Meal Replacement Shakes Helped Me Lose Weight

I have heard of meal replacement shakes, but I never really considered them for myself before for a few different reasons. The main one was I did not think that I would be satisfied with just a shake for a meal. I also did not think that I would be able to afford to maintain a program like that on a daily basis. When my doctor told me a few months ago that I needed to lose weight, I looked into my options and realized that the Idealshape shakes are actually a really good option for someone like me.

I did a lot of research on them because I was filled with so many doubts. I did not want to try something unless I felt sure that it could possibly help me. I went to an independent website because I wanted an unbiased opinion of this shake product. Continue reading “Meal Replacement Shakes Helped Me Lose Weight”

A Time for Metallic Sales

My family and I work together. We own our own business. We work in the junk industry. We collect scrap metal and antiques to sell, buy, and trade for profit. My father is the founder and CEO of the company. He started it in 1980. My mother is the co-founder of the business. She also is our accountant. My brother and I are coordinators and co-owners. We handle the outside daily deals. Metal is very precious. The price of copper per pound has been increasing for the past couple of years. I wanted to increase our profit. I thought I met a person that could do that.

One day, a man arrived at our business. He introduced himself. He told us that his name was Otto and he wanted to do business with us. My brother and I were eager to hear more about his deal. My father had a poker face the whole time. Otto told us that he had some extra copper that he wanted to sell. Continue reading “A Time for Metallic Sales”

Do We Participate In Mind To Mind Communication?

Miracles teach us that fantasy is a distorted form of vision. Ultimately, every member of the family of God must return.

Given this condition, let’s not fail our brothers and sisters, or we will certainly fail ourselves. This is how we may overcome the world, just as Jesus has modeled for us.

How so? Because the world we see around us, like Dorothy in Oz, is our projected images, made by our perceptions of what we think this world is all about.

Can you be assured that you are able to have mind to mind communication with someone even if they are miles away or around the world, by being one and whole with them through thought? Think about how a parent just knows at times what their child is up to. Would you believe that you can communicate with someone through your mind quicker than sending an email?

Your Knowledge of Atonement

Miracles further show us that We are the means for God; not separate, nor with a life apart from His. His life is manifest in you who are His Son.

Let’s not forget the goal we’ve accepted for ourselves by being in this world. It is more than just how to feel good or our own happiness alone we come to gain. What we accept as what we are proclaims what everyone must be along with us while we’re in this dreamland, exile, so to speak, and trying to figure out why we’re here and our way back Home.

The power of mind

Humanity has been unaware of the wholeness that the Son, or, Child of God truly is; that One Thought of God, which is your divinity. Your awareness of this spiritual awakening without feeling obligated to name it is your acceptance of the Atonement.

Some realize this mind to mind communication at different levels, more or less than others, and many don’t yet realize this Oneness of mind at all. This is all that Jesus meant when He said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Your integral and interwoven part completes the Child of God and strengthens in unity, a mind to mind communication, if you will.

By your involvement in the Atonement– the process of spiritual awakening, you will be demonstrating the Oneness of God’s Son.

Your Realization

What you can do is simply be yourself, without a single false idea, and others will come to see the truth in you.

This does not mean that you should run out all eager and in a hurry to tell all your friends and family that we all “make the Son of God complete and whole.” Most likely you’ll be seen as a pest– or worse– and not be taken seriously about any such mind to mind communication as one and whole. It is enough that you know it within yourself.

Their minds will pick up on your mind, where Divine Truth abides and which will extend Itself. Your own knowing of this in the “name” of Creation is enough for you to attain mind to mind communication– to share in the minds of others without even saying a word.

They will want to be a part of it. They will want the same true confidence you have. A mind to mind communication.

Because you have the knowledge of wholeness everywhere, this is so.

How to Say No: Tips and Tools

Assertiveness has never been my strong point. Maybe that’s why I watch people who are really good at it, read books and take courses on it, and practice whenever I can.

