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www.myCrescent.com September | RAMADAN 2008


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The Lone Star Crescent, July 2008

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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

COMMUNITY REPORT

Muslims Find More Visible Role in Democratic Convention By Talib I. Karim (www.MuslimLinkPaper.com) Hundreds of Muslims journeyed from around the country to Denver for the Democratic National Committee Convention. While still sore from a string of “disses” by the Obama Campaign, Muslims gathered for activities throughout the week-long convention. Both local and national Muslim political insiders flocked to Denver, despite the fresh wounds caused by the resignation of Obama’s Muslim Outreach Director (after less than 10 days on the job), the removal of two hijab-wearing Muslim women from a stage being set for an Obama speech due to fears of raising what has become dubbed the “Muslim issue,” and a general stand-offish attitude by the Obama Campaign towards the Muslim community. Not overlooking the Obama campaign’s snubs, Muslims descended upon Denver for dawah, inner faith dialogue, and debate on the best approaches for advancing the Muslim American political agenda. The week of convention activities started on Sunday, August 24th with the first ever inner faith “prayer service.” An Imam, a woman rabbi, a woman priest, joined a chorus of other religious leaders in reading a joint affirmation of religious unity. Throughout the Democratic Convention, Muslim delegates, members of the press, and political insiders were greeted often by the words of “As alaamualakum” from non Muslim politicians and others at the convention. Such was the case when around 200 Muslims gathered on Monday, August 25th for the inaugural meeting of the Muslim American Democratic Caucus. Spearheaded by the Texas Muslim Democratic Caucus, this first-time event drew both Muslim Members of Congress, a host

of Muslim Delegates to the Convention, and even a couple high profile Obama surrogates, including Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D). “As salaamualakum, Kaifa al haluk, al hamdulilah, ana atakalam Arabia shewia (I speak Arabic a little),” were the words uttered by Governor Patrick, who learned a bit of Arabic while working in the Muslim country of Sudan for a United Nations group during his early years as a student. Governor Patrick brought greetings on behalf of Senator Obama and told Muslim delegates “You are an important part of the Democratic Family. You may have felt the Democratic Party not as open to you as you would have wanted.” Yet, the Governor explained, we are better if the Democratic Party includes the Muslim community into the fabric of the American mainstream. When asked whether the issue of Dar Fur has been blown out of proportion by those whose main aim is to undermine Islam, the Governor responded that “Senator Obama is sensitive to the complexities of the situation. Senator Obama wants healthier relations with (all our current adversaries). Congressman Ellison also addressed the gathering of Muslim Delegates. “We have come far. The 110th Congress has been historic for the Muslim American community with our election to the U.S. House of representatives as the first two Muslim American Members of Congress. We believe our election is representative of the increased civic and political engagement of Muslim Americans as individuals and as a community. Only 63% of U.S. Muslim citizens believe thy are registered do vote (compared to 76% of Americans nationwide). So we have our work cut out of us---with enormous potential,” said Ellison. “The last eight years of George’s Bush’s policies including the Patriot Act, disregard of FISA requirements, Guantanamo, Muslim

profiling including endless harassment of citizens at airports (as well as harassment of ) Imams and Muslim non profits should be enough to motivate every Muslim to get out and vote. But remarkably less than half of eligible young Muslims under 30, [as many as] 48 % are registered to vote. Michigan, Nevada Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and even Georgia all have significant Muslim populations which when registered and mobilized can make the difference in determining if we have another four years of George Bush’s policies,” Ellison exclaimed. James Yee, Former U.S. Army Chaplain at Guantamomo Bay and Delegate to the Democratic Party Convention from the State of Washington , reflected on his own struggle as a Muslim. Yee was was persecuted while working within the system in the US Army; he compared his trial to the plight of Mazen Asbahi. Asbahi, a thirty-something corporate lawyer based in Chicago with Syrian roots , resigned his post as the Obama campaign’s Muslim Outreach Director this August. The resignation came as a surprise to Muslims after a Wall Street Journal article claimed that Asbahi had associations with “Islamists”, particularly an Imam of a well-known Chicago area Islamic Center. According to Yee, “Any time Muslims are persecuted for our faith, it goes against American Values. To the extent that this happens over and over is an indication that there is still an enormous amount of mis-perception of the Muslim community. Yet, Yee also acknowledged that there may always be anti Muslim forces working against our community’s efforts to establish ourselves and Islam within America. The American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) convened a series of free public lectures and other events. The events featured speakers the like of Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA), Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and Congressman John Conyers (D-MI). One AMT guest Nativo Lopez, President

of the Mexican American Political Association spoke of the importance of the coalition between Mexican and other Latino Americans and Muslim Americans. However, Lopez acknowledged the difficulty he faces in working within his organization to build relationships with the Muslim community. “I have problems in inviting brothers like Dr. Sayeed [AMT’s Chairman] due to concerns from some in our community. [They ask] do you know what this is going to do our foundation funding,” say Lopez of some in his organization. The Democratic Convention included two other feats (and possibly Muslim firsts), the appointment of Imam Malik A. Majahid (IL) to the Democratic Convention Credentials Committee, and A.J. Durrani (TX) to the Convention’s Platform Committee, which is responsible for developing and ratifying the platform which serves as a policy agenda for Democrats around the country. A record number of Muslims were chosen as Delegates to the convention, just under 50, including the two Muslim Congress Members and Superdelegates. Zarinah T. Nadir, a hijab-clad attorney from Arizona, was overall encouraged by the convention turn out of Muslims -- so much so that she’s been inspired to form a Muslim Caucus in her state. When asked of the challenges faced by Muslims in establishing ties with the Muslim community, Nadir says “I’m a realist, [these challenges] encourage me to get mobilized…we have to stay positive.” And positive Muslims remained throughout the convention which ended with the nomination and acceptance speech of the Senator from Illinois, who bears the name of the grandson of the grandson of the last messenger of Allah (prayers be upon him). .............................................................................. SOURCE: The Muslim Link Newspaper. www. MuslimLinkPaper.com.


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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

COMMUNITY REPORT

Cell Phone Usage While Driving Restricted in School Zones (IRVING, TX) The use of cell phones while driving in Irving school zones is now prohibited to help provide additional safety to children. The new guidelines, which will be enforced on school days during active school zone hours, will prevent motorists from engaging in calls by talking, dialing or listening on a handheld mobile telephone, and entering or reading text messages. This includes hand-held cell phones, personal digital assistants (PDA), Pagers and other electronic communications devices. The city has installed signs in every school zone to remind drivers of the new regulation. “With the implementation of this new

ordinance, drivers will have one less distraction to help them better focus on their speed and surroundings,” said Police Chief Larry Boyd. “This will help provide additional safety to children and others in school zones.” Those who violate the ordinance could receive a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum fine of up to $500. Motorists will be able to talk legally on their cell phones if they use hands-free devices. Drivers also may use their cell phones in certain emergency situations including conversing with emergency response personnel, fire and police, and health care entities. For more information, call the Police Department at (972) 721-2518.

