Monday, 17 December 2012

Goodbye for a little while

The whole house is a mess of boxes, bags and just stuff! Everywhere you look is just stuff! I really fail when it comes to packing. Lucky my best friend has been here everyday to boss me around and make me do stuff I really do not want to do!

I am off for now! To a new country and new adventures, this has been in the works for a while but I did not really want to say anything until the last minute.

I will miss New Zealand like you wont believe. The sound of the waves as I go to sleep every night, fresh picked cherries, picnics with my friends every Wednesday afternoon, farmers markets, random conversations with old ladies on the bus, the smell of the masjid, endless days at the each, thrift stores, Chai lattes with my best friend, the forest that surrounds me.

When I first came back here my heart was smashed into a thousand pieces and without even trying slowly but surely my heart got put back together. Allah is forever merciful.

I will write once more before I go this week but for a while after that I will be crazy busy with settling in and study and my billion other things but I will be back! That you can count on inshaAllah.


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Our converts road trip

I keep meaning to write, truly I do but life just has a funny knack of getting in the way but today I was determined and so even though I'm covered in sand, have seriously the worlds biggest laundry pile and am so far behind on my studying tbut I was determined to write, so right now I'm wedged in next to the washing machine whilst making koshary and listening to some lectures.

I've been away on a converts road trip which has consisted of traveling the country and talking and interviewing many, many converts. This was not an easy feat at all with two kids and at times I was getting by on two hours sleep and many, many carbs but it was SO worth it. I met so many sisters that inspired me beyond words. One girl who particularly stood out was a young teenager who had converted to Islam along with her boyfriend and they had both gotten married and moved in together to make it halal and after this her mother converted as well. Ma'ashallah she was so sweet and endearing and just so super happy to meet another convert, she wore her hijab proudly to school each day even though it makes her the target of torment. Another sister who stood out was a little old Maori lady who had recently converted and although she had nothing she was just so happy and excited to be a Muslim. She told me "I'm gonna get me one of those young Syrian boys, oh they are so delicious!" causing me to choke on my coffee with uncontrollable laughter.

I met many sisters with drug and alcohol problems, terrible marriages, gang affiliations, other abuse problems. Some so hurt and bitter and depressed they responded only to me in anger. But I can tell you no matter how dire their situation each and every single one of them knew that with saying the Shahadah comes hope. The hope of healing and a promise that Allah can heal that which they thought was broken forever. Maybe its not immediate but when you turn even a little to Allah he responds by giving you and love and acceptance and belonging maybe you never thought you would have. Maybe you had searched your whole life for. Allah brings beauty from pain, that which is smashed beyond recognition he restores to something of stunning beauty. With Islam comes the love that no matter how hard you search you will never find anywhere else. You are never so far gone that Allah can not rescue you, all you have to do is call for help. Tomorrow is going to be a better day.

I will write some more soon but just wanted to pass by and offer my love to you and let you know that I am still around! xxx

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

One year old

Can you believe that pudding is one year old?

Time goes so fast!!

It was his birthday yesterday and I wanted to write something then but I have had a terrible flu that I just can't seem to shake and now the kids are sick as well but alhamdulillah. I don't celebrate birthdays as such but my non Muslim family does of course, so my Mum brought him this big dump truck on the weekend which he loves wheeling around the house. Sometimes he stands on it as leverage to get into things he shouldn't be! Such as my chocolate stash I hid in my scarf drawer.....he obviously takes after his mother ;)

Thank you all so much for your kind comments on my last post, I love all my sisters so much! I wish I could give you all big hugs and cookies xxx

Friday, 10 August 2012

The little things

As most of you know I stopped writing about six weeks ago due to some very difficult circumstances, most of you know anyway what it was about and then a few days ago I had something else happen, something I just never saw coming and it totally blindsided me. After spending the morning crying to Allah and making lots of dua I prayed that instead of focusing on what's happening right now he would make me see the beauty in the small things in life because sometimes that is all we have.

Above is my precious love reading books on my bed with me. He has this obsession at the moment with pop up books and books about a panda called Noodle :) A small thing that brings so much joy to my heart.

