Wonderfully amazing Ramadan!

Ramadan is wonderfully amazing !

…because :

  1. It teaches me self-control and shows me the real power of my will.
  2. It assures me that I am independent from coffee, sugar and other addictions.
  3. It submits the soul under divine protection and guidance which makes it possible, even for young children, to restrain with joy and ease from food and drink during 16 day-light-hours.
  4. Allah facilitates so many things we never thought being able to accomplish, subhanallah.
  5. All my senses get fine-tuned and my receptivity gets deeper.
  6. It is a gift to feel all of this, every year in a different way, because Ramadan moves every year about 10 days ahead in the calendar, which gives us the opportunity to experience the sacred month in every season over the years.
  7. I feel my vulnerability and humbleness in a very reassuring way.
  8. Allah gives us power and energy we normally do not have (with only 5 hours sleep per night), alhamdulillah.
  9. Doing such an act of worship in community (not for the ego, not to be seen by others, only to fulfill our duties toward our creator) gives much strength.
  10. In Ramadan, Allah’s blessings can be felt more than ever, everywhere: in the cold breeze He sends, in the rain He offers, in the good food He provides every evening and the water that quenches our thirst…

Allahu akbar! Thanks to God.

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DIY for the gardener



Because gardening is (mostly) an easy and do-able task done together with small children, just like baking and crafting, we spent a lot of these days outside.
Being in the garden this week, planting, creating and improving our flower beds, I’ve suddenly felt the need to go in, to my nearly forgotten sewing machine, and add bags and pockets to my work-clothes. And to sew some pocket-belts for the most important utensils of a gardener.
By reusing, repurposing and recycling, out of old trousers and aprons, arose those useful garden belts, very practical for all these little things one always needs to have at hand…., alhamdulillah

Many other beautiful ideas to be found online by searching for “garden belts diy”.

Happy April, inchaallah!



 

entitled to be creative

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We have winter vacation. It is time to be home, time to read, to range and rearrange, to realize a few renovation-projects, and time to relax and to retreat.
For me, the holidays we spend home are always an invitation to make things which I cannot do during schooldays.
For me, vacation in general is not about long sleeps and lying around, it is much more a time to be active, to listen to inspiration, to do something around home, in the garden or for myself.

Time spent creatively always fulfills me.
I totally blossom when I can do and make things in my own rhythm and at my “gusto”.
I then feel just as pure life is running through my veins; I feel lively and full of joy and gratitude, alhamdulillah.
After a day spent with at least one creative endeavor, I feel blessed and satisfied.
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Being creative and making things does not necessarily mean to make “arts”. For me, the making of something and being creative can also be the cleaning of a long forgotten corner, redesigning an outworn skirt, capturing photos of everyday beauty, baking a fancy cake with a self-invented frosting out of fridge-leftovers, giving myself a new haircut, painting meaningful quotes in beautiful letters on old cardboard, restoring an old chair, planting flowers, …, and following  the flow of ideas by improving and beautyfying life in every possible way.

Being creative is like pouring out the beauty of our soul. It can be totally an act of worship and is often guided by divine inspiration. Maybe that’s why, beside the fact of having made something out of our time, it is so deeply enriching.

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Along with the vast inspiration that can be found online, but also in our own soul (through the listening to our inner voice and intuition), there are many books that inspire and evoke creativity.
I’ve recently read and liked those:

  • Elisabeth Gilbert “Big Magic: Creative living beyond fear”
  • Sark “Succulent wild Women”
  • Jane Alexander “Spirit of the Home”
  • Amanda Blake Soule, all books
  • Elaine St.James “Living the simple life”
  • Martina Goernemann “Zuhause ist ein Gefühl”
  • John Seymour „The self sufficient life“

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”  asks one of them –
Yes I do, inchaallah.
What about you?

Wishing you a creative and fulfilled February! Peace and light, xoxo

 

Dreaming and Planning Summer and Life

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7 weeks summer vacation, 7 weeks off-school, 7 weeks of opportunities and the chance of making the most of this precious time that comes only once a year, subhanallah.

And now, as so many times before, when put into such a situation of “break”, I ask myself many questions about how to spend the time wisely. I wish to make the best out of it, to benefit as much as possible of this pause.

