Sunday, August 31, 2008


Parrot at the Australia Zoo
Copyright (c) 2006 Wendee Holtcamp

From this stone
will come a bird - WH

Life isn't as serious as my mind makes it out to be - Eckhart Tolle

I love God. I love how He speaks to me through showing up as a sort of message in Bible passages I read at the right moment or in songs that seem almost like a direct answer or confirmation. Yesterday, I related my struggle to a mountain, and said that I surrendered. These were not just words. The day before I literally scrawled in huge handwriting across my journal the words, I GIVE UP! And I also recognized for the first time my total powerlessness over this certain issue.

Today the last song in church was Mighty to Save by Hillsong United, and part of the lyrics say:

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My god is mighty to save,
He is mighty to save
Forever author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

So take me as you find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again

I give my life to follow
Everything that i believe in
Now i surrender (and i surrender)

Yep. Wow. I was moved.

I am feeling great today. Again I woke a bit sad, but as soon as I got up, I felt fine. I read a bit in the morning, went to church then went to the gym with the kids. It feels great to be back in my regular routine, and to be home! I was supposed to go to Nacogdoches on Tues-Wed to trap snakes, but that is being rescheduled due to Hurricane Gustav. I'm writing an article on Louisiana pine snakes, which are probably the rarest snake in North America and possibly the rarest vertebrate yet they're not on the Endangered Species List. It's state listed as vulnerable in Texas, and in Louisiana as imperiled to threatened.

I started to re-read Chapter 2 in A New Earth and it really spoke to me given my new realizations. It talks about how a child learns that they are "I" or "me" and what is "mine" and then when you take a toy away, they cry and get upset. Why? It's because the child invests a sense of "mine" and "I" in the toy. Quickly they will forget it and become interested in another toy. But the toy, temporarily, becomes a part of the child's sense of "I" - the ego. And that is what many people do with possessions of various types, including other people in their lives. We sometimes want others as our own, not realizing they are their own people, on their own paths. We can know this in our heads but we don't always act that way.

I also relate to how he says the moment we recognize the ego, it dissolves, at least in that instant. The ego can not stand the light of recognition. As soon as we separate the "voice in our head" from our thoughts and say, that thought is not "me" - but only my ego, only a part of me, and it is not my true essence which is Spirit - then we are able to grow and move beyond the ego's limitations.

The other night I watched this movie, How to Lose Your Lover which had the subtitle "A comedy for the bitter, cynical, hopeless romantic in all of us." I thought MY GOD isn't THAT appropriate for me? LOL. And the even greater irony is that the way the guy goes about first meeting and then doing everything possible to lose his lover, who he actually really likes, is that he wants to rush everything. She resists but then gives in realizing that he has good points. But even though it's a darkish comedy, it's actually exactly what some people, ahem, do...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

serenity and the mountain

Himalayas, Nepal.
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

Yesterday was a doozy. Right now though I am feeling pretty good, with some scattered clouds. I had a major realization about my life yesterday, which is actually why I'm even feeling ok today. Yesterday and over the past few weeks, I sabotaged something in my life, and then after talking with my group of close girlfriends that I talk to every day, and explaining the situation, I had a major Aha moment. I knew I had a certain pattern of behavior that was self-sabotaging, but I realized it had an actual name. This has made all the difference. Now I can do something about it! Holy crap! I was so relieved. I was also utterly overwhelmed. I realize I am standing at the bottom of a huge mountain I have to climb.

This is what I now have to live and breathe:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

But who knew, the prayer has more to it:

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

So I spent most of yesterday in a daze, crying heaps of tears, and so sick at myself that I was unable to even eat (when food is often a comfort to me). It's not so much about the present situation, though that is really heart-wrenching, but just the whole thing - the realization, the frustration at myself, the hopelessness, the mountain, but ultimately ending with me turning this over to God. Surrender. And yet like the Serenity prayer says, there are some things I can do. I researched online, I checked out some books at the library, and I'm going to find some other support as well. I thought about going into specifics about the issue, and I may well in time, but for now this will suffice.

