About

I am a homegrown Muslim- ‘Merican mama of three kids – two boys, ages 14 and seven, and one sassy brown-eyed girl, age nine.  Here I am, the soccer mom, patiently observing every second of the game.  I’m a good mama.

I grew up in a small, citrus town in Florida, called Winter Garden. Out my front door, there was an orange grove to our left and a small creek to our right. From the creek we gathered crawdaddies, tadpoles, and an occasional Native American spearhead.

It doubled during the rainy season as a water rapid, which my mom never let us ride because, that was only for kids whose mamas did not give a dawn if they came home with a white-trash-case-a-ring worm!

Behind the sprawling grove sat Lulu Creek, home of arrow heads, rattlesnakes, abandoned sneakers and town drunks.  During the day we roamed it freely, pushing our Kangaroo sneakers in the mud, making secret forts, and riding four wheelers- like pharaohs on chariots.

It was my whole wide world, which might as well have been flat because I did not know the contours of any other kingdom.  There were several important landmarks; most notably, Jimmy’s Thriftway, a locally owned grocery store where my mom, a dental assistant, cashed her checks, and my dad, who fertilized orange groves, bought fat back for cooking our vegetables.

Next, was the Methodist church where I spent long hours picking my scabby knees and waiting for choir practice to end.  Last, was my elementary school on Dillard Street, where most teachers knew my mom, dad, grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins – it was no use trying to get away with bad manners.  My entire extended family grew up there; we survived on the mild winters which drove the citrus to market.

The trees produced an intoxicating perfume of orange blossoms; it glided through our inhalations like a shadowy mistress.

During my early college days, I did what any self-respecting small town, southern girl would do, I converted to Islam and even married a Muslim from Morocco!

Oh. my. Gawd! 

Yes, for real.

Then, I became a mama, finished a heaping portion of law school for insanity sake, worked and eventually started driving a flashy mini-van.

I still eat collard greens, but instead of fat back, I throw in turkey necks. Muslims don’t eat the Piggly Wiggly. It doesn’t taste exactly the same, but it’s pretty darn good, especially when served with fried chicken (sizzled in Crisco).

Here is my daughter, “Nelly” and me swinging during a trip home to Winter Garden some time back.

 

 

Growing up in Winter Garden, I never thought my life would turn out like this… but I’m sure glad it did.  I want to share with you my journey of raising a bi-cultural, Muslim American family.

This blog is a dedication to my family and all who stop by. Come in ya’ll!  Ahlan wa sahlan (in Arabic). We are pathetically normal, but never boring.

44 Responses to “About”

  1. moroccomama January 28, 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    I’m looking forward to reading about your normal but never boring life! Peace from Marrakesh.

    • collardgreenmuslim January 29, 2011 at 11:17 am #

      Hi there! Thanks for reading (my rought draft…heeee..heeee….I had not made any edits) and I hope you can pass it along. I am back in the blogging ring and I look forward to keeping up with your informative and never dull blog.

      • moroccomama February 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

        Just had a light-bulb moment realizing who you were…I take it a whole lot has happened since we last cyber-met. Anywho, welcome back to blogland. Looking forward to reading your sassy and straight talkin’ blog!

      • collardgreenmuslim February 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

        I did not read blogs for many months and I probably missed out on a lot. I look forward to catching up.
        We left Maghrib to return back home last summer. It was a blast.

  2. g January 29, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    I LOVE THIS! MA SH’ALLAH… MAY ALLAH REWARD YOU AND ALLOW U TO BREAK DOWN BARRIERS! AMEEN

    • collardgreenmuslim January 29, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

      Salaam! Ameen, G! Thanks for stopping by. I hope all is well for you and your family…hope to see you at a book club one of these days.

      • g February 3, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

        Me, too! Are you coming over next wknd? It may be the only book club I’m at for another year!!!

      • collardgreenmuslim February 4, 2011 at 9:59 am #

        I hope the weather cooperates – I’m a wimp driving in the snow. I’d love to come and see everyone, especially you will be out for a long time.

