Where My Inspiration Lives

One of my goals for my visit to my family this past summer was to just be around them. Not to see fancy sites or attend weddings, but to sit among them, be with them, and get some fresh perspective. To that end, I was blessed to spend the day with my grandmothers today. I was able to pray Fajr (pre-dawn prayer) on time for the first time in a while (ugh, jet lag!), which was a great start to the day. I know better than to miss Fajr, but praying on time depends little on setting an alarm and more … [Read more...]

Where My Roots Lie

The place where my grandfather lies, alongside his father and mother, their parents, my uncles, and generations of other relatives is in a patch of land on the hillside of a hamlet in the occupied West Bank. My last memory of him was seeing him leave to go “home” after being diagnosed with cancer almost 20 years ago. Standing now at the green gate where my roots lie, I see the sign for a prayer: “Peace be unto you, the people of this abode from the believers and those who submitted, and we are, b … [Read more...]

Sharing Our Eid

One of the beautiful things about sending children to public schools is the great opportunity for educating others about Islam. Children gain confidence in their selves and in their identity as Muslim-Americans when they know they can share their traditions with their friends at school. It has a profound effect on children knowing that their holiday is recognized and celebrated by their mostly non-Muslim school community. We all hope to raise a generation of kids who are fully engaged in their … [Read more...]

Grow Mama Blast From The Past: 10 Ways to Get to Know Your Neighbors

I had a neighbor a couple of houses down that I only rarely saw going to and from her car. She must have been retired and didn’t go out much, because I could count on my fingers the number of times I saw her though I’d lived next to her for almost two years. In addition, I was a stay-at-home mom, so I either was home, outside on the front yard or just looking out my windows quite a bit. She was never in her yard, although it was well-manicured by a lawn care company that left a sign posted so all … [Read more...]

Making a Splash in Community Development

As a child, I spent many summers visiting my grandparents in the Caribbean. I have fond memories of swimming in  a vast, indigo blue sea, under the piercing, bright sun. I loved the power of  waves, the feeling of buoyancy, the soft sand between my toes and the liberating sea breeze. In this sea, I fostered a deep love for all things water. As a university student, I noticed an unfortunate trend in our community amongst those with children. These families stayed close to home, and many were non … [Read more...]

The Ramadan Spirit

It's that time of year. One can sense the adrenalin rushing in to get things in place, to buy gifts and groceries, to stuff freezers with samosas and kababs, to get the house in order, all so that we can focus on getting our spirits ready for Ramadan. In the focused frenzy to prepare our homes, our families and ourselves, I've noticed a lot of folks decide to put education on the shelf for the whole month. Yes, this blessed month of Ramadan is a time for self reflection and remembrance of God, … [Read more...]

I Run for Boston

For  the last few years, I've run the local Deckers Creek Half Marathon in my hometown. It's been a good way to get in shape and enjoy the trails in early spring. This year I was not planning on training because of health issues.When the Boston marathon was bombed, it hit very close to home.  I know the euphoria you have when crossing a finish line. Runners often train for months to mentally and physically prepare for the long distances, dehydration, leg cramps and the many other obstacles t … [Read more...]

Kids Belong in the Masjid

The first time I visited Masjid Al Haram, or the Grand Mosque as it is also known, in Mecca, was two years back on a Hajj trip. I was 30 years old. There was an immediate connection and sense of belonging I felt. I left there wanting my kids to experience the same feelings and connection and made du’a to be able to bring them there soon. I wanted my children to be able to go at their young and impressionable age so that they would develop a deep love, longing, and attachment to the holy cities o … [Read more...]

Home for Christmas

It’s that time of year again, when the snow begins to fall, the sky is a silver ribbon, and the cold air hangs low, seeping into every bone. Fireplaces burn bright, hot cocoa sits on the stove top, stockings hang low, and families gather to decorate their Christmas trees, as the scent of pine fills their homes. Presents are wrapped with love and care, and cookies and milk placed on bedside tables as hopeful children anticipate the return of Santa Claus. On this special day, relatives come from n … [Read more...]

A Sweet Gesture

Last autumn, a kind family from the neighborhood gave us an older television.  It was a big, sturdy clunker, the kind of thing you don't mind putting in a family room with young children and nerf balls. They were even so kind as to haul it over to our home and set it up for us.To return the kindness, I baked some of our traditional Ramadan cookies for them last December. I knew the mother, Natalie, enjoyed cookie exchanges over the holidays. Every Christmas, she baked over 20 dozen cookies a … [Read more...]