Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On God's Flower Garden: Kids and families at Tigers practice

I never tire of kids and families as photographic subjects. The UTYA Tiger's practices behind the old Park Avenue school on Tacoma's Southside are always a feast for the eyes. So much excitement to take in, a creative chaos in one moment, at another an orderly process of kids lining up, as they did Friday to get measured for their helmuts. When there is sunshine, the colors are brilliant, the beauty of God's flower garden of humanity even more pronouced. -gw
O Lord, shower upon them all the outpourings of Thy mercy, rain down upon them all the waters of Thy grace. Make them to grow as beauteous plants in the garden of heaven, and from the full and brimming clouds of Thy bestowals and out of the deep pools of Thine abounding grace make Thou this garden to flower, and keep it ever green and lustrous, ever fresh and shimmering and fair.
Tiger's coaches

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On an Abundance of Zucchini: Many a harvest shall be gathered

Zucchini is in. Now what to do with it? -gw
Broccoli and zucchini soup, served with a swirl of Alfredo Sauce and Za' Attar; zucchini bread; zucchini paste for toast.
Do ye not look upon the beginning of the affairs; attach your hearts to the ends and results. The present period is like unto the sowing time. Undoubtedly it is impregnated with perils and difficulties, but in the future many a harvest shall be gathered and benefits and results will come apparent. When one considers the issue and the end, exhaustless joy and happiness will dawn.

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On Sunshine, Blue Skies, Black River: How much a gleam of sunshine is prized

One of the few 80 degree days so far this summer. Where to go? Black River, Bonita said. Good idea. -gw
Believers, he added, must show their belief in their daily lives, so that the world might see the light shining in their faces. A bright and happy face cheers people on their way. If you are sad, and pass a child who is laughing, the child, seeing your sad face, will cease to laugh, not knowing why. If the day be dark, how much a gleam of sunshine is prized; so let believers wear smiling happy faces, gleaming like sunshine in the darkness. Let the Light of Truth and Honesty shine from them, so that all who behold them may know that their word in business or pleasure will be a word to trust and depend upon.

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On Schools Out Washington: Supporting youth development

How did Invaders families spend their summer? Going to the games together.
Schools Out Washington chose the photo above as a Favorite on Flickr. It is, of couse, a picture of a young Tacoma Invaders football fan taken at the Blitz game in Bellingham. 
School’s Out Washington is an intermediary agency which provides services and guidance for organizations to ensure all young people have safe places to learn and grow when not in school. School’s Out is dedicated to building community systems to support quality out-of-school time programs for Washington’s 5-18 year olds through training, advocacy and leadership. We were founded in 1987 and our history reflects the emergence and development of the afterschool and youth development (AYD) professional field.  All along the way, we have played a key role in supporting AYD professionals and programs in their work.  Our mission, vision and values reflect our deep commitment to the advancement of the AYD field, the individuals who work in the field, and the children, youth, families and communities served by the field.
Baha'is have great interest in youth development. The Baha'i-inspired Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program is unique as such a program in its inclusion of a spiritual perspective. -gw

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Monday, July 25, 2011

On Now That the Football Season Is Over: Continued service

The Invaders lost their game Saturday night. Their season is over. It brings to a conclusion one chapter in my life, as another one opens.


It was a great game that wasn’t decided until the very last seconds. Coach Charles said it may have been the closest, most exciting game the Invaders have ever played.


The Invaders players were disappointed certainly, but the other team seemed so subdued with their victory, like they realized the lucked out to get it, that it seemed the Invaders had won.


I shot video at the top of the tunnel to the locker room. The fans who had come all the way up to Edmonds to cheer on the team, cheered them in their loss. There was nothing to be sorry about. The team had done a great job. They could have tied the game on the last play. They could have gone to overtime. They could have won that. Could have. But it didn’t matter.


Being the team photographer for the Invaders has had a great impact on my life.  First off, I have met 40 or 50 really great guys. I have been treated to some very exciting football, close-up and personal.


The time commitment of going to practices and games to shoot has caused me to change my routines, in some ways drastically. My blogging on Baha’i Views has decreased drastically. My trying to keep up with posting on Flickr of non-football photos I’ve taken has been a losing battle


I will be back to blogging again. I will be reflecting on what the experience has taught me over the months and years ahead.


