Sunday, December 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
And in the fields, nature's great gusts send them surfing through the grass or sailing from the trees as they leap from their safe, lifelong confines and, in their final days, taste freedom for the first time. Floating and dancing in groups as they explore the world.
In a short while their vacation will be over and the trees will be dead and bare, awaiting next year's rebirth. But for now I am reminded, every time I drive, that nothing dies so beautiful as a tree.For whatever reason, I am always reminded of who I am during Autumn. It is for me a coming home. I love the way fall smells and looks and tastes. I am at peace, I am at home whenever fall is here.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Although I did not go with my wife on her summer journey our strong connection and understanding has giving me a wide window into her experiences. And I think she would tell you that what she has learned most about life this summer is that life is full of many steps, the last of which is natural and necessary. Death is natural and should be accepted not feared when the time is right. I guess too many people in our culture view death as a tragic event to be prevented at all costs. Most people who don't work at a hospital rarely, if ever, encounter deaths other than those of people they know or feel like they know (like celebrities). So most of our encounters with death are highly emotional and turbulent events. But when you see a stranger near the end of their life journey, it is easier to see that what matters most in life is quality not quantity.
One of my favorite pieces of advice comes from a Dylan Thomas poem, "Do not go gentle into that good night./ Rage, rage against the dying of the light." I think this is great advice for most of our journey on this earth. But as it is with all things, there is a time for rage and a time for peace. I think it might be best if we let life end in peace. Death is a difficult thing but we all must face it someday and I'd rather face it peacefully than full of fear and rage. It's been really hard listening to my wife struggle with the pain and suffering of others this summer, but I'm incredibly proud of her and very glad I could be near her on her journey. May all our lives end in peace.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
When you're at a diner everyone there is your friend. The first diner I ever went to I felt immediately at home. A few minutes after we sat down I asked a woman who had just entered if she could take our picture. This sparked a conversation and soon the entire diner was involved. Later a gentleman came in and sat behind us with a couple already there. He had never met them, but he was instantly welcome at their booth as if he were an old family friend. I've never been anywhere as unconditionaly welcoming and friendly in my entire life.New Jersey is the diner capitol of the world. For it was here diners were born and there are still more diners in Jersey than any other state, not more diners per capita but more diners total. Fairly impressive when you realize that new Jersey is the fourth smallest state in the union. So if you're ever in New Jersey, do yourself a favor and stop into a diner. You'll be glad you did.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I'm concerned that our nation is becoming too polarized. It seems to be getting easier to isolate ourselves from any differing opinions and convince ourselves that we are always right and that the opposing factions are always wrong. If you're a conservative you can watch Fox News, listen to Rush Limbuagh, and talk with your conservative friends. Or if you're a liberal you can watch MSNBC, listen to NPR and chat with your liberal friends. And you never, ever have to hear that you might be wrong.But we're all wrong sometimes, we're only human. This nation was founded on diversity and we need others to challenge us and share with us their different points of view. Or else we shall become divided and fall. This July 4th I felt it was important to spend at least a little time around people with differing viewpoints. So in addition to fireworks, I also went to an independence day "teaparty", which was a conservative political rally. I don't agree with most of what was said at the rally, but I was filled with a sense of unity and pride in the freedom of expression this great nation affords us all. If America has just one lesson to teach us, it's that we should not shy away from diversity but rather embrace it, for diversity makes us all better. United we Stand, divided we fall. So we all better embrace diversity and learn to talk with (and even learn from) people we disagree with or there is great trouble ahead.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
So maybe I'll make a video time capsule every year on the eve of my birthday. I can't wait to watch this again in five years and see how differently I see myself or more accurately, my past self. Time is such a funny thing. We exist only for a moment and then change into somebody else. Our struggle is to constantly progress, to always keep changing into someone better, someone who you will make us proud and happy. Here's to the future!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Isn’t it awesome how you can be inspired by others? I was inspired by a couple of things today. I was inspired by a wonderful young woman who is turning her life around. She is going home to clean her house and help out her mother who threatened to kick her out less than a week ago. I was also inspired by the contestants on the Next Food Network Star television show. These people are trying as hard as they can to cook delicious recipes, be creative and spontaneous enough to capture the audience who may be watching a Food Network Show. I love food and so you would think that being inspired by these passionate people cooking food on television I would also be inspired tonight to cook a creative dish. No sir, no ma’am. I was inspired to work in the kitchen doing dishes.
I have been inspired by other television shows and movies. One such movie is Center Stage. This dance movie is packed full of dancers living out their dreams competing for spots in the American Ballet Company. Now, I don’t dance much due to inexperience and fear of embarrassment so I am thankful that I was not inspired to dance by watching this movie. Instead, this movie inspires me to clean or do other chores that I am not normally motivated to do.
I am constantly motivated by my wonderful husband who dreams of living in Japan, witnessing him follow his passion inspires me to follow mine. I am so blessed that today I was inspired multiple times. Perhaps I would be inspired more often if I kept my eyes and heart open to others who are so passionate. Perhaps if I thought about it I would also be inspired by my fellow hospital chaplains who try to comfort others, or the grocery store clerk who shares a part of who he is with a curious grocery shopper over lychee. There are people to be inspired by all over the place, people putting themselves at risk of making a fool of themselves or sharing something personal with someone else. I think it’s so worth it. I hope that I too can be an inspiration for others by doing what I am passionate about.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I do enjoy writing this blog, but I've found with increasing frequency that there are sometimes other activities I must sacrifice or forgo in order to post an entry for a given day. So I've decided that I would be happier posting less frequently, probably once or twice a week. I hope this isn't too disappointing to my dozens of "fans", but as usual I must follow my heart. I've really enjoyed this experience/experiment but for now my heart and mind are asking me to focus on other activities like talking with my wife or writing Star Trek stories or volunteering. So if you're interested, check in next week and see if I've received my Star Trek uniform from Cheese-its yet.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
I can understand why so many people like to visit the mall regularly. Malls have movies, massage chairs, opportunities to people watch, stores for almost every taste, and a variety of foods. The mall we went to was full of adventure and we had a great time wandering around after our free meal. I won't be going back to the mall again this weekend, but I will be going back to the mall someday soon and looking forward to that day. Before I leave, for your viewing pleasure here's a great music video about malls:
Monday, June 8, 2009
We've heard stories how learning to speak, read and write English has helped people to vote for the first time, get a better job, talk to their children's teachers and doctors, and become citizens of the United States of America. ESL tutoring has all the ingredients a great volunteer program should have: cultural exchanges for both student and tutor, kind souls sharing their knowledge and time to help empower others, and the chance to fell good while improving local communities. Everyone should voluteer, because it's not just American or moral, it's healthy and joyful. Wherever you passions lie, there is a chance to volunteer. Whether you referee little league games or serve soup to the homeless, volunteering enriches the lives or everyone involved. So I implore you to find a place to give a few moments of your time and improve your life and the world.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
What was I able to learn in my weakened state? For one, I learned that I really should type up a few extra blog posts to have on hand in case I get sick or don't feel inspired or go somewhere without internet like rural Tanzania. I also learned that I have an amazingly supportive and loving wife. This is a lesson I learn over and over, and I never tire of discovering new ways to fall in love with my wife. And with that, I think I'll go collapse in bed.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Determined to enter the festival and hoping to avoid payment, I approached the ticket booth and informed the woman behind the table I lived here and wanted to see what was happening. Apparently reading my mind she decided to wave the standard fee and gave me a free wristband.
The music was heavenly and so too was the weather. It's been rainy for the past five or six days here in New Jersey. So I'm don't know if the Jazz brought out beautiful weather or the weather brought out beautiful Jazz, but it was certainly no coincidence. Today's lesson: pay attention to your back yard because sooner or later you'll find beautiful, heavenly Jazz.
Friday, June 5, 2009
My wife and I have several activities and games designed to help us communicate and stay connected, but my favorite is called "Highs and Lows". At the end of each day we like to share the best and the worst thing that happened to us during the day. It's a great way to get right down to the most interesting details and many times my wife's highs or lows have surprised me. No matter how well you know someone there's always more to discover, even about yourself. Communicate openly with those in your life and you will learn a lot.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The same is true of browsing through my old photos or posting them online, I gain a great deal of pleasure from my pre and post adventure rituals. It's deeply important to bridge and balance one's past, present, and future. My endless cycle of planning, experiencing, and processing adventures helps me feel like I am giving adequate focus to all periods of life.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Owning a dog or a cat is a wonderful experience. But along with the great fun a pet can bring also comes responsibility. It's much more difficult to decide on a Friday that you're leaving town for the weekend if you have a living creature that relies on you for survival. Even if our apartment complex allowed us to own pets, I think it would be irresponsible to get a cat or dog knowing we'll have to place that responsibility on someone else in two years when we leave the country. I know I can't have a pet, but that doesn't make my desire any less powerful. What do you do when you want something you can't have? My wife seems to live vicariously through pet owners who post videos on Youtube and by petting every dog she ever sees. I've been trying to let go of my desire, but letting go is often a very difficult task indeed.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
We trekked through long periods of quiet interrupted occasionally by the seven other waterfalls at various spots along the river. Before today, I thought that nature could be either quiet & peaceful or loud & destructive. But today I realized that peaceful doesn't have to mean quiet. Today was a day filled with beauty, nature, good food and great waterfalls.
Friday, May 29, 2009
I'm a strong advocate of staying in touch with your inner child, but it's also appropriate to approach some situations differently than you would have as a kid. It's ok to avoid getting your nice shoes muddy, but I do think we should all play in the mud occasionally. Not as an attempt to recreate the fun we had as kids, but as a chance to remember our old selves. Playing in the mud doesn't feel the same as an adult. As a child dancing in the mud felt like I was exploring the world and having fun. But as an adult I felt like I was exploring my past and reaching out for a sentimental connection with my childhood. Playing in the mud hasn't lost meaning, it has merely changed meaning.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
She seems to have been captivated in particular by the adventures of a Japanese cat named Maru. My wife's love of life's most simple pleasures, like the silliness of cats, assures me that our life will never be boring. I adore my wife's childlike joy as she watches other people's cats. The world is FULL of beauty if we just look around us, especially at cats. I've attached a link to a video of Maru in case you want to join my wife in her fun.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
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