Thursday, November 16, 2017


I'm having a long day with too much on my plate. I was just about to go to bed without posting anything when I decided to look up what the Writings have to say about sleep.

First of all, we have this prayer from Baha'u'llah:

How can I choose to sleep, O God, my God, when the eyes of them that long for Thee are wakeful because of their separation from Thee; and how can I lie down to rest whilst the souls of Thy lovers are sore vexed in their remoteness from Thy presence? 
I have committed, O my Lord, my spirit and my entire being into the right hand of Thy might and Thy protection, and I lay my head on my pillow through Thy power, and lift it up according to Thy will and Thy good pleasure.  Thou art, in truth, the Preserver, the Keeper, the Almighty, the Most Powerful. 
By Thy might!  I ask not, whether sleeping or waking, but that which Thou dost desire.  I am Thy servant and in Thy hands.  Do Thou graciously aid me to do what will shed forth the fragrance of Thy good pleasure.  This, truly, is my hope and the hope of them that enjoy near access to Thee.  Praised be Thou, O Lord of the worlds!
Then we have this excerpt from a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:
"Regarding your question: There are very few people who can get along without eight hours sleep. If you are not one of those, you should protect your health by sleeping enough. The Guardian himself finds that it impairs his working capacity if he does not try and get a minimum of seven or eight hours." 
 I think it's time to take the Guardian's advice.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What's Going on in There?

This afternoon I was lying down and the baby started moving. Every so often it goes on this wild rampage around my uterus and I can't help but wonder, "What is it doing in there?"

I don't mean what is it doing physically. Obviously there's an assortment of kicking, punching and squirming going on. What I really wonder is what does it think it's doing? When it just moves a bit I assume it needed to shift to get comfortable, but when there's a long string of rapid thumps that move across the inside of my belly, then back again, then a big lump slides down the side, then there's a swift jab to my bladder, I can't help but think that it's up to something. Like it's got a plan.

I never really thought the Baha'i concept of death would be on my mind so much while waiting to give birth. But the comparison to birth, the one that we use to describe what it's like for a soul to die, keeps flipping back and forth in my mind when it comes to my baby. It has expanded beyond an analogy for what it's like to change forms of existence. Now it keeps me thinking about what it's like to be alive.

For example, if we are developing spiritual attributes in this life with no concept of what they'll be used for in the next, what does the baby think of the physical attributes it's developing right now? Is it wiggling around thinking it's got this hand and foot thing figured out, like we sometimes think we understand love or compassion? If so, what does it think hands and feet are for? And when we think we're being spiritually awesome, is there anyone in the realm of the spirit shaking their head and wondering what we think we're up to?

What does the baby think the umbilical cord is for if it has no concept of nutrition or oxygen? Is our understanding of prayer just as limited?

What does it think the placenta is? What does it think sound is? When it swallows amniotic fluid what does it think it's doing if it doesn't know it will someday have to drink? When it goes on a big kicking spree does it think it's doing important work, like when we do a bunch of overtime at our jobs?

It's hard to comprehend that the baby doesn't know who I am. For now I am not understandable as another person, only as a habitat. What does the baby think the habitat is doing when I poke my belly in response to some kicks? Do we get spiritual pokes and not know what they are?

Finally, I have to ask the really big question. Why, exactly, does the baby think it's so important to punch me in the bladder?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Current Assortment of Books

I looked around tonight and realized I have Baha'i books scattered throughout the house. Aside from the obvious need to tidy my house, it got me thinking about what they all indicate about my life right now. Here is a list and a few notes on why they're laying around.

