St Francis and the transformation of Diablo [it’s not what you think]

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
~Francis of Assisi

This is a very short post.. Last night I came across a beautiful song I had never heard before..and then this morning, an incredible video much related to the song. So I wanted to post both of them.

I’m writing this on Mother’s Day….I never really had a mother or actually, the mother and stepmother that I did have, didn’t have motherly qualities. So as a very young child, I turned to animals for comfort. I think this happens with many children looking for unconditional love.

This short video tells of the incredible transformation of a black leopard called Diablo

And this song called Saint Francis by Gretchen Peters

Help for my own rescued animal family  ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL.

SAKINA’S RESCUE and other stories

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”
― Francis of Assisi

This is a short post…I started another one earlier today about living on the edge:

 “Come to the edge,” he said.

“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.

“Come to the edge,” he said.

“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.” ~Guillaume Apollinaire

But this one is more important for now.

This is about the animals we have rescued and brought herepurple hobbit gate front to Hobbiton to their ‘forever’ home.
Until about 15 years ago, I had never rescued an animal with the exception of one very tiny kitten I found stuck in a drainpipe one hot summer day in Austin, Texas. I heard him crying and felt I had to take him home even though I thought he would surely die on the long drive back. But he didn’t die. I named him FD short for Furry Devil and he went on to live with me for about 15 years.
 Then not long before I moved to New Mexico, I rescued a wolfdog from a shelter in Boerne, Texas. Some of the staff at my veterinarian’s office knew about her and begged me to take herdakota-eyes as she was about to be put down [this is what happens to most wolfdogs who end up in shelters-if they are thought to have any wolf content, they are put down almost immediately].
I agreed to go see her–she was in a dark, prison-like cage and I couldn’t bear to see such a beautiful animal in that situation.dakota-chair copy I named her Dakota and brought her home and a few years later, brought her with me to New Mexico…..dakota loves snow
From the beginning though, I’ve always had animals around me. My mother died when I was 9 and my dad felt that having pets would bring me comfort as well as a sense of responsibility…me:flip:beatle
smokey and me
                                                            ……and they did.
In New Mexico, I bought a place with a lot of space– 31 acres and when someone contacted me about rescuing two horses from Texas, I immediately said yes! Texas was experiencing a severe drought at that time and their owner couldn’t afford to feed them.redman looking
chloe:redman happyThe years passed….
Dakota lived to be about 12.  In the meantime, I had raised a wolfdog pup I named Shiloh and he lived with Dakota. She was too old to play with him but they loved each other and they were companions….. shiloh loves dakotaWhen Dakota died, Shiloh was left lost and alone, without a companion.
After many disappointments in my quest to find Shiloh a companion, I came in contact with Wanagi Wolf Rescue and W.O.L.F.Sanctuary  and with their help, it was only a short time before Shiloh’s first companion, Sakina arrived.jody pet sakina

This short video about Sakina’s rescue sums up the whole experience for me: the feelings, the need, the reasons why. * Sakina was originally meant to go to some people in Albuquerque but their dog didn’t get along with her and so she came here..forever.

Not long after Sakina came Apollo,apollosnowjan-17 a white low content wolfdog rescued from a very abusive home in Virginia.shiloh with roadie
And during this time period came the cats all needing a home: first PhantomPHANTOM AND POOH
followed by Maggiemaggiemorning-light-816 followed by Sylvester and Osoosaselena
And all was well. I thought of each one who came as part of my family and I was committed to taking care of them forever.
But a year ago things changed drastically for me….a series of ‘unforseen circumstances’ caused me to lose all my income, my savings, everything and many times since I have had to ask for help. And I have gotten help too, mostly from people who are animal lovers.
Here we live the simplest of life styles–off the grid with the sun providing electricity, the wood from the forest, heat, the greenhouse, foodgreenhouse w purple stepsBut the solar batteries are old and they are dying and that means no electricity here.
A few weeks ago I read about the power outage in San Francisco and I read that people were complaining because the outage was keeping them from making money. I was amazed! What no electricity means is no water, no phones, no computer, no refrigerator, no flushing the toilet and a lot more difficulties for people in the cities.
So this is my request: I’m asking for help..for contributions so I can replace the solar batteries, so we can be assured of having electricity. At night I often wake up and lie there wondering how we can manage. Water is the main thing..the batteries run the pump and it would be very difficult to haul enough water for all the animals and the greenhouse which needs to be watered twice a day.
I have 2 contribution/ funding sites: my gofundme page which tells the story of my work with terminally ill people and what happened… and a page I just put up specifically to raise money for the batteries–I  still need between $3000 and $4000. This site is ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL.
Thank you for whatever help you can give-large or small it will make a really will.

ON MOTHER’S DAY..for my son

mothers day hearts:andy*I wrote this post last year, 2016 for Mother’s Day…for my son. I’m re- posting it because it’s just as relevant today as it was a year ago. I’m re- posting also because there’s so much more hate, sadness, grief in the world today than there was this time last year… I want to try to post stories that are hopeful and happy….where love is the answer. “Whatever the question, love is the answer.”

PS In the past few months, I have started an online store, La Casa de Roses/House of Roses. There are hearts and crosses and home altars for Mother’s Day, Graduation, Weddings etc….pink heart:purple rose wedding

for the times of transition and TRANSCENDENCE….

Mother’s Day 2016

I wasn’t going to write anything today..not feeling very hopeful or inspired about anything lately..but then my son, Andy posted this on my Facebook page:

“Happy Mother’s Day!! Thank you for the great experiences you gave me like the time you took me to see Bob Marley and the Wailers when I was seven years old.”

And I remembered.

I was 22 years old when Andy was born in July of 1969. I had had a miscarriage on my 21rst birthday and I didn’t want to get my hopes up..actually it seemed like then that I was cursed somehow, that everyone, everything around me died..but there he was, such a miracle, strong and healthy and weighing 8 ponds 3 ounces.

From that time on, I took him everywhere with me…andy 5 wksWhen he was a tiny baby, we often drove back and forth from Galveston to Houston. There weren’t real car seats then..just kind of flimsy canvas things that attached to the seat..but he did just fine.

He went to movies with me like One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest and like he said, I took him to see Bob Marley when he was seven, an experience of a lifetime that would never come again because Bob Marley died just a year later.

When there was something happening that seemed important, I just took out of school. Once to see the Dalai Lama, once to see Prince Charles, sometimes to visit close friends in Austin….andy:nicole Once to visit a friend on Sea Island, 60s boyWhen he was five and I was seeing John Bradshaw for counseling at Christ Church Cathedral in Houston, I took Andy with me and he would play quietly outside the room. As he got a little older, he drew a lot …about life..

andy draw-life.jpg

LIFE IS GOOD by Andy Pickard

Of course, none of this would be allowed in these ‘advanced’ times where there’s so little freedom and a new law every day. He would have been taken away from me, sent to live in a foster home probably.

When Andy was a teenager, I often took him with me to visit the hospice patients I was working with and sometimes he was there just moments before they died. Out of these experiences came the many documentaries we later made together on death and dying, hospice etc

filming ekr

Filming Elisabeth Kubler-Ross  for our documentary, We’re Almost Home Now

films of the dying:peter

I wasn’t a great mother. I was young, EXTREMELY emotionally unstable and I had no role models and no support really.File_01 hippie family copy I did the best I could, though there are many things I would have done differently if I had understood..but I wouldn’t change these experiences, none of them. I think, actually I know, that they have contributed to making him the amazing, wonderful person he is.premie rb

andy, p, cbutterfly family

As things have grown more and more difficult for me recently, there are very, very few people I have been able to count on..maybe 4 or 5 at most but my son has always been there for me….ALWAYSANDY THE EDITOR

THE CROSS…”from a torture instrument to a symbol of the divine”

purple cross hang“It’s a strange dualistic symbol. Basically, it’s a torture instrument. To me, Jesus stands for humanity. So this man is nailed to the torture instrument, totally helpless, in deep suffering. At that point comes total surrender to what is. “Not my will, but thy will be done.” At that point, the symbolic significance of the cross is changed from being a torture instrument to a symbol of the divine.

