Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Together We Came!

In celebration of the first annual immigrant heritage month, I am honored to be featured on the Arab American Institute website as part of their Together We came campaign. I shared my story on how I came to the States.

Here's the link: http://www.aaiusa.org/together-we-came-your-stories


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Honor!

In honor of my late father on his special Father's Day, I am offering my book Shadows of Damascus for $.99 on Amazon throughout the week.

http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Damascus-Lilas-Taha-ebook/dp/B00HUZUG8Y

Happy Father's Day!



Monday, June 9, 2014

An Honest Review

I'd like to share this recent review Shadows of Damascus received since it is not posted on Amazon. My Devotional Thoughts Book Review

"I was especially drawn into the storyline of this book since it involves a Middle Eastern woman and an American soldier. I visited Yemen several years ago, and whenever I read about a story surrounding the Middle East, I find myself greatly intrigued and somewhat reminiscent. In light of the current crisis in Syria (as far as I know, things are still bad there), this romance was quite timely and involving. The book was a simple read in once sense, but it was highly emotional. There were no bedroom scenes, but descriptions of violence and profanity can be found throughout the book. There were times I was so disturbed by the descriptions of violence that I had to give myself a moment to digest the story. Though not for the faint of heart, many will discover a beautiful love story that will reveal things we don’t often contemplate as typical Americans.
One of my favorite parts of the book was the religious depictions within the book. Islam was praised as being a religion of peace in spite of the extremists’ horrific acts. Yasmeen was seen to be as sweet and kind as could be. Adam’s dad, however, had supposedly found God, and his behavior was nothing but hypocritical. I appreciate it when secular books point out this idiosyncratic religious dichotomy. Yes, I am a Christian, but this book reminds me that there is still a dim view of my chosen faith out in the world today. No wonder people are leaving the church in droves!
What I did not like was what I perceived as an abrupt ending. In fact, I found myself searching to make sure that I hadn’t missed a page. I would have preferred a bit more closure, but that is just my humble opinion.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine."

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mourning!

And there it is    that tight squeeze in my chest, that missing breath when I first wake up, that sudden rush of adrenaline making my ears ring, igniting my disoriented brain with the new reality: My father is dead.

What do I do now? How do I get out of bed? Do I go about my day’s chores the way I always have? How could I with the weight of a planet pushing down on me, sinking my head deeper into my pillow?

Go back to sleep.
Go back to dreaming nonsense.
Go back to being unaware.

     Such is God’s Will.

Those words get me up. Words that move my feet and make me brush my teeth and put on the striped t-shirt he liked. I empty the dishwasher and clang dishes too loud, and then I pause. He doesn’t ask me to take it easy, he doesn’t complain about the noise. He doesn’t say anything anymore.

     Be strong.

Two more words carry me through my morning coffee. I use his favorite mug    the one with the Native American scene painted in bright colors, the one that will probably chip or break someday because nothing lasts forever. And where would I be then? Would I still be disjointed like this? Which mug would I use?

I don’t want to be strong, baba. I don’t want to hold it together for everyone’s sake. I want to be weak. I want to collapse and cry and scream and have to take pills to feel numb. I want this gut-wrenching feeling to pass, to go away, to leave me be.

I want to hang on to you, rub your shirt between my fingers like I used to do as a child to fall asleep. I want you to hug me back and say you would squeeze my bones out if I held on any tighter. I want to nag you to check your sugar level before you go to bed every night. 

Okay, make it one more night. Just one!

    Ask for mercy on his soul.

When did I ever stop? When every action, every thought, every breath I took was shaped by his strangely beautiful soul? Why ask God now? God is all knowing, and He must know how I feel. He is watching, listening, always.

I am a product of my father’s actions. I am an extension of his existence. I have a purpose and a road to travel. My father set the course, gave me the tools, and believed in my abilities. He loved me. He loves me still. 

Am I worth it, baba?