2022 – Events!

I had the opportunity to do a lot of really interested events last year. It’s still surprising to me how many people don’t know that I run an entire business by myself, with multiple clients. About half of my work is Event Consulting, where I not only plan events for organizations and non-profits, but also help them restructure, create systems, and solve pain points. The other half is weddings and social events. I even helped one of my former brides with planning her mother’s memorial service, soon after the wedding, so that was a service that I felt honored to do.

One of my biggest hurdles is childcare, of course. My girls aren’t in full-time school yet (Marzieh only goes 3 mornings per week), so I’m squeezing in 400 hours of work into naps, before and after Shea’s work schedule, and weekends/evenings.

By February every year I feel like I’m running on fumes, with the cold and the gray of Chicago pushing me down. I’ll try to power through. I’m still working on my consulting clients, and I currently have 9 couples that I’m working with for their weddings in 2023 (1 in 2024).

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We have owned our home for a little more than a year. At this time last year we were in the middle of an intense remodel, having torn out the entire kitchen and 1st floor bathroom. I hope to make a post about it some day but I just get overwhelmed at the idea right now.

Before this, I only ever owned a condo, so there were limits on what I could do. Now my limits revolve more around two toddlers and my energy levels, but we have done a lot to our home in a short time, and it kind of feels like we’ve been here forever. Which is super strange. Who knew I was going to move back in to the neighborhood where I grew up? Down the street from my parents? (Which has been a huge blessing!) It is still surreal.

Marzieh on the sled hill near our house. She loves running up to the top by herself.

So much has changed since my last posts. I am finally working weddings again, as of July, albeit with masks and as much distancing as I can. I have about 1 wedding per month. I updated my business website and have steadily been booking for next year. Shea works from home most of the time and I am grateful for his presence.

The girls are growing so fast. Marzieh is 2.5 and talks like a kid much older. Her memory is incredible…and she loves stories about her day and past experiences she has had. “One day…” Marguerite manages to communicate a lot with very few words. Her current favorites are “bagel” and “earring”, but she is still really into lots of sound effects and pointing to ensure we understand what she wants. She wants to do everything her sister does, and is very mischievous.

We are facing down another winter indoors, which is exhausting to contemplate, but we’re just not comfortable going many places until the girls can get their vaccines, especially since Marguerite is too young to wear a mask. Trying to figure out ways to minimize the strain on my mental health!

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Peanut and Coconut Curry Sauce

This sauce is really good over chicken, veggies, rice, etc. It makes enough for a family of 4 to cover at least one good-sized bowl of food. I add the sauce over everything at the end, but you could also sauté your meat/veggies in the sauce after mixing the main ingredients together for a while.


1/4 cup chicken or veggie broth
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai Red Curry Paste
1/4 cup peanut butter or peanut butter powder (I like the powder for cooking, as it dissolves smoothly)
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice, or more to taste

Add coconut milk and broth to a saucepan and heat. Add curry paste, peanut butter, fish sauce, and lime/lemon juice, and stir until all ingredients are mixed in smoothly. Cook for about 10 minutes on low heat and add salt to taste.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

These chocolate chip banana muffins are a huge hit in our home. We always make the full batch because we work through them quickly. They stay really tasty for several days, which some GF muffins can’t do. Enjoy and let me know if you end up making them.

6 mashed bananas
3 eggs
3/4 cup melted butter
2 3/4 cup flour (use regular flour or GF 1:1 blend of your choice)
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Note: This recipe makes 3 dozen muffins, so plan accordingly. You can freeze them to eat later, or you could look below for an ingredient list that only makes 1 dozen.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line muffin tin with baking cups. I’m very happy with my silicone baking cups – they’re reusable, dishwasher safe, and the muffins pop out easily.
  3. In a large bowl: combine all ingredients and mix.
  4. Add chocolate chips and walnuts last to the batter.
  5. Spoon into muffin cups. I filled them almost all the way, as they don’t rise significantly.
  6. Bake for 22 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

Ingredients for ONE DOZEN muffins:
1 egg
1 1/3 cup flour (use regular flour or GF 1:1 blend of your choice)
2 mashed bananas
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

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2020 Reading Challenge

I probably started with a goal of 50 books but I kept reading and reading…and eventually ended up reading 113 books.

This doesn’t include any kids books. Just mine. Only 10 were non-fiction (mostly memoirs). I needed light, fun books to keep me occupied during so much time at home, and while nursing a newborn in the middle of the night. I read nearly all of them on my Kindle app on my phone.

I read fast and don’t retain everything, but I have always read like this and utilize the library for e-books. I rarely buy books.

I have set a goal of 75 books for 2021, and hope to include more non-fiction and Baha’i books this time. Looks like we will be stuck in the house for a while!

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Hello Fall

I decided to try to blog while nursing, because that is my only dedicated time to silence and forced sitting. I dislike typing on my phone but that is the only way this will happen.

The trees are starting to be tipped with yellow and red around here, and the first leaves are falling. I haven’t had a front door to decorate since I lived at home in high school, so this year I got to decorate our new home and my parents home. I limited most of the decor to things I could find laying around (like logs, candles, baskets, etc), and under $50 of things like hay, pumpkins, and sorghum stalks. It was fun!

Now I am trying to think of Halloween costumes, mostly for the photos, because the girls are too young for anything else, and because there is still a pandemic happening and we can’t go door to door or have parties anyway.

I often take the girls on 1 or 2 daily walks, and it can take me a few minutes to get out the door (need to grab all the things!). Now with the weather turning cool, I will have to dress them with additional layers, which is like wrestling a little octopus while their sibling stands by the door yelling “Mama, outdoor!” But I will continue to walk because otherwise I will go crazy. Wish me luck!

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What day is it?

So we’re 6 months (182 days) into this pandemic, and have been staying at my parent’s place this whole time. Shea is lucky enough to be able to work from home, so 4 adults and 2 kids are here together. I’m so grateful my parents have taken us in. Though I miss the city and my life there…the life I had is pretty much gone. Walking to stores and restaurants with two babies during a pandemic is no longer an adventure, it is just stressful.

Marguerite made it out of the NICU in 2 weeks post-birth, thank God, and while I was a little concerned about her (she was 5 weeks early), she has gained weight like a champ and nurses…a lot. I’m exhausted but happy with her reaching her 3 month birthday so healthy. She is smiling a lot and starting to make noises in response to us.

Marzieh at 16 months loves her little sister and gives her kisses and hugs at every opportunity. She doesn’t know her own strength so I have to watch them constantly. She says “shh shh” and brings burp cloths and pacifiers to baby sister. This week she started calling her “Mar”, instead of “shh shh”, so that is an improvement. She will put her hands up in a questioning pose if she can’t find something or someone, or if she hides a toy under a cloth as a game. She also plays hide and seek with us.

This sums up their personalities so far.

We bought a house last week (4 blocks from my parents, out in the suburbs of Chicago), and over the course of 4 days Shea did demo work on the first floor so we can have our contractor come in and build everything up from scratch. I am the project manager of this remodel, and it’s nice to be doing something that engages my brain.

The only reason I could sit down to write this post is that both of my children have been sleeping for 2 hours (by some miracle). I find it challenging to type on the phone in a way that is satisfying for writing my thoughts. Talk to text just ends up frustrating me. Most of the times that I’m sitting, I’m nursing, so it doesn’t lend itself well to writing blog posts.

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Marguerite Sanii Munion

Marguerite Sanii Munion was born in early June (5 weeks before her due date). She has had a little extra time in the hospital to grow and is doing well. We are so grateful for all of the love and prayers from our friends and family!

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Persian Kabob and Tahdig

I recently made ground beef kabob and chicken kabob, as well as Persian rice with tahdig (the crispy potato at the bottom). There are lots of recipes online so I don’t have the energy to put the whole process here, but at least you can see how pretty it all turned out!

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Hash brown Casserole

It looks a little strange in the photo (and I took it before adding the cheese on top), but this is a great meal to prep for the week. It’s also possible to make it vegetarian by removing the sausage/bacon.

-Package of frozen hash browns (I like Ore Ida because they’re gluten-free) OR grate 2 large, peeled potatoes.
-1 large tomato, diced
-1 small onion, diced
-5 eggs, beaten in a bowl
-Shredded cheese (any flavor you like!)
-Tube of sausage or package of bacon
-Optional: 1/4 cup gluten free flour
-Salt, pepper, hot sauce, ketchup, sour cream…whatever you use

Preheat oven to 375 F. On stove in a large pan, cook the sausage/bacon (or make the bacon in the oven until mostly cooked), ensuring that it’s broken up into small pieces.

While it is cooking, dice/chop the rest of your ingredients and combine in a large bowl and ensure it is thoroughly mixed. Spray a pyrex cooking dish (9×11 is a good size) with vegetable oil.

Once the meat is cooked, chop into small pieces and mix into the bowl with all ingredients. Then pour the whole mixture and place in the oven for 45 minutes.

When it is finished baking, top with your favorite toppings and eat. You can store in the fridge and warm it up as needed.

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Gluten Free Carrot or Apple Cake

A while back I wanted to make carrot cake and found this awesome recipe from Williams Sonoma. However, I needed to make some changes to it and after a certain point it stopped being the same recipe. So I’m putting it here on my blog for those of you who have tried this delicious cake and wanted to replicate it at home. I made these in mini Bundt pans but you can really use any pan you like.

A few helpful notes:
-Use a food processor to chop up the raw carrots or apples after peeling them. It is WAY easier. With apples, be careful to do only a few slices at a time, as they can get mushy and make the cake too soft at the bottom.
-If you don’t have buttermilk, you can add a teaspoon of vinegar or just use regular milk. I’ve not seen a huge difference either way!
-I add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts to the carrot cake only.
-This recipe makes a pretty big cake. If you want, you can cut it in half pretty easily.
-You may not need frosting for this cake. When just making it for myself, I didn’t use it. Especially for the apple cake.
-Sometimes I’m too lazy to bring out my mixer. You don’t need one, but it does make it a little easier.


For the cake:

  • 2 cups gluten free flour (King Arthur/Bob’s Red Mill/Pillsbury – whatever you have!)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups lightly packed peeled, shredded carrots (or apples)

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at
     room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract


Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Spray 2 round cake pans each 9 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep with vegetable oil. (Or any pan you want to use)

In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and buttermilk until blended.

Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined. Fold in the carrots/apples. Add walnuts if using them. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting: In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat until smooth. Reduce the speed to low, add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract until well blended.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the frosting over the top. Place the second cake layer on top. Spread the remaining frosting decoratively over the top and sides of the cake.

Serve immediately, or cover with a cake dome and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

½ recipe (one 9” round pan)

  • 1 cup gluten free flour 
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed peeled, shredded carrots (or apples)

½ recipe for the cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
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After so many years of blogging, recent years have shown me that my desire to write has diminished – probably because I have been busy with lots of other things! But this is a chance to write down what I’m experiencing as the days blend into each other and I lose track of things.

We are heading into our 3rd week of social distancing (physical distancing?) out at my parent’s home in the suburbs. There is more room for my daughter to run around and for us to go on walks without running into people. Our 2 bedroom apartment in downtown Chicago is comfortable, but quite restricted. Also, Marzieh is 11 months old and climbing stairs already, so she gets to have way more fun with her aunt and grandparents than with just me and Shea! Luckily, Shea can work from home so he focuses on that during the week.

I’ve been doing a lot of video conferencing – for clients, Baha’i activities (Feast, study circles, assistants meetings, etc), and just to connect with friends. Marzieh joins me occasionally.

Outside, all the time.

At the end of February I had just pulled myself out of several months of depression. I figured out that I was feeling lonely while staying home, even though I have some client work, and need regular social interaction and opportunities to leave the house. A small portion of it may have been hormonal, too. Marzieh stopped breastfeeding at 6.5 months (around when I got pregnant) and that can really affect you! I had just set up a schedule of spending time with friends and leaving the house with Marzi when the pandemic hit. I’ve managed to stave off the depression so far with keeping busy, and it helps to be with my family, but it comes and goes in waves.

I’ve discovered that keeping a regular schedule is really important: eat breakfast first thing, shower, and have tasks to do each day. Obviously chasing Marzieh around takes a lot of time but I have help so I’m lucky. And being 25 weeks pregnant, I’ve discovered that I really need to nap more often. I recognize the privilege that I have here and the fact that I don’t have to work, and I’m grateful for it.

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July 2020!

We waited a long time for Marzieh to join our family, and then, when she was about 6 months old, I got pregnant! I didn’t know for the first two months, so when I finally figured it out it was a huge and welcome surprise for all of us. It’s a little surreal but now we’re at the point where she is kicking me a lot and I’ve had the ultrasounds, so it’s very exciting.

My friend Chantal Pryor is a great photographer who happens to live in my building and captured these photos a few months ago for our announcement. Marzieh is going to be a big sister!

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And suddenly 6 months go by…

It’s hard to believe that I had a baby nearly 7 months ago. So many things have happened since then. I quit my full time job after many years of non-stop work, immediately got hired to work as the event planner for an amazing corporate client that had an event in NYC, joined industry networking groups, planned several weddings, incorporated my business into a LLC and got on several preferred vendor lists at venues…the list goes on. Marzieh (my daughter) is a truly joyful baby with good sleep habits and a healthy appetite for food and play, and we don’t sit at home very much, even as it gets colder outside.

At my event in NYC – they had a great backdrop created by artists in residence!

My plan is to spend the winter working on my business, collaborating with other event industry vendors on various projects, and traveling. I’ve already got several trips lined up with the family so we’ll be busy with that over the next few months.

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We waited for you

I watched the sunset from the window of the hospital

The day before you were born

As your father fed me dinner

And we waited for you

Because we had been waiting years for you

We had been dreaming for years for you

The room got darker and we waited for you.

The lines of coral and pink and orange

Shot through dark clouds

And we waited for you.

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Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago I got married to this wonderful person. I arrived at the venue with traditional Persian cookies in hand, and dishes, and started setting up at my own wedding. My mother-in-law arrived and took that task over from me so that I could get dressed, and my parents surprised us with a wedding cake. The weather was perfect that day, although my meeting planner self had a hard time letting go of all the things. I remember the look on Shea’s face when he saw me before the ceremony. I remember Shea and I hiding from the guests in the back of the country club, talking and waiting. I remember him calming me down when I got worked up about all of the photos. I remember our hands going numb from holding hands during the ceremony and our chairs being too far apart, but I couldn’t let go. I remember him surprising me with a kiss after we said our Baha’i marriage vows. I remember my grandfather giving Shea advice (to always laugh) after the ceremony. I remember eating several plates of food because we had breakfast for dinner and it was so good. I remember dancing the entire evening until I broke the bustle on my dress.

The last five years have been amazing. I’m so lucky.

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Happy Naw-Ruz!

Finally decided to put together a Haft-Sin. This is a Persian cultural tradition (not a Baha’i one) and I always loved gathering the items and putting it together as a kid. I can’t tell you what most of it symbolizes but it reminds me of home. Happy new year! #persian

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Have hope

“We wish to address some additional words to those of you in whose surroundings marked progress is yet to occur and who long for change. Have hope. It will not always be so. Is not the history of our Faith filled with accounts of inauspicious beginnings but marvellous results? How many times have the deeds of a few believers—young or old—or of a single family, or even of a lone soul, when confirmed by the power of divine assistance, succeeded in cultivating vibrant communities in seemingly inhospitable climes? Do not imagine that your own case is inherently any different. Change in a cluster, be it swift or hard won, flows neither from a formulaic approach nor from random activity; it proceeds to the rhythm of action, reflection, and consultation, and is propelled by plans that are the fruit of experience. Beyond this, and whatever its immediate effects, service to the Beloved is, in itself, a source of abiding joy to the spirit. Take heart, too, from the example of your spiritual kin in the Cradle of the Faith, how their constructive outlook, their resilience as a community, and their steadfastness in promoting the Divine Word are bringing about change in their society at the level of thought and deed. God is with you, with each of you.”
-The Universal House of Justice, Ridvan 2015

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The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah Part 3 – Day 28 Baha’i Blogging Challenge

The Bicentenary Event

Photo by Nancy Wong

We started at 5 pm on October 21 with a special reception for our friends and partners in the wider community. At 6 pm the doors opened for everyone, and people were greeted with a chocolate in the shape of a globe and incredible banners hanging from the ceiling and balconies, and they were encouraged to explore the family activity room, the art display, the display about the Baha’i Faith, and listen to Second Nature Jazz Quintet, as well as enjoy refreshments and take photos in the photo booth. We hired a local photo booth company from Hyde Park, and they did a great job. People really seemed to enjoy the live jazz…we had to have jazz music in Chicago!

Photo by Mojdeh Stoakley

At 7:30 pm, everyone was invited to the theater for the main stage performances. The decision was made to focus on the arts and on our relationships with various performers that we know through our work in the community. Many of our performers were not Baha’is, and it was wonderful to see these talented individuals participating in our event.

Photo by Lauren Herrmann

Our performers included Van Gilmer (composer, vocalist, and choir director at the Baha’i House of Worship, joined by a few friends on the day of the performance!), Emily Price (mezzo-soprano who sings with Chicago a cappella, the Lyric Opera Chorus, and Grant Park Music Festival Chorus), Shki-Bmaadzi, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and Tsukasa Taiko.

Photo by Lauren Herrmann

I was doing stage management during the event, so I saw all of the performances from the side of the stage, and they all did a fantastic job. Our hosts for the evening were the Taylor family, and we had so many volunteers making sure the lights worked (thanks Leslie!), that people got a seat, and that those with accessibility needs were accommodated fully.

A year of work culminated in a spectacular event and I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in it.

Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.


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The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah Part 2 – Day 27 Baha’i Blogging Challenge

Event Day setup for the Chicago Bicentenary event

In part 1 of this series I highlighted a little bit about the planning process for the Bicentenary. Now, I will review the actual setup of the event.

We arrived at the venue (The South Shore Cultural Center, located on Chicago’s South Side by Lake Michigan) at around noon on Saturday, October 21. We had asked a number of people to come help as the setup crew, and there were 4 different areas to set up: the foyer with the art displays and the display about Baha’u’llah, the family activity room, the special reception room, and the theater, where the main program was taking place. We needed every minute of our setup time! We had to be ready to go at 5 pm for the first wave of attendees. The most complicated part of the setup was the beautiful reusable display that Robert Reddy designed and fabricated, which had lighting and multimedia portions.

We borrowed some items from the Baha’i National Center, and were especially grateful for some talented people who were able to jump in at the last minute to set up displays, run to the store, and take care of little details that the task force members did not have time to do.  I wish I had spent more time documenting the setup, because it was really incredible, but I was running from one end of this very large building to another, responding to questions and running through the show flow.

The main stage room needed the least amount of setup outside of the audiovisual needs, as it was already a beautiful space. Luckily we had a professional AV team from Meeting Tomorrow (which is where I work for my day job!), and they were incredible. We had a lot of needs, particularly with all the singing and mic switching, and they handled it smoothly and got through rehearsals with the performers with very little guidance from our team.

“Wert thou to consider this world, and realize how fleeting are the things that pertain unto it, thou wouldst choose to tread no path except the path of service to the Cause of thy Lord. None would have the power to deter thee from celebrating His praise, though all men should arise to oppose thee.” -Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

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The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah Part 1 – Day 26 Baha’i Blogging Challenge

The Planning Process for the Chicago Bicentenary event

So there is this funny thing that happens in my brain and heart when I get asked to serve the Faith by planning events. Since I am a certified meeting planner in my professional life, it brings me great joy to be able to use the resources and skills that I have developed over years of work in making the planning and execution of events more efficient, professional, and easier. However, I also recognize that I have limited time and energy, so I try to be careful about committing to things hastily. It is easy to get burned out, anxious, or frustrated when trying to do things in service that are also what you do for a living. Meeting planning is a highly skilled, technical job.

When the Local Spiritual Assembly asked me to be on this task force to work on the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, it didn’t take long to say yes, especially when I was informed who else would be working with. Serving with people who you can truly be partners with and consult about the work in a mature, thoughtful way is a true gift!

We got pretty lucky with our planning team. We all had strengths in different areas and were able to consult on everything from volunteers to program elements to budgets. We utilized Google Docs to track our work and divided responsibilities. We tried to get a sense of attendance by using Eventbrite and social media to encourage people to register in advance. (The photos in this post are from after one of our meetings, and we used these photos to tell people to register in a fun way.) My estimate, based on the minutes of our meetings and additional time spent as individuals, is that we each spent about 125 hours planning the Bicentenary event in Chicago over the course of one year. That is a lot of time! We had 26 task force meetings and split off into smaller groups to consult and take action as needed. It wasn’t easy, but we had the support of our families and the Local Spiritual Assembly, which made the task a little bit less taxing at times.

