It was the day after Thanksgiving. As Dagger and I walked through our neighborhood, houses were already decked out with holiday lights and decorations. The lights glittered and glowed with a message of hope and joy. How beautiful they all looked, I thought.
As we walked, I also noticed the houses that were bare and seemed devoid of any activity or decorations of any kind. Not even a bygone Thanksgiving pumpkin was present. I wondered if the people and pets that were living in those houses were going through some difficult times. My mom had a saying she used to use from time to time. She'd say, "Yvonne, you never know what's going on behind closed doors of someone elses' house." I thought long and hard about that. How many of us have suffered loss or sickness over the past two years during the pandemic. How many families are hungry right now because their bills are too high and they can't make ends meet to even feed their families? Yes, my mom's statement was hitting "home" with me as Dagger and I continued on our walk.
Right now, Jews are celebrating Hanukkah and on December 25th Christians will be celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. What do they signify? For the Jewish people, it's the miracle of having enough oil for God's Holy Temple Lamp when there was only enough for one night and yet it lasted eight nights in the midst of conflict and uncertainty. For the Christians, it's the miracle of the birth of a Savior who was born to a young frightened couple escaping the census which was directing the killing of all first born male babies. Yet, this scared couple was able to find a safe haven in a cave for the birth of God's son. Both miracles happened to save and guide us towards the light of God. They both teach us of God's goodness. charity and love. Both are pivotal reminders of how we must open our hearts to all. To me, the holidays are a time to be aware and mindful of the miracles that still happen even in today's world and the opportunity for all of us to reach out to others in need in anyway that we can.
After all, you never know what people and animals are going through behind closed doors.
Turning the corner as we reached our house, I was energized. That short walk through our neighborhood encouraged me to commit myself to do something special this holiday season to help others in need. I'm also going to take the time to give thanks for the miracles of everyday life and pray when ever I can. I told Dagger that we have to do more to help others. He looked at me with those big brown caring eyes and I could tell what he was thinking...his eyes seemed to express the words..."You have my support!!" That made our walk a real miracle!
Have a Happy, Healthy
and Peace-filled Holiday Everyone!
And may the lights that glitter and glow
encourage you to reach out to others too!
What does the word "Gratitude" mean literally and what's its origin?
According to the U.S. Dictionary,
the word "Gratitude" is a Noun which means:
The quality of being thankful;
readiness to show appreciation for
and to return kindness.
Its origin comes from the late Middle English from Old French,
or from medieval Latin gratitudo, from Latin gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’.
Why am I writing about Gratitude this month?
Well, I, for one, lack in the ability to recognize that gratitude should be a part of my everyday life. There are many times in my life when I feel that I've forgotten to take the time to stop and think about my life's blessings. I've neglected to ask myself some important very simple questions such as:
The bigger question for me is...What have I done to prove my gratitude?
For me, this is a large order to fill. Can it be attained? I think so. Many people have done it throughout history. But, how??? Saint Mother Teresa once said that we must "do small things with great love." What great advice!!
Maybe, just maybe, I can try. Small things makes it sound attainable. Great love comes from our heart, after all. I guess if I open my heart to see and witness gratitude, I'll be able to express it myself in small ways. Dagger helps me to be more grateful for everyone and everything everyday.
This month on November 25th, here in New York, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. It's the one day dedicated to giving thanks for our blessings and the kindness that surrounds us everyday.
It gives us a reason to pause and reflect on what we are thankful for. Even though Thanksgiving takes place at different times throughout the world
it's still a day filled with thanks for family, friends and food. To me it doesn't get any better than that!!
In the United States of America, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. The date can be confusing sometimes. Nevertheless, it's always on a Thursday and it's meaning and intent is always the same...Thanking and Giving.
Many Americans spend the entire week preparing for their Thanksgiving feast. However, while this is super important for planning a great celebration, concentrating on what we are thankful for and giving of ourselves through acts of kindness and community service is, I feel, of the utmost importance and meaning of the holiday. This year our gathering will remain small due to the continued threat of the possible increase of COVID cases. However, it will not deter us from preparing our feast of thanks and giving.
Over the years, we've created a Thanksgiving tradition in my family by relating verbally what we are thankful for. I think that this year we will add one more thing...What are we planning to do in kindness and love to give back to our community? My grandkids will find this question interesting. I can't wait to hear their responses!!
You know what?
Being Grateful & Thankful makes us feel good inside. And that's a blessing!
Be well. Stay safe.
You are all such a blessing to Dagger and me.
We are very grateful to call all of you our friends!!
OH, AND before I forget...
You have my permission to have that extra helping of pie!! Go for it!!
You deserve it!!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
What's the difference?
Recently, I heard a powerful homily regarding this very interesting and profound topic. The homily was given by a priest who visits our parish every summer from Ireland. He's a college professor and world renowned theologian. Whenever he comes to our parish, I look forward to his homilies so very much. It's a real treat to hear what he has to say albeit for me it's been live streamed.
The following is my interpretation of one of his recent homilies. He began his theme by talking about the idea of "Right or Wrong; Good or Bad." He equated "Right or Wrong" to a speed limit enforced by officials. He said that people create laws that make a certain speed limit right or wrong. Let's say the speed limit is 35 miles an hour...that's a law set forth by the officials of the town or state. If you go over the speed limit...it's wrong and you'll get a ticket. If you stay within the speed limit...it's right and you won't get a ticket. It's wrong if you don't abide by the law, it's right if you do. It's that simple...Right?
Now what about "Good or Bad?" That's not as definitive.
He said that when you go over the speed limit you are endangering not only your life, but the other people on the road as well. That's Bad. Likewise, when you stay within the speed limit and you are careful to protect yourself and others...that's good.
Ok. So, why did I feel that this homily was so powerful to me at this time in my life?
Right now, as a society, we are all going through a very difficult
"Right or Wrong/Good or Bad" time. The topic of conversation for close to two years has been the COVID 19 virus. I can only speak for myself, but I'm so tired of making so many sacrifices by thinking of the
Right/Wrong and the Good/Bad thing to do to keep myself and others safe from getting COVID 19.
It's, therefore, understandable to be "COVID tired."
But, how do we define "Right or Wrong; Good or Bad" in our lives regarding the COVID 19 Virus?
That has become one of the most difficult answers to consider in today's day and age...
Some of us talk a great talk, but do we actually walk the walk?
I had to really soul search about this.
Did we get or are we planning to get the life saving COVID 19 vaccine?
Are we abiding by mask wearing indoors?
In my home town, I've noticed that many have abandoned all mandates (some are actually fighting against them) and protocols. It's sad for me to witness this. Being immunodeficient, I have resorted to living a life in fear, stress and needless isolation. We have abandoned our in person DogVinci Workshops. When I go out I'm constantly mindful of whether or not others are doing the "Right and Good" thing.
It's a tough and difficult decision to make. How do we make sense out of being told to do something we've always been told was the Right and Good thing to do like seeing people and getting together in large gatherings. We are social beings, after all. So, being told that we cannot see people in large groups and worrying about people who are clearly not vaccinated and not wearing a mask adds to this predicament and needless stress. My only guess is that as a society we must respect all people to do the "Right and Good" thing. I can only hope and pray that the numbers keep going down and we will once again witness some sense of normalcy.
As Father closed his homily he left us with a story to contemplate about this very subject (It's paraphrased, of course):
Many years ago, every Friday in a parish where a Bishop lived, they would receive a vegetable order. And every Friday, a young delivery boy would bring the order to the rectory. Being somewhat scared of the Bishop, whenever the boy would come to the door, and the Bishop would answer, he would leave the order at the door and run away. Well, one day, when the young boy delivered the order, and the Bishop answered the door, he began to run away, when the Bishop stopped him and said, "Come back here, young boy! Now, let me tell you the "Right" way to greet the Bishop when the Bishop answers the door." He continued, "I'm going to be you, and you are going to be me." The young boy agreed to this playacting, and they took their prospective places. The Bishop was now outside playing the delivery boy, and the delivery boy was now the Bishop waiting inside for the doorbell to ring. When the young boy answered the door, the Bishop said, "Good Afternoon, Bishop! Here is your vegetable order. Have a very nice weekend." The young boy responded by saying, "Thank you for this order. Here's a dollar for your time and service."
Boy! oh, Boy! Did this story hit home with me...It made me think of the times when I failed to do the "Right" and "Good" thing. I thought of the times when I didn't give from my heart and think about ALL people.
I think that there was a lesson for both the young delivery boy and the Bishop in this enactment. Being "right" is a fine and noble thing to do. However, doing the "Good" thing is by far the most challenging to decern.❤️
Happy Tales to you.
Be well...Be Safe
Let us always try to do the Right and Good thing for everyone!
rose colored glasses...
I've often wondered about people who always see things through "Rose Colored Glasses." They're the people who seem to look at the bright side of things in the most trying and difficult times. I admire them. I yearn to be like them. In a way, I'm jealous of them. Truth be told...I try to be like them. But, I need to push myself to be that way.
Everyday I write a positive message from Dagger on all of his social media channels. What you may not know is that most of them are for me. Well, all right, ALL of them are for me.
"Why do you do it?" ...You might ask.
Here are three reasons why I write them:
First and foremost, I've found that our world needs all of the good vibes it can get. We all know how challenging life can be especially over these past couple of years with the pandemic, natural disasters and the unrest taking place all over the world. It's been a confusing and heartbreaking time for everyone.
Secondly, even before the pandemic and so many tragic happenings hit our world, I felt that kindness and compassion for others was solely needed everyday.
And finally, I needed to condition MY mind to think of how to be thankful for the blessings in my life everyday. How can I calm myself and change my thoughts of defeat to victory?
For me, the third reason, is by far the hardest for me to achieve. But, having written over 1,800 messages of the day for the past five years, you'd think that it would be easier for me to immediately bring myself to that positive state of mind. However, it's still a struggle. Somedays are easier then others. What I have come to realize is that thinking grateful positive thoughts everyday is a life long challenge for me.
We're human, after all. We are going to have our ups and downs. It's when we turn the downs into ups that our minds go to that positive state and we become thankful and grateful for our blessings. It just takes that one little thought..."Is there beauty in what I'm experiencing...right here...right now...at this moment in time? What is it? Am I learning anything from this experience? And can I see a blessing in this experience?" When I quiet myself and ask myself these questions, my answers are always positive and up-lifting. Sometimes, actually most times, I have to stop, look and listen for the signs. Sometimes I can see them right away. Other times I have to work really hard to see the signs. They are there. Believe me...they are. We have to be patient and gentle with ourselves. We can get there. I tell myself that all of the time. If I stay in the moment and focus on the goodness that surrounds me...I'm half way there. Then and only then can I see how truly blessed I am. Dagger also helps to bring me to that calm, grateful state of mind. His constant compassion and unconditional love helps me see the goodness and love in everyday life.
Maybe one day I'll see life from those so called "Rose Colored Glasses." Until then and for now, I'm happy to take one day at a time and experience the goodness and love from my red rimmed glasses with Dagger by my side.
Think happy up-lifting thoughts
and happy up-lifting things will happen...
Be kind, patient and gentle with yourself.
After all, we're all wonderful works in progress.
Have a safe and healthy September.
Happy Tales to you,
Do you have one?
But, I wish I did.
If I had a Bucket List, one of the first things on it would be to write an Adult and Children's book about Dagger's Journey as a Canine Artist. I've tried over the years to document in photos the places and people we've had the great pleasure of seeing and meeting. However, I feel that my mind is all over the place when comes time to writing about Dagger. There are so many things to write about. The great question is always...
Where do I begin???
Is it a children's book series about a dog who brings kindness and good to the world? OR Is it an adult book about a dogs purpose in life encompassing the reasons a dog brings joy and healthy benefits to humans? I just don't know. Both sound like good ideas, but I'm not a professional writer, so to write a book is foreign to me.
Again... the question is...Where do I begin???
Do I find a publisher first and then write the book(s).? Or Do I write the book(s) and then look for a publisher? Do I look for a ghost writer and illustrator? I've heard a lot of people do that. I've also heard about people self publishing books.
Ultimately...the great question is...Where do I begin???
I know I need help...
Can you help me?
If you or anyone you know has a contact or advice about how I can go about this, please click the button below which will bring you to our contact page. I'm not looking for a pep talk, although I'd love that, what I am looking for are good reliable connections and advice. Since Dagger gives all of his money to charity, our budget is very low. (Another challenge).
Thanks for helping to fulfill my Bucket List dream...
that is, if I had a Bucket List🙂...
for your continued love and friendship for Dagger and me.
We love you!
Happy August! Stay well and Be safe!
Happy Tales to you,
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp honey (do not use raw honey~dogs shouldn't have raw honey)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
🥞Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries for garnish and syrup (for humans...NOT for dogs)
1. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, eggs, honey and vanilla.
2. In a second bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and baking powder.
3. Add flour mixture to yogurt mixture and mix just to combine. (Batter should be thick like a thick glue-like consistency. If too thick add a bit more milk)
4. Heat large nonstick skillet on medium (I preheat my skillet to 300 degrees). Add 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil to pan and wipe out excess with paper towel.
5. Spoon in enough batter to make 3-4 pancakes (about 2 tbsp each) or many smaller ones and cook pancakes until bubbles begin to appear around the edges and in centers. Using spatula, peek under pancakes to check that they are golden brown, then carefully flip. Cook about 1 minute more depending on size. Transfer to wire rack and cover loosely with foil to keep warm or serve immediately. (Mom let's our pancakes cool down before serving us our pancakes 🙂)
6. Enjoy with your favorite toppings: Berries, bananas, syrup (for humans)
🇺🇸Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips🇺🇸
During the pandemic, many people adopted pets. Oh, how wonderful this truly is!
