I believed her


And as she looked at me, her eyes piercing right through my very soul; I felt it reverberate through my body. She said “he’s crazy girl…. he hates me, he’s fu**ing crazy” I believed her as she said those words. They reverberated through me touching something deep and unknown yet very familiar. I believed those words like I believed that everything dies; like I believed in love, life and everything dark. Just like I believed her dismissive laugh 2 seconds later and we talked of the upcoming year. We talked of cook outs, Wisconsin and how it was going to be her best year yet. Three and a half days later:in a private room at the emergency room in Silver Cross Hospital detectives told me “there’s been an incident, some people broke in to your sister’s home and she’s been shot. …”

detectives apologized to me as they said “there’s been an incident”…….

In these empty arms

Excited because the article I wrote “In these empty arms”

Was published in the Mariam Poppins magazine for this month AND it will be posted on their site later on as well.

For those of you who aren’t Muslim on my list @Mariam Poppins is a magazine for Muslim women (others can read it as well) that tries to address a multitude of women’s concerns, issues, life, solutions, and interests.

In the article the issue of coping, grieving, parenting, and gratitude are discussed between Muslim women in a restaurant, and not for the first time this happened either.

The article addresses grieving, sisterhood, Islamic reminders, and principles

And a raw, eye-opening look into the life of grieving mothers…..

sorrow, joy, past experiences, happiness, coping, grieving-HUMAN Life

We spend so much time trying to be happy. Humans. We do, we really do. Yes, we ALL have those funks that we stay in for a while; but in reality cynicism is exhausting. Being bitter, harsh, sad, angry, and cynical will eat you alive more than the actual debilitating pain that causes you to feel and be this way.

At some point we will either cope through goodness, great people, friendships, maturity, or religion. Sometimes all of them. Sometimes one of them. Whatever works for you. Then, once there, we will strive SO HARD to be that “Better me.” Some of it will burn us out. Some of it will push us forward “todo pa’lante” and thrive. Some of us will become obsessed with this help, whatever it is pushing us forward, uplifting us; helping us in our sorrow. Many of us will fall somewhere in the middle with rises and dips in there.

I’m stuck currently in HUMAN. Human who happens to be woman, mom, Muslim, my past and all I’ve been through. Some days I’m a striving-to-improve Muslimah above everything else. Some days I barely get by, and a Hug from my child is all I can bare. Some days, some days even that is harder than I can take, harder than I can bare. Some days your legs over the side of the bed is the BIGGEST accomplishment you can envision yourself to take.

I’ve been very pensive lately. Life sure is a roller coaster ride. I reflect on the amazing qualities of the brain, at it’s amazing features all it can learn, take, how amazingly resilient and how terribly fragile it is. I think of depression, schizophrenia, Autism, Retts syndrome, Cancer, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and all the people whose minds and souls have been ravaged by life and who pretend to be ‘normal’ and get by.

Life is all over the place, like my thoughts.

I think of all the imperfect mistakes that shaped us. The experiences we never should have had which taught us. The dumb a** mistakes we make that can forever change our youth, you, our marriages, or our lives. We all have them. Some of us, wiser than others; have fewer mistakes or life learning errors. Some of us have many life experiences and learn the hard way.

Some of us have lost a pet, or a friend, some of us lost a family member– some of us have lost all of them, and a child or a parent. Some of us have lost all that and more, in a Hard way. Some of us have seen murder, cancer, war, psychosis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, we’ve experienced a child fall asleep in our arms only to never wake up, a child dying in a fire, a sister murdered, a brother who couldn’t take it and ended it….some of us, some of us would have went through the feelings of that last one and somehow made it through. AlHamdulilah, AlHamdulilah through it all.

Reflecting on some things of my own, some things I’ve lived through, witnessed of my friends or of my family.

How hard can it be to be looked up to and admit you want to give up or mess up, or try something bad? I’m wondering how would someone admit that to another? How do you seek help before falling into that? Whatever that may be…

How does a family survive loosing their Captain? How does a mother cope with empty arms? How does a sister get through not being able to pick up the phone and call her sibling? How does a sinner return to their faith, their rope? How does a mother, hugging her child who is having a seizure stay in the moment with the heavy weight on her shoulders of just finding out she herself has a rare form of cancer out of nowhere and is already in a stage 2? How does a wife regain her husband’s love? How does a drug addict get over the urge to just slip one more time? How do we cope in this amazing, awful, happy, depressing, horrible, fun, disgusting, sick, hopeful world?

