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Diwali – The Tradition of Lights

The Diwali illuminations with lighted diyas bring the supernatural brightness and joy with the hope of finding light in darkness, achieving knowledge where there is ignorance, and spreading love amidst hatred. Diwali is also known as the Festival of Lights. Light is significant in Hinduism because it signifies goodness. So, during the Festival of Lights, ‘deeps’, or oil lamps, are burned throughout the day and into the night to ward off darkness and evil.

We enjoy scheduling a lunch or an outing on several of the holidays that are celebrated in our team. We learn about different traditions and share a meal and conversation. Some of our other groups have a pot luck lunch, but in SF we have so many great restaurants we pick one and enjoy.  – the editor

Homes are filled with these oil lamps, candles and lights. Some people use decorated light candles, some decorated diya or clay lamps, and other decorative lights and put them in their windows for the festival. Traditionally people use ‘earthen lamps’ with cotton wicks and oil to light up the dark night. As man progresses, tradition gives way to modernity. Similarly, earthen lamps have replaced candles of various colors and forms. Electric lights of different shapes and sizes illuminate the dark, cold nights of Diwali

The idea behind the Festival of Lights comes from various versions of an ancient Hindu story. In northern India, the tale tells about the holy Lord Rama’s return from a twelve-year exile and the celebration by the people for their beloved hero. The pious and rejoicing people decorated their city with candles and lights to welcome him back. In southern India, the story talks of the Goddess Durga’s triumph over the evil demon Narakasura. This triumph of good over evil brought back the light of knowledge and truth to mankind.

Diwali

See other holidays that we enjoy as a group. Many days coincide with other holidays. Some don’t have an equivalent but are fun to share.

7/4 Independence Day (USA)  and 8/15: Independence Day (CTS)
9/5: Ganesh Chaturthi (CTS) More information on Ganesh.
9/5: Labor Day (WF)
10/11: Dussera/Vijayadasami (CTS)
10/31: Diwali (CTS), Halloween (USA)

 

Ganesh Chaturthi – Prosperity & Good Fortune

Ganesh Chaturthi, a popular Hindu festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is celebrated all over India, especially in Maharashtra. This is a ten day festival beginning on the fourth day (Shukla Chaturthi) and ending on the fourteenth day of the waxing moon period (Anant Chaturdashi) in the month of Bhadrapada (mid-August-mid September). Ganesh Chaturthi significance is that the festival celebrates the birth of Lord Ganesha, the elephant headed Godof wealth, good fortune and harmony.

This elephant head symbolizes immense wisdom which is brought about by “manana” or independent thinking or reflection

ganesh1ganesh2

  Ganesh Chaturthi significance is that the festival was started by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, a brave, warrior king and founder of the Marathi Empire. The Peshwas encouraged the worship and celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi in their state capital Pune, as Ganesha was their family god. With the fall of the Peshwas, this festival lost the state patronage and became a homely celebration. Finally this celebration was revived again as a state affair by the freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak who used it as a tool to spread the message of freedom and gain public support during the national movement for freedom in India. As a result, it is celebrated with a lot of vigour, enthusiasm and glory in the state of Maharashtra.

Popularly known to be the God of prosperity and fortune, Lord Ganesha’s image is printed on invitation cards for wedding ceremonies. The Ganesha idols are stationed at the entrance of houses to allow positive vibrations to enter the house and bring good luck to the inhabitants.

See other holidays that we enjoy as a group. Many days coincide with other holidays. Some don’t have an equivalent but are fun to share.

7/4 Independence Day (USA)  and 8/15: Independence Day (CTS)
9/5: Ganesh Chaturthi (CTS)
9/5: Labor Day (WF)
10/11: Dussera/Vijayadasami (CTS)
10/31: Diwali (CTS), Halloween (USA) For more information on Diwali.

30: Listening to the Not-So-Listless Elephant Brain

A new book by MONA LISA MOON!!

An innovative, energetic blogger of style, life and being your own self, steps out with a Book! She is full of life and spontaneity and has accomplished this feat, rather than merely talking about it. Congratulations on your new decade, your enthusiasm for writing and putting your best foot forward. Always!

I could go on mentioning gloves and heels, lemon curd, healthy birthday cakes and hiking/biking with style…. but you’ll just have to enjoy the book.

TED Talks, Innovation and Saul Wurman

In 1984, we were braced for something to happen. We’d read the book 1984 by George Orwell, and were thinking about the post-apocalyptic melt-down of society. Anything seemed possible, and since “Make Love Not War” bumper stickers had peeled off all the VW bugs by then…. we were bracing for the worst.  But that is NOT what happened, with every swing of the pendulum, good things and hard things happened.

In 1984:

  • TED TALKS were started by Saul Wurman, the bellowed knowledge, trends and “what’s up?” snippets of the best of the best….
  • The first Macintosh was born – wahoo!
  • USA Today launched
  • The first CD came out and Sony and Philips introduce the first commercial CD Players
  • The Summer Olympic games were held in Los Angeles, CA
  • Bank failures in the USA
  • The Aids Virus identified by a French Immunologist
  • So many popular entertainers back in 1984, like David Bowie, Tina Turner,  Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rogers and many more
  • Remembering Back – World Leaders – France President François Mitterrand   Germany Chancellor Helmut Kohl    United States President Ronald Reagan United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher 

This list may give you some context about world events… and what an innovation like TED Talks became…. gathering the curious, early adopters, innovators and the perplexed.  Saul Wurman is forward thinker and a gift to all of us.  He describes the task of creating a conference and gives some solid points to reflect on. Passion first. His description of a conference as a “dinner party” without the dinner will help set most event planners brains on edge!

SaulWurman

“You don’t have to sell a million books to have an effect, or to make something clear, or to work out clarity in life.  Small groups, if they’re the right small groups, and they’re filtered down naturally to people who tell other people, that’s quite enough. Viral communications is really quite interesting.” Says Saul Wurman founder of TED and an amazing person

For more information, check out the Fast Company article…..“The Founder Of TED Shares What It Takes To Build The World’s Most Popular Conference” article on FC

*For Mona Lisa Moon,  who innovates, collaborates and makes a difference. Her new book is

30: Listening to the Not-So-Listless Elephant Brain

 

SF MOMA Opens, Many Places to have FUN!

We have waited for the SFMOMA to reopen….. Now it is time to go see it. Enjoy six floors of modern and contemporary works of art, stunning galleries, cafes, a new sculptural staircase and art-filled public space. Located in downtown SF there is so much to enjoy at the museum, the museum café and the fantastic gift shop (a great selection of creative and unusual gifts).  In the local neighborhood there are so many fun things to do… It’s an easy walk down to the Embarcadero with views of the bay and Bay Bridge, the Ferry Plaza is overflowing with food and shops, the Embarcadero buildings on Market are a fun aerobic way to walk above the traffic (2nd floor) and there are many more museums in the area (California History Museum, Yerba Buena, African Diaspora, Jewish Contemporary Museum and the less-known but fantastic and free Autodesk museum).

To experience SFMOMA and its art like never before, download the innovative SFMOMA mobile app (iOS only). The app features 15 to 45 minute guided narratives that take you through the galleries featuring perspectives from fascinating hosts including comedians Martin Starr and Kumail Nanjiani, high-wire walker Philippe Petit, Avery Trufelman from the 99% Invisible podcast roller-derby player Suzy Hotrod and members of the San Francisco Giants.

Visit sfmoma.org to plan your visit.  Think about a group event on the THIRD THURSDAY Evening, special events on these downtown museums.

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY? Not a good idea! All these places are great to visit or hold a team event, scavenger hunt, walking meeting or lunch away from work. Try it!  Your team with thank you!

Our Military Heroes – Happy 4th of July, America!

Learn more about these great exhibitions, web sites and the history of our military service that keeps the USA safe and proud.

Soldiers to Summits – This climbing expedition is designed to help wounded veterans overcome barriers in their lives. This year, the expedition will take place on Mt. Whitney. Located in California, it is the tallest peak in the contiguous U.S. with a top elevation of over 14,000 feet (the exact height varies depending on how it’s measured). Visit their website to learn how you can get involved.
Presidio to Pacific Powerhouse, How the Military Shaped San Diego Exhibit – This exhibit runs from April 26, 2014 to January 4, 2015. There are several special events this July, with speakers.
“It was an honor to be one of the first to see this exhibit and its fantastic documentation of the long standing tie between San Diego and our military,” said Captain Curt Jones, commanding officer, 32nd Street Naval Base San Diego.
Blue Star Moms & Blue Star Mothers Blue Star Mothers FaceBook here, a discussion of issues to military families, Moms in uniform and more. Blue Star Moms have chapters all over the USA, and provide support and service to our military.
There are also often campaigns to send postcards and letters to our Active Duty soldiers. It is a wonderful thing to do as a team (gather postcards) and sending an encouraging word is wonderful to receive. Look at all these bundles of postcards on their way to remote spots overseas.
The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center is primarily an oral history program that collects and preserves the firsthand interviews of America’s wartime veterans. VHP relies on volunteers(both individuals and organizations) throughout the nation to contribute veterans’ stories to VHP. In addition to audio- and video-recorded interviews, VHP accepts memoirs and collections of original photographs, letters, diaries, maps and other historical documents from World War I to the present. For more information or to learn how you can participate, visit the Veterans History Project website. There is no deadline for participation.
 
Fourth of July
Did YOU Know?? 
When the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists wanted complete independence from Great Britain. By the following year, hostility toward Great Britain had grown along with the desire for an independent country.
On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, Congress signed and adopted the Declaration of Independence, and the United States has celebrated the Fourth of July every year since (Independence Day was officially declared a holiday in 1941).
Since 1776, millions of men and women have fought in multiple wars and served in peacetime to protect the United States and keep that independence.
There are approximately 23.2 million military veterans in the United States. 9.2 million Veterans are over the age of 65 and 1.9 million are under the age of 35. 1.8 million Veterans are women. Five states have veteran populations over 1 million: California, Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania. (Information in this section was collected from History.com.)
 
As we celebrate Independence Day this month, thank a veteran, active military member and military family members for all he or she has done to keep the United States “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Did You Know?
  • In the Roman calendar July was originally called Quintillis, meaning fifth, because it was the fifth month. However, Julius Caesar added two months at the start of the year, and July became the seventh month. It was then named after Julius Caesar.
  • George Washington did not sign the Declaration of Independence; he was in New York City with his troops on July 4, 1776. John Adams believed that July 2 was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4 events in protest.
  • In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to later serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the declaration.
  • A women’s rights convention was held at Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. Topics discussed included voting rights, property rights and divorce. The convention marked the beginning of an organized women’s rights movement in the U.S.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1964, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race in public accommodations, publicly owned or operated facilities, employment and union membership and voter registration.
  • The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 fireworks displays light up U.S. skies each Fourth of July.
  • The famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place on the Fourth of July at Nathan’s flagship restaurant on Coney Island. It has been held every year since 1916, except 1941, as a protest to the war in Europe and 1971 as a protest to civil unrest and the reign of free love.

 

July Days to Celebrate


Each Day listed below, can be the spring board to a fun employee celebration. This is a great time for a picnic, Popsicles at work, or some patriotic music to “wake up” your first team meeting of July 4. (Are you thinking Chili? In many communities, Chili Cook Offs happen in July on Independence day! And BBQs are the most fun summertime event for a group.)

These team building events are so important. Make sure to plan ahead AND announce the event so that your team has something to look forward to and can participate.  And there are MONTH LONG events too.

July

1 Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day
2 World UFO Day (and also June 24!)

3 National Chocolate Wafer Day

4 Independence Day!

4 National Country Music Day

5 Workaholics Day

and also on this day, on July 5, 1946, The bikini goes on sale after debuting during an outdoor fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris, France.

6 National Fried Chicken Day and In 1957, John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet for the first time, as teenagers at Woolton Fete, three years before forming the Beatles.

7 National Strawberry Sundae Day

8 Video Games Day

9 National Sugar Cookie Day
10 Howard Hughes sets a new record, in 1938, by completing a 91-hour airplane flight around the world.
11 James Abbott McNeill Whistler, is born in 1843, an American-English painter (d. 1903)
12 Bill Cosby, American comedian, actor, producer, and author is born in 1937

13 National Ice Cream Day – YUM!!

14  Bastille Day, French national holiday celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution

15 National Tapioca Pudding Day  & Gummy Worm Day

16  Father Junipero Serra founds California’s first mission, in San Diego 1769

17 National Peach Ice Cream Day  & Disneyland opens in 1955 in Anaheim, CA

18  Cow Appreciation Day

19  Stick your Tongue Out Day

20 National Lollipop Day

21 National Crème Brulee Day
22 Born Today: actors Terrence Stamp (1939) and Danny Glover (1946)

23 The edible Ice Cream Cone makes its debut in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair by Ernest Hamwi in 1904  (Patent 1,342,045 issued June 1, 1920)

24  Amelia Earhart Day

25 National Hot Fudge Sundae Day
26 Born Today, actor Kevin Spacey (1959) and  George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856 d. 1950)
27 Finland celebrates National Sleepyhead Day

28 National Milk Chocolate Day

29 National Lasagna Day

30 National Cheesecake Day and in 1975 Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant.

31 Parent’s Day

Fourth of JulyJULY Month-long celebrations! Some things cannot be done in a day!

June Days to Celebrate are Here!
August Days to Celebrate are Here!

Homeless Prenatal Program – Our Light, Our House event

From the group at HPP to the Community: 

Thanks to everyone who helped make Our Light, Our House an unprecedented success last month!  With your help, Homeless Prenatal Prevention – or HPP for short,  raised over $215,000 to help break the cycle of childhood poverty.  We are over the moon with gratitude for our planning committee, sponsors, silent auction donors and guests. HPP was delighted to honor both the Family Treatment Court (FTC), a collaborative drug court for parents involved in child welfare, and FTC’s first graduate, Eli Parson, who is now a Case Manager at HPP!

OUR WORK GROUP has donated and volunteered with this amazing group. Their success is so gratifying. If you’d like to make a HUGE difference for a family, you can volunteer here or donate.   – the editor

HONORING FATHERS!  For the past few years, HPP has been offering a very successful Fatherhood Group. This weekly workshop offers a safe and comfortable space for fathers – especially those who are involved with the child welfare system – to discuss ways to become more engaged and active in their children’s lives. Fatherhood Group was launched and is led by two single-fathers, both of whom successfully reunified with their children after system involvement. Learning from one another, participants develop greater confidence and comfort in addressing everything from child custody status to parenting styles and childcare. Since its launch in 2010, over 400 fathers have participated in HPP’s Fatherhood Group. Happy Father’s Day! If you’re still thinking of a gift idea for a great dad in your life, consider making a donation in his name to benefit HPP’s Fatherhood Group!

Our Light, Our House, Our Gratitude

HPP

BLOGGERS!!  Want to get involved, doing what you do best?? As you may have read news journalists will be joining together on June 29th to flood media outlets with stories on homelessness. HPP looks forward to a day devoted to raising awareness and problem-solving around this important issue — and we hope you’ll join the conversation by liking and sharing HPP’s posts and creating your own. Be sure to like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.   

 

Overcoming Obstacles

Want some pointers? We had a great talk at work.  To get started, take a look at the 4 phases.

  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance

the changes THAT STICK require meaningful contemplation. Think about what you WANT! And it takes time, more than a month. Make a plan, you have a much better chance to succeed.

HINTS / TIPS

Start with one thing. Don’t try to change your world.

NOTE: Learning to sort out FAULTY THINKING can really help you make the right choices.

Try

Kaiser Fung – Numbersense

Big Data is almost a dinner-time word, at least in my home. Kaiser Fung makes it painless to learn more.

How to make simple sense of complex statistics–from the author of Numbers Rule Your World

We live in a world of Big Data–and it’s getting bigger every day. Virtually every choice we make hinges on how someone generates data . . . and how someone else interprets it–whether we realize it or not.

Where do you send your child for the best education? Big Data. Which airline should you choose to ensure a timely arrival? Big Data. Who will you vote for in the next election? Big Data.

The problem is, the more data we have, the more difficult it is to interpret it. From world leaders to average citizens, everyone is prone to making critical decisions based on poor data interpretations.

In Numbersense, expert statistician Kaiser Fung explains when you should accept the conclusions of the Big Data “experts”–and when you should say, “Wait . . . what?” He delves deeply into a wide range of topics, offering the answers to important questions, such as:

  • How does the college ranking system really work?
  • Can an obesity measure solve America’s biggest healthcare crisis?
  • Should you trust current unemployment data issued by the government?
  • How do you improve your fantasy sports team?
  • Should you worry about businesses that track your data?

 

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