Welcome! ‘Edge of Forever’, my latest album featuring diverse styles of music, is now available. I’ve also released a piano instrumental CD, ‘Glimmerings’. Feel free to browse the music page to listen to my other releases.
Join the mailing list on the right side of the page for free song downloads.
I am one step closer to releasing my album, ‘Infinite Bounty’, and am very happy to share with you that I have now chosen the cover design for the album. I had asked the friends on my mailing list to choose between a couple of options, and overwhelming preference was for the version below. Thanks to all who shared their thoughts and opinions!
I would like to thank Nate Smieja for contributing this gorgeous photograph for the album.
After a seven year labor of love, I am delighted to finally share that our book ‘Hands of the Cause of God: Amelia Collins, Dorothy Baker, Tarazu’llah Samandari’ has been published and is now available for purchase on my website.
The idea for the book originated because my husband and I wanted our children to know about their namesakes, Amelia Collins and Tarazu’llah Samandari. At the same time, we wanted the stories of these special souls to be available to a broader audience of youth and junior youth and not only our own children. So the family project became a book project. After doing our initial research and writing, we asked the Baha’i World Centre for photographs of the Hands of the Cause as I wanted their pictures in the book rather than illustrations. The original photos were black and white so I commissioned an artist to professionally color them and they came out beautifully (thank you Alice Williams).
We felt that the book should introduce more than two of the Hands so that the inspirational lives of these unique souls might be known by the generation of youth and junior youth growing up today. I then asked my relative, Vered Ehsani, who is an author, whether she would be interested in writing about one of the Hands of the Cause and she graciously and enthusiastically agreed to write about Dorothy Baker. So that is how the book came to be about these three Hands. We also thought at one time about writing about 9 of the Hands of the Cause but decided to first finish these three short stories and hopefully later on complete others. That is now a future project!
Although the book was written with youth and junior youth in mind it can be enjoyed by “youth of all ages” as their stories are priceless and their photographs are precious (some have never before been published).
I am grateful to the Baha’i Publishing Trust of India for publishing this lovely book and to the following friends who brought the project to life: Kiser Barnes, Vered Ehsani, Tarry Mahony, Michelle Loyalka, Brent Poirier, Nancy Wong, Brigitte Aiff, Alice Williams and Taraz & Amelia Mahony.
A few days ago, my dear friend Julie Iraninejad nominated me for the ALS ice bucket challenge! What is interesting, and I’m sure it’s no coincidence, is that I just finished reading the book ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ over the summer which is a beautiful and moving true story about a professor from Brandeis who died of ALS. His student, Mitch Albom, spent every Tuesday during the last few months of Morrie’s life learning from him life lessons about regrets, death, family, emotions, the fear of aging, marriage, culture and forgiveness (to name a few).
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and was moved by how Morrie addresses each topic in such a real, no-nonsense way. Below the video I will share some of the advice in his book (so please scroll down to read them). So in honor of Morrie, I accept the challenge!
A few of Morrie’s life lessons:
“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
“Devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
“Don’t cling to things, because everything is impermanent… But detachment doesn’t mean you don’t let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That’s how you are able to leave it…You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief… But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. “All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.”
“Everyone knows they’re going to die but nobody believes it. If we did, we would do things differently.”
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.”
“Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it.”
“Be compassionate,” Morrie whispered. And take responsibility for each other. If we only learned those lessons, this world would be so much better a place.”
A few of days ago we celebrated my daughter’s 14th birthday and as she is a fantastic baker, I wanted to surprise her with a cake that was fun, colorful and one she would not expect. I found the idea of the cake on Pinterest and was inspired to see if I could match it (there are so many inspiring ideas on there).
Photos of the original cake that inspired me and the one I made are below. Which do you think is the original?
Wishing my daughter a most incredible year ahead as she starts high school! So very blessed to have her in my life (and yes she did love the cake and was surprised)!
I would like to thank you for your input on the album title. A great many friends wrote and shared their suggestions and creative ideas. In the end, the name liked by the largest number of people was ‘Infinite Bounty’ and I have decided to use that as the title of the CD.
I had recently also sent out a request for photos of oceans and was touched by how many lovely photographs I received. My daughter helped create a video of the photos that were contributed from all around the world. The countries include: Kenya, South Africa, Australia, Namibia, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Seychelles and the United States. The photographs accompany the title song of the album, which is also called ‘Infinite Bounty’. I’m so excited to share the first song of the album with you. The video is below.
Last month I sent out an email to those subscribed to my mailing list and asked for suggestions and thoughts on some titles for my upcoming album. The theme of the album is detachment and I would love to hear your ideas also. The two front runners are ‘Infinite Bounty’ and ‘Boundless Love’.
I also asked for ocean photos and am grateful for the many responses. I have received quite a few photos so far and have decided to make a slideshow of them to accompany one of my upcoming pieces (my daughter will be creating the video). So thank you to those of you who sent photos from all over the world. I look forward to sharing the slideshow once it is finished.
I would love to know which title you prefer (you can comment below): ‘Infinite Bounty’ or ‘Boundless Love’.
I was recently asked to write an article for the Multicultural Kid Blogs to commemorate Nelson Mandela day on July 18th.
When Mandela passed away, I felt the best way I could pay tribute to him was through music. During the 27 years he was in prison, Nelson Mandela found great solace in the poem ‘Invictus’ with its stirring message of faith and perseverance against all odds (“It matters not how strait the gate/How charged with punishments the scroll/I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul”). Reading about his life I felt inspired to set the poem to music. You can hear the song here.
I have now finished all the vocals for my upcoming CD and am now looking for a cover photo for the album (the theme is ocean). I have received some lovely submissions on my mailing list and wanted to make the option available for friends on my blog to share photos also.
As part of the album, I plan to make a booklet with more ocean photos so please feel free to submit any photos on that theme. If chosen, of course your photo will be credited and a free gift CD will be sent to you. To submit photos, you can email me through my contact page or on my Facebook music page.
Recently I was invited to give a talk at an elementary school to 3rd-5th graders about music and my career. I enjoyed putting together the powerpoint presentation explaining what I do, when I started my career, how I compose as well as sharing some of my art work. Just before I began the presentation, all the children sang one of my compositions (‘Advancing Civilization’) in English and Chinese that they have been learning at school for the end of term! I was honored as they sang it so beautifully! In the middle of the presentation I played one of my compositions, ‘Final Journey’, on the piano and explained how we are all like instruments that can allow creative energy or inspiration to pass through us and make something special. We also played some drumming rhythms together which was also a lot of fun. We finished with singing as I taught them a call and response song with the beautiful quotation, ‘So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.’
Here are some of the questions they asked me at the end which I thought were sweet. They asked: ‘Do you love your job?’, ‘How much money do you make?’, ‘What do you do when the people you work with annoy you?’, ‘How old are you?’, ‘How many albums do you sell?’, ‘What kind of music do you like?’
I shared a personal story with the children… When I was 14 and walked in to my piano teacher’s home for my lesson, I heard her play one of the most beautiful classical pieces I had ever heard. I asked her if I could learn to play it and she responded by saying that it was too difficult for me. I was determined to prove her wrong so I went home, searched for the notes and learned to play the first page. That was a pivotal moment for me, knowing that I could play that piece gave me so much confidence and courage. I told the children that whatever you set your heart on doing, you can achieve it.
Below are some photos from the session…
So lovely to meet these curious 3rd-5th graders
Showing the children the CDs I’ve working on
Playing ‘Final Journey’ live during the presentation