These are all rhetorical questions. I don’t really want answers. I’m just using my blog as a diary of sorts so to speak. I know how I cope, most days anyhow. AlHamdulilah for Islam, the internet and some confidants, companions, my musings and the internet. That’s mine, my safety net, my “happy pill” so to speak. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s just another thing that I “fail at”. Sometimes. Sometimes I’m just a shell. and sometimes that’s okay.

Shout out to all my shells. To my struggling to get by people. Shout out to the grieving, to the recovering, shout out to the muslims striving, Shout out to the hurt, the attacked, the defeated and then to those who have slacked and slipped up and relapsed. The ONLY way to go from the bottom is up. Rejoice, rejoice that you can be an example of starting over. No matter what it is. How hard it may be, how utterly life shattering it is or was you CAN be you. Be you in this awesome life. Be you. Relish those things that made you who you are and keep on keepin on.

Weather and gratitude AlHamdulilah (just a “Personal” reflection)

As I sit here listening to some recordings…. I have many thoughts going through my head. The rain came hard and fast earlier and left flash floods and a 20 degree temperature drop Alhamdulillah. Now the night is still and quiet with silent lightening flashing every now and again and big fat clouds moving about overhead. Creation is so wonderful SubhanAllah.

I don’t know why it is I feel so at peace in weather that most people find annoying, disturbing, “not nice, or “blah.” I find it comforting. One could speculate that it has to do with gratitude, gratitude for the chance of making dua (prayers) gratitude for rain when so many suffer from drought right now. One could speculate many things.The truth is I’ve always loved this weather even before acknowledgement of gratitude or even before Islam. I still don’t know why I feel “at peace” in this weather. “They” used to say that some people aren’t content unless they’re in some sort of turmoil. This isn’t really me, I can be confrontational but I don’t enjoy living in disarray or confrontation. Therefore that can’t be it. Maybe it’s because ever since I was conceived possibly, I’ve known “storms?” Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to sleep and relax in this weather? Maybe it’s because I’ve loved the ultimate love and the ultimate loss??? The fast hard rains at times remind me of that fast hard cries…..*shakes off those thoughts * AlHamdulillah I’ve lost much, OH SO very much but I’ve also gained so much in this life.

I’ve gained peace through knowledge that there is better (in the full meaning, all the way around). I’ve gained Islam by Allah’s permission. I’ve gained a way to live, change, learn, grow, hope, pray, live and be. Even though I’m still relatively new (3 and a half years almost) to this I’ve learned So Much and I’m amazed at how little I actually know. I truly enjoy knowing God would NEVER punish a child for dying because of “original sin.” I take refuge in Allah’s words and His promises when the grief and sorrow starts to sting stronger. I look at the world around me and all I know, have been through and seen or know of and I know the Islamic legislation’s are sent down indeed for a reason.

I’ve been blessed with so many venues to learn from family, society, Sisterhood, websites, life, the net, my children, death, sorrow, love, loss, marriage, divorce, zakat, friendship, nikkah (Islamic marriage) and being married to a Practicing muslim man AlHamdulillah and in being a homeschooling Muslimah Latina American Mom. I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be grateful for some of those aforementioned words (experiences)
Those words could NEVER convey all the emotion, turmoils, joy, sorrow, pain, growing simply written or spoken (especially in English) The fact of the matter is unless we live through them and Allah blesses us with some understanding they could never be conveyed to anyone who hasn’t seen being a parent and loosing their child. Islam and belief could never FULLY  (at least to me, it could be different for others) appreciate, love and embrace Islaam. Even as I sit here and type I’m half smiling with a knot in my throat. may Allah protect and guide us all, may He the All Merciful fill our hearts with joy, HAMD, love, shukr, and peace. May He forgive us and guide us and may He heal our broken hearts and guide our loved ones ameen!!!

Sorrow-inspiration-hope part 1

For all my girls “going through it”. For everyone struggling, hurting, sad, angry, depressed, hurt, betrayed, lost, and full of sorrow, I dedicate this to you.
Life is a series of attacks it seems at times and the questions in our head can get quite loud…..

