to her journal entry:

"In regards to your "nobody went to heaven before Jesus"...statement, I guess, is that the reason sacrifices were performed prior to Jesus' death was to obtain God's forgiveness of sin. Jesus is often called "the Lamb of God", and that pertains to his role as the final sacrifice. After He died, animal sacrifices were no longer necessary."

As far as the concept of "original sin", I'm like LK. I don't believe in it. That's why, in the church I was raised (the Church of Christ), baptism was a choice to be made by the individual when they were old enough to understand the need for it. Babies are born innocent, and young children can't really sin because they don't have the sense of right and wrong that adolescents and adults do. *Knowing* the difference between right and wrong is the key. Once you have that knowledge and wilfully do wrong, that's when you have sinned.

I've met many Christians who believe that Jesus IS God. I was always taught that He was the Son of God, the final sacrifice which would atone for our sins for eternity, if we were willing to believe in Him as the Son. As a man, Jesus experienced sorrow, anguish, love, fear, hope, etc. That's why He prayed in the garden for God to take the burden of the cross from Him. However, that was the reason for Jesus to be on Earth, and He submitted to the will of God, although He knew that He would be tortured, that the Father would turn His face from Jesus when the Son assumed responsibility for every sin that had been or would be committed, and that He would die. But He also knew He would rise on the third day.

The Christ I have always believed in was a man of peace and hope who delivered miracles and the message of salvation. For me, Christianity has always been a very simple faith to follow, because all that is required is that you believe. However, that is not carte blanche for you to do whatever you want and then say "Oh, I'm a Christian, so I'm forgiven." It doesn't work like that. Salvation is a gift that is freely given by God out of love for us, his children, but you try to be obedient to God's commandments and do good works AS A RESULT of salvation, not as a path TO salvation. Does that make sense?

I do believe that Jesus was the Son of God, sent by a loving God to be our savior, the final sacrifice. I don't believe that doing good works will get you into heaven -- as the verse says "for we all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God". It is only because of my loving Heavenly Father that I can be redeemed.

Well, I guess I could never be Muslim.

This has been an interesting journey. My searching for understanding in Islam has helped me to become a more spiritual person with a deeper, stronger faith than I have ever had in my life.

* * *

Okay, that's all I seem to have to say tonight. I've got some more "job preparation" stuff to do tomorrow, so I'll check back with you guys then. Have a good night!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

I love Saturdays

I had left-over garlic bread sticks and sweet tea for breakfast. Yummy! Took my foster kitty to the vet -- I thought she had a fever and worried about her being dehydrated, but she's fine.

You guys will notice I deleted one of the posts I made up. Your comments were interesting, and you definitely read more into what that lady had to say than I did. My thought process (which, being up late last night, wasn't exactly in the best working order *LOL*) was very simple, and based upon something I read once: that women need to be shown that they're loved in order to feel loved (you know, hubby doing something sweet and thoughtful to show he cares), and men need to feel respected and needed (but not TOO needed, there's a balance, as with everything) to feel loved. Okay, I didn't get that quite as the person wrote it originally, so I'll see if I can find where I read it.

I'm not going to say that I agreed with everything (let's face it, I always have something to say about virtually everything ^_^), but there were some things that I did like. I do agree with you guys that marriage should be an equal partnership -- my mom and stepdad are like that, and they've been happily married for somewhere around 18 years.

My dad's marriages have not been like that, because it is "his way" or else you're wrong -- that includes with me and my brother. That was a huge problem in his marriage with my mom -- he was the man, the boss, the head of the household, he was controlling (which I now see), and he didn't like the way the Episcopal church did things; he thinks only the Pentecostals are right. His family is fairly fundamental -- being mostly men, they all go for "the man is the boss" stance. Since two of my aunts (by marriage) believe much the same, those marriages have worked (did work -- one uncle passed away at 44 from liver cancer my senior year of high school, but he'd been with my aunt for 30 years -- the only woman he ever dated), and both parties have been happy. My dad's one sister is something of the boss in her marriage, I think, but I've never spent enough time around her to really know for sure. My grandparents were married for around 40 years, until my grandfather passed away when I was 12, and my dad said they loved each other, but they argued all the time.

All in all, my dad's family isn't the best example to follow, so I look at my mom and stepdad, and the wonderful marriage my grandmother and grandfather (mother's parents) had. I've never seen two people love each other as much as my grandparents -- my grandmother loved my Poppy, and he adored her. A few months before she passed away, I asked her if she and Poppy had ever argued -- with my dad's parents being like they were, the fact that I never heard either of my mom's parents raise their voices at each other stood out in stark contrast. She couldn't think of a single time they'd argued, which is extraordinary.

Of course, I don't expect that for myself -- I've seen enough with my dad's many divorces on one hand, and my mother's 18-year marriage on the other. I also know that I can be difficult sometimes, so I'll need a hubby with patience and lots of love for me, even when I'm a brat. ^_^

But God is good and knows me better than I know myself, and he already has picked out the man for me, so I just have to trust Him to point us towards each other when He decides it's time. Of course, I won't be sitting around doing nothing in the meantime. : )

I will say I didn't write down everything that I think on this topic, but I'm too lazy. Lots of typing = aching knuckles.

Anyway, on to more frivolous discussions. : P Are you guys having a good weekend? So far I've slept in and sat in the vet office for 3 hours. ^_^

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday night...

Wow. It's Friday night and I have nada to do. Totally dead here. I guess I could always go home, order pizza and bread sticks and watch "Winter Sonata" (my favorite Korean soap opera). Pigging out sounds really good... ^_^

Hope you're all having a fun Friday!

Covering

I just randomly thought: Out of all the different ways to cover my hair, why did I choose hijab?

After all, there are all sorts of things for that purpose: hats, snoods, random-things-that-I-have-no-name-for, etc. I guess the fact that I cover Muslim-style is because I was reading about Islam. I like the fact that you can be super-mysterious in all-black, or you can be stylish with jeans and pretty printed scarves but still completely cover.

Some of the more "American" ways of doing so are...to be perfectly honest....in my opinion....are frumpy-looking and/or have "weird cult" connotations. You know, like "compound in the middle of nowhere" cult. Still others that partial-covered just didn't work for me. I was like, "What's the point of covering only a little bit of my hair?" It was a cover-it-all or not-at-all thing for me, but I didn't want to look like I was wearing my granny's clothes. I'm (chronologically) young and I want to look like it, darn it!

