Thursday, February 26, 2009


Humility is what gives us the vision to look upon our world with fresh eyes. Humility enables us to respect others enough to put down our spurious images of ourselves and open our arms, as individuals and as a nation.

- Joan Chittister

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Afternoon at the park

The temperature is rising in the Arizona low country.

I was such an outdoors kid.

Now I take the girls as much as time allows.

And I rejoice, and celebrate nature.

I walk. I rest. I watch.

I am peaceful.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Taking chances

Art is about taking chances.

These kids did, and what beauties they created...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Expediency asks the question: Is it politic? Vanity asks the question: Is it popular? But conscience asks the question: Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular -- but he must take it simply because conscience tells him it is right.

- Martin Luther King Jr.,

From his address, "To Chart Our Course for the Future" (1968).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hidden beauty

I believe in the quietness of beauty, the kind that perseveres and is steadfast.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Knowing your city

Here and there one can still find glimpses of what Tempe used to look like.

The horse lovers.


The fence.

They did not move.

More fence.

It's like living in a different zone, right in the middle of concrete. The rooster was going wild, chasing chickens. For a few moments, we were enveloped by the sounds of a farm.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Circle of life

I cannot resist this woman's garden. There is always something growing there.

Rose bushes serve as a boundary from the street.

These grow in the AZ winter.

In many colors.

Sometimes I cannot tell what is a flower and what is a vegetable.

Another winter flower.
The gardener, a piano player, grew up on a farm, and everything about her homestead resembles farm life

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Daily Reading

I found Riana 2 years ago before her daughter was born.
I have followed them ever since, reading almost daily about their adventures in the south of France.
There is something fascinating about their life, as if it reminds me of life in Mozambique with our neighbors Dona Laura, Senhor Jose, and their three daughters.
  1. Go see for yourself. They are at These Days in French Life

In my backyard

The humming bird made a nest.
It is so tiny... I had never seen a nest that small.
It was windy yesterday and that branch moved around quite a bit. The bird seemed content with the whole experience.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Lets face it...

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

- James Baldwin, writer and civil rights leader.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Obama's letter to Sasha and Malia

Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have.

But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours.

In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation. I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential—schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college—even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity. I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer.

And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other. Sometimes we have to send our young men and women into war and other dangerous situations to protect our country—but when we do, I want to make sure that it is only for a very good reason, that we try our best to settle our differences with others peacefully, and that we do everything possible to keep our servicemen and women safe. And I want every child to understand that the blessings these brave Americans fight for are not free—that with the great privilege of being a citizen of this nation comes great responsibility.

That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I was your age, reading me the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and telling me about the men and women who marched for equality because they believed those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean something. She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better—and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us.

It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be. I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much—although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.

These are the things I want for you—to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have.

That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure. I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House.



(Published in Parade magazine)