How does an ant eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Big problems are composed of smaller, albeit interconnected, problems. Solving the smaller problems will have an implication on the larger problems.

27 August 2010

 "We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered."
-Tom Stoppard

26 August 2010

Ground Zero Debate

I have to take a moment to purge a few thoughts on some of the big news of late. If you have an EDUCATED opinion on the matter, I would love to hear it. If you are going to purge your biased views and opinions and cannot back it up with anything, I don't care to hear it, especially if you are going to base it off of what you hear from any sort of extremist (e.g. Glen Beck). I really just don't understand the opposition on this one though. 

So as you may know, there has been the "Ground Zero Mosque" talk. In summary, there has been a lot of controversy about whether or not it is appropriate of building an Islamic community center near Ground Zero (about 2 blocks away). The center will include a pool, health club, restaurants, mosque, etc. and will be open to the public. The designer's mission in mind is to increase religious understanding and tolerance. Unfortunately, there are people that do not even have their facts straight and have also let their "patriotism" get the best of them.

Okay, that being said, let's discuss 9/11 for just a minute. I get it. I get that people are trying to be patriotic. That is great; patriotism can be a wonderful thing! I take a lot of pride in my country and in being a citizen of this country. I also get that this patriotism that is interlinked to the "Mosque talk" is stemming from 9/11. We lost around 3,000 lives on that tragic day. The day of the attacks drastically changed the lives of those that were directly affected, but also changed countless Americans and many more around the world, indirectly affecting millions of people. It was a substantial victory of "evil", if you will. Unfortunately, now there are those that see anything related to these "Islamic" terrorists, such as a Mosque at Ground Zero, as a threat or something that is going to further destroy our country; some sort of defeat.

This mindset if VERY difficult for me to comprehend, especially as an American citizen and knowing what America stands for. We are a country, where men and women have fought for many generations, to protect our rights, including the First Amendment - Freedom of Religion. I think there are too many that easily forget this. It is disheartening to see a country full of wonderful, successful people succumb to hate, ignorance and fear.

My thoughts have been brewing on this topic since it hit headlines, however, the necessity of purging my thoughts stem from an article I just read that my dear friend Rebecca posted to facebook about Mayor Bloomberg's impassioned speech on religious freedom. I also just finished reading his speech, which you can access here.  I encourage you to read it; I personally find it quite moving. He brings up some very powerful thoughts and points about religion, but also about terrorism and patriotism. Along with Rebecca's posting she also said the following, which I thought was so well put, "We all get to have our beliefs and respect others....the only way it will work. Sadly, there are extremists, power-monger's, haters, fearful people in every religion and 'non-religion' religions or philosophies and there are also wonderful, kind tolerant people as well. What we need is those that are tolerant to build bridges and come together..." I couldn't agree more! We can learn so much from each other, but we must be patient and keep an OPEN MIND.

Bloomberg said, "We do not honor their lives by denying the very Constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights - and the freedoms that the TERRORISTS attacked." This includes more than just tolerance among Muslims, but of all religions and/or belief systems. How great is it that we live in a country that we have the right to find our own "happy-medium" and discover what we truly believe, as an individual, and what we want in our life...we are not forced to believe any one way, we do not all have to believe the same or think the same - how awesome is that, to be able to have that diversity within our country?! I think it is pretty great! I love and respect it and find it terrible to hear that Islamic centers and mosques have been subjected to protests and harassment, with protesters shouting obscenities, such as, "Jesus hates Muslims" and "Muslim children are murderers". What has our country come to when you get these extremists (yes, including those that are in the media) saying we should not allow "even one more mosque in the US" or other churches conducting "Koran burning days". What is this accomplishing?! Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I guess for me, the bottom line and the point I am trying to make is this, quoting Bloomberg:  "Islam did not attack the World Trade Center – Al-Qaeda did. To implicate all of Islam for the actions of a few who twisted a great religion is unfair and un-American. Today we are not at war with Islam – we are at war with Al-Qaeda and other extremists who hate freedom." To say that this center cannot be built NEAR (not even ON) Ground Zero is a horrifying thought, in my opinion. There is no good excuse, in my mind, of why it SHOULDN'T be built.

May we all be a little more tolerant. May we all be a little more open minded and accepting. May we all be a little more loving and trusting.

23 August 2010

LOST: The Season Finale

As I mentioned sometime earlier, I got roped into LOST; I started season one as everyone else was well into the airing of the sixth season. I was able to catch up with the LOST junkies two weeks before the show finale. I never thought I would become entangled in this show, considering how much I revolted against the show, before watching it, but now I shock myself again by saying, I miss it ever so dearly!
For those of you that have no idea what it is about, this video, in my opinion, does a decent depiction. However, because it is such a confusing show, you likely will be left even more confused after the clip (hence, why you must watch the entire show - all six seasons - like I did). Actually, if you feel so inclined to watch, I would love to watch the entire show again at some point, so please invite me over!

My awesome coworker, Heather, who is the genius that started my obsession, hosted these awesome LOST parties every week. I was able to attend the last two, which included the season finale. For the season finale LOST party however, she went all out! She required all her guests to dress up either as a LOST character or something pertaining to the show (or simply to wear island gear) for the night. There were also decorations of all sorts that were LOST-related and good island food.

Welcome to the DHARMA initiative
Here we have Kate and Charlotte
Not Penny's Boat...and here is Charlie
Our diamond/spider couple that are buried alive

LOST Junkies

Just as a side note, don't you wish all these questions (or at least some of them) were answered?

19 August 2010

Engrish and Language Food for Thought

I thought, since I recently got home from a semi-lengthy trip to Europe, my Thoughtful Thursday would come from the trip. This is a little different from my "normal" thoughts that I love and try to post each week. All of those which I have posted thus far, have some sort of meaning to my life right now and with what exactly I am thinking in/about life. So, this week is more about a thought I have every time I travel or encounter people that don't speak English, or maybe only speak it a little bit.
This Engrish (an attempt at English) is probably some of the best I have ever seen when I have traveled. I generally travel with the same over time, we have started little games and competitions. Finding amazing Engrish has become one of our games. About 6 years ago, when we traveled to China with Clog America, we found the most amusing, hysterical translations. We laughed for hours (and still laugh) about some of the things we saw translated that made absolutely no sense at all. From that point on, we decided every time we went abroad, we would make a point to find the best, most humorous translations we could. I have also found this website to be more than humorous from day to day. 
Anyhow, so how this all ties into what I am thinking...well, part of the reason I love to travel abroad is to be able to play the jovial, and at times frustrating, game of charades. I love the challenge of communicating this way. It makes me happy (most of the time). Language fascinates me though, including body language. It is amazing how much we can communicate without words. I also find it amazing though that despite language and different cultures, we are all humans and we all want the same underlying things. We experience the same emotions: love, pain, joy, fear, anger, disgust, optimism, anticipation, trust, surprise, name it, we as humans experience it, despite language barriers, despite cultural barriers, despite religious barriers...our emotions are the same. This idea throws me into such a deep though about life, in general, and people. I have been comforted by someone that doesn't speak my language; I have been brought to anger, impatience, fear and disgust all by people that don't speak my same language (as I have possibly done this to others as well). I can honestly say I have loved many that don't speak my language and felt the love returned. It just amazes me. I think a lot of times we look at the differences between "us" and "them" and think those differences are SO large, but they aren't really. The differences, in my opinion, are but few and the similarities are many. 
I feel as if I can't completely get my thought and point across and I am now rambling, so I will stop. Bottom line, I love ENGRISH :)

08 August 2010

Congrats to Paul & Bren!

Paul Larsen & Bren Jackson, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
I realize that I have a lot to catch up on from the past few months...good stories to tell, pictures to share and thought to purge. However, in the meantime, my congratulations are in order for one of my closest friends and cousins, Paul (aka Sterling) and his beautiful bride, Bren. They were wed here in Utah yesterday, which was followed by a lovely luncheon and reception last night.
I was one of the official groomsmaids, yes, you read right....a groomsmaid, along with four other lovely ladies. Between us and the gay best man, we made up quite the team! It was a lot of fun having friends from DC in town and family from Kentucky as well.
The best man and a load of groomsmaids!
I mad the mistake of changing into the only other dress I had in Provo, for the reception. All I can say is, who wears a white summer dress to a wedding reception (especially if you are going to be carrying around a boquet of flowers!). I didn't realize it until someone came up to me and Jared and told us that we actually look like the bride and groom...
Our "wedding" picture.
Best of luck to Bren and Paul as they start their new life together! Love you both!