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Easter came a day early at our house. It all started in the afternoon when I went into the garden bed to clean it out in preparation for tilling and composting. In the process of pulling up hosing and stakes, I heard a rustling in the corner. I figured it was a mouse, but I kept hearing it, so I took a closer look. There, hidden in the tall grass, was the smallest baby bunny I had ever seen.

You can barely see bunny #1 hiding in the grass

I subscribe to the philosophy that it’s best to leave nature be if at all possible, so I called the Boulder County Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for advice. They suggested leaving him alone for no more than one hour. If he was still there, I was to gently catch him, put him in a shoebox with holes poked in the lid, put something in the box to keep him warm and take him to the emergency vet clinic where they could care for him until wildlife officials could collect him.

When I went back, I found the poor guy still there. I put uncooked rice in a sock, heated it in the microwave, wrapped it in one of my T-shirts and put that, and the bunny, in the shoebox. Off we went. The nurse told me they had special food to give him and that they would keep him in an incubator overnight. Whew! I drove home feeling like quite the Good Samaritan.

As soon as I stepped out of the car, my son ran up to me and said, “We found another one in the garden, but he ran behind the shed!” My heart sank. Now, instead of thinking I’d rescued a lone bunny that had gotten lost or abandoned, I had to face the likelihood that there was a nest in the garden that I’d disturbed. I went behind the shed looking for the little one, but no luck.

We decided to rake all the debris out of the garden before tilling, figuring we’d find any others that might still be hiding. Another two turned up, not alive. I thought perhaps the mother had not survived, orphaning the babies. The garden now bare, my husband fired up the tiller and got to work. All was well until he reached the center of the garden. I was in the garden with him, with my son and our dog Rocky. All of a sudden I saw a little one shoot out of nowhere, inches in front of the tiller. I screamed my fool head off and ran after him, catching him just before Rocky did. Here he is.

Bunny #2

So – another shoe box, another sock of rice, another T-shirt. In a moment of inspiration, I decided we should check behind the shed one more time before heading out. Sure enough, this time we found the little guy hiding in a clump of grass. We tucked him in the box, and the two of them burrowed under the warm sock together.

This time I let the kids come with me to deliver them. They were SO good about not trying to handle the bunnies. I explained to them that baby bunnies are highly stressed animals, and that they can actually die from too much stress (boy can I relate to that!). For the entire drive to the clinic, the kids spoke in whispers to each other and held the box absolutely still.

 Once at the clinic, the nurse was nice enough to let the kids see the first bunny in his overnight home. After the vet examined the other two, they would join their sibling.

Bunny #1 in the home where #s 2 and 3 would soon join him

I snuck in some good lessons for the kids – what happens to animals when their habitat is disrupted, why you shouldn’t handle or feed wild animals (or keep them as pets!!!), and what to do in the case of a wildlife emergency.

So, was the mother still alive? Would she have returned to the nest that evening if I hadn’t come in and started digging up the garden? Had I truly saved them or endangered them first and rescued them after? I’ll never know for sure, but I do know that once they were exposed, their chances of survival were next to nothing without protection from the elements and predators, so I did the best I could under the circumstances.

After the kids went to bed, I poured myself a rather large glass of wine and took a hot bath. It turns out spending six hours either rescuing, worrying about or shuttling baby bunnies to the vet is exhausting. But I went to bed feeling good about the fact that the three of them were safe, warm, fed and together. The wildlife officials were set to pick them up on Easter Sunday, of all days, and they will care for the bunnies until they can be released back into the wild.

I slept soundly until I had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to be ….. The Easter Bunny. 🙂

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This week’s Gratitude Sunday post…

Quotes on Gratitude

“I have learned that happiness is not determined by circumstances. Happiness is not what happens when everything goes the way you think it should go: happiness is what happens when you decide to be happy.” — Marianne Williamson

“Gratefulness for what is there is one of the most powerful tools for creating what is not yet there. What does gratefulness mean? It means you appreciate what is. You value, you give attention to, you honor whatever is here at this moment.” — Eckhart Tolle

“The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. And the more grateful you are, the more you get.” — Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude List for the week ending February 18

  1. Valentine flowers, for both me AND Em
  2. Valentine phone call
  3. Getting through all the posts piled up in my Google Reader
  4. Great meeting with a consultant who is kicking my butt helping me build a better business – online presence and all
  5. Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives – for keeping me company when I’m on the treadmill
  6. The fact that when Jay got the croup this week, he didn’t need an ER visit.
  7. EPIC sledding on the street in front of the Breckenridge house
  8. Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast.  I always drive to Breckenridge by myself to get things ready. She keeps me company AND I learn a ton.
  9. Splurging on Alaskan King Crab legs for dinner on Saturday.  So so good!
  10. Michigan beat Ohio State in their basketball game.

What are you grateful for this week?

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For the record, I did NOT put that much cheese on mine. 🙂

This week I offer one quote from Charles Dickens in honor of his 200th birthday and because it tied so nicely into August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman Blogfest which I participated in.

Quotes on Gratitude

“Cheerfulness and contentment are great beautifiers and are famous preservers of youthful looks.” -Charles Dickens

“The source of love is deep in us and we can help others realize a lot of happiness. One word, one action, one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring that person joy.”Thich Nhat Hanh

“Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others’ faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear.” — Rumi

Gratitude List for the week ending February 11

  1. My application to the Highlights Foundation Poetry for All Workshop was accepted! So I’ll be heading to Honesdale in May.
  2. In the light of less than a half moon, the stars in Breckenridge are brilliant.
  3. Fresh snow for skiing!
  4. Homemade 3-way Cincinnati chili – YUM!
  5. Another Margareaders meeting, and everyone enjoyed the book I chose – One Thousand White Women.
  6. Julie B.  She knows why.
  7. Meeting with my in-person critique group. Go Boulder Picture Book Writers!
  8. Rocky laying at my feet under the desk while I work
  9. Watching Em have fun selling Girl Scout cookies – AND the fact that the sale is over! (We still have three boxes of Thin Mints left if anyone is interested)
  10. Reading easy readers with Jay. He never tires of it and is getting better and better.  Soon he will read on his own!

What are you grateful for this week? 

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Here he is making a wish at the Trevi Fountain. My wish for him is that his life is all he dreams it will be.

Although Jay’s 6th birthday was on Wednesday, I’m dedicating this week’s Gratitude Sunday post to him, just as I did for my daughter on her birthday.

Jay is quite a character.  He has so much enthusiasm for life and a great sense of humor.  But he has a very sweet and sensitive side too.  Consider this conversation we had over the holidays.

Jay: The heart is the most important organ in your body right?

Me: Right (through a mouthful of food). I was just getting ready to add, “It pumps all the blood through your whole body,” but before I could say it, he said…

Jay: That’s because your heart is where you feel love.

Which of course, made my heart practically explode with love.

Quotes on Gratitude for Sons

“[Sons] are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded.” — Jess Lair

“Before you were conceived I wanted you. Before you were born I loved you. Before you were here for an hour I would die for you. This is the miracle of life.” — Maureen Hawkins

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.” — Elizabeth Stone

Reasons I am grateful for Jay

  1. He says things that are so funny, but somehow wise at the same time.
  2. He is not shy about expressing himself or talking to people, even when he’s just met them.
  3. I wouldn’t call him “still waters,” given how much he runs around, but he IS a deep thinker.
  4. When we snuggle at bedtime, he still puts his head on the same spot on my shoulder that he did as an infant.
  5. Speaking of snuggles, he is a VERY snuggly boy, which I love.
  6. He loves reading AND math, and especially loves school.
  7. He adores and looks up to his big sister, and although they argue, he lets her know how much he loves and appreciates her.
  8. He reminds me of my father with his “big personality,” as one of his teachers called it.
  9. He loves his family and friends, but he is very independent.  He can entertain himself for long periods of time.
  10. He is very imaginative, especially when it comes to building things with Tinker Toys, Legos and other toys.  His building is his “art.”

What are you grateful for this week?

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This week’s Gratitude Sunday post…

Quotes on Gratitude

“The grateful heart that springs forth in joy is not acquired in a moment; it is the fruit of a thousand choices.” — Nancy Leigh DeMoss

“Every single day do something that makes your heart sing.” — Marcia Wieder

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran

Gratitude List for the week ending January 21

  1. Jay’s teacher said about him, “His face tells thousands of stories that he would never be able to express in words.”
  2. I volunteered for the School Food Project in the kids’ cafeteria this week, as a chef came in to demo cooking stir-fry.  Watching the kids gobble up that food, veggies and all, was a delight.
  3. I FINALLY got my business bank account open.  So much hassle and such a relief to get it done.  So you can all start sending me money now! 🙂
  4. Having movie night with the kids, watching Mr. Popper’s Penguins (and eating pizza and popcorn).
  5. My mom had the kids for a sleepover on Friday, giving me the night “off,” which I used to take a long hot bath and read my book.
  6. I got to spend a whole afternoon skiing with a girlfriend while our kiddos had a lesson.  Amazing how many runs you can get in when you’re not constantly stopping for bathroom breaks, hot chocolate or to warm up little fingers and toes!
  7. I am grateful for the 12 x 12 in 2012 community.  I’m in awe of the response to this challenge and how much the group members are already helping and supporting each other.  It’s an inspiration!  Don’t forget the deadline to sign up is January 29th – one week from today!
  8. I received and accepted a Top Secret opportunity this week that won’t be Top Secret for much longer.  And no, it’s not that I got an agent, but I am SO excited about it!! 🙂
  9. I got to go for a run outside on a rare 60-degree day.  Doesn’t happen much in Boulder in January.
  10. Listening to Em’s classmates all tell her what they appreciate about her during her “birthday circle” at the school.

What are you grateful for this week?