The impetus for my current life’s work teaching conflict and communication skills actually grew out of my inability to express myself.

I was a successful real estate agent and company owner back in 80’s, and I often found myself in the middle of a heated contest between buyer and seller or with a banker, building inspector, or concerned family member. My default conflict style is to accommodate other people’s wishes, and that isn’t always useful in negotiated transactions.

The clash that ultimately drove me to become a student of conflict was with the manager of an agency I worked for early in my career. She was new at the job and had controlling style. I was used to a lot of freedom, and I almost left the company because I couldn’t express that her style felt smothering to me. Luckily, a leader higher up the company ladder saw my unhappiness and offered to send me to a week-long training program that he’d previously attended.

During that training, I was introduced to aikido and its countless applications, including its use in addressing conflict, solving problems, and determining one’s purpose. I had found my calling and in 1993, I formed Power & Presence Training.

How to Say No — Positively!

Over the years I’ve learned that assertiveness is my ability to:

  • Say no
  • Express a different opinion
  • Ask for what I want

If you have difficulty with any of the above, like me you’re probably struggling with finding the right combination of courage and kindness. I’ve found that the following practices and mindsets will add to your power and presence when you’re afraid to say no in whatever form it takes:

1) You have the right–to say no, express your opinion and ask for what you want or need. You have the right to take up space, to stand up for your values, and live your life as you wish. When you’re used to discounting your needs, it can be hard to actually know what they are. So take the time to discover what is at the bottom of your discomfort and practice articulating it.

2) They also have the right–to say no to your request, express their own opinion, or offer a compromise. I often negotiate in my head for the other party thinking, for example, that because they probably will say no, I shouldn’t ask. Case in point: I might think my services are worth a certain fee but I ask for less, thinking they probably can’t or won’t approve that number. I start mentally negotiating for both sides. Lately, I’m learning negotiate for my side and let others speak for themselves. I can ask, and they can say yes or no, or offer something in between.

3) Yes, and… Try not to get caught it a “fool’s choice.” Don’t be courageous or kind, firm or understanding. Be both. True assertiveness is both… and. You can acknowledge the other person’s need and state your own. For example, “I’d like to talk with you about finances for this project. I know this isn’t your favorite topic. And I’d like to discuss next month’s budget. Can we do that?”

In his book, Adversaries into Allies: Master the Art of Ultimate Influence, Bob Burg writes convincingly about mastering the art of influence by turning adversarial relationships into partnering ones. In a video on the topic, he gives the following examples about how to say no or request clarification.

  • Thank you for asking. While it’s not something I’d like to do, I’m honored to be asked.
  • I’d rather not, but thank you so much for asking.
  • Just for my own clarification, when you say asap, is there a specific day or time you’re thinking of?

My current favorite book on the topic of assertiveness is William Ury’s, The Power of a Positive No: Save The Deal, Save The Relationship, and Still Say No. Ury offers a simple 3-step process: Yes, No, Yes.

  • Uncover and express your YES — your purpose, value, or belief. What’s important to you or what you really want.
  • Empower and Assert your NO — what you can’t or won’t do.
  • Respect and propose another YES — what is an alternate option?

One possible example:

YES: “Thank you for your invitation to serve on the board of your organization. I have nothing but respect for your values and the work you do. And, I have work and family commitments that are high priority right now, so…

NO: I have to say no at this time.

YES: I hope you’ll check with me in the future.

The next time assertiveness feels like an either/or choice, think both… and or Yes, No, Yes, and see if it helps you state what’s important to you with courage and kindness.

Read more about the differences between assertive, passive or aggressive communication in an earlier post — A Culture of Advocacy: How to be Strong AND Kind.

Preserving Dignity in the Elderly

It has been a little over six years since my mother had her first stroke. Two years later a subsequent stroke took her life. After that my (then 93 year-old) year old father moved into an assisted living facility and respiratory failure hypoxia has become his terminal diagnosis recently placing him in hospice care. My mother-in-law is struggling with advanced dementia and my father-in-law has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

This chapter of my life has been the most difficult of any chapters already written. This is not only because of the illnesses my parents and my husband’s parents have/are facing, but also because of my constant vigil to preserve their dignity during the final days/years of their lives.

By nature I am not a very patient person. I am a type A personality with a desire to do everything as quickly as possible and get on to the next thing. I also tend to interrupt people and finish their sentences for them when I feel like they are taking too long to speak.

Add to that the fact that I am also a perfectionist, so I really wants things done right. Not particularly “my way” but at least in a way that I am comfortable with.

Obviously then, preserving another person’s dignity is not something that comes naturally to me… AND, preserving the dignity of the elderly is even harder because of their decreasing ability to do things/think quickly and thoroughly.

However, I have found an ability to deal with many of the situations/conversations that inevitably come about in some rather creative ways, with the hope that I do indeed preserve their dignity.

The first reason for this is simply God’s ability in my inability. I have prayed often that my shortcomings in this area will not affect my family members that I care so much about. I can attest to the fact that often I am astounded at the amount of patience I have during testing times. There is no other explanation than God is doing this despite me.

The second reason for this is that I have been in management in several businesses along with owning a few businesses. This has required me to learn how to mediate during hard conversations in order to get everyone to work together so that collectively they can problem-solve.

The final reason is I have found I have the ability to laugh and direct conversations away from a problem in order to diffuse potential battles.

Let’s face it… working with elderly parents is often a battlefield whether you want it to be or not. They have their way of thinking and doing… AND they have done things their way for a lifetime. When we come along with new ideas and suggestions, no matter how good these ideas and suggestions might be, it is a natural response for them to have a negative reaction. So here are specifics on how you can make these conversations easier, and hopefully more successful.

1. Explain things thoroughly along with an explanation of why you feel something is a good idea.

2. Use “I” statements when having hard conversations versus using “you” statements (figuratively pointing your finger).

3. Sometime it helps to diffuse an uncomfortable situation if you start a conversation with “There really is no easy way to work my way into this conversation. (smile) So, I am going to jump right in”. That way you are not trying to walk on eggshells, they know something difficult is going to be discussed and they really do not get a choice in whether they want to talk about it or not. However, since you are the one who made the decision to jump right in, their dignity is preserved because they have the ability to respond as they wish to what you have to say.

4. Always be prepared to hear things you have heard over and over and practice responding with either new comments or facial expressions (or both) that don’t give away that they have said it before. If they ask whether they have told you something previously be honest and let them know if they have.

5. Engage them with simple comments or even ask some questions when you are on slow walks to the car, into the store or wherever. Examples would be commenting on birds flying overheard or a dog barking or asking them if they know what kind of bush you are walking by – if you don’t know. It will help keep your mind engaged thus making you less inpatient… in addition to making them a part of the situation.

6. When they begin to say things that are mixed-up, respond with questions that do not validate what they are saying but don’t argue with them either. An example of this would be when my father told me that his brother had worked for a time somewhere that I knew he hadn’t. My response was, “Really? I didn’t know he had ever been here for anything else than to visit. Well maybe he lived and worked here before I was born.” Sometimes this will spark reality and they will realize what they said isn’t right. Even if it doesn’t you have not made them feel silly and small by arguing with what them or correcting them.

Each of us who find ourselves in situations with elderly parents that threaten their dignity want to do everything possible to not strip that from them. The role of prayer in these situations cannot be minimized. I believe prayer to the God of the Bible can enable us to do things we are unable to do in our own strength. I have personally seen it over and over.

So, pray A LOT and implement these concepts and ideas as you have opportunity to.

Carin Hansen has been helping women and men, of all ages, look their best through articles, blogs, books, seminars and workshops for much of her life. Because she interacts with many lives, in very personal ways, she has unique insights into the spiritual struggles both men and women alike face.