Richardson’s Annual Day of Fun! September 13, 2008. 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Free Admission! City Hall/Civic Center Fountain Plaza. (SW Corner of US 75 & Arapaho Rd.) New for this year, Richardson’s “Going GREEN”: Visit the EXPO in the Civic Center featuring over 50 Social, Civic, Arts, Service and Educational organizations in your community. Learn about the resources and opportunities available to you and your family! Kids, Don’t Miss... ...all the games, activities, prizes and the fabulous CRITTERMAN Rainforest Safari Show and meet amazing animals from rainforests all over the world!! 2:00 and 4:00 on the Safari Stage.

NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH KICKS OFF IN GARLAND (GARLAND, TX) September is National Preparedness Month, a time we reach out to the community so we can all learn what to do. North Central Texas already has access to a disaster preparedness program called KnoWhat2Do. The web site www.KnoWhat2do.com is a complete resource - helping people identify the hazards that threaten our area, and detailing ways to be prepared. It also provides useful information about volunterring and donating to victims. Think. Prepare. Act. This month, North Central Texans also have opportunities to be a part of learning and training events ight here in Garland. Join the City of Garland staff on the following dates to help prepare your family in case of Emergency:

- Unidos - Garland Police Department 1891 Forest Lane Garland, TX Tuesday, September 9th 7pm (for Spanish Speakers) - Firewheel Town Center - SH 78 and President George Bush Tpke Garland, TX Saturday, September 13th 11am - 3pm - Wal-Mart - 1801 Market Place Drive Garland, TX Saturday, September 20th 10am - 5pm For questions or concerns, please contact by phone at (972) 205-2605 Monday - Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm or by email at oem@ci.garland.tx.us.

COMMUNITY NEWS / EVENTS? Email us at info@myCrescent.com. To add your events for FREE log on to www.myCrescent.com and select the Events Calendar.


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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

COMMUNITY REPORT

Plano International Festival In October By David Hall To promote awareness of and communication between Plano’s diverse cultural groups, in 2004 the city began underwriting the annual Plano International Festival. The Festival was conceived by Plano’s Multicultural Outreach Roundtable (MCOR) www.planomcor.org/mission.htm to showcase and celebrate the many cultures represented by the people of Plano. With over 100 different language groups, Plano is more diverse than the average large American city. “The Festival is a wonderful opportunity to come together in celebration of Plano’s magnificent cultural diversity. This is a great collabo-

ration of many wonderful entities that have given countless time and effort to unite in a community spirit that is inclusive of all cultural groups. It provides a unique forum for us to learn more about our fellow citizens, their culture, lifestyle, and language in a fun, family-oriented way,” said Mayor Pat Evans. I encourage everyone to attend the Plano International Festival. It is being planned for over 10,000 people this year as it has grown significantly each year with last year having over 8,500 in attendance. This 4th annual Plano International Festival will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2008, 11:00am – 5:00pm, in Haggard Park, downtown Plano.

Tour the world in downtown Plano at the4th Annual Plano International Festival Saturday, October 4, 2008 11:00am – 5:00pm Haggard Park | www.PlanoInternationalFestival.org Come celebrate Plano’s rich tapestry of cultures at this free family event. You won’t just learn about other cultures—you’ll experience them! Enjoy…

ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER WANTED Muslim community’s local paper, The Lone Star Crescent is seeking independent advertising sales manager in the Greater Dallas area. The candidate is responsible for acquiring new business account and advertisements for the paper and promote display and retail advertising. Job duties include sales to new accounts, managing current clients, up-sell and cross-sell our marketing services. Ideal candidate should be familiar with the market and this region. He/ She MUST have previous experience in outside sales and client account management. An understanding of media and advertising is required. Compensation is based on generous commission plus performance bonus. Candidate is required to work from home, but expected to meet sales quota monthly. If you are qualified for the job, apply in confidence by emailing your resume to info@myCrescent.com. Write “ad sales manager” in the subject line. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.


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The Lone Star Crescent, August 2008

COMMUNITY REPORT


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The Lone Star Crescent, July 2008

COMMUNITY REPORT


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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

SPECIAL RAMADAN FEATURES

Muslims, Ramadan and the Workplace - THE MEANING OF RAMADAN

a Guide for HR By Neil Payne

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has begun. Millions of people from Morocco to Malaysia will fast everyday from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. Among these will be significant numbers of Muslims working in offices in Europe and North America where Ramadan slips past unnoticed. This lack of awareness can and does cause inconvenience, stress and unhappiness to practicing Muslims in the workplace. Kwintessential, a leading cross cultural communication training provider, has released a free guide for employers with Muslim staff to help them better understand the month and what it means to Islam’s adherents. Depending on the sighting of the moon, the Islamic world will once again begin their annual exercise in spiritual and physical cleansing through fasting and other religious exercises next week. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Indonesia where the majority of the population will be fasting, the social cycle changes to accommodate people’s needs. Work may start later due to people praying late into the night, it will certainly finish earlier to allow people to prepare for iftar (breaking of the fast) and the general pace of life drops down a couple of gears, especially for the important last 10 nights. However, in Europe and North America the pace of life continues as normal. Although many Muslims will be going through the same rigorous as people in Syria or Singapore, Ramadan can be that little bit tougher. This is mainly down to the lack of cultural awareness within businesses nowadays. Although people may know who a Muslim is they may not appreciate what a Muslim does. Unawareness of aspects of the religion such as food & drink, interaction between genders, moral obligations, prayers and holidays is widespread. As a result there are always stories of

Muslims being invited to business lunches, not being provided with time or space to break their fasts at sunset or expected to work on the Eid holiday following Ramadan. “We know of Muslims working in organizations that had no idea what Ramadan was and what it entails. Stories include buffets being set up next to someone’s desk at work who was fasting, a manager insisting on a Muslim colleague attending a working lunch and adequate time not being given at the time to break the fast to drink and eat properly,” explains Kwintessential’s Managing Director, Neil Payne. Respecting cultural diversity in the workplace is simply best practice. If staff feel that they are being taken care of and understood on a personal level, a business will experience greater retention, morale and ultimately productivity. In order to provide businesses with access to timely cultural knowledge on Muslims, Islam and the month of Ramadan, Kwintessential have released a free downloadable file that offers employers a summary of the main issues. These include looking at what Ramadan is, what it means to Muslims, the impact it has on their daily lives for a month and how in turn this impacts their working lives. “The future is culturally diverse and if we are all to have a successful future, then cultural awareness is critical,” adds Payne. Author: Neil Payne is Managing Director and Middle East trainer at the London based consultancy Kwintessential. For more information on their services please visit Intercultural Communication at www.kwintessential.co.uk. The company provides cultural awareness training, information and resources as well as other services such as translation.

