Thursday, February 12, 2009

Travel Channel Trip-A-Month Sweepstakes

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Most Beautiful Thing

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. - Albert Einstein

I have a problem with know-it-alls. (Yeah, I know. "Look who's talking" right? I have a point, so bear with me.) The source of this is, of course, my having gone to a few fundamentalist churches as a child. This authority who stands at the altar is supposed to give us all a defined direction, tell us what to think, what to believe, how to behave at all times, what's right, what's wrong. And then, this shiny, clean person inevitably falls from his towering position when it becomes ever so evident that he (or she) not only does not have all the answers, but is just as prone to what they consider to be mistakes. It's a front.

My problem with this is that I don't see the point in knowing "everything", having all the answers. It leaves little to strive for, and less to learn. Why do they need to have all the answers? Why do these people try so hard to be something that they clearly are not capable of being? Sadly, nearly everyone I know that succumbs to the idea of a single truth of the thousand (even million) of others fails to see a bigger picture.

My grandmother (God bless her; she can't work a computer) used to tell me these incredible descriptions of the way Heaven will be when we get there, all solid gold sidewalks, and riches beyond imagination. Will she be disappointed if she gets there and stands (or floats or exists) before God and finds that nothing is as she expects?

I recently discovered that I feel that the mystery is just as (perhaps is even more) important than the "known". There's a whole universe out there of mystery. Looking at the pictures of space, I can't help seeing the infinite beauty of it. I don't need to know why stars are born, where the light goes when it's gone, how the universe came to be to see all of the beauty.

Yes, I would admit that I love a good investigation. There are things that I do want to know for sure. The mystery keeps me looking for them. It keeps us all on our toes.

*Picture is of the Orion Deep Field by Rob Gendler

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"What if the mightiest word is love?"

I love America. I love the world. Brotherhood and sisterhood have no borders. My heart orbits the Earth, love cannot be measured in longitude and latitude. - Valentine Sterling

It's been three weeks since the historic inauguration heard 'round the world. And it feels as though it needs some reminiscing already. Yes, some partisanship in Congress is occurring, but I think for the most part, people want to believe in the message that our brand-new President is constantly forwarding to the country.

I didn't have the pleasure of attending the festivities in Washington, D.C. on January 20th, but I watched with a strange awe and confirmation of my already strongly held beliefs that we, as a people (and even some foreign peoples), were finally coming together on the same page. Yes, there will be challenges, and we won't always agree on everything. But in that moment, when President Obama took that most solemn oath, a message was sent around the world, loud and abundantly clear, that the status quo, the seemingly endless bigotry, and the sense that we lack connection between us all is coming to an impressive end. It was a message that gave a hope never felt before - a hope filled with oneness.

Through the television screen I felt the bristling, electric air that the millions of gatherers felt on the National Mall, peering up at the monuments around them, hearing those words. I felt the love - a hearty, real, omnipresent love. The kind that makes you think that anything is possible.

What if we felt this all the time? Every moment of everyday we could be aware of the love we have for one another - friend, stranger, family, foreigner, neighbor. What if it was in our every thought and action? What would the world be like then?

Elizabeth Alexander was right in asking, "What if the mightiest word is love?"

Monday, February 2, 2009

Winter... ugh.

Every mile is two in winter. ~George Herbert

Today is Groundhog Day. Yes, we gather together in seeking knowledge of the immediate future, in hopes that our winter is to be short, and our spring imminent.

That said, I must say that it is quite a drag waiting for the weather to get warmer, and the snow to dissipate and give way to grass (brown as it will be, no doubt). Everything takes longer in the winter: leaving the house (shoveling snow and brushing off/scraping the windshield of the car), running errands (factoring in the slower and slippery driving of everyone in front of you on the road), even walking requires more care for fear of slipping and falling.

I wish I could say that I was one of those brave people who love skiing or ice skating (the ice has gotten harder the older I get). Don't get me wrong, I like the changing of the seasons. I like snuggling up in warm blankets in front of a crackling fire. But as the seasons change, the renewal is as important to me as anything that becomes possible with that season. It's another beginning, another start.

Spring cleaning, fresh warm air, the melting of the ice and snow, the appearance of blooms, and the song of birds are welcome. Oh, Phil, may your shadow elude you today.

This is Women's Heart Week. Friday is National Wear Red Day, a way to raise awareness for women's heart disease. This is the NUMBER ONE killer of women, so I cannot stress the importance of being well-informed and living a healthy lifestyle.

To learn more about this day and women's heart health in general, go to