Central Coast Kind Issue 2: Love Is All-Encompassing

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Spread the Love

CHALLENGE Challenge yourself daily!


n true Kind fashion, we’re challenging you, Central Coast, to get out there, and make the world a better place! But how? Where can you start?!

Throughout this issue, you might notice a little heart icon. That's the "Spread the Love Challenge" icon. On these pages, you'll find small challenges that we hope you're up for! Remember‒ kindness can start with you, so challenge yourself first! Get real with yourself first, and then spread the love to others to help make the world a better place! Send us your feedback/results. We love to hear how it warms your heart. So let's get to it.. let's up the love, one day at a time! 



Share this magazine with someone. centralcoastkind.com


A WORD FROM THE FOUNDER CONTACT US Central Coast Kind Magazine 805.862.9595 PO Box 6555, Santa Maria, CA 93456 www.centralcoastkind.com

REAL Maloney. After closing the call, I asked Megan if it would be possible to have a writer contact her on a story about her. She hesitated, and I waited. Finally agreeing, I received the story from our writer. I read the story and was positive of the position‒ cover story!


This is exactly what this magazine is about. Sharing the R EAL in Central Coast!

Kim Iribarren, Publisher, President Ralph Iribarren, Co-Publisher Macy Haffey, Creative Director Dennis Young, Executive Producer Jeff Lind, Director of Sales Christy Duncan, Managing Editor

CONTRIBUTORS Burk Manson, Photographer Coach C, Writer Dennis Eamon Young, Writer/Photographer Jeanie Greensfelder, Writer Judythe Guarnera, Writer Lili Sinclaire, Writer Lillian Brown, Writer Ruth Starr, Writer Susan Tuttle, Writer Teresa Gasca-Burk, Writer

ON THE COVER Megan Maloney Mile a Minute Megan, pg 16 PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Dennis Eamon Young


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

Hello Central Coast, All I can say is WOW, I had no idea when I started this publication what would happen next or how my life would change. I just jumped out here head first on a mission to make a difference and spread kindness with the talents I’ve been gifted with by my God! I am amazed and grateful for the support and love I have received in the communities of the Central Coast. It appears doors have opened and wonderful, talented and the kindest of human kindness have been hand chosen and placed in my path. Let me talk a minute about the cover. When I met Megan Maloney on a marketing call, I was amazed by her streng th and professiona lism in the meeting. I want to note: No personal information was received. So naturally, I was interested in the

Maloney was found to be: seriously talented, someone's daughter, someone's mother, extremely professional, community involved, charitable, kind, and organized. All cover stories are carefully chosen and under no circumstance are they ever for sell, and/or paid positions. If you have a story you feel worthy of being on the cover, please send to kim@centralcoastkind.com. Stay true to your dreams and focus your energy on love. Let Kindness be your signature,

Kim Iribarren Founder

contents 16


46 15 LOCALS

16 Mile a Minute Megan // 20 The Queen of Hearts // 24 Dr. Robert & Rachel Hervey // 26 Mila Vujovich-LaBarre // 28 All in the Family Loop // 30 Becoming in Los Osos

33 LOVE 34 The Mysterious Wedding Donation // 38 Loving Outside of Oneself // 42 Love Is an Action // 46 Love Is in the Air

49 WELLNESS 50 Ivy Alvarado // 54 Indigo Heart // 57 Benefits of Whole, Raw Fruit // 58 After Forty Years



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SAYING ABOUT US? Issue 1 | Living Grateful was well received & we've been flooded with wonderful feedback! Here are what a few readers had to say about Central Coast Kind:

"HI, someone dropped off several copies to my office yesterday - what a great magazine ! I have often thought of starting a blog about manners, and how (especially) younger folks don't seem to have any ! Kindness is certainly the partner of manners !! Love the challenges - my friend and I walk dogs every morning, and constantly clean up the neighborhood - especially after halloween! Thank you - just wanted to share ..." — Diane "What a concept! What a mission statement! God bless you! Richly! I am amazed at the quality and content of your first issue. My newspaper career was dedicated to exposing un-kind acts, instances of governmental administative excesses. You are doing the same job from the positive side. GROW! Cover the nation!" — Richard "Congratulations, Kim, on this wonderful new venture of yours. The timing of your launch could not be more welcome in today's global climate of anger, distrust, and division. Sometimes it is so difficult to remember all the beauty surrounding us - - we just have to slow down and Look. Thanks for doing this. It will make a difference." — Leslie

Let us know what you think!

"Hi Kim, and thank you so much for dropping off the magazines at our church office last week! I read it all. Twice. It was such an encouragement! And your mission is amazing. Wishing you all the best in this great magazine. Thank you again!" — Lynne "Hi Kim, I was in my doctor’s waiting room, picked up your magazine and as I read it I was so touched and struck by the concept that I asked where I could get one because I wanted to read it from cover to cover. They said it was free; I took it to my car & continued to read & tears began to roll down my cheeks as I absorbed the kindness of the magazine and stories (especially at a time when I was feeling so distraught by the election & hatred being displayed). When I came to the CALM article, I picked up my phone right then & there, called them and pledged $200 to one of their families. I can’t tell you how affected I have been by what you are doing; I so believe in what you are doing and believe we need it so badly. Thank you, thank you, thank you! If there is something I can do to help you or further your effort, please let me know." — Merril

Email kim@centralcoastkind.com centralcoastkind.com



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Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

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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 // photodennis44@gmail.com // denniseamonyoungphoto.com //


16 Mile a Minute Megan 20 The Queen of Hearts 24 Dr. Robert & Rachel Hervey 26 Mila Vujovich-LaBarre 28 All in the Family Loop 30 Becoming in Los Osos



MILE A MINUTE MEGAN Following the trail of a born entertainer to an award winning criminal journalist to Marketing and Communications Director for a chain of hospitals.


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017


ou’re in luck,” Megan Maloney tells me. “I have Monday off, because I’ll be travelling up and down the coast the rest of the week. We can meet at my house.” As we click off the call, I am envisioning a nice quiet interview along with an extended photo session with her and her husband and their boys. We can do some pictures inside and some outside with them and their dog. Yes, I am ever the eternal optimist. May as well enjoy all those visions of sugarplums as long as possible. I nod to myself as I pull into the wellgraded driveway, admire the neat landscaping and the view down the hill and across the valley to the other hills marching south. The front entryway is framed by a wonderful young Fire-Maple. This is great, I think, as I push the doorbell. The lady who opens the door seems a bit too young for the information I have been given, as she tosses her blonde hair away from her eyes. “Your timing is perfect,” she says. “The boys just left with the neighbors to go see a movie.” My heart sinks. So much for the photo op of her with her husband and the boys, I think. Then the other shoe drops, as she tells me that her husband had to be at work early. My mind leaps to the next backup. I’ll get a nice photo of her with the last family member available-the dog. She assures me that the dog is indeed at home. When we move to the backyard to do those photos, all the dog is interested in is lying on his back, looking for a belly rub. We retreat to the house after some nice relaxed photos of Megan by herself. Little did I know at the time that Lady Luck would shine her light upon me a couple of weeks later. I managed to get some photos of the whole family and dog at a Little League game her sons played in and her husband coached.

