How to get through the Winter

We are now securely into January. I slept with the window open last night and I love it! It was 60 degrees here today. However, winter still has short days and longer nights and curling up with a good read is a wonderful alternative to sitting glassy eyed in front of the TV. I found the list and wanted to share it as an alternative. I also would like to add a book suggestion of my own. The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu have a collaboration out and it is called simply: The Book of Joy. It inspirational and humorous. I believe it is a perfect read for 2017. Let me know if you read it.






11 Inspirational Books to Read This Winter

Well, we’re officially past the winter solstice, which means that technically the days are only going to get longer from here on out. But despite that, the distant memories of spring and summer are still fading as quickly as the daylight. If you’re feeling unmotivated, lethargic, depressed or just … *loud exhale full of ennui* … here are some books you can read that may help.

Neil Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation

Pasricha’s best-known work is The Book of Awesome, but The Happiness Equation takes a more philosophical approach to the pursuit of happiness instead of … just listing things.


Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive

An in-depth exploration of Haig’s battle with depression, if you need a pick-me-up on a very fundamental level, you could do a lot worse than this book.


Felicia Day’s You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Day’s cloistered upbringing and variety of interests eventually congealed into her career as one of the earliest YouTube stars. If the pressures of social media have you feeling distinctly less social, take a lesson from Day and glean solace from your uniqueness, not shame.


Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places

Want a good ugly cry? Think you’re too good for YA? Pick up All the Bright Places.


Cristina Henríquez’s The Book of Unknown Americans

If for no other reason than to gain a little perspective.


Terry Tempest Williams’ When Women Were Birds

After all the gender-related ugliness of the 2016 election, When Women Were Birds should be required reading.


Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala

A young girl shot in the head turned international hero. A testimony to the power of the human spirit.



Fredrik Bachman’s A Man Called Ove

Sometimes you’re the elderly curmudgeon at the heart of this story, and sometimes you’re the neighbors who run over his mailbox.


Héctor Tobar’s Deep Down Dark

This one’s also filed under “Riveting true story that will make you reconsider your station in life.”


Rob Bell’s How to Be Here

If you need a good shot in the arm to jump-start 2017, Rob Bell’s got it for you.

Stephen King’s On Writing

It’s a classic for a reason. It’s about writing, sure, but it’s also about addiction, relationships and the idea of a craft, period, told by one of the defining authors of our generation.







Once a Hippie…

I think that in the 60s we were Idealistic and filled with optimism.  I know I completely believed in Peace, Love and Rock & Roll. (Still do.)

I know that the world is coming close to the same place we were in back in the 60s — the Edge of Destruction — and it’s important for those of us who are old enough to remember the lyrics or poems and the music that helped us make changes in the world, to remind people of the changes that are needed today.

We need today’s young people to do what we did:

To Speak Out, and March Out and Peace Out.

If you believe in something, if you believe something needs to be changed, Speak.  March.  Help people.  Write about it.  Be heard, be seen, make the world the world you feel in your heart.

Together, perhaps we can, once again, pull back from the Edge of Destruction.






peace out 60s soul

peace out 60s soul



Fill your hearts with peace and love

Fill your hearts with peace and love




Music and hope

Music and hope




Make love not war

Make love not war




Long live the Afro. I had one in the 70s. I loved it.

Long live the Afro.
I had one in the 70s. I loved it.









Bob Marley One love, One World

Bob Marley
One love, One World






Peace is for everyone.

Peace is for everyone.





How We Learn From Each Other


Yesterday, I  told you all the story of Ms. G. a teacher in the Freshman and Sophomore classes at Long Beach California. She was one of those people who came along and wanted to make a difference. She was officially an English teacher. She worried if they would like her or if she would seem too preppy to the kids. Last night I began wondering if there was a book the movie was based upon. Well, there is. Please be patient as there is a point to all of this.


She decided they were going to read the Diary of Anne Frank. After an incident in class, she asked who knew what the Holocaust was. Not one hand raised, not one child knew. That was when she made her decision that they would read Anne Frank. As she began to read to them, they heard familiar words, war, shooting, dying. This is when she made the suggestion that they keep a journal. She bought, out of her own money, one for each student. They could share what they wrote with her, or not. No one else would see or read them. At the end of every day she locked the cupboard that they kept the journals in. They decided, after finishing reading Anne Frank that they wanted to meet the woman, Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank and her family during the Holocaust.


So their teacher Ms. G helped them do fund raisers until they had earned enough money to bring Miep Gies to California. She was a very old lady. She told them all about the Nazi’s and the horrors she had seen. She told them of the night the Gestapo came and took the hidden Jews away. How a gun was held to her head. Hiding Jews meant you were to be shot. A high price for being a compassionate, caring human being. For this reason, she was very surprised when the Gestapo left and she was still alive.


The kids told Miep Gies she was their hero but this gentle, kind woman looked at this classroom of Asian, African-American and Latino kids and told them they were the heroes. Thier teacher Ms. G. had told her about their journals and some of their stories. Miep Gies didn’t see a class of mixed colored kids, she saw them as brave because they knew so much of what Anne Frank had suffered and yet they went to school everyday, they learned to open their hearts to Ms. G. and the other kids. They even were beginning to trust each other. So damaged kids from every race, color and creed were beginning to understand each other and accept each other. They chose to break the cycle and make their positive experiences  a lesson for generations to come.


Now, the story becomes amazing. In the 1990’s, there was another little girl, named Zlata and she wrote a story. Now I own the diary and have read it. Zlata was in Kosovo and there was a war going on. Our students in Long Beach California read about a girl who wrote out her heart to survive the two years she was in the war. Her diary, quite like Anne Frank’s diary was full of the horrors of war. What human beings are capable to doing to each other. Zlata wrote to save her sanity and cope with the terrible war conditions. She feels there is a parallel between herself and the Freedom Writers because they had all been subjected to being felt that they were victims. They all understood that life brings good things and bad things. Zlata feels that it is easy to  become a victim of your circumstances and to continue to feel sad or angry. She continued to say that someone could continue  to stay angry and scared or that people could  choose to deal with injustice humanely and break the chains of negative thoughts and energies. She told the Freedom Writers that writing helps you look objectively at what is happening around us.


Zlata left the former Yugoslavia knowing what a bomb sounds like,what it’s like to hide from bombs in a cellar and what the absence of water feels like. She wants American kids to rise above what they have had to live through and not let the hate, violence and sadness become the focus of their lives, so they can make rich lives for themselves.


The Freedom Writers kept Ms. G. for their Junior and Senior years. Then they all went on to college. What they overcame and accomplished is very important and must be respected. They escaped the damage of the anger and hate that surrounded them in their neighborhoods. The seeds of hatred and fear that was beginning to grow. They stopped history from repeating itself.  Ms. G. is still teaching on the college level toda;, though divorced she has had many children and these children will never forget her. They would have remained “underachievers” if she hadn’t walked into their classroom on her first day of teaching. I encourage you all to remember this true story and the two girls who inspired a classroom of American kids to save their lives and make the world a better place for everyone to live.



A book tree, wouldn't it be wonderful!

A book tree, Wouldn’t it be wonderful!


World Wide Commonalities

The art of music

The art of music

It has been a really painful week for many people in the world. Boston and Texas really have suffered great pain and loss.Our prayers continue for the victims and the families and friends, not to mention the survivors. After surviving any traumatic event, from the events of this last week to the unseen wounds of war, healing can take a lot of time, perseverance and gutsHorrors seen and experienced can leave terribly deep wounds.

I found my husband dead of a heart attack, sitting in the study with his feet propped up on the desk and a cup of coffee next to him. He had been there all day while I had been at work at the American Red Cross and had gone grocery shopping. It was dark and I turned on the desk lamp and found him. The diagnosis was a massive heart attack that I could not have stopped.

I had a diagnosis of PTSD and don’t like the dark to this day. The point is that no matter what your lifestyle is, pain and tragedy can find you. There is a wonderful book called, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” It was written by Rabbi Kuschner..

From my experience running a psych unit,  through my husband’s death and after being battered as a child, I have found a prescription of sorts for healing.

Beauty and our love for it is an inborn need and many artistic tastes are universal across the countries of the world. People in most countries prefer water and trees in the distance.From writing music to words, from singing your favorite songs to painting your first tulipwe have a need to express the art that resides in our souls. From looking at Degas sculptures to writing your first book, you are working from the instinct to produce what you relate to as Art.
Miriam, the Jewish Prophetess danced, sang and played the tambourine. KISS wears make-up and stick out their tongues and millions rocks to their music and its message for the soul.

Close your eyes and try to imagine a world where everything is utilitarian, political or for business. No music, dance, no sketching, painting, writing for pleasure, no moments of the day savored because of their beauty.Across the world people find many different things they consider art but it all performs to express the basic instinct. So today, work on healing with the creativity in your heart and soul.

The beauty of music

The beauty of music

Art evolution

Art evolution

A profile in color

A profile in color

Horse made from drift wood

Horse made from drift wood

Mellow Yellow Monday #2

It is Monday again. It always confuses me how quickly that happens! So it is here once again and I want to talk about art. There are many people who believe, and I agree, that the love of beauty is inborn. Landscapes are more popular than graffiti. Harmonious music is enjoyed more than discordant music.

Whether we look at pottery, writing, performance art, or music composition. Many feel that human traits are evolutionary and cross cultural lines. Scientists feel that tastes in art are shaped by natural selection.

I feel the love of beauty is inborn. Artistic values restore pleasure, beauty and skill back to a prominent place in our culture. The arts are no more remote from the evolved features of the human mind and personality than a magnolia tree is remote from the soil.

The tendency is to treat any form of art as secondary and essentially fluff. That is so far from the truth. The human soul needs beauty and beauty is as essential to the soul as oxygen is to our lungs. Creativity is a bridge between cultures and stimulates the brain so learning is increased.

Creativity is a way to discover your authentic self and to express that self by composing, dancing, acting, throwing a pot or painting a landscape. The creative soul is tied to the Divinity within. People often recognize this and some don’t. What they create still brings a message to those who see the end product be it a play, a symphony, a pastel drawing, an amazing garden or a smashing novel. Without the creative urge, we become diminished as humans and we don’t experience all of the life we have been gifted with. Creativity, of any kind, helps us to be more fully alive and to more fully embrace this plane of existence. Don’t hesitate, listen to your heart and soul and create what is inborn within you and be at one with the Universe.