Thursday, February 23, 2012

On Black History in Surprising Places: Black farmer in the Skagit Valley

It's Black History Month. Washington State has black history -- in some surprising places. Take Mt Vernon, Skagit County WA. Not a lot of black people lived there. Especially years ago. Eve grew up there. On a farm, Not many black farmers in Washington State. Her father was one. Also worked as a janitor at a local school to make ends meet. I loved hearing Eve's stories about life on the farm as told at our Baha'i devotional meetings held at Wright Park a decade ago. She shared some of these same stories at her 60th birthday celebration held some months ago at Tacoma's historically black Caballeros Club. -gw

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Saints of the World: So Christ-like

Jamie found this chalk art on a concrete wall in Tacoma. There really is a St John of Napomuk. To be a saint in one part of the world is to be remembered in another. Such is the world today. -gw
Chapter XVI: The Rise and Establishment of the Faith in the West
It was on September 23, 1893, a little over a year after Bahá’u’lláh’s ascension, that, in a paper written by Rev. Henry H. Jessup, D.D., Director of Presbyterian Missionary Operations in North Syria, and read by Rev. George A. Ford of Syria, at the World Parliament of Religions, held in Chicago, in connection with the Columbian Exposition, commemorating the four-hundredth anniversary of the discovery of America, it was announced that “a famous Persian Sage,” “the Bábí Saint,” had died recently in ‘Akká, and that two years previous to His ascension “a Cambridge scholar” had visited Him, to whom He had expressed “sentiments so noble, so Christ-like” that the author of the paper, in his “closing words,” wished to share them with his audience.

The Báb, Forerunner of Bahá'u'lláh
"His life is one of the most magnificent examples of courage which it has been the privilege of mankind to behold..."

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On Ernie's Quest: Find Baha'i video

Ernie's Quest from on Vimeo.

Looking for Baha'i video? So is Ernie. Let him show the way. -gw

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Monday, February 20, 2012

On the Spirit of Ayyam-i-Ha: Making its annual visit

The spirit of Ayyam'i-Ha is showing up all over the social media. Walter Heath has the spirit. So does Rachel Price. -gw

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On Though Unaccustomed To Walking: He covered seven farsangs on foot

Yesterday a hike up a logging road above the Skookumchuck, last week a hike in surprising Lake Isabella State Park -- there is nothing like a hike to make you feel tired and young at the same time.  -gw
Bonita prepares for a walk in the woods...
He himself was meanwhile directing his steps towards Nayríz. Though unaccustomed to walking, he covered, that night, seven farsangs on foot. ...
Vahíd ... made his way through the mountains until he reached the district of Bavanat-i-Fárs. Most of its inhabitants, who were numbered among his fervent admirers, readily embraced the Cause, among whom was the well-known Ḥájí Siyyid Ismá’íl, the Shaykhu’l-Islám of Bavánat. A considerable number of these people accompanied him as far as the village of Fasa, where the inhabitants refused to respond to the Message which he invited them to follow. -gw

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On First Impressions of Tacoma: Park pleasures

Wright Park, summer 2011, by Jamie Frank
When our neighbor Renee came over for tea Sunday morning, she talked about her first impressions of Tacoma upon arrival. Visiting Wright Park, Tacoma's oldest, she noted the diversity of those enjoying its pleasures. -gw
Behold a beautiful garden full of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Each flower has a different charm, a peculiar beauty, its own delicious perfume and beautiful colour. The trees too, how varied are they in size, in growth, in foliage—and what different fruits they bear! Yet all these flowers, shrubs and trees spring from the self-same earth, the same sun shines upon them and the same clouds give them rain.
So it is with humanity. It is made up of many races, and its peoples are of different colour, white, black, yellow, brown and red—but they all come from the same God, and all are servants to Him. This diversity among the children of men has unhappily not the same effect as it has among the vegetable creation, where the spirit shown is more harmonious. Among men exists the diversity of animosity, and it is this that causes war and hatred among the different nations of the world.
Abdu'l-Baha. Beauty and Harmony in Diversity, Paris Talks

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

On Poverty and Toxic Stress: Home visitation as intervention

Bill passed on these NYT items on poverty, toxic stress, and effective intervention with young children.
One successful example of early intervention is home visitation by childcare experts, like those from the Nurse-Family Partnership. This organization sends nurses to visit poor, vulnerable women who are pregnant for the first time. The nurse warns against smoking and alcohol and drug abuse, and later encourages breast-feeding and good nutrition, while coaxing mothers to cuddle their children and read to them. This program continues until the child is 2.
At age 6, studies have found, these children are only one-third as likely to have behavioral or intellectual problems as others who weren’t enrolled. At age 15, the children are less than half as likely to have been arrested.
Changing that social structure is going to require many kinds of changes, but the point of this latest research is that we have to start early. By the time a child reaches kindergarten, it’s not exactly too late. But it’s certainly harder.

Baha'is know the significance of home visiting and do it for the purpose of community building. -gw

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

On Beauty in Life: We are all dancers

The dancers at Melonlight stood on another shore. We gaze at them in wonder and awe. The human being has the capacity to create such beauty in life. We are all dancers. -gw

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On Standing On the Shore of An Industrial Inland Sea: With Me

Bonita stood on the shore of Johnny's Sea the other day with me. Despite the overcast skies, downtown Tacoma's waterway looked inviting, die-hard canoers that we are. -gw

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

On the Best Shine Tidelands Canoeing Set Ever: Saturday is for family and nest

Bonita and I both love routines. I may not keep a personal calendar or be very good about planninng ahead, but I get things done by assigning a time and a day to an activity. My weekly routine has been worked out in consultation with my wife.
I work 40 hours a week, but have almost an hour commute each way. So take 50 hours a week out of my discretionary time to put food on the table.
  1. Sunday is for taking pictures at the Tacoma Invaders football practice and for supporting the Tigers/Invaders junior youth group.
  2. Monday night is reserved for either Assembly meetings or Area Teaching Committee meetings. Occasionally that is a free night.
  3. Tuesday is our Ruhi Book 4 study circle on the Twin Manifestations.
  4. Wednesday is reserved as our family night, just Bonita and me.
  5. Thursday is the Tigers/Invaders Book 1 study circle on Reflections on the Life of the Spirit.
  6. Friday is the Tigers/Invaders community devotional.
  7. Saturday is our family day, for hiking, camping, canoeing, or projects for keeping "the nest" in order.
Last Saturday Bonita and I went canoeing for the first time in 2012. The day was perfect, the photography exquisite. -gw

Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.
“Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá”, sec. 92, p. 122 [55]

Thursday, February 09, 2012

On the Men of Good Character Playing Semi-Pro Football in Tacoma: Well is it with them

A good character is, verily, the best mantle for men from God. With it He adorneth the temples of His loved ones. By My life! The light of a good character surpasseth the light of the sun and the radiance thereof. Whoso attaineth unto it is accounted as a jewel among men. The glory and the upliftment of the world must needs depend upon it. A goodly character is a means whereby men are guided to the Straight Path and are led to the Great Announcement. Well is it with him who is adorned with the saintly attributes and character of the Concourse on High.
Will Crumbley, the owner of the Invaders, calls upon his players to show good character.
I have never seen the Tacoma Invaders practices so animated and upbeat. The Superbowl may be over, but football isn't -- especially for the 100s of semi-pro teams that play spring football across the country.
The Invaders season starts with some non-league games in April. I can't wait! One of them is with the Yakima Mavericks, the team Coach Juan was associated with during his semi-pro playing days. He said his family is going to treat us good over there. I'm thinking, homemade Mexican food, made with love. -gw

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

On Just the Kind of Sound Junior Youth Enjoy: For morning devotions

Nabil has just the kind of sound that members of the X-Panda junior youth group enjoy. This song would great for a Tigers/Invaders devotional, too -- a morning devotional. -gw

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

On Wondering Together: The virtue of reflective practices

Consultative Stance
In their recent book,
Mental Health Consultation in Child Care, Johnston and Brinamen (2006) capture the principles and practices of the consultative stance essential for the collaborative and capacity building elements of early childhood mental health consultation. They describe the consultative stance as a "way of being" that highlights the mutual responsibilities and "shared endeavor" of the consultant and the staff, caregivers, or family members. By "wondering together", the consultant assists caregivers in understanding a child’s behavior and participating in changes that may promote, prevent, or intervene in the social emotional development or challenging behavior of young children. The consultative stance helps those involved with the child to explore their understanding of the child and family and consider new information or ideas. Through patience, perspective, and reflective learning, consultants use their relationships with the caregivers to build the capacity of the caregivers so that they can become empathic and responsive to a child in new and effective ways.
I presented at the Head Start Conference at Fort Worden this year on "Case Consultation to Support Reflective Practice in Home Visitation" to an audience of mostly Early Head Start homevisitors. Reflective practice sounds so mysterious, but it really is "wondering together." In EHS there is a commitment to line staff having the benefit of reflective supervision. Interestingly, in my faith community we come together for Reflection Meetings every three months. Reflective practises are widespread outside of the EHS community and are widely practiced within the human community. How many societies gather aroud a fire to wonder together before coming to make collective decisions? Wonder together is what we do as well at the Pennisulas Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation group meetings. -gw

