How Much is that Kitty in the Window?

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

How much is that kitty in the window? The one with mouth-painted fur.

I must admit that I am an animal lover. Growing up, my mom nearly had a zoo at times: llamas, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, roosters, ducks, turkeys, you name it. My favorite animal has always been a dog. I’ve owned a number of pets, but my most cherished one was a dog named Prissy. When I was a squeaky-voiced 13 year old, she was my best friend. I had rescued her from a friend’s house. I rode home with Prissy in a paper bag swinging from my handlebars. Just me and my new pet. Of course I hadn’t bothered to ask permission; it was one of those “don’t ask, apologize later” situation.

Prissy and I bonded the very first day. She followed me everywhere. We had adventures on the river, bicycle trips through the country, hikes in the forest. We were always together and whenever I wasn’t in sight she was a nervous wreck.

There came a day when I had been feeling down and was anxious to see her. As I jumped off the bus, I knew my dog would be there to pick up my spirits, but she was nowhere to be found. My heart dropped into my stomach. I frantically searched everywhere for her and for the next two days I felt my world had collapsed. I couldn’t eat or sleep—my best friend was gone. On the third day I found her lying in the grass, soaking wet and too weak to move. Something was very wrong. I scooped her up and screamed at the top of my lungs for help. When my mother came outside she could see the desperation on my face and drove me to the veterinarian hospital. Prissy had been poisoned by raw salmon a neighbor used to fertilize their garden.

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I stared into Prissy’s eyes. “Don’t die. You can’t die. You’ll be okay.” As she looked back into my eyes, it was as if she was thanking me for all the memories. I squeezed her against me and told her for the last time that I loved her. Her breathing became rapid and I felt her body go limp. I began to sob uncontrollably; I had never felt such pain. I truly felt as though I was going to die.

I removed the collar that I had made for her from around her neck. For the next few days I carried it around in mourning. Prissy had taught me so much in her short time on this earth. Through her I learned responsibility, selflessness, love, and consideration for another life. I came to understand that life is much more fun if we share it with another living being.

gallery 106

I have cared for many animals since her, but she will always be my favorite. That being said, why am I painting a cat?

The answer is that I am not the only one who loves animals. My little girl, much like her grandmother and father, has a tender heart with much love to give. She also has a favorite animal and you guessed it—it’s a cat. Her name is Dash. I see myself with Prissy every time I see Gracie with Dash. However, all of the love I have for pets cannot be compared to the love I have for my two girls. It is a bond greater than any.

A thought for the day: there’s more than just you to love out there. So what is your excuse?

To your inspiration,

Ron

If you cannot see the video, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uy0voWz1-FA

Sticks and Stones

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

“My son took a gun and put it to his head and pulled the trigger…” I felt my heart nearly jump out of my chest when I heard those words. I could see the raw emotion on her face as she told me her story.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone shared a story that left you speechless, your eyes welling up?

We are truly living in a society where shocking and horrific things have little impact on our emotional wellbeing. We are exposed to violence on a regular basis, whether through movies and television or the news. The media seems to be bent on filling our heads with negativity whenever possible, desensitizing us to the human struggle. However, when you’re faced with a real human it’s difficult to remain numb.

I recently had the opportunity to present to a group of nearly 1100 middle schoolers. The gymnasium was packed to my left, to my right, and with even more kids the floor in front of me. It was loud and busy, but as I rolled to the microphone, the crowd became deafeningly silent. I shared my challenges, my perspective, and my attitude which helped me overcome the odds. I told them how belief in God, myself, and others allowed me to change how I saw the world. I like to call it the ABC’s in Overcoming Limitations. The students laughed, cried and celebrated the victory as I dramatically narrated my life. Hundreds of students passed by my table following the speech, many of them stopping to thank me and share their own struggles.

As I was finishing up a mother approached me. “I wanted to let you know, Mr. Heagy, that your speech empowered me.” I could sense something was on her mind. “My son recently put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He spent months in intensive care and rehabilitation. Even though he has some challenges he now loves life and speaks to kids about bullying and depression. I wish he would have asked for help, at the same time, it changed my son’s life and now he is changing others.” It’s funny how God can turn things around.

I must admit five years ago I faced the demons of depression. Like this young man, I felt helpless and hopeless, particularly because I’m supposed to be the “positive attitude dude.” If you’re struggling with depression or know someone who is, encourage conversation and get help. It’s like traveling into a deep cave; the further you go in the harder it is to find your way out.

As I wrote this, unbeknownst to me, my 10 year old daughter had her first bullying experience. After typing this blog I left to pick her up from school. When I arrived, her sensitive little heart opened up and she tearfully told me that she had been bullied by an older girl. I let her talk and shared in her pain. I asked her what she thought we should do and surprisingly she had the answer. It was not the time for me to be a tough dad, thank God I wasn’t. Her mother and I dealt with the issue right away so that Gracie felt 100% loved, supported, and cherished. Isn’t that what we all need?

You can’t do anything about the past, but we can actively take responsibility for the future.

If you cannot see the video, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m56opBjGfRU

To your inspiration,

Ron

gracie'sbirthday

Remember to love!

Memory of Roses, Mom

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

As far back as I can remember there has not been a place I’ve lived where there were not roses in the garden. Let’s just say, it’s my favorite flower. This fond affection towards this particular flower stemmed from the experiences that I had with my mother. She, too, loved the wonders of its soft, delicate petals balanced against its thorny stems.

I recall, as a child, watching her create lovely bouquets to adorn our dining table. As with any good relationship she took time and care to nurture growth. She carefully pruned, deadheaded, fertilized, and watered her roses, paying careful attention to its needs. She would say, “Roses are like friends. You get out as much as you put in.”