  3. Malak January 29, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    So nice to hear your stories, we are all in the same boat together, whether stateside or abroad. LIFE is a jihad, continual struggle to become better each day. Love to you and the children. I’ve missed you 🙂

  4. collardgreenmuslim January 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    Salaam Malak – long time, no “see.” Did you escape from FB?? God willing and you and your family are well. Please send me pics sometime and keep in touch.

  5. soraya January 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    Thanks for the wonderful blog Collard green MAMA..I am always amazed by your strength, devotion and your inner beauties .. 🙂

  6. collardgreenmuslim January 29, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Soraya – you have southern charm! You are a Collard Green Arab. It was a real joy for me to see you in Gainesville. I wish we could do it every week. Your students are blessed to have you; there is no one to compare with your gift of teaching and passion for the Arabic language. We must never lose touch.

  7. shana January 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    woot woot!! I’m so glad you did this; you are such great writer!!! Keep it coming, absolutely luv it!!! – yr biggest fan

  8. collardgreenmuslim January 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    I chuckle everytime I get a ‘woot woot’ from ya’. That expression rocks, my friend, who is one of the inspirations behind this blog. Sometimes I have to marinate in good advice before it rubs off. Thanks!

  9. julie February 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    That mom doesn’t know what fun she is missing! May Allaah (swt) open her mind and heart.

  10. Susan Ose February 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Hi Danette,
    Cary told me about your website. I have to tell you,
    it is the other child’s loss. My son and daughter were apalled too.
    Totally, their loss.

    • collardgreenmuslim February 2, 2011 at 8:35 am #

      Thanks for checking out the website, Susan, and for sharing it with your kids; also I appreciate your support and kind words. You will probably be seeing me at the library in the coming months – I’ve decided to get my license here and this state makes you take the bar exam all over again. I hope all is well with your studies and teaching.

  11. Suzan Abdurrahman February 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

    Awesome blog. I have read a few of your posts. My favorite is Mama Fatwa. I’ll have to use that one. Not sure it will work as my youngest is 16. Oh well. I’m “Mom” so I can use that line if I want and by the power vested in me it will work.

    • collardgreenmuslim February 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      Thank you, Suzan, for your sweet comments. I hope you are riding out the teenage years like a pro…save all your tips for me when I’m there. She’s got the rest of her life to put up with your ‘Mama Fatwas’ and one day Insha’Allah she will have to mete out some of her own.

  12. Sasha February 24, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    I’m a Christian, but I found your site because someone linked to it on Facebook. I love your outlook (and I hated the movie “Not Without My Daughter”). Ten years ago, I asked a co-worker from Lebanon to bring in his wedding album. I had no idea what a Lebanese wedding looked like. Other than the hundreds (and hundreds!) of people there, it resembled my wedding very closely. Go figure.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your life with others. Hopefully it opens eyes and hearts.

    My best,

    S.

  13. collardgreenmuslim February 24, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    Hi Sasha, Thanks for your comment, your well wishes. It is awesome that you asked to see those photos. Curiosity, in my experience, is an invaluable trait that makes it possible to build bridges of understanding and co-exist in peace and friendship. You obviously have that!

  14. ummossama April 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    I just found your blog and love it!!! Funny, spunky, heartfelt and so much more. A joy to read!!

  15. free5piritphotography July 16, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    This is a wonderful blog. I really love your sense of humour. Look forward to reading (and seeing) more.

    • collardgreenmuslim July 22, 2011 at 8:47 am #

      Lucky me that I know about your blog know. I need a big cup of coffee and a kid-free hour to just sit and admire all of your work. Thanks for stopping by.

  16. Fatimah November 14, 2011 at 11:54 pm #

    ASA! I LOVE YOUR BLOG! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

  17. Elizabeth January 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    Wonderful blog and very inspirational posts! I’m an American convert too with a Moroccan husband. I swear there must be a million of us! 😉 Looking forward to getting to know you through your blog.

    • outdoorchildhood January 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

      Yeah! Another one of us. Glad to meet you here, Elizabeth. I know another Elizabeth, a dear friend in fact, married to a Moroccan. She was the guinea pig in my bald peanuts saga. We were all smarty pants enough to marry into the Moroccan culture. Raise a glass of mint tea!

