March 31, 2006


I think sometimes things can be beautiful because they are both simple and spectacular. For instance, a bouncy ball: it is simple, reminescent of our childhood and often beautiful in itself simply because of its design and function. The idea of a bouncy ball being dropped down the street is something many of us remember experiencing as a child or even as an older child: chasing it, watching it, holding it and bouncing it. It was simple and spectacular, beautiful and functional.
Fast forward to adulthood and those same beautiful and simple things are forgotten too often. Bouncy balls are seen and barely remembered for what they used to mean to us. We can see a bouncy ball and remember only a little of what that was like to hold it, chase it, watch it and bounce it. It’s as if it is too simple now. It’s as if something has changed. If something has, I wonder if it’s the bouncy ball or maybe if it’s me. It is easy to make life complex. It is easy to forget about the small things. Sometimes I have to be shocked back into seeing them, but I hope I don’t have to too often. There are too many beautiful things to see. Too many beautiful things chase, watch, hold and bounce.

March 19, 2006

Spring Break!

A lot of wonderful things happened to me at the middle of spring semester this year. I was able to enjoy a very full birthday celebration from my friends and family, then finish out a great week of school and start in on a great Spring Break. Adventures hide themselves in everyday activities and often, I don’t recognize them when I am enjoying them. Chase, Matthew, Matt and Jacob all worked hard for hours and hours so I might enjoy just one hour of surprise and days of reflection. My family spent years and years of their lives to set up the kind of love and affection I am able to enjoy every time I see them, and nature spent millenia creating what I was able to enjoy for just a few minutes. This spring break adventure was exceptional not because life altering things all happened in a bright flash of surprise, but because they happened all too subtly, all too often. Thank you each for so much.


It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In L.A., nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something.

Incredible, intense and demanding of undivided attention, Crash is a movie I recommend all people see. It is about people being real and worried, fearful, angry, unpredictable, and volatile. It is about prejudices, judgement, expectation and failures in communication. The viewer gets to see the lives of dozens of people as they criss-cross unexpectedly every moment of the movie. By the end, you know everyone and you know no one. By the end, you barely know yourself. Like Officer Ryan says, “You think you know who you are? You have no idea.”

I can’t believe how people could do what they did in the movie, but then I think about it and realize I do very similar things in my every day life. I make decisions about people that aren’t based on reality, but instead on fear, assumptions, worry and guilt. I judge people and label them for my convenience rather than think about who they really are and appreciate that. I hate what I don’t understand and I blame others rather than accept responsibility for my actions. I am crashing into things all around me and I wonder how others could possibly act this way. I sit still for a second and wonderful how I could possibly stop.

As hard as it is to love others some of the time, it is harder to love others and care about them all of the time. All throughout the movie, that is the challenge. “The ultimate measure of a man,” Dr. Martin Luther King said, “is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” It isn’t the easy times that put people in a difficult position, it’s the critical moments when everything compounds and explodes. Then everyone has to decide what they are going to do and you start to see who these people really are. That is who Officer Ryan is saying we have no idea about: the real side of us that we have not met yet, the side we crash into.

March 18, 2006


When my friend Jonathan spoke to me over Spring Break about funeral processions, I didn’t have much to say. He said he was reminded recently of how much he respects the traditions surrounding the procession of cars and how other cars stop on the side of the road to honor them. He himself experienced being in that line when his grandmother passed away and it really taught him a lot. Even though he was a child he remembers what it was like to have strangers stop to honor his grandmother and he reminded himself that he too wants to stop on the side of the road for others when they pass by.
I didn’t have much to say because I didn’t remember ever seeing something like that myself. I couldn’t remember ever being in a procession, though I think I had been as a young child, and I also couldn’t remember ever seeing a procession to stop for myself, even though I’ve been driving a car for five years. I didn’t have much to say, but I told him I thought that sounded very nice and I too wanted to be the kind of person who would stop.
Today I saw such a funeral procession. I noticed first that cars were moving very slowly outside the window on a road that usually has fast traffic, but then I noticed the hearse and the line of cars behind it. There were dozens and dozens of cars, wrapping back around the curve in the road to extend farther than I could see. All the way back they moved slowly up toward me and I stopped everything I was doing. I watched as I saw more and more cars coming and then I looked into the other lane; there were cars stopped all along the road. They had pulled over and were waiting, sitting there in the opposite lane as the procession moved along past them. I sat quietly and listened to the soft silence that seemed to reach out from the speed and noise of before. I could hear the air conditioner hum and the birds outside chirp, but all the cars made no noise. There was no music and there were no voices, just the soft wind and the calm voice in my head.
It wasn’t long before the line became shorter and then the last few cars passed by. The brake lights of the stopped cars were released and they all pulled from the shoulder to go on down the road. Quicker cars moved up now in both lanes and old familiar sounds returned to fill in where only silence was before. I sat there quietly, taking in the last bit of calm and newness, before starting back on my work. It probably hadn’t lasted over two minutes, but it felt like a lot longer. Not only to me, but certainly to those involved in the procession, the change of pace made the day move much slower. Everything I was doing became a little more meaningful and time became a little more precious.
I think we all have moments to reflect on what’s important and chances to act in a respectful way toward what we are given. Today I saw a few dozen people take that opportunity and respect it very carefully, I hope that I might do the same.

March 17, 2006

Just Breathe

Breathing is amazing. Twenty times a minute we breathe: twenty times a minute air flows in, twenty times a minute we push air out. Sometimes it’s faster. Sometimes it’s slower. Sometimes it’s labored. Often it’s unnoticable. Breathe, just breathe.
I love this song because it calms me, paces me and helps me. It slows my breathing down to match her voice. Every time she says “just breathe” I do. On one set I breathe in, on one set I breathe out. I didn’t notice at first, but then I don’t usually notice my breathing at first either. I have an opportunity to concentrate and be awake to every breath of my life, but it’s a real challenge. Sometimes I meditate and breathe or I sit up straight and breathe. I try to concentrate and appreciate what I have; I hold in my breath a little longer, I let out my breath a little longer. I just breathe and somehow things slow down. Somehow things clear up and I can move through it all just a little but more calmly. And breathe, just breathe, ohh breathe, just breathe.

March 15, 2006

My Hands

If I could tell the world just one thing it would be that we're all okay, and not to worry 'cause worry is wasteful and useless in times like these. I won't be made useless. I won't be idle with despair. I will gather myself around my faith, for the light does the darkness most fear.

It’s hard though isn’t it? It’s hard to not worry. It’s hard to be useful and have faith without being idle in despair. For me, answering the question of “why” is very hard. It requires that I think very hard and search after the truth allowing that search to take me where it may.

Poverty stole your golden shoes but it didn't steal your laughter. And heartache came to visit me but I knew it wasn't ever after. We'll fight, not out of spite, for someone must stand up for what's right. 'Cause where there's a man who has no voice there ours shall go singing. My hands are small, I know but they’re not yours, they are my own, but they're not yours, they are my own and I am never broken.

In between all of the difficulty I think we can stand and still be ourselves, ready to help others, laugh with others and pass through our challenges to grow and become better people. It may be small, but it is in fact our potential. Our hands are small, but they are our own.

In the end only kindness matters. In the end only kindness matters. I will get down on my knees, and I will pray. I will get down on my knees, and I will pray. I will get down on my knees, and I will pray. My hands are small, I know but they're not yours, they are my own, but they're not yours, they are my own and I am never broken. My hands are small I know, but they're not yours, they are my own, but they're not yours, they are my own and I am never broken. We are never broken.

We all can work and live together searching after the goodness in all of us, the potential and great happiness that is possible within each of our lives. Kindness, in fact, seems to me, to be caring that another person finds that and helping them to.

We are God's eyes, God's hands, God's mind. We are God's eyes, God's hands, God's heart. We are God's eyes, God's hands, God's eyes. We are God's hands. We are God's hands.

(Song lyrics from Jewel's "My Hands")

March 13, 2006

One by One

Although I have written many pages and thought for many moments about what a wonderful birthday I was able to enjoy two weeks ago, I have not posted anything about it. Mostly that is because I am speechless. It is hard to know how to say thank you to so many people and to smile enough for everyone to see how much they were able to share with me. The only motto I have found that seems to answer that how is just “one by one.” I appreciate everyone’s thoughts, cards, notes, songs, smiles, gifts and hugs. One by one you shared with me and one by one I hope I can share with you. Thank you.

March 12, 2006

This I Believe

In the spirit of the NPR Radio's This I Believe series, I would like to write what I think.

this is an audio post - click to play

I believe in thank you's. I believe in appreciation and telling others what you think about them and about their time that they spend with you. I believe in living in a state of appreciation and thankfulness for others and for the things that we receive that we might take for granted. I think sometimes that requires that we give thank you notes, I think sometimes that requires we give gifts or just telling someone what you think, telling them thank you, telling them that you appreciate what they've done. They didn't do it because they wanted the thank you or because they needed the appreciation but I think all of us know what it feels like to be appreciated and how important it is for us to feel that. We all give up our time whether it's to give advice to someone or spend time with someone, to do something together. We give our time to sit down and talk with people, to make things for them, to buy things for them after we work at a job to get money to buy something. Whatever it is, we're showing someone how much we care about them and how much we wish for them by spending time to do that and, for me, I believe in thank you's and I believe in giving back the kind of time that people spend with you to say thank you and to give them appreciation for what they do for you.


Occasionally I ad fun little additions to my journal which I have found to be exciting in my everyday life. This is a pretty neat site and I wanted to share it for just that reason. It lets you make up slogans using people’s names and then you can see if you like them. Some of my favorites are here:

Get Ian or Get Out. (for Ian Garrett)
Don’t Just Book It, Chase It. (for Chase Vaughan)
Only a Fool Breaks the Jung. (for Dr. Jung)
Good Honest Worry Since 1896. (for Josh Sands)

What can you think up?


I want to be someone who plans for and acts through events, not someone who is controlled by them. I can choose how I respond to what happens to me and I want to take full responsibility for my life.

March 7, 2006


In Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel quotes A Course of Miracles, “When I have forgiven myself and remembered who I am, I will bless everyone and everything I see.” This is one of the most inspiring and difficult things I have considered in a long time. Reading this in her book comes on the heels of hour-long conversations I have had with my close friends over the past few days. It also comes after thinking for weeks by myself.
Finding out who we are can be very troubling. It means that we have to break away from influences which have told us who we are. It can mean losing our titles, our awards, our achievements and our categories. For me, it has had to mean that. Meaning cannot come from material possessions or man-made contrivances and truth, so far as I can tell, cannot come from what others tell us must be so. Finding out who we are means finding out what truth means to us. Remembering who we are means knowing the very deepest parts of us which have been silent for years of our lives. Silent, not forever, but instead for just as long as we want for them to be silent. The deepest parts of us will answer back when we ask questions and I think the deepest parts of us will answer back especially when we ask the right questions. I am glad that I am surrounded by people who help me ask the right questions, now I think I need to listen.