Sunday, January 30, 2011

Deepening on "The December 28th 2010 Message".

Some members of our community met today to study The December 28th 2010 Letter from the Universal House of Justice.
It was a wonderful to share and learn together, we also had a chance to briefly listen to a section of the recently released audio from Hear the Writings (See last post).
Thanks to Kerri and Cai for opening their home and for an excellent lunch.
Kerri, Samy and Tawa

James and Musatye

Hear the Writings

Friday, January 28, 2011

The December 28th 2010 Message.

Once again the folks at Hear the Writings are offering a wonderful study aid. They have just released “The December 28th 2010 Message to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors” , by The Universal House of Justice.
You can download it for the price of a “Tweet”, or a mention on Facebook, or you can buy it on compact disc, (Which entitles you to an immediate free download in your preferred format to suit your player).
This adds to their growing collection which also includes:

• The 2010 Ridván Message
• The Advent of Divine Justice

As always the quality is excellent.
This is a wonderful way to share the messages, or for personal reflection and study. Our community is gathering to study the letter this weekend and I plan to go "armed" with my iPod.
As I said above you can download the two messages for a “Tweet”, so there is no question of being limited because of inability to pay. However, if you can afford to purchase the discs or CDs please do so and support this service.
Thanks once again to the folks at:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Robert Burns

For this post I want to talk about another art-form, namely poetry and I am going to unashamedly wrap myself in tartan (plaid for Americans), because January 25th is the birthday of Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet.
He was born in Alloway in 1759 and died in Dumfries in 1796 at the age of 37.
In that short life he not only wrote poetry in Scots and English but he gathered and preserved traditional songs and ballads, the most well known being “Auld Lang Syne”.
As Scots continued to spread throughout the world they took with them many of the egalitarian ideas expressed in his works, and set-up societies to commemorate his life and works, until his name and fame encompassed the globe. What would he have thought of the fact that at the height of the cold war his birthday was celebrated both here in the USA, and in the Soviet Union, with both sides thinking they embodied his egalitarian ideals.

But what of his works?

For many one of the great love songs is, “My love like a red, red rose”, which is a traditional Scots songs preserved by Burns.
This is for Juliet
"My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose"

O my Luve's like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve's like the melodie
That’s sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I:
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry:

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:
I will luve thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only Luve
And fare thee weel, a while!
And I will come again, my Luve,
Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

In the narrative poem “Tam o' Shanter”, Burns tells a cautionary tale of intemperance and other social ills. However, it has to be said that he was not exactly an example of moral rectitude, and had an over fondness for a “wee dram”, and the ladies, but he may have been acknowledging his earlier faults
The poem is written in a blend of Scots and English, and for me one of the English verses is a most beautiful expression of how fleeting life is.

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white-then melts for ever;
Or like the Borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the Rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm. -
Nae man can tether Time nor Tide,
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;

Many familiar phrases have their origin in the works of Burns, for example we have all heard of:
Man's inhumanity to man
Makes countless thousands mourn!

Or, the warning that:

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Or, bringing ourselves to account:
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion:

But what right thinking person would not be moved by the final verse of “A Man’s a Man for A’ That”.
Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,
Shall brothers be for a’ that.

If you would like to learn more about Burns and his work go to the “Burns’ Country”
A recent article on the BBC announces a new iPhone app, with the complete works of Robert Burns

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Shield of His Covenant

Juliet and I had the bounty of being invited to attend a study of Ruhi Book 8 at the home of Rhea and Jeff Kester.(More about their incredible home in a later post) We had a fantastic time and were privileged to share some crafting ideas, with a great group of people.

Aniela, one of our tutors had asked if we could come-up with a craft project based on the idea of a shield, as used by Abdul Baha in the opening sentence of his Will and Testament

“All-praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath guarded the Temple of His Cause from the darts of doubtfulness, ……….”

So! The task given our fellow participants was to make a shield, and like medieval knights, decorate it with a coat of arms, representing what they individually understood by, “The Covenant”.

