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The World Mourns Cecil Together

The world came together yesterday when it become known that an American dentist bribed two guides in Zimbabwe to help him kill beloved lion Cecil. The world is outraged by the heinous way they “hunted” and murdered this magnificent creature. The details are sickening. They lured a very special and iconic lion by tying meat to a truck to get him to leave his protected place. American dentist Walter Palmer then shot him with a bow and arrow wounding him. Poor Cecil was then tracked for 40 hours to be shot again with a high-powered rifle. Cecil left a family of lion cubs, his pride, which will now most likely be killed by the next male lion who will take over his pride.image

One has to wonder about the mind of this man and others like him. What makes a person turn to violence and the murder of wild beasts? Walter Palmer is not the first to commit such an atrocity, it seems that there are 50,000 members in his so-called “big game club” and that does not include all the poachers and other “clubs” around the world that share an unfortunate preoccupation with this trophy inspired murder of innocent creatures. Did they start as young children pulling wings off of insects then graduate to killing small animals? Did they come from households that encouraged killing as a sport? My mind can not grasp what makes a person so depraved. What makes it extremely disturbing is that they kill without any consequences the majority of the time and we hear nothing about it. They behead, skin, stuff and display their wares in their homes. They are proud of what they have done.

Cecil will become the face to bring awareness to the plight of all creatures murdered  by callous people who have not a thought of the devastation they leave with the shot of a gun, the slice of a knife, or the bow from an arrow. Cecil is dead but he will live on to help protect and preserve our wonderful planet of animals. His handsome face will be the symbol of the power of social media, how all of us together can work as one to change laws that allow anyone to pay money for the ability to murder innocent creatures.

May God protect this planet from people like Walter Palmer who is now one of the most detested men on Earth. Let his depravity educate the people who have never given a thought to the slaughter that takes place all over the globe of innocent creatures. May the death of Cecil bring awareness to all that we have to speak up for our planet and the lives of wild animals that inhabit all nations. God bless poor Cecil and may he live forever in our hearts.




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The Mona Lisa Smile

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).”

Recently I was looking through old photos and I found this lovely picture of my daughter when we attended a Celine Dion concert in the year 2009. It was a magical night. We had great seats and we held hands when ‘our’ song ended the show. Celine’s version of  “My Heart Will Go On” was our favorite since we first viewed the movie Titanic years ago. Misha had that movie in her collection and she would watch it many times over her lifetime. Who could know it would have such literal meaning to me the following year on the same date. My daughter left this world on Jan 31st 2010.

After Misha passed away I wanted to have a dream with her in it so much. I had started reading many books on the signs our loved ones send to us. She visited me the exact time of her death when she was murdered by Christian Cvitanovich who hit her with his car and left her to die by the side of the road. I woke up the exact time of her death in a panic. After this experience I knew that our loved ones say goodbye when they leave this world. I became intrigued with all the ways people described their experiences of loved ones who had crossed over. I shared many similar experiences of those I read about, but I had never had a dream with my daughter in it.

One night she finally came to me in a dream. She looked just like this photo. A dream in living color. I felt her communicating to me as her lips curved into this beautiful smile she was known for. She looked happy and content. I perceived peace as I felt her thoughts come to me about how she was happy where she was in this vast Universe. I awoke with elation and happiness. I have felt her spirit around me since she has left me, but this dream is my go to place when I feel especially down. I see her smile in her signature ‘lips together smile’ and I know all is well.

A last thought on the month of July: My daughter was born on July 22, 1989. The month of July is very hard on me. I find myself looking at photos that I have and remembering the good memories. I found this photo by accident, I did not remember taking it, nor saving it in my files. This photo is exactly the same as she looked when I saw her in the dream. I really think she had me find it to let me know she is always with me in spirit. She wanted me to remember that special night when we held hands and sang along to Celine Dion.

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One Purple Flower

Butterfly and hike 014In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Close Up.”

I take many photos while I explore my ‘adopted’ country Colombia. This photo shows the beauty of a flower in-depth. The little hairs around the edge of the petals delight me. This flower is one of many at my Villa. I delight in the color of this simple photograph. Color to me is everything. The colors of Colombia make me happy. Purple is so beautiful when seen in a natural setting.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Half and Half.”