Practices Associated with the Consultative Stance

  • Observing
  • Understanding different perspectives
  • Identifying and accepting feelings
  • Information gathering
  • Acknowledging and valuing the experience of others
  • Sharing ideas clearly
  • Soliciting ideas from others
  • Developing hypotheses in collaboration
  • Avoiding the "expert" posture
  • Encouraging reflection  
  • Building on relationships
  • Supporting step-by-step change, enduring set-backs, and holding out hope
  • (Adapted from Johnston & Brinamen, 2006)

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    On the Impact of the Father on Early Childhood Mental Health: Strategies for engagement

    My friend Jay-Dub and his daughter

    What is the impact of the father on early childhood mental health?
    At the end of his moving testimony, Chuck told the committee, “I attribute much of who I am to the Head Start program and my life mission to be the father to my children that I never had in part is a result of the life‐lessons I learned while in Head Start.”
    There are wonderful "fatherhood strategies" incorporated in this comprehensive and fairly recent powerpoint. -gw

    Monday, February 06, 2012

    On the Most Widely Practiced American Art Form: The Mixtape as artistic work

    A Mix Tape or Mixed Tape is a compilation of songs recorded in a specific order, traditionally onto an audio Compact Cassette.
    A Mix Tape, which usually reflects the musical tastes of its compiler, can range from a casually selected list of favorite songs, to a conceptual mix of songs linked by a theme or mood, to a highly personal statement tailored to the tape's intended recipient. Essayist Geoffrey O'Brien has called the personal mix tape "the most widely practiced American art form",and many mix tape enthusiasts believe that by carefully selecting and ordering the tracks in a mix, an artistic statement can be created that is greater than the sum of its individual songs.
    With the advent of affordable, consumer-level digital audio, creating and distributing mixes in the form of compact disc or MP3 playlists has become the contemporary method of choice, but the term mix tape is still commonly used, even for mixes in different media
    I’ve been putting together mix CDs again (it doesn't make sense to me to call them mixtapes). Now that I'm DJ-ing for the All-Staff meetings at my work, I’ve taken to asking co-workers what their favorite songs are. I’ve been getting lists that will help me with my next all-staff playlist. A DJ has GOT to play to his audience. Here's Steve's song list.
    > Hi George,
    > Sorry I've taken so long to get this to you. Here are some of my favorites:
    > Fanfare for the Common Man- Copland
    > Rainbow Serpent- Didgeridoo Music not sure who the artist is
    > Ghost in this house- Alison Krause
    > How's the World Treating you- James Taylor and Alison Krause
    > Dreamin my dreams with you- Alison Krause
    > Amy Winehouse- Im no good
    > Andrea boccelli- Por Ti Volare
    > King Louis song from the Jungle book and Bear Necesities
    > Bear Mountain Picnic- Bob Dylan
    > Rasputin- Boney M
    > Spirit in the Night- Bruce Springstein
    > Hard Headed Woman- Cat Stevens
    > Fu## You- Cee Lo Green
    > I will wait for You- Connie Francis
    > Superman Song- Crash Test Dummies
    > I will follow you into the dark- Death cab for cutie
    > Groove is in the Heart- Dee Lite
    > Deuling Banjos- Deliverance
    > Somebody- Depeche Mode
    > Whip it- Devo
    > Down with the sickness- Disturbed
    > Drift away- Dobie Gray
    > Vincent- Don Mclean
    > Freakin at the freakers ball- Dr. Hook
    > Your Song- Elton John
    > Juke Box Hero- foriegner
    > Boyz in the Hood- Ghetto Boys
    > Hotel California- Gypsy Kings
    > Patience- Guns&Roses
    > Put the lime in the coconut- Harry Nilsson
    > 99 Problems- Hugo
    > Hooty Hoo- WA WA Punx
    > Take me the way I am- Ingrid Michaelson
    > Hallelujah- Jeff Buckley
    > I dont know how to love him- Jesus Christ Superstar Soundtrack (the movie not the musical)
    > A little help from my friends- Joe Cocker
    > Texas Funeral- John Wayne
    > The beast in me- Johnny Cash
    > Hurt- Johnny Cash
    > Gypsy- Kan Nal
    > Dream on- Kelly Sweet
    > The Gambler- Kenny Rogers
    > Just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in- Kenny Rogers
    > Smile- Madeleine Peyroux
    > Hero of the day-  Metalica
    > Little lion Man- Mumford Sons
    > The cave- Mumford sons
    > Summer time- Mungo Jerry
    > Smoothie Song- Nickel Creek
    > Just Breathe- pearl jam
    > Hey There Delilah- Plain White Tees
    > Kiss- Prince 
    > I want to break free- Queen
    > Star Light- Slash featuring Miles Kennedy
    > I saw red- Sublime
    > The Diva Dance- The Fifth Element Soundtrack
    > Lost in my mind- The head and the heart
    > Mr. Brightside- the killers
    > Lola- The Kinks
    > Science Fiction Double feature- Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack
    > Happy jack- The Who
    > Crystalized- The XX
    > Thats not my name- Ting Tings
    > Gimme one reason- Tracey Chapman
    > Why cant I get just one kiss- Violent Femmes
    > Werewolves of London- Warren Zevon
    > Beverly Hills- Weezer
    > Teenage Dirtbag- Wheatus
    > Mexican Blackbird- ZZ top
    > Steven
    I didn't know that Gypsy Kings had a version of Hotel California? As one friend says, you never can have enough music. -gw 
    Unity is not, that is, merely a condition resulting from a sense of mutual goodwill and common purpose, however profound and sincerely held such sentiments may be, any more than an organism is a product of some fortuitous and amorphous association of various elements. Unity is a phenomenon of creative power, whose existence becomes apparent through the effects that collective action produces and whose absence is betrayed by the impotence of such efforts. However handicapped it often has been by ignorance and perversity, this force has been the primary influence driving the advancement of civilization, generating legal codes, social and political institutions, artistic works, technological achievements without end, moral breakthroughs, material prosperity, and long periods of public peace whose afterglow lived in the memories of subsequent generations as imagined "golden ages". ...

