Categories
Travel

My Most Memorable Travel Moments

The best moment of any trip, for me, is when I first step foot off the train (or boat, or plane, or bus, or tuk-tuk, or horse, or…). The whole of the trip is in front me, ripe with possibility.

Now Leontes’ eyes were at last opened to his folly. His Queen was dead, and the little daughter who might have been a comfort to him he had sent away to be the prey of wolves and kites. Life had nothing left for him now. He gave himself up to his grief, and passed in any sad years in prayer and remorse.

The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

The baby Princess was left on the seacoast of Bohemia, the very kingdom where Polixenes reigned. Paulina’s husband never went home to tell Leontes where he had left the baby; for as he was going back to the ship, he met a bear and was torn to pieces. So there was an end of him.

But the poor deserted little baby was found by a shepherd. She was richly dressed, and had with her some jewels, and a paper was pinned to her cloak, saying that her name was Perdita, and that she came of noble parents.

She had no more teaching than a shepherd’s child generally has, but she inherited from her royal mother many graces and charms, so that she was quite different from the other maidens in the village where she lived.

The day I no longer get excited to return is the day it’s time to find a new home.

Reaching the destination

One day Prince Florizel, the son of the good King of Bohemia, was bunting near the shepherd’s house and saw Perdita, now grown up to a charming woman. He made friends with the shepherd, not telling him that he was the Prince, but saying that his name was Doricles, and that he was a private gentleman; and then, being deeply in love with the pretty Perdita, he came almost daily to see her.

The King could not understand what it was that took his son nearly every day from home; so he set people to watch him, and then found out that the heir of the King of Bohemia was in love with Perdita, the pretty shepherd girl. Polixenes, wishing to see whether this was true, disguised himself, and went with the faithful Camillo, in disguise too, to the old shepherd’s house. They arrived at the feast of sheep-shearing, and, though strangers, they were made very welcome. There was dancing going on, and a peddler was selling ribbons and laces and gloves, which the young men bought for their sweethearts.

Florizel and Perdita, however, were taking no part in this gay scene, but sat quietly together talking. The King noticed the charming manners and great beauty of Perdita, never guessing that she was the daughter of his old friend, Leontes. He said to Camillo–

“This is the prettiest low-born lass that ever ran on the green sward. Nothing she does or seems but smacks of something greater than herself–too noble for this place.” 

When Miranda was grown up into a maiden, sweet and fair to see, it chanced that Antonio and Alonso, with Sebastian, his brother, and Ferdinand, his son, were at sea together with old Gonzalo, and their ship came near Prospero’s island. Prospero, knowing they were there, raised by his art a great storm, so that even the sailors on board gave themselves up for lost; and first among them all Prince Ferdinand leaped into the sea, and, as his father thought in his grief, was drowned.

But Ariel brought him safe ashore; and all the rest of the crew, although they were washed overboard, were landed unhurt in different parts of the island, and the good ship herself, which they all thought had been wrecked, lay at anchor in the harbor whither Ariel had brought her. Such wonders could Prospero and his spirits perform.

The day I no longer get excited to return is the day it’s time to find a new home.

Categories
Dogs Office

Meet the office dog, Taco

Taco is a Corgi who lives with Eva. There was a law in the city of Athens which gave to its citizens the power of compelling their daughters to marry whomsoever they pleased; for upon a daughter’s refusing to marry the man her father had chosen to be her husband, the father was empowered by this law to cause her to be put to death; but as fathers do not often desire the death of their own daughters, even though they do happen to prove a little refractory.

Theseus had no power to alter the laws of his country.

There was one instance, however, of an old man, whose name was Egeus, who actually did come before Theseus (at that time the reigning Duke of Athens), to complain that his daughter whom he had commanded to marry Demetrius, a young man of a noble Athenian family, refused to obey him, because she loved another young Athenian, named Lysander. Egeus demanded justice of Theseus, and desired that this cruel law might be put in force against his daughter.

To this proposal Hermia joyfully agreed; and she told no one of her intended flight but her friend Helena. Hermia pleaded in excuse for her disobedience that Demetrius had formerly professed love for her dear friend Helena, and that Helena loved Demetrius to distraction; but this honorable reason, which Hermia gave for not obeying her father’s command, moved not the stern Egeus.

Theseus, though a great and merciful prince, had no power to alter the laws of his country; therefore he could only give Hermia four days to consider of it: and at the end of that time, if she still refused to marry Demetrius, she was to be put to death.

When Hermia was dismissed from the presence of the duke, she went to her lover Lysander and told him the peril she was in, and that she must either give him up and marry Demetrius or lose her life in four days.

