Thursday, June 30, 2011

Grief Is A Necessary Journey

Grief is a journey you must endure after the loss of a loved one.  It's easy to become overwhelmed as you work through the phases and tasks of grief so it's important to remember to care for your self.  Here are 10 suggestions, collected from people who have traveled this road before you, to help you along this journey.

 1.  Seek and Accept Support.  You cannot travel this path alone.  You need the support and care of others.  Call on a trusted family member or friend, church clergy, or professional counselors.  Call your local hospice agency or community grief center for advice to get you started.

 2.  Accept Your Grief.  Don't try to run and hide from your grief.   You need to experience the pain and sorrow to be able to move past it and on toward healing.

 3.  Find Role Models.  You are not the first to travel the road of grief.  Discover how others have coped with loss before you.  This will provide you with a model to base your own healing on and remind you that you are not alone.  Read books on grief, there are many good ones on the market. Make a concerted effort to meet others who have worked through grief at support groups. 

 4.  Learn About Grief.  The more you know about grief and dispel the myths surrounding it, the more you will realize that you grief is normal.  You may also discover warning signs that your grief may be complicated and that you need more help to cope.  Either way, knowledge is power. 

 5.  Express Your Grief.  Grief can not stay hidden deep within you.  The best way to work through grief is to let it out.  Cry, scream, and yell if your need to.  Express your feelings through music, art, poetry, or journaling.  Whether you express your grief with a safe person you trust or let it out in complete privacy, expressing your feelings is the only true way to honor your grief and begin to work through it.

 6.  Accept Your Feelings.  Grief can surface in many different ways and some may be very intense.  Acknowledge these feelings and accept them as part of the natural grieving process.  Don't hold in anger sadness, or longing.  These are important feelings that, once expressed, help you to heal. 

 7.  Pace Yourself.  Grief can be exhausting.  It takes a lot of energy to feel so intensely.  Allow yourself plenty of time to do everyday activities and don't over-schedule yourself.  Rest when you need to and allow yourself time to heal.

 8.  Get Involved in Something!  Getting involved in work or some other activity you enjoy can keep you focused and offer a welcome distraction from your grief.  If that activity is especially meaningful or helpful to others, you might find it also raises your spirits.

 9.  Have a Little Fun.  Yes, have some fun.  Sometimes grieving people won't allow themselves to have any fun.  They feel to share a laugh with someone is somehow dishonoring the memory of their loved one.  The truth is laughter is an excellent medicine.  A great way to have some genuine fun is to surround yourself with children and/or animals.

10.  Keep the Faith.  Remember that intense grief doesn't last forever.  One of my favorite sayings goes, "Faith is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to go on when fear is present".  Keep the faith that you will one day heal and be whole again.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Yes, Life Is Garbage

Yes, Life Is Garbage

"I watched the young boy furiously pedal his new red tricycle between two elderly ladies carrying their supermarket bags.

The first scolded him loudly for not looking where he was
going and having no consideration.

The other, making her way with the help of a cane, gently
chided her friend, remarking that he was only a young boy
with a lot of energy who was still learning his manners."


It is my observation that senior citizens can be broadly
categorised into two groups.

Those that are grumpy, and these who are grateful.

I believe that life's inevitable disappointments, broken
hearts and lost dreams will, if you allow them, make you
bitter, resentful and angry.

Somewhere in our life's journey we choose to focus on the
garbage or the gold.

(Often the gold is hidden in the garbage!)

If you dwell on the garbage we become grumpy.

If we look at the gold we become grateful.

Life is crap. Life is beautiful.

Life is both.

The question is, which will you focus on?

At some point, conscious or not, you will choose the
experiences of life to make you bitter or better,
grumpy or grateful, snappy or happy!


Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who did extensive work with
the terminally ill, said:

"The most beautiful people are those who have known
defeat, known suffering, known loss, and have found their
way out of the depths.

Beautiful people do not just happen."

Wishing you the best of days,                                                                  

Harley M Storey
CEO, Executive Coach

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leaping Bunny for a directory of cruelty-free cosmetics and products.

Take the Leap to Cruelty-Free Products

How the Leaping Bunny Program Began

By 1996, ‘cruelty-free’ shopping had become popular,
but it was also confusing, sometimes misleading, and
ultimately frustrating. Companies had begun designing
their own bunny logos, abiding by their own definition of
‘cruelty-free’ or ‘animal friendly’ without the participation
 of animal protection groups.

In response, eight national animal protection groups banded
together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on
Cosmetics (CCIC). The CCIC promotes a single comprehensive
standard and an internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo.
We are working with companies to help make shopping for animal-friendly
products easier and more trustworthy.
Who we are

International Partners 

To see the entire list of international groups supporting this effort, click here.

