Thursday, October 6, 2022

Book Nook: A Heart's Landscape - An Invitation to the Garden of Moments

 



When you are challenged – how do you tap into your moment of joy?
 
We all have the ability to manifest a day based on joy and understanding by beginning with a transcendent moment. Author and counselor Susan Lax offers such moments to get your day started in her gorgeous collection of stories, poems and insights, A Heart's Landscape: An Invitation to the Garden of Moments (Your Moment Press; January 12, 2022). Lax shares entries and photographs from her “Morning Inspiration” emails to provide readers with the insight, comfort and healing needed to open their minds and live each day with an attentive heart.
 
The seeds for Morning Inspiration were planted when Susan Lax learned that one of her closest friends was diagnosed with cancer and she was determined to find a way to bring light back to their bond. Respecting her friend’s desire to keep her illness confidential, Lax began sending her friend an email each morning at 6 a.m. designed to bring a moment of joy to her day. This daily tradition continued for five months until one morning Lax awoke with the flu and did not send her morning email.
 
By 7:30 a.m., Lax received a phone call from her friend. “Where is my morning blessing? Why didn’t you send it today?”
 
This would be the only moment in which the two friends discussed the emails aloud. For the rest of the year, Lax sent a short morning blessing and eventually, her friend regained her health. Although the emails were only spoken about once, Lax understood the support they provided. From there, the Morning Inspiration newsletter was born.
 
Morning Inspiration has evolved over time. What began as a message for women diagnosed with health issues became a crafted moment of inspiration for all types of people. The email list grew to include men as well as women traveling through their individual challenging journeys. Along the way, Lax began incorporating photography with her transformative messages. Through these shared moments, she continues to showcase the importance of finding time for joy. We may never be able to overcome grief, but we can learn to set it aside for periods of time and allow ourselves to experience life’s wonders through a positive frame of mind.
 
SUSAN LAX earned a teaching degree in creative drama from the Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology, and the Arts in Israel. She taught creative drama at a local elementary school and continued her studies at the Chochmat Halev, where she focused on meditation and Jewish spirituality. Throughout her educational career, Lax also studied Jewish healing, sacred psychology, spiritual practice as a path of healing, healing aspects of death and dying, and guided meditation. Lax currently works as a spiritual counselor specializing in, but not limited to, those touched by illness, grief, and loving through death. She lectures and leads workshops on the topics of awareness and making room for joy. Lax is the author Morning Inspiration, an email newsletter released three times a week. In addition, she is the co-owner of Naot Footwear, a company that ethically manufactures handmade comfort shoes in Israel.

Freebies - PawPrint Magazine

 PawPrint Magazine

Parenting Pointers: Tips to Talk About Bullying

 Jan Helson, co-founder and board chair of Global Game Changers Children’s Education Initiative, Inc. (GGC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing social-emotional learning (SEL) and character and leadership development curricula for pre-K through 5th-grade students, shares these nine tips for parents to help their children navigate bullying ahead of bullying prevention month. 

Know what bullying is and its types.

You can’t understand what you don’t know. According to the American Psychological Association, “Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort.” (https://www.apa.org/topics/bullying) Once you know what bullying is, make sure you understand each of the different types of bullying so you can identify if they are affecting your child.

  • Physical – using physical force (e.g. kicking, hitting)
  • Verbal – using words (e.g. put-downs, derogatory comments)
  • Social – using social tools (e.g. exclusion, gossip)
  • Cyber – bullying online or via technology 


Know the roles of bullying.

Knowing the roles someone can play in a bullying situation can help you and your child get on the same page with terminology.

  • Bully: the individual perpetrating the bullying
  • Target/victim: the individual being bullied
  • Bystander: individuals outside the bullying situation who witness (and don’t do anything)
  • Upstander: individuals outside the bullying situation who witness and take action to stop the bullying


Give kids space to talk and share

A sad fact of life today is that most kids have a story to share when it comes to bullying. According to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, more than one out of every five children report being bullied (https://www.pacer.org/bullying/info/stats.asp). 


Giving kids space to share their experiences with bullying will allow you to respond and reflect on how you can – and then they – can change the situation. Make sure to set aside time for this talk; you’ll be surprised how much kids will open-up about this difficult subject if you don’t rush them or cut them off.


Provide tips or tools to stand up to bullies.

As an adult, you may already be aware of ways to encourage your kid to stand up to bullies, either as a victim or as an upstander. Sometimes, ignoring a bully or not letting them affect you will make the bullying less enjoyable. Another option is to work as a group to shut down a bully: it’s much easier to bully someone when they’re alone than engaging with friends. Work with your child to identify trusted adults in the space so that they can share what’s happening and feel safe.


Model positive engagement with others.

Our children are a reflection of us, both positive and negative. Make sure that you are modeling inclusive and positive engagement with others, especially around your children. Consider what you say about your own friends and family, and how that might translate to your child’s behavior towards individuals outside of your home. Conversely, invite your children into positive behavior opportunities. At a social event, you might take time to identify another child/adult looking lonely and invite your child to come with you to involve that person or cheer them up.


Explore how to turn bullying behavior around.

If 20% of kids are getting bullied, that means that there are many bullies out there. If you are concerned that your child is acting the bully – or are working to address something that’s been noted – you must think about two questions: How do I address the behavior? And, How do I address the cause of the behavior?


Addressing the behavior can sometimes be easier. Help your child understand and empathize with their target. Then consider how to make meaningful amends. A simple “sorry” will not do the trick; a thoughtful response to a target can help the bully reflect and start to work to repair the relationship that has been damaged.


Addressing the root cause may be more difficult. The root cause of bullying can often be insecurity, so investigate to determine what insecurities are driving your child to overcompensate, and work to resolve them. 


Take advantage of anti-bullying resources.

There are lots of great online resources to combat bullying. Help your kids to learn from the example of Jaylen Arnold, a bullied kid who started his own anti-bullying organization, Jaylen’s Challenge. Tap into your local library and school districts for additional free resources and guidance.


Reach out for help.

In some situations, you may need help to address bullying, especially if your child acts as bully or target. Luckily most schools have experience dealing with bullying and have both resources and people with understanding you can draw on. If these resources don’t help, you might need the expertise of a psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor to address either the impacts of bullying or the reasons behind it. 


Get kids involved in fighting bullying!

Empower your kids to stand up to bullying, not only in their own classrooms, but across the school! There are so many ways for kids to engage in this issue that they understand so well. Think about bigger picture ideas that would help make their school or your community a bully-free space. Not only will this spark greater awareness and understanding of bullying, it will give students the intrinsic power they need to stand up to bullies in any situation.


Visit https://globalgamechangers.org/national-kids-ignite-good-day/ to learn great ways to Ignite Good!® and stop bullying.


About Global Game Changers

    Global Game Changers Children’s Education Initiative, Inc. (GGC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing social-emotional learning (SEL) and character and leadership development programs that empower students to overcome apathy, feel empathy, and foster a sustainable connection to service. To support this mission, GGC offers a free superhero-themed curriculum (MY TALENT + MY HEART = MY SUPERPOWER!®) to schools, after-school programs, and summer programs reaching more than 1,000 schools and 250,000 students in 49 states and 13 countries around the world. The pre-K through 5th grade curriculum is made possible by the Novak Family Foundation, who believes in equitable access for all educators and students. For more information or to get involved, visit globalgamechangers.org.

Book Nook: Journey to Reinvention (Author Interview)


 I recently wrote a post highlighting the book The Journey to Reinvention by the creator of The School of Reinvention. I had a chance to learn more in this interview.

Why did you write this book?

I wrote The Journey to Reinvention because in May of 2020, while the world was locked down for the global pandemic, I was laid off from my company along with over 10,000 other people. A dear mentor, Jennifer, inspired me to help those laid off with me to prepare for what might very well be their first major career reinvention.  She called on me for this challenge because I had already reinvented myself many times before and she had faith in me that I could help my colleagues.  

So with only 4 weeks left at the company, I launched a reinvention mastermind that eventually recruited over 750 people for calls that I hosted every other day. As I prepared content for these sessions, it dawned on me that I might actually have a book here. 

This wasn’t the first time I wanted to write a book, but it was the first time I had a purpose this powerful to write one. I wondered how many more people I could help if I wrote a book on this topic. 

Two years later, The Journey to Reinvention launched into the world and I am doing everything I can to bring it to as many people as possible to help them envision and build a life aligned with their values, passion, and purpose. 


Why is it important to make sure our lives are aligned with our values and passion?

In my research for The Journey to Reinvention, I found that people who live a life aligned with their values, passion, and purpose unleash their best selves and build their best lives.  

When we live life on our terms, pursuing what matters to us, we become who we are meant to be. Life on our terms doesn’t mean that everything works out perfectly, however, it does mean that when you live an aligned life, you can enjoy the ups and appreciate the downs. There will be down moments, however, when you live an aligned life, they don’t have the power to devastate you because you are grounded firmly in who you really are and what matters to you. 

I’ve been fired, laid off, dumped, divorced, ghosted by an employer, bullied by senior leaders, and in over $150K in debt. None of those things were fun things to experience, but I was always grounded in the parts of my life that were aligned with who I really was and what mattered to me. Sometimes it was a job that I loved, even if it didn’t make me rich. Other times I had the support of loved ones who lifted me when I was down. 

When we live a life aligned with our values, passion, and purpose, our best self shows up and that version of us can weather the challenges that inevitably come our way.


How can people identify their purpose?

The most effective way I have found to identify our purpose is to consistently meet new people, adopt other perspectives, try out new potential interests (more than once), and ask ourselves new questions. 

Our purpose is often something we need to develop, not find. 

In my case, I found my purpose when I took on a part time job tutoring math at a learning center after I got home from my day job. I spent no more than 6-8 hours per week at the learning center tutoring math and in the process I fell in love with helping students break through limiting beliefs and unleash their potential on math.

Doing this for a year, I was convinced this was worth pursuing and I made the difficult decision to leave my day job and begin moving in a direction more aligned with helping people unleash their best self.

Finding or developing your purpose doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, but it starts by taking action. Get involved, try out new potential interests, and really give them a chance. I often call this “dating potential passions.”  But don’t quit after one date, give it a few more dates because usually, passions take time to develop. They are rarely “found” and most often cultivated over time. 

In The Journey to Reinvention, I share stories about how I developed my passions along the journey.  The great thing about the journey is that you’ll develop more than one passion and purpose along the way and your mission is to adapt and adjust your life accordingly so that you are always living life in alignment with who you are and what matters to you. 



Roger Osorio is an author, reinvention expert, and founder of The School of Reinvention, a community-based coaching platform empowering people to launch and succeed in personal and career reinvention. Roger works with companies such as Google, Citibank, Orlando Magic, Chase, LVMH, and Mastercard. Roger grew up in the projects in a predominantly Latino neighborhood in New Jersey and Spanish was his first language. After graduating from Penn State University, Roger worked for many years at a Fortune 500 company in marketing and sales. In 2008, after falling in love with a part-time job tutoring math, he quit his day job to become a teacher. He changed careers again, going back into corporate as an executive coach and trainer before developing his current path. Along his journey, Roger has earned a master’s degree in psychology, an M.B.A., and reinvented himself into an international speaker, math teacher, executive coach, entrepreneur, and author. When Roger isn’t writing or coaching, he teaches entrepreneurship at University of Pennsylvania and Sarah Lawrence College.  For more information on Roger, visit his website, https://rogerosorio.com/book/.

Money Matters: College and Affordability


My name is Scott Winstead is the founder of MyElearningWorld.com. His expertise on student loan
debt and higher education has been featured on Yahoo Finance, FOX Business, MSN and more. 

He has authored multiple reports about college financing, including:
  • States Most Interested in Student Loan Forgiveness - Google Search Trends shows interest in student debt cancellation has skyrocketed post pandemic. States most interested in debt cancellation include South Dakota, Montana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Minnesota, Idaho, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
  • Cost of College Has Risen 5X the Rate of Inflation Last 50 years- Real average wages have barely budged in 50 years while tuition has skyrocketed, causing student debt to snowball. If the cost of college had increased consistently with the U.S. inflation rate over the last 50 years, students would only be paying anywhere from roughly $10,000 to $20,000 per year instead of $23,000 to $52,000 to attend public or private universities respectively. 
  • Pandemic College Enrollment Decline Lifetime Income Lost- Covid resulted in a nearly 7% decline in college enrollment, as students opted to stay home and not pay outrageous fees and take on debt for online-only classes. We found that the total potential loss of lifetime earnings by the over 1 million students skipping out on college could exceed $1 trillion.
I had a chance to interview him to learn more.

Why is it important to make college affordable?
It's important for many reasons, most notably that people are going into crippling debt to obtain degrees. So once they graduate, they're drowning trying to pay back all they borrowed. It's also worth noting that college tuition is on top of all the other expenses a college student faces. For example, we just put out a study showing that the average student will spend $2,352 on groceries this school year and $2,955 eating out. Inflation is hurting everyone, college students included.  

How does the opportunity to go to college affect people their whole lives?
Historically, people who graduate college make more money over the span of their lifetimes. We had a report that showed the pandemic enrollment decline could lead to $1 Trillion in lifetime income in the US.

Why is college so much harder to afford now than it used to be?
Because the costs have been rising at an astronomical rate. In the last 50 years, the cost of going to college has risen at 5X the rate of inflation. Meanwhile real average wages have been basically stagnant (report). It's probably not a coincidence that tuition started skyrocketing not long after the government started guaranteeing student loans back in the mid-to-late 60's. 

How do student loan forgiveness programs fit into the picture?
Student loan forgiveness offers temporary relief, but it doesn't do anything to fix the underlying problem. Until the government takes action to deal with rising tuition, students will continue taking out larger and larger loans to pay for the exorbitant costs of college. And in a few years, we'll be right back here with people saying we need to pass another round of student loan forgiveness. 

Music Minute: Emily Miller - The Truth

 Aspiring Country Music Artist Emily Miller has released “The Truth,” her latest in a series of acoustic cover videos. “The Truth” was written by Brett James and Ashley Monroe and originally recorded by Trent Willmon in 2008, but best remembered for the cover Jason Aldean released in 2009. The song has long been one of Emily Miller’s favorites and she was excited to sit behind her home’s baby grand piano to record her own version. This marks the first time Miller has played piano on one of her projects and is quite pleased with the end product. She feels it brings out a different side of her creativity. “The Truth” is a song that appears on Miller’s list of songs she wishes she had written herself and hopes that video viewers will be able to see the emotional connection she felt when playing and recording it. Logan Christopher served as Videographer. Watch the video on her official artist YouTube Channel at https://youtu.be/o_cvDHvoye4

   
"Creating the video for 'The Truth'' was one of my favorites I have done. Getting behind my piano for the first time in a video made me equally nervous as excited, but I am so very happy with the end product that Logan was able to create,” shared Emily Miller.

Video director, Logan Christopher added, “It is always a joy working with Emily! For ‘The Truth’ we wanted to capture the emotion and power of the song and we filmed the video in her home with her personal piano, which really translated to an emotional, raw and real performance.”
 
Download and stream Emily Miller music on Amazon MusicGoogle PlaySpotify, iTunesApple Music, iHeart Music and more.

Stay current with Emily Miller on her website www.emilycmillermusic.com . Follow Emily Miller on FacebookTwitter and Instagram and subscribe to her official artist YouTube Channel for the latest videos.
 
About Emily Miller:
Emily Miller is a multi-talented country singer from West Chester, Ohio. Her debut release “Avaline” has exceeded 62K organic spins on Spotify and the follow up single, “Dear Lonely” has surpassed 68.5K streams. “Prince Charming,” written by Emily Miller was released February 2019 and wass the theme for the TV show Renee’s Bridal Takeover. Her next single, “Take the Trash Out” dropped in March 2021, followed by a supporting music video later in the year. Emily’s debut EP, They Say, was released in February 2022. Her dynamic voice and guitar have entertained audiences in several states and in large venues including the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Music City Center, Gatlinburg Craftsman Fair, charity events like Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital, College sporting events, and many venues across the South and Midwest.  Her active engagement with the audience allows everyone to feel connected with her easy-going personality, catchy smile and quick wit.  Emily has worked with some of the best in the business, including Grammy Award winner Tammy Rogers King of The Steeldrivers along with other industry professionals throughout Nashville, exposing her to audiences she never dreamed of. Playing over 200 shows a year, Emily shows no signs of slowing down. You never know where you’re going to find her next!

Shopping Savings: Perfect October Date Night in NYC

 More people name autumn as their favorite season than any other, and it’s not just the pumpkin spice lattes! Halloween is both sweet and scary, and we all love it like that. But now it’s even better! Blood Manor, New York’s premier haunted attraction, has partnered with our friends and neighbors to offer New Yorkers and out-of-towners the Perfect October Date Night in New York City!

Start your perfect sweet and scary date night at Candytopia, where sweet dreams really do come true! Wander through a dozen rooms in this interactive art installation that celebrates the vibrant colors and flavors of your favorite candies. If you have dreamed of nibbling your way through Candyland or scoring a Golden Ticket, you’ve come to the right place! Use the code SWEETHALLOWEEN to get a 15% discount (candytopia.com).

Then board the Hop On, Hop Off bus, the best rated bus tour and sightseeing package, to get a bird’s eye view of Manhattan (Candytopia is stop #3 on the downtown loop)! Pick your deal online and then use the code PERFECT DATE to get an additional 10% off! Enjoy your tour and then get off at Stop #9 in Tribeca for more Halloween fun (topviewnyc.com).

Check out Belle Reve for original cocktails and delicious American fare with a modern twist. This neighborhood favorite is celebrating Halloween in a big way, with a 10% discount on all food and beverage for Blood Manor guests! Just show your same-day ticket or email reservation to receive your discount… no reservations necessary (bellerevenyc.com).

Then it’s time for a scare… if you dare! Blood Manor and all its ghouls are waiting to frighten you half to death. Hold tight to your date’s hand so you don’t get carried off to The Crypt, Hannibal’s Hell, or any of the other terrifying possibilities that await. Is Blood Manor’s historic space truly haunted? Many a guest has claimed it to be so! Get 10% off the purchase price with the code PERFECTDATE (bloodmanor.com).

You may need a drink after that experience, so check out the beautiful Walker Hotel and either slip down into the cellar to enjoy the charming Saint Tuesday’s cocktail bar or check out the skyline views from the Happy Be rooftop bar. Both are offering holiday drink specials for Blood Manor guests (reservation recommended but necessary).

And if you are from out of town, or just looking to make date night truly special, the Walker Hotel is offering charming luxury in a quaint, well-appointed property in the heart of historic Tribeca. Blood Manor guests can book a king room for just $300 per night with the code BLOODMAN (walkerhotels.com/walker-hotel-tribeca)

Fun Freetime: Yoto's Spooky Season Titles

 


With Yoto’s Halloween-themed content, you can (trick or) treat your kids to spine-chilling audio adventures and keep an eye out for other scary surprises!
 
See below for a sample of this year's frightfully good Halloween titles:

Home Habits: The Fall Family Yard - Make It Work for You

 Fall is a great time to be in your family yard. “Our yards are giving us ways to keep living,” says Kris Kiser, President of the TurfMutt Foundation. “Your backyard can help you stay active and thrive. It’s where you might throw a ball with the kids or the dog. You might grill dinner, sit around the fire, or plant something.”  

According to researchers, people living in neighborhoods with more birds, shrubs, and trees are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and stress. Spending just five minutes in a natural setting can help improve mood. 

Family yards can play a key role in promoting wellness for you, your family and your community, notes Kiser.

“Working in the yard in the fall provides a double benefit. What you do now in the fall to maintain your yard, will also get your yard ready for spring. And it gets you outside in nature,” said Kiser. 

Here are a few tips to maintain your yard this fall:

Get out your equipment and assess what you need for fall yard work. Clean and inspect your mower, trimmer, leaf blower, pruner, or hedger. Get out the attachments you might need for fall yard work like an aerator or mulching attachment. Take any equipment that needs it to an authorized service representative.
Be purposeful in how you maintain your landscape. If adding a tree or bush this season, consider its location, maintenance, sunlight and watering needs, as well as how it might support local pollinators in the spring and backyard wildlife over the winter.
Remove leaves. Autumn means falling leaves. Mulching leaves and leaving them on the grass – rather than raking and bagging them – is good for the lawn and the environment. As shredded leaves decompose on the lawn, they feed it naturally.
Aerate the lawn. Aeration prevents soil from becoming compacted and covered with thatch, a thick layer of roots, stems, and debris that blocks water, oxygen and nutrients from reaching the soil.
Mow at the right height. Continue to cut the grass until the first hard frost. Find the just-right length for your yard’s species, typically between 2-3 inches, to keep the grass healthy when it turns cold.
Water wisely. If the yard is not getting at least an inch of water a week from Mother Nature, keep watering through the fall. Install watering solutions, such as smart controllers on irrigation systems, to help conserve water.
Check if trees or bushes need pruning. Look for low-hanging branches that might snap or break in the winter and cause damage. Now is the time to trim them. Call a tree service if needed.
Learn more about the TurfMutt Foundation at TurfMutt.com. 

Smart Safety: Teens Falling for Scams Faster Than Grandparents

 


With Minnesota teens back in school, parents and teachers should talk to them about online safety after a new study found tech-savvy teens are falling for online scams at a higher rate than seniors.

The money lost by victims under 20 years old grew by 1125% over the last five years compared to 390% for seniors. Teens lost just $8.2 million in 2017 compared to $101.4 million last year.

Seniors remain by far the most victimized group overall losing $1.68 billion last year but the surge of Gen Z victims is alarming and speaks to the growing sophistication of scammers.

SocialCatfish.com released a study on the State of Internet Scams 2022 using 2022 data from the FBI IC3 and FTC.

Minnesota is the No. 20 most-scammed state in the nation with 5,844 victims losing $83,712,410 in 2021. 

Nationally, a record $6.9 billion was lost to online scams in 2021, up nearly double from $3.5 billion in 2019 prior to the pandemic.  


4 Common Scams Targeting Teens and How to Avoid Them in 2022:

1)      ‘Sextortion’: The FBI announced a dramatic increase in ‘Sextortion’ plots against teenage boys. Scammers pose as attractive females on social media, send nude photos, and ask for the same in return. Once received, the victim is told if he does not send money, the photo will be sent to all his friends and family and posted online.

How to Avoid: Perform a reverse image search to confirm if the person you are chatting with online is who they say they are.

2)      Student Loan Forgiveness: Since the government announced up to $20,000 in student loans can be forgiven, fake websites with imposter Department of Education logos are tricking people into providing their bank and personal information in hopes of having their debt forgiven.

How to Avoid:  Only use the Department of Education's official financial site StudentAid.gov.

3)      Online Gaming: Players use credit cards to make in-game purchases that will help them win. Scammers pose as fake vendors and send phishing links during the in-game chat to make these purchases. If clicked, the criminal will have access to all your information.   

How to Avoid: Do not click on links in your direct messages (DM’s). Even if the link is from a friend, call them to verbally verify.

4)      Talent Scout:  Users on Instagram and TikTok receive DM’s offering modeling and acting opportunities. They ask for a fee to apply but of course there is no job waiting. They will request personal information during the “application process” and use it to commit identity theft.

How to Avoid: Be wary of DM’s offering fame and fortune. Do research on the company first.

If you are the victim of a scam or attempted scam report it to the FTC, IC3FBI and IdentityTheft.gov.