Stuck in the mud

I forgot to write about an incident that happened on March 4, 2011. Well, maybe it isn’t so much that I forgot. It was slightly embarrassing and hard to convey without photographic proof, so I let it slip out of my mind for a while.

At 10:00 am I left my house to go to my grandfather’s funeral in Atlanta, Georgia. My flight was at noon and my friend had offered to let me park at her hotel near the airport and catch the free shuttle.

Instead of exiting at Mannheim road, I nearly missed the exit and quickly pulled over to the area that is designated “Mud Trap” on the map below, thinking I could just cut across that little triangle of dirt and continue on my merry way.

Unfortunately, days of rain had created a mud pit that immediately sunk my car 4 inches deep. I tried using pieces of cardboard under the wheels, used a snow shovel, turned my wheel in every direction…nothing worked. I called AAA for roadside assistance…30 minute wait, minimum. I was getting worried that I was going to miss my flight.

After a while, a gentleman stopped to assist. He was wearing a very nice suit. He told me to turn the wheel a certain way and hit the gas…and promptly splattered him with goopy, side-of-the-road mud. I apologized profusely. of course. Finally a couple of taxi drivers stopped, and the three guys pushed my car onto drier land.

All I had to offer as thanks was some banana bread. The gentlemen refused my offer. One of the rough looking taxi drivers said with his thick Chicago accent:  “Honey, I’m on Jenny Craig!”

I zoomed to my friend’s hotel and told the story to the employees while I waited for the shuttle, covered up to my knees in mud and with mud all over my hands. I made it through airport security (they were baffled at my appearance) and had to wash my boots off in the bathroom by my gate. I made my flight (just barely).

The inside and outside of my car were mud-infused, and I had to get my car detailed twice before all of the mud was removed from the seats. I am still trying to get my boots clean. I truly wish I had photos, but all I could think was that I could not miss my flight.

Next installment: the flight home.

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Baha’i National Convention

I’ve been attending the United States Baha’i National Convention since I was a kid. There have been a lot of changes over the years, but I have to say that this year was one of the best that I have attended.

The House of Worship171 delegates are elected by Baha’is all over the country, and they come to the House of Worship to vote for the National Spiritual Assembly and consult on topics relevant to the advancement of the Baha’i community. If you want more details about the 103rd Convention, click on the links, as the articles are much more explanatory than I have room for here. There is also a Flickr page with photos from Convention, including an amazing photo of a red-tailed hawk.

There was a cohesive force, a unity among the delegates that I haven’t seen before. There was also an elevated level of discourse and desire to change habits of thought and action that was highly encouraging. A sense of joy and excitement pervaded Foundation Hall the whole weekend.

Nineteen Months - BeautyI was at the Convention for nearly every session, working as stage manager and doing other random duties as they came up. It is such a privilege to interact with Baha’is from across the country, and Mr. Hooper Dunbar (former member of the Universal House of Justice) and his wife Mrs. Maralynn Dunbar were attending as special guests. It took me back to my days in Haifa, attending the youth classes that Mr. Dunbar had every Thursday night.

There are always things happening behind the scenes at every National Convention…staff members doing heroic things to make sure that everything goes smoothly, sweet moments of conversation between friends, a youth inspired to offer a prayer, even the panicked rush to make sure the microphones are working (my constant battle this year). But as I try to convey every time someone brings it up, it is truly a fun, intensely rewarding experience to contribute to the success of this gathering.

Although I have to admit, I would like to take a nap right now. 🙂

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Warmth

pink cherry blossoms
I can almost feel the soft summer
there is a murmur, a promise in our words
we can plan and scheme and the whole world sees
but mostly it is just between you and me.

One day we will be wrapped in blue skies,
once in a blue moon we’ll be stepping
through cherry blossom trees.

I almost forgot to write it all down
I almost told them all before I told you
every secret in my heart,
I almost fell asleep wrapped in black velvet dreams.

Our hearts are dipped in fine fiery lines
in steady beats amidst the echoes,
the simplest thing at the perfect time.

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The month of Glory is up at Nineteen Months!

If you haven’t already checked out the awesome photos over at Nineteen Months for the Baha’i month of Glory, I highly recommend that you do so right now.

I’ll wait for you to do that before continuing.

Nineteen Month-Glory

There are also some great articles on the subject of “Community”, and we’ll keep updating those throughout the month.

