Monday, 1 July 2013

She's Baaaaaack!!!!! (A 2013 Update!)


Assalaamu'alaykum/Hello to all my readers! 

I know, I know, a big 'tsk' 'tsk' for me because I haven't posted in about six months! Naughty Sister Calisha! I promise I have a valid excuse! Give me a chance and hear me out and I'll fill you in on all the 'hot goss'.......not really!

Well it has been a big busy year so far Alhamdulillah. In August 2012 I fell pregnant with my fourth child (what is meant by 'fell' anyway?!?) and bubs was due to be born on May 15th, 2013. So for me, that meant I had to achieve my intended goals for 2013 in only five and half months! With all thanks to Allah I managed to schedule and accomplish what I had intended to do so that I could enjoy the other half of the year at a slower pace with my precious family and our newest addition!

So here's what's been happening:

  • The owner of our rented home had put the house on the market for sale in late 2012 so we had to find another place. In February 2013, after two months of house hunting, ridiculous rental prices and ten rejected applications, we managed to find a house about two weeks before our lease was up Alhamdulillah. The new place was only a few minutes from where we were living and after a  few hectic weeks of moving, cleaning, unpacking and sorting we were slowly settling in at our new place.
  • Some of you may or may not be aware but the IQRA Islamic Library was at my previous house and after being unable to find an alternate home, the library (consisting of what seemed like two tonnes of books!!!) had to move in with us as well. Mind you, Alhamdulillah it's a blessing to have so many books available and under my care. So please keep it in mind and come and borrow from the wonderful range of books that have been donated to our community!

    Back to basics Class 2013
  • We ran the Back to Basics Islamic Studies Course for the second time and had almost fifty initial enrollments mashallah. Sixteen weeks later at the end of the course, there were about thirty dedicated students left who 'graduated'. After teaching the basics for so many years, I never cease to learn more about Islam myself Alhamdulillah and always enjoy the energy and enthusiasm of the class members. It was great to see so many sisters from the community (mostly under thirty years of age and converts) eager to learn the all-so-vital basics of Islam.

  • In March, myself and a few amazing volunteers organised the Struggle to Submit Workshop Part 2 which was bigger and better than the previous years' event Mashallah. Over 100 sisters attended and it was held at Curtin University. There were inspiring guest speakers, lecture clips, interactive segments, free goody bags, lunch and lots more! The feedback was great and we make duaa for the ability to run Part 3 in 2014 if Allah wills!

    Da'wah table run at Bayswater Autumn River Festival
  •  I managed to squeeze in a bit of Da'wah work this year as well. I had taken a break from volunteering for Islam Australia for a while and wanted to get back into it as I feel it is such an important responsibility. I was able to help with running the da'wah table on three separate occasions (Perth City Mall, Bayswater Autumn River Festival and Altone  Comes Alive Festival).

    I was also able to speak to an organisation called Centrecare on behalf of the MWSC in front of what I thought would be a small group of staff. turned out to be not ten people but a few hundred at their yearly professional training event and luncheon......eeek! (Punk'd much?) Nonetheless my (very unprepared) speech was taken well by the audience wherein I had to slightly adjust what I had intended to talk about to include extra information about Islam and some bits of unexpected humour (to calm my nerves!).

  • In March/April we made a last minute decision to take a family trip to Melbourne (our first ever) followed by an eight hour drive up north to Sydney to visit my younger sister who lives there. We brought along my mother in law as well as my own mum and little brother Zayn. It was a lovely trip and nice to have a bit of a getaway after the hectic house move, although I was worried that at thirty five weeks pregnant I could go into labour at anytime. I would have had to scrap my plans of a home birth (particularly if I was in a car on the way to Sydney from Melbourne and the closest hospital was in Wagga Wagga!).

    Q & A Panel of Shuyookh at Twins of Faith Conference -Sydney
  • Whilst in Sydney we attend the 'Twins of Faith Conference' which I had wanted to attend for many years but could never quite afford the trip each time. Mashallah it was a Imaan-boosting and beneficial two days of lectures and reminders, that gave hubby and I lots to talk about. I even managed to win a competition where I received a full dvd set of the previous years' conference! Woohoo!

    The view from the top story of our youth group 'camp' holiday house!
  • Later on in April the Diamonds of Islam Youth Group had their annual camp wherein the girls who had participated in the end of year event for 2012 (see Speak Your Mind flyer below) got to spend 3 days at a luxury spa holiday house on the beach in Mandurah. The 3 days consisted of team building activities, a boat ride on the estuary, beach games, pampering, cooking, crafts, personal development and Islamic workshops, discussions and more! There were definitely lots of great conversations, laughter and memories that I will never forget!

    The group meets once-per-month for different activities, outings and community projects, one of which involved a makeover of the Muslim Women's Support Centres' garden! Check out the before and after pics below! Not bad huh?


  • Throughout all this excitement I've had to keep up with homeschooling my 10 and 6 year old children for five days per week. My six year old son is newly registered as a homeschooler with the Department of Education and is doing his first year of compulsory (home) schooling and would technically be in Pre-Primary! Mashallah he (and my almost 11 year old daughter) are is progressing well thus far! The kids have also had a few dentist appointments, library visits and not to mention their weekly tae kwon do and kickboxing classes! Busy little bees! We ask Allah to guide, bless and protect them always, Ameen.

    The 3 Amigos!
  • Some of my close friends and family have had babies so there have been dinners and catch ups with the pregnant mothers-to-be (it's girl season by the way!). Also a few friends have gotten married too tabarakallah (May Allah bless them ALL! - Ameen!)

    Yummy treats for a pregnant friend!
  • A few volunteer sisters and I have also been busy organising the Perth Convert Sisters Support Group meetings and social events which are held twice per month. There have been quite a few new converts and we have been busy making sure that our sisters are supported and able to access learning and friendship in the community. Please make duaa for the continued growth and success of this all-too-important support group!

    Marriage talk by Shaykh Faizel Ghaffoor at a Convert Sisters session in May
  • I've just recently hit the third year of teaching Quran Tajweed to a group of nine amazing ladies. The class is every Monday morning and the students have most recently completed Level 1 of their course mashallah. We look forward to working very hard over the next few years to complete Levels two and three and then hopefully seeing all the sisters graduate and become teachers themselves (with the Permission of Allah).

    The books we teach from (written by a convert sister mashallah)
  • And last but not least, the biggest goal and event of my year was the birth of my precious, precious baby. Alhamdulillah, Subhanallah, Mashallah, Tabarakallah our baby Madeenah Candemir was born on Tuesday May 21st, 2013 at 10:39am. She was six days overdue and born at home in a birthing pool after a quick but beautiful labour and delivery. Despite having a healthy, normal pregnancy (and baby being overall healthy at birth) Allah SWT(in His divine wisdom) had other plans.

    Baby Madeenah was born with meconium in her lungs and had to be taken to hospital not long after being born. After ten long days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit under sedation and on heavy breathing support, she had fully recovered and was allowed to come home and meet her siblings (children and visitors aren't allowed in the NICU). Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah.

    It was definitely an experience which taught us a lot about patience, acceptance and trusting God's decree!

    Baby Madeenah's cute foot tabarakallah.

And now here I am, at 2am (and in true Calisha late-night-style) typing all of this up.

Life in July 2013 is at a different pace, alhamdulillah. We are busy with homeschooling as always, busy changing babies' nappies and feeding her on demand and of course busy with cooking, housework and chores
. We have visitors every few days, coming with care and love and bringing with them gifts for a very spoilt baby Madeenah (and me) mashallah. And whilst all of this appears to be 'busy-ness' we are feeling relaxed and mostly enjoying our days and hours at home gazing at precious Madeenah.

Alhamdulillah I am very grateful for all I've been able to achieve so far this year, and I acknowledge that it is all through the permission and mercy of Allah SWT. I thank Him and all of the friends, sisters and dedicated volunteers that I get to work with.

I wont tire you with my dreary update any longer, but thanks for reading and thanks for being patient with my absence!

Inshallah you will hear from me again soon(er)! Haha! Peace out!

Duaa and love,

Your sister Calisha Bennett.

Assalaamu'alaykum warahmatullah

P.S. You might wonder, what has inspired me to get my blog moving all of a sudden, on this night, at 2am?!? I was pushed to get writing again after reading the blog of a strong young sister who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age and passed away a few years later. Her blog posts gave such profound reminders and reflections subhanallah. It's reminded me of why I wanted to start blogging in the first place: to inspire, remind and help others Inshallah.

I encourage to read her blog (from 2008 and wok your way upwards). May Allah forgive her and grant her Jannah Ameen!

1 comment:

  1. Welcome back! So glad you're posting again! I love your posts and words of wisdom masha allah there is always something new to learn in them.