Marriage After Sobriety

When long-awaited sobriety finally arrives, partners expect their past relationship problems will disappear. Often, there is a “honeymoon” period when they’re on their best behavior and reaffirm their love and commitment. After all that they’ve been through together, they have high hopes for a rosy future and easier times ahead. Yet, sobriety destabilizes the status quo, and the longer partners are together, the more their patterns become entrenched. It’s an unsettling time. Both partners feel vulnerable. In new sobriety, couples don’t really know how to talk to one another. It’s a rocky transition in the marriage or relationship that presents many challenges.

The Addict
Sober or abstinent addicts have their own emotional challenges. It may be difficult to get through a day without using or drinking or fighting the urge to do so. In addition to worrying about a slip, a recovering addict has anxiety that the substance abuse has masked. Drugs smoothed over difficult feelings and situations that now must be faced “on the natch.” Anxiety may be covering deeper feelings of depression, shame, emptiness. Childhood trauma can drive these feelings, but early sobriety is not the time to address it.

Moreover, if substance abuse started before the addict was an independent, self-sustaining adult, then new skills need to be learned. It’s said that maturity stops when addiction begins. Hopefully, the addict is getting support from a 12-Step program and an experienced sponsor or counselor.

The Partner
Perhaps there were other sober periods that didn’t last, so the belief is, “Why should this time be different?” The spouse may continue to “walk on eggshells,” as he or she did living with addiction, afraid of precipitating an argument or a slip. Trust has been broken many times, and it will have to be rebuilt – a process that can’t be rushed.

Hopefully, the partner has also been in a 12-Step program, such as Nar-Anon or Al-Anon. Al-Ateen is a great resource for children, too. There those affected by addiction learned that they’re not responsible for the addict’s drinking or using and that they’re powerlessness over the addict’s recovery. New sobriety leaves a void, which formerly was filled with all the mental and physical activity of trying to control and manipulate the addiction and substance abuser. Being a codependent caretaker hid their inner emptiness. Feelings of anxiety, anger, loss, boredom, and depression may arise. The spouse is now “out of a job” of watching, enabling, and checking up on the addict and taking over his or her responsibilities. Secretly, the spouse may fear not being needed, and worry, “Will I be enough to be loved?” should the addict becoming a fully-functioning, independent adult. This reflects the shame that lies beneath the caretaking, self-sacrificing, role of being a super-responsible partner – shame that underlies codependency.

With sobriety also comes the fear of relapse. It’s overwhelming to realize that a loved one has a life threatening addiction, subject only to a daily reprieve, over which we’re powerless. The spouse must turn to filling a life that may have been consumed by addiction and the vagaries and needs of the addict. If the spouse has been in recovery, then this process has already begun, and it’s an easier transition. Still, he or she may watch and worry whether the addict is doing what’s necessary to recover and be intrusive with statements like, “Did you call your sponsor?” or “You need a meeting.”

The Relationship
Partners are accustomed to their roles – the addict being unreliable and dependent, and the partner being a super-responsible fixer. In Codependency for Dummies, I term these roles Underdog and Top Dog. The Underdog addict is self-centered and irresponsible, and feels vulnerable, needy, and loved only when receiving. Top Dog is other-centered and over-responsible, and feels invulnerable, self-sufficient, and loved only when giving. They both feel sorry for themselves, blame one another, and have guilt and shame, but Underdog feels guilty needing help, and Top Dog feels guilty not giving it.

Top Dog has been the mainstay of the family and doing most of the parenting. Underdog needs to be encouraged to take on more responsibility, while Top Dog needs to let go of control and stop enabling the addict by being super responsible. This is difficult for both and causes friction. The newly sober have their own demons and challenges just staying sober and clean. Taking on family and work responsibilities without the help of a drug can be daunting, depending upon the duration of the addiction.

