Friday, June 29, 2012

If You Don't Prioritize Your Life, Someone Else Will

I just posted a Harvard Business Review article on Facebook entitled, If You Don't Prioritize Your Life, Someone Else Will.  This article, published yesterday, begins with a quote by Mahatma Gandhi and speaks strongly to the philosophy by which he lived his life, "A 'no' uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble."


The article goes on to discuss a specific example, where Gandhi applied this to his life, and a specific example where the author tried to apply this to his life, but failed….miserably! (Agreed to a client meeting a few hours after his wife had just had their first child….due to feeling pressure and not wanting to 'look' bad in-front of his clients and colleagues.) 


It's really a great article that goes into why people prioritize unimportant things (in the bigger scheme of things) over others and how to avoid falling into those traps.


The article concluded with the following statement:

"Saying "yes" when we should be saying "no" can seem like a small thing in the moment. But over time, such compromises can create a life of regrets. Indeed, an Australian nurse named Bronnie Ware, who cared for people in the last 12 weeks of their lives, recorded the most often-discussed regrets. At the top of the list: "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."


"When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."


This article confirms that I am doing the right thing by joining this Bucket List Club.  My sister mentioned it to me yesterday and I jumped on it with open arms.  The rules of the Bucket List Club are as follows:

1.       Fill out the life expectancy calculator questionaire at the following website:

2.       Based on your results (my life expectancy is 88) decide how old you want to be when you are ready to just relax and not have to worry about 'trying new things' and accomplishing new goals (I decided on age 80).

3.       Take the age you have decided on (80 for me) and subtract it from the age you will be on December 31st of the current year (34 for me).  This will equal the number of items you are required to come up with for your bucket list (80-34=46 for me)

4.       Create your bucket list (things you want to do, places you want to go, people you want to see, etc…. before you die).

5.       Plan a date for the end of the year when everyone in the Bucket List Club will meet to share and discuss their bucket list, as well as strategize what they will begin working on for the coming year.

6.       During the year, try to stick to your plans.  Try to work to complete one of your smaller list items and atleast start on one of your longer-term items, because…..

7.       At the end of each consecutive year, a new Bucket List Club meeting will be planned.  You must have completed at least one Bucket List item each year, which you can cross off the list at the meeting.

a.       If you overcome a major change in your life, you are encouraged to re-take the life expectancy quiz and update the number of items that should be listed on your bucket list.

b.      If your priorities change in your life, you are allowed to "exchange" bucket list items by replacing an item that is no longer a priority/desire of yours with something that is more in-line with the new you!


So far, my Bucket List Club consists of 3 people and is a by-invite-only club.  We are trying to keep our member numbers intimate and low, so if you have not received an invite, please feel free to start your own club and share your experiences.  For my fellow club members, lets get started!  Year-end will be here before we know it and I'd like to do our launch meeting BIG!  Any and all ideas and suggestions are welcome!  J

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lord, please help me to see......

Welcome to This is me…..Then!  If you like what you see, subscribe here for free updates, or you can “like” my Facebook page here and receive new posts in your news stream.  Once you like my page, you can choose to see posts in your newsfeed first or receive a notification for each post made.  Thanks for visiting!  This post may contain affiliate links.

Happy (belated) Father's Day!!!!!

Yesterday, I spent the morning visiting my dad in Queens.  I spent the afternoon at my sister's house in the Bronx and I spent the evening at a book signing in Newark, NJ…..and just like that my life changed.

I almost didn't go to the book signing.  First, I just didn't want to go for my own selfish reasons.  Second, my husband and I had a big argument on our way to pick up my sister and nieces that morning (so, we could all visit my dad in Queens) and I really just wanted to let him go there alone, while I found my own way back home from Newark.  I don't know why I didn't say anything, as he likely would've dropped me off in a fit of anger, if I had suggested it.  I guess it wasn't met to be.  I guess I was meant to have an encounter with my BLINDSPOTS.