Responsibilities

Lysander was in great affliction at hearing these evil tidings; but, recollecting that be had an aunt who lived at some distance from Athens, and that at the place where she lived the cruel law could not be put in force against Hermia (this law not extending beyond the boundaries of the city), he proposed to Hermia that she should steal out of her father’s house that night, and go with him to his aunt’s house, where he would marry her. “I will meet you,” said Lysander, “in the wood a few miles without the city; in that delightful wood where we have so often walked with Helena in the pleasant month of May.”

To this proposal Hermia joyfully agreed; and she told no one of her intended flight but her friend Helena. Helena (as maidens will do foolish things for love) very ungenerously resolved to go and tell this to Demetrius, though she could hope no benefit from betraying her friend’s secret but the poor pleasure of following her faithless lover to the wood; for she well knew that Demetrius would go thither in pursuit of Hermia.

The wood in which Lysander and Hermia proposed to meet was the favorite haunt of those little beings known by the name of “fairies.”

Oberon the king, and Titania the queen of the fairies, with all their tiny train of followers, in this wood held their midnight revels.

Categories
Blog Entries Renewing Faith

Rebuilding Faith Community

W hen we think about renewal and “rebuilding” our faith communities, practices, and programs we are a part of, it is important that we focus on the strengths and places of life so that we are building on that which is most alive, rather than spending so much time or focus on the pathologies and weaknesses of the places we find ourselves. I have found that these weaknesses and pathologies persist whether you give them energy or not, but containing them within a framework of strengths helps the community not become overwhelmed by the issues.

One of the tools I have found extremely valuable for doing this is the social model of Appreciative Inquiry, a model of renewal that I have had the privilege of walking a number of communities through. Appreciative inquiry is a participatory change process that helps a community focus on the life that is already within the community. While there is a whole process to Appreciative Inquiry, it all starts with the kinds of questions you ask. A.I. puts a lot of care into the designing of questions that are meant to stimulate passion and gratefulness for the community, in order to draw out the kinds of insights that might help us to build upon the strengths. 

For instance, A.I. asks questions such as:

  • What brought you to this community and what keeps you here?
  • What are three dreams you have for this community?
  • In your opinion, what is the best part of this community? What is the core?
  • What do you bring to the community – this could be something that is common knowledge or things that people may not know about?

Recently, I had the opportunity to ask these questions as a part of a series of Sunday morning sessions I led on the topic of renewing faith traditions at a Quaker meeting. The class was a combination of some of my work and Brent Bill’s great pamphlet: A Modest Proposal for The Revitalization of the Quaker Message. There were about 20-25 of us who worked through this reading and topic over the course of about 5 weeks. 

I think the conversation was worthwhile and would highly recommend Friends wanting to have a discussion around renewal of their meetings to reading through Bill’s pamphlet. As a part of the discussion series, I also put together an eBook with some of my thinking on the subject that can be found here. I think both resources work well together.

Categories
Featured Practices

On Traveling in the Ministry

Learning How to Travel in the Ministry: The Past Bears Weight on the Present

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write about my traveling in the ministry with Lloyd Lee Wilson, a member of Friendship Friends Meeting and North Carolina Yearly Meeting (Conservative) this past June. It is about my first experience of traveling in ministry and what I learned in the process.

Lloyd Lee and I have gotten to know each other since we moved to Greensboro in 2015. With monthly lunches at a favorite local spot, he and I “talk shop,” swap ideas, and enjoy challenging ideas and imagining new ways to help revitalize Quaker community. One of the things I know about Lloyd Lee is he does a lot of what Quakers call, “Traveling in the Ministry,” and to be more specific to Lloyd Lee’s approach, “traveling in the ministry in the old style.”

Categories
Miscellaneous

Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂

Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:

You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community

If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

👋

Categories
Convergent Friends The Cultural

New eBook “Remixing Faith” Now Available

My new eBook “Remixing Faith: Seeds of Renewal” is now available for (free) download as an eBook or a .PDF.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to refine and summarize some of my thinking as it pertains to the concept of convergent Friends, remix, and renewing faith traditions and share it with Friends in a public talk. In that talk, I worked to distill down some of the ideas I think are most important.

I have put this talk together in ebook form complete with lots of pictures and illustrations and formatting that adds to the reading experience. I wanted to share this with all of you and make it as accessible as possible, so it is free to download as an .epub. It should work with most modern-day eBook readers and apps. If that doesn’t work for you, I have also turned the talk into a downloadable .PDF.

This eBook is a great entry point into some of the key ideas around convergent Friends, remix, and other concepts found in my book “A Convergent Model of Renewal (or Amazon link).”