Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What I learn from 'The car wash or wash the car' dilemma.

As I was driving the car from the kids kindy, I told them that the car desperately needs a bath. So, I asked them whether should we go to the car wash place or wash the car together. I was hoping for the earlier option since I know that a bucket full of laundry was waiting for me at home.

Alwani was the first one to respond, "Wash car, please!! Boleh main air!" Al Fateh agreed, "Team work Ummi! That'll be fun. And we won't have to waste time waiting for the boys to wash our car. We can exercise!" (Please note that the phrases and words like, team work, waste time, fun and exercise, are courtesy of Barney and Hi-5).
And so, the decision was made, after our afternoon tea, armed with a bucket and three 'good morning' towels, the children washed the car (and themselves) in a way that super-clean parents should not witness. Yes, I'm a parent who doesn't mind the kids being grimy and gritty because alhamdulillah, I have a washing machine.

What I learn from the simple question of 'the car wash or wash the car?' was that as parents, we should allow our children to know that they have options in life. And not just that, we have the responsibility to guide them on how to weigh the options. It's a skill that we need in life. And as a mom (who has the full power in my hand for a week while my husband is away) I can actually vetoed the decision and sing poetically "I'll do it my wayyyy" and send the car to the car wash, but this will teach my children that the decision (and the process of weighing the options) that they did were worthless.

At the end of the day, the mission was accomplished. A clean car with a bonus: two smiles and a frown (Yusuf wanted to suck his soapy good morning towel, and I took it away!).

We did all the stuff that Barney and Hi-5 taught us: team work, exercise, not wasting time (questionable) and have fun. And the neighbours had to endure our wonderful Barney tunes;

I love you,
You love me,
We are a happy family,
with a great big hug
and a kiss from me to you,
Won't you say
You love me too!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What I learn from Zain Bhika and Dawud Wharnsby.

I learn from these two fantastic servants of Allah that, however difficult and excruciatingly hard a time of my life can be, ALLAH KNOWS. Hence, turn to Allah, he's never far away.

click title to listen.
Zain Bhika & Dawud Wharnsby

When you feel all alone in this world
And there's nobody to count your tears
Just remember, no matter where you are
Allah knows
Allah knows

When you carrying a monster load
And you wonder how far you can go
With every step on that road that you take
Allah knows
Allah knows

No matter what, inside or out
There's one thing of which there's no doubt
Allah knows
Allah knows
And whatever lies in the heavens and the earth
Every star in this whole universe
Allah knows
Allah knows

When you find that special someone
Feel your whole life has barely begun
You can walk on the moon, shout it to everyone
Allah knows
Allah knows

When you gaze with love in your eyes
Catch a glimpse of paradise
And you see your child take the first breath of life
Allah knows
Allah knows


When you lose someone close to your heart
See your whole world fall apart
And you try to go on but it seems so hard
Allah knows
Allah knows

You see we all have a path to choose
Through the valleys and hills we go
With the ups and the downs, never fret never frown
Allah knows
Allah knows


Every grain of sand,
In every desert land, He knows.
Every shade of palm,
Every closed hand, He knows.
Every sparkling tear,
On every eyelash, He knows.
Every thought I have,
And every word I share, He knows.
Allah knows

** This post is created to celebrate our achievement of the 5th night alone without Abi (who's working offshore!). Though the storm and thunder did scare the children, the soothing tunes of Allah Knows, helped them to doze back off (in total darkness and heat!). How I dislike blackouts! Allah Knows....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What I learn from my Penang trip.

Alhamdulillah, I have great pals.

Allah grant me fantastic friends, those from my childhood days in Convent Seremban (and one who now bakes special cookies for me!); my unforgettable teenage years in TKC; my nearly-7 incredible years in Edinburgh (and all around UK); my studying-working years in UKM; my wonderful 3years-and a bit in Perth; my young and experienced 'Ganu-kite' colleagues from UMT; my new researcher friends in Nottingham Uni (Malaysia and UK campuses) and; not to forget, more friends whom I met along my way in life. These are precious people who make my life colourful and super interesting. I learn a lot from them. A lot.
A fabulous touch of Ila. Her iPhone cookie was super fancy and crunchy!

What I learn from my Penang trip, is the need to keep in touch. Yes, there's FB and YM but I'm a kind of person who needs human touch. And meeting dear friends heals the soul. Spending a bit of time with Rais MBA-to-be, N MD, Jua PhD-to-be, Kak Hafiz Phd during my trip in Penang was subhanallah, utterly wonderful. I purposely enclosed their titles to highlight their achievements in their lives that motivates me to strive for excellence.