Ramadan has been a good time for me to reflect and increase the simplicity in my life and conclude I need to cut way back on my computer time. It's time for me to go back to spending my time in my garden, sewing a new quilt, making bread by hand,walking by the ocean, reading a book with a cup of mint tea, making soap and all the simple things that have always brought me joy. Sometimes we get caught up in another world we begin to forget the things that truly bring us happiness.

A fresh baked chocolate chip cookie, falling asleep to the sound of the rain, the sunshine on my face, the smell of bread baking, my little boy's laughter, a line of diapers blowing in the wind, sitting next to an open fire with a cup of cocoa and halal marshmallows :)

It used to REALLY annoy me (and still does) when people say things like "Just say alhamdulillah and thank Allah for what you have" this is just not helpful. It's like a Dr telling a patient that they need medication but not what kind, how much or what for. Of course you should thank Allah but things are never just that simple. I think when things get too much that you can't think of getting through the next day let alone the next week one of the best things you can do is to focus on the little things you can do that bring you happiness. It forces you to live in the present by enjoying what is right in front of you.

I pray everyone is having a beautiful Ramadan. May Allah bless you all and I hope to catch up on your blogs soon, that is whoever has one left! It seems all my favourite blogs are slowly vanishing one by one! xxx

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Away for a while

Due to a devastating loss in my personal life I will not be writing for some time. May Allah bless you all xxx

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

My jouney to veganism and my Islamic perspective

It's very dark and cold here and I would SO much rather be sleeping than blogging but it seems that if I want to get this written now is going to be my only chance. Once the kids get up that is usually my only alone time gone for the day..... It seems my little man has some kind of sensor that wakes him up when I am having suhoor (he only wakes up when I am preparing food and every other time he sleeps through) and once he sees me eating he starts yelling (he literally yells at me in his baby babbling) for me to give him food lol even if he has his own food he still only wants mine. Anyway today he has slept through for once alhamdulillah and so I get to write this blog post which I have been meaning to for such a long time now.

I have been a vegetarian for 16 years now and it started off because as a child I was so grossed out at the thought of eating dead animals, everyone thought it was a phase that I would get over as I came from a huge meat eating family but to my family's shock it was most certainly not. The thing is that being vegetarian didn't make my lose any weight at all, I was still the chubby child I had always been and the problem kind of got worse as I got older even though I was eating far less calories than my friends were eating.

When I hit 24 I was at my largest I had ever been by a long shot, I weighed very, very close to three hundred pounds whilst eating a vegetarian diet, proof that it is possible to be morbidly obese and a vegetarian. Anyway to cut a long story short I first started by adopting a vegan diet and walking three days a week for an hour and a half and I was watched in amazement as the pounds just fell off even though I was eating more food than ever. After I lost the first 30 pounds I started belly dancing classes and eventually I took up running and with all of these factors combined managed to weigh less than I did when I was 12.

When I was pregnant however I started eating dairy again, I was so unhappy and one of my only comforts was in food and as a result I gained far more than I definitely should have! Cheese and chocolate are not kind to me.

However when I converted to Islam and when people found it I didn't eat meat or dairy or wheat it was like a slap in the face to them, they took it sooooo personally and to heart. As one blogger put it "It's like they think it is the sixth pillar of Islam" I have had so many like hour long debates with people, I have even been accused of not being a Muslim because of it! Others tell me it is a huge act of haram to be a vegetarian and it goes on and on.

I really don't get this attitude, I don't care what people eat actually, if they choose to stuff their faces with 10 cheeseburgers then it is not be job to argue that with them, it is their body and their choice and none of my business actually. I have never or will ever state that eating meat is haram however I don't think the cultural attachment of eating huge quantities of meat is the best idea for anyone. There are narrations in fact from Imam Ali (as) discouraging the eating of too much meat.  “Don’t let your stomach become a graveyard for animals” is one; “Eating meat excessively will harden your heart” is another.

