Thursday, February 27, 2014


     Currently showing in theaters everywhere: TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, OSCAR nominated.    

      This film arouses various discussions on radio and TV. I recall listening to National Public Radio. The caller said she had boasted about her great-great grandparents. They were proud they had slaves, treating them as human beings.  That seemed to be the extent of their pride. Now, after seeing the movie, the radio caller was ashamed that she and her ancestry never realized the enormity of their having missed the point. The point: While they did not whip or torture their slaves, they were depriving them of the only thing that really counts, their FREEDOM.

     The point I feel compelled to make:  Too much of our general population, not knowing it, are still slaves!!  Aware people call it “mindless living.” If you honestly put your heart, soul, and mind to the thought, you would recognize that you are living as a slave (although unknowingly) to the thoughts of other people. I could mention reams of individuals slaving-away,
  •   In jobs they do not enjoy. They know it. Sometimes they joke about their situation, knocking down “bosses” (business superiors), vocalizing  to friends their disrespect. Obviously, they put no effort in trying to enjoy their work. The slaves will tell you they do it for money or another reason.  To please someone else? Doesn’t matter. What matters is they do not enjoy their work. The biggest robber of LIFE, for heaven’s sake!
  •   At unhappy marriages. One can understand a year with the wrong person. Maybe two, three years. Open your mind!  We live in an enlightened age. Unhappy situations require deep thinking. Talk it out with a qualified marriage consultant?  Spiritual advisor? You will know whom to trust instinctively. Another robber of LIFE. 

     Grow up!  You’ve passed the immature years of teen-age angst. Forget about regrets for whatever is past. Chalk it all up to immaturity. Why brood about mistakes and regrets you made in the past? PAST, GONE!

     There will be depressions, recessions, economic struggles – just as surely as optimistic outlooks, inspiration, and bursts of creative activity. 

     How will you as an individual react to all this? Lively, high spirited people like Bill Gates (Microsoft Billionaire) founded among other enterprises the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.” Warren Buffett (American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist) pledged to give away 99 per cent of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Gates Foundation. People like Paul Newman (formerly a well known actor and humanitarian) founded Newman’s Own Company. I see products at Whole Foods Market which Newman’s prolific family still keeps going. Today, people like young Taylor Swift (American singer/song writer) shares some of her wealth with various schools promoting children’s literacy, as well as helping victims of natural disasters. 

     In other words, individuals encounter challenges, excitements of rare living. The individual makes the difference which lasts!    

     Important: In America, we are instantly born into the land of real freedom.  It takes some of us longer to absorb this knowledge.  Fact:  we absolutely have freedom of thought. The choice is our own individual selves. We choose which thoughts to mull around our brain, which to discard immediately.

     This bit of wisdom does not come haphazardly. It requires loads of reading, meditation, prayer. I will not bore you with a glossary of authors, lecturers, books, magazines. Most my recommendations, bits of wisdom, common sense and so forth, arrive from two books in particular: THE PHILOSOPHY OF ERNEST HOLMES: Holmes Papers Volume I. Edited and compiled by George P. Bendall, L.H.P. (DeVorss Publications); THE SCIENCE OF MIND, Ernest Holmes (Putnam, 2010). From the jacket, “One of the hardest things for human beings to do is to know themselves and change themselves . . . written with great simplicity and clarity, shows deep appreciation of the need to understand how they can master their own lives.” 

NOTE: My April BLOG is on a lighter vein. We will share JOKES which keep us laughing. If you have certain jokes to share with us, send them before the last week of March. Thank you!

Thursday, January 30, 2014


       “Give Your Body a Boost with Laughter!” (R. Morgan Griffin in WebMD.)

        “I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off.”  Steve Wilson, MA, CSP, psychologist/ laugh therapist. “They might be healthier too.”

        “The definitive research into the potential health benefits of laughter just hasn’t been done yet.”  Robert R. Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience, University of Maryland, Baltimore, author of LAUGHTER: A SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION.  

           I wish I could tell you who wrote “The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter,” so proper credit could go to the writer, anonymous. However, the writing is too good not to report: “Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use.”

The article goes on:
  • Laughter is a strong medicine
  • Laughter and emotional health
  • Social benefits of laughter
  • Bringing more laughter into your life
  •     Developing sense of humor
  • Using humor to overcome challenges
     While I applaud the multi benefits of laughter and its temporary relief of distressing emotions, there are times you cannot avoid feeling anxious, angry, or sad. What to do?                               

    Create opportunities to laugh:
  • Watch a funny movie or TV show
  •  Share a good joke or funny story
  •  Play with a pet (You would be surprise at how pets can improve your mood)
  •  Find where they conduct “laughing yoga classes”
  •  Goof around with children. Miraculous creatures.
  •  Make time for fun activities. For example, bowling, karaoke, mini golf, etc.
  •  Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles. You will forget judgments, criticism, and doubts.

  Here are some ways to start:
  • Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter is contagious.
  • Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When you’re in a state of sadness, you have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometime humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s so funny?”

     Developing your sense of humor. Take yourself less seriously.
As laughter, humor, and play become an integrated part of your life, your creativity will flourish and new discoveries for playing with friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and loved ones will occur to your daily. Humor takes you to a higher place where you can view the world from a more relaxed, positive creative, joyful, and balanced perspective. 

Friday, January 3, 2014


Did you make any resolutions for the year 2014 yet? If not, be glad. Lead the way into a friendlier, kinder, marvelous planet. Not only for 2014, but for every day of the new year, resolve to follow the suggestions from the Mental Health Association:
          1. Any ACT OF KINDNESS you extend will inspire the person receiving it to extend the  act          of kindness to others.
2         2. SMILE. Plenty!
3         3. If it fits the occasion, ask “Can I help you?”
4         4. HUGS work miracles. Give at least three hugs per day.
5         5.Do one anonymous kind deed today.
6         6. Before you speak, ask “Is it true? Is it kind?” If not, simply don’t say it.
7         7. Be agreeable, act courteously, do not interrupt.
8         8. Do something positive to improve your health.
9         9. Avoid negative people.
1         10. Treat the elderly as you wish others would treat you.
1         11.  Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you LOVE them.
The first and last word in kindness is the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

More than that, you may wish to do a bit of travel. Try to attend the 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning celebration at the Center for Spiritual Living, 12875 Fee Fee Rd. St Louis, MO 63146. You will find that full play will be given to your imagination. Visit the Center’s website CSLSTL.ORG, where you can download videos of the Sunday discussions. 
See you in February when the subject will be about LAUGHTER, which scientists say is a serious business.

Monday, November 25, 2013


December BLOG


You think they don’t go together?  It’s possible. You need to stir while preparing chia seeds to drink; you need to buy wrappings when preparing Christmas gifts.  Sounds a bit far-fetched, granted. SUGAR is ultra important.  More later about Christmas gifts.   


   A friend of mine asked me to discuss chia seeds. Great! So the general population begins to “get nutritionally educated!” Excellent news. Schnucks, a highly populated branch of a local chain store, sells chia seeds, quinoa, and other quality foods. So does Whole Foods Market and many other grocery stores.
           Barbara Lischgi, writer/retired “health- food dietician”, shares full information on various subjects. Where chia seeds are mentioned, I have condensed her two pages to a few paragraphs. Chia seeds contain soluble fiber. It makes them a good diet food for they are digested slowly, giving us more energy. The Aztecs called them “running food” because messengers ran all day on just a handful.
        Barbara Lischgi’s reference came from THE MAGIC OF CHIA by James Scheer. Chia seeds date back to the Aztecs, Mayans, and Tehuantapecs, were cultivated throughout the Aztec empire. They are one of the most nutritionally dense foods we have.
           Good source of B vitamins (all), calcium – containing 18% of your daily value, which is three times more than skim milk, possibly alleviating arthritis. Contains boron, which helps our brains. Boron keeps us more alert. It helps our memory. Chia seeds are a good source of protein, superior to all other grains, including soy. Good for preventing macular degeneration. Chia seeds have more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon.
          Believe it or not, chia seeds are tasteless; all you do is mix them with water. Stir 5-10 minutes to form a gel, refrigerate to use each day, 2 tablespoons into any liquid, juice or water. Barbara uses 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 1 cup of water, although many prefer 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 2 cups of water. You can add the “chia gel” to any juice or food.

      The real scoop came from Raymond Francis who wrote, NEVER FEEL OLD AGAIN (Health Communications, Inc.). On page xiii, in the Foreword, SUGAR is described. I have never seen SUGAR described so starkly. Direct quote:

 “Here’s another example of how doctors fail to put two and two together. It has long been proven that cancer cells thrive on sugar as their primary food source. That’s why PET scans are able to detect cancerous tumors. As they scan the body, any areas that show tumors light up on the scan because of their higher concentrations of sugar. But do oncologists and other doctors educate their patients about the dangers of sugars? Very rarely, if ever. Instead, many oncologist offices today offer sugar-laden lollipops to child patients, and cookies to other patients. In short, they don’t think. If they did, they’d be telling all of their patients that not only do cancer cells survive on sugar, but when cancer patients consume sugar, it is the equivalent of putting gasoline on a fire.”