“Why me, WHY? Who do they (she/he) think they are? What am I going to do? Why doesn’t anybody care? Why do I even care? Why is my life so messed up? Why does everyone else have it easy and not me? Why is everyone else’s marriage great? (not true, we all have struggles somewhere) Why can’t I just be happy? Why can’t I just be rich so some of this would go away? Why did I have to find out? Why am I alone? Why would he do that? Why can’t i be good enough? Why don’t I know more, practice better? Why do I feel so stuck? Why, WHY, WHY?!

Sometimes, the word WHY alone is a painful word, a sorrowful word and to me even a hated word.

The Messenger of Allah (sws) said, “Remember Allah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of difficulty.” (Tirmidhi)

And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.” – Quran, 17:70

Some days we don’t feel that way I bet you’re thinking, but imagine if Allah and our faith in Islam wasn’t there?! Imagine how much lonelier we’d be, how Lost!

“And if there should come to you guidance from Me – then whoever follows My guidance will neither go astray [in the world] nor suffer [in the Hereafter].”

Sometimes things get so tough for us that we almost feel as if maybe God (Allah) left us over some sin we may have done, I’ve been there…. we assume because things seem to keep going “one thing into another” that Allah has abandoned us, but I swear to you abandoning the Only One who could Possibly get you through this, abandoning our Faith will only increase our loneliness and sorrow.

We’re not perfect and no one guarantees we ever will be. The Prophets and great people of this world have suffered immense sorrows yet they were the ones that Allah helped most. The stories of what happened to all the prophets scream out to us the injustice, sorrows, and trials they went through. From ridicule, hunger, and torture to loosing their children, not having children, loosing all they had and being murdered. There are MANY examples in the Qur’an of events that happened to them as well. We know the story of Yusef and how he suffered. We know how sometimes we plan and things don’t go our way (The mother of Maryam-mother of Isa(Jesus) she planned to have a son and had a girl) Yet look, Allah knew and she didn’t, Sometimes things are for the better we just don’t know!

We hurt ourselves, we think about what people will say, think or do. We ponder over what is distressing us, some of us May Allah guide and forgive us, stare at pictures or even listen to Music which further alters our mood and sinks us in to a deeper despair. I ask this though, If you know someone HATES you and would LOVE to hurt you, would you hang out with them, trust them, listen to them and/or allow them to hurt you? NO- right? Well, we do every Single day. The shaitan promised to be our enemy and yet we turn to his despair instead of Allah’s Mercy. We turn to Shaitan’s worries, music, thoughts, sorrow, and whispers instead of to Allah’s relief, Mercy and Hope.

Some of us may fall into thinking what’s the point/ I try to be a better muslim/wife/mother/employee etc but I keep failing, why even bother? Well we wash our dishes but they’re going to get dirty aren’t they? We make our beds even though they’ll just be slept in, we shower even though I guarantee you we WILL need to shower again. This doesn’t mean that a person who is Depressed can just “snap out of it” but it DOES mean a lot of times we aid our sadness and make it bigger.

I remember a LONG time ago I was watching a movie called Shawshank Redemption and in it they said “Get busy living or get busy dying”….how true that is! Some of us merely exist in helping the Shaitan hurt our OWNSELVES! I’ve been there, I’ve done it.

This doesn’t mean we can’t feel sorrow, this doesn’t mean, like most muslims say “Be patient” that we’re ungrateful. It’s perfectly normal to feel some sadness or sorrow over stuff in this world. The trick is not to put ourselves in it deeper or be the cause of our issues. Allah will not change the condition of a person until first they change themselves.

“And whoever is conscious of Allah, He will make for him a way out (from every difficulty). And He will provide for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed Allah has sent a measure for all things.” (Quran: 65/2-3)

Consider the person is unemployed and suffering some hardships…..I can be unemployed and believe in Allah but until I get up early and search every single day, early in the morning dressed and speaking for success I will not find employment “trust in Allah but tie your camel”.

If someone is a drunk and yet HATES being sick, hungover, in pain, unhealthy and unemployed yet they keep drinking Allah will NOT rectify their condition.

