Alright folks, sorry for the delay:

'Monks Make Excellent Friends':

This refers to the importance of the Sangha and others on the path - the first part of this passage refers to one of my favorite Buddhist stories wherein Ananda remarks that 'good friends are half of the practice'. The Buddha admonishes him and says that good friends are the whole of the practice, and without them, there can be no path.

In my own life, I have seen the importance of the sangha and teachers to pry me away from delusion - time and again. It will probably continue to happen - so brace yourself, friends!

Also, this is happening when friendship and relationships have come into focus in my own life. After the accident, it was only with the help of friends that I was able to recover. Similarly, my closest friend just got out of jail and has nowhere to sleep nor any job prospects (It's hard to find a job with no address and no reliable phone number or internet access). When he first called me, he only wanted some money to catch up on his storage fees so the storage place didn't toss out his stuff. That was no problem - it was only about $130 or so. At the time, I told him that because I'm at a bit of a financial crisis myself (not working will do that to ya), I could not give him enough money to get his own place, but I told him that if he needed to, he could get a Greyhound and crash at my place and get back on his feet here. Well, it's been three weeks and he's out of options, so I just (literally 20 mins ago) got him a Greyhound ticket from Salt Lake City to here. He has no one else upon which to rely right now, and I'm a bit overjoyed that even with my seriously crimped finances, I can still offer him enough to keep him off the street.

'Follow The Flow of The Stream' (dammit!):

Why to we take obstacles so personally?. It's our self-centered ego that creates them as obstacles in the first place, and then goes on to think we're the only ones who are beset with problems. This may (not) come as a shock to some of you, but I can be a bit of a complainer. My mother is the perfect opposite of this. I was lucky enough to have my mother and sister visit last week. First, the second leg of their incoming flight was cancelled, so they rented a car one way (expensive!), then the car they rented was accidentally double-rented, so they had to start over. Then they got lost trying to get here...but they finally arrived about 8 hours after they were originally going to. The whole time, my mom says, 'It's not the end of the world!'. Then we went for a 3 hour hike to a waterfall, except I forgot to tell them how long the hike was they shouldn't wear flip-flops. Once again, my mom just smiled and said, 'It's not the end of the world!'. Lastly, the first leg of their return flight was late so they missed the connecting flight and had to wait about 8 hours for another one. 'It's not the end of the world!'

Seriously. It's not. And even if it is, hey, no more problems are possible after that, right?