Bill Moyers

So right now in California they have wrapped up trying the case against Prop 8.  They are waiting for the results and from there it is assumed it will end up in front of the Supreme Court.  I watched the two lawyers, one liberal and one conservative (famous for being up against one another in Gore Vs. Bush) who brought the case to the CA courts, on Bill Moyers the other night.  I plan to write about my thoughts on the issue, but for today’s quote I thought I’d put one of the questions and answer from the transcript here.   Ted Olson is the conservative lawyer.

BILL MOYERS: But might not Judge Bork counter that you’ve joined with this liberal elitist here to find in the Constitution another new right that really isn’t there?

TED OLSON: We’re not advocating any recognition of a new right. The right to marry is in the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s recognized that over and over again. We’re talking about whether two individuals who will be — should be treated equally, under the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The same thing that the Supreme Court did in 1967, which recognized the Constitutional rights of people of different races to marry.

Grounding (A Poem)

Once again I gave myself a poetry exercise by picking a card from Sonia Choquette’s “Trust Your Vibes” deck.  The card I selected was “Get Grounded.”  Here’s the poem I wrote…

Grounding 2-26-10

The earth beneath me




reaching for me

asking me

to lie upon it

put down roots there

plant myself

so I may grow

as an extension of

this earth

the energy

and life force

which sustains all

that is nature

also sustains me

in the roots

I feel the energy

it holds me

protects me

and from that place

I may extend my being

to Heaven and back

and all the places

my soul dares to go

Church as a Factory

I think for most kids going to church is an excruciating experience.  Sure, Sunday School might be fun (especially if you’re a young child), but sitting through a service is hard.  When I was a kid, I used church time to daydream and clock-watch.  I rarely listened to the sermon.  Attending church was something that was expected of me.  When I was a teen I was allowed to choose the church I attended,  so I went to my sisters’ church and not my parents’.  I had friends there but they usually just stopped in for Sunday school.  I longed to hop in my car and join them at the nearest restaurant, but if I did that I would not be upholding my Sunday obligations.  So I would say goodbye to my friends and envision them driving off with the music cranked and the cigarettes lit (it was the 90’s in NC).

Religious organizations have their structure.  That structure includes a certain number of services per week that its members are expected to attend.  A lot of times the “goodness” of people is measured by how many of those services they are present for.  I remember being very aware that the best members of our church attended on Sunday morning, Sunday night AND Wednesday night.  You were the cream of the crop if you did this.  We lived too far away from the church to do that so we settled for once a week on Sunday morning.  BUT it was every Sunday and we always attended both Sunday School and preaching.

It bugged me that it was such a part of the regimen.  Sometimes, OK most of the time, I just wanted to stay home.  I wanted to feel comfortable and happy and church didn’t make me feel that way.

Now that I have embraced different ideas about God and what a spiritual life looks like, I find that most of the time I WANT to go to church.  My church is not typical.  It is still a church though and it relies on people becoming members and donating their money and time.  One thing I find though is that it is about as close as you can get to church as a factory.

My friend Rob and I had this conversation one day and he made this great analogy.  Church should be like a factory.  You go in and they give you all the tools you need to live a spiritual life.  They teach you methods for prayer and meditation and offer you resources to study.  They build up your confidence and remind you that you are special and unique with talents and gifts to offer the world.  THEN they should say…now go live and be happy!  This process may take longer for different people.  One person may need to attend church weekly and hear these messages over and over for 20 years before it breaks through to their being.  Someone else may only need to hear it for 6 months.  But there should be a point where you can “attend church” within yourself daily or weekly without needing to sit amongst a congregation.  And the great thing is, that if you backslide and feel you’ve forgotten how to use your tools, you can always go back for a refresher.

@Nuckingfutsmama’s Click

The following click story is from @NuckingFutsMama.  She is among those very witty and charismatic bloggers in my Twitter following list.  I am honored to have her here sharing a very moving story that I must say brought me to tears.  You can follow her on Twitter here and visit her blog here.

Getting pregnant for me was no easy task.  When so many of my friends were practically rolling over and getting knocked up, I was undergoing countless fertility procedures and sticking myself with needle after needle in order to start a family.  I suffered one heartache after another, but I never ever gave up.  I was determined to do anything and everything I could to make my mommy dream a reality.

