Blogs by Bahais

A compilation


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History in the Building at the National Museum of Singapore

Yvonne is beginning to explore her new home in Singapore.

Stumbling Through the Past

I find buildings interesting, not the rectangular glass and concrete blocks which plague cities world-wide, but buildings that have a story. The building may demonstrate thought in its design or it may have been a place where people made stories which changed their society at the time or which we are interested in today.

The building housing the National Museum of Singapore is one of those buildings. On the weekend we travelled through the concrete and glass buildings that dominate the roads of Singapore and there it was – a statement of Singapore’s British colonial past.

White building with dome on top. The National Museum of Singapore.

It was opened in 1887 and has been extended and modified several times since. Most recently it was closed for over three years in the early years of this century for extensive renovation and expansion.

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Ebook Covers – More Paper Please

For anyone embarking on the ebook production journey.  

Pearlz Dreaming

More paperB Ebook Cover More Paper Please draft 1# -Photography by June Perkins, using templates

At the moment I am preparing covers for my ebooks.     

It was serendipitous that just as I was thinking about embarking on this an email came from Joel Friedlander, who has an excellent blog for advice for self publishers  THE BOOK DESIGNER.

You just have to do a brilliant job of your book cover as well as the content, as it’s the portal to invite readers to notice your book. A lot of authors will hand this over to others,  some will attempt it themselves and may do a great job or a terrible one (and not realise it).  I love the artistry of cover pages and so am keenly adding this to my skill set.  I have an amazing collection of my own photographs and collages and am doing new ones all…

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Islands and Dolls – the Aunties of my childhood

Memories of wonderful adopted Aunties.

Following the Crow Song

footprints

Agatha walks Flinders island, her grey hair wrapped in a bun and her footsteps purposeful and free.  Dagmar lives in the city with a room full of collectable dolls and makes delicious cups of tea.  Both are amongst the aunties of my childhood, as my mother’s sisters were unknown.

Dagmar was a dress shop owner who made cucumber sandwiches for feast.   Many Ayyam-i-ha celebrations she gave packages of dresses to my mother for me.

I loved those dresses as they were so unique.  Each one had its own personality.  One was my Heidi dress.  I liked that when I spun in it the circle skirt twirled; it seemed to be made for dance.  Another dress was very long and had a checked pattern and ruffles on the sleeves.  It made me feel like I could time travel, like in the time travel books I was into reading at the time.

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Growing Hope

Another beautiful blog from Dan, on his experiences teaching children’s classes. First posted September 8th 2013.

For more visit his blog Baha’i children’s Classes

football timeMany of the children in our neighbourhood class come from families who fled conflict in Myanmar (Burma) many years ago, having spent several years of their young lives in refugee camps before arriving in Canada. We tend to forget this sometimes when we teach the class, until they bring out the football with the UNHCR logo and start kicking it around—a symbol of a troubled past that echoes into the present.

That’s why I was shocked the very first time we offered a class on kindness, and heard one of the older children—one who only occasionally attended the class—say that he could never be kind to a Burmese. Why not, I asked? “Because they killed my family,” he replied. He had seen loved ones shot and killed before his eyes. How could he treat their killers with kindness? As I fell into a speechless silence, trying to find a way to respond, it seemed like the entire lesson fell apart in my mind. From my comfortable, sheltered vantage point as one who had never known war, loss and destitution, I had never considered how to respond to the needs of children who had endured that kind of suffering.

Many of our children, thankfully, are too young to have witnessed much of this violence themselves; they were born in the camps, after their families had already fled the conflict. But all of them have older siblings and cousins, some of whom were approaching the age of junior youth. At one point, as we were meeting together to reflect upon the neighbourhood’s progress, it became obvious to us that we should try to engage them by inviting them to form a junior youth empowerment group.

Now, usually we would start a new group with the book Breezes of  confirmation, because its content is most appropriate as an introduction to the program—a lower reading level, and simpler exercises that serve as a stepping stone to more complex ones in further books. But knowing the families we were involved with, and hoping to find ways to address what we saw as an important issue in their lives, we decided to experiment with another book, entitled Glimmerings of Hope.

In Glimmerings of Hope, we read about the story of Kibomi, a young boy who believes he can make a difference. Kibomi lives in a country full of strife, and one day, his parents are killed in front of his eyes by soldiers of another tribe. He runs for his life, and along the way, as he struggles to come to terms with the horrors he has just seen, he meets many people: a terrified child of his own tribe who has been driven to join a rebel army; children of the other tribe whose parents have also been killed; an old man of the other tribe who shows him kindness instead of hatred, sharing his food and shelter with him; and so on. The people he meets help him to see he has a choice: either to sink into despair, rage, violence and revenge, or to turn his suffering into fuel that will help him change the lives of those around him for the better. Doing the latter takes strength of character that he’s not sure he has, but as he meets more and more people who are working hard to build bonds of loving-kindness and unity between the warring tribes, he realizes that he can draw on their strength to build up his own. Eventually his feelings of fear and despair fade away, and he makes his choice—to work actively towards the betterment of the world.

