Tag Archives: families

The Secret of Life. Pray It Forward.

A photo by David Schap. unsplash.com/photos/W5TJpNKI9c4

All parents are looking for the silver bullet to parenting. We know we need to give our kids continual instruction on honor, truthfulness, integrity, kindness, patience and loving the unlovable. They need to be held accountable for their actions. Learn to restrain their impulses to throw temper tantrums. Be able to resist peer pressure to experiment with sex, drugs and alcohol. But the question remains, “What can we teach our kids that will prepare them for any crisis that is sure to impact them some time in their lives?”

Because there will be days, months even when everything seems lost. When they suffer the inevitable heartbreak. When they fail to make the team. When their friends have deserted them. When they’re rejected by their favorite college. When even God seems far away. And these are just the teen years.

We all know there will often be times in adulthood when money is tight. Jobs are lost. Marriages are rocky. Health is failing. Loved ones leave us. And loneliness collapses souls. Continue reading

Dr. Shefali and The Conscious Parent

We are big fans of Dr. Shefali Tsabary and all she does to support parents and families to be the best they can. Recently Mallika Chopra sat down with her to speak about living with intent, Dr. Shefali’s book “The Conscious Parent” and issues facing parents today. That interview will be available soon, but we wanted to introduce our Intent family to resources that may be helpful in their journey to building happy families! Continue reading

Is the UK’s Online Pornography Ban Going Too Far?

david-cameron-220_1774555fWe know many people were fairly preoccupied yesterday with the news of the royal baby’s birth. But here is another story from the day that is going to affect far, far more people.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced a new sweeping government plan to ban (or at least dramatically reduce) viewing of online pornography. The plan, due to begin by the end of this year, will force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block all pornography-related search terms and websites. Individuals wishing to access pornography on their own Internet connections will have to contact their ISP directly in order to opt out of the program. “Extreme pornography” (such as content depicting rape scenes) will be entirely prohibited. Specific measures will also be taken to locate and prosecute viewers and distributors of child pornography.

So far, so good? Maybe not. Cameron appealed to the very sympathetic cause of protecting childhood innocence, but many are calling such blanket measures a violation of privacy rights. Here are some of the arguments:

1. First there’s the idea that the Internet should be a freely accessible source of information (in the broadest sense of the word). If people wish to restrict certain areas of the Internet in their own homes, then that is their prerogative.

2. Many raise the issue of who will determine what is “pornographic” versus what is informational, artistic, or just regular news (will risque images of celebs count?). Also, many mainstream movies are quite graphic, even depicting rape, child abuse, etc. How will these be evaluated?

3. Some argue that censorship of any sort is like a gateway drug for the government. Ban online pornography now, and what other online viewing habits will start being regulated as well?

4. One of the biggest concerns is that Cameron’s plan doesn’t actually address the pornography industry, sex trafficking, child abuse, or violence against women. It seems to be a way of painting over the issue, when there’s still a really dirty wall underneath.

Cameron’s ban qualifies as what is colloquially known as a “sumptuary law,” or a law intended to enforce morals and control certain consumption habits. This has included certain styles of clothing, food, and various “luxury habits.” The argument could be made that if you ban the material associated with the improper habit (ie. alcohol, revealing clothing, or, in this case, pornographic websites) then the behavior will necessarily decrease.

On the other hand: “Guns don’t kill. People do.”

What do you think?


Thumbnail image credit: James Blinn/Alamy

The Truth About Medications during Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 5.54.14 PMThree years ago, I received a tragic phone call from a friend. Her sister, whom I’ll call Mary — a bright young woman who had struggled with bipolar disorder throughout her life — had recently given birth to her second child. Mary had chosen to go off her psychiatric medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding. This hadn’t posed a problem during and after the birth of her first child. But this time, it led to disaster.

Lack of sleep, stress from caring for a toddler and a newborn, and problems at work took their toll on Mary. She began to spiral, pacing and panicking. Just as her husband was about to take her to the hospital for treatment, Mary slipped into a psychotic episode. She heard voices telling her to attack her husband and children — which she did, with a knife.

Thankfully, Mary’s husband was able to wrestle the knife away and prevent her from causing any real physical harm. But the damage had been done. The government accused Mary of attempted murder and domestic violence assault. Mary was sent to prison and later a psychiatric hospital. She was forbidden from having any contact with her children. Only last month was Mary permitted her first visit with her now 3-year-old, who has no memory of his mother.

This is obviously an extreme illustration of what can happen when pregnant and breastfeeding women don’t treat their own illnesses out of fear of harming their children. But my closeness to the incident has made me extra sensitive to the issue, which is so important yet rarely discussed in our society or media.

2013-04-25-KateHeadShot-thumbI was so excited to hear that a dear friend of mine, writer/editor Kate Rope, had taken a position as editorial director for a new non-profit called the Seleni Institute. Seleni is dedicated to women’s reproductive and maternal mental health. It offers online resources and support as well as research funding for women’s mental health issues. And, in early May, Seleni will open a clinic in Manhattan to serve women during this critical time in their lives.

Kate, who has been a health journalist for the past 15 years, began focusing on the mental health issues of motherhood after her own difficult pregnancy. Just one week after conceiving her first child, Kate ended up in the emergency room with horrible chest pain. The doctors, worried that she had a blood clot, gave her a CT scan — but found no answers.

For the next five months, Kate suffered from debilitating pain that was misdiagnosed as heartburn. When several different medications brought no relief, she ended up in the hospital again. After three days of tests — including one that involved nuclear radiation — she had a diagnosis: inflammation and fluid around her heart. For the rest of her pregnancy, she had to take ibuprofen and steroids to control it.

And she worried about the health of her baby constantly. “Everyone around me was planning home births and practicing prenatal yoga. Meanwhile, I was doing all the things pregnancy books say are dangerous — taking medications and getting X-rays. I felt very alone and scared.”

Kate’s story has a happy ending: Not only did she eventually get the diagnosis and treatment she needed, but also she gave birth to a beautiful, healthy daughter. Still, the experience traumatized her and led to two outcomes: postpartum anxiety so severe she needed medication to treat it, and a personal commitment to helping other women facing the same choices get good information and peace of mind.

2013-04-25-CarlheadshotKate got help for her postpartum anxiety and went on to co-author The Complete Guide to Medications During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding with Carl P. Weiner, M.D., a perinatologist and professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Kate explained to me that there is very little well-researched information about the safety or effectiveness of medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Most pharmaceutical companies won’t do controlled clinical studies because of concerns about liability. Therefore, much of the information doctors use to make prescribing decisions comes from doctor’s case studies, animal research, and epidemiological evidence.

Dr. Weiner had already combined all of this scattered information into an academic text to help doctors choose appropriate medications for their pregnant and breastfeeding patients. Kate helped him translate that text into an easy-to-understand, A-to-Z directory of over-the-counter and prescription medications for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. It also explains how to find good medical care if you have a chronic condition or develop complications during pregnancy.

“We want pregnant and breastfeeding women to have good information and to know that they are not alone and they don’t have to sacrifice their well-being for their baby’s health. We want to help them make good decisions with their health care providers,” says Kate.

If you are planning to become pregnant and require medication for physical or psychological conditions, Kate and Dr. Weiner recommend getting informed before trying to conceive. “Meet with your doctors — your psychiatrist, OB-GYN, midwife, or specialist — and talk through your concerns,” says Kate. “Ask them what they know about the medications you take, their risks and benefits, and whether or not you should switch to a safer option or discontinue treatment during pregnancy.”

Of course, you may not have the chance to prepare (half of all pregnancies are unplanned). In that case, don’t make any choices about stopping or starting medications on your own. Meet with your health care providers right away to discuss your treatment.

And whether you plan for pregnancy or need to make choices once you learn you are pregnant, Kate and Dr. Weiner both recommend looking for providers who have experience treating your condition during pregnancy.

It’s also wise to be wary of the Internet. A March 2013 study supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 25 websites that published lists of “safe” medication during pregnancy. The researchers found 22 medications deemed safe by one site were labeled unsafe by one or more of the other sites. “That kind of inconsistency online,” says Kate, “not only means you don’t have access to the best information, but that you can become unnecessarily anxious.”