When I finally became pregnant with my twins, I was extremely careful not to do anything to jeopardize the health of my babies.  I practically put myself in a bubble from the outside world and was able to keep those little beings inside me for over thirty-seven long weeks!  When I finally pushed them into the world, it was such a relief to hear that they were healthy and safe.  However, I wouldn’t actually get to see that for myself until much later that day.

You see, I had such extreme difficulty in delivering the placenta that I lost over half of my body’s blood supply.  I had to have two blood transfusions and didn’t get to hold my precious babies until almost six hours later.  When we were sent home two days later, we thought we’d finally put all our nightmares behind us.  We were finally ready to jump into parenthood.

However, I couldn’t have been more wrong, because when the babies were just over two weeks old, I came down with a really high fever, as well as flu-like symptoms.  When I called my doctor’s office, they told me that I most likely had a breast infection from nursing, but if the fever got higher, I was to go to the emergency room.  When I woke up the next morning, my temperature had shot up to 105 degrees, so we immediately rushed to the ER.  Luckily, my mom was in town to stay home with the twins.

I was immediately put under a bazillion different kinds of tests, and it was determined that I had retained placenta, requiring me to have a D&C.  I ended up hemorrhaging once again during the procedure and had to be hospitalized overnight.  My fever spiked again during the night as I drifted in and out of consciousness.  The next morning, my blood work came back saying that I had a blood infection and that gangrene had actually set into my uterus.  The doctors told me that I needed to have an emergency hysterectomy right away.

I couldn’t believe what my ears were hearing.  After all the struggles I’d been through to have these babies, they were actually gonna take away my ability to potentially have any more children?!  I told them no, that they couldn’t do that to me.  I could take a lot of pain, but this was just too much to bare.  Then they told me something that put it all into perspective for me — if I didn’t do this, I could die.

I thought of my sweet little girl and my sweet little boy at home, and it all just kind of clicked.  God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.  Yes, I’d been through hell and back, but I was finally a mommy, and that was all I’d ever wanted.  I never thought I’d even have one healthy child, and now I had two.  I agreed to the surgery because I wanted to be around for my hard-fought dream come true.  I had been blessed, I had a family, and my life was finally complete.

Four Months

Yesterday, Gavin and Brantley turned four months old and tomorrow will mark four months since Amy passed away.  For those of you who are new to reading this blog, this post explains more.

I still think of Amy everyday.  Most of those days I have at least one misty-eyed moment.  This past week I’ve spent a lot of time on her Facebook page reading all of her “notes” and looking through her pictures.  The other day I was reading one where she’d answered the question “Who do you miss?”  Her answer was “living-Heather and Leslee, not living-Paw Paw.”  Who would have thought that we’d never have the chance to live in the same city again.  And who would have thought she’d be with “Paw Paw” so soon.

I am becoming friends with the woman (K) who is taking care of the babies and I keep up with her too, through Facebook.  She traded in her car a week or so ago and bought a Honda Odyssey so that she could trek the boys and her own son around.  I laughed because Amy HATED mini vans with a passion.  She swore she’d never buy one and I’m pretty sure she made fun of me when we bought ours.  K posts pictures of Gavin and Brantley pretty regularly and she updates her status with comments about diapers and laundry.  I love having the insight into what is going on with Amy’s family and I know K is a loving soul who is giving her all to the boys, but I still can’t believe it’s not Amy.  I forget sometimes, but only for a second and then it rushes over me again.  The boys are absolutely beautiful and I wish I could hear Amy describe them and tell me all about their schedules, quirks, likes, and dislikes.

I don’t really have that much to say.  I just wanted to make note of the significance of today and honor Amy.  I’ve been thinking about her a lot the last week.  One day I was sitting on the couch on my laptop when Callee came over and handed me the thank you card Amy had sent following the baby shower.  The card had been on top of the dresser that Callee is not tall enough to reach and between two books.  She’d done some climbing and searching to get to it.  I like to think it was Amy who put her up to it.  When I went to take it back the books were neat and organized.  She hadn’t disrupted anything in retrieving the card.

In the card Amy writes that she is grateful that her and I are closer than we have been in a long time.  And it was true.

I miss her.  I love her.  And I am so proud that she was my friend….

Tod’s Click

The following Click Story is from another fellow blogger I met in the Twittersphere.  Please welcome Tod AKA @AvionicsMan.  You can follow him on Twitter here and read his blog here.

So I was asked by Leslee Horner to write a blog for her “click” contributors. You know the hallways with the light switch at either end? Keep this in mind and I hope you enjoy one of many “click” moments

Working for the Big Airline company isn’t all that it is made out to be. Yes there is the benefit of cheap flights, but when you only have a couple of years seniority it doesn’t matter, you ain’t getting on! The good flights to anywhere warm are booked and the seniority list is deep with the 20 to 25 year employees taking the last of the seats in the back. 2003 was starting to look pretty good for aviation in Canada, the 9/11 hell was beginning to fade and people were starting to travel again. By this  time I had survived 3 layoff attempts and was starting to feel somewhat secure. I probably should have “clicked” right there, but I am a guy we are somewhat slow at times on the upswing! Well as I was saying things were looking up (yes an aviation pun)! I had just been accepted on a Boeing 737NG course (600-900 series of aircraft) and was excited to have that endorsement in my back pocket. We completed the first 3/4 of the course at our base facility and the rest was to completed at the Renton Wa. facility. Nearing the end of the simulator training we all got the news our company had filed for bankruptcy protection.  The weird thing was all of our first reactions were HOLY CRAP who is paying for this course!!  After we all calmed down and the more senior mechanics called the office and the union leadership I understood what this meant,  time to beef up the resumé.  It was odd that the airline would announce their bankrupcy on April 1 though!! A layoff notice was handed to me upon my return to Vancouver and the next day it was rescinded as I was one of only a few with that type endorsement. Next came a forced transfer from heavy maintenance to line maintenance with the final axe falling in September of 2003.

On goes the light switch “click”

I had always kept my fingers on the pulse of the private sector of aviation, so with a colleague, I ventured into the difficult world of general aviation and became a co-owner of an Avionics company as of November 2003. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into that company for 3 years. There was a WWII hangar that housed several companies at the airport we wanted to be at, so we took possession of some open shop space and walled in an office and stores area from that. It may not have been a change in career direction but it was a huge change in comfort level.  As we were getting ready to open our doors to the public I had a huge fear that I would not be able to find enough demand for our services and we would be closed down as quick as we opened up. I am glad to say that we  managed to crawl, then walk along for  3 hard-working years. Self employment is not to be taken too lightly. It is a wonderful way to manage your own career, but unless you are in a high demand field you better be ready for some dry spells. In the private sector of aviation in Canada there are certainly some dry spells. As with any small company we had our share of ups and downs. Several of our loyal customers came back for more upgrades, we expanded enough and hired a couple of apprentices too. I got into a few verbal arguments with a couple of clients about the safety of their aircraft, one even threatened a lawsuit. Our company was fortunate enough to do some consulting which resulted in a few trips to Pago Pago Samoa. One day we had this job to do for a local aviation company, assisting them with some paperwork issues, when they approached us and asked if we would be interested in working for them. I remember my partner and I debating for a few hours on the pros and cons but when the final decision was made and with guarantees that our apprentices would come with us, we closed the doors on our business.

Off goes the light switch “click”

In aviation the smaller companies only “exist” and very few grow to anything substantial. Many are happy to walk along in their own little fiefdom and not grow at all. This was not what we wanted to do! The writing for us was on the wall when we made our decision to close the doors. I will always hold my head high knowing that I succeeded (yes we had a higher gross profit every year) and got out of ownership just as the aviation sector tumbled yet again. I am happy I had my time as an owner, I am grateful that it provided me a opportunity to be where I am today. I am still following my love for aviation and I will be around it forever. I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams or loves, it does keep you happy.

Tod aka AvionicsMan

Fear VS Hope

The idea for this post popped into my head while I was on the spin bike this morning at the gym.  It came to me by way of a really harsh metaphor that I may or may not use.  We’ll see when I make it to the end.

There are two ways that groups, particularly religious and political, try to recruit members.  They do it by using fear or hope.  We know that in 2008, “hope” won the US presidential election, or at least the promise of hope won.  A year has passed since then and many people are angry.  The new dawn that was promised hasn’t arrived.  We want instant gratification..the equivalent of high speed internet in every aspect of our lives.  It is in these moments our fears are honed in on.  When we are down and frightened someone tells us something even scarier with the hopes that we’ll submit to them and their cause.  It’s our last resort right…the only thing that can save us.