I took the above photo in D.C., and have yet to upload the other photos that I took there. I’m working on it, there are a lot of other things going on right now. Keeping Nineteen Months going, family, friends, Holy Days, Baha’i National Convention coming up at work…not to mention all of the people and side projects I have to keep up with. It is great fun, but sometimes I just want to curl up on my couch and do absolutely nothing.

Contrary to popular belief, there are times in which I actually do rest and let my mind take a break. It isn’t often, but I try to make that effort. There is just no way to be productive if I’m constantly running on empty or am stressed out.

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And wedding season begins…

I have the blessing of many dear friends and am in my 20s. This equates invitations to 3-5 weddings per year, which is actually fun for me because I love this stuff. The insane wedding industry is not appealing, but the organizational tasks, the brainstorming and list-making are so interesting. I truly love helping my friends as they plan.

Ana put all of this together herself!

Then of course, are the crazy stories surrounding the weddings…the time that the florist forgot to make the bridal bouquet, guests getting lost, DJs forgetting the music (this happened at two weddings I’ve attended). I guess it was funnier to me because I was a mere guest.

centerpieces

I attended 2 weddings last month, 2 weekends in a row (Chicago and D.C.). I am excited for both couples starting their lives together, and seeing how they continue building their lives as a couple. The weddings are fun, but the marriage is the part that matters. Congratulations, dear ones!

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Driving D.C.

I was in Washington, D.C. to attend a friend’s wedding last weekend. It was a beautiful, special time that I feel blessed to have participated in.

However. I have figured out why all of the politicians who are based in D.C. are so angry. It isn’t the divisive politics or the lobbying. It is the complete inability for anyone in that town or the surrounding area to drive.

I have never experienced anything like this before. Part of the problem, really, is that the city is laid out in such a way that there are stoplights on every block, no decent signage, and few left turn lanes. But whatever the issue, there is no excuse for the terrible decisions that I saw being made on a regular basis.

Now, Chicago can get a bit crazy sometimes. But it doesn’t hold a candle to D.C. These people seriously don’t know how to use turn signals, they cut across 3 lanes of traffic on a whim, and are just plain obnoxious. THEN add tourists and pedestrians on phones, and you’ve got a recipe for a nervous breakdown.

And by the way, it did not matter what state they were from. They’re ALL terrible and I literally shouted “I LOVE CHICAGO.” when I got behind the wheel of my car on Sunday night.

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Nineteen Months – the online magazine

The international photoblog that I’ve been working on for the past year has evolved. We have turned it into an international collaborative online magazine. It still has the photos, but we have added articles, features, and reviews.

Ronnie and I asked photographers and writers to join our team over the course of several weeks, reaching out to a diverse group of friends around the world. It has required conference calls across two time zones, many emails and gchat conversations, and a great deal of consultation. Oh, and we did most of it during the Baha’i Fast. That may have been a little crazy.

To answer a common question I’ve gotten over the last few days: no, we do not have any funding. None of us get paid to do this, it is an individual initiative. The response has been overwhelming and inspiring. We’ve had 2,100 hits in three days. People have been emailing us from around the world, commenting, and promoting it. (Please keep it up, folks! We love our readers!)

If you’re interested in participating (or know someone that you want to recommend to us) you can check out the FAQs. Our contributors are so amazing and I can’t wait to see how Nineteen Months progresses. Thanks for all of the support!

Follow us on Facebook or add us on Twitter.

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never ending winter

It has been a long winter. Not necessarily bad, but…long. It is mid-March and I look outside to see gray skies, the pervasive gray that hovers over my thoughts and makes everything the same.

Lake Michigan

I started setting up my haft-sin table in preparation for Naw-Ruz (the first day of spring and the Baha’i New Year) and am dreaming of summer, picnics, flowy dresses and sunlight.

For now, the gray skies follow.

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This is classic

Today is the first day of the Nineteen-Day Fast. I came home from Baha’i Feast last night around 9:30 pm, thoroughly exhausted but happy from spending time with the Baha’is in my local community. I baked banana bread, as the bananas were turning brown and I had very little food for breakfast the next day.

I often set up my breakfast the night before, since I’m not quite functional at 5:30 am. I cleaned the kitchen, and as I picked up the electric griddle from the counter, the drawer where bacon grease drains fell onto the floor.

griddleNormally this wouldn’t be a problem, but a few days ago I had poured boiling water on the griddle to clean it off, so the bacon grease was in liquid form and covered my entire kitchen floor in bacon grease water. At 10:30 PM. And I needed to wake up at 5:30 am.

I promptly started cleaning the floor. As soon as I was done, I picked up the griddle again…and apparently all of the water was not drained, because it spilled AGAIN.

I had to wash my floor for the second time in one evening. I think I learned my lesson.

My griddle is trying to kill me.

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the number 19

There are some exciting developments in the worlds of Nineteen Months and Nineteen Days.

First of all, we have completed our first year of Nineteen Months! You can see the photos for the month of Loftiness here. We are looking forward to the next year of photos, and will be doing great things with the site. Announcements will be made in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

photo for the month of Loftiness (Ala)

Nineteen Days has announced its photographers for the 2011 Fast, and have dedicated this year’s project to the Baha’is who live in Iran.  I am sure that the photos will be amazing, as always. Check for daily updates from March 2-21.

Tomorrow is the last day of Ayyam-i-Ha. I spent the weekend with friends and family, ate way too much food, and worked on a service project with my junior youth group. They baked cookies and brownies for the fire and police departments of Wilmette as a thank you for the service they do for the community, then had the opportunity to tour the facilities.

finished cookies!

I watched the Oscars last night with a group of friends, which is much more fun than watching it alone. Even so, it was often painful. You wonder at the amount of money being spent, and how difficult it seems to be to find hosts in an entire city devoted to entertainment.

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Goodbye, Granddaddy

On Monday night I received a call at 10 pm that my paternal grandfather, Richard Loehle, had passed away. He was 87 years old and was a successful artist and writer from Georgia. My home is full of his paintings and those of my grandmother Betty. They met in art school in the 1940s in Tennessee, lived in Chicago and Georgia, and supported their family of 4 children through their art.

I was about 1 month old in this photo with my grandparents. Since I was the first grandchild, I received a lot of attention from them.
1 month old, with my grandparents

When I was little, we lived 3 hours away, so I had many opportunities to spend time with them. In this photo, I am with my grandfather in the family room of their home.
having a conversation

Granddaddy taught me how to build things, and he loved explaining how things worked. I remember when he and my dad built a swingset for us in our backyard, taking walks in the forest behind their house, and catching turtles and crawfish in the creek.
teaching me how to build

Granddaddy was a tough man who lived through the Depression and World War 2, a descendant of German immigrants. He played the trombone in high school, which I then played for a year because I wanted to play the same instrument. We would get into lively discussions about all sorts of topics, from art to books to religion.
Rest in peace, Granddaddy.

Rest in peace, Granddaddy.

(all photos taken by my mother, Neda)
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Joy and sadness

A gathering of souls, meeting to discuss the future, full of excitement. You can see what the world might look like one day, if we strive hard enough.

lens flare

News of my great-aunt’s passing at the age of 94. Maryam Saniei Firouzi, wife and mother of martyrs, servant of the Faith, loved by her entire family. I was able to visit her a few weeks ago, and I know she is now reunited with her family, so my sense of sadness is overtaken with joy that she has been released from this life.

2011-02-08 17.29.32

The sun is finally shining today. Accomplishment in my tasks, the week isn’t over yet but I know that it is all perfect, no matter what.

white sand

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Venturing out!

I “suited up” and braved the snow and cold (it is 23 F outside right now) to take photos. Obviously it isn’t a good idea to drive yet, so I stayed local. Everyone that I saw was smiling & friendly. Most businesses were closed, but the grocery store was open.

The roads near me have mostly been plowed:
Roads have been mostly plowed.

But there were places where the snow was nearly up to my waist.
Buried in the snow!

My car is trapped, we’ll see how much I’ll have to shovel in the morning.
My car is stuck.

See more photos on my Flickr page.

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11 am Wednesday – blizzard is mostly over!

And now the cleanup begins. This is what I woke up to today at 9 am:

9 am Wednesday

By 11 am, I ventured downstairs to do laundry, opened the back door to see this snowpile AS TALL AS ME. Our snow removal service was working in the middle of the night and is still out front trying to get us out.

Piled up snow by the back door.

The front door is completely blocked, there is a snowdrift at least 3 ft tall. Had to take this through a window, you can’t really open the doors. The mailbox across the street is nearly buried.

3 1/2 ft snowdrift by front doors

I’ll venture out later when the wind dies down and I can actually take my DSLR out. These were all taken with my cameraphone, and I’d like to give you some perspective on what it really looks like. Some places are reporting 17-20 in of snow, the airports are pretty much shut down, and 1,000 cars were stranded on Lake Shore Drive last night. So glad I had no reason to be out last night and today. Hoping everyone stays warm and safe!

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As of 11 pm

I have been home since 3 pm today. You may have heard that Chicago was anticipating a blizzard. Well, the wind is the strangest part for me right now. Everything is white outside my window at the moment, and snowdrifts are starting to build:

11 pm snowdrift

I took this video at 9 pm. It is much louder and more windy now, a solid wall of white, no visibility. I am wondering how crazy the world will be when I wake up. I’ll definitely take my DSLR out to take photos.

Something about storms like this, the hibernation, the silence, how everything shuts down…it is surreal. I haven’t had any power outages (thank God), and I have a ton of food, so I am just cozy in my little cave here. Obviously I won’t be at work tomorrow, so I put everything on a USB drive to work on from home. Will try to keep you updated!

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haunted

She hasn’t heard your voice in years and years
the softly whispered tones
She had enough of the lovely tears
and every night alone.

She hasn’t slept with peaceful dreams
there has not been a moment’s rest
She struggled with the lonely schemes
and the multitude of tests.

Once she saw the shadowed skies
in blue and black and white
She saw the settled lies
in such a different light.

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keeping busy

I’ve been trapped at home for the last week and a half with a nasty cold that is now subsiding after powerful antibiotics and enforced rest. As a result, my couch has a Sholeh-sized indentation in the middle, my back is killing me from lack of exercise, I ran out of Internet, and I started talking to the walls. I really have to thank the wonderful people in my life who have done such an amazing job taking care of me, making sure I eat, and making me laugh even when I’m coughing my lungs out. Thank you. Really.

For those of you who are curious, I spent New Years Eve watching all three Back to the Future movies and eating terrible Thai food. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Here are some things that are not insanity-inducing that I thought you might like.

-Free download of some awesome music from Made in Heights (my friends Kelsey and Saba). Go. Now.

-Photos for the month of Speech, Questions, and Honor are up on Nineteen Months, in case you missed them.

-New photos up on Flickr from the last month or so.

-Thanks to Lacey for the heads up about this awesome story from WTTW about a Chicago street photographer, Vivian Maier. A free exhibition of her work is at the Chicago Cultural Center until April 3.

-Sometimes, when I get caught up in my own problems, I look at a picture of the Milky Way, and I chill out.

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Spun sugar

A few months ago we were invited over to our friends’ house for dinner. Dinner was excellent, because Jade is a fantastic cook. But when we got to dessert, I nearly died and went to heaven. Everything was made from scratch.

First she started with triple chocolate mousse:

Melting pieces of cooled sugar

Until it is melted and bubbling

Take off the heat when it starts getting sticky

Then waving the sugar around on top of the mousse until it creates a little nest.

It was SO good. Thanks Jade and Tom!

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Starved Rock Photography Class

In October I went on a photography class to Starved Rock, which was given to me as a birthday gift by B. It was raining on and off during the morning, but it actually made the experience better because the colors were vibrant and I had fun traipsing around with my umbrella and learning how to take photos in the rain.

19 Months: Photo for the month of Power

I truly love macro shots, and one of the participants lent me his 50mm f/2.5 lens…so I was in heaven!

red leaves

We stayed in Kaskaskia Canyon, but because of the rain there were not many people there.

tube

In a 2 sq ft area, there were logs with 3 different kinds of fungus. I spent a good ten minutes there.

mushrooms

There is life growing right out of the canyon walls.

life on the rocks

For all you Chicago folks, you should definitely consider a trip down to Starved Rock.

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Chicken with spinach & cheese

Many of my cooking adventures begin because I am hungry, not because I carefully planned it. I look in the fridge, see what I have, and start cooking. The other night I got creative and got lucky. This recipe makes enough food for about 5 people.

Ingredients
2 lbs chicken breast, sliced thin
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
4 oz (1/2 pkg) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
salt, pepper, garlic to taste

In a bowl, combine spinach, cream cheese, mozzarella, and spices.

