Issue 5: A Time to Reflect

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CONTACT US Central Coast Kind Magazine 805.862.9595 PO Box 6555, Santa Maria, CA 93456



Hello People of the Central Coast,

OUR STAFF Kim Iribarren, Publisher, President Ralph Iribarren, Co-Publisher Macy Haffey, Creative Director Dennis Young, Executive Producer Vicky Duncan, Managing Editor

CONTRIBUTORS WRITERS: Jody Belsher Patricia Gimer Judythe Guarnera Adrienne Riley Santa Maria A's Model A Ford Club of America Lili Sinclaire CM Strasser Vapor Trail Vettes Dennis Eamon Young PHOTOGRAPHERS: Toan Dang Justin Gardner | Dennis Eamon Young See articles for additional photo credits

ON THE COVER Cover Story: "A Human Tornado of Kindness"

This issue is full of so many stories that are true, local and you can feel the heart pumping in each of the writers as they put their passion behind the pen. Thank you again for reaching out and caring enough to share with your neighbors,friends and loved ones. We grow, we learn, we sympathize, and every single issue makes me feel better and act nicer, calmer, more at peace than ever before. If it sounds like I love what I do, it’s because I DO! In this issue I am reflecting a story of my own about how it is that I came to the Central Coast to start this magazine and the amazing lady on the cover, who really deserves more credit for the magazine than I do. Her and her husband have been the light when it seemed extremely dark and I felt hopeless and alone. She has been the energy when I felt I could not move another step. She has provided me with heating pads and black out curtains, home cooked meals and unconditional love. She has made time in her very busy schedule to always be available and always welcomes me into her home, life and schedule regardless of her own personal plans. There are so many positive things happening that we don’t talk about or share enough. I can’t spread enough of the messages. I need help! I’m looking for someone who is as passionate about spreading kindness as much as I am to help me sale ads and create incentives for businesses to inspire kindness in their daily lives, thru out their business, over the dinner table and into every single community. People always want to get on board once they get a small taste of the satisfaction kindness brings, verse anger and hostility. I hope you enjoy our story as well as the other loving stories and challenges. As we live each day thru this last quarter of 2018, I hope you enjoy your holidays and remember to be thankful and KIND and share apart of your self daily with family and friends and mostly just the stranger that could really use a warm smile and a friendly dose of love.

Page 16 Driver: Marji Hernandez Model A Ford: Brian Weber She-Shed: Roberta Haylock

Kim Iribarren Founder


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018


07 KINDNESS IS CONTAGIOUS! 08 Sandra Fuhring: Serving

Children & Families at CALM

10 Kindness 12 Who Says WE Can't Do It? 16 A Human Tornado of Kindness





22 Along Comes Hope and Bear

Hugs Too!

24 Anne R. Allen, the Blog



38 The Hearst Cancer

28 Mama Hen Moves the Flock

Resource Center


40 Opportunity Alert

30 Roberta's She-Shed

42 Stand Strong

32 Santa Maria A's Model A Ford

48 From Chicago

Club of America

to Hollywood to SLO

34 Vapor Trail Vettes


52 Matters of Fact 54 60 Trips Around the Sun


45 Challenge #4

19 Challenge #2

51 Challenge #5

56 The Sorting Hat

36 Challenge #3


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Avila Beach Community Center Our mission: To provide the community with cultural, educational, historical, recreational, and social activities while sustaining the Avila Beach Community Center and Garden We are committed to connecting the communities of and around Avila Beach and continue to offer and develop programs, events and activities for all ages that promote personal growth and development and social interaction in a fun positive atmosphere. Visit to check our Schedule of Events for upcoming activities!


the Avila Beach Community Center has something to offer for all occasions


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Avila Beach Community Center 191 San Miguel Street | Avila Beach 805-627-1997 |

Upcoming Event:

Doggie Parade Saturday, November 24, 2018 | 11 am

Spread the Love


Dear Readers of KIND, I love this poetry by J. Raymond. It speaks to the heart and makes such sense to me. I share it with you because its powerful and I hope you enjoy it! “I’m telling you, she doesn’t belong. Not to one person, not to one place, not to one set of ideals. Her mind changed her heart, which changed her mind, and she was nothing, if not completely free. Maybe we’re just afraid of anyone who is constantly searching. And anything that didn’t clip her wings, or make her feel caged, was exactly where she was meant to be. You’ve got to respect things that aren’t afraid of going off path. She would always be the type to lose herself, trying to find her own ways. I suppose the river doesn’t compete with the earth. It carves its own path anyway. It doesn’t brag, or boast, or beat its chest. It just flows. And the moon doesn’t try to outshine the stars. It just glows. The flowers, amidst the trees, that radiate and create life – even all that, only grows. She wasn’t free because she knew where she was going, she was free because she didn’t need to know.” – J. Raymond Join KIND by f lipping thru the pages and taking the challenges to make the world you live in a more peaceful , happier place. It doesn't cost a dime, you only invest your normal time!



It starts with you and at the end of the day, when you lay your head down, you can enjoy a restful sleep, knowing you did your part. 


CHALLENGE #1: Be Free!

Challenge yourself today to be free of anything that stops you from being who it is you were meant to be!

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

kindness is contagious!


Toan Dang

08 Sandra Fuhring: Serving Children & Families at CALM 10 Kindness 12 Who Says WE Can't Do It? 16 A Human Tornado of Kindness


Dennis Eamon Young PHOTOS BY

SANDRA FUHRING Serving Children & Families at CALM


andra Fuhring’s three-year-old daughter, Evie, tucked a bright-red geranium in her mother’s hair as they prepared for a family portrait. While Dennis Eamon Young, writer and photographer for Kind, took the family portrait, I stood off to the side, observing a strong woman, the one Sandra said she wanted to model for her daughters, Evie and six-month-old Millie.

A life-time resident of Santa Maria, Sandra fell in love with psychology and earned her undergrad degree in that subject. While she pursued her master’s degree at Cal Poly, she worked with children with Autism. That job inspired her to seek a position with CALM as a therapist. After some time, she believed she could be more effective at the macro level and moved into development.


Although she named her older sister for this honor, Sandra hit the pause button, so she could broaden her answer. She cited the many people who’ve inf luenced her to serve her community. Then, back to sis, she described her as “the nicest person I’ve ever met, involved in everything; she lives her life helping others.” Being little sis to someone who put themselves out there all the time, was difficult for Sandra who describes herself as an introvert. She recalls childhood photos where she’s always hiding her shyness behind someone or something. One of her teachers noted on a report: “Sandra smiled at me this week ”—obviously a rare event for her at the time. But, instead of being cowed by her big sister, Sandra strove to put herself out there to emulate her sister’s behavior. She finds her life is the most fun and successful when she pushes herself. She discovered she really did like people and enjoyed the challenge to analyze and figure them out. No surprise then that she’d chosen to major in Psychology in college.

How does your family—your husband and children— influence your work?

Sandra appreciates her husband, Steve’s work ethic. He’s an electrician with his own business. He works long hours and then faces long commutes home, where he joins in taking care of the kids, and then finishing work tasks such as payroll.


Judythe Guarnera

Earlier we’d sat in Sandra’s cozy office, as CALM’s Development Manager for North County related a little of the journey she’d taken to reach this position.

Who has been your greatest inspiration?

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

They share ownership of the business and she does the bookkeeping. This last revelation led to another—Sandra’s really, really good at math. She actually taught her high school calculus class for a few weeks when the teacher was out sick. Her skills are many, from math to counseling people to development. Sandra wants to be the best she can for her family and wants to pass on a love of service to her girls. She says they can be whoever they want and do whatever they want, as long as they’re kind to people

Was anyone else in your family besides your sister involved in community service?

Sandra’s head nodded in agreement. She grew up in a family of five (a little brother, as well as her older sis), which was very involved in philanthropic efforts. She said her dad, who even leads the local Christmas parade, modeled community service while her mom was the support person at home. While her family’s community service inspired Sandra to follow suit, it was important to her that she fashion her own place in the world of service. It takes a special kind of determination and skill to benefit from what we’ve witnessed, and then to adapt what we’ve learned to fit our own talents.

You came to CALM to work with children and decided you wanted to do your part to promote the program and enable it to provide services to a broader audience.

“Yes, I love to be around a lot of people and talk about the program and our services. We have twenty-six employees, including eighteen therapists here in Santa Maria.” Sandra enjoys program development, writing grants, and managing government grants, and private funding. She’s encouraged by CALM’s financial stability, its large endowment, and its effective administration.

So, when does the introverted Sandra show up?

As much as she loves children, people, and her family, Sandra needs her time alone. I must have looked incredulous, when she described herself as a “selfish person.” She firmly believes she must nurture herself and honor her needs to be effective serving others. When her husband is busy doing paperwork at night and the girls are in bed, it’s often ‘Sandra time.’ I insisted that taking care of oneself doesn’t qualify as selfish. The definition of the word ‘selfish, also includes doing things ‘without regard for others.’ No one could ever accuse Sandra of that. She worries about how being a working mom might negatively impact her daughters. A wise mentor suggested she bring her children to everything—fundraisers, volunteer and

agency activities—and concerts, hiking and camping which the family shares.

We don’t have time today to go into a lot of detail about what CALM does, but how do you see its role in our community?

What followed was a fascinating treatise on the importance of CALM in the lives of children exposed to trauma and distress. Sandra cited gathered data, particularly from ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences), a study by Kaiser Permanente. The more-early trauma children experience, the more likely they are of developing diseases—cancer, heart, diabetes, and others. Sandra pointed out that destructive, toxic family patterns must be interrupted, and the earlier the better, before they lead to public health problems. Children as young as three or four can end up in the system. If there is insufficient support at home, many will face academic problems, lack self-esteem, and will often end up in trouble. Other children in their classes are affected as the teacher’s time is focused on the disrupting child. Many who fail in school later look for solace in gangs. Lacking an education, these children face an increased risk of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Most adults love their children and want to be good parents, but might lack the finances, knowledge, and skills to accomplish that. Sandra points out that when issues such as stress, divorce, incarceration, mental and sexual abuse are part of the family dynamics, the situation often becomes toxic. She added that the trauma of chronic bullying also has a negative impact. Today’s immigration problems are another, increasing source of major trauma. Immigrant parents are terrif ied of deportation and children live in fear of being separated from their parents through incarceration or deportation. CALM’s programs open the door to these parents, interrupting the negative cycle. Every day they build trust in their family relationship, they’re cementing the foundation for change. In CALM’s office, there’s a mural on the wall in the shape of a tree. The leaves are small handprints. When the children accomplish their goals, they are invited to add their hands to the tree. The presence of their own handprint on the tree serves as an ongoing reminder of their progress, as well as knowing they are part of a bigger whole. A goal for CALM is to imbed their program in pediatricians’ offices, pre-schools, regular classrooms, and after school programs. Trained facilitators can assess for early trauma and hopefully interrupt the cycle, giving children a better chance. 


kindness POEM BY

CM Strasser

Kindness from one should be a good deed And not something that anyone would read Kindness should come from the heart and soul And kindness towards others should be our goal. Kindness is not only for sisters and brothers It’s for many friends, races and others (Sandra Fuhring | Serving Children & Families at CALM: continued)

Sandra, what gets you out of bed in the morning? “The opportunity to enjoy myself, to serve others, to appreciate the people around me,” and I’d add to be that supportive wife and mom and role model for her girls. She says it all comes back to relationships.