So what it points to is that the very thing that seems to stand in the way of realizing who you are. The very suffering that comes with being here in this physical realm—because eventually some form of suffering comes to everybody—can become an opening into that which we call the divine. If you’re lucky, disaster comes before the physical form is lost and the psychological form dissolves.

This sometimes happens through extreme suffering, when people lose everything, or they find out they don’t have much more time to live. So they are faced with extreme disaster which cannot be explained away.”

~Eckhart Tolle

This is a short post and I suppose you can call it self promoting because I want to encourage people to visit our etsy store, LA CASA DE ROSAS/The House of Roses. We just added a couple of crosses and more hearts.

But there are some things I want to say aside from that.

Being perfectly honest, I have never liked the cross as a symbol. I have not wanted to believe or think that someone, anyone died for my sins..that’s a pretty heavy feeling of guilt. I remember being at some of the workshops Elisabeth Kubler-Ross held at monasteries such as The Old Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside California and often..old mission-priest … some of the Catholics in the group would attempt to cover the crucifixes in the workshop room… with sheets. I think they were expressing the same feeling: these Christian/Catholic teachings had caused them suffering, they had not brought peace or transcendence. And, as well, the cross has brought suffering to others especially the Native American/First Nations People.

But I can understand and relate to what Eckhart Tolle is saying in the quote above: that suffering, if surrendered to, can become the opening, the doorway to the divine. In my work with death and dying I have seen so many examples of this. So with this explanation, I can appreciate the cross as a symbol.

I live in a very tiny, very rural, old world Hispanic community in the mountains of northeastern New Mexico….

church:san juan bautista This is where life has taken me. penitentes*01SargeThe community is almost 100 percent Catholic and the old traditions are still practiced.

My partner, Jody Armijo [the Brown Piglet in this blog]jody:chuckle:prison film was raised in this community and his art reflects his culture and his upbringing. As an artist friend once said “It’s in his DNA.”

red heart:purple rose hangingpurple cross small:detailbeccas-altarcandleseve

Living here in this community I have come to appreciate the traditionsmac's:alfredos graves though I don’t participate in them directly.

Jody’s art not only reflects his culture but also his own journey from darkness into light.2 gold, 1 pink hearts

I was listening to a talk the other day on Shamanic Art. I’m not sure what Shamanic art is but I like this explanation:

“Being aware of the crisis that humanity and the world are facing, the artist makes artwork directed at the development of personal and collective higher consciousness and healing….” !Grey, Alex. The Mission of Art. Boston: Shambhala, 2001.

That’s really the intention behind Jody’s artwork though he wouldn’t be able to express it in words…..his crosses, hearts and altars are meant for healing, for transcendence.2 altars night

I meditate at it [my altar] daily. The altar is in a place where I walk by and stop numerous times a day and send positive thoughts.”

~Irene / Former Research Nurse Coordinator at UT Health Science Center at Houston

“I put my heart next to my bed to remind me of the love GOD has for all of us.”

~Connie, Caregiver  Houston,Texas

The heart is hanging over the top of the urn with Milagro’s ashes. It’s placed on my altar…..I want to take my time when & where his ashes will be buried. I usually buy a solar powered garden angel & I will hang the heart from the angel & Milagro’s ashes will be buried below.

~Stephanie/ Director Wanagi Wolf Rescue Albuquerque, NM

 Jody, I treasure my two hearts, so keep creating them, because I will keep on buying them.

~Nancy / Director, Utopia Rescue Ranch, Medina, Tx.

I appreciate his crosses because they are not somber but painted with beautiful colors and he makes them with such love and care. Someone once told me that for everything, there needs to be an equal exchange however that may be. In this case, these art pieces which bring hope, beauty, transcendence etc. are exchanged for money and the process continues.

So please visit LA CASA DE ROSAS. “ART IS LIFE” and it is a lot of what keeps us going here.

And my usual request:

If you want to contribute to the continuation of this blog, you can on my gofundme page. There are many stories on that page about how I arrived at where I am today  BUENO AND THANK YOU.  PS I am still trying to bring enough money together to replace my solar we can have electricity here. We need it! Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed! I still need to raise about $3000.