Work clothes.

Eek. I didn't think finding hijab-worthy work clothes would be so hard... But it is. Particularly skirts. I want a long black skirt (the "crinkly hippie style" that I've seen quite a few girls wearing over the summer). It would match any of the nice dressy shirts that I have. Problem is, I can't seem to find one anywhere. I guess it's because that's a summer thing and stores are stocking winter clothes now. *sigh*
Yes, they have lots of long-sleeved stuff, but most of it is WAY too tight-fitting for comfort. Or too sheer. What is the point of making something long if you make it tight and the fabric is so thin that it will not keep you warm? I guess you're supposed to layer it?

I hate shopping for clothes. I think I was absent the day they handed out that gene to all the other girls. : P

Thursday, October 1, 2009

New job!

I got the job! *dances around in a circle* I need to call my mom and let her know she doesn't have to fret anymore.

And then I'm going to start looking for a second job to work on the weekends.

But first... I must go shopping! ^_^ Got to get some good, hijab-worthy business casual outfits. Most of my clothes are blue jeans and t-shirts. : P

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hello.

Hello to my new friends who've just joined on. Sorry you've caught me during a rough period in my life. : ( I promise that I'm not normally this moody; it's situational only.

Question for all: How do you see yourself, personality-wise?

I think I'm a generally cheerful and friendly person, and I am honest (perhaps a bit too much for my own good sometimes ^_^). I expect the best of everyone, but I do find it hard to forgive people who hurt me (so God helps me out with that). I like to think that I am open-minded and accepting of everyone. I like to talk to and help people. Oddly enough (given my previous profession), I really don't like conflict or competition. It upsets the tranquillity of my life.

And I'm a foodie. I love food, and as long as it isn't fish or shellfish (both of which I have a mild - but nonetheless unpleasant - allergy to), I'll try it.

Also, found this interesting book while shelving some books at my friend's store: Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton. It's about religious addiction. Never heard of that before, but I suppose extreme cults, or maybe people coming off other addictions (drugs, alcohol, etc) or prison could fall prey to it. Using faith as their new "fix", or as the new thing they have to do all the time to keep from reverting to their old lifestyle.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No words...

I am not happy right now. I feel angry and betrayed, but, most of all, I feel hurt.

I went to see the lady at the Islamic store, and she told me that one of the women at the mosque was basically attacking me on the "super sekret squirl Niqabi Salafi web group". She doesn't post there much, but she reads it a lot, and she said that this woman had been asking a lot of questions and stirred up a bunch of the salafi niqabis about me, a non-Muslim, wearing niqab. Evidently, a lot of those women don't wear niqab because they want to, but because their husbands make them.

So what is the big flippin' deal? Are they all fired up because they don't get that a woman might want to wear niqab of her own free will? Well, last time I checked, this was a free country. I don't go places or do anything as a niqabi that might cast a "bad light" on the Muslim community here, so they have no real grounds for objection as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, the lady told me about it because she didn't want me to be caught completely off-guard if I went to jummah on Friday and this woman jumped on my case about it.

I feel really hurt about it (what's happened, not the nice sister warning me). Instead of reaching out and encouraging me and helping me to learn and understand more about Islam - like you lovely Muslimahs and other knowledgeable friends here do- they're slinking around and stabbing me in the back. These women don't even KNOW me!!!

I know I should forgive them and pray that God will open their eyes to the wrongness of their actions (especially the ringleader). I'll say some prayers and hopefully in a little while I won't be so angry, and maybe God will open my heart and help me to forgive them.

I'm not going to wear niqab for a while. I don't want to feel the least bit connected with those women, and I have no intention of going to jummah on Friday.

Monday, September 28, 2009

To date or not to date?

Dating. It's that thing that most 20-somethings I know can't seem to live without, and they pity the "singletons" among the population. Sometimes it seems like the social structure of the universe is dependent upon everyone dating. "Going out". "Going steady". "Seeing someone." Or having a "significant other".

A friend of mine from the Army once told me, after breaking up with a mutual friend (who is still a buddy of mine), that she "had" to date guys because they amused her and she was bored if she wasn't dating anyone. Huh? I, of course, told her that no relationship would be successful if she wasn't happy alone, as you can't depend upon another person to make you happy. You have to make *yourself* happy. She blew me off (since I'm only 6 years older and obviously don't know what I'm talking about), immediately started dating some Air Force guy and now they're engaged.

I've dated a few guys between high school until last January. Although the last relationship didn't end badly (we still talk and get along quite well), I decided that enough was enough: no more dating. (Please remind me to tell ya'll the story of the guy I dated before him. Yeech! Was that ever a mess at the end.)

If my mom had her way, she'd set me up with a guy I dated/was engaged to a few years ago. His mom would like that, too, since she loves me. He's currently deployed, and we have kept in contact, but all I'm doing is leaving the lines of communication open. Kind of "Hi, I'm here. Oh, hi, I'm here, too." We're friends, and unless something moves him to ask my mom and stepdad for my hand (because we're both old-fashioned like that, and I love it), we'll stay just friends, and I can certainly live with that.

Yes, I am single, and you know what? I'm happy that way. I do what I want, go where I want, eat what I want, etc, and there's no man in my life to tell me how I should look or what I should do. I don't define myself or my own worth by a shallow relationship that most likely wouldn't end in marriage. Hopefully I'll get married one day, but if I don't, that's okay, too. I'm content with my relationship with God, my cats, my friends, my family, my books, and my little apartment. My needs are simple and few, and I think life is best when there is no conflict or drama or anyone else to shake up the status quo.

I, like Charlotte Lucas Collins, find myself very content with my position in life.

Well, except for not having a job, but hopefully that situation will be remedied very soon. : )

Websites

www.jelbab.com

I love this website! They have so many beautiful things, including SUITS! But they're all so expensive. *weep* I guess I'll have to keep searching for long coats and loose pants separately.

http://www.alhediya.com/fadilaabaya.html

This one links to an abaya that I *love*. The best part is, you can buy pants or a skirt to go with it, and for an additional fee, they'll tailor the abaya to be the top!

http://www.islamicplace.com/index.html

This site has a TON of great books. I want them all! They even have a big selection of comparative religion books. : )

http://www.modestclothes.com/islamic/clothing/abaya.html

This has a huge list of websites that sell abayas and jilbabs, among other goodies.