          In one of my former books, THE ABCS OF REAL HEALTH, I quote from writer/actor Marilu Henner. She called sugar “kiddy cocaine.” For those who have a “sweet tooth,” especially on holidays, believe me, you can still bake delicious cakes, cookies, nut bars, etc. Use a 21st century sugar substitute! Xylitol and Stevia are your best options, in my estimation (among other substitutes available).

          Christmas happens to be the warmest, most friendly time to exchange gifts. Many people actually enjoy shopping their way through the holidays. Good for them. It certainly boosts America’s economy.
           Personally, I prefer simple gifts. Examples:

1) Pick out a print of a dear friend your camera snapped. On a white (unadorned) Christmas-tree ball, put the snap in place of fancy trimmings, cover the balance of the ball with small jewelry and fancy ribbons, end with a hook to hang on to the tree.

2) Give a bouquet of colorful tissue paper made up like fresh flowers. They will last forever. Instructions:     

3) Knit or crochet a hat or scarf for special people.

          Nothing, in my opinion, beats a hand-crafted gift.

Monday, November 4, 2013

November Blog

For November, we come to HOLIDAYS!  My favorite subject.

In 2008, Libraries Unlimited published HOLIDAY STORIES ALL YEAR ROUND, Audience Participation Stories and More, which I compiled, using my “school name” Violet, using the rest of a pen name for books published, “Teresa deBarba-Miller.” It was only by unlimited assistance from the editors at Libraries Unlimited that it finally became publishable.
          Amazon gave the book 5 stars. It deserved every one of that 5-star rating. This book contains not only excellent stories about all of America’s legal holidays but many on celebrated international holidays, including a hilarious folktale for Japan’s New Year by Cathy Spagnoli.

The country’s most renowned and beloved storytellers wrote original audience participation stories. They shared instructions -- for how to get your audience involved while you are telling the story -- also activity ideas and plenty of information regarding each holiday’s importance, the how-and-why each holiday rates this annual celebration.
          In November-December, right now, we get to celebrate not only Thanksgiving and Christmas, but a plethora of religious events. I keep wishing that one of the imaginative minds of the contributors will see the value of creating a video to accompany their story, much as Linda Marchisio did. Linda created a video showing her demonstrating “The Constitution Jive” for Constitution Day. Incidentally, she considers this holiday more important than the Fourth of July. I see that. On July 4th, most people use the barbeque grill, shoot up in the air fireworks, etc. As Marchisio explains, Constitution Day actually teaches as well as entertains people.
          HOLIDAY STORIES ALL YEAR ROUND, Audience Participation Stories and More is a wonderful resource for enhancing learning units, relaxing its audience. Most of all, it gives you some great ways to share important times together. This collection will help educators, librarians, and storytellers create holiday-based story programs from January to December.
          Minor Note: Trivia data – “Violet” was the name chosen by my first grade teacher who was confused by my birth certificate which says my name was “Iolanda Letijne DiBarba.” I remember her asking what it meant in English. Told it meant something akin to “viola” which did not appeal to her, she instructed me to use the name “Violet” when I signed school papers. A name which did not appeal to me! However, being always obedient, I went ahead and did so. It did not appeal to my family, either.  They continued to call me “Chubby” until high school days. Thus, my memoir CHUBBY’S STORY; 87 years of living an improbable life. Anyone wishing more information, email me at                 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


       It is difficult right now to know who will read EDUCATE A HUMAN BEING, written by me (Teresa deBarba-Miller, edited by Ann Blandford). Copies may be purchased at Barnes & Noble or other booksellers, ISBN: 978-1-304-24285-3Online, click on  – type the title on “Search Lulu’s Bookstore” searching bar. 

       Referring to the book, from a noted Professional Book Reviewer: “deBarba-Miller compiles reference materials for those who wish to explore the elements that form a well-rounded individual … … … A slim volume full of heart but short on original material.”

      “Short on original material” misses the point. Was the reviewer asking for me to comment on the contents of books about brain research? I think the summarization of ten (10) books describing each publisher’s comments is surely enough for the reader to understand the complete depth of available brain research.

       The book emphasizes many lacks in public schools right now. We need a makeover of the entire educational system. 

       My daughter, a Professional Teacher, was more succinct in her review for EDUCATE A HUMAN BEING: “Well organized. Shows you to be highly informed (Overall vision, websites, book citations, quotes). The overall purpose of giving supporting details and reasoning is achieved.” She suggested that it might sell as an inspirational book.

       Why was the book written at all? Fast approaching 91 years of age, I wrote common-sense reactions to current issues. This included not only the deficit of education in public schools, but also the importance of appreciating, through rapid improvement of technological resources, the vast strides made in brain research, different topics for government supervision, doctors and hospitals, sports, etc. 

       To show that individuals, individuals alone, can make a decided difference, I wanted to increase the amount of individuals reaching to other individuals, to create a better world for all of us. Definite steps for individuals to effect action are outlined in Chapter Seven, Individuals Make a Difference. The same steps can be used not only for getting more art in public schools, but also for other subjects.

       As for the value of the absolute power of imagination, my book referenced imaginative people such as Padraic Colum, Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela, Michele Obama, and Oprah Winfrey.

       I wrote about PEACE (a questionable journey), about THE ECONOMY, with surprising ways to help individuals survive, repeating certain sections from my memoir CHUBBY’S STORY, an 87 year-old original work detailing an improbable life. If you are interested in reading CHUBBY’S STORY, email me at

       Wars: The amounts of repercussions following any war are enormous. It haunts me. I tried to compose original songs describing the aftermath of wars. Not a one was “right on.” But thinking back to popular songs, lo and behold! Do you remember Cole Porter’s love song, Night and Day? A slight rewrite of the lyrics produced COLE PORTER’S SONG OF HOPE FOR PEACE, which can be found in front of the book, EDUCATE A HUMAN BEING, page ii, opposite a picture of a ship on page iii.  

Note: I never did include information about other nations which seem to have superior education. In Japan for instance, the emphasis is about having the students become responsible adults. In the schools, students serve the school meals. Students scrub the floors, can you imagine? Every school, not just an elite few, produces a highly qualified liberate work force. In Japan, the group team work is all-important. Getting into a top university guarantees success in adult life.           

Thursday, August 29, 2013

September Blog on DOGS

DOGS: Do you know what’s behind a dog’s feelings? That they express emotions and intelligence?
      Mary Ann O’Toole Holley wrote, “They cuddle, they lick, they gaze knowingly. Most of all, they love unconditionally.” She was writing about SUPER DOGS: Amazing K-9s of St Charles County, Missouri. Mabel is a feisty 8-pound Pekinese who gurgles and grumbles and ignores most people. But when she visits ‘grandma’s house,’ Mabel is at her side, sitting in a chair or eating at a dinner table. Mabel has been non-committal for years, until Grandma’s health started to fail.”         

       Continues Patricia Abel of St Peters: “Then, Mabel does not leave  Grandma’s side. I always say Mabel is more like an independent cat than a cuddly dog, but when it comes to Grandma, she’s not going to let anybody do anything bad. Mabel isn’t even a trained service dog!

       Lori Schmoll, a nurse with a hospice program, “Dogs have a unique bond with people.” Two years ago, Lori started to integrate pet therapy into her work. Started with one dog, now works with 15. The K-9 Crew: a group of furry animals which includes a 3-pound Chinese Imperial to a 150-pound Mastiff. They visit patients at the end of their lives. Lori often sees long-gone smiles return to typically stoic faces.  
       “I think dogs have a unique bond with people. It’s scientifically proven that when   dogs and humans interact, our bodies release the same pheromones that a nursing mother has with a new child. The bond can become strong between a canine and human. Research shows animal-assisted therapy can lower blood pressure, lower stress, enhance a patient’s ability to progress toward physical and psychological wellness. In recent years, trained therapy animals have been  engaged to work with children to help overcome speech and emotional disorders.”

        In PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, Dr. Stanley Coren, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, asks Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience? “Dogs have the same hormones and undergo the same chemical changes that humans do during emotional states… … Not all people have the full range of all possible emotions. This data is important to our understanding that the mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to that of a human who is two to two-and-a-half years of age.

         DOG BEHAVIOR: The Science of Canine Emotions. What’s Behind a Dog’s Feelings? “Laughter – Shame – Jealousy – Grief – Joy.” All are thoroughly described in “Cesar’s Way: Achieving Balance and Harmony through training.” Cesar Millan is a Mexican dog trainer, widely known for his television series Dog Whisperer.

NOTE: I have just published a new book (7th), EDUCATE A HUMAN BEING. It happened when heavy publicity accompanied the Anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous speech 50 years ago. Dr. King would have been glad to see his dream hit home base. This was remembered in my book, EDUCATE A HUMAN BEING. For details about the contents of this book, write me: