Tuesday, June 30, 2009


My tomato plants are doing well so far this year. There are three together in the middle pot - that other pot is just supporting one of the plants so it doesn't drag on the ground. Just thought I'd share that. :)

Yesterday and today I was at North Middle School working on Understanding by Design aspects of the curriculum writing work for 10th grade mathematics for the district. In the bathroom in the school's library, a little sign hung on the wall that said,

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end."

I really liked that idea. I don't think I'd say it is universally true; for example, an evil person's ultimate fate might not be 'okay' in some sense. But I think it is more true than not and a good perspective on our daily pains, disappointments, and losses.

It is a virtue to be content. Sometimes it is harder than others - sometimes our needs are really not being met and we struggle with illness, loneliness, financial troubles, injustice, or whatever. No matter how great someone's life appears to be, all of us know pain - wealth, health, talents, fame, etc., notwithstanding. I have come to believe that no matter our circumstances, it is not so hard to be content unless we feel helpless/powerless/hopeless.

Hopelessness alone is, I think, the eater of peace in one's heart.

“...and despair not of Allah's Mercy; surely none despairs of Allah's Mercy except the unbelievers” (Yusuf, 87)

True hopelessness occurs if we no longer believe in the possibility of Allah's Mercy. If we, for example, convince ourselves that we will never find a mate, or that we will never get a good job, we are precluding the possibility of something beyond our expectation from Allah swt. At the same time, we struggle to put ourselves in balance with whatever the will of Allah swt may be - maybe it is not our fate to have a child or to get a promotion like we wanted to. But maybe something else, something ultimately better for us, is in store. Shouldn't we then always be living in a state of expectation for the mercy of Allah swt, that next surprise twist that ends up being wonderful? May Allah swt help us to attain and maintain that state.

Do people think they will be left alone saying: We believe, and not be tried? And certainly we tried those before them so Allah will certainly know who are true and He will certainly know the liars. (al-Ankabut, 2 & 3)

What would the point of our living be if we are not tried? If we are never tried, then we never grow. The disappointment I feel now makes me more compassionate to others facing similar situations in the future. It makes me better, insha'allah. And that is far better than getting everything I think I need or want.

What defines a person is how he handles disappointment. Great scientists, inventors, and so on generally experienced many severe failures before ever achieving a success. But that success only came because the disappointment of failure didn't destroy them - it didn't make them quit, wither away, or define themselves as failures or victims. So perhaps we can take a lesson - a disappointment or failure is opportunity. It is opportunity that hurts, sometimes a great deal, but probably a bigger opportunity with bigger potential benefit than something that comes easily.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Great Billy Collins and Taylor Mali poetry recitation

This one is funny - poem actually starts at about 1:50. The Litany by Billy Collins

This one is cute about mothers. The Lanyard by Billy Collins

Hilarious poem about proof-reading, not PG. The the impotence of proofreading by Taylor Mali

Sweet, funny poem about his dad's "security system". Labeling Keys by Taylor Mali

For Whenever You Feel Like Quitting

My friend posted this on Facebook, thought it was worth sharing (from the movie Dodgeball):

"Well I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn't have anything to regret for the rest of their life."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fairview Cemetery relatives and "New" Car

Today I went to Fairview Cemetery to visit the rest of the family graves that mom and I did not get to for Memorial Day. These are all from my dad's mom's family - her cousins, I think, and her grandpa - my great-great grandfather.

The photos are here.

Also today I bought a 2008 Hyundai Elantra that had only 57xx miles on it. I think I got a good deal on it and hopefully it should be a good, long-lasting, relatively safe, reliable and good-gas-mileage car with a low monthly payment. Here it is with the dealer plates still on it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


We had a huge beautiful double rainbow (actually, upon further inspection, I think it is a triple rainbow - right underneath the brighter bow the colors repeat, but it doesn't show up really well in the picture.) this evening in Colorado Springs. I took a few pictures that don't do it justice and posted them here.

"And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth."
~~Genesis 9:12-17~~

As far as I can tell, the rainbow is nowhere mentioned in the Qur'an.

I did find this hadith from Imam Hasan (as):

"Regarding the rainbow, you should not name it 'Quzah ---the bow of Quzah-' because 'Quzah' is the name of a devil.
You should name it 'Qawsullah---the bow of Allah-'. It is security against drowning."

Now, this could refer to the mercy covenant mentioned in the Bible, or it could also refer to the simple science of rainbows - in order for the rainbow to appear, the sun must be shining into the rain, which means that clearer skies are around the area of the rain and thus there will not be enough to threaten flooding.

Please let me know if you find any other religious references to rainbows, I'd love if people would share them.

In any case, rainbows are beautiful signs and are merciful if for no other reason than their beauty and the rain associated with them.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Will Rogers Shrine and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Mom and I went here today. It is a very serene, beautiful "castle" halfway up Cheyenne Mountain - everyone should go once. See photos on Facebook.