What is the most important thing you’ve done in your life?

Sandra’s answer came easily: “Making a conscious decision to make my life about service.”

We look into the mirror, what do we find? Are we one in the mirror who is really kind? Kindness is important so stay in touch Brings others happiness that means so much We hope that kindness says a lot Since kindness is given and not something bought. Kindness can be that beautiful smile Comes in all shapes and every style

Stepping out of my role as interviewer, I stated that as a mother and grandmother, I stress a lot over my fears that the younger generation may not realize the major role we need them to play to fix the mess we oldsters are responsible for. We’ll be okay if Sandra and other millennials step up, as she is doing, and carve a pathway forward.

Kindness is a believer in you and me

To learn more about CALM, go to their website: or check out their ad in this issue of Kind.

Kindness, indeed, will go a long way

CALM works to strengthen and support the entire family to heal a child and to prevent abuse…Program services focus on increasing parental social support, reducing stress, and increasing the use of positive parenting practices.”

Call to Action:

American Humane encourages all community members to become actively involved in the lives of the children within their communities.” They advise: “You have the power to create positive change in your community by stopping the abuse and neglect that occurs in your own neighborhood. If you suspect abuse, please report it to your local Child Protective Services (CPS) agency or to the police.” 


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

It’s very intangible but all of us see. Kindness displays this radiant light Since kindness in life is always right So do what you can to make someone’s day

PREVENTS CHILD ABUSE + HEALS CHILDREN & FAMILIES CALM’s vision is a world where child abuse no longer exists. Until then, our prevention & treatment services help children in our community live healthier and happier lives. CALM – Santa Maria 210 E. Enos Dr., Suite A Santa Maria, CA 93454 Ph: 805.614.9160 Fax: 805.614.9363

CALM – Lompoc 604 E. Ocean Ave., Suite G Lompoc, CA 93436 Ph: 805.741.7460 Fax: 805.736.6495

CALM – Santa Barbara 1236 Chapala St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101 Ph: 805.965.2376 Fax: 805.963.6707

For more information, please visit us at

Who Says WE Can’t Do It? Nan Fowler, A Cog in Many Wheels


an Fowler, the owner of Nan’s Pre-Owned Books in Grover Beach, seems to pop up in frequent conversations in out small communities here in South County. She proudly points out what caring, committed people have accomplished once a need has been identified. She is quick to state that she is only a small cog in the many wheels that have turned to make our part of the Central Coast a better place to live. Strange thing, though, is that she traditionally was there at the beginning of a project, and there when it came to fruition.

I’ve always been fascinated by the responses I receive when I ask people about their earliest childhood memories. Their responses, as did Nan’s, seem to foreshadow how they would live their lives. Nan and her brother, David, each had the perfect name for their new puppy. For Nan, it should be called Christy, because it arrived at Christmas, while David insisted it had to be Curly because of its hair. Instead of continuing their argument, they compromised. The puppy would have two names; the obliging pup answered to both. Hmm, would this be the first of many times Nan found a way around a difficult situation that resulted in life being improved, needs being met? After all, who would ever have believed that the


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

little community of Grover Beach would have their own library and that Arroyo Grande would have a Performing Arts Center? Nan’s adult life has been all about recognizing a need and then using her considerable connections and moxy to fill that need and make her community a better place for everyone. She stressed the “WE” in the title above to make it clear that she believes in the power of people working together. Nan stressed that all those identified ‘needs’ came into her line of view unattached to any money to make them happen. Consequently, she’s very familiar with committees, meetings, and fund-raising activities. “Do you like going to meetings?” I asked, with eyebrows raised.

Nan laughed and said, “Sure, I can sit through long, boring meetings.” I guess that’s why so many of her endeavors have been successful Where is the best place you’ve ever lived? She looked at me as though I’d asked her if she’d ever committed a crime. “Well here, of course—the beach, the weather. I mean, think about cold and snowy Minnesota and rainy Oregon (previous abodes).” She nodded her head as if to dismiss my silly questions. A used book store, huh? After I moved to Grover Beach, I frequently visited Nan’s bookstore when it was in a little old house with a leaky roof in Arroyo Grande. I loved all the little nooks and crannies, each chock full of books. (It wasn’t unusual to be dripped on, as I perused the shelves, looking for a book I had to read.) “Ah, but the rent was cheap,” and that’s what Nan needed to get started. An OBGYN nurse for a local doctor, Bramwell Anthony, she loved her job and her boss. When he decided to retire, she knew it was time to consider what she could do for the rest of her life. Nan came from a family of used book store lovers. The stores were places where she’d always been comfortable. After all: “They held the whole world inside their doors.” The idea of owning one had long occupied a corner of her mind. Now a single mom since the death of her husband, with a need to support herself and her family, that idea became a goal. For about a year Nan and her mother travelled all over California checking out used book stores. As the research progressed and she’d found the leaky little house with the cheap rent, the search began for books. They shopped, begged from friends, and hit every garage sale in sight. Her garage became the collection point— full of labeled boxes. Nan says she became a pro slinging books across the garage to

land in the alphabetically-correct box. When I asked her how the books survived the tossing, she demonstrated her technique. She’d hold the book, not unlike one would a flat stone to skim across a pond. She did admit to losing some books on a bad throwing day. Although Nan cites her mother as her greatest supporter, Mom, along with everyone else figured she’d go belly-up in six months. The store opened after the book count reached 50,000. After three and a half years, her business ledger showed she was no longer in the red. I looked up from my notes to see Nan looking thoughtful. “My inventory today is 50,000.” She chuckled. “Must not have sold any books in the last 31 years.” Nan offers credit for used books, with which readers can then purchase other books. I’ve watched her go through a pile of my books, making two stacks, one for me to take home and one to be shelved in the store. Knowing her inventory, she seldom has to physically check to see if she needs more of a particular title. Fifteen years later, the little house was condemned. Nan held a huge sale on the cement in front of the store—piles and piles of books at sale prices. The fire department used the empty house for a training burn to practice their skills. Nan and her friends sat across Grand Avenue on folding chairs and watched. Although a poignant moment, Nan, with the habit of always looking at life with a focus on needs and opportunities, noted the moment as a ‘win-win’ situation. The firemen had their practice and she had a new store. With the dislocation in process, she had talked her brother, David Ekbom, into early retirement from his grocery store and deli so she could take over his space. She moved down Grand Avenue from Arroyo Grande into Grover Beach. Side note: Key to the book store ambiance is resident librarian, nine-year-old Kallie, the cat. Nan sees people rush by her to say hello to this rescue cat from Woods

Humane Society. Here’s a chance to sit and peruse your reading choices, while petting a purring cat. What about the big picture board/marquee in front? Nan described the process of finding and putting quotes on the board, which is the store’s best advertisement. Finding pithy quotes on the internet and in a variety of places, which relate to books and reading, is a challenge. She hires someone to physically change the board once a month. Nan quoted a recent saying and I immediately assumed a blank stare. After she said it the second time, I got it. (I think you have to read it, rather than hear it. What do you think?) Origami championships are paper view. Who or what inspired you to pursue a life of service? Nan says brother David, who filled many roles in Grover Beach—mayor, planning commissioner, etc.—inspired her. Seeing him make a difference in their south county community was a clarion call to her for her own service. She adds that what’s kept her going has been all the positive strokes and the support she’s received over the years. What about the Clark Center? I know you’ve been involved with that, too. I felt as though I could reach out and touch Nan’s enthusiasm when I said that name. She expressed admiration for the Clark family, Clifford and Mary, who paved the way and supported the efforts to 

(Who Says WE Can't Do It?: continued)

build a local Performing Arts Center.


Dennis Eamon Young

Twenty-five years ago, A group of South County people, including Nan and her mother adopted the Clark’s vision of a place for kids to perform, and began the long haul, raising money, jumping hurdles and red tape to finally see their dream come to fruition. Nan labels herself a financial supporter, while she claims others did all the hard work. The center provides a venue for school children to perform, while it supports the arts by bringing in talented performers in road shows. It tickles Nan that Arroyo Grande High School not only holds their theater productions there, but they graduate there, also. She especially loves to watch the little kids benefit from performing at a state of the art venue. Rather than brag about her contribution to these accomplishments, Nan points out that once a need is identified, it takes a village to make things happen. Cog in a wheel or not, I also see a woman of determination—one who opened a successful business in the days when that wasn’t common— and one who recognizes needs and makes sure others do, also.


Judythe Guarnera

I know you had something to do with the Grover Beach Library, too.


Although there was a library in Arroyo Grande, children in SLO couldn’t ride their bikes there, as the distance was great and would have entailed crossing Highway 101. Determined South County people, again including Nan, decided to form a committee and work toward establishing Grover Beach’s own library. Clifford Clark again stepped up and offered free space. After twelve years of enabling children, families and adults to have reading material close at hand, the original

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

library board is still in place, an obvious commitment to something they believe in. Although Supervisor Adam Hill provides some support from his discretionary fund, the library is selfsupported—book sales, friends of the library; donations. I wouldn’t be surprised if books from Nan’s store found their way over to the library, either. What do you do for fun? Nan loves to travel, to eat out, attend movies, spend time with friends eating, talking and socializing. She loves her store, but admits she’s already shelved enough books to last a lifetime. Her daughter and grandchildren are an important part of her life. Watch her Facebook page to note their frequent activities. Do you have plans to retire? No. (Not a shadow of doubt in that answer.) She only works part-time and enjoys having a place to go to every single day. “My customers and employees sustain me—this is mine and it’s still open.” Do you read books on Kindle or the old-fashioned way? Nan finds Kindle perfect for travel but prefers physical books. She likes to turn back and reread sections and finds going backward tedious on Kindle. She also admits that Kindle and Amazon have affected her bottom line. There aren’t many independent book stores around anymore.” She notes that books are expensive, so selling used books gives her a bit of an edge over traditional book stores to enable her to stay in business. If you were a real estate agent, would you think the kindness on the Central

Coast would be a marketable feature? “No,” was her immediate response. I confess I was surprised, since she has promoted kindness and appreciates how others step up to fill a need and make our community a Kind place to live. We broadened the discussion until we agreed that kindness is not what most people look for when they’re moving to an area. But, then again, maybe it should be. It seems the combination of weather and a kinder, gentler place to live are factors which keep many of us here on the Central Coast. Nan says her favorite book is probably Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough. A lthough she adds that at different times in our lives, different books resonate. Her only regret is not getting more education. As quickly as she says this, she points out she’s living proof of other pathways to success. Nan is a big proponent of trade schools, again recognizing a need for youth to be trained to provide necessary services. Call to Action As I like to do, I asked Nan what she thought we could use more of on the Central Coast. She suggested paying attention to needs in the community and then helping to fill those needs to make our community better. Nan can steer you in many directions with ideas for volunteering. Call her at 805-489-8223. Would you like to usher at the Clark Center, read to kids, train as a librarian, help in People’s Kitchen? Nan can connect. And if you see a need in our community—chat with Nan about it. 

