#Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign Needs Your Support!

#Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign Needs Your Support!

If you are in the “giving” mood this month, as many are, or any time after December, 2014, please consider becoming a Patreon member (free) and supporter of creative people? You could help us to achieve particular goals, complete projects, and acquire enough general financial support to keep being creative.

WIN_20141113_151113
Sally Ember, Ed.D.

What’s unique about Patreon‘s site and its campaigns is that donors and creative petitioners have the chance to interact via messages and also by the recipient’s offer of “rewards” as “thank-you” gifts, services, or products.

Sally (I) put on this campaign’s “rewards” page several options based on amounts of donations (first starts with a donation as low as $4.00), which include free ebooks, editing/proofreading services of increasing size for increasing donations, and other rewards in the future.

THE PITCH VIDEO:
http://youtu.be/f8nYsfjm_aU?list=UUqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w

Please visit, watch the pitch video, share, and consider becoming a Patreon patron.

Help fund a book cover, sound equipment upgrade and conversion of videos to podcasts, conversion of ebooks to print books and becoming available as Print-On-Demand (POD) books and/or provide any size donation to go towards the general financial support of a working #writer, CHANGES Google+ Hangout On Air (#HOA) talk show host and blogger who supports other #indie #authors.

Thanks, Happy Holidays, happy creating and happy reading!

THE PATREON PAGE:

http://www.patreon.com/sallyember

#Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign Needs Your Support!

#Crowdfunding with #Patreon: Sally Ember’s Campaign Needs Your Support!

If you are in the “giving” mood this month, as many are, or any time after December, 2014, please consider becoming a Patreon member (free) and supporter of creative people? You could help us to achieve particular goals, complete projects, and acquire enough general financial support to keep being creative.

WIN_20141113_151113
Sally Ember, Ed.D.

What’s unique about Patreon‘s site and its campaigns is that donors and creative petitioners have the chance to interact via messages and also by the recipient’s offer of “rewards” as “thank-you” gifts, services, or products.

Sally (I) put on this campaign’s “rewards” page several options based on amounts of donations (first starts with a donation as low as $4.00), which include free ebooks, editing/proofreading services of increasing size for increasing donations, and other rewards in the future.

THE PITCH VIDEO:
http://youtu.be/f8nYsfjm_aU?list=UUqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w

Please visit, watch the pitch video, share, and consider becoming a Patreon patron.

Help fund a book cover, sound equipment upgrade and conversion of videos to podcasts, conversion of ebooks to print books and becoming available as Print-On-Demand (POD) books and/or provide any size donation to go towards the general financial support of a working #writer, CHANGES Google+ Hangout On Air (#HOA) talk show host and blogger who supports other #indie #authors.

Thanks, Happy Holidays, happy creating and happy reading!

THE PATREON PAGE:

http://www.patreon.com/sallyember

We Should All Contribute to Raising All Children

“Man with 25 kids with 15 different women refuses to pay child support” accuses the New York Daily News‘ headline last week. http://goo.gl/9ufQGT

In this story are pathetic vignettes from two or more of this man’s sexual partners who became pregnant with and claimed to have had children with him, all the while ignorant of his other …. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 children….? Even though this man’s problems with not paying child support had made him Tennessee’s statewide largest “deadbeat dad” in 2012, he still found willing partners and impregnated at least three more women since that public designation.

This scofflaw was known for “driving flashy cars and throwing cash around,” since he apparently owns several nightclubs, then “dressing in rags and claiming poverty” when brought in front of judges whose prosecuting attorneys are apparently too incompetent to do proper research on this man’s net worth.

All I can think about are these 25 children, probably growing up without sufficient resources, continuing the downward cycle, ad infinitum. Multiplied by thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions world-wide, imagine all these children inadequately provided for, however that occurs.

UNACCEPTABLE.

Crying4.jpg

image from http://reason.com

My conclusions and recommendations:

  1. We humans are unable to sustain this system successfully. We will not survive as a species.
  2. We apparently are too stupid, incompetent, ignorant, selfish, misguided, unlucky and/or unable to make intelligent choices and raise children with sufficient support.
  3. We as a species must make it mandatory for ALL humans to contribute to the well-being and support of ALL minors.

Boom.

better children

image from http://jokeallucan.blogspot.com

  • Forget going after individual bio parents, grandparents, foster parents or adoptive parents who have reneged on their parenting duties and/or financial responsibilities.
  • Stop trying to collect “child support” from the uncollectible.
  • Admit that it’s hopeless: we can’t instill parenting skills or knowledge via “parent education” into the addicted, severely mentally disabled, recalcitrant, unwilling or arrogant.
  • Stop relegating youth to the “luck of the draw” for the parenting lottery.
  • End these philosophies that govern current legal and cultural practices: “Oh, your mom is a meth addict? Too bad.” “Oh, your dad is in prison? Tough break.” “Oh, your parents are dead? Oh, well.” “Oh, your parents are mentally ill? We’ll put you in foster care.”

No.

We as humans must figure out a way to reproduce more responsibly AND to raise and educate children more fairly and competently.

In addition, we have to make it impossible for any child to go without basic amenities, food, clothing, education, nurturing and appropriate discipline and structure due to the deficiencies of their birth circumstances.

No government should be allowed to continue to be in power, even to exist, which does not ensure that all young people are well-fed, clothed, housed and educated.

If we continue to assign children to their “fates” based on their bio parents and other environmental circumstances, the caste- and class-based failure we call “society” will continue to populate (privatized, for-profit) prisons with inmates. We will continue sending addicts to rehabilitation centers, keeping them stocked with recurring “patients” that fill the coffers of insurance companies but cure almost no one.

What happens when millions go without sufficient food, medicine or clothing? Earth produces hundreds of millions, probably billions by the end of 2025, with bellies filled mostly with rage.

What fuels terrorism and crime? Dissatisfaction and alienation.

What creates affiliation to community? Fairness and caring.

It costs almost eight times as much to imprison an individual as it does to educate him/her all the way through high school.

costs prison v education CA

image from http://www.safeandjust.org

You do the math.

Let the corralling of the incapable into parenting end now.

The “nuclear” family is, by and large, unsustainable, a failure, with circumstances getting worse for children every decade.

Model childraising on the Kibbutzim, the collective childraising communities in Israel.

  • Put competent, caring, educated, healthy, trained and willing adults in charge of children.
  • Allow all minors to have contact with any safe adults, but not solely to rely on their bio or legal guardians/parents for their upbringing.

biloy-em-hahorim

image from http://www.judaica-hamsa-jewish-star-symbols-and-meanings.com

Let’s level the “playing field” for all young people. Give them all truly equal opportunities.

Comments/questions? Movements? Ideas?

Anyone already have a charity or nonprofit devoted to supporting ALL children?

Tell me about it. I might be able to help start, organize, or publicize these efforts.

SOMETHING major has got to change. For the children. For the species.

We Should All Contribute to Raising All Children

“Man with 25 kids with 15 different women refuses to pay child support” accuses the New York Daily News‘ headline last week. http://goo.gl/9ufQGT

In this story are pathetic vignettes from two or more of this man’s sexual partners who became pregnant with and claimed to have had children with him, all the while ignorant of his other …. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 children….? Even though this man’s problems with not paying child support had made him Tennessee’s statewide largest “deadbeat dad” in 2012, he still found willing partners and impregnated at least three more women since that public designation.

This scofflaw was known for “driving flashy cars and throwing cash around,” since he apparently owns several nightclubs, then “dressing in rags and claiming poverty” when brought in front of judges whose prosecuting attorneys are apparently too incompetent to do proper research on this man’s net worth.

All I can think about are these 25 children, probably growing up without sufficient resources, continuing the downward cycle, ad infinitum. Multiplied by thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions world-wide, imagine all these children inadequately provided for, however that occurs.

UNACCEPTABLE.

Crying4.jpg

image from http://reason.com

My conclusions and recommendations:

  1. We humans are unable to sustain this system successfully. We will not survive as a species.
  2. We apparently are too stupid, incompetent, ignorant, selfish, misguided, unlucky and/or unable to make intelligent choices and raise children with sufficient support.
  3. We as a species must make it mandatory for ALL humans to contribute to the well-being and support of ALL minors.

Boom.

better children

image from http://jokeallucan.blogspot.com

  • Forget going after individual bio parents, grandparents, foster parents or adoptive parents who have reneged on their parenting duties and/or financial responsibilities.
  • Stop trying to collect “child support” from the uncollectible.
  • Admit that it’s hopeless: we can’t instill parenting skills or knowledge via “parent education” into the addicted, severely mentally disabled, recalcitrant, unwilling or arrogant.
  • Stop relegating youth to the “luck of the draw” for the parenting lottery.
  • End these philosophies that govern current legal and cultural practices: “Oh, your mom is a meth addict? Too bad.” “Oh, your dad is in prison? Tough break.” “Oh, your parents are dead? Oh, well.” “Oh, your parents are mentally ill? We’ll put you in foster care.”

No.

We as humans must figure out a way to reproduce more responsibly AND to raise and educate children more fairly and competently.

In addition, we have to make it impossible for any child to go without basic amenities, food, clothing, education, nurturing and appropriate discipline and structure due to the deficiencies of their birth circumstances.

No government should be allowed to continue to be in power, even to exist, which does not ensure that all young people are well-fed, clothed, housed and educated.

If we continue to assign children to their “fates” based on their bio parents and other environmental circumstances, the caste- and class-based failure we call “society” will continue to populate (privatized, for-profit) prisons with inmates. We will continue sending addicts to rehabilitation centers, keeping them stocked with recurring “patients” that fill the coffers of insurance companies but cure almost no one.

What happens when millions go without sufficient food, medicine or clothing? Earth produces hundreds of millions, probably billions by the end of 2025, with bellies filled mostly with rage.

What fuels terrorism and crime? Dissatisfaction and alienation.

What creates affiliation to community? Fairness and caring.

It costs almost eight times as much to imprison an individual as it does to educate him/her all the way through high school.

costs prison v education CA

image from http://www.safeandjust.org

You do the math.

Let the corralling of the incapable into parenting end now.

The “nuclear” family is, by and large, unsustainable, a failure, with circumstances getting worse for children every decade.

Model childraising on the Kibbutzim, the collective childraising communities in Israel.

  • Put competent, caring, educated, healthy, trained and willing adults in charge of children.
  • Allow all minors to have contact with any safe adults, but not solely to rely on their bio or legal guardians/parents for their upbringing.

biloy-em-hahorim

image from http://www.judaica-hamsa-jewish-star-symbols-and-meanings.com

Let’s level the “playing field” for all young people. Give them all truly equal opportunities.

Comments/questions? Movements? Ideas?

Anyone already have a charity or nonprofit devoted to supporting ALL children?

Tell me about it. I might be able to help start, organize, or publicize these efforts.

SOMETHING major has got to change. For the children. For the species.

Want to Make A Difference? RUN!

North Bay, CA Peeps: inspired by today’s elections (frustrated or elated)? DO SOMETHING!

Women’s Global Leadership Initiative (WGLI) and local partners have come together to support and inspire the development of new leaders in the North Bay, CA, area (Sonoma County)!

The Rise Up Now (RUN) Forum is about becoming informed, knowing what you have to offer and taking the next steps!

Come and enjoy a day of inspiring speakers, lunch and being in the company of those who have passion to make things happen.

The RUN Forum provides attendees with the opportunity to learn what it takes to make a difference in their communities by joining committees, commissions, and boards.

Open to all in the North Bay, CA, area and close by who want to make a difference!

ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT TO REGISTER

Please share this important info.

RUN Flyer Nov 8, 2014 real

Go to http://www.wgli.org to register today!

Cost: $25.00, Student $15.00 lunch included.

For more info or to request for scholarship, call or email Wanda Tapia at 707-935-8532, wtapia@latinoserviceproviders.org

5 Ways for #Giving 1% to Offset the Splurging Inspired by the Holidays

Immediately after Halloween (and in some cases, even before it came), commercials in both print and video outlets began the holiday onslaught. Many people do begin shopping this early for their gifts, requesting/making lists for what they want and having/attending parties at which enormous amounts of alcohol and food are consumed.

To counterbalance the ridiculous indulging that occurs in many households in the West over the next two months, I offer 5 Ways for #Giving 1% to Offset the Splurging Inspired by the Holidays.

Post this on your refrigerator or visor in your vehicle and DO THESE THINGS. Please.

  • 1. Donate 1% of what you spend in money For every gift you purchase online, from a vendor or in a store, make a point to put aside 1% of that amount paid for charity. 1%, for the math-challenged, is the amount you see when you move the decimal point over two places to the left: e.g., if it costs $100.00, you put aside $1.00; if it costs $5.00, you put aside 5 cents.
    At the end of your holiday season, add that all up and use the 1% you set aside to benefit the charity of your choice. Remember: libraries, pet shelters, homeless and other social service organizations, youth centers, food banks, clothing drives.

    piggy bank

    image from http://getbookedin.com

  • 2. Volunteer 1% of what you spend in time Keep a journal or online calendar/diary of all the time you spend (notating it in a minimum of fifteen-minute intervals, like a lawyer) celebrating, preparing for, decorating, creating or buying gifts, attending, preparing or cleaning up family meals for these holidays. The amount of time you devote to this “season” will probably amaze you, if you are honest and meticulous in your records. At the end of your holidays, add up all those quarter-hours and multiply by four: this equals how many hours, total, you gave to the holidays. Any time during or after your holiday season, schedule yourself to volunteer 1% (see above for math help) of those hours to benefit the charity, cause, family or event of your choice.

    Volunteering

    image from http://www.care2.com

  • 3. Pass on 1% of what you received in gifts Keep a list of what you received from others. Include holiday cards, presents, food, nights out, alcohol, vacation time, clothing, and other gifts for these holidays. If you have/know any, get kids/teens to do this, also. Consider estimating what each of these costs the giver or is worth in actual dollars. The amount of stuff you acquired may add up to many pages for some of you. At the end of your holidays, add up all those estimated amounts to show the dollar value of what you received from this season’s holidays.
    Find a way to pass on actual gifts (“re-gifting”) or gift cards in the amount of 1% (see No. 1 for math help) of that total value to benefit the charity, cause, family or individual of your choice.

    Toy box

    image from http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com

  • 4. Give up 1% of what you want Make or add to your growing list of what you want from others for the holidays. Include holiday cards, presents, food, nights out, alcohol, vacation time, clothing, and other gifts. Consider estimating what each of these would cost or is worth in actual dollars. The amount of stuff you want may add up to many pages for some of you. At the end of your holidays, add up all those estimated amounts to show the dollar value of what you wished to receive from this season’s holidays.
    Whether or not you received all that you wanted, find a way to pass on actual gifts (“re-gifting”) or gift cards in the amount of 1% (see No. 1 for math help) of that total value to benefit the charity, cause, family or individual of your choice.

    wish list

    image from http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com

  • 5. Demonstrate gratitude for at least 1% of what you have Count your blessings. Literally. Consider how to estimate what each of your privileges, benefits, friends, family, housing, employment, art, music, intelligence, abilities, skills, talents, knowledge, education, property and other possessions and all good fortune, including whatever health you enjoy, is worth in actual dollars. The number of ways you can be grateful should keep expanding. Be creative. Some blessings have no monetary value, but you can assign one, anyway. Make a list. Keep adding to it and placing dollar amounts next to each one that you can. At the end of your holidays, total all those estimated amounts to show the dollar value of what you already have this holiday season.
    Find creative ways to demonstrate your gratitude for 1% of the total value of what you already have (see No. 1 for math help) to benefit the charity, cause, family or individual of your choice.

    Giving heart

    image from http://www.empowher.com

    If you engage in these 5 offsetting actions, you will more thoroughly enjoy every part of the holiday season. I promise.

    Happy Holidays, Everyone!

    Happy Holidays

    image from http://www.smashingmagazine.com

5 Ways for #Giving 1% to Offset the Splurging Inspired by the Holidays

Immediately after Halloween (and in some cases, even before it came), commercials in both print and video outlets began the holiday onslaught. Many people do begin shopping this early for their gifts, requesting/making lists for what they want and having/attending parties at which enormous amounts of alcohol and food are consumed.

To counterbalance the ridiculous indulging that occurs in many households in the West over the next two months, I offer 5 Ways for #Giving 1% to Offset the Splurging Inspired by the Holidays.

Post this on your refrigerator or visor in your vehicle and DO THESE THINGS. Please.

  • 1. Donate 1% of what you spend in money For every gift you purchase online, from a vendor or in a store, make a point to put aside 1% of that amount paid for charity. 1%, for the math-challenged, is the amount you see when you move the decimal point over two places to the left: e.g., if it costs $100.00, you put aside $1.00; if it costs $5.00, you put aside 5 cents.
    At the end of your holiday season, add that all up and use the 1% you set aside to benefit the charity of your choice. Remember: libraries, pet shelters, homeless and other social service organizations, youth centers, food banks, clothing drives.

    piggy bank

    image from http://getbookedin.com

  • 2. Volunteer 1% of what you spend in time Keep a journal or online calendar/diary of all the time you spend (notating it in a minimum of fifteen-minute intervals, like a lawyer) celebrating, preparing for, decorating, creating or buying gifts, attending, preparing or cleaning up family meals for these holidays. The amount of time you devote to this “season” will probably amaze you, if you are honest and meticulous in your records. At the end of your holidays, add up all those quarter-hours and multiply by four: this equals how many hours, total, you gave to the holidays. Any time during or after your holiday season, schedule yourself to volunteer 1% (see above for math help) of those hours to benefit the charity, cause, family or event of your choice.

    Volunteering

    image from http://www.care2.com

  • 3. Pass on 1% of what you received in gifts Keep a list of what you received from others. Include holiday cards, presents, food, nights out, alcohol, vacation time, clothing, and other gifts for these holidays. If you have/know any, get kids/teens to do this, also. Consider estimating what each of these costs the giver or is worth in actual dollars. The amount of stuff you acquired may add up to many pages for some of you. At the end of your holidays, add up all those estimated amounts to show the dollar value of what you received from this season’s holidays.
    Find a way to pass on actual gifts (“re-gifting”) or gift cards in the amount of 1% (see No. 1 for math help) of that total value to benefit the charity, cause, family or individual of your choice.

    Toy box

    image from http://blog.turbotax.intuit.com

  • 4. Give up 1% of what you want Make or add to your growing list of what you want from others for the holidays. Include holiday cards, presents, food, nights out, alcohol, vacation time, clothing, and other gifts. Consider estimating what each of these would cost or is worth in actual dollars. The amount of stuff you want may add up to many pages for some of you. At the end of your holidays, add up all those estimated amounts to show the dollar value of what you wished to receive from this season’s holidays.
    Whether or not you received all that you wanted, find a way to pass on actual gifts (“re-gifting”) or gift cards in the amount of 1% (see No. 1 for math help) of that total value to benefit the charity, cause, family or individual of your choice.

    wish list

    image from http://www.thisisamericanrugby.com

  • 5. Demonstrate gratitude for at least 1% of what you have Count your blessings. Literally. Consider how to estimate what each of your privileges, benefits, friends, family, housing, employment, art, music, intelligence, abilities, skills, talents, knowledge, education, property and other possessions and all good fortune, including whatever health you enjoy, is worth in actual dollars. The number of ways you can be grateful should keep expanding. Be creative. Some blessings have no monetary value, but you can assign one, anyway. Make a list. Keep adding to it and placing dollar amounts next to each one that you can. At the end of your holidays, total all those estimated amounts to show the dollar value of what you already have this holiday season.
    Find creative ways to demonstrate your gratitude for 1% of the total value of what you already have (see No. 1 for math help) to benefit the charity, cause, family or individual of your choice.

    Giving heart

    image from http://www.empowher.com

    If you engage in these 5 offsetting actions, you will more thoroughly enjoy every part of the holiday season. I promise.

    Happy Holidays, Everyone!

    Happy Holidays

    image from http://www.smashingmagazine.com

CONTROVERSY: #Buddhists and #Organ Donation at #Death

As some of you know, I have been a practicing #Buddhist in the #Tibetan #Vajrayana #Nyingma tradition since 1989, informally, and since 1996, formally (in this life, anyway…). These traditions, as taught to me originally by the late His Eminence Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche and by many of the Western Lamas he ordained, including my current teacher, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (Lama Drimed, as he is known), include very specific preparations for death which we do as a part of our daily practices as well as recommendations as to how we want others to handle our dying and death processes and manage our dead bodies.

CTR

H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche

In fact, packets and instructions have been sent to students detailing what to give loved ones, friends, medical professionals and hospice workers–anyone attending our dying process and death event—so that, if we are unable to verbally convey our last wishes, everyone will know what we want to happen (and not happen). These written instructions, which each person can modify to their choosing, have been very comforting and useful for the friends and sangha (Buddhist community) members who have faced this while dying or being around meditators who are dying or who have just died.

Because Buddhists in our tradition (and many others) believe that a recently deceased person’s consciousness stays in or around the body for many days after death (up to 49, but certainly the first 3 – 7, for meditators), most directions talk about not moving or even touching the body (or touching it only in specific places, avoiding touching the bottoms of the feet, for example) in order to help the deceased meditators maintain the meditation and move our consciousness intentionally onward while we are are “in” this bardo period (between place/time, rough translation).

Buddhists have special rituals, such as Sur and P’howa, taught and practiced daily or weekly, which involve visualizations and prayers. We also usually include “offerings” of incense or other burnt substances (as in Sur) and music, such as the clanging of the tingshas (small, heavy ritual cymbals) or ringing of bells, and chanting specific mantras to honor, assist and “feed” the recently deceaseds’ wandering spirits during this time.

To commemorate someone’s death, we also light butterlamps (oil lamps or candles suffice), release animals from captivity who were marked for death (bait fish, worms and prey animals in pet stores, for example), dedicating the merit of these actions to their passing more positively while in the bardo and when entering into their next lifetime.

fish release saving lives

“Taiwanese Buddhists release catfish into a river during a ‘mercy release’ ceremony in Taipei.” image from http://www.telegraph.co.uk

With all of this attention to maintaining the dignity and meditation of the dying and dead person, how/when could one donate organs? Sangha members posed these questions to Rinpoche before he passed and to living teachers, with mixed responses. Some indicate that if you want to be an organ donor, you have to choose to give up your chance to do these practices during and after dying/death. Personally, I think this view is an opinion that could be challenged. However, it is widely circulated.

So far, I don’t know of any sangha members who died who also donated their organs, and several have died in the last ten years whom I knew personally and well. I decided to be an organ donor before practicing Buddhism in this life and I have signed up in every state I’ve lived in since, including my most recent move to Missouri, whenever I get a new driver’s license.

I believe in organ donation because it’s the right thing to do, in my mind. Also, six people I know and love received life-saving organ and/or bone marrow donations. I was tested (but not selected) to be one of those donors about twelve years ago.

Jaye Laughing

My dear, recently departed friend, Jaye Alper, enjoying her extra years because of a donated kidney.

How do I reconcile being an organ donor with being a serious meditator who does these time-of-death practices? Like this: None of these pre-modern-science meditators ever faced these decisions and dilemmas, so how could they have prepared for, much less taught about how to make organ donation choices?

Points to consider:

  • Our consciousness does not reside in this body; we use it for a while and then our consciousness moves on. We Buddhists all agree on that, yes?
  • This existence is all illusory, including being in this body.
  • The highest act of generosity anyone can make is to give one’s body. We visualize this in Chöd practice and other meditations daily; why not DO it? Actually GIVE our body parts!
  • At my time of death (and right before, if I’m brain-dead but not physically dead, yet), the most useful thing I can do is to donate my organs so that others may live, see, breathe, etc., by using them.
  • I certainly won’t be needing my organs any longer at that point.
  • If my commitment to meditation practice is strong and steady, it won’t matter where my consciousness “is” when this body is dying and dies. How could it? How much can it really matter where and how this body is moved or touched, then?

Also, and I don’t mean to sound condescending, I believe that a large portion of Buddhist tradition and thought, particularly that which comes from Tibet, is steeped in the superstitions, fears and other unsupportable beliefs that pre-dated Buddhism, such as those from Bön. Furthermore, indigenous Shamanic traditions rooted in many Buddhist cultures share these older views.

However, our commitments to practice generosity, be less selfish, try to make others happy, and our motivation to save lives and alleviate suffering are supposed to triumph over fears for all of these faiths. I hope we can agree on donating organs in these modern times.

Most Motor Vehicle Bureaus have a organ donor registration as part of the license-getting or -renewal process. if you don’t drive, find a way to become listed as an organ donor. Get tested to be a live donor by participating in the Bone Marrow registry as well.

organ_donor_card_

We are all going to die. We meditate on impermanence, on death, every day. We get used to it, as meditators. Let’s do more than become accustomed to death: let’s use it for benefiting others.

Death-meditation

image from: http://www.orderofthegooddeath.com

How great it is to live in a time that allows us to gift others with our body parts and help them live better, healthier, longer lives? As we get closer to the USA celebration of Halloween and the Mexican commemoration, El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), 10/31, how fitting is it to consider death in productive ways?

