Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I received this in my email today - and loved it's thoughtful encouragement for all of us as we face World AIDS Day on December 1st.
My name is Lt. Colonel Shane Kimbrough and I am on the International Space Station orbiting 200 miles above the earth.
During the 90 minutes it takes us to circle the earth, we do not see borders or boundaries. From up here, the task of solving the world’s biggest problems seems less daunting. But when our shuttle lands next Sunday, we will return to a world where border disputes and financial crises lead the nightly news. Those challenges define our world and their solutions will define our future.
That’s why I joined ONE. I believe with my voice and yours and millions of others taking on the challenges of extreme poverty and preventable diseases, these problems become less daunting and more solvable.
I wouldn’t be here today if President Kennedy hadn’t called on America to make space exploration a priority. In 1961 he said, “We face an extraordinary challenge. Our strength as well as our convictions have imposed upon this nation the role of leader in freedom’s cause.” He called on America to marshal its courage and creativity, its intelligence and determination to put a man on the moon.
There were skeptics. Some said it wasn’t possible. Some thought we should instead focus on other concerns here at home. But President Kennedy – and the American people – would not be deterred. We set a goal; we made a plan; we put a man on the moon; we changed the way we saw our world.
President Kennedy’s vision forced us to look to the moon and raise our expectations of what is possible. Looking back at the earth with the same perspective as those early astronauts, Kennedy’s philosophy about our own planet is with me today: “Our most basic common link, is that we all inhabit this small planet, we all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children’s futures, and we are all mortal.”
Today, a renewed courage is sweeping the world. People are dreaming boldly and, more importantly, they are ready to turn those dreams into actions.
On World AIDS Day, December 1st, we are celebrating our success in helping to bring lifesaving HIV/AIDS treatment to 3 million people globally, including 2 million Africans. But there are 7 million more people who are in critical need of AIDS drugs and don't have them. There are also millions at risk of becoming infected with HIV.
We can drastically reduce poverty and preventable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, on our planet. But it will take all of us working together as one to achieve that goal. As Bono has said, ending extreme poverty could be our generation’s moonshot. This could be our new frontier. We should focus our attention to those on our planet who need help the most.
That’s what I believe. That’s my story. And that’s why I am a member of ONE.
What about you? Why are you ONE in the fight against global poverty and preventable diseases? Share your story at:
ONE plans to feature what we have to say on its website, to inspire more people to add their voices to ours, and to make a real difference for those who are fighting hard to break free from extreme poverty. Use your webcam or your keyboard. Send in pictures. And spread the word.
Up here, we see one world, one home we all inhabit.
I’ll check in again when I’m back from orbit.
From the International Space Station,
Lt. Colonel Shane Kimbrough
Mission Specialist, Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-126)
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I first learned about vocation growing up in the church. I value much about the religious tradition in which I was raised: its humility about its own convictions, its respect for the world's diversity, its concern for justice. But the idea of vocation I picked up in those circles created distortion until I grew strong enough to discard it. I mean the idea that vocation, or calling, comes from a voice external to ourselves, a voice of moral demand that asks us to become someone we are not yet---someone different, someone better, someone just beyond our reach.
Today I understand vocation quite differently---not as a goal to be achieved but as a gift to be received. Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice 'out there' calling me to become something I am not. It comes from a voice 'in here' calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God....
again from inward/outward
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
First she surrendered her green,
then the orange, yellow, and red
finally she let go of her brown.
Shedding her last leaf
she stood empty and silent, stripped bare.
Leaning against the winter sky
she began her vigil of trust.
Shedding her last leaf
she watched its journey to the ground.
She stood in silence
wearing the color of emptiness,
her branches wondering;
How do you give shade with so much gone?
the sacrament of waiting began.
The sunrise and sunset watched with tenderness.
Clothing her with silhouettes
they kept her hope alive.
They helped her understand that
her dependence and need,
her readiness to receive
were giving her a new kind of beauty.
Every morning and every evening they stood in silence
and celebrated together
the sacrament of waiting.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, poet and activist. In 1983, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Color Purple. She has written many other bestselling books, including In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens and Possessing the Secret of Joy. Her most recent is We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness. She recently wrote an open letter to Barack Obama posted online at TheRoot.com.
My favorite part:
I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Here's my band's debut:
and our hit song:
The road, take it (from Yogi Berra's famous fork in the road quote)
and our album cover - extraordinarily beautiful!
major props to niccodeamus
Want to play along? Tag yourself and post in the comments and I'll link to your blog post.
They just arrived in my inbox and I had to share them with you. This email came along to explain them:
We don't know about you, but now that the election is over, we can't wait for the world to be fun again. For a long while there, the only thing that came to mind was that we were a little like pinatas at a party of politicians & all of them had way too much sugar.I <3 the StoryPeople. Wish Iowa was that cool when I lived there!
We thought it was just our problem, since we have a high fun requirement. Now it looks like a lot of people had the same trouble. But, just to be sure, we took a quick poll & here's the result: almost a hundred percent of everybody we talked to is looking at the pinata stuff on the floor & thinking it needs a whole lot of cleaning up, but at least we're finally going to do it together.
We think it's a perfect time to fire up some magic to send us on our way...
You know how magic works. You sit down, think gentle thoughts & ask the universe. Then you listen for the answers.
We didn't have long to wait.
Completely out of the blue, we got a call from Lynne Suprock. Who happens to be an artist from Pennsylvania & a maker of delicate & lovely jewelry. It seems that Lynne had been stirring a little of Brian's art work into her handmade jewelry. After watching her for a few months, her friend Carol just about stood over her until she gave us a call. She told us what she'd been cooking up - part StoryPeople print in miniature, part suncatcher, part jewelry & part holiday ornament. It was magic of the highest order...
We know that when you see them you'll be so delighted you'll most likely want to have your very own. (We know because that's just what happened to us when we saw them..)
Now, the only problem is that Lynne makes each one by hand, so she can get the balance of sparkle & light & magic just right.
So, we calculated how much sleep & personal time Lynne needs between now & the holidays in order to make all the ornaments you might want. We wrote it down on a tiny slip of paper & folded it & slid it across the table to her. She took one look & laughed & said she hasn't had that much free time since she was eight. So, we came up with a new plan. Lynne says you can order all the ornaments you want for the next three weeks & she promises she'll get them to you in time for the holidays. How's that for the universe being on your side?
If you're ready to let the magic back into your world, now's the time. You've got three weeks, so don't wait. (OK. Wait a minute. That's not completely true. We hope you know that you can let in magic any time you want. You only get three weeks for this particular bit of magic... :-)) These hand-made ornaments are available to order for the next three weeks (through Thankgiving Day, Nov. 27th to be precise), so get them while you can!
Place your order here: StoryPeople Ornaments