Year of the Horse

Photo credit:

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese year 4712 begins on Jan. 31, 2014.  This is the year of the horse, the Wood Horse year is a time of fast victories, unexpected adventure, and surprising romance. Energy is high and production is rewarded. Decisive action, not procrastination, brings victory. In Chinese astrology, Horse year is considered a fortunate year that brings luck and good things. My Chinese Zodiac is the dog.

If you were born in the year of the dog, you . . . Are strong-willed. Loyal to your friends and mate. Never compromise when you think you are right. Occupying the 11th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Dog symbolizes character traits such as loyalty, compatibility and kindness. Dogs frequently offer kind words and useful advice, always listening and lending a shoulder when necessary. Dogs often become deeply involved in others’ lives and are sometimes perceived as nosy. Ensuring others are happy is more important to the Dog than wealth, money or success. That’s me!

The Chinese animal signs are a significant part of the new year, with this year ushering in the horse, an animal signifying unexpected adventure and surprising romance, according to astrologer Susan Levitt. These characteristics are the most pertinent to those born in the year of the horse: 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014.

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality.

The twelve animals are Rat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Chicken, Dog and Pig. The 12 Chinese zodiac signs are determined by people’s birth year.

The Chinese months are determined by both solar and lunar changes, with the new year coming approximately a month and a half after the winter solstice and symbolizing the beginning of spring.

An additional astrological factor that isn’t as universally recognized is the element put together with each year: either metal, wood, water, fire or earth. These distinguish the year even further, with 2014 known as the year of the wooden horse, or the green wooden horse, as wood is associated with greenery and nature. (You can find out your specific animal and element using this tool at
Chinese Zodiac Rat Chinese Zodiac Cow Chinese Zodiac Tiger Chinese Zodiac Rabbit Chinese Zodiac Dragon Chinese Zodiac Snake Chinese Zodiac Horse Chinese Zodiac Sheep Chinese Zodiac Monkey Chinese Zodiac Chicken Chinese Zodiac Dog Chinese Zodiac Pig
Rat Cow Tiger Rabbit Dragon Snake Horse Sheep Monkey Chicken Dog Pig

Something to Ponder

Happy and Blessed New Year to Everyone!

I have liked and admired George Carlin since the 70’s. Though he is no longer with us, his comedic words of wisdom linger on. The following is called ‘Something to Ponder’. George had a way of making people think through humor and see the silly logic of our society. I wish everyone a prosperous, joyous, and loving new year!

Something to Ponder

SOMETHING TO PONDER: George Carlin’s wife died early in 2008 and George followed her, dying in July 2008. It is ironic George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent and so very appropriate.
An observation by George Carlin: The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.

george carlin

Gratitude of Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving and gratitude go hand in hand. We should always give thanks for what we have, no matter how little or how much. Gratitude for what you have is one way of receiving even more in your life.

Thanksgiving will be here in a few days. What does Thanksgiving mean to you? Usually, it means getting together with family and friends and eating till we pop. We all know the traditional meaning of  Thanksgiving, in 1621, Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

I was brought up ‘old school’ where I was taught to say please, thank you, and yes, sir. My father was in the military for 30 years. Discipline then would be close to child abuse today. The point is that I was always taught to say thank you. To be sincerely thankful, you will feel thankful in your heart. Words alone will not get you anywhere.

If you receive a cup of tea from your neighbor, a bottle of wine brought to your Thanksgiving feast, $5 from the lottery, an unexpected refund, give thanks!

Make everyday Thanksgiving by being grateful for everything you receive from a small amount to an extravagant gift. I  listened to John Vincent’s The Science of Getting Rich audio book. John is a hypnotist and has recorded Wallace Wattles classic book that he wrote over a hundred years ago. Click here for free audio book, The  Science of Getting Rich.

In The Science of Getting Rich, it explains to fix your mind on Supreme (God/Universe) for gratitude, keeps…God and you…in close harmony. The supply is limitless. To dwell on inferior things is to become inferior. To fixate on the best is to become the best. This is also known as Law of Attraction, to manifest your desires through thought.

I wish everyone a blessed Thanksgiving, sharing love, friends, family, and good food! What are you thankful for? You can give thanks anytime, anywhere, God is always listening. You don’t need special words to talk to God, talk to ‘him’ like you would anyone else. Just speak from your heart.


While He’s Away: A Poem About Being Gone

Reblogged from Jason B. Ladd

My dad served two tours in Vietnam when I was a kid, so I can relate to this poem. I do respect and bless our troops. My daughter is a Navy Chief. I am for peace and against war. There cannot be peace while we fight and kill each other! Bless those that have lost their lives, lost their family and made sacrifices.

