How to be happy

sunset from the roomIt still feels like winter here…the gray and cold have seeped into my body, I crave sunshine, heat, and friendly faces. I was reminded this weekend that I can bring joy to myself and others simply by choosing to be happy. There will always be people who are not pleasant, so how does one counter that with joy and radiance?

“Believers, he added, must show their belief in their daily lives, so that the world might see the light shining in their faces. A bright and happy face cheers people on their way. If you are sad, and pass a child who is laughing, the child, seeing your sad face, will cease to laugh, not knowing why. If the day be dark, how much a gleam of sunshine is prized; so let believers wear smiling happy faces, gleaming like sunshine in the darkness. Let the Light of Truth and Honesty shine from them, so that all who behold them may know that their word in business or pleasure will be a word to trust and depend upon.”
-‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London

“If we are not happy and joyous at this season, for what other season shall we wait and for what other time shall we look?

This is the time for growing; the season for joyous gathering! Take the cup of the Testament in thy hand; leap and dance with ecstasy in the triumphal procession of the Covenant! Lay your confidence in the everlasting bounty, turn to the presence of the generous God; ask assistance from the Kingdom of Abha; seek confirmation from the Supreme World; turn thy vision to the horizon of eternal wealth; and pray for help from the Source of Mercy!
-Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas

“Happy the soul that shall forget his own good, and like the chosen ones of God, vie with his fellows in service to the good of all; until, strengthened by the blessings and perpetual confirmations of God, he shall be empowered to raise this mighty nation up to its ancient pinnacles of glory, and restore this withered land to sweet new life, and as a spiritual springtime, array those trees which are the lives of men with the fresh leaves, the blossoms and fruits of consecrated joy.”
-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization

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In dreams

Needed a moment of quiet by the lake. Sitting in my car.

I have never felt a greater need for silence than right now.
A great need to bury myself in a cocoon of books and tea,
I dream of warm sunlit beaches and time between us.

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Old patterns of thought

Ninteen Months: Loftiness“O ye respected souls! From the continual imitation of ancient and worn-out ways, the world had grown dark as darksome night. The fundamentals of the divine Teachings had passed from memory; their pith and heart had been totally forgotten, and the people were holding on to husks. The nations had, like tattered garments long outworn, fallen into a pitiful condition.

Out of this pitch blackness there dawned the morning splendour of the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. He hath dressed the world with a garment new and fair, and that new garment is the principles which have come down from God.

Now the new age is here and creation is reborn. Humanity hath taken on new life. The autumn hath gone by, and the reviving spring is here. All things are now made new. Arts and industries have been reborn, there are new discoveries in science, and there are new inventions; even the details of human affairs, such as dress and personal effects—even weapons—all these have likewise been renewed. The laws and procedures of every government have been revised. Renewal is the order of the day.

And all this newness hath its source in the fresh outpourings of wondrous grace and favour from the Lord of the Kingdom, which have renewed the world. The people, therefore, must be set completely free from their old patterns of thought, that all their attention may be focused upon these new principles, for these are the light of this time and the very spirit of this age.

Unless these Teachings are effectively spread among the people, until the old ways, the old concepts, are gone and forgotten, this world of being will find no peace, nor will it reflect the perfections of the Heavenly Kingdom. Strive ye with all your hearts to make the heedless conscious, to waken those who sleep, to bring knowledge to the ignorant, to make the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and restore the dead to life.

It behoveth you to show forth such power, such endurance, as to astonish all beholders. The confirmations of the Kingdom are with you. Upon you be the glory of the All-Glorious.”

-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p 252

Thanks to S.M. for sending this to me.
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Snowstorm

You may be aware that there is a snowstorm in Chicago right now. There was an Ayyam-i-Ha party at the Baha’i National Center this morning, and after lunch everyone was sent home because of the impending storm (which had already started). So a few girlfriends and I had an impromptu hangout at my place, which included conversations, food, nail polish, and television. It was exactly perfect on a night like this. Now they are gone and I fully intend to continue enjoying the evening. The silence of a snowy night is such a peaceful thing.

Thanks ladies. 🙂

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The story of everything

Beautiful things end up on my desk at work sometimes.

I wanted to write a story about everything
the pieces of days taking over
the peaceful nights where your voice keeps me going
how quickly time passes
and how very little time has passed.
We are building up moments to hide away for later
for sleepless nights or long days.
I want to write the story
about the things we cannot guess…

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Be

Flowers from an office party cheer things up a bit“Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.”
-(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh)

Trying to remember the above as I fight some battles, try to rest (managed to fight off a cold last week!), and keep moving along with everything. I am so lucky, and sometimes the reminders come all at once. This past week has been full of reinforcements from various people around me, some of whom have absolutely no idea what has been happening in my life…they just seemed to be inspired to encourage and show love to me. That, in turn, makes me want to do the same.

Sometimes we expect people to be fair, just, loving, kind, etc, and when our expectations are not met, we are sad/disappointed/angry. The feelings we have are valid, but what we do with those feelings is what matters. How do we encourage justice while showing detachment? How do we support the individuals and analyze/improve the process?

I’ve been thinking a lot about building capacity these days. About how to encourage people to develop their natural talents and strive beyond what they thought they could do. What kind of person do I want to be?

“The work advancing in every corner of the globe today represents the latest stage of the ongoing Bahá’í endeavour to create the nucleus of the glorious civilization enshrined in His teachings, the building of which is an enterprise of infinite complexity and scale, one that will demand centuries of exertion by humanity to bring to fruition. There are no shortcuts, no formulas. Only as effort is made to draw on insights from His Revelation, to tap into the accumulating knowledge of the human race, to apply His teachings intelligently to the life of humanity, and to consult on the questions that arise will the necessary learning occur and capacity be developed.” -Universal House of Justice, Riḍván 2010

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Football?

I hear there was this big football game last night or something. I watched a few minutes of halftime, which just made me sad that those beautiful ladies couldn’t find something classier to wear. I then got bored and turned everything off to read a book and drink tea. I ended up finishing the book (at least 300 pages) by the time I was tired enough to go to bed, and felt that it was a perfect way to spend my Sunday evening.

I have to say though, the commentary on Twitter made me laugh. Good job, everyone. You managed to keep me updated on the talking points and dissuade me from watching nearly all of the commercials (heard they were awful!).

And now Monday is here and, as always, I wish the weekend was longer.

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Silenced

Wisconsin sunset
we are an entire generation
silent
we are here to serve, to work, to strive
we are silenced
we raise our hands to voice concern
we raise our voices to fight injustice
we are silenced
our brothers and sisters are imprisoned
we are here, in a prison which should not exist
in a place that should be joyful
and we are silenced.

I will still fight this battle.

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these days

I still look at people like this when they don't make sense. #littlemeI have to say that this year started off with a lot of things…none of which I’ll talk about here for now, except in a very general way. I will say that a lot was thrown at me at once, in a way that was validating, scary, joyful, destructive, and just plain overwhelming, all in different ways.

But then, somehow, everything resolves itself. Just within a few weeks, I found some paths to clarity, and it is amazing. I am not there yet, but it is a good feeling to start.

I am looking forward to this year.

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Good things

I have been thinking about some of the difficult things going on in my life right now, and while I should not dismiss them as small or insignificant, I can choose to focus on better things, on the good things, at least in this space. I have been spending a lot of time in my condo this last week, sick with a nasty cold, and someone told me today to think about the things that make me happy.

The world is white.We had our first snow in Chicago this week. While normally this would make me sad, as I am not a fan of winter, I have actually been loving the beauty of this particular snowfall, and the drifting flurries throughout the week. I went out to snap some photos the other day, mostly for Nineteen Months, and it reminded me of how much I love traipsing around with my camera, hopefully with a few friends in tow. I miss that.

 

sushi nightWe made sushi last weekend, experimenting with different ideas to create so many rolls that we ate it over the course of two evenings. We laughed and worked together. It was lovely. I am loving the conversations, the diving into the joy of everything. It is good to remember these moments.

 

Starting to make a dent in the Wilmette Bahai Archives cleanup.I have been working on cleaning up the Wilmette Baha’i Archives for months now, but recently have had more incentive because we’re losing our storage space and have to move everything. As Archivist for our local community, I thought it would be helpful to go through over 70 years worth of papers before moving it. For every box that I go through, I trash about 1/3 of it. Mostly duplicate copies of things, or stuff we never should have kept in the first place. While it is a stressful thing sometimes, I also find really cool stuff sometimes.

 
love this little mooshI know entirely too many cute babies and kids. I’ve had the benefit of hanging out with a lot of them recently. Sometimes when things are rough, I just need a hug from a baby. Seriously, it fixes everything. I have also started hosting monthly dinner parties, which is the perfect thing in a Chicago winter, and I love having people over to my place. Sometimes it is a bit exhausting to be the one to initiate social contact with people on a regular basis, but this helps me feel a bit more connected.

