Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The original Instagram, circa 1977
I am a visual person. I remember as a kid I never had the patience to take a picture, drop the film off at the local D&S Pharmacy, and wait the five-to-seven days while the film was sent out to be developed. So when my stepdad Jim showed up with his Kodak Instamatic camera, I thought it was the greatest thing on earth. I remember he even bought me an instant camera one time when we were going on vacation, a Kodak Handle, the original crank-style “Instagram,” which is actually in a box in my attic. I should find it.
My Grandson, Lennox
The magic of photography is that it holds still, forever, a moment in time. Now, with all the photo apps and services -- like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and my current favorite, Instagram -- those captured moments can be instantly shared with people we love and even strangers ... in some ways shrinking the world but I also think, in the best way, making the world bigger. 
Tennessee storm
There’s a joy when your phone chirps, burps, jingles, vibrates or tingles, and you open it to find that somebody has sent you an image ... a face, a flower, a grandchild, a storm. They could be sitting across the room or a thousand miles away and you instantly know what their world looks like. 
No bueno
I even use my Android phone camera in conducting business every day: is this the granite you like? How about this hardware? Or this tile? Or, this is the broken pipe we found in your bathroom floor under your shower. The fun and the frustrating. 
So, send me a picture. Let me know what your life looks like, what interests you, what your eyes see that mine don’t ... yet. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Out of Awe

Have we lost our sense of awe? The world flashes by us and we barely have time to conquer the mundane, much less the awe-inspiring. To be awe inspired takes time, precious time. Pausing to see the imaginative, the beautiful, those things worthy of our admiration would most likely make us late for a meeting or even worse, cause us to miss our favorite TV show ... God forbid. 

I am just as guilty as the next person. I am busy, I am inundated with information, buried in a pile of data. Don't get me wrong, I see things I "like" everyday. I even see things that "move" me but it is on rare occasion that I am actually in awe. Sitting here thinking about it, the last moment of actual awe was a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago. I sat in a room full of Monet and Seurat; I actually sat for over an hour absolutely engulfed in the beauty of the work ... consumed. I only left because I didn't want the security guard to think I was casing the joint. I have to admit, It was emotional. I took the images with me in my mind and played them a million times during the remainder of the day.

I have, of course, had other moments - visiting Edinburgh Castle in Scotland or seeing my grandson for the first time -- but these are all events that have the context of creating awe. I am already predisposed to shut off the "noise" around me and focus. But what about the everyday moments in life, what am I missing? There is a great story from 2007 where the Washington Post did an experiment to see if extraordinary beauty would be recognized in the hurry of the day. Virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world, would play one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars in the lobby of the Metro Station in DC, and see if anyone would stop to listen. They didn't. The analysts ... who, of course, analyzed ... came to the same conclusion they have been concluding for years: for something to be awe-inspiring it must be presented in the proper context. Basically, we need to be told something is inspiring to be inspired by it. How sad!  

I will make a promise to myself: I will take the time to find the awe in the everyday. I will not rely on others to create context, I will create it for myself. I will open my eyes, ears, heart and mind to the possibility that what is happening right before me is awe inspiring.

What will you do? 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Give a Little Bit.

I haven't blogged in a while because I have been busy, busy, busy with preparations for the "House in a Week" build at Rancho de Sus NiƱos, an orphanage just outside of Tijuana. We are calling it "Casa de la esperanza" - "The House of Hope"

The build is less than two weeks away...we still need funds to make sure we have all of the materials to build, not just a house...but a Home.

Please donate to Rancho "House in a Week" at this link: House in a week
Your donation is tax deductible and will show love and care to generation after generation.

Thank you,