Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Note

Many happy blessings to all of our loved ones around the globe! Life is happy on our end -- the decent into darkness now past, we are moving into the light with pleasure! Lots of visitors to come in 2010 and Mexico in February. There is much for which to be grateful.

Current considerations: Keeping our jobs, keeping up with Henry and Hope, keeping the house a semblance of clean, keeping the vision of The Selkirk Group alive, keeping learning, keeping the love of marriage as front of mind as that of parenting, keeping connected on Facebook, keeping the heart open and the mind focused...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Celebrating the 80's Way

80's mayhem ensued in celebration of our friend Dave's 40th birthday. We rocked the house to "oldies," nostalgia taking firm hold of our hearts and hips -- so much fun to see people's alteregos emerge! Much hair and many gloves worn...ahhh, former fashion faux pas... This was certainly one of my more memorable moments in Sandpoint to date!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fall Fun in Sandpoint

Turkeys, aka Sandpoint traffic!

An almost-snow walk along Lake Pend Oreille with the family. Henry was playing hide-n-seek in the leafless trees and Hope was sporting some pretty cool new gloves!!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Resiliency & Optimism

Considerations on Optimism from a mentor of mine.


Today we are living in very challenging times. These times challenge our ability to positively cope and maintain hope. Highlighted by the recent events at Fort Hood, I have been especially concerned about the emotional well being of the members of our military, police officers, emergency/fire first responders, etc. You might have noted that the US Army announced in August that it will spend $117 million on “Emotional Resiliency Training”. Their resiliency training program is being adapted from the Positive Psychology Program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The program, designed to help people cope better with stressful conditions, seeks to defuse or expose common habits of thinking and flawed beliefs that may develop into anger, frustration and a tendency to assume the worst.

In thinking about the emotional intelligence underpinnings of “emotional resiliency”, I would like to highlight Optimism. Optimism carries with it an element of positive expectation towards the future…hope…a positive self-fulfilling prophecy…which fuels a positive self efficacy. Optimism is the subscale of the EQ-i that carries with it the greatest degree of correlation with all other EQ-i subscales. Optimism could be considered a master trait for comprehensive emotional well being. Additionally, Optimism has a high degree of correlation with Stress Tolerance (.76) which suggests that Optimism is a significant factor in one’s ability to cope with stress. The difference between a pessimistic versus optimistic outlook towards the stressful situations we face often involves our own thoughts, beliefs, and self talk. The problem is that our own beliefs about our situation often are faulty, and not based in fact, which often creates fear. Remember the definition of F.E.A.R : False . Evidence . Appearing . Real. Much of human potential has been robbed by faulty beliefs about what is possible fueled by fear. With the seemingly constant flow of negative news, there is a battle being waged against people’s minds…driving self defeating, pessimistic, faulty beliefs…undermining hope…which undermines human potential and capability.

I encourage each of you to join me in helping in the battle being waged against people’s minds:
Provide hope
Be an encourager
Focus on the positive
Try project happiness and cheerfulness every day…happiness/optimism gives energy to others…pessimism takes energy
Cultivate a spirit of thankfulness…learn to be thankful in your own life and express thankfulness to others

Finally…lift others up. In extremely difficult times dealing with tragedy and the loss of life like was experienced at Fort Hood, I am often at a loss for what I can do for those affected. I have found that my simply saying to someone experiencing a crisis that my thoughts and prayers are with them and meaning it…seems to give them hope and encourage them. I have tried to dedicate myself to being an encourager and someone who lifts others up. I see people every day who need encouragement and lifting up. I am certainly not worthy of doing this, but maybe that is what it is all about. We are all fellow strugglers in this life…perhaps I might lend a hand to lift another up…but I need others to lift me up. I challenge you to find someone in your sphere of influence that is downtrodden…they are often the seemingly insignificant people that our society overlooks…the waitress…the janitor…the lawn worker, etc. Find out their name, compliment them on their work…lift them up…encourage them. Besides, you will benefit from it too…research has shown that people who help others are the most self actualized.


Rich Handley

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Day, New Hair

Change is in the air...and the hair...haven't had it short since moving to Idaho. Gotta let go sometime!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Active Kidlets

Who knew 1 & 3 would be so active??? Here are some recent shots of kids in motion.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Funny about Living this Life

Well-wriiten fun about our choices in the lifetime...

