religion

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.

Use The Power Of Intent To Clear A Path For Yourself

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As you may have heard, NZ received a lot of rain as of late. My prayers and sympathetic thoughts to those whose lives were greatly affected. Fortunately for us, our household just further glimmered. My parents and I spent even more time than usual together and I made “healthy” French toast for them. It’s actually very simple! For the three of us, I soaked 6 pieces of gluten free bread in a beaten mixture of 3 free-ranges, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon, then fried them in a hot pan with a little coconut oil until nice and golden. Last, I topped them with fresh fruit, honey, and plain yoghurt (not pictured). Image-1 (1)
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Never enough herbs in a Persian woman’s garden.
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Can you see what I see? On the last day of term, we made an Easter egg hunt for the little munchkins. Image (12)Image (13)
And… one for the big munchkin who really shouldn’t be having one in the first place.
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Another day, another green smoothie. These are also super easy to make. Simply blitz together in a high-powered blender: 2 frozen bananas (frozen bananas make your smoothies colder and creamier), 2 large handfuls of spinach (stalks and all), a big dollop of natural yoghurt, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Top with favourites.
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I found out the hard way that jandals were not appropriate wear for yesterday’s Saturday Farmers’ Market. As I walked into a muddy puddle and splashed gunk all over myself, I overheard a father telling his little girl not to worry about getting dirty as she, in her pink gumboots, was appropriately dressed – I couldn’t help but take his comment as a personal dig to my existence.
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Giant delicious organic apple from the organic apple people at the Saturday Farmers’ Market (sorry I don’t know your company name). Image (8)
For as long as I have been coming to Sumner, I have been in mad-love with that itsy bitsy yellow house bursting with character. I sent this photo to Soroosh expressing this, and he replies: “I like the modern house next to it.” BLAH Image (1)
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Almost finished writing back to my Japanese students ^.^
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Mojgan joon, I wish you were here to accompany me on my walking adventures. Alas, I think of you always – the coming Autumn leaves further remind me of my unforgettable time with your beautiful family in beautiful Nashville. Image-1 (6)
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Last but not least, a picture sent to me by my dear mentor and friend. AKA Soroosh’s father. Guys, I am so impressed and inspired by him. Rick is a man of so many talents. But most of all, he is joyful, he is understanding, and he is compassionate. Also, big-ups for food-presentation and food-photography, and your recently written article HERE.

Is Someone Getting The Best Of You?

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I had the loveliest Saturday with my also lovely friend, Sam last weekend. We went to the Saturday Farmers’ Market for a Posh Porridge breakfast but when we saw that they weren’t there and on holiday, we had Bacon Brothers instead. Yep, I ate bacon. And not just any bacon but NZ bacon in say over 4 years of not having eaten it and oh my was it delicious. And, I’m not kidding you, I was full for 1.5 days. Rick, I can’t wait for you to try it. NZ bacon > American bacon.
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Super easy Easter crafts. Top, chooks made with pom-poms and egg cartons. Bottom, a carrot made with an empty yarn cone donated by a student’s thoughtful mother. Image (2)Image (3)
Sorry mom, forgot to move the towels (again). #PUGLIFE
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Making tissue paper flowers for the upcoming Ridvan celebration at Bahai Children’s Classes.
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“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” ~Alfred MercierImage (1)
Below, what I sent S for his birthday (ie. a present also for myself): a Sydney weekend getaway! EEEE we are so blessed. And how about you my dear followers? Is someone getting the best of you?
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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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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: