Reading in Winter

Winter is here, solstice, short days, long nights…

we sometimes watch movies but I often draw away from the crowd to have a little alone-time. Winter is just perfect to read more books and to invest in self-education through literature.
Here is my actual book-list and the publications I am actually reading:

Gary Chapman “5 live love languages” (available in many languages)

Bodo Schäfer/ Boris Grundl “Leading simple”

Yaqub Mirza “Five pillars of prosperity”

Laura Malina Seiler “Mögest du glücklich sein”

Wallace D.Wattles “The science of getting rich”

Christian Hlade “Das grosse Buch vom Wandern”

Michael Perry “Coop, a family, a farm, and the pursuit of one good egg”

Amanda Blake Soule, all her books

Astrid Lindgren “Madita” , “Michel”, “Tomte”,…


By the way, “5 love languages” is a really wonderful, easy to read book that widens my understanding of myself and others; with many inspirations on how to work on relationships (with spouse, but also generally speaking)
and here some good reflection on this book of a Sheikh and a Muslim point of view.

And, I just love Amanda’s books and I owe a lot to Soulemama, who inspired me since 2007 over many many years through her blog and wonderful books about family creativity. I think her writing helped me to become a more mindful and balanced mom. Unfortunately she isn’t blogging any more, but nevertheless she still accompanies me in my mothering adventures.

painted wooden sticks with mealtime-prayer and song-ideas 

kitten inspired drawing – cat with babies inside the womb that slip out by the back – artist: our 6 year old son, tbarakallah. 

What are you reading this month?

Any ideas for good Islamic books for the kindle e-reader?

Blessed Winter to all of you.




Snow _ Bliss

Snow… 30cm over night… no street to see and that for today no school… everything is quiet outside, just as described in “Wonder”… a walk in the lonely forest up the hill… I can hear my breath and a little bird singing…

some snow falls down a tree and my feet make their way through the winter wonderland just as if they were the first ones walking there…

oh I love a white winter. It makes me feel so very much alive, subhanallah, the crispy air clears my head and my thoughts…

Back home, a cup of tea beside the fire place, a little moment alone, with a good book or something to knit while the kids play outside… BLISS!

Alhamdulillah. And what a blessing to live four seasons, to have a warm home, a peaceful place to be. Allahu akbar, may everyone be blessed out there with shelter, food and something warm.

the making of my winter vision board and something warm.

Knitting thoughts in late autumn / early winter sun

I sit in the sun and enjoy the unusual warm December weather. We had already some snow, the nights are already freezing cold and the mountains are covered in white.

But today is just beautiful. Alhamdulillah. I knit, plain right, simple rows – maybe a poncho for our little girl. She’s nearly two now, mashaallah, playing in the sandbox beside me; and the repeating rhythm of knitting reminds me of the repeating rhythm of motherhood…

they all played in sand, and I began knitting beside them nearly 16 years ago… since then, I changed a lot, my mothering style changed, many things changed… yet, I am still not a very good knitter and seldom finish a piece.

But in winter, I love the relaxing move of it; it helps me clearing my thoughts, calming down, sitting with the little ones while actively creating something… the right thing for someone who doesn’t like just to sit …

happy December dear readers and friends!


I have to take a little time off. After a horrible sunday, feeling weak and overburdened, lots of tears, anger, aggression and heavy shoulders under the pressure of  many “have-to’s”, I decided to stay home yesterday and today, even in bed, while our “home-angel” (our wonderful nanny) looks for the kids and kitchen.

Alhamdulillah, i am very thankful to have her help, what a gift. And I am kind of proud that I allow myself a break. This is kind of freaky, I know. I have a hard time to accept when my energy is low. As a high energy person this is really something I need to learn: I cannot pour from an empty cup – I really need my cup to be filled again and again.

So I learn to be a patient patient. I learn not to feel guilty for taking a break. I learn kindness with myself. And while browsing the web, I find out how many mothers seem to feel the same… there are hundreds of other bloggers writing about this.

