Wednesday, February 29, 2012

welcome to pleasantville

Carefully I crafted a loop with the string and tossed it into the river. / I never caught a fish with buttercups or a knotted string. / But I saw them swimming by in fleets of flashing silver / And for me, that was enough.

Emily Vizzo

The third wall is finished.

When we moved into this house, the walls were all white. Okay...not all. There were three accent walls in the entire house that were painted one step away from white--pastel of pastel.

It was a good thing. Many of the new houses we looked at had colors chosen by designers. Perhaps they were the "in" colors, but we didn't like them. White suited us just fine.

Now, several years later, the white isn't any more. The walls are showing the dirt and the wear. And I am tired of white. So color is coming to live here.

I feel like I am moving to Pleasantville. You've seen it? Two teens get pulled into a black and white 50s TV show. They bring about all kinds of changes and everything begins to turn to color.

I like deep color. The dark green on the third wall, in the day time is muted as we look out onto the greenspace; at night, the wall disappears into the blackness.

It feels like the room has always been this color...these colors.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

where's honeyboy

(can you find him in this picture?)

The painting project continues. The end appears on tomorrow's horizon. One half of the room is put back together. The other half was disrupted on Monday. That meant pulling back the rug so that it doesn't get paint on it and I can slide the big TV cabinet out of the way without lifting it over the rug.

HoneyBoy found solace amidst the disarray. He loves hidey-holes and dark cozy places. Can you find him?

Perhaps this will help....

Monday, February 27, 2012

two walls finished

(yes, that's me in the reflection wearing my
paint clothes, taking the picture)

And someone thinks all is right with the world again.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

first coat...

Two walls...

Two colors...

Friday, February 24, 2012

i have an idea...

I cannot persuade myself that without love to others, and without, as far as rests with me, peaceableness toward all, I can be called a worthy servant of Jesus Christ.

Saint Basil

Eight more months of election rhetoric. I am pretty sick of the accusations and inaccuracies being thrown about and the feigned indignity when candidates are confronted with their own words.

So I have an idea...let's pass a constitutional amendment that requires all candidates to campaign under oath. Some will take it seriously and tell (or continue to tell) the truth. The others? Well...maybe we would have some recourse--for impeachment, if nothing else.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

love thursday 02.23.12 ~ the greatest? love.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:36-40

Seems to me we could use a little more Love in the land. I wish all the Law here hung on these two.

(P.S. - I am a liberal and a Christian. Those two are not mutually exclusive. Nor is being liberal separate from personal and financial responsibility. Just sayin'....)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

minority of one

Never apologize for being correct, for being years ahead of your time. If you're right and you know it, speak your mind. Even if you're a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.


Have you ever been a minority of one? I have. It is uncomfortable to be in that position for those who are not power hungry. For those who are it is a heady experience. To be right and know you are right is powerful.

To speak from that place is powerful, but also risky.

But is not speaking.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

think on these things

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:4-9

Yes, Deb. You are so right.

Monday, February 20, 2012

see yesterday's post

Every truth without exception -- and whoever may utter it -- is from the Holy Spirit.

Thomas Aquinas

Sunday, February 19, 2012

no blame

Our present ecological crisis, the biggest single practical threat to our human existence in the middle to long term, has, religious people would say, a great deal to do with our failure to think of the world as existing in relation to the mystery of God, not just as a huge warehouse of stuff to be used for our convenience.

Rowan Williams

Remember that Jim Carrey movie, Liar, Liar? Sometimes, I wish that were real life for all of us. What would happen if we could say nothing that wasn't the truth?

The other one I long for...NO BLAME. Wouldn't it be great to be able to look in the mirror and see our own responsibility--our own contribution? To both the problem and the solution.

Just sayin'.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Friday, February 17, 2012

happy birthday, thithter!

(honeyboy licking the water off the rail.
yes, he got himself up there.
the healing continues.)

A lot of the problems we face are essentially man-made, so naturally as human beings we should also be able to reduce them. Natural disasters, of course, are in a different category, but according to environmental scientists even they may owe something to human behaviour. Therefore, if we are optimistic, take a longer view, and we employ realistic methods, we can contribute to making the world a better place.


Today is "check things off the list day." Things like...

...take down the Christmas lights.

...attach the moulding at the bottom of the new stove.

...put the cat food in the storage containers.

...clean litter boxes. on taxes.

I'd rather go bowling and eat pizza with my sister and her kids and grandkids.

Happy birthday, Joan!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

love thursday 02.16.12 ~ language of love

I hope that one day you will have the experience of doing something you do not understand for someone you love.

