10 Lessons Learned From My President

Each President of the United States leaves a legacy. As President Barack Obama enters the last week of his tenure in the White House, his legacy is only just beginning to show itself. But I can say with confidence that these 10 lessons are takeaways that will endure:

10. Never lose hope.


9. Reading is essential for opening your mind, expanding your worldview, and giving you the depth and breadth to handle an infinite number of situations.


8. The umbrella is big enough to fit everyone under it.


7. Grit and resilience are keys to success, whatever you do.


6. Kindness and respect never go out of style.


5. Do not be afraid to show your emotions … even if it means crying sometimes.


4. There are different perspectives to most issues … work hard to understand each one.


3. Maintain your sense of humor, even under the most trying of times.


2. Raising your children is one of the most important jobs you will ever have in life. Never lose sight of that.


And since, as the saying goes, behind every great man there is a great woman … and better yet in this case, beside every great man there is a great woman ….

  1. When they go low, you must go high.


Thank you, Mr. President and Mrs. Obama.  You have honored the White House and our country with your grace and vision these past eight years.  You will be missed.  Let us return the favor by continuing to stand up for what is right, and doing it with respect and an openness to truly trying to understand all sides of the issues.  We have more in common than not; it is in our best interests to continue and try to move forward together, no matter how difficult and arduous it may be … while at the same time not letting our guard down and failing to speak out against injustice, inequity, and matters that harm the greater good.

Yes, we can. Yes, we did. And, yes, we will again.

~ Kat

Sending Out Ripples of Hope

“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”                    ~ Robert F. Kennedy

Glacier National Park - View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road

I try to avoid politics and divisive topics on this blog, but because I view this subject as one of human rights rather than politics, I am sending out this message of hope and support as Minnesota’s House of Representatives debates and votes today on extending the freedom to marry to same-sex couples.  Hoping that Minnesota continues its tradition of inclusion and equality.

Ciao! ~ Kat

The Lonesome Leash

Will you indulge me in just one more post about Kruger, the dear family member we lost this week?  A few months after we welcomed Kruger to our household last year, I began following the journey of another senior fellow by the name of Will.  Just a year ago, Will joined Tom Ryan and his remarkable friend Atticus, whose story was told in the book Following Atticus.  Their book was the subject of one of my early blog posts. The joyful process of Will rediscovering himself has been lovingly documented through the Following Atticus Facebook Page.

My tears began to flow again today with the sight of a touching photo of Will gazing out over a lake, and with the reading of the latest blog post from The Adventures of Tom & Atticus. It seems that Will may be joining Kruger soon enough.

Lonesome leash and collar . . . missing a friend

I have Kruger’s identification tag from his collar tucked away for safekeeping until Christmas time.  When we decorate the tree, we will think of sweet old Kruger when we attach his tag to his photo ornament.  His smiling face peering out from the tree will bring back the happy memories of his time with us, not the sorrow of his passing.  Reading Tom Ryan’s blog post and seeing that touching photo of Will on the lakeshore, my tears were intertwined with the  joyful reminder of how Will and Kruger, two old souls, found new hope during their last years of life.

Kruger, when you see Will crossing that Rainbow Bridge, welcome him with a wag and one of your best happy grins.  Just like you did, Will has shown us that advanced age is no barrier to learning to love and to being loved.

While I have quoted the words of Anatole France before, they are worth repeating again:

Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.

And for those of us who have opened our hearts to an “older” animal, we have learned that a special part of our soul is reserved for them.

~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up (Encore)

The fresh snow compelled me to post a second response to this week’s Photo Challenge.  After a busy couple of weeks of travel for work and family commitments, I have been feeling woefully behind on all fronts.  Leave it to my favorite furry friend to convince me that I had time to get out last evening and find some beauty, once again, in the enormous fluffy snowflakes that coated the branches and added a fresh layer of white to surfaces we had hoped would be bare by now.  Looking up at the trees, the gray skies transformed into a blank canvas for the natural beauty of the snow-covered treetops.

Going for even a short run, even if slow, even if sprinkled with breaks to stretch or walk, I reminded myself to be grateful for the ability to run.  The tragedies of recent weeks were forefront in my mind as I jogged along the quiet, tree-lined path, thinking of those affected by the Boston Marathon bombings, the fertilizer plant explosions, and so many other daily traumas that don’t make the headline news, that forever change people’s ability to participate in the activities they enjoy, with the people (and furry companions) they love.  Getting out for a run clears my head, puts life’s demands in perspective, and leaves my four-legged friend with a grin that is full of unburdened, infectious joy that often only a dog can express.


While snow was still falling as yesterday drew to a close, this morning brought the promise that Spring would not forget us this year — reminding us that Hope is always around the corner even on the darkest of days, as the sun shines with brilliant blue skies to brighten moods and landscapes alike.

Looking up at the promise of spring from my doorstep!
Looking up at the promise of spring from my doorstep!

Blue skies smiling at me . . . nothing but blue skies do I see . .

~ Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies”

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Up” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.

Hope and Renewal Through Nature

During this day of hope and renewal, nature speaks volumes, more than words ever will. Pour a glass of wine, make a cup of tea, or just sit back for a few minutes and take in the beauty of Glacier National Park.  Reflect on what this season means to you.


And for those who do not have a few minutes, here is a gallery of some of the images featured in the video [post updated later on Easter Sunday to add this gallery]:


Easter blessings to you — the faith and spirituality of Nature is universal and welcoming to everyone.

Ciao! ~ Kat