A Personal Path to Growth Bestowed by a Nation of People


This week, I’m especially thankful – thankful I have a solid roof over my head and a home with windows and doors, and readily available food hand-picked from a market, proper medicine and supplies, running water and yes, definitely yes, flushing toilet facilities and a roll of paper always at an arm’s reach to me.

I’m equally thankful I’ve seen with my own eyes, through experiential and cultural travel, a part of the world along the Caribbean Coast, in developing Nicaragua – so now I know what it means to call myself truly fortunate.

I’m thankful for the opportunities, present and past, I’ve had bestowed upon me simply because I’m a red, white and blue, flag-waving American, and thankful to know I could, if I had to, live without surplus and modern conveniences, electricity and things that don’t really matter if it came down to instinctual survival. I am heartened and enlightened to know there are nations of people everywhere, especially in developing countries, that know far more about survival than many of us ever could. And, it is they that have much to show us on what that really means, and globally, we can each benefit from showcasing our cultural differences in a non-exploitative, educational way.

I’m thankful to know I can survive under dire circumstances because I’ve seen people, with my own eyes, who have literally nothing and yet maybe, in some ways, they have everything they could ever want and need, because they know how to live and thrive in some of the poorest conditions on the planet and still know what it means to be a part of a community and to love and support their families.

I’m thankful that I can now put my personal judgements and biases aside, because I’ve seen impoverished children, far more impoverished than I ever was growing up – living below the poverty line in Midwestern America. While many of the people I met may be lacking in opportunity, Nicaraguan children still smile and are happy, because they are each cared for by an entire village of people, and causes, who invest their hearts and souls into their wellbeing and care, despite economic conditions.

Mostly, I am thankful that I have stumbled upon the Finding Corte Magore project which has put me on a personal path to growth and the opportunity to work and mindshare with some of the smartest and caring people I can ever hope to know. I am thankful that we have “found” Corte Magore and that I have had the great pleasure of coming to know the Campbell family, and their beautiful, private island of Hog Cay, Nicaragua, and that I have personally earned their family’s trust and support in the Finding Corte Magore project. It’s a huge undertaking and I’m comforted to know, it will take our own village of incredible people, to raise this project to be everything it promises to be.

See you on Corte Magore!
The Finding Corte Magore Project
Coming Soon on Hog Cay, Nicaragua

Tonia Allen Gould

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The Finding Corte Magore Project, Live in Nicaragua


Day 1:
We woke-up in Managua, Nicaragua’s Capital. We had hoped to be on the future site of the Finding Corte Magore project today on Hog Cay, but our flight to Bluefields, Nicaragua cancelled due to a tropical depression that moved in. We took advantage of the rain delay and Team Finding Corte Magore hired a driver and we traversed our way to historical Grenada. We hit the streets and really got to be tourists on foot and from inside a horse carriage. The highlight of our day was spending time out on Lago Nicaragua and getting caught in the rain.

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A Dream Coming Closer to True


By Tonia Allen Gould,
AKA: #ArcheryMom

Miles and his bowThere’s a common theme in my family and it has to do with all of us daring to dream BIG. Allowing our children the freedom to dream is a value my husband and I have instilled in our children, pretty much since childbirth. We believe that no one should ever squelch someone else’s dreams no matter how crazy and impossible the dream may sound. After all, I’m currently working on developing an entire 28-acre island along the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua for social good. Had I not dreamt the impossible, I wouldn’t be in throes of conquering my dream in such a magnificent way.

So, it comes as no surprise to me that my son, Miles, has a gargantuan dream of his own.  For the past two and half years, ever since he picked-up his first bow and arrows at a resort during my husband’s company picnic, Miles has dreamt of one day making it to the Olympics. But, being “good enough” is only half the battle for him. The trouble is, his bow is making his dream impossible–that is, unless compound bows are ever allowed into the Olympics alongside their counterparts, the recurve bow.

Still, all that isn’t stopping Miles from going after his dreams. My twelve-year-old currently holds the California State Champion title in both indoor and outdoor archery in the compound bowman division. During this year’s California State Outdoor Championship, in Long Beach, Miles set a new California 30M state record held since 2009 of 355. Miles broke the record with a score of 356 out of 360.  It takes laser-sharp focus to shoot a nearly perfect score in a high-stakes tournament like that one.

Maybe there is hope on the horizon for our young compound bowman yet. All his successes have taken Miles one step closer to his Olympic dream, because Miles has been invited by USA Archery, the archery governing body of the Olympics, to try-out for the Compound Junior Dream Team at a week-long selection camp held at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.  Up until now, the Junior Dream Team consisted of 36 of the most skilled and promising Olympic-style archers in the country, all shooting recurve. But, recently, compound archers have been added to the program and Miles hopes to earn his spot on the team, as a compound bowman, and one step closer to his Olympic Dream.