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    On The Baha'i Feast of Mulk: God's dominion

    We celebrate the Feast of Mulk here in Tacoma at Barry's tonight. I love the intimacy of his home. -gw

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    On Twanoh in January: Snow along the path

    Last Saturday it was snow we found on our excursion into nature. -gw
    Verily, the wayfarer who journeyeth unto God, unto the Crimson Pillar in the snow-white path, will never reach unto his heavenly goal unless he abandoneth all that men possess: “And if he feareth not God, God will make him to fear all things; whereas all things fear him who feareth God.”

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    On Controversy and Conflict: Justice and equity are two guardians for the protection of man

    Controversy and conflict rages around the world regarding events past and present. What really happened? Was justice served? Jamie chronicles one such controversy in the photo set above.

    Wikipedia often serves as a battleground for controversy.

    This is a list of previously controversial issues among Wikipedia editors. A controversial issue is one where its related articles are constantly being re-edited in a circular manner, or is otherwise the focus of edit warring. This page is conceived as a location for articles that regularly become biased and need to be fixed, or articles that were once the subject of an NPOV dispute and are likely to suffer future disputes. Other articles not yet classified as "controversial" have some edit conflict issues. The divisive nature of disputed subjects have triggered arguments, since opinions on a given issue differ as they are debated. These subjects are responsible for a great deal of tension among Wikipedia editors, reflecting the debates of society as a whole. Perspectives on these subjects are particularly subject to time, place, and culture of the editor.

    There are 1581 references to justice in the Baha'i Writings. Here is a paragraph from Shoghi Effendi's book-length letter The Advent of Divine Justice.  -gw

    The purpose of justice is the appearance of unity among men.” “No radiance,” He declares, “can compare with that of justice. The organization of the world and the tranquillity of mankind depend upon it.” “O people of God!” He exclaims, “That which traineth the world is Justice, for it is upheld by two pillars, reward and punishment. These two pillars are the sources of life to the world.” “Justice and equity,” is yet another assertion, “are two guardians for the protection of man. They have appeared arrayed in their mighty and sacred names to maintain the world in uprightness and protect the nations.” “Bestir yourselves, O people,” is His emphatic warning, “in anticipation of the days of Divine justice, for the promised hour is now come. Beware lest ye fail to apprehend its import, and be accounted among the erring.” “The day is approaching,” He similarly has written, “when the faithful will behold the daystar of justice shining in its full splendor from the dayspring of glory.” “The shame I was made to bear,” He significantly remarks, “hath uncovered the glory with which the whole of creation had been invested, and through the cruelties I have endured, the daystar of justice hath manifested itself, and shed its splendor upon men.” “The world,” He again has written, “is in great turmoil, and the minds of its people are in a state of utter confusion. We entreat the Almighty that He may graciously illuminate them with the glory of His Justice, and enable them to discover that which will be profitable unto them at all times and under all conditions.” And again, “There can be no doubt whatever that if the daystar of justice, which the clouds of tyranny have obscured, were to shed its light upon men, the face of the earth would be completely transformed.”

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    Thursday, February 02, 2012

    On I Have Breathed Within Thee: O SON OF THE WONDROUS VISION!

    The lyrics are from the Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah.

    Arabic Hidden Word No 19
    I have breathed within thee a breath of My own Spirit, that thou mayest be My lover. Why hast thou forsaken Me and sought a beloved other than Me?

    Link to Hidden Words

    Photographs by Derek Thompson

    Thanks, Derek, for bringing this to my attention. -gw
    I thought you may like to share this Paul Parrish song. An old song but the video I have just put up on youtube.

    Thanks for showing the Anke Keitel song O God Guide Me I made that video and was delighted to see "as seen on Baha'i Views" appear. I don't know who requested that!

    Warmest Greetings

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    Wednesday, February 01, 2012

    On In One Big Room: Great to be together

    It's February already, and I am just poting on stuff that happened weeks ago. Like the MLK Day potluck at Time and Deb's. I marvel at the cross section of Baha'is and friends of the Faith that showed. It was such a thrill to see Linda and Robert Carpenter and their lovely grandchildren, to visit with Darachan and Kiri at long last, great to hear Tony's stories about teaching in the Soviet Union, to see Tim & Deb's newly published children's book, to see Jardana's lovely nails which she did herself, to have Charles' other grandchild be able to join us, to see Immaculate and meet her other half, Natural, and have Matt and his children and junior youth be able to hang out in Tim and Deb's big room. -gw

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    On In the Thick of Things: The Baha'i core activites don't take us above the problems of the world

    One of the players who showed up for the Invaders practice Sunday lives at the Rescue Mission shelter currently. He travels about town on a skateboard. He's not a kid. He's a man with a dream and strong aspirations.
    We encounter the very real problems of the world through the effort of providing the Baha'i core activities. There is poverty to start with. Homelessness. And the effects of substance abuse. Think crack babies. Behavior problems in chidren's class aren't always of the minor and mild variety. We're not afraid of the problems people have. We have expertise. We have Baha'is who have been there. We have resolve, commitment -- and assurance of the outcome of our efforts. It won't be easy. -gw

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    On the Cutting Edge of Baha'i Expansion: The meeting of the cluster agencies

    I told my wife last night that being at our Cluster Agencies meeting gives me the feeling of being on the absolute cutting edge of the Baha'i expansion process. -gw

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    On Using Mix CDs to Connect Hearts and Minds: Good for learning the Baha'i Writings, too

    I've been collecting music since the early 1990's. Our public library has always had an extensive CD collection. It has been my primary resource for new discoveries.
    My personal collection was kept on cassette tapes in the beginning. During the early years as a DJ -- a "devotional jockey" -- at our monthly "spiritual meeting," as we called our public devotional back then, I would cue up the songs I wanted to play using the cassette player in the Dodge Caravan while driving to and from work. The collection of cassette tapes still exists, sitting in a plastic bin in the garage somewhere.
    My collection grew even faster when I switched over to burning mix CDs of my finds when we got a computer in 1999. I have suitcases full of the discs in slim plastic jewel cases. I began buying Baha'i music.
    Then came the iPod my kids gave me for my 60th birthday. More opportunities to listen, organize and study the songs of my collection.
    I began DJ-ing as part of my job as a mental health consultant to Head Start. I put together special collections around parenting, managing stress and the like. They were great for parent meetings and staff trainings.
    I started to DJ for the company picnic and for the annual Brighton Creek Arts Festival weekend. Now  I DJ for our companies quarterly all-staff. Great fun to chose just the right playlist to connect hearts and minds into a common purpose.
    Currently I'm using mix CDs as a way to help Matt and his family to connect to the Baha'i Writings. I give them a new CD every week. With a song here and a song there, I'm introducing them to the broad diversity of artists performing Baha'i-inspired music today. The family loves music -- not unusual for Samoan-Americans, as I've come to learn. -gw
    The latest mix CD I passed on to Matt last Sunday
    A "Baha'i-inspired" mix CD
    Computers were invented to collect music

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