The Power of Prayer

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I am a firm believer in the power of prayer.  I am also a firm believer in this quote, “Whenever you do not understand what’s happening in your life, just close your eyes, take a deep breath and say, ‘Ya Allah, I know this is your plan, just help me through it.’” I’m always praying for something. Usually wanting something or not wanting something to happen. Scholars say that when we are making dua, we are directly speaking with Allah swt, meaning prayer is a direct link between our Creator and us, his creation. He and us. He and me. Just the two of us. There is no reason for anyone to go in between us and pray for us, while we sit back and relax. I remember listing to a lecture by Mufti Menk. He was talking about how his little daughter would beg and beg for something she wanted. He had said that that was how we were supposed to pray. Allah is the one and only one who can either give us what we want, or not give us what we don’t want. Mufti Mehnk said to pray like you were a toddler; when they really want something, they cry, they are asking (or screaming in a toddler’s case) with all their heart.  All because they really, really, want it.  We should try to pray with our heart and mind together.  With kids always calling for us, and chores to be done, sometimes our prayers and duas are just said automatically, with no feeling.  We need to take a few minutes for ourselves. This will take time.  

From my past experiences, I have learned a few things.  There was once something that I didn’t want to happen.  Everyone else was happy with it, but i had a tornado running inside me.  I prayed and prayed for Allah swt to put it in everyones hearts that this wasn’t a good decision.  I think weeks went by like this.  Then one day, I felt I was being greedy and started praying that if this was good for me, to put it in my heart, and if this was bad for me, to put it in my parents heart.  This went on for a few more weeks. Then one day, I just prayed for everything to go smoothly.  I can honestly say, that that particular day, my heart felt at ease.  I came to realize this was what was meant to be for me.  I’ll share with you something.  At that moment, when i cam to that realization, my brain was still screaming, “NO!, NO!” but my heart was saying, “be happy, this is good for you.”  An ayah from the Quran comes to mind here.  I can’t recall which one, but I remember a bit about the translation.  It went something like this: Listen to your heart. It speaks subtly, softly. Your heart tells you what I want for you. It always will lead you to the right path.  My path. Your heart is not influenced by anything, but me.  Listen to it.  Your brain is always influenced by society, culture, peer pressure.  It will scream at you and confuse you. Your heart will not.

The thing is, one doesn’t usually pay much attention to the heart tugging at you to make a certain decision.  We usually ignore it, for a while at times.  It’s not easy, but we just have to be patient and one day, we will hear what Allah swt wants.  We will feel it.  It’s like weight being lifted from your shoulders.  Sometimes it will be what you were praying for all along. And sometimes, it will be what you were praying to not happen. That’s my case 90% of the time.  So far, whatever I was praying for was not meant to be for me.  I guess I don’t know what is good for me yet.  But it’s okay. I am learning over time. Allah swt knows what is good for me, so I’m in good hands.  

Pray with your herat. Pray for it whenever it pops in your head.  Just pray, say a few words to Him, it will bring some relief to your heart.  Things will fall into place, and your heart will be at ease, and your brain will eventually stop screaming at your for thinking the worst.  

What is best will always happen. We just need to be open to it and we will understand it and be okay with it.  Inshallah.

By Maasi Saba

Spending time with kids

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Family Having Picnic In Countryside

I spend a lot of time with my daughters, which is an added perk of working from home. That said, most of these days what I don’t realize is that time is just passing by, I am there with them, but I am really not there. I am either watching TV (I’m a sucker for good TV shows.. sigh), or reading a book or (the worst) on my phone. Since they both are now more or less independent (one is 12 and the other one is 8) and don’t really need my company as such, I have also stepped aside and have started doing my thing. In a nutshell, I am usually only acting as their supervisor (telling them when to eat, do their homework, brush their teeth, etc.) and not really “in” the moment with them. Though when I really start thinking about it, what’s absolutely baffling is how fast time is passing me by!!

How these girls who don’t need their mommy to do most of their stuff now, were completely dependent on me at one point in their life! Don’t get me wrong, I do feel happy for this, and wish them all the happiness and success in the world… but at times, I also miss all those little moments when they were small. Cute times which are now a part of the past and well, no matter how much I want everything to freeze, time will go on and it should too! 🙂

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It’s just that we being the forgetful human beings that we are usually don’t realize the speed of time when it’s silently going by us. And often suddenly get aware of the fact that we have wasted most of it caught up in a mind numbing daily routine. We get a glimpse of it each year at the New Year’s Eve when we realize how fast the year flies by us—and so we make new resolutions all over again which are then generally packed off for the next year, after a month or so. We don’t realize this most of the times, but we spend our lives exactly in the way that we spend most of our individual days. If there is something we cannot do today, chances are we won’t find the will to do it the next day as well. And sooner than we know, we are fifty and we don’t know where all our life went.

