header i-Italy

Articles by: Darrell Fusaro

  • Op-Eds

    Meatballs Make George Clooney Irresistible



    When George Clooney wanted to make a great first impression and found himself in a panic that he might not be liked, he ran into the kitchen to get meatballs.  Details of this story, included in the new book My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts, by Laura Coffey and Lori Fusaro, highlight George’s humanity in a delightful way.


    Several years ago George decided he wanted a dog, and contrary to taking advantage of his star status and obtaining an exotic breed, he rescued Einstein.   Author Laura Coffey shares the feel good story of how this older, and once sickly, black cocker spaniel meets the kindest of souls and made a serendipitous trip from unadoptable to Hollywood A-list.  You can clearly see by Einstein’s expression, captured masterfully by photographer Lori Fusaro, that he is grateful.  "Einstein has grown to love Italian food," George said referring to long lunches and dinners shared together at his beloved villa on Lake Como in Italy.


    My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts just might be the happiest book you’ll ever read.  In addition to Einstein’s Cinderella story you’ll enjoy reading about, Remy, a soulful nine-year-old dog adopted by elderly nuns; Bretagne, the last known surviving search dog from Ground Zero; Duval, a great listener who has inspired kids to read; Chaney, an ex-military dog reunited with his combat handler in the states, and many more.



    Lori and Laura traveled all across the United States meeting endearing elders who, although rescued late in life, proved to have incredible second acts.  These success stories show how blissful retirement can be for older dogs who get rescued, and how life-changing senior dog adoption can be for the humans who do the rescuing.



    Lori’s photographs combined with Laura’s writing style makes the experience of reading as that of enjoying one feel good movie after the other.  You can’t help but love these dogs and the people who rescued them.  This book is a great gift to give to yourself. 



    In regards to adopting an older dog, actor George Clooney says it all when it comes to love, “Age doesn’t matter.”

    "He (Einstein) loves me.  I can do no wrong.  He follows me everywhere." –George Clooney
    Photography by Lori Fusaro 2015




     




    –Darrell Fusaro


    Cartoonist Darrell Fusaro is the co-host of the Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed podcast and author of What If Godzilla Just Wanted a Hug?

  • Life & People

    What's a God Box?


    Recently my wife, Lori, asked if I would explain to her good friend photographer Lisa Prince Fishler how to use a God box, so I thought why not share the details with you as well?  The God box, although effective at solving any problem you may have, may seem silly or at best too simple to be for real.  But for those of us who have tried it we are unanimous: it works!


    The idea is to have a container with a slot or opening on top.  You write your present problem, worry, desire, or hard-to-make decision on a small piece of paper.  I like to end all my requests with the statement, "This or something better." I believe that's the real meaning of "If it be Thy will."  You may even date your request if you like.  Then fold it up and put it in your God box.  In essence, "turning it over to God." 


    Don't stress out about what you should use as your God box, any container will do.  Some examples of what my friends and I have used as God boxes are, a favorite cereal box, coffee can, oatmeal container, jewelry box, cigar box, a hamper, shoe box, and even a garbage can.  Whatever you choose to use as your God box it will work, since the activating power is in releasing whatever it is to God.


    I believe that writing down my request and putting it in my God box enables me to feel like I've done my part in turning it over.  This physical activity gives me a concrete sense that I've actually turned it over to a Higher Power.  Now I have a reference for when I catch myself worrying.  I can easily remind and reassure myself that I put it in my God box and everything will transpire in divine order, with perfect timing, effortlessness and ease. 


    Feeling reassured I become relaxed and confident, I am free to follow hunches, and I find myself hyper-aware of coincidences conspiring in my favor.  What was at first a dilemma is now an adventure in faith – looking forward to an even better-than-expected outcome. 


    When you clean out your God box you get the added pleasure of seeing how even forgotten requests were resolved in wonderful ways.  So whatever it is, big or small, don't delay, put it in your God box today!  Let go of thought, "How will I resolve this?" and cast the burden on God.  Don't worry about how God will work it out, just know that he will. 



