Thursday, November 3, 2011


"Go into the arts. I'm not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something." -Kurt Vonnegut

Remember that scene in the movie "Garden State" where Natalie Portman tries to convince Zach Braff to do a crazy/weird/silly dance move in his house because she says that he will be the first and only person in the history of the world to do that specific move in that specific place? That is what this quote makes me think of. I want to achieve extraordinary things, to live a life that is significant and influence the people around me for the better, but I also want to be creative. And I want to be creative without fear of what others think. We get so bogged down in how we look and whether or not what we created is "good" that we lose sight of the most fun part--which is the process of creating. So look at the clouds today and imagine the weird things that you see in them are real. Fail miserably at cooking when trying a new recipe. And for goodness sake, sing in the grocery store when your favorite song comes on. I don't want to be the only one that does that.

We all need to loosen up a little.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


My morning meeting was cancelled this morning, so I came to a coffee shop to kill time and relax before my work day starts. What that ended up turning into was a 45 minute foray online into all articles I could find related to the famine in the Horn of Africa--specifically the situation right now in Somalia. As I sit here with my warm cup of coffee typing on my Mac computer in a heated coffee shop with the smells of fresh pastries wafting around me, I can't help but be a bit uncomfortable at the thought of justice and the accident of geography so I get to have everything while others are dying.

This article broke my heart this morning. I read stuff like this all the time, but I pray that my heart will continually break, and that the man in the story (at least read the first page) finds comfort through the loss of his 3 year old daughter, Kadija. If it was my daughter, I would want people to mourn with me and hear my story.

We are incapacitated by the need. Sometimes I put my blinders on and live my life intentionally hearing only good things, and sometimes I need the perspective of darkness and pain to again smash me in the face so I again remember that a death of a child from starvation in Somalia is just as tragic as a similar death would be in Seattle, even if the former happens all the time and is 'old news' to me.

So what does justice look like for me today? I will be fasting, and giving the money I would have spent on food to UNICEF or Islamic Relief; 2 groups that seem to be able to get around the Shabab (al Queda like group that is blocking aid from reaching anyone, and killing lots of Somalians) and actually help people get some food in their bellies. I will think of Kadija and I will mourn her death, I will pray, and I will feel a little bit of hunger so I can understand a bit more about her pain. And I will share her story here on my blog. Maybe someday I will be a lawyer, and can help in a larger way to execute justice on behalf of hurting people.

It is not much. I feel small and insignificant. But that is what this blog is about. Small drops in a large bucket.

"It is important to remember that however plagued Somalia is, however routine conflict, drought and disease have become, however many Somalis have already needlessly died, Somalis are not somehow wired differently from the rest of us. They are not numb to suffering. They are not grief-proof. I’ll never forget the expression on Mr. Kufow’s face as he stumbled out of Benadir Hospital into the penetrating sunshine with his lifeless little girl in his arms. He may not have been weeping openly. But he looked as if he could barely breathe."

This post does not have a happy ending, because Kadija did not have one either.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


You know those people that can create cool moments regardless of the circumstances around them? There always seems to be something to glean, or some encouraging word to share in whatever is happening? Do you have any of those people in your life? I have one--her name is Natalie. She is currently traveling the country as a musician, performing shows and writing songs about things she sees and experiences. She is shamless in her love for romance and beautiful language, so I always like hearing her talk about her favorite books or poems or music or art, because I know she feels genuinely moved and doesn't really care if it is thought of as silly, or if the piece of art affects anyone else the way it did her. One thing she recently mentioned on her tour's blog page was a quote by one of her favorite writers, and I saw a lot of beauty in it. It is a short excerpt from "The Thief" by Brooke Fraser.

"You're ruining me with secrets and gestures and looks.
With sonnets and second-hand books.
Playing the chords in me nobody knew how to play."

If you are like me, you automatically think of a relationship with someone you like, but Natalie thought about her relationship with God.

I love when people flip my automatically generated perspective on its head like that.

Can God woo us to himself? Does he? If He can and He does so like the words above, I would feel moved.

I think Natalie is on to something.