Seasons

Ramadan, The Perfect Time to Meet Your Muslim Neighbors

We are in the midst of Ramadan, the month of fasting for Muslims. It is the 9th month in the Muslim Lunar calendar. This is when all able-bodied Muslims will fast from food, drink and other physical needs from sunrise to sunset. It is a time of prayer and purification to become closer to God. The Arabic word for God is Allah. Ramadan marks when the first chapters of the Quran were given to the Prophet Muhammad.

Ramadan is the 4th of 5 Pillars of Islam.  These Pillars define what it means to be a Muslim. Here is a list of the 5 Pillars:

  1. Shahada: faith in the Islam religion,
  2. Salat: pray five times per day facing the direction of Mecca,
  3. Zakat: give support to the needy,
  4. Sawm: fast during Ramadan, and
  5. Hajj: make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime.

The season of Ramadan is a season of joy and celebration.  It is also a season of generosity and kindness. Although the fasting can be difficult the month is punctuated with celebratory meals after the sun goes down. These are called iftars. They are often celebrated together with families and friends, as well as community events. This is a great opportunity to join an iftar and meet your neighbors.  My husband and I have several days marked on our calendars to join an iftar. Some of these are interfaith events, hosted by a community of Muslims. Some churches are also getting involved and hosting iftars for their Muslim friends and neighbors. This can be a time to build friendships and understanding. Why not check with your local mosque and see if there are any such gatherings that you could join?  Or ask a Muslim friend, co-worker or neighbor if you could join them for an iftar? Be prepared for some delicious food and warm hospitality. You may be eating and staying up later than what is normal for you, but the benefits of making or strengthening existing friendships is worth being a little sleepy the next day.

I have heard stories from some of my immigrant friends who grew up in the middle east how Christian, Muslim, and Jewish neighbors would make food for each other during their holidays. This would be a custom worth reviving in our multi-faith and diverse communities.  Maybe you will be inspired to host an iftar for your friends and neighbors. Just make sure you use halal meat or make a vegetarian meal. Costco carries halal meat as well as neighborhood halal stores. I have 2 in my neighborhood. This is one way to build love and peace in our world so desperately needing it.  One step at a time, right where we live.

 

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Categories: Faith, God, Hospitality, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Prayer, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Encircled

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Encircled with Lavender and Rosemary

On this warm day

Breathing in pure fragrant air

Releasing anxiety and pressure

Pressure to be

Something I am not

Receiving peace

Healing and rest

May my fragrance be

Life giving and refreshing

To the ones

Encircled by my love today

 

2018 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, growth, Life, Love, Poetry, Prayer, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Highs and Lows

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Finding highs

in my lows

Where is the learning

growing  edge

from the hard places

in my life?

What is pushing up

from the dark

clotted earth

to the light of the sun?

Where is the true

beautiful self

sloughing off

the grave-clothes?

(c) 2018 Julie Clark

Categories: Faith, growth, Hope, Life, pain, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

On a day like today

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On a day like today

When the sun comes out

After months of hiding

Behind low clouds and

Sheets of rain

You could believe anything

You can hope again

Hearts grown cold

Could thaw

Life could start fresh

Love could bloom

You could make new friends

Instead of enemies

Reach across walls and fences

Touch hands

Change could happen

People could listen

To one another

With compassion

They could share resources

They could take care of this earth

That has  been home to us

For ages

We could choose a path of peace

Instead of war

On a day like this

© 2017 Julie  Clark

 

Categories: Faith, Hope, Lent, Life, Love, Peace and Reconciliation, Poetry, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter’s Hold

Winter’s hold

Is deep

Suggesting it

Will not let go

This time

The ice will never thaw

Life will always be hard

Hope is out of reach

Yet, I saw

The dew had frozen into

Delicate crystals, clinging

To the branches

Breaking my heart

With beauty as

I walked along

The frozen path

The mystery of

The fire in the stove

Sending out it’s warmth

Encircling me

As I try to make

Sense of this world

Is a comfort to body

And soul

The child’s pure laughter

Over a game of

Peek-a-boo

Beckons me

Don’t give up your search

For hidden treasures

Love, hope, joy, peace

Are in need of finding

© 2017 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, Hope, Love, Paths, Poetry, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resolutions

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Some are about loosing

(weight or bad habits)

Some are about gaining

(wealth or a spouse)

All about changes to make in the year

Yet how much do I control

What happens to me?

Surely my choices are factors

In the matter

But I truly believe

All things considered

That the most important change I can make

In a year

Is what comes from my heart

And works itself out

in the way

I treat others

(And that is including

myself)

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: growth, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Start Small

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Start small

With steps towards

Good and beauty

Towards life and healing

Otherwise

You may find

Discouragement and

Disillusionment

Tagging, unwanted

Along

You may find

You don’t have

All you need

Lose hope

And not finish

 

Start small

You will add

Piece by piece

To what you have

Wondering where did

It all come from

Whether it be word

Or color or brick or paint

It won’t matter because

It will be there

To fit into the place it goes

And you will see

Unfolding before your eyes

(Maybe not exactly as you thought!)

The dream, the plan,

The drawing, the house

The life

finishing in all it’s glory

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Faith, growth, Hope, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Trees, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Wind is Calling

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The waves are breaking

Foaming on the shore

The sun is sparkling

White on the water

The tide is singing

As it reaches for more

 

You could sit here

And let the constant wind

Teach you

Or a protective little dog

Who hates to see

his pack separated

Unity, perhaps –

No one should be left behind

Stick together

It’s better,

Safer for all

 

The waves might be saying

I’m coming back for you

Are you open?

Are you ready?

 

The wind relentlessly blowing

Louder than a whisper

More of a roar

I’m taking in deep breaths

Of sea air

I’m hearing the call:

Come with me

I am ever present, ever moving

Though you do not see me

But you can fly on this current

If you let go

See the kites?

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

 

Categories: Dogs, Faith, Life, Poetry, Seasons | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome Spring

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Welcome Spring

Once again renew our hearts

With hope we cannot otherwise find

Unless you bloom with blossoms pink

And bulbs push up the soggy earth

Unless you conquer winter’s frost

With wind’s strong blasts

And skies that rend the heavy clouds

 

Welcome Spring

Renew our hearts with joy

To sing the ancient songs that well within

When sights of life and beauty overcome

Calling forth our voices

Our steps will lighten into the dance

Joining all creation as life renews itself again

This time each year

 

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Hope, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

At Deer Harbor

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Harbor grey

as the sky

Fog wisping off

the far islands

Evergreens

holding their color

Apple trees

across the road

ahead of the rest

with their joie de vivre

In full bloom

reminding us

this is the way to live

giving it all, everyday

not worrying about

tomorrow

provision of fruit

on it’s way

On the ferry

a bald eagle

showed us how to fish

from the shore

Made it look easy

with those wings

those eyes

Grateful to live near enough

to these island jewels

Summer time

they are full of

roaming tourists

from afar and

Orcas cruise the channels

Off season

has it own secrets

Quiet strength

building up

preparing for the

Glorious spring show.

© 2016 Julie Clark

Categories: beauty, Birds, Faith, Hope, Photography, Poetry, Seasons, Trees | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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