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“Gambatte” represents a host of strong Japanese heritage values. It’s a word said by mothers as they send their children and family off to school, abroad, work and the unknown. The implication is “do your best”, “overcome obstacles”, “as you proceed, be polite and don’t disgrace yourself”, “accomplish your goals”.

It’s been over a month Grandma Dee has been in California with family. There is a network of friends, relatives and business associates who have physically shared their resources - homes, time, prayers, advice, written communication, physical presence.

One good friend said, “I see that the girls are genuine in being, who they really are.” The tutor wrote Dee a text, “They are so eager, smart, quick and appreciative, a joy to teach! And even more importantly, they are sensitive, compassionate and intuitive. That has to have been fostered on some level. Your family is doing a wonderful job. You have a lot to be proud of.” And as said by one of the girls, “I love learning.”

Wherever they have been - and they have been all over for two months now - the girls quickly integrate with playmates, adults and whomever we are with for the day. Here at the apartment complex swimming pool, which is almost daily, they seem to find friends easily. They are excited to start school this fall.

All the ‘plates’ - work, living space, mothering, legal issues - are kept spinning; thanks to a close network of truly remarkable relationships. There is joy, unbelievability and inspiration as Grandma watches arms around the girls and at the same time answering potential $$$ business emails or texts.

What IS needed are PRAYERS and ‘collective energy’ for, “For Looking at the big picture and not get caught up in small details.” A strong “shield” is forming against all the self-serving arrows that keep getting thrown weekly and also gratitude for the practice. The goal is to take life as it is and comes, moving forward.

Grandma Dee finds herself continuing to be the ‘peacemaker’ during rough seas and appreciates the distractions as she sails to new ports. The word is GAMBATTE!!

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Thousand crane ... Thousand crane blessings
Feeling “Joy” in every fold,
Happiness is love
It’s adding “joy” to my life as I watch the girls spend the whole day doing origami and making families of peacocks, swans, pigeons. The 10-yr-old says, “I make mine starting with the Crane Fold. You taught me how to start.”

The 9-yr-old says, “This is my humming bird family. Mine start with the Kite Fold.”

Their tutor assigned the book SADAKO as their homework last week. Wednesday, the teacher asked, “What were your three favorite characters? What did you learn about Hiroshima? Even though the book was sad, did you find anything joyful?”

The 10-yr-old answers, “I think Sadako’s courage gave me strength and if her spirit is out there, I think she’d be happy about that. Honestly, the amount of courage and strength I got would be a *****star.”

Thursday morning, she woke up and said, “I want to make a thousand cranes.”

The Japanese legend promises one who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. Some believe you are granted happiness, eternal good luck, long life or recovery from illness or injury. They are popular gifts for special friends and family.

The crane in Japan is one of the mystical or holy creatures (others include the dragon and the tortoise) and is said to live for a thousand years: That is why 1000 cranes are made, one for each year. It is believed the 1000 cranes must be completed within one year and made by the person who is to make the wish at the end.

The beauty of the creativity of girl's work is that they started folding cranes, but it quickly evolved into all kinds of other birds with a few different twist in the folding.

And the girls helped write the haiku verse. The 10-year-old edited the photo. Origami paper was ordered, but I think half of the creativity was to use what they have and cut it up themselves. It's feeling like a group project and not for one person's goal. We'll work on it.

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Drawn by almost 11-yr-old gr... Drawn by almost 11-yr-old granddaughter
“Tell me what you think about Yin and Yang.” I ask my granddaughter, who has already put in a good part of her 10,000 hours of practice in drawing since she was two or three years old. as she darkened and finished up the picture I requested of her.

Kirin answers, “When I marry someone I think I would first like to find a “Yin” and then find the Yang in them. Like Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, he found Darth Vader and then found some of the light… But he died, well, I’m not sure.

“So, it’s better to find some of the dark first and then look for and find the light?” Grandma Dee asks?

Kirin thinks and adds, “Anakin is the Jedi who turned into Darth Vader.”

“So, tell me more about the picture you drew with the Yin and the Yang. What does the dragon stand for.”

Kirin lies on her bedroom carpeting and answers, “I don’t know. Dragons stand for power, wealth and elegance.” Then as she thinks more, she gets animated and sits up, “Oh yes, they also stand for Balance and Peace.”

Kirin and Kaori have read all ten of the WINGS OF FIRE books and spend hours making up stories and scenes with their HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON replicas.

Later, Kirin and Grandma Dee go on a walk around the campus here in Larkspur. Grandma asks, “What should grandma do with her new life since Grandpa is gone?”

Kirin answers, “You are such a good writer. You should do children’s books.”

“Thank you for the compliment,” Grandma responds. “But if I do that, I want you to help me by doing the illustrations.”

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RESILIENCE - The ability to overcome during difficult issues.

Drawing by Kaori - 9-yrs-old Drawing by Kaori - 9-yrs-old
Yesterday, the girls were escalating their emotions as they were working on taking charge of their own half of their bedroom. The window is one-third on Kirin’s side and two-thirds on Kaori’s side. Kirin wants the venetian blind on her side to be up more so she can put some of her precious items on the windowsill for display. Kaori doesn’t like the overall look when the blind is at an angle because she wants it down all the way.

Grandma talked with the girls and we talked about finding a word that would remind them to not escalate their energy, getting out of control. That was part of the homework Grandma learned at her workshop on RESILIENCE last Friday, by Oren Sofer at this place here in Marin County called Spirit Rock.

We decided to use the word “Yin” to remind us that yin from the dark side reminds us to also incorporate Yang and the light side - both are necessary parts of our life and neither is just good nor bad.

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Drawn by our granddaughter Drawn by our granddaughter
The serviceman for Xfinity was just here - here at 8am and on Father's Day. He just told an incredible story. His 81 year old father was told 10 years ago that he had Lung Cancer and was dying. A couple weeks ago he needed to go to the hospital because of Pneumonia and they were going to release the father to hospice.

They just found out his Pneumonia got cured and he never had lung cancer. Happy Father's Day!

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ADVICE - Word of the day

Working toward Great Ideas!! Working toward Great Ideas!!
The top five mentors in my life are my husband Sam, our daughter Kelly, my Grandpa Tsukamaki and my heritage. Dr. Suzuki of TALENT EDUCATION and Dr. Shaklee who exemplified a way to balance physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health with a home business.

The love of my life is to put the ADVICE I’ve received into concise packages and share them at appropriate times with those I meet who enjoy my “passed on advice” from my mentors.

Niki Baklinski and I have put some of the advice into a program called CHEER - addressing Children, Healthy home, Eating healthy, Emotional health, Retirement health.

It's fun! I love feedback and good new ideas!

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KINTSUGI Japanese Garden at t... KINTSUGI Japanese Garden at the JCCCW in Seattle
Literally means: "mended or put together with gold".

Tara Lemmey filmed and edited Sam’s Memorial. As I watch the video there are some tears; but mostly I am thankful for the memories, by so many friends and relatives, of the eighty-five years of a well lived life!!!

Andrew Baklinski says, "Sam and Dee gave us a special plate for our wedding which got broken. I was also broken with Chronic Fatigue. I give credit to them for being the gold in my life with their Shaklee and counseling."

His inspirational comments come from the explanation of a KINTSUGI PLATE on our living room shelf. Sam bought it from Sam Takahashi at the Mariko Tada Japanese antique shop that was once located in Seattle’s Medical-Dental Building on Olive Way. Sam Takahashi had explained, "Valuable broken plates, repaired with gold by a kintsugi artist, takes on even greater value."

The Japanese Culture and Community Center of Washington in Seattle named their Japanese Garden KINTSUGI. The bronze filled fissure, in the concrete gathering area, represents the mending of lives, especially of those of us with Japanese Heritage, after years of discrimination and incarceration.

Sam drew a comic strip last year of a Kintsugi artist in the habit of preparing his brush by wetting the hair bristles with his lips. The artist as drawn by Sam, in the comics, is suddenly aware that the lacquer and gold dusting through the years did a number to his mouth. Therefore, putting a twist on the value of Kintsugi.

Sam also worked with gold. He left a legacy of 'gold rings', which daily fill in the cracks of loneliness. I'm almost daily asked where I got the rings on my fingers as I pay for things in this my new life.

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Dawn to dusk NEW BEGINNINGS Dawn to dusk
"Start by doing
what is necessary,
then do what's possible
and suddenly you are doing
the IMPOSSIBLE." -Francis of Assisi

Clouds of death ended the last year 2017. Yesterday, June 1st, I attended our grandson Zachary's 8th grade graduation. Basic education is the necessary. Zachary not only completed the necessary but was one of the recipients of a scholarship for the next phase of his life at Notre Dam High.


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Upon awakening the other day, I discovered our nine-year-old Granddaughter had decided it’s her responsibility to put out vitamins every day. She also took it upon herself to clean up and lock the patio door after we had dinner, appreciating Seattle’s sunny May evenings, out on our deck. This was all on her own without any prompting.

The ‘RESPONSIBILITY’ factors being addressed as I work with our grandchildren are what I first call “basic needs”. Maslow, the famous psychologist, in his hierarchy of needs diagram says, “The basic needs are physiological ‘having needs’ - food/water/warmth/rest. That includes clothing, shelter and safety needs.

During most of one’s childhood, RESPONSIBILITY is in the hands of outside parents and teachers. Maturity and becoming adult means the child becomes their own teacher/parent taking care of the child inside of each of us.

Some of us think we can operate at the top and live in constant ecstasy. There are those who obsesses on one level - even when it's helping others.

With practice and responsibility, maturity and adult activity is gradually acquired as one reaches higher and higher, completing each of the levels in Maslow’s diagram on a daily basis.

Fulfillment in life is to daily reach all the levels.

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Finding Talents and Life Skills Finding Talents and Life Skills
Coming home on an Alaska Flight from Kona, HI, to Seattle, WA, I got settled in row 22 and we took off. About three rows back of me, a toddler about 3-years-old started to cry loudly. That seemed logical for toddler ears to be affected and it was easy to put up with it for a few minutes but it didn’t stop.

All the passengers around me and I started frowning and looked at each other, as the crying carried on. Well, it did stop briefly, but the tone was fitful and started up again. Exceeding our normal tolerance, my seat mate commented, “What kind of parents would let this go on for so long?”

The crying kept going for at least 20 minutes. Finally, when it stopped I responded, “That’s a little permissiveness on the part of the parents all right. Our kids would never be allowed to go on like that. But I do counseling and here’s something I’ve observed. That little kid is going to be one ‘H’ of a corporate executive or something like that some day.”

I’m always looking to bring out the best in individuals. Dee’s Personal Mission in calligraphy, hangs on our kitchen wall, “To bring out the best in myself, my partner and others”.

One of the tools I’ve created for bringing out one’s best was developed from world famous music educator, Dr. Suzuki’s method, he calls: Talent Education. He emphasized the Triangle of Learning - Teacher/Parent/Child working together and equally involved.

‘Outside’ or in person Mentor/Teacher and Parent is where one starts in learning. The goal is to gradually develop an ‘Inside’ Mentor/Teacher and Parent that takes care of one’s own ‘inside’ Child. That’s what I call maturity and becoming adult.

In his book OUTLIERS Malcolm Gladwell explains his rule of, 10,000 hours of practice to be successful people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Dr. Suzuki suggested a child could put in 10 years of practice, starting at age three before they got busy with high school and career planning.

In counseling, I first practice the habit of listening to “naughty” behavior and personality issues to see why, where and how people express their energy. Then, I suggest, “You are using the ‘Flip Side’ of your talents or skills.” Choosing the positive side often takes practice.

The term “Flip Side” was coined by Niki of our Go To B-Healthy team.

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