On Friday, we headed to New Jersey for Shaykh Jihad Brown's Aqidah class. You always know you are on the right path in life when everything compliments each other, the Aqidah class reinforced some of the lessons I learned in my Companions of the Prophet class from earlier that week. We were given such a warm welcome, we were fed, offered a place to sleep, and had the best of company. Surely New Jersey community is a blessed one with many of the Scholars from our recent Al-Maqasid Retreat residing there.
After leaving New Jersey, we rode the main highways for a long time. However, I always have the urge to get off the main highway and take the road less traveled. I like to see real people and real places, I like to formulate my own opinions of the world and moreover, I want to teach my children to see things for themselves. To understand that the world on television is a propaganda, but by talking to people and seeing things for oneself will we only begin to understand the truth.
MashaAllah, it has never failed yet, I always find such beauty when I get off the beaten path. Sometimes, I will just drive and find my own way without looking at a map, other times I will use a map, but I always turn off the gps and let God be my guide. This time that inner voice led me to this beautiful, peaceful & Free place- The Miller Nature Preserve in Avon, Ohio.
If New Jersey was the first leg of our trip, then Michigan was the second. Michigan was a new State for our family. Yay!!, we can mark down another State, we might only have 8 of the 50 States left to see. Some of our kindred spirits from Maryland had surprised us by being in Michigan at the same time. However, I planned a stop with our beautiful host who lives about two hours North of Detroit. It was a lesson in friendship for my Beloveds, when you meet good people no length is too long to be near them. May Allah reward them and protect them and will our hearts always be close, even where distance separates us.
They took us apple picking! A great farm with wonderful things for children of all ages to do. The farm made apple donuts fresh and they were so good, that we wanted to go back and get seconds, but they were all sold out.
Sad to leave our wonderful friends, but excited to hit the road to Chicago, we made another stop off the Highway in South Haven, Michigan. I never heard of it before we stopped, I just had the feeling that this was a place I needed to be.
And it was a place I needed to be, it was a reminder of Allah's Mercy. I just shared a status on facebook complaining about the cold weather that was coming and how I longed to put my toes in the warm sand when summer came again next year.
Although, God showed this poor soul His Mercy and made me eat my words... here we were in the Fall season putting our feet in the warm sands of the beach of Lake Michigan.
My Beloved Big A has been enjoying learning photography.
The Lake in South Haven was enough, but MashaAllah, they had this beautiful park that overlooked the Lake. And surrounding the park they had this wonderful community of homes. Each home had a front porch, some of the homes had a front deck, a place where entertaining is done in the front of the house. A place where neighbors are appreciated and enjoyed. There were very few private and secluded backyards that you see in the rest of the US. It reminded me of a book that I am currently reading about Community living, Pocket Neighborhoods: Creating Small Scale Communities in a Large Scale World.
Then we finally made it to our destination, Chicago: a place I definitely enjoy visiting but it would hurt my heart to live there. The separation between wealth and poverty is so extreme and so close together, it is no wonder the crime rate is so high. I couldn't walk a block without seeing homelessness.
I was seriously thinking of getting a stroller for big-Lil A, although she hadn't been in a stroller for awhile. I wanted to walk as much as I could in Chicago, and knowing her little legs would not be able to carry her as fast as I like to walk, a stroller seemed like the best answer. Then she just happened to bring along her scooter and the scooter worked out fabulously. I had to run to keep up with her!!
The nice thing about Chicago we could walk to so many Halal restaurants, or Scoot if you are Lil A.
We learned about some African history in the US in an unlikely place.
And Humble Daddy and daughter figured out how cool they really are in some shades.
Read more about our trip to Chicago in a Lesson in Patience.
Read about the other places we have been on our Field Study/Travel Page