In the end, “the important thing is to remember that you need to be a healthy, happy, high functioning person for yourself and your child,” Kate offered as reassurance. “And that means getting good medical care and making good choices for both of you.”


Photo credit: Flickr

Photo credit: Kate Rope

The Anti-Abuse Ad Only Children Can See

Visual-ANAR-SOLO-NI„OS-693x1024Children are arguably the most vulnerable population in human society. They are entirely dependent upon caregivers who may or may not be happy, prepared, or willing to provide them with a stable and loving home. Child victims of abuse are often particularly powerless in their circumstances, as it can be difficult to circumvent authority figures in order to seek out real help. That’s why a Spanish organization, Aid to Children and Adolescents at Risk Foundation (or ANAR) has created a special anti-abuse advertisement that displays different messages to adults and children.

How, you might ask? It has to do with height and a kind of artifice similar to those hologram bookmarks we used to have as kids that showed different images depending on the angle from which you viewed it. From an average adult height, ANAR’s billboard reads, “Sometimes, child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.” From 4’5” and lower, the ad displays the message, “If somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you,” followed by the phone number. Here’s how it works:


This revolutionary ad may be the key to getting abused children the kind of help they need. It could also potentially sow distrust between parents and their children, and it could be co-opted by advertising agencies to transmit all kinds of messages to children without their caregivers knowing. For now, though, it’s an amazing step in the direction of child empowerment and safety, and we applaud ANAR’s work.

What do you think? What kinds of messages do think would be beneficial for children’s eyes alone?

Lotus Bloom Child & Family Resource Center – Closing the Achievement Gap

Go Inspire Go (GIG) is proud to share this month’s Social Good Spotlight, to raise awareness of individuals and organizations doing good in their communities in order to inspire others to take action and ultimately make real social change. GIG believes everyone can find inspiration in helping others, whether it’s through doing small acts of kindness or working at an organization dedicated to making a difference. If you know of an individual or organization that you think should be featured, please email Marcia and help us forward their stories to inspire the world.GIG Social Good Spotlight: 
LOTUS BLOOM CHILD & FAMILY RESOURCE CENTER – Uplifting Children and Closing the Achievement Gap
by Marcia Estarija Silva

“Often times, I see parents and children smile more, talk more, and playing together more.  These are indicators that our participants are gaining new skills and building on their school readiness skills.” – Angela Louie Howard, Executive Director

What is Lotus Bloom Child & Family Resource Center?
Lotus Bloom is a multicultural organization based in Oakland, California that develops and provides a safe, loving environment for inner-city children and families, offering developmental play and art activities to children from 0 to 5 years of age.  Last year, the center served approximately 600 individuals, of which 144 children and 138 adults participated in its 0-5 year old multicultural playgroups.

What is Lotus Bloom’s mission? What big changes is it trying to make?
Lotus Bloom’s mission is to empower individuals to realize their full potential and transcend their dreams into reality. In education, the “achievement gap” refers to the differences in academic performance – academic grades, standardized-test scores, drop-out rates, college-completion rates – and is most often used to describe the performance gaps between students from low-income families and those who are better off. In Oakland’s San Antonio neighborhood, 86% of 3rd graders were not reading at grade level and kindergarten teachers reported that children entering school had no preschool or early care experience. To help fill this achievement gap, several local volunteers and social service providers came together to form Lotus Bloom in the Fall of 2006 to offer free access to playgroup and school readiness programs.

Counting and singing during circle time

How is Lotus Bloom using its power to help others?
Nationwide, the data is startling – 29 percent of 2-year-olds in poverty demonstrated proficiency in listening comprehension, compared with 39 percent of those at or above poverty, and 55 percent of those in poverty were proficient in expressive vocabulary, compared with 67 percent at or above poverty. The disparity increases in later years. Twenty percent of 4-year-olds in poverty were proficient in letter recognition, compared with 37 percent of their peers at or above poverty. Forty-five percent of 4-year-olds in poverty demonstrated proficiency in numbers and shapes, compared with 72 percent of their peers at or above poverty.

