I believed her

rights

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”…….

Priorities and “Falling apart” when we NEED to keep it together Part 3

For Part two click here

Asalaamu Alaikum waramatluahi wabrakatahu (May the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah (God) be upon you).

Buenos Días (good morning or good day) y’all! =) 

In sha Allah all is well WONDERFUL LADIES.

AlHamdulilah  all is well around here  and I’m even extra happy to get a message saying you are reading and enjoying the blog. Sometime I wonder if I’m talking to myself and it’s good to get feedback. I’m grateful that you are able to relate and find benefit here.

 

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In continuing with the series, which really could go one forever, we shall tackle self-improvement and peace with ourselves.

 

  • Self-examination
  • Gratitude
  • Creativity 
  • Commitment 

 

Okay, I know those are some big words but have no fear in implementing and trying to strive for the tips in post one and two. These can easily be added to our goals as well. I know I have repeatedly told you all to be kind to yourselves, to be patient, consistent and forgive yourself for lack of perfection however that doesn’t mean I am calling us to stay unmotivated, and unfulfilled.

*Self-examination.

Bring yourself to account before you are taken to account (on the Day of Judgement),” and, “Weigh your deeds before your deeds are weighed.” (“Hasibu anfusakum qabla antuhasabu, wazinu anfusakum qabla antuzanu.”) – Umar ibn al-Khattab

This is most recently, one of my favorite reminders ma shaa Allah. Who else can be a better critic of us than ourselves? Who can tell me what I need to do and when better than me? I’ve recently been more contemplative of this and trying to add more productivity to my own life. However, it doesn’t need to be a burden and can actually be quite interesting or even fulfilling.

As the quote says “I’m in this for life, not a life sentence” Author unknown

Sit down and get yourself a notebook or diary, in it write down what Good you found in your day, from the most innocent, trivial thing to the the most important. Write down your school or work accomplishments or your homeschooling accomplishments. Write down what good eeman boosting or Islamic things you did and what you strive for tomorrow. This will be private so be as brutally honest while kind with yourself as possible and strive for improvement. 

Not only is this great for goal setting, feeling accomplished and encouraging for us it’s also something that was practiced by the salaf (predecessors) of our Ummah. Many of the sahaaba would make up the account for themselves at the end of each day, repenting for the wrong they did and determining to do better the next day.So you’ll be seeing all you do, get the reward of that, revive a sunnah 🙂 and goal set ma sha Allah 

Hasan al-Basri (rahimahullaah) said, “You will never meet a believer except that he brings himself to account.”

This I find extremely helpful because it’s useful in boosting my mood (When I see all I truly do instead of feeling like a failure)

This helps me improve my self in character, spirituality, self-improvement and all things. It’s helpful to see everything on paper.

 

*Gratitude- When you aren’t used to always being grateful or if you live in a argumentative environment be it home, work, school etc it’s hard to know where to begin doing this. I mean, sure we’re grateful, right? I mean we say thank you to people for ALL they do for us, we thank Our Lord non stop for all of our blessings…. or we try to anyhow.

Imagine walking with no hands, no vision, no legs. Some people have these pebbles in their road yet are more grateful than us! SubhanAllah May Allah guide and forgive us Aameen 

“My sin burdened me heavily. But when I measured it against Your Grace, O Lord, Your forgiveness came out greater.” – Imam Shafii

There are literally countless of things to be grateful of. From the most trivial, like a good drive somewhere to the best Guidance in sha Allah. There can be thousands of things in between those two that we alone know best which blessings move us the most.

And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ [Quran, 14:7]

From a great nights rest, to a child homeschooling with us, obedient children, a loving mom, a patient husband, eye-sight the list is endless alHamdulilah  Sit down, write at least 10 things down that you’re grateful for at the beginning of your day and watch yourself have a brighter, happier, peaceful day in shaa Allah .

Gratitude is one of the best and quickest ways to regain our focus. Many times when we feel stuck it means we’re giving too much attention to things that stress us and aren’t showing gratitude to the stuff we can do and we have. Remember we are by default going to have anxiety about certain situations. That’s okay but still try to keep in  mind gratitude.

Indeed, mankind was created anxious: When evil touches him, impatient, And when good touches him, withholding [of it]. [Surat Al–Ma’arij: 70:19-21]

If your anything like me now you’re feeling a bit neglectful like perhaps we are very grateful but we’re realizing we could have been so much more. Don’t despair. 

