Category Archives: I + You = WE

Stepping forward

To be at peace is to be able to look at chaos calmly, seeing beyond the ‘what is’ the beautiful ‘what can be’ when we synergize to make things better through The Almighty.

To be great is to be able to forgive others, keeping in mind our own countless moments of weakness that The Most Merciful forgives repeatedly.

To be faithful is to walk with courage in the dark, knowing The Guide will lead us to where we’ve always wanted to be, right where we’re meant to be.




Posted by on May 21, 2017 in I + You = WE, reach UP, wOrK = pLaY


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mixed eMOMtions

I’ve been getting a lot of mother’s day greetings, and there are a lot of ads online that promote this international observance, too. I’ve nothing against those who observe this special day–everyday after all, is a day for moms, dads and everyone we dearly love and/or include in our prayers, so if you decide to make this day special, that’s really great! What I found alarming, however, are the companies that have made this day and other observances soooo…commercialized. Boo-hoo. And, mind you, they play real well with emotions and make the viewers feel guilty. In a way, it’s good for some who might really need a wake-up call. But, generally, I feel bad how such companies play with emotions to make them and their products a “regular” in people’s lives–like it won’t be the same without them. Status symbols, social comparisons (and competition), happiness definitions, here we go. Maybe I’m being jaded today…then again, maybe I feel sad because I’ve had enough of such sights (in this developing part of  the world) as dear parents spending hard-earned money on a fastfood (UNHEALTHY) meal for their child while they stare (happily) without anything for themselves, and kids buying their parents signature bags or clothes on this special day but can’t even think of sponsoring monthly bills or medications of their dear old folks.

Setting that aside, the greetings are a nice opportunity to ponder on how it is to be a mom. Motherhood. Mommyhood. Yes, it is often not glamorous–well, at least in this life; what with laundry, diapers, messy floor, etcetera etcetera, right?  Well, I’m barely a two-year-old mother, and have so much to learn. I quickly tell those who think I’m a supermom that I’m waaay far from being one; that is, if supermom is someone who doesn’t have bouts of impatience, low self-esteem and what-have-you’s.  Yep, I’m barely two years old, but this much I know:

I am going to need more and more PATIENCE everyday. My little one is going to continue to challenge me, knowingly or unknowingly, and it’s not because she hates me, but because she needs to grow up.

I am going to re-learn what TIME MANAGEMENT is…and that pretty much includes “alone time”, especially now that I’m at a stage where I can’t even have 5 minutes of peace in the toilet when my toddler is awake. (Yes, this is being written as catharsis and while my beloved is in dreamland. Harhar.)

I am going to discover the so many ways to LOVE and BE LOVED. I know that there’s nothing in the world that makes her feel more loved now than being breastfed (What?! There’s nothing gross about that.) and a close second is the time I spend just sitting beside her as we scribble or pretend-color where you’ll see the sudden sparkle in her eyes as she giggles looking at me then puts her head on my shoulder or makes our heads touch each other. I know there’s still so much more to discover, but I also know having those little arms wrapped around my neck or leg and her head leaned on me while she delivers her “I lowe you” will always make me feel so loved. And yes, I know she will always love me and her first love–who else but her Baba–differently.

I am going to constantly change my idea of SUCCESS. Yes, having a career outside the home has, admittedly, shaped my views about this. But, now I am learning it can be as simple–yet truly fulfilling–as catching my little one ‘steal’ some of my samosas while juggling them in her hands because they’re too hot yet she just can’t wait to eat them.

I am going to discover so many FEARS within me perhaps not for me but for this fragile beloved who is a fellow sojourner in this world. But, I also believe I am going to surprise myself with the COURAGE I never even knew I had just so I can erase the fears in those little eyes staring back at me. (And this is going to include killing those flying roaches, in shaa Allah.)

I am going to learn more and more about INTERDEPENDENCE in MARRIAGE as I see my husband in a different light even more now that we are parents. Yes, Miss Independent suddenly has her ‘mommy eyes’ playing with her head and Superman just has to be there to reassure her that they will do just fine (and that falls, bumps, bruises and all those mommy nightmares are a normal part of growing up).

I am going to learn to TRUST more that, as my husband tells me, our feisty litte princess is growing up just fine. It’s amazing how this once completely dependent being doesn’t even want her hand to be held now that she’s discovered how far and how fast her two little feet can go.

And, yes, I am going to have to increase and deepen my FAITH to be able to attain all of the above, and most especially, to do two of the most difficult things I can ever think of for anyone in any loving relationship (and especially for parents): to hang on and to let go…always for the sake of The Most Loving One Who, Alhamdulillah, mercifully gave me this chance to be a mom.