Indeed, it takes time; you don’t just give up on them. Struggles in life are like the seasons to a rose. There is a time when its beauty is brilliant and heavy with perfume, but when the seasons turn they are left to wilt and withdraw. Unfortunately, I have allowed a lot of my relationships to wither and die. I have neglected to nourish them and instead have given little attention and care. Despite this, I desire a vibrant, meaningful experience with another person.

With each stroke of my brush against the canvas, I visualized the perfect rose and once again I was reminded of the wisdom my mother had imparted to me. While my neck became sore from hours of careful attention, a tremendous burst of color played across the canvas creating the radiance of a rose.

It took me nearly 50 hours to paint the roses that I’ve enclosed in this blog. Not a day went by that I didn’t think of my mother and how she would have enjoyed my painting. I miss her probably more than anything else, but then again, I miss a lot of things: relationships, friends, people that I’ve neglected or hurt. I ask myself: is there a friendship I need to attend to? Is there a phone call I should make—a connection long overdue? I must remember that like a rose, friendships or love must be physically nurtured; a connection face-to-face, heart-to-heart.

I ask you to remember, as well, that love involves care, attentiveness, compassion, consideration, forgiveness, time, energy, laughter and tears. Lay your technology aside and tend to your roses. They are waiting for you.

roses

To your inspiration,

Ron

Maui Miracle

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

Brilliant colors burst across the sky as I sat confined to my chair yet mentally free. The Maui sunset; what a spectacular sight to behold! With immense gratitude I thanked God for my eyesight. It was like a rush of creative energy, faith, belief, aloha. It is difficult to restrain the feeling of love you experience in Hawaii.

The older I get, the more I realize how important people are. Friendships are beyond value. I have not only experienced many blessings from time with my friends, but I have also been a lot of places as a result of those friendships. Maui is a prime example.

As most of you know, I had a dream, a vision if you will, of a camp that was fully wheelchair-accessible. In this dream, I saw children of all colors and creeds, disabled and not, hanging out together in the majestic outdoors. There was a wheelchair-accessible tree house that even I was able to enjoy. Children, teens and their families were smiling. They felt connected to one another through nature. Each individual special; disabilities did not prevent anyone from having a good time. Barriers came crashing down and everyone was included. It was like a little piece of heaven, but like any good dream you eventually wake up to face reality. However, with every idea there are creative juices and mine were lit on fire by the desire: “I must see this type of facility being built.”

With years of passion, planning, and the necessary people, kids from four different states streamed into the first fully wheelchair-accessible camp in the state of Oregon. I felt that I had died and gone to heaven. As I watched kids roll into the tree house, fishing from their chairs in a pond full of trout, slowly drifting into the sky in a hot air balloon or smiled as they floated down the pristine waters of the Santiam River, I realized that my dream had come true.

A few weeks later I was sharing this experience to a group of business leaders in Los Angeles. Afterwards, I rolled into a restaurant to grab a bite to eat when I heard a voice speaking my name. I turned to see a lovely Filipino woman who insisted that I have lunch with her. She shared my enthusiasm for life. Her attitude was amazing and her story was riveting. “I grew up in Hawaii where my dad worked in the sugar cane fields. My parents believed in me and encouraged me through the challenges of becoming a professional. I am now a middle school principal.” She went on. “I think your next camp should be in Hawaii.” “You’ve got to be kidding!” I thought to myself. Yet, in a few months I would be sitting in front of over 500 of her students at Iao Middle School in Wailuku, Maui.

During my stay I had the opportunity to visit many incredible places and take in breathtaking sights such as 30 foot waves pounding the north shore and whales plunging into the ocean. There were people in love walking along the sandy beaches, majestic volcanic mountains that penetrated the clouds. This would be an awesome place for anyone to be, but I thought, could you imagine a wheelchair-accessible ocean? To have the ability to float in the soothing salt water and feel the gentle waves lap against you? My dream was not yet complete. I now knew it was necessary to explore the possibilities of a new retreat. I prayed, “God, make this a reality?”

Then, it happened. I met Peter Martin. That story I’ll save for a later blog, but I want to thank Peter now for continuing to believe in giving us an opportunity.

Over the last 10 years we have been working on obtaining the necessary permits in order to proceed with the development of the camp. Last month I spent a week in the most amazing house located right on the ocean with views of two islands and a rear canyon shot of the volcano. Although it was still under construction, Peter wanted me to be the first guest to experience the house. Of course, I graciously complied and am truly grateful for his generosity. I was blown away by the beauty of every minute and am fully inspired to ensure that as many people as possible, particularly children with physical limitations, have a taste of that paradise. To have a place to overcome pain, losses, struggles, and go beyond life’s limitations. A place to dream big. It’s time to build Camp Never Give Up Maui and make the ocean wheelchair-accessible.

maui

Stay tuned for the Maui Miracle and of course, if this is something that interests you, please let us know. I wish you many inspiring sunsets as you begin your new year!

To your inspiration,

Ron

In Time for the Holidays

Hello, Friends,

If you are looking for a unique Christmas gift that is sure to inspire, we have one for you! For the first time ever, Ron is offering original, one-of-a-kind artwork “mouth-painted” on Christmas ornaments. For $60.00 plus S&H you can purchase an ornament with a bird of your choice painted by Ron himself. Be one of the first to own a Ron Heagy original!

To purchase, please contact heagyoffice@gmail.com with your name, address, and what bird you would like to see painted on the ornament. This is on a first come, first served basis. Thank you for understanding; Ron can only handle so many.

ornaments 001