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A Human Tornado of

KINDNESS! A tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud.


y name is Kim Iribarren, owner, and publisher of Central Coast KIND magazine and this is the Central Coast KIND story! I am 57 years old and my husband and I have been together half of my life. He is my world and without him, I am literally half a person. We are both workaholics and have spent most of our time together, apart. Love makes the heart grow fonder is a true statement. In 2008 I was assigned a project with the company I worked for and they said I could go anywhere I wanted. One of our sons had graduated from Cal Poly and I remembered the gorgeous Central Coast of California. Much like Cher in the movie Mermaid, with a finger pointed at the map, I said 'I want to go there"! I flew out for the weekend alone and afraid, for this was a big move and not everyone was behind me, as you see, we have eight children and now eleven grandchildren. My soul was determined, and fear is not something I do well. I found a wonderful one bedroom in Avila Beach overlooking the gorgeous ocean with a beautiful view of the sunrise and sunset. My heart was excited and heavy at the same time. I was unsure and feeling a bit weak in the knees. After securing the apartment, walking the beach, meditation, soul-searching, and prayer, I returned to San Luis Obispo Airport to f ly home to Texas and pack up. I remember this day like it was yesterday as I was emotional, tired and leary all at the same time, I was feeling excited and daring. As I got ready to sit in my assigned seat this red-headed lady on the plane, reading a book, looked up as I was loading my suitcase in the overhead bin and said hello! I sat down and instantly we started talking. We talked about her life, my life, our husbands, our work, our cooking, our flight schedules (as she was on her way to visit her sister and law to tile the bathroom for her)! We talked about everything under the sun. Now, this is where the KINDNESS began for me - As I was telling her about my plans to come out on this new adventure alone hoping my husband and son would follow in six months, she said to me, are you bringing any furniture? I said no, I will just rent or something, I’m literally coming with whatever will fit in my car. She said, “well no problem, I just moved off a ranch and have a load of furniture in storage and you can use that". She continues, "I have everything you will need, except perhaps the bed frame and a couch". "You don’t need to go and spend money on all of that as it would


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

be my pleasure". I DON'T EVEN KNOW THIS WOMAN? I’m thinking what in the world? We exchanged phone numbers when we landed to change planes in Arizona. Then we went to the bar and had a cocktail and continued our conversation. I got home and expressed all of this excitement to my husband and he was amazed, even if it never came to be, the KINDNESS was sincere. Several weeks later, car loaded up, heading back to California with my mom, who was making the road trip with me, I received a call from this same lady and she said, “where are you and your mom staying when you arrive on your first night?” I said "I don’t know", I just thought we would get a hotel or something. She said “nonsense, you and your mother come here, my husband and I would love to have you and we will have dinner ready”. Normally I would NEVER, and I mean NEVER accept this invitation as it would seem so inappropriate, but something about this lady just seemed incredible, as if I had known her my entire life. So long story short, we did go for dinner and stayed a couple of nights at her home, with her and her husband. She did prepare dinner and supply furniture, a trailer, truck, friendship and more. During our time together on the Central Coast, we just became more and more in love with the friendship. It was as if we were sisters from another life. We got our nails done, eyelashes done, shopped, talked, ate, laughed and shared every aspect of our lives. We had the exact same taste in clothes, furniture, and ideas. We also shared mourning of our parents together as I lost my mother in law and she lost her father in our first year of knowing each other. This was just another aspect of things that continued to bring our friendship closer. A true friend indeed. Down the road a bit, I became broken with a neck injury that could not be identified. The pain was in my arm and not my neck. Finally, after countless trips and high blood pressure moments, it was inevitable that surgery was needed. I want to mention that during all this time, she was right by my side, making sure I was safe and basically taking care of me. I returned to my wonderful and patient husband in Texas, who thought I had lost my mind as I don’t think he had ever seen me laugh so much with the glitter nails, purses and all. 

We have known Marji for over 40 years. We have seen her grow from a young teenager in to a beautiful woman. We witnessed her marriage to Rudy Herandez and have watched them grow in to beautiful relationship. We have so many memories of camping, fishing, golfing, spending weekends together. We always have so much laughter. If you are ever lucky to be a friend of Marji's, you will be blessed for life unconditionally. No matter if it is thru work, family, or acquaintance, you will find Marji to be the kindest and most nonjudgmental person you could ever meet. Her generosity and compassion for people and family are admired. Marji would be there for anyone in need and never expects anything in return. Her compassion for life and friendship is unspeakable. She just has a heart of gold. She is our family. love, Sandy and Debbie


(A Human Tornado of Kindness: continued)

We kept in touch all the time visited back and forth, and by now our husbands were also great friends. You see Marji and Rudy are both very hospitable and it's not just with me. Throughout the years I have met several of their friends, Debbie and Sandy from Sacramento, Burt and Pam from Ventura, Mark and Gail from the Bay area, not to mention Dan and Peggy and Bill and Patti and the list continues. I will say that they all feel as strongly about Marji and her willingness and generosity and love as I do. She would do anything within her power to apply her time, energy, home, ear, and support to basically a stranger as myself. She continues till this day to get more done in a given day than a normal person will get done in a week. She makes time for all and schedules accordingly to fit everything in. Keeps a beautiful home and a completely happy husband all the while.

Back to the magazine. The decision was made from all the love and support from Marji and Rudy and all their extended family, to create the Central Coast KIND magazine. This area is filled with the happiest, KINDEST people I have ever met, and I feel like I have traveled all over the United States and out of the Country several times as well. Of course, Marji made an open invitation to stay at their home while working on the magazine and created an office space area in a room which till today she calls mine. Your room has a new desk. Your room has new bedding, your room has a new TV. Come home, we have dinner ready. Cocktails at 5:00…Be here... Never have I ever felt unwanted or unloved. She works full time for PG& E as a Clearance Writer, which is a very serious position in my opinion. She also volunteers her time for everyone and everything. I'm sure you may have seen her

around the Central Coast one time or another as she never meets a stranger. Her energy is contagious. Some days I could not move another step, but she pushed me and told me to keep going and truly supported me with every effort. The magazine was my dream, but without Marji and Rudy it could have never come to pass. I could tell you one hysterically funny story after another and go on and on about the times shared and the laughter and tears, but I will just end with this, people like Marji and Rudy are a gift, and not only do you receive all the Kindness the world could possibly offer but the desire. The desire to be a better person. The desire to give back to the world. The desire to spread what it is you have received to another. The desire to be the Best Friend YOU CAN BE. another funny… Marji always says I’m just trying to be the BEST FRIEND, BEST WIFE, BEST SISTER N LAW, BEST PERSON I can be! She is absolutely A Tornado of KINDNESS, and we can all learn from her existence on this earth. Marji Hernandez, Thank You for all you are and all you have given to the Central Coast and especially all you have done, been and shared with me! 


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018


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Toan Dang

22 Along Comes Hope and Bear Hugs Too! 24 Anne R. Allen, the Blog Goddess 28 Mama Hen Moves the Flock Forward 30 Roberta's She-Shed 32 Santa Maria A's Model A Ford Club of America 34 Vapor Trail Vettes



Why a hard-charging denizen of the corporate world put it all aside to start a non-profit aimed at finding the best care for pediatric cancer patients, aiding their families to stay by their side, giving physical and psychological support throughout their journey.



Eamon Young

enny Mulks, at the top of her game as regional business manager in the pharmaceutical industry was devastated when she received a diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma. After fighting and surviving such a terrible foe, she shifted her focus in life, deciding to help others in the battle. During her own ordeal, she stayed in a room facing a children’s hospital, seeing and learning of the families who were separated from their children based on the costs of treatments and time constraints, at a time when the familial support system is most crucial.


A new pathway became clear to Jenny. She had been able to access the best care system money could buy and it had made a huge difference in her recovery, whereas many others were not so lucky. She decided to devote herself to aiding others to find the right hospitals for the treatment that was necessary, but also to eradicate the barriers to each child having their family support team available to buoy their hope along the way. “Remember that hope is a powerful weapon, even when all else is lost” – Nelson Mandela, in a letter sent to his wife, Winnie, while he was incarcerated in 1969. Hope, Jenny determined to be a key element in patient recovery, but it became clear that it needed to be present in and for everyone involved. She has been nicknamed by many as “The Hope Maker”. “Christmas of 2014, I sent all Christmas cards with a return envelope asking my friends to share what Hope meant to them,” Jenny says. “I received such a gift in getting to know how the magic of hope lights a spark within each of their hearts. Thank you, All.” “Hope is letting go of the past to move into the future.” – Tristen Waters A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

“Hope is inspiration, which appears in many forms… a kind gesture by a stranger, a brilliant sunset, the sound of children laughing. Inspiration can provide a beacon of light in our souls. It fuels a positive ‘can do’ attitude that helps you move toward your goals.” – Joni Maluo “Hope is what keeps us going forward when all seems impossible. Hope offers us light and possibilities. Hope gives us courage! – Gerry Robertson Jenny formed the 501(C)3 nonprof it called Along Comes Hope with the mission of helping families of children with cancer. The aim is to provide support through financial assistance with travel for treatment, creative emotional support programs and advocacy to promote policy changes, awareness and education. All donations are tax-deductible. “As the CEO of Along Comes Hope, my role is multifaceted, consisting of the creation and implementation of several initiatives. My most important role is serving our community of children who are fighting cancer while paving a path for their future cure.” – Jenny Mulks At lunch with Jenny, interviewing her for this article, her insistent energy is on display, as she shifts in her seat and gesticulates to make her point. Hope is a palpable being which lives within her, as her eyes dance with energy and her infectious smile and innate kindness affects even those around us. For four years, she played a support role on a local and national level on the planning committee for Cure Fest D.C., an annual national event to take place in Washington, D.C. Their hope is to bring together the childhood cancer community from around the nation to increase national funding, research and awareness.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Jenny can be reached at:

she says, her whole past life has formed a backdrop that she can constantly draw upon. Many friends and contacts from her pharmaceutical days have even been enlisted to serve on the Along Comes Hope Board of Directors. “Cancer is a marathon, not a sprint,” she says. Explaining further, she notes that often a family cannot afford to send a child off to a far-away clinic where the treatment would be more closely attuned to his or her specific needs, thus reducing the hope of a successful outcome. She tells me that no child should have to face the fight against cancer alone and no family should be away from their child’s side. Unfortunately, this is the case in most instances. Jenny is also a Cancer Coach to newly diagnosed cancer patients and caregivers, mentoring them along the path to heal and thrive. She is an instructor of an on-line course, “We can Serve Together: Thriving Through Cancer” at You Will Change The World. She helps them to unite the mind and body with the medical treatment they will be receiving. The goal for each mentee is to create a collaborative team for proper compliance and communication with their respective medical teams. “Treating cancer is not just about the medicine. As a patient, it is our job to set

the emotional and mental environment that we will best thrive within.” – Jenny Mulks Some of Jenny’s programs include: • Peaceful coaching to access innate courage and hope to manage stress and trauma during hospital stays and cancer treatments. • They receive a custom-made Hope the Bear, which contains a personal recording from parents and/or friends to provide comfort and reassurance. • Children also receive interactive and restorative art sessions that allow them to imagine what hope looks like in their minds and how to transfer that to canvas, which they can hang on the walls as a constant reminder and inspiration. • Cancer Mommy’s Spa day. Provides the mothers with stress relief. Jenny’s tireless efforts also include that of a Keynote speaker, radio and television interviews, awareness campaigns, branding and marketing strategies, grant funding and various fundraising initiatives. As

At one such keynote speech: “From The Shackles of Cancer To The Freedom of CanServe”, held this April in Houston, Texas, she was able to explain her initiatives to a room including Physicians, Fellows and Advanced Practice Practitioners of Surgical Oncology. Having the back-ground she worked at previously allowed her to interact with these professionals on a much deeper and broader level than someone else, no matter how well meaning, may have been able to do. Regardless of her background and her evident professionality, Jenny is very down to earth with a wonderful sense of humor, so you can enjoy spending time with her on many different levels. She even designed a coloring book for children with cancer, in collaboration with artists and Cal Poly students, called “Colors of Hope”. She is hoping to release her book “The Hope Maker” by the end of 2018, as well as her book “We Can-Serve Together: Thriving Through Cancer” which has a release date of October 2018. 


Anne R. Allen,

the Blog Goddess

Plying her Trade in her Cottage by the Sea The pull of the ocean.


t the age of three, Anne Allen and her friend, Bobby, decided they’d go to the beach. Since they lived in East Haven, Connecticut, that seemed like a possibility. If you think Bobby was much older than she, you’d be wrong.


Judythe Guarnera

Anne’s dad was a professor at Yale and her mom, who was studying for her Ph.D were too busy to take them— even if they’ d asked. Not to be deterred, the two children put on their bathing suits, grabbed towels, and set out. Of course, neither knew where the ocean was. A determined Anne forged on—until they reached the street. The two tykes stopped in their tracks—neither knew how to cross the street.


As they stood, perplexed on the curb, a car braked in front of them. The driver, a neighbor, chewed them out and took them home. This, Anne’s first memory as a child, turned out to be significant in several ways. Knowing Anne, as I do and listening as she shared her story, it seemed obvious, given time, she’d have figured out some way to cross the street. This three-year-old became a very determined woman, who saw life events as challenges to be solved. This story also highlights Anne’s life-long love of the ocean. After traveling on many continents, she eventually found her way back to the ocean to her little bungalow by the sea in Los Osos. She feels safe here in this perfect setting, where she plies her trade as an author/writer. No surprise when Anne said her beach house was her greatest treasure, along with her education at Bryn Mawr and Harvard. The latter opened doors to interesting people, places, events, discussions. The former brought her home. A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Besides her abiding love for the ocean, Anne finds Los Osos and the Central Coast a “glorious” place to live. She sees people as less-judgmental and more open— not quick to label others—something she’s experienced in other places where she’s lived. How has Anne earned her living over the years? I tried to connect Anne’s description of herself as an introvert, with the woman who has been an actor and a director and continues to share her expertise through public book signings and presentations to local group. She also enthusiastically calls herself a writer who loves words. (Our lengthy sharing of information via words supported that.) Anne barely hesitated when I asked her who she would identify as her greatest inspiration. She named Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of the best-selling novel, Pay it

Forward, the first of many books she wrote. Long time friends, both women are dedicated to being resources to writers. Together they wrote How to be a Writer in the E-AGE to help writers in the complicated world of the web and social media. Having read most of Anne’s books and many of her blogs and fiction and non-fiction stories, I am compelled to say she is a woman after my own heart, because she addresses social issues in her work. I particularly remember an article she wrote on how many women believe they are a step away from homelessness. Women’s issues are a strong theme in her writing. What would your readers be most surprised to learn about you? Anne cited the difference between her protagonist in the Camilla Randall series, a “Miss Manners” and a fashionista, and herself. She is most content in sweat

pants and Crocs. When I questioned her about what she did before she settled in as a writer, she told me about her career working in bookstores, running a theater, acting, directing and writing plays, including a well-received adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance. What gets you out of bed in the morning? “People—I love to be with people.” And writing and reading. A really big deal for Anne is offering words of writing wisdom, gathered through years of research and experience, to help writers stay safe on the internet. For much of Anne’s life dancing was a special joy— until her health interfered. She still gardens, but mostly she enjoys spending time listening to live music. She is a frequent attendee at Sea Pines and the Red Barn Concerts. 


(Anne R. Allen, the Blog Goddess: continued)

This self-described “Hippie Vagabond” traveled to other continents—to Rome, where she was an Au pair, and to London, Amsterdam, Portugal, Greece, and Spain. I thought I misheard, but Anne confessed to being deported from Spain—something to do with politics. Again, making the best of a situation, she came home and became involved in politics here in the States. Perhaps what drove her away from pursuing ordinary jobs was her first experience with a retirement plan, part of her employment benefits. After the HR person gave her the details, her inner thinking went like this: They’ve got my whole life planned out for me, right up to retirement. All I need to do is retire and die. That seemed to be the impetus for her to find a more interesting, less conventional way to live. When do you write? After breakfast, Anne is at her keyboard by 9:00, breaks for lunch midday, and then puts in the rest of an eight-hour day—writing novels, non-fiction, how-to books, poetry and her blog, Anne R. Allen’s Blog...with Ruth Harris. Anne’s concern for writers led her to adopt the blog as her mission. The blog, cited by Writers Digest as one of the Top 101 Best Writing Blogs in America, provides her a venue to help keep writers safe. She notes that more money is made off writers and their craft, than the writers earn themselves. The cost to write and publish a book is only one expense. Securing reviews and marketing so the book reaches readers can be very expensive; especially if a writer, particularly a newbie, gets hooked up with the wrong people. On her weekly blog, Anne shares a wealth of information about writing and publishing, as well as her solid, up-to-date tips on how to stay safe from online predators, trolls, and scams. (Check out


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

her blog to increase your understanding of the perils writers and others face in this E-Age.) A piece of wisdom Anne has followed for years—find the right critique group and become an active member. I visited her group once and it was a great model for how to be supportive and encouraging of your fellow writers. That philosophy f its in nicely with the message Kind Magazine promotes—ways to make our local community even better. When I asked Anne what her greatest challenge in life has been, she hesitated. As she spoke, I understood why. For years as a small girl, she had been molested by a neighbor. Not only was that a devastating and confusing experience for her, he convinced her if she told anyone, he would hurt her father and ruin his reputation. She remained silent. Something that’s true for “metoo” victims who are finding their voices today, is true for Anne, also. Speaking out stirs up painful, frightening memories. But what propels Anne and others to do so is the shared strength they draw from each other. By revealing their own abuse, they are calling attention to a culture which has enabled such behavior for far too long. If anything can lead to change, it’s the bravery of all the women who are shining a light on abusive behavior. Let’s look at what Anne writes. I took the following straight from her blog: Her best-selling Romantic Comedy-Mystery series “features perennially dow n-on-her luck former socialite, Camilla Randall— who is a magnet for murder, mayhem, and Mr. Wrong, but

always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.” One of Anne’s weekly blogs is entitled: Publishing is a Business: 10 Tips to Protect your Creative Writer Self in the Marketplace. The title is indicative of topics on her blog, which help writers to navigate the perilous web. Curious, given that her parents both had Ph.Ds, I wondered if others in her family were writers. She cited her mother, Shirley S. Allen, who passed away a few years ago, who authored a biographical novel and a cozy mystery. Anne also has hopes for a nephew who is earning his Ph.D in literature at Princeton. If they made a movie out of your life, what would it be called, and would you be the star? Anne indicated with a grin that the title would be, The Blog Goddess. And yes, this former actress would definitely be the star. I always like to end interview stories with a call to action and Anne’s story has a strong one. Here it is for all of you who would like to do something to make the Central Coast an even kinder place than it is. In the pursuit of giving to her community, Anne doesn’t volunteer for a non-profit; nor does she leave her home, except for writing presentations, to give back. Yet she uses her considerable time and expertise to support other writers, particularly through her blog. She doesn’t monetize her blog or accept any advertising, so she can remain unbiased. To her, it is truly a labor of love.


Challenge yourself to look around, consider your skills, and see if you, too, can find a way to pay back for the good life we have here in this beautiful place. 

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mama hen moves How a teacher provides stimulating opportunities for students inside and outside the classroom encouraging their own creativity.


ictoria Heckman flew the coop full of teachers she grew up with to find her own flight path and yet circled back, but in her own way. She seemed on course to being another teacher in a family of them, but when this headstrong lady went to college in Hawaii, she detoured into theatre and film. She had moved to Hawaii to attend UH Manoa through sheer luck and the good graces of understanding parents, including her mother, who was born on O’ahu. It appeared that she had totally broken the mold, having graduated in 1986 with a BA in Theater. She did indeed come back to the teaching profession on California’s Central Coast, and utilized that background ever since, as a middle school Theatre and Writing teacher. Once you get to know her, you realize that she has a different and special way of doing things which comes directly from her heart. Not content to teach writing in a traditional format Victoria searched for a different approach, so about fifteen years ago she joined forces with Dave Congalton, a local radio personality, who along with wife Charlotte, had instituted the Central Coast Writers Conference at Cuesta College. The idea was to bring her young students into contact with people working in the writing profession, rather than just telling them about where their writing might one day take them. With no special programs for them at first, they trooped right along to the adult-geared workshops, in some cases attending year after year, until they aged out. Some of them, adults now, continue to attend and keep in touch. Along the way, PG&E got on board as a sponsor for the kids, knowing that Victoria set a serious agenda for her charges, a mother hen shepherding her group of fledgling writers through classes, talks with writers, agents and publishers. At times they would also be accompanied by enthusiastic parents, glad to see their children being so well engaged. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” This comes from Nelson Mandela at the launch of the Mindset Network in July 2003, and is that which Victoria engages in to bring change for the better to a world in need.


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Victoria teaches in many ways. Her time in Hawaii comes through loud and clear in a series of mystery books she continues to write as a member of the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime, such as her K.O.’ d in Hawaii series,

the flock forward Kapu-Sacred and many others. Her love and respect for the rituals, folklore and kindheartedness of Hawaii and its native people is both exciting and evident in her work. If asked why she would write mysteries, her answer is that it came as an accident of luck. I personally feel that Pele, the volcano goddess may have had a hand in that choice. Victoria had always loved reading mysteries. She began with Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown, then graduated to Agatha Christie and Erle Stanley Gardener by the time she was twelve. “As a mother of small children, I have a lot of free time (as most parents of young children do,)” she recalls thinking. “I saw a flier for a short mystery story contest sponsored by the local chapter of Sisters in Crime. I’d never heard of them, but how hard could it be? Turns out, it was hard after all. But the prize of publication spurred me on and after many attempts, I entered the contest and won. I thereby became a published author.” “That did the trick!” she exclaims. The excitement of that winning experience whetted her appetite for more of the same and kept her going for the next five years until K.O.’ d in Honolulu was written and published. “That and her ‘sisters’ and ‘brothers’ of Sisters in Crime, of which she is still a proud member. Her years in Hawaii gave her all the background she needed to forge a writing career, along with the support of her friends, both writers and regular people.

“I was terrified of middle schoolers at the time,” she tells me. “but it turned out to be a perfect match. I’ve been doing that for about twenty years now, along with a few stints directing productions at local high schools.”

During the summer is when Victoria releases the reins of teaching and dedicates herself to writing a new novel. Not able to take the time for writing new material during the school year, this is when she can focus on creating a new detective novel set in Hawaii, or a new installment of her Elizabeth Murphy, animal communicator series, set here in the Central Coast. The extra work of editing, promotion and more writerly pursuits can then be done piecemeal during the school year. All these various pieces would probably cause a split personality in most people, but coalesce in Victoria to form a well-balanced and lovely whole being. She still has fond memories of surviving on Toast in the campus dining hall and dozing under the stairs at the Kennedy Theater between classes. From those days on, a theater became a comforting place: Home. “Mahalo to the ‘old guard’, you taught me well” she says softly. “I have to say, I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing,” she muses. “Teaching middle school is a joy I’m fortunate enough to experience. I’m so lucky!” As for writers, she advises to keep writing, through the ups and downs, even if you don’t have the time, or when life gets in the way. Take a break when you need to and make a schedule that works for you, but keep right on going. Don’t let anyone else control your dreams! 

Eamon Young

Her students are ushered through the writing process during the year, not only to write, but also take their stories into the realm of creative movie shorts which often are featured in the San Luis Obispo Film Festival. They find themselves encouraged and challenged to utilize their inherent creativity and then to work cooperatively with others toward a finished production in a kind and sharing spirit, to produce a work of merit, even winning miniOscars she designs. Several of her former students have gone on to professional careers in theatre and film.

Victoria’s students run the productions and she trains them in stage management, light, sound, costumes, makeup and of course, performance. She is totally hands-on throughout every aspect, tempering the hard work with loving encouragement along the way. It creates a satisfying experience for everyone involved, teaching many life skills that go beyond theater.


She had moved to the Central Coast to be close to family. She promised herself that she would not move her own kids around from one school to another unless it was necessary. Finding the schools to be great, she began to do substitute teaching when they were old enough, then moved on to teach middle school theater.



Roberta's SHE


his fabulous rustic She-Shed belongs to Roberta Haylock. Roberta had a dream and contacted Dana at A Place to Grow, a business based in SLO, specializing in creating artistic She-Sheds & He-Sheds made from reclaimed and re-purposed materials, such as vintage windows, doors and barn wood! ď Ž


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018



Santa Maria A's Model A Ford WHO WE ARE:


The Santa Maria A’s a chapter of the Model A Ford Club of America, Inc. located in Santa Maria on the Central Coast of California. The purpose of the Club is to enjoy, preserve and protect the Model A Ford Car that was produced from 1928 through 1931. The Club serves as a way to share ideas, information and parts for admirers of the Model A Ford Car.

Check out our website, w w If you would like to join our Club, you don’t have to have a Model A, just an interest in the hobby. Also if you want more information about the national club (MAFCA) contact Jay McCord at 805-598-8133. 


Santa Maria A's Model A Ford Club of America



The Club meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month for regular business and social functions. Every other month is a potluck meal with different types of foods. Every month on the 3rd Saturday a tour in our Model A’s is scheduled which might vary from 50 to 100 miles round trip. WHAT WE DO IN THE COMMUNITY: We participate in 4 local parades each year and attend numerous local car shows so local people can see our vintage automobiles. On the 2nd Saturday of September for the past 15 years we have held the All Ford Car Show in Old Town Orcutt. The proceeds from this show goes to scholarship for 10 students at Allan Hancock College Automotive related Industrial Technology Department. Each year at our annual Christmas dinner we collect toys for the local Toys for Tots program. During the year we display our cars at various senior living facilities for seniors to see and remember the “good old days”. Various Club members get asked to provide vehicles for ambiance at local high school dances and plays.

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Club of America




Club Overview

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Vapor Trail Vettes (VTV) is located on the Central Coast of California between San Francisco and Los Angeles, are members of National Council of Corvette Clubs (NCCC) and sponsored by Home Motors Chevrolet – Cadillac. Members have one thing in common – passion for the greatest American Sports Car! They are dedicated to the joy of Cor vette ownership and helping those in need.

bottom 2 photos were taken by John




Check Us Out/Join The Fun

Hosting autocross events is one of their main interests. These events are open to all cars. In addition, monthly meetings and social events take place, such as participating in area parades, mystery runs, enjoying camaraderie with other local clubs and participating in NCCC events. A yearly “Corvette Blast” social event is organized hosting Corvette clubs from California, Nevada and Hawaii.

Emphasis is put on helping those in need within the community. Four scholarships are awarded each year to students taking Automotive Technology classes at Allan Hancock College. The local Salvation Army and Foodbank were recipients of 60 turkeys the club donated for Thanksgiving. Four to five families are selected at Christmas from Child Abuse Listening Mediation(CALM) and the Salvation Army through “Adopt a Family” program. They also support Wounded Warriors and CARE NET with cash donations.

Visit to learn more about the club or consider attending one of our monthly meetings. Meetings are held the first Thursday of each month rotating between Santa Maria and the Five Cities area. Meeting locations are listed on the website. If you would like to attend a meeting please call Clay Beck @ 805-709- 4434 





Get uncomfortable with your normal to please someone else today!


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

open your heart

38 The Hearst Cancer Resource Center 40 Opportunity Alert 42 Stand Strong 48 From Chicago to Hollywood to SLO 52 Matters of Fact 54 60 Trips Around the Sun 56 The Sorting Hat


The Hearst Cancer Resource Center GLORIA CAINE & BEV KIRKHART PHOTO BY The

Hearst Cancer Resource Center


differently. The doctors treat the tumors, but we treat the mind, body, and spirit.”

The Hearst Cancer Resource Center, like this magazine, had its genesis in a desire to give back to the community. Years ago, a member of the Hearst family suffered a serious accident and a local doctor, Thomas Vendegna, was instrumental in his treatment. Thankful for the care his family member received, Stephen Hearst asked Dr. Vendegna what he could do to show his gratitude. The doctor had a great idea: why not open a center that would help people navigate the medical, financial and emotional challenges of a cancer diagnosis?

There usually isn’t time during a doctor visit to get all of your questions answered, even if you remember everything you wanted to ask. “My doctor talked to me for fifteen minutes,” one patient remembered, “but all I heard was the word ‘cancer’. When I left his office I felt completely adrift, not knowing where to go next or how I was going to deal with everything.”

ne rarely has a greater need for kindness than when facing a serious illness like cancer. Fortunately, there is an organization on the Central Coast that can provide the support, information, and compassionate help a cancer patient and their family needs. And at no cost to the patient or family member.

And so the Hearst Cancer Resource Center was born. Located near French Hospital in San Luis Obispo, the HCRC helps cancer patients, regardless of where they live, regain control of their lives by learning about their disease and what f inancial and social resources are available to them. The Center allies with existing community cancer organizations, and also provides its own expertise via the oncolog y professionals on staff. HCRC director Bev Kirkhart oversees the Center’s offerings, which include therapeutic social activities, nutritional counseling, healing programs and education. Her compassion and concern are evident, perhaps because she has firsthand knowledge of what a cancer patient is feeling. “Having been a cancer patient myself,” she says, “I know everyone goes through their journey


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Being diagnosed with a serious illness is a traumatic and unexpected blow. The newly-diagnosed patient has many questions. What can I expect from the treatment? What resources are available? How will this affect my family and loved ones? What does my caregiver need to know? How do others cope?

To help orient and guide patients like this, the HCRC provides one of its most valuable resources: the Patient Navigator Program. Gloria Caine, RN, is an Oncology Certified Nurse and is the Nurse Navigator for the Center. Knowledgeable and empathetic, Gloria meets with patients and helps them chart a course through the healthcare system. She listens to their concerns, gets to know them personally, and provides the information they need to access top quality care. She can facilitate access to treatment, find financial and social services, and help identify what immediate concerns they should discuss with their doctor. And not least, she is a compassionate listener and provides a much-appreciated sympathetic ear. “Every time I called or met with Gloria,” one patient said, “she made me feel like I was the only one she was working with. Her knowledge and compassion were invaluable to me.”

In addition to one-on-one counseling, the Center offers numerous programs for physical and emotional healing. In any given month there will be seminars by doctors and medical professionals, support groups based on different cancer types or ages, and many therapeutic activities. Patients may pursue healing through yoga, Tai Chi Chih, mindfulness or meditation. They may attend nutritional counseling, and classes in cooking or stress reduction. Soothing the soul can be as important as treating the body when going through a cancer journey. A patient can attend art therapy, singing therapy and even knitting therapy activities. Besides providing a muchneeded distraction from medical issues, patients have an opportunity to meet others going through the same experience. And the HCRC doesn’t forget that cancer affects the family as well. There is a support group for caregivers, and all of the educational and counseling services are available to family members too.

A cancer diagnosis can also place an unexpected financial burden on the patient and their family. The Center offers private counseling about f inancial assistance, community resources, and Medicare and private insurance information. If dealing with all these issues isn’t enough, little things can often become problematic if you are unwell. A patient may need help with cooking, cleaning, pet care, transportation, etc., during their treatment. Fortunately there are many wonderful people in the community who have volunteered their time to help with these issues, and the Center can connect a patient with someone who will lend a hand. Speaking of volunteers and generosity, how is it possible for the Hearst Cancer Resource Center to offer so much at no cost to the patient? The Center was made possible by generous gifts from Steve and Barbara Hearst, the Hearst Foundation, and other donors. And current community donors, fundraisers and endowments are crucial to its continued operation. “I can’t tell you how thankful we are for the community support and referral of patients,” say Bev. “We recently celebrated our tenth anniversary, and I estimate we have had about 78,000 ‘contacts’ – people who have called, used the facility, attended a lecture, or just walked through the front door.” And many people volunteer their time to help with crucial aspects of operation such as answering phones, giving tours, doing clerical work and organizing fundraisers. Many of the volunteers have been personally touched by the Center’s services, and are pleased to be able to give something back to help it continue.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? The Hearst Cancer Resource Center 1911 Johnson Avenue, San Luis Obispo (805) 542-6234

STORY BY Adrienne

One of the less-discussed effects of cancer treatment is on the patient’s self-image and confidence. To help with this, the HCRC Appearance Center provides resources for cancer patients to look and feel their best. Patients have access to a selection of wigs, scarves, and resources for prostheses and clothing. The Center also participates in the national Look Good, Feel Better program, which provides women with cosmetics, lessons on skin and nail care, and beauty techniques to help them feel more self-confident during treatment.

Like many great institutions, the Hearst Cancer Resource Center was created and supported by kind people wanting to give something back to the community. And Bev, Gloria, and all the volunteers and donors are working to make sure it will be a valuable resource for many years to come. 



Opportunity Alert Begin Here and Begin Now On New Year’s Eve, as I faced yet another deadline, I looked ahead with a sense of trepidation. Aware that on the next day, 2018 would replace a very worn out 2017, I longed to say I was filled with hope. But, I wasn’t.


esperate for something to lift me up, I turned my thoughts to Kind Magazine. Each issue is replete with heart-warming acts of kindness. The ambassadors of good will featured within the pages represented a variety of backgrounds, ages, and activities. After I paged through previous issues, I discovered, although my hope cup wasn’t replenished, it now seemed half-full. Notice I wrote half-full, not halfempty. Eternally optimistic. (Fingers crossed.) With other optimists, I share the belief there is good in everyone—and some bad in everyone, too. Each day I look for proof of the goodness of human kind— and darned if I don’t find it, though sometimes I must dig deep. I would encourage each of you to do the same. Raising our combined awareness of goodness and kindness, is a worthy goal and generates more of the same.


Judythe Guarnera

The Central Coast Kind Magazine, was by design, created to celebrate acts of kindness with the hope that the telling would encourage others to emulate the doer and the action.


Recently, I contacted a woman who’d been pointed out to me as someone who contributed to our community, someone, who would make an ideal person to interview for Kind. Much to my surprise, after I’d pitched an offer to interview her, she turned me down. I sent her links to the magazine, so she could read those same stories I’d just read about others who acted with kindness.

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Again, very kindly, she turned me down. Puzzled, I asked her why. At this point I’d begun to feel like a stalker and fully expected her to just ignore my latest email. She surprised me when she responded. Her expressed reasons caused me to scoot my chair a little closer to my computer, sit up a little straighter, and don my thinking cap. This woman, whom I’d personally w itnessed giv ing to her communit y, suggested she didn’t measure up. She saw those featured in the first issues of Kind, as “angels,” heroes. We continued our email discussion. I explained my goal for featuring people committing acts of kindness was more about encouraging others to identif y opportunities to give back to their communities, than it was to put the interviewee on a pedestal, where their actions might seem out of reach for the average person. The last thing I want is for a profile to overwhelm readers, who might then be convinced they don’t have the time, energy or skills to emulate the subject. Remember some years ago, when we were advised at every turn: “Don’t sweat the small stuff ?” The goal of that slogan, I believe, was to encourage us to avoid focusing on unimportant little things and keep our eye on bigger, more important things. A good message in many ways, but I questioned whether following this could lead to some missed opportunities. Others agreed, and we began to write about the importance of “sweating the small stuff.” After all, heroic acts are most often a series of small actions—things that ordinary people can do at any moment of any day: small acts taking small amounts of time, but sometimes making a big difference. The motorist who waves me in as I try to merge on the freeway; the child who dashes over to pick up the papers I’d dropped; the elderly man who holds a door for me—each of these are small things, but they enriched my day and made me smile. And they motivated me to “pay it forward,” another movement. After considering all this, I’ve decided not to write

about heroes anymore, but rather to center the topic of my profiles on opportunities and possibilities as practiced by good people. Organizations such as Senior Volunteer Services (SVS) and Central Coast Community Volunteers (CCVS) can provide anyone who wants to contribute to a better community with a volunteer opportunity which will make it possible to contribute at a level appropriate for their abilities and time. Following is a list of good deeds you can do regularly or on a single occasion: • Volunteer at a museum, an animal shelter, a local hospital; the information desk at the airport or train station; • Serve as an usher at local theaters; • Help others learn to read or build low income housing; • Brighten the last hours of individuals in hospice, shelve books, or serve at the desk in local libraries;

• Examples of single event volunteer opportunities: • Serve Thanksgiving meals at a shelter or community event; • Take a child shopping for back-to-school needs. For more opportunities, if you are 50 or older, contact: Senior Volunteer Services at 660 Pismo Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401; call (805) 544-8740 and please visit their website and Facebook page at www.facebook. com/seniorvolunteerservices. In the coming months, I will be featuring some philanthropic organizations. Their activities can appeal to people of all ages. We’ll begin with a local Rotary club next month. Let your mind wander when you read Kind Magazine, and let the stories guide you to find some small niche where you might make a difference here on the Central Coast. 

• If you love animals, you might exercise pets at Woods Humane Society or serve as a docent as a ‘Friend of the Elephant Seal

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lbert Schweitzer said, “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” Stand Strong of San Luis Obispo works at doing just that. Stand Strong is committed to recognizing and responding to the community’s need for comprehensive, multicultural, domestic violence and child abuse prevention. In its fullest scope, abuse impacts victims, family members, society, and future generations. Stand Strong’s goal is to provide crisis intervention, emergency shelter, advocacy, treatment, and education. ELIA PARTIDA

Abuse comes in many forms it can be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, psychological, economic, or spiritual. Because someone was never hit, doesn’t mean they are not a victim of domestic violence. The vision of the Stand Strong program is to have a society where people treat each other with dignity, respect, and compassion, and express conflict and anger in a non-violent way. Creating such a community would allow children to grow up nurtured with their esteem intact; a place were speaking the truth, welcoming diversity, and practicing cooperation would be the norm.




A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Stand Strong, previously The Women’s Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo, began in 1977 when two women decided to open up their private homes to women who were f leeing domestic violence. In the next couple years, other woman joined the endeavor and in 1979 the volunteers formally incorporated as the Women’s Crisis House. Stand Strong now serves victims of intimate partner violence and child abuse. Besides the crisis line, the program also provides emergency housing, transitional housing, advocacy, legal services,

counseling, community education, Latina services, and children’s services. The name change is to honor the strength of the survivor. People who survive abuse are strong. Stand Strong is asking the community to stand strong with them. Also, the organization is not just a shelter and those served are not just women. Domestic violence doesn’t happen to just females. It affects men and children, as well as those in LGBT relationships who experience abuse at the same rate as others. Of the services Stand Strong helps people with, 90% are things other than shelter. The name change doesn’t change the focus of what is being offered. Rather, the name Stand Strong encompasses all that is offered to those in need. In the past year, Strand Strong took 443 crisis calls that equated to over 3,000 hours from volunteers. During that time, 793 clients were helped including 44 adults and 58 children staying in the Safe House. There were 105 legal cases with 132 court accompaniments. Over 400 clients accessed the counseling services totaling over 4,000 hours. The clientele were 77% female and 23% male. Of those helped, 57% were adults and 43% were children. Stand Strong has a wonderful volunteer core which consists of people who answer the crisis phone line, provide childcare, and run the office. Trainees, interns and therapist also volunteer their time. Kirsten Rambo, the Executive Director of Stand Strong, oversees programs and departments from administration to grant writing and finance. Before Kirsten came to Stand Strong she worked for the Division of Violence Prevention leading the National Domestic Violence Program. She also worked for the

Every minute in the United States nearly 20 people are physically abused. That’s 10 million people yearly. Georgia Commission on Family Violence. Kirsten has over 20 years’ experience working in Domestic Violence. Kirsten is passionate about the work she does. She grew up in a stable home and feels it’s her duty to give back to those less fortunate. She says, “We’re doing several things at Stand Strong. One is helping people who are in immediate crisis get safe. We’re also helping people who’ve e x per ienced domest ic violence rebuild their lives because domestic violence is so shattering; it takes a big part out of you. Beyond that, we’re also working to make the community a more peaceful place.”

The Safe House provides support in many different forms from job interview preparation to supplying clothes for the interview process. While staying at the Safe House clients have access to counselling, group therapy, and can even be referred to the Department of Social Services to f ind childcare while they are at work or looking for work. A great help for clients has been the Noor Clinic providing health care for people who don’t have insurance. When asked what Elia hopes to contribute by working at the Safe House she replied, “My hope is to continue informing the community that we are here, and it’s time to stop domestic violence no matter what your race or ethnicity. Stand

Theresa Wolfe, who goes by Tres, is a survivor of domestic incest abuse from her early adolescence. Due to her past she found herself in codependent relationships where she both tried to control things and avoid them, too. She contacted Stand Strong nearly ten years ago and spent about a year working with the counsellors. Tres says that year changed her life. Instead of focusing on the past and avoiding issues she learned to deal with things. She said, “I was able to accept what I’ve gone through and heal. I am truly grateful every day for the communit y of people that surrounded me and nurtured me.” Tres says, “The most important thing I want people to know if they’re in an abusive situation is there is a way out. There are caring people that want to help.” Tres is now taking the tools she received from Stand Strong and applying them. “I’ve learned to think differently and to react not in fear but rather to take assertive steps to set boundaries.” Making these changes was a hea lthy choice for her and her family. A huge thing Tres learned is to honor who she is by taking time to care for herself. Because Tres has learned so much she wants to give back to the community. She’s started a non-profit called 

Lili Sinclaire

The Safe House is a four-week program but can be extended based on the client’s needs. The f irst week the client focuses on them-

Obstacles to success are tied to the abuse the client experienced. Bad credit can be a problem as well as drug abuse or mental illness such as anxiety and depression. Often the client suffers with feelings of low self-esteem. Stand Strong counselling services help the client and their children find success on their new path.

Strong staff members are here to help you.”


Elia Partida is the Director of Crisis Service. She has been working at the Safe House for 10 years. Part of her job duties include one-onone counseling with clients, safety planning, and helping staff, volunteers and clients interact together. Growing up, Elia was exposed to violence in her home with her biological father hitting her mother. At that time she had no idea there were programs like Stand Strong. Elia wants people to know that Stand Strong provides Bilingual services across the board from counseling to legal advice. Undocumented clients can get legal help as well.

selves. They’ve left the abuser and need time to feel safe and adjust. The second week Elia and her staff talk to the client about where they are and what they need. Part of Elia’s job is to make all the necessar y referrals to meet the client’s needs.


(Stand Strong: continued)

Coastal Thrivers which is a recreational peer network for altruistic survivors who want more out of life than just being survivors. They choose to thrive; creating new muscle memories, and to tell their story for their own healing and so they can help others. The goal of Coastal Thrivers is to provide daily, monthly, and yearly activities such as hikes, kayaking, yoga and swimming. Tres would like to find a home for the corporate office; a place to have meetings along with space for indoor and outdoor activities, including a garden to do horticultural therapy. Outings are planned for October and November, with Gala Art Contest Awards in January. There will also be a Survivors Awareness Health Fair, and a 5K Fun Run and Walk on April 13th 2019 to encourage those affected by sexual abuse to dig-in to life and be a Thriver. To learn more go to


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Every community is as strong as the individuals within it. Dorothy Height, an educator and civil rights advocate said, “Without community service, we wouldn’t have a strong quality of life. It’s important to the person that serves as well as the recipient. It’s the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.” Kirsten, the director of Stand Strong says, “We are helping individuals, but if we want the violence to stop we have

to create a community that says this is not okay.” Domestic violence is not an isolated incident within four walls. It is human exploitation that affects our entire world. Stand Strong is doing their part to create communities that are safe where we can all f lourish and grow to our full potential. 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? To make a donation, volunteer, or receive services contact Stand Strong: 805-781-6401.


Make a holiday cheer for a person you cross paths with that least expects or deserves it, and toast it... with a kind heart.





Eamon Young

Portraiture • Commercial • Photojournalism • Fashion • Travel & Nature ennis has worked in all areas of photography, specializing in travel and adventure photo journalism as well as product and portraiture photography. Dennis’ unique ability to synthesize passion and technical expertise is evident in his varied portfolio of images. Dennis’ photos have appeared in major publications and newspapers, such as GQ, SLO City News, Cosmopolitan. His travel landscapes have appeared in several galleries, including SLO Museum of Art. Some local clients are SLO Symphony, Opera SLO, Children’s Resource Network, SLO Night Writers, Clever Ducks, Endeavour Institute and many other private clients and businesses.

(805) 540-1271 // // //

From Chicago to Hollywood to SLO A Moms Approach to Her Childs Recovery!


ody realized long ago what she “wanted to be when she grew up”. Her life was going to be a continuous series of new endeavors, she explains.

My youth was spent with my parents in a cool store called Main Music, in Skokie, Illinois, where some of Chicago’s greats would come hang out and play guitar. Mom was an awesome singer and played lots of instruments. Dad would repair and sell them. After college I packed up my Camaro and made my way to the Hollywood entertainment industry as a publicist and personal manager.



I was fortunate to begin my career as a press agent for Rockstar Rod Stewart—which took me on a worldwide explore of 11 countries, 44 concerts and hanging out with celebrities. The life of leer jets and limos was truly exciting and offered me a chance to see the world.


She goes on to explain, soon after I got married and we began our family. When my husband was offered a position in a SLO law firm, we rounded up our kids and pets and moved up to San Luis Obispo. At first, I was a bit lost here she said,—removed from the industry life she had been immersed in. Eventually, I settled in, discovered the beauty of the SLO life—hiking the gorgeous hills, running on the beach, playing tennis and building a graphic design and calligraphy business. I enjoyed doing graphics for the wonderful Mozart Festival (now Festival Mosaic) as well as creating logos and marketing for numerous others in the area. Then a friend from Arizona called to see if I could do a few short films for his company. I quickly jumped at the chance and entered the world of filmmaking. I had no idea how much this would shape my life in the years to come. We raised our three children here in SLO, both John and I coaching their sports teams, volunteering in community organizations and actively participating in our Temple. We were unprepared when we learned one of our children had become addicted to marijuana. We had no idea this drug had changed and become so THC potent. Today’s marijuana does not resemble what was smoked in the 60s and 70s. We could not understand how this was possible—as we always thought it was such a benign drug. Our child was diagnosed at Stanford Hospital as having a “Cannabis-Induced Psychosis.” We were completely confused. Wasn’t marijuana supposed to be harmless? Camera in hand, we f lew to

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

Boston and began filming the top researchers on marijuana and the brain at Harvard University’s Addiction Center. What we learned while filming there made me realize there was a huge need to educate on this topic. There simply is not enough awareness that our youth are vulnerable to the negative effects of THC. It’s particularly harmful to the developing brain. Parents and grandparents don’t know the THC content has changed, educators are unaware of the signs and symptoms of cannabis addiction, and family members don’t realize the potential harms to the developing brain, as well as the increased risks for mental illness. All this normalization sets up for a low perception of harm, which leads to an increase in usage. That increase in usage has subsequently lead to the issues we are now seeing in record numbers with our youth. We filmed across the United States and even went to Paris, France to interview at the European Union’s research center INSERM. The Harvard addiction specialists explained that our culture has not caught up to the science. My documentar y “The Other Side of Cannabis: Negative Effects of Marijuana on Our Youth” was fortunate to receive the Best Feature Documentary Award from the Sunset Los Angeles Film Festival and has been shown throughout the world. It continues to educate students, parents, community members, law enforcement, professionals in the health f ield and others who are interested. I’ve since traveled the U.S. as a keynote speaker, sharing my experience and my research. I continually update my resources to gather the most current information, which I post on the film website: I find that it is difficult to educate teens. Many of them have their minds already made up. They believe that marijuana is safe, it’s a medicine, period. They do not want to listen to what the studies show, what the hospitals are seeing, etc. That’s when I decided it was best to concentrate my efforts on educating youth.

DO YOU NEED A HANDY WO-MAN? In 2016 I created POSAFY—a 501c3 non-profit organization (Prevention of Substance Abuse for Youth). I put together a diverse board of directors, including myself as board President, advisors Under-Sheriff Tim Olivas, Police Chief Deanna Cantrell, County Behavioral Health Prevention Director Frank Warren, as well as Captain Chris Staley, Central Coast Alumni for Recovery President Carlos Guerrero, Educators Mila VujovichLa Barre and Sharon O’Gara, County Behavioral Health representative Gabriel Granados and Parent Lauryn Niezen.

am ready when you are!

POSAFY ( is tasked with creating educational materials, pursuing school curriculum (Project Alert, The Michigan Model), developing videos for social media, providing speakers for organizations and schools and community presentations. We are currently focusing on educating on marijuana and youth and eventually will expand into other substances such as opiates. POSAFY is funded privately and has recently received some grant funding. However, in order to meet the needs of SLO County, we are looking for, and welcome, additional support. I was fortunate to have had a wonderful childhood, lots of love and family and good education. But as most people come to realize, sometimes life hands us some difficult challenges. It’s the redirecting of those negative thoughts and experiences into positive reaffirmations and productive changes that have helped me to cope. When times get tough I try to remember one of my favorite quotes: “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” No one can know what another is experiencing on the inside—it’s tempting to want to judge. I’ve learned a lot from the teaching of Byron Katie, who suggests we ask ourselves when we think we know what someone else is going through: “is it true?” “are we sure?” and “do we have all the facts?” The number of young people presenting with anxiety and depression is at record levels. We don’t always see their struggles on the outside. Some, at a very young age, turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. POSAFY is encouraging curriculum in the schools to address these issues, empower our children with healthy life choices and give them a chance to be what they “want to be when they grow up.” It makes her happy when she speaks to these kids about what she’s learned. They often come up to her and thank her or send her a sweet note of appreciation. They remind her of why this education is so critical. 

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? To contact Jody directly or learn more see below, J BELSHER creative | 805-380-8511



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Matters of Fact POEM BY

Patricia Gimer, FCN Mentor

“There is no father,” she said, her teal eyes wide with innocence − as though she’d been conceived on finger-paint paper by the blending of blue and green. “There was trouble in Bakersfield, that’s why we’re here.” as though that’s why anyone moves anywhere − and starts fresh, and accepts that they’ll miss Gardner,

their school their friends, their sister…


and the father they never had.


A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

The Fork in the Path, Nine Mindful Choices to Well-Being, is different than any other book on wellbeing. Not only is The Fork in the Path beautifully designed, it’s also condensed into easy to understand steps about being mindful of your choices. “Lili has done a wonderful job with this beautiful book. She explains clearly how to become aware of the choices we make in order to change our lives.” Frank Ricceri, Division Director Transitions-Mental Health Association

The Fork Trail Guide, is a follow-up book to The Fork in the Path, Nine Mindful Choices to Well-Being. This workbook goes into greater detail about how to take control of your life so you can create the life you want to live. Each chapter has charts and exercises to bring clarity, motivation and change.

The Bridge, is a coming of age story. On New Year’s Eve 1960 Acacia and her friend Dwight want to find out why a light is shining in the deserted migrant camp where a girl’s body was found three years before. The teens cross the bridge that night. Soon they discover someone is spying on them. The Bridge deals with social, political, and religious themes related to injustice, intolerance, and acceptance.

Lili Sinclaire, a local author, has published three books. For over 20 years, Lili’s researched well-being; she’s also studied communication and conflict resolution with three non-profits. She’s attended and presented workshops, as well as facilitated support groups. She’s worked as a parent coach for SLO Parent Connection, and as a crisis phone counselor for Stand Strong, previously The Women’s Shelter of SLO. “Lili’s natural approach to healing is a lovely path that allows one to navigate their trials and tribulations through introspection, bringing them to a place of truth.” – Shannon Aguirre, Marriage and Family Therapist To order books go to:

60 Trips Around the Sun


raveling around the sun 60 times seems like a lot. I think I’m getting somewhere though because, little by little, I’m becoming who I want to be -- more curious, aware, and authentic; it’s a slow process, but progress never the less. I remind myself of this every so often. In my books and on my website I write about the concept that life is growth. Every living thing on the planet grows. We Homo sapiens grow physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Lili Sinclaire

Opportunities for growth present themselves to us on a daily basis. The interesting thing is, usually, these opportunities show up as problems. And as much as I want to grow, I don’t really like the way occasions for growth appear in my life. At first sight, they seem more like tribulations than prospects for something good to happen.


We’re all born with personalities and physical qualities. We each have a family we were raised in, schools we went to, and peers we hung out with. On a fundamental level, each of these contributed to the hand we we’re dealt. Some of these influences were great, others not so much, and some may even have been horrible. Each of us has our own trials, tribulations, joys, and opportunities for growth. Some of us have struggled with what life brought our way. The important thing is, the hand we were dealt does not equate to our fate in life. I like to think of the hard times as life lessons. Part of growth is acceptance. Learning to accept things, including one’s self, can be a lifelong endeavor. Recently, I’ve been inundated with opportunities to grow. And I can tell you, it hasn’t been fun. For the past few months, I’ve been working on starting my own publishing company, Tigerlili Publications. I love the name! I work every day on getting things ready

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

for three of my seven books to be in print this fall. I’m not good at computer/tech stuff, but that’s what the focus of my life has become. There have been licenses to get, a website to create, a Kickstarter funding campaign to make, Facebook marketing plans, and book files to upload on Amazon. I’ve found this all exasperating. I have a number of learning differences (I dislike the phrase learning disabilities). Having a language processing disorder, I don’t comprehend things well. I also have dyslexia which shows up in the area of working memory (keeping data in my head). For instance, I have trouble reading instructions and transferring that information from the page to real life things, such as building a website. Lately, this has equated to days filled with disappointment and discouragement. Being a person with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), I get overwhelmed, this causes my mind to start to shut down. It’s sort of like things turn into a gray fog. I’m also a person with high energy (I like that phrase better than hyper). Being highly energetic can cause me to get bored easily, and then I want to move on to other things. With everything I’m doing, most likely I’m going to continue to experience some difficulties as I work toward accomplishing my goals. I figure computers are not going to get easier just because I want them to; I realize it’s me that needs to change - to grow. Plutarch said, “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” Because I believe life is about growth, I think there is something I need to learn within my current situation, and that’s acceptance. To accept the brain I have, and to accept me. Instead of regretting what is, being angry and feeling sorry for myself, I can be open. One of my favorite Pema Chodron quotes is, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”

Being aware of what my issues are is extremely important to me. When I accept things, that can’t be changed, I’m free to move beyond them. In the end, I know no one can fix things in my life except me and that’s empowering. I have life lessons, and I get to learn them. Through observing, I’ve become aware that when I get overwhelmed, I’m very much focused on myself. The more overwhelmed I get the smaller my view of the world becomes, and my attitude grows negative. Hitting myself over the shoulder with that invisible whip doesn’t bring about change. Treating myself with acceptance and kindness opens up the space for me to move forward and change my focus. Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” I can’t go out and purchase a new brain at the local brain outlet. And to try to talk myself out of being overwhelmed feels overwhelming! So, if I want to grow, I have to accept where I am. What I can do is make an inner shift. Like Socrates, I believe we have great power in where we focus our attention. When I’m overwhelmed it helps me to focus on one thing at a time, breathe deeply and remember the world is much bigger than whatever I’m dealing with at any given moment. In my book, The Fork Trail Guide, I talk about the concept of Funnel Focus. Try taking a funnel and putting the wide end of it up to your eye. When you do this, you’ll see very little out in front of you, just a tiny circle of the world around you. Then turn the funnel the other way, with the small hole at your eye. This allows you to see more of what’s in front of you. The funnel is symbolic of how we perceive life. The wide end turned toward us is when life is all about us; we see little that is happening around us, and our view typically grows negative. When the small end is toward us, we can see more about what else exists beyond us. Removing the symbolic funnel altogether gives us a view of the world unobstructed.

When I come to a stop light, I take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Then I envision setting the funnel down. I just breathe in and out viewing the world around me as I wait for the light to change. At night, after I lay down, I do the same thing; I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Again, I envision myself setting the funnel down. Then I see myself rise up out of my house, I hover over my back yard, then I float up further. I see the town I live in, then the state I live in. From there I float up higher and see the United States. Floating up further, I see the whole world far below. When I do this, the turbulent conditions I experienced during the day aren’t so huge. I connect with all that is bigger than me, and the tiny, negative funnelvision world I created during the day is able to dissipate. We may not like the hand we were dealt, or how opportunities for growth typically begin as a problem. I’m finding problems are easier to handle when I decide to stop the funnel focus and focus instead on the bigger picture. There is wonder everywhere. I know it’s all around me, and even in me, and I see it every time I put the funnel down. Another Pema Chodron quote I love is, “Be kind to yourself. And then let your kindness fill the world.” Without the funnel, I see the world clearer, and I see myself for who I truly am; a person who has issues, and lessons, but there’s still a wonderful little person inside of me who’s learning to grow up. Occasions for growth can look a lot like opportunities to be kind. At almost 60, I know when I treat myself with kindness it flows outwards and makes the world a kinder place, too. 


I feel a need to change my view of my current life situation, so I’ve been practicing setting the funnel down in my mind.


THE SORTING HAT What’s in a Name/Label?


n the Harry Potter series, a sorting hat determined the “house” each student would affiliate with during their time at Hogwarts School of Magic. Those placements often had a major impact on the students’ time there, the direction their lives took, and their future happiness. What information did the Sorting Hat need to make those potentially momentous decisions? Could a student’s future be ruined by an arbitrary process if the hat had insufficient information? Imagine that each of us is that sorting hat and the future of: a ‘homeless’ person; a Muslim person; a gay person; a religious person; or any individual whose future happiness or success, or even survival, depends on what we decide—and those decisions are based on wrong or insufficient information. If we recognize the damaging power of arbitrary labels and avoid them, might we open our eyes to the infinite possibilities in each human being. Might this awareness increase the opportunity for all members of our community to reach their full potential? ***

Since I’m a writer, I often make up stories about people and things I see, often working with the barest of information. Is that what just happened here? By now, the man had entered a convenience store on the corner. Since it appeared we wouldn’t meet, and he’d never be upset or hurt by the label I’d given him, why did my conscience continue to niggle at me? Was it wrong to label him homeless? Did I harm him by doing that? Of course not. But, did my label distance me from him and deny me the possibility of a pleasant or special interaction or opportunity? Perhaps this was one of those learning moments. Does one label, especially one made with little information, lead to more labels? What additional labels might I assign to someone I’ve named homeless? Poor, jobless, lazy, down on his luck? An alcoholic or a drug addict; mentally ill? Which of these labels might frighten me; cause me to be cautious, to cross the street? Is a person only as much as the label I give him?

What’s in a label? Marine layer cast a gloom on my view and my spirits, as I waited for the light to change. Just as I put my foot on the gas pedal, a man came into my line of view, and I braked. Unbidden at some, perhaps subconscious level, a word came to mind, and I labeled him ‘homeless.’ Why? His clothes were shabby but not dirty. His beard was scruffy. He looked a bit run-down. That nasty-sounding buzzer used on game shows when someone answers incorrectly, went off in my imagination. Perhaps from that same subconscious


place, new words tickled my conscience—’insufficient information, insufficient information.’

A Time to Reflect Issue 2018

The writer in me began looking for more details that might change my perception of this somewhat shabby-looking man? Okay, I guessed he might have been in his early thirties with brown, spiky hair. He wore a serious expression, no smile. He crossed with the light, so I might assume he was a law-abiding person, with a goal of getting from point A to point B safely. Hmm, maybe he wasn’t dangerous or to be feared. Had I been on foot and he’d held the door for me to enter a store, I might easily have engaged him in conversation about

the weather, or the holidays. What if I discovered he was a relative or friend of someone I knew? We might even attend the same church, or the same party on Christmas Eve. Or he might be holding his own holiday dinner with his wife and children at his own home. He might be a doctor, a lawyer, a student at the university, a carpenter, or the plumber who was due to visit my home to fix a leaking pipe. Maybe he and my daughter might become sweethearts, and she might bring him home to meet us one day. Perhaps he dresses in a three-piece suit every day when he goes to court to defend clients but dresses casually on evenings and weekends. What if he’d been working in his yard, and needed some succulents to finish his flowerbed? Should he have stopped to clean up and change his clothes, so his appearance wouldn’t disturb or frighten others. I realized how many different stories my writer’s brain could conjure, once I quit looking at someone I’d thought of as a homeless man and saw him as just another human being. Does fear cause us to label? Studies indicate a growing trend in our country for people to be consumed by a variety of fears, to make assumptions about others whom they encounter in their daily lives—often armed with too little information to make accurate assumptions. People constantly assess their environment and the people they meet in-order to determine potential danger. We are endowed with a fight or flight reaction to keep us safe. But are our fears exaggerated when someone seems to be ‘different’ than we are?

If he has black or brown skin, or a prominent nose, or walks with a cane, what will we decide about that person in that moment? If our thoughts are negative, will we stop ourselves and say, as I did in the car that day, ‘I’m going to look at this person differently, and imagine all the glorious possibilities of who or what he might be. If a person is more than what we label him in that moment—what then? When we take that extra step to think beyond the original label, will we see another human being with the same needs as we have? And if we see a person different than ourselves, will they, perhaps, stop as we form that label in our minds—homeless, gay, a person of color, of a faith not understood, or with different goals for his life—and see just another human being? I found it very freeing that day at the stoplight, to close my mind to the judgmental me and open it to the curious me. How might life be different? The point is that the homeless man, if indeed he was homeless, is so much more than the answer to the question of whether he lives in a home or not. Once I see other qualities about him, I can throw off my judgments and determine how he fits into my world, perhaps how I can help him, how he might help me, what we might have in common, what he knows that I don’t, and might be willing to share with me. Our lives might never intersect again. Regardless, he was, is and remains so much more than a “homeless” man. When we see someone, it’s okay to assess and label. That’s how we minimize risk. The challenge is to not allow ourselves to be locked into a single, limiting label. 

Judythe Guarnera

We are a community, which is part of larger whole, the people of which are challenged these days to determine how to act when we see a person we deem “different,”

If she is wearing a hijab, will we see a Muslim woman or just that nice lady who lives down the street, or the one who stooped to help an old man pick up the contents of his shopping bag which had spilled onto the road.


We might label someone we think is an illegal Mexican as a rapist, or a thief, when that person might be a hardworking teacher, or a gardener, or a field worker. We might see someone who identifies as Muslim, as a person on a mission of Jihad, when that person is a doctor, or a college professor, and a second-generation American citizen, who loves America, and might even have fought for it, or lost a family member fighting for it.

based on what we tell ourselves about that person, and then how we will subsequently label and then treat him.


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