Archive for May, 2009



The Meaning of Michelle Obama

By Nancy Gibbs and Michael Scherer

Time Magazine

It was just two days after the Inauguration when an e-mail went around to Michelle Obama’s staff, instructing everyone to be in the East Room of the White House at 3 that afternoon. The First Lady’s advisers arrived to find the room filled with ushers and plumbers, electricians and maids and kitchen crew gathered in a huge circle, and Michelle in a T shirt and ponytail, very casual and very much in charge.

“This is my team that came with me from Chicago,” Michelle said, pointing to her communications staff and policy people. “This is my team who works here already,” she went on, indicating the ring of veterans around the room. Many of the household staff had served for decades; some had postponed retirement because they wanted to serve an African-American President. And so the two groups formed concentric rings and spent the next hour or so making sure that everyone had a chance to meet everyone else. I want you to know that you won’t be judged based on whether they know your name, Michelle had warned her advisers. You’ll be judged based on whether you know theirs.

The White House became as much Michelle Obama’s stage as her husband’s even before she colored the fountains green for St. Patrick’s Day, or mixed the Truman china with the World’s Fair glasses at a state dinner, or installed beehives on the South Lawn, or turned the East Room into a jazz lounge for a night or sacrificed her first sock to the First Puppy. Of all the revelations of her first 100 days, the most striking was that she made it seem natural. She did not spend decades dreaming of this destination, and maybe that’s the secret. “I’m not supposed to be here,” she says again and again. And ever since she arrived, she has been asking, “What are the things that we can do differently here, the things that have never been done, the people who’ve never seen or experienced this White House?”

For the rest of the article visit Time

I never tire of seeing and reading about our First Lady.  The picture above is absolutely awe-striking.

A couple more pictures below.



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"In hoc signo vinces (You'll Win Under this Sign)" by Bettina Werner; NO.3 panels 80 x 24 inches each © Bettina Werner 1993;Painting created with textured colorized salt technique invented by Bettina Werner in the early 1980’s

A human being
is a unique being,
single and unrepeatable.
Work hard at fulfilling yourself.
With courage,
mark out in your life
irreversible red cross,
and keep going, erect,
along your marvelous path.
Learn to be alone
and keep yourself company.
Let your mind listen and absorb.
Let the most dazzling secret salt of the earth
penetrate you.
Demand intransigence, rigorous verticality.
Don’t be afraid of facing the unknown,
and with violent desire
say YES to life.

–Bettina Werner

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine invited me to a cocktail party in this really great penthouse overlooking the East River.  The view was magnificent, but what really caught my eye was the painting above and, particularly, the poem that accompanies it. 

In hoc signo vinces in Latin means “in this [sign] you will conquer.”  As the legend goes, while marching with his army Constantine looked up in the sky and saw a cross of light and the Greek words “by this, be victorious!”, (or In hoc signo vinces in Latin).   That night, Constantine had a dream in which Christ told him that he should use the sign of the cross against his enemies, making it one of the earliest Christian symbols.  Centuries later, acclaimed Italian artist Bettina Werner used the same symbol and phrase when creating the artwork above. 

Both her painting and her poem inspire me, and I hope they provide inspiration for you too.  For more information on Bettina Werner and her artwork click HERE.

“YES” indeed,


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