Place the sliced chicken in a casserole dish.

Spread the mix on top of the chicken evenly.

Cook at 350 F for 20-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and the cheese is browned. I didn’t cover it, but if it looks like it is getting dry, put some foil on top.

I also made some mashed potatoes (salt, pepper, garlic, milk, butter, parsley), and cranberry sauce from scratch, which is very easy to make. 1 package of fresh cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 cup water, boil.

Delicious!

Let me know if you try this recipe! It was super easy to make.

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Do Aliens exist?

“Know thou that every fixed star hath its own planets, and every planet its own creatures, whose number no man can compute.”
-Baha’u’llah

NASA announced a discovery today regarding a “microorganism (that) substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components.” It evolved on earth, but it can adapt to things that we consider toxic!

“The definition of life has just expanded,” said Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we have to think more broadly, more diversely and consider life as we do not know it.”

I have been wondering for a number of years why the search for life always seemed to discuss certain elements as being the only building blocks for life. As we look for life on other planets, it seems logical that not everything will be carbon-based, or even resemble what we understand life to be.

Mono Lake HDR

“The earth has its inhabitants, the water and the air contain many living beings and all the elements have their nature spirits, then how is it possible to conceive that these stupendous stellar bodies are not inhabited? Verily, they are peopled, but let it be known that the dwellers accord with the elements of their respective spheres. These living beings do not have states of consciousness like unto those who live on the surface of this globe: the power of adaptation and environment moulds their bodies and states of consciousness, just as our bodies and minds are suited to our planet.

…Beings who inhabit those distant luminous bodies are attuned to the elements that have gone into the composition of their respective spheres.”
-‘Abdu’l-Baha

(by the way, Baha’u’llah and ‘Abdu’l-Baha wrote these passages over 100 years ago)

Edit: for a little humor – Arsenic-Based Life from xkcd.

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The Blues

I am only writing in my head.
The words stop at my lips,
stop at the line that separates
my tongue from the air of the world
and I stop.
the blue bokeh

come on
come on now
We’re sleeping on our feet
trust me, there is more than this!
gold and blue
I am writing everyone I know a letter.
Real paper, the kind that can cut you
and soothe as you hold the pieces in your hands.

If only the words would come
the right words that make you understand
(this love)

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lucky stars

chicago lights through bars

There are a few ways to count lucky stars. In the quiet way, 1 2 3 in a row, listed in order, in a way that makes you think of libraries, lace doilies, and trying too hard. Then there are the shouting, the in-your-face counters, in a desperate plea for attention, with too much cologne or comments on walls (graffiti or otherwise). The entire spectrum isn’t important, just stay away from the extremes.

As usual, moderation is key but there are elements of the extremes that can be included without being that person. We all know those people. No need to discuss it further.  Moving on:

Telling stories. I have never been a storyteller. How I have kept this going for nearly 10 years is completely baffling. But storytellers are the best counters, the best givers of the gift of understanding luck/mercy/fate while acknowledging the hard work involved. I know some great storytellers, and most of them have lived enough life that their stories are actually worth the time it takes to listen and understand.

My stories are little pieces, dancing for the chance to get out but to tell them in the way they need to be told is so difficult. Counting lucky stars is even harder. You have to know your audience, and here I write to blank faces. I write to the people that still read this, the people that haunt, the former friends and new ones, the stranger that found this little corner of my claimed piece of the cloud…there are no eyes to look into. Sometimes it traps me, and my stories drown under the weight.

I saw a child tonight whose perfection made my heart stop. I literally became dizzy. My dear friend reached into the incubation unit to comfort her son, this innocent soul and I loved him immediately and without reservation or thought. This is a story.

Spending quiet moments with you, the perfect times when I look up to match eyes and the wrinkles we all get when we smile at each other. This is an ongoing story.

I’ll sing my children to sleep some day with the stories of my family, my Faith, my love. I’ll sing them to sleep with the stories of the world, the stories of things that are good. I’ll have to learn the songs, first, but I’ll count my lucky stars and I’ll show them how to count theirs too. We’ll be the counters that dance in green grass with bare feet, the ones who stare up at the heavens at a never-ending universe and laugh to be alive.