When I was very young and going through the things I went through I stayed very strong. The Judge remarked on that in court, even. I got good grades, I wasn't a big crier. Often young kids repress and stuff things until they're emotionally able to deal with things, and it comes out in other ways, as an adult. Well after the rape I had total meltdown in one compartment of my life. In the public part of my teen life though, everyone thought I was fine. But alone in my room, I'd cry devastating rivers of tears, sobbing, heaving, as if the world was ending. This led to the suicide attempts and self-anger I've blogged about before.

Well all that stopped by the time I was 18, but I did often cry as a college student for almost no reason. Now I am learning that while I stopped the previous behaviors, the self-anger sort of morphed into other self-sabotaging behaviors in specific areas of my life (trust me, I know self-sabotage is a very common thing!). Isn't life kind of like whack-a-mole? You think you overcome one thing, and more appear in different places!

I've actually noticed these behaviors in myself for some time and had been working on it sort of, but realizing the whole thing had a name was a HUGE relief, because now I can do something about it. I'm not some freak of nature. This is a normal thing for someone with abandonment issues from the past. But it's also kind of depressing. But really, today, I did ok. Actually first thing this morning I did not want to get out of bed, because I was not too happy. I woke at 8am, then went back to bed til 11am... but then I realized this was not helping anything, so I got up and then took the kids and two of their friends to the pool. During adult swim I swam 14 lengths. Then we came home, and I played Clue and Gin Rummy with the kids. I used to play both of those games as kids and love them! Savie and I are going to watch a movie (Sam doesn't want to watch it). But it's so good to be home and with my kids, who I love very much. I missed their hugs so much while I was gone.

I also had talks with a few good friends over the past couple days, and those helped. I am eternally grateful to all of my friends. I love love love my friends, they are my true soul mates! I'd do anything in the world for them! And as I'm writing this, I actually feel that peace that surpasses understanding, serenity in my soul. It may not last, but it's there. I feel that I'm on the right path.

On a totally separate note, I find it highly ironic that some Focus on the Family ran a web ad asking people to pray for "rain of Biblical proportions" on Obama and the Democratic National Convention, but while the DNC got clear skies, the Republicans are getting a possibly Class 5 Hurricane during their Convention! Talk about you reap what you sow (or karma!)! The thought of praying for sabotaging another Christian's (or another persons for that matter) talk - no matter what your or their politics are - is sickening to me. Pray for good, and trust that God will take care of details. Sometimes we have bad leaders, and sometimes we have good ones. Make your own vote, and your own judgments (based on actual research) but praying for something bad to happen to someone else is the ultimate in hypocrisy for a religious person. And of course, not only have they pulled it, they are now claiming they meant it to be "humorous." Again, more duplicity. Sick!

And should I even mention the horrors of McCain picking a woman mother of 5 including a newborn as a VP when McCain is inches from death... can you imagine being the President of the "Most Powerful Nation on Earth" (if McCain dies) with a newborn?!!!! Seriously?!!! I don't care how great of a governor of a state she is, like she has the experience and resolve to stand up to terrorists and other major world political crises? I'm sorry but having a newborn makes you very vulnerable, and who would WANT to raise a newborn when you're having to travel around the world to deal with political situations? Even if as a VP she is just totally in the backseat, the possibilities of her becoming President are real and not slight, and must be evaluated as such. At least Obama picked a running mate that added to his actual credibility and will bring some solid, serious experience to the table, while McCain seems to have acted out of desperation to win. I just hope that voters have the ability to actually evaluate the seriousness of this choice and to do their actual research rather than rely on the propaganda floating around the internet about the candidates. There's a lot to lose in our great country in the next few years, even more than we've already lost.

Friday, August 29, 2008

bad day

Amazon rainforest along the Madre de Dios River
Copyright (c) 2006 Wendee Holtcamp

I've had a rough day. I will not go into details but I could use some love & support. :) or is it :`( I came across this quote by Edward Abbey on my writer friend Laura Paskus' blog, Environmental News for New Mexicans, and loved it and want to share (though I can't be accused of being a reluctant enthusiast in any way shape or form, more like anover the top enthusiast who gets herself into trouble that way!). Anyway, I think I'm going back to bed. :(

One final paragraph of advice: Do not burn yourself out. Be as I am--a reluctant enthusiast... a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So get out there and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains. Run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, that lovely, mysterious and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to your body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards. - Edward Abbey

