News from Special Ideas

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 [...]

July 29th, 2019|

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 [...]

July 9th, 2019|

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 [...]

June 6th, 2019|

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 [...]

May 28th, 2019|

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 [...]

May 14th, 2019|

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 [...]

April 30th, 2019|