Category Archives Interviews

Virtue Cards – A New Resource for Children

Tuaine Hamilton, who some know as Ine, has created a thoughtful and beautifully designed tool for helping children develop their innate qualities and inner gems: virtue cards!

You may recognize Ine from her Studio Session “Listen” or from her interview about her album that bears the same name (you can read it here if you’d like).

I was delighted to hear from her about her virtue cards. In this interview, she tells us why she created them, how they can be used, and what she’s learned in the process of making them. Here’s what she shared: Continue reading

Fragrance of Glory – An Illustrated Account of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha

As this is a special year marking the centenary of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha — a year in which the Universal House of Justice asks us all to reflect profoundly on the Life of Abdu’l-Baha — Baha’i author Michael V. Day has just published a photographic book about the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha titled Fragrance of Glory.

Michael V. Day is a dear friend and we currently live in the same city in Australia and I must say that I am personally delighted by his contributions to the world of Baha’i literature. He is the author of a trilogy of historical books about the Shrine of the Bab, which you can learn more about from his website: www.michaelvday.com. So when Michael told me about this new book in honor of the centenary of the Ascension of Abdu’l-Baha, I had to find out more. Here’s what he shared: Continue reading

A Year of Blessings: A Book by Nasim About Her Year in the Holy Land

As the teachings of the Baha’i Faith encourage everyone to serve others, many Baha’is choose to dedicate a year or more of their lives to full-time volunteering, whether it be by assisting with community-building efforts in a specific neighbourhood or village, or helping at a school, Baha’i temple, or even at the Baha’i World Centre in the Holy Land. This period of time is often referred to as a “year of service”.

My dear friend Nasim, a young Baha’i in Australia, decided to take a year off and spend it serving at the Baha’i World Centre in Haifa, Israel. When she returned to her home in Sydney, she decided to put a book together about her experiences. The book is called A Year of Blessings, and I caught up with Nasim to find out more about it:

Baha’i Blog: Hi Nasim! Can you tell us a little bit about the book and what it’s about?

This book is about my reflections on the spiritual blessings and transformative lessons I experienced during my year of service in the Holy Land (Haifa, Israel) back in 2018-2019. It shares glimpses of the beautiful, sacrificial and rewarding experience of devoting a full year serving at the Baha’i World Centre, and how it strengthened my love, certitude, and devotion to our Beloved Cause. In the book, I share stories about how tests (a.k.a. blessings in disguise) helped me grow and strengthen many spiritual qualities such as patience, resilience, love, wisdom, and steadfastness, to name a few. The book features full-page photographs of Baha’i Holy Places that I had the chance to photograph in the cities of Haifa, Akka, and in Bahji, as well as a compilation of quotations from the Baha’i Writings that inspired me. I hope these will also inspire the readers and encourage them to ponder their meaning as they continue serving in their respective fields.

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Creating a Space to Celebrate the Indigenous Peoples of Australia

The 2021 National NAIDOC logo ‘Care for Country’ was designed by Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie-Jean Douglas.

This week across Australia, we celebrate what’s called NAIDOC Week, a week where every year in July, Australians from all walks of life celebrate and honor the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Now, I’m not an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander myself. I moved to Australia about 12 years ago and decided to make it my home and apply for Australian citizenship. I recently sat my Australian citizenship test, which presented a few interesting questions relating to the Indigenous peoples of this land. The test really got me thinking about the First Nations peoples of Australia, and how, after living in Australia for over a decade, my knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures — I’m embarrassed to say — still remains extremely limited. Sure, I could say that I’ve watched movies like Rabbit Proof Fence, and that “I have some Aboriginal friends,” but honestly, other than a few facts here and there, I know absolutely nothing about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I guess with NAIDOC Week happening, and because of my Australian Citizenship test, it really hit me: I love this country and want to be a contributing member of its society, but how can I truly call Australia my home when I know so little about the original inhabitants of this land? Continue reading

We Are One — A New Children’s Book by Melissa Charepoo

Our family loves Melissa Charepoo’s books and her latest title, We Are One, is a gem. Centred on the theme of the oneness of humanity, this book (available in both English and Spanish) will help instil in the hearts of even the youngest children this unifying fundamental principle of the Baha’i Faith.

Melissa, gracious as ever, agreed to tell us a little about this book. We hope you enjoy our conversation:

Baha’i Blog: Can you tell us about what inspired you to write this book and how it differs from the other wonderful books for children that you’ve written? Why was writing this book important and meaningful to you?