So, have any of you ladies bought anything from any of these sites?

I did it!

I wore hijab to my interview! (Thanks for the words of encouragement, Stephanie. You really helped a lot.)

It helped me feel a little less nervous (although I was still a LOT nervous, since it's been several years since I've had an interview). I think it looked great - a one piece black al-Amira hijab, a black jacket and trousers, a pink floral blouse, and black heels. Very professional and very feminine. : ) The lady who interviewed me was very nice. She didn't even bat an eye at my hijab. ^_^

She's going to turn in my interview sheet before she leaves tonight, and HR will review it and ((HOPEFULLY!!!!)) will make me an offer between tomorrow and 9 October. *crosses her fingers*

Also, through LK, I found this lady who is *really* studying Islam and the Qur'an, and asking all sorts of nifty questions. I'm looking forward to reading all of her entries.

http://wrestlingwithreligion.wordpress.com

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Note to self...

Finish reading this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea) later. Right now, Popeye's is calling... Yummy fried chicken strips and mashed potatoes with cajun gravy. : D And a biscuit! I can't forget the lovely, buttery, so-bad-it's-good biscuits!

Friday, September 25, 2009

First time I wore hijab.

You know, I don't think I've ever told you guys about the first time I wore hijab. On a random trip to the Goodwill one day, I found an abaya (the black one with the pretty velvet decoration on the sleeves) and a purple/orange/white-striped shayla hijab. I laundered them and fixed a tear on the abaya, and wore them to go out to lunch with a friend the next day.

As was our usual custom at the time, we went to lunch at our favorite local Indian restaurant (which I've mentioned before). The waitress who took us to our table was all smiles, she complimented me on my hijab, and we ordered our drinks and got our food. After we left the restaurant, we walked a few shops down to the Indian grocery store so my friend could get some mango chutney.

There was a group of 6-8 guys (of Middle Eastern/Indian origins) blocking the side walk. As we got closer, the guys who saw me poked their buddies who didn't, or said something, or whatever, and they all moved completely out of the way. Gave us lots of space. They were very nice, very respectful. After we'd passed, they went back to their previous locations and continued their conversations. We went to the store, got what she wanted, and left.

That was it. It was a very nice experience. My friend said "Those guys saw you as one of them, rather than "other", like most Americans are. I don't think they would have moved if you weren't dressed like that."

It was cool. I felt totally respected, totally comfortable, and I was treated like a lady. After that, I started wearing hijab as often as possible (even though the heat sometimes made it nearly unbearable).

Anyone care to share their "first time wearing hijab" story? Or first niqab story?

JOB INTERVIEW!!!!!!!

*runs around and jumps for joy* I have a job interview on MONDAY!!!!!! Cross your fingers/say prayers/make du'a for me!

Cutest thing ever!


Isn't she precious? I just want to pinch her cheeks. They're so chubby and cute!

I'm back...

Hi, all. Sorry I've been pretty out of commission the last day or two. I was so bad yesterday... I made a buffalo chicken pizza for lunch yesterday and it was soooo yummy that I ate the whole thing, and ended up making myself sick. That's what I get for eating too much, though. : P

Oh, darn...I thought today was Thursday. I just realized it's Friday and I missed jummah prayers. *sigh* I was planning on going, too. Darn this not having a job... I can't seem to keep track of the days any more.

The weather here has been AWESOME. A cold front came in on Tuesday afternoon, and it hasn't been over 68 degrees since. I turned off the a/c and opened the windows. My cats are loving it, too. They run around the house and jump on my bed, then on the window sill, then onto the bistro table on my balcony. I sure am glad it has cooled off... I like the heat okay, but it's a bit much when it seems to be around 8 months out of the year, you know?

I'm still cleaning out my apartment. I'm trying to eliminate the clutter in my house, and that includes paring down my book collection. *weep* So I managed to read 6 books in the last 2 days. I read "Succubus Takes Manhattan" by Nina Harper and "Kitty and the Midnight Hour", "Kitty Goes to Washington", "Kitty Takes a Holiday", "Kitty and the Silver Bullet", and "Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand" (all by Carrie Vaughn). "Kitty" is a pretty good paranormal (werewolf) series, and there's not a lot of sex - and what there is, I just skip over - but lots of action and cool stuff. I give all the books I'm not going to keep to my friend for her book store, and paranormal romance is a very popular category.

That said, I'm trying to figure out what to read after I finish the sixth (most recent) "Kitty" book. I was thinking of maybe re-reading the Left Behind series. I read the whole thing several years ago, when the books were very popular, and we've had so many people buying the books at the store that I want to read it again.

*start rant*

I read one of Amber's posts earlier, and it kind of raised my ire, as it talked about censorship and the invasion of privacy, etc. That kind of stuff really ticks me off.

Then I got to thinking, well, it's like that in real life, too. I mean, I can't even wear hijab to a job interview if I want to have a chance at getting a job. I could be the best one for the job that they talk to, but a hijab would almost definitely rule me right out, and there would be nothing I could do to fight it. If you don't believe me, did you hear about the hijabi muslimah who tried to get a job at Abercrombie & Fitch? As much as I would love to be able to have the luxury of giving a big "F-you" to the conformist establishment that is American society (different is NOT good) and go right ahead, financially it's not a good move.

Standing out is only allowed if it's in a "normal" way, like the kids who look like they spent their whole allowance at Hot Topic. They're what I call "conforming non-conformists". They may think they're rebelling and being all original, but...seriously. Those outfits and accessories come from a MALL CHAIN STORE. There are 5,000 other kids in the city wearing the Exact Same Thing.

How did I go off on the "non-conformists" tangent? Anyway, in the U.S., by wearing hijab (and especially niqab), you really do buck the system and stick it to "The Man". (LOL!!!)