O son of Adam, as long as you call upon Me and put your hope in Me, I have forgiven you for what you have done and I do not mind. O son of Adam, if your sins were to reach the clouds of the sky and then you would seek My forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, if you were to come to Me with sins that are close to filling the earth and then you would meet Me without ascribing any partners with Me, I would certainly bring to you forgiveness close to filling it. [Hadithi Qudsi]

 

* Creativity

I remember once reading a book (I think) and there was a quote that stood out to me so I wrote it down. It was a way to give myself forgiveness for not being touched by the “creative/feminine/decorative” gene. I really don’t have it y’all, Not a drop! It takes lots of reading books, and google with pinterest to come up with ideas in homeschooling. Anyhow the quote also made me remember how when I’m inspired to actually write a post or do something I’m usually busy at that exact moment. The quote said ” Creativity is not designed for fitting into a mother’s busy day nor is it convenient”  I’m sure there was more to it but it looks like I trailed off in my notebook (ADHD rears it’s ugly little head) But yes, I know I just said to call ourselves to account however this doesn’t mean when and if you find inspiration to write, paint, knit, sew etc you just ignore it. Being a woman, a whole person it’s okay to do enjoyable things in life as well. We can’t be rules and rigidity all the time.

 

* Commitment – 

Be committed to yourself above everything! You alone will feel the joys of accomplishing all of these life changes we have discussed in the last few posts. However the beauty of self-improvement is it usually makes us a better person which enhances everyone’s life around us which in turn comes back to enhance our lives ma sha Allah alHamdulilah. When we take steps to be content our mood improves and we’re kinder to other and a joy to be around. When we de-clutter our minds and our homes we are more productive, thus less stressed and not overwhelmed ma sha Allah 

When we clean, re-organize and smile while trying to be a good example not only do we Feel better but we become better and it can be a means of attaining good ma sha Allah. Remember Abu Huraira quoted Prophet Muhammad as saying: “Removing a harmful thing from the way is also Sadaqah”.

I hope this series has been helpful to you =)

 

Priorities and “Falling apart” when we NEED to keep it together Part 2

Asalaamu Alaikum waramatluahi wabrakatahu (May the peace, the mercy, and the blessings of Allah (God) be upon you).

Yes I know, I’ve been “away” for a while. I was supposed to be writing how to stay productive and I couldn’t write about something I wasn’t doing.

After the deep freeze of which we are Still in by the way. The move, brrr I DON’T Ever want to move in Winter again! Add unpacking, homeschool and part time work I just couldn’t post. That and I’ve always been bad about being consistent with blogging so that’s me. Besides, I figure real life, home, people and homeschooling is more of a priority than the net.

Anyhow things have FINALLY settled, my place looks more like a home (yay!) and I finally petitioned facebook to start looking into why my homeschooling Muslimah Mommies page isn’t showing up.

get up

I figured now that I have more time I could finish this blog series on prioritizing, de-cluttering and adding structure our lives and time in sha Allah (God Willing). For part One Click here

On to ways to keep or get the ball rolling on being a better, happier you, here are other things I learned, had to do, try and fail before trying again.

* Confidence

* Relaxation

* Perfectionism

First things first Don’t forget to be Nice to YOU!

The Merciful One shows mercy to those who are themselves merciful (to others). So show mercy to whatever is on earth, then He who is in heaven will show mercy to you.” (Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi)

* Perfectionism

So you’ve been reading these and now instead of falling apart you’re obsessed with cleaning, learning, cooking, etc etc….(I’m not, but you may be ;p I don’t have that in my DNA)

We’re sure everything we’re doing can be better or might even all be wrong! How, how on earth can we get out of this mentality? We are responsible for our homes, children and all and what a blessing it is ma shaa Allah!

Ibn Umar ra said that Rasulullah saw said: “Each of you is a guardian, and each of you will be asked about your guardianship. The leader is a guardian, and the man is a guardian over the people of his house, and the woman is a guardian over her husband’s house and children. So each of you is a guardian, and each of you will be asked about your guardianship.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

But how do we avoid falling into the magazine-like home keeper in which no one can make a mess? Or how do we keep our-self from assuming we have to be that way?

Remember to tell yourself “I am a good woman/person/daughter/wife/mother, I will NEVER be a perfect one”

“I asked Allah’s Messenger ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) which deed was best.” He (the Holy Prophet) replied: “The prayer at its appointed hour”. [Sahih Muslim]

Now I’m not calling us to continue our lazy ways nor to be content without goals but it’s okay to know we’ll never be perfect. We fret so much at times thinking everything we’re doing is wrong. We’re so insecure that everything we do as a woman is bad or reflecting on other women, muslims, daughters or our kids. We’re totally neurotic at times about this so called perfection we seek. We are Human beings, we are NOT perfect!

“In the sight of Allah, only piety puts a person above another”

The Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) used to seek refuge in Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla (glorified and exalted be He) from laziness that he used to mention it daily in this dua: “O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being over powered by men.” [Sahih Bukhari]

*Confidence– Be confident in yourself ladies! No, not arrogant not “look good” I mean confidence in your capabilities and that your Lord made the best you that you can be. Now arrogance is NOT from Islam and the believers are called to be slaves of their Lord and Humble.
Comprehending ones’ intelligence, looks, abilities, potentials, and building on the existing capabilities in the attempt to satisfy one’s desires and attain to the true human identity. This is in no way in conflict with the order to trust in Allah and be humble. After all as the quote goes, “You are on a rock floating in space!” SubhanAllah …..it’s so deep, when you zoom out looking at images of the Universe you see even the Earth becomes smaller and smaller in our amazing Creators fashioned decree until it’s a speck, we are a speck on a speck….but I digress….subhanAllah It’s awe-inspiring to me.