When I first knew them, for example Jua, we were the fourth formers in TKC. We have nothing! Just our Pelangi and Sasbadi Text Book for SPM! But now, she is researching on Halal chicken productions and will be able to answer my questions: 'how halal are those chooks in Mydin, Tesco and Giant?' What I learn from Jua, though there were hurdles back then in Newcastle, she jumped over it and works towards her goals, harder!

Jua with her son, Emien Rais.

N was my housemate for four years back in Edinburgh. We shared too much! And now our daughters share clothes! Hahahha.. I learned and still learn alot from N. Her patience, care and thoughtfulness towards others are limitless! Her heart is huge. I pray that Allah eases her journey (and Minn's as well) becoming Specialists. Aamin.
N and Minn (Photo source: Minn's FB!)

The ever-cheerful Kak Hafiz who loves the yellow smiley, never fail to make me laugh! From my super short visit with her in Borders, Queensbay Mall, Penang, I learn that, whatever you face in life, chin up and smile! What's the use of crying and mourning? Subhanallah. Allah has been teaching her to be strong, from her PhD years in Edinburgh University and now, she needs to utilised the lessons she has learned to be a tough and wonderful mother of two young sons. Through kak Hafiz, I learn that Allah has beautiful ways to teach us. Hence, be grateful to Him.
Happy, chirpy kak Hafiz. We share the same birth date!

And not to forget a colleague, who was one of first to greet me as I arrived in FPE, UMT, Abdul Rais. What I learn from him is that take one step at a time, and you'll overcome your hardship and the success will follow suit, insha Allah. He reminds me of a song by Zain Bhika and Dawud Wharnsby Ali, Allah Knows. Anyway, we will never forget his kindness in Penang. His dinner treat was fabulous! I declare that I love Penang food! Thanks to Rais' recommendations!

Thank you Allah for my friends.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What I learn from 'Cinderella's shoe story'.

I lost a shoe, my favorite brown shoe, on my way to Penang. I realised it as I was leaving the car for our destination, Vistana Penang, searching frantically for the left side of my brown shoe, and it was just not there! The last time my left foot was covered was during a photo shoot, somewhere near Grik, there was an elephant signboard... yes, a sign to warn us of elephants, and we're not in the zoo! That was the last place I wore both sides of the brown shoe.

Luckily, at 12 o'clock that night, my car didn't turn into a pumpkin, the kids were still kids, and not mice (though they were a bit monstrous since we were still enjoying our pasemboq and laksa penang at Padang Kota), and I didn't turn into an elephant!! (But at the rate we were eating in Penang, we could be one!)

Hence, what I learn from this Cinderella shoe story is, firstly, bring an extra pair of shoes in the car! If not, you'll be walking bare footed-ly into a 4 star hotel. Super embarrassing. Secondly, what I learn is, especially as a mom, while taking care of the kids and my husband, I need to take care of myself, too! Who else will do it for me? Thirdly, never forget to thank my husband for being patient. I did spend a good 15 minutes rummaging above and under the seats of the seven seater car for a brown shoe, while he patiently took care of the three excited and tired kids. Thanks again, bang!

p/s: As we drove along the same elephant sign spot on our way back, there was no sign of brown shoe. Sob. On a happier note, I got an approval to buy a new pair of brown shoes!! Thanks again, bang! =D

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What I learn from 'Petronas stations'.

Al Fateh's 6.5 hours journey from Kuala Terengganu - Penang.
(Location: Penang Bridge.)

For a frequent long-hours car-riders like us, Petronas station is an essential stop, not just to fill up the tank, but also to pray and do some 'jajan' shopping for the kids. We love Petronas, especially with the ones with good Mesra shops. I'm going to highlight on three Petronas stations that have super service, 1) Merang, Terengganu (in front of Aryani Hotel) 2) Jeli, Kelantan (with the SUPERmarket-size Mesra shop) and 3) Jalan Pantai, Seremban (near the long-queue car wash place).

What is super service? My definitions:
1) Extra clean (toilets and prayer rooms)
2) Polite (the workers greet us with Salam and 'Selamat Datang' with smiles not forced.)
3) Cash machine (that works) and there's even a post office in Merang Petronas Station!
4) Concern (when they ask us how can they help?)

Accessed on 27.6.2010

I'm embarrass to admit this, but I always choose to do my Jamak and Qasar prayers during the long journeys in the Petronas stations, rather than the mosques. Why? I know where the wudhu' and praying areas for the ladies are, not having to 'tawaf' the mosques 7 times to find my way and sadly, these stations are always cleaner, compared to some of our mosques.

