Archives for November 2017

Heart to Heart 169

When You Care Enough!

We just watched the Christmas Train movie on Hallmark.  It is adapted from a book written by David Baldacci.

Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington to LA in time for Christmas. Forced to take the train across the country because of a slight ‘misunderstanding’ at airport security, he begins a journey of self-discovery and rude awakenings, mysterious goings-on and thrilling adventures, screwball escapades and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, where he will rediscover people’s essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost.  It stars Dermot Mulroney, Danny Glover, Joan Cusack and Kimberly Williams-Paisley.  It is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.  The Hall of Fame movies have commercials as compelling as the movies, sometimes even more so!

The Hallmark tag line has for a long time been “When you care enough to send the very best”  The commercials on these wonderful films depict real life people making a difference in the world.   One is about a wonderful teacher who enrolls her students in being Secret Kindness Agents.  Her name is Karolyn Roby and she an instructional facilitator at the Skinner Magnet Center.  Ferial Pearson wrote the book Secret Kindness Agents in 2014. Every child must come up with their own acts of kindness and each must have a Secret Agent name.  Some of the names are Agent Puppy Paws, Agent Chocolate Covered Caramel Donuts and Agent Kitty.  These wonderful children practice acts of kindness all over the school.

Now the Hallmark tag line is “When you care enough…..followed by words like You can change the world or you can make a difference or to lead by example.”

Synchronistically, Lou Ann reconnected with a former friend Laurie, that she acted with in a the comedy “The Odd Couple” twenty five years ago.  They were the Pigeon Sisters in the play.  Laurie helped create SedonaKind.  Check it out at  Their mission is to encourage acts of kindness, large and small, locally and around the world.  When we care enough, wonderful, magical, loving things happen. And we can make the world a better place for you and for me and the entire human race…thank you Michael Jackson.  From my always amazed heart to yours, Thomas

Heart to Heart 168

Terrific Tuesday

Lou Ann and I were in Phoenix today and went to a busy Costco store.  A lady was just finishing loading her car and was looking around for a place to take her cart.  I yelled out the window to leave it there, by the car and I would take care of it.  Later when we left the store, we loaded up our car and I was looking around for the rack for the carts and another lady pulled up and rolled down her window and said “leave it there and I will take care of it!  Parking lot Angels!

We had a wonderful Illuminate Film Festival meeting tonight; discussing programming and marketing.  Right now, if anyone signs up for becoming a member they get the opportunity to save over $300 for a $75 membership! The festival shows a couple of dozen movies that can literally change your life.  We had the privilege last year of doing the World Premier of Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith.  This year, there will be more wonderful documentaries, features and shorts that you will love!  Go to and become a member and get a $178 discount on a festival full pass!  This pricing is only in effect for the next few days! Our films explore most of the genre’ that make the world a better place.  Come join us, give yourself the gift of being part of this significant life experience.  From my happy heart to yours, Thomas

Heart to Heart 167

Fifty Burgers Please!

Doesn’t sound like a to go order for a vegan!  My title tonight was a line from another Christmas movie to warm our hearts!  We watched the movie titled “Christmas Angel” a few times.  It is available in DVD from Netflix or on Youtube for free!  I will try not to totally spoil watching the movie by my remarks.  The story shows a young woman who is having a tough time making it.  She tries to get employment and she lives in an apartment where the water runs out.  She was a foster child in her younger years and passed from home to home.  She has a defeated spirit about life.  Her neighbor across the hall, in the apartment building where she lives, is a white-headed elderly man who uses a cane to walk.

Eventually, her neighbor lets her in on his secret—he is rich!  He is also not very well physically.  He decides to hire her to help him with his business.  He anonymously donates money, food, clothing and gifts to others.  He takes her out on the streets of Chicago and shows her many needy people whom he desires to help.  At one point, she goes into a restaurant with a friend and goes up to the counter and says “fifty burgers please”!  They then take the food outside and give it away to the folks on the street.  The film was produced in 2009 and has always been one of our favorite holiday flicks.  The theme of it is what we try to do and would love to do more.

