Nature’s Healing Qualities

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“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” ~George Washington Carver

The image below looks like me as a little girl. Even as a little child who lived life on the edge with some serious health issues, I was not pampered and made to feel any different than my twin sister and brothers. Our home was surrounded by the forest with a leafy canopy of tall straight tulip poplar trees. A beautiful natural environment where fresh air and sunshine was plentiful. I played outdoors constantly digging for worms, making mud pies and throwing rocks in the streams that bordered both sides of our property. My parents insisted that I spend the days outdoors playing in the muck so I had little time to think about my miseries. For that, I am grateful to my parents.

It concerns me that too many children today are nature deprived and become ill as a result of it. It’s important for children to get outdoors and explore the natural world. Here is an article from the New York Times that every parent should be aware of. http://nyti.ms/Nx7lVj.

Spring has sprung, and the warm-up has begun. Parents get your children outdoors as much as possible in the coming months. Take them to parks, gardens, nearby woods and forests. If that’s not possible, be one another’s walking partners. Hold each other accountable and trade off TV and video time for outdoors time. Enjoy the natural world that was given to us for a reason. Its good for the mind, body and spirit.

childs immune system

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Youth and Philanthrophy

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Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.Barbara Bush

How do you teach young children to value what is inside of them selves rather than material objects?

colors of cakeSome parents are teaching their children the importance of giving to others by throwing “no gift birthday parties.” There is still cake and ice cream, balloons, games and other makings for a day of celebration, but the guests are asked to bring a donation, rather than a toy.

The birthday boy or girl gets to decide where the donations are sent. It is important that the child is in on the decision-making process so they understand where the money is going. The cause should be something the child is excited about, so they feel fulfillment in the giving.

How do you explain “no gift birthdays” to your children without them being resentful? Sometimes it is not very hard, children sometimes “get it” if they can relate to the cause.  Make a Wish Foundation is just one suggestion to partner with. There are many other worthy foundations also. http://wish.org/ways-to-help.

What are your thoughts? Do you think “no gift birthdays” would help instill values in your children – a sense of what really matters?

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Good Foundations of Health Literacy

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It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. ~ Frederick Douglass 

nutrition-habitsEncouraging young students to learn more about healthy food choices is important to the Arthur W Perdue Foundation. A forty-thousand dollar grant towards health literacy has been awarded to the AtlanticGeneralHospital in Worcester County, Maryland. The AGH is creating after school programs to educate children about making better choices in their lives. http://bit.ly/18LrPSQ.

AGH will partner with the HerschelSHorowitzCenter for Health Literacy http://www.healthliteracy.umd.edu/   at the University of Maryland College Park to draft a set of health literacy standards for the K-8 public school curriculum. Health literacy is a relatively new term, and it is being integrated into core curriculum in schools in many states, such as Colorado.

Eat, Play, Learn Books, LLC of Steamboat Springs, Colorado http://eatplaylearnbooks.wordpress.com/  is pioneering the way in publishing e-books which incorporates the use of videos of “kids activities that use food as a learning tool.” Great resources for parents and educators.

Kudos to the Perdue Foundation and to Eat, Play, Learn Books, LLC for their commitment to educating children about the cornerstones of good health and the long term benefits of eating right!

Return tomorrow to www.AllThingsFulfilling, where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.

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Stimulating the Palette with Food Art

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Good food is wise medicine. ~Alison Levitt M.D., Doctor in the Kitchen®

flower kidsSpring has arrived in southern parts of the country. Gardens are sprouting new crops of fruits and veggies. Today on All Things Fulfilling, we will share images of food art that have been circulating over the internet. Mouth-watering ideas and all elements of art – color, shape, form, texture and values have been used to create these food compositions, as well as use of line and space. The visual effects are enough to make even the pickiest child want to eat the daily recommended servings of produce.

Some food art is basic, and any Mom or Dad can make it to impress their families, and stimulate palettes. While other compositions are very time consuming and are best left to highly skilled caterers. With practice and the help of proper kitchen utensils, books and DVDs anyone can now become a culinary artist in their own kitchen, and promote better nutrition.

John Gargone, a chef from Pennsylvania, teaches others his craft of food carving and sculpting in his popular book Food Art: Garnishing Made Easy and through his independently published DVD series.

You are invited to take this tour with me, through the fulfilling world of food and art. Perhaps we will both be inspired to include a little more creativity in our food preparation and diets.

apple with fruit

gold fish

goldfish adult

owl adult

motorcyle adul1imagesCA0MLBNUrose advancedbrocolli poodle kidsjpg

bird advancedface kids

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Stories Full of Blarney

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“The best blush to use is laughter: It puts roses in your cheeks and in your soul.”    ~Linda Knight 

It has been said kissing a stone can have the effect of giving someone the “gift of gab?” Did you know that?  Could be true, I suppose. After all, Winston Churchill visited the Blarney Stone in 1912 and he became one of best orators ever. 

Do you think there is any validity to the theory? I am not sure. After all, there have been people for hundreds of years who have kissed and vividly told. People have bent over backwards just to get a smooch, and paid a price to do it, too. Yet, they’ve never been to Ireland.. ..

blarney-stone1Case in point:  I have a friend who can talk up a storm, her name is Chatter. She’d tell you herself, back in her wild and crazy years as a college student, “she kissed many stones she’s walked on after a few too many green ales on St. Pattys Day.”  She’d say “she’s conversed face to face with plenty of frogs, too.”  If she tells you  “She got her ‘gift of gab’ from the famous Irish landmark,” it isn’t so. She’s always been full of Blarney.”

Her Irish heritage, has given her  genes to enjoy being the life of the party and be resilient too. She can find the humor in  all situations, including health issues.  God blessed me with her friendship, she’s one of my dearest friends.  In my heart of hearts, I hope some day, I get to visit Ireland with her to fulfill one of our wishes and start a new chapter, called Active Retirement! Then we will have even more stories to tell about our forty plus years of friendship, filled with laughter.

As an early St. Patty’s Day greeting, I’d like to send out blessings to all my friends and family.

I-rish you a very nice place to live,
I-rish God’s greatest gifts he’ll give.
I-rish you health, and wealth, and more–
I-rish your smilin’ face were at my door! ~ unknown

Saint-Patricks-Day-Greetings-hd

May the luck of the Irish be with you today, and every day! Peace, love and a whole Lot more!

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Seasonal Sprouting, Roots of Fulfillment

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Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” ~ Dalai Lama

Our blogs this week have been devoted to the power of the mind. Today we are focusing on seasonal attitudes.

I believe God gave us four seasons so we can appreciate each of them for their own reasons and pleasures! What a treat to have Day Light Savings time arrive on Sunday to give us more hours of light. Warmer temps are around the corner, even here in northwestern Colorado. Easter, the holiday named after the Germanic Goddess of the Dawn “Ostern” arrives early this year. I’m grateful for that.

Spring brings beautiful images to my mind, and by just envisioning some the things that I associate with the season brings a smile to my face, and an uplifting of the spirit. It is a good time of year to do some housecleaning because our physical environments, our homes, have been closed up all winter.  

garden sproutsJust as importantly, however, is that we remember that the season of the dawn is for the renewal of the spirit, too. By sweeping away old beliefs, from our minds, that have held us back ,we prepare for new growth of self and allow seeds of fulfilling, new ways of living to take root and sprout.  It has been found that there is a correlation between wellness and spirituality. For more information, see this article. http://bit.ly/15MmRkt.

In this season of Lent, what old attitudes will you lift up and do away with in order to make way for improvements in your life?

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Film Friday: Inocente

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“ Art is not what you see but what you make others see.” ~ Degas 

A life was changed on Academy Award night, when Inocente, a documentary film about a homeless girl and her passion for art, won an Oscar. Indeed, despite a dark and lonely past, Izucar, the subject of this real life story, has created a bright world around herself through her colorful art.  Her unwillingness to give up on life and her belief in sharing her art with others has made for an inspiring story. 

Husband and wife filmmakers, Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine decided to focus on the plight of Inocente Izucar when they met her through their involvement with artist Matt D’Arrigo and founder  ARTS(A Reason to Survive), “a non-profit organization that focuses on using art as a form of therapy and healing, for children and young adults struggling with major life challenges..

According to the National Center on Family Homelessness, 1 out of every 45 children live a transient lifestyle, floating from street to motel to shelters to living out of cars. This number has increased 33% in the past three years alone. http://usat.ly/YtbFoP

art of inocenteIzucar is representative of all youth who have discovered that their brightest moments in an hour or a day comes when they are exploring different mediums of art. For many, it is the only thing that gives them a positive reason to live. 

To read more about this inspirational independent  film and the documentary filmmakers, please visit this link
About Inocente and How to Order

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Cultural Differences in Children

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Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they’re going to catch you in next. ~Franklin P. Jones

Raising a child, so far, has been the most rewarding time of my life. I miss those days and I find it interesting to watch others interact with their young children, now that I am well beyond that stage of mothering. I ‘m now the parent of an adult.

Make no mistake, for every mother and father there are lots of child raising challenges. Childrens actions are not always “angelic.”  I, like most parents, wanted to guide my child as best as I could but I know that all of my words to my child were not Godlike. Because we are all human beings, with our own flaws and downfalls, there is no such thing as being a “perfect parent.”

bringing up babeAuthor, Pamela Druckerman has written a book Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. This publication gives insight into the contrasts between raising children the American way and how the French bring up their children. As an American living in Paris with little children, she has gained new perspectives on what makes American children behave the way they do.

To listen to a short audio book review on National Public Radio (NR) about Druckerman’s publication, and a developmental approach to parent/child interaction that is very different to the American way, please visit this link. http://n.pr/15EfCvT.

When I see the actions of children and their parents out in public, and there are less than positive things happening, I try to remember that I am witnessing just one quick moment in the long day of the life of a parent. All things must be considered before being too critical. Parenting well is a very difficult task.

Visit us again tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views is all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Social and Emotional Learning

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There is always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. ~ Graham Green 

 Barb Gueldners book on Social and Emotional learningAn objective of teaching is to prepare children to be academically strong. It is also important to give children other skills they will need so they grow to be well-rounded adults, able to cope with the stresses of life. Teaching professionals are increasingly being asked to add social and emotional learning into the classroom. Having the right tools and resources to add this modality of teaching, is important. 

Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom: Promoting Mental Health and Academic Success by Kenneth W Merrell, PhD and Barbara Gueldner
is just one publication offered by Guilford Press, a publishing company focused on providing “books, periodicals, software, and DVDs in mental health, education, geography, and the social and behavioral sciences.” 

A variety of teaching strategies, used in the classrooms, is offered in the book Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom: Promoting Mental Health and Academic Success. The book also addresses how to incorporate these social and emotional learning principles into curriculum and, how to adapt the program for classes that have a range of academic needs and cultural diversity. 

Any learning program needs to be able to assess the program’s efficacy. This book also gives administrators and teachers ways to monitor progress and use the approaches outlined for utmost effectiveness.

Social and Emotional Learning in the Classroom: Promoting Mental Health and Academic Success, published in February 2010, was released in e-book format in March 2011. Both formats can be ordered through the Guilford Press website. Please visit this link. http://bit.ly/YdGhKL .

Teachers, add this publication to your bookshelf, and watch your students reap the rewards of being emotionally and socially fit.

Barbara Gueldner PhD

Co-author Barbara A Gueldner, PhD

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Fueling the Spirit

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The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. ~ Author Unknown

Monday and Tuesday’s blogs have led me toward wanting to write more about energy and filling our selves up with the right kind of fuel.

Many people have been without jobs for a long time, leading to feelings of unworthiness, sadness, depression. For some, feelings of lack of prosperity have never been experienced before; a stable, well-paying job has always been in the picture. It’s a particularly difficult transition for anyone who has always been financially secure and then they find themselves floundering.

The same kinds of feelings are experienced by those who are experiencing divorce or ending associations with things that can no longer be afforded. After all, those things (jobs, marriages and material goods) become part of people’s identity, and a great void and sense of loss is felt when they are gone or no longer within reach.

shortcuts to inner peaceShortcuts to Inner Peace: 70 Simple Paths to Everyday Serenity by Ashley Davis Bush, has gotten good reviews.  Learning to look inside, and be at peace by establishing a fulfilling and a meaningful relationship with ourselves, our spirit and perhaps a higher being is at the root of this book. Bush’s book provides tips to create a happier lifestyle, so that when the rug gets pulled out from underneath us, we are not so personally deflated; we have the tools to maintain our sense of self.

The author, Ashley Davis Bush, is has a degree in social work and a certificate in Contemplative Studies from SmithCollege.http://bit.ly/ZrlkAB She lives in New Hampshire.  Click here for more info and ordering the book Short Cuts to Inner Peace.

Visit us again tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. This blog is brought to you by  Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpectedand www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.