I recently watched the documentary knives over forks and it made me think what the heck am I doing by risking my health once again and it was straight back to the vegan diet. But the health issues aside I started to look alot more into treatment of animals who are sent for slaughter but mostly the dairying cows took my interest. I always found it ironic how people would go to huge lengths to ensure they would make sure their meat is halal but at the same time they would happily eat eggs which came from hens that were caged (as we know these hens lead a horrendous, painful, torturous life) if a food has been produced by measures of extreme cruelty , does it make it halal? Well I am not alone in my thinking that because of the mandates of being kind to animals in Islam then most probably it isn't. 

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end. (Sura 6:38)

“A good deed done to an animal is as meritorious as a good deed done to a human being, while an act of cruelty to an animal is as bad as an act of cruelty to a human being.”

“He who takes pity {even} on a sparrow and spares its life, Allah will be merciful on him on the Day of Judgment.”

“Allah (God) will not give mercy to anyone, except those who give mercy to other creatures.

As I looked more into this dairying aspect and I pored over hours of photos and websites and books I became more and more convinced that this was something I could never take a part in ever again. The following is just a small segment taken from a reputable website.

Because dairy cows are milked so excessively,  dairy cows have increased risks of teat diseases like mastitis. Symptoms of mastitis include include hot, swollen, acutely painful udders, fever, and loss of appetite. When a cow has mastitis her udder may become so inflamed that it is as hard as a stone, and blood bubbles into her milk, which becomes clotted and watery 12. Severe cases of mastitis can kill a cow in less then 24 hours. Modern dairy cows have been bred for milk production to the point where the teats of their enlarged udders dangle close to the ground, and become muddy and infected. 13

Although tail docking is not as common in cattle as in sheep, the tails of some dairy cows are amputated using a tight rubber ring, or a searing iron, in order to “improve comfort for milking personnel, and enhance milking efficiency,” 13 or to try and stop mastitis. However, the scientific evidence for mastitis prevention is inconclusive. A US study by researcher Dan Weary found no health benefits in chopping off cows’ tails. 14

Amputation is very painful, as the cow’s tail is richly supplied with nerves and blood vessels. Cows need their tails to swat away insects, and possibly to communicate with other cows. Docked cows try in vain to flick their tail stumps, and are likely to suffer from neuropathic pain, similar to the “phantom limb” pain experienced by human amputees. 16  Cattle may also be branded for identification.

Calves are often dehorned to prevent damage or bruising to their carcass during slaughter. Calf's may be dehorned with bolt cutters, scoop dehorners or a butchers saw. This causes pain, bleeding and exposure of the frontal sinuses in older animals. 13 The pain can last 6 hours after dehorning. 15 Dehorning is often done without the use of anaesthetics.

I seriously believe that if our Prophet (saw) was to see this inhumane and cruel treatment he would just not stand for it, yet by drinking dairy am I not supporting it just the same?

For those worried that I somehow am depriving myself or my children of calcium, dairy companies continually promote dairy products for calcium and bone health. However dairy products are actually quite low in calcium, compared to foods like soy milk, almonds, nuts, apricots, broccoli, figs, and tofu.In fact, one serving of sesame seeds has almost double the calcium as a glass of cows' milk and one serving of soymilk has almost 100 milligrams more calcium then a serving of cows' milk.

I understand this is a controversial subject and I am talking about my own belief sytem for myself. Any comments that I deem disrespectful or inappropriate will be deleted. If you feel the need to tell me how I am making something haram which is halal (which I have clearly stated I am not) then I suggest you write your own blog post about it and tell me about it never.

On a lighter note I am off to make Egyptian Pumpkin pie

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup mixed chopped nuts (I use almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp plain flour or corn flour (for a GF option)
  1. This step is optional: lightly toast the nuts in a pan on medium heat until just golden.
  2. Mix the chopped nuts, raisins cinnamon, nutmeg and agave together to make the filling.
  3. To make the almond creme bechamel, whisk the flour into the almond milk and add the vanilla essence in a pan. Bring to the boil and stir continuously until it thickens – add more almond milk or some water if too thick.
  4.  Grease a baking dish with coconut oil and layer half the pumpkin mix on the bottom, cover with the nut mixture, and add the rest of the pumpkin on top.
Depending on how big of a portion you’re making, you could have several alternating layers.
Add the almond creme bechamel on top, and bake at 220 C for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, 

Hae a beautiful and blessed day xxx


Monday, 11 June 2012

Fasting through depression

This photo was taken just a few minutes walk from my house, I have found for me to stay uplifted then there is nothing better for me than walking, and I find to be near water particularly helpful as it helps me to be more reflective.

