Sunday, November 24, 2013

From Me to We


Vows were said. A party was had.  And a life-long journey began. Six weeks later, we are living in Juticalpa, Honduras, reflecting on our first short while as a married couple. 

Already we have felt the high's and low's that cascades of life often bring, and we're learning how to walk through them together by 1) receiving each other as a gift; 2) living in the present; and 3) letting love be sincere.  

We have honeymooned in Costa Rica, worked in a bilingual school in Honduras, spoken a little Spanish, battled a little illness, milked cows, eaten our fair share of baleadas, made new friends, ventured to a nearby island, and become pretty efficient with a "bucket shower."  

In the palm of His hand, God has held us and led - showing us a patch of sunlight where least expected, or a faithful follower in the midst of strangers.  We are blessed by the Lord's steady hand and with Him, we journey on in marriage and our mission in this world.


We share our first meal in Costa Rica at the Alta Hotel, a cozy historical stay nestled in the hills of San Jose.  The next morning we boarded a van and traveled East toward the Pacuare River where we white water rafted to Pacuare EcoLodge.  It was a blast!  And only the beginning of our trip.


Our second night at the lodge, we enjoyed a nice dinner just for the two of us alongside the river. That morning, we hiked to a waterfall and learned about the rainforest from our guide, Max.  At dinner our candles were struggling against the naturally, we had to intervene. Speaking of candles, they were our only source of light, other than the stars and sun, that we had at the lodge.  


We arrive in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  Our friends, Michael and Oscar, picked us up and drove us to Juticalpa, our final destination, where we have been living in the heart of the city, surrounded by fresh produce stands and only three blocks from the cathedral.  

We spent two weeks as teacher and administrative assistants in one of Olancho Aid Foundation's bilingual schools, Santa Clara School. During our time, we attended a community social studies fair put on by Santa Clara, tried many "firsts" as far as traditional Honduran food goes, and fell in love with charamuscas, a delicious popsicle in a bag.  

Our new friends and fellow teachers Augustine and Aitsa took us to their family's farm one weekend where we milked cows, hiked a mountain, and made homemade pizza.  Our best day yet.  After working at the school, we joined the Olancho Aid Foundation administration team where we are currently working on their web site, making a short film for the foundation, and tutoring at the nearby bilingual high school, Santa Clara Institute.  

Our short time here has revealed a new motto that we can apply to all areas of life.  

"Alone, we are small hills; together, we are one mountain."  

Inspired by the history and fruition of Olancho Aid Foundation, a past volunteer helped make a mural with children from various school.  The mural hangs on the wall in Carlos' office, the Foundation's director. 


With Carlos and Michael we rode six hours to La Ceiba, a large city up north.  From there, we took a ferry to Roatan, one of the largest of Honduras' Bay Islands for a short vacation.  We stayed at an eccentric B&B just outside the center of West End, a popular place for visitors.

The beaches were great, the water was clear, everything was beautiful...but the highlight of our trip? Taking a hot shower for the first time in four weeks...or eating the best homemade ice cream sandwich at a nearby cafe :).

The island was full of little surprises like this old church we spotted down the dirt path from our hotel. We spent most of our time taking walks and capturing moments like these.

After our second, and last, ice cream sandwich (sigh), we flew back to Tegucigalpa and arrived home in the evening.  A short trip, but just what we needed for a break and some quality time.

Sunday, we went to mass at the cathedral and baked banana bread during an afternoon rain.


Today, the town has been quiet. Everyone is off work because the presidential election took place yesterday.  Tomorrow, we go back to work in the office and begin the last stretch of our time here.  We look forward to Michael & Carina's wedding Saturday, another patch of sunlight before our trip home Dec. God's hands.


Thursday, October 10, 2013


meet LindsAy, my best friend...and in a few days, my wife.

starting October 19, will be "we" not "me" 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

indiscriminate acts of kindness :)

Love and compassion brew peace

Life Love and Peace

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Freedom: "Break the Walls Between Building Atrophy

(this is the response paper written after reading 'The Miracle of Mindfulness' for an Asian religions course at LSU)

Seasons come and go; time progresses. The phenomena of life cycles. Potential. Growth. Beauty. Rest. Death. For a moment one feels sorrow seeing an end in death, but if seen through a different shade or lens the understanding arises that it is in death that their is the greatest connection and bond with potential.

