Baruch Spinoza an eighteenth-century philosopher suggested people need to ask themselves three questions every day for a month. The first, “Who or what inspired me today” I’ll try to answer the question and I’ll save the others for another blog.
I had a hard time responding to this query. Upon reflection, many things have inspired me. Nature, acts of kindness, and an inspirational quote all have moved me. It is harder to pin point daily. Do I know when I wake each day what will inspire me? The answer is no.
What I rely on for inspiration makes me who I am. My faith and my grandmother. I trust God to watch over and guide me. The knowledge that I am God’s child gives me great peace. My grandmother encouraged me to be a better person. She demonstrated unconditional love, humor and kindness. A literal pioneer, a Daughter of the American revolution.
Guided by my faith and the wisdom of my grandmother today I’m inspired by life’s little blessings. A marine layer to keep my walk with the dog’s cool. The afternoon breezes cooling my home. Little things to lift my soul. Small blessings. What inspired you today?
Five things make my life better. My faith in something bigger, kinder, and gentler in the universe. Laughter, sidesplitting laughter. Music which inspires the soul. Animals and their unconditional love and silly antics. Lastly, nature in all her glory.
I have no order for my five pillars. Just a gut level feeling. Knowing life with its ups and downs will carry me to great heights and crashing lows. This I expect. How I handle the peaks and valleys is up to me. Just as important is the certainty life changing events often come with no warning.
A meticulous planner, I try to prepare for most major life challenges. The universe laughs at the notion. Just when I assume I’m ready for what may come, something I never imagined occurs. Busted, I turn to my faith. Turning within to my God, my source. A presence which tells me this too shall pass.
Pass it does and ironically, I’m often better for the episode. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for painful experiences to offer me growth. Slow growth is still growth. In the meantime, I laugh with my dogs, turn up the good tunes, marvel at natures beauty and give thanks with a grateful heart. What’s your compass?
Most of us never need a service dog and or work with a service dog. These animals work with devotion and dedication. Guide Dogs of America, Canine Companions, police dogs, military dogs, search and rescue dogs all unselfishly toil. The dogs who worked the World Trade Center needed therapy when they found no survivors. Their handlers hiding people for them to rescue. A guide dog walked his handler down seventy plus floors. Unwilling to leave him when released outside the crumbling tower.
Able-bodied people take their mobility and independence for granted. Blessed with the freedom to come and go as they wish. Not everyone is so fortunate. For those unable to see or dress themselves, the dogs are their eyes and hands. Yesterday, I met a young man who knows freedom because of his service dog. He wanted to thank me because I’m raising a puppy for the same organization. Meeting him was all the thanks I need.
On August 26th, the Marines sent Cena home. The ten-year-old Labrador served three tours in Afghanistan. Cena suffered from an aggressive form of bone cancer. Her Marine went home four years before her. When she returned, she continued her service. Helping him cope with PTSD. Now she’s in heaven and he is left with a heavy heart. This man and his dog served unselfishly protecting our freedom. They are the best of us as a nation. Thank you both and God speed Cena.
If you wish to help find a cure for canine cancer, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/cena-find-cure-for-canine-cancer
I cannot imagine losing a child. The thought an unspeakable horror. There’s no way to fathom the crushing grief of his parents. Their private anguish played out on a world stage. Parents aren’t meant to outlive their children. Charlie, born with a debilitating illness, is kept alive by machines.
Like any parent they’ve hoped to find a cure for his genetic disorder. Today they decided to take him off life support. The American doctor they sought for experimental treatment telling them it was too late. Their time now spent with what remains of Charlie’s life.
My heart breaks for them and their pending loss. Sending love and prayers to them in their grief. Thankful every day for the health of my loved ones. Knowing how precious life is and how fragile. Namaste.
Don’t Be Fooled By Their Angelic Faces
Growing up, I listened to whatever my mom had on the radio. Bob Vinton had a hit called Devil or Angel. The song reminds me of an average day with my boys Travis is a year and a half old and Narley is six months old. They race around the house, wrestling and playing.
Travis is a seventy-pound Weimaraner and Narley is a forty-pound Labrador and Golden Retriever mix. Narley is being trained as a service dog. Travis is his mom’s boy. They keep me laughing with their antics. Unless, I’m yelling at them for eating a pillow, a sock or… You get the idea.
Last week I bought fresh vegetables. What didn’t need refrigeration I placed in a bowl on the counter. The bowl contained cherry tomatoes, an avocado, garlic gloves and three beets. I’d removed the greens from the beets and planned to cook them the next day.
I fed them and settled in to watch the national news. Armed with a nice glass of wine, my focus on ABC news. I didn’t notice Travis had snuck downstairs. Big mistake. The next commercial prompted me check on them. Imagine my surprise when I noticed them chewing on a beet.
They both had incriminating red beet juice on their muzzles. Sunny beach. Travis pilfered the beet and shared it with his smaller sidekick. They had beet juice on their faces and the rug. After I cleaned them up and the rug the news was over. I threatened to put them and their bowls on the street. Seriously!
Researches from the San Diego zoo and the Twiga Walinzi (which means “Giraffe Guards” in Swahili), are conducting field research to study reticulated giraffes. The study is conducted in northern Kenya. The giraffe’s population has dwindled to less than 9,000 in Africa. Their decline is based on habitat loss, climate and poaching. Unfortunately, there’s little information on giraffes and how they live in the wild.
Your help is needed. Researchers have placed a hundred motion activated cameras throughout the two preserves being studied. They don’t have the resources to watch and record everything the cameras picks up. I decided to join. It’s free and ease. I started viewing my first photos within five minutes.
What an amazing experience. There are pictures with no animals, but the viewer gets an up-front view of the terrain and surrounding vegetation. I’m hooked and hopefully helping. I’ve spotted giraffes, elephants, Guinea fowl, and livestock. Kenyans walk through pictures herding their livestock.
People like to help animals. Now you can, right at your own computer on your own schedule. What do you say?
Today I read an editorial on a young woman who has been a quadriplegic since nine years of age. Injured in a car crash she doesn’t remember. A dedicated runner at a young age she was returning home from a state track meet when the accident occurred. Flash forward fifteen years.
Kie is now twenty-four years old. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in integrative biology. She wants to become a doctor and is attending UC San Diego’s after college pre-medical program. The reason according to Kia is to show medical schools she has what it takes to become a doctor.
Her work isn’t limited to the classroom. Her rehab continues unabated. Originally, she had no sensation and now she can feel down to her toes. She bikes daily and works with her trainers to build and maintain muscle mass. She uses her standing frame every day to assist with blood circulation. Kia refuses to accept any limitations.
She understands the pain and dedication needed to become a doctor and she has shown the same dedication in her rehab. Kie in Japanese means “hope”. Anyone who has fought to overcome adversity knows hope isn’t enough. An indomitable spirit and an iron will count just as much. Kie you have everything it takes. No doubts.
I received my final paycheck from a forty-one-year career. A strange sensation after all these years. I started working summers when I turned thirteen. For over fifty years, I earned an income. It seems strange to live off all my hard-earned savings. Working for what I wanted became an ethic instilled in me at an early age.
My parents always provided for us and I know times were hard. I’m the second of seven children. We never felt poor, but there were never extras. My mother froze and canned the vegetables we raised. We received a side of beef a year from the farm my father managed. Our first year in North Carolina dad planted so many sweet potatoes that we ate them for six months.
Liking sweet potatoes took me years. The greater lesson was the self-sufficiency I learned from knowing my hard work carried me through a lifetime.
Yesterday was Father’s Day, and I sent warm thoughts to my Dad where he now resides in heaven. He passed two years ago and I think of the life lessons he demonstrated for me. Thank you, Dad, for being principled and honest. You set a great example for me and I know for my daughter.
My daughter is adopted and doesn’t know her birth father. Fortunately, her other mother married a wonderful man. A man who took her into his heart and remembers her special days. There is a special place in my heart for him. A quiet man of quiet faith, blessed with a gentle nature. His only fault is his stubborn support of Oregon State when they play my USC Trojans.
My daughter treated him to dinner last night and thanked him for being a father figure these many years. It brought a tear to my eye and I know he was touched beyond words. I’ll add my thanks to this kind man who made a special contribution to our diverse family. Namaste, my friend.
I recently returned from my trip to Italy. My first international travel left me jet lagged and happy. The tour company was first rate and I will use their services again. The countries first inhabitants were the Etruscans around 800 BC. Their underground burial chambers still dot the Tuscan farmlands.
The marvels of Rome from the Colosseum to the Vatican stun the senses with their epic grandeur and opulence. Florence and the Accademia Gallery Tour where David stands tall in his marbled glory. Venice canals, bridges and squares enthrall and overload the senses.
Cinque Terra is the crown jewel of the Italian Riviera. The five towns clinging to the hillsides. A people isolated for much of their existence connected by trails, trains and boats. The multi-colored dwellings sparkle in the sun and reflect the brilliant blue sea.
I lost my heart to Cortina in the southern Alps. The town nestles in a valley at 4,000 feet. Lush green fields covered in wildflowers reach to the base of the jagged spires of the mountains, creating an outdoor enthusiast dream. Skiing, skating and sledding in winter. Cycling, hiking and hang gliding in the warmer months. A beautiful, bountiful slice of heaven on earth.