It scares me to think of living in a country with no bodies of water.....

I have made it no secret in the past that my whole life before converting to Islam I suffered from very bad depression, in fact a few months before becoming a Muslim I had a complete mental breakdown where I could no longer eat, shower or sleep for that matter. The day I said my shahadah was the day I stopped taking my anti depressants and sleeping medication.

I have had many times since then where I have felt down or sad but not the kind where I can't stop crying, can't get out of bed or want to end my life alhamdulillah and I plan on keeping it that way.

Mental illness is not shameful, it is not about trusting in Allah more, it is not something the person suffering from it can control anymore than say having cancer or a broken leg. I see a lot of stigma about mental illness and I think people fear what they don't understand but that is no excuse for ridicule.

I want to share something I found last year from Dr Bilal Philip's website, I will post it here but will provide the link anyway. I use this as a prevention is better than cure but I myself in my extensive searching have not managed to find anything that works as well as this.


The steps for a “Fast” cure for depression.
 1. Do a complete focused fast on Mondays and Thursdays.
a) Get up Read in Arabic and English – Inna fee Khalqis samaawati wal Ard (Aali Imraan, 3:191-end) and crying.
b) Make a focused wudoo and Tahajjud followed by
c) a very light Suhoor (brown bread, olives and extra virgin olive oil + 2 table spoons full of canned tuna or one egg) followed by
d) a day of focused sunnah and Fard prayers
e) Utilize throughout the day any of the prophetic du’aas requesting ease like: “Allahumma laa sahla illaa maa ja’altahu sahlaa (O Allah, nothing is easy except what you make easy) wa anta taj’alus sa’ba in shi’ta sahlaa (And You can make what is difficult easy if You wish)
f) as well as the other du’aas for depression like: Allaahumma rahmataka arjoo falaa takilnee ilaa nafsee tarfata ‘ayn. wa aslih lee sha’nee kullah. Laa ilaaha illaa Ant.  (O Allah, it is Your mercy that I hope for, so don’t leave me in charge of my affairs even for the blinking of an eye. And rectify all of my affairs for me. Nothing has the right to be worshipped except You. See  Hisnul Muslim – the Muslim Fortress for more).
g) Then break the fast with 3 dates and a glass of water and pray maghrib,
h) Have a light Iftaar followed by a focused Ishaa,
The depression should begin to lift, if not go altogether from the very first day of the Fast cure. It will work if you do it believing with all your heart, strongly that this prophetic formula WORKS and the degree to which it does work depends on how seriously you take it and apply it.

Have a beautiful and blessed week xxx

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Why I deleted my old blog

Some of you may wonder what happened and why I deleted all of my old posts and pictures etc

There are two reasons actually.

The first one is that the woman who started this blog more than a year ago and the woman who writes this blog now are two very different people. A year ago I was in so much emotional pain I felt like I couldn't breathe, like I was drowning and I wouldn't make it. I didn't really believe that blessings could come through trials but I knew at the same time it was a promise that Allah makes and I wanted so badly to trust in that. Each day dragged by like a year and the only thing that got me through apart from Allah swt was my blog friends, a few in particular made all the difference for me.

And then my baby boy came and he was like sunshine flooding into my life, even if things were falling down around me it didn't matter because I had him. I'm pretty sure no one got a better Eid present than me last year ;) And after that things got better and better, in late October I  got a house that I literally wouldn't of ever dreamed of having and just a three weeks after that something else came into my life that made up for every bad thing that ever happened to me. Maybe one day I'll tell you all about it :)

And now I look back and I don't want those posts lingering around for my son to read one or actually for even me to remember, it takes me back to a time that I would rather not focus on. I am grateful for that time in my life because it showed to me just how much Allah loves us, he truly is the ever merciful. But now there are new things to focus on, I wont forget my past but I will not dwell on it.  

