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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. 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.

Celebration – An Album for the Twin Bicentenary Celebrations of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab

A spirit of loving collaboration really shines through the music on Celebration, an album in honor of the bicentenary anniversaries of the Births of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, Founders of the Baha’i Faith. Its 16 original tracks beautifully marry multicultural rhythms and sounds with extracts from the Baha’i Writings. The album was put together by a group of friends in Quebec, Canada, and I was able to ask Pierre Tremblay how it all came together. Here’s what he shared with me:  Continue reading

Cloud9: Jacqueline Claire on Painting as a Form of Prayer

Cloud9 is a podcast produced by Baha’i Teachings. Its aim is to feature interviews with artists and discuss what inspires them to make a positive contribution to the world. In this episode, Baha’i Teachings’ arts editor Shadi Toloui-Wallace interviews Jacqueline Claire about her life and career, exploring the role of art and faith in elevating her audiences and accessing the mystical realities. Continue reading

Mulla Husayn: A Book for Young Children by Alhan Rahimi

Alhan Rahimi is a lovely young mother who saw a need and filled it. She has recently written a book called Mulla Husayn: The Story of the Declaration of the Bab for Young Children. The colorful book includes soft illustrations and thoughtful text. I found myself sitting next to Alhan at this year’s ABS conference and it was wonderful to meet her. Here is what she shared about her book:

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

My name is Alhan Rahimi. I’m a Baha’i mother of two young girls (ages three and one). I also work as a medical Arabic interpreter and live in Ontario, Canada.

Baha’i Blog: What inspired you to write this book?

My children were my inspiration. I wanted my 3-year-old to have a better understanding of the Declaration of the Bab celebration. I actually want them both to have a good understanding of all the Baha’i Holy Days!

Continue reading

10 Personal Reflections that Refer to the Bab (Part 2)

“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, 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, and a few of their words about what the Baha’i Faith means to them or how it has touched their lives. 

We shared 200 portraits in 2017 to celebrate the Birth of Baha’u’llah, and we’ve been sharing another 200 portraits this year in honor of the Birth of the Bab. Our hope is that by sharing these pictures and excerpts, we will answer the call from the Universal House of Justice to communicate “a sense of what it means for humanity that these two Luminaries [the Bab and Baha’u’llah] rose successively above the horizon of the world.” (from a letter dated 18 May 2016 to all National Spiritual Assemblies)

Stay up to date by following the “Personal Reflections” social media pages on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

As the bicentennial celebrations for the Birth of the Bab draw nearer, we wanted to showcase another 10 portraits that have shared so far in which the participants speak about the Bab and His Revelation.  Continue reading

Message from the Universal House of Justice Marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab

The Universal House of Justice has just released a message marking the occasion of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab, Prophet-herald of the Baha’i Faith.

The letter can be found on the Baha’i International Community’s website dedicated to the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab and is available in several languages: bicentenary.bahai.org

Here is the message from the Universal House of Justice in English: Message from the Universal House of Justice Marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab Continue reading

With Oars and Compass – A Novel by Hamed Javaheri About Life’s Purpose

With Oars and Compass is a book I wish I had read many years ago. Written by Hamed Javaheri, it frames an exploration of the meaning and purpose of life in a narrative that is philosophical, romantic, and mysterious. We meet Jane Luwi Flynn and get to eavesdrop on the meaningful conversations she has with her friends, her growing friendship and attraction to Xavier, and her recurring dreams. The story pulls the reader along and the conversations among its characters make you pause and think. Compelling, informative, engaging, light-hearted, humorous and thought-provoking, With Oars and Compass would have been a book that I read cover to cover as a teenager and young adult when I was asking myself the same questions Jane asks. But really, it’s a novel for anyone and anytime.

Hamed graciously agreed to share what inspired him to write the novel. Here is our conversation:

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

I was born and raised in Zambia, Southern Africa, and have lived here for most of my life, with the exception of a brief period in Montreal, Canada, where I pursued my university education. My wife and I married when we were young, and we have three children—the first of which is about to venture off for his year of service before he enters university.

As a Baha’i, I am privileged to witness the impact of the Teachings on the human mind—and on youth in particular—as they come to recognize the potential they have to contribute to the wellbeing of their communities, and to the betterment of the world.

Continue reading

Cloud9: What’s Penn Badgley Doing When He’s Not on TV?

Cloud9 is a podcast produced by Baha’i Teachings. Its aim is to feature interviews with artists and discuss what inspires them to make a positive contribution to the world. In this episode, Baha’i Teachings’ arts editor Shadi Toloui-Wallace interviews Penn Badgley, actor, musician and social justice advocate. We talk about what he’s most passionate about and learn of his plans for the future.  Continue reading