Saturday, May 31, 2008


On the Alanis song, "You Owe Me Nothing in Return" which I included the lyrics to a few blog posts ago, this is obviously an idealized form of love - one I strive for. Not sure if it can be achieved but I love this song. I love Alanis! Her new album, Flavors of Entanglement, comes out Jun 10 in the US, Jun 2 internationally! I've already pre-ordered the DVD/CD combo...

Alanis is someone I look up to very much in terms of her artistic talent, her self expressiveness, and ability to look inward and self-criticize and grow and then use this as part of her muse. I relate very much to that model. I also like when people can look inward, and believe that ultimately that is the only way. We can set boundaries, and tell others that we will not or can not live with a certain behavior, but ultimately it's their choice to change or not, but we can choose whether we are willing to live with it, or to leave and end that relationship.

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother's eye."

- Luke 6:41-42 NKJV

Notice it does say that once we remove the plank from our eye, we CAN see clearly to help others. I believe that is important because I do believe there are people who have gone through some lessons and can teach and encourage others in those areas, even as they/we still have places to learn in other areas of life. We all can learn from one another - what a beautiful thing if it happens!

But I've found that those who still have planks in their eyes often still point the finger at others, and refuse to look inward or listen to wisdom of others, or are selective in who they listen to.

OK this is sort of a different subject but was thinking about personality temperaments etc. I am an ENFP (Meyers Briggs Temperament Sorter) - Teacher-Idealist, also called The Giver. Oprah is one also. I think this is why I express and love to share the things I've learned and read about. Lots of people like to read the blog and say they enjoy it but... it doesn't always work when you're in a one-on-one situation! LOL. I on the other hand, love constructive criticism. How else will I see myself from another person's perspective if they don't tell me? I can try to see what my flaws could be, but unless someone tells me I am only still looking through colored-glasses skewed by my own perspective. Plus the dynamics of any friendship and relationship depend so much on our pasts, family history, issues that bother us, etc. What bothers one person may not bother another at all! Here's the paragraph from the Meyers Briggs Foundation page:

ENFJ: Warm, empathetic, responsive, and responsible. Highly attuned to the emotions, needs, and motivations of others. Find potential in everyone, want to help others fulfill their potential. May act as catalysts for individual and group growth. Loyal, responsive to praise and criticism. Sociable, facilitate others in a group, and provide inspiring leadership.

And here's another page at the Meyers-Briggs Foundation site that describes the ENFJ/Teacher.

Teachers like things settled and organized, and will schedule their work hours and social engagements well ahead of time-and they are absolutely trustworthy in honoring these commitments. Valuing as they do interpersonal cooperation and harmonious relations, Teachers are extraordinarily tolerant of others, are easy to get along with, and are usually popular wherever they are.

Teachers are highly sensitive to others, which is to say their intuition tends to be well developed. Certainly their insight into themselves and others is unparalleled. Without a doubt, they know what is going on inside themselves, and they can read other people with uncanny accuracy. Teachers also identify with others quite easily, and will actually find themselves picking up the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of those around them. Because they slip almost unconsciously into other people's skin in this way, Teachers feel closely connected with those around them, and thus show a sincere interest in the joys and problems of their employees, colleagues, students, clients, and loved ones.

Here's a link to the place where you can take your own test. There are several different versions - look under the heading "Jung Tests I-E S-N F-T J-P" in the right column. I know I took a long one but can't remember if it was the 70-question Word test, or the Jung + Enneagram (108 q's). It was a while ago. Take the test and tell me what you are! :)

yummy food

"You are insane" - Sam
"Why am I insane?" - Me
"I don't know. You just ARE!" - Sam
"Insane in a good or a bad way?! That is not a very nice thing to say, that I'm insane." - Me
"You dive with sharks" - Sam
"So that is not 'insane.' It's totally cool!!!" - Me
"You jump up and down like a kangaroo at the mall." - Sam
"You thought it was fun!" - Me (and it was 3 or 4 years ago!!)
"Savannah didn't" - Sam
"I just like to have fun. Maybe everyone else is insane and I am normal." - Me
"Weird is good." - Sam

Ah kids. And, this from the kid who said he was going to go on a marshmallow rampage!

We have a friend of my daughter's over and holy moly macaroli if I didn't make a new recipe last night that everyone liked! I love it when that happens. The kids rarely like my food, because when I do cook from scratch it's got lots of veggies and cool fresh yummy stuff that to them is "gross." So we tend to eat a lot of bean-and-cheese burritos (which we make). Here's a recipe I got from my friend that all three kids loved!

White Chili
Brown a pound or so of ground turkey (with or without onion - I didn't use it because my kids don't like onion). Add 1 large bottle of green salsa, 1 can of chicken broth, 1 or 2 cans of white northern beans, 1 tsp cumin. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also added about 1 tsp garlic powder. I let it sit about half day in the crock pot too. (The initial recipe from my friend calls for a mix of ground turkey, veal and ground pork, but she doesn't eat pork or veal so just did it with turkey and it's great! You can probably add in some chicken too)

Oh, I guess I should say that my attempt at resurrecting my vegetarianism is clearly out the window. I tried, but though I don't eat a lot of meat I feel I need some in my diet.

YUMMO! Good stuff. Another intensely amazing recipe that I adore, from Working Mother magazine (here's the link):

Grilled Eggplant & White Bean Salad

2 small Italian eggplants, sliced in 1/2-inch-thick rounds (I have used the frozen sliced eggplants & then cooked them)
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or other wine vinegar
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
11/2 cups flat leaf parsley
3 ounces (3 cups, packed) baby spinach leaves
1 cup canned Northern/white beans, rinsed and drained
8-12 cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced

1. Grill eggplant (or broil in oven). Brush eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt to taste. Grill 2-3 minutes per side. Should be soft and flexible.

2. Parsley dressing: food process 3 tablespoons oil, the vinegar, pine nuts, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

3. To serve, arrange spinach leaves, white beans, eggplant and tomatoes on a serving platter or individual plates and drizzle with parsley dressing.. (I found the dressing to thick to "drizzle" but just plop some on and mix it up).

It's sooo good!!


After reading Emily Gould's long piece in the New York Times Magazine, Exposed, I pondered the wisdom of talking about my personal personal life here, my relationships and such, and I decided it would go underground so there you have it.

you owe me...

You Owe Me Nothing In Return

by Alanis Morissette

I'll give you countless amounts of outright acceptance
if you want it
I will give you encouragement
to choose the path that you want
if you need it
You can speak of anger and doubts
your fears and freak outs
and I'll hold it
You can share your so-called
shame filled accounts
of times in your life
and I won't judge it
(and there are no strings attached to it)

You owe me nothing for giving the love that I give
You owe me nothing for caring the way that I have
I give you thanks for receiving it's my privilege
And you owe me nothing in return

This is the only kind of love
as I understand it
that there really is


You can say that you have to skip town
to chase your passion
I'll hear it
You can even hit rock bottom
have a mid-life crisis
and I'll hold it
(and there are no strings attached)

These are just some of the lyrics. Full lyrics here!

Friday, May 30, 2008

on love

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments; love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved

- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

Sometimes God really annoys me. Because He so often points the finger directly at me when I am frustrated with another. I tend to run, it's easier. I like to look at obstacles as walls rather than hurdles. I like to see bumps as mountains. I like to solve things with my own power. I see these traits as I do them, but it doesn't make it easier to stop. I open "Return of the Prodigal Son" a book by Henri Nouwen written about the Rembrandt painting, which sits on my nightstand. It's the most profound and poetic book on explaining the Christian faith in its entirety. Explaining the love of the Father for both the prodigal - the partying proud son who rejects the Father altogether but comes back in tatters, humbly asking his Father to accept him - and the elder who never left the Father yet stands judgmental over at the Father's love of the prodigal son. I've written about this book before on this blog. The painting shows both the masculine muscular strong hand of the Father and a more feminine hand, which Nouwen believes represents the feminine side of God.

Luke 15: 11-32

Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'

But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's
have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.

Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.

But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'

'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'

Nouwen shows that we may relate more to one or another character but ultimately we are all three characters. We have all been the prodigal, we have all been the judgmental elder son, and ultimately we are called to become like the Father - though we will never become God we are called to become like God. So I open my book and start reading about the elder son. There was me doing exactly what I was doing. And then I saw Nouwen quoting "love is not love
which alters when it alteration finds" and yet not saying who said it, I google it to find it is Shakespeare's most famous love sonnet.

grandmother's bones

I dig deeper
and uncover grandmother's bones
that have been tossed inconsequentially
through coffee tables and beaten
fiercely with apparently little consequence
to our generation
(if buried bones could speak!)

This fierce red fire of a woman performed
grand humanitarian gestures
her mind sharp
enough to win a Stanford scholarship
the Great Depression robbed her of the dream
yet apparently not wise on the ways of womanhood
on the right not to have your bones bruised
and not on the disguised neglect of her twin progeny
who suffered silently, not for lack
of money and camp and poise school but for want
of attentive love

And how these ghosts haunt me
through the ages
they pass silently
not to be unearthed yet restless
in their graves too proud
to lie silently

I will excavate
this ancient poison
that casts demons upon my line
and throw it off the ends of the earth
and grandmother
your bones
won't be laid to rest
in vain
© 2000 Wendee Holtcamp

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

God grew tired of us

Today I saw three birds in a tree that I wouldn't have noticed had I not been outside, watching. I felt the wind whoosh and saw it toss about the trees and bushes and leaves in the ever-darkening sky. I saw a boy so decrepit and bone-thin and absent in the eyes that I thought he was dead. Until he moved his mouth. Some survived. Many didn't.

God Grew Tired of Us documents the journey of some of the Lost Boys, a group of Sudanese refugees that fled their country first to Ethiopia, and then to Kenya. They fled Sudan because of a war in which the northern neighbors were killing all boys in the south, or sometimes they would sterilize them by poking holes in their testes. Many died as they fled, starved as they crossed through the desert without any food or water. They drank pee to survive. The footage of living skeletons from their initial journey was gut-wrenching. The name of this documentary comes from what the young Sudanese man, a Christian, said as he described how he felt when he was younger; as a boy fleeing he'd felt maybe God had grown tired of them, of people, and of the horrible things they have done on the earth to each other. He thought maybe he wanted to just wipe them from the land. These were his thoughts as a young boy that he was recalling now as a young man in America. The doco tracks the lives of several of these translocated refugees as they acclimated to life in America. It's brilliant, and sad, and poetic, and moving. Nicole Kidman narrates and the footage is in some places humorous, and some places gut-wrenchingly sad. It also shines a light on some of the negative aspects of American culture - subtly - by showing how for example in Sudan they were all a huge family and if you are wandering in a town and you are unfamiliar you can go to anyone's house and they will welcome you and show you around and ask are you lost? In America, one young man said, if you go to a stranger's house they will say "What are you doing here? I don't know you" and they call the police. They also have no time for the bonding and community they spent on in the refugee camp where they just had hours to talk and play soccer and tell stories. Now they had to work long hard hours, working 3 jobs to send money back to the Refugee camp to help out their family - voluntarily. These boys had no family. They'd lost everything except the other "Lost Boys" they had fled Sudan with and grown up with for years and years of their lives.

There is no excuse for the extent of poverty in our world. There is no excuse for Americans to have so much wealth while so many people suffer such grave injustices. It breaks my heart. And yet I know it's not a matter of just saying, ok let's ship all our money over to Sudan. It doesn't work that way. Yet if we all gave more of our money to charities that are working to do something real to help make the world a better place. If we gave more of our time. Watched more shows to enlighten us to the state of the world rather than buried our heads in the sand. We would be compelled and unable not to do something. It's our God-given duty, and especially to those who have committed their lives to following God, to Christ.

Since I was a young kid, I have wanted to "save the world." Maybe it's a hero complex, maybe it's a rescuer syndrome, but I don't think so. Despite their individual weaknesses and failings, I was given two very compassionate parents who taught me to care, to not judge, to love others despite their weaknesses, to forgive, to be there for people. And God planted in my spirit from a young age a desire to help make the world a better place. I've been donating money to various causes for several years. I have traveled the world and seen poverty. I've read about awful tragedies that break my heart. And I feel that now is my time to rise up and do something, and I just truly pray that God will open the doors as I take steps toward fulfilling that vision. I really want to make a difference. Because God is growing tired of so many of us sitting around. It is time to rise up!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


That's not a call I ever want to get again. Savie called at 630am from Matt's, woke me up to say they were taking Sam to the hospital & they'd pick me up on the way. She didn't even know what was wrong as M had already taken him down to the truck. I got ready quick & said I'd just meet them there to save time. I called again to find what happened while they were driving & apparently Sam had fainted in the bathroom, Matt heard a thunk & went in there. He had completely lost consciousness & he started to come to, but was very out of it. M took him right to the truck in his boxers & all. Sam got an IV & blood tests & a cat scan. We were there for about 4 hours. Sam has 2nd degree burns from being at the beach yesterday, blisters & all. M & Savie went fishing & hanging out at the beach with some friends & despite wearing spf 50 sunscreen they still got burned to a crisp! The fainting could have been just dehydration & sun stroke but we need to go to another doc to make sure. All the tests at the hospital turned out fine, praise God!

