god

A Kindly Tongue Is The Lodestone Of The Hearts Of Men.

…It is the bread of the spirit, it clotheth the words with meaning, it is the fountain of the light of wisdom and understanding… ~Bahá’u’lláhImage (11)
Ham, cheese, and slaw buns with steamed corn, corn chips, and cookies for a picnic at beautiful Ashley Gorge – can’t believe I’d never been here before. So so beautiful. Definitely taking oosh. Image-1 (4)
“When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.” ~’Abdu’l-Bahá Image (12)
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Some of the tutors, participants, and wannabe chefs.
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The day I made nachos, I got a lot of moans and groans on first glance from the boys for it being vegetarian. However, once they’d tasted it, they kept coming back for more (yay!).Image (2)Really super weird handling raw chicken but I think I did good. Oven curry (is that a thing? Or am I just super clever?) with chicken drumsticks (duh), carrot, kumara, and red potato.
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Beautiful NZ.

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.”

Heartbroken

The sky is charcoal black today. My dear cousin, a loving husband and father of two little ones was taken prisoner (again), alongside 12 other innocent souls in Iran. His crime? Following a faith thats sole purpose is the unification of all people. Practicing equality, love and justice. Giving eternal love and service.

When asked on one occasion: “What is a Bahá’í?” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied: “To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood.”

My heart is broken. As is his immediate family’s and friends’. The persecution of the Iranian Bahá’í community is a serious problem. In this recent article, it was likened unto the apartheid system. The world is a cruel cruel place. Today I feel deeply ashamed. Ashamed at myself for continuously having trivial “problems.” I recently cried to my mother for not having a travel companion. But it’s not fun by myself, I said. Then I moaned about my weight. I’m not as skinny as I used to be. Then my clothes: I want to shop in NZ. European clothes don’t fit and they’re too expensive. Of course she rationalised how ridiculous my concerns were. As mothers so perfectly do. But even so, at the time it didn’t register. I still felt upset. Now it has registered.

My “problems” are nothing, nil, non-existent. I am so immensely lucky. How dare I ever complain. I am so ashamed. I pray for my cousin and all who are bearing a heavier load than they can take. Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Bahá’í faith says: “Let your vision be world embracing…” To me this means detachment, of ourselves and of our problems or in my case, “problems” for there is always someone worse off than we, on earth. When we forget to look at the bigger picture, our perceptions are clouded.
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“When you think things are bad,
when you feel sour and blue,
when you start to get mad…
you should do what I do!
Just tell yourself, Duckie,
you’re really quite lucky!
Some people are much more…
oh, ever so much more…
oh, muchly much-much more
unlucky than you!”
―Dr. Seuss, Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

A Gratitude List

…look around you. All of this is for you. Take it and have gratitude. Give it and feel love. -Zooey Deschanel

I dedicate this list to you. I’m sorry for the whinging and the grumbles. I really am happy and grateful…it’s just so easy to be open with you.

1.Working limbs to walk, run, cycle and explore.
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2.Unexpected friends. Like Laura from Belgium who I met through blogging. who came and stayed with me in Japan and who just happens to be blogging about it NOW.

3.My auntie Pouneh – of course for having me here but also for her many entertaining stories, cycling advice and organic salads!
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4.Coffee. I mean come on. Ican’teven without it.
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5.Art. Art and creative people. Literature, music, Sundance! Thank you for making me feel all sorts of feels.

6.My mama, who keeps messaging me to be careful not to get a cold? And that I’m her little girl and very pretty. Oh my heart. My world. Thank you.
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7.Getting paid to travel. Okay so it’s not much (hint hint Savvy Tokyo) but it’s seriously a dream come true. I did it. I blogged for 730 days in a row, annoyed the hell out of you all and eventually landed myself a teeny tiny writing role. Have you read my latest work? You can HERE, HERE and HERE. Cheers and kampai to (fingers-crossed/touch-wood) many more.

Best Thing I Ever Did Was Believe In Me

My life has improved immensely. I don’t know why exactly, the change in weather, God, my own efforts, or a combination of all three, probably a combination of all three. But I am so happy. So excited for the future and all of the adventures that await me. I guess I have learnt that life will always have ups and downs but if we persevere through our heartaches, we really do come out the other side a better and a stronger being. This concept is no longer a cliched Pinterest quote for me, it has become my reality. I am enjoying and appreciating the small details of every day and making the very most of my time here. At the same time, I am eagerly awaiting my sure-to-be-amazing future.
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Spotlight: A Movie Review

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Spotlight is a must-see. Even without its two 2015 Oscars: Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Why? Because, here I go again, it means something. It’s based on the true story of the year-long investigation by Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team headed by Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton) and his crew Mike Rezendez (Mark Ruffalo) Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James) of child molestation by Priests. Wow, I have goosebumps just writing that. With such a dynamite topic and a talented cast giving much realistic performances, we as an audience can’t help but watch with good nervousness and hopeful longing as the four labor to uncover secrets and publicize the unbelievable case.

After watching this movie, I started thinking about religion and in particular the affect human beings have on religion. This concept, of people’s actions tarnishing Religion’s good name is not a new phenomenon. It has been around since the very day said religions originated and has unfortunately continued through to this day. The terrorist group Isis, acting in the name of “Islam” is one example, for instance. Because of such individuals, the word “religion” has acquired negative connotations. Connotations of war, disunity and injustice. Which is so utterly unfortunate as true religion is the very opposite with its sole purpose being unity and togetherness.

When I was an even younger girl (wink wink) growing up in NZ, I often felt scared to tell others I was religious. I knew that the very word would connect me with the corupt government of my birth place (Iran). When I attended university, my nervousness remained for a single mention of “God” sparked hateful debates. Today, I like to think I stand strong in my faith. I stand strong because I have realized that it is foolish to let said individuals win. I know what my religion is about and I firmly stand by it. To finish, I’d like to share a quote from the Baha’i Faith in relation to this idea:

Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth, give birth to spirituality, and bring life and light to each heart. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it were better to be without it, and to withdraw from such a religion would be a truly religious act. For it is clear that the purpose of a remedy is to cure; but if the remedy should only aggravate the complaint it had better be left alone. Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion. -‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Sorry about the tangent. Spotlight is not only entertaining but informative. And as you can see, thought-provoking as well! He-he.