Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween 2005...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

my kids trick-or-treating on halloween...mckenna was a witch, whitney was an angel, and dakota was frodo from lord of the rings...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

frodo baggins of the shire (dakota) with the one ring of power...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

LDS Services

I attended services at the LDS Church with my wife and children this morning. My children were fairly restless and distracting, but the final speaker, Dennis Marx, had some good words to say:

"Suffering teaches nothing unless we maintain a willingness to remain open and vulnerable...

"...there is no guarantee of convenience written into our Christian covenants."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

trunk-or-treat at brentwood...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Trunk or Treat

The LDS Church at Brentwood sponsors a fun little event every year called trunk or treat. Instead of going door to door to ask for candy, all the church members park their vehicles in the parking lot and decorate them in Halloween spirit. Kids go from car to car asking for candy. It is always a really fun event, and it's so much safer than trick-or-treat because we know all the people. The kids had a great time!

fall colors on the spokane river, just below nine mile falls dam...friday afternoon as i drove to the sweatlodge...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Hunting Trip

Went to sweat on Friday night and felt the spirits near...the animals were with me in spirit. Tony and I went hunting the following morning and had a little bit of luck. I started scraping a hide in the afternoon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The sight of this angel brightened my day...though I had to remove the dreary background to reflect the brightening of my mood today. BTW, the angel stands in front of Bethany Presbyterian Church in East Spokane...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Light in the Gloom

Gloomy day...overcast; somewhat like my mood; though I saw the sun through the clouds like a silver ball in the sky. Perhaps the sun is like everything noble and true in my life; nearly forgotten, but not quite. I will rise again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rolando and Deb Abrahamson overlooking the open pit uranium mine. Radioactive materials are visibly exposed in some locations...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Open Pit #3 at Midnite Mine...the water is so contaminated and radioactive, it has been discolored into an eerie bluish-green hue. Nothing living exists in that water...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Open Pit #4 at Midnite Mine...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Midnite Uranium Mine

Kateri took me and Rolando to Wellpinit to meet Deb Abrahamson and take a tour of the old uranium mines on the Spokane Reservation. Rolando is opposing cynide-leach gold mining in his native Guatemala and so was very interested to see the effects of uranium mining among the Spokane people.

We drove up to the mine as a group and then walked down into the pit. "Is this dangerous?" I asked, but Deb assured me the radiation would not harm us during such a brief exposure, even though radiation levels at the mine site are 26 times higher than normal. As we walked deeper and deeper into the exposed uranium, I felt a sense of nausea and dread settle over me. I was not prepared for how I would feel in that place. I mean, I was always peripherally aware of the mining on the reservation, but I never visited the site proper. By the time we reached the water's edge, I felt as though I would burst into tears at any moment. The air felt tangibly oppressive, and I had a distinct sense of the unbearable grief experienced by the mother earth and the outrage for everything this place represents. As we drove away, I did cry, and even as I write this several hours later, I still carry a sense of unease in my gut.

As we left, the director showed us places where radioactive dirt was carelessly dumped along the roadside. Some of it was still visible. I was appalled! I had no idea the situation was so bad in our own community. What's worse, the government has been slow to accept any accountability whatsoever for the damage done.

As we discussed the issue of the mine, Rolando pointed out how indigenous people suffer across the world because of corporations that enter our communities to exploit the resources without any regard whatsoever for the wellbeing of the people. It happens in Wellpinit; it happens in Guatemala; it happens everywhere.

Afterwards, we stopped to visit my uncle Pat and discuss the spirituality of the people.

What an amazing, disturbing, powerful day all rolled into one!

I took this picture tonight before I joined Kateri and Rolando. This is a time lapse daughters created the slightest blur of movement, just barely visible on the right side of the two spirits...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Return to Guatemala

It's after 12:30 in the morning (midnight) and I just came home from dinner with Rolando and Kateri...I have so much work I should be doing at the present moment, but I felt drawn to visit with Rolando at least one more time before he returns to Guatemala on Wednesday.

We spoke about spiritual things, and I have to say I felt something very tangible and real moving within my soul/body as he described the various nagual spirits of Guatemala...oh, they are so closely related to the sumesh of the Salish speaking people of this area; guardian spirits would probably be the closest term in English. He felt to me like a kindred spirit, pulling me back toward my spiritual connections among the Maya. I feel like I left so much work undone when I traveled to Guatemala between 1991 and 1993; I thought I had so much to teach them, when in reality I had so much to learn.

When I lived in Guatemala, several indigenous elders dreamed me before my arrival; one of them even knew my name, though he was blind and never met me before in "ordinary reality." Those things scared me back then, but I wish I could return and experience their spiritual wisdom with new eyes.

Perhaps someday soon the doors will open for my return to the Maya of Guatemala.

Monday, October 24, 2005

i got this shot of the dean's house at saint george's school...after my second appointment stood me up...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Bummer Day

Today was kind of a bummer day...I had two appointments to display my photographs for purchase, but one of my appointments called in sick and the other simply never answered the door. Where did she go? I don't know.

I looked for a job online and through the local paper. NADA!!! Things are just real tough right now. The job I have now just isn't paying what I thought it would and now our bills are coming due. Then Rhonda got notice from the state saying they never received her test scores from the national exam, even though she passed the test nearly a month ago. I just don't know if this pressure is ever going to let up.

I'm pretty freaked about our future...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Rolando is from San Marcos, Guatemala and works to protect indigenous rights...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Rolando de Guatemala

Rolando Lopez Crisostomo is a Mam (Mayan) Indian from San Marcos, Guatemala and offered a special presentation tonight at Saint Aloysius Catholic Church here in Spokane. He works for an organization called ADIMA, "Associacion para el Desarrollo Integral Maya Ajchmol," roughly translated as the Association for the Mayan Integral Development Ajchmol." Ajchmol is a Mam term meaning "weaver," and has reference to re-weaving the fabric of society after years of oppression and destruction.

Rolando tells the heartbreaking story of racism and persecution of indigenous people in Guatemala, even though they constitute a majority of the population (70%). In his home department (state) of San Marcos, 97% of the people live in poverty. Guatemala suffered 37 years of civil conflict where more than 200,000 indigenous people perished, and even since Peace Accords were signed in 1996, the people continue to live in fear. Transnational corporations are exploiting the natural resources and displacing local people without respect for indigenous rights. Women are being raped, children kidnapped, and people assassinated who oppose these corporations. The situation is dire.

As Rolando described the situation in Guatemala, my mind carried me back to the time I spent in that country. I had hoped things would improve, and I was deeply saddened to learn it has not. In my heart, I wish I could return, not as a teacher, but as a learner. I wish I could return and learn from the Indian people rather than try to change them.

I was so deeply moved by my experience tonight.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

i took only ONE photograph all day today; our neighbor's tree...i'll have to do better tomorrow...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Making Changes in Life

There is one whom I love like a son...he's been at Geiger Correctional Facility the last month or so for a variety of minor offenses. My wife and I visited him today and enjoyed a wonderful heart-to-heart discussion about the direction of his life. It's inspirational to me when a person takes responsibility for past mistakes and takes ownership of life's choices. He talked about church, and going back to the sweathouse, and finding God again in his life.

"But you've said these things before," I challenged him to dig a little deeper. "What makes this time different?"

"I know," he said, "I worry about it too. I want you to help me." He's never asked for help before. He's never taken any responsibility until now. There were no empty promises, no assurances, no begging for exceptions. Somehow, I have more hope for him now than ever before.

God speed...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hillyard Baptist Church helped sponsor "A Seed of Hope;" a candlelight vigil for victims of domestic violence...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

participants in the vigil released balloons as a symbol of moving forward in life...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

A Seed of Hope

A candlelight vigil was held at Hillyard Baptist Church in honor of all those who died as victims of domestic violence. Three local organizations collaborated to sponsor the event: ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services), the Spokane Interfaith Council, and Summit Quest. Ophelia Araujo-Islas at ARMS created the event to break the cycle of violence in our community. Barry Moses facilitated the event as master of ceremonies.

