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Commitment to Civility in Phoenix

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Business
Commitment to Civility in Phoenix

Commitment to Civility

Phoenix, Arizona , June 18, 2019 – A true commitment to civility has become priority for a group of professionals and entrepreneurs taking Phoenix by storm.

Dr. Vernet Joseph, World Civility Ambassador, National Statesmen, recognizes the gravity of responsibility relating to public life and befitting a citizen. Not taken lightly a necessity to be solution influenced by shifting increased division coarsening our culture too often fueled by vitriol of politics and public discourse.

Vernet, entrepreneur productivity speaker, best-selling author and the Founder/CEO of Live To Produce Enterprises, LLC energized the city as a world wind this year. The 3rd Annual Productive Business Summit positioned in Phoenix, at the Salvation Army Joan and Ray Kroc Center was a game changer. Attendees were startled with awe when City of Phoenix Mayor, Kate Gallego, issued a proclamation deeming June 8th as Phoenix Day of Civility, presented by the Mayor’s Director of Community Relations.
This day filled event encompassed speakers ranging from the My Financial Home CEO from California – Dr. Cozette M. White – who stressed the five biggest mistakes business owners make, and Arizona Financial Planner Ashley Folkes, who provided practical tips about being mentally, physically and financial fit, to World’s Best Connectors’ founder Denise Meridith, Crown Life Enterprises Founder Marquez Hughley, whose talk focused on increased levels of productivity, Mindset Changer CEO Jamal Cummins, whose message was “Don’t quit!” and PITCH Investors Live representatives who introduced a new innovative way for business owners and entrepreneurs to gain exposure and obtain funding.
The Productive Business Summit & Golden Rule Global awards is a collaboration with Dr. Clyde Rivers, the Honorary UN Ambassador at Large of the Republic of Burundi. Rivers has earned innumerable awards, including, in 2017, the United States Presidential Life Achievement Award for over 4,000 hours of serving the nation and humanity. He is also the Founder and President of iChange Nations (ICN), which improves the quality of life throughout the world by emphasizing honor, trust, dignity, and civil discourse. Cities and states are encouraged to join the cause. For example, communities throughout Indiana celebrated their fourth Annual World Civility Day in April, 2019.
Award recipients this year from the Productive Business Summit were presented by Dr. Vermet Joseph and Dr. Wil Moreland of Wil Moreland International. The recipients were:
IChange Nations World Civility Award (Danielle Williams),( Dr. Aikyna Finch), (Tasha “TC” Cooper),( Houssam Makki), (Bennie Randall), and (Dr. Stacie N.C. Grant)
IChange Nations Challenged Champions and Hero’s ( Anthony Ameen)
IChange Nations Women Add Value ( Dr. Cozette M. White), (PeShon ALLEN), ( Dr. Robin Hollis), (Roslyn Williams), ( Diana Gregory), (Beverly VanTull), (Nisha Witt), (Nakisha Graves King), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Pollyana Neely), (Chelsea Mandello), (Tammy Phipps), (Suzie Mills), (Johnnie Lloyd)
IChange Nations Community Ambassador (Harry Garewal), (Abraham James), (Anthony Ameen), (Sheriff Mark Lamb), (Ghazi Muhammad), (Derrick Smith), (Diana Gregory), (Denice Williams), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Pollyana Neely), ( Johnnie Lloyd), (David Winkler)
IChange Women of Global Solutions (Denise Meridith), (Tammy Phipps), (Marchelle Franklin)
Productive Business Global Agent of Change (Clarence McAllister)
Productive Business Agent of Change (Tara Laurie), (Larry Ross), (Christie Ellis)
Productive Business Community Game Changer Award (Harry Garewal), (Cozette M. White),(Sheriff Mark Lamb), (Sheriff Joseph Alvarado), (Ron Williams), (Dr. Aikyna Finch), ( Ron Williams) (Dr. Stacie N.C. Grant), (Beverly VanTull), (Dionne L. Archibald), (Johnnie Lloyd), (Denice Williams), (Pollyanna Neely), ( Houssam Makki), (Marchelle Franklin)
Productive Business Warrior Hero’s Award (Anthony Ameen), ( Tammy Phipps)
Productive Business Sustainable Developement Award (Chelsea Mandello)
Productive Business Award (Nakisha Graves King)
Productive Business Innovators Award ( Nisha Witt)
Productive Business Media ICON Award (Daniel Williams), (Roslyn Williams), (Derrick Smith), (PeShon Allen), (Javier Soto)
Productive Business Economic Developement Award (Diana Gregory)
Productive Business Entrepreneures (Abraham James), (Ghazi Muhammad), (Tamala Daniels), (Pamela Slim), (Robin Reed), (Suzie Mills)
Productive Business Philanthropy Award (Diana Gregory – Black Philanthropy Initiative)
Productive Business Volunteer Service Award (Robin Hollis)
Productive Business Veterans Award (Quincy Milam), (David Winkler)
Productive Business City of the Year – City of Phoenix

Another highlight of the evening was an attendee making an impromptu decision from the audience to enlist in a real live pitch contest for $10,000.00. Three minutes later Darryl Gooden of www.keepteachersteaching.org pitched an initiative to support teachers around the world inside and outside the classroom. The vote was unequivocally unanimous to award Gooden the grand prize.

When Joseph was asked what were the aha’s or moments that took his breath away? Joseph proclaimed, “Experiencing the power of relationships and collaboration with partners flying in from around the world.” Topped off by “Mayor Gallego’s proclaiming June 8th Phoenix Day of Civility.”

Civility lives on.

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Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet – Fun Songs and Parodies for Each Letter of the Alphabet

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Kids
Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet – Fun Songs and Parodies for Each Letter of the Alphabet
it’s time for A to Z with Sesame! Little ones will love to learn their ABCs with classics such as
“The Beetles Perform Letter B” and “C is for Cookie” plus animation, parodies, and the best from
recent seasons covering all 26 letters. Celebrating the alphabet alongside their furry friends are
Norah Jones duetting with the letter Y, Tori Kelly trying a little kindness, and Pharrell Williams
belting it out for the letter B. Maya Angelou stops by to talk hugs, Sheryl Crow helps “I” soak up
some sun, and Ricky Gervais attempts a lullaby. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. comments,
“Every single scene of Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet is lovable. This DVD has the funniest
songs and parodies for each letter of the alphabet. Each part has so many cute characters and
great lessons for the whole family.” Ethan P. adds, “This DVD is about learning the
alphabet. Mostly all of the characters from Sesame Street sing the alphabet and encourage the
kids to sing along. There are about three scenes or songs for each letter so that you can
understand how to use each one. There are also very different types of scenes and songs, each
of them really cool and fun, so it keeps you entertained.” Ivey H. chimes in with, “All of my favorite
characters make an appearance such as Big Bird, Bert, Elmo, Cookie Monster, the Grouch and
many more. The music, songs and lyrics are fun to sing along with and are education as well. I
love how everything in the video relates to the topic of learning your ABC’s.” Will C. wraps it up
with, “There’s even a bonus feature, Elmo’s Amazing Alphabet Race and ABC-themed printable
activities. Since it’s a compilation of segments from over the years, there’s a wide range of styles
representing older and newer segments.” See their full reviews below.
ss.aac.d.jpg
Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet
By Katherine Schell, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
https://youtu.be/1hpRLTob1DI
Every single scene of Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet is lovable. This DVD has the funniest
songs and parodies for each letter of the alphabet. Each part has so many cute characters and
great lessons for the whole family. Your children will love to learn their ABC’s with all of their
favorite characters.
Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet has two hours of fun for everyone! It spends approximately
five minutes on each letter. We see a wide range of themes from Tori Kelly singing about
kindness to Chance the Rapper in a play with Cookie Monster. In all cases, we are learning about
the alphabet with so many talented artists. It’s a mix of old and new Sesame Street episodes
such as Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus singing a song together to Sia singing about how she
loves songs.
The DVD includes many of our favorite Sesame Street characters including Elmo, Big Bird and
Cookie Monster as well as some of our favorite people in real life including Maya Angelou and
Pharrell Williams. I love the songs because it makes you want to sing along. Also, some of the
songs are parodies, which I very much enjoy. My favorite part is when Elmo can’t sleep so Ricky
Gervais comes in and sings a “celebrity lullaby”.
Throughout this DVD, there are a lot of positive messages. My favorites are learning is fun and
using your voice in a fun way.
I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 7. Adults will also like all of the
parodies of the songs. This DVD is available now. I totally recommend buying this for your young
kids.
ss.aac.b.jpg
Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection
By Ethan Persten, KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 10
https://youtu.be/TlKKzSl9TSU
I enjoyed the Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection on DVD because it is funny, even for
me, and I’m 10. It is made for small children, but I still could not stop laughing and enjoying the
music.
This DVD is about learning the alphabet. Mostly all of the characters from Sesame Street sing the
alphabet and encourage the kids to sing along. There are about three scenes or songs for each
letter so that you can understand how to use each one. There are also very different types of
scenes and songs, each of them really cool and fun, so it keeps you entertained.
The songs are very catchy, and the scenes are really funny and cute. I like how they use
celebrities like Chance the Rapper. I think kids will enjoy seeing these celebrities because they
know them. My favorite part is when Sia sings for the letter “S”, and it shows her face, because
she has not shown her face before on TV. One funny scene is when two detectives confuse the
“W” for an “M” when trying to find the criminal W.
The message or point of this DVD is to teach kids how to use the letters of the alphabet and how
they sound — the scenes are put together from all of Sesame Street’s “Letter of the Day” specials.
This DVD makes it fun for kids to learn the alphabet. I believe these songs can make the process
of learning the alphabet simple and fun, and that students will like the characters. I can see it
might be particularly helpful for kids with special needs or learning disabilities.
I give Sesame Street Awesome: Alphabet Collection 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2
to 5. This DVD is available now so look for it.
Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection
By Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
https://youtu.be/Kw1WDrLAXKc
The Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection DVD is just that – awesome! It really brought
back amazing childhood memories of watching the show.
This particular collection teaches kids the alphabet. Not only is it educational, but provides a
source of entertainment which will keep kids interested while learning. All of my favorite
characters make an appearance such as Big Bird, Bert, Elmo, Cookie Monster, the Grouch and
many more. The music, songs and lyrics are fun to sing along with and are education as well. I
love how everything in the video relates to the topic of learning your ABC’s. There is lot of
repetition, which is a great technique for learning. Something else that caught my eye is how they
use different types of animation, such as clay and paper. I really enjoy the mix of puppetry, real
people, animals and insects. Some episodes even have celebrities singing along. Look out for
Norah Jones, Tori Kelly, Cheryl Crow and many others.
All the Muppet characters are so cute and adorable. My favorite is Cookie Monster (Frank Oz,
David Rudman), because he brings laughter to this collection. My favorite skit is when Cookie
Monster sings about the letter “C” and how cookies are good enough for me. Ryan Dillon plays
the role of everyone’s favorite loveable character – red, fluffy Elmo. Carol Spinney plays another
fan favorite – Big Bird. They use many real life animals to help you associate with the words that
are being taught. This video is very bright, colorful and cheery. You will enjoy every minute.
I recommend this for ages 2 to 7, depending on the maturity level of the child. It’s always a good
refresher for anyone who is having trouble with their letters or spelling to review the basics. The
star rating I give this is 4 out of 5 stars.
Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection
By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
https://youtu.be/OsVy6tcnjQw
Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection is a fun introduction to the alphabet for
preschoolers. This is a two-hour compilation of animation, pop-culture parodies and favorite
segments for each letter of the alphabet. The all-star lineup of celebrity guests is enough to hold
the interest of parents too.
Sia, Pharrell Williams, Maya Angelou, Tori Kelly, Chance the Rapper and others introduce Elmo
and his friends to each letter of the alphabet. There’s even a bonus feature, Elmo’s Amazing
Alphabet Race and ABC-themed printable activities. Since it’s a compilation of segments from
over the years, there’s a wide range of styles representing older and newer segments.
Even though I’m not in this film’s target audience, I still found it entertaining to see various
celebrities on the same screen, with puppets, helping kids learn the alphabet. My favorite
segment is Ricky Gervais singing Elmo a lullaby for the letter “N”, that’s anything but relaxing!
I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for children ages 2 to 5. Sesame Street:
Awesome Alphabet Collection is available now on DVD and digital download from Shout! Kids
and Sesame Workshop. Look for it

Pink Rain

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Empowerment
Pink Rain

Pink Rain

Did anyone ever say something to you that you found offensive? What did you do: walk away in a huff … talk back to him or her … “stand up” for yourself and then feel lousy later? Take the “high road” and feel crummy later? How about lying awake at night, rehearsing all of the better things you could have said … smarter things you should have said … or plotting the really good comebacks that you will lay on the offensive party next time you get the chance?

But have you ever simply let it go? Really let it go? Not just turn the other cheek yet seethe inside at the injustice of it all? Let us tell you how it happened for us:

In the late 90s, we were leading a series of winter retreats in Costa Rica. These particular seminars took place near the beach in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific side of the country. There we made the passing acquaintance of a couple, Rena and Sven. These two people radiated their judgmental nature and we felt uncomfortable just being around them.

One morning the two of us took a taxi to the beach. As we exited the cab we arranged with our driver to come back in an hour to pick us up. As we walked down to the ocean, we ran into Rena and Sven. By way of greeting, Rena said something very catty — not just the words, but also the unspoken subtext of the comment.

We bet you are familiar with loaded comments. Just think of a teenager, stomping to his or her room saying, “Fine!” or some such thing and flinging the door closed. In this case the word “fine” actually means anything but. Teens in particular are good at adding the eye rolling and they are great at dripping sarcasm from a single syllable. You get the idea.

It doesn’t really matter what Rena said that morning. We quickly ended the conversation and moved on down the beach. At first it was a bit of a challenge not to rehash the moment and reinforce the agitation that usually comes along with getting a verbal and energetic bump. Yet we purposefully disengaged from what had happened and got involved in what was happening: our walk. As we strolled along the shore, the sand sifting between our toes, we got engaged in what was in sight: the pelicans flying in formation, their wings practically skimming the waves, the sun, the surf, the birds, our conversation, OUR life. We simply invested in what was actually happening in that moment rather than resist Rena or Sven, and as we continued down the beach the upset fell away. In fact we forgot about the couple altogether.

This is a perfect example of the 3 Principles of Instantaneous Transformation in action:

1st Principle of Instantaneous Transformation – What you resist persists, grows stronger and in this case, accompanies you down the beach as it dominates your life and your current experience. If we had resisted Rena, disagreed with her comment, if we had taken exception to how she and Sven were being and chewed it over between us, then we would no longer have been on the beach. When you are in a fight in your thoughts, that’s where you are locked — in your thoughts.

2nd Principle of Instantaneous Transformation – That couple could only be exactly as they were, with their reality. Rena could only have commented as she did, and we could have only had a spontaneous visceral reaction and been taken aback.

3rd Principle of Instantaneous Transformation – Anything you allow to be exactly as it is completes itself. We just let them alone in our thoughts and the situation and our initial reaction just drifted away. But of course, as frequently happens when something of this nature occurs, life gives you the opportunity to see if you really have let the upset go – and if not, you get another chance to dissolve it! Soon our beach hour was almost up and it was time to meet our taxi and go back to work. But when we walked up to the road to the rendezvous spot, who should be standing there but Rena and Sven. We didn’t want to be rude, but we didn’t want to invite more conversation either. So we simply ambled up the sidewalk and put some distance between us. It was at this point something very sweet and special happened.

In Costa Rica there are many flowering trees. You can see entire hillsides populated with purple, orange, yellow or pink blossoms. Up at the curve of the road was a big old tree laden with pink flowers. Just as we approached, a gentle breeze ruffled our hair and combed through the tree’s branches. And suddenly the tree rained pink petals. We stood there in awe, awash in a soft pink rain.

It was as if the circumstances of our lives were guiding us forward so that we could be witness to such a magical moment. We weren’t walking away from them – we simply kept moving in concert with the wind, and the sun, and our lives. We were in sync. We were appropriate to ourselves and our hearts. When you are in the moment you are a part of the symphony of life and the music isn’t discordant, the melody is pure and simple. On that particular day the theme was a soft pink rain.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Organizational Complexity is a Rapidly Spreading Virus that Needs to be Eradicated

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Business
Organizational Complexity is a Rapidly Spreading Virus that Needs to be Eradicated

This blog is a guest post provided by Jesse Newton is the author of Simplify Work; Crushing Complexity to Liberate Innovation, Productivity and Engagement. It is the companion to the Voice America Interview with Jesse Newton focusing on his book.

The Situation: An epidemic is affecting businesses large and small. This epidemic is debilitating complexity. The disease restricts innovation, limits productivity, disengages the workforce, and eventually leads to organizational failure. Debilitating complexity takes the form of unnecessary and complicated structures, processes, systems, rules, metrics, checks and balances, and so on. Businesses traditionally add more and more of these things as they grow. There seems to be an acceptance that as a business grows, complexity and complicatedness are natural by-products. And while complexity certainly does increase as businesses mature, it does not mean that it needs to stifle innovation and entrepreneurship. The same story plays out over and over again once a company gets to a certain size: the entrepreneurial leaders decide that their juvenile business is becoming an adolescent and want to be taken seriously, so they bring in an experienced “big company” professional. The big company person then sets about installing all of the “discipline” that a serious organization requires—defined roles and responsibilities, performance metrics, committees, strict common processes, and so on, and so on. Then, all of a sudden, people begin adhering to their newfound role expectations, they start to get lost in all the processes and paperwork, they become scared to step outside of their defined role, and spontaneous rich innovation becomes a distant memory.

The Data: In a recent study 74% of respondents rated their organization as complex. In this digital age, when technology is fueling rapid changes in consumer preferences and reshaping industries, it is critical that companies innovate well and fast. Companies that are bogged down in slow decision making, risk intolerance, and siloed protectionism are destined to fail.

The Cause: The current complexity crisis is largely due to many organizations holding on to outdated and obsolete methods of organizing how work gets done. These 20th-century approaches to organizational structure and management are strangling our productive and innovative potential. They are limiting the thinking power of our people and not effectively using the resources at organizations’ disposal.

The Imperative: From an individual perspective, how we protect and allocate our time and energy is becoming increasingly paramount. The most important resource people have is their time, and we are spending far too much of it on the wrong things. We are pulled in so many directions and have to spend so much time and energy navigating through a labyrinth of processes and structures that we have lost touch with what really matters. We simply do not have the time and energy to do our best work on the most important activities.

As we are working longer and longer on increasingly low-value work, we often don’t even realize it. We have become accustomed to the four approvals we require to do anything and accustomed to going through a leader to talk to someone in a different function. We’re accustomed to navigating through three separate systems to find the information we need, and we’re accustomed to dedicating a quarter of the year to complete the budgeting process. Let’s not forget about that report one of your leaders within the matrix needs; that clearly should take precedence over everything else.

Deep down we know something is not quite right. We are not spending quality time doing the work we were hired to do. We find that it is getting harder to stay on top of everything and enjoy a good balance or even a balance at all. This results in us simply checking out. Engagement scores across companies over the past 30 years have consistently decreased. According to Gallup, only 28% of the US workforce is engaged at work, the rest are either actively disengaged or merely not engaged.

The implication: for business is that things move too slow, people think and act in silos, it’s hard to get anything done, decision making is poor, innovation is missing, risk-taking is low, and it all leads to increasing costs and being left behind by more nimble competitors. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Companies that are mired in debilitating complexity can break free of its hold. With strong leadership support and a clear approach for attacking complexity companies can re-energize their people by bringing back the laser focus, reducing the clutter and releasing the reins on innovation. The epidemic of complexity is spreading throughout the world of business and if it is not reined in, those that have managed to keep it at bay will leap ahead and those that don’t will fall by the wayside.