I just ate the yummiest blueberry banana protein smoothie, made extra yummy by marshmallows :) My microwave is on the Fritz which sucks because I use that thing all the time. I have no clue how to fix a microwave or even if you can! Its installed over the stove so I guess it would have to come out & a new one out in?! Anyone know?

I'm watching the special features on Crazy Sexy Cancer DVD, & which I just finished watching in full with the kids (Savie loves all things health/medical, & in fact was jealous that Sam got a cat scan because she wanted one! Ha! She is obsessed with discovery health channel, or was before we cancelled cable). Anyway so I am inspired by this doco to eat more raw foods. I think I'm pretty healthy but I eat crap sometimes. If I ever got cancer I think for sure I'd go all out super healthy juicing, raw foods etc. So why not now? In Nepal everyone was a vegan except Mickey who ate all raw (and also drank his pee, which I'll refrain from, thank you). I also really loved the wisdom of a black playwright Oni interviewed by Kris (the doco director & woman featured in the doco with cancer). Oni had this great technique of setting a timer for 10 minutes & writing for that time. Then she'd clean up or whatever for another 10 minutes , then back to writing for 10 minutes . I'm going to have to try this. Lately I feel very lazy & not like writing... I can blog no worries, but writing the assignments can be a drag sometimes. But deadlines are coming up so gotta hop to it. Sadly I just saw on the crazy sexy blog that Oni just died recently. She wrote a play, Tough Titty, about breast cancer and having a mastectomy. Here's a link to her Oni Fund, which benefits a college scholarship for her two boys she left behind.

From Savie: Sam In Hospital

Sam's okay now. We're home. He's asleep. They still don't really know what happened, but the doctor said to contact a Neurologist. His sunburn hurts.... So does mine. Well, he's gonna be just fine.

at hospital

Sam is in the hospital here lying in a bed about to get an IV. not sure what's wrong if anything. He went to the beach w/ Matt yesterday & got very sunburned but this morn at Matts he fainted twice. We came to the emergency room at 630am & now he's going to get some tests. He seems ok but were not sure why he fainted or if he had s seizure or what. Prayers appreciated!

Sam in hospital - pray

I don't know what's wrong but Savannah just called and we're headed to NE Medical hospital, Sam fainted twice from pain and we're not sure what's wrong. Please pray!

Monday, May 26, 2008

crazy sexy life

I am sooo tired. I had a fun Memorial day pool party today, or rather I went to a fun pool party today at a friend's house, with all my crazy sexy fun girlfriends! Then I didn’t feel like working - ie writing - so I rented a couple movies. I rented the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer by Kris Carr. I’d seen her website before (maybe even included the link here before) and had met her book's editor at the last years ASJA (American Society of Journalists & Autors) conference which is where I first heard of Kris.

As mentioned, I’m trying to watch docos since I want to produce one and/or be involved in one. I fell asleep though halfway through since I'm so tired... and am just doing a quick ol check o the email and post a quickie on the blog. I normally stay up late but tonite think I’m gonna hit the hay rack. Oh anyway if you get time check her out – pretty inspiring and interesting. At 31 she was a single actress living in NYC and was diagnosed with a slow-growing incurable cancer. She wrote a book then produced a documentary that aired on The Learning Channel, I think, and Discovery Health. Her website is but her blog is cool too: There’s also her My Crazy Sexy Life community for everyone not just cancer survivors She is very into raw food and helped make herself more healthy by transforming her diet. I'm going to have to read more about this.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mommy-Daughter days

When I lived with my dad growing up, my dad's girlfriend, Celeta, (who I consider a second mom) and I used to have what we called "Urchin Day." My nickname was Urchin because I was a grubby dirty little urchin, running around all barefoot in the woods. Being the hippie free spirit woman that she was, Celeta was also my dad's other Urchin girl. So Celeta and I had birthdays exactly 20 years apart and 2 days and we were incredibly close. So we would have an "Urchin Day" in which she and I would go do something just the two of us to celebrate our birthdays and our "urchinhood." The one I remember most was when we went to OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry. I also remember the one where Celeta hit a deer, and killing it really affected her and made her sad. I think after she hit the deer, she was so sad that we either decided not to go that day, or maybe it was on the way home after the day was done. I'll have to ask her...

So I've carried on this tradition by having periodic "Mommy (or rather Mommee as I am known)-Daughter days." Today was one of those days. It had been a while, and we were overdue! We went first to get a spa pedicure, and then we went to see Made of Honor at the movie theatre. We did a little shopping and then had some snacks at the Barnes & Noble Cafe'.

Savie & I talked about my forming the Solomon Islands nonprofit and I told her how the Directors do not need to be any particular age, and she said she'd like to do that. So it's possible she may be on the Board of Directors. I think she would be really good at it, and it would be so cool to bring her over there and show her the Solomon Islands sooner rather than later. Course her dad may have a heart attack about the idea. First I'll need to go over there first and check it out. She's such a responsible and mature girl, and she cares so much about helping people. She's definitely not your typical teenage girl. Earlier this evening, I walked in and saw her working on the computer, and what was on the screen? A bunch of house blueprints!!! Go figure. Her new thing is she thinks she might want to be an architect... This is after years of wanting to be an emergency medical pediatric surgeon, which she decided on at age 8. (the pic to the right is Savie in Alaska, in Prince William Sound, when she was 2. How cute is she?!)

documentaries to change the world

I just finished watching Bowling for Columbine. To be honest, I've avoided watching it and other Michael Moore films thinking they may be a little bit extreme. I have to admit - as I have before - sometimes it is easier to bury one's head in the sand and ignore the issues rather than see them right in front of our eyes. But I'm glad I watched it, and I actually liked it and was impressed by it, and yet of course I was saddened and shocked by some of the statistics about how many murders occur in the U.S. compared to Canada, England, Australia, and other countries. It reinforced what I've spoken about publicly regarding the over-exaggeration of violence in TV news and newspaper reporting (I discussed this in my talk I gave at University of North Texas in April 2007, "Changing the World One Story at a Time" - which discusses objectivity in journalism among other things). If you haven't seen the doco, I recommend it. It did sort of reinforce my desire to move to Australia! I wish there was a way to reduce our culture of violence and fear here in the States, and that is certainly something I'll be praying for and about.

The reason I chose to watch Bowling for Columbine is that I'm watching documentaries as I start to get into documentary production myself. This one won an Oscar so I figured it's important to see! Michael Moore has achieved notoriety and success, and though I don't exactly plan to follow his methods, I want to see how he puts his docos together. I've spent time in the past few days researching funding for documentaries as well as forming a nonprofit to get grants and funding for the Solomon Islands project Sean and I are discussing. Forming one here in the U.S. would allow us to receive donations from here as well as apply for grants from U.S. organizations. Everything is still very tentative and new, but it's such a cool project and has so much going for it, and it's exciting to investigate all the possibilities.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

why does God allow tragedies?

"For you have been given the privilege for the Messiah's sake not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him." Philippians 1:29 (International Standard Version)

On Wednesday evening, the 5-year old daughter of a well-known Christian singer was killed when her teenage brother accidentally backed over her. When I heard it, it made me cringe. It broke my heart. I can not even fathom what that family is going through. What the brother is feeling. Why, you have to ask, does God allow things like that to happen? Often I think that Christians think that our lives will be protected from injury. That God will never allow tragedy. That He may always answer our prayers the way we want Him to.

But why does He allow such awful tragedies? This answer may seem like foolishness to those outside the church, and maybe to those inside, and I don't know for sure, but I do believe that those who are strong in Christ sometimes suffer great tragedies so that God can be glorified through them. Because those who are strong in the Lord will turn to Him, and receive strength only He can give. And others will see us glorifying God amidst great suffering and tragedy. Those who have truly been touched deeply by Jesus love won't, can't turn away. God IS love, and how can we turn away from love? As Peter said to Jesus, when Jesus asked would he too turn away, he replied, "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." The beauty of grace is that in tragedy we cling to God - who is love, who created love, who spoke love, who created all and loves despite the horror we inflict on one another - we cling to God even amidst great suffering and tragedy. We forgive. We give. We suffer. And by turning our eyes to God in our suffering - as Daniel looked to God while inside the lion's den - we show others Who to look to for hope. I sometimes believe God allows the strong in Christ to suffer more. These could be people who are nonbelievers at the time, who God knows may later turn to Him. God sees the whole life, not just the snapshot in time.

Life is sometimes overwhelmingly painful and confusing. Life can be tragic. Yet to me the great question is not why tragedies happen, but why beauty and love exists when people are so selfish and the world is so fallen.

Another thought this tragedy brought to mind is how in such times of tragedy, we don't want to hear platitudes. The words may be true but in times of tragedy people don't need to hear them, but need "Jesus with skin on" - and that is why bringing meals, being present, being a friend, or showing up for earth quake or tsunami or flood victims speaks far more than saying things like "God will never give you more than you can handle." It may be a true statement but it's not what we need in tragedies. We need love in action. And at the same time, those of us witnessing a tragedy all need to show love in action for the hurting people in the world.

This past Sunday at my church, my pastor spoke some really moving and powerful words, which I just read to Sean, as the words spoke much about the work we have been talking about in the Solomons in some of the same language we have used. Pastor Al said, "Many of you are leaders for my kingdom. I have given you a passion to serve. I encourage you to open your heart to the leading of my Spirit, " and ended it with "I once told my disciples – 'pray for harvest workers.' You are harvest workers. Pray to my father for workers for the kingdom."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

what does it mean?

"When we are able to say that a human is both mortal and eternal at the same time' and 'light is both a wave and a particle,' science and religion have begun to speak the same language, that of paradox." ~M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

"We have been looking for the burning bush, the parting of the sea, the bellowing voice from heaven. Instead we should be looking at the ordinary day-to-day events in our lives for evidence of the miraculous." ~M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled

Here are some quotes from Scott Peck, the man I consider more than anyone on earth my "guru" or spiritual teacher. (Ironically he said, "I've gone to great lengths not to be a guru. I think the notion of guruhood is utterly pathological, and I couldn't live that way. I am just a person.") However he is simply the most connected person to Truth I have ever read (other than Jesus) :) He is a scientist, a firm believer in empiricism and its importance. Yet he is also deeply spiritual, a Christian, and yet a non-fundamentalist one. (By non-fundamentalist, I mean he opposes "simplism" or simple minded thinking. Life is not simple. Life is complex. Life is difficult. And there are many paradoxes, or apparent paradoxes associated with life. There are no simple answers. There is no black and white. There are no hard and fast rules, including the one that there are "no" hard and fast rules. I think he says there is one. I can't remember off the top of my head what it is. Christianity is rife with paradox, and this makes it attacked by its opponents. But therein lies its very beauty, for those who look beyond the simple answers. A man who was both 100% human and 100% divine, for example. That we're saved by faith alone, and yet faith without works is dead. There are hundreds of others).

In an interview for Psychology Today, he says this, relating to coincidences and such as they relate to God's answering our prayers:

"I am really an empiricist, a believer in the importance of experience. I've had all kinds of experiences with God in terms of revelation through a still, small voice or dreams or coincidences. Hundreds of them. Once, a secular Jewish woman wrote a negative review of me in The New York Times, ending it with the comment that unfortunately, most of us don't have a direct phone line to God. I wrote her back and said, "You know, please don't think that my phone works very well. A lot of times I can't get ahold of God, and sometimes the phone rings and I forget to answer. So I suspect there are a lot of people who deliberately leave the phone off the hook because they have these same experiences and they just don't recognize them as the miracles that they are."

He was quoted as saying this about the stages of faith development and this will be part of my book that I'm writing:

"Are you familiar with James Fowler? He's the expert on the stages of faith development. I simplify them a bit. Jim's theory has six stages; mine has four. The fundamental stage, one I call "chaotic antisocial," is a stage of absent spirituality. The second stage is "formal institutional," in which the fundamentalists fall. Stage three I call "skeptic individual," where religion is either thrown out or seriously doubted. And then there is stage four, which I call "mystical communal." To get from stage two to stage four—if you can in a lifetime—you must go through stage three. You have to go through a phase of doubting. One of the great sins of the Christian church is the discouragement of doubting. There's a limit to doubting. If you become really good at stage-three doubting, you begin to doubt your own doubts. And that's when you begin to move to stage four."

Those writings about the stages of psycho-spiritual development could truly revolutionize our understanding of the culture wars if taken seriously. They are profound, and incredibly accurate - Not black-and-white without exceptions and not without movement back and forth between them, but as a general guideline for understanding these things - it blows me away.

Here is also what PT said (in italics), and his response:

PT: There's some irony here. They flock to you because of your spirituality, and then spurn you for the same reasons. Another irony is that your books sell well in the Bible Belt. And yet, you are down on fundamentalism, and the fundamentalist Christians are very down on you.
SP: "They picketed me twice some years ago as me being the Antichrist. Not an antichrist, but the Antichrist. That's power."

