other circumstances

It was the one thing I was just not prepared for, at all.
It was what we had planned and expected the least. Never.
We have been very happy and really busy enough with four kids and our growing school project, alhamdulillah.
I was happy to gain back more and more freedom, now that they were all growing older. After nearly fourteen years of being pregnant, breastfeeding, diaper-changing and caring for very small children, even the smallest one shows, with his four years of age now, already large amounts of independence.
So I enjoyed myself so much in just having sometimes a few hours alone, in being able to travel a few days without children, in engaging in bigger projects outside the home, in being myself, thinking about myself and being just with myself.

 

And then this:
menses already ten days over, a tearing belly, knowing that this might not be just an early menopause-symptom,… and the result of the test: positive!!!!
Pregnant with the fifth child!

Oh—my–God. It just cannot be possible, mashaallah. It cannot!

A whole world of dreams and plans broke over me. I felt weak, and old, and imprisoned, and forced into something I just was not ready for.
Astaghfirullah. Lord, forgive me, make it easy for me…
It was horrible, I immediately began to feel very sick, uncomfortable, tired, miserable, with no joy in anything and ready to vomit every moment.
Scenarios of having a big pregnancy belly, giving birth and holding a baby came to my mind like horror and it just felt so strange, so far away, and so not at all me any more, I thought I was over all of this.

Towards the outside world I didn’t’ show these thoughts.
I hid it, the pregnancy and my awkward feelings. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I maybe looked like I’ve got it all together, but inside, I felt like standing ankle deep in crap.
I first had to make peace with it myself.
I had to learn how to find the magic and wonder in this mess, in become a baby-mother, again. I had to gain back faith and confidence and trust.
I had to learn to surrender in Allah’s will, to be thankful.
I had to learn to accept and to let go, to drop myself and to give up my selfishness, my wish to control and my ego-claims.
I had to accept that I cannot just close our family-door and all the blessings and prosperity we live in, if God wishes us to take this task and to care for another child. I had to accept this duty.

It took time. These whole summer vacations I spent pondering, meditating and working on this.

I slowly feel better now. I still have some nausea, but I begin to accept the situation and even begin to feel something like joy, honor, gratitude, pride and excitement with it, alhamdulillah.
I begin to accept this mission that was imposed upon me.
I look forward to a house full of children, to a small one who needs us all and who will have his place among our wonderful-crazy family-tribe, inchaallah.

My faith helps me a lot – I just know that everything happens for our highest good.
I find inspiration and encouragement in blogs from moms who have more than seven or ten children, in movies like “cheaper by the dozen” and especially in the belief that destiny (God’s way) is always perfect for us.
And I find joy in the joy of our kids who are eager to welcome the new family-member.

So many wonderful women do and did it, nearly all my neighbors have more than four kids – yes I can, as well, inchaallah.
I still have nearly six months to grow into it, and time will help.

When life gives you lemons – make lemonade!
– Up into this new adventure, into this new learning opportunity, into the joy of being a family of seven!
I mean, honestly, having a full handful of children, being “mom of five”, sounds not so bad at all…

 

 

Summer Reading

August – time of vacation, of nothingness, of days spent without timetables and social obligations…
time to read without real purpose, just to the pure pleasure of it.

Some old summer-classics, beautiful Muslim fiction and a new field guide:

Anne Morrow Lindbergh “Gift from the Sea”
Naima B. Robert “She wore red trainers”
Rosamunde Pilcher “The Shell seekers”
Katie Daisy “How to be a Wildflower”

Happy summer days to you!

 

Memories and a Poem

Nearly a month that I didn’t write here – So much that happened over the last weeks at our school. You can read about it at our blog and facebook-site, even around the internet you’ll find different articles and this film talking about our big opening party at the “campus vivant’e”, alhamdulillah.
Now it is getting more quiet around here, Ramadan approaches and a silent fatigue can be felt. The last months were exhausting, yet beautiful.
I’ll share some pictures here and this beautiful German poem a friend gave me – it reflects quiet well some of my thoughts and feelings…

 



KRIEGER DES LICHTS
(Songtext von „Silbermond“) 

Sei wie der Fluß, der eisern ins Meer fließt
Der sich nicht abbringen läßt egal wie schwer’s ist
Selbst den größten Stein fürchtet er nicht
Auch wenn es Jahre dauert bis er ihn bricht
Und wenn Dein Wille schläft, dann weck ihn wieder
Denn in jedem von uns steckt dieser Krieger
Dessen Mut ist wie ein Schwert
Doch die größte Waffe ist sein Herz.