• Poster board, cardboard, or like material to make the shield.
• Various stickers
• Gems
• Quotes
• Markers
• Pencils
• Rulers
• Scissors
• Glue Sticks
• White or school glue
• Sheets of paper
• Any other decorative “stuff” you have available

I also made some shield templates from cereal boxes, (or you can use the cardboard from the boxes as the actual shield). When I was cutting them out Juliet quipped, “Now you can tell everyone you are a cereal crafter” – Bom! Bom!

As you will see from the picture there was a lot of talent on display, some people used the templates others custom made their shields. (Azi and Alek made large ones and Azi even “rigged” hers’ so that she could carry it on her back.

After the shields were made and decorated we came together again in the main room and everyone explained their design.

All-praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath guarded the Temple of His Cause from the darts of doubtfulness, Who by the Hosts of His Testament hath preserved the Sanctuary of His Most Beneficent Law and protected His Straight and Luminous Path, staying thereby the onslaught of the company of Covenant-breakers, that have threatened to subvert His Divine Edifice; Who hath watched over His Mighty Stronghold and All-glorious Faith, through the aid of men whom the slander of the slanderer affects not, whom no earthly calling, glory and power can turn aside from the Covenant of God and His Testament, established firmly by His clear and manifest words, writ and revealed by His All-glorious Pen and recorded in the Preserved Tablet.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 438)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rotating Booklet

This week finds me on the road, so am taking the opportunity to get a post done in the evening, before I return home tomorrow. We have a busy weekend ahead, in San Marcos, where we will be attending a Ruhi Book 8 study circle. Juliet and I have been preparing some craft activities, and hope to bring you news of them in later posts.

However this post returns to an old standby of ours, the rotating booklets.
This is one we used at the Texas Bahá’í School and the CIC gathering in 2009,
(See Post, and just the other week at the Louisiana Bahá’í School. This is great if you have a large number of people, and is also as simple or complicated as the abilities of the participants. (Everyone can at least add a quote and some stickers)
• Paper A4 or standard letter (in various colours)
• Card stock in the same sizes
• String or yarn
• Grease-proof paper (Cut slightly larger than the finished booklet size)
• Glue Stick
• White or school glue
• Quotes (To Suit)
• Stickers
• Pictures
• Leaves
• Stencils
• In fact any suitable materials you have in your craft supplies

The idea is to choose the theme for the project for example “All art is a gift of the Holy Spirit”, and print a selection of relevant writings.
Make the required number of booklets.
These are made by:
• Cutting, standard letter, or A4 paper in half (use several different colours)
• Fold in half to form a double page
• Do the same with some card stock to form the covers
• Assemble the booklets with about 8 to 10 pages (Or to suit your group size)
• Using and awl drill two holes in the spine
• Tie the booklet together using string
Gather various materials such as, stickers, leaves pictures etc, with which to decorate the booklets.

On the Day:
• Form the participants into groups of 8-10 (If you have a large group)
• Distribute the booklets, and explain that each person should decorate the cover to their taste, using the materials and quotes available. (allow about 8-10 minutes for them to decorate)
• They will then pass the booklet to the person on their right (Or left if you prefer) who will take 8-10 minutes to decorate the next page. (This is where the grease-proof paper comes in; if the decorated page still has wet glue, ink, paint etc. , inset it to prevent the pages sticking together)
• Repeat this process until the book returns to the owner. (Each person can add their name to the page they make)

This activity is a great ice breaker for an intensive study circle or Bahá’í School, and you can extend the times if you want to increase the social interaction element.
Try it out and give us some feedback, or send pictures

More coming soon

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ruhi Craft: A Review of 2010

