God of All Creation: A Review

Okay I admit, animals sometimes are smarter than we humans are, don’t you think? Let’s face it; they really know how to relax, to be goofy, to love us without condition, and much more. Mr. Robison illustrates these lessons in his wonderful book, God of All Creation, Life Lessons from Pets and Wildlife. He even inserts his own dog, Princess, a miniature dachshund to help, as well as others animals.

Princess, for example, loves to greet her humans every morning with lots of kisses and snuggle in an arm chair, what could be better? She wants to be close to them as we should want to be close to God every day. Princess, like us, still needs guidance, from her owners just as we need to lean on God for help in our everyday lives. Little lady, you have some skills when it comes to chasing your “prey”.

Other illustrations are given such as the office worker whose dog misses her while she’s gone for a few hours. She can’t stop looking for her master, so the other employees finally decide in desperation to play a tape of her owner and it works. The attention is diverted; total focus is the owner’s voice and face. Wow, if only we could be so good.

Our pets give love unconditionally, just like God does, they comfort us and keep us company, and I honestly think God put them here to show us His life lessons through our variety of pets. This book was read in a day and it was that good.

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Press in exchange for reviewing it.

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Keep on Counting in Heaven, Jerry…

 Today,  a wonderful voice from  most of our childhoods has passed away. A gentle voice, a funny voice, one whom we’d recognize in familiar characters such as Count Von Count, or Big Bird’s best friend, Mr. Suffleupagus, to many zany fraggle rock creatures.  Those loveable characters you wanted to pals with yourself, who had the cool names, who’d make you laugh and at the same time, make you learn something without even realizing it.

Of course, I have my favorites, Snuffy being one of them, the soft spoken, furry elephant like friend of Big Bird’s, always hanging out with him, at first accused of being imaginary, but eventually revealing himself to the rest of the neighbors on the famed street. Snuffy  helped kids realize that’s okay to be helpful and kind. He’s still Bird’s best friend and anyone who meets him falls instantly in love with those gigantic lashes and brown fur.

The Count Von Count made learning numbers fun, with the way he’d count objects and how the thunder and lightning would strike he’d be giddy and laugh such a kooky one. What better way to learn math and enjoy it. Sesame Street is pure genius, it’s a show that has endured for over forty years because it can reach out to everyone. Non discriminating, not based on color, religion, or politics, just kid sense and  making learning fun.

Jerry, you will be missed, but your legacy will live on, I hope. Be a shame to not have a big furry guy and wacky count and others great muppets missing in action from the show. Nah, that won’t happen, that’s not the way it goes, we all know better, don’t we? How does it go again,

“Come and play,

Everything’s A-Okay

Friendly neighbors there

That’s where we meet

Can you tell me

How to get to Sesame Street”


That’s what I’m saying….Rest in peace Jerry Nelson.

Remembering the Hound Dog

Thirty five years ago yesterday, on August 16, 1977, Mr. Presley made his final exit from the building we call life. Shame too because he was such a talented singer, humanitarian who gave back and wonderful father to his daughter. He seemed genuinely interested in making music and making others happy with his moves and singing. Such an upbringing for that Mississippi boy, small house and meager means but I think that just made Elvis more determined to be successful.

From what I understand he didn’t enjoy the movies as much as he did the stage, the audience, and the fact that he could swing the hips and groove to the band behind him.  Of course in the movies we always heard him sing and have an effect on those around him, good, bad and otherwise. Mr. Presley never came across as artificial to me, he was what you saw, just a man who happened to internationally famous. True had the lavish trappings of cars, the big house in Memphis, which is still there and where family members still live, and a the name for the house is quite fitting.. Graceland.

I don’t know that Elvis chose to self destruct as he did in the end, I think he was miserable for the lack of privacy and constant scrutiny of his every move. Let’s face it, no celebrity has that precious gift of blending in anymore. Whatever they do, we know about: the mundane, the stupid, the heroic, the whatever… it’s all open for all to see. Elvis most likely was in pain inside, maybe upset over jokes about his weight, as I remember DJ’s remarking about the number of donuts he supposedly would eat.

The pain probably ran deeper than comments about his weight, though. He may have been tired from performing and needed a break and needed an escape route. That’s the problem with image. What is seen on the outside is not the full story, the whole person. We can look at less than perfectly dressed individual and think they must be so special, but what if we take the time to know them? What would we find out?

Touring Elvis’ home there were plaques recognizing him for his charitable donations to various organizations. According the official website, Most of Elvis’ philanthropic endeavors received no publicity at all”. (http://www.elvis.com/about-the-king/achievements.aspx) He gave to both local charities in Memphis where I grew up and in cities across the nation. Kinda cool that he didn’t necessarily have want for a camera crew at all times to broadcast the good deeds.

Maybe that’s why he was King of Rock n Roll, not so much that he just defined a genre of music and forced a path for musicians and singers to blast through, maybe it was really his big old heart. The heart of a man who honestly cared for the people who supported his career and to this day still do, even in his death. The night sky in Memphis was heavily dotted with candles last night. Lisa Marie and her mother, Priscilla were there too.

Yeah, heaven is probably lively with his music and everyone is dancing in their blue suede shoes, but I don’t know think there’s any crying all the time. The hound dog’s happy because he is at peace. Thank you, Elvis, thank  you very much.

Custer State Park, SD


The Road Trip Continues… Alaska to Pennsylvania

By the time we entered the Black Hills of South Dakota we had been on the road for 15 days, only one of which we spent in a hotel. We could put up and take down our tent with our eyes closed. We were road trip experts. But there were two things we weren’t prepared for: people and heat.

After spending so much time in the north, where we were still sleeping in a snow hat and gloves at night (in July), the heat of 90 degree days felt like being smothered. And it had been a long time since we had seen such thick swarms of people. It felt a little like wandering out of the woods into an amusement park. But, the scenery of Custard State Park made up for it!

Our destination was the home of Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse…

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Ooh Ooh, Mr. Horshack!

Today a sweet character from the past has died. For those of you who remember “Welcome Back Kotter”, and the misfit group of students with hidden potential, The Sweathogs, you will recall the originator of the above comment. Arnold Horshack, also known as Ron Palillo. What can I say? The show was great! Reflected what is common in many schools in that you have students who tend to be forgotten and left to their own devices until someone who is hell bent on changing their attitudes comes into their lives.

Mr. Kotter was that person, he cared for and took time to push the Sweathogs to learn, reach beyond what they had been told they could do. Arnold was one of those individuals, a small, goofy, and always shouting his trademark response, “Ooh, Ooh, Mr. Kotter!”. Arnold just wanted to fit in like the rest and I think all the gang wanted to learn but they had to have the right motivator.

You know, the situation presented back in the 1970s with “Mr. Kotter” and his class are no different from today. There will always be some who don’t quite fit in but still want to be counted, the ones who may not look a certain way or dress a certain way or maybe come from neighborhoods not as nice others. What it comes down to is this: we all have a right to learn, to belong, to be a part of something special. Kids should be told that they can learn even it some take longer than others, that giving up is not an option.

Through Horshack, Juan Esptein, Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington, and Vinnie Barbarino, we see promise and determination. Talent, and spirit, real kids in real situations that warrant some assistance so that they can move forward. Mr. Kotter helped them do just that. And they did. He was what they needed.

Mr. Palillo, you will be missed, not just for the character you played, but what you brought to the world with the show. Many a movie seems to be of similar storyline to yours true or not. But that’s okay, we need the light under our behinds and light bulbs over our heads to get the ideas going, to inspire, as you did with your acting and art.

Ooh, Ooh! one last time. Rest in Peace.