  1. Days of Remembrance - This is a compilation of Writings for holy days that was released last year. It had been my job to select the readings for the Birth of the Bab celebration last month and this was a handy book to turn to. It just hasn't made it back to the bookshelf yet.
  2. God Loves Laughter - This memoir by William Sears is possibly my favorite book of all time. It's incredibly funny, so when I felt like my husband and I were under too much stress a few months ago I suggested we read it out loud together. We were several chapters in when it got set aside on the coffee table and we never got back to it. It's going to stay there because I'm still convinced we should keep reading it together.
  3. The Kitab-I-Iqan and Spiritual Strength for Men - These are sitting on the table beside God Loves Laughter. I wasn't reading them so I'm pretty sure my husband left them there.
  4. Messages to Canada, Century of Light and One Common Faith - Until a few days ago they were sitting on my beside table. Then I realized the pile of books I had there was getting to be more than I could realistically handle and brought them downstairs. They made it as far as the chair beside the bookshelf but not actually onto the book shelf. That will change on what ever day I start prioritizing housework over writing blog posts.
  5. The Kitab-i-Aqdas - This is sitting beside my bed. It's another one my husband and I were reading together, except it was for the purpose of study and reflection rather than entertainment. Recently we haven't been going to bed at the same time so our study of the Writings has been separate and this got buried under some other books.
  6. The Promulgation of Universal Peace - Also on my bedside table. This belonged to my dad and I was given his copy after he died. I'm not really reading it but don't have the heart to put it away.
  7. The Advent of Divine Justice - On my beside table and I am reading it. A while back I decided I wanted to read more of Shoghi Effendi's work. It's been kind of slow going but I'm getting there.
  8. The Revelation of Baha'u'llah Vol. 3 - Also by my bed. I read the first two volumes but have been dragging my feet with reading the third. I normally really enjoy reading history but reading about the Holy Family's early days in Akka has seemed so depressing that I can only read one page at a time. Maybe it's because I'm pregnant. I'll blame hormones or something.
  9. Selections From the Writings of the Bab - Most days I've been getting my daily readings from a phone app but I keep this book handy for when I want a longer selection.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Tips For Saying the Long Obligatory Prayer While Pregnant

A few days ago I mentioned some benefits to saying the long obligatory prayer while pregnant. The only thing is, as your belly gets bigger and bigger the movements that go with the prayer get more and more challenging. Today I'm going to offer some tips on how to work with a changing body to keep this prayer a viable option for childbearing women.

1. Getting Your Forehead to the Ground

The first, and most challenging, pose we encounter is when the instructions with the prayer say, "Let him then kneel, and bowing his forehead to the ground..." Normally when people do this their knees are together and they just kind of fold forward till their head touches the ground.

This is what I look like doing it at the beginning of the third trimester.

Technically I can still pull it off but it has taken a slight modification. Normally my hips would be lower down, either on my heels or just above them. To accommodate my belly in this photo I've had to lift my hips higher and leave more space between my knees and my chest. While it kind of works, it's still pretty uncomfortable.

Another option, that has become more preferable lately, is to adjust the position my knees. Instead of kneeling like this ...

 ... try leaving a gap of a few inches.

Leaving a gap between the knees leaves room for the belly to fit when you lower your head to the floor.
 As an added bonus, this modification also allows for the lower back muscles to be stretched out.

2. Sitting

Two portions of this prayer are to be said in a seated position. Since both occur right after a section said in the forward kneeling position described above, I have a tendency to just sit up again and sit on my heels.

So far this still works for me. However, lots of other women have more trouble than I do when it comes to swollen feet and joint pain. Since we aren't given specific instructions on how to sit (the notes with the prayer just say that the one saying the prayer should "seat himself"), this might be another spot for a modification. If sitting on your feet is causing pain or discomfort you might want to consider switching to sitting cross-legged for the time being.


3. Getting Up Again

This prayer requires a lot of getting up and down. In pregnancy our centre of gravity changes, and we often feel less steady, so we need to be careful to move in a way that provides stability. Here are some options to help keep your balance when rising back into a standing position after being on the floor .

Step 1: Shift your weight onto one hip and bring your feet to one side.

Step 2: Rise up onto one knee while planting your other foot firmly on the floor. Support yourself with your hands. If you feel unsteady stay in this position and make adjustments until you feel stable again.

Step 3:  Put your weight on the other foot and move into a standing position.

4. Preventing Dizziness

One area of caution with this prayer is changes to blood pressure that can occur when moving from position to position. Sudden changes can cause severe dizziness, even if you were fine doing the same thing the day before. You can reduce the severity by moving slowly when changing position and taking a few deep breaths before going onto the next section of the prayer. You might also want to consider staying close to a chair, bed, or other piece of furniture that you can hold onto for support while getting up and down. If that doesn't work consider switching to the short obligatory prayer for a while.

While some dizziness and light-headedness is normal, it should go away after sitting in an upright position for a few minutes. If it lasts for a prolonged period of time and is accompanied by sudden swelling, visual disturbances, headache, or difficulty breathing, and those symptoms also do not go away after returning to an upright position, consider contacting your health care provider. That combination of symptoms can be a sign of preeclampsia, a medical condition that is unrelated to saying the prayer. If this happens to you, it is likely that these symptoms were starting anyway and that you just happened to be paying more attention to them while praying.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Prayer Beads

Tonight I'm showing you my prayer beads.

They were made by a junior youth in a JY group I was animating about six years ago. I'm still in touch with some of the members of that group. It's been a treat to watch them grow up and was a bit of a shock to realize they were heading to university this year. While handling the beads tonight I was think back on the time we spent together in that group. At the time it felt like a great deal of work to keep everything going week after week, but now it seems like the time I spent with them was far too short. It suddenly feels very tangible to realize what a fleeting yet crucial time the period of junior youth really is.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Reflections on Blogging on My Year of Service

Yesterday I was reading some of the other posts from the Baha'i Blogging Challenge and came across one on Doberman Pizza. It was reminiscing about the early days of Baha'i blogging and, I've got to say, it really brought back some memories.

Blogs were really just becoming a thing around the time my friends started going abroad for years of service. Prior to that people would communicate by sending a big group email to recount their latest adventures. Then, after receiving it, you'd probably get it sent to you a second time because their parents would spam send it to make sure everyone they knew was up to date.

Then one day someone's mom sent us all a link. It was for some kind of website called a blog where our friend was posting updates about her year of service activities. I was fascinated. Pretty soon I found out the internet was full of blogs. Sure a lot of them were mostly pictures of people's cats, but I thought it was a brilliant concept for globetrotting Baha'is. When it came time to head off for service myself, gosh darn it, I was going to have a blog!

Like many before me I turned out to be terrible at maintaining it. This was mostly due to the fact that the house I was living in didn't have internet and the library only allowed 30 minutes of computer usage per day. Still, I did what I could and the people back home seemed to appreciate it.

Things sort of chugged along with a combination of blogging and email that year. Then about a month before I was supposed to leave I was having dinner with a couple of former housemates. One of them was an exchange student from China who was also getting ready to head home and we all wanted to get together before we ended up in different countries. After a while the conversation turned towards keeping in touch.

"Do you have Facebook?" my Chinese friend asked.

"What?" I didn't know what she was talking about.

"The Facebook." She assumed I was having trouble understanding her accent. "Face," she said pointing at her own face. "Book," she said while miming a book with her hands.

"Yeah," I said. "That's what I thought you said. But what is it?"

"You don't know Facebook?" She sounded shocked. "Everybody is using it. You make and account and go on."

"Yeah, but what is it?"

Later that night she sat me down at the computer and signed me up for an account. (The house had gotten internet right around the time I moved out.) I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at but was surprised to find a bunch of friends from back home were already there. Over the next few weeks more and more joined up and pretty soon I was invaded with friend requests from people I hadn't talked to in ages. In some cases I was surprised they still remembered me. Over night I was thrown into the world of social media and microblogging.

