Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Art of Kalat

DO YOU  KNOW WHAT THIS IS?  OR WHERE THIS IS? 

This statue currently stands outside the Iraqi palace, now home to the 4th Infantry

division.   It will eventually be shipped home and put in the memorial museum in
Fort  Hood, Texas
The statue was created by an Iraqi artist named  Kalat, who for years was forced
by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that
dotted Baghdad

Kalat was so grateful for the America's liberation of his country; he melted 3 of the

heads of the fallen Saddam and made the statue as a memorial to the American
soldiers and their fallen warriors

Kalat worked on this memorial night and day for several months.

To the  left of the kneeling soldier is a  small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort  as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

At our House...

The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes!

American Veteran my Dad--Kenneth Allen Maggard


Lakota Chief Red Cloud(1822-1909) His Farewell Speech to His People, July 4, 1903


My sun is set, My day is done. Darkness is stealing over me. Before I lie down to rise no more, I will speak to my people. Hear me, my friends, for it is not the time for me to tell you a lie. The Great Spirit made us, the Indians, and gave us this land we live in. He gave us the buffalo, the antelope, and the deer for food and clothing. We moved our hunting grounds from the Minnesota to the Platte and from the Mississippi to the great mountains. No one put bounds on us. We were free as the winds, and like the eagle, heard no man's commands.


I was born a Lakota and I shall die a Lakota. Before the white man came to our country, the Lakotas were a free people. They made their own laws and governed themselves as it seemed good to them. The priests and ministers tell us that we lived wickedly when we lived before the white man came among us. Whose fault was this? We lived right as we were taught it was right. Shall we be punished for this? I am not sure that what these people tell me is true.


As a child I was taught the Taku Wakan [supernatural ways]were powerful and could do strange things. This was taught me by the wise men and the shamans. They taught me that I could gain their favor by being kind to my people and brave before my enemies; by telling the truth and living straight; by fighting for my people and their hunting grounds. When the Lakotas believed these things they were happy and they died satisfied. What more than this can that which the white man offers us give?


Taku Shanskan knows my spirit and when I die I will go with him. Then I will be with my forefathers. If this is not in the heaven of the white man I shall be satisfied. Wi is my father. The Wakan Tanka of the white man has overcome him. But I shall remain true to him. Shadows are long and dark before me. I shall soon lie down to rise no more. While my spirit is with my body the smoke of my breath shall be towards the sun, for he knows all things and knows that I am still true to him.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Shadows


"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by us standing in our own sunshine."---Ralph Waldo Emerson

Clowns


I knew a clown who died, all his friends came to the funeral in one car!

Remember...


On Memorial Day, first let us keep those who are presently in harms way in our thoughts and prayers... Posted by Picasa

American Veteran James Stewart

United States Army Air Corp

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happiness is a Choice

By 


“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” ~Aeschylus
My twenty-sixth birthday was approaching, and I asked myself one question: “Do I want this year to look like the last one?”
The answer was an immediate and very solid no. I frantically began to analyze what I was doing with my life to get this reaction. I was unhappy for most of twenty-five, romantically, professionally, and socially.
I had been with my live-in boyfriend for about a year and a half, and there seemed to be a growing disconnect. Despite the lies, resulting in jealousy and insecurity, I stayed with him because it was what I knew. I was comfortably uncomfortable.
I justified staying by telling myself, “All relationships take work” and “I know he can change.” I had also become a bit of a hermit with him. Netflix marathons every weekend. My social calendar eventually became booked with Don Draper and Piper Chapman.
Professionally, I was nowhere near where I wanted to be. As a millennial, I can say we carry a certain grandiose expectation for a picturesque life that we expect to have at a very young age, and we thoroughly believe it’s going to happen. Right up until the time when it doesn’t.
Stuck and confused, I realized that if I changed nothing, the next year was destined to look like the prior one.
I was in search of my truth and my happiness. I needed to know what this life thing is all about. Why do some people seem to have it all figured out and I’m left worried and more confused than ever before?
I had some money saved up, so I broke up with my boyfriend, moved out, bought a plane ticket, and left to travel Asia in a timeframe of a whopping two days. I had nothing to lose. I was on a mission to learn how to live a meaningful and happy life.
After a few months of trekking unfamiliar mountains, living with monks, and being freshly single, this is what I’ve learned.

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff; don’t sweat the big stuff.

I learned this after I had my wallet, passport, and camera stolen. Every day you will be faced with challenges that are both in and out of your control. Either way, there’s no sense in worrying about them.
If the situation is uncontrollable, whatever is going to happen, will. If you can control it, then take a deep breath and face it with a calm mind to make the process much easier. Worrying gets you nowhere. Hakuna Matata.

2. Do something every day that pushes you out of your comfort zone.

Order and routine give us a sense of security. It feels nice to have familiarity, but it’s also hard to grow into the person you’re meant to be without pushing your limits and trying new things.
At one point, everything is new to us. The more experiences you expose yourself to, the higher probability you’ll find one your passionate about.

3. Live fully in each moment.

Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not promised. The only certain thing we have in life is right now, this very moment.
This is an important lesson I’ve learned when meditating with the monks throughout Thailand. They teach the significance of remaining mindful and the importance of acknowledging our senses.
By smelling, tasting, feeling, seeing, and hearing everything in our surroundings, we’re able to stay in the present, resulting in insight, a crucial stepping stone on the path to happiness. Life is incredibly beautiful when you slow down enough to enjoy it. Live in the moment, live for right now. This very moment is life.

4. Give gratitude any chance you can, and lots of it.

I really learned about gratitude when traveling through Indonesia. When once I would have complained about a bad Wi-Fi connection, I saw people just grateful for clean drinking water. It really puts things into perspective.
Take the time to remember how lucky you are. Even if it doesn’t feel this way, it could always be worse. Share love and gratitude every chance you can, and you’re left with an overwhelming feeling of abundance and happiness.

5. Remember, life is what’s happening while you’re busy on your cell phone.

Dining solo, I was left to master the art of people watching. What I observed was this: the happiest, loudest, and liveliest tables were those with cellphones tucked away. They were making memories and sharing stories and experiencing what life is all about.
They ate more slowly and stayed longer because there wasn’t anywhere they’d rather be. On the contrary, those with eyes glued to bright screens were quiet and quick to eat with emotionless expressions.
Next time you’re out, try leaving your phone in the car to thoroughly enjoy your company. If you can’t imagine a meal without technology, at least take a few moments to observe the difference between people on their phones and those who aren’t, and ask yourself, who’s table would you rather be sitting at?

6. Listen to your gut.

I’ve never been so in tune with myself as when I was on the road with no travel companion to interrupt my thoughts. There have been countless times when I’ve gotten myself out of sticky situations (or avoided them altogether) by listening to my “gut feeling” as a reliable and trustworthy source.
Silence the mind and listen to the body. Our gut is widely acknowledged as our second brain. If it feels wrong and you can’t exactly pinpoint why, it’s your intuition in physical form telling you it probably is. Listen to what it has to say.

7. Look for similarities.

Same same. In Bangkok, I probably heard this phrase nine thousand times, which inevitably led me to ponder its significance.
No matter where you go in the world, as different as we appear, we are much more similar to one another. We all have human emotions. Sadness and excitement are genetically programmed in us, and we all have the same end goal of happiness.
A smile and laughter are universal. When you meet someone new, look for similarities and it will form an intimate bond. You’ll begin to feel compassion and a connection to them. A feeling of connection gives you a sense of home no matter where you are.

8. Let go of the fear of not being accepted and let your true self come out.

Living abroad alone, I really embraced my inner weirdo. I laid out all the things I was hesitant to say and do before because I assumed no one would “get” me. The results? Confidence and self-respect.
You owe it to yourself to celebrate your uniqueness and be the truest version of you. Those who are meant to stick around will love you even more for it. Besides, weird people bring a lot to the table. Just saying.

9. Make time to reflect on relationships and make changes.

Being on a twelve-hour time difference and half a world away makes communication to home difficult, and perfect for relationship reflection. I really began to analyze the quality of my relationships, asking, “Do they feed my soul? Do we really have that much in common?”
Life is too short to spend time with anyone who exhausts you. Be selective with where your energy goes. For those who you decide to keep in your life, it’s important you show them how much they mean to you. Love and respect leads to quality relationships, which are the only ones worth having.

10. Know that no matter how far you travel in search of happiness, it can only be found in one place.

A monk at the Wat Mahathat in Bangkok said something I will never forget. “Why are you here in Thailand? To find happiness? You won’t find it here. I can’t give it to you. You can travel the world to find it, but there is only one place it can be found. It is found within.”
I had left home and traveled across the world to find happiness, but I never felt it until I became fully connected with myself.
Somewhere along the way I lost sight of the important things by forgetting my relationships, ignoring my gut, and worrying too much about the past and the future. None of these things served me.
True and lasting peace is found within. When you learn to be appreciative for what you have, embrace the present moment, and love fully, this is happiness. This is nirvana.
Source: tinybuddha.com |

Never mistake Kindness for Weakness

"Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. I am kind to everyone, but when someone is unkind to me, weak is not what you're going to remember about me."--Al Capone

Slow and Steady Healthy Choices

When you start that new workout program, remember to start slow. I see so many folks who have not been to a gym in years and they come in and think they can lose the pounds and shape up in a week. Not going to happen folks! First of all, your body is not ready for it, second; you will probably get frustrated and quit. So do yourself a favor, take your time...excercise and diet will do the trick! But more than anything it's a lifestyle change. So here's to making Healthy Choices!
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American Veteran, my Friend Pat Hingle


United States NavyPosted by Picasa

Monday, May 22, 2017

Greener Pastures

We often do less than we should, until we are forced to do all that we can. Sometimes we don’t take care of our bodies until there is a health scare, or take care of our finances until we are in the red. Worse yet, sometimes we don’t take care of each other until it is too late. 
Proactive nurture and care can circumvent those moments of drought in our lives, paving the way for greener pastures in our future.

Speaking of Elvis, Proud American Veteran


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Remember Them All...


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Callin' Elvis...Anybody Home?


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Please Help the Homeless

If it can happen to Him,
it can happen to YOU!
Help the Homeless! Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf:
A Story of Life for All Ages,
by Leo Buscalgia