Now that most of us have returned home, or the relatives have departed, and we are getting back to the normal routine, I thought it would be good to review “Ruhi Craft 2010”.
This was the first full year of the blog; so how did we do? Well we started well, faded almost to nothing in mid-year, then finished strongly. Looking at the chart below one thing is very obvious; fewer posts = less traffic.
So this year’s resolution is a “no-brainer” - Post much more frequently.
This is where the current readers can help. The blog was always intended as a collaborative project, where numerous people would provide material for posts, as well as making comments and suggestions on them. So if you have any ideas for a post, requests or comments please contact us. Also can you please “follow the blog” (see section in the right hand side panel), tell your friends about it, and if you have a website can you link to Ruhi Crafts.
Below is a summary of the year, with links to the posts, and the relevant core activity highlighted.
Since a blog is not the easiest form to find things in I have created sections listing the core activities, containing links to the relevant posts, in the right hand panel.
The year started with a Junior Youth project in Seabrook
In February Sandra Larkin Douglas shared the secrets of her “coffee filter” flowers, that the Children could make for Ayyam i Ha.
We goofed-off a bit in March, but Shelly Julian’s, “Brilliant Stars” project for Children came to the rescue.
Ruhi Crafts was “posted missing” through April and May, but we did have the bounty of visiting our youngest son Alek who was serving in Haifa. Some pictures from the trip illustrated a December post on Symmetry.
June brought a report on an awesome craft shop we visited, in Scotland, on our way to Haifa.
In July and August we were also AWOL. That must have been because we were training for the “Tour de Pink”, with Team Bahá’ícyclists. (Well that is our excuse – Honest!!)
September saw us back in harness with a floral arrangement project which would be ideal for Junior Youth
Oh! Yeh! Well! – It just slipped by
A Story Book project for Book 2 or 4
We ended the year by, planting naught but the rose of love in the garden of our hearts.
A project suitable for many different events. (All Core Activities)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Games People Play

  • One time at the Louisiana Bahá’í School, we played a great “quote” game, that was provided and organized by Wandra White, and Dionne Lombard. (Pictured on the right)
    This is a very simple game and does not require a lot materials or preparation, and is a great “ice-breaker”.

  • Pick a selection of quotes from the writing that are relevant to your event, and the number of participants.
  • Break the quote down into several sections
  • Print or write the sections on to standard 5” X 3” index cards (or use cardstock and then cut up)
  • On the first section of the quote write or print the number of sections in the quote.
  • Place all the cards in a basket or box.
  • Pass the basket round and each participant selects one card.
  • Call out those with the numbered cards

  • The other participant will then match their section to numbered first sections until all the quotes are completed.
The group I was in had a 13 section quote, which was giving us some trouble until someone reached for his “smart phone”. As you can see from the pictures great fun was had by all, but there was also the serious side of studying the writings.

This game will no doubt work better with a larger group but for smaller groups you can keep the section quantity down to 4 or 5.

Thank you Wandra and Dionne for a wonderful game and thanks again to Alek for the pictures

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Louisiana Cypress Bahá’í School: 2010.

Happy New Year to all our readers.
The first post of the new Gregorian year is the report on our wonderful trip to the 2010 Louisiana Bahá’í school, at Bogue Chitto State Park.
Juliet and I drove there from Houston with our youngest son Alek and his friend Azi.

We had a fantastic time, and were able to renew our friendship with Diane and Kenny Broussard, as well as meeting many new friends from Louisiana and surrounding states. It was the best conference I have attended, although also the smallest, the warm and loving Louisiana Bahá’ís, just welcomed all the visitors and made everyone feel totally at home.
The committee had organized a great program for all ages.
For the adults it was a study of “Revelation & Social Reality. Learning to Translate What is Written into Reality”, lead by Aghdas & Timothy Alford.
Also thanks to the efforts of many volunteers there were programs for the youth, junior youth, and children.
Karaoke Kenny
Juliet and I had the opportunity to share two craft projects over the weekend (details of these in later posts), and throughout many contributed their musical talents, to the Devotionals. The” talent evening”, saw, singing, dancing, gymnastics and even a soccer demonstration.
We were also able to buy a copy of a new photo book, “Hasten Forth”, by Gigi Alford and her husband Anis Mungapen. There will be a review of the book in a later post.
I cannot end without mentioning Paul who led the effort in the kitchen and ensured that everyone was more than adequately fed all weekend, including a traditional New Year’s Day Lunch. (Despite being under the weather).
As is always the case it is not possible to be everywhere or to acknowledge everyone specifically, but I cannot speak highly enough about the committee, all the volunteers, and community members who made this such a memorable event.
If you live in the South Central Region, you should consider this school for next year.
For more updates see:

Louisiana Cypress Bahá’í School: 2010.
Thanks to Alek Timmons for the photographs, I believe a larger selection will be posted on the school's web site in the near future.