Lasst uns aufstehn
Macht Euch auf den Weg
An alle Krieger des Lichts
An alle Krieger des Lichts
Wo seid Ihr
Ihr seid gebraucht hier
Macht Euch auf den Weg
An alle Krieger des Lichts
An alle Krieger des Lichts
Das hier geht an alle Krieger des Lichts

Hab keine Angst vor Deinen Schwächen
Fürchte nie Deine Fehler aufzudecken
Sei bedacht, beruhigt und befreit
Sei auch verrückt von Zeit zu Zeit
Lass Dich nicht täuschen, auch wenns aus Gold ist
Lass Dich nicht blenden, erst recht von falschem Stolz nicht
Lerne vergeben und verzeihen
Lerne zu fesseln und zu befreien

Lasst uns aufstehn
Macht Euch auf den Weg
An alle Krieger des Lichts
An alle Krieger des Lichts
Wo seid Ihr
Ihr seid gebraucht hier
Macht Euch auf den Weg
An alle Krieger des Lichts
An alle Krieger des Lichts
Das hier geht an alle Krieger des Lichts

Und er kennt seine Grenzen und geht trotzdem zu weit
Kein Glück in der Ferne nachdem er nicht greift
Seine Macht ist sein Glaube
um nichts kämfpt er mehr
Und das immer und immer wieder
Deswegen ist er ein Krieger

Das ist ein Aufruf
Und das hier geht
an alle Krieger
an alle Krieger
Das ist ein Aufruf
Und dieser Aufruf geht
an alle Krieger des Lichts
an alle Krieger des Lichts
Das hier geht an alle Krieger des Lichts

(Danke Fabienne!)

        

Peace, light and love to all of you!

Past Present Future 01’17

drachen4

The new (miladi)-year 2017 just began, and even though it is still “new”, it also is already nearly two weeks “old”:
the white, blank pages of my organizer fill consistently, my last post is long ago, and while I’m observing the passing of time, I feel the need to reflect on things that passed and things to come.

Last year was full of change and development, sometimes very demanding and exhausting, but also promising and full of joy and beauty, alhamdulillah.
If I would have to put the essence of the last year into a few words, I would call it “transistion”.

A lot of my private life is very much related to my work life – in fact our school and everything connected to it IS our life – it is a life-project, present in our heart and mind 24/24h and 7/7days, alhamdulillah, and last year we had the chance to develop and realize many incredible things, alhamdulillah.
So, a lot of my reflections concerning the last year are related to the events and development of campus vivant’e and can be read on our latest newsletter here: https://ecolevivante.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/news-from-the-campus

news-sm

If I fade out the project and look at my personal last year, I see that I learned a lot about myself, I met very interesting people and made important life choices and changes. But there is, beside the very many other things, one thing that stands out in 2016:

It was the medical result we got last February that scientifically confirmed that our smallest son (3 years old) also is hearing impaired, just like our daughter, mashallah.
First, this was a shock and very sad news, even though we had suspicions since several months and were kind of prepared to the fact that he also is deaf. But it hurt. Just as it did 5 years before with our girl, and from time to time again.

But thanks God, subhanallah, the things changed to better and better; the burden of having two children who have difficulties to hear turned more and more out to be a blessing.
We got the chance to learn a lot together as a family and even with society here.
Through a professional volunteer from Berlin, who came living in our valley for more than three months, we, and the whole school (teachers, some parents and pupils), learned sign language and communication with the deaf. It was a real gift to see so many people beginning to happily signing and understanding each other.

new-horizons

And it was and still is very touching to see especially our own two children evolving great communication skills between them and with others. Even our smallest boy’s capability to make himself understood by signs and words unfolds now in beautiful ways.
I can see how sign language helps him developing his spoken language and learning skills in general and how his older sister benefits from having a mate and someone who shares the situation with her. They support each other, they help and encourage each other, they grow and have fun together and they fight for their rights as 2 deaf children in a family of 4 hearing people.