Click below to sign up and become a registered donor. Pass this on, please.

http://www.transplants.org/become-organ-donor

No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose

No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but
We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose

Of course that is true. Books about women’s experiences in choosing to have an abortion, having it, living with the decision, have these titles:

In Necessity and Sorrow, Peace after an Abortion, Healing after an Abortion, Dealing with the Emotional Aftermath of an Abortion, and similar.

Why in 2014, DECADES AFTER after the clarity of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade, is women’s right-to-choose to terminate a pregnancy in the USA even in question?

Here is one main reason: MEN. More than a few very loud, conservative/reactionary, unfeeling, uncaring, ignorant and idiotic men. I call these men names with great care: they deserve every one of these appellations.

Men do not get pregnant

image from http://msmagazine.com

Last winter, Republican Allan Rothlisberg (Junction City, CA) who serves on a major House Committee (Commerce, Labor and Economic Development), stated: “If I was a woman over 50, I wouldn’t need gynecological services” (1/14/14). Bad grammar aside, the guy is a moron when it comes to women’s health care requirements.

Unfortunately, he is TYPICAL of the men in leadership positions spouting garbage. Offensive ridiculousness comes regularly out of those such as Todd Akin (R-Missouri), who invented the delightful term “legitimate rape” and claimed that there is no need for abortion to be legal in the case of rape because “women can just shut that down,” meaning, decide not to become fertilized, when we are raped.

I am not making this up.

Here is the other reason: RELIGION. Or, rather, the co-optation of Christian religious tenets and beliefs, tailoring and lying about the original teachings to “support” their platform. Nevermind that the same people who call themselves “pro-life” vote down tax increases or any funding for FEEDING, HOUSING, EDUCATING, and MAINTAINING HEALTH for actual, living children and adults, and that these same politicians and their supporters also want to exclude immigrants all together from ALL services. So much for being “pro-life” or even following their own Christian precepts.

Jesus policy preferences

image from http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com

As we approach another election, one in which the entire House of Representatives is up for grabs (and this part of Congress is the most culpable when it comes to misappropriation of politics and abusing their power in the name of religion), some facts seem important to know regarding abortion, a key issue (again). Please share. Please talk about this. I know I’m probably “preaching to the choir,” but we all have friends and relatives who could be better informed, and we ALL need to VOTE!

Who gets abortions in the USA?

What are the ages of women having abortions?

Anti-choice marketers would have us believe that most abortion-seekers are “irresponsible teenagers” who need “counseling” and “guidance,” implying that ignorance, carelessness, selfishness and a wanton disregard for life are influencing circumstances and driving abortion decisions.

However (big shock), they are incorrect. Only a small percentage (0.4%) of females who obtained abortions in this time period were under 15 years old. Interestingly, almost equal percentages (7 – 8%) were for women ages 15 – 17 and also for women 35-39. What types of circumstances and emotional characteristics could these demographic groups have in common, besides having an unwanted pregnancy?

ages of women abortion

82% of the women who had abortions in the 11-year period, 1999-2010, were between the ages of 18 – 34, with 34% as the largest single group, and it was for women ages 20 – 24.

Unsurprisingly, “older” women (NOT “ignorant” or in need of “guidance”) also get pregnant and decided to terminate the pregnancy: about 3% were over 40 years old.

What the reasons women choose abortion?

The conservative, anti-choice movement wants us to believe that the “primary” reasons for women’s choosing abortion are “selfish” and therefore not to be supported by law or community attitude. Their pie chart tries to illustrate that “most” women who have abortions do so because a pregnancy comes at the “wrong time” and /or they are “not ready” to have a child at that time. Even so, by their own research (which is questionable), only about one-quarter (27%) of the women gave that as their “primary” reason.

However, look at what the other survey options were and you can understand how so many chose the “not ready” category:

  • “Lack of maturity” Who is going to self-select that reason? Very few: 8%
  • “Relationship Issues” This is so broad as to be almost useless as a survey option. Only 9% selected this.
  • “Fetal Health Concerns” and “Maternal Health Concerns” each received about the same, 3% – 4%, matching “School or Career Concerns” with 4% as well. These combined total about 12%, or one-eighth of the respondents.
  • “Can’t afford the baby” (whose wording is already emotionally loaded, labeling the fetus a “baby” and then impugning the woman’s financial status at the same time) still garnered an almost equal percentage to those who said they weren’t “ready,” at 25%.
  • “Finished childbearing” is fraught with judgment as well, but nonetheless, 20% selected this as their primary reason for terminating the pregnancy.
  • “Rape” unsurprisingly received less than any, at 0.1%, while “Incest” isn’t on this chart (one could argue that all incest is rape, but to exclude it as a reason is significant, since conservatives keep voting down the right to choose, even in the case of rape or incest….).

AbortionReasons

image from http://www.conservapedia.com

The actual facts about USA women and abortion

About half of all women experience at least one unintended pregnancy in our lifetimes. This occurs mostly due to the fact that ALL birth control, even when used correctly and consistently, has a failure rate of at least 1% and most are worse.

Birth control failure rates

image from http://www.abovetopsecret.com

The “Pill,” which is usually thought of as “effective,” fails almost 9% of the time. That means almost 1 out of every 10 women who rely on the Pill for birth control will become pregnant while taking it. In addition to causing all kinds of problems for the women that they were not expecting (no pun intended), pregnant women do not know they are pregnant until many months into the pregnancy (usually when the baby moves), which means the mothers are taking these hormones throughout the crucial first trimester. Birth control pills can have adverse effects on developing fetuses which usually causes birth defects and/or problems for these people later in life because of hormonal imbalances while they were developing in utero. The risk of ectopic pregnancies is also higher in women taking oral contraceptives after conception (which shouldn’t have occurred, but does).

Even worse, women who conceive while using spermicidal forms of birth control are counseled to have abortions because babies born to women using spermicides have astronomical rates of birth defects, up to and including stillbirth. The lesser problems include dwarfism, muscles missing or non-functional (eyelids’ muscles do not work, for example, so the eyes can’t fully open, which, without surgery, leads to blindness in newborns), hip displasia, clubfoot, cleft palate, and worse (New England Journal of Medicine), most of which, if reparable, require one or more surgeries and expensive rehabilitation.

Spermicide problems

image from http://www.nejm.org

Despite these facts, only about one-third of women who unintentionally become pregnant choose to have an abortion. This could be due to the fact that, of those with unintended pregnancies, about 60% already have one child. As I mentioned at the start: NO woman WANTS to have an abortion, and those who have already carried a pregnancy to term, parented a child, are even less likely to terminate. Statistics bear this out: most mothers choose NOT to terminate.

Furthermore, to refute another of the conservatives’ most specious arguments: the majority (73%) of women who choose to terminate a pregnancy ARE “religiously affiliated,” which means we are not ALL “godless heathens” (although, as a Buddhist, I am proud to be “godless” and couldn’t care less about being called a “heathen”).

Abortion stats actual

image from http://naralprochoicewashington.tumblr.com

I could, but I won’t, tell my entire personal story, here. Bare facts: I was “typical” in that I was in my middle-twenties, educated, and pro-child (I was teaching Kindergarten-First Grade at the time). I chose to terminate due to my having been financially and emotionally unready and unable to care for a child at the time I got pregnant, which occurred due to a birth control failure (diaphragm, which has a 4% failure rate).

Please, whatever your story or gender, VOTE in or keep in a pro-choice candidate this November. The right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is a HUMAN right and, unfortunately, sometimes a necessity. Even if the choices are often made in sorrow, they must be safe and legal to make.

Vote smart

image from http://www.kylelife.com

No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose

No Woman Wants to Have An Abortion, but
We MUST Support EVERY Woman’s Right To Choose

Of course that is true. Books about women’s experiences in choosing to have an abortion, having it, living with the decision, have these titles:

In Necessity and Sorrow, Peace after an Abortion, Healing after an Abortion, Dealing with the Emotional Aftermath of an Abortion, and similar.

Why in 2014, DECADES AFTER after the clarity of the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v Wade, is women’s right-to-choose to terminate a pregnancy in the USA even in question?

Here is one main reason: MEN. More than a few very loud, conservative/reactionary, unfeeling, uncaring, ignorant and idiotic men. I call these men names with great care: they deserve every one of these appellations.

