Celiac Disease: Your Questions Answered

For Stacey Rittenberg, a diagnosis of Celiac Disease inspired her to help others turn their lives around by changing their diet…

AHYad_1-11.jpgThe year was 2002. I had just gotten married, spent 2 weeks in Hawaii and moved into a new home with my fabulous husband. But there was something not quite right. For the past year and a half, I had these nagging pains in my gut, headaches, fatigue and worst of all, seemingly spontaneous episodes of diarrhea, cha cha cha. What was going on? I chalked it up to stress. Planning a wedding, moving and becoming Mrs. Steven Rittenberg was enough to do that, right?
Once I settled into married life, I thought for sure my body would relax. Much to my dismay, things went from bad to worse. I could tell you where to find every bathroom (including port-a-potties) on my commute from Scarsdale to West Haverstraw. I loathed driving over the Tappan Zee Bridge every day. I prayed for the traffic G-ds to consider the churning in my gut. I figured if I got pulled over for speeding on my quest to find a toilet, soiling myself would get me out of a ticket. Luckily it never came to that!
I remember having to leave several restaurants doubled over in pain after only eating a few breadsticks. I attempted to celebrate a friend’s birthday at a local bar. After only one beer, I spent the remainder of the celebration in the ladies room. Luckily the bathroom attendant had plenty of Oust! My husband tried to convince me there was something going on, but I chalked it up to some bad bar food.
We were now entering 2003 and things were not improving. Using the ultimate leverage any man could hold over his loving wife of limited child-bearing years, I was told that we were not going to even think about starting a family until I got myself checked out by a doctor. Three days later, I was sitting in the GI’s office sporting a lovely paper gown.
The doctor thought that it could possibly be Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease or Celiac Disease. Say what? She recommended I have an endoscopy and colonoscopy to confirm a diagnosis. Oh the joys! After some poking and prodding in places where cameras really shouldn’t go, a biopsy concluded that in fact it was Celiac Disease. I finally had an answer. I was relieved and concerned all at the same time. I had lots of questions. What is Celiac Disease? What is gluten and why am I allergic to it? Is it going to kill me? Will I ever be able to eat M&M’s again? Luckily for me, the doctor had just finished a fellowship at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. She was very familiar with Celiac Disease and was able answer all of my questions.
What is Celiac Disease? Celiac disease is an inflammatory condition of the small intestine, caused by the ingestion of gluten. It interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. It may be diagnosed at any age. It is thought to be a genetically linked autoimmune disease with an environmental trigger. So in other words, it is essentially a disease of malabsorption and malnutrition that I can blame on one of my parents. Thanks Dad!
What is Gluten? Gluten is the term for the storage proteins of wheat. In people with celiac disease, gluten causes the production of antibodies. The antibodies, in turn, attack the small intestine, reducing the ability to absorb nutrients.
Why me? Why some develop celiac disease is unclear. Us lucky ones are born with a genetic tendency to develop the disease. Something sets it off. Gastrointestinal infections may be a factor that can trigger the development of the disease. So technically it could have been the stress of planning a wedding. Another good reason to elope!
Is Celiac Disease common? It is considered to occur in about 1 per 250 individuals worldwide. According to the Celiac Disease Center, recent figures are 1 per 133 in the USA. I am not alone!
What symptoms are associated with Celiac Disease? Diarrhea does not have to occur to be diagnosed, just an added bonus for me. The majority of people with celiac disease actually have no idea that they have it! They may experience symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion or heartburn. Some people have inexplicable weight loss, I wasn’t that lucky. Actually I had been trying to lose weight most of my adult life. Since my body was not getting adequate nutrition it was holding onto every morsel I put into it. I lost 25 pounds by the end of my first year on a gluten free diet! No more counting points for me.
Some neurological symptoms such as peripheral neuropathy (a type of nerve damage that can cause numbness or weakness in the extremities), ataxia (poor balance or coordination) or epilepsy have also been associated with celiac disease. Dental enamel defects are frequent. That explained the white spots on my teeth!
What do I do about it? In the weeks that followed my initial diagnosis, I felt lost and alone. I was told that as long as I followed a strict gluten free diet my body would heal and my symptoms would go away. I pretty much had to trash most of what was in my pantry. In those days it was difficult to find gluten free foods. I went to the local markets and specialty stores. $7 for a loaf of bread that crumbled when you tried to take it out of the bag, $5 for a box of cookies that tasted like cardboard and $4 for a bag of pasta that turned into paste (apparently you did have to follow the coking directions). Seriously! I wouldn’t have to worry about getting sick anymore because I wasn’t going to be able to afford to buy food at this rate.
I made an appointment to meet with Dr. Green at Columbia University just to be sure. After all, I didn’t want to have to give up my tasty gluten full bagels and pastas if I didn’t have to. Nine months later, what can I say he was a very busy man, the guru of all things Celiac confirmed my diagnosis. Celiac Disease it was.
Thankfully, in 2011 Gluten Free foods have come a long way. The variety and increased availability of gluten free foods have made my life easier. There is even a gluten free restaurant awareness program. What a pleasure it is to be able to relax about eating out with friends and family. There are numerous celiac and gluten free organizations, blogs and support groups.
In September of 2010, I launched A Healthier You, L.L.P. a Wellness and Consulting firm. One of our goals is to educate the public on health related topics (without boring them to death). On February 12th, we are hosting a Gluten Free Wellness Party in West Harrison, NY. It will give those who attend an opportunity to learn about Celiac Disease and nutrition while mingling and eating delicious gluten free foods and desserts. You can even sample some gluten free beer! We will also have celiac friendly vendors, door prizes and gift bags. Everyone that attends will get a copy of The Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Living. A percentage of our proceeds will be donated to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. What else could a celiac ask for…except an increased tolerance to gluten! Hope to see you there!
For more information or to register for this event call (914) 458-2249 or log on to www.ahy4life.com.
Picture 7.pngStacey Rittenberg is a native New Yorker. She grew up on Long Island and currently resides in New Rochelle, NY. Stacey is married and has two beautiful children. Stacey earned her undergraduate degree in Biology from S.U.N.Y. Oswego in 1995. She went on to obtain her Masters in Physical Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 1997. Stacey’s desire to educate others led her to form A Healthier You, L.L.P., where she hopes to empower individuals who desire to take control of their health and well being.

