SPECIAL Tree of Life for the Holidays

It’s unusual to receive a card in snail mail nowadays.  Increasingly, social media, text and e-mail messages are the choice for everything from birthday greetings to wedding invitations. It was a nice surprise to receive a card from Sharon Bonin-Pratt (A “CURIOUS” Well Done Woman) and was struck by how lovely and whimsical the trees were.

I was even more surprised and delighted when I saw Sharon had hand drawn and painted it.  

Peggy, too, loved it and made it into a poster. With Sharon’s urging we are donating one third of all profits to The Gentle Barn, Animal Rescue charity.  (Judy)

Available on Zazzle, click here

“It is a tree of life to all who grasp it,

and whoever holds on to it is happy;

its ways are ways of pleasantness,

and all it paths are peace.

(Proverbs 3:17-18)

To get your own Sharon Bonin-Pratt Tree of Life poster click here to purchase it 

Web-site: Sharon Bonin-Pratt’s INK FLARE

The Gentle Barn

We’ve been looking for a charity to support.  The Gentle Barn combines everything we love: children and animals.

 50% of profits from the CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle sales will be donated to:

The Gentle Barn

Teaching People Kindness and Compassion to Animals, Each Other and our Planet.

“The Gentle Barn rescues animals from severe abuse and neglect who are too old, sick, lame, or scared to be adopted into homes. We are sanctuary to horses, donkeys, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens, llamas, peacocks, emus, cats and dogs.”

Once rehabilitated, the animals help us give hope and inspiration to children with the same stories:

At Risk Youth 

“The instant connection with the animals that is made each and every time we bring our boys there is almost impossible to describe without using words like “extraordinary,” and “uplifting.” There is more to the connection than just curiosity on both the boy’s and animals’ parts. There is an understanding of what it means to have a second chance. Whether you happen to walk on 2 feet, 4 hooves, or merely just enjoy the sensation of watching as two completely different creatures, human and animal, learn something that books can’t teach.”Pacific Lodge Boys’ Home

Special Needs Children

“I teach a class of eleven students, eight of which are autistic and three of which have general developmental delays.” – Special Education Teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District in a low-income neighborhood in Chinatown.”

“The Gentle Barn gave my students the opportunity to let go of what usually keeps them locked up inside. You gave them the opportunity to show kindness to another living being. You gave them the opportunity to pet, brush, feed, and take care of another living being. For most of them, this was the first time they could do any of these things.”

Educational Programs

“The hours we spent at The Gentle Barn were some of the most “teachable moments” I’ve come across in my 17 years as an educator. The children learned about the animals, of course, but they also learned a great deal about themselves, and were challenged to think in a new and different light than before.” – Sierra Canyon Middle School

Click on this link to visit our CURIOUStotheMAX Zazzle Store

The Gentle Barn is on a six-acre paradise in Santa Clarita, CA. “The property is complete with large horse and cow pastures, a red and white barnyard for the smaller animals, an organic vegetable garden, lots of shade trees, and a panoramic view of gorgeous mountains. The over one hundred and seventy rescued animals are safe and happy at The Gentle Barn, and there is plenty of room to welcome their visitors and the children they host.”

“The Gentle Barn has a second location in Nashville, Tennessee, and a third in St Louis, Missouri. It is their goal to open Gentle Barns in every state so that everyone in America can hug cows, cuddle turkeys, give pigs tummy rubs, and look into the eyes of these animals and know for certain that we are all the same, and deserving of the same rights, respects, and freedoms.

Since its inception, The Gentle Barn has saved thousands of animals and

been host to over 500,000 people.”

Can Compassion be Taught?

A blogger friend asked me this question.  Can compassion be taught?
My primitive thoughts:

1.  To be compassionate we have to put our egos aside.  When self-importance, personal need, greed drive us compassion fades.

2. People must be willing to learn.  What’s the saying? You can lead a human to God but you can’t make him believe.

3. Humans can be taught HOW to be compassionate toward others. 

An example that I come across every time I do couples counseling is that each partner intends compassion while the other partner experiences it as hurt or neglect.  The disparity between INTENTION and EXPERIENCE is based on how each of us PERCEIVES our “reality”.

Ex: The man is being compassionate when he tries to find a solution to the wife’s pain and all she wants is a shoulder to cry on and arms around her.  A wife is being compassionate when she expresses FEELINGS by putting  her arms around him when all he wants is her to bring him a hot meal and stop shopping.

Yes, these are stereotypes but substitute what you “do” to show compassion and you can teach yourself how to match your partners experience to you intention.  Just do what your partner wants instead of what you want.  Fill out the blanks to figure it out.

  • When I show compassion I (behavior)________________ therefore that’s what I want from my partner.
  • When my partner shows compassion he/she (behavior)______________________therefore that’s what he/she wants in return.

Almost to a fault you can believe that whatever one person DOES to show their compassion is precisely what they WANT in return.

4. The easiest way to teach compassion is to put the individual in situations with people less fortunate.  World travel, volunteering, support groups, charitable work are all ways of finding compassion.  Internet chat rooms and forums play similar roles.  (I am not yet convinced that having some kind of direct contact is still not the best way to develop compassion but technology has given us the way of behaving compassionately at a distance.)

After compassion is LOVE.

Can you teach love?

Joshua & Sonny Ray The Dog

Sonny Ray

On the sidewalk directly in front of Daru and me at the outdoor cafe where we were eating was a man and a dog.

The dog wore sunglasses.  The man wore a smile.  The dog lay on the sidewalk, barely moving other than to yawn, scratch or shift.  The man never stopped moving.  The dog never barked.  The man talked to everyone who passed.

I couldn’t resist taking pictures of what I saw.  I couldn’t resist talking to the man.  Here’s Joshua Reyes’ own words.

“Hi Judith, glad u wrote back.

My mission in my life is help, heal, find, save, and give back with my boy Sonny Ray.

Sonny Ray is a misunderstood breed but yet spreading the Best Free Medicine ( Laughter ). He changes people lives, he heals people at hospitals, changes the perspective of [Pit Bulls].

I wrote my first autobiography which is DOGUMANTRY– Together, as one the only thing in life, we could all do ( including our pets ) is TRY to help,  heal, find, save, and give-back. I also wrote a cartoon book called ” Best Friends “the story of how Sonny Ray and I met.


Since Sonny Ray is becoming a Celebrity Dog i have asked “Lange Foundation” an Animal Shelter to provide me with volunteers. 

Sonny Ray & I are here to help. I have made Head-shots of Sonny Ray with his real paw stamp. People will donate towards Lange by taking a headshot of Sonny Ray. I will giving 20% of whatever we make at the end of the day. At the end of the night it’s Sonny Ray helping other dogs which i think is pretty cool. I will be at the (Santa Monica) promenade from Thursday-Sunday 12 pm to Sunset.

Judith, A Pit-Bull changed my life and it’s my purpose and destiny to Help. I feel it’s my duty to change the Pit-Bull world.

While we are living i won’t give up on something that I know I CAN change.

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Josh’s story about his own adoption and how he adopted Sonny Ray plus video of Sunny Ray can be found on Sonny Ray’s web-site.

Max isn’t the only one with his own site!