*end rant*

Still talking about Hot Topic...who was the moron who decided that GUYS should wear SKINNY JEANS? They're CHICK PANTS. Granted, very immodest and unflattering on any girl with even a teensy weensy hint of curves (that would be pretty much anyone size 6 or over), but still...chick pants. *sigh* I can't decide if the "saggy, hanging-below-the-rear-and-I-don't-know-how-to-wear-a-freaking-belt gangsta pants" that never seem to go away or the "skinny jeans on guys" fad is worse. I totally DON'T want to see anyone's undergarments, but guys in...chick pants. *shudder of revulsion*

And a guy wearing them just walked in. *face plant on keyboard*

So, how are all of you doing? : )

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Religious commentary, feel free to ignore. *grin*

Now I'm going to go off on a tangent, and those of you who are Catholic, please don't feel this is a personal attack. I loves you all very much. Especially you, Amber, you sweetie. *hugs* This is just my lil' ol' opinion, and you all know that I don't shut up when I get on a roll. ; P Please feel free to correct me if I've misinterpreted something. Goodness knows, I'm wrong on a fairly regular basis.

Re: Catholicism. The whole confession thing and the role of priests as intercessors have always been a big part of my beef with Catholicism. I don't believe that there is any man on Earth who has the right to say whether or not my sins are forgiven. That is between me and God, and He is truly generous and merciful. He is EAGER to forgive me. All I have to do is ask Him.

Another beef is the saints and praying to Mary. Okay, if it isn't worship, it's waaay too close to idolatry for comfort for me, as Mary was merely a woman - a very, very good one, to be sure, since God picked her to be the mother of Jesus - but she was only human. The dead can't intercede for the living, so why say "Hail Marys" and pray Rosaries to her? Jesus, however, is not dead, and He can and will intercede with God on our behalf.

Another topic: I don't believe that good works alone will get you to Heaven, and good deeds are a major point in Islam. For Muslims, you have to do more good works than bad in order to go to Heaven (or "Paradise"). Also, what I have read is that Muslims believe everyone's fate is determined while they are in the womb. So people can do bad things most of their lives, but start doing good things towards the end, and they still go to Heaven. Likewise, people can do good things most of their lives, but start doing bad things towards the end, so they still go to Hell, even if the "predetermined for Heaven" guy did way more bad stuff. That's a precipice of uncertainty that I really don't want to play on.

Good works as proof and part of your faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior is what I've always believed to be the way to Heaven. Jesus said "Love the Lord Your God, love thy neighbor, etc". Doing all of the things that Jesus taught means you didn't just say "I believe in Jesus as the Son of God" and leave your Christianity at that; i.e., a "passive Christian". It means you truly tried to live your life according to what He taught. Didn't He say something about "faith without good works" and "good works without faith"?

Matthew 6:7

This is a verse I found the same night I found Dr. Gabriel's book, after saying that prayer (with "God" in place of "Allah"). I just opened my Bible and this is what I found:

Matthew 6:7 (KJV) "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen (NIV says "hypocrites") do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

We all know that Muslims pray five times per day. I've also learned that additional prayers (in your own words) are not prohibited, but aren't really encouraged, either. So how is this a personal relationship with God? I've heard converts give that as one reason for converting, but they were mostly disillusioned Catholics who grew tired of confession and "needing someone to intercede with God". I can see how you wouldn't feel like God was accessible to the average person under those circumstances.

I'll go on about that in my next post. : ) I'm wordy today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My thoughts about Islam so far.

Okay, here's a basic run-down of what I think, comparing Islam and Christianity, at this juncture. Of course, I have not finished reading the Qur'an or re-reading the Bible, so I will reserve my final opinion for that. If you find anything that I relate as negative, please be assured that it is not my opinion of Muslim people. I like you all very much. : )

Disclaimer aside, now...

Thus far, despite the claims of my Muslim friends here and at the masjid, and the constant refrain of "compassionate and merciful" that prefaces any Muslim book/article, I have not seen the Islamic Allah to be like the kind, loving, and truly merciful God I have always been taught about. He seems more like a God who can hardly wait to mete out punishment to the "unbelievers". In the second sura, my understanding at one point was that Allah had already decided who would and would not be a Muslim, and therefore was going to punish the non-Muslims for not being Muslim, although he'd made the choice of their religion! (Mind you, this is me paraphrasing, since I can't remember word for word.)

Another thing I'm having trouble with are the constant commands to "fear and obey Allah". To me it seems that the worship of Allah is based upon fear, and that the relationship is a master/slave one. I have yet to see anything that is to be done out of LOVE of Allah, rather than "fear and obey".

Also, when Gabriel supposedly revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, why did he command him to "Read!" over and over again, despite the fact that the guy was scared out of his wits, not to mention illiterate? Now, I totally believe that God can make great leaders/prophets/whatever out of the blind/deaf/dumb/illiterate - He did so in the Bible. But when Gabriel appeared to others (Mary, and other folks I know I'm currently forgetting), he told them "Do not be afraid" and then delivered his message. Why didn't he do so with Muhammad?

In my search for information to determine whether or not the Qur'an is, as constantly claimed by Muslims, the perfect, unchanged and utterly correct "Last Revelation of Allah", the Qur'an has been shown to conflict with what we know from modern science on some points. Also, the Qur'an was not written all in Arabic - the language was too limited (no Arabic words for some things), so Farsi and a handful of other languages were dipped into, to cover the deficiency.

Muhammad's attitude towards women bothered me, too. I don't remember if I've written this before, so I'll go ahead and (possibly) repeat myself. Yes, okay, he was progressive when it came to women inheriting property, payment of dowries, etc. Got that. But his personal attitude left something to be desired. He said that women were deficient in intelligence and deficient in religion. In regards to religion, it was because women couldn't fast during their periods, which is a natural biological function created by God. I don't remember what the "deficient in intelligence" story was, but that was a reason given by Muhammad for women not getting an equal inheritance as men, and he repeated the comment more than once.

Now, the following are things I picked up from Dr. Gabriel's book:

Muhammad really was not a peaceful guy, and he didn't live a peaceful life. After he'd covered Arabia and subdued or converted the few rebel groups left, he SOUGHT OUT other countries (Sudan was one of them, I recall). He sent them letters, demanding that they submit to Islam and acknowledge Allah and Muhammad as Allah's Prophet, or he would wage war upon them. These were countries that, at the time, were minding their own business, and he was jonesing for a fight, so he went after them.