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Baha’i Feasts & Holy Days Songbook – A Musical Initiative by Jack Lenz

I grew up learning the names of the Baha’i months in Arabic and English thanks to Jack Lenz’s “Song of the Months” and I repeatedly played the song to my own children so they too would be familiar with them. It’s a delightfully catchy tune, particularly when you sing “Sovereignty, Dominion and Loftiness!” (If you’re familiar with the song, I’m sure it’s in your head now!)

Jack is a brilliant musician and composer and I’m excited that he has a new project that revolves around the Baha’i calendar and the celebrations and commemorations in the Baha’i year: a songbook, CDs of those songs (both instrumental and a cappella), and a book of the vocal scores. All three are available for purchase, either physically or digitally. In this interview, Jack tells us all about his project and I hope it makes you as excited as I am. Here’s what he said: Continue reading

Ios and the King – A Children’s Book by Gail Radley

George Ronald released a children’s title by Gail Radley. Titled Ios and the King, this children’s book retells a tale that has been around for centuries, and was recounted by Abdu’l-Baha. As we turn our thoughts to Abdu’l-Baha in this year that commemorates the centenary of His Passing, I think it is worth sharing this timeless tale, just as He did.

I am so grateful that Gail took the time to share with us a little about her book. Here’s what she said:

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

My background is Unitarian, which gave me a good base for appreciation of various cultures, ethnicities, perspectives, and ways of being. It also demonstrated for me that we should do what we can to give feet to our words. Another element I appreciate from that background is valuing the search for truth—their symbol is a flaming chalice, representing the eternal search for truth. I was lucky enough to come upon the Baha’i teachings at age 15. At the time, I considered myself an agnostic, a rather common stance for Unitarians, I think. This was during the U.S. civil rights movement of the mid-1960s, and I was living close to the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. I was actively committed to civil rights, the oneness of humanity, and to related social issues. So, while I didn’t know what to make of Baha’i theology, I was intrigued with the progressive social message. In time, with the Baha’is’ patient teaching, I came to realize the conception of God I had rejected, they didn’t believe in either! Rather than a bearded authoritarian in the sky, they explained that God was an Unknowable Essence— a just and loving Essence. That, I could better grasp. So, I put my feet to the words and declared my belief in Baha’u’llah

My ambition to become a writer began when I was eight or nine, and though it faltered a bit during those civil rights years, I never entirely lost sight of it. My late husband, Joe Killeen, enabled me to keep pursuing writing through our long marriage, and my current, journalist husband, Tom Armistead, is also a wonderful supporter. I dedicated Ios and the King to Tom because of his particular love of the mystical aspects of the Faith.

In addition to writing, I’ve taught English at Stetson University in Florida for the last 20-odd years.

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‘Who Was She?’ A New Podcast by Tara Jabbari

I was very curious when I heard about a new Baha’i-inspired podcast called “Who was she?” produced by Tara Jabbari; there are few things that I love more than hearing about the stories of early Baha’i women. With a whole first season already available, I reached out to Tara and she graciously agreed to tell us all about her podcast. Here’s what she shared: Continue reading

Waves of One Sea – A New Global Singalong by Elika Mahony

The music of Elika Mahony holds a special place in my heart and in our family life so we were thrilled when she released a new global collaborative song called “Waves of One Sea”. No matter how often we listen to it, it never fails to rejoice my soul.

We’ve featured Elika on Baha’i Blog before — most recently, I interviewed her about her album The Exalted One in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of the Bab. I was curious to learn more about “Waves of One Sea”, and here’s what Elika graciously shared with me: Continue reading

Ambassador to Humanity – A New Book of Tributes to Abdu’l-Baha

Baha’is around the world are drawing closer to Abdu’l-Baha through their prayers, reflections and actions during this centennial anniversary of His Passing. In honor of this unique year, Robert Weinberg has complied a book of selected testimonials and tributes to Him. Titled Ambassador to Humanity, it is hoped that this paperback George Ronald publication “will serve to increase devotion to Abdu’l-Baha and aid reflection on the qualities to be emulated.”

I’m grateful to Robert Weinberg for taking the time to tell us a little bit about this new book. Here’s what he shared:

Baha’i Blog: Can you please tell us a little bit about this book? For example, whose testimonials and tributes are included?

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