Jonathan Safran Foer

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Love requires learning a new language--the language of the Beloved. "Do unto others" only works when we like the same things.

I need to know what makes my Beloved feel loved. Even if it doesn't make sense to me, if it works for Beloved, that's what matters.

May you one day know what it is to love someone so much that you are willing to do something for them just because you love them...and may your Beloved return the gift of Love to you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

does that mean go with the flow?

If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.

Leonard Cohen

We're up to our eyeballs in projects around here. Fixing leaks and roofs and ceilings. Today the painter comes.

We're leaving....

We thought the washer was crapping out. It didn't. Whew.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

happy valentine's day

To love someone deeply gives you strength.
Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage.


Monday, February 13, 2012

oh. my. god.

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?

Psalm 42:1-2

From a reader:

I want to listen to the Divine and I do not always like the answer. Sometimes I am afraid to act on the answer. What if I misheard? How do I have faith and let go of fear?

Who is the Divine and what is the relationship you share? I just spent a year practicing awareness of the Beloved. (And I do mean "practicing.") How do we know? How do we know when we are listening and when we are making shit up?

I believe that the Divine wants a relationship with us as much as we want one with It. And I believe that in relationship, communication goes both ways. If I talk to the Beloved, as I would with a lover, I say what's on my mind and I expect the Beloved to be forthcoming with me, as well.

I grew up in churches that told me that obedience to God was paramount. If God asks you to do something, you do matter what. I've tried on authoritarian relationships from both sides and I don't like being the authority nor do I like being the unquestioning obedient. If God wanted me to be unquestioningly obedient, why give me a mind and free will?

When I see the Divine as Beloved, I enter an entirely new kind of relationship. I do things for the Beloved because of love. In the same way, the Beloved doesn't demand of me. The Beloved doesn't expect me to say, "How high?" when responding to "Jump!"

Do I always want to do the things that my Beloved wants? Not necessarily. When we have a conversation do I always like what I hear? No...not even from the Beloved. That's part of relationship. I feel the same way in relationships with humans I love.

We don't have to like the answer. We do have to decide what we are going to do with that. We might pray that our heart be changed or our attitude adjusted. We might ask for more understanding so that we "get it" in a new way that somehow makes more sense. In other words, if you don't like what you are hearing, ask the Beloved to somehow "convince" you to like it or change your mind and heart.

Fear of acting on the answer? Hmm. What is the fear? Fear of the outcome? Not understanding the consequences? Fear of the unknown?

What if you did mishear? At my age, I am always asking people to repeat themselves. "Excuse me? Could you repeat that?"

The way I see it, if you are acting on what you think the Divine is telling you, the Divine has a vested interest in what you do, too. If you step forward on what you think you heard and you're a little off target, the onus is on the Divine to help guide you. If you are not sure that you heard correctly or whether the quest is clear, ask for clarification: "This is what I think you said. If I got it right, make the way clear. If I missed something, steer me."

I don't know that letting go of fear and acting in faith are necessarily the same thing. However, I believe that if we are doing what the Beloved asks of us, we are not in it alone. In those situations, my mantra becomes, "Hmm...I wonder how the Beloved is going to work this out."

I sometimes only get to see the picture one day at a time. And most of the time, I can honestly say, "Today...everything is okay. I am blessed." Even driving in the fog, we can see a few feet ahead. Sometimes that is enough. Sometimes we stop and wait for the way to clear.

The Divine wants you...just as you want the Divine.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

apparently, some things are okay to hate

If you hate injustice, tyranny, lust and greed, hate these things in yourself.

Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, February 11, 2012

to life!

Cardinal Bernardin, a friend and confidant while I was in Cincinnati, was the first to publicly call for a “consistent ethic of life” in the late 1970s. He made it clear that until the church starts being honest and defending all life from beginning to end, it cannot call itself “pro-life.” Otherwise, the very moral principle falls apart. All policies that needlessly destroy life—abortion, war, capital punishment, euthanasia, and the selfish destruction of the earth and its creatures—are all anti-life and against the fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” As you can see, we have a lot of time to make up for, and a lot of moral maturing to do before we can match the clear nonviolent teaching and example of Jesus himself (see Matthew 5:38-48).

So we not only need to be consistent between individual morality and social morality...but we need to be consistent between all of the various life issues. It is a “seamless garment,” as Cardinal Bernardin brilliantly called it. Such a theology has teeth and real authority behind it and does not just pander to the cultural values of either the Left or the Right. Like the Gospel itself, it challenges both sides and pleases nobody.

