Stopping to Smell the Flowers by Marie Cartier

Photo by: Kimberly Esslinger

There is a saying, “Take time to smell the flowers.” Attributed to many different sources, it means among other things–  take time and be grateful. Take time and relax. Take time.


Photo by: Kimberly Esslinger

In that spirit I am sending along pictures from the amazing “super bloom” California is experiencing this spring. It is the most magnificent we have ever had, I think. It happens once a decade, but we are lucky to have had a super bloom in 2017 and now this year as well.  California had an extreme drought last year and then extreme rain this past winter. And now we have flowers…and flowers. Poppies are the state flower of California and they are being celebrated—all over. And people dropping in by helicopter and influencers ruining some of the poppy beds by laying in them for Instagram pics. Yes, it’s been crazy. But, when we were there (my wife and I) on a past Sunday, it felt so magical that so much of Los Angeles it seemed was out to smell the flowers. You can see a picture of folks lined up (my wife at the end in the picture below) photographing the flowers. Flowers suddenly are the new super star!

Continue reading “Stopping to Smell the Flowers by Marie Cartier”

Just South of Ventura by Sara Frykenberg

For those of us living in Southern California, it has been a tense week to say the least: flames ravaging up and down the coast, homes lost, thousands displaced, freeway and school closures, smoke thick in the air, and ash raining from the sky.

And the fires are still raging. 

Whether or not one is directly impacted by the wildfires here in Ventura and Los Angeles County, you can’t walk through the grocery store, turn on the radio, or get a cup of coffee without engaging the fear and concern, or hearing about the devastation left behind. We are sharing a trauma, howbeit differently, and with different levels of need.

I have been lucky during the fires.  I live just south of Ventura. My work is on the Getty side of the 405: it was threatened, but not in flames.  I spent the week checking in with family and friends, offering my home, and breathing the toxic air. I also made dinner, picked my brother up from the airport, attended a baby shower, and graded papers. … This is a strange juxtaposition, and like many Californians, I have had a hard time processing what’s going on.

On Sunday afternoon, surrounded by the unnatural darkness of an ash filled sky while traveling down the 101 freeway, I wrote the following. This is my effort to make sense.  And I offer it to you all here, in case this helps you make sense too.  Continue reading “Just South of Ventura by Sara Frykenberg”

To Have and to Hold: Gay Marriage and the Religion Question

If a conservative religious traditions can’t give their mothers or sisters full equality, how can we expect them to give a GLBT individual the time of day?

John Erickson, sports, coming out.Outrage.  Anger.  Fear.  Hatred.  These are just a few of the words that flashed across my Twitter feed as I woke up on that fateful Wednesday, June 26 morning when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA) was unconstitutional and that supporters of Proposition 8, the hotly contested voter initiative in California that banned same-sex marriage, had no standing.   People were mad.  However, it wasn’t just the typical kind of mad that is associated with hatred, it was a type gay_marriage_81102178_620x350of mad that was met with impossible anguish because what I was reading and feeling was a result of one thing: there was nothing more they could do.

What does all this mean?  Questions from friends and family were filling up my inbox and although I wanted to take a moment to just hit “Reply All,” and input the words: Equality, I had to hold back and start to examine the notion that although equality may now be firmly on the proverbial table, there is still a lot of work to be done, specifically for gay marriage and those wanting to marrying inside the traditional church spaces they grew up in and not just the ones that have come out as open and affirming in recent years towards LGBT individuals. Continue reading “To Have and to Hold: Gay Marriage and the Religion Question”

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