Thursday, August 28, 2008

historic nomination

I don't watch TV (at all, except on very rare occasions) but I did just watch this videoclip on CNN where Hillary Clinton makes a motion to nominate Barack Obama by acclamation (voice vote), and then the whole convention starts to sing "Love Train" and there are many tears, and it's absolutely beautiful and moving. No matter what you think of Obama, this is a historic moment for our nation. I'm so proud of our country for nominating our first black Presidential candidate (he is only the 3rd black to even get a seat in the Senate). I'm very happy, and I am looking forward to November. We need change in this country. Here's an article on CNN on "Tears of Joy Accompany Obama Nomination."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

back in the US

Bamboo, Nepal
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

"Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces trying to close the gaps of the past."
– Chris McCandless from Into the Wild

That quote is from the movie (and book) Into the Wild. It's a true story, and I think the guy the book is based on, Chris McCandless, actually said that. I didn't want to watch the movie because I'd read the book and knew the ending, which (spoiler alert!) is sad. However Rin had it and I'm glad I did watch it. It was well put together and poetic and artistic and had some interesting things to say. That quote spoke to me, given some of my recent past blogs. This is the dance of intimacy - one fears too much time, too much closeness, smothering and the other feels they don't deserve love and feels needy, and they dance and they move forward and back up, and run or walk away into the quiet, into empty spaces. Its the dance of the minimizer and maximizer, push and pull, the desire for intimacy and the fear of it. The quiet empty spaces may sometimes be lonely but they are are at least understandable to oneself, quiet, simple, peaceful. I'm trying to not let fear and the hatred of uncertainity run my life. But it's not always so easy.

I'm back home, finally... it seems like I was away forever. I am glad to be home. I am so glad to get the warm wonderful hugs from my kids! I was a bit worried about jetlag because I did not sleep a wink on the plane from Australia to LA though I "rested" - I just could not fall asleep. I slept maybe an hour from LA to Houston, then was up at 1230am and wide awake. So I took a melatonin and went to sleep and woke at 6am! I'm a bit tired today but not too bad.

Not much else going on. Just gotta get back to work on my book chapter, if I can wake up!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Glasshouse Mountains

We spent the day yesterday at the Glasshouse Mountains, near Beerwah, which is actually very close to Steve Irwin's Australia Zoo (we drove past it) on a "bug catch" event which Jenny oversees for her work. It was a drop-dead gorgeous sunny day, just perfect temperature. I shot some photos of the University of Queensland students who were out there doing this voluntarily for a class, and hung out with Jenny, Don and the little ones. Then Don and I went with Brooke and Abby to Montville, to check out the shops, and then can back to get Jenny and head home.

Today I've been writing and then we went to see Chloe's school performance, where she was both in the senior band & also in a play with called Shiv'r Me Timbers. It was very cool because at the end, two of the kids came out and talked about the theme which was honesty, and how that is a virtue that includes not lying or cheating and living in integrity which meant accepting the truth even when it wasn't easy. That's a pretty profound thought to teach primary school kids.

I leave tomorrow morning at 11am - a 12 hour flight to LA then a 3-hour flight to Houston. Prayers appreciated! I am so stoked to get home. Godspeed. Love to all!

A view of the Glasshouse Mountains from a lookout on Mary Cairnscross Road, near Montville. They were named by Captain Cook, after glass houses in England.

A closer-up view of the Glasshouse Mountains.

A close-up of a scribbly gum. The scribbles are made by the larvae of a moth which eats underneath the bark.

Don, Brooke & Abby having a picnic lunch

A view of the bush - Eucalyptus forest

Brooke finds a caterpillar!

A dried Banksia flower. Lorikeets and parrots love these.

Catching flying insects with sweep nets in the bush at the Beerwah Scientific Reserve.

At the end of a long day, they collect night time insects using lights and a sheet.

Photos Copyright (c) 2008 Wendee Holtcamp

Saturday, August 23, 2008

field hockey etc

Today I went with Jenny to her field hockey semi-finals. I'm totally hopeless when it comes to sports - they're just not my thing - so I had no clue what was going on but it was fun to see her do her thing! I spent the beautiful sunny day out there reading, hanging out with Brooke, and text messaging :) We're home and had a lovely dinner and Abigail just threw up, all over Jenny! Buckets of vomit! And then she just said, as I write this, "That was my dinner." (she is 22 months old). Now, it's back to work.

Jenny doing her hockey thing. She is right fullback.

Abigail - What a cutie!
Brooke and Abigail ready for bed. They came upstairs to hang out with me and we took some cute videos of them counting and talking.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Copyright (c) 2006 Wendee Holtcamp
The waterfront in Redcliffe

I just bought Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes CD when I was at the mall the other day with Jenny, and I love it! I've never actually listened to Tori Amos though everybody tells me she's great. So I bought it and am absolutely loving her music, lyrics, and voice. I related to this song, Crucify... love this: "You're just an empty cage girl if you kill the bird." I was reading a bit online about Tori, and apparently her song Me and a Gun was written about a time when she took a customer home, and he raped her. She co-founded The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) in 1994 and as a victim myself of both rape and sexual abuse, I am glad to see someone else in the creative arts talking openly about such things. The song Me and a Gun is haunting.

Jenny and I had our traditional brekky on the waterfront at the Coffee Club this morning, so I'll post some pics later. I am not having much success writing my book. It's a bit hard to focus here, and I'm dying to get home.

I'm restless. I am restless for home, for love, for warmth, for grace, for the familiarity of the land from whence I came, for family, for hugs, for eyes, for warmth, for my continent, for the oceans of hope and sunshine and laughter that lie there awaiting me. Now though I must abide and enjoy. Such a challenge, sometimes!


Every finger in the room is pointing at me
I wanna spit in their faces
Then I get afraid what that could bring
I got a bowling ball in my stomach
I got a desert in my mouth
Figures that my courage would choose to sell out now
I've been looking for a savior in these dirty streets
Looking for a savior underneath these dirty sheets
I've been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Just what God needs
One more victim
Why do we crucify ourselves everyday?
I crucify myself
And nothing I do is good enough for you
Crucify myself everyday
I crucify myself
My heart is sick of bein'
I said my heart is sick of bein' in
Chains (oh-oh-oh)
Chains (oh-oh-oh)
Got a kick for a dog beggin' for love
I gotta have my suffering
So that I can have my cross
I know a cat named Easter
He says Will you ever learn?
You're just an empty cage girl if you kill the bird.
I've been looking for a savior in these dirty streets
Looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets
I've been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Got enough guilt to start
My own religion
Why do we crucify ourselves everyday?
I crucify myself
My heart is sick of bein'
I said my heart is sick of bein' in
Chains (oh-oh-oh)
Chains (oh-oh-oh)
Please be
Save me
I cry
(ah-ah ah-ah)
Looking for a savior in these dirty streets
Looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets
I've been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Where are those angels
When you need them?
Why do we crucify ourselves everyday?
I crucify myself
And nothing I do is good enough for you
Crucify myself everyday
I crucify myself
My heart is sick of bein'
I said my heart is sick of bein' in
Chains (oh-oh-oh)
Why do we... (Why do we)
Chains (crucify ourselves?)
Crucify ourselves
Everyday (Why do we)
(crucify ourselves?)
Chains... (repeat backing refrain)
Never going back again
Crucify myself again
You know
Never going back again to
Crucify myself

- Tori Amos

Jenny at the Coffee Club, an Australian restaurant that we go to every time I visit which is on the waterfront in Redcliffe. It has very yummy coffee and brekky!

We both got this same thing - poached eggs on "Turkish bread" with avocado, tomato, cheese and shaved ham. Yummy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

another day

Copyright (c) 2008 Wendee Holtcamp
Brooke and Chloe getting ice cream! This was from April when I visited last.

Today Jenny and I went to the mall and got some coffee and just browsed and talked, and then I came back and started transcribing tapes from my visit to the Epperson family in Colorado from Easter weekend. It's hard to believe it was that long ago I went there! This is a part of my book since Susan Epperson was the plaintiff in Epperson v Arkansas, the Supreme Court case that essentially made it illegal nationwide to prevent the teaching of evolution on religious grounds. Prior to that, the infamous 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial had de facto made it "ok" for states to pass laws saying that it was illegal to teach evolution. Only a few states did, but Arkansas was one of those states - where Susan lived and taught biology at the time.

The Eppersons are Presbyterians, a mainstream Protestant denomination that has a doctrine stating that evolution is the way humans came into being - a step beyond many church denoiminations that simply say there can be no conflict between science and faith. So I am including my discussion of their interesting story and my visit with them over Easter in my Chapter 2 and maybe other parts of the book too.

I've been reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle and am enjoying his chapter about the pain-body. I will blog some more about it but it's a really fascinating idea of how the past pain rears its ugly head into our present circumstances but by being aware of when this happens makes it "go away" to some extent. It can not tolerate the light of awareness. When people are unconscious, they can be dominated by the pain-body. Even when someone is conscious of it happening, it does not always go away immediately but awareness is the first step to change. Back to work!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

missing home

Copyright (c) 2008 Wendee Holtcamp
Rocky coast and rainforest-covered hills in Mission Beach, Australia

To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me.
- Isaac Newton

I am now in Redcliffe, which is a northern suburb of Brisbane, staying with my friend Jenny and her family. It's so great to see Jenny and sad to say goodbye to Rin and the kiddos! We never made it to the Bunya Mountains - maybe next visit. We may go to the Glasshouse Mountains while I'm here, so that will be great to see. I only have 5 more days before I get on the plane. To be honest, I can't wait to get home. This trip is a bit weird because I bought my ticket initially to visit someone that I'm not seeing anymore. Yes in case you missed the reading between the lines, since I'm not openly writing about relationships, the relationship of the past is over and has been for a while. For good. That's all I need to say. So I'm here feeling like I should be home, and missing home for many reasons. It's hard to enjoy the beautiful land when the whole reasons for the trip are a bit odd. I miss the kiddos enormously! I started using Skype which is so cool. I have a webcam on my new laptop and I had my mom get the kids one for my desktop at home so the last couple days we've been able to "see" one another while we talk over the computers - way cool. Skype rocks!

I am making slow progress on my book, but to be honest, I've had a bit of a hard time concentrating, and I am just counting the hours until I'm home. I hope that all will be well with the world once I return. For once in my life, I have more desire to be home than to be wandering around the planet.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

narcissism and skepticism

Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp
Sunset in Lima, Peru

Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light? - Maurice Freehill

I learned something about myself over the last few days. Oh how I love insight into myself, but my God it can be painful. I am working on writing my book now here in Australia, and the first chapter talks a lot about my childhood. The book is about making peace between evolution and Christianity, but for many years I was an atheist. I had a difficult childhood, and turned away from God. I wasn't raised in a Christian home though my aunt had bought me a bible and signed me up for these mailaway bible studies which I think was sort of the foundation of my young faith, before I turned away from it. But growing up with a narcissistic parent who constantly questioned everything I said and did was a huge challenge as a child.

I believe that when you have a parent question you constantly, you have two results - or at least this is what happened for me. One is that I started to develop a deep knowledge about my own self, and what I think, and what I believe. Since it was constatly questioned, I questioned my own self - is this really what I believe? And I figured out which things really held true for me. The other is, in copying the parental model, I developed a very skeptical worldview, where I questioned everything and everyone. I believe this is what ultimately led me to question the existence of God, and also led to my attraction to the scientific worldview. In college, I became educated as a scientist and then later became a journalist - another career in which I must constantly question what everyone says and not take things at face value.

I think there is much to be said for the skeptic worldview. I think that having returned to the faith with a skeptic worldview, my faith is stronger. It is not simple. And it isn't blind. I have read the Bible, studied the original languages, taken many Bible studies, studied other religions, and talked to hundreds of people about their beliefs. The skeptic worldview also makes it a bit more challenging to be influenced by the brainwashing propaganda and the influences out there such as the advertising, the industries (pharmaceutical, medical, industrial, political and religious) that all have an agenda to sell.

But sometimes having that skeptical worldview has a downside. The painful insight is that I've learned sometimes I don't listen to or believe what people tell me. Sometimes I have to "see it to believe it." Sometimes, I have to wait and give it time to "feel it" and know it, rather than allowing another person to share with me how they feel and take it at face value, in the lack of other contradicting evidence. Despite despising narcissism in others due to its influence in my childhood, I have somehow ended up discounting and not trusting - acting the narcissist myself - as if my belief or lack of trust is more real than the other person's expressions.