What a relief! I love having all the pieces in place. We sit at the wooden dining table and begin, as I eye a family portrait on one wall of all four of them, much as I had imagined being able to accomplish. The phone rings and I watch her pace back and forth in her Dignity logo jacket, head bobbing, hands f lailing, calmly directing bits and pieces of many daily tasks for who knows how many people. Her day off ! Indeed. She never once raises her voice and her words feel well chosen, meant to convey a brisk piece of information without stressing anyone. Work ends, she’s back at the table with me without missing a beat. Megan, known early in life as the entertainer, would act out skits and stories for family and friends. It pleased her then and it still does. She has sung in a number of San Luis Obispo Little Theater productions, her favorite being CASH (A tribute to the late Johnny Cash). Her aunt was a concert pianist and so she originally went to college determined to work in musical theater, as a singer and actress. She played piano and clarinet. I asked for a sample, but that was not on our day’s agenda. We established a rhythm between the conversation and the phone calls, which worked out quite well, since it allowed me to see how she adjusts her energies to suit the demands. Her enthusiasm is not the wild, dropping things and losing the strand of conversation variety. She is always in control. This of course makes a lot of sense given that she is the Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, overseeing five hospitals, thirty-three physician’s offices and even a clinic in Ventura. Oh yes, did I mention being a mother and wife? Megan shifted her focus in college to a degree in journalism at the University of Northern Colorado with a minor in

criminal psychology. Upon graduation, she found that NBC was searching for someone to take the reins of a small affiliate in Rapid City South Dakota and she wanted to stay fairly close to the family and her friends in Colorado, so she took the position of Morning Anchor. Awakening at 3AM, writing and editing stories and even doing the weather all fell in her lap. But she loved telling people’s stories. Megan’s repertoire ran from a story about the Pine Ridge Reservation to Native American gangs and she even did a tour of prisons for a series. She would often step outside the studio, which was part of a golf course to interview some new three or four year old golf phenom trying to follow in the footsteps of one named Tiger Woods! In 2000 she felt the need to spread her wings, so she f lew to the Central Coast of California and took a position with KCOY in Santa Maria. Anchor Dan Shadwell remembers Megan as “A force of nature, always on the go and ready to go anywhere for a story. That was our Mile a Minute Megan.” It was at this period in her career that she reported on the Michael Jackson trials and won awards for her reporting on a series called “Prisons in Paradise”. Wanting to find a new approach to telling people’s stories, in 2004 she took a position as French/Marian Hospital Communications Specialist, where all the stories came to her, rather than her chasing them. Sometimes though, as with Michael Jackson’s stay at the hospital, she actually had to deal with the press and other reporters, learning how not to tell the story. A very new kind of learning experience for her! That same year she met her future husband at the Pismo Beach Athletic Club. The owner granted them special permission to be married on the lawn. The view of



(Mile a Minute Megan: continued)

the Pacific Ocean next to the Kon Tiki Inn was perfect for the event. Her sons are now f ive and seven, but she doesn’t seem to have slowed down all that much. I asked Megan where her drive to tell people’s stories came from. Was it just an interest in what other people were going through, or had gone through previously, which accounted for the things they did and who they became? She explained that her mother died when she was fourteen and she found solace in work ing out her grief in writing poems and stories. She understands the deeper feelings in other folk ’s stories and it’s those feelings of one type or another that she wants to tell and explain. When we had begun our talk, she had said to me that I would have a hard time writing about her because she was not all that interesting and didn’t have much of a story. It always amazes me that people will say that, because we all have stories. I found Megan’s story to be fascinating and she is still working on it every day, going a mile a minute. In her spare time, Megan has started back to school to work on her MBA. She does love her challenges. One of those is to collect her “What’s Your Kindness today” stories for the company newsletter in order to show the acts of kindness that the staff does, not by a directive, but because they care about how to treat their patients with kindness. When Dignity was created, they came up with the motto, HELLO HUMAN KINDNESS. Now that’s being carried out with the help of Mile a Minute Megan.  (R) THE MALONEY FAMILY ENJOY A DAY TOGETHER AT THE BASEBALL FIELDS



Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

Dennis Eamon Young


127 W. Boone St. | Santa Maria, Ca 93458 | minervaclubofsantamaria.webs.com



Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

How a heartthrob nurse from a daytime television show became a best selling author of women’s fiction novels that set hearts racing up and down the California Coast and beyond.


ara Purl does not simply invent her characters, their environments and their lives. She inhabits them. Her driving force is love. There is love between the characters of course, but that’s not all. Her love of the fictitious town at the center of her stories is based on her love of Cambria, an art community on California’s Central Coast. Mara also imbues her characters with an innate sense of love for the rugged seascapes, pine forests and geologic up-thrust volcanic chains that have formed the state. She peppers these stories with people who are alive with enough purpose and raw energy to sweep the readers along with them on their various missions. She allows the reader to take part in the dangers, surprises and rewards of those people in her books. You feel you must know what they are going to experience next. “It’s a gift you know” Zack tells Miranda, in What The Heart Knows. He continues, “To know what you love. To do what you love.” Miranda shrugged. “But … what else is there?” Is that not the answer we all want? In the same way that all these entwined tales of people guided by their hearts, carry them forward, so the readers are tugged along by their own heartstrings as they bond with the characters. A pause, as a character becomes lost in a sense of wonder at the glory of a sunset, or is drawn into a painting also enchants the reader with an invitation to feel lost in the moment. Mara has been there many times on the beaches and in the galleries, adrift in the wonderland of

the artist’s community by the sea. Her footsteps have preceded those of her characters. Mara’s love affair with the Central Coast f irst sprang to life in 1984, when she and Christopher Law co-starred in Gardner McKay’s play Sea Marks at the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria. They spent the entire summer performing the endearing story of two disparate souls reaching out for love. Timothea, the Welch woman whose heart comes to overrule her head, as she falls in love, echoed Mara’s own early challenge to leave her secure professional journalistic career and follow her heart. That experience spurred her to create the radio drama Milford Haven, U.S.A., in which she combined professional actors and local folks; it became the f irst American radio drama to be broadcast by the BBC. Her books followed and have won hearts and minds, as well as a collection of literary awards. Mara built the inter-relationships based upon those she observed in Cambria, where everyone is impacted in some way by living in a small community. There really are no strangers and very few secrets. Growing up in an artistic family in Japan, Mara and her sister always felt like outsiders. Her father directed plays, as that was where his heart was, But he had to work as a business professional to pay the bills. That lesson was not lost on Mara. When the family returned to the United States, Mara became a journalist, putting her head before her heart. Her heart won out in the end, when the acting and writing took front seat.



(The Queen of Hearts: continued)

Whether she is writing, acting, singing, teaching or engaging in intimate one-to-one conversation, her intense energies are always heart directed. From her heart to her reader or listener’s heart, there is no other choice for her. By a twist of fate, Mara reunited with Christopher in 2014 for a thirty-year anniversary production of Sea Marks at the Pewter Plough Playhouse in Cambria. “I found a whole new set of emotional touchstones and depth in the character,” she told me. “It was a combination of coming home to a beloved character and discovery of a new one within, all at the same time.” One of her fondest memories is of her dad directing her in another production of Sea Marks in Colorado. That still brings tears to her eyes. A 2015-staged theatrical reading of The Other Woman had Mara and four other actors at The Monday Club in San Luis Obispo entertaining a full house of folks w ith the w it, angst and charm of the adaptation of Victoria Zackheim’s anthology. This was part of a nationwide event, the play being held on about 22 stages across the country on the same night. Mara has said that it became a powerful evening for all the actors, as if all their hearts were joined in the experience, the emotional outpouring of each one boosting that of the next. The rapt audience could hardly contain themselves. Mara is much in demand as a speaker at writers’ conferences, where she shares her wisdom and experience w ith other w riters. At the 2016 Central Coast Writers’ Conference, she held court

with friends Victoria Zackheim and Anne Perry, where they shared stories of their writing as well as personal life experiences and the energy in the room literally crackled with emotion. Mara and Victoria playfully drew Anne out further than usual, much to the benefit of the inquisitive audience. As an example of her generous heart, she recently volunteered her time as well as that of her publishing team at Haven Books, to promote the new nonfiction anthology, Equality: What Do You Think About When You Think of Equality, edited by Paul Alan Fahey. Mara also contributed an essay of her own to the collection. “Equality is something I’ve taken for granted on the surface. When Paul asked me this question, I was amazed at the depth of sentiments that rose to the surface upon recalling many different experiences.” She loves to hear from her fans and other writers and generously shares her hard won lessons and insights. Mara’s website invitation sums up her philosophy of life and writing nicely: “Your heart will know you’ve found a place where deepest truths resonate. Join me.” 