In the world as we know it, our societies are quite unique. We face different environments, come from different backgrounds, and are each comprised with a unique set of ethics, morals and values. In this, just as each student is unique in the way they learn, grow, struggle and excel... so are societies. Each particular one holding its own different ideological make-up, we become victim of a great fall on the proverbial path of life, (self-righteous)pride onsets and so begins the creation of prejudices, hatreds, jealousies and the life of those not ‘falling’ into the same categories. Division accumulates. The atrophy in the human body builds. We Are One Body though, no matter the difference in role of each part or the atrophy ‘falling’ place.

From our limited, ‘fallen’ perception we fail to look beyond the difference in ‘color’ or shade outwards to the understanding of the whole collage. We have failed to see our interdependence, our connectedness. Whether by means of complacency or distraction, we stay in our “self” perspective, falling into the traps of judgements, biases, hatreds and the like. For some reason we have become content with our limited view of the collage, not really seeing the collage at all, but only seeing what is of ourselves and immediately next to us. Instead of stepping back to get a broader, more objective and well-rounded view, we maintain a comfortable, yet unfulfilled existence within a snow globe, never really stepping outside the delusions dream and into the wild and pure.

Just as muscular atrophy slowly and steadily disjoins the muscles from the body, by cutting off the flow of blood... our lack of mindfulness - the peace within brewed from awareness, love and compassion - is building walls, separating us as is the ONE body of humankind.

The agendas we each set are well-planned and thought out, but as a whole, we’ve neglected the understanding of the limitedness of our particular vantage point...and that, is ignorance. We must realize we are ONE. We must realize that we live, breathe, and move together before we die together; ‘with or without a goal, we all move the same direction.’

This type of ignorance is not one that can be picketed, protested or fought outwardly against - it is a shedding from within, a disarming of the self. It far too easy for us to project issues and make them not our own. For some reason, our generations present have a really difficult time taking responsibility of the make up of our selves (our motives, values, characteristics and actions).

Americans are the busiest we have every been. In that sense, it would be very wrong to say we merely “don’t take responsibility.” We have however, neglected a lot of things because of the whirlwind storm created from such busy, demanding and planned out agendas. i would argue that this entrapment is in fact denying responsibility as well, just not in the sense of the immediate-satisfaction -“responsibility” that seems to run our culture these days. Our only means of escape however, like any successful prison break, must start from the inside out. We must learn to find peace within our selves...and that starts with ideas like ‘Mindfulness”.
Our world is one of beauty, yet how often do we as the members of today’s societies stop to enjoy it? As time increases, it seems our pace does as well. We somehow and in some facet become fixated in our ever-growing consumer-minded culture and enslaved by a clock, computer or phone. We get caught in the clock, enslaved by time and from thenceforth stuck in the solitary confinement of our minds, delusional of reality. We’ve created our own prisons. Our intentions of “self-betterment” are good, but are they clear? Are our motives pure, or are we polluting them with half-truths? These are the questions we must start asking ourselves in times like these if we ever seek to live together instead of merely dying together.

It’s as if we’ve lost touch. Almost as if we’ve become secluded so subtly and intrinsically that we are not even in touch with our own “true” selves or minds - those that were once pure when we entered the world in the first “Potential” stage of life. In the “potential” stage we find the beauty and innocence of a child: Open and willing, engaged in learning our environments and what it presents to us... we face the world arms wide open. But as we lose this beautiful innocence we also lose track of that beautiful mindset of humbly receiving...the awareness of the gift of your cup and the openness to whatever is poured into it whether sour, salty, bitter or sweet seems to fade.

Although we’ve let go of our openness, we’ve picked up some baggage along the way. We’ve gained experience and knowledge, and ignorantly we go on unaware of the possibilities of what is unknown.

If all walks of life practiced mindfulness, the world would be a completely different place. Instead of bigotry, there would be hope in acceptance. Where we once saw decay, we might see growth. Instead of focusing on feeding our desires and being governed by what we ‘want’, we might work a good deal more at only taking or using what we need.

Mindfulness is not meant for only those who practice Buddhism though. Mindfulness does not impose a ‘correct’ or ‘absolute’ doctrine, and in fact, i would dare to say it applies to all other facets of spirituality. Most religions have a very similar core of “goal characteristics” and actions, and it’s hard for ‘me’ to see how mindfulness would do anything but help boost each and everyone towards being the best they can be.

Any good change comes with sacrifice. A world class gymnast did not spontaneously become flexible, strong and agile enough to be able to tumble the way she does. It took years of stretching, ripping and rebuilding muscles, and it is the same notion of “training” that will be required of us if we seek to live mindfully in the world. The liberation of that kind of freedom comes with the sufferings that go with its practice. The question then becomes, are we willing to deal with pain? Are we willing to be uncomfortable for the greater good? Will we search aimlessly on our own efforts, or will we finally learn the paradox: to live, we must order to gain, we must empty ourselves. We must learn the truth that we ourselves are the issue. And the goal is in trying to turn that ‘self’ off. It is a call for all-embracing and unconditional love and compassion for, with and through all. It is an understanding of the difference between want and need. It is a knowledge of our motivations, wether it be mind, ‘stomach’ or heart - mind, body or spirit. Will we wake up the the fact that we are all self-righteous? Will we look within and turn off our pride, die to self - or will we live by our stomachs?

With hope and tools like The Miracle of Mindfulness, many little people in many little places can start waking up. We can work to empower the people of the world to shed whatever mud the wear and tear of time in the world has clung to us. We can work towards understanding the ripples of understanding, acceptance and indiscriminate acts of kindness. We can open our eyes to the oneness of the universe, our interdependence not only amongst each other but existence as a whole, and the purity within humility, love and service. The question is not of potential or possibility, but one of choice. It starts with the one in the self and ends with the one in ALL. If there is any hope is a wholesome emptying, any goal in shedding sorrow, if there is any truth in the mission of the Boddisattvas - It starts with being aware. We must begin to shed light, decreasing our darkness to let light shine. Awareness begins with consciousness and focus of me, where and who i am, and what are my surroundings and distractions. It is culminated by the awareness of the connection i share with all and they with me. It is culminated in the vantage point of: We... noticing maybe the perspective of just ‘Me’ is upside-down. We Are One Body.

in every borrowed breath we take we cause ripples...are we acting as intruments of division, or
That of unity?

Life Love and Peace

Saturday, September 11, 2010

On the road of life the vehicle in which we travel is not
that which is of importance; what matters are our interactions on the path - the way we drive while on the road

Life Love and Peace

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ku KA Li. Kukiturnoh
- Kpelle "we are all One"

That seems to be the only thing worth living for these days...

"times like these" by the foo fighters keeps running through
my head and they've never stuck
so true...

''s times like these you learn to live again. It's times like these you learn to give again. It's time like these you learn to love again. It's times like these, time, and time again.'

But that's what Life's about...isn't it?

life has been different for me the last couple years... Lots of falls And missed steps, but through and through it's been a great adventure of learning, of listening, of growing.

For the past two years i've been learning just how futile any efforts towards planning ahead truly are... And how I get stuck in the ruts every time i do

That part of the road has taught me not rely on myself - to be slow to talk and quick to listen

...'the Truth is natural like the wind that blows, follow it's direction no matter where it goes'

..and that has been a huge grace - a huge check on my pride; in teaching me to 'turn it off'

It's helped me be humbled...
..its helped me to remember how fallible and how small i am - and in the universe, how small we are...
Humans to the earth
Earth to the sun
Sun to the galaxy
Galaxy to the universe

"there's nothing better than love and service, universally speaking"
- the Red Hot Chili Peppers

...throughout all the peoples
And cultures i've been able to experience - whether be different continents, islands, countries, states, cities, organizations, schools, or cliques - those words, their meaning and purpose, are the firm commonality that is the bond...

..The gene of DNA that is
Our life blood as creation, existence, humanity

..How much we don't understand...

When we whether warring, or fighting - arguing or putting down... Take from or harm another .. to Affirm ourselves

What does pride account
For when it's all about the relationships - no matter what
The religion or beleif

How much we can't perceive or comprehend full totality, even though we talk, and therefore walk Around with absolute ideologies from a single limited and enviroemtally-shaped perspective...

Whether rich or poor
slave or free
Muslim, Jewish or Christian
Hindu or Buddhist
Atheist or Agnostic or believer

'With or without a goal, we
All move the same direction'

Every day is a gift and a lesson.. And that was today's (6/29/2010) for me.

Currently back in Liberia with Teach Peace, we are doing all sorts of projects... Today's being a medical clinic with the disabled.

One of the boys and i were talking about life and opportunities after his eye examination and he asked me
what i wanted to work for in life..

Ans Just As a Liberian had said to me before, i responded:
"Ku KA Li. Kukiturnoh"

"come together"

Everything happens for a reason
Everything and everyone has a Purpose
Love and Unity: One F.A.M.I.L.Y.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

'He told me one time he forgot himself & his heart opened up like a door with a loose latch & he tried for days to put it all back in proper order but finally he gave up & left it all jumbled up there in a pile & loved everything equally.'

"Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never do back. From then on, you are inflamed with a special longing that will never again let you linger in the lowlands of complacency and partial fulfillment. The eternal makes you urgent. You are loath to let compromise or the threat of danger hold you back from striving toward the summit of fulfillment."
- Don O'Donohue

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Life Love and Peace

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