Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance


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CFFC: The Presence of Animals

This week our topic for Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge is celebrating what Connects you to the present moment.

Yesterday’s history

Tomorrow’s a mystery

Today is a gift

That’s why they call it the present.

All of nature connects me to the gift of the present moment, but animals are especially good at drawing me in. Maybe it’s because they are experts at being in the here and now. Walking and training my dog, Marley requires that I be present and vigilant as he is constantly wanting to chase or smell something. We’ve made progress. Stroking the formerly feral Mama Cat is soothing as I listen to her purr which gets louder over time.

The residents at the Farm Animal Sanctuary where I volunteer are always doing something interesting to help me focus on the now. At least once a week, I go there to cut produce and feed the two pigs and 11 roosters, then I hang out with the goats. There are also three sheep at the sanctuary who graze at will.

For more on CFFC, visit our host, Cee by clicking HERE.


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SoCS: One Good Thing and Being Authentic with Betty

Our prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “resolve.” Use it as a noun or a verb. Have fun!

One of my Facebook friends, one who I greatly appreciate, asked a question something like,

What’s one good thing you accomplished, experienced, or learned in 2021?

It’s a good question to ask when a year’s been hard and we want it to be over and done with. Some good things happened. Just check out my Good News Tuesday posts. We need to recognize our accomplishments and learnings and carry that good energy over into the new year. As they say in 12 step programs, take what you can use and leave the rest.

In January of 2021, I started working with a personal trainer almost every week. I did not lose any weight. But I must be stronger, because I can do more squats and hold a plank much longer now than I could in January. Not that the end result is much to brag about, but I’ve made progress which is way more important and realistic than perfection.

In 2022, I resolve to continue that progress. Some years, I’ve had very specific goals. Lists even. Not this year. Just progress and being careful about my time. Before I commit to anything ongoing, I’m going to give it a lot of thought. Volunteering at the farm animal sanctuary feels right to me and sits well with my soul. Other things I signed up for, like being on a community committee for a cause I care about, took too much time away from other things, like writing and just being me. Our new dog, Marley, takes a lot of time, and that’s okay. He’s family.

What this is really about is being authentic. Being true to my soul. Being retired means, no one can make me do anything. I’m gonna listen to God’s nudges. Well, I’ll feel the nudges and pay attention and listen to God’s whispers. But God knows I’ve paid my dues, and it’s okay to enjoy life. I resolve to make time for R&R : rest and recreation/relaxation, even if that means watching reruns of Star Trek, Big Bang, or The Golden Girls or Mary Tyler Moore in honor of Betty White who just died at the age of 99. I don’t think she ever really retired, but she sure did have fun.

Before she was a Golden Girl, Betty White was on the Mary Tyler Moore Show which I loved. Or at least liked a lot when I was single watching reruns. This clip shows Betty White playing Sue Ann who wants to be more authentic.

If you remember the MTM show, you’ll remember the lyrics to the theme song:

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you’re all alone
But it’s time you started living
It’s time you let someone else do some giving

Love is all around, no need to waste it
You can have the town, why don’t you take it
You’re gonna make it after all
You’re gonna make it after all

source: http://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/marytylermooreshowlyrics.html

Who knows? Maybe we’ll make it after all.