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falling

The fallen leaves in front of my condo look like rose petals.she is watching the ground rushing toward her, a free-fall of joyful absolution.
she is wrapped in trust.
she is watching with her eyes closed.

once there was a story in her head about the possibilities
and then time took over, life sped ahead and the story became empty

these are days when each moment is held apart, shining, and she wants to remember everything. her memory can’t hold every look, every time her breath caught from joy. nothing is perfect, and everything makes her happy.

she never knew but always hoped.

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Distinction

Today.“For you I desire spiritual distinction—that is, you must become eminent and distinguished in morals. In the love of God you must become distinguished from all else. You must become distinguished for loving humanity, for unity and accord, for love and justice. In brief, you must become distinguished in all the virtues of the human world—for faithfulness and sincerity, for justice and fidelity, for firmness and steadfastness, for philanthropic deeds and service to the human world, for love toward every human being, for unity and accord with all people, for removing prejudices and promoting international peace. Finally, you must become distinguished for heavenly illumination and for acquiring the bestowals of God. I desire this distinction for you. This must be the point of distinction among you.”

-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace

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What are you doing these days?

My friends have been busy. I’m sure I have forgotten someone, but y’all gotta let me know when you’re starting things. 😉

My supremely talented friend Andrew Johnson has come out with some gorgeous, limited edition prints of a few airport layouts. Buy one. Or two. You won’t regret it.

Dan Jones, over at Doberman Pizza, has relaunched his blog. He has been blogging for nearly two decades and has always been a great resource and friend in the Baha’i blogging world. After over a decade of internet interaction, I finally met him and his lovely wife Quynh in Montreal this summer.

Speaking of great blogs, a fantastic sisterly duo consisting of Bre Vader and Jaleh Darling recently launched a blog called The Superettes. It is fun, creative, and accessible, and I enjoy it thoroughly.

 

I am not going to even go into all of the engagements, pregnancies, graduations, and life changes of everyone…but congratulations if you have something going on that merits celebration!

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Thanksgiving: Part 2

Well, it took me more than a week after Thanksgiving to write this post, but my excuse is that I was recovering from the awesome food that I ate. 😉

I spent the evening before Thanksgiving cooking at my condo. By cooking, I mean “going crazy and using every stove burner, the oven, and all available counter space” to make everything at once. Ok, so I’m ambitious. I concentrated on side dishes and dessert, since mom was taking care of the meat. The result:

Prep night for Thanksgiving

 

There were: mashed potatoes, carrots, acorn squash, cranberry-apple sauce, gluten free stuffing & gravy, gluten free pumpkin pie, regular pumpkin and blueberry pies. The blueberry pie was very pretty, and since it was the first time I had made pie crusts from scratch (in recent memory, anyway), it was quite the endeavor to pull it all off.

Blueberry pie made from scratch

I then drove an hour out to my parents house on Thanksgiving morning and did the final prep work to get everything on the table by 1:00 pm. (Mom’s turkey was awesome, btw.) The final result of food was incredible, and the family had a lovely time eating for the rest of the weekend.

Thanksgiving at my parents house

I really loved helping take on so much more of the cooking. It helped me feel more ownership and enjoy the process a little more (as well as appreciate how exhausting it is). If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you had a lovely holiday.

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Thanksgiving: Part 1

I am feeling ambitious this year. I offered to help my mother cook some things in advance to alleviate the burden of cooking the giant meal. Our family, despite having a Persian element to some of our cooking, does the “traditional” American Thanksgiving meal. As it should be. 🙂

I will be documenting my adventures this evening, culminating in photos of the table tomorrow at my parents house. I am trying a few things I have never done before…so it may get messy!

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there is no winning this one

Winter. :(this is the result of years of battle, the scars run deep. the tears flow free.

if writing down a record of how you feel at this exact moment helps you remember…i am not sure that i want to.

there is a certain responsibility in holding onto things. i am tired of fighting this war, of the wounds reopening every few months. “if you don’t fight, who will?” (i am told) but fighting a one woman battle against the forces of inertia is an exercise in ulcers and frustration.

where do you draw the line, though? i need you (all) to fight with me, but there shouldn’t even be conflict here. i am hungry for something new to challenge me, for the excitement to come back. i love this place, but not enough to sacrifice my joy.

it is time to move on, and it is terrifying sometimes. But I am ready.