I invite all of you wonderful folks to join in the fun.  Find some people this holiday season or anytime of year and go out of your way to give them some food or anything that will make life better for them. Life is so much fun when we can be Secret Santas or Christmas Angels!  From my Secret Santa heart to yours, Thomas

Heart to Heart 166

Finding Your Jolly

Lou Ann and I were watching one of the dozens of Christmas movies we have recorded, titled “Finding Santa”.  There is a man who trains others to be Santa Claus’ helpers.  His mantra for this business is Finding Your Jolly.  The movie depicts men and women who hold onto their emotional  position of being right.

Many years ago, Lou Ann and I attended a very confrontational personal training.  The process of the weekend was for each of us to release our beliefs and actions that did not serve us.  There were thirty people in the room and when one person began their own processing; the rest of the group encouraged them to have a breakthrough. It sounds more pleasant in the way I am depicting it.  It was very painful to give up beliefs that I held on to so tight.  I can remember when it came my turn and I was totally resisting the process.  Passionate women who were swearing at me and were very angry at my resistance.  At the same time, I don’t know of a time when I have felt more love from others.  I can still remember that anger in their voices and the love in their eyes.

Another observation of the weekend was that women gave up their position more readily.  They seem to be more in their hearts then the guys.  Lot’s of men like to conquer.  They learn how to use their will to get what they want.  And many times, let nothing stand in their way.  However, when they finally come to the point in their life that those actions didn’t create all that they desire, something has to give. I noticed on that weekend that when myself and other men finally spoke the truth, something magnificent happened.  We shared our fears and our beliefs and finally let go.  The energy in the room was electric!  Many of us so hold on so fiercely that when we finally let go, it feels like a choir of heavenly angels just entered the room! Then the other twenty nine people all held me in their arms and loved my through the process of letting go and finding me.

My wish for everyone today is to find your jolly.  What is it that really gives you joy?  Not what is expected of us.  Perhaps not what your education or life experience is about.  What is it that truly lights up your eyes and gives you goosebumps?  Without blowing up your whole life, go out and find it.  Find your reason for joy and when you do, the world will light up! From my jolly heart to yours, Thomas

Heart to Heart 165

Hollywood High

I was playing tennis today at Poco Diablo which I do four or five times per week.  I talk a lot and one of the ladies remarked ” did you used to get in trouble for talking so much?  It immediately reminded me of Physiology class at Hollywood High school.  It was by far my favorite studies class.  We had an eccentric teach named Mrs. Vollmer.   She had been teaching there for many years.  She had a young spirit and loved what she did.  I chatted a lot in this class.  She had a rule that if a student was caught talking they had to come up to the front of the room and stand in the corner facing the wall for two minutes.  If a student was caught eight times or more during the year, then their name was engraved on a plaque, which was located in the famous corner.  Naturally I was caught eight times and my name was listed right below Lana Turner’s name!  I used to brag that Lana Turner and I were close.  She was on top and I was below her!

Our school was famous for more than just it’s name.  We were featured a few times in the Reader’s Digest magazine.  The students did most of all the jobs in the school except for teaching.  We answered the switchboard, ran the book store and candy shop.  Cleaned the school and worked in the cafeteria serving.  We had a budget, which I believe was around $50,000 for the year, and we were credited with our work hours to pay for it all.  We also raised money each fall by selling thousands of Delicious apples which were trucked down from Washington state.  The apples sold for twenty five cents each.  You could buy an apple at the grocery store then for a nickel.  We used those funds to finance hospital beds in a local hospital for those less fortunate.  We also collected a couple of thousand Red Cross boxes full of school supplies each year and sent them around the world to countries that needed them.

Each Easter senior class members ushered at the huge Sunrise service at the famous Hollywood Bowl.   About twenty thousand people would attend. In exchange for providing that service; our classes graduated at this prestigious location.  I sang in Boys Glee club back then and I got to perform at the Hollywood Bowl; joined by three hundred other voices.  It was a lifetime memory.  The acoustics at the bowl were such that with just a regular spoken voice; the sound would carry a hundred yards away to the audience. I remember tearfully singing the high notes for The Lord’s Prayer and the energy filled every cell of my being.

