My New Hosted Blog

Hello Everyone!

First, I just wanted to let all of you know how much I’ve appreciated your support and kind comments regarding my blogs!

In order to move forward with the Master Key Experience and other relevant interests, my past blogs and those going forward will be posted here:

I hope you’ll follow me there!

Thanks! Randy

Light & Shadow #3

Harvest operations near Kendrick, Idaho — Circa 1981

During the Dog Days of summer it’s not uncommon to see combines out in the fields, but what struck me about this particular opportunity enough to make pictures was, of course, the dramatic sky.  

I was around 10 years old when I first saw the rolling hills and rich black soil of the Palouse —the name used to identify some 19,000 square miles of Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington.

It was a magical experience watching it all roll by outside the car window on our way to Spokane. It was no wonder that I would attend college and start my adult life there. I love that country to this day.

The Palouse has a rich agricultural heritage dating back to the 1880s. Farming there is dry land — the only water the wheat and legume crops receive is what nature provides over the winter and early spring.

The fickleness of nature aside, farming in the Palouse is not an easy task. Unlike the flat ground in production most everywhere else, this is contour farming on hillsides — some of them disconcertingly steep. In fact, technology had to be developed to allow the harvester itself to stay perpendicular on the slope with only the cutting head leaning downhill, otherwise, the results would be disastrous.

A hundred years ago, an organized harvest crew might consist of 120 men and 320 mules or horses — with appetites to match. Efficiency and working conditions had improved significantly when this picture was taken — the combine operator even had the luxury of an air-conditioned cab! Today, autonomous combines can harvest crops guided by GPS and do so with or without an operator.  

All of this makes me think of Don and Loris Jones — they would be shocked at the idea of self-driving machinery. In 1981, I decided to move my young family to Boise but stayed in Moscow an extra few weeks to help truck their grain from field to depot during harvest. Loris was the Ag reporter for the newspaper where I’d been the photographer and Don an incredibly self-reliant wheat rancher. I always smile when I think of Don’s incredulous look and sarcastic reply when I asked if he had a pocket knife.

“I’ve got my pants on, don’t I.”

Light & Shadow #2

A drill operator in Sunshine Mine — Kellogg, Idaho — 1973

Inner Earth. Its clutches are hot, wet, and dark. Once down there, it may not let go.

In May 1972 a fire broke out underground at the Sunshine Mine and 91 men died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Only two survived and were rescued after 8 days down below. The fire was the second deadliest hard-rock mining disaster in U.S. history.

A friend back then was a mining engineering major at the University of Idaho and I worked in the university photo department. The mine had just reopened after the fire a year prior, and Jan’s connections were such that we had an opportunity for a tour. We had a grand idea to do a story for National Geographic.

Many details have faded into five decades of history, but I remember this clearly — none of it gave me the desire to be a miner. I’m glad to have grown up where I did — there is something about mining towns that makes them hard to escape.

A steel cage hanging from a cable dropped us a few thousand feet straight down and we exited into a ‘lobby’ of sorts. It was stiflingly hot. My clothes and skin were immediately soaked from the humidity. I prefer that my heat be dry.

From there we walked ankle-deep in water through a dark maze of tunnels to where the actual mining took place. I remember the relief of standing near a giant ventilation fan pulling fresh air in from above.

An indispensable requirement of photography is light. There was none, save that from the mining lamps, and that barely enough to focus a camera. Were it not for the strobe I had, few pictures would have been made that day.

The truth is, most were useless. It’s a good thing our story idea was just a pipe dream because National Geographic would have been sorely disappointed. But, as I would learn throughout my career, even the most difficult conditions would give you SOMETHING if you kept your wits and worked at it.

I came away from my foray into the belly of the planet with this picture of a drill operator and sympathy for what some must endure while earning their wage.

