Friday, July 31, 2009

what program do you use?


I do not pray for success. I ask for faithfulness.

~ Mother Teresa ~

Okay, everyone...

What photo editing program do you use?

I don't do much editing. The program that came with my camera is basic and came without a manual so I really haven't learned to do much with it. I do a little bit of editing in Microsoft Picture Manager. Most of what you see here is SOOC.

Share your experience and wisdom, if you please. Thanks.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

love thursday 07.30.09 ~ neighbor love

(how can you not fall in love with that?)

There are things about small towns that make them worth living in. The kind of things that sometimes we don’t realize we have until they’re gone. Small towns are the last to see change, and for the most part thats a good thing. Some changes can be good. Some changes cannot be helped, and some changes are the ones I’d like to talk about here.

There is change in our town that I hoped I would never see. Perhaps this change has always been, and it is only now that I have enough grey in my hair to see it. Perhaps it’s just me holding on to an ideal that no longer applies. An ideal that harkens to a time when people spoke face to face. A time when we treated our neighbor as a friend. A time when neighbors “shared” a fence, not argued over property lines. A time that a foray into a neighbors yard was called a “visit”, not trespassing. An ideal that the citizens of our small town shared a belief in the way things “should be”. That shouldn’t change.

Each week I read the letters to the editor, and each week I am amazed at the onslaught of complaints. Each week they compile, as if driven by some melancholy contest, to see who can complain the most. They complain as though they have accomplished something in the complaint itself. As though they seek some sort of recognition for making their personal complaint the best. They complain as though they have no other responsibility than to assign the problem to someone else.

There was a time when people didn’t look to the town to solve their problems. A time when you reached for your work gloves, and not the telephone, when the neighbors yard needed some help. When police officers arrested criminals, and not weeds. A time when neighbors worked out their problems over a cool drink and a handshake. A time when people did what was right, because “right and wrong” hadn’t changed.

When did we stop caring about the way things should be? Why did we stop changing the world, and start letting the world change us? What caused us to stop treating each other the way we did in the time of our grandparents? When did we become so reliant on someone else solving our problems, that we forgot how to take care of ourselves? Of each-other?

I for one will hold on to this ideal for as long as I can. I will treat my neighbor as a friend. I will do all that I can to fix my problems, and those of my neighbors, before I make them yours. I will do my part, as will many who read this, to protect our small town from this kind of change. After-all its not the size of the town that matters, its the size of the people in it.

Would you like to know the man who wrote this letter to the editor of his small town paper? I do. In fact, he is my nephew and I'd like to know him better.

I don't know if we agree on politics or religion or food choices or art, music, literature or anything else. However, what he said here--I totally agree with.

We could use more of this kind of love--don'cha think? I do.

For more Love Thursday, visit Karen at Chookooloonks...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

it all matters...even the little stuff

(sunlight through red banana leaf)

Every spiritual master in every tradition talks about the significance of small things in a complex world. Small actions in social life, small efforts in the spiritual life, small moments in the personal life. All of them become great in the long run, the mystics say, but all of them look like little or nothing in themselves.

~ Joan Chittister ~

I get frustrated when my world feels small. I want to be doing bigger, better, more things with my time and touching more lives.

Faithfulness, however, resides in the small stuff. One step at a time. I get up in the morning and I eventually brush my teeth, take a shower, get dressed, and step outside the house. Who knows what will happen from there?

What matters is that I keep doing each little step along the way and responding to what crosses my path. On a good day, I respond rather than react. Not all days are good days. And what I do matters--even when I don't think it does.

I haven't written the novel or hit the lecture tour. I haven't invented or traveled or constructed or found the cures and the answers. Could I? Maybe. This time around, the stars seem to want me to be faithful in the little things.

One step at a time, I'm trying doing it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

it all starts within


If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person. If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house. If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.

~ Chinese Proverb ~

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.