    The following is from the daily mediation book, Around the Year With Emmet Fox,  January 3rd.


    LET GOD HAVE YOUR BURDEN


    Once you have contacted the Power within, and have allowed it to take over your responsibilities for you, it will direct and govern all your affairs from the greatest to the least without mistakes.  The government shall be upon his shoulder.  You are tired, and driven, and worried, and weak, and ill, and depressed because you have been trying to carry the government upon your own shoulder; the burden is too much for you, and you have broken down under it.  Now, immediately you hand over your self-government, that is, the burden of making a living, or of healing your body, or erasing your mistakes, to the Child.  He, the Tireless One, and All-Powerful, the All-Wise, the All-Resourceful, assumes it with joy; and your difficulties have seen the beginning of the end.

    Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee...  –Psalm 55:22

    "Do not try to think out in advance what the solution of your difficulty will probably turn out to be.  This is technically called "outlining," and will only delay the demonstration.  Leave the question of ways and means strictly to God.  You want to get out of your difficulty – that is sufficient.  You do your half, and God will never fail to do His."  – Emmet Fox

     In a recent e-mail I received this photo from artist Leebs Goya of her "God Jar" along with this note; "Thought you'd want to see what you inspired!  I made my God Jar today!!!" 

     

    This post hit close to home.  My wife, Lori Fusaro, was excited to show me her new God Box.  What I found inspiring was how she added word "YES!" on the inside.





    I can't believe, up until now I've never glamorized my God Box.  Always a plain old oat meal container, cigar box, or shoe box.  Inspired by Lori and Leebs I've kicked things up a notch and I like it!






    –Darrell Fusaro

    Cartoonist Darrell Fusaro is the co-host of the Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed podcast and author of What If Godzilla Just Wanted a Hug?


  • Op-Eds

    Your Smile Makes You Irresistible to Good Fortune



    And when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while.  –Bruno Mars, Just The Way You Are



    Your smile is your personal connection to the Divine and the Divine in all of mankind.  When you smile you’re immediately transported to being at one with the Universe and all life.


    It is the switch that turns on your charisma.  Smiling unleashes the therapeutic power of Love from within, permeating every gland, muscle, and cell in your body and continues out to bless everyone you meet, and all that you do -- with success.   


    Have you ever thought how every friend in your life today, including your spouse or partner, was once a stranger?  How did they transform from a stranger and into a friend?  It all started with your smile.  It’s impossible to turn a stranger into a friend by greeting them with a frown.

     

    Author Florence Scovel Shinn affirms, “Every man is a golden link in the chain of my good.”  With the knowledge that every one is indeed a golden link in the chain of your good, smiling ensures every encounter will be a golden opportunity.  Smile and let the irresistible prospering power of Love go to work on your behalf.


    The effect of a smile on other people is remarkable.  It disarms suspicion, melts away fear and anger, and brings forth the best in the other person--which best he immediately proceeds to give to you.  –Emmet Fox


    –Darrell Fusaro

    Cartoonist Darrell Fusaro is the co-host of the Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed podcast and author of What If Godzilla Just Wanted a Hug?

  • Op-Eds

    Can a Swear be a Prayer?


    Whether you have never prayed before or want to become a better pray-er, the Crabby Mystic can help!  Sister Mary Lea Hill, of the Daughters of St. Paul since 1964, has the gift of enlightening saints and the not so saintly on the practical benefits of prayer with her dry wit and offbeat wisdom.  When I saw her book Prayer and You on a bookstore shelf it was its subtitle, Wit and Wisdom from a Crabby Mystic, that compelled me to take it down and open it up.  I can enthusiastically say that it lives up to the hype.

     

    Sr. Mary Lea’s lighthearted examples of prayer makes jumping into a personal relationship with God easy to do.  Every short and fun-to-read chapter kicks off with a witty and provocative heading.  And there are eighty (80) of them to enjoy.  Each one is a comforting quick pick-me-up.  Some of my favorites are, “Are We There Yet?”, “Ho-Hum Prayer”, “Spitefully Yours”, and “Thanks for Nothing!”.

     

    Most refreshing is that the Crabby Mystic makes it clear: nuns are human too.  By sharing her everyday reaction to life in ways that we can all identify with is enlightening.  Her knack of combining compassion with a sense of humor gives readers permission to enjoy simple methods of connecting with God.  This is likely the friendliest book on prayer you will ever have the pleasure of reading.   Applying any of her suggestions will convince anyone, devout or not, that prayer is an effective and practical solution to everyday problems.  

     
    Click on this link to get your copy of Prayer and You: Wit and Wisdom from a Crabby Mystic today.  The book makes a great gift as well. 





     

    “Afraid of praying? Confused about how to pray? Wondering where to begin? Sister Mary Lea Hill's warm and witty book on prayer is like sitting down with an experienced spiritual director who has a great sense of humor. Let her invite you, in ways that are by turns provocative, lighthearted and profound, into a deeper relationship with the God who desires to be in relationship with you.”  –James Martin, SJ, author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything




    Sr. Mary Lea shares her signature humor on Twitter @crabbymystic and has been a repeating guest on the podcast I co-host Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed.  If you’re interested listening, here is the link to one of our favorite episodes with the Crabby Mystic, Let's Play Connect the Dots!


    –Darrell Fusaro


    Cartoonist Darrell Fusaro is the co-host of the Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed podcast and author of What If Godzilla Just Wanted a Hug?

  • Life & People

    Thought – The Strongest Power in The Universe





    I was surprised when I opened the cable bill and noticed the cost increased significantly.  Knowing that I hadn’t added any additional service, I searched for the discrepancy.  The monthly cable billing statement being so full of itemized costs, discounts, fees, and options, it was impossible for me to find where the increase was added.  My frustration rose thinking about having to call customer service, anticipating the touch-tone maze I’d have to circumvent in order to speak with a representative who could assist me.  I persevered and made the call.


    I fought my way through the gatekeepers of automated multiple-choice questions, responding by voice as directed.  Each time I spoke my answer, the computer generated female voice stated, “I’m sorry, we couldn’t identify your response. You may use the keypad on your touch-tone phone …” So one by one I continued, first by voice, then using the keypad.  I finally did get to speak to a representative who, judging by the tone in her voice, wasn’t enthusiastic to be of service.  When she asked for all my information, I said, “No problem, since I just spent ten minutes giving it to the automated system it’s fresh in my head. . .”  After repeating all my personal information to her and stating the reason for my call she informed me that she couldn’t assist me and would need to transfer my call to another department.


    As the music played while I was on hold I couldn’t deny what was happening any longer.  It was obvious to me that I went into this with a head full of steam and now I was experiencing my frustration being reflected back to me as my experience.  As within, so without. 

    I decided it would be best to simply hang up and try again at another time.  I'd call when felt free from concern and with the more positive attitude that everyone is helpful.  Although reason gave an objection, “You’re going to quit now, after all that work?”  I still hung up the phone.


    Sometime later while in a much better mood the inspiration came to make the call.  This time I called in a spirit of good will and free from my previous mental resistance.  It was like waving a magic wand over the situation.  This time I breezed through the voice automated system and was greeted by a very pleasant customer service representative.  Without hesitation he explained the reason for the increase.  Then went to work on my behalf to get my monthly costs restored to my previous subscription rate.  It kept getting better.  He found a way to bring my bill down a few dollars below what I had originally been paying each month.  Then he discovered that I was also eligible to receive a $150.00 cash card.  I thanked him and made sure I had is full name correct.  Grateful, I was eager to submit an outstanding review, which I later enjoyed doing as well.