When I was little, I had a sleep over with a very religious little girl. I’ve said before that my memories are all fuzzy but I do remember being terrified that night.  I either ended up in bed with her parents or calling my mom to pick me up in the middle of the night all because of a conversation we had about the devil.  This took place before my family started attending church, so I was a blank slate.  I’d not heard much about God, Jesus, Heaven, or Hell.  If you can, imagine just for a moment how it might feel to be a small child with little to no religious background having Hell, the devil, and demons described to you.  It is even worse than watching a horror movie, because someone is telling you it is a real place and YOU will probably end up there.  From that point on I never forgot that feeling and was always uncomfortable at the girl’s house.

It occurred to me today that this is the method a lot of religious groups use to “save” people.  Members may ask someone what they believe in, then tell them they are wrong and unless they change they’ll go to Hell and burn for eternity.  Joining the group can keep the person from experiencing a pain that is immeasurable.  Innocent, kind, and loving souls are colored as evil sinners because they’ve chosen a different path or have no recognizable path.  Fear is the weapon of choice.  Hope is offered only after fear has set in.

I wondered today if there is a certain look that crosses a person’s face that lets you know they will accept your message.  Can you see the fear in their eyes and know then that they will gladly drink your wine?  And is that the goal…to see that fear and know the person will submit?  If this is the case it makes some “evangelizing” not so very different from rape, robbery, or even murder.  It is all about power and playing God.  In the mind of the individual in control it is about holding someone else’s fate in your hands.  You create so much fear in their mind that anything you follow with is salvation….

On that note (I did in fact use the morbid metaphor that came to my mind), I’d say the best way to live the spiritual life is to let your living be a witness to others.  Live in such a way that others would be drawn to you and may ask what it is you have found that brings you such peace and joy….  Then and only then should you share your message of hope, love, and peace (and God if you see fit)!

Black Eyed Peas

I noticed several of my Facebook friends are going to see Black Eyed Peas tonight (Sat.), so I decided to grab some lyrics from one of their older songs for my Sunday quote.

“Madness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all”

-From “Where is the Love”

The Mountain

The Mountain (2-19-10)

Ahead is a mountain

full of mysteries


I’ve walked the other way

even tried to go around

there is no way around

and going back

leaves me spinning

dizzy and breathless

I’ve dug my heels in the ground

refusing to keep

promises made

the mountain could

drain me

spit me out

I could

fall off a cliff

slide back down

over and over

I fear the mountain

making it to the other side

could change


even worse

could change


not making it

equals failure

the ground beneath me

is shifting

my heels don’t fit in the sand

the way they have for so long

I’m looking around

and up

need the push

shove really

to get me onto the


You Are Special

For Bella’s first Easter she was given a small board book version of Max Lucado’s You Are Special.  We’ve had the book now for nearly 6 years and every time I read it, it brings tears to my eyes.   The story is about the “Wemmicks” that are carved by “Eli the woodworker.”  The Wemmicks go through town giving each other stars and dots for all of the good and bad characteristics they display.  Punchinello is not a very good Wemmick and he gets lots of dots or rather he decides that he’s not a good Wemmick because of all the dots.  One day he meets a Wemmick named Lucia who has no dots or stars.  When either is given to her they just don’t stick.  Punchinello asks her how?  She tells him that everyday she goes to see Eli and he should do the same.  Punchinello decides to go and of course when he meets Eli he is reminded that the stars and dots only stick to him if he lets them.  Eli tells him that he is very special and loved by his maker and if he trusts in that, the dots and stars will fall away.

“Remember,” Eli said as Punchinello was leaving, “you are special because I made you.  And I don’t make mistakes.”

Punchinello didn’t stop, but in his heart he thought, I think he really means it.

And when he did, a dot fell to the ground.

Of course this story is a metaphor for God’s love for us.  I enjoy sharing it with my girls because it represents the loving and supportive God I believe in.  It also verifies the value of my daily meditation time.  When I sit in meditation all of those thoughts come bubbling up.  I might think about the stupid thing I said, or the fact that I left the house forgetting to brush my hair, or the argument I got into with Callee about her pants.  I may think about some brilliant idea I had last week, or the compliment someone gave me, or how lucky I am.  Those are my dots and my stars.  As I sit in the silence I see them and let them go.  When the dots and stars fall away I am communing with God.  In the silence and stillness, I can feel the life force moving through me.  I am aware of the energy that pulsates through me pumping my blood, allowing me to breathe, and digesting my food.  I realize I am watched over and loved just as every other human being is.  We are all special!