and Risen Flowers
April 24, 2011
What a beautiful sight are these wildflowers along the coast of
Northern California. A writer aquaintance of mine sent the picture
today in honor of Easter. S. T. Georgiou teaches in San Francisco and
has written some wonderful spiritually rich books about his journey and
the importance of the late poet Robert Lax in his life. His chance
meeting with Lax in 1991 when he traveled to the Greek island of Patmos
to try to discern directiorn for his life led to a great friendship and
I am just about finished with the third book of the trilogy, The Isle of Monte Cristo. Life journeys can be full of helpful insight for
others and the books of Georgious certainly attest to that.
Oil Spill One Year Later and Gulf Stories
April 21, 2011
The worst ecological disaster of our lifetime happened a year ago. It
is no longer regular front page news, but the explosion of the
deepwater oil drill owned and operated by BP (British Petroleum) a year
ago led to an epic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the impact will
be felt for years and years.
has on their website a timeline for all the stories
they've post over the past 12 months - 232 so far. It's interesting to
see this. But what is really impactful are the stories of people who
live in the area. Hurricane Katrina's impact on Gulf coastal areas was
profound, but add this oil spill disaster and you can imagine the
hardship. And yet the human spirit continues to rise to the occasion.
Check out the Bridge the Gulf Project, a storytelling initiative from
citizens of the region.
Run to the Borders and I Picked Up Some Books on Sale
April 16, 2011
I love to read and I read a variety of things. With my career shift to
teaching I obviously read more books on education. But I love music and
I find myself reading about music artists and the industry. I also love
to explore spirituality and my faith and in the past few years I let
myself become more openminded and challenged.
Today I visited a Borders
bookstore not far from my house. As you may have heard, this large
bookselling chain is closing down many of their stores.
The one near my house is down to the
final days and they are selling everything, including the fixtures!
Books were marked 70-80% off. I browsed the limited selection and found
three books that looked good, one from each of the categories I
mentioned above. They included Don't Shoot!
I'm the Guitar Man by Buzzy Martin. This book is about a
musician born in Grand Rapids, Michigan who moved to California to
pursue his dream of making it in the music business in 1979. He didn't
get the recording contract, but he got married, continued to play and
eventually started teaching at-risk kids. Then he was invited to teach
music at San Quentin prison! The book recounts this rewarding,
but sometimes harrowing experience.
I also picked up John Shelby Spong's A New
Christianity for a New World. I've read some of Spong's
writing from the web and his newsletters, but never one of his books.
He's a liberal and progressive Christian thinker and challenges a lot
of traditional dogma. He's articulate and often has some insightful
things to say, even if I don't agree with all of it.
The third book is Education
Nation by Milton Chen. He's writing about innovative ways
of educating and as someone who worked with the George Lucas
Educational Foundation (maybe you've surfed over to the site, Edutopia)
surely has insight and some
worthwhile things to consider about education.
Reading is important and even with the changing ways of the publishing
business and the tendency for some people to not consider reading a
valuable pasttime I was impressed with the number of people at the
bookstore shopping for bargains. If you put all these people in some
other location and tried to assess their reading interests based on
their appearance I think you'd be surprised. Just as you can't judge a
book by its cover, you can't judge a book lover by the way they look.
Days Chicken, Some Days Feathers
April 15, 2011
There's an expression I first heard from my Mother-in-Law that is an
approach to life that has been helpful to me. When you have a bad day
you need to remember it is just one day in your life. Keep it in
context. Not every day will go well, just as not every day is a bad
one. "Sometimes chicken, sometimes feathers."
A life lesson that has been very important to me is to live one day at
a time and to remember that each moment is special. Am I always
conscious of this? No. It is a very challenging thing to do. But there
is so much wisdom in this. What happens to us is not as important as
how we respond to it. And respond
is the key word. Usually we react
and that is often immediately, without any pause to consider what is
happening and how we should respond.
Occasionally we get reminded of the importance of living in the moment.
Some times it is as simple as fighting a cold and having to stay home
in bed. I don't like to be sick or to take sick days. I usually push
myself hard. And that is not always a good thing. Today the cold I have
been fighting all week finally knocked me down enough that I had to
stay home and in bed most of the time. I am just now feeling well
enough to post this blog entry. And in it all I am I learning to be
grateful for the realization that life is one moment after another and
each one can be special. Yes, we remember our past. Yes, we dream about
the future. But we must live in the day. As another well-known saying
states, "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a
gift. That's why they call it the
You Die - Say It With Talk Or Chalk
April 7, 2011
Candy Chang is a public installation artist, designer and urban
planner. She recently came up with an innovative idea for the side of
an abandoned house in her neighborhood in New Orleans. She put up giant
chalkboards with "Before
I die I want to" stenciled on the side
multiple times and then a line extending out. People were invited to
their statement. It was a way for the people there to remember what is
important to them. There were numerous great responses (see here) including, Before I die I want to...have
fun, finish school, go to Rome, understand, be ok with not
understanding, cure cancer, see all my Grandkids, and write a book.
I also saw an article about a woman who has been diagnosed with end
stage lung cancer. She's only 35, not a smoker and has lived a healthy
lifestyle, but she's one of those unfortunates who gets struck by this
nearly always fatal lung cancer. She's married with three kids, ages 4,
3 and 1. She wants to leave something for them and decided a legacy
video that expressed her love, joy and hopes for them is the way to go.
Her main message is "rejoice in every day", a grand statement for all
of us. You can read the article about this brave San Jose woman at MercuryNews.com.
Both ways of sharing values, one with chalk and the other "on
talk, are essentially a form of ethical will.
Preserving a philosophy, message to loved ones and values to pass on
is an ancient practice and well worth considering. You can write a
letter, record a video message, or pen a book. Be creative, thoughtful
and sincere. Let those who matter hear the message you have in your
heart. It is meant to be shared.
Cream Sundaes Are Goo...Google...Good
April 3, 2011
I didn't post on April 1st. It's two days later, but I assure
you this is no April
Fools Prank. Today is the birthday of the Ice Cream Sundae.
one was whipped up by a couple of guys in Ithaca, New York 119 years
ago. The story is that the Reverend John M. Scott, as was
visited the Platt
& Cold Pharmacy after services at the Unitarian Church. But
instead of getting his usual dish of vanilla ice cream
Chester Platt served him his dessert in a champagne saucer with
cherry syrup poured over it and a cherry on top. What to call the new
concoction? The Reverend proposed "Cherry Sunday" in honor of the day
it was invented!
Despite the importance of healthy eating, I would find the world a
lesser place without ice cream sundaes. And it's appropos that today's
anniversary falls on a Sunday. How do you like yours? I favor chocolate
syrup, but go ahead and give me a cherry, some fudge, candy sprinkles
even nuts (not too many, please). Ice cream sundaes are part of my
personal history, conjuring up many a fond memory. Chalk it up there
with other delights like pizza, baseball, swimming and driving cars.
is want to do on memorable occasions, they put together a
custom Google Logo for today and it links to a page of results on the
ice cream sundae, including the official site - www.icecreamsundae.com
- where you can get the history of this delicious dish.