The fact that this came just as my year of service was winding down had a profound effect. I had felt like I was doing well to be serving at a time when blogging and email could easily keep me in touch with those I was close to back home. Then all of a sudden that was all left in the dust. Not only could I update people on what I was doing but I could see what everyone else was doing too. And it was kind of like all of us, all at once, in one place. And it took very little effort. There had been some lonely times while I was away but connecting with everyone from different parts of my life all at once suddenly made me realize what an illusion that had been. It also meant returning to Canada didn't feel like the end of the friendships I had made in Denmark.

Oddly enough the one person I wasn't able to keep in touch with through Facebook was the one who introduced me to it in the first place. Because, well, she went back to China. As we now know, Facebook and China didn't exactly become BFFs.

The whole blogging thing was never quite the same once social media came along, but the Baha'i Blogging Challenge has been a great reminder that it's not dead. It's sparked a little nostalgia but also fostered some thoughtful new content that wouldn't have happened otherwise. Some blogs that were old favorites are getting more fired up than they have been for a while and I'm getting to check out others that I never would have known about otherwise. Let's see what the rest of the month brings.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Four Reasons to Say the Long Obligatory Prayer While Pregnant

While making efforts to integrate the Long Obligatory Prayer into my day recently, I've notices a few benefits to saying it specifically while pregnant.

  1. It helps with optimal fetal positioning - One of the unique aspects of the Long Obligatory Prayer is how it integrates movement along with the words. The Medium Obligatory Prayer also does some of this but not nearly to the same extent. The benefit to pregnant women is that most of these movements involve bending forward and kneeling on the ground. Because many of us live in an environment that is becoming more materially comfortable we are spending more and more of our day sitting and reclining, which is quite different than what our ancestors did through most of human history. Women used to spend a lot of time in activities - scrubbing floors, tending fires, weeding gardens - that worked with gravity to get unborn babies into ideal positions for birth. The kinds of movement that go with this prayer are the kinds of movements that many of us are missing in our daily lives and allow for gravity to help the baby into a more optimal position. If your baby is breach or posterior this alone is probably not enough to get it to turn, but would be very complimentary to programs like Spinning Babies or Dancing For Birth.
  2. It's good for your back - I've found that the same movements that help with fetal positioning can also help relieve the lower back strain that comes with later pregnancy. Prostrating on the floor brings me so much relief that it's tempting to draw out those sections of the prayer just to linger there a bit longer.
  3. It can be said anytime of day (good if you're getting forgetful) - I don't know about anyone else, but I have never been as forgetful as I have been since I got pregnant. I didn't even know it was possible. I'd heard of pregnancy brain but always thought it was over-hyped. I was wrong. When you're losing track of time, going with the prayer that doesn't need to be said at a specific time of day can be a real bonus.
  4. You might not have the chance after the baby arrives - The first weeks with a new baby can be demanding. Depending on individual circumstances, prayer might become something that is more likely to happen in short bursts in between other things. Many parenting websites advocate some kind of pampering with pedicures and spa treatments before the birth, but why not give your spirit some extra care while you have the chance?

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Thoughts After a Jehovah's Witness Visit

Baha'u'llah told us to, "Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship." As a result Jehovah's Witnesses seem to think visiting me is awesome.

There's one older fellow who's been stopping by once a month for several years now. I'm amazed he keeps coming, given that I've shown no signs of wavering in my own faith, but as he said last month, "I've encountered a few Baha'is and at least you can have a conversation with them!"

He came around today. We got talking about Thief in the Night, which I gave him quite some time ago, and he ask me what Baha'is believe about the end times. He said he hadn't finished the book so I stumbled around a bit for an answer. The truth is I gave him the book because I was too much of a chicken to be too direct about this sort of thing.

Me: "Well, um, we interpret a lot of the prophecies in a less literal way that some churches."

Him: "Uh huh."

Me: "For example, there's that whole idea of a day in the Bible being interpreted as a year. So we don't expect everything to happen all at once."

He nodded.

Me:  "But we believe in a time of great upheaval, and a crumbling of the world as it was, followed by what we call The Most Great Peace. That's what you probably call the Kingdom of God on earth."

Him: "Yes, of course! We believe this too. It's in the Bible. And you know, some of those things have already happened."

Me: "Uh, yeah."

It's always been a bit weird to me that conversations around this topic are so hard to have. I understand why it would be awkward for most people, but this was literally the kind of thing that convinced me I wanted to be a Baha'i. I had grown up in a Baha'i family but didn't decide I wanted to be Baha'i myself till well into adulthood. In the end it was looking at how all the prophecies from different faiths fit together so well, like pieces of a puzzle, that did it for me.

So many stories of people becoming Baha'i revolve around knowing in their heart it was right or being attracted to the warmth of the community. Some people talk about liking the teachings on oneness and unity. None of that really mattered to me. I don't care how things feel, I wanted to know if it was right or wrong and what the evidence was regardless of emotion. Looking at the prophecies of the past all pointing in the same direction made logical sense. It was based on that that I decided to follow Baha'u'llah, and it's because I follow Baha'u'llah that I bother caring about things like unity and oneness.

In theory, it might look like I was timid about discussing prophecies today because the Jehovah's Witnesses are known for some pretty literal, and "out there," interpretations of the Bible. But that's not it. There have been many chances for this to come up in different settings and with different people. Talking about it is just something I haven't figured out how to do. Occasionally I'll get asked what Baha'is believe about prophecies and I just say I'll have to look it up. One time a friend asked me point blank why I was Baha'i and I dodged the question by inviting him to a Book 1 study circle. In retrospect it might have worked out better if I just gave him a direct answer.

You just don't get a lot of practice talking about this sort of thing in a Baha'i community. Even though it's part of our beliefs most Baha'i don't really care. We're busy talking about core activities and community building. Because I don't talk about it very often I haven't figured out how to talk about it without sounding batshit insane. But I think there are people this matters to and they need a better answer than I'm giving them. (Both in terms of what Baha'i teachings are and why I personally believe what I do.) Maybe that's why people like my JW friend keep showing up and asking me these questions. Maybe I'm being given the chance to practice.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Birth and Death

This past winter a video popped up on social media of Baha'i actor Justin Baldoni giving a talk that left me sobbing. It was called "What if Birth and Death are Actually the Same?"

The Baha'i views on life after death have been familiar to me for as long as I can remember, and truth be told, Baldoni wasn't saying anything I didn't already know. 'Abdu'l-Baha spoke extensively about the concept of death being like when we are born into this world. In the world of the womb we spend our time developing everything we need to live in this world such as arms, legs, eyes, ears, etc. We don't know what they're for or have any idea how important they'll be. When our birth happens it is a great shock for us since we cannot imagine a world beyond what we have known. But what we find is a world far bigger, brighter and more wondrous than we could have ever comprehended. When the Baha'i Writings talk about death, they talk about it in the exact same way that they talk about birth. Instead of growing physical attributes we grow the spiritual ones we will need to live in the world of the spirit.

What brought me to tears was the story Baldoni told at the end of his talk about his daughter's birth, and his realization that it would not be the last time he welcomed her into a new world. My father and I had talked many times about the similarity between birth and death. Hearing the vivid description of a father's perspective, and his eager anticipation for the day when he could be there as she entered the spiritual world, brought to mind what my own father's perspective must have been.

At the time I was feeling a double dose of grief. I had had to say goodbye to my father and was also trying to come to terms with not being able to have children. For us it wasn't just that birth and death were similar, it was also the illnesses associated with them that overlapped. During the years that he was going through cancer treatment I was being treated for infertility. We would commiserate about needles and doctors and side effects. The endless appointments, how both problems just take over your life, and the uncertainty of where it was all going. There was always a cautious hope that he would get a treatment that would keep him in this world a while longer and I would get one that would bring a new life to meet him.

