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Why are You Here?

Posted by on 4:55 pm in Education, Family, Health, Political, Saturday Salon Community, Spirituality/Religion, Topic Questions | 0 comments

Why are You Here?

WHY ARE YOU HERE? This girl looks like she knows exactly why she’s here, and is proud of it!  She would have no trouble, I’m sure, telling you and taking whatever punishment is  meted out by the principal or her parents for fighting.

Most kids are not so honest with themselves. “Why are you here?” is a powerful question parents need to add to their repertoire. It’s a refreshing change from lecturing, yelling, ignoring or pleading with their child to “understand” what they did wrong, none of which work, by the way.

It’s very simple and works like this.

Child does something against the rules: unkind, didn’t clean their room, played with knives, climbed the rain gutter, teased the dog, ate the cake before the party…

You, in a voice surprisingly devoid of anger, frustration or panic, call them over and bench them.  Make them sit in a very specific place by themselves.  Tree stump, kitchen chair, whatever’s handy.  Then you ask them the simple, powerful question…”Why are you here?”

The child, in a voice several octaves higher than usual, wide-eyed and aghast at being falsely accused, will typically begin like this…”…Well, it’s because  SHE or HE…” or “I didn’t do anything…SHE or HE did THIS or THAT…”  or “It was late and I was really tired, and I couldn’t…”  Dissolving into tears is their next strategy, if you will not succumb to reason.

Your turn.

The moment something comes out of their mouth other than “I did ________.” cut them off with a talk-to-the-hand gesture and say, “Stay here, I’ll be back.”

Give them time to stew in their own juices, then come back.   Ask them again.

“Why are you here?”

Eventually, the kid will break and focus on what he or she did or did not do.  Discuss how to not let others influence you, or how to make better choices.  Apply natural consequences. Release child from kid jail.  Problem solved.

Works like a CHARM!  It teaches children to accept responsibility for their own actions.

Every now and then I ask myself this powerful, simple question.  Sometimes I’m happy with my answer. In fact, sometimes I’m downright pleased with myself! I completed my degree!  I have loving relationships because I give love,too. I can zip my jeans because I got my butt into the pool several times a week for a few weeks, even when it was cold out. Sometimes I’m not as happy with where I am and how I got there.

In that case, I don’t waste time looking out.  The answer to “Why am I Here?” is always answered from within.  That said, that doesn’t mean it’s always our fault if we are unjustly treated, attacked, get cancer, or squashed by a falling rock.  Bad things happen to good people, as we all know.  But most of my life is within my control, and we owe it to our children, and ourselves, to teach them this simple truth.


ECON 101

Posted by on 2:43 am in Political, Recipes, Reviews, Topic Questions | 0 comments

ECON 101

WHERE DOES YOUR MONEY GO? For that matter, where does it come from, and why don’t we have more of it?

Robert Reich’s 2013 documentary, Inequality for All, explains the facts clearly. We hear a lot about the 1% and the growing gap between not just the rich and the poor, but the rich and the middle class.

This one’s worth watching.

Here are the highlights:

  1. Education is important.
  2. Unions are important.
  3. It’s not easy to track where our dollars go, but we need to know – we vote with our dollars.
  4. Wealthy people can only spend a small amount to meet their own personal needs. They are not job creators, they are money makers. Their money is invested all over the world in gold, real estate, etc – money making money, NOT jobs, as is so often claimed.
  5. The middle class creates wealth – by spending money.
  6. Consumers and CEOs are loving it right now, but not for long.  Companies are making a profit, but on the backs of the people they fire.
  7. Governments need to regulate markets
  8. Middle class workers make less money and they can’t buy as much as they used to

Watch the doc and let me know what you think!


Blood Moon

Posted by on 2:05 pm in Education, Family, Saturday Salon Community, Spirituality/Religion, Topic Questions | 0 comments

Blood Moon

DOES THE UNIVERSE STILL AMAZE YOU? April 14th/15th (west coast/east coast), after you rush to take care of your small, temporal concerns (like paying your income tax), celebrate by staying up late to sit in awe of a larger, celestial event.  This one is close to home, actually.  You will get to enjoy the first of a series of lunar eclipses, where the moon will appear reddish due to the shadow of the earth.  Tell the kids they can stay up late (it won’t happen here until around midnight (10 PM on the 14th to 1:30 AM on the 15th).

NASA article on the lunar eclipses 2014

If you and your family want to learn more about the cosmos, watch COSMOS: a Spacetime Odyssey. It’s on Sunday nights, here.  Takes up where Carl Sagan left off.

SATURDAY SALON QUESTION: The more we learn about the cosmos, the more we experience feelings of awe. IFor you, does this inspire and reinforce  religious or spiritual beliefs, or reinforce and support atheistic views?

New Topics!

