Sunday, December 25, 2011

Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

My Dear Gentle Reader, 

Yes, I wrote something called the 2nd year, but it’s Christmas and I’m remembering the Christmas letters that my family used to send out with all the news.  I was not as appreciative of them as perhaps I could have been.  Anyway, they inspired me to write this and share with you a few photographs that you may not have seen.
Do you know this was taken? 
I have spent the entire year as a long term volunteer with Save Elephant Foundation (formerly called Elephant Nature Foundation).  I have learned more about me and about positive relationships than I thought possible.  I have adopted the founder, Sangduen “Lek” Chialert as one of my spiritual teachers and I think she is doing a fabulous job!  There is no formal lessons given or anything like that.  People come into the picture and do what they do.  I simply observe how Lek reacts.  She always takes the high road.  To say I have received Abundant Blessings would be a gross understatement. 
Lek inspecting the flood situation 
I am in a loving supportive relationship with my partner Maliwan.  For two years this woman has put up with me.  We actually met on American Thanksgiving Day 2009. The last day of this year will be spent with her parents discussing wedding plans.
Maliwan and her son Gun
In late January – early February we went on a whirlwind trip that took us to Laos and then to several parts of Thailand.   You can go back and read some of the posts if you missed them.  We had a wonderful time.
On the boat to Luang Prabong

River Scene
In late July – early August I went back to the States for a brief visit.  I had the pleasure of going to Lego land with my 5 year old grandson and his mom and dad, spending a bit of time with my California relatives and then a couple days with my niece Kate and her family in Colorado. 
Andy at Lego Land
Kate & the tribe at Rocky Mountain National Park
The first of October we moved to Chiang Mai.  The pace has quickened.  This city has a lot going on and I am within a comfortable walking distance of the SEF office.  The proximity has allowed me the opportunity to get more involved.  Because I was in Chiang Mai at the right moment I had the opportunity to go with the SEF people when they rescued Pang Pornsawan.  I swear that elephant and I immediately ‘clicked’.  She teaches me patience, tolerance and most of all compassion.  Maybe one day I’ll write a whole short story or something about our relationship. Today, the story is a long way from being finished.
A recent visit with Pang Pornsawan
I had the opportunity to spend a day on the truck rescuing and feeding dogs in Bangkok.  I am awe struck by the dedication of the volunteers, the acceptance and serenity of the people effected by this travesty.
Safe and on their way to a better life! 

Stranded on a roof, we can only feed this one.  He's in a panic
My Art Sale Event to help Pang Pornsawan has also taught me a few valuable lessons.  Timing is everything and the event was trumped by the floods in Bangkok.  It’s hard to ask the world to help one elephant when there are thousands of people and their animals trying to survive in a huge flood zone!  

Flood Dogs Reality! 
We moved the date of Pang Pornsawan's Art Sale Event to the 21st of January and expect a good turnout and are still accepting art work. You can read all about it, and even help by going to the website.
The Chiang Mai Poster for the Pang Porsawan Art Sale Event
The last two months of the year has been spent largely with what I am calling the “Mubu Products Project”.  At the moment that includes two finished books, both authored by Peter Alexander with illustrations by Sergio Paulo.  This is a great project for me because the books contain marvelous examples for children all over the world.  They are based on the childhood of Sangduen “Lek” Chailert.  Check out the website at www.mubustoriescom    We also have a Facebook Page, please go and like The Mubu Book Series - "The Little Girl Who Made a Big Difference". 

Magazine Ad, not the version that was chosen

Last night Maliwan and I were guests at the annual Elephant Nature Park Christmas Party.  It was fabulous.  Different groups put on different ‘shows’.  My two favorites were the mahouts doing a traditional bamboo stick dance, and Darricks family serenading Lek and Darrick with their own re-writes of the 12 days of Christmas. 12 ele’s, 11 pachyderms, 10 thousand acres, 9 dog cages, 8 buffalo…… and a moon bear in a tree.
Christmas is Love! 
I hope your Christmas Holidays are everything you wished and that your new year brings you everything you so richly deserve.

Abundant Blessings, 

Monday, December 05, 2011

A Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa Clause,

Yes!  I still believe in you and I believe in lots of other mystical magical things as well.  You well know that in life there are givers and takers. Knowing there is more joy in giving than in receiving, knowing that givers gain and knowing that we are all a part of a greater good, I’ve learned to be very careful about asking.  Self promotion has not served me well in the past, so I’ll ask you to decide if I’ve been good or bad this year.
I believe in sunsets and they are definitely magic! 
If I’ve been bad, please refrain from putting coal in my stocking; it leaves a bad carbon footprint and just isn’t useful.  I big plop of elephant dung would send the message, and I could use it for organic fertilizer!

If I’ve been good please just make a donation to the Save Elephant Foundation (SEF).   It’s really easy.  Just go to and donate.  While you are there be sure to designate the donation for Save Elephant Foundation, and maybe even send them a short email.  Did you know that the Serengeti Foundation makes sure that 100% of your gift goes to the cause of your choice?   May I tell you why I make this Christmas request?   There are many reasons:

Save Elephant Foundation (SEF) operates the Elephant Nature Park (ENP) which is home to 36 elephants who have been rescued.  These elephants eat a lot of fruit and veggies; require medical care and lots of other expensive stuff.
Hanging out at ENP
SEF rescues elephants that are in terrible condition and gives them the best life possible.   I have already told you about Pang Pornsawan but this letter isn’t about her specifically.
My introduction to Pang Pornsawan
SEF supports the elephant community in the Surin area of Thailand.  Recently, at the Thailand’s famous Surin Elephant Festival, SEF sponsored a healthy elephant contest as a way of encouraging the best care possible of the elephants.
First Place Winner - Healthy Elephant Contest
SEF has been very involved in the rescue of dog, cats and other animals from the devastating floods in the areas surrounding Bangkok.  This has been an expensive proposition that has been undertaken with just one concern. How can we best help the animals in trouble?  Some people are stranded with their pets. The SEF team brings them food.  Often the dogs are in too much of a panic to approach, so the team just feeds them where they are.
SEF Dog Rescue Team at an apartment complex
If you take the time and trouble to make a small donation it will help.
Flood dog finds food thrown to him by SEF rescue team
Are you going to pay income taxes for 2011?   Would a charitable contribution help lower your tax payment?   Well you should know that the Serengeti Foundation is a registered 501c non-profit.  Donating through them means you have helped SEF and it means that you have taken control of how some of your hard earned money is to be used.

Abundant Blessings to you and Thank you!