Here we are, deep in the Here we are, deep in the dog days of another summer. School is out, vacation days are being cashed in, and picnic baskets are being packed. Barbecues are firing, pools are splashing, and ice cream trucks are rolling. Meanwhile, thousands, yea millions, are taking to the great American highway.
Near Mpumalanga, South Africa, are the marvelous and mysterious Echo Caves. Rediscovered in the last century and turned into a tourist site, these caverns are home to a truly remarkable ecosystem. One of the more amazing species found there, is its famous and unique wild fig trees. As far as plant life goes, these fig trees appear to be normal run-of-the-mill fruit bushes. What makes them so famous is the unseen: Their roots. Researchers and spelunking scientists have followed the roots of these trees deep into Echo Caves — 400 feet deep to be precise — the deepest known root system in the world.
I’ve been traveling a lot this summer. While I love visiting new destinations, sometimes I dread the whole security process at the airport. Standing in lines and being herded like cattle can feel like such an inconvenience. I miss the days when I could just walk to the gate and board a plane. It’s easy to complain, but I understand why we have such extreme security measures.
I’ve made a habit lately of studying the Amish. I use the word “study” loosely as this is not a simple curiosity of mine or some kind of theological experiment. My exploration flows out of a deep respect and admiration for their faith and spirituality. We English (that’s what the Amish call us outside their communities) recognize them because of their familiar beards, horse-drawn buggies, fine woodworking, or barn-raisings, but there’s a lot more to this group than sturdy furniture and firm dispositions. They have a lively, vibrant faith despite their archaic lifestyles.
Light serves a profound function in our lives. Receive too much or too little of it and you’ll experience physical and emotional effects. I remember visiting Alaska in the summer and reading a book by sunlight at 2 in the morning. This was a pretty cool experience, but it made it quite difficult to sleep during my normal times. I also have many friends who live in Seattle and talk about the lack of sunlight they receive on a regular basis. It’s not uncommon for a person to choose where she lives based on the light available in that state. Light affects everything.
My wife and I do some baby-sitting for a single mom we know so she can have some well-deserved “alone” time. Recently, we took her two munchkins to the dollar theater and watched “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.”
Light serves a profound function in our lives. Receive too much or too little of it and you’ll experience both physical and emotional effects. I remember visiting Alaska in the summer and reading a book by sunlight at two in the morning. This was a pretty cool experience but it made it quite difficult to sleep at my normal times. I also have many friends who live in Seattle and talk about the lack of sunlight they receive on a regular basis. It’s not uncommon for a person to choose where she lives based on the light available in that state. Light affects everything.
Shame on SCOTUS. Its recent 5-4 ruling to allow the owners of Hobby Lobby and other closely held, for-profit enterprises to deny certain types of reproductive health care to its women employees moves society backwards.
Every American knows that the Fourth of July is Independence Day. If we’re honest though, the first thing that comes to mind is, “Sweet, I get a day off work.” We plan our social calendar with pool parties, barbecued burgers and homemade ice cream.
The movie “The Matrix” features a computer hacker called Neo, and deals with the themes of reality and freedom. In the movie, most of humanity has been enslaved and locked into a virtual reality called the matrix, which is controlled by intelligent machines. A dawning awareness has led some to escape from the matrix and form a resistance group to fight the ruling machines. Neo joins the rebellion, and struggles to free humanity from the grand illusion of the matrix.
I received a mystery package recently, opened it up, and discovered a popular appetite suppressant inside. Sprinkle this magic powder on your food, the included literature instructed, and allegedly it would cooperate with your sense of smell to curb your cravings. And here it was in my hands — a whole box of the stuff. But I didn’t order it.
There’s a proverb that says if you love something, let it go. If it returns, it’s yours. If not, well, it never belonged to you in the first place. But had my son Braden written that proverb it would go more like this: “If you love something and it won’t cooperate, stomp the guts out of it.”
I have a very low tolerance for temperatures above 85 degrees, so living in Arizona in summertime is a challenge. I have friends who love heat, the hotter the better, and it’s hard to understand that I’m not just complaining. Some days I really do feel like I am struggling to survive.
Today is Father’s Day and it made me realize (once again) how blessed I am to have the dads that I have, and how grateful I am to still have them! Their characters molded me, just like your dad’s molded you.
I flipped on CNN and Anderson Cooper was interviewing the CEO of Starbucks. He said, “You were hired in 2008 because your company had begun to spiral downward. What did you do to turn things around?” Howard Schultz replied, “I implemented a transformation agenda.”
Rick Savagian, owner of Mountainside Martial Arts Center, started his first self-defense karate program in Ahwatukee Foothills in 1979 with just six students. After 35 years in business he is now proud to say he has taught more than 11,000 students with more than 100 earning black belts.
The Torah is the soul of the Jewish people. It is our sacred story, written on a scroll and in our hearts. The Torah, or Five Books of Moses, binds the Jewish people together across place and time. It tells a tale so massive, so all-encompassing that every Jewish person finds him or herself within it.