bahai

Do Not Be Content With Showing Friendship In Words Alone…

…let your heart burn with loving-kindness for all who may cross your path. ~’Abdu’l-Bahá

Hey lovely people! Sorry for the radio silence. I was away camping. Well, sort of – I had volunteered to cook for a Ruhi intensive camp located about 20 minutes west? I think, west of Rangiora. And though the work wasn’t easy, I felt immense joy to be there. I learnt A LOT, I felt/still feel spiritually uplifted, and the weather, the material, and the participants were all spectacular. Here are some of the not-so-artsy photo evidence:
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Moo! I mean, boo!
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First night, I made Shepherd’s Pie and steamed vegetables. In an attempt to make a substantial filling, I added diced carrots and red kidney beans to the mince. Plus, turmeric – couldn’t resist adding a Persian touch to a British dish. Image-1 (1)
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Carrot and white and red cabbage slaw with home-sprouted mung beans. I sent this pic to oosh and he said he hopes I’m feeding them something other than bird-food, too. Whatever mate.
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Happy oosh? Here, meat. Bangers and Mash. Not sure why I was on a British roll…
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Banana cake topped with Nutella or peanut butter and fresh banana slices.
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“God is the helper of those souls whose aim is to serve humanity and whose efforts are endeavors are devoted to the good and betterment of all mankind.” ~’Abdu’l-Bahá

There’s Nothing New Under The Sun. It’s Never What You Do But How It’s Done.

Dear Ashida Sensei,
This one’s for you!
Thank you for reading my blogs. I miss you and I miss Japan very very much, too!

Yesterday, I received a jam-packed envelope containing letters from my ex Junior High School students in Japan. Ashida Sensei, thank you for initiating them. I have always admired you. You once told me that you teach because you feel an obligation to open your student’s minds to the outside world. At the time, I thought your statement was beautiful. Today, with the heartbreaking circumstances of our world, I understand it as incredibly necessary, too. Thank you for selflessly shaping our future. Funnily enough, lately I have been receiving some negative opinions (and unfortunately from those dear to me) about my work. The education of children is not adequately valued in our society. These attitudes have left me unhappy, thinking that perhaps I should have studied something different, something more reputable like medicine or law. Fortunately, other positive forces in my life have rescued me from the quicksand of such negative thoughts. One beautiful lady in particular pointed me to the following quote by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest son of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith:

Among the greatest of all services that can possibly be rendered by man to Almighty God is the education and training of children… It is, however, very difficult to undertake this service, even harder to succeed in it. I hope that thou wilt acquit thyself well in this most important of tasks, and successfully carry the day, and become an ensign of God’s abounding Grace; that these children, reared one and all in the holy Teachings, will develop natures like unto the sweet airs that blow across the gardens of the All- Glorious, and will waft their fragrance around the world. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. pp. 133-134)

So, “the education and training of children” is not only the greatest service of all time but also one that is very difficult to do and to succeed in. Don’t get me wrong, I am not tooting my own horn. Rather, I wish to acknowledge the true importance of a teacher’s work.

I would like to finish with my favourite Japanese Proverb:

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.
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Spoiler Alert: Love is worth everything, everything.

To help me cope with missing Soroosh, I started a NZ Bucket List for us to work through come June. Some of the options are luckily local and frequent. Like, the Saturday Farmers’ Market which I have always been in love with.
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Nothing but organic.
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My dad ordered something from the Bacon Brothers which came with a hug as well! LOL you should’ve seen his face! Such a character, this guy!
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Mmmm! Remember Mandy, my ice-cream queen? Well, her and her partner don’t just make ice-cream – they make heaven: gluten-free waffles with coconut whipped cream, strawberries, roasted hazelnuts and dark chocolate drizzle.
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You know you’re cheap/on-a-diet when you share one waffle between 3 hehe >.<
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Sunday morning Baha’i children’s classes.
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Today’s virtue was “justice”. Above, equality is demonstrated with a popcorn filled “scale”. And below, one “life-raft” for all. Image (6)
Last but not least, the rest of my brother-in-law’s grandmother’s Black Boy peaches stewed for alongside my ritual morning muesli.
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Try & Try

