My First Visitors

Payam and I at dinner at the Crowne Plaza overlooking Haifa.

It’s been a long while since my last post here because I’ve been entertaining visitors at my place in Haifa since 24 January when my brother-in-law arrived from southern California.  Then on 1 February my father arrived from northern California – their visits overlapped a tiny bit, and I’ve been going non-stop ever since!

On the pier at Nahariya

Spent one day up in Nahariyyah with Payam and some friends walking the beach, the piers and the town, enjoying schnitzel at the Penguin Restaurant.  The weather was blowy but nice and we stood on the pier looking towards the north, and to the south back to Mt. Carmel above the city of Haifa.  The distances are so small here when compared with driving in California.

Counting waves at Nahariyih

Walked around with my brother-in-law while he took photos with his super fancy camera….

My photographer brother-in-law in his element!

Walking the gardens at Bahjí at sunset when the lights were turned on.

Bahjí near sunset

On a walking tour with my father in the area of Haifa downtown named the Hadar….lots of interesting shops and restaurants.  Note an international landmark behind him…..

Dad in the Hadar near the McDonalds and two street musicians

My Dad will be here in Israel for a few more days…….more blogs to come.



First Bahá’í in Our Family

The first Bahá’í in our family was my great, great grandmother Leonora Georgiana Stirling.  She was born and raised in London and went as a missionary to County Cork Ireland.  From here she emigrated in 1868 to Canada and then the United States.  This photograph was taken in Dublin sometime between 1850 and 1860.  She did not find the Bahá’í Revelation for another approximately 40 years.

Leonora Georgiana Stirling – Dublin – c.1850-1860

This second photo is of my Great Grandmother Stirling at about the time she found the Baha’i Revelation through a friend in Brooklyn, New York.  It was 1906 and she deepened through correspondence with Isabella Brittingham. She met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá when he visited America in 1912, both in Boston and New York, in which during one visit He gave her a white rose.

Great Grandmother Stirling – New York – c. 1900

My Parents

Bob & Karin Leonard, 1st night pioneers in Kodiak, AK, July 1956

My parents were extraordinary.  My mother was only 19 when they married and lived in Oxnard in a tiny apartment where she worked for the telephone company while my father was at the Navy base.  Only a year later they pioneered, because of the exhortations of the Beloved Guardian, to Kodiak Island in Alaska.  He had specified many islands all over the world as goals of the 10 Year Crusade to be opened up to the Bahá’í Faith.  And they went.  Courtesy of the United States Navy, as Mom always said, and the choice being Kodiak or Japan, they chose Alaska which was still a territory in 1956.  (It actually became a state the year that I was born, but that’s jumping ahead a bit.)

Bob & Karin Leonard, Geyserville - 1950's

They were shipped up to Kodiak and placed in one of several hundred identical little box-like houses on the hill overlooking the Kodiak harbor, named Aleutian Homes.  They were pastel-sided two bedroom tract houses that all looked alike – identical one car garages – little wooden steps up to the front door.  No garden – just dirt road, dirt yard, wooden step.  I never knew why they didn’t live on the Naval Base, but it suited my Mom better to be nearer town and enabled the privacy of not having to live in the fish bowl with other Navy wives.  She got a cat named Morgan to keep her company while my Dad was on the Base working or flying in the Arctic as she knew he was doing.  Even though he was on secret reconnaissance flights over Russia and unable to tell her anything about it; she went gray by her early twenties.