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Alaskan ‘Puppy Bus’

Have you heard about the Alaskan ‘Puppy Bus’ that went viral on Tik Tok, recently? If you have not, it is absolutely adorable. It mirrors having one’s human child get onto a school bus! The dogs literally walk onto the bus and get in their seats by themselves and then they get buckled in! You can view the heartwarming video here!

Mo Thompson and her husband, Lee, run the bus and they take the dogs on off leash on walking and training trips via their business, Mo Mountain Mutts! After picking up the pups from around their small town of Skagway, Alaska, their minibus makes it way to trail walks, hikes, and swims.

You can read more here.

Photo Credit: Mo Thompson

The Paradoxes of Creating

I love this passage about creativity and paradoxes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book entitled, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Hopefully, it will help you create!

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred.

What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all.

We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits.

We are terrified, and we are brave.

Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.

Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us.

Make space for all these paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise—you can make anything.

So please calm down now and get back to work, okay?

The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

Here is Alex’s first portrait of her and Victory together, a real gem! We always encourage her to follow her creativity, where ever it may lead! She is so open and free while making her creations, and I wish we all could be more like this!

One Little Word 2023: Joy

I hope you had a nice Holiday! We visited with family, we had some down time with our girls, and we got some sleep and rest, which was so nice. And, I cannot believe our little girl is turning four-and-a-half-years-old this week! She is growing in every way and she loves learning, she is incredibly creative, and she is curious about everything, which I hope never goes away!

It is a new year, which means there has been much talk about fresh beginnings. For me, I keep things simple and I select a word, an intention, for the year, and I try to really embrace the word for the year, which feels like a theme or mantra for the year.

I have reflected on my word for this year: joy.  Last year, I chose the word: present; in 2021 the word grace; in 2020 the word bliss; in 2019 the word embrace; in 2018 the word peace; in 2017 I chose relax; in 2016 I chose present; in 2015 I chose flow; in 2014 I chose trust; and in 2013 I chose the word create.  The idea of picking an intention has worked well over the past few years. 

I have nothing against resolutions (or goals, or plans, or to-do lists), but for me, I have found the most impactful way to embrace a new year is to pick a word — just one word, intention — to keep in mind.

As 2022 came to an end, I know that things were really hectic and busy in 2022, on many fronts. I want to fully embrace joy this year! We have so much to be thankful for, always, and we are looking forward to a new year together. “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” —Thich Nhat Hanh

For me, it is an easy reminder to take whatever small steps I can to create clarity and feel better. For anyone similarly overwhelmed by resolutions, I recommend the practice of a New Year’s Word. Plus, since it is so simple, and you can change it at any time.

Happy New Year!

Happy Pawlidays!

“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” — Gilda Radner

Happy Pawlidays! I wanted to thank you so very much for checking in over the past year — I am very grateful.

Below is the front of our Pawliday card (the back of our card containing text is not pictured), along with our matching envelopes using little photo seals of our beautiful girls, Alex and Victory! And, unfortunately, custom stamps are still no longer permitted by the Post Office. (You can view our previous Pawliday cards: here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).  Sending our Pawliday card is one of my favorite parts of the Holiday season! This is my way of sharing our Pawliday card with you.  It has been an exciting year and we have so much to be grateful for. Thank you for reading this blog for however long or short you have been reading.  I sincerely enjoy creating content for the blog to share with you.

I will be taking a break from the blog to enjoy some down time with family, and I plan to be back to the blog sometime early next year, during which I will have some exciting news to share!  Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives — the links are shown below.  Warmest wishes to you for a safe and Happy Holidays!

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Christmas Time: Visiting Santa

After a two-year hiatus, due to COVID-19, we recently took Alex and  Victory to visit Santa, an annual tradition! All went well with both of our girls during their Santa visit!  Alex was a little apprehensive to visit Santa because she viewed the photos from her last visit with Santa, in 2019, when she was in tears on Santa’s lap, but she did wonderful this year! I even found a dress in her favorite color, orange, which she loved wearing to visit Santa!

Victory, our beautiful fur girl, did very well, like always! And, of course, Santa and his helpers remembered our beloved girls, as this is Victory’s seventh time visiting Santa and Alex’s third time visiting Santa! You can see Victory’s previous trips to visit Santa: here; here; here; here; here; and here. This is the only Santa in our area that welcomes both of our girls! Victory wore her light pink monogramed cardigan sweater and her holiday burgundy velvet ruff; and Alex wore an orange jacquard dress.  All proceeds from visiting Santa are donated to a local dog rescue, a very good cause near and dear to our hearts, as Biscuit and Victory are rescues.  If you are interested, be sure to check with and visit your local pet stores to see if there is a Santa in your area that specializes in furry family members!

A few images from Victory’s and Alex’s third visit together with Santa are shown below along with images of Victory with Santa from the previous six years!  The time really does fly by too quickly!  We are so grateful for our fur girl, Victory!

Below is Alex’s letter to Santa that she recently made!

Below is a video from Alex’s recent Christmas program at school.

Below are images from Victory’s seven visits to see Santa: 2014 – 2022 (excluding 2020 and 2021).

The girls’ visits to see Santa in 2018, 2019, and 2022. 

Pictured below is Alex in front of our Christmas tree and my parents’ Christmas tree during 2020 and 2021, since we were unable to visit Santa during those two years due to COVID-19.

Happy Holidays!

Elementals: Deborah Samuel

“There are no forms in nature. Nature is a vast, chaotic collection of shapes. You, as an artist, create configurations out of chaos. You make a formal statement where there was none, to begin with. All art is a combination of an external event and an internal event.” —Ansel Adams 

I am excited and pleased to share with you that my mentor and friend, Deborah Samuel, has a new book out this fall, her fourth book, entitled, Elementals, which encapsulates a ten year journey and exploration, using iPhone technology to capture her imagery, in an endeavor to find home.

A decade of travel from Africa to the United States and Canada to mysterious Ireland gave rise to Elementals, an intimate look at our world’s fundamental gravity. It is also a reflection on the wonders of life’s fragility, transience, and persistence of beauty.

“Over time, Elementals became a free-form poem to the enduring beauty of the elements everywhere – earth, air, fire, and water and the transforming power of light. It is an ode to the solitude of wide-open spaces, the fluidity of shifting winds, and the monsoons’ breathtaking phenomena — environmental, atmospheric, and climatic. These elements are not just material substances. They are fundamental spiritual essences, bringing meaning and illumination to life.” —Deborah Samuel 

After ten years, Samuel did indeed find home — everywhere. Elementals’ photographs are Samuel’s tangible memory of something too precious to ignore and too perfect to forget. 

“Only Nature can inspire this kind of awe and reverence when we allow our eyes to open. Samuel has a distinct sense of capturing this radical truth in all her evocative photographs. In every image, she presents a facet of the profound beauty that inspired our ancestors and reminded them of the great living divinity – the wonder of oneness in every aspect of life. She reminds us of the true power of what our hearts beat for – to discover purpose and meaning, witness spirit everywhere, and know the continuity of the cosmos. Through her lens, we’re invited to see that beauty is all around us, and in an increasingly uncertain world, to know hope is alive and calling us home.” —Colette Baron Reid

“The prints of the images in Elementals are magical. Viewing them is a visceral experience beyond an appreciation of a photographic image or its subject. Somewhere in the genes of these images is Ansel Adams. He lurks there as the classical and majestic now combined with colors so lush, a sensuality that verges on the extravagant but pulled just back, so one has the thrill of being on the edge of excess. However, there is something else, and its existence begins to explain why we’re staring at the image long after our own sunset snapshot has ceased to intrigue. Samuel’s photographs instruct — that we all share a mystical connection to nature, pantheistic perhaps, and this longing apparent because we’re always photographing, painting, or otherwise enthralled by it. Samuel’s photographs of nature are of us.” —Kelvin Brown

Shared below are a few of the beautiful images contained in Samuel’s new book, Elementals. I have my copy of this beautiful book, which I love. To order Elementals, visit here. To view more of Samuel’s work, visit her website here.

Isabel Reitemeyer

I came across Isabel Reitemeyer’s animal collages, and I love them! A few of her collages are displayed below. Isabel lives and works in Berlin as an artist and graphic designer. You can see more of her wonderful work on her website and Instagram, as well!

All of the above images are courtesy of Isabel Reitemeyer.

Loving: Fall 2022

1. Star Ornament  — I love this ornament. The quality is very nice and I love that you can list the year and the members of your family along the star.

2. Hana Andersson Leggings — We love the Hana Andersson leggings; Alex wears them through the fall, winter, and spring, and they hold up really well, even after many washings — they are a must have for us!

3. Taharka Brothers’ Ice Cream — We all love the Taharka Brothers’ ice cream — it is the best ice cream I have ever had, and we were lucky enough that one of their ice cream trucks came to our neighborhood for a few events! The honey graham is excellent!

4. Hana Andersson Tops — Similar to the leggings, above, we love the Hana Andersson tops, they also hold up really well and Alex thinks that they are very comfortable, as well!

5. The Watcher — This is a good series, based in part on a true story. This is a mystery-thriller, and if you enjoy those types of shows, you will enjoy this one!

6. The Stories We Tell by Joanna Gaines  — I enjoy reading memoirs. Gaines wrote down her life story after feeling conflicted. She used writing to process experiences of her first two decades of life. “Fear, vulnerability, intentionality, perfectionism” were recurring themes.  She urges readers to pay attention “to the moments you’ve kept close,” to listen to their own story, and to be open to “a way of living that grows toward change rather than against it.” I found this book as a reminder to be really present in your life, really leaning into and embracing all of those ordinary moments, which are not so ordinary.

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! My parents are visiting, and Alex is in seventh heaven! And, Victory is loving the chicken treats my parents brought for her, along with having more people in the house giving her treats! Victory can be quite persistent at the dinner table! She is a smart little fur girl! Our little family has so much to be grateful for this year.

Below are a few quotes that I love about this time of year. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” —Randy Pausch

“Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.” —Lionel Hampton

“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” —Karl Barth

“Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.” —Rumi

“Be present in all things and thankful for all.” —Maya Angelou

“The more that you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.” —Norman Vincent Peale

“Be thankful for everything that happens in your life; it’s all an experience.” —Roy T. Bennett

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” —Johannes A. Gaertner

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” —Henry Van Dyke

“Forever on Thanksgiving the heart will find the pathway home.” —Wilber D. Nesbit

“Give thanks not just on Thanksgiving Day, but every day of your life. Appreciate and never take for granted all that you have.” —Catherine Pulsifer

“There are only two ways to live your live. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other as is though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein

“Appreciation us a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” —Voltaire

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” —Marcel Proust

Fill Your Own Bucket

I loved this excerpt from Lisa Congdon, which you might find inspiring, too!

“Think of your daily life as a bucket that is your responsibility to fill. When your bucket is full, you have a lot of energy and you feel good. We can fill our own bucket by taking care of our body, eating healthy food, getting enough rest, honoring boundaries, learning new things, engaging in creativity, spending time with people we love, doing work that we love, and living in alliance with our values. Sometimes we make the mistake of either trying to fill other people’s buckets instead of our own or filling our buckets with unhealthy things, and our own bucket becomes depleted. When this happens, there is always a chance to go back to filling our own bucket instead. Paying attention to filling your own bucket is the first step.”