Spring had passed. So had Summer. Freddie, the leaf, had grown large. His mid section was wide and strong, and his five extensions were firm and pointed. He had first appeared in Spring as a small sprout on a rather large branch near the top of a tall tree.
Freddie was surrounded by hundreds of other leaves just like himself, or so it seemed. Soon he discovered that no two leaves were alike, even though they were on the same tree. Alfred was the leaf next to him. Ben was the leaf on his right side, and Clare was the lovely leaf overhead. They had all grown up together. They had learned to dance in the Spring breezes, bask lazily in the Summer sun and wash off in the cooling rains.
But it was Daniel who was Freddie's best friend. He was the largest leaf on the limb and seemed to have been there before anyone else. It appeared to Freddie that Daniel was also the wisest among them. It was Daniel who told them that they were part of a tree. It was Daniel who explained that they were growing in a public park. It was Daniel who told them that the tree had strong roots which were hidden in the ground below. He explained about the birds who came to sit on their branch and sing morning songs. He explained about the sun, the moon, the stars, and the seasons.
Freddie loved being a leaf. He loved his branch, his light leafy friends, his place high in the sky, the wind that jostled him about, the sun rays that warmed him, the moon that covered him with soft, white shadows. Summer had been especially nice. The long hot days felt good and the warm nights were peaceful and dreamy. There were many people in the park that Summer. They often came and sat under Freddie's tree. Daniel told him that giving shade was part of his purpose.
"What's a purpose?" Freddie had asked.
"A reason for being," Daniel had answered. "To make things more pleasant for others is a reason for being. To make shade for old people who come to escape the heat of their homes is a reason for being. To provide a cool place for children to come and play. To fan with our leaves the picnickers who come to eat on checkered tablecloths. These are all the reasons for being."
Freddie especially liked the old people. They sat so quietly on the cool grass and hardly ever moved. They talked in whispers of times past. The children were fun, too, even though they sometimes tore holes in the bark of the tree or carved their names into it. Still, it was fun to watch them move so fast and to laugh so much.
But Freddie's Summer soon passed. It vanished on an October night. He had never felt it so cold. All the leaves shivered with the cold. They were coated with a thin layer of white which quickly melted and left them dew drenched and sparkling in the morning sun. Again, it was Daniel who explained that they had experienced their first frost, the sign that it was Fall and that Winter would come soon.
Almost at once, the whole tree, in fact, the whole park was transformed into a blaze of color. There was hardly a green leaf left. Alfred had turned a deep yellow. Ben had become a bright orange. Clare had become a blazing red, Daniel a deep purple and Freddie was red and gold and blue. How beautiful they all looked. Freddie and his friends had made their tree a rainbow.
"Why did we turn different colors," Freddie asked, "when we are on the same tree?"
"Each of us is different. We have had different experiences. We have faced the sun differently. We have cast shade differently. Why should we not have different colors?" Daniel said matter-of-factly. Daniel told Freddie that this wonderful season was called Fall.
One day a very strange thing happened. The same breezes that, in the past, had made them dance began to push and pull at their stems, almost as if they were angry. This caused some of the leaves to be torn from their branches and swept up in the wind, tossed about and dropped softly to the ground. All the leaves became frightened.
"What's happening?" they asked each other in whispers.
"It's what happens in Fall," Daniel told them. "It's the time for leaves to change their home. Some people call it to die."
"Will we all die?" Freddie asked.
"Yes," Daniel answered. "Everything dies. No matter how big or small, how weak or strong. We first do our job. We experience the sun and the moon, the wind and the rain. We learn to dance and to laugh. Then we die."
"I won't die!" said Freddie with determination. "Will you, Daniel?"
"Yes," answered Daniel, "when it's my time."
"When is that?" asked Freddie.
"No one knows for sure," Daniel responded.
Freddie noticed that the other leaves continued to fall. He thought, "It must be their time." He saw that some of the leaves lashed back at the wind before they fell, others simply let go and dropped quietly. Soon the tree was almost bare.
"I'm afraid to die," Freddie told Daniel. "I don't know what's down there."
"We all fear what we don't know, Freddie. It's natural," Daniel reassured him. "Yet, you were not afraid when Summer became Fall. They were natural changes. Why should you be afraid of the season of death?"
"Does the tree die, too?" Freddie asked.
"Someday. But there is something stronger than the tree. It is Life. That lasts forever and we are all a part of Life."
"Where will we go when we die?"
"No one knows for sure. That's the great mystery!"
"Will we return in the Spring?"
"We may not, but Life will."
"Then what has been the reason for all of this?" Freddie continued to question. "Why were we here at all if we only have to fall and die?"
Daniel answered in his matter-of-fact way, "It's been about the sun and the moon. It's been about happy times together. It's been about the shade and the old people and the children. It's been about colors in Fall. It's been about seasons. Isn't that enough?"
"That afternoon, in the golden light of dusk, Daniel let go. He fell effortlessly. He seemed to smile peacefully as he fell. "Goodbye for now, Freddie," he said.
Then, Freddie was all alone, the only leaf on his branch. The first snow fell the following morning. It was soft, white, and gentle; but it was bitter cold. There was hardly any sun that day, and the day was very short. Freddie found himself losing his color, becoming brittle. It was constantly cold and the snow weighed heavily upon him.
At dawn the wind came that took Freddie from his branch. It didn't hurt at all. He felt himself float quietly, gently and softly downward. As he fell, he saw the whole tree for the first time. How strong and firm it was! He was sure that it would live for a long time and he knew that he had been part of its life and made him proud.
Freddie landed on a clump of snow. It somehow felt soft and even warm. In this new position he was more comfortable than he had ever been. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. He did not know that Spring would follow Winter and that the snow would melt into water. He did not know that what appeared to be his useless dried self would join with the water and serve to make the tree stronger. Most of all, he did not know that there, asleep in the tree and the ground, were already plans for new leaves in the Spring.