Jesus, on the other hand, told his followers that "he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword" (when one of his apostles cut off the Roman guy's ear in the garden, trying to stop them from taking Jesus to Pilate). Yes, I know, Jesus also said that he did not come to bring peace, but that parents, children, friends and all would take up swords against each other. This was because He knew that His message would divide families and friends between those who believed what He taught, and those who didn't. Dr. Gabriel's own experience (his father immediately pulled a gun and fired five shots at him after learning his son had converted to Christianity), and the thousands of other stories we hear like it have illustrated that point. Unlike Muhammad, though, Jesus preached His message and moved on if no one would listen. He didn't try to force anyone to accept Him or His message, which is in pretty stark contrast to what I've read of Muhammad.

Dr. Gabriel invites anyone and everyone to check his information - which has been historically documented, not a pro-Christian/anti-Islam fabrication from one person.

One thing he wrote really stood out in my mind. He questioned a teacher at Al-Azhar (a guy who later was found to have masterminded the '93 WTC bombings) about why he never spoke about the Qur'an's messages on peace and loving others. His (now former) teacher replied, "'There is an entire sura devoted to "The Spoils of War". There is no sura called "Peace".'"

Although most of the Muslims I've met have been nothing but kind and generous (may they be blessed for putting up with all of my questions!), I find the roots of the religion are disturbing to me, although some points within it (like the lovely hijab) are certainly worth adopting.

Likewise, I've met many "cultural Christians" - people who are Christian only by association with the culture in which they were raised, not true believers - or people who claim to be Christian and attend church, etc, but they are not God-like in their behavior, though the roots of Christianity (Jesus' message) are those of peace, love, and forgiveness.

Yikes! Or, something I saw at lunch.

I went and had lunch at the Indian restaurant with a friend of mine. We hadn't been in a while, so we met up at 11:00, before she had to be at work.

While we were there, I saw a lady who was, at youngest, in her mid-40s, wearing a short denim skirt that was totally age-inappropriate. That skirt looked like something an elementary-school girl should have been wearing, little pockets and all.

Now, there's nothing wrong with wearing denim skirts -- you just can't look like you made a grown-up size version of a third-grader's skirt!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

More blog spam...I need to go home... : )

Note: All the red highlights come from the person who sent it out. They aren't
mine. : )


Forget fashion, this is freedom

(Filed: 31/12/2003)
The Muslim veil has become a hot political issue in France - but Stella White cannot see what the fuss is about. A Catholic from Kent, she explains the joys of the complete cover-up
To liberated Westerners, the hijab, or veil, is a stain on womankind. It symbolises the crushing of the female spirit and is the mark of slavery, transforming a woman into a passive lump who is only allowed out of the house to buy her husband's dinner.
When faced with this piece-of-cloth- on-legs, English women will often meet the eyes peeking out of the hijab with an expression of pity and sadness. For them, the veil represents a living death. This might also be the feeling of the French authorities, who have decided to ban the hijab in schools, believing that no young girl should have to carry the burden of repression on her tender head.
Yet for many, including myself, the veil is not an instrument of coercion, but a means of liberation. Personally, I have never felt so free as I do when I am wearing it.
Before you presume that I am regurgitating propaganda from a culture that has brainwashed me, I should point out that I am a Catholic, not a Muslim. I am not from the mysterious East, but am a 32-year-old woman from boring Kent. Nor am I a prude: my life has included spells as an exotic dancer, kissogram and glamour model. Three of my best friends are strippers. I have had relationships with Muslim men, but none of them ever demanded I wear the hijab; in fact, they found my behaviour slightly embarrassing.
There is nobody in my past that has coerced me to wear a veil. I do so simply because I love it.
I relish the privacy; the barrier that the hijab creates between myself and the harsh, frenetic world, especially in London. I find a great peace behind the veil: I don't feel invaded by nosy passers-by; the traffic, noise and crowds seem less overwhelming. I can retreat into my own safe world even as I walk and, on a practical level, I feel completely secure from unwanted advances.
The hijab is also a financial security system. Like most pedestrians in London, I can't afford to give money to every homeless person I see, but feel stressed and guilty when I walk past them. In my hijab, my conscience can hide. I also feel fairly safe from muggers. Thieves glance at me and probably think, "illegal immigrant; not worth the effort", presuming that my big carrier bags contain only weird, knobbly vegetables for my 16 children.
In my hijab, shopping is also cheaper. A small minority of Muslim traders operate a two-tier pricing system with the "one of us" price being considerably lower than the price for Westerners. If I want a bargain, I make sure I am "hijabbed-up" .
The most amazing effect of wearing the veil is that you automatically seem to become a member of the Muslim community and are accorded all of the privileges and dignity of a Muslim woman. When I walk into a Muslim shop, a man will say to me, gently, "Salaam aleikum [peace be upon you]. How can I help you, madam?" On the bus, Muslim men from Africa, the Middle East or the Far East will move aside for me and say, "After you, sister."
The offices, bars and clubs of London are full of English girls in short skirts and strappy sandals, many of them looking for love. Women who wear the hijab, often despised by the West, actually feel sorry for these Western women who have to harm themselves with crippling high heels, skin-choking make-up and obsessive dieting in order to find a man.
My Iranian friend Mona is a successful businesswoman who goes out every day looking impeccable, with painted nails, stilettos, sharp suits and perfect make-up. "It was just so much easier when I was in Iran," she says. "You'd get up at nine, throw on your big black hooded dress and jump in the car. Now, I have to spend two or three hours getting done up every morning."
Too often, the hijab is dismissed as the preserve of Muslim fundamentalists. But in the Christian tradition, St Paul ordered women to cover their heads and, until the Sixties, no woman would be seen in an English church without a hat and gloves.
Many English women wore hats out in the street or headscarves tied under their chin. Hindu and Sikh women are still expected to cover their heads loosely for their honour, or izzat, and Orthodox Jewish women have traditionally worn wigs over their real hair to conceal it from men who are not their husbands. Yet, among all these cultural groups, only Muslim women seem to have been described as weak or oppressed on account of their headgear.
Two of the most unlikely bedfellows are the woman who wears a hijab and the militant feminist. When women in the early Seventies began cropping their hair short, and wearing dungarees and comfortable shoes, they were rejecting the idea of suffering for fashion and were refusing to take part in the desperate ritual to attract spoilt, fussy males.
Similarly, a woman in a hijab can retain her identity without being a slave to finicky Western notions of beauty.
A particularly sad article appeared in a popular women's magazine last week, entitled: "How to hate your body less." I showed it to my Arab friend Malika, who shook her head and said: "In my culture, men are so grateful when they marry a woman that they see her as a gorgeous princess, whatever shape or size she is."
Within the hijab, Muslim women know their power and their value. One Muslim man told me: "My wife is like a beautiful diamond. Would you leave a precious diamond to get scratched or stolen in the street? No, you would wrap it in velvet. And that is how the hijab protects my wife, who is more precious to me than any jewel."
Of course, if anybody tried to remove my veil or force me to wear it, I would react violently. I am privileged to live in a country in which I can wear whatever I want to. Not all women are so lucky. Personally, I have found in the hijab a kind of guardian angel. My mother, on the other hand, claims that I wear it because I can't be bothered to brush my hair.