What would you do if God healed everyone else but you? Would you celebrate if God reconciled their marriage and not yours? Could you still worship if your best friend got the job you've always wanted? 
What if the spouse you've been preparing for all your life, never shows up?

You've been praying to find someone who understands. You're tired of people putting wrapping paper over your pain. They've decorated your wounds and screamed "God is able!" But you're still bleeding. You're still burning. You're still blind.

After you finish this book, deliverance will have a new meaning. You may not get "healed"... but you WILL get help. 

I haven't even started to read the book yet (planning to start tonight with my husband), but it is right on target, and from all the sharing that went on at the book signing alone, my life has been forever changed.  It's amazing how God works and he knows EXACTLY, when you need a word from him and when you have hit your lowest point in the valley and can't handle anymore.  J It's crazy how someone else's hardships and testimonies and their ability to be transparent and share the darkest, deepest, most buried moments of their life can change you and everyone around you for the better.

Once my husband and I finish the book, we intend to pass it on to others and hope to one day be an example and share our struggles and how we made it over.  Here is a few excerpts/teasers from the book:
What do you do when the person you thought you loved, was really lust in sheep's clothing? How do you get out of a marriage that was conceived in chocolate cake and shaped in vanilla ice cream? ...

What if I told you that your greatest enemy actually thinks he is your best friend? He doesn't know he is a representative of deception because the devil doesn't interview his employees. He just hires upon availability.

When someone is violated, their sense of touch is tainted. Their understanding of love gets all jacked up. In what seems like a blink of an eye, joy gets crippled. The construction paper of peace crumbles into parchments of pain, and wholeness becomes the hardest class to pass in the college of Life & Sciences.


What are we doing, people? The church has more addicts than the penal system has convicts. We have more actors than Broadway has theatres. The reason we can't get help is because we're too busy trying to fake it. Most Christians are an oxymoron. We're truthfully dishonest, freely bound and nakedly clothed. We own a 24-hour convenience store that closes on the weekends. And we come to church to shake hands with a God we haven't spoken to all week.


I believe underneath every addiction is the desire to control the motion of our lives. Underneath every addiction is a broken mind, a fragmented heart, or a traumatized spirit. Underneath addiction is an unfulfilled request to be loved; a yearning to be held. The graveyard is easy to find. Somewhere near addiction is a tombstone where hope died.


He said he was a friend. He was a minister who came into my life to help me deal with my problems. He talked with me and laughed with me. We bonded and connected. Most days, he treated me like his son. Other days, he treated me like his brother. But the day he tried to make me his lover, he introduced me to a new blindspot: violation.


*The BLINDSPOTS e-book is available on Amazon.  Click here to find out more.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sauerkraut, Ferments and so much more.....

Yay!  It's almost summertime and that means Robbinsville (the town I currently live in) is filled with festivals and fun activities.  Yesterday was the first day for our local Farmer's Market.  Every Monday from now until September 26th, the Robbinsville Farmer's Market convenes at the parking lot across the street from my house from 3pm – 7:30pm.  Convenient, yes, I know!  J
So, The Taste of Times Square (which I usually go to faithfully every year) was yesterday, but I skipped it, so that I could be home in time to visit the Farmer's Market.  Of course, there decides to be traffic and we arrive just in time to catch all the leftovers before all the farmers wrap up and go home.  What did I score?  Some toffee roasted almonds and pecans, as well as dehydrated kiwi fruit and ginger.  What else?  SAUERKRAUT!