It’s incredible to see their strength and courage in life. Allahumma barik.
So everything developed for the better, subhanallah, tabarakallah, and I am looking forward to accompany and to see those two little souls flourishing and growing in their own very special and  beautiful ways, teaching us a lot by just being who they are, inchaallah.

“after burden comes ease” – it’s so true, I assure you, we can count on HIM –  Allahu akbar!

Wishing you light, love, peace for 2017
and a never ending trust in God’s wisdom and the divine ways!

drachen3

ISLAM AND WORK _ when faith meets productivity

fireplace
early morning-me-time in front of the fireplace – reading and preparing for the day 

On our school’s blog I’ve recently posted some thoughts about the relation of faith and work, which I would like to partly share here with you: 

“In all our work, in our daily life with the pupils at the campus vivant’e , we are deeply guided by the teachings and rules of our religion, which is the religion of Morocco, Islam.
We try to practice our faith as a whole way of life, imbedded in all our doing, in the deepest sense of its meaning:

”Islam = Peace”.

If I want to put together our values, our mission and our goals, to describe the culture and philosophy of the campus vivant’e, the description would be:  “we are here to serve”.
We see our mission very much in serving – serving the pupils, serving others, serving humanity, serving a bigger purpose:

  • encouraging a meaningful development of each and every one here
  • motivating students (and teachers as well) to show, to develop and to blossom towards the most positive version of their self
  • support students to learn the skills needed for a fulfilled and meaningful life – for their own good and for that of society in whole
  • striving to always give our best and allowing others to give their best
  • building bridges between people and being a committed example of peaceful dialogue, nonviolent communication and respect towards all
  • inviting people (students, parents, teachers, volunteers and visitors alike) to be the positive change we wanna see in the world
  • assuring that everybody feels welcomed and accepted here, no matter who they are or what they believe “

sunset1

The following manifesto summarizes very well how we understand our work and action in relation to our religion. I totally speaks to me from the heart and I am very thankful for the work that the people from productivemuslim.com have put in it – Jazak Allahu khairan!
I would like to share with you the essence of their manifesto and of how I and my Moroccan team understand productivity in an Islamic way:

  • Pursue everything in life with an active intention
  • Seek spiritual connectivity & barakah (God’s blessings) in every moment
  • Fill your heart with abundant positivity
  • Plan your day, week, month, life in detail!
  • Rise early and seize the barakah (God’s blessings)
  • Aim for physical vitality
  • Pursue holistic learning for a holistic life
  • Take time to have fun!
  • Always be of service
  • Have commitment and discipline

The detailed manifesto is to be found here on this source : http://cdn.productivemuslim.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ProductiveMuslim-Manifesto.pdf

In French 

In Arabic 

I wish you all a lovely beginning of winter. I wish you warmth, inside and out.
Salam aleikoum and peace, love and light to you!

fire

 

Grounding Myself

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

schuhe

To be honest, I don’t feel entirely well these last weeks, mashaallah.
There were many decisions to make, many challenges to take and many visitors around at school, but also in our private life
– I feel exhausted and ready for a break. I feel ready for winter to come,  ready to draw back and to hibernate, just like an animal that crawls into his cave.
I observe myself sometimes arguing with reality,  wishing for things to be different, in fact just longing for some peace and quiet…
Here I’ve put down a little list of several things I try to do when I really feel at the edge to depression and need something to tear me out of the black hole:

  1. Drinking some freshly brewed yarrow/achillea-tea
  2. Making a treasure map of pictures cut from magazines to visualize positive goals
  3. Going outside! Alone or with the children, to breath fresh air and clean the head
  4. Making Istikhara and dua’ or reading Qur’an
  5. Reading self-help books
  6. Watching feel-good-movies (although it is very difficult to find hahal-ones)
  7. Making a gratitude-list
  8. Talking to a friend who can stand my tears, just listening, without trying to “save” me
  9. Investigating my belief system and affirming and auto-suggesting all things good
  10. Reminding myself that life is always for something good; that there is a reason behind everything and a learning opportunity for my highest good to be found in all.
    Alhamdulillah!

berge

favorite shoes from Gudrun Sjoeden