Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On From the Beaches of Brazil: An appeal to Iran

An astounding appeal to the world to not forget the imprisioned seven Baha'is in Iran from Copacabana Beach in Brazil. -gw
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Representatives from government, religious communities and civil society organizations were among the 800 human rights supporters who gathered to call upon Iran to cease its persecution of Baha'is and other religious minorities. Participants travelled from all over Brazil to take part in the rally, held at Rio's Copacabana Beach on 19 June 2011. Almost 8,000 images depicting the faces of Iran's seven imprisoned Baha'i leaders were on display at the beach, corresponding to the number of days of detention the seven had suffered after three years in prison. The photographs were arranged in a large circle, representing the world, and the union of people of all races and nations.
To read the article online, go to:

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Light That Is Perfect: Camping along Lower Crab Creek

The image used by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to capture for His hearers the coming transformation of society was that of light. Unity, He declared, is the power that illuminates and advances all forms of human endeavour. The age that was opening would come in the future to be regarded as "the century of light", because in it universal recognition of the oneness of humankind would be achieved. With this foundation in place, the process of building a global society embodying principles of justice will begin.
The light was perfect last weekend at our camping spot along Lower Crab Creek in Eastern Washington. Was this our most exquisite camping experinece ever? It could very well have been. -gw

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On Prayers for the Community: Jaylen and Coach Charles with the children of Salishan

Last week at a devotional gathering at Lisa's in Salishan, Coach Charles and several players from the Tigers who live in the neighborhood were joined by participants from Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program and children attending Baha'i children's classes there for a round of prayers. Do these kids like to pray! -gw

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Monday, June 20, 2011

On a World of Sharing: Sprouted fenugreek in the house

Flickr is all about photo-sharing. Would we be offended if someone were to use a photo from our Flickr account? No, delighted. Bonita's photo from a few year's back of sprouting fenugreek seeks made the Times of India today, and 113 people clicked on the photo.
Maybe they noticed the name of our account and that the photo was in a set called "Our Baha'i home." -gw
Internet communication, which has the ability to transmit in seconds the entire contents of libraries that took centuries of study to amass, vastly enriches the intellectual life of anyone able to use it, as well as providing sophisticated training in a broad range of professional fields. The system, so prophetically foreseen sixty years ago by Shoghi Effendi, builds a sense of shared community among its users that is impatient of either geographic or cultural distances.

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On My Andrew Wyeth Painting: Bonita's world

Bonita's world
My Andrew Wyeth painting, from this last weekend, taken with my camera. The one above does NOT look like Wyeth's famous "Christina's world," however, but check out the photo below for one that kinda does. First, here is the original.
Andrew Wyeth, "Christina's world"
Here is mine. -gw
Magnified be Thy Name, Thou art the Best Beloved Who hast enabled me to know Thee and Thou art that All-Renowned One Who hast graciously favoured me with Thy love. Thou art the Ancient of Days Whom none can ever describe through the evidences of Thy glory and majesty, and Thou art the mighty One Whom none can ever comprehend through the revelations of Thy greatness and beauty, inasmuch as the expressions of majesty and grandeur and the attributes of dominion and beauty are but the tokens of Thy divine Will and the effulgent reflections of Thy sovereignty which, by reason of their very essence and nature, proclaim that the way is barred and bear witness that the pathway is inaccessibly beyond the reach of men.

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On Finding Our True Selves: Training human souls that their angelic aspect may overcome their animal side

Invaders vs Shine 6-11-11 018

Man is in the highest degree of materiality, and at the beginning of spirituality—that is to say, he is the end of imperfection and the beginning of perfection. He is at the last degree of darkness, and at the beginning of light; that is why it has been said that the condition of man is the end of the night and the beginning of day, meaning that he is the sum of all the degrees of imperfection, and that he possesses the degrees of perfection. He has the animal side as well as the angelic side, and the aim of an educator is to so train human souls that their angelic aspect may overcome their animal side….