Men do not get pregnant

image from http://msmagazine.com

Last winter, Republican Allan Rothlisberg (Junction City, CA) who serves on a major House Committee (Commerce, Labor and Economic Development), stated: “If I was a woman over 50, I wouldn’t need gynecological services” (1/14/14). Bad grammar aside, the guy is a moron when it comes to women’s health care requirements.

Unfortunately, he is TYPICAL of the men in leadership positions spouting garbage. Offensive ridiculousness comes regularly out of those such as Todd Akin (R-Missouri), who invented the delightful term “legitimate rape” and claimed that there is no need for abortion to be legal in the case of rape because “women can just shut that down,” meaning, decide not to become fertilized, when we are raped.

I am not making this up.

Here is the other reason: RELIGION. Or, rather, the co-optation of Christian religious tenets and beliefs, tailoring and lying about the original teachings to “support” their platform. Nevermind that the same people who call themselves “pro-life” vote down tax increases or any funding for FEEDING, HOUSING, EDUCATING, and MAINTAINING HEALTH for actual, living children and adults, and that these same politicians and their supporters also want to exclude immigrants all together from ALL services. So much for being “pro-life” or even following their own Christian precepts.

Jesus policy preferences

image from http://www.criminalizeconservatism.com

As we approach another election, one in which the entire House of Representatives is up for grabs (and this part of Congress is the most culpable when it comes to misappropriation of politics and abusing their power in the name of religion), some facts seem important to know regarding abortion, a key issue (again). Please share. Please talk about this. I know I’m probably “preaching to the choir,” but we all have friends and relatives who could be better informed, and we ALL need to VOTE!

Who gets abortions in the USA?

What are the ages of women having abortions?

Anti-choice marketers would have us believe that most abortion-seekers are “irresponsible teenagers” who need “counseling” and “guidance,” implying that ignorance, carelessness, selfishness and a wanton disregard for life are influencing circumstances and driving abortion decisions.

However (big shock), they are incorrect. Only a small percentage (0.4%) of females who obtained abortions in this time period were under 15 years old. Interestingly, almost equal percentages (7 – 8%) were for women ages 15 – 17 and also for women 35-39. What types of circumstances and emotional characteristics could these demographic groups have in common, besides having an unwanted pregnancy?

ages of women abortion

82% of the women who had abortions in the 11-year period, 1999-2010, were between the ages of 18 – 34, with 34% as the largest single group, and it was for women ages 20 – 24.

Unsurprisingly, “older” women (NOT “ignorant” or in need of “guidance”) also get pregnant and decided to terminate the pregnancy: about 3% were over 40 years old.

What the reasons women choose abortion?

The conservative, anti-choice movement wants us to believe that the “primary” reasons for women’s choosing abortion are “selfish” and therefore not to be supported by law or community attitude. Their pie chart tries to illustrate that “most” women who have abortions do so because a pregnancy comes at the “wrong time” and /or they are “not ready” to have a child at that time. Even so, by their own research (which is questionable), only about one-quarter (27%) of the women gave that as their “primary” reason.

However, look at what the other survey options were and you can understand how so many chose the “not ready” category:

  • “Lack of maturity” Who is going to self-select that reason? Very few: 8%
  • “Relationship Issues” This is so broad as to be almost useless as a survey option. Only 9% selected this.
  • “Fetal Health Concerns” and “Maternal Health Concerns” each received about the same, 3% – 4%, matching “School or Career Concerns” with 4% as well. These combined total about 12%, or one-eighth of the respondents.
  • “Can’t afford the baby” (whose wording is already emotionally loaded, labeling the fetus a “baby” and then impugning the woman’s financial status at the same time) still garnered an almost equal percentage to those who said they weren’t “ready,” at 25%.
  • “Finished childbearing” is fraught with judgment as well, but nonetheless, 20% selected this as their primary reason for terminating the pregnancy.
  • “Rape” unsurprisingly received less than any, at 0.1%, while “Incest” isn’t on this chart (one could argue that all incest is rape, but to exclude it as a reason is significant, since conservatives keep voting down the right to choose, even in the case of rape or incest….).

AbortionReasons

image from http://www.conservapedia.com

The actual facts about USA women and abortion

About half of all women experience at least one unintended pregnancy in our lifetimes. This occurs mostly due to the fact that ALL birth control, even when used correctly and consistently, has a failure rate of at least 1% and most are worse.

Birth control failure rates

image from http://www.abovetopsecret.com

The “Pill,” which is usually thought of as “effective,” fails almost 9% of the time. That means almost 1 out of every 10 women who rely on the Pill for birth control will become pregnant while taking it. In addition to causing all kinds of problems for the women that they were not expecting (no pun intended), pregnant women do not know they are pregnant until many months into the pregnancy (usually when the baby moves), which means the mothers are taking these hormones throughout the crucial first trimester. Birth control pills can have adverse effects on developing fetuses which usually causes birth defects and/or problems for these people later in life because of hormonal imbalances while they were developing in utero. The risk of ectopic pregnancies is also higher in women taking oral contraceptives after conception (which shouldn’t have occurred, but does).

Even worse, women who conceive while using spermicidal forms of birth control are counseled to have abortions because babies born to women using spermicides have astronomical rates of birth defects, up to and including stillbirth. The lesser problems include dwarfism, muscles missing or non-functional (eyelids’ muscles do not work, for example, so the eyes can’t fully open, which, without surgery, leads to blindness in newborns), hip displasia, clubfoot, cleft palate, and worse (New England Journal of Medicine), most of which, if reparable, require one or more surgeries and expensive rehabilitation.

Spermicide problems

image from http://www.nejm.org

Despite these facts, only about one-third of women who unintentionally become pregnant choose to have an abortion. This could be due to the fact that, of those with unintended pregnancies, about 60% already have one child. As I mentioned at the start: NO woman WANTS to have an abortion, and those who have already carried a pregnancy to term, parented a child, are even less likely to terminate. Statistics bear this out: most mothers choose NOT to terminate.

Furthermore, to refute another of the conservatives’ most specious arguments: the majority (73%) of women who choose to terminate a pregnancy ARE “religiously affiliated,” which means we are not ALL “godless heathens” (although, as a Buddhist, I am proud to be “godless” and couldn’t care less about being called a “heathen”).

Abortion stats actual

image from http://naralprochoicewashington.tumblr.com

I could, but I won’t, tell my entire personal story, here. Bare facts: I was “typical” in that I was in my middle-twenties, educated, and pro-child (I was teaching Kindergarten-First Grade at the time). I chose to terminate due to my having been financially and emotionally unready and unable to care for a child at the time I got pregnant, which occurred due to a birth control failure (diaphragm, which has a 4% failure rate).

Please, whatever your story or gender, VOTE in or keep in a pro-choice candidate this November. The right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is a HUMAN right and, unfortunately, sometimes a necessity. Even if the choices are often made in sorrow, they must be safe and legal to make.

Vote smart

image from http://www.kylelife.com

#Nobel Prize Winners 2014: Why we should pay attention and be grateful

#Nobel Prize Winners 2014: Why we should pay attention and be grateful
Thanks to these scientists, researchers, activists and one writer, we can now enjoy advances and new inventions very soon in a variety of areas. This year, two women (one quite young) and several men (big surprise, there) were honored by these esteemed prizes. Check out their accomplishments!

  • Literature, Patrick Modiano: “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”
    Wikipedia tells us: “Patrick Modiano …previously won the 2012 Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the 2010 Prix mondial Cino Del Duca from the Institut de France for lifetime achievement, the 1978 Prix Goncourt for Rue des boutiques obscures, and the 1972 Grand Prix du roman de l’Académie française for Les Boulevards de ceinture. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have been celebrated in and around France, though only a few have been in circulation in English by the time he was awarded the Nobel Prize.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Modiano

    Anybody read any of his books? Not I (yet).

    -

  • Physiology or Medicine, Edvard Moser, May Britt Moser, John O’Keefe: “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.” Their combined research reveals the ways the brain understands its location even when underwater, upside down, without gravity and without visual cues.

    Edvard Moser, May Britt Moser, John O'Keefe

    for ground-breaking research on “The Brain’s GPS: how the brain knows where it is.”

  • Physics, Shuji Nakamura, Hiroshi Amano, Isamu Akasaki: “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.” We will soon have inexpensive, “green” light sources widely available, thanks to these scientists/inventors.

    Light source

    for inventing/discovering “a new, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly light source” image from http://www.theguardian.com/science/live/2014/oct/07/nobel-prize-physics-2014-stockholm-live

  • Peace, Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan) and Kailash Satyarthi (India): “for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people’s rights, including the right to education”

    Malala Yousafzai

    Malala Yousafzai is the young woman who was almost fatally shot while trying to get to school in Pakistan. During and after her recovery, she has become a vocal and well-respected advocate for girls’ rights to be educated in countries that oppress women and girls. She is also the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Kailash Satyarthi

    Kailash Satyarthi is a globally recognized hero for rescuing children from forced labor, sexual exploitation and slavery and working to prevent these from occurring image from http://www.myhero.ws

  • Chemistry, W.E. Moerner, Stefan Hell, Eric Betzig: “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy” which “brings optical microscopy into the nanodimension.” We can now SEE the extremely tiny stuff even better than ever. Wow!

    super-resolved fluorescence microscopy

    “A network of filaments in a mammalian cell revealed by fluorescence microscopy. Photograph: Stefan W Hell/Division of Optical Nanoscopy/German Cancer Research Center” image from http://www.theguardian.com

Get more info here:
http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lists/year/?year=2014

10Q begins September 24th, 2014 (Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah)

10Q begins September 24th, 2014 (Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah)

rosh-hashanah-the-jewish-new-year-falls-on-the-hebrew-calendar-dates-2

image from: http://9pixs.com

“The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the ‘Days of Awe’ (Yamim Noraim) or the ‘Days of Repentance.’ This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.”
from http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday3.htm

10 Days. 10 Questions.

http://doyou10q.com/

Whether you’re an observant Jew or not Jewish at all or don’t observe Jewish holidays for whatever reasons, this exercise/personal/spiritual practice is an excellent self-assessment/check-in tool to be used during the special ten days that are between the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This can be done online, but you can use it during those days or other days, offline or on, for whatever purposes you want, which I highly recommend.

Here is the way 10Q works:

10Q : Reflect. React. Renew.

Life’s Biggest Questions. Answered By You.

  • 1) Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q.
  • 2) When you’re finished, hit the button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping.
  • 3) One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for further private reflection.
  • 4) You may keep your responses secret or share them, either anonymously or with attribution, with the wider 10Q community.
  • 5) Next year, the whole process begins again. Could become an annual ritual even if you’re not an observant Jew.

Do you 10Q? Try it. You will like it.

And, in case you are observant and want to have Tashlich, the ceremonial casting away of “sins,” misdeeds, regrets, mistakes, which usually requires having some moving water nearby that you can go cast these symbolic negativities into during the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, you can do THAT online as well!

iTashlich
http://www.itashlich.com

May all beings benefit and have a better year than ever before. Blessings and sweetness to you all! L’Shana Tova!

10Q begins September 24th, 2014 (Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah)

10Q begins September 24th, 2014 (Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah)

rosh-hashanah-the-jewish-new-year-falls-on-the-hebrew-calendar-dates-2

image from: http://9pixs.com

“The ten days starting with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur are commonly known as the ‘Days of Awe’ (Yamim Noraim) or the ‘Days of Repentance.’ This is a time for serious introspection, a time to consider the sins of the previous year and repent before Yom Kippur.”
from http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday3.htm

10 Days. 10 Questions.

http://doyou10q.com/

Whether you’re an observant Jew or not Jewish at all or don’t observe Jewish holidays for whatever reasons, this exercise/personal/spiritual practice is an excellent self-assessment/check-in tool to be used during the special ten days that are between the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) and the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). This can be done online, but you can use it during those days or other days, offline or on, for whatever purposes you want, which I highly recommend.

Here is the way 10Q works:

10Q : Reflect. React. Renew.

Life’s Biggest Questions. Answered By You.

  • 1) Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q.
  • 2) When you’re finished, hit the button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping.
  • 3) One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for further private reflection.
  • 4) You may keep your responses secret or share them, either anonymously or with attribution, with the wider 10Q community.
  • 5) Next year, the whole process begins again. Could become an annual ritual even if you’re not an observant Jew.

Do you 10Q? Try it. You will like it.

And, in case you are observant and want to have Tashlich, the ceremonial casting away of “sins,” misdeeds, regrets, mistakes, which usually requires having some moving water nearby that you can go cast these symbolic negativities into during the first afternoon of Rosh Hashanah, you can do THAT online as well!

iTashlich
http://www.itashlich.com

May all beings benefit and have a better year than ever before. Blessings and sweetness to you all! L’Shana Tova!

Guest Post: “Why Gender Identity? Why Now?” by Connie Dunn

I am honored and excited to continue this week of highlighting two ground-breaking children’s books in the areas of gender and sexual orientation identities (two topics dear to my heart since my doctoral research centered on them) by giving you a chance to meet another author and get to know her work: Connie Dunn is guest posting on my site, today. Welcome, Connie!

Why Gender Identity? Why Now?

by Connie Dunn

connie_dunn photo

In a world where bullying has gone online and children and youth, who act or look different, are more likely to get bullied, is it any wonder that gender identity issues cause those individuals to be at a higher risk. It is concerning and the statistics prove it….

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24. Suicide attempts by LGB (Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual) youth and questioning youth are four to six times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers. Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking their lives, and one quarter report having made a suicide attempt. LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.

from http://www.TheTrevorReport.com

Hate crimes continue to grow. In Oakland, CA, a teen, who identified as female, wore a skirt to school last November and another teen at the school set the skirt on fire. The teen had second and third degree burns. In Cleveland, Ohio, two trans-women (MTF or Male to Female) were killed in two different incidents, both were considered hate crimes. Hate crimes in New York, San Diego, Canada, and many other places identify gay and lesbians as the victims. The trend of increased hate crimes now show that anti-gay crimes and anti-racial crimes are about equal, according to Brian Mustanski, Ph.D. in an article published in Psychology Today (June 2013).

When I first introduced my new book When Panda Was a Boy: A Collection of Stories on Gender Identity for K-8, I was joyfully surprised that it was met with:
“This is so needed in the world!” “Where have you been?” “I wish I had this book when I was young.”

I actually was prepared for people’s negative responses over what can be a controversial topic. Instead, I have been pleasantly greeted with open arms, which definitely says a lot about how LGBTQ people of all ages are being met by the larger community. But make no mistake; this is still a “hot button” issue.

Panda- Cover

BUY HERE! http://publishwithconnie.com/whenpandawasaboyonamazon

When I first decided to write these stories, it came from my heart strings being pulled. I just couldn’t imagine anyone throwing out a child over their gender identity, whether that be trans (transgender, transsexual, or gender neutral), bisexual, gay, or lesbian. Our gender choices come from our DNA. No one wakes up one day and says, “Hmmm, I think I’ll be a ‘trans’ today.” Instead, it’s something that brews within their core being. Children as young as 2 ½ may begin showing tendencies toward the opposite gender than what their genitalia mandates. It doesn’t mean that they will ultimately be a trans. If a child is supported for who they are in all capacities, they will grow up to be who they are supposed to be.

One hurdle our society must get over is that people who are LGBTQ don’t seek it out as a rebellion; it is part of who they are. It’s in their DNA, which is not changeable. There are no choices to override DNA; it’s simply who you are just like your eye or hair color is part of who you are.

More youth and young adults are supporting trans by identifying as trans, which can be transgender, transsexual, or gender neutral. While most supporting people may be heterosexual; they also want to buck the binary system. There are many people who just don’t want to be “genderized.”

When young children begin to explore who they are between three and five years of age, sometimes as young as two-and-a-half, they explore gender. What happens is that our parents redirect us toward a stereotypical gender based on acceptable societal standards. When a little boy starts to play with dolls, a parent or other adult may say, “Boys don’t play with dolls!” So, they learn: “it’s not safe to be who I am.” These children stuff down these feelings. They don’t really go away; they just get pushed down inside of us. When a little girl wants trucks and cars, a parent will usually say, “Girls don’t play with cars and trucks, they play with dolls.”

Then, when these children go through puberty, another “who am I” comes up for them. This identity extends into gender but also includes their spiritual, religious, political, fashion, virtuous, non-virtuous, and so many other things. Gender is a huge part of who we are and what role we play in family and society. Again, these teenagers explore, but some will again be redirected to stereotypical gender roles. Once again, these youth learn: “It’s not safe to be who I am.” Maybe when these people get into their 20s, 30s, or even into midlife, they will again explore to find “who they are.”

This is also why I wrote When Panda Was a Boy. Young children explore gender, but they don’t often see themselves in storybooks unless they fit into that stereotypical role. Parents do not have the communication skills to deal with these issues, because it just isn’t discussed in most parenting circles. There are few role models in society, so my stories help parents find the right responses to support their children through their gender identity searches.

The stories in When Panda Was a Boy “are gentle stories and I approach the stories in a natural and age-appropriate way.

  • In “Amara’s Birthday Request,” Amara asks her mother for a penis. When Mom explores this with Amara, she finds out that Kamal, a boy at school, has told her that girls cannot sail a ship. Her mother assures her that she can do whatever boys can do. That’s all Amara needed to know.
  • In the story, “When Panda Was a Boy,” Lisa doesn’t want to have a tea party with Grandma, even though Grandma is wearing her fun tea party hat. Instead, Lisa wants to jump in mud puddles with Panda, her stuffed bear. When Grandma encourages the tea party, Lisa tells her that she’s all done being a girl. Lisa is very adamant about not doing any girl things. She tells her Grandma that she’s going to be a boy. Lisa finally asks Grandma if she will still love her if she’s Max or Fred. Grandma assures her that she loves Lisa even if she is Max or Fred.
  • In “Charlie Is a Girl,” we explore some of the obstacles that Christina faces in becoming Charlie. She takes charge in talking with the principal to make it all work out for her to start her school year as Charlie. She even takes a copy of the law that was passed giving her the right to be Charlie, but she finds the biggest item on the agenda was what “restroom” was Charlie going to use? They even worked that out by giving Charlie a key.

Handling things in age-appropriate ways are best, as long as that doesn’t mean stereotypical talk, such as “boys don’t dance, they play football” or “girls don’t play football, they dance.”

These types of statements may seem harmless, but what the child cannot say back to you is that he or she doesn’t feel that gender on the inside. We actually harm kids by telling them what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for their gender. Some crossover is natural. Sometimes it is a sign that there are tendencies toward being trans. Time always tells. Being supportive in this growth is just as important as helping them learn to walk or ride a bike.

When children feel guilty that they cannot be the child that you, the parent, wants them to be, they often cope with these feelings by trying to commit suicide or committing suicide. As parents, we want to help our children to become the best they can be. Why is it so hard to not see being lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender as part of who our child is? To ask them not be who they are is to reject them. Our children try, but failing in that, they move on to depression and manic depression and suicide. No one really wants that for their child.

Children who have a bad self-image, which LGBT children are prone to have, are at higher risk of being bullied. This behavior can also be fatal. A fragile child may not be strong enough to battle with a bully. Again, suicide is often what they see as their best choice, “so no one has to deal with the outcast.”

It is my hope that When Panda Was A Boy will help children in grades K-8 to feel normal about their gender choices, both in to whom they are attracted and to what gender they are inside. No matter what gender is on the outside, children as young as four or five may express their inner gender. Parents can help their children by being supportive and following their lead.
*****************************************

Connie Dunn is an author, speaker, and book writing coach. Her book, When Panda Was a Boy: a Collection of Stories on Gender Identity for K-8, is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.com (http://publishwithconnie.com/whenpandawasaboyonamazon).

Connie also teaches people to write and publish their books. You can find other information about her, her books, and courses at Publish with Connie (http://publishwithconnie.com/)

To receive a FREE Parent’s Guide: 10 Tips for Parents on Talking about Gender Identity to Your Children Sign up at: http://whenpandawasaboy.publishwithconnie.com.

Supporting gender and sexual orientation diversity is important: It’s sometimes a matter of life and death

Children’s Book Review

Made By Raffi by Craig Pomranz

by Sally Ember, Ed.D.

July, 2014

It’s not often that two people who knew each other as teenagers both become authors around the same time, but here we are, Craig Pomranz and I, both from Olivette, MO (a suburb of St. Louis), finding this new outlet for our creativity!

Craig is one year younger but was two grades behind me in our high school due to district entrance deadlines. It was quite “scandalous” at the time that I chose him to be my among my good friends, because I was a popular, powerful senior and he was a lowly sophomore in our three-year, Ladue Horton Watkins High School in 1971.

Why did I pick Craig out of and lift him from the kiddie pool? Because he was amazingly talented, charismatic, charming, intelligent, fun and earnest, even then. At our almost-clueless ages of 15 and 16, we bonded over musical and dramatic theater, party games, sex, jokes and movies.

We were also both not exactly cis-gender or completely heterosexual. In those ways, we kind of “met in the middle” and found a lot of common ground. We are still doing that, over forty years later. Craig and I both have wanted our experiences to be utilized so that we could be helpful to younger people in our professional work (as I have) and our writing.

This spring, Craig authored and this month published s wonderful, unique children’s book, Made by Raffi, that I’ll let him tell you about from an email he recently sent to me:

“I wrote the book to support young boys and girls who are perceived as ‘different’ because of their appearance or hobbies. It is a funny, colorful book with a serious message and will interest those who care about promoting diversity and embracing our differences, as well as all children seeking to fit in. This is an important topic for today…”

Craig went on to explain: “I have really become interested in the idea of how we tell our kids what is ‘appropriate’ activity based on gender. Most of the parents of young kids I know are trying, on the one hand, to let them follow their own interests, but on the other are concerned about their kid’s fitting in and not being teased. As a result, atypical hobbies and behaviors are only encouraged so far.”

He knows I AGREE with him completely, so he asked me to review and help promote his great book. Here I am, doing just that.

Buy this book. Share it with younger readers and even younger pre-readers. Talk about it. Allow Raffi’s story to raise questions and stimulate important conversations. Donate it to schools, libraries, homeless shelters, runaway hostels, children’s hospitals, youth mental wards, rehab centers.

I mean it. Made by Raffi should be everywhere so that gender disphoric and gender diverse youth can find it. It doesn’t matter that it’s a “children’s book.” That just makes it an easy read, brief but pithy. Also, the brevity and easy language mean that a young person who still has trouble with reading or whose English isn’t great could understand and benefit from it.

Why do I do this when I’m not a professional book reviewer? Because supporting gender and sexual orientation diversity is important: it’s sometimes a matter of life and death.

Craig wrote to me to share “some shocking stories”:

  • “A principal told a boy he could not bring his ‘My Little Pony’ lunchbox to school because it was a ‘trigger’ for teasing and bullying.

  • “The same week, a girl was expelled from a Christian school because of her short hair, perceived masculine look and interest in sports.

  • “A woman in Portland killed her child of four because she thought he ‘acted, walked and spoke like a gay person.'”

Craig continued in his email to me: “I would love to help those raising children—-and that includes parents, teachers, friends and relatives (the wide range of ‘families’ out there)—-who have had to deal with the issues of teasing and bullying and the difficulty we all have in defining who we are.”

From the book’s description:

Raffi is a shy boy who doesn’t like noisy games and is often teased at school. But when he gets the idea of making a scarf for his dad’s birthday, he is full of enthusiasm even though the other children think it is ‘girly’ to knit. Then the day draws near for the school pageant, and there is one big problem: no costume for the prince. And that’s when Raffi has his most brilliant idea of all — to make a prince’s cape. On the day of the pageant, Raffi’s cape is the star of the show.

Raffi cover

Age Range: 5 – 9 years

Grade Level: Kindergarten – 4

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (July 29, 2014)

Illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain

Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Made-Raffi-Craig-Pomranz/dp/1847804330

If you read the book, let Craig and others know on Twitter @MadeByRaffi

LIKE and comment on the book’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MadeByRaffi

I am so proud of my dear, longtime friend, Craig Pomranz! Spread the word! Visit his new blog!
http://craigpomranz.com/made-by-raffi/

Bonuses!

Craig sent me some snippets from readers all over the globe who have already shared and appreciated Made by Raffi. Here are a couple of those.

From a man in Istanbul:
Today I enjoyed to preorder your beautiful and meaningful children book for my cousin. Especially here in Turkey we need to learn respect to the one who is different than us. Thanks for your effort to make the world a better place to live.

Another fan wrote and sent Craig a photo:
I just wanted to send you this lovely picture of Isak, 7 years old, who has been inspired by Made by Raffi (Norwegian edition) to knit a scarf for his younger cousin (maybe as a Christmas gift). His mother tells me that they have been reading the book several times now, and that he’s trying to read it by himself, too. Greetings from Norway!

Isak

#60for60: 60 ACTS OF #KINDNESS AND GRATITUDE– each of the days before my 60TH

#60for60: 60 ACTS OF #KINDNESS AND GRATITUDE– each of the days before my 60TH (birthday)
June 21, 2014 to 8/22/14

happy-60th-birthday-5-x-3-flag-3922-p

I may not do these in the order listed, but I do intend to do them by August 22. I plan to blog about any that merit mentioning. Otherwise, just assume the following are occurring, somehow. I hope this inspires YOU!

Those with a $ next to them require some money to be expended (not much, usually).
1. $
Give a very good tip
2. $
Pay for someone’s gas.
3. $
Pay someone’s fees to foster a dog or cat from shelter
4. $
Leave change in a vending machine
5.
Volunteer
6. $
Donate a random amount of money to a homeless person
7.
Open doors for people
8.
Give genuine compliments to someone’s very unseen blogs
9.
Donate supplies I don’t use
10. $
Donate to classrooms at local school.

support teachers

11. $
Give someone an umbrella
12.
Let someone behind me go in front of me in a line
13.
Clean a neighbor’s curb area or put their garbage cans back after pick-up
14. $
Buy someone’s groceries in the checkout or provide what someone on assistance is “missing” to complete a purchase
15. $
Pick up the tab for a random family/person
16. $
Buy some carry-out lunch and deliver it to a homeless person
17.
Give compliments to at least two people.
18. $
Buy some toys a child might like and leave them on their porch.
19.
Post about something useful to others
20. $
Go to the bank and deposit money into someone else’s account
21. $
Pay off someone’s layway at a store
22. $
Cook lunch for someone I know and bring to them
23. $
Buy a college student’s textbook or lunch

college textbooks

24.
Leave a thank -you note at farmers’ market vendor’s stall (or more than one)
25.
Collect coupons and leave at laundromats 
26.
Leave Buddhist magazines at homeless shelters
27.
Donate clothes, coats, shoes
28. $
Reserve a coffee at coffee shop
29.
Read someone’s writing and give constructive feedback
30.
Send a thank-you note to a family member (or more than one)
31.
Send a thank-you note to a friend (or more than one)
32.
Offer to edit, rewrite, or help write something for someone for free
33.
Respond to someone’s comments with positive statements in FB, LinkedIn, Google+ groups
34.
Thank group moderators in above groups
35.
Tweet about someone else’s writing, music or art

SUPPORT-INDIE-ART

36.
RT or repost someone’s great quote
37.
Vote up someone’s submission on Reddit, StumbleUpon, Youtube
38.
Thank every cashier and waitron I can’t tip
39.
Offer to help someone who seems to need help at stores, farmers’ market, library
40.
Donate books to library book sale
41. $
Donate food to food bank
42.
Offer a ride to someone with burdens walking to the BART or bus
43. $
Buy a BART (public transportation) ticket and give it away
44. $
Leave tips in tip jars even when I don’t buy anything
45. $
Donate to my spiritual teacher even when I don’t see him
46.
Get and give coupons for free ebooks to teachers 
47.
Write positive reviews for books and rank them on Amazon or businesses on YELP or other sites
48. $
Visit one church or temple per month and donate to charity tray/basket
49.
Send thank-you notes to musicians, writers, artists whose work I appreciate
50.
Send thank-you notes to teachers or their children/spouses
51.
Scan then post/email photos from albums for friends, family and let them know
52.
Make youtube vids thanking writing support groups leaders/members and cover artist, Willowraven, reviewers and beta readers, then post
53. $
Pay someone’s parking meter or give a hard-to-find space up to someone else

parking fairy
image from: http://offhandcomics.com

54.
Compliment a parent on their parenting in public place
55.
Compliment/thank a public servant in person or online
56.
Write letter to editor of local paper thanking honest, dedicated local politicians
57.
Blog about gratitude to my/one’s ancestors
58.
Share positive stories about people I knew who are now dead to their living descendants
59.
Thank Buddhist sangha members and/or support one’s retreat
60.

Find someone else whose birthday is today and wish them “Happy Birthday!”

60 BD

18 Tweets/3 photos inspired by the live speech of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, 2-23-14, Berkeley, CA

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the long-time spiritual leader and former political leader of Tibetans in Exile visited the United States for several weeks in February, including a meeting with President Obama (link to news report about that visit below this post) and right here in the East Bay, Berkeley, California, today (Sunday), 2/23/14. It was sold out, but streamed live. I watched.

Here are 18 Tweets and 3 photos as well as link for more information about the Tibetan Freedom movement, below, inspired by today’s talk.

1. The Tibetan children’s singing of the Tibetan National Anthem w/H. H. the #DalaiLama followed by USA’s is both sweet & bitterly sad, to me.

2. Right now in Berkeley with Congressional Rep. Barbara Lee [Berkeley, CA, USA 13th Congressional District]

HH DL in visor 2014
image taken from live stream by Sally Ember, Ed.D., with cellphone camera; from video by http://www.ustream.tv/channel/how-to-achieve-happiness

3. H. H. went to put on his visor because lights too bright.

4. After Rep. Barbara Lee of #Berkeley intros H. H. the #DalaiLama, they sit together in his chair; he tells her: Stay there while he talks!

HH DL and Barbara Lee 2014
image taken from live stream by Sally Ember, Ed.D., with cellphone camera; from video by http://www.ustream.tv/channel/how-to-achieve-happiness

5. #DalaiLama: “Climate change is a disaster and will get worse.” “Individuals need community to be happy.” “Oneness of humanity is essential.”

6. #DalaiLama: “Money only provides you physical comfort,..not inner happiness//Genuine happiness not depends on external//Be compassionate.”

7. #DalaiLama is talking about sincerity of heart and I keep hearing the song from “Bye, Bye Birdie,” “You’ve Gotta Be Sincere.”

8. #DalaiLama:”The 20th century was the century of bloodshed and violence//should have paid more attention to compassion, love, harmony, peace”

9. #DalaiLama:”The Leading Nation of the Free World….should make significant contributions to education//Build sense of oneness of humanity.”

10. #DalaiLama:”All religions emphasize love & compassion//all should teach these//help bring inner peace//become a compassionate human being.”

11. #DalaiLama:”All religious traditions use different methods & philosophies to reach the same aims, to be compassionate// religious harmony.

12. #DalaiLama:”A nation’s being secular means to be not at all negative towards any religions: respect all faiths and nonbelievers.”

13. #DalaiLama: (not a quote; summary) To challenge the religious or political elite requires us to go against those that exploit the people.

14. #DalaiLama:”Honesty and inner values bring immense benefit to individuals and society//That is how to achieve happiness in life.”

15. #DalaiLama Q: how to motivate children to be happier and do well in school? “Not only through words, but through actions.”

16. #DalaiLama Q”What happens to the soul or loved ones after death?” A Death means “change your old clothes for new clothes” change body only.

17. #DalaiLama More about how to die: “Depends on beliefs.” “Consider God or meditate on compassion, whichever you believe in. Visualize love.”

18. #DalaiLama Q=”What do you do all day? What do you like to do for fun.” A= Daily, I dedicate my body, speech & mind to the welfare of others.

A better photo from this year, looking about the way His Holiness did today, visor and all, but with a different assistant next to him.
HH Dalai Lama different speech 2014
image from Tibetan TV, then article.wn.com

Want to learn more about and perhaps contribute to Tibetan’s Freedom Movement? http://www.freetibet.org/donate/now

Want to learn more about His Holiness’ visit with President Barack Obama this past Thursday, 2/21/14?
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/02/obama-host-dalai-lama-at-white-house-20142215611541188.html

“A Page for a Purpose”: #Children’s #Books’ #Illustrations Collaboration for #Charity

“A Page for a Purpose”: #Children’s Books’ #Illustrations Collaboration for #Charity
Larry McGraw, children’s book author, has a new project going. #Illustrators for children’s books, pay attention; others, please share!

from Larry McGraw: “I propose something new. Instead of asking people to illustrate a whole book, I’m going to ask for one page. I’m going to call this endeavor ‘A Page for a Purpose’ (mainly because ‘Coloring for a Cause’ was already taken) and ANYONE can be a part of it.

“If you are interested or you know someone who might be interested just let me know. Artistic talent is not 100% necessary but it would be nice if you could at least draw a decent stick figure (Hence why I WRITE the books).

Here are the full project explanation and website link:
http://lcmcgraw.weebly.com/1/post/2014/01/a-page-for-a-purpose.html

Here is Larry’s website link:
http://lcmcgraw.weebly.com/

First posted by Larry on January 9, 2014. I don’t know the project’s end date. Contact Larry for details. Contact: laurance.mcgraw5@gmail.com

Larry also has a Facebook posting/page:
https://www.facebook.com/lcmcgraw5/posts/574719442615955