For those who don't know, sauerkraut is one of the best foods in the world that you can eat…….especially (and only) when it's freshly made and not processed/pasteurized.  Not only is it loaded with naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, it's loaded with probiotics!  For those who are lactose intolerant or cutting dairy from their diet, this is a good alternative to yogurt.
For those who didn't know, sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, just as pickles are fermented cucumbers.  I tried making some about a month ago, but it was my very first attempt and didn't fully ferment, as I had hoped.  So, I was happy to score a freshly made variety at the Farmer's Market yesterday.  Some facts, which I pulled from Dr. Weil's website are below.
Sauerkraut may not be the best food in the world for health, but fresh sauerkraut is VERY good for you. The friendly lactobacilli created in the fermenting process by which cabbage is transformed into sauerkraut aid digestion, increase vitamin levels, produce a variety of beneficial enzymes and promote the growth of healthy flora throughout the digestive tract. And in a study published in the October 23, 2002 Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Finnish researchers reported that fermenting cabbage produces compounds known as isothiocyanates, shown in laboratory studies (in test tubes and animals) to prevent the growth of cancer. There's no evidence, yet, that these compounds have the same effect in humans, but we do know that isothiocyanates occur naturally in broccoli and brussel sprouts, vegetables which appear to be protective against cancer.
From a nutritional point of view sauerkraut is a great food choice. One cup amounts to only 44 calories, provides eight grams of fiber and plenty of vitamin C. The downside to sauerkraut is its salt content. To make sauerkraut you shred cabbage, add salt and wait for it to ferment. The salt draws out the cabbage juice, which contains sugar. The juice and sugar ferment forming lactic acid, which creates sauerkraut's tangy flavor. But sauerkraut is one of the saltiest foods available, containing much too much sodium for people with high blood pressure and heart disease. If you rinse and soak sauerkraut in cold water before you eat it, you can lower the sodium content considerably.
Many peoples in the world, including Germans, Japanese and Chinese, consider it important to include fermented foods in their diets. Natural pickles, Korean Kimchi, tempeh and miso (made from soy) as well as high quality yogurt are all sources of the friendly cultures found in sauerkraut. Unfortunately, most of today's commercially available sauerkraut is pasteurized and "dead" - that is, it lacks the beneficial bacterial cultures that make it so good for us. Instead, all you get is a lot of salt. To get the health benefits, look for fresh sauerkraut in the refrigerated sections of natural food stores and in barrels in delicatessens that still make their own. Or, even better, make it yourself - it's not that difficult.
Andrew Weil, M.D.
I am also a huge fan of a nutritionist named Kimberly Snyder.  Her website also includes information of the benefits of sauerkraut (which she calls Probiotic & Enzyme Salad) and provides a video and instructions on how to make it at home.  Below are some useful benefit data, which appears on her page.
I cannot stress enough the importance of the Probiotic and Enzyme Salad in helping to make us more clean and balanced. This sacred and extremely nutritious salad. It is packed with enzymes and flora to increase our immunity and to restore us to a basic pH. It doesn't take that much time to make, and it is the most inexpensive way to get daily probiotics. This is especially important for those of you that can't afford probiotic supplements, which can definitely be expensive. Cabbage is very inexpensive, so there is no excuse to not make this salad!!
Imbalanced intestinal flora is one of the root causes of disease and is essential to replenish to achieve true health and therefore true beauty. This powerful salad will lead to improved Beauty Energy and ongoing cleansing. Most importantly, it will aid you in clear up any digestive blockages or irregularities that you are experiencing. It is great for those with Candida and sugar cravings.
Probiotic & Enzyme Salad is essentially raw sauerkraut and is made with green cabbage, miso paste or sea salt, and optionally flavor add-ons like ginger or carraway seeds. The raw, cultured veggies that are chopped and sealed in airtight containers for a few days. Sealing and storing the cabbage creates an environment for lactobacilli and enzymes in the vegetables to flourish, creating a probiotic-rich food. Pretty cool, right? Cabbage in itself has natural probiotics, is packed with vitamin C, and has natural cleansing properties. I love that that it's so easy to make and is a yummy, tangy accompaniment for any meal.
Sauerkraut usually stirs up images of a soppy, salty condiment that adds flavor to various meats, but this is not what you are making here! It's time to break the stereotype and open up your mind to the possibility of delicious, nutritious and beautiful foods that benefit the body and the mind. Probiotic & Enzyme Salad is the most powerful tool you can use to get there!
Remember, the fermentation process to create all of those healthy nutrients takes about 5 days so when you start to run low, be sure to whip up a new batch. You can store sealed jars of salad in the refrigerator for up to a month or so, once the seal has been broken, it will keep for up to 1 month. Probiotic & Enzyme Salad should be a core staple of your Beauty Detox by including ½ cup for dinner each night and also at lunch when possible.
For a simple and easy demo on how to make Probiotic & Enzyme Salad, click here! If you are still having issues with your batches going funky, remember to 1)Sterilize everything very well beforehand 2)Pack the mixture down firmly 3)Make sure your jar lids are tightly closed 4)Use spring water to make the brine.
Through increasing your consumption of probiotics and probiotic-rich foods, over time you will see an increase in energy and skin beauty, which will further serve as motivation to keep eating them!