Here is my favorite part for those who need a summary:

Most of my married friends now have children, the rewards of which appear to be exclusively intangible and, like the mysteries of some gnostic sect, incommunicable to outsiders. In fact it seems from the outside as if these people have joined a dubious cult: they claim to be much happier and more fulfilled than ever before, even though they live in conditions of appalling filth and degradation, deprived of the most basic freedoms and dignity, and owe unquestioning obedience to a capricious and demented master.

I have never even idly thought for a single passing second that it might make my life nicer to have a small, rude, incontinent person follow me around screaming and making me buy them stuff for the rest of my life. [Note to friends with children: I am referring to other people’s children, not to yours.] But there are also moments when some part of me wonders whether I am not only missing the biological boat but something I cannot even begin to imagine — an entire dimension of human experience undetectable to my senses, like a flatlander scoffing at the theoretical concept of sky.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Friendship Abounds

A simply glorious reunion of friends out in Mazama this past weekend -- delights aplenty on the edible and companionship fronts. Our dear friend Lara took these amazing photos of the kids; what an artist!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Racing for a Cure

Fun event in CDA -- our small way to show our support for the very dedicated efforts of many in the fight against breast cancer. H & H were troopers, riding along, taking it all in!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Challenging Times; Staying Clear

There has been a lot of change going on at work for both me and Shannon -- mostly at the leadership level. While we are both still gainfully employed, the distraction and disruption of changes has just made it all the clearer to focus on the very simple, important aspects of life -- home, family, friends, the joys of children. We are everso blessed each day and so very grateful for the abundance which surrounds us.

At this time in the Jewish calendar when reflection and pause take center stage, I am awed by the power of kids to transform the heart. The delight that I experience watching Henry come up from the ground smiling ear to ear having just flown over his handle bars on his bike...the spark that ignites within me when Hope begins to giggle uncontrollably, now even before I have started to tickle her inner thigh...the amazement I experience as Hope signs a new word or in Henry's precocious, "Actually, Momma Diana, I am wondering if perhaps we should have pasta tonight for dinner"...the calm which overtakes me as I hold their pure and undistilled energy in my arms...such blessings.

At this time of atonement, as I take stock of the commitments I have made and those I have broken, I recommit my energy and spirit to my family -- to nurture and cultivate deeper connection, a refined presence, full intention. And in doing so, I ask for guidance from my best new teachers, Henry & Hope, to keep me on the path so that together we continue to flourish.

Support Equality -- Approve WA Ballot Measure 71

While we here in Idaho are no where near equal rights for domestic partners, my friend Jill has articulated the need for action in WA State. To help, here is a great posting for all to read:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

End of Summer Fun

Annual family photo -- kids are growing!!!
Hen and Shannon just waking up in the yurt
Di and kids at Iceberg Point State Park picnicking

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A little bit of yurt heaven

Here are some photos from our dear friend Lara when she and Melissa came to see us on Lopez -- she has an eye for the good things in life!

A Farewell to Daycare

Henry's first day of pre-school and Momma is a bit teary as her little one is growing up...alas, this will be a wonderful transition for Henry. Here is a farewell to his previous daycare:

We are back from a week of vacation -- more on this to come. Suffice to say, we are all grateful to come home to such a lovely space, yet also longing still for the fun and friends of the past few days!

Monday, August 24, 2009

an angry day...transforming

i had/am having an angry day today. admittedly, i did not get much sleep last night and what i did get was nyquil induced due to a nagging chest cold... but i feel unable to shake it and the events of the day have not helped. they are back to cutting our trees down -- despite rumors that our petition worked, the county is back at their hack job cutting our beautiful stands of aspens and firs, just in advance of their prime come fall when the colors rock my world! it is not just that they are cutting innocent and lovely trees -- it is that they are doing it terribly, leaving scarred remains and closing the road at the most inconvenient hours without any warning to the residents. i was so angry at them this morning that i took "shame" photos (see above). I sent them on to the head of roads and bridges for consideration.
at work today i encountered equally frustrating examples of people not being accountable and making excuses. this irks me more than anything. i mean, human beings are flawed and make big mistakes...but the greatest human travesty is the inability to take ownership of this and be responsible for one's own stupidity. i mean, come on! uurrrgggg.
so now I am off to home -- the kids will be sad because our friends anne and shelli have left -- they came for a too-short, but wonderful visit during which time we went on a great hike high into the cabinet mountain wilderness. henry hiked 3 of the 6 miles!!!! it was incredible -- and the huckleberries were to die for! so, yeah, not all is bad in these here parts. even just thinking about yesterday's adventure (on shannon and my first "married" anniversary) already has me a bit brighter...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

24 Feet Rocked!

Amazing feat (pun intended) by Team 24 Feet coming in 44th out of 75 teams! 185 miles in 28 hours, 12 minutes. What a ride it was!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday Musings

Sunday morning and I find myself alone in the house – it is just 8:30am and there is an unfamiliar quiet here. Shannon has taken the kids to Priest Lake to play with Poppa Buddy and Bonnie as I prepare for a late morning tai chi class and then time to myself. Such a gift this moment…I almost wasted it as I often do by busying myself in the service of others – walking the dog, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, watering the plants – but instead I take this moment to settle into words and coffee and the morning sun on the trees outside the window.

The pace of late has been just over my comfort zone, with the added complexities of a trip to Ohio for the family reunion, daycare closures, a bout of stomach flu for Henry, Hope’s new molars erupting and Shannon and I completing 198 mile relay from Spokane to Sandpoint. Where once our normal activeness had me dreary, but willing, these last few weeks have taken a toll. I feel psychically worn, which when paired with simple physical exhaustion, leaves little left. I am not a fan of complainers, so I am trying to keep this “oh woe is me” story tightly held, but it is present and influencing my interactions with life…so better to own it and then strategize around it. Today will offer me needed time for recovery – a chance to breathe a little deeper and remind myself where balance can live within this body.

I had an interesting set of existential moments during our relay race. My second leg began just after 11pm and was a 5.5 mile run along a set of country back roads on the Idaho side. As I started, the dark night sky was filled with stars and I delighted in the freedom of adventuring out into the unknown at a time when I would normally be fast asleep. At 2 miles, our van had pulled over and as I passed, they all gave me an encouraging, “You got it!” and off they drove onto the next exchange. As I watched the red taillights disappear into the distance, a disquieting feeling set in. I was alone. There were no other runners near me and a moist fog had settled into area. I had a small flashlight to guide my steps, but all I could see was the ground directly in front of me – all around was dark and obscured. Coyotes howled in the distance and dogs barked as they sensed my movement passing the end of the long driveways that led to their homes. My mind began its machinations. “Who was lurking in the trees?” “What if a dog came after me?” “Does anyone know where I am?”

I alternated between a visceral panic and a logical talking down that I had simply been watching too much CSI of late. I focused on the run itself, getting one foot in front of the other, avoiding the washboard potholes and mud puddles I was sure would cause an ankle sprain. Still, my mind raced. What of this feeling of being so alone? What of its vulnerability? What was within me that could take me the next 3.5 miles in such darkness and solitude? I drew power from within and continued on.

Finally, I arrived at the Silverwood Theme Park to meet up with the other 11 members of the team awaiting the thrill of riding The Tremors rollercoaster. It was midnight, my body and mind both exhausted, and I was escorted quickly into line so that we could board the coaster. I had been dreading this ride since we registered for the relay but had convinced myself that as a team member, it was an opportunity to put the team first and go for it. As we proceeded up the ramp, my stomach tightened and I thought I might vomit. Shannon was eager and excitable like a kid. Her encouraging “this will be great” made me both confident that all would be fine and furious at her lack of understanding of what the past 45 minutes in the woods had extolled from me. Soon I was ushered into the seat, my belt checked, safety bar lowered. There was no getting out now.

The Tremors is an old wooden rollercoaster that uses speed, darkness and right-angled turns to terrify you in place of the loop-de-loops and free-fall of the newer models. Without warning, it propels you at speeds greater than 65 mph down, around, into tunnels, up, right, left, down, up, down, up, down…finally settling you back where you started, adrenaline in full force, stomach in your throat, head a-spin. Even at my best, this would not be my choice of fun, so in the state I was in, I was pushed pretty much to my edge. During the ride, I found myself in such a state of blended panic and disbelief that I simply went inward, deeply inward. I let go in a way I rarely do, rarely am able, into full surrender. Such was the moment. It lasted only a minute or so, but it was profound. I realize now that this place of surrender is an option, should I ever choose to return to that space. It is a place of uncanny calm and resolve – a kind of freedom beyond what I am accustomed to.