What’s something good you accomplished, experienced, or learned in 2021?

~~~

For more streams of consciousness, resolve to visit our host, Linda Hill by clicking here.

Happy New Year!


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Good News Tuesday for Nov. 2, 2021: Climate Summit, Students Save Bus Driver, Top 10 CNN Heroes, and a Dog Who Saved Koalas

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

World Leaders Meet for Climate Summit and Promise to End Deforestation

Last year’s world climate summit was cancelled due to covid. Now, over 120 leaders have come together in Glasgow, Scotland to reduce the negative impact of humans on planet Earth. BBC reports that over 100 leaders from around the world, including Brazil, have promised to sign a pledge to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. Read more about the two week COP26 Climate Summit and the deforestation pledge here.

Two Middle School Students Act Quickly to Save Bus Driver

Conner Doss and Kane Daugherty are two Atlanta middle school students whose quick thinking saved their bus driver. Read more about it here.

Top 10 CNN Heroes

CNN is in its 15th year of celebrating heroes. On December 12, they’ll be recognizing their top 10 picks for 2021 who each receive $10,000 and announcing who received the most votes for hero of the year. Read more about the top 10 heroes from CNN.

A Dog Named Bear has been Recognized as a Hero for Saving Koalas

A dog named Bear recently won an award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for saving 100 koalas from Australia’s bushfires last year. Before being trained to rescue koalas, Bear had been rescued himself from a shelter where his former family gave him up due to behavior issues and his “boundless energy and obsessive enthusiasm for play.” You can read more from the Good News Network and watch the video:

Got good news?

Feel free to share your good news or GNT link in the comments!


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Good News Tuesday for Sept. 14, 2021: College for 9/11 Children, Education Reforms in China, Mexico Bans Cosmetic Testing on Animals, A Boy and his Dog, and a Special Chandelier

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

Bank Pays Tuition for Children of 9/11

In the aftermath of 9/11/01, the banking firm of Sandler O’Neill that was on the 104th floor in the World Trade Center started a foundation to pay the college tutition for the children of employees who died in the attack. So far, 54 young men and women have had their college tuition paid, with 22 still eligible. The ones who’ve attended or are attending college have gone to many different schools “from Stanford to Notre Dame to community colleges and technical institutes.” The Good News Network has details.

China’s Educational Reforms Aim to Reduce Unhealthy Pressure

China’s Ministry of Education’s published sweeping reforms on Monday such as banning end-of-year exams for 6 and 7 year old children.  It is hoped that the reforms will close educational and finanacial gaps between schools which have led to social distortions and financial burdens for parents. This article includes insights from a reporter who worked in the Chinese private tutoring industry.

Mexico Bans Cosmetic Testing on Animals

Mexico had become the first North American country, and the 41st country worldwide, to ban consmetic testing on animals. Here’s more from Tree Hugger.

13 Year Old Boy Saves Sisters from House Fire (and the Dog Saves the Boy)

When his parents were at the grocery store, Briar saw that the house had caught on fire. He got his four sisters outside to safety, then Mandy, the family dog, led Briar out. Here’s the video:

Nurse Creates Beautiful Chandelier from Vaccine Vials

After working for seven months as part of a Covid vaccinating team, retired nurse Laura Weiss repurposed 300 vaccine vials into a beautiful chandelier. See the best photos of her creation, “Light of Appreciation” in this article from NPR. Here’s a preview:

Got Good News?

Please share your good news or GNT link in the comments!


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Good News Tuesday for April 6, 2021: Reparations, Hope for Blindness, Vaccines for UN Peacekeepers, Student Invention, and the Dog Who Loves Unicorns

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

First US City to Pay Reparations to Black Residents

The city of Evanston, Illinois has pledged to distribute $10 million over 10 years as reparations to black residents or their descendants who “suffered discrimination in housing because of city ordinances, policies or practices” between 1919 and 1969. Each qualifying household will receive $25,000 for home repairs or down payments on property. Here are additional details from NBC News.

Blindness from a Rare Genetic Disorder was Reversed with One Injection

A single injection of RNA therapy, sepofarsen, showed significant improvements for a patient living with a rare form of genetic blindness since infancy. The improvements were evident after one month and “remained when tested over 15 months after the first and only injection.” Here’s more from the Good News Network.

India Donates Vaccines for UN Peacekeepers

India donated 200,000 COVID vaccines to be distributed to UN peacekeepers serving in various mission around the world. The Good News Network has details here.

High School Student Invents Color-Changing Sutures to Detect Infection

Seventeen-year-old Dasia Taylor has invented a way for sutures to change color to show infection. She tested a variety of different sutures using beet juice in her experiments. Dasia is a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors in the US. You can read more about Dasia’s project in this article from Smithsonian Magazine. Her natural good spirit and intelligence shine in the following video where she talks about her project and a fun fact about herself.

Unicorn Stealing Dog Is Adopted

Did you hear about Sisu, the stray dog who kept stealing a toy unicorn from the Dollar General? The animal control officer bought him the unicorn before taking him to the shelter. Now Sisu has a furever home!

Got good news?

Please share your good news story or link to your GNT post in the comments!


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Feelings From My Eleven Year Old Self

Writing my family history from my parents’ perspective is emotionally hard right now. The idea that it could some day become a novel is distant. I’m writing about the time when my dad was in Vietnam and my mom was trying to cope with her anxiety and depression and what do to with the family dog. That is the gigantic issue for me. Hoppy.

Hoppy 1967

I was 11 years old. Hoppy, a Newfoundland/Shepherd mix was my confidant. We had moved from Philadelphia to Michigan to New York staying with other families while Dad was in Vietnam. That summer we would stay in Quantico until dad finally got stationed at Camp Lejeune again.

Hoppy had been with us through each move. But something happened to him that spring in New York. I don’t know the truth. My mom made up as story about a sick little girl who needed him more than I did. I believed it. I suppose it could be true. Now, at the age of 65, I wade through my dad’s letters from Vietnam with fear as I approach the possibility of more clues. Any day now, I could read a letter that tells me more about what happened to Hoppy. My parents loved each other very much. It was a terribly hard time for them. I’m trying to look at the big picture and have compassion for all. I wrote this note to myself in my work in progress:

Note to self: Step back and look at the big picture with compassion for all. Allow your feelings. The truth is you don’t know what happened You might was well imagine something good.

So I tried to imagine Hoppy being adopted by a loving family. Then the grief broke through from that 11 year old girl who was me.

I LOVED HIM.

The sobs came and I prayed for guidance, for comfort. All I can do right now is reach back across the 54 years to that eleven year old girl whose body was changing in crazy ways, whose father was in Vietnam, whose mother was on the verge of another nervous breakdown, the girl whose dog was gone – and wrap my arms around her and hold her and tell her she is going to get through this.

In 1967, that eleven year old girl learned to shut down her feelings. She focused on school work and escaped into Star Trek. But she still had that pain and confusion buried all those years ago trying to accept the story her mother told her about her dog.

I guess that’s enough writing for today.

Here’s a family photo from happier times. Probably right after Dad got back from Vietnam since he’s pretty thin.

I’m the big girl on the right wearing hushpuppies.

I wrote this before checking the prompt for Just Jot January which is “button.” I guess we never know when we’re going to bump into a button that takes us back to our childhood, for better or worse, offering an opportunity for healing.

Linda’s Just Jot January story looks interesting. Click the following link for details:

#JusJoJan prompt the 15th – “Button” | (lindaghill.com)


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Blue Wave Dream

 
blue glass wave 2

Can you guess how I got this photo? I’ll tell you later.

 
 
 
We walked across rolling hills of rich earth.
One woman ran far ahead, the other still in sight.
I followed slowly
wiggling my toes into layers of red-brown soil
that turned into golden sand
then into a slope of lush green grass.
My friend Dorothy sat down on a piece of cardboard
And slid down the hill with a smile on her face.
Having no cardboard, I did not want to get grass stains on my white skirt.
So, I danced and skipped down the cool grass,
ran up the next rise, and stood on a hill.
 
The beach below was deserted
except for Dorothy wading
into the royal azure water.

A swell as big as a house

Rose slowly in front of her.

She started swimming up the blue wave
that crested and then stood still,
Huge, peaceful, translucent.
 
I waded into the water
and saw her way up near the top of the wave.
She pointed below her at a hound dog
swimming under the water
