Saturday, April 30, 2005

Editorial + politics -- post 9/11 Government "Protection"

Here are three of the things that concern me about the way we're being "protected" since the 9/11 tragedy:
  1. These are the same agencies that have NEVER solved the "anthrax letters" problem that happened after 9/11. I don't trust their ABILITY to protect me. In fact, 9/11 occurred in spite of ALL the money we have put into intelligence agencies.
  2. Rather than solving the problem of inter-agency communication, the government decided that combining several bureaucratic agencies into one MEGA bureaucratic one was the solution. Typical corporate America trick: Rather than fix the problem, let's shuffle the deck so no one can really gauge progress. In my view, an inefficient, unworkable move.
  3. In fighting the terrorists, it looks like we're moving towards being more like a "Police State". This includes airport screenings to wiretaps, to incarcerating "suspected terrorists" without legal recourse. How much of the core values of America are we willing to give up for the sake of "SAFETY"?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Self-Actualization -- Does it take effort and collaboration to achieve our goals & Dreams?

I say YES!!! That's what's exciting about this new breed of virtual online communities.
The point of the 43things community is not just to post individual lists. What allows people to do includes:
  1. set goals
  2. track them for their personal use
  3. share their experiences with others (both successes and struggles)
  4. encourage (cheers and comments)
  5. be encouraged (cheers and comments)
  6. see what others are doing to meet their goals, what obstacles they’ve met and overcome, etc.
  7. have challenging responses that help focus and refine our thoughts.

Of course, none of these is REQUIRED. However, to the extent that we participate in these activities, our goals and the goals of others are forwarded.

Otherwise, why not just keep a list on paper at home? I’m pretty confident that those who are spending 1/2 hour a day “playing” on the 43things site are the ones making the most progress.

See more progress on: self-actualize

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

See this Sweetie Pie? We were married exactly 9 years ago today. Best thing I ever did. Best Thing that ever happened to me. Period.

Creativity+ Photography

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

JOY! First 5 of 100 things that make me HAPPY!

  1. I’m glad both my parents are alive at age 82
  2. I’m happy about being more alive and focused partly because of 43things,, and my BLOG (link is at my Home page on 43things, and you can get to my other projects from their, too) So it’s a good link to bookmark.
  3. Spring is here – my favorite season, and I’m having a ball taking photos this year.
  4. I have a fantastically loving, gentle, supportive and accepting wife, Grace. The name befits her.
  5. I’m joyful because I’m alive for this brief moment. I am able to enjoy the moment. I'm able to just barely grasp both my insignificance (when gazing skywards), and my significance (in affecting others).

Health + Transformation -- The key to quitting smoking so far has been:

really making up my mind! The problem with other times I have quit is that I’ve let the part of me that wants to smoke to have a say “in my head” too often. I end up giving in. Giving in just ONCE feels like failure, so I give up and go back to smoking. This time (I’ve made it two weeks now), and here’s the main reason: I made up my mind not to entertain thoughts of smoking. I believe it was C.S. Lewis who wrote about wrong thoughts: You can let them fly through your head, but you don’t have to invite them in for afternoon tea. With resolve, and fewer arguments going on in my head, I’m winning. If you need support, but can't get it close by, there's a community support group on the internet. Click on the title for the link.

Volunteering: Making headway:

I’ve done the training to become a Procovery facilitator. Last night I got a call from a friend who told me about the Applegate retirement community which would like to form a Procovery circle. I haven’t worked with older adults before, but it sounds like an interesting challenge. Next step: find out more about the home, the needs there, and if I would be a good fit.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Musings - Being passionate about anything worthy is grand.