Pastor John Dotson of Hillyard Baptist Church set a somber tone for the vigil when he recited statistics related to domestic violence in the Spokane area. He read the names of dozens of local people killed by intimate partners. Hundreds of others were not named, honored only by silence. Pastor Dotson said, “God’s plan for marriage is a place of genuine intimacy and trust. Domestic violence breaks the heart of our Creator and Savior, but there is hope for the abused and for those who abuse.”

The program featured music by Glenda Merchant and Rhonda Moses, poetry by Gaye Hight, a skit, and many testimonies from women who experienced violence in their own lives.

The highlight of the evening was a special candle-lighting ceremony. Participants were invited to light a candle and speak the first name of a loved one who suffered violence at the hands of another. Angela Merchant played Amazing Grace on the harp during the vigil. Participants were visibly moved, and some wept openly. A middle-aged woman brought her elderly mother to the vigil, and when she lit her candle, she turned and whispered her mother’s name into the sacred space. The two women embraced and shared an emotional moment as mother and daughter.

(Those women were my mother and my grandmother).

The evening ended with a prayer by Lisa Miller and a song by Barry Moses. Balloons were released into the night air as a symbol of moving forward in life.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

the lobby of the davenport hotel in spokane...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

these keys at the davenport hotel remind me of the papal seal featuring st. peter's "keys of the kingdom..."
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Davenport Hotel

My sister Michelle and I went downtown to the Davenport Hotel as an opportunity to practice photgraphy. For those of you who have never been to Spokane, the Davenport is quite an elegant building that once hosted presidents, royalty, and the wealthy. Some years ago, the hotel fell into disuse, and was even slated for demolition at one point. A few years ago, the hotel was renovated and is now an historical treasure in the city.

I would be curious to know more about the symbolism in the architecture; the gargoyles, rams, serpents, and the caduceous.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

autumn leaves in the rain...i photographed these on my morning walk...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Upcoming Vigil

Ophelia Araujo-Islas at A.R.M.S. (Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services) will sponsor a candlelight vigil this Friday in honor of women who died as victims of domestic violence. Rhonda and Glenda will have a speaking and singing role at the vigil, and I will facilitate as Master of Ceremonies.

I'm excited and honored to participate with Ophelia's ministry. More on the vigil later.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

after sanding the stone, the pipe had a smoth still needs a little more sanding, and a polish finish...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

i drilled the holes with a half inch bit, then cut the edges with a table saw...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

The Pipe is Nearly Complete

The stone portion of the pipe is nearly complete. I drilled the holes and cut the edges square. Then I used a dremmel tool to shape the pipe to its approximate dimensions. Finally, I used sandpaper to create a smooth surface. It stills needs a little more sanding and a final polish.

country road near the little spokane river, turning toward autumn...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Turning of Autumn

Coming home from Utah, I took a hike near the Little Spokane River. The earth turns to fall colors and I feel the spirit of life in its great cycle. What beauty and love I feel for all creation.

my long lost cousin seth standing with the "Y" in the background...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

provo temple...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Visit to Provo

As most of you know...I was away most of last week, and so now I"m catching up on old posts...

I spent most of Sunday in Provo with my friend Seth; actually, I think he's like a long lost cousin, or something. Anyway, I got to photograph the Provo Temple in the morning, surrounded by the amazing colors of fall. It was very inspiring. Afterwards, I went to church with Seth on the BYU campus. For anyone who ever attended LDS services on the BYU campus, I'm sure it feels quite natural to witness religious meetings in secular classrooms, but it was a new experience for me. We had sacrament meeting in a science room with steep, theatre style seating. They had a sacrament table and podium set up by the chemicals and the periodic table of elements. Weird...