What I learn from my extensive visits to the Petronas stations, firstly, it's not hard to offer a smile and be polite, not just to my neighbors, colleagues at work or visitors in my home, but more to my husband and the three munchkins I have. Secondly, keep clean. It's sunnah, anyway. Keeping myself, the kids, the inner and outer house clean and presentable all the time, it's a must. You never know when the angels plan to visit! All the time, hopefully.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What I learn from the 'Star Charts'.

Al Fateh had been pretty engrossed with his Wii, which sometimes made him behaved like a Nozawa or Wolfgang (please Google the Lumberjack characters in Wii). Hence, my husband decided that he was going to keep the Wii console until Al Fateh knows how to behave himself like a Mii. This was when the 'Star Chart' emerged on our fridge and alhamdulillah it worked, tremendously well! Al Fateh needs to do 5 extra good deeds for the day, and he'll receive a star for each.

What I learn from this chart is self-drive and motivation. When we have a target set in mind, and we are actually determined to reach it, we will STRIVE for it. I learn that from my young Al Fateh.

Al Fateh managed to 'find' tasks that can actually speed-up his process to get his Wii reward. He cleaned-up the toys in his room, read to Alwani, even helped me with the pile of clothes! Super subhanallah!

On the other hand, since Alwani was very contented with her princesses and pink skirts, she didn't even bother to update her stars. The three year old pinky-girl told me, "I have what I want, Ummi".

I learn that, when one is contented and not bothered of aiming or accomplishing of anything, one will just let it be. So, my husband and I decided, the next star chart up, Alwani must have a goal, too!! Insha Allah.

Monday, June 21, 2010

What I learn from 'Forgive me if I whine'.

I came across this nasyid by Zain Bhika during a research I made for my family's usrah last week. I wanted to find something on whining since the two older kids are now starting a habit of whining that I really loathe. Subhanallah, all praises to Him, this nasyid is simple yet very meaningful for a 3 and 5 years old munchkins (including the 31-years-old, too!)

What I learn from the nasyid and the usrah session was that I didn't say enough thanks to Him for all His gifts to me. Alhamdulillah. Alwani touches my heart to the core when she said shyly at the end of the session (when we asked around the circle on why must you say Alhamdulillah to Allah), "for giving me the best reward, Ummi who knows how to brush my hair the way I like!'

Alhamdulillah, thank you Allah for the wonderful gifts of family and love!

Today, upon a bus I saw a girl with golden hair,
And in my heart I wished that I was just as fair.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch..
But as she passed, a smile.
Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 legs to walk upon and the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy;
Met a boy who had such charm.
We talked, he seemed so happy, if I were late, it do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, 'Thank you, you've been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you. You see,' he said, 'I'm blind.'
Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 eyes to see the world and the world is mine.

Later that day on my way, I saw a boy with eyes of blue.
He watched the other children play; he did not know what to do.
I stopped to watch him, then I said,
'Why don't you join the others, dear?'
He kept on looking straight ahead and then I knew he could not hear.
Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have 2 ears to hear the world and world is mine.

With legs to take me where I'd go.
With eyes to see the sunset glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know,
Oh the world is mine.

I stopped for a moment, just look how much I have..
Everywhere, in all our lives, these are His signs...

Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs to walk upon, and the world in mine.
Oh Allah, Oh Allah, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears to hear the world, and the world in mine..

Click here/title to listen to the song.

p/s: Al Fateh and Alwani now remind each other about the boy with blue eyes who couldn't hear when one whines. The message of the usrah was sent across, successfully! Alhamdulillah.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What I learn from 'Bilik Tutor/Felo Perempuan'.

From time to time, I visit my 'roomies' in Fakulti Pengurusan Ekonomi, UMT, just to say 'Hi!'. This morning, was again an impromptu visit and I was greeted by the sweet smell of bunga rampai. The ladies, Ieja, Nisa', Moni, Liya, Shuhad and Amy, were preparing the surprise door gifts for a friend's akad nikah. Isn't it wonderful? Warm and thoughtful ladies, they are, and I pray that all of them will be blessed with extra beautiful blessings from Him.

I learn that money can be a tool for us to get closer to one another, and to Allah. Kind thoughts and good will can make a friendship grows to another level. And insha Allah, the friendship is lillahita'ala. I learn that when we do a deed without asking for rewards later, we do it happier, with smiles and laughter, not with frowns and whines.

Thanks ladies!
pix: On Iej's not-so-surprise birthday BBQ. Featuring tutors and fellows of FPE.
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