Dedicated to working with diverse populations and connecting people of different backgrounds to work collaboratively, Lotus Bloom promotes language development and early learning experiences through playgroups and classes, such as Asian Community Mental Health Playgroups, multicultural play groups by age, and Parent Child Yoga,. Many of these classes are free or offered or on a sliding scale of $1-$5 per child, per day.

Students learn about color mixing by blowing paint around on a canvas

What inspires Lotus Bloom to do this work?
“Seeing children and families make progress everyday inspires me to do the work, whether it is watching children play with other children, holding a pencil for the first time, or writing their first name,” said Angela Louie Howard, Executive Director.

The majority of the families that go to Lotus Bloom come from low-income backgrounds and third world countries and the concept of learning through play is a new concept to them. “I love to see parents in our programs get acculturated, learn new skills, new songs, count in different languages, and make new friends,” she said.

Getting their hands dirty on a field trip to Funk Town Farm, 
a local neighborhood farm in the San Antonio neighborhood

What is Lotus Bloom focusing on now? 
Lotus Bloom is working on a licensed community kitchen in order to help incubate small catering and food services within the community. The San Antonio neighborhood is plagued with fast food restaurants, such as McDonalds and Churches Chicken, and the organization wants to help the local neighborhood make use of their own cooking resources and build healthy and sustainable food programs. Food is also a great way to bring people together to share knowledge and culture and strengthen the community.

How can GIGSTERS get involved and support Lotus Bloom?
•Purchase a NSF certified oven/stove for their licensed community kitchen
•Volunteer and help by:
— Working on our backyard to build community garden
— Providing administrative support
— Starting and facilitating a parent leadership group
— Participating on Lotus Bloom’s Board of Directors
— Plan and administer two fundraisers
• Donate and provide financial resources to support our work

To volunteer or get more information on how to support Lotus Bloom, click here to fill out their contact form.

A Vision For The Lion And The Lamb


Monday, 9/26
A Vision for the Lion and the Lamb
“We see a world where:
The lion lies down with the lamb;
There are no parasites or predators of any kind;
We communicate easily with all creatures and creation;
The varying climates are always comfortable for all,
The homeless and others may have whatever kind of home, wherever they choose;
There are no debts or creditors;
Land is not owned but shared cooperatively;
Talent is recognized, nurtured and flourishes;
We follow our natural curiosity to learn and accomplish whatever interests us;
All families, on and off planet, are reunited;
We travel wherever we want without tickets, baggage or passports;
Political boundaries disappear and regions are defined by their culture.”
–The Intenders for the Highest Good; Vision Alignment Project
Steve Farrell
Humanity's Team World Wide Coordinating Director

“To Honor and Heal Those Who Serve”

I am sharing this with the planet

The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County
Offering returning warriors and their loved ones an inter-faith ceremony
for the healing of hearts, minds and souls…
 "To Honor and Heal Those Who Serve" ….
SATURDAY, SEP 26, 2009
6: 30 PM Gathering
7 pm Event Begins
presented by The ABBEY of AVALON
in conjunction with The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County 
(for women, men, families)
Co-Sponsored by the Order of the Pentacle, a national Pagan Veteras Association and
 Operation Circle Care of
Circle Sanctuary
Healing Ceremony – Silent Auction – Performers

COST:  $10/person ($5 for military personnel in uniform or dress fatigues)
RSVP Appreciated but not Required

Donations  Welcome (but optional)  of   Goddess/Pagan medallions, amulets, CDs of music  & other spiritual resources to be sent to Pagan troops serving overseas  
“Putting aside how one feels about politics and war, the military and their families bear the burden of sacrifice during these troubled times. How does our community offer healing, solace and appreciation to the brave men and women in our Armed Forces who have returned home? How do we help them re-assimilate into their families and communities? How do we show support for these soldiers (retired and active duty) and their families who enable us to exercise our many freedoms? For those of us who have never been in combat or in the military we can only strive to fathom the depths of what these people of our community endure in war. Unless we have walked in their shoes, we can only try to understand but we can let them know they are not forgotten. They are appreciated. We honor the sacrifice and burden shared by so few for so many.
In response, and in service to these soldiers and their families, the clergy of the Abbey of Avalon, in conjunction with The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County, with sponsorship by the Order of the Pentacle and OperationCircle Care of Circle Sanctuary have combined efforts to offer these returning warriors and their loved ones an inter-faith ceremony invoking the divine power of the Goddess of Compassion, “Quan Yin,” for the healing of heart, mind and soul, a ceremony called "To Honor and Heal Those Who Serve."

The evening will include the ceremony, a silent auction, and performances by many talented artists within the community. Refreshments will be served.

Please arrive no later than 7PM.

The service is open to the entire community.
Men are of course welcome.
We invite you to share notice of this event with those you know who are military personnel, retired and active duty, and their families.
INFORMATION: Rev. Karen Tate   karentate108@ca.rr.com
This event at
The GODDESS TEMPLE of Orange County
17905 Sky Park Circle, # A   Irvine, CA 92614
PHONE: 949/651-0564   FAX:  949/260-1354
WEBSITE: www. goddesstempleoforangecounty.com 
With the Support of:
Circle Sanctuary Military Ministries
PO Box 9, Barneveld, WI 53507 * 608-924-2216 * circle@circlesanctuary.org
Order of the Pentacle Veterans Association
Operation Circle Care: Support for Pagan Troops in War Zones

A Stand for Our Mothers is a Stand for Our World

"The best way to care for the children of our world is to care for their mothers." 
                                                                                                      ~Kimberly King

Dear Friends of Peace,

Mother’s Day is a time to honor the immeasurable value and contribution of Mothers, and to celebrate our own Mother and those who have nurtured us throughout our lives. It’s a time to say thank you for innumerable sacrifices and express our gratitude for the incomparable gift of mother’s love.

If we truly wish to demonstrate our regard for Motherhood, and our goal is to support mothers every day not just on Mother’s Day, we must do more than offer cards and gifts, as important as that is. We must also offer mothers our daily encouragement and practical assistance, and we must support public policies that make children and mothers a priority in our nation and in our world.

Despite our compassion and prosperity, the status of mothers and children in the United States is tragic.

Did you know…

A full 25% of U.S. families with children less than six years old live in poverty.

  • Nine million children are without healthcare coverage and millions more are under-insured.
  • Fourteen million children are unsupervised after school every day. At least 40,000 of these are kindergartners due to a lack of affordable after-school programs.
  • In a Harvard study of over 170 countries, the U.S. was one of only four nations without any form of paid leave for new mothers. (The others were Liberia, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea.)
  • Women without children make 90 cents to a man’s dollar, but mothers make just 73 cents, and single mothers make even less — about 60 cents to a man’s dollar.
  • Mothers are 79% less likely to be hired than equally qualified non-mothers.
  • Of the twenty most competitive economies in the world, the U.S. is the only one that does not require employers to provide paid sick days.

These statistics are eye-opening and dismal, and call for rigorous transpartisan deliberation and immediate action. Regardless of our political position, we must stand for our nations’ mothers.

"All mothers are working mothers."

We also affirm and applaud the millions of stay-at-home moms. Their commitment is a noble one, and we give our encouragement and full support to these mothers as well. We recognize, however, that three quarters of American mothers are now in the labor force. With seventy-five percent of our moms at work, it’s time our attitudes, policies and workplaces match the dynamics of today’s American family. Morally this is the right thing to do. It also makes common sense. To have a healthy economy we must also have healthy families, and each of us plays a critical role.

It is time for America to wake up and meet the needs of mothers and families in our country. Non-Partisan groups like MomsRising.org and others are working to educate and mobilize the public to bring about this change. We invite you to join in support of this effort. (*statistics and info above found at www.momsrising.org).

In these challenging times, the importance of caring for our nation’s mothers is even more critical. On this Mother’s Day, may we remember our moms and celebrate them with a special awareness of how lucky we are to have them. And may we extend some of our energy, creativity and philanthropy toward strategies and policies that support women and children worldwide, recognizing that when we lift up a family anywhere, we lift up the entire world.

~ ~ ~

(Other information and resources related to supporting mothers is available via the National Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Coalition and United Nations Population Fund)