Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Neighborhood Moose

Rhonda and I were leaving our home this afternoon at about 2:45 when we saw a wild moose running west on Salmon Avenue. I was so shocked I shouted and dropped everything I was holding. We drove down the street and saw the moose had stopped in our neighbor's yard. I jumped out and got three pictures before someone from the county yelled at me to back off. I wasn't close enough to be a threat, but I decided to comply and got back in my car.

The appearance of the moose in front of our house is significant for several reasons. My wife recently had an important dream about a moose and I have also had many dreams about the spiritual influence of the moose in my life. I thank God for this wonderful sign presented at our doorstep.

Matt and Mandy

I finally succeeded in posting more wedding pictures. Matt Hope was the lucky groom.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mandy's Wedding

Mandy got married last Saturday and asked me to take pictures. Unfortunately, I've had trouble uploading pictures to this website. Only this one succeeded. When the problem gets resolved, I will post more photographs from the wedding, including the groom.

This picture made me cry. Mandy's little brother Tucker stood in for their father Steve who passed away a couple years ago. When I saw them standing there together, I broke down into tears, and of course then Mandy had to cry too. It was a very tender, bitter-sweet moment. Right after this photograph, Tucker walked his sister down the aisle in place of their dad. How beautiful!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Daddy and Daughter

My new work schedule keeps me away from the kids more than ever. Whitney feels the separation more than the others and made a point to mention it to me. "We should go on a daddy-daughter date," she told me. "Great idea..." I said, and so I picked her up from School and went to the mall. We took our pictures in the photo booth, bought some kids books, and then got some ice cream. I'm glad she suggested spending some time together.

Grandma Great

Grandma Great returned from Arizona to spend the next few weeks in our home. She will attend Mandy's wedding in Ephrata and then stay until Thanksgiving. We're very excited to have her with us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


My son presents a conflicted story of tenderness and grief. He's one of the most lovable and charismatic people I've ever known, and yet his life is a cycle of tragedy and wasted dreams. When I saw him this morning through the glass at county jail, he looked more undone than usual. His expression seemed almost frantic, and even his clothes seemed unkempt and crazy. I feel so sad for him, and I beg God to let me help, yet I always run against the same damned obstacle: my son gets to choose his course in life, even if it quite literally kills him. Nothing I do can assure his recovery from this endless shadow of the soul. Other times I beg God to at least let me know what will happen, but I cannot see the end of this painful road. As much as I hate to admit, the old saying is true: only time will tell.

To make matters even more depressing, I also saw one of my son's former girlfriends. She arrived at my house after spending several days driving aimlessly in a borrowed car. She said she was trying to avoid going back to her user friends. She wore a spaghetti-strap blouse, revealing a multitude of scabs and sores across her upper chest. Her face looked withdrawn, gaunt, and utterly exhausted with life. And to think she's not even 20 years old! How tragic.

Sometimes the pain of it becomes unbearable. Every day we live with death, or at least a tangible possibility of death.

Even so, I force myself to find beauty in the world. Of course, I never have to look far. Just this morning, I saw the most amazing red leaves contrasted against a white picket fence. Only a few moments later, I saw the sun rise through the fog. It's all so simple. Beauty lives all around us and within us. What would I have to pay to get my son to see the beauty in life, rather than the dark insanity of his drug-addicted world?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I saw Robert running down by the waterfalls, no doubt escaping the pressures of city life waiting above. That place has always been a refuge for me too; close to home and easily accessible from the street, but almost totally natural; an island of paradise on the edge of suburbia. We got a chance to talk about life and ways to quiet anxieties in the mind. Of course, visiting the source of waters does wonders for clearing the mind, and has become something of a regular ritual or a pilgrimage for me. Now I see it has become his ritual too.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Bioneers Conference

Several months ago, a recent acquaintance invited me to facilitate a workshop during Spokane's first Bioneers Conference, to be held simultaneously with the national conference in California. To be honest, I had never heard of Bioneers, so I determined to learn more. From their official website, they had this to say about their values and mission:

