Sunday, April 29, 2012

Looking Down

When life has you looking down sometimes there's                                                a shiny penny there looking back up at you...
Why does society see the act of looking down as being such a "bad thing"?  I find I am actually often looking down, but not for the reasons you might think. Instead I am looking for a shiny penny, head's up of course.  I usually see them once or twice a day.  I can spot them from across the room.  I have no pride in it either.  I will just march my little butt right over in front of someone like a little kid and exclaim, "Ah-ha! I found a head's-up penny!"  I call them my "record deal pennies".  Everytime I find one that is head's up, I pick it up, squeeze it, close my eyes and make the same wish, "for a record deal."  Then I slide it in my pocket and take it home and plop it into my special mug where I collect them.
Okay, I know some of you might be shocked to learn that the Greek Girl doesn't have a record deal just yet, trust me I ask myself why too.  But really, I know it will happen one day soon.  It's not like I'm not trying and just wishing on pennies either.  It's a lot of hard work to get signed these days.  However it is all the more reason you would think someone like me who hasn't given up in over 20 years to achieve their dream would be looking down.  Cuz trust me it's hard and there are days where I am looking down and feeling a bit in the dumps that I haven't achieved my dream yet.
We all go through life with someone telling us from time-to-time to "keep your chin up" or to see the "brighter side of things" or that "every cloud has a silver lining."  Now that's all good and true but why don't people ever tell you to look down?  Don't get me wrong, I took psychology 101 and 102 in college and I did learn a thing or two about this kind of question.  So don't think the blonde is setting in that bad,  not yet anyway.
Sometimes looking down has it's benefits.  For instance here's a true story.  Some time ago I was down because we were down to our last $20 and had no way to pay our $186 phone-bill that was due in 2 days.  We were out and about trying to get some things done, and figure out how I was going to pay that bill.  I happened to be looking down both emotionally and literally when I found not one but Two Crisp $100 bills folded up right out in front of me on the floor.  Had I not been looking down I wouldn't have had the money to pay my bill.  So sometimes if you don't look down you will trip and fall, step on a nail or a broken stair, not to mention you can't check out your cute new sneakers while you're walking nor find that $200 bucks.  Either way you have to look down especially if you are like me and there is ever a reason to ~ it's that with 4 fur-babies around you never know what you might step into.... Just sayin'.
You know, it's times like that when I feel down and I do look down and feel no sense of hope that I find some of the most valuable things.  It's when I feel that way I find my inner voice that reminds me why I do what I do.  I find my sweethearts hands taking mine and his arms wrapping around me holding me tight.  It's in those moment he's letting me know I am not alone and that I will be everything God made me to be.
It's in those moments that we are looking down where we are challenged by God to actually turn to Him and to take in that deep breath and say, "I can't do it on my own anymore.  I have to trust you God." Then we exhale and in that moment our eyes can be cast up to Him and say the most powerful prayer we can ever pray, "Thank You."  Then we are looking up.  But we are not looking up not because of our own success, it's because of our reminder of God's loving grace and that He is bigger than any problem we face.
So next time you are feeling down in the dumps or you feel like life has thrown you a curve ball and you don't feel like looking up but rather looking down, do like me and try to find that still and small voice inside.  Sometimes in those moments God is trying to do something in you or through you.  See the cool thing about God is that He knows us better than we even know ourselves and He knows what is best for us.  Sometimes He has to put us in an emotional place just so we can be challenged and forced to grow.  Even more than that He wants and needs us to be looking down so we can see He has been there holding us up the whole time, in the palm of His hands and put the $200 you need right in your path so you can in that moment realize, "not by my might but by God's can this be done."
Blessings, Love & Music~
Ava xo

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thou Shalt Not Judge

Lest you be judged with the same measure you use...
We all do it.  The minute we walk into a store, friends home, a new restaurant, the DMV, we are judging.  Sometimes we're doing it before we even get inside.  We even judge the road that we traveled down to get to the place.  The crazy thing is we have no idea if when we get inside if we'll like it, but we go just the same.  Once inside it's the smell, the squeak of the door, the dust in the air, the flourescent lights or the people in line or the even linens on the table.  In nano-seconds we are immediately emersed in the emotional battle of determining if it's safe, if it's clean, if we like it or don't and so on.
Why do we do this?  Why do we judge?  The bible warns us and even tells us not to do it.  In certain situations though we have no choice.  We have to judge whether what we are about to engage in or who we will encounter will end up being a good or bad experience.  If we don't we can end up in a really bad situation or choosing to engage in a bad choice. Kind of like I did when I ordered from the "picture" in the menu and later learned the small print below read, "images not of actual food." ;D
So what do we do about it?  Can we change this behavior? Should we change it or just alter it slightly?  Maybe in life when we see a situation or are faced with circumstances we may not have full knowledge of we should step back and evaluate.  Learn to take everything in before we make a full judgement.  I know it's a radical idea.  But we don't. We are creatures of habbit.  Instead, we keep on judging and jumping to conclusions.  We automatically assume the worst and hope for the best or expect the best and can be drastically let down.
It's kind of like what is going on everyday in society.  Take for instance the Trayvon Martin case.  If you don't know what I am talking about you are either my sister who doesn't watch TV or you are sitting with my other sister who doesn't have a TV.  (Not sure why she doesn't have a TV either.) Regardless, the Trayvon Martin case as devistating as it is, has been so unfortunately blown out of proportion and due to this very issue.
It is a terrible tragedy that Trayvon lost his life that night and that his family lost their child.  However, what no-one is considering is what is and has been happening because of this tragedy.  Trayvon was not the only person who lost their life that night.  So did George Zimmerman.
Now, hear the Greek Girl out.  I'm not trying to make light of the situation but there is so much that can be learned here.  Take what Spike Lee did that endangered the lives of other innocent people not involved in the case by recklessly tweeting the wrong address for the "Zimmerman family".  Causing a totally innocent family to flee for their lives and be erroneously hunted down.
The amount of hate being spewed by the Black Panthers & political activists who aim to cause division in our streets rather than address the crimes in the streets amongst what they call, "their own people".  So much to the point that they even put out a "bounty" on the head of not only him, but his family?... Seriously?  First off isn't that a crime to put out a murder for hire in public no less?  Hello what are we living in the dark ages in a middle eastern village for Goodness sake? Good grief what's next a public stoning?  Sorry, but check me if I am wrong, but aren't we all "God's" people? All of us, black, white, green, yellow, blue, purple, we are "people".  Why isn't this being viewed as a terrible tragedy that two "human beings" were engaged in?  No one knows what happened, because none of us were there.
I can not imagine that God is happy with this situation.  However, in light of it all God can bring something wonderful out of this tragedy.  He always does.  His word says, "All things work together for the glory of God for those who are called to his purpose."  Yet instead of trying to use this tragedy as a way of bringing people together, the very opposite is happening.
A judgement that was fueled out of hatred and a deep desire to stir up strife for political and monetary gain.  Gain for the usual suspect race baiters...  Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, the Black Panthers, and so on.  Every single day in our country there are young blacks killing other blacks, whites killing whites, and even blacks killing whites, which are all tragedies.  Yet they don't make the headlines because there is no political or monetary gain.
After months of hate, hate mongering, race baiting, discourse in the streets and downright disgusting behavior, it appears that a lot of information is coming to light in this case.  The bottom line is, no one knows what happened, period. We can assume, we can judge, but at the end of the day, no one but George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin and God know.  Personally I think it is best to leave it in his capable hands, and in the hands of the Justice System.
A person lost his life, a human being, one of God's wonderfully made creations ~ this is a terrible tragedy.  Another is quite possibly about to lose his life, and I for one am not viewing the situation through tinted lenses.  I see two "people" who had a terrible misunderstanding.  I am not going to get dragged into the political mud slinging and muckery.  My thoughts and prayers go out to both of the families involved in this heart wrenching situation.
Blessings ~
Ava xox

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A New Leash on Life

Meet "Rufus", how could anyone turn away this                      gorgeous little Pug Mug?....
Most of you know that I'm crazy about animals.  If there were anything else in the world I would ever want to do besides singing, working out and shopping at Kohl's with my hard earned Kohl's cash it would be an ASPCA Animal Cop of course. My little Greek Coconut might not be at genius level, but it sure doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when a dog or any other animal for that matter is in need.  You may remember a few weeks ago I shared the viral video about "Fiona" and her rescue.  If you don't remember or may have missed it click here to read all about her and watch the heart warming video of her rescue.
Back to this week, let me introduce you to "Rufus".  "Rufus" is a Pug who wandered into a friends yard back in November... How do I know him? Well, I was in Miami last week for a meeting. The people we were meeting with had "Rufus" at their house.  He wandered into their yard, or shall I say got his little piggy body stuck in-between the fence and the bushes. You see their yard backs up to a golf course. So after getting him unstuck and doing everything humanly possible to track down the owner to no avail (including trying to scan his microchip which was never registered - can anyone say dumb owner?) they let him stay.  However because they already have four big dogs of their own, they really wanted to find him a forever home with his own mommy and daddy - so in comes the Greek Girl...
I don't know if it's the invisible flashing neon sign above my head that only animals in need can see, or if it's just something askew in my coconut. Either way my animal chip is hyper sensitive. So it's no surprise that after meeting him, I just could not get his little Pug mug out of my mind. So I set out to find him a new momma. Believe me, if I didn't already have four spoiled rotten furkids of my own, I would be his new momma. However we have a word for that in the Greek language, it's also a show on Animal Planet called "Hoarders". Plus my mom told me that if I brought home another dog for her to watch when I travel there would be a holy Greek Jihad, so I figured it best to just find him a good home. ;D
After posting to my facebook page, I received an email from one of my good friends from high school's little sister. I had totally forgot, that the family had lost their beloved Pug two years ago to a very serious brain disorder called GME. She asked me how old "Rufus" was and if he was potty trained... A few emails, texts and a day later "Rufus" had a new momma. Introducing "Ava's Doggie Transport Service" offering free rides from south Florida to New York. So back down to Miami we went to pick up "Rufus" and start the long treck back to New York. It's a good thing the spoiled furkids did not come on this trip or bringing "Rufus" back might have been just a wee bit more difficult. Especially since he was covered in fleas and ticks. Apparently they say that south Florida is a nightmare for pet owners, even those who use Frontline Plus. Good grief, they sure weren't kidding. We made a pit stop to give him a flea bath, then apply more Frontline and bam we were off.
He did extremely well on the long trip, and even claimed his own co-pilot seat right on the console. By the time we arrived back to Grama's house where the four furkids were being babysat it was 1:30am. Let's just say that the excitement the furkids felt to see their mom & dad quickly turned to horror when they saw us with what - what - what?!?... another dog in tow.  We introduced them, explained to them what was going on, and tucked them all in the for the night.
The next morning "Rufus" was off to the Vet to get all checked out, neutered, heart worm test, shots, ears cleaned, nails trimmed, teeth cleaned, and all set up with more frontline & heart worm preventative. We picked him up that afternoon and he was very happy to see us and took a nice long nap.  He is recovering very well and actually seems to be having a fun time terrorizing the Pekingese's in the Aston house. It seems like the only one of my furkids who does like him is "Itty Bitty" the 4 lb Maltese, go figure.
So in about a week or so, "Rufus" will be going to his new forever home with a very good family and will have a spoiled life. The moral of the story... Well, this is not the first time I have stepped in to save the day for an animal, and I'm sure it will not be the last. I once found a doggie tied to a parking meter screaming in NYC, spent three hours chasing down a doggie running in the streets in Hollywood, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. As long as there are people who do not care for their animals like they should: ie: spay/neuter, register the microchip, give the necessary care/shots/heart worm/flea preventative, all the things that are necessary if you are going to have an animal... I'm sure my "animal in need chip" will continue to beep and I will be off to find them and do whatever is necessary to help.
So many people think "it's just a dog, it's just a cat, it doesn't really matter"... Well, for those people I have one thing to say to you: You are WRONG! Animals are domesticated, they can not survive without us. There are diseases, and danger in the world, they need us. I know times are tough and many people can not afford to care for their animals, but there is always an answer. Many Pet stores offer monthly shot clinics where you can get pets properly vaccinated at a very reduced rate and no office call fee. There are low cost veterinarians, and some Vets even offer reduced or free services to an animal that's a rescue. There are the hero's at organizations like the ASPCA, and the Humane Society who can offer help and information. They even have local offices in some cities around the country. There are also countless other animal rescue organizations in every town that can offer help to anyone in need or looking for information on how to properly care for their animal. There is really No Excuse Ever to not care for your animal.  And.. if you don't the Greek Girl with her super sensitive "animal in need" chip will find you will end up in Greek Girl Jail.
While I'm on my soapbox, I just have one question? Would you dump your kids off in a kill shelter because you had to move? Well is full of heartbreaking stories of animals who had exactly that done to them. One day they wake up in the home they've always known with their people, and the next a cold lonely steel cage on a euthanasia   list. There is No Excuse! When you get an animal you make a commitment to that animal. I don't care what happens in your life, you should honor it and do what is right to care for them. That is why I say "Adopt Don't Shop". Puppy mills are a horrible epidemic.  Shelters across the US are full of loving animals in need of homes. It's easy to find any breed, just go to and enter the info, zip code and wall-a - you have a new buddy.

The only thing animals ever ask in return is love. Animals are pure love.  BTW... did you ever notice that Dog, is GOD spelled backwards... just sayin.
Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava :D xox

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pizza By The Slice

Picture this, last year during Easter week I'm sitting there drinking a hot cup of happiness brewed fresh from my new Keurig machine as I was getting my day going.  The checkbook was balanced, workout was done and I was all ready to start the day. So I'm just sitting there updating my Facebook, googling this and stumbling upon that when all of a sudden Yahoo tells me where to find the country’s best pizza.  All I could think was, “Is it true?  Can the country's best pizza be right here in my own backyard?... 
Just then my iPhone rang snapping me out of my pizza daze and it’s my manager Mr. Bricks.  But this time he’s not calling to ramble on about McRib's being back again.  To my surprise he is actually calling to tell me I need to get my Greek butt in gear because I have an audition in an hour.
Perfect I’m thinking, I’ll slide on by and grab a slice of the country's "best pizza" right after my audition.  So I grabbed my sweetie, laced up my sneakers and together we set out on a mission.  We were super excited.  See when it comes to pizza by the slice it’s something of a tradition or almost a religious experience for us.  In a way it’s like a perpetual Easter Egg hunt.  We go around all over the place searching high and low in every town we travel to, in order to find the best slice.
In my noggin nothing quite compares to a fresh hot slice washed down by an iced cup of happiness followed by a little chocolate treat.  Being that it was right around Easter we were already in the egg-hunt mode and we were off.
So we hurried off to my audition as fast as we could because we were both about to digest our spleens.  I race inside and flash my Greek baby-blues and flip my golden locks.  (Yes I booked it – hello people… Cystex Cranberry).  Then as fast as could be I was back in the car on 21st and 5th ave in NYC.  My sweetie had already entered the location of the Pizza-Joint that was proclaimed to be the “best slice in NY” into his iPhone GPS.  We drove right past what up until then we had considered the best pizza in the city, the one we had always gone to.  We felt a little kick in the heart as though we were about to cheat on them.
We raced uptown on 8th ave, then right on 57th and a quick left into Central Park to cut down on time.  Dodging people on bikes and skates buggies and pigeons we came to 110th street just before stopping outside “Presidential Pizza before making a halting stop and almost ran down a meter maid while doing so.  “What are we getting?” I asked.  Without blinking he said, “The usual.  The only way to truly know if the pizza is as good is to go with a good old fashioned slice of plain.”
I stroll up to the counter, “Give me two slices of plain,” I say.  I was probably bouncing like a little kid in a candy store with a grin from ear to ear as I said it I was so hungry.  Then the man slides me two pieces on some paper plates.  I dab off some of the grease with a napkin so I won’t drip on my outfit or my sneakers.  Then I sprinkle them with oregano just before leaving to join my sweetie waiting in the car.  I hand a slice to him and we both revel for a few seconds in the joy of knowing we are about to eat the holy grail of all pizza.  We both simultaneously chomp down and I'm thinking  “Good Grief - I want to die"… not because it was good but because it was the worst piece of pizza pie I had ever had.  Then about the same time we both say "this pizza is Gross!" It was like chewing on a piece of cardboard.  There wasn't enough sauce, and the cheese was like rubber.  The iced coffee and Cadbury eggs were going to have to save the day, and save the day they did.
The moral of the story... you can't always believe everything you read on the internet.  Sure it was muckery to go on a wild goose chase to eat what in my humble opinion was the worst slice of pizza I have ever had, but at the end of the day if that's the worst thing that happened, I'm doing pretty good.  I'm happy, healthy, I have a sweetie, four fur~babies, and a heavenly father who loves me so much that he sent his only son to die for me.  Yeah, it's Easter Sunday, he is Risen and that means for me - life is pretty darn good.
Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Turning a Blind Eye

It breaks my heart to know she was all alone.                                                   How could anyone walk by a helpless hurting creature and not do something... 
Life, it's the most amazing gift we are all blessed with.  Each and every day we are faced with choices, these choices help define us.  As little or as big as these choices may seem in the little moments, they effect us.  It can be something as simple as if we decide to floss every day or if we will marry that special person or take a chance on a lifelong dream. 
We make hundreds of choices like this every single day.  The question is will we make the right choice when faced with something that otherwise might seem like a burden?  Will we make a choice to assume someone else will take care of that problem?  Or are we going to stop for a moment and realize that sometimes God the maker of all things puts something in our path for a reason, maybe to test us, or to see where our compass is, or how we are going to react when faced with the uncomfortable choices.  Choices like, will I swallow my pride and apologize to that person I held a grudge against when I cross their path two years later.  Or will I offer to walk with an elderly women I don’t even know across a street instead of making it home in time to watch the game.  Or what about when you arrive at a dumpster and find an abandoned dog who is covered in dirt, full of fleas and matted hair.  Will you just turn a blind eye and hope someone else will be inconvenienced or will you take that moment to realize, “this dog is here for me to care for.  This dog is created by God and is suffering.  Maybe God put this dog here so I can care for it and find it a better home.”  Or will you turn a blind eye on this blind dog?
I ask because many of you know the Greek Girl loves & adores animals.  There are very few things that upset me more than to see something so heartbreaking happen to a helpless animal.  Some people argue that they are just animals and it doesn’t matter.  But I have to argue that God made that dog for a reason.  That dog is His creation and the decision to walk by and ignore it is an expression of your character and God sees everything we do.
What are you talking about Greek Girl, that is nonsense?  I am a good person and I just don’t like dogs or am afraid of them.  Someone else who is better suited to care for them will come along and help!  Sorry, but you can’t be more wrong.  It’s like the clerk behind the counter who is working three jobs to support her family and is not smiling because everyone is mean to her.  Then you come up and have a choice to be mean and dismissive or offer her a smile that can brighten her day.  Or the man you are angry with that is in the waiting area allowing his kids to run around crazy may just be oblivious because it’s the only way he can allow his kids to deal with their dying mom in the hospital.  You see things aren't always what they seem, and how we chose to react matters. 
I bring all of this up because I was moved to tears when I learned about Fiona.  Fiona is a sweet and amazing girl.  She is a precious creation of God’s and she was abandoned in a dumpster.  Two amazing people gave their time and money to help her in her time of need.  When they found Fiona she was dark gray and covered in matted hair with a terrible flea infestation.  Not only that but she was 100% blind in both eyes.  Now because two people were willing to be inconvenienced they were able to give this little girl a new life, and a new beginning.  It’s kind of like how God sees us.  He sees us as lost in a dark and cold world.  So He sent his one and only Son to die for us in order to give us life and salvation.  Yet so often so many are left in the wilderness like Fiona, until one day you may come across that lost soul and help bring them up out of life’s dumpster.  The amazing thing is the vet was able to bring back her sight in one eye.  Just like Fiona and God’s children we too were once blind but now we can see.  So why is it so many of us don’t see what God is trying to do when God puts life’s Fiona's in our path? 

Fiona once was blind and now she can see because someone didn’t turn a blind eye.  Because someone took the time to do something.  Please watch this amazing story about the beauty and the love expressed in a simple act of selfless sacrifice by this amazing couple who took the time to help.  After you watch this video please take the time to learn more about Audrey and Eldad Hagar, their organization and what they are doing to help God's hurting creatures.
Blessings, Love & Music ~
Ava xo