Sunday, February 19, 2012

volunteering for a cause

I've thought about volunteering my time to a cause throughout the years. Needless to say, I had never followed up on actually doing it. Things happen, life happens. You somehow seem to get side-tracked. However, around last October I finally thrust myself out there to volunteer. My drive to do so, was inspired by my two daughters that showed me to just go for it. So, I combined two things that I love and volunteered for something that relates to them. I now spend time photographing the unwanted and needy pets at my local animal shelter. Through my photos, I hope that people are able to see a sweet side to these adorable companions, and not the scared look that you typically see when you visit a shelter.

These animals are just hoping for a second chance. Some of them were found wandering the streets, left to fend on their own. Others are owner surrenders. Pets that someone loved at one time, but now have decided that they are expendable. A thought, that to me, is heartbreaking. The pets come into the shelter and have no idea what is going on. You can tell in their eyes that they wonder why they are here. In the time that I've spent volunteering, I've seen such horrible things that people have done to animals. I've teared up at the gashes, sores, and injuries that I've seen. Dogs have been domesticated and so they rely on humans to take care of love and feed them. It seems so simple to me that we should take care of them and provide for them.

All they want is your love, a gentle hand, and a warm home. Pets are there for us when, at times, people are not. They give unconditionally and they show a loyalty that is to be revered. Having a bad day? Animals soothe stress and can turn ill feelings around. They'll cuddle into you and give you affection, if you'll just provide a loving environment. They don't care if you don't have make-up on or you have bad morning breath. Pets will love you regardless of you going bald or that you smell from a hard day at work. They just want your love and protection.

I feel compelled to say a little something about the bias on the Pit Bull breed. This is so hurtful to such a loving animal. I've seen many come into the shelter and they are just like any other dog. The above photo is of my son hugging one of the Pit Bulls at the shelter. Too many people fear something without cause. If you were to see two dogs walking down a street, one being a Pit Bull and the other being a Poodle, would you automatically feel threatened by the Pit Bull? It's a stereotype that is killing the breed. Any animal can sense fear, whether they are Pit Bull or Poodle. They react off of us. That Poodle could sense your fear and come at you just like the Pit Bull could. Their intentions/reactions are the same. Yet, Pit Bulls are being punished more for it. They are being massacred in the news and it is going as far as states creating breed specific laws. Ignorance like this is threatening not only the dog but also humanity. It's unjust and unacceptable. What we should strive for as the human race, is understanding and compassion towards everything. It will make us a far better society.

I encourage anyone out there to volunteer at your local animal shelter. There is always something that you can do. Spare a life by adopting. If you can't adopt then foster, so that the pet doesn't have to stay in the shelter. You can donate items like blankets, towels, food, or cash. Give your time by helping clean the pens, walk the dogs, take photos, or help in rescues. If I could stress one thing it would be to spay/neuter all animals. Puppies and kittens are cute, but they don't stay that way and there are plenty at the shelters to pick from. Help the shelters, don't hinder them. It is more common to find kill shelters then to find "no kill" ones. Our actions decide their fate.

Ending this, I just wanted to post two videos that I've made for my local animal shelter.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

deep thoughts

For years now I have been like a sponge, soaking in as much information on beliefs and religion as I can. It's an unexplainable urge to watch, read, and look up anything and everything that crosses my mind. I don't really know why. I'm not a fanatic. Neither do I go around converting people or trying to impose my viewpoint. It just seems like there is some drive in me to look into it all. The thing is, I can't help but wonder why. Why this desire?
My parents are of different beliefs. My mom's side is Lutheran and my dad's side is Baptist. I grew up going to a wide variety of churches with family and friends; everything from Catholic,Baptist, Presbyterian, and more. I was exposed to all kinds. When I married, I married into Baptist. Yet, none of these seem to "sit" with me. I am not a church-goer, and I have no plans to go at this point. For me, I think this need that beats deep down inside of me, is looking for what truly resonates within my soul. As I've started unraveling what it is that fills that void, I still can not let loose of looking into things. So, I've actually sat here thinking, "Am I supposed to do something with this?" I don't know. I certainly don't like attention or debate. I don't believe in casting my own views upon others, and I pretty much cringe at evangelists.
The more I find out, some things either become clear or some things seem absolutely absurd. I hear something and look into it. Does it pan out? Does it work within the basic structure of things? When did it come into belief. Why did it? What happened? I totally go all detective on it. Then, I do nothing with all that info. Nothing at all. I just keep it to myself. I pretty much know that to share it with members of my family or people around me, would be futile. My thoughts are unlike those around me. Really, it's just kind of frustrating. To tell you the truth, sometimes I do feel like telling those close to me how I see things. Shaking them and saying, "Do you see?" Sigh....that's not right and it's not for me to say one way is any more right than another, just because it seems clear to me. Yet, the simplicity with which I see things just seems to right.
Yeah, so that's just some of my deep thoughts on that subject. I really could be all philosophical and theological. I could drone on and on explaining my perceptions, but I won't. I will end with my thought on an overall view.....going back to the basics is where it's all at.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

a past memory

Today's post is by way of a blog prompt that I came across. The prompt is: "Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scenes surrounding a particular event." So here goes.
Although I can't remember what day in what year any more, I do recall faint flashes of what happened on one specific night. Bear with me as I recall something from my past, that my memory has truly tried to obliterate from all crevices of my brain. A memory that was not made from happiness but rather from fear and humiliation. This happened when I was with my ex husband, or as I say now, the sperm donor to my wonderful daughter.
It was night, and I was sitting in the living room of our trailer. My husband at that time (SD for sperm donor), had been gone most of the day. I imagine he had been out partying and drinking, as was usual. The TV was on and I had settled down to watch it. Aside from the light coming from its source, I had only a small light on in the kitchen area. I heard his truck pull into the driveway and felt uneasy immediately. I knew to have my defenses up. SD could be counted on to be belligerent. That ominous pang hit my stomach. The best I could hope for was that he would pass out without a fuss.
He came in and with him, he had brought along his cousin and a friend. Okay, good, more people. No guy would just sit back and let another guy come at a woman. There was safety in numbers, right? I was counting on it. So they all sat in various spots around the living room. I was asked to get beer out of the fridge for them. Sure, add more beer and pass out faster! I went to sit on the arm of the chair SD was relaxing in. If I had sat by the others, there was a chance I would be accused of wanting to sleep with them or something. Nope, I wasn't going to provoke ANY type of reaction if I could help it. He started it then, the rough playing around. Grabbing me and enforcing his dominance. I looked to the other guys and they just kind of looked back. Well, it wasn't bad so perhaps I was just on edge.
I'm not sure what happened next, but I remember he asked me to head back into the bedroom for some reason. I don't recall feeling tense or anything. So, we walked back there and he shut the door. That's when it all broke loose.
I remember being thrown down on the bed and that evil look appearing in his eyes. That kind of look that lets you know that you are not in a place you want to be in. He started spewing words at me and calling me names. Then SD held me down and tied my hands and feet together. Tears were streaming down my face and I called for help. No answer. A huge knot formed in my throat as I realized that I was on my own. SD grabbed my throat tight and was inches from my face. He told me how he was going to kill me and how horrible I was. My mind raced to try and recall where the gun was. I could only hope it was nowhere near. After what seemed like forever, he finally passed out beside me. I slowly inched away and worked at untying my hands and feet. I have no idea how long the episode had taken, but when I finally walked out of the room, the other guys were passed out on the sofa.
I went back to the bedroom and laid down on the farthest side away from SD. Dried tears clung to my cheeks as I drifted off to sleep, in hopes that he wouldn't wake back up and start it over again.
This happened while I was in the midst of the abuse. I know I should have left, but it's not that simple when you are in it. So many threats that you believe and such self esteem lost, a person is easily torn down and made to feel like they are nothing.
Time passed and I had my daughter. She was my sole drive to finally leave that battered situation. I couldn't find anything worthwhile in myself to save, but I would not let her be brought up in it. Not my baby.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh uh-uh it's not fair!

by ~N~KaRneStudios

Last night, it started. That monthly flow of pain. I had been on a schedule. Every end of the month...bam there it was, but that's not how it is now. Now, MY system decides it needs to change up. Why, do you ask? Since Sunshine moved back in, it's MY body that is changing to regulate with HERS. Can you tell I'm not too pleased? Lol. In 3 months I have jumped 3 weeks to catch up with her. Not only does that mean I've had to deal with cramps twice in a month, but for some unknown reason this time, mine came before hers!!!! What???? It's just not fair! *cry*

So, here I sit today. I have my jammies on and I'm glued to my heating pad. I would use the hot water bottle but it just keeps getting cold and requires too many trips to refill it. I also can't seem to get the hot water bottle hot enough. I don't know if it's an age thing or what but it seems like the pain I get has been increasing. My lower back feels like it is recovering from being hit with a sledge hammer. Then, there are my stomach cramps which, being stereo-typical, feels like small knives repeatedly jabbing me. I love this feeling, I tell ya. I just absolutely LOVE it! :P

If starting my day off with "Aunt Flow" wasn't enough, I walked into my kitchen area this morning to see that apparently my dog is having a bit of stomach upset. Yep, a nice pile of poo was sitting there in all it's smelly glory waiting for me.


My sweet puppy dog was facing the door whimpering. I couldn't get mad at her. She was trying to get attention AND she was at the door. After I let her out, I grabbed the handy dandy paper towels and the carpet cleaning spray. Down on all fours I went, spraying and wiping up. I just wish it would have been solid, then at least I could have grabbed a chunk of it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

from doggies to drill sargeants...

Today, my son and I spent time at the local animal shelter taking photos of some of the dogs in hopes that people will see them and want to adopt these sweet creatures. I've been doing this for a short time now. It's really hard to see these pets that are just waiting for a loving home to go to. Some of them have been abused and mistreated. Most come in looking like mere shadows of what a dog should be. The bones protruding from their hips and their ribs easily countable, make me wonder how someone could do that to a living thing. I don't think I'll EVER understand that. I can only hope that these adorable babies will find that home that they long to be a part of.
We spent somewhere around 3 or 4 hours trying to capture photos. With each dog, we take it out into the yard and hope that something or someone will grab its attention so that their ears perk up. I bring treats, crumble leaves, whistle, whimper, move around, or whatever I can think of in order to get a photo that I think will show others the true essence of the dog. My son patiently holds the dog, walks them around, calms them down, and aids me in any way he can. He is a HUGE help! With the time available, we were able to get good shots of 4 dogs today. We'll be going back tomorrow to take some more.
After finishing up at the shelter we decided we were hungry and stopped by Jack's to grab a burger. I called my husband and texted my daughter, to see if they wanted something. I didn't hear back from my daughter, which must have meant she was at work. My husband sounded defeated when I talked to him. Uh oh. His day wasn't going well. He asked me to pick him up something, as he was not going to be able to come home any time soon. So, my son and I ordered for three and then headed over to my husband's work place to drop his food off.
As we turned the corner and proceeded to park on the side of the street, from out of nowhere a man pops up at my son's window. He is really close to our car and knocking on the passenger window trying to get our attention. My son rolls down the window and that's when we met Mr. Drill Sargeant.

This older man tells us that he is a vet and a drill sargeant. He puts out his hand to shake mine and shows me his veterans card to establish that he was being truthful. Somehow, and I don't quite remember how, he ends up sitting partially in my car on my son's side but like facing him not sitting beside him. Mr. Drill Sargeant tells us that he served in Iran and lost his best white friend due to a grenade. Tears welled up in his eyes and I felt sorry for him. Having a retired military father, I guess I have a soft spot for those that have served. Then, almost out of nowhere, he says "watch this" and then begins using his drill sargeant tactics on my son. WHAT?? He is in my son's face just hollering. Now, I should say here, my son HATES and I mean HATES anyone in his face. Hats off to my son for taking it and being nice. I caught a whiff of alcohol and that just makes me more on edge. I was stunned that this whole conversation deal was happening. Was I in the Twilight Zone? Then my husband comes out of the building and I just look at him. You know, one of those looks that says "Help Me". He quickly turned the man's attention towards him and got the man out of our vehicle. I know this guy was a nice guy, the thing is, he very well could not have been. We were extremely fortunate. Living in a small town, I guess that I've let my defenses down a bit too much. This quickly taught me to snap those suckers back in line. Mr. Drill Sargeant ended up heading along on his merry way and we were left in bewilderment.