Difficult? Yes, definitely…but with HIM, it will always be possible. In shaa Allah.

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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in I + You = WE


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This is not an original. I often hear this way back college during our recollections and retreats. I just summarized and added some. Read on…


1. Allow ALLAH The Most Loving Teacher to guide you as you write your story.

2. Your capacity to leave a mark comes from within.

3. Sharpening may be painful, but it brings out the best in you.

4. Mistakes are a part of life. Be humble enough to use your eraser.

5. Your eraser’s quite small and it will one day run out. Remember that there are things you won’t be able to erase, and you’d have to live with them forever.

6. There will always be someone who seems to be better than you…but why make comparisons or concern yourself too much with what they write? Focus on YOUR story. Focus on making YOUR mark. No one can do that for you except yourself.

7. Your lead one day will all be consumed. Make the most of it & remember that though you’ll never run out of opportunities to leave a mark while you’re still here, you do have limited time & opportunities to touch the same exact sheets of paper and make your mark there.

Be a blessed PENCIL! 🙂

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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in I + You = WE, reach UP


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Forget not

Interestingly, FB memories remind me how my Decembers have been for the past five years…all about psychosocial support. More interestingly, however–and one i pray i never forget–is the fact that in the process of providing such support, in the face of such raw and honest interhuman encounters, i find that it is i who has been awakened, who has been touched and inspired, who has learned so, so much. Alhamdulillah.



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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in I + You = WE, reach UP


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Patient Entelechy Amidst Chaotic Environments

And honestly, entelechy–that driving force that leads us to self-fulfillment, to actuality not just potentiality–should always be eeman (faith)… something from within, from our core (cor…[corazon]…HEART).
And, yes, it takes a lot of patience to think of brighter days when we’ve been through so much, and when we’re still living with the ghosts of our past while dealing with today’s own mess. But hey, we’re still here…breathing…smiling.
SubhanALLAHi wa bihamdihi.

PEACE–live it, share it…difficult but it always is possible–through HIM, for HIM.

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Posted by on April 9, 2016 in I + You = WE


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inherently empowered

Yes, it’s women’s month, and last 8th was International Women’s Day.

I am a Muslim woman in a predominantly non-Muslim country. I am a Muslim woman married to a man who, although a Muslim as well (Alhamdulillah for that), comes from a different culture. I am a Muslimom–in progress, mind you. I am a daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, niece, friend, student, and so much more. I am a woman–a Muslim woman.

Why do I often add ‘Muslim’, you ask.  I can’t help but smile…

Isn’t it funny that we got to a point where we observe or celebrate such days? If you ask me, everyday is women’s day or men’s day or grandparents’ day…yes, everyday. Why did we get here? How did we get here?

Reality bites. Eyes are blind. Minds have numbed. Hearts are still muted. Spirits…worn out. There goes another walking wounded.

There’s so much confusion and chaos in the world that we’ve forgotten what it means to be humane. There’s so much violence…so much abuse that sometimes–or is it often?–one of us whispers it’s no use.

I am a woman. And, to make it more complicated, a Muslim woman in a predominantly non-Muslim society. Yes, I’ve been called a terrorist. Yes, I’ve been asked to remove my headscarf. And, yes, media often portrays me as oppressed. (No, I will not say they are completely wrong because a lack of true understanding of Islam among some of us who call themselves Muslims do exist–leading to prejudice, discrimination and yes, more specifically, oppression.  Yes, they are not completely wrong but they often just highlight, even sensationalize, abuses. Abuses that happen even among non-Muslims, right?)

And if that wasn’t enough, the pull on the other side wants to ’empower’ me by inviting me to join the age-old “battle of the sexes”–there’s nothing a man can do that we women can’t…we are the greater of the two. Feminism that has forgotten beautiful complementarity.

I am a Muslim woman married to a man who, although a Muslim as well (Alhamdulillah for that), comes from a different culture. And, accomplished as I am in my chosen field, I just have to say I am truly fascinated how empowered the women from my husband’s circle are. I love to call them the Ottoman women–beautifully confident and empowered, ma shaa ALLAH. Home management to the next level, indeed. No sitters, no playschool drop offs, no househelp–yet still make great meals, not to mention sweets like baklava! More importantly, however, I realized there’s this difference from our cultures that one should take note–men didn’t mind helping out and were groomed to help out whenever they can. Men tried their best to earn a living so their queens could stay home and manage home affairs without having to worry about finances. My first trip to the pazar had me seeing an almost all-men fruit-and-vegetable market. Most of the wives and moms were there only to decide what to buy, but the carrying and all were done by men. I am reminded of how our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) helped out his wives and spent time with his children.  Secretly, I realized how in my country, the marketing and the chores were almost always all given to women that some men don’t even know what a certain vegetable is or if the chicken is expensive or not. What happened? Why have we allowed our boys to stay as boys? (And, this is so accepted in my society that even most of the women allow it to happen) 

