Tuesday, February 26, 2008

spiritual goodies online for the Baha'i month of fasting March 2-21

Check out the lovely project that leila and amy have started for the fast. i will be stopping by daily for my spiritual nourishment.

"These are, O my Lord, the days in which Thou hast bidden Thy servants to observe the Fast. Blessed is he that observeth the Fast wholly for Thy sake and with absolute detachment from all things except Thee. Assist me and assist them, O my Lord, to obey Thee and to keep Thy precepts. Thou, verily, hast power to do what Thou choosest."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

linfen connections

i have not been posting for quite a while. i have been busy hosting a visiting scholar from Shanxi Teacher's University in China. we are working on a couple of papers together that analyze recent developments in the content of Chinese language arts textbooks that are used in China. we are considering themes such as the tensions between globalization and traditional culture. yx is interested in examining the nature of humanistic education in contemporary China and whether or not the socialization that is occurring through the chinese language arts curriculum is suited to the needs of the current global age. [speaking of humanism what is it anyway? i have been trying to arrive a definition. yx says that the word humanistic comes up regularly in policy discourse of all types in contemporary China. there was an interesting little post on Baha'i Views recently about humanism]

while yx is here i have been eating lots of wonderful food. yx is a a wonderful cook.

Items on the menu have included jia jiang mian--noodles with sauce

and egg and leek (jiu cai) dumplings

we have also been making sure yx gets her fill of some American favorites...

we were given a fabulous opportunity in the form of an invitation to a Sunday service at the Christ Church in New Brunswick where the minister is a woman and all the food for the coffee hour was prepared by the men! the congregation was notable in its diversity also and in the extent to which the fostering of a critical awareness of social injustice was an important part of the program.

we made some lovely new friends and yx was impressed by their high ideals and "humanistic spirit." both of these two radiant souls have given up lucrative prestigious positions in industry and academic service to become teachers in urban areas feeling that this was the way they could be of the most service to humanity. what an inspiration.

aforementioned radiant souls introduced me to some real tea, having grown up drinking british tea themselves--one in Nigeria and one in England. i have been suffering along with lipton all this while and what i really have needed all along was a decent british blend. i couldn't find pg tips at my local stop and shop

but a box of tetley's british blend is serving me just fine until i can it somewhere else.

we went for a walk around the Princeton university campus on Friday afternoon

including a stop in their exquisite chapel where rehearsals were being held for an event called Organic Chants so we were immersed in angelic sounds.

Friday, February 22, 2008

great is Your mercy towards me

feed your soul with this exquisite video recommended by one of my spiritual mentors.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

"We are one people" --Barack Obama

i am politically nonpartisan in principle. so I do really like the message of unity and oneness that Barack Obama is disseminating and that he really represents to quite a large degree.

"...there has never been anything false about hope...yes we can heal this nation... yes we can repair this world....we are not as divided as our politics suggests, we are one people, we are one nation..."

Watch the video made by will.i.am at DipDive or watch it right here...

World Unity Jazz Ensemble--carrying the legacy of Dizzy Gillespie to China!!

Ha ha! Look at the lovely discovery I made on Baha'i Views today--the World Unity Jazz Ensemble.

Two musicians who played with Dizzy Gillespie (perhaps THE most famous Baha'i musician ever) have been traveling for years around Asia and incorporating Asian sounds into their jazz music.
Looks like I have a new discovery to purchase for my next meal of music. You MUST go and listen on their My Space page.
Please especially listen to the track Philanthropy ...listen to it in honor of African American history month because it is a wonderful tribute to all the astonishing African American jazz musicians who have contributed so richly to American culture. I can just imagine the World Unity Jazz Ensemble taking this little musical history lesson around Asia with them to educate their audiences.
Speaking of celebrating African American history month, reading Baha'i Thought and Black America I found so inspiring the vision of the future of "Black America"...Phillipe includes a quote on the important role that African Americans have to play in the regeneration of human civilization:

"There can be no doubt that Americans of African descent can find in themselves the capacity, so well developed as a result of their long encounter with injustice, to recognize and respond to the vision of love and justice brought by the Promised One of all ages. Imbued with that vision, past and present sufferings are transformed into measures of patience, wisdom and compassion-qualities so essential to the effort to moderate the discordant ways of a confused world and aid the healing of its spiritual ills. What better than the transformed character of a bruised people to smooth the course, to offer perspectives for new beginnings toward world order!" Universal House of Justice

I am engaging in a practice of lectio divina inspired by the reading of the book Tools Matter for the Spiritual Life by Mary Margaret Funk. In lectio divina you invest in the practice of daily reading of sacred texts. This month my reading for lectio divina is focused on this compilation from the Baha'i Writings:
Toward Oneness: A compilation on racial and cultural issues.

From todays reading
"Complete freedom from prejudice should be the immediate, the universal, the chief concern of all and sundry members of the Baha'i community, of whatever age, rank, experience, class, or color, as all, with no exception, must face its challenging implications, and none can claim, however much he may have progressed along this line, to have completely discharged the stern responsibilities which it inculcates." Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine Justice.
"It is difficult for the friends to always remember that in matters where race enters, a hundred times more consideration and wisdom in handling situations is necessary than when an issue is not complicated by this factor." On behalf of Shoghi Effendi.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

worldly food for body and soul

i am feeling SO spoiled. dear Krista gave me a gift of a CD that is just the type of CD that nourishes and soothes me. i am engaging in my usual habit of listening over and over again to the same cd which i always do with a new cd that i cannot get enough of. this has the unfortunate result of making me tire of beloved cds earlier than i would like. the cd features smooth songstresses from france, czech republic, iceland, brazil, cape verde, algeria, croatia and MORE. intriguingly the voices follow one another seamlessly. yay for the wonderful people at putumayo who are certainly my favorite record label. they always know just exactly what i am going to like.

then i have also been nourishing my body so delightfully with the guidance of Mollie Katzen's group at the Moosewood restaurant. I got this book from dear Celeste (how lucky I am to have all these spectcular friends!) This is also JUST my kind of a cookbook. simple, startling delicious recipes from all across the globe. and so so nourishing and healthful. So far i have made the West African Peanut soup, the Middle Eastern cucumber and yogurt salad and the Egyptian Ful Nabed --Bean and vegetable soup. The last two turned out VERY well and are highly recommended.

Here is the recipe for the cucumber and yogurt salad--


2 cucumbers thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon dried dill (3 tblsp fresh)
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2-3 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
3 large garlic clove minced
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
3/4 tsp salt

Toss all ingredients and chill.


there are so many recipes still to explore. All the important geographical locations of my life are covered. There is an entire section on Finnish cuisine which seems random enough to make me feel the book was just MEANT for me. I have been wanting a Finnish cookbook to see if I could find some things that seem to resemble my mother's cooking. none of them seem to ring a bell except for my mother's love of open faced sandwiches and beetroot but I will be delighted all the same to try some of them out one of these (not so) wintry days.

berbere and injera

Last weekend a wonderful classmate and her wonderful Eritrean husband invited several of us to their sunny little home in Philly for a little grad school reunion.

They made us an authentic Eritrean meal and WOW was it ever good!