After a few false starts, we ended up getting a group going with two sisters. As they began studying the book, it was clear that they could relate to the content. We asked them: What would you do if a Burmese came through the door right now? “Tell him to get out,” they exclaimed. “Yell at him, saying, ‘Why did you kill my family?’” But as they progressed further through the book in the following months, it was apparent that their attitudes were beginning to change. As their study of the book ended, we asked them the same question—and their answers had completely reversed. “I’d welcome him in, offer him something to drink, and make him feel comfortable,” they said. “I’d say, ‘I know you didn’t kill my family, what happened wasn’t your fault.’”

living together in harmonyEven in our children’s class, we manage to address the subject when it comes up, although in simpler terms. The children do seem to understand when we explain that we have a choice to treat people kindly or unkindly, and that there are consequences to either choice. When we treat others unkindly, they’re more likely to treat us unkindly, and vice-versa. The lessons in Set 4 of Ruhi Book 3′s Grade 2 curriculum, on the topic of living together in harmony and unity, were especially good for addressing this issue. It’s not always easy to tell if they’re really getting it, but their parents have told us that they’ve seen a definite improvement in their behaviour over the past year. One of the fathers said that he noticed his son was getting into fewer fights, and working things out using words instead—a sign that something’s working for sure.

As teachers of Bahá’í children’s classes and animators of junior youth groups, we’re engaged in an educational process that spans entire lifetimes. The time we have with these young people is short, but more often than not, it’s enough to make a big difference in their lives. Will these short years remove the trauma of losing loved ones, or erase the memories of violence and conflict? Not likely. All we can really do is offer tools that will help young souls to deal with their reality, and to regain hope and trust. As we do, we forge bonds of friendship with them and their families, getting to know them closely, like members of our own family. We learn from them, coming to understand who they are, what they’ve been through, how to serve them better, and how to help them arise in turn to serve others.

 This blog first appeared on Baha’i Children’s Classes and is kindlly reprinted here by permission.

(c) Dan Jones


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Nosh Magazine: Bringing some of Australia’s leading Dietitians to your computer

Ever a voice of reason and balance, Sonia on nutrition.

Nourish Me Simply

I often find my Facebook newsfeed and email inbox filling up with discussions around quacks who peddle misinformation and confusion around healthy eating. I’m not a fan of demonising an individual food or nutrient, and I’m certainly not a fan of the amount of money that such an overly-simplistic approach can make. But I’m also not keen on ‘bashing’ individuals for promoting these kind of approaches to eating. Personal attacks easily step into the realm of maliciousness, and I have never seen them to be very effective- they just get people’s backs up.

Adopting a more constructive approach and taking small steps to help others realign their approach to food, however… Now, that’s the way forward.

That’s why I was excited to come across Nosh a month or two ago, on another Dietitian’s blog, Cheering for Nutrition. Nosh is a new online magazine that is published by Australian Dietitians. All of its content comes from Accredited Practising…

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Detachment

Some thoughts on detachment by John.

the Book of Pain

IMG_1719a

She holds and twists her long telling tale
of tangled and torn-at knots: blue ones, red ones,
yellow ones, green, her nails worn to the quick
sorting the strands of the rough, tough fibers,
tiny dark stains bled into the ragged ends.

Blue ones, I think, for the oceans of ink wept
and yet to be written; red ones for the nights that
the sharp-tongued are out, and yellow for the spot
to stand firm on. (The blow, it’s certain, is coming,
yet you stand there just the same.) And finally
green, dark green, that whispering green,
that green-green germ that grows inside you:
the one you eat whole and alive, or it eats you up
from the inside out—the one you want so very much
because you planted it there just for you. That one.

As much as it is to take her hands and gently warm
them to a stop, I don’t—I won’t—I can’t. They are
not mine…

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Peace Project

A peace project for artists. ..

Gumbootspearlz Photography

pearlzofpeacesmall1

It’s that time of year again when the Peace Project is on, in the Whole9 Community.

Above is one of my entries for this year.

The theme for The Peace Project’s 5th Annual Call for Artists is “Peace Starts Here,”This international juried art competition and exhibition connects peace-minded individuals everywhere in the pursuit of a better world that art can help create.

They invite us to join hands with us and share our vision of “where peace starts”.

The Peace Project has accomplished the support of many vital projects with the help of artists worldwide.

They waive the entry theme for artists outside of North America and those unable to use paypal.

You have until September to get your entry in.

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