And I do intend to do everything in my power to try to change this. I heard somewhere, from someone that people will tell you what they what they feel and what they want and what they believe, and the key is simply to listen and be aware. To give the other person the benefit of the doubt is an act of love.

Monday, August 18, 2008

reality sandwich

I want this outcome this way I wish I wish you would listen and hear me and respond and understand and take time to hear what I mean and what I feel and not leave me stranded. In my heart I’m full of butterflies and rainbows and from my tongue comes prophecies of darkness wrought of fear and past pain disappointment the ego pushes forth the pain body rears its ugly head wrestling and worming its way through and it brought about the very outcome I least wanted. I push away go that way I’m all dark and scared and negative in thought and word not deed. Alone again in the dark. I fight and struggle and cry and scream and curse why God oh how I do not like not knowing. Daddys always good for a reality sandwich Why would someone who cares disappear? Why indeed. In the small stillness of morning and as the day turns again to dusk I let go of desire and demand for certain outcome. I hear a small still quiet voice in my heart and I know that it will all be ok. I live Now and only Now and I breathe this air and this peace and this joy that I like to push away but here it is here I am balanced on a precipice and I fall and fall and fall into the light abyss of love free falling and trusting the outcome will be what it should be no matter what it is. I let go and I breathe out and I breathe in and I let go. And I'll be damned if I let negativity get in the way again.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tabletop Mountain

We went on a walk up Tabletop Mountain this afternoon, which is really more of a steep hill,not far from Toowoomba. It's pretty steep at first and goes through some scrambly rock beds and took about an hour or so. It was a good strenuous hike, and not too far.

A view of Tabletop Mountain from the lookout point in Toowoomba.

Part of the trail to the top involved going over these very rocky bits!

Rin and I on top of Tabletop Mountain. We had fun taking a bunch of self portraits. :) They have sunspots though... in one picture it was my "third eye"! I love this one!

The trail to the top of Tabletop Mountain.
Fields of grass on top of Tabletop Mountain.
I look like my leg is cut off - but this is me at the top of Tabletop Mountain! Joy! :) At the top of Tabletop Mountain, joyful Rin!

One last thing - check out this page, Right Brain vs Left Brain, and tell me what direction the lady is spinning for you. Some people see her spinning in first one then the other direction, but others she always goes in the same direction (at least for that day!). For me, she has always gone to the right and I can not envision how she could possibly reverse and spin the other way. It makes sense though because I'm totally in my emotions at the moment, emotional and creating and writing... so I guess when I'm back into my more scientific rational mindset she will switch!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Crow's Nest Falls

Lounging in the sun at Crows Nest Falls in the most perfect beachy spot.

Rin & I - longtime friends reunited! We are at Crows Nest Falls National Park on the search for rock wallabies! Unfortunately we didn't see any, nor any koalas, but it was super great to get outside and get some exercise and be inspired by the beautiful Australian bush.

Me and Rin, with shades!

A shot of the main pool area of Crow's Nest Falls National Park. You can't really see the falls - well I didn't see them at all. Apparently there's been a severe drought here in this area of Queensland for several years and the water level is way low.

Raku created this mound of sand/dirt with the grassy stuff poking out of the top and I said, that reminds me of the coconut man in Castaway (or was it a volleyball?) so I said, we need to make a face.

I laid down in the sun for an hour in a star shape which I felt like doing because I read this yesterday in If the Buddha Dated, "That's how you came here, like a star without a name" (Rumi in Say I Am You). The angle is pretty funny as I look like I don't have an abdomen! The other funny thing is that when I laid there, one of my initial thoughts was, "I'm glad I'm not being crucified."

The sun was absolutely amazing. It filled up my spirit so much. After all the freezing weather, and the intensity of emotions, this was just what the doctor ordered! I was at such peace. I bought this necklace at the Sanctuary Retreat - one of the girls who worked there makes jewelry. It's so bold and strong and reminds me of the watery earth.

Raku and I spinning round and round in circles. This felt so great. In yoga, this is supposed to balance the chakras or somesuch... whatever, it's just plain fun!

A spotted velvet gecko Raku found in the rocks at Crows Nest Falls National Park. Amazing how camoflaged it is! It was hiding in a crevice with a skink, but I didn't get a good shot of the skink.

