we need a holiday: george harrison day

George Harrison in the Oval Office during the ...

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There’s too much fighting and protesting and anger today.  We got Libya, Egypt and Wisconsin holding up signs and marching through streets to the tunes of bongo drummers (I’m from Wisconsin and I never thought I’d ever lump my home state with Libya and Egypt).

Yesterday morning while Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana senators played Midwest Chinese Fire Drill, I strolled into my Starbucks.  A showdown between two sisters played outside:

“**** you!” said one.

“I’m telling you the truth!” said the other.

“I don’t have a sister!”

“You have plenty of sisters!”

“Yeah, but I don’t have a sister named Julie.”

I assumed it was Julie the other sister yelled at.

With all this unrest there is no better time for a holiday.  I hereby declare February 25th, George Harrison‘s birthday, a spiritual holiday.

Do we give each other gifts on this holiday?  No.  We use the gifts God gave us. Rumer Godden, author of the children’s book “The Story of Holly and Ivy” said:

“There is an Indian proverb that says that everyone is a house with four rooms, a physical, a mental, an emotional, and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”

With the help of Mr. Harrison’s songs, here’s my outline on how to celebrate this day in those four rooms:

Take a yoga class.  My orthopedic surgeon and dentist, both of Indian descent, recommended yoga for my back and thyroid.  Indians in the medical profession got it goin’ ON.  I can see why George was so fascinated with Indian culture and learned how to play sitar.

Play Scrabble online.  You’ll learn new words when the computer gets away with words you never heard of, like Qi and Ka.

Read to improve your mental well-being.  Adam Carolla‘s In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks is good for laughter but it’s also eye-opening.  Did you know you can get rid of a zit by taking a shower, sterilizing a pin to pop it, then covering it with Oxy-10?  That’s what Adam says.  Why didn’t I know this as a teenager?  I just covered it with make-up with an icky way-overused sponge which made my acne worse.

Whenever we apply a method to deal with anger it never works.  So I let Angry Birds take out my rage for me.  Shooting birds shaped like bombs through sling shots to destroy little green pigs is at least a little entertaining.  See if you’re still mad after that.

One of the easiest ways to enhance your spiritual life is to sign up for a daily e-mail.  I get mine through Heartlight.  They send me a Bible passage and a quote for the day.  Rumer Godden’s quote popped up in my in-box just a few days ago.

Men, on George Harrison Day, grow mustaches.  Respect the ‘stache!  Since George Harrison Day falls on a Friday this year, you get a 3 day weekend to grow it.

So roll out your yoga mats, wear breathable cotton and go barefoot.  Report back to me on Monday.

saints and stained glass: inside a Catholic church


"political right is immediately from God and necessarily inherent in the nature of man"

"the best way to live is to trust the Lord, to keep peace in one's heart, to be patient and good, never to do ill."

st. anne guide our parents as well as our children

st. anthony help us guide our way

st cecilia

st joseph patron of the universal church model of workers pray for us

st theresa of the child Jesus the little flower

lucky 13: the number of love

Notice the fortunate number 13 repeating:

1. If I speak in the tongues[s] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

2. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

3. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

~1 Corinthians 13: 1 – 3

on the field of battle: vince lombardi quote

Photo taken by Bobak Ha'Eri, on June 20, 2009....

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“I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour–his greatest fulfillment to
all he holds dear–is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle.” ~Vince Lombardi

And that is why Packer fans are so cool.

I want to hate but I have no room in my heart

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I’m not saying that because I have to. I hope everyone finds joy in this season celebrating the birth of Jesus. However, some times holidays bring more sadness than imaginable.

For instance, the murder of my pastor’s son happened the day after Christmas. This year my pastor and his family didn’t celebrate it which is understandable. If that happened to any of us, the wish of Merry Christmas loses all meaning. An impending state of doom clouds many who have lost family members at this time. It doesn’t matter when or how they passed away.

Last week, I felt clouds setting as the rains came to Southern California. I looked back at all that happened the past few years: my older daughter born with a set of medical problems which still need periodic check-ups, major back surgery that still hurts once in a while, and my brother passed away. I thought, what more? Then I imagined the worst as a lot of us do. But the worst already happened.

As I think about all the struggles, I know the only place to go is up. When my pastor sat fifteen feet away in court from the three men who murdered his son, he thought, “I want to hate but I have no room for it in my heart.”

That one thought should at least give us some hope this season.

cupcakes and carrier pigeons: talking to the grieved


Engraving of "carrier pigeons" (actu...
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One of our church pastors lost his mom to cancer last week. For the last Wednesday Family Night this year, the kids made sympathy cards for him.


There’s nothing a child can say that’s insensitive when we lose a loved one. A few of the cards read, “I hope your family is all right.”

Another card read, “God blesses you.” Not “bless” but “blesses” because he’s already done it. Other kids wrote “Happy Thanksgiving” with pictures of turkeys because they didn’t know what to write, which is also perfectly okay.

It’s when we reach adulthood we feel we have to have the most perfectly chosen words to say to someone suffering a huge loss. I have that problem too even though I lost a brother myself. I can talk to children, though. Words come a little easier when comforting kids.

As our pastor read the cards, one girl who lost her dad 2 years ago held him crying. I requested a hug from her. And then I felt like her daddy embracing her. As we shared tears, I said, “Your daddy is SO proud of you.”

The thing is, I never knew her dad. He passed away shortly after I started attending this church. I wasn’t sure how he passed away, I knew it was fast like my brother’s passing from a brain aneurysm.

Grief is God’s way of making us remember. If we had no grief, we’d lose the memories of those who’ve passed on. If we fight the sadness then it’s just like closing the door or forming a wall around these people. If there’s a way for me to keep those doors open and avoid the bricks and mortar, then I’ll do it. Consider me a carrier pigeon.

Another girl walked up to us and wanted to know why the girl I embraced was crying. I said, “Because she misses her daddy.”

The girl asked, “Why are you crying?”

I said, “Because I know how much she misses her daddy.”

Our senior pastor lost his son to murder last year. I never knew what to say to him in person. I knew how to form his words into poetry, but never knew what to say in person. Until Wednesday night, I only managed “Hello.”

This time, I had an excuse to talk to him. I grabbed a few trays of cupcakes I brought for the kids and walked into his classroom where he was about to teach his adult class. I peeked in and asked, “We have way too many of these things for the kids, it’s too much sugar. Would your class like them?”

“Sure,” he said.

Maybe it wasn’t exactly what I thought I’d say. Instead of saying, “I’m so sorry your son left this earth this way. If he were here, I know he’d tell you how proud he is of you of not only carrying on with your work as a church pastor, but standing upright. He’d say you’re a great example to everyone out there who suffers such horrible losses,” it came out as, “Um, do you want a cupcake?”

Not quite his son’s carrier pigeon message, but still, I broke the silence.

After the class I came and picked up the treats, all seven trays of cupcakes under my chin, feeling victorious for finally breaking the ice and falling through.



woo-ee-oo you look just like buddhist holly

2329135138_9c4bd41bee_oThis is why I don’t believe in reincarnation: our time on earth is like going to school. It’s not always fun but you learn and have moments of clarity and enjoyment. Some classes you adore, others not so much.

Then you go to heaven or hell. And those of you going to hell? You know who you are.

Heaven’s a trip to Disneyland after graduation. Hell’s a trip to the DMV stuck in a line behind a bunch of 16-year-olds who failed their driver’s test at least 3 times because they can’t stop texting while driving.

Imagine God saying, “I know you love roller coasters here and eating all the cotton candy you want without getting sick. But it’s time to go back to school and forget all the subjects you learned.”

“You have to take tests you’re not ready for,” He says. “And there’s a big chance you forget to wear clothes and everyone sees you in your underwear just like in your nightmares.”

He’d never say that. And you wouldn’t go anyway, right? You’d say, “I graduated, it’s time for the Road Not Taken, the trip around the world I never took before I passed away. I’ll finally see what Stonehenge looks like.”

And God would never expect you to go back to school. So I doubt if Aunt Eulala is the fly that buzzes around me, or Uncle Buton is the spider that hangs out in the bathtub. Reincarnation and Buddhism? Not for me.

nothing to fix


Cherry blossoms on Good Friday
Image by prc1333 via Flickr

Losing hope means you
doubt but today is simply
hope dying. You learn


to act with an
open wound. Wait, sometimes there’s
just nothing to fix.

At day break, the light
doesn’t burst in, darkness’
intent gradates back.

Passion starts with a
kiss, ends with the soldier’s spear
piercing the sac for

the bloody gush of
water. Emily was right,
time does not assuage.

Time will never be
further away than it is
on this Good Friday.