Thursday, March 21, 2013

Navroz Mubarak!

Despite the forecast, live like it's spring.
Lilly Pulitzer, American fashion designer

Navroz Mubarak! New Day Blessings to you and yours! Today marks Navroz (Nowruz), a festival celebrated in many Muslim communities and cultures, particularly those belonging to the Shia. My Ismaili colleagues hosted a festive lunch for the office. For many communities, Navroz marks the beginning of a new year and the first day of Spring. I learned that "more generally, it signifies a time of spiritual renewal and physical rejuvenation, as well as the spirit of gratitude for blessings and an outlook of hope and optimism towards the future."

May we feel the spirit of renewal fill our hearts 
and may we all be blessed with hope and optimism!

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.
William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, Scottish scholar, poet and putative founder of new Scotland [Nova Scotia] (c. 1570-1640)

Finally, Old Man Winter's hoary hairline is receding and tender green shoots are appearing while in the background birds are chirping, "Spring draws near!" Hurray!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.
Henry J. Kaiser, American industrialist (1882-1967)

The office is something of an incubator as the creative team tests different ideas so it's not so surprising to find test labels taped to the wall -- usually in association with images from the collection. Today's label writing experiment in Ekarv format, however, brought a big smile. My 'label' appeared overnight so it brought a morning smile upon arriving at work this morning. I will treasure this job description.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seeing Wonder and Being Thankful

Try to look at everything through the eyes of a child.
Ruth Draper, American dramatist and monologuist (1884-1957)

Our minister today called attention to the stained glass window that portrayed gloriously the Blessing of the Children parable for which the main instruction is, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall not enter." We discussed removing our adult lenses of cynicism that cloud our perspective and looking at the world through the eyes of a child to see the wonders and to be amazed by all the blessings of creation.

Below the main scene of Jesus surrounded by children are four exquisite windows depicting the splendour of the seasons. The texts appear in a Psalm but also in the "Song of the Three Holy Children", the hymn of praise sung by three young men thrown into a fiery furnace by King Nebuchadnezzar because they wouldn't worship an idol. In my travels to the ancient churches of the Middle East and in the catacombs in Rome I often encountered the scene of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego encircled by flames yet untouched because of their piety. I found it a rather gruesome testament to devotion and not at all inspiring.

Half a world away, I now learn the song they sung. Facing the most horrible anguish, they looked beyond their pain to find blessings and thank God for those gifts, just as the gifts themselves are thankful. Acknowledging our blessings by looking through wide open, unencumbered, eyes and being thankful struck a chord with me.

O ye Winter and Summer, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
O ye mountains and little hills, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O all ye things that grow on the earth, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.

O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.