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Ducks

“When the Master was in the city Mrs. Goodall would drive Him and some of the friends (often including my father) to Lloyd Lake, a small lake surrounded by trees and flowering shrubs, in Golden Gate Park.  On the edge of the lake was placed a marble arch, which is all that remains of the Towne family mansion after the fire of 1906.  This arch is called ‘Portals of the Past’ and is on the shore across the lake from where the Master would stand on the path and watch the ducks.  The little ducks swam toward Him as if drawn by His presence.  Once He said, The ducks and flowers are more conscious of My presence than are the people of the city.  He spoke of many things and said that He hoped the Faith would progress in the West.”

[Source: Ramona Brown, Memories of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp.47- 48.]

Thanks to Christina M. for sending this to me. 
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Oh, American elections.

The Baha'i House of Worship this morningI’ve made my opinion on partisan politics known. I spent the evening last night doing errands (best night to do them, no one was out!), and tried to stay away from the pundits & coverage (though I DID vote). Many of my friends have commented on the madness that has overcome this country in the election…$2 billion dollars spent, not to mention all of the other baggage than comes with the way politics works in the US. I was sick of it before this year, and it is obviously a broken system. So we’ll leave it at that.

Yet all I can think about this this:

If love and agreement are manifest in a single family, that family will advance, become illumined and spiritual; but if enmity and hatred exist within it destruction and dispersion are inevitable. This is likewise true of a city. If those who dwell within it manifest a spirit of accord and fellowship it will progress steadily and human conditions become brighter whereas through enmity and strife it will be degraded and its inhabitants scattered. In the same way the people of a nation develop and advance toward civilization and enlightenment through love and accord, and are disintegrated by war and strife. Finally, this is true of humanity itself in the aggregate. When love is realized and the ideal spiritual bonds unite the hearts of men, the whole human race will be uplifted, the world will continually grow more spiritual and radiant and the happiness and tranquillity of mankind be immeasurably increased. Warfare and strife will be uprooted, disagreement and dissension pass away and Universal Peace unite the nations and peoples of the world. All mankind will dwell together as one family, blend as the waves of one sea, shine as stars of one firmament and appear as fruits of the same tree. This is the happiness and felicity of humankind. This is the illumination of man, the glory eternal and life everlasting; this is the divine bestowal. I desire this station for you and I pray God that the people of America may achieve this great end in order that the virtue of this democracy may be insured and their names be glorified eternally. May the confirmations of God uphold them in all things and their memories become revered throughout the east and the west. May they become the servants of the Most High God, near and dear to Him in the oneness of the heavenly Kingdom.

(Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith)

 

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Recent Things

1. Discovered the Skokie Lagoons a few weeks ago. The animals there are a bit odd…a heron that dove underwater and never seemed to come up, a squirrel that seemed rather fearless and acted a bit too human…but it is beautiful! Of course, now it is getting cold and isn’t nearly as much fun.

The famous entertainment center that I fit in my car.2. Found an entertainment center in an alley the other day. Managed to get it into my Honda Fit…after many contortions, laughter, and sore muscles. Emily had the back end and I had the top, and I am proud of us for wedging it into my car. I had been looking for something for our local Baha’i community’s  sound equipment, since the old setup had wires and all sorts of stuff sticking out and it looked messy. Re-wiring everything took some time (I have never claimed to understand this system), but now it looks a lot cleaner, and it was free. Double points!

3. My FB newsfeed is an odd mixture of lonely political posts (which I ignore, or that give me a reason to finally hide a person from my feed), photos of some friend’s amazing vacation to some island (which I also try to ignore because it makes me hate the coming winter even more), and links to articles that I sometimes read because a lot of the people I’m friends with have good taste in cool stuff.

Every other photo is of babies. Babies everywhere. Excuse me while I go find a baby to squeeze. There are plenty around, I just have to go pick one.

4. Saw a documentary a few weeks ago at the Wilmette Theatre (which is now a non-profit), and the director was on hand to answer questions. It was a beautiful, thoughtful look at Burma, a country which the director obviously loves. They Call It Myanmar…see it if you can.

Scary, at the Oriental Theatre5. Explored Open House Chicago on Saturday, which is “a free public event that offers behind-the-scenes access to over 150 buildings across Chicago.” It was awesome. The trick is to start out early in the day, because as it got later the lines got longer to get into some places. Even though it was rainy and dreary outside, I had a fantastic time. Chicago is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited and has fascinating architecture. It was fun to interact with the tour guides at various locations and learn about the history of some of these locations. I’ve decided that Art Deco is one of my favorite design styles.

6. I recently joined a Ruhi Book 8 Baha’i study circle (The Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh), even though I’ve done part of this book before, it feels good to get back into organized study. I read Baha’i books all the time, but this kind of thing is different. It is a good group of people and it is in Wilmette…local is so good.

7. Can you tell that I like lists? I’ve never been a storyteller, I am more of an…information-sharer. Because I want to share my life with my audience (within certain parameters, or course), I have to find the easiest way for me. This is what works right now. I’ll share other stories in a more subtle way.

Coat shopping with @elimyp on Sunday. "It's perfect for you. You look like an astronaut." That is all the encouragement I needed. #latergram #winteriscoming8. Winter is coming. And I am not pleased about it. But I am prepared. Bring it on, cold miserableness. I’m ready for you.

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The Power of We

Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day.” 

The idea of “service” has been on my mind a lot recently- how do we serve others? Do we try to find out what people truly need from us? Are treating people with so much love and respect that they feel comfortable talking to us without fear of judgement? Are we being kind? Why do we sometimes see service as one-off actions or events, rather than as a way of life?

Ceiling detail, Oriental TheatreI truly believe that if we make conscious decisions about how we treat people, a certain power comes out of those interactions that has the ability to change our world. It isn’t about changing minds, but reaching hearts.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed at all of the things going on in the world. I often hear people make the excuse that “I am only one person, nothing I do will make a difference.” But when we are mindful of our actions, when we take part in the process of building our community on an everyday basis, we have a far greater impact than we can imagine.

Do something today: try to inspire yourself or someone else by showing compassion, standing up for someone, or even just taking a container of food to your neighbor who just had surgery. Take the small steps, and the larger ones will come naturally. When each person interacts with others in a way that acknowledges the necessity of caring for our fellow humans, we can be part of a force for greater good.

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listen

The skies look ominous. #houseboundI can’t stop thinking that this is something I should pay attention to. I haven’t written in what seems like years…thought it was because I was happy but happiness doesn’t stop the flow of words that spill out of me in a roaring cacophony.

I was silent for far too long.

I have been dreaming the strangest things, some are far too dark to share and some are far too sweet to bare to the world…

and so.

I will just tease you with the promise of things to come and the fact that I am dreaming again after far too long and that my silence right now only means that there are moments to be shared with the ones I love.

Standing on stages was something I did when I was 19 and fearless. 22 and alive in a city that was far too big for me and now it is far too small. Now I am 29 and standing on stages is something that seems normal, but the stages are different and the people are more jaded and the city is too small and cold to contain me.

Let us escape together, we will build things and explore, sleep in the sun and leap across mountains. Words will leap off our tongues and we can laugh again, and we won’t wait for life to happen to us.

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Officially Autumn

not many left

I am trying to accept that cold weather is coming. I am shopping for a winter coat, switching my wardrobe, and throwing myself into fall cooking (pumpkin pancakes, anyone?). I went apple-picking with some friends last weekend, which is more about the experience of wandering in an orchard than actually picking apples.

Changing leaves.

I love the outfits in autumn (hellooo, hats, scarves, & boots!), but I get very cold very easily. Living in Chicago for 20 years has been a bit of a test, needless to say. The summers make me forget how truly miserable I feel in the winter. I know that not everyone feels this way, but this is my blog, so I’ll be open about my hatred of the gray, dreary winters.

My next fall venture is figuring out what to do for Halloween (my favorite holiday).

Strange warehouse in the suburbs. It's where estate sales go to die.

A few weeks ago I was doing errands in the suburbs and saw a sign for an estate sale that was pointing toward a giant warehouse building.  I was curious and had time on my hands, so I pulled over and wandered around inside for a while. It was organized into sections…chairs, dressers, dishes, suitcases, etc. I don’t run across stuff like this very often. As I mentioned to a number of people, it felt like the place that estate sales go to die.

The only thing I ended up buying was a brand new 80s-era Kodak drink cooler for picnics for $5 (now that I’ve looked at similar items on Ebay, I’m pretty sure I got a good bargain). Part of the reason was that my condo just can’t fit much stuff, and part of it was that I don’t tend to carry much cash on me. It looked like it was a family-run operation, and while it felt a bit strange, it was a fun experience. There were prices on most of the big items, but I think you could probably easily negotiate.

As winter comes and as I get older, I find myself retreating into smaller groups of friends at a time, trying to have deeper relationships with people. I’m also cooking and baking a lot more, but that is par for the course.

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Hope

Perfect day“O ye friends of God! Show ye an endeavor that all the nations and communities of the world, even the enemies, put their trust, assurance and hope in you; that if a person falls into errors for a hundred-thousand times he may yet turn his face to you, hopeful that you will forgive his sins; for he must not become hopeless, neither grieved nor despondent. This is the conduct and the manner of the people of Baha’. This is the foundation of the most high pathway!”

-‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas

 

Attempting to trust, to forgive, to be open to everything.

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If thou hast in thine heart one desire for thy life…

Back porch view in the sunlight.

A friend shared this poem by Baha’u’llah with me, which I had never heard, and I wanted to post it here.

——————

The following was told by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the friends at Abu-Sinan in 1915.

Whilst at Baghdad many learned mullas and others came into the Holy Presence, several of whom became His devoted friends; one of those was Kayvan Mirza, grandson of Fath-‘Ali Shah. This gentleman came and asked Mirza Muhit to obtain permission for an audience at some midnight in secret.

The reply was:

“When I was in the wilderness of Kurdistan I composed this poem:

If thou hast in thine heart one desire for thy life, then come not hither!
But shouldst thou be prepared to sacrifice soul, and heart and life,
come and bring others!
Such is the path if thou desire to enter the Kingdom of Light,
If thou art not of those able to walk this path —
Begone, and trouble us not!

Mirza Muhit conveyed this reply to Kayvan Mirza. He chose to “Begone,” his heart failed him!

(Lady Blomfield, The Chosen Highway, p. 55)

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Figs, honey, & Brie

A few weekends ago I visited my parents, and my mother had purchased several varieties of figs. This has become my favorite fruit, & the seasonal window is so short that I eat a lot of them when they’re available.

Fig season!

I decided to make a dish that I had pinned a few months back. I gathered the ingredients: figs, Brie, & honey. I cut the figs into small sections, and placed them in an oven safe dish. I put them and the cheese in the oven at 350 F for about 15 minutes.

Ingredients

Then I drizzled honey over the whole thing, though I didn’t drown it. The figs are sweet enough! I finished off most of this creation by myself, with gluten-free crackers.

Finished product, fresh out of the oven

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2 years, dear friend

me and Gavin

“In His Tablets Bahá’u’lláh says that were we able to comprehend the facilities that await us in the world to come, death would lose its sting; nay rather we would welcome it as a gate-way to a realm immeasurably higher and nobler than this home of suffering we call our earth. You should therefore think of their blessings and comfort yourself for your momentary separation. In time all of us will join our departed ones and share their joys.”

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 13, 1932)

“The Master has told us that gifts and good deeds done in memory of those who have passed on, are most helpful to the development of their souls in the realms beyond…”

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, December 10, 1952)

 

Last year, remembering. And 2 years ago. Last night, as I drove past the House of Worship on my way home, I was able to share a prayer with a friend on the phone in Gavin’s memory. Thinking of you today, dear one! We love you so much.

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Abdu’l-Baha in America

by Sholeh Loehle

(originally posted at Nineteen Months)

Over the last few months I read Abdu’l-Baha in America by Robert Stockman. I enjoyed the little details that were obviously meticulously researched, as well as the focus on historical context around `Abdu’l-Bahá’s visit. This is a good book for those who may not be familiar with the Bahá’í Faith, as the author has attempted to write to a wide range of audiences to make the subject matter more accessible.

I have also been using the book as a reference guide, to see where `Abdu’l-Bahá was on certain dates, and which cities He visited. There are excerpts from the talks, to give some perspective, but there is a nice balance of talks and information about His travels. I liked having more information about the types of people that attended talks, why He may have spoken on certain subjects, and His experiences in different cities.

Reading it straight through was a bit challenging for me, but it has been nice to go back here and there to read highlights. As the author himself states, there will be more research and information in the coming years regarding `Abdu’l-Bahá’s travels, but this is a good addition to the existing material that is already out there. A good companion book would be Promulgation of Universal Peace.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Baha’i Publishing Trust through its Bloggers Network book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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