How to Get Paid to Reduce Your Debt and Build Your Savings

While browsing through my weekly The Krazy Koupon Lady emails, I came across a link to a really cool website,, which helps Americans earn rewards when they make payments on bills such as credit cards, or when they put money into a savings plan.

How SaveUP Works

As you know, you can take advantage of most reward programs only if you spend money. But with, you get rewarded in the form of credits each time you make payments on certain debts or put money into your savings plan, IRA or 401K. The site's tagline says it best: "Get Rewarded for Your Savings, Not Your Spending." also has a fun, interactive component where you can earn credits when you take part in daily challenges.

Types of Accounts You Can Register with SaveUP

You can register credit cards from more than 18,000 financial institutions, student loans and checking accounts. You can also register your savings account, IRAs and 401Ks so you earn credits when you pay yourself!

Amount of Credits You Can Earn

SaveUP gives you a savings incentive right off the bat by giving you 200 credits just for registering any financial account. You'll earn an extra 1 credit for every $1 reduction on a car, mortgage, or student loan, and 1 credit for every $1 increase in your savings account, 401K or IRA. You can also earn 1 credit for each $1 increase in your checking account balance and 1 credit for every $2 you pay on your credit card. By the way, there are no limits to the amount of credits you can earn.

What You Get with Your Credits

You can use your credits towards daily chances to win vacations, cars, gift cards, electronics, tech products like iPads, and other items. You'll even get the opportunity to win cash rewards up to a $2,000,000 jackpot.

How to Join SaveUP

To start earning SaveUP credits, just sign up on the website by entering your name, email and a password. You can also sign up through your Facebook account. Once you've signed up, you can begin registering the accounts you want to make payments towards. The site securely connects to almost every financial institution in the country that offers online banking, which allows your account balances to be monitored so you can receive your credits. But don't worry that a SaveUP employee is sitting down soaking up all the details of your financial accounts. The site stresses that they do not have access to your accounts or store your financial information.

How Much Does SaveUP Cost?

SaveUP is completely free, and the company pledges to never charge you a penny. They make their money by partnering with sponsors and financial institutions. I found this a really interesting twist because we usually have the idea of banks and advertisers taking money from consumers rather than helping them to save!

All in all, it looks like a win-win situation for everyone. Just don't expect SaveUP to send you reminders to pay down your debt so you can earn credits; that's up to you. Still, it's not likely you'll have trouble remembering because SaveUP's features offer plenty of incentives for you to pay off your debt and really pad that nest egg.

This has been a guest post by Andrea from Ontario, Canada
Find out more about the KCL Contributor Network!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Betrayal: The introduction

As I went to the library to return some books and pick up a movie on hold for me, it occurred to me that it was time to find some new material to read.

As part of a Love Dare Challenge a few months ago, I had to recognize my husband's primary love language and for six weeks (I think) complete these challenges that spoke to his love language. Well, it turned out that one of his primary love languages was Physical Touch (the other was Words of Affirmation). Any who, my very first challenge was to do some research. Apparently, men who find love in physical touch, enjoy varied forms of physical touch....and my task was to "get a book" and discover some new ways to incorporate more physical touch into our situation.