The Opportunity: What if we could take a fresh look at our businesses, reconsider what is really important, and start to focus our time and energy on those things that matter. Imagine the positive effect it would have on your people if you told them they now have permission to do more of the work they were hired for. Imagine their sense of liberation if you removed a big chunk of the activities that soak up their time: low-value training, compliance, meetings that should be emails, expense processing, report building, budget setting, clunky performance management, and so on.
The time is right to simplify work

To become a more innovative leader, please consider our online leader development program. For additional tools, we recommend taking leadership assessments, using the Innovative Leadership Fieldbook and Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, and adding coaching to our online innovative leadership program. We also offer several workshops to help you build these skills and system to create a regenerative, inclusive and thriving organization that will have a positive impact in the world.

Jesse Newton is the author of Simplify Work; Crushing Complexity to Liberate Innovation, Productivity and Engagement. He is the founder and CEO of Simplify Work; a global management consulting firm that helps organizations throw off the shackles of debilitating complexity and reignite top performance.

jnewton@simplifywork.com

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FireScaping for Survival

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Empowerment
FireScaping for Survival

pile of pine trees in yard.jpg

https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1305/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-for-May-FireScaping.html

“Some say the world will end in fire.” Robert Frost

A running crown fire came rolling down the hillside toward our Lake County mountain cabin, moving faster than any human could run. All exits were blocked. Trees vaporized.  Sixteen civilians trapped in the valley were being gathered in the meadow around our house. This acre of lush green grass would be the safety zone, everyone’s last hope of survival. Ninety firefighters had been spread out along the roads, trails, and hillsides in the fire’s path. Their orders were to stay put until the fire was upon them, then to light a backfire and escape to our meadow.

The energy released was a hundred times that of a normal forest fire, with an explosive force nearing the intensity of a small atomic bomb. Everyone prayed. My sister and her husband said their goodbyes. Death seemed seconds away. Besides being a farmer, our Dad had been Captain of our volunteer fire department for forty-six years. Dad built the safety zone.  “Daddy,” my sister prayed, “please don’t let us die like this.”

Then, almost imperceptibly, the roar began to diminish. The fire continued to rage for fourteen days in nearby canyons, ultimately burning over eighty-two thousand acres. At the time, it was the second-worst firestorm in United States history, the subject of national training videos for firefighters and showcased on an episode of the TV series, 20/20. 

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I chronicled this epic true story in my book, Be the Star You Are!® 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference. The chapter is appropriately titled The Gift of Survival. (First Editions available from http://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store). 

When a town called Paradise is transformed into burning hell incinerating everything in its path within twenty-four hours and becoming the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California and United States history, it is prudent for Lamorindans to make fire safety a priority.

A few months ago readers reached out to me asking if I would write an article on how to landscape with fire prevention in mind. They had contacted  their local Fire Chief to find out how to become a Fire Wise neighborhood. Being fire wise is dependent on everyone in a neighborhood being diligent about keeping their property fire safe because fires do not honor property lines. If one home’s landscape is pristine and the neighbor next door has overgrown bushes, brush, or low hanging trees, all of the properties become indefensible.

Firewsie-Orinda After-Beofre photo.jpeg

The area where I live is rural, wooded, and has minimal escape routes. Many of the plants and trees growing throughout our area are highly flammable including pines, cypress, cedar, fir, bamboo, acacia, juniper, Pampas grass, rosemary, ivy, arborvitae, miscanthus, and eucalyptus. Heat moves up and many homes are on hills. Fire speed and severity is stronger on slopes where vegetation management is crucial.

Just as there is no such thing as a deer-proof plant, a fire-proof plant is a myth. Under the right conditions, every plant will burn. Referring to a plant as “fire safe” means that it tends not to be a significant fuel source by itself. Some plants chemical compositions resist heat and combustion. It is critical to keep plants around our homes well maintained and pruned as a fire protection tool. The closer plants are to the house, the more care is needed. 

Firewise -Orinda After photo.jpeg

Firescaping is simply a landscape design that reduces house and property vulnerability to wildfire. While enhancing the beauty of the property, we surround the house with plants that are less likely to ignite and create a defensible space. 

Characteristics of Highly Flammable Flora

  • ϖ Dry and dead leaves, twigs, branches
  • ϖ Abundant, dense foliage
  • ϖ Needles
  • ϖ Low moisture foliage
  • ϖ Peeling, loose bark
  • ϖ Gummy sap
  • ϖ Leathery or aromatic leaves
  • ϖ High resin, terpene, or oil content
  • ϖ High, uncut or dry grasses

Characteristics of Fire-Resistant Flora

  • ϖ Hardy, slow growing plants that don’t produce litter or thatch
  • ϖ Native plants that are drought tolerant with internal high water content. Generally, California natives are more tolerant of deer and fire. 

(see Nature’s Natives: April 17, 2019, https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1304/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-for-April-Natures-Natives.html)

  • ϖ Trees with thick bark that restrict the growth of invasive shrub species and hardwood trees such as walnut, cherry, maple, and poplar are less flammable. Deciduous trees and shrubs are generally more fire resistant because they have a higher moisture content when in leaf, lower fuel volume when dormant, and usually do not contain flammable oils.
  • ϖ Supple, moist leaves with little to no sap or resin residue.
  • ϖ Low growing ground covers.
  • ϖ Bulbs.bright pink tulips.jpg

How to Create a Fire-Resistant Landscape:

  • ϖ Include fire-resistant features such as pavers, bricks, pavement, gravel, rocks, mulch, dry creek beds, fountains, ponds, pools, and lawns. Water features including ponds, streams, and pools can be helpful fuel breaks.
  • dry creek rierbed.jpg
  • ϖ Select high moisture plants that grow close to the ground with a low sap and resin content. (See an included list of plants, shrubs, and trees)
  • ϖ Maintain all plants and lawns. Clover, groundcovers, and grasses that are kept low and green through irrigation are excellent alternatives. Mow, prune, water, and space appropriately.
  • ϖ Leave space between plants.
  • ϖ Minimize the inclusion of evergreen trees within thirty feet of structures. Clear debris and understory. Have clearance of all trees within twenty feet of chimneys. 
  • ϖ Remove invasive species or swaths of flammable plants including ivy, rosemary, broom, and juniper.
  • ϖ Moist mulch, rocks, or gravel can be used for firescaping. (Bark and leaf mulch can ignite unless sufficiently wet. Usage not recommended near structures.)
  • ϖ When planting trees, identify the tree size at maturity. 
  • ϖ Prune trees carefully to remove the possibility of fire laddering.
  • ϖ Arrange plantings in clusters and islands, with those near structure being smaller. 
  • ϖ Consider the combustibility of decorative features such as gazebos, fences, sheds, porches, and junk areas.  Keep appropriate clearance to reduce the threat of burning embers.
  • ϖ Bare ground is not recommended due to soil erosion.
  • Lawn .jpg

General Rules of Fire Safety

HEED the checklist from our local fire departments to create a defensible space around your home.  To reiterate fire district recommendations:

  • ϖ Prevent embers from igniting your home by clearing leaves, needles, and debris from gutters, eaves, porches, and decks.
  • ϖ Mow grasses and weeds.
  • ϖ Keep your garden watered.
  • ϖ Prune tree limbs to keep the lowest branches 6-10 feet from the ground.
  • ϖ Reduce “fire fuel laddering” by not allowing bushes or trees to touch one another.
  • ϖ Keep combustible materials 15-30 feet away from structures.
  • ϖ Maintain your property and be alert for any fire danger.

Through proper plant selection, placement, and maintenance, we are able to diminish the possibility of ignition, lower fire intensity, and reduce the spread, helping our homes to survive the blaze.  A fire-resistant landscape reduces the risk to our homes while enabling firefighters a place to defend our structures.

Helpful Websites:

National Fire Protection Association: https://www.nfpa.org

Fire Safe Marin (We are not in Marin, but this is a great resource): http://www.firesafemarin.org

Pacific Northwest Fire Resistant Plants: http://www.firefree.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Fire-Resistant-Plants.pdf

University of California Cooperative Extension: https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Prepare/Landscaping/Plant_choice/

Las Pilitas Nursery (although this nursery is in Santa Margarita it has the best website that gives burn times for various plants. Plus it also has deer resistant information as well.)https://www.laspilitas.com/easy/deerfire.htm

Sign Up for Alerts:

Alerts for Your Specific Area: http://www.nixle.com

 

Sample Listing of Plants that are Fire-Resistant

(I reiterate, NO PLANT is fire-proof. Maintenance, pruning, watering, spacing, location are all extremely important elements for fire safety.)

Bulbs (tulips, daffodils, iris, hyacinth, freesia, etc. Cut stalks to the ground when leaves are dry)

California redbud

Sage

Penstemon

Heather

Fuchsia

Columbine

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Thyme

Poppy

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Wild strawberry

Common yarrow

French lavender

Lilac

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Coreopsis

Ajuga

California lilac

Society garlic

Alliums

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Dianthus

Yellow or Purple ice plant

Creeping phlox

Lamium

Sedum

Succulents

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Veronica

Armeria

Agapanthus

Trumpet Vine

Daylily

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Heuchera

Hosta

Red hot poker

Lupine

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Delphinium

Echinacea

Lamb’s ear

Yucca

Roses

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Salvia

Evening primrose

Daphne

Boxwood

Rhododendron

Spirea

Dogwood

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Mock orange

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Azalea

Current

Viburnum

Horse chestnut

Liquid Amber

Honey locust

Crabapple

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Purple robe locust

Fruit trees (varieties of cherry, plum, pear, peach, apricot)

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Black oak

Hawthorne

Birch

Aspen

Poplar

Maple

Manzanita (prune without dead wood)

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Walnut 

Harry Houdini wrote, “Fire has always been and seemingly, will always remain, the most terrible of the elements.”  Use your common sense. If you need additional help, consult a professional. Contact your fire department for a Fire Wise walk.

Fires are in our future. Hopefully, we won’t require a green meadow safety zone for survival, yet we need to be prepared. Make firescaping an ongoing conversation. 

In the meantime, get out to weed, water, prune, and maintain. Do what you can to be fire safe.

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

See photos and read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1305/Digging-Deep-with-Cynthia-Brian-for-May-FireScaping.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are1® 501 c3. 

Cynthia Brian-Fire Garden Hat.jpg

Tune into Cynthia’s Radio show and order her books at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her new books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

Hire Cynthia for projects, consults, and lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

Donate to Fire Disaster Relief via Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 at www.BethestarYouAre.org

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Munki and Trunk: Meet the Jungle Crew – Adorable Characters, Wonderful Animation

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Kids
Munki and Trunk: Meet the Jungle Crew – Adorable Characters, Wonderful Animation

Ain’t no mountain high enough, river wide enough, or banana big enough to tear these two apart! Our brave, curious monkey and big-hearted elephant live together in the jungle, as children imagine it: a playground with vines to swing on, trampoline mushrooms to bounce on, and a crew of jungle buddies to share endless adventures. Munki and Trunk explore their world together, facing fears, having fun and helping friends in a comedy adventure that’s brim-full of heart, and built on a bedrock of friendship. Includes 8 tree-crashing, rock-smashing, water-splashing, fruit-mashing episodes! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “The characters are so adorable and hilarious. This is such a fun DVD to watch as it teaches the importance of friendship and teamwork. There is no dialogue, so the story can be understood universally.” Sahiba K. adds, “Although simplistic, the plots never fail to surprise me with the direction that they take, making me laugh, gasp and empathize with the characters. I fell in love with main characters again and again as every episode elaborate on their relationship.” See their full reviews below.

Munki and Trunk: Meet the Jungle Crew
By Jolleen M, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

The characters are so adorable and hilarious. This is such a fun DVD to watch as it teaches the importance of friendship and teamwork. There is no dialogue, so the story can be understood universally.

The only characters that are named are Munki (the monkey) and Trunk (the elephant). They are best friends and the main characters. The other characters include a giraffe, an ostrich, a baby ostrich, a chameleon, a rhino, a porcupine and a frog.

The animals communicate with each other through sighs and grunts. Brent Dawes, voice of Munki, and Alison Lambole, voice of Trunk, really bring their characters to life. Somehow they make it possible for us to understand their emotions or motives through small yelps and wails.

In terms of the animation, this is one of my favorite animated films. I love how realistic it looks with so much detail and additional adorable elements. The animators add great details to the patterns on the vegetation and the hairs on the animals. The animals closely resemble actual animals with the only difference being giving them bigger eyes.

My favorite parts of this DVD are whenever Munki and Trunk interact. They have such an amusing friendship. Since Trunk is an elephant and much bigger than Munki who is a monkey, Trunk throws Munki around or sometimes she catches him. Munki often jumps on Trunk’s back like a trampoline.

The moral of this show is centered on friendship and working together. Throughout all the conflicts and problems they work together. Although the pair is not the brightest in coming up with solutions, they succeed in the end. This message of friendship and teamwork is always a good message to be taught to children over and over again.

I enjoyed watching this hilarious DVD and it made me laugh. Munki and Trunk’s interaction is entertaining and I love the cute animation. I recommend this for ages 2 to 7 and give it 5 out of 5 stars. Munki and Trunk: Meet The Jungle Crew!is available on DVD now so check it out!

Munki and Trunk: Meet the Jungle Crew!
By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Munki and Trunk: Meet the Jungle Crew! is a simple delight! Although simplistic, the plots never fail to surprise me with the direction that they take, making me laugh, gasp and empathize with the characters. I fell in love with main characters again and again as every episode elaborate on their relationship.

The story follows best friends Munki and Trunk who run into troubles as their playfulness unexpectedly backfires. These bumps in the road strengthen their love for each other. Several episodes also explore the beauty and differences between the two characters, a concept that teaches the importance of being unique.

The series is devoid of any dialogue, an aspect that is for the best. It makes the relationships of the jungle crew more authentic as the emotions surpass the language barrier between the different animals. Despite having no dialogue, the series masters individuality by giving side characters personality through glimpses of their lives. For example, a porcupine named Humph is always found in a bad mood, either disapproving Munki and Trunk’s antics or mowing his lawn. From these few scenes, one can determine that Humph is like the grumpy old man of the jungle who has his soft spots. Additionally, when one of the animals re-enters the plot like Humph, I became excited, because they are all humorous in their own way and different from each other.

The animation has its strengths, but also some weaknesses. There are several strong cinematography moments that create humor, shock and curiosity. For example, in one scene, it  cuts to a first person perspective with someone running, but is unclear where they are running to or why. The excitement of the moment glued me to my seat. The only criticism I have is with the brightly colored scenery in certain scenes. For instance, one scene involves Munki running through the prairie’s tall bright yellow grass. It is so bright that becomes blurred against Munki’s darker brown fur. Otherwise, the simple animation adds to the overall effect and specialty of the series.

The message is that friendship can lift you up in difficult times and bring out the best in you. I give Munki and Trunk: Meet the Jungle Crew! 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 8. It is available on DVD now, so check it out.

Tito and the Birds – Deserves To Be Seen By Anyone Who Appreciates The Medium Of Animation

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Kids
Tito and the Birds – Deserves To Be Seen By Anyone Who Appreciates The Medium Of Animation

Tito is a shy 10-year-old boy who lives with his mother. When an unusual epidemic starts to spread, making people sick whenever they get scared, Tito quickly discovers that the cure is somehow related to his missing father’s research on bird song. He embarks on a journey with his friends to find the antidote. Tito’s search becomes a quest to find his missing father and save the world from the epidemic. “One of the most memorable films for 2018” – Elvis Mitchell, Film Independent. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Izzy C. comments, “From the moment I saw the artwork on the cover of the packaging for the Brazilian animated film, Tito and The Birds, I knew I had to see it! The animation style is beautiful! I love the look of it.” SaniyaRain F. adds, “Tito and the Birds is about real life problems that people face. Even though it is an animation film, it is serious. Sometimes movies teach kids about real life and that is what Tito and the Birds does.” Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer  wraps it up with, “The BIG selling point of this film is its sensational art!  It is an interesting mesh between digital animation and what appears to be layers of living oil paintings.  It’s hard to accurately describe the visuals in a way that gives credit in which it richly deserves.  I assure you, this film deserves to be seen by anyone who appreciates the medium of animation.” See their full reviews below.

Tito and The Birds
By Izzy Cruz, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

From the moment I saw the artwork on the cover of the packaging for the Brazilian animated film, Tito and The Birds, I knew I had to see it! The animation style is beautiful! I love the look of it. Its Brazilian directors Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar and Andre Catoto have made something that looks like a moving painting.

The story is based on a boy named Tito (Pedro Henrique) and his friends working to stop an epidemic from spreading through their town.  It gets pretty intense! Luckily, they have the help of Tito’s dad Rufus (Matheus Nachtergaele), a very smart scientist.  Hopefully this will be enough to save the town.

The supporting characters, besides Tito’s father, include Tito’s mother Rosa (Denise Fraga) and his friends: Sarah (Marina Seritiello), his brave female friend who gives him hope; Buiú (Vinicius Garcia), his best friend, who becomes sick and is the main reason they want to find a cure.  And then there is Téo (Enrico Cardoso), his rival. I relate mostly to the character of Tito because he is brave and wants to help.  He cares about people. The musical score by Ruben Feffer and Gustavo Kurlat brings a lot of emotions to the movie. The music helps tell the story as much as the dialogue does.

Even though this story is from Brazil I think people from everywhere can relate to it, because it is a story  about love and love is universal. There is a good lesson wrapped inside the story of Tito and The Birds: never be afraid, and help when it’s needed. Also, another lesson is to be yourself, and let no one tell you to be anyone else.

I give Tito and The Birds 5 out of 5 stars ! I love it! The animation is amazing! The storyline is told beautifully. I love the voice actors’ performances.

This film is perfect for ages 10 to 18, because the epidemic and sickness storyline could be a bit scary for younger audiences. I also think adults will enjoy this movie, too.  Go and check it out! I recommend it!

Remember you can get Tito and The Birds digitally or anywhere that your favorite DVD’s are sold.

Tito and the Birds
By SaniyaRain Fowler, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

Tito and the Birds is about real life problems that people face. Even though it is an animation film, it is serious. Sometimes movies teach kids about real life and that is what Tito and the Birds does. It is a little scary because it is so real.

The first thing I noticed, besides it being a dark film, is the relationship Tito has with his dad. Tito and his dad work together to help their community overcome fear of a disease that is spreading.  Everyone is getting the disease and they do not know why. Everyone is scared to catch this disease because it makes people turn into rocks. The fear that everyone has in the community is so strong that people can’t live their lives. They are panicking and the news makes it worse.

Tito’s friends are awesome because they stick by his side and believe in him. He even makes friends with a boy who wants to beat Tito in a contest. Tito has some good friends, and we all need good friends when we are having a hard time in life. The friends show that they are real friends, not fake.

Tito learns a lot in the movie. He learns not to give up and to believe in himself. He also understands that sometimes things are hard and that everything is not going to be easy in life. He keeps trying to make his dad proud and build the machine right. Tito also learns that even a kid can make a difference.

I recommend this film for ages 8 to 14. It is too scary for little kids  I give this movie  2 out of 5 stars, because it is so frightening.  However, we all can learn about being brave and being different, so check it out if you find this intriguing.

Tito and the Birds
By Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

Tito and the Birds is an oddly dark tale that is highlighted by its remarkably original art style.  By dark, I don’t mean gritty or vulgar. It is heavier in tone than many young adult films, but anyone that has seen Corpse Bride or Coraline won’t be addled in the slightest by this story about a fear pandemic.  The BIG selling point of this film is its sensational art!  It is an interesting mesh between digital animation and what appears to be layers of living oil paintings.  It’s hard to accurately describe the visuals in a way that gives credit in which it richly deserves.  I assure you, this film deserves to be seen by anyone who appreciates the medium of animation. I recommend it for ages 10 to 18, however, younger and older viewers may enjoy it as well. I certainly did. I give it 5 out if 5 stars because it is so stunning.

Pokémon Detective Pikachu – Funny With Lots of Twists To Keep You Guessing

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Movie Reviews
Pokémon Detective Pikachu – Funny With Lots of Twists To Keep You Guessing

The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wisecracking, adorable super-sleuth who is puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to communicate with one another, Tim and Pikachu join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City–a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world–they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon characters and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I love this movie so much. I couldn’t stop laughing and crying with tears of joy.  Even the adults in the movie theatre laughed and enjoyed this movie.” Damon F. adds, “Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a movie that takes place in a world where people live with Pokémon and catch them in poke balls and battle them. I enjoyed this movie because the storyline is a mystery with a lot of twists that keeps you guessing.” See their full reviews below.

 

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, Age 10

https://youtu.be/5nsEHwRlj94

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I love this movie so much. I couldn’t stop laughing and crying with tears of joy.  Even the adults in the movie theatre laughed and enjoyed this movie.Pokémon Detective Pikachu is about a city named Ryme City where people are living with Pokémon.  A young man named Tim Goodman travels to Ryme City to find out the reason for the mysterious disappearance of his father, Harry Goodman.  In the process, Tim finds a strange, purple substance or gas that makes all the Pokémon act weird. Tim also finds his father’s Pokémon Pikachu. For some reason, Tim can understand Pikachu.  Yes, Pikachu can talk in this movie!

 

The movie is hilarious because of Ryan Reynolds, even though there are some jokes not suitable for children.  Also, Justice Smith, who plays Tim Goodman, is so good. He is pretty funny, and he makes the audience feel emotional when he has sad moments.  The visual effects are incredible, which make this movie different and better than other Pokémon movies or Pokémon TV shows.The moral of this film is not to give up. Tim wants to give up on his mission. Instead, he teams up with Pikachu, and together they make a great team. Pikachu saves Tim from going home.  The end has a very twisted mystery that leaves everyone in the audience with their mouths wide open.  If you want to find out why, you’ll need to watch this awesome film before your friends spoil it for you.

I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, but adults over 18 can enjoy it, too You can watch Pokémon Detective Pikachu in any theater near you starting Friday, May 10, 2019.

 

Pokémon Detective Pikachu

By Damon F., KIDS FIRST Film Critic, age 11

 

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Pokémon Detective Pikachu is a movie that takes place in a world where people live with Pokémon and catch them in poke balls and battle them. I enjoyed this movie because the storyline is a mystery with a lot of twists that keeps you guessing.This story is about a boy named Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) whose father, Harry Goodman (Ryan Reynolds) dies in a car crash. Tim goes to Ryme City and meets a Pikachu with a detective hat who says that he is Harry’s Pokémon, and a brilliant detective. Tim and Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) must find out who killed Tim’s father and why.

 

This movie is great, all the Pokémon in the movie look realistic and lifelike. I found it very fun to search the movie and spot all the different Pokémon that they have in the movie such as Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Lickitung, Charmander and many more.There is also a video game version of the movie called Detective Pikachu where you play in the Pokémon world and join Detective Pikachu in Ryme City to solve mysteries and crimes that Pokémon cause. It has a similar plot to the movie, so it is fun to get to play what you see in the film.

 

My favorite scene in this movie is one where Pikachu is very sad and starts singing some short pieces of the Pokémon theme song as he walks away from Tim, acting depressed. I like this scene because the way that Pikachu sings it is hilarious. Another good scene is when Tim, Detective Pikachu, Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) a journalist, and her Psyduck are running away from some Greninjas and Psyduck gets a headache. This is very dangerous because his head could explode. I like this scene because it is full of action and the way Pikachu gives Psyduck a headache is hilarious. My favorite character in this movie is Detective Pikachu because he makes a lot of great jokes about other Pokémon and his obsession with coffee. His humor is sarcastic and dry, but he is also cute and fluffy. This contrast is very amusing.

The message of this movie is that you should stay loyal to your friends and trust them. There is also a strong storyline about the relationships between father and son.

 

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to18 because younger children may not understand the storyline. It opens in theaters May 10, 2019 so look for it.

 

 

 

 

Aunt Caily: A Tribute to Mothers, Even those Who Aren’t

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Empowerment
Aunt Caily: A Tribute to Mothers, Even those Who Aren’t

Aunt Caily: A Tribute to Mothers, Even those Who Aren’t

Being Here...TooMy Great Aunt Caily was my grandmother’s younger sister. My Grandma and Grandpa eventually moved to Oregon to raise their family but Aunt Caily and her husband, Uncle Gil, lived and died in Orange City, Iowa.

Born in the early 1900’s, Caily came to adulthood in an era when her childless status labeled her as a lady who couldn’t have kids, rather than being regarded as a woman who simply didn’t have kids. I sometimes wonder about the details of her life, things that I will never know. Of course they were never my business anyway.

When I was young, I sometimes confided in Aunt Caily, but like most children, I was mainly concerned for myself. I had little room to be curious about her. I never knew the reason why she and Uncle Gil didn’t have a family of their own, but I did know that she was special and they were both very loved. It occurs to me that perhaps she, like many folks, didn’t have a clue as to the difference she made. Our paths didn’t cross often. It was a long train-ride from Iowa to Oregon (she refused to travel by air) and our family only visited her on occasion. However, there are bright moments that drift through my memory when I think of her.

Diminutive in stature, feisty in nature, Aunt Caily had a high voice and she was quick to laugh. When I was in those difficult teen years, she came to Grandma’s house and I recall sitting with her on the couch as she asked me about my day. I’m not sure how it happened, but I confided in her that a lot of kids at school were doing drugs, “speed” to be exact, the 70s version of meth. I found it disturbing and I didn’t know how to handle the situation. I don’t recall that she gave me advice or that we came up with a plan or solution, but it was a relief to unburden my load to an adult who would simply listen and who wouldn’t “freak out” and call the school or take unwanted, embarrassing actions.

BakingSodaI frequently think of my Great Aunt Caily when I’m cleaning up after cooking a meal. She once gave my mother advice that has been passed down as a bit of family wisdom. According to Mom, one time when she was visiting Caily, they had pot roast for dinner. Afterwards, my mom did the dishes and as she was scrubbing the pot that had been used to make the roast, Caily came into the kitchen.

“What are you doing?” Caily asked abruptly, startling my mother.

“The dishes,” Mom replied.

“But why are you scrubbing that pot? Don’t be silly. Use baking soda.”

“Baking soda?”

“Yes, of course. Sprinkle some on the pot and let it soak a bit. It will lift the baked-on grease and leavings.”

This was a lesson my mother taught me – a little family legacy from my Great Aunt Caily. Baking soda really does lift the baked-on grease and pan leavings. I rarely have to scrub hard after I use my pots and pans. When Caily gave my mom that nugget of kitchen magic, I’m sure she had no clue that decades after her death, her wisdom would live on in me…and now you.

Most of us underestimate what we have to offer, worrying about what we want to accomplish in our lifetime. We focus on the “big” things, thinking that’s what matters, when sometimes it is the little, unexpected things that matter the most.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Sonic Boom: Here Comes the Boom! – Educational and Amusing. Great Characters!

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Movie Reviews
Sonic Boom: Here Comes the Boom! – Educational and Amusing. Great Characters!

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It’s a Sonic you haven’t seen before – an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he’s up against, Sonic is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman. The series is set in a wide-open world, where most of the characters live in and around an unnamed village. Just over the horizon is a vast landscape filled with beaches, jungles, mountains, undersea civilizations, cloud cities, frozen lakes, and more! Includes 8 Action-Packed Episodes! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Jolleen M. comments, “My favorite part about this series is that they always find a way to make it humorous and add some plot twists. Every episode is different and that makes the audience want to watch the whole series all at once.” Damon F. adds, “I like this show because it has lots of characters from the classic Sonic Video games and TV shows. It shows their personality and fighting techniques. This is a good introduction to the characters to anyone that wants to play the Sonic games.” Rachel V. wraps it up with, “Although it’s based on the Sonic franchise, there is not a lot of on-screen action to keep little one’s eyes trained on the screen. That said, I believe that any young kid who is a fan of the game will be very excited to see Sonic on screen.” See their full reviews below.

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Sonic Boom: Here Comes the Boom!

By Jolleen Mejia, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 14

https://youtu.be/0m8Lt0ueZCE

This action packed series is very educating. The morals taught in the episodes are valuable for the target audience. I love how they are able to teach important lessons in a very entertaining way. The show follows the characters Sonic, his friends and Dr. Eggman. Sonic and his friends always have some conflict with Dr. Eggman. The different schemes that Dr. Eggman comes up with are amusing and I watched till the end to see if Sonic and his friends were be able to solve the problem.Mike Pollock voices Dr. Eggman in a very interesting way. Pollock can sound like a villain in one scene and in another he could be your grandfather. Dr. Eggman is a character with two personalities and it is great that Pollock voices both of them.

The characters in this series are unique in their appearance. Sonic and his friends are animals, but they only have a few features that are recognizable as animals. I like that they vary their appearances from other films and series. It keeps the audience interested and intrigued.My favorite part about this series is that they always find a way to make it humorous and add some plot twists. Every episode is different and that makes the audience want to watch the whole series all at once.

There are many underlying messages in each episode. The ones that stand out are to find the goodness in people and to work together. Sonic and Dr. Eggman will forever be rivals, but they do enjoy each other’s company. Sonic realizes that Dr. Eggman is desperate for attention and uses that to his advantage to be able to get to the good side of Dr. Eggman. This is how Sonic is always able to calm Dr. Eggman down and stop him from continuing his crazy, sometimes evil, ideas – for a while. Sonic and his team of superhero friends have to work together to come up with a plan to stop Dr. Eggman. Sometimes, when Sonic leaves, they fight over what to do and who should be the leader. In the end, they resolve their problems and learn the right thing to do for the next time a similar situation arises.

 

I loved how this DVD teaches valuable lessons that are usually overlooked in other children’s shows. I give this series 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 9. Sonic Boom: Here Comes the Boom is out now on DVDs so check it out!

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Sonic Boom – Here Comes the Boom

By Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

https://youtu.be/BhVNUZRcdjE

 

I like this show because it has lots of characters from the classic Sonic Video games and TV shows. It shows their personality and fighting techniques. This is a good introduction to the characters to anyone that wants to play the Sonic games. If you want to try Sonic games, but you don’t know any of the characters just watch this show.Sonic Boom – Here Comes the Boom is about Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) and his friends facing challenges usually involving Dr. Eggman (Mike Pollock), where they must work together to either escape a temple or destroy a robot. Sonic can’t fight off Dr. Eggman by himself, so he gets help from his friends and sticks the completely wild badger that uses a boomerang as her weapon of choice. Amy Rose is a pink hedgehog who fights with her hammer and keeps everyone at peace. Rounding out the team are Knuckles the echidna with a love of fighting and Tails Sonic’s tech-loving fox sidekick that can use his two tails to help him fly around.

 

My favorite episode in this DVD is “Just a Guy.” In this episode, Sonic accidently calls someone “just a guy” and everyone gets angry at him. I like this episode because it is funny and has a good message. That message is “don’t stereotype people.” Another good episode is “CowBot,” which is about when Dr. Eggman sends a robot that looks like a cow after Sonic. After a bit of fighting, Sonic gets the CowBot to go after Dr. Eggman. He goes to save him, but the CowBot is incredibly slow so they do loads of funny stuff while they wait. This episode is hilarious in how they solve the problem in the end.My favorite character is CuBot because, whenever his partner OrBot says something smart about something he just says the real meaning without knowing what OrBot wants. For example, in the episode “The Meteor.” OrBot says, “Perhaps it is time we bid our foes “adieu.” CuBot doesn’t know what that means so he just says, “No time, we have to leave,” which means the same thing. I find these parts funny.

 

The main message of most of the episodes is, you must work together to complete a challenge. I rate this DVD 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 7 because it has good messages in every episode that younger kids will like.

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Sonic Boom: Here Comes the Boom

By Rachel V., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer

https://youtu.be/M5QuMYz0oe8

 

This DVD is a compilation of episodes from Sonic Boom, an animated (CGI) kids’ show based around the Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise. Let me frank, I have seen better kids’ shows.  That’s not to say that it is not a good show, it just isn’t as great as the video game that it originates from.  Aesthetically, it is a fairly good looking show, certainly above average your standard kiddie show in that regard. The voice acting is pretty good, but I have other concerns. The dialogue seems as if it is intended for preteens or adolescents, but it is not nearly clever or funny enough for that audience.  Although it’s based on the Sonic franchise, there is not a lot of on-screen action to keep little one’s eyes trained on the screen. That said, I believe that any young kid who is a fan of the game will be very excited to see Sonic on screen. I recommend this for ages 7 to 11 and give it  4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Rachel V., KIDS FIRST! Reviewer

 

 

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