How to do it all – or: the little black spot

Honestly, dear friends, I am very thankful that I do not have to fast this year. Allahu akbar! God knows best to whom He obliges or whom He frees from religious duties.
I am grateful that a breastfeeding woman is excluded from the duty of fasting if she feels that it would be harmful for her or her child.
And I strongly feel that if I would fast, it wouldn’t just be harmful for my own, but also for all of my children and family because I would just not have the mood and energy to manage it all.
Already the other duties, like praying, but first making proper wudu (washing before parying), are sometimes challenging to do properly and on time – yet they always help me to gain inner peace and a new freshness and clarity for the moment, alhamdulillah.
Also reading the Qur’an, which is normally a highly recommended thing to do during Ramadan, is not easy this year. I am far behind the actual hizb (daily part of pages to read to be able to finish the whole book in one month). But anyway, I read at least a few verses every day and gain new knowledge and tranquillity, subhanallah.

But what I am really learning, day by day, is to relax, to let go, to appreciate “the big white paper instead of spotting only the little black spot of dirt on it”.
– I mean I really learn to focus on all that goes well instead of concentrating on all the many many things that are dirty, go wrong or just aren’t as ideal as I normally wished – because I just cannot do it all and it would turn me crazy, insane and stressed if I’d think about all the things that could and should be done…


Looking at these beautiful flowers on my table, instead of seeing the little bits of dinner from last night under the table, gives me joy.
Going out, enjoying these beautiful mild spring days with the kids, instead of staying home folding laundry (ironing I gave up already many years ago;)), fullfills me with happiness and new energy.

Appreciating that the children love to help cooking, instead of lamenting on the chaos they sometimes produce then, helps all of us to have a table full of yummy things, alhamdulillah.

”Staying positive”, “Seeing the Good”, is something I remind myself often,
and believing in the law of “like attracts like” I try hard to talk only about and honour the good things every day

However, a certain level of cleanliness and order is essential to my wellbeing and the well functioning of a big family, but all these little details of a perfect household have to wait until later, inchaallah ;))

“God, with your guidance and strength I am capable.
I have enough time to finish all I want to accomplish today,
because I totally flow with the moment. Ameen.” 

 

 

 

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Happy Ramadan and how to feed a Family

Ramadan moubarak said dear brothers and sisters in Islam,
and love and peace to all out there!

I am a bit late… the holy month of Ramadan came quicker than I could realize and I have to admit that I am not really prepared for it, mashaallah; the Ramadan calendar is yet not finished and I am still thinking about the books I wanna read and the goals I have for this month.
I am not fasting this year since I am fully breastfeeding baby. Three month after birth, I am now slowly finding a rhythm and new structure for our life at home and for my work at school. Sometimes things go very smooth, but often it all feels like a huge thing to organise – and I often feel like a manager, the manager of our family: Scheduling eating-times, school, homework, chores, TV-time and family moments,  as well as managing the whole lot of feeding 6 (7) mouths, washing huge piles of laundry every day, never ending dishes and balancing the moods and different needs and wishes of so many people, alhamdulillah.

In doing it I still benefit of the knowledge and tools I learned when I read the books I mentioned years ago in this other blogpost  and also here.
And I am reading now some other books that help me structuring the whole thing.

Especially the whole question of “what will we have for dinner?” is a big topic, especially now in Ramadan, when dinner (Iftaar for breaking the fasting) is the main meal for three of us.
We cook all fresh from scratch and even if we sometimes would like to, we cannot buy ready-made stuff or canned-food here, nor can we call the pizza-service or go to a (fast-food-) restaurant, because there is none…
I thankfully have a lovely girl who helps me during weekdays with chores and cooking, subhanallah oua tbarakallah, …I wouldn’t be able to balance work and home without her…
but still, the question about what to eat is always a big thing and relies on me.

The wish to offer a variety every day (not always Tagine and Couscous), the consciousness and aim to eat organic and whole food and the question on how to meet the tastes and preferences of all while making sure that everybody is nourished in healthy ways are challenging.
I learned a lot by reading other mom’s and different food blogs, or from books like “Feeding a Family”. I learned to facilitate things with weekly meal-plans that rotate every two months, with precooking, by having a list of easy-peasy-meals (like the green omelette and vegetable sticks on the picture above) and by always making sure to have leftovers to create new things a few days later. Now in Ramadan it helps me to have the little things that come on the table everyday (like olives, dates, yogurt, tea, milkshake boiled eggs, Moroccan Harira-soup and sweet Chebbakia,..) and to add every day something special.

How do you manage the feeding of your family, what are your Ramadan favourites?

 

a little me-moment

As I already said, life with five kids and finding and defining my new self in all the different roles between household, baby, bigger kids and a huge project to lead is a new challenge to me, mashaallah.
But I quiet like this challenge and feel (most of the time) very positive about it, alhamdulillah.
It’s all about learning to be much more flexible, accepting not being able to planify and control all, being led by the rhythm of a newborn and taking advantage of moments when baby sleeps and getting a break when also the others are well occupied…

  

I am very thankful for the baby carrier that allows me to take baby wherever I go, for outside walks, inside the home but also to work at school with her close to me (after four babies this feels now with the fifth more comfortable than the sling)
And I am very thankful for new technologies and have to admit that the older kids sit now more often in front of the TV, smartphone or computer – which allows me small bits of alone-time in the midst of it all (especially when hubby is out).
My former daily routine is all a bit mixed up at the moment and I actually begin to do in the evening what I normally did in the early morning hours: reading, blogging, emailing and enjoying some quiet time.
So I greet you this evening, out of my studio, wishing you a blessed month of Shaaban, while the kitchen is not cleaned yet, the laundry still in the machine and the kids maybe a bit too long in front of the TV-  because I neededs this little pause to reflect and send you some blessings… cheers!  may peace be with us all.

Life with five

Two month after birth.
And subhanallah, every week I feel stronger and more capable to handle a life with five children.

Everything seems so familiar with a newborn in our house, yet so very new and different. The older children all help and want to care for her which is of big help (most of the time ;)). Our life at home quickly adapted to our littlest one and now I slowly try to also find my way back to work.

I feel like her birth was a rebirth for my own self as well. I feel more vulnerable now, softer, deeper, and permeable. I feel like I have to redefine my role, my duties and my place.
Baby taught me a lot already before birth and she teaches me a lot now, about me, about my fears and blockages, about how to open for new ways, about patience and letting things go, about trust and confidence.

She is a gift, and I am very very thankful that God trusted us with her in our lives, alhamdulillah – astaghfirullah, in summer I was so down because of the pregnancy, and now we feel so blessed with her, Allahu akbar!
Gods ways are often inscrutable but always perfect.

 

Autumn on the doorstep…

  1. Happy about the cooler days, finally a bit of much needed rain and the smell of autumn in the air.
  2. Entering the second half of my pregnancy and noticing much more movements of baby.
  3. Struggling with too small waistbands of trousers and sewing (and online-ordering) some maternity wear.
  4. Beginning to wash winter-clothes and feeling close to make fire in the chimney.
  5. Updated the book list.
  6. Participating in politics and important world-actualities by actively voting at Avaaz.org.
  7. A heavy LOT to do in our school with the beginning of the new school-year.
  8. Allowing (sometimes even forcing) myself in this busy crazyness to take some time for me: just reading, relaxing and enjoying the moment.
  9. Enjoying autumn’s fruits: blackberries, pomegranate, plums, walnuts and apples…
  10. Wishing all Muslims a happy new year 1439 after Hijrah!

  

Dancing with life

image © Alyssa Wilcox Photography 2017 

 

“I would suggest that if you spend less time running away from problems and trying to rid yourself of them – and more time accepting problems as an inevitable, natural, even important part of life – you will soon discover that life can be more of a dance and less of a battle.”

Richard Carlson