Rin at Crows Nest Falls National Park.

A flowering acacia.

The Burtons :) Cam, Rin, Hagan and Raku

A cassowary eating fruit off a tree in Mission Beach near the Rehabilitation Centre run by Australian Rainforest Foundation. It was once thought that cassowaries only ate fruit that had fallen to the ground but scientists (and me!) have now documented them eating off of trees directly.

A cassowary in Mission Beach at the Rehabilitation Centre. Not a great photo but you can get a good view of the wattles. They kind of look like testicles, don't they?

Friday, August 15, 2008

intense emotions

Musicians in Central Park
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

From cane reeds, sugar
From a worm's cocoon, silk.

Be patient if you can, and from sour
grapes will come something sweet.
- Rumi, From Say I Am You

I have been reworking my book's first chapter. It's the story of my life, in a nutshell, the story of how I became an evolutionist and a Christian. It covers my painful childhood, including my parent's divorce, an intense custody battle when I was eight - which meant that I left my mom that very day with nothing but the clothes I had on to live with my dad (by my choice). Some very awful things happened to me during my youth, some of which I've mentioned on the blog before. I turned against God, and became an atheist. I don't know who or what rescued me, but I can only say that it's God, which is to me, in part, the love that exists in the Universe. I haven't been involved in any of those dark behaviors in many, many years - 18 years in fact! But writing about the past is bringing up a lot of intense feelings, and making me feel dark and sad.

I'm recognizing all the small disappointments and abandonments of my parents, and of the people who were supposed to protect me but instead hurt me whether they meant to or not, and the helplessness I felt and the aloneness I felt, all led me to become an incredibly self-sufficient independent person that does not like to rely on anyone because in my head and heart and body and soul everyone is unreliable. It's a "story" I tell myself subconsciously, and I know it's not true. But delving into my past is leading to insecurities about things which I don't need to be insecure about in the present, because for the most part I've dealt with and overcome these issues in my life - but writing actively about it makes it all feel very present. I know this too shall pass. Out of sour grapes will come something sweet.

Today, Rin and I are going to go to Crow's Nest Falls National Park and chase down some rock wallabies. I hope I don't freeze! :)

friends rock

Dana, Paige and I in Santa Monica
Say "prune"! Look at how colorful we are! Orange green and blue! Karlie, me and Raku in Australia!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

explorations of Darling Downs

Copyright (c) 2000 Wendee Holtcamp
An algae-covered West Indian manatee looking very much like a rock at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Florida.

I've spent the last couple days revising my introductory chapter for my book, then I need to get into the new ones. As everything, it's going slower than you think it will. But it is coming along and I'm excited about it.

This weekend Rin and I are going to explore a bit of the area. We think we're going to go out to Bunya Mountains National Park which is an area where Aborigines used to gather from all areas to harvest the Bunya pine nuts. This is a link to a Bunya Mountains website for accomodation but it has better photos than the actual Park Service website. Probably on Saturday we're going to take the kids to Crows Nest Falls National Park, where a lot of rock wallabies hang out. It's more of a dry scrub forest, with a lot of rocky outcroppings. I'll post some pics when we return! Now, I better get back to my book writing!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ovid on love

Copyright (c) 2005 Wendee Holtcamp
Silvery sunset over a kayaker in Drum Bay, Texas

I found this on my writer friend and colleague Jenna Cavelle's blog and loved it so am posting it here. This is Ovid giving advice to a young man on the Art of Love:

Add gifts of mind to bodily advantage. A frail advantage is beauty, that grows less as time draws on and is devoured by its own years. O handsome youth, will soon come hoary hairs; soon will come furrows to make wrinkles in your body. Now make thee a soul that will abide, and add to it thy beauty; only that endures to the ultimate pyre. Nor let it be a slight care to cultivate your mind in the liberal arts, or to learn the two languages well. Ulysses was not comely, but he was eloquent; yet he fired two goddesses of the sea with love. Keep far away, quarrels and bitter-tongued affrays; with soft words must love be fostered. Should she be neither kindly nor courteous to your wooing, persist and steel your reslove; one day she will be kind. By compliance is the curved bough bent away from the tree; you will break it if you try your strength.