Comments (from the moderator of a hijabi Yahoo group):
Here is a non-Muslim woman who has realized and understood the value and benefits of the Islamic hijab, and she is using it for herself despite being a non-Muslim.

Something I've seen that bothers me...

In so many journal entries and articles and books that I've read recently, Muslims seem to make out all "Westerners" (especially Americans) as being Godless heathens with no regard for family or modesty.

Frankly, this bothers me. A LOT. Mainly because I come from good, faithful, honest, hard-working Christian roots (on my mother's side - we aren't EVEN gonna talk about my dad's hypocritical family).

I never wore skimpy clothes (my mother would have fixed that immediately if I'd ever tried - which I didn't). I was never wild, even in high school or college, where every kid under-age is supposedly drinking and doing drugs and sleeping around. I've always preferred a quiet evening at home with a good book or watching t.v. to running around all crazy like that, and no man has ever touched me. That's a right reserved for my future husband, and I'm very happy to keep it that way. My faith in God has always been rock solid, even if my certainty about the surrounding details hasn't.

How can these people say "Western women are all whores, they all walk around naked and sleep with anyone who asks, Westerners don't have family values, they're always getting divorced, they lie and cheat and steal, they're greedy, they don't believe in God...", but get defensive when all Muslims are stereotyped as terrorists, or, if not terrorists, then supportive of those who are?

So many Muslims in the Middle East (and in Latin America -Thanks for that note, Tuttie) have, in all likelihood, never actually met anyone from the West. Their opinions either come from movies (which we all know are ALWAYS accurate *eye roll*), or they are parroting what other people have said.

Prejudice works both ways, folks. Let's try not to add to the bumbling mass of ignorance, shall we?

*end of rant*

Where my heart lies...

Monterey, California... la tierra de mi corazon... Como te extranyo!






Epically cute hijab book.


This is the most epic-cute little book on hijab! It details all the things Muslim girls can do wearing hijab, like playing at the park or reading the Qur'an or praying or eating or shopping with parents or riding a bus. I love it. Price was $10.95, but we somehow ended up with a copy at my friend's book store, so I got it for $5.

It's from England, and despite what Amazon says, it is in print. You can buy different books in the series ("I Can Say Bismillah Anywhere", "I Can Eat Anything Anywhere", etc) on some Islamic store websites. Me, regardless of whether or not I eventually become Muslim, if I should lose my mind and have kids, will teach my daughter that hijab is a great, wonderful, beautiful and glorious thing. : D

Also, got this article link from new friend LK. : )

http://www.dailytexanonline.com/top-stories/covered-life-gives-new-perspective-1.1760128

Info on author

Here's what I got, folks:

Mark Gabriel is not his original name - he changed it after leaving Egypt. He has a bachelors, masters and PhD in Islamic History and Culture from Al-Azhar. After leaving Egypt, he did some work with a Christian organization in Capetown, Africa. He got a Masters in World Religion from the Florida Christian University in Orlando in 2001, and a PhD in Christian Education, also from FCU, in 2002. He was inducted as a fellow, Oxford Society of Scholars, in September 2003.

Sounds pretty well-qualified to me. : )

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hijab question.

Hello again, all. : ) Question to those of you who wear hijab/cover: Did wearing hijab change what you wear?

To clarify: I am not a girly-girl. I have never been into make-up (although I loved nail polish at 15-16-17). I don't wear dresses or skirts or girly blouses or those dreadful "baby doll tees" (I hate the ridiculously short sleeves...they show the -for most of us - most unflattering part of the arm). I've always been a "jeans and t-shirt, no shoes if I can get away with it" kind of girl -- especially after enlisting in the Army. Who wants to wear heels after tormenting their feet in boots for over 4 years?

Since wearing hijab, though, that's changed a bit. I've found that my previous almost-aversion to "frou-frou girly stuff" has loosened up enough for me to wear florals and pink and...just "girlier looking" clothes. I think that being able to wear my t-shirts and jeans under abayas has helped. I pick cheerful colors for my hijabs because most of my abayas are black, to help brighten them up a bit.

P.S. Also, do any of you speak Spanish?

Balance is restored in my universe....

First off, I have to thank NoorTheNinjabi (cute name!) for giving me that link to the guidance prayer.

Second, I think God gave me the answer to my dilemma WAY faster than I could have anticipated. I said that prayer yesterday afternoon, and last night, I went to the book store (just browsing their comparative religion section, seeing what they had).

This is what I found: Jesus and Muhammad: Profound Differences and Surprising Similarities by Mark Gabriel.

http://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Muhammad-Differences-Surprising-Similarities/dp/1591852919/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1253391164&sr=1-1

The major note on this is that it was written, not as a comparison of Christianity and Islam, but as a scholarly look at the lives and teachings of the respective founders. Basically, he separated the leaders from the followers.

The author: Dr. Gabriel also related his experience growing up as a Muslim (he had the Qur'an memorized by age 12, graduated #2 in a class of 6,000 from Al-Azhar University at 18, and began teaching and leading prayers at the local mosque as an Imam. All along, he got in trouble with his teachers for asking questions about Islam. At 35, he was tortured for 15 days by the Egyptian "secret police" who had been told by the university staff that he had renounced Islam and converted to Christianity. After being released, he quit going to the mosque and turned his back on Islam (in secret). He read the Bible, which had been given to him by a pharmacist, and after reading the Gospels and Acts, he converted to Christianity. He secretly attended church for a year, but was forced to leave Egypt after blurting out the truth to his father, who immediately tried to kill him. He has two PhD's, one in Islamic History, but I forget what the other was. : )

Anyway, I read his book cover-to-cover, and it answered every question and niggling doubt in my mind.

I think that this was God's answer for me (and He sure knows I don't need any more stress in my life right now).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Books re: Islam and/or Christianity currently on the shelf

I decided to give you guys a list of the Islamic/Christian/comparative religion books I have read (marked with a *) or have on my bookshelf to be read soon. In no particular order:

* Why Islam is Our Only Choice by Muhammad Haneef Shahid - Okay, I'm about half-way through this one. I have to tell you, the grammatical errors are heinous, so much so that they're a distraction. My guess is that a lot of these stories were in English/non-Arabic language, were translated to Arabic for publication, then translated back from Arabic to English. The most recent story comes from the mid-80s and the oldest goes back to the 1800s, so it's probably safe to assume that the original letters have been lost/thrown away over time.

101 Questions and Answers on Islam by John Renard

Qur'an, Penguin Classics edition translated by N.J. Dawood. Currently reading, and using the Qur'an translated by Maulana Muhammad Ali as a cross-reference.

Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong. This one is next on the shelf to be read.

Teach Yourself: Islam. This is a good, fast-reading basic primer on Islam for the person who doesn't know ANYTHING about Islam.

* Islam Revealed: A Christian Arab's View of Islam by Dr. Anis A. Shorrosh. This guy debated a prominent Muslim scholar, Ahmed Deedat, a couple of times between 1988 and 1993.

* Christianity and Islam According to the Bible and the Qur'an by Nasr Al-Moghamis. This is a compare/contrast of the two books by a Muslim. In this case, it's obvious that the point is that the Bible is erroneous and wrong when compared to the Qu'ran.

* partially. Muslim Women in America: The Challenge of Islamic Identity Today by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith and Kathleen M. Moore.

* The Truth about Islam and Women by John Ankerberg and Emir Caner. This one is a short book, written by a Christian and a Christian convert. Caner was disowned by his father when he converted to Christianity.

* Daughters of Another Path by Carol L. Anway. I really enjoyed this one, but I talked about it in one of my earliest posts, so I'm not going to repeat myself. : )

Daughters of Islam: Building Bridges with Muslim Women by Miriam Adeney.

Unveiling Islam: An Insider's Look at Muslim Life and Belief by Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner.

Voices Behind the Veil: The World of Islam Through the Eyes of Women by Ergun Mehmet Caner. This one is from a Christian POV.

The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I got this one because it was on clearance at Half Price Books. : P

And, finally, last, but certainly not least: the Holy Bible (the King James Version and the New International Version).

Anybody have some to recommend that I haven't listed here?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do the differences ultimately matter?

Boy, am I in a mood tonight. I've been reading up on Islam and Christianity, similarities and differences, and right now I'm so confused I don't know *anything*. When I started, it was just curiosity; what is all the fuss about (Islam)? Now, it has me questioning the religion in which I was raised, but not feeling very certain about Islam, either. It's like neither of them is a definite "yes" or "no" any more. There's no sense of peace for me, either way. I'm very frustrated... : (

Now I'm thinking, do all the differences really matter? Can't all of us (Christians, Muslims, and Jews) be right in worshipping the same God, and everything else just minor details? Could it be that there is more than one true and right path to the same destination?

I've given myself a headache, so I'm going to eat dinner and try not to think about it any more tonight.

Iftar last night

I went to (I'll call her "Z") "Z"'s house last night for iftar. What a spread! She must have been cooking all afternoon, and it was incredible. The soup she made was especially good. She also had lamb and rice, green beans and tomatoes, salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, corn and olive oil, flat bread, fruit, and dates. Top that off with juice and lots of water, and then Turkish tea at the end of the meal... It was well after noon before I was able to eat today. Too bad her husband missed it, but he went down the street to the masjid for iftar, I guess because we were coming

Two other girls (both converts) came over, too, and "L" ate so much she was moaning and groaning about how full she was afterwards.

Oh, and it was funny --- she and I wore the same abaya! I thought it was hilarious, but she seemed a little upset. I appeased her when I told her I wasn't going to the masjid after iftar. Evidently she is one of those people who gets upset if someone else has the same outfit, but it's okay. Me, I feel like I have to complement others on their good taste when they have a same article of clothing as me. : )

Friday, September 11, 2009

Still no luck...

Well, still no luck on the job front. The weather has been nasty, too -- raining every day -- so I haven't bothered going out for the last couple of days. People here seem to think that bad weather means "drive faster and stupider than normal". LOL! However, I'm working really hard to be optimistic. : ) And I've gotten an (almost) clean house out of the deal, since being at home so much lately gives me no excuse not to clean.

I went to the jummah prayers at the masjid today; for some reason I keep wanting to say "Jomeh prayers" -- "Jomeh" is Farsi for Friday, so I guess it's the same thing... : P. Anyway, it was nice. The sheikh's lesson was on the five Pillars of Islam, particularly zakat (which was emphasized because they're building a new Islamic center down town and zakat is the only way they can get the money to fund construction). At about 1:30 a man did the call to prayer --- I got chills listening to it. After they finished salat, everybody socialized a bit, and one very nice lady invited me to her house for iftar on Tuesday --- she knew me from the Islam 101 class. I'm looking forward to going.

And, last of all, I got the five abayas that I ordered! They're so pretty... I'll pull the photos from the website and post them when I get the time.

Actually, this is last of all: I have more new friends on here! It looks like the number has gone up 4 or 5 since I last wrote an entry. Maybe I'm not as boring as I thought! lol : )

P.S. On another note, if you Muslimahs would make du'a that the lady who owns the new Islamic clothing store here get it up and running again soon -- all the rain we've had made the roof over her shop so heavy that part of it collapsed in earlier this week. She was selling her hijabs, khol, incense, etc., outside the masjid today, and the sisters were getting it all. : )

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hi!

Hi, everybody! How's things?

Well, I got a semi-positive e-mail from one company I sent my resume to. They sent me an e-mail that said that they still have my resume and that they're comparing my skills and qualifications to job openings they have/will have soon.

So, not a rejection (not yet).

: ) Happy thoughts, happy thoughts....

Friday, August 28, 2009

Better late than never...

To all the Muslimahs (and brothers?) who follow my blog, I wish you a (maybe late, but not sure since I can't remember if I've already said it) Ramadan Mubarak!