To give a pet a forever loving home is one of the most serving and giving things people can do. Now that things have eased up across America regarding the COVID restrictions because most people have been vaccinated and have adhered to the CDC Guidelines;
more and more people are getting together with family and friends for celebrations. This is also so very wonderful! However, as wonderful as this may be, we must also be mindful of our pets during the Forth of July Holiday. Below are some helpful tips for new pet owners as well as a refresher for experienced ones.
According to the ASPCA website..."For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including furry friends. While it may seem like a great idea to reward your pet with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and activities can be potentially hazardous to him. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:
I cannot stress enough how vital it is to remember that some dogs get scared and run away during the 4th of July fireworks. Shelters all across the USA are overwhelmed with runaway dogs and cats during the 4th of July holiday. We saw this first hand with our beloved beagle, Maggie May. Maggie would scratch, pant, drool and try with all of her might to run away. It saddened Denis and I so much to witness how stressed and frightened she became. Please, make sure you keep your pets secure in an area where they cannot escape if they get startled and want to flee. If you know that your dog gets scared with the sudden loud noises of the fireworks, you can play some calm music or turn on the television for background sound...the experts call this "white noise." This "white noise" helped so much with Maggie May. But, it wasn't until after the holiday was over that she calmed down and was "Maggie May" again and we could take a deep breath of relief!
I hope these important tips help you plan your celebrations with your furry friends safety in mind and yours too!!
Whatever you do, Be safe, Be well, Have fun.
And Celebrate your Independence with your pets safety in mind!!
Happy Tales to you,
🐾 🇺🇸 Taken from the ASPCA Website:
If a Little Red Wagon Could Talk...
About twenty years ago, my niece, Nicole, and her husband, Joe, purchased a little red "Flyer" wagon for their daughter, Gabby.
It was a great little wagon!
I think that if it could talk about where it's been over the past twenty years, it would have quite a story to tell.
Gabby used the wagon and then it became her sister, Claudia's, wagon. When the girls were too old to use it anymore, my niece decided to find a home for their little red wagon. It was just around that time when our Long Island Chapter of Canine Companions was searching for a wagon to put our puppies in for the Memorial Day Parade in Massapequa Park here on Long Island. Word got back to Nicole of our needing a wagon and we inherited the little wagon. We took it home and decorated it with red, white and blue streamers and flags. It was a sight to behold. My granddaughter, Maddie, and I spent an entire day decorating it. It was beautiful!! Of course, the decorated wagon paled in comparison to the puppies we pulled in it along Park Boulevard that year and years after that. But, the little red wagon did its job! We even used it to haul water for the parade walkers and extra hand outs bringing awareness to CCI. We had such fun for many years with our little red wagon. It came to street festivals with us and other special events. It served it's purpose well. After each event the wagon was put in our basement for the next year all decorated and ready to go.
Years past and the little red wagon was very seldom used by the Chapter any more. It remained down in our basement, decorated and filled with CCI pamphlets and supplies. Then recently, my husband and I decided to clean the basement and get rid of things that were not used anymore. The thought of getting rid of the wagon was bitter sweet for me. It brought back all of those treasured memories of days gone by. BUT, we decided to go through all of the "stuff" in it, remove the decorations and clean it up to see if someone else would want the little red wagon. I've since learned that the wagons of today have seat belts for the little ones and our wagon was not up to todays standards so, as a result, it became of no use to anyone that I asked to take it. Thereby, Denis and I decided to put it out to the curb hoping that someone might want the little red wagon. It was sad for me to see it go. But, I knew in my heart that it had served its purpose and now it was time to see it move on. Well, low and behold, right after putting it to the curb we got a knock at our front door. A woman asked if we were getting rid of the little red wagon at the curb or...she continued, "was it one of our kids wagons left out there by mistake." I told her that we were getting rid of it and that it was hers if she wanted it. She was thrilled and said that she needed it for her little ones. I told her that we no longer had any little ones in our family. In fact, on that very day my great niece, Gabby, the first one to ride in the wagon...was graduating from college! "Wow!." she said, "That wagon really has some history!!" After helping her load it into her car, I watched as she drove away thinking of the future adventures of the little red wagon. There were more adventures and more stories in store for the wagon. It's exciting to have been a small part of all of these stories. Stories that are all kept hidden in those wheels that go a little slower now, but move forward on its journey, none the less.
It's funny how things can become pivotal in our lives and the lives of so many people and animals. How the journey of a little red wagon started by bringing happiness to a little girl and her sister and then moving on to even greater adventures bringing happiness and awareness to people along its life's road of adventures for an organization that helps people with disabilities...CCI 💛💙 We will never know where it will end up, but I do know that it's going to a good place as the adventures of a little red "Flyer" wagon continue...
I wonder what that little red wagon would say if to could talk.
Happy Tales To You!
A Place where I can Bark, Blog and Woof a Little
written by Yvonne Dagger