Tag Archives: relying on Allah

Allah is The Answer

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My middle son misses me. He called at all hours of the morning (the time difference did not help), crying and crying. I felt so helpless, being so far away, but I completely understood what it feels like for him. The best I could do was stay with him on the phone until he was able to calm down and put his mind on other things.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from today. It was important for me to find my mom’s old house, and the apprehension in what may lie ahead kept me from getting restful sleep. When it became apparent at 9 AM that there was not going to be any more opportunities for me to go back to bed before I had to check out, I went ahead and gritted my teeth and got ready for the day. I mapped out the street she lived on, then went to the nearby garage and retrieved my car. I drove from Hyde to Mission to 24th, and found a side street to park on.

Just as I remembered, Lilac St was nothing more than an alley. I wasn’t sure if I would remember her door by seeing it, but I was going to give it my best shot. I slowly walked toward the alley, uncertain if it was a good neighborhood or not. There were a lot of trendy places on Mission just around the corner, but alleys always seem kind of scary. I proceeded cautiously, and was relieved to see there weren’t many people around. Some guys were just taking a smoke break from the back door of the restaurants that lined the alley, and others were residents unloading things from their storage spaces.

The alley itself was colorfully painted with one graffiti mural after another. One one telephone pole were three faces of middle eastern looking men, and on the next were three women in hijab. Most of the alley was lined with sliding doors that led to either garages or storage areas. There were not many entry doors, and as I looked at each one I could not hone in on which might have been hers. What was clear was that this seemed to be an area where artists congregated, and that explained why she -with painting being a consuming passion of hers- would’ve chosen to live there.

I walked the entire length of the way searching for the impossible. I recalled that my brother had told me once that the building itself used to be a train station that was converted into living units, but none of the structures appeared to fit that description. When I reached the other end of the alley, I felt disappointed and lost. I turned back around, hoping that the alternate view might trigger a flash of memory to help me find what I was looking for, but that didn’t happen.

I returned to my car feeling defeated. This was something I felt I needed to do, and I couldn’t even do it. I sat in the driver’s seat and began weeping profusely. Something so simple, yet so elusive, can hurt so deeply.

“It’s only natural to want to have a mother in my life…”
Yes, it is.

“I didn’t deserve what happened…”
No, you didn’t.

“I didn’t do anything wrong!”
You couldn’t have.

The tears wouldn’t stop. The confusion burrowed deeper. The pain painted pictures before my eyes, and I hated it for being the very thing that was chaining me to the unhealthy habits I am struggling to break even now.

“Ya Allah, please show me how this loneliness, this constant loneliness that’s been a part of my life since birth, is really the best thing for me!”

I sat, trying to figure out a way forward. A way to heal and find peace from these deep scars. I kept thinking that finding my future was the answer, but the future is uncertain…..except for one thing: Islam.

Islam would be my way forward. Islam will help me find myself, and find my peace. It already has in so many ways, but the more I focus on it the more Allah will meet me where I need.

And so that’s where I wanted to go from that place, that empty alley which had no answers or comfort. I sent a message to a friend trying to find the way to the Muslims in San Francisco. While awaiting the response, I tried to find the information myself via Zabiha.com and Google. Both were inconclusive, so I was glad to get a reply with a general direction to move toward.

As it turned out, I ended up scouring the area I was pointed to block by block. I didn’t see any cluster of shops with signs in Arabic to indicate what I was looking for, so I thought I would just make due with popping into the nearby masjid to make dhuhr and from there go on my merry way. However, there was some type of event going on in that area, so the streets were being blocked off one by one. I couldn’t find a place to park by the masjid; in fact just getting out of the area and back toward the interstate was nearly impossible due to gridlock traffic and took almost an hour.

In the end, I drove to nearby Fremont to attend a zikr which was scheduled for this evening. I originally had planned not to go, but I felt like I needed something like that right now. I got into town and mapped the venue, which was located at a park. I decided to make my dhuhr there, and kill the time by eating a late lunch at a local halal restaurant. After that, I drove to the closest masjid and made asr, then returned to the park center for the night’s activities.

