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My Cup of Tea: My Birthday, Shea Rasol's Demise and Marawi Crisis

Today is a mixture of emotions for me because:
1. It is my birthday.
2. It is the day of janazah for an amazing lady and good friend, Shea Rasol.
3. Marawi Crisis

I don't celebrate birthdays, but what I love about remembering it is the fact that it always reminds me of what my life should be about, where I stand, and what is ahead of me. For me, it is the essence of birthdays, which sometimes I refer to as "Day of Remembering More of Life and Death."

I have now officially just entered the phase of the late 20s (which is not super late pa naman). And to tell you frankly, while other people pressure me of getting married (of which I am not pressured at all / if it comes, then it will with the blessings of Allah SWT), I am more pressured to become a better Muslimah and human. With all the adversities that are happening all over the world, I think we should reflect more on ourselves.

Moving on, you may have known that Shea Rasol passed away yesterday afternoon surrounded by her loved ones. And I have always been vocal about how our friendship started and how much admiration I have for her (read here). There are countless bloggers out there, but Shea is just really special.

I, together with the girls, Lia, Sya, Tiq and Nisah, were monitoring Shea's condition thru her other closer friends and family. And when Sya told us that she left us already, I was in a meeting with my boss. I just couldn't stop myself and cried in front of everyone. What a good soul that has gone back to the arms of The Beloved!

Shea chose the five of us to be her proteges (me, Lia, Sya, Tiq and Nisah). It was her that introduced us to each other, although I've known Lia for a long time already. Each of us felt like we've known each other for years that we share secrets and stories even tho we've just known one another. This is why, the remaining five of us treasure this friendship - Shea's legacy.

She taught us to persevere amidst the worst of crises. She taught us to love despite hurting. She taught us to be yourself and always put your feet on the ground despite being famous. She taught us to value friends and family even more. Most of all, she taught us to trust in the Will of Allah SWT.

Alhamdulillah for the chance of knowing her and being one of her friends. Again, she never failed to make me feel special.

Lastly, Marawi crisis. I've been through Zamboanga Siege. I always say that I don't want the same thing to happen to any other place in the world. But it did - in Marawi City this time. Up until today, airstrikes, heavy artillery and constant exchange of fires from both sides are still ongoing. Many lives were already taken. Many properties and infrastructures are already damaged. Many wounds are created. Many have fled home into evacuation centers around Iligan City, Cotabato City, and other Lanao del Sur municipalities.

With all of those said, I and my colleagues agreed to be of help to those in need. Thus, we started a crowdfunding campaign on Launchgood called: "Marawi Needs Your Help." All of the funds collected will go to the victims and evacuees. We have marked it ZAKAT-ELIGIBLE for the fact that what you give is a form of charity. And that most of the victims have lost their properties because of the war.

We are knocking on your kind hearts to donate for as low as $5 for the people of Marawi. No donation and charity is too little if we come together and pool our resources. I and my colleagues have pooled what we have - from our hard work to money and initiatives. Let us share our blessings and the khair to those in need!

To donate, please go to

Let your donation be your birthday gift to me. <3 Thank you!

Lately, I've been asking myself questions of generosity, forgiveness, sharing, and love.
Then again, today, with all its fluctuating flow of hormones resulting to various emotions, I am reminded of what is life is about and that death is just around the corner. We may look at these matters as bad news, but in Islam, we have to know that there is always good in every happenstance and events in our lives.

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