Posted in baraka, creativity, Islam, journaling, productivity, Writing

Virtuous Living 2012

virtues 2012006

Click here to view the Wordle
I made using the Virtues Project cards I randomly selected throughout 2012.  
The size of the writing reflects which cards I pulled most frequently.  
No surprises there I would say.  Or if you just click on the image you can
embiggen it.  (Hmmm, I wonder when embiggen will make it either into the
dictionary or the list of words to be banished such as "world-class" and 
"spoiler alert"?)

Lifelong learning is a theme which kept coming up over and over again 
through the year so I added it as an "extra" virtue although it's not 
in the original hundred virtues in the project.  
For this year I've also added Sisterhood, Self-Care, and 
Consolidation (in the sense of keeping one's affairs in order 
and generally being organized)

What's special about the Virtues Project is that it's part of a global
initiative "to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life by helping
people of all cultures to discover the transformative power of these
universal gifts of character."
As such the quotations are drawn from every faith tradition.
The virtues are all positive and the cards themselves stress the
importance of balance and common sense, i.e. truthfulness does not
mean being hurtfully blunt, generosity does not mean giving away
the grocery money.  
I've been continually amazed at how often the virtue I randomly
choose for the day is exactly on point!

Of course there are various other sets of cards out there, so I'm curious, 
do you use cards and if so which ones?  What have you learned?  do
share, please!

Wordle takes a bit of patience to get started but once you do it's
great fun!  I've used it in the past to create text on fabric
through Spoonflower.
Posted in baraka, creativity, International, Islam, journaling, Rant

Celebrating Freedom with installation art

The hours from Thursday morning to Friday lunchtime were among the most exciting and nerve-wracking of my life.

Since the unrest in Egypt began, our family has not had a moment’s tranquillity.  Even without cable TV (a deliberate choice on our part) we have been following broadcasts and blogs online and trying to stay in touch with Egyptians we know around the world, including the relatives in Egypt who were completely cut off for several days as the regime tried to put a lid on the popular uprising.

On midday Thursday (Pacific time) Mubarak was supposed to give a speech.   It was 40 minutes late, meaning that our prayer time came and went before he even started (although we prayed right after so it still counts).  This is 10 p.m. Cairo time, so it was after 10:30 when he finally spoke.

The speech began with patronizing platitudes about “I am speaking to you as a father to his children.”  Then, “the blood of the young people killed and injured in the unfortunate events will not be wasted because I have ordered a complete investigation and I will hold the guilty ones accountable.”   (I’m paraphrasing here and based on what the interpreter said since my Arabic is less than basic.)  At this point I’m thinking, no, wait, this is not good, this is going the wrong way.  After a couple more minutes the crowds in Tahrir Square started growling and waving their shoes, which by now everyone knows is like giving the finger only worse.

At one point the interpreter started one sentence over three times.  I thought it was the interpreter stumbling, but it may have been Mubarak because one commentator said he seemed to be disoriented.

Important to note that in Egypt, State television showed the speech and not the reactions in the square.  And we had to phone our relatives in Alexandria to tell them to watch, because they didn’t know the speech was scheduled.

We were left absolutely fearful that he had outdone Machiavelli, that everything would end in a bloodbath with hundreds killed as they marched on presidential palaces (there are many to choose from), Army bases, and the television building, and that the regime would spin this as foreign agitators and inflamed students.  On the other hand if the people just packed up and went home (as if!) the regime would say that there were no problems.

I left a window to a breaking news blog open and kept refreshing it to watch developments.  Although we’ve probably had a lot more sleep than friends with cable, who have been getting by on two or three hours, I actually stayed up most of the night as I had to work.  Frequent breaks to check on what was happening, e.g. “The Pyramids are open.  But there are no tourists.”

Finally on Friday morning Pacific Time a relative called to say Mubarak had stepped down.  After jumping up and down and shouting and crying we headed out for candies.  No one had dared to hope for any kind of celebration, especially after the disappointment the day before, and of course red, black, and white don’t match the colours of any North American celebration, so we had to improvise.  The white candies had to be hand picked out of the Valentine’s mix (Wearing a plastic bag as a makeshift glove).  It’s installation art because they were loose in the dish, meaning it couldn’t be carried anywhere, except very carefully around the apartment.  It’s currently disassembled but sorted by colour.  I’m hoping for a party or get together of some kind that I can either reassemble it there or perhaps make sheet cakes and stick the beans on with butter frosting.  We’ll see.

Umm Sprout improvised a bag for the candies we took to prayers, using a Body Shop bag which originally said “thank you Canada.”  This is more exciting than a planned celebration where you have time to either buy or make decorations and favours, and it’s unrepeatable.  Everyone is so euphoric, and yet calmer at the same time.  I really see and hear a change in the people I know.  Abu Sprout sweetly said that he felt sorry that I’m not Egyptian, but right now I almost feel Egyptian!

Posted in baraka, creativity, Islam, quilting, Writing

What Was I Thinking!

… and a Stupiphany

at long last the baby challenge quilt has been birthed and now that I can see it as a single piece as opposed to blocks laid out next to each other, I’m liking it better and feeling that hopefully the family that ultimately receives it will like it to, or at least not totally hate it.

Photos of the finished quilt will appear sometime next week.  In the meantime (1) I have to play by the Quilt Guild rules and (2) it still has to be quilted and stitched closed.

So for now, the photo above shows what it does NOT look like!  I realized in time that the black and white pebbly fabric is not a good background.  There’s enough blocks with it in to make a doll’s quilt, which is probably what I’ll do with it, AFTER finishing the projects I committed to finish.

My slogan for this year was “Create and Complete,” and I need to keep it for 2010 too at this rate!

Decided that posting pix of stash is probably counter productive because in reveling in stash and my plans for it I fool my mind into believing I actually accomplished something.  Something other than shopping, that is.

The stupiphany of the day hit me like a ton of bricks.  A thought that came out of nowhere as I was taking a short walk enjoying fresh air and sunshine this morning.

I finally realized that it’s a good thing that I can’t sing.

Never in my whole life was I ever allowed to be in a choir or a chorus.  In high school I was told to mouth the words for the Christmas concert so as not to ruin the performance of the other 599 girls!  When my son was two he was already telling me not to sing.  Apparently even my humming is off key, although it sounds perfect to me.

Today I realized that if I could sing this would be one more distraction in my life.  I have enough trouble with the things I am blessed to be able to do.  If I was always rushing off to  practice with the Sweet Adelines I probably wouldn’t be as good at writing, art, or quilting.  And given that Islamic worship takes a different (and to me less distracting) form, I might miss choral music.

Posted in Clothing, Islam

Modesty in different cultures

Identity by Design, tradition, change, and celebration in native women’s dresses is published by the Smithsonian and HarperCollins. Edited by Emil Her Many Horses, it is lavishly illustrated and contains thoughtful essays, mostly by native American scholars, about dress. The perspective goes from historical times to the present.

I was fascinated that the metal ornaments which jingle have a social purpose (not just decorative). Women are not supposed to be alone with certain males, such as their father-in-law. The noise is to alert men that a woman is coming. In Islam, unrelated men and women are not supposed to be along together, but women are admonished not to stamp their feet and make their jewelry jingle.

Posted in Islam, Writing

Closest book to you

How to play:
* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence along with these instructions in a note in your BLOG.
* Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual… Use the CLOSEST

“We see a different person relating to spouse and children and wonder whether that was the same person we’ve worked with all those years.”

My book was What’s Right with Islam, by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf

Got this from Textile Traveler, whose blog is included in my list of blogs.