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I couldn’t post this yesterday because the wireless wasn’t working at the Breckenridge rental.  Which is a bummer because I wanted this to post on Em’s actual birthday – the 15th – when she turned 9 years old.  But better late than never.

This week’s Gratitude Sunday post is dedicated to Em.  I am so blessed to have her as a daughter.  To say I could not imagine my life without her is the world’s biggest understatement.

Quotes on Gratitude for Daughters

“A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous… full of beauty and forever beautiful… loving and caring and truly amazing.” — Deanna Beisser

“A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart.” — Author Unknown

“A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.” — Author Unknown

Reasons I am grateful for Em

  1. She is kind and compassionate.  So much so that when a new girl came into the classroom, the teacher sat her next to Em because she knew Em would take care of her and make her feel welcome.
  2. Likewise, she takes excellent care of her little brother.  Of course they argue, but when push comes to shove she is his fiercest protector and most patient teacher.
  3. She is very artistic – in visual, verbal AND dramatic arts.
  4. She loves reading and writing.
  5. She asks for (and gives) LOTS of hugs, and often tells me, “You’re the best Mom in the whole world.”
  6. Even as she gets older and wants to spend more time with her friends, family always comes first for her.
  7. She is very sensitive and doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.  For this reason, friends have sometimes taken advantage of her.  Instead of accepting this treatment, she’s worked with us and other adults to learn to stand up for herself and express her needs and feelings.  Now she is not only a good friend to others, but understands what makes someone a good friend for her.
  8. She is adventurous with experiences (if a little shy with new people).  She climbs rock walls, rides horses, skis, dances, acts, paints, swims, plays basketball.  She loves art museums and science museums equally.  She’s always willing to try something new.
  9. She loves school and values learning.
  10. When she laughs, the world stands still to listen to so pure and beautiful a sound.

What are you grateful for this week?

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The flowers I bought myself this week

I am now officially halfway through The Artist’s Way and twice as far as I’ve ever made it before.  That in and of itself is an accomplishment, but it’s beginning to feel likely that I will complete it this time.

  • Week 6 Theme: “Recovering a Sense of Abundance.”  This chapter asks us to tackle our beliefs about money and its connection (or lack thereof) to art.  Artists of all stripes tend to convince themselves that it is not possible to make money by making art, or even worse, that money corrupts art.  Clinging to these beliefs limits the ability for all kinds of abundance to enter our lives because we somehow feel unworthy, or that the art is not worthy.
  • Morning Pages: I did the morning pages every day except the day Katie Davis and I recorded the Brain Burps podcast.  I got out of bed that day charged up and ready to go.  What’s interesting now is that I’ll realize I missed later in the day and then everything feels “off” somehow.  I guess that’s what happens when a practice becomes a habit.
  • Artist Date:  I had two full days at our Breckenridge ski rental to myself.  I spent most of the time dreaming about and planning not only 2012 but the years beyond.  Then I made a tactical plan to support the goals and dreams.  The time I wasn’t working was spent walking the dog with the views of mountains all around or soaking in the tub with a book.  So yes, I’d say it was one heck of an Artist Date!

Any “Aha” Moments? 

  • Because money and abundance is such a charged topic, I actually thought this chapter gave it short shrift.  It dealt mostly with the ways in which we can be miserly with ourselves, suggesting we allow more luxuries, however small, into our lives.  One thing I did was buy myself fresh flowers.  I love the sight and smell of flowers in the house, but I almost never buy them because it seems like such a frivolous use of funds.  I’ve decided that I’ll buy them once a month from now on.  I didn’t notice any additional flow of prosperity into my life as a result of allowing myself that luxury, but maybe over time… 😉
  • One thing I realized is that I have to confront my overall fear of numbers. I’ve been living in avoidance of them for so long because I consistently tell myself I’m no good with them.  Can’t do that if you want to run a business and make money.  My most common recurring nightmare is that I have a math exam of some sort coming up and I haven’t attended any of the classes so I know nothing and have no way to pass.  Maybe if I believe I can learn to manage numbers (and actually take steps to learn), I will one day have a dream where I pass that exam!
  • Overall, I do believe that doing what you love leads to abundance of all kinds, that there is enough money to go around and that creating art is a worthy livelihood.  I don’t feel deprived in any way.  I’ve always had everything I needed and most the time what I’ve wanted.  I want money to support my family, yes, but I view luxury as experiences – travel, classes, dining, recreation, etc., rather than things.  I view money as the means to have those experiences and the freedom to choose how to live my life.  If there is one word I associate most with money, it is freedom.

A few favorite quotes from the Week 6 chapter:

“Most of us harbor a secret belief that work has to be work and not play, and that anything we really want to do–like write, act, dance–must be considered frivolous and be placed a distant second.”

“When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.”

“Because art is born in expansion, in a belief in sufficient supply, it is critical that we pamper ourselves for the sense of abundance it brings to us.”

What are your beliefs about money, art, and doing what you love to do?

Week 5 Check-In

Week 4 Check-In

Week 3 Check-In

Week 2 Check-In

Week 1 Check-In

The Artist’s Way

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