Dennis Eamon Young

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? You can reach Mara Purl at www.MaraPurl.com


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

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Dr. Robert & Rachel Hervey Advocating their best for SLO


n 1964 dairy farms were shutting down in the Mid-West. Doc Robert had spent years building his large animal veterinary practice. The writing was on the wall. They had been living in Cass City, Michigan, a quaint little town with a population of 1800. It felt sad for them to consider leaving, however, Dr. Robert and Rachel Hervey dreamed of living in a place they knew of called San Luis Obispo in California. If that had to leave the Mid-West, this was where they would want to raise their three children. Both Robert and Rachel had both been uprooted multiple times during their childhoods. They decided they didn’t want that lifestyle for their children Becky, Robin and Rhonda. They sold their Michigan home and looked for an area that would meet their needs. Their desired location would have great schools, a nearby college, a County seat, and a beautiful setting. Fortunately, at the time there was an opening for a Veterinarian for the State of California and they promptly moved to San Luis Obispo. The children were enrolled in school and Rachel easily found a position at, what was then, General Hospital as a Registered Nurse. Robert began working testing the County’s cattle population for TB. This included the famous Hearst Ranch. Even though Robert enjoyed his job, he yearned to be self-employed, as he was in Michigan. He and Rachel decided that it would be best for him to open his own practice. This time, instead of large animals, his practice was going to cater to small animals. Rachel found the building that was constructed in 1927 (same year they were born) and soon, the San Luis Veterinary Clinic was up and running

on South Higuera Street. Living in the City of San Luis Obispo was good, but they missed their bucolic life in the countryside. In 1970 they fell in love with a property once owned by Dr. Coventry in Tassajara Canyon, just north of San Luis Obispo, over the Grade. Coventry had built a TB sanitarium in 1927- again, that important date - complete with two story buildings, fountains, and a landscaped lawn for his patients. Robert and Rachel purchased the eleven acres of land that even included an active stream. When Robert wasn’t at work with the small animals, he spent as much time as he could to create a park like setting. He planted trees and installed one-ton dams to create a place where steelhead migrations would happen. No one had ever seen anything like this before. Today, the property still has the redwood house that was built in 1976. Rachel continued working as a school nurse. Robert continued his practice, starting the low cost spay and neuter program as an effort to stop over population of pets. He felt very strongly about pet over population and did what he could to enlighten people by offering this program. Robert and Rachel, both kind and thoughtful people, were instrumental in the formation of San Luis Obispo’s Central Coast Chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays). They sat at a table at the Thursday Night Farmers Market in SLO for a dozen years giving out information on PFLAG. Rachel answered a hot line for PFLAG for seven years answering questions for folks. PFLAG has 400+ chapter networks that provides confidential peer support, education and advocacy in

communities in nearly all 50 states. Their 200,000+ members and supporters cross multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas. PFLAG has been saving lives, strengthening families, changing hearts, minds and laws since 1972. Directors release policy statements on issues critical to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed. Having a gay son, Robert and Rachel proudly advocated for him and all others who were marginalized in those early years of acceptance, at local, state and national levels. Rachel worked at the San Luis Coastal Unified School District for ten years. At the end of her career she was in charge of sixteen schools. In January of this year, both Robert and Rachel celebrated huge milestones: their 90th birthdays. And a good time was had by all! Their eldest daughter, Becky, has made it possible for both to remain in their dream home, by living in residence and assisting them during their years of contentment. Both have rich memories from their service in our nation’s military, Robert in the Navy and Air Force and Rachel, a Cadet Nurse. They traveled later in life going all over Europe, China, Russia, and a whale watching trip to Alaska. Now they enjoy the chauffeured drives around SLO county—always returning to the place called “Morning Meadows,” where the deer and the cougars play! 



Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

Ruth Starr


Do the dishes, even if it’s not your turn. Small gestures go a long way.




Commission Community Foundation for local charitable giving. Mila has taught in the SLO Coastal Unif ied District for thirty four years. Currently she is a teacher at Laguna Middle school, teaching there since January 2006. She teaches Spanish and United States Histor y. In addition to teaching, she started the Mayor’s Award for Community Service at Laguna Middle School that she now oversees. In 1983, she had a job teaching at Morro Bay High School where she started a club known as Students Against Driving Drunk (SADD) out of interest from many of the students that were worried about themselves and their peers. By the end of the next year, with the support of administrators, she helped to establish SADD chapters in high schools throughout the county.


eceiving the “Women of Distinction Award” from the Community Foundation and Cuesta College touched the heart of Mila Vujovich-LaBarre. The award was for excellence in Educational Leadership. She also received another distinguished nomination from the San Luis Obispo County Commission on the Status of Women - The Women’s Wall of Fame. That came from her activism in education and in the community. She has had the mission to improve the lives of women throughout SLO County. The other is from the SLO County


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

Mila transferred from Morro Bay High School to San Luis Obispo High School in 1984 to teach Spanish and continue to support SADD and serving as the Key Club advisor, as well. With the support of the California Highway Patrol; and County Drug and Alcohol Services, SADD began to host Countywide annual conferences. Through a grant from PG&E they were able to begin hosting a drug-free county graduation party. This tradition has become known as Grad Night throughout the county. Mila was born in Glendale, CA. She has a sister, Janja, a brother, Bron, and a half-sister, Christina. After finishing fifth grade, the family moved to

Menlo Park, CA. She attended a Progressive elementary school in that city and moved ahead a year in math and language. Moving back to the L.A. area, she took advanced classes. Her father had an educational tour for teens around the U.S. Mila traveled with him for a few years and then began working for him as a counselor and tour co-director. This experience gave her a love for travel and great ease in being with and managing large groups of people. She was originally headed to law school to be a bilingual maritime attorney, when her father had a cerebral hemorrhage during her Senior year of college. Mila elected to get a teaching credential to stay close to home and her father. At UC Santa Barbara she secured a K-12 Multiple Teaching Credential and Single Subject credentials in Spanish and History. Meeting Ron, who was destined to be her husband and getting a teaching job offer all in the same week was the new path for that time. They were married and moved to Cayucos. After traveling to Southeast Asia the following year, she secured a job with SLCUSD (San Luis Coastal Unified School District) in 1983.Throughout the years, when her school schedule allowed, she and Ron traveled at every opportunity to China, Bali, the Philippines, throughout Mexico and Hawaii. They are proud parents of two children, Danica 28 and Joria 26. In 1987, at San Luis Obispo High School, a fellow educator, Greg Bettencourt and Mila hosted anti-drug speaker David Toma with the support of the administration. There were two seatings of 2,000 people at San Luis Obispo High School. The school community, citizens, and college students acknowledged that not only were drugs in our community, but that there was a need to begin targeting the reasons that students were using alcohol and other drugs. They had trained various counselors for three months prior to Toma’s visit to deal with the fallout. From that presentation, her colleagues and Mila helped to develop the Student Assistance Program and increased the availability of counseling for our teens and support for their families.

By 1991, Mila helped SADD transition to County Friday Night Live. (FNL) She started the chapter at SLOHS and then helped to transition the SADD groups to FNL throughout the County with the assistance of personnel from County Drug and Alcohol Services and Supervisor David Blakely. That same year, Greg Bettencourt and Mila started what was to become a tradition at San Luis Obispo High School, The 24 Hour Relay Challenge. It is a 24 hour drug free campout at SLO High school. It happens every Memorial Day weekend for 24 hours. There are teams of 10 people - on that team there is always one runner on the track during the 24 hours. The other 9 people are enjoying free entertainment, food, sports and camaraderie. She organized the 24 Hour Relay Challenge and all of the extracurricular programs. With a core of adult and student volunteers, the net annual profit grew to over $40,000 annually. The health and safety of our student population improved dramatically. She also started the Mayor’s Award for Community Service at San Luis Obispo High School and became one of the co–founders of the TEACH Foundation to benefit the staff and students in the SLCUSD. With so many things going for her, she also helped to develop the ongoing SLOHS All-Class Reunion that has become a Tiger tradition. In 1999, Mila worked with the Youth Sports Association and the Army Corps of Engineers to get the Damon-Garcia Sports fields constructed without any portion of Prado Road infringing on the integrity of the fields. Currently, she also serves on the District Wellness Committee, with an ongoing commitment to ensuring student well-being. Outside of school, she is co-chair of the Elk ’s Scholarships for graduating seniors plus sitting on the Board of Directors at Sunny Acres and is also now a board member of the newly founded non-profit POSAFY- Prevention of Substance Abuse for Youth. Mila is now 60 years of age, with no plans to retire soon. Her website is learningspanish.com. This is her new baby since she is now an empty nester. 


Ruth Starr



All in the Family Loop How a girl from the Black Forest of Germany grew up watching Little House On The Prairie and became a major force in helping people find affordable rentals or even own their own homes in California.


nnette Wagner Montoya was born into the family Konditorei (Café-Restaurant) business in Pforzheim, Germany, the Gold and Silver City, where three rivers meet. It translates from Latin as The Door To The Black Forest and is vastly popular with people from all over Germany as well as many international travelers. Annette’s family lived the values of the seventy eight year old business, where hard work, pleasing social skills and the integrity of a handshake always remained a given. Family members, employees and customers of the thriving 200-seat restaurant could take respect and graciousness to be as clear a given as the quality of whatever appeared on the menu. Ever on the go, whether at work or sports, Annette strove for scholastic excellence as well, graduating second in her High School class before going on to earn a degree in hotel and restaurant management. “I did have a bump in seventh grade” she tells me with a chuckle and a wink, “due to all my sports activities, but I did manage to get back on track. I’ve always been very physical, willing to try new things and push the envelope.” I can attest to that, since I have taken pictures of her dancing up a storm. Annette answered an ad seeking a nanny in Cayucos, California, placed by a couple who had family ties and vacationed in the Black Forest, so she arrived in the United States in 1987 with a job. The family had also hired a German teacher and the two explored much of the state in their spare time. Annette had caught California fever, but her itchy feet had other ideas, so she took a summer course at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Those itchy feet kept her busy f lying back and forth between the United States and Germany, with an international work permit allowing her more latitude for opportunity. 1989 found her in Atlanta, Georgia, working as a lunch and dinner f loor manager at the Capital City Club, a private men’s club. Always finding creative ways to make things work out, she talked one of the members, a local plastic surgeon into giving her a Methusalem champagne bottle, which he usually collected ANNETTE & HER PEOPLES' SELF HELP HOUSING TEAM


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

each year. After the bottle had been duly emptied, it became her Christmas tree stand. Nothing wasted there. Annette followed the call of love back to California, to spend an idyllic year with the man she would eventually marry, but he kept postponing a proposal. Even though she hated to go, it had come time to leave the Golden State for the Black Forest in order to regroup and settle down. A bit of soul searching with her dad brought out the realization that she had been pinning for the satisfaction and social value of making people happy. He suggested that she enter the banking industry, with an eye toward customer relations. She embarked upon her new career by landing a starting position with the Sparkasse Banking Group, filling various positions with an eye toward an eventual management role. The erstwhile boyfriend had also made a realization in the interim, so he f lew to Germany to finally propose, but Annette decided not to be in a rush and pondered on it for three months before she made up her mind and said yes. Her dad had also made up his mind-that the wedding would take place in the ‘family’ church, built in 1219, and so the date was set for May of 1992 in Pforzheim, Germany.

The happy couple settled down in San Luis Obispo, Annette putting her training to good use snaring work at Wells Fargo Bank. For the next four years she worked her way up the ranks, getting to know a wide net of people in the community, always living up to her family tradition of service to other people. One of those people was Jeannette Duncan of Peoples’ SelfHelp Housing. Jeannette understood the younger woman’s potential and penchant for hard work so in 1996 she created a new position specifically in order to hire Annette as her Event Planner. Now working with a group of like-minded people driven by a passion to help other folks in the community, she felt for the first time that she had closed the family loop. She had indeed come full circle solving problems and making a difference in other people’s lives. Hard working families struggling to find affordable housing, much less ever being able to get far enough ahead to own their own home were now being helped to realize that elusive American dream. I have photographed Annette and her team setting up and preparing the ground for affordable housing opportunities, so that CEO John Fowler could bring the stories of these struggling families to the attention of both public officials and the general public, as well as describe the array of support services Peoples’ Self-Help Housing can and does provide. It is such an honor to work with them all and see the joy they share ‘family’ to family, as well as to listen to John patiently expound on the picture of these folks working regular jobs, contributing to the local economy, and many of them committed to putting the time and energy into building their own homes. “This is not charity, it’s a helping hand,” she tells me. “If there is no good reason to say no-I (we) won’t.” Annette is always looking forward, searching out the challenges that will bring new opportunities to help those around her. She is the proverbial ‘chip off the old block ’, being much like her eighty eight year old mother in Germany, who still takes care of herself and her family, yet also finds time to volunteer and enjoy life. “Cover it with love, no matter what” her mother likes to say, whether it is a small misstep or a big problem. This is the psychology that Annette grew up with and now she carries it forward, inf luencing so many others along the way, including her nineteen-year old (almost twenty) son.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? For further information about the Peoples’ Self-Help Housing team, call 805-540-2452 or visit www.pshhc.org

She feels no need to be a boss as she is an integral part of a team, happy to wake up every morning and go to work, excited to be doing that which she loves, along with others who feel the same way, thriving in the family loop.  STORY & PHOTOS BY

Dennis Eamon Young

As I first drive up the hill, there on the left fierce Oso rears upright; carved bear of lumbering brown huge forepaw raised— in warning? or in welcome? Guardian of the Valley that hugs its secret places close confounding even long-time residents with dune-interrupted streets. Wherever you want to go, you can’t get there from here I never stopped to think in my headlong rush across the country craving adventure of the midlife crisis kind— leaving behind all I loved and denying the pain of it— that people and towns are not the same all over. Unique, like snowf lakes, they defy newcomer expectations. I thought I’d find what I left behind. In the city, when I couldn’t sleep, there was always a sidewalk cafe open; caffeine and traffic for company during the faded-star nights. But here they would roll up the sidewalks —if they had any— and send them to bed with the sun, leaving the night to peaceful silence, long walks, and firmament-embedded firef lies.


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

Becoming in Los Osos, CA I knew three or four people once, on the city street where I lived. We even said hello a time or two. The rest of us never exchanged a glance, for there is danger in the looks of strangers. You could love. You could lose. You live in fear.

This was more than I thought I would find: a family of my own choosing, an integration into a greater whole. An embracing of the warm dark, and trust once again come home to roost. An insider embraced now with love.

But here in the place where brown bears once roamed, no one fears the loss. Strangers greet each other like long-lost relatives, become friends in supermarket lines, expand their circles outward to embrace the valley world.

Today I hug deep inside me the warm feeling of peace and belonging that tells me I am where I need to be. And in this small town, my town, where I smile and wave back with joy and pleasure— for no one is a stranger here in this Valley of the Bears— I have finally discovered the meaning of Life’s grand design:

And beyond. It terrified me at first, those smiles and waves, strangers greeting me as though I belonged, and was wanted. Who are these people? I asked. What do they want from me? It spilled out of me, the anxiety of a city girl self-transplanted from the madness of big-city existence into small town life.

This is life.

We sometimes let go of what we love In order to simply love more.

This was not what I left behind: the family that had chosen me so many years ago, into which I never quite fit. The fear of dark streets, an obsession with shutters and locks. An outsider always looking in. Always loving, and losing. WRITTEN BY

Susan Tuttle




Offer a smile to every person you encounter today.


34 The Mysterious Wedding Donation 38 Loving Outside of Oneself 42 Love Is an Action 46 Love Is in the Air



the mysterious


A Story of Enduring Love & A Timeless Thrift Shop Treasure

n art deco satin wedding gown f lanked by a chorus line of rose, peach, pale slate blue and ivor y vintage lingerie created an arresting display in the window of the Wilshire Hospice Hope Chest Thrift Shop in May of 2015. Shoppers and passersby stopped in their tracks, exclaiming over the beautifully preserved pieces, and reading aloud framed documents telling of a 1938 wedding and an upcoming silent auction. The collection had been donated to the popular boutique on San Luis Obispo’s South Higuera Street on a drizzly afternoon the prior December. Volunteers working the busy donation bay opened what seemed to be an ordinary, aged dress box. What was inside, however, was anything but ordinary. The story of love, loss, and family that emerged captured the imagination of a community and remains a partially unsolved mystery today. “When we opened the box, we all got goose bumps,” shop manager Jenann McLennan said. “Everything was packed in tissue paper. On top was the wedding dress. As we began to undo the packets there were all these breathtaking lingerie pieces. At the bottom lay the wedding invitation, the signed marriage certificate, and a list of the wedding party. “We felt privileged, almost like we were invited guests.”


