Life is but a dream – 12/01/14

What does “life is but a dream” mean?

Sometimes when something unbelievable happens, it’s so outrageous (usually in a good way) that it seems like you’re in a dream.

Life is what you make of it. So if you dare to dream, envision what you want it to be – it becomes your reality. It goes right along with the saying “You can be anything you want to be…”

In dreams anything is possible, impossible becomes possible. In life there are limitations with unseen forces that work along with our motives to confuse us more on the path to fulfillment. Life is but a dream – nothing is so easy as to dream it and make it happen right that moment without obstacles standing in way.

 

 

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State: Get that medical marijuana to sick kids ASAP

Jacksonville, FL

It’s sort of a pot rush, even if the type of weed that will soon be spreading across the state supposedly doesn’t get users high.

The Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use this week hurriedly published a revised rule governing everything from stems and seeds to serving the substance to sick kids. The latest version of the rule included tweaks to who can own the five “dispensing organizations” that will eventually get licensed by the state to grow, process and distribute newly-authorized strains of cannabis.medical_marijuana1

The Legislature, in approving a pot law this spring, required each applicant to have a valid registration from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to cultivate more than 400,000 plants, be operated by a nurseryman as defined by state law and have operated as a registered nursery in the state for at least 30 continuous years. At least 60 nurseries meet the criteria.

A preliminary rule floated by health regulators would have allowed nurseries to have just 25 percent ownership in the entities applying for a license. That option drew a rebuke from the Legislature’s Joint Administrative Procedures Committee, which helps oversee state regulations. The original proposal also neglected to specifically address whether the nursery would be required to have a continued role in running the pot operation.

Under Tuesday’s revised proposal, a nurseryman would have to “serve as the operator,” alleviating some concerns that growers would have little or nothing to do with the grow operation despite lawmakers’ intention that the nascent pot business be controlled by companies with a long agricultural history in Florida. The proposal would require a nursery to have at least 25 percent ownership of the organization that gets a license, but also would offer another alternative that would allow “100 percent of the owners of a nursery” to fulfill that 25 percent requirement.

That ownership change appears aimed at appeasing some nursery owners who expressed concerns about financing the marijuana operations. Because pot is still illegal under federal law, nearly all banks are refusing to lend money to marijuana-related businesses. Converting other areas of operations into cash-only business could pose major problems for growers interested in participating in the medical marijuana start-ups, a lawyer for Costa Farms told the Department of Health at a day-long public hearing last week.

With Scott’s blessing, lawmakers this spring legalized marijuana that contains .8 percent or less of euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and more than 10 percent cannabidiol, or CBD. Supporters believe the compound, which hasn’t been approved by the feds, can eliminate or drastically reduce life-threatening seizures in children with severe forms of epilepsy. Under the law, doctors can also order the low-THC, high-CBD substance — usually delivered in paste or oil forms — for patients with other spastic disorders or cancer, as long as they have exhausted all other treatments.

Many GOP lawmakers jumped on the “doesn’t get you high” pot bandwagon this spring hoping to thwart Amendment 2, a proposed constitutional change that would legalize “traditional” medical marijuana.

While the state moves toward getting the low-THC, high-CBD regulatory framework in place by Jan. 1, the battle over Amendment 2 — bankrolled heavily by Orlando trial lawyer and Democratic fundraiser John Morgan — is starting to smoke.

The “Vote No on 2” campaign recently nailed down the backing of seven former Florida Supreme Court justices, who joined associations representing Florida sheriffs and police chiefs in opposition. And the amendment’s foes are planning to spend $1.6 million on television ads, slated to start running in October, condemning the proposal. Like all constitutional proposals, at least 60 percent of the voters must approve the amendment for it to pass.

“We want every voter to know the dangers of this amendment and that it is not about the sick, it is about legalizing pot for anyone and for any reason,” spokeswoman Sarah Bascom said.

Polls have shown widespread support for legalizing medical marijuana, but that support is expected to drop in the wake of a full-frontal attack. Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has pledged to double the $2.5 million he’s already dropped on the Drug Free Florida political committee, launched by Tampa Bay developer Mel Sembler. Both are mega-GOP money men.

“When your basic position runs completely counter to public opinion, millions in misleading advertising is the only strategy available. But no amount of advertising can overwhelm the basic facts,” said Ben Pollara, campaign manager at United for Care, a group spearheading the amendment. “Floridians know the benefits of medical marijuana are real, and the people of this state are deeply compassionate. We believe the overwhelming majority will vote to make sure patients no longer have to risk incarceration for listening to their doctors and seeking relief from debilitating diseases and medical conditions.”

Complete Article HERE!

Who’s gonna tell the kids?

“People’s deepest fears about death and dying often spring straight from a traumatic childhood incident or misshapen belief about the end of life that was passed on to them when they were kids.”

In previous postings I’ve talked about how postponing any thoughtful consideration of our death till it’s too late, can have disastrous consequences for us in terms of preparing for the inevitable. I addressed how our death-denying culture provides precious few opportunities for us to deal healthily with our mortality before it comes crashing in on us.

Why is dealing with death so hard for us? Early childhood messages about death sure don’t help. Think spooks, skeletons, things that go bump in the night, and specter of hell and damnation. From a young age, most of us have had it drilled into our heads that we shouldn’t ask questions or even talk about death because it’s either inappropriate, it’ll bring bad luck, or worse, hasten death.01

How many times, as a child, did a relative, family friend, or even a beloved family pet simply disappear, never to be heard from or spoken of again? Or perhaps you were told that the absent loved one is now in heaven or asleep with the angels, the “D” word being avoided like Aunt Agnes’s infamous tuna surprise? Or maybe, when you were a kid, you were told that someone you knew had died, but that you wouldn’t be able to go to the funeral because that was no place for kids. And how much of the confusion, bewilderment, and unresolved grief from your childhood are you still carrying around with you today? Is it any wonder that, when faced with the prospect of our own death, we often feel like we’ve been ordered to belt out our swan song without ever having an opportunity to learn the tune.

In the first chapter of my book, The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying, I ask my readers to confront head-on the un-golden silence that surrounds the end of life. I invite them to consider the early messages they got about death and dying. I ask; how old were you when you first heard about or witnessed these things? What were the messages you picked up about death and dying from the movies or television? People often report that their deepest fears about death spring straight from a traumatic childhood incident or misshapen belief about the end of life that was passed on to them when they were kids. And, not surprisingly, most people report that they continue to carry these fears with them as adults.

I believe that’s criminal. I also believe that there is a better way to handle this delicate matter with young people than avoiding it, sidestepping it, or perpetuating a misconception. I believe we can break the vicious cycle of our culture’s death phobia by refusing to contaminate another generation with it. It would take a concerted effort, of course, and it would mean that we would have to resolve ourselves of our own fears first, but I believe it’s doable.

A good place to begin this effort is with the stories we read to and tell our children. Stories, both written and recited, become the basis of our children’s understanding of the world. Stories contribute to their language development as well as their critical thinking, and coping skills. Death and grief are particularly thorny subjects to communicate to children, not because our children are incapable of grasping the message, but because we, the adult storytellers, are often unprepared for, or uncomfortable with, the topics ourselves.

To address this problem, I developed a workshop titled: Exploring Death and Grief Through the Medium of the Children’s Story. In this workshop I help adults choose age specific messaging and images for their storytelling. I help them mold the basic concepts about death and bereavement into the arc of their story. And finally, I offer the workshop attendees tips on writing and illustrating their own story with the kids in their life.

By way of example, I share with my audience my latest children’s story, Longfellow And The Deep Hidden Woods. This is the story of Longfellow, the bravest and noblest wiener dog in the world. As my story begins, Longfellow is a puppy learning how to be a good friend to his human companions, old Henry and Henry’s nurse Miss O’weeza Tuffy. By the end of the story, Longfellow has grown old himself, but he is still ready for one final adventure. What happens in between throws a tender light on the difficult truths of loss and longing as well as on our greatest hopes. Curiously enough, all the adults who have read my story say they think it’s actually a book for adults. Maybe so! I can be really subversive like that.

longfellow square smallWriting and illustrating a children’s story with your kids can be an amazing bonding experience for both the adult and the child, but this is especially true when the topics are death and bereavement. It’s a project that will open the door to a life-long appreciation for and the affirmation of life, especially it’s final season. The discussion that will be part of your story-writing project will also help you reshape the coming generation’s perceptions about the end of life. It may also help you rethink the early message you received about death and dying when you were a kid.

My workshop ends with one proviso. I caution the adults in my workshop not to wait until there’s a pressing need for the story writing or telling. I encourage them to start now, before grandpa or the beloved family pet is dead. I suggest that they get a jump on this project right away. Because, if they do, it won’t appear to their kids like they are trying to play catch up when death comes calling. I mean think about it; we don’t hold off teaching young people arithmetic till they get their first job making change at the grocery or the fast food counter, right?

Try to imagine how writing a story about death and grief with your kids or grand kids will change the trajectory of their life in terms of their understanding of this fundamental fact of life. Imagine if someone asks your kids or grand kids, twenty or forty years from now, what their earliest memories about death and dying are. Surely they will think back fondly on the time they spent with you as you helped them understand the marvelous cycle of life.

Will this one exercise inoculate your kids or grand kids from all the culturally induced fears, apprehensions and superstitions that abound in our death-phobic society? Probably not! But as the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Join Us In This Crowd Funding Effort

The Amateur’s Guide is happy to be a cosponsor for a new crowd funding project that deals with death and bereavement.

