Wow, it’s day thirty and what a journey this has been. I have learned so much about myself, my city and it’s residents. But, I will get into all of that in another post. First, let’s talk about my final day of service.
As you’ve seen over the past 29 days, each act of service brings something different. Sometimes its a great memory, sometimes a profound lesson, sometimes sweat, sometimes fun, etc. And, always a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Well, today brought with it something very unique — a life-affirming message.
Now, this was not a life-changing day for me, but I now know for sure that at least some of the decisions I have made in life where the right ones. Specifically, that I made the right decision to not pursue science for a living! I served at the California State Science Fair and was surrounded by really smart kids who did projects that I couldn’t even understand — well, some I couldn’t. And, honestly, I didn’t have a huge desire to understand them. That lack of interest reassured me that I made the right college and career choices.
That said, I am so thankful there are people who love science! Without them we wouldn’t have all the advances that save lives, protect our planet and make our daily lives a little bit easier. I applaud all of the kids who had entries in the Science Fair and hope that today was life-changing and life-affirming for them!
You know from Day twenty six that I love dogs. And, I was fortunate enough today to get to spend time with some adorable furry friends that are up for adoption. For dog lovers, an event like today’s was tons of fun, as it was a huge adoption event, so there were dogs everywhere. Dogs from dozens of different shelters and rescues were being shown there in hopes of finding new homes.
I am such a supporter of adopting dogs and I will never pay for one. There are thousands of dogs out there that need loving homes and no matter what kind of dog you like, you can find one at a shelter that will suit you. Both of our dogs, Molly and Mason, are rescues and couldn’t be any better. So, if you are in the market for a pup, please strongly consider adoption!
If you insist on a purebred and can’t find one up for adoption, make sure you go to a reputable breeder and not a puppy mill. And, make sure you get your four legged friend spayed or neutered.
Enjoy today’s video and come back tomorrow for my final day of service…
Back on Day Two I talked about how lucky I was to grow up attending well-maintained schools with wide open fields. Well, in that same town, I was fortunate enough to have great parks with fun, safe playgrounds to play on. In fact, thinking back, I am somewhat amazed at how many playgrounds there were, not to mention the swing sets at my house and those of many relatives.
Unfortunately, that is not the case in so many communities. Hundreds, if not thousands, of playgrounds around the country are simply outdated and no longer safe. And, schools and communities lack the funds to repair or replace them. But, there is good news — KaBOOM!
KaBoom! is one of my all time favorite non-profits. They bring together communities along with the private and public sectors to provide kids with safe places to play. What’s cooler than that? So, KaBOOM! was on my short list or organizations I really wanted to work with during my thirty days and fortunately they had a playground build that worked with my schedule.
It was a strenuous day of hard work, but fun at the same time. I was one of more than 200 volunteers who came out to build the kids of Pico Rivera a new, safe place to play. I just wish I could have been there to play on this incredible new playground with them (but, the concrete needs three days to dry).
I have written before about how important play is for kids, as well as for us adults. So, if you ever get a chance to go work with KaBOOM!, do it — the results of your hard work will live on for generations!
You don’t know this about me, but I LOVE dogs and have my entire life. I remember getting my first dog as a kid. When I was around 8, a man came driving down our street in a station wagon and said he had some puppies he was giving away. I immediately fell in love with one and I basically begged and pleaded with my parents to let my sister Tammy and I have her. My dad wasn’t a “dog person” back then, although he has since seen the light, so it wasn’t easy getting a “yes,” but we did. And, Jamie (a play off Jamison) became our first dog. She was a sweet mutt, who spent most of her time outside in a nice pen that included a dog house I built with my dad. But, sadly she wasn’t a great fit for the family and we eventually found her a new home.
Years later, when I was a teenager, we got dog number two, Casey. She was a beautiful, all white Samoyed. While she wasn’t the best behaved dog in the world, I loved her so much. And, she put up with a lot — I have pictures of her in sunglasses, Hawaiian leis and more. Then, as the daily lives of a single mom and two teenage kids got more and more hectic, we all decided it was best to give Casey to a family with younger kids who could give her the time and attention she deserved. It was a sad day, but best for my sweet girl Casey.
Then, when I was home for a college break, my mom and I talked about her and my stepdad getting a dog. With her almost convinced it was a good idea, we went looking and I witnessed mutual love at first sight for the first time ever. My mom picked up a Corgie that was just a few months old — tiny legs, oversized ears that weren’t strong enough to stand upright and just the cutest thing you could imagine. And, the look she gave my mom sealed her fate and Mom and Corky were best buddies for many years to come. And, since I spent most of my college breaks, as well as my first post-college year, at my mom’s, I got lots of quality time with Corky and just adored her.
Once I was out on my own, I contemplated getting a dog at least once a month. There was even a time I knew what I wanted to name my dog and Tammy gave me a dog collar with the name on it as a gift. But, the timing was never right. Then, when I was 30 I met my now partner Greg and two dogs entered my life — Molly and Mason. They are the greatest gifts in the world. To say I am madly in love with them, would be an understatement. They are great companions, stress relievers, playmates and confidants. And, they love Greg and I unconditionally (as long as we keep the food coming).
So, why all this talk of my love of dogs? Well, today’s service was at a great organization called Pet Orphans. And, my job was to care for dogs, hence the day was pure joy.
Pet Orphans is a no-kill shelter that rescues unwanted and abused dogs, rehabilitates them and finds new families for them. While I certainly don’t condone violence among humans, I can understand it. But, I can’t understand how people can be cruel to animals and I am so thankful for all of the organizations out there dedicated to saving animals.
Have a look at today’s video and meet some adorable dogs…and you’ll see how just when I thought my day couldn’t get any better, it did! Oh, you’ll get to see my loves Molly and Mason too!
So, since you have been reading and watching this daily, you know I think we have a few dirty little secrets in this country. One, is how many people don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Another, is how we treat our veterans.
I come from a blended military family…I have many generations who have served and I so admire each and everyone of them who fought for the freedoms enjoyed today in this country. But, even if you don’t come from a military family, you have been blessed by their service. In fact, your life wouldn’t be what it is had people not served.
So, here’s my issue, and it is not with the troops at all. We spend so much time and money recruiting, training and supporting our active duty troops — figures that even if I shared them with you are so large they can’t be comprehended. And, I understand that investment — I think our country is worth every penny spent to keep us safe.
But, where is the money when they return? We don’t spend enough getting our troops, our vets, accustomed to living back in civilian life. We just drop them back in and expect them to be alright. Well, it doesn’t work that way. They need to be deprogrammed, reintegrated. Not that they are machines, but they have been taught to respond to orders in the field, while the rest of us are taught to think on our own and decide if the direction given is appropriate, moral.
I think we all live thinking we take care of our vets, but we don’t. I had someone very well connected to vet issues tell me recently that the programs for vets are out there, but vets don’t know about them. Well, that in and of itself is an issue. If we have the programs, our government needs to do a better job of informing vets, but again, once they are home we stop paying attention.
Of all the people in need out there, we owe our vets the most. Without them, we have nothing. Do I have every freedom I deserve, no. Do I agree with every war the USA is, or has been, in no. But, I believe in our troops. I honor them, celebrate them and want them to have lives outside of service that are safe, blessed and full of all the possibilities our lives have.
God bless our troops, our vets, our military families…God Bless America.