While I did not intend the race to hold such interesting moments, I certainly am grateful to be living fully enough to have them, all-the-while also enjoying the fun and exhilaration the race itself offered. It was certainly an adventure; probably much like labor, within days the pain and discomforts will fade and an excitement for doing it again will emerge!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

24 Feet is Off!

The fun (and insanity) is about to begin!!! 12 stalwart members of Team 24 Feet are about to begin the Spokane to Sandpoint Relay -- taking us roughly 190 miles from the top of Mount Spokane, WA into our very own Sandpoint, ID. It has been pouring rain the last 24 hours, so you can imagine the anticipation we feel!!! But we have slick new shirts, A LOT of good food, 2 huge vans and some fine team spirit to lead us on!

You can track our progress here:

If you want to see details of this journey, check out the S2S site:

See you on the other side!!!!!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Reunion of Families

We took our gang to Ohio last week to meet members of both the extended Barnes and Cushing families. Seeing Great Grandma GG (92!) was a definite highlight, as were the many wonderful activities that Jim and Duane organized for the family. Henry and Hope had a blast, especially swinging on the big swings, learning about fireflies, and getting to swim in the hotel pool.

For those who want to see GG in action:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Save the Trees, Please!

With news from around the world being as troubling as it is, it feels like slight hyperbole to "rage" against what is happening right in our own Sunnyside neighborhood...alas, trees are being removed systematically without any public hearing or community input and it is quite troubling. Here is a brief note sent today to our County Commissioners -- if anyone else wants to weigh in in support of green, here is a link to their office:

Good Morning,

I understand from my brief conversation with Commissioner Rich that there will be time on today’s meeting agenda for public sentiment to be shared regarding issues facing our county. While sadly I cannot be there in person due to work obligations, I would like to voice my strong opposition to the devastation which the Sunnyside neighborhood has wrought over the past week. The multitude of trees which have been systematically downed is startling. Where once a beautiful stand of aspen lined the road, bringing shade to walkers and homes to birds and other animals, there is now NOTHING. The barrenness literally brought tears to my eyes last night coming home.

Even more infuriating are the older pines which are situated on the Petersen’s property with large pink circles awaiting their demise. These trees have been on this property since the time the Petersens bought it many years ago. Due to illness and age, the Petersens themselves cannot fight to save these trees, so I am imploring you to STOP action on removing these living beings – they are not only part of the unique nature of our community, they sit in fragile waterways which house many, many species of wildlife.

Commissioners, I ask that you please take a few moments out of your day today and drive to Sunnyside Rd. See for yourselves how barren it looks and how many other trees are marked for removal. Please consider how sacred our habitat is – how vital these trees are not only to the historic beauty of the area, but to the survival of the many birds and animals that use these trees for food and shelter. Just this spring I watched for quite some time a spirited pileated woodpecker playing in the same set of aspen trees which I described above – sadly, this will never again be possible.

I understand the unique challenges you face as Commissioners trying to mediate between the needs of many different constituents. I understand at times you must make very difficult and unpopular decisions. Today, on this matter, I ask that you side with the citizens of our county, with the residents of Sunnyside, with the trees and the animals who live among us.

Thank you very much.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Celebrations a Plenty!

What a fun week of celebration! 41, 1 & 3 never looked so good! The highlights included our birthday trifecta gathering on the 11th, complete with Shannon-style margaritas, awesome friends and lots of play time on the slip-n-slide! Then came watching Hope eat her first cupcake -- huge bites stuffed eagerly into her mouth -- surely she has learned to eat from watching her moms! Added wonders were Henry's first beetle in the Bug Bungalow, the whole gang, including Grandma Linda, in attendance at The Wiggles Live in Spokane and an evening swimming with the kids in their birthday suits down at City Beach.

Live feed of Hope's cupcake inhalation can be found here: