Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I saw the most astonishing rainbows the other evening as we were driving on the highway. There were dark clouds to the east and sunshine coming from the setting sun to the west and big drops of rain falling on us. There against the blackness of the clouds were two huge full rainbows as brilliant as can be, and the inner arc was illuminated just like in this picture photographed by Dan Bush. (Visit his website for more spectacular photography of rainbows and sunsets).

Cannot help but feel blessed and privileged to witness such splendor and beauty.

"My heart leaps up when I behold A Rainbow in the sky"
- William Wordsworth

Sunday, August 19, 2007

spreading the word

I heard about Blog Action Day--October 15 from my reading of Baha'i Views

Pieter read my blog and followed up by posting an introduction to a new documentary on the environment that is just out: Eleventh Hour. Looks like another MUST see.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Blog for the environment

this sounds like a worthy cause to promote. Blogactionday--October 15. Blog for the environment...
Here is the promotion video...

one issue, one day, thousands of voices

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer reading

I have been trying to get a lot of reading done this summer in preparation for my courses in the Fall and as I try to work on writing articles about education in China.

I am also reading Three Cups of Tea. I got it with a view to the class I will teach in the spring: comparative education. This book has come to mean so much to me since I started reading it. It is the true story of Greg Mortensen and how he takes hold of his predestined opportunities to make the world a better place, overcoming immense obstacles to build his first school in the mountainous areas of Pakistan. The book reads like a breathtaking adventure story from the mountain climbing episode in the first few chapters beyond the successful completion of his first school. You are touched by his humility, conviction and cultural sensitivity and by all the lessons that he learns along the way and all the small victories in bridging the divides between human hearts and minds that he experiences. The book touches the soul and inspires laughs and tears like all good books. Mortensen has lived a life that I have only wished for. The fact that he is also a "child of africa" is further endearing to me. Needless to say I will include this among my class readings. Please read it. You won't be sorry. According to the Facebook group "Promoting Peace One School at a Time" if you buy the book by clicking on the Amazon.com link on the website www.threecupsoftea.com then 7% of the proceeds will go toward a scholarship fund for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Is any larger bounty conceivable than this, that an individual, looking within himself, should find that by the confirming grace of God he has become the cause of peace and well-being, of happiness and advantage to his fellow men? No, by the one true God, there is no greater bliss, no more complete delight."
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 2)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sparkly treasures from China

Last night we went out for Pan Asian cuisine at a restaurant in Hartford called Feng. I adorned myself with two of my Chinese treasures. The first was my yellow jade necklace. I just did some research on jade on wikipedia and discovered that yellow jade is not technically jade, which is a member of the nephrite or jadeite group of minerals, but rather a member of the serpentine group . As a side note, I am glad to have found the link to mindat as August is the month I think of my father--he died August 12, 1998. He was a geologist and loved all kinds of stones and gems. I have been trying to think of ways to remember him this month and I do keep resolving to learn more about stones and minerals and wishing that I had had the presence of mind to learn from him when growing up.

But back to my Chinese treasures. Last night, I also used my little red silk bag and I am trying to remember where I actually got this. I think that it was given to me by my dear 87 year old neighbor in Philadelphia, Dr. Jamieson. She was also a world traveler and an Asia-phile. She was a medical doctor but after she retired she got her Masters degree in Asian studies specializing on Japan...I wonder how she is doing. Her phone has been out of order for so long and I really should try to make a special trip down to see her. I did call the management office a few weeks ago and they told me she was still fine so that was good to know.

Ornamented with my Chinese treasures, mbh told me that I went very well with the decor of the restaurant last night. I ordered sushi: california rolls, salmon rolls, and shrimp tempura. Mbh and I shared our delicious desserts: coconut rice pudding and apple tart with cinnamon ice cream. Such delectable delights, what luxuries we enjoy.

I realize that over the years I have been gradually collecting little Chinese treasures that I just love. I bought the yellow jade necklace in a tiny artsy shop that I just happened upon in a dirty little county town in Gansu province. The town is called Yongdeng. It is way off the tourist beaten track and the little shop just seemed so dazzling in its mundane little setting. The two young women who ran it seemed so sophisticated and yet so down to earth surrounded by their colorful treasues that they were selling so cheaply. I also bought a few of these little mobiles that have Chinese well-wishes on one side and the same thing in Tibetan on the other--this one says "xueye you cheng"--Wishing you success in your studies.

I keep my yellow jade necklace in this gorgeous embroidered silk jewelery holder that is also something i acquired on one of my trips to China.
The scarf i used for the background is also a China treasure.

I am thinking of Hannah as I lay out all of my sparklies :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Aram Adlparvar 1986-2007

Aram Adlparvar--a child of africa...what an inspiration, a bright and shining Baha'i youth.

View more photos and tributes of hundreds of individuals whose lives he touched on the Facebook group In loving memory of Aram Adlparvar

God must be recruiting angels recently.

"O Lord, glorify his station, shelter him under the pavilion of Thy supreme mercy, cause him to enter Thy glorious paradise, and perpetuate his existence in Thine exalted rose garden, that he may plunge into the sea of light in the world of mysteries."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Facebook and a system of world inter-communication

I have a new internet diversion--Facebook. I signed up for an account a while ago just to see what all the fuss was about and haven't paid much attention to it. But recently more friends have been signing up with facebook and finding me and adding me as a friend and I finally clicked the link to, in the wink of an eye, find all the friends in my email contacts who were on Facebook and I asked them to friend me and it seems to continue to expand from there...friends of friends find you and friend you. Then you browse friends of friends and find more friends to friend. Suddenly I am in touch with long lost primary or high school classmates still in Africa or now in England or Ireland, friends from China, friends from graduate school and
Baha'i friends from various periods of my life. And I have a gallery of friends photos right there in my friends section, my "Facebook" with status updates on their whereabouts and state of mind.

Brings to mind once again that sentence about the system of world inter-communication in a paragraph in Shoghi Effendi's writings written in the 1930s and describing the future world unified by various means

"The unity of the human race, as envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh, implies the establishment of a world commonwealth in which all nations, races, creeds and classes are closely and permanently united, and in which the autonomy of its state members and the personal freedom and initiative of the individuals that compose them are definitely and completely safeguarded. This commonwealth must, as far as we can visualize it, consist of a world legislature, whose members will, as the trustees of the whole of mankind, ultimately control the entire resources of all the component nations, and will enact such laws as shall be required to regulate the life, satisfy the needs and adjust the relationships of all races and peoples. ... A mechanism of world inter-communication will be devised, embracing the whole planet, freed from national hindrances and restrictions, and functioning with marvellous swiftness and perfect regularity. ..."

Well here it is... instant and simultaneous communication with any number of individuals in all corners of the planet.

Here is a video that Leif made all by himself I believe and posted on my Facebook page...his own little promotion for Ruhi study circle . VERY JAZZY! sign me up!