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How to Keep Track of Family Members Online Activities : Online Safety & Wellness

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Health & Wellness
How to Keep Track of Family Members Online Activities : Online Safety & Wellness

Family safety is the main priority of every household. People are always worried about their family’s safety online. Especially parents, they always want the best for their kids and they want to keep an eye on kids’ phones. The phone is a great source of information because it collects important data about the habits and life of your family members, and this will include their possible bad behavior and suspicious activities. Below are some behaviors that can be a sign of something;

Are they very protective when it comes to their phone? Is it hard for them to leave their phone and need to have it everywhere they go? Is the phone always out of sight? (Do they place it face down?) Are they always locking their phone or have a privacy screen that makes it hard for someone to look over the shoulder angle? Do they put the “Do Not Disturb” function when they are around you to keep notifications silent or at bay? (Look for this feature on the iPhone, a half-moon symbol in the upper right corner.)

If you notice any behavior you will want to consider tracking their phone. You also need to look out for a second phone or a burner or even another Sim card (this is not that convenient, but there are some who do it). One way to find some information is by asking them for their phone when you are together and pretending that yours is dead.

It is even better if you manage to get the phone first before you ask for it. This way, they have to give you the password.

Touch ID

Once you have their phone, if they have enabled the Touch ID feature (or similar variant), go to the security settings tab, then add your fingerprint (if they have installed more than one print, delete one and replace it with yours so they don’t get suspicious). With this, you have easy access to their phone even if they change their password.

The Google Chrome Password hack

If your family member refuses to share their password when you want to do something innocent like order a cab or check the weather, or you cannot observe their code, then it can be tricky to gain access.

The good thing is some people are not that protective when it involves their computer passwords (you can easily unlock most of their passwords). Ask them for their computer for some believable reason and you are in.

When you get the computer, go to chrome, settings, passwords, and autofill.

When you get to the password log page, you will see which sites they have accessed that ask for passwords. The next step is the obscured passwords that are denoted by the character ‘****’. There is an eye icon next to it, click on it. You will be asked to type the computer password and now you can see the passwords. You can go ahead and save the passwords because you might need them. An easy way to save is by taking a quick photo using your phone (be careful with this because it is evidence that you have been snooping). You now need to be careful with your phone, keep it out of reach.

Downloading keyloggers

It is a software you can install on a computer and the other person won’t know that it is running in the background. You can have them record what you want, see the passwords, pages they visit, emails they send, even record them as they use the computer. This is creepy, but there are times when you have to do this.

Using a spyware app

This works like the keyloggers, but on a phone. If you have tried everything else but hasn’t worked, or you want to have complete access to their phone, you can install spyware like Spy Tracker on their phone and you get access to what they do. This can help you bust them once and for all. Keep in mind that there are legal ramifications if they choose to take action.

Tracking their movements

If they use Google, you can easily track their location history. Just click the ‘previous destination’ menu option on the navigation system. If they use android, click the Google Timeline feature on both the Google Maps app and online. This is going to work if they are logged in when they move about. Another option is typing ‘Find My Phone’ on the search bar to see where they are now.

If they are using an iPhone, there are a number of ways to track their location. You can tap into a family account if they have enabled location sharing (Find My Friends and Find my iPhone apps can work well in such cases). If this isn’t possible, then the next feature is very interesting because many people don’t know it is there. You can easily see their frequent locations by going to their Settings, Privacy, Location Services, System Services, and Significant Location. It is hard for most people to take time to disable or delete the settings every time they go out unless they are super-savvy. This makes it easy for you to see the locations they visit frequently.

There are many ways of keeping tabs on your family members for their own safety. You can put a super-small GPS device fixed under their car or an app like Spy Phone. When you track using GPS, you can see where they are going and you can easily check their activities.

Spirit Untamed * A Sequel That Is Sure To Capture New Audiences, Especially Horse Lovers

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Movie Reviews
Spirit Untamed * A Sequel That Is Sure To Capture New Audiences, Especially Horse Lovers

After moving to a sleepy little town, young Lucky Prescott befriends a wild mustang named Spirit, who shares her rebellious spirit. When a heartless wrangler plans to capture Spirit and his herd, Lucky and her new friends embark on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue the horse that forever changed her life.  KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Selene W. comments, “Spirit Untamed is from DreamWorks Animation so you know the characters and scenery are going to be depicted flawlessly.  I love how this film keeps the feel from the original movie but adds another layer of lush detail under the guidance of Director Elaine Bogan who has a personal connection with horses.” Maica M. adds, “Spirit Untamed is a fun-filled animated movie that will have you on the edge of your seat with its rollercoaster of emotions. It is full of suspense, humorous moments and scenes showcasing beautiful relationships. Spirit Untamed is one of the most captivating animated films I’ve seen…” Giana M. wraps it with, “Spirit Untamed is a thrilling and exciting animated film that keeps you entertained throughout the whole movie. It showcases the friendship between humans and horses, has great messages and holds your interest until the end.”

Spirit Untamed

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

https://youtu.be/8LRd7E16YYE

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Adventure awaits in Spirit Untamed, the next chapter in the beloved animated Spirit franchise which is sure to capture a new audience of followers. Spirit Untamed is the story of connection between a girl named Lucky (Isabela Merced) and a wild mustang stallion she names Spirit.  Lucky is a spirited girl and has difficulty fitting into the traditional life that her family plans for her.  Her Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore) takes her away from social pressure for the summer to the frontier town of Miradero to live with her estranged father Jim Prescott (Jake Gyllenhaal).  On the train to Miradero she encounters Spirit and his wild herd.  The story evolves as both Lucky and Spirit adapt to new circumstances and learn to embrace change as well as rely on the friendship and support of others.

Lucky is fortunate to find two steadfast friends in Abigail Stone (Mckenna Grace) and Pru Granger (Marsai Martin) who emulate the connection between a girl and her horse that Lucky desires with Spirit.  Both girls teach her about equestrian and human connections.  I love the fun-loving and spunky character, Abigail, who brings so much humor to the movie which is offset by the sarcasm of Pru. Together these three girls are unstoppable in their efforts to rescue Spirit and his herd from a group of wranglers that threaten their freedom.

Spirit Untamed is from DreamWorks Animation so you know the characters and scenery are going to be depicted flawlessly.  I love how this film keeps the feel from the original movie but adds another layer of lush detail under the guidance of Director Elaine Bogan who has a personal connection with horses.  My favorite scene is what I call “the tango” between Lucky and Spirit when she is trying to coax him to accept her.  The pull of their relationship shows and is enhanced perfectly by the light and playful music composed by Amie Doherty.  I really like how the movie incorporates the actors singing with their roles—I love to hear Isabela Merced’s beautiful voice and even Jake Gyllenhall trying to sing badly.

The one segment that bothers me is when Lucky first mounts Spirit.  The riding is unbelievable for a girl who is just learning and is more akin to a trained circus or stunt rider.  Horses are powerful animals, and I hope young viewers will understand that they need guidance around horses and to respect them.  I did love the personality that was given to all the horses in Spirit Untamed—each horse had its own lovable character and expressions.  Everyone will, of course, love the cuteness overload of the brave baby foal.

What really stands out to me among this film’s many underlying messages is the theme of letting go and how hard that can be. I don’t want to elaborate further, as it would be a spoiler, but there is one great “letting go” scene with Lucky doing the right thing.  Friendship and loyalty are also important themes in Spirit Untamed, as Lucky searches for a place where she belongs.

I rate Spirit Untamed 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12.  This movie will be in theaters June 4, 2021, so don’t miss this heartwarming story and adventure!

Spirit Untamed

Maica N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critics, Age 13

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3h8h-0QEVQ

spirituntamed.h.jpg

Spirit Untamed is a fun-filled animated movie that will have you on the edge of your seat with its rollercoaster of emotions. It is full of suspense, humorous moments and scenes showcasing beautiful relationships. Spirit Untamed is one of the most captivating animated films I’ve seen, with humorous scenes and a great message. Watching this movie on the big screen brings a special kind of magic that draws you in and makes you feel every emotion the characters are feeling. Whether it is a sense of elation, anger, determination or love; I felt it all.

The storyline follows a mischievous girl named Lucky (Isabela Merced) who goes to live with her grandfather after her mother passes away. After pulling too many stunts, her Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore) decides to take her to spend the summer with her father Jim (Jake Gyllenhaal). Lucky wasn’t expecting to have any fun or make a connection with anyone there and then she meets a beautiful wild mustang that she names Spirit. When she discovers that a horse wrangler named Hendricks (Walton Goggins) is trying to steal Spirit and his family, she teams up with her new friends Abigail (Mckenna Grace) and Pru (Marsai Martin) to save them.

Although Spirit Untamed is an animated film, it is filled with suspense. Lucky loves to take risks, and that means she is willing to do anything and everything she feels is right. For instance, while Lucky, Abigail and Pru ride their horses through Heck Mountain and over the Ridge of Regret, they are incredibly close to falling off the edge. The way these scenes are designed, and how the events unfold, had me genuinely nervous for the girls. The relationships in the film are well developed. Lucky and Jim’s relationship starts out shaky, but gradually grows throughout the movie. By the end of the movie, the father/daughter relationship is made whole. The friendship between Lucky, Pru and Abigail grows throughout the movie as well, which makes the film much more enjoyable. Something else that stands out is the music. The background music adds greatly adds to the suspense and propels the action. The songs highlight the stunning vocals of the talented performers Becky G. who sings “You Belong.” Its tempo builds as the excitement in the film builds. This sets the perfect tone for the movie, giving it a sense of hope. The cast is very diverse and featuring people from different backgrounds, which I appreciate as well. Spirit Untamed has it all!

The message of Spirit Untamed is: if you see something that’s wrong, speak up and do everything you can to put an end to it. Lucky is aware that it is wrong for Hendricks and his gang to take Spirit and his herd away. No matter what anyone tells her, she doesn’t rest until she finds a way to make everything right.

I rate Spirit Untamed 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults Spirit Untamed is available in theatres June 4, 2021. You better hurry; you don’t want to miss this!

Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Spirit Untamed is a thrilling and exciting animated film that keeps you entertained throughout the whole movie. It showcases the friendship between humans and horses, has great messages and holds your interest until the end.

The story follows a girl named Lucky Prescott (Isabella Merced) who returned to live with her dad (Jake Gyllenhaal) for the summer. On the way, she meets a wild horse named Spirit that is adventurous and daring, just like her. Since Spirit is wild, he doesn’t trust Lucky at first. It takes him some time, but eventually he and Lucky become friends. Lucky comes across horse wranglers that are trying to capture Spirit and his herd. She is determined to do whatever it takes to save Spirit and his family.

Something that really impresses me about this film is the lip-syncing of the animated characters. Their mouths match exactly what they are saying. The background music sets the mood such as when scenes are intense, the music intensifies, which helps the audience connect with the mood of the scene. My favorite character is Lucky because she is adventurous, curious and fun. The moment she arrives at her father’s home, she sets off to explore and which leads her to an adventure right away. Her dad, Jim’s character develops the most during the movie. In the beginning, he is afraid something bad is going to happen to Lucky if she gets close to the horses, so he forbids her from being near them. Over time he realizes he can’t keep her from everything and learns to let her follow her heart.

The message of Spirit Untamed is “when you trust someone they will learn to trust you.” The only warning I have for this film is that in some scenes, ropes are wrapped around the horse’s necks.

Spirit Untamed is an amazing film. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 7 to 14, plus adults. You can watch Spirit Untamed opens in theaters June 4, 2021. Go check it out!

7 Factors To Consider When Buying A Family Car

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Health & Wellness
7 Factors To Consider When Buying A Family Car

Nowadays, purchasing something is like finding a needle in the haystack.

There is so much saturation in markets that hunting your ideal match can be a confusing and daunting process. You need to research, compare, and evaluate to ensure you are not wasting your hard-earned money.

Well, are you seeking an amazing family car that fulfills your needs perfectly? If so, then you’ve arrived on the right page. Below we have compiled all the essential factors to consider to make the wisest and the easiest family car purchase ever!

1. Cost (Not Just the Car)

You need to budget for two types of costs when buying a car: upfront and ongoing. Some of the costs you need to consider include:

  • The upfront cost of the car, whether it is a financial deal or cost upfront
  • Finance repayments – if it is dealer finance or a personal loan, you need to factor in the repayments you have to make
  • Insurance, see Car UK for great deals on insurance.
  • Annual Road Tax
  • Servicing
  • Other spending’s like repairs, new tires, and valets

All of the above costs are going to add up, which makes it important to have some breathing room in your budget.

2. Fuel

Different families have different ways of using their cars, so make sure you think about how the car you want to buy is going to be used. Are you going to drive it at low speeds in an urban environment? Avoid diesel-powered cars because they are not good at low-mileage driving and low-speed. If you get such a car, you are going to spend a lot on maintenance costs.

The best option in such a case is a modest petrol power, or if you have the budget, a pure electric or hybrid vehicle. If the family car is going to double up as a commuting vehicle that will spend time on the motorway, then it might be a good idea to go with a diesel-powered car because the fuel costs will be lower. A diesel car is a good idea if you are going to spend something like 20,000km, every year.

3. Seating

The number of kids is going to play a part when choosing a car to buy. If you have just one child, then many of the Honda models should be enough. If you have three or more children, then you have to make a lot of considerations when choosing a vehicle. This doesn’t mean going with a full seven-seat car, there are many Honda vehicles in the market that come with five seats that are going to do the job well.

4. Safety

Don’t make the mistake of not giving safety enough focus, whether you are buying a used or new car. If you are getting a new car, then go through the list of standard safety equipment carefully and then see what is on the options list – this way, you can make sure your family remains safe. Honda has great safety ratings, which is why more and more people are choosing it.

5. Finance

There are many options when it comes to financing a new car. Some of them include cash, PCP, credit union/bank loans, or dealer financing options. Take your time and choose a financing option that works best for you.

6. Consider More Than One Vehicle

It is very easy to be caught up in the process of finding a car that is going to fulfill the many roles in your life when the best option could be getting more than one car in your household. You can get a cheap petrol/electric/hybrid model to use for school runs, while you can choose something suited to long-distance driving to use for your daily commute to work. Sit down and think how easier things can be with two vehicles.

7. Interior Trim

One thing that some parents don’t consider when choosing a car is if the interior trim is good for family life. Things can get messy, especially with young kids. This is why you should choose dark upholstery (leather trim is a good option because it is easy to clean)

How to Prepare for Divorce: Divorce Support Guide

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Empowerment
How to Prepare for Divorce: Divorce Support Guide

Are you going through a divorce? Here is a good guide to help you in the process.

1. Do not Believe What You Might Have Heard

There is a good chance you have heard a lot from friends, family, co-workers, and tv characters. This “legal advice” should be written down then shredded. You should not put any value in such advice. Lawyers are used to hearing people saying “my friend got X amount of money in spousal support, why am I not getting the same” or “my co-worker got sole custody of his children, why can I also get it?”

It is not a good idea to let those who have been through separation or divorce to set your expectations when it comes to legal entitlements and obligations. You will often end up disappointed.

Each case has to be analyzed individually by looking at the unique set of circumstances: the assets and liabilities of this particular couple, their income, and the interest of the children. Cookie-cutter or prototype approaches don’t apply in family law matters. You cannot relate two different cases because the outcome might not be the same. You can still listen to and value what it is they are saying because you can know how they felt about the process.

2. Making Sure You Have a Reliable Support Network

During the divorce process, you are going to need a lot of support; both emotionally and financially. Emotional support can be in the form of counseling, a solid core family and friends you share with, or even an online support group. There are times when you might start feeling like the walls are closing in. When you have the right people in your corner who are ready to listen to you during those bad days, then you can expect to have an easier time. It is advisable to look at any form of emotional self-treatment because it is how you are going to find your happy place. Visit clarityclinic.com for support.

It can be a challenge to deal with the legal fees involved with Divorce and Family Law matters. Make sure you choose a lawyer who is within your financial means. Make sure you have a plan for financing their fees, upfront payments, and other related costs.

3. Choosing the Right Lawyer

The lawyer you are going to work with needs to be someone who is experienced and ready to help you with your case. Take the time to choose the right lawyer because he/she is going to have a big impact on your case. Different lawyers have different levels of experience and also different styles. If you feel like your spouse is going to use the “scorched earth” approach, then it might be better to look for a lawyer experienced in cases involving high conflict matters. A lawyer with a more collaborative style is a great option when you have a good relationship that you want to salvage and cultivate even after you have divorced.

4. Distinguishing Battles from the War

There are Divorce and Family Law issues that might come with a high degree of urgency and have to be resolved in the shortest time possible. There are issues that can be considered as “low-hanging fruit” because the fair and just outcome can be seen by all. It is important to resolve them upfront, even if it is on a temporary basis, as you wait for the final decision.

Talk with your lawyer about your priorities and triage the issues. The genuine impasse is going to reveal itself with merit, urgency, and priority assigned to your case. The remaining part will be about solving these issues.

5. Looking at Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

The court is not the only option for solving issues. The best way to look at it is as a final resort. There are many models of ADR out there and they are becoming more and more popular. This is usually referred to as “mediation”, and the forum is going to provide amicable, economical, and emotionally healthier ways for both parties to resolve any issues they might be having.

There are no limits on where ADR can be applied. It is going to be a good option whether it involves child/spousal support, parenting matters, or property division.

5 Healthy Marriage Habits to Develop During Your Engagement

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Health & Wellness
5 Healthy Marriage Habits to Develop During Your Engagement

It’s our loved ones that spoil us the most. Sometimes, showering us with buckets of compliments over something so petty that you’d start questioning your perception of that thing. And sometimes, leaving you with questions in the middle of nowhere.

It works both ways. Doesn’t it? And this explains why things fall apart if not tended to. Spoiled and reckless can’t win from nurtured and nourished. Isn’t it?

Well, this is exactly why we’re going to list down five of the best habits to develop to add the ever-lasting element to your relationship. With these habits, your bond with your significant other is going to become growth-oriented, which of course, will make it all healthier and happier.

So, without further ado, here we go!

1.      Communicating Thoroughly and Smoothly

Emotional bonding forms the core of whatever exists between you two. And so, you surely do not want to get it corrupted.

To keep it from happening, both of you need to communicate thoroughly and smoothly. Discuss your take and opinion on essential matters. And if there’s a conflict, talk it out until you reach a mutual agreement. Or have established peace with a difference of opinion.

Withholding your say will only lead to the development of feelings of frustration, suffocation, aggression, and resentment. And these will then lead to passive-aggressiveness and whatnot. Hence, it’s best to start practicing your communication skills before you exchange your wedding bands.

Note that there’s a difference between giving space to one another and getting distanced. You don’t want the latter to happen, so keep an eye on your better half. If things seem to be going irreversibly downhill, then it’s to confront the issue right away!

2.      Getting on the Same Page Financially

Well, you’re going to be a couple. There’s no point shying away from discussing your bank account status and goals. And no, it shouldn’t be anything provoking for either of you if you look forward to a healthy marriage. (If it is, it’s a red flag. Fix it right away!)

Share and discuss your financial goals and become each other’s back. Encourage your significant other to save up where they need to and combinedly think of ways that will help you lead a financially smart and efficient lifestyle. So, you may be able to make it to your dream house, car, or vacation one day!

3.      Finding Newer Ways to Have Fun

The engagement period’s going to be fun and cheesy. But you need to have a sneak peek at yourselves ten years down the lane. Will you both continue to enjoy your favorite coffee shop if you repeatedly hang out there for years? Well, yeah. We know. All you need is each other’s company.

But why bore yourselves out when the world is buzzing with adventure. Indulging yourself in thrilling rides and exciting explorations together will not only keep your enthusiasm alive but will also allow your relationship to thrive and survive. So, develop a habit of seeking the new during your engagement period. This way, by the time you get married, it will not be an effort but a habit.

4.      Developing Healthier Eating Habits

Your physical well-being decides your degree of contentment with life. Failing health status will not only keep you and your loved ones worried but will also be a major obstacle in your way to living life. It’s best to begin recommending each other ways of keeping nutrition intake in check. In actuality, we’d say strive to become each other’s fitness coach. If your significant others need to abide by a weight-loss plan, then be their coach and make sure that they don’t deviate from it. Generally, as well, try adopting a healthier eating pattern.

5.      Prioritizing Self Care

When in a relationship, getting lost in the other’s head is a common dilemma. You need to be each other’s back and not chains. Just because you’re in a relationship, it doesn’t mean your self has become any less important to you. Listen to some of the top health and wellness podcasts, continue practicing that skin-care routine, your fitness plan, your mind relaxation hacks, and relax as you must. Pursue your passions and enjoy bits of your alone time, at least in a week if not daily.

Author Bio:

Shawn Mack is a content writer who offers ghostwriting, copy-writing, and blogging services. His educational background in the business and technical field has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He is also fond of writing interesting articles on technology & digital marketing-related topics.

What Can I Do If My Dependent Was Claimed on Another Tax Return?

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Kids
What Can I Do If My Dependent Was Claimed on Another Tax Return?

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Several times during tax season we electronically file a client’s tax return, only to learn that one of the client’s legal dependents was claimed falsely on another tax return. Sometimes this is due to identity theft, which will be discussed in another blog. More often this situation arises because an ex-spouse, a grandparent, or another ineligible family member has the child’s information and claims the child, even though they did not have the child for at least 6 months or provide 50% or more of the child’s support. Unfortunately, many tax preparers simply tell their clients that there is nothing that can be done since the child has already been claimed. Such a statement is wrong and misleading, because there are procedures we can take that will allow you to get the tax credits you deserve as the custodial parent.

How can you get the tax credits for your qualified child? When the taxpayer enters our office or schedules a video conference with this problem we discuss with them how the problem can be fixed. We suggest the taxpayer gather documents that support their claiming the child. Once these documents are gathered, we attach the documents to the prepared tax return. We have the taxpayer then mail the tax return to the proper IRS office.

In about 6 to 8 weeks the taxpayer receives their refund from the IRS. Occasionally, the IRS may request additional documents to support your claiming the child. The IRS then will allow your claiming the child and give you the tax credits. Then the IRS will contact the taxpayer who falsely claimed the child and request payment back of any tax benefits received from claiming a child they were not eligible to claim.

There is no race to see who can claim the child first. The tax law plainly states that the qualified taxpayer is the party that can properly and legally claim a child on a tax return.

Embrace Abundance!

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Empowerment
Embrace Abundance!

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Attract the Right Job Or Clientele:

NOTE: Cynthia Brian, Be the Star You Are! Founder and Executive Director, provides today’s post, The Gift of Abundance.

The Gift of Abundance Excerpted  from Be the Star You Are! 99 Gifts for Living, Loving, Laughing, and Learning to Make a Difference By Cynthia Brian.  Buy copies at https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store .

Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author of several books, TV/Radio personality/producer, lecturer, and enrichment coach specializing in acting, media, writing, speaking, and life success.

Cynthia is the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® The mission is to empower women, families, and youth through increased literacy, improved positive media messages, and skills for living. Since 1998 she has produced and hosted the weekly upbeat, lifestyle international radio broadcast, StarStyle® (www.StarStyleradio.com and she produces the young adult radio show, Express Yourself!™ for the Voice America Network, Empowerment Channel. Cynthia writes for magazines, newspapers, and on-line sites. In her spare time, Cynthia can be found working in her garden or playing with her barnyard of adopted animals.

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Cynthia’s Story: Do You Believe In The Gift Of Abundance?

I grew up on a farm, the eldest of five children. Our parents taught us specific values: hard work, loyalty to family and friends, responsibility, and keeping our word. We learned to be independent and self-sufficient. Although we had few possessions and even less money, we were content in our simple, natural surroundings. I can’t imagine a better upbringing for a child.

Our playground was vineyards, hills, and dales. Our companions were horses, cows, sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, and cats. As we hiked the mountains and paddled the creeks, we pretended we were explorers discovering new worlds. We had caves in which to hide. The mustard fields were our dollhouses. We drove tractors, plowed fields, and picked fruit until our hands were raw. The nearest neighbor children lived two miles away, so our life was mostly within our family. Without much money, we believed we were living the gift of abundance.

Work hard, dream hard, laugh hard, live abundantly.

Every season brought new adventures and excitement—preparing the vegetable garden in spring, going on camping trips in the summer, hayrides and harvest festivals in the fall.  I have fond memories of enjoying the warming fires and holiday magic of winter. Life on the farm was fun, challenging, hard work, and full of promise.

We didn’t have fancy clothes.  We did have a pair of Levis, a pair of boots, a couple of shirts, a school uniform, and a Sunday church outfit. Twice a year, at Christmas and Easter, our Auntie Cleo would take us shopping and buy us a new outfit. These were thrilling excursions. I learned to sew in high school so that I could have a bigger wardrobe. Since I was the oldest, my sisters inherited my hand-me-downs. We always felt another gift of abundance; our family.  We were surrounded by delicious, homegrown food, a close-knit family, plenty of trees, and land to roam. We were truly rich in spirit, if not in money.

The Power Of Belief

From my first awareness, I knew I was important. I grew up believing that I had the power to achieve anything I ever wanted.  Of course, it meant I was willing to work diligently to get it. It never occurred to me that I could or should be handed something free simply because I wanted it.

Yes, I am an optimist. My glass is always half full, even when it’s filled with bitter medicine. My life has been a rose garden, albeit with lots of thorns and tragedies. As a child, I almost died of encephalitis. Many people I have loved died at an early age from accidents or illnesses. My youngest brother was crushed and killed when a tractor on our farm turned over on him when he was sixteen. My gentle grandfather was killed while mowing his lawn when a tree toppled over on a windless day. And, my hero, my Dad, died from a rare cancer at a young age.

Because of these experiences and many more, I have learned that our most significant failing is not to follow our dreams, not to sing our song. I admit that living expansively and exuberantly isn’t always easy. Sorrow and pain make us want to contract and withdraw, not expand and excel. We live well only when we embrace the following fact.  The very fragility, pathos, and unpredictability of life make every moment precious.

Embrace The Gift Of Abundance

I aim to persuade, push, and compel you to live every minute fully and consciously. We never know how many chances we’ll have to “get it right.” Life is finite. The drive seen in my mission is due to my agony in dealing with loss.  I have learned that pain, suffering, emptiness, and loneliness are an important part of the human experience. Everyone, rich or poor, weak or powerful, endures these emotions. We are here on earth to learn, laugh, cry, feel love and pain, and to be. Most important, we are here to live and make a difference. Part of getting it right is getting it wrong. We are not the same, but we are all one.

Abundance is not about acquiring a luxury house, a fancy car, expensive clothes, and a jet-set lifestyle. Instead, the gift of abundance is about feeling that there is enough in life for everyone. My early years taught me that a sense of abundance goes far beyond material things. It spans our spiritual life, emotional stability, intellectual stimulation, and physical closeness to the earth.

Having abundance means having fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink, food in our stomachs, a roof overhead, somewhere to walk, and feel the beauty of nature. It includes someone to love and someone who loves you in return.  Other elements of abundance are laughter, learning, and the wealth of health. As children, the teaching is to be happy for another’s success, and to believe that there is abundance in all things. If someone else can achieve greatness, so can I. So can you.

We rarely lack abundance, just the ability to understand its meaning in the purest form. The world is a place of emotional and spiritual plenty. Abbondanza, as my mother always said in Italian. Notice and be grateful for everything you have. The gift of abundance is everyone, everywhere, everything.

The 3 Step Exercise: Abbondanza
  1. Shut your eyes. Imagine in vivid detail everything you feel you need to have a fulfilled life. Your list will be unique to you. It can include loving relationships, children, animals, a home to live in, food on the table, clothing, a car, enjoyable work, and so forth. Once you see yourself surrounded by everything you need, add some of the things you want.
  2. Open your eyes, get out your pen, and make three columns: “What I need,” “What I want,” and “What I have.”
  3. Every day, write down the things that you give thanks for: sunrises, beautiful gardens, a pillow on which to lay your head. Recognize the gift of abundance around you. Tell yourself frequently, “I have abundance in all things. There is enough to go around.”
Sales Tips: The Gift Of Abundance
  1. Assess where you are at and what makes you happy
  2. Expand the areas that bring a smile
  3. Use your knowledge to provide community support
  4. Welcome feedback to improve your endeavors
  5. Each evening analyze what you did well, and what needs improvement
  6. On a daily basis acknowledge your gift of abundance
  7. Even day revisit your goals to be inspired and move forward
  8. Each week review your accomplishments and set new goals for the following week
  9. Always revise and improve your strategy for tomorrow including upcoming job interviews.
  10. Celebrate Success!

Read the interview at https://smoothsale.net/do-you-believe-in-the-gift-of-abundance/

 

Grandma’s Purse

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Grandma’s Purse

Grandma’s Purse

“Grandma’s Purse” is an excerpt from Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment, Ariel and Shya Kane

Listen to this chapter from the audiobook version of Being Here…Too

I grew up in Gresham, Oregon. At the time, it was a sleepy farming community where the children had summer jobs picking berries and went for ice cream floats at Rexall Drugstore with the money they earned. Our house was a two-story white structure on the edge of the woods with a separate garage and a little playhouse that was perfect for my sisters, Cathy and Mary, and me.

On the top floor of our house, under the eaves off Cathy’s bedroom, was an attic space where my folks stored Christmas decorations, luggage, and things that were out of season. One of the treasures in the attic was my Grandmother’s purse.

Ila May Powell, my mother’s mother, had died a year before I was born. She was born in 1906 and lived much of her life near Portland, Oregon, until her death in 1957. After she and my Grandpa, Larry Halif Cermack, eloped, she went on to have eight kids. My mom was the eldest.

One day when I was young, my sisters and I were playing in the attic when we came across Grandma’s purse. It was black with a single strap and a simple gold clasp at the top. We brought it out to Cathy’s bedroom, climbed up on her bed, sat cross-legged facing each other and carefully removed the contents, one piece at a time. Inside was a comb, a crochet hook, a clean white hanky with tatted lace that Grandma had made herself, a coin purse with a few coins, a pencil, and a small, handwritten, shopping list: Butter, eggs, coffee, milk.

Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day EnlightenmentWe marveled at the writing. It was wonderful to see something Grandma had held in her hands that she’d actually written. All these years later I remember that list. And I also remember something else. Grandma had things left to do on the day that she died. I’ve always been touched by that fact. She had a full life. She did many things. And yet apparently she still had things left to be done. That she didn’t do them didn’t make her life incomplete and she didn’t fail in any way. Somehow the fact that she still had a grocery list when she died allows me to be relaxed about my desire to get things finished or over with.

It’s so easy during our lives to press to get everything done. Most people feel pressured to complete everything on their list by the end of the day. Many feel that they have failed if there are tasks yet to be accomplished, goals yet to be achieved. But I’ve come to realize that I am likely to always have a list. It’s a component of being alive. So at the end of each day, I can put it away and let myself be. If I’m taking a day off or going on vacation, I can let go of that list. It will still be there when I return. “Finishing” something, completing my list of “to dos,” crossing that finish line is not a final destination. It’s simply a part of daily living – a part of living my life.

This is an excerpt from Being Here…Too, now available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Life Derailed

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Life Derailed

I host a radio weekly internet radio show on the VoiceAmerica Empowerment Channel called Life Altering Events (https://www.voiceamerica.com/show/3902/life-altering-events). People often ask me what exactly is a life altering event? I tell them this – It can be something we choose or something that is thrust upon us that dramatically alters the trajectory of our life.

On August 20, 2019 my guest was Latachia Morrissette Harper who is a truly remarkable and inspirational women. You can hear the conversation at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/116498/life-derailed.

Latachia is the author of the book Life Derailed, A Divorced Mom’s Survival Guide. Her inspiration to write this book was to recover from a very traumatic divorce and let other women and men know they are not alone. Latachia addresses that your emotions, feelings, grief, sense of loss, how will I pay my bills, fear of the future are not unique. If you have not read this book – do it today!

Latachia is also a public speaker, writer, and entrepreneur. Her passion is to motivate and inspire women, especially women with children impacted by divorce. Being in an abusive relationship is a life altering and divorce can be terrifying and debilitating but which is worse? She equips women to find their independence and strength, learning how to find their voice and love themselves first.

Now men, don’t see this title and think “This is a chick book.” It’s not. Latachia provides a common sense approach at time when common sense is often absent. This common sense applies equally to both men and women.

One powerful piece of advice from her book is:

In dealing with the sorrow of divorce or a major loss in your life/family, take one breath at a time, make one decision at a time, and focus on just the current day and what you can achieve. The saddest thing for a child is to be in your presence and you not really being there. Be in the moment, embrace them. You control more in life when you don’t let the issues, things control you.

Another statement she wrote that I loved and wish I had followed is “Stop Saying you are OK.”

Stop saying you’re OK. Seriously, it’s OK to not be OK. Wait till the kids are away and SCREAM, cry and then get out a piece of paper and write it all down, random thoughts, fears and ideas. Get it out, it’s OK, you have a right to be in this place.

Remember divorce is a legal process. It is a legal process to become married and a legal process to end the marriage. It is a huge mistake to rush through the process or say to your ex “Just get the papers and I’ll sign so we can get this over.” Don’t ignore this step. There are too many important issues regarding finances, property and most importantly the needs of your children. Get it in writing up front because promises made prior to divorce often change afterwards. The children certainly don’t need to re-live these battles over and over.

Another major issue you will likely face is “the call” from your ex, suggesting you try again. Stop! Proceed with caution. Think about why things will be better or different if you jump back in. Really stop and think about it or you may find yourself in a worse situation in the next year or two. Why is your ex asking to get back together when they were so eager to leave?

Picking up the pieces is not easy. It will be the most difficult thing you will ever do, but keep this in mind, stop looking behind you, you’re not going that way. There is nothing new to see in the past so keep moving forward. Believe it or not, better times and better people will come into your life.

A Moment in Time

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A Moment in Time

A Moment in Time

by Wendy in Queens, NY

an excerpt from Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day Enlightenment by Ariel and Shya Kane

kidsswinging.jpgMy brother Brian was born a year and a half after I was. My mom told me that when she brought him home from the hospital, I thought he was a gift for me. When we were growing up, Brian seemed to know how to do everything without any help or training. I’d ask him, “How do you know that?” I was amazed and jealous that things seemed to come so easily for him, or so I thought.

Years later when I graduated from college, I found a job in New York City. My brother offered to drive my stuff and me from our home in Rochester, New York to my new apartment in Jersey City, New Jersey. We packed his Suburban to the gills and off we went. We made our way there using a good old-fashioned map since this was before cell phones and Google Maps. We spent the weekend setting up the apartment and took a quick trip into Manhattan to explore the area. The days flew by and the time came for him to head back. We hugged goodbye and off he drove into the horizon. As I watched my brother’s truck get smaller and smaller, tears fell down my cheeks.

Time moved on, life happened, and Brian and I grew apart. I held on to my belief that we would be super close again someday, because that’s how I thought it should be. That’s how I thought life worked. But Brian started using drugs. As his addiction grew stronger, the gulf between us grew wider. He got help, but it was a struggle and he repeatedly slipped back into his old habits. I had a lot of judgments against him, but they had started long before he was using drugs.

Eventually, I discovered a totally new perspective about my brother and my life when a co-worker invited me to one of Ariel and Shya Kane’s evening events in New York City. Soon after, I attended a weekend seminar with them and started to look at relationships through a different lens. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but my perspective just shifted. As a kid I’d made decisions to not be like my family. I started seeing how I held my family and myself as not good enough. I had ideas about what a “good family” looked like, down to how a good family should celebrate Christmas. In the past, I had sat at home feeling sorry for myself if the celebration was not up to my standards.

Then, one December, I had a spontaneous experience of how my life had transformed. I had flown to Rochester to celebrate Christmas with my family and quickly discovered that no one had made plans for a holiday gathering. Rather than going to that familiar place of feeling sorry for myself, I realized that I could plan something. This was a novel idea and I got excited at the notion of hosting Christmas.

With my sister Holley’s permission, I invited everyone to her house on a snowy night in December. I made all of my favorite dishes – cheesy macaroni and cheese, creamy cauliflower mashed potatoes and a big green salad. Holley finished it off with a fresh baked apple pie. My mom brought the frosted buttermilk Christmas cookies that she made every year. Everyone was happy to contribute. Hmm, maybe my family wasn’t such a lost cause after all.

Earlier in the day my sister and I had bought gifts for everyone, including a chess set that I thought my brother would love. Brian was a pretty good chess player and he loved the game. The doorbell sounded and I greeted my mom and brother at the door. It was as if time stood still. I looked into my brother’s eyes and I saw that I had a choice. I could drop my judgments and meet my brother Brian, as if for the first time, or I could hold on to past grievances. In a split second I chose to drop the past. I saw the light flicker in my brother’s eyes as I reached out to hug him and I felt the wall between us crumble. Even the sound of his name was sweet and I was excited he was there.

The evening flew by. After dinner we exchanged gifts. I felt sated and happy. I realized the picture in my mind of how Christmas should be celebrated was a child’s idea and I preferred the way it had unfolded in reality.

Being Here…Too, Short Stories of Modern Day EnlightenmentI was scheduled to fly back to New York City on Sunday night and to my surprise, Brian joined my mom and me on the ride to the airport. When we arrived and I found out the flight was delayed, I asked them both to come inside the airport and wait with me. I’d never done that before. I usually couldn’t wait to get out of Rochester but this time was different. We sat in Dunkin’ Donuts, sipping coffee and eating muffins, and laughing at stupid jokes. It was a lot of fun and the silliness was sweet and intimate. When my flight was ready to depart, we said our goodbyes and I made my way to the gate with a big grin on my face.

A few days into the New Year, I got a call in the middle of the night. My brother Brian had overdosed on heroin and his heart had stopped. He died later that night and I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that just a few days earlier we’d had some of the deepest and kindest interactions in years. It was as if I had found my kid brother again only to lose him.

I miss my brother but I’ll be forever grateful for the time I got to spend with him that Christmas. I’m thankful that I dropped the past and discovered who Brian really was while he was still alive.

 

This is an excerpt from Being Here…Too, now available on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, in the UKGermany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their award-winning books, their Being Here radio show and join their email newsletter.

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