It was no wonder that on my graduation day in June of 1958, I cried again.  This time it was tears of sadness because I never wanted to leave this remarkable school.  One final footnote.  I got to be in drama class with Stephanie Powers, Linda Evans and Mike Farrell.  And I was in class with Ricky Nelson. No, I didn’t have the talent or the nerve to go into show business.  However, matriculating there might have been the next best thing.  From my fondest memory heart to yours, Thomas



Heart to Heart 164

Curiosity Friday

I went for a two and a half hour hike with Lou Ann and Ganapatiye, our Grandson.  He just left and went back to L.A.  It was a wonderful two days together.  Ganapatiye is a beautiful soul inside and out.  The three of us enjoy each other a lot.  We chatted about many things on our adventure.  We were talking about judgment and how easy it is for anyone to go there.  Judgment is not a bad thing; although I think our society holds it out as something negative.  It is simply an opinion, notion, estimate or possibly a conclusion.  It is not based necessarily on facts.  An example would be : if I saw someone throw a piece of trash on the trail while out hiking; I might say “what a jerk!”.  However the facts would be: someone threw a piece of paper on the ground.  It was my judgment that turned the action into something negative. Maybe the piece of trash had a poisonous insect on it!  So the action could have been perceived differently.

This is what we do as a culture.  We constantly observe activities and offer an opinion on the action.  Our opinion does not make the action good or bad.  Dr. Brad Blanton, who wrote “Radical Honesty”, used to say “we humans are meaning making machines”.  And we meta-physicians are masters at it!  I believe to our credit; we look at life with a lot of curiosity.  We want to know how it all works.  Where did we come from?  Where are we going?  What is the meaning of life?  So we observe events and try to connect all the dots to answer these major life questions.  It was curiosity that killed the cat.  It is curiosity that enlivens the human.  Life is a magnificent, magical puzzle of endless events which we love to wonder about!

I encourage all of us to keep asking questions about everything.  Let us search for all the answers of life even if we never find them.  My experience with Universe is; if I keep my mind and heart open, then life is extraordinary, enchanting and marvelous!  From my inquiring heart to yours, Thomas

Heart to Heart 163

Days of our lives!

Lou Ann and our grandson Ganapatiye went to a gathering of about a dozen for a Thanksgiving meal with other like minded folks.  It is always fun meeting others who have had many of the same life experiences.  We came from different backgrounds and areas of the country and we made similar choices about life.  The media might label us liberal.  I would say we are open.  Much of our earlier training and environment was structured and strict.  Most of us found a way to open our hearts and minds to a new way of being.  It was like coming home to a close knit family!

Earlier, we watched the opening of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade..  The opening to the show was a dance extravaganza!  Dozens of talented, exuberant performers lit up the screen.  Lou Ann began crying tears of joy as she watched.  She has been crying a lot lately because her heart is full of gratitude for what we are experiencing in our lives.  I realize with age comes wisdom.  It also comes with a tenderness about life.  I can understand the underlying emotions which have triggered folks to make the choices they make.  Some serve us and some do not, or so it seems.  Nevertheless, I am once again deeply grateful for where I am and what I am experiencing.

It is fun to be alive and to be semi-aware of how life is unfolding.  May all of us discover the beauty of life and live in a state of deep thankfulness!  From my filled-up heart to yours, Thomas

Heart to Heart 162


It is wonderful that so many of us take this holiday and focus on that for which we are thankful.  Lou Ann and I (thankfully) have made being grateful a cornerstone of our relationship.  Every day, I say thank you, thank you, thank you to Universe.  There are so many people in my life who have made this journey so beautiful.  Not the least of course, is Lou Ann.  I am also thankful for my children and grandchildren and am thrilled with how they are living their lives.  It doesn’t matter what they do for a living or if they have earned an advanced degree.  What seems to matter is how much they love each other and their families.

We have friends in various parts of the country whom we love so much!  We have studied together, cried, laughed and made a difference in a small way on this fragile spacecraft.  I personally am thankful for all the choices I have made.  I know some have brought pain to others and myself.  However, they were the best I could do at the time.  I am thankful that folks love me in spite of myself.

I am thankful that I am sitting here at this computer on Thanksgiving eve and eating wonderful vegan chocolate chip cookies lovingly prepared by Lou Ann.  I am thankful that we began eating only a plant based diet a year ago at this time.  I know the turkeys are happy too!  Most of us are so fortunate to live where we do.  We have so much abundance and the opportunity to create our lives in joyful, loving ways.  Most of the planet does not celebrate this holiday.  Most of the world does not have enough to eat or the basic needs of life.  My wish is for those of us with all this plenty, can find ways to give to the less fortunate.  We speak about creating peace on Earth, and it will begin when we help our sisters and brothers have enough food, shelter, health care and education.  Then they will know they are loved!  From my thankful heart to yours, Thomas

Heart to Heart 161


No, I’m not talking to my dog!  Lou Ann and I went to another showing of the movie titled “Heal”.  It is a wonderful documentary about our own amazing ability to heal ourselves. The film was the winner at the Maui film festival and it was premiered at our own Illuminate Film Festival last June.  The movie shows several patients who have mostly chronic diseases.  A variety of experts are in the film to share what they have discovered about healing and how they use it.  It is clear that stress is the number one killer on the planet.  You can probably trace almost all forms of illness and disease to stress in some form.  The challenge is that for most of us, we do not realize how much stress is occurring in our lives and the damaging and deadly accumulation of it.

HEAL takes us on a scientific and spiritual journey where we discover that our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions have a huge impact on our health and ability to heal. The latest science reveals that we are not victims of unchangeable genes, nor should we buy into a scary prognosis. The fact is, we have more control over our health and life, than we have been taught to believe. This film will empower you with a new understanding of the miraculous nature of the human body and the extraordinary healer within us all. Healing can be extremely complex and deeply personal, but it can also happen spontaneously in a moment.

At the movie tonight, we had one of the healing practitioners in the film share his expertise in person.  His name is Dr. Jefferey Thompson and he is located in San Diego.  Dr. Thompson uses sound to help you heal yourself.  He discovered that the different levels of sound relate to different parts of the body and can be used specifically for that area.  Everyone is different, so Dr. Thompson uses a system that measures each persons exact levels of energy.  So each of us can get our own sounds that will help us heal! From my healing heart to yours, Thomsa

Heart to Heart 160

Magical Monday


Magical Monday

Holiday Desiderata
This is a wonderful reminder from last year.  This is a time of year that can remind us that amid holiday celebrations, we may fall in love again with life!!

Go placidly amid the blaring Christmas carols and hastening shoppers, and remember what peace there may be in the season. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with other shoppers and sales clerks. Share your needs quietly and clearly; and listen to others, especially the hurried and distressed; they too have their story. Avoid critical or demanding persons; they can kill the Christmas spirit.

If you compare your efforts with what others do, you may become prideful or envious; for always there will be richer and poorer persons than yourself. Enjoy your own achievements and holiday plans.

Keep interested in your own celebration, however humble; and remember that family and friends are the real possessions in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your buying, for the stores are full of tempting merchandise.

But let this not blind you to the virtues of the season; many persons give generously of their time and fortunes, and everywhere you can find stories of heroism and happiness. Be yourself.

Especially, do not give gifts without love. And do not be cynical about gifts you receive; for in the face of all commercialism, love still permeates this holiday.

Enjoy the maturity of your years, but do not be afraid to recall the pleasures of Christmases past. Nurture a spirit of joy to shield you from the negative aspects of the holiday. And do not distress yourself by imagining that you can achieve a “perfect” Christmas; that way lies fatigue and unhappiness.

Make your holiday plans, but take it in stride if events don’t follow your plans. You are a child again at Christmas, no less than the youngsters in your family; you have a right to enjoy yourself.

And even if your plans get muddled, no doubt the holiday still will be a joyous one for all concerned.

Therefore, relax and enjoy the season, in whatever way is most meaningful to you, and don’t lose sight of what’s most important to you in all the hustle and bustle.

With all its stress, hectic schedules, and occasional disappointment, it is still a marvelous time of year. Hold tight to the true meaning of the holiday, and strive to inject a bit of happiness into every day throughout the season.
I couldn’t have said it better. Let’s relax and take a deep breath and know that everything we do this holiday season is in Divine order! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good season!  From my relaxed heart to yours, Thomas