Light & Shadow #1

Introducing my Light & Shadow blogs. In part, they are the result of my work with The Master Key Experience. I would never have chosen to blog on my own — I was ‘forced’ to as a course requirement of the MKE. I was surprised to find I enjoyed it — for the most part anyway — and surprised to the point of shock to be complimented for my writing. I have a ‘creative bent’, expressed primarily through a career in photography. My first love in the medium was black & white — for years I’ve thought of doing a book of images and the stories behind them. This is a good way to get that project started.

Of the untold numbers of pictures I’ve taken in my career, this was the very first that at the moment I pushed the button, I knew it was a good one.

Ol’ George

In 1973 at the end of my 3rd year of college, I was hired by the University of Idaho Photo Center — the department responsible to provide photo services university-wide. The U of I had an ecology workshop going on that summer deep in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Northern Idaho. Participants were taken to the camp by a family-run pack outfitter based in Orofino.

As misfortune would have it, my colleagues — who were scheduled to spend a few days photographing the workshop — were unable to attend. It seems they found themselves under legal scrutiny due to a particular plant found to be growing at their farmhouse. Oops.

At the last minute, I was tapped to make the trip, but had to get to Orofino and didn’t trust my car. Fortunately, two people were scheduled to go so I called my friend Dick.

Early the next morning, we two greenhorns were plopped atop horses in a pack train and led into the mountains. It took much of the day, plodding our way along narrow, rugged trails — I was glad for such sure-footed horses.

My subject in the photo was the family patriarch and camp entertainer. I’ve known other people like George — so full of stories and humor. I’ve always been envious of their ability to engage. “Back when a joint was a dime,” he began one story. Dick and I looked at one another and snickered.

When it came time to leave, the two of us mounted up and rode out on our own. The horses knew the way, we were assured. They also knew when they were close to home and began to trot the last few miles. My tender butt wanted me to get off and walk!

Of the untold numbers of pictures I’ve taken in my career, this was the very first that at the moment I pushed the button, I knew it was a good one.

Master Key Experience Week 24

In Part 24, Haanel discusses appearances. The route of the sun through the sky, the sound of a bell, and the sun that gives us light.

“…we cannot depend upon the evidence of the senses for our information concerning the realities of things…”

He goes on to say that “in order to express harmony, you must think harmony. In order to express health, you must think health. In order to express abundance, you must think abundance.”

To get there I must “reverse the evidence of the senses.” In spite of what I see, I have “nothing to do but convince myself of the truth which I desire to see manifested.”

There is a famous book by Malcolm Gladwell called The Tipping Point. I’ve had the idea of my own tipping point in mind lately.

In this context, much of what I understand or believe came from the evidence of my senses. The sun moves through the sky and gives me light. It’s the bell that rings and my bank account that rarely had enough. Bit by bit, evidence — better yet error — has collected upon itself for the better part of six decades. In MKE parlance, it’s called concrete.

Think of a balance scale, heavily weighted to one side from evidence of the senses — the concrete. On the other, conviction of the truth I desire to see manifested — the “gold in the mind transmuted into gold in the heart and in the hand.”

Efforts of the last six months have been to divert attention from outward appearances to the desires I wish to manifest through the discovery of the Power Within. Haanel warns in Part 23 that six months is really just a beginning — “it is a labor of life. Not to go forward is to go backward.”

He’s right — after six months of the Master Key Experience, it’s time to commence the journey forward on my own.

My tipping point lies somewhere in the future.

Master Key Experience Week 23

If I don’t start tapping away at my keyboard, this blog will never get written. Simply put, I’m having a hard time getting my thoughts to gel.

I’m not exactly sure what the abyss of my personal Hero’s Journey will look like, or how I’ll know I’m really there, but if I were to guess, events of the last 6 weeks or so would indicate I’m in the thick of it.

Few things are worse than seeing tragedy strike your child and ‘child-in-law’. It is not the kind of thing that heals itself overnight. Maybe never. And there is nothing you can do. People who were trusted sources of inspiration and mentorship disappear, leaving you to find your own way through the void and asking whether your skills are sufficient to be of value to anyone who may rely on you. One day the phone rings and you find yourself in the ER with your aging mother and wondering if it’s the beginning of the end. Miraculously all is well for now, but the full diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan lie ahead. Let’s not forget the impact on life and livelihood around the world by something we can’t even see. It is shocking to see empty shelves and the supermarket in disarray as though marauders broke in overnight. Actually, some were just leaving with all the toilet paper they could carry.

