We had the honour and pleasure of having Sandra Ruch officiate our wedding ceremony and could not have asked for a more delightful person. She was very professional and easy to communicate with leading up to the wedding. She offered a great deal of insight and flexibility with the ceremony, especially since we planned our wedding in a very short amount of time. Her energy radiated and filled the room during the ceremony, and we laughed plenty. We also received a compliment from our photographer that Sandra was great at finding the perfect spots to be in/out of photos, which is a skill I never expected! She surpassed all our expectations and we loved working with her. We would absolutely recommend Sandra for all your officiating needs!
Sandra Ruch was everything, and more we thought she would be. Our ceremony was personable and fun. We had an island theme and she dressed for the part. She had everyone’s attention and several people told us after the ceremony that they even cried, with how beautiful it was. We had a cross section of family and friends at our wedding and EVERY single one of them commented on Sandra’s officiating. Thank you Sandra! With much love….Alice & Melanie February 2020
I’m grieving. I judge my grieving. Is it enough? Is too much? Will I spin out and lose control? For the first few weeks after my precious daughter died of cancer, I could only tell people, “I am broken”. I felt disbelief, loss, confusion and I was just so, so, so sad. Just sad and lost. I have been trying to find my way out – who will I be? How will I be? What will help to heal my heart? Who do I need? What do I need? What can hold my attention?
I never had a long attention span but since she died, it is even shorter. What can I do to honour Tovah’s memory?I created a memory wall in my home. It is here that I stand each day recite the Mourners Kaddish (prayer).I planted 18 olive trees in Palestine in Tovah’s name. You can do that too https://zatoun.com/trees-for-life/
Tovah and I had so much faith that she was not going to die. We believed that a miracle would come. She told me every day that she felt her soul was in her body and that she didn’t feel like she was dying. I believed her with all my heart. We prayed every day. We wrote out our gratitudes every day. I wrote sigils on her that symbolizes healing.
I understood we would have a long recovery ahead and that her health would be precarious but I believed that she would live. This was not how it was supposed to be. Tovah lived only 4 months after her cancer diagnosis. I’ve lost my baby girl and I miss her so much.
Tovah had a generous heart. She loved helping people and we know this for sure from the stories her friends continue to share with us. Tovah gave money to causes and she would often come to me to help her with a friend in need.
Recently an old friend contacted me and explained that he doesn’t have the money to send his daughter to university. We met 15 years ago in Jericho and have remained good friends ever since.My first time in Jericho spring 2005.
His daughter, Alaa, has dreamed of becoming a doctor for as long as she can remember. She and I had a video chat last week and I immediately knew that I wanted to help her. I felt a deep internal call to do this – I know Tovah would get behind me.
I am calling it my Tovah Project. I want to raise money to send Alaa to university. She graduated with a 94 % average. She’ s sweet and shy and smart!I set up a new bank account and I named it Tovah’s Project. I will send the money directly to the university in East Jerusalem. Alaa will live at home and commute. She lives in a refugee camp near Jericho. She needs $4000 USD immediately for the first 4 month semester.
I lived in Haifa from 2004-2006. The situation in Palestine was very bad then and has only gotten worse over the past 14 years. So much worse and the opportunities for young people are very, very limited. The Occupation crushes the hopes and dreams of Palestinian youth.
I remember the day Tovah and I talked about the situation one day in late 2004 and I explained what I was learning about the situation of the Occupation and the brutal actions of the Israeli government to the Palestinian people. I told her about the organizations I was now working with. A few months later, I told both Raya and Tovah that I was called to stay and that I wanted to continue working to end the Occupation and to help the Palestinian people. I remember how supportive they both were..
I hope you will help me to help Alaa. She will make a difference and so can you. No donation is too small. $5, $10, $100. A share is as good as a donation so please repost the link on your social media. GoFundMe Help to Send Alaa to Al Quds University
I miss Tovah so much. I love hearing her friends tell stories about her. I love talking about her with her sister and with anyone who knew her. I love the stories and I love the pictures and I love the memories. There are so many things I want to write about and so much I need to excavate for myself and it fills me up to get such wonderful feedback from those who knew her and from those who knew her from my stories.
I met with a medium last week. She was recommended to me by a womyn I have known for many years and who is a member of the London Spiritualist Church. I love visiting that church and have attended services from time to time over the past 20 years. I had a deep longing to connect with Tovah.