Take Action
Join the Leaping Bunny Program

Top 10 Financial Habits of Warren Buffett

Top 10 Financial Habits of Warren Buffett

Habit #  1   Stay Out of Debt and Save
Live below your income.
Save your money.
Avoid debt.  Stay away from credit cards.

Habit #  2   Read, Study, Learn 
Read everything you can.  Understand business and accounting.  Learn everything you can about investing and potential investments before you invest.  Think through the investment process.  Research businesses and their histories.  Learn how to determine intrinsic value.  Set goals for yourself.  Emulate the best in every field of endeavor.  Learn from your mistakes.

Habit #  3   Buy Businesses
Wealth is created and preserved through owning businesses.  Begin investing early in life.  Buying a business usually means buying shares of stock in a company.  As a stockholder, you own a portion of the business.  You should us the same criteria for deciding to buy a stock as you would use for deciding to buy the entire company.  Before you buy shares in a company, consider whether you would buy the entire business.  Invest in companies that you really like and that earn money.  Use those earnings to buy more businesses.

Habit #  4   Understand What You Own
Know and understand the businesses in which you own shares.   Study and analyze what is going on inside the business, not what is going on in the outside markets.  The business should be simple.  Never invest in a business you cannot understand.  You should be able
to explain to an 8-year-old child in one or two sentences how the company makes a profit.  You should know enough about an investment to be able to calculate its value.

Habit #  5   Invest In Value
You should determine a business’ intrinsic value and buy it at a fair or bargain price.  Look for companies with: 
Above-average returns on equity, regardless of earnings per share
Sustainable earnings
Consistent operational history
Good four-or five-year averages, rather than just yearly results
High profit margins
Consumer products and brand names that enable the companies to raise their prices above the rate of inflation
Products such as food that are recession-and depression-proof
Barriers to outside competition
Good long-term prospects
Opportunities for future growth
Competent and honest management

Habit #  6   Choose Well-Managed Businesses
Choose businesses that have rational and competent management.   The management should be open and honest with shareholders.   The management should resist the “institutional imperative,” which is the tendency to imitate other corporate managements, even when their behavior is irrational or dishonest.  Nevertheless, the intrinsic
quality of a business is more important than its management.

Habit #  7   Invest for the Long Term
Maintain a focused, low-turnover portfolio.  Always make the decision to buy a stock based on owning it for the long term.  The best investments are companies that have low-capital requirements and products that people will always want to buy.  Resist the urge to buy and sell investment. Inactivity is usually preferable to action.  Invest for the long term, rather than constantly investing in broadly diverse prospects for the short term.

Habit #  8   Maintain a Margin of Safety
Investment risk comes from being an unprepared, uninformed investor.  Ensure a margin of safety with each of your investments.  Your margin of safety comes from getting more intrinsic value than you are paying for when investing.  Moreover, your margins of safety insulate you from mistakes in judgment and business cycles and unforeseen events.  Investment risk  can also be greatly reduced by concentrating on only a few holdings.

Habit #  9   Ignore the Stock Market
Judge a business by its fundamentals, not by short-term changes in its stock price.  Understand the difference between investments and speculation.  Avoid the speculative and emotional market forces.  Do not try to predict the direction of the stock market, interest rates, the economy or elections.  If you cannot watch your stock portfolio decline by 50% without panicking, you should not be investing in the stock market.

Habit # 10 Give Back to Society
When you can afford it, donate some of your wealth to worthy causes and for the betterment of society.  You can always contribute your time and effort to deserving charitable foundations and organizations.  Mr. Buffet has donated around 85% of his wealth (over $37 billion in 2006) to help solve some of the major problems in the world.

Additional Resources:

Warren Buffett’s annual Letters to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders:

Top 5 Tips to Build Wealth and Success

Ansel Adams
Redwoods Founders Grove
Top 5 Tips to Build Wealth and Success

Peter Gorenstein and Farnoosh Torabi
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Warren Buffett is worth $45 billion. That wealth isn't only a factor of savvy investing and good business — the "Oracle of Omaha" is also known as a penny pincher. Buffett still lives in the same Omaha, Neb., home he bought in 1958 for $31,500.
Follow his frugal formula, and you too may wind up with a lot more money than you ever dreamed.
This week Financially Fit covers five tips to build wealth and success.
1. Live Below Your Means.
Being wealthy isn't just a product of your salary or investment prowess; it's learning how to save.
"We can make a lot of money, you can make a little bit of money, but the second you spend all the money is when people get into trouble. Saving is the key to preserving your wealth," says Ed Butowsky, managing partner of Chapwood Capital Investment Management, a firm that manages money for wealthy individuals.
As many Americans realized during the booming real estate market, just because you think you can afford something doesn't mean you should buy it. Keeping an eye on your bottom line will pay dividends over the long term.