If a woman keeps calling the police on her abusive “Man” yet she stays with him it will be extremely difficult for her to find peace, a way out and a solution (this is NOT easy for them there is a LOT more to these situations and they need compassion, REAL solutions, help, hope and true desire to leave and change their situation) For REAL solutions, an insight into what it’s like and helpful tips look at this post I wrote on Domestic Violence, escaping it, and an insight to women’s trials in this position. Click here ~> Domestic Violence: A Guide to escaping Abusive Relationships.

If someone wants to be a better muslim but constantly ignores the Qur’an it’ll be hard to try to change that.
We must change ourselves many times before our situation will change. Now, of course, in difficult situations it’s not that easy! Start small, start with hope, start with prayer, start with one small consistent change. I recommend reading the stories of Yussef and his father and their trials. If you’re not a BIG reader, start small, read ten minutes. That’s nothing, it’s looking at your phone 3 times or opening the refrigerator…you’ll loose nothing and gain much InshaAllah. After that look up a lecture, video, mp3, podcast or audio on the subject and listen to it and reflect as you clean, sit, browse the net or just relax.

There are some small things we can do to slightly alter our mood, we can get up and go for a walk, do some jumping jacks, read a book, take a shower. STOP what your doing if your really down-change your scene! Stop the self hurting, our minds at times attack us and we can’t help it but sitting around moping makes us feel worse and hurting ourselves isn’t going to fix it. Some things, no matter how hopeful, religious, or busy we are just can’t be avoided, they sting, they hurt, they cause anger, despair, sorrow and depression. You can’t fix everything over night with a shower, some praying and hope, some things have to “run their course” so to speak. Going through a tragedy or sometimes a loss of a certain relationship can be painful and stop us in our tracks. Take a moment, breathe, feel the sorrow but don’t aid the sorrow in making yourself feel worse. I love you for the sake of Allah and ask that you please forgive me for any hurtful comments that may have been taken the wrong way in this post. I HATE telling people how and what to feel and my intention was provide REAL tips, advice, and hope from someone who has known way too much sorrow herself. I ask for your duas and forgiveness, ameen!!!~Holly Garza

You’re NOT alone


That gentle breeze as it caresses your face-the warmth of a nice cool day and it’s sunshine as you think.

The impossible to swallow through knot-in-throat and elephant sitting on your chest sensation, and yet still you manage to stay afloat…

AlHamdulillah, alHamdulillah, AlHamdulillah….

Allah says:“Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods, lives and the fruits (of your toil) but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere. Those who, when misfortune strikes them, say: ‘Indeed we belong to Allah and to Him is our return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord and it is those who are rightly guided.” [Sûrah al-Baqarah: 155] 

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)said: “No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflicts any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his sins by it.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When Allah desires good for someone, He tries him with hardships.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî] 

It IS entirely possible to have faith, to believe, to ‘pass’ this test by the Mercy of Allah and still feel sad.

I’m here, I can’t change, I can’t fix, I can’t tell you why… Only Allah has  the keys to the unseen. I can listen, I can care, I can understand through my own sorrow and tests a portion  of yours.

I can’t create miracles, I can’t know how that day will be if He allows us to be good enough to be reunited but somethings aren’t always as they seem…..surah Al-Imran 3:35-37…..typical example, well Not “typical” but a reminder of how Allah knows better then us and has a GREAT reward

The wife of Imran was like (to Allah) “I gave birth to a girl” (after promising what was in her womb for the service of Allah) and giving birth to Maryam (mary) mother of Isa(Jesus) little did she know MashaAllah heheheh imagine telling Allah what you gave birth to, when He The All-Mighty knew?! hehehehe

One of the lessons I took from this is some situations may not go as we planned or what we think is ideal, but in the end they are the best and what Allah has planned- Surah Yusef is full of tragedies that Allah had indeed had better outcomes coming from.

All I can say to you is this for certain, May Allah grant you peace, and I’m here to listen but when that’s not enough cry it out and pray, pray like no other day! Make dua, drop down on that carpet and give it all to Him- He the One who all can see and know and ask Him for His guidance, patience, and help.

O our Lord, pour out on us patience, and make us die as those who have submitted (to You). (A-RAAF: 126) Ameen!!!!!