Lorraine is the spiritualist I worked with. We spoke by phone. She started telling me that she saw someone in ministerial garb around me – someone from way back – dressed in a brown tunic -like a monk. His hands are in prayer and his head is bowed. He is praying over me. She then said there is a woman around me with grandmother energy from my mother’s side. My grandmother is telling me that things are happening but I shouldn’t let them bother me and to think of things happening as a puzzle and take a piece away to see the whole. She told me that there are 2 younger people and 1 older person around me that are causing me trouble right now. She told me that I am good at getting people to do things but I’m very good at just doing things for myself. She told me that these current problems are someone else’s responsibility and not mine. She reminded me that we teach people how to treat us by how we treat them.
I then interrupted Lorraine to say I want to make contact with someone who had recently passed. Lorraine then said she is smiling and she is standing behind your grandmother. She has a healing process to go through. She is so thankful to have had you as a friend. I felt annoyed and said I was her mother. Lorraine said but it seems she considered you a best friend. She says that she is sorry she didn’t listen to you more. She wishes she had been a little smarter and that we didn’t always agree. She heard everything you have said and says, “Right back at you, Mom.” I liked that because all I have been saying is Tovah, I miss you so much and wish you were here to raise your baby and to be with us.
Lorraine continued to talk about Tovah. She says that Tovah was very clever and she achieved quite a lot. She doesn’t have any regrets. It was all part of her life lessons. The monk is bringing her serenity.
Lorraine then asks me if Tovah was creative. Lorraine said Tovah is showing her some of her artwork and that she is wanting me to look at it. I assumed it was the pottery that she made in school and the painting of the butterfly that Raya has in her home. Yesterday Raya and I went through a large container and in it we found a bag that neither of us knew about with a sticker on it, “Artwork Do Not Bend”. It must be from her studies at Beal Secondary school. I went through the work and found a cloth with a woman on it that I have to assume is a self portrait. Beautiful! I also found an old ring of mine that I must have given to Tovah.
Lorraine now tells me that Tovah loved music and she wants me to listen to music. She wants me to know that there are a lot of songs especially country music that resonated with her and that would be good for me. Lorraine tells me there is a song by John Montgomery about a little girl hiding behind the couch and that her father killed her mother. (I grew up in a violent home and this frightened little girl speaks to me.) Tovah wants me to know that we are never alone.
Tovah has 3 ancestors around her right now and 3 angels. Lorraine was clear about one being my grandmother and then described a man that I am certain is my father. She said he has dark brown hair (not black) that is greying around a bit but he cuts it really short so you don’t really notice it. He used a product called Vitalis and I think it made his brown hair appear much darker. I asked if there is another man there. Remember she is doing this reading from me and she says that I have 14 ancestors with me. She says there is and that he is 6 foot 3 or 4. She says he is showing her 3 and then 4 fingers. I never knew Hassan, my second husband, exact height. I always say he was 6”3 or 4. I know he is there.
Lorraine says that Tovah felt she was well looked after and was ready to go. She decided that she had had enough.
She asked if Tovah had a sister. She said she is holding a lot in and that I should encourage her to talk. She said she has some concern that this will happen to her as well. At this point Lorraine, while talking about Tovah’s sister, said she herself was having an overwhelming feeling of wanting to cry and told me that she had lost 2 younger sisters.
Tovah wanted me to know that she married Wesley because she really loved him. She said that I (SandraLaya) am following my heart and I am doing what she asked me to do. She’s very pleased that I am determined to have things go as she wanted them to go. She is confident that she asked the right person.
Lorraine now asks if there is a baby. She says the sister (Raya) will be very instrumental in influencing the baby (Harper). She told me to watch the baby and when she looks up and starts jabbering, she is talking to her Mom. The hardest part for Tovah was leaving the baby. She stayed longer and endured more for that reason. She wanted to stay and love her as long as she could. She realizes now she can still watch over her. My grandmother said that she is teaching her to do what she did when she crossed over.
Lorraine then asked if someone has lost a baby. I told her that Raya had. Raya’s son Henry Oliver was still born almost 9 years ago. She tells me that the baby is with Tovah. He’s going to be close to Harper.
Finally she told me to watch for hummingbirds. Tovah said, “Mom you’ve got this”. Thanks, Baby girl.
Raya, Tovah and I lived in a little white cottage in London, Ontario for 10 years. It was not fancy. I couldn’t afford any upgrades but I also didn’t want any. I adored our wee bathroom with the wood paneling that resembled a sauna and our tiny clawfoot tub that I could comfortably soak in because I’m only 5 foot 2. I loved our country style kitchen with no counter space and no fan above the stove. Tovah was constantly annoyed with me for broiling chicken without closing her bedroom door making her room and her clothes smell of chicken. It still makes me smile.
Early in 1990 I sold our 3 story duplex. I couldn’t afford the repairs and upkeep on the house. We rented a lovely 3 bedroom home in the neighbourhood. With the sale of the house, I paid off all our debts, bought a new (to us) car and we spent the whole summer in Norway. That is another story for another time. We were in the rental only a year when the owner put the house up for sale and the next year was spent with real estate agents looking at our home, open houses and all that entails. A whole year of it!!
One day I was sitting in my taxi – yup, I was driving a taxi full time that year. I just didn’t have the capacity to work in a normal workplace environment. I needed a break from bosses, corporate culture and all the BS that came with it. So I’m in my taxi and I say a prayer. “God, I need a house that my girls and I can live in until they graduate high school. It has to be in the South Secondary School district.” South had a great reputation as one of the best high schools in the city with about 95% of the graduates going on to post secondary schools. That was my goal for my daughters. I opened up the newspaper (that’s what we did in 1994) and there was a little ad “Rent to Own”, 3 bedrooms, Old South. I called immediately. Where is the house located? It was exactly where I needed it – within the school district parameter. I’ll take it, I said. The owner asked if I had seen it yet. Nope. He insisted that I go and look first and call him back. I was annoyed since it meant checking out of work to go look and losing money that we desperately needed.
I drove across town to find this adorable little white cottage. I walked through to find 3 bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and a bathroom. The basement was dry and clean and completely unfinished. The backyard was ginormous!!! There was a long driveway and an old wooden garage. Perfection!!!!!!! I called him back and we arranged to meet at 4pm. He told me the monthly mortgage amount – same as I was paying at the other house. He said if I paid on time every month, he would get me a bank mortgage. I found that very unlikely but a year later his wife cosigned for a mortgage and the house was really mine. We lived there for 10 years.
The other miraculous thing he mentioned was that he knew we would want to paint and fix the house up so he would give me the keys right then and there. We weren’t supposed to start paying for 2 months. He said he didn’t live in town and he only asked if I was going to be there often to switch the utilities to my name!! Later that day I called our landlord and gave notice asking if we could move in 1 month. I had not put up a security deposit and there was no last month rent paid. They called me back an hour later and asked if I would consider moving out earlier. The end of the month was a week away. I quickly agreed. 2 months without paying rent gave me the down payment I needed. The next week was a whirlwind of cleaning and painting our new house, moving everything and cleaning up the old house. I was working 12 hour shifts six days a week at the time. My best friend Alice, Raya, Tovah and I became painters. I bought our paint on the backroom shelf at the paint store for $5 a gallon. Raya was about 14 years old and Tovah was 11. We had our house and I had my miracle. I chose fun colours – forest green for the living room, yellow for the kitchen, a green for my bedroom, yellow in Raya’s and turquoise in Tovah’s. A few years later it was evident that the colours were bothering Tovah and we painted her room and the living room white. It was an instant attitude change for her.
It’s a rainy summer afternoon today and it just reminded of similar hot and muggy days in our cottage home where I would sit out on the porch under the aluminum awning (listening to the sound of rain) stretched out on a papasan chair that I probably scavenged from the street. I loved finding things out on the street and bringing them home – I still love a good find. “Is that garbage?” brought a smile to all of us. I once embarrassed Tovah because I took old railway ties that were out in front of the home of one of her friends. They were there to be taken but Tovah was having none of it. Mom, how could you do that?? I found a child’s swimming pool and dug out a pond using the railway ties as a little walkway to it. Hmmmm, wish I had a photo of that. Eventually I spent money on a pond liner. I put in some goldfish and just loved this space. I also had a hammock. Memories that I am recreating on my little balcony here in Toronto. Memories that bring Tovah into my space and hold her in my memory.
