Those who know me know that I dislike Valentine’s Day. It’s not that I dislike romance or don’t believe in love, but rather it is the fact that for the sake of greed, merchants and Corporate America have managed to set us up for disappointment, disillusionment and self doubt. What man can possibly do enough to prove his love? Oh wait a minute, I know he can spend $$$ on diamonds, candy, flowers, stuffed animals, baked goods, maybe even a new car!
The truth is that I do, very much, believe in love at first sight and one that can last forever and I’ll tell you why. Once upon a time there was a young man (well, not too young) from Spain who was living in New York. He had definitely sowed his wild oats, traveled throughout Europe and had made the decision that he thought he’d like to stay a bachelor forever. He’d just never found a woman whom he felt he could live with for the rest of his life. And he was pretty happy with that decision.
Then one evening he was with some friends and he went to the movies. Before the lights went down he saw a young woman several rows up and he fell in love. He’d never seen her before and that was sort of odd because it was a small town and he wondered about that, but it didn’t matter. He pointed her out to his friends and said “Who is that” and they said you should know her, that’s Steve’s daughter (Steve was someone he worked with occasionally). Anyway, he said “Well, you guys, that’s who I’m going to marry.” He did, within the year and they loved each their whole lives.
Mom and Dad, I still miss you both each and every day, but thank you for teaching me that there really is love at first sight and true love and it isn’t about how much money someone spends on you, it’s about how much you respect each other.
If we just take a moment and look around, we can see how amazing this world is and ways to “share” our love a bit.
The first thing I’d like to share with you and encourage each of you to do is something very simple that doesn’t cost you one single cent.
Several years ago, there was a “dot comer” who had made a fortune and he wanted to give back to the world a bit and help those who could not help themselves. So, he found corporate sponsors and he set up something called The Hunger Site and once he got that running he brought other sites in under the umbrella of The Hunger Site so that he could help other groups. If you go to www.thehungersite.com you can click on the “buttons”
for several sites that give surplus food to the poor, free mammograms for women who can't afford them, books for children, saving the rainforest, and feeding animals that are in shelters!
The woman who told me about this has been doing it for about 7 years, she read about The Hunger Site in Family Circle or Woman's Day years ago and she’s been doing it daily since then. I’m a newcomer, have only been doing it for about a year, but it sure makes me feel good.
The next thing I wanted to share with you is a very brief video. I don’t want to say too much and ruin it, but the woman in the video rescued this lion after finding him severely injured at the side of the road. After nursing him back to health, she located a zoo that would take him and give him a home forever. This just fills my heart every time I see it!
I want to thank Peggy McColl for this amazing video. For those of you who may not be familiar with Peggy, please give yourself a gift of love and visit her site at http://www.destinyswitch.com .
And finally, one of the best and healthiest ways you can demonstrate your love may seem odd to say, but it is when you are contemplating or perhaps in the midst of a divorce. I recently had the great honor to “meet” an attorney in New York Belinda Rachman and I wanted to share one of her articles here with you all.
Families Don't Have To Be Ruined In Order To Get A Divorce
By Belinda Rachman, Esq.
If you have been divorced or have heard about a nasty one, then I am preaching to the choir when I outline the emotional and financial devastation that can be wrought on emotionally vulnerable couples who get involved in the adversarial system that IS divorce court. I was a child of a litigated divorce. I taught emotionally disturbed children from dysfunctional families for many years, I was a divorce attorney for eight years, and now I only do divorce mediation. Having witnessed our legal system from all sides, I can safely say that the whole context of how family disputes are settled in court today is not in the best interest of families. This is a call to arms. I am not even going to pretend this is an unbiased “news” article.
