Camino de Santiago

Month: June, 2017

A Smile – It Can Heal Us

Mom at our Wedding“Smile and the whole world smiles with you.” 

I love these lyrics from the song, “When Your Smiling”. Terri and I play this song with our grandchildren frequently when we are taking care of them. It reminds me of how powerful a smile can be. It is a gift of love we give to each other. I am talking about the genuine type of smile that involves the eyes. My mom had a most amazing smile and the photo at the top of this blog article is of her on my wedding day. Even as my mom aged and ended up in a full time memory care facility (she had Alzeheimer’s disease), she never lost her amazing smile. She could light up a room with it.

There are times, obviously where smiling and being cheerful is a lot easier then other times but research done on those that smile and are cheerful shows they are a healthier bunch of folks. It can aid or boost our immune system and lower our blood pressure as well as relieve stress and lower pain level. In fact, you can fool your brain by smiling (genuine smiles, of course) more often. Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure inducer, cannot match. Smiling helps generate more positive emotions within you. That’s why we often feel happier around children – they smile more. On average, they do so 400 times a day! The average person though only smiles 20 times a day.

During our long walk across Spain, the daily aches and pains and the long hot days were not smile producing moments for us much of the time. Once our long day of walking was over though we made up for it with lots of smiling as we pulled off our boots and socks and got a chance to rest and have a nice meal and some fellowship time with our fellow pilgrims! Life can get us all down at times, that is for sure but there is some real science to keep smiling.

The other thing to remember about smiling is that it is contagious. Remember when you “smile the whole world smiles with you”.

I will leave this blog with a quote from St Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa):

“Every smile is an act of love, a gift to someone, let us always greet each other with a smile, for it is the beginning of love.”

Blessings and all good,


Photograph of the Week

Balsam Root Dreaming

This image is a composite of two images. During a hike up Chiwaukum Creek, I photographed a beautiful textured rock that I knew I wanted to use in a composite image. The Balsam Root flower that was on this hike proved to be the perfect blending image.

A Sign Of Hope To Guide Us


Terri and I were so grateful for the wonderful “Yellow Arrow” signs on the entire length of the Camino to help keep us on the path to Santiago de Compostela. We came to really count on them to point the way for us and we only really messed on one time and had to backtrack less than a half hour to get back on the path again.

The “Camino yellow arrows” were a sign of hope for us, if we stayed on the path of the “yellow arrows” we had a solid hope we would find our way to Santiago. Coming home from our Camino walk and applying the “yellow arrow of hope” to my life today, I have some thoughts to share with you.

As I mentioned in the last post, I had just finished a great book called “Amusing ourselves to death”. This book has made me think more deeply as I said in my last blog, questioning how much I am living to be entertained or amused versus living life with purpose and meaning. What do I mean by this? At the end of my life, I want to remembered not for how much I was entertained and amused with this life but by how I loved and cared for family, friends and neighbor. This is the path, I chose. This is the path of hope. This is where the “yellow arrow of hope” leads for me.

Blessings and all good,



I wanted to share with you I will be at the opening of the Summer Market in Edmonds this Saturday June 17th with my photography booth, Blue Skies Photography. Like last year I will be there once a month for June, July, August and September.

Please don’t confuse this with the Edmonds Art Festival that opens this weekend (Friday through Sunday). I will not have a booth in the Arts Festival but the Edmonds Summer Market in downtown Edmonds.

Now that being said, one of my photographs was accepted by the Edmonds Art Festival juried competition and will be displayed in the Photography room. It is called “Peace Amid Turbulence”.

Photograph of the Week

Bright and Full of Light

I find hope in this image as out of the barren and hard ground grows these amazing flowers that no one tends. I have creatively processed the photograph as you can see to emphasize this stark contrast.


Take Time To Think Deeply And Read Deeply

20140910-Pyrenees-83-square-EditAs I have said so many times, our long Camino walk was a wonderful opportunity for us to spend long times in thought. Time for us to have a “complete thought” or to think more deeply on things. It was a very special gift we both got from our long walk. We so enjoyed the long periods of silence and time to “think deeply”.

I recently finished reading a thought provoking book written back in 1986 called, “Amusing Ourselves to Death” by Neil Postman. This book has really got me to re-think some things and to change some of my behavior regarding how I approach how I acquire knowledge. What I took away from this book was how important it is for us to stop consuming information that is short, fragmented, superficial, irrelevant, misplaced and not in context. It is like eating a steady diet of appetizers and never sitting down to eat a nice meal that really satisfies and nourishes us.

This book has motivated me to make some changes, as I said. First, I have decided to prioritize the written word over television/video (I was largely doing this already), second I have decided to avoid consuming fragmented and short written articles that don’t really increase my depth of knowledge. I am staying away from lots of disconnected facts and information that is not in context and jumps from one subject to the next.

I realized what I really craved was information that required I expend time consuming it (the opposite of where we are largely now,  think Twitter). I decided when I am consuming information, I did not want to be amused (that is why I am shunning TV) but I wanted to learn and grow in knowledge by a healthy diet of information that will take time to consume (like a wonderful prepared meal).

Shortly after I read this book, I was listening to a podcast about the man who founded Twitter, Evan Williams, who has started up a new business called “Medium“. I have been reading in depth articles by quality writers on a huge variety of subjects on Medium now for a couple of weeks and I am hooked. It is ironic that the man who founded Twitter would now start up a business that is just the opposite!

Medium provides information from excellent writers and each writer provides you information that is in full context, not fragmented and they allow me to read more “deeply” on a variety of subject matter. It is not about increasing the breadth of knowledge as much and increasing deep of knowledge. I highly recommend downloading the app to your phone or tablet or dialing it up on your computer.

I also give Mr. Williams some huge props for getting rid of all advertising (and the associated revenue) on this site. He has just recently moved to model that provides some of the articles without charge and some you can get if you pay ($5/month). This makes sense to me. If you want quality writing without ads that really informs and increases your knowledge, then people will recognize that and pay for it.

So I will  leave you today with the challenge to take more time to “think deeply” and “read deeply”.  Here is an article I read this week as an example of what I am talking about.

Adventure as Medicine

I loved this article by Rebecca Thomas. It takes about 7 minutes to read. It made me think how the Camino de Santiago pilgrim walk really can really be a healing medicine for us.

Blessings and all good,


Photograph of the Week

Tweedy Lewisia

This week’s hike was to Chiwaukum Creek near Leavenworth to photograph the rare Tweedy Lewisia, a very rare wildflower. I like this image because it places the flower in its context (growing on a very rocky area).