Anyhow, There are several things that contribute to the positive conception of self-confidence. The first is to LOVE YOURSELF and be kind to you. Also comprehending oneself, one’s capabilities, strengths and weaknesses, duties, and material and spiritual assets. What is the most effective plan for using these assets? These are all points and questions that stem from the two key religious concepts: self-knowledge and recognizing one’s God-given blessings and appropriately exploiting them. Remember to implement the tips, ideas and advice from post one and this one to help you boost your confidence. After numerous and painful tries you’ll learn to clean as you cook, do laundry before it piles up, read those 2 Arabic letters and you’ll start feeling a smile creep up on your face, that, that right there is what you use as your fuel to keep going and build your confidence in knowing you are in control of certain areas of your life and can change some things 🙂

* Relaxation– Say it with me, no, for real say it aloud and mean it. “When I take time to rest, I am not wasting time. I am Enjoying it.” Now repeat. Yes I know, There is only so much time in a day and caring for our duties, be they work, the home, school, religious, family or children takes up most of it. Too often we use our free time to do household chores, homework, work (even worse!) This is NOT rest! In the quest for our self-improvement we must not get too hung up on perfection or trying so hard to be better that it makes us grumpier. It’s unrealistic to expect to be at our very best every single day. Remember not to blame yourself when you have days that are less than your best. There are days at work/home/parenting/homeschooling that flow as naturally as laughter and you feel a comfort, love, ease and comfort in knowing that you know and enjoy what you’re doing. these days nothing interferes with that feeling Even these days we deserve a little break but much more so on the days we question our roles. Days Where we wonder why bother and feel so hormonal or overwhelmed, we REALLY deserve a break on those days the most!

By allowing yourself relaxation time , some quiet time to make enjoy nothing, make dua, pick up your favorite hobby or just re-group you’re improving the quality of time you give to other people.

Aisha reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, gentleness is not in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it.”

Source: Sahih Muslim 2594

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Imam Muslim

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…..

tragedy, sadness,losses, sorrows and “moving on”

Some sorrows, life experiences, tragedies, losses, or sequence of events can follow us for an entire lifetime…and that’s okay. As long as people understand much like a shadow on a warm, sunny day in your contentment, joy, peace and even stress-that experience, that pain; it’s always right there under the surface.

Some losses wound so deeply that others think you “look” just “fine” when it’s almost as if you should be missing at least 2 or 3 limbs so they can almost TRY to comprehend the significant impact of the loss you had.

Our pain is what makes us grow and makes us better, seek better, strive to be better, seek Him, The Most High for some relief. The problem with “getting better” is often times we have to “break” first.

Much like a hard workout breaks, literally shreds; your muscles apart. The next day you’re weak, wobbly and incapable of crawling out of bed correctly….these are what some losses are like…intensified.

However, if you keep on “working out” through the pain the muscles rebuild themselves, bigger stronger. No one says these muscles won’t ever tear, hurt, be sore or weak again but it’s going to take a whole lot more. A whole lot more! Now you have BIGGER, better, stronger muscles……Be like that muscle…..it’s okay to break, it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to literally burst down just make sure to not aid yourself in your self destruction. Think of the caterpillar….it eats so much it literally BREAKS…..but out of that seemingly destruction of “bursting” emerges a much more beautiful creature who literally has the ability to just fly away

……~Holly Garza

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

Thoughts on “Blacks being treated equally”

I saw a post today by someone who was annoyed and claimed they wern’t racist and they’re annoyed that people act as if black people are treated differently… My jaw dropped! REALLY?!?! How do people who aren’t blind, and deaf feel this way?

I’m HONESTLY saddened by people who claim there isn’t different treatment for “Blacks” or African Americans in this Country. You could be Black, well educated, 2+ degrees, a home, a car….have all that but the minute your son turns 11 you BETTER have some sort of Id because the fact of the matter is black boys look “suspicious” to police especially if they are walking with their friend or sibling (you know, 2 or more together??? {yeah no, that MUst be dangerous} (sarcasm intended) and get stopped…no id?

Well if I feel like it and I’m a policeman I can take you downtown and “process you” you know…”just to make sure”…

It doesn’t matter if it’s the “thug-looking” kind or the manner having boy with good grades. It happens day in and day out. If you truly aren’t racist, if you truly care- you’ll speak out against this. Oh and let’s not forget and if they get by through that one well then gang bangers and drug dealer harassment starts around this age as well as skanky females or just the regular kind chasing them around (which is really an all around “minority” problem except the last 1 which applies to all)