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!


A Family Manifesto

a wonderful summer has passed by… autumn is in the air, first snow on the summits we just hiked last month, and a new school year lies ahead.
While pondering over the great moments we had together as a family, I feel the urge to make these memories last. Life will change this semptember (it always does, I know…), as our youngest son enters first grade and our oldest one the public high school…
lunchtimes will be different and the togetherness we lived so many years on our campus has now to stretch, to widen and to open outwards.
I think we are ready for this, but I also feel that we have to give new meaning and sense to our family and consciously realize what the word and the community of “family” means to each one of us.

When I prepared the teamwork and leadership-training for our teachers, I came across a wonderful idea in Stephen Covey’s book (“Principle centered leadership”), the idea of a family manifesto. And it felt the right moment to create one before busy school life takes all over again. It felt so right to deeply connect before we go apart.

so I searched the net for creative ideas and I reflected over the things that I really wanted us to share and to realize; I informed the other family members about the idea, I made preparations and created an atmosphere of joy, excitement and anticipation. And then fixed a date where all would be present, undisturbed, for about two ours, with good food, candles and crafting materials. We put “Bismillah” on the top of our manifesto and collected memories, values and things that define, connect and are important to us.

I won’t share the result here, it’s far too personal and kind of sacred for the seven of us… I really feel blessed and grateful that we did this, alhamdulillah, … but I wanted to inspire you, just as I was inspired by others…. and I wish you a connection of love and the feeling of togetherness for you and your beloved ones, carrying you especially though the hard times of life … feeling the importance and the value of “family” as the basic unity of society, no matter what.

And for those who do not have family to share such a connection with, the idea can likewise be done with your circle of friends, your team at work or in every other unity you build with others.

Wishing you peace and blessings for you and your relationships.

more ideas:

and also in Amanda’s books


weekend blues salvation

Alhamdulillah, of course, some days are not as perfect as shown in the last post…
or maybe parts of a day are great and other parts just a mess… mashaallah;

this up and down-thing often happens to me on weekends, especialy when my husband is on travel
and when the rhythm and structure of the every-work-day isn’t given.
Then I have all the five kids to care for and also want myself to calm down and have a rest…
and that’s exactly the challenge… the pressure of knowing that there are only two days to relax, …
feeling sometimes stressed by the limitation of two days and lack of alone-time, astaghfirullah.


Maybe you know these kind of days, also called weekend-blues or Sunday-depression.

After having had a very bad and sad weekend about two weeks ago, mashaallah, I decided to stablish a “save the weekend”-list,
some strategies and things to do when depression, agression or overtaxaion are getting me:

  • get out, go into nature!
  • writing a gratitude-list
  • taking pictures of beautyful things
  • cleaning out my wardrobe
  • working in the garden
  • writing in my diary
  • drinking herbal tea (especially yarrow/Schafgarbe)
  • reading Quran or self-help books
  • enjoying the sun (if there is some)
  • listening to the birds singing
  • cooking or baking with the kids
  • gettings some inspiration on Pinterest
  • dreaming and creating (e.g. a treasure map)
  • eating chocolate
  • hugging the baby / kids
  • meeting with someone
  • imroving something at home
  • accepting the sadness, indulge and cry
  • taking a shower, caring for myself
  • sleep, knowing that this too will pass…
  • after sadness comes joy
  • pray!

what strategies do you have for those days?
wishing you many perfect days! salam aleikoum and happy spring!