Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

March 30, 2008


A new chapter has begun for Billy and me in Our Life With Children entitled "Getting some serious work done while the girls all play happily". It's a great chapter so far where we got six hours of spring yard work/play done with both of us out there in the dirt. Billy started building me a compost bin, ran back and forth to Lowe's to get mulch, wood, stepping stones, landscaping fabric, etc. and helped me with my projects of enlarging all the flower beds in the front yard, raking up leaves, etc. It was extremely satisfying. We've been waiting our whole married lives to be able to all be out in the garden together having fun, and that day has finally arrived. Before, there was always some child small enough that one of us would have to give up our gardening fun and take care of them full time. This time Georgia and Maya made caves for themselves in the bushes and furnished them with snacks and toys they got themselves and Teresa was happy to be Daddy's helper. Yeah, yeah, yeah! This bodes well for the summer to come.

In other outdoor-type news, Georgia is excitedly going off to her first camp away from home for five days, starting Monday. Her Montessori school spends a week at the Nature's Classroom Institute in Wisconsin each spring for play-in-the-mud environmental education. She didn't want to go at first because it was so long away from family, but her cousin Mariah, who is a year ahead of her at the same school and has already been to Nature's Classroom, convinced her that they would have a good time together. I was kind of worried about the staff dealing with all her food allergies but they asked lots of questions about special diets and asked us to send up some staples that she can eat, so I pretty feel confident that they will try their best to accomodate her needs (read: Erg! I hope she lives through the week! Oh well, it's somebody else's problem for once).

More milestones:

Maya and Georgia getting to be old enough to really want to play together. Maya: Georgia, can we keep playing when you get home from school?
Georgia: Sure!

Teresa acheiving all but one of the major steps of potty training. She's completely uninterested in #2 on the potty. Everything else is golden. I'm so proud of that girl. I love her independant spirit. She dresses herself whenever she possibly can and really wants to be able to pour her own juice. So sweet.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 02:04 AM | Comments (2)

March 23, 2008




These pictures of tulip shoots were taken five days apart. Seeing measurable growth is so cathartic for me this time of year. Abdul-Baha would say "Kam kam, ruz beh ruz" which means 'little by little, day by day' when people wondered how they could possibly live up to the high ideals set forth in the Baha'i Writings. That's what watching tulips emerge slowly but steadily does for me. Knowing the natural pace of growth in the physical world gives me something to hold onto when I'm trying to understand how growth works in the spiritual world. I can more easily put my life in line with God's plan if I can see little signs of how to do it. The tulips are my guide today.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2008

a few peaceful women

I am not very graceful at fasting. It's not easy for me to feel calm about not eating all day when the kids all have colds and cabin fever and I have PMS. But I try. I take my B vitamins and evening primrose oil, get my exercise, arrange for Billy to be home when I think I'm going to need some meditation time, and try to get enough sleep. I still feel like a beginner, but I think that my obedience is important, even if I'm not feeling all peaceful and happy about it all the time. Struggle. It means something's happening. Maybe even growth. I do feel like I'm learning things about myself and I do feel closer to God and I do feel more loving in general. The cool thing I've noticed is that being really empty of food seems to clear an arena inside all aspects of me for something else to happen. A good empty place.

My theme for this fast is women at war/women at peace and so far, most of my thinking has been about whether I feel peaceful or not. That's good but I hope to broaden my focus a bit. Hmmm.. I keep noticing that a peaceful path is not always a struggle-free path. And perhaps rarely so. Hmmm... let's move outside my head and think about other people.... The first four women that pop into my head when I think of people that are struggling to build peace in their communities are:

Helen - A Baha'i in Urbana that has been offering virtues classes in her home for about a year now to the little kids that run around her neighborhood. She has been trying so hard, with so many obstacles, to reach out to her neighbors and do something positive with them to try and build a sense of community on her street. I'm priviledged to witness her sincerity and love.

Co-op lady - There's a woman here in C-U that is working with a group of members of a tiny local food co-op to expand into a large, centrally located store that's more accessible and geared toward the general public. I don't even know her name, but I was so glad to see her doing her thing. Speaking at a neighborhood meeting recently, she was so articulate and inclusive, lovingly answering everyone's questions about the expansion and change in focus, and totally on point about every financial detail of the whole enterprise. The meeting was thorough and very concise. I love's me a concise meeting! And I love seeing talented women in leadership roles kicking ass at what they do. When I was a member of that co-op 10 years ago, it was exclusive-feeling and very political, like they were trying to be separate, and here they've decided to try and be accepting and focus on bringing healthy local food to as many people as they can. Yeah!

King Breakfast lady - Here's another woman I only met once who really made an impression on me. At this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast, I sat down at one of the last available tables and a beautiful African American woman, about my mom's age, plunked down next to me, and without preamble, started speaking to me with such vehemence that I couldn't not remember everything she told me. She said, "Look around this room. (about 300 people were there, the vast majority of whom were African American) This is a pathetic turnout. There are only about 10 white folks here. We are not going to make any progress until this room is filled with white people. When the makeup of this room reflects the racial makeup of this town, that's when the balance of power is going to shift." I don't think she was trying to denigrate the sincerity and importance of the people that WERE there, I think she wants the white people to be fighting the fight for racial equality too. I really appreciated being spoken to from the heart by a complete stranger and was grateful to know her perpective. That kind of courage is really inspiring to me because I am way too guarded.

Benazir Bhutto - OK, this woman is on a whole other plane in so many ways and her influence is on a much larger scale, but she really did come into my mind next, so she's next on my list. The former prime minister of Pakistan, recently assasinated while trying to promote peace and justice in her country. "The first woman elected to lead a Muslim state," says Wikipedia. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of her book, Reconciliation, that explains modern Islam to a western audience to help foster understanding between east and west. I plan to know more about her soon, but I am already intrigued by what I do know of her story.

There's a lot of struggle in these stories. But the struggles are along peaceful lines to attain peace, not warring to attain peace. I see education, I see reaching out to the 'other', and I see sincere desire to help people. These women are truly beautiful.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:48 AM | Comments (4)

March 10, 2008

a path of peace

The Baha'i Fast started last week, where Baha'is don't eat or drink between sunrise and sunset for 19 days. Instead, they pray and try to adjust their lives closer to God and righteousness.

I'm a false beginner at fasting. 10 years on (starting at age 15), 8 years off for early motherhood, and now back again. So it's new and hard to get my mind around again. I've been working on a sort of mantra of ideas to tell myself several times a day for encouragement and so that I will feel peaceful. Here's what I tell myself:

This is the season of restraint. This is the season of restraint. This is the season of restraint.
I'm moving out of the womb world of comfort and taking on the role of traveler.
I'm going on an inner journey whose watchword is independance: from the body's constant clamoring about it's needs and desires.
My spirit is free to take all my resources and follow IT'S heart's desire.
When my spirit takes the lead, it wants to go climb mountains and get to a place where it's quiet and can see for miles.
Meditation and prayer, connecting with my family, singing, being goofy, playing cards: these are the kinds of things I imagine doing along the way.
I'm open to whatever comes up on the journey: good, bad, and interesting, beautiful, ugly and true.
I accepts that new patterns of thought will have to be created along the way to overcome tests.

Here's how the trip has gone so far:
The first week was disastrous. I got some kind of intestinal bug the first day, but tried to fast anyways because I sure wasn't hungry! That was dumb, though, and it took me the rest of the week to get better. I also felt really anxious when I was fasting, that's why I made up my little mantra. So yesterday was this false beginner's false beginning.

I felt sensitized to the world, my sense of smell heightened and really aware of my thoughts (most of them having to do with food!). I realized how much of my day is spent in dealing with some part of the eating process, both my own and my family's. I didn't know what to do with myself. It was a Sunday so Billy was there to share the thinking and doing work of feeding the kids all day. That was a huge help in getting me independant of food as the main topic of my day. I also felt both really out of it and really focused, maybe alternating, maybe the focus came from trying so hard to focus on children's class/Baha'i Center Board/Local Spiritual Assembly work through that loopy low blood sugar feeling. It was really a glorious day.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2008


Snow, frezing rain and cold weather don't seem to have the impact on my psyche they did before that warm day, Sunday. You're days are numbered winter! It's a slippery slope from here to greenness.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2008

first signs of spring

I'm not as worried about the little tulip shoots popping up. I think they'll make it.

Yesterday was 65 degrees and sunny. We all ran outside and played as hard as we could. Georgia played bikewash/frontier girls.

Maya declared it swimsuit weather and was adventurous enough to step onto a snowbank with little coaxing.

For today at least, it's spring:1, winter:0.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 11:08 AM | Comments (3)