Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, October 20, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:2




Mountain Views-News Saturday, October 20, 2018 

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown



Go online, and you’ll find tons of websites offering 
do-it-yourself estate planning documents. Such 
forms are typically quite inexpensive. Simple wills, 
for example, are often priced under $50, and you 
can complete and print them out in a matter of 

 In our uber-busy lives and DIY culture, it’s no 
surprise that this kind of thing might seem like a 
good – if not great – deal. You know estate planning 
is important, and even though you may not be 
getting the highest quality plan, such documents 
can make you feel better for having checked this 
item off your life’s lengthy to-do list. 

 But this is one case in which SOMETHING is 
not better than nothing, and here’s why: 

A false sense of security 

 Creating a DIY will online can lead you to 
believe that you no longer must worry about estate 
planning. You got it done, right?

 Except that you didn’t. In fact, you thought you 
“got it done” because you went online, printed a 
form, and had it notarized, but you didn’t bother to 
investigate what would happen with that document 
in the event of your incapacity or death. 

 In the end, what seemed like a bargain could end 
up costing your family more money and heartache 
than if you’d never gotten around to doing anything 
at all. 


Not just about filling out forms

 Unfortunately, because many people don’t 
understand that estate planning entails much more 
than just filling out legal documents, they end up 
making serious mistakes with DIY plans. Worst of 
all, these mistakes are only discovered when you 
become incapacitated or die, and it’s too late. The 
people left to deal with your mistakes are often the 
very ones you were trying to do right by. 

 The primary purpose of wills and other estate 
planning tools is to keep your family out of court 
and out of conflict in the event of your death or 
incapacity. With the growing popularity of DIY 
wills, tens of thousands of families (and millions 
more to come) have learned the hard way that 
trying to handle estate planning alone can not only 
fail to fulfill this purpose, it can make the court 
cases and conflicts far worse and more expensive.


The hidden dangers of DIY wills

From the specific state you live in and the wording 
of the document to the required formalities for 
how it must be signed and witnessed, there are 
numerous potential dangers involved with DIY 
wills and other estate planning documents. Estate 
planning is most definitely not a one-size-fits-all 
deal. Even if you think you have a simple situation, 
that’s almost never the case. 

 The following scenarios are just a few of the 
most common complications that can result 
from attempting to go it alone with a DIY will:

. Improper execution: For a will to be valid, it must 
be executed (i.e. signed and witnessed or notarized) 
following strict legal procedures. If your DIY will 
doesn’t specific guidance or you fail to follow this 
procedure precisely, your will can be worthless.
. Court challenges: Creditors, heirs, and other 
interested parties will have the opportunity to 
contest your will or make claims against your estate. 
Though wills created with an attorney’s guidance 
can also be contested, DIY wills are not only far 
more likely to be challenged, but the chances 
of those challenges being successful are much 
greater than if you have an attorney-drafted will.
. Thinking a will is enough: A will alone is almost 
never sufficient to handle all of your legal affairs. In 
the event of your incapacity, you would also need 
a health care directive, and/or a living will plus a 
durable financial power of attorney. In the event of 
your death, a will does nothing to keep your loved 
one’s out of court. And if you have minor children, 
having a will alone could leave your kids’ at risk of 
being taken out of your home and into the care of 
strangers, at least temporarily.

 In many ways, DIY estate planning is the worst 
choice you can make for the people you love 
because you think you’ve got it covered, when you 
most certainly do not. 

 A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a 
mission to help parents protect what they love most. 
His office is located at 55 Auburn Avenue, Sierra 
Madre, CA 91024. Schedule an appointment to 
sit down and talk about ensuring a legacy of love 
and financial security for your family by calling 
626.355.4000 or visit for 
more information.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean 

 On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire alarm 
sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As 
the moments passed, the patrons and staff who 
had been cleared out of the building realized 
this was not the usual fire alarm. As one 
fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got 
going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was 
disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned 
for more than seven hours. By the time it was 
extinguished, it had consumed four hundred 
thousand books and damaged seven hundred 
thousand more. Investigators descended on 
the scene, but more than thirty years later, the 
mystery remains: Did someone purposefully 
set fire to the library—and if so, who? Weaving 
her lifelong love of books and reading into an 
investigation of the fire, bestselling author 
Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and 
uniquely compelling book that manages to tell 
the broader story of libraries and librarians in 
a way that has never been done before. In The 
book, Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and 
its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial 
role that libraries play in our lives; delves into 
the evolution of libraries across the country 
and around the world, from their humble 
beginnings as a metropolitan charitable 
initiative to their current status as a cornerstone 
of national identity; brings each department of 
the library to vivid life through on-the-ground 
reporting; studies arson and attempts to burn 
a copy of a book herself; reflects on her own 
experiences in libraries; and reexamines the 
case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor 
long suspected of setting fire to the LAPL 
more than thirty years ago. Along the way, 
Orlean introduces us to an unforgettable cast 
of characters from libraries past and present—
from Mary Foy, who in 1880 at eighteen years 
old was named the head of the Los Angeles Public Library 
at a time when men still dominated the role, to Dr. C.J.K. 
Jones, a pastor, citrus farmer, and polymath known as 
“The Human Encyclopedia” who roamed the library 
dispensing information; from Charles Lummis, a wildly 
eccentric journalist and adventurer who was determined 
to make the L.A. library one of the best in the world, to the 
current staff, who do heroic work every day to ensure that 
their institution remains a vital part of the city it serves. 
Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, 
and talent for deep research, The book is Susan Orlean’s 
thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these 
beloved institutions provide much more than just books—
and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, 
and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s 
reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they 
are more necessary than ever. 

Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns 

 In this culmination of five decades of acclaimed studies 
in presidential history, Pulitzer Prize-winning author 
Doris Kearns Goodwin offers an illuminating exploration 
of the early development, growth, and exercise 
of leadership. Are leaders born or made? 
Where does ambition come from? How does 
adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does 
the leader make the times or do the times 
make the leader? In Leadership, Goodwin 
draws upon the four presidents she has studied 
most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore 
Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon 
B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how 
they recognized leadership qualities within 
themselves and were recognized as leaders by 
others. By looking back to their first entries 
into public life, we encounter them at a time 
when their paths were filled with confusion, 
fear, and hope. Leadership tells the story of 
how they all collided with dramatic reversals 
that disrupted their lives and threatened to 
shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, 
they all emerged fitted to confront the 
contours and dilemmas of their times. No 
common pattern describes the trajectory of 
leadership. Although set apart in background, 
abilities, and temperament, these men shared 
a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience 
that enabled them to surmount uncommon 
hardships. At their best, all four were guided 
by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of 
great challenge, they were able to summon 
their talents to enlarge the opportunities and 
lives of others. 

Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss 

 From a preeminent presidential historian 
comes a groundbreaking and often 
surprising saga of America’s wartime 
chief executives. Ten years in the research 
and writing, Presidents of War is a fresh, 
magisterial, intimate look at a procession of 
American leaders as they took the nation 
into conflict and mobilized their country for victory. It 
brings us into the room as they make the most difficult 
decisions that face any President, at times sending 
hundreds of thousands of American men and women to 
their deaths. From James Madison and the War of 1812 
to recent times, we see them struggling with Congress, 
the courts, the press, their own advisors and antiwar 
protesters; seeking comfort from their spouses, families 
and friends; and dropping to their knees in prayer. We 
come to understand how these Presidents were able 
to withstand the pressures of war—both physically 
and emotionally—or were broken by them.Beschloss’s 
interviews with surviving participants in the drama and 
his findings in original letters, diaries, once-classified 
national security documents, and other sources help 
him to tell this story in a way it has not been told before. 
Presidents of War combines the sense of being there with 
the overarching context of two centuries of American 
history. This important book shows how far we have 
traveled from the time of our Founders, who tried to 
constrain presidential power, to our modern day, when a 
single leader has the potential to launch nuclear weapons 
that can destroy much of the human race.

All Things By Jeff Brown


Teenagers who don’t get enough sleep are more 
likely to engage in risky and even suicidal behavior, 
according to a new study. Researchers examined 
surveys completed by 68,000 high school students 
between 2007 and 2015. They found that, compared 
with teenagers that got the recommended minimum 
of 8 hours sleep a night or more, students who slept 
less than 6 hours were twice as likely to drink alcohol, 
smoke, use drugs, or engage in risky sexual behavior. 
They where also 3 times more likely to engage in self 
harm and consider or attempt suicide. Those whose 
slept 6-7 hours a night were also more likely to engage 
in unsafe behaviors than those who hit the 8 hour 
mark; overall, more than 70% of the students weren’t 
getting the recommended 8 to 10 hours. Lead author 
Matthew Weaver, from the Brigham and Women’s 
Hospital in Boston, tells it’s possible 
that sleep deprivation may cause changes in the 
brain that led to” more impulsive and emotionally 
driven decisions.”



Calling all art lovers, discriminating shoppers 
and those who enjoy a festive fall evening under 
the November stars. Creative Arts Group is proud 
to present its annual Art Festival in the charming 
foothill village of Sierra Madre. More than 60 artists 
will be represented in a variety of media including 
oil, watercolor, acrylic, enameling, ceramics, metal 
work, sculpture, batik, jewelry, mosaics, assemblage, 
wood-working, mixed media and more. Free-form 
to functional, primitive to refined, contemporary 
art embodying a variety of styles and disciplines 
will be available.

 The festival kicks off with an opening 
reception from 7-9 pm, Friday, November, 2nd, 
and includes a student sale in addition to the 
juried artists. Come and enjoy an evening of 
entertainment provided by acoustic guitarist, 
Mark Achoff, tasty hors d’ouevres and libations, 
and art demonstrations in a lively and convivial 
atmosphere. Meet the artists and learn first-hand 
the techniques and inspiration for their unique 
work. Discover one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone 
on your holiday list. Festival continues Saturday 
from 10 – 5pm and Sunday from 11 – 4 pm. 
Creative Arts Group is a non-profit art center 
offering classes, workshops and events to those in 
the San Gabriel Valley and beyond.

 Creative Arts Group is located at 108 N. 
Baldwin Ave. in Sierra Madre. For more 
information go to



Yoga is ultimately a practice of 
building awareness. It invites 
the student to find individual 
awareness and environmental 
awareness. This covers 
everything from our family 
and work environment to 
the actual forces of nature 
and seasons. They all play 
a huge role in our life and 
affect how we feel. Think 
about the windstorm that just occurred. It sure blew things 
around - it caused allergies for many people, and the force 
itself disrupted the flow of the day. Did you notice a sense 
of agitation? The environment plays a significant role in 
shaping our emotional state. This is important to recognize. 
Is important to recognize for two reasons. First, so we are 
aware and can cultivate an opposite balancing action. (i.e. 
if I am agitated, I can soothe the agitation with calm) And 
second, so that we can stay healthy. Positiveor negative 
emotions affect our health and chemistry. Let’s look at Joy--
just one of the emotions held in body and mind. It happens 
to be an emotion of the elements of fire and water – many 
times originating from the seat of fire within the belly. 
Many times, when we are joyful, there is laughter. The very 
act of laughing causes us to engage our belly muscles and 
draws energy to the center. Sometimes we are laughing so 
hard we must grab our belly! This is activating to the energy 
system. Levels of serotonin increase and levels of cortisol 
decrease. It is a healing experience to laugh. It changes 
everything! In Peter Marchands book, The Yoga of the Nine 
Emotions, he describes the effects of Joy, or Hasya, in the 
body, “Hasya is very healthy and rejuvenating. It reduces 
tension, anger, fear, or depression and helps in digestion. 
Indian people have the healthy habit of always telling jokes 
after a meal. The fire element produced aids the digestive 
fire. Humor and Joy also improve our immunity against 
infections and strengthen our cardiovascular system.” This 
wisdom is telling us to laugh more and to experience more 
joy and kama (pleasure). It helps digestion and brings 
happiness. Environments which bring joy and laughter 
are nourishing. Slowly, built up tension can be eased away. 
The physical practice of yoga helps too. If you are normally 
more uptight, yoga helps loosen your body and mind. If you 
are less serious and more easy going by nature, it can give 
you an avenue for discipline and internal insight. Either way, 
stay alert to how the outside affects the inside and move in 
the direction of balance. 


Keely Totten, 

Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Joyful Leader, 


Real Life Tips from LIfe's Instruction Manual


Two weeks ago I shared two of the five steps of 
affirmative prayer. Each of the world's five most 
popular traditions includes an aspect of prayer 
or communion with Spirit. Sometimes we think 
of prayer as a form of begging and beseeching 
for something that we lack. Instead, allow me to 
introduce to you to another approach. Rather than 
pleading for what you want, instead proclaim your 
desire in present tense as the truth of your being. As 
in Joel 3:10: "let the weak say, I am strong."

It's time that you remind yourself of the truth about 
you and the truth of your nature. You are connected 
and created by the Infinite. Stay in alignment 
with this fundamental truth. We think thousands 
of thoughts each day, we have a constant internal 
dialogue running in our minds. Most of the ideas 
floating around inside us are negative, but that need 
not be the case. We can decide to guide our thoughts 
in the direction of our hearts desires. Stop feeding 
your fears. 

In this third step in affirmative thought today, you 
learn to tell yourself the truth. Affirm the truth even 
in the presence of facts that look limiting. You can 
look at the facts, but don’t let the facts determine 
your choices.

You don’t get a choice in whether you will think 
today, but you do get a choice in whether you will 
use your thoughts constructively.

No matter what the facts are, you are more than 
that because you are one with life.

The final two steps are 
thanksgiving. Be grateful for 
this realization of truth and 
then release it. Free yourself of 
further concern or worry, it is 

My prayer for you: 
Recognizing that there is only 
one Life. That Life is present 
everywhere and in everything. 
I am so happy grateful for this 
realization, knowing that this 
Life lives, moves and has its being in, through, as me, 
I celebrate my union with the only Life that is. Just 
this union is true for me, it is true for each of the 

I know that each of the readers of this paper is 
divinely blessed. Their lives are an expression of 
the Most High. In this awareness, I claim for them 
perfect health, peace and joy.

I am so grateful for this awareness of truth. I 
release this word, knowing that it is done, and so it 
is. Amen.

Lori A. Harris is a lawyer and coach. She helps 
people live lives that they love living. If you would 
want more life, contact her a

Lori A. Harris

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: