St. Francis’s Blessing of the Animals

There is a beautiful tradition I observe every year on October 4th, with our household pets. It is a holy day in the Roman Catholic church — The Feast of St. Francis. Though I may not always get over to church for the formal ceremony, I do a “Pet Blessing” for each of our cats, and even sprinkle holy water on them (though they don’t like it!). St. Francis of Assisi is my patron saint, as I am a wildlife conservationist and promote a vegan lifestyle, which does not exploit animals for food or clothing. I love that Pope Francis models himself after the “poor man of Assisi” with his kindness, compassion, and humble manner. I highly recommend the following book written by the Holy Father, for anyone who loves God’s creations and desires to protect them, and preserve the sanctity of Mother Nature:   https://tinyurl.com/y2bnfgnb

In addition, and in keeping with the Patron Saint of animals, ecology, nature and our ecosystem, here’s the statement from Pope Francis on “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” issued September 1st this year:  https://tinyurl.com/y4vmvlf9

I’ve compiled some relevant images to share on this special day, in celebration of our fellow beings! Click on any image to learn more.

Spending more time in the natural world, away from technology, is incredibly healing and restorative. Praying Nature with St. Francis of Assisi shows us the way: http://www.praying-nature.com/site_pages.php?section=Guide+for+Nature+Lovers

And here is the “Blessing of the Animals” for at-home observance with your beloved pets:

God of all creation, at the beginning of time you gave us beautiful creatures of the earth as our fellow beings. And in your wisdom, these animals, like all good things from you, became more than that. They became our friends and companions. Loving St. Francis considered animals of all species his brothers and sisters. We ask you, therefore, to bless them in the natural world, and our own beloved ___pet name(s)___, that they may have a long and joyful life. Keep them safe when we cannot be with them, protect them from sickness and harm and heal their wounds. And bless us too, their human companions, with your Holy Spirit that we may care for our pets well, and be wise, gentle stewards of every one of your creatures and the earth, Mother to all life.

We ask this in the name of your Son Jesus, who is Lord of all forever and ever. Amen.

For a radiantly beautiful and inspiring picture of St. Francis blessing eight dogs, birds and other creatures:  https://tinyurl.com/y2trncsc

Have a blessed day, with your special friends!

Encore: Our Sweet Baby Bodhi :-)

Today marks 14 years since this beautiful, scrawny little kitten came into our lives. And July 26th being just before our anniversary, that’s why I remember it so well. 🙂 Here is an encore of my last post about Bodhi, this time with pictures!

“It’s been a year to the day since my husband and I said goodbye to our feline child Bodhi, and I couldn’t bring myself to write this any sooner. It’s heartbreaking when your beloved pet dies, even when you have other pets in the household. I work from home, so I’m fortunate to have my furry kids with me most of the time. I count my blessings every day. Still grieving takes its toll, and I start crying when I happen to look at Bodhi’s favorite places to curl up and take his naps. I do find comfort in having our other cats, Pierre and Isabella, who are 4 1/2 yrs. old, beautiful, strong and healthy. Bodhi in his prime was totally in charge of the household, with me as his Pet Mom, pampering him and indulging his every whim. I even sang a lullaby to him, as he sat on my lap. We’ve had many cats over the years, but I bonded with Bodhi the most, aside from Sabrina Faire, our very first mother cat. Like her, Bodhi chose to be with us, rather than being born into the family.

Our sweet baby Bodhi began life as a stray, just an abandoned kitten. That’s one of the things I liked best about his entrance into our lives. He came to us humbly and in need, left us and went feral again,  then Bodhi miraculously came back – just showed up in our backyard after being away for almost 3 months! Most feral cats once they leave, they’re gone. But not Bodhi! Our furry “prodigal son” returned of his own volition. It was his choice to come back and stay with us, even if it meant being neutered and domesticated.

My husband and I joked about how Bodhi – a handsome Russian Blue – had returned from “Tom Cat Boot Camp”. Why? Because he was bigger and had jowls, and looked every bit a dominant male. He was really “buffed” and strutting his stuff! That soon changed, once he returned on February 4, 2009.  Exactly two weeks later (happened to be my birthday), we took him to our vet and he got “fixed”, de-wormed and vaccinated.

I should really call this, “The Saga of Bodhi”. It all started when he showed up, starving and mewing outside our guest bedroom window. We had just moved to and were settling in to our first home in San Jose. It was July 26, 2005 (day before our anniversary)  I was typing away at my desk, when I heard “Mee-you!” and thought I’d imagined it, then again, “MEEE-YOU!!” more insistent and louder. So I looked outside the window, and there he was gazing up at me, with his little mouth wide open — non-stop mewing. Poor baby! I went outside right away, and saw this scrawny, grey kitten underneath a tree. I named him “Bodhi” for the famous Bodhi tree that the Buddha sat under, and from which he received enlightenment.

Bodhi lounging on unicorn blanket, grooming himself. 

Despite my husband telling me not to take in any strays, I immediately put out cat food and a bowl of water.  We saw Bodhi every day in our front yard, but I wanted him to be safer in our backyard, so food and water bowls were moved there, and that became Bodhi’s territory. Aggressive male cats challenged him, and our backyard became a battleground. But Bodhi prevailed, so he was officially designated the Alpha Cat!

Bodhi may have conquered our backyard, but he was happiest in our home, as a member of the family, along with mama cat Sabrina Faire and her kittens Buddy and Midnight. It was a gradual transition, from the garage, which was Bodhi’s playroom for almost a year, to being part of our household. He had the freedom to come and go as he pleased through the side door, while our other kitties were kept strictly indoors. Bodhi had everything he needed in our “finished garage”:  kibble, water, his own litter box, toys to play with, and a comfy cozy kitty bed to take his naps. But his favorite place was curling up in my lap, as I sat in an old rocking chair. I sang to him a lullaby I wrote, to the tune of “Barney’s” song: “I love you, you love me, that is just as it should be. With a lick, lick, nuzzle nuzzle, give a little scratch.  Behind your ears which perfectly match.” Bodhi was our only cat who balanced freedom of the outdoors, with the safety of indoors. He truly had the best of both worlds!”

Speaking of different worlds, my husband and I just saw ET: The Extraterrestrial for the umpteenth time, and I love the scene with ET hiding in the closet. The mother doesn’t have a clue there’s an alien in the house!

Can you find the kitty in this picture?  Here’s Bodhi’s imitation of ET posing as a stuffed animal.  Fooled us when we were looking all through the house for him! 

“Goodbye, My Sweet Baby Bodhi”

It’s been a year to the day since my husband and I said goodbye to our feline child Bodhi, and I couldn’t bring myself to write this any sooner. It’s heartbreaking when your beloved pet dies, even when you have other pets in the household. I work from home, so I’m fortunate to have my furry kids with me most of the time. I count my blessings every day. Still grieving takes its toll, and I start crying when I happen to look at Bodhi’s favorite places to curl up and take his naps. I do find comfort in having our other cats, Pierre and Isabella, who are 4 1/2 yrs. old, beautiful, strong and healthy. Bodhi in his prime was totally in charge of the household, with me as his Pet Mom, pampering him and indulging his every whim. I even sang a lullaby to him, as he sat on my lap. We’ve had many cats over the years, but I bonded with Bodhi the most, aside from Sabrina Faire, our very first mother cat. Like her, Bodhi chose to be with us, rather than being born into the family.

Our sweet baby Bodhi began life as a stray, just an abandoned kitten. That’s one of the things I liked best about his entrance into our lives. He came to us humbly and in need, left us and went feral again,  then Bodhi miraculously came back – just showed up in our backyard after being away for almost 3 months! Most feral cats once they leave, they’re gone. But not Bodhi! Our furry “prodigal son” returned of his own volition. It was his choice to come back and stay with us, even if it meant being neutered and domesticated.

My husband and I joked about how Bodhi – a handsome Russian Blue – had returned from “Tom Cat Boot Camp”. Why? Because he was bigger and had jowls, and looked every bit a dominant male. He was really “buffed” and strutting his stuff! That soon changed, once he returned on February 4, 2009.  Exactly two weeks later (happened to be my birthday), we took him to our vet and he got “fixed”, de-wormed and vaccinated.

I should really call this, “The Saga of Bodhi”. It all started when he showed up, starving and mewing outside our guest bedroom window. We had just moved to and were settling in to our first home in San Jose. It was July 26, 2005 (day before our anniversary)  I was typing away at my desk, when I heard “Mee-you!” and thought I’d imagined it, then again, “MEEE-YOU!!” more insistent and louder. So I looked outside the window, and there he was gazing up at me, with his little mouth wide open — non-stop mewing. Poor baby! I went outside right away, and saw this scrawny, grey kitten underneath a tree. I named him “Bodhi” for the famous Bodhi tree that the Buddha sat under, and from which He received enlightenment.

Despite my husband telling me not to take in any strays, I immediately put out cat food and a bowl of water.  We saw Bodhi every day in our front yard, but I wanted him to be safer in our backyard, so food and water bowls were moved there, and that became Bodhi’s territory. Aggressive male cats challenged him, and our backyard became a battleground. But Bodhi prevailed, so he was officially designated the Alpha Cat!

Bodhi may have conquered our backyard, but he was happiest in our home, as a member of the family, along with mama cat Sabrina Faire and her kittens Buddy and Midnight. It was a gradual transition, from the garage, which was Bodhi’s playroom for almost a year, to being part of our household. He had the freedom to come and go as he pleased through the side door, while our other kitties were kept strictly indoors. Bodhi had everything he needed in our “finished” garage:  kibble, water, his own litter box, toys to play with, and a comfy cozy kitty bed to take his naps. But his favorite place was curling up in my lap, as I sat in an old rocking chair. I sang to him a lullaby I wrote, to the tune of “Barney’s” song: “I love you, you love me, that is just as it should be. With a lick, lick, nuzzle nuzzle, give a little scratch.  Behind your ears which perfectly match.” Bodhi was our only cat who balanced freedom of the outdoors, with the safety of indoors. He truly had the best of both worlds!

There’s more to show with kitty photos, but today is difficult with no access to a computer to download and include them here. Also, I have to take time to pray at my altar. I am now placing our beloved’s urn there, which is inscribed: In Loving Memory – My Sweet Bodhi Boy, Who Gave Me So Much Joy, Rest In Peace My Love, In God’s Heaven Above.”

Goodbye, my furry child.  I shall never forget you. 

Lucky – In Memoriam 5/10/2014

This day – today – I am in double sadness because it is the anniversary of our dear canine companion, Lucky, who passed away of a heart attack, day before Mother’s Day four years ago. I had just started my Twitter account, and paid tribute to him there, but that’s really not enough to show my deep gratitude to Lucky – not nearly!

The additional sadness is loss of our cat Bodhi very recently, who had to be euthanized April 3rd. I started to write a post for him, but didn’t finish. The hurt is so raw, and I am in the midst of grieving… I cannot bring myself to write about all that I loved about my sweet baby Bodhi. Not just yet, but I will write a beautiful tribute for him and post it here on my blog. Bodhi’s story is unusual and very colorful… But I do have our other beloved kitties to take care of, a house to clean, a husband to feed, etc. Many chores that never seem to get done! But sometimes you just have to stop and reflect on what you feel at the time. Each day comes and goes so quickly. One moment your beloved pet is laying at your feet, nuzzling your hand with his wet nose, the next he’s laying dead down the hall. It was such a shock, and there’s no way I was prepared. It was just after midnight, so we had to wait until morning. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep that night.

My husband was out of work at the time, so we couldn’t pay to have Lucky cremated and placed in a decorative urn. So his body had to be taken to San Jose Animal Care Center for a “communal cremation”. I’m surprised that I didn’t just “lose it” with this family tragedy, but somehow I kept it together, and we even went to our Mother’s Day celebration at my sister-in-laws house. I am notorious for having a “delayed reaction” to very upsetting events, so I must’ve been in a daze, or denial the whole day long. It took awhile to really sink in that our rescue dog Lucky was gone. All that was left was his collar and pictures to remember him by. His brother, Chance, whom I did write about in a more timely manner (see post, “Chancey Baby – In Memoriam” ) has an attractive urn which is displayed with others from our pets who have lived and loved with us, in our cabinet in the living room. But these “displays” are for our human need to have something of them to cling to. Our pets don’t have any such “needs”. They are beyond that, and when they pass on and cross that veil, they are welcomed into a heavenly domain called “Rainbow Bridge”, where they live in eternal bliss and contentment. And just like with the poem, “Footprints”, the poet who wrote the following is unknown. It is one of the most beautiful and moving poems I have ever read, and always brings tears to my eyes:

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=rainbow+bridge&&view=detail&mid=BE64C6EF21E059F9E9E2BE64C6EF21E059F9E9E2&rvsmid=01C80D23DD8C2C33842301C80D23DD8C2C338423&FORM=VDQVAP

There is another version on my other “memoriam” post for Chance, so please enjoy both. I cannot find that perfect picture of Lucky, and I really need to post this now, so I will have to include in a follow-up. Like his brother, he gave unconditional love and affection throughout his life, and I cherished every moment spent with my adorable Lucky! He is romping through the meadows with Chance, deliriously happy and free at Rainbow Bridge. As I said before, there’s no pain, no disease or disability in this beautiful field of eternity, only happiness and contentment. Lucky is in God’s forever care and at peace. Bless you, my brown-eyed beloved!

Ringing in New Year with Old Friendship

The first weekend of the New Year, I visited a dear friend that I hadn’t seen in 25 years! It didn’t seem like that much time had gone by, and it’s almost like we picked up where we left off!  We talked and reminisced about our childhood and how things have changed over the years…

Weathering the tough times of divorce, losing our parents, ourselves getting older (bummer!)! Finding comfort in our beloved pets and the simple things in life. Feeling so wistful and waxing nostalgic about the “good old days”. But one thing that will never change is our enthusiasm for the performing arts – acting, singing, and especially dancing! We performed in high school musicals, and had a blast!! “Am I still doing my ballet?” my friend asked. “Eh, not so much” – Well actually not at all anymore, though I loved my ballet lessons and performing in dance recitals as a child, but felt I didn’t have what it takes for the serious training to become a professional. Such unyielding dedication is required, with little time for anything else in life. It is rewarding when you’re successful and reach the pinnacle of your career. But alas, most of us will never know!  We give it up once we grow up.

So here’s a 77 yr. old woman who did persevere in her talent and excelled as a ballet dancer when most are retired in early 30’s. Good for her! I applaud the fact that this women loved ballet so much, she couldn’t possibly give it up. Bravo, and Encore!!  https://www.facebook.com/bbcthree/videos/10155421420910787/

I may not be continuing this beautiful art form, but I will keep up my long-term friendships, and be grateful that they are lasting. 🙂

Thankful Thursday: Gratitude to Red, White and Blue

On November 11th, I attended a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in Santa Clara, California. My husband was playing trumpet in the Cupertino Symphonic Band, and there were quite a few military luminaries there, giving their presentations, awards and recognition. What a fantastic tribute to our fighting forces and those brave souls no longer with us. I’ve never considered myself to be patriotic, but I actually saluted twice during the proceedings, recited “Pledge of Allegiance” and sang “America The Beautiful”. It felt really great, and I surprised myself!

There was a special “retire the flag” observance, and I was reminded of my days as a girl scout, and learning how to respectfully handle the American flag. You’re supposed to lower the flag at sunset, OR make certain that it is illuminated all night long. I watched the servicemen removing “Old Glory” from the flagpole, folding it properly into a tight triangle, and putting it safely away.  Then they attached the new American flag, along with a smaller flag and ran them both up the flagpole, which had a sculpture of the American Bald Eagle at the top. The other flag showed words of mild admonishment: “Never Forget Those Who Serve” (I’m not sure of the wording, as I didn’t see it up close.) My gosh, the very idea of forgetting, or neglecting to honor these courageous men and women, brought tears to my eyes. There’s an old saying, entitled “A Rule of Three”…

Three things to Govern:  Temper, Tongue and Conduct.

Three things to Cultivate:  Courage, Affection and Gentleness.

Three things to Command:  Thrift, Industry and Promptness.

Three things to Despise:  Cruelty, Arrogance and Ingratitude.

Three things to Wish for:  Health, Gracefulness and Beauty.

Three things to Give:  Alms to the Needy, Comfort to the Sad, and Appreciation to the Worthy.

https://www.santaclaraweekly.com/2017/issue-46/santa-clara-veterans-day-ceremony-call-to-peace/

This link is an article from Santa Clara Weekly about the service.  Also, I found a rendition of “America The Beautiful” that’ll knock your socks off. Enjoy!

 

Total Eclipse of Heart, Mind and Spirit

I have been “outed” by this solar eclipse, spanning the United States. The intense thrill, joy, excitement and global connection of a cosmic event is my first experience, as the last eclipse was 38 years ago.

I was away and in hiding for the last several months. This has been such a “trial by fire” for a lot of Americans, so shocking and unexpected that it’s difficult to believe that’s it’s really happening. The easy thing to do is retreat, sink into avoidance mode. I did that for awhile, hoping I’d wake up from this nightmare. But then I open my eyes, and lo and behold the red-headed POTUS is still there!

All this time’s gone by, and I’ve been involved with the Resistance Movement and town hall meetings in my community. There is one coming up with Ro Khanna, who replaced Mike Honda as Representative from California. Because of what’s been going on in our country, I’ve seen people who are boldly expressing themselves and joining in solidarity. I envision this monumental event as a catalyst for moving forward in our determination to honor our country and the world. And like the Bonnie Tyler song, “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, the Great American Eclipse 2017 is a sensory experience of such huge proportions that you can’t help but be swept up by the grand ceremony, even if you’re just watching TV coverage. Commentary by astrophysicists, incredible views of the moon passing over the sun, throngs of delighted onlookers gazing upward – whoa! What a rush!!!  It really makes you feel humble and respectful of the Universe.

No matter what troubles are wrought in the name of “progress”, the forces of Nature will always prevail. This is what I take away from my own experience of this cosmic spectacle. And it has definitely registered in my heart, mind and spirit, as I’m sure it has in yours as well.