Monday, November 27, 2006

Seattle Trip

My family arrived home late last night from a small weekend trip to Seattle. As promised, I processed the pictures and posted my favorites below. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Snoqualmie Pass

Driving conditions over Snoqualimie Pass were miserable, not so much because of snow and ice, but because hordes of holiday travelers were crossing the pass after spending Thanksgiving weekend on the coast. Most of the time we drove less than 10 miles per hour, and several times we came to a complete stand still. Going over the pass set us back about three hours. By the time we reached the east side of the state, road conditions had deteriorated into dangerous patches of black ice, causing us to get home much later than we would have liked. But thank the Lord we arrived safe and sound. My children are now sleeping peacefully in their beds.

The Seattle Temple

Sunday morning we toured the grounds of the Seattle Temple. The building itself seemed somewhat bleak and uninviting under the dark, overcast sky, but the surrounding gardens and statues seemed to welcome us. I have many happy memories here; from the first proxy baptisms I did in 1984, to my first endowment in 1990. After Rhonda and I married, we used to visit this temple at least once a month. So much changed since then, it seems like a distant memory, but I never regret any time I spent in the Seattle Temple learning how to be in relationship to the divine. My relationship to God changed and grew, but this place played an important role in my early spiritual development. I remember the temple with tenderness and honor.

My Other Favorite

This is my other favorite picture from our trip to Seattle showing Dakota near the waterfront. He looks so happy here exploring new places in the world. I'm very proud of his enthusiasm for learning and experiencing new things.

The Seattle Aquarium

My children loved the Seattle Aquarium best of all. Of course, I felt the same way when I was their age. These photographs come from my two favorite places in the aquarium. The first is a giant tank where the fish swim above and all around the people; it's like being inside the fish tank. We used to call it the "bubble" when we were younger. My other favorite place is a tank where people can touch the starfish, sea anenomes, and other aquatic creatures.

Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is probably my favorite landmark in Seattle. I love the way I feel around all the people, cultures, interesting shops, and food. Something about me feels alive there the way it doesn't in other places; I have nothing but positive memories. For example, every time we visit the market, we have to see the statues of Buddha on the lower level. It reminds me of when we went there with Derrick years ago and he had to have his picture taken next to the Buddha.

Honoring the Water

Visiting the beach, we saw these brave souls kayaking on the Puget Sound. It looks like a lot of fun; only if the weather were a bit warmer. I suppose they honor the water in their own way. On the other hand, Whitney helped me sing a song from the Spokane Tribe to honor the spirits of the water. Oddly enough, we're a landlocked tribe, but we still have songs from the ocean. I guess the sea is powerful enough to inspire our ancestors to render it proper reverence and respect through song. I certainly feel that way every time I stand on the beach, no matter where I go in the world.

The Lighthouse

Dakota walking on the cold, windy beach.

The lighthouse at Discovery Park.

After visiting the Indian Cultural Center, we visited a nearby lighthouse. The kids had asked to visit the waterfront, even though the wind and rain chilled us to the bone.

My Favorite

This is my favorite picture of my daughters from this trip. They looked so sweet wearing their matching coats and showing their loving, playful spirit. This picture is more spontaneous and unscripted than usual; and while they posed for a two or three dozen photographs over the weekend, this one shows their truest, most endearing nature.

Indian Cultural Center

Guardian of the Spirit.

My family looking at old canoes.

After breakfast on Saturday morning, my family drove toward Discovery Park, and took a long, winding road through a grove of trees. The road ended at a place called Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. As it just so happened, there was some kind of event going on when we arrived where people were selling a variety of coastal Native American crafts.

Outside, we saw this amazing terra cotta Indian sculpture, salvaged from the White - Henry - Stuart Building when it was renovated in 1976 (it was originally built in 1909). The statue now stands about six feet tall and had tobacco offerings at the base. Apparently, people have begun to see some kind of spiritual significance in having this old man near the cultural center. A marker refers to this piece as the "Guardian of the Spirit."

A little later, we saw a handful of old canoes once used by the Coast Salish people. When I saw them, something quite unexpected happened to me; I literally started to weep. I'm not sure what it means, or why I felt that way, but seeing those old canoes moved me beyond words.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Snowball Fight

Whitney gearing up to make a snowball.