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Life is so much more interesting with a library card.
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Love my weekends in Sumner. Forever grateful to Mandy for the dreamy job.image-1-1
Many thanks for the sweet bag Leyla-joon, I am using it everyday.image-12
Is it too late to say sorry? Accidently/accidentally tomato/tomato image-9image-8
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Beached as bro.
image-7Day two of the Bahai fast my eyes wanted to eat all of this (vegan black bean and quinoa burgers on gluten-free bread) but my stomach only allowed for half. Still, it was SO yum! Excuse me while I go ahead and marry myself.

Be Easy. Take Your Time. You Are Coming home.

A poem by Nayyirah Waheed.
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Every year, during the month of March, millions of healthy and able adult Bahai’s around the world observe the 19 day Bahai Fast. They/we/me fast by restraining from food and drink between the hours of sunrise and sunset as a way to focus all our thoughts and energies on “meditation, prayer, and spiritual rejuvenation”. Obviously, it takes serious will-power and it isn’t always pretty (or at least not for me). In the past, I have fasted at the Bahai World Centre, amongst hundreds of other Bahais (heaven!), during University (seemingly impossible), whilst working in hospitality (what a tease!) and alone in the remote mountains of Japan (yet with incredible support see HERE). Thankfully, this year I have the support of my family and I am no longer working in hospitality (thank God!). 1 day down, 18 to go! #hangryimage-4If you thought I’d given up on my book a week challenge, you get a brownie ball (see what I did there?) but only because strictly abiding by the weekly time limits was stressing me out. So, I’m still reading and maybe even still a book a week but I’ve lost track of the what and when. Here’s book NO.whocares by a very talented writer. Totally recommend it. So funny and relatable (yes, even to a non-mama).
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“The soul is healed by being with children.” ~Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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“Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies? ” Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make? ” Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.”
~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Princeimage-1
Preschool day trip to the Canterbury Museum. Has anyone visited the discovery room here?! It is incredible and only $2 to enter! I cannot wait to take Soroosh, and to show him the room with the 100s of beautiful butterflies! 3 months today xx
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Seize That Loveliness. It Has Always Been Yours.

Lovely words by Yrsa Daley-Ward and lovely times during this year’s Ayyam-i-Ha – a multi-day festival for Bahá’ís (that’s my religion) which typically falls around the end of February and the beginning of March. Ayyam-i-Ha or Intercalary Days is a period dedicated to being social, hospitable, generous and joyful. In addition, it is a time to prepare for the upcoming Bahá’í fast come March (2nd) though more on that soon!
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My vegetable kebab skewers for the non-meat eaters at our community Ayyam-i-Ha sausage sizzle.
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A team-building/unity activity featuring sticks and marshmallows (to be eaten post tower construction) for Bahá’í Children’s Classesimage-1image-1-1image-1
And, Ayyam-i-Ha cards! Here’s one from me to Soroosh.
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My lucky brother-in-law, Andy’s birthday falls on Ayyam-i-Ha. So, for the first time since returning home, I had an excuse to dine out for dinner and to also dress up a little. image-1-2
We went to Mish Mash (a restaurant where nothing matches; the plates, cutlery, and menu items are all different). My sister, brother-in-law, and I loved it. My parents did not. But, that is expected because they’re Persian and picky. Actually, I’mma start calling em’ PP.
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Super delicious and spicy eggplant dish.
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Some prawn and udon edible basket concoction. image-8
Birthday boy! image-1-3
Potato crisps. image-7
Mom and dad’s shared meal: pulled lamb bruschetta. They didn’t like it because their teeth couldn’t bite through the bread (lol) and the whole meal was cold (how it’s supposed to be).image-6
This is honey glazed carrots topped with crispy bacon bits. We also had dessert. I tried to take a picture but by this time, the sun had set and the lighting was terrible. We shared creme brulee and bread and butter donuts. The latter, super good. Like, unreal.

