As many of you know, besides being a bit of a political junkie (though I am working on that), I am also a huge animal lover. I always have been. When I was a kid, my idol was St Francis. I’m not kidding. I wanted to have birds light on my hand, and have animals come to me, kind of like Snow White in those Disney movies.
Anyway, I love animals, and have frequently been asked why I didn’t become a veterinarian instead of a minister.I was called to ministry, so there is that, but honestly, even though I am deeply, deeply grateful to the vets who have been there for us and our beloved family members, the thought of having to put an animal to sleep is just too much for me. I know it is a gift, and a blessing, I just knew I couldn’t do it.
But speaking of St. Francis, I have to share with you a statue of St. Francis that is my all-tome favorite. I met the sculptor years ago when I became friends with his daughter at a convent in Upstate New York She was a nun at the time, and I was testing my vocation. She ended up leaving the order and moved back to her home town of Atlanta. I visited one time, and got to meet her family, including her father, Julian Harris, who also sculpted Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Medal.
Anyway, my friend gave me a postcard with a photo of the statue on it. Years later, I was walking through Brookgreen Gardens, the largest outdoor sculpture museum in the country, located in Pawley’s Island, SC, and was telling my friend about the statue. I turned a corner and said, “And there it is!” I had been going to Brookgreen ever since I was a child. I had not been there for a few years, and had no idea it was there. Here it is:
Isn’t that beautiful? It is just something about those flowing lines that really speaks to me.
Anyway, so back to animals. Y’all know I am horse-crazy in a big fashion, and crazy about my handsome almost 36 year old Thoroughbred, Jordan. He’s dreamy, what can I tell you? Isn’t it hard to believe how old he is? Such a handsome boy (and he is 16.2hh, for those keeping score).
Being able to have Jordan, after having to give up riding when I was a teenager because of my knees, is a dream come true. Grooming him and spending time with him is better than therapy. Seriously. Like Winston Churchill said:
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
So, so true…
But as much as I love horses, I think Michael Blowen of Old Friends Equine Retirement might have me beat – maybe – but just by a short nose. CNN did a report on Blowen and the wonderful Old Friends just this week (you may recall I made a pilgrimage there a couple of years ago):
I totally understand how Blowen feels. And this retirement home is just a beautiful, beautiful, quintessential Kentucky horse farm, with the horses having beautiful pastures of bluegrass. They are well cared for there, doted on, even, and have a wonderful home to live out the rest of their days. No doubt, it is a labor of love.
So yeah, I get Blowen’s reaction completely. I can’t see a photo of Zenyatta on her Facebook page without having my breath taken away at her beauty. In fact, I just ordered my Christmas Present from her shop, telling Suzy this was the only thing I wanted (I already got a mug with her on it and a sticker – the proceeds of those items went to rehab Thoroughbreds, so it was for a very good cause. AND buying the sticker put me in a drawing to be able to meet the Queen.). Here is the photo I am getting:
Oh, my, right?? What a beauty. As you can see, it is signed by her owners, Jerry and Anne Moss, her trainer, John Shireffs, and her jockey, the Hall of Famer, Mike Smith. Cannot wait to put it in pride of place at the new digs…
But horses are just one of the magical creatures that inhabit our beautiful planet. And since we are now entering into the Christmas season, I have to share with you an incredible photo taken by a teacher on vacation in Sweden. I think I would have come to a screeching halt too had I seen this sight (h/t my pet sitters):
How amazing is THAT? It is an albino reindeer! The photographer had this to say:
[…] “In the pack there was only one white reindeer, it is not that often you see one.For the Sami people, the white reindeer have special significance – I think they bring luck and are considered holy.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)
Indeed – I can see both being the case – lucky and holy. It is certainly stunning, no doubt about that.
It is a wonderful, magical world in which we live, with an amazing array of creatures “great and small.”
What better way to close out a post on the amazing magical creation we call home than the Top 10 Amazing Facts About this planet:
Just incredible, right?? It truly is an amazing, magical, and even holy place on which we live.
Feel free to share what you find to be amazing about this planet, your favorite animals, or whatever else is on your minds. This is the Weekend Open Thread.