The end of one thing is the beginning of another. Out of difficulty and struggle, even grief, can come joy, as we overcome barriers, and rise to our true potential. -gw

On In This Day, Baha'u'llah: Happy are those whom the all-glorious Pen was moved to remember

 Bonita jokingly says I have too much fun and need to cut back on it. -gw
This is the Day in which God’s most excellent favors have been poured out upon men, the Day in which His most mighty grace hath been infused into all created things. It is incumbent upon all the peoples of the world to reconcile their differences, and, with perfect unity and peace, abide beneath the shadow of the Tree of His care and loving-kindness. It behoveth them to cleave to whatsoever will, in this Day, be conducive to the exaltation of their stations, and to the promotion of their best interests. Happy are those whom the all-glorious Pen was moved to remember, and blessed are those men whose names, by virtue of Our inscrutable decree, We have preferred to conceal.
Beseech ye the one true God to grant that all men may be graciously assisted to fulfil that which is acceptable in Our sight. Soon will the present-day order be rolled up, and a new one spread out in its stead. Verily, thy Lord speaketh the truth, and is the Knower of things unseen.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On U2 Can Find Family With God's Camera: Zoomin' good!

The purport is this that we are all inhabiting one globe of earth. In reality we are one family and each one of us is a member of this family. We must all be in the greatest happiness and comfort, under a just rule and regulation which is according to the good pleasure of God, thus causing us to be happy, for this life is fleeting.
Here are some shots from my son-in-law and daugher, Matt and Ruhiyyih, of the U2 concert experience. -gw
From: Northwest Bahai Library
There is a 360 degree photo from the Seattle concert posted on the U2 website of the entire audience.You can zoom in on anyone in the audience with remarkable clarity in this remarkable photo taken with what must be "God's camera" (lol). Perhaps you can find family who were there!


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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On More Nature: More nature

More nature, more nature. It's Bonita's admonition to me regarding my blogs.
It was a busy weekend with the dinner to honor the coaches on Friday, the game on Saturday, and Baha'i devotions on Sunday, but around all that Bonita & I fit in two canoe paddles and a hike. It is June, afterall.
The weather wasn't great for almost summer, but it's better than the weather we encountered on a hike in mid-May. -gw

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On a Tablet for Ahmad: And Tim's famous waffles

The center for the Invaders football team, Ahmad, came over for breakfast before going to work on Sunday. It was at the tail end of Tim & Deb's monthly Baha'i devotional with Tim's famous waffles, served with love.
Arlene brought up the Tablet of Ahmad. So of course, we had to show it to him.
Here is a set photos and videos of Ahmad at football practices and scimmages before the season began. -gw

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Monday, June 13, 2011

On One Nation - Imagination: A message from the heavens to earth

My son-in-law and daughter caught U2 when they were in town. Thanks, Robert, for this. -gw

From: Northwest BahaiLibrary

A message from the heavens: "7 billion people - One Nation - Imagination"
Commander Kelly and U2 in Seattle last week - the world's first
performance between earth and space...


(the entire song minus a
small part at the beginning)

Religious and sectarian antagonism, the hostility of races and peoples, and differences among nations, will be eliminated. All men will adhere to one religion, will have one common faith, will be blended into one race, and become a single people. All will dwell in one common fatherland, which is the planet itself.

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On an Amazing Sculpture: By touching various sensors immerse themselves in an unknown world.

My dear Canadian correspondent is helping me vary my diet of football and more football on Baha'i Views by sending me items like this, about an interactive sculpture that educates about the religions of the world. -gw

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On This Is a Teacher: I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe

Baha'is often gravitate to a career in teaching. One blogger I followed several years ago during his Year of Service in the Caribbean has since graduated from college and is now a high school teacher of science (and also newly married). Here Praveen passes on a story, "Who Is a Teacher?" -gw

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued,
"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in
life was to become a teacher?"
To stress his point he said to another guest;
"You're a teacher, Bonnie.  Be honest. What do you make?"
Teacher Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied,
"You want to know what I make?
(She paused for a second, then began...)
"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't
make them sit for 5 min. without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.
You want to know what I make?
(She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)
I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them how to write and then I make them write.
Keyboarding isn't everything.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math.
They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need
to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they
were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life
( Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)
Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money
isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because
they are ignorant. You want to know what I make?
What do you make Mr. CEO?
His jaw dropped; he went silent.

~~ Warm  greetings, Praveen.

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On Celebrating the Invaders/Tigers Coaches: Tireless and selfless

I experienced both joy and sorrow this past weekend. The gathering at Tim & Deb's Friday night to celebrate the tireless and selfless work of the Invaders/Tigers coaches was the joy. -gw
To the extent that work is consciously undertaken in a spirit of service to humanity, Bahá’u’lláh says, it is a form of prayer, a means of worshiping God. Every individual has the capacity to see himself or herself in this light, and it is to this inalienable capacity of the self that development strategy must appeal, whatever the nature of the plans being pursued, whatever the rewards they promise.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

On Celebrating the Virtues of Dad: And the attibutes of God

Red Grammer as the soundtrack for an Invaders football practice may sound a bit unusual. But not really. Here Matt's children celebrate the virtues of their Dad, while Red Grammer sings of the attributes of God. -gw

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Friday, June 10, 2011

On 'Abdu'l-Baha in the Kitchen: Cooking as service

We gathered round him in a circle, and he made us sit beside him in the window seat. One of the members, who was ill, had a specially beautiful greeting from him. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá began by saying, as he seated himself: “Are you happy?” and our faces must have shown him that we were. He then said: “I love you all, you are the children of the Kingdom, and you are accepted of God. Though you may be poor here, you are rich in the treasures of the Kingdom. I am the Servant of the poor. Remember how His Holiness Jesus said: ‘Blessed are the poor!’ If all the queens of the earth were gathered here, I could not be more glad!”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá knew that we had a treasury box from which we try to help people less fortunate than ourselves. Presently he rose, and said: “You are dear to me. I want to do something for you! I cannot cook for you (he had previously seen us busy in the kitchen) but here is something for your fund.” He went round the circle to each, with a beautiful smile, shaking hands with all, and giving the Bahá’í greeting: “Alláh’u’Abhá!”
Sit at the counter at the Southern Kitchen restaurant in Tacoma and you get to watch the intense activity in the kitchen. What a wonderful service it is to prepare food for others!  'Abdu'l-Baha would serve in this manner. Bonita cooks for me. In one of my most viewed videos, Feloria would cook for Zee, in a story told by Rocky. -gw

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

On Our Community Grows: 17-year-old registers as a Baha'i

Miss Lisa introduces our newest Baha'i, a resident of the vibrant Salishan neighborhood. -gw

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Monday, June 06, 2011

On Faces in the Crowd: Really, it's all family

Taking photos of the action on the football field is great, but even more enjoyable for me is being able to slip in shots of the crowd. In semi-pro football almost all of the people who come to a game are family. Added fun for me when at the game is trying to figure out what families and fans are there to see what players. Sometimes I'll just ask. -gw
When you love a member of your family or a compatriot, let it be with a ray of the Infinite Love! Let it be in God, and for God! Wherever you find the attributes of God love that person, whether he be of your family or of another. Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party, or of any other nation, colour or shade of political opinion. Heaven will support you while you work in this in-gathering of the scattered peoples of the world beneath the shadow of the almighty tent of unity.
'Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks

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Saturday, June 04, 2011

On the Flora and Fauna of Katy Lake: Thralls of its dominion

Katy Lake, one of the seep lakes below the Potholes Reservoir, is our spiritual place, a place where we get in touch with nature. -gw
The infinite starry worlds and heavenly bodies are nature’s obedient subjects. The earth and its myriad organisms, all minerals, plants and animals are thralls of its dominion.

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Friday, June 03, 2011

On Most Viewed Music Videos: An eclectic Baha'i-inspired mix

I've accumulated quite a inventory of videos on our Baha'i Views /Flitzy Pheobie Flickr site. Tonight I've been going through the most-viewed "music videos." These are all raw clips that feature music -- usally with either a harsh start or a harsh finish, and never a whole song, because Flickr limits videos to 90 seconds. All but two of these videos were taken with my old camera and are are not in HD, but there are some real great musical moments caught here. Here is the top 9 most-viewed. -gw
1. Gwen leading the singing in our home during an Baha'i intensive teaching campaign.
2. Charles' youthful friend and old neighbor comes to a devotional at our home raps to some Sammy Swell beats I have in my collection.
3. A busker at the Pike Place Market.
4. A brief clip of my favorite Baha'i song of all time recorded during a home visit to Rashid's.
5. A recording ofTracy Chapman singing a song I consider Baha'i-inspired at another of our Thursday Baha'i devotionals.
6. A Chelsea-Lynn song played at our devotonal.
7. A chorus of coyotes along the Columbia River.
8. Helen and the girls singing in their car outside Hajji Hossein's house before a children's class there.
9. Listening to my favorite pow-wow music with Toby and Norm at our devotional.

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On Coach Charles & BJ at Our Team Meeting: Bringing Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program to the Invaders/Tigers community

Gwen described the focus of Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program (JYSEP) groups during our meeting with Coach Charles and BJ at the our City of Destiny Teaching Team meeting the other day.
Here is another description of the JYSEP groups which our team is wishing to help get started within the Tigers/Invaders community. -gw
The junior youth spiritual empowerment program is open to young people aged between 11 and 14, and assists them to navigate through a crucial stage in their lives.