    No matter how many times I experience positive results from stepping out boldly, the bold step from fearful thinking to faithful thinking, I am always in awe and amazed at the better than expected results.


    “Resentment and intolerance rob man of his power.   . . . Let us now be careful in directing this dynamic force within us.  Let us direct it to heal, bless and prosper and direct in waves of good to the whole world.  It goes out a mighty force, but noiseless!  Thought, the strongest power in the Universe is without sound.  Your good will sweeps all obstacles from your pathway and your heart’s desire is released for you.  . . . for everything comes through you – not to you.  All life is vibration.”  –Florence Scovel Shinn, The Power of The Spoken Word.
    –Darrell Fusaro

    Cartoonist Darrell Fusaro is the co-host of the Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed podcast and author of What If Godzilla Just Wanted a Hug?

  • Life & People

    Love Adds Dog Years to Your Life



    “MY OLD DOG: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts” just might be the happiest book you’ll ever read. It shares success stories that show how blissful retirement can be for older dogs who get rescued, and how life-changing senior dog adoption can be for the humans who do the rescuing.

    Many fans of Lori Fusaro’s photography know the story of Sunny, the 16-year-old dog she adopted from a crowded Los Angeles County animal shelter in 2012.  Because of what terrible condition Sunny seemed to be in physically, my wife Lori and I thought she might last in our home for a couple of weeks max — but Sunny had other plans.

    Once in our home and free from that shelter Sunny blossomed.  Even our Veterinarian was amazed by her incredible 180-degree return to life.  She lived another vibrant two and a half years enjoying her new life with all of us; this includes our cats, Enzo and Francis, and our dog, Gabby.  Rather than being a burden Sunny contributed more life and amusement into our home.  Sunny’s transformation prompted Lori to launch a photography project to change people’s perceptions of senior shelter animals.  This caught the attention of TODAY show writer Laura Coffey who wrote a story about Lori’s photography project for TODAY.com in 2013.  The two of them hit it off and it ultimately led them to create the book “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts,” which has just been released, September 2015.

    Lori and Laura traveled all across the United States meeting endearing elders who, although rescued late in life, proved to have incredible second acts.  Here are just a few you’ll meet along with Sunny in “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts,” Marnie, the irresistible shih tzu who has posed for selfies with Tina Fey, James Franco, and Betty White; Remy, a soulful nine-year-old dog adopted by elderly nuns; George Clooney s cocker spaniel, Einstein; Bretagne, the last known surviving search dog from Ground Zero; and Duval, a great listener who has inspired kids to read.

    Looking at Lori’s heartwarming photographs along with reading each story by Laura is like enjoying a feel good movie; I can’t help but love these dogs and the people who rescued them.  This book is a great gift to give to yourself.  Now available on Amazon and at a bookseller near you.


    “If you love dogs, or if you like dogs, or if you’ve ever heard of dogs, or if you’re from planet Earth, you will love this book.”
    — David Rosenfelt, author of Dogtripping and Lessons from Tara


    “A truly heartwarming celebration.”
    — Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell


    My Old Dog is a truly wonderful book....Every story reminds me just how resilient dogs are and how strong the human-animal bond can be.”
    — Victoria Stilwell, dog behavior expert and star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog


    “This book is a loving celebration of old dogs and of radiant souls that shine through aging eyes.”
    — Francis Battista, cofounder of Best Friends Animal Society


    “This book is a wonderful tribute to our ‘sizzlin’ seniors’!”
    — Jill Rappaport, animal advocate and NBC News correspondent


    “I fell in love with these dogs, and their stories serve to remind us that old dogs are like fine wine — they only get better with age. Four paws up!”
    — Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association


    “This exquisite, eye-opening book needs a place on every dog lover’s shelf.”
    — Maria Goodavage, New York Times–bestselling author of Soldier Dogs and Top Dog

    Picture

    Sunny loves you!
    –Darrell Fusaro

    Cartoonist Darrell Fusaro is the co-host of the Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed podcast and author of  What If Godzilla Just Wanted a Hug?

  • Happiness Has Commercial Value


    While I was enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard, I was sitting in a meeting next to a man I respected named Mike.  When an older man named Jack stood up to address the group, Mike quietly referred to him and said, "Jack is the happiest man I know." 

    After I quickly sized up Jack, I shot back, "Of course he's happy, he's rich." 

    "He isn't happy because he's rich; he's rich because he's happy,” said Mike.

    He isn’t happy because he’s rich; he’s rich because he’s happy.  With this one statement I was finally able to let myself off the hook.  Up until this point in my life I had been withholding my happiness by constantly postponing it.  Happiness, I mistakenly believed, was a reward for struggling.  I put conditions on my happiness; once I get this, achieve that, have those, move there… then I’ll be happy.

    Mike made it clear; happy first and the reasons to be happy will follow.  I had been living the other way around.  Right then and there I had a new goal and it was simple; just be happy.  Rather than grumble about what I didn’t have, I decided to be grateful for what I did have.  Mike was right.  Happiness had commercial value.

    Prior to this I was a living my life as a lowly E-3 in the military plodding along just doing what was expected.  I was looking forward to the end of my enlistment, two and a half years away, because then I’d be happy.  But now I was looking for reasons to be happy right where I was, doing what I was doing.  It soon became obvious that life really is an inside job.  My circumstances began to adjust themselves to support how I felt on the inside. 

    I was rapidly promoted and within six months I was selected to be the Military Liaison to the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney, a prestigious and highly respected position.  I was so happy I even extended my enlistment for another year. 

    I discovered that happiness is contagious.  As it was noted, “Fusaro’s personal efforts have resulted in superior relations between the Honolulu Police Department and the Military Services.”  This was written by the Secretary of the Army, Michael P. W. Stone, and read from The Army Commendation Medal I was presented with at the end of my enlistment.  I was having all the fun without the struggle.

    Daily I continue to give myself permission to be happy ‘as is’.  Whenever I have trouble letting myself off the hook, I’ll quickly cultivate happiness by making a gratitude list.  A gratitude list never fails to magically transforms everything I have into everything I want.

    “A grateful mind is a great mind, attracting great things to itself.” –Plato


    –Darrell Fusaro

  • It's Not What They Think About You

  • It's Not What They Think About You




    It's not what you think of me that makes me upset, it's what I think you think of me that makes me upset.  Jumping to conclusions as a result of mind reading is a dangerous mode of operation, and this
    usually happens before I'm about to speak to a large group or teach a class.  "OMG.  Why did I agree to do this?" 


    Whenever I catch myself beginning to worry about what other people will think of me I try to remind myself that it's all in my head.  I'm the one making up the judgmental thoughts I believe they'll be thinking about me.  Thank goodness I've found a solution that snaps me out of this, and not just for whenever I'm about to speak or teach.  This works whenever I catch myself mind reading and jumping to negative conclusions: I begin to shift the focus from the negative things I'm imagining they'll think of me to thinking loving thoughts of my own towards them.


    I get my mind out of a 'getting' mind set and into a 'giving' mind set.  When I worry about how people perceive me, or whether or not they'll approve of me, I feel cut off and at a disadvantage, but when I think thoughts of giving love, appreciation and adding value to their lives, I feel connected, confident, and optimistic. 


    It's simple but it's not always easy to shift gears from worrying about how people will judge me to blessing them.  This is when affirmations are helpful.  Affirmations make us feel better because they're statements of truth.  I've included some here that I use.  When choosing affirmations it's best to pick the one that naturally feels like it clicks for you.  I like to go with the one that gives me an optimistic boost upon first read.  Don't bother with affirmations that you 'think' you 'should' be saying.  It defeats the purpose.  The affirmation that transforms is the one that feels great just saying it. 

    Here are some affirmations I've found to be effective.

    My soul is filled with divine Love. I am surrounded by divine Love. I radiate Love and Peace to the whole world. God is Love, and all men are expressions of divine Love. The Love of God burns in me for all humanity. I am a lamp of God, radiating divine Love to all whom I meet, to all whom I think of.  

    –From Around The Year With Emmett Fox  


    The following are from Your Word is Your Wand by Florence Scovel Shinn  


    Divine Love, through me, now dissolves all seeming obstacles and makes clear, easy and successful my way.
     

    I love everyone and everyone loves me. My apparent enemy becomes my friend, a golden link in the chain of my good.  

    I am at peace with myself and with the whole world. I love everyone and everyone loves me. The floodgates of my good now open.  


    This one is from The Science of Mind, by Ernest Holmes

    The Power Within Blesses All  

    The Power within me is blessing all mankind, and is forever healing all with whom I come in contact. The Power within me is God, and it must bless and help and heal all who come near it. Silently the work goes on, and silently all are being helped by this Inner Power which is operating through me. I will give thanks that my Power within is silently blessing and helping everyone to whom my thought reaches.  The life within me blesses all mankind.



    –Darrell Fusaro

  • Op-Eds

    It's Not What They Think About You




    It's not what you think of me that makes me upset, it's what I think you think of me that makes me upset.  Jumping to conclusions as a result of mind reading is a dangerous mode of operation, and this
    usually happens before I'm about to speak to a large group or teach a class.  "OMG.  Why did I agree to do this?" 


    Whenever I catch myself beginning to worry about what other people will think of me I try to remind myself that it's all in my head.  I'm the one making up the judgmental thoughts I believe they'll be thinking about me.  Thank goodness I've found a solution that snaps me out of this, and not just for whenever I'm about to speak or teach.  This works whenever I catch myself mind reading and jumping to negative conclusions: I begin to shift the focus from the negative things I'm imagining they'll think of me to thinking loving thoughts of my own towards them.


    I get my mind out of a 'getting' mind set and into a 'giving' mind set.  When I worry about how people perceive me, or whether or not they'll approve of me, I feel cut off and at a disadvantage, but when I think thoughts of giving love, appreciation and adding value to their lives, I feel connected, confident, and optimistic. 


    It's simple but it's not always easy to shift gears from worrying about how people will judge me to blessing them.  This is when affirmations are helpful.  Affirmations make us feel better because they're statements of truth.  I've included some here that I use.  When choosing affirmations it's best to pick the one that naturally feels like it clicks for you.  I like to go with the one that gives me an optimistic boost upon first read.  Don't bother with affirmations that you 'think' you 'should' be saying.  It defeats the purpose.  The affirmation that transforms is the one that feels great just saying it. 

    Here are some affirmations I've found to be effective.

    My soul is filled with divine Love. I am surrounded by divine Love. I radiate Love and Peace to the whole world. God is Love, and all men are expressions of divine Love. The Love of God burns in me for all humanity. I am a lamp of God, radiating divine Love to all whom I meet, to all whom I think of.  

    –From Around The Year With Emmett Fox  


    The following are from Your Word is Your Wand by Florence Scovel Shinn  


    Divine Love, through me, now dissolves all seeming obstacles and makes clear, easy and successful my way.
     

    I love everyone and everyone loves me. My apparent enemy becomes my friend, a golden link in the chain of my good.  

    I am at peace with myself and with the whole world. I love everyone and everyone loves me. The floodgates of my good now open.  


    This one is from The Science of Mind, by Ernest Holmes

    The Power Within Blesses All  

    The Power within me is blessing all mankind, and is forever healing all with whom I come in contact. The Power within me is God, and it must bless and help and heal all who come near it. Silently the work goes on, and silently all are being helped by this Inner Power which is operating through me. I will give thanks that my Power within is silently blessing and helping everyone to whom my thought reaches.  The life within me blesses all mankind.



    –Darrell Fusaro

Pages