Thursday, April 22, 2010


The serious count down had begun. I leave for Idaho on Saturday. I am starting to get really excited!

One of the things I'm especially pleased about is that my new job will have me travelling all over the whole state. I've got a trip to Couer d'Alene planned for May 17. Then I go for meetings in Pocatello. In the coming months I will have an opportunity to get familiar with all segments of the great potato state.

One of my regrets about the eight years I've spent in Oregon is that there are so many amazing places here I never saw. Most of the time I was too busy working to do a lot of exploring. (Until the last 10 months which I spent in a frantic angst of looking for a job, not out seeing the sights.) When it came time for vacation I went off to places like Egypt, which was WONDERFUL....but I've still never been to Crater Lake. which I have heard is absolutely breathtaking.

So one of my resolutions as I go off to live in Idaho is to really try to take time to get familiar with the whole state. I want to learn some about Idaho State History, the topography of the the region, and other features about living in IDAHO.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saying goodbye is hard to do

I am absolutely thrilled that I am about to embark on a whole new adventure. I am so ready for this impending move to Idaho. I honestly couldn't be more pleased.

That being said, I'm still struggling with the bittersweet nature of saying goodbye to people and places I care about here.

Yesterday I spent some time at Pioneer Park in Walla Walla, enjoying the majestic trees and the aviary there one last time. I went by St. Siloun church to bid farewell to the bells with many fond memories of friends I have of that congregation. I spent some time hiking up the creek at Harris Park. Then today I went to church at Pendleton 1st Ward one last time.

I could not help but weep at the sight of some of the dear friends I have there. I will miss them tremendously.

I know this move is right for me and I am confident things are moving forward exactly as they are supposed to. But the flip side of that old saying about how every time a door closes a window opens is that as this new window is opening in my life I must accept the closing of a door.

Life is a series of letting go.
Having moved about 28 times in my lifetime I've said more than my share of goodbyes over the years. Somehow, this does not get any easier with practice.

I would have made a lousy nomadic Bedouin.

My hope is that once I get to Spudland I can burrow in deep, like a tick on a dog's back - hold on tight and not let go. My soul is ever so weary of being in transit. I want a place to put down deep roots and call HOME.

But I'm kidding myself if I think anything will ever really be permanent.
We're all strangers traveling through this life. By definition mortality is a temporary sojourn.... so long as I live I suspect I'll always feel a little bit disconnected and homesick. No matter how much I appreciate each stop along the way and no matter how much I come to love the people I meet everywhere I land I've come to accept that at some point there is an inevitable letting go. I know that is as it should be. Still, today it makes me sad.

Friday, April 16, 2010


It's official. I have been hired by a University in Idaho to do a job I am very excited about. I'm moving to Spudland. I could not be more thrilled.

MANY thanks to all my pals who have been so incredibly supportive over the last 8 months. I applied for 130 jobs, had about 20 interviews and more up and down rollercoster of hopes and disappointment than I could count.

Yep, I'm definitely doing a Happy Dance now!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Doubting Thomas

I've been giving a lot of thought to a blog post about the apostle Thomas, written by my dear friend Papa Herman, over at In the Process of Weeding Out.

Herman is a member of the Eastern Orthodox church, belonging to the parish at St. Silouan in Walla Walla. In their faith they celebrate Great Lent, Pascha and Holy Week. These are rituals that my own faith does not observe. While we do acknowledge and celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we do not have anything even remotely close to the level of ceremony observed by my Orthodox friends.

I've really appreciated the way I learn from their practices, and how it makes me examine my own beliefs at entirely new levels.

In Orthodoxy, this past Sunday (the first sabbath after Holy Week) is known as St. Thomas Sunday.

The familiar expression "Doubting Thomas" is based on the story of how this apostle of Jesus Christ refused to believe in the resurrection until he had seen evidence of it with his own eyes.

The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” John 20:25

On St. Thomas Sunday there are special readings and songs about this good man and teachings about what we can learn from him. According to the website for St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church (in the Dallas, TX area) "The church characterizes St. Thomas' unbelief as "good", because it led to a greater manifestation of the reality of Christ's resurrection in the flesh:"

Herman's blogpost raised the question about when is it a positive thing to express our doubts and an opportunity to further growth and when is it a dangerous thing, potentially undermining not only our own testimonies but also those of others?

I HAVE seen cases where people have continually questioned the wisdom of various statements or policies of church leaders and that has led to increasing criticism and eventual apostasy. But in reality, don't we ALL have some doubts and uncertainties? When and how should we be open about those places in our beliefs that we are just not quite so sure? I am reminded of the song "Doubting Thomas" by Nickle Creek that says: "Can I be used to help other's find truth when I'm scared I'll find proof that it's a lie?"

For me, when it comes to matters of faith and how we approach our uncertainties, I think the key is in the attitude with which we express our doubts. If we say "I don't understand this principle and I would like to learn more" that is way different from saying "I don't believe this is true". The former path invites greater dialogue and allows room for the Holy Spirit to witness. The latter closes doors and fosters further turning away.

I try to hold on to the words of 2 Nephi 22: 2 that say:
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation."

But, like Thomas the apostle, too often there are things I want to believe in 100% that I just don't yet feel completely sure about.

When those times come, perhaps I can learn to explore and lean into my uncertainty with a searching spirit of trust in understanding yet to come rather than feel it a source of failure. For really, the more I think about it, it's those areas where I once felt weak and unsure and then over time developed greater understanding that are most sweet.

I really do believe the scripture in Ether 12:27 that says: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Friday, April 02, 2010

What's your worst bad hair day memory?

I need a hair cut. Bad. AND my grey roots are showing. So it's time for me to hit the salon. I have just one problem. FEAR.

Last time I went to get my hair done I had the worst salon experience of my life. The woman who has done my hair for quite some time left the business due to some health complications. So, I was forced to try out someone new. BIG MISTAKE.

Can you say orange clown hair?

It was bad. Not just the color, but also the way my stylist responded to the atrocity on my head was not helpful.

Usually my hair is sorta medium brown with some blond highlights. I was getting bored with it. So I told her I wanted just A LITTLE BIT of red mixed in. I made it VERY CLEAR that I did not want red hair. I just wanted the same basic color with a BIT of red mixed in to jazz it up a little. I also said that I did not want burgundy or any fake looking color. I wanted hair that looked like it might actually occur in nature.

So putting my full trust in her skills with chemical concoctions I blissfully zoned out while she mixed up some gook that was painted onto my head, first left to do it's magic just on the roots and then later pulled through on strands all over my head. Then to keep it fun I had a handful of foil highlights added in.

Everything was copacetic, right?


When I finally hit the shampoo bowl the catastrophe was unmasked.

I had about a 2 inch wide STRIPE of orange clown hair color where she had painted my roots and the rest of it was a mousy brown. IT WAS BAD.

She took one look at me and said "Well, I wonder why it did that?" HUH???

When I got to the mirror I freaked. There was no stinking way I was walking out the door looking like that. FIX THIS I insisted. So she put something else on. It did NOT tone down the orange clown hair but did make the rest of my hair look worse. After that I was in tears. Finally the owner of the salon came out with a broad smile chattering something about how this was a wonderful "teaching opportunity" for her new stylist. And I got my hair dyed a THIRD TIME to rectify the mess that had been made. By the time all was said and done it actually came out ok (after over three hours at the salon blowing my whole morning and way too much chemical processing...ugh!)

You can bet your bottom dollar I will NOT be going to that salon again.

But the problem is, now I'm chicken to go anywhere else. I really need to get my hair done. I have walked into and walked out of two different places. I have made and cancelled appointments. I just don't feel any trust about letting someone new put their hands on my hair. SHUDDER!

I've got to bite the bullet and take a leap of faith. I know this. Still, it makes me really nervous now to even think about what may happen next time I'm in the chair.

That got me to thinking about how we can sometimes let fear hold us back from taking steps that are necessary in other areas of our lives. Clearly, a lot of things require a certain amount of risk. We would never learn a new skill or take a chance on love if we were not willing to reach out into the unknown at some point.

I have a card someone gave me back in my college days that says: "The most unfortunate thing that happens to a person who fears failure is that he limits himself by becoming afraid to try anything new. GIVE YOURSELF A CHANCE."

Especially for someone who has had their heart broken, had a business fail, a dream crushed or any kind of major disappointment in life it can feel incredibly dangerous to put yourself back into the line of fire again. But there is one thing I absolutely know for sure. Success in life is not about how many times or how far you fall. It's about how consistently we are willing to get back up.

I'm getting my hair done. And I'm going to take a few chances in some other things.
If things don't work out right away the way I might like them too, I'll just go right on trying.

I'm going to hold onto the words of my hero Thomas Edison who said "Many of life's failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

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