Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Reasons and Seasons and a lifetime of lessons.

Lifetime Friends- every one of them an answered prayer.
Michelle-14 years,  ( my daughter Cristen) Erin- 16 years, Dani- 35 years,
(Me, daughter in law Aya) Beth- 10 years, Kelly-25 years
There’s a saying that people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. I’ve found that to be true. I’ve also found that every single person has come to teach me something.

My lifetime friends are the ones I can be my whole unedited self with, knowing that I will be loved and accepted. Our friendships are honest, and have withstood disagreements, tragedies, weddings, divorces, babies, deaths and the colossal ups and downs of life. From them I have learned the true meaning of unconditional love.

Some friends have come and gone, and from them, I learned that you can’t hold love with a tight grip, but only with an open hand.

Some friends are far away, but never stray from my heart. From them I learned that real love is timeless and can sustain long distance and periods of silence. (Diane- 23 years)

Some friends come into your life exactly when you need them. From them I've learned that prayers are answered.
Overcome with love and blessings: Amy and Monica

Some friends turned out not to be friends.  From them I learned how to value myself.

Some friends stood by me when I was down, but resented me when I had success. From them I learned the importance of celebrating others’ victories.

Some were not happy to see me grow and change. From them I learned how to stand for myself.

Some were just plain mean and vindictive, and from them I learned the importance of boundaries, and releasing negativity from my heart.

Not one person has come or gone from my life without adding value to me as a person, so I can honestly say that every relationship has been a blessing. I have no regrets...even the bad ones were good once. I try to hold on to the happy memories of relationships gone bad, but most importantly I strive to learn the lesson that it held for me.

Who have been the blessings in your life - both good and bad?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

All Because of a Little Dog Named Stitch

This is why we fight.
Over the past two years of this insane trial, I have spent a lot of time asking WHY? We are good people who only wanted to give an abandoned dog a good home. Why all this insanity?

I prayed and prayed for help. And what I got instead was more drama.

But lately I’ve realized something.

When I prayed for help, I was given opportunities to help myself. When I prayed for courage, I got opportunities to be courageous. When I prayed for the money to get through this, I was given opportunities to be valuable and work hard. I  got to see how charitable and loving people can be. Complete strangers have financed a good portion of this lawsuit.

Through all of this trial, and believe me, it’s been a trial on every level, I’ve been given the gift of courage. Courage is a muscle that only becomes strong with use. Just like a workout at the gym, no one can give you strength. It only comes from working that muscle and working it hard.

Some people don’t understand why we’ve turned our life upside down and gone into financial crisis over a little dog, and that’s okay. They’ve not walked in our shoes, and I’m sure it’s hard to understand. But sometimes in life you’re given a chance to fight for something you believe in. It never comes at an opportune time, but when it comes, you get to see what you’re made of.

Troy and I are being made into something more than we were when we started this fight.
We are braver, stronger, and have more faith in people. We may have lost some money in the past few years, but what we gained is something that can never be taken from us.

And all because of a little dog named Stitch.

For the background story, newspaper articles, the petition and more, see SaveStitch

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Barnum and Bailey presents: The Stitch Trial

(Cue circus music…) I barely know where to begin, but it will require all my restraint to not fill this blog with expletives. (Let me just get it out real fast…#**%^&*#%^&**^!!!)
We have just returned from yet another shocker of a day in court, fighting for the right to keep our dog.

For anyone who is new to this story, all the details are HERE.
For those who’ve been following all along, you know that In September the plaintiff’s attorney dropped him. He appeared before the judge to be officially “released”, claiming his client wouldn’t return his calls nor pay him.

Our attorney, Jill Ryther, then called and emailed the plaintiff numerous times and got no response. It seemed clear to everyone that since “winning” custody of Stitch five months ago, but “losing” all monetary motions against us, the plaintiff had lost interest.

Monday we were called to court by the judge to state why nothing had been resolved on either side. The plaintiff did not show up, and unfortunately, neither did the judge. We were rescheduled to today. We showed up on time. Our case was the first call at 8:30 am. No plaintiff in sight. And then as our attorney is presenting to the judge, the clerk interrupts, “The plaintiff’s attorney called and is running late. He says he’ll be here at nine.”
“Oh okay,” says the judge, “we’ll reconvene at nine.”
WHAT????
This was wrong on so many levels…First of all, what attorney? And why are attorneys permitted to waste the court’s time by showing up late?

Sure enough at 9 am, the attorney who had asked to be released from the case, (“Fox” is his name, by the way), strolls in half an hour late. For the past two years, he has shown up late to every hearing, been a no-show at three court appointed dates, and most recently dropped his client. And yet, he receives no penalty, not even an admonishment by the court.

