Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Daily Zen - Tuesday, April 30

We create our own unhappiness. The purpose of suffering is to help us understand we are the ones who cause it.
                      ~ Willie Nelson

Happy Birthday to Willie who turns 80 years old today!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Daily Zen - Monday, April 29

Afoot and lighthearted I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.

             ~ Walt Whitman

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weekend Zen, April 27-28

The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want. 
                    ~ Ben Stein

Friday, April 26, 2013

Daily Zen - Friday, April 26

Praise and blame, gain and loss, 
pleasure and sorrow 
come and go like the wind.
To be happy, rest like a giant tree,
in the midst of them all.

                           ~ Buddha

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Daily Zen - Thursday, April 25

Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.
                      ~ Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald, the "first lady of song," was born on this day in 1917.

I couldn't take my eyes (or ears) off this video clip of her performance of Summertime (Berlin, 1968). The tiny beads of sweat trickling down her face in the tight camera shots and her three octave voice - it's sublime and a little surreal, and there's not a note out of place.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Daily Zen - Wednesday, April 24

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

                ~ Robert Frost

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Turn Style: Earth Day In California the Beautiful

A park in Santa Rosa, CA

Post and All Photos By: Jeff McKown

Nothing inspires and stirs us like the majesty of the wilderness. 

The spectacular and vast: canyons, forests, prairies, oceans, mountaintops. 

The simple and profound: waves lapping at the shore, a gathering of deer on a hillside, the petals of a single flower.

When we stumble on a breathtaking hillside or gaze into a clear starlit night sky, when we look up from our work long enough to see a hummingbird outside our window, anytime nature captures us in that frozen moment of stunned reverie, we strengthen our connection to the universe and to each other.

Whatever the scenery in your tiny corner of the universe, take a moment to go outside. Close your eyes and breathe deep. Tilt your head back - taste a snowflake, feel the raindrops on your forehead, let the sun warm your cheeks.

It doesn't matter what you find outside your door. We'll all sleep beneath the same big moon tonight.

Happy Earth Day.

Here are some of my favorite places in nature. I took these photos in the last two years at locations all within a 2-3 hour drive from my home in northern California.

Big Sur

Eaton Park Trail

Muir Woods and Muir Woods Beach Overlook

San Gregorio, Half Moon Bay, Marin Headlands

Monterey Bay and Ocean Beach/San Francisco

Daily Zen (Earth Day) - Monday, April 22

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. 

                       ~ John Muir

Friday, April 19, 2013

Daily Zen - Friday, April 19

Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.

                ~ Desmond Tutu

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Turn of Phrase - Top WNBA Draft Pick Is Gay

Brittney Griner - #1 WNBA draft pick
"If I can show that I'm out and I'm fine and everything's okay, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way."

- From Brittney Griner, the number one overall pick in Monday's WNBA draft. 

The 6-foot-8 Griner, who led the Baylor Lady Bears to a 40-0 season and the NCAA women's basketball title in 2012, acknowledged her lesbian sexuality this week in a Sports Illustrated interview.

According to Griner, public recognition of her sexual orientation "wasn't too difficult," as she has lived openly and never attempted to hide who she was. It also helps that the trail for professional lesbian athletes has already been blazed by women like Sheryl Swoopes, the three-time gold medalist and first woman ever signed by the WNBA, and by tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. 

Coming out on such a big stage takes guts nonetheless and Griner should be commended for having the mettle to be open about her sexuality. Gay kids across the spectrum need all the support we can muster, and out gay and lesbian role models in professional sports are still pathetically few and far between, particularly among male athletes.

John Amaechi and Glenn Burke
Gay men have played in the big four professional sports in the U.S., but few have ever publicly acknowledged their sexuality and none have done so before retiring from their respective leagues. John Amaechi, who played in the NBA off-and-on for several years between 1995 and 2003, came out in 2007 and was the first NBA player (albeit a retired one) to do so. Similarly, MLB outfielder Glenn Burke, who had a brief career with the LA Dodgers and the Oakland As, came out in 1982 after retiring from baseball at the tender age of 27.

Can you imagine the hullaballoo that would surround a current top NBA draft pick who came out? Better yet, what if RGIII had announced he was gay just after signing with the NFL's Washington Redskins? I'm not expecting such a revelation anytime soon in mens' professional baseball, football, or basketball, but the world is ready. 

