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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.

Roya Mottahedeh’s Circle Baha’i Calendar Design for 176 BE (2019-2020)

A friend recently brought to my attention the beauty of the Baha’i calendar, or the Badi calendar. A few days later I found myself talking about the calendar to someone else who asked me what day and month it was and I’m sorry to admit, I was really caught off-guard. I’ve been teaching my children Jack Lenz’ “Song of the Months” but other than that, we haven’t sufficiently integrated the Baha’i months and days of the week into our lives: Monday to Friday is significant to our family, but we have yet to see the work and school week in terms of Kamal to Istiqlal.
I was excited to see that Roya Mottahedeh has produced another circle Baha’i calendar in honor of this new year, 176 BE. This is her third year designing a stunning circular calendar and I wanted to learn more about the process behind making this calendar and how she approached it. Here’s what Roya shared with me:

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9 Works of Baha’i Writings & Letters Released in 175 BE (2018-2019)

As a new Baha’i year begins, I am profoundly grateful to the Universal House of Justice for releasing a wealth of newly translated and compiled Writings for us to study, as well as writing several letters to the Baha’is of the World, over the last year. Here is a short list of what has been made publicly and freely available to us in English including Tablets, prayers, compilations, and letters: Continue reading

New Compilation on Prayer and Devotional Life from the Baha’i World Centre

The Baha’i World Centre has recently released a new compilation on prayer and devotional life which can be read online at the Baha’i Reference Library here. Prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, this compilation features extracts from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, the Bab, and Abdu’l-Baha and the letters of Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice.  Continue reading

BWNS: A Vision of Peace, Stories from the Democratic Republic of Congo

In this podcast episode from the Baha’i World News Service, we hear about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where wars and conflicts have claimed millions of lives and uprooted even more. But throughout the country, there are communities that are learning to transcend the traditional barriers that divide people. In this episode, you can listen to stories that offer a glimpse into some Congolese communities where people are working together and drawing on Baha’i Teachings to transform their collective life. Continue reading

Four Spiritual Benefits of Fasting: A Personal Reflection

As Baha’i Blog ends its seventh year, I can’t help but be amazed at the different perspectives with which a diversity of Baha’i Blog writers have approached the 19 day Baha’i Fast. For example, Kamelia wrote about fasting for love, Collis shared some health tips, Chetan wrote about conquering his fear of fasting, Amy shared her experiences fasting while caring for young children, Naysan wrote about what the Fast helps us strengthen, and I wrote about how you can partake and participate in the Fast, even when you’re eating.

Leading up to, and during the Fast, I like to revisit the compilation called The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting, and this year, my reading has me thinking about four spiritual benefits of fasting: Continue reading

Juan Pablo’s Incredible Sketches of the Holy Land

I was delighted to meet Juan Pablo Ruiz Morales a few months ago and I was equally happy to discover his sketches of Baha’i Holy places on Facebook under the name El Arte de Juampa! Better still, he agreed to tell me a bit about himself and his work, whose incredible details really transport me back to the Holy Land.

Here are a few of his words and a gallery of his work. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  Continue reading