"Bioneers are biological pioneers who are working with nature to heal nature and ourselves. They have peered deep into the heart of living systems to devise strategies for restoration based on nature's own operating instructions. They come from many cultures and perspectives, and all walks of life.
"Bioneers are scientists and artists, gardeners and economists, activists and public servants, architects and ecologists, farmers and journalists, priests and shamans, policymakers and citizens. They are everyday people committed to preserving and supporting the future of life on Earth. They herald a dawning Age of Restoration founded in natural principles of kinship, interdependence, cooperation, reciprocity, and community."
Retrieved from: on October 20, 2007.

In the following months, it became clear they wanted me to speak about restoring and preserving indigenous cultures. I was also informed I would co-present with John Hartman and Jill Wagner, who are both employed by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe.

My Presentation

About 19 people attended our session. John and Jill spoke first about their work protecting archaeological sites within the traditional territory of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. They are not tribal members, but they provide a valuable cultural work for the people.

After hearing the scientific perspective of cultural preservation, I had a chance to share my experiences with indigenous education and spirituality. As I spoke from my own experience, I began to sense something of my own contribution to a wider spiritual awareness on the continent. Though these words were never spoken, one thing became clear: I will have to find a way to tell my life story. To be honest, I'm both humbled and frightened by the prospect.

The Campus

Visiting the conference site on the Spokane Falls Community College campus brought back memories of my younger years as a college student at that very institution. I obtained my Associate of Arts degree from the Falls back in 1996.

Today the campus was nearly desolate, with the exception of a scattered handful of conference attendees. Everything seemed heavy with moisture, from the brilliant-colored trees dripping with rain water, to the dark blue storm clouds hanging low overhead. And yet even amid the hovering rain, the clouds occasionally parted just long enough to allow the sun to enter and illuminate the raindrops like crystals falling from the sky.

I met so many wonderful people tonight, but sadly I didn't get any pictures. I always feel awkward asking people for their photograph when we just meet. In time, perhaps I'll get the chance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New Job

The dean sent this email to the IEL:

"I am pleased to inform everyone that Barry Moses has accepted the position as the new GED/High School Completion Annualized Evening Instructor at the AEC. He was chosen out of an exceptionally qualified group of candidates.

Barry has worked in our program at Colville and the Hillyard Center and he brings excellent qualifications and experience to this position.

Please join me in welcoming Barry to the Adult Education Center!"
Yes, I accepted a new position at the IEL and am thrilled for the opportunity. I'm especially excited to contribute to developing additional curriculum for our students. Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support. By the way, the photograph above was taken in my new classroom, after the students left for the evening.


OK... I know I've taken a lot of pictures of downtown lately, but I just had to post this picture of Riverfront Park with the bright fall colors. The day started out so beautifully; warm, sunny, and perfect.

Solar Power

Yesterday, I got this view of the Saranac Building and especially noticed the solar panels. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so I'm sure they got some great solar energy. I'm so glad the folks at the Saranac are taking such a leadership role creating environmentally friendly structures.

Subtle Details

Brick cobbled street at the east end of Riverside Avenue.

Lions on the pilasters.

Purple glass embedded in the sidewalk concrete.

All kinds of details emerge the more time I spend in downtown Spokane. Ever since I started working at the Saranac, I've had lots of time to notice all the subtle details. Cool.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Walking down Riverside Avenue this afternoon, I stopped to notice the old brick architecture so characteristic of downtown Spokane. In fact, parts of the city are still quite old and tired-looking, but something about them makes me think of distant memories from my childhood. Faint images still survive in my mind's eye and so these images are like a happy reminder of former times. Even the old car reminds me of something my dad used to drive. Yes, it reminds me of happy things from times past.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Rising Sun

Dakota and I saw the most amazing sunrise Saturday morning. We had gone to the Spokane Reservation just as the sun began to appear over the horizon. A thick layer of fog completely covered the Spokane River and seemed to form a river of clouds. We were running a little late, but when absolutely had to stop to photograph this amazing sight.

