Ask Auntie Artichoke

Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Ask Auntie Artichoke - Expert on Parenting and Family Relationships

Beautiful Granddaughter To Attend Missoula Children’s Theater

Chester teen to attend performing arts program

Chester teen  to attend performing arts program

CHESTER — Amanda Loosli, 15, will soon take an important step toward her goal of being an actress. The Chester teen will take part in the prestigious Next Step Prep six-week workshop this summer. Next Step Prep is a performing arts boarding school located at the Missoula Children’s Theatre headquarters in Missoula, Montana.

Amanda’s parents are Chester residents, Stephen and Bethany Loosli. Amanda is home-schooled and plans to finish high school courses by 2012.

The program begins on June 28 and includes instruction in dance, music, and acting. Students earn credit toward high school graduation while honing their skills as ”triple threat” performers — people who can sing, dance, and act. The academy delivers a focused curriculum of classroom instruction, private voice lessons, and specialty workshops taught by theater, television, and dance professionals.

Amanda said the 10-page application process included composing essays and providing three references from mentors. She said she is thrilled to have been chosen to attend the program, especially because becoming an actress is one of her life goals.

Currently, Amanda is co-starring as Lucetta in the Rigby-based Classics Academy’s production of Shakespeare’s “The Two Gentlemen of Verona.” Amanda’s older brother, Taylor, stars as Valentine, and her younger sister, Melissa, steals the show as Thurio. After a series of well-received performances at the Rigby Library earlier this month, the production was one of 10 selected to compete at “Shakespeare Showdown” in Heber City, Utah. This is the third consecutive year the Classics Academy performance group has participated in the Showdown, which is a three-day educational Shakespeare camp.

Encourage Yourself to Courage – Overcome Fear, Doubts and Frustrations

Are You Afraid and Frustrated?

If you are having difficulty turning problems into opportunities, you may be discouraged. You may have a need to build your self esteem in order to overcome fear, doubts and frustrations that are impacting the life you deserve to live.  Having courage does not mean that you are free of fear, despair, doubt, frustration or discouragement.

Get unstuck in life by making a decision to move forward

Get unstuck in life by making a decision to move forward

It does mean that we are able to meet life’s challenges and move forward.

Courage is Movement Forward

Any time we take action and move toward a goal, we set a process in place that will overcome negative thoughts and experiences. The Universe rewards those who know what they want and take immediate action.  Sometimes, the most courageous thing we can do is to say; “This is a negative place in my life and I want to change my direction and not remain stuck here.”  Making a decision  to overcome fear or to just walk through the doubt  is frequently the catapult to success in many areas of life

Encourage Yourself To Take First Step

By making a decision to overcome what may seem overwhelming, you will be moving forward as opposed to stagnation and paralysis.  Many people are stuck in miserable situations because they are waiting for someone or something outside of themselves to decide what to do or to save them from their misery.  The courage to turn a problem into a challenge is best met internally. Others may be vested in keeping you stuck. If you change and move forward, it may disrupt their safety net.  It is not their problem, it is yours.

You may be looking at problems in a restricted and narrow framework.  You may be basing your fear and doubt on old beliefs that no longer serve you. You may be replaying old family tapes in your head that keep you from stepping out into the future with courage and daring.

Peel Away Old Belief Systems

By getting to the root cause of our fears and doubts we can examine them in the light and reframe them for the future.  This will enable us to function in a more satisfying and rewarding manner.  We become what we are through our decisions, all of which require courage.

Lack of courage is often express in the decision not to make a decision.

Questions To Assist You In Overcoming Fear, Doubt and Frustration

  • How do you encourage yourself when you are afraid?
  • Do you recognize that you and you alone own the problem?
  • Do you have old family beliefs that are holding you back?
  • Are you sometimes suffer from paralysis of perfection?
  • What decision will you make today that will move you forward from a stuck place?

You are invited to claim a free e-course on overcoming shyness and building self esteem and courage at

Best wishes for a bright and courageous future. I believe in you and you can encourage courage in yourself and overcome fear, doubt and frustration.

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and speaker

Dalai Lama To Visit Missoula, Montana

Who knew that a Buddhist community would be in Montana?  But then why wouldn’t an international dignitary want to come to visit the

Mountains and lakes are perfect for peace gatherings

Mountains and lakes are perfect for peace gatherings

mountains, streams and especially the people of Western Montana?  For those of us who live here, this is as close to Heaven as we may ever get.  Montana has often been called “The Last Best Place” because of it’s natural wonder and the people who are drawn here to share their lives and talents.

American Heritage Magazine was one who remarked on the diversity of Missoula when an article declared: “Nourished by by powerful rivers and an equally powerful sense of its past, a town of cowhands and poets and bikers and professors distills the whole history of the American West–its hope and rapacity, its calamities and triumphs.”

The area around Arlee, Montana  is especially beautiful as it is the gateway to  the Mission Mountains and beautiful Flathead valley.  In 2000 a student of Tulku Sang-ngang Rinpoche, a respected spiritual leader among followers of Tibetan Buddhism, purchased 60 acres of land north of Arlee and donated it to Ewam Montana.

Garden of 1000 Buddhas

The decision was made to build a garden on this site featuring 1,000 cast concrete statues, which will be placed in a 500 foot  round garden connected by eight spoke-like paths to a 25 foot statue of Yum Chenmo, or great mother, at it’s center. This image has great meaning not only for those of  this small community, but for visitors nationally and internationally who will come to find peace and solace in this garden of 1000 Buddhas. Even those of us who are not Buddhist appreciate the serenity and beauty of the garden.

Dalai Lama Will Visit Garden

The Dalai Lama is one of the world’s most recognized religious leaders and spiritual guides.  His wisdom is sought and appreciated not only by those who practice the Buddhist traditions, but by millions of people world wide.  He won the Nobel Peace Prize and has authored many books, articles and quotes on peace and serenity in life. His teachings of non violence have influenced many shifts in thinking towards peaceful solutions.

Questions For You To Think About

  1. What do you know about Buddhism? How did you learn?
  2. Would you travel long distances to see a spiritual leader that you admired?  Why or why not?
  3. Did the description of the Garden with 1000 Buddhas sound peaceful and serene to you?
  4. Have you ever wanted to visit the American West and Montana in particular?
  5. Why do you think Montana is called the “Last Best Place”

You are invited to visit our beautiful state and experience the community of people who have respect for all.

For more information on this and other life skills please go to

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Respect For Others – Key to Healthy Relationships

Hello from Montana:

What constitutes respect for others?  Is being respectful the key to healthy relationships? Do you have to like someone to be considerate, kind and courteous? How do you work in a relationship where there is an uneven balance of power? Even if you disagree with someone can you respect their rights?

Several years ago there was a study done of 100 self made millionaires.  They ranged in age from young 19 to well over 70.  Their educational experiences extended from grade school to the Ph.D level. They differed in almost all characteristics, except they were all found to be respectful of other people.

Everyone Can Learn and Teach

They had determined early in their careers that everyone had something to teach and to share. They built respectful relationships by learning from others. Even  those who do not believe as you do, or look like you or speak like you, still have something to share and should be given the right to share in some way.

We tend to treat people like we see them. If we see them as arrogant, snooty or even shy, we tend to treat them in that manner.  I just did a radio show recently about a second chance at making a good first impression.  You will want to listen to that one, if you haven’t already.

Live Up to Expectations

Once you find the good or ability in other people you treat him or her better and thus they perform better.  We all tend to live up to the expectations of other people. I have seen children who were average students with one teacher and then become top producers with encouragement and acceptance.

If we see people worthy of respect, then we will treat them that way.  Even when they do not demonstrate their respect for us, we can still treat them with courtesy.

A quote that I love says “If you take a man as he is, you make him worse than he was, but if you see him as being the best person possible, then he, in fact, become the best person possible.”

Courage To Keep Trying

Encouragement is giving someone the courage to keep progressing on an upward road, to move ahead and to fulfill their destiny.  By giving respect and understanding to others in our relationship, we will all move forward. A life journey is seldom without some failure, or detours. When we can acknowledge the progress and respect the effort as well as the individual, we will have a better world.

Please come and join our community of kind, thoughtful people who want understanding and respect for all.You will find us at….

All healthy relationships are based on respect and trust.

All healthy relationships are based on respect and trust.

You will also want to go to for a workbook and bonus items that will assist you in building confidence in the future and courage today.

Thanks for sharing your time with me today,

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

Your Life Has Purpose, Value and Meaning

Hello from Montana:

As many of you know, I work with Hospice occasionally, especially gathering end of life stories. It is a sacred work and one that helps bring closure to a person’s time on this earth.  Most people are not afraid to die, but are afraid to have died in vain.  they want to know they will be remembered and that they somehow contributed to the universal cause of making it a better world.

Nothing Would Be the Same If You Did Not Exist

By gathering the little tales of triumph and tragedy, it is possible to see how a pattern of ones lives develops.  We are all connected, and we are all affected and touched by the decision and even the existence of those around us.

There was a study done with elderly patients some time ago in Berkley asking them their main regrets in life.  In different words, but similar meaning every life story I have conduced comes down to these three regrets:

  1. I wish I would have risked more. My own mother said that she choose the unknown when the known would have been fine.
  2. I wish I would have reflected more. Actually taken the time to stop and smell the roses and to determine; “Is this who I want to be?  Is this where I want to go” Is this the kind of person I admire?”
  3. I wish I would have contributed more. This quality is not necessarily sharing money, even though that is important.  But it is also sharing emotions, thoughts and encouragement to others.

Many studies of older Americans find that one of the best predictors of happiness is whether a person considers his or her life to have a purpose.  Without a clearly defined purpose, seven in ten

people feel unsettled and nervous about their lives. Those who have determined that they do indeed have a purpose and they had added value and meaning to the world are content with their lives, no matter how much time they have left.

I have confidence in your purpose. It is a pleasure to connect our spirits in this community of kind, thoughtful people who want respect for all the world.

Judy Helm Wright, aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker

Was Last Year Happy or Horrible For You?

Wow, Time Flies.  I think we just had New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago. Either time moves faster  or we move slower as age and circumstances come along our life’s journey. I was prompted to think about this particular subject by reading a group writing project by Daniel Scocco and Connie Ragan Green

At a recent gathering, we asked the question of dinner guests;

Was last year happy or horrible for you? After everyone had finished moaning and groaning about some aspects of the past year, I taught them a trick I use to help children be more positive.  This is also a great way to teach ourselves and our children to be problem solvers.

But Then….

As a parent educator I hear all the stories of negative thoughts and pessimistic families.  Parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and day care providers want to know how to turn negative thoughts, and whiny voices to positive actions.

A technique we used was to allow the child (or adult) to vent and then to say  “But then…” and ask them to tell us something positive that came out of the experience. Sometimes they decided it wasn’t worth the effort to be mad. Or perhaps they realized that there are some things in life you can not change, and so you change what you can and do not worry about the other things.

Life Lesson 101

No one has a life that is completely happy or completely horrible. Most of our joy comes in little bursts of pleasure and enjoyment. Most of our disappointment come in little bursts of frustration or being overwhelmed.

We all have the answers and solutions in our mind and spirit. Sometimes we just need a little nudge to remember or think of them.  There are at least five solutions to every situation and it feels good to be able to come up with an idea you had never considered before.

Lists of Negative and Positive

If you are making a list and checking it twice, be sure to ask yourself what you learned from each negative or horrible experience?  Empower yourself by finding ways to turn horrible into happy.

Your friend and supporter,

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and motivational speaker