Jessica Alba Interview “Little Fockers”

By Shari Von Holten, HaveUHeard
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Not only is Jessica Alba beautiful – she is down to earth, funny and very honest.  While she was in New York promoting her latest film, Little Fockers, I had the chance to speak with Jessica and find out what it was like working with her iconic co-stars, Barbara Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Robert DeNiro, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo, as well as how being a mother has changed her and what her daughter, Honor, is like.
Jessica plays a gorgeous drug saleswoman in Little Fockers who likes working with Greg Focker, played by Ben Stiller, a little too much.  It turns out that in reality working with Ben Stiller was one of the reasons Jessica decided to take the role. When asked what made her take the role Jessica stated, “The cast is terrible. Paul Weitz, never heard of him. American Pie, About a Boy. (of course she was being sarcastic). Paul, the director, first of all, is fantastic.  And then, obviously, is there a better comedian, writer, director, actor than Ben Stiller right now? He’s amazing. I mean, just as an actor. But, he’s incredible. And so, I feel so lucky and honored to have the opportunity to even be in this group of people and these actors.  I learned a lot, and it was challenging. And I’ve never done a comedy before like this, and I’ve always wanted to. It’s kind of why I started acting is to make people laugh.”
As for being the newcomer to the cast who have already worked together on two other films, Jessica stated that “it was actually completely intimidating that I had to just pray to God I wasn’t going to get fired and have fun.”
Jessica also revealed how the roles she chooses have changed since giving birth to her daughter, Honor.  Prior to Honor, Jessica was happy to have a job and pretty much took any job she could get.  This meant she worked 12 months a year for a decade for the most part.  It was after giving birth to Honor and taking time off she realized that she had family, friends and a home.  Living in a hotel and being in her bed for only 10 days a year was no longer appealing.  Jessica stated, “At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, who cares if you have a great career or if you’ve been in this or that movie. It’s, “What experiences did you have and what relationships are important to you?” And that’s more important and what life is really about.”
Jessica wants to spend time with her daughter and if she chooses a role it has to be worth it, it has to be something that she is passionate about and not too time-consuming.  She doesn’t want to miss her saying funny things and learning how to ride a tricycle or her getting excited about a Barbie doll.
A surprising fact I learned was that Honor has never seen a Disney movie.  Jessica revealed that she doesn’t like her watching too much television and she doesn’t want her to have bad dreams. Since there is always a villain in Disney movies, Jessica would prefer that Honor watch Yo Gabba Gabba, The Backyardigans or Strawberry Shortcake. 
And that’s usually only when they are on a plane. Otherwise she would prefer that she is stimulated with other things like playing dress up and coloring.
The biggest challenge of being a mom for Jessica has been “being okay with not always having the answer and forgiving myself for not spending every second with her. Knowing that she’s going have to be sad or disappointed or angry. And even though I feel totally responsible for it, letting that go and knowing that that’s just part of being a human being.  And at the end of the day, it’ll be good for her, as long as she knows she’s loved, but all that stuff’s really hard.”
Having Honor has made Jessica feel as though she has finally come into her own. Jessica stated, “Everything just sort of made sense. And I was certainly not as hard on myself, certainly not as critical and enjoyed life a lot more and having a different perspective on life, on the business, on family, on everything was amazing.”
More great interviews to come. 
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Little Fockers will be in theaters on December 22, 2010.