Now, we just have to hope there's a young gay male athlete somewhere out there with as big a heart and as much courage as Brittney Griner.

Daily Zen - Thursday, April 18

There is no real security except for whatever you build inside yourself.

                  ~ Gilda Radner

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Daily Zen - Wednesday, April 17

I don't believe in Heaven or anything. But I want to be the kind of person that qualifies for entry anyway.

                  ~ Nick Hornby

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Daily Zen - Tuesday, April 16

If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. 

He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life's exciting variety, not something to fear. 

                ~ Gene Roddenberry

Monday, April 15, 2013

Daily Zen - Monday, April 15

The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it's just sort of a tired feeling.
                    ~ Paula Poundstone

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weekend Zen, April 13-14

The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order. 

                ~ Eudora Welty

Friday, April 12, 2013

Daily Zen - Friday, April 12

Don't be too proud to take a lesson. I'm not.
                   ~ Jack Nicklaus

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Daily Zen - Thursday, April 10

We wake up every morning and face our day, good or bad, and seek to LIVE life. We live by feeling, doing, and being with others and making our mark on the world.

            ~ Linda Yesh-McMaster

In June of 2008, my friend Linda's three year-old daughter Lisa was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma. Read about Lisa, Linda, and their family here.

Thursday's Children: What Really Matters

Posted by: Jeff McKown

Thursday's Children is a weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about what inspires them. 

I'm participating today and you can too. A link to other Thursday's Children writers is at the end of the post.

Thanks to Rhiann Wynn Nolet for orchestrating this affair.

My "Thursday's Children" article this week is literally about children. Not so much all children, just one. A very inspiring and brave little girl named Lisa.

In June of 2008, my friend Linda's three year-old daughter Lisa was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma cancer.

For the last five years, Lisa's illness and treatments have had her in and out of the hospital countless times. She has been poked, prodded, chemo-ed, and radiated.

All the while, she has fought like a champion.

A couple of days ago, Lisa was taken to the ER with a high temperature, nausea, and increased pain in her legs and head, and she was again admitted to the hospital. Today, her battle rages on, and Lisa's parents and siblings find themselves once more in the helpless and agonizing position of waiting and wondering and wishing.

I have witnessed all of this from a great distance, through only the lens of the internet. But even from here, over the thousands of miles from California to Michigan, the strength of Lisa, Linda, and their family inspires me.

Linda has chronicled much of the journey of her little "warrior" on a blog, and I IMPLORE you to read the post she wrote this week entitled "Live Life." Linda's words are honest, heart-wrenching, and powerful. With Linda's permission, I am sharing her words, hoping that you might be inspired to remember to take nothing for granted.

After you've read Linda's post, I ask one thing in return: a compassionate thought or positive vibe, or perhaps if you're so inclined (and this means a lot coming from an atheist), a prayer.

Learn more about Lisa at the LoveYouLisa Facebook page. 

Click here to view other Thursday's Children blog posts, or check out Rhiann's website for more info.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Daily Zen - Wednesday, April 10

What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find. 

                ~ Herman Hesse

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Daily Zen - Tuesday, April 9

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.
                     ~ Marianne Williamson

Monday, April 8, 2013

Daily Zen - Monday, April 8

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

                 ~ Leo Tolstoy

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Weekend Zen, April 6-7

There is freedom within, there is freedom without
Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
There's a battle ahead, many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're travelling with me.

                ~ Neil Finn

Friday, April 5, 2013

Daily Zen - Friday, April 5

RIP Mr. Ebert
(June 18, 1942 - April 4, 2013)

What I believe is that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: curious and teachable.
                         ~ Roger Ebert

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Daily Zen - Wednesday, April 4

The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.

                    ~ Richard Bach

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Daily Zen - Wednesday, April 3

What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. 
                  ~ Jane Goodall

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Daily Zen - Tuesday, April 2

Remember, that of all the elements that comprise a human being, the most important, the most essential, the one that will sustain, transcend, overcome and vanquish obstacles is - spirit!

                   ~ Buddy Ebsen

Monday, April 1, 2013

Daily Zen - Monday, April 1

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.

                 ~ Albert Einstein