These are unprecedented experiences for me — all together in such a short time anyway. I am grateful to face them after having been through the MKE, yet I feel a little like Luke Skywalker — called upon to fight with only a few days practice with a lightsaber.

I find myself thinking about the Laws of Least Effort — particularly the one about Acceptance.

I will practice Acceptance. Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur. I will know that this moment is as it should be because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not struggle against the whole universe by struggling against this moment. My acceptance is total and complete. I accept things as they are in this moment t, not as I wish they were.

I’ll do my best.

Master Key Experience Week 22a

One of the SMART goals on my DMP has been ‘manifesting’ over the last couple of weeks!

I can’t point to ‘subby’ going to work for me in some unexplainable way, but realized one day I wanted my goal bad enough to use some of the resources I had stashed away to make the goal happen.

Does it matter which? Either way, I’m enjoying the outcome. I will celebrate it and indulge in a little pride, too.

Plus, it’s been a great diversion. A needed diversion.

“I love my remodeled office on or before 12/31/2020. It is orderly and stylish! I am peaceful and productive there!”

I’ve been reciting those words several times a day for months now. My thought was that income from my business would increase in the coming year such that I could easily dedicate the funds to remodel the room. Admittedly, I didn’t wait to find out.

Carrie and I downsized here in 2015. The house was built in the mid-90’s — the previous owners remodeled it tastefully, but left the bedrooms we use as offices untouched. I spend many hours every day in this room. Nothing about it pleased me — way too crowded with furniture and possessions that truth be told, are of little use. Ugh! That paint has to change.

I referred to this project in my blog last week, in regards to the ‘special knowledge’ possessed by my brother. I asked him to come over and discuss my ideas. He suggested I repurpose two pieces of the furniture — a brilliant idea, I must say. I kept the bookcase and tore apart the entertainment center which gave me two large slabs for my desktops.

It’s been a messy couple of weeks. Not only was my room a disaster, the rest of the house was too. Thanks Carrie, for your patience — bit by bit chaos is becoming order.

The carpet has to go — as soon as possible anyway.

“I love the new Pergo Trenton Oak flooring in my office on or before 12/31/2020!”

It really ties the room together.

Master Key Experience Week 22

The Franklin Makeover was introduced to us 9 weeks ago or so. The practice is to focus on recognizing the expression of a given concept personally and in daily experience. Take kindness for example — it exists all around if one looks for it. A commitment to express kindness builds the trait. Recognition and expression — they build on one another. Thoughts that fire together wire together.

Other than our activities during Kindness Week, I’ve found this particular component to the MKE harder to assimilate than others. I have to admit that as the weeks have passed I’ve been less and less committed to The Makeover.

This week was different. Special Knowledge was the area of focus. It became very clear in an effort to remodel my office and on a fishing trip.

Years ago, my brother developed an interest in woodworking through a number of topical shows on television. He dug in and has developed not only Special Knowledge but the skills to go with it. 

Who would be better to ask about my office? He helped me refine my plan and offered advice on execution. I set out on my own to build the desktop that runs wall to wall across the room. 

Then, Brian came to my aid when I was in over my head. A level of knowledge, skill, and equipment beyond my own was required. No one makes it without a mastermind and a little help from their brother.

I’ve fished most of my life — mostly fly fishing lakes, streams and rivers. A new acquaintance invited another friend and me to go fishing for Kokanee. This was a new experience for me, and an object lesson in Special Knowledge. Not only that, t’s a mystery to me how this knowledge was acquired in the first place!

Bob was a wealth of it. Kokanee is not predatory a species, but they are territorial and strike out of anger. They feed on plankton and are themselves the food of Chinook which populates the fishery.

It’s not just ‘head knowledge’ that’s required to go after Kokanee.