It was a really neat experience, though. The opening song was "Press Forward Saints," and on the very last line they sing, "Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia." I felt so open and loving from my recent experience at the Great Life that I literally felt light entering my body from the crown of my head as I spoke the word "alleluia." The light rushed throughout my body and felt cleansing to my soul.

i cut the stone into the rough shape of a pipe; on the left side, you can see where i started shaving the ends away...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

my sister helps me cut the raw stone with a coping saw...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moseses.


Several weeks ago, my friend Edward made a trip to Ontario, Canada to visit his children. On the way home, he stopped in a place called Pipestone, Minnesota, which is one of the only sources of pipestone in the world. The law only permits members of a federally recognized tribe to quarry pipestone at that location, but Edward got to visiting with some men in the quarry and they gifted him with several slabs of stone. Edward brought the stone back to Wellpinit and gave a piece to my uncle Pat and a piece to me.

Last night I started cutting the stone to make a pipe. It is very soft and cuts easily with a hack saw, or even a knife.

When I was a kid, I had a dream that told me that I would get to carry three pipes in my life. As I worked the stone, I remembered this dream and felt I was engaged in a sacred work. Thank you Edward for helping my dream become reality.

Say it to me now...

As I return to the Great Life after all these years away, my heart goes back to a difficult time in my life when I thought my marriage would end. My wife and I talked all the time, but never at the depth I longed for. I thought if either of us ever truly spoke openly about the pain, anger, and fear in our hearts, it would just tear us apart. There was one song that inspired us to drop all the walls and be totally real with each other. It was terrifying, but after we both screamed and cried our eyes out, we emerged on the other side of grace, filled with love for one another like never before:

Say it to me now
by Beth Nielsen Chapman

Faith can blind you
and love can be too kind.
The truth may find you
running from the way you feel inside.

Say it to me now.
Say it to me anyway.
Everything your heart would say
if all the walls came down.
Say it to me now,
even if the truth tears us apart
I need to feel the closeness
of knowing what's in your heart.

Eyes are like windows.
Oh, and I've tried but I can't see
what makes you cry your eyes closed
and stay a million miles away from me.

Say it to me now.
Say it to me anyway
everything your heart would say
if all the walls came tumbling down.
Say it to me now
even if the truth tears us apart.
I need to feel the closeness
of knowing what's in your heart.

Say it to me now.
Say it to me anyway,
everything your heart would say
if all the the wall are tumbling down.
Say it to me now,
even if the truth tears us apart.
I need to feel the closeness,
I need to feel the closeness,
I need to feel the closeness,
of knowing what's in your heart.

Monday, October 17, 2005

my old buddy gary harrison standing in front of the great life foundation office...we've been friends for 20 years...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Gary and the Great Life

Several weeks ago, my old friend Gary Harrison called me out of the clear blue sky, after many years with no contact whatsoever. Gary and I have been friends for a little more than 20 years. We met when we each attended the old Spokane 11th Ward for the first time on the same day. He called to tell me he completed a training at the Great Life Foundation, very similar to Spectrum Trainings in Boise, Idaho. I completed the training in about 1998 and attempted to enroll Gary. He didn't go back then, but his life took a few painful turns in the intervening years and he longed to find something better.

After he graduated, he invited me to "return" to the training as a staffer for a Level I experience. Back when I was actively involved in Spectrum, I used to staff all the time, but I sort of fell away during the last few years, and then Spectrum went out of business.

I bought a plane ticket and flew down to Salt Lake City. The Level I "Awakenings" experience was exactly what I remember from my training, but I have to admit I was saddened to see how far my life strayed from my "word of honor" over the last few years. So much suffering and so much pain...and it didn't have to be. On the other hand, how wonderful to return to such a beautiful space created by the courage and honesty of the trainees and other staff members. It was a marvelous experience for me!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I brought my nephew hunting on the Spokane Indian Reservation. We got up at about 6:00 in the morning, while it was still dark outside. We watched the sunrise, and mist coming up from the earth. It was absolutely beautiful. He saw a deer and got one shot, but his gun misfired. In fact, it didn't fire at all. We had to return the gun to his mother who promised to take it in for repairs.
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

My nephew thought we would have better luck along the river. Unfortunately, we didn't even see one deer. On the other hand, we got some beautiful photographs of the countryside...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Toward the end of the day, we still had no success in our hunt. My nephew took me to a field by the river filled with buffalo. I didn't even know we had buffalo on the Spokane Reservation. We tried to get as close as possible for this picture, but they were not too excited about us being there.
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Sunset on the Spokane Indian Reservation. After driving around ALL day, we didn't get even one deer. My nephew and I returned home disappointed.
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

As a veteran of World War II, Grandpa Great was honored by a military color guard...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Grandpa's Funeral

The Merchant Family celebrated grandpa's life today in the most beautiful funeral service I ever experienced first-hand. Prior to the public service, the family gathered to watch a biographical film of grandpa's life prepared by Paul. He did such a wonderful job. Several months ago, he filmed grandpa talking about his life, his childhood, his experiences in the Phillipines during World War II, his years as a farmer, and so much more. Near the end of the film, grandpa talked about death, and even though he refered specifically to losing his daughter Berniece a few years ago, it felt like he was talking directly to us. Hearing his voice made me weep.

During the service, Rhonda, Glenda, Steve, and I sang "How Great Thou Art."

In his will, grandpa requested someone sing "Somewhere My Love." The family asked me to do it. When I practiced the song, I could never finish without crying because "Somewhere My Love" was grandpa's love song to grandma. I prayed for hours before singing to ask for strength to sing without crying. By the grace of God, I sang more beautifully than ever before.

Grandpa received a veteran's color guard for his burial. It was very moving.

"Somewhere My Love"

Somewhere my love there will be songs to sing,
E'en though the snow covers the hope of spring.
Somewhere a hill blossoms in green and gold,
And there are dreams, all that your heart can hold.

Someday we'll meet again my love;
Someday, whenever the spring breaks through.

You'll come to me out of the long ago.
Warm as the wind, soft as the kiss of snow.
'Till then my sweet, think of my now and then.
God speed our love 'till you are mine again.

Friday, October 07, 2005

In Less Than an Hour

I passed through so many feelings and emotions today, mostly related to grandpa great, and so many others who went ahead to the spiritual world, but also because of life trials we experience now. Somehow standing at this place once again makes me relive all the times I buried my loved ones in times past; my grandparents, my father, my aunt; the wounds are just so fresh and new all over again.

My family went out to Steve and Lanith’s house to visit family members who traveled great distances to attend grandpa’s funeral. Lanith played a song for us which I wish to quote in full, based on 2 Peter 3:8, “Beloved…one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

These words are just so powerful in our mourning and grief:

In Less Than an Hour
By Cameron Steele

Oh they say that one year is a thousand in God’s,
And if all that they say is true,
All the moments we’ve laughed,
All the times we’ve cried,
Have been less than an hour or two.
Now the angels have taken you back to our God,
But if I close my eyes and I think in his time…

(Chorus) In less than an hour,
I’ll be holding you in my arms again.
In less than an hour,
My test on this Earth will be through.
All of my dreams will then come true.
Spending eternity with you,
In less than hour.

Oh, it doesn’t seem long as the seconds go by,
But there’s times when I feel so alone.
As I fall to my knees I feel arms holding me,
And I know that I’m not on my own.
He knows just how I feel ‘cause he’s been there before.
But he sees what I don’t.
He sees years that are minutes.


In less than an hour, the tears I cry now will turn to tears of joy.
In less than an hour, the heartache and sadness will be through.
All of my dreams will then come true.
Spending eternity with you is all I see.
Think of the things that we will do,
In less than an hour.

So I did the math…if it’s true a thousand years are like a single day in the eyes of the LORD, then I’ve been alive on this earth for only about 48 minutes; and my father left me only about 15 minutes ago. If I live another 40 years (age 74), it really will be less than an hour before I see my father again.