like a fish, or a dolphin dog,
completely comfortable paddling
through the liquid blue Jello,
The dog breached occasionally to say hello,
while the giant wave just hung there waiting.
As I swam up the swell, I saw the hound dog
turn into a statue and drift down
to become an underwater memorial
 
Dorothy and I swam in the luxurious blueness
as we watched out feet wave like kelp
And the dog statue, now far below,
faded from sight, though not from memory.
We did not want to see beyond the swell, wanting it to last forever.

But finally, we reached the crest

On the other side a bridge
led back to “civilization.”
We swam that way because we knew it was our destination.
A soft beach rose to meet my feet.
I must have been dawdling
Because my friends were way ahead.
I followed their trail into a building
But didn’t see them.
I  desperately wanted to talk about our experience in the water,
To hold on to it, and know that it had really happened.
 
Then I realized I was in a hospital
walking down a hallway.
Confused, I thought I saw a room with a pool.
but when I looked in I didn’t see a pool,
Just a couch.
It was like a waiting room.
Children with light brown skin
Sat in the corner.
I wanted to tell them a story about a big blue wave
That lifted us up in the air and held us
For a moment when time slowed
And gave us a glimpse of something deeper.
But that’s when my dream ended.
 
 
 
….
 
There have been many times in my life when I dreamed about giant waves that were frightening. This dream was very different. This giant, mysterious wave was patient and peaceful. I enjoyed seeing my friend Dorothy in my dream. The hound dog was Doodle who we lost several months ago. For a beautiful underwater video of  Christ in the Abyss, click here.
 
 
blue bottle (2)
 
 
I created the top photo by turning this bottle upside down and cropping the photo. Colored glass bottles are some of my favorite things. I collect mostly blue bottles, but also amber, green, yellow, and a couple red and purple ones. 


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SoCS: Joint Efforts/Getting Ready to Say Goodbye

72530873-4C03-4E67-80E2-39270B3FC76F

Today’s SoCS prompt is “joint.” We can use it as a noun, an adjective, or a verb– or any way we like. And of course, Linda says we are to “Enjoy!”

My husband and I are finally getting back to having a backyard garden. It’s a joint effort. So far we have zucchini, pepper, and cherry tomato plants. We’ve planted butternut squash seeds and sunflower seeds. We cleared out some small trees and dead vines to let more light in our jungly backyard. I hope it will be enough light. We plan to also have basil and sweet potatoes. I planted a basil plant that I got from Dollar General for a dollar in the fall which made it through the winter inside. It’s a little puny, but it’s alive!

Another joint effort has been taking care of Mary Moo who is still with us. She’s the oldest dog I’ve ever had coming up on 18 years. We’ve been close to saying goodbye, but since Benadryl has been helping us all sleep through the night, and since she was wagging her tail today (Friday), we’ve decided to save our goodbyes for another day. Mary and I are the ones taking the Benadryl. David doesn’t really need it, though he does take daytime allergy medicine.

Joint efforts are what our country and planet need to fight off COVID 19 and evolve into a healthier human race. We need to find out common grounds. Not coffee grounds, though maybe that would help. Just meet for coffee and get to know each other. But wait, we’d have do to that virtually or on Zoom or something.

I finally Zoomed for church Sunday and Maundy Thursday. We’ll zoom for Good Friday service and Easter. Zooming is a joint effort to maintain meetings and church while social distancing. It’s strange, but it was nice to see these familiar faces on the screen. It’s hard to do music or sing as a group because of the delay, but I did sing and play guitar yesterday for our zoom church and today by myself in my living room. Maybe I’ll see if David can record me for an Easter song. Now that I’ve typed that, I have to try it. That will be a joint effort. I’ve been trying to get him to play a drum while I play guitar. We’ll see……

Here’s an update on my amaryllis:

Amaryllis in Boom 2020

I don’t even fertilize them or anything! It must be the earth worms.

The above was written on Friday night. It’s Saturday morning now at 8:30. The Benadryl didn’t work for Mary Moo last night. She woke up crying at 2am because she had to poop. She’s gotten to the point where she can’t poop without me holding her back legs or she falls down, so it’s time. We have an appointment with the vet at 9:30 to say goodbye. Except we have to say goodbye outside the vet office because they’re not letting any people clients in the building because of #—%–@ COVID 19. Good thing I trust our vet. We’ve been loving on Mary Moo a lot in the past few days. Here’s a picture of her and my Golden Boy Jesse years ago running at a dog park on vacation in the mountains. Mary Moo will be with Jesse soon. Running like the wind.

Jesse and Mary at Boone dog park

Sorry it’s blurry, but you get the idea. 

I’ll try to check back in later. Sorry for the bummer ending, but that’s the circle of life. Mary Moo had a good one.

 

For more streams of consciousness and details, see our host, Linda at:

https://lindaghill.com/2020/04/10/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-11-2020/


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Prayer for a Lost Dog

Today is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, patron saint of animals and the environment. You can read my favorite Saint Francis story in this post about Saint Francis and the wolf.

The following events happened just a few days ago.

dogs running Pixabay (2)

 

On the way to the laundromat to wash my 17-year-old dog’s favorite bed, I saw a dog running down the busy street in the opposite direction. It was a dark grey dog, maybe a hound/pit bull mix, running with that panicked, I’m lost gait. Without thinking, I pulled onto a side street to turn around and fished out the leash I kept in the console. I couldn’t see the dog, but traffic had slowed considerably, and people were honking ahead of me.

I prayed out loud: “God please help that dog! Please get him off the road! Help him Now! (I had no idea if the dog was a male, but that’s what came out.) Within a few seconds I saw the dog, several cars ahead, make a right turn into an apartment complex. Okay, he’s safe. You have things to do, I told myself.  But somehow, my car turned into the apartment complex. He’s not safe; he’s scared.  Maybe he’ll come to me, said my other voice, brushing aside thoughts of then what are you going to do if you catch him?  I parked my car and started walking through the apartment complex carrying the leash. A guy near the pool house asked if I was looking for a dog.

“Yeah but it’s not mine. He was running down the street. I thought I might be able to catch him.”

“He went that way,” the pool guy said pointing further into the complex.

I kept walking, past the dumpsters and around a corner, seeing no sign of the dog.  He’s gone. Let it go. At least he’s not on the street. Maybe he’ll find his way home, I told myself. But for some reason, I kept walking through the unfamiliar apartment complex.

Then, I saw a young woman walking toward me. She must have seen the leash. “Are you looking for a dog?”

“Yes, but he’s not mine. He was running down the street,” I said pointing in the direction of the busy road.

“He’s in my apartment. He came right to my boyfriend.”

“Oh, good. Thank you. I’m glad he’s safe.”

“I work for a vet,” she said. “I’ll take him into work so see if he has a microchip.”

“Thank you so much for taking him in,” I said bowing slightly with praying hands.

“Thank you for looking for him,” she said.

“Of course.”

I walked back to my car feeling grateful that the dog found a safe place and someone in a position to help him, and that I’d kept walking long enough to find that out.

Back in my car, I said to God, “I didn’t mean to be rude with that, now! part.

God just smiled.

(The photo from pixabay reminded me of the dog.)

 

Happy Saint Francis Day!

st-francis-of-assisi-and-birds from Robert Kennedy's book

This picture is from the book Saint Francis of Assisi, A Life of Joy,

by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.


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Good News Tuesday: K-9 to the Rescue, Robocalls, & Two for the Planet

Sunflower w address

Seeking Balance One Tuesday at a Time

K -9 Bane from Powhatan Va

K-9 Finds Missing Children

Parents looked for the two 8 year olds for 45 minutes. Then as daylight faded, they called for help. It took “Bane,” 15 minutes to find the two children who got lost while playing in the woods.  Here’s the short and sweet story from msn.com containing a video from WTVR-TV Richmond.

Good Work FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has shut down four major robocall centers for illegal activities. In doing so, they are protected the vulnerable.

 

 

Converting Plastic to Fuel

Renewlogy, a company in Salt Lake City is turning plastic into diesel fuel. Boise has a contract with the company just in time. China has stopped accepting plastic since being inundated with it. The video below has a funny clip from an old movie that shows how relatively new plastic is in the grand scheme of things and how quickly it has become a problem. Make no mistake: We still need to reduce and reuse plastics.

 

… and one more for the planet (It is earth month after all) :

The Great Green Wall

It might not be new, but it’s news to me and it’s good. More than 20 countries in Africa are joining together to build a “wall” of trees across the continent, and they’re making progress! We still must continue to change the habits and policies that harm the earth. What if, like the people planting trees along the desert, we all focused more of our efforts on healing the planet? You can read more about the Great Green Wall in this article from The Good News Network.  Plus check out this hopeful video.

Got good news? Please share in the comments!