Richard Rohr

Adapted from
Spiral of Violence: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil

Friday, February 10, 2012


The very purpose of spirituality is self-discipline. Rather than criticizing others, we should evaluate and criticize ourselves. Ask yourself, what am I doing about my anger, my attachment, my pride, my jealousy? These are the things we should check in our day to day lives.


Remember the greenhouse in the picture? It is flat. That's right. Completely lying flat in the garden.

We had a wind storm that broke the joints. One morning I found it completely lifted off the garden and sitting in the front yard, turned 90 degrees from its original orientation. I replaced it and put it back together.

The wind continued.

Now the greenhouse is just a pile of stuff.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

love thursday 02.09.12 ~ a beautiful thing

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Oscar Wilde

Who can't use a little romance? I mean...really?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


Listen with ears of tolerance!
See through the eyes of compassion!
Speak with the language of love!


...Love for no reason at all. I'm being challenged lately. Finding it hard to get there for some. I just have to remember that if they were wearing my moccasins, I'd want them to find a way to love me for no reason at all.

Sometimes, love just is.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

a question from "bridgetown"

I have this overwhelming fear of going over bridges and have avoided certain bridges (The Fremont, the Marquam) for years. I often have nightmares in which I take a wrong exit ramp and end up on one these bridges. It is horrible. As I type this just thinking about it makes my hands sweat. I have an opportunity to do a walk in which I will have to WALK over the Fremont bridge! I have not signed up for this walk yet as I am uncertain if I should confront my fear and walk across. I would not be alone, as a friend would go with me. My question is, do we always have to confront our fears?

Thank you for your time,

Good Lord, NO! We don't always have to face our fears. After all--we do have free choice.

[For those of you who don't know, Portland--where this question originates--is known as Bridgetown because we have more than a dozen bridges crossing the Columbia and Willamette rivers.]

Phobias like yours can have different causes. What seems an "irrational" fear often makes sense once we figure out what is behind it. And if it makes's no longer irrational. Sometimes they are a result of trauma...or a scrambled nervous system...or even allergies. (Any of those can be resolved.)

Fears and phobias are not exactly the same thing, either. For example, I am "afraid of heights." I don't like being on high places without having a security device of some kind--a railing between me and the edge, something to hold onto, something to lean on, etc. For me, that is not an irrational fear because if I get too close to the edge of a high place, sometimes I experience vertigo. I have been told that the vertigo is because of how my eyes work in that situation.

Now, if I lose my balance in a high place, is it irrational to be afraid of heights without railings? I think not. On the other hand, I can climb a ladder to hang Christmas lights or clean gutters. I can climb the Astoria Column and look at the sights (while I lean against the column and don't hang over the railing). Get my drift?

Living with a phobia is no fun. It is limiting and requires a lot of planning to avoid the areas (or items) that trigger the difficult experience. So, while we do have free choice not to face our fears, they can--in turn--prevent us from having free choice. Fortunately, many phobias can be treated effectively in a short period of time if you find a treater who knows what she is doing.

The way I look at it, if you treat the phobia and get a handle on it, you may still choose not to cross bridges--but then it is a true choice. Or, once the phobia is taken care of, bridges may become a non-issue and you might not think twice about crossing.

Do we have to face our fears? No. We have free choice. But if we have fears or phobias that keep us stuck do we truly have the ability to choose freely?

I think there is hope for your situation, if you choose to pursue a resolution.

Good luck. Let me know if I can be of help.

Monday, February 06, 2012

have you ever wondered how the rocks get their shape?

Take a look at Haystack Rock.

Now take a look at my sister's hair in the wind.

The rock.

The hair.

And that is how it is done.

(my sister's self portrait at haystack rock in pacific city)

Sunday, February 05, 2012


(i turned around and honeyboy had put himself to bed)
It is important to distinguish between genuine humility, which is a type of modesty, and a lack of confidence. They are not the same thing at all, although many confuse them. This may explain, in part, why today humility is often thought of as a weakness, rather than as an indication of inner strength, especially in the context of business and professional life.

HH Dalai Lama

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Friday, February 03, 2012

pumpkin sharing

(the remaining pumpkins...and christmas lights)

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; It is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.


Thursday, February 02, 2012

love thursday 02.02.12 ~ for cat lovers (and boy lovers) everywhere

Know what I love most? The boy who kept a straight face through the entire performance.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

words to live by

I searched through rebellion, drugs, diets, mysticism, religions, intellectualism and much more, only to begin to find...that truth is basically simple - and feels good, clean and right.

Chick Corea
American Jazz Musician

Not the same as, "If it feels it." But, if you follow the truth, it will feel good and clean and do it.