 

Longfellow and the Deep Hidden Woods

 

Every veterinarian, animal clinic, and rescue service should have this book for their clients when a beloved pet dies. Help us give this gift of comfort.

 

Who’s going to tell the kids?

Children often have difficulty processing the death of a family member or a beloved pet. All too often children are excluded from any meaningful discussion about this important life transition. This oversight leaves kids guessing about the sudden disappearance of the loved one or pet and no way to process their grief. It can also have a devastating effect on a child’s development. So much of the confusion, bewilderment, and unresolved grief from childhood is often carried into adulthood.

We think there’s a better way.01

A good place to begin is with the stories we read with and to our children. Stories become the basis of a child’s understanding of the world. They contribute to their language development as well as their critical thinking, and coping skills. Death and grief are particularly thorny subjects to communicate to children, not because children are incapable of grasping the message, but because we, the adult storytellers, are often unprepared for, or even uncomfortable with, the topics ourselves

Let’s face it; there are precious few children’s books available that tackle the important topics of death and bereavement.

This is where Longfellow And The Deep Hidden Woods comes in.

Longfellow and the Deep Hidden Woods

Dr. Richard Wagner is one of America’s leading experts in the field of death, dying and bereavement. And he is the author of Longfellow And The Deep Hidden Woods.

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Longfellow, the bravest and most noble wiener dog in the world, is a puppy at the beginning of the story. He is still learning how to be a good friend to his human companions — old Henry and Henry’s nurse Miss O’weeza Tuffy. By the end of the story, Longfellow has grown old himself, but he is still ready for one final adventure. What happens in between throws a tender light on the difficult truths of loss and longing as well as on our greatest hopes.

Besides the thoughtfully crafted and heartwarming story there is page after page of beautiful and charming illustrations provided by the award-winning Spanish artist, David Cantero.

We believe that Longfellow And The Deep Hidden Woods is the ideal tool for parents and grandparents to help the little ones consider the end of life before that reality comes crashing into their lives.

Veterinarians, animal clinics, and rescue services all need this book!

Veterinarians, and all the wonderfully dedicated people who assist them, are on the frontline in service to animals. Attending sick, elderly, and dying animals is part of the job description of these valiant caregivers.

Now here is a way for you to help these heroes of animal care.

We believe that Longfellow And The Deep Hidden Woods will aid these professionals in the difficult task of preparing their clients, children and adults alike, for the death of their beloved pet.

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The Longfellow book will also help the grieving human companions come to grips with the anguish they feel.

Imagine the impact your gift of the Longfellow book will have on all the people who dedicate their lives to the service of animals. And how your gift will ease their burden as they carry the news of an impending or actual death.

Imagine the impact your gift of the Longfellow book will have on someone, or some family, who is left alone to process the grief involved with the death of a beloved pet.

Imagine how your gift of the Longfellow book will help open a discussion about all the seasons of life for those who need it most. And what a bonding experience this will be for both children and adults.

This delightful, uplifting, and life-affirming story will change the lives of so many people, and that will happen because of your generosity. Please join us in getting this wonderful book in the hands of those who deal directly with sick and elder animals and grieving humans.

Thank You!

Thank you in advance for your help. Longfellow thanks you, too!

 

Click HERE to join the effort!

 

**We are delighted to announce that all books sent directly to our sponsors will be signed by the author and by Longfellow. The beautiful 24″ X 24″ limited run, full-color posters featuring some of the charming illustrations from the Longfellow book, offered as our gift to sponsors at $500, $1000 and $5000 levels, will also be signed by the author. They are suitable for framing.

Longfellow And The Deep Hidden Woods

The stories we read to and tell our children become the basis of their understanding of the world. Stories contribute to their language development as well as their critical thinking, and coping skills. Death and grief are particularly thorny subjects to communicate to children, not because our children are incapable of grasping the message, but because we, the adult storytellers, are often unprepared for, or uncomfortable with, the topics ourselves.

 
 

I am proud to announce the publication of my second children’s book

Longfellow And The Deep Hidden Woods.

 
 

Longfellow, the bravest and noblest wiener dog in the world…

 

As our story begins, Longfellow is a puppy learning how to be a good friend to his human companions, old Henry and Henry’s nurse Miss O’weeza Tuffy. By the end, Longfellow has grown old himself, but he is still ready for one final adventure.

 

What happens in between is an unforgettable and heartwarming tale that throws a tender light on the difficult truths of loss and longing as well as on our greatest hopes.

 
 

Click on the book cover below to buy!

Longfellow cover

 
 

The Longfellow story is perfect for introducing children, ages 4-9, to the concepts of death and bereavement for a family member, friend, or beloved pet. It is up-lifting, life-affirming, and hope-filled.

 
 

I hope you enjoy this sampling of the beautiful illustrations my collaborator, David Cantero, prepared for this book.