The second reason is because of the evil eye. I wont go into this too much but I learned the hard way through my now defunct private blog and mistakes I made after that too much sharing information is not always a good thing, sadly not everyone is as happy for us as we would hope they are. It's not something we should become paranoid about but I think discretion about certain issues is not a bad thing really.

I will always keep my blog address though because if there is one thing I have truly learnt and believe with all my heart is that Allah truly does give our sweetest blessings through trials.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A kind word

This is my request that if any of my dear blog followers can to please pop by this dear sisters blog and leave a kind comment. She is having such a hard time and I so often feel tears in my eyes reading her blog because her pain is so real and in some ways familiar.

Thank you all so much in advance.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Monday gratitude with Marie

This week I am grateful for....
Sweet baby hugs before bed
Somalian tea in a beautiful antique teapot
Having a sleepover with my sister
Sheets that smell like sunshine
Making cards with my daughter

White chocolate chip and apricot cookies
Pilates in the sunshine
Planting the winter vegetables
Sleeping next to my gorgeous wee man
Hot chocolate with marshmallows

A deserted beach
Watching 'the help'
Feeling Allah's love 
Hearing I call out "Mama" when he wants me
The smell of old books

Be sure to visit Marie for more Monday gratitude.

Have a beautiful and blessed week xx

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Let go

Let go of your grudges. Let the bitterness die tonight. Make a decision today that it's time to move on. And begin again. New, this time. Never forget that what has passed you by was never meant to befall you. And what has befallen you, was never meant to pass you by. Know that sometimes Allah withholds from you, in order to give you something better. Keep your heart focused on Him, and He will take care of the rest. And remember: you will stumble, but that’s part of the path. Keep going. Keep rising, and refuse to give up. - Yasmin Mogahed

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Why I homeschool

When my daughter was a baby I never intended on homeschooling and actually truth be told I thought home schooling was for freaks who wanted to socially deprive their children from all the public education system had to offer.

When my daughter was about four I met a woman who homeschooled all her six children, I remember telling her I didn't know how she found the patience and she told me something that made all the difference (and I myself have told countless people) "Patience isn't something that we are born with, it's something that is learned as you go along" ma'ashallah she was an amazing woman and although she died from cancer three years after that I will never forget her.

So my daughter starts school and she never really thrives, her reading is behind, her writing is behind and nearly every day she pretends to be sick, . This continues for a year when I decide enough is enough and make the decision to leave my job and home school her. Almost straight away her reading and writing improves and in the space of a few months she went from barely being able to read any words to reading chapter books! That alone was the encouragement I needed to keep going and that I did.

Oh you wouldn't believe the negative comments I have received over the years from people who think I should put her into school (as if it's actually any of their business) many people are curious but some are just plain rude (to those people I start talking a lot about government conspiracies and that usually gets rid of them ;) )

I wouldn't say I that I wouldn't send any of my other children to school but with A I would not, it just doesn't work for her. You can't fit a round peg into a square hole and I know my daughter well enough to know that the 'traditional' school system is just not for her. She excels at home actually, she may be ten but ninety percent of the subjects she is studying this year are at high school level ma'ashallah. What works for one doesn't always work for all as is clearly shown with her.

Originally I was unschooling her but that didn't work so well, I'm just not organized enough ;)

So now we start at 9.30 with Arabic every morning.

From ten to twelve we do maths, english and history

From one to three we do science, geography, social sciences etc

From four to dinner she works on a project that we decide on previously and it could be from making a bird bath to sewing a dress to making a clay pot.Sometimes she will just spend it reading.

For an hour each night I try to give her an hour with just me to do whatever she wants so tonight we watched a documentary on the Aztecs sacrificing rituals but tomorrow it may be scrabble or baking muffins.

We do have other projects and things we do but i think I will save those for another day :)

She is also expected to do chores daily and they change from day to day but I have not touched her bedroom since she was four and she also does her own laundry and puts away the dishes. I don't pay her for general helping around the house because that is just being part of a family but for jobs like washing the outside windows or scrubbing the stairs she does. Teaching our children to be responsible is one of the most important things we can teach. When I see a mother who does everything for her children I often think she is robbing them of the pride they feel from being able to handle responsibility. Life skills are something I really focus on in homeschooling her because when I left home I did not know how to cook at all or clean or even sew on a button! I would never want that for her.