3 Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain Over the Holidays

AmazonImage.jpgAs someone who is still trying to lose 10 pounds before Christmas Eve (not gonna happen), this article by author Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. comes just in the (Saint) nick of time. Take a look…
3 Tips for Avoiding Weight Gain Over the Holidays
By Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D.,
Author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals
The holidays are a difficult time for those of us who both enjoy eating and worry about our waistlines. Chances are good that if you overindulged a bit at Thanksgiving, you are now looking ahead to the month of December with a wary eye – – only too aware of the minefield of cookie platters, holiday parties, family dinners, and gift baskets that you will have to somehow navigate.
You know from experience that you cannot get through these trying times on willpower alone. So here are three very simple and proven-effective motivational strategies for ending up in your current pant size on January 1st.
Tip 1: Acknowledge That You Probably Can’t Have Just One. According to the laws of physics, bodies in motion tend to stay in motion, unless something acts to stop them. Well, the same thing can be said about human behavior, too – – including eating.
Your actions have a kind of inertia – – once you start doing something, it often takes more self-control to stop than it does to just avoid doing it in the first place. And it gets harder to stop the longer the behavior goes on. So it’s easier to be abstinent if you stop at the first kiss, rather than letting things get hot and heavy. And it’s a lot easier to pass on the potato chips entirely, rather than just eat one or two.
Stopping before you start is an excellent strategy to keep your need for willpower to a minimum. Consider cutting out all between-meal snacking over the holidays. The fewer times you start eating each day, the less you’ll have to worry about stopping.
Tip 2: Set VERY Specific Limits. Before you get anywhere near the cookie platter, the fruit cake, or the cheese plate, think about how much you can afford to eat without over-indulging. Decide, in advance, exactly how much of any particular holiday treat you will allow yourself for dessert, or at the Christmas party.
The problem with most plans, including diet plans, is that they are not nearly specific enough. We plan to “be good,” or “not eat too much,” but what does that mean, exactly? When will I know if I’ve had too much? When you are staring at a table overflowing with delicious snacks, you are not going to be a good judge of what “too much” is.
An effective plan is one that is made before you stare temptation in the face, and that allows no wiggle room. Studies show that when people plan out exactly what they will do when temptation arises (e.g., I will have no more than 3 cookies and nothing else), are 2-3 times more likely to achieve their dietary goals.
Tip 3: Savor. Savoring is a way of increasing and prolonging our positive experiences. Taking time to experience the subtle flavors in a piece of dark chocolate, the pungency of a full-flavored cheese, the buttery goodness of a Christmas cookie – – these are all acts of savoring, and they help us to squeeze every bit of joy out of the good things that happen to us.
Avoid eating anything in one bite – – you get all the calories, but only a fraction of the taste. Also, try not to eat while you are socializing. When you are focused on conversation, odds are good that you will barely even register what you are putting in your mouth.
Eating slowly and mindfully, taking small bites instead of swallowing that bacon-wrapped scallop or stuffed mushroom whole, not only satisfies your hunger, but actually leaves you feeling happier.
And that, ideally, is what holiday feasting is all about.
© 2010 Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D., author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals
Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, is a social psychologist, educational consultant, and most recently assistant professor of psychology at Lehigh University. She has received several grants from the National Science Foundation. In addition to her work as author and co-editor of the highly-regarded academic book The Psychology of Goals (Guilford, 2009), she has authored papers in her field’s most prestigious journals.
Dr. Grant Halvorson is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and was recently elected to the highly selective Society for Experimental Social Psychology. She received her PhD from Columbia University working with Carol Dweck (author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success), and her BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
For more information please visit http://heidigranthalvorson.com/ and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Tips for Easing the Transition Back-to-School Online