  18. Thomas Abdu Sabour January 8, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    MashAllah sister, this is a beautiful blog and a necessary means of growing a “Muslim American” identity. I myself am a convert of almost 10 years . So I just wanted to stop and say that as my sister in Islam I am very proud of what your doing. Confession…Your title is SO nice that it inspired me for my blog here on wordpress…figs’n’olives. Feel free to check it out and may Allah SWT continue to bless your family.

    • CollardGreenMuslim January 8, 2012 at 11:01 am #

      Jazak Allah Khair for all of your kind words of inspiration brother. May Allah (SWT) make your blog a source of strengthening your emaan and resolve and an inspiration for all who read it. I look forward to checking it out myself. May Allah (SWT) bless your family as well.

  19. Bianca June 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    I’m an American southerner, by way of Texas, who is considering converting to Islam and just stumbled upon your blog. You have such a warm and lovely writing style, it’s just a pleasure to read!

    • CollardGreenMuslim June 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      I’m glad to “meet” you Blanca! Please email me at collardgreenmuslim (at) gmail.com. I’m actually in Texas now visiting a dear friend. If you have any questions about Islam, I know she would be glad to answer them as would I.

  20. Emie Eshmawy July 9, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Seriously cool blog. I grew up in a once “small” town in Minnesota, being the only Muslim Egyptian in my school for the first two year of a high school filled with 1600 students. Now the population of Muslims is thriving. I can totally relate to your blogs as a mother of two. How inspirational–and super cool MA!

    • CollardGreenMuslim July 13, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. Isn’t it amazing the growth of our community Mash’Allah. It gives me so much hope for our childrens’ future. I’m am so inspired by Muslims who grew up “back in the day,” who remained rooted in their fatih and identity no matter the context or lack of resources which we take for granted today.

  21. Zahira August 15, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    MashaAllah, always inspirational! Ramadhaan Kareem from Malaysia!
    ~ uNSCHoolinG R uS

  22. Monica Ennaciri December 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    AsSalamu Alaikum Sister, I just read your story about Lilly and enjoyed it very much. MashaAllah, you have very good writing skills. I’ve never really followed any blogs before, but I will try to follow yours inshaAllah. I am also an American revert to Islam, married to a Morroccan. I have two sons 16 and 12, and I’m a soccer Mom! I look forward to exploring your other Blog posts in the future IA. AsSalamuAlaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

      Wa’Alaikum Asalaam Sister, I’m glad you came here and thanks for the encouragement! If this is the first blog you are following, I better make it work your while. A busy Muslim soccer mom, married to a Moroccan…I imagine our routines are very similar.

  23. Laura Korhan December 10, 2012 at 2:41 am #

    Nice to meet ya! I’m from sunny north carolina and am fascinated by our “new breed” of Southern, down-home, country-fried Muslim women. I too am a revert to Islam by long way of marriage and children! I am endeavoring to live and love people and life as a Muslim should. A-salaam alaikum to you and your family.

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 10, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      Nice to meet you too, Laura. My grandmother is from Clinton, NC. We used to go there in the summers to visit my great-grandmother and her sister. I love the thought of your endeavoring. May Allah (SWT) always keep you on this path of living and loving and I hope you’ll come back here.

      • Arwa December 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

        Salam sis, I just finished reading your blog!! loved it Mashallah. I’m from the UK ( london)
        I have learned a lot abut muslims in USA. JAK

  24. M.QAYAM UD DIN August 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

    good lucid description and introduction
    how do you find islam
    M. QAYAM UD DIN

  25. Corbin December 4, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Asalamu Alikum, sister. Love your blog. You are a natural story teller. May Allah bless you in this gift and this blog. I am seeing a lot of other converts are stopping by. It is good to be in awesome company. I am also an American Muslim convert blogger (islamwich.com) I am from New Orleans and, like you, I did what any good Southern girl would do when in college, I became a Muslim, then married another convert. Look forward to reading and sharing your stories!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Oil Lamp « Collard Green Muslim - January 10, 2012

    […] About […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: