Health, motivation, Personal Success, poetry, relationships

You Can’t Make Me

From Kate Rawlings

You can’t make me wake up and prepare for the day,

through threats or rewards or anything you say.

You can’t make me study for the quiz or the test,

you can’t make me pay attention and do my best.



But you can nicely inquire about the songs I like,

or invite me out to to shop, see a movie or a hike.

Because building a union based on sincerity

will lead to a life full of jocularity


for you as well as for me.









Personal Success

Trapped No More

O is for Opal*



Go to the animal shelter

walk up and dawn the barking galley

make eye contact with several dogs

– German Shepherds, Pitbulls (many) and a Chihuahua –

she sits quietly with those huge eyes

you can see every rib through her skin

Years later, she will prove herself

to be the most tender family member

yet the most ferocious watchdog –

Her love is vast and absolute




Here is an inspiring (under 3 minute video) of someone using his talents and know-how to help disabled dogs:



My favorite quote of his:

“…but the more I do, the more I want to enhance my knowledge and improve my skills.”


*Part of my alphabiography series


Personal Success

The Terrible Terrier


I love her quiet presence

–  wide-eyed and expectant –

she lives each day without self-judgment


Photo by Jaclyn Clark

She is ready to play at any time,

faithful, affectionate and constant,

she delights in all life has to offer


people keep their distance from her breed

believing them to be vicious

when they merely mirror their human companions


they are mute and misunderstood


Once a mascot for 20th century America,

and even called “nanny dogs,”

Pits can sustain much pain without yelping


The language barrier rendered us speechless

but my Korean grandmother’s love for me was a quiet companion

playful, devoted and boundless










Personal Success

Ease Up

photo by Clem Onojeghuo

I’ve mentioned a tense relationship between my daughter and me on this blog. It has gotten pretty distressing at times and when I decided to push my ego aside, I realized I had to surrender. Pestering was not working. I had reflected on my intention. Was my primary motive to help her be “successful” in life? Was hounding her to do homework and practice her violin most important? No. But that was what I was practicing.

I set my priorities clearly. First of all, she must know I love her unconditionally. Secondly, this is her life. I trust her with it. She knows what to do and if she doesn’t do it, she will have to face the consequences. That’s how she will grow. Throughout it all, I will love her, absolutely.

What I DO owe her is a happy mother. Every time I start to resort to my habit of nagging, I redirect my energies to what I want to do: plant lantana in the backyard (even in 100 degree heat), exercise, write, cook and so on.

Since I’ve put this practice in place, a magnificent event has occurred. We’ve become closer than ever. She wanted to get into shape. I took her to a fitness club. We signed her up for a four week membership (realizing there will be NO time for the gym once school starts). The club gave me a 2 week free pass. Organically…naturally…completely unplanned…I’ve become her trainer. We work out together and laugh and (sometimes) partake in junk food afterwards. There is ease and love where angst and friction once were. And if I ask her to do something, she does it. Most of the time. And that’s OK.

The intention came first. Space (a lot of it) came next. And then complete awareness and unconditional love.  I’d say this works for all relationships.

Personal Success

Rescue Me!

This is Molly.

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Hold me.

My father-in-law and his wife adopted her. Her previous owners took her to the bathroom and cut her ears off with scissors. They tried to make her look evil and menacing, like them. But she’s so sweet. She thinks she’s a Maltese and lies in your lap – all 80lbs. of her.

This is Maya.

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Pet me. Please. Here. Now.

My sister-in-law, Caitlin, rescued her and then realized that Maya needed a lot of physical space to run around in. So my FIL and his wife also have Maya. She’s besties with Molly. She looks fierce, but is the kindest and most empathetic dog I’ve ever known.


And this is Opal.

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If I sit still, do I get a treat?


We got her from a local shelter, the Maricopa County Animal Care & Control. She was fur and bones and extremely fearful. Her previous owner beat her with sticks and abused her with the hose. So she’s afraid of water…and the rake…and pool net…but she’s much better now.

Yes, adopting a dog (or cat) from the shelter is saving a life. But Opal saves us each day. She reminds us to smell the lamp post flowers, and to run in fields and eat voraciously. She reminds us of the importance of naps and back rubs. She meditates in the hot Arizona sun. She loves us and she never wants to be away from us.

Consider adopting a pet today. If you can’t, maybe you can donate money to one.  Animals need you!