Posted by on 10:35 pm in Saturday Salon Community, Topic Questions | 0 comments

New Topics!

PEOPLE CRAVE COMMUNITY and meaningful conversation. By hosting a Saturday Salon, you are giving the gift of time and space in which people can open up and become inspired, healed and connected to others.


Here is a sampling from a recent Saturday Salon:

  1. What happened to immigration reform? What do you think the problem is, and how can it be fixed?
  2. How can you heal rifts in your family? When 2 members of a family have a falling out, can you help, or should you leave it to them to work it out?
  3. How much of your life is spent worrying about your weight? Why? How much time and attention does our weight deserve? Is it different for men and women?
  4. What is a healthy diet? Is each person different? Is vegetarian a better option for personal health, or only for the planet?
  5. Climate change – 99.9% of scientists claim it is real AND something we should do something about…NOW! Do you agree? Why or why not?
  6. Do individual efforts to recycle, reduce waste, walk vs drive, etc make a dent in the problem of climate change and environmental health?
  7. Will you marry again if your spouse dies before you?  Why or why not?
  8. Are people who identify as bisexual just not willing to admit they are gay, or can people fall somewhere on a spectrum between gay and straight?
  9. If you are in a blended family (as a child or a parent), how’s that going for you?  :)  What challenges do you experience and how do you deal with them?
  10. Should we try to eliminate mental illness from the lives of individuals, or is some level of mental illness necessary for creative thought processes?

We are All Fools…

Posted by on 3:00 am in Family, Relationships, Saturday Salon Community, Spirituality/Religion, Topic Questions | 0 comments

We are All Fools…

WE ARE ALL FOOLS, and we are all Divine.  Do you agree? What does that statement mean to you?

This is a great question to throw in the hat at your next Saturday Salon.  There are so many ways this discussion can go. Is being a fool a bad thing?  Are we divine, or are only the gods divine?  Are we God’s children?  If so, doesn’t that make us at least semi-divine?  What if there are no gods?  Who is divine then?

I love looking at the world this way!  We all take ourselves much too seriously – we need to realize we’re all fools at least 35 times a day! And there’s no avoiding it – we are human.  And yet, at the same time, we are also guilty of not recognizing the spark of divinity in each other.  If we really stop to consider all each of us are, we are in awe.  We humans have the capacity to keep improving, learning, changing.  In fact, you can’t stop us.  Given an infinite amount of time – and who’s to say we don’t have life after life after life – we will eventually become divine, because we seem to have that spark in us.  I know Hindus and Mormons think along these lines.

Or is this all New Agey hogwash?  What do you think?

What We Know About Climate Change

Posted by on 10:57 pm in Education, Political, Saturday Salon Community, Topic Questions | 0 comments

What We Know About Climate Change

TEN YEARS AGO, I TOOK KIDS TO SCIENCE CAMP up in the San Bernadino mountains.  Whether we went in the Fall, Winter or Spring, it was always a rich, varied environment. Our site was surrounded by deep, green pines and cedar trees. Grey squirrels were everywhere! They scampered across our paths on the way to the dining hall,  peeked around tree trunks, and scurried across deck railings.  A cold, fresh mountain stream rushed down the mountain and flowed through the camp.  Although there were seasonal fluctuations, the stream ran year round.

This week I am back again with a group of students to the very same camp, and am saddened by what I see.  It’s hard to describe how depleted the natural environment has become.  And it’s not just that we’re in a drought.  Fewer birds, fewer of many formerly common species here on the mountain.  I haven’t seen a grey squirrel yet, and the counselor said they haven’t been around for a while.  The animal scat shows how unhealthy many of the animals are, and many trees fall easily with even a minor winter storm.

The camp is still great and the kids are still having a good time.  They can’t tell the difference.  And that’s the sad part.  Because changes take place gradually, most of us don’t notice them.  But, as we’ve all learned since the 3rd grade, everything is connected. So, even if you don’t care about squirrels or owls, these changes spell trouble for homo sapiens.

Why care?  We know  the earth will renew itself and other species will rise to dominance if the current ones die out, so maybe it shouldn’t matter to any of us, but if we care about the quality of life of all living things that exist today, we must do something about climate change now. We caused it, we can do something about it-but we don’t have all the time in the world.

Dr. Mario Molina, the scientist who originally discovered the global emergency that is climate change, is joined by 121,200 fellow scientists of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in their 18-page report, called “What We Know” to attempt to educate the public and clarify the very real danger we are in. He is now over 70 years old, and here’s what he has to say:

“The evidence is overwhelming: Levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are rising,” says the report. “Temperatures are going up. Springs are arriving earlier. Ice sheets are melting. Sea level is rising. The patterns of rainfall and drought are changing. Heat waves are getting worse, as is extreme precipitation. The oceans are acidifying.” 

Read more here: March 18th article in the New York Times “Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate Change”

Here’s the report itself:  What We Know” 

Another article-Common Dreams March 23, 2014


Posted by on 5:27 pm in Reviews | 0 comments


IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE IN TOKYO, JAPAN next weekend, and the concert wasn’t already sold out, you could experience the amazing duo, 2Cellos.  You’ve never seen anyone play the cello like this!

Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, winners of multiple international competitions, introduced to many of us through Elton John’s rave reviews, will blow your mind.

Check them out on YouTube…the costumes set the staid mood, but you don’t have to wait long until….

Here’s another:


From Lupines to Life

Posted by on 3:08 am in Education, Political, Saturday Salon Community, Topic Questions | 0 comments

From Lupines to Life

Watching a NOVA show on the recovery of life after Mount St Helens blew its top. No matter what happens in the second half of the show, (the volcano may win someday) I am encouraged by the ability of life to catch and hold onto the miles of lifeless, rock even after almost all life forms were blasted off the mountain.  And all of this happened in much less time than anyone expected.

It starts with the humble lupine, a plant whose unique root system creates food for itself and other small creatures such as burrowing gophers who survived the eruption-no nutritious soil needed. The gophers then create habitat for other tunneling creatures.  In Spirit Lake, what was a poisonous muck of bacteria turns into a clear-water home for amphibians and fish, begun by phytoplankton creating oxygen.  Pretty amazing stuff.

If we can just not blow ourselves up in the next few years, or completely destroy the planet we live on, our species may not only survive, but thrive.

At least, I hope so.  SATURDAY SALON Question:  Do we have time?


Bringing ‘em Back

Posted by on 5:31 pm in Education, Saturday Salon Community, Topic Questions | 0 comments

Bringing ‘em Back

SHOULD WE BRING EXTINCT SPECIES back to life?  Do we really want herds of wooly mammoths roaming the streets of New York, or passenger pigeons pooping on our cars?

Throw this question into your SATURDAY SALON hat and watch the discussion take off.  A new topic has a way of spurring your guests’ thoughts and takes the discussion into the bigger questions and uncovering whatever is really on people’s minds.  Here are some examples of what guests might do with this question:

Sharon (36 yrs old Republican):  ”Well, I don’t think scientists should do something just because they can.  God is in charge of the world, and He probably has a reason for letting some species go extinct and others survive.  I don’t think it’s our job to mess with God’s design or plan for us.”

Bill (48 years old Libertarian):  ”I disagree strongly! I am a Christian, and I believe God gave us a brain and expects us to use it.  He doesn’t do everything for us-just like you don’t help a baby walk all the time, or he’d never learn to walk on his own. Scientists are supposed to struggle and grow and learn about this beautiful world God made. We shouldn’t legislate morality-keep the government out of it.”

Jared (27 years old-no religious or political affiliation): “I agree with Bill.  I am not religious, so I really think it is our responsibility to do whatever we can to create and maintain health for all creatures, including ourselves.  So many animals and plants have gone extinct because we are messing up the world-we are destroying things, not God. Extinct plants and animals may have some chemical or something that would be the cure for cancer or relieve pain that we haven’t discovered yet.  My mom has cancer and I sure with there was something that would help her.”

Joe (49 yr old apolitical): “Doesn’t matter – we’re all going away soon anyway, because we’re going to blow ourselves up before any of this matters. You know, Sharon, I used to be religious-go to church, believe all that stuff. But how can there be a God when people are being blown up on a regular basis in Afghanistan, Syria and now the Ukraine and they’ve been slaughtering each other in Africa for years! It’s never going to change!”

Jared: Well, Joe, I hear what you’re saying, and on the surface, I guess that’s what will happen if no one does anything.  I think it’s our job to do something, even if we fail.  And i don’t think we will.  We just haven’t figured it out yet-how to make peace instead of war. And we can change the world–it’s been done before.  Look at Gandhi and Martin Luther King.  Those things changed. Why can’t we?”

Try this question at your next SATURDAY SALON and see where the discussion goes….

Pete Seeger

Posted by on 3:54 am in Relationships, Saturday Salon Community, Topic Questions | 0 comments

Pete Seeger


Great Saturday Salon question, because it puts a spotlight on what we value.  Pete Seeger’s on my list, ever since I watched a documentary about his life and how he lived it.  Pete Seeger died January 27th, 2014.  He was 94.  I admire him because he lived his life with joy, integrity and loved others and the planet with an active, true love.  He took a natural, musical gift and used it to bring people together to get things done.  Like cleaning up the Hudson River, and helping to stop the war in Vietnam. And he did all this in spite of the fact that he was silenced by his own government for many years.

His love of people and music just floated up and around the obstacles life threw in his path.  Good man.  Human, don’t think he was perfect, but a good man.

Washington Post article on Pete Seeger