He's got several other cool quotes on "coincidences" in his books (I have all of them) that I'll quote when I get time.

In other news, I gave a talk at my kids' school today on my shark diving and the Discovery Channel blog. I love those kids, and it is so cool to show them what I do, and get them psyched about it. I may be giving more talks on a regular basis next year. We'll see. The kids are now out for the summer, a couple weeks earlier than the public schools.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


In this new relationship a lot of fears have come up on both of our parts that we've expressed to one another. I think that is normal for any two people who are serious and who have been hurt in the past, as opposed to young lovers who fall in love for the first time ever. And who have kids. ie. me. I tend to give myself wholly and completely when I do, but I must admit there is a part of my heart and soul that I let out only slowly. I'm an expressive and creative so what I feel at a give time I will write out, and it is true and real and emotional. But I also know that only God is perfect and can be relied on 100%. I think to have unrealistic expectations about another human being is unfair to them. That said, I'm willing to trust and let go slowly and move in the direction of what seems to be my future. I think for me I have huge fears about introducing someone into the very comfortable situation I have with my life and my kids and my ex. Everything is so beautiful here in that situation. The kids are well adjusted, do well in school, get along well with both me and M, and neither he nor I so far have had any serious relationships. Introducing someone new - no matter when or how - is a risk.

On the plane back from Australia - another case of odd serendipity - I sat next to an Aussie man who had met and married an American with kids and so he had to move to the States. I asked if he liked it now and he said he "tolerates it." That is after 13 years. I would think Sean would probably feel the same. Then again, that is how I feel about Texas as well. I would love living in Florida or Colorado or Oregon but I do only tolerate Texas. I am not a conservative, and it gets under my skin sometimes when I see ignorance (about evolution, politics, etc) and judgmentalism and narrow-mindedness here. Then again I've seen a lot of bumper stickers lately here that say things like "Christian not close-minded" and "GOD is not spelled GOP" and other such things that make me think, wow that's pretty progressive for Texas! However there are lots of liberals and progressives here, lest I forget, though they may not be a majority. Even in the churches! So what this guy said to me was that the guy would have to get on with the kids or it wouldn't work. We talked a lot about a lot of things - from practical issues of resident vs citizen to working here to getting married versus living together, but in the end that's what his final word of wisdom boiled down to. And it's really true because though my mom's 2nd marriage has lasted, the fact that I did not like my stepdad throughout my life there made living there miserable for us all. (I like him a lot now!!) Sean is sensitive to this though having had a stepfather situation too, but there's a lot to process for both of us.

I don't honestly know how these various obstacles will be overcome though I do believe they will be worked out, in time. I read somewhere that the more you want something to last, the slower you need to take things. While our feelings and our desire for a shared future are way faster than most people may take a relationship that's just the way both of us are. But... that doesn't mean we are going to not still take things day by day. Living halfway across the planet from one another kind of forces you to take things a bit slow.

On another note I just got back from my kids' school awards ceremony and I'm so very very proud of them. Both kids got all A Honor Roll (all A's all year)! Sam also earned the top honor in his grade for Literature and Science, and Savannah in Math/Pre-Algebra, Science and Composition/Writing! She also got recognized again for getting 1st in State for Writing at that PSIA competition and she'd also earned Thespian Honor Society as well as"All Star Cast" recognition in the PSIA One Act Play competition! We knew about those awards before but it was nice for her to get recognized for all that in one ceremony! They are such super kids, if I do say so myself!! :) Well I'm going to go take a nap in the sunshine outside and read!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

a nice day

I drove some of the middle school kids (at my kids' school) to Jesse Jones Park for their field trip today. They have been doing environmental work at the park for the past 3 years. They help eradicate invasive Chinese tallow trees and also pick up trash. First we took the schoolkids to Wendy's for lunch, where I was told by my kids' friends that I was "so cool" because I stuck french fries into chocolate shake and also stole Savie's shake from her and kept eating it, which they thought was very humorous. Everyone except Savie, that is. :) Well maybe I think THEY are cool! Kids are usually so much cooler than fuddy duddy parents... I shouldn't say that. But... it's true :)

So while the kids were slaving away I was going to read my Biomimicry book for an article I'm working on, but I ended up laying down my head on my backpack and falling asleep. It's freaking hot, like 90+ degrees already! Later, when we were almost finished and everyone was coming back on the trail, I was taking pics of the kids and then I took a self portrait and looked at it on the view-finder and I said out loud, "What is that thing on my head?" and then I go, "Oh, my hair." To which Savie immediately retorts, "I think I got my brains from the other side of the family." And her friend cracked up. To be fair, there was something poking up FROM my hair but I have to admit it was rather humorous.

When I got back to the kids' school they had a couple hours before they got out for the day so since their school is like 20 minutes from home I just went around the back of the building and took a nap in the grass. Why am I sooo tired?!!!!

This afternoon me and the kids went for a walk around the neighborhood. It was nice. I then played gin rummy with Sam, and now they're going to go to bed. It's nice to be back here spending some time with them. Their school gets out Thursday, a couple weeks before the public schools, & they'll be home and bored off their rockers before you know it. I am working on taxes, and some new articles. I am giving a talk at my kids' school on Thursday (their last day of school) about the shark stuff so that should be cool! I wish I was in Australia... wish we were all there.

I have read a whole bunch in Scott Peck's writing on "coincidences" and God, and plan to blog on that soon. It really stinks being away from Sean. We talk every day, several times a day and text back and forth but... it's not the same as being in person. I miss him and we need to invent a teleporting machine asap. So get on it someone!

By the way these two shots were taken today at Jones Park.

Friday, May 16, 2008


As I mentioned on the previous blogs we stayed with some friends of S's that he's really close to and who are like second parents, Coral and Johnno. Here, Coral goes after Sean with "the thong" which is used to smack mis-behavers. I love this thing! When I told Savannah on the phone about it, & how they call "flip flops" thongs there, she said "Gives a whole new meaning to 'thong wars'" - ha! Um, that would be when Sam & Savie fling my thong underwear at one another while folding the laundry...

A crucifix spider at Coral & John's.
One of the 6 saltwater crocs we saw on a tour of the Daintree River on Bruce Belcher's Crocodile Cruise.

Sean setting up the mud crab pots in the creek.

Johnno with one of the mud crabs on his head. See how they're black before you cook them? This one didn't have either of his front claws. Oddly when they're stressed they "drop" their claws!
The mud crab turns bright red-orange after it's cooked! This one had monster claws! I even held it when alive and took it out of the mud crab pot. That impressed Sean :)

These are the coolest fish EVER. They are called mud skippers I think and they have "arms" and they hope and skip across the water and onto the bank, like "evolution in action"! It is sitting on the bank just in between the mangrove tree roots.

A freshwater creek at Cow Bay Beach, where a big saltie lives - aka salwater croc. This is where we set the mud crab pots.
The same freshwater creek closer to where it enters the ocean.
A shot of rivulets on the beach at low tide.

Driftwood at Cow Bay Beach.

Little balls made by crabs on Cow Bay beach.

Me spinning around and around in circles.

Sunset over Port Douglas on my last day there.

Monday, May 12, 2008

from the Daintree

I am having an awesome time here. Have just a moment to send a note, have been up in the Daintree rainforest. Yesterday we spent time playing in the ocean, laying on the beach in the sunshine... it was a beautiful perfect day. Rainforest-covered cliffs come right down to the beach, and they're covered with lush forest, palms, tree ferns. Freshwater creeks spill out from the forest onto the beach and these creeks are the homes of saltwater crocs. We set some mud crab pots in a creek and then checked them a couple hours later and caught one big one, which we ate. We're staying with Coral and John who are like second parents to S. Coral was the chef on the Daintree Lady, a croc tour boat that Sean used to skipper back around 2000 or so. It's rained on and off but the rain comes and goes then the sun comes out. We are about to go check the pots again, which we left overnight. Hopefully we will find an abundance of them, and maybe even see the big croc that lives in that creek.

Friday, May 09, 2008


We are are heading to Daintree which is where the rainforest meets the reef now... a beautiful area north of Port Douglas. We're staying with some friends of his that are like second parents. There is no internet up there - in most places there is still no electricity! I am still unable to receive any text messages on my phone so kids please send me messages via email and "comments"!!!

OK so... that's all the news for now but I hope to post some pics from the Daintree when we get back! We're having a great time and I'm sad that there's only 1 week left! Lotsa love!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sharkwater & a shocking proposal

Last night we went to the premier of the documentary movie, Sharkwater in Cairns. Rob Stewart, the Producer and host of the award-winning doco, was there. The movie was released in Fall 07 in the U.S. and I didn't even know! It should be out on DVD now. Everyone must see this movie.

This movie is incredibly emotional and powerful. It blew me away. It's a true story of the lifelong love Rob Stewart has had for sharks, and then how he ended up almost arrested by the Costa Rican authorities for his role in uncovering illegal private docks used for vast shark finning operations associated with the Taiwanese mafia, as well as illegal finning out off of the protected Cocos Island. The movie made me cry. They fin so many sharks, a brutal practice, and it's made sharks around the world decline by 90%. Yet he was shown in the movie swimming with, even holding gray reef sharks and other sharks, and swimming with vast schools of hammerheads in the Galapagos Islands. (I have got to get back there to go diving with them).

And then at the end of the movie he gave a short talk and had a Q&A and dropped this bombshell: Australia has a proposal on the bench that would open parts of the protected Great Barrier Reef to shark finning!!!!!!! (Check out this article in this month's Dive Log Magazine Australia, "Say No to Shark Finning on the Great Barrier Reef"). Everyone here at the Undersea Explorer (Sean works for them as the skipper of the boat and we went with the company) are in shock and trying to raise awareness of this.

Send your objections to:

Anna Bligh MP, Premier of Queensland

PO Box 15185

City East QLD 4002


And check out some links that Rob has put together to do something about this reckless wanton horrific destruction of one of the world's most beautiful creatures, which I can personally vouch for --diving with sharks was absolutely one of my life's best experiences.

  • Abandon Fear - the Sharkwater Blog
  • Saving Sharks -
  • WildAid - WildAid is doing incredible things to stop the sale of Shark Fin Soup in Asia, where many people falsely believe this tasteless soup is a sign of wealth and cures disease In reality because of the way sharks concentrate toxins due to bioaccumulation, sharkfin soup would cause more health problems not cure them. A study recently showed that many Asians do not even realize that shark fin soup has shark in it! The translation (at least in 1 language) is "fish wing" soup.
But this practice is just destroying sharks around the world, and there's no telling what will happen if the ocean's top predators disappear or severely decline. We may have just seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is happening to the oceans.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I crashed about 7pm last night; after all it was 3am my time! It's just noon now, and we had brekky (that's Aussie slang for breakfast) with JR, the legend who started the Undersea Explorer many years ago. He was on the shark trip I was just on and is featured prominently in the Expedition Shark documentary, and I'm interviewing him for some new articles I'm writing on sharks and the shark research & conservation going on here. Exciting stuff!

Then I went to the loo in the coolest toilet on the planet. Straight out of Inspector Gadget! You push a button on the outside and a metal door opens. Then you walk inside and it gives you 10 minutes to use the toilet or else it will unlock and open on you... You can press the button to get out sooner but what happens if you're taking a big crap and you're not done in ten minutes?! Ha! But then after you finish you press a button for the electronic toilet-paper-dispenser! Then you finish your business, and there is no way to flush. However... when you wash your hands it flushes! So if you don't wash your hands, it flushes when you open the door and allows you to exit the facility. The sink is also all electronic. You hold your hand under the automatic soap dispenser, the water, then the hand dryer (though these are obviously standard in most bathrooms now). But the whole thing was really cool! What can I say? I am entertained easily. I t ook a bunch of photos because I want to write an article about this toilet!! LOL!!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

in Port Douglas

I have been flying/traveling for over 28 hours now and am soooo desperately in need of a shower. I got a shuttle from the Cairns airport to Port Douglas and while I was sitting on the shuttle, I glanced up and out the window only to see a bunch of chubby looking animals sitting in a roadside cow pasture like meerkats do, upright with their paws held by their chest, and I was thinking to myself, What the heck are those things? They were about twice the height of meerkats and bottom-heavy with big haunches. Then I laughed and smiled so big when I realized it was like a dozen pademelons which are small wallabies!!! So surreal to be here in tropical Australia. I love the tropics, the tree ferns and palms and warmth and sunshine. And I love the Aussie animals!! I am so happy to be here! I miss my kiddos though... THEY BETTER TEXT ME!!! Or maybe email... read below...

Tomorrow we are going with the Undersea Explorer crew to see the Premier of Sharkwater in Cairns, a documentary I've been hearing a lot about! Cairns is about an hour south from Port Douglas along a beautiful 2-lane road that runs along the ocean.

Oh, oddly my cell phone does not have any reception here despite having it when I was here before. Go figure! And imagine the brilliant soul who cooked this one up at Cingular/AT&T. I went online to log into my account and email tech support (since I can't call) but since I forgot my password I had it reset. Well guess how they are sending it? TEXT MESSAGE! Ugh. Morons! And, the only other option is US mail!!! So now not only do I not have reception I can't log into my account or contact them to find out why I don't have reception when I should.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

the pearl

I returned today from spending the weekend with the parental units in Dallas, and attending Savie's PSIA competition at Texas Christian University, and I was soooo excited that she got FIRST PLACE in Ready Writing!!!! She had placed 3rd in State last year but this was the highest she's gotten in any event and I was so excited and proud of her. She was actually in another event when they were giving out medals for the writing so I got her medal and later showed her and she was so shocked and excited! (I took this picture right as I told her!) I am so proud of both my kids. They are just incredible, awesome, bright shining stars. Really good solid kids, responsible, loving, smart... (if I do say so myself!). I love them!

My mom and stepdad live in Frisco, which is a suburb of Dallas, so we stayed with them Friday and Saturday. On Friday the kids played hooky from school and we went to the Aquarium at Fair Park. They had stone fish and scorpionfish, and black-tipped reef sharks and a lot of Australian coral reef fish so that was cool to show the kids, and remind them what they'd seen a couple years back.

On Saturday, after Savie finished all 3 events, we went to the Fort Worth Zoo with some friends, which was really cool - especially the nose-picking (and bugar-eating) orangutan. It was having a great time picking its nose, looking at the bugars on its finger, and then eating them!!! LOL. However walking around the Zoo was NOT good on the old "broken toe" which I keep thinking is pretty much better but then when I over-exert myself it hurts. I haven't been able to run since I got back from Australia and it's killing me!!

I also feel very blessed and am so happy lately. I have a sense of peace, that no matter what happens, I'm ok. Things that used to bother me really just roll off me, and I am fine if things don't go the way I want. I think part of the peace is learning what is and what isn't in my control, and not worrying and letting go about about those things beyond my control (which is really the way I got over my previous massive fear of flying. I do still worry sometimes too much about those things that are in my control...never want to make stupid decisions and have a hard time deciding sometimes!) But I'm blessed with so many amazing friends and the career is going well and though finances are still a struggle, I just feel a peace that everything is going to be fine. Normally when I'm about to travel I get a lot of anxiety. I think this is because I went back and forth between mom and dad so much as a young child, and that caused me a lot of anxiety. But not this trip - or the previous one to Australia - I left almost exactly one month ago.

No anxiety, I just feel pure excitement to go have fun and just play. It's been an incredibly long time (maybe never?!) where I had the freedom to just go and "fall in love" or to just go and have fun hanging out, running around, being passionate together, getting to know one another as I know these next 10 days will be. It is a blessing to have this chance to just go have fun, to just go explore life, love, and each other, and the natural world there in Australia.

Life is good! And yet I talked to one friend today who is doing maybe the worst ever in her life and she reads my blog and is both so happy for me, and she says kind of jealous. I appreciate that she feels close enough that she can say that to me, and it doesn’t bother me in the least that she says that or feels that. I may not have experienced exactly what she is experiencing because each life is unique, but I have absolutely been through some tragic times, and been in tragic states of mind. I've been in fear of my life before. I've been terrified. I've been so depressed I could barely get out of bed, or peel myself off the floor. I've screamed out loud until I was hoarse and wanted to check myself into a loony bin to escape from myself and that I thought I was becoming schizophrenic. I have thrown a squash across the kitchen and it burst into a big splatted mess. I've laid in a heap on my floor, absolutely depressed to the point where I could not move. I've cried rivers of tears. I've lost myself.

But through many years of hard work, prayer, trying to figure out who I am and what I want in life, accepting God's grace and forgiving myself, and more prayer, I have found me, and I'm happy. Not perfectly so, but with a real inner peace about where I'm at. I know that days of sadness will come again. I know that I will lose people I love. I know that tragedy could fall. I know that I could lose my health, or my limbs, or even my sanity. But all the more reason why I need to enjoy these days of peace and contentment to the absolute fullest while I can! And I absolutely wish that for every person who reads this, whether you know me or not, that you also may find this pearl in the oyster in your own life. There is a time, and a reason, for every season under the Sun.

This song by Watermark (one of my all-time favorite bands - Christy Nockels is amazing!!) speaks powerfully about how I feel, far more poetically than I ever could. I have been through the fire and I can say that when you focus your eyes, your heart, your mind, your soul on God, on Jesus there is healing from the inside out. It's anything but instant. I look at the scars inside my wrist that I carved when I was a teenager, so many sad scary lonely years ago and know that that my life today, that I am even here today, is a living miracle. And I hope to live each day to the full, and I know that each day I am here as God's servant. I tell Him that every morning and turn my day over to Him - ie what can I do to show God's love to the people in my life and how can I bring glory to Him to show the world His amazing love! (OK to be honest, most every morning... sometimes when I'm I'm out of my routine I forget! But I do still pray every day, many times a day!!) :)

Captivate Us By Watermark

Your face is beautiful
And Your eyes are like the stars
Your gentle hands have healing
There inside the scars
Your loving arms they draw me near
And Your smile it brings me peace
Draw me closer
oh my Lord
Draw me closer Lord to Thee

(chorus)Captivate us, Lord Jesus
Set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence
Falling down
And rushing river, draw us nearer
Holy fountain consume us with You
Captivate us Lord Jesus, with You

Your voice is powerful
And Your words are radiant bright
In Your breath and shadow
I will come close and abide
You whisper love and life divine
And Your fellowship is free
Draw me closer O my Lord
Draw me closer Lord to Thee

Let everything be lost in the shadows
Of the light of Your face
Let every chain be broken from me
As I'm bound in Your grace
For Your yoke is easy, Your burden is light
You're full of wisdom, power and might
And every eye will see You


Here is the song set to a Jesus movie that I found on Youtube. It's hard to describe the emotions to someone who isn't a Christian but I am just absolutely in love with Jesus, and that love rules my life and gives me peace. The message He brought is so intense, crazy, beautiful, radical and inspiring.

And here is another of my favorite songs by Watermark, "Who Am I"!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

i am officially a gypsy...