I am so glad I went. Being able to only focus on Allah and my iman was just what I needed, and it changed my state completely. Masha’Allah, they even served us a free dinner. The nasheeds lifted my spirits and I felt lighter than air after it was over. As I walked back out to my car, I looked up to see the wispy clouds sifting past a brilliantly shining full moon, beautifully set in the starry, cobalt sky. Alhamdulillah!

I located an affordable room for the night in town, which is where I am staying tonight. I like Fremont; it reminds me of the San Gabriel Valley where I spent half my childhood. In shaa Allah I will begin wending my way down the coast toward Southern California tomorrow. My trip will be coming to an end soon, so I hope I can make the most of these last opportunities toward self-discovery as I continue exploring the land I love.

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It’s Almost Over

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….My iddah, that is. As an aside, it hasn’t really stopped raining since my last post. When I leave work it’s only sprinkling, and then I think it is starting to let up. Then, as I’m about to fall asleep, I’ll hear it start pouring again. Anyway, back to my iddah coming to a close. It really is going to be over any day now! If I’m strictly counting average cycle days, then it will probably be over tomorrow. However, my cycle hasn’t been known for being predictable the past few years, so if I end up having to default to counting a complete three months by calendar- then next Tuesday is the very latest I’ll still be in this very gray-shaded state.

When my iddah began, I wasn’t sure what it would be like when I reached this point. I think I understandably expected to feel sadness, or some type of regret or sense of loss. In fact, I’m actually feeling rather peaceful and somewhat empowered. While there are -I’m sure- many wisdoms behind the iddah period, the insight I am coming away with is that (for me) it was a period of awkward emotional maneuvers that served to help me bring closure to the relationship so I can move forward now with more purpose and less baggage hindering me.

I really disliked the iddah. I am just being honest. It was the most frustratingly nebulous relationship status I have ever been in. Here I was, still married, but trying to figure out where the boundaries were since they weren’t readily defined (surprisingly, since most everything else in Islam is). All I knew was there was to be no physical intimacy (unless we were reuniting) and we had to live separately (which we had already been doing for like, ever). Outside of those, there were really no other “rules” about how to interact or behave with one another. I was constantly frustrated trying to figure out what was appropriate friendliness without giving the misleading idea that I wanted to reunite. He wasn’t yet a non-mahram, so I didn’t have a proper excuse to be curt and distant. Yet, if I seemed too aloof, this also seemed unreasonable.

On top of all that, I struggled with my feelings. All the good memories wooing me back to wanting to try again, and all the deplorable events that reminded me why I made this choice. For at least the first half of the iddah, I felt that I was at the mercy of these ruthless cycles. By the time my iddah was 2/3 over, I believe the balance was beginning to return. I’ve spent these past final weeks shifting my focus to my new life, and surprisingly I don’t have that feeling of “unfinished business” inside anymore. I feel at peace, and I feel I can move forward without being haunted by “what if?”

Sometimes I think about what I might miss most about being married. The first thing that comes to mind is just being able to get a hug whenever I need it, or having someone to talk to when I am bothered about something. I think I will miss having the companionship- someone to share life’s strange events with and develop inside jokes with. But I did have that, and what I had can never be taken away. I don’t know what my future holds, but right now my number one goal is finding Allah’s rahmah for me. That rahmah that will suffice me whether I walk the rest of this earthly journey alone, or whether Allah sees fit to someday pair me with someone to share a truly symbiotic marriage with. If I can find His rahmah, then I can find myself and cultivate that self into one who is more pleasing to Allah. That is truly what I was created for.

As always, I ask Allah to help me in this. Amin.

The Replacements

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It is said that Allah does not take anything from a person except to replace it with better.  I can say, with every fiber of my being, that my present life shows this reality.  This week has made manifest a qadr I’ve hoped for, and I am humbled that Allah saw fit to bring it to fruition in my life.

 

On Monday we closed on the house.  Yes, it was anticipated, but there is something about actually walking away with the physical confirmation of what one has worked hard for. Imagine what Paradise will be, when such exhilaration comes in this life! I have to admit, one of the more challenging things about having the house is the deep longing in my heart to share it with my soon to be ex-husband. I can’t erase the fact that the main reason I toiled for this very thing was for his sake, and now it is being with-held from him. Allah knows best.  I have been struggling with a sentimental sadness and longing to “fix it” by taking him back into my life, but unfortunately the character he’s been showing these last few days indicate he still is not going in the direction I need my husband to go in…or the direction I’m trying to go in myself.  Fortunately, today I am feeling less emptiness about this and more focused on the purposes Allah has to help me further develop my sincerity and taqwa.