While He’s Away: A Poem About Being Gone

when he's away deployment

While I’m away

The mission’s first

We’ll put our best against their worst

But victory will fail to quench my thirst

While I’m away

while hes away deployment


While I’m away

The silence settles in

The mood is calm, the air is thin

My kingdom for one morn’ of childrens’ din

While I’m away

when he's away deployment


While I’m away

Diminished dawns

The flock is far, the shepherd gone

The sheep will grow and graze and carry on

While I’m away

when he's away deployment

While I’m away

Fools worship golden cows

With laps aflame and loins aroused

Let God protect our covenant of sacred vows

While I’m away

when he's away deployment

While you’re away

I start a new routine

The laundry’s neat, the house is clean

But soon I miss the manly mess unseen

While you’re away

while hes away deployment

While you’re away

Our things break down

With no one to repair around

In projects left undone our lair abounds

While you’re away

when he's away deployment

While you’re away

The evil freaks

Through sudden cricks and eerie creaks

Our settling house at nighttime speaks, I’m scared

While you’re away

when he's away deployment

While you’re away

It’s not the same

I’m thankful for the few who came

To help me play this sacrificial game

While you’re away

when he's away deployment

While he’s away

I’m turning ten

This milestone never comes again

I understand, but struggle now and then

While he’s away

when hes away deployment

While he’s away

I run the bases

Looking in the stands for faces

Sad to see the empty spaces left

While he’s away

when hes away deployment

While he’s away

I lose my teeth

And sleep with them at night beneath

The pillow where I cry myself to sleep

While he’s away

when hes away deployment

While he’s away

It makes me sad

Sometimes I’m a little mad

How come others get to have my dad

While he’s away?

when he's away worried

While  he’s away

I’ll start to walk

And look up for my daddy’s gawk

But nowhere will I find his eyes to lock

While he’s away

when hes away deployment

While I’m away

Their father’s not around

I’ve taught them though, one comfort sound

Another Father always keeps them found

While I’m away

Photo credit: Cpl. Bryan Nygaard / PD / bus

Photo credit: Capt. Christopher Prout / PD /hornet

Photo credit: r.f.m II / / CC BY /man bed

Photo credit: EoinGardiner / / CC BY /flock

Photo credit: Jeff Belmonte / / CC BY /rings

Photo credit: coloredgrey / / CC BY /no mess

Photo credit: john.schultz / / CC BY-SA /to do list

Photo credit: Hiii-Fiii / / CC BY /door

Photo credit: stephcarter / / CC BY-ND /mother and daughter

Photo credit: Olaf / / CC BY-SA /bb gun

Photo credit: Phil Roeder / / CC BY /softball

Photo credit: insidious_plots / / CC BY /missing tooth

Photo credit: Russel K Photographs / / CC BY-ND /worried

Photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography / / CC BY /crawling


Day of the Dead~Día de los Muertos

Painted faces are a tribute to the dead.

Photo Credit: Tom Robinson Photography

More Tom Robinson Dia de los Muertos photos

Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrating loved ones who have crossed over, a mystical night when the veil is lifted between the realms of living and dead. The spirits of loved ones who have died return to earth to celebrate this holiday with friends and family. November 1st and 2nd are celebrated with skull face painting, altars, food, and family.

You can make your own altar to celebrate your loved ones that have passed on, it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as pictured here. A few mementos of your loved one, candles, their favorite food, and what ever you consider relevant. This, as with many things, cannot be done wrong. It is my belief that spirits visit our world all the time and we don’t have to wait until November 1st and 2nd to connect and/or communicate.

Skull images are not to be feared in this tradition like the pirates ‘skull and crossbones’, but rather respect and reverence for the dead. I love the face paintings, they are very artistic and beautiful. I live about 30 minutes from the Mexican border, so Day of the Dead Festivities are as common as Halloween .

On Dia De Los Muertos, people prepare a feast with many of the favorite dishes of lost loved ones. Pan de Muertos or “Bread of the Dead” is a traditional bread which is baked and eaten during this celebration. Mementos are set out of favorite things of the ones who have passed away.

The trademark of this event is the sugar skull, these skulls should be homemade. This is because these skulls are made as an offering to transitioned loved ones . It is not all that uncommon to see sugar skulls on tombs together with the deceased one’s favorite food and/or items.

day of the dead


Hollywood Forever is the only cemetery in the country which opens its gates and welcomes its surrounding community to commemorate El Dia de Los Muertos.



The historical roots of this celebration date back to the pre-Hispanic cultures of Meso-America of the indigenous people, especially the Nahua (Aztecs, Mayans, Toltecas, Tlaxcaltec, Chichimec, Tecpanec) and others native to Mexico more than 3,000 years. When the Spaniards conquered the country, this indigenous custom was rooted so deeply that, after five centuries of colonization, it has continued to survive and remain as celebrated as in its first days.

Throughout each period in Mexican culture, death seems to hold no terror. In Mexican art, legends, and religion, death has not been a mysterious and fearful presence but a realistic recognizable character as much a part of life as life itself. Dia De Los Muertos expresses this perspective; it is not a mournful commemoration but a happy and colorful celebration where Death takes a lively, friendly expression and is not frightening or strange. There is no place for sorrow or weeping for this could be interpreted as a discourteous to the dead relatives who are visiting gladly.

Event Links:

Old Town San Diego Dia de Los Muertos

U.S. and International Day of the Dead Festivities Guide

Sources: Painters of Louisville, Tom Robinson Photography, Dia De Los Muertos, Holiday Insights, Skullspiration