When Criminals Protected Me…..Deep Seated Memories

When Criminals Protected Me….. I was in my twenties, working on my Master’s Degree. Teaching relaxation techniques and imagery skills to criminals living in a halfway house was volunteer work I felt purpose in doing, as well as baking for them. I took a half-time Director position at that time with Teen Outreach. It was situated in a church basement with alley access that serviced youth who were high risk. No one ever stayed more than 2 weeks in that job. The teens had a reputation of getting rid of anyone in two weeks or less, leaving the Board of Directors at their wits end. I was offered the job and committed to stay for one year regardless of anything. That was met with raised eyebrows as though I was too naive to understand what I was getting into.

The first evening on duty the teens threw glass coca cola bottles at my head as I rode my bicycle to work. The second night my bicycle got a surprise flat tire. Name calling was the very least of offenses. Threats decorated with extreme profanity became normal. Each time something occurred, I responded with one sentence. “I am staying for one year.” It threatened their 2 week record. They tried everything in the book to make me want to quit. One evening they were certain I would walk away.

Resources in the church basement were humble. There was one bathroom with a thick wooden door and a double lock on the interior side of the bathroom door. Getting close to the two week deadline, the desperate teens managed to crash open that double locked door when I was peeing. Their royal HEAVE HO included heavier boys and some girls. They literally caught me with my pants down! They were quite smitten with their efforts, feeling very confident they would never see me again. But I pulled up my pants, flushed, and walked out of the bathroom to see them all laughing, standing together in anticipation of my anger and withdrawal.

I scanned the crowd looking at each one of them with direct eye contact as I slowly and deliberately stated in a calm but firm voice, “I AM STAYING FOR ONE YEAR!!!” Oh my….you should have seen their faces drop from happy-go-lucky to shocking disappointment. What they had done to me in that bathroom was worse than any acts they had performed on any other directors in the past. And it didn’t work. It was after that night’s trauma when the criminals I was doing volunteer work with decided to start escorting me to work every night and returning to walk me home after work.
It was quite the scene when they began protecting me because they were all from that same geographic area and the teens knew who they were. What really struck my funny bone was that the at-risk youth were acting like wanna-be criminals but they were no match for the real deal…..the criminals who became my protectors!

I was not only committed, I really cared for those troubled youth. I knew they had deep seated problems as well as needs to feel cared for. It was a turning point that brought openness and communication on their part once they realized I really was staying for one year. And the majority of them quit messing with trying to harm me once my criminal protectors became my escorts. Such an ironic circumstance! And, yes, I did stay for one year and they begged me to stay longer when I had to quit because I received a graduate assistantship. I did not have enough time to continue with the Director position of Teen Outreach. I missed them a great deal. So much learning took place on my part and I remain grateful for that opportunity. And the fact that criminals protected me from wanna-be criminals still tickles me to no end. What irony! And what rich threads in the fabric of my life as I age and reflect on what has held the greatest meaning for me in seeing who I am and who I can continue to be. Weaving special memories into my awesome aging cloak satisfies and nourishes. #lovinlifeisgreat@68

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Focus Span Decreasing: Let’s Get It UP!


Goldfish are beating us with focus of attention. Research has shown they can hold a focus for 9 seconds and we humans are registering in at an average of 8 seconds. Satya Nadella, Chief Exec. Officer of Microsoft stated that “The true scarce commodity of the near future will be human attention.”

As our attention span shrinks primarily due to digital overstimulation and addiction, the same trend is having impact on the young minds in our country. In 2000 children were able to hold a focus on one thing for 12 seconds. In 2016, 8 seconds holds the average record.

6.4 million children in the U.S. right now suffer from ADHD. The cost of ADHD in the U.S. annually is $52 billion. I like imagining what we could do with that money if we helped children to learn how to focus on one thing at a time for longer periods of time.

I am taking some steps as Grandma Boom teaching Superkid Power Skills to children as young as 3. This week when working with a group of preschoolers dressed as a pirate, I used a toilet paper roll to show them how to focus on one thing at a time. For example, a pirate looking for land from his ship is only focusing on that one thing. Doing a variety of techniques with the holistic approach of being tactile, visual, experiential, the children were saturated with fun ways to FOCUS. Only a few seconds to begin with, but practice in fun ways means those seconds will stretch to be longer with attention span. As adults we can do simple things to focus our attention, one thing at a time….and time ourselves. Can we hold our own focus of attention long enough to beat out the goldfish? Let’s get it up!

One of the things that is awesome in my aging process is being continually creative as an elder of the human tribe to keep opening myself to new techniques to help children learn self-help skills. Funny thing is that as I help them develop SUPERKID POWER SKILLS, I seem to be growing quite a bit myself as a big SUPERKID.

When people ask why I call it ‘SUPERKID POWER’ I respond by sharing that I believe every single child deserves to FEEL like a SUPERKID and that happens not by the brand of clothes they wear, but by having skills to self-manage with their own inner resources of mental thoughts, emotional feelings and body tensions levels. Learning to act instead of react, develop emotional intelligence and manage stress from the inside out means a solid foundation for self-care and self-confidence leading to self-control is readily available to every child. Why not? WHY. NOT!
#lovinlifeisgreat@68 #passionisasuperfuel

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Thank You, Starseed Foundation, for a Grant to Empower Superkids

Teaching self-calming to preschoolers with deep breathing

It is a very happy Awesome Aging day when a new chapter can be written
in my life book. The Starseed Foundation has generously provided a
grant for funding The Conscious Living Foundation (non profit, tax exempt
501(c)3. the filming of seven themes educating children as young as
3 years about self-help skills. This work will soon be available online
in video form for children to view, learn and experience techniques,
jingles, songs and skills.

With the growing number of children and youth suffering from mental health issues, it is imperative to teach children at a young age how to be mentally and emotionally healthy. The Center for Disease Control and National Institute for Mental Health have declared 50% of all children and youth in the U.S. suffer from some form of mental health issues. There is a lag between onset and treatment of 8 to 10 years. And then 75% of the cases are not resolved. Time, energy, money are wasted, not to mention the unnecessary suffering in their lives and those who love them.

Downloads will be available for teachers and parents to
be informed about reinforcement methods for the skills. This
enables and empowers the family and classroom systems to
support the child’s integration of skills as well as providing ways
for the caring adults to experience new ways to interact that build
health and relationshps.

Learning self-calming at a young age establishes an awareness to be able
to develop self-management and self-control in switching gears
from tense to calm. It creates the foundation for actualizing inner
world resources leading to the ability to act rather than react, the
awareness to know when tension is mounting and reduce it rather
than become a victim of out-of-control tension/anxiety/anger/negative
emotions. Confidence and building integrity are natural results which
lead to a healthier life. Improved academic achievement and good
relationships are also benefits of learning stress coping skills.

When children have fun learning how they can make good choices
that improve mental/emotional health, they tend to
become more mindful of the empowerment that can be tapped
from inside them anytime, anywhere. They learn they have
a choice of how they handle themselves regardless of what
others are doing or what the circumstances can bring outside
them. It is a wonderful experience to know we always have a
choice even if we cannot control what is going on around us.
This simple accomplishment can mean the difference between
a life ilved in unnecessary suffering feeling victimized and blaming
others for what one feels or building a life that feels worthy, strong,
purposeful and happy from the inside-out. It is a life that is filled
being able to generate more love and compassion, kindness and

Time for a change. Children can help bring the change when we
help them know how to do it. And then they become an empowered part of
the positive change so direly needed/ EMPOWERING SUPERKIDS….every child deserves to have the right to feel like a SUPERKID. The way that happens is to
give children skills that strengthen their own inner worlds.

The Conscious Living Foundation is so deeply grateful for this grant
to film the beginning of the themed sessions with lessons that give
life building skills to children as young as three years old. Thank you,
Starseed Foundation. Your gift will keep on giving and giving.

Visit The Conscious Living Foundation Facebook page. Website is being developed.


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Trying New Things Essential for Awesome Aging….Like Whole Body Dipping into Snow Melt River

Courage. It took courage…to go from soaking in hot mineral waters to sauna into a snow melt river with whole body dipping….well, courage and telling my heart to keep beating is what was required. Sounds from my gasping mouth were part of the ritual. Refreshing….that’s an understatement! Great for the immune system! And I survived!

Stewart Mineral Springs is such a special destination….completely designed to enhance health and well being. Dr. Emoto’s research team scientifically tested the water crystals stating it is one of the most powerful healing water locations on the planet. In fact, there are only two locations on earth where the male and female spring come up out of the ground next to each other….considered sacred and balancing by many cultures. One is in Glastonbury and the other near Weed, Calif., at Stewart Mineral Springs. #lovinlifeisgreat@68 #tryingnewthingsessentialforawesomeaging

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Ashland Food Coop Awards Banquet:Grant Funding for Local Non-profits

Awards Banquet receiving Grant Funding for Empowering Superkids at preschool/K level from the Ashland Food Coop. Humbled, grateful, honored the Conscious Living Foundation can further this needed work.

Emotional intelligence, stress coping skills, mindfulness and knowing one’s own inner world resources of mind/body/emotions/willpower/breathing that work together as a system are rights all children should have access to. It will be a different world when this occurs.

Mental health improvement, crime rate reduction, all forms of abuse and many societal ills can be reduced when healthy choices are made based upon with basic self-help skills. How fortunate it is for the children now being reached at a young age in Southern Oregon. May the work spread with increased awareness of the critical need for skills entering young children’s lives and may funders feel purpose in helping reach greater numbers of children. Self-care, self-control and self-confidence are but three of the many benefits that come to fruition through the integration of these skills.

Putting more Awesome into Aging keeping the passion fueled to do this work. Grateful!

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Preschool Artwork Showing Difference Between Negative and Positive Thinking

It is such an exciting, passionate endeavor to teach preschool/K children about themselves. KNOW THYSELF is proclaimed by major philosophies to be a key to a strong, happy life. As an aging woman, I want to pass on to younger generations ways I have discovered to do just that: KNOW THYSELF. And the icing on the cake is to learn skills to manage thyself! Awareness is the first step….of internal resources with mind/body/emotions.

Using all the senses in a holistic teaching manner accomplishes a great deal more than just making a linear, cognitive statement such as “It is better to have good thoughts than bad thoughts.”

Children who get to experience the difference between bad and good thoughts get the sense of the lesson for themselves. Their awareness increases and as that happens there are more choices consciously of how to use those internal resources.

Artwork helps children to see the difference because, even if they cannot talk about it in words, they ‘get it’ and can feel the artistic expression, then SEE what it is that is going on inside them. These artwork samples are from 4 and 5 year old children. After having some experiences practicing the difference between bad and good thoughts they had no hesitation being able to show the difference. How exciting!

There is a continual thread of caring concern as an elder of this human tribe that lives in my heart. Creating opportunities for children to truly develop their own human potential is a key for positive changes on our planet that are dearly needed. Helping children to KNOW THYSELF gives a lot of punch in my Awesome Aging process.

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Aging Just Got More Awesome: Grant Awarded for my Children’s Work from The Ashland Food Co-op Community Grants Committee

AS IF the Ashland Food Co-op wasn’t already the most amazing co-op EVER, it also uses funds to strengthen the community. The Ashland Co-op awards grants that support local programs they see are assets in evolving community health and well being. WOW! They are truly an amazing hub in our community. Here is the email message I received yesterday:

“CONGRATULATIONS! The Ashland Food Co-op Community Grants Committee is happy to inform you that your grant application has been approved. The committee will present your grant award at our 17th Annual Community Grant Award Event on Wednesday, May 24, 5:00 to 8:00 pm, at Ashland Hills Hotel, Stardust Room, 2525 Ashland St, Ashland, OR to The Conscious Living Foundation.”
This grant will support the efforts locally in training pre-K and K children with self-help mind/body/emotional intelligence skills to manage stress, improve self-care, self-control, self-confidence. This work also gives tools to children suffering from Adverse Childhood Experiences. SO GRATEFUL for this support! Empowering Superkids! #lovinlifeisgreat@68

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Wisdom with Aging Whispers to Teach Children to BE the CALM EYE in the Lifestress Storm

Girl in Center Stays Calm with Noisy Stressful Ruckus all Around Her

As I continue aging, this 68th year is bringing up strong feelings about preparing children to cope healthily in a time of chaos on our planet. It is a case of wanting to leave an imprint that helps, that strengthens, that encourages children. The desire is deeply passionate to help them tap their own inner resources for a happy, healthy life with good choices based on their inner knowing….regardless of what is going on around them. 41 years of pioneering this work has convinced me these skills are essential for children to add to society’s strength instead of detracting from it.

How do children learn to be the calm eye in the middle of the storm? By making it REAL…..Like this: I taught them to focus on their deep, calm breathing and not pay attention to the tension/stress around them to stay in control of themselves. All the other children drummed loudly making stressful sounds around one child who practiced maintaining a calm center. AMAZING to see this successful 3D experience imprinted on each child taking a turn to practice.

Seeing the results of children learning and practicing this skill is nothing short of amazing and everything long of NEEDED. It is one of many skills I see as necessary for children (and actually teens and adults) in our fast paced world where we are top heavy with mental stimulation. It is important to stay grounded, be in the body and know how to work with thoughts/feelings/body sensations. The signals and triggers are all there waiting for instructions…..if we are aware and know what to do.

Seeking funding through the non -profit, tax exempt 501(c)3 Conscious Living Foundation to reach increasing numbers of children with these skills is ongoing. Wishing for philanthropists and others to support this critically important work.

Imagine all children learning skills like this in a geographic area such as an entire school district, a county, state, country. Benefits would be countless…..academic achievements improve, confidence building, mental health issues decrease, mutual respect increases, relationships strengthen, crime rate decreases…….

As an elder with a voice, skills to teach, remarkable insight with relaying tools of awareness and self-control to children with 3D learning, I want to do all I can while I am still here. This makes for a powerful and Awesome Aging process. Now to find funding, the right connections to move forward with this needed work and to be grateful for feeling passion to help in the best way I am able to do that. #lovinlifeisgreat@68

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Moonshine Reflections from Times Gone By……and my Dad, at 7, Bootlegging!

Croatian Grandparents, Papa and Mama, mid-life

Papa and Mama were my Croatian grandparents who came to the U.S. to escape dictatorship. Papa became an insurance agent as well as a wine maker, not to mention hand building a house. It took eleven years to get established financially before he could send for Mama, who remained in Croatia, waiting to come to the U.S. and get married to her betrothed.

I can still remember the overwhelming smell of wine in those barrels in his cellar through the hatch door in the floor leading downstairs. It may be the reason I cannot tolerate wine.

When Dad was 7 years old, he learned to drive Papa’s car. Dad drove it over the
Kansas/Missouri line to sell Papa’s wine. There were no laws stopping him from driving….and who would ever suspect a 7 yr. old bootlegger in prohibition days?

Evidently, Dad was paid for his bootlegging and began buying cigarettes from someone in the alleyways at the age of 7. In today’s world, it is hard to imagine all of this.

Neighbors would frequent the enclosed back porch near the alley at Papa and Mama’s house on Strawberry Hill, the Croatian settlement in Kansas City. I was always happy to see them for good reason. They would sit down at the little white painted table near the window and drink Papa’s wine. In my young mind I thought it was so nice of them to leave money on the table which always included a quarter that would be given to me. At that time I had no clue they were buying a glass or two of wine. My interpretation was they liked to visit with Papa and liked me so they’d leave a quarter.

Mama was nowhere to be seen on the back porch. I never learned why she didn’t visit with the neighbors until I was a teenager. I offered one day to take her to visit a lady she knew from Church (Mama never learned to drive). She responded immediately letting me know she did not want to go visit because that lady just wanted to gossip. She had no place for gossip in her life. I do recall people being discussed on the back porch so I finally understood why she was not a part of the ‘back porch bar scene.’

Of course, I comprehended much more about bootlegging and what Papa was doing on his back porch once I grew older. It is enjoyable to occasionally reflect on parts of my past that are miles away from my life today. However, I do see that the pioneer spirit manifests in many different ways. Papa, Mama, Dad and his siblings were pioneers in a new land quite different than life in the ‘old country’ as they referred to it. The common denominator in both old and new countries with the ability to make the switch was the determination to create a good life with hard work.

There is a pioneering thread that runs through my veins with my children’s work. A pioneer is a pioneer, regardless of circumstances. It takes courage to overcome fear of the unknown. In this 68th year I hope to discover more of these threads from my ancestors to add to the awareness of who I am in this Awesome Aging opportunity called ‘life.’ #lovinlifeisgreat@68
(Part of this story excerpted from my self-help memoire endorsed by Doris Day, “The Grandma Boom Chronicles….More Alive at 65!” (Available at Renaissance Rose and Tree House Books in Ashland, and on Amazon)

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Body and Soul Nourishment at Zagorska Oasis Spa’s Glowing Himalayan Salt Room

The intention set forth in a healing space lays the foundation for the experience therein. When I read the following quote by vibrant owner, Michele Zagorska, I understood why the feeling is so wonderful at Zagorska Oasis.

“I wish for you a healthier body, more vibrant skin, and a nourished soul, because
I am as focused on your heart as I am on your skin.” Michele Zagorska Eco-Luxe Spa & Apothecary

An amazing array of opportunities awaits clients from handmade organic skincare to healing salves, perfection massage, bio-mat nourishment and the incredible healing atmosphere of the Himalayan Salt Room. Special customized skin care products are available for individual skin types and needs. Michele Zagorska’s expertise is nothing short of a mastery with her work.

The negatively charged ions in salt improve our health and mood. Inhaling particles may reduce inflammation and mucus in the lungs, improving respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinus congestion and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

I can attest to the calming effect in the beautiful Himalayan salt room that is filled with 3,000 lbs. of Himalayan salt. I felt the peaceful, soothing energy as I approached the door before entering!

The detoxifying effects of halotherapy can support the immune, nervous and lymphatic systems. Stress is reduced which means there can be upliftment in energy level, improved quality of sleep, reduced headaches, allergy relief and more.

Salt ions purify the air which enhances pure oxygen intake for all ages. Treatments are recommended to help keep the body healthy during flu or allergy seasons.

Not only was I given a soothing, warm neck wrap while being infused with ions that cleared out jet lag from travels, but I was so tickled to have salt blocks in the form of feet to place my feet on during my visit!

With allergy season here, relief is just a few minutes away in downtown Ashland at Zagorska Oasis. Give yourself a healing gift or consider the gift for someone special on Mother’s Day……or any day that a natural lift brings an easy way to feel better, feel pampered, nourished and peacefully calm. Ashland is very fortunate to have such a phenomenal resource to create more vibrance and health in our community. It brings its own health glow that empowers one’s process as an Awesome Aging tool.         http://zagorskaoasis.com/

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