By Khalid Baig Fasting during Ramadan was ordained during the second year of Hijrah. Why not earlier? In Makkah the economic conditions of the Muslims were bad. They were being persecuted. Often days would go by before they had anything to eat. It is easy to skip meals if you don’t have any. Obviously fasting would have been easier under the circumstances. So why not then? The answer may be that Ramadan is not only about skipping meals. While fasting is an integral and paramount part of it, Ramadan offers a comprehensive program for our spiritual overhaul. The entire program required the peace and security that was offered by Madinah. Yes, Ramadan is the most important month of the year. It is the month that the believers await with eagerness. At the beginning of Rajab --- two full months before Ramadan --- the Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, used to supplicate thus: “O Allah! Bless us during Rajab and Sha’ban, and let us reach Ramadan (in good health).” During Ramadan the believers get busy seeking Allah’s mercy, forgiveness, and protection from Hellfire. This is the month for renewing our commitment and re-establishing our relationship with our Creator. It is the spring season for goodness and virtues when righteousness blossoms throughout the Muslim communities. “If we combine all the blessings of the other eleven months, they would not add up to the blessings of Ramadan,” said the great scholar and reformer Shaikh Ahmed Farooqi (Mujaddad Alif Thani). It offers every Muslim an opportunity to strengthen his Iman, purify his heart and soul, and to remove the evil effects of the sins committed by him. “Anyone who fasts during this month with purity of belief and with expectation of a good reward (from his Creator), will have his previous sins forgiven,” said Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam. “Anyone who stands in prayers during its nights with purity of belief and expectation of a reward, will have his previous sins forgiven.” As other ahadith tell us, the rewards for good deeds are multiplied manifold during Ramadan. Along with the possibility of a great reward, there is the risk of a terrible loss. If we let any other month pass by carelessly, we just lost a month. If we do the same during Ramadan, we have lost everything. The person who misses just one day’s fast without a legitimate reason, cannot really make up for it even if he were to fast everyday for the rest of his life. And of the three persons that Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam cursed, one is the unfortunate Muslim who finds Ramadan in good health but does not use the opportunity to seek Allah’s mercy. One who does not fast is obviously in this category, but so also is the person who fasts and prays but makes no effort to stay away from sins or attain purity of the heart through the numerous opportunities offered by Ramadan. The Prophet, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned us: “There are those who get nothing from their fast but hunger and thirst. There are those who get nothing from their nightly prayers but loss of sleep.” Those who understood this, for them

Ramadan was indeed a very special month. In addition to fasting, mandatory Salat, and extra Travih Salat, they spent the whole month in acts of worship like voluntary Salat, Tilawa (recitation of Qur’an), Dhikr etc. After mentioning that this has been the tradition of the pious people of this Ummah throughout the centuries, Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi notes: “ I have seen with my own eyes such ulema and mashaikh who used to finish recitation of the entire Qur’an everyday during Ramadan. They spent almost the entire night in prayers. They used to eat so little that one wondered how they could endure all this. These greats valued every moment of Ramadan and would not waste any of it in any other pursuit…Watching them made one believe the astounding stories of Ibada and devotion of our elders recorded by history.” This emphasis on these acts of worship may sound strange --- even misplaced --- to some. It requires some explanation. We know that the term Ibada (worship and obedience) in Islam applies not only to the formal acts of worship and devotion like Salat , Tilawa, and Dhikr, but it also applies to worldly acts when performed in obedience to Shariah and with the intention of pleasing Allah. Thus a believer going to work is performing Ibada when he seeks Halal income to discharge his responsibility as a bread-winner for the family. However a distinction must be made between the two. The first category consists of direct Ibada, acts that are required for their own sake. The second category consists of indirect Ibada --- worldly acts that become Ibada through proper intention and observation of Shariah. While the second category is important for it extends the idea of Ibada to our entire life, there is also a danger because by their very nature these acts can camouflage other motives. (Is my going to work really Ibada or am I actually in the rat race?). Here the direct Ibada comes to the rescue. Through them we can purify our motives, and reestablish our relationship with Allah. Islam does not approve of monasticism. It does not ask us to permanently isolate ourselves from this world, since our test is in living here according to the Commands of our Creator. But it does ask us to take periodic breaks from it. The mandatory Salat (five daily prayers) is one example. For a few minutes every so many hours throughout the day, we leave the affairs of this world and appear before Allah to remind ourselves that none but He is worthy of worship and of our unfaltering obedience. Ramadan takes this to the next higher plane, providing intense training for a whole month. This spirit is captured in I’tikaf, a unique Ibada associated with Ramadan, in which a person gives up all his normal activities and enters a mosque for a specific period. There is great merit in it and every Muslim community is encouraged to provide at least one person who will perform I’tikaf for the last ten days of Ramadan. But even those who cannot spare ten days are encouraged to spend as much time in the mosque as possible. Through direct Ibada we “charge our batteries”; the indirect ones allow us to use the power so accumulated in driving the vehicle of our life. Ramadan is the month for rebuilding our spiritual strength. How much we benefit from it is up to us. (Source: Albalagh.net)


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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

WATCHING DIET DURING RAMADAN

Ramadan - A Nutrition Solution?

By Sohail Ismail The blessed month of Ramadan is upon us again. Insha’Allah, the information presented below will be somewhat of an eye-opener for many, for others it shall be a new way to implement a side of Ramadan that is unfortunately neglected and for most of you it’ll be both. Every year, when we sit down and prepare for iftar, I am disturbed at the amount of food that is prepared to break (or open) the fast, this coupled with the actual types of food that are presented is seriously a double whammy! Most of the food is deep-fried, full of sugar, highly processed and causes inflammation and free radical damage - basically: nothing but a health disaster. (Free radicals are formed when weak bonds split in the body, they can damage your body and come from a number of sources, e.g. cigarette smoke, pollution, deep-fried food etc.) I remember, not in the too distant past, I was oblivious to the importance of good nutrition. I too would consume the aforementioned foods carelessly, not knowing the damage it was doing to me as well as its contribution to making my fasts more difficult – yes I said more difficult. Even more surprising and shocking is the fact that at the end of this month many put on extra weight despite the decreased caloric intake (i.e. eating less). This must really amaze you, right? We eat less and put on more weight?! So you’re probably wondering how this can occur and what is wrong with the status-quo? Well before I delve into this, let me explain briefly what happens in our bodies when we fast. During a fast, our metabolism drops and the body can delegate it resources to healing the body appropriately as opposed to constantly digesting the food we consume. The body initially uses circulating glucose (i.e. the carbohydrates that you last consumed) to maintain bodily functions and sustain

the organs, this source of energy does not last long. Thereafter the body shifts to the glucose stored in the muscles and then the liver (stored as glycogen). After the near depletion of these energy sources, the body shifts to the use of stored protein, this involves converting the amino acids (i.e. protein in its simplest form) into glucose (a process known as gluconeogenesis). When these primary sources of fuel are used, the body finally resorts to the use of fat as energy, though it is not the preferred source. Because we fast from dawn till dusk, the body’s use of fat is somewhat minimal in comparison to the use of stored carbohydrates and protein. Fat is very energy dense (approximately 9 calories per gram, where as carbohydrates and protein have approximately 4 calories per gram) and storage in the body is very simple. The body does not solely use one source of energy until it has finished and then resort to the next, it only uses a larger amount of one compared to the other. For example, fats cannot be used without the presence of carbohydrates. Don’t get me wrong, we do burn fat during our fast, though not a large amount. Fat is best utilized during sedentary activity (i.e. sitting, limited or no activity etc.), you’re probably burning fat as you read this article, unless you’re running or something – unlikely! So if you’re taking it easy (physically) during your fast, you’re more likely to burn more fat – that doesn’t mean blend in with your office/home furniture! For those of you who are worried about losing muscle mass, don’t be, you’ll be fortunate if you were to even lose 1% (note: adequate nutrition is also required to minimise this loss further – shall be discussed in the next few blogs and briefly touched upon further below). In very simple terms that is what occurs in our body during a fast. So the next question should be….what is a good nutritional approach? Well, overeating and gorging on lots of food is definitely one way of upsetting your body (aesthetically and definitely from a health perspective). Remember, your body won’t have used a lot of fat during the fast (in comparison to the amount of protein and carbohydrates), so replenishing the protein and carbohydrate stores should be the priority, that doesn’t mean you can eat deep-fried chicken and all the sugar you want – that won’t work out very well! The best food to break your fast with is some dates – we all know this as it was the practice of the prophet Muhammed (SAWS). But did you know that dates are highly concentrated in sugars, primarily fructose, which is the sugar that is used by the liver and then supplied directly to

the brain! Amazing huh? The first food that the Prophet (SAWS) consumed instantly replenished the energy in a vital organ (the liver) and also his brain. The liver also plays a major role in metabolism; hence the consumption of dates provides and prepares this organ with the much needed energy to accomplish this task adequately. After breaking the fast and then praying maghrib we can continue with our food. Before we proceed with the “rights & wrongs” of some of the well-known dietary mishaps, I need to briefly touch upon fats again.

Simply put, eat foods high in antioxidants (these are natural body chemicals or drugs that reduce and combat free radical damage, e.g. fruit and vegetables – preferably with every meal) and those that have very strong detoxification (i.e. cleansing) abilities (e.g. cruciferous vegetables & sprouts – preferably in raw form or lightly steamed). Over time, our fat stores accumulate environmental toxins such as PCBs, DDT and benzene. When bound in the adipose (i.e. fat) tissue, these toxins are relatively harmless, however during a fast the fat is broken down and used as energy, hence these toxins are released and given a second chance at causing havoc in the body. This should not result in consternation, on the contrary, it is a good reminder of the importance and benefit of appropriate nutrition and its ability in combating such issues. The release of such toxins is minimal as the fast is not longer than 24 whole hours, if this was the case then you really would release more. To really rid yourself of these toxins you would need to employ a detox regime (it’s not that daunting I promise, it’s very simple), however I shall not discuss this topic here as it shall divert us from the purpose of this article. Simply put, eat foods high in antioxidants (these are natural body chemicals or drugs that reduce and combat free radical damage, e.g. fruit and vegetables – preferably with every meal) and those that have very strong detoxification (i.e. cleansing) abilities (e.g. cruciferous vegetables & sprouts – preferably in raw form or lightly steamed). Any further discussion of these topics would require an article within itself and therefore is beyond the scope of this article. Now I can’t tell you what to eat exactly, but I can definitely give very good examples that will help you dictate and distinguish good choices from bad. The first real meal after maghrib should consist of protein (e.g. chicken, turkey, egg white) and carbohydrates (brown wraps – aka Lebanese bread/kubz, brown rice, lentils – also high in protein, beans, quinoa, whole grains etc.), with little fat (you will probably get enough fat from the above foods, though other good sources of fat are: olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocadoes etc.). I can’t specify exact amounts of food as everyone is dif-

ferent and requirements shall vary considerably, though the best indicator is when you feel content and satiety has been reached without overeating! Try not to drink too much liquid with your meal (a small amount is fine) as this shall impair digestion. Approximately 30 - 60 minutes after the meal would be an ideal time to consume some liquids.

Whatever you do, don’t have meals with a high combination of both carbohydrates and fat. When a high amount of carbohydrates and fats are consumed, the body releases a very large amount of insulin which inevitably results in weight gain as well as a myriad of other problems. The next meal (probably after taraweeh) should consist of the same break down of macronutrients (i.e. protein and carbohydrates), though this is not a must, it is recommended. One could simply indulge in eating some fruit or anything that the individual desires (within a healthy reason). Whatever you do, don’t have meals with a high combination of both carbohydrates and fat. When a high amount of carbohydrates and fats are consumed, the body releases a very large amount of insulin which inevitably results in weight gain as well as a myriad of other problems. This doesn’t mean you can’t combine the two macronutrients, just be careful not to have too much of both at one sitting. For suhoor (pre-dawn meal), I recommend a protein and fat meal. Examples of which include eggs (protein & fat), nuts & seeds (fats), fish: salmon, sardines, mackerel (all protein & fat) etc. Now for those of you who really need some carbohydrates at that time of the morning and can’t possibly see yourselves eating the above, then I recommend steel-cut oats or rolled oats (not the quick cooking ones), barley porridge or a protein and carbohydrate meal of your choice. It is important to note that the actual food types are just as important. For example, grilled chicken breast (without skin) is far superior compared to deep fried chicken. Deep fried chicken has been deep fried (obviously) in hydrogenated oil (this stuff is so bad that the FDA doesn’t even recommend a minimal amount to consume, they advise to avoid it totally!). In this example, I have stated to avoid the chicken skin due to the toxins in the skin (which is mainly composed of fat – remember this is where most of the environmental chemicals reside as discussed earlier) – this is a direct result of the mistreatment of the chickens and the environment and feed they are exposed to. In terms of carbohydrate choices, the least processed are the best. Brown bread instead of white bread, oats/shredded wheat instead of


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WATCHING DIET DURING RAMADAN

POINTS TO REMEMBER - Preferably break your fasts with dates - Don’t overeat. - Don’t consume too much fat and carbohydrates at the same meal. - Avoid highly processed foods (e.g. biscuits, white bread etc.) - Consume whole grains as opposed to sugary foods, this shall help maintain and sustain blood glucose levels for longer and help avoid the slump associated with high sugary meals. - Don’t drink too much with your food, it is better to drink most of your liquids before or after your meal (30 – 60 mins. after is ideal).

rice krispies/coco pops etc., basically whole grain carbohydrates as opposed to refined grains. Fruits and vegetables are VERY good sources of carbohydrates and they are totally natural too, not mentioning the many health benefits one can experience with an increased intake, though vegetables contain very little carbohydrates so they won’t be very filling. Good fat choices include seeds and nuts, olive oil, flaxseed, avocadoes etc. Initially, when trying to implement this information you may be faced with many questions. This is a good thing, as it can result in you learning new information about good dietary habits and how to distinguish between different types of foods.

Note from the author: I hope my attempt at making this topic simple and informative was accomplished. If you like the article please send it to others. I specialize in nutrition and am a qualified level 3 (REPS) Personal Trainer (5 years). I also hold a BSc. (HONS.) in Information Systems with Business Management. www.theHealthBlogger.com

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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

OPINION COLUMNS

Why is the Cost of Food So High? By Karl Bennion

Why Are Food Prices Rising? Prices are rising and supplies are tightening, for a number of reasons. We are seeing food prices increasing at their highest rate in years. The price of food is subject to the cost of production and the recent concern of rising oil prices and fertilizer prices is having a big influence. The increasing price of food is moving at a faster rate than it’s risen since 1990, at 4 percent in the United States. Costs for raw materials for fertilizer, not including oil, have themselves been increasing as demand for food increases. As we all feel the pinch at the pump with the price of oil rising, so do the costs of planting, harvesting, and delivering food. American families, who are already strapped by rising energy costs, are being hit again in their household budgets as food

prices increase at the fastest rate since 1990. Americans are reeling from sticker shock at the pump while government scrambles to avert a fast-moving crisis before it spins out of control. Global food price hikes are becoming a crisis. These and other conditions have been referred to a “perfect storm,” by United Nations World Food Program executive director Josette Sheeran recently stated. Energy plays its part too. Increased costs for transportation, labor and energy have driven cereal products alone up 6% in recent months. Energy costs hit us coming and going, it costs more to process food and then it costs more to move it out to the market. Energy is going to continue to get more expensive, not less. Energy costs are the largest single force driving inflation.

Supply and Demand Some once said, “Supply and demand is not a

Our Economic Troubles By Alex Heredia This year the U.S. economy has had the largest drop in building permits, stocks have fallen to record lows and unemployment continues to rise. This current trend is driving more individuals and businesses towards debt settlement. The single most telling event is the decline in building permits which have kept our economy afloat for many years add to the the drop in stock prices causing panic amongst investors and the continued loss of employment most sectors of the American industry are experiencing and we are mixing a cocktail of economic destruction. Furthermore, we are seeing a slow down on manufactures´ orders for consumer goods. Real estate has been one of the strengths of American economic growth for many decades in many cases it has carried the economy of our country. it is a good indicator of a recession and this time it is one of the strongest signs that we are facing difficult economic times. Not only the new construction coming to a halt, if compared to previous years, the amounts of foreclosures have risen to record highs leaving more and more Americans in deeper debt everyday. These Americans due to the losses of employment are losing their abilities to stay current not only on their mortgages but other loans as well. The amount of credit card debt being written off by creditors is reaching record highs as well. Student and car loans are nowadays being defaulted on more and more. People have lost considerable amounts of money on stocks, thus losing faith in the every same system that once created large amounts of fortune for them. The prices of everyday products essential for our basic needs are reaching new heights. this is due directly to the fact manufacturers´ orders have slow down. This means there will be less of one item available at the supermarket

shelves when we do our shopping, this will have a direct effect on pricing, meaning less products higher prices. The shopping bill for a family will most likely in the next year be close to double what it is today. The economic trend we are living today is a result of lose policies that allowed too many concessions to industries such as the oil, energy, housing and others. hopefully this will teach us to keep a closer look on our economy and bear down to make it better for future generations to come. Just like our country’s economy many of us have made the same mistakes at home, allowing our families to spend way beyond our means. This problem can be measured by the amount of unsecured credit card debt we hold as a nation. Most American households have an average of $8,500 in credit card debt. The current economic situation is leading many to look for debt relief. It is important to know where to look for this help as we do not want to commit the errors of the past. If the idea is to save money then we must look for help that will not be expensive, we must look for help that is honest and that has our best interest at hand. A new trend is emerging and American consumers are catching on many are finding out they can actually take care of their own debt with out the help of third parties, thus keeping their hard earned money close to home where it should be, this new trend is called Do It Yourself Debt Settlement. About the author: Alex Heredia has worked in the debt negotiation industry for the last five years, he has negotiated personal as well as business unsecured debt. For more information visit http:// debtsettlementbeware.blogspot.com/

law, it’s a policy” Even though the cost of food is controlled by fundamental constraints of supply and demand, the equilibrium of good and ill also depends in part on governments. Strained supply at home and abroad is driving up food prices. Wheat is seeing its tightest supply in the United States since 1946, and soybean supplies also are on rocky ground. Summing it all up, demand is soaring, supply has dwindling, and food is being poured into the gas tank. Can we honestly believe that in the long term, thriving farms and open markets will provide a secure food supply? In general, food prices in the stores are much less volatile than prices at the farm-level and tend to rise at a much smaller rate that the change in farm prices. Saying that overall rising food prices are responsible for the shortages doesn’t make sense, considering that there would not be enough rice regardless due to climate and poor government practices in the countries like the US that are having shortages. What can we

do to stay in control when food prices are rising? Here are some possibilities, eat more leftovers, cook more at home, take meals from home, stock up on good deals and make a plan to build up an emergency food storage plan. What Can We Do to Help? We are interested in what you would like to have us find and make available to you. Your suggestions are welcome and encouraged. Contact us with your requests and suggestions and we will do our best to find the resources for you at an affordable price. We have just made some updates to our website. Visit us and see what’s new. Some suggestions have been implemented and there are more to come. Thanks to everyone who has given us suggestions or has left us food storage tips. Keep them coming! Karl Bennion is the owner of Pro Food Storage a resource for planning and acquiring emergency food storage and other emergency supplies. Visit the Pro Food Storage website for more information on emergency food storage and emergency preparedness and links to useful tools like an online food storage calculator. For questions or comments send email to info@profoodstorage.com.

PEACE BEGINS WITH ME By Leonard Ellis

the-eye people.

Have you ever had a lash in your eye? Most of us have from time to time, and at best, it is extremely irritating. A physical object in our tender eye is almost immediately noticeable. And what about the figurative lash in the eye? A situation or a person that is an irritation to us, that touches a tender nerve? We’ve all experienced this too, sometimes on a daily basis. And while it is happening, it seems so irritating that we just cannot think about much else. Whether it is someone we would label as a difficult person, or a reflection of something in our own psyche, these irritations bother us. Naturally, most of us try to avoid such circumstances by avoiding these people, or not thinking about the situation. The thing is, though, by avoiding irritating people or situations, we miss out on the chance to grow, and we miss out on the opportunity to expand our peacemaking skills. And in almost every case, the irritation is not about the other person, it is about me, so dealing with the situation gives me the opportunity to find out something about myself. The sages know this lash- in-the-eye is an opportunity for learning the skills that matter most in life: patience, forgiveness, and freedom from judgment. It is only when I have detached and let go of the judgments that I can put my arm around someone who has given me a really difficult time, and sincerely say, “Without you in my life, how could I have ever learned to be patient?” What’s great about this is I can even do this with someone who is no longer around. In my mind’s eye, I can recreate the situation and with sincerity, from my heart, say “Thank you for this opportunity to learn forgiveness.” Good and bad, happiness and sadness, pleasure and pain; these are the very real aspects of life at the outer, superficial level. The less I am bound by these dualities, the more clearly I will be able to see the core of purity, kindness and selflessness that is the real self in everyone, even in people who cause trouble, even in those lash-in-

The goal, the “where we want to get to place”, is that of being engaged with every lash-in-the-eye situation, and stand in our integrity in the face of hostility, stand in our persistence in the face of resistance, knowing, yes knowing, that we can remain centered, remain at peace and say “Thank you”. We can be with these lash-in-the-eye situations and instead of running away from them, or cursing them, we can bless them for what they are - opportunities to learn patience, forgiveness, and empathy, as well as freedom from likes and dislikes. Instead of seeing the lash-in-the-eye as an irritation, I can chose to see it in a positive light, because as with all other choices - Peace begins with ME!

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The Lone Star Crescent, July 2008

NEWSLINE


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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

OPINION COLUMNS

The Addiction to Political Power - A Danger to National Security By Don Bracken Power Addicts Anonymous! Is it on the way to DC? Perhaps it should be. John Edwards put it into focus when he recently made his shamefaced announcement about his affair with a young woman in 2006: “Over the course of several campaigns, I started to believe,” he said, “that I was special and became increasingly egocentric and narcissistic.” Special is the operative word in that statement and it spells out the disorientation that exists with many in the nation’s capital who believe that they too, are special. That disorientation is the addiction to power. I will write it again for emphasis That disorientation is the addiction to power. It is something that is glossed over by network and cable anchors when power is discussed. Political authors, who have the latitude and longitude to go into it, rarely do. And the press, with rare exception, never touches on it, the “Washington Times” being that rare exception. On March 5, 2006 it editorialized: “Washington is about power. Power is addictive, and it corrupts. Those who have power fear losing it. Legislators will often seek creative ways to silence their critics and curtail their critics’ involvement in politics...” Yes, it is a real thing. It is a disorientation of perspective to which John Edwards alluded. It leads to very bad decisions which John Edwards made and forces politicians to do things they are often sorry they did. Psychologists, psychiatrists and neurologists, like the “Washington Times,” know the addiction to power to be a real thing. The “Times’” piece was largely of power retention, a powerful part of the addiction. But the addiction is also pervasive. It goes into areas that affected John Edwards’ private life. Clinical Psychologist Dr. Kathleen Puckett, a founding member of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program and someone who knows something about the dark side of human nature, points, in her forthcoming book Homeland Insecurity, to the pleasure centers of the brain as the source of

power addiction: “Interactive social activities between human beings, such as sex or politics, activate the same pleasure centers in the brain that addictive chemical substances stimulate. The same brain mechanism demands continued and increasing levels of the stimulus-in this case, political power.” Dr. Puckett went to state “ The privilege that comes along with political power provides additional sources of pleasure such as fame, social position and increased access to other addictive substances.” Dr. Puckett might have added Dr. Henry Kissinger’s observation about Washington behavior. “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac,” he said. Henry Kissinger, who was Secretary of State for three Presidents, would know. John Edwards might well agree. Addiction to Power in Washington is a subject on which Dr. Kathleen Puckett is expert. In addition to being a founder of the Behavioral Analysis Program of the FBI, she co-authored, with Terry D. Turchie, the distinguished former official of the FBI, the forthcoming book Homeland Insecurity, a study of twelve Washington politicians who, in satisfying their addiction to power, have unwittingly compromised national security. John Edwards is not one of the twelve. Don Bracken is a writer, publisher and marketing expert with a political background. He is author of numerous articles for newspapers and magazines on such diverse subjects as special education, economics, marketing, stress control and ancient European history. He also has written two books “Career of Gold: Defeat Age Bias By Re-Careering For The Second Half of Your Life” for Today’s Books and the award- winning “The Words of War” about the birth of modern American journalism in the Civil War for History Publishing Company, http:// www.historypublishingco.com, publisher also, of the award -winning “Hunting the American Terrorist” and the forthcoming “Homeland Insecurity” dealing with the addiction to political power and how it has compromised national security. The latter books were co-authored by Dr. Kathleen Puckett and former FBI Official Terry D. Turchie.

Advertise Now 214.306.7920 The Lone Star Crescent is the only local Muslim Community monthly in the Greater Dallas area distributed via Islamic Centers and over 40 retail locations. Serving the community since 2006, the paper gives you the opportunity to reach thousands each month. Promote your business in The Lone Star Crescent and online at www.myCrescent.com. For special advertising rates email us at ads@myCrescent.com or call (214) 306-7920.

Mind Manipulating Newspapers By Azari Masili Nowadays I never really read newspapers the way I used to be during the time when I want all information that I need. I have to believe in something especially from the things going on around, the world I mean. As far as I am concerned, newspapers are the most trusted source of information of all time until the moment I started not to believe. There are several reasons why. The first reason is there’s nothing left to believe. Nowadays and maybe since the beginning every single sentence written are lies especially when we encounter other source of information for example verbal input from people around. What we read in the papers is totally contradicted with what we heard especially from someone that we can trust. For example the political issues in Malaysia regarding sodomising case that has been rumoured committed by one of the ex national leader that will bring him for another time consuming jail sentence. What is written in the papers and projected by the media especially TVs are not the same with what we heard and suppose to believe. Well, it is very easy to fool a child but not those that take things for granted especially those who use their brain instead of their eyes to read and see what is actually happening around. The second reason is because some major news is being added in term of the information in the news itself in order to make it more interesting and as attention grabber. That kind of doing is totally wrong especially during the time when people or should I say the society is in dilemma between choosing what is right from wrong and what is wrong from right. When information is being added, there’s no more truth to be heard. In a different way, the added information will mislead the truth from the truth and in the Malaysian leader case, he will definitely committed even though he is innocent. What a powerful tool if we can define the power of media is that include newspapers, magazines, TVs and radios and not to forget the internet. Third and the final reason is because we don’t know whether the w writers are really for or again against certain issues or society or people or individuals. Of ccourse it is (their opinion) clea clearly stated in the news but w who knows anyway what they rreally have in mind and what tthey really want to write instea instead of being ordered to them to w write. This is when they have to choose between what they want and what others need (especially between employers and employees). Now I started to believe in blogs because they are somehow different from all those fancy media like what I’ve mentioned above.