My commitment to the Invaders/Tigers community continues. I look forward to serving it in whatever way I can.


There is the Invaders/Tigers devotional meeting to continue to support. There are children’s classes for the spiritual education of children to set up. There are junior youth animators for the Junior Youth Spiritual Empowerment Program to identify and get trained to serve the critically important 12-14 age range. There are study circles for the collective study of the Holy Writings that give meaning and purpose to our lives to set up.


Sports is a part of life, but it is not all there is to life. To participate in sports, to follow sports, adds to the quality of our lives, but the reason we are here on this planet encompasses so much more.


We’re here to serve, whatever that service is. We’re here to recognize our essential unity and oneness as human beings who all worship one God, whatever our faith background. We have a larger job to do, especially now that football is over for the season. -gw

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Saturday, July 09, 2011

On Zeke Bans Kids from Playing Football at Salishan: And knows Lisa

Zeke, one of the Tiger's coaches, is a Salishan resident and knows Lisa. "She's so funny!" he said of the Lisa, the Lister crossing guard, community activist, and Baha'i. Here he notices Tiger's players rough-housing at the end of practice which prompts him to recall his admonition to the Tiger's players he brings over from the neighborhood: No playing football in the big field across from where he lives. They might get hurt. And not be able to come to practice. -gw

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On Kushari in the Wind: A bit of Egypt in Eastern Washington

I was afraid the Kushari Bonita made was going to get cold in the big wind that came up over the camp, but it made for a stirring video clip. Kushari is one of her favorites, and mine. -gw
Kushari, often transliterated as koshary, kosheri or koshari, (Egyptian Arabic: كشرى, [ˈkoʃæɾi]) is a popular traditional Egyptian national dish)

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Friday, July 08, 2011

On See More in a Small Space: The conservatory in Wright Park

when you pass by a garden wherein vegetable beds and plants, flowers and fragrant herbs are all combined so as to form a harmonious whole, this is an evidence that this plantation and this rose garden have been cultivated and arranged by the care of a perfect gardener
Abdu'l-Baha, Universal Peace
It's another world in the Seymour Conservatory, harmonious, close to perfection. -gw

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On Putting That Ruhi Book 5 Training to Work: Between two volcanoes

Taraz's recent photo of his brother Rahmat is evocative off where Rahmat is now, within the sight of two volcanoes, with their distinctive cone shapes. Here is an update from him as of yesterday. Being a Junior Youth Animator is in his immediate future. He's putting that Ruhi Book 5 training to work finally. -gw

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On Coming Home: One family, one home

My son Taraz has been on a creative tear lately with his new Canon 60 and after a visit with his family up here in Washington. Take his new music video "Coming Home." To view, choose your quality. The Vimeo version above loads quicker at lower resolution, the YouTube below at higher.  Same video, different thumbnails. -gw
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.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

On Outsiders in Their Own Land: Academic conference explores "othering" of Iranian Baha'is

From: Northwest BahaiLibrary

Academic conference explores "othering" of Iranian Baha'is
4 July 2011  (the actual presentations with
English translation)

Conference presentations are immediately available for further reflection and analysis. -gw

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On Why So Many Baha'is in Faraway Places: Why so many Baha'is in Phoenix?

At the Baha'i Centre, Auki, Malaita Island, Solomon Islands 
Photos taken between Jun 1990 & Oct 1995
Baha'is reside in more than 100,000 localities. Auki is one of them.
A question posed on Yahoo! Answers about 6 months ago: Why are there so many Baha'is on small Pacific Islands? An answer:
The Baha'i teachings and the life of Baha'u'llah resonate strongly in various cultures at particular times. About a decade ago, Guyana had the largest percentage of Baha'i population of any country. And Baha'is expect that efforts to reach out to neighborhoods around the world and share Baha'u'llah's teachings with people who formerly were strangers, will ultimately result in questions like yours that ask: "Why are there so many Baha'is in Phoenix, Arizona?" Or in Sakhalin Island? Or in Patagonia?

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On Tools to Transform Neighborhoods & Villages: Deepening theme flipbooks & other materials online

On Postage Stamps in the Netherlands Depict Victims of Human Rights Abuses in Iran: Including Mrs. Sabet

A trained psychologist, Mrs. Sabet worked as a teacher and a principal at several schools. After the 1979 Islamic revolution, however, along with thousands of other Baha'i educators, she was fired from her job and barred from working in public education.

Mrs. Sabet has been incarcerated since 5 March 2008. She was the first to be arrested of a seven-member, national-level ad hoc group that helped attend to the needs of Iran's 300,000-strong Baha'i community. After an illegal 30-month detention, the seven were tried on trumped-up charges and each sentenced in August 2010 to 20 years in jail.

"In many ways, this stamp not only represents the seven leaders – and the other 90 or so Baha'i prisoners in Iran – but all who are victimized for standing up for their principles," said Ms. Maartens.

"At a time when the Iranian authorities are clamping down on community initiatives to educate young Baha'is who are banned from university, Mrs. Sabet - as a teacher, a mother and a Baha'i - symbolizes a commitment to education, and the right to freedom of religion for all."

The effort in all parts of the globe continues. -gw

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A Whole New World: Rahmat starts a new life

We took Rahmat down to Oregon to begin a new life. He has always loved attending Windsock, an annual youth-oriented Baha'i gathering in the Columbia Gorge. He has come to know the Baha'i community there and, apparently, the opportunities for service. So he's made a move.
Bonita and I drove him and our van full of his possessions down to Hood River on the 4th, assisted in putting his stuff in a storage unit and getting him set up at a camp site. Camping provides a nice temporary housing option during the warm, summer months. From there he'll make his move to something more permanent.
The family experienced a whole new world up on Steamboat Rock last week. I left my camera at the campsite at Jones Bay, but Taraz had his. His pictures are exquisite. -gw

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

On Looking for Baby Moses: Matt & Ruhiyyih in the rushes

Ruhiyyih & Matt as if looking for baby Moses. -gw

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Sunday, July 03, 2011

On This Great and Mighty Wind of God: It's cleansing force is increasing with every passing day

A tempest, unprecedented in its violence, unpredictable in its course, catastrophic in its immediate effects, unimaginably glorious in its ultimate consequences, is at present sweeping the face of the earth. Its driving power is remorselessly gaining in range and momentum. Its cleansing force, however much undetected, is increasing with every passing day. Humanity, gripped in the clutches of its devastating power, is smitten by the evidences of its resistless fury. It can neither perceive its origin, nor probe its significance, nor discern its outcome. Bewildered, agonized and helpless, it watches this great and mighty wind of God invading the remotest and fairest regions of the earth, rocking its foundations, deranging its equilibrium, sundering its nations, disrupting the homes of its peoples, wasting its cities, driving into exile its kings, pulling down its bulwarks, uprooting its institutions, dimming its light, and harrowing up the souls of its inhabitants. 2
Wind can make harrowing both camping and canoeing. Take extra cord to tie down a tent. Head your canoe towards the shore if the wind comes up. 
Wind is often welcome. How about a breeze on a hot day?
Wind provides a basic metaphor, used in both the Baha'i Writings and in the Bible, for example. -gw
The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Be unrestrained as the wind, while carrying the Message of Him Who hath caused the Dawn of Divine Guidance to break. Consider, how the wind, faithful to that which God hath ordained, bloweth upon all the regions of the earth, be they inhabited or desolate. Neither the sight of desolation, nor the evidences of prosperity, can either pain or please it. It bloweth in every direction, as bidden by its Creator. So should be every one that claimeth to be a lover of the one true God. It behoveth him to fix his gaze upon the fundamentals of His Faith, and to labor diligently for its propagation. Wholly for the sake of God he should proclaim His Message, and with that same spirit accept whatever response his words may evoke in his hearer. He who shall accept and believe, shall receive his reward; and he who shall turn away, shall receive none other than his own punishment.

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Friday, July 01, 2011

On Conquering the Summit: From which alone they can catch at glimpse of the future glory of their destiny

I entreat them, and plead as well with their older brethren who have set so momentous a Plan in motion, to arise as one soul, to exert one more superhuman effort, to fix steadily their gaze on the pinnacle they are visibly approaching and to disencumber themselves of any burden impeding their arduous climb, in a last and determined attempt to scale and conquer the summit, from which alone they can catch a glimpse of the future glory of their destiny.
My boys climbed together to the summit of this rock for their re-bonding experience during our family campout. -gw

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