Think about that.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

barry holding the sign...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

installing the sign...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

New Business Signs

Rhonda received new signs for her office on North Division Street. Of course, she sent me to brave the dizzying heights of the ladder and install the signs myself. I didn't mind climbing the ladder, but that sign is not stable at all. It trembled and swayed something terrible. Once we finished the project, I can't tell you how pleased we were to see her new business advertised for all passersby to see. I say it looks quite professional.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

James Carl Merchant

1918 - 2005

Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Grandpa Great Passes Away

My wife’s grandfather James Carl Merchant passed away early this morning after a brief stay at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Spokane. Numerous family members gathered on short notice yesterday when doctors suggested his time among us was nearing an end. As soon as we heard the news of his imminent passing, Rhonda and I withdrew the children from school and went immediately to his bedside. He was lucid and calm, though several times he commented on how tired he felt. In spite of obvious physical pain and personal discomfort, he looked so peaceful surrounded by the ones he loved. I’m so thankful I got the chance to say goodbye and to tell him how much I love him.

In the coming days, I’m sure we’ll hear many testimonies of the remarkable life he lived; how much he loved genealogy and the temple, but especially how much he loved his family. More than once I heard him say, “Family is all that matters.”

My wife and her family share many fond memories of their beloved grandfather because of a lifetime of shared history. Obviously, I entered his life much later than other family members, but my love for him is just as tender and real.

I traveled a different path to his heart than many others. Of course, I married his granddaughter and enjoyed his immediate love and support. But even when we struggled in our marriage and I eventually withdrew my name from the church, his kindness for me never faltered. There were those who criticized my failings, but Grandpa Great always treated me with honor and respect. He made me feel like his equal; though I’m sure he surpassed me in every significant way. He invited me into his life with warmness and acceptance, and always allowed me the right to disagree with dignity on substantial matters of faith, or politics. In truth, he embodied so many qualities of the Living Christ, not because of orthodoxy or doctrine, but because he loved as Jesus loved.

Grandpa Great leaves a tremendous void in our hearts; though I’m sure he walks in higher places than before and watches over us with kindness and eternal love.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

rhonda proudly displays her letter certifying she passed the national exam...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Rhonda Passed the National Exam!!!

Congratulations to Rhonda on passing her National Exam to become a massage therapist!

Rhonda attended classes and studied more than a year at Inland Massage Institute to prepare for this day. She doubted herself many times along the way, but finally prevailed over one of the greatest demons in her life. In fact, this exam was the last significant hurdle toward obtaining licensure as a massage therapist. Now all she has to do is submit documentation to the state (pay a $50 fee, of course) and wait for her license to practice. In about three weeks she will receive her license and officially open for business.

Rhonda's practice will be licensed under the name Summit Therpeutic Massage. To view her massage webpage, click below:

Once again, congratulations Rhonda! We're all very proud of your achievement!

Monday, October 03, 2005

interstate 90 looking west from the garden springs exit...i got this shot on my way home from cheney; well, before I lost my sanity and started taking "abstract" shots...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

As I drove home from Cheney this evening, I felt numb from sitting in a courtroom all day. To relieve my stress, I took a series of pictures of passing street lights and cars using the time-release feature on my digital camera. Actually, they turned out quite nice...if you like abstract art.
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

My Day in Court

Oh, what a mind-numbing day I spent amid the inner workings of the American justice system! I learned a lot, but I won't want to be repeating this day any time soon.

My dear friend appeared in court today on a variety of charges and asked me to attend for emotional and moral support. He was scheduled to appear at 9:00 in Judge Derr's courtroom, but I waited more than three hours without seeing him. I went to lunch and returned at 1:30, and finally saw my friend enter the courtroom at 3:15, six hours and fifteen minutes after the original time stated on his docket.