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

The anonymous donation included the white silk, satin-finish wedding gown, and a lingerie trousseau rivaling that of any 1930’s Hollywood star. There were pajama sets, long gowns, slips, bed jackets, the short tap pants and tap set of the era--all except two pieces made of the finest, airy silk, and most embellished with handmade European lace. The lingerie and wedding dress were from the same time period, and size small. “There was a great deal of interest in the collection,” McLennan said. “We hated to split it up, so we hit on the idea of a silent auction. Our customers, and the whole community really, were enchanted with the story.” The wedding documents provided a clue to the couple’s identity; their names, the ceremony date and wedding location, and an Internet search led to a bit more information about their life. In the prelude to America’s involvement in World War II, on June 12, 1938, a 24-year-old doctor’s daughter, Ethel Jeanne Mock, exchanged wedding vows with Naval officer, William Terrell Hulson, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Redlands, California. Little else was known about the couple until further research by a curious writer and a knowledgeable Hope

Chest volunteer led to the obituary of Jeanne Mock Gardes in Coronado Island newspapers in 2014. The names of family members in the obituary, led to further unraveling of their tale. Jeanne was raised in Redlands, attended Scripps College for three years, before transfering to Stanford University, where she graduated with a degree in Psychology. “In 1938 she married William Hulson,” the obituary said,

wedding donation


“a Naval aviator who died in an accident in 1940.” A search of newspaper archives revealed the sketchy, heart-wrenching details, that Ltn. William Terrill Hulson died September 23, 1940 when his VP fighting plane crashed into the sea 12 miles southwest of Dana Point on a routine f light. One article said the plane was believed to be off the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier. The probable cause of death:

the pilot fainted due to G-LOC, or lack of oxygen while f lying, a notuncommon occurrence, prior to development of specialized suits. He was 27. Jeanne entered the Naval Reserve at the outbreak of W WII, serving at the WAVE training base in New York, her obituary continued. She married Ltn. Commander Alfred Gardes in 1943, when they became the first pair of U.S. naval officers

to wed. They were married for 57 years, until Alfred’s death in 2000 in Coronado. Family members named in the obituary led to contact with f irst Brian Gardes, a grandson in Portland, Oregon, then to his aunt, Jeanne’s daughter, Jeannmarie (Brandy) Gardes, and eventually to Margo Hulson Fraser of Shell Beach, who donated the wedding gown. Everyone contacted was eager to talk of Jeanne, who they



(The Mysterious Wedding Donation: continued)

described as a remarkable, loving and kind woman, who managed to remain close to the family of her first husband, while living a full and fascinating life with her second husband, with whom she had children. Her two husbands had been friends, family members said, and had attended the Naval academy together. “The two families were always close, “ Brandy said. “My mother never threw her first husband in my father’s face, but we would all get together at holidays and special occasions. They were part of our lives.” “Growing up we always thought of Brandy and her brother Chip as our cousins,” Margo said. “Technically they’re not, but to us they are.” When Jeanne died in April of 2014, at age 100, Brandy packed up the wedding gown and memorabilia from her mother’s wedding in 1938, and mailed it to her “cousin” Margo in Shell Beach, as she thought the Hulson family might like to have it. After a time, Margo decided to donate the gown and items in the box to the Hospice thrift store, believing it was time for someone else to enjoy and appreciate them. She kept the veil as a memento. Margo knew nothing of the lingerie collection that was displayed along with Jeanne Gardes’ wedding dress. “When I donated the box it just had the gown and wedding documents inside. My mother died a few years ago in Oklahoma from breast cancer,” Margo said. “Hospice was so wonderful to her, and all of us, I’ve donated to Hospice ever since.” Brandy Gardes also knew nothing about the lingerie. “I wore the dress at my wedding,” Brandy said. “I’d treasured it as my mother and grandmother made it. They were both excellent seamstresses.” The winner of the silent auction, Terry Bothwell, was as enthralled with the collection as the Hope Chest staff, volunteers and scores of admirers who had viewed it during the four weeks display. “I was overwhelmed by the collection,” she said while holding up the wedding gown during a photo shoot at her home. “The fabrics and workmanship are so beautiful. They are works of art.” There are as many as 80 volunteers assisting in varied capacities at Hospice Hope Chest, sometimes 10 or more working on any given day. “We don’t have any way of knowing who first came across the wedding donation, or the lingerie,” McLennan said. “But it made for a delightful story that we all loved being a part of. “We honor all of our donations, our wonderful customers, and dedicated volunteers. That’s how all this happens,” she said raising her arms wide and turning to take in the busy shop. “It all helps to support the many programs that Hospice provides in the community.” The owner of the sensational vintage lingerie, that seemed so much a part of the story of a 1938 bride, remains a mystery. One that hopefully will be solved with publication of this article and talk among those who were fortunate enough to be a part story.  (BLACK/WHITE PHOTO) JEANNE & BILL ON THEIR WEDDING DAY (COLOR PHOTO) SILENT AUCTION HIGH BIDDER, TERRY BOTHWELL, PEEKING FROM BEHIND THE GOWN STORY BY


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

Lillian Brown

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LOVING OUTSIDE OF ONESELF “That rosy feeling we get when contributing to the greater good – makes us happy and thereby motivates us to continue the cycle of giving,” says Eldonna Edwards.


he Donate Life Ambassador has celebrated the fiveyear anniversary of her incredible act of kindness – donating one of her kidneys to a perfect stranger. Most donors give courageously to a family member, or perhaps to a friend. It is so extraordinary for anyone to donate to a stranger that there are only one hundred and sixty one Americans to have done so to date.

and even though I distanced myself from the religion, I have always felt a deep connection to the idea of giving back. There are so many opportunities to give back every day. All we need do is reach out, sometimes with a smile of encouragement, other times with a helping hand,“ she continues. “You may never become aware of the ripple effect your actions have, out there beyond yourself.”

“I grew up the daughter of an evangelical minister in Michigan

Eldonna went back to college in her forties. In talking with


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

a classmate, she discovered that the young woman was living with a kidney disease. After much thought, she offered to donate one of her kidneys to the other woman, but could not. Restrictive rules about non-related donors barred the way. As she researched and wrote a class paper railing against this outdated system, Eldonna felt heartbroken by profiles of those waiting in limbo to find a donor. “I became determined to be part of the solution – to put my kidney where my mouth was, so to speak,” she says. After discovering and meeting Kathy, a hospice nurse, she again made her offer to donate a kidney, but they were not compatible. The transplant coordinator suggested they try a program called Paired Donation, searching for another matching pair. Three years went by without a match. In an even bolder move to become a living donor, Eldonna informed her transplant coordinator that she would be willing to donate to whomever was next on the list of those waiting (and in many cases dying) for a donated kidney. After being carefully informed of possible risks involved in such a procedure, she was still determined to forge ahead. Eldonna had contacted a filmmaker, Jan Krawitz, when she had discovered in her research that no film existed on this subject. Jan receives many solicitations for ideas about new documentary films to make, but this subject had previously tickled her interest, so she met with Eldonna and had begun filming while Kathy was the intended recipient. “If I had been some wild-eyed tree hugger,” Eldonna recounts, “Jan would not have been interested. She understood that I had fully researched the subject, knew all possible dangers and I was of sound mind and body. I had bonded with Kathy and I was determined to see this through. Even when the goal became more elusive and the recipient unknown, Jan stuck with the project.” The 2013 award winning product of this most unusual collaboration, “Perfect Strangers”, is an emotional roller coaster ride of a film that leaves an equal amount of laughs and tears along the way. Being prepped for the upcoming surgery, Eldonna is told by the nurse that she still has the

option of not going through with the procedure. We are right there with her as she silently goes through this important last minute consideration and a phone conversation with her supportive son. “While being a Living Donor doesn’t define me,” she confides, “I speak to groups about organ donation (and kindness in general) and help moderate Kidney Transplant Donors & Recipients, a Facebook community of 11,000 members seeking support and advice. I have been blessed with deeper meaning and a greater sense of purpose in my life. Besides, Living Donors are happier people. There is a sense of joy and euphoria that accompanies the act of living donation that is hard to explain.” To begin with, Eldonna told only close friends and family about her decision, in order to stay focused on what needed to be done. She had watched Kathy go through the painful process of dialysis for years, in the hope of living long enough to receive a kidney. She wished to be able to do more to help people like her friend. In an unusual twist, Eldonna, who is a massage therapist and also a writer, wrote a book about her journey, after the movie had been made. In Lost in Transplantation: Memoir of an Unconventional Organ Donor, Eldonna is able to delve even deeper into the experiences she has been through, to ref lect on the emotions and the changes that have been wrought in her life. “You must, first of all, be healthy in order to donate,” she explains. “I lived a healthy lifestyle, but I began to take even better care of myself than before. I had the feeling that I was an incubator for another persons’ kidney. It wasn’t mine anymore. I became the guardian of that kidney. I even sent an adoption letter along with the kidney when it left on the Red Eye to New Jersey.” Eldonna sometimes forgets that she has only one kidney. When you remove a kidney from a healthy person, the remaining one grows in mass and increases in capacity. “You learn through the giving to love outside of yourself,” Eldonna says. “ You are healthier and happier. You experience a true sense of purpose. Love is a verb!” 