On the way over to Seattle, we stopped for a snowball fight along the side of the road. When I was a kid, I absolutely hated snowball fights; maybe because I always ended up getting pummeled by really mean kids who liked to pack the snow into hardened ice-rocks, leaving bruises, welts, and other minor injuries. Of course, playing in the snow with my own children is a very different thing; no one aims to kill or maim the other, and we generally just try to have fun. Actually, I loved it. I mean, I really loved it. We laughed so hard we almost cried for joy. That's what winter was always meant to be.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


We spent the day taking in the sights in downtown Seattle; Pike Place Market, the Aquarium, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, and others. The kids loved it, and I loved watching their excitement. I'll post more when the pictures come in.

Oh, I almost forgot; I took the kids to see some of the places I used to live, my old school, and my old church. They were very interested in learning more about their father's childhood history.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Next Level

My family left Spokane this morning for a short break away from home. We braved the snowy pass and are now staying in a Kirkland area hotel. We plan on visiting the Seattle waterfront tomorrow. Our kids haven't seen this part of the state in more than five years, so I'm really glad they'll have this experience. I'll post the pictures when we get back to Spokane.

Earlier this evening, we had dinner with my friend Tresa. She previously lived in the Boise area and completed the Spectrum training in my same group (LT-24) back in 1998. We had a wonderful time remembering our training experience and re-kindling previous commitments to self-awareness and personal growth. In fact, her husband led us in an improvised process around the issue of enrollment. I expressed my personal hesitation around enrolling others into the training and he proceeded to uncover other areas in my life where I hesitate in a similar manner.

As a result of this process, I realized something rather profound about myself. When I completed the training 8 years ago, I was so focused on resolving painful issues in my life, I didn't have much space in my life for looking at issues of enrollment, money, or abundance. I'm not suggesting pain has gone away completely, but I'm not focused on it. Pain doesn't drive me anymore. For the first time in my life, I'm beginning to look at my relationship with things like money, power, professionalism, and abundant living.

At one point he asked us, "Do you have everything you want?" I had to say I do not yet have everything I want, so why not? What holds me back? What would my life be like without my personal hesitations and reservations? Where will I go from here? I'm not exactly clear where I'm going, but I'm clear where I'm not, and that is the first hurdle. I'm ready now for the next level.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Thanksgiving day was both blessed and unusual this year.

The day was blessed for all the normal reasons, such as good food, happy visits with loved ones, and the sound of children laughing. Rhonda's family came over for dinner and spent a wonderful time with us eating and playing games.

It was unusual because of a whole different set of circumstances. We invited one of Anthony's friends for dinner, and when I went to pick her up, there were two cop cars outside her house. I still don't know all the details, but some runaway girl had been hiding out nearby, and so the cops interviewed me just because I showed up on the scene. Later on, I went to see K in the hospital. He was recovering from being "jumped," which resulted in several broken ribs and a punctured lung.

Regardless of the events of this day, I still took time to give thanks for my life, my beautiful family, and my children. I also gave thanks for having a warm house and that people don't ever want to beat me up, and that I don't have police officers looking for me. Yes, I give thanks for all this and more. :)


One of the great things about holiday dinners is the way all the cousins get together and play. These three in particular are absolutely inseparable. I think I have pictures of them together from every family dinner or gathering in the last few years.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Home Away From Home

When I was a kid, I used to think the Spokane County Courthouse and Jail was my father's home away from home. Nowadays, I'm beginning to get that same impression for someone else I know... :) I made my weekly visit, and left sad and reflective, as usual.

Alberto and Yoana

Several weeks ago I visited Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon, Utah. I saw this couple taking turns to pose for photographs with a small disposable camera. I offered to photograph the couple together and promised to send a print copy. My computer crashed in the interim, but I finally fulfilled my word. Only very rarely do I ever stop strangers to ask for pictures, but I'm glad I did.

The Covenant

The Old Testament tells the story of King Josiah who ruled over ancient Israel when he was only eight years old. While still a young man, he authorized an extensive renovation of the Temple, where workers accidentally uncovered an old copy of scripture, or the Book of the Law. A priest read the book aloud in the presence of the king, causing him to weep. I'm not sure if the people no longer owned copies of the book, or if it simply fell into disuse, but the king realized his people had gone astray from its sacred teachings. He caused the book to be read to all the people, who joined him in renewing their covenant to the Lord (2 Kings Chapters 22 and 23).

Something happened recently to remind me of this story in my own life. About eight years ago, I completed a training through a company called Spectrum. The training provided a safe place for me to peel back the layers of limiting beliefs and to remember who I really am. Contrary to the way I normally lived my life, I discovered this one truth:

I am a courageous, passionate, worthy man.

This statement became an agreement or covenant between me and the universe. It is a reflection of who I really am on the deepest level. When I honor my commitment, I experience the world as exciting and clear; but when I betray my commitment, I tend to behave in exactly the opposite way; I become timid, fearful, anxious, lethargic, worthless, and irredeemable. This covenant has become a measure of integrity and honor.

Several years after completing the training, I forgot my commitment and fell into a time of deep darkness and depression. Through incredible effort, I slowly returned to my original self and began to experience goodness once again. After Spectrum closed, I started staffing the Great Life in Utah.

As if to remind me of my word, I was digging through some old junk in the garage, and I found an old written copy of my agreement made all those years ago. I was stunned! The paper was wrinkled, stained, and had holes in the center, but the message is the same. I felt like Josiah, who had lost the Law and then had it restored to him. I'm grateful to remember my own commitment and sense of self-worth.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Terry Walker

Looking for an old friend online, I discovered instead her obituary. Terry Walker was my best friend's mom when I was in grade school, and became like my own flesh and blood relative. She introduced me to the LDS religion and was directly responsible for my baptism. The last time I saw her alive, she had come to Spokane for my missionary farewell. This photograph is from that day. I'm sad to see she's gone; I pray God's blessings upon her family.

Soul Dance

My wife and I co-facilitated our first workshop in many years. We used to do this kind of thing a lot, but then life got hard, and our workshops sort of fell by the wayside. It felt good to resume our work together.

We held a Soul Dance Workshop in the beautiful surroundings of Heartsong near Tum Tum, Washington. A handful of people joined us, and had positive experiences. More on this later...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dream Catchers

My family spent the morning with Paul and Angela's family making dream catchers. Some time last week, both their daughter and their foreign exchange student from Jordan asked me to teach them. I made hoops from willow branches and brought my beads for decoration. All of our children seemed to really enjoy the project.

Learning to make dream catchers was the last thing I ever did with my father before he passed away. It is an honor and a privilege to pass that knowledge on to our children.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Faces of Nature

Sunset in Wellpinit...

Water under the bridge...

These are the faces of nature as I saw them today; water under the bridge on the Little Spokane River, and a sunset in Wellpinit. It was a beautiful day. Since I woke up this morning, I felt the presence of spirit in my life.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Graduate Degree Posted

My graduate advisor at Whitworth College called this afternoon to say my Master's Degree in Education formally posted this week. I can pick up my transcript today. After so many years, I can hardly believe it's finished. Now I can add letters to the end of my name:

Barry G. Moses, M.Ed.

In all fairness, I know my wife will want me to mention she beat me to the punch by adding letters to her name last year. She completed coursework at Inland Massage Institute, and now holds the title Rhonda M. Moses, LMP.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jail Dreams

Rhonda and I received a letter from our 19 year old foster son, Anthony. He writes from the Spokane County Jail and talks in length about several recent dreams. I basically taught him what my father told me as a young man; that dreams are a primary source of wisdom. I advised him to write down his dreams and look for insights. He took my advice, and after a series of three important dreams, he received answers regarding how to resolve his current situation. The answers may require a certain degree of sacrifice, but at least now the path is revealed.

I'm glad Anthony is beginning to look inward for answers and take accountability for past wrongs, though I recognize he tends to express a greater interest in spirituality during times of incarceration, or other situations where he's compelled to be humble. I just hope he will continue his inward journey long enough to make some lasting changes for good.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Homeland Insecurity

The Spokane County Courthouse and Jail.

Once again I've threatened the national security by photographing sensitive buildings. It all started last year when I photographed the Federal Building in downtown Spokane and provoked a curbside interrogation by federal officers. All I wanted was a shot of the fountain all lit up at night, but the authorities quite nearly accused me of spying on the building's "hidden security features." A few months later I actually received a written citation for photographing a friend near the Social Security office. Now this morning I got stopped by yet another officer for photographing the Spokane County Courthouse and jail at sunrise. I thought it was quite beautiful, actually, but the gentleman treated my aesthetic sensibilities with suspicion. He said, "It's not a crime to photograph this building, but I'll still need to take your name, in case we need it;" whatever that means...

In the age of domestic and foreign terrorism, it seems the world has become less secure with artistic inquiry near government structures. I guess I'll just have to be more mindful of my surroundings before I start snapping photographs. In all fairness to those who protect the people from harm, I see how my innocuous little hobby might seem like a threat to all we hold dear. If they really knew me, however, they would see how harmless to the national security I really am.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Always the Princess

Anyone who follows this blog with any degree of regularity will know my daughters think of themselves as princesses, especially McKenna. She wore a tiara to our date last night at the Spokane Symphony. In so many ways she acts the part; she demands respect and can be quite stubborn at times, but deep down she's just a sweetie. As we were riding home, she was quiet for the longest while, and then out of the blue she announced, "I love you daddy." She says it so rarely, I simply learned to cherish those moments when they happen.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Spokane Symphony

The Spokane River as it appears by the old Opera House.

We've come full circle tonight with a visit to the Spokane Symphony. Several years ago, my friend Francesca invited me to the Opera House to sing an honor song for the symphony rehearsal. Standing on the platform with conductor Morihiko Nakahara, I sang one of my father's prayer songs. The river flows just a few hundred yards from that exact location, and it felt as though all the ancestor spirits could hear me. My son Dakota stood with me that night.

One of the musicians who heard me sing was so moved, she later called me on the telephone. Since then, she and I have corresponded regularly by email. Her name is Candace, and I believe I mentioned her once or twice before on this blog.

Well tonight, I received two tickets from Francesca (at Candace's suggestion) to hear Roby Lakatos play the violin. He was amazing!

This time my daughter McKenna accompanied me as part of a daddy daughter date. I'm intrigued by the way our lives are slowing beginning to connect. Many thanks to Francesca and Candace for a very wonderful evening.

On a slightly different note, my wife and I discovered McKenna's love of classical music quite by accident. At one point we were flipping through radio stations as we took a long family drive. We stopped for a moment on a station with classical music and McKenna insisted on listening. She absolutely loved it! Even tonight, the show lasted for over two hours, but she never asked to get up or leave. She doesn't even sit through action movies that well. After the performance ended, I asked her what she thought and she said it was excellent.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Sisters

Several weeks ago both sister missionaries in the Brentwood Ward were transferred out at the same time. We were very disappointed, until we met the new sisters, Sister Watkins from Saint Louis, Missouri and Sister Evans from Sandy, Utah. They joined us tonight for dinner, dessert, and a spiritual thought.

According to my tradition, I asked each missionary for a quote. Sister Evans quoted the Book of Mormon in a selection on prayer, Alma 34:17-27. I was especially moved by verse 26 where the prophet admonishes: "...pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness." That one verse made me remember all the wilderness places in my life, and all the times I cried unto God for mercy.

Sister Watkins quoted President Benson: "Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can. He will deepen their joys, expand their vision, quicken their minds, strengthen their muscles, lift their spirits, multiply their blessings, increase their opportunities, comfort their souls, raise up friends, and pour out peace. Whoever will lose his life in the service of God will find eternal life."


After all these years, I'm still grateful to know the missionaries, and to receive them into my home.

