Gratitude for Scarcity (?)

Since this post today is reflective of our current times, it may not make any sense. I picked an ironic title on purpose, however, these words contain a wealth of meaning. I profess to be a “wordsmith”, but I’m also occasionally a rhyming poet, and always a rambling one, so this is what I see:

Where does the wealth go?

Nature’s abundance in the world. I cannot see it, for the trees,

which are not there because the forests are bare… Shelves are bare in the stores, we can’t get any more…

I cannot go out until I spray paint my hair (to cover up those roots!), or put on a cap and it’s getting too warm for that!

I cannot go on with this silly rhyme, but can’t help myself – do it all the time! (Anyone who knows me, swears this is true!)

Getting serious now, even as I ramble I can see the irony… How can you have an attitude of gratitude when there’s lack and limitation?

Answer: Not only CAN you have that “attitude of gratitude”, but you MUST in order to survive!

WHY?  Because there’s so much Real Wealth in the Natural World, that we humans neglect or simply forget, so…

here’s a gentle reminder:

Roses or any glorious blooms remind us of our budding creativity!

As soon as you shift from the feelings of lack and limitation to abundance, you open up the gateways of your imagination. Better that, than allowing the walls to cave in on you! It’s human nature to appreciate beautiful things, so surround yourself in your home with potted plants, bouquets of flowers, your favorite artifacts or family heirlooms taken out of the mothballs, and proudly displayed wherever you want. Doesn’t matter that no one else will see your household decor. It’s enough that it makes you feel good just looking at your treasures! Oh boy, and if it’s a homemade item created by you or a loved one — a painting, sculpture, or clothing knitted or crocheted by hand, that’s even better. 🙂

In addition, some sage advice to remember: “Health Is Wealth”. Now more than ever, nobody can afford to take their health for granted. Whatever is touted as boosting the immune system is getting loads of press, lots of attention. But the old adage still applies: “Let your food be your medicine; let your medicine be your food.” In other words, we need to be proactive with our health, and not rely solely upon doctors, drugs or think the next “magic pill” will do the trick…

I was just talking to a dear friend of mine, of my parent’s generation, and I was really concerned about her health. She’s had a chronic condition for a long time and wears a neck brace because she fell and injured her head/ spinal column and damaged the Vagus nerve. Here is a definition: “The vagus nerve runs throughout the body and is responsible for the function and regulation of main bodily systems such as the heart and digestive tracts. The vagus nerve is used to regulate a variety of body functions including the heartbeat and the muscle movement necessary to keep you breathing.”  Her courage and stubborn resilience has kept her going, when others would have given up!

Even, being so debilitated, my friend managed to drive quite a distance to a specialist, a doctor highly recommended to her. However, when she mentioned the problem and her symptoms, this doctor said he didn’t know what the “vagus nerve” was – had never heard of that!  What?? How could that be??  After driving over 50 miles to see this so-called “specialist”, she finds out there’s nothing he can do for her! Well, needless to say, she doesn’t have much faith in doctors anymore!  Her faith is in God and His divine plan for her life. I believe that’s how it should be! “Let go and Let God” is one of my favorite mottos, and is very comforting and reassuring. 🙂

We must hold fast to Hope, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Be grateful for what you have. Reach out to others who have far less – the vulnerable members of our society. So this is my CALL TO ACTION:  Sign and Send your Petition for Pandemic Relief to include undocumented immigrants!

https://tinyurl.com/yc3qxtj7

Thanks for your care and concern! Bless you, and keep you safe!!

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!

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!

Chancey Baby – In Memoriam

Last Friday, I posted my thoughts and feelings about the loss of my faithful companion, our beloved Chance. I don’t think I did him justice, with my ranting about the unfortunate timing. I loved him with all my heart, and that bittersweet, intense devotional love wasn’t there in my message. Please forgive me. I work from home, so I am constantly reminded of his not being here.

Do you know what that’s like? All those years of having our beautiful boy ready, willing and eager to be with us. Simply being around us made him happy, whatever we were doing, watching TV, getting dinner in the kitchen, working at the computer. And then, he’s gone. And the house is so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. I complained about his barking before, and longed for peace and quiet. Well, I have plenty of that now. Be careful what you wish for…

Chance would lay right by the desk. He would be here with me now. Sometimes he’d try to get under the desk, but he was too big to fit there! I’d look at him and he’d be so happy, looking up at me with his big brown eyes. Oh my God, Chance’s eyes were filled with such unconditional love and devotion… Eyes really are the windows to the soul – that’s not just an expression. Chance lived his love and affection with gusto throughout his life.

When my husband and I came home from dinner that first night, and didn’t hear Chance barking, we were so sad and it seemed strange. We might as well have been in someone else’s home. Such a weird feeling. Chance always greeted us with a smile and a wag, and many times he howled like a wolf – Awooo! Auwooo!! He would lick my hands, my face, ’cause that’s how dogs kiss us… arggh – doggie slobber! Our baby was ecstatic every time we came home… We joked about how it always seemed to him like we were gone forever, even if it was just a couple of hours. Ah yes, guess that’s how it is with dogs. 🙂

Here’s some pics of our baby. Oh boy, did he look forward to his walks!

Jacqueline 049

We replaced the collar with a harness, which he liked much better! Since he and his brother Lucky were rescued from abuse and neglect, Chance had abandonment issues when he came to us. They were never really socialized, so we couldn’t take our dogs to the park, like other pet parents. All we could do was walk them around the neighborhood. Chance used to pull on his leash, and it was all I could do to keep up with him! I’d say, “Here’s Chance, sporting the latest in canine high fashion. You look so handsome in your halter top!” He walked proudly and many times ran along the sidewalk (keeping off our neighbor’s lawns), the wind in his face… I didn’t really want to “control” him. I’m glad now that he ran as free as he could — while he still could. Arthritis and hip dysplasia brought him down physically, but never quashed his spirit…

Chance is romping about healthy, happy and whole with his pal Lucky at a place in the celestial realm called “Rainbow Bridge”, where our beloved pets go when they die. There’s no pain, no disease or disability in this beautiful field of eternity, only happiness and contentment. He is in God’s hands and at peace. Bless you, my brown-eyed beloved.

Jacqueline 052

Serene Sunday: A Prayer to Soothe the Soul

At this festive time of year as our family gathers for Thanksgiving, in addition to the gratitude we give for our bountiful feast, we always recite the “Serenity Prayer”. It’s a long-standing family tradition. 🙂 Everyone is familiar with prayer/poem, and we recite it together by heart, while holding hands at the dinner table:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the Wisdom to know the difference…

What you may not realize is there’s more to the prayer than this. It actually goes on to say…

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as the pathway to peace,

Taking this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it,

Trusting that thou shall make all things right if I surrender to Thy Will,

That I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy forever with Thee in the next.

~ AMEN

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_Prayer

Click to access smf-129_en.pdf

If you prefer the classic poetic structure, here it is from a previous “Serene Sunday” post. You’ll notice the wording is slightly different, but the sentiment expressed is the very same…

God grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and Wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

Awaken Your Senses; There’s Wonders to Behold!

I have been remiss in not blogging for over a month! In my defense, I’ve been grappling with a turning point in my life – nothing tragic, just very challenging – and it opened my eyes and heart, making me rethink my priorities in a big way!! I really needed a respite with my first love, POETRY, so in that spirit I have chosen these beautiful poems to feature here. They are quoted from “The Fragrance Of Life”, attributed to a fellow blogger and spiritualist who I much admire @inspiringyoursp Thank you and God bless you! 🙂

“Connection with gardens, even small ones, even potted plants, can become windows to the inner life. The simple act of stopping and looking at the beauty around us can be prayer.”
– Patricia R. Barrett, The Sacred Garden

“The first act of awe, when man was struck with the beauty or wonder of Nature, was the first spiritual experience.”
– Henryk Skolimowski

“Even before I could speak, I remember crawling through blueberry patches in the wild meadows on our hillsides. I quickly discovered Nature was filled with Spirit; I never saw any separation between Spirit and Nature. Much later I discovered our culture taught there was supposed to be some kind of separation – that God, Spirit and Nature were supposed to be divided and different. However, at my early age it seemed absolutely obvious that the church of the Earth was the greatest church of all; that the temple of the forest was the supreme temple. When I went to the sanctuary of the mountain, I found Earth’s natural altar – Great Spirit’s real shrine. Years later I discovered that this path of going into Nature, bonding deeply with it, and seeing Spirit within Nature – God, Goddess, and Great Spirit – was humanity’s most ancient, most primordial path of spiritual cultivation and realization.”
– John P. Milton, Sky Above, Earth Below

“In all things of Nature there is something marvellous.”
– Aristotle

Awakening

“In the assemblies of the enlightened ones there have been many cases of mastering the Way bringing forth the heart of plants and trees; this is what awakening the mind for enlightenment is like. The fifth patriarch of Zen was once a pine-planting wayfarer; Rinzai worked on planting cedars and pines on Mount Obaku. … Working with plants, trees, fences and walls, if they practice sincerely they will attain enlightenment.”

– Dogen Zenji, Japanese Zen Buddhist Grand Master, Awakening the Unsurpassed Mind, #31

Scent is the most potent and bewitching substance in the
gardener’s repertory and yet it is the most neglected and
least understood. The faintest waft is sometimes enough
to induce feelings of hunger or anticipation, or to transport
you back through time and space to a long-forgotten moment
in your childhood. It can overwhelm you in an instant or simply
tease you, creeping into your consciousness slowly and
evaporating almost the moment it is detected. Each fragrance,
whether sweet or spicy, light or heavy, comes upon you
in its own way and evokes its own emotional response.
– Stephen Lacey, Scent in Your Garden, 1991

To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers
is a delectable form of defeat.
– Beverly Nichols

I go to Nature to be soothed and healed,
and to have my senses put in order.
– John Burroughs

My lilac trees are old and tall;
I cannot reach their bloom at all.
They send their perfume over trees
And roof and streets, to find the bees.
– Lousie Driscoll, 1875 – 1957, My Garden Is a Pleasant Place

Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.
– Heinrich Heine

And so it is, ever was and ever shall be. Praise God and all of Mother Nature!