As I waited, I heard at least two dozen inmates enter "not guilty" pleas to a wide variety of assault and domestic violence charges. I'm sad to say I heard more real-life tales of violence and general depravity than I ever cared to think about. Several men strangled their girlfriends, one man beat his children, another assaulted his brother. It was almost too much to bear. How do people listen to these cases every day?

As it turns out, the court charged my friend with assault on a store clerk, and several other charges. The judge was not sympathetic in the least and set bond at $7,500. Her parting words were, "If I set the bond high enough, hopefully no one will bail you out."


Of course, I love this guy like a brother, but I hope he uses this time to reflect on the direction of his life, or lack thereof.

After leaving Spokane City Court, I rushed out to Cheney to meet with my lawyer. Several months ago I filed a complaint with the state over an administrative matter and was now required to attend a telephonic "pre-hearing conference."

By the end of the day my head was numb...

I'm glad this day over. Ah, sweet slumber! I'm looking forward to a peaceful night's sleep after a very stressful day.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Elder Skaggs and Elder Stahura...(Printed with permission).
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

LDS Missionaries

LDS missionaries visited our home for the first time in more than a year; Elder Stahura of Navarre, Florida and Elder Skaggs of Ramona, California (recently transplanted to Spanish Fork, Utah).

We used to invite the missionaries into our home several times a month for dinner, but the Spokane Washington Mission changed its policy and no longer allows missionaries to simply visit member homes for the sake of visiting, even for dinner. Of course, missionaries can still visit non-members and less active members, which makes it kosher for them to visit OUR home. Some of my friends in the ward affectionately call me the “ward apostate,” so any missionary efforts to bring me back into activity would be accepted by the mission.

Not every missionary appreciates visiting our home, but these guys made themselves most welcome. They brought a spirit of kindness, laughter, and acceptance. I mostly teased Elder Stahura because he told me he was from Pensacola, Florida, but on closer examination, he admitted he was actually from Navarre, several miles away. It was just a joke, and I have to say he took it well.

Of course they shared a verse of scripture: Alma 37:35-37.

I may be the ward apostate, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for LDS missionaries.

Near the end of our discussion, I asked the missionaries if they would permit me to write about them in my personal blog. They consented, and here we are.

I asked each of them, “What testimony or words of wisdom shall I attribute to you?”

Elder Skaggs reflected briefly and stated somewhat solemnly, “Charity suffereth long.”

Elder Stahura also reflected with a serious expression on his face, but then burst into a mischievous grin, “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”

I reminded Elder Stahura that the whole world will be able to read his testimony once I post it on the internet. “Are you sure you don’t want me to say something more worthy or profound?” I asked.

He thought a moment longer and said, “Oh, be wise. What more can I say?”

“That’s nice,” I responded, “What’s the reference on that quote?”

“I don’t know,” he answered, “It’s in the Book of Mormon, on the right hand page, left column, on the bottom of the page…”

“Really?” I said, “So your parents are going to read this online and say to themselves, ‘Wow, we sure prepared our son well.’”

He laughed and said, “Okay, wait…I’ll find it.” He scrambled through his book for just a few seconds and then triumphantly announced the reference: Jacob 6:12.

Way to go Elder Stahura!

By the way, I looked up Jacob 6:12. True to his word, the verse is indeed on the right hand page, left column, bottom of the page.

Thanks to both of you for blessing our home.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

my friend/brother tony sitting by the fire...
Copyright © 2005 Barry G. Moses.

Grace Like Rain

Friday night at my uncle’s sweathouse:

As I emerged from the lodge, I heard the rain beating down on the tin roof overhead. The dark night air felt cool and refreshing, and as I stepped outside, the downpour intensified, washing away all my stress from the previous week. I stood barefoot on the cool, drenched earth, and held my arms open to receive the gift of water and sky; the spirit whispering a song I heard earlier in the day:

Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me. Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away.*

I’ve heard it said the sweathouse is like the womb of our Mother Earth, and each time we enter and come out again, we begin our life anew. Tonight I feel it must be true, for my spirit is refreshed and whole.

* Grace Like Rain, Todd Agnew.