Photographer Laurent Laveder plays games with the moon. Which one is your favorite?


A Dog’s Life

I believe this is so very true:

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker’s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, “I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The six-year-old continued, “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Author unknown

Mug Shots that Make a Difference for some special dogs in Tulsa, OK

Larry, a Tulsa, OK, shelter dog, is looking for his forever home.

In Tulsa, OK, dogs in area shelters are mugging for the camera. Thanks to Sherry Stinson, professional photographer, more dogs are finding homes by just being who they are – dogs with personalities all their own.

Beautiful Haley is looking for a new family to love.

“God gave me a talent to take pictures, and dogs and cats are near and dear to my heart so I want to help get them out of the shelters,” Sherry said. Sherry has photographed more than 30,000 animals who need homes and she has really made a difference.

Sherry’s photos have sparked adoptions with the Legacy of Hope Dog Rescue. Christina Guerra, found of the rescue group, says, “When you have a cute dog in a cute pose showing its personality, it’s 100 times more adoptable. We would be half as successful as we are if it weren’t for her.”

Sherry visits shelters all over the Tulsa area, donating her time, talent, and photos to save the lives of animals who need her the most.  “I know it’s a job well done when I’m no longer needed,” said Sherry.


Legacy of Hope Dog Rescue – Home

not one or the other

Dear Brave Souls: There is sight… and there is seeing. There is hearing, and there is listening. There is love and there is service. There is dream and there is action. All. Not one or the other.

The bird does not just see, but sees far. The bird does not just hear, but listens for chance and for foe. The bird does not just love, but protects the vulnerable young. The bird does not dream flying only: The bird uses muscle and sinew, bone and heart… the bird uses steep effort to truly fly.
And with love,

A Meditation on Gratitude and Joy


With gratitude I remember the many blessings in my life: the people, animals, plants, and insects — creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth;


With gratitude I remember the Earth that holds and sustains all life;


With gratitude I remember the care and labor of the generations of elders and ancestors who came before me;


With gratitude I remember the teachings and lessons I have been given and that I have experienced in my life;


With gratitude I hold in my heart my family and friends, my local and global community;


With gratitude I accept my measure of health and well-being and the strength I experience of mind and body;


With gratitude I accept the gifts I have to give — my presence, my knowledge and wisdom, my talents and resources;


With gratitude I am thankful for the life I have been given.


*Adapted from Jack Kornfield’s Meditation on Gratitude and Joy in The Awakened Heart, pps. 399-400. Bantam Dell, May 2008.

Elements of Self

elements of self_big

by  from Twin Cites, USA in Health Tuesday, August 7, 2012

picture by Glen Scott


Your style does not define you. Not alone. People look at you every day, whether you want them to or not, and the choices you make about clothing and grooming and accessories contribute to the overall impression you give. You can tell the world about your favorite colors and textures, about your favorite era in history, about your favorite aspects of your figure through the dressing choices you make. What you wear contributes to the first level of your public identity, and you can exercise some measure of control over that identity. But you are more than just your style.

Your body does not define you. Not alone. Your height and weight may provide information about your genetic makeup, and your proportions may convey information about the center of your physical power, and your hair and eye color may tell stories about your ancestry. But you are more than just your body.

Your smarts, your personality, and your life experiences do not define you. Not alone. What you believe and the relationships you forge and the places you’ve been shape your essential self, and the thoughts you think and decisions you make guide you. But you are more than just your smarts, personality, and life experiences.

It took me a long time to accept and embrace that last one because I felt that my smarts, personality, and life experiences WERE me. Everything else was just trappings, storage, miscellany. I kept my brain inside my body for safekeeping, and dressed my body to keep it warm and dry. But the real me had nothing to do with the physical world. The real me was ephemeral, lofty, philosophical, and intellectual. My body was merely a vessel.

When I began to accept that my body was as essential to my true self as my intellect and temperament, I accessed a whole new level of self-acceptance. My body had always been a second-class citizen, and I’d scorned it and treated it badly. Welcoming it into the fold and assimilating it into my concept of self meant that I wanted to care for, nourish, groom, pamper, and maintain it in ways I’d never wanted to before. I wanted to keep it strong and healthy, clean and in good working order. I wanted to adorn it with pride as an expression of my respect. I wanted to be as proud of my body as I’d always been of my disposition and intellect. I truly felt more whole.

In my opinion, no person can be defined simply. Everything about us is interconnected, and embracing that interconnectedness helps us to flourish. Don’t let your body or style or personality become the tyrant of your sense of self. All three contribute, all three deserve your attention, and all three make you who you are.


Sally McGraw

Sally McGraw is a Minneapolis-based blogger, freelance writer, and teacher. In addition to writing her popular daily style and body image blog, Already Pretty, she is an ongoing contributor to the Minneapolis StarTribune and offers style consultation services – both in person for clients living in the Twin Cities, and via e-mail for clients worldwide.

my garden blooms






Grace’s Gardens Publications


Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Completed in 1993, the statue is located near the Po Lin Monastery and symbolizes the harmonious relationship between man and nature. It is a major center of Buddhism in Hong Kong, and is also a popular tourist attraction. Visitors have 240 steps to climb to reach this immense bronze statue. At 112 ft tall and weighing in at 275 tons, it is one of the world’s largest Buddhas.

if we could see

a real woman