Faith & Amazing People


I hate when you get a hair cut and no matter how much the hairdresser blow dries your neck, and even if you go home and strip down naked and brush yourself completely off with a towel… it always feels like you are wearing a turtleneck made of human hair.

This post is not about hair cuts, or wearing clothing made of human hair.  It is a brief thought on faith.  My thoughts on faith.  If this essay were about Catholic faith and takled about the saints, most specifically St. Francis of Assisi then yes, we could talk about turtlenecks of human hair.   St. Francis had a thing for wearing garments made of human hair.  That was his way of saying “I love you” to God. 

I am nervous to write about faith since I have spent my whole life doubting God exists.  I grew up secular, not a hint of religion in our family.  On top of that – my grandfather – the most influential person in my life, was a scientist.  He had a very pragmatic view of the world, in his mind if it could not be proven scientifically, it did not exist.


Like every other person on earth, excluding some monks living on a mountain in Bhutan.  Check that – all the people living in Bhutan.  The rest of us fear death. Which is totally ok.  It’s scary to think about not existing.  Apparently religion helps you live with that fear.   Believing that a) God will take care of you or b) God has created this awesome after life place for you to go to, where you get to meet all your deceased family and friends.  And you can eat all the pasta you want and not get fat.  (I stole that from Albert Brooks).

I have no idea why I am here, or where I am going.  Like my grandfather, I have not been able to grasp the concept of a singular God.  Maybe religion is not for all of us.  For me, faith feels bigger than a singular God.  Faith, spirituality seem different, and less likely to get people to start a war.

My faith is people.  Faith in the fact that no matter who you pray to or even if you do pray, that there are some amazing, giving, loving, caring, compassionate people in the world.  There doesn’t seem to be one religion that owns all the awesome people.  

bandonsunsetThese amazing people run into burning buildings, jump into rivers to save kittens, or simply smile and acknowledge a homeless person. Maybe for all these people this is their way to say “I love you” to God.   I don’t know.  Do you know?  



Creative Camp for Adults


My love of photography started young, and like many of you, studying National Geographic issues for hours.   My Dad sent me my first camera when I was 15.  I remember riding my bike 13 miles to the Pahoa, Hawaii post office to get it.

Coast waterfall, Hug Point State Park, Oregon.

That was 40 years ago and I recently reengaged with photography.  Learning digital cameras and new techniques has been challenging.  Youtube and all the creative learning websites provide an ocean of opportunity.  But nothing beats face to face learning so I signed up for a May photographic workshop with Hudson Henry.  It was a financial and social leap for me – I’m a poor introvert!

Photo workshop friend at the Peter Iredale wreck.  Warrenton, Oregon.

It was a great experience.  Like camp for creative adults.  I learned so much from Hudson and from the other 9 participants who all brought a different vision and skill set.  We had folks from as far away as the Yukon in Canada and South Carolina.  We became friends and learned and laughed together.  We got up early and stayed up late to capture sunset and blue hour. 

Offshore rocks. Cannon Beach, Oregon (Canon 5D Mark III)

If you have been hesitant to take a leap like this, I strongly encourage you to take a chance.  If you already have I would love to hear about it.  Thank you for stopping by…



It’s trillium time

trilliumraindropsMy recipe for happiness begins here with this flower.  The trillium.  Three white pedals, three broad leaves.  So simple yet so perfect.

Their peak bloom time is brief.  Walking in Forest Park, here in Portland, Oregon – they are busting out all over.  And each one is lovelier than the last.


Yesterday I interrupted my routine – stopping in the woods for a walk instead of commuting with thousands on the freeway.  And that made all the difference.  Yes this is a nod to Robert Frost.  And William Stafford – “is there a better moment than now?”



Back to Astoria

Life is blessed is many ways.  Recently I have been taking every opportunity to appreciate the simple daily joys and blessings.  For me it is that first sip of coffee in the morning.  For you it might be tea or another beverage – but there is something about the reawakening that happens in that morning ritual.  And I take a moment every day to be grateful for this simple pleasure.


For the past two years, I have been travelling closer to home – which in my case is the upper left corner of the United States.  The Pacific Northwest.  Like my daily rituals, I had not appreciated the beauty and history in my own backyard.

Sunrise on the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

A few months back I posted about Astoria – which is the oldest (and wettest) city in Oregon.  Founded in 1811 by John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company – it has a rich and colorful history.  I am reading the book, Astoria by Peter Stark which I highly recommend. 

Early morning in Uniontown neighborhood in Astoria.

I stay in the Uniontown neighborhood, which was the largest Finnish settlement west of the Mississippi.  There are cozy coffeeshops, homes nestled into the hillside, and the masive Astoria Megler bridge – which traverses the mouth of the Columbia River.

Nearby is the Fisherman’s Memorial, a wall of names immortalizing the many lives touched by Astoria’s stormy relationship with the meeting of two massive forces – the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River.

I am so blessed to live in this corner of the world.



Walk with Thee


As we enter these last few days of 2016 – I have been thinking a lot about the strange year we are ending and wondering what is to come in 2017.  As I write these words – people around me are wrapping up their to do lists, making resolutions perhaps, taking this week of down time to recalibrate.  Some just look out the window.

Where do we find comfort in these troubled times? The words of great writers? The creative vision of artists? The gospel? 

There are few voices in this world sweeter than that of Patsy Cline.  I am not Christian but this refrain as sung by Patsy keeps playing in my head.

Just a closer walk with Thee

Grant it, Jesus, is my plea

Daily walking close to Thee

Let it be, dear Lord, let it be

Let us quietly end this tumultuous year and bring in the new year with hope and goodwill and love for each other.



Last Day of Snow

The thaw has begun and today is probably our last day of snow in Portland for a while.  It was an exciting few days – especially spending the night on the floor of my office at the hospital.

Today I wanted to capture the brilliance of the sun shedding its light on our beautiful, snowy Portland landscape.  Snow is rare in Portland – this won’t be something we see for quite some time so I wanted a way to capture it.

One of my BFHAG’s for 2017 is to get better at my video skills.  So why not share my first attempt – that way all video’s after today will seem like an improvement!

I would love ideas, feedback, video topics, whatever you got.  This is all part of my creative journey – not to mention my midlife crisis of buying too many photographic toys – and I deeply appreciate all of you being a part of that journey.

Do you have any big ambitious goals for 2017?