I do feel strongly that insha'Allah I will continue to home school any children I have because I see the continued blessings from it. Well statistics just speak for themselves!

Basically the reason I home school is because it is what is best for my daughter and her sense of security means more to me than all the free time in the world.

Have a blessed  weekend my dear sisters xx

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

How my parents took my acceptance of Islam

I get asked all the time by friends and strangers alike how my parents took my becoming a Muslim, they usually ask in a way that makes it sound like I became a mass murderer but there is the occasional genuine person amongst them.

My family was not really the problem actually. My father died when I was eleven and even before that my mother was living with her boyfriend to which she does this day. My mother and I have never had a great relationship and I have not lived ta home since the day I turned sixteen but alhamdulillah Allah has provided so much healing where that relationship is concerned.

I can't really remember ever telling my family I had become Muslim, they just watched me transform from a mini skirt wearing blonde who lived at the gym to this hijabi who spent her life at Arabic classes. They couldn't care less about what religion I followed since they are all atheists themselves, I could have chosen to worship the family goldfish and they wouldn't have even raised their eyebrows. What they did have an issue with was lifestyle actually, my mother would tell me I looked like an old woman now and my sister couldn't understand why I had to end all my male friendships or wouldn't even be around alcohol. My mother used to look at me with disdain in her eyes and think I had been brainwashed. As time goes by it gets easier and easier, my mother will listen to me now talk about Islam and she has even come to the Masjid with me. Alhamdulillah. My sister has come to Islamic events with me. Alhamdulillah. I have had family members tell me that Islam has transformed me into a new and better person. Alhamdulillah.

Now the church I belonged to and my christian friends were a whole other story so i'll leave that for another time ;)

Allah is so good and ever merciful. For other sisters struggling with family members who are not so accepting just remember through time and reflection a lot can change. Just remember to always be kind, always be gentle and Allah will do the rest, don't ever give up hope that Allah can perform miracles because if he can get my mother in a masjid (who proclaims to hate God) than he can do anything.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Some random stuff about me

Heights freak me out♥I can't use the same towel twice without washing it♥I have never deep fried anything in my life♥My favourite colour is pink♥I have an obsession with aprons♥I secretly fear a zombie invasion♥I hate looking at any mans feet♥My favourite cookies are white chocolate and apricot♥I am too loud♥I can't stand to wear polyester♥ I watch English speaking movies with the subtitles on♥ I adore cardigans♥ I think piglets are the cutest things ever♥For a year I dressed in saris♥I have purple boxing gloves♥I love reading Amish fiction♥I have my nose pierced♥I hardly ever make my bed♥I hate it when stuff doesn't match♥My actual name is Bonnie-Lee♥I have the worst singing voice ever♥I am 28♥I listen to recordings of the rain to fall asleep♥When I was a teenager I used to wish I was Indian♥I brought myself a wedding ring when I was 20 and vowed to never leave MYSELF♥My favourite book is the city of joy♥I love make-up like a little girl loves candy♥I love smelling my own hair♥ I wish I lived in little house on the prairie♥I was given an iPhone and have never used because I'm scared of it♥My favourite accents are French ones♥the perfume I wear is called Be Delicious♥Ice cream makes me throw up but I love it so I still eat it anyway♥My favourite smell in the whole world is my baby's feet♥I think the Beatles were highly overrated♥I'm scared of the dark♥I can't eat pizza without coke zero to accompany it (even though I know that yes it's terrible for you)♥The last book I read was Mockingjay♥I hate the taste of coffee♥My worst habit is procrastinating♥I still remember the entire book of Psalms♥I cried my eyes out at Edward and Bella's wedding lol ♥

Have a beautiful and blessed week

Friday, 11 May 2012


Salam alikum

Welcome to my new blog

As you can see my past has been wiped clean and I am all ready for new experiences and adventures and hopefully new friends along the way.

Love and blessings to you all xxx