Mary Ann Harding

The trees surrounding Summit Valley Cemetery...

On Friday morning I attended funeral services for Mary Ann Harding. Mary was a fairly close relative, descended from the Spokane Tribe, and later adopted by a non-Native family in Summit Valley. I didn't know her well, but she was very close to my cousin Samantha. Mary was only 41.

Initially, Samantha only asked me to sing a traditional Native song at the church, but the preacher didn't follow us to the cemetery, so with no other minister present, she asked me to perform the graveside service as well. Samantha and I stood together by the grave and sang our grandfather's song. We performed a blessing on the grave with cedar smoke, and then I blessed the crucifix by reciting the Lord's Prayer in Salish.

Standing by the graveside, I invited the people to take a moment of silence and appreciate the natural beauty surrounding us. The trees had turned a bright golden yellow and the wind made a soft sound upon the leaves. The changing seasons remind us that death brings a new phase, and those who die are born into new life.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Color Red

Red is my favorite fall color, especially when it combines with a fiery orange, or the golden glow of yellow leaves. Beautiful.

Drops of Light

Walking alone through the city park, I noticed a sparkling of light in the grass. I looked down and saw a thousand drops of dew glimmering in the sun. It's amazing to think I just happened to pass by in that moment to see the light reflected at just the right angle. It reminds me to appreciate the small wonders of life.

Urban Wilderness

An urban wilderness appears almost imperceptibly beyond neatly trimmed yards and manicured gardens, like these flowers growing between the curb and the street, or this tiny patch of wild grass growing within an opening in the sidewalk cement. The perseverance of nature inspires and reminds me to never give up, no matter where God or fate may carry me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

School Pictures and Other News

The kids had school pictures today. Of course, we ordered from the standard channels, but I couldn't help getting a few shots of my own, especially with the fall colors as a background. Who could resist such a sight?

In totally unrelated news, I attended my first staff meeting at Community- Minded Enterprises. We stand at the beginning of a promising endeavor as we begin to make plans to host about a dozen students from Ecuador. They will come to Spokane to engage local youth and traditional leadership in questions related to community sustainability. The project excites my imagination on many levels. I'll be sure to post updates as the project grows and develops.

And this evening I got a total blast from the past when I spoke with my former mission president Julio Alvarado. Wow! We haven't spoken since I left Guatemala in 1993! He sounded older and a little more tired, but his voice had the same character and tone I remember from all those years ago. He had recently come to the United States to attend some church related meetings in Salt Lake City. Of course, Sister Alvarado sounded just as cheery, cordial, and precise as always. When I was a missionary, I remember President Alvarado always delivered the doctrinal and disciplinary counsel, while Sister Alvarado instructed us in proper etiquette, courtesy, and correct Spanish grammar. In so many ways, they were truly the mother and father of the mission. Some things never change.

Finally, there's been no word yet on the results of my job interview. Hopefully I'll get good news soon.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I interviewed this morning for a full-time position with my current employer. By all appearances, the interview seemed to go well. They will let me know the results by the end of the week. In this photograph, I'm posing with my new interview clothes, and in response to my recent critics, I decided to actually smile. :)

Warmer Days

After my interview, I took a short stroll through Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane. I think everyone simply enjoyed the last warm day of the season; runners, guys playing Frisbee foorball in front of city hall, other walkers visiting on their lunch hour. If I could only hold onto these warmer days...

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Web

Spider web in front of our house...

Downtown Spokane on a cloudy day...

A spider took the time to adorn the front of our house with natural Halloween decorations. I loved the way the sunlight caught the web. The rest of my day was less interesting. I attended meetings downtown, and got a few pictures of the city under a covering of clouds.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I arrived in Wellpinit early Saturday morning, just as the sun began to appear in the eastern sky. What a beautiful sight!

Morning Star

I got up early Saturday morning and drove back to Wellpinit. As I crossed the prairie above Charles Road, I stopped to appreciate this crescent moon and the morning star. I think the star was really a planet, but either way, it created quite a lovely picture against the backdrop of the rising sun. This is one of my favorite pictures in quite a while; I just had to share it with you.


I went to lodge with the brothers this Friday evening and discussed a troubling dream I had recently. To make a long story short, I dreamed I saw the future when all my elders finally passed away and I was left alone. Sometimes we talk about changing the misfortune portrayed in dreams, but how can we change a dream like this? Someday my elders will grow old and die; that cannot change.

As we discussed these things, a rainbow appeared in the sky, directly over the lodge. It seemed to happen at the perfect moment and remind us all to appreciate the beauty of our life relationships for however long or short the time we have together. Once again, nature is the perfect teacher for all of us.


On the way to Wellpinit this Friday afternoon, I stopped to appreciate this cornfield, about a mile above Little Falls. I really do like fall colors.


Despite my discouragement over the upcoming darkness this winter season, I cannot help appreciate the beauty of fall. I was driving toward downtown Spokane Friday morning, and as I reached the top of the Division Street hill, I saw a blanket of fog covering the lower part of the city. I passed Corbin Park and just had to stop for these photographs. The contrast of the bright red trees fading into the fog was simply beautiful.


Friday Morning

Catching up on old blog entries, I got up fairly early Friday morning to see the sun rise and thin sheets of silvery-white frost on all the car windows. Winter is returning, and I'm fighting back the discouragement of facing another cold, dark season in Spokane.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Looking north...

The entrance to the Sherwood...

The Paulsen Building...


My mind is absorbed with thoughts of windows, doors, and openings to new places in life. About two weeks ago I dreamed I saw myself running over a series of steel beams in a dreary industrial setting. I remember feeling a sense of urgency to escape the darkness, especially when I looked down and I realized the beams formed a row of crosses (in representation of past suffering). Just then I heard a Voice saying, "Look! There's an opening ahead! Go quickly now and you'll overcome the last cross." I ran ahead and crawled through a small opening in the ceiling, reaching toward the light.

Then just last night I dreamed I was walking down a long hall with an authority figure in my waking life. When we reached the end of the hall, she opened a door and invited me to enter. She then handed me a key and said, "This is the key to your new office."

In each dream, I get a sense of opening window or doors to new phases in my life.

My photographs today each represent a kind of opening, whether I'm watching a brief parting of clouds in a rain storm, or the entryway to the Sherwood, or the windows of the Paulsen Building, partially obscured by tree branches.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Saranac

The early part of this afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend meetings in the renovated Saranac Building in downtown Spokane. Over the next several months, I will be working a project for Community Minded Enterprises, a non-profit corporation dedicated to building community sustainability. I'll write more about the specific project later. For the time being, I simply want to say how impressed I am with the Saranac and how its owners have been so conscious of the environment in all aspects of its construction. In fact, the Spokesman Review highlighted the renovations and the owner Mr. Sheehan just yesterday.

The photographs in this blog entry were taken on a rooftop veranda adorned with flowers and warm meeting spaces. I'm looking forward to working in this building and making many new connections in the community.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Couples Retreat

After seven years of planning and discussing, we finally hosted our first couples retreat near Garden Valley, Idaho. Five other couples attended and had a phenomenal experience; everything turned out beautifully. The reaction was so positive we are already planning next year's retreat.


On the way home from couples retreat, Rhonda took a turn driving while I slept. I'm not sure how far we went before we finally stopped for a bathroom break. I staggered out of the car and into the service station. Rubbing my eyes, I asked the attendant, "Is this Lapwai?" The woman laughed heartily and said, "Yes, did you think you might be someplace else?" Her reaction made me wonder how many drunks and weary travelers pass that way asking, "Is this Lapwai?"


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