Dennis Eamon Young

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Eldonna Edwards can be reached on Facebook and Twitter www.facebook/EldonnaEdwardsAuthor | www.edonnaedwards.com



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love is an action M

any years ago, I attended a talk by a priest who spoke about love between husbands and wives. When the speaker finished, a middle-aged man approached him. The man said he no longer loved his wife and asked what he should do. The priest answered, “Love her.” The man, puzzled, repeated his question and received the same answer. As he stood there frowning, the priest explained that love was not an emotion, but an action. He suggested that this fortysomething man go home and treat his wife as he had done when he first fell in love with her. I believed I understood the minister’s message and imagined the man buying his wife f lowers, kissing and hugging her, laughing at her jokes, sharing the important things in her life. It pleased me to think that she responded positively and they renewed their old feelings . . . and, of course, lived happily ever after. When my own marriage was crumbling after almost thirty years, I was too angry and hurt to remember this story. Bitterness resided in my house and in my heart. I had married forever. Divorce was not something my religion or my personal beliefs supported. I was a failure. I imagined my husband felt the same. We had tried counseling several times without success. Although two of our children were still living at home, they were mostly grown. They were sad, but strangely enough did not encourage us to stay together. Apparently, they had watched as our lives and goals diverged and


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

recognized and acknowledged our unhappiness before we did. I’d love to say it was an amicable divorce, where two people recognized they had changed and could no longer find even a semblance of happiness together and cooperatively separated their lives and possessions. But, it was not. It was an angry, confrontational time. Since there were no child custody disputes, we put our energies into arguing about furniture, our belongings, investments, our pets, and on down the line to minute details not worth mentioning. At times, I thought I still loved my husband. One day he told me he still loved me, but he didn’t like me anymore. That pretty much summed it up for me, too. Our lives had changed, as had our priorities and our needs. We found it difficult to find anything we agreed on and joy and love were nowhere to be found. The wrangling finally ended, the divorce papers were signed, and we more-or-less moved on. I was certainly happier alone than I had


Judythe Guarnera

FORGIVENESS IS LOVE been, but having four children together guaranteed our paths would cross. Tension simmered under the outward civilities. Eventually he re-married and I joined a divorce support group. The group provided monthly speakers who offered their expertise to help us navigate the rocky path we all were travelling. One speaker caught my attention after her intro. She asked us to repeat her words: “In my marriage, I did the best I could.” That’s easy, I thought. So I parroted her words. When she asked us to say the same thing, except to substitute that it was our spouses who had done the best they could, the room was silent. My silence felt louder than that of the others. Before she finished speaking, she had convinced my brain that both statements were true. My heart was another story. Gradually her ideas helped me look differently at the ‘failure’ of my marriage. Although it was easy to ‘say’ I’d done my best, I really didn’t believe it. I had failed at something I believed with my whole heart— that love/marriage was forever. It took a lot of soul-searching to recognize that, despite the

many mistakes I’d made, it had been the best I could do at that time. I certainly hadn’t awakened one morning and decided from that point on I was going to be a bad spouse. I struggled to convince myself that, though my efforts might have left a lot to be desired, they really had been the best I could manage at that time. Strangely, once I acknowledged that and began the process of forgiving myself for not being perfect, it was much easier to recognize that truth about my husband and to really begin to forgive him. Neither of us had planned to dismantle our marriage or our love. February is all about love. We see red hearts and f lowers everywhere, symbolizing love. If, as the priest said many years earlier, love is an action, what do you do with it, when you recognize it’s not in either person’s best interest to practice it anymore? So, here I am, with this discarded need to love. Might I be able to retool this action of love and employ it to forgive and move on? Although I don’t love my ex-husband as I did when we first met, I love that he did the best he could to love me during the years we were together. Our children are symbolic of that love, a very genuine love for many years. And finally, we loved each other enough to move on and find new loves and new lives. Today, I am happily married. The woman I am today is the product of what I learned during those years of my first marriage. I am a better wife because of the whole process. 




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Love Is All-Encompassing 2017





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One of my favorite songs is from the sixties, by the Troggs, Love is All Around. I feel it in my fingers I feel it in my toes The love that’s all around me And so the feeling grows


found this feeling up in Big Sur; I mean I really found it. Something happened to me on August 14, 2014. It’s hard to put into words, but I’ll do my best.

I drove up to Limekiln that morning, because it’s my favorite place to hike. I was starting my school job the next day, and I wanted to clear my head, relax, and enjoy nature, before getting back to the grind. There’s nothing like being on a forest trail to get you moving in the right direction. As soon as I stepped onto the path, I felt the peacefulness of the place. Yet, I also felt my own inner churnings, and so there was a separation between me and the harmony I sensed all around. I walked along breathing in the fresh, wilderness air, hoping to calm my spinning mind. It wasn’t working. I know not to f ight these thoughts, because there’s a message hidden in them. I could hear the rambling voice of concern over the job, worry about money not earned during the summer break. I just kept walking along, listening to my mind ramble on and hearing the sound of the creek, and the birds around me. I hiked for a while, and then sat on a bench near a stream. I contemplated life for a time, breathing in and out. There was nothing I needed to do in that moment, so I let my thoughts rest and f loat away. That’s when peace washed over me; and I became immersed it in. I’ve noticed that when I let things be, everything slows down, and I feel calm and connected. In the forest, in that moment, contentment surfaced. After a time, the sun moved across the sky, and I knew it was time to head back. Walking along the trail, I saw another path I’d never noticed before. There was still daylight left, so instead of entering the parking lot, I took a turn and followed the creek in a new direction. STORY BY


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

Lili Sinclaire

Love Is in the Air Within a short period of time I was in the quiet of the forest again, and I became aware of Something. Silently walking down the trail, the Something became more prominent. Finally, feeling It so strongly, I stopped walking. I stood still, and realized Something was there. I looked up into the trees, thinking I might see It, all the while knowing I wouldn’t. I decided to stop trying to figure it out. To stop thinking, and to just be! And then It powerfully struck me with the gentle force of wonder. Something was all around me. It was in the forest, in the trees, in the air. I stood still letting It f loat through me; I was like a sponge, soaking It up. I wanted to hug It, to hug Something. I wanted to call out, “I love you!” I became aware that what I was feeling was Love. I didn’t feel loved, I felt Love itself. I recognized it, because of course we’ve all felt it. Yet, I had never felt it like this before. I felt pure Love in all Its wholeness and perfection. I began to wonder if what I was feeling was real, and immediately I felt It f loating away. I wanted to reach out and grasp It, but of course I couldn’t. Had my mind made this experience up? Possibly. What seemed truer was that when my mind was completely quiet, there Love was. Sometimes after I run on the beach, in the quiet of the morning, standing on the shore, I sense It. Someday, I hope I’ll let everything go in my life; I’ll become so still, that this pure, wondrous Love will completely awaken me. That day in the forest was the best experience of my life. I became aware of how powerful love is; how much bigger than me, my thoughts, feelings, or perceptions It is. Every day, I practice stopping, quieting and listening. Because I want to remember that what’s important isn’t stuff, it isn’t doing, it isn’t accomplishing. What really matters in life is being in Love. For me, this means taking actions that lead to good deeds. Essentially, it’s being open to the opportunities all around me; to be kind to others and to myself too. 

It’s written in the wind It’s everywhere I go The love that’s all around me And so the feeling grows


Forgive someone who you feel wronged you.


50 Ivy Alvarado 54 Indigo Heart 57 Benefits of Whole, Raw Fruit 58 After Forty Years



Ivy Alvarado T

went y f ive year old, Iv y A lvarado, of Arroyo Grande, not only epitomizes each of these valuable characteristics, but she takes them to a new level of excellence.

Nine years ago, on July 20, 2008, at 16 years of age, Ivy collapsed from a cardiac arrest while working at her parttime job. Her heart and breathing completely stopped. Robin and Larry Zeck, who were patrons of the sandwich shop where she worked, administered CPR until help arrived. The Fire Department revived her and she was then transported by ambulance to French Hospital in a coma. “She was a normal kid,” her mother, Melinda Alvarado, recalls. Ivy was a healthy high school senior. She was a runner and had started the Environmental Club at San Luis Obispo High School. The Doctors found no apparent cause for the cardiac arrest and the prognosis was not good. MRI and CAT images revealed brain damage. Doctors told her family Ivy would remain in a vegetative state for life, or at best be wheelchairbound and possibly unable to recognize her family. Her family rejected that suggestion and apparently, so did Ivy! After 10 days Ivy woke from the coma.


There’s no doubt it takes determination, dedication and hard work to accomplish a goal. It helps to have a positive attitude.


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

“It was painful!” recalls Ivy. “Rehab is painful when you haven’t moved for days.” But Ivy was determined to improve. After approximately 3 months Ivy began to speak. There were many challenges, but Ivy had support. “She was never alone,” Melinda said. “She has very tight family and friends.” “It was hard, emotionally and physically,” said Ivy. “Mom is what helped me through.” Ivy also had the support of a team of therapists to help her regain strength and her motor and living skills. They included a physical therapist, occupational therapist and a speech therapist. However, between hospital bills and the cost of therapy, Ivy’s family became overwhelmed and their savings depleted. Local rock band, Unfinished Business, were some of Ivy’s biggest fans. Not only did they send her flowers, cd’s and t-shirts in support, they decided to head

up a fundraiser for her, as well. The benef it concert raised approximately $50,000 which helped to offset the enormous debt the family had incurred. Ivy and Melinda speak of the band with appreciation. “We're so grateful for what they did,” Melinda says with a smile. The Alvarados are grateful for many things. The family set up a blog, IvyAlvaradoBlogSpot.com, to chronicle Ivy’s recovery and give friends and family a place to support her. The pages were filled with appreciation, even from Ivy. On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, Ivy posted on her blog: “I am walking!!!!! Some Doc’s said it couldn’t be done BUT LOOK AT ME!!! Today, with the assistance of her mother, Melinda, Ivy walks into Miller Chiropractic in Santa Maria for her continued therapy, Dr. Wayne Miller and his father, Dr. Robert Miller are also two people the Alvarados speak of with great appreciation. “I believe things happen, when they are suppose to happen,” stated Melinda. “Things had a perfect timing.” A friend called her about an unrelated topic but happened to mention Dr. Wayne. Dr. Wayne Miller holds an F.A.B.B.I.R. (Fellow of the American Board of Brain Injury Rehabilitation) as well as his D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) and his D. A. B.C.N. (Diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Neurologists). “They heard about us from another patient,” Dr. Wayne recounted, “...and they thought we could help.” The chiropractic team evaluated Ivy’s special orthopedic and neurological needs. “We found things we thought we could help with, but they couldn’t afford the treatment,” continued Dr. Wayne. “I talked to my father, he said, let’s do this for them, anyhow.” The Alvarados initially paid for the first three visits. After that, everything has been gratis. Ivy has worked with the Millers for three years now. Her treatment is once a week and each visit can last up to an hour. “Dr. Wayne is brilliant!” exclaims Melinda. “He gives us answers,” adds Ivy. Ivy’s therapy includes mirror therapy, which stimulates mirror neurons in her pre-frontal cortex allowing her to see her body move as it should. Also, targeting, which helps her control balance and relearn ankle strategies for walking. SSEP (Somato Sensory Evoked Potential) electrical stimulation used on the muscles in her legs for gait training and the nerves in her tongue that affect her brainstem and help control eye movement. Dr Wayne uses a VNG (Video Nystagmography) to videotape her eye movements and assess her vestibular system. Eye control is a necessary ingredient for balanced walking. He is then able to monitor her progress from week to week. They have also given her an interactive metronome to use at home, which builds pathways for improving her timing and rhythm. But her most impressive therapy is using the Gyrostim.


(Ivy Alvarado: continued)

“It’s like a roller coaster ride,” laughed Ivy. Melinda shared that after spinning, Ivy’s left eye no longer drooped. Melinda has also seen improvement in Ivy’s posture, balance, head tilt, and left hand grasp. Her spasms and startle reflex have improved since working with the Miller team, too. “We’re seeing results,” shared Dr. Wayne. “She continues to get better.” “It’s quite amazing, how she keeps improving, even after all this time,” Melinda sighs. Ivy’s therapy is hard work and at times can leave her feeling exhausted. Her mother admits sometimes she goes straight home and takes a nap. Ivy doesn’t let the challenge stop her. She often calls upon her sense of humor and wit to get her through. Her goal is to walk unassisted and is dedicating all of her time and energy to that end. “Very good, very good,” Doctor Robert Miller reassures her as he assists her with her targeting. The two share a fun doctor patient banter that keeps the therapy light hearted.


“He is doing stuff out of the box,” Melinda shares with enthusiasm. The UltraThera - Gyrostim is a $150,000 piece of equipment. According to Dr. Wayne there are only 12 in the United States and only two in California. It is a multi-axis rotating chair with a f ive-point harness system that moves the f luid in the inner ear to stimulate the vestibular system and increase frequency of f iring of cervical colic ref lexes and creates optokinetic brain activation. It is used to treat stroke patients, autism, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, PTSD, concussions, and more. “It fires pathways to all of your spinal muscles and central nervous system,” explained Dr. Wayne. It helps to improve balance using ref lective pathways.”

Doctor Wayne and his father, Dr. Robert, who have been working together since 1984, are also treating other patients in their practice for free. This has prompted Dr. Wayne to to form a 501C3. He is calling his non-profit, “Alternative Neurological Solutions”. A new website is in the works. His hope is to help more patients get treatment who do not have the finances to do so. The non-profit will allow families to contribute toward their loved one’s recovery and be able to receive a tax exemption. Dr. Wayne says the stack of names on his desk, of those patients needing treatment but who have no financial means, keeps getting higher. He realizes there is work to be done to get the non-prof it going. In the meantime, he stays dedicated to his other patients and Ivy. “Seeing her change,” he admits, “and the way she lights up, makes it all worth it!” As for Ivy, there is no doubt she will reach her goal, step by step with a sparkle in her eye and a big smile on her face. 

“The first time Ivy spun in it.” her mother said, “she could not stop giggling.” STORY BY

Teresa Gasca-Burk Burk Manson


WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Check out Ivy's blog at IvyAlvaradoBlogSpot.com


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017


Non-Profit 501 C-3 Providing Services The mission of Alternative Neurological Solutions (ANS) is to expand our clientele and facility to accommodate anyone, regardless of his or her financial situation.

for Hours • Questions • Appointments • Education Info • Donation Opportunities, visit

WWW.ALTERNATIVENEUROLOGICALSOLUTIONS.COM Miller Chiropractic has been a part of the Santa Maria community since 1961. We have been utilizing functional neurology to help our patients since 1994. As we have acquired more equipment and technology to better serve our community, we have noticed there is a greater need for care than there is funding available for the necessary treatment. Therefore, we had the vision to start a 501c3 corporation called Alternative Neurological Solutions (ANS) in the hope of raising money for those patients that cannot afford the care they need, particularly our wounded vets with PTSD. Functional Neurology focuses on improving the function of targeted pathways to the brain using specific exercises. It can repair damaged pathways or create new pathways to improve the function of the nervous system through neuroplasticity.

Dr. Wayne Miller, D.C., D.A.B.C.N. Doctor of Chiropractic / Chiropractic Neurologist

2441 Professional Parkway | Santa Maria • (805) 934-5703 • wayne@weadju.com

INDIGO HE A RT Indigo is a budding artist at 5 years of age. She has put “the heart” in art by gifting her paintings to over 60 people. It all began when her mother planned a trip to the Santa Ynez Valley Quick Draw.


am a local artist and author,” her mother, Alana Clumeck said. “Indigo often observes me working away, painting and interacting with my clients. When I told her we were going to an art festival, she said she wanted to paint some paintings and hand them out to people, so that she could make them smile, like I do. How could I say no to that!?!” Indigo and her mother rolled up their sleeves and began painting. It became their special mother-daughter project. When they had enough finished art work they took to the streets. Indigo chose whom she wanted to give her art to. Her mother would approach them, explain their little project and then Indigo would gift them her art.

@indigoheartproject #indigoheartproject


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

On one occasion Indigo happened to choose a very special gentleman to give her art to. “It just so happened that he owned an art gallery in Montecito,” Alana said with excitement. “He wanted to pay Indigo for her art work. Indigo chose to use the money for more art supplies, so she could gift more art.” “I thought to myself, I would love to know where her paintings end up,” said Alana. “So, I created a hashtag, #indigoheartproject and an instagram account, @indigoheartproject, and thus Indigo Heart Project was born.” But that was not enough for Alana. She felt the project could do more. Though she enjoyed the experience of approaching random strangers, engaging with them on a social level and then seeing the pride and joy in her daughter when she gifted her art, Alana wanted to share the experience with other moms. “I spread the word with my friends and we all have been getting together to create art with our young children to gift to different entities in our community,” she said. The group holds painting parties, and at one party 20 children and their parents were in attendance. “I looked around and was awestruck that all these loving mommies were motivated to invest in their children and be the change that they want in this world!” “I’ve had my kids participate in the Indigo heart project to teach them about helping others and showing kindness to people who may be lonely,” said Laurie Zanders, mother of Ruby and Luke. “To bring love to others and to give of ourselves is the best gift.” The Indigo Heart Project has gifted art to Atterdag Senior Center and the

Pediatrics department at Cottage Hospital. Alana estimates that the group has given away close to 200 paintings. Each painting includes a message on the back explaining the project and encouraging the receiver to follow them on Instagram. Alana is now putting her focus on the painting parties. Recently, they had a painting party at the Atterdag Center where the residents and children painted together. Patti Lackie who has worked in Social Services at Atterdag for 37 years explained that the residents have on going art classes and art shows. “But the combination with the children is a wonderful asset,” she added. “The residents are really enjoying it!” “It is a time for socializing,” said Krystina Iles-Brunk, who is the Activities Assistant, regarding the value of the art classes. “They are working on motor skills and the colors are a sensory stimulus. And it’s fun!” STORY BY

Everyone, was indeed smiling, from the oldest two residents in attendance, who were 104 years old, to the youngest guest artist, at age 4. “It makes me feel happy and it’s fun,” said Indigo, who inspired the painting parties. “And it makes them happy!” “You’ve got to use your imagination,” said one senior painter, with brush in hand. “I’m enjoying it!” “Pablo Picasso has a quote,” A lana recalled. “It is, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”” Alana Clumeck and her daughter Indigo are doing their part to keep the artist alive in everyone. Alana also has another motive. “We’re just a bunch of Mums who want to teach our kids to love on each other!”  Teresa Gasca-Burk

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE? Interested moms can contact Alana at alanaclumeck@gmail.com To see Alana’s own art visit her website at www.alanaclumeck.com centralcoastkind.com


benefits of



There’s a reason all physicians recommend you eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits. Quite a few reasons, actually. The following are a few things you’ll consume when eating a piece of your favorite type of fruit:



Helps maintain gastrointestinal regularity and reduces the risk of heart disease

Helps your body fight off infections and maintain healthy eyes and skin



Helps reduce a pregnant woman’s risk for giving birth to a child with defects in the brain or spinal cord

Helps your teeth stay healthy and assists your body in the healing process when you experience a cut or wound

POTASSIUM Helps your body maintain a healthy blood pressure In order to get plenty of these important nutrients, you’ll need to slide some fruit into your diet every day.


BONUS: The more colorful the fruit, the better!

Fortunately, adding fruit to your meals is an easy thing. All you have to do is drown some grapes in yogurt for breakfast, eat a banana as a side item during lunch, and go for a fruit salad at dinner!  Live with Purpose,

Coach C





After Forty Years You slice your orange into wedges— since you learned that from me, I say, Who would you be without me? Who would I be without you? I initiated eye-to-eye contact and you launched laughter. You taught me about cocktail parties. I taught you about encounter groups. I cooked the artichokes. You sauced them with mayonnaise, garlic and lime juice.

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You put onions and olives in my Martini; I put heart of palm in your Bloody Mary. You showed me the fastest driving routes. I stopped you from taking them. You tried reason. I ricocheted reason and bounced logic out the door. I left sports and politics to you, you left poetry to me. We list this history together and know the question waiting for one of us— Who will you be without me? Who will I be without you? (from Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith, Penciled In, 2015)

BY Jeanie


Love Is All-Encompassing 2017



Did you just finish up a great book? Pass it along to someone else so they can enjoy it, too!



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photographer, JUSTIN GARDNER




Volunteer your talents with one local charity in your community!


• better an oops than a what if? • throw kindness around like confetti! • Every picture tells a story!

• be your own kind of beautiful! • Be fearless on what sets your soul on fire!

• can’t never could do a thing! • Soar like an eagle! • life is what you make it,

and you make it beautiful! • feel good about you. • Enjoy

this moment !

- Kim Iribarren, Founder

WE ASKED, YOU ANSWERED. We asked our facebook friends. "What is your definition of love?" Here's what they had to say: To be friendly to everyone, even people you don’t know

Love is when you put anothers happiness before your own

– Brad Fairley

– Mary Williams

Sincerity in all one does.

My kids laughter

– Linda Scott

– Tara Hoffmann

Love is what we all experience if we keep an open heart and open mind. It can make us strong, it can make us weak, it can make us laugh and it can make us cry...It is how we were created and why we were created and without it we would not survive.. – Lori Howard

Love is a deep acknowledgement within one’s heart of knowing that what one does to uplift someone else brings joy to yourself and, in truth, it is all God (or the unity of universal connection) – Laurie Magorian

When you’re tired and you feel as if you can’t go on, then you remember your loved one’s smile, hear their laugh, know their touch and you feel warmth and strength and joy blossoming in your soul... This is love.

Love Is All-Encompassing 2017

– Neomi Perdue A kind hearted, brown eyed man. – Paulette Alm Our Lord Jesus Christ, Always, ( And Raider football!!!!) – Manuel Nunez John 3:16 – Hali Rose Love is the ultimate friendship, the ultimate respect. – Jon Wells Having a connection that is stronger than appearances, longer than this lifetime, deeper than my words can express here. – Kathi Haine Love is being able to put other’s needs before your own regularly just because without expecting anything but a warm feeling inside. When you can truly be happy for others and share in their joy without thinking about yourself. Honesty. Telling the truth even when it hurts. – Shevonne Harris

– Sacha Mitchell

Add us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/centralcoastkind), and be on the lookout for our next 'We Asked, You Answered' question!


When my kids say they love me for no reason

Love is a fire., a passion., for warmth, wellbeing & comfort., an energy that if not properly monitored can become a raging out of control fire of disaster. – Yah Perry

Expert doctors. The best quality care. At Dignity Health we believe in experienced physicians and advanced technology. Dignity Health is proud to serve our communities in San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County and Ventura County with our award-winning network of outstanding hospitals, surgery centers, health clinics, imaging centers, laboratories, post-acute centers, and expert physicians.

Find a doctor delivering humankindness at dignityhealth.org/OurDoctors Or call: Santa Barbara County/San Luis Obispo County: 805.270.2513 Ventura County: 877.753.6248