Those in their early adolescent years possess altruism, a sense of justice, eagerness to learn about the universe, and a desire to contribute to the construction of a better world.

The program helps them form a strong moral identity and empowers them to contribute to the well-being of their communities and the world at large.

By developing their spiritual qualities (virtues), their intellectual capabilities and their capacities for service to society, the participants come to see that they can become agents of positive change in the world.

The program adopts a participatory mode of learning where the facilitator and participants learn from each other.

Groups of participants engage in activities such as artistic expression, discussion, drama, cooperative games, study of literature, story telling and acts of community service.

The junior youth program explores themes from a Bahá'í perspective, but is not a formal religious education program. It is open to all, subject to parental approval. Junior youth groups meet on a regular basis and there is no written homework.

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Thursday, June 02, 2011

On After the Spring: Summer comes with its fullness and fruitage spiritual

After the spring, summer comes with its fullness and fruitage spiritual.
Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer for a lot of people. Given the cold, wet weather in Western Washington lately, to have a remote chance of finding summer, you have to go east of the Cascades. Bonita and I did so last weekend. This is what we found. -gw

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On a Few Feasts Ago: Quite real and very wonderful

"A few Feasts ago and in a land far away..." Wait! This is not a fantasy. The Baha'i community I reside in is quite real and very wonderful. -gw

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Wednesday, June 01, 2011

On Coach Juan Has His Priorities Straight: What we can learn from stories

In the video clip below, taken during the Invaders practice of May 24th, it does my heart proud to hear Deb using such good "child-directed interaction" skills. I can't help but notice. It's my job to teach the skills.
What lovely children Coach Juan has! Here he expresses his appreciation of them and shares a story of his own growing up.
Paying attention to his kids, Juan has his priorities straight.
Juan remembers a childhood memory from living back in Yakima.
Even though I hear people's stories all day long as part of my job as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I never tire of them. There is always so much inspiration in them. I am particularly moved by the stories of emigrant families. In the U.S. we all, with one exception, came from emigrant families. It just depends on how far back that emigration occured. For some the emigration was voluntary; for other's it was terribly involuntary. But we're all here now, in this boat together, paddling away, just like the Invaders football team. -gw
Thou kind Lord!  Thou hast created all humanity from the same stock.  Thou hast decreed that all shall belong to the same household.  In Thy Holy Presence they are all Thy servants, and all mankind are sheltered beneath Thy Tabernacle; all have gathered together at Thy Table of Bounty; all are illumined through the light of Thy Providence. 

O God!  Thou art kind to all, Thou hast provided for all, dost shelter all, conferrest life upon all.  Thou hast endowed each and all with talents and faculties, and all are submerged in the Ocean of Thy Mercy.

O Thou kind Lord!  Unite all.  Let the religions agree and make the nations one, so that they may see each other as one family and the whole earth as one home.  May they all live together in perfect harmony.

O God!  Raise aloft the banner of the oneness of mankind.

O God!  Establish the Most Great Peace.

Cement Thou, O God, the hearts together.

O Thou kind Father, God!  Gladden our hearts through the fragrance of Thy love.  Brighten our eyes through the Light of Thy Guidance.  Delight our ears with the melody of Thy Word, and shelter us all in the Stronghold of Thy Providence.

Thou art the Mighty and Powerful, Thou art the Forgiving and Thou art the One Who overlooketh the shortcomings of all mankind.


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On the Spiritual Laws of Prosperity: The Baha'i Faith is not a religion that calls for poverty in this world

Baha'i laws of prosperity.doc Download this file

From: praveen
Subject: Spiritual laws of Prosperity
Dear Friends/family

A talk given by Dr. Arbab when he visited India in 1990-1991 , very profound and meant to be studied..
Warm greetings,

Wow! What important subject, as important today as it was 20 years ago when the talk was given. -gw

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On Tossing the Football Around: Two Tacoma Tigers

Two Tacome Tigers little league football players were tossing the ball last night at Stewart Heights Park while Tacoma Invaders semi-pro players were practicing. The sky was dark in the east and bright in the west and the shadows were long, which made for interesting photography. The UTYA (Upper Tacoma Youth Athletics) Tigers have begun conditioning and are doing car washes on the weekend to raise money for equipment. The Invaders are two league games into their eight game season. -gw

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