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A bit of sun separates the mountains of Colombia.

Oftentimes I ride my mountain bike along the challenging roads in the mountains of La Buitrera, Colombia and I see  a distinct separation of the sun on part of the mountains and shade on part of the mountains. “A painting in front of me” I think. The beauty is formidable. May God grant me this beauty forever, and if I die tomorrow I hope my view is just like this wherever I go.

The Sun VS The Shade

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Losing Fear. Simple steps to help eliminate it from your life.

Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear of the past, fear of trying new things, fear of leaving your comfort zone, fear of moving on in life, fear of following your dreams, fear of new relationships, fear of death, fear of what other’s think of you, fear of moving past a bad relationship, fear of heights, fear of traveling, fear of airplanes, fear of crime, fear of water, fear of dogs, fear of cats, fear of abuse, fear of what could happen next, and the list goes on! I am certain I have left out a fear you might have! Let’s face it we all have fears. They cause anxiety and paralyze us from making our lives what they should be. I learned about fear after my daughter died. I was never one to really worry. I had always been a super confident person, even though I had some tough times before her death. I was able to move on and keep trying.  When my daughter was murdered I went to the other side. I did. I woke up paralyzed with fear the day after I learned of her death. I became immobilized, I could not move nor make decisions. I had teetered on the edge during my divorce, and her death threw me into that fear tunnel. A tunnel I saw no way of leaving. I am sure my behavior seemed strange to others. I was paranoid. I thought at any minute something really bad would happen again. I couldn’t get close to anyone, I lost my ability to show love, affection, or any feelings at all, and I still have trouble showing my feelings to anyone.

I am a warrior now. A fear warrior is what I call myself inside my mind. I write down my feelings and I share them through my writing. My blog is my therapy. I know I seem so courageous because I have done so much since she has passed.  I feel that is a part of her left inside of me, her spirit is part of my soul now. Let me tell you a bit about Misha. She was a strong-willed child. She seemed to live without fear as she grew into a teen. I as her mother felt fear for her every time she was not with me, especially in her last months as she had moved to a new state which I always felt in my 6th sense was not a good place for her to go.  As parents we always have fear for our children, but when we actually lose a child the fear becomes reality. We cannot help but become fearful ourselves. I have done my best to overcome this fearful way of living that encompassed me when she died. I am not sure how I got better, but I slowly did. I want to share some of the things I do to cut the overall helplessness that fear brings about. I do this in hope I can help others. It is not something you can just get rid of by changing the way you think; you need to actually change your way of looking at your life.

1. Try to focus on the now. This day, this moment, the little things that make you happy. I know this sounds so cliché, we read about this ‘living in the now’ all the time. It really works. If I am having a serious day of anxiety, I use meditation to let go of my anxious thoughts. I have no control over others, nor the future. I repeat that to myself while meditating.

2. Let go of the past. Again, part of ‘living in the now’ philosophy. However, when we can’t sleep and wake up in the middle of the night, it seems the past rears its ugly head. I was so guilty of going over my past that it had to stop. I was the only one who could put a stop to this mind racing momentum that could only do me harm.

3. Try new things, things that you actually might be fearful of trying! I have started mountain biking. I would see people here in Colombia riding bikes all the time. I see them going up steep areas; bumpy mountain roads. I would think “I could never do that!” Guess what I am doing it. This was a fear that I put in my mind without any actual knowledge about this sport. Just because I thought it looked too hard, I thought I couldn’t do it. I am now improving every time I take my bike out.

4. If you have a dream that you always think about, you should put into motion how to carry out what it is you want. When Misha died, I decided to move to Colombia based on a thought process that life is short, another familiar tune that goes with ‘live in the now”. I thought since she died so young, I couldn’t know what the next day would bring. So, I just did it. I moved to a foreign country. I have been successful and I can now speak Spanish. You might fail, but at least you have tried. I am in no way living a perfect life. After all, I am just starting my business, but I get messages all the time about bookings here at Villa Migelita. I am learning through trial and error. I think I am going to do well, but along with my Bed and Breakfast I have fulfilled my dream of retiring in the mountains.

5. Do things you did when you were a young person. I learned to ride horses when I was around seven years old. As we get older we lose memories, but I remember riding my first horse at a friends ranch in Davie, Florida. It is like riding a bike, it stays with you! Over the years I would ride horses, but after moving to Colombia I realized it is a part of the culture. At first I was so intimidated. The horses here are beautiful and the riding style is different. I just said to myself “try it” and now I ride a lot. I am not fearful of riding in the mountains where I go along paths that have drop-offs because the horses lead the way, and I know they will take care of me. The freedom I feel while riding in nature is exhilarating. Anyone can do this. The horses are well-trained and extremely beautiful. I always tell my guests when they express fear of riding…just try it. They are always very happy they did.

6. Make a list of your fears that bother your thought process. Confront these fears and think of a solution to help rest your mind and your soul. I have found letting something continually bother me is more upsetting than finding a solution. There is always a solution if you weigh your options. I never give up. Patience is key to letting go of fear within yourself. Remember to be kind to yourself.

7. Talk to someone if you feel you need to. Talking about our fears can make them less important. Another’s perspective can make a big difference. I want to try the Parapente (para-gliding) and have not done it because of fear. I talked to my guest from Australia who explained the sport to me and how safe it is. He used to have his own parapente and has informed me about the way the air flow works and now I am ready to try it.

8. Over thinking! Just stop it. We over think our fears. A relaxed mind will  offer you a solution. I know when I have a night where I am stressing about all the things that worry me, I always make it worse. Then I wake up in the morning and the solutions come to me. Fear is based on worry and over thinking. Try to let your mind be free and divert your thoughts to pleasant memories, beautiful images, and good choices.

When we incorporate simple changes into our lives we start changing our life! It is an ongoing process.  I have bad days when it is super hard not to look back and say “what if”? I use all the tools I have available to help myself on those days. They work. Remember, you don’t have to be completely without fear, you just need to not allow it to control you. Please comment in this post about what is your biggest fear, and how you help yourself cope on days the fear feels overwhelming. I am sure many of you have great ways of losing fear. I would love to hear from you.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Don’t You Forget About Me.”

As I grow older I have come to realize the young me shaped this older, wiser me. As a young woman I loved to have fun, to push the limits, a free-spirited gal with a lot of friends. Then life happens. We find out reality is not dancing the night away without a care in the world. Life evolves, and so do we. I look back fondly on not being concerned with much except living. Life’s problems were few then.

Fast forward to now. I’m a survivor. I have stood through adversity and found my niche. I have used all of life’s harsh lessons to my advantage. I am now living a life that is fulfilling to me. I’m unconcerned about what others think. I have fewer possessions. My life is simple. I know walking away from misfortune is a step forward. I have shown others that you can start over and be successful.

Success to me is not monetary. Success is to live a soulful life, a life of originality, a life of your passion. We all have our dreams. We might think about them and even state them out loud when we are younger. But do we ever get the chance to fulfill our dreams? Research and documentation of people on their deathbeds show that their biggest regrets are not taking time to enjoy your life and then finding out it is almost over. In other words, finding your vision and then living it. I have done this. I could die tomorrow and my legacy would be she lived her dream. I left disaster and have found my peace. I think anyone who knows me would have one thought if they heard of my passing. “She was doing what she enjoyed before it was too late.” She took the knowledge she had gained during her years on this Earth and savored  every precious moment left through her animals, nature and an environment free of the unnecessary possessions. She lived her truth. She left this world as a soul survivor. Continue reading “A Soul Survivor”

A Soul Survivor

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Door.”

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An Intricate Door in Buga,Colombia
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A Door in Buga, Colombia

I am an expat living in Colombia, South America. I find that the doors here could tell many stories. I look at them and I wonder, where will this door lead me? I also wonder how old they are. Many of the cities here are very old. Buga is a city founded in 1555. I wrote a blog  about this wonderfully fascinating city with a history of a miracle. The doors are ensconced by mystery.

