Making 2018 Better for All People

thAnother New Year, I wish everyone a healthy, happy and prosperous 2018. I’ve heard it said, “current problems can’t be solved by using the same approach.” I’m paraphrasing, but the notion is the same. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I hope the world is listening.
No more children need to starve and die from malnutrition. Famine, clean drinking water, cholera, malaria, electricity–things we take for granted. A world working for everyone requires people working to help each other. Americans are quick to open their hearts and wallets for a crisis. This I applaud, yet we can do more.
What if everyone saved their money from one dinner out, one less tech device, one less movie? You get the idea. We send food, medicine, blankets, books. Whatever we are called to give. Writing a check once a year helps, more is needed. What do you say, can we make 2018 a year everyone’s life improves?

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Happy New Year

untitledHappy New Year 2018 has arrived and as I ring in the new I’m reminded of the old. The second of seven children. We are now geographically dispersed. I’m the only sibling on the west coast. The rest and their families live on the east coast. Distance, families and jobs keep us all busy. It’s been years since we were all together.
This morning technology allowed us to wish each other Happy New Year via text. California is three hours later, so I joined the dialogue late. The text started off benignly enough. Well wishes and hopes for a healthy New Year. Then my younger brother lobbed a zinger at his sisters. He has five older sisters.
A wise person might question his sanity for wishing a “Happy New Year to his big and biggest sisters.” Then inquiring if he has any small ones. There’s a reason the boy is single. Although in fairness, we dropped him on his head many times as a child. Bless is heart it isn’t his fault. Nevertheless, I reminded him we are wiser and motivated. His reply was to tell us we’d never find him in the backwoods of Georgia. Little brother we have the money, the incentive and the time to find you.
Happy New Year Y’all and baby brother sleep with one eye open.

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Have A Dog Filled Christmas

3974.jpegMerry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. No white Christmas in southern California. I’ve found I really don’t mind having no snow. I’ll take sunny and sixty-five every year. No travel worries unless it’s traffic, a fact of life in So. CA. Palm trees and cactus decked out in Christmas decorations works for me.
No grandchildren yet and my family will join me to ring in the New Year. Life is good. The boys are amped up every day. Their enthusiasm to greet each day is not appreciated at 5:30 a.m. They make no exceptions for human holidays. Charging down the stairs and running amok on the way to their food bowls.
They got Christmas eve baths and have repaid my thoughtfulness by shedding on every surface they tread upon. The Weimaraner has little hair. The big offender is the Labrador golden cross. His black hair sticks to socks and leaves a tale of his passing wherever he roams. This is why God gave him the face of an angel.
This morning I decided to treat myself to a few more minutes of sleep. I let the boys up on the bed with me. Travis snuggles right in beside my hip. Narley decided he should sit on my stomach. He’s a sturdy little lad. My breathing labored, sleeping wasn’t going to happen, at least I was warm. They are the two best presents I could give myself.


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It’s a small, small world.

thOlder, but wiser-I’m not sure. My best friend of nearly forty years has decided we should visit the national parks while we still have our health. I’m all for this, there are many I’ve yet to visit. Hiking and being out in nature inspires me. Never one for camping I was elated when my BFF decided camping was no longer a desirable pursuit.
No room service or hot shower and I’m not going. Hiking in, enjoying the natural beauty and hiking out suits me just fine. I moved west twenty-six years ago and my BFF remained in the “frozen tundra of upstate N.Y.” She stayed primarily on the east coast while I visited many west coast parks and trails.
Being a lifelong educator, she decided we should read up on the national parks and decide which to visit. A sound approach and one I endorsed. Flash forward to her telling me she sent me a Christmas present and I should wait to open it until she visited after the holidays. No problem, when it arrived I set it aside.
I couldn’t help noticing it rattled. When I mentioned this to her, she told me since I’d guessed it was a jigsaw puzzle I could open it. There were two boxes and she told me to go ahead and start the puzzle of the United States listing all the national parks by state. Cute idea, in theory anyway. I need a magnifying glass to read the park names and descriptions. She told me to save the world map for her visit. Not a problem and change my address before she decides the solar system should be miniaturized for studied.

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Natural Disasters and Everyday Heroes

thThursday the Santa Ana winds blew a firestorm toward my home. California’s Mediterranean climate is ideal. The mild weather feels like spring and summer year-round in Southern California. The earth quakes and shakes. Wildfires are another fact of life. In the aftermath of a rainy winter the mudslides and debris flows in the burn areas.
It’s scary when caught in the middle of any of these natural disasters. Thursday, the wind gusts exceeded 40 mph’s. The perfect storm to launch burning embers skyward. All the dry growth from our draught ending rainfall last winter now kindling fueling the flames. We were lucky the winds died allowing firefighters to stop the flames moving quickly west.
My family like so many others evacuated. Leaving our homes to sleep in our cars or on someone’s couch. My home was spared, many others were not so lucky. No lives were lost, yet thirty horses perished. In times like these we realize the only thing we can rely on are our first responders and neighbors.
The first responders and the military fought the flames around the clock. Saving countless structures and lives. Neighbors helped neighbors. A brigade of everyday citizens descended on an equine training center with their own horse trailers. Risking their lives and saving hundreds of horses. Over 700 hundred animals ended up at the Del Mar racetrack. They were cared for by an army of volunteers. This is what makes us great, our strength in the face of adversity. Our resilience to rebuild. My prayers go out to all those touched by the fires and the heroes who stepped up to help.

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Have You Smiled Today?

Have you smiled today? Did it touch your eyes? Produce a laugh? I’m convinced smiling and laughter keep me young. Fortunately, for me I have no shortage of material when my two dogs are running amok. Travis pounces on lizards which he misses or stalks the ground squirrels. Fear not for reptile or rodents. He’s on a leash and never comes close to catching one.
What he does produce is eight plus pounds of pouncing, bouncing goofiness. His big Weimaraner ears flop around his head. I fly along behind him holding tight to the leash, anchored by his solidly built little brother. Narley is a Goldor, part lab and part golden retriever. He’s nowhere near as tall has his big brother. Yet, he makes up for his lack of stature with a solid frame.
In the south, we would say he’s built like a brick shit house. Bless his heart. He’s a sturdy lad and body slams his taller brother. They are pretty evenly matched. The real loser here is me. They outweigh me and I must be vigilant to keep from being road kill during one of their frolics. Like my favorite Christmas carol, “Gramma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” The hoof prints on her head were the primary clue. I’ll have paw prints on mine. So, please pray for my safety and the wellbeing of all the lizards and squirrels in our path. Are you smiling yet?



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Thankful Heart

untitledThanksgiving has come and gone, but not the blessed feeling. Time with family and friends-priceless. I’m taking today to remind myself of all my blessing before I’m sucked into the Christmas holiday frenzy. No amount of consumerism can erase the joy of sharing a meal with loved ones.
Do you remember writing thank you cards or writing letters? I do and I miss receiving the physical reminder of a card or letter. I grew up before cell phones and computers. We had a party line and the only people I called were local numbers. This meant I either had to go find the person or write to them.
There is something magical about sitting down with pen and paper. A physical reminder of what the person you are writing to, means in your life. Sadly, I’ve succumbed to sending ecards. They are special with their music and animation. Yet, I can’t touch an ecard or save it in a scrap book.
Today I give thanks for all the people who have touched my life. My family, friends, colleagues and strangers. I send them all love and blessings to brighten their days and lift their spirits. Namaste.

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A World that Works for Everyone

What would a, “world that works for everyone look like?” I’m not sure I know. There are things we can all agree on. Everyone should have enough food to eat, clean water to drink and clean air to breathe. A room over their heads with electricity, heat and medical care are essential. The freedom to educate their children and to worship as they see fit. Clothes to wear and shoes for their feet.
Things we as Americans take for granted. I know people in America who go to bed hungry, or don’t have a home. Not every person in America has access to medical care. Creating a world that works for everyone is a tall order when America can’t care for all its citizens. This doesn’t mean we don’t try.
The untold stories of bravery and sacrifice during the hurricanes and wild fires. The stories of people opening their businesses to neighbors who lost everything. Truckers who drove their big rigs through city streets to rescue the stranded. Bakeries staying open to make bread to feed the hungry. Every day hero’s and our neighbors.
Maybe shows how we create a world that works for everyone. Thankfully, we don’t face major emergencies on a daily basis. Still we find hungry, cold and homeless people every single day. I ask each of you to stop and help a neighbor, a stranger each day. Daily I am grateful for my life and the blessings I enjoy. I can share. How about you, will you join me?


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Inspired Living


Who or what inspired you today? This is no easy question for me. I’m having a great day and I haven’t looked for or sought inspiration. Every day is as good as I decided it will be. Challenges come and go on their own schedule. Worrying about what might happen prevents me from being present in the moment.
My two boys ground me when they aren’t trying to take me out on the stairs. One is an eleven-month-old Labrador golden cross. His brother is nearly two years old handsome Weimaraner. They are buddies and energetic enough to keep me hopping. We walk over four miles a day and they still wrestle, and body slam each other into walls.
Last week I found a small golf ball sized divot in the wall on the stair landing. On closer inspection I found incriminating black hairs from my lab. You guessed it, his big brother slammed him into the wall. An impact to make any ice hockey coach smile. They’ve turned my back patio into a racing oval. Stopping them is impossible. Once they get going. I seek protection behind something solid.
You might have guessed by now they are all the inspiration I need to stay alert. Keeping an eye out for a rampaging four-legged balls of enthusiasm. Life is good.

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America Mourns Again


How many times do we need to wake up to the news of another mass shooting? Enough. This isn’t a gun issue, rather a mental health issue. Our country is failing miserably to identify and help those suffering from mental illness. A large percentage of our homeless population has mental health issues. The only place they get help is in an emergency room or a jail cell. Neither is the right place to treat these individuals.


After 9/11 there was a campaign on “see something say something.” We need the same response to address mental illness. Violent or bizarre behavior needs reporting. Threatening messages and rants on social media must be noted. Local law enforcement should be alerted. The shooter in Texas was a ticking time bomb.


Our nation is founded on protecting individual liberties. People should be able to ride our bike paths, go to concerts, go to nightclubs and worship without fear. It might be impossible to stop them all, but we can do better. Our government needs to stop wringing their hands and pointing fingers every time one of these shootings occurs.


Common sense tells me our founding fathers did not intend for an average citizen to carry assault weapons, multiple ammunition clips and tactical gear. Our police and military are the only ones who need those weapons and protection. Individuals do have the right to own guns, just not those weapons.


I pray for every single victim, family member, first responders and medical personnel dealing with these horrific, senseless tragedies. And to Washington politicians I say, “get off your partisan asses, come together and fix this.”


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