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Belgian Malinois Soldiers - Abandoned?

NO SOLDIER LEFT BEHIND...

EVEN OUR FOUR LEGGED ONES.



My friends at G.R.A.C.E. Animal Rescue have come to be made aware that 10 Malinois soldiers are going to be retired and left overseas. Their handlers are heartbroken over it. The cost to send them back is too great for the military to warrant the spending for "just a dog" or ten.

These dogs need (and deserve) to be brought home.



BRING OUT SOLDIERS HOME!





Contact G.R.A.C.E. Animal Rescue today for adoption or donation information.

Write Them:
G.R.A.C.E. Animal Rescue Inc.
531 Main Street #229
El Segundo, CA 90245-3060

Call Them:
(310) 488-9403

Email Them:
graceanimalrescue@gmail.com


Facebook Them:
On Facebook, HERE


Donate to Them:








THANK YOU
From the bottom of our hears.



Three Trees

This beautiful story was emailed to me today by a friend and blog reader. It was so touching that I felt it was necessary to share it.

I also wanted to thank everyone for the kind thoughts, messages, calls and reaching out. I am ok. I just have to deal with a few things within.

And a special thank you to my friend who emailed this story to me. It touched my heart and brought me to tears as I read it aloud to my boss.


Thank you.






Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The first little tree looked up at the stars and said: " I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and filled with precious stones. I'll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!" The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on it's way to the ocean. " I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I'll be the strongest ship in the world! The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. I don't want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me they'll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.

Years, passed. The rain came, the sun shone and the little trees grew tall. One day three wood cutters climbed the mountain. The first wood cutter looked at the first tree and said, "This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the first tree fell. "Now I shall make a beautiful chest, I shall hold wonderful treasure!" the first tree said.

The second wood cutter looked at the second tree and said, "This tree is strong. It's perfect for me." With a swoop of his shining ax, the second tree fell. "Now I shall sail mighty waters!" thought the second tree. " I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!"

The third tree felt her heart sink when the last wood cutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the wood cutter never even looked up. "Any kind of tree will do for me." He muttered. With a swoop of his shining ax, the third tree fell.

The first tree rejoiced when the wood cutter brought her to a carpenter's shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feed box for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, or treasure. She was coated with saw dust and filled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the wood cutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and awed into a simple fishing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river, instead she was taken to a little lake.

The third tree was confused when the wood cutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. "What happened?" The once tall tree wondered. "All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God..."Many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the first tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feed box. "I wish I could make a cradle for him." Her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and sturdy wood. "This manger is beautiful." She said. And suddenly the first tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world.

One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old fishing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and a thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She new she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through the wind and the rain. The tired man awoke. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, "Peace." The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth.

One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten wood pile. She flinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man's hand to her. She felt ugly and harsh and cruel.

But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God's love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.

The next time you feel down because you didn't get what you wanted, sit tight and be happy because God is thinking of something better to give you.

Sent from my BlackBerry® by Boost Mobile

Reconnecting



While at the Animation Awards I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen since 2006, and while it was good to see this old friend, having a conversation with him brought up some old memories.  I began to realize how much I've changed since then... Some for the good, but mostly not.

I was an idealistic kid with more hopes and dreams than brains.  I knew that I was destined for bigger things.  I planned to make a great name for myself by the age of 30 and determined to get married to the man I thought was the love of my life.  He and I had just bought a home and we planned to build on it.  College was a short term goal.  Virtue and innocence were still a big part of me.

Since having that conversation and remembering who I was, I've taken a long hard look in the mirror.

I'm far from being that 20-something kid now.  I've been bashed upside the head with reality several times since then.  Most of the hopes and dreams I had back in 2006 disappeared long ago, along with my uhaul trailer.  These days I have no idea what I'm destined for or where I'm going.  I don't know how I'll get there and the man I thought was to be 'the one' was gone even before my idealistic vision.  There's someone in my life now, but I'm living in an apartment with roommates and college is farther away than ever.  I've lost that innocence.  I've lost my dreams.  I've lost my goals and hopes.  Somewhere along the way, I forgot who that 20-something person was.  She's a stranger to me.

We all have good and bad days, but I have to admit that when I looked in the mirror, I didn't really like what I saw. 

It may be about time to change that.

I'll never get my innocence back.  I'm not going to be headed back to school anytime soon.  Those hopes and dreams I had are dead now.  But I can change something within my life - at least enough to reconnect with myself.  That was quite a wake up call for me.

Happy Valentine's Day

I love you more than breath, 
more than death, 
more than life 
and with all I have left.

I love you above 
and I love you below.  
I love you much more 
than you'll ever know.

I love your smile 
and I love your eyes.  
I'll love you forever 
until one of us dies.

I love you in life 
I love you in death.  
I'll cherish you always 
until my last breath.

I love that it's us, 
our future we're facing.  
I love you my darling, 
You're the dream I've been chasing.


Annies


WHAT A NIGHT!!

My wonderful friend and former neighbor Gretchen gave me the surprise of a lifetime for my birthday, thanks to a collaboration with my best friend Patric.  The two of them conspired to give me the night of my life, and certainly a night I'll never forget.   It was a night at the 39th Annual Animation Awards.

My dear friends spoiled me by getting me to the Awards.  I was treated like a princess, and as you can see I did what I could to dress the part.  It was an incredible night.

While I got to see people like Weird Al, Diedrich Bader, Dana Snyder, Dave Willis and his beautiful wife Lisa, I must say the night was made complete because I was surrounded by friends, kindness and acceptance. 

At the end of the night I was completely exhausted, but as you can tell from the smile on my face in the very last photo, I was in heaven and had the time of my life.  The stories and memories I've made will last for all the days of my life.





 Dana Snyder

Moved On

FINALLY.

It's great to know that all the supportive people in my life were right.  I don't know where I would be without people like my boss and his family, all the people at G.R.A.C.E. Animal Rescue, my friends and my roommate.  They told me that I would be fine and everything would work out.  I even told that to myself, but I don't know how completely convinced I was.

I'm not sure when it happened, or even how really... Maybe it was that final goodbye.  Maybe it was the therapy I found within my own writing.  Maybe it was just time... but I've done it.  I've moved on.   It took me long enough.

I've rebuilt my life after the disaster known as Scotland.  It's hard to believe that it was less than a year ago that I returned from a nightmare to a home I wasn't familiar with or felt like I belonged in.  I didn't have a proper job or prospects of having one.  I was scared, depressed, traumatized, lonely and destroyed in so many ways.  I looked for reassurance and guidance from others, when that hasn't been who I was since I was a 15 year old kid. 

Now I've got the greatest job in the world, TWO families who love me and accept me for who I am (thank you, Bell and Arnold families!), friends who fly a thousand miles just to spend my birthday with me, my own place where I feel at home, my precious kitties with me and a purpose in life again.  I have a job I can pour myself into, charity work that renews my faith in man kind every day and I'm about to finally buy a Miata for myself.

While that may not seem like a huge accomplishment to most people, it will be the FIRST car I've ever bought for myself completely.  That's really saying something, since I'm now in my 30's. 

I've faced what happened to me.  I've moved on with my life. The things that happened to me in the past don't define who I am or who I am meant to be.  Once more I've risen above the hand that was dealt to me and found a better deck of cards.  This time, the deck isn't stacked against me and I'm coming up all aces. 

There will still be good and bad days, but I've regained my power and sense of self.  I'm a tower of strength once more and nothing can get in my way. 

I've moved on.
It feels good.
No... it feels GREAT.




Dating Tips

I know a few of my guy friends out there who sometimes complain to me about never getting a second date, feeling like they're not date-able, wondering why they're still single... in fact, I have SEVERAL right now....

This isn't directed to anybody in particular, but rather generalized information ALL men should see, single or not.  If you're NOT single, you should still read below.  Doing any (or all) of the things below could rekindle a woman's passion, even if you've been together for many years.

I would hope that this guideline wouldn't only exist in the first date, but in random subsequent dates as well.  It's not expected every single day, but for special occasions and the fortuitous evening out, treat her as though she's special.  After all, there's a reason you're with her in the first place.  She IS special to you.

Valentine's Day is only 3 days away. Don't let this message fall on deaf ears or blind eyes.  I will most likely be alone on Valentines Day - but for all those who aren't, please enjoy yourselves. Go out with style, grace and class.  Nothing wows a woman more.

Taken from







Here is a list for the boys. There is a saying that “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” With that in mind, it is vital to be fully prepared to make a great impression on each date you go on. Here are 10 tips for men on dating success and making an impression that will last.


1. Pay
Pay for everything. Don’t mention splitting the bill. If the lady suggests paying part of the bill do not accept the offer. If she insists, allow her to pay what she wishes (this is not just a rule for dating). You will be the best judge at the time whether your date is only insisting because she feels obliged.
In most cases, I agree with this.  There are the rare occasion when this would NOT be the case though... If you've started out as friends and you feel that this 'date' shouldn't actually be a date, by all means, ask to split the check.

2. Location
No movies on the first date. How can you get to know each other if you spend the majority of the time in silence? I would recommend taking your date out for dinner (no lunch dates on the first date either). Take her somewhere you feel comfortable and somewhere you can easily afford. You don’t want to be nervous all through the date that you might get stuck with a crippling bill. If price is a big concern for you, you can organize your own date in a public place (like a park or even at your own home) and prepare the meal yourself. If you can’t cook, takeaways are fine, but serve it on plates at the table and try to make an effort.
I would also suggest that you not go too overboard with the first date. Keep it simple and moderately priced. You can get extravagant on subsequent dates if things go well.
I disagree with the  "invite her to your home scenario.  It's dangerous and can help you loose the first date even before it begins.  Never invite a woman to your home for a first date unless you've known one another for a LONG time.  Ladies, don't GO to their homes unless you know them extremely well.  That's how the Ted Bundy's of this world work.


Istock 000002623099Xsmall3. Manners
First off, if you are going to dinner, read the Rules for Fine Dining list; try to remember at least one or two. When you pick up your date, get out of the car and hold the door open for her. Do the same when you are letting her out of the car. If you are dining out for your first date, hold the chair out for your date and help her sit.

Don’t be late.



4. Respect
That means not to expect anything in return! A date is not payment for future pleasures, it is a way to get to know someone to gauge compatibility. This rule also means you should not try to get your date drunk, drugged, or compromised in any other way. At the end of the date you can offer a small kiss – offer nothing else and expecting nothing back.

Any guy who thinks he needs to resort to having his date drunk, drugged or compromised in any way isn't a man.  He's a coward.  That's just my own opinion on the matter.  I've known people to TRY this to me.  It ended badly - for them.  Not that I would think any of my friends out there would ever have this kind of mentality, but to all the other guys out there who think this is their only chance to get laid, is it really worth jail time?  Because that's where you WILL end up. 

Besides, women aren't used to men being respectful.  Be unusual.  Be special.  Be the one that she can't help but think about, because you were different.  Stand out from the crowd.  Do just that - offer a small (no trying to choke her with your tongue) kiss at the end of the night.  That's ALL.  Nothing more.  Leave HER wanting more.

5. Confidence
Be confident and take charge of the evening. This does not mean you should drag your date around by the arm; be firm with your suggestions and be confident that you will have a good date and make a good impression – remember, if you were a total loser you wouldn’t be on the date in the first place.

6. Grooming
Dress appropriately for your date, and you should probably let your date know where you are planning to take her in advance so she can also dress appropriately. If you are going to the beach for a seaside dinner, dress nicely (no jeans) but don’t overdress. Similarly, if you are going to a fancy restaurant, wear a shirt and tie. Make sure your shoes are clean and polished if necessary.
Shower. Shampoo. Shave. If you have cologne, wear a little but not too much.


7. Conversation
Do not focus on yourself during the evening – ask your date questions about herself (this works in all social situations). Listen to the replies too and don’t just look for an opening to start discussing yourself. Do not talk about your job for more than a few minutes – while our own work is a fascinating subject for us, it is seldom fascinating for someone else.

Be sure to compliment your date – but don’t go overboard – you will seem desperate.
Do not ever talk about dates you have had with other people or your ex-girlfriends.
I can not stress these last two enough.  All of the dates I've ever been on where the guys did this ended with a "Meeh" attitude in the end of the night.  I really couldn't care less if I ever saw them again.  If you want a follow up date from ANY girl, stay away from ex-girlfriend discussions, stop staring her in the eyes for minutes at a time, quit telling her how gorgeous she is constantly on the first date... all it does is make her feel uncomfortable and like you don't care about who she is, just what she looks like.


8. Timing
Don’t let your date last too long. Think of it like a good meal – you should finish your plate feeling like you want just a little more. This is the best time to finish a date. This also means that you should not plan for the date to be too far from home otherwise the travel can ruin things.
HOLY CRAP.  I've had some seriously pitiful long dates.  All I wanted to do was go home and the date just kept dragging it on and on and on.  I felt rude saying that I needed to go home or that it was getting late for me, so I didn't for quite a while.  I wanted to be polite.  I'm sure there were a few first dates that would have seen a second date if they didn't try to stretch 5 hours into one dinner that started at 7pm.  DO NOT make this mistake.  The guys who did this to me ended up never getting a phone call through to me again.

9. Gifts
It can be a very nice idea to give your date a small gift on the first date. Don’t go crazy on something expensive – just a nice little token like a single rose is fine. Keep in mind where you are going and how you plan to get there so your date does not end up being lumbered with something that she has to carry around all night. Oh – and don’t pick the rose from your dates garden – buy one.
I also think a man could pick a rose from his own garden, but that's just my opinion.  I think one that was picked and brought is more special than one that was store bought... because that one was specifically picked.  Thought went into it.  Effort to cut the branch was exerted.  I think it's very sweet.  My 6th grade boyfriend did this for me and I'll never forget it as long as I live.

10. Conclusion
If you enjoyed your time with your date and would like to see her again, call her and tell her so. Don’t wait too long (and definitely don’t play hard to get). Be completely honest. Having said that, if you had an awful time, you should still be honest (though not brutal). There is no point in leading someone on – it will end up badly for both of you.
That means NO GAMES!  Fellas, you all complain about the games that girls play, but you're just as guilty!  There's a rule about how many days you're supposed to wait before you call a girl?  Really?  I'm calling bull$%!# on that one.  That's just a stupid game.  If you want a woman who doesn't play games with YOUR emotions, how about not setting up the chess board and moving the first pawn?


Well, that's about it for me.  I hope you heed this advice and all goes well for you. I hope you all have a wonderful Valentines Day.   If you use any of these tips, please write in and share with us all how they worked for you.  Feel free to remain anonymous!

Viral Video

This is a fast post tonight, basically in order to just have it available for anyone interested in the issue of the day.  This video has apparently gone viral and many people have differing opinions of it.  I certainly had mine and wasn't shy in sharing that opinion. 

I'm fully prepared to have others chime in on this blog with their own opinions, and as long as I'm not personally getting attacked, there's no name calling and things are kept in perspective, EVERY SINGLE COMMENT I get will be posted publicly. 

Please, feel free to weigh in on the issue. 






A facebook friend of mine posted this and had the following comment to say about it.


(Please watch the video below)




Mark Davidson:
This is really horrific parenting.

She's a teen who is venting. It's natural and healthy. Dad committed criminal computer trespass and violated her privacy. It's the equivalent of reading her diary. (Delete your cookies, kids.)

She's a normal teen. He has massive control issues, is condescending, and narcissistic.

What he is teaching her is that her thoughts are wrong. Her feelings are wrong. Violence is a solution to problems. He's also using intimidation to make a point.

On the other hand, the entertainment value of this video is huge, so despite his being a bad parent, I'm willing to over look that and give this video a 9/10.





MOST of the posted comments from his friends were in disagreement with him. He replied by saying:





Mark Davidson:
Extra points for publicly humiliating your own daughter on the internet. It's important to teach our children not to express themselves, their thoughts or their feelings. It's particularly important to ensure our children do not have any semblance of good, healthy self esteem.

The subtext of the message here is, there are consequences to our actions and if our actions include freewill, we will be punished and our possession will be shot.

Again. This is a great video. Not my kid, so I really don't care. The viral quotient of this video is off the charts. So I stand firm on giving it a 9/10.

Parents. Learn from this. If you don't already own a firearm, go out and buy one. It's an essential tool in the proper raising of your children.

I wonder what happens to the dog if she forgets to feed or bath it?


MY response was just this:


Amanda Blackwood:  
While I normally agree with you Mark, I must say that I deeply disagree this time.

What he did was FAR better parenting than my parents did. My father had the cops called on him constantly for the way he treated us kids. He was a wise and wicked man... he would abuse us in ways that wouldn't leave a bruise, so nobody could (or would) do anything about it. If I had pulled this young lady's stunt, the punishment would have been MUCH more severe.

If she thought it was a 'hot shit' thing to do, publicly posting to her friends about how horrible her family was, swearing at every turn as this guy says, telling people she does far more than she actually has on her chore list, making her parents out to be the evil bastards mine actually WERE, I believe she NEEDED and deserved to be humiliated.

The same is true in reverse. If her parents had done to her what my parents did, I would easily see it as her right to humiliate them and tell the truth abouth them - which is just what I've done in my own blog - and shed some light on the subject.

Her parents didn't say that her opinions or venting needs were wrong. What he said was that she lied. She embelished everything and made others think they were horrible people. HOw many of those other kids have parents who can see her post? How many of those parents would have thought he was physically, mentally and emotionally abusive to her for that post? How many parents were only two steps away from calling the police on them for mistreating their daughter?

The subtext of tthe message here is CERTAINLY that there are consequences for our actions - as it should be - but NOT that we will be pubished and our possessions shot for our actions, unless those actions are blatant lies that could get someone into legal trouble.

What happens to the dog if she forgets to feed or bathe it? What kind of question is that, Mark? I had one of the WORST upbringings of anyone I know, up to and including .... (I'm skipping all of the horrible parts here, please forgive my editing, but there are some things I'd rather some people not have to read), and FAR WORSE.... but my parents always fed the dog when I forgot to.

The way I see it, you have EVERY right to comment on how someone else raises their 15 year old daughter when you have one.


Sue E Hepner:
I agree with you Mark. This is an abusive man. The daughters behavior stems from that abuse. She will probably run away find someone just like her father and perpetuate the cycle of violence.

Amanda Blackwood Sue, please point out to the rest of us where he says he was violent to her physically, so that we may see and understand what you are talking about. Perhaps I didn't hear that part due to the one partially deaf ear I've struggled with since childhood.




















Hard to Do

Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing.  It's understandable, really.

I know someone now who seems to be having a difficult time dealing with some changes in their life.

Dear Friend,

Sometimes life isn't easy.  Sometimes a curve ball is thrown at you - and often more than once.  When that happens, you can either stand there and let that curve ball knock the wind out of you for a moment, or you can let it hit you straight in the face.  You'll either end up on your ass or knocked unconscious.  From there, you can either nurse your wounds and sit the game out, or you can get right back up, brush yourself off, and keep right on going.

What we want to do and what we NEED to do are often two different things.  But if you look deep into your heart, you know what it is you need to do.  You also know that you don't WANT to because it hurts.  You're not sure how.  You don't know how you'll make it.  You're worried that if you do, you can't go back.  And yet, you are saying all of these things to yourself because you know what you NEED to do, but you don't WANT to.

And yet, you've already answered the question you keep asking yourself every day when you wake up.  You keep asking yourself what you should do, how do you handle it, where do you go from here. 

The journey is taken one step at a time.  Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.  Nobody knows from one day to the next where the road you'll be on will take you.  Not a soul can predict that - not you, not your friends.  No one.

But you're not alone on this journey.  There have been many to walk those same footsteps before.  You're probably no stranger to it yourself. I was there not long ago.  We've all been there in our own way. We've all known that pain.

Let it go, find peace in yourself.  We can not help others until we are in a better place ourselves.  Find yourself.  Find who you are.  Discover things about yourself you had forgotten.


It's a new day.  Embrace it.