I can feel her here today as I can feel the humid summer air on my skin. I have chicken cooking on a little indoor grill. I would often grill chicken on an old gas barbecue that I inherited but I would fill it with charcoal because I also have a fear (like my fear of birds) of propane tanks. I love summer so much and I hate using air conditioning after spending most of the year being cold. This was an ongoing argument in our little house. One day I came home to find an air conditioner in the kitchen window. My girls had asked their father for one and he had come over and installed it for them. Both their bedrooms opened onto the kitchen and this gave them the cool air they wanted. I closed the door between the kitchen and living room where my bedroom door was. Open windows and a fan!!! Summer breeze! Summer bliss!
One summer I bought an above ground pool that was on sale at Canadian tire. The upper rim was inflatable and you only needed to fill the pool from the outdoor hose and it took shape and we had a nice sized 3 foot pool. At night the girls and I would wrap ourselves in sarongs and go out into the backyard – no lights on – and slip into the pool completely nude. We’d swim around, talk, laugh and cool off. Then into the house for a comfortable night’s sleep. The girls with a bit of air conditioning and me with fresh air from my window.
I remember one day I smudged the house with sage to clear the energy. I don’t remember what was going on at the time but it felt like something that needed to be done. I learned smudging when I had a contract facilitating a women’s group at the Oneida Community. I have adopted it as part of my own practice since then. Tovah came home from high school – the house was sparkling clean because that’s what I had been doing all afternoon. Tovah was furious because she was certain that I had been smoking marijuana. She wouldn’t believe that it was sage. It’s funny because I don’t like marijuana (it makes me paranoid and is not fun). There was no changing her mind or convincing her. Tovah could have some very strong opinions. For instance she was also absolutely certain that I ate raw ground beef. She swore she saw me do it!! I never did but I did marinate steak and would eat it raw while putting it on the skewers to grill. Just last year she was still convinced that I ate raw ground beef.
At one point Raya lost her wallet. She looked everywhere. We all looked for it but we couldn’t find it. One early evening Raya came into the living room and asked if I would use my pendulum and see if we could locate the missing wallet. I felt it was worth a try but didn’t have much faith in the process. I spun the pendulum – clearing the energy and asking for guidance. All of a sudden Tovah comes barreling out of her bedroom and runs into Raya’s room. We here some crashing and banging and then Tovah yelling, “I found it!”. She had the wallet in her hand. She said that she was sitting on her bed and out of nowhere she could see the missing wallet in her mind. It was in Raya’s room tucked back behind a solid wood bookshelf. That was my magickal daughter.
I asked Raya today what Tovah would have been doing in her room. I realized that kids didn’t have the electronics they have today. Raya said Tovah would try on clothes, play around with make up, do her hair and that she was always listening to music and both singing and dancing. That’s my Tovah. Raya asked Tovah’s friend Heather the same question and she said that Tovah talked on the phone ( we had a portable one). She remembered Tovah’s comforter – white with jelly beans on it. She didn’t think Tovah spent a lot of time in her room. We often watched television together. We ate dinner together almost every day. Raya, Tovah and Mom – we were invincible, inseparable and we always had each other’s back.
I have an irrational fear of birds. I’ve had it as long as I can remember. I have never seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds”. I’ve just always been afraid. It’s silly and irrational but it is what it is. I especially think they are going to attack my head and ears!! That will explain my plan to solve this dilemna.
My daughter Tovah was with me in October, 2006 when I found my apartment. She looked out the window and said that it was perfect for me since the balcony was completely netted and would keep out the birds. We always joked that her eyes were like x-ray eyes – nothing got past her. This sealed the deal and I signed the contract. I love it here. Eventually Tovah met Wesley and moved near me which was an added blessing. She loved this Beach neighbourhood as much as I did.
After Tovah died, people including her sister Raya, said that she was visiting them as a Robin. A robin came up to Raya and sat at her feet squawking loudly at her. I have never heard of a squawking Robin. I said she wouldn’t come to me as a bird because she knows how irrationally afraid I am. Raya said that she thought she would anyway.
Just a week ago, I met with a spiritualist. I truly believe that she made contact with Tovah. I will write more about it soon. She told me that Tovah wanted me to watch for hummingbirds – especially the way they flap their wings wildly and don’t move. There is a message there for me. I have visited a butterfly conservatory and they also had hummingbirds. At first I didn’t think I could go in but in the end I did and found that the hummingbirds didn’t frighten me. I was sure that this was the bird that my girl would visit me as. I was wrong.
This morning I found a robin on my 100 square foot balcony. Inside!!! Pacing on the railing. Sitting on my hammock! Flying around!! Trapped!!! I didn’t know what to think or what to do!!! I texted Raya and my brother Peter. Help! What should I do???
A few days after Tovah died, I woke at 2am and felt an incredible urge to sit on my balcony. I felt compelled to sit there day after day bundled up in blankets with warm furry slippers that both Tovah and I loved. I started making my balcony my haven and I have spent hours there. One of Tovah’s friends gave me a gift card and I used it to buy a hammock. I bundled up and laid and rocked in it since late in April. I often nap in it or sleep a few hours in the night. I feel closest to my baby girl when I am on my balcony.
This morning I found that robin – trapped and afraid. My anxiety was over the top!! What should I do? I wanted to do this on my own. Face my fears. Be brave. My brother suggested a broom to gently nudge the bird up to rip in the netting. Raya suggested getting someone to help or to contact my building manager. She reminded me that the wee bird was also very afraid. A good friend then called me out of the blue and agreed that she could come around noon to help. That was 3 hours away. So what should I do?
I decided to try. First – a hat to protect my head. I had a large floppy brimmed hat that belonged to Tovah.
I then took out my Priestess Pom Poms that had been given to each womyn in my cohort at our ordination last summer.
Then I prayed. I stepped out on the balcony waving my Pom Poms and she flapped her wings. I moved toward the end where the opening was and waved upwards and out she flew!!!!!!!!! The whole thing was less than 30 seconds.
Sandra Ruch was so friendly and professional. We wanted a Jewish ceremony with some elements added in from our Greek/Egyptian heritage – Sandra helped us blend all these elements elegantly. She provided us with great templates and guided us through creating the ceremony. During the ceremony she was so friendly and spoke with warmth and gravitas. It was a great, easy and a positive experience. Couldn’t have asked for anything better.
Joseph and Julian, December 2019 venue Jam Factory, Toronto
The holidays loom ahead for many. I totally understand this and I remember the first Christmas after my divorce. We had agreed that the children would spend it with their Dad – Christmas eve until Boxing Day. I remember how we both spent too much money on presents that year.
I had already celebrated Chanukah for 8 days with my daughters. I had invited people over for a latke dinner. I gave the girls a little gift each night and we lit the candles. It didn’t compete with the Christmas hype but it was a tradition that I was determined to grow in my home. I decided that I would no longer celebrate Christmas. I was going to leave Christmas and all the traditions with their father. We had always celebrated both Jewish and Christian holidays in our home. In my house, we would only have Jewish traditions. I had to learn to accept that and let the rest go.
I was genuinely tired – working full-time as a retail manager in a large chain store and raising two young children. I had custody and their father had them every other Thursday and every other weekend. Those Christmas breaks were times when I could just be at home with only myself to think of. The world around was closed and there was no where I had to go. I wanted to eat turkey so I bought delicious turkey wings, sweet potatoes, green beans and whatever else caught my fancy. A simple meal cooked in a roasting pan. I watched Christmas movies on tv, walked our dog and really rested.
Over the years, sometimes others were around but I always kept Christmas day as low key as possible. 35 years later, it has become a tradition, my tradition……..I am at home, I am alone and I am delighting in my own company and indulging myself in rest and relaxation. It feels holy and sacred and it is mine.
I moved to London at 20 years old with my new husband. My brother was in university there when we arrived but left for good just a few months later. We made new friends through our work and we celebrated every holiday Jewish and Christian. We invited new friends for meals and we were happy with whoever came. We made our own traditions and this continued to be my way long after we divorced. I never felt cheated that we didn’t have family or whatever else people say is missing. I, we, made the best with what we had.
I encourage people to do the same – gather up other holiday orphans and celebrate. Maybe everyone is busy on Christmas day so have a dinner on a different day. Create your own traditions or like me celebrate you! My own children still celebrate Christmas with their partners and with their in-laws as well as their father. Chanukah this year fell over the busy days of Christmas so we celebrated Chanukah early. A gathering with people who love you anytime is more than enough for me. Like we say at Passover, Dayenu – it is enough. No matter what you do- be kind and patient with you. You deserve it.
Caroline Boye was my best friend. She died on December 14, 2010. Caroline and I spoke every day on the phone for many years. She would say, “tell it to me like a story” and I would then tell her all about my day. Caroline was my greatest champion. She believed I could do anything. I believe she was pivotal in who I am today. Caroline would be very pleased if she were here today.
Caroline grew up in Kingston, Ontario. I never knew her age but I suspect she was 20 years older than me. Her parents were lovely – I met them a few times but I knew them through the eyes of Caroline’s daughter, Wade. Wade adored her grandparents, Blanche and Lester (Nana & Poppy). They were solid and “normal”. Caroline must have really surprised them when she left for Mexico after graduation to study and become a flamenco dancer. She was beautiful. She looked like Elizabeth Taylor.
I met Caroline in the early 90’s. I had just started selling African clothing and crafts with my Sudanese husband, Hassan. I was selling in outdoor markets and from my home. Caroline called me one day and she wanted to see what I had. She was opening a consignment store for plus size women and wanted some pieces to accent the store. She bought a piece of mudcloth from me and had it made into this beautiful piece.
Caroline brought adventure and fun and beauty into my life when times were pretty tough. She took me to restaurants that I could not have afforded. She would have me drive her to Detroit or Buffalo for shopping adventures. She would pay the gas, lunch and usually a little treat. She would shop all the plus size stores, the wig shops and more. Once she asked me to paint 2 unfinished canes with an African motif. I had never painted anything in my life but she believed I could and I did and they were great. She used them as a prop in her shop. She encouraged me to be a plus size model.
Her daughter wrote her obituary, “Caroline will be remembered as a vibrant, eccentric person, known for loving all things cultural and beautiful “over the top“ jewellery, make-up, nails, and knock-out wardrobe, especially animal print. With this in mind, please honor her memory by dawning something of this style to her memorial service”. I wore a wig in her honour. Caroline had many wigs and wore a different one every day.
Caroline dressed me. She pushed my limits and she made me feel beautiful. Caroline believed voluptuous, full figure were beautiful – she wanted us to dress with big jewellery and colourful, flowy clothes. She inspired so many women. Her store was more than a place for clothing. Womyn came in to shop but stayed to talk. Caroline suffered with depression and was not able to work from time to time. She would hand her store over to another woman who was between jobs. Once it was my sister – another time it was me. We grew in this store and we found the willpower to recreate and go back into the “real” world. Her store was magick. Caroline was magick.
Caroline also taught me so much about spirituality. She introduced me to her guru -known as the blue man. His name was Christopher. Christopher travelled around North America teaching chanting, tuning fork healing, healthy eating, sexual healing and more. Caroline told me she knew him first in her dreams. His teachings helped me to develop as a healer. At my ordination this summer I felt Caroline’s presence and I remembered Christopher.
I have many good friends today. I am blessed. I will miss Caroline forever – “tell it to me like a story”. She inspired this website and my calling to inspire women to live life large. Tell me about your best friend and tell it to me like a story.
Once again I draw on that old saying – do what you love and you will never work another day in your life. I love organizing. It’s my passion. I could do it everyday, all day and always feel satisfied. Although I might get physically tired, my mind is happily racing away with ideas and opportunities for organizing.
Recently someone asked me what approach I use to organizing a home or other space. I have so much respect for Marie Kondo and her gentle, simple approach. Mine is similar but slightly different. I do prefer to tackle one room at a time. The categories are similar – clothing, paper, books and magazines, toys,etc and miscellaneous. In the kitchen I like to empty everything out and start from scratch putting everything back and keeping categories together. It’s important to have a map of where everything will go. I am convinced that the process must be led by you- the client – your pace and your standards. I can’t make that decision for you.
Marie Kondo says to keep what gives you joy and give away what doesn’t. She tells us to thank things that we are sending away for the value they gave us. I love it!! The point is if you think you need 10 mixing bowls and I think you need 2 – the decision always has to be yours. This is your space and your precious belongings. I honestly respect that and we have to work together as a team. You, however, always have the final say.
I am also committed to reusing, repurposing, recycling and keeping as much as we can out of landfill sites. We owe this to ourselves, our children and our planet.