~ Sophia Loren ~
Italian Actress (1934- )

Unless I can say "no" and really, really mean it, my "yes" is not to be trusted.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

meet the family

I got these guys from a shelter yesterday. They are orange (and white) manx boys--brothers...littermates. I fell in love with orange boys when Larry was with me.

Misi is not too sure about them yet, but we fully expect that she will fall in love with them before long. She loves babies. She loves orange boys. How could she not? She has had several of them in her life.

(this one likes to sleep beside me on my chair)

(they have discovered that they like tussling)

(look at those blue eyes. they may not change.)

Neither of them have names yet. Well...they came home with names, but I don't like either name so we will be giving them new ones. We are waiting to get to know them a bit to see what fits.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

building bridges

(interstate bridge)

Today is my second family reunion in as many weeks. I will see cousins I haven't seen in years and I always wonder what we'll talk about.

We reminisce. We do the "what are you doing now?" conversations. But I am not very good at small talk.

I guess it doesn't really matter what we talk about. We are family. We are together. We manage to avoid controversial subjects. Perhaps that's all it takes to build bridges.

That and music.

Peter, Paul & Mary: Music Speaks Louder Than Words

Friday, July 24, 2009

garden update

(here's the latest view of the garden)

We're getting ready for the maternal family reunion tomorrow (paternal was last weekend). Last night my sister and I made an airport run to pick up some cousins and it was midnight before we got home. Of course, it was later than that when we got to bed.

This morning we were up early to go to breakfast and I saw my sister and cousins off to go see mater. I'll meet them all tomorrow at the reunion.

And now...for your viewing and listening pleasure...

The Garden Song by John Denver

Thursday, July 23, 2009

love thursday 07.23.09 ~ wedding processional

I watched this twice...and being the big softie I am, I cried all the way through it the second time. This is what a wedding should look like!

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Dance on...and share the love.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009


(i love how the flags are reflected in the water on the deck)

There is no such thing as an acceptable level of unemployment, because hunger is not acceptable, poverty is not acceptable, poor health is not acceptable, and a ruined life is not acceptable.

~ Hubert Humphrey ~
U.S. vice president 1965-1969

St. Francis seemed an appropriate addition to this post, since one of his vows was poverty...a poverty of fullness--not a poverty of spirit.

Forty years ago, Hubert Humphrey left office. We now have the highest unemployment rate we've had in years. You know what I think is a big culprit?


You know where greed comes from? Poverty of spirit.

It's okay to have enough...even more than enough. It's okay as long as it is not at someone else's expense--to their detriment...the ruination of their life.

Francis and Hubert were both right.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

total eclipse of the sun

(this is not a total eclipse--it's a sunset)

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.

~ Abraham Lincoln ~

Oh, Abe...would that we could be so brave.

Today the sun will be totally eclipsed at 7:36 p.m. PDT. Since the sun is getting ready to set, I don't think we will be able to see it. I am not sure where the best viewing will be. Nova Scotia?

I can't hear about a total eclipse without thinking of this song:

Monday, July 20, 2009


(my cousin's ear)

Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
~ Deuteronomy 6:4 ~

I went to a family reunion this weekend. I took a few pictures, but not many good ones. Some were blurry. I have come to the conclusion that the focus problem is a combination of the autofocus on my camera (variable at best) and my eyesight--the LCD screen is so small that I am going to have to get stronger reading glasses to see it clearly. In the meantime, I will continue to futz with the settings on the camera. Perhaps I need to use a higher aperture setting more often. I might get clearer shots--but less bokeh.

I liked this shot. My cousin's ear is pleasant enough. I just really liked the trees in the background.

Of course, I had to come up with a quote about hearing and this is what kept running through my mind. Do you have any quotes about ears or hearing to share?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

more on sharing

While the poor of the world continue knocking on the doors of the rich, the world of affluence runs the risk of no longer hearing those knocks, on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is human.

~ Pope Benedict XVI ~

from his 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate

When we don't share, we risk the loss of our hearing and our humanity--thus sayeth the Pope. So be it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Much violence is based on the illusion that life is a property to be defended and not to be shared.

~ Henri Nouwen ~

You know, I think it comes down to this. Sharing doesn't mean I have to give up the biggest piece--or even half. But it may mean I contribute a little so others have enough--and we don't have to fight over it.

Expansion works better than contraction.

Friday, July 17, 2009


If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

~ Mother Teresa ~

You belong to me (and I to you) and I so appreciate your visiting me like you do. Thanks for your comments and support.

Just wanted you to know.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

love thursday 07.16.09 ~ nonviolence

That's all nonviolence is - organized love.

~ Joan Baez ~

singer, songwriter, and activist

Like I've said before, I am not a pacifist, although part of me would like to be. I can't say that I wouldn't fight to protect myself or someone I love. I hope I never have to find out what I would do, really.

Tonight I watched Gran Torino, a Clint Eastwood movie. Clint's character is a retired Korean war veteran whose neighborhood now has a high occupation of Hmong. He is a racist. No one is spared. Throw in a little gang violence, a couple of fist fights, and some blazing guns and you get the full picture.

My reaction to the racial and cultural slurs surprised me a bit. That level of violence so often goes unnoticed--or at least unrecognized as violence. Each time someone threw a derogatory term, I flinched inside.

The physical violence only begat more violence. It didn't take a rocket scientist to see it coming. And it made my heart ache.

I guess it was a good movie to evoke these responses in me. But if anyone asks me how I liked the movie? I hated it.

So, Joan Baez, sing us a few verses of Blowin' in the Wind.

Seriously, when will we ever learn?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

what do you know?

I know I know nothing.

~ Socrates ~
I know that...

I love summer.

I'd retire early if I could.

I feel good for finishing the bathroom painting project.

Most of the time two or three points of view are all I can see, but I am pretty much stuck in my own.

I want a kitten.

What do you know?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


(the swan in the mocha)

Today the few have achieved their economic freedom at the expense of the many. That is why our world order is tottering. Nothing can save it but a united attempt to put the will of God into operation.

~ Muriel Lester ~
social reformer and pacifist (1883-1968)

Muriel Lester died 40 years ago. A couple generations have come along since she made this point. Unfortunately, things haven't changed much.

What do you think she means by "a united attempt to put the will of God into operation"? What do you think the will of God is on this topic?

I don't think anyone should have to give up everything and I don't think anyone should get something for nothing. But wouldn't it be nice if everyone had enough?

Surely, there is some way to figure this out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

the heart of hafiz

(another view of the red banana)

Something has happened to my understanding of existence that makes my heart always full of wonder and kindness.

~ Hafiz ~
My understanding of my existence is shifting. But I can't say that I have reached a state of continuous wonder and kindness. Maybe that is a ways down the road and I'll reach it if I keep on trekking.

I hope so.

You all probably do, too.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


(watering the garden)

The Talmud reads, "Never pray in a room without windows." Never pray without the world in mind, in other words. The purpose of the spiritual life is not to save us from reality. It is to enable us to go on co-creating it.

~ Joan Chittister ~

Saturday, July 11, 2009

refuse to fight


God has made of one blood all nations under heaven. No man can suddenly become my enemy just because he happened to have been born on the other side of a river or a boundary line, and his government has issued an ultimatum against mine. Is it not time that we refused to fight?

~ Muriel Lester ~

social reformer and pacifist (1883-1968)

Friday, July 10, 2009

what to do about evil

When Evil Appears
by Paulo Coelho

Sometimes evil pursues the warrior. So, he calmly invites it into his tent.

The warrior asks evil: “do you want to injure me, or use me to wound others?”

Evil pretends not to hear. It says it knows the warrior’s soul inside out. It touches unhealed wounds, and calls for revenge. It reminds him that it knows many subtle tricks and poisons, which will help the warrior destroy his enemies.

The warrior of the light listens. If evil becomes distracted, he makes it talk some more, asking for details of all of its projects.

After listening to everything, he stands and leaves. Evil has spoken so much, is so tired and so empty, that it hasn’t the strength to follow him.

A warrior must pay attention to evil, if he wishes to do Good.

How often do we turn tail and run when evil appears? Or turn a blind eye? Yet facing evil and becoming acquainted allows us to know its tricks, antidote its poisons.

Pay attention. Learn its name--its desires. Don't believe its lies. The heart of the warrior transforms unveiled evil to become the servant of Good.

And remember Good always wins. Always.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

love thursday 07.09.09 ~ love makes the ride worthwhile

(red banana leaves)

"Love doesn't make the world go round, love is what makes the ride worthwhile."

~ Elizabeth Browning ~

For more Love Thursday visit Chookooloonks.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

simple things that make me happy ~ july edition

(see that big red strawberry? right after i took the picture...i ate it)

chocolate shortbread cookies with cocoa nibs

catalpa blossoms on the deck

prayer flags


encountering the smells of flora when driving topless or on the motorcycle

road trips

bamboo windchimes

freshly ironed clothes



for more go to Soul Aperture who sponsored this delightful gig...

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

let's make hunger history


This is the first generation in all of recorded history that can do something about the scourge of poverty. We have the means to do it. We can banish hunger from the face of the earth.

~ Hubert Humphrey ~
U.S. Vice President 1965-1969

Something tells me that one of the ways we can make hunger a thing of the past is to stop messing with food. If we stop processing the life and nutrients out of it, maybe...just maybe it will actually nourish the people who eat it. Surely, there is enough to go around.

Don't you think?

Monday, July 06, 2009

rich or poor

(corsican mint in bloom--each of these flowers is about 3mm across)

It is more difficult to fight poverty in a rich country than in a poor one.

~ Mother Teresa ~

I keep starting this post and erasing it. Eloquence is escaping me so I will cut to the chase.

There is no virtue in being financially sin in being rich. It is "poverty of spirit"--humility and compassion--that is required of each of us to end financial poverty once and for all. Regardless of what you call the Divine you worship, without grace from that One, any of us could be walking without shoes--going hungry all day and night.

It's time we all had enough.

Sunday, July 05, 2009


i thank you god
for most this
amazing day; for
the leaping greenly
spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;
and for everything
which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes

~ e e cummings ~
Recently, one of the bloggers I read (sorry, I can't remember who) posted this e e cummings poem. So many years passed since the last time I heard it. Since I don't have a photo for today, I decided to let e e "paint" a picture for me with his words.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

happy independence day

(celery in our garden)

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

I am grateful for the freedoms we experience here. The fact that so many have worked and fought and died and lived in order to protect us and our freedom is certainly worth celebrating and I'm for it.

However, I won't be going to any fireworks this year. Somehow, the whole "rockets red glare" is a bit too war-like for me. I don't like the noise, even though the pyrotechnics are sometimes glorious.

You see, I don't think war is the answer any more. As much as I would like to say I am, I am not a pacifist. How about that? A non-pacifist for peace.

May peace become our path and not just our goal.

Friday, July 03, 2009

over exposure

(sooc self-portrait)

Confidence on the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside.

~ Brian Tracy ~
I took the leap and I am now on Facebook. I am still deciding how much privacy I desire in that circle, and since privacy is not something you can regain (kind of like virginity), I am taking it slow.

Sometimes, over exposure can be a good thing, however. Do you have any over exposed shots you'd like to share? Leave your links here. Come on, share with us....

Thursday, July 02, 2009

love thursday 07.02.09 ~ sweet pea

(in our garden)

An act of love, a voluntary taking on oneself of some of the pain of the world, increases the courage and love and hope of all.

~ Dorothy Day ~

Love Thursday is hosted by Chookooloonks. Go over there to see more....

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

i can't tell you how much i hate this...

Instead of hating the people you think are war-makers, hate the appetites and disorder in your own soul, which are the causes of war. If you love peace, then hate injustice, hate tyranny, hate greed - but hate these things in yourself, not in another.

~ Thomas Merton ~

New Seeds of Contemplation

...because I need to hear it.