Ask Yourself Kindly: What Do You Need?

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I have started doing things a little differently and so far my tummy feels very light and happy. If you’ve talked to me about my eating habits, you’ll know that I don’t like to label them. This is because I personally find living life, gladdening hearts, and making memories just as important as saving the planet and being healthy. What I’m trying to say is, if my new Japanese friend invites me over with utmost glee and sits me down with a big plate of lovingly homemade pork yakitori, well, I’m not going to break her heart and request broccoli. Anyways, I have finally started listening to the digestion experts by eating fruit first thing, on an empty stomach, in the morning. This has something to do with fruit often “rotting” in the stomach and thus causing poor-digestion and stomach-bloating. So, I eat my little bowl of fruit… I wait 15 to 20 minutes then I eat my muesli. Now, to complicate things even further… I’ve gone gluten-free. Of course, becoming gluten-free isn’t for everybody but as I said, so far, my tummy feels very light and happy. Surprisingly, it’s been very easy. Almost everywhere have gluten-free options and at home, all I’ve had to change is my bread and muesli. Bread I bought from the supermarket – super easy. And muesli, I swapped the oats in my homemade recipe to buckwheat puffs. So I dry toast nuts, seeds, honey, coconut oil and cinnamon in a frying pan and once cool, mix with dried fruit and buckwheat puffs (basically popcorn for breakfast – can’t complain). Next I want to try quinoa puffs and buckwheat groats. I will keep you updated anyhow. image-1
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While you work from an office… (hehe).image-5
Vanilla bean and gooseberries with rye crumble, blueberry, Greek yoghurt and mint and cherry, plum and Earl Grey, strawberry and rhubarb, coconut and passionfruit, coconut and dark chocolate. Mandy you a Genius! #UtopiaIce
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Sea salt caramel and popcorn ice-cream. Heaven is real and it comes in a tub. Save me.
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Easy snack idea for the 19 Day Bahai Feast – though I had trouble sticking the feta through the bamboo sticks without them falling apart so my momma suggested I end with the feta by simply pricking it a teeny tiny bit only. image-3
Physical feasting on snacks generously brought by friends after some serious soul-food! In the words of Abdu’l-Bahá, “My heart is in a constant state of thanksgiving.”

You Live To Do Good And To Bring Happiness To Others -Abdu’l-Bahá

Recently, I had the pleasure of catering for about 40 hungry (and enlightened) individuals partaking in a global process of learning referred to as The Ruhi Institute. Click HERE to learn more.
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Camp Lona, Oamaru.image-6
Chicken, sausage and mushroom pasta bake – my first time making bulk food. image-1-6
The boys!
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This place was so serene and beautiful. And remote! So I wondered what would passerby’s think if they knew of the sincerity, love and commitment taking place amongst these children and youth.image-3
Morning tea: cut fruit and boiled corn.
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Breakfast: Indian-inspired frittata by dear Taraneh and fruit salad and scrambled eggs by me. image-4
Gourmet camp food.
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THIS recipe but with chicken pieces.
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How many trolls can you see? #NZ

Piglet Noticed That Even Though He Had A Very Small Heart, It Could Hold A Rather Large Amount Of Gratitude

Today we’re driving up to Ohio for Thanksgiving. It will be my very first Thanksgiving. I’m so excited and of course, very thankful. Autumn has been beautiful here! Now, I am looking forward to experiencing some American winter winter and soon, a sure-to-be beaut NZ summer. I say bring on the road trips and the Kapiti ice-creams! Yeah!
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My very first breakfast in bed! Hashtagspoilt.
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Soroosh and I had the pleasure and blessing of hosting the Bahai 19 Day Feast at his Parents’ house. It was a wonderful night. I will always remember it. Speaking of Bahai, I recommend you see the video below if you’re interested in learning more about my faith: