All posts by Sonjel Vreeland. Browse Other Authors

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

Hommage à Abdu’l-Baha (Tribute to Abdu’l-Baha) – An Album by Lucie Dubé

Lucie Dubé is a singer, songwriter, and composer originally from Sherbrooke, Quebec (Canada). For over 25 years she has been composing and performing music all over the world. Her most recent musical initiative is an album titled Hommage à Abdu’l-Baha, which is French for “Tribute to Abdu’l-Baha” as this work was created in honor of the centenary of His Passing. The album includes 13 Baha’i Writings sung in French by a choir (comprised of 40 singers and soloists) accompanied by piano, string quartet and flute.

Lucie graciously agreed to tell us about her album. Here is what she shared:

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Where the Light Comes In – The Third Book of an Illustrated Trilogy by Alice Williams

Artist Alice Williams recently published Where the Light Comes In, the third instalment in a trilogy of illustrated books filled with her artwork as well as divinely-inspired quotes and meditations from Abdu’l-Baha and others.

Alice graciously agreed to tell us about Where the Light Comes In, as well as about the whole trilogy and the artwork featured — some of which is included below. We hope you enjoy!

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’ve been a Baha’i since 1978. My daughters, Aimee and Jenny, were young children then and I was happy to discover the Faith in time to raise them in it. I’ve held a number of non-art related jobs, but I’ve been a painter and photographic artist since I served in the art department at Maxwell Baha’i School in Canada in the mid ’90s. I try to use my art for service any way I can. I illustrate, edit and sometimes write for a Baha’i-inspired nonprofit, Oceti Wakan, with Cindy Catches, a long-time pioneer on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and a dear friend who taught me the Faith. I assist her in creating curriculum for children and youth for the prevention of addiction and suicide, and to preserve Lakota culture. Along with my family, I also do art projects with Central American refugee children and create art from them for fundraising and awareness. One project is currently on display at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. I’m active in my Baha’i community in Camarillo, California. I’m blessed to be a mother and grandmother as well.

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e*lix*ir: A Baha’i-Inspired Journal of the Arts

e*lix*ir (www.elixir-journal.org) is a Baha’i-inspired journal of the arts founded and edited by Sandra Lynn Hutchison. The journal, which is released twice a year and which has published an impressive 13 volumes thus far, offers stories, poetry, essays, and art by a diversity of emerging and established artists.

Sandra graciously agreed to tell us about the journal and we’re delighted to share our conversation with you: Continue reading

Universal House of Justice Releases Film “Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour”

The Universal House of Justice has commissioned a feature film called Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour that reflects on the efforts and learning carried out by a burgeoning Baha’i community since the passing of Abdu’l-Baha in 1921, and it outlines the journey that has led to the community’s current efforts to contribute to the emergence of a world organized around the principle of the oneness of humanity.

The film is available in seven languages and can be streamed or downloaded.

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Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour

The Universal House of Justice has commissioned a feature film called Glimpses of a Hundred Years of Endeavour that reflects on the efforts and learning carried out by a burgeoning Baha’i community since the passing of Abdu’l-Baha in 1921, and it outlines the journey that has led to the community’s current efforts to contribute to the emergence of a world organized around the principle of the oneness of humanity. Continue reading

Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World – Collection 23

“Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World” is a Baha’i Blog initiative in honor of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, the two Prophet-founders of the Baha’i Faith.

In this initiative, we share portraits of Baha’is and their friends from different countries and territories all over the world, along with a few of their words about what the Baha’i Faith means to them or how it has touched their lives. Continue reading

Letter from the Universal House of Justice Regarding the Upcoming Nine Year Plan of the Worldwide Baha’i Community

A major letter dated 30 December, 2021 from Universal House of Justice to the conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors has been released. The message highlights the priorities before the worldwide Baha’i community in its efforts to foster social transformation and provides insights for the community’s future development. Continue reading

The Winter Cloak – A Novel for Children About Abdu’l-Baha

The Winter Cloak is a short novel for young readers by Ronald (Ron) Tomanio. It tells the fictional story of an impoverished ten year old named Ahmed who meets Abdu’l-Baha in November 1921, who is given a cloak by Him, and who becomes one of the many who mourn His Passing.

Although a work of fiction, Ron draws on historical texts to bring his story to life and to give young readers a sense of what it would have been like 100 years ago, to lament and grieve the loss of Abdu’l-Baha.

Ron graciously agreed to tell us about his book. Here’s what he shared with the Baha’i Blog team:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m 74 years old, married for 40 years to a wonderful woman named Karen. We have two daughters and five grandchildren who are all Baha’is. Karen and I live in the shadow of Green Acre a few miles away in Eliot, Maine (USA). I became a Baha’i at Green Acre when I was 17. My early teachers were Stanwood Cobb and Curtis Kelsey. Both men knew Abdu’l-Baha and all they wanted to talk about was Him, which was fine with me. I wrote my first children’s book 27 years ago. It was called Lilly & Peggy for George Ronald. I write mostly books for children, but did co-author With Thine Own Eyes: Why Imitate When You Can Investigate Reality? for George Ronald. This is a book I didn’t want to write because it diverted my focus from writing books for children.

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What Hast Thou Done? – An Album by Vedad Theophilus

What Hast Thou Done? is an album by Vedad Theophilus. It’s a collection of sacred writings and poetry and its songs perfectly marry Flamenco and Persian musical styles.

It’s not every day that you come across such unique music so I was delighted when Vedad agreed to tell us more about her album. Here’s what she shared:

Baha’i Blog: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am a fifth generation Baha’i, beginning with an early believer, Haji Mulla Mihdi-i-‘Atri, the father of the poet and martyr Varqa. For generations my family esteemed the arts of music and poetry. As everyone, while still in my mother’s womb, I listened to the rhythmic beating of my mother’s heart in the darkness. As a child, I awoke early each dawn to the sweet melody of prayers chanted by my father. I was persuaded to memorize many prayers and I developed a passion for chanting and singing as a young child. If I was not singing, I could be found painting and drawing, evolving into another passion which later became my University major.

I feel fortunate to have begun singing so early in my life. Much research demonstrates that musical training enhances a child’s brain development by producing physical changes in brain structure and function. Abdu’l-Baha recommends that music be taught in the school “because of its power to uplift the spirit and to brighten life with enjoyment.”

Although I grew up in a Persian culture, I quickly became attracted to the Flamenco music of the Gypsies after my family and I immigrated to Spain. I found an underlying coherence between native Persian music and Spain’s Flamenco music. What began as an experiment in blending the two musical traditions together evolved into a unique style of sharing the beauty and truth of spiritual reality.

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