The Dead Rooster

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

In shock and dismay I yelled, “You just killed my mom’s favorite rooster!”

I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced a moment when something went wrong and left you feeling heartbroken, numb, and searching for an explanation—a “what just happened?” moment. My mother, Theresa, as you may have read before, loved animals. She was particularly fond of one rooster. I could understand the love she had for that bird because I watched her raise it from a chick. It befriended her and would follow her around much like a pet dog would. He was black and red with shimmering, brightly colored tail feathers. He also had a bad attitude. I was afraid of that rooster. There had been several times while I was in my wheelchair that he would sneak up from behind and spur the back of the chair.

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One day I was in my yard next door to Mom’s working with a young man named Hal. As Hal went about his business, unbeknownst to him the rooster had approached. Mom’s wild bird went into attack mode and began scratching him mercilessly. I hate to say it, but it was hilarious to watch Hal flail and scream like a girl. As a means of protection, Hal picked up a small stone and threw it in the direction of the ferocious rooster. It hit him square in the head and he fell over.

Dead! My mom’s beloved rooster was dead and I was responsible. Hal tried unsuccessfully to revive the bird, doing everything except mouth-to-beak resuscitation. Nothing worked and I accepted the blame. I had Hal place the rooster in a nice box and we went next door to break the news to Mom. As expected, she broke into tears and cradled the bird in her arms. I was surprised by the love she had for that little creature. The next day Hal arrived with a tiny, new rooster chick to console my mother and alleviate his guilt. It worked–my mom was in love again.

I believe there is still a cross that stands where the rooster is buried. The memory of that day remains so vivid. Although he was not too fond of me, I do miss that bird. So, here I am 28 years later painting a rooster because of this story and the adoration I see others have for their chickens. Accidents are unavoidable in life. All you can do is do your best to make it right, admit to your shortcomings, realize that you are human, and with that will come forgiveness. The rooster will live on.

To your inspiration,

Ron

The “Ping” in my Eye

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

“I heard the ping,” said my surgeon as she cut the stitch deep inside my eye.

It has been three weeks since my two hour eye surgery, however, my memory is very clear and crisp from that day. I had been conscious during the operation with my eyes open, but thanks to pre-procedure medication I was hardly bothered. They could have cut off my leg and slapped me with it and I wouldn’t have been the wiser. This week I had to return because my vision had not yet recovered.

My head was strapped down to impede any unwanted movement. I gazed intently into the fuzzy red glow coming from the laser machine. It felt very awkward to be restrained in such a way, particularly with the strap around my chest to keep me in my chair, but it was necessary to focus the laser beam on the back of my eye. I wondered how long it will take as my surgeon said, “hold your breath.” Suddenly there was a “pop” inside my eye. She stopped and asked, “Did you hear the ping? That’s the sound of the laser cutting the suture.” I had more than 200 stitches in my eye and some of them had been pulling tight. “It’s making your eyeball shaped more like an egg than a sphere and the tension is causing your vision to blur.”

As I tipped my bowl of coffee to my mouth first thing this morning, I realized what a blessing it was not only to still have my eyesight, but also to have people in my life that I can trust. You can imagine, there is great anxiety related to putting your vision (and livelihood, for that matter) in the hands of a surgeon. We put our faith and confidence in people everyday sometimes without doing a little investigating beforehand. As a result, we may find ourselves in a compromising situation which creates a fear and a possible lack of trust.

The eye is a vital organ and as a quadriplegic mouth-painter I rely very heavily on my vision and spend much of my time only 10 inches from my canvas. I would not have given my eyes to just anyone. I did my research on Dr. Edmunds and only could find good things. Thanks to her, my glaucoma is beginning to dissipate and my eyes are healing nicely.

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I am reminded of all those who assist me and I want to thank my friends, who support what I do and pray for me, especially those who feed me and get me in and out of bed. I am grateful for all the people whom I can trust; that are reliable and dedicated to doing their best. Yet, I also offer grace to those who have let me down, for God knows how many people I have let down.

Let’s take a moment together to reflect on the people we trust. People who are faithful, trustworthy, and supportive. Let’s show them an attitude of gratitude because their life makes the “ping!” Like a bullet striking the target or a laser cutting the stitch–it’s the ping that makes the difference.

To your inspiration,

Ron

Resilience

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

As I worked on my newest painting, I couldn’t help but admire the adaptability and resilience of the emperor penguin. They spend their lives in frigid temperatures, traveling as much as 300 miles from their colony in search of food, watching carefully for predators. Despite this, they manage to thrive, raise their young, and even seem to have moments of happiness.

Webster’s Dictionary defines “resilience” as “an ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.” The emperor penguin certainly experiences setbacks and hardships, but is able to adjust. Whether it be a drastic dip in temperature, losing a chick, or being unable to find food close by, they continue to fight for survival and press onward.

Click here to view my newest painting and hear a short motivational message:

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To your inspiration,

Ron

Getting on my Feet

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

As I sit painting a picture representing the bond between a parent and a child, I was reminded of my own childhood. Although my parents fought a lot I still felt the stability of our family. It was their encouragement, love and support that gave me the tools to become successful as a quadriplegic.

As a speaker for public schools, I have encountered many young people and their struggles. I have found that instability at home (if they even have a home) is the number one contributor to poor self-esteem and negative attitude. None of the young people I’ve spoken with have ever said, “I can’t stand the fact that I have loving parents who support and nurture me.”

You may have a different story, but my encouragement comes through the face of the baby giraffe who has just learned to support itself on its four wobbly legs. The eyes reflect “I can do anything. Today I believe I can run, jump, and play.”

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Through my blogs I hope to be the nudge, the word, the brother that says “Yes, you can reach out and take on your challenges. You are supported.”

May the picture inspire you to nudge, support and show tenderness.

To your inspiration,

Ron

Happy Easter–He Has Risen

Happy Easter–He Has Risen!

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

Memories of Easter egg hunts, spring chicks, and tulips flood my mind as I recall Easters of the past. One particular Easter stands out from the rest. That morning my dad woke me up at sunrise to take a hike to the top of a nearby hill where a few rugged crosses stood. He told me many people had made the trek just to witness the sign of Christ. I murmured under my breath, “I won’t be one of them; this is too early for me.”

Exhausted from the climb, we sat on two rocks and gazed across the eastern sky; it was a powerful and breathtaking moment. As the sun moved through the sky, the shadows cast by the crosses moved across the two of us. I must say, without ever experiencing the Gotha in Israel where Christ actually died, this was intense. Another gentleman who had accompanied us closed our time by reading a portion of the Bible that spoke of Jesus’ resurrection. “He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matthew 28:6

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I recalled the pastor once saying, “We still have an empty tomb and either Christ was a liar, lunatic, or He was the risen Lord.” My faith was restored and I, now as a quadriplegic, look forward to my own new body in Heaven.

A new life, for the most part, is greatly celebrated: babies, buds on trees, hatching chicks, wobbly new calves, spring flowers. They all energize me at this time of year, even more so with the early spring that we are having here in Oregon. I wonder, as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and new life, that we could focus on the future and put the past behind us. Take a breath of fresh air and the excitement it brings.

Face tomorrow without regrets. As the pain and the sorrow may have lasted through the night, the joy came in the morning. Let’s rise up and take our new day with youthful courage, vitality and a fresh perspective. I hope you enjoyed the spring chick I painted as well as the three wooden crosses. May you and your family have a most glorious Easter.

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To your inspiration,

Ron