Categories
Good Life People

Reset

In general, I find it easy to focus on the good stuff, the warm, fluffy, happy notes in life. I started this blog as a means of doing so and sharing those moments with others.

I also believe in the value of honest observations. Life isn’t always smiley faces and puppy dogs. Sometimes, life contains disturbing and discouraging news, front and center, ominous and unsettling. In those moments, finding the good and keeping it in focus requires a conscious effort.

Not long ago, I learned of an organization called Alice’s Kids. They have a simple goal: making things better for kids, with the perspective that a little help goes a long way. They provide targeted donations through their partnership with teachers and social workers who make requests on behalf of the children they know. For example, a teacher might be aware that a child wants to join the school band, but the family can’t pay for the required uniform shoes. Alice’s Kids provides the teacher with the means to purchase the shoes, staying in the background and allowing the teacher to take care of the details so that the experience is personalized to the child.

The Alice’s Kids story starts with a woman, Alice Reilly Fitzsimmons, who always did her best to manage through difficult circumstances in her life. Sometimes, she’d scrape a few extra dollars together to buy her children something new, clothing or other items they couldn’t normally afford, thrilled to be able to create a special moment for her family. As she got older, she continued to do what she could for the people around her, small gifts of love and care. Her adult children’s memories of their childhood and their love and respect for their mother’s generous spirit inspired them to create Alice’s Kids.

In 2020, Alice’s Kids spent $265,440 to help 6005 children. This year, thanks to donors and increased awareness of Alice’s Kids mission, they’ve almost doubled their impact. If you’d like to know more about Alice’s story and how you can contribute to the work they do, please visit their website: https://aliceskids.org.

It’s unwise to live in denial, to pretend that troubling and sinister elements don’t exist in this world. We can’t allow ourselves to ignore reality. Organizations like Alice’s Kids, however, remind me that the good exists, always. That is what is most deserving of our time, our energy, and our rewards.

Here’s to the reset, the shift in focus from the painful to the positive, that helps us move forward.

Categories
Family Good Life

Potential

My father loved going to garage and estate sales.

Most every weekend during the last few years of his life, he built his weekend schedule around his sale tours. Each time I visited him, he’d have something new to show me. Sometimes, it was a large item, such as a rug, or a painting, or a piece of furniture. Other times, it was less significant, a trinket or bauble that caught his eye.

He especially loved to collect fishing poles. When he died, he left behind two large racks of poles, everything from basic and new to those that were weathered and experienced, full of memories of water and fish and hours at the pier, or on the boat, or in the salty surf.

I don’t remember ever going to these sales with him. He preferred to shop alone; he had a plan and didn’t want to be distracted. Still, I enjoyed the tales of his discoveries. I shared his feelings of eager curiosity and optimism about what could be found. He saw these excursions as a treasure hunt of sorts, a means of discovering something useful and precious, sitting quietly unnoticed in the grass, or behind a door or on a shelf.

Yesterday, I stopped into a local resale shop. While not exactly the same as a garage or estate sale, it had a similar vibe. It was full of items with previous lives, things that once served a specific purpose elsewhere and were now ready and waiting to serve, once again, in new roles and environments. I walked through the aisles, stopping here and there as I noticed something interesting. Sometimes when I paused, I found myself holding my breath, just for a second; a heartbeat of anticipation and hope. I wasn’t standing in the midst of riches and jewels, but it felt like a treasure hunt just the same.

Here’s to the things that once belonged, the pieces with memories and the still-useful items, and the potential of discovery on a Saturday afternoon.

Categories
Entertainment Family Good

Familiar

Why, yes…yes, I was a bit emotional after watching the video that Steve from Blue’s Clue’s posted yesterday. I’ve tried to find a link to post, but it seems they’re all connected to a news report or a tweet. If you’re curious, a quick internet search will give you viewing options.

When my eldest son was a little bitty boy, we shared the fun of watching Blue and Steve on their adventures. My son adored the show. I admit that I did, as well.

As with most childhood magic, however, he eventually outgrew it. So, it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about the handy dandy notebook and Mailbox and Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper and all the rest of the friends in Blue’s world.

Then yesterday, Steve’s video appeared. It all came back, the songs and the games and my tiny little boy, dancing and singing and playing along.

Here’s to lovely memories and the sweet comfort of the familiar.

Categories
Animals Good People

Butterball

Yesterday, I saw a news story about a woman, Sunflower Ladd, who took care of an abandoned baby squirrel after a storm. She fed it, and cuddled it, and kept it safe and warm. She named it Butterball.

Eventually, Butterball grew up, and Sunflower released it back into the wild. She figured she wouldn’t see much of Butterball ever again; after all, being a squirrel, Butterball had the life of a squirrel to live.

However, Butterball stuck around. The squirrel life is happening, but Butterball routinely comes back to visit Sunflower. Butterball and Sunflower remained friends, and that friendship continues today.

In the news story, Sunflower says, “Anything that you care for, you will develop a love for.” She also notes that, if that type of bond can exist between a human and a squirrel, creatures with worlds of differences between them, it can also exist between people…if we choose to make it happen.

Here’s to Sunflower and Butterball, their sweet (but improbable) friendship, and their simple lesson of love.

https://www.wfaa.com/article/features/the-squirrel-that-keeps-coming-back-unexpected-friendship-brings-hope-for-dallas-woman/287-b320d672-ae04-4976-943c-514c273e4600

Categories
Animals Good Pets

Rescue

According to the National Day Today calendar, today is National Rescue Dog Day.

My husband asked me if there is a difference between rescue dogs and pound puppies. It appears that there are some minor differences.

A rescue dog, according to National Rescue Dog Day information, is a dog that is in a dire situation, such as living on the streets or abandoned in some way, and ends up being rescued via an animal shelter, a foster home, or adoption. They might need serious medical care, although very often, they recover quickly and develop into healthy dogs once they are in a safe situation.

“Pound puppies” is an unofficial term for dogs that are at the animal shelter, generally healthy but also in need of fostering or adoption. They might not have been in danger, sick, or injured when they arrived, and they typically don’t require extra care once they leave the shelter.

The primary differences, therefore, seem to be in the circumstances that brought them into their current situation and what they might need to live safe and happy lives. A small difference, but a meaningful one. Most importantly, however, they’re all dogs in need of good homes. If you’re considering a furry family member addition, please start your search at your local animal shelter or rescue organization.

There’s another aspect to National Rescue Dog Day that’s relevant. Rescuing can be a two-way street. Dogs have a way of making things better; easing loneliness, making us laugh, feel loved and accepted. Bringing a shelter dog into your life doesn’t only help the animal – although, of course, that’s a vital goal. But, if you yourself are in need of a little rescue, even if it’s only from time to time, it can help you, too.

There are oodles of animal rescue organizations and shelters doing their best to care for dogs, to find them homes and connect them with medical help and other necessary resources. One of the best known is the ASPCA. If you’re in a position to give of your money and/or your time, you can find more information at https://www.aspca.org/. If you’re looking for a more specific option, such as an organization that rescues certain types of dogs or delivers specialized medical care, a quick internet search will likely give you the information you need.

Happy National Rescue Dog Day. Here’s to all the dogs who’ve made life better through their companionship and love. And, here’s to all the people who have been and still are working to rescue each and every one.


Categories
Animals Good Nature

Otters

This morning, right before I woke up, I was dreaming that I was in the water, surrounded by sea otters. They were floating all around me, quietly, on their backs. Nothing more, nothing else – we were all just floating there, together, gently bobbing in the waves.

I suspect I dreamed this dream because of an article I read yesterday about sea otter sleeping habits. Otters often sleep on land, but sometimes, they also sleep in the water, on their backs. When they do, they wrap themselves in kelp strands and (here’s the part that makes me go squeeeeee) hold hands with other otters. This keeps them together; they avoid drifting apart and away during their nap time.

My dream was very peaceful. Perhaps the next time I’m feeling anxious or concerned about something, I’ll try to remember the feeling of gently floating in the water with all the otters surrounding me; the calm quiet and soft knowledge that I was not alone, that I would not drift away.

Here’s to sea otters and their simple yet smart sleeping habits. And, here’s to tranquil dreams of bobbing waves and feelings of warm, connected togetherness.

Categories
Good People

Thanks

I like what Carl Jung had to say about teachers:

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”

Here’s to my favorite teachers, Ms. C and the other Ms. C, Ms. Z, Mr. S, and A, M, and J. Thank you for giving me the tools to succeed and the inspiration to want to do so.

And here’s to all the others out there who teach and train and coach and mentor, who share knowledge along with kindness and hope and determination, grace and humor and imagination. Thank you for believing in us and, in so doing, helping us to believe in ourselves.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week.

Categories
Good People

Dance

Not long ago, I discovered Gurdeep Pandher and his merry dance videos. Mr. Pandher dances Bhangra, a traditional folk dance that originated in Punjab, India.

The videos are filmed in the Yukon, where Mr. Pandher lives. He dances outside, among the snow and wildlife and trees, highlighting the beauty of the area.

It’s impossible not to smile when watching the videos, not to want to join in and dance with him. They are full of hopeful energy, happy light and a cheerful spirit.

Each dance video includes a message of joy and positivity, dedicated to specific people, moments, or events. It’s his way of making a difference in the world, a heartfelt gift of delight and optimism.

Here’s to Gurdeep Pandher and the way he enthusiastically celebrates life. Sometimes, things are difficult. Not every day is a good one. But, he reminds me that there is almost always a reason to dance.

Categories
Good Nature

Beauty

It might end up being the only strawberry from this year’s backyard garden. Or else it could be the first of many.

Either way, it’s a beauty.

Here’s to early morning gifts and gardening achievements.

Categories
Good Nature People

Treasure

Yesterday, I came across a story about a woman, Flora Blathwayt, who collects bits of plastic trash from the banks of the River Thames and various beaches in England. She cleans the trash thoroughly and then adds it in creative ways to greeting cards that she’s designed. On the back of each card she creates, she lists the location where the plastic was found.

Ms. Blathwayt’s hobby has turned into a business, Washed Up Cards. Her business has sustained her, emotionally and financially, during a furlough from her job.

She’s not just using her skills and imagination to make money, however. She’s also bringing awareness to the issue of plastic waste in rivers and oceans. She’s supporting the sustainability movement and it, in turn, is supporting her.

To learn more about Washed Up Cards, you can visit her Etsy site at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/washedupcards/ .

Here’s to those, like Flora Blathwayt, who use their creative talents to turn trash into treasure. They help to make the world a better place, one small bit at a time.