Watching TV (or drinking for that matter) is not a bad thing in and of itself. But almost anything done to the point that it dominates our lives requires some close attention. Why are we doing it? There’s usually an unmet NEED. Often we use TV (or food, or computers) as a DRUG to numb us from what’s going on. But changin our habits is like trying to rip an old, crusty bone out the jaws of a dog. The more you pull, the more it holds on. However, there's another way!!! Fill your days with such interesting things that you are passionate about, and the less important stuff will fall away. To go back to the dog analogy: Passion about something wonderful is like throwing down a juicy steak near a dog. The dog will automatically DROP the bone, and go for the steak. What I mean is, find wonderful things to do that you can be passionate about, and you won’t even have time to do those things that are of lesser or questionable value. This includes complaints people have about watching too much TV.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Friends + Art - the Photographer Tejana

This is a quotation from a photographer named "Tejana" (or Texan, in English). Both her words and her photography are inspirational:

I hope to approach every day and every environment with wonder and an open heart. I LOVE to take photos. What I see is really hard to capture ... but the camera doesn't make the photographer ... the heart does and I am in constant awe and reverence at the amazing hearts on display here on Flickr. I'm inspired and humbled and challenged. What a wonderful place!!

Art + Photos + Fun -- Was my Photo Show Successful?

Yesterday, I participated in the annual FLOWER FESTIVAL at Christ Church Cathedral. The will of Henry Shaw, founder of the botanical gardens had a provision: It established that a quarter of a bazillion flowers would be displayed in the sanctuary of the Cathedral every 4th Sunday of April. This year, the festival allowed other organizations to join it's "Street Fair". I was among several artists that had an 8-foot folding table to display my wares. From a financial perspective, here's how I did:
  • +$32.00 total sales
  • -$10.00 entry fee
  • -$ 8.00 food consumed
  • -$ 7.00 in cost of goods sold (materials)
  • For a total of $7.00 gain
  • Which works out to $0.58 per hour for 12 hours of work (including preparation)

Was it worth it? Was it Successful? It depends entirely on how you FRAME IT.

Here are my successes:

  • I brightened the faces of 32-some kids when I gave them an itty-bitty "FREE SAMPLE" of my photographs.
  • I enjoyed the admiration of 10 or more people who took the time to really "SEE" my work (I hate to call it art work, because it's more like art play!)
  • I made at least 4 new possible friends.
  • I handed out 16 or more business cards (or rather hobby cards) so that people could enjoy my work for free and download it at
  • I had FUN

It sounds like a resounding success to me!!!

Please feel free to comment, and let me know YOUR opinion.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Art + Music + Joy -- Singin the Messiah!

I have a goal to sing the Messiah with the St. Louis Orchestra and Chorus. Today I took the first step:

I have written a letter to the symphony chorus manager asking for an audition and for audition materials. Just to help me find it FAST, Here’s the link to the Chorus website.

Now what could be more Joyfull than singing the "Ode to Joy" with a group of musical devotees of that caliber?

Spirituality - Basics of the Lord's Prayer

When the Christ was asked "How should we pray?" by his closest followers, he taught them what's come to be called "The Lord's Prayer". It's the only prayer Jesus specifically taught, so there are sure to be some clues in it as to how to pray. It has the following components. I don't think the order matters particularly. I think the wholeheartedness and sincerity DO matter. You may want to include some of these in your own personal prayers:

  • Acknowledge the greatness of God
  • Express your desire that the will of the "Great Being" be completed.
  • Request any physical, mental or spiritual needs you may have (Give us this day our daily bread)
  • Ask for forgiveness, and promise to be equally forgiving of others.
  • Ask for protection in a world full of ways to go astray. Make it specific to your OWN PERSONAL weaknesses.
  • Again, recognize and praise the Creator.

There you have it. The main components (as I understand them) to a satisfying prayer experience with your Higher Power.

Click here to see how the The Passionist Missionaries have elaborated upon the same idea.

Health + Transformation + Goal setting - Quitting Smoking

A friend at responded to one of my entries about quitting smoking:
I know, easier said than done.

Just a nugget of info I’ve learned about addictions in college:

Try creating new routines. When drug addicts relapse after treatment, it is often in an environment similar to where they used to use drugs. This environment has cues present, such as drug paraphernalia, a certain smell, furniture, etc.

What does that have to do with smoking? Well, nicotine is a drug. You may have certain times when you smoke that have become a part of your daily routine. That’s partly why people have a really hard time quitting. Cues are constantly present b/c smoking has become part of your daily routine. Elicit drugs have to be concealed, and as a consequence, have very specific times and locations where they are used. Try finding something incompatible with smoking or go to a totally new environment at the times you are used to smoking.

See more progress on: Quit Smoking

Photography + JOY --- Inspiration & Practice are Key!!

This comment was in response to someone at asking for help on "How to take better pictures":
My recommendations:
  • Get in the habit of taking the camera almost everywhere.
  • Buy a digital camera, and you’ll never have to buy film or make prints again (unless you want to)
  • Subscribe (FREE) to – This is KEY - You can always get support, ideas, and inspirtation there.
  • Take more pictures. . .Oddly enough, the more you take, the better you get, and the more you will take. It’s habit forming in a good way.

See more progress on: Take more pictures

Creativity + Fun + Photography

Go to flickr for fun and inspiration. Set up a FREE account.
I just discovered flickr a couple of weeks ago, and I’m addicted (in a good healthy way, if there is such a thing). People who photograph do so for these reasons (among others):
  • To find and capture beauty
  • To share that beauty they’ve found with others
  • To get inspiration and ideas from others
  • To receive praise from others
  • To give support to others

Go there, get an account, and explore the beautiful stuff others are sharing. I’m sure you’ll find it inspiring!

my own flickr account URL is:

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Health + Transformation

I went to Ryan's Steak House (and buffet) Monday.
I was very proud of myself for making GOOD CHOICES. I still ate the 5.5 oz. steak (6 points), but then added broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, stewed tomatoes and okra. For desert, I had 1/3 of a 1/10th piece of cherry pie (1/30th of the pie, right?). I also had small amounts of 3 other deserts, including a 1/4 cup of no-sugar-added-fat-free frozen yogurt. I’m finding that it’s not WHAT you eat as much as the portions you can eat of healthy vs. fattening foods. Eat LOTS of the veggies, and little bits of the stuff with FAT in it, and you loose weight.

Photography + a cat named Hotree

Originally uploaded by Anyaka.

This one's for my sister Beth, Who has 3 Siamese cats: Amber, Agate, and Amethyst. (Don't ever mention to her that "there are many ways to skin a cat".) Thanks, Anyaka!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Technology + World Vision + Fun

Both and are world-wide communities. I've discovered a way to communicate with people of another language, since we Americans are so lacking in knowing other languages: It's from GOOGLE. Just click on the "language tools" on the right side of the GOOGLE start screen. Here's an example. I was trying to communicate with a German photographer, and wanted to say:

I don't know German, either. I'm using GOOGLE's language tools to translate for me. I hope you can understand my "fake" German. Did you like the tulip photos? Then I just pressed the button and got:

Ich spreche nicht deutsch. Ich benutze werkzeuge GOOGLEs Sprach, um zu übersetzen. Ich hoffe, daß Sie mein "gefälschtes" Deutsches verstehen können. Sie mögen meine Tulpefotos?

Or if I wanted to translate to French, I would get:
Je ne sais pas le français. J'utilise les outils de la langue de GOOGLE pour traduire. J'espère que vous pouvez comprendre mon français "faux". vous aiment mes photos de tulipe?

Or Spanish:
No conozco Espanol. Estoy utilizando las herramientas de la lengua de GOOGLE para traducir. Espero que usted pueda entender mi español "falso". ¿usted tienen gusto de mis fotos del tulipán?

It's not PERFECT, but It allows me to communicate with like-hearted people around the globe. Try it at:

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Health + Transformation + Goal setting

I'm drinking much more water and some juice. . .and I don’t miss the caffeine. I’ve decided to allow myself one or two doses of caffeine per week. With that kind of moderation, I should be able to keep from getting “hooked” again. It’s GREAT to wake up in the mornings thinking clearly. Before, I had to have a cup of coffee before I could think.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Fancy Blossoms at Tower Grove Park 4/14/2005

Creativity+ Photography

Humor - Quotations

I just got wonderful news from my real estate agent in Florida. They found land on my property. - Milton Berle

I love my country too much to be a nationalist. -Albert Camus

Do not free the camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel. - G K Chesterton

A man's only as old as the woman he feels. - Groucho Marx

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

If you're in the mood for more, try:

Transformation - What's needed is a lifestyle change. . not a diet.

What I like about weight watchers so far is that it’s NOT a diet, but rather a lifestyle change. I’m learning more about

  • the nutritional value of foods
  • portion control
  • exercise
  • recipes that are healty
  • plus the weekly weigh in makes you accountable.

I lost 6 pounds the first week! (results may vary. I’m told that men tend to loose faster.)

See more progress on: lose weight

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Joy + Celebration + Photography

I had my first opportunity to be a wedding photographer yesterday. OK, she was a good friend. I had lot's of fun and a few good shots:

Two lovely ladies in waiting at Laura's wedding.

Creativity+ Photography

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


LESS IS (or can be) MORE

TV advertising time has increased dramatically in the last few years. I just received a special gift from my sweetheart (who fortunately also is my wife!). It's a box set of 4 DVDs of the old Mork and Mindy show. That show was the one that introduced me to Robin Williams and his amazing talents. When we watched the first of these DVDs, I noticed that it was 26 minutes long without commercials. Today, a typical TV show is only 22 minutes long. That's DOUBLE (from 4 minutes to 8 minutes) what it used to be in the time of Mork and Mindy. I don't know if this was an FCC regulation change or what. But it made me remember that, back in the old days, when a commercial came on, I usually watched it, because if I went to the refrigerator or the lavatory, I might find that I had missed part of the show upon my return. Nowadays, (and I've timed this) on many channels there is a 4-MINUTE-LONG commercial break. I don't know how that has worked out for you, but here's what I've learned to do:
  • flip to CNN headline news or any other interesting channel while clocking FOUR minutes. I usually can get back to my program without missing a beat.
  • mute and read a book.
  • watch two shows at the same time: 20 some minutes of one and 10 or so minutes of the 2nd favorite in the same 1/2 hour.
  • Have plenty of time in the privy for whatever suits my fancy.

So, the end result of pushing MORE ads out there for me has been to find more creative ways to avoid them. Therefore MORE has become less effective. And I remember LESS (or fewer) being MORE effective, because I actually watched them.

Just in case you're not familiar with the concept, here's the basic pyramid.

Creativity+ Photography


I just found a website with a terrific description of Self-Actualization. To honor their copyright, I'm just giving you the link:

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Sharing + Friends + Joy

I meet with a group of about 10-12 friends Tuesday mornings at a Denny's restaurant. A friend called to make sure that I was coming today, because they had a birthday cake for me. I've been collecting a bagful of stuff that I was planning to give away. This includes things I've picked up on trips such as:
  • 3 wooden butterfly pins from Nicaragua
  • 6 Arkansas whetstones
  • 1 small book of inspirational writing
  • 5 old coins (including a 1909 Canadian penny), I didn't need or want.
  • 4 floating foam keyrings in bright colors
  • 40 or so 4x6 photos I had taken on a trip to Michigan's upper peninsula
  • 1 partridge in a pair tree (just kidding)

During the get-together, I announced: "Ina my country, when'a it'sa person's birthaday, they giva gifts to everybody elsa." I told them two gifts max. per person, except for the photos. I started handing things out both directions around the circle. Nothing came back to me. So I had fun, simplified my life, practiced generosity, and reduced clutter. Four goals with ONE act. Cool!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Photography + Joy

Last night, we had the most amazing sunset. I was able to capture 3 panoramas, and about 30 shots overall. My BEST sunset pictures ever. If you'd like to feel that you are on a little getaway vacation (think Jamaica), then take 5-10 minutes to enjoy the beauty of our world!

Humor - Mental Health - Procrastination as a Goal

With over 1,256,400 people trying to stop procrastinating (and I’ll bet putting that off), I thought I’d try a goal I can achieve whether or not I do it: START PROCRASTINATING.
  • If I learn to procrastinate, I’ve done it.
  • If I don’t learn to procrastinate, I have procrastinated, and so have reached the goal, too.

I’d rather procrastinate later than sooner. (I thought this one up myself, and yes, it's the easiest goal I've ever had.)

A Joke I heard yesterday:

  • A neurotic is someone who builds sand castles
  • A Psychotic is someone who lives in their sand castle
  • A Psychiatrist is the person who collects the rent.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Exactly eleven years ago today, (and it happened to be a Sunday, too) I met the love of my life: Grace. I met her in church. I first saw her as I was walking up to take a seat with my father and mother. "What a lovely young lady with a little waist and chestnut hair" I thought as I passed by. I actually hadn't been to church in a couple of months, but since my parents were visiting, and since they are BOTH retired Methodist pastors, I went to church. Grace was sitting a couple of pews behind, and says that she really liked my hair from behind, and hoped that my face would be alright, too. After church, she greeted my parents immediately, and when my mother pulled me into the circle, our friend Kathleen insists that "time stood still". It was just the start of a long journey of getting to know, love, trust, encourage, and put up with each other. But I certainly remembered her name, which is rare for me. It took 6 weeks until we started dating, and two years until the start of our married life together. But how many people do YOU remember having met on a certain date. RED LETTER DAY!!!!!!YEAH!!!!

Technology + Creativity + Musings + Art

One of the things that hindered people from being creative in the past is that fact that the things they created were static. For example, when I was in college, making changes to a 15-page document often meant re-typing a large number of pages. Before the advent of photography, oil painting wasn't completely static, you could make minor changes, but major revisions were a lot of work. Computer technology has changed all that.
Writing is no longer a chore for me. The computer helps me with spelling, grammar, and allows me to make revisions at the drop of a hat. The main limitation to writing now is having something meaningful to say, and saying it in a clear, concise way. The limitations are all MINE, the technology is out there to make it happen almost effortlessly.
A strange thing has happened in photography, too. Originally, before the advent of Impressionism, painting was largely an exercise in representing "reality" faithfully. Then, along came photography, rendering the representational aspect of painting second-rate. That's one of the reasons painting started to change to be what photography couldn't be: A personal expression that only referred to "reality". More importantly, it could expressed the vision of the Artist. And of course, with abstract expressionism, the references to reality cease to exist, and color, form, design, and feeling become the remaining features.
A strange change has occurred in photography: Now photographers who aren't satisfied with a particular photo can change them quickly and effortlessly into art similar to painting or drawing. We can try another variation easily and quickly, and another, while keeping the original photo intact.
Finally, communication has gone to another level: Imagine if you (and thousands of others) could have posted comments to Mark Twain about his work. Today, that's possible: If you add a comment to this post, you do one of the following:
  • enhance the quality and meaningfulness of the entry
  • give me suggestions to improve upon my writing or my ideas
  • challenge me to think in ways I had overlooked, and finally
  • say something inane or useless or vulgar (in which case I will delete your entry).

I can always come back and revise, rethink, and improve this entry, like ALL my entries. This allows me to put something out there that may not be good enough now, but can be aged like a fine wine, improving flavor and bouquet.

If you would like to see sample of changing photos to art-like representations, just click on the "flickr photo sharing" link under my mugshot. Then find the "COMPUTER WALLPAPER" folder to view a slideshow.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Economics + Self-Actualization + Musings

Starting (with me) a new Economic Model
Here’s the concept:
  • Assume I am rich. Act out of a sense of plenty, instead of a sense of scarcity.
  • As a wealthy person, give all the things I can do without away (this reduces clutter, helps simplify my life, and is practicing generosity too, and hopefully will help others less fortunate.)
  • Give of my time and my talents (they were GIVEN to me, weren’t they?) Volunteer whenever possible, in a way that enlivens me and develops my community.
  • Be satisfied with what I have in life. As Lao Tsu said 3,000 years ago: He who knows he has enough is the truly wealthy person.
  • Rather than work for an hourly wage as a photographer or consultant, provide a RESULT. Then ask the buyer to pay based on:
    1) their satisfaction with the result
    2) what THEY think is fair, and
    3) their ability to pay.
  • When I sell flower photos, have a sign that says, “If you want to pay LESS (or MORE) than the asking price, just ask me."
  • John Wesley, the founder of the Methodism movement, lived his entire life on the same amount that he lived on when he was in seminary, and gave the rest away. What a marvelous example!