“Let them step forth to take their places in the arena of service where their talents and skills, their specialized training, their material resources, their offers of time and energy and, above all, their dedication to Bahá’í principles, can be put to work in improving the lot of man.” -The Universal House of Justice, 20 October 1983

(Part 2)

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Hoist the sail of love: Day 24 Baha’i Blogging Challenge

Heavenly ceilingI have been spending this past week with family, and during one of our family devotion times this quotation from ‘Abdu’l-Baha was read and I wasn’t sure that I ever really heard it before. Which is hard to believe but it is possible! I particularly love how poetic and encouraging this Tablet is. I imagine being the person receiving this beautiful message from ‘Abdu’l-Baha and how happy it must have made them.

“O thou whose heart overfloweth with love for the Lord! I address thee from this consecrated spot, to gladden thy bosom with mine epistle to thee, for this is such a letter as maketh the heart of him who believeth in God’s oneness to wing its flight toward the summits of bliss.

Thank thou God for having enabled thee to enter into His Kingdom of might. Erelong will thy Lord’s bounties descend upon thee, one following the other, and He will make of thee a sign for every seeker after truth.

Hold thou fast to the Covenant of thy Lord, and as the days go by, increase thy store of love for His beloved ones. Bend thou with tenderness over the servitors of the All-Merciful, that thou mayest hoist the sail of love upon the ark of peace that moveth across the seas of life. Let nothing grieve thee, and be thou angered at none. It behoveth thee to be content with the Will of God, and a true and loving and trusted friend to all the peoples of the earth, without any exceptions whatever. This is the quality of the sincere, the way of the saints, the emblem of those who believe in the unity of God, and the raiment of the people of Baha.”

-‘Abdu’l-Baha, Selections From the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

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A list of Baha’i books, Part 3: Day 23 – Baha’i Blogging Challenge

I am ending this series (Part 1, Part 2) with a few reference documents that I found very helpful over the years. There are many Baha’is that may not even know about these documents. I included the description from the Baha’i Bookstore because, quite frankly, I can’t write it better.

We each have the responsibility as individuals to understand our Faith and how the Administrative Order works. No one else can do it for us! And we have so many amazing resources in this Faith!

The Constitution of the Universal House of Justice
“This is a declaration of the trust and by-laws of the supreme governing and legislative body of the Baha’i Faith. It was officially adopted in 1972 and acclaimed by Shoghi Effendi as the “Most Great Law of Faith of Baha’u’llah.” It establishes the functions of the Universal House of Justice on the basis of powers and duties invested in it by Baha’u’llah. Every informed Baha’i should commit to reviewing this document.”

The Institution of the Counsellors: A Document Prepared by The Universal House of Justice
“This document prepared by the Universal House of Justice describes the operation of the Baha’i institution of the Continental Board of Counselors and its duties, and contains a digest of the guidance previously given on the subject. It includes a list of statements addressing specific aspects of the functioning of the Board, and should increase the friends understanding of not only the responsibilities of the Counselors and their auxiliaries but also the workings of the Administrative Order in general.”

National Spiritual Assembly: A Compilation Issued by The Universal House Of Justice
“A compilation of extracts from letters written by and on behalf of Shoghi Effendi intended to develop appreciation of the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly. This compilation discusses the membership, and its relationship to the national convention, the community, the functions of its officers, its meetings, committees, appeals, and more.”

The Ministry of the Custodians: 1957-1963
“These are the communications of the body of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land during the years 1957 to 1963. An introduction by Amatu’l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum places in perspective the events of the critical years between the passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 and the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963.”

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A list of Baha’i books, Part 2: Day 22 – Baha’i Blogging Challenge

In part 1 of this series I shared some of my favorite biographies/autobiographies about Baha’is. This next list is books that are more introductory or history of the Faith. Part 3 is here.

God Speaks Again by Kenneth E. Bowers
-Such a good, straightforward explanation of the Baha’i Faith. I recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t know much about the Baha’i Faith but really wants to dive into it.

