Winds of Change

A few nights ago a storm front rolled across our little patch of the Ozarks, a sigh of relief after a hot spell that seemed to be lasting forever.  While most of the leaves are still green, I do notice a tree here, a patch there, bursting into the song of Autumn. The garden still boasts a few flowers and herbs, as well as some carrots and swiss chard, and garlic and onion planted for a Spring harvest, insh’Allaah. We’ve bred one of our four does to a magnificent Alpine, and are planning on breeding the others as soon as they go into standing heat. We tend to think of Fall as a season of putting away and settling down, but here the world is abuzz with an undercurrent of expectancy, change, and hope. Our Eid was beautiful, the prayer made under rain-freshened...

Glitch in the System

Just a quick post to let you know that, mash’Allaah, some glitch in the WordPress world sent out an old post today, concerning the Houthis and Damaaj. It was from last year, mash’Allaah, and I am not sure why it went out. Please, insh’Allaah, disregard that post!

First of Ramadhaan: We Choose Faith

This morning we awoke for the pre-dawn meal to a soft rain carried lightly on a blind-stirring breeze. We saw all together in a half darkened room talking quietly so as not to wake baby Asmaa. Our meal was simple- oatmeal, and zucchini bread made from some of the fruits of our first garden here on our rural Missouri homestead. Our stomachs, unused to consuming food at 3:30 a.m, refused to allow us to eat very much, yet we all left the mat to go to our prayers feeling contented and more than a little excited about the beginning of this blessed month of Ramadhaan. People are amazed that we as Muslims choose to fast these hot summer days of almost seventeen hours. I find myself at a loss as to how to convey to them the joy and and anticipation with which we look...

Days of Remembering

These days are days of remembering. As I work each night on my Yemeni Journey book, it seems impossible to write my past without living it again, at least a little. At least feel the sting of tears behind closed lids as I say goodbye to my father, sisters, and brother, some of them for the last time. At least feel the rapid beat of my heart like the wings of a caged bird against my ribcage as I crouch in the cold reception area of the Sana’a airport, wondering if we will be allowed in, or not. At least feel the exultation brought upon by a chorus of adhaans in the predawn darkness in a strange land, knowing that home lay with me, in me, now. At least taste the triumph of shared conversation in a language I was not born with, a connection, finally, made. At...

Mom’s Brownies

I don’t remember a time when my mother wasn’t ill. I know in my head that she once was pain-free, moved easily, laughed with the careless abandon of a child. In my memory, though, she is always careful. Careful in the way she held her head, shoulders tense, as though expecting the pain to hit at any time. Careful in the way she walked, placing her feet gingerly to the ground, afraid of falling and ripping her tender, paper-like skin. Careful in the way she spoke, telling my sister, “If I told people how I really felt, they would never ask again.” The lupus struck her, and struck her hard, but she kept on going, largely, I suspect, for us. I started taking over whatever tasks I could for her when I was still a little girl. I remember doing...

Count of Three

The siege of Damaaj has entered its fifty-fourth day. Three people were injured yesterday, one seriously. According to Shaakir McGill: “Medical Report by Dr. Ahmed Shabaam Al-Waadee’ of Dammaj hospital 155 killed (may Allah accept them as martyrs) 139 missing (may Allah accept them as martyrs and facilitate their burial Ameen) 406 wounded 115 cases of severe dehydration and malnutrition of children under 5 from the 15th of Nov until the 24th 47 wounded from seniors, women and children 23 killed from seniors, women and children 67 cases of severe lung inflammation from Nov 15th until the 24th in need of a hospital May Allah heal you Dammaj and accept your dead as Martyrs Ameen.” I wrote this this morning for Mujaahid, who, as always, is in my heart...

I Hear Your Voice

I haven’t forgotten the sound of your voice any more than I have forgotten the sound of my mother’s heartbeat when I rested my head against her chest during cold Wisconsin nights. I haven’t forgotten the sound of your voice any more than I have forgotten the sound of the wind shuffling its feet through kaleidoscope colored leaves in the Kickapoo Valley. I haven’t forgotten the sound of your voice any more than I have forgotten the sound of my breath exhaled in cold clouds of wishes half-formed. “Assalamu Aleikum. Ummi? Is that you? Assalamu Aleikum?” Yes, it’s me, it’s me here listening and waiting, thinking and planning, hoping and striving. Yes, it’s me, still holding you as close as ever I did those hours spent each...