We who fight on the front lines on a daily basis, working with the emotionally vulnerable who feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under them know that the last thing a family in trouble needs is the “assistance” of counsel who could be throwing gasoline on the fire in order to line their own pockets. Most of you probably don’t know that family law attorneys are the ONLY kind of lawyers in California whose fees are statutorily protected by the equity in the family home. Divorcing couples may not be aware that they agreed to a lien on their homes and a possible forced sale at the end of the case when they sign their lawyer’s fee agreements. People need to know that they will get more and lose less by cooperating with their ex-partner than by litigating the matter.
Most people know what assets they have. No matter how much they earn, many people live paycheck to paycheck and there are usually no issues of hidden Swiss bank accounts. While this is the norm, any couple with equity in their home who both engage lawyers will soon see why the average contested divorce in our state costs $20,000 in attorney fees PER SIDE! And that is just an average. Most often, the more equity your home has, the higher the fees. Read Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and you will see little has changed in the past 150 years.
First, the lawyers will engage in expensive discovery procedures, serving interrogatories and subpoenas for production of documents. There will be depositions and then the hiring of expensive forensic accountants and other experts, just to keep the case going. When couples trust their attorneys, it’s hard for them to see they are being manipulated. It does NOT have to be this way!
We need a groundswell of people demanding that the adversarial family law system be replaced with mediation. My own practice demonstrates what a sham the adversarial alternative is. I have a 100% track record with over 150 couples. When a lawyer has a powerful intention to help people find their bottom line fairly, efficiently and economically, cases settle without the expense, drama and irreparable harm to children and their co-parenting relationship, harm that is most always the result of a bloody and adversarial battle. Lawyers who are paid by the hour have no incentive to wrap it up. There is an inherent conflict of interest between the attorney, who wants to earn more money, and the client, who wants to save more money. When you are working on a flat fee, there is motivation to help couples come to a reasonable resolution without dragging it out.
Experienced attorneys know what the outcome of most cases will be. This is a community property state, and everything that falls into that category is evenly divided, and separate property is also well defined by statute. It just isn’t that complicated. Now there may be cases where a business requires a forensic accountant to value, but you don’t need to have a battle of the experts to testify why the husband or wife should get more or less money.
We have all seen the critical mass theory at work in our own lifetimes. For those unfamiliar with this theory, the simple explanation is that when enough people (thought to be somewhere between 3% - 5%) move in a certain direction, the rest of the population follows. Think I Pods, cell phones, recycling, health food, ending the war in Viet Nam, etc. It takes some time for the tipping point to be achieved, but whether it is 5% or 20%, at some point, when enough people get behind something, the change manifests throughout society. We can create a transformation in the way legal services are delivered not only in the area of family law, but all across the board. Mediation is applicable to every area where people have disputes.
As with anything unfamiliar, it takes a certain amount of education to show people the possibilities before they are willing to get on the bandwagon. But if law schools taught would be lawyers to encourage cooperation when marriages break down, more and more couples will hear the message of peaceful divorce and not necessarily think that divorce = court fights. We need more divorce attorneys who take their responsibility to protect their client seriously. I have never understood how these “zealous advocates” can justify draining a client’s college fund for their kids so that the attorney’s child can go to private school while the client’s child is lucky to have lunch money. When people are informed and demand better than what is currently available, more and more law students will study mediation and develop a skill set that supports working with people who are breaking up.
It is my mission to help transform the way people get divorced in this country. I am asking you to join me in this crusade. Encourage your friends and family to work together if they have to get divorced. You can split a pie two ways or if lawyers are involved, 4 ways. Which way will you get more? Do you really have to pull the child apart? Don’t you think YOU are in a better position to say how your child should be raised instead of lawyers, judges and other “experts?” You don’t want to start World War III with the parent of your children!!! Your child needs to be your primary focus, not how much money you can get out of paying or not being there when dad comes to pick up the kids. That kind of high conflict drama is totally unnecessary. Not only do consumers need to demand a new kind of divorce, but more lawyers need to recognize the damage caused to families by the legal practice as it is set up now. I hope more attorneys will walk away, as I did, and say, “NO MORE!”
