October 2018
Hello reader,

Here are the latest posts from my blog. If you have any trouble viewing this email then click to view in your browser.

Wonder and Watch Out!

Bitter melon is what it is called.  I never knew that it is existed but it caught my attention at a farmer's market.  It didn't look real and actually  kind of resembled  something from a cartoon or a comic book.  At first I thought that it was a mistake, a reject.  it looked like it had warts and I wondered how easy it would be to sell something that looked like that.  I asked what it was and was told that it is bitter melon.  It is highly nutritious (a good source of thiamine, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, iron and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, magnesium, potassium, zinc and manganese).

This Vegetable-Fruit

I had no idea what to do with this vegetable-fruit.  Like most edibles there are more than one way to prepare it.  It could be steamed, cooled and cut open to remove the seeds before adding to soup or veggies or rice.  I did as I was told and added the cooked bitter melon to rice.  It was so awfully bitter that I could hardly eat it.  Ok maybe some tomato and onion might do the trick.  Nope.  How about adding a little soy sauce or sesame oil. Still awful.  So I did the only thing that I could think of,ask someone else.

I went back to the same farmer's market and asked another vendor who was also selling bitter melon.  I was told to put the melon in ice -cold water and let it sit for a few hours before cooking it.  Ok I thought to myself I will do it.  So I did exactly as I was told but this time I cut up the bitter melon into small pieces and  put it into a vegetable soup.  It wasn't so bad but that was only because there were other flavors in the soup.

Yesterday I decided that I was going to take a bus to the farmer's market.  I walked to the bus stop and realized that I had not taken any money with me.  Back home I went.  I got the money and off I went to get the next bus, but the landscape had now changed.  I would have an extra forty-five minutes at the market  before the bus returning me home arrived.  Not a problem.  There were always questions and conversations to have with farmers and produce vendors.

Cook The Bitter Melon and Drink The Water

So I cruised by the tables and took my time inquiring about various cooking oils and cucumbers.  I was about ready to leave when I spotted one of my favorite vendors and went to her booth to say hello. We talked for a few minutes and I looked down at the vegetables that she was selling.  There at the end of her table was bitter melon!   Here was my opportunity.  "How do you prepare that?" I wanted to know.  "Oh.  just drink the water that you cook them in and you will get the nutrients from it" she said matter of factly.  I didn't have to eat the vegetable-fruit.  There was my answer!

Plant-for-the-Planet was initiated by 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner- Plant trees for a better world

Felix Finkbeiner is no longer 9 years old and you might find his story inspiring.  He started in 2007.  His website address is https://www.plant-for-the-planet.org/en/home.  Right there in bold.  We plant trees for a better world.  Help us children to save our future..    He took time from his busy schedule to talk about his work, hopes and ideas..

What made you believe that you could make a difference in the world?

I was inspired by the story of Wangari Maathai. She planted 30 million trees in 30 years, together with many women in Africa. I thought: If they planted that many trees, why shouldn’t we children plant a million trees in each country of the world?

Some people believe/feel that trees are live and have a spirit?  Does this feel possible to you?

Whether they have a spirit or don’t, they are simply awesome. They improve our health, capture CO2, produce the oxygen we breathe, give us wood to build homes and food to eat.

Have you had experiences or perhaps your staff or others you work with have expressed feeling a kinship with the trees?

On our reforestation area, the workers treat the trees like children. They help them to grow tall and live on their own.

Where did you get the name for your organization?  Was it inspiration?  Was it your intuition that guided you to make that choice?

When we thought about a good name, I discovered that in 2003 the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) had started a project for kids called Plant-for-the-Planet. For a long time nothing had really been done with this project - but WE wanted to do it and immediately! Plant-for-the-Planet - the name matched perfectly with our plans. Because everybody on earth has to work together, an English name for our organization made sense. It is the only way we could guarantee that people from all nationalities could come together. We children want our voices to be heard!

Would you say that you had or have a vision for clean air/for the survival of the planet?

Our vision is to save our future. We children and youth are threatened by the effects of the climate crisis. So we have to mitigate those effects.

Did you ever have any doubt about succeeding?  Please explain.

It’s not about succeeding, because all we can do is slow down the climate crisis. We won’t stop it. But every single tree we plant is good. There was one moment that was really hard: In 2011, I spoke at a meeting in front of 350 chocolate producers from around the world. I asked the children’s favorite industry to donate 0.01 percent of their revenue to Plant-for-the-Planet as a “Future Fee”. In other words, one euro per ton of the chocolate luxury product. Not a single one answered. Saying “this is shocking,” I left the stage in tears. But anger became courage – and thus, in 2012 we children introduced our own chocolate onto the market. The market launch of the Change Chocolate was the most successful product launch of a fair trade chocolate of all time. It is produced in the same manner that we children envisage every product: fair trade certified and climate neutral. It is sold as “Die Gute Schokolade” in Germany and Austria.

What guides you when you feel frustrated/sad/depressed about climate change and/or the denial of so many people?

Of course we’re sometimes frustrated. But we have to move on. It’s about the survival of so many people and it’s about our future!

You must have strong convictions that your work has significance (meaning).  Where does that come from?

We know that planting trees alone won’t save our future. We need to reduce carbon emissions. Trees just give us more time to do so. But as we are talking about the climate crisis for more than 25 years now and haven’t done enough, we now urgently need trees. Whatever the future will look like, it’s always good to plant trees. They improve our lives.

You inspire many people.   What words do you use when talking with audiences, your staff to give them hope, encouragement?

We need to stay optimistic. Planting trees to help save our future makes people happy. That’s the best way to give hope.

He Thought That He Made A Mistake

I won't mention his name.   He has not  personally given me permission to use his story.  He probably wouldn't mind.  He has told it over and over in his seminars and to his Facebook live groups that met weekly.  I have heard  his story at least three times.

I am sharing this because there are many people who have a desire to do something and don't know what.  This often stops people from taking the leap.   (Many clients have told me that they will make the changes when the evidence is there for them to see.  They want a guarantee).

Sometimes we leap and then we are shown. So, I will continue.  This nameless man was in the entertainment industry.  He felt that there was something more, and had no idea what that might be.  So, he stopped working in the industry and took some time off to get quiet and discover himself and what that something that might ignite his passion just might be.  He did many things including fasting, changing his diet, working out in the gym, being silent for days at a time, attending seminars and his list is longer than I remember or perhaps was not told.  Some of his friends in the entertainment industry became famous.  He thought that he made a mistake.  Perhaps if he returned to his old turf he too would have become well-known.  He couldn't go back.  He trusted that he would be shown his path.  So he turned inward and meditated more.  One day, someone invited him to speak at an event.  Then there were more events.  Then he spoke on college campuses.  People provided inspiration and his meditations began to show him possibilities.

He now has a career that was only possible because he dared and he trusted.  As you might imagine, he is a huge fan of meditation and encourages people to invest in this quiet way of being.  It paid off for him and has for many other as well.  I too began meditating after taking his seminars and have had my best ideas for recipes and writing revealed during a meditation.

Not Uncommon For Voters To Do A Gut Check!

I have been talking  by telephone with voters for the last few months.   I ask them which issues are important to them.  I have a list, just in case they don't have an answer. "Is it healthcare, gun violence; government accountability; immigration rights; women's rights; tax reform; and education.  Most people say healthcare.  The costs of prescription drugs scares many people and I have heard stories from people who choose between purchasing medication or food.  One woman shared with me that her daughter died because she couldn't afford the medicine that she needed.

Once in a while I hear gun violence, I hope that no one whom I spoke with has lost a love one because of a senseless shooting.  I have heard a few parents tell me that they are afraid to send their children to school .  Some parents have shared that their children are afraid to attend school.  That is upsetting to hear and perhaps not at all surprising.  My guess is that few people, unless they are or have been directly impacted by violence, give this much thought.

Aside from their concerns, what has made an impression on me is how many people are waiting for their gut to tell them who they will for this November.  No, they don't exactly say it that way.  I have not heard "I am waiting for my  inner guidance to guide me in making my decision."  It is more likely that someone will say " I will make my decision the day I vote or "I haven't quite made up my mind."   When I ask "Are you waiting until something tells you that one candidate will best represent you in Congress?" the answers is often "Yes."   Unbeknownst to some voters, they are waiting for a moment when their gut loudly gives a yay or a nay."


November Newsletter Features

  • Interview
  • A Story
  • A Business Decision

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