Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On College Football for Andrew: A new blog

I've done 31 blog posts in the last several days. None of them have been on my usual sites, Baha'i Views, Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, etc. All of them have been for a new blog I've put together with a friend's goals and aspirations in mind. -gw
Why this blog
Andrew didn't ask me to do this. It was my idea. I just wanted to do my part to get the word out on what a talented, well-grounded person Andrew is. In my view, he is college football calibre. Check out any of the 31 posts below and see if you agree.
Blog Archive

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Capturing Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things: Cinema verite of Baha'i life

cinema verite - a movie that shows ordinary people in actual activities
I love being able to take video clips of ordinary people in Baha'i core activities. Documenting Baha'i life today so others tomorrow can appreciate the drama of spiritual discovery that occurred back in 2011 is a worthy endeavor.
Here are four clips, three from the Baha'i assistant's meeting in Bellevue and one from my newly inaugerated Baha'i children's class at Charles and Kim's. -gw

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Friday, August 26, 2011

On Gathering in Memory of Peter Khan: Roses and reflections

Several of us gathered in the Rose Garden at Point Definance Park in Tacoma to say prayers and reflect on the passing of Peter Khan, who served on the Universal House of Justice for decades. Bonita and I attended talks by him in Montana back in the 1970's when he was a Baha'i Auxiliary Board member serving that area. What a vibrant soul and great intellect! -gw

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On Blessed Are the Spots: Rock and 'rooms

Here are just two of many spiritual spots Bonita and I stood in during our visit to Beacon Rock State Park, the beach on Pierce Island and the mushroom-encircled log out in front of our campsite. Stand in either place and you will be blessed by the beauty of God's creation. -gw

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Baha'i Views Gone Local: The spirit of the Institute Process within our village

In the heyday of Baha'i Views, when blogging was new, I used to try to cover "Baha'i" online. I used to stand watch daily for mentions of Baha'i, posting my personal discoveries even four or five times a day. As my immediate Baha'i community has come to embrace the Institute Process and I have tried to align my individual efforts with the collective endeavor to raise up, as called for by the Unviersal house of Justice, the four core activities in neighborhoods here in the Tacoma area, the focus of my blog has changed to simply aspiring to cover my efforts and those of my dearly loved co-workers in this Baha'i cluster. There is no more stirring subject to cover on a personal blog than this, it seems to me now. I've gone local. Baha'i Views has gone from being an aggregator of news to a straightforward personal blog of just what is news to me here in my village.
But remembering the old Baha'i Views, people still occasionally send me items of interest. I am always happy to oblige these thoughtful souls by passing on what seems noteworthy. Thanks, Sahar, for this. Could be very useful for the children and youth participating in the Baha'i children's classes and junior youth groups here. -gw
My name is Sahar, and I am a fellow Baha'i blogger ( . I recently published a book with George Ronald (fiction, ages 10 and up). In short, the book follows a group of older children who are 10 years old as the deal with the various things in life in an 'elevated' fashion. The plan is to have 7 books in the series, one for each school year, and have the kids go through the junior youth program.

Monday, August 22, 2011

On Walking in Circles and Enjoying It More: The Naches Loop Trail

All 146 photos of our 8-20-11 hike of the Naches Loop Trail have been uploaded and are here. Mt Rainier views at their best! -gw

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On To Be As One: People travel far and struggle hard

We recently had dinner at Farhad and Bricelda's Friday along with Marc and his brother Peter whom he was visiting. Farhad is Persian, and Bricelda is from the Dominican Republic and reflects in her heritage the diversity of that Caribbean country. Marc and Peter are of Japanese-Chinese ancestry and hail from San Francisco originally
As a Japanese immigrant to the United States, Marc and Peter's mother had been interred during the Second World War, forced to leave her home, ultimately ending up living in old army barracks in Utah. We heard stories of how she coped.
In the course of the evening Farhad told of his travel from Iran via camel into Pakistan when he was 21 and his subsequent immigration to Canada and then the U.S. He has told this story before to the friends in our Baha'i study circle, but this was the first time Marc had heard it.
Marc said that his wife, also Persian, had traveled via camel to Pakistan when she was two. We wondered if she was in the same caravan with Farhad. If so, small world.
A highlight of the evening was our viewing together a bag of Farhad's momentos -- newspaper clippings, old tickets and IDs, and stamps --and hearing the stories associated with them.
People travel far and struggle hard to be as one. -gw

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On Surprising Occurences: The appearance of halos

An amazing thing happens at our Baha'i study circle almost every week. A halo appears around the radiant face of a participant.
Halos have been known to appear even in exotic, outdoor settings, as on our hike up at Mt Rainier. Must be a holy mountain. -gw

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On My Dwelling Place in the Mountains: Thanks, Bonita, for putting me there

Having a partner means doing things you wouldn't do it you were alone. In my case, I wouldn't be hiking, camping, canoeing as much -- or perhaps at all -- if it wasn't for Bonita. So thanks, Bonita, for Saturday.
We followed Annie and Ruhullah's example, who took the hike earlier in the week, and did the Naches Loop Trail starting at the Pacific Crest Trail parking lot above Tipsoo Lake. It was 3.5 miles around, with great views of the Mount Rainer, and a lot of snowfields to step unsteadily over.
And we weren't alone, that's for sure. Stop for lunch and every minute or two, or so it seemed, there was another hiking party to say hello to. A lot of these groups had children in tow, I'm happy to add. What a memorable experience for them to have, under brilliant sunshine.
The temperature on the thermometer on Bonita's REI-issue day pack read mid-80's on the south-facing part of the trail. The parking spaces at Tipsoo were jammed. There was even a contingent of visitors with their lawn chairs out on the sidewalk overlooking the lake. It was a glorious day to feel a part of the fabric of humanity.
And don't let me forget the flowers! Yes, lovely flora in great abundance. -gw
THOU seest, O my Lord, my dwelling-place in the heart of this mountain and Thou dost witness my forbearance. Verily I have desired naught else but Thy love and the love of those who love Thee. How can I extol the effulgent beauty of Thy Lordship, conscious as I am of my nothingness before the habitation of Thy glory?

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On the Baha'i Children's Class on South Wilkeson Street: Hilltop will never be the same

Last week we had the BBQ/Baha'i devotional there. Six days later we had Baha'i children's class filling up the chairs around the table set up on the front lawn of Kim and Charles' home. The kids around that table are playmates. During the Baha'i assistant's meeting three of us attending that visited the homes of these children to tell their parent's about what we were doing on the street. The Hilltop neighborhood will never be the same, given the influence these children will have on the world in the years to come. That's how powerful the spiritual education of children is. And it wasn't just kids at the table. Two parents sat coloring as well, Kim and Giana. -gw

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Monday, August 15, 2011

On Using Their Hands to Speak from the Heart: More video clips from the Baha'i assistants meeting

Their hands are in constant motion as these Baha'is speak from their hearts on the work of building community in the areas in which they live. -gw

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Friday, August 12, 2011

On Cooperation and Obediance: Written in soap on the bathroom mirror

Ruhiyyih reflects on the teaching work. -gw

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On Community Building through BBQing: The devotional at Coach Charles & Kim's

Looking north on Wilkeson, Hilltop neighborhood
It was Giana and Kim who brought up wanting to have a BBQ/devotional on the evening of the 9th of August, inspired by a Salishan devotional they had attended. And so, just as they requested, we gathered out on the front lawn of Charles and Kim's place, Tacoma Baha'is, a visitor from a country in Asia, and some visitors from the neighborhood.
We'll have a children's devotional next Monday at Charles & Kim's next Monday. A group of us last Saturday went to visit Wilkeson Street neighbors to invite them to allow their children to participate. We didn't get a single no. -gw

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On Reflecting on the Reflection Meeting: The Pierce County Baha'i Area Teaching Committee meeting

With the sound of children in the background, appropriately for any meeting held at Lisa's, the Area Teaching Committee met last week to reflect on the Baha'i reflection meeting and subsequent intensive phase that followed in July. Monday happened to be Lisa's birthday, so we celebrated that with a gift and a song. -gw

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On Free Baha'i Music For Download: TaliaSafa with some helpful links

This family is making Safa eyes, Talia eyes, and ahanu eyes in this photo set on Flickr. TaliaSafa is the source for what probably are still my most listened to Baha;i-inspired tracks on my iPod. Let me repost this helpful comment from TaliaSafa on some more places to find Baha'i-inspired music free for download. -gw

TaliaSafa has left a new comment on your post "On Free Baha'i Music For Download: Lovely":

I would like to point your readers to some other free Baha'i music downloads.

TaliaSafa Free Baha'i Song Downloads:

Elika Mahony continues to release free tracks available after signing up for her mailing list:

Andy Grammer's website has a free download:

Luke Slott periodically offers free instrumental music track downloads:

Hear the Writings (not exactly music, but audio Baha'i Writings and UHJ Letters and such):

Badi (Baha'i rapper) "The Departure album digital download load allows you to "name your price" with no minimum, so you can pay what you can for it:


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On Photos from the Baha'i Assistants Meeting in Bellevue: Dutiful and joyful

There were so many opportunities to get some really great shots of the friends dutifully and joyfully gathered at the Bellevue Baha'i Center last weekend, all Baha'i assistants with their Auxiliary Board members together with Continental Board of Counselors member Borna.Noreddin. These photos are just from Saturday. Photos from Sunday are yet to come. -gw

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On Winning Cooperation: Help is needed

This is a lovely video clip from the recent Baha'i assistants conference in Bellevue where a children's class teacher tells a story illustrating how she was able to win cooperation from two of the chldren in the class. -gw

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

On Another Reason Why Poor People Suffer: Nutritious food costs so much more

O CHILDREN OF DUST! Tell the rich of the midnight sighing of the poor, lest heedlessness lead them into the path of destruction, and deprive them of the Tree of Wealth. To give and to be generous are attributes of Mine; well is it with him that adorneth himself with My virtues.
Yesterday I went to the store hungry for fruit. It's the height of the soft fruit season. My favorite is a sweet nectarine. I got one, but I also got an apple, an orange, and an apricot. I ate them all, each one full of vitamins, I presumed. Total cost: $3.04.
Yesterday I also got something to put on the BBQ for an evening gathering. I got a package of 14 smoked sausages. I wasn't meaning to go "high on the hog," as my father used to say, but I wasn't intending to go cheap and spend only 99 cents on a package of hot dogs that were on sale at Saar's Supermarket. My package of 14 sausages totaled $4.49, just $1.44 more than the four pieces of fruit I had purchased earlier. Why is it that nutritious fruit and vegetables seem to cost so much and high fat processed meat costs so little?  Another reason why poor people suffer gw
Poor nutrition and low Houston property values are just two of the negative consequences of so-called "food deserts" - urban areas where there are insufficient grocery options available to residents, according to a recent editorial in the Houston Chronicle. To reach the per-capita average number of grocery stores in the area, the paper's editorial board says, Houston would need to add 185 facilities. This means that there are areas of Texas' largest city "where it's easier to buy beer than milk and hard to find an unfried potato. Chips and soda? No problem. Fresh greens, broccoli or grapefruit? Dream on," the board writes.

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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

On Baha'i Feast Perfection: Dancing in the Kitchen

Dancing in the kitchen wasn't the only highlight of the Feast of Asma hosted by Kim and Tiffany. In fact, that was unplanned "perfection." But the art activity as part of the Feast experience? That was in the planning of these two youthful Baha'i visonaries. Such is the spirit of devotion and innovation among the friends in Tacoma. -gw

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Monday, August 08, 2011

On Again Moments: Ethnic Fest and the life of the spirit

Saturday night Deb and Kristina did a homevisit to one of the people who visited the Baha'i booth at Ethnic Fest. Spent two hours talking to a fascinating woman who at the end said she would like to participate in a Baha'i study circle.
Visiting Ethnic Fest can be a powerful experience. Reflections on the Life of the Spirit, the subject of Ruhi Book 1, is an appropriate next step for someone who wants to move from individual experience to collective action. Often upon completion of the book, participants are moved to hold their own devotional meetings to whichthey invite their friends and neighbors, thereby providing another point of unity that palpably contributes to greater social cohesion. Book 1 is something that participants often revisit, upon completion of the entire sequence of course, as a tutor. Coming back to the material again and again there are inevitably further insights. -gw
Flickr] Jamie Frank has invited you to see the Ethnic Fest, first edit set on Flickr
George: When I attend an event there are precise moments that are the poetry of that event, sometimes a few, sometimes a bunch,..... and I always walk away with a sense that I blew the whole thing, muttering to myself that I only got a couple of shots .... My habit is to throw all of it up and then go back and look again. This is the 'again'.  -- Jamie

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On With Just an Evening Stroll: Feel a part of the fabric of humanity

The wonder of a city is that on certain evenings of a certain season you can have a sense of being a part of the fabric of humanity with just a stroll. -gw
...[L]ay ye the foundation of union and concord in this world; destroy ye the fabric of strife and war from the face of the earth; construct ye the temple of harmony and agreement; enkindle ye the light of the realm of the oneness of humanity; open ye your eyes; gaze and behold ye the other world! The Kingdom of peace, salvation, uprightness and reconciliation is founded in the Invisible World, and it will by degrees become manifest and apparent through the power of the Word of God!

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On Hey Big Brother: Wanna go for a little ride?

The car --  it was always a Ford -- was sitting on the driveway at home. My brother, who is 12 year's older, would be in the driver's seat. He would said, "Hey, little boy, wanna go for a little ride in the car?" The drive was simply to the garage at the end of the driveway, but I always declined. That was about 60 years ago.

Now that I am in my 60s, I have been able to turn things around. Each year I ask, "Hey, Dick, wanna go for a little ride in the ... canoe?" Each year he has greatly pleased me by saying yes and joining me for a week of paddles around Washington State. This year was no exception. -gw

Sunday, August 07, 2011

On Virtues Extolled: Renee returns from a homevisit

After doing our scheduled home visits to share deepening themes in two households, our study circle returned to de-brief. Renee extolled the virtues of dear Tiffany whose home she had visited as her Ruhi Book 2 practice. -gw

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On the Baha'i Program of Growth: Expansion and consolidation that is demonstrable

Tomorrow night the Area Teaching Committee meets for the first time since our 9-day intensive last month. We'll be assessing our progress, which we determine through reviewing cluster statistics, the accuracy of which is very important to Baha'is.

He that was hidden from mortal eyes is come. The impact of His coming is evident in a transformation taking place on the planet that is gaining momentum through the Institute Process.
... [A]ctive supporters of the Faith ...  have found the means for carrying forward the work of expansion and consolidation hand in hand --  the key to sustained growth -- is demonstrable."
The Universal House of Justice, 2007

Friday, August 05, 2011

On Semi-Pro Players Prayers: Profoundly moving

Football is a physical, some would say sometimes brutal, sport. Men pushing, tripping, tackling other men. Yet in the end, these men line up, shake hands, kneel on one knee and pray together. At least they do at the semi-pro games I go to. How profound are these prayers? God knows. I find very moving the sight of the circle of these men gathered at the end of the game. -gw

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On Closed for Repairs: Disappointment and the frustration of hopes shall surround the people from every direction

Sometimes "closed for repairs" looks like "permanently closed." But never fear... -gw

Know this, that hardships and misfortunes shall increase day by day, and the people shall be distressed. The doors of joy and happiness shall be closed on all sides. Terrible wars shall happen. Disappointment and the frustration of hopes shall surround the people from every direction until they are obliged to turn to God. Then the lights of great happiness shall enlighten the horizons, so that the cry of "Ya Baha'u'l-Abha!" may arise on all sides.--Tablet to L.D.B. quoted in Compilation on War and Peace, p. 187. ...

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On Mature and Experienced Baha'is: Responsibilities shouldered

I'm looking forward to the experience of spending the weekend with Baha'i "assistants" from the region, mature and experienced Baha'is who are a constant inspiration to me. Here are the beginnings of a set I took some months ago at the Brighton Creek Conference Center of Baha'is of this calibre.
His gifts of unfailing sympathy and penetrating insight, his wide knowledge and mature experience, all of which he utilised for the glory and propagation of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, will be gratefully remembered by future generations who, as the days go by, will better estimate the abiding value of the responsibilities he shouldered for the introduction and consolidation of the Bahá’í Faith in the Western world.

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On Can't Stand the Heat: Potlatch camp cook

Life is tough. Can't stand the heat? Then get out of the kitchen!
Bonita takes her kitchen with her on our outings. Lotta work. Nice view. Good food. -gw

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

On at the Height of Summer: Escaping the Heat in the Olympics

Much of the country -- and the world -- is suffering sweltering, debilitating heat. If parts of the globe are hot, I guess that still means, despite global warming, that parts of the world are cold. Relatively speaking, those of who live in Western Washington are cool. My brother said during his visit, that Washington's weather alone would bring people here to live. Makes sense to me.
So what do you do when it finally gets hot in Washington (i.e. 70 or 80 degree F)? Stay around home to enjoy the temps? NO! You go the mountains to feel cool. Bonita and I went to the Olympic Mountains recently, ancient peaks most of which were never covered by the glacial ice, geologically off the beaten path, so to speak. This fact accounts for the fact that there are some species, both plant and animal, that are found nowhere else. -gw
I have heard Shaykh Shahíd-i-Mazkán relate the following: “I was privileged to meet Siyyid Básir at the height of summer during his passage through Qamsar, whither the leading men of Káshán go to escape the heat of that town. Day and night, I found him engaged in arguing with the leading ‘ulamás who had congregated in that village. With ability and insight, he discussed with them the subtleties of their Faith, expounded without fear or reservation the fundamental teachings of the Cause, and absolutely confuted their arguments. No one, however great his learning and experience, was able to reject the evidences he set forth in support of his claims. Such were his insight and his knowledge of the teachings and ordinances of Islám that his adversaries conceived him to be a sorcerer, whose baneful influence they feared would ere long rob them of their position.”

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

On the Keys to Family Survival and Resilience: Spirituality and social support

It may seem like a commonplace idea to some, but I still get a thrill when I see acknowledgement in professional literature in my field of work of the importance of spirituality (and religion). Here are two slides from researcher Jill Berrick's presentation to a Washington State Courts Best Practices in Dependency conference (dealing with reunification of children who have been removed from the care of their parent) here in the county where I work. What contributes to family resilience? Right at the top, a spiritual foundation and social support are keys to family survival. This is what Baha'is offer to their neighbors through the grassroots-oriented, spiritually based Institute Process. -gw

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Monday, August 01, 2011

On We Follow Her Path to Brazil 2016: A hop hop long jump and other amazing feats

Jr Olympic Champion & World Record Holder Tierra Crockrell, 10yr old Track & Field "Phenom". The Hip Hop Network supports this young athlete. We follow her path to Brazil 2016
More coverage of the amazing Tierra, Baha'i Rocky Crockrell's granddaughter.
Football isn't the only sport that gets the attention of kids. Let's hear it for track and field! -gw

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On Can't Make It to Ethnic Fest: Others come in my stead

For the first time in years I couldn't make it to Ethnic Fest, Tacoma's annual middle of the summer celebration of diversity. But my friend Jamie was there to capture the moments, I thank God.
The Tacoma Baha'i Community had a booth up again as usual. Among those manning the booth were our own Tom and Renee, friends of the Faith who have been studying the Faith since last year's Ethnic Fest at which they encountered the Message of Baha'u'llah for the first time. In fact, this Thursday Renee and I will be doing a home-visit to practice presenting deepening themes as a Ruhi Book 2 practice. Here is the set of video clips from the first Baha'i devotional they attended in our home. -gw

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