Gratitude – Grateful to be Present

Love is....

I am, in the Present, in love, grateful, living. I am, in the Present, aware of beauty, able to breathe free air, accountable for my actions and mature enough to accept that accountability. I am in the Present! Gratefully, I am!

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly.
If you must look forward, do so prayerfully.
However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the Present – Gratefully!” Maya Angelou

She’s gone, but not forgotten

Tribute to a Mom

Tribute to a Mom

She’s gone, but surely won’t ever be forgotten as long as I’m alive. Next month would have brought her 92nd birthday. She had gotten frail, and dementia and Alheizermer’s had wreaked havoc on her mind. She finally gave up the fight. We didn’t always get along, but she deserved a lot of credit for what she accomplished in life. A child of the Great Depression years, she lost her own mother to cancer when she was only 12 years old. At that point, she became the female head of a household that included two younger brothers still living at home, and an unappreciative father. Married at the age of 17, she gave birth to me the following year. By the age of 25 she had 4 children, she hadn’t finished high school, and had gone through the trials and tribulations necessitated by wartime shortages. One winter, after the WWII was over, was especially trying. All four of us kids managed to get the measles, mumps and then chicken-pox in succession. It would have been enough to drive anyone nuts. She bravely hung in there, caring for each of us while neglecting herself. Later, in order to help support the family financially she got several jobs; first in a local glass factory, then with a small newpaper. She earned very little money, but saved enough to buy a small car. That independent streak, so natural to her, contributed greatly to the demise of her marriage. Dad couldn’t abide her independence or that she wasn’t a Miss America model. No more on that! She went back to school, got her GED, then went on to become qualified as a CPA. Following that, she went to work for the State of New Jersey in the Sales Tax division, examining business tax returns. That brought her into some tricky and sometimes dangerous situations in South Jersey. As always, she persevered and retired in good stead. During all those years, even the leanest of times, she’d do what she could for people who might otherwise have been forgotten. There were always small Christmas gifts from her to the men who made the weekly trash pick up and anonymous donations to local families in need. She donated regularly to organizations that benefitted children and veterans and she was always ready to take in a stray dog. I’ll never forget the care packages she used to send during my college days, the care she lavished on all the pets the four of us collected throughout the years, the trips she made to visit us when we went off to live in far distant places, the family “vacations” when she held things together by a thread, and the knowledge that she was always there if a need arose. The sight of nightgowns and jackets she bought for me, a candle,a basket of artificial flowers, and a fish-tank planter that she bought as gifts for me all bring a lump to my throat and a pain in my heart. She’s gone now. Her life, which had become so diminished in the last months, is over. Her race has been run. Her memory lives on. I never told her enough how much I loved her or was appreciative enough of all her efforts. I’ll always miss her enthusiasm for sports, especially baseball and football, and her love of having a daily newspaper to read and crossword puzzles to work. In her honor I’ll try to do as much as humanly possibly for my own children and grandchildren, and emulate her generosity to those in need. Rest in Peace Mom.


The Kaw Lake Ultimate Eagle Watch, at Kaw Lake, Oklahoma, will be held on Saturday, January 17, 2015. A guided tour of eagle viewing by horseback will be held from 10:30AM -2:30PM. Participants must provide their own horses. Programs on History of the Eagle and its Habitat, Wildlife Rehabilitation Challenges, Importance of Eagles to Native Americans, The Wildlife Around Us, and Getting Involved in Wildlife Rehabilitation will take place throughout the day. Also, a live eagle and some other wildlife will be on view at various locations. The events will take place at Kaw City, Oklahoma, beginning at 7:00AM. A free Native American luncheon will be served. There is no charge for the event, but donations would be greatly appreciated. The Kaw Lake area supports one of the largest eagle populations in the state of Oklahoma, throughout the year. Phone 580-762-9494 for additional information or go to

How to Make (and Keep) a Traveler’s Hippocratic Oath

Everywhere Once

Tours you can take, although we'll pass Tours you can take, although we’ll pass

First, do no harm.

It’s an oath sworn by physicians and a pledge that every traveler should make as well. As guests in the places we visit the very least we can do is respect our hosts by not hurting their country or their people.

Unfortunately such pledges are easier made than kept. That’s especially true in areas of the world that lack strong regulations protecting vulnerable populations. It’s not uncommon to see plenty of exploitive activities marketed to tourists. And sometimes those activities are even cleverly disguised to prey on our very desire to do good.

Visiting and volunteering in a children’s orphanage in Cambodia, for example, sounds like a good way of directing your travel dollars to a worthwhile cause. That is until you learn about the fake orphanages that separate children from their parents for the sole purpose of separating…

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