    More on this later, as I have successes and failure moving towards this goal. Or you can track my progress my clicking on the link in the Title. ( Wait a few weeks, please).

Friday, April 08, 2005

Fun + Technology + Musings

I was walking today, thinking about several things (which I am wont to do). As I started forgetting each thought as the next one popped into my mind, I thought, " you know, I should get a hand-held tape recorder". Then I put my mind to work on how else could accomplish the same thing: recording thoughts as they happen. It occurred to me that there was a memo feature on my digital camera that I had not been using. It allows for up to 30 seconds per frame (at 260 frames, that's a lot of talking). So I just tried it out, and voila, it works!!!. So the fun part is that I will probably carry my camera with me more, since it is now an idea jotting pad as well as a beauty preserver.

The fun part will be when people see me talking to my camera, thinking: "That photographer's gone over the edge. . . Now he's TALKING to his camera ".

Humor - Opposites attract - an exception.

You know the old saying: Opposites Attract. There’s a lot of truth in that. However, very few things are completely true. (See the Spirituality entries for that. Wait, wait, I haven't written any yet.) For example, a “talker” and a “listener” would be compatible together, obviously because each would get to do more of what they love to do. Similarly, a more dominant and a more submissive person should be able to get along fine. But I think I found an exception: At first glance, you would think that a sadistic person (one who likes to inflict pain) and a masochistic person (someone who likes pain) would get along just dandily. Well, true, the masochist would be in doggie heaven. Yet the sadist would NOT be satisfied. Why? Because if the masochist was enjoying the pain, the masochist would no longer be inflicting pain, but rather providing enjoyment. This would completely ruin what looked like what was going to be a good time.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Mental Health + Transformation: PROCOVERY

Today I attended an exciting, full-day seminar about a new recovery program that is being tried out by the Missouri Department of Mental Health. It's called PROCOVERY, and was developed by Kathy Crowley, who herself has procovered from life-threatening depression. Recovery often has meant "returning to the way things were", or in support groups "complaining about how things are or have been". I won't name any other programs, but the support has been vague in its direction, at best. Procovery (as I understand it) is forward looking, and gives hope through a comprehensive, structured path of group meetings. "To focus on LIFE instead of illness, to build new dreams and find new purpose" says Kathy Crowley.

I'm so excited because it resonates with what I've been thinking for years, and hooks into my own search for transformation. I've signed up for the Facilitator training on April 21st!!!
You can find their website at

Monday, April 04, 2005

People I Love - my father and mother

Here's to my AMAZING parents! This year they will both be 82. When they retired at 66 they started writing manuals (in both English and Spanish) and giving workshops on Marriage Enrichment around the world. Dad developed Parkinson's Disease (he and Pope John Paul II have that in common) about 5 years ago. They both have severe and advance osteoporosis, or bone weakening. In spite of these health issues for 15 years they traveled 6 or 7 months yearly to help build stronger, more loving relationships in families. Mom started and developed their website at age 80! What an inspiration! Click on the Title to view their site!

Bestrated1 Photography

JOY - family and springtime

I was sick on Easter Sunday, which also happened to be my birthday this year. I didn't get to go to church, or go outside. This Sunday, my 82 year old parents were visiting, and Sunday felt like Easter. We visited the Missouri Botanical Garden twice and I took some wonderful photos. They are only wonderful because of the subject matter. I mean, how can you miss with gorgeous flowers? I'll be sharing some of the photos here over the next month, and also posting them on my website: You can also click the "Flower Photos" under LINKS on the right at any time to go to my photo site.

Bestrated1 Photography