Addicts usually have guilt and shame about their past behavior, while their mates harbor resentment,often for things about which the addict has no recollection. Just when the recovering addict needs forgiveness, the partner may view sobriety as an opportune time to bring up long held grievances. However, adding to the addict’s shame can undermine an unstable abstinence.

Addicts may also resent their dependency on their spouse and feel managed by them. Their partners cling to control and have trouble focusing on themselves. This mutual dependency makes couples highly reactive. They need to be more emotionally autonomous, which will lessen reactivity and facilitate better communication and intimacy. That may mean each spouse initially talking over things with their sponsor or therapist rather than confronting one other, except when it comes to abuse, which should be addressed.

The non-addict spouse may have high expectations for long been missed intimacy and disappointed when it doesn’t materialize. This may be compounded by the addict’s commitment to put sobriety first. The partner may resent that nights out drinking or using have been replaced with nights at meetings. Both spouses may feel especially vulnerable when it comes to sex. Sexual intimacy usually mirrors the lack of emotional intimacy, particularly with alcoholism and often with drug use, as well. Couples need time to rebuild trust and confidence.

Anger, guilt, hurt, resentment, dependency, and blame typify these relationships, and that doesn’t necessarily change with sobriety. The cause is not the drug use, but the underlying codependency of both spouses and its symptoms. Toxic shame is at the core and leads to most of the dysfunctional patterns and conflicts. To understand the impact of shame on relationships and codependent symptoms, read Conquering Shame and Codependency. Partners eventually need to heal deeper issues of shame and learn to be autonomous and communicate assertively.

Depression may affect one or both spouses during new sobriety, and either may take up a new addiction or compulsive behavior, such as shopping or overeating, to fill the void in their lives that sobriety brings. All of these stressors can result in the addict drinking or using in order to return to familiar status quo. It may mean that he or she needs more support or is trying to make change too rapidly. Both partners need outside help to alleviate stress on the family system and guidance in learning new coping and communication skills.

Why You Should Improve Your Language

Did you know that the pattern of language you use constantly affects your daily life? How is that? Read on to find out.

Here are a few highlights:

1) Bad or swear words have a bad effect on your environment. People in your surroundings pick up the bad vibes and respond the same to you. So how can you rectify the problem? Start complimenting and using genuine praiseworthy words with other people. Immediately their vibration level would rise and you start feeling empowered. Additionally those people will communicate with you in a good language too.

2) Usage of bad language could severe relationships and close bonds and even it might cost your job and assets. Do be careful about what language you use. Practice and practice and have great command over the language you use.

3) If you use good language with everybody including your family and colleagues at work, you climb up the ladder of success real fast. You spread your wings in your career and soar. Your bonding with your family becomes so much better.

4) Usage of bad language could throw you off cruelly into a bottomless pit and you could have difficulty coming out of it. However, do not lose hope. Take the company of friends and family to support you and gradually improve how you say something. It could literally turn your life around.

5) When you use good language, you portray a good and strong personality which makes people drawn to you. When you use bad language you sound and look repulsive and repel people away.

So how do you actually turn your bad language into a good one? Try to understand which ones are bad words. They could be for instance, bitch, bastard, jerk, rascal, rogue and so on. If you can address the people in your life with dignity, people will treat you the same. Some of the good ways of addressing people could be, “That good gentleman”, “This beautiful lady”, “The charming child” and so on.

Remember each and every human being on this earth craves for a feeling of importance. Give them that and make them happy. It will make your day as well.

Usage of good language over bad language will always win. So why not decide to be a winner in life by using good, comforting and encouraging words? Be gentle, not harsh. Be cool, not angry. Be generous, not cruel.

Definitely if you follow the ways to use good language in life that I mention here, you are bound for success and happiness. So why not change yourself for the better? Nowadays there are lots of available self improvements kits with eBooks, audio and videos. Invest yourself in them and you will benefit greatly.