 

I have been thinking about all of the places I’ve lived since I moved out from my grandparent’s home; and surely this is the best place so far. I love the house, the floorplan, the windows, the feel.  I can only hope in shaa Allah that a good man may share it with me someday…whether he is a transformed version of B, or someone I’ve not yet met, or even perhaps a friend who becomes more than a friend.  Allah knows best what I need, even if it means having the rest of my life to contemplate my duties to Him. He is to be praised because He shorts me nothing. Ever.

 

My little one is doing well. He completed his day treatment and will be returning to school tomorrow. He also is excited about the new changes with the house and all, so I hope it can boost him to where he is not overwhelmed with the pain of what is being lost.  I will do my best to continue to help him in shaa Allah.

 

I have a new car as well, masha’Allah.  I went on Friday and bought my 2013 Dodge Challenger.  It is like my own little piece of California for as long as I stay here in Georgia.  I intend to take the best care of it so it in shaa Allah will last me for decades to come. I have never financed a car before, and up until now I have been adamantly against such things and would rather save a few grand and buy something older and used. However, I know that I’ve made a lot of sacrifices for others. There have not been a lot of “things” I’ve wanted in life, but that Challenger always had my eye. I wanted to do something nice for myself so that I could experience the reality that I am just as valuable as anyone else. I wanted to buy a car and never have to worry about buying one again for the rest of my life, because it will remain in shaa Allah in good condition and it is what I have truly wanted. Every time I drive it I try to make a point to be thankful to Allah for giving me the opportunity to make such a dream come true and helping me to do so, and remind myself of the value I have no matter what others think or what I’ve experienced to prove otherwise.

 

And masha’Allah, excess money with each check. Even with the new car and house,  I will be having more surplus from my pay than I’ve ever had before. What a queer feeling to know that I  could buy drapes, plane tickets, clothes, or any other ‘stuff’ whenever I want. It doesn’t even seem real, but the truth is I am not really interested in doing any of that. Sure I will probably buy a few curtains for the house simply because there are more windows than curtains I currently own; and a few other decorative things, but after that I would probably just give in charity, save, and pay down any debt I have.  The only point (in my view) in having nice things is to remember Allah by them.  Surely I remember many times I got something nice or pretty and just was so grateful to Allah for beautiful things to enjoy as long as He allows, always reminded that nothing comes except by His leave.

 

I guess for me it’s easy to see that even though all these things are very nice and enjoyable, they are just transient. Anything can be lost at any time, and I certainly know what being on that side of the fence is like. I remember a time when I was starving and pregnant with my youngest son. We had no money and were literally living off the cans of salmon given to us by a local food pantry.  All I wanted was a tomato to add to it, and I remember how frantically we tried looking for enough change to buy just one.  In those days,  I don’t even know how the bills got paid since I wasn’t working and not getting child support, and it seemed my husband couldn’t keep a job.  Masha’Allah, Allah brought me through that and so many other trials. He brought me here, and He can take me anywhere He likes. My only goal in life is to become who He meant me to be regardless of where He takes me, either good or bad, in this life.

 

I can’t help but feel, though, that seeing what He is giving me now…anything else I’m losing or giving up will have a better replacement as well in shaa Allah. I think the hardest thing has been the ending of my marriage, but I really do trust Allah will either satisfy me with being alone in this life, or He will bring me a suitable partner who is better than the one I am losing. It’s as He likes, and I’m merely grateful for anything He chooses.

 

I am going to spend the next few weeks transitioning everything from this apartment to the house in shaa Allah. In addition to that, my plan is to eat healthier and try to become a little more active so I can begin in shaa Allah to lose some weight. I am hoping that when I take my vacation after MLK day I will be in a healthier condition, and also have some habits I can continue until I am a little trimmer and eating as I should for my diabetes.

I can, and I will

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I was thinking, as I was driving home the other day, that if one were to deduce my motto for life based on what I actually do in living it they might believe it is “rise to the occassion”.  I don’t sit around thinking of all the ways I want to grit through life, or all the lofty goals I hope to achieve. But, when trouble comes, I play defense passionately. Sometimes I laugh to myself because, being as un-inclined to athletics as I am, I probably would’ve been most suited to tennis because of the way I like to lob back every difficulty that tries to assault me.

 

My youngest son is thankfully home for the hospital. He ended up staying in the acute setting for a full week, and they discharged him down to the day program which he began yesterday.  He seems to do be doing better than he was when I had to take him in, but I am getting lots of opportunities to work on my patience as I again train him on what are the appropriate ways to speak to me or manage his own frustrations. In a couple of weeks I hope he will be ready to go back to school and finish out the semester unremarkably. In  the mean time, I am trying to give him a lot of focused attention and structure.

 

This upcoming week is going to be a very eventful one for me.  Monday morning we are scheduled to close on the house,  and as soon as that detail is out of the way I plan on working toward getting a new car. I had mentioned before how I planned to get a Challenger anyway, but now it is needed because the wheel shaft on my Hyundai cracked off from the chassy and the car had to be salvaged.  I am currently driving a rental, and I want to be able to return that sooner than later. I am glad that I will be off the last two days of this week to start working on my transition and fixing up the new house, and of course spending some meaningful times with the kids.

 

I also just completed the first third of my iddah.  It certainly has been a roller-coaster so far, but all the niggling doubts that I was having that led up to the divorce are quiet. That’s my marker to know that I made the right choice, no matter how often I long for old times. I decided to plan a trip out of town once my iddah is complete so I can refocus back on my own goals and values and start my new life with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose, insha’Allah. I have already purchased my plane tickets and requested a full week off from work. I am taking this trip alone, and I plan on trying to use it to really reflect on the things that matter most to me and what things I want to start investing my energy and creativity into.  I think this is the first vacation I’ve ever taken where I didn’t make a point of visiting people; for once I just want to get in touch with myself.

 

All in all, I do have a lot to look forward to. I have dreams to nurture and responsibilities keep me occupied and challenged. I was thinking yesterday of what my future might be like….if I will be spending more nights alone weeping what I’ve lost or thankful for what I’ve gained…and I realized there will be both. There will be nights I will miss the best parts of the “us” I had with B.  There will be days I will be glad that a particularly stressful situation with the kids wasn’t met with an explosion by him, too.  There will be plenty of times I will despair over the fact of never having another baby and living with the incompleteness my daughter’s departure left in me, but there will also be circumstances that will show me how much more difficult things would have been if I did have a young one to factor in.

 

Granted, things are not ideal. If I could create an ideal situation it would first have me living in California and not here lol.  I would have a healthy marriage and emotionally healthy kids. I would be a more balanced person myself, and I would have positive and uplifting relationships with others. I would perhaps even be free not to have to work. When I think of a scenario where all this fits in, it seems impossible to achieve in the near future…but one can never guess the sudden change of terrain that Allah might put before us.  I certainly never anticipated that I would be getting divorced after everything I went through with my husband, but here I am. I never thought I would be buying my first home alone, and getting a new car that I actually like, but it’s happening.  There is no telling what else can happen, and I truly am excited to see what each day brings to make the tapestry of my life that much more beautiful.

 

 

 

A Tornado Unleashed

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It’s hard to believe it’s only been about 2 weeks since the course of my future changed (at least in my awareness).  It seems like it’s been so much longer, but perhaps that’s because so many things have been going on that it gives the feeling of time stretching out.

I have been working on trying to identify and set up my own boundaries in life. I have recognized my tendency for being codependent and I plan on start going to CoDA meetings (codependents anonymous) because I can’t figure out on my own how to not be that way. It’s been such a lifelong orientation, I really don’t know any other way. But I don’t want to be this way anymore. I want to be my own person. I also plan on starting back with a counselor who can help me work on not “spinning my own reality”.  Someone probably with a strong background in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy).  I will do this at the beginning of the year when our new benefits kick in, which will happen to allow mental health visits/counseling with no copays! Plus I will have my annual EAP visits to use then as well.

 

I have been taking the time to turn to Allah whenever things get overwhelming. So, I have been turning to Allah pretty much on the hour, every day.  Before, I would turn to myself or creation for solutions to my problems, and I want to get away from that maladaptive pattern too. So I have been doing a lot of work on myself, but I still have a lot more to go.

 

All of these details, plus still getting ready for the closing on 11/19, and some recent events with my youngest son, have been keeping me very busy. I have a great girlfriend I talk to almost daily, and she’s a wonderful support.  With all of this the “pain of being alone” is softened.  Though this is a lot of work and sacrifice, and yes I lose too much precious sleep, I can safely say this is certainly not the worst thing I’ve been through in life.

 

There are a lot of times I want to reunite with my husband. I want to go back to all the familiar comforts and dive back into the dreams we built, to keep chasing them. One thing I tell myself every time I notice I get carried away with those ideas is that to do so would be going back to living a lie, and the lie is namely that the behaviors he demonstrated in the marriage (and that I ignorantly overlooked too many times) were acceptable. They were never acceptable, I should’ve never tolerated it past the first time.  So going back to that would be sending the message to myself, to him, to our children, and to society that abuse is OK if you can justify it or find a way of living with it.  That’s just simply not true, so no matter what I might feel or want I commit myself to that truth and the response it merits.

 

One of the more difficult challenges I’ve been facing has to do with my baby, Jabiyr (gosh, how hard it is to work my mind around the fact that he will likely be the last child I birthed).  Jabiyr, who can be the sweetest, most interesting and engaging boy, has always had a temper problem.  I’ve often felt he genetically inherited that makeup from his father, because even as a baby he seemed angry. Where other babies (even my older children) would cry with needs, sadness, and plaintively, he growled. He was mad!  He never seemed satisfied with any of my attempts to soothe him and he would just roar his frustrations out until he was exhausted.

 

As he got older, he was aggressive as a toddler. Some of that is to be expected at that age, so it was hard to distinguish which things were “personality” and which were developmental, because it wasn’t extremely severe. But when he started pre-K at age 4, his aggression took a specific form. He was suspended several times for hitting other kids and responding to stressful situations with violence. Other reprimands were given for him not listening or following directions, or hiding under his desk.  In the end, he was actually expelled a week before the school year was over because these behaviors had just gotten to be too much.

 

I was hoping that perhaps these extremes were because he wasn’t used to school, and happened to be one of the youngest kids in class. I hoped it was just immaturity, and that with time and adjustment to the routine he would outgrow it.  He always had a hard time adjusting to change, and has very particular preferences about how things should go.  Yet, these trends continued into kindergarten and first grade.  I don’t think there’s been a year he hasn’t been suspended at least a couple times for aggression or defiance.  However, it did seem like the incidents were decreasing in very small amounts, as last year he didn’t really have many episodes of trying to hurt others. It was mostly just the “not listening” stuff.

 

This year he had some very patient and understanding teachers. He started off doing great, with a structured reward plan for every day he did well (10 days got him a prize, and 100 days is a big prize. So far he has had 44 good days).  I really thought this would be the year we see a big difference with him, as his reading and writing skills began to blossom rapidly as well.

 

Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse when he came to understand what was happening with me and his father.  I expected this, naturally. I knew this would be a painful adjustment for him, even though the parting is amicable and we are both working toward supporting the little boy as best we can.  The small things that would “set him off” became even smaller, and the reactions even larger.  In the past 2 weeks, I have been called to come get him from school 3 times for essentially disrupting the classroom with a tantrum and refusing to stop.  He would throw chairs, scissors, pencils etc, and not stop when requested.

 

Even at home with me, I’ve lost a lot of leverage I used to have with him.  When I used to be able to sit with him and soothe him, or give him a consequence that would deter him, now those things don’t work. He is almost impossible to redirect, and he just doesn’t seem to care what the result might be.  It makes me very sad.

 

So, a few days ago the school called again for him to be picked up. His classroom had to be evacuated because of the havoc he was causing. Students and teachers feared for their safety, and he was suspended.  I also had begun fearing for his safety, because not only has he punched himself in the face when he gets upset but now he is so impulsive when he is in that kind of state I’m not sure what might enter his head to do to himself.

 

I took him to his afters school provider on the day of his suspension. Within an hour of being dropped off, I got a call to come get him because he was tearing things off the walls, cussing, and hitting the other kids.  I was heartbroken, and I have run out of ideas on how to manage these outbursts.  The school is at their wits’ end too, and I obviously can’t take off work several times a week to get him each time.  I had not looked at medication as an option because it is not FDA approved in children under the age of 7, and he just turned 7 this past August.  However, at this point it seems that he cannot control his emotions on his own, and I don’t know what else to do.

 

So I took him to the closest behavioral hospital for an evaluation that day.  After the assessment, they recommended an admission so they could observe these behaviors themselves and formulate a treatment plan. I’ve also met with the school administration to come up with some clear objectives while he is there. Today we will have a family session with the hospital staff, and I hope we will have some strategies going forward to help Jabiyr work out his feelings in a healthier way.

 

Taking him there was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. I have always been the one on the the other side (at my job), taking the admission clinicals for children so young. I never thought I would have to  take my own, but between my professional expertise and maternal instincts I’m flat out of answers.  I cried all the way home that night after leaving him.

 

The doctor I spoke with yesterday said that since he’s been there (a little over 24 hrs) he has been compliant, agreeable, and not at all aggressive or obstinate.  I was very surprised at this. I am not sure if he is trying to be on his best behavior so he can come home, or if he just hasn’t been “triggered” yet.  Either way, it makes me wonder if he can in fact control this behavior, but just chooses not to. If that’s the case, I wonder what could entice him to make the right choices when needed?

 

I have to admit, seeing all this play out brings a temptation of reuniting with his father. I think, “see, if you hadn’t pursued a divorce, your son would be still doing ok and not acting in the worst of ways.  If you get back with him, he will stop these behaviors”.  But then on the flipside I think of all the things he’s witnessed from his dad in his short life that maybe modeled these behaviors to him to begin with.  Ya Allah, please help my son and bring him peace of mind, heart, and body.

 

I will forge ahead, and I will continue to try to make the right choices as best I can assess. I will not give up just because it gets hard, and insha’Allah time will straighten all that seems crooked right now.

We Wait

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This morning I woke up thinking about a Bible verse:  “Those who wait upon the Lord, they shall renew their strength”.  Even though I am no longer a Christian, I can recognize the universal truth in this verse.  For any person who is trying to follow God as they understand Him, they find strength and purpose in submitting their will to His and being patient for the outcomes He intends.

 

This week has been a lesson in the stresses of buying a home. I’ve always heard about how maddening it is, but now I get to finally find out why.  It seems like the name of the game is compromise.  And then after you’ve compromised, do some more compromising.  What’s most interesting to me is how it took what seemed like forever to get our loan approval, and then once that happened everything started moving almost too rapidly.

 

As I mentioned in my last post, last weekend we went looking at condo properties.  Mind you, all of them were previewed online by my husband and I.  We had already pretty much narrowed down our favorites, so we were basically just wanting to see them in person to confirm that they matched our expectations and make a decision from there.  To tell you the truth, the process was not how I imagined at all. For one, I made the mistake of thinking the online pictures were accurate. As my oldest son would say, “sike!”

 

The first property we looked at was one that our realtor had chosen for us. My husband and I had seen it online, but were not interested in it. However, we decided to give it a chance. First of all, the place was tiny.  One thing we had neglected to do was note the square feet of each place.  For the last 6 years, I’ve been living in apartments that had anywhere between 1600-1800 square feet, and this first place was a measly 1400 sf and it showed.  The small bedrooms were crammed in the upstairs,  and the kitchen was almost nonexistent.  It didn’t take us very long to do the courteous walk thru and then reject it.

 

The second place we went to was much nicer, and over 2000 square feet. It was still being lived in, so the family’s furniture and personal items were still everywhere. Fortunately, they had nice things.  Even though the rooms were generally on the smallish size, the home had a good layout and cozy feel.  It was actually one of our top two choices, but after viewing the property our realtor explained that it was a short sale but not yet approved by the lender. Additionally, an offer had already been made on it, and was awaiting a response.  Our realtor explained that because of it being an unapproved short sale the negotiation process could take months if we were to make an offer. My lease is up in less than 90 days, so that was not a luxury we could afford. There were just too many “if” factors about it, so we decided to move on and see what else was on the agenda.

 

The next two places we saw were in the same neighborhood; literally 4 units apart from one another.  As such they had the same floor plan and pricing.  They both were around 16oo sf.  Again, the upstairs was small and compacted, the kitchens only slightly more generous than the first place we looked at.  Personally, I was very put off by the gold (yes gold, like shiny flakes) flecks in the black countertops.  It was too “disco” for a kitchen, let alone one with actually very nice wood cabinets. The one redeeming feature of these was the more spacious living room, but unfortunately it wasn’t roomy enough to offset the deficits.  What was appaling to me was when we went into the first place it was a hot mess (and this even though it seemingly had fresh paint etc).  There were carpet stains everywhere, and clearly you could tell someone had kept a dog in the house even when it had to potty. The second one had pet stains too, and was only in slightly better condition. Next!

 

The last place we viewed  was another of our favorites. I personally was very eager to see this one.  It was over 2200 sf and and had a two car garage. When we walked in, the entrance foyer was at the bottom of a stairwell. Being Muslim, I liked the fact that we could pile everyones shoes away down there without them cluttering up other parts of the home. As I went up the stairs which led into the expansive living room, I was awestruck. There were two large (6 feet high starting at the floor) double size windows along the longest wall.  The opposite wall had a fireplace flanked by a single size window (same height as the others- in fact this is the case for the entire house) on the left and a door leading out to a small fenced “backyard” on the right. The celing was vaulted as well, so the entire of feel at once was one of space and light.

 

Standing in the middle of that room, there was another set of about five wide steps to the right which led up to the dining area. The dining room was standard size, but because the one side of it was open to the living room (balcony overlook) it borrowed that space and made it seem larger.  Opposite the dining area was a small half bathroom followed by another set of stairs leading up to the bedrooms. Walking past those (as if you came up the stairs from the living room)  put me in the kitchen, which was bright and newly tiled. All of the appliances were new as well, and opposite the raised counter in the center was a breakfast area. Again, two large single sized windows near that and the fridge.

 

So far, the downstairs was ideal.  We went upstairs and the master bedroom was rather impressive size-wise, with another two double sized windows like the living room had.  The other two bedrooms and bathrooms were standard. Needless to say, we felt this was the house that would fit our needs.  It better be, because there were no other places in our part of town that were within our budget, and we really don’t want to leave this area as it is close to my work and the kids have been in the same schools all their lives. We decided to take a couple days to think it over and make sure we knew what we wanted and discuss any other options we were entertaining.  In the end, we decided to make an offer.

 

Up to that point, things seemed to be going fairly streamlined.  It wasn’t until we made the offer things started to go goofy again.  First of all, our realtor found out it’s a foreclosure being sold “as is”.  That means if it needs any repairs, it’s our dime.  Granted, the walk-through looked great, but there’s no telling what is hiding behind the walls.  So, depending on what comes of an inspection, that may or may not be an obstacle to us actually getting it. Another obstacle is getting our offer accepted at all. Our first bid was 10K below asking price. Mostly we made that bid because it was what we could afford once taxes and HOA fees were thrown in.  If they do accept our bid, and there are any type of substantial repairs needed, we will have to let it go because we wouldn’t be able to afford both.  If they don’t accept our bid or counter offer something higher, I’m not sure we could stretch it that far…especially when the inspection hasn’t been done to tell us what else there is to pay for as well!

 

So at this point, it would take a real miracle to get this place, I feel.  Basically the bank which owns the property would have to accept our offer straight off, or make a really great counter offer (and by great I mean one which we could counter-counter offer something maybe 3k more than our bid now, and they would take it then).  All of this seems like a huge stretch.  I know better than to get attached to a particular house, and I can’t say that’s what I’m doing here. However, we saw everything else our side of town had to offer and it was CRAP. I’m not going to buy a crap place just to stay in this area, but I’m also loathe to get a decent place a half hour drive away.  It seems like neither choice is viable, so my hope is that if this place doesn’t work out, something else will open up around here before our financing window expires in December.

 

And that’s what really burns me up about the whole thing. We HAVE to get ourselves under contract by 12/19.  Our loan offer only has 90 days of life, and that’s fine by me because my lease ends on 12/21. The part that bothers me is that I’ve already looked around at what’s available for what we have to spend, and sure enough the best properties are farthest away.  The only reason I’m in Georgia is to raise my kids, and the only reason I’m buying a house is so my husband can live with us without someone crying about his criminal background. I hate to make my kids pay the price (by uprooting them and putting them into a new, possibly lesser quality school system) so my husband can have a breather. I also hate the idea of settling for a crap house just to satisfy the needs for all of my family, because it’s miserable living in a place you don’t like, especially if you know you OWN it. Who buys something they hate, especially as expensive as homes are?

 

The reality glaring me in the face is that if it weren’t for my husband needing a home, I could live in any apartment in this area with my kids and have what I want and what they need. The price would be having to basically let go of my husband.  So,  in a lot of ways, if this house doesn’t work out it will feel like I have to choose between he or my kids. It sucks, because I hate to shaft him just so my kids can have the upbringing they deserve, but unless something works out it seems unavoidable that a difficult choice will have to be made one way or the other.  So this is where we wait on Allah, making fervent dua every day, to give us just one more miracle by making the way easy for us to get this home. Insha’Allah He will have mercy on us and see fit to preserve our family in a way that all of us are satisfied. I trust in Him because I hate to think He would bring us so far just to have something wacky mess it up like this.  I prayed even then, when all of the worst parts of tests were going on, that He would go ahead and cut the ropes then instead of making us suffer for it to only happen down the road.

 

So we wait…

Circles in the Dust

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The circles represent merry-go-rounds that I seem to keep finding myself on emotionally.  I know that I’m supposed to try to focus on the hereafter, on the place and state that will be forever peaceful.  Instead, the part of me that has to make meaningful attempts at this existence keeps getting wrapped up in outcomes.  I keep guaging the course my family is on by each turn of events, and it seems nearly every week the course change to one of an ideal destination…then back to a path headed straight for destruction.

Last entry I blogged about my pregnancy.  I started my cycle on July 4th.  I realized that I likely had a chemical pregnancy that didn’t thrive, and my body began cleansing me of it.  I know my time of  ovulation didn’t change, so that’s the only explanation that fits the symptoms that were present and would cause a “late period”.  Honestly, if that were the only event I was looking at, I really don’t mind the resolution.  Like I said, it’s probably better that our family doesn’t add a member just yet, and I’m at peace knowing what was going on exactly. I’ve started charting my temperatures again to lessen future ambiguity if something similar is to arise.

What I didn’t share was that the issues going on with that, coupled with the fact that my husband seemed to have gotten a job, and we seemed to be a little closer to securing a house, enticed me to believe things may work out for us after all. I started dreaming about what that would look like, I started getting excited that my family would remain intact.  Only natural right? Well, it’s also only natural that  I would again swing back  around to wondering what the future holds when we discovered my husband in fact did NOT get that job (thanks to the background check that employer did, which revealed his sordid past and caused them to renig the offer previously made to him), and the one document we need to submit our loan file back to the underwriter is “beyond the scope” of what a certain company can provide. I have begun looking again at the possibility that this may not have its fairy tale ending, after all.

I’m only human, and I’m trying to hang on. I can’t pretend that all of these sideswipes don’t affect me. As much as I try to redirect my focus on the only things that matter (Allah and my ibadah to Him), I can’t pretend I don’t care about the outcomes of the events in our lives. I can’t pretend I don’t care if things end up going in an undesirable direction. My husband’s next court date is this Friday, and he will be starting his probation…I can’t pretend that I don’t feel a grit in my stomach that he will have another mark on his record, another item to show up on a screening to keep him from becoming a contributing and employed member of society.  Let’s remember, for any position my husband could apply for…there are countless other unemployed folks competing for the same slot who DON’T have a criminal record.  Obstacles are one thing, but obstacle’s to the 10th power are a whole different animal…a fierce and undefeated one at that.

So here I am, trying to soothe the wounds that came with opening up my hope to what I wish for the most but watching it fly off the cliff (again).  Here I am, trying to piece together an alternate possible reality that I can live with and be at peace with if I can’t retrieve my dream.  Here I am, about to jump off this jagged edge to chase it once again, because when a dream matters that much to you, you don’t give up on it no matter what it costs you or how much it hurts to get it.  Here I am, finding a way to believe that if I can’t find it in the end, Allah will provide me something that will soothe my heart just the same insha’Allah.