Island of Color

The gloom of winter began in earnest a few days ago when heavy, gray clouds rolled in from the southwest and dumped torrents of rain and slush on the area. I'm thankful for the turn of seasons, but I tend to experience a form of seasonal affective disorder or depression if the weather stays dark for too long. That's why I felt happy to see the clouds part late this afternoon and allow the golden sunset to brighten the last few minutes of day. I especially appreciated an old Ferris Wheel standing barren and unused over Market Street, but still an island of color against the cold, bleak days ahead.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Rhonda's grandmother Uella spent the last few weeks as a guest in our home. At 90 years old, she often remembers her childhood better than than she remembers last week. For days on end, she told the most endearing stories about her beloved husband, her deceased daughter, her older brother, her parents, and so many others who touched her life over the years. Sometimes she forgot what she already said and repeated the same stories, but I enjoyed them every time. More than anything, I was grateful to sit in her presence and witness such a shining example of a life well-loved. She went back to Arizona this afternoon and will be missed.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Abominable Cheese

Few places expose the generational divide more than Chuck E. Cheese. All around, children nearly trample one another to exchange hard currency for worthless plastic trinkets, while parents huddle together for mutual support against the rising cacophony of grade school hysteria. Children as young as 3 years old experience their first adrenaline rush of preschool gambling by plugging money into brightly colored machines in exchange for a small paper ticket. After winning only a handful of tickets, they rush to the counter with breathless anticipation to claim their prize. Indeed, after spending $57 for pizza and an introduction to childhood gaming, my kids come home with a pencil eraser, a cracker jack sticker, and a small piece of hard candy.

Once the tokens run out, my children suddenly take interest in other activities. For example, a video camera takes a running feed of anyone who cares to stand in front of it. My daughter McKenna holds a flimsy plastic microphone and assumes a very professional demeanor for the monitor. She speaks with remarkable Katie Couric style and says, "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the news. Drip, drip, drip, it's wet outside. It's raining (pause). It's pouring (pause), and the old man won't stop snoring." She held her face so serious and still I absolutely could not hold back my laughter.

In the end, I'm glad my children enjoyed the evening, even if I had to endure the torture of the abominable cheese.

'Quality' Art

If misfortune or lack of parental willpower find me at Chuck E. Cheese, the only things I ever enjoy are the ski ball lanes and the little camera machine. Where else can you get 'quality' art for only 25 cents? Rhonda and I pose here for a grainy mugshot that mercifully hides all my blemishes. :)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Earth and Sky

I'm pleased to introduce my first photograph edited on Gimp.

As I mentioned before, my brother-in-law Paul restored my computer using the Ubuntu operating system rather than Windows XP. I've been somewhat frustrated learning the new rules, especially my apparent inability to import photographs from my digital camera, but Paul spent several hours at my home this evening formatting the computer. I'm very happy to edit my pictures once again.

I took this particular photograph on the way home from the winter dance in Wellpinit. The full moon shone brightly in the western sky as the clouds raced by in the quick, balmy wind. The night looked to me like a mystical union of earth and sky.


OK everyone, sorry for the delay. I haven't posted for several days because we've switched back to our main computer, but my brother-in-law installed Ubuntu as the operating system, rather than Windows XP. This thing functions very differently than anything I've ever seen before, and I'm about ready to pull my hair out. However, I promised him I would give it a fair chance. Of course, the first thing on my agenda will be how to get digital photographs from my camera onto this operating system. I'm sure then to resume posting as usual.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Taste of India

I finally presented my sister with a very belated birthday dinner at a Taste of India; she chose the place. We had soup and bread, but she insisted we got the wrong soup, or at least it was not the same as before. I've never eaten Indian food, but I thought it was good. It's always nice to try something from a different culture.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Blogosphere Cameo

I made a "cameo" appearance in two blogs lately; first in Seth's blog from the campus of Brigham Young University, and second from my old friend Gary. Seth posted my picture, and Gary credited me with inspiring him to start his own blog. Both blogs are linked to the left of this entry; one under Seth Hill, and the other under Gary's Gratitude.

Winter Returns

From my desk at work, I heard students yelling about the snow. When I went outside, sure enough, the snow returns to mark the beginning of winter. This is a season when the spirits return and everything else in nature sleeps. The snow covers our doings from the previous year in preparation for a new life in spring.

Dance Lessons

My daughters took ballet lessons last year, and had a wonderful time, but only Whitney decided to continue. This year she is taking jazz lessons and seems to really enjoy it. She's the cutest dancer I know.


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