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Colored Sand

This past weekend I visited my family in South Carolina to celebrate my Dad’s 75th birthday. It was one of those trips where you re-connect with family, friends, and many people you have not seen in years. One of my best friends in the world joined us because we met during our first year in college so she knows my family very well. She and I started out as sorority sisters, then became roommates, and over the years have traveled the world together, been through her divorce, the birth of her son, my crazy career moves, death, and much more.

Driving in the car together she shared with me that she and her 11 year son had attended an event in her hometown the day before. Buddhists were in town to create what’s called a Mandala at the Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, SC.
sandmandala-1

The Buddhists spent days meticulously creating the work of art with colored sand. They often meditate while doing it and visitors can watch the creation come to life. I had seen this done before in North Carolina years ago. I always thought it was incredible.

While that was cool, what she shared with me next made me stop and think. After the Buddhists create the Mandala, they destroy it. You may ask “Why would they do that to something so beautiful? Why would they destroy something they have invested so much time into?”

Since reading the explanation and seeing the picture below, (click on picture to enlarge) my friend and I are applying the principles to many things in our lives. We are looking at relationships, our favorite possessions, even an old sentimental t-shirt she could not let go of even though it was stained beyond repair.

My hope is that you take a minute to look at your life and what you consider your prized possessions, and just for a moment, realize, none of it is ours to own. The people in our lives are there because they want to be. If they leave, you have to let them go. The beautiful objects like jewelry, cars, even golf clubs do not make us happy. It is only a temporary thrill. We will want something else beautiful tomorrow. Letting go of our attachments, living in the now, and accepting that change is inevitable might help us live each day with just a little more gentleness.
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Strut with Us?

When people find out I started Lu Parker Project to help homeless animals and at-risk youth, they often ask “How can I help?” I usually answer by saying simply “Just get involved.” We need volunteers, fundraisers, artists, teachers, animal lovers, party planners, activists, and the list goes on and on…

Today I write asking you to strut your stuff with us at Strut Your Mutt The event will be held Saturday, September 24th at 10a. It is a simple one mile walk that will help us raise the much needed funds we need to keep doing our important work, but it is also a chance for adults, kids and dogs to send a message. We are in this together. The goal: No More Homeless Pets

Joining our DOG PACK and walking with us is simple. Here’s how you do it. If you are ready to commit: Log onto www.strutyourmutt.org
Once there, type Lu Parker Project in the search box at the top right of the page.
Once on our page, click JOIN THIS DOG PACK. Sign up. You can then create your own unique webpage to raise funds with us. 100% of the proceeds go to www.luparkerproject.org

If you prefer to simply donate to our cause, that’s easy too.
Log onto www.strutyourmutt.org
Once there, type Lu Parker in the search box at the top right of the page.
Once on Lu’s page, click SUPPORT ME and give what you can.

Your donation is 100% tax deductible!.

Patrick and Ana here as very very sick babies.


Ana & Patrick are parvo free and have a new forever home together!

Our latest rescue involves two 4 month old puppies that we pulled from South LA Animal shelter. The two puppies came in with parvo because their owners didn’t know to vaccinate them. Parvo is deadly and highly contagious. LPP paid for Patrick and Ana to receive medical attention, and with the help of Brent Air Animal Hospital we were able to save these two beautiful dogs that would have otherwise been euthanized on the spot.

In our effort to reach the youth of Los Angeles, Monkey and I, along with Gabe and David of Animal Wellness Centers visited Bresee Youth Center this month. The teens got a chance to discuss animal welfare issues, and we brainstormed on how they could help reach out to their own community. This is just the beginning of a strong relationship. We dream of reaching more at-risk teens to help educate them about being kind to all animals. That is why your donations are so important.


We brainstormed on how to help the community.

We believe rescuing is important, but we also believe education is key to ending overpopulation. We hope you can help us spread the word….

If you walk with us, feel free to bring your dog or plan to walk a homeless dog! Hope to see you soon!!!!

For more on Lu Parker Project visit: www.luparkerproject.org
For more on Lu and her efforts visit: www.luparker.com

 

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Really?

WATCH MY STORY BY CLICKING HERE

There are few things that shock me, but this information stopped me in my tracks: Each year 70 thousands dogs are tested on in facilities located here in the United States. I am told the preferred breed of dog is the Beagle.

According to Peta and Beagle Freedom Project, the dogs are tested on because of their kind, docile nature. The tests include experimental surgical procedures, toxicology tests, and over the counter drugs. I am also told that most of the dogs are actually bred to be a “lab rat.” They live in a cage their entire lives never seeing the sunshine or stepping on grass, (much like Puppy Mill dogs).

It is legal to test on dogs in the United States, just as it is legal to test on cats, rabbits, primates and rats, but animal activists that I have interviewed and discussed this issue with are fighting back. Their reports claim some of the facilities beat and kick the dogs, and leave them living in deplorable living conditions. In fact, just last week, a North Carolina grand jury indicted four facility workers on 14 felony cruelty to animal charges. It is the first time in U.S. history that workers have faced felony cruelty charges for their treatment of animals in a lab.

There is not much we can do about it. Believe me, I have tried to figure out how this madness could be prevented, but there are choices we can make as consumers. We can make these choices daily, and encourage our friends and family to do the same.

Please learn more and educate others about these practices. Together we can make a difference.

Click here for: GREAT ONLINE GUIDE TO WHAT COMPANIES DO/DON’T TEST ON ANIMALS
Click here for: IPHONE APP/GUIDE

 

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Why a Red Bucket?

A Stallion Named Finbar


It’s a story of love and commitment. Not human to human, rather human to horse. I saw the process up close recently, and cannot seem to shake the thought of what I witnessed.

The horses I met through the non-profit called Red Bucket Equine Rescue, based in Huntington Beach, California all have a story. The majority of those stories are not ones you want to hear. They include abuse, neglect, starvation, even death.

But Susan Peirce, the woman behind Red Bucket tells me she is ready to fix the problem. In the last two years, the group which is 100-percent volunteer has saved 80 horses from slaughter, and has found 32 of them forever homes. Part of their mission is to restore trust in humankind and to find the horses safe, loving homes. They use positive reinforcement, compassion and consistency to bring these horses back to life.

But of course, every group needs our help. Red Bucket Rescue has been told they have to move from their current location. That means they have dozens of horses that need to be moved to a new location nearby that has land, but no shelter. It costs approximately 400 thousand dollars a year to keep the rescue running. The costs add up due to medical bills, shelter, food, and training. Red Bucket needs your help.

For more info on what you or a local business can help out with, please visit Red Bucket Equine Rescue.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE STORY ABOUT Red Bucket Equine Rescue

 

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What a day!!!


I typically write a blog in the early morning hours over a big cup of coffee, but today it’s the opposite. I couldn’t wait to share my day with you.

It started early with a 5am wakeup call to get ready to head to KTLA studios to do a story on a three legged dog named MONTY. This 2 year old is looking for a new home after being shot and left in the desert to die. Please spread his message of courage.

Later in the morning, I headed over to the La Brea Tar Pits for the Best Friends Pet Super Adoption. Monty and his foster met me there and we introduced Monty on stage. I also met a lot of cool people, and ran into lots of my favorite rescue groups and LA City Shelter friends. By the way, Monty wasn’t the only dog at the event with only 3 legs. I saw at least three others.

Once I left the Tar Pits, I headed to the valley to check out World Fest. I had been asked to speak there weeks ago, and thought it sounded like an event I would enjoy. It was. Everything from vege food, to eco-friendly products, rescue groups, live music and dancing. It sort of reminded me of my college days: long skirts, sandles, music, good food, and no worries. World Fest was oozing good vibes.

While I walked around with my dog Monkey, we saw some interesting things including a food booth selling BBQ, but not the kind you are thinking…Ha! As a Southern girl and vegetarian for the last 25 years, I thought, “Now that is interesting!!!” I didn’t stay long enough to taste it. Maybe next time.

Couldn't help but take a picture!

Joey

Then as I am leaving, who do I see but this little guy!!! Are you kidding me? He looks like my dog but a quarter the size. I had to stop. Joey, I am told was run over and didn’t get the proper care to help his hind legs. They are nearly paralyzed completely. In the dog pen, he sort of drags them behind him. I wanted to see him in his wheelchair. Once I did, I fell in love even more. You would too! Joey is a little sweetheart. He’s curious, gentle, and moves pretty dang fast on two legs. I’m not sure what I plan to do with his picture, but I felt compelled to share his story. There are others like Joey at a place called Dharma Rescue. They specialize in helping senior pets and animals with special needs. They seem like angels. Wanna help me find Joey a forever home? If so contact me at www.luparkerproject.org or Email me.

 

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Hunger is a Workaholic

I am sad, and here’s why. Just last week I learned about an alarming statistic. One out of every six children in the U.S. is at risk of hunger. (12.4 million children) I also learned that many students leave school on Friday, and are hungry until they return to school on Monday. There is simply not enough food at home.

Blessingsinabackpack.org is trying to change these numbers. The unique program is simple and designed to feed the elementary children who need help the most. Better test scores, positive behavior, increased attendance, and improved reading skills have all been linked to the success of the program.

Actor Omar Miller, from the CBS show CSI Miami, introduced me to Blessingsinabackpack.org. Fans also know Miller from the films Transformers and Spike Lee’s Miracle on St. Anna. I met up with Miller at a local elementary school in Los Angeles recently, and we both stepped in to help stuff backpacks for over one thousand students. It was an eye-opening experience.

At Normandie Avenue Elementary in Los Angeles, volunteers, parents, and teachers work for hours preparing the bags that are filled with non-perishable items like granola bars, soup, cereal, popcorn, and pudding. Every other Friday the students line up to get their bags. I saw the kids come in with their backpacks open. They were not bashful or ashamed. In fact, they were proud and excited. One teacher even told me she saw one child eating out of the bag soon after getting it, and she said to him “The food is for the weekend.” The child quickly responded, “But I’m hungry now.”

It’s simple. We cannot let our kids go hungry.

Miller agrees, and tells me it is exactly why he got involved. He has also started his own 501c3, The Omar Miller Foundation which takes left over food from television and movie sets, and provides it to needy families.

Blessingsinabackpack.org is currently feeding nearly forty thousand students in thirty-two states, but here in Los Angeles, the program is in only one school in the Los Angeles Unified School District. We can help change that because this program is easy to implement. Parents, teachers, community activists, and corporate supporters are finding they can implement the idea quickly. We just have to take that first step.

Children are our future, and as cliché as that may sound, they need our help and our hearts, and they need it fast. Spread the word.

FACTS:

$80 feeds one child every weekend for the entire school year.

Data shows that hungry children are sick more often and have lower academic achievement.

Over 62% of children in the U.S. Public School system are on the Free or Reduced Meal program.

Hunger makes it difficult for children to pay attention and learn.

With Photographer & Editor Carlos Cortes and Omar Miller

 

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Good Kid in a Mad City

Growing up is hard enough. Imagine having to worry about being shot at while walking the streets of your neighborhood. It was a reality for Kendrick Lamar. Now 23 years old, he’s sharing his story of keeping an upbeat attitude in an often-dark place.

Born and raised in Compton, California, a city where violence, drugs, and gang activity looms, Lamar knows what he must do to make it out. He’s found his voice on the microphone as a hip-hop artist, and people are beginning to listen.

Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, first took notice of Lamar late last year. Rosenberg tipped off rapper Dr. Dre, who gave Lamar a shout-out while on a Los Angeles radio station. Now things are moving fast.

This past January Lamar had his first sold out show at the Key Club in Los Angeles. Dr. Dre has included him on his much anticipated release Detox. Equally impressive, Lamar has landed on the cover of one of music’s most respected magazines, XXL. It’s a sign that the industry is watching and waiting.

Lamar tells me he began singing about his city, his struggles, and his survival at the age of 13. Now years later, he has nearly 300 songs, and must narrow it down to 12 for an album release. When asked which are his favorites, song titles like “The Hard Part 2,” “Cut You Off,” “Average Joe,” and “Faith” roll off his tongue. According to Lamar, all the songs have a message. Whether it’s about the ills of negativity, or the senseless loss of his uncle to prison, Lamar sings with a raw, honest, and sometimes angered voice. Many of his lyrics come from what he’s seen and experienced growing up in Compton.

His parents, who are still married, moved to Los Angeles from Chicago in the 1970’s. Lamar says his dad was always there for him, and admits the tight relationship likely saved his life, and gave him security to fall back on when he pushed the edges and lost focus.

While there has been a big drop in homicides in the city of Compton in the last couple of years, (some say due to better communication between police and residents), Lamar believes it is still not perfect; calling himself “a good kid in a mad city.”

I got a chance to spend the day with the young man who is, by the way, very charming. He and I walked the streets of Compton, visiting the Social Services building where he and his family collected welfare back in the day. We drove by his family’s first apartment, a building where he says he saw drug deals go down on a daily basis. We even stopped by his high school, a place he admits he “actually misses.” I also wanted to see Lamar in the studio. When we arrived, we found a small dark disheveled room in the back of a small house. It has been his place to record for years, and while it is not perfect by any means, sort of like the city of Compton, Kendrick Lamar hopes to help change that with his music.

 

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