Thursday, June 30, 2005

wild horses monument by david govedare...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

The Spirit of Vantage

To the casual observer, Vantage is the kind of town for measuring distances between other, more important places; halfway between Spokane and Seattle; or perhaps it highlights the irony of the surrounding country: a desert in the heart of the Evergreen State. However, closer examination reveals a remnant of sacred history.

The Wanapum Tribe once dominated this section of the Columbia River and were noted for their deep spirituality. They resisted white influences and refused to sign treaties, and as a result, their numbers dwindled considerably. Modern interpretive signs at a nearby scenic area declare the Wanapum are "virtually extinct," but I seriously doubt that claim. Their spirit lives in this place; their bloodlines and traditions continue in Native families throughout the region.

Travelers can visit the Ginkgo Petrified Forest on the far edge of town. A small museum displays the petrified remains of exotic plant species from the distant past. The museum also hosts an impressive display of ancient petroglyphs. The rock drawings originally stood at the water's edge of the Columbia River, but when the dams were built, the petroglyphs were removed to their current location.

The Wild Horses Monument occupies a sweeping hilltop vista just across the river from Vantage. In the words of the monument artist David Govedare, the Creator tells the following story:

"Creatures of this planet, behold, a Great Basket! I send this basket, bearing the gift of life, to all corners of the universe. Now take these ponies, I am cutting them loose. They will inspire a Spirit of free will. They will be a companion for work and play on this planet. This is a way for you to see how all life depends on all other life. This basket is my heart. You are at one with me. Eagle of the sky, we look to you for vision. Salmon of the water, we look to you for life-giving sustenance. Deer of the land, you provide a bountiful tranquility for our Mother Earth.

"From the center of my Basket burns the fire of our collective souls. Humans, you are responsible. You have the power of reasoning and the gift of free will. Use them wisely. Always be aware of the limitless nature of this ever expanding universe. Let us live to inspire each other."

Quoted from:

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

ruins of spokane...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Ruins of Spokane

Driving home from Spokane Valley, I pass the Hamilton Street Exit on Interstate 90, and looking toward the northwest, I notice an old stone structure on the hilltop, partially overgrown with vegetation. Exiting the freeway, I make my way back to the place I saw and find it on the corner of 3rd and Arthur, across the street from an office supply store.

Hidden in the overgrowth of shrubs and tall grass, I find old stairwells made of stone, leading no where in particular. Stone columns stand in a line, but no longer support any kind of structure or roofing.

"What is this place?" I wonder to myself. "Who built it and why was it abandoned? What was its purpose?"

I expect to find ruins in Rome or Mexico, but not Spokane. Of course, these ruins undoubtedly belong to the recent past, perhaps the last 100 years or so, and not to an ancient civilization. Nevertheless, I'm intrigued by the unseen history of places once valued, but now forgotten.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

belle victorian gardens in deer park, washington...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Belle Victorian Gardens

Late this afternoon, my children and I toured Belle Victorian Gardens in Deer Park, Washington. Formerly known as Love's Bed & Breakfast, Belle Victorian Gardens now hosts weddings and receptions. The property features beautiful flower gardens, fountains, a gazebo, and a pond. Of course, my children take after their mother and absolutely love visiting elegant buildings and homes.

We visisted the house because of a unique invitation from a young couple who plan to get married on these grounds next month. The daughter of my former co-worker asked me to perform her wedding and requested a non-traditional ceremony with a slightly Native American influence. I was deeply honored by the request and agreed to perform the ritual. I'm excited for the couple and for this special opportunity.

More about the wedding later...

Hopefully the owners of Belle Victorian Gardens won't mind a little free advertising:

Monday, June 27, 2005

the field behind whitworth college in spokane...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

The rain on my face...

Walking through the rain, I feel the spirit of the land, even as modern homes and power lines attempt to draw my attention to more transitory things. Highway 395 passes less than a half mile away, pulsing with the rush of evening traffic and billboards blaring gaudy advertisements into the sky. The convenience of suburbia distracts, but the old spirits remain; tonight I hear an owl calling out in the darkness. On other days I've seen the red-tailed hawk perched above electric towers, coyote jogging through the tall grass, or deer standing in the distance; yes, this place is still a garden wilderness, though currently disguised amid comfortable homes and modern structures.

The field behind Whitworth College reminds me of my own spiritual walk; all too often I get distracted by the hectic demands of life, but when I stop to breathe and appreciate the rain on my face, I feel the spirit revive within me.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I saw these flowers near the Bozarth Retreat in North Spokane...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

the Looff Carrousel at Riverfront Park in Spokane...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Social and Cultural Considerations

Tonight I attended the first night of class in the last course of my program at Whitworth College: Social and Cultural Considerations in Counseling. I'm excited for this course, perhaps more than other courses I've taken up to this point; mainly because I truly value discussion around issues of equality and human dignity.

As part of our coursework, the instructors asked us to complete an internet-based assessment designed to detect hidden bias regarding such varied issues as race, gender, age, and sexual orientation. Each assessment takes about five minutes to complete and requires participants to make automatic associations of 'good' or 'bad' with various categories of people. The test generates a brief analysis describing potential biases based on discrepencies in response time. Presumably, quicker response times associating 'bad' with a certain race, for example, tend to show bias.

Tonight we completed only one assessment designed to detect potential bias around the issue of age. Frankly, I anticipated a moderate bias in favor of young people, but the test reported no significant difference between my automatic response to older people versus young people. Interesting...

Some class members had questions regarding the validity of the assessments, but one way or another, they provide a good starting place for discussion. I recommend them to all dedicated readers everywhere. Take the tests. I'll share my results if you share yours. *grin*

You can find the assessments by consulting the following web page:

Saturday, June 18, 2005

display of candles at rhonda's dance recital...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Healing Dance Workshop

Rhonda's Healing Dance Workshop had a dance recital this evening at Positive Power Studios. Participants worked on personal goals over a period of 10 weeks and created an expressive dance to portray individual values and growth. One dancer spoke of his desire to become a loving husband and father some day. Another spoke of her desire to "shine." Rhonda created a dance depicting her desire to be a witness of God's love among her friends and aquaintances.

From the Summit Quest web site:

Healing Dance is a creative process of mind, body, and spirit allowing the body to express emotion through movement and dance. There are no lessons or techniques to learn; rather Healing Dance requires an absolute trust in the human spirit to create its own dance. The task of the dancer is to simply trust the flow of music and their own spirit.

For more information about upcoming courses and other programs at Summit Quest, visit Rhonda's web page:

The Meaning of the Holy Qur'an.
Copyright © 2004 Amana Corporation.

The Unity of Man

Glory to Allah Most High, full of Grace and Mercy;
He created All, including Man...

When men spread themselves over the earth,
And became many nations,
Speaking diverse languages,
And obeying diverse customs and laws;
The evils became multiplied,
As one race or nation
Became alienated from another.
The Brotherhood of Man was now doubly forgotten -
First, between individuals, and secondly, between nations...

But Allah, in His infinite mercy and love,
Who forgives and guides individuals and nations,
And turns to good even what seems to us evil,
Never forsakes the struggling soul that turns to Him...

For all are creatures of One God,
And share His loving care
And must be brought within the pale
Of His eternal unity and harmony.

The Holy Qur'an
C. 1, 5, and 6.

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Recent controversies regarding extremist Muslim terrorists, the treatment of Muslim detainees at Guantanamo, and alleged abuses of the Holy Qur'an by American interrogators, have propelled the religion of Islam into the American spotlight. I always wanted to know more about religions in general, but I'm afraid to admit I only half-heartedly searched the web, looking for general information about Islam.

But then something I saw on television really incensed me: I was flipping through channels when I saw John Hagee, a charasmatic Christian evangelist, denouncing Islam as a religion of violence. He cited several verses of the Holy Qur'an to support his claim, and as the camera panned across the audience, I could see a look of alarm settle upon the faces of his listeners. I was outraged, not only because he presented a slanted view of a major world religion, but his words tended to incite bigotry rather than promote brotherhood. Does he forget our own Judeo-Christian Bible? What if the world judged us as a culture of violence simply because a scattering of Bible verses promote violence? Let us not forget our own Bible often advocated extreme intolerance and even promoted the killing of those who believed in other religions. Let us not forget the same Jehovah who proclaimed from Sinai: Thou shalt not kill (Exodus 20:13), also said:

"And the LORD our God delivered him before us; and we smote him, and his sons, and all his people. And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain;" (Deuteronomy 2:33-34).

"Thus saith the LORD of hosts...go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass;" (1 Samuel 15:2-3).

As a Native American, I know my grandfathers and grandmothers survived cultural genocide on this American continent. They were persecuted and slaughtered for their "pagan" religious beliefs, just as the ancient inhabitants of Canaan.

Despite the history of bloodshed in the Bible, Christians today view themselves as a religion of peace; indeed, they refer to Jesus Christ as the Prince of Peace. Isn't it possible Islam is also a religion of peace, in spite of history and a few radical fringe groups within their midst? I heard it said that to characterize the whole of Islam by extremist Muslim groups would be like characterizing the whole of Christianity by the Klu Klux Klan. It's prejudicial and unfair.

In an effort to understand Islam on its own terms, I consulted CAIR: the Council on American-Islamic Relations. They currently offer a copy of the Holy Qur'an free of charge to any American who requests one. I emailed a request by visiting their web site, and in three weeks received my own copy of the Holy Qur'an. I'm deeply honored to receive a copy of this holy book, and look forward to learning more about the teachings of Islam.

To request your own copy of the Holy Qur'an contact CAIR:

Council on American-Islamic Relations
453 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington D.C. 20003

Telephone: (202) 488-8787

Gregory Heline betrayed my trust...

Gregory Heline betrayed my trust:

About a year ago, my wife and I declared bankruptcy and hired Mr. Heline as our attorney. We paid him a sizable chunk of money, almost a thousand dollars, and made arrangements to pay our remaining bills through a trustee.

So our attorney takes out about $1300 a month to pay our mortgage, car payment, and various other fees, but instead of paying the money as agreed, Mr. Heline and/or the trustee decided to stop paying our car payment and pocket the money for themselves. Of course, they didn't tell us they stopped making the car payment (way back in October), and we didn't find out until the bank sent us a repossession notice in the mail. Obviously, this was news to us, since the money had been coming out of my check, and I contacted Mr. Heline to rectify the situation.

"Oh yeah, I'll get right on it," he said, and proceeded to leave town for several weeks.

Meanwhile, the bank repossessed the car while Mr. Heline and the trustee walk away with our money. The most damnable part of the whole ordeal is that this kind of thing happens all the time because bankruptcy attorneys know they can get away with it. We contacted another attorney and he essentially told us we could fight him, but by the time we recovered our money, we would spend more than we lost in attorney's fees and we still wouldn't get our car back.

This kind of behavior is morally reprehensible; I mean, Mr. heline literally steals from people who cannot defend themselves; people he supposedly represents.

So with all the power of my massive media empire (all of three readers), Gregory Heline will remain on my shame list until he rectifies the situation, either through a refund of the money he took from us, or he returns our car.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

spokane, washington
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Moses Lake and Ephrata

I made my first solo trip out-of-town to Moses Lake and Ephrata as part of my job. It's kind of a long, boring drive, especially with no one to talk to. The job is kind of fun; however, once I get to meet people. I got a lot of time just to listen to music and think. I also got this picture of Spokane on the way home. Not too much excitement to report otherwise.

Monday, June 13, 2005

lds temple in spokane...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

A Light in the Darkness

I worked hard today, though you wouldn't see it by watching me. I worked hard to keep the darkness from penetrating my mind and soul; seeking light in the shadows; finding reasons to live in gratitude.

The temple is a symbol of light, the very presence of God among us. I sincerely doubt the literalism of the LDS Church, and yet I still find traces of divinity; for where ever humankind engages faith instead of despair, I find hope. God abides among those who believe in him. Today I seek a faith greater than my own to rekindle the fires of my soul.

Friday, June 10, 2005

junked cars on my uncle's property...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

sweat fire...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Medicine Wheel Graduation

I attended commencement ceremonies for the Medicine Wheel Academy of Spokane. District officials gave me a cool reception, but two of three graduates were my students back in the day, and were glad to see me. I also got to visit some of my old co-workers and friends. It was a good day.

One friend in particular took me out to dinner. We had a wonderful visit. She helped me see how much stress I've been under and how I need to "go back to the river," or my spiritual source for strength.

Afterwards, I was supposed to go to class, but I've been feeling so stressed out these last few weeks, I decided to skip class and go sweat with my uncle Pat. When I showed up, my new friend Edward was building the fire, but everyone else was gone, including my uncle. We waited several hours for my uncle to arrive, but he never did. The two of us ended up sweating alone. The experience gave me a few insights, however. I realize how much I depend on my uncle to hold my spiritual reality together. Somehow, the spirits never seem quite as real unless he's around. As I poured water on the rocks, I thought how much more I can do for my own spiritual walk; and not depend so much on others.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

overpass on the new north-south freeway...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

New Freeway

I hiked a portion of the new North-South Freeway corridor, beginning at Newport Highway. The've been talking about a new freeway in Spokane since before I was born, so I had to see this small piece of history with my own eyes. I felt kind of odd being there. I could clearly see the shape of the highway, but without asphalt or concrete, it felt like another world.

Friday, June 03, 2005

below upriver dam...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

kinnick kinnick in bloom on the whitworth campus...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

New Job

I started a new job for Rainier Case Management. I'm excited and nervous about it all at the same time. As my first responsibility, my immediate supervisor and I drove to Moses Lake and Ephrata to visit some of our clients. It should be interesting.