We need judges to recognize who the most egregious of these attorneys are and sanction them, instead of holding them up to young lawyers to emulate. We need an informed public to tell their legislatures that it is NOT OK to give the Family Bar the right to drain the family home of equity through litigation that only comes to an end when there is no more money to be made. The system is broken, and we need to fix it. Generations of children have been caught in the middle of fighting parents who are often encouraged to fight by lawyers who stand to gain. The more we focus on and promote mediation as the rightful solution to family law issues, the more momentum we will build. Who is with me?
So, especially if you or someone you know is thinking of divorce, please take a moment and visit Ms. Rachman’s site http://www.divorce-inaday.com. Learn more about Belinda and you can hear a very informative audio program about the differences between mediation and litigation. As Belinda says, “You only get one chance to have a ‘good’ divorce and you owe it to your children to consider mediation.”
Believe me; in a nasty fight it is the children who suffer the most. Anything you can do to see that they don’t is truly a demonstration of your love for them; it has nothing to do with how you feel about your soon to be Ex.
And the last thing I wanted to say about February is just a little bit of information I found interesting, usually, February is the month in which the Chinese New Year occurs. According to myth, when Buddha summoned all the animals in the world, only twelve showed up. Because of this, Buddha made each of these animals, along with elements such as metal and fire, a ruler over a year in a cycle.
The Chinese year 4706 began February 7th, and the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese culture welcomed in the Year of the Earth Rat. The Earth Rat is year one of a sixty-year cycle, and it enhances the positive energy for new beginnings.
Since I believe so strongly in new beginnings that I named my site and my practice New Beginnings. I see this as a particularly auspicious year for all of us and just wanted to remind you of something; remembering old hurts, pains and betrayals can be therapeutic and sometimes even necessary before you can move on and get that new beginning. Nursing them and continuing to feed them by constantly focusing on them stops being therapeutic and ends up being debilitating. And, you are truly the only one who gets hurt by remembering all the old hurts, pains and betrayals because I guaranty the person who caused them isn’t being hurt at all. If you feel you must “get even”, I’ll tell you how; live a happy, joyful life. It really drives your enemies and Ex crazy!!!!
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.
- Three Bs for Better Blood Pressure
What do broccoli, brown rice, and baked beans have in common? They're good sources of blood pressure friendly protein; because not just any kind of protein will do when you're trying to keep blood pressure under control. A diet high in vegetable protein not animal protein is the key. Researchers aren't sure why veggie protein lowers blood pressure, but they suspect that the amino acids in veggies may simply be kinder, somehow, to blood pressure than the amino acids in animal protein. And the magnesium and other good for you nutrients found in veggies may enhance the blood pressure friendly effects by interacting synergistically with the amino acids.
Some other ways to
get more protein without reaching for a steak knife: Grab a handful of nuts.
Snack on seeds.) Go for whole grains. Say "yes!" to soy.
- 3 Feel Better Post Workout Foods
What's the best snack to grab after a major workout? How about a bowl of whole grain cereal, a bite of Indian takeout, or a big nonfat latte. Each nosh option has a special ingredient that may help your body recover better and nip post workout pain in the bud. What, exactly, do these snacks have that others might not? The three Cs: carbs, curcumin, and caffeine. A carb rich snack like cereal can help you overcome fatigue by restoring glycogen that stuff your muscles use for energy. Curcumin, a substance found in the Indian spice turmeric, may help quell muscle inflammation. And caffeine from coffee may help block muscle pain producing substances.
- The New "It" Herb in Cold Relief?
Battling that bug that's been going around? You might want to consider reinforcing your cold relief arsenal with this herb: andrographis. The andrographis plant has been used for years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat respiratory infections and ease cold symptoms. Now, new research lends support to the cause. In a small study, adults with upper respiratory tract infections and sinusitis took andrographis for 5 days. The result? Headache, nasal and throat symptoms, and general malaise improved significantly. Temperatures fell, too. And the herb was well tolerated. Promising. Of course, no matter what one single study concludes, herbs can cause side effects and interact with medicines. So before you jump on the andrographis bandwagon, check with your doctor. Especially if you don't know how much to take.
- 4 Habits Make You 14 Years Younger
There are four key RealAge habits that can give you an extra 14 years of life. Know what they are? Here's the list: Don't smoke; drink in moderation; exercise regularly; and pack your diet with fruit and veggies. Missing any? No sweat. Grabbing those extra 14 years doesn't have to be hard! Try this: Kick the habit with this butt kicking plan from the RealAge doctors. Set aside 20 minutes of your day for this fast and easy workout. Count the colors on your plate. You want at least three and white and brown don't count! Be heart smart in your approach to alcohol. When healthy, middle aged men and women in a study scored high on all four of these important health behaviors, the combined effect was a four fold reduction in mortality risk an outcome equal to being 14 years younger!
- Ah, Honey: A Sweet Idea
Next time you crave a little something sweet, skip the sugar bowl, and spoon on some of this instead: buckwheat honey. The dark, sweet, sticky stuff will give your body a powerful shot of cell protective phenols something plain old sugar simply can't do. Honey is a super way to bolster your body's defenses against the kind of cell damaging
processes that can lead to premature aging and disease. But when it comes to honey's antioxidant content, color makes all the difference. Buckwheat honey, the darkest of all the kinds tested in a recent study, had the highest antioxidant activity by far.
When Calories Do and Don't Count
Americans have a love hate affair with calories. At any given moment, more than 4 out of 10 of us say we are on a diet, yet we are gobbling 300 calories more each day, on average, than we did 20 years ago. And calorie counting sometimes dominates our lives: We choose workouts based on how many calories they burn, shop for calorie bargains at the grocery store, and blame holiday calories for our widening waistlines. But do we
really understand when calories do and don’t put on pounds?.
Take this true/false test and see how you score.
True or False: Women trying to lose weight should eat no fewer than 1,200 calories a day.
True. It’s the lowest, yet still safe, calorie level for weight loss, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet. Take a multivitamin to fill in some of the nutritional gaps, since nobody eats perfectly. Extreme dieting on 1,000 calories or less is a recipe for failure: The weight won’t stay off. Plus, shedding pounds
Too quickly can throw your body chemistry off and increase the risk of heart
problems and gallstones (ouch!).
True or False: Most people have a pretty accurate idea of how many calories they consume.
False. People typically underestimate how much they eat sometimes by up to 700 calories a day. Most of us tend to be off by about a third, Somer says.
True or False: Excess calories go straight to your hips.
False. They go straight to wherever your genes tell them to. Could be your waist, could be your chin(s), could be anywhere, including, yes, your hips. But the decision's genetic, not caloric. A calorie is simply a measure of energy, and if you don’t need that energy right away (to sprint for a bus or build new cells, for example), it’s stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. When those storehouses are full, excess calories are warehoused as fat in whatever areas your genes favor: sweet cheeks or chubby knees.
True or False: Fat calories pack on pounds faster than carb calories.
True, if the calories are excess calories that is, more than your body needs. What accounts for the difference? It’s really easy for your body to convert excess dietary fat into body fat the process burns as little as 3% of the calories involved. But converting the calories in carbs and protein to fat is far harder and burns up to 23% of the calories in the process. That’s why excess fat calories bulk you up faster than excess carb calories.
- True or False: Calories eaten at night are more fattening than calories consumed during the day.
False. Calories eaten at night aren’t any more fattening but they are more tempting. During a jam packed day, you may barely think about food. But when you get home, you’re tired, you're hungry, you want to relax, your resistance is down, and suddenly, everything in sight looks good. Whether you’re contemplating a lovely meal or a quart of ice cream for dinner, it’s easy to overeat after dark
If you have found this newsletter to be helpful to you and you know someone who you feel could benefit from these thoughts and messages please pass it on.
Linda Simmon, C.Ht.