I have no small investment in stuff, but Bob quips that he could feed a Third World Country with what he’s spent on fishing. After this experience, I can see that. Comparatively speaking, my fishing pursuits are pretty simple and ‘low cost’.

The moral of the story is this — pick a thing, anything. We live in a big, wide world and the opportunity to dig in and learn is everywhere. Special Knowledge, experience, and excellence are the prize.

Master Key Experience Week 21

In this lesson, Haanel illustrates the transfer of power from the Universal to the individual by comparing it to a wire. Placing an ordinary wire with one that is charged transfers that charge.

Does it ever!

Reading that description gave me a very clear memory of the International Harvester Weed Chopper we used on the farm when I was a kid.

The funny little box in the barn looked as much like a radio as anything, but instead of a dial and volume knob, it had an orange and green light. Pretty — kinda like Christmas — but instead of playing holiday music or a favorite tune, it packed a punch.

Once a crop was off the field, we would often turn cows out and let them graze on the leftovers. That required some method of keeping the critters within their confines. The Weed Chopper hooked to a strand or two of wire would do the trick. The animals seemed to know what awaited them should they transgress.

My dad — may he rest in peace — had a bit of an ornery streak. One way or another, he always managed to get my brother and I shocked when we were building those fences. I didn’t find it as comical as he did. Touch that wire and WHAM! An instantaneous transfer of electrical energy brought home a vivid lesson — stay away from the wire!

I find fondness and humor in those memories of the farm. They were a fine illustration of Haanel’s point, too.

The Universal Mind is a ‘live wire.’ When my mind makes a connection, it too is energized — ‘receiving all the power that it requires.’

Each day, I make time to take my chair and ‘sit.’ I ‘enter the silence’ in order to deepen and explore my connection — or hook my ordinary wire to that of the Universal, as it were.

In general, my results from the sit seem difficult to quantify, yet I trust they will show themselves in time. However, in one particular ‘sit’, I held the image of energy flowing through the wire running between myself and the universal. With each breath, I drew in the ‘Pranic Energy’ referred to in Week 20. 

Subtle as it was, I believe I could actually feel it. Along with that came the sense that I was recognizing my connection to the world within in a deeper way. Haanel tells us that ‘all power is contingent upon recognition of this world.’

I look forward to recognizing connections that pack the punch of a Weed Chopper.

Master Key Experience Week 20

Every time you think you start a train of causation which will create a condition in strict accordance with the quality of the thought which originated it. Thought which is in harmony with the Universal Mind will result in corresponding conditions. Thought which is discordant will produce corresponding results. You may use thought constructively or destructively, but the immutable law will not allow you to plant a thought of one kind and then reap the fruit of another. You are free to use this marvelous creative power as you will, but you must take the consequences.

Well, it doesn’t get more clear than that, does it? Paragraph 28 of Week 20 leaves little doubt in my mind about the power of thought. Not that there was — it’s been stated in many different ways throughout the book, but this time it hit me between the eyes.

Maybe it was the words ‘Every time.’ EVERY time. Or, ‘train of causation.’ Once a train gets going and the longer they run, the harder they are to stop.

Once again, I wonder how many seconds, minutes, or hours of the day may go by where I don’t realize that I’m thinking in ways that get the train going in the wrong direction. I remember pondering that a lot when the Seven Day Mental Diet was introduced and probably wrote about it then.

To be honest, it’s been a tough three weeks. I managed to keep up with the course work, but to say there was no ‘thought of lack, limitation, or discord’ would be a lie. One might even throw in a dash of disbelief and futility for good measure. Let’s not forget fear, guilt, anger, hurt feelings, and unworthiness either.

As Haanel assures, ‘the thought messengers will carry the summons as readily as any other kind of thought and the result will be just a certain.’

Then, in the thick of it, what should come up in the webinar but the idea of using negatives as tools. The concept was a breath of fresh air, but I will need to draw it in for a while to understand the application part.

Time to go — I have a date to visit the Alliances area and see how others are using their negatives as tools.

Create your website with
Get started