Ernie & Karen’s World


Click on this photo for the significance
Karen and Ern are 18 year residents of Sedona, Arizona. We both grew up in the Chicago area, both attended Beloit College in Wisconsin and have been together (dating and married) for 54 years. We were married on graduation day in the college chapel in June, 1962. For detailed information about our histories and backgrounds, check our CV and Bio Outline.

Our one daughter, Cinda Michelle, is a self employed massage therapist, living with her husband, Dave Caplan (a self-employed graphic artist) in Bend, Oregon. Cinda and Dave both enjoy cycling (road and mountain bike racing), kayaking, trekking, telemark skiing and many other outdoor sports and activities.

While Sedona has sometimes been called a particularly “contentious community.PDF” (there always seems to be an issue, or 2 or 3, that evokes strong passion and divides folks) our very active involvement in the political and advocacy arena finds us realizing that one can “know too much” and perhaps even “care too much”. Ern (along with most all of his friends) is one of those who cannot sit idly by and just let things happen. See the topic “Sedona Activists”.
However, always being in “battle mode” is not the most enjoyable way to live.  Ern finds himself constantly trying to find a balance between responsible citizenship and enjoyment of life in the latter years.  One possible way to find that balance is to address an issue that crosses ideological boundaries. The essay by Cheryl S. King, “Citizen Engagement and Sustainability.” offers such hope.
Recently, Ern’s primary and perhaps final focus in life is on “Sustainability” Issues.  To this end, he has been Vice-Chair of the Sedona Sustainability Commission (a 3 year appointed term), served on the Board of the Northern Arizona Sustainable Economic Development Initiative and until Dec. ’15 a Board member of the Sustainable Arizona non-profit organization. Sustainability has become one of those easily appropriated words with hundreds of meanings and implications - however, there is only one needed definition for Un-sustainability, “It comes to an END”.
During the last five years, our interests have turned to deeper pursuits; more long term projections of where humanity MUST GO if we are to survive to the end of the 21st century....globalism rather than nationalism (with air travel, the internet, Skype,and globally interdependent economies, how stupid and irrelevant are border walls)? Other espoused concepts are:
Required focus on Sustainability - less Consumerism, much greater emphasis on Quality of Life, rather than Quantity of Stuff!  See: The Challenge of Sustainable Economic Growth-Revised copy.pdf.
Increased focus on “Sense of Community”.
A necessary decrease in “physicalism” (military, prisons, walls) - and a greater reliance on higher, Integral levels of consciousness.
Collaboration, rather than Confrontation.
To those ends, Ern enjoyed his recent participation with the Arizona Town Hall.  (see and click on orgs. bottom right)
He also finds it difficult, if not impossible to remove himself from political discussions and involvement, at least as a commentator. His recent newspaper articles are:

His greatest joy on a weekly basis (after 2-3 rounds of golf), is participation in a small 7-member men’s discussion group called the “Dung Beetles”, where all of the above topics are constantly on the table, with a couple beers or Manhattans.
For her part, Karen is currently satisfied with her life in Sedona.  She has been developing her spiritual nature at the Unity Church, has reinvigorated involvement with the “Sedona Women: Dames Who Make a Difference” and has taken up to 8 Life-Long Learning courses at Yavapai Community College, in the OLLI program.
A focus on her friendships, multi-weekly yoga sessions, a weekly women’s hiking group and a Book Club keep her emotionally, physically and mentally balanced.

Perhaps because we were so caught up with our careers prior to retirement in Sedona, we had no time left for “Community Involvement”.  It is undoubtedly the beauty of the place that engenders a spirit of protection and preservation.  
Ern became involved (Vice President) with a group called “Voice of Choice for 179” (Highway 179 is pictured on the right).  The commemorative plaque below is on permanent display at the entrance to the pedestrian footbridge crossing Oak Creek. Ern was the leader in suggesting Roundabouts, after visiting and photographing the 20 or so in Bend, OR. 

An entire book was written on the extensive process involved in changing ADOT’s mind, “Can’t We DO Something?”, by Janet Sabina.  Ern is featured in Chapters 5, 8 and 11 as the “latecomer”, “researcher” and the “City Council Candidate”, respectively.
Karen  became incensed by the incompetence and values reflected on the Sedona Fire District Board.  Those values placed the overwhelming priority on “cost-cutting”, with little regard for protection and safety of the community, or morale of the firefighters and staff of the district. ADDITIONALLY, virtually every meeting provided evidence of failure to follow the Arizona Open Meeting Law.  The Arizona Attorney General’s Office confirmed this contention  and the opinion letter is printed in full on June 20, 2012.

 A small group of half a dozen or so women organized themselves as “Citizens for Safety” and initiated a successful petition drive to recall 3 of the 5 Board Members. In the subsequent election, all three recalled Board Members lost their seats by substantial margins! The effort of Karen and her friends became the “Biggest Story of the Year” for the Red Rock News.

While it’s still up and relevant, Ern created the website:

We are evolving beings. Physical manifestations of universal consciousness. We are all linked to one another, our biosphere, and the cosmos. Chief Seattle said it succinctly, 
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Karen and I have discovered individually, together and through involvement with a group called Integral Sedona, the verity of this philosophy or “world view” for ourselves. Each book we read, each concept we explore merely reinforces, reiterates or complements the interconnectedness of all things, and their pathway on an evolutionary spiral. 
We are not all at the same place, and that’s OK. Five years ago, we were both personally at dramatically different levels of understanding and consciousness. I like to think we’ve been evolving at increasing rates of speed.
The headings at the top of this page are like a Journalism project.  “Who, What, Where, Why and How”.  The first five topics present the who, what and where, while the last four topics deal with the much more interesting, why and how.
If you are at all intrigued by what in the heck we’re talking about, and before you call for the “men in the little white coats”, you might want to explore the “hot links” above to Favorite Subjects, Favorite Journal, and Most Significant Books.     
Happy Exploration!

So, we changed our lives again!  Here’s how it happened - 
Karen had ownership of her own horse on her personal “bucket list”.  Early in 2014 we purchased a 12 year-old Missouri Foxtrotter mare. By April, Karen had been bucked-off and broke her hip, requiring a partial hip replacement.  After an excellent recovery in 10 weeks, we discovered with professional advice that the horse was just too much for her.  After much angst, Ern began researching the possibility of a sale.  As it happened, only a trade became possible, and Karen gained another (but laid-back) 12 year-old Missouri Foxtrotter gelding “Linc” in March, 2015.
Less than a month later, as Ern’s golf game was inexplicably foundering, a “meant-to-be” opportunity arose to purchase another 10 year-old Missouri Foxtrotter gelding, “Roscoe”.  Roscoe’s sire was the World Grand Champion in 1999, “Country Frank”. 
The upshot is that we are now spending usually 3 days per week trail-riding along the Verde River, or the hills around Tuzigoot National Monument in Clarkdale.  In the photo below, you can observe our horses (with the fly masks), enjoying playing with each other during the alternate days they get in the pasture.  They are true buddies!
Basic Information:
Ernie & Karen Strauch


Panasonic FZ100 - Olympus SP-560 UZ

Sony DSC - HX9V

Favorite Subjects:
Integral Philosophy, Integral Politics, Conservation and the Arts

Favorite Journal:

Favorite Locations:
Sedona, Bend, OR, and BrianHead, Utah

Books that have been Major influences and informed our thinking:
“Science and the Akashic Field”- Lazlo
“Linked” - Albert-Laszlo Barabasi
“The Age of the Unthinkable” - Joshua Cooper Ramo
“You are Here” - Christopher Potter
“Dirty Rotten Strategies” - Mitroff
“WorldShift 2012” - Laszlo
“The Bridge at the Edge of the World”
“Eternal Life - A New Vision” - Spong
“Thank God for Evolution” - M. Dowd
“Big Mind, Big Heart” Genpo Roshi
“The World is Flat” - Tom Friedman
“Hot, Flat and Crowded” - Friedman
“A New Earth” - Eckhart Tolle
“The Help” - Kathryn Stockett
“Food Matters” - Mark Bittman
“The Botany of Desire” - M. Pollan
“Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” -   Barbara Kingsolver
“Eat, Pray, Love” -  Elizabeth Gilbert
“The End of Growth” - Heinberg
The Challenge of Sustainable Economic Growth-Revised.pdf
“The Political Mind” - George Lakoff
“The Righteous Mind” - Jonathan Haidt

Personal Motto:
"Every time I try to isolate one thing, I find it tied to the rest of the universe."~ John Muir,M1
Where We’ve Been:

The following two musical interludes are the only songs I am aware of, written specifically about Sedona, Arizona.

The first, is “Sedona Serenade” written and performed by Frank Fara with Patty Parker.

The second, “We are the Guardians” was written by Shondra Jepperson and performed by her and husband Tom to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the founding of Keep Sedona Beautiful.

Clicking on the membership logos

below takes you to their Web Site.

Georgia O’Keeffe Favorites: