Sunday, December 30, 2007

Learning from the Mormons

"The church believes in continuous revelation," so its doctrines can evolve.

From Polygamy to Propriety, "The Economist," December 22, 2007-January 4, 2008 issue

I too believe in continuous revelation. Revealing information that others kept in the dark for whatever reason may change my perspective on the existing body of knowledge that was always in the light.

Reveal and evolve, reveal and evolve, this motion moves us forward as human beings. Don't be afraid to learn from everyone and everything around you, hearing revelations like the pop of a champagne cork on New Year's Eve is intoxicating.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Clinton Rally: December 27, 2007

Iowans for Hillary Rally: Bill was at his best. I would like to see these two back in the White House.

Premier Pizza, 121 East State Street, Algona, Iowa, U.S.A.

Photo by LJ Runkle

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Covering the Candidate

HEY: I want their cameras. That is my holiday wish.

Up Close: Rally With Barack Obama

Rally for Obama: Wednesday, December 26, 2007

One of the benefits of participating in the first in the nation political caucuses is candidate visits close to home. This photo radiates the up-close-and-personal touch of presidential election years in Iowa.

After I took this photo and studied Obama in Photoshop, I could see that campaigning was taking a toll on him. In his speech tonight, he said that his Christmas wish was for eight hours of sleep.

Photo: LJ Runkle

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ouch: Words Hurt

The Word Continuum

Words have the ability to soothe, excite, subdue and/or execute the human spirit.

As a journalist and enthusiastic Scrabble player, words are my trade and hobby. I realize the potential of A, E, I, O, U and sometimes Y to draw blood when they smoothly and concisely couple with their consonant companions can be devastating.

It is easy to verbally stumble when we forget that our nouns and verbs penetrate the emotions of others. Our sentences have the authority to heal, cajole and/or torture the psyches of our readers.

Sadly for me, I recently waterboarded a friend with several reactionary paragraphs.

It is a long story, but to summarize the disaster, the two of us had been wallowing in a pattern of dysfunctional behavior for some time. Despite my hope to modify the destructive energy in the air, communication between us took a turn into the neighborhood of irreparable damage in late October/early November 2007.

As a woman who practices Buddhism, I am aware that we are all able to make major changes in harmful behavior patterns in our lives, a vicious communication cycle between man and woman was the problem in our situation. Dr. Andrew Weil, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and practitioner of alternative medicine, believes that when we have established negative patterns of behavior with other human beings and with ourselves, it is possible to use self-awareness to reverse the devastation and mayhem. I believe this too, but the reversal process into the light involves a commitment on both sides, a commitment to understanding why the undesired behavior is happening and replacing darkness and turmoil with luminosity and fresh air. I would have appreciated the opportunity to work together with this man in order to begin the healing process, but I don't think he wants the same thing.

I have lived, learned and currently remind myself daily to heed the advice of Sophocles, a dramatist who was familiar with the intimacy of tragedy. When our words threaten to destroy the bonds that connect us to others:

"Hush! Check those words. Do not cure ill with ill and make your pain still heavier than it is."

Friday, December 21, 2007


What's the News?

Reading this morning on-line caused me to mourn the loss of world news in the United States.

I return home to America in mid-December 2007, after living in Rabat, Morocco for two months, and I am immediately inundated with the American news agenda.

1. News from the Iowa caucus repeated and analyzed over and over hourly;
2. The push to remove Christ from Christmas: gasp and moan;
3. Iraq: the one country Americans should be able to locate on the map;
4. Iran: echoes of the axis of evil. Remind me what America spends on defense...;
5. Baseball players on steroids;
6. Afghanistan and the Taliban-“Look at those beautiful poppy fields! Aren’t they pretty;”
7. The story of the day that will be beaten to death by the end of the day and resemble a dead horse, whinny and neigh.

American evening news global reporting can be described in five words: “the world in one minute.”

U.S. and local news occupy the next 20 minutes. And, what would the evening news be without a countdown-to-Christmas advertising frenzy dominating the final nine minutes. (Times are approximate. I guess-ti-mated based on extensive exposure to American culture and the evening news.)

Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart need to have their say in creating the reality that is American news. Don’t forget to buy everyone. Patriotic Americans support the economy and the troops. I plan to relax with my Mentho Balm after writing this blog entry. Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I feel pretty, oh so pretty...

And I am a boy!

on the road with the best of friends

The Map: Dreams and Destinations


I helped Mubarak round up our four camels under the light of a full orange moon. I found camels to be easy-going companions who kept a cool head at all times.

Me and the Sky



What trails of laughter or cruel human deeds do we leave behind?

Walking in the sand improved my thigh muscles more than any Western-manufactured exercise machine could.

Tea in the Sahara with Ana, Ibrihim and Mubarak

Ana at dusk on the dunes
After a one-week trek in the desert and through the mountains, I still have sand in my sleeping bag.

About Me

My photo

What do I do? That’s a question with more depth than the deceiving three-word construction would lead us to believe.

I live on planet earth with other folks, and I’m involved in the field of education and learning. I’m a life-long learner with a passion for knowledge and the process of bending bits of ideas into new constructions of beauty.