Well, I got my first "Thanks, but no thanks" rejection letter yesterday from The Container Store, and I got one from Target today. *sigh* Everyone says that the military is such a great starting point, but... I can't seem to get a job! The defense contractors only seem to be interested in intel analysts and linguists with Middle Eastern languages (Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Dari, etc). Since we (in the active Army, anyway) didn't get to choose our languages ourselves, but get what we call "voluntold" (a staple of military life), and that's just not fair. Yes, I know, life's not fair, but right this moment I'm feeling pretty childish. It's an LNF time in my life.

*soooooo frustrated*

On a happier note, HijabGirl has a bunch of pretty new hijabs, just in time for Eid. Some new prayer outfits, too. I'm going to browse the site... Online shopping makes me happy. And it makes my bank account happy when I don't buy. : P

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cute new goodies!

I got new goodies! I went to Ross and got 5 pairs of jeans and a cute long black/white patterned tunic, and also found Hello Kitty bubble bath and a pink fleece Hello Kitty jacket. I got a cute Hello Kitty bracelet at an accessories store, too. And I got 4 pairs of shoes (yay, BOGO!) at Payless.

And I got all those half niqab that I ordered! Some are longer, but they're all great. I found that if I loop the back of the elastic around my bun, high on the back of my head, it holds very well.

*so excited* I'm going back to The Sunnah The Better (the Islamic store here) tomorrow to check out their new merchandise.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pretty abayas!

While Googling "pink abaya", I found this website: www.renukasilks.com.

They have a particularly lovely abaya (two-layers, with buttons at the top of the outer layer) on page 3 of the "abaya/jilbab" section for $45. You can get that style in two-tone pink, two-tone gray, yellow and purple, blue and purple...etc. So many options! And for about 15 bucks more you can get the matching hijab and niqab.

*Bliss*

Friday, August 21, 2009

Islam 101 continued...

Hi, gals. I read your comments and I am very appreciative of them.

Yes, I am taking my time and being very deliberate in my studying. I'm going to write down the questions I come up with and pose the Islamic ones to the sisters at the masjid, and the Christianity-related ones to a local church.

The one thing that I have found odd is that I keep hearing "the Bible has been altered/corrupted/changed". My question is this: if the Bible has been corrupted, why did God instruct Mohammed/the people to ask the people who had read the Scripture before (meaning the Bible) if they misunderstood something in the Qu'ran?

Surat Yunus 10:94 --
YUSUFALI: If thou wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before thee: the Truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord: so be in no wise of those in doubt.
PICKTHAL: And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers.
SHAKIR: But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers.

These are three different translations of the Qu'ran. I doubt that God would instruct people to follow the truth of a "corrupted" Bible.

Second: All the different "versions" of the Bible aren't versions. Like the Qu'ran, they're different translations. Unless I totally miss my guess, we still have the original books of the Bible, so the translations are likely being done from the original, not from translations of translations of translations of the original. I don't know how the Catholic Bible or the Book of Mormon or any of that fit into this subject (or if these are the "versions" that the sisters have referred to), since I've never read them.

Third: Why would Mohammed edit the Qu'ran, if it were whole and true? From what I've read, Mohammed revised/edited the Qu'ran every year, not just adding things, but taking things out. This leads to my next question.

Fourth: Why would God supposedly give a commandment (for lack of a better word), but then take it back a little later? I'm forgetting the examples I read of this, but I'll make a note in the future if I find it again.

Fifth: Muslims claim that the Bible says nothing about Jesus being the Son of God, and that Jesus Himself never claimed it. If not, then what about the baptism of Jesus, where a dove flew from the heavens and God said "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."?

I know I've left out some things, but I'll continue with this when I remember. This is what I get for not writing things down. : )

I am trying very hard to be objective in my study, but most of my questions are Islam-related, since I have been a part of Christianity my whole life and have more knowledge and background on it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Islam 101

Yup, I actually went, even though I was pretty nervous. I was wearing niqab.

I didn't know where to go at first, so I just went in through the women's entrance. I went into the prayer room and there were two women there. One was probably around 50 and had been Muslim for a month (she'd converted from Catholicism). The other was probably a little younger than me, and she'd been Muslim for four months, but had studied for the eight months prior to her conversion. We chatted for a while, and another lady (another new convert) came in with her 17 month-old daughter. I talked to her for a bit, and then we all went to the class, in what was actually the cafeteria, in a separate building. There were two men there (one the teacher), and the rest (about 10-12) were women.

The man who was teaching the class seemed to know a lot. One thing he said got me to thinking. He said "People are made to want to worship one God, not 2 or 3 or a thousand." He also mentioned that all of the prophets had come with the message that God was the only God, and only He was to be worshiped. Like it says in the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt have no other God before (besides) Me.

After he said that, the wheels in my head started turning. He'd made a very valid point, regardless of whether or not I agreed with the rest of what he said (and I didn't disagree, really).

It left me with a lot to think about.

I also found out that there is a Muslim clothing store here -- it just opened a couple of weeks ago, and it's not too far from my house. It's called The Sunnah The Better. I talked to the lady who owns it for a long time -- she was very nice and gave me a CD with a sermon called "Why You Should Be Muslim". The sheikh/imam who gave it was a convert. I've listened to it, and it's very good. He brings up a lot of interesting points, including one about people who stay with the religion they grew up with because it was what their parents taught them. He said that his own mother was Christian and believed in the trinity because that was what her parents had taught.

So, even more to think about.

If I were to convert, the hardest part would be having to change my belief in Jesus. It would be like turning my back on everything I'd ever been taught or believed about Christianity. How could I reconcile that? I guess my biggest fear about all this is converting to Islam, and finding out after I die that I was wrong and Christianity was the right religion, or not converting and finding out that Islam was the right religion. I wish there were a way to know for SURE which is the right path to take.

Which of you ladies has converted from Christianity to Islam? What convinced you to do so?

It feels like a huge dilemma right now. I guess I'll keep studying and see if God nudges me one way or another.

The good thing about there being no classes during Ramadan (because they have to use the cafeteria for the after-dusk meal) is that I'll have plenty of time to read through the Qu'ran and write down any questions that I have.

I bought a new Qu'ran today -- the one I had had such small print, it was hard to read. The new one is better.

Lita (the girl around my age) invited me for Jummah prayers tomorrow. I'm planning on going.

Even right now I want to go back and sit in the prayer room and think and pray about what to do. It's like I'm being drawn back. Could that be an indication in and of itself?