Thus began my familiarity with the "sex and relationships" section of the Mid-Manhattan library. On that day, I was returning the book I had taken out for this very challenge many months ago. Yes, it took me THAT long to read it and the only reason I finished is because the library said I renewed this book the maximum amount of times and had to return it. FYI: the max amount of times is 10 and each time the book is renewed for another 3 weeks (you do the math). In conclusion, I totally slacked on the job (sorry babe!). For those who are curious to know, the title of the book was something like, "How To Have Sex Like You Just Met"......or something like that. I don't feel too bad about my slacking because I'm sure I incorporated something that the book was saying at some point during those XX months I had the book in my possession.

BUT, I digress.....something that I do all the time and if you know me well enough, you expect it of me Enough!!!!

Before leaving the library, I decided to continue my journey of "research" and get another book with more "data" on this thing they call physical touch.....and all other aspects of relationships as well. The first book that caught my eye (mainly because it was big and bright) was Satisfaction by Karrine Steffans. I could go on a whole other tangent about her and that, but instead I'll just say that I flipped through, decided against it and kept looking.

I'm not even sure if this was in the right section, but I can say that it was kismet that we meet. This tiny little yellow (my favorite color) caught my eye. The author was Dr. Laura Schlessinger. If my sister is reading this blog, she's probably trying to remember where she heard that name from.
Wonder no more, my dear Frankela, for she is the author of the book that you claim changed your life. That's right! "Ten Stupid Things Women Do To Mess Up Their Lives." I could go on another tangent, but I will refrain. Instead, I will tell you that I was drawn to the book like a moth to a flame. Not only because of the author (one of my favorites), but the topic.

The title of this book is "Surviving A Shark Attack (On Land): Overcoming Betrayal and Dealing With Revenge."
Most do not know this, but if you are the closest person to me or a mind reader, then you know that this is one of my struggles in life. For some reason, it is so hard for me to move on and let go......especially when someone has hurt me or someone close to me (or just anyone in general....hence, my refusal to watch or support any movies that Angelina Jolie appears in). Yes, as shameful as it is to admit, I am a grudge holder and in most cases, I hold on for life. Sad, I know.....mostly because it likely harms me more than the person I'm holding the grudge against. Let's be real, do u really think Angelina Jolie was affected by the fact that I left the room when my husband rented "Salt" from On Demand?

Suffice it to say, I took this book out and am fervently going through and taking notes. While it's not gonna give me ideas of new and interesting ways of physically touching my husband, I am 100% positive that it will help me to touch him in ways that he'll appreciate much more than what resulted from the book I returned on the day I found my next read.

So, I will likely be writing a lot about betrayal in the coming weeks. Bare with me because it's just a way to share and explore my feeling all in the same breath. Join in the discussion and share your experiences. We can all heal together! :-D

I will leave you with a little excerpt from the introduction of the book....we'll just call it a teaser.
" Life is what it is. If you venture into the world, there are those ready to attack -- especially if you are or are doing something special. I absolutely hate that this is a truth of life. But that truth doesn't care if you or I hate it -- we still have to face it.
Venture into the ocean, and you might become victim to a shark who is hungry or feeling threatened by your presence or is just doing what it is genetically programmed to do: attack and consume. The shark may take a bite out of you and remove a limb or reveal your innards, and then swim off, not thinking a thing about it. However, the smell of blood brings other sharks to feed on your frenzy of excitement--leaving nothing of you other than the memories of you cherished by your loved ones.
Sharks have no remorse, no morality, no sense of fairness, no concern about the consequences of their actions--as long as their instinctive needs are satisfied. There are a lot of human beings who are just like that--hence the title of this book.
So, then, what do we do to survive shark attacks......on land? "

Monday, June 4, 2012

Gay or Stupid? One’s Still an Insult (NYTimes article)

The New York Times
June 1, 2012

Gay or Stupid? One's Still an Insult

Not too long ago, Lee Stern, a music educator, was accompanying his 11-year-old nephew in an elevator in his Chelsea apartment building. Mr. Stern is gay, and so is his brother, who adopted the boy with his partner and lives down the hall.

 A man got in the elevator, and after he left, the boy proclaimed, "He is so gay." Mr. Stern inquired after the response, and his nephew explained that he'd reached his assumption based on a potent whiff of cologne. Mr. Stern responded that cologne had nothing to do with sexual orientation. After all, he and the boy's fathers didn't wear any, and they are gay. Then the child said: "No. I mean he is gay," Mr. Stern recounted. "He was talking about the muscles, the shorts. He was Chelsea," Mr. Stern said, laughing.

If the man were, in fact, just Jersey Shore, would the child's initial conclusion have been an affront?

Not according to an appellate court in Albany, which last week issued a ruling that in its judicial effect stripped the word "gay" of any derogatory connotation. It is now no longer considered slanderous in the State of New York to falsely call someone gay. Gay has, in the eyes of the court, as it has in the minds of sane people, lost currency as an accusation. Say I chose to live my life as a telenovela and decided to break up my best friend's wedding by announcing in a rehearsal dinner toast that her husband was gay. That husband would now have as little ground for a lawsuit against me as if I had described him as blond, pigeon-toed, happy or merely mediocre at Texas Hold 'Em.

In arriving at its decision, the court erased decades of rulings that treated inaccurate descriptions of sexual orientation as defamation. "These appellate division decisions are inconsistent with current public policy and should no longer be followed," the unanimous decision, written by Justice Thomas Mercure, stated.

What took so long?

While the decision clearly reflects the ideas and opinions of an increasingly enlightened citizenry, it might also be said to speak to the evolving etymology of the term gay itself. During the past two decades, American adolescent vernacular has broadened the definition far beyond implications of sexual orientation. In a circle of 13-year-olds, "That's so gay!" might translate to: "Only ding-dongs go to the movies on Saturday when anyone who is anyone goes to the movies on Wednesdays." It might be gay to wear Pumas in a place where Converse high-tops are the rage, or gay of a teacher to assign a 10-page essay on "Buddenbrooks" three days before Christmas.

Ten years ago, on an e-mail list dedicated to issues of linguistics, an extensive conversation got going over whether the word gay had morphed specifically into meaning "stupid." The cumulative answer was, yes, it seemed so, and this was happening around the world, including in the United States.

But in New York, where teenagers who have grown up with gay parents, friends, aunts and cousins are perhaps thicker on the ground than most places, perhaps we've entered a new phase, where gay has simply reverted to meaning homosexual, a term so unremarkable it is delivered with the easiest neutrality. Some unscientifically gathered evidence suggests that we might have.

Last week, Emily Kerins, 14, a student at the Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Astoria, Queens, told my colleague Juliet Linderman that she'd grown offended by the indiscriminate use of the term gay. "If I were gay and someone used that word in a negative context, of course I'd be insulted," she said. "I hear it all the time, every single day in class. The other day I raised my hand and answered a question wrong, and someone said, 'You're so gay.' What does answering a question wrong have to do with my sexuality? It's damaging to gay people to use the word like that. People don't want to go through life being insulted and discriminated against. It's wrong. I'd much rather call someone a loser. I used to say it when I was younger, but I stopped."

Outside St. Ann's School in Brooklyn Heights on Friday, I encountered a similar sense of backlash. "A lot of kids say, 'You're really gay' because they think that's what an adult would do," Agnes Guillo, a seventh grader, explained to me. "They think it's an insult, and they think the insult will give them power."

A boy named Eden Stern-Rodriguez, 16, was there with a group of high school friends, all of whom stood adamantly against any extrapolated uses of the term gay whatsoever. "There are people who live in my house who are gay," Eden told me, explaining that his mother's best friend lived with his family and that if he ever referred to anyone as gay, it would be because they were, in fact, homosexual.

Perhaps there's a new synonym for lame and the older ones among us don't yet know about it. And maybe it's just "lame."


Juliet Linderman contributed reporting.