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I would like to relax; I would like to work on personal projects, stuff and things around the house; I wish to spend time with the children, my husband, family and good friends; maybe travelling a bit, but not too much;  and I’d love to be alone to refill and to refresh my personal batteries and to gain distance, quiet of mind and new inspiration.

And as many times before, also now, it helps me a lot to follow some simple rules on dreaming and planning the near future. This process gives me new energy and fills me with joy and hope. This creative act can even be done with children. It is perfect start into a new phase.

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I thought I’ll share the list of “how to become the designer of your own life” here, I thought it could be inspiring for others. It can be used for all and works in every area of life, bismillah:

1. Know and decide what you want.
2. Dream big.
And allow nobody to steal or to destroy your dreams. Follow your heart. You cannot lose, you can only win.
3. Believe!
Believe in God, in yourself and your capacity, in the good and the possible of everything, even of the “impossible”, with positivity and conviction. Get rid of all your fears.
4. Share the dreams and goals with those you trust and like. Build a dream-team.
5. Visualize your goals and dreams as real as possible (for example with a treasure map of pictures) and encourage yourself with positive affirmations and optimistic thinking.
6. Act and get active, behave as if your dreams did already come true.
Concentrate on doing what you like to do and what you know well. Don’t rest. Declutter your life and work towards your dreams. Don’t see yourself as a victim. Be the change.
7. Hold on, no matter what. Never give up.
Stay courageous. See problems and defeat only as temporary challenges and chances to succeed. Take feedback as a guide to reorientate your plans, never losing sight of your main goals.
8. Be thankful and celebrate.
Pay thankfulness and appreciation to God, the others around and towards yourself.
9. Give back.
All that you give does not make you poorer, in fact it makes you richer manifold.

plaene planen    plaene leben

Living in Morocco’s Mountains _ social contacts to women

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Over the last ten years, since living in this happy valley, I went through different stages of social integration, alhamdulillah.
The first year here we lived in a small room with my father in law. I found myself, as the only stranger/foreigner, in the middle of Berbers in the midst of a little Berber village.
To live amongst the local people, sharing their simple lifestyle and doing like them, helped me enormously to integrate into society and to learn the language, the habits and the do’s and don’ts.

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I was in contact with the people all the time, but to make friends and to get in deeper contact with the women outside our household was quiet hard. The language was a barrier and with my background, my education and experiences, I felt quite different.
Most of the women had never been out of the valley or to bigger cities, most of them could not read or write. But they seemed fulfilled with their duties and were masters of their craft in the kitchen and with the animals.
During the first months I always thought that, if I would like to fully integrate here, I would have to be like them, to dress like them and to do like them. But I soon understood that this wouldn’t be possible and would not help. I felt that I can learn much of them, but I also felt that I have some things to give, inchaallah. Instead of proving being able to bake soft bread as round as the sun, I did better concentrating on the special things I personally hd to share with them.
Deep respect, real interest and constant exchange became the keys for my growing relationships. Not trying to make the other like me, but to be open, to serve, to share and to learn each one of the other enriched all of us, alhamdulillah.
Our same Islamic faith, the shared belief in Allah and doing prayers together often helped to establish confidence and to keep connected on a higher level, subhanallah.

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I learned how to make couscous, they learned how to bake chocolate cake.
I got to know how to cut hay, they learned how to brush teeth…
A wonderful way of mutual learning began.
And it didn’t took long until some of the young girls of our village asked me if I had an idea how they could work together and earn some money. The idea of a wool felting group grew and together we learned different techniques.
Uniting our different skills enabled us to create wonderful things:
their knowledge of the wool-working-process from the sheep to the soft fiber and my knowing of internet-use for inspiration and ideas;
their experience in dyeing wool and my ability to read, try, learn and teach the felting technique;
their traditional and pure feeling for simple patterns and my feeling for modern design and arts – all of this together gave birth to wonderful moments of getting to know each other, to grow together and to create beautiful things which we could sell to tourists so the girls could make some money. A women’s felting group was born and two years we regularly met and worked together (Here I sometimes wrote about it on this blog).

Then the girls grew older, some married, some left the valley and God had other plans for each one of us. My family and I were then very occupied with the new school and other things and for some years the felting group wasn’t active. Through the école vivante new cross-cultural exchange and my integration into the local society continued in different ways, but the key to real and deep encounters always was and still is by do something meaningful, by sharing, by giving and being open to the other, by respect of the differences between us and by focusing on what unites us and what we have in common.

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