I begin to develop my interest on political blogs because have so much different things/ perspectives to say about things around, to look/ express thoughts outside the box I must say. It is up to us to believe or not to believe but so far I know who to believe and learn not to get my eyes popped out when things get worse. Bloggers have all the right to write (especially the truth) and they are completely responsible for what they have written as in the case of famous political blogger Raja Petra that has been put under police supervision because of his serious issues in his entries. If you need to believe, start reading blogs today and see it for yourself. Just give your sense and judgment a try. Author’s blog: http://azari.wordpress.com


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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

SHOPPING & GIFTS FOR RAMADAN

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THE GOLDEN ADVICE SERIES A response to the obligation of giving naseehah (good advice) and its obvious need in our ummah at the present time. This series focuses on the naseehah to the believers from the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (S). These advice ranges from tawheed (worshiping Allah alone) to morals and issues of business transactions. Each of the books comes in an easy-to-read size but the contents are highly beneficial. Price: $62.95. Each book is printed in 2 color with Ayahs and rules in red color while text is black. To order: www.Dar-us-salam.com Or Call (713) 722-0419 Address: 1111 Conrad Sauer Dr., Houston, TX 77043 | Mailing Address: P.O. Box 79194, Houston, TX 77279.

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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

REAL ESTATE

How To Stop A Foreclosure Sale Types of Listing - Home Selling By Suneel

By Jill Borash

When you plan to sell your house with the help of a real estate agent, you should have some basic knowledge about the types of real estate listing agreements. The contact defines the roles and responsibilities of both the parties. As the agreement is legally binding on the parties, you have to read and understand them well, if necessary by hiring some legal experts. Though the real estate agreements vary from one place to another, usually industry standard and boilerplate forms are used. You can negotiate the terms and conditions of the listing agreements in your favor. Your rights and responsibilities, level of service and the period of time depend upon the type of listing agreement signed by you and your real estate agent. ‘Exclusive Right to Sell’ is the most commonly used form of real estate listing contracts. By signing the agreement, you will be giving an exclusive right to your selling agent for listing and selling your home only for a specified period of time. The agent will get the commission from you in the end, normally from the proceeds of the sale. The agreement will be binding on you, even though you are able to get a buyer yourself. If the sale of your home is made by another list-

ing agency, the first listing agency will split its commission amount, in the end, with the second agency. Under an Exclusive Agency Agreement, which is similar to exclusive right to sell, you will allow the seller to sell the house without paying commission. In this case, the buyer will not be introduced to the house property by your agency. In an open real estate listing agreement, you will not be giving exclusive right to any agency to sell your property. You can sell your property yourself without paying commission to any agency. You can sign an open listing agreement with many agencies. Seller is entitled for whole of the commission without sharing with others. As the real estate listing contract is your first step for selling your house property, take a well considered decision by understanding the terms and conditions and discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the agreement with professionals. About the Author Webmaster of www.real-estate-directories.com/ which is a real estate directory & guide that provide all information related to real estate in various areas like real estate listing, real estate resources and more.

Tips and Tricks For Home Staging By Ki Gray and Dane Smith

At every point in the foreclosure process you have an opportunity to stop a foreclosure sale on your home. You simply have to know what your options are and be prepared to take whatever steps are necessary in order to save your home. More than likely this will mean doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. If you want to stop a foreclosure sale on your home, you first need to gather some facts. 1. When is the sheriff’s sale date set for your home? You should have received legal documentation from your bank’s lawyers that tells you this information. The legal paperwork I received that had this date on it was called a Combined Notice of Sale and Right to Cure and Redeem. Under the Notice of Sale section was the information on when the sale date was going to occur. 2. How much money do you currently owe the bank? Simply adding up the payments that you owe the mortgage company is not going to tell you this. The bank has tacked on late fees, legal fees and possibly other fees as well. You can find out how much you owe by asking the bank what your loan reinstatement amount is. It will probably take them a few days to get back to you on this and chances are good that they will not even call you back once they have the numbers so make sure you call them a few days after you request this amount. 3. Is your bank willing to work with you to stop a

foreclosure sale on your home? Unfortunately, the answer to this question may be no. It will depend on your bank and it will depend on your financial situation as well. The bank may not be able to workout an arrangement with you if your financial situation has permanently changed. The answers to the above questions will determine what course of action is the best one for you in order to stop a foreclosure sale of your home, especially the answers to 2 and 3. If the bank is not willing to do a workout arrangement with you, that may mean you need to come up with the money to reinstate the loan. And here is where you need to decide how far you are willing to go to save your home. If your bank is willing to do a workout arrangement with you, chances are good that you will need to come up with a fairly healthy sum of money upfront. Because if your home has gotten to point where a sale date has been scheduled, you are already in deep. If you want to stop a foreclosure sale of your home, you are going to need to find a way to come up with whatever is needed to save it. About the Author You can stop a foreclosure sale of your home; you simply need to know what you need to do in order to save your home. And the bigger piece is that you must be willing to do what is necessary in order to save your home. Get more free foreclosure tips and techniques at www.Stopping-HomeForeclosure.com

Staging a home can end up being a valuable tool in selling the house. Not only can it assist in selling a house, but it can also help the seller get top dollar. The amount of staging needed varies wildly from a small scale de-cluttering of a home to hiring staging professionals to the tune of several thousand dollars, but the goal is the samecreating a pleasant mood by making a house appear bigger, brighter and warmer while neutralizing the area so prospective buyers can visualize how their own furniture and belongings can be incorporated into the home. In a good or bad housing market, some studies have shown that staged homes can add between 10 and 15 percent to the sale price of many homes. Sellers who don’t take the time to properly stage may end up with their house on the market for longer periods of time, and agreeing to a lower selling price to a buyer who can see the potential the home has that other viewers did not. Though professional home stagers may be needed if a home is completely empty, the majority of staging can be accomplished by the seller. A quick visit to some newly built model homes can help a seller get an idea of how interior designers and stagers prepare a home. There’s a delicate balance between keeping the home sparse enough to appear as spacious as possible, and picking the right pieces to maintain a warm and livable space. The first impression a potential home buyer will have of a house will be of the exterior, so nice curb appeal is important. A fresh coat of paint on the front door, a nicely trimmed lawn, and fresh flowers in a garden or on the front porch are easy and effective staging techniques. A

brightly colored patio set in the backyard can help the home’s exterior appearance when the buyer steps out the back door. Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most important rooms in buyers’ eyes. Kitchen counters should be clear of all small appliances and other items that tend to gather on them. When counter tops are cleared of clutter, the amount of working surface increases. A splash of color, such as a bowl of fruit is acceptable, but a refrigerator, covered in personal pictures and comic strip cutouts, is not. Bathrooms should look as open and airy as possible, and above all clean. A new white toilet or tub, or a new set of sink faucets could be a worthy investment during the staging process. Personal toiletries, like toothbrushes, should be removed from sight, while the addition of scented soaps, lotions and clean white towels could give the room more of a spa type feeling. For bedrooms, remove as much unnecessary furniture as possible, and keep it in the garage or in storage if need be. For smaller rooms, hang curtains high on the wall, and do not cover the actual window with them. Doing so will increase the apparent height and width of the room. Neutralize the rooms by removing all personal pictures and keeping wall colors a nice warm, clean color. By following a few simple and effective staging guidelines, a home seller can increase his or her chance to sell the home quickly, and the time and effort will pay off by netting the highest offer as well. Author: Working in Austin Escapeso Real Estate helps people search for Austin homes. They provide general information about Austin real estate. www.escapesomewhere.com.