Yes, women in my husband’s circle are probably not the type who would often meet up and discuss social issues (the world’s problems and how we can solve them, harhar)–admittedly, it was something I missed a lot especially during bouts of homesickness; but, they do support noble social projects and can be as socially conscious as my girl friends. I noticed, however, that it’s the main role they played that their networks appreciated and supported so much–i.e, their role as home managers. Noble role, indeed, and it was a career (that, technically and legally in our society, is not considered a profession or career and has no financial compensation) that they passionately pursued–for the sake of Allah. Ma shaa ALLAH. I was fascinated with these Ottoman ladies but, admittedly, also pressured that it will take years for me to even be half as good or half as fast as them in performing certain tasks. Alhamdulillah, my husband reminds me I need not be like them. I simply have to confidently be the best me I can be. Still, having ladies to inspire me helps and makes me remember how Muslim women managed homes especially during the time of the Prophet (pbuh). I pray I can perform this role to the best that I can, in shaa ALLAH.

I am a Muslimom–in progress. I say in progress because there is (and will always be) a lot to learn as a mother. You, dear fellow mom, know this: it is NOT easy. BUT, it is possible and will always be so meaningfully worth it, in shaa ALLAH. I must confess, another important factor that makes it difficult for me in adjusting to this role is this: my lack of training in home work (read: multitasking the chores and what-have-you’s). Conversation with my dear friends had us admitting that we grew up being trained more to pursue a career. Yes, while most women in our culture allowed girls to do most of the chores (if not all), most mothers also excuse their daughters in doing a lot of chores so we can focus more on our studies. And, society (at least, the one in which I grew) had us unconsciously giving less importance to being a full-time mom or housewife. I remember a friend quipping after hearing I intended to give up teaching or emergency psychosocial response once I marry, “so magiging housewife ka na lang (so you’re just going to be a housewife?)?”. He didn’t mean anything bad, really. It was so unconsciously casual. I ended up telling him that yeah, that was my plan; but I also made sure he’d get to correct himself by stating, “hey, it’s not bad. sige ka, so mom mo housewife lang?” With that, he suddenly had a different view of housewives and shared how proud he is of his mom. Are you relating with this? I am reminded of the status of women in Islam–how highly regarded they are. I remember that the beloved Prophet (pbuh) said Jannah lies at the feet of our moms. Ma shaa Allah. SubhanAllah.

Woman. You. Me. They. We.

Sad to say, so much negativity has happened that an international observance of women’s month or women’s day had to be put into place to remind people of our real value. It’s nice to have this kind of month. But, personally, I really hope every woman remembers that everyday is our day–no one should make us think otherwise. Everyday is our day, and we have every right and responsibility to promote what is good and prevent what is evil. What I mean is, let us not allow ourselves and other women to be abused; but if it happens no matter how hard we try, then let us not allow ourselves to give up and give in to our fears. Let’s keep trying, in shaa ALLAH. Everyday is our day, and we don’t need to compare ourselves to or to be defensive against men to make us feel that way; but at the same time, we don’t need to depend on another–a man, for example–to feel it’s our day.

Everyday is our day. Beautifully given. I am a woman–a Muslim woman. Again, why do I keep adding ‘Muslim’?

I am a Muslim woman, and as such, I am empowered much to know that my worth is neither diminished by definitions others try to impose on me nor by my decision to agree to other people’s views or wishes should there be truly nothing wrong with them. As such, I am empowered much to know that my worth is never dependent on the other whom The All-Knowing can, at any time, take away from me. I am a Muslim woman, and as such, I know my worth is reflected on how I make use of everything with which I’ve been blessed, under any circumstance, to serve and to give thanks to The One Who created me.

I am a Muslim woman…and in this often unfair, chaotic and confusing world, my being a Muslim makes that much-needed difference. Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal si wal kufri waddalal.

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Posted by on March 13, 2016 in I + You = WE


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Heart check

A heart full of faith sees challenges as opportunities to grow, treats roadblocks as blessings in disguise, and considers doubt & confusion as signs to pause & reflect. A heart full of faith is grateful for blessings–big & small–and never takes them for granted. It speaks and acts responsibly for self and others…through the Almighty, for the Almighty.

How’s our heart?


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Posted by on February 25, 2016 in I + You = WE, reach UP


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