Peaceful Place Post

Peaceful Place Post

Sometimes what we need most is an escape.  After a challenging past few weeks I hope this ‘Peaceful Place’ post will transport you, if only for a minute or so, to a space of peace.

I was mesmerized last week by this video captured by Photographer Maxi Jonas via drone camera of a paddle boarder and southern right whale having a playful moment in Argentina.  Enjoy!

Wishing you peace, love, harmony, community and grace today.
-xo, Kate


be kind . be grace . show compassion




This retired teacher found her passion while birding. Now she’s making it accessible to all

By:  Amy Chillage / CNN

Virginia Rose had just turned 14 when the Arabian horse she was riding took off under a guide fence wire.

“I fell off and broke my back, and I’ve been in a wheelchair ever since,” Rose told CNN.

The accident didn’t stop the enthusiastic teen from engaging in life. She had good friends and parents who didn’t let her feel sorry for herself.

She went to college and became an English teacher. “It was never expected that I would not continue living fully.”

Not until her forties did she realize something had been missing in her life.

Rose’s younger sister was an avid birdwatcher and suggested the hobby to her retired big sister. So binoculars in hand, Virginia headed outside her Austin, Texas home. It changed her life.

“I’d never experienced that kind of happiness before. Birding has provided me a way to be outside.”

She felt empowered using her manual wheelchair to explore parks she never knew about, getting exercise and peace of mind.

“I found my best self in nature.”

Looking skyward and into the treetops, she began identifying birds and their intricate songs from guidebooks and online apps.

“I was so satisfied spending three and four hours birding every time I went out. It really forces you to be in the present,” Rose said. “I feel like for years prior I was always looking elsewhere for that happiness in other people but not nature.”

She got involved in her local Audubon Society in Travis County, Texas. She took birding classes, joined them on outings, discovering she was the only one in a wheelchair. She’d call the team leaders the night before outings to anticipate any terrain challenges. Rose thrived, becoming a master birder by completing a rigorous course in bird identification, ecology and conservation– and leading outings herself.

Rose began thinking about mobility-challenged people who weren’t getting outside and into nature. About 30 million adults in the US — that’s one in seven — have mobility challenges serious enough to impact major life activities.

“I wanted them to have the same joy and the same empowerment that I had.”

But negotiating the outdoors can be challenging. Rose has 48 years of experience in a manual wheelchair and even she’s had obstacles birding. “Sand is impossible. Gravel is impossible. We’re talking about slopes and grades that a walking person may have no understanding of at all.”

In 2015, she began to rate local trails for Travis Audubon. “I was able to identify about 30 accessible trails and if not the entire trails, then portions that we could do.”

Rose presented her findings during a National Audubon Society convention. Some map designers in the audience approached her after her presentation.

Together they developed an interactive map where anyone can use a survey to rate their local trails, parks or birding patches. The survey gives multiple access considerations, including parking and bathrooms, slopes, gates and ground cover.

Once a site is submitted, that site location is pinned to the map for all to see. The considerations have expanded to include those who are blind or have low vision or those who are deaf or hard of hearing– even those Rose described as having “grumpy knees” who are looking for a “gentler birding experience.”

She founded the nonprofit group “Birdability” with the mission, Rose said, “to help everybody who has access limitations be able to enjoy birding.”

So far, the group has mapped out over 500 birding sites along with their accessibility scores, across the country and a few internationally.

Anyone can participate in Birdability and even become Birdability captains. They hold meetings to stay on mission and have fun.

“We have almost 40 and the captains just go crazy talking to each other. These are people they’ve never otherwise seen. I feel like I’ve just become part of a new important community.”

On a recent outing near Austin, Rose pointed at a flock of gulls that had filled the sky with their bleating. She cried out as she counted them “10, 20, 30, 40! Look they’re swinging back around.” Her joy was palpable.

“Every single time you go birding there is something you would never have thought you would see,” said Rose. “I think it’s really important to have a mystery to look forward to every day.”

be kind . be grace . share your talents


Meeting Gene Again

Meeting Gene Again

91-year-old man with dementia bonds with kids across the street

Steve Hartman / CBS Sunday Morning

Gene McGehee couldn’t believe his good fortune. When the 91-year-old stepped outside his house in Vidalia, Louisiana, this week, he discovered a bunch of kids from the daycare across the street who were willing and wanting to include him in their fun.

McGehee also met the daycare teacher, Megan Nunez, and asked her for her name. “Every day I cross the street and we meet again,” Megan said. 

Again – and again — every day for 3 years now, Gene has been meeting Megan for what he thinks to be the very first time. Gene has severe dementia, and can barely remember his own face.

His daughter Cathy says he also suffered from loneliness — until those daycare kids came into his life.

“Oh my goodness, they have been such a blessing to daddy. And he lights up,” Cathy said. 

Be Kind . Be Grace . Hold Space for Each Other


Providing a Sanctuary for Unwanted Dogs

Providing a Sanctuary for Unwanted Dogs

Welcome to Dog Paradise

Great Big Story / Story Link 

In the mountains of Costa Rica, there is a place where all dogs are welcome. Territorio de Zaguates is an old farm that has been turned into a lush canine sanctuary. With more than 700 adoptable dogs, you’ll be sure to find a best friend here.

Territorio de Zaguates Mission Statement:
Our mission is to provide a home to all the dogs we take care of. We are a temporal shelter for hundreds of doggies seeking a second opportunity, and also a permanent home for others that probably will never find a family.

Peaceful Places ~ Lily Pond at Sacred Space

Peaceful Places ~ Lily Pond at Sacred Space

One place that embodies peace for me is Sacred Space in Summerland, California. Owners Jack and Rose are the beautiful souls who manifested their vision in this space and lovingly have shared this oasis with visitors to enjoy. Sacred Space is a store filled with spiritual and exotic treasures and a lush garden. When you go allow yourself enough time to absorb the peace that permeates every crack and crevice of this locale and be sure to accept the free tea service offered in their beautiful raised huts nestled within their garden and aside this lily pond. Heaven on Earth.

Sacred Space
2594 Lillie Ave, Summerland, CA 93067
(805) 565-5535


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