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.

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!


Wisdom Wednesday: A Humane Nation After All

Dearest All,
Now that it’s said and done, we can still lift our hearts and rejoice in some good that came of this election. What encouragement Wayne Pacelle provides here!! People coming together to support protection of animals.  He is president of HSUS, Humane Society of the United States:

These states voted against factory farming and wildlife trafficking — YEA! Massachusetts (78-22%!), Oregon (70%-30%), Oklahoma (60.3 percent “no” vote). I think it’s pretty neat this spells the acronym M.O.O.! – Thank you for your sensitivity to factory farm animals’ plight and commitment to protect wildlife. Your voices were heard, loud and clear!

We need to speak up for other sentient beings who cannot, at least not in a language we humans can understand!

I don’t mean to gloss over the injustice of an overly ambitious yet under qualified person being elected President of the United States, I simply want to focus on the compassionate outcome of a burgeoning Humane Nation. Yes, to be human is to be “humane”. Louie Schwartzberg said it best in his interview on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday”:
“ We are hard-wired to protect that which we love.” And the natural world has so much to offer us — incredible beauty and  miraculous transformations (like from caterpillar to butterfly). Here’s a video of this cinematographer’s highly-acclaimed TED talk, “Gratitude”. Indeed, his audience fell in love with what they saw. Enjoy watching in awe and wonder!

Peace & Love to All,


This just in — Breaking News!! — November 23, 2016 @ 11:32am


We have exceeded our $10,000 goal for Kiko’s Fund, and your generous support helped put us over the top.

Thank you!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, the Nonhuman Rights Project is thankful for your support for Kiko, Tommy, Hercules, Leo and all of our future nonhuman plaintiffs.

We have many significant, groundbreaking legal battles ahead. Thanks to you, we’re closer than ever to securing freedom for—and bringing unprecedented rights to—these great apes and other self-aware, autonomous nonhuman animals living in captivity all over the world.

On behalf of Kiko, Tommy, Hercules, Leo, and all of the NhRP’s future plaintiffs, thank you for making it all possible.

We’ll see you in court!

Steven M. Wise
The Nonhuman Rights Project

Feel Good Friday :-)

I’m starting a regular column today on a simple topic: Feeling Good. I have experienced so many moments of joy and even bliss that I got to the point where I just have to share. Otherwise, I feel like I’m somehow being selfish! But I’ve been told that sharing is caring and each time we experience a good feeling, it’s natural and desirable to “spread it around”, like delicious homemade jam on freshly baked bread. 🙂

And while you’re basking in this yummy metaphor, keep in mind that enjoying food though really nice is but a temporary “high”. I believe that now more than ever we need – no I should say we “crave” – a real, a genuine connection to the natural world. Appreciating the beauty of God’s creations yields more “feel good” moments that have a lasting effect for me (and most people), and they’re blissfully therapeutic!!

Here’s an excerpt from Louie Schwartzberg’s “Moving Art” blog. He’s the filmmaker and photographer whose “Gratitude” documentary film went viral on YouTube this year:

“When you’ve felt depressed or stressed out, have you ever decided to go for a walk among the trees or visit a beach to watch the waves roll in? How did you feel after you spent time in Nature? Experience has shown us that Nature is one of the best natural healers we have available to us… Going on a long walk and taking time to experience the awe of Nature has shown that it can lower levels of cytokines; according to the article, “chronically high levels of cytokines have been linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and autoimmune conditions.”

There’s a name for this kind of dis-ease, and it’s Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD) and the worst example is our sedentary kids. Children used to run, laugh, play outdoors, skin their knees and jump in piles of leaves. These days, they spend most of their time with iPhones, iPads, and read e-books on Kindle or other devices. But that’s another angle of this story, and I want to continue feeling good and sharing moments of peace, love and happiness, so there!

Speaking of which, check out Louie’s time-lapse photography, which is what’s made him famous:

And while this app is only available now on Mac and all the Apple contingents, that is changing and they are in the process of creating a cross platform. I just got off the phone with Elise at the company, so no worries!

And here’s another feel good moment to leave with you, from one of my poet friends:

      View on Twitter       

Beauty opens our heart. . . Indeed, so very true!!

Please share with me your own “feel good” moments that you recall. Who knows? I may even make a movie about them! 🙂

Thankful Thursday: Create Your Oola Life with Gratitude

Inspiring quotes and stories that never cease to amaze me, in their blissful simplicity:

“Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.” – @OolaLife

Always give without remembering,

and always

receive without forgetting.

–  Brian Tracy

We are always looking for good stories to keep us inspired. Like this entangled whale who knew about giving gratitude and thanks to her rescuers.

A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a line tugging in her mouth.

This is her story of giving gratitude.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so badly off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her… a very dangerous proposition.

One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.  She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.

May you be so fortunate …

To be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude!

Related: A Story About Living as Told by a Six Year Old Boy About His Dog

Do you have an inspiring story or favorite quote about gratitude you would like to share? If so, please comment below with your own personal story or another you’ve heard, that you especially love to tell 🙂 Thank you!