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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.

New Day: An Album by Randy’d’dawn

Rap artist Randy’d’dawn has released an album of Baha’i-inspired music titled New Day. Although unnamed, I first came across his work on the official website of the world-wide bicentenary celebrations of Birth of the Bab with this music video called “The Story of Love – The Bab, The Gate“. His gentle yet profound lyrics and his catchy rhythms were easy to recognize when I stumbled across New Day. I caught up with him to hear all about his work and I hope you enjoy our conversation: Continue reading

The Lovebird’s Freedom: A Book for Children by Esther Maloney About Life After Death

Once, as a child, I attended a Baha’i winter school and made the most amazing friend: she was creative, fun and had a smile that lit up the room. She let me read part of a story she was writing and I was so impressed and in awe of her talent with words and her ability to weave a compelling and absorbing story. Fast forward a couple of decades and I am so excited and proud to interview her about her latest project, a book for children about the nature of the soul and life after death. Esther Maloney has a special gift for creating enchanting narratives and I’m delighted to hear all about The Lovebird’s Freedom and how it all came together.

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

I grew up just outside of Montreal with my family. I’ve realized that moments from my early years with my grandmother Lucille were very formative. She was immensely creative, fun and spiritual. We used paint and glue, we named paths in the forest, we wrote books together, wore costumes, sang songs and used these as ways to think about the big questions of life. Since that time, I have essentially kept doing those exact same things, but as a grown-up. I studied acting at Concordia University and worked as a theatre and film actor for almost a decade in Montreal and Toronto. I produced my own work, acted at the Shaw Festival, was a cartoon voice on CBC, did a bunch of commercials, acted in a film at the Toronto International Film Festival and learned a lot about my craft and process.

Throughout this, I had a nagging curiosity, which was related to how the arts, or making things, could be at the core of all our lives, both individually and in community. I worked with some inspiring community arts organizations through grants and eventually was able to serve with some other Baha’i friends in creating a project with youth who wanted to write their own scripts that extended the reach of some of the spiritual concepts in the junior youth program. Since that time, Illumine Media Project has created a number of short films and episodes which have been shared with thousands of young people and their families in Toronto neighbourhoods and schools. This work has led me to more questions about the role of stories, creative process and media in our lives and I’ve recently finished my MA in Education at the University of Toronto in that area.

Continue reading

Personal Reflections on the Baha’i Faith from Around the World – Collection 13

“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

Spiritual Conversation: What If Things Aren’t Going How You Wanted? [VIDEO]

Jacqueline Claire (you may know her from her art or her interactive art talks) has created a podcast series called Spiritual Conversation. She’s an engaging story teller who tackles elevated topics thoughtfully, honestly and joyfully. Her podcast aims to dive deep and explore spiritual ideas and inspiration to help us align with our true purpose. Continue reading

Spiritual Conversation: What If Things Aren’t Going How You Wanted?

Jacqueline Claire (you may know her from her art or her interactive art talks) has created a podcast series called Spiritual Conversation. She’s an engaging story teller who tackles elevated topics thoughtfully, honestly and joyfully. Her podcast aims to dive deep and explore spiritual ideas and inspiration to help us align with our true purpose. Continue reading