2. Bounce Back From Defeat
With nearly 15 million workers unemployed right now in the U.S., it's easy to get discouraged. Don't! Most successful and wealthy people have overcome obstacles and failure along the way. Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple when he was 30. Today, he's a billionaire and a legend. Plus, after getting fired, he created another billion-dollar media company, Pixar.
"Bouncing back from defeat is something all great achievers have. They have this undying belief good things will happen and will continue to happen," says Butowsky.
Take Michael Jordan. "His airness" was cut from his high school basketball team. Motivated by the rejection, Jordan became a star the next season. The rest is history.
3. Self-Promote
Regardless of the profession, the rich and successful tend to have a strong sense of self-worth — key to skillfully navigating an upward career path. Mark Hurd, who was ousted as CEO of Hewlett-Packard in August, couldn't be kept down for long. Using his business skills and connections, in September, Hurd was named president of Oracle. (Hurd and Oracle founder Larry Ellison are known to be close friends.)
4. Have Street Smarts
Bernie Madoff lived the high life for decades, scamming unsuspecting clients, with a money-making formula that proved too good to be true. Only afterward did we learn that with a little due diligence, most clients could have easily uncovered the fraud.
But it's not only the swindlers and the con men you have to watch out for. Many times, friends and family take advantage of the rich. Whether it's a handout or an investment idea, Butowsky advises his high net worth clients that in most cases, it's wisest to just say "no." The best way to do that: have someone else do it for you.
"You need to really set up a wall between you and your family," he advises. "If you don't want to give them (family or friends) money ... saying no is probably a good idea."
5. Buy Cheap
The rich can afford to splurge, but that doesn't mean they do.
John Paulson, a billionaire hedge fund manager, bought his Hamptons "dream house at a bargain basement price," according to Greg Zuckerman, author of the Paulson-based book, "The Greatest Trade Ever." The story has it that Paulson eyed the home while it was in foreclosure. Finally, on a rain-soaked day, he purchased the home on the Southampton town hall steps. He was the only bidder.
On New York City's Upper East Side, Michael's— The Consignment Shop for Women— has been a bargain-hunting destination for more than 60 years. "We have a good percentage of women who can afford to shop on Madison Avenue but really like the idea of saving that money," says proprietor Tammy Gates.
From Chanel to Gucci and Louis Vuitton, the store specializes in high-end designer merchandise for a reasonable price. Speaking of her clientele, Gates says, "they're wealthy for a reason. They recognize that bargains keep people wealthy. Paying top dollar when you don't have to doesn't make sense."
This article is part of a series related to being Financially Fit

Monday, June 27, 2011


Southern Louisiana

Finish every day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.

Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
Forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely and
 with too high a spirit
 to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This day is all that is good and fair.
It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Just We Two

Whenever we think of children, the first thing that comes to our mind is innocence and naivety.  A child is the purest form of a human being as he is not yet molded by the harsh realities of life. All his activities bring forth his true feelings and he is not bothered about what people think of him. Children also become the reason for happiness and joy of the grandparents as they are able to relive and relish their childhood once more by watching their grandchildren grow in front of their eyes.

If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in. 
Rachel Carson

Home is the place where boys and girls first learn how to limit their wishes, abide by rules, and consider the rights and needs of others. 
Sidonie Gruenberg

To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons.  
Marilyn French

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
Theodore Hesburgh

Children lose their innocence the very moment they are forced to make excuses for their parent's bad behavior.
Krista Delle Femine

"If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children."
Mohandes Ghandi, political and spiritual leader in India

"Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.    Lady Bird Johnson, former U.S. first lady
"Let us be the ones who say we do not accept that a child dies every three seconds simply because he does not have the drugs you and I have. Let us be the ones to say we are not satisfied that your place of birth determines your right to life. Let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold." 
Brad Pitt, actor

"Hugs can do great amounts of good, especially for children."    Princess Diana, Princess of Wales
"A person's a person, no matter how small."   Dr. Seuss, author


There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word.

It takes 72 muscles to frown, only 14 to smile. 

The sweetest music to anyone's ears is the sound of his or her own name. 

If you would have friends, be friendly.

Speak and act as if everything you did were a genuine pleasure.

You can learn to like everybody...........well almost everybody.

Cautious with criticism.

It will be appreciated.

There are three sides to a controversy - yours, the other person's and the right one.

What counts most in life is what we do for others.

A Perspective Worth Sharing

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience; with a raised glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, "half empty of half full?'  ..... she fooled them all... "How heavy is this glass of water?', she inquired with a smile.

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter.  It depends on how long I hold it.  If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.  If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.  If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.  In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."  She continued. "and that's the way it is with stress.  If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.  When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced.  So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down.  Don't carry them through the evening and into the night...pick them up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you're carrying now, put them down for a moment.  Relax, pick them up later after you've rested.  Life is short.  Enjoy it and the now 'supposed' stress that you've conquered."

*  1)  Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue!

*  2)  Always keep you words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

*  3)  Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

*  4)  Drive carefully...It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker..

*  5)  If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

*  6)  If you lend someone $20.00 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

*  7)  It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a a warning to others.

*  8)  Never buy a car you can't push.

*  9)  Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

*10)  Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.

* 11)  Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

*12)  Remember, the second mouse gets the cheese.

*13)  When every thing's coming you way, you're in the wrong lane.

*14)  Birthdays are good for you.  The more you have, the longer you live.

*15)  You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

*16)  Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

*17)  We could learn a lot from crayons.  Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull.  Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

*18)  A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

*19)  Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.

*20)  Save the earth....It's the only planet with chocolate!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fight Animal Cruelty

Take the Puppy Pledge to Fight Animal Cruelty
Support the efforts of the SPCA of Texas in stamping out puppy mills.  Please share the SPCA of Texas' Puppy Pledge with your animal-loving friends and family.  We need everyone's help to end the cycle of abuse!

Copy and paste the link below and share it with your friends via email, facebook or twitter!

Go to:

Anger Is Never A Good Companion

Anger is never a good
companion and it could kill you!
There is an oriental saying that goes like this:  “You will not be punished for your anger.  You will be punished by your anger”. 
Our physical processes is a reflection of our mental and emotional persona.  This means that each mental phenomenon is an expression of a physical process.  The law of nature indicates the health or diseases which affect one aspect of our life, also affects other aspects of life. In other words,  our mental, emotional and physical are all interconnected.

Being aware of the health hazards of being angry may help us in avoiding the physical consequences that result from our anger. Consider the following physical implications of anger:
The brain, as the control center of the body, processes all emotional stress.  Millions of nerve fibers release chemicals to every organ in the body, controlling all chemical reactions.  Emotional upsets can disrupt these reactions in organs, and cause disease.

During moments of anger, stress hormones known as adrenaline and noradrenalin, are released into the body.  These chemicals are responsible for maintaining heart rate, blood pressure and regulating the pancreas that controls the sugar balance in our blood.  As a result of anger, the average heart rate of 80 climbs to 180 beats per minute.  The average blood pressure of 120 over 80 suddenly soars to 220 over 130, and sometimes even higher.  Breathing becomes more rapid in order to get more oxygen into the body.  The energy burst causes a deficiency of sugar in the blood and the angry person may begin to physically shake.  The muscles that are needed to fight or flee then become very tight.

As the body prepares for survival, it automatically begins to safeguard itself against possible injury and bleeding.  In an angry person’s body, chemicals are released which will cause the blood to coagulate or clot, even if there is no physical injury to the person.  Once the clot is formed, it has the potential of traveling through the blood vessels to the brain or heart where the possibility of stroke or heart attack will then exist.

A Scottish Surgeon, by the name of John Hunter is considered the founder of pathological anatomy and was considered the world’s greatest physiologists and surgeon. He at one time made a commented that anger would cause his death.  In his later years, Hunter suffered many ailments, but it was his angry flared temper that caused his death in 1793 from a heart attack after a heated debate and bitter attack on a fellow colleague.

The following are possible symptoms of uncontrolled anger:
>Circulation problems from anger include an oxygen depleted heart which causes severe chest pains, also know as Angina pectoris.
>Uncontrollable anger may also cause a brain artery to burst, resulting in a stroke.
Arguments and verbal duels can be factors in elevated blood pressure.
>Spasms in the neck and head muscles may contribute to tension headaches, migraines and, even, insomnia.

In discussion of anger as it pertains to our metabolism, we first need to understand what we mean by metabolism.  Meta, in Greek, means change.  Ismos, in Greek, means the sum of all physical and chemical changes that take place within an organism.  It is possible then for our metabolism to be affected by the chemical imbalance created by our anger induced stress.  Anger produces acids in our stomach and, in turn, makes us more prone to developing stomach ulcers.

These are only a few of the risk, people with uncontrolled anger may face.  When we consistently remain in a state of heightened “survival mode”, all of our senses are heightened, including our sensitivity to noise, light, smells, and even touch.  Such long-term hormonal imbalances affect our body’s immune system which explains why people that are chronically angry are more susceptible to colds, the flu, infections, asthma and upper respiratory illnesses.

Individuals who carry anger around in their back pocket often find a substitute for their unhappiness by overeating, smoking, and drinking in excess.  These people are prone to depression, which may trigger even more angry responses.

Anger is a poisonous emotion.  Each moment you are angry, your heart races, your body tenses up, your mind shuts down and your immune system weakens. A life spent in anger and resentment is a life wasted.

Some quotes to leave you with:
“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”  Buddha
“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind.  Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.”  Buddha