I wonder. And I don’t feel all alone with my thoughts alhamdulillah. So I lay here in my bed, pondering over the last weeks and life in general, half sleeping, half awaken. And sometimes I grab the book I got from a very good friend:

Wonder . From R.J. Palacio.


I seldom read fiction. But this is a beautiful touching story. Makes me cry over the human truth inside this simple text. Lets arise questions about my mothering. And opens my eyes to the beauty of family love, the important work of a headmaster and how caring both can be… wonderful.

Selfoptimization … as I see it

“Self-Optimization” is one of these modern words, which I learn when I come in contact with the world behind our mountains.
The word itself and everything it contains and stands for, seems to be a trend.
Self-Improvement, spending time with one’s self, making the most out of one’s self, self-care and self-help… I think all of these things can be very good and healthy, but they also can become an obsession and lead to a very self-destructive or egotistic path.

Making the best out of ourselves is a virtue for Muslims – taking care of our body, our soul and mind, striving to better ourselves every day, to become the best version of our self and to make the most out of our God-given talents, skills and opportunities, should be a life-long mission for us.
But for what purpose and for which aim?

To serve God, for sure, to worship Him, to live according to His rules and law, to be a steward of His creation, to spread love, light and peace, to take care of what He gave us into custody and to improve the quality of life.

It’s not about perfection, about speed and an inhuman strive for efficiency;
nor is it about fighting for our highest good without taking into consideration the needs of others, hard and unyielding.
The ridge between healthy optimization and destructive perfectionist delusion is thin.

I think we should strive to optimize ourselves in a very forgiving but consistent way:

Not as a selfish one-man-show, nor as a self-punishing, overwhelming act that puts ourselves down, at constant war with parts of ourselves that are never happy with what is. But as a gentle path of development and growth. In healthy balance beween taking and giving, beween doing and leaving, between change and acceptance.

So, Itto, stop the running, sometimes just let five be straight… everything’s well as it is… and now, cuddle the kids and then feet up with a coffee and a good book… happy weekend! Alhamdulillah.

a perfect non-perfect cup of coffee, for a great day, to live the best version of my self, as good as I can today… inchaallah! cheers.


Getting back…coming home

Seventeen days away from home and family, out of my small world and my own realities, straight into other ways of living, thinking and being. I met family members, professionals of different areas, new people and old friends all across the three German speaking countries.

Since two years it was my first trip to my homelands and the first trip without my husband and kids. Just the little one and me. Subhanallah, what an opportunity to widen my horizons, to open my mind, to leave my own box and to re-adjust my self.

On the road back home, hour after hour through lonely hills and deserts, I had much time to reflect. After leaving Europe and the lively city of Marrakech, the quietness of the wide Atlas mountains gave me time for reflection and a first conclusion.

Now I am back home. I feel thankful, alhamdulillah, refilled, inspired and with a suitcase full of wonderful memories.

But also exhausted – honestly, I find it hard to get back to normal. There is all the laundry to wash, four children to listen and get connected to again, things to put in order and a whole lot of thoughts I would like to ponder on (“who am I? Who do I want to be? What values do I wand to transfer and what image do I want to give as a mum, a wife, a human being…?”)

Coming home with a fresh view, I see now mountains of work and things I would like to change around and inside myself. I know, I want too much at once and I have to be careful not to overload neither me nor my family.

“Give yourself time, Itto!” – maybe this should be my mantra for the next weeks…”ommm”- writing my diary, enjoying autumnal weather and putting first things first…. happy and blessed November inchaallah!


Travelling Europe 10’19

Over the last two months I have been totally absorbed by the preparations for a round trip through Europe, a PR-tour for our campus through the three countries of our most important partners and sponsors: Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

Together with our youngest daughter and a dear colleague I travelled to Graz, Vienna, Zuerich, Winterthur, Buchs SG, Liechtenstein and my hometown Tuttlingen in southern Germany.

 It was a wonderful trip, a journey to the hearts, a meeting of lovely souls, back to my roots and through the beautiful scenery of a golden October’s fall. Alhamdulillah… thank you dear friends over there!! May Allah bless you and your families.