Monday, August 31, 2009

sand art

Creativity and the Human Spirit

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I just finished reading Dave Eggers new book, Zeitoun, a post-Katrina novel. I picked it up after reading Timothy Egan's review in the New York Times: "Fifty years from now, when people want to know what happened to this once-great city during a shameful episode of our history, they will still be talking about a family named Zeitoun."

Read this book a you will experience a combination of heartbreak, outrage, admiration, appall and redemption. It is an elegant tale of a man who was trying to do the right thing in the aftermath of an unprecedented catastrophe.

All proceeds from the sale of this book go to the Zeitoun Foundation.
Learn more about the ZEITOUN FOUNDATION.

Read an interview of Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I found this a timely article by Danny Brown.

Read - if you have ever wondered about the worth of your words in the world.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Intention Friday

Set your intention for the weekend.

My intent is to reach out and touch another's life with positive encouragement.

What's yours?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

home is...

We've been on-the-go all summer.
But today I realized something:

home is
smiling - even though you're washing the fifth load of laundry of the day - because your kids are singing at the top of their lungs while coloring.

maybe home is the same as gratitude.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

town hall face

When I see people behaving poorly, I think to my self "Wow, that's ugly." When I catch myself behaving poorly, I try to remember what ugly looks like ... and I make a better choice.

Newsweek magazine has compiled some photos of what bad behavior looks like at a town hall meeting:

What fear and misinformation look like...
Warning: It's not pretty

(I added this photo to add a little "happy" to the situation. Check out the guy with the sunglasses ... I love his smile and his sign!)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Remembering the price and the promise Citizenship

I was listening to President Obama's inaugural address on itunes this morning while I was running. It was interesting to listen to it again... now in hind site of all that was still to come since that January day... and how partisan things have gotten once again.

Listening to the address again, I am reminded that:

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

a trip around the sun

Fantastic! Wish I'd thought of this... it's never too late to begin...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Welcome something unexpected

Sometimes life gets in the way... and it's lovely. Make room for the unexpected today. You might just be delighted!

Thursday, August 20, 2009


If you really want to suffer,try personalizing everything that happens. - Deepak Chopra

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Gratitude can generate a momentum of its own.

Give it a try...

Once a day, weave thankfulness into your daily routine. Each day, at a certain time, think of one thing for which you are grateful. Just before you fall asleep or while you're drinking your morning coffee, or when you first step outside ... make it a daily ritual.


Write a birthday gratitude list. Once a year, on your birthday, make a list of things for which you are grateful - with the number of items on the list equal to the number of years you're turning that day.

Give gratitude a try. I guarantee you'll be thankful you did!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Obama Works

I received this email from the great folks at Obama Works. (see below)

It's an inspiring way to counter the Negative with the Positive. As Martin Luther King once said, to meet hate with love.

If you are interested in participating, please email Paul and David at:

There's a question that's been nagging at me.

*What's the opposite of right-wing conservatives loudly disrupting

town hall meetings?*

How about this: a National Day of Service for Healthcare, when

Democrats, Republicans and Independents rally to support sensible

healthcare reform - not by shouting and yelling, but by doing

something constructive for their communities? Wouldn't that send a

powerful message about what we stand for - and how we stand for it?

You haven't heard from us at Obama Works for a while. But while the

healthcare debates have raged these past few weeks, we've become

increasingly frustrated to watch them devolve into a shouting match. I

suspect many of you feel the same way. So what I'm wondering is this:

*If we worked like crazy for one month to reactivate our volunteers,

recruit new ones, and plan a nationwide Day of Service for Healthcare,

would you join us? *

I'm not asking for your opinion just to get your attention. Obama

Works was never a hierarchical, top-down organization. If we're going

to try this, we need to know that you're on board. Otherwise, we just

can't do it.

Before you answer - *and we do need your answer, whether it's yes or

no* - let me tell you a bit more about what we're thinking. We'd

announce the Day of Service as soon as possible and try to get the

word out online and in our communities. We'd frame it as an antidote

to the nastiness of the healthcare reform debate, and a chance to make

our commitment to fair healthcare reform real. We'd encourage service

events related to healthcare: raising funds for a local free clinic,

volunteering at a hospital. But as always, we'd give you the choice of

what you want to do - and, as best we can, give you the tools to help

you do it. We'd also do a full-court-press on the media to try and get

the message out.

Are you in? Please, reply to this message with your answer - and your


> Paul Selker & David Manners-Weber

Obama Works

> Disclaimer: Obama Works is not affiliated with President Obama's

> administration, campaign or person.


An Old Joke:
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who believe that everything can be divided into two categories - and the rest of you.
(ba dum pum - cymbal crash)

For some reason, our brains like to see things in contrasting pairs. Men/Women, Black/White, Good/Bad, Right/Left

Yet, in the end, life is metaphorical, simultaneous, aesthetic, intuitive, and contextual. Yin always needs Yang.

Today, let's celebrate the contrast. Let's celebrate diversity.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


We have progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning makers. (excerpt from A Whole New Mind)

It's a great time to be alive!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hello, You

Would you like you if you met you?

Would I? Maybe. I would probably think myself elusive... hard to get to know. I would hope that I would find myself kind, friendly, warm ... but that would be on a good day.

I hope I would think, "Wow, she's so stylish and put together. Her children are so well behaved! She radiates so much energy." ...but that's highly unlikely.

I know I would find myself honest, and hopefully that would be enough if I happened to meet myself on the street somewhere.

What about you? Would you like yourself if you met you?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

US Health Care

Everyone deserves access to health care. This segment on 60 minutes is worth watching again.

Remote Area Medical was just in Virginia (see this story on NPR).
RAM will be in Los Angeles August 11-18th.

"privilege" is a word that is hard to describe in feelings.
But if you have good health insurance and easy access to care, you know exactly what privilege feels like.

Friday, August 7, 2009


In the face of the health care debate...
and the lynch-mob mentality being dispatched
to town hall meetings intent on disrupting
honest debate and democracy...
I feel the need to remember ... optimism


On Saturday morning, Justice Sonia Sotomayor will be sworn in at the Supreme Court. She will be the 111th justice, the third woman, and the first Hispanic to serve on the nation's highest court.

Cheif Justice Roberts is scheduled to administer two oaths to Sotomayor. One will take place before a small gathering of family and friends; the second oath - the judicial oath - will be televised. This will be another first: the first time that Americans will be able to watch live the ascension of a member to the Supreme Court.

The most inspiring thing about Sonya Sotomayor is how she embraces who she is: a woman of hispanic dissent who loves her family ... most importantly, her mother.

Girls everywhere can look to Sotomayor and learn that taking pride in who they are and where they come from is one of life's greatest rewards.


Boise, Idaho

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


I had dinner with a great friend tonight, and while I was driving home the poem If by Rudyard Kipling came to mind:

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
IF you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
IF you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
IF you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
IF you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
IF you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
IF you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

IF you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
IF you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

IF you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
IF you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

It sums up our dinner conversation. Words to live by; written by Kipling when he was only 31 years old.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Makes me think

Found a cool new site: Makes Me Think.
It's a thought-provoking online community where people share daily life stories that inspire change.

Sometimes the most random everyday encounters force us to stop and rethink the 'truths' and perceptions we have ingrained in our minds.

This reminds me of a favorite Oliver Wendell Holmes quote:
"A mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size."

Here’s a sample of 5 MMT stories that were recently submitted to the site:

  1. Today, I was sitting on a hotel balcony watching 2 lovers in the distance walk along the beach. From their body language, I could tell they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. As they got closer, I realized they were my parents. My parents almost got divorced 8 years ago. MMT
  2. Today, I asked my 6 year old son what he wants to be when he grows up. He said, “Mommy, all I want to be is happy.” MMT
  3. Today, after spending the last 3 years viciously bickering with the college kid who lives next door, I found myself crying in his arms and thanking him repeatedly for saving my son’s life. MMT
  4. Today, my daughter confronted me with the fact that my biggest fear, a fear that has held me back from many life experiences, has never come true. I am 76 years old. MMT
  5. Today, I attended the grand opening for Shane’s art gallery. Shane is a quirky, soft-spoken guy with long red hair. For the last 5 years I’ve thought he was a bit of a weirdo. But today I realized Shane’s weirdness is just the side-effect of being an artistic genius. MMT

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