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The Lone Star Crescent, September 2008

HOME IMPROVEMENT

5 Things to Keep in Mind For Sunroom Additions

Bathroom Countertops

By Chris Robertson

use.

When it comes to home improvement projects, an increasing number of Texas homeowners are choosing to install a sunroom, solarium, or conservatory. Although every family has their own reasons for adding a sun room to their home, those who do find that it ends up being the most utilized and most valued space in the home. If you have been reviewing sunroom prices or talking to a sunroom builder, here are five things you should keep in mind:

4. Embrace energy efficiency. If you’re going to invest in a sunroom, make sure that the quality is high enough to be used year-round. For example, a Texas sunroom won’t do you any good if you’re sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter. A great design, high quality materials, and energy efficiency means that you should be able to get a 100 percent return on your investment within three to five years.

By John Dickinson

5. Opt for low maintenance materials. Forget the flimsy sunrooms of the past and instead choose construction materials that will last for 20 years or more. You should be able to find a variety of sunroom designs that may use aluminum, vinyl, vinyl-wood composites, and mahogany. In other words, there are sunroom plans and materials for every budget.

Natural Stone

1. How will you use it? Sunrooms and conservatories are more popular than ever, in part because they’re so versatile. When you’re looking at sunroom designs, think about how your family will use the space. Will it be a home office, a plant room, a guest room, or a place to relax and hang out? Knowing how the space will be utilized will help you decide on a design. 2. Professional or do-it-yourself? Will you have a professional install your sunroom, or are you looking for a sunroom kit? With a bit of time, patience, and knowledge, a DIY sunroom is imminently possible. By the same token, hiring professional installers is still an affordable option - but make sure to get sunroom estimates before you sign on the dotted line. 3. Choose your design. There are many different sunroom plans from which you can choose. For example, in addition to traditional sunrooms, there are studio sunrooms, gabled sunrooms, and split-level sunrooms. The designer you choose should be able to guide you toward a design that will work well with your home’s architecture and that will be a good fit with the room’s intended

Overall, keep in mind that you’ll get a better return on your investment if your Texas sunroom is very efficient and is designed to add real, usable square footage to your home. Whether you’re going to stay in your home for the foreseeable future, or plan on selling your home in a few years, you can be sure that a sunroom or conservatory will pro-

Bathroom countertops are a main part of your bathroom, aesthetically and practically. Bathroom countertops are subject to harm from water, toothpaste, shaving cream, hot curling irons, makeup, and much more. Luckily, you can find countertops that are both beautiful and durable. Countertop material and color options are endless, so make sure to take your time and choose what is best for your bathroom remodel. Here are a few of the most popular bathroom countertop materials:

* Options include -- granite, marble, soapstone, and limestone. * Granite is the strongest and most commonly used stone in bathrooms. * Available in a wide variety of shades and finishes. * Can be expensive, but cost depends on color and finished stone’s origin. * Must be sealed periodically because it is porous. * Stone is better used in low traffic areas. vide you with wonderful living space while also adding to the resale value of your home. Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International (www.majon.com), one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web. Learn more about Texas Sunroom Additions (www. SunRoomWindow.com).

The Garage Door - Not Just a Home Accessory By George C. Parker Why have homeowners suddenly become so conscious of their garage doors? Why are architects now consulting leading garage door manufacturers and installers when deciding what sort of garage doors to specify in their home construction plans? Why is the amount of money being spent on garage doors spiraling upward so quickly? Because homeowners not only want garage doors which function smoothly and quietly, but which add to their homes’ curb appeal and marketability as well. In a real estate market which looks weaker with every passing month, having the largest of your home’s visual features look great and operate the way it should can be real selling points. The Automatic Garage Door Revolution Following the introduction of automatic garage door openers, the garage door has become the most used entry and exit in most US homes. The ability to simply open the garage door while remaining inside the car, and walk right into thee house after parking and lowering the garage door, has spared millions of homeowners from the physical strain of having to manually open their

garage doors in all kinds of weather, park their cars, and manually shut the doors. No more sore biceps, strained backs, and frustrated homeowners makes for a much happier homecoming all around! An automated garage door is also a big part of a home’s security system. And because all automatic garage door openers manufactured after 1992 must have a reversal feature, there is no danger of a foot, arm, or family pet being trapped beneath an automated garage door which lowers unexpectedly. While the security and safety of automated garage doors is extremely important, most homeowners still chose their garage doors based on how well they will complement the overall appearance of the home. Choosing a garage door is a matter of carefully considering its dimensions, styling, and shape, as well as its materials and finish. Garage Door Options Today Garage doors are available in wood, steel, and glass-reinforced plastic, or GRP. Steel is the most economical and most durable of garage door materials, and steel garage doors can be single, double, or triple-layered, with the triple-layered

Solid Surface * Allows for integral sinks. * Easy to clean. * Available in countless colors. * Is seamless, stain resistant and scratches are easily buffed out. * Can be harmed by curling irons or other hot appliances.

Laminate * One of the most affordable materials. * Comes in a variety of colors and designs. * Requires little maintenance but can be damaged by curling irons or other hot appliances.

Concrete offering the most insulation and soundproofing. Garage doors can be painted to complement you home’s colors, or in the case of wooden ones, stained. They should be selected to accommodate the amount of driveway clearance you need, and you can also stipulate that they have windows to brighten your garage’s interior with natural light. Installing an impact-resistant garage door will increase the amount of security it provides, and you can even have a garage door with a bracing system which improves sits wind pressure rating so that it can withstand the worst sort of windstorms. You can also find more info on Garage Doors. Garageplansbasic.com is a comprehensive resource which provides information about garage.

* Allows for full customization of your sink and countertop. * Colored pigments can be added to concrete. Maintenance includes resealing and waxing a few times a year. * Can be discolored by damp washcloths or towels if they are left for a long period of time.

Wood * Subject to water damage, so not recommended for high traffic areas. * Natural and traditional look.

Engineered Stone * Available in a wide variety of colors. * Durable and requires little maintenance.


P. 19

The Lone Star Crescent, July 2008

WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THESE RIDES


P. 20

The Lone Star Crescent, August 2008

DRIVE SAFELY


The Lone Star Crescent