Sunday, May 13, 2012

Life is Grand.

The honeymoon isn't over. I'm still jumping with joy for my new place, new neighborhood, and new outlook on life. Today the lilacs are positively bursting with that beautiful "Oh yeah, school is coming to an end" scent that everyone in my neck of the woods knows from age 6 and up.

Take THAT, winter!

I'll come back to Earth soon, but just let me have my moment in the sun, k?

Since my Arabic class is in the morning (okay, 12:30 but it's Sunday!) we'll start with Islam today. I had a nice morning which included sleeping in, making a real breakfast, and writing my Quran verses for today (Surat Al-Baqarah 56-57). When I got to class, I read the same chapter from verse 50-57. I was a little stumbly because I haven't been practicing but I did okay. Then we translated the verses I wrote.

In these two verses Allah is still talking to the Children of Israel (I posted about this section before) and by this time, He has brought them back to life after striking them dead with lightening after they insisted they wouldn't believe Musa (Moses) until they saw Him:

Then We revived you after your death that perhaps you would be grateful.

 ... and has delivered them into the desert where he protected them from the sun with clouds and sent manna and salwa from the heavens for them to eat but even after all of this they are still complaining, saying "Why can't we get some other food to eat? We're tired of the same thing all the time." :

And We shaded you with clouds and sent down to you manna and quails [saying],
"Eat from the good things with which We have provided you."
And they wronged Us not - but they were [only] wronging themselves.

The message of these verses goes back to an earlier post about being grateful. If you are simply thankful for what you have (and acknowledge that Allah has provided it), He will give you so much more. But if you complain, you are only decreasing your provisions. It's like when a child whines for hours on end to get a certain toy rather than what he got. After this ingratitude, the parent won't want to give him anything and might take away the original gift.

Since Allah created everything including our parents and all the wonderful things in the world we might want, shouldn't we thank Him the most?


It would have been hard to complain about anything today. It was another gorgeous day of sunshine and perfect temperatures. The people who always say that the weather is only nice Monday through Friday had to bite their tongues this weekend.

After Arabic class and before some friends came to see the new place and stuff me full of food, I went out for an exploratory walk of the area south of Grand Avenue. I went one block past the Walgreens and stepped back into 1898. There were beautiful old houses with cedar shingle; brick beauties with curved glass windows on the corner turrets; cobblestone alleyways; irises and pansies on the boulevards ... it was heavenly. This is a world where car alarms don't exist. Where no one is yelling out the window at their kids to get the hell inside. Where you probably have to put down at least $80,000 to own a home.

I had a lovely stroll through Utopia (not the same as Pleasantville) and then was jolted back to reality when I got back to the busy street and some guy was smoking right in my face. But that's why we were given the freedom to cross the street and look in shop windows at stuff we could never afford.

Health Tip of the Day: This one's from Jacki Chestnut, who is the kind of person I can't really explain to you. You either know her or you don't. Anyway, she told me once that a great way to avoid overeating is to have some fruit before your main meal. The sugar will kick in and calm down your appetite so you won't gorge yourself on a giant burger and fries. Today I had strawberries with my breakfast which isn't really the same thing as eating them first but still it's better than hash browns.

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