The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh series by Adib Taherzadeh
-This is the most comprehensive history of the life of Baha’u’llah and the events surrounding His life that I’ve ever read. I mean, pretty much anything by Adib Taherzadeh is worth reading. There are four books in the series.

Door of Hope by David S. Ruhe
-“Door of Hope is an indispensable guide to the history and sites of pilgrimage of the Bahá’í Faith in the Holy Land.” Not much more needs to be said!

Some Answered Questions by Abdu’l-Baha
-I use this book constantly in my study circle as a reference guide and find that it has been helpful for a wide variety of people. Abdu’l-Baha proofed this book after it was written, and the explanations are so interesting and cover many topics.

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A list of Baha’i books, Part 1: Day 21 – Baha’i Blogging Challenge

I have always loved to read. I was blessed with parents who read to me a lot as a child, and who acted as though reading an entire adult-level book in one day was a totally normal activity. There are so many Baha’i books to read and obviously our first priority should be the Baha’i Writings themselves…but as a young person, I often connected more to stories, and by reading stories I found joy in the Writings.

Here is a list of books with some of my favorite stories about Baha’is, just to get you started. Part 2 and Part 3.

Summon Up Remembrance and Arches of the Years by Marzieh Gail
-I honestly connected with these books first because it is the story of the first Persian-American Baha’i marriage, and since I am a product of one of those marriages, I found this story fascinating. Marzieh Gail is the daughter of Ali-Kuli Khan and Florence Breed, and she shares her family history with humor and reality.

Portals to Freedom by Howard Colby Ives
-This is a book that I recommend to a lot of people because it is an easy read and is a passionate, loving account of Howard Colby Ives’ interaction with Abdu’l-Baha, as well as his own reflections and struggles.

Memorials of the Faithful by Abdu’l-Baha
-This collection of short biographical sketches of early Baha’is is great to read because Abdu’l-Baha Himself wrote it, and because you can read it in shorter pieces. I remember my mother reading this book to me as a kid.

Lights of Fortitude by Barron Harper
-Like the above book, this is a short collection of the histories of the Hands of the Cause. I read this book when I served at the World Centre, and it helped me get an overall sense of who they were, which then took me to the individual biographies of several of them.

The Maxwells of Montreal (volumes 1 & 2) by Violette Nakhjavani
-“One family, bonded in their love for the Bahá’í Faith and for each other, committed through decades of uninterrupted service to the promotion and establishment of that Faith worldwide. They were born during the Heroic Age of the Faith – the parents during the lifetime of Bahá’u’lláh, the child during the Ministry of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá – and they lived to serve the Guardian of the Cause during the early decades of the Formative Age at the most critical time of his ministry.” This series is sweet and contains so many stories that none of us ever knew, and helped me understand the sacrifices this amazing family made in their service to the Faith.

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Nineteen Day Feast Part 4: Day 20 – Baha’i Blogging Challenge

The fallen leaves in front of my condo look like rose petals.It is really hard to write blog posts while on vacation with family. So for this last part of the Feast posts (1, 2, and 3) I will just post a few final quotations. I wasn’t super organized about these posts, and there are a lot of other well thought out posts and resources out there (I find the Guidelines for Spiritual Assemblies document that the US NSA has compiled to be a fantastic source).

“Since children of Bahá’í parents are considered to be Bahá’ís, they are to be encouraged to attend all Feasts, there to share the reading of the Writings and prayers and be bathed in the spirit of the community. It is the hope of the House of Justice that every Feast will be a feast of love when the children will give and receive the tangible affection of the community and its individual members.”
(Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice)

“As to visitors to a Nineteen Day Feast, Bahá’ís from anywhere in the world should of course be warmly welcomed, and may take part in consultation. However, only members of the local community can vote on recommendations to the Local Spiritual Assembly.”
(Letter from the Universal House of Justice)

“With regard to your question concerning the use of music in the Nineteen Day Feasts, he wishes you to assure all the friends that not only he approves of such a practice, but thinks it even advisable that the believers should make use, in their meetings, of hymns composed by Bahá’ís themselves, and also of such hymns, poems and chants as are based on the Holy Words.”
(Letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, dated April 7, 1935)

“The social portion transcends polite formalities, becoming the joyous reunion of ardent lovers, of tested companions united in a common purpose, whose conversations are elevated by spiritual themes.”
(Letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice)

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