I was watching the movie Mr & Mrs Smith with the kids (which was really quite violent... I wasn't too crazy about that) while working on my taxes, and I got to the part where I'm compiling my travel expenses. I had to ask them - out loud - "Does it seem like I am I ever home?" I don't think they heard me. But wow! I was like a super gypsy traveling soul this past year. It was the same in 2006 - in fact I think it may have been worse. Well I shouldn't say "worse" because I love it this way!!! I have a serious case of wanderlust in my veins.... (PS the pic to the right is one I took on my cell phone camera to send to my honey in Australia! I thought it turned out kinda ok. I normally hate pics of myself!)
Here's a brief recap of my travel in 2007:


  • Ecuador/The Galapagos Islands


  • New Orleans Mission Trip with church
  • Glen Rose/Fossil Rim - with kids


  • University of N. TX (gave a talk)
  • New York City (conference, but saw lots of the city!)
  • Galveston, TX


  • Los Angeles - Paige & Hugh's wedding
  • CO Bend St Pk/Enchanted Rock camping w/ Sam's class


  • Neches Nat. Wildlife Refuge - canoe trip & camping
  • San Francisco area & Yosemite N.P. - with kids


  • Drove from Portland, OR to Glacier N.P. with dad


  • Drove to Big Bend N.P.
  • Guadalupe River St. Pk - rafting with Savannah's class
  • San Francisco/Berkeley - writing conference and hanging with Zofia/Kira


  • Caddo Lake St Pk, camping & canoeing with Sam's class


  • Nepal with "one night in Bangkok"

Dec: nothing!!

  • Oh wait, actually I did go to Dallas with the kids post-Christmas!!

In the words of Lilly from Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, "All I can say is, Wow!" At least several of the trips were with the kids so I don't feel QUITE as guilty :)

Speaking of travel... I'm headed to Dallas and Fort Worth tomorrow morning. The plan is that the kids are playing hooky from school tomorrow and we're going to visit the Dallas Aquarium and Museum of Nature & Science in Fair Park, then I'm going to interview some biologists at River Legacy Parks for an article I'm doing on urban bobcats, and then we'll stay with Mom and Skip. Saturday Savannah has the State PSIA competition at TCU so we'll hang out there for the day and then maybe go to eat at the Rainforest Cafe for fun afterwards. Then it's back home, so I can head to L.A. then Australia Monday!!! Woohoo!!!!! Lotsa love to all!!

Descartes rocks

I'm feeling a bit better (my cold), thank God. Spent the morning sleeping in, then the day outside in the sunshine reading René Descartes' Discourse on the Method aka "Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking the Truth in the Sciences".

About a year ago, I bought this whole series "Harvard Classics" for like $0.50/volume from a local library book sale, and there are so many of them that I've been wanting to read - and that I want my kids to read. So I started reading this one, partly as research for the book I'm writing, and I'm blown away. I was thinking that all kids in our nation's public education system should be required to read this. And the rest of the material too! In just this one volume it also includes Voltaire, Rousseau and Hobbes.

Descartes is the guy who famously said, "I think, therefore I am." The previous link goes to the full text. The Wikipedia entry is interesting; it says that it's "is one of the most influential works in the history of modern science" and "gives a solid platform from which all modern natural sciences could evolve."

My favorite quotes, so far:

"I had always a most earnest desire to know how to distinguish the true from the false, in order that I might be able clearly to discriminate the right path in life, and proceed in it with confidence."


"My second maxim was to be as constant and as resolute in my actions as I could, and to follow the most doubtful opinions, once I had settled on them for myself, with no less constancy than if they had been very sure, imitating in this matter travelers who, finding themselves lost in some forest, should not wander around, shifting direction this way and that; even less should they stop in one place; they should move on always as straight as they can in the same direction and not change it for inadequate reasons, even though at the beginning it was perhaps only chance which led to their choice of direction. For in this way, if they do not come out exactly where they want to, they will at least end up arriving somewhere where they will probably be better off than in the middle of a forest."

I like this because I can be SO indecisive sometimes, and often second-guess the decisions I do make! It was really good to read. So it's good advice I'll try to follow.

So then he of course goes on in Part IV to prove the existence of God through Reason and not only that to prove that we/he exists. :) He thinks, therefore he is. I just love it. Honestly I want to read this to my kids. This is something we all should have had, or kids now need in school. Understanding the history of modern thought is so important, and just the brilliance of these philosophers blows me away. I love that most of them are Christians, and they are absolutely convinced and resolute on the importance of Reason and Logic and Science. It just makes me depressed to think about how sad our state of science education and general knowledge about science is that people actually believe that Intelligent Design is anything but the religion-masquerading-as-science that it is. And BAD religion, not good religion (and yes I do believe there is a difference). And not only that, fake science. Not just bad science, not even "science" - which if people understood the history and nature of science, they would understand! It's very, very frustrating, since just a little bit of research into the Truth - the history of science, the nature of science, the millions of studies that have been conducted on evolution and evolutionary biology will reveal such clear Truths about the nature of science and whether Evolution has evidence (duh! yes!)... yet all these things are simply discarded nonchalantly by those who are told that they are not "true" or are somehow antithetical to Christianity. Such garbage!

I also had to laugh at how looooong some of Descartes' sentences are. I mean, check this out:

My third maxim was to endeavour always to conquer myself rather than fortune, and change my desires rather than the order of the world, and in general, accustom myself to the persuasion that, except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power; so that when we have done our best in respect of things external to us, all wherein we fail of success is to be held, as regards us, absolutely impossible: and this single principle seemed to me sufficient to prevent me from desiring for the future anything which I could not obtain, and thus render me contented; for since our will naturally seeks those objects alone which the understanding represents as in some way possible of attainment, it is plain, that if we consider all external goods as equally beyond our power, we shall no more regret the absence of such goods as seem due to our birth, when deprived of them without any fault of ours, than our not possessing the kingdoms of China or Mexico; and thus making, so to speak, a virtue of necessity, we shall no more desire health in disease, or freedom in imprisonment, than we now do bodies incorruptible as diamonds, or the wings of birds to fly with.

Despite lots of semi-colons and colons that is ONE LONG SENTENCE!! I ought to post the rest as it also is a brilliant passage, but I'll let you go read on your own...

As a writer we are told to keep sentences short. Who made this rule? I'm also reading Tale of Two Cities to Sam at night and Dickens also has some insanely long sentences! Why do we think we need to shorten? Are we dumbing down society by requiring everything now be written in super short easy to grasp sentences, and so when it comes to long sentences our feeble brains can't wrap their neurons around the meaning anymore? Sam's teacher said Dickens' was too complex for him (even though Sam has skipped a grade and is still at the top of his class...) Sam himself will SAY he doesn't get it, but he gets a lot more than he thinks, and as I read, I go through it and talk to him about what the passage means if it's something complex. And how the heck do we expect kids to learn better reading comprehension skills if we don't give them stuff that is slightly above their current level?! Back in the day, they all read this stuff. They learned to WRITE by writing out by hand these books that were far beyond their comprehension initially. All for now. More to come, but for now, good night!