So keeping this in view, one of my New Year resolutions for this year was to spend some quality time with my girls on a daily basis— be it going on shopping with them or going to out to eat together. Things that we have just stopped doing together for reasons I don’t remember now. Perhaps we got a little too busy with life. I haven’t been doing as much as I would like to and a month has already passed, but hey, we still have the whole year ahead of us, don’t we! Keeping my fingers crossed.

I’ll definitely give you all a lowdown on how to spend some quality time with your kids once I figure out some sort of formula myself, but for the most part I’m sure it needs to come from the heart and it needs to be worked on. Keep watching this space for more!

by Maasi Wajo

What if we say ‘yes’?

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As parents and especially as the mighty mothers, each one of us must have found many a moment in our lives when it is much more inevitable to say no to our children than the often scary, yes. Though it often does come to that after a couple of heart wrenching screams and some inevitable drama.

There are times however, where parents should say yes, even if we don’t want to, or if we have no time for anything at all.

I’m pretty sure that if we did something like that the sky wouldn’t fall down. Our children wouldn’t automatically become the worst behaved children in the world and wouldn’t start taking us for granted only because we had said ‘yes’ instead of the usually expected ‘no’.

You see, as mothers we have been conditioned to say ‘no’ to our children, often unintentionally when we find ourselves in the middle of something important, when there is a looming deadline over our head or the popular ‘I’m tired’ excuse (which is not an excuse ladies, I know but let’s just pretend for a moment only for the sake of this discussion!) I, for one, often find myself saying,

I’m really busy right now” or,

“Can we do this later? Mommy is a bit busy?”

“I’m making dinner, cant you see? We can do it some time else”.

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But more often than not, that “later” doesn’t ever come. And time flies by and we keep turning down our kids demands and wishes and before we know it they’re all grown up and we don’t understand what happened to their childhood. Problem is that we don’t really enjoy their childhood when it’s actually happening. We get so busy living our everyday life that we forget that time never stands still— that our children will not remain children forever. So what if we say yes instead of no, next time our kids want us to do something for them, or take them somewhere or just be with them for a while. The little time that we give them brings so much light to their life; we can’t even begin to imagine that sort of happiness.

So I have decided that the next time my kids want me to do something for them, I will try not to listen to the ‘no’ in me and instead will just say ‘yes’. Because I know, in the heart of my hearts that I will never regret it.

The little hugs, the giggles, all those cartoon discussions, those hour late bed times, all those special moments with my kids. These are the things that life is all about. This is when life happens.

I’m sure I’ll not regret saying ‘yes’. I’m sure of that! 🙂

By Maasi Wajo

 

My Beloved

By Maasi Saba

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After six years, my dua was finally answered when I became pregnant with my fourth child.  I was so happy because I had always wanted four kids. It’s just a nice round number.  I prayed all through out my pregnancy for the baby to be a girl.  I wanted 2 and 2. And alhumdulilah again, my dua was answered.  When I actually had my baby girl, I  was sort of in a daze. I remember the ward being overly crowded because many women were there for several reasons, and there were renovations being done at the hospital.  My kids were having their midterms, and i remember dropping them off and then driving to the hospital.  It was December, and the weather was bringing me down.  It was the first time I felt any sort of depression after giving birth.  My siblings were arriving for our youngest brother’s wedding.  All of our kids were having a ball chasing each other around the house, which I think helped me to not sink further into a depressing mood. I even went out of the way and called up my brother saying, I am overwhelmed with the baby, the weather, and getting the kids ready for their exams to come to your wedding.  I wanted to relax during those days since the exams would be done. Lol!  He thought i was insane.  I did manage to get to his wedding which was here Lahore.  I got their late. Made  a sloppy entrance and was dazed meeting everyone and handing my child over to relatives who wanted to see her. Since I was the groom’s sister, I was supposed to be needed elsewhere.  I showed my face, and then I left early with my kids because I still had to pack our suitcases because I was supposed to be following the Barat out of the city.  Well, my dear Chachu (Uncle), came to my house in his empty car and had to wait a little while longer because my little one had leaked, and my other kids were running around excited to be going to Nana’s house for a few days.  I think the rest of the wedding is a blur. I was there physically.  I wish I was in better health and state of mind, but oh well. It wasn’t my wedding, so it’s okay.  Whenever my brother says anything to me I always remind him that I was there!!!!! It should be enough.  

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Fast forward and it is three years later and my little darling is learning a lot of english, (courtesy of her cousin from Pennsylvania).  She has responses for everything! And sometimes I’m just amazed because my other three kids weren’t this vocal and confident.  I guess, daayr ayee daroost ayee. Or something like that.  She is one of those kids who knows everything about our cell phones and ipads.  I seriously didn’t know about a few things but this one likes to press everything and open everything and voila, she has discovered something else.  She is also one of those selfie addicts as well.  Or, hmm, I’m not sure if it qualifies as selfies.  I have put a lock on my phone because a few times in the past, she had called some of my friends and siblings overseas at odd times and finished my balance.  Then she also likes to delete apps and pictures I don’t want her to do.  And who can forget the many times she has disabled my phone.  Sometimes she makes me frustrated. But then she tells me that she was just trying to see something or she was trying to do something to help me, and then I can’t stay mad long.  She is my baby after all.

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One of her favorite past times other than going through her siblings’ drawers for some treasure, is to take pictures.  Sometimes when I finally get my hands on my phone, I have about 40 pictures.  Some are bursts of 14, or even 30 pictures of absolutely nothing.  Sometimes its half of her head, or the fan above her head,  or its her feet, or the walls or the floor.  There are just so many pictures that she is amazed at her talent.  My little doll knows how to change the tone and the style of her pictures so usually they aren’t so boring.  These days, when she sees that the camera app is open, she asks if we need to smile quickly.  I wanted to share some pictures she took the other day.  In one, she cut my head off, which was very considerate of her since she should know I hate having my pictures taken.  She did ask me to smile, which I did, but hey, she is too smart to bother me with cropping my head off.  The next is the classic pic of her socks and shoes.  She loves taking pictures of her bed, my bed and the walls.  She’s an amateur photographer.  It made me smile at how amazing life is when you have a toddler to share it with.  

My adorable baby girl, is no longer a baby, but she is my youngest, kissable, and huggable being.  I have those off days when she tires me out, but alhumdulillah, the good outweigh the bad.  And even now, when I stop occasionally to think about what to write next, she insists I type the ABC’S quickly as possible.  For those who have kids, we have all been told to sit back and enjoy them.  To take each moment with them and cherish them because soon they will be too old to sit with us.  It’s amazing how some people do exactly that.  But I am not one of those people.  Well not yet.  I’m not sure if I ever will be. I would love to be one of those people. But I am not sure I’m built that way.  But I am trying. So I must end this because she wants to watch her mickey mouse show right now. Even though she should be asleep at this moment, she is resting her head on my arm and waiting impatiently for me to stop my work and put her show on.  

So enjoy her pictures. I hope they put a smile on your face like they did on mine.  Kids are kids!  May Allah SWT guide them to be good muslims, and protect them from all harm.  

Happy You Day, Mothers!

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By Maasi Wajo

This is an ode to all those mothers who’re reading this and also the ones who aren’t! You guys are special; celebrate yourself today. You know you’re worth it!

Northern_Pacific_Railway_Mother's_Day_postcard_1916This is a day to celebrate our mothers, and thank them for everything they’ve done for us and continue to do unreservedly. However, mothers are mostly taken for granted. We do tend to celebrate their presence in our lives while this day lasts but as soon as it gets over, all our love for our mothers gets postponed to the next May 10th.

This should not be the case.

Mothers are simply special. Whatever I say here might come off as clichéd but it is nothing but the truth and comes straight from my heart. If there is anyone who’s always looking out for us, always knows what’s going on in our mind, it’s our mother– It’s always our mother. She always knows the right words to motivate us; she always is the one that we run to when we are in trouble, no matter how old we get.

images-5No one can ever come close to cook the way our mom does and that’s a fact! She knows when we’re lying, she knows when we are troubled and even if she’s angry, we know she cannot remain angry for a long time. She is the one true happy place we all know.

It’s very rare to find unconditional love in this life and to find someone who loves you too much to sacrifice their own life and life’s dreams for you, is almost impossible—But for your mother. Only she’s capable of this heroic feat.

So to all those real life superheroes [aka our mothers and ourselves of course: p], that we are celebrating today, a very very Happy Mother’s Day!

We love you and wouldn’t know what to do without you!

“Wuthering Heights” : The book or the movie?

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By Maasi Maryam

A story of love and revenge,of passion and some haunting characters, Wuthering Heights is as dark and sombre as where it takes place, the Thrushcross Grange. If you like the fairy tale happy endings, it’s certainly not for you, yet once you start turning the pages it won’t let you come out of its vicious circle unless you’ve read it all.

Heathcliff’s suffering at the Earnshaws makes him cruel and threatening to say the least, and to top it up, his over vaulting pride turns him into a misconceived romantic. In spite all of that, he still is able to retain sympathy for certain characters and why, we won’t say as it would be a spoiler for those who’d like to read the book.

However mommies, if you feel too lazy to get your hands on the book, try watching one of the decent versions like Johnny Depp has, yup we’re talking about the legendary hero of The Pirates of the Caribbean. Here’s his take on it …

“Am I a romantic? I’ve seen Wuthering Heights ten times. I’m a romantic”.

Though no movie can do justice I’m afraid, let’s just say it’s the second best choice.

Wuthering Heights is an aesthetic perfection of love and revenge where the characters’ affections transcend above the material standards of intimacy. This masterwork by Bronte does not depend on heroes or heroines to charm the reader. It is a gripping and addictive thriller ride with all the highs and lows felt by the characters. Wuthering Heights is tangled, raging and wild, a literary work ahead of its time. The novel breaks the conventional barriers of a Classic and still considered as one…. and that is exactly why it should be read , if you still haven’t.