Role Mommy Guest post by Jennifer ZIegenmier
As a working mom, I know the daily pressures we face — whether it’s meeting deadlines at the office or meeting the demands of home life.
In fact, a recent survey of 1,800 working and stay-at-home moms by American InterContinental University found that 90 percent of those surveyed feel increased pressure these days to contribute more to their household income. As a result, many are considering a return to school to hone their skills in order to better compete in the workforce and improve their income opportunities.
For me, the hardest thing about going back-to-school was juggling a demanding role at work that was already leaving me hard pressed for time at home in addition to pursuing my degree at the University where I was employed, which added an extra layer of pressure to succeed.
In the end, I realized that the opportunities created by furthering my education far outweighed the short-term challenges. Understanding the flexibility and convenience of an online degree program made the decision to pursue my MBA online a little bit easier, too.
If you’re considering a return to school, here are some tips to ease the transition:
Establish short and long-term goals: Whether it’s the goal of completing your coursework by end of week or completing your degree in a year, you need to set realistic goals for yourself. This way, you’ll be less inclined to throw in the towel when you face a hectic day.
Participate fully and regularly: Online courses may be convenient, but they aren’t a shortcut to education. Use the online tools available to you – chats, an online library, office hours with instructors – to get the most from your online coursework.
Set aside a study area: Since you will be attending school in a virtual classroom, stake out a study space at home, work or favorite coffee house. My favorite place to study was at the kitchen table, before anyone else was up – with a cup — or three — of coffee, of course.
Expect the unexpected: It’s inevitable: your computer crashes the night your final paper is due. You daughter comes down with the flu the day before a homework assignment must be submitted. Life as a mom and online student requires setting reasonable deadlines for yourself so you’re not scrambling at the eleventh hour and creating extra anxiety.
400_pixel_Ziegenmier.jpgCommunicate with your university and network with other students: Reach out to instructors when you have questions just as you would in a live classroom environment. Check to see if the school you’re considering offers a virtual commons, which can provide ways for those with similar interests to connect.
For more information, visit www.womenachieve.org, where you can also apply for the AIU WomenAchieve Scholarship, which provides qualifying women financial assistance to earn a master’s degree online.
Jennifer ZIegenmier is vice president of student management at American InterContinental University. She lives in Schaumburg, Ill. with her husband and 10-month-old daughter.

Money Matters by Susan Hirshman

book cover-1.jpegThe author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat shares her tips on how to manage your finances and invest like a pro!
Financial expert Susan Hirshman, author of the brand new book “Does This Make My Assets Look Fat” answers our readers’ burning money questions and breaks down the concept of investing and budgeting and puts it into terms any woman can understand.
The Five D’s of Financial Sabotage…
The most common response to the question “What are the biggest risks to your financial portfolio?” usually has something to do with market volatility – i.e. the up and down movements of the stock market.
Unfortunately, market risk is not the only risk that needs to be managed during one’s lifetime. There are 5 other risks to one’s portfolio that must be taken into consideration to ensure that you protect you and your family from financial sabotage.
The five other risk’s I call the 5 D’s.
· Disability
· Dementia
· Death
· Destruction
· Divorce
Most people find the thought of one or more of these 5 D’s depressing and painful and avoid it like the plague. Like so many things in life, ignoring something does not mean that it won’t happen. So instead of becoming a victim to your fear, become a person of strength and power by addressing these risks and giving both you and your family the gift of financial security and peace of mind (in times of acute stress.)
Let’s briefly look at each of these 5D’s.
Disability – If you became disabled for an extended period of time during your and could not work what would happen to your financial security? The risk of disability does not get the respect it deserves. Few people realize that the chances of becoming disabled are greater than dying prematurely. In fact, it has been reported that by age 42, it is 4 times more likely that you will become seriously disabled than that you will die prematurely during your working years.
Dementia – If your physical or mental health deteriorates so that it prevents your from performing the ordinary tasks of life, such as bathing, dressing, eating etc will you have a choice as to how you will be taken care of? This is especially important for women, since studies show that women face a greater likelihood than men of needing long-term care.
Death – If something were to happen to you during your working years would you want to replace that income in order for your family to maintain their lifestyle and fund their long-term goals? The risk of premature death for those in their typical working years, ages 25-64, is still significant – a greater than 1-in-6 chance for males and a 1-in-9 chance for females of not surviving from age 25 to normal retirement age. These odds are much higher than most Americans perceive.
Destruction – Catastrophic events like fires, floods, tornadoes etc are not under our control and we can’t predict when they will occur. But when they do, they can be disastrous to your property. For most of us, our home is our most valuable assets and studies show that most people are underinsured. Are you?
Divorce – It happens. It’s hard to think about it going in but unfortunately the divorce rate in the US is still at 50% and the average length of first marriages that end in divorce is 7 years. You must take this into consideration before, during and after your marriages.
Ignorance in any or all of these cases is far from bliss; it is financial suicide. Know what you are up against and have the right tools in place to protect your finances from sabotage. Your investments plan means nothing if your “risks of life” are not managed and protected well. Don’t let yourself be a victim.
imgres.jpegSusan L. Hirshman is a former managing director at JP Morgan. She holds an M.B.A. from Baruch College and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner and a Chartered Financial Analyst. She currently lives in Manhattan.
If you have a money question for Susan, email us at beth@rolemommy.com.
*This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.

10 Tips for a Green Halloween

026hollidunnphotography.jpg10 tips for an EEK-O-friendly Halloween by Lynn Colwell & Corey Colwell-Lipson
A green Halloween is a healthier holiday for kids and the planet. It can be easy, fun and affordable. Here are 10 ideas from mother daughter experts Lynn and Corey Colwell to make your Halloween greener than ever!
1. Plan ahead to avoid last-minute shopping which often limits choices.
2. When it comes to costumes and décor–reuse, borrow, trade, purchase used or do-it-yourself.
3. Goodie bags can be anything! For extra fun, match the bag to the costume using something you already own. Here are some ideas: purses, flower pots (cover the hole), cloth sacks, backpacks, lunchboxes, hats of all kinds.
4. Choose healthier treats. Look for organic candy and honey sticks, two child-favored choices. (Honey is not for children under two years of age).
5. Choose fun treasures instead of sweets. Think of the treasures your child collects in her pockets–shells, feathers, pretty stones etc.
6. If you’re giving a party, avoid disposables including napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths and other décor.
7. Walk from house to house instead of driving.
8. Compost pumpkins and other food, including leftover candy (without wrappers).
9. Collect candy wrappers and help your kids turn them into gift items like purses, bracelets and picture frames. Find directions on the internet.
10 . Check out www.GreenHalloween.org often for fun, new ideas.

Five Ways to Create and Manifest Positive Change

Infinite Quest John Edwards psychic_thumb[1].pngToday we’ve got a guest post by psychic medium John Edward. I want you to know that I normally don’t believe in psychics – except when it comes to John Edward. You see, several years ago, a good friend of mine attended a taping of his show and he actually made a connection with the husband she lost on 9/11/. And even more powerful, my friend met someone that day who had also lost her husband in the World Trade Center and the two have been lasting friends ever since. So when the chance to feature a guest post from John Edward came along, I jumped at it.
Plus, if you’re a fan of his, comment at the end of this blog and you could potentially receive a copy of his new book “Infinite Quest.” So what are you waiting for? Start reading and channeling your inner psychic!
A Guest post by John Edward, Author of Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life
When I first started doing psychic readings for clients, my grandmother used to get so frustrated when she would hear me say to my clients that they didn’t need to see me, because they could learn to pay attention to the signs and symbols all around them, instead. I often suggested that they study metaphysics, meditate, or just learn to listen to their own intuition. My grandmother would exclaim, “Why are you saying that? You are not going to have any business!” I always laughed because I believed that it was my responsibility to pass this message of self-empowerment on to my clients. I can’t help but smile to think what she would say now [twenty-five years later] about my latest book, Infinite Quest, in which I share how to develop their own intuition. Bearing in mind I am only a teacher, I can’t change your life. You must create and manifest that positive change. How? My guess is that you instinctively already know, but tapping into that knowledge is the key. Here are a few suggestions to get your intuition flowing.
1. Update Your Attitude
I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now, but even though it sounds so simple, changing your attitude can be tricky for everyone at some point in their lives. In fact, many people never seem to be able to break free from outdated or negative thought patterns. Observe your reactions and pay attention to the messages you give yourself and others. You might be surprised at how often you criticize yourself, or how much energy you waste worrying about what will go wrong. Decide to make a conscious change in attitude. and then practice, practice, practice. Look for the adventure out of every experience and encounter. Live passionately and be a force for the universe to use.
2. Take Back the Remote Control
What are you watching on your mind’s TV? What songs are you singing internally? What old tapes are still playing from your childhood? It’s critical to be aware of the ways you are programming your mind, consciously and unconsciously. Turn off the news if you find yourself getting upset, stop watching violent shows before you go to sleep, and kindly excuse yourself from the office gossip. Start programming in your mind’s eye what you really enjoy and want for your life. You are the writer, director, and star of the show. Program your station with positive affirmations, songs of joy, visions of a fulfilling future, and things that make you laugh.
3. Law of Attraction: The Boomerang Effect
Think of it like this: Like attracts Like. For example you are stuck in a negative thought pattern then [unfortunately] until you change it, more negativity will follow. You will start to find that that there will be people in your life who are willing to confirm or exploit your fears. Raise your energetic vibration and attract more positive energy. Look for the best in the people you meet, your experiences, and maybe most importantly, yourself. Instead of listing all that is wrong with something or someone, name three things that are right. The more effort you put into this lifetime the more you will extrapolate from it. Don’t ever forget, whatever you send out energetically will find its way back to you.
4. Honor What You Feel Not What You Fear
I am not saying to deny the feeling of fear and pretend it is not present; instead I am suggesting that you embrace it and then let the fear go and move forward. Choose to use The Love Principle as much as possible. Keep in mind that Fear paralyzes and Love empowers. You could worry that your spouse might cheat on you and then unintentionally, create an atmosphere of suspicion, or you can focus on building a marriage that is full of honesty and trust, giving the relationship the best possible chances for success. Remember, Fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. Focus on the love you feel and not the fear.
5. The Power of Meditation and Prayer
Meditation is enormously important in the process of your psychic development and evolution. It is an essential tool to assist you in creating a life that is centered and balanced, which is the key to achieving your spiritual goals.
Practicing daily meditation can help you release stress and negativity on a conscious as well as an unconscious level. It relaxes the physical body and teaches the mind to focus for a specific period of time. When you can focus, then it is much easier to visualize–which is the basis for creating your own reality. Don’t panic, it can be as simple as five minutes in the shower, a ten-minute walk in the woods, or even three minutes before you run out the door; just do it at least once a day. It helps you to build a strong foundation by raising your vibration and enabling you to be in the essence of your spirit. It allows you to quiet the physical body, work from your higher self, and open up to higher planes of energy and consciousness. The power and healing energy of prayer is something I believe in quite strongly and encourage you to include in your meditation time.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to look outside yourself for what you already have within. The ultimate goal is to live a psychic life every day and to use that newfound recognition to take chances and make choices with confidence.
© 2010 John Edward, author of Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life
Author Bio
John Edward, author of Infinite Quest: Develop Your Psychic Intuition to Take Charge of Your Life, is an internationally acclaimed psychic medium, author, and lecturer. On his internationally syndicated talk shows, Crossing Over with John Edward and John Edward Cross Country, he captivated audiences worldwide with his unique abilities to connect people with loved ones who have crossed over to the Other Side. John has appeared on many other talk shows, including the Today Show, Oprah!, and The View, and has been a frequent guest on CNN’s Larry King Live. He is a regular guest on morning radio, including New York’s WPLJ and Los Angeles’ KROQ. John has been featured in articles in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, People, and Entertainment Weekly. John is the author of several New York Times best-sellers, including Crossing Over: The Stories Behind the Stories and What if God Were the Sun? He conducts workshops and seminars around the world, and is the founder of the metaphysical website InfiniteQuest.com. John lives in New York with his family.
Please follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

Money Matters from the Author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat

book cover-1.jpegThe author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat shares her tips on how to manage your finances and invest like a pro!
Financial expert Susan Hirshman, author of the brand new book “Does This Make My Assets Look Fat” answers our readers’ burning money questions and breaks down the concept of investing and budgeting and puts it into terms any woman can understand.
As Susan sees it, the rules of successful dieting are the same rules that apply to successful money management. In her new book, Susan offers women a 3-phase personalized plan that follows common dieting programs to help them understand their finances.
Susan’s program completely removes the intimidation factor that often accompanies the words ‘personal finance’ and ‘investing’ and provides women with all the information they need to take control of their financial situations once and for all.
Question: How do you ‘get on a budget’? What are the first steps? ((We have a decent income-but we don’t have much to show for it!! We don’t waste $$ on material things-but we barely have anything saved.)
Susan: Believe it or not this question can be answered by discussing dieting and hidden calories. You know what I am talking about – those extra calories you ingest without really counting and paying attention to. The handful of M&M’s from your colleagues candy bowl, the second glass of wine, eating out of the refrigerator, and on and on. Dieting experts state that the first thing you have to do to is to find all these “hidden calories” that are sabotaging your success by writing down everything you eat.
Have you ever done this? If you have, then you are familiar with the first step in developing a budget – writing everything down and finding our “hidden expenses.” Hidden expenses just like hidden calories are things that are not memorable but when you add them together they become significant and tend to impair your financial success. ‘
Budgeting (I prefer using the term spending plan – doesn’t it sound much more palatable?) is all about awareness and measurement of your cash inflows (net salary, dividends etc) less your fixed expenses (those that are must have’s, i.e. mortgage, utilities etc) and your variable expenses (those that are discretionary, i.e. entertainment, clothes etc.)
Bottom line – if you don’t measure you can’t manage.
There are many tools available on the web to help you keep track of your spending plan. In addition your bank and/or credit card companies may offer tools as well. Get on it…☺
imgres.jpegSusan L. Hirshman is a former managing director at JP Morgan. She holds an M.B.A. from Baruch College and is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner, a Chartered Life Underwriter, and a Chartered Financial Analyst. She currently lives in Manhattan.
If you have a money question for Susan, email us at beth@rolemommy.com.

Donating Pre-Loved Stuffed Animals

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Guest Post By Lisa Novick, Co-Founder of www.yeskidzcan.com, a do-good company dedicated to bringing giving experiences into young kids’ lives.

A stuffed animal menagerie lives in my daughter’s room. Animals of all species and shapes which are lovingly jammed inside a wooden trunk at the end of her bed. Stuffed animals carry such significance for children – each with its own story and memory. There’s the sad looking dog she won at a boardwalk game at the beach. There’s the manatee her Miami-residing aunt sent her for a birthday present to remind her of Florida. There’s the first animal her dad got her on the day she was born. She sleeps with this raccoon every night. And there is even the first stuffed animal I received as a child that I passed on to her because I couldn’t bear to give it away.
My father gave me – of all things – a llama which I creatively named, “Llama.” It stands one foot tall with orange-brown glass eyes, a tuft of white bangs, and a surprising noise maker in its chest. One push creates a startling bleating sound that sends any dog in the vicinity into a frenzy. “Llama” is now very old. Its legs are bowed and a few metal supports jut out here and there. (Don’t worry, they are blunt and won’t hurt anybody.) This one stuffed animal has followed me from childhood to college to my first apartment and now – to my daughter.
So you can imagine my surprise when just the other day, my daughter announced that it was time to pass along a large selection of her stuffed animals to kids who needed them more than she did. I have been trying to get her to do this for a while. Not because I am a cruel mom, looking to break her spirit by separating her from her animals and all their furry memories. She simply has so many of them from friends and relatives and birthday party favors that it seems – well – excessive.
I suggested that she divide the animals into three piles:
1) Definite giveaways
2) Definite keepers
3) Undecided
To my shock, she quickly created a huge pile of giveaways, a modest pile of keepers, and an understandable amount of undecided’s. A quick conversation about each of the “undecided’s” helped put them in their rightful spot.
Our next decision was to research where to donate the critters. (A decent number of groups exist that take stuffed animals. However, it important to note that many organizations request only new ones.)
We got online together and found two groups that my daughter liked that take pre-loved animals:
Project Smile: This group provides police officers with gently used stuffed animals for them to give to children who have experienced tragedy or trauma.
Loving Hugs: This group sends stuffed animals to children living in war zones, refugee camps, orphanages, and hospitals or medical facilities around the world.
You do have to cover shipping costs if the group you choose does not have a drop-off location near you. (Loving Hugs helps you save on shipping costs by accessing their UPS account and taking advantage of any volume rate reduction that may apply.)
With our donation game plan in place, my daughter had one more idea. Since she was donating so many of her animals, she was wondering if she could buy one new animal for herself that had meaning. Every parent will have a different response to this, I’m sure. I decided that this was okay by me. Donating her animals was her idea in the first place. She happily selected a treasure trove of creatures to make others happy. And stuffed animals – whether old or new — carry a lot of sentimentality. Just ask “Llama” which – you will be relieved to know — remains safely in its rightful home – in the trunk at the end of my daughter’s bed.
To hear about more great deeds from kids and how you can get your own children involved in the giving spirit, visit YesKidzCan.

Keeping Kids Occupied with Mind Games

Child expert Wendy Toone offers fun ways to expand your child’s mind during the dog days of summer.

Thumbnail image for iStock_000009022880XSmall.jpgWe may be knee deep in those lazy, hazy days of summer, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t keep our kids active with challenging games and activities that will keep their minds buzzing. In fact, here are some great rainy day and car ride activities that will challenge your kids to think on their feet!
1. Mind games can keep boredom away as well as physical activity. Even small children can follow an adjusted version of “I Spy.” Just be sure that the clues are age appropriate and not too tricky. Look for easy to spot shapes, bright colors, or unique characteristics (animals, common objects such as pencils, etc.). Remember to let them give you the clues, too, to really work their brains. Finding an object is different than coming up with a clue for an object.
2. Once your child is a little older, around 4 years or so, theme games can be played. A favorite (still) of my kids is the animal game. “I Spy”-like clues can be given, but your child must rely on their memory and knowledge of animals instead of looking for pictures or representations of them. These types of games are great for long car rides, and you can make them more challenging, as your children get older. Go in order through the alphabet…”I have a long nose and tongue” = Aardvark (or anteater, both will work in this case); “I’m totally white and live in the cold” = Beluga whale. Get it?
3. READ, READ, READ. Reading to your child, no matter how young, increases their vocabulary, imagination, and overall cognitive abilities. Hearing language creates synapses – the connection of brain cells. Most of us parents think that reading at bedtime is sufficient. And while bedtime stories create a wonderful bonding time between parent and child, so can reading a story with your child snuggled on your lap in a waiting room. Granted, you can’t be expected to tote a small library around with you at all times. But if you know your day will include a little waiting time, why not pop your child’s favorite book in the day bag. Or maybe a story you haven’t yet read to them? Or take advantage of digital children’s books that can be downloaded to your cell phone or iPod? These digital books can do double duty, as oftentimes they are books that are enhanced with narration (sometimes even music and sound effects are added), so your little one can hear the book as they see the words on your phone or iPod screen.
So the next time you find yourself exasperated trying to tame the savage beast that is a toddler with nothing to do, try a few of these tips. Not all of them will work at all times or in every situation. But hopefully if nothing else, it will spark your creativity to engage your child and use your waiting time as teaching time. For there is no better teacher for a child than his or her own parent. Good luck!!!
wendy.jpegWendy Toone is a child expert having owned and operated a leading franchise children’s fitness center and now producing MobiStories, Digital Books for KidsTM, as well as being a mom to her two children. To experience the world of digital children’s picture books, visit www.mobistories.com.
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