Random (but not really)

Monday, July 30, 2012


I used to think it was awful that life was so unfair. Then I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be much worse if life were fair, and all the terrible things that happen to us come because we actually deserve them?’ So now I take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe.
— J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5 “A Late Delivery from Avalon”)

I was thinking about this quote today as I was walking. My walking partner was out, so I was listening to my mp3 player and trying not to think too much, which is when I mentally stumbled upon the remains of the above quote floating around my brain.

Then I come back to my desk to discover that Janiece has been paralleling some of my thoughts.

It’s strange, but I DO take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe. The idea that ‘things happen for a reason’ fills me with horror. The very thought of it is repugnant to me: that God would be dealing out bad things and causing people–especially innocents–to suffer. I cannot accept the existence of such a being.

But if God set things into motion and then stood back to allow us to sort things out, much the way a parent must allow a child to make their own mistakes and live their own lives? That makes sense to me. That a God exists who allows us to make our own choices, even if those choices are bad, that makes sense to me. That God allows us to OWN our choices, be they good or evil, positive or negative or even neutral.

God did not create me broken. It is simply random chance. But within that I have the choice to overcome my brokenness or not. Some days I have the strength to do so, other days I don’t. But that’s okay. I think that God accepts me on the days I am broken as much as she accepts me during the times I am able to overcome. That kind of love gives me hope.

We all make our own choices, and we must live with the results of those decisions. But we are not immutable–we can change. We have the capacity to make decisions for good instead of evil, and that act of will fills me with hope.

Every time someone chooses to do good over evil, every time we witness a small kindness given without thought of reward, every time we overcome adversity… all these things fill me with hope.

It’s okay that the universe acts with general hostility and unfairness, because this hostile universe gives us the ability to act in a positive way. And when we choose to act to make the world a better place, all acts, be they large or small, fill me with hope.

It is this hope that gives me comfort.

Written by Michelle at 9:41 pm      Comments (6)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Family,Religion & Philosophy  

Sunday, July 29, 2012

This Makes Me Smile

Kids Need to Read

And a video.

Written by Michelle at 9:53 am      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Saturday, July 28, 2012

In Memoriam

With you a part of me hath passed away;
For in the peopled forest of my mind
A tree made leafless by this wintry wind
Shall never don again its green array.
Chapel and fireside, country road and bay,
Have something of their friendliness resigned;
Another, if I would, I could not find,
And I am grown much older in a day.
But yet I treasure in my memory
Your gift of charity, and young hearts ease,
And the dear honour of your amity;
For these once mine, my life is rich with these.
And I scarce know which part may greater be,–
What I keep of you, or you rob from me.

–George Santayana


Akaka Falls


Young Ben 3



Written by Michelle at 1:11 pm      Comments (9)  Permalink
Categories: Family  

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Cousin Ben Is Missing

My cousin Ben and his friend Gil were climbing in Peru. They did not return as expected, and a search is now being conducted.

I’m at a loss for words… all I can do is link to information that is already out there, and ask you to share this information in the hopes that we can find the planes, helicopters, and pilots we need to find them.

Satellite Images you can search for traces:


Facebook Group:


Relevant News Stories:



I was ten when Ben was born, and he has been a part of my life since then.

Please help.

ADDENDUM the First:
My cousin Eric, Ben’s brother, has written a post with pictures of Ben and Gil as well as of the area and the tent as it was found by the search-and-rescue.

ADDENDUM the Second:

From Eric:

Update: in the next hour or so, a plane loaded with experienced climbers will scout Palcaraju, armed with satellite imagery and leads on the party’s possible location. In addition to scouting where we suspect the event happened, they will scout the rest of the mountain, too. Several rescue teams are on the ground at the base of the mountain in various locations, prepared to ascend to the location of the missing (hopefully soon to be found) climbers.

Please pray for the success of the operation.

Many thanks to those who scoured the satellite images looking for traces of Gil and Ben, and many thanks to all those in Peru who are contributing in any way.

Written by Michelle at 9:16 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Family  

The Continuting Adventures of Ricky Martin the Metal Chicken

Ricky Martin the Metal Chicken traveled with us on our vacation.

No, really.

Ricky Martin the Metal Chicken


Written by Michelle at 11:25 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games,Metal Chickens,Photos,Travel,UCF  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

NPR YA Fiction Finalists

NPR YA Fiction Finalists

I can see I have a lot of reading ahead of me…

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Books & Reading  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WWA: Mordor Edition

Today’s word is: walking

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Walking to Mordor and Back

A Hobbit’s Guide to Walking.

I’m totally doing it. Who’s with me?

It’s really not that bad, tho you’re not going to do it quickly. For comparison:

I’ve gone 970 miles since I got my fitbit. (This includes all steps, which I don’t think will count.)

Since 2005, for WVU’s Walk 100 Miles program (March to June) I’ve gone 1504 miles (logging only active miles, not just walking around the house).

So I’m totally doing this! Who’s with me?!

ADDENDUM the First:
I’m only going to count active miles, which means, only when I’m deliberately walking. For me, this will be my lunchtime walk, walking home, hikes, and walks around town. Steps taken around the house and at work will NOT count, (unless I’m walking more than half a mile, such as walking to a meeting on a different campus.)

ADDENDUM the Second:
I downloaded the file for keeping track of where you are.

ADDENDUM the Third:
More data points!

Written by Michelle at 6:48 am      Comments (10)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games,Science, Health & Nature  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WWA: Blackwater Falls Edition

This week’s word is: jumping

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (6)  Permalink
Categories: Fun & Games  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Weekend Travels: Thomas, WV

We pass through Thomas, WV on our way to Blackwater Falls, and I always stop.

It’s a very depressed mains street, but they’re slowly rebuilding, and it’s interesting to see these changes over time.



Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Photos,Travel  
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