By the time that video came out both of those hopes were gone. My father had been dead for nearly a year, and after five years of trying to have children, my husband and I were too drained to try anymore. When I heard that story being told I had to realize that I could only ever be on one side of it. My father could welcome me into this world when I was born, and he would welcome me into the next world when I die, but I would never be able to welcome a child after me. Reflecting on the Baha'i teachings at that time was bitter sweet, as it brought both an anticipation for the world to come and a more vivid awareness of what was missing in this life.

All of this came back several months later when, to our tremendous shock, it turned out a baby was living in the world of my womb without any medical assistance whatsoever. As time went by I started to think again about the similarity between birth and death. This baby was totally unaware of what exists in this world, yet was only an inch away from it. He or she was growing lungs with no knowledge of air, a mouth with no understanding of food, eyes with no concept of light. And we in this world and eagerly watching as it grows, anticipating its arrival.

I watched the video again today and spent some time re-reading some of the Writings on the subject. Preparing for a birth makes me think again and again about death. After the past few years I don't think I'll ever again be able to separate the two in my mind. If this is how close this child is to this world, think just how close we are to the next.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Bicentenary Celebrations

A couple of weeks ago Baha'is around the world celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha'u'llah. The way this Holy Day was celebrated looked different in each community. Where we live there are two cities right beside each other, as well as several smaller surrounding communities, so a taskforce was set up to plan a big celebration bringing everyone together.

In the weeks leading up to the celebration I had the chance to talk to a couple of the members of the taskforce. One in particular was also responsible for our community's Birth of the Bab celebration being held the same weekend. I was helping with that event so I was able to hear a bit more about the planning process. I must say, the responsibility they had was huge. When I start to think about how many of these events were taking place around the world, and what efforts people were putting in behind the scenes to make it all happen, my head starts to spin. Hats off to all the organizers out there.

When my husband and I walked into the celebration we were blown away by the sheer number of people in attendance. There were clearly far, far more people there than actually belonged to the Baha'i communities themselves. Of course we knew in advance that there would be, since we'd been encouraged for many months at feast to invite friends and neighbors, but our minds hadn't really wrapped around the magnitude of what that would look like. It turned out to be so big that we couldn't even find other family members who had come in a separate car.

The program itself was thoughtfully planned, joyfully presented and full of delight. It included music from both an adult and a children's choir, devotions, junior youth presentations, stories from the life of Baha'u'llah, and a variety of dancers from different cultures. It was followed by refreshments and socializing though, as I mentioned, the numbers made it challenging if you wanted to say hello to specific people.

In two years it will be time to celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab. This is quite an exciting time to be a Baha'i. It will be interesting to see what takes place in those two years.
The adult choir performing at the bicentenary celebration.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Falling Off the Prayer Wagon

Confession is not a part of the Baha'i religion, but in the interest of exploiting my personal weaknesses for writing material, I'm going to confess something here. I'm really bad at praying.

It's not that I'm bad at actually saying prayers. Picking up a prayer book and reciting what's inside is something I am fully capable of. Nor does my problem have to do with any sort of quieting of the mind or centring of the heart. I'm just really bad getting myself to sit down and do it. I forget.

This feels like such a noobie problem. Daily prayer is an extremely basic law that Baha'is are supposed to follow and most new Baha'is pick it up as a habit fairly early on. Certainly someone like me, who grew up with Baha'i parents, should not be having this much trouble. I just find that after going along for a while with being really consistent there will suddenly come a time when BAM! I start forgetting. Then once I start forgetting it feels like an insurmountable mountain to clime to start back up again.

The short obligatory prayer is the worst. People like to say it because it's short, but because it's supposed to be said in the afternoon (it's known as the "Noon-day Prayer" for a reason), I find it the most disruptive, the easiest to forget, and the hardest to actually accomplish. I never know where I'm going to be, what I'll be doing, or who I'll be with at the time its supposed to be said. On the days when I'm at work there's also very little privacy. Technically I could set an alarm but if it goes off when I'm doing something I can't just drop, I'll just turn it off and forget again a minute later. The other problem is that, as mentioned, it's short. If I manage to say it in spite of distraction it doesn't feel like I've even done anything. Then a while later I'll forget if I've said it or not.

The medium obligatory prayer has a lot of the same issues except that it needs to be said three times a day. I've known people who are big fans but even at the best of times I've never gotten the hang of this one.

The times when I've had the best luck with staying consistent are when I've incorporated the long obligatory prayer into my day. Since it can be said at any time of the day I grew up thinking of it as the one you say at night when you screw up and forget the shorter prayers earlier, but in my adult life it actually became my favorite. The flexible timing means it can also be said at the start of the day. If I can manage to do that other things seem to fall into place, especially evening prayers. (Once you've said the long prayer everything else seems like a piece of cake.) The problems arise when I sleep in, or get a phone call first thing, or have someone talk to me, or have anything else distract me early in the morning. Since it's long you can't just say it quickly once you remember. Once I forget I seem to spiral downward.

In my mind it goes something like this, "Oops, maybe I should say the noon-day prayer...Oops, there goes the afternoon. Guess that's not happening... Hey, I should say my evening prayers.... Oh wait. I should say my obligatory prayer first... Oh look, several hours just went by and I forgot what I was doing... I should probably say those prayers... Oh hey, my husband's waking me up because I fell asleep on the couch... Maybe I'll try this again tomorrow."

Then I repeat the same thing the next day.

So what are the consequences for this spiritual delinquency? Failure to obey a law is one aspect of it, but it's not like the prayer police are going to come bang down my door. I think of it more like depriving myself of spiritual nourishment. In the same way that skipping a meal deprives your body of fuel, skipping prayers deprives the soul of sustenance. If it happens once I might not notice much effect, but if it happens a lot I get grumpy, distracted, depressed, and frustrated. And yeah, there are other things that feed the soul - going to feast, engaging in meaningful conversation, appreciating artistic creations, reading about thoughtful topics - but without prayer I find they are like grabbing a bag of chips and a pop to keep yourself going instead of sitting down to a home cooked meal. That might do for a while but when you are used to being well-nourished you feel the difference after a while.

Lately I've been getting pretty spotty with my prayers again. Since I'm writing about the Faith this month I'm going to use this time to also give myself a kick and get back in the habit. I'm going to aim to not take shortcuts and say the long obligatory prayer every morning. We'll see how it goes.

If you are not familiar with Baha'i teachings and practices surrounding prayer, or would just like to read more, here are a few links to check out:

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Baha'i Blogging Challenge

This month I've signed up to participate in the Baha'i Blogging Challenge. Everyday in November Baha'i bloggers are going to be posting about various topics to do with their faith. Since this blog started as part of my year of service I thought it might be an appropriate thing to take part in.

Regular posting has never been a great strength of mine so I've been mulling over what to write about. One of the things that tends to make me procrastinate is the feeling that I should be picking up where I left off. I'm hoping this will get me out of that a bit more, but to scratch that itch I'll probably write a bit about the Baha'i perspective on death and dying. We were in that process with my father when I dropped off two years ago so in my mind that's where I left off.

A topic that has to do with more current life events is my pregnancy. Birth and death seem so intertwined in the Writings, and after losing my father while trying to start a family, the two topics have become inextricably linked for me. I would also like to explore the process of preparing to become Baha'i parents.

Other things I'm thinking of touching on are obligatory prayer, the recent bicentenary, answering questions I commonly get asked, and some of the prompts from the challenge.

If anyone has anything else they'd like to see covered leave a comment and let me know. I'm still planning out what I'm going to do so there's still some room to work things in.