Even if the compound bow never makes it into the Olympics, if selected to the Junior Dream Team (JDT), Miles will intensively train weeklong at the Olympic Training Center once a quarter with some of the best junior archers in the country, regardless of which bow they are shooting. Between training camps, JDT coaches and archers will continue to train together by utilizing video conferencing via the internet.

Shooting at Miles’ level takes a lot of practice.  He shoots an average of 100 arrows a day on a range safely set-up on our backyard sport court.  He has an accident-free history if you don’t count one broken window. Miles is privately coached by two-time World Champion Compound Archer, John Norberg. He shoots a Hoyt Freestyle Compound Bow, 35 lbs., with 70% let-off.  He releases with a Carter Evolution Plus back tension release.  He uses PSA Radial X Weave Pro 100 arrows with Blazer vanes.

Here’s to dreaming big, son!  Good luck this month at selection camp and keep dreaming, no matter what the outcome is, this time around.

#GOTEAMMILES

Love, #ArcheryMom

Where Autumn Never Comes


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On Saturday, a box arrived on my front porch, and I remembered an old friend back home in Indiana recently asked me for my address. The package was fairly large and perfunctorily, I pondered what could be inside; the box felt as light as air in my hands when I stooped over to pick it up.

Curiously, I tore off the tape and peered inside. On top of a pile of various, vibrantly shades of fresh autumn leaves, rested a note that read:

Tonia,

I read a post of yours about missing the fall leaves of the Midwest & I thought I could help with that! I hope these bring a smile to your face and you’ll enjoy them for a little while!

Love & Miss Ya!

Regina

One lone tear rolled down my cheek. I was surprised by how overcome I was with raw emotion. After all, it was just a pile of leaves, wasn’t it? But, on the contrary, the gift was more thoughtful and meaningful than anything ever given me by a friend. It was a gift so powerful that it left me forever touched, because it was so simple. Regina knew I was a bit homesick for the Midwest and sent me a piece of HOME – vivid, reminiscent hues from my youth – all raked-up, and packaged nicely and left waiting for me on my doorstep by the mailman on an average, sunny day in California. Where Autumn never comes.

Regina’s gift is a reminder that giving isn’t about spending or going through the motions; giving is about getting personal and evoking feeling from the recipient as a result of the kindness bestowed by the gesture. If the gift is heartfelt, it will surely be richly treasured, in a way much like I felt about my wonderful, crisp pile of leaves.

As for me and my colorful treasures, I will discover fun ways to use them this fall. And, when autumn first turns to winter, I will seal them back up in Regina’s carton and use them again for another reason in a different Autumn season.

Thirty things to do with fallen leaves.

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Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore Special Price for October!


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Author, Tonia Allen Gould, with Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore Photograph by JennKL Photography: http://www.jennkl.com/

I’ve arranged a special hardcover book price for October. You can order an autographed book for $12.99 + shipping.

Stock up for the perfect holiday gift for that little loved one in your life.

Cheers!

Tonia Allen Gould

She Will Die In Her Race Against Time


Camera poised and ready to shoot, I stand and wait as the Monarch paratroopers glide in, iridescently adorned in polka-dotted trimmed uniforms of orange and black. They’ve stormed my garden, sailing over it, scanning and probing it for flight fuel to carry them along their journey.

I zero in on one lone butterfly, fluttering overhead – her wings flapping hard against the late summer’s breeze, the full span of them glistening against Midday’s high sun. She finally maneuvers low to navigate her perfect landing, descending onto the tip of the buttercup-shaped lantana where she sips her nectar, letting It nourish her completely before she takes flight again. In moments, recorded only by the click of my shutter, she drunkenly ascends and joins her airborne troop.

I am saddened to know, in probably just a few short short weeks – she will die in combat – for she has always been in a race against time, like some people I have known and loved and lost. The butterfly’s brief lifespan, despite her sheer will to live, was always destined to be fleeting. And, so I feel special that we shared our brief interlude, here in my garden, where she stayed with me awhile on her personal flight home.

Tonia Allen Gould
©2014 Tonia Allen Gould, All Rights Reserved

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Today, I Snapped A Perfect Photo of an Endangered Species


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The Monarch butterfly only lives three weeks. I always feel special when I cross paths with any butterfly because they are so beautiful and here for such a short time on Earth. Incidentally, the Monarch are now an endangered species and that makes this picture even more special.The photos turned out great because she let me get right up next to her and take them.

The Monarch Butterfly is endangered. http://www.worldwildlife.org/species/monarch-butterfly

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