The court has ordered the plaintiff to appear in court several times and he has no-showed, and yet, nothing happens. We keep waiting for the judge to say this is ridiculous, and throw the whole thing out. But he doesn’t.

Fox says his client is not able to be there because he is “receiving medical treatment” (I instantly remember why the original owner of the dog wasn’t at trial- he too was “receiving medical treatment” in “rehab”). Thankfully the judge tells Fox he can not represent the client as he was released from the case. He tells him to take a seat. Even still, as our attorney presents our side, Fox jumps up and argues against her, and the judge ALLOWS IT! ( circus music…)

I could go on and on with my frustrations about this case, but I’ll spare you and give you the results from today: Five months ago we lost legal custody of Stitch and immediately filed an appeal. Since then we have been fighting to retain custody of Stitch during the appeals process, which could take another year. Today we were granted temporary custody pending appeal. We have to pay the court $2000 in collateral to assure that we don’t run off with Stitch in the interim. And we have to pay our attorney to write a 20 page appeals brief and filing fees. Then we have to go to appeals court, some time in 2012. The whole crux of our appeal is we are trying to prove the court’s ruling was wrong-  that a family pet is not property. Stitch is a sentient being with needs and rights, and his well-being should be first consideration. A bicycle is property. You can leave a bicycle in a hot car without any repercussions. You can not do that with a dog. See that, courts? NOT THE SAME THING! We will be submitting the Save Stitch petition with our appeals brief, so if you haven’t signed it yet, please do! And spread the word! (it's at the top right corner of this page, or on our website)

AND- just in time for the Holidays….the Stitch store is re-opening. Wouldn’t you love to buy Holiday gifts from Stitch this year? Every penny you spend goes to Stitch’s legal defense fund! Help us fight this stupid law and make the world a safer place for animals!
Please visit our website where you can sign the petition, shop at our Save Stitch Store, read the whole background story, plus blogs and newspaper articles written about our case. 
Thank you to everyone who has supported us through this whole ordeal. This is a fight we have taken on together. There is no way Troy and I would still be standing strong without all of you behind us. THANK YOU!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Calm in the Center of the Storm


Last week was a tumultuous one. A lot of dust kicked up in the Universe on so many levels, all of it coming at me like a firehose in the face. A friend asked me why I seemed so calm in the middle of it all (reiterate: seemed) , and I’ve really given that some thought. I felt like I was walking a tightrope, trying to breathe and find my center the whole time, and though I stayed calm, it wore me out. 

For the past twenty years, I’ve been on a long journey of healing my spirit. I’ve been through three therapists, workshops, seminars with Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Julia Cameron, healing through life story writing, intuitive healers, medical healers, and of course I have a closet full of self help books- three shelves piled high. I’ve read them all cover to cover, some of them twice. Through this journey, this is what I’ve learned.

Trust.

If I don’t trust myself, I’ll never trust anyone else.

Love.

When I don’t love myself, I’m not able to fully love anyone else.

Betrayal.

If I betray myself by not living true to who I am, I have betrayed others by presenting a false self.

Blame.

If deep inside I blame myself, I’ll catch myself projecting that blame onto others.

Judgment.

When I judge myself, I will end up judging others.

Patience.

When I am impatient, critical and demanding with myself, I’ll be the same with others.

Forgiveness.

When I haven’t forgiven myself, I’ll find it hard to forgive others.

So when I find myself in a place where I am not trusting, not loving, not being true to my heart, blaming others, judging others…That’s not anyone else’s problem. The only way to heal that is within me. I start by forgiving myself for being human, and reminding myself that we are all carrying the same demons. No one is on this Earth with the intent to bring me down. We are all doing the best we can in this school of life, and each of us is carrying a burden.

I remind myself to be kind and patient with others, starting with me.

The quote I’ve kept on my wall for this two-decade long journey is this:

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
-       Mahatma Ghandi

I have found this to be absolutely true. Living in that kind of integrity is the only thing that’s ever brought me peace. When I am unhappy, I know that one of the above tenets is out of alignment, and I work to center myself again.

It’s so simple, and yet so few of us live that way.

I put that quote where I can see it each day, and ask myself, am I living in spiritual alignment? When I am, I know it. I make better decisions, I trust myself, I’m not rocked off my center by what others say about me. I can retain my calm in the center of a storm. I feel at peace. When I am at peace, my family is at peace, and like ripples in a pond, it spreads outward.

Who says we can’t change the world? We can each start with ourselves.

I wish you all integrity…peace…happiness.

Have a wonderful week.