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Light and Power

the moon above
“This is the divinely-inscribed Book. This is the outspread Tablet. Say, this indeed is the Frequented Fane, the sweet-scented Leaf, the Tree of divine Revelation, the surging Ocean, the Utterance which lay concealed, the Light above every light…

Indeed every light is generated by God through the power of His behest. He of a truth is the Light in the kingdom of heaven and earth and whatever is between them. Through the radiance of His light God imparteth illumination to your hearts and maketh firm your steps, that perchance ye may yield praise unto Him.” -The Báb

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at sunset, construction

One day a few weeks ago, there was a need for prayers. A long day, friends and family who needed love, everything about that day sent me to the House of Worship. When saying farewell, I turned to see this:
sunset construction

As I drove away, the sun was turning the sky into a perfect sunset.

sunset on Linden

“O ye who have turned your faces toward the Exalted Beauty! By night, by day, at morningtide and sunset, when darkness draweth on, and at early light I remember, and ever have remembered, in the realms of my mind and heart, the loved ones of the Lord. I beg of Him to bestow His confirmations upon those loved ones, dwellers in that pure and holy land, and to grant them successful outcomes in all things: that in their character, their behaviour, their words, their way of life, in all they are and do, He will make them to achieve distinction among men; that He will gather them into the world community, their hearts filled with ecstasy and fervour and yearning love, with knowledge and certitude, with steadfastness and unity, their faces beauteous and bright.” -Abdu’l-Baha

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The things that I do

I realize, looking over recent posts, that I assume that the majority of my readers know what is going on in my life, or even what my day-to-day life looks like.  However, it is difficult for me to gauge my audience these days.  6 or 7 years ago, I knew pretty much everyone who read my blog.  I know that isn’t the case anymore.

My working life AND personal life revolve around the Baha’i Faith.  I work for the national governing body of the Baha’is in the United States, so I am constantly immersed in the Faith at work…and I LOVE my job.  Sometimes on lunch breaks I go to the House of Worship to pray and check out the restoration/construction work.

The House of Worship today

Once a week I try to attend a devotional (prayer) gathering at my friends’ house in Chicago.  We have a late potluck brunch, prayers, and often spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying everyone’s company.  There is usually some kind of music/singing, too!  I haven’t had a lot of time to attend over the summer, unfortunately.

During the summer a small group of friends gathered for a Baha’i study circle, book 6 in the Ruhi sequence, which is about refining our inner lives, learning, and teaching the Baha’i Faith.  The great thing about study circles in the Baha’i context is that the facilitator is not at a higher level than the rest of the group…we’re really all learning together!  We just finished it last week.

In August I hosted a 3 night study on the Ridvan Message from the Universal House of Justice, the governing body of the Baha’is of the world.  Baha’is from my local community came to my home to read and discuss.  It gave me an opportunity to get to know the people in my community, and we ate really well.

I also participate in Nineteen Months, which I post about on this blog occasionally, and it has been stretching my photographic skills.  On September 13 I modeled and shot photos as a last minute favor for some friends, which was super fun and I wish I had the opportunity to do it more often.

Black dress

I also went to a few Baha’i conferences in August and September, which were super fun but then laid me out sick because I didn’t rest or sleep for a couple weeks.  October was the month of weddings.  The first weekend was a wedding in NYC, the third weekend was a wedding in Peoria.  I still haven’t unpacked from either wedding.

Of course, mixed into all of this are friends visiting from out of town, friends moving in and out of Chicago, family gatherings, making plans, reading books, fixing my condo (yes I’m still working on that), baby showers, etc.  I miss writing about my life, and I’d like to do more of it here.  Twitter & Facebook are still there, and I utilize them for their purpose, but this is the place that is truly “me” on the internet.

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Water – Blog Action Day 2010

O ye friends of God! Be kind to all peoples and nations, have love for all of them, exert yourselves to purify the hearts as much as you can, and bestow abundant effort in rejoicing the souls. Be ye a sprinkling of rain to every meadow and a water of life to every tree. Be ye as fragrant musk to every nostril and a soul-refreshing breeze to every invalid. Be ye salutary water to every thirsty one… (Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 356)

The UN General Assembly recently declared access to clean water and sanitation as a human right. Those of us who live in areas of the world that have access to water may find it hard to comprehend the lack of access, the disease and struggle that come from such a simple need not being met.

fountain tiles beneath water

Facts about water you might not know (from the Blog Action Day 2010 site):

1. Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
2. More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet.
3. Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water.
4. It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger.
5. The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world.

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