4 Kinds of Tests and the Non-existence of Divine Punishment

I don't believe that God punishes us. That is, I don't believe that God ever does anything to us that is not secretly a gift. From this perspective, when looked at properly, nothing can be called punishment. To get to this understanding, my book Why Me? takes three steps. First, I tell a story about four rose bushes whose responses to being pruned by the Gardener reinforce their view of the world.  That story is found at the beginning of the book, and also on the back of my "Gardener and the Rose" art print/pamphlet: The Gardener and the [...]

By |2019-07-29T20:38:47+00:00July 29th, 2019|0 Comments

In Commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Bab (July 10th)

In all of the Baha'i Writings, there is no passage that stirs my soul and inspires me to serve more than the words the Bab addressed to the 19 Letters of the Living when he sent them into the world to teach. I think we would do well to ponder them regularly during this Bicentenary Year.  If you are not familiar with them, here is how they were recorded in The Dawn Breakers. "O My beloved friends! You are the bearers of the name of God in this Day. You have been chosen as the repositories of His mystery. It behoves [...]

By |2019-07-09T16:53:51+00:00July 9th, 2019|0 Comments

If you haven’t ordered in 2019, our 10% New Customer discount is back (temporarily)

To encourage a customer to navigate our online ordering system, Karen temporarily reactivated our 10% "New Customer" discount. I'm not sure when she will remember to turn it back off, so if you've been waiting to order, now is the time. (Remember, you will need to register from scratch on our new website with your e-mail address and a new password.) To be honest, though, I don't know how you could have avoided ordering for so long. Since January we've added two new card games, a virtues coloring/activities book, a Bicentenary pamphlet, a beautiful "You Are Loved" medallion and more. [...]

By |2019-07-09T16:52:57+00:00June 13th, 2019|0 Comments

Our Best Teaching Ideas Come from You! Please Share.

38 years of teaching materials If you are a long-time customer, then you've watched as Special Ideas went from just producing our own collection of Baha'i teaching materials, to selling teaching materials and other people's books, to selling teaching materials, other people's books, and our own collection of interfaith and character education materials. As we continue to try to simplify our lives, guess which of these categories is the one we are slowly dropping so we can focus more on our teaching materials. Yep. It's the one that starts "other people's...."  We've tried to keep the sacred texts [...]

By |2019-06-06T15:11:35+00:00June 6th, 2019|0 Comments

25 Years Ago after the Ascension of Baha’u’llah…

Twenty-five years ago, Karen and I drove to Wilmette to observe the Ascension of Baha'u'llah at the Baha'i House of Worship. When it was over, we went to the visitor's center office and she signed her Baha'i Declaration Card.  After a long drive back to southern Indiana, she told me that she could see herself being married to me. I said "good," and pulled a ring out of my pocket. That morning was the beginning of an amazing partnership that has witnessed the raising of her three children, the birth and raising of two more together (the last just graduated [...]

By |2019-05-28T02:15:53+00:00May 28th, 2019|0 Comments

End of Semester Gifts & Summer Activities for Kids

Whether you are looking for an end-of-the-school-year gift for children's classes or some how-do-I-keep-my-kids-entertained-all-summer games, crafts and activities, we've spent the last few years creating dozens of answers. From kid-friendly jewelry and medallions to activities books and games, you could get lost scrolling through all of the options on our new website. So here are some broad suggestions of gifts and activities: BK-ABC Sample Pages Above you can see our new Animals Building Character Coloring and Activities book. It is appropriate for a wide range of ages. The coloring pages appeal to everyone and the activities will challenge [...]

By |2019-05-14T01:57:50+00:00May 14th, 2019|0 Comments

Baha’i Gifts for Graduates and Their Teachers

May brings flowers and graduations. Whether it is Kindergarten, High School or College, graduations are rites of passage that deserve to be acknowledged. Here are some special ideas for the special graduate on your list: Spiritual Education Flashlight Stylus Pen Our Spiritual Education Flashlight Stylus Pen is both thoughtful and useful.  It is a metal pen engraved with the phrase "Spiritual Education is the light of the world of humanity." It is appropriate for HS and College graduates as well as teachers. We also have other flashlight pens for younger students. Silver Hafez Quote Medallion Whether they graduate [...]

By |2019-04-30T16:49:49+00:00April 30th, 2019|0 Comments

A New Way to Play Baha’i Scrabinoes for Ridvan

Scrabinoes can also be used as a group-building game! I was asked to develop our local community's program for the 1st day of Ridvan.  I had just finished writing up instructions for some new variations on how to play with our new Scrabinoes cards, and a completely different idea came to me. Here's what I did. I put a deck of Scrabinoes cards in a basket, and had each person attending the Ridvan celebration pick one card. Scrabinoes cards have quotations on them with special words highlighted in color. Then I asked them to arrange themselves in a big circle [...]

By |2019-04-25T02:26:32+00:00April 25th, 2019|0 Comments

Introducing “Scrabinoes” a Baha’i Word-Matching Game

Scrabinoes Baha'i Word Matching Card Game I sent sample decks of Scrabinoes to communities all across the country to see what people thought. The reviews are in, and people loved it! Scrabinoes is an entertaining Bahai card game that combines elements of Scrabble and Dominoes for a unique and challenging evening of fun. Perfect for Family Games Nights, Jr. Youth gatherings, College Clubs, Holy Day Parties and the Social Portion of Feast. The Bahai Writings contain many repeating themes and words. Finding those common words on the Scrabinoes cards earns you points. The more connections you can find, [...]

By |2019-04-16T15:53:30+00:00April 16th, 2019|0 Comments

25% Off Our Hidden Words on its 25th Anniversary

Hidden Words mini-book Twenty-five years ago Special Ideas took the bold step of moving from pamphlets and T-shirts to full books. Our first major publication was a pocket edition of The Hidden Words. We had been told by other publishers that "the last thing we need is another edition of The Hidden Words," but we decided to print one anyway. The "Chickadee Edition" was an instant success, with the first 20,000 selling out within a year. Many additional printings followed, with total sales approaching half a million copies. To celebrate this milestone in our company - and in [...]

By |2019-04-09T15:38:37+00:00April 9th, 2019|0 Comments

Introducing “A Mine Rich in Gems” Downloadable Feast Activities Workbooks

A Mine Rich in Gems is a completely different company, run by Wei and Lili Shang and their daughters. I'm devoting this week's post to their work because I think it is valuable (and because I'm a nice guy). Lili and Wei are creating 16-20 page full-color downloadable Feast Activities Workbooks for children ages 4-14. They have been at it for over a year, and are creating very useful and fun materials. Their first year's workbooks were made available for free, but now they are ready for business, and are making them available for $2.95 each - with discounts for [...]

By |2019-04-03T02:27:23+00:00April 1st, 2019|0 Comments

The Secret of Emotions

It has been quite a while since I published my groundbreaking book, The Secret of Emotions. If you haven't read it yet, it is worth taking another look at. Here is the beginning of the first chapter: Secret of Emotions We are all born with an innate longing for God—not a god with a long white beard who shakes his finger at us, but the Divine Creative Spirit that blessed the universe with breathtaking wonder and touched our hearts with limitless grace. This God filled His creation with His most noble attributes—and then placed the potential for each [...]

By |2019-03-26T17:33:16+00:00March 26th, 2019|0 Comments