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A door that opens to the beauty that surrounds the history of Colombia
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An amazing door at the Sugarcane Museum in the Valle Del Cauca
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A door from the 19th century in the Sugarcane Museum of Valle del Cauca
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La Ruiza, the former hacienda of Pablo Escobar

There are many old Hacienda’s in Colombia. Some doors lead outside to magnificent beauty. Some doors show the life lived long ago, a life one can picture of the Colombian people who are rich with culture. Then there is the life of Colombians who contributed to history but not in a good way. La Ruiza was one of the many hacienda’s Pablo Escobar had in Colombia during the 1980’s. It is a fascinating journey into a time of decadence and drug wars. This hacienda remains untouched from so long ago, but the doors tell a story too. Sliding doors that show a style long ago abandoned. Not only the style but the way of life. Colombia is now a leading contender for expats and tourists. Please feel free to check out my website or my Facebook page to come visit and see the new Colombia. Rich in history and safe for tourists.

Where Does That Door Lead?

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Orion and the Gang of Misfits

The Veterinarian who is treating Orion is a great man. He is a man of compassion. He is a genius. He performs miracles. His little clinic in Cali is famous in the country of Colombia. He is known for saving dogs from injuries no one else will touch. He is truly a miracle worker. My dog Orion is a patient and the care he is receiving is exceptional.

The waiting area

When I enter the clinic I see misfits, animals that look like they have survived a war. They are all around, resting on little mats after undergoing surgery, on leashes held by their owners, getting therapy in the exam rooms, or being seen by the doctor. Shaved body parts, casts, and limping are normal in this veterinary office.This clinic is not fancy. In fact it is a bit outdated. One would think walking into this office that it was nothing. I did. However, then I started talking with the people who are sitting and waiting with their wounded animals. We all share one thing: love for our four-legged children. Orion is always scared when we arrive. He hates riding in the truck. He remembers when he broke his front paw that he had to stay in a kennel and he has never gotten over it. He pants, he is restless, he shakes, and he tries to get the muzzle off that we put on him. Orion is a Dogo Argentino, a class of dog required to be muzzled. He doesn’t need to be. He is gentle and timid. He wags his tail even when scared. He allows everyone to poke and prod him, but he is so un-nerved. Orion pants and pants. Water is given to him when in therapy which he laps up. My heart breaks as I look around. There in a corner is an amputee dog, crying out, just out of surgery. Another mat has an old Chow who has lost all its hair and has dementia, but the owners cannot let go, a mini-Schnauzer with a cast on its front leg, an older Retriever with an injury on the front leg, a chocolate Lab walking pretty well on a broken leg the same as Orion which gives me hope. The little street animals brought in by compassionate people. A girl drove three hours with a puppy that had a crooked back leg. She was a street dog, probably hit by a car. This girl is a hero to me. She can’t keep the dog but is paying to have her leg fixed. She said to me she will find her a home. The dog will need to come back to see the doctor after surgery. She is willing to do this. I know there are really good people in the world when I see this sort of compassion.

I have made many friends in this little veterinary clinic. We all talk about our dogs when we see each other. We wait patiently for our turn with the therapists, and we share our war stories. Dogs bark and whine as we talk over them. We describe our dogs accomplishments since our last visit. We watch as someone new enters with an injured animal knowing all too well the journey they will be starting. First the surgery and then the recovery. We all share a common bond, a love for our four-legged child who has been horribly injured. A bell rings and Orion’s name is called. It is his turn for Acupuncture. He is drooling from nervousness. We calm him with kisses and pats. He patiently lets the doctor stick needles in him. He gets heat therapy on his bad leg, then he has to lay calmly and wait a while.


Acupuncture therapy
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Orion is ready to go and he gets up and puts weight on his leg immediately after his treatment. Not a lot, but enough to let me know he will be walking normally soon. My heart is happy. We have seen Orion go from depressed with rods in his leg and a cast on the thigh, to now being able to get around quite well. He is back to his sunny disposition as soon as we settle in the car for our hour ride back home. Orion drops his head for a much needed snooze. He knows it is over for now. He can relax. When we arrive at the farm, he is greeted by his pack. They all sniff him and the strange smells he carries from the veterinary office. Orion goes and stretches out on the grass. He rolls with delight at surviving another visit with the vet, and soaks up the sun. Life is good.