Saturday, July 23, 2011

Okage Sama De

People Magazine article

"Okage Sama De" is a Japanese phrase indicative of the sentiment "I am what I am because of you." You could say this to many people in your life: God, a best friend, a spouse, or a parent. In this instance, however, it is directed to dogs, who personify traits such as unconditional love, loyalty, honesty, courage, and unwavering commitment.

Dogs truly are man (and woman's!) best friend. The above article features "Sweet Bird Studio" operated by jewelry designer Nancy Anderson, who was inspired by a video of a faithful dog, to create dog tags & necklaces, and human versions of those same necklaces.
This loyal dog was in fact a Japanese dog who, in the aftermath of the recent Japan earthquake/tsunami, refused to abandon a fellow dog who was injured and unconscious. Nancy was struck by the faithful spirit of the dog and desired to create beautiful jewelry to honor all dogs, who truly are our best, faithful friends.
I first read about Sweet Bird Studio in 'Cowboys & Indians' Magazine, and went online and purchased one of these stunning, roughly-hammered necklaces to honor 3 dogs in my life: my childhood best friend named Penny, an apricot Toy Poodle whom I traumatically had to put down about 4 years ago; my new puppy Levi who adds so much fun and love to my life, and my parents' dog Bear, who is a large, 100-pound mass of Love wrapped in black fur. These dogs have enriched our lives so much, so it felt only right to purchase and wear a necklace in their honor, itself inspired by a faithful dog.
Nancy Anderson, the designer, will donate some of the proceeds from these necklaces to help other displaced pets in Japan, still recovering from the catastrophe.
You can find Nancy's creations on her Sweet Bird Studio website here.

I think dogs are probably one of the best examples of the complete, unwavering way that God Himself loves us. Total, unconditional, everlasting. What a Love! What a wonderful God!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau was an American poet, naturalist, and philosopher, among other things. His famous work, Walden, reflects upon living a simplistic lifestyle surrounded by nature. Does that sound appealing to anyone else but me???
I think it's safe to say Thoreau was a proponent of living a simple, "small" life, but one full of meaning and the majesty of nature. He is quoted as saying, "Simplify, simplify!"
Another favorite of mine, “If one advances confidently in the direction of one's dreams, and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
I do not know much about Thoreau, but I appreciate his point of view about simplifying your life and living life to the fullest. I'm not sure what his other beliefs were, but on this, I think he's got it right!

Live for Now, Not Just for Later

After reluctantly returning from a long vacation with my in-laws in Seattle, Washington, I have been wrestling with this concept of "living for now" and not getting so caught up in the future that I forget to enjoy the present.
I spent my college years anxiously awaiting the arrival of the young man who would become my future husband, and sometimes I got so preoccupied with the fulfillment of this dream, that it was difficult to enjoy my life as it was.    I was in a rewarding but challenging field of study, and I had great friends, so my life was pretty full. However, I would visualize my life being so much better, fuller, rich with love, and more satisfying because of finding my True Love.  When I compared these grandiose, adventurous images with the way my life was currently, it felt like my life wouldn't truly "begin" until I met my perfect mate.  So there was this disconnect and I had to wrestle with the idea of being happy with my current life and living it to the fullest, while desperately desiring more to happen in the near future.  It's healthy and productive to have dreams, after all, but not at the expense of your happiness or satisfaction with the way your life is at the moment. 

I'm experiencing this paradigm again, but currently I'm waiting for a different dream to be realized.  My True Love & I desperately want to move to Seattle ASAP. All we're waiting for is for him to get a decent job that will sustain us there, then we're gone. You know how sometimes someone will say, "I was BORN to do this?" Well, that's how I feel about the Seattle area. I truly feel that I was born to live there. I so thoroughly enjoy the people, the culture, the food, the sights, the quirks, and not the mention the majestic natural environment that's all around, namely 2 mountain ranges, Puget Sound, and the Pacific Ocean! I even love the weather!

So how do I be happy here in hot, humid Ohio while so desperately longing for mild, majestic Washington? This is something I think about everyday, and I must remind myself that I'm here, in Ohio, for a reason. I may not know what that reason is, but I need to learn to